Wanderlust: 20 Places I Want to See

This past year, I have made it a goal of mine to travel as much as I can—to take advantage of opportunities that allow me to see the world.

The first time I flew on a plane, I was 18 years old traveling to Orlando for a journalism conference. I remember I was shaking in my seat, my travel companion talking me down that anxiety. I remember the plane taking off—I immediately felt a sense of excitement and calm.

That rush of the unexpected and possibility. When I was a little girl, I did not see myself seeing the world even though I yearned to. I was afraid of the unknown—afraid to take risks and try new things.

I have come a long way since my first flight to Orlando. Since then, I’ve traveled to Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Colorado, France, Montrèal, Ireland—and many more places that have inspired me and provided some of the best memories. I thought that it would be fun to share a list of 20 places I want to visit domestic and international (in alphabetical order):

  1. Arizona (particularly Grand Canyon and Monument Valley)
  2. Australia
  3. Barcelona
  4. California (all of it!)
  5. Civil Rights Trail in the Southern U.S.
  6. Fiji
  7. Greece
  8. Hawaii
  9. Iceland
  10. Italy
  11. London (November 2018!)
  12. Nashville and Memphis
  13. New Zealand
  14. Paris (September 2019!)
  15. Prague and Vienna
  16. Quebec City
  17. Scandinavia (Finland, Sweden, Norway)
  18. Scotland and Northern Ireland
  19. Seattle & Vancouver
  20. Switzerland

How about you? Have you been anywhere on my list? Thanks for reading and keeping up with my journey.

 

 

 

A weekend getaway|Burlington, VT

This weekend, we took a road trip with our friends to one of our favorite spots, Burlington, Vermont. We always seem to visit Burlington when it rains or when it is cold, but it is still a fun town with lots to do and see (and eat!). We had a great day!

Ian and I first visited Burlington in November of 2015. We had a great weekend exploring the city, eating comfort food and trying out craft beers. Though we did find some sunshine on a bike ride, this was my usual look:

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This time, it was a lot warmer and we were able to stick to a couple of layers and be a little more comfortable. I wanted to share a few photos of our day!

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We walked up and down Church Street exploring the shops and stopping at a few places for some snacks: Champlain Chocolatier for some fudge and hot cocoa is definitely a must! This street is filled with character: musicians, kiosks, and all types of restaurants from a quick bite to a sit-down meal.

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We stopped into one of my favorite bookstores: Crow Bookshop. It’s filled with new and used books.

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And of course, we made sure to walk down to the waterfront and enjoy the beauty of Lake Champlain.

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I hope you enjoyed a small glimpse into my weekend. Have you been to Burlington? What are some of your favorite spots?

Check-In to Airbnb

Here is a guest blog post by my husband, Ian, about our experience with Airbnb!

We have now used Airbnb for two trips which officially qualifies us to have an opinion. We have received many questions about this service. While we were a bit hesitant at first and were still hesitant after just an OK, first-time experience, we have grown to love it!

We encourage each of you to consider it for your next trip! Even better, go on there without a trip in mind and see what you discover!

These are the 3 most common questions we receive about Airbnb:

Q: Why would you use an Airbnb?

A: There is one fantastic reason to use Airbnb: price. For the same price as a motel where you might catch something viral, you can stay in a two-bedroom in a trendy new Boston suburb next to a cafe bistro that was featured on the Food Network. While camping is probably the ultimate option for cheap travel, I prefer to do my camping indoors….with soap….and without the fear of bears.

Just as a reference, our trip to Ireland cost less than $700 in lodging for 8 nights.

Q: Do your hosts talk to you?

A: Yes. And that is okay! A big part of Airbnb is the communication between the host and guest. In fact, you are both rated on it.

As for in-person communication, that depends entirely on your stay. The reality is that if you are using Airbnb, then you and your host share a yin for this type of social interaction. We have stayed in four places. Once we never met our host, once we met a friend who showed us in, and twice we met and conversed daily with our hosts. Each experience worked for us.

At our Airbnb in Kenmare, we met Flor, a multi-generational dairy farmer in Ireland. In Fanore, we met John, a widower who found a new purpose in life providing rental opportunities to people to see his corner of the world. We have been empowered through our experiences to see and hear about a new part of the world. The stories of our hosts truly enhanced our visit.

Take time to read the guest book of each Airbnb. You never know who stayed before you, their stories, or where they are from! It’s a cosmic experience.

Q: Is it clean?

A: I have yet to see an Airbnb as spotless as a hotel, but an Airbnb feels lived in. It is cozier and personal than a hotel so don’t let a few dusty corners deter you. Also, most come with a cleaning fee which is just proof for the nonbeliever that the homes are in fact cleaned.

Look around your house right now. Not every nook is spotless, yet you feel comfortable and at home. For reference, I walked around with no socks on at 3 of our 4 Airbnbs and I am usually in my crocs or socks in my own home! If I felt comfortable to go barefoot, then you can go for it and experience a new home away from home!

 

A few last tips:

  1. When you do your search, be specific with your filter. For us, every search starts with “Free parking on premises” (unless we are not driving) and “Wi-fi” because even in 2018 you’d be surprised who doesn’t offer Wi-fi.
  2. Read the reviews. Pictures can be deceiving, so make sure you read why people did or did not enjoy their stay. Try your best to be objective too. Just because SCIFIGUY78 thinks the breakfast place next door made runny eggs doesn’t mean you should look elsewhere…but if he says the bed is uncomfortable and that’s the third time you’ve seen that then maybe it’s a review worth respecting.
  3. Be exotic. Airbnb has opened our minds to new places and opportunities. We found a place in the XVI Arrondissement in Paris for less than $100 a night. Now we are planning a trip around it! Hotels cost at least twice that. You never know where your next destination might take you.
  4. Trust in humanity. The people who rent an Airbnb are nice and mean well. It is their business to give you an enjoyable home. Enjoy your stay and take advantage of their knowledge of the area. You never know who you’ll meet and what you’ll learn.

 

Bonus Material: I am into the NPR podcast How I Built This and one episode is about Airbnb. Listen to host Joe Gebbia talk about his entrepreneurship: https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=497820565:497945288

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 Note: The image for this blog post is from one of our Airbnbs in Kenmare, Ireland. Look at that view!

 

Ireland | Cliffs of Moher

Today is our last day in Ireland and what better way to close out an amazing trip than a trip to the Cliffs of Moher! This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we couldn’t recommend it more to everyone. It’s a must-see. The cliffs are magnificent; it is a truly magical place. We found ourselves speechless as we climbed the cliffs.

Guests are able to learn more about the cliffs in the visitor center. You can take the stairs up on one side and visit the O’Brien’s Tower (which you will see in our photos). The tower was built specifically for tourists in 1835. You can then take the other pass and climb/walk throughout the cliffs on protected paths. Don’t get too comfortable though—there are plenty of warning signs throughout advising to be careful, not slip, and to watch for grassy areas due to frequent landslides! We did our best to stay on the path well from the edge and were in awe of the views.

OK—enough talking. Check ’em out!

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Thank you, everyone, for following our adventures in Ireland! Stay tuned for our next trip in May—Quebec!