I won’t lie to you, 2017 was not my year. Though, I have no illusions that I’m alone in saying that. On a very surface level, I didn’t travel as much as I would have liked to this past year. Which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t an awful problem to have. However, this is a travel blog that I write and not traveling means a lack of content. So, before we get right into it, I’d like to start off by saying that one of my resolutions for 2018 is to post more authentic and unique blogs. I hope to do much more traveling this year, even if it’s smaller trips throughout the Midwest. So, hopefully, this means I’ll be posting more travel essays and trip planning blogs.
That being said, I did have a few highlights in the past year. I went back to one of my favorite cities in the Midwest: Grand Rapids to see my all-time favorite musician, Aretha Franklin. I visited St. Louis for the first time via a Pullman Car pulled by an Amtrak Train, an amazing experience in and of itself. I drove to New Buffalo, MI to experience one of the prettiest beaches on Lake Michigan. I got the opportunity to explore Toronto and the surrounding area, including Niagara Falls and Niagara-On-The-Lake. And, last but not least, I was able to spend more time exploring my hometown of Chicago.
Okay, on to the more optimistic portion of this post: my 2018 travel goals:
Later this month I’ll be heading to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico solo for a long weekend of beach time and relaxation. Let me tell you, I could use it. I’m very excited to experience Mexico for the first time and most importantly, see Chichen Itza in person. I’m so looking forward to this trip!! I will share more of my travel plans for this one next week.
In the beginning of March, I’m heading to NYC for a quick trip to visit my cousin, Gracie. You may remember her from the beautiful photos and words she shared about her journey to Jordan: here, here and here. I don’t have any solid plans for the weekend except to visit with my friends in the city and enjoy their company.
That being said, I’d also like to visit my lovely friends in Salt Lake City and Denver sometime this year if I can! It’s lovely to have friends all over the country to visit (and stay with!).
Before work gets too busy (starting in May), I’d like to explore a new Midwestern city for a weekend. I think maybe Minneapolis, Madison or Indianapolis could be fun. I could take the Amtrak to any of those cities or rent a car and do a little road trip. If you have any strong feelings about any of these cities please share!
This summer, I’ll be heading to Traverse City with my family for a long weekend on Lake Michigan. We’re renting a house right on the lake and plan on relaxing the whooooooole time. I’d like to check out some of the wineries in the area. We also will be visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes to swim and explore.
I’m playing with the idea of taking a solo trip to Acadia National Park in the Fall. I can imagine that it would be the prettiest time to go, and that timeline gives me enough time to save for it. I think the best way to go out about it would be to fly into Boston and drive up the coast. I’m dreaming about a littlecabin in the woods where I can write and hike all day long.
The last big plan I have for 2018 is to go on a little birthday trip somewhere warm-ish. I’m thinking of trying to get to Antelope Canyon in Arizona or Albuquerque, NM; somewhere in the Southwest for sure. Again, if you have any suggestions, please share!
I am hopeful that this year will be wonderful and full of adventures, both big and small.
What a year it has been. 27 was an interesting age to be; there were certainly a lot of ups and downs. I feel very proud of what I’ve accomplished in this year, and it makes me hopeful for the year ahead. Though there were some losses, I also feel like this year brought me some amazing new experiences. I always start the year with a list of goals correlating with the age I turn, and my list of 27 goals proved to be quite the challenge. I think I did pretty good considering. Here’s the breakdown:
Canadian Adventure – DONE! – I went to Toronto and Niagara in Ontario in October. Read about that trip here, here, here or here.
Take a Trip on an Amtrak Train – DONE! – An Amtrak train transported me in style from Union Station in Chicago to Union Station in St. Louis.
Run a Race – My friends, I tried my best to make this happen. I signed up for two different races this year and couldn’t do one due to an injury and the second one was cancelled on me due to a crazy storm. This one will have to be added to next year’s list.
Have an Article Published in a Magazine – DONE! Magnificent Mile– It was an online magazine but it still counts! I wrote something for Viva Lifestyle & Travel this summer about the here in Chicago.
Read More Non-Fiction – DONE! Out of the 25 books I’ve read so far this year, 15 of them were non-fiction.
Be Better About Networking – DONE! – Thanks to Shapr and attending local events, I can confidently say I am better at networking than I was at the start of this year.
