A few weekends ago, I joined my friend from high school for her bachelorette party in Nashville, Tennessee. Having never been to the Music City (or a bachelorette party for that matter), I was not sure what to expect. But after a long, exciting weekend in the Country Music Capital of the World, I figured I would share what I learned.
Where to Stay in Nashville
We opted to stay in an Airbnb rather than a hotel. With a hotel we would have either had to spend a fortune on a giant suite or deal with separate rooms that could be on different
floors entirely. An Airbnb allowed us to comfortably pregame and get ready together. Our house was kick-ass and leaned into the Nashville theme with its decor. It was a couple of minutes from the main road in the cute neighborhood of 12 South. (I highly recommend walking this area if you have time. Read on for more information.)
The downfall to Airbnb is that they are usually a little farther from downtown. We had to take turns ordering a Lyft or Uber to go anywhere. The prices were anywhere from $10-$25 to get downtown for an XL, but be mindful of the surcharge times. (**Note- We consistently found Lyft to be slightly cheaper than Uber. )
If your check in is too late or your check out is too early, there is an alternative to lugging around all of your heavy bags. Try the Stow Station.
What to do for a Nashville Bachelorette Party
Going Out in Nashville
What is a bachelorette party without a few drinks and possibly some questionable decisions? Luckily Nashville has no shortage of places for a night out on the town with your girlfriends.
Just a year ago, I began what became not just an amazing adventure but also an eye-opening revelation about my own secrets that I never knew existed. Australia wasn’t just a trip; it was an awakening. It was a realization of what makes me happy.
The Land Down Under ignited the flame of desire for a life of travel and writing. Now the embers burn brightly each day, and sometimes I feel like the fire will consume me. Sometimes I feel like my life isn’t mine. If I only discovered this fire sooner and wasn’t so afraid of getting burned, would my life be completely different? Maybe I would be in the Peace Corps. Maybe I’d still be in Australia. Maybe I’d be living in South America.
When it comes to any trips I take, the reality is that my boyfriend and I will have to deal with surviving a long-distance relationship. We have done it in college over the summer, and we have done it whenever I have chosen to travel like my trip to Australia. While we have been fortunate enough not to deal with a long-distance relationship for too long, we have learned a few tricks. Continue reading “Surviving a Long-Distance Relationship”→
Chicago! This year I was finally able to check the Windy City off of my bucket list. I spent three and a half days exploring the city sometimes by myself and sometimes with a friend. There is a good public transportation system, so I suggest you use it in order to save money. Check out my itinerary for a long weekend in Chicago.
Start your day at the Lincoln Park Zoo. It’s free! I walked in at the start of the sea lion show. I spent a good bit of the morning wandering around seeing all of the different animals. As you exit the zoo near the kangaroos, you will come across a bridge with a great view of the city. From there, you can walk through Lincoln Park toward Lake Michigan.
The weather was hot, so I enjoyed my time ambling along the water and checking out the view of the city and the sailboats. At this point, I was getting hungry. There are a couple of places along the water, but one man informed me that most of them close after Labor Day. They “reopened” that weekend in September because it was so nice out but had a limited menu. In the prime summer time, this would be a good spot to grab a drink and perhaps a small lunch.
Chicago History Museum– From the beach, I walked back into the city. I crossed by the Chicago History Museum at the edge of Lincoln Park. If you are into history, this could be a good place to explore. I did not go in but history buffs would enjoy.
Old Town Chicago
I quickly found myself in Old Town Chicago. It was an enjoyable neighborhood for an afternoon stroll that I would frequent if I lived in Chicago.
North Wells Street- I happened to stumble upon this street in Old Town and immediately liked it. There are lots of cute shops and restaurants. The chocoholic that I am, I made sure to stop by Cocoa + Co and work my way down to The Fudge Pot that displays a variety of chocolate in all different shapes and designs. This would be a good place to grab dinner or drinks from the various restaurants lining the street. The road also features places that stood out to me like The Spice House, Broken English Taco Pub, and the famous Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Personally, I found the iconic ice cream shop to be underwhelming, but the long lines seems to suggest that I am in the minority.
