Traveling Back Home

I went to my hometown about three weekends ago. Going back home, always brings up so many memories. That weekend, I went looking around my old drawers and found my old shoe box.  The box is filled with notes from my high-school friends and other high-school things. One thing I found was napkin from a local coffee shop that I use to go to. The coffee shop was called Open and is no longer in business. This wasn’t just an ordinary Open napkin. It was a napkin that friends of mine and I wrote our dreams and made a promise. To me that is an irreplaceable napkin. This all happen when I was a sophomore in high-school around February 2004.

Back in February of 2004, 3 friends of mine and I went to a local coffee shop, Open. We sat down talked about lives and drank Frappuccinos. We talked mostly about our future. The typical question we asked each other was, where do you see yourself in 10 years? We each decided to answer this question on the coffee shop napkin and promised to meet in the same spot 10 years later. I remember that we wrote on 4 napkins, so we each had one. On the napkin, I wrote that I wanted to open a coffee shop in New York city. I don’t know what to say about that, I had many dreams back then. Other friends of mine wrote that they wanted to travel, become an actress, or a real estate agent. I know my friend that wanted to travel, did travel. I lost contact with my other two friends. I hope they accomplished what they wanted to accomplished and that they’re happy.

The whole meeting back in 10 years did not happen. We never even discussed that meeting after that point.  I actually wouldn’t of remember about this memory if I didn’t find the napkin. Even the spot we were suppose to meet up is not a coffee shop anymore. It’s actually a sushi place now but I do like the restaurant.  We still could of met at that restaurant. However, that did not happen on February of 2014  but I am grateful for that meeting. I am still in contact with one of them but we never discussed the napkin thing. I am glad I kept the napkin, it helps me remember past me. I think we tend to forget how we felt in the past, what are dreams were, and what are life was like. That is one of reasons I kept all those notes and memories in that shoe box. When ever I go back home, I try to look at my old shoe box, pictures, and journal and reminisce.

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Oxford & Stonehenge Day Trip

Part of my London and Paris excursion included visiting Oxford and Stonehenge. I definitely signed up for this day trip. This is an experience that could not be missed.

Oxford

Escaping to the Oxford countryside was an amazing experience. I had the chance to visit during December 2014. As, you can imagine It was cold but nothing a little coffee could do to help. So, I got coffee at Cafe Creme to help keep me warm. In Oxford I took a tour of the city and the University. I learned that Oxford University has different colleges. Including one that doesn’t have students called All Souls College. It reminded me of Hogwarts and the different houses. The campus is absolutely stunning. It had beautiful green grass and old buildings. So much history! After the tour, I was able to grab some fish and chips at the Covered Market. When I finished lunch I got my myself an Oxford sweatshirt and dreamed I was a student there.

Stonehenge 

Stonehenge was unreal. I felt like I was looking at a picture. I couldn’t believe I was actually looking at Stonehenge! When you get to Stonehenge they give you a radio to listen to the history and to help prepare for the bus ride there. The bus ride was a quick trip. I took so many pictures with my friends. After the bus ride and I walked to Stonehenge, my eyes brighten. It was surreal. It even helped me forget how cold it was.IMG_0063

My day trip to Oxford and Stonehenge is something I will never forget. Both Oxford and Stonehenge are beautiful and have so much history. I do recommend visiting these places if you are ever in the area.

A Mini Texas Road Trip

This past weekend, I wanted to get away from Austin and experience a new environment.  So, on Saturday afternoon my boyfriend and I went to Wimberley Texas. It was a quick one day road trip. Wimberley is a cute little town 40 minutes from Austin. I heard great things about the area and I wanted a taste for myself. Wimberley has beautiful swimming holes, cute restaurants, and some wineries. A friend of mine told me about a restaurant called The Leaning Pear. The restaurant was beautiful. The ambiance was nice both inside and outside. We sat inside because its Texas and its summer.  For the appetizer we ordered a queso. For the entrees, my boyfriend got mac and cheese and I got the meat loaf with mashed potatoes. All I can say is everything was delicious and the service was amazing.

After dinner, I wanted to check out more of the town. We drove around and stopped by a wine shop called Hill Country Wine Shoppe. The place smelled amazing because of a candle that the shop just unlit. The lady at the store recommended some wine tastings. They have 3 options you can have a red wine taste, a white wine taste, or a sweet wine taste. Then they choose the 7 wine samples for you. My option was the white wine tastings. My favorite wine ended up being Mary Ruth and I bought bottle. Also, I bought a candle. The wine tasting was $7.00, bottle $28.00, and candle $13.00. The lady gave us the idea of going by the creek and drinking my wine because you can drink outside in Wimberley. But instead my boyfriend I stood by the creek and admired it’s beauty. Then, I drank my wine at home.

My mini road trip to Wimberley was a good gateway day. I wanted to get out of Austin for a bit and explore another city. Especially a cute little town. I want to visit the Blue Hole swimming hole and relax. Definitely another Texas Bucket list thing.

