Get Out of Town: Best Summer Escapes from NYC

Beach view by Alex Talmon

We are slowly settling into a new fall rhythm.  Jay is still traversing multiple time zones per week and racking up air miles like it is a business, but as for me I am transitioning into a steady pace of life and loving it.  So as we ease into autumn it has me reflecting on the truly spectacular summer we had.  On top of graduating grad school, landing a brand new (amazing) career and celebrating five years of marriage, we got out of the city to explore the greatness that sounds us as much as possible.  A dear friend, Pat, mused that Jameson and I have left no stone unturned in our first year in New York.  This summer that especially rings true.   This summer alone has led us through eight different states.  Here is the short list of some of our favorite getaways, and some of the highlights of each adventure. Continue reading “Get Out of Town: Best Summer Escapes from NYC”

Get out of Town: Northeast Road Trip


Jameson and I strive to place people at the center of our lives.  Careers and life goals and adventures are all of great import.  But at the core of what makes our world revolve is the people we choose to share our mundane life with.  We know a remarkable couple (who happen to be our high school gym teachers and later our landlords) that possess this unbelievable ability to love on others.  When you are in conversation with them it is always intentional, and they truly have the gift of making you feel heard. In them both is the capacity to earnestly share in your joy regardless of circumstance.  Beyond that, they also love God with the same vigor they love others with.  We look up to them.  Jay and I would consider it our greatest accomplishment if we are ever able to walk out our marriage in the same loving manner they embody, and make those around us feel even mildly as cherished as they manage to do.

Fortunately for us, we have people quite literally across the globe that love us and we love whole heartily. Our circle extends from from Dallas, to Sydney to Victoria, with stops in Toronto, California, New York and everywhere in between.   It is friends and family who feed us. They possess the ability to transform a dreary day.  They are the ones able to speak encouragement, and wisdom into our lives; whether we connect daily or only every so often.  We are so grateful for all of those that are willing to come along side us to share in this crazy, adventure we are on. So thank you to each and every one of you.

So needless to say it was such a soul filling time for us this summer when we got the chance to carve out a week of road tripping with three of the people who are firmly entrenched at the center of our universe.  Truth be told Jay and I are in full agreement that it is probably one of the highest highs of our entire time in NYC thus far.  It wasn’t the adventure or the scenery or all the great food.  It was simply because of who we shared the time with.  We are so grateful to have created our own little New York family.  Even though it doesn’t replace or keep us from missing those at home like crazy, it at least helps bolster us in the place we currently are. Continue reading “Get out of Town: Northeast Road Trip”

Trans America Road Trip Route


It is almost the 1 year anniversary since we set out on our Trans America road trip from our little island hometown to New York City.  A week doesn’t go by that Jay and I don’t talk about the time we packed all we could fit into the back of a crossover and set out across country.  So far it has been one of the best adventures of our young lives.  I chronicled the entire adventure on the blog, and all those posts were and actually still is the most viewed entries on the Jordan Project.  They are still being pinned again and again on a daily basis.  I keep getting asked to map out the route we took to get ourselves across this great nation.  So in honor of the requests and in encouragement that everyone really, really should take this trip here is the route we planned.

Before leaving we fielded comment after comment about how fun it will be to take it as it comes and stop where the wind takes us.  Clearly these people under estimated my sheer level of A-type personality and the utter thrill I get in planning.  Every detail was accounted for. I had mapped our route 10 months before we left, researched and booked the perfect hotel in each location and even devised an itemized list of where to eat and what to see (including a route on how to maximize our time in each spot so we could do and taste it all).  Here is the result of my madness.  It was sheer, perfect bliss. 12 days of bliss. Continue reading “Trans America Road Trip Route”

Get Out of Town: The ‘Burbs


Okay, I am going to dwindle down what little coolness points I may have accrued with my next statement.  I truly, and deeply love the suburbs.  Now, hold on just a moment before you judge me.  When I speak of suburbs I don’t mean cookie-cutter developments with a uniform colour scheme, or large mega malls with their box stores clustered together.  I mean the small, quaint town-type of suburb, like the one I grew up in in Victoria, B.C.  The type of community that has retained it’s heritage charm, that has an interconnected feel and sanctions miles of park land for public use.  That is the type of suburb that I love. So yes, give me open streets, single family homes with freshly cut lawns and grocery stories with aisles big enough that I am not crawling over my fellow patrons to snag a cantaloupe.  I will take them, uncoolness and all.