Find a Collaboration – DONE! – I started the year with a new blog, co-written and edited with a friend of mine (which is now no longer a thing, but that’s totally fine – live and learn!) and am now endqqing the year as one-seventh of awonderful group of women that host fundraisers for charities in the Chicago area.
Figure Out my Personal Style – DONE! – It was a lot easier to work with a personal style when I don’t have to spend all my fashion money on suits like I used to. I utilized Stitch Fix and shopping all the good sales to get some key items that suit my simple style.
Invest in a Solid Wardrobe Staple – DONE! – As I said in #8, I was able to get quite a few key pieces like some great black booties and a camel colored trench.
Go to Mexico – HALF DONE! This trip is booked but I won’t be going until next month.
Write More Fiction – There was not enough time this year to work on fiction writing, but I’ve got high hopes for the future of my fiction writing.
Make & Sell Some Candles – This was a lofty goal. I made the candles but just ended up burning them myself, so at least I did half of it.
Take a Yoga Class – DONE! – I found a yoga studio by my old apartment that I absolutely loved (Yoga for All Beings in West Town) and went to frequently. Now, I’m attending a gym in Wicker Park that offers a multitude of other classes that I’ve been exploring.
Learn to Meditate – DONE! – I tried out the Headspace App to work on this one and I’m not entirely sure that sitting still for so long is for me, but I’m happy that I pushed through to make it work.
Get a New Tattoo – DONE! See for yourself:
Explore a New Chicago Neighborhood – DONE! – Lincoln Square: neighborhood guide coming soon.
Get a New Job – DONE! – I started a new position as a Catering Sales Manager back in February and have been much happier since.
Go to a National Park – DONE! – The Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
Master Conversational French – I wish I could have accomplished this one! I’m switching over to Spanish now though in anticipation of my Mexico trip.
Get a Massage – DONE! – I visited the Spa at the Four Seasons for a massage and dinner by the pool earlier this year.
Buy a Piece of Art – DONE! – Technically I won my pretty flamingo print in a raffle, but regardless of how I got it, it’s here and it’s lovely.
Make Homemade Pasta – DONE! – This was not the most delicious meal I ever made. In fact, the homemade noodles looked more like soggy french fries than anything, but I’m glad I tried and I think it will be much better next time.
Take an Educational Class – DONE! – I’ve already talked about my creative non-fiction class quite a bit here but I would be happy to take another class with Gotham Writers any time.
Go on a Trip Without Writing About It – DONE! – It was our yearly trip to Wisconsin but it was still nice to travel without the pressure of having to come up with new content.
Organize a Clothing Swap – Nope. Just didn’t happen.
Make Something for the Apartment – DONE! – Two woven yarn wall hangings, one for over the bar and one for over the bed.
Go to a Play – DONE! – A Winter’s Tale outdoors in Forest Park in St. Louis.
21.5/27 GOALS DONE – I think that’s pretty good!
This year’s list includes a classic literature reading list, a few travel goals (a mother-daughter trip, a beach vacation and visiting a new country), seeing a favorite musician in concert, checking out some new Chicago attractions and mastering some new recipes. Here’s hoping 28 is my best year yet!
A while back, I wrote this post about my 26 in 26 goals for life between my 26th and 27th birthdays. Now that we are just passed the halfway point, I thought I’d share the list in its entirety and check in with how I’ve progressed through it so far. The 26 tasks are either things that I have always wanted to do but haven’t made the time for yet, or things I’ve gotten started but want to improve upon. I have until December 4 (when I will turn 27, ugh) to complete everything, but I still have quite a few things left to do. Here’s where I’m at:
Finish all the books I currently have on my shelf: This is a work in progress! I’ve read 15 booksso far this year thanks to my daily commute and my inability to sleep on planes. Most of them have been by Mr. Stephen King, who dominates three out of the twelve shelves in my library.
Go camping: The camping trip is booked! For early next month. I haven’t camped since I was really young, so this will be a baby step back into the world of sleeping in tents and peeing in the woods. We’re planning on camping near Matthiessen State Park, just south of Chicago.
Take an Amtrak train somewhere: I have romanticized taking an Amtrak trip for years, and I so want to do this sometime soon. I just don’t know if it will happen this year. The problem with train travel is it just takes so long and I’m running low on vacation days :(.
