A carry-on & tote bag for two weeks in Italy!
Packing is one of my least favorite parts of any trip. I used to dislike it so much that I would have anxiety attacks and lash out at loved ones who got caught in my path. I am much better now – thank goodness – but much of that is due to the creation of a go-to packing list.
I first established this list in preparation for my Australia adventure. Prior to the list, I tried a few other methods that were no where near efficient. For my Italy trip, I downloaded an app that would help you plan out your outfits. In order to use it correctly though, you had to take pictures of individual wardrobe items in your closet, crop and save them in the app. It reminded me of paper dolls and Cher’s polaroid routine from Clueless. All in all, it was too much effort. I will say, however, I was quite proud of my packing for that trip!
By the time Australia rolled around, I needed a solid plan. I would be traveling for about a year and I did not want to check a bag. Checking bags is the worst! I hate the fees and I hate waiting for bags, hoping yours didn’t end up on another flight. No thanks, I’ll bring a carry-on. But carry-ons require smart planning.
Below is my go-to list that I use for each trip. Of course, depending on where I’m heading and the length of time I will be there, I modify this list. Bare in mind this was created for a year’s worth of travel, the country where I was headed is mostly warm weather, and there was the potential for work, too. Overall, most of my trips are to somewhere warm or with mild winters so my list continues to prove useful.
I chose to live in New Orleans for six glorious years. New Orleans is real, gritty, crazy, violent, and beautiful. There really is nothing like it. The people are warm and friendly, oozing with southern hospitality and the streets are filled with vibrant colors and deep potholes. It’s a place where many people go to party and a place that anyone who has ever been holds near to their heart. It is a special place and a difficult place and that is how I will always describe it. I love this city.
In the words of the late Anthony Bourdain, “In America, there might be better gastronomic destinations than New Orleans, but there is no place more uniquely wonderful. So I would say New Orleans. With the best restaurants in New York, you’ll find something similar to it in Paris or Copenhagen or Chicago. But there is no place like New Orleans. So it’s a must see city because there’s no explaining it, no describing it. You can’t compare it to anything. So, far and away New Orleans.”
I am often asked for recommendations – where to eat and what to do – for New Orleans and I am happy to share. Rather than continuing to craft a list over and over again, I am sharing my recommendations here — How to explore New Orleans like a local.
On almost every website you surf these days, someone is waiting to convince you that 2016 has been a horrible year. While I’ve experienced my fair share of challenges in 2016, I am a glass half-full kind of gal and would prefer to reflect on my BEST moments of the year instead. Here’s what I have to be grateful for this year:
Hola, Mexico! I’ve just returned from my work and holiday in Australia and am now off to Mexico City for a week to visit my new friend, Andrea. Andrea and I met while traveling in New Zealand and I quickly decided a trip to visit her and explore her city was necessary. Knowing and visiting people in other countries is one of the best parts of making international friends, isn’t it?!
I’ve briefly visited Mexico on family cruises but had not spent any significant amount of time in the country. Mexico has always been a curious one to me. It’s a US neighbor and many Mexicans choose to live in the United States, bringing delicious food and culture with them. I feel as though I am the most familiar with Mexican culture, and yet, my understandings and experiences were limited to my American point of view before this trip. Mexico City is vibrant, busy, and dangerous with pockets of extreme poverty and some of the best street food you’ll ever have. It’s the 8th largest city in the world and the traffic makes this statistic abundantly clear.
I planned a week around the city and made sure that food, lucha libres, and pyramids were at the top of my list. Here’s how I spent the week…
Chattanooga is one of Tennessee’s hidden gems. Located less than 10 miles from the Georgia state border and nestled among the curves of the Tennessee River, Chattanooga is a city made for people. I spent 48-hours exploring this small city and loved every moment of it. With countless hiking trails, a charming downtown, riverside views, and delicious food, Chattanooga is not to be missed.
Australia is well-known around the world as being the country to house the most dangerous animals on the planet but, upon visiting or speaking with the locals, you quickly realize your chances of interacting with these creatures are slim to none. The real story is all of the unique landscapes the country has on offer, including several quirky and strange small towns. And it’s no surprise that these towns can be found deep in the Australian Outback and in the island state of Tasmania. My favorite among them below.