Two months from today, I will be up in the air, on my way to London for 5 weeks of adventure. It’s been seven years since I was there last, but I can still picture the winding roads and crowded markets like it was yesterday, and I’m aching to be a part of it again.
Earlier this year, three things happened at once that put this plan into action.
- My best friend Sara quit her job to follow her dream of going to a cooking school in France.
- I was busy planning bachelorette parties, showers, and wedding festivities for two of my favorite people in the world – my sister, Kat, and my college bff, Priti. We were having a great time, but it highlighted how long it had been since I planned something incredible for myself.
- I got my annual bonus and realized that I never got around to spending last year’s bonus, not really.
I thought back to this amazing book I read last year – Happy Money, by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton. It talked about investing in experiences, and not conforming to society’s expectations for what makes people happy or successful. Looking at my bank account, I felt like I had a few choices: a) keep saving… forever. b) buy an apartment – but as soon as I said this out loud, I realized how little I’m ready for this long-term commitment and responsibility, and how unlikely it was to make me happier (I love my sweet apartment, amazing location, and awesome roommate!) or c) put it all on the table and have a trip of a lifetime.
I opted for c and I couldn’t be more thrilled. My trip starts in London, where I’ve rented two different Airbnb places for different parts of the trip – in totally different parts of town – during which time my parents are coming to visit (yay!). Then the last 10 days, Katie (the aforementioned amazing roommate and high school bff) is coming over and we’re heading down toward France together to visit chef-in-training Sara, have seaside adventures, and then head to Barcelona. We’ll also have 22 hours in Istanbul on the way home, because if you’re going to have a layover, why not go somewhere incredible?
Now, the countdown is on – I’m figuring out what I need to pack, making a list of what I actually want to do abroad, and buying tickets for the last leg of the trip. As an added bonus, getting ready for being a tourist again has pushed me to look at my current city in a new way, running down roads I’ve never been on and making the most of this lovely summer.
Look for reports from Sally in another city – Londontown – this fall. And until then – enjoy the sunshine!
It’s 8:44 AM and I have fourteen tabs and three word docs open on my computer. I don’t even officially start work for another 16 minutes, and I’m already overwhelmed.
One of the many perks of my job is being able to work with ridiculously smart people. One of them shared this video with the NYC office while I was visiting, and I think it might literally change my life.
“Singletasking is the new multitasking” – a video from the Atlantic
The premise – you get more done with better results when you finish one thing at a time, close the door, and then move on to the next thing. Even just one day a week – Tabless Thursday – can make a difference in changing how you complete projects and how you feel about life. I personally find a hard time doing this even outside of work – I’d rather leave things open than say “I won’t make it to that party” or “I’m not sure there’s a spark here.” My dream is that trying this for one day to start might give me some peace at work – and then also transfer over into the rest of life.
So if you can’t find me online today, assume that it’s because I’m off doing one thing at a time. If you try it too, let me know how you do! One fewer tab at a time, we can break away from the tendency to multitask every minute of our lives.
It’s summer in the city – long nights, short dresses, sweet cocktails, and a million reasons to throw caution to the wind and stay out for one more song, one more drink, one last train.
This winter was brutal. Many of us felt like our urban abodes were suddenly stranded in the middle of nowhere, with no chance for socializing or adventure. Now, my friends and I are more determined than ever to live it up this summer – both to reward ourselves for surviving the cold, and to stock up on warm memories for the inevitable cold ahead (as George R.R. Martin won’t let us forget, winter is always coming.)
Here’s my starter guide to having a stupendous Boston summer – where to go and what to do to ensure that you’re making the most of these next glorious weeks. I’ll add more items as I hear of them!
- Free films and music at the Boston Harbor Hotel: BHH has an amazing summer series of music and movies that can be enjoyed for free. Get there early to get a seat at their restaurant, and take in some tunes while watching the sunset over the harbor.
- Concert series at Post Office Square: Check out free tunes at Post Office Square, a mini oasis in the city.
- Shakespeare on the Common: Get cultured on the Common with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and their performance of Twelfth Night. You can catch my friends and me there on August 5!
- Free nights at the ICA: Tap into your artsy side with free nights at the ICA – perfect for dates of the romantic or BFF variety!
- Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell: pack a picnic (or buy one at nearby Whole Foods) and take in a film along with thousands of other Bostonians at the Hatch Shell, right next to the Charles River.
- Free exercise classes at Post Office Square: Before work, during lunch, after a long day – take a break and work out with one of the free classes in Post Office Square. I went to their boot camp all last summer and it was incredible – great community and quality classes for free!
- Get a Sweetgreen passport: check it out to find free exercise classes and events near you.
- Join the November Project: Check out this fun group and attend one of their high-energy outdoor workouts – rain, shine, show – they never stop!
- Swim in the sunset at the Rooftop Pool: the Rooftop Pool (RTP) at the Colonnade Hotel lets you swim for free in the evenings – or just dangle your legs in and enjoy a mojito, your call.
- Run on the Freedom Trail: Sometimes you think you know your neighborhood, but there’s more history than you can imagine, right beneath your feet. Join a Freedom Trail Run and get an insider’s view of Boston’s rich past, while picking up your heart rate in the process.
JUST DO IT
- Explore the Boston Harbor Islands: from forts to fries to glittery beaches of sea glass, the harbor islands are the perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday. I recommend going out to George’s Island and then stopping at Spectacle on the way back.
- Cool off at the Boston Public Library: In addition to hosting every book in the world (true story, I checked), the BPL also has a beautiful courtyard, a cafe, and a great array of exhibits and events, not to mention some pretty strong air conditioning.
- Ride the Swan Boats: Head over while it’s still under $3 and take a ride on Boston iconic swan boats (dare I call them the proto-duck tour?). The ride is short but sweet, and it will make you appreciate the many flowers in bloom and wildlife in the Public Garden.
- Seek out the best ice cream in town: It’s a hard job, but somebody has to do it – search out some of the best flavors in Boston ice cream, from Toscanini’s in Central Square to Christina’s in Inman to JP Licks… everywhere. With options like rose, burnt caramel, and coffee oreo to choose from, this challenge has no losers.
- Enjoy the student-free city: take in the areas that are painful during the school year (Harvard Square, anyone? The entire Green Line?) and enjoy owning a small slice of our city by yourself, rather than always sharing it with a mob.
What else are you loving about Boston this summer? Post in the comments below! And have fun out there!
ETA: two new additions!
– Free Fridays at a bunch of museums around the state, including some that are really expensive otherwise (I’m looking at you, Gardner Museum)
– SOWA Sundays – awesome vintage and craft market in the South End, with food trucks galore and tons of delicious things and great gifts to leave your wallet utterly empty.