All Rights ReservedNow that I have wrapped up Australia, I have officially closed a chapter. I started this blog with the intention of charting a 1.5 year trip around the world. I left New York City in May of 2013 with a backpack and a dream. I left on the trip with someone and finished it on my own. If you have followed my course, you will know that I made it through almost a year when I left out of Vietnam to head to LA to care for a sick mother and sever a relationship that had runs its’ course. Within that year I had touched the Berlin Wall, saw the midnight sun in the Arctic Circle, ate reindeer, marveled at Red Square, hopped the Trans-Siberian Railway, dipped in the oldest and deepest lake in the world, slept among nomads in Mongolia, rode camels, rode horses, milked goats, drank fermented mare’s milk, climbed the sand dunes in the Gobi Desert, saw the Taj Mahal, got Delhi Belly, got grabbed, got amazing photos, got eaten alive by mosquitoes, ached for a comfortable bed, wailed for a hot shower, laughed, cried, hunted for Buddha’s tooth, saw blue whales, went for my first scuba dive, island hopped, rode bikes, rode tuk tuk’s, lost clothes, lost my mind, lost faith, broke bread, broke my heart, cut clothes, cut ties, made connections, acknowledged disconnections, wrote words, spat words, held words, felt strong, felt weak, felt big, felt small, carried gear, carried thoughts, carried baggage, threw clothes, threw fits, almost threw up, almost quit the trip several times over, wanted to escape the escape, loved moments, hated moments, was blown away, enamored, shattered, in awe, in pieces, complete, completely unsure, 100% sure, surely wrecked, surely aware, acutely aware, and there at the Ho Chi Minh airport in April of this year, I said goodbye to that part of the journey.

When I got to LA, I vowed to finish the end of the trip on my own once my mom was well enough. At least finish seeing the last of my family, which I hadn’t made it to, whom reside in Indonesia and Australia.

The summer was full of reinvention and transformation during a time of tough circumstances.

As summer closed, I boarded another plane as a different woman. Off to finish what I had started. I traveled through Indonesia and Australia for six weeks. Zigzagging among family and beautiful landscape. I was open and brave in ways I wasn’t before. My heart was full. It was glorious. I had originally planned on New Zealand after Australia, but my heart had other ideas. I changed my ticket with chance in mind and found myself in San Francisco shortly thereafter.

As the trip came to a close, it was bittersweet. This specific journey was over, yet I was thrilled for the next chapter! It has been amazing to share this specific journey with you and I can't wait to share what's to come. Thanks for all the support. During the next month, Nomadic Habit will be taking on new shape and I can't wait to reveal Nomadic Habit version 2.0.

Of the 10,963 photos I currently have from 17 countries, I wanted to share one image from each country that I haven't yet shared in honor of this journey. I hope you enjoy.


All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved


What an amazing adventure. I will never be the same. Just wait until you see what I have up my sleeve.

Trans-Siberian Railway meets Artillery Lane

Back in December of 2013, photographer Valentina Eleanora Costa of Halo Communication got in touch with me about using some of my Trans-Siberian Railway images as backdrops to her latest project. The result? An amazing scarf campaign for Artillery Lane with projected Siberian images.

I'm thrilled to finally share the final product! See the whole campaign here.


Irkutsk, Russia

So we got to Irktutsk, which has been called the "Paris of Siberia," which is not only a gross exaggeration, but downright wrong. The only thing Parisian about it is a small Eiffel Tower structure on the main shopping strip.

The city is such an architectural mix with beautiful wooden buildings like this...

2 3 4 5with plenty of buildings in disrepair like this...18and beautiful brick buildings that are Brooklyn brownstone-ish / New Orleans French Quarter like this...6 7and of course mixed in with Soviet block style apartment buildings like this...9Now we all know Parisians like to shop, but this is no Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

This is the main shopping drag that houses the Eiffel Tower and megaphone announcements. The other thing I've learned here in Russia, is they love their megaphones. In Saint Petersburg and Moscow, it was all about announcing tours via megaphones, and in Irkutsk, we found that shopkeepers like to stand storefront with their megaphone announcements. Suddenly, the very quiet country of Finland is sounding nice about now.10Below are some other iphone shots taken around town. The local buses here look as if they are about to break down and are usually packed with people. Irkutsk is on the Angara River and one night as we strolled down the river, we came across an "amusement" park or should we say, a vaguely amusing park. Nothing like a dirty jump house under some telephone wires.11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20So let's just say that Irkutsk leaves something to be desired, but serves as a great gateway to Lake Baikal.

There was however one thing that really caught my eye in Irkutsk. Find out what in the next post!

Trans-Siberian Railway | Moscow ---> Irkutsk

1The Trans-Siberian Railway has long been on both of our bucket lists for a long time. We traveled 5,189 km over the course of 3 nights and crossed 5 time zones which gave us serious train lag.

2We decided to split our course to Mongolia into 2 parts. Moscow to Irkutsk (see map above), then Irkutsk to Ulaanbaator. This route would have us taking 2 different trains. The train to Irkutsk actually continues east to Vladivostok. For more information about the Trans-Siberian Railway system, this is a good resource.

We booked tickets for 2nd class with a 4 person cabin, so we were eager to see who our roommates might be. We both already knew we were assigned top bunk beds and we had no idea what to expect. Here goes nothing!

