Big Ben Hiding Behind Parliament
Less than three weeks left of the semester, senior year, and college itself. Hard to believe it is finally coming to and end and it will be another new beginning. It had me thinking about how last year at this time was another ending, the end of my semester abroad in London, and how looking back one year later has made me realize a few lessons I have learned from my experienced. Some I knew in the moment when I was in London, and others I had to think about how they have subtly just become part of my daily routine. The top ten things I have learned while studying abroad are...
1. GETTING LOST ISN’T A BAD THING
I learned the most amazing thing about myself is that I love getting lost. I love the feeling of getting lost in a new city, wandering around for hours until I know the streets like the back of my hand and found all of the hidden gems you never see in city tour book.
2. TIME FLIES
Time flies by faster than you realize, and one thing I learned about time is not to take a moment for granted. Even on a day where the weather may seem crappy and cold, or I may not be feeling all that great, get up and go out because the moment will be over before you know it.
3. MAKE MISTAKES
Sometimes the best way to learn is by making mistakes. They are the hardest lessons to learn but the ones you never forget because in the end, they are the ones that help you grow the most.
4. TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
I think one of the hardest decisions I had to make while studying abroad was when I was planning out all of the destinations I wanted to go on weekend trips/day trips and coming down to the final decision of where I could go and couldn’t based on time and finances. It was probably the most heart breaking decisions ever and looking back, I think I could have managed my time a bit better and fit more in.
5. “IF IT SCARES YOU IT MIGHT BE A GOOD THING TO TRY”
Take risks even when the odds are against you and feats seem terrifying. You know, it’s when you have that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach telling you to run like hell? That is when you will either make the mistakes worth learning from or make the greatest decision of your life.
6. COMPRIMISE, DON’T SACRIFICE
Sometimes it easy to get overwhelmed, especially when traveling with multiple people, and everyone has different opinions of what they want to see and do. I always had this constant fear that with so many people and so many different needs to meet we might not get to everything and I would have this feeling of remorse left at the end of the day for not seeing everything. Negotiate. Compromise so you don’t have to sacrifice time or opportunities during your travels or and other opportunities in life.
7. BE TRAVEL SAVVY. ALWAYS.
Seems cliché, but it is probably become my philosophy in life now. Always be travel savvy. Don’t over pack because you never wear half of it anyway, don’t waste money on things you don’t need but rather save it for experiences, start your days early, expect the unexpected (because rarely do things ever go according to plan no matter how hard I try), and photograph everything.
8. YOU KNOW MORE PEOPLE THAN YOU THINK
One very important thing I learned, from a very unfortunate event in Paris, is you know more people than you think you do. Whether you are in a crisis and need help or just looking for someone to reminisce over homesickness, that someone is not too far away.
9. NO REGRETS
It’s sounds intense and maybe even impossible, but that is probably one of the most valuable things I have taken out of studying abroad. Have no regrets. The concept can get a little tangled at times but to me the idea of ‘no regrets’ simply comes down to at one point every decision was made I either thought it was the best choice or I knew it wasn’t and I did it anyway.
I think the last and most important thing I learned from studying abroad was to hustle. To hustle and work hard for what you want. Whether it is traveling every weekend with friends or getting out everyday to build my portfolio it takes dedication, work, and some serious organization skills to constantly financially orchestrate travel plans. But at the end of it all, it is worth it to rarely sleep, constantly be on the move, and live out of a suitcase to see the world. And the only way to do all of that is to hustle.
XX A Traveler's Bliss
With all of the nice weather we have been having here in Chicago, I thought the city deserve a little shout-out. I love to take long walks around the city because no matter if you walk the same path twice, you can always see something new or something different. I went though my achieve for the last few weeks of some of my favorite shoots around the city just to highlight some of the architecture beauty in the South Loop and Downtown Chicago. Each photograph has a description of where the image was taken so if you see something you like or somewhere you want to go you are a quick Google search away form getting there yourself! Enjoy the warm weather and let's hope it sticks around!
xx A Traveler's Bliss
It's hard to believe that exactly one year ago we arrived in Amsterdam to begin our Global Passes on the Eurail, trekking across twelve countries and seventeen cities in twenty-five days. Everyday was packed with new adventures, cultural experiences, and food excursions like no other, never wanting to miss a single opportunity.
I started this video a while back but never quiet finished it. I wanted to make a video of some of our photographs from traveling since I didn't record much video (and if I used all of our photographs the video would never end). It starts at the beginning of our journey, in Amsterdam, and the rest of our Eurail experience: Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Zurich, Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon.
I never would have thought before my study abroad that so much travel in so little time was possible. But with a solid group of travel companions, a little planning, and a backpack there is endless possibilities to where you can go and all you can achieve.
xx A Traveler's Bliss
Besides all of the sightseeing, wandering, and photography that took place over the course of three days, there was a lot of eating done over the course of three days, as well. Like, no-crumb-left-behind-kind of eating. We were all really excited to try New Orleans and southern cuisine because it wasn’t familiar and they have a lot unique dishes and recipes. Sure, you can get food anywhere, but the experience is all part of the journey.
Obviously, we needed beignets, stat. The most popular destination in New Orleans to get your beignets in Café du Monde and it is also the biggest tourist attraction in the city. You can stand in line for hours waiting just to get a tiny table inside the cramped (but adorable) eating area, or go around back and to the walk-though beignet window (yes, that is a thing) which only took about twenty minutes. Another great place and far less crowded to get your beignets in Café Beignet New Orleans. There are a few Cafes around the city serving beignets, coffee, and other delicious pastries.
After the beignets, we started our food journey at the Court of Two Sisters were we ate an all you can eat buffet style brunch while listening to an amazing jazz band. It was a great way to dive into food (literally) and try a little bit of everything we wanted to eat at once to see what we liked and what we weren't totally sold on yet.
Another priority for our taste buds and food experience-must was eating on cast iron balcony. It’s all about the esthetics and the environment, people. We ate at two amazing balcony bars: Cornet and Royal House. At Cornet we had the taste of New Orleans again and tried a little bit of everything: gumbo, jambalaya, and even crawfish mac & cheese (which was hands down my favorite). We just sat in the in center of the balcony, listened to the wild sounds of Bourbon Street below us, and enjoyed the sun. At Royal House, the streets below won’t be as noisy or crowded as Bourbon so you can relax while enjoying your meal. Get in early for dinner, because by the line starts to form outside door and around the corner after seven.
And the last place to eat that is a must is Castnet for seafood and fried food. It is about a twenty-minute drive outside of the city (from the French Quarters) but is worth the drive. The place was packed and everyone wanted the same thing: crawfish. It was insane and completely worth the wait. You can sit inside or sit outside under an umbrella all while enjoying your fresh or fried food.
Well, I'm hungry now.
xx A Traveler's Bliss
(hey - hey you. click the bliss above... do it.)