Have something I wrote published again: Last year, I was lucky enough to have a short story publishedin Sheriff Nottingham (a literary journal). It hasn’t happen yet this year, but I would like to have something else published, either fiction or non, online or in print.
Master a new recipe: Done! I have officially mastered the bibimbaprecipe, but I am always looking for more to learn!
Host a costume party: This has not happened yet either, but I am hoping to host an all out 70’s disco party. BEFORE Halloween though, so the holiday doesn’t steal my thunder.
Paint a picture: Done! I can’t vouch for how well it’s been done, but I did enjoy making it! Painting is so relaxing, I wouldn’t mind adding it to my growing list of hobbies. Here’s a photo of my “beautiful” painting from Instagram:
Learn to play the ukulele: Do I get a half point for owning the ukulele? I need to sit down to watch some youtube videos so I can check this one off the list.
Write more short stories: Done! Perhaps this is what I can get published. 🙂
Learn French: I started learning on DuoLingoand lost touch with it. I need to get back on this though because it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
Invest in a good pair of shoes: They haven’t been purchased yet, but I have my eyes on these.
Take a fitness class: I’ve been getting by with Sadie Nardini’s yoga videos, but there are tons of options in our neighborhood to complete this one for real. I can’t wait to try one out.
Get a start on that novel I’ve been meaning to write: Done! It’s something that I’ve been chipping away at in my spare time. As much as I love writing about this blog and real life adventures, I love writing fiction just as much.
Find/Create an additional source of income: Still working on this one! I’ve put some things out there, we’ll see if anything comes back. I’m feeling pretty hopeful about it!
Have a spa day: Done! I went to the Mario Tricoci Spa on Michigan Ave and wrote about my experience here.
Travel to Canada: This trip had been planned for April, however plans changed and we ended up doing a smaller trip instead. I haven’t lost all hope for this trip, so maybe we can fit it in on a weekend before the end of the year.
Start running again: I know, I know. I’ve had seven months to do this simple thing, and I haven’t yet. That’s not to say I haven’t been working out, I just haven’t done this.
Join Trover: Done! If you don’t know what Trover is, it’s a website to share travel pictures and tips for different destinations. You can find my Trover profile here.
Reorganize my wardrobe: Not quite done. I would really like to get rid of most of my clothes and create a more grown-up, capsule wardrobe. It’s a work in progress.
Pay off my loan: Done! Simple as that.
Start treating this blog like a business instead of a hobby: This is another work in progress and goes with #15. I’m trying though!
Go on a Chicago Boat Tour: Last year, this was on my list and I waited until it was too late. This year, I will book this even if I have to go by myself. I’m thinking of booking this one.
Sell clothes, books and movies I don’t use anymore: Halfway done! I’ve done quite a few rounds of selling things I don’t use and donating a lot of other things, but there’s still more I could get rid of.
Have a Woody Allen Movie Marathon: Done! The only reason this is on the list is that I love Woody Allen Movies, and wanted an excuse to watch more of them.
I’ve been having a hard time getting inspired lately. Maybe it’s this travel lull I’m in or perhaps it’s this rainy, cold weather. Either way, I’ve been fighting to claw my way out of this funk. And what do I do when I’m in need of inspiration? Go for a walk, read a book, check out my favorite blogs, and so on. In my recent search for inspiration, I’ve stumbled upon a few gems that I couldn’t help but share:
I have been reading this amazing book, “Hold Still” by Sally Mann, that radiates with inspiration through the author’s passion for photography and love for her Virginia home.
Recently, I’ve been looking into booking hotels for my Europe trip in September, and found this amazingly artful boutique hotel in Reykjavik, Hotel Holt, and booked it immediately.
I’ve just purchased a Nikon D3300, which was a pretty big investment for me. I took it home to my parents’ house and snapped a few shots of their garden. This is one of my favorites:
Geraldine of The Everywhereist has been making me actively stifle laughter at work as I read her hilarious attempts to thwart email spammers, which can be found here.
This landed in my inbox via Lonely Planet and it spoke directly to my tendency to over-romanticize train rides. All of these routes have been immediately added to my bucket list.
