The Worst Thing That Could Happen in Salzburg

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In this beautiful European wonderland, the worst thing that could ever happen is indeed happening. My DSLR camera, or rather — the lens,  has decided to stop taking pictures and has left me with no other option but to use my iPhone.

But don’t worry, I’m not giving up that easily.

Even though half of them are iPhone pics and the rest are from my ~amazing~ camera that decided to stop being amazing, I am SO excited to share some tips, pictures and ideas for travel with you! Coming soon.

-A

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Vancouver, BC – Canada

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Just looked through some of the pictures I took while in Vancouver in March 2017 and now I need to know, WHY HAVE I PUT OFF WRITING ABOUT VANCOUVER FOR THIS LONG??

Vancouver is active, green, a foodie’s paradise, rainy, diverse, and beautiful. Originally, we wanted to travel to Washington state – aka hipsters headquarters of America, I think. The flights were so expensive, and just north of Washington is Canada. I think we ended up paying $200 for two plane tickets.

March is not necessarily peak traveling season for Vancouver. The rumors are true, it is very rainy. It literally did not stop raining some days, but it had random bouts of sunshine.

We ended up staying in (south?) Vancouver near Stanley Park at the Buchan Hotel (1906 Haro St., Vancouver, BC). The rooms were very basic, small, but very comfortable. Best of all, the location was prime, and located very close to amazing restaurants and not too far from shopping. In fact, we got around the city mostly from walking, and very rarely from using public transportation.

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Some kind of steam powered clock

One of the days, we ended up visiting Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park. The Conservatory was relatively easy to access by foot (with a rain jacket and umbrella in hand). It is a domed aviary, and popular with bird lovers, old people and children alike!

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I think part of the problem with traveling is the intense nostalgic feeling I get when I look back at old pictures. I was only in Vancouver for 5 days and my heart actually misses this trip so much. At the time of, the rain was too much for me. I was really upset at how wet my clothes got, and how cold everything was. But looking back, the comfort of finding a store to take refuge in, trekking across the beautiful city and taking in the smells made it all worth it.

My absolute favorite part about the trip was the last day we were there when we visited Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge and hiked. IMG_9090IMG_9202

I’m still amazed at the color the water is. That’s honestly all the reflecting my heart can take for one day.

Stay tuned, I’ll *probably* post more.

-A

Social Media Mystery & Thoughts

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I have reached this fantastic age of my life where I no longer feel the need to be validated by likes or comments on a social media post – and it feels just as great as you might imagine it would!

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I’m out here doing these fantastic things.. and guess what? My Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat don’t know about it! Rather, the people who “follow” me don’t know about it. And I get this sort of satisfaction knowing that not everyone who has ever had contact with me knows about my journey. It is less so to seem mysterious, and more a time for me to spend reflecting on life. Truly I think I am happier when I am off social media. Those lame articles we read about comparing ourselves to others and feeling depressed because we’re bombarded with curated images of people’s lives are truly hard for me to look at. I guess I don’t want to play a part in the “fake happiness” trends, and rather rely on real life relationships where I can freely share good and bad stories about my journey.

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I’ve had… well, 2 friends actually go out of their way to ask to see some pictures of my time so far (with the exception of my boyfriend). Just two! It’s kind of crazy and helps me put some perspective on the social media craze. I do not want to be that annoying girl bombarding everyone with pictures, but of course, I will send them and tell you all about my experiences if you ask. But sometimes I think it’s a guise: a few friends have asked me how things are going, but I find myself wondering if they find my stories interesting? Do they even care? Are they asking like it’s a check mark on a paper because that’s what you do when someone leaves? Do they actually think that I’m doing is as cool as I think it is? Sometimes I’m not sure if I’ll ever know.

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I find myself thinking again about this same friend who has occupied too much of my time. The friend who started ignoring me when things were going well for me, but bad for her.  I think social media played a role in that fight because that’s how she started ignoring me — not liking things I’d put online when she’d like everyone else’s posts, ignoring messages I sent her, not answering when I’d call but replying with one word texts… I don’t like the power social media gave her in that fight. People are braver being a screen, and when I don’t respond (because I can’t respond to those types of messages), I am now the reason why we aren’t talking.

