Advice, Hacks, Travel, Travel Tips

How to Overcome a Fear of Flying (Part 2)

With a few simple tricks you can free yourself from a fear of flying!
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

After only a few minutes in the air, I felt like my life was in danger.

The flight started normally – the door closed, the flight attendants and pilot greeted passengers on the loudspeakers, and we gained altitude. 

Moments later we hit turbulence. 

For a few seconds the plane rattled and shook. 

Ok, nothing to worry about here.

I took a deep breath and tried to rest. 

After a brief pause the turbulence came back. It felt like the clouds around us were shoving our mechanical bird around. This time the jolts didn’t stop and my comfort level quickly dissolved.

The air currents around us were unforgiving and for the remainder of the journey my fingers dug into the hand rests. 

In spite of my dread and acceptance that maybe we wouldn’t land safely, we did actually land safely. The plane ride was over. I wearily staggered into the terminal.

This was the worst flight experience I ever had. Landing felt like a gift.

Little did I know but the emotional scars from that journey stayed with me for a long time. This experience didn’t stop me from flying, though. It did however, make me absolutely horrified of air travel. 

A desire to conquer the fear of flying inspired this and my other most recent previous blog post. After a long time I was able to (mostly) lay the fear to rest.

In this post, I’m going to share some things I did to remain calm during that fateful trip. These strategies became the foundation of my current travel tools I use to stay relaxed while flying.

I still use some or all of them while flying today. Hopefully they can help you feel safe on your next flight!

Note: The tips listed below are based on my personal experience. They are not medically proven or tested. The advice given here should not replace recommendations from a medical professional. Also, this article is not meant to encourage people to fly over other means of transportation. It’s just to provide tools for those who would like to fly but aren’t comfortable. 

Ok, let’s get started!

Safe words, affirmations, and prayers

For a long time I was terrified during plane take offs and landings. On the flight mentioned above I began repeating a comforting word in my mind over and over again to relax. To my amazement it actually gave me a strong feeling of security. 

If you like this idea but can’t think of a word, here’s mine: “ice-cream.” It’s simple and delicious. Try saying this word at least ten times the next time you feel uncomfortable during a flight and it may help. 

A simple positive affirmation like “I am safe” or “I’m protected” can also be beneficial. If you are spiritual then a prayer before, during, or after the flight can create a strong sense of security as well. 

Distract yourself 

Some easy ways to do this would be to read a book, watch a movie, play a game on your phone, listen to something (podcast or music), or try to sleep (if it’s not too turbulent).

If you choose a book, then I recommend a juicy thriller, mystery, or romance novel. Anything that’s a page-turner is golden for a flight.   

Visualize arriving 

Similar to my first post, another strategy to feel safe is to imagine yourself already at your destination.

Picture the conversations you’ll have. Create in your mind the things you’re excited to do.

Personally, I’ve always felt safer when I pictured the reward of arriving at the destination.

Bonus: What’s your favorite and most comfortable method of transportation? Close your eyes and imagine yourself there instead. Maybe it’s not a plane you’re on but a boat, bus, or dinosaur (let your imagine have fun).

Enjoy the views 

If you’re flying during the day and happen to have a window seat then something that works for me is to direct all my attention to what’s outside. Maybe you’ll see a cool mountain, river, or cloud formation.

I usually don’t focus on the wing but everything else around it. There’s a lot of beauty out there to behold. 

Talk to people

I honestly am not always up for starting a conversation with the people next to me on a plane. This being said, one of the best ways to overcome a fear of flying is to talk to people.

Learning about someone else and having a conversation has many benefits: your mind goes away from yourself (your fear), you practice some social skills, and time usually flies by (pun intended) if the chat is interesting. 

During turbulence: Observe the vibe 

What I mean by this is to gauge the energy of the other passengers and crew. When there are a few bumps it’s helpful to see if anyone else is reacting to the sudden changes.

I learned that paying attention to (but not staring the whole time like a creeper) the flight attendant’s reaction to turbulence helped calm my nerves. Their body language should tell you how serious any turbulence really is.

So far I’ve never seen a crew member panic and all my flights thankfully have been safe (besides some turbulence). 

My favorite: Be creative 

Finding an activity that requires your complete attention is a great way to distract yourself during a flight. For me, doing something creative has always helped.

Writing is my inflight activity of choice. For example, the first draft of this post was actually written during a flight.

Also, most of us have smart phones so another idea would be to create a video collage of some recent photos or weed through old ones you want to erase. These all can be surprisingly engrossing. 

Bonus: Remember this

Photo by Sterry Larson on

Flying is the safest way to travel and the airline’s mission is to get you where you want to go safely. The crew are also people who want to remain alive just like us. Turbulence is natural. It doesn’t mean anything bad is happening to the plane.

You can do it! The world is waiting for you!


Have a great day and I hope you enjoyed this post. If you missed my first entry about getting over a fear a flying, check it out here!

Take care,


Advice, Travel, Travel Tips

How to Overcome a Fear of Flying (Part 1)

Image by snowing on Freepik

Planning a trip, packing a bag, and taking a flight somewhere new is one of the many joys of modern travel. It’s crazy to think that nearly all destinations on the planet are within one or a few day’s reach thanks to our friend, the airplane. Nowadays we can book a trip on Skyscanner or Kayak to a different country within a series of mouse clicks!

Despite air travel’s growing facility, there is something I need to get off my chest: 

I’ve been scared of airplanes for years. 

Even though I’ve had the privilege of flying on a somewhat regular basis in my life, the fear of flying has latched onto me like an unwanted invisible seat partner. 

My love of traveling luckily outweighs the angst I feel when boarding a plane. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few strategies to keep my emotions under control and I think they can help people out if they are experience their own trouble with flying.  

If you are someone who wants to travel but feels held back by their fear of planes, then this post is for you. Hopefully this post will provide some inspiration to help you feel free to travel wherever you want.

Below are some tips that anyone can carry out before they actually enter a plane. In my next blog post I’ll share strategies for remaining calm during a flight. 

Disclaimer: These tips do not guarantee that you’ll overcome a fear of flying, they are based on personal experience so use them at your own risk. These ideas should not replace advice from a licensed medical or psychiatric professional. I’m not a medical professional or phycologist, so consider getting expert attention if you feel it’s needed.

Take a look at what makes you scared:


We can’t overcome our fear of flying without reflecting on what actually is the source of our worries. It may be hard, but we need to face our fear. Once we understand what it is and even why it exists, we can move forward. Maybe you saw a scary movie about planes or heard a story about a negative experience from a random person at a bar. Write down what worries you and try to dig as deep as you can to understand what you’re feeling.

Next we can see if this fear is realistic or not. I realized that most of the things I worried about were the result of my vivid and vastly exaggerated imagination. For example, the movie “Snakes on a Plane” was highly fictitious and it’s not possible to be ejected from a passenger jet (my personal farfetched fear). 

