Why follow a compass that's lost? The Lost Compass is for people who can't stop travelling, who always seek out the next destination. It's for those who'd rather take a backroad than the Interstate; who wonder what happens when you get off the beaten path and look up an odd nook or cranny. It's about finding the little gems, wherever they may be hidden. It is for those who embrace travel as an experience - not stopping just at a tourist trap, but finding a local cafe, bookstore, or dive bar to stop and talk to the people who make up the town. What happens when the compass' needle spins off you the beaten path? Keep reading to find out.

01 July 2012

Daytrippin: NC State Farmers Market

In this installment of Daytrippin, I'm taking you on an adventure to explore the NC State Farmers Market.  Why?  Because my husband has laid down the law, put me on a budget, and I need to find organic, growing-belly friendly foods WITHOUT busting the budget every single week at Whole Foods!  Because farmers markets are known for some cool, crazy, even oddball local or heirloom varieties of produce.  (Have you ever seen a PURPLE bell pepper before this post?  Yeah, neither had I!)  Because this past Wednesday was the last day before the epic heat wave that sent my car thermometer soaring well over 100 degrees; therefore, it was the last day I could spend hours outside without wanting to melt. And because supporting local farmers, local agriculture, small businesses, and the locavore movement all in one stop?  As Martha would say, it's a Good Thing.  

Purple bell peppers, Walker Farms, NC, Raleigh, farmers market, taken by Lynn Shallue at Lost Compass
PURPLE bell peppers???  Another good thing!

23 June 2012

AAR for TBEX at Keystone, CO

Being a member of the military, After-Action Reports (or AARs) are considered a vital tool for learning about experiences and accumulating those "lessons learned."  Consider this my AAR for the Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference (TBEX '12) at Keystone, CO, which happened last weekend and totally rocked my world. I bounced up to Keystone from Monument (a suburb of Colorado Springs) last weekend with my mom, who is my editor and frequent travel companion, to partake in an excellent road trip and an amazing conference in one of the more picturesque locations in a state that thrives on jaw-dropping scenery.  (I took over 250 pictures... in 3 days.  I'm currently deleting all but the best and then I'll post them up here so y'all can live vicariously.  Or just go to the resort.  Up to you!)

Keystone, CO, Hwy 6, Taken by Lynn Shallue of the Lost Compass
My first glimpse of Keystone

16 June 2012

Travelling while pregnant...

So, as of today, I'm 27 weeks pregnant (or almost 7 months).  Peanut is starting to make herself more and more known, especially when I give her some chocolate!  I have taken two flights and multiple road trips.  The biggest lesson I've learned is to LISTEN TO MY BODY!!!  If I can't handle a two hour road trip, which I used to scoff at as no big deal, then I need to accept that until I'm past the narcolepsy of the first trimester road trips of more than 45 minutes are a bad idea.  That took a while, and a few yells from passengers, to get through my thick skull.

Here's what else I've learned so far:

15 June 2012

Sorry for the extended absence

My dear readers -

I'm sorry for the lack of posting.  I was having a LOT of fun learning how to be a blogger, finding my voice, and having a new excuse to travel.  Then, within the space of four weeks, I lost my day job, found out I was pregnant with our first child, said my final farewells to my grandmother, hosted my mom at my house for nearly a month, said goodbye to my husband for a few months, found a new part-time job as a substitute teacher, and had to let life settle down around me again.  Life, needless to say, has been hectic.  Unfortunately, because this was such a new project, it was the first and easiest thing to set aside until such time I could dust it off, shine it up, and focus on it again.

Well, hurrah hooray!  I think I've found my equilibrium.  Or, at least, things have settled enough that I can enjoy a fun summer of blogging before my latest creation comes into existence, and my life role changes from wife to wife and mother.  I hope this blog will change a bit, too.  My focus when I started was twofold: find fun day trips and weekend trips from my home in North Carolina with the ultimate goal of creating a local travel book for the Fort Bragg area; and, give my friends who go TDY (tour of duty) within the military community something of a guide for different locations.  Now I also hope to either include or spin-off a travelling with kid blog.  I PROMISE that Lost Compass WON'T turn into a Mommy-blog (I'll create another blog for the family updates), but I hope to post what I learn about travelling while pregnant and with kids... because to my great surprise, it has changed a few things.

So, thanks to all my loyal readers for sticking with me.  I'm sorry I've been silent for so long.  I have lots of articles in the works covering places from Orlando, to Miami, to Atlanta, and more!  Stay tuned, and I'll get those out soon!  But first, I'm at this glorious conference called TBEX '12 in absolutely stunning Keystone, CO for the weekend.  The pain I must suffer for you, Gentle Readers...  the pain.


29 January 2012

Sidetracked - Figo Pasta / Osteria del Figo, Atlanta, GA

If you haven't checked out this bastion of pasta love, my friend you simply have not experienced all that is wonderful in Atlanta.  I found the Figo in Vinings on the northwest side of town when I lived there back in 2009... and went to Figo at least once every two weeks.  (That should tell you something... in a city to make any foodie's heart quiver with all the temptations and delights, that I should go there at least a dozen times in four months tells you just how delicious this place is.)  I'd visited again in 2010 and was disappointed, because the pasta was not well cooked - all glued together and a bit chewier than al dente.  However, I had to give it another shot because this is seriously the best pasta I've eaten outside of Italy.  And I'm so glad I did.  The chain is an Atlanta staple, with locations scattered everywhere from downtown to Alpharetta.