Traveling Alone

Traveling alone can seem scary, especially since you’re out of your comfort zone. You can either be traveling out of the country or a different city.  However, when you want to travel and can’t find anyone to join you, traveling alone is a great option. If I let traveling alone get in the way, I would of missed traveling to a lot wonderful places. Such as Ireland and Germany. When you think about traveling out of the country, there is different options you can take. You can travel alone with a travel group, you can meet a friend that lives in the country, or you can backpack.

Travel Group

Traveling with a tour group helps a lot because they set up everything for you. They can set up your plane ticket, hotels/hostels, a tour guide, and sometimes even meals.  I feel like this is a perfect if its your first time traveling abroad or for a high school or college student. When you travel with a travel group, you will meet a lot people in your group. Some are also traveling alone. I never felt alone when I traveled with a travel group. Also, your tour guide can recommend great places for you and how to stay safe. What I noticed in travel groups is some people actually backpacked or meet a friend after the group ended.

Meeting a Friend

I never met a friend in a different country. I have traveled to places in the United States and have met a friend. This option is probably the easiest because you get the chance to meet with a local. They will recommend place to go and what places to avoid (tourist traps). There will be times when you’re alone but the majority of time you’re not. When I went to New York city, I had to take a train by myself to meet my friend. She told me what train to take and where to meet her. Even this still confused me but I was able to get help from strangers. Also, I kept in contact with my friend as much as I could.

Backpacking

This is good if you want to travel on your own schedule. You can set up what places you want to go and where you want to stay. I had a close friend that traveled through different countries in Europe and stayed in hostels and hotels. It was her first time traveling abroad and she had a good experienced. She met a lot people in the hostels and even met up close friends. If you want to do this, there is plenty information online and in travel books about how to set up your travels. Also, I like to look at youtube videos of people that have travel vlogs.

No option is better than the other, this is more of your preference. This article is to help you not be afraid to travel alone. Either way all these options can help you travel and met other people.

Denver

Denver is definitely an outdoor city. They have skiing, kayaking, hiking trails, mountain climbing, and so much more.  Denver is beautiful, the whole state of Colorado is gorgeous. I loved seeing the mountains in the distance as well as the Denver skyline. Of course, there is more to Denver than the scenery and outdoor activities. They have many museums, breweries, and professional sports teams.  I had the opportunity to see Denver while visiting my friend Heather. She let me stay with her for a couple of days and not only  showed me around Denver but outside of the city too. It was an amazing experience.

Day 1

I got there around 2:00 PM. The first thing we did, was eat a late lunch at City O’ City. It’s a vegetarian, vegan, gluten free restaurant and it damn delicious. We ordered the seitan buffalo wings and BBQ wings for an appetizers. For an entree we shared a BBQ bowl with seitan, vegan Mac & Cheese, kale, and coleslaw. Along with bloody Mary’s. After lunch we walked to the People’s Fair located in the Civic Center Park. The fair had free entrance and had booths selling jeweler and clothing. We didn’t stay long but I had a nice time seeing the booths and the park. The park has a good view of the capital and fountain in the middle.

After the fair we went back to Heather’s place and got ready to enjoy Denver night life. First place we went to was a brewery called the Great Divide. We both ordered a Strawberry Rhubarb sat outside and enjoyed the nice summer weather. The weather was nice in cool at night. The beer was delicious and I liked their yeti theme. The brewery closed early and we headed to Finn’s Manor Bar. The bar had a diverse array of food trucks, cocktails, and craft beer. The bar gave me an Austin feel with the open patio and food trucks. They had many areas we could order drinks. We ordered cocktails and a frozen rose’. We bar hopped for bit but another bar the stood out was Matchbox bar. The bar also had a huge patio with wall murals and bar games. After all the bar hopping we got late night pizza and walked home.

Day 2

This was outdoor activity day. We drove an hour and half to the Incline near Colorado Springs. The whole drive was beautiful. Colorado landscape is full green/white mountains as well as red rocks. The drive was not boring at all. We even stopped to take pictures by the Air Force area. We got to the inline in good time and noticed it’s beauty. The incline had a $10 dollar parking charge, which is to keep the incline beautiful. However, it was way out of our hiking range. As soon as we got there it had these stairs to hike to the top of the mountain. We tried to see how far we could get but we didn’t make it far. These led us to Garden of the Gods. This was a free park with beautiful red rocks. Heather and I walked around and took in the scenery. Pictures were a must as well. We stay for about 30 mins. grabbed a bite to eat while we hydrated. FYI the whole time we hydrated, we had plenty of water in the car. When we got back to Denver we ate at a restaurant called the Jerusalem Place. I ordered the vegetarian plate. This place has good prices, great good, and stays open late. I was really tired when we go back to Heather’s, I only had a couple of sips of wine and fell asleep.

