Eurotrip2012!

For about the next 2 months I will be traveling in Europe! I am traveling part myself, part with a tour and part with friends. :)

I will attempt to keep a running travel blog during this time, but I am realistic that I will not always be near a computer. I will update whenever possible.

What does this mean for my daily projects you might ask? It would be tricky to do an art project everyday while traveling, so instead I am going to do a photo-a-day (dailyshoot) while I am away. This will be super easy to do as I am expecting to take a million pictures during my trip. :)

See you on the other side of the Atlantic!

 

USA VS. Germany: Freedom

While on my #ChasingSummer roadtrip through the South I got a chance to talk with my German friends about various Germany VS. USA differences. Our ideas of “Freedom” is one concept I found interesting.

Freedom to me (Team USA) is having my own car. With my own card I am totally independent; I can go where I want when I want. Continue reading

Visited 32 out of 50 states in the USA. Of this number I have been to

2011 recap & 2012 resolutions

2011 was a crazy year.

I graduated from college and had many crazy adventures in the US with international friends!

In 2011 I visited 23 states

In my entire life I have been to 32 out 50 states in the US

 

Most importantly, I took DS106 in my final school semester. DS106 has changed my life. I say this not because all of the internet skills I learned through this class, but because of my 365 photo a day project I started. I’ve been working on this project since Jan 31,2011 and only have a month left to go.

Out of all my resolutions for 2011, taking a photo everyday has been the only one I have kept.  The key here was determination and so far I’ve done an amazing job of sticking with it.

Now it’s 2012. What’s the plan for the new year you might ask? I have a lot of things up in the air right now, but two things are certain:

1) I want to travel as many new places/countries as possible this year

2) I am starting a new year long project based on the book “365: A Daily Creativity journal” by Noah Scalin.** Every day for a year I will be creating something new based on the daily prompts from the book. I’ve already kickstarted the year with by making this:

Two of my friends are supposed to be doing this project alongside with me as well (Katherine and Marieke) so I am excited that I am not going into this year long project alone.

As for other “resolutions” I ideally want to try blogging at least once a week. Once DS106 was over I’ve definitely slacked on the blogging and I’ve come to realize that I miss it. Also, I think I might want to keep up with a photo a day for a year. Now of course I am going to be taking a photo everyday of my 366 (because of leap year) creativity journal project, but it would be nice to continue taking photos of things outside of this.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2012, but I do know it’s going to be an creatively interesting year!

**SIDE NOTE: Noah Scalin’s 365 day project involved creating a skull a day. He did an amazing job on this project and if the things that I can create this year are a quarter as good as his, then I will be happy!

This is one of my favorites from his project :

Screen shot 2011-11-07 at 11.20.24 PM

Chasing Summer: a journey through the South

For the past two months I’ve been off adventuring with one of the best travel buddies ever, my friend Marieke.

This is how I met her:

Feb 2010- I had just arrived to Townsville, Australia to study abroad for the semester and was worrying about where I was going to live. I couldn’t find on-campus housing and was instead placed in a hostel near the Uni until I could find my own place. I had never been to Australia before, never lived off campus before either, and in general was feeling kind of anxious about meeting people and finding my way around a foreign country.

Lo and behold, my hostel roommate turns out to be a German girl named Marieke who was also studying abroad at James Cook University just like me. She needed to find a place to live  as well, and so we began our life in Australia by room hunting together. We ended up in a house near campus and from there we traveled a lot around Australia during our school vacations.

I don’t know if it was luck or fate that brought us together but whichever it was, it’s been awesome having a friend who likes to travel as much as I do and who I get along crazy-well with.

 

When Marieke decided that she wanted to come to America for her first time ever and travel, I was totally on board. Marieke started her trip in September in New York City with Sabine, her friend from Germany. From there, they came down to DC and spent some time touring the city with me. After about a week we hit the road heading south and chasing summer.

I have travelled to many amazing places and seen amazing things, but this really the first time I’ve gone on a massive road trip with friends. Over the course of 39 days, Marieke and I travelled to 11 different states and drove over 6,058 miles (9,749 km)!

Sabine was in the USA for exactly a month and together we all travelled for three weeks on the road, hitting up five states. Marieke and I were sad to see her go back to Germany from Miami since she also was an amazing travel buddy! Still, the fact that she was able to get a month off from work was awesome! (Germany: better working conditions that America!).

