Go Cubs Go!

Living in Chicago has provided me with some unimaginable once-in-a-lifetime experiences from the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup to meeting celebrities to being the first to see exhibit openings and behind-the-scenes of cultural institutions. But nothing quite matches the madness, excitement and anxiety of the Chicago Cubs IN. THE. WORLD. SERIES. Even as I type those words it still seems surreal. As hundreds of thousands to millions of people join me in my neighborhood tonight, wish me luck. This is even more exciting than the Braun family cameo in Rookie of the Year – and this time I might even remember it happening.

It seems every single building, apartment, house, business and otherwise is decorated with a giant “W” flag and it has been incredible to see the city transform over the past month into one giant Cubbie-blue loving community. Turns out Chicago ain’t afraid of no goats. Just take it from Faucethead who posted this illustration today:


Source: faucetheadcreative on Instagram

London, London

London holds a special place in my heart.

London was the first city I ever visited outside of the United States in 2001, was the first foreign city I ever traveled to and explored by myself in 2011 (here, here, here and here), was the first stop on our friend Eurotrip in 2012 and arguably most importantly, was where I embarked on the life-changing journey that is the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Now, London was the first stop on a backpacking trip to my first time in Africa. Three continents in two days, all by myself.


I arrived to London around 11 a.m. and headed through immigration without any trouble. After taking too long to figure out my route, I hopped on the tube and took it into Piccadilly Circus and began my hike.


Having been to London a few times, I knew the hot spots that I wanted to visit, so I headed from Piccadilly down toward the River Thames, meandering through my favorite, Saint James Park. I grabbed a sub-par sandwich and an English beer and enjoyed it on a bench overlooking the park. That was, until the rain started. In true London fashion, it would rain for the entirety of my 9 hour layover.


I fixed up my pack and applied the rain cover, desperate to keep my belongings for the next two weeks at least remotely dry, and headed down to Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey before cutting across and strolling along the riverwalk. I was a woman on a mission, determined to make it to Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral before I had to return to the airport. The only problem was the limited time frame, pouring rain and roughly 35 lb. pack on my back.


All in all, I managed and was grateful to get to see all my favorite spots. The trek around the city served as the confidence booster I needed to make the next leg of the trip to Africa. The “I can do it” moment of conquering at least one city, despite the incredibly swollen, bruised shoulders and twitching muscles. Those, I did not expect nor enjoy.


Alas, I was back at Heathrow and about to hop on the longest flight of my life. A rough 10.5 hour flight from London to Johannesburg, South Africa.


Source: my own. Top to bottom: UK border, Piccadilly Circus, St. James Park, River Thames, Millennium Bridge & St. Paul’s Cathedral, pouring rain selfie & swollen shoulders.

Trip of a Lifetime

In March, 2015, my friend Corey announced he had been accepted into the Peace Corps and he was headed to Botswana. That’s when the wheels started turning. Fast forward to August 2015, and Corey was officially a Motswana. Click ahead a few months and that’s when the planning started to come together. In June, on my birthday, the tickets were purchased. I was going to Africa.


I would mention the original contents of the plan, but that almost all changed and isn’t even worth mentioning. What did happen was a flight from O’Hare to London Heathrow, to Johannesburg, South Africa to Maun, Botswana, three days on a guided canoe trip, three days in the bush with the San people, three days of a self-drive safari and three days in Zambia and Zimbabwe checking out Victoria Falls.

How could I forget the near-death experiences, hundreds (thousands?) of animals, run-ins with criminals and swimming amongst hippos and crocodiles? Silly me. Well buckle up, because this blog is about to start on a two-week backpacking trip across Africa.


Source: my own and jillianbraun on Instagram

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 

— Anne of Green Gables

House Twerking

I need a project.

We’re rapidly entering the winter months which means one thing to me: hibernation. Snuggling up in my freezing apartment with a stack of good books and endless supply of tea/cider/coffee. Which is great until spring rolls around and I feel as though I’ve missed an opportunity to make some updates and dig in to some projects. So, if you have any ideas, send ’em my way! Until then, I’ll be living vicariously through my sister’s latest project which you can find at @housetwerking on the Instagram machine. How that girl has the energy, I will never know.


A photo posted by The Ericksons (@housetwerking) on

Source: housetwerking on Instagram

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