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Sibs in the City: Exploring NYC With My Brother

Joel in the East Village

Sometimes I’m concerned that travelling alone has ruined me for travelling with others. I’ve struggled sometimes dealing with travel mates with a different approach to seemingly everything, from what time you go to bed at night to what time you get up in the morning to how quickly you mobilize and get out the door to how much you spend to what, where and how often you eat.

So it is always with some trepidation that I travel with someone for the first time – even when that someone is my beloved big brother, Joel. Of course Joel and I have travelled together before, but those trips typically involved our being in the backseat of our parents’ car…sometimes peaceably, most often not.

So how would Joel and I travel together, just the two of us, without Mum and Dad? Turns out, pretty damn well.

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Besties at the Beach: Tulum Time With K

When I decided that I would end my time in Mexico with a week in Tulum – and that I didn’t want to spend that week alone – my best friend Kristin was the first person I thought of. She was also the last person I thought would or could actually come.

Friends for 13 years and besties for 11, Kristin and I have taken beach vacations together before. We honeymooned together in Costa Rica. K married Andrew on a Costa Rican beach in the last days of 2009, but they didn’t get to take a honeymoon because Andrew had to be back at work in the early days of 2010. So Kristin and I took a honeymoon instead – a road trip to Santa Teresa. Then there was Thailand; when we were both living overseas – me in Australia, Kristin in China – we met for a couple weeks on Koh Chang. That time we let Andrew come along.

Those trips were wonderful – but they were before. Before Kristin accumulated the triad of Real Adult Responsibility: husband, mortgage, two small children – not to mention the full-time job as a schoolteacher.

The thing about schoolteachers, though? They get Spring Break.

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Empire State of Mind

lower east side

So. New York.

I’ve gotta say, I was a bit of a skeptic going in. Which is to say, I arrived with sky-high expectations and anticipating disappointment. When you’ve been hearing about how a-MAZ-ing a place is for 33 years, it’s hard to imagine that it could possibly live up to the hype.

Greatest city on earth? We’ll see.

Plus, when I travel I’m not particularly drawn to big, congested cities. I like mountains and farms. Cities can be overwhelming – so I suspected that New York would be…too much.  

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Oh, hey.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? A year? Maybe more?

It’s been a pretty crazy, incredible and surprising year. In the past six months alone, in addition to being at home in Vancouver and in Kelowna, Comox and Victoria (my old stomping grounds) I’ve been in Portland, Boulder, Tahoe (twice), Santa Monica and three different states in Mexico. I’ve lost track of the number of flights I’ve taken and the number of cars I’ve rented. And I love it.

When I rather rashly quit my job to write freelance – sans plan of any kind – I didn’t expect it to go so well. I didn’t expect every agency I approached to hire me. And I didn’t expect how much brand consulting I’d end up doing – or how much travelling I would get to do as a result.

I’ve loved figuring things out as I go, enjoying the happy happenstance of it all. But a year and a half in, it’s time to get deliberate. Over the last few weeks, I’ve done a lot of thinking about where I want to go from here, literally and figuratively. About what I want for my business and my life.

On both of those lists, always and forever: travel. More of it than I’ve been doing, and more opportunities to write about the travel itself. More travel content, here on Chelsea Tells Stories and elsewhere online and in print. I’m excited. There are plans this time. And lists. So many lists.


Oh, hello.

I’m Chelsea, and this is my new blog.

As many of you know, I’m not really new to the blogging racket–I started a blog in 2006 when I spent a few months in Europe, then abandoned it for a while, and picked it back up when I went to Southeast Asia in 2008. See, my day-to-day life has never seemed worth reading about, so I only blogged when I was travelling, when my life was somewhat interesting.

I had every intention of blogging on/about my latest adventure–moving to Melbourne, Australia for grad school–and I wrote a few posts from my new home, but for some reason it didn’t feel right and I abruptly stopped. A few weeks (months?) later, I think I’ve figured out what felt so wrong about it.

First of all, that blog is called European Chelsea. European Chelsea was a kind of joke persona born when I was 19 and went to Europe for the first time. As you can read about on my old blog, I got ditched by my somewhat insane travel companion, and was forced to go it alone. This turned out to be a huge blessing, but of course I didn’t know that at first. Anyway, European Chelsea was a whole new Chelsea. At the time, 19-year-old Canadian Chelsea was kind of a square. European Chelsea, free of the expectations and judgments of those who knew her, got to spread her wings a little (I’m not going to go into any details here, because my parents are likely to read this and because talking in the third person has officially gotten old).

Fast forward eight and a half (!!!) years and…continuing to write a blog entitled European Chelsea felt wrong. Because European Chelsea is dead. Ha! Okay, more like: European Chelsea has evolved into who I am today–the more functional elements have been folded into my adult personality, and the rest of it, I grew out of or realized wasn’t really me at all. Like smoking. European Chelsea thought she looked sophisticated and European smoking. In retrospect, I am keenly aware that she (okay, I) looked neither.

So I’ve ditched my old travel blog and started this: a blog about the people, places and things I love…and all sorts of other nonsense (including, but not limited to, books, cute boys, Parks and Recreation, cheese, and napping). Coming up soon: my first Antipodean Christmas, various tales of (and a little bit advice for) moving to the other side of the world, and…a few weeks of travel. Hurray!

After today, I will never talk in the third person again–and that’s a promise.

Welcome. Thanks for stopping by.