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But I think the beauty in my life right now is that I have the power to choose who is in my life and who isn’t. I think the more distance I give home, the more clear things become with everyone in my life. I really don’t care how anyone has spun the story — however you want to frame things, I know that you started things and I know you do, too.

I am tired of having “Facebook Friends,” who are my friends in the virtual word but not in real life. I’m tired of people trying to bring me down and when I share what’s going on with someone else, hearing: “maybe they’re jealous?” as the reason. Yes, maybe they are jealous and that explains why they treat me the way they do, but jealousy has been a really vicious, nasty thing. I want people in my life who are supportive and kind, and genuinely care about you. I want to be happy for my friends unconditionally when something good happens in their life, but I can’t shake this feeling of faking happiness for things because when I share something good about my life, I get put-downs and “why are you even trying?”‘s.

IMG_0110I really think the whole point is that I am trying to better myself and find out what makes me happy. I was asked by some students if I believe in the American Dream, and this is a topic that has come up on my blog before and something that has caused me a lot of pain in the past. All I’ve ever known is “we don’t have money for this” and “we don’t have money for that.” And I think I translated me being successful as me achieving some “American Dream” and I just truly don’t see it that way anymore. I am a unicorn – the first woman in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and have a IMG_0115career from it,  yes, but that does not mean I have achieved some life dream. I’m only 24, and I have so much more living to do. My whole life will NOT be planned around that degree and I will not hold that job for the rest of my life (case in point: look at me today!) I still feel like I am figuring myself out, and I’ll fall back into the same old depression if I go back to my job in my old city. Surely, there’s more to life than

graduating college -> getting a job -> getting married -> buying a home -> having kids

I see so many other young people who believe in that way of life, and I see the comfort and familiarity in it… y’all, I just don’t see my life unfolding in that way.

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I could write a novel about this.

 

 

Lexington, Kentucky

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Another weekend, another road trip! And Lexington, Kentucky was the perfect distance.

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We started in Columbus, Ohio and drove south on I-71 South for exactly 3 hours. Our airbnb wouldn’t let us check in until 5pm, so we drove directly to the city, parked on Jefferson Avenue and started walking across town.

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Coming from Columbus, Ohio (population 860,090), Lexington definitely felt small (population 318,449). It was a nice size for a downtown area, and we walked from one side of the downtown district to the other in about 15 minutes.

While walking down the main street (actually, I believe it was called Main Street), we stumbled upon a hotel with an art exhibit inside. I didn’t take any pictures, but I left with an ache in my heart feeling very aware of social issues facing other around the world (ahh….art….) One that struck me the most was a digital media piece of a young soldier from Columbia who had lost both of his arms.

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One of my favorite parts about taking weekend trips is the lack of planning. We enjoyed looking at the cute houses, buildings, visiting the coffee shops, restaurants, and taking in the art work.

Our first stop was: Corta y Lima (101 W. Short Street, Lexington KY)

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ADORABLE decor, love the interior

 

I heard that downtown Lexington has a reputation for being “not that cool.” Personally, I loved the charm of the town. The town was rich in history (lots of historical  markers everywhere) and beautiful artwork. It had a nice variety of restaurants (albeit lots of chains).

So far, I have been pleasantly pleased with Kentucky, and it’s not too far away from Ohio (making for great weekend getaways). During my weekend, I also stopped by Midway, Kentucky and Frankfort, Kentucky. More on that soon !

-A

Louisville, Kentucky y’all!

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I used to tell myself that I had no business in the South. That is, until I realized I live in Ohio and well, it’s slim pickings! Now, I’ve realized how wrong my perception of the South was. I imagined all of the most terrible stereotypes: hillbillies, racist people, small towns. But the more I travel, the wider my perception of that area of America gets.

This past weekend we drove for about 3 hours from Columbus, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky.

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During my weekend trip, I’ve decided that Louisville is a.l.l.t.h.a.t. The only downside was that we didn’t have more time to explore!

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Our first stop after dropping our bags off at our Airbnb was Blue Dog Cafe on Frankfort Avenue. All I remember about the name of this dessert was it did not sound the way it spelled (French, probably). It was basically a sweet crescent muffin with sugar glaze in the inside (spoken by a true foodie). I also got a Raspberry tea (not pictured). The cashier gave us some advice on where to go next (keep reading!)

