pink-water-mexico

Where I’ve been

Since September 2015, without a foreseeable end in sight, I have been living out of suitcase. There isn’t a lot of rational behind where I go and when; I also haven’t figured out my preferred method of travel and planning. This life–in so many ways–is a beautiful, messy process. Check back in here to see where I’ve been up to and what I’m been going to.

melbourne, victoria, australia

August 26-September 8

I rented a car in Adelaide and drove south to Port Fairy and then east via the Great Ocean Road up to Melbourne. My last two weeks in Australia was spent in the cool, foodie, fun city of Melbs. I circled the beautiful La Trobe Reading Room to work and write and I made dozens of amazing friends.

adelaide, south australia, australia

August 10-21

I flew to Adelaide to visit my friends, Greg and Holli, whom I met at Foz du Igaucu in January, 2016. They were wonderful hosts and showed me all around their beautiful home, including the Adelaide Hills and a few South Australian wineries.

cairns, queensland, australia

July 12-August 9

One of my bucket list items for Australia was the Great Barrier Reef, so I landed in Cairns with my Chicago friends, Katy and Jamie… and then got stuck there. I found some opportunities for free scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef and was determined to see sharks! I volunteered on a live abroad on a dive boat for 5 days.

brisbane, queensland, australia

July 5-11

Via a rental relocation, I drove the 12 hours north along the Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane in a 12-passenger van. I stopped by Hunter Valley, Newcastle, a zoo with koala bears and kangaroos, Coff’s Harbour, The Big Banana Park and Byron Bay. Brisbane itself was an unexpected gem that I really enjoyed!

sydney, new south wales, australia

June 18-July 4

What’d up Australia?! I spent three weeks in Sydney, exploring the Blue Mountains one weekend and the Royal National Park another. I met new friends and old friends for fun times in the city. All and all, Sydney gave me a great introduction to the country.

chicago, illinois, usa

May 31-June 17

Back in Chicago for the IRCE conference, to meet my friend’s baby and spend time with my favorite people.

boston, massachusetts, usa

May 24-May 30

For my father’s 50th birthday, my mother got him Boston Red Sox Fantasy Camp tickets. In January, he went to Florida to practice and play baseball with retired Red Sox players in the franchise’s southern park. Part of this Fantasy Camp included a Red Sox game Memorial Day weekend in Boston and playing pick up games in Fenway Park! I met my family in Boston to watch my dad–and little brother–play ball below the watchful eye of the Green Monster! Before Boston, we popped down to Newport, Rhode Island to see the Gilded Age mansions on the ocean.

medellin, antioquia, colombia

May 14-23

I was back in Medellin for a few weeks to collect the last of my souvenirs and enjoy the luxury of being there just a little while longer.

santa marta, bolivar, colombia

May 9-13

Santa Marta was a bit of a spoil for me. I took a bus 3 hours northeast so I could veg by the beach, but I quickly discovered that Santa Marta is a place every adventurer should go! I sadly didn’t give myself enough time there for the hiking and rainforest and The Lost City… but I did get more scuba diving in!

cartagena, bolivar, colombia

May 4-8

The whole purpose in my going to Cartagena was to get my PADI Open Water certification for scuba diving. The city was quaint and I loved it despite it’s expensive, tourism driven way of being.

medellin, antioquia, colombia

Apr 2-May 3

Despite the fear my plans to travel to Colombia inspired in my friends and family, I chose to spend my spring-months in Medellin because of the digital nomad community I found there. Between the international pocket I found and the fantastic cafes with amazing coffee and strong wifi–I considered myself spoiled. The landscape of Colombia is gorgeous and something that cannot be hidden behind the height of a metropolitan city. I visited coffee farms, chocolate farms, made new friends, and simply enjoyed the Colombian approach to life. I attempted to continue my Spanish lessons, but struggled and my frustration handicapped me even farther.

concord, new hampshire, usa

Mar 23-Apr 1

When your busiest best friend tells you she’s free for a visit, you make it happen. My bestie, Insha, was in Concord for her medical residency and it was lovely popping back to the US to see her, see her life and explore the area with her: a night out in Montreal and another in Boston.

