travel

HOW TRAVEL TAUGHT ME TO LOVE MY OWN COMPANY

I sit in a café in Japan, a coffee and pretty pastry in front of me, idly people watching. I sit alone. I’m not waiting for anyone or on my way to an appointment. I don’t have my phone turned on, a laptop with me or a book in front of me. I’m just enjoying my alone time. When I went to Japan in my early twenties, I didn’t speak the language when I first arrived. I stood in a crowd of people, unable to understand more than two words- alone in a sea of voices.  The sound of people talking rose and fell all around me like the sound of instruments or breezes. Without the distraction of understanding the chatter around me, I was alone with my thoughts, even when I was out and around people. To communicate, I used hand gestures and little words. Without conversation to distract you, you retreat ...

THE OLIVE TREE WITHIN

With 12 weeks of vacation time to use and a bargain rental on a Spanish villa, I dug out my passport from my catch-all drawer filled with safety pins, pens and old makeup, and I dusted off the Nars Perfect Peach blush. Both of my parents had died when I was very young. My grandmother raised me, and she passed away a year ago, which left me feeling homeless.  I was an adult now at the ripe age of 32. I had a nice apartment in Tampa, Florida and a good paying job. I didn’t have a spouse or family of my own, so holidays felt particularly lonely as my family consisted of a black mini schnauzer and the occasional stray cat that I took in because we seemed to be kindred spirits. I had the vacation time saved up and it seemed to be a great time to take that European vacation that I had always dre...

SOLO TRAVEL SOUTH KOREA LIKE A PRO

You’ve dance the Gangnam Style, you’ve watched the food docos and now you are itching to visit Seoul to experience Korean culture. You want the unedited, raw octopus galore kind of holiday where you can chat to the locals and after, dazzle your friends with your stories! I’m sharing my experiences from my solo travel in the hope that it pushes your comfort boundaries a little so you can declare that you went on a genuine escapade. After all, we only live once. Memorise 1330 Before we rush off, this is something you must know. 1330 is your lifeline to everything a traveler needs during their stay in South Korea. The Korean government acknowledges the importance of their tourism industry therefore is prepared to help visitors extensively. When you are on the ground, nothing beats having a nu...

DID MY RELATIONSHIP ABROAD MAKE ME MISS OUT ON OTHER THINGS?

I always hated the trope when someone enters into a relationship, they completely forget about his or her friends and focus on the relationship. I never wanted to be that girl, and yet I fear I may have been her. I had been studying in London for a month when I reactivated my Tinder. I felt comfortable enough with the city and my life there that I was willing to try and meet people. Before this, my Tinder life had been pretty lackluster; I rarely kept up conversations and had definitely never met up with anyone. But it only takes one thing to change your mind. British Boy made me laugh in our texting conversations, so I gave him my number and agreed to meet him for drinks. Something completely unprecedented for me, and I was terrified. It didn’t help that I had friends convinced that...

TRAVEL GUIDE TO ZAGREB, CROATIA

What is it When it comes to city breaks, there are the usual suspects which crop up time and time again – Paris, Amsterdam, Prague… but sometimes you want somewhere a bit different. Something new and something still culturally connected to its roots – somewhere that doesn’t have tacky tourism shops on every corner and that plays host to more holidaymakers than it does locals. And this such place is Zagreb. Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and a real city gem. Often overlooked in favour of Croatia’s coastal destinations such as a Split or Dubrovnik, Zagreb is a destination in its own right and one more than worth of a visit. Why not head for a long weekend, or even for a couple of days as a stopover on your way to the coast? It feels like a real secret and real hidden gem just waiting to be...

THE LITTLE THINGS

I do believe in “the little things.” The little things are what makes the journey after all. You might take a specific trip somewhere with a certain purpose, but the ride there and back and everything that led to this point or to the end of a journey are worth remembering. Sometimes they’re not as easy to remember after the big adventure but in the end they are part of the adventure as well. I keep a traveling journal with me on the road, not really to spread emotions and thoughts, but more for the little things. I like to have it around and write my day before going to bed every day. It helps me remember things for later or sometime let go of things. The little things are sometime good and sometime bad but we should learn from all of them. Whether they are personal or shared adventures. A...

