Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Travel Envy

It stems from the bottom of your soul, the feeling of wanting but not having, the gut wrenching turn when you see that next picture posted on Instagram...

Travel envy. It's rampant upon wanderlusters like you and me who, while we travel when we can (and love it!), we don't have the means to do it all the time.

It's not that we don't get a good stint when we're out and about on our own getaways, but when we're home, we're even wondering when and where we will go next.
Then cue the people who are continuously traveling, the dream of many, to their hearts desire. Posting picture after picture, maybe even a video, of the ultimate bucket list items you wish you could check off.

The green monster rears it's ugly head again and you can't help but bask in the raincloud you have hovering over your head. It makes you sad to not be able to be out there, in the work with so much to offer. Being stuck at a 9 to 5 that makes it possible only once a year to go where you want.

Jealously is an odd thing that when it's alive, it moves you, it pushes you further than you ever thought, it makes you think twice about what you're going to buy at the grocery store this week just so you can save some money for the next plane ticket..
It comes and goes. It's fleeting. We all have it, if we've ever desired something we can't have, only to have it dangled in front of us by someone else. Yes, that could mean so many things, but you know what I'm talking about here.

I love traveling. Sadly, my savings and checking account do not. It constantly pushes me to the boundaries of comfortable security, even if I know I am very lacking in that area of my life.
But, it's always worth it when that day comes where you get to hop on a plane to that next destination, even just for a short trip, nothing else feels better than to get away.

I am always envious of the people who seem to have it easy with the hand they've been dealt, but for what it's worth, the life I have is good too. Figuring out where I'll go next is half the fun, even though the ever impending stress and money make it hard.

Pictures, stories, and updates from the travelers going on in their worldly adventures are inspiring. While I am still very envious, it motivates me to plan and get going and I heartily appreciate that.
While my next major trip won't be for a little less than a year, I can only dream about the future, the inevitable.

Travel envy, travel motivation. They go hand in hand and I have both.
Do you?

Cheers and safe travels!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekend Trip to MSP

First thoughts when getting out of the airport were, "Wow, it is hot and incredibly humind."
Words I would be sure to say throughout the trip to numerous people and then thereafter to coworkers, family and friends.

From all of the things I've always heard about Minnesota is that it's cold. I never really expected the hot, sticky weather that I got when I arrived in September. By all means, it was nice to have a last hot weekend of summer before heading back to rainy Seattle for the fall, it just caught me by surprise.

This being my first trip out there, to visit a friend I had met when traveling to Europe in June, it was a needed trip. Getting a long weekend, away from work, full of fun and getting to know a friend a little better.

My experience there was short and only set in a couple places, but I still had a great time.
From the multiple sushi stops, to the fair, to the shopping till we dropped (almost literally).

First day was spent by myself, taking the precious Lady dog out for walks and trying not to die in the humidity, at least for the morning.

Once my friend got home however, we got ready to set out for the Minnesota State Fair!
Now, we do have our own state fair in Washington, but I know that we do not have multiple booths of food with something on a stick offered at it.
We ate so much incredibly terrible but delicious food while we were there. From pronto pups, to fries, cookies, and cheese curds, it was more and more difficult to walk with each bite.

We also went to the "Miracle of Birth" center to see the baby animals that were born. Lots of piglets, lambs and cows were there to see. Also checking out the Agriculture center to see the Seed Art that people had done, while stopping to get a frozen apple cider pop (YUM).

We ended our time trying to find the puppies, but we were too late. Which lead us to finding the best part of all, the Butterfly House! It was too cool to see all the butterflies flying around, landing on the walls and people. Being able to have them chill on your shirt and hold them on your fingers. Now, they are kind of creepy and it took me a few minutes to be ok with this winged crawly bugs on my hands and legs, but it was a blast!

The fair ended up being a really fun day. We were exhausted by the end, but it was for sure worth it.

The following day, we decided it would be a good idea to go to the Mall of America, which in all reality, turned into a major shopping spree that left us just as exhausted as the day before.
I didn't take many pictures here, but we had a fun time strolling around and shopping for a bit, stopping for a sushi lunch of course.

We ended the day by checking out the SeaLife Aquarium at the bottom of the MOA. We had a good time with that as well, petting stingrays, the tunnel of sharks and tons of jellyfish. Lots of fun was had at the mall.

On our way back (which we were there till it closed) we stopped to see a movie at the $3 theater and saw Spy with Melissa McCarthy. That movie is hilarious if you haven't seen it yet, you should.

All in all, the trip was great because I had a good friend to spend it with and while I didn't expect much from Minnesota in the beginning, it definitely surprised me with the awesome time.

To many more long weekends and travel days.
Cheers and safe travels!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Traveling 'Solo'

You know that feeling you get when the thing you want most in the world is to just get away and travel the world? To see new places, to meet new people and to breathe different air?
That's me.

My friends on the other hand, couldn't be further away from my feelings. Traveling with friends can be an amazing time, but what happens when your friends are the kind of people who make excuses, who "wish they could come" but there's no time, or money, or blah blah blah.