Now don’t get me wrong, this is no way a testament to my distaste for our current urban lifestyle because I love the city for exactly the opposite reasons I stated above.  I guess my little indecisive heart would like to just have it all.  So that is why yesterday when Jay was done work early but still had a car we decided to get out of town and explore the colours, charm and fresh air that can be found in Scardsdale, just 30 minutes north of the city.  Scarsdale is picturesque, with ivy covered bridges, prewar homes, large lakes and a brick and mortar style main strip that is filled with local and artisan shops.  These small town attributes reminded me so much of our hometown.  Our first venture in the ‘burbs was a stop at a real grocery store.   Upon which I lept from the vehicle and spun in a circle declaring “Look at me, I’m not touching a single person”, which doubled Jay over in laughter and warranted me a few sideways glances.  However, after nearly 3 months in the city it was nice to have some space to stretch out, as we appreciated a different setting for a few hours.  On whole we loved the town, and with it being so close to the city I would suggest that is worth the visit if you have the time during your exploration of New York City.  If it captures your heart as much as ours, and you like it enough to call it home, you would wind up with David Letterman living near by but you would also need an extra $20,000 to spend in property taxes per year. Ouch.


New York: A Candid Reflection on Settling In

This post was written during our first week in New York and just now I am confident enough to share it since the feelings have begun to subside and I have adopted new routines and settled comfortably into big city life.  So although the things I miss are still present on my heart, my excitement for this adventure and my immense love of what I am learning is now what prevails.  However, the road to get here took a little transitional time.  So here is a bit about that…


This post has been inspired, and in a sense commissioned by my dear friend Linh, who like me has uprooted her entire life from our mutual island home and left all that is familiar (including our mothers, who are also our best friends) to pursue graduate school far away.  She encouraged me to continue writing through the hard stuff in order to reflect, even though instinctually I hesitate to be vulnerable, in part because I feel like I should be feeling nothing but spine tickling excitement by living in Manhattan and commencing my studies at an historic, respected ivy league institution.

However, it hasn’t been a seamless, simple transition as part of heart is still on the west coast with those I cherish most.   My loving mentor teacher and beautiful sister have both reminded me that this is okay, that I am like them and that it takes some people more time than others to settle into new routines.  Then one of my best friends, Jacob, asked me to give him the gamete of things that were weighing on my heart in my most trying moments.

That list was easy to comprise: being away from my mom, how I have a group of very special friends who I do a book club (turned trashy TV watching) with and how much their silent and spoken weekly support grounds me, the comfort of working and teaching in a school district I know and love, being in a different timezone than my colleagues and best friends who I went through my teacher training with, craving simple things like the ocean, being across the continent on my nieces birthday or family dinners with the Jordan’s, butternut squash soup at fifth street with my dad and brother, feeling lost without the plethora of immediate family we have that weaves a little protective net around us, being absent for the births of children born to well loved friends when I already deeply love their newest additions from afar, the desire to walk through cook street village, that if I think too hard these several months away from all that I mentioned seems like an eternity, the wobbly confidence I have in myself on how to tackle the new obstacles of graduate school and the cruel, illogical self doubt that comes with considering if I am able at all.  After hammering it all out in a text his question and my answers only served to compile all the emotions to a pinnacle and made the world seem even heavier to carry.

Then he asked a follow up question: what was it that I was loving about my New York experience?  So that is where I am going to go today.  I am going in with full acceptance of the fact that it is okay to be homesick, it is okay to feel so overwhelmed in a SoHo clothing store that you have an overpowering urge to sit in the middle of the aisle to collect yourself,  it is okay to have a conversation about home with your husband in the middle of a bustling Starbucks outside of New York fashion week and well up with tears and it is okay to sit through a breathtaking church service with your emotions so raw that your eyes brim with tears for the entirety of the two hours.  It is all okay, first because you live in Manhattan and anyone who sees you is sure to encounter someone else doing something way crazier on their walk back home, and second because it will pass and the following is what you have to look forward to…

Continue reading “New York: A Candid Reflection on Settling In”

Meals and Monuments in D.C.


