Land of Marvels has been around a long time but a lot has changed over the many years I’ve been blogging. Some of you have been following along for years and years, others are new followers and just getting acquainted with LOM. I’ve also gone through a lot of renditions of this blog over the years, going from a journal style of writing at the beginning and then to posting multiple times a week for a long while to slowing down this year while I opened my bakery, but one thing is for sure, I really miss this space and I intend to bring it full circle again in the next few months as I get back into regular posting to share all of the amazing things I have planned for the Fall and the Winter! So I thought, in the midst of all the changes, I’d do a post to reintroduce myself, both for all of my loyal readers that have been along for the ride all these years and also for the new readers that have started following recently. So here we go!
First off, thank you from the bottom of my heart for following LOM and navigating this crazy journey we call life. If you’ve been around for a while, thank you! And if you’re new, welcome!
To start, I’m Casey and I’ve been blogging for over a decade now. I started out on a site that became my creative outlet as a sort of journal of my life and over time, that morphed into Land of Marvels, which is mostly a travel blog but I do share thoughts, home renovation posts and all sorts of other topics too. This blog has been an outlet for me for years and while it’s never been my full time job, I’ve always treated it as more than a hobby and I love the community that has been built around it.
By day I wear many hats and probably always will. I’m not a 9-5 person and like to stay busy, so my entire career, a decade now, I’ve always had multiple things going on. By trade, I’m an Interior Designer. I went to the Art Institute of Portland for my Interior Design degree and for a decade, have built a career focusing on mostly Commercial Interior Design like schools and offices. I started my own company about 9 years ago and it’s still alive and well today. If you live in the Portland area (or really Oregon or Washington) and need a designer, let me know! I also still work for an architecture firm in Honolulu (more on that below). In addition to my design jobs, I taught part time at the Art Institute of Portland for Interior Design students for four years until it recently closed in December of 2018 and loved working with students.
When the school closed in December, I knew it was time to take a leap of faith and I opened my macaron bakery Le Reve in April of 2019. Le Reve is an online bakery, with people placing orders online and we deliver them to their destination. I’ve always loved baking and it’s always been my escape when life gets a little too crazy. And macarons particularly have always been a favorite of mine, so I had always dreamt of having a bakery and doing it for a job. I’ve loved the six months I’ve been open and while I’m not sure I’ll do this for years to come, I’m so glad I did it and it’s been such an amazing experience!
Land of Marvels, for me, has always been about sharing experiences that I’ve had all over the world, things that changed me or taught me important lessons as sometimes only travel can do. But none of this would be as important as it is or have brought me to where I am without mentioning my childhood. I grew up in Saudi Arabia, born and raised there until Middle School when we moved back to the States. My time in Saudi completely shaped who I am and I will forever be grateful to have grown up overseas, in a place that is often very misunderstood. I have written a lot over the years about my time in Saudi as well as being a third-culture kid, a term that completely changed my life when I came across it in college years and years ago. My childhood in Saudi is a part of me, it will be now and forever in my heart and it’s a part of my life that made me into who I am. It’s also a reason that I now travel a lot, that wanderer’s heart that I have now definitely started as a little kid in the sand dunes of the Middle East.
Which leads me to travel. I have been traveling pretty consistently since I graduated from college when I moved to Honolulu, Hawaii. I graduated in the middle of the recession and while the mainland was not hiring anyone, especially in the Design industry, Hawaii was slower and not fully feeling the effects yet of the economy. I got hired at a firm there, the same one I still work for now, and moved to the Islands for a couple of years. During that time, that’s really when travel came back into my life ever since we had moved back to the States from Saudi years prior. My firm had another office in Seoul, South Korea and soon after I started working for them, I traveled to our Seoul office frequently. I often remark that I did some of my heaviest and most important soul-searching in Seoul, pun intended. I fell in love with Seoul and South Korea in general and those frequent trips really catapulted me into consistent travel again.
Fast forward all these years later and I’m still traveling. Some years we travel more, some less. Most of my travel is beside my husband, Nick and our home base is in Portland, Oregon and has been for 9 years now. He might not have a huge part in the writing here on LOM but he’s actually a huge part of the blog as almost all of the photos I post here are taken by him on our travel around the world together. His beautiful photography is the canvas behind my words and together, his photos, my thoughts, I hope always to inspire you to travel yourselves. My goal always has been to inspire people to travel here on LOM, to take the advice I have, the information I hope to give, and go out in the world and experience it yourself. Travel is transformative, it’s life changing and it’s the one thing I’ll never give up in my life.
Here on the pages of LOM you’ll find hotel reviews, the truth about traveling in honest posts about travel, and so many travel tips. You’ll also find information by destination and lots of videos of our travels over the years. And I have so many fun and exciting things to come as I update the site and get back to writing more in the coming months. One of my next posts will be a FAQ, answering all the questions I get all the time about me, my life and my travels so stay tuned for that coming soon!
And before I go, I’d love to hear from you! If you have thoughts on what type of posts you’d like to see in the coming months or destinations you’re really interested in, or just thoughts on Land of Marvels in general, I’d love to have you leave them in the comments. If you happened to participate in my Instagram survey I did a couple weeks ago, just know I got all the comments and I’ll be using them as I reshape LOM in the coming months!
Thank you so so much for following along on Land of Marvels! I can’t wait for this next chapter!