The Trip of a Lifetime

DSC00445

3/24/17 – (a few days late but we were without service in the woods lol post to come)

Today marks a week from the beginning of a trip that I never could have imagined I would be on.   Three years ago I left to be an English teacher in Thailand and then continued on to be an Aupair in Italy and Ireland. I am so thankful for that trip because it truly opened my eyes to the travelers’ culture, but I knew that I wanted to do another trip where I wouldn’t have to work the whole time. While traveling on weekends during my last trip I would meet really cool people who would say “oh, we are going on to this place why don’t you come with??” And I would have to explain that I had a job to go back to on Monday. I was just craving to travel with that kind of freedom.

The second I got back home from Ireland, I started saving for my next trip. I saved for about a year while working a serving job in a restaurant, but the closer I got to my traveling date, the more I wanted to work. Fast forward to two weeks before I was leaving for my current trip, and I’m working around 60-70 hours a week at THREE serving jobs, and babysitting on the side. When you work at 3 restaurants your grocery bill is pretty much non-existent, I was spending hardly any money going out because I never had time, and I was never tempted to shop for any new clothes because I was always in a work uniform anyways lol.

Now we are a week into our trip and GOOD LORD I HAVEN’T WORKED IN 7 DAYS WHAT IS THIS. Feels absolutely amazing and we are having the time of our life. So far we have been across northern Italy to Milan, Brescia, Venice, and Trieste. Now we are on our way to Slovenia for a few days in Ljubljana and Bled before we head down to Croatia for a one week yacht job that we found on workaway.info. A YACHT JOB. lol seriously though what is my life? Of course I will make a post about it later so that you will all see how terrible traveling is and be so thankful for your little office cubicles. And to give you a little preview so far this week in Italy we have:

  • Been to the second biggest wine cellar in Italy.
  • Found a pond full of flamingos in the middle of Milan.
  • Raced down the road in an Alfa Romeo with a man wearing a fancy suit and a fedora.
  • Stay with a one armed sailor who brought us all around Venice on his boat.
  • Had a life changing brie and prosciutto piadina in Trieste.
  • Drank a bottle of wine sitting on top of a castle in the pouring rain watching a huge lightening storm.
  • Finish beers over looking the roof tops of Ljubljana.
DSC00208

2nd biggest wine cellar in Italy

DSC00128

Frankie, our awesome host in Milan

DSC00808

Drinking Spritz in Venice

DSC00802

Canal in Venice

DSC00932

Miramare Castle in Trieste

DSC00967

Ljubljana, Slovenia

25 things I learned during my year abroad

IMG_5094Annnnnnnd I’M BACK.  I thought my last blogging dry spell of 2 months was bad, but I think this time I have made it a whole year…..damn that’s sad.  But now that I am planning for my next trip in January 2017, I think it’s time to revive my blog/photography.  So, since I was gone for 13 months working abroad in Thailand, Italy, and Ireland, I figure I would write about some of the things I remember the most.  These are not listed in any particular order, just the order they popped up in my crazy ass brain. Enjoy.

In my 13 months abroad I learned……..

