Travel Within Travel

We're packing up camp and headed to another part of the island for an overnight. 

I feel ridiculously excited.  

My Mom and I have both cracked up about how excited I am. Here I am, far from home and sooooo excited for an overnight! 

We're headed for white sand beaches and I'm doing a happy dance! 

I'm a fair amount behind in the blog - I'm thinking about how best to catch up - I'll come up with a plan soon.  



Ash & Anchor + Megan the Nautie Mermate = LOVE

Pavo and Sunshine You know that feeling when you find something you love and you want to buy many, much, more?  You want to use it all the time and you want everyone else to know how much you love it.  More importantly you want everyone else to have it and love it too!

ASH AND ANCHOR SCARVES ARE THIS THING THAT WE SHOULD ALL LOVE!  (and Nautie Friends it's your lucky day!)

I had been oohing and aahing over Ash & Anchor scarves for a long time.  I would look at all the pretty designs and think, 'I think this is a need not a want, right?'.  I've actually talked about them on the blog a lot too!  (See here and here and here.)

Finally, I said:  Treat 'Yo Self!

When my Pavo Scarf arrived in the mail it was packaged beautifully - with a hand written note - which my Grandmother would have majorly approved of.

handwritten note

I immediately took it on a few trips.  Vegas, Austin, Seattle and, Vancouver were all just slightly more enjoyable with Pavo along.  On my Seattle / Vancouver trip the weather was a strange mix of warm and cold - sunny and drizzly - Pavo was perfect for this.

Listen, when you have a scarf that looks good in a bag you know you've found a winner!

pavo in my bag

We talk a lot about travel accessories around here.  What our travel 'must-haves' consist of.  Where we like to go and what we like to wear when we go there.  We talk about looking fancy when we feel anything but.  We also talk about things that just make sense....and are lovely at the same time.

Traveling with Pavo was lovely...and made sense.  It rolled right up into my purse.  I wrapped Big Bertha up in it and threw her in my bag.  I pulled it up over my head when I was freezing on the plane.  I cleaned my sunglasses lenses with it.  I zipped my jacket up over it when I was freezing in Vancouver.  Lovely I tell you, Lovely.

Here's the good news:

Nina Glaser of Ash & Anchor has been so kind as to give a Veda Scarf to one lucky reader!


Nautie Friends, I'm so incredibly honored that Nina has gifted a Veda Scarf to this humble blog.  I'm also incredibly excited that one of you are going to be cruising around town in style!

Here's what you can do to make this lovely yours: 

  • Post a comment.  Tell us your favorite travel destination and your must have travel accessory.  We love travel stories around here!  Have you had an adventure that you'd like to re-tell?  Now's your chance!
  • We love us some social media.  Tweet it up!  Facebook your Friends!  Instagram this amazingness!
  • Tell everyone you know.  You have a blog?!  Perfect!

One week from now (that would be 09 Aug) I'll pull a name from a hat.  Posted a comment?  That's a slip in the hat.  Sent a tweet out into the twitterverse?  That's a slip in the hat.  Invited a new reader to the blog who is sly enough to drop your name?  That's a slip in the hat!  

Was I right, or was I right?


Can't wait to read about where you've been and what kind of shenanigans you've gotten up to!  Can't wait to see you kicking around the interwebz!  Can't wait to meet some new friends!

You can find me on Instagram @nautiemermate (sorry can't link up to Instagram on the ship) - I tweet away @nautiemermate - I'm alive and well at Megan the NautieMermate on Facebook.  

30x30 :: Go Hot Air Ballooning




Going hot air ballooning was a big deal. When I called my Girl Cousin and asked her if she wanted to do this trip with me (cause you know...birthday buddies...) I said, 'I'm not going on a budget. I'm staying in a nice hotel...and I'm going on a balloon still in?'. She was in - so we booked our balloon ride with Napa Valley Balloons. Nautie Friends, they get an A+, yo. A big 'ole fat perfect score.

Our ballooning adventure is what you might call: giving up is for losers.

Originally, our platypus tour and balloon adventure were in conjunction with eachother - we'd be whisked away from our post balloon ride champagne breakfast to go on a wine tasting tour - or at least that's what I imagined...

We woke up briiight and early on our first day in Napa and were picked up at our hotel (it was still dark out kind of early). We got to the balloon check in point and to say that the staff of NVB (Napa Valley Balloons) was friendly is an absolute understatement.

Any which way, we take off for our balloon launch site. The balloons are there - they're getting filled up - the sun is making them look magical - we get assigned a balloon - we literally run for our balloon - and then it got windy.


I was literally laying in the basket (which is on its side) to help provide a little weight. The balloon is filling up - as in the burner is going and so are the fans. Take off was imminent - I mean, other balloons were drifting past our location (flown by other ballooning companies).



