Paris, France

Nov 3rd-5th // Paris, France

A place of romance, beautiful views, history, friendly residence, & delicious food

Day One

We set out this morning for a long, productive day. The first step was to get from Roehampton University to the EuroStar. This included a quick bus ride and then a train ride. Once we got to the entrance of the EuroStar, we had to go through Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 11.42.50 PM.pngsecurity before we could begin boarding. This process was quicker than imagined, which is pretty rare in London. We then ran to our seats and made ourselves comfortable for the two and a half hour train ride. This includes going UNDER the ocean?! Hard concept to grasp? Just look at the map on the right. You hardly notice that you’re traveling underwater, the only indication is the black walls surrounding you for what seemed like thirty minutes. We finally arrived in Paris and attempted to make our way to our beautiful Airbnb. This processes included taking a few trains where we then got off, walked outside of the station, and looked up to see a massive tower.

It’s hard to truly understand what sometime looks like until you stand in front of it. You see the Eiffel Tower in photos and get a gist of what it looks like, but I believe that you don’t truly understand the power and history behind the figure until you are there in its presence. After a couple of minutes of staring, no words having to be said, we made our way to our Airbnb. There’s no way to describe the view of our Airbnb so I’m just going to include photos below for you to see…

Unbelievable? I know. We got so lucky with booking this Airbnb as it happened to be free the ONE weekend we were in Paris and it wasn’t too costly! We spent hours on the window seal just staring at the tower, admiring its beautiful, and taking in the moment. I still sit here in my London room with warmth in my heart and an obsession with the view from this Airbnb. If you’re ever in Paris and want a good place to stay with a view, hit me up!

After Facetiming friends and family to show them our view, we decided a late lunch was necessary. We found a small vegan restaurant nearby that we walked to since it happened to be a gorgeous day despite what the weather app predicted. For more information on this meal and the restaurant, see my blog post “Brasserie Lola” in the Travel –> Study Abroad –> Foreign Eats section of my blog. After, we proceeded to walk around, grab some Starbucks mugs, and pick up a few souvenirs. By the time we got back to the Airbnb, or what we called home for the weekend, the Eiffel Tower was glistening, indicating the city of Paris that it was now night. Fae and I sat and stared, tears filling my eyes at the fact that I was currently sitting in Paris, looking at the Eiffel Tower from my bedroom, beside my best friend, listening to Bob Dylan. It was one of those moments that feels like a dream, that life is too good to be true. I was woken up from my daydream, I mean reality? to a text message from a friend indicating where to meet before dinner. “Meet next to the Eiffel Tower?” the message stated. Unreal. Fae and I quickly changed, finding it hard to take our eyes off the massive structure outside our window and headed out for a night in Paris. It was right before stepping outside the door that we noticed the tower begin to sparkle. Not just sparkle, but take on a dancing pattern of lights going crazy on the tower. I’ve attached a video below so you can experience what we were seeing. (We soon learned that this occurs every hour on the hour and lasts about fifteen minutes until one o’ clock at night)

 

We decided to explore the city a little before going to dinner. We ended up walking

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Arc de Triomphe

to Arc de Triomphe without even knowing it! We sat on a bench as orange leaves fell from the tree next to us. We watched the roundabout in astonishment at the fact that it was chaos, but controlled chaos. Cars raced in all directions without hitting each other and getting to their destination exit. After, we walked back a different route where we ended up at sitting at the edge of a river, people watched, enjoyed the live music, and soaked in the moment. We then met Sarah, Avery, and Yvette for a delicious dinner in the city. We shared laughs, caught up on our trips so far, and enjoyed this moment, five girls grabbing a meal in the beautiful city of Paris.

