‘travel’ Category

21 June 2012

Stigma of traveling solo

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: travel

My decision to start traveling solo was a big one, and now, I love it.

But, the reaction I get from others is very interesting.

Over my last few US and abroad trips, I’ve told several people about my adventures and get one of the following responses:

  • “Bless your heart”
  • “Aww good for you being so brave”
  • “Why????”
  • “That is awesome”

While I may be sensitive to how I respond to each, I find that I roll my eyes at the first three because they feel condescending. They may not be meant that way, but they are.

To those that doubt or question solo travel and my true intentions, let me be clear.

I travel alone because I love it. Because it lets me see life outside of the Midwest and feeds the need I have to step out of my comfort zone. It’s allowed me to learn a lot about myself and make me a better person.

I do not travel alone because I’m trying to meet men or to give my father an ulcer by saying “damn the man” and getting out of town.

And after a few run-ins with negative Nelly’s in Paris and Hawaii, I don’t let it roll off my back as easily anymore. When they question or make snide comments, I fight back. Not in an aggressive manner, but to clarify.

Maybe it’s not worth it, but to me, it’s worth saying something.

Those who may be more narrow minded, need to hear the truth, even if it ultimately does nothing.

Why do you love to travel either solo or with a partner or friends?

12 June 2012

Aloha Hawaii

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: travel

In my quest to take over the world, I’m ready to add another travel notch in my belt.

Hawaii, get off my list of places to see for the first time.

Yes, I spent seven days in the (insanely f*cking hot) sun and got sand in places I didn’t know was possible in Hawaii. Specifically, in Maui and Oahu.

And after a bumpy May, I was ready to get the hell out of Chicago and hit the beach.

So here are some things I learned on my trip and a few pictures too!

  • Some sights are so beautiful you can’t breathe, but you have to go off the beaten path. And never judge a place by it’s exterior. Many buildings look old but are perfectly normal inside
  • Speed limits are only about 15-45 mph and everyone drives slower than that #killingmeslowly
  • There is some amazing food (but restaurants/bars are only open until 10 usually)
  • For the love of God, please wear sunscreen. All day, every day

Overall, the trip and time away was awesome. I did great on my own (with some text help from home) and had a chance to make my biggest deadline of the day that I be on the beach by 7 pm to watch the sun set over the mountains. Seriously.

On a sentimental note, I’ve wanted to see Hawaii, and specifically Pearl Harbor since I was a kid. It was something on my life list and I had a moment when I saw the USS Arizona Memorial for the first time in person, like, THIS IS HAPPENING! It is a truly humbling moment.

Now I’m back in Chicago for summer and enjoying my tanned skin :)

And honestly, I’m in a bit of a travel flummox right now. I honestly don’t know where to go next!


23 April 2012

Revisiting a favorite travel memory

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: travel

Hello everyone! Miss me? It’s been awhile since I updated this blog and I’m still working through my writer’s block, but today, I realized something that compelled me to write.

One year ago today, I left for Italy.

Yes, the two-week trip that I’ve mentioned ad nauseam here before and after that trip, more about it againnnnnnnnnn.

This memory is poignant to me because, of all my solo trips, this was the game changer. It heaved me WAY out of my comfort zone and sparked a true hunger inside of me to just see everything RIGHT NOW.

Well that’s not really possible, but I’m more determined now to see everything on my list and go as big as I can.

These will remain solo trips, but one day, maybe someone will be with me.

Today, I re-read my post about Rome, Florence and Venice, and even took a pass through the insanely detailed travel journal.

And it made my heart ache a little. I miss it so much. I even framed some of my Italy souvenirs this weekend, which made me miss it more.

But those memories are never far from me. I thought about it wandering around Paris, when I wear my Rome street vendor ring, drink cappuccino and wear my North Face jacket (which I bought for that trip).

The next adventure will not require that jacket, but it requires me to officially, finally take a relaxing vacation. Um, okay.

And I know I’ll be back in Italy one day. I could never stay away from Rome forever and the Amalfi Coast/Cinque Terre still hasn’t met me. I can’t wait.

Hope you guys are still with me and that you’re doing well. What’s new? I’m hoping to be back again soon!



27 March 2012

Post vacation reality check

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: travel

Truth: I sat, staring at this screen for about 15 minutes before I started typing.

I had no idea what to write about.

Then, rather than thinking of something grand, I thought I’d write about well, what is going on right now.

I’m in a post vacation reality check.

What is this? It’s the re-introduction of your vacation-self to real life-self.

This can be rough.

Usually, you go through five stages of emotions during this time:

  • Confusion (Wait, this work thing happens every week?)
  • Anger (What do you MEAN I can’t have wine with lunch every day at the office?)
  • Shock (I have to pay bills? What?)
  • Acceptance (I am back. Time to start planning my next trip)
  • Jealousy (Timmy gets to have a day off? What an a**hole)

Last week, I immediately started at Acceptance, then moved to Jealousy and then Confusion. This week, I’m hanging out at Anger (seriously, why can’t I have wine every day as an afternoon snack) and Shock. I’ll probably bump back to Acceptance one more time to help get back to the normal me.

I’ve also taken to spending more time on Pinterest (avoiding the wedding boards) and “pinning” things I wish I could buy but can’t because I’m being “responsible.”

Here’s the other thing kids: trips are expensive and even with a budget, that first bill post-trip burns like an STD (not that I would know).

So for now, I’m anxiously awaiting a few things:

  • April 1st (pay day!)
  • The final stop at Acceptance
  • The weekend
  • New pins on Pinterest (not about weddings)

Welcome to my reality. Let’s also hash tag this post #reasonswhyimsingle

How is everyone else?



25 March 2012

Paris adventure and photos!

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: travel

I’m back!

In the last two weeks, I’ve flown 10,000 miles, been on two continents and in three different time zones. To say it’s been exhausting is an understatement. And my body finally caught up with me this week, leaving me sick in bed for the last 48 hours.

But today I finally had a chance to transfer and upload some photos.

So Paris in a nutshell: GREAT. Beautiful sights, amazing food and of course, a bit too much wine :)

The only drawback: being a solo, single traveler in the city of love. Seriously, the level of making me out made me nearly lose my mind. I have zero issue with being single, but the last thing I need is excessive PDA thrown in my face. So, yeah, I should have known better.

In the course of a week, I got to see, do, eat and explore a lot of things. Seriously, my feet have the blisters to show the amount of ground I covered.

My two favorite things that I did:

  • Versailles – It is amazing how big and grand it is. Seriously, huge hallways, ornate decor, truly lavish lifestyle and landscaping. The castle was impressive but the gardens and surrounding land was the best. Add in a 75 degree, sunny day, bike (with basket) and a light breeze and it was one my most favorite days ever. Sounds cheesy but it’s true
  • Catacombs tour – Yes, it is touristy and jammed but it was seriously, awesome. 80+ steps below Paris, with six feet ceilings, it was fascinating to explore the Paris underground and see hundreds of thousands of bones still preserved. SO COOL

So let’s take a look at some pictures.

More photos are on my Flickr set here.

Now, I’m ready for two months in Chicago relaxing and, well saving money. Because next up is Hawaii and London/Barcelona in fall. But seriously, I need a nap.

How is everyone???