One Day in Auckland, New Zealand

We spent Day 2 of The Great New Zealand Campervan Caper in modern port city of Auckland. We had no agenda and didn’t need one. Strolling from café to café, pub to pub, and exploring the wharf one boat at a time made for a pleasant and picturesque day. We enjoyed cappuccino and gelato at Valentino’s Gelato, savory mussels with Mojitos and beer at The Occidental, and an awesome Margherita at Pizza Fresco, because what’s better than a pizza with a rocket salad on top?

Rotorua, New Zealand: Te Puia Geothermal Park

Te Puia, a 60-hectare valley with more than 500 geothermal wonders, is absolutely mesmerizing in its beauty, power, and otherworldliness. Where else can you feel like you’re both on the Moon and a Swiss alpine lake? This landscape was begging for an impromptu photo shoot, so I hurried back to our campervan, changed, and twirled my way through the park, undeterred by the curious Chinese tour group cueing up around us. If a heavy rain had not swept in, I never would have left. Truly a magical day.

Review: Kauri Villa, New Zealand

We awoke to a stunning view of rolling green hills and the sounds of sheep and goats greeting us as we peered out the large bay window. Incredible. We took our coffee, tea, toast, and local jam in the majestic dining room along with a couple from Australia. Our hosts introduced themselves, the farm, and even let us feed the animals. Can you believe this house was transplanted from Auckland?

5 Things You Must Eat, See & Do in Austin, Texas

Absent the pretension of Dallas (well, mostly), Austin is not only a college town, but situated in some of Texas’ prettiest hill country, so sometimes we would just drive around enjoying the vistas around Lake Travis. From taking in a sunset at The Oasis restaurant to climbing Mt. Bonnell to stocking up on olives at the first Whole Foods ever, I was endlessly fascinated with Austin’s hipster-before-hipster-was-mainstream DIY vibe.

8 Places to Stay, Eat & See in New York City

I’ve been to New York a dozen times, but never completely on my own. I was alone the first night, waiting for my friend Mandy to arrive from upstate on the train the next day. No problem. Have feet, will walk. I found the perfect midtown hotel from which to start my solo journey…

New York City: Photography Class at The Met

I took my first photography class in November and this is what resulted. The seasoned and snarky Zim of New York Photo Safari urged me to compose thoughtfully and push my angles. I am forever grateful. I highly recommend this class — it pleasantly filled my solo afternoon in Manhattan. And who can beat $100 for private lessons? (There was only one other person in my class.)

Pershing Square, New York

I had never stumbled upon Pershing Square before but I couldn’t resist the turn-of-the-century charm of neon lights. Food wasn’t bad either. I felt like I was lunching in the dining car of a locomotive.

Grand Central Station, New York City

Shooting at Grand Central Station is a no-brainer. It’s both a fully functional transportation hub and an architectural masterpiece. Shout-out to my friend Mandy, who made me look good despite not being a professional photographer. I feel very “Sherlock” in this trench, which is always a good thing. So glad Benedict Cumberbatch and Co. are back on PBS with Season 3. It’s all the wit, arrogance, and genius of Sherlock Holmes without the gratuitous violence of “Elementary” (love Jonny Lee Miller; hate the gore).