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I'd been to Seattle three times before. The first time, in 2009, I did everything my guidebook told me to do there. The second, in 2011, I explored for a few hours between a train from Vancouver and a flight back to Chicago. And the third time, in 2013, I spent a few days after a trip to Hawaii. I went back to Seattle, for five nights, for the fourth time, a couple of weeks ago. I had friends I could stay with and just needed to get away for a few. Part of me always feels like I should travel...

A few weeks ago, I had a day. A day where I was both upset over something and excited about something and my emotions were all over the place. And all I kept thinking, all that day, was, "I need change." "I need to make my world what I want it to be." "I need to reclaim my life." So, that day, I signed up for guitar lessons and bought a Groupon for salsa lessons and looked up tattoo artists and booked a flight. Because, sometimes, I go overboard. But anyways. I booked a flight to Austin that day because it's been on my list...

I had but one goal for my four-night vacation in Austin, Texas: eat everything. Austin's food scene excited me. The city is probably best known for tacos and Tex-Mex and barbecue. And who wouldn't be excited for tacos and Tex-Mex and barbecue? But it goes beyond that. There are food trucks on seemingly every corner, in every empty lot, attached to every bar. And those food trucks specialize in every cuisine and fare imaginable. Indian food. Eggrolls. Bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Peruvian creole. And there are just as many brick and mortars, from tiny whole-in-the-walls to fancy cocktail joints. And...

I spent Fourth of July weekend in New York. Obviously. It was my eighth visit since my first time in 1999 and my seventh Fourth of July spent in the city since 2007. Whew. I was there, mainly, for the annual hot dog eating contest but, with an extended weekend, I also got a little chance to wander the city. I suppose the more times I end up in New York the less time I spend in Manhattan and the less time I feel the need to do actual things there. This time, I hung out in Park Slope with Amber, who...

It was in bar in Sevilla, Spain, many years ago now, when a fellow backpacker asked me what I liked most about traveling. I paused for a moment before saying, "When you're home and wake up the first thing you think is, 'what do I have to do today?' But when traveling you think, 'what do I want to do today?'" I've been home "for good" from traveling for over 8 months now and my life has become a list of have tos. I have to clean before guests come over. I have to do dishes before the entire place starts...

I didn't know Amber until I showed up on her doorstep three years ago to crash on her air mattress in Brooklyn for a few nights. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I was moving in again (this time upgraded to a pull out couch). In the three years in between, I've read every last word of her blog. Seriously, it's one of very few blogs I read cover to cover. She's always up to something interesting. Her photography is amazing. And she's incredibly honest, even when it's something difficult to write about. And I like that...

It was my sixth time in New York but the first time I stepped back and thought, time and time again, "I could live here." I could live in New York. I really think it had to do with the advent of the smartphone, allowing me to be anywhere in the city and figure out anywhere I wanted to go. Or maybe that I didn't walk through Times Square once. Or maybe that everyone I saw was up to something awesome: kite clubs, sideshow performing, backyard s'mores, launching a new company in a day. It's the kind of place where I think...

The one touristy thing I had on my New York to-do list was to take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I was planning to go solo, but, when my friend Kristin told me that she'd never done it before either, we decided to meet up one afternoon for the trek across the East River. We met on the Brooklyn side of the bridge (you can start and end on either side) and made our way to Manhattan, stopping to take photos of the scenery, the skyline, the river, the other walkers, and, of course, the bridge itself along the way. It...

Every time Molly Schuyler does something, I can count on at least five people sending me a link to it. Which probably says something about both my reputation and hers. There was that time she ate 363 chicken wings in 30 minutes. And that time she ate a 72-oz steak in just under 5 minutes. And then ate another one. The woman is a phenomenon. A few days before my hot dog eating contest I went to Coney Island to watch her eat 5.5 pounds of brains to win Glutton Force 5 and the NYC Zombie Crawl's Brain Bash at the Beach brain eating...

I was a celebrity. Being approached on the street for photos. Getting asked for an autograph at a bar. Receiving random high fives from the crowd. Being told by a mass of self-proclaimed groupies that they were rooting for me. For me. A self-proclaimed groupie myself. I told that group of guys that they picked the wrong girl to cheer for. I told them I came in dead last, far behind all the other totals. I told them I only had qualified by default. But no one cared. "But you did it," they'd say. They'd all say, when I'd sheepishly tell anyone who asked...