Treat Yo'Self - A Pike's Place Philosophy

Planning a day of birthday deliciousness reminds me of the time my mom and I spent exploring our inner foodie at Pike's Place Market in Seattle.  "Eat Something Delicious from Pikes Place Market" is an item from the original bucket list, which means that I've been eyeing this gastronomic mecca for a little over a decade.  At this time last month, when my  mom and I were frolicking in the greater Seattle area, I knew my time had come. 

Read More

Secret Nerd Behaviors and That Time I Visited Endor

There's this one episode of Sex and the City in which Carrie talks about Secret Single Behaviors, or the things you do alone and in the privacy of your own home because you'd be too embarrassed if people found out just how weird you are.  Carrie's is something like spreading jelly on saltines and eating them while standing up in her kitchen.  I know...IS THAT SERIOUSLY ALL THAT SHE WILL ADMIT TO?

Read More

Uruguay

I've always loved this quote by Maya Angelou because it so perfectly expresses the way I experience my memories.  When I recall moments of my life, the emotions I felt at the time resurface quickly and crisply, standing resolutely as the other details trickle lazily into my consciousness, taunting me with the knowledge that its only a matter of time before they don't show up at all.  

Read More

Food. Friends. Argentina.

My photos from Argentina were mostly of food (we ate A LOT!), but none of them made it to Instagram.  At the time, there weren't enough hashtags in the world to describe the great times I had while sharing meals with colleagues-turned-friends.  I hope that in sharing them with you now, accompanied by the stories they deserve, I can convey the exquisite hospitality and irresistible flavors of Argentina.

Read More

Two If By Sea - Naval Highlights Along the Freedom Trail [Boston]

In 7th grade, maybe 8th, I was assigned a report on Benjamin Franklin.  I don't remember much about the report itself, only that I went wild in my research.  It started out with a collection of small books from the library (yes, we actually used books as references, I'm ancient).  These books were more than enough to fulfill the assignment, and I tore through them rapidly.  Wanting to find out more, I checked out the fattest Benjamin Franklin book I could find and read that too--cover to cover.  He was a fascinating dude and I was genuinely interested in learning as much as I could.

Read More

On Foggy Times and Turning 27 in Cloud City

Maybe "hiking through the fog and rain" is necessary off, as well as on, the Inca Trail in order to have a chance at the experiencing something great.  Maybe having a foggy view of what lies ahead intensifies our reaction to what's there when the clouds lift.  I certainly felt that intensity at Machu Picchu, when things finally cleared up.  

Read More

Inca Trail - Lessons Learned

"The first part of today is nice and easy," our guide told us on Day 3.  "The trail will be mostly flat."

LIES! 

A flat section of the Inca Trail is like a filling Lean Cuisine.  It doesn't exist. 

As I walked on Day 3, discovering the true meaning of Peruvian "flat", I thought about other lessons learned along the trail.  From me to you, in no particular order:

Read More

Inca Trail - Unforgettable Moments

A solitary, Thoreau-esque trek is not the experience you'll have on the Inca Trail.  Several years ago, the Peruvian government prohibited trekking without a qualified guide, so it's no longer an option to hike the Inca Trail independently.  Small groups can organize their own trek, provided they pay a pretty penny to have a licensed guide accompany them.  The requirement to hike with a sanctioned guide PLUS the cap on the # of trekkers allowed on the trail per day creates the perfect environment for tour operators.  They swoop in, batch you up into small groups, orchestrate the permit purchase, and serve as your licensed guide. 

Read More

Pisac and Piscos and Pig...Guinea Pig

The day after adventuring in Maras, I returned to the Sacred Valley.  

I was determined to tackle two things on my own:  asking for directions and the colectivo.  Prior to coming to Peru, I had never heard of a colectivo.  The concept doesn't really exist in the US, but I can make a loose comparison to car pooling.  You may laugh at my admiration, but if punctuality is not a concern (ha, this is the reason why it doesn't exist in the US), the colectivo is a pretty neat way to get around.  For me, it worked a little like this:

Read More

Zip Lining and Four Wheeling in the Sacred Valley

On my first full day in Cusco, Caleb and I set out for Maras in the Sacred Valley.  Caleb is an American who had been working at Bill & Nic's house for a few months prior to my arrival.  His goal was to learn some Spanish along the way.  When Nicole learned that I was a solo traveler, she sent Caleb along with me.  She said it was so that he could learn more about the B&B's offerings, but I suspect it was so that I didn't get my sorry ass kidnapped (ha!)

Read More

The Logistics of It All [Peru, Argentina, Uruguay]

I wrote my bucket list when I was seventeen.  It has grown since then, but the whole point of this project is to hold myself to that original list, even if some of my teenaged aspirations don't seem quite as appealing as they used to.  For example:  Although I was a diver in high school, I've developed a slight fear of heights as I've gotten older.  As you might guess, "go sky diving" is still sitting ominously undone on my bucket list. 

Read More

How Hallett Happened

If you vacation with me, we don't sleep in.  I've got limited time off, so I've got things to do. Places to be.  Things to see.  Get your lazy butt out of bed.  

Luckily, I didn't have to do much persuading with Marc and Michael...they were just as eager to get on the trail!  By 6 am, we had parked at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead and had started on our way.  On the itinerary for the day: Bear Lake, Alberta Falls, Mills Lake, the Loch, Timberline Falls, and Sky Pond.

Read More

BroSis 1.0

The beginnings of great adventures come in all forms.

For my recent trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, that beginning was extremely unexpected.

It all started last December, when I emailed my brother, Marc, to start brainstorming ideas of what to get our younger brother, Michael, for Christmas.  After we both had ideas for Michael, I directed the same question toward him.  "What do YOU want for Christmas?" I asked.

I couldn't believe what he wrote back.

Read More