A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

How To Sing Happy Birthday In Italian (And English) May 3, 2011

Filed under: Round The World Trip — italicana kitchen @ 6:28 pm

Happy Birthday Laura!!!

How To Sing Happy Birthday In Italian!
Tanti Auguri a te,
Tanti Auguri a te,
Tanti Auguri a (insert name),
Tanti Auguri a te!

Come Si Canta La Canzone Di Buon Compleanno In Inglese
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear (inserite un nome)
Happy Birthday to you!


Italian Easter Roadtrip May 2, 2011

Filed under: Round The World Trip — italicana kitchen @ 5:13 pm
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50 Reasons to Take a Mini-Retirement Now #44 March 5, 2010

Technology masks tradition.

When I was traveling throughout Southeast Asia, some of my favorite photos I took were of men and women working in rice paddy fields.  I walked past many rice farmers dressed in pointy straw hats, their ankles deep in mud, as they threw stalks of rice into the ground of a steep mountain slope.  It was nothing I had ever seen before. It was serene, it was beautiful.

Now flash forward to the future and imagine a rice planting machine. It is not as serene, nor so beautiful. On one hand, I am a proponent of technology because the work, for rice farmers in Southeast Asia today and other parts of underdeveloped nations who are using traditional methods, is extremely laborious and tedious taking away  time spent with family and friends.  However, with that being said, witnessing first hand these traditional methods while they still exist is indescribable, and is something I am extremely grateful and fortunate to have seen in my lifetime, because, like everything in this world, change is inevitable.


50 Reasons to Take a Mini-Retirement Now: #45 March 2, 2010

Filed under: Round The World Trip — italicana kitchen @ 9:02 pm

Taking a risk is better than living with a “what if” that will haunt you until you die.

Whatever kind of trip or mini-life-pause your thinking about, do it now. It’s like meeting a really hot guy/girl in a bar, on a park bench or in line for a sandwich and you want to talk to him/her, but, for what ever reason, you let the moment pass and he/she walks away.   There is nothing worse than living with the heartache that something could have happened.

That feeling sucks.  Now multiple that by a million, and that’s the sensation you will feel when you are on your deathbed looking back at your life.  It won’t be heartaching, it will be heartbreaking.


50 Reasons to Take a Mini-Retirement Now: #46 February 25, 2010

Filed under: Round The World Trip — italicana kitchen @ 11:55 pm

Make the world how you want it.

My dad owned his own business. Yet, since we were young he always preached these words, “Flying is my dream, you need to pursue your own.”  He never expected us to get involved with taking over the business, in fact he deterred it.  He wanted me, and my brothers, to find our own path, to make the world how we want it–to do the things that we wanted to do. To think big then work hard towards achieving our own goals.  To blaze our own trails instead of following the beaten path.  This type of support is priceless. I have the world as my canvas, and the freedom to paint any picture I can imagine.

Often times, we have people in our lives, or society in general, that expect certain things from us. They hold us to a certain caliber, constricting our ability to create the world how we want to imagine it. Instead, we need to conform to what already exists.

My question to you is, why? Why listen to others when this is your world too, you can lead it how you see fit. Why feel guilty if you want to break free from the typical constraint of school>university>marriage>kids>house/dog>35 years of working>retire> lifestyle?

If you could wholeheartedly choose without any influence or pressure….how would you live your life? Imagine it, then do it; because, in the end, why the hell not! It’s your life.


“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”--Helen Keller


Top Five Moments November 13, 2009

Filed under: Round The World Trip — italicana kitchen @ 9:30 pm

When someone says that you are in one of their top five moments in life, that could possibly be one of the best compliments ever said.  Think about it. How many moments do we make each day? Each week? Each year? How many memories do we hold in our intricate minds? To collect only five is a hard task to choose from, there are so many! Surely, these five moments can change like our list of five top favorite songs; however, like music there are some songs that I hold dear to my heart, that make me smile, that relax me when times are bad and put life back into perspective. Like a good song, so are our moments. They are memories of who we are, what we feel, and above all else how we lived fully in that moment in time.


