How to stand out as a tourist in Spain

When traveling, it is common for tourists to want to “fit in” like the locals at their destination country. Before embarking on our travels, we study up on the destination country by familiarizing ourselves with the proper clothing attire, learning a few words of the language, finding out about popular dishes, and highlighting the most famous sightseeing spots in our guidebook. However, no matter how much we learn on google, pin on Pinterest, or ask questions to others who have traveled to the country, it is inevitable that we will stand out as a tourist once we have arrived. After living in Spain for a year and a half, I have accepted the fact that I am still “an Americana living in Spain”. I am guilty of making each and every one of these mistakes and have been called out by the locals (my friends and family). With that said, I feel I am an expert on “How to Stand out as a Tourist in Spain”. Continue reading

Tips for traveling internationally with a newborn/infant/baby

As an American mom, married to a spaniard, international travel with a child will always be a part of our family’s life. Our first international trip with Luca was when he was seven weeks old. We flew from Spain to California to celebrate the Christmas holidays with my family. We stayed in the states for five weeks and returned when Luca was 12 weeks old. Needless to say, we learned a lot!

Traveling in and of itself is often stressful and unpredictable. Air travel with an infant can intensify feelings of stress and worry. Flying internationally with an infant is a whole different ballgame. However, traveling with a baby does not need to be a traumatic experience. It requires extra preparation, a lot of patience, and quite a bit more cargo, but it can be done! Here are a few tips for flying internationally with babies.

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An Americana in Spain

A European love affair

It was the summer of 2004. I held a boarding pass to Athens in my hand and carried a 40-pound pack on my back. Beside me was a childhood best friend and ahead of us was the adventure of a lifetime. As we said our goodbyes to our parents and boarded our flight out of SFO, I had no idea how this summer study program in Greece would forever change my life. Many people say there aren’t many differences between good ol’ ‘Merica and other “westernized” countries. I can say from the first few hours of walking through the streets of Europe, I not only saw the difference, but I felt it. Inside my core. It was as if I had been here before. I belonged here. I found myself here. I felt myself here. The next six weeks were spent discovering new cultures, new ideas, new friends, and new languages as we hostel-hopped through 10 countries across Europe. The love affair with Europe had officially begun.

May 2006. My best friend and I fastened our seat belts and sat giddily as we waited for our Lufthansa flight to take off. A month and half just wasn’t enough. We had saved for a year and planned the trip of a lifetime. Three and a half months, one cruise, 19 countries, and unforgettable memories awaited us. It was official. Europe and I were going steady.

Winter. A time of year when flights and accommodation are more accessible, almost half the price, and American tourists are few and far between. January 2013. An epic five month adventure began. This time, craving the feeling of “living” in Europe. Wanting to feel like “locals”. Coming up on 30, my friends and I were outgrowing hosteling and had recently discovered the beauty of Airbnb. Three months in Spain and two in Croatia. That ought’a do it. I was in love. I may have well sent out the engagement announcements. Europe, will you marry me?

August 2014. November 2014. January 2015. Love? Addiction? Obsession? Home.