The Poway Farmers Market is Open!

A few weeks ago, I was on an early morning walk–trying to beat the dreaded heat (78F) of midday in San Diego County and hoping to see few people on the sidewalks so that the awkwardness of social distancing wouldn’t force me off the concrete and into traffic. The May gray was holding strong, providing a comforting coolness to the air as it blew across my face and making the scenery around me just bland enough to be uninteresting.

A handful of blocks down Midland Road, in the middle of the street, the tips of white canopies came into view. Perplexed, I wondered what was going on. What event could possibly be taking place? We’re in the middle of a self-isolation stage. Squinty-eyed, I hoofed it towards the hullabaloo.

To my disbelief, there were dozens of people setting up shop for the Poway Farmers Market. I hadn’t heard anything in the news about any San Diego famers markets being open. It made no sense. We’re not allowed to congregate with more than 10 people, but we can socialize at an open-air market?

And that, perhaps, is the key phrase. “Open-air.” Since there’s ample space and ventilation to social distance, if vendors abide by strict regulations (wearing personal protective equipment like masks and gloves, providing hand sanitizer, not allowing customers to touch the products, not providing samples) and if consumers also abide (PPE, not touching products, maintaining 6-ft. social distance between vendors and other patrons), then the likelihood of coronavirus transmission is minimized.


I made a mental note to myself to revisit the Saturday market in a few weeks with my family.

So today, we followed through with our plan. And I’m so glad we did. Under a cerulean sky, residents and visitors came prepared with their PPE and reusable shopping bags to peruse and purchase the tasty treats that local vendors worked hard to harvest, bake, cook, and curate for their discerning clients. A chorus of bubbly conversations and joyful laughter seemed to come from all directions, from adults and children alike. Despite not being able to see anyone’s full face, it was clear that everyone was happy to be outside, ready to smartly and safely interact with other people.

As I went from stand to stand, I chatted with the vendors, trying to get a sense of how things were going for them. For some, business was booming. The market was only fully closed for one or two weekends. Once it re-opened, certain merchants got right back into the swing of things. For others, it seemed that they were doing what they could to stay afloat in uncertain waters. Their face masks might have been protecting them from virus, but they could hardly hide the strain of struggling to make ends meet.

Still, everyone had some sense of optimism. Maybe it was the saturated sky, the gentle breeze, or the warmth of the sun. Or maybe it was the extra kindnesses that customers showed them–the jovial greetings, the smiling eyes (“smeyes”), and the profuse thanks that people offered. Gratitude was in huge supply at the farmers market today, and it moved in all directions.

It’s amazing how grateful one can feel about simple things–seeing other human beings, enjoying wonderful weather, earning a living, meeting new people, helping another person, or just being alive. Maybe it takes something drastic to remind us how good most of us have it. And perhaps sometimes, it just takes a stroll through a farmers market.

Join me on my stroll through the Poway Farmer’s Market in the video below, and meet my new friends Elliott of Chez Elliott and Francesco and Joseph of D’Acquisto Farms.

For more information about all San Diego County farmers markets, please visit:
Edible San Diego
San Diego County Farm Bureau


Happy 65th Birthday, Rick Steves!

Happy 65th Birthday, to this guy right here!

Please add your own captions and birthday wishes! And if you have any photos with the big guy, we’d love to see those too!

For even more candid photos of Rick Steves, check out the original post on The Travelphile Facebook Page.


Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

I want to take this opportunity to thank my mom, Virginia, for filling my life with love and learning. Among countless valuable lessons I’ve learned from her, I’m exceptionally grateful to her for teaching me about the value of travel from such an early age.

My parents weren’t wealthy, but they prioritized to create family moments with cross-country road trips, visits to national parks and monuments, trips to New York City to soak up the performing arts culture, a vacation to Hawaii to make paradise accessible to a wide-eyed teen, and journeys to their homeland to help me better understand our heritage.

