A SoCal based psychologist whose work feeds an insatiable wanderlust.


How I Plan a Trip

The way I plan a trip is part old-school, part social media fury.

I keep all of my travel magazines. Every single one. If I'm a hoarder in anything, it's travel magazines. I'm constantly trying to find new places to store them and cute new ways to style them around the house. One of my favorite things to do in planning a trip is to go through all of them and rip out articles or little snippets about the new destination. I do this mostly because it's relaxing and I enjoy the ritual. Alternatively, you can log onto Travel + Leisure's website and search a place and get an entire archive of all their articles. However, I feel like sometimes those Internet searches miss the little bits on the best new place to get a martini that might be just a little commentary in a box on the edge of a glossy page.

I also love travel books and even better, if I can find a travel book store {swoon}. Going into my favorite book store and picking up that first publication makes the trip finally seem real. I go through books well in advance, mark all of the things that I would like to see in pen, and then use sticky tabs to mark the pages. This help me visualize locations and plan an itinerary. I often take this in my carry-on luggage to peruse while on the plane; it just continues the excitement for what's to come.


I'm sure that many of you can relate to the fact that you've had a pretty good idea of what your ultimate career goal has been for a while, especially if you pursued higher education. 

I had been concentrating on one specific career goal since I was 20 years old. I even considered the completion of graduate school as just a stepping stone to making me a more desirable candidate for the position that I had sought after for so long. That's one expensive stone! 

But then I was faced with a twist that threw me for a loop.

There I was, finishing my final internship in forensic psychology and at the same time completing the application process for my "dream job," when my internship site offered me a job doing forensic assessments. Although I had my heart set on a career in federal law enforcement, I was now being offered something that I'd really come to love doing. It was extremely confusing at first. This wasn't the way things were supposed to go. I was on track with my 10 year plan. Was I seriously considering staying in the field of psychology and throwing away a mindset I had come to know as "how it's supposed to be?" Who am I?!? It was in that moment of decision-making (of which I am famous for overanalyzing) that I realized my goals had in fact shifted. I did some serious self-reflection and realized that the person I had been 10 years earlier was not the same person I was now. The fantasy dream job was still do-able but it was no longer what I actually wanted for myself. I was immensely enjoying the work that I was doing at my internship and I was just starting to understand that I was making a difference in people's lives.

So I decided to take the assessment position and embrace my new calling. Okay. Decision made.  Time for new goals!

After being introduced to the opportunities that presenting at conferences could provide (which you can read about here and here), I decided that my new goal was to either present at a conference or publish something each year.  Especially fresh out of graduate school and being unlicensed, I knew that I may not be able to travel out of the country every single year.  I'm now at a point where I attend a national conference in my field every other year and submit a presentation to the international conference on opposite years.  It remains fulfilling and keeps me busy and driven.  I found it is a good way to prevent burnout and stay on your game in your chosen profession.  The key to career happiness, for me, is variety and a goal-driven mindset.  I hope to bring future posts on these topics and I certainly hope you are enjoying the blog thus far.  

Please let me know what other topics you would like to see on A Distant Mentality!      

Smitten with Sydney

New South Wales Coast
Yuki's at the Quay
I climbed that

I wasn't really prepared for what a huge impact Sydney would have on my life. I knew that it was going to be beautiful because it was on the water and even though it was winter (our summer in The States is winter down under) we had some magical weather to match our extraordinary experiences.

We did decided to stay in the area known as The Rocks, Sydney's historic centre, with a view of the Sydney Opera House from our hotel room. I could hardly put my stuff down fast enough and ran over to the edge of the harbor where I could see it in all of its glory and in person. The Opera House is so iconic that it's a bit unbelievable to see it standing in front of you. I could not take my eyes off of it during our entire stay.  We had our first meal that afternoon at a lovely sushi restaurant that sits in the upper story of a pier with giant windows that faced the massive landmark. 

The Rocks is a quaint area with shops and eateries and is absolutely walking distance to most of the other sites in the city. We ate very well while in Sydney. Some of my favorites were Cafe Sydney, which is rooftop dining - perfect for a romantic dinner, the Waterfront Restaurant with great views of the entire harbor and out-of-this-world oysters, and of course, Est. which was the restaurant that our cab driver in Adelaide suggested. Turns out his son was the chef!  The five-course fine dining experience was worth the splurge and the memories.   

Adelaide: An Intro to Australia

Grand Medina Apartments
Rundle Street
Jetty Beach

Barossa Valley

Cleland Wildlife Park

Adelaide, Australia wasn't my first choice of places to visit but it was where I had the opportunity to present at my first international conference. My husband and I traveled there with four of my fellow grad students and our dissertation chair. It was rather exciting because in order to be ready for the conference, we had to complete our dissertations much earlier than the rest of our cohort. It was wonderful to have that thing finished two years before graduation.

Due to the conference, we stayed a full week in Adelaide and definitely made the most of it! My husband and I stayed in the Grand Medina Apartments which were situated in the old Treasury Department Building in Victoria Square. Within walking distance there is the Adelaide Central Market, Rundle Street (where you can get most of your shopping done), and access to public transportation. Forever in my heart will be the fact that Adelaide gave me my introduction to the flat white long before it made it to Starbucks! Coffee is another obsession of mine...

And so it begins...

Sigmund Freud's apartment, Vienna
Welcome to my blog! I've been fighting the tiny narcissist inside of me to start a blog, but he has finally won- yes, he's a man.

I am a licensed forensic psychologist who resides and practices in the Southern California area.  I was fortunate enough to be born and raised in LA and I wouldn't trade it for anywhere in the world (Okay, maybe Port Douglas, Australia but that's for a later post!). Most of my day to day work includes working with those who are rehabilitating back into the community after prison or with individuals and their families when they are facing potential prison sentences.  Needless to say it's some pretty heavy stuff, but intriguing every day and I wouldn't trade that either! I do forensic assessments, group treatment and individual therapy, as well as research and training.

While in grad school, my dissertation chairperson asked a group of us who were working with the same data if we would be interested in presenting our findings at a conference in Adelaide, Australia.  As you can image, I didn't have to think twice for such an opportunity.  I was a newlywed and my husband and I knew it would be an adventure we'd never forget. That trip sparked a love for international travel and a desire to stay connected with the most current research in my field.  Continued learning excites me for the future of understanding human behavior and motivates me to help clients become better versions of themselves while staying connected to leaders in my field.

My aim with this blog is, first and foremost, to bring my travel adventures to a wider audience.  I love being inspired by other travel bloggers and living vicariously through them when I am in between trips (OMG, isn't Instagram the best for this?).  I also want to pass on the ways in which I have been able to do this while working, raising a family, and doing so responsibly.  I imagine as my blog grows, this will take the form of tackling academic/ professional topics like 'how to present at an international conference' and practical travel tips such as 'how to bring your toddler on a ten hour flight without everyone going crazy.'  I'll bring you honest experiences, no matter good or bad.  

I look forward to interacting with you and taking you along to distant lands!