 

Day Two

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Place de la Concorde

Tourist day as I called it. I was determined to visit all the “must see” spots of Paris. We started at one side of the city and walked all the way back to our home. First on our list was Place de la Concorde where we took two quick trains to get there. After, we got delicious salads and lemonades at a restaurant nearby, see my post “Le Paradis Du Fruit” in the Travel –> Study Abroad –> Foreign Eats section of my blog for more details. Fae and I enjoyed the cold air outside and the fact that we were experiencing a real autumn so no public transportation was needed today, only our feet and a map.

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Notre Dame

Next on the list was Notre Dame Cathedral. On this walk, we experienced live musicians, a man blowing gigantic bubbles, and cheap thrift stores. We got to the cathedral, took an abundance of photos and then set out for our next location, the Louvre.

We continued walking the same road that we stared on until we came across three giant glass pyramids. A pretty good indication

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The Louvre

that we had reached our destination. We took photos in front then proceed to join the line of people into the museum. A fun-fact for those of you that are students, if you show them your student ID and some proof of identification, you get into the museum for FREE! I have heard rumors that you have to pay more to see the Mona Lisa, and let me tell you that this rumor is FALSE! Follow the signs inside, or the group of people running, and you will find the Mona Lisa in the back of the museum. There is a rope in front of here and a few guard that ensure her safety. You may have to wait a couple of minutes and use some force to get to the front and snap a quick photo.

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Do I really have to caption this one for you?

There is a bullet proof glass in front of her so your photos may have a glare, but you must have some evidence that you were there correct? This was another one of those experiences where I had to step back and remind myself that this was real and that I wasn’t in a dream. Yes, I did run back and forth and yes, her eyes did follow me. Just tourist things right?

The rest of museum is huge and very easy to get lost in, just a warning, this did happen. Actually, it’s the largest museum in the world! Being said, you could spend hours, days, even months in this museum! Fun-fact time!! “If you ever had 100 days spare, you could probably squeeze in every piece of art, but you could only spend 30 seconds on each piece – and that’s if you were there all day, every day.”1 There are 380,00 pieces in total! Another fun fact is that the Louvre wasn’t originally a museum but rather a fortress and then a royal palace. Also, Napoleon was the first to ever hang the Mona Lisa in his private bedroom. Fun-fact number three is the fact that the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 and then returned two years later. For the final fun fact, there is said to be a Louvre Ghost that dates back to 1190 and thought to be haunted by a mummy called Belphegor.

  1. http://thelistlove.com/10-interesting-facts-about-the-louvre/#

In need of some coffee, we set out by foot to find a cute little coffee shop. While walking, we discovered a beautiful area that we found out was called Place de la Concorde pictured below. Although we never ended up finding a cafe, we enjoyed our sunset walk while following the Eiffel Tower back home.

Exhausted and just wanting to pick up a cheap dinner, we spotted a Subway and you get we got a foot long, apple juice, and a bag of chips?! Throwback to childhood. We sat in our bed, glancing at the Eiffel Tower a few times while watching Modern Family and eating our vegan dinners. The perfect ending to the perfect day.

 

Day Three

Saying goodbye is always the hardest part. Thank you Paris for inviting us into your city and showing us so much hospitality. You were more than I ever imagined you to be. You have so much history and beauty within your city that it’s hard to comprehend the fact that people live in you year round. I look forward to the day where I get to visit you again, which will hopefully be soon.

 

xoxo,

katie davis

Brussels, Belgium

October 21st-23rd // Brussels, Belgium

Day 1

Travel day! Being our smart selves, we booked 7am flights. This doesn’t sound horrible correct? WRONG! A 7am flights means getting to the airport at 5am since we had an international flight which means leaving to Heathrow at 4am. All in all, there was no sleep happening that night.

Even though we packed an hour before leaving and got absolutely no sleep, we made it to the airport on time and took an hour flight to Belgium. When we got in, we attempted to figure out public transportation but ended up just getting a taxi instead (we usually use Uber but in Brussels they don’t allow Uber to pick people up from the airport). We reached our Airbnb, unpacked, explored the penthouse, and then decided to grab some lunch. We looked around for some vegan options and ended up just getting some fries at a local bar. Sleep deprived and exhausted, we headed back to our Airbnb for a small nap.

