A Nitecap with Rebecca Holland

Wisconsin native Rebecca Holland started her blog, 'Curiosity and a Carry On' in 2015 to combine her "love of travel, food, meeting new people, and storytelling". We've been hooked on it ever since. Between her blog and travel writing for the likes of USA Today and The Huffington Post she's always on the go. When she's not travelling, she's enjoying city life in Chicago-with a mojito in hand! 

What three words describe you best?  Curious, adventurous, writer  

Adventures in Iceland


What is your favorite place in the world? This is such a hard question! It seems impossible to pick just one, but Jordan is one of my favorite countries to visit. It’s the first place I ever visited outside of the United States, and there’s a huge variety of things to do, gorgeous scenery, fascinating history, amazing food, and extremely kind and welcoming people. I also love Siem Reap, Cambodia; Rome, where I lived for a few years; and Madison, WI because no matter where you go in the world there’s no place like home. 


What’s your nitecap of choice? 
Red wine, always. Though a recent trip to Cuba got me hooked on mojitos with tons of fresh mint and real sugar. 

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What’s your ultimate comfort food? Cheese–I’m from the dairy state! When I was living in Rome, where cheese is more than plentiful, I actually had my mom bring me cheese curds. 

Your blog is called ‘Curiosity and a Carry-On’. What essentials are in your carry-on for summer travel this year? My summer carry-on essentials are sunscreen (always!); Smith’s Rosebud Salve, which I’ve used for years on my lips, cuticles, face, and even hair; a great book; and my phone. Sometimes I think it’s sad that my phone is so essential to my life, but it serves as my camera, watch, alarm, scheduler, translator, and so much more. 

You’re on the road a lot. How do you stay grounded and take care of yourself while traveling? 
This is something that has taken me years to perfect, and I’m still not sure I have it figured out. Mornings are my favorite time of day, so I like to get up early and have time to myself to get set up for the day ahead. I go for a run or do yoga, journal, drink coffee, and map out my day. This alone time and sense of routine before others wake up is sacred. I also try to walk everywhere I can while traveling (it’s the best way to discover new sights anyway), and eat as much fresh produce from local markets as possible. 

What's your favorite travel experience or memory? There are many, but a recent one that stands out came while I was visiting Cuba in April. I was with two friends, and we hired a local driver to take us from Trinidad to Vinales. The six hour drive could have been awkward, as our Spanish is limited and our driver didn’t speak any English, but the scenery was beautiful and we got by with broken phrases and charades. By the end, we were sharing music and laughing, and we met up again for the drive back to Havana. Those hours with the windows open speeding over lush hills and scenic valleys are some of the most memorable of the trip, and in the moment I remember thinking how lucky I was to have that experience, and how similar people are despite language, culture, politics, etc. 

What ‘dream trips’ are still on your travel bucket list? There are a few big trips I’m hoping to take in the next year or two. One is to the Amazon, and another is a safari in the Serengeti. I would also love to spend a month or two in India–there’s so much to see and each region is so distinct I want to devote significant time to that trip.  

Havana Scenes

What does a place feel like? Smell like? Taste like? When we dream of travel our imagination only captures a fraction of the sensation of being in a place. It's not until we have walked the streets that our senses really know a place. 

Have you been dreaming of Havana? My friend, fine-arts photographer Anne Connor, travelled there in 2013 and her photographs capture the sights, sounds and sensations of Cuba in a way that makes as feel as if we are truly there. Until we meet in Havana-enjoy this little taste of her Cuban adventure! 

Want to have your own Cuban adventure? Join me this October for the trip of a lifetime during an exciting moment in Cuba's history. Registration closes on 7/15 and space is very limited! 

Shades of Blue in the Marais

Art is found everywhere in Paris-not just at the museums-but simply walking down the street. Turn a corner and you'll find a beautiful doorway. Walk into a pâtisserie and notice how every little treat is a work of art. Stroll down an unassuming alley and be greeted by an incredible work of street art. Paris is truly an immersion in beauty in all forms. 

Pretty in Pink

One of the things I love most about Paris is how people really slow down and take time to enjoy life's little pleasures. Whether it's picking out something beautiful at the market, sipping a glass of good wine or dabbing on a beautiful perfume-life's little pleasures are celebrated. I hope that's my 'souvenir' of Paris. To always remember to slow down + appreciate life. Here's to us all remembering that life is short and that joy matters!