Adventure and Travel

A FASHIONISTA’S GUIDE TO UBUD, BALI: WHERE TO SHOP

Illustrious comes with a complete guide for a fashionista in Ubud, Bali, showing you the best places where to shop and giving you tips for your “little” luggage on what to pack.  Bali is a piece of heaven; yes, we know! But besides that, it is a hidden gem for fashion lovers and hunters of amazing unique clothing pieces that will for sure pass the test of time.  Bali Boat Shed I have read about it in one of the few articles on the web about shops in Bali, but then I completely forgot that I did. So I was very pleased with myself when I bumped into it. I was just walking around in Bali without an agenda in mind, with a map, just chill window shopping, to find this treasure. Linen, cotton and satin were the materials that were most present in the clothes. Most of the pieces had simple patter...

FINDING MY COURAGE ON THE ROAD

Sometime during these last two years on the road, I became someone new. I left the United States a nervous, insecure person whose fear of failure eclipsed her desire for adventure, and now I find myself sitting in Australia applying for jobs out of my reach, taking the leap into becoming a full-fledged travel blogger, and loving myself. I do not know if the travel alone is what did it or if it was a combination of that, growing up and having the people in my life to support my growth, but somewhere along the way I found my courage.  My first memory of the slow break down of my fear of rejection was in Sweden, my first long term backpacking trip and my first time traveling solo. I had arrived in Sweden a couple of days earlier and was waiting for my friends to arrive to start my adventures....

4 LESSONS LEARNED FROM A SOLO WOMAN ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

If you are interested in hiking the Appalachian Trail, or just want a peak into what life is like out there, then this one’s for you.   I had dreamt about thru-hiking the entire 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail for a long time. I had gotten it stuck in my head that *one day* I would hike it, but was always waiting for the perfect time. I was always waiting for a chance to take 6 months off work, waiting for enough money to be able hike for that long, waiting for a buddy who was as desperate as me to do this thing.   Waiting, waiting, waiting.  Until one day, I realized, my car was about to be paid off and I had just about enough in savings to be able to launch a frugal-style hike of the Appalachian Trail.  My boyfriend, and coworker, at the time had always talked about wanting to hike ...

72 HOURS IN LONDON

As I write this I am on the plane headed home to NYC from London listening to Brett Young, Sleep Without You, and thinking how amazing this trip was. I don’t regret one moment, one penny, one pence, anything. In all fairness, my trip to England was longer than 72 hours, but I only had that amount of time with my  mister before I was on my own and he was committed to work. See, I hopped on his business trip. He has been many times, I however, had never been, and the time was just right for me to tag long. I am not even sure if I can come close to fitting my amazing time in one post and I am sure I will leave something out, but I will try to come close.  We took an overnight flight from JFK to Heathrow; yes, we slept as much as possible and in all honesty, over-the-counter sleep aids help th...

HOW TO SURVIVE TRAVELING AS A COUPLE

It’s not normal to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with someone. Most of us have so much to do in our daily lives that the thought of having a lazy day to spend with your partner sounds amazing, but give it a couple of weeks and that constant togetherness might start to wear thin. Traveling as a couple may sound daunting to those who have not attempted this relationship turbo mode, but the joy of seeing the world with your partner in crime will wipe away any memories of those hunger induced arguments. When you travel the world with your partner you both learn a lot about each other very quickly, from how you each react under stress to how long either one of you can go without eating. Your daily lives become so intertwined on the road that you will soon know things you probably did not ...

CONFETTI

I haven’t taken much time to stand back and appreciate the wildlife in Kenya. This is unacceptable as I am convinced I am in one of the “World’s Best Kept Secrets.” My first interaction with this outstanding beauty was when we visited Ruma National Park almost a month ago. We left the Guest Centre at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning in a big ICIPE vehicle. The forty-minute drive was one of the bumpiest and curviest of my life. By the time we got through the gate the sun was rising over the green hills. The silhouettes of more than 30 giraffes slowly appeared in the distance on the horizon. The grass appeared soft and dancing in the perfect breeze, almost a shade of blue in the early stages of sunshine.   After a few hours of driving through the park we got word of rhinos. Our driver excitedly sp...

