Road Tripping in Los Angeles

Driving through Los Angeles means getting stuck in traffic. Unless you plan on staying put in one neighborhood (and why would you?) you might as well prepare yourself for the inevitable.

With every trip I have gotten better at being more patient with what is a true LA experience and reaching out to locals who are great at letting me know about travel times to avoid and expressway to skip all together. But if you do get stuck in traffic, the best thing to do is take a deep breath, find a fun tune, and enjoy the ride.

Hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains, California

With every trip to Los Angeles, I understand more and more the allure, the affection, and why so many of my East Coast friends and family have escaped to its warmth. This latest trip was extra special because I had my husband and kids with me, something which always makes travel to anywhere more fun.

On my last visit, I was able to connect with a lot of local friends who showed me the best of their neighborhoods. I invite you to check out Los Angeles from a New Yorker’s Point of View for a list of these must-see areas.

On this trip, we had a small list of suggestions, but mainly did a lot of exploring on our own and found a few more gems in the process. Most importantly, on this trip, I got to take part in my favorite activity: hiking.

Coastal Maine escape without the crowds

One of my favorite times to travel anywhere has been during those seasons when, depending on the destination, there isn’t too much going on, the weather might not be exactly what most people want, and not too many families are traveling because of school schedules. 

The Story of an Iranian Refugee: My Sister

The discriminatory and un-American immigration ban set forth by the U.S. President has targeted and impacted many innocent people and has lead to the detention and deportation of families, professionals, students, and other hardworking members of our communities, legal residents and Green Card holders. The ban heavily targets immigrants of Muslim countries.

Though this feel very personal, I did not want to come on here to explain why I have joined protests and supporting groups that are fighting against this bigotry. 

Instead, I wanted to open up the platform for someone else, a former refugee herself, to share her story and the story of many others targeted by this ban.

Travel through Turkey in Photos

I arrived to Istanbul with eyes wide open, eager to learn its history and hear the stories of those I met along the way. I found out almost immediately that the Turkish people are very aware of the preconceptions that they thought I, as an American, might have of them. They wanted to make sure that I walked away from every experience with a deeper understanding of their culture, religions, and people. This made me feel ashamed, and yet grateful for the opportunity they extended to me at every turn. What would follow then would be the welcoming of everyone I would meet, whether it was through the generosity of food or offering of cultural knowledge.

As I wondered around I found people fascinated by the fact that I was from America. I often found myself approached by teens and kids wanting to practice their English with me, locals curious about where I was from. I found this warm reception humbling. I also was embarrassed that we Americans rarely extend this kind of warmth to them in our own country.

The year of road tripping

When I started blogging in 2008, I really couldn’t afford to fly anywhere…well, that, and I didn’t really want to. My kids were little and people can be real jerks to families with little kids on planes. I just never felt like it was worth it. Plus, after our cross country road trip in 2009, I realized how much easier it was to just pack up a car and go, and how much more of the in-betweens we got to enjoy.

This year I am aiming to making road tripping a bigger part of my travel. Though we have a few trips in mind that will require flying, I am most excited for our time on the road – even once we are overseas.

Letting go

This morning I woke up at 3:30AM to drive my 19-year-old son and his girlfriend to the airport.

They were heading on their very first international trip alone, together. It’s her first time out of the country, his first time traveling abroad as an adult without us.

As I showered them with a check list of last minute items, made them confirm 4 times at least that they had their passports, gave them all the things to watch out for and be careful of, I could hear the excitement and nervousness in their voices and it made me smile.

A trip of unforgettable firsts in Negril, Jamaica

I have often said that over the years traveling with my family has grown to become one of my absolute favorite forms of travel because they, my children especially, take in the world in a way that I haven’t in a long time or never did. Experiencing places through their eyes or for the first time again (because it is the first time for them) reminds me of how precious these moments are. I take nothing for granted.

Our recent trip to Jamaica was a great opportunity for us to come together as a family and a fun vacation full of first-time experiences for my kids, which helped to make the trip even more special.

Winter travel inspiration

Right now I am home preparing for the holidays with my family. We like to spend them here. With New York City as our playground, we enjoy all the lights and scenes.

However, once all the festivities are over, we start feeling the urge to get out there for some winter fun, and boy have we had some over the years.

Here is a collection of some of my favorite winter escapes to help inspire your next trip:

How to prevent your teen from driving drowsy

‘Tis almost the season for festivities, gatherings and all that is good as we prepare for the holidays and having our college teen back home.

It’s also the time for exams, which means long nights of studying and even longer drowsy days. This is a fact. What is also a fact is that chances are your teen, like mine, will try to drive somewhere in this low-attention state.

Most parents, and certainly many teens, don’t really think much of driving a short distance while a bit exhausted. However, the number of teens who do this is rather high and quite dangerous for the rest of us. In fact, new research conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), revealed that 56% of licensed teens have admitted to driving when they felt too tired to drive their best, 32% are driving drowsy at least sometimes and nearly 1 in 10 teens have completely fallen asleep at the wheel while driving. One in every ten. Those are scary numbers.