“Behind the sailboat! In the wake!”

The words rang out as we reached Point Vicente. Shimmering on our left was the Pacific Ocean, its waves bluer and brighter than California’s mid-morning haze. On our right, several men and women were leaning across the low stone wall of the patio. They had already raised their binoculars, obscuring their faces, but the awe, the wonder, that spilled out of their voices told me that they were smiling.

A lighthouse overlooking the Pacific Ocean (Point Vicente, Rancho Palos Verdes, California).
A lighthouse overlooking the Pacific Ocean (Point Vicente, Rancho Palos Verdes, California).
Point Vicente, Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Photo by Whitney Brown.

“It’s right behind the sailboat!”

I stared at the water. With its tall rigging, the sailboat was impossible to miss. But the cause of the…


Ice cream in hand, postcards in bag, I’m lounging on the lawn that divides the old town from the lake. Behind me lie a canal, a château, a maze of roughcast buildings. On the lake, swans drift past pedal boats. The birds are relaxed and lazy under a bright July sky.

I’m exquisitely happy to be here.

A green building and an orange building next to the canal that runs through Annecy’s old town.
A green building and an orange building next to the canal that runs through Annecy’s old town.
Roughcast buildings beside the Thiou River running through Annecy, France. Photo by Whitney Brown.

Annecy — the small town I’m visiting in the French Alps—is a slice of heaven, a beautiful spot for nature lovers and artists. Its namesake lake lies at the foot of towering mountains, and the green river that flows through town is lined…


On April 6, 2020, at the age of 26, I beat my first video game ever. My husband was right by my side.

It was a gray, soggy-cloud kind of day, but we cracked the window anyway to get some fresh air into our apartment. Palms sweating profusely, I infiltrated Hyrule Castle, overpowered monster after monster, and dodged laser-beam attacks from vigilant Guardians. At long last, I defeated Ganon. And on the couch cushion next to mine, Talmage offered advice and encouragement. He made me laugh, even as my anxiety levels were high.

When I finally managed to send Ganon…


The road outside the train station was dingy, and only a handful of people had disembarked from the rail cars. Together, we stumbled toward the nearest bus stop, really just a couple of benches beneath a low-hanging roof. Tacked to the wall was the timetable. Beside it was a poster advertising a new perfume. Just behind the train station, I could see a towering gray mill that did nothing to beautify the village.

According to the timetable, the next bus would arrive in about 30 minutes. I consulted my friends, who (to my relief) voiced that they were hungry. We…


An influencer, a social media manager, and two travel writers get on a ferry.

Although this opening sentence might sound like it’s leading up to a punchline, it’s actually not a joke. It’s a real-life scenario that I experienced a little less than a year ago. (For reference, I was one of the travel writers.) I was exploring Toronto with three other people, and we had decided to take a ferry from the city to one of the outlying islands in Lake Ontario. …


Seven days after Kobe Bryant died, the bright-orange buses of Los Angeles still alternated between proclaiming “RIP KOBE” and announcing their respective destinations.

Six days after Kobe died, I saw a brand-new mural of his face on a wall in Studio City. I saw an image of him and his daughter Gigi on a cashier’s iPad in a downtown LA taco joint.

Five days after Kobe died, LeBron James stood between yellow roses that formed a figure-eight and a 24 on the Lakers’ court. …


Torc Waterfall, a streaming cascade surrounded by greenery, in Killarney National Park, Ireland
Torc Waterfall, a streaming cascade surrounded by greenery, in Killarney National Park, Ireland
Photo of Torc Waterfall, Killarney National Park, by Whitney Brown

Still thousands of feet above the ground, I peered out the airplane window. My brother Alec and I were moments away from reaching our home for the summer: Ireland. For the next three months, we would live in this country, taking in everything offered to us by the Emerald Isle.

This nickname suits Ireland well, something that I quickly realized from my sky-high vantage point. With its misshapen green paddocks and asymmetrical mountains, the island nation really does resemble an unfinished emerald — rough facades clinging to the gem’s surface, making the most of every square millimeter.

Ireland looked as…

Whitney Brown

Whitney Brown is a travel writer who believes in integrating climate and environmental themes into her work. She also loves archaeology and floral design.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store