a semi-autobiography in eight parts.

I. You write him a postcard. "I don't know how to tell you but I'm finally letting go," it says. The postcard is from Paris and when you finish writing it, you slide it back into the drawer with all the other words you never said. You ask your empty hands if this means you are letting go. Everyone memorizes the backs of their hands, but you'll never know your own as well as you know the scar like a poem permanent on his thumb.

II. You like tea more than coffee but you drink coffee because on days when you relent to a cup of tea you become afraid that you're turning into your mother. You drink it anyways and remember the best moments of childhood.

III. At night you run your fingertips across your ribcage and wonder about all the words that don't live there yet. You're bad at commitments but sometimes when you read Mary Oliver you sigh in relief. These are words that could rest on your ribs forever.

IV. You grow playlists slowly on your computer, choosing the songs carefully. You're trying to bring that feeling back with the music. Maybe nostalgia is the closest you'll ever get.

V. You told her once that you were bad at goodbyes. All this time later, and it's still true.

VI. You type fast, "maybe someday," and hit send.

VII. You ask your hands again what it means to let go.

VIII. The tea water is boiling. Your hands still don't answer.


the moving words of nicole krauss.

The weak yellow light of lamps during the dusk of two in the morning has seen me awake, reading "just one more" chapter of this book. I can hardly stand the thought of it ending, and so I go back, I read again, I mull on the words much like I imagine a philosopher would, but in the end, it's the honesty that gets me every time. Six books hold the only pages I've cried in, and while I'm only halfway through this one, I've already cried twice. There's a bittersweetness to Nicole Krauss' words, an intrinsic poignancy, and a heartbreakingly beautiful depth. I cannot recommend it more. And while it's out of context (it's on page 38 of my copy), this is one of the paragraphs that felt like home and goodbyes and the last morning in a place you love, all at once.

7. There is a photograph of my mother than no one has ever seen.

In the fall, my mother went back to England to start university. Her pockets were full of sand from the lowest place on earth. She weighed 104 pounds. There's a story she sometimes tells about the train ride from Paddington Station to Oxford when she met a photographer who was almost completely blind. He wore dark sunglasses, and said he'd damaged his retinas a decade ago on a trip to Antarctica. His suit was perfectly pressed, and he held his camera in his lap. He said he saw the world differently now, and it wasn't necessarily bad. He asked if he could take a picture of her. When he raised up the lens and looked through it, my mother asked what he saw. "The same thing I always see," he said. "Which is?" "A blur," he said. "Then why do it?" she asked. "In case my eyes ever heal," he said. "So I'll know what I've been looking at."

nicole krauss, the history of love

xx h


seasonal rituals

Rituals are a beautiful thing. Even though new things bring excitement, rituals ground us. They instill a familiar wonder in each heart by knowing--and anticipating--the rituals each season holds.
Spring is the time of freckles beginning to dot my face and doing school outside and simple meals outside under the shade of a tree glowing with pale new leaves.
 Every afternoon in the summer, when you can practically feel the sun burning your skin, I go to the pool and read. Afterwards, the long summer-night rituals begin: looking for fireflies and batting away mosquitoes and staying up a bit longer to catch the coolness of the darkness.
 Fall rituals consist of slipping into new routines and the first fires, small and smoky. The leaves change colors--or sometimes not, depending on the kind of year that's been had.
 Winter rituals are beautiful if you know where to look. Underneath pale skin lie deep thoughts and warm bowls of soup for what seems like every meal.
And before long, right when you think you can't take another one of those terribly short cold days, you start almost-spring rituals of lengthening days and looking for budding branches and opening windows a crack to let in the fresh breeze. Then the spring cleaning bug hits and when you look up from scrubbing, airing, and dusting, you notice that a new season has pushed through the grayness and arrived and whole cycle starts all over again.


on learning to love where you live.

Fernweh means an ache for distant, a craving for travel, an insatiable desire to get out and see the world. It means wanting to be somewhere else, and for the first sixteen years of my life, I'd say it fit me to a T. I was always complaining about the Texas heat, promising I'd leave as soon as I could. Begging my parents for trips: "can we go to Boston, how about LA?" Signing up for camp at church so I could add a few more states to my list.

Recently I was re-reading my journal from last summer, a summer defined by traveling, and I came across a line that struck me, that made me stop. "I am always looking for a way to leave," I'd written. "What I really need, I think, is a reason to stay."

And do you know what? Somewhere since then, in between Saturday mornings spent at the farmer's market downtown and Friday night football games yelling our lungs out, in between watching the sunrise at cross country practice and sitting in the passenger seat of my friend's car on the way to school after late start breakfasts, in between magnificent concerts and funny stories we'll tell in twenty years and writing an immeasurable amount of words just to figure it all out, I think I found a reason. 