Yeah, that's where I've been for the progression of my life. I set my goals and dreams aside for awhile, waiting for someone to be available to travel with me, but it was always the same excuses.
I almost roped one of my friends into a trip for next year, but she backed out when she realized her anniversary was during the trip... What?

I changed my mind finally and decided I wasn't going to wait anymore. After my first trip to Europe after high school, it took me 5 years to go back. No way was I going to do that again.
Who says you can't make friends along the way?

It's hard when you and your friends don't have the same priorities in mind, but in the end, people drift apart and they do what they want.
My friends, if they are my friends, will still be here whenever I get back from an excursion and I can meet new friends to hopefully travel with in the future.

I think I've made it my mission to take a trip every year, which for me, isn't quite enough but I'll take what my budget can get me.
This year, I went back to Europe with a travel group, which was a great way to see new laces and meet new people like me. Next year will be Thailand, with the same company, but different group. A few other scattered trips here and there within the States between then but all in all, I don't mind that kind of life right now.

I'm waiting till I can really get out of here for awhile, make a plan and go with it.
I've been looking into volunteering or working abroad for a bit, so we'll see where that gets me.
Going alone, without friends though, doesn't scare me at all. This is my life and I'm going to do what I want, just like they are.
If they don't want to come, I'm going to pack my bags and go without them. I love the world and I'm going to see as much of it as I can in my lifetime.

If you're looking into a travel group, either traveling solo or with friends, make sure to check out EF College Break. If you have any questions, don't be shy, just ask!

Cheers and safe travels!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Switzerland and Mt. Pilatus

Switzerland has to be one of my favorite places I've been so far. It's so gorgeous, green and full of fresh mountain air.
Sometimes I can't believe I've even been there!
On my most recent trip to Europe with EF College Break, I had the opportunity to travel to Lucerne (which was one of our major stops). We actually stayed in Engelberg (here), which is about a 40 minute drive from the city of Lucerne.

Engelberg itself was a sight! Beautifully stationed in a mountain valley, we were able to hike around to view points to see the whole town, which was lovely! It being the spring season, it was a bit rainy and not very many people were in town during this time, which actually made it more pleasant in my book.

We got to meet Swiss cows and we eventually got to have dinner, which we chose a nice place where we could apparently only order pizza (since we arrived so late). Of course, I still got wine and my pizza was very good.

The next day, we started off by driving to Kreins where we hopped on gondolas to hoist us up the mountain side, to where the end would be the top of Mt. Pilatus.
The gondolas, a bit different from what you may be thinking of from Venice, are a bit sketchy, especially trekking up the side of a foggy mountain.

At the halfway point up the mountain, we were able to hop off and enjoy a ropes course they had there, fit with obstacles and multiple zip lines! This was probably my favorite thing we did on the trip, because it was so awesome to be able to say I've gone zip lining on a mountain in Switzerland!
We took about an hour or so to do this and while it did cost almost 30 extra euros to do, it was so worth it!

Onwards and upwards! We finally made it to the top and after much anxiety over timing, we got to eat a lovely cafeteria style lunch and take pictures from a great viewpoint there. It did not fall short of amazing and being on top of a Swiss mountain is probably one of the best feelings I've come across.

From the top, we took a cog wheel train to the bottom.

A bit steep, but we made it down in one piece, getting a glimpse of a little mountain goat on our way down as well!
At the bottom, we made our way to the boat we would take next (yes quite a journey on this day) which would take us around the lake and to Lucerne.

Once we made it to the city, everyone was ready to go and explore. There were places to get swiss army knives, clocks and watches, we fancied venturing to a nearby Swiss chocolate shop, which was delicious!
We also got a short tour and wandered to see the sights on our own for a bit.

If you didn't know this about Lucerne or maybe Switzerland in general (not entirely sure), they seem to have a lot of swans there! Swimming and lazing around by the edges where people are.
(Pictured above) The kettle bridge was a nice place to go across and we got to see old architecture mixed in with the new.

More walking led us to our bus that took our tired group back to our hostel. We had wanted to try some famous traditional fondue, but apparently that is only a thing they do in the winter sadly, so we missed out. We did however eat at a really amazing restaurant (I got their special lamb and orzo pasta, yum! Here.) We also tried to head out to a bar that night where we thought they were having a festival celebration for summer solstice, but it wasn't entirely busy and we ended up leaving, although it was a good time while it lasted!

I wouldn't have traded this trip for the world. It was entirely different than what I expected, in so many ways, but it was also exactly what I needed.
I made new friends, made a lot of memories, and got to travel to some pretty cool places.
I'm always ready for my next adventure and I already have a few in mind!

More posts to come, just have to venture out to make more!
Cheer and safe travels everyone!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Venice and the Italian Life

In June, I went on a trip to Europe with a group from EF College Break, which was amazing to say the least. I had my expectations high as I had been to Europe before and loved every second of it, so when I got here this time, I had hoped to feel the same as before.

