Why Maps and Meditations?
Both travel and meditation play a role in my fantasy books- but more importantly, they’ve played a big role in my life and who I am as a person. Here’s what I mean…
Mark Twain wrote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views (...) cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
To me, that’s what travel is really about. Of course, I enjoy seeing new places, too- but it’s the exposure to new perspectives and ways of life that is most important.
As much as I love travel… I believe looking inward is more valuable than looking outward.
I like to focus on the “why” and the end goals of meditation… which includes all things self-improvement, life balance, and connection to something greater than ourselves.
Simplicity Challenge #9: Wi-Fi on airplanes
May 26, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Wi-Fi and mobile reception are available pretty much everywhere nowadays, with planes being one of the last holdouts where we have to just sit there and relax, read, or watch a movie without a distraction every few seconds. Should we keep it that way?
Simplicity Challenge #8: Retreating into Silence
Apr 27, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Have you ever thought about going to a silent retreat center? It's a place where you can give your mind a break from distractions, and slow down to find calmness despite living in a super busy world. Here's why I recommend it...
Simplicity Challenge #7: Are education costs really worth it?
Mar 30, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Education is important - I think we can all agree on that. But, what happens when the costs of education rise too quickly? When the salary of the job you wanted no longer supports the cost of the education required in order to get the job? I certainly don't have all the answers, but I think this important issue could benefit from more and more open discussions, so I'll be touching upon it from time to time. Here's the first "Simplicity Challenge" in the education series...
Simplicity Challenge #6: Are diamonds really a girl's best friend?
Feb 28, 2019 by Tamara Spell
What's the deal with diamonds? Why are they so expensive - and are they really worth it? Here's the latest I've discovered when researching the subject... and why I choose to go with diamond alternatives.
Simplicity Challenge #5: Letting Go for the New Year
Jan 24, 2019 by Tamara Spell
After years of struggling with time management, I'm starting to realize that my problems don't always stem from a lack of time, but rather from a lack of energy from trying to do too much. After accepting this, my schedule is becoming simpler and more manageable. Here's how I'm handling big changes this year...
My 5 Favorite Things about Being a Woman in the United Arab Emirates
Nov 04, 2018 by Tamara Spell
When I tell people I lived in the Middle East, there's always one question that follows - What was it like to be a woman there?
And while I can't speak to all Middle Eastern countries, I can say that being a Western woman in the United Arab Emirates came with surprisingly few restrictions - and even a few advantages. Here are my 5 favorite things about being a woman in Abu Dhabi...
Simplicity Challenge #4: Food delivery services
Nov 01, 2018 by Tamara Spell
I've jumped on the band wagon for food delivery services - both for groceries, and for packaged recipes/meals. What do you think? Is this a fad, or something that will give us back some precious time during this modern, busier-than-ever day and age? Here's my take...
Notre Denver: The good-luck gargoyles of DIA
Oct 11, 2018 by Tamara Spell
A shout out to the twin gargoyles who watch over and protect travelers from lost luggage.
Simplicity Challenge #3: Weddings
Sep 30, 2018 by Tamara Spell
The average cost of a wedding in the US is over $25,000... and that high price tag seems to always come with a lot of stress. What do you think - is this too much? Here's my opinion...
Simplicity Challenge #2: To garden, or not to garden?
Aug 14, 2018 by Tamara Spell
I always thought that starting a vegetable garden would be an ideal way to live simply. The problem is, I'm not good with plants, and I stay busy with work. So, what do you think: does simplicity mean growing your own food, or is it simpler just to make a quick run to the store?
This has been harder than I thought
Aug 01, 2018 by Tamara Spell
This isn't my first time to India, but it has been different than my previous visits in a few ways. Everything from people staring, to "creepy crawlies," to squeaky toy horns on the rickshaws present unique challenges every day- with a mix of fun surprises, too. It's all part of traveling deeper, and keeping an open mind.
Why I return to the same places I've traveled to before
Jul 27, 2018 by Tamara Spell
When it comes to traveling, it's tempting to try to cram in as many sites and destinations as possible into our limited vacation time. But I would argue that there's a lot to be discovered by returning to a place you've been to before, traveling slower and soaking up the vibe and daily life of your chosen destination, and experiencing more than you did the first time around.
Simplicity Challenge #1: Recycling versus Water Usage
Jul 07, 2018 by Tamara Spell
Simplicity Challenges came about due to my own desire to simplify my life. However, the term ‘simplicity’ is sometimes open to a surprising variety of interpretations.
Up first... how to recycle without wasting a ton of water washing the recyclables. I don't have a great answer yet, so I'd love to hear any feedback you have!
Legends of DIA Part 1: Blucifer
Jul 05, 2018 by Tamara Spell
Airport travel usually isn't very interesting- just bustling through crowds and trying to find a quiet spot among thousands of people. However, the Denver International Airport is a fascinating place if you stop to take a look around or research some of it's many conspiracy theories. As a writer, I find this incredibly interesting, and I'm going to share some of the stories here- I'll start with the most well-known of all: Blucifer, the Blue Mustang.
Thoughts on Mailboxes
Oct 11, 2017 by Tamara Spell
I think, in many ways, my life was less complicated without a mailbox. It was one less thing on my to-do list, and I no longer had heaps of junk mail to sort through.
When it came to mailboxes and voicemail, there was something freeing about not being attached to them. With travel and the experience of a new culture, sometimes it’s the small differences like this that you remember the most.
How I Dress for Long Flights
Aug 22, 2017 by Tamara Spell
I love to travel! Living overseas granted me the amazing opportunity to explore more of the world. However, as much as I love seeing new places, I have to admit that long plane rides and airport transits can get pretty tiring. Planning your wardrobe makes all the difference in terms of comfort. Here are my recommendations...
Why I Meditate
Apr 14, 2017 by Tamara Spell
I don't believe it’s possible to really get rid of all negative or worrying thoughts. However, I do know, from personal experience, that it’s possible to take their power away and to avoid their damaging effects. It’s a lifelong practice, but the results are worth the effort. For me, the practice of meditation has made a huge difference.
Feb 10, 2017 by Tamara Spell
I understand that, for many parts of the world, a vegetarian diet just isn’t the norm, and I don’t expect them to change that just because tourists and expats come there. However, when I did find some restaurants that offered a variety of good vegetarian dishes, I really appreciated it. It made it much easier for me during my travels, and I tried some really delicious foods! Here's my list of places I'd recommend...
Monsters on Display in Cebu
Jan 23, 2017 by Tamara Spell
The monster collection at the Cebu Airport in the Philippines includes: Kapre, Tikbalang, Duwende, and, last but not least, Manananggal.
Why don't we have this much fun at US airports?
Holly and Luna's Big Adventure (as told by Holly)
Jan 04, 2017 by Tamara Spell
Traveling with pets can be challenging for both the humans and the animals involved, but I'm glad I was able to bring my two cats home from the Middle East, and have them in the cabin with me the whole trip. Here's Holly's story of her big travel adventure...