Life lately and upcoming travels: May 2015 Edition

dani and millie

Last Updated on February 19, 2021 by Dani

In my monthly round-ups, I am looking back at my travels over the past four weeks, what went well and what didn’t, what’s new with, what’s next for me and the most popular posts of the last month.

This month was a month of major ups and downs – and last week I realized that I still had no idea where I’d travel to on 1 June, when my housesit in Tucson would end. I ended the month with a near-death experience but the good news is that I’m still alive and I know where I’ll be heading to tomorrow!Copenhagen Los Angeles Arizona

Where I’ve been

I started the month in Berlin, one of my favorite cities in the world, followed by a couple of days in Copenhagen, and a visit to California before I returned to Tucson for the fourth time to look after one of my favorite dogs.

What went well

Returning to Southern California

Touching down in California put a smile on my face immediately. I had the most stressful time getting there (more on that under ‘What went wrong’) but the minute I stepped off the plane, all the stress dissolved into thin air. My last week in Germany had been super hectic and I was happy about the much needed ‘me time’. I usually try to seek out cool things to write about when I visit a place and take notes of cute coffee shops, restaurants and other things I find that I think are worth talking about, but after a couple of days I found myself not thinking about work at all – instead I focused only on things I enjoyed, took some time off, went on long runs, cruised around in my Flightcar and took time to adjust to the jet lag. It felt glorious to switch off my ‘work mode’ for a few days, because that is something that has become extremely rare. I guess I was ready for a vacation and wanted to simply enjoy myself without having to think about articles I’d have to write, take notes, or bring my camera if I didn’t feel like it (and I ended up bringing it only half the time, which is another rare occurrence). I deliberately booked a room in Santa Monica, a block from the beach, instead of Downtown L.A. or Hollywood, because I wanted to enjoy the ocean during my stay. Best decision I could’ve made!Santa Monica CaliforniaHousesitting in Tucson

I also couldn’t be happier about my decision to return to Tucson for another housesit – and this time around, with a first-time Arizona visitor in town, I got to revisit all my favorite places and see them with new eyes, plus explore new places I hadn’t been to yet during previous visits. This month has confirmed once again just how much I love the desert. I already touched on all the places I visited in this week’s Polaroid, and will share more about my favorite places in Southern Arizona soon.Tucson ArizonaMy first visit to Denmark

I briefly mentioned in last month’s round-up that I’d have a day to explore Copenhagen en route to the U.S. and even though I was freezing (I had packed for summer weather, not for chilly Scandic weather) I loved exploring Copenhagen and got a nice taste of the city. Of course a day was nowhere near enough to thoroughly see Copenhagen but now that I know just how close it is to Germany (about four hours), I have a feeling that this was only the first of many visits!Copenhagen Denmark 2015

What went wrong

Not being allowed to board the plane

Just a quick reminder that the exact same thing had just happened to me six weeks earlier. The first time it happened, I kept my cool, but when I was told in Copenhagen I couldn’t board my flight to LA because I didn’t have a return ticket, I completely lost it. I sat on the floor of the airport bawling my eyes out for about an hour before I was able to pull myself back together.

I know, I should be smarter and have a return ticket, but I’ve been in and out the US so many times and was never asked for a return ticket – I didn’t even think about booking one! And to be honest, most of the time I don’t even know where I’ll be traveling to next. Last year alone I flew in and out of the States four times, and only one out of these four times did I have a return ticket. So I can’t really blame anyone but myself here, but it was the most devastating thing that’s happened to me in months, if not years.lufthansa A380 LAXSince I am typing this in the US, I did make it to America in the end – I bought an onward travel ticket and was re-booked onto the next flight to L.A. within hours. I could’ve done without the mental stress though. I have been trying to find out if I really need proof of onward travel when entering the U.S. but couldn’t find a clear statement online – if you have any detailed knowledge of this, feel free to share it in the comments 🙂

A tire blowout on the highway

After having driven incident-free all month, I had a horrible near death experience three days ago when, on the highway, one of my front tires exploded. I was able to steer against the pull of the car towards the concrete guard rail and managed to stop the car before it hit the concrete, but the shock of the experience is still haunting me. I had to leave the dog in the car while because it was over 100 F (37.7C) outside while we were waiting for the tow truck and I was scared shitless that one of the many 18-wheelers that were racing past us would hit the car with her in it. I keep thinking about all the horrible things that could have happened and how lucky I was to get off relatively lightly.Clipboard

What’s next for me

I am flying to New York tomorrow! I had other ideas for June, involving a visit to San Diego, Seattle and the Pacific Northwest (finally!), but they didn’t work out for various reasons. While I’m sad that I still don’t get to visit Seattle (next year it has to happen!) I am beaming with excitement that I’ll be in my favorite place in the world in a few hours. And it just so happened that I found a last-minute housesit in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Brooklyn where I’ll be looking after two adorable kitties. I have two more housesits lined up in New York City and can’t wait to see what else is coming up in June, but I am excited for all the things I love about New York City in the summer, including Pride, free concerts in the park, open air movies, bike rides, the Mermaid Parade and weekend food markets!May 2015 Arizona

Best posts of the month

Tags : Life lately


  1. I don’t have definitive knowledge of the onward ticket thing, but I have been asked to show my ticket a couple of times going to the US. Also, several places/airlines in Europe are very strict about even letting you check in without one (obviously you had this situation in Copenhagen, but I’ve also been asked twice in Iceland to show my onward ticket before they’d even let me check in). I honestly think you should always have one before going to the US, not least because, even if you manage to get on the plane, if the customs guys ask you about it at the other end and you don’t have one then you’d have an even bigger problem. It’s an annoying situation (and one that Scott and I encountered flying to Malaysia from Sydney – we had a meltdown at the airport and had to quickly buy a ticket), but especially when you travel a lot and are self-employed, it’s better to have some proof and avoid any awkward conversations.