....and then the day was cancelled due to wind speeds. Wop Wop. It was surreal. We looked at each other and said, 'did that really just happen?'.

Perk? We got to watch them roll the balloons back up and there was a cute little dog who clearly knew the drill!


Thank goodness we had some wine tasting in our future because it did detract a bit from our horrible let down.

I'd also like to mention that I appreciate when things are cancelled due to safety concerns. You cancel anytime you like NVB! Don't you worry about those other balloons in the air! I'm happy to trust the judgement of an experienced pilot...must be the sailor in me...

But listen friends, is that anyway to WIN?! One day of high wind and you let it lie? Glad you're with me because it's NOT!

We rescheduled and woke up again at the butt crack of dawn! Day two. Hungover as all get out (thanks Platypus!) - we climbed back into the van for a ballooning adventure.


This is the only photo I have our day two adventure because the decision was made to ground the balloons as we pulled into the parking lot. I must admit we were a tad under the weather so going back to bed wasn't sounding too awful.

As we were driving through the Valley I turned to Girl Cousin and said, 'you know we could try one more time....I know you fly out in the morning but we could literally drive ourselves to the parking lot and head straight to the airport after we land....I mean we could...'. She said, 'let's do it!' so, I called NVB and asked to be put on the schedule one more our favorite pilot Bob's balloon of course.

Hence, day three in Napa commenced. With an early morning jaunt to Domaine Chandon with our fingers crossed!


Guess what? We actually went on a balloon ride! It was so different than I thought. Do you know that you really can't steer a balloon? You can go up and down - and the rest is up to the wind. Jeez, how symbolic is a balloon ride? Maybe a little like life, no?




Wanna know how sassy all that ballooning made me? I'm going again. Wanna know why? It was a tad cloudy on Day 3. Listen, I had some epic photos planned - don't get me wrong I got some good ones (over 350 in fact) but, I want to see a gilded Napa Valley - and I will!



Alright, I know what you're thinking. If you can't steer it how do you land? Well, I believe the answer is that you hope to have a decent pilot. We literally landed on a strip of gravel next to the highway. For realsies. We kind of skidded a long and then stopped. Then the 'chase crew' tries to get all the air out of the balloon as fast as they can. (I also forgot to mention that part - while we're in the air there is a team in a truck that shadows us - like storm chasers - might be a fun job!)



By opening the flap at the top they're able to quickly dump the hot air from the balloon. Then they kind of stretch it out. If you stand in front of it you can feel the heat coming out in waves (it makes for good pictures, too).



There you have it friends. A balloon ride. An 'effin BALLOON RIDE!


What? Oh, you'd like to see more photos? No problem! There are hundreds!

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In case you'd like more Napa Love you can read about Day One and Two but clearly, I've been saving the best for last! A mini disclaimer: as I rang in The Flirty Thirty I was feeling a little uncertain about what to do with my 30x30 List. Then I thought, 'it's not over till it's over'. I've got a whole year of being thirty ahead of me folks. It's not over. Be looking for more 30x30 posts! I think the balloon ride adventures let me know that 'settling' isn't always the best option. Do more! See more! Be more!


Rhiannon the Conquerer!  

Nautie Friends,

Do you know that my cousin Rhiannon has participated (as in rode a bike) in The Ride To Conquer Cancer three times and is gearing up for her fourth ride?!  Two years ago I wrote about my cousin Rhiannon riding.  The fact that she's gearing up for her fourth ride leaves me awe struck.

Cancer means something in almost everyone's lives.  We all know someone who has been affected by cancer.  In my family it means the loss of a Grandmother, Aunt, and Uncle.  It means that my Dad is a survivor of Bad Ass proportions.  For me, it means that sunscreen is no joke.

This year is extra special because I'm flying to Seattle and will be watching her cross the finish line this weekend!  Yippee!  It's not lost on me that this year she'll be crossing the finish line for her Dad on Fathers Day.  (oh golly, I just teared up...)  I'm just feel so honored to be there cheering her on!

I'm proud to announce that Rhiannon has reached 100% of her fundraising goal!  That being said, I'm here to ask you to consider donating to such a noble cause.  The cliche is true:  Every Dollar Does Count.

By visiting her personal page you'll be able to donate online.

Thank you in advance!


Megan the Nautie Mermate



I had plans for what Thirty would look like on this blog. There would be some sort of this much i know is true post - maybe there would be a photo montage - maybe a letter to myself...that I could read later in life...

None of that seemed like enough.


I mean, really, really excited.

I think there are quite a few people who worried that I wasn't excited so much as flipped out but, I'm here to set the story straight.