My very good friend, Adrienne Thomas, is a true creative, a great writer and a music enthusiast. She is the author and creator of the music blog, Nosferatune, which is chock-full of original and inspiring content. Recently, she joined the band Marrow on tour through the American South, mixing her loves of music and travel. I was lucky enough to be able to get the inside scoop on her experiences on the road.
This great adventure all started with another adventure in our home city of Chicago, where Adrienne performed in a burlesque variety show, The Fly Honey Show. A band called Homme was also performing in the show.
RebeccaWanderlusting (RW): How did you come by Homme in the first place?
Adrienne Thomas (AT): “I met them in underwear, singing on stage at the Fly Honey show. I talked with them briefly back stage, I really loved their song, and they were obviously well connected with the creators of the Fly Honey show. I heard about a show of theirs at the Hideout (we all went) and wrote a little piece on it and took some photos. After that I didn’t seem them until I emailed Sima to see if she wanted to wanted to make something in New Orleans. And then this all happened.”
Adrienne and her boyfriend, John, had been planning a trip to New Orleans, where, coincidentally, the band Marrow was playing a show. Let me explain the degrees of separation here: Sima and Macie make up the band Homme, Sima also performs solo and was the opening act for the band Marrow, which Macie is a member of. Adrienne did a photo shoot with Homme in New Orleans and went to the Marrow show there as well. Afterwards, they invited her to join them on tour. They had wanted her to join the tour the next day, but, because there were still three days left in her New Orleans trip, there was a decision to be made.
RW: Initially, was there any hesitation to say yes, let’s go?
AT: “Before I realized that I could actually tell them when I can, I was thinking ‘Oh my gosh am I going to leave John early, do I have to make this decision?’ I thought about it, and thought no, they want me, so I’m going to tell them when I can, and if that works out for them, cool. So that was a little bit of a challenge, organizing that, and finding out where I would meet them in the country, but it worked out! That was probably the only thing, I didn’t want to end my vacation early but I also know that this was a super great opportunity, so I might have, if they said it’s this or nothing. I think it was definitely a lesson in understanding the value of my work, instead of thinking ‘Oh, I really want to go on tour with these people, I’m going to bend over backwards to make it happen and get payed by them’ instead of that, I had to flip it around and be like ‘Adrienne you’re really talented and you have a lot of work under your belt and you should be able to set the grounds for this’. It took me a day to realize that I didn’t need to be at the whim of them, they could be at the whim of me a little.”
With that, a plan was set in motion to meet them in Nashville and join them for the rest of the tour. Adrienne and John finished their New Orleans trip and drove up to Tennessee, taking a day to themselves in Memphis before heading to Nashville. The tour moved from Nashville to Jackson, MS to Houston, Austin, and Dallas, then Wichita, Kansas City and Columbus, MO, before ending in Champaign/Urbana.
RW: How long did you spend in each location and where did you sleep?
AT:“The longest was two days, we spent two days in Austin and Wichita. The shortest was, one time we just stopped for the show, we spent 6 hours at the venue and then continued driving. Most nights we spent one night. We drove all day, got to the venue, did sound check, walked around the city, did the show, went to someone’s house to sleep, woke up and left. We didn’t stay at any hotels, it was all through connections. They arranged it every night staying with someone that someone knew that opened their house for us. Therefore, we met a lot of really nice people.”
One moment of the trip stuck out as memorable to Adrienne, it occurred at one of the many homes that they were welcomed into. This particular home was in Wichita, KS, and they had driven most of the night to get there. They slept most of the day, and awoke for dinner with the family. One room of the house was musically inclined, containing a piano and an organ. Adrienne describes one of her favorite nights of the trip like this: “Macie started playing piano, she’s the best at piano, she’s fantastic, and Liam came in and started playing the organ that was in there, Dorian came in and started playing the guitar and then Sima came in and started singing with Macie. And they all broke out into a David Bowie medley. It was the most special experience. When you think about music… most musicians know how to jam together, they can pick up on what someone is playing and add in their own. That’s just one of the coolest things about music that people can just come together in a second and create a song, a full song, and all add their own aspect to it. They’re not afraid musically, when they sing with each other or when they improvise, they’re not wondering if they sound good. They’re all confident in their sound, which is what made that moment so cool.”
RW: Which venue was your favorite?