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: THREE WAYS I’VE CHANGED SINCE MOVING ABROAD

  After moving to Stockholm this past spring, I’ve tried my hardest to dive right into the Swedish lifestyle. I haven’t exactly bought myself a Volvo yet (the beauty of living in a city with public transport!!) but I’ve definitely become more “Swedish” than I had realized. As a dual citizen (thankful an American met a Swede in the 90s, and I now have two passports) I’ve lived in the US for 15+ years and visited Sweden annually, so I’d always seen myself as something of a mix between the two. While in the States for a few weeks in July, it struck me that my thoughts, opinions and actions on certain things have done a complete 180- simply by osmosis is in my newfound home. Some of them I’d say are pretty positive, while others show me how great aspects of American life can be. Here are ...

FROM MAJORITY TO MINORITY

I remember being warned several times that culture shock was sure to occur when I set foot in India. I was a little nervous, a little skeptical, but very excited to say the least. I personally feel that I am open-minded and accepting of other cultures and beliefs even though they may be different than mine. It is our differences that make our world so interesting. If we were all the same, how boring would that be?  Back to culture shock. At our orientation in Des Moines, we even had a seminar about culture shock and what to do when it occurs because it can be quite debilitating to some.  Culture shock: a sense of confusion and uncertainty sometimes with feelings of anxiety that may affect people exposed to an alien culture or environment without adequate preparation.  However, I do not bel...

AN OATH TO HONESTY

I’m promising to myself and others to tell the truth about my experiences. I will keep my feelings and emotions while traveling raw and authentic. I’m taking an oath to honesty. This blog post isn’t soft, it’s not exciting and it’s not visually appealing.  All too often we see travel bloggers on Instagram or Twitter take the perfect mountain-bound sunset picture or the underwater scuba-diving sea turtle snap with the caption about the journey… or the destination (does it matter?). We see first class plane rides and lobster on a cruise ship and call it an adventure.  What about the mission trips and the saviors of the world? We see classrooms and long walks carrying water bottles and wearing broken down tennis shoes and think “hero.” I’m not down playing these things, both scenarios have tr...

LOVE WHERE YOU’RE FROM, BEFORE YOU LOVE OTHER PLACES

“Love where you’re from, before you love other places”   You know how we hear the saying, “Love yourself before you love someone else?” It’s true in relationships, but I believe it can be true when we travel. The curiosity in us always sparks our desire to get out of our comfort zone and to just drive, fly or walk to wherever we want to go that we think is different and exciting. But I declare to take a step back from dreaming big and to really explore the place we are in before we can grasp into the unknown. Take it from me, I was born in California from a small town and have lived here for nineteen years of my existence. I’ve never been to the beaches here, I’ve never been to Disneyland and I’ve never been to the museums in LA that people hype over the most as they share their memor...

A NEW DEFINITION OF A “HOME BODY”

For as long as I can remember, being considered a “home body” always had a negative connotation attached to it. It meant you didn’t want to seek adventure. It meant you were closed off and lacking ambition. It meant you didn’t have a desire to learn about and experience other cultures. It meant you would be stuck in one place forever. I had always walked around in fear of becoming what I had originally defined as a “home body.” Never in my life would I want to be considered boring, closed off, unmotivated, or stuck. Being stuck is what scared me the most. I had no desire to stay in one place for too long. I wanted to experience the world before settling down and picking a place to grow and stay a while. Ever since I was 16 and learning more that just “¿Comó te llamas?” and “ten...

BE A LOCAL EVERYWHERE

I recently spent two weeks house-sitting in New York City. Before I left, I gave myself an admittedly ambitious challenge: live, to the best of my ability, as though I were a local. I had been told that New Yorkers distrusted tourists, and I can’t exactly blame them. Hailing from the Niagara region of southern Ontario, I understand the frustration of your home being swarmed with tourists delighting in their oblivion and anonymity the minute the weather reaches an acceptable temperature. But we are all tourists outside of our homelands, and I was a tourist for those 14 days. I can’t deny that amidst the brownstones, ivy, thrift stores and leafy residential parks, most of the time I felt awed, inspired and, occasionally, even a little intimidated. In a massive cultural hub that has inspired ...

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