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

No, You Can’t Have the Link To My Blog

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Moin! (A 7th grader told me, “that’s what we say here in Germany”)

IMG_17951Today is Tag Der Deutschen Einheit — and my first Feier Tag with no school! So far I’ve spent my day off being hungry, and sitting in my room and researching different cities to visit. So much for getting out of bed early and exploring a new city… but sometimes a relaxing morning is nice.

This past weekend I went to Mainz, which is relatively close to Frankfurt and explored it by myself. I’ve been enjoying visiting new cities with new friends, but I’m also finding a lot of comfort in traveling somewhere alone; however, I’m also plagued by fear of going too far. I’m not sure why, because Germany is quite far from America but the idea of hopping on a train for 4 hours and staying in an airbnb is slightly terrifying to me. I’m gonna do it anyway!

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Autumn leaves

After a long morning of abandoned travel plans, I’d like to share my bucket list at the moment and invite anyone to give me suggestions or share experiences about travels they’ve done! It seems that everyone in Europe has been everywhere, and I’ve only been to the same 3 places. Help a sista out!

Travel Wish List In Germany: 

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Mainzer Dom, Mainz

  • Heidelberg
  • Neuschwannstein Schloss in Bayern
  • Stuttgart
  • Hamburg
  • München

What?? Is that it??? I told you I’m not as well traveled as the rest of you.

Travel Wish List In Europe:

  • Salzburg, Austria
  • Wien, Austriabike
  • Zürich, Switzerland
  • Bern, Switzerland
  • Milan, Italy
  • Venice, Italy
  • Southern France (anywhere)
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Antwerp, Belgium
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Delft, Netherlands
  • Copenhagen, Denmark

As you can see, I am going to have to live here for about 5 years so I can officially visit all of these places!

Please share your thoughts with European travels with me! Even though this is a travel blog, I’m realizing how little of the world I’ve actually seen!

Tschüss

-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.

 

 

Chumphon, Thailand — December 2016

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Honestly, this stop probably needs a few blog posts for me to be able to uncover all of the beauty I found in it. It’s been quite a few months (about 9 to be exact) and I’m still totally in love with Chumphon, Thailand! It was hands down my favorite city in Thailand that I visited. Sadly, we didn’t get to go down any farther south, but I’m still so pleased with how things turned out.

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Let me back up a little bit… I’ve been thinking that life is not ALL good or ALL bad, right? I look back on periods of my life, and can typically say “yeah, that was a terrible time of life” although, that doesn’t mean I still can’t find beauty in those terrible times. The same is true for Chumphon (only the opposite).

In my mind, Chumphon was so magical and fun, and I often forget about the bad times… which is why I love blogging. It gives me a chance to reflect on an event or travel.

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Well, what was wrong with it, then???

The main issue can be boiled down to the fact that I had a very terrible chest infection that did not start to show symptoms until I landed in Thailand. I endured the pain for about a week and a half before deciding that it was too intense and I needed to see a doctor. *more on this later*

I booked a hotel for 3 nights in Chumphon, and it ended up being a very posh, business-like neighborhood (Once I find the name I’ll update it here). We arrived after a 6 hour train ride from Ratchaburi, and were immediately greeted by an adorable group of middle schoolers eager to practice their English. Because it was Christmas time, they asked us questions about the culture surrounding Christmas. One girl did the talking, while the others nodded in excitement and scribbled down notes on what we said. Their teacher stood nearby. (As an ESL teacher, I thought this was the CUTEST thing ever, what a great way for students to get an authentic language experience!) After taking a picture with the kids, we walked for about 10 minutes to our hotel, and immediately I had a funny feeling.

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Mangosteen is the best fruit ever

I don’t expect staff, especially in a foreign country, to always speak English. That was not my problem. My problem was the staff’s attitude toward us as foreigners. I used Google Translate to communicate information, drew a picture, and used gestures, and the young staff (they looked like they were kids) were not amused. We checked into our room, and after sitting on the CONCRETE SLAB bed, I was really off-put. We ended up venturing out to the nearby shopping center, where people stared at us and didn’t smile back when we smiled (where was the friendly people of Thailand that I knew and loved????), got some dinner and then made our way back to the hotel. While trying to sleep, my chest hurt so bad because of the terrible bed. I didn’t sleep all night, and as soon as it was light enough to leave, I decided to book another hotel closer to the beach (but farther from the train station) and THAT’S when we found beauty, kind people and adventure in Chumphon….

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Tiny crab holes like fireworks

I was completely right! Giving the back story to Chumphon doesn’t even give me enough time (or energy) to talk about the good parts, so I PROMISE I will write about the beautiful city soon ❤ (9 months is better than never, right???)

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Sorry, you’re gonna have to wait until the next blog post to see what this is from

I truly can’t wait to show you some of the shots I got while in Chumphon…. stayed tuned ❤

-A

The Palace of Gold, New Vrindaban – WV

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Map of WV.pngOn our way down to Pittsburgh, we stopped by a place that had been on my bucket list for a long time. I actually heard about this place from my instagram. You know the blond haired, alcohol loving girls who are also sporty and got free rides to college? No? How about the girls who request to follow you then unfollow you so they have 1,000,000 followers and only follow 6 people? (Just me still?? Next post: why those people are lame). Anyway, selfie loving girl posted a picture of herself at The Palace of Gold, and despite me rolling my eyes at her post, I realized that it actually looked really beautiful.

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The Temple of Gold is located in New Vrindaban, West Virginia and just as the website explains, you should not follow your GPS directions because it will take you through the hills of West Virginia and your car will not be happy about it. Instead, use these directions:

From North, South, East and West:

  • 1) Enter the following destination into your GPS: “Bethlehem, WV, United States”

  • 2) Take West Virginia Exit 2 on I-470 (“Bethlehem”)

  • 3) Drive 13 miles south on Route 88 and Route 250 till you reach Limestone, here take a left for McCrearys Ridge Road

  • 4) Drive 4 miles to arrive at the Palace of Gold

  • 5) Take a slight left after passing the Palace and drive another 1/4 mile for the Krishna Temple

    IMG_9780Upon arrival, you are greeted by a landing that overlooks the rolling Appalachian hills of West Virginia (see above) and the view from the opposite side is just as stunning. You might find yourself wondering, “Why is this in West Virginia??”

IMG_9829The details of the building were so beautiful, and I loved the animal influence. As we walked around the temple, we first stumbled upon a pond in the distance covered in lily pads. There were just a few lilies in bloom during the time that I went.

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Beyond the lily pond was a farm for cows.

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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