Day 3

We had a chance to have a picnic at Bear Creek Lake Park. I got the crunchy roll sushi at trader Joe’s and Heather got a spring roll.  The lake was perfect it had sand and a nice view of the Lakewood mountains. The weather was really windy that day, so we didn’t get into the lake. Instead, we put down towels on the sand had a picnic, talked, and people watched. I was surprise there was some people swimming in the lake because it was a cold day. however, the wind did get really crazy and it started raining, everyone left including us. I had been wanting to see the Red Rock Amphitheater and we drove by since we were near. The rain had stopped for a bit and I had chance to take pictures of the beautiful, phenomenal venue. A bucket list thing, is to see a concert there. It’s on my list for sure.

For the night, we decided to grab dinner at sliceworks and have a beer at Denver Beer Company. The beer we both got was called the Princess Yum Yum. It was a raspberry beer. It was tasty, it wasn’t to strong and was an easy beer to drink. The brewery was nice it had a front patio where people can bring there dogs. We sat inside but the doors were open to the outside. It was weather I could get use to.  To end the night we saw Wonder Women. It’s a movie I recommend, by the way.

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Day 4

Day 4 was when I had my flight back to Austin. This day was just catching up with Heather and driving by the Denver skyline and Broncos Stadium.

My trip was a really good experience. I really liked Denver, its probably one of my favorite cities so far. Colorado is just beautiful, I couldn’t stop taking pictures. The weather is also nice in the summer, we drove with the windows down and Heather’s apartment also had the windows down. Something you don’t really do in Texas. Also, just being able to hang out with Heather and having a girls time made it a memorable experience. Trips are always more fun with friends.

Boston Memories

It’s been awhile since I went to Boston, March of 2011. I was still a college student that had spring breaks. I knew that year I wanted to do something for spring break because it was going to be my last one. I asked my high-school friend, Andrea if I could visit her in Boston. She had lived there awhile and I knew she could show me a local view of the city. Yes, I also did touristy things. In Boston I had some first experiences, enjoyed touristy things, and got to catch up with old friends in Boston.

First Experiences

Boston was the first place I rose a subway, they call it the T. Texas doesn’t have them and it was interesting for me to experience. I liked that we didn’t have to worry about parking. For dinner one night, we had to take two different subways and a bus to get to a restaurant. That what something I wasn’t use to because in Texas we just use cars to get somewhere. I even kept my subway ticket as a  souvenir. I do hope that Texas can get better public transportation similar to Boston.

Boston was the First East Coast city, I visited. I fell in love with the buildings because they were older and had more character. There was a more of story to Boston, then any of the other cities I had visited before. Boston opened more travel opportunities for me. After that I was not scared to travel alone.

Tourist things

  • Harvard

Andrea was able to take me to Harvard. I noticed a lot tourists like myself at the university. I can’t imagine how the students and employees feel. It’s probably something they are use to. I thought Harvard was beautiful with so much history. I loved the buildings and outside scenery.

  • Little Italy

When my friend Andrea was at work, I was able met with another old friend, Andrew. He was able to show me his favorite restaurant and bakery in Little Italy. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the names of these wonderful places. What I do recommend is visiting Little Italy in Boston. I had an amazing experience and delicious food. What I also remember was sitting by a window at the restaurant eating chicken parmigiana and catching up with an old friend. After, our meal we got tiramisu.

  • Boston Commons

We took the tiramisu and ourselves to the Boston Commons. It’s a central public park in downtown Boston. We found a bench, sat down, talked and enjoyed the tiramisu. I was able to enjoy a nice view of Downtown Boston. After this experience, I appreciated parks more. After, the park we bar hopped downtown.

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Harvard

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Boston Commons

Spending a couple days in Boston was a great experience for me. I was able to catch up with old friends and get local views of the city. I really do hope to visit Boston again, maybe a 4th of July trip.

Future Trips

I’m always looking for my next trip. Whether it’s a Texas trip, an out of state trip, or a an international trip. Planning these trips gets me get motivated through my work weeks and makes me happy. Here is my list of trips that I have planned. Some have already been set up and others I’m still working on.

  • Denver Colorado: I will be going to Denver in the beginning of June. This trip is set, I bought my plane ticket and asked the days off from work. I will be visiting a good friend of mine and she wants to show me beautiful nature places. I can’t wait to see the green and the beauty and spend time with a close friend.
  • Seattle Washington: I’m planning to visit Seattle in October. It’s for my birthday. I have only driven by Seattle and this time I want to experience the city. I want to see more of the green and mountains, have brunch on the space needle with a view, and walk around Pikes Place. I also want to see the first Starbucks Coffee. I am aware the weather might not be that great but this helps me get the true experience.  The plane ticket and stay haven’t been set up yet. I planing on buying the plane ticket the beginning of next month. For the say, I might stay at Airbnb with some close friends.
  • The Greek Islands: is for Summer 2018. This trip has also not been set up yet, I’m planning on going with a tour group and two close friends. Greece has been a dream place for me, since The Sisterhood and the Traveling Pants movie. I want to experience a sunset on Santorini and go wine tasting on the high cliffs. Wine with a view, what more could I ask for? I really want this trip to become a reality, I want to experience the culture and see those beautiful views. I am hoping to sign up with the tour group this month.