Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

I’m struggling to have a baby.

There, I said it.

The idea of saying this out loud to complete strangers is downright terrifying for many reasons. First, the choice to have a baby in the first place is very personal. In some circles, it’s taken for granted that babies will be had, while in others, saying you want to have a baby is like saying you want to move to the moon. Sometimes one person can run in both of these circles (like me, at various times of my life). …

If you’ve ever sacrificed anything for travel or sacrificed travel for anything else, you probably fall somewhere in the middle.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

The sun is finally out in my neighborhood of San Francisco — and it’s been a long, cloudy year so far.

As of yesterday, there have been streaks of sunlight inching their way through my living room in the late afternoon, birds singing in the trees outside and a huge paint-can splatter of blue sky just beyond that.

It may be because of the particularly dismal weather in my neighborhood, which is wrought with a teeth-gritting cloud of marine layer throughout most of the year (when it’s not rainy season — then it just rains), but I get the sensation of excitement and possibility whenever I encounter a sunny day here. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by M. R. on Unsplash

Vacation is a wonderful thing.

It gives you an opportunity to leave your life behind for a little while, explore a new place or just relax with a good view. It gives you an excuse to put down your phone, leave work emails for a few weeks and just unwind.

It’s blissful, that: Forgetting life back home. All those emails you meant to send and the tasks you were supposed to finish become laughably small when there’s a mountain of tapas in front of you or a Gaudí cathedral ceiling playing mind-blowing games with natural light.

Only, you have to get to that bliss in the first place. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Armen Chlchatian on Unsplash

On a recent trip to Paris, I found myself wandering down a street that I didn’t know the name of. It was long and straight with impressive Parisian facades hugging its banks and tickling a pale pink-blue sky fluffy with perfect Monet clouds.

I walked down this street, stepping along sidewalks upon which thousands (millions, maybe) have walked before me. I saw faces of all kinds. Some rushing to catch a train, others shivering with cigarettes bobbing, some red-faced and crowding into Starbucks, some mothers and fathers corralling children out of other people’s way.

As I walked, I found myself gazing up, open-mouthed and unabashedly in awe of the architecture that surrounded me. I was comforted by the idea that these buildings and this street had seen so many people before me. I felt part of something in the here and now, but I also felt part of something historically human as well. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

When I told my mom the plot of my first (yet unfinished) novel, she told me it was a very creative idea.

Then she followed it up with something else. She looked at me and said, “I could never be that creative.”

And it got me thinking.

First, it made me realize how much work I still have to do to get that novel in good shape.

But second, it made me realize that there is a vast difference between creativity and creating. Not to go too grammar-nerd, but one is a noun and one is a verb.

And that makes a difference. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Andreas Selter on Unsplash

“I feel like a local today,” my husband said to me as we walked to the local cafe we had been to the previous day. We didn’t have to check directions on our phones, ask for help, look around helplessly. We knew where we were headed.

I wondered what it meant that he said he felt like a local. Of course, I thought, he meant that he felt like a person who knew where they were going. He wasn’t lost or unsure. …

And how we could save them

Image for post
Image for post

The first half of 2016 was the warmest in recorded history. The oceans are rising, glaciers are retreating, and extreme weather events have increased while the global snow cover has decreased over the past 50 years.

Yet as climate change desecrates ecosystems across the planet, the giant redwoods of the old-growth forests have been basking in the warm sunlight and may actually be thriving. Since the 1970s, some coastal redwoods have seen unprecedented growth surges — coinciding with a sharp uptick in global temperatures during the same span.

Redwoods are, as a species, more than 100 million years old and among the oldest living things on the planet. The oldest living coastal redwood tree predates the Roman Empire. Not to be confused with their massive sequoia cousins, which grow along the slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the coastal redwoods are an icon of California’s coastline. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo courtesy of Chelsea Iversen

According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, women make up just over half of all visual artists in the country today. Yet about only 30 percent of artists represented at commercial galleries are women. But street art presents an additional barrier of entry to women.

As street artist Caroline Caldwell told me, women street artists simply want to be recognized as artists rather than labeled as women artists. Yet gender makes a huge difference when you’re doing street art. Caldwell noticed this more when she first started creating street art outside. “My gender [m]ade me feel immensely vulnerable,” explained Caldwell. “Walking down the street felt like walking through a men’s locker room.” …

Image for post
Image for post
Vintage postcard of the St. Francis Hotel in Union Square (public domain)

The damage the sharing economy can have on traditional industries is vast: Uber and Lyft recently decimated the taxi industry in San Francisco, bankrupting San Francisco’s Yellow Cab Co-op. So if Airbnb is to hotels what Uber is to taxis, could it prove to be just as destructive?

A CBRE Hotels report from 2015 showed that Airbnb posed the greatest risk to the New York City hotel industry, followed by San Francisco’s hotel industry, which ranked second among cities in the US where the hospitality industry was vulnerable. This year’s report hasn’t been released yet, but according to Jamie Lane, a senior economist with CBRE Hotels, San Francisco has moved down on that list since last year. That’s partly because in markets like Miami, LA and Oahu, Airbnb’s growth is outpacing its growth in San Francisco. As Airbnb’s home since it was founded in 2008, San Francisco was early to the home-sharing game, meaning the market is mature. …

Image for post
Image for post
Illustration by Cate Andrews

Chances are, you have at least one friend who talks constantly about leaving the city for good. Or maybe you’ve actually seen friends pull the trigger and head to somewhere like Seattle, Boulder or Austin. Either way, planning for the inevitable departure from the most expensive city in the US is just casual — if not constant — dinner-party conversation here.

In fact, a 2016 Bay Area Council poll found that one-third of Bay Area residents say they are likely to leave the region in the next few years. But with all that talk, only about 5 percent of all households in San Francisco actually moved out of the city between 2010 and 2014, according to new migration data from Trulia. When they left, 27.3 percent headed to one of the 14 cities in Alameda County, including Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda. And 31.5 …


Chelsea Iversen

Writer, explorer, creative business owner:

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