I'm Tara.

I'm just a silly little girl who likes to go places and tell her silly little stories.

SLK documents the adventures I've had across 5 continents & who I've become on my journeys. 

You can read my full story in the 'About' tab! 

7 ways to avoid going crazy when you aren't traveling

7 ways to avoid going crazy when you aren't traveling

Anyone who places top priority on traveling or plans their trips out in the 'notes' of their phone and day planner {hi! me!} might understand where I'm coming from. Traveling is, and has always been, integral to who I am. Growing up in a family that moved all over, taking trips as often as possible, studying abroad, living and working overseas, and...just going everywhere my wallet and schedule allow-- it's what I know and how I operate. I don't know how to live a different life, because I've only had this one. 

I know firsthand how tough it can be to recoup, wait, and save for the next adventure. However, waiting periods have given me sage wisdom {ha!} regarding ways to avoid losing your ever-loving mind when you aren't or can't travel. And today, grasshoppers, I am imparting said wisdom on you.

1. Try something new

This has been a lifesaver many a time. Finding new things to do in the town you're living in is an easy way to make something familiar feel exciting! For instance, candle-making with Candlefish in Charleston was a completely new experience. Don't get me wrong, I love Chucktown. But I'm not always happy when I feel put inside a box and forced into a routine. While trying my hand at candle making, I got to meet new people, learned local history, and felt excited that I was trying something new. It reminded me that there is always something new to be experienced no matter where you are! 

Tip:

Okay, so I don't actually have a Facebook, but when I did I consistently joined new event groups for my current place of residence. It allowed me to see what new restaurants or salons were opening up. It also allowed me to stay in the loop with the happenings of the city. I've found out about live music, group yoga, and art classes. 

2. Learn a language

Learning a language is a great distraction from not being on the road for two reasons: 1) it forces your brain to think critically, the way you do when you're budgeting, navigating, and organizing flight and hotel bookings and 2) it takes you to another place, if only in your head. I took a French immersion course upon my return from Asia last December. It challenged me to use the critical thinking parts of my brain and made me feel like I was back in the Loire Valley tasting champagne. 

Tip:

Try Duolingo! It's free and you can practice on your commute to work. Also, learn the language spoken in your dream vacation destination! It'll give you even more reason to go! 

3. Get outside

During my short stint back in Montana last year, I went hiking a lot. I was restless, having just arrived back stateside from half a year's worth of adventuring. Lyndsay and I went hiking as often as possible. Not only does physical activity give you a rush of endorphins, but I always find fresh air the key to feeling like I'm right where I'm supposed to be {wherever that it}. It's a great way to clear your head and re-focus your thoughts on your goal: to be able to go to *insert your dream destination here*  Plus, nature is free. 

Tip:

If you live somewhere with lots of trails, pick a new one each time you head out! The goal is to break your routine, not establish one. And if you hike the same trail every day, you'll be setting yourself up for exactly that-- a routine. 

4. Play tourist in your town

I spent just over a year living with my parents after living as an au pair, experiencing music festivals in Wellington, playing beer pong with my uni friends, and cafe hopping with someone special. Freedom, ya dig? I was making good money, not paying rent, and saving to travel from Asia to Oceania to South America and back. Regardless of how grateful and lucky I felt, I was chomping at the bit to go! Yeah, I went to Greece and visited Sedona. And, yes, I danced around Las Vegas at Life is Beautiful. I basically left every chance I got. What kept me sane in between those trips, however, was approaching Rapid City like I had never seen it before. 

I hadn't lived in Rapid since I graduated high school, so it was kind of easy for me to achieve playing rookie. This approach made the familiar feel brand new. I discovered an Australian coffee shop. I tried a different yoga studio every few weeks. I adventured around the same way I would have walking the streets of a new city, and it was that shift in perspective that kept me from losing it. 

Tip:

Google search '*insert your city here* blog!' When I'm through scouring the archives of my never-ending Pinterest, I Google search 'Charleston blogs.' This is how I stumbled upon Black Tap Coffee and found the Charleston Blog Society. Using this method, I also stumbled upon the best breweries and wineries around Rapid City. 

5. Explore nearby cities

Getting to explore Charleston has truly been an absolute joy. The idea of coming back to South Carolina after living in Laos seemed kind of...dull. However, I focused on a savings goal, created a life plan, and set out to accomplish it. Instead of using every paycheck right away to dart off somewhere new, I saved every penny possible and pretended to be a rookie around my own town. Whenever I felt restless, I packed up the KIA and headed into Charleston for a day venturing into hidden alleyways, drinking at local coffee shops, stuffing myself at hip restaurants, and trying new things. 

Living on the East coast is much more concentrated than other regions of the nation I've lived in, thus providing ample opportunity to explore nearby places! I've visited Wilmington and Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as the many coastal towns in South Carolina. I've even revisited Nashville {an old fave}. When you absolutely have to get out of town, take advantage of budget airlines, flight deals, and places within driving distance. Exploring places closer to your base camp can be a lot of fun and help relieve that itchy 'travel bug' for a brief moment.

Tip:

Utilize the 'Everywhere' search feature on Skyscanner! It allows you to find the cheapest destinations near you. Sure, that destination might be Detroit, but it's what you can afford. Think big picture! 

6. Read books or watch docos to inspire your next adventure

Reading 'Eat Pray Love', 'Tales of a Female Nomad', and 'A Thousand New Beginnings', helped inspire me to continue moving forward, planning new trips. I was visualizing, internalizing, and living through others' travels so that I could stay motivated to never be complacent and to make every dream I carried in my own heart become a reality. This can be done with travel documentaries also! I have completely digested everything written or filmed with Anthony Bourdain involved. He is the love of my life. Well, him and Jax Teller {though one of them is a fictional character...}. 

Tip:

May I suggest 'What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding' or 'The Longest Way Home'?

7. Spend time on self-improvement

I dove head first into this end of the pool when I arrived back from Laos. I banged out my TEFL, smashed a French course, took a Stanford Women's Studies class online, and networked like crazy to create opportunities for my blog platform. I did all of that knowing that when I stepped into my next adventure, I'd be a better version of myself for whatever came my way! 

Tip:

There are a plethora of free online courses offered to those who seek them out. You might as well bulk up your resume while you bulk up your bank account, right? 

Ultimately, it's your frame of mind that determines your happiness in any place. Sometimes you are forced to spend less time in the clouds and plant your feet more firmly on the ground. There's nothing wrong with that. Look at it as a new, different challenge! Find joy where you are and remind yourself that having a passport is a true privilege.

Also, it helps to remember that Instagram can be a mind fuck and you should never compare your journey to anyone else's. 

Southern Tea at Hopsewee Plantation

Southern Tea at Hopsewee Plantation

12 hours in Walla Walla, Washington

12 hours in Walla Walla, Washington