  1. Seattle’s “rainy weather” is literally nothing compared to Ireland’s unpredictable rainstorms and I will never complain about Seattle rain ever again.
  2. Thai people are usually generous, kind and happy.
  3. I whole-heartedly love everything about Italian people, their country, and their way of life.
  4. Plans can change at the last second for both good and bad reasons
  5. Only having an iphone as a camera while traveling is a photographers worst nightmare.
  6. The easiest way to get a free drink from an Irish man is to just take it out of his hand, impress him with your chugging skills (aka drink the entire beer as fast as you can, and then state that you are a foreigner.) They never get mad lol
  7. Traveling will make you insanely appreciative when you finally get to come how and see your friends and family.
  8. Never forget how important every text, letter, fb message, email, and skype call really is.
  9. Fried bugs really don’t taste as bad as you would think.
  10. Mcdonald’s abroad is not as cheap as in America but is 10 times more amazing.
  11. Aperitivo (getting appetizers for free when you buy a cocktail) in Italy is the best thing I have ever experienced, and if you find a buffet style Appertivo you can basically have a free dinner with your 3 euro Spritz.
  12. I will never get used to cars driving on the opposite side of the road.   I was always pointlessly waiting at crosswalks and getting in on the wrong side of the car.
  13. Irish people are some of the friendliest you will ever meet and drink more beer in one night than I do in an entire week.
  14. Ryan air is insanely cheap, but only because they have FAT fines with absolutely no exceptions.
  15. It is so easy as a teacher to love all of your students equally and want each and every one of them to feel special.
  16. I am now as independent as I could ever get and appreciate the times when I don’t have to be.
  17. Friendships can stay just as strong no matter how long you are gone or how far away you go.
  18. I will never, ever love packing.
  19. I will never, ever love unpacking.
  20. When living without a SIM card, wifi quickly becomes one of the most precious things to have when in a foreign city.
  21. Living off $7 a day in Thailand is possible if you are almost out of money but still have 2 weeks left until your flight leaves to Italy.
  22. At the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party………literally anything can happen. (Story will come later)
  23. Asking locals is the best idea in almost any situation.
  24. When a Thai local tells you about a secret bar in the middle of the jungle on an island that is only accessible by fishing boat or off-roading jeep, YOU GO. (Alright, this story will come later as well)
  25. Lastly, and most importantly, you will never, ever get a better drunk-munchie snack than the ham and cheese toasties that they sell at the 711 stores in Thailand.  I still miss those babies.
IMG_4805

Yes, this is the unforgettable Ham & Cheese 711 Toastie. Respect.

Let me know if anyone can relate to any of these 25 things, I love hearing other peoples stories 🙂

Signing out for now, see you in less than a year lol.

 

 

To snobs with “wanderlust”

This really is a great description of why traveling and living in a country is so different. So many travelers get caught up with going to as many “must see” places and restaurants, instead of just going with the flow and enjoying where they are at the moment. Quality over quantity 🙂

@margecake

I have nothing against people with “wanderlust”.  It’s cool and admirable that they make traveling a goal and they actively work on traveling to as many places as they can.  It has been widely complained about among their community that they get annoyed when others ask them–how do you afford that?  Well, that’s why I don’t ask because I already know the answer–they worked for it.  Kudos.  Props.

Yet, some think it’s okay to judge people who didn’t catch “wanderlust” and they tell you reasons why you should travel.  Snobby travelers think traveling should also be YOUR goal in life too and they question you as if you’re lacking a soul–why aren’t you traveling?  What countries have you visited?  I interpret it as: don’t you like life?

Traveling is not life.  Traveling is just a luxury, it’s only a small part of life.

Who says I don’t love traveling?  I made it a priority to…

View original post 543 more words

Welcome back & Aupairing FAIL

So after 2 entire months of not even logging into wordpress, I am shamelessly crawling back to hopefully pick back up on occasional posting.  I was so excited to start a blog but for some reason it is so hard for me to keep the motivation for blog posts.  I think in my mind I am starting to think too much about my writing instead of just using this blog exactly as I wanted to in the beginning.  I made this so that I could post whatever crazy, insane, sad, happy nonsense I felt like writing.  So I guess this is a reminder to myself that my blog can be whatever I want it to be and that what I write doesn’t always have to be super important or perfect.

Now to the main point….I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and now that I am on my second successful aupairing job,  I’ve realized something…

Just because an Aupair job does not work out, it does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with you, or the work that you are doing.

Bascially, my first Aupair gig was in Brescia, Italy.  I was so excited, the family and I seemed to be a great match.  They understood my sarcastic humor, and their children, 1 and 4, seemed so perfect and those are the ages that I have the most experience with.  For about a month everything was great, and then things just started feeling tense.

I don’t want to say anything negative about the family, because they have had four Aupairs before, and they all had a great time.  However, I just don’t think they were my cup of tea.  I didn’t match with the kids, I didn’t match with the parents, and I think overall we just had different lifestyles and personalities.  I started getting worried about what I was going to do, I had a month and a half left before I was going to Aupair in Ireland so I needed to find a new family to live with in Italy, but I was so scared that my experience was going to be the same as this first family.

