Monday, December 17, 2012

Travel Bucket List

My parents have raised me with the belief that setting goals is the best way to measure personal growth. So I've developed multiple lists over time of places I want to go and events I dream of witnessing. Here are my current 10 tens!

Places I Will Go
1. Greece
2. Croatia
3. Cambodia
4. Peru
5. New Zealand
6. Australia
7. Japan
8. China
9. Egypt
10. Morocco

Events To Experience
1. The Floating Lantern Festival in Taiwan
2. Carnival in Venice
3. Taste of Chicago
4. Burning Man in Nevada
5. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
6. La Tomatina, Spain
7.  New York Film Festival
8. Up Helly Aa Fire Festival, Scotland
9. Sandfest, Port Aransas, Texas
10. Obon Fesitval, Japan
I'd also like to go to the Olympics, but not in Brazil so I have to wait another 8 years!

So... where would you like to go?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Gifts to Inspire Travel

We all have those friends who needs a little... push to help them embrace their inner-vagabond. If you're searching for a great gift to inspire them to get out and go, here are some fun ones.

Regional Wine Samplers: I'm actually doing this for two friends this Christmas. They are just a wonderful gift and if you're willing to splurge you can also add a gift membership on for your friend. There are two options for memberships and both have some pretty sweet perks.

Scratch Off Map: A friend bought this as a graduation gift for me. I find myself constantly want to go somewhere new when I look at my progress so far. It also helps you pinpoint those areas of the globe which you've completely ignored!

Gift Basket: This is my favorite shop! I can spend hours getting lost in here and usually walk out with over $100 in products afterwards. During the Holiday Seasons you can design gift baskets which can feature a single location or a whole region of the world!

An Experience: This one is more for if you know your friend is going somewhere. Make them reservations at a restaurant they've never tried or book an excursion they might think about, but never follow through with! I've done with not only at Christmas, but weddings too. If you know the Couple are going to Fiji, then look into fun outings for their trip!

A Book or Film: Inspire your friends through the gift of Words, both written and spoken.

So go and inspire someone this Holiday Season. We need more Vagabonds in the world!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rental Cars

I've rented cars in both Europe and Central America. Neither has been an enjoyable process, but to get the most experiences out of certain locations you sometimes can't void the pains. OR if you're traveling in a larger party, it is sometimes more economical to rent a car. Just beware, there are so many hidden fees with car rental. Budget Travel posted a great article about it, but those are just a few. Here are the ones that I had to learn the hard way!
Filling the Tank: In the U.S. we sure complain about the price of fuel, but let me assure you that we are better off than our European counterparts! On my Euro-Road Trip this past summer we spent more that 800EUROS in gas. It was unexpected and in the end, we wished we would have saved the money and each bought a rail-pass instead.
G.S.P Fee: This is the same everywhere, but in the U.S. I would never have thought of NEEDING a GSP. I'm pretty handy with a map, so I'm usually replying on those skills. However, in countries where I can't read the road signage as well, I have splurged on a G.P.S.- splurged being the operative word!
Like I previously stated, sometimes the need for a car is unavoidable, but here are some interesting alternatives. No matter where you travel, local or abroad beware of the hidden fees of the rental car!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Traveling Alone

Solo journeys are something I true love. I embrace the excitement in knowing that this trip might change me and only me in some profound way. As a solo traveler I am more likely to stray from a path and just follow where my wondering heart leads... often I get lost, but the places I find are well worth the taxi ride back.
However, as a solo traveler I am reckless. I rarely think about my safety, which would make my family shiver. A 26yr old woman in a foreign place alone is a very easy target. Budget Travel post this article recently and I couldn't agree more. So what can we do to stay safe when traveling alone?
Dress: Be appropriate. What you are wearing says a lot to the public and in certain countries can seem as an invitation. Modesty is always the best policy.
Communication: I try to let my friends and family know points of contact on any trip I am taking. It usually includes my itinerary, housing information, and a schedule of times they should expect an email from me. I also have photocopies of all of my travel documents (passports, visas, birth certificate) with my next of kin.
Day Travel: Do most of your sightseeing during the day. If you want to visit something at night, be cautious. Stay in well-lit areas with lots of people.

Most importantly, use common sense. This is your safety! After all, we don't want this trip to be your last.

Not the work of an artist

I've never taken a photography course or followed a blog about it, but throughout my travels I have been fairly lucky with my pictures. I'm not sure what makes a great photo. I think it's something to do with lighting and composition, but for me, it's usually luck. Here are my favorite pieces of art down by my own hand. Share some of yours as well!
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica- I like the contrast of Shadow and Sunset.

Prague, Czech Republic- These are just parking barricades, but they lined up nicely.

Kassel, Germany- Looks like something from Lord of the Rings to me.

Rhine River, Germany- Perfect visual summery of late autumn in Germany.

Washington D.C., Human Art

Amsterdam, Holland- This was the set up of some little tourist shop and it turned out so great! Definitely my favorite!

Gothenburg, Sweden- The Grass on either side makes this photo really pop!

So are there any photos you've taken that have made you stop and think "Wow! Did this come from my camera?!" Share them with us!

MIA, my bad!

Sorry I've been absent from the blog in the past two weeks. I have been moving apartments and going through the processes of an internal transfer with one of the largest companies in the world. It's all very excited and equally confusing, but for the most part my life is settling down a bit.
Something that I've observed during this move is that I am a terrible packer when it comes to moving! I can pack for a trip or vacation, but packing up my entire life is something that I have NO skill at. As I begin to sift through boxes and choosing new place for my treasures I find myself thinking "Why is this packed with this?! That makes no sense." Just goes to show how finite my skill set is!
Other announcements: My trip to Italy is on fast approach and I am excited to announce that the 2nd destination for this trip is going to be Budapest! There will be a blog highlighting this city in the near future. Also, my best friend has moved to Birmingham, so be prepared for a blog about that city after my next 3 Day weekend.
Lots happening people, isn't it so exciting!