Know the facts:

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), approximately 2.9 million passengers fly in and out of United States airports per day. Additionally, there are 45,000 daily flights within the country. Research from Harvard University reports that the odds of dying in a plane crash are one in 11 million. The odds of dying in a car is one in 5 thousand. These numbers indicate that air travel is safe, and when I mean safe I mean really safe. Personally, knowing this information has been enough motivation for me to continue using them.

Reserve a flight based on comfort level:

Now that we have addressed our fears and have established that flying is safe, it’s time to book a flight. A few ways to ease the experience of flying are:

  • Choose an airline you trust, preferably one that is larger with more routes.
  • Fly direct if it’s not too expensive.
  • Avoid small airports if possible.
  • Elect seats based on numbers you feel are lucky or have an affinity towards. For example, I love the number 9 so I tend to go with that whenever it’s available. 
  • Choose a takeoff time where you feel safest.
  • Be aware of the weather forecast to reduce turbulence.

Visualize your destination:

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on

Once we begin planning a vacation, whether it’s an hour away or across the planet, it’s useful to begin picturing what we want the trip to be like. What feelings will we have? What will we do? How will the food taste? I try to do this prior and during a flight. Creating the journey in our minds not only takes our thoughts away from what worries us (flying) but it also brings us closer to achieving those desired outcomes.

Bonus: Fly with someone you trust:

We don’t always have the opportunity to plan a trip with another person, but having someone next to you on the flight can increase one’s comfort level. There have been many moments in my life where I was able to overcome a phobia or fear just because a friend was there for support. Traveling with someone who loves flying or at the very least doesn’t mind it will make the journey more bearable.


Thank you for reading this blog! I hope you’ve found this information useful. My next post will tackle ways we can overcome a fear of flying during the trip (on the airplane). Before I say farewell, I’d like to hear from you!

Which airline is your “go-to” for domestic and international travel? Also, what are your tricks for mentally preparing for a trip?

Have a fantastic day!


Advice, Ideas, Inspiration, Life, Random Thoughts, Self Reflection, Short Story

The Choice

It was one of those mornings…

The sun was sneaking its head above the fog. A lone car could be heard reducing its speed at an unseen stop sign then slowly accelerating down an unknown street.

Pure beauty. It was peaceful, it was quiet, it was… 



It was ghostly silent.

A morning scene had just been converted into a messy crime scene. Harmony was upended. Order was overthrown. The smell of chaos and citrus lingered in the air.

The victim was an innocent kitchen floor. 

A clean blue-tiled floor once occupied this house. What remained was now a soupy coalescence of orange juice, fruit, and leafy greens. The plastic cup that once protected the ingredients of the supposed breakfast was laying motionless on the floor. Standing above the destruction I could feel the smooth plastic lid of the blender gripped tightly between my fingers. It could have been a few seconds of standing there or possibly an eternity as I blinked in silence. 

Perhaps I wasn’t silent. Perhaps a few four-letter words escaped my tongue almost as quickly as the smoothie’s contents dove from the countertop and crashed onto the surface beneath my feet. 

It was supposed to be a healthy morning consisting of daily servings of fruits and veggies mixed with positive energy but inside I felt an unhealthy amount of stress. I could feel the volcano inside of my consciousness starting to boil. The magma was there and it was ready to explode, wreaking more havoc to a landscape that was already in a state of disrepair. 

I wanted to do a lot of things at that moment. I was furious, I was sad, I was thirsty. More than anything I just wanted the satisfaction of creating a smoothie. 

Why me? was the first thought that flashed to mind. Why did this happen to me? For a moment the world felt over to me. I was done with planet Earth and ready to move to Mars. I paused, took a few deep breathes, my eyes feeling watery, and then I asked a different set of questions to myself. 


Why did this happen? 

I pressed the lid too firmly onto the plastic cup. And why did I press too firmly? I wasn’t paying attention. My mind was somewhere else, thinking of everything on the planet but the smoothie. Heck, I was already planning my day for after the smoothie. It wasn’t the lid’s fault, not the ingredients, and not the chirping birds outside. It was an open and shut case of user error. 

Standing alone in the kitchen, I didn’t have a smoothie or clean shoes. I felt empty inside my belly and in my heart. Abruptly, however, out of the wreckage and vitamin-infused debris of an experiment gone wrong, something emerged in what at first appeared to be nothing. 

In this morning of utter failure, I actually did have something: 

A choice

This was a moment for me to make a choice, which could either benefit or severely hinder the day. The options felt clear: I could say yes to the internal magma and have a loud and even more destructive tantrum. I could walk away, avoiding the problem at hand. I could give in to the urge to call my mom and ask for help. Or, gulp, I could remain calm, clean up this filthy mess, and ask myself one more question:  

What is this moment teaching me right now? 

I was feeling so tempted to scream but let out an aggressive exhale instead. Three or five more breaths followed almost automatically.

Nothing I did could put the juice back into the blender. The deed was done, the past was now history, and what remained was how I wanted the future to look like. I lost my power to make breakfast, but I still had the power to control my emotions. I grabbed some paper towels, collecting the strawberries and banana slices. 

What was this teaching me?

I needed to be present, to pay attention, to be in the now. I wasn’t appreciating what was in front of me. 

Many years ago I took a yoga class and the instructor kept saying the same mantra: “How you do one thing, is how you do everything.”

I felt like she was exaggerating at the time but as I grew older I began to agree with her statement. This morning felt like her words we being tattooed onto my brain. The way I made breakfast this morning was the same way I brushed my teeth, the same way I talked to people on the phone sometimes, and the same way I drove a car. I wasn’t fully there. Part of me has always been somewhere else. 

My stomach was growling but my mind felt full. Wow, I thought to myself, did I just freaking learn something at 8am on a Tuesday? Heck yeah!

The day would turn out alright.

Long story short: 

In 2022 I want to feel more present in everything I do, in every interaction I have, and to more fully appreciate who I’m with. I will also try to not be so hard on myself when I make mistakes and keep remembering that everything has a silver lining. What I mean is, there is something positive we can create out of moments that appear dark (aka moments when our smoothie decorates the floor).

Thank you for reading. I sincerely hope you had a great 2021 and start the New Year in amazing fashion. If 2021 wasn’t what you wanted, then I’m sure you grew a lot and learned a great deal about yourself so that is something really positive. 

Take care and much love!


P.S. If you believe in NY resolutions, what are yours for 2022?

Advice, Coffee

The Recovering Coffee Drinker

Once upon I time I found myself in Missoula, Montana. The year was 2005 and I was a freshman at the University of Montana. I was the archetype of a typical freshman at an out-of-state school: An 18 year-old recently liberated from his parents. I was shy, self conscious, and awkward because I didn’t know many people.