25! How fast 24 went by. My 24th year on this earth was 365 days filled with adventure and more traveling than ever before.
In the past year, I have ventured around Scotland; spent a day frozen in Philadelphia; lived in Australia; visited San Francisco and the neighboring vineyards; hiked Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon; finally explored Tampa as a tourist, cheered in Nashville for a bachelorette party, and will spend my birthday weekend wandering around Chicago. Not to mention, I still have a move to Fort Lauderdale in October, a wedding to celebrate in Cancun in November; and Christmas carols to sing in the Virgin Islands in December.
It has been a nonstop whirlwind of adventures that will last until 2018 comes to an end.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go
In Scotland I spent 10 days exploring the country. I was able to see the cultural centers of Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as travel through the beautiful countryside with a Scotland native as my tour guide. I felt like I had fallen into Hogwarts at Glasgow University. I watched rivals England and Scotland face off in a rowdy bar. I walked the Royal Mile and climbed Carlton Hill in Edinburgh in the rain. I saw two castles and searched (without luck) for Nessie.
I spent a single-digit winter day in Philadelphia. My boyfriend and I froze as we waiting to see the Liberty Bell and wandered around Independence Hall. We had some killer food at Reading Terminal Market and numbly walked around the city center.
I fell in love with the land down under. I got to live half way across the globe in Melbourne, Australiaeven if it was just for two short months. I spent some time in Geelong with a long-lost cousin. I walked across the bridge and touched the Sydney Opera House. I saw kangaroos and famous surf beaches along the Great Ocean Road. I made friends from around the world. I got to live and fall in love with the Most Livable City in The Word, but I wasn’t done. Continue reading “A Year of Wandering in Review”→
Home (noun)- the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
Where is Home?
They say “Home is where the heart is.” Growing up, the concept of home never required a second thought. I lived in the same house all of my life. It was 18 years of stability in a quaint, small town in Pennsylvania. As someone who has done her fair share of traveling since then, home has become a fickle thing. In my life so far, home has been Pennsylvania; Tampa, Florida; Florence, Italy; and Melbourne, Australia.
College & “Home”
When college came around, it all changed. I was leaving for USF, and my concept of home was about to get a whole lot blurrier. Although I spent 75% of my time at school, Pennsylvania was still a lingering presence in my life, at least at first. As time passed and my visits became more sparse, Pennsylvania still qualified as “home” but lost all of its emotional fervor. Tampa was becoming my new home, but there was a catch. Continue reading “What is Home?”→
When it comes to anxiety, travel can be a big trigger. I have found that one of the best ways to combat my anxiety is to be prepared. I was able to survive a 15-hour flight followed by a 10-hour flight to Australia because I was prepared. If you suffer from anxiety and are worried about an upcoming long flight, read on for tips on how to combat that anxiety and have smooth flying.
Get up and walk around or stretch frequently. It will help with your circulation and prevent blood clots. You will find that your legs will start to feel swollen and heavy after so many hours of sitting.
Drink a lot of water throughout your travels. It will also help with your circulation. Pack your own empty water bottle and ask the flight attendants to fill it for you. You can also pack powder drink packets if you want something other than water.
Preset alarms for any timely medications you need to take. This will prevent you from having to do any headache-inducing math while you are traveling. Also make sure you pack enough medication for a few days in case your checked luggage gets lost.
Brush your teeth right before you decide to sleep on your flight. It will help keep you in routine and trick your brain into thinking it is bedtime.
Load up on vitamin C, multivitamins, or airborne a few days before you leave. Not only will it hopefully keep you from getting sick (no one likes to travel sick), but also it could help prevent you from getting ill from your travels. (You are stuck in a chamber of stale air and germs for many hours.)