AT: “Dallas was really cool because it was so warm out and all of the bars were open, and the music was so loud and it went down all the streets. I went for a walk four blocks away and I could hear them warming up. What a great natural marketing, talk about music leading you to where you want to be. That ended up being a really great show. Dallas was a lot of people that didn’t know them who became fans of them at the end of the show. People were dancing. For a tour that was relatively small scale, as in they didn’t have many fans come out, they mostly got new fans, that was the most rewarding to watch people have a good time and get into it.”
This tied into why she enjoyed the tour as a whole: “It wasn’t an all-star tour, they didn’t have a lot of people coming out, but there was still purpose to the tour. They were gathering a crowd and proving that they could tour together. And my role, as documenting the process, was to help them improve their image as a touring, successful band so they could get better booking agents, better management. That was cool, to learn why they wanted me to document a tour that wasn’t super popular. If I can have that direct of an effect on band’s being well known and respected, then that makes me feel really good.”
RW: What did your job on tour entail?
AT: “There were basically four parts that I filmed for every show. 1. Time lapse videos of load-in and set-up, 2. Film our walk around the city, because there was always a gap between the sound check and the performance, a couple hours. I would film us walking whether we went to get barbeque or ice cream, so I filmed them and we tried to make some fun situations, visually. One time we went past a car dealership with an old school Chevy in it, so they stopped and played house in this car for a minute, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to shoot. 3. Filming during the shows, I wouldn’t film every song, but I would film and make sure I would get enough footage to have a good recap of the show, get enough footage of each person. 4. I would film and record people’s reactions. After the show, I would ask people what they thought and for that I had a tiny task hand recorder. I didn’t have a whole mic set-up, so I tried to get enough audio clips of people saying “Marrow was awesome! This was great!” That definitely got easier as we went along. In the beginning, I didn’t really know what to capture and towards the end, I knew what kind of footage I needed so I didn’t have to film all the time, I wouldn’t film the same thing over and over and over again.”
RW: What were the challenging parts of the tour?
AT: “There’s awkwardness to sift through before I find that comfort zone. That was the same with the tour because I really wanted it to be comfortable for everyone, and I didn’t want to be that person ruining all their moments. They were having a good time, I didn’t want to bombard them with a camera in their face and make them feel like they couldn’t be comfortable. But at the same time, I had to do that enough. I had to not be afraid to do that, and that was a really big challenge. Because I also really wanted them to like me, I really wanted us to be friends. We were travelling together for nine days, so tackling all of those things. 1. I’m afraid to bother them, 2. I’m not getting enough footage, so those two alone kind of clashed. It’s kind of hard to enter a situation like that where everyone is friends and family. They’re all related and all went to high school together so they all know each other very well and have worked on various projects together. So that was intimidating, they were in their element together.”
RW: Do you feel like that situation changed by the end of the trip?
AT: “Yes. I’m definitely more comfortable now around them, and I feel like if I entered that situation with them again, or with another group, now I know what I have to do professionally. I don’t have to get that confused with what I want personally. I’m not going to be afraid to shove a camera in their face. Once I started to get more comfortable in that role, they started being more comfortable around me too. There was a significant warming up that happened about halfway through. It wasn’t the warmest situation, part of that might have been in my head but I’m sure they were like, “who is this girl?” Sima, the tour manager, brought me on, she was leading the whole shebang of filming. But it was really cool to experience the warming up process on their end and on my end because it made the filming better too. My footage got better as the tour went on.”
This tour wasn’t the first time Adrienne mixed music and travel. In fact, music is what most often influences her to travel: “The past two trips that I’ve gone on, I’ve tied music into both of them. In Asheville I recorded an Asheville artist, in New Orleans I recorded Homme. It’s been really cool to make sure that everywhere I travel, I make something, record something. Make it be not just a for-fun vacation. I do have a dream to go to South America and record the music that I find there. I guess to some degree, I kind of just decided that I want to do it in America first, just to make sure that I could do it, and that’s kind of what these travels have been, to make sure that I’m comfortable recording.” When asked what comes first, the music or the destination, she said, “Probably the trip gets planned, because there’s music everywhere. It’s worked out surprisingly easy so far.”
RW: Where is your favorite place you’ve travelled to thus far?
