Personal Stories

Travel isn't all itineraries, guides, packing lists, and tips/hacks.

I have some thoughts and experiences that don't fit squarely into the mold of this site, and I share them here. Read on to learn about my travel goals, my thoughts about travel, and more..

Scroll down to see them all.

  • Personal Stories

    A Yearly Mantra for Writing, Travel & Life in 2021

    Well thank goodness that year is over, right? I mean, I’m not saying it was all bad. I know many of us had small and large joys and celebrations and successes (Mr. V and I got married in July!). But we also had a really crappy year for humankind, and have so much work left to do. Normally I’m excited to celebrate the New Year and set goals and such. This year, it seems even more important. So many people didn’t make it to this new year, or lost someone they love last year. Being here at the start of a new year is a gift, and I’m very grateful…

  • V&V 2020 in Review Hero
    Personal Stories

    2020 in Review: A Year of Home, Family & (a little) Travel

    What. A. Year. When I sat down to start this year’s annual recap – something I do every year (here’s 2016, 2018, 2019) – I didn’t even know where to begin. I didn’t know if I wanted to begin. I can’t pretend that it wasn’t one of the most devastating years of my life – of our lives, as a species. It’s hard to look back on the year we’ve had, even when I’m trying to create a fair appraisal and highlight reel of my own year and the travels I’ve had. But I want to have this record because I will look back on 2020 in the future and try to…

  • Personal Stories

    7 Years On: Celebrating My 7th Blogiversary 🥂

    Well I’ll be! Today is the 7th anniversary of the first time I hit “Publish” on this wee little site. Since those early days (when this site was called “Valise Magazine”), it has been a rollercoaster: the early years were fun, the middle years were stressful and I thought I might quit, the past few years were fun again as I finally started to see success, … and then 2020 happened...

  • 2020 Mantra Hero
    Personal Stories

    A Yearly Mantra for Writing, Travel & Life in 2020

    Every year on New Year’s Day, Mr. V and I make our way to the coast, and go for a walk. We spend that time discussing our personal and professional goals – and this year we’ve added marriage goals to the list since we’ll be tying the knot in July 2020. I love using January 1st as a chance to look back on the year that has passed, and to reset my intentions and goals for the coming year. 2019 is officially over, and 2020 is off to its start. Heck, it’s the start of a new decade – that surely imbues the new year with extra meaning! What will…

  • 2019 Recap Hero
    Personal Stories

    2019 in Review: A Year of Travel, Stories & Life

    Twenty nineteen. What a year. What a long year. With political, social, and environmental issues at the forefront under a constant barrage of headlines and the 24/7 newscycle, it’s a little hard to look back on the year as a whole. But if we don’t look back – on society as a society and on ourselves as individuals, we can’t appreciate how far we’ve come or learn from our missteps. That’s why I write an annual recap each year. It’s tying a bow on the year, making a mark that this time is over, and the next chapter is about to begin. By the numbers, 2019 included: Visits to 6 countries…

  • Personal Stories

    6 Years On: What I’ve Learned & What’s Next

    On this day in 2013, I published the first blog post here on Valerie & Valise. At the time, I had recently moved to Seattle and started a new job; I was fresh from a year living in London to get my MBA and exploring Europe on my weekends and terms breaks. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about travel blogging, and had no idea what it could be come...