More than one, maybe. A million reasons to love where I live, a million reasons I belong. A million reasons to stay. They're all wrapped up in the sunset and the skyline and the roads I take to school each day, and more than anything, in the people. 

The fact is, I'll be off to college soon enough, most likely living somewhere completely new. I have plans for this summer that involve new countries and new states and I'm excited. Traveling will always be a part of me, and even though I no longer constantly want to be somewhere else, when I get the chance to explore, I'm going to take it.

But right now, when I'm here, I aim to enjoy it. Because here is a pretty great place to be. 

there's no place like home.

p.s. hey...it's been a while, hasn't it? 


wanderlust in our DNA

I like to think that there is something in our blood, our souls, our very beings that make so many of us so in love with new places, so eager to travel and visit and explore. But there is something equally rooted that instills a love for our hometowns or at least our homes - the places we were born and raised. And no matter how fervently we dream of far-away cities, maybe the most beautiful thing of all is our own towns. (A video I put together):

I'm Kinga, a video-maker - because it combines my two passions, photography and words - and a blogger. I write, I read, I over-think, I dream of living across the ocean in London while learning to love the city I live in. (You can frequently find me here, on my youtube channel.)


staff picks

+ This colouring book
+ A rad canoe trip video (above) by a friend almost makes me wish it was summer. 
+ This smoothie makes a good weekend breakfast.

+ Kendall discovers a tea brand that shares her affinity with literary quotes.
+ She also Googles 'Andy Warhol cats' and that is why we love her.

+ Hannah Banana has made this banana ice-cream three times.
+ Quiet World by Jeffery McDaniel

+ Leave it to Katie to introduce us to these cool Berlinese sculptures
+ Art by Marc Johns
+ Sundry Sullen's collection of New Zealand photographs



I carry my words in coffee mugs and paper cups.

if I could, I would sit down with you over coffee.

buy you your favorite. grande caramel frapp? it's on me. prefer a green tea? there's no trouble. missed breakfast and want a caramel roll? just ask. the line winds slowly around counters piled high with travel mugs at the peak of too-expensive to splurge on. scattered conversation floats around the room, interrupted by the hum of coffee and the taps that come from a generation glued to their phones. we wait until they call our names or yell our drinks. nod to the baristas. mumble a hurried thanks with grace as our hands hold the $3.49 cups.

settle down, let me tell you a story.

the tables are taken, so we sit by the window. the leather chairs are perfect to sink into, and I have a week's worth of worries to unload. our words spill easily and we stop only to sip cooling cups. outside the sky is grey, the world washed of color. but here, it's almost easy to forget that winter has us in its white folds. there are colors not colors and warmth not from the sun.

how is life?

you say.

and I smile.



the bridges

Here's to the bridges. To the ones that towered above our frozen heads, skating the Red River at dusk. To that one we laugh about sometimes, coated in its acrylic profanities. To the ones we burned, crossed, and will cross. 

A late happy new year to you all.


Five Stories from a drawer-ful of dreams

Story One: Grand-canyon stamped paper bag.
She wished that she could lean over the edge, lean until she just tipped off the edge, and flew into the canyon.  The sun was dipping lower, dripping its red glow into the deeps of the canyon.  A girl sat on the edge, making some nervous, as she sat, converse-clad feet brushing little pebbles off the edge.  She scribbled into a well-worn notebook, perhaps stories of her adventures far from home, or heart stories of the one she wished had come with her.  The sun made it’s final goodbye, and she pulled her sweater sleeves over her knuckles, and hopped up as the bus pulled up to the stop.  Tourists waiting at the stop got in, and she glanced once more at the canyon deep, then turned her back. 

Story Two:  Figurines from a tea-can
When they were little, grandma would pull out the little tin full of tea-figurines, the little creatures that came in the tea-tins.  They made a most delicious sound as they stumbled out of the tin.  They would line them up, two by two, telling stories of how they got to the Ark.  The elephant was her favorite, and the monkey, his.  And each time they left, they kept one, tightly clutched in little palms. 

Story Three:  Wrist Band from a late night
“Mini golf first” they shouted as they all hopped out of the various cars and made their way to the entrance.  Each was clad in jeans and sweatshirts, but hair was fancy, and makeup was extra-special.  Stars cluttered the sky, and a night chill made them pull their hoods on and sleeves down their arms.  Each received a wrist-band.  He wrapped hers around her wrist for her, and they hurried off together to get their golf clubs before the others did.  It was a night of dancing on the green, and singing loudly.  They laughed and raced go-carts ‘til the sun came up, and as the sun rose, she tucked the band into her drawer of dreams. 