This phase of my emerging adulthood could have been described as dorm-life because I shared a room with a guy named Jordan and a narrow two-foot walkway separated our beds. A more important marker for this phase of my life would be that I spent most mornings in a heavy curtain of mental fog. Caffeine was a foreign word to me at this time and the mere thought of consuming it didn’t make sense. I had grown accustomed to groggy mornings with a bagel and orange juice.  

Part 1: The First Taste 

On a chilly fall morning my wakeup ritual would be turned upside down. On this particular day I was groggier than usual, so cloudy in my mind that I felt delirious.  Desperation for a jolt of alertness ensued. In a deep stupor of fatigue I lurched my away through campus like a sluggish lemur and regained some form of focus upon arrival to a cafe called Just Chillin’. I needed a shortcut to waking up so I ordered a double shot mocha, my first ever espresso drink. 

The first sip was an invasion of flavors; chocolate, coffee, sweetness, slight bitterness. My heart started to pump a little faster and a rush of caffeine hit my brain. I felt alive. How the heck had been sleeping on coffee all this time?, I wondered. I was flying through campus, adrenaline pumped into my veins and I was living high in the mountains. At this moment I didn’t want to start the day with coffee, I needed it. Little did I know but this would be the beginning of a fifteen year steady relationship of coffee meets mouth. 

Part 2: The Loyal Dark Goddess

The love for coffee was so strong that it became part of my daily routine for years. The morning wouldn’t start until I drank my morning mocha. After a few years I replaced the rich whip cream and chocolate syrup for the bitterness of pure espresso. Americanos became the drink of choice and they fueled my inspiration on more than one occasion.  

My devotion to coffee transcended the act of drinking it. I dedicated blog articles and social media content to my affliction to the liquid goddess. I’d plan vacations on where I could drink this comforting black gold. As my dedication to this power liquid force grew stronger, so did my dependancy. The honeymoon with coffee reached its peak a couple years ago when I was averaging three or four shots of espresso in the morning (before 9am). The buzz wasn’t high anymore, it was necessary. I couldn’t face the world until I had consumed a few cups. 

Part Three: The Broken Heart

One morning I woke up exhausted. The fatigue was so heavy that I raced to the kitchen and started to boil some water in preparation of a french press. This was a habit that I started doing without thinking each morning. I drank a cup and nothing happened. I downed a second and nothing happened. I felt a dizziness from the caffeine but still was tired. This was a fluke I told myself and figured that I was simply in a temporary rut, until I took note over the next few months that indeed my body wasn’t favoring coffee like it used to. I noticed that the lows lasted longer and the highs weren’t fulfilling. Despite my continued fidelity to coffee I was mentally hoping for an escape. The dance between coffee and me was boiling over in my heart and I began to resent my need for this dark vice to fill my body in order to function. I was looking for my moment to jump ship. 

Part Four: The Breakup

Months later, I was on vacation with my girlfriend and her roommate in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I faced particularly difficult morning during this trip because once again the effects of a coffee buzz was absent even after a few cups from a French press. I was officially heartbroken by coffee. This cemented the desire to quit my coffee drinking habit. 

Two days later I found my window of escape. The three of us headed north to the Umpqua National Forest to camp for two days. This was it, I told myself, hold on to your boots. I decided to not pack any instant coffee or drink anything with caffeine during the camping trip. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gone two days without coffee so I was already trembling just thinking about the withdrawals.

I was suffering, but two days in the woods, a hot springs, and topped off by a day in Crater Lake helped keep the urge to guzzle brown liquid at bay. Being in nature was very healing for my head and it served as a proper environment for recovery from coffee. Fortunately, no one was hurt during this process and I didn’t scream in yearning for coffee. 

Part Five: Freedom

It was only two days without coffee, but if I could go 48 hours without caffeine then I’d keep going. The momentum had started and with each passing day I felt more inspired to say goodbye to coffee. After only a few days my urges started to dissipate. My grogginess didn’t go away but the fatigue wasn’t as severe compared to when I was dependent on coffee.

I realized that I was trying to mask my natural sleepiness in the morning with too much stimulation. I decided that from that moment forward I’d embrace being sleepy. This last dance with coffee happened in early July so now it’s been two months without a craving. This was something that I never dreamed could happen, nor did I ever picture myself a non-coffee drinker.

I’m not totally free from caffeine: I’ve been converted into a matcha tea drinker and so far the relationship is very balanced with neither side becoming overly dependent on the other. 

Part Six: You Can Too!

The purpose of this article is not to bash on coffee. I still love it and have lots of fond memories from drinking it. I just know that I became too dependent on it and eventually I fell out of love for it.

If you feel the same way but don’t think you can quit, let me assure you that it is possible! I highly recommend starting your escape in nature and or among people who don’t drink coffee. My girlfriend and roommate are tea drinkers so this  helped me a lot. The first two days will be a challenge but if you can do that then the rest is a piece of cake. You might feel a sudden desire for coffee, but try to remember why you want to quit. I kept reminding myself this.

Try writing down why you’re leaving it and keeping the reasons on your phone, easy to access, so you can read them each time a craving arises. Finally, try to find something else that brings you that fulfillment. For example, the bitterness of matcha leaves has replaced the bitterness of a black coffee and this is a sensation that I enjoy savoring. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Coffee is a wonderful elixir and I happily drank it for many years, but I am really happy to not need it in my life anymore. 


Thanks for reading this blog post! Are you a recovering coffee drinker? How was the experience for you and how did you quit? I’d love to hear your comments!

Have a nice day,


Advice, Guides, Hacks, Random Thoughts, Travel, Travel Tips

Useful Applications To Enjoy While Traveling

Remember the days when we didn’t have Siri or Google Maps?

There was a time when we didn’t have the wonders of smart phones. We needed to print boarding passes, call a taxi, ask people on the street for directions, roll the dice on random restaurants, and consult a bulky guidebook for a list of museums.

Life was more challenging because we needed to work harder for enjoyment, but when we succeeded the feeling was euphoric.

Thanks to the simplicity of smart phones traveling domestically or abroad has become less of a burden. This being said, I still romanticize about being completely disconnected while traveling. In fact, I encourage folks to keep their phones on airplane mode for at least part of the duration of a journey. It will be an exercise of remaining present.

However, there are situations when we need our phone and it saves us time, money, irritation, and sometimes preserves our health.

Over the course of my travel career I’ve found myself increasingly dependent on certain applications. I wanted to share with you some applications that I feel will curate a fantastic travel experience. Some of these you may already know and others hopefully are new. Either way, I hope at least one of these will help you in your future travel endeavors.


One of my favorite aspects of traveling is connecting the dots between destinations. How heck can one get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh then to Hoi An? Rome2Rio is a route planning application that offers every form of transit between nearly every city on earth.