When we woke up, we researched good restaurants in the area and found a sushi restaurant that we ended up trying and LOVING! (See my post, “Makisu” for more details). We walked around the streets of Brussels after then headed back home for a beautiful nights rest.

 

Day 2

We set out for a long, unexpected day. It first started with figuring out public transportation. After asking around, we bought day passes and used Google Maps to get us to our destination. After a couple train rides, we got to the local flee market.

 

We explored all the little shops and talked to the owners who seemed fascinated by our ascent and language. The next stop was getting some food. We had a beautiful walk on our way to the famous La Pain Quotidien (See my post “La Pain Quotidien” for more details).

 

After, we adventured to find some delicious Belgium chocolate. This involved seeing captivating buildings, street performers, and a boy who went down flights of stairs on a scooter and managed to not fall off.

 

Post scarfing down the best chocolate of our lives, we then found directions to a famous landmark in Brussels and also the oldest resident in the city.

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“Manneken Pis”

We then ended up finding the famous square of the town where we watched the sunset and enjoyed this moment in Belgium.

 

We then had one last thing to do: eat some fries! I have always through fries were from France because well, French Fries. BUT I learned that fries originated from Belgium! There are small cafes open late for those who are craving some delicious fries and we took advantage of this. We came. We saw. And we ate!

 

Overall, Belgium was an absolute dream. The architecture was stunning, the people were friendly, the food was delicious, and our airbnb had the best view of the city. Until next time!

 

Dear Madrid

Dear Madrid,

Thank you for inviting me into this beautiful culture.

 

Your vibrant buildings filled with balconies dressed in plants

The smell of tapas on every corner

Your gorgeous, pastel sunsets

The way people seem to drink wine and eat meals together

as if there was endless time in the world.

 

Boat rides in the park

Surrounded by the sound of many languages.

 

Your flamenco dancing, red dresses flying,

Loud music filling my ears,

And a smile I will never be able to wipe off my face.

 

Your nightlife full of youngsters dancing to music at Kapital

And your Sangrias, rich with wine and juice reminding me of childhood.

 

Rooftop bars where you can see the whole city twinkle

As if she’s saying goodnight and good morning.

 

Streets filled with tourists,

Souvenir shops,

Magicians and musicians.

 

The fact that wine is cheaper than water,

Museums are free for students,

The satisfying sound of ascents,

And dogs shuffling around every corner

 

Is the reason I’ll be back.

Wales

 

October 6th // Cardiff, Wales 

Another day, another adventure. Check Wales off the bucket list! My total country count is now at eight: Mexico, Canada, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, London, and now Wales.

 

We started our adventure by taking a three and a half hour bus ride into Cardiff where we dropped off our bags at our beautiful Airbnb as seen above.

 

We then took an Uber into the city where I couldn’t help but take a photo of my first time in a car on the opposite side of the road. It felt weird that the driver sat on the right side of the car and that we were driving on the left side of the street. The Uber dropped us off by the docks where there was lots of shops and restaurants.

 

We wandered around the area for a little, stopping at a cute coffee shop and talking before we ended up seeing the most beautiful sunset I have laid my eyes on.

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After we admired God’s beauty for over half an hour, we began to notice that our bodies were freezing and that we should head inside soon. This is when we stumbled upon a comedy club called The Glee Club where we laughed our heads off and enjoyed the night.

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October 7th // Cardiff Wales

Morning coffee and a cute cafe was the perfect start to the morning (Check out my posts “Stag Coffee” and “Bill’s Restaurant” under the Travel –> Study Abroad –> Foreign Eats section of my blog for more details).