That first experience felt like such a hard job, which I don’t think taking care of kids should feel like!  I would wake up every morning dreading how difficult my day was going to be.  Then I got to Napoli, Italy and realized how fucking fun, exciting, easy, and joyful being an Aupair can be!  I absoultely fell in love with the family and the city (will write about it soon) and all my previous fears about aupairing went away.   And now I am with my third family, in Cork, Ireland and I love them and this city as well. 🙂

So basically I wanted to write this for an Aupairs out there who are feeling like I did with my first family.  Don’t be afraid to recognize that both parties may be doing everything right, but that it might just not be a good match and that is OKAY.  Just explore your options, see if you can find a new family in the country and switch like I did!  I don’t regret it for a bit and it will forever be one of the best decisions of my life. **The easiest way to find a new family quick, is to just search on facebook whatever country you are in for a group called “Aupair in ______” (so for example, Aupair in Italy)  and just post in there telling about yourself! I got 19 responses in 2 days, so I was able to change families in less than a week!**

And for anyone looking to be an Aupair in the future, I encourage you to just be really upfront about your personality and outside activites.  I mean I wouldn’t tell them that you smoke weed on the reg or danced on a table with your shirt off at a bar…..but like if you do like do drink on weekends or occasionally go out and stay the night out at a friends, then just be honest about it. You want to be part of the family, not have to hide who you are and pretend to be someone your not. 🙂

Feel free to ask any questions! 🙂

My Cork, Ireland Checklist

IMG_7384

So when I was living in Italy, I did do a lot of exploring and traveling.  However, I feel like there were so many things to see right in my own city that I didn’t take the time to discover.  Now, I am living in Cork, Ireland and I wanted to make this checklist of things to see, and fill it in with pictures as I go.  I want to actually learn as much as I can about this city. 🙂  If any of you have any recommendations that aren’t on this list let me know

Church of St. Anne

Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral

Black Rock Castle

The Blarney Stone

11143282_10204337810516964_5388659137720599641_n

The Blarney Castle

IMG_7739

Spike Island

FOTA Wildlife Park

English Market

Crawford Art Gallery

Red Abbey

Lewis Glucksman Gallery

Cork Opera House

Garnish Island

Everyman Palace Theatre

St.Fin Barre’s cemetery

Cork City Gaol

What Travel Means to Me

IMG_5094

Traveling is about understanding other people.

Realizing the world is bigger than just your little, every day bubble.

Gaining so much knowledge by learning the ways of other cultures so different than what your grew up with.

Eating food that you could have never even imagined or dreamed about.

Experiencing communication with someone who speaks a different language and realizing that conversation is about so much more than just words.

Being able to boldly love every single thing about a place just because it is so unique and new to you.

Finding simple joy in going for a walk and knowing that you can unearth something new around every corner.

Treasuring how every person you meet while traveling has positivity and passion that you cant find anywhere else.

Discovering that you are capable of feelings, thoughts, worries, hopes, dreams, wishes, and wonders that you never knew you had.

Feeling insane excitement for your next destination because you know deep down that no matter how amazing a place is, your lust for travel will never cease to exist

Travel is everything I could need, want, and hope for. This wonderful and amazing world is so big, and it is yours to discover.

What does travel mean to you?

50 Kaló

I ate at this restaurant last night and immediately wanted to do a review.  50 Kaló di Ciro Salvo pizzeria in Naples, Italy served me the best dinner that I have had since I have been in Italy.  I was told by my Italian friend that this place is always busy and is said to have some of the best pizza in Napoli.  Well, they didn’t let me down.  The place was extremely busy, even on a Wednesday night, and yet they sat us very fast, service was perfect, and the restaurant has a great atmosphere as well!

IMG_5066

First, we started off with this ball of absolute amazingness called “Frittiatina.”  This stuff. This freaking stuff.  I could totally eat seven of these in a row and not even feel bad about it.

