Mont-Saint-Michel (2014)

Almost exactly six years ago, Juan and I had a weekend getaway in Mont-Saint-Michel. Prior to our weekend together, I’d never heard of this magical place and I couldn’t wait to explore!

Mont-Saint-Michel is in Normandy, France and serves as a mainland commune. Back in the sixth, seventh and eighth centuries, the tidal island was founded and used to protect against the Vikings. Its rich history is something to be experienced in person…

Today, tourism is its sole source of economic stimulation. It’s estimated that only 25-50 people sleep on the Mont each night, which includes monks who live on the island. This made our time here extra special!

If you’re ever in northwestern France, please take time to visit this wonderful place!

France’s Spectacular Sénanque Abbey (2014)

I can’t believe it’s been six years since studying in the one and only Provence, France (time really does fly when you’re having fun!). I want to reflect on one of my most memorable days in southern France: our field trip to Sénanque Abbey.

My roommate-turned-bestie and I had professors who were actually married (hers was an art professor and mine was the creative writing expert), which led to a joint day-trip to one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever visited.

We started our journey by hiking around quite a bit, which would’ve been fun if it weren’t for the fact that we had to wear fancy clothes and dress shoes… still, we had great views…

The abbey itself is incredible; an order or monks still reside in this charming, yet powerful architecture. And obviously the lavender fields don’t hurt!

Despite the long, hot day Carolyn and I endured, we had a great time (even though the below photograph suggests otherwise)!

Reconnecting in Colorado (Part III)

[continuation from previous blog post]

Day 3: venturing around Telluride and kayaking in the evening

Day 4: Mesa Verde National Park and staying overnight in a teepee

Day 5: deciding that leaving on Friday was not okay and getting emotional during our goodbyes

Reconnecting in Colorado (Part II)

During quarantine, Bethany and I decided to write each other letters, which ultimately led to us planning our next adventure. I spend last Monday through Friday with her and her loved ones; it was exactly what both of us needed.


Day 1: LOTS of driving between Denver and Dolores


Day 2: hiking at Hovenweep in the extreme heat, then dinner with Bethany’s uncle and South African aunt

Reconnecting in Colorado (Part I)

Bethany and I met in Sweden while we were studying there in 2016. We’ve also visited each other in Chicago a couple times, as well as traveled to Iceland together in 2018. That was the last time we saw each other in person, until last week…

Kalmar, Sweden 2016
Chicago 2017
Chicago 2018
Iceland 2018
…still Iceland 2018…
Colorado 2020

Petoskey, Michigan with the Pup!

My mom, Linley and I went on another adventure this week. This time, we went somewhere we’ve heard about but have never experienced before: Petoskey.

Lin was really happy, I promise!

We chose to stay one night because our day trip to Empire and Traverse City felt rushed (plus that’s a lot of driving for one day, especially for the pup!). Once we arrived on Wednesday afternoon, we walked around downtown, Lin marked every plant and we had a tasty lunch at a picnic table. We all had some ice cream afterward and Linley stole all the hearts of the customers behind us!

The main event of the day was kayaking, which is something all three of us enjoyed! We kayaked for nearly three hours at the Bear River Canoe Livery and soaked up the sun, the water and the winding river. Some cranes and a deer even welcomed us as we kayaked near the shore! The tunnels, the views and the company were perfect.

Ignore Grams’s sunburn – ouch!

This was Linley’s first time at a hotel and he did amazing! He saw his reflection and everything…

The next day was even more relaxing. We hung out at Bayfront Park and got in the water with the pup. Lin was even helping us search for stones in the water!

We wrapped up our trip by stopping at Kilwin’s for some fudge and ice cream!

All in all we had an adventurous AND relaxing vacation up north. 10/10 would recommend!

Llama Superpowers?

Let’s face facts: I’ve always known that llamas had superpowers.

But I NEVER thought I’d see the day that American and Belgian scientists found that llamas may have the antibodies we need to fight COVID-19.

It sure is an interesting world we live in these days…

Perusing the streets (and past memories) of Paris

With the COVID-19 chaos among us, all I can think of is traveling. Last Monday I was supposed to venture off to Banff National Park for some solo adventuring, yet here I am soaking up some sun on my couch…

While I may not be educating myself on wolf-dogs, tubing down mountains or glacier hiking, I am currently lost in past travels. I recently spoke with one of my best friends who I met while we studied in France, so I’ll continue my French-inspired posts for now.

One of my favorite photos from the weekend…

Carolyn and I spent one weekend in Paris during over summer abroad; for both good and bad reasons, it was a weekend we’ll never forget. I can only explain our weekend mishaps by sharing a piece of my matron of honor speech from September 2019:

“During our time in France, there was only one moment when I feared that Carolyn wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore. We were lost in Paris for a while, wandering the outskirts in the middle of the night. Let’s just say that it brought out the worst in us. Our phones weren’t working and we had no clue how or when we would find our way back.

For once, there were no stories about our significant others, no rants about Veronique and her subpar cooking, and most importantly, no laughter. Thankfully, things went back to normal once we found our hotel, and I’m incredibly thankful for that.

In fact, we’ve had a reunion every year since that summer, and in 2015 we were also lost in Chicago late at night. We laughed while we struggled to find our way back to the hotel, and it brought me back to that hectic night in Paris.”

I hope you’re all staying safe, healthy and happy with your loved ones (and favorite TV series!) ❤️

Fond of France (2014)

I officially started this blog in 2015 by being forced into it as a class assignment. I thought, “no one is going to care what I have to say,” but thank you for reading and following my journey anyway. 

With this gratitude, I will be sharing my first study abroad experience with you: Aix-en-Provence, France (2014). I have shared some photos way back, but it’s time you saw and heard about one of my favorite countries to this day. I’m feeling just as grateful for my summer in southern France as I am for all of you! 
Thank you for all of your love and support, always. 
Cate