First and foremost sorry for the delay.  It has been a whirlwind since we arrived in Manhattan full of learing how to navigate, toiling (unsuccessfully) to get american cell phones and meeting the incredible people I will be spending my next two years with.  So that hasn’t left me much time to blog and I promise an introduction to our new home and manhattan lifestyle is coming.  As for now, here is the last installment of our trans-america road trip -Washington D.C.!  The capitol was a city that had a comfortable homeyness to it.  Perhaps it was the heritage architecture of Georgetown or the plentiful local eateries and boutiques dotting the streets-cape that was reminiscent of our hometown of Victoria B.C. Nonetheless we ate our fill and filled our brains with all the history and wealth this vast, diverse country has to offer. Continue reading “Meals and Monuments in D.C.”

A Pittsburg Perspective


We rolled into Pittsburgh a little later than our original ETA because our geekery took over and we had to make a not so quick detour to visit Notre Dame University.  However, when we came over one of Pittsburg’s famous bridges we found the city was swathed in a score of gold and black.  My ample research hadn’t revealed that pre-season had begun and that on our night in Pittsburg the Steelers were playing the Chiefs.  After arriving to The Fairmont Pittsburg 10 minutes after ticket sales closed, and thus an unsuccessful attempt to procure seats we decided to head out for dinner and soak in the buzzing atmosphere that only die hard sports cities on game day can emit.  We walked around the historic district and selected a spot in their Market Square area to sit and people watch.  After a bite we sauntered around to the river front and explored some of the art and architecture the city has been cultivating in recent years.  Although Pittsburg has remained true to its roots with an abundance of Heinz (think ketchup) buildings and modern art portrayals, and their celebration of being the birth place of of Andy Warhol, gone still are the days of purely blue collar vibe.  Although I would be amiss to neglect the gritty, authentic pulse that still runs deep and has very much been integrated into the new, vibrant scene that is found in today’s Pittsburg.

Mountain High in Boulder, Colorado

photo 3

We left Boulder exhausted.  It could be that our oceanic lungs aren’t accustomed to the low oxygen content in the mountain atmosphere.  Or simply that the buzzing, vibrant city nestled in the crook of the Rock Mountains has so many outdoorsy activities to offer that it keeps you on your feet hiking, biking, swimming, walking and eating (we did it all) from dawn until dusk.  So with only 2 nights in town we programmed our time to use the mountains and swimming holes to burn off all the calories we consumed in their amazing 50% happy hours.  Here are a few of our highlights and suggestions from our overly active, sun soaked days in Boulder. Continue reading “Mountain High in Boulder, Colorado”

Salt Lake City


If Salt Lake City isn’t in your to visit list stop reading and go add it.  Jay and I fell completely in love with the desert heat, friendly people, clean streets and crisp architecture that SLC had to offer.

We cruised into the city with country music blaring (because when in the southwest do as southerns do) on a Sunday afternoon and stayed in the Temple Square area.  With the high Mormon population in SLC we arrived to find the entire city was more or less closed. I am talking even H&M and Macy’s close their doors on Sundays and if a store goes against the grain like Starbucks it’s closed by 7pm. We have no complaints though. The streets were vacant and the downtown core was quiet which left a lovely, peaceful feel to the city and we can’t help but be in total awe of a city that is so ardently committed to their beliefs that even mega stores that move into the area have to abide by the status quo.  Even with very little open we managed to have a whole lot of fun. So here are our top highlights for Salt Lake…

Continue reading “Salt Lake City”

Stop #2: Boise, Idaho


After leaving my Canadian cell phone at the T mobile in Portland and the ensuing 2 hour delay we arrived in Boise late last night. Our minor detour meant we didn’t have much time to explore the town other than a quick drive through the cute, well kept bustling downtown core before we settled into our hotel for the night.

This morning the heat was up around 18 degrees ( or 66 degrees as I need to get used to thinking of it) before the sun was even fully overhead. Jay and I quickly realized we’d officially left our familiar Pacific Northwest landscape and climate behind and had begun our trek through the beginning of the southwest desert. We naively attempted a workout in a none air conditioned gym but lasted all of 15 minutes (thank you crossfit for being quick and efficient) due to the heat.

The Idaho landscape is surprisingly pretty. I haven’t even picked up my book yet on the trip because the view out my window is so captivating. Idaho is seeded with quaint small towns, rolling fields and bursting sandstorms. I know dry, open space can be thought of as dull but I have loved all the kitschy farm houses surrounded by lazy dairy cows and grungy work trucks that dot the interstate. That is about the extent of our brief and rather uneventful stop over in Idaho.

Now we are off to explore Utah and the Great Salt Lake before we arrive in Salt Lake.