 

Next, we headed to the Cardiff Castle to check it out, however, it ended up being ten pounds to go inside, and being poor college students, we just had to look from afar. IMG_8698

For a free event, we went to the National Museum Cardiff where they had all different forms of art including photography, sculptures, paintings, etc. Check out some of my favorite pieces from this gallery below!

 

We continued to walk around the small city and take in it’s beauty before departing back to London. Thank you for letting us visit you Wales, you will be missed.

 

 

 

Germany VS America

 

 

I have been in Germany for a total of 11 days now and have noticed a lot of differences between here and America. There are large differences and very small differences. Some you really have to look for while others are so blatant. If you’ve ever lived in both Germany and America you might be able to recognize some of these differences, but if you haven’t lived in both of these locations, I thought I’d fill you in.

The Language

  • It is rude to just start speaking English to people
  • Even if you try speaking Germany, people will be able to tell your from America
  • If people notice you’re from America, they will just start speaking English to you
  • A lot of people speak English
  • Always ask for an English menu to make your life easier

 

The Currency / Moneycurrency

  • One and two Euro’s are in the form of coins rather
    than dollars
  • The Euro is stronger than the dollar
  • One Euro is about 1.20 in America
  • Most people refuse to take an “American Express” card so make sure you always have cash

 

 

 

 

The Streets

    • Everyone parks up on the curbs since the streets are so narrow
    • Always watch for bikers
    • There is a specific bike line and specific walking lane. This is an unspoken rule. Bikers will yell and ring their bell at you if you are in the bike lane so watch out!
    • You never cross the road unless there is a cross walk. Also, nobody breaks the rules and crosses on red

 

Paying for the Bill

  • Make sure to have cash. It’s an unspoken rule that they prefer cash over card in Germany
  • The waiter gives you your change at the table
  • How to tip: Just include the tip when you’re paying for your meal. If you leave money on the table, they won’t assume it’s a tip. They will just think you just forgot it

 

 

 

Drinking Age is 16

  • Fermented drinks like beer or wine are permitted above 16
  • You must be 18 or older to order distilled alcohol
  • Common to drink at any time of the day
  • Germany is known for their beer
  • Fun fact: Oktoberfest doesn’t really occur in October. It starts September 16th and runs until October 3rd

 

Less Toilet Water

  • This is because Germany likes to save water
  • You either press the small button, for pee, or the big button, for poop, when flushing
  • Public bathrooms: they make sure there are no cracks between the doors and the wall. Germanys are private people so they even make their bathroom stalls very closed off and private

 

More Public Transportationpublic transportation

  • You can get anywhere with the use of trains or buses
  • You need to purchase a card depending on how much you’ll be traveling. You will then stamp this card before getting on a train or bus
  • “Blackriders” are those who don’t pay for public transportation
  • There are freelance spies whose job it is to catch those not paying
  • Those 20 years and younger only need to stamp their card once while everyone 21 and older needs to stamp their card twice per ride
  • People driving will hardly honk. They take honking very serious

 

Quiet Culture

  • Most people keep to themselves
  • Germans are quiet and don’t speak very loudly
  • It is seen as impolite to speak loud in public settings

 

 

 

 

Castles and Palaces

  • Very famous castles
  • Palaces are common
  • Many people visit these castles and palaces everyday as you can pay to go inside
  • They contain so much history
  • It’s as if you’re in a fairytale

 

 

 

 

Biking

  • Bike tours are a must
  • Everyone rides bikes without helmets
  • Biking is called Cycling
  • Sometimes its fasters to ride a bike than take public transportation

 

The Rules

  • Germans stick to the rules! Most people never even think about crossing the street until the little green man tells them it’s okay to do so
  • Germans go on vacation, go crazy since they are free to break rules, then come back to Germany because they miss the law and order

 

 

 

Churches

  • Gorgeous
  • Usually free to go inside
  • They have a distinct color roof with a point so you can find them anywhere in the city
  • Be sure to check out their beautiful interior
  • All churches are so unique and gorgeous in their own way