AT: “Amsterdam. Amsterdam taught me that I can move somewhere, conquer a city, as in feel comfortable living there, and learn a whole new genre of music. Amsterdam taught me techno, house, and electronic music that I had no idea about before I moved there. That was really awesome. That kind of faded since I moved away from Amsterdam, but that was a really beautiful example of immersing yourself in a city and having music be a huge part of that. That’s part of the reason I fell in love with Amsterdam, aside from its blissful everything. Biking, freedoms, beauty, bricks, old, old everything… It’s really humbling to be in an old place to realize how new you are as a person.”
Currently, Adrienne works at Revolution Brewery in Logan Square, while still working with musicians, writing and working on her website. When asked if Nosferatune is something she’d like to pursue full time, she said, “Yes. I work at a bar that financially and motivationally supports everything that I do. Every month that I work there is another month that I am working my way up this chain and starting to get paid more for certain things and getting more experience. The fact that I have a job that financially supports my growth as an artist or as a writer or as anything I try to be is a blessing. You can’t just make money right off the bat with this job, you have to learn. I don’t have a business thought process. I’m okay with not having it, I’m going about this in my own way.”
The struggle of knowing when to take a creative passion the next step into a full time career is something we have in common. On this topic, Adrienne has some sage advice: “As soon as I can make honestly, 60-70% of what I’m making right now in freelance work, that’s when I’ll know that it’s ok to jump off and make a little less money for a bit, but let that drive you. If you have a paddle slapping your ass, you’re going to move faster, you’re going to work harder and you’re going to pursue more. It’s definitely a hard call. I think you shouldn’t necessarily look at what other people do in order to decide when you’re ready. You have to really be in touch with what you need and what you’re ready for.”
So what’s next for Adrienne and Nosferatune?
“Video, a video portal that consistently has new videos on it, small or large. New design, something that highlights immediate music sharing, immediate and consistent media sharing versus extended blog posts. I want to make it more like a taste-maker site, than a blogging site. I think less writing, that’s been the problem, because I take a while to write and I think the consistency of my posts is slow. Instead of a feature piece on something, I’d like to have a design or a platform that supports quick sharing so that people can go there and know that they can find a lot of new music at once versus sifting through two new blog posts from the last three weeks. I have the whole design of exactly what I want it to look like and all the functionality tagged in there.”
Personally, I’m just really excited to see what she does and where she goes next! To stay updated on Adrienne’s latest projects, check out her website.
And click here to listen to Homme or Marrow, their music is worth checking out!
If you’re an avid traveler, chances are good that your bucket list is an ever-changing thing. I get it, it’s hard to nail down places you want to go in an orderly fashion when there is a constant stream of new options coming at you at light speed. It doesn’t take more than a pretty photograph or a good write up to make me when to set oof to whatever destination is being advertised. I suppose that’s what they mean when they say wanderlust. There are some constants, but the destinations on the low end of my travel bucket list get swapped out daily. If I had to choose, absolutely had to, my current travel bucket list would include the following:
Machu Picchu, Peru – Hopefully, I will be crossing this one off my list this year! I would love to spend a month or two exploring Lima, Cusco and hiking to Machu Picchu. Peru is such a beautiful country, and I can not wait to explore it.
Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada – There are seriously no bad photos of this place. Every single one I see makes me want to jump in and climb those mountains. Banff National Park would be the perfect endpoint to a road trip across Canada.
Paris, France – Paris is always the dream, isn’t it? Not only is it a gorgeous, historic and cultural destination, but I would love to just eat cheese and baguettes and drink wine for every meal, always. I’ve been day-dreaming of getting a one way ticket and wandering around Paris until I’m good and ready to come home.
Halong Bay, Vietnam – Vietnam in general has fascinated me for a long time, and Halong Bay, specifically, is drawing me in. This beautiful paradise in the north of Vietnam seems like the perfect escape. Jungles, Caves, Cruises, Kayaking… I am in.
Marrakech, Morocco – Ever since I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho a few years ago, I have romanticized Morocco. It’s so colorful and different than any other place I’ve ever been. I want to try all of the cuisine, shop the markets and I’m determined to ride a camel. I need to go there actually, it’s a must.
Copenhagen Denmark– Is there anything more charming than the architecture in Copenhagen? In fact, the whole city has me so enchanted, I feel like I should buy the plane ticket right now. The colorful buildings, the boats in the canal, the castles… sign me up!