merida, yucatan, mexico

Feb 25-Mar 22

Merida was a fantastic place to land for awhile. I loved the weather and the people. I went on several tours to Mayan ruins, and even got to Chichen Itza for the Spring Equinox!

havana, cuba

Feb 22-25

I got a People to People visa and went to Havana for a few days! My friend Cris, whom I know from my Greek literature course in Athens, was studying at Havana University for the semester and I shamelessly used him as an excuse to go to Cuba and as my Spanish-speaking tour guide.

chicago, illinois, usa

Feb 3-21

The international flights are cheaper out of Chicago, that’s true, but I also love and miss my life in Chicago.

kentucky, usa

Jan 3-Feb 2

Back again for suitcase shuffling and planning…

new york city, new york, usa

Dec 29-Jan 2, 2017

For New Year’s, my high school friend, Tiffany, and I went to New York City! We touched the high points, saw Waitress on broadway and mostly avoided the crazy of NYE in New York by eating pizza and drinking champagne on the fire escape of our Greenwich AirBNB.

kentucky, usa

Dec 19-Dec 28

Merry Christmas!

london, england, uk

Nov 28-Dec 18

I stayed in a hostel right across the Westminster Bridge. Aside from a weekend in Liverpool, visiting a friend, I spent all my time in London. I went to a service at Westminster Abbey and heard the boys choir; went on a bunch of Strawberry tours including one for Harry Potter, one of street art in Shoreditch and one focused on Jack the Ripper. The whole purpose of my being in London during this time started in Munich, October 2016 when I bought myself tickets to see “Harry Potter and the Curse Child!” Leah rejoined me and took the second ticket that I purchased.

paris, ile-de-france, france

Nov 23-27

Missing Thanksgiving? I met my cousin Leah and her friend Kate in Paris for a Frenchgiving. I may have eaten and drank too much causing me to pass out on a stranger couch. But what’s Thanksgiving without a bit of embarrassment?

iceland

Nov 15-22

For my friend’s 30th birthday, eight of us met in Reykjavik and traveled around the cold island. A snow storm stopped us from getting to Akureyri, but we enjoyed the trip otherwise. Three of us snorkeled the Silfra Fissure–the divide between the North American and the European plates–warmed ourselves in the Blue Lagoon, saw the Northern Lights, road tripped to Vik, walked on black beaches and climbed a glacier!

edinburgh, county of edinburgh, uk

Nov 2-14

In Edinburgh, I discovered the best hostel! Besides venturing to the highlands and sailing Loch Ness, I didn’t do much of note in Edinburgh aside from enjoying the cafes,  walking about the old city and drinking plenty of peaty scotch.

dublin, county dublin, ireland

Oct 17- Nov 1

I stayed near Temple Bar and crossed the Half-Penny Bridge everyday. I went to the Cliffs of Moher, kissed the Blarney Stone, and ventured to North Ireland to see the Carrack-a-Reid rope bridge, the Dark Hedges and the Giant’s Causeway. Every time I hear Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl,” I just want to transport back to Ireland and drink a Guinness.

chicago, illinois, usa

Oct 3-16

Kentucky and Chicago–both places are my home.

kentucky, usa

Sept 17- Oct 2

…and pack my bags…

oakland, california, usa

Sept 7-16

I went out to the west coast for the first time! My friends Theresa and J.P. moved out there and it was high-time for a visit. I enjoyed seeing their new home in Oakland and exploring their neighbor, San Fransisco.

kentucky, usa

August 29-Sept 6

Back home to plan more trips…

alys beach, florida, usa

August 25-28

FLORIDA TIME! My cousin got married on a beach, and it was nice to have some quality family time away from home.

kentucky, usa

August, 22-24

Home with just enough time to switch out the stuff in my suitcase.

chicago, illinois, usa

August 19-21

Stopped in to say hey and caught a cheaper flight back to the Kentucky.

athens, attica, greece

August 17-18

Backt to Athens to cacht a flight home!

nafplio, peloponnese, greece

August 8-16

After the fast pace of traveling with Kathleen through the Cyclades, I was craving some down time… and Nafplio was where I landed. Between the little cafes, the Venician-influence and the clear water, I was happy as a clam and really didn’t want to leave.