 

Time Difference

  • Germany is nine hours ahead of California
  • They use military time
  • Jet lag is a thing. I can attest.
  • Facetiming family can get hard. You either have to call really late at night or not at all

 

Doors

  • Most doors don’t have handles. You unlock the door and then push it to open rather than turning a knob
  • The doors don’t close evenly with the wall

 

 

 

Temperature

  • You never really know if it’s going to be sunny or rainy. The weather changes every second
  • Germany uses Celsius instead of Fahrenheit
  • Always carry an umbrella

 

Sunday’s Are For Rest

  • Everything is closed on Sundays, and when I say everything, I mean everything. Make sure you do your grocery shopping on Saturday!
  • Germans enjoy their time off so Sunday’s are strictly for resting

 

Cable Adapters

  • AdapterMake sure to get an adapter before traveling! The one’s in Germany are very very different
  • You can purchase these an Amazon, Target, TJ Maxx, etc.

 

 

 

Dogs

  • There are a lot of them
  • Most people don’t keep their dogs on leashes
  • You never hear dogs barking
  • They are all adorable

 

 

 

Diet

  • Lots of bread. Bread for breakfast, bread for lunch, and bread for dinner
  • Ice cream shops everywhere. Even when it’s raining, people want their ice cream
  • There are less fruits and vegetables
  • Germans don’t snack as much. Rather, they eat three big meals a day
  • You need to try the beer. Mind. Blowing
  • Wine or beer with every meal is a must
  • Water at restaurants is NOT free

 

Starbucks

  • starbucksYour Starbucks card won’t work in Germany, just a heads up
  • They might not speak a lot of English so if your name is Katie, they will call you Cathy. Accept it now.

 

Sirens

  • These sounds very different. It’s a higher pitch and seems to echo as they drive away
  • Not heard very often
  • Police cars and ambulances look different, of course

 

License Plateslicense plate

  • This is harder to describe so here’s a picture
  • Also, people have very nice cards since most people take public transportation
  • Licese plates are similar in different countries, however, you will see little changes in color, arrangement of numbers and letters, and different symbols

 

Futball

  • Any bar you walk into you’ll see some futball
  • Germanys are very proud of their national futball team
  • Futball. Not football.

 

These are just a few of the differences I noticed while being in Germany! Thank you for reading and if you have any comments, questions or concerns, be sure to email me at exploringtheworld.me@gmail.com 🙂

Packing Abroad 101

Packed bags

Okay, just to warn you, I am an overpacker. I can’t help it! I always want to make sure I have an abundance of clothing and shoes because you never know what you’ll need until you’re at your destination, and plus, weather changes every second. However, this is must my excuse to pack three bags.

Since my cousin has already studied abroad, she helped me narrow down things that I actually needed. I referred to these packing list that we found on Pinterest as a basis.

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Here are some of the things I packed in each bag to give you a sense of what’s actually important to bring and what you can leave at home.

Large Purse (I suggest getting a Long Champ bag)

  • Wallet (Make sure to pull out cash so you can exchange it for the correct currency of where you’re going) (Be sure to get an international credit card to avoid exchange rates and to pull out cash)
  • Passport + ID
  • Boarding Pass
  • Empty water bottle
  • A key chain (I left my car key and house key at home, but when I arrive at my University I will be given another pair of keys, so just keep that in mind)
  • Neck pillow (This was a lifesaver on long flights!)
  • Beats + Apple ear phones (In case you want to watch a movie on the plane)
  • A good book
  • Documents: (You’ll need these if you’re getting a student VISA: 1) Travel insurance (both before the semester starts + the paperwork from your University regarding insurance) 2) Letter from the University you’re studying at abroad 3) Letter from the University that you go to in America 4) Vaccine documents 5) Financial statement / Bank statement
  • A notebook and pen (On planes I like to doodle, write poetry, or just discuss how I feel in the form of words) (This is a great time to write down what you’re feeling and what you think your trip will be like so you can look at it after you finish your adventure)
  • A bag of food (Trail mix, bars, chocolate, packets of tea etc.)
  • Laptop + laptop charger
  • A portable charger
  • Small camera
  • Plug / Adapter converter
  • U.S. Presidents flash cards / Flags flash cards
  • A desk of cards
  • Sunglasses in a case
  • A change of clothes (Shorts, T-shirt, socks and underwear)
  • Sleep mask
  • Hair ties / Hair clip
  • Toiletries in a clear bag (Clear bag for taking out when going through security) (Includes: deodorant, face wash, tooth brush, tooth paste, mouth wash, headband, tissues, medicine, face moisturizer, lotion, and floss)

