Ponderings

Thoughts and reflections about life

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that 2016 would bring me a remote job, five weddings, eight countries, and countless friends. I’m in awe of the support that I’ve gotten from my friends, family, and audience. I could never have done any of this without you. I am humbled and I am grateful.

December is always one of my favorite months, because as I look back at all the things I’ve accomplished and adventures I’ve had, I’m reminded that chasing my dreams was not the foolish endeavor I worried it would be. Keep reading to learn more about what I accomplished this year and what’s next in 2017!

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So many of my parents’ friends like to say “I would never let my daughter travel the way you do.” I understand their worry for their children, but I’ve realized that parents will eventually come to respect you for fighting for what you want. Support from doesn’t mean “without worry.” It means understanding that you need to do you, for your happiness, not theirs. So this is a tribute to my parents: thank you for your support, even when you don’t always agree with me.

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While the dictionary defines the Italian concept of “dolce far niente” as “pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness,” its meaning stretches even further: it’s the pleasure of doing nothing. Sound foreign to you? Don’t worry, it did to me too. What do you mean, “do nothing?” We’re busy people. We have things to do, places to be and people to see. How dare those Italians suggest we do nothing? Over the last few years, I’ve started to see the benefits of applying this concept and traveling slower, even if it means missing the sites. Click to read why you should slow travel!

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Almost exactly a year ago, I quit my job without a life plan. I had a round trip ticket to Spain, the idea that I should blog about my travels, and the hope that I’d return with some clarity and a better job. Some of my goals and expectations were met, and others – not so much. But in the end, travel has taught me that the only way to live life is to accept the beauty and anxiety of the unknown. Click to read about my journey and learn how travel can help you in a period of uncertainty!

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While a friend and I initially planned to spend the summer in Barcelona, the absurd cost of short-term summer rentals had us rethinking our plans. Luckily we did a bit of research and found that Valencia was the perfect fit for what we were looking for: a coastal city with tons of great things to do without the choking influx of summer tourists that can be found in Barcelona and Valencia. What’s more, we were able to stretch our budget in Valencia and scored an amazing apartment in the center of town that will be great for working remotely. If you’re wondering just what won us over about Valencia, you’re in the right place. Click to read this post and learn about all the great things Valencia has to offer…you might just end up booking a flight and seeing it for yourself!

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I don’t mind answer the question “How do you afford to travel?” I prefer it to “you’re so lucky you get to travel so much.” Yes, I am lucky that I get to travel. But if you hold a passport from a western country, you’re just as lucky as I am. You can travel as much as I do. Calling someone lucky is an insult because it implies zero sacrifice and/or hard work on someone’s part to get to where (s)he is. That is almost never true. So don’t call me lucky and instead ask me, “what are you sacrificing in order to travel?” Read to learn what I give up in order to afford a life of travel.

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During my travels, I do my best to interact with locals wherever I go – even if the exchange only happens while I’m haggling for something at the market. Not only is interacting with locals the best way to learn about culture, restaurants and other hidden gems, it also provides a fun way to see stereotyping at its finest. But hey, now I have this list of hilarious things locals have said to me during my travels.

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