Hey, L.A.

Hiking Runyon Canyon - HOLLYWOOD!

Hiking Runyon Canyon - HOLLYWOOD!

L.A. would have been a terrible place for me to live in my twenties, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, not that I'm entirely sure at 33. But now, when I go there, I start to dream of moving there and having a little garden with orange trees. Planning dinners at restaurants with al fresco seating and a cool breeze. Appreciating every single sunset and the somewhat hazy, unique quality of light framed by palm trees and blue sky. Eating really delicious, fresh, bright food.

People are NICE in L.A., which made me suspicious at first. At Cafe Gratitude in Venice, I ordered a juice and they asked if I wanted to hear the question of the day. "Um, sure," I said cautiously. "Who's your hero??" the girl asked with a giant smile of her face. How nice. It left me thinking about who my hero was for the rest of the day.

I'd have to live and work within a five-mile radius. Commutes in LA. are truly terrible and if I could avoid the 405 forever, I would. I went to L.A. to speak at Virtuoso's agency owner forum at Terranea Resort, which is a wonderful getaway from the city, about 90 minutes from Santa Monica, depending on traffic (the great L.A. disclaimer).

I stayed on for the weekend at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and laughed until my stomach hurt with my brothers and sister-in-law. I updated my L.A. guide here but here are a few favorite photos from the weekend, starting with the view from my room at Terranea.

Finally tried Gjelina in Venice on a rainy night. Totally worth it.

Finally tried Gjelina in Venice on a rainy night. Totally worth it.

Red velvet cupcake and iced tea - snack of champions at Joan's on Third

Red velvet cupcake and iced tea - snack of champions at Joan's on Third

New favorite store: Tumbleweed & Dandelion in Venice

New favorite store: Tumbleweed & Dandelion in Venice

The wonderful Four Seasons in L.A. Best staff, amazing views, and a green goddess juice I ordered three times.

You're indoors but the sunset is pretty incredible at The Huntley in Santa Monica

You're indoors but the sunset is pretty incredible at The Huntley in Santa Monica

A Sweet Argentine Dog

We had one day free during Virtuoso (read the travel trends I discovered during the conference on my National Geographic blog here) in Buenos Aires and got to choose a daytime activity ranging from a city tour, to cooking classes, or sports tour. But I immediately knew which one I wanted to do - visit an estancia, or a large ranch-style estate, outside the city. The place we went, La Bamba de Areco, was truly a South American dream retreat. While others did horseback riding or a carriage ride, I chose to take one of their bikes and go for a ride. The roads were bumpy but I started following the path that made me feel happiest. With the autumn sun shining down and a slight breeze, this beautiful, sweet dog seemed to appear from nowhere. I could see nothing else except for horses and cows. He just wanted a lot of loving and I was happy to give it to him! After about 30 minutes, he had enough and ran away to play. It was a little bit of home so many thousands of miles away from my own dog.

Buenos Aires - Virtuoso Symposium 2013

I'm down in Buenos Aires for the annual Virtuoso Symposium, the gathering of the top luxury travel advisors, tour operators, and hotels in the world, and they are putting on quite a show. Last night's dinner was hosted beneath the famous pink Presidential Palace, which is normally only used for heads of state and royal visits. Our first night was a tango, horse show, and barbecue. But the best part is meeting so many truly amazing people in travel. I am obsessed with this industry. My wonderful friend Kelly is flying down for the weekend, and we'll have extra nights to explore the city before flying to Brazil to relax on the beach.