The Champagne Life on a DIY Budget Since 2007

FlipKey by TripAdvisor Travel Expert

barton springs pool austin best swimming holes

Some of you know that I have a secret alter ego identity: I was raised as a military brat, the daughter of two Air Force officers, and learned to love and value traveling and the pricelessness of new experiences from a very young age.

My parents divorced when I was six, and I spent my formative years splitting my weeks between the historic, revolutionary, pastoral, intellectual-pursuit-obsessed exurb enclave of Lexington (Birthplace of American History!) and the grittier, artsier, urban Somerville (the “Brooklyn of Boston”), where my dad’s family has grown roots and wings since the 1890s, when my great-grandfather and his brother fled recruitment into the Italian army as stowaways on a ship bound for America (then spent their engineering careers building the Sumner and Callahan Tunnels under Boston Harbor). But when I was just entering junior high, my dad decided to report back for active duty, his first assignment as a colonel and the head of his Air Force medical group taking him (and us, 12 weeks per year) for stints in St. Louis, then Seattle, Hawaii, South Carolina, Japan, and finally back to St. Louis, before he retired in Tennessee near Asheville, NC a few years ago.

I’m so thrilled to announce that I’m dusting off my passport, gassing up the car for road trips, and sanding the rust off my travel writing lockbox as a newly minted travel expert for Flipkey and TripAdvisor — which will also mean many, many more travel stories, new adventures, and past sojourns revisited, here on Shoestring.

In the meantime, check out these four new Austin and Boston expert city guides I recently wrote for FlipKey, sharing most of my secret spots in two of my favorite hubs:

BOSTON
Best secondhand & vintage shopping in Boston
Best gluten-free eats in Boston

AUSTIN
Best secondhand & vintage shopping in Austin
Best gluten-free eats in Austin

I’m so thrilled to officially be a TripAdvisor contributor, after sharing my best budget travel tips with SmarterTravel for years and more recently reviewing a vacation house rental from FlipKey in St. Augustine, Florida last year when we traveled to my cousin’s wedding. Looking forward to sharing more soon, and what the future travel docket has in store. I definitely have the travel bug again…bad.

In the meantime, check out Shoestring’s Travel, Boston and Austin channels for all our archived stories going back to 2007, written by me and by our ever-growing roster of more than 60 Shoestring guest contributors!