*** You will need to take our your laptop from the case, your portable charger depending on the size of it, your toiletry bag, and your bag of food when going through security

Carry On Bag 

I used this bag to put things that are heavier in so my checked suitcase would weight less. Also, this is a good bag to put delicate items in!

  • Books / Notebooks / Pens
  • Shoes: Heels & Flipflops
  • Hats
  • Jewelry bag (Includes: watches, rings, extra belly button rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets)
  • Small travel toiletry bag (Includes: Mini shampoo + conditioner, floss, pads / tampons, makeup recover, razor, tooth brush + toothpaste, roller-ball perfume, hair ties, deodorant, q-tips, headbands, face wash, lotion for body + face lotion)
  • Sweatpants
  • Stuffed animal
  • Hair curlers
  • Belts
  • Makeup
  • Maps
  • Brush
  • Money belt

Suitcase

Packing cubes are lifesavers and help keep you organized! Get these before packing your bag. You can buy them off of amazon.

  • Front pocket of my bag
    • Underwear (x15)
  • Clear, mesh zipper inside pockets
    • Bras (Regular, bandos, bralettes, sports bras) (x7)
    • Socks (x 10) (7 for working out, 3 cute pairs)
    • Swim suits (x 4)
    • Scarfs (x 2)
    • Post shower head wrap
  • Large packing cube (Included: x 3 leggings, x 5 shorts, x 5 t-shirts)
  • Medium packing cube (Included: x 5 dressy tops, x 3 plain shirts,
  • Small packing cube (Included: x 5 workout tank tops, x 4 crop tops)
  • Small packing cube (Included: snacks, another plug / adapter converter, Biotin, Advil, Neosporin, Vitamin C, B12, gum, tweezer)
  • Clear bag: (Included: makeup remover, razor + extra blades, q-tips, nail polish, nail file, nail polish remover, coconut oil, deodorant, lotion, dry shampoo, It’s a 10 leave in spray, curly hair creme)
  • In the rest of my bag I rolled my other clothes (x 4 jeans, x 3 shorts, x 3 short skirts, x 2 long skirts, x 4 dresses, flannel, x 5 dressy tank tops)
  • Shoes (Included: flipflops, little black booties, converse)
  • Other: eye mask, umbrella, second copy of documents, trash bag for dirty clothes
  • (I’m waiting to get my big winter jackets and shoes until I arrive in London to save room and keep the weight of my bag lower)

***Reminder !!! Your bag must weight less than 50 lbs. or you will be charged more!

****Leave dryer sheets in your bag to make your clothes smell good

Outfit On The Plane

  • Tennis shoes + socks
  • Tank top + sports bra
  • Running leggings
  • Lulu jacket + jean jacket
  • Lulu scarf
  • Sometimes a hat

 

Another Five Hour Flight

August 15

Another Day. Another Adventure.