Similar to Rome2Rio, Tripit grants travelers access to transportation information. In addition, it integrates every facet of one’s travel itinerary together in user-friendly fashion. It’s like a personal travel assistant, which makes the hassle of connecting flights and multiple reservations less of a chore. The downside of Tripit is that there is a fee, however it offers a 30 day free trial (good for at least one trip).


Imagine you’ve just arrived into Tokyo or New York and now you need to figure out the expansive train system. Moovit is the application for you. It’s like Rome2Rio as it displays route information between locations. The benefit of this app is that its focus is on metropolitan areas and the information provided is constantly updating. It will abate the sensation of being overwhelmed in a new city.


Scribt is a database of thousands of books, audiobooks, magazines, and newspapers that can be easily accessed for less than $10 a month. Personally I prefer paper books, but sometimes we want to avoid superfluous packing. Selections can be downloaded and read offline on a traveler’s phone and there is even access for Kindle owners. Scribt allows readers to change the font, text size, and background color to cater to the needs of the individual.

Turbo VPN

A VPN was used here…

In some countries like China the most common apps we love (Facebook, Google Maps, Instagram) are prohibited. A trustworthy VPN is necessary and I’ve had the most success with Turbo VPN. The majority of travelers I’ve spoken to are preferential towards Norn VPN, however my experience has been more positive with Turbo.

Uber or Grab

Part of the adventure of traveling is stepping out of one’s comfort zone. Hailing a taxi in a foreign environment falls into that category. It can be a mixed bag. Based on my experience, it can be a challenge to trust the local taxis while abroad. Some can be con men while others might be clueless as to where your destination is located. To avoid unnecessary problems I think it’s best to resort to a ride share service. Depending on where you are headed, it is advisable to research which services are the paradigm for that particular location. Uber has a large stake in this market, but countries throughout Asia utilize Grab.

Culture Trip

This bowl of ramen comes from a hole in the wall restaurant found on Culture Trip.

In my opinion the premier source of researching a new city or country is Culture Trip. This portal was designed by travelers and is filled with fascinating articles about history, nightlife, traditions, dining, and whatever else you might be keen on researching. If you want to take their trip to the next level with prime experiences, download Culture Trip and let your inspiration roam. I wouldn’t curate an itinerary solely on information from this site, but it is a quality source. At the very least, the articles are interesting and something to read while waiting for a flight.


I’ve written about Meetup in a previous blog post and my opinion since then hasn’t changed: This is one of the best applications for traveling abroad. Imagine yourself on a trip to Lisbon, not knowing anyone. Meetup is a site where people post gatherings based on all sorts of interests. These are typically pubic events, so anyone can partake in the revelry. Language exchanges, happy hours, movie nights, salsa dancing, you name it is on this site. It’s ideal for solo travelers or even those interested in discovering a new circle of friends with similar interests.


Most of the people here are on Couchsurfing, maybe you will meet them 😉

Couchsurfing, along with Meetup, is a fundamental resource for travelers who wish to A. make new international friends and B. potentially lower trip costs by staying for free in people’s flats. The focus shouldn’t be to save money and take from others; it should be to share and learn about cultures. It’s a wonderful platform if used with the right intentions.


Lastly, when we travel our senses become bombarded from all corners. We become exposed to exotic sites, smells, and sounds. One of my favorite parts of being abroad or even in a new bar is keeping an ear out for interesting music. If we have wifi or data it’s now seamless to scoop up songs via Shazam. There are numerous apps which help listeners identify songs but I’m partial towards this one. If we feel like being brave and adventurous there’s an even better program: it’s called going to the bartender and simply asking what that last song was. 🙂

Thanks again for reading this blog post!

Hopefully you found this interesting and helpful. I can’t promise that these applications will elevate one’s travel experience. Trying some or all of these out will without a doubt at least add some comfort for a future escapade in a faraway place.

Have a wonderful day. Whatever you’ve been doing, keep it up I think you’re great. 🙂


Advice, Hacks, Life

How To Stay Positive During The Coronavirus

Over the past handful of weeks the news, social media, and the majority of conversation topics have been hovering around a now infamous c-word. The taboo word is in the title of this post so we don’t have to repeat it again. Like you, I’m becoming aware of the severity of the issue. I’m not sure how you feel about the matter but inside my mind is overheating from reading, listening, and watching reports about the topic.

Depending on where you live you might already be under a shelter-in-place order, quarantine, or practicing social distancing. Whatever your situation is, we all have felt the effects of the c-word and it’s not making life easier.

On the one hand, this really is unfortunate and I deeply hope that no one who is reading this has gotten sick or knows someone who’s sick. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling down then watching the news to get even more depressed about what’s happening.

This being said, there is a positive side to all of this. We will prevail and overcome the challenges that have resulted in trying to “flatten the curve”. Being forced to be at home for an extended period of time as an opportunity to do some things that we’ve neglected, put off, or haven’t ever done before. We must stay positive and a good way to do this is through distraction. Here’s a list of some ideas of things we can do to pass the time while waiting for all of this c-word madness to go away.

Disconnect with Your Roommates

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Most of us don’t live alone. We either live with our parents, roommates or children. Rather than remaining plugged-in during this extended period of time, consider this a chance to connect more with each other. A puzzle, board game, card game, drinking game, cooking, or video game with the whole group will be a fun way to get over the at-home restlessness.

Call a Friend or Loved One

We all probably have at least one good friend or family member who we haven’t spoken to in a while. If we didn’t have much to say before, then here’s a great ice-breaker: Man that c-word really sucks right? Boom! You’ve got a good topic to chat about. Rather than liking a couple of their posts on Instagram or Facebook, I’m sure they would love to hear your voice.

Learn Something New

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

You said you’ve been wanting to learn Korean since the beginning of the year. Suddenly, with all of this downtime at home, the moment has presented itself to download some nifty apps like Duolingo or Memrise. They are either free or inexpensive so give them a whirl. Additionally, if you’re a cardholder at the local library, then you get free access to every online course for Lynda.

Organize Your House

That lengthy project to shuffle around all of your furniture or throw away expired items in the medicine cabinet makes a lot of sense right now. Also, we have years of memories hidden away either in external hard-drives or floating around in cloud storage. Maybe it’s time to dive in, see what’s all there, and organize them.

Organize Your Life

Organizing life can feel deflating, but it’s worth it!

If you’re like me, your life might be a speeding train that doesn’t have a clear destination. Perhaps you’re overdue to review the goals you’ve set for yourself, create a new ones, or have a deep brainstorming session about them. Whatever you need or want to do, I’m positive that this bonus time will work in your favor.

Get Creative

The next time you visit Safeway (one of the few places allowed to stay open in my area) I highly recommend investing in colored markers, paint brushes, or water colors – if you don’t already have these goods. Creating a work of art, no matter the skill level, is a fantastic stress-reliever. Once you get in a flow, then the hours pass by really quickly. Given the circumstances, I’m sure we all have plenty of inspiration right now.


Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash

Speaking of flow, practicing or learning to meditate is a pretty awesome tool to help lower anxiety and boost concentration. Taking time between activities to meditate can be a nice little addition to your stay-at-home routine. Spotify has some great free guided meditations and for those interested in paying a little fee per month then Headspace is a nifty app.

Read Something

We all have a book sitting on the shelf that we’ve been meaning to open. Maybe we don’t have any books in our house so we must resort to going online for our literary pleasure. My favorite websites to pass the time (that aren’t news or social media) are: Medium, Culture Trip, Thrillist, Mental Floss, & McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. If you own an e-reader then your local library offers e-books for free and so does Project Gutenberg. There’s also a pretty cool blog called There Dan Was that critics are raving about as well. 😉

Write Something

Another source of creativity is writing. Maybe you’ve been meaning to start a book, right a memoir, a joke, or a blog to rant about that pesky c-word. Now’s your chance to let the writing juices drive in the carpool lane.

Be Thankful

This worldwide event has been scary and it might seem like life has taken a downward spiral. Remember, in spite of everything, that we still have shelter and a device for reading this article. We have loved ones and, contrary to what the news feeds us, life is still good. It’s important to give thanks for what we still have (which is a lot). There is always someone who has it worse and this change to our life is temporary.


Thank you for reading this blog post! There are countless other activities that we can all do to pass the time but just in case you’ve been stumped for inspiration I hope this post was useful. Have a wonderful day, wash your hands after reading, and stay safe. By the way, keep up the great work!

-Daniel Catena

Advice, Asia, Travel, Travel Tips

Useful Gear for Southeast Asia Travel

Southeast Asia.

It’s a pretty nifty part of our planet that deserves at least one visit in our lifetime.

The nearest Southeast Asian airport from my house is in Manila, Philippines and it’s roughly fourteen hours away by plane. Due to its not-so-close distance from here, appropriate planning is necessary before embarking on vacation there.

Before booking a flight and leaving, there are some important questions that must be answered. 

An assessment of who, what, where, when, and why is important before any such journey. 

Based on previous experience, figuring out the “what” can be the steepest hill to climb. What exactly should you bring? More specifically, what sort of gear is most useful while wandering in a country like Cambodia or Vietnam?

My good friend Jack and I recently returned from a long backpacking trip in Southeast Asia. Based on our experiences we’ve discovered which items are imperative and need to be added to your packing list!

This isn’t a complete grocery list of every nook and cranny that we stowed in our luggage, but it’s a nice start for anyone in search of inspiration.

Money Belt:

A money belt is a small pouch with an elastic band that you can wear under your shirt while out-and-about. I must admit that they take some getting used to, but after a while you start to feel naked without one. They are suitable for carrying passports, extra cash, or credit cards. I have a goldfish memory so I often would even put hostel room keys or bus tickets stashed away in mine as well. Thwarting a pickpocket or memory lapse goes a long way.

Try this: Raytix travel money belt


Besides entering temples or taking a bite out of some random meat on a stick at a market, you’ll probably frolic around water. Southeast Asia is replete with rivers and beaches so a dry-bag is necessary. Also, the weather can abruptly go from sunny to drizzly. I exclusively used a dry-bag in countries like Vietnam just to play it safe. Having your phone and personal items dry even when the world around you is sopping wet is a tiny joy that mustn’t be overlooked. 

Try:  Earth Pak Dry Bag

Portable Charger: 

Even with a local SIM card, your phone’s battery will drain faster than rigatoni in a strainer. Well, maybe not yours but mine certainly did! The desire to take lots of cool pictures or videos was a probable culprit. In Southeast Asia odds are high that you’ll be outside for long periods of time and without access to outlets. The solution to this dilemma is to invest in a proper wireless portable charger. With this you can charge phones or any other devices that have a USB cord. This is an essential item to have on your trip.

Try: Mophie Wireless Charger

Portable speaker: 

What can make an afternoon of relaxing on some desolate beach in Krabi slightly more enjoyable? How can a pre-night out beer in your Airbnb or hostel become a pinch more energetic? Music, duh! When you’re out and about or at home, music a primary ingredient. A Bluetooth portable speaker tops putting your phone in a coffee mug or bowl to amplify its sound. 

Try: All-Terrain Sound Bluetooth speaker

Microfiber Towel:

What my friend and I discovered during our trip to Asia was that every host (hostels, hotels, Airbnbs) provided us with towels. During the preparations for our trip I didn’t expect towels to be so readily available so I invested in two microfiber towels. I expected to utilize them more but in the end not so much. They still were handy for going to the beach because of their compact size so I think that one is ideal for a trip to Southeast Asia. 

A microfiber towel and dry-bag were needed here.

Try: Wise Owl Outfitters microfiber towel

Throw away clothes: 

In Southeast Asia you’re going to sweat, you’re going to get dirty, and you’re going to face the elements head-on. You’re going to forget a pair of flip-flops on a long-tail boat or get Pad Thai stains on your shirt. I recommend stocking up on second-hand clothes from Goodwill or bringing clothing that you’re ready to replace. If anything, you can buy clothes while on the road and often times at a strikingly good deal in a night market or vintage store. Jack and I bought sun hats within a few days of arriving then donated them to the travel gods once we left.

Stoked about my sun hat..

Portable devices:

The three portable devices that I used on a daily basis were my iPhone, laptop, and e-reader. A laptop isn’t a necessary item to pack but it makes life substantially more convenient. I typically favor a physical book over a digital copy, except when I’m traveling. E-readers are light, compact, and store enough books for countless hours of literary binging.

Try: Nook e-reader

A journal:

What was that random tuk-tuk driver’s name? What was the address of that quirky little corner bar? These are trivial details that perhaps you won’t bother to look up right after the journey, but fifteen years later you’ll love to have a scribble about them. The treasures from my experiences abroad have been the Moleskine notebooks that I carried during each trip. I highly recommend you take small breaks throughout the day to write about what’s happening. Your future self will be really thankful.

Try: Moleskine

And the most important…

This is kind of a wild-card for this blog post but it’s worth mentioning. Besides carrying all the fancy and not so fancy gear that has been mentioned above, it’s very important to go to Southeast Asia with an open mind. You’re going to be surrounded by cultures and traditions that will seem odd or possibly incorrect to you. Unless you’ve been brushing up on the local language, you’re not going to understand what most locals try to say. Yes, many people do speak English in Southeast Asia, but many more won’t. Just take a deep breath, accept that you don’t have a clue and just smile it off. You came here to be out of your comfort zone, right? I learned that a smile can go a long way and that many menus in these countries will have pictures. If you see other customers eating something delicious, just point at that, too. All around you will be sounds and aromas that are foreign and previously unknown, so relax and embrace the experience!