The Life I Once Lived January 9, 2009

Filed under: Round The World Trip — italicana kitchen @ 8:26 am

First off, I just want to say THANK YOU Aaron Timm! There have been so many recent days that I have just wanted to give up on writing my blog, but seeing words of encouragement reminds me how much I actually do sharing my thoughts and words with the world. Thank you Aaron for your constant words of encouragement, you already know, but again your support is priceless and has been like fuel to a slowly fading fire.

So…I’ve blogged about what I have been doing since I have been home, but haven’t touched on what I have been feeling since I’ve been back. How does it feel to be gone for 10 months traveling the globe and living abroad then to re-enter the life I once lived?

Since I’ve been back in the states it’s been like a floodgate of emotions have opened inside me and frankly it’s been hard to control them. On one hand my heart is overflowing with happiness to be around my loving family, wonderful friends and beautiful Seattle; on the other hand, I feel disjointed and overwhelmed.

Wandering around  Seattle and the East side is an emotional roller coaster. I pass a park where I use to lay in the sun and read. I smile. I drive past my old apartment where my heart was broken. My insides ache. I walk into my favorite bar which holds a thousand drunken memories. I laugh. I sit on a wooden sidewalk bench where I was kissed.  Internal butterflies soar. I idle on the bridge, the water glistens in the sun and the boats below putter by. I yearn for summer days and recklessness. There are so many forgotten memories that escape me as I venture throughout my old stomping grounds, it’s like I am not in the present but watching a twilight rerun of events.

Driving in my car, every turn, corner, street, exit or vista reminds me of my life before I left to travel. It’s my past flashing before my eyes but in real time. It is the same, but different–like my friends, we laugh together as if no time has past, but the onset of wrinkles around our eyes, a few pounds shed or gained and a new haircut reveals that time has elapsed.

Then I leave the familiar city streets to take comfort in my old belongings. I open my dresser drawer and see clothes I use to wear   My clothes still fit me like they did before but they feel like a stranger’s wardrobe. I feel disconnected with the things I own, I no longer have an attachment towards them.

Past emotions and feelings I once held also return with full force…which sometimes leaves even me bewildered. “Did I just say that?” I think to myself. “I don’t even feel that way.”  But, regardless words come out of my mouth–words that I would have said before I left on my trip, but not now. It’s like I have become a ventriloquist to an alter me–the me from a year ago.

It’s quite ironic that I was half-way done with this blog post when I took a break and went to run errands with my sister-in-law and she, independently, brought up this same topic of conversation, in the sense that  surroundings and people directly affect one’s personality and demeanor.  Think about how different you act when you go home to your parent’s house for the holidays, you play the role of a child; when you see an old high school or college friend you haven’t seen in a long time, you play out the old nickname they once called you; when you get together with a former girlfriend/boyfriend, you become lost momentarily in past feelings and emotions, making you say or do things you currently wouldn’t do.

It would be weird to watch myself on a big screen right now–my life as a movie. Being home, I am  filling past roles when, the real Cindy is back in Italy, where my heart and present life are waiting. And, although I wanted to bring pieces of it with me to share and tell, only so much can fit into a suitcase–leaving a lot of “me” a continent and an ocean away.


Back in the U.S.A December 14, 2008

It was exactly 10 months from today that I boarded a plane for New Zealand. I left my family. I left my boyfriend. I left my friends. I left beautiful Seattle…my home. I challenged myself to take a risk, to be independent, to follow a dream of exploring the world and experiencing culture while it still exists.

I returned to Seattle three days ago with 50 some gigs of photos and experiences that have changed my life. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better trip, better travel companions or better memories while traveling the world.

And, now after 10 months…I am back where I started. I am sitting on a comfy couch in my brother’s warm living room writing on my laptop while the rest of my family (minus my brother Mark who is coming on Monday) sits next to me reading the newspaper or watching t.v. It is as though nothing has changed, everything seems the same. If it weren’t for me being curled up in my blue and green Tibetan shawl I bought in India, I may think that my around the world trip was just a figment of my imagination. But this soft blanket reminds me of all that I have experienced, all that I have DONE in the past 10 months. And, for this I smile.

It was hard to take the plunge and to leave my family, boyfriend, friends and my comfortable life in Seattle. My life was incredible before I left–why would I leave? One word: dreams. Everyone has different dreams and goals. Some people dream of becoming a professional basketball player, while others dream of being the best stay at home mom. There is no wrong dream, it is yours and it is what makes you get up in the morning with a smile on your face and butterflies in your stomach as you quest to fulfill them.

