Look past the glitz, name-brand stores, million-dollar yachts, luxurious homes, and you’ll find something uniquely charming about the South of France. Perhaps it’s the salty Mediterranean air, the white-sand beaches, the southern tip of the Alps jutting in the background or the food, equal parts Italian and French cuisine. Read More

There are somethings that Europe just gets right. Things that couldn’t happen anywhere else. Take, Granada, Spain, for instance, where every drink comes with a complimentary tapa (small plate). You know you’re in a good place when both young and old sit side by side. When waiters dressed in suits slam drinks down and bring a chair for a child so they can stand at the bar with their parents. When tapas aren’t just meat on bread, but small meals where for about 2 euro (no gratuity either) you can get an iced vermouth with side of seafood stew. Happily buzzed, your day or night concludes with both heart and stomach full and the knowledge that you got more than your money’s worth. Read More

Deciding what to do and what to see can be daunting at times. There’s too much information. Too many opinions. The internet turns everyone into a critic. But who to believe? One person’s gold is another’s trash. A 5-star can feel more like a 3. But despite all the new technological advances, I still find the best way to discover something new remains the same; word of mouth by someone I know and trust. And if I hear it more than once from multiple sources, it’s almost a sure thing. That’s how I stumbled across the relaxed beaches of Nerja, along Spain’s Mediterranean Coast and the hidden gem of Ronda, a mountaintop city in Spain’s Malaga province. There are places you plan your visit around and then places that find you. Read More

My entire life, my relationship with my dad has been rocky at best. But during the last year or so we’ve reached a cordial balance. I’m learning to accept him for who he is and let go. He doesn’t always make it easy, but I can’t control how he is, only how I react. It’s better to laugh and shrug things off, try to find common ground instead of focusing on the miles between us. Read More

The Strait of Gibraltar. It’s a breathtaking view, just a narrow passage of water, where the North Atlantic becomes the Mediterranean, separating two continents. Europe and Africa, close together like a pair of lips anticipating a kiss. On the Spanish side, Tarifa. Chilled and relaxed, it’s a kite surfer’s paradise with long stretches of beaches and mountain ranges nestled in the background. On the Moroccan side, Tangier. Sprawling and melancholic, it’s a bustling port city built into craggy bluffs, where dreamy-eyed poets once smoked and drank mint tea in cafes, Middle Eastern flavors coat the air, and the past hasn’t quite yet caught up to the present.

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What’s your definition of the perfect day? Mine is spending an afternoon in Seville, eating tapas and drinking either sangria, cerveza Cruzcampo, or tinto de verano at a local restaurant where the décor is old-fashioned, the walls are lined with bottles of wine, and from the ceiling hangs air-dried meat. Seated outside, I can feel the sun’s warmth on my shoulders and look up to see plump oranges dangling from tree branches People pass by, making loud steps on the cobbled streets. What’s that off in the distance? Just the world’s largest cathedral.

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When it comes to eating out, I’m up for a challenge. Cash only, no problem, I’ll run to the ATM and forget about those bonus points. No wi-fi, great, you don’t need a cell phone to eat. Have to walk uphill for half a mile and then meander down some sketchy alleyway to get to your place, alright, I’m in. Serve me seafood I have no idea what it is or how to eat it, game on. Read More

The mistake of any good traveler is trying to see and do everything at once. Time is an enemy, working against you. Only so much light in a day. But when you stop and pause and ask yourself what do you really want out of the experience, time becomes an ally. Do you really need to see every church, palace, cliff, mountain, beach, or sunset? Eat at every restaurant, sample every beer or wine? Of course not. It’s better to relax, go at your own pace, and enjoy the moment before its slips away. Savoring one really good meal is better than six rushed ones. Being fully immersed in a place is better than sprinting through dozens. Going for a lazy, afternoon stroll is always preferable to a mad dash. Read More

Porto. Some places just speak to you. There’s no explanation. It has the right vibes. Feels authentic. Incorporates the perfect blend of modern and old. For some reason, you can see yourself staying there indefinitely. That’s the concept of home, a place where you belong in a world constantly tilting and shifting. Read More

Madrid is a hard city not to like. On paper, it’s nothing special. There’s no distinguishing, iconic landmark that’s worth traveling halfway around the world to see. No Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Parthenon, or Colosseum. But still, it has it, that feel. You want to go everywhere at once. Take it all in. Get lost. Eat tapas at every restaurant, sip sangria or vermouth from every bar, and explore every crook, corner, and alleyway. You leave wanting more, wishing you had more time. Read More