Spontaneous trips are what I live for. My girl Cait texted me saying that we’re going to Washington D.C. and whatever Cait says, go’s. I packed a bag and headed to Las Vegas where we would then board a plane the next day and take off for a five- hour flight. I made sure to download lots and lots of podcasts (This American Life being my go to as well as Ted Talks and On She Goes). Since Cait and I are avid travelers, we know exactly what to pack: ear phones, portable charger, snacks (and lots of them), sweater, a good book, notebook and pen, wallet, mints, toothbrush, tooth paste, and face wash. Also, for you spontaneous people, download the app “Hotels Tonight” for great prices on nice hotel rooms. This has saved us many times! I’ll stop boring you with travel tips and make a separate post about that in the future if you’re interested.

We arrived and then took an Uber to our hotel. After checking in, we ate some snacks for dinner and watched whatever movies we could find on our hotel television. The next morning we woke up, got ready, and headed into the city for a long and eventful day. We Ubered to the White House where we started our long walk and five minutes in, it started to rain. We ended up buying some cheap umbrellas and running to find some shelter and food. To be honest, we had no clue where we were going or what to see, so we grabbed a map and headed to where the most people where and the places with large stars next to them. We ended up in front of the Washington Memorial where I had flash backs to the recent Spider-Man movie and replayed the scene in my head. After asking random people to take photos of us jumping around in the rain, we picked up our heavy and tired feet and made our way to Lincoln. I have been dreaming of seeing his memorial and standing under the feet of this historical leader. I made sure to move everyone away from me and take a solo picture with Abe.

Cait and I began walking to the next place with a large star where we decided it was time to get an Uber back to our hotel and grab some dinner before seeing a National’s game. We ate dinner, put on our red-and-white gear, and began our five minute walk to the stadium. I have a new found addiction of going to baseball games. The lights, the loud crowd, the games in-between innings, and the vegan hot dogs.

I am always sad to leave. I love adventuring in new cities and there is always more I wish I could’ve done and more people I wish I met. But this trip was spontaneous and thrilling. Being in such a different city, a historical city, is something I suggest everyone do. We packed our bags, got on our very early flight, and headed back to Vegas. See you soon Washington. I’ll be back soon!

San Francisco

August 15

My dad and I have made a tradition of going to San Francisco for a few days every summer. We stay with my dad’s childhood friend George and his beautiful girlfriend Nancy (Yes, that is their jaw dropping victorian purple home as pictured above). We set out for the drive around 10 am to avoid any traffic and make sure to always stop in Casa De Fruta to pick up some yummies and stretch our legs. Back in the car and an hour later we reached our destination. We were greeted with open arms and wide smiles. One of my favorite parts about visiting George and Nancy is sitting in their garden, eating some snacks, and catching up on life. Since I only get to see them once a year due to my busy schedule and the fact that I live eight hours away, we have plenty to talk about. Dinner that night consisted of pasta for the vegan (myself) and clam linguini for the adults. We all had a long day and decided to head to bed for an eventful day to follow.

Game day! Luckily I got to sleep in, I am the best at sleeping in, and slowly got ready. We enjoyed fruit for breakfast as well as an avocado english muffin. Soon George’s friend David arrived and we headed out to the bus stop in our Giant’s gear. We then took the BART over to the stadium where our tickets were scanned and we headed to the bleachers to find our seats. What a beautiful day for a game! It was sunny, however, there was a cool breeze to keep your body at the perfect temperature. After a couple innings, I remembered I hadn’t eaten lunch yet and began my journey to find a vegan hot dog. After a couple laps, I finally found it! I returned to my seat to enjoy the rest of the game with my dad, George, and David. It was the last inning and everyone was on their feet. Then a roar of applause and cheers occurred as the Giants took the win!

Since it was a perfect day to be outside, we went for a stroll instead of taking the BART and enjoyed the fact that we could be present in the moment. Once we all agreed that our feet were barking, we hopped on the train and headed back to the house where I made salad and everyone else had some local pizza. After a long discussion over dinner about the fact that I had never seen Casablanca, George found the movie on OnDemand and insisted that we watch it. Life changing. I could write paragraphs on how this movie exceeded my expectations or we can watch it together (this gives me an excuse to watch it again) and then discuss how much our minds were blown.