One of my dreams was to travel the world. Ten months ago I was 25, two years into my career but with no car payments, house payments or kids. I was free from the materialistic burdens that tie a person to one place. Besides leaving the people I loved, it was good timing and if I didn’t leave then, I knew I never would.

Now I sit here on the same couch I sat 10 months ago, only this time my body is warmly wrapped in a Tibetan shawl, my head is filled with incredible travel memories and my heart is content that I fulfilled one of my internal passions. I missed many people and things while I was gone, but they were here waiting for me when I got back.

Don’t be afraid to leave the comfort of your home.

Home, is a place you can always return.


1 Week Countdown! December 4, 2008

One week from today I will be flying over the Atlantic Ocean and returning home to Seattle after 10 months of globetrotting the world!  This past 10 months has been an experience of a lifetime but there has been many people and things I have missed dearly while being away:

1. My adorable nephew Thomas who was born 2 weeks after I left on my trip and whom I still haven’t met. One week Little Thomas and I will be holding you in my arms! I love you!!!

Thomas smiling

2. My family: Dad, Mom, Cliff, Jordan and Mark…a.k.a. The Swain Gang. I am SO SO SO SO SO excited to see you all. Thank each of you for every smile you bring to my face when I think about you.

3. My second family: Rambos, Olsons, and Hergerts–I can’t wait to see you all over Christmas! Terra, Kayla, Josh and Kyle…I probably won’t even recognize you kids because you will be taller and bigger than me by now!

4. Friends: To all my wonderful, amazing friends…I have missed you all and am ecstatic to catch up with each of you when I am home!!!

5. My former co-workers: I miss the cube talks, energetic environment and your creative minds. It will be wonderful to see you all again!

6. Morning talks with my Dad

7.  Family Fun Nights

8.  My BBCB

9.  Little Thomas

Thomas having fun in a bag

10. Chicken quesadilla’s from Peso’s, chicken salad from Purple Cafe and Rojos salsa

11. My down comforter

12. The views of Lake Union and Mt. Rainier driving South from I5

13. My snowboard

14. My wakeboard

15. My MAC

16. Il mio nipote

    Thomas rockin' a hilarious face

17. Girls nights out

18. Boating on Lake Roosevelt, Lake Union and Lake Washington

19. My clothes, high heels, jewelry and jeans

20. Northwest microbrew beer

21. Sister Zesma

22. Watching the Seahawks in my Seahawk scrubs on a lazy Sunday afternoon

23. Beer Pong

24. My perfumes

25. Throwing dinner parties for friends

26. My blue-eyed munchkin

Thomas eating cheerios


Daily Challenge: Give Thanks! November 27, 2008

Filed under: Round The World Trip — italicana kitchen @ 5:41 pm

For all you Americans, this will be easy as you have a whole holiday to celebrate the things in life you are thankful for. Even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, the act of giving thanks is still an excellent idea…stop for a day to think about and appreciate everything you have. Your challenge for the day is to make a list to remind yourself of how many wonderful things you have in life…and definitely don’t be shy in sharing your list. Tell your friends, family and remind yourself of how thankful you are!

I’m thankful for:

My incredible family—The Swain Gang! I LOVE YOU ALL and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

My wonderful friends—Regardless if I’ve known you for a day or years, I am thankful that I have met you and shared a common connection, a laugh, a glass of wine or a smile. THANK YOU for bringing joy to my life.

My faith in God–I feel blessed when I wake up each day, I have a new day to explore, to learn, and to celebrate life. I give infinite thanks to God for this incredible experience.  

Laughter–I am thankful for the beautiful sound of laughter.

Life–I am thankful to be living. I am thankful for each day. I may die tomorrow, but today, I am blessed with an incredible opportunity to LIVE life and I am happy in this moment.

Poetry, Mottos, Inspirational Advice–I am thankful for the advice others give me. The beautiful words that fill me with hope and strength to always live in the moment and enjoy what I have. Always,regardless of my situation, as I still have a “situation” I am still alive.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!  (And eat an extra slice of turkey for me since I am in Italy!)