After spending a long weekend in Nashville, it is no surprise to me that the city is one of the most popular destinations for a bachelorette party. Everywhere you go, you will see brides and their posses partying it up in the Music City.
The Pros of a Nashville Bachelorette Party
Because Nashville is known for its bachelor and bachelorette parties, the city caters to these visitors. They have a variety of “party bus” options that are basically made for bachelor and bachelorette parties. You and your gang can drink all you want while being transported around the city in some fashion. We did the Party Barge, but you could try the Honkey Tonk Express, Pedal Express, Pontoon Saloon, Nashville Party Wagon, or whatever fits your fancy. You will see a gaggle of tractors, trucks, and buses hauling the happy drinkers down Broadway at any time.
When it comes to most bachelorette and bachelor parties, drinking is a main activity. The great part about Nashville is the abundance of bars in the same area. Broadway boasts many famous bars all on the same street. There you will find rooftop bar after rooftop bar with many owned by the country music greats. We didn’t run into any that Continue reading “Should you have a Bachelorette Party in Nashville?”→
When I discovered I was going to Australia, you can bet I was ecstatic. But before I could have my summer down under, I had to get there. When I booked my flight, I was so excited about the price that I didn’t realize how much I would hate myself later. My travels plans were as followed…
1.5-hour drive to Orlando airport EARLY in the morning (thanks to my boyfriend for driving me)
2.5-hour flight to Chicago
15-hour flight to Shanghai
10-hour flight to Melbourne
My flight back was close to the same except I went from Shanghai to JFK and then down to Tampa. In total I spent almost two days traveling each time, but I survived. As someone with anxiety, such a long flight did make me worry. I have found that a good way to combat my anxiety is to be prepared, so I would like to share my wisdom with others.
What to Pack in Your Carry-On
Wipes- for when you want to shower but can’t or for those dirty planes/airports
Toothbrush & toothpaste
Makeup- Personally, I don’t wear makeup when I travel, but if freshening up will make you feel better, go for it.
Advil, ibuprofen, tums, etc- Carry any medications you may need to help with anxiety, headaches, upset stomach, or any other common ailments you suffer from.
Prescription medicines- Make sure you have enough for a few days in case your checked bags get lost.
Extra clothes- This is for both if your luggage gets lost and if you want to change.
Have you noticed how complacency can so easily creep in when you live somewhere? Your desire for exploration and adventure can wane dramatically as you become comfortable with where you live. While I sit and daydream about international adventure, I neglect to step outside and explore my own backyard that is the Tampa Bay area.
Last week my sister was visiting, so I got to see Tampa Bay as a tourist. It was amazing how many places I had wanted to go to but had never gotten around to until now.
Exploring the City of Tampa Bay
Of course if you are coming to Tampa, you will want to visit downtown. Unlike the cities of the Northeast, Tampa is spread out with lots of greenspaces and is easily walkable. Since it is the Sunshine State, take time to just get lost in the city. The arts area is the best place to explore. There are lots of iconic Tampa buildings (Straz Center, Children’s Museum, Sykes building, etc.) as well as my favorite greenspace, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. If you go on the weekend, there is a good chance that there will be some event going on in the park. You can also walk the streets and find lots of cafes, bars, and restaurants. Eddie & Sam’s N.Y. Pizza (they have gelato too!) is a Tampa favorite. Fair warning, it is closed on Mondays. We grabbed a smoothie at a cafe and continued walking.
If you come to Tampa, the Riverwalk is a must. You can choose to walk, run, bike, even take your dog along with you. The Riverwalk is a scenic path along the water from the Florida Aquarium in Channelside to Armature Works. You can walk the length of it or just pick a section. Stop by the Sail Pavilion for a drink by the water. Along the way, there are monuments, benches, swings, plaques, and more. Just keep walking and find out what is next. You can use Tampa’s bike share or hop a water taxi from one end to another. But that is just the beginning… Continue reading “Tampa Bay as a Tourist (From a Local)”→