We board the train and find our roommates are already getting situated. A Russian mother and son who are very quiet, polite, and don't speak any English. They are with us the entire ride. We meet a German couple on our car and we both indulge in the difficulties we've both encountered in Russia. Their roommates are drunk a few hours in, stumbling around and we feel lucky to be sharing our space with the mother and son. So let's talk facilities...

Rick was worried early on that he would fall out of the bunk. When we arrive, we see that his railing is broken. Luckily, I brought rope and tape and he rigs a system to keep that railing intact! See our bunks and his lovely rope work below... (PS- the beds were actually quite comfortable. Probably better than our last 2 hostels. You get suited with clean sheets, a blanket, a pillow, and a face towel.)

4 5 637Each train has two bathrooms and on the other end is a samovar for all your boiling water needs. Most people are constantly drinking tea and we brought instant oatmeal and noodles for the ride. As you can see, there is a digital display with the temperature and time. Let's talk about the time. As we were passing through time zones, we were wondering when the time would adjust. The next morning, it still had not adjusted. We found a schedule on the train that listed all the stops along the way and we also found out that all train times in Russia are in Moscow time. So here we thought we'd get into Irkutsk at 4pm as our tickets said, but apparently, that was in Moscow time, which meant we were actually getting into Irkutsk at the local time of 9pm.


And here are our roommates who basically never left this position.

We aren't even sure if they ever ate a meal because they remained at window side with only a bag of candy.8And now for the dining car! We always romanticized the dining car... sitting endlessly, sipping coffee, overlooking the landscape. Well... besides getting ripped off on two cups of coffee and inhaling the smoke of the old women who work the car, it was a nice experience. 9 1012One night for dessert we had blini's with caviar and butter. Rick topped it off with the worst beer he said he's ever had, meanwhile one of the dining car ladies rocked a card game on her computer.11 13So let's talk train stops and stations. While we discovered the timetable for all the stops the train makes (in Moscow time) it also lists how many minutes you stop at each station. Some stops were only 2 minutes, while others were over twenty. This was important to know so if you got off the train, you made sure you boarded with good time.

I had read all these accounts on the internet of people selling local food on the platforms to which we found bogus! There were kiosks to buy small things like water, ice cream, snacks, etc. but these local vendors were all but a dream. The other interesting thing, or non interesting thing depending on how you look at it, was all the stations pretty much looked alike. All the images below were from various stations. Also, each station had an ominous voice (usually a harsh sounding Russian woman) over loud speaker which had the ability to make you feel as if you were doing something wrong without understanding a word they were saying. 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29So what did we do for 3 nights besides not shower?

We drank a lot of tea and gazed out the window.

30 31 32 33 And what did we see out the window?

We passed by many villages, all of similar decay. We were amazed that these structures and the people living in them could survive the brutal winters. There were also derelict buildings a dime a dozen along with other buildings of Soviet times.34 35 36 37 38 39 4041 42Who lives in these towns? (Please note these were all shot from a moving train!)43 44 45 46 47 4849The landscape did not change all that much until maybe the end when the land really opened up from the dense forest to give way to some really beautiful flowers.50 51 52 53 5455 56 57 58 59 60 61

So we survived the first leg of our Trans-Siberian journey!

Monday we leave Irkutsk for a 2 night train trip to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Gobi here we come!


Moscow, Russia

Remember how I said we were too old for hostels? Well...

We had already booked a hostel in Moscow that had reviews stating the location was hard to find so we decided to cancel the booking and book a "hotel" that we thought would be easier to find. WRONG. We took the high speed train from St. Petersburg and bargained with a cab driver that let us out in an alley where all signs were in Russian. We first went into the wrong hotel, only to be led to another wrong hotel to discover we needed a code to enter the actual building that housed the "hotel." We buzzed random numbers until someone buzzed us in to find an open door of the "hotel" that just looked like someone's living room with no one to be found. Great. Welcome to traveling.

So we walked around the maze of alleyways to find...

a hostel. So we had no choice- paid double of what we originally booked to find ourselves in another hostel without a window and shared bathroom.

On the up side?

Red Square and the Kremlin are amazing...

Also, I've never seen so many brides in one place at one time as we stumbled upon the Bridge of Kisses that is full of tradition. Read about it here and see the photos below...

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Saint Petersburg, Russia

We've had the worst luck with weather this entire trip. Russia was no exception.

After staring at a father and son who we shared opposing train seats with for 6 hours from Tallinn to Saint Petersburg, we promptly got ripped off by our cab driver who drove us to our overpriced hostel that had "pet" mice (why does a hostel have pet mice?! After living in NYC, the last thing I want in my living space is mice) and because the walls were so paper thin, come night, the nocturnal spinning ensued and Rick systematically dismantled the wheel of one mouse, while jamming a pencil into the  wheel of the second mouse (though I think he wishes it was into the mouse itself). We maybe had a chance at sleeping except for the teenage looking couple next door who's bed was squeaking all night (I don't even want to know).

Lesson learned? We are too old for hostels. (Especially Rick. haha)

So because of the lovely hostel experience plus the depressing weather, I barely took my camera out and because I didn't want to pay extra to bring it into the Hermitage, I used Rick's iphone for all the Hermitage photos.

Russia has been quite the challenge thus far.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15