After enjoying our pastries, we walked up Frankfort Avenue and checked out some of the cute shops. Some of them were so picturesque —

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Look closely, it’s not a ghost, it is I

I’m a sucker for DIY looking stores with home decor. I am not a country girl, but I do love the “rusic chic” theme for houses.

As I mentioned above, the cashier told us we HAD to check out two places, which we did. The first one was Cherokee Park, and the second was the Walking Bridge.

Thoughts on Cherokee Park: meh

Thoughts on the Walking Bridge: 1000% recommend to anyone going to Louisville! We got there at about 8:55 pm. The best and sweetest part about this evening was making our way up the bridge, and seeing a group full of people standing in red shirts that read: WILL YOU MARRY ME? (Have you ever seen a proposal IRL? I was about to start crying and I don’t even know these people. Life if precious!) I didn’t get that great of a shot of the proposal, but there they are with their sparklers!

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The bridge and the view was so, so beautiful at night. I still can’t get over how nice that night was.

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This may have been one of the more successful night shots I’ve had (night photography is not my strong suit).

The next morning, we got coffee at Please & Thank You. And seriously, how cute is this place?

We shopped some more. There is nothing really interesting to say about that except for a realization I had. For the past few months I have been living downtown. I have loved every single second of it, although living next to a lot of homeless people has not been the best thing for me. As someone who studied social work and poverty, I take a particular interest in those people. And, well, let’s just say I need to stop running my mouth because they so clearly don’t want to hear advice from a random girl carrying 8 bags. I’ve just heard the same rehearsed story several times now, and I know it’s not true and I want them to get the help they need. Calling their bluff to recommend places to go for help has not been super helpful, but rather, offensive (I have learned my lesson, and will just give them the dollar next time). While shopping, a man approached us and said “Hey, I’m just getting off work. Do you have a dollar to spare?” I gave my last dollar to a man who yelled at me for not believing his story, so I did not, but my travel partner did. He was so thankful, and I was also impressed by his honesty.

Before heading home, we checked out Big Rock Park. This park was SO much cooler than Cherokee Park and I wish we skipped Cherokee Park for this one instead.

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This is the big rock!

From a distance we saw a waterfall, and got to see it up close:

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I’m also a sucker for water. Any kind. Beach, waterfall, clean showers without giant spiders….

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I still have some catching up to do with travels, but here ya go ❤

-A

 

-A

 

 

Still swooning over Tennessee food

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I never thought I’d find myself in any of the Southern states, but there I was! After a 6ish drive from Central Ohio I found myself in Chattanooga, Tennessee for a four night stay.

We stayed in an airbnb just 10 minutes away from the downtown area. The very first thing we did was walk across the pedestrian bridge (Walnut Street Bridge). Don’t let my picture fool you — it was crowded with people. At the entrance, a 10-year-old girl was singing covers of pop songs, people were walking their dogs, riding their bikes, running, while I was on the hunt for some food.

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I got an Earl Grey Belgian Waffle — SO DELICIOUS, and a salted caramel latte (anyone else obsessed with salted caramel??)IMG_9259

Aside from having great food, Chattanooga also is pretty active. We visited Coolidge Park and walked alongside the water.IMG_9282

There is the same pedestrian bridge, but a different angle.

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And did I mention I loved the food there? For my birthday dinner we dressed up, I got a caprese chicken dish. My FAVORITE part about dinner, though, was these bad boys:

IMG_9320.JPGWe did make a day trip up to Nashville, Tennessee… I’m interested to see what everyone else thinks about Nashville… I’ll update you on mine soon!

-A

Vancouver is for foodies

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I am not ashamed to admit that the majority of the week I spent in Vancouver involved consuming delicious foods and drinks (and the rest of the time involved me being active to find new food and drinks). I don’t regret a second of it.

People in Columbus, Ohio brag about how diverse the food choices here are, and honestly, Columbus pales in comparison to Vancouver. Middle Eastern, Ukrainian, Chilean, Thai, Korean, Italian… and that’s only to name a few.

My favorite quote from my time in Vancouver was:

“I just don’t want to look back and think ‘I could have eaten that.'”

 

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