Well, there you go. I can’t promise that this assortment of gear will ensure you a safe or fun time in Southeast Asia. Maybe none of this information will be of use to you and that’s totally ok! I used these items and they helped me a lot, so hopefully at least one of them will be valuable to you as well.

What am I missing here? If you’ve been to Southeast Asia and have some other items that have helped you then for sure I’d love to know about them.


Thanks for reading this blog, I hope you have a great day!


Advice, Coffee, Europe, Guides, Murcia, Spain, Travel Guide, Travel Tips, Where to drink Coffee

Where to Drink Coffee in Murcia, Spain

A handful of posts ago I shared some insider information in regards to finding a decent a cup of coffee in Sausalito, California plus Missoula, Montana. Both posts came with years of coffee-drinking and, more importantly, cafe-questing experience.

It’s time to continue this series of posts with a city in southern Spain.

Murcia, Spain has been my other home away from home for four years now. Four hours south of Madrid and thirty minutes from the Mediterranean Sea, Spain’s seventh largest city is a haven for those who enjoy continuous days of sun and a stress-free pace of life.

Murcia is famous for not being famous, as the majority of travelers who arrive in Spain decide on stopping almost everywhere else. This lack of tourism is partially why I like living here. Another reason as why Murcia is an ideal place is because of something else:

Its limitless choices of where I can get embarrassingly buzzed from caffeine.

Compared to anywhere else I’ve visited or lived, Murcia’s coffee is dangerously inexpensive. There also exists a growing number of cafe’s where one can take a break, do some work, or have a conversation with a friend. Here’s my personal list of places where you should order your next cup of coffee in Murcia:


Cafe Haskell:

Related image

Cafe Haskell was the first coffee shop I discovered in Murcia, and this arguably the best cafe in the city center. The owners are two very nice girls from Italy, Stefania & Giulia, and the inspiration behind their establishment came from a trip they took to San Francisco a few years back. The feeling upon entering here is quant, with memorabilia of San Francisco hanging on each wall. Their tostadas are arguably the best in Murcia.


Image result for socolá murcia

Socolá is an Italian bakery that has a surprisingly complete menu. They offer brunch and a variety of American delicacies such as pancakes. It’s easy to get trapped here because the atmosphere is welcoming and it’s great for getting work done.

El Gallinero:

Image result for socolá murcia

This small, centrally located cafe would be my favorite place in this list, except that they open at 4pm. I usually avoid caffeine at this hour unless I’m preparing for a long night. This being said, the music there is on point, and it’s a good place to enjoy a non-caffeinated tea or crisp beer.

La Terraza Verde:

Image result for la terraza verde

This is maybe the diamond in the rough selection here, in part because you have to technically leave Murcia in order to find it. The Terraza Verde is an outdoor lounge that shares a space with a hostel called La Casa Verde. This might also be one of the most heavily shaded places to sip coffee, as various plants and trees that hang overhead give patrons a junglelike atmosphere. Situated about fifteen minutes by foot away from the center, via a bicycle path that hugs Murcia’s Rio Segura, one can enjoy a Yakka beer or nice vegetarian style menu alongside their coffee.

Cafe de Alba:

Image result for cafe de alba murcia

Cafe de Alba is the most experienced member of this list. This cafe, bar, and music venue has been open since 1986, and boasts a varied clientele. Every time I walk through the door I feel like I’ve just been teleported to the 1950s, thanks to scores of vintage bar paraphernalia sprawled all about.

Cafeteria Centro Cultural Puertas de Castilla:

Related image

This cafe gets my nod of approval for three reasons: It has 90 cent americanos (the cheapest I’ve found in the city), it’s connected to a cultural center that has a nifty little library, and on the outside of the building is a massive graffiti three story mural of the iconic Salvador Dalí. This mural is one of the largest in the world, and the artist who painted it Eduardo Kobra, who hails from São Paulo, Brazil.

Honorable Mention:

Cafe Lab: Cafe Lab is almost too perfect. In fact, it’s such a good place to go for coffee that the prices are nearly double everyone else in this list. If you want to learn a new Spanish word, here’s one: pijo. This in Murcia means posh, and Cafe Lab is absolutely this definition. That being said, the baristas are knowledgeable, the atmosphere gives a sense that you’ve just been transported to some mountain chalet in the middle of winter, and overall the experience there is quite nice.

Picaddily Coffee: I have to mention this place because it’s a Murcian company that’s been ballooning around Spain like Starbucks has in the USA. It’s overpriced, but the people who work there are friendlier than most places you’ll visit in Murcia and the openness of their Ronda Norte location is perfect for writing in a blog…

Advice, Europe, Germany, Travel, Travel Guide

Thirty Hours in Bonn, Germany

On Sunday my good friend Lieven and I found ourselves in Bonn, Germany.

This wasn’t by some random coincidence.

I had been catching up with Lieven and his family in Ghent, Belgium and we decided to pay another close friend a visit.

Lucia, a former roommate in Murcia, had recently moved to Bonn and invited us to come and check out the city that she now calls home.

We both had time off from work, neither one of us had ever been to Bonn before, and Lucia was one of our best friends. This combination made booking a train ticket to see her very easy.

Despite living in a completely separate country, it only took roughly four hours to arrive to Bonn from Ghent by train.

Ghent to Brussels, Brussels to Cologne, Cologne to Bonn, train station to Münsterplatz.

By eleven in the morning on Sunday we had reached our destination and were already enjoying a sunny morning breakfast in Münsterplatz, one of Bonn’s centrally located plazas. With a Berliner pastry in my hand and views of a Ludwik Van Beethoven statue in front of us, we had about thirty hours to enjoy this western German city.

Time was of an essence, and Lucia made a suggestion that sounded perfect:

“Do you guys want to go and rent some bicycles?”

We were experiencing some nice weather, so renting a bike to tour around her city sounded pretty great.

Immediately after paying an affordable rental price (10 euros for the day), it became clear that Bonn was a city meant for cyclists. At all corners one could find a lone or pack of bikes parked in front of houses, cafes, and scattered all about on fences.

Bonn’s claim to fame is that it was once the capital of West Germany, as a result of the country being separated at the climax of World War II. Ludwik Van Beethoven was born there in 1770, the delicious candy company known as Haribo was founded there in 1920, and the University of Bonn provides a eternally youthful presence. Cologne is 15 miles away, and the wide flowing Rhine River dissects the city in two.

We followed a bike path along the Rhine, towards a district of Bonn called Bad Godesderg to check out a food-truck event that was taking place. All along the way we found ourselves passing scores of joggers, walkers, rollerbladers, and of course many over cyclists.

Lucia told us that the winters there were long, so it appeared that any trace of fair weather brought out everyone to bask in its temporary glory.

