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  • One of my favourite places.
  • It's a Southern California fall day like this that makes me miss my Topanga house in the mountains. You can see more photos on the blog.
  • This time last year I took my first road trip up California's 395 through the eastern Sierra mountains. I went on to Mammoth, Truckee and Yosemite.

It was epic.

The highlights for me were Bodie (Check out my highlights for "ghost town"), Mammoth (reminded me of the Canadian Rockies), and seeing the Donner Party Memorial/area.

It's a super hard state to live in, but it sure is beautiful. (PS: I made a Spotify playlist for just the drive: http://bit.ly/mountainroad).
  • I posted this in stories but  got so many comments I had to post it here.

I'd read an article which said how common an electric kettle is in the UK/AU but not in America. 
This was so interesting to me because my kettle is probably my most used appliance. But when I stay in homes here I can never find one.

A lot of Americans told me they use their microwave for hot water or they have a stove top.

And @astridpiepschyk explained it had to do with voltage. "Most Americans don’t own an electric kettle because the electricity voltage is too low to power a kettle effectively. In Australia, UK the voyage is 240, but in America it’s 110, and not very effective in boiling an electric kettle. It works, but takes a long time. This is why stove kettles are much more common." So what started as a post about how I love my half shelf for teacups in my 1930s cupboards turned into a great cultural and scientific conversation.

This is why I love Instagram πŸ˜€
 #hyggehouse
  • Ten years ago I moved to Philadelphia to build Anthropologies first Social Media, Content and Community programs.

It was a dream come true for two reasons. One I loved the company and two I was moving in July which meant I'd have an east coast fall.

It did not disappoint.

I spent every weekend out in nature with rosy cheeks, drinking hot apple cider. All this time later, that fall is still one of my favourite s and I miss it every year.

PS: the last photo is my old garage on my one acre property in Chestnut Hill. I had an 18th century stone home which I loved. I don't think I ever really wrote about this place because i never really settled in. Something I wish I'd done but I was just so consumed with work.

Pps: I've done a fall clothes clean out and am posting things for sale at @hyggehouseshop this week
  • I like taking photos at Disneyland that don't look like Disneyland.
  • This is my aunt on my french fathers side. During WWII, she got tuberculosis and was sent to a sanatorium to recover.

To pass time, she and her other young female friends would doll up, take photos and send them plus letters to soldiers to flirt with. Some they knew, some they didn't. Like old-fashioned Bumble. πŸ˜€
She was incredibly smart, witty, and fierce. In this photo she was full of possibilities and hope.

She married soon after to an abusive alcoholic, had four sons and quickly got trapped by circumstance and the era.

She was my favourite family member even though I didn't see her that often. I have one hand written letter from her and this photo which are the few family things I have.

I loved her because she always listened to me - patiently and sincerely. She saw who I really was and was so kind about it and oddly relatable. She gave me direction without advice. She laughed often, was direct when needed and sometimes acted soft. She was the only one who ever called me sweetie (my family nickname at the time was Chuck! and my family never used soft names with each other. So sweetie felt so amazingly special). I had 5 other aunts but I called her just "Aunty" as she defined them all. It was only to her that I felt a connection, unconditional love and a sense of family.

Her situation was always pitiful and dire,  but she never acted like a victim. When I saw her on her deathbed she was so small, weak and wilted from a hard life. But somehow she had always given me courage and strength, as if to say to be the possibilities she couldn't be.

Recently I hung out with my two young adult nieces and they both just called me "Aunty." Not Aunty Alex or Alex. Just Aunty.

It made me feel so special and like we have formed the same bonds that I had with my own Aunty. And that I was now being to them what she was to me. 
But more importantly, they helped me change my idea of her - the one that she never accomplished something. 
Because she did. 
She taught me how to be a good Aunty - one of my favourite things to be. That's her legacy which I think is really beautiful.

Well, that and dressing up when you feel poorly. πŸ˜€
  • The @ojaivalleyinn is one of my favourite places either for a day trip or an overnight. β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €
I always go when I need supreme rest and healing because I really really get that here. β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €
There's something so magic and calming about Ojai and this place taps into it so perfectly. And they have the best massages.

My recs? Avoid weekends and holidays. It's insane and the spa isn't as relaxing because it's just so overcrowded.

For rooms, avoid the ones above Libby's Market/Pub (I think they are the original rooms). They're just louder & smaller. β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €
I've had a suite with a patio, bedroom and fireplace down by the spa that was heaven and I've had a larger room by the main restaurant (I can't remember that buildings name) and both were amazing. This past room was in the Topa building which is their main building and it was really lovely (and had a balcony overlooking the golf course). β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € I've  been here with girlfriends, alone, on retreats with work and loved all the experiences. I know a lot of people who come here with kids (@couldihavethat has a recent post in IG and her blog on why it's great for families) and it's also totally dog friendly (@ScoutStCharming has been). β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € I  paid for my room πŸ˜€ and received zero things for free. So not am ad, just sharing what I love.
  • I found hope in Hope thanks to nature and my nieces.
  • The bridge next door and the buildings in the park across the street burned down in the Woolley Fire. But the Old Place still stands which makes me so happy. It's my favourite place in LA and I have missed hanging out here. It's nice to be back.
  • Possibilities.