It’s always so bittersweet packing my bags and saying my goodbye, actually, see you later. I do enjoy sleeping in my own bed and being at home, but I think I enjoy being on the road, traveling, meeting new people, and catching up with old friends even more. George and Nancy are planning on visiting OUR house next in a couple weeks and enjoying long days by the pool. I can’t wait 🙂

Thank you to George and Nancy for opening up your beautiful home to me and my dad as well as feeding us and making sure we felt loved!!!

Shh Don’t Tell My Mom

08/14

SKYDIVING!!!

Yes. After years of telling myself I would voluntarily jump out of a plane, I finally did it. I will explain this whole journey to you here since I have lived to tell the tale.

So I have always wanted to check skydiving off my bucket list, but like anyone, I was terrified of actually doing it. At the beginning of summer I posted a photo on my Instagram story with a caption saying, “Does anyone want to go skydiving this summer?!” No replies, as expected. However, the next day my friend Marissa replied with a, “HECK YEAH!” And that’s how this whole adventure began. We texted back and forth about dates that would work followed by lots and lots of online research about the most scenic and safest skydiving facilities. I had narrowed it down to three options near Los Angeles where we ended up picking the cheapest and safest. Skydive Elsinore is the name and skydiving is the game. Once we had finally decided on a day where we were both free, we booked our appointment time, making sure to buy the package with videos and pictures included.

The day before our scheduled skydiving appointment, I drove down to Los Angeles where I stayed with Marissa for the night only talking about how crazy we are and what we were about to do. The next morning we woke up early to eat breakfast and head out (be sure to wear comfy clothes and closed toed shoes!). The drive to skydiving was an adventure in itself as Marissa got a speeding ticket and we drove through some bipolar weather. You can watch Marissa’s youtube video for more information on that at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTpwuRugXUo

We arrived to Skydive Elsinore where we watched a video discussing the fact that we could get seriously injured and die, which we already knew. Then we signed our life away and waited to jump out of a plane. While waiting, we talked about how excited and nervous we were, questioning what we were even doing and justifying it with, “But the photos are going to be sick!” (Which they totally were).

It was finally time. We were fitted in our harnesses and began walking/running to the plane out of fear and adrenaline. We were loaded onto the plane along with our camera men, other random friends, and a skydiving team (Yeah those people that do tricks in the air and formations). The ride up was beautiful and terrifying. Once we were at the right altitude, the first to jump was the skydiving team, followed by random friends we made, Marissa, then myself. The chills were going through my body and my muscles started to tighten up. My teeth were chattering as I started to question my decision. But it was too late. We were already at the edge of the plane about to jump! 1… 2… And we were flying. This feeling, of jumping out of a moving plane, is indescribable. I want to say it’s similar to going on a free fall ride at the amusement park, but it’s even more thrilling and life changing. You are literally flipping out of a plane! Your head is rushing and you’re trying not to blink and miss enjoying the moment. Before you know it, the parachute is deployed and you’re gliding over the town.

I tried to keep calm as my blood was rushing and my heart was full of joy. My instructor even let me hold onto the handles and steer us in circles, to the left, and then to the right so I could get a full 360 view. We were in the air for what seemed like an eternity and then began our decent towards the ground. I never wanted to come down. But that’s not how that works haha. We came down fast, lifted our legs at a 90 degree angle, and let our butts drag across the grass coming to a complete stop. I had just went skydiving and loved every single part of it (well I did get pelted with rain for a minute but that’s besides the point).

I am now addicted to this feeling and can’t wait to go back again! Thank you Marissa for being adventurous with me and pushing me out of my comfort zone. Thank you to Skydive Elsinore for a wonderful experience that I will hopefully repeat again soon! Check them out and be sure to go there for the best skydiving ride of your life (http://www.skydiveelsinore.com/tandem-skydive/)