First time at Ihop for Sabine!

I had never travelled through the South before, so let me tell you, it was an experience. There really are idiotic white people who wear/carry confederate flags… >.<

However, for the most part, we had a great time. Almost everywhere we went we met so many kind and generous people who helped us with our travels. It was great because we also got to meet people with such a wide variety of careers ranging from things like being a dolphin trainer, to an Engineer for the Marines, to a cruise ship bartender, and a writer for Apple, among others.

Besides meeting people, it was fun to explore new cities and try activities I’ve never done before, like Parasailing, along with trying new foods, like Alligator sausage.

Alligator Sausage in Gumbo

That tiny dot... that's Marieke and me 😉

 

It was also interesting hearing Marieke and Sabine talk about the subtle and very distinct differences between the US and Germany. Expect a forthcoming blog post on this!

After all these travels, it was hard to go back home to join real life and fall weather, especially since Marieke flew over to the West Coast to spend a few weeks in California before heading back to Germany. Now I will just have to start planning my next big vacation with Marieke & Sabine! We’re thinking Eastern Europe : )

If you want to see more pictures from our trip check out my flickr

Our #1 roadtrip song

Below I’ve included a list of my favorite/least favorite cities and also must-do activities if you are venturing in the South!

Favorite Cities:

  • South Beach Miami, Florida– Love the vibe and the beach is gorgeous!
  • Austin, Texas — cool college town with lots of things to do in town, and yet driving 20 minutes, you can be outside the city in the wilderness.
  • Hot Springs, Arkansas— surprisingly this little town was pretty epic. They have these really nice thermal baths, and also we managed to be in Hot Springs during a documentary film festival which featured a lot of interesting stories. Also, it’s home to the smallest National Park in America.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada — Marieke and I flew here for a few days after our roadtrip ended. Think of it as an EPIC finish for our trip together. It truly was incredible. There is no city that can beat Vegas for crazy nights out, great shows, and the opportunity to practice your math skills while playing BlackJack. ; )

Sobe

 

Quapaw Baths in Hot Springs

 

 

Least Favorite:

  • Wilmington, North Carolina— Not a lot to see or do here…
  • New Orleans, Lousiana— love the live music and the food is yummy, but downtown NOLA is smelly and dirty. This onetime visit for a few days was perfect for me, but I don’t feel the need to ever go back there.
  • Houston, Texas: a big city that is hard to get around in, not to mention Texas drivers are total jerks!!!!! Plus points for having some interesting art exhibits.
  • Memphis, Tennessee- just another big city and a not-so clean one at that.

 

Must dos for people traveling in the South:

North/South Carolina

  • explore the South of the Border shops, when crossing into South Carolina from North Carolina while on the I-95. This rest stop has really funny souvenirs and also offers a great picture taking opportunities.
  • Stop at the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in America, in Charleston, South Carolina. Sample some of their tea (iced or normal ) and get a free factory tour.

Pedro from South of the Border

Georgia

  • Rent a bike and bike around downtown Savannah. It’s a pretty town and the nightlife is pretty fun, even on a weekday. BUT, DO NOT park at the Visitor center if you aren’t going to be there when it closes. Otherwise, you will get a pricey ticket D:

Savannah

Florida

  • Stay at the Everglades International Hostel while visiting the Everglades. The hostel has great atmosphere, lots of friendly and cool hippies taking care of the place, and is also conveniently located near the park which offers one-of-a-kind sights.
  • Go to Wakulla Springs State Park, outside  of Tallahassee, Florida. This natural spring, one of the largest and deepest in the world, offers opportunities to see manatees up close in the wild, alligators and various other wildlife. You can also go swimming here, although note that the water is chilly even in summer!
  • Soak up the sun on gorgeous Miami’s South Beach. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

at Wakulla State Park

Texas

  • Visit the  Art Car Museum in Houston. It has some interesting things, but not something to go out of your way and see unless you happen to be passing through Houston.
  • Watch a movie at Alamo Drafthouse in Austin. Here you can get full waiter service (food and drinks) all the while watching the newest movies out in theaters! The food is pretty yum and so are the drinks!
  • Hike at