I was ready to not be in my twenties.  Majorly.  Buh-bye.

I remember years ago my Cousin K up in Canada said, 'being in your thirties is's like you can finally just be yourself...'.  Amen Sister.

What I knew about turning Thirty was that I was not going to let it slip by unnoticed.  I was going to do something, damnit!

At first I started planning a trip abroad.  It's been awhile since I went abroad as a tourist....who could leisurely sip her coffee at a sidewalk cafe.

Then I decided I was going to Napa.  I had never been.  I like wine.  Like, a lot.

Then I invited my Cousin (she doesn't have a code name but, I love her thiiiis much!!!!!), and the trip just came together.  Girl Cousin's birthday was on the 4th the day after my own so it was a birthday extravaganza.

(I should say, the trip just came together with a little help from my friends....Ari, you get an A+.)

The day before yesterday I wrote about how epic Napa was.  What I should have said was:

Turning Thirty Was Epic.

It was such a lovely day.  Such.

I woke up at The Waterfront Hotel at Jack London Square in Oakland.  It's all kinds of nautical goodness...if you're a Lady Sailor this is a fun place to pass some time.


I woke up really early - I'm sure it had something to do with jet lag - and decided that an early morning photo safari was a must on the first day of my thirtieth year.




Then it was off to breakfast at The Cock-A-Doodle Cafe.  There were crepes and graham cracker french toast.  Delish.


A stroll through a farmers market?  Flowers?  Yes please.


Of course no city tour is complete without admiring some local architecture.  Pictures looking up at buildings....check.


You can't cruise the Bay Area and not check out the Golden Gate Bridge.  amiright or amiright?


I got to visit with a long lost Auntie.  It was amazing.  Silly me hadn't been to her house since I was a kid.  Apparently, I was geographically challenged as a youth because I didn't know she lived in the Bay Area.  I totally thought she lived in SoCal.  I know, right?  Who doesn't know where their Aunties live?!

Said Auntie had a pack of Chihuahuas.  It was awesome.  Can you see George?


After a full afternoon of visiting we got in the car and took off for Napa.  Aaaah.  Deep sigh.  This meant we needed a coffee to go.  Clearly.


First stop Napa?  The Andaz Hotel.  Oooh La La!

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Birthday Dinner.  One Word.  Bottega.  It came highly recommended.  It didn't disappoint.  There was a personalized Birthday Greeting....and beet raviolis with fennel.  Just Sayin'.



Want to know how I ended the evening?  Food Porn.  Panna Cotta with winter citrus, micro basil, mint syrup and a wheat cigar stuffed with sweet lemon ricotta.


Happy Flirty Thirty To Me!


Wanna Be My Blog Friend?

I say this all the time but, I'll say it again:  This.Blog.Has.Changed.My.Life. Just typing those words makes me feel a little dramatic but the end result is the same, this sweet little blog o' mine has continuously brought me happiness.  True, unadulterated happiness.

I'm so happy my family has somewhere to come looking for me.  I'm gone so often and even when I'm home I am rarely where I'm supposed to be.  Now, everyone can see what I have for breakfast when I'm on a road trip or what my morning clouds looked like at sea.  It's glorious.

I'm so happy that I can share photos.  I can't tell you how often I go back and look at archives so I can look at a set of photos or, how happy I get when I scroll back in time and happen upon things like monkeys in Gibraltar.  I mean, talk about having no choice but smiling.

I'm so happy that I have a reason to write.  I used to love keeping journals when I was a kid.  I'd sit in the yard and write poems and pretend to be deep....yes, I was totally that kid.  Now, I have a place to write that's all grown up and pretty.  Happy.

I'm so happy that I have to look for the good in my days.  When I write a cranky post it's nice to be indulged of course but, I can always rely on my Nautie Friends to say, 'enough of that now!'.

Okay, you get it....I like the blog....and it makes me happy.

There's just one thing.  I don't have any blog friends.

None of my friends blog.  In fact, some of my Besties think I'm a crazy lady who broadcasts her feelings for the internet....what a weirdo.

Here's something I bet ya didn't know about me.  I'm a little shy.  I don't make friends super easy.  I do just find in social situations but, I'm a teensy bit stand-offish at first.  Even if I really like you I'll be a bit aloof.

Do you know what this means in the interwebz?  I'm incredibly akward.

Twitter kills me.  I hate commenting on people's blogs even when I loved the post.

Where the eff am I going with this?

I decided to change things up.  I want blog friends so I'm going to go freakin' find some....and I'm going to do my best to not seem creepy while doing it.

I did something major.  I signed up for Bloggers In Sin City.  Nautie Friends, I feel like a totally ball-sy badass for signing up for this thing.  I know!

I'm so freakin' excited.