DREAM FOREST

In the middle of winter, if you try to reserve a camping site at Cape Henlopen State Park, you may find that already there is limited availability for the upcoming summer months. It’s because it’s a dream forest. Or you might even call it a little bit of heaven on Earth. The first time we entered Cape Henlopen, my husband and I brought our two small children to visit my brother, sister-in-law and their two boys at their campsite. The minute we turned off the busy boulevard leading to the popular beach towns and onto a winding country road, I felt a kind of calm and rustic tenor that couldn’t be compared with any of my earlier camping experiences. Although we lined up at the gate with other cars and vans waiting to pick up their reserved site tags and maps, a quiet world of scrubby pines an...

WHAT I FOUND IN FAIRBANKS

Booking spontaneous trips is a habit I got into after I turned 21. I wanted to go everywhere and see everything, which meant that anytime I had any extra money to spare, I booked a ticket and searched for the cheapest hotel, AirBnb or hostel around. In August, Chicago was hot and humid and I was tired and getting a little loony during my long retail days. During a lunch break, I decided on Seattle. It looked like my type of city: by the ocean, with plenty of culture and coffee. And so began my countdown for October and my continuous search for things to add to my list of sights and eats to check out while I was in Seattle.   My friend and I were on a brunch outing when she commented on my upcoming trip. With enthusiasm, I began sharing all my travel plans. That’s when the idea to visit Ala...

BLUE IS A PLACE

The Blue Ridge Mountains are varied hues of blue at sundown. Cobalt, sapphire, navy and midnight blues against a sunset ripe with fire-burning clouds hanging low over heavens. These are heavens stretching far out to where the mountain peaks greet the sky. There I was with no cell signal, a flask of Jack Daniels and a sixer of unopened Budweiser. An open blanket of stars like loud graffiti mandalas stretched across the Southern sky. I played John Denver songs from my phone’s music library until my phone ran out of battery. I scratched out new poems in an old journal I’d thrown into my backpack at the very last minute. I listened to the choirs of cicadas and realized I was finally writing enough words again to call myself a writer. I was lonely. But this was only a loud cry for self and my s...

FOUR DAYS IN U.S.V.I – OUR GIRLS TRIP

Now that my daughters are older, I wanted to plan a trip for just us, a getaway that combined the things that all of us enjoy. After some research, I settled on the U.S. Virgin Islands — St. Thomas and St. John, to be specific. As I have noted in previous posts, we travel when others don’t typically – so travels not too expensive and we can enjoy more. We traveled over the 4th of July holiday, flying when others were barbecuing and watching fireworks. The resort I chose had an all-inclusive option, however, I did not opt in to that part. While I enjoy all-inclusive for some trips, I don’t on all, as it forces you to get out and explore; to find dining options and to take tips from locals.  On day one, we just relaxed and decompressed from our hectic lives. The resort offered a ...

WHAT THE HECK DOES HOME MEAN ANYWAY?

Fall River, MA Boston, MA San Diego, CA Buenos Aires, Argentina Warsaw, Poland Prague, Czech Republic The first on this list of cities brought me up to the ripe age of 17. A lot of the population in Fall River hangs right around the poverty line and I knew my fair share of heroin addicts. I thought gangs and knives at school were normal occurrences. My mother and father were young when they were made parents and neither got to finish a 4 year degree with the pressure of raising children and paying a mortgage. But I knew, even at a young age, college was expected of me. After graduating 12th in a class of 600, I left Fall River and went just an hour north to study in the pre-med program at Boston University. The idea of fulfilling a lifelong dream (become a M.D.) in one of the best ranked c...

GIRLS WEEKEND GETAWAY TO CLEVELAND

About two months ago, three of my closest friends from college shocked me and showed up on my doorstep for a girls weekend! I was pleasantly surprised and while I obviously didn’t have an opportunity to plan much, we had a great time exploring my lovely hometown of Cleveland, OH. If you’re interested in planning a girls weekend getaway, I would highly suggest that you consider CLE as your location. Take a look at my below suggestions and start planning your girls weekend getaway to Cleveland! Getting There: Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is located only 12 miles away from downtown Cleveland and offers over 150 daily nonstop departures. If you’re on a budget, there are quite a few low-cost airlines that fly in and out of the LAND like Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines. If you’r...

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