H: San Simeon, CA

Hearst Castle: San Simeon, CA (April 2018)

Focusing has been difficult the past few months, so I'm taking an alternative approach to A-Z this year: looking back at past travel, editing or re-editing images from travels before, and responding to travel-related questions. Hope you are able to join me on this journey to my past!

For Day H, I have this shot of an orange tree I discovered at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. I'm not sure it came out as pretty as I thought it might, but I do love the lens flare.

Other places I considered for this post: Hollywood (CA), Hilton Head (SC), Honolulu (HI), Hawai'i

Here are today's questions –

22. What do you pack in your suitcase no matter where you are going?

phone & phone charger
• camera + lenses + battery

If I'm going abroad:

• luggage scale
• passport
• battery for phone

Recently I've been trying to take less jewelry, fewer hair accessories, and less electronics. I try to pack clothes that can be worn again as part of a different outfit. I also try to keep my shoes as minimal as possible.

So, Justin and I got back in January from a trip to Egypt (60º-80º) and Berlin (30º). For that, I packed one pair of jeans suspecting I would wear mostly dresses. I packed extra underwear and socks, but only packed my favorite sweaters or sweaters that could be worn over dresses. And, for Egypt, I stuck with dresses that I knew I would be able to wear in colder weather under sweaters. See how that works? I also brought scarves that could be worn over the dresses I chose and leggings to wear under both my jeans (for cold weather) or by themselves (for warm weather). I stuck to four pairs of shoes (which is not minimal at all!) – flip flops (for the beach), warm boots (for Germany), plane boots (easy to slip on and off), and flats (for warmer weather, that would look ok to wear to a wedding).

Of course, if I'm taking a road trip, all bets are off! If it fits in the trunk of the car, I'm taking it! Cooler + drinks and snacks, clothes, pillow, blanket, the kitchen sink, etc, etc…

23. Has a certain location ever taken your breath away?

Hawai'i was gorgeous. Don't get me wrong.


When I woke up in Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt, I was amazed and enthralled at how beautiful the landscape there was! You could tell a lot of time and effort had been put into the resort. I could not stop taking pictures! It was just so blue and beautiful.

So, if you are afraid to go to Egypt, Hawai'i is great. Phenomenal even. If you grew up on the east coast, you will be stunned by the gorgeousness of it. But if you happen to be making a trek through Egypt, I don't think any place there is as pretty as Sharm-El-Sheikh.

24. What food from your home country do you miss the most when you are traveling?

Mexican and a good burger.

Other places have those things, but they aren't as good. Every time Justin and I fly back from Europe, we make a beeline to Five Guys or the local Mexican restaurant. There is no better homecoming.

(Though we often find ourselves missing the food we were able to easily get in other countries!)

What are some of your favorite foods where you live? Have you ever traveled anywhere that's taken your breath away?

See other posts in this year's A-Z.


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