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 here!

thoughts from Dorking

thoughts from Dorking

I took the train down to Dorking to catch up with a former-volunteer, Amy, whom I had met in Laos as the Women's Empowerment Project Coordinator {such a glamorous title for a gig, aye?}. Amy arrived back in the U.K. from a massive backpacking trip {8 months} in May. Naturally, after the initial small talk was over, we started chatting about our travels: past, present, and future. 

As we sat down for Lemon Ginger tea in her family's home to avoid the rain, we started talking about Laos. The project, teaching English to foreign learners, the crazy things we saw, and the people. After a quick lunch, we walked in the rain to Gorgeous Gertie's tea room. It's half local cafe and half antique/specialty shop. We bought the 'Luxury Swiss Hot Chocolate' that was basically Swiss Miss with toffee, Flake crumble, marshmallows, and a ton of whipped cream on top. It was delicious and warmed us after our stroll in the wind and rain. 

During my {nearly} 5-week stay across the pond this summer, I have gotten the opportunity to meet up with a lot of people. I got to see Bastian and his family in Berlin; tour Amsterdam with Kees and drink red wine by the canals with Taylor; have dinner in Soho with Chloe, Rachel, and Jane; meet the founders of We Are Travel Girls and members of the incredible community they've created; and sit on a patio drinking homemade kombucha while looking for foxes in Surbiton with Bailey. The whole month-and-change has been a massive reminder that people make a place. Something I don't actually think I ever need to be told, as I know it to be profoundly true. All of the destinations I love most were truly made by the people I met and fell in big, bleeding love with there. 

Visiting Amy and her family in Dorking made me miss mine. A strange feeling for a girl who doesn't get homesick (other than for New Zealand, obviously}. 

My time in Dorking was spent as part of Amy's family. It was so nice. Playing cards, setting the table for a traditional roast dinner, and listening to her Nan tell us about how she met Amy's Grandad. 

I couldn't help but miss my mom and my dad and even Poppy, my psychotic dog. I'm a twenty-something woman who has lived away from home and spent her life jumping around from place to place, but I missed my mom real bad as I sat in Amy's family's lounge. We were all near tears from laughing so hard. And the only thing that could have made it better was my momma playing The Shop Game with all of us. 

Rainy England days spent with family reminds me of my childhood. Throw in laughter and a hot chocolate, and you basically have a total re-enactment. So, perhaps the reason I missed her so much, was because it was like re-living days at Wooley Leys cottage when we'd sit near the fireplace and read Harry Potter as a family. But I think it was more than nostalgia. 

I've always created my family. As I've grown up away from my cousins and extended family and continued living abroad into my adulthood, 'family' has really consisted of my tight circle of friends. Those loved ones I have in places where I've made myself a home-- New Zealand, Laos, Montana, etc. Once you find your 'tribe', life is just...better. You have people to love who love you back in an equal and unconditional way. 

But this year my 'blood family' has had a lot happen. Deaths, surgeries, illnesses...all that good stuff. I think it's all been eye-opening for me about how I've missed so much. My cousin, Morgan, and I went to dinner while visiting my grandfather in the hospital and I think she put it best, "You're always going somewhere, it's just never here."

Fair enough.

Getting to meet up with people and visit their families {like Amy's, Bailey's, and Bastian's} has put a blip on my radar. I have a seriously wonderful mom and my dad has sacrificed witnessing whole chunks of our lives for the sake of our family. I need to make sure they know, no matter how far away I am or how busy my life is, that I'm thinking of them.

Because I sure was thinking about them as we played cards and ate brownies around Amy's table. 

As this posts, I'll be on my way back to the states for a very busy 3-weeks. I'll be stopping in Washington, D.C. and then taking the train {a first for me!} down to South Carolina. 

And then I'll have to, once again, say goodbye to Poppy and my mother. Because I'm back off to Asia.

Blog posts might slow down but it's only temporary, promise! I still have so much to share. About London and Paris and Amsterdam. 

And about everything that's coming! 

sweating + swearing in Washington D.C.

sweating + swearing in Washington D.C.

a quick guide to Mayfield Lavender Fields

a quick guide to Mayfield Lavender Fields