February 25, 2021

7 Reminders How To Travel From Home

Yes, we are still very much house-bound, and it has almost been a year!

Alas, do not despair! I would hope that by now, we have all discovered our best ways to cope with the pandemic situation in our home life, relationships, and habits. I know we all haven't managed it perfectly (I doubt with the roller coaster of emotions, this would ever have been possible), but throughout the ups and downs, we are sure we have all learned a lot!


To encourage my fellow travel-lovers, here is a blog for us to remember how we can still "travel" from our homes. We don't know how long the pandemic will continue at this point, but we can focus on what we can control from home and how we spend our time. And I am not ashamed to say I am spending my time dreaming of new trips, new places, and new adventures!!!

1. Reading 

This is an obvious one, but it is still far and beyond the best way to travel to faraway lands while sitting on your couch. Books have been the starting point of travel for many of us since a young age, and are still there to comfort, encourage, and inspire us! Grab your favorite travel re-read, or hit up an online bookstore to journey to somewhere you have never been before. If you really want to get into it, create a low-key travel book club with some friends and send each other voice messages or videos talking about the book (another alternative is to do a zoom book club, but I think we are all a bit burned out from zooming at this point).

We've all got eBooks to share and explore! 

Swags' eBooks & Resources

2. Recording Vlogs

It does take the right combination of personality and ego to makes these public, but it is also totally okay to keep video logs as your own personal video diary. You can talk about how you're feeling, all the things you're doing (or not doing) everyday, and speak freely about what you wish you were doing instead. Maybe once you have recorded a few and re-watched them, you will realize that someone may actually benefit from sharing time with your "confessional," and you could decide to publish your vlogs after all!

You can check out my Bible reading vlogs here: 

"Bible w/ Swags"

3. Re-discovering Local

If we have not become professional walkers in our neighborhoods by now, we have some serious catching up to do. Sure, our local hangouts like restaurants and bars might not be fully functional, but the streets and nature are always open! I have spent more time admiring architecture and wandering around forests this past year than I ever thought I would. It's a lot of open time to think (or even talk, when walking with a friend or partner) and really observe our actual surroundings. Wherever we live is also considered a travel destination for people not from there (yes, even Vilsbiburg!), so it is worth the moments to appreciate where we got stuck during the pandemic are blessed to live.


4. Re-evaluating Routines

I honestly doubt anyone's life looks exactly the same as it did in February 2020. When the pandemic locked us down in mid-March, I quickly adapted into a daily routine of communicating with clients/family, exercising, writing, and preparing myself and my teams for the next steps. By mid-April, I changed jobs and everything went haywire. All that to say, I know how hard it is to create and maintain a routine without the structure of consistent work or a social life. I had really low motivation to workout for several months, and my jeans were a rude reminder. 


When we locked down again in Germany in November, I vowed to myself that I was going to come out of this lockdown better instead of worse. It is still a work in progress, but I am now energized and optimistic, and getting in my reading, writing, and exercising everyday!

5. Refining Packing Skills

I KNOW not everyone is obsessed with packing perfectly as I am. But what better time to practice minimalism than when you have free time on that free weekend with nowhere to go? I have already sifted through my closet to pick out the clothing I haven't worn as much to retire on my next trip (summer?). I have always found that the easiest way to pack light is to start with a smaller bag. So, if you're looking for a quirky challenge in the next weeks or months, I challenge you to take your smallest rolling suitcase and/or a medium-sized backpack and pack it as if you're going somewhere for a long weekend. I think you can pleasantly surprise yourself with how much less you can actually pack! If you want to take it literally a step further, take whatever you have packed and go on that daily walk around your neighborhood to see if the weight and manageability of the bag is sustainable with long periods of movement.

Backtrack into my favorite ways to pack with my 

Pack & Plan series!



6. Re-visiting the Past

This may seem like a nostalgic cop-out, but we have all taken thousands upon thousands of photos during our trips in order to... forget about them?! NO! We took those pictures to remember, and if we cannot travel now, that does not negate the travels we have already enjoyed! Dig deep into your archives and make it a daily or weekly "adventure" to setup the pictures in each folder as a slideshow (usually just a button in the folder options, or also a button in Facebook albums) and really go back in time to that wonderful trip. True, it may make us miss the ability to travel a little bit more, but the memories will also nourish us with all the emotions and stories we had experienced then and bring us some fresh perspectives and laughs even now.

2011 nostalgia at it's finest: #SwagsFirst3Months series on Instagram

7. Relaxing

I mean, a lot of vacations have the sole purpose of relaxing! We try to find local spas to relax in when we visit other cities, so guess what our bathroom has become! It was easy to find nice candles, soaps, massage oils, etc., and we made our basic bathroom its own oasis. Just because a place is ordinary or familiar, doesn't mean we can't use our own imaginations and creativity to make it somewhere extraordinary and somewhere we look forward to spending time.


I have planned some trips to the USA for the spring... fingers crossed that they can actually come to fruition!

What other ideas do you have for "traveling" from the comforts of home? 
Do you have any actual trips planned for 2021 yet? 

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February 9, 2021

VLOG: 2 Corinthians w/ Swags

#SwagsSundaySchool is back! Well, we will see how often I jump back in and out, since last post was... at the end of June! Oops. 


But anyway, 2 Corinthians was a nice and refreshing read today and I am happy to share these verses with you from my side of the world!


Stay safe and healthy and ALIVE!!!

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January 1, 2021

Christmas Mug Winners!

Well, that was quite the Christmas marathon!



In a dash of rare 2020 optimism, I busted into Christmas mode by mid-November with this giveaway idea.



I am really very glad that I chose to send my Christmas mugs all over the world, but don't count on me doing this every year.

I am super thankful for all the friends who participated and got as excited about Christmas mugs as I did, but I was also surprised that there was not a larger participation in donating to the charities highlighted each week. I know not everyone had the financial wiggle-room to send money away this year, but I felt really compelled to give to those who needed it more than me this year.

So here's to hoping the feedback was inaccurate and more people donated than admitted it! ;)



At least we can all agree that 2020 was highlighted with not just one, but TWO, fabulous new albums from the greatest poet of our lifetimes, Taylor Swift.

The mugs heading to America are still stuck in US shipping customs, but thanks and congrats to all the winners, near and far!!!



Vilsbiburg mug: @cindysbarton 
Charity: Penny's Blankets, email pennysblankets@gmail.com

Deggendorf mug: @roemerella
Charity: Red Ribbon Skirt Society, website www.redribbonskirtsociety.com

Erfurt mug: @paxton_h
Charity: Krista Foster Homes, website https://kristafosterhomes.org/

Straubing mug: @cierameest
Charity: Zoe International, website https://gozoe.org/



Charity: Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, website https://www.hsgkc.org/

Regensburg mug: @jfray5
Charity: Adopt Together, website https://adopttogether.org/



I hope to see you somewhere soon and share a warm mug drink with you, no matter what the time of year!!!


Merry Christmas and Happy 2021, Leute!

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