Along with my dad, she taught me that good and thoughtful travel can connect us with cultures and re-connect us to who we are. Those journeys helped shape my world perspective and still continue to influence who I am today.

I don’t think she could have envisioned how much of an impact those travel experiences would have on me over the course of my life, but I am thankful that she chose to plant those seeds and for always encouraging my travel dreams to grow.

I love you, Mom!

How YOU Doin’?

Restrictions are lifting where I live. Starbucks has re-opened some of their stores but only for mobile-order pickup.

I’m really curious to know what’s happening and changing where you live, so please share your tales (and photos) with us.

Stay healthy and take care, everyone!

(This article was originally posted on May 6, 2020 on Facebook. To read some amazing comments and insights from people all across the US and the globe–including Portugal and Panama, please visit: The Travelphile on Facebook

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone (and belatedly, May the Fourth Be With You)! While I will admittedly be mackin’ down on some yummy *comida mexicana* today (let’s face it: any excuse to eat tacos 🌮), have you ever wondered what we’re actually celebrating on the Fifth of May? Is it commemorate:

a. an indigenous religious festivity from central Mexico
b. a triumphant battle over Napoleonic forces in central Mexico
c. the signing of a peace treaty between Mexico and the United States
d. Mexican Independence Day from Spain

Please share your guesses in the comments below. And for the real story, check out this cool, informative article from *The Conversation*.

A Beachin’ Day in San Diego

I’m not one who believes we should be opening up the entire economy right now (and we can civilly agree to disagree on that). I’m more concerned about the collective health and safety of the people in our society, and I’m grateful to the front-line, essential workers and to all the people who are thinking beyond their own needs by wearing PPE, maintaining social distancing, and practice hygienic behaviors.


But I gotta say, I am not mad one bit that San Diego beaches are accessible again, even if only in a limited way. We got to stroll the beach as a family, feel the sea breeze, find a kelp monster, and enjoy seeing happiness on so many faces (with and without PPE). It was surprisingly comforting to see so many people again. I miss people.

But no matter how quickly or slowly we re-open things, just remember: stay healthy, everyone! It’s about doing what’s good for everyone—not just yourself.

By the way, I’m making and selling customized face masks now. If you’re interested, stay tuned for more details. Or you can email me for more information at

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Turn Your Airline Sleep Mask into a Face Mask

In early April 2020, in order to protect ourselves and others, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advised that everyone wear some type of face covering ​when in public. Some cities and counties throughout the United States have now made varying degrees of that instruction a mandate for essential businesses and their customers, as well as for the resident population. Here’s the CDC recommendation (emphasis added):

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

undefinedWhen searching through my belongings for sufficient covering, it occurred to me that I already had something that could work. It was part of my amenity bag from Japan Airlines–a cotton front, terrycloth-backed sleep mask. Flip it upside down, and voilà, instant practical (and comfortable) face mask.

As travelers, you might already have some of these stashed away. Be sure that it covers your nose and mouth sufficiently and that you can adequately breathe through it. Test it at home by wearing it and walking around for a short period. Cotton is best and nylon might not provide the breathability you need.

Remember, this is not a cure-all or a shield that guarantees you won’t contract a coronavirus or any other illness. It’s a basic measure of protection that fits within the CDC guidelines. Your smartest options are still to self-isolate, maintain a minimum 6-feet social distance when in public, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds (especially after touching commonly used things like door knobs, faucet handles, touch pads, etc.), and DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES, NOSE, OR MOUTH.

We can all be part of the COVID-19 solution by keeping ourselves heathy and taking smart measures to prevent transmission and reception of any illness. Take good care of yourselves, your families, and your communities. We’ll get through this.

Once Upon a Time in Tuscany

A few years ago, I was gifted a ticket to see Andrea Bocelli in concert at the theater he helped create in Tuscany called Teatro del Silenzio. Full of gorgeous operatic and pop music, guest performers, dancing, fanfare, spectacle, and even a white tiger, it was a mesmerizing, unforgettable event. And it gave me an even stronger appreciation for the talent that Signore Bocelli so generously shares with the world.

