Good morning from the Red Sea in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
This week I’m going to the Middle East for the first time. To have this opportunity to be immersed into a completely different culture is something I never thought I’d have. I’m grateful for this opportunity to share stories from this part of the world. I’m excited, a little nervous, and above all, hopeful that there will be so much for me to learn on this journey.
Next week I’ll be on the most unique trip I’ve ever taken—to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. I’ll be there for work on a film, and will be visiting Jeddah (on the coast of the Red Sea) via Amman in Jordan, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the Empty Quarter, the world’s largest continuous sand desert. I’m excited to show you these countries through my lens and stories, and can’t wait to share what I find. Follow along here, and on Instagram (christarosenyc) and Twitter (@christanyc).
Iceland has been on my list of place to visit for a long time. I’m so excited to be able to bring that gorgeous landscape and natural history filled with mystery into the world of my next Emerson Page book (along with my magical trip to Ireland earlier this year.) I spent the majority of my time outside. The open air restored my spirit and I stuffed my eyes with beauty at every turn.
What I love most about travel, is that I get the chance to be exactly who I am moment to moment without the requirements of labels, titles, and actions. I’m not my job or my projects. I’m just me, and there is newness everywhere.
Whenever I come back from a trip, my heart and mind are filled with mixed emotions. I love being back in New York with my friends and my sweet dog, Phineas. I’m grateful for the adventures I had, and I miss the freedom that travel affords to shake off responsibilities and to-do lists. The difficulty of re-entry is a real thing, even when I’m away for just a short time.
To get through that, I start thinking about a new adventure, some time from now to some place I’ve never been before. On the plane home from Iceland, I came across an article in a travel magazine about the Azores (an autonomous region of Portugal), an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic that’s a nature lover’s paradise. São Miguel, the largest island, has lake-filled calderas and a huge tea plantation. Pico, another island, is home to the 2,351m Mt. Pico and vineyards sheltered by boulders. It’s also known for its beautiful birds, stunning waterfalls, whale watching, volcano roots, and hiking.
The Azores are calling and I must go. If you’ve been, I’d love recommendations!
Yesterday was a bit of a day, as Lin-Manuel Miranda says. Some tough, some good, a lot confusing. In other words, it was a Monday. I ended the day by celebrating a dear friend’s birthday. That friend and I will be in magical Iceland 3 weeks from today and that’s enough to get me through.
And don’t worry. Between this blog, my Twitter, and my Instagram, I’m taking you all with me. I can’t wait to show you around and introduce you to all the sights, sounds, and wonders we’re visiting. Get ready for the trip of a lifetime!
I’ll land in Iceland 3 weeks from today! My mom told me my Grampy, Alfonso Francis Lupinacci, dreamed of going there. He read all he could about it in National Geographic magazines. I didn’t know that when I booked this trip. He died on my 6th birthday without ever seeing Iceland so I’m taking these pictures of us with me to show him around. I hope that somewhere along that path I feel his presence and that we get a chance to share a moment, standing in awe of that beautiful landscape together, after all these years. And I hope I can be the tour guide he always wanted to have.
The very best part of being a writer is that your daily work takes you anywhere you want to go. Today alone, I’ve been to the depths of the ocean with a whale & a squid army, New York City in 1920, New York City in 2300, the Dark Hedges of Ireland, & an Amazonian jungle searching for buried treasure. The imagination is a swift vehicle.
My year of yes is more than halfway done and I’ve got to say that saying yes to everything I possibly can has been both exhilarating and exhausting. It has led me down strange paths that I never would have explored, or would have explored eventually after spending many long hours of planning. In this year of yes, I’m just going for it, perfect or otherwise. (And it’s almost always otherwise.) But I’m also learning to let go of outcomes at breakneck speeds. I’m learning the power of staying present and doing what I can and want to do in the moment. It’s made me much more spontaneous. It’s making my curious brain and extroverted personality to try new things just for their own sake and value and not what they may lead to. And that has been a gift, albeit it a tiring one, that I’m very grateful to receive.
I’m off to Ireland today to do research for my second book in the Emerson Page series. When I booked the trip, I didn’t know that one of the most historic votes on human rights would happen during my trip. I also didn’t know that the Dublin Literary Festival was happening while I was there. These are synchronous events where I will meet so many people and be able to bear witness to subjects and issues that mean so much to me.
I’ll be doing some on-the-ground reporting, and sharing pictures, encounters, learnings, and experiences. You can find those on Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc and Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc. See you there!
In two weeks, I’m going to Dublin to do research for my second Emerson Page novel. As a gift to Ireland, I’m leaving silver charms with the quote, “She believed she could so she did”, and rose gold keys in all the different places I visit for people to find. I’ll tuck them away in museums, gardens, historic sites, bookstores, libraries, and pubs I visit in Dublin and on excursions I’m taking in Northern Ireland to Newgrange, Hill of Tara, Giant’s Causeway, Dark Hedges, the ruins of Dunluce Castle, and on the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. I can’t wait to see who finds them. They are a perfect token of Emerson’s spirit. And after all she’s given me, I wanted to return the favor to the world. Happy hunting, Ireland!