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Danish Life Wanderlust

Home is where the Heart is.

April 10, 2011
Suitcases

‘Home’ is a very subjective word for me. Having moved a lot as a child and having lived all over the world since I was 18, home has either meant nothing, a house, a cottage, a mansion, an estate, a bed, a backpack, a desire, a hotel, a beach, a tent, a greyhound bus, a suitcase, an airport lounge, a sleeping bag, my mum’s flat is or simply where my bills are sent to.

Perhaps it’s because of all the different meanings and constant personal confusion that ‘home’ has always been a very powerful word for me. It’s a word I constantly try to define and find long-lasting meaning for. I’ve often tried to create beautiful ‘homes’ yet I’m hardly in them or tend to move frequently away from them. I’ve come from different homes and different countries yet never refer to them as ‘home’ (I tend to say I’m a mutt; from all over, a mixture of a lot of things but no real belonging to anywhere).

The truth is, that although I long for a real sense of physical home and belonging, the vagabond in me will almost always equate home to a suitcase and where my head is that night. And with all the travel that is to begin, that train of thought won’t be derailed anytime soon.

On Tuesday I leave for Copenhagen where I’ll be spending time with my mum (Tivoli opening day! Victor Cafe! Horse ride through the Deer Park!) before heading out to various family homes in the country for visits and finally getting to see the inside of an old family home. So home will be a hotel in the city, a farmstay in the country, a spare room at my cousins and end with as a summer house on Fyn.

Then I’m off to the UK; part business and part pleasure. Having lived there and having spent a great deal of time in London, I’ve had to find ways to get excited about going back (a certain wedding helps). This year, I’m determined to ride a bike through Hyde Park, partake in real afternoon tea again and of course finally see the British Anthropologie. I’ve picked out what I’m hoping will be a fantastic hotel; something that during my weekend in London I can call home (it’s supposed to feel like one, more on that to come).

After the UK, I’m headed to Karlsruhe in Southwest Germany. Having never been there before I’m hoping that amidst all the business there will be time for a little sightseeing so that between the hotel and office, a cafe or park bench can be home. Spring in Europe is a very rare site for me as I’m usually there in the midst of February’s winter for my birthday. So blooms, milder temps and hopefully sun will be a welcomed site indeed. I just don’t want to miss it.

And then back to America on May 06th, specifically San Francisco, where home will be a guest bed for awhile before heading back to my little cottage the following weekend.

That’s a lot of travel, especially after just having spent almost two weeks calling the Driskill Hotel in Austin my home. And all this travel has me thinking (as travel usually does) – what is home – is it a place or a feeling? Is it where you were born, the place you go back to or whereever you are in this moment? Is home temporary (meaning, it can change each night – I always say, “Going home” even when talking about a hotel) or long lasting (you think of your physical home you live in now).Β Is home more than a memory, a birthplace, a suitcase, family?

For me, home is always just where I tend to be whether it’s in a hotel with two suitcases or my cottage by the sea. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t had grounding or maybe it’s because I make myself feel at home when I travel by taking and doing familiar/calming things (my favourite tea in the morning to get me going, Lush bubble bars for a nightly unwinding bath, a couple of friends for company, a candle, my camera/computer to putter with, a stack of glossy mags for reading and favourite clothes to feel good in).

So the next several weeks I’ll be calling two suitcases and a myriad of places home. What about you?

PS: I’m going to try very hard to share my travels via Twitter with Hygge House and AlexTravels. I’ll also be sharing a lot of photos/info/stores on my Flickr Page.

  • Reply
    AndreaNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    What do you do with your pets when you travel oversea?

  • Reply
    Hygge HouseNo Gravatar
    April 10, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Andrea: It really depends on how long I’m gone, where I am and who’s available. Sometimes I have friends come and house sit so they both stay at home. Sometimes the dog goes to a great day care or home stay place (I have a favourite in both Santa Barbara CA & Pacifica CA) and the cat stays at home with a couple of check in’s from neighbours. This time they’re both going to stay with a friend so that they’re together and have lots of personal attention πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    stephibdesignNo Gravatar
    April 11, 2011 at 2:02 AM

    Hope you have a wonderful trip Alex after you have solved the wardrobe conundrum. Be safe and look forward to hearing about your travels on twitter.

  • Reply
    KellyNo Gravatar
    April 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Nice to hear a bit about what you’re up to! Any chance you’ll have a layover in NYC? πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    ShawnNo Gravatar
    November 28, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    For some people, it can be hard to keep travelling around the world constantly without a place to call home. To others, it is a chance of a lifetime to escape a place that they have resided for many years. I have friends who are travel writers, and they are like you in the way that they call hotels home. Do you miss your hometown even one bit?

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