Unfortunately, my italian to english skills are not the best.  So I will describe it as noodles, cheese, and some other really bomb food that is fried and made into a little ball of heaven.  For anyone who knows Italian….In the menu it says: “Frittiatina di Bucatini di Gragnano – Besciamella , provola di Agerola , macianto di marchigiana al sugo di Antichi Pomodori di Napoli”

Then, we had our pizza.  We chose to order 2 pizzas and then eat half of each. IMG_5084We got the Margherita con Bufala, which is the most popular Italian pizza with tomato, mozzarella, olive oil, and basil.  Totally delicious.  But then I ate the 50 Kaló pizza and pretty much died.  This pizza. Is. SO. GOOD.  I’m pretty sure I could have this every single day until I leave Naples. It had the best olives, scarole (similar to lettuce but way better), capers, tomatoes, and cheese in the entire world.

BEHOLD =========>

Long story short, if you are in Naples, Italy and you don’t eat here then I feel bad for you.  I would say this food is a must have and I will definitely be going again pretty soon.  Let’s be real, I will probably be there tomorrow if not today.

IMG_5088

4 Things I Won’t Miss About Thailand

Disclaimer:

I would like to restate that Thailand is an amazing country. Feel free to read about my favorite things in my previous blog post, 5 Things I Love About Thailand. If any of the reasons below could actually change your mind about visiting Thailand, then maybe you aren’t meant to go! This country is not for the faint of heart, nor for arrogant, materialistic people. It is for people who are happy, spontaneous, crazy, wild, brave, and fun. If you are any of those things and you are looking for a hell of a time, then book your ticket and go!

So that being said….here are the 4 things I won’t miss about Thailand:

  1. Bathrooms – Good god. I swear that I will never complain about a dirty bathroom for as long as I live. There were times where I actually wished I could just go pee in a bush. I mean, when you have to question whether this dark little shack is indeed a bathroom or not, then why even bother?

So if you don’t already know, Thailand uses squat toilets like these (shown below) that are usually accompanied by a bucket of water, which you use to manually flush your business. You basically have to be really careful and squat as low to the ground as you possibly can. Oh and if you need toilet paper, you better hope you brought some! Because there is about a 90% chance that there isn’t any! Oh, and do you want to wash your hands once your done? Well too bad, because there probably isn’t any soap either.

11198924_10155684442295727_788820766_n  11216416_717433651712661_174811596_n

To be fair, there are some nice, normal bathrooms in Thailand. You can find them more often if you are in a big tourist destination like Bangkok or Phuket. But I lived in the little city of Lopburi where western toilets were hard to come by. I also traveled around quite a bit so I think I’ve seen the best and the worst.

  1. The pollution – In every place that I visited, the streets were littered with garbage. People don’t really care whether they throw stuff in the trash bin or just somewhere on the ground, and they definitely don’t recycle on a regular basis. Their idea of getting rid of all the garbage is to sweep it into piles and BURN it. For real? Along with that pollution going into our environment, a large number of vehicles and buses that I saw had a nice big black smoke cloud coming out the back. This may sound a little exaggerated to some people, because if you are traveling and simply paying attention to where you are going, then you don’t notice it as much. But when you actually live there and find yourself praying for a breath of fresh air, it’s a little more obvious. Maybe, it doesn’t bother some people as much, but to see a country be so oblivious to the environmental damage that pollution is causing, makes me so frustrated and sad.
  1. Food quality/cleanliness – This really depends on where you eat (in a
    IMG_4606

    The street food “kitchens” are just a mixture of pots and pans set up in the street. This was however, one stall that I did go to quite often since this man cooked my food to order and did a damn good job of it.

    restaurant, at night markets, or street vendors) but the cleanliness of your food can get pretty damn low. You just need to be careful and pay attention to whether the food is being cooked right in front of you, or whether it may have been sitting there since yesterday. I have gotten a few bugs in my Pad Thai or Fried Rice, but after a while you learn to just pick them out. Or maybe even eat them if you’re feelin a little lazy. I mean, they sell fried bugs all the time, so maybe they put them in there on purpose? My point is that you will most likely see some food prep conditions that you are not used to. And will probably get food poisoning at least once. It’s just a fact.