mykonsos, the cyclades islands, greece

August 5-7

We stayed in Little Venice on Mykonsos, and had the best time. Of course, the “best time” included a lot of dancing, champagne, beaches and Molly passing out in her bathing suit. It was a great end to my travels with Kathleen.

naxos, the cyclades islands, greece

August 3-4

Naxos was a splendid surprise. I got attacked by a seas urchin, but otherwise the little island with its castle and Apollo gate was almost magical.

santorini, the cyclades islands, greece

August 1-2

My friend, Kathleen, met me in Athens, and when my Greek literature class was over, we took off to island hop! The first stop was Santorini for some seafood, good wine, sunsets and those blue-capped white buildings.

athens, attica, greece

July 17-31

Back to Athens for my Greek literature class! We read and discussed ancient literature about “Love” and spent the mornings touring around Athens. On the weekends, we took off to Sounio, the island of Aegina, and a temple for Diana.

lefkada, the ionian islands, greece

July 12-16

Via a simple ferry from Fiskardo, I landed at Lefkada on Kafkada island and spent a few days relaxing and beaching.

kefalonia, the ionian islands, greece

July 1-11

I took a bus to Kefalonia because I really want to spend my Fourth of July weekend on a beach and I wanted to see the Melissani Cave near Sami! There was a day trip to Homer’s Ithaka in here as well. I saw Asos, spent a few nights at Agia Effimia and enjoyed Fiskardo.

athens, attica, greece

June 25-30

I spent my first few days in Greece in Athens, working and organizing my next leg of the trip. With a tour group, I went to Delphi and to see the Meteora Monasteries.

chicago, illinois, usa

June 1-24

In Chicago for the Internet Retailer Conference and Expo, to see friends and enjoy some of Chicago’s wonderful summer fun.

kentucky, usa

May 4-31

Back to my parents house to see friends and plan my next escape…

boston, massachusetts, usa

April 26–May3

It’s best to think of my week in Boston in three parts. Part one, staying with Megan in her Harvard dorm room. She’s nearly finished with the first year of her MBA. I enjoyed the academic area, explored to Back Bay and even attended one of her strategy lectures as a guest. Part two, weekend with Kathleen at her parent’s apartment in North End. We celebrated America (because Kevin was soon moving to Europe) and birthdays (because Tony was having one) with drinks, food and Sam Adams brewery tour. Part three, on my own in Chinatown at a hostel. For starters, it’s a great hostel. I walked the Freedom Trail one morning before work and saw the Mapparium the next. Kathleen was the consistent value throughout the visit; I had dinner with her 6 nights in a row.

freeport, grand bahama, bahamas

April 23-25

Rachel won an all-expenses paid, two-night stay at Lucayan Beach Resort in Freeport. She asked me. I said yes. The weekend was set up to be a win—beach bumming, free drinks and food, an excuse to buy a new bathing suit and time to catch up. An added bonus was the $500 flight voucher I got from American for skipping my scheduled flight to Freeport in order to fly to Miami and catch the flight Rachel already had booked; it was seriously a win-win.

new york city, new york, usa

April 22

Really just in the city for a flight, but I had a full day and I used it: mani-pedi in NoHo, Housing Works Bookstore Café (because I really can’t pass a good bookstore without going in) and then to The Crucible at the Walter Kerr Theatre. One night I spent in a hostel at 54th and 7th, the next I spent at Newark airport to save money and to be not stressed about my 5:30am boarding.

niagara falls, new york, usa

April 15-April 21

I took an overnight, Amtrak train to Niagara, NY. Despite everyone telling me to stay on the Canada side, I decided to stay on the in a hostel on the USA side. Not the worst decision, but I wish I would have listened and stayed on the Canada side. In the end, the decision probably saved me money, but w/e.

Travel hacks: Even if you decide to stay on the USA side (as an American), still bring your passport. The views and the tourist attractions on the Canada side are worth seeing.

philadelphia, pennsylvania, usa

April 12-14, 2016

Spent a few short days in Philadelphia again, staying with Beth in West Philly. She’s a delightful person, took me to cool places for dinner and drove me around, showing me her Philadelphia.

washington, d.c., usa

March 29-April 12, 2016

By bus—I’m getting more adventurous and economical, you see—I went to D.C. specifically to see the Cheery Blossoms blooms around the monuments. They were gorgeous! I spent the rest of my time exploring the different neighborhoods of D.C. and visiting with my eldest cousin, Sarah and her fiancé Chip. I managed to meet up with Megan for some tourist walk-abouts and drinks. I explored Georgetown, Alexandria, Virginia and Arlington Cemetery; on an impulse, Chip drove us to the Pentagon September 11 Memorial, which I’m so glad I got to experience.