    1. I know, that’s what the airline employee said – he’d be the one getting into trouble if they let me on the plane and immigration wouldn’t be allowed me into the US. I almost managed to buy an onward ticket at the airport but I didn’t even get into the details of the internet troubles I had there (I was about to hit the ‘Buy’ button after finding a ticket, filling out all the information, credit card details, etc.. when I got disconnected from the wifi)… and then it got to a time where the check-in agent said ‘It’s too late to make your flight now’. What a nightmare! 🙁

  2. How annoying and upsetting. I hate all the rules that force you to do like everybody else. No room for variations. Like being an ad hoc traveller without a return ticket.

    But well, now you know, and better stick to it, right?!

    Wow, you travel so much! I love NY, would love to live in LA and deserts and palm trees are wonderful!

    That car-accident is my worst nghtmare. i often think what is my tire would explode now. Glad you came out ok. Poor doggie too.

    1. Anja – you’re right… now I know, and I’ll make sure to stick to it. It’s just annoying because I usually don’t plan that far in advance. Two major travel mishaps last month but in the great scale of things I think I came out okay and still had an amazing month 🙂

  3. Airlines use a database to look up what entry requirements their passengers are subjected to, depending on the passenger’s citizenship as well as destination. You can check out the database here:

    Now, you’re German, which means you’re probably traveling to the US under the ESTA/VWP, and according to this database, travelers under this program must have a return/onward ticket to a country that is not Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent Caribbean countries. As it is, it is the airlines’ responsibility to make sure that their passengers are going to be let inside, because if the passenger is not allowed to enter, they will transport the passenger back (and sometimes the government fines them for it). Hence, typically it is the airlines who are stricter with these requirements rather than the boarder patrol.

    1. Jeruen – wow, that KLM database is fantastic! What a great resource. I guess you’re right, I do need an onward ticket, but I’m still surprised they let me in last year without asking me for proof of onward travel… THREE TIMES!

  4. I live in the US and in the past few years I have been asked to show an onward ticket by the airline agent almost every time I fly out of the country. One agent told me it’s their policy because they have to fly you back if you are denied entry to the country. I have never been asked by immigration to show an onward ticket in any foreign country I’ve visited. You can buy a fully refundable ticket and then cancel but it’s a huge hassle.

    1. I was just so shocked because as I said, I didn’t have to show an onward ticket last year during any of my trips 🙁 And I wouldn’t have had one to show… sigh.. But thank God for fully refundable tickets 😉

  5. Back in New York – I bet you are happy! I am flying into my happy place in 3 weeks and I am counting down. I have 3 nights in Oahu and 2 nights in Seattle on the way so looking forward to that too 🙂

    1. I am so happy to be back 🙂 Seattle and Oahu … wow! I just talked to a couple who went to Alaska recently and their stories made me want to go so bad. Have a great trip, Katie!

  6. I never been in New York before but definitely it is a place I want to go in the future and the car accident i am glad to hear that you are okay!!!

    have fun in NYC 🙂

    1. Izy – you’ll have to visit New York at least once in your life.. but it might grab you and pull you in like it pulled me in, and you might find yourself going back over and over again 😉

  7. Looks like we just missed each other in Copenhagen, I was freezing there to and now enjoying the sun and fun in Hawaii….happy travels!

    1. Aaaaaaaah Hawaii, I am jealous, Noel! 🙂 Yes, Copenhagen in the spring was a bit too chilly for me. What a cool city though!

    1. Thanks, Izy 🙂 Copenhagen surprised me.. I was so happy that I decided to spend an extra day there!

  8. What a month! I’ve never thought of housesitting in Tuscon before, I hear that it’s beautiful there. Good luck in June. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Clay! I’d never thought of housesitting in Tucson until I stumbled across a really great-sounding housesitting ad and applied on a whim 😀

  9. We have been asked for onward travel tickets in Costa Rica and Panama. What we did was simply reserve a ticket on a popular airline and print out the itinerary before paying for it. Also one thing to keep in mind is that most airlines over free cancellation within 24 hours. So you can just book a ticket and cancel it once you have entered the country.

    1. I have been asked in Costa Rica, too, Ben – but funnily enough only when I entered the country by bus, not when I flew in. I now know about the free cancellation within 24 hours most airlines offer 😉

  10. I’ve had trouble travelling to the US due to lack of return ticket, before! I’m Canadian and visit the States multiple times a year. Sometimes every other month! I haven’t been able to find information about this in writing, either. But I’d definitely err on the side of caution and buy a return ticket that’s refundable. You can always get the refund if your plans change.

    1. Rebecca – I don’t think I’ll ever risk traveling to the U.S. without a return ticket again!! I didn’t know that they were giving Canadians a hard time too!

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