23 January 2012

Daytrippin' Raleigh - Rembrandt and Craic make for a good Saturday

This past Saturday was a dreary, gray mess of a January day.  I'd texted a friend to see if she wanted to go up to Raleigh and hit the Rembrandt in America exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art and maybe hit TraLi Irish Pub afterwards so I could use the Groupon that expires in a couple days.  This was the last weekend to see it and I hadn't yet been there.  The blog demands it!  Right?  :)  She texted me after we both spent lazy mornings sleeping in, and we agreed to meet around noon.  Oh, and was it okay if she brought her hubby, who is my coworker and good friend, as well?  Yay!  A gang!  So I piled into their Jeep and up we went to Raleigh.

20 January 2012

Weekend jaunt - Montgomery, AL

I know...  Montgomery, AL, isn't typically the most glamorous place for a weekend trip.  And I have a personal like/dislike relationship with the area, due to a visit I hadn't planned on extending a few years ago.  However, with my husband there for training, I bit the bullet and hopped in the car to see what I could find.

The view of the Capitol from the bottom of the hill on Market Street was pretty amazing.  See?

13 January 2012

A meditation on life well-traveled

I have traveled frequently throughout my life.  My military parents lived in Germany for three years when I grew up; my mom was (and still is) an incredibly wise woman who decided to put me into a German daycare center, where I would have to learn the language quickly!  No English spoken there!  Instead of the standard high school senior trip to Mexico, to get wasted on tequila and make far too many poor decisions, I decided to go with my German class to Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland for two glorious weeks with minimal adult supervision in four amazing countries.  I have spent one semester of college in Vienna, Austria, blessed with a large backpack and a Eurrail pass that allowed me to see eight countries in three months.  I have student-taught in Ansbach, Germany, teaching American military kids during the day and rediscovering the land of my youth at night.  I have been on trips long and short throughout Europe.  I've been to the Middle East for two months, and bounced all over the Caribbean on numerous cruises.  Although I have by NO means explored nearly as much of the world as I would like, I do consider myself pretty well-traveled.  However, I do have to wonder how it has impacted my life and if there is a point where travel becomes too much, when it impacts our life goals in favor of one more masterpiece, one more amazing experience.

An afternoon storm building over the desert

12 January 2012

I was on the radio today!!!!

So there I was, driving through a gorgeous South Carolina afternoon, on the way to visit my hubby for the weekend...  I'd grown a bit bored with my book on tape and switched to the radio for a bit when I heard the preview for a local program on NPR.  Called Your Day, this state-wide program run out of Clemson University was focusing on a locally renowned food writer, restaurant critic, and Cordon Bleu trained chef, Holly Herrick.  Ms. Holly is absolutely amazing - she trained as a journalist, figured out she enjoyed cooking once she moved to a snow-bound Minneapolis, actually MET Julia Child and was told by the Amazing Mrs. Child to spend some time at the Cordon Bleu in France.  She spent seven years there, then bounced around back here in the states as a restaurant critic and food writer.  She actually has a new book out, A Food Lover's Guide to Charleston and Savannah, which I'm pretty sure I'll have to pick up before I travel down there the next time.

So I decided to call in and ask about how to make this blog better.  You can listen HERE!!!  (Go to roughly 37:30 to hear the start of my call.)  Ms. Holly had such great advice!  It was an absolute honor to be able to call in and talk with a professional and for them to let me say the name of this blog a couple different times, so hopefully I could spur a few more visitors to my little corner of the web.

If you can't tell, it's about three hours later and I'm still bouncing up and down worse than my neighbor's brand new puppy.  I'm so stoked!!!  Hooray for NPR!!!!!!!

09 January 2012

Roamin - Ya Ya's European Bistro in Wichita, KS

Whenever I go visit family and friends, no matter where on this planet they happen to be, I love finding a great place to take them as a splurge.  My most recent discovery was in Wichita, KS - home to my beloved in-laws and a fabulous, rather high-end European bistro called Ya Ya's European Bistro.  (Apparently this is a small chain with a restaurant in Denver, Little Rock, Kansas City, and St Louis as well, but for some reason when they came to Wichita, they dropped the "i" in Yia Yia's.)  My friend came to the in-laws house, gushing about this wonderful place (for a not-so-wonderful flop of a date).  I knew this place would be a perfect fit for my treat - well outside of their comfort zone for food, but not too highbrow.  (After all, it is Wichita... right?)  So I announced that I was kidnapping everyone, with my husband's consent, and we all loaded into the car for the ride across town.  There would be six of us total - me, hubs, Mom-in-law, Dad-in-law, and Sis-in-law, and the friend that tipped me off.

04 January 2012

Ladies' Night Out - Raleigh

Ballet and crepes - what could be better?  (Or more girly?)
I'm a huge fan of the arts, especially the ballet.  The Nutcracker is a perennial part of my Christmas, and I've drug my poor husband to more than his fair share of other ballets.  Groupon had a great deal a couple months ago - $25 for two tickets to see Cinderella and ballet set to Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor at the Carolina Ballet.  My husband had to work that night, so I grabbed one of my girlfriends.  She's a ballet rookie - this was her first ballet.  I was shocked that any American girl could grow up without seeing the Nutcracker at least once!  And considering we left early, got to Durham and found the Performing Arts Center (DPAC) only to realize the show was at Memorial Auditorium... we found our seats 10 minutes into the show.  Pretty good, if I do say so myself!

Fayettenam? Bragg-dad? Is that REALLY Fayetteville?

**Updated 1 July 12!**  Look for the purple.  :)

Before I moved to Fayetteville, I heard it all...  Fayettenam...  Fort Braggdad.  I was warned repeatedly that I was moving to the most undesirable, unappealing, unattractive city to grace the fair state of North Carolina.  Most North Carolinians who have been through here without living here remember the pawn stores and strip clubs that line Bragg Blvd, the violence and crime rate, and the generally downtrodden, factory-town atmosphere of a town built by and for the military.