Now all of us can commune together with Bocelli (while still social distancing) via an Easter Sunday livestream concert called “Music for Hope” from the Duomo (or Cathedral) of Milan. He considers it a way to “hug this wounded Earth’s pulsing heart.”

You can watch it on Bocelli’s YouTube channel on Sunday, April 12 | 1PM Eastern, 10AM Pacific (

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy this tiny portion of the concert I attended in Italy.

So, What’s New?

So, what’s new?

As I mentioned in my last post, a lot has been happening and changing in my life these past 24 months or so, and it’s time we got caught up. I am going to share some fairly personal things and bare my story to you with the intent of recognizing and respecting those who are part of it and honoring our Travelphile community of readers and travelers. You, too, are a part of my life. So, I hope any comments generated will take this spirit of intent into consideration.

Two years ago, Rick and I mutually decided to end our romantic relationship. It was an excruciating, agonizing decision in many ways, but we knew it was the right one. The tole that our jobs and lifestyles were taking on our partnership and togetherness was a heavy burden to constantly bear. We split up to preserve the love we had for one another and prevent it from deteriorating into nothingness. The choice recognized the value our relationship, our time together, and the happiness we had created.

We even had a “Break-Up Party.” About 100 friends and family members joined us in celebrating love, friendship, memories, and wishes for a hopeful future. It was one of the best parties we ever had at our house (and we’ve had some amazing parties). We emphasized that there was no picking sides and that our connections to our mutual loved ones, colleagues, and community would remain intact. We underscored that even though our relationship was evolving into a new form, we would still continue being each other’s dear friend, sounding board, and champion. And we have indeed maintained that connection both personally and professionally, as I stay on as a tour guide, guidebook researcher, and travel class teacher for his company.

I returned from my adopted home of Edmonds, WA to my home town of San Diego, CA. Being back amongst my lifelong best friends and my family was a huge comfort and blessing. There’s something about simply being in the presence of those who have known you the longest and can understand you without even hearing or uttering a word that brings a stillness and tranquility when all else feels like mountainous waves endlessly catapulting you in every direction. It also provided me an opportunity to be there for my parents more frequently than I had been able to when I was living 1000 miles away.

My dad has been rather ill for the past 5 or 6 years. My mom, whom I consider a living saint, provides him with constant care and assistance—not out of duty or obligation, but out of the truest embodiment of unconditional love I have ever witnessed. For a long time, her Filipino pride dictated that she do all that work essentially by herself. Thankfully now, she has the additional support of her sister, a regular caregiver, a generous neighbor, and a care team comprised of a physical therapist and a nurse. And when I’m not working, I’m able to spend so much more quality time with them and with my auntie. They are nourishment for my soul, and I know how fortunate I am to have them in my life and so nearby.

The other major change in my life began with a barbecue. A bunch of my friends from my band and color guard coaching days got together, and I reconnected with someone I hadn’t hung out with in ages.

Turns out that we now lived two blocks away from each other. We started meeting up, going for walks, getting coffee at Starbucks, exercising together, and running errands. The more time we spent together, the more time we wanted to spend together. Lunches turned into dinners, shy glances became deep gazes. We realized we had fallen for one another and finally admitted it. Love blossomed from a friendship that had spanned nearly 28 years, and my life would be forever changed.

Last fall, Mike asked me to be his wife. On March 25th, we got our wedding license. On April 4th, we were supposed to be wed. But COVID-19 has put a damper on those plans. Now, as we ride out the coronavirus situation from the comfort of our new home, we find solace in staying virtually connected to our family and friends across the US and in Europe, we continue to unpack our boxes as we nest in our beautiful abode, we cook fun meals, I play Wordscapes while he plays Bejeweled, we discuss (but don’t stress about) work and income, we binge-watch Criminal Minds on Netflix, and we think fondly of the epic day when we can finally celebrate our wedded union with our family and friends by our side—healthy, happy, and without the hindrance of a 6-ft social distance.

