I Did It!

1 Aug

I ate dinner. Sitting. In a restaurant. By. Myself. BY MYSELF!

I’ve had this fear of eating alone for the longest time. It’s been the one aspect of solo travel I haven’t been able to embrace. Sitting alone at a restaurant was in my mind just so uncomfortable and awkward that I couldn’t bring myself to dine alone (in a restaurant – cafes were fine) on any of my travels. But, finally, I did it! I sat down at a restaurant last night, ordered some pasta (pesto – mmmmm) and wine, and sat and ate it completely alone.

Mission: accomplished.


24 Jul

Is the only word I know in German.

Goal for tomorrow: learn how to say “can I please have tap water?”

Walked almost 9 miles today and spent at least 10 euros on water.

Can’t escape the heatwave, even in Berlin.

Giant Tree Day! 

8 Jul

On my way from Saratoga Springs to San Francisco, I made a pit stop above the city to see…GIANT TREES! Muir Woods was incredible. I’m always raving about the culture and history found in European cities, but rarely do I stop to think about the ancient, natural wonders we have right here in America. Wow! So beautiful!

Santa Barbara = Mini Spain

7 Jul

Earlier I was raving about how the San Diego architecture resembles that of Spain. San Diego has nothing on Santa Barbara. The entire city is literally a mini version of a Spanish town! Beautiful architecture, palm trees everywhere…even the signs are Spanish-esque & beautiful. 

Thoughts about California Highways

6 Jul

East coast highways are better. California highways have no signs to tell you what is at each stop, making it very difficult to find the nearest In’N’Out burger (but don’t worry I got my fix)


So, settled once and for all:

Jersey highways > California highways

Newport Beach…

5 Jul

…is nothing like The O.C. I feel as though my favorite middle school show lied to me for years. NOTHING. No resemblance whatsoever. /end rant

Here are the fun things I DID do:

  1. Jennie and her mom took me out on their sailboat on July 4th! Sailing was a ton of fun, other than the brief incident where my camera got an accidental shower from the spray from another boat (don’t worry, it survived)
  2. We saw sea lions on the buoy at the end of the marina!
  3. Learned “ish” how to stand-up paddle board. Mostly just kneel-boarded up and down the harbor. The standing part is SO difficult, you have to balance your weight with the shifting from the paddling AND shifting from the waves.

Sea Lion Love!

4 Jul

On the drive up from San Diego to Newport Beach, I stopped off at La Jolla cove for…SEA LIONS! Real live cuddling on the beach and being adorable sea lions. Not in a cage or a tank; literally nothing to separate you from the wildlife. I took some amazing photos because I was able to get so close up! It was such an incredible experience; there are so few places you can get that close to wildlife [outside a zoo or an aquarium] without scaring them away.

Vamos a…Mexico?!

3 Jul

Sometimes, I’m self critical that I’m not spontaneous enough.

After this trip, I can say with 100% certainty that is not the case. Yesterday, with a tour group from my hostel, I walked to Tijuana. As in, we literally walked across the border into Mexico, which was an experience itself. We took the trolley car all the way down from central San Diego to the US/Mexican border (yup, it really is that simple) and after a surprisingly easy border crossing (only 4 out of 20 people in our group got held up by customs – not too bad considering how many different countries we all came from, and the fact that two Americans didn’t have their passports with them) we walked about 20 minutes until we hit downtown Tijuana. It was quite the experience, I’ve never crossed a major border without a boarding pass, car, train, etc. Nothing but a passport and my own two feet.

Some highlights from the trip:

  • Cheap tacos
  • Cheap frozen margaritas! Two for one everywhere we went!
  • The cultural diversity of our group! Nothing more fun than traveling/eating/hanging out with a mixed group of Aussies, New Zealanders, Brits, Europeans and Americans. Can’t get this cross-cultural exchange anywhere else and I loved every minute of it.
  • Car in a bar! We went to one bar with a shelled out convertible and a tree on the back patio. So cool!

SO much fun, but I don’t recommend trying this without someone who knows the area/knows their way around. The walk back from Tijuana to the U.S. would have been really scary without a guide.

The California beaches are beautiful…

2 Jul

…but the California sun does not love me.  

Fell asleep on Mission beach under the clouds, woke up to brutal sunburn all over my backside. 

Medicated aloe is my BFF right now. We’re inseparable.

I’m Bad at Traveling in America…[said the American]

1 Jul

When I travel Europe I like to wander. It’s this thing I do where I glance at a map, ballpark memorize the sights I want to see, and then wander the city until I find them. 
Today, I learned a very important lesson: that doesn’t work in America. In America, we have these monstrosities called highways and sometimes something that looks like a highway bridge to the zoo is actually an off ramp to the San Diego freeway and then you end up accidentally walking for at least a mile along the freeway because YOU JUST WANTED TO SEE THE DAMN BEARS. 
The good news: 

  • I saw the pandas and it was AMAZING
  •  So were the lions, pronghorn, flamingos, etc. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! 
  • I’m in LOVE with San Diego’s architecture. It feels like I stepped into Spain, not just Balboa park (gorgeous!) but all the little houses around it
  • Cacti are really cool, and sometimes grow little pink flowers, which is amazing.