Acadia National Park, Maine –I am a little bit obsessed with Maine. It looks so beautiful and I love seafood and I LOVE Stephen King (most of his stories are set in Maine). Acadia National Park is gorgeous and I’d love to set myself up in a cabin by the sea there and write.
I’m sure they’ll be different tomorrow, or joined by more choices, but for now I will continue to dream about them. Stay tuned for more bucket list ideas in a new installment on rebeccawanderlusting for Wanderlust Wednesday.
What destination is on your bucket list? How often do the destinations change?
My priorities in life have changed over the past few years. No longer am I compelled to buy new outfits every week and spend hours basking in the designer glow of Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue. Nor do I go out every night for dinner or drinks. Lately my wallet has a one track mind – travel. I spend more time that I’d like to admit checking airfare to anywhere on sites like kayak, airfare watchdog, and secret flying. I read travel blogs like I used to pour over fashion magazines. And nothing I used to pine for in the pages of said magazines does it for me now like new destinations do. It’s an interesting and not unwelcome change. That all being said, I’m not allocating all the money I used to spend on fashion straight to travel funds. I’ve become more frugal in my old age and look tirelessly for great deals and bargains for trips. I know of travel hacking, of course I do, who doesn’t? Nothing has made me want to look into it more than this article: “Meet the Homeless Man Who Flies the World First Class”. If this guy has been racking up miles since he was 14 years old, why shouldn’t a savvy twenty-six year old lady like me be able to figure it out? Well, for starters, I have no patience for fine print, and I’m so damn cheap that the upfront costs aren’t justifying the benefits. But! I’m determined to figure it out, and I will do the research. What I want is a credit card with a big sign up bonus and not a huge annual fee. I also would like to not be pigeonholed into only being able to fly with one airline or their partners unless it makes sense for me. This leads me to believe that I should get a travel credit card through a bank or major credit card company like Discover It Miles Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Bank of America Travel Rewards Card. But then I think of the sign-up bonuses with a lot of the airline loyalty credit cards. Oh, so many miles up for grabs! I am so tempted by them. Realistically though, can I afford to spend $3,000+ in three months just to get 50,000 “free” miles? No, I really can not. $1,000 in three months for 30,000 miles is a definitely more doable, which is a deal available with United Mileage Plus Explorer Card or Bank Americard Travel Rewards Card (for 20,000 points instead of 30,000 miles). There are a lot of choices out there, and luckily (or unluckily, depending on the amount of time you want to spend on this) a lot of reviews and opinions as well (check out The Points Guy or Nomadic Matt). After some preliminary research, my front runners are the Discover It Miles Card and the United Mileage Plus Explorer Card.
I’m working on making the decision, but what do you think? What card has worked well for you? Which one didn’t? I want to know all about it!
My 26th birthday is tomorrow, December 4. I will be entering into the mid-to-late twenties bracket of life. I feel pretty good about it, actually. I’m only having a quarter-life crisis every other day, and I’m trying not to question what I’m even doing with my life more than once a week. I’m kidding…mostly. I am really very grateful for everything I’ve been able to accomplish in the past year, with this blog, travelling, and other miscellaneous personal accomplishments. However, I am eager to do more this year. Maybe not more in volume, but more in the sense that I’m taking steps to put myself on the path I actually want to be on. Last year, I made myself a list of 25 things I wanted to achieve, and I did pretty okay I think. I missed a couple of things, like “go camping”, (which I really wanted to do but couldn’t fit it in anywhere) and “Chicago Boat Tour” (no excuse for this one, it’s literally just a CTA bus ride away), but I also accomplished more than I thought I would. I checked off “get published” with my short story in Sheriff Nottingham Holiday Harold, I went on my first ever solo road trip to North Carolina, I saw a concert I never would have picked for myself (aka – Metallic at Lollapalooza), and I got the opportunity to go to Chinafor work. This year, the list is 26 items long of course, and I fully intend on completing each and every task on this one. After all, now that I’ve written about here, I’m holding
myself accountable to finish it. This year I want to write more fiction and more on travel, I want to go on more trips (even if they’re little ones), I want to read more, I want to do a cross-country Amtrak trip, learn French (Bonjour!) and so many other things. I’m hoping this will be a big year (though, I do say that every year…) and I promise to keep this little ol’ blog updated through it all.
In the immortal words of the Doors, “the time to hesitate is through”.