I stayed in THE BEST HOSTEL in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. A bit of a walk to DuPont Circle or Lincoln Circle, but there were easy busses the picked up right outside. Even though it’s a hostel, it was a better experience than I’ve had at most hotels. Honestly.

philadelphia, pennsylvania, usa

March 22- 29, 2016

Took an Amtrak train to Philadelphia, which was lovely. Stayed in a hostel at Market and 2nd street, so I was walking distance to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Christ’s Church, etc. Got really good at the hostel stay here—bought groceries when I arrived and limited the amount of food I ate out. Went to the Sixth Sense church (St. Augustine) for Easter and then to the Magic Garden off South Street where I met the artist’s son.

brooklyn, new york, usa

March 14-22, 2016

Staying specifically in Williamsburg, right of the M line, in another hostel! I explored Brooklyn, walked across bridges, found great cafes and ventured into the city to see Upright Citizens Brigade ASSSSCAT! with Shanel and her college friends.

chicago, illinois, usa

March 9-14, 2016

Stayed with Erin in Old Town; in Chicago specifically to celebrate the river dying for St. Patrick’s Day.

new york city, new york, usa

February 29–March 9, 2016

I’ve never “done” NYC on my own, so I was excited about spending the time on my own to explore and do all the touristy things. I saw Fiddler on a Roof at the Broadway Theatre and Les Misérables at the Imperial Theatre, went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, to museums and to the top of the Empire State building. I stays in my first ever hostel! It was off Lexington and 34th street.

chicago, illinois, usa

February 26-29, 2016

In Chicago I visited my favorites and celebrated the Oscars in style.

kentucky, usa

January 31-February 26, 2016

I was then back in Kentucky to save money and plan my year of traveling. Kathleen and Rachel visited for President’s Day weekend. There was a huge snowstorm, so we mostly hung out and watched TV. Restless to get going, a bit panicky about the life I chose and how I’m not optimizing my freedom.

rio de janeiro, rio de janeiro, brazil

January 27-30, 2016

I wanted more beach time before catching my Rio departing trip to the U.S. This time, my AirBNB was in Barra da Tijuca, which is close to the Olympic village of the (then) upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics. This was the first area I braved the Brazilian public transit (what was I afraid of?!) Unrelated, I had my phone stolen when I was back at Copacabana to do last minute gift shopping for my family. I lost some great pictures of this day of beach hoping in Rio, including a great sunset over Ipanema beach. I also should have stayed in Brazil another week for Carnival. Oh well. My last in Brazil was spent with my hostess at the beach near her apartment. It was by far the best beach day I had, even with no phone/camera to record it.

são paulo, são paulo, brazil

January 16-26, 2016

The big idea going to Sao Paulo was to explore the coffee culture, but the lack of beaches and my second week on my own gave me another bought of light displacement. I threw myself into work, and revolved my day around eating and coffee shops. Not a bad life, really. My AirBNB was in the Itaim Bibi area, which I really enjoyed. Did a lot of free walking tours—one to Vila Madelana’s graffiti culture and the other to explore the history of Sao Paulo.

florianopolis, santa catarina, brazil

January 10-15, 2016

Kathleen went home and I went to the island of Florianopolis just because the flight was cheap and I had read about the place on Travel + Leisure; a pretty great choice. I stayed in an AirBNB of a husband and wife whose son is in the U.S. military and whose Arkansas-born daughter-in-law was in Florianopolis during her husband’s deployment. The place was on the bay side of the island, and I should have stayed on the ocean side. I watched surfers, went sand boarding, was lazy at Praia Da Joaquina and Praia Mole, and explored the Lagoa area.

foz do iguaçu, paraná, brazil

January 7-9, 2016

This was Kathleen’s idea and was a highlight of my Brazil trip. We stayed at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas where we ate and drank like honeymooners, enjoyed sunsets over the Iguazu Falls and met our favorite Australians. We went to Argentina for the day to walk around its extensive World Heritage Park where 80% of the waterfalls are.