Bonn is clean, the buildings are wide and in the words of Lieven, very “state-like.” We could see elements of what was once a capitol. We didn’t know if one building was an embassy or simply university housing.

After the food truck event, we continued to some other places of interest like the Bad Godesderg castle, which has a trendy looking lounge inside and boasts one of the best bird-eye views of Bonn. We ventured further down the Rhine, look a ferry across the river’s rapids, and locked our bikes in Königswinter. Schloss Drachenburg was constructed to be the palace of a baron named Stephen von Sarter, however the former banker passed away before its completion in 1884. What remains is now a really cool museum for those willing to hike a long walk above Königswinter. We found out the hard way that it closes early, and opted for some nice scenic photos once at the top of the hill.

After returning the bikes, we spent the rest of the evening relaxing and Lucia cooked us a delicious Spanish style tortilla.

The next day we checked out a hipster coffee shop called Black Coffee Pharmacy, wandered around some souvenir shops, walked through the city’s expansive botanical gardens, and ended our stay with a taste of some German schnitzel at a brewery restaurant called Bönnsch.

It felt great to be in Bonn. Firstly it was refreshing to be in a new city, to experience a place that wasn’t overcrowded with tourists. More importantly we got to hang out with Lucia. She’s a close friend, and it was nice to see where she’s relocated.

Saying farewell was tough, but we have grown accustomed to saying bye in one place and then hello in another. There’s another meet-up pending, perhaps in Bonn or maybe in some place that we can’t even predict. 

Until that happens, I wish her the best.

Thanks for reading this blog, have you been working out? Keep up the good work!

-Dan Catena


(Bonner Münster Church)

(View from the castle in Bad Godesberg)

(Botanical Garden)

(Ferry crossing the Rhine)

(Schloss Drachenburg)

(Haribo Store)

Advice, Coffee, Ideas, MIssoula, Montana, Travel, Travel Guide, Travel Tips, Where to drink Coffee

Where to Drink Coffee in Missoula, Montana

There was once a time in my life when I wasn’t attracted to the elixir of pitch black coffee.

I call these years the “Pre-Awakening” because during this point in my youth I started each day feeling groggy for extended periods of time, sometimes lasting a few days continuously.

It wasn’t until moving to Missoula, Montana in 2005, to attend university, when the first real caffeine buzz hit my system and had me hooked. Up until this point I had only sipped on coffee a handful of times, but never gave this beverage much of a chance. Early morning classes and simple access to on-campus caffeine pit-stops such as Just Chillin’ made picking up a quick brew a gradual morning favorite.

After a couple months in college I realized that coffee tasted pretty good. After one year I accepted the fact that this drink would be staying with me like a dark savory shadow.  Two years of living on campus and many cups of coffee later, it soon became time to move off-campus with friends (Mark and Andrew). This represented a climactic moment to go and find places to get a caffeine buzz that existed in town rather than at school.

This was at first a harsh challenge, but my love of coffee forced me out of my comfort zone to pursue places that provided a haven to relax with coffee.

If you ever find yourself in Missoula, Montana and want a cup of delicious coffee, then these places are where you should visit:

Break Espresso

Located in the heart of Missoula, on Higgins Street, Break Espresso is a bakery/cafe that gives one the sensation that they have entered a warm log cabin during the middle of winter. With comfortable lighting plus brick walls, this wide and open spaced bakery is filled with wooden tables and perfect for someone to read, have a conversation with friends, or study for an exam. All of these activities can be enjoyed over a cup of dark coffee or tea.  During the cold and grey months of Missoula this establishment is perfect for warming up not only your hands but also your mind.

Break Espresso:

432 N Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT 59802  (406) 728-7300


Le Petit Outre


Le Petit Outre (French for The Little Outrageous) started in 1998 and offers some of Missoula’s finest tasting breads.  Arguably one of the best croissants of my life was eaten here, and after my love for coffee started to fly, I discovered that Le Petit also brews some delicious espresso. Back when I lived in town it was only possible to order a coffee to go, as their space originally didn’t offer any place to sit. The last time I visited Missoula Le Petit installed a large communal table and a handful of individual ones, which is great. This place gets some bonus points because two really great friends (Megan and Lauren) happen to work there.

Le Petit Outre:

29 S 4th St W, Missoula, MT 59801

Butterfly Herbs

Image may contain: drink, food and indoor

 Walking into Butterfly Herbs which sits in the center of North Higgins Street, gives a potential shopper or coffee drinker a feeling that they have just transported to the set of a Harry Potter film. The walls are covered in shelves holding countless variations of teas, spices, and goods that might be from random places like Zanzibar. One can find chocolate, jewelry, books, greeting cards, and maybe even bibles there. Hidden behind the sensory overload that protects the front of the store exists a small cafe that is cosy and perfect for a cold winter Missoula day. Perhaps a hot cocoa or a steaming cup of Joe is in order when you walk inside this gem.

Butterfly Herbs:

232 N Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT 59802     (406) 728-8780

Bernice’s Bakery

Photo of Bernice's Bakery - Missoula, MT, United States

courtesy of

The emphasis of Bernice’s is food rather than coffee. In fact, they don’t offer expresso, simply drip coffee. Established in 1978, Bernice’s Bakery is well-known among Missoulian’s for its homely atmosphere, friendly staff, and quality products. Anyone needing a cake, pastry, or any assortment of sweets can count on Bernice’s to make something delicious. One of my favorite morning routines used to be visiting Bernice’s and ordering a black coffee with a coconut macaroon while reading the paper. They also offer some great lunch options but sadly I haven’t tried them.

Bernice’s Bakery:

190 S 3rd St W, Missoula, MT 59801  (406) 728-1358

Honorable Mentions:

Liquid Planet  There was a time in my college life where I spent a great deal of time in the original Liquid Planet, which is located on North Higgins Street. It is a coffeeshop and intentional beverage market that started out as a project by a former University of Montana professor back in the 1990’s.  One can find a massive wine selection, beer selection, and of course coffee/tea selection which makes it variety second to none. Too many memories are resting there. First dates, last dates, exam preparations, and countless meet-ups with friends took place during my seven years of Missoula residency there. Now that I’ve moved away from Missoula, part of me has moved on from Liquid Planet as well. It’s definitely a place to visit when some thirsty traveler is in town, but for now I doubt being one of them. Maybe one day I’ll go back, but until then I’ll continue to think back to those memories in fondness.

Black Coffee Roasting Company is a Missoula, based brand of organic, craft coffee that boasts products with a minimal environmental footprint. They recently moved to a new location in 2014 on East Spruce street. It looks like a converted half-dome auto repair shop but when you walk inside you automatically get good coffee vibes. Their products are flavorful, and the staff are nice, but I haven’t been there enough times to get a sincere verdict as to whether I like the place or not. Inside I know that it should be placed higher on my list, but I feel deeply loyal to the other more “old school” establishments already mentioned.

