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Welcome to The Beach House

Blogposts have been sporadic for the last few weeks because I’ve been moving.

After a year of traveling – 3 months in Washington, DC for an internship, 3 and a half months backpacking Europe, 2 months working on an organic farm in Hawai’i – interspersed with living at my mother’s house in Rhode Island, and overstaying my welcome at my boyfriend’s parents house in New Hampshire, I’m settled.

Well, as settled as a travel blogger ever is.

I have a home base now.

Top left, photo credit to my mother, who graciously helped me move!
My apartment is top left — photo credit to my mother, who graciously helped me move!

I’m writing this post from my 4th floor apartment in Revere, MA – just a quick T-ride away from downtown Boston (the T is Boston’s subway system). On cue, as I typed that sentence, the train sped by my living room window — close enough to hear, but not loud enough to be a bother.

The airplanes are the same. We’re just a few T stops away from Logan International Airport, but the planes flying by aren’t annoying. They’re a reminder that adventure awaits. When I see one go by, I always hope the passengers are traveling for pleasure rather than business.

Of course, the apartment isn’t perfect.

It’s a walk-up, so moving to the fourth floor in July was a sweaty, tiresome feat. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my family, much to their chagrin. For one desperate moment, we thought we’d trapped ourselves in the apartment because we got the couch stuck upright in the doorway, filling our only escape route from floor to ceiling. I’m now sitting on that couch, but I’m definitely not moving it again. This apartment will be its final resting place.

The building is over 100 years old, the apartment is inexpensive, and there are times when these factors reveal themselves in the form of electrical sockets falling out of walls, or a freestanding bathtub without the charm of clawed feet.

A wraparound shower curtain closing in on me while I’m washing my hair doesn’t encourage cleanliness.

Drab bathroom aside, the location is beyond compare. 5 minutes from the Revere Beach T station, and, more importantly, Revere Beach – the oldest public beach in the United States. Over 4 miles of sand for strolling or sunbathing, and although some people have cautioned me against swimming there, I might go for it anyway. Just don’t drink the water, right?

Strangely enough, I’m most excited for the beach in the seasons to come.

My mother’s house in Rhode Island is a 10-minute drive from the beach, and I’ve been lucky enough to spend my life near the water. I love the beach year around: at night, in the snow, on gray fall days. I spent my high school years with my toes in the sand, telling jokes, telling secrets, and falling in love at the beach. People who don’t live near the beach only think of it in the summertime, but my whole life has played out with the Atlantic Ocean as an integral character.

My mother’s house may be a 10-minute drive from the beach, but, from my living room windows in Revere, I can see the ocean. When a breeze drifts in through the window, it brings with it the smell of salt water. I recently learned that when you’re on a ship out of sight of land, this quintessential ocean smell doesn’t exist. When we’re out to sea, the smell we associate with the ocean indicates land. We’re not smelling the salt water, we’re smelling the shore. Either way, I can’t get enough of it.

As much as I love the ocean, the apartment’s best feature, by far,  is my roommate.

That view.
That view.

I moved to Revere because my boyfriend, E, got a job at the Boston Museum of Science. As a travel blogger and freelance writer, I can work from anywhere; so, we decided to find a one-bedroom apartment near Boston.

This isn’t as big of a step for us as you might think. E and I have lived together before, sharing college apartments first with 5 of our closest friends, and then, when that backfired, with just 2.

Our apartments have always had names, usually based on the street where we lived. Junior year we were on Ware St, so we lived in “The Warehouse,” and senior year was Windsor Rd, so, naturally, our home became “Windsor Castle.” Campbell St didn’t immediately lend itself to a clever name, so we decided to simply call our home “The Beach House.” Feel free to buy us kitschy wall hangings printed with sayings like, “life’s better at the beach.”

As we unpacked dishes into the cupboards of The Beach House’s stupidly small kitchen, we found matching mugs, which we bought together at Goodwill, and packed up separately when we moved out of Windsor Castle. Their being reunited is kind of an adorable metaphor.


This apartment isn’t important because we moved in together. It’s important because we’re moving forward together. It’s our first apartment without roommates. The first apartment of the rest of our lives.

I’ve been calling it the first “indefinite move.” Maybe we’ll live here for years, maybe we’ll be packing up our things next July. I hope not considering how much trouble it was moving in, but, the point is, we don’t know. Anything could happen, and, as usual, that’s the way I like it.

Emma Holliday is well-traveled. After 5 years in Boston, she and her husband upended their lives to move to Berlin where she is currently writing a (funny) book about travel and grief and attempting to learn German.


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