rio de janeiro, rio de janeiro, brazil

December 27, 2015-January 6, 2016

The day after Christmas I flew to Dallas then to Miami to meet Kathleen. Then we jetted off on an overnight flight to Rio de Janeiro. We stayed at an AirBNB in the Copacabana neighborhood that was equidistance from Copacabana beach and Ipanema beach. The whole point of our trip was to celebrate New Years Eve at the huge beach part on Copacabana beach, so the location was perfect for the celebration and the day-after-hangover. No air conditioning and no blinds on the windows, so most of our time was spent elsewhere. We watched sunsets and one sunrise, took a lot of beach days, travel-hacked Cristo Redentor and Escadaria Selarón and went on one, pretty terrible bar crawl. BUT we did attempt to samba, so there is that.

kentucky, usa

December 21-26, 2015

I back to Kentucky to celebrate Christmas with my family.

las vegas, nevada, usa

December 19-21, 2015

Went to Las Vegas for the first time with Kathleen, Lauren and members of an online travel group we had connected with, Girls Who Travel. We went out as group to various clubs in Las Vegas, though there was some scheduling issues.

kentucky, usa

December 16-18, 2015

Went back to Kentucky with my mom and saw Seth graduate from the University of Kentucky.

new york city, new york, usa

December 12-16, 2015

My mother met me in Chicago and from there we went to New York City! We saw the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, Macy’s and Time Square. Sunday night we saw Hamilton at the Richard Rogers Theatre and Monday night we saw the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City. We stayed at an AirBNB in Hell’s Kitchen.

chicago, illinois, usa

December 1-12, 2015

Staying with Kathleen in Lincoln Park, I was in Chicago for Christmas parties, end-of-the-year company meetings and visiting friends.

kentucky, usa

November 22–30, 2015

I was in Kentucky to spend Thanksgiving with family.

munich, bavaria, germany

November 21, 2015

Spent the day in Munich before my flight back to the U.S.

oberammergau, bavaria, germany

November 1-21, 2015

On the trip to the castles that I went on with Insha, we stopped by Oberammergau. Something about the place struck me, a feeling I have come very familiar with since then and can name: Fernweh. It’s what the German call an ache for distance places. So I spent 3 quiet weeks in a small bed in breakfast in Oberammergau, hiking up nearby mountains really feeling the ache and homesickness of my new lifestyle.

munich, bavaria, germany

September 24–November 1, 2015

My late afternoon flight out of Chicago took me to Berlin, where I got through customs and changed planes for a flight to Munich. A friend I met the spring before while in Munich for a school trip picked me up from the airport and helped me find my AirBNB in Implerstasse. Ivonne was a great hostess. I went on tours, wandered around museums, took a day trip to Geingen, Germany to visit the Steiff factory and to Salzburg, Austria. Kathleen visited me on my second weekend in Munich; we went dirndl shopping and spent two days at Oktoberfest. The following weekend, Insha visited me. We celebrated her birthday, did a lot of shopping, and took a tour of the nearby mountains and castles.

chicago, illinois, usa

September 18-23, 2015

Spent the few days with Rachel and Chatigny in Marina Towers. We celebrated Oktoberfest at The Dawson, Renegade Art Street Fair in Wicker Park, spend a lot of time on their roof, and generally enjoy Indian summer in Chicago.

kentucky, usa

September 7-18, 2015

Back to my parent’s house to finish organizing my things, celebrate my birthday with the visiting Kathleen and Chatigny and pack for a long travel stint.

bald head island, north carolina, usa

September 3-7, 2015

For my first trip of not having a place of my own, I went to Bald Head Island in North Carolina with Chatigny and Dear John for Labor Day weekend. We golfed, we ate and we drank while partaking in continuous shenanigans. There are no cars on Bald Head, so everyone drives around on golf carts. It’s a wealthy community and everyone is nice and welcoming, a microcosm of the American Dream.

kentucky, usa

August 27-September 3

After a 6-hour drive with my mother from Chicago to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, I officially do not have a place of my own. I unpacked the things I’ll needed—clothing and books—and packed the rest into storage closets. I guess I live with my parents now.