Despite the seemingly endless downpours in Germany and the long bus rides at times, I did feel the same magic that I had my very first trip there. I love Europe and it's diverse cultures traveling from one country to the next. It's inspiring and motivating for me, quite honestly, it's what I want my life to be.
So when I got to go back to Italy, my favorite place I've ever been, I was pretty darn excited. Now, I didn't get to go to the same place, traveling from Germany and Austria, we landed in the Northern (East) side of Italy. It's definitely still gorgeous and I wouldn't have left if I had had a choice. Venice was our main spot to visit here, but we stayed in a small town near there called Cavallino (which I said countless times during the trip because it just rolls of your tongue and means little horse, we stayed here).

In Cavallino we stayed at a nice hotel near a few good restaurants and shops, as well as, having a nice beach right down the street from us, we could see it from our balconies, which wasn't bad at all!

The first night there we basically just settled in with our stuff and went to eat at the restaurant next door, which had delicious pasta (I got carbonara and some white wine, which was also lovely).

The next morning we took our bus to meet our boat into the city, which took us about a half hour to 40 minutes or so to get there.
But once we did, we saw the reasons why everyone wanted to come here. It was beautiful, the architecture, the colors, the ups and downs of the bridges and the alley ways of canals. It was great to get there earlier in the morning so there weren't as many tourists to bump into along the way.

We met our tour guide and he took us through Saint Marks Basilica quickly and showed us down some paths to the Murano glass blowery, where they gave us a quick demonstration and let us see what else they had made in their shop. Venetian glass is not cheap, but I did end up buying two tumbler glasses for my mom, which were very pretty and durable.

We then had a chance to go off on our own to explore, which we wandered more paths, got lost a couple times, at lunch (had amazing linguini and clams!) and saw the Rialto Bridge! Sadly, they were doing construction on half of it, but it was still very pretty.

We met up with our group again and got to take a gondola ride! Checked that off my bucket list.
It was a nice time, although apparently gondoliers don't sing to you that early in the day, remember that!

Again we had free time for walking, exploring, art gallery looking, and gelato eating. Eventually our feet got tired and we had to rest, but we met up with our group again, had more gelato and headed back out to head home.

It;s definitely a tourist city, where all the locals know how to work it, setting up art, souvenir, and other trinket booths. It was nice to be able to see it as our guide kept telling us to, "come back before it sinks and is gone."

Our boat ride back seemed quicker and we headed out to the beach to see what was there, which was beautiful! The water was a bit cold but the view couldn't be beat. We had fun walking on the sand and taking pictures.

Another pizza and pasta dinner and we were done with Venice.

The next day we headed out and on our way to our next country, we stopped in Verona! A smaller, yet still somewhat modernized city full of pop up booths for food and souvenirs. We ate lots of fruit that day, which we hadn't eaten all trip it seemed!

We got to see the statue of Juliet as well as her balcony. It's nice to be able to say I've been there. It was a very hot day and we didn't stay long, but enough to have seen what was needed.

Our next stop would be Switzerland. I'll write about my travels there later.

For now, cheers and safe travels!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bucket List

Hey all!

I recently discovered that posting about my recent and past trips, that I hadn't ever posted my bucket list of what I want to do within my lifetime!
So right now, I thought I would put that down.
As of this moment, this is what is on my bucket list:

1. Fall in love
2. Travel the world
-One country at a time (Thailand next year)
3. Ride in a hot air balloon
4. Meet elephants face to face (updated because riding elephants is not good for them and I will not be doing that to magnificent animals)
5. Travel entirely alone to at least one place
6. Work and live in another country
7. Try out surfing, even if I'm not good at it
8. Travel to Australia to see kangaroos and visit Hobbiton in New Zealand
-Also meet a quokka the happiest animal!
9. See the Northern Lights from Iceland
10. Stand under a waterfall
11. Visit with giant pandas is China
12. Go to the lantern festival in Thailand
13. Help at a wildlife refuge
14. Visit South Africa and go to a lion sanctuary and go on a safari!
15. Wine taste in Tuscany
16. Go on a luxurious tropical vacation
17. Swim near manatees
-Also dolphins
18. Visit the Galapagos Islands before they disappear
19. Zip line in Costa Rica
20. Go to a Hawaiian luau
21. Visit Bali - Indonesia
22. Housesit for someone in another country
23. Offer up my home to stay on somewhere like Airbnb or Couchsurfing
24. Learn at least a decent amount of another language
25. Go to the rain room in Bali (when it's done)
26. Dine in the dark
27. See a show on Broadway
28. Go to a fancy cocktail party
29. Own a dog
30. Ride on a dog sled
31. Go to Disney and take pictures with all my favorite characters
32. Party with a favorite band of mine
33. See the New Years fireworks from Sydney
34. Visit Morocco
35. See the Pyramids in Egypt
36. Ride a camel (and hope they don't bite or spit at me)
37. Parasail
38. Take my mom on a trip with me
39. Get my dream job (which could be a lot of things - travel or animal related, or a mix)
40. Be happy, not just content
41. Swim with jellyfish (the non stinging ones) in Palau.
42. Buy a round the world ticket and go!

It may not seem like a lot, but I will be constantly thinking up more all the time, even if I don't always write them down.
The world is out there, go explore it!
Thanks everyone.

Cheers and safe travels!

P.S. If you have any suggestions or if you have any cool things that are on your bucket list, let me know in the comments section below!