Story Four:  Key Card from a long-lost Adventure
She couldn’t remember why she had slipped the card into her wallet, and it made her sad, to think that something once so dear had been forgotten.  She flipped it over in her palm, and tried to think.  Each key-card she kept seemed to be bittersweet, the distance tearing holes in happy times after they had happened.  It could have been a destination, or a midnight stop for rest, but she couldn’t remember, and she found herself tucking it back into her wallet, knowing that she couldn’t throw it out.

Story Five:  Postcards from a summer cabin
She was a lonely soul, tired out, and wishing for a rest.  The summer came as a relief, then, as the lake became closer.  There were nights of reading in a hammock, campfires on the beach, and tea in a soup bowl.  The creaky old rowboat served as her trusty craft, and she would sit in it, lazily rowing in circles in the center of the little lake.  The fish glittered by, under the surface.  She imagined herself stories for them each, and watched them carefully, leaning over the edge of the boat.  It was a summer of sandy socks, and swimsuits, and drying out on the wooden raft.  On the picnic table sat three postcards, and she tucked them into her book, to remember the summer days.  

Hello, I'm Lillian.  I'm seeking to live fully this life-adventure I have before me.  I love rain, and winds in my face.  I am a child of the oak and maple forests of the east, of rich trees and secret rivers, rushing, cold.  I love writing words: the true and make-believe, I love capturing stories of all kinds.  I love photography, food, and napping on the kitchen floor.  

lillian rachel


wishful thinking.

I wish it was summer again. I'm tired of the too-short days and the darkness at 5pm and the cold. I'm tired of it all. I wish I was back in Indiana, down at the river, in a canoe in the middle of the summer. But instead I'm here, flipping through pages from the beginning of last year, remembering what it felt like before I made all those memories. January is good for nostalgia. 


At a local art museum, there's a quiet corner where the walls are painted white and everything that's not painted white is a window. The windows are floor to ceiling, curving out over the gentle rolling Oklahoma hills. In the afternoon, the most magical light comes in and you can stand by the windows and feel like the world's at your feet. Maybe that's why I like it so: not necessarily the view, but the way it makes me feel to stand there in early January with the whole year ahead of me. It's a new year and a time for fresh starts; make the best of it.



a hello.

I'm really not good with introductions.
"Hi, how are you? I'm fine, thank you for asking. It's a pleasure to meet you."
How impersonal, how ordinary. I'd really like to not be impersonal, and especially not ordinary.
So hello, friend, my name is Katie Jo, commonly referred to as Katie Josephine. I drink coffee like water and practically eat books because they're much more interesting than food. Leggings, button ups, and over sized sweaters are taking over my closet. My iPod is constantly playing a mix of The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, Mumford and Sons, Imagine Dragons, Phillip Phillips, Lana Del Rey, and Birdy. My heart is bound to the woods and headed for the mountains. I have a weird fascination with birds and trees, I have no idea why, although I think it has something to do with their being closer to the sky than me. My camera is somewhat glued to my side, but no more than my notebook; either way it's probably unhealthy. You may have seen my lookbooks around- an idea I came up with to express and vent my creativity for your enjoyment. I'd be happy to explore the world with my notebook and camera and nothing else, but I do suppose I would miss my loved ones. Home isn't a place, it's a feeling, it's a warmth that cannot be replaced. I hope to one day see my name in print, on the cover of my novel. It's really wonderful to be here, and I'm so happy the Fernweh girls asked me to contribute in this new year. Don't be afraid to say hi, okay?

katie josephine


happy new year

This time last year, I was dancing round the kitchen as I hit publish on the first post. Twelve months on, and I'm just as excited about this venture of ours.

The past year has been wonderful. We've shared some beautiful stuff here from our team of staffers (some of our most popular posts include an essay about flirting with French boys, interviews with talented folk, and some incredible photoessays) and there's been some outstanding guest posts too. There have been the loveliest tweets, the kindest emails, and a general feeling of some sort of community growing, not just from Fernweh, but from everyone's blogs that are slowly coming together and building a supportive place to share our art and our stories.

This year, we're expanding our Fernweh community too. We're introducing three new contributors;Kinga, Lillian, and Katie. They are wonderful girls, each with their own unique creative pursuits, and we're excited to see their contribution each month. We are also hoping to share more guest posts from our talented readership (you!) this year.

But overall? We want to share more about feeling at home, and how sometimes home isn't where you are right now. We want to talk about a hunger for travel, and we want to photograph the places we grew up in. We want to build up this community.

So here's to 2013, and all the community, support and friendship just waiting to be shared.