Susan Guillory

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I travel like a local. #Italy is my spirit animal. #Poland knocked me off my feet. #Sardinia was amazing. On Twitter: @unxplorer

Member Since FEBRUARY 25, 2019
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Quiet Mind Retreat Center: A Self-Retreat in Julian, California

But unlike previous trips there, which centered around shopping and eating, I planned something totally different: a stay at Quiet Mind Retreat Center, a sanctuary overlooking Lake Cuyamaca. The retreat center opened just before COVID-19 changed everything, and while its objective is to host mindfulness retreats, right now it’s more of an Asian-inspired AirBnB. Kind of a make-your-own-retreat experience. Michael was an ordained monk in the Thai forest tradition, the Burmese Mahasi tradition, and the Tibetan tradition, so I knew the art and statues were legit! The hike to Stonewall Peak was moderately difficult and took about three hours round trip (note: there’s a $10 parking fee at the campground where the trail starts).

Even in Quarantine, We'll Always Have Italy, Thanks to Frances Mayes

Lest you think her repertoire starts and ends with that book made famous by the movie of the same name, let me educate you: she’s written a dozen books, most of which deal with my favorite place on earth: Italy. Mayes pontificates on the wonders of each region, highlights specific towns (those are my sticky notes you see in the photo), and marvels over local wines we Americans will never taste unless we visit. I want to pick a region, visit a few towns she tells me I should, eat the dishes she revels in, see the region through Mayes’ eyes. The photos are gorgeous and make you yearn to sit in a sunny piazza with a caffelatte and a good book (maybe one written by Mayes?).

A Weekend in Park City, Utah

I recently took a job working for a company in Salt Lake City, and while I work from home, I do occasionally visit the office in SLC. Genevieve had lured me with the possibility of snowshoeing, but when we woke up on Saturday, the inversion (read: smog) made visibility pretty bad in pockets in the valleys, and she said the snow wasn’t right for snowshoeing (don’t ask me!). I’d done surprisingly little research on Park City beforehand, preferring to let her shuttle me around. I happened to be in town the weekend of the Sundance Film Festival, and though we had no desire to watch movies there, we did opt to look for celebrities on Main Street.

Photo Friday: Mission Basilica at San Juan Capistrano

But wherever I travel, I find myself pushing the old oak doors into the heavy silence. I sit on the hard bench and take in the awe-inspiring art (because Catholics know how to do art right!). These candles are found at the Mission Basilica at San Juan Capistrano. If you haven’t been to San Juan Capistrano or any of the other 21 missions planted by Father Junipero Serra in the late 1700s/early 1800s, you should go.

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