This concludes my list of where someone should drink coffee when they happen to stumble upon Missoula, Montana. It’s by no means a complete list, as dozens of coffee shops exist in town. This is simply an itinerary of places that I personally would recommend checking out. If you have any ideas for others places, feel free to leave a comment below!

Thank you for reading, you probably deserve an aromatic cup of recently brewed morning goodness 🙂

More posts will come sometime soon, but until then I wish you the best.


Advice, California, Coffee, Sausalito, Travel, Travel Guide, Travel Tips, United States, Where to drink Coffee

Where to Drink Coffee in Sausalito

Good afternoon or good evening, depending on where in the world you are reading this..

Not too long ago I wrote a blog post about eight things I learned while teaching English in Spain, and the quiet excitement it gave me was enough to make me want to continue this style of writing. The notion of doing a second list about something has been circling around my head for a few months now, but physically sitting down to do something about it hasn’t happened until now. Part of the problem was that I didn’t know what to make a second list about.

Maybe one about cats? About pop music? About ice-cream toppings?

After pondering for a fairly long time, drinking a cup of deliciously pitch black coffee, I came to the conclusion that there weren’t many things that I felt inclined to write about..

..except where to drink a cup of coffee.

I like drinking coffee so much that I’ve focused trips on this hobby, and also have written a blog post about how addicted I am to this mysterious dark elixir.

One of my favorite pastimes is hiding in a coffee shop, or place that sells warm beverages, to read and simply unwind. It’s a sensation that, for me, is impossible to replace. However, over the course of many happy years of hanging out in coffee shops, I have become selective of where to go in order to get a coffee buzz.

I’m by no means an expert of what makes a coffee good, but I think I’ve become knowledgeable about what makes a place to drink coffee good.

So, now that I’ve written a few hundred words of complete nonsense, and you are probably about to change windows on your web browser, here is my list of places where you should drink coffee in my hometown of Sausalito, California:


Cibo (Chee-Bow) means “food” in Italian, and this cafe brews arguably the finest tasting coffee in Sausalito. They roast their own coffee beans and provide guests with a comfortable atmosphere. White painted walls, wide glass windows, and a few different shades of red give Cibo an old-world minimalist feel and if you can score a table then it’s an ideal place to read or to do work. They prioritize quality, whether it be through brewing a near perfect cappuccino or with their small but great breakfast/lunch menu.

They are located on the local’s side of town, which is nice because you can escape swarms of daily visitors arriving from San Francisco or other far away places. The prices at Cibo are on par with everywhere else in Sausalito, and the only downside is that the place can fill up very quickly. On weekends be prepared to wait in a line.

Connect with Cibo:

1201 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cibo’s Facebook


(415) 331-2426


Sausalito Bakery & Cafe:


Sausalito Bakery & Cafe is an interesting place. It doesn’t offer very much in terms of decor nor size, and the heat one feels from the kitchen’s bread ovens can be a little overwhelming at times.

This shouldn’t hold you back from giving this place a chance.

Where it fails to provide in beauty and atmosphere, it makes up in price, quality of product, and more importantly in location. Downtown Sausalito is beautiful, but it’s also beautifully expensive. It’s hard to walk around town without feeling the weight on your wallet, however Sausalito Bakery & Cafe is money saving oasis. You can order a coffee, not the best but good enough to give you a buzz, and a surprisingly wide variety of food options ranging from veggie frittatas to chocolate cookies. It’s also one of the few cafe’s in town where you can sit outside and feel breeze circulating from the Bay.

Located along Bridgeway Avenue, across the street from the The Trident restaurant, this establishment is at the very end of Sausalito’s downtown strip. If you can score an outside seat or a narrow table near one of their rustic wood paneled windows then you might be hooked for a repeat visit.

Connect with Sausalito Bakery & Cafe:

571 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

(415) 331-9552

Osteria Divino:


According to Wikipedia, an Osteria is historically a place that serves wine and traditional yet simple style food. Typically in Italy these eateries were less expensive and provided local specialties. Osteria Divino is one of my favorite destinations in Sausalito, partially because this Florentine influenced restaurant lives up to its name: you can get a nice quality meal, glass of wine, or cup of coffee without breaking the bank. In the mornings this place is perfect for relaxing with a cup of steaming espresso mixed with water.

Located on Caledonia Sreet, Sausalito’s less-touristy and more local side of town, Osteria Divino is quite nice for brunch during the weekends but more importantly (at least for me) it’s a necessary place to start the day. In the morning there aren’t many people there, so sitting at the bar with a coffee and book is peaceful. At night this place changes flavor because on a regular basis one can find live jazz or latin fused music being played by a wide variety of local or international artists.

Connect with Osteria Divino:

37 Caledonia St, Sausalito, CA 94965


(415) 331-9355

Driver’s Market:


Driver’s Market opened in 2012 and their mission has been to provide a meeting place for people and also to offer delicious food with a heavy emphasis on transparency. Being a couple blocks away from both Cibo and Osteria Divino on Caledonia Street, this market has evolved into one of Sausalito’s primary shopping destinations. They strive to fill shelves with locally cultivated products and to ensure that guests know where the items in their shopping cart comes from. Their wine section is one of a kind, their employees are generally very personable, and they offer a positive atmosphere.

I hate to say that I seldom shop there, partially because organic and sustainable groceries come with a higher price tag, but Driver’s Market has become one of my dark-horse favorites for enjoying a cup of coffee. They sell dark or medium roast Equator coffee in to-go cups made from recycled materials at the checkout counter which is a nice bonus. I like to simply walk inside, pay for a pitch black coffee, then take advantage of their eating area, which is located next to their top-notch deli section. With wide windows it’s a great place for people watching and reading the newspaper. If the weather is favorable then an even better option is to take your coffee outside and take a seat at one of their outdoor tables.

Connect with Driver’s Market:

200 Caledonia St, Sausalito, CA 94965


(415) 729-9582




Honorable Mentions:

Taste of Rome & Poggio are also good for getting a cup of coffee. They boast excellent street views of Bridgeway Avenue and provide guests with a unique Sausalito experience.

RIP: Philz Coffee & Il Piccolo Cafe

Personally, the golden age of Sausalito coffee was in 2016 when both Philz Coffee and Piccolo Cafe were still open. Piccolo offered the absolute best views in town, sitting next to Yee Tock Chee Park and Philz became the heart of local Sausalito ever since it opened in 2012. Currently the doors to Piccolo are boarded up and the space is vacant. Philz Coffee has been replaced by Fireside Coffee, but out of personal protest I refuse to go there.

Thank you for reading!

These places are where you should drink coffee in Sausalito, California (in my opinion). I hope you found this information helpful. This list is based on my personal experiences and preferences, so you have the right to disagree with me. If you have your own list, then feel free to share it in the comment section below!  Have a great day and have great coffee!