  1. Difficulty being healthy – For some reason everyone thinks (at least I did) that Thai food is pretty healthy and consists of a lot of fruits and vegetables. Well, first, if they eat fruit they dip it in sugar, because fruit isn’t sweet already?….Second, if they have vegetables, they are fried in oil with a fuck ton of salt and maybe even a little MSG! 😀 Which makes the food in Thailand freaking delicious, just not that great for you. It’s all about compromise right? 😉

5 Things I Love About Thailand

While living there for 5 months, there are so many things I grew to love (and hate) about Thailand.  Experiencing and adjusting to every aspect of a new culture was what I was looking for when I left America.  I definitely did just that in “The Land of Smiles.” Here are my top 5 things I love about Thailand:

1.  The food – I can’t believe I am actually saying this but YES, okay fine, Thai food is indeed amazing. During the whole time I lived in Thailand, I told everyone that I hated the food. Now, most of the time that was actually true. I couldn’t get used to the life style of eating rice (or noodles) all day every day. It made me feel extremely bloated and unhealthy. After a while though, like everyone said I would, I got used to it. Every now and then I actually MISS Thai food, which I never thought I would say. That fried rice and fried garlic pork cannot be matched. And don’t even get me started on how perfectly they can make a fried egg. I am convinced that it is a talent every Thai person is simply born with. Oh and notice a pattern? Fried, fried, fried. Yup, the food is super healthy and you just have to deal with it. Nonetheless, I do miss it, and now that I am no longer there, it makes me appreciate it a lot more

DSCN3161IMG_5746

(Thai street food – 2 of my favorite meals, Fried Rice and Basil Pork with Rice)

IMG_4855

Me and a friend stayed here for $5 each per night. (Gu Bay hostel on Koh Chang island)

2. The low prices – So many things you encounter in Thailand are insanely cheap compared to back home. If you eat at the street markets, you can get a whole meal for 30 baht, which is about $1. Along with food, the hostels are extremely cheap and also very nice. I usually went with the cheapest options and they were 250 baht per night, which is about $7. After living in Thailand and getting used to these prices, coming to Italy served as a big and expensive reality check.

3. The people – Whether someone is a local, or a traveler, everyone seems to have the same kind of vibe about them. In Thailand the lifestyle is very relaxed. If you want to go about your day in a timely matter, or if you want to do jack-shit and just lay in a hammock all day, then that is absolutely fine.   If you are looking to meet some up-tight, snooty people then you probably shouldn’t go there. Majority of the people in Thailand (at least all the ones that I met) just want to chill out and have some great adventures.

DSCN3032IMG_4949

Just of few of the amazing people I met!

IMG_6046IMG_6521

4. The friendliness – SO MUCH FRIENDLINESS. This is by far my favorite thing about Thailand. And because has such awesome people; it is very, very easy to actually meet these awesome people.

For example: If I am flying solo for the night but I still want to go out and party, I can go sit down in any bar, and within 30 minutes I will have made at least one new friend. Fast forward to the end of the night, I will have bar hopped about 5 times with my 15 new friends from all over the world.

Here in Italy (or back home in America) if I go alone and sit down in a bar, in 30 minutes I will still be sitting alone in a bar. Fast forward to the end of the night and I’m at home in bed because I sat for 3 hours alone in a bar.

Maybe there is something in the water (or the Hong Thong) but people in Thailand are just so god damn friendly. So hey, if you’re a person with a lot of friends, or a person with no friends, Thailand is the place for you!

5. The beaches – some of the most relaxing days I’ve ever had were on Thailand’s beaches.   The water is crazy blue and the sand is the softest I’ve ever felt. Combine that with all four of the above and you have some unbelievable atmosphere.

IMG_5055IMG_5074

(Top: Koh Chang, Bottom: Koh Phangan)

IMG_6949DSCN3034

There are so many more things that I love about Thailand. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and was the first country I have been to out of North America. The happiness, affordability and adventure you find in this country makes it a desirable destination that I think everyone should experience for themselves. Peace, Love and Mai Pen Rai.