New normals have been a theme for me these past two years, and I’m constantly learning to adapt. It gives me the opportunity to explore new facets of life, to interact with people in new and renewed ways, and to reprioritize what matters. This is all part of the grand journey—road closures, forks in the road, new paths, and all. It’s exciting. It’s intimidating. It’s challenging. It’s wonderful. There’s so much to process and reflect upon, and there’s really so much that lies ahead personally and professionally. Thank you for letting me share this part of my life with you.

I hope you stay with me as I share stories of my recent travels. And I hope you’ll all welcome Mike into our Travelphile community. Take care and journey well!

A New Normal

Hey Travelphilers!

What an incredible change in life and society we’ve gone through in the past few weeks! We are all coping with different and continually-evolving levels of this coronavirus pandemic, and my heart goes out to all of you. Whether you’re self-isolating, mandated to shelter in place, working from home, suffering from loss of work or employment, managing education and activity time with your kids, dealing with illness or loss, or working on the front lines to combat this virus, please know that I am thinking of you.

I hope you are all doing your best to stay healthy, making the most of family time, self-care and wellbeing, new and revisited projects, and planning for fulfilling and rewarding experiences that await you on the other side of this unprecedented situation we’re all living through.

With the deep-seeded desires to stay connected with all of you, to keep my creative fire ignited, and to hopefully keep all of our travel dreams alive, one of my many goals for this time of self-isolation is to regularly post content again. Over the years, you have become a huge part of my life community, and I want us to keep that strong together.

There’s so much that’s been going on and changing my life in the past two years: some of which only a few of you might know about. I want to be able to share that with you, too.

Just recently, a fellow Travelphiler (and now friend), Andrea, wrote an email to me and my dear friend and colleague Sarah. As a pilot, Andrea travels the globe regularly, knows lots of her own handy travel tricks, and relies on other sources to discover new ways to make the most of her journeys. Her note referenced a video that Sarah and I had made and the work we do. At the end of the letter, she wrote:

“That video was life-changing for me when in London, so I started following you, Trish, on social media… Each post, each video….everything you do makes a difference. You have impacted so many lives in many positive ways. I cannot wait to see where your journey in life takes you and am hoping to join you on an adventure very soon.”

The email impacted me so much. It came at an important time in my life, and I felt truly inspired to generate more content for all of you to enjoy. Alas, as alluded to before, there has been a lot going on in my life—personally, professionally, and now, societally. So, I’ve kind of been missing in action as of late.

But now seems an opportune time to dig into my stockpiles of photos, videos, and stories that I’ve neglected to share with you from the past two years so we can reconnect through our shared passion for travel and for learning about the world. There are people, histories, artwork, feasts, monuments, buildings, and cultural experiences —both domestically and globally—that enliven this world. That’s something we can continue to celebrate…even as we shelter in place.

There is a light at the end of the COVID-19 Tunnel, and when we as a global community get through it, I hope we’ll all be able to resume our normal lives, that we can revive and create new plans, and that we’ll re-engage with the world up-close and personal and no longer at a social distance. In short, I hope we’ll all be able to journey…well. For now, let’s remain united in supporting one another and finding spirit-lifting things to virtually enjoy in this beautiful world that continues to turn.

I don’t know how frequent my posts will be, but I will make the commitment to work on them. You’ll also be brought up to speed with all that is new and changing in my life. Until then, it would be so wonderful to hear from you and learn how you’re occupying your days, how you’ve adapted to changes in your life in these past few weeks, and what your own plans are for the weeks to come.

Thank you so much for being part of The Travelphile Community and for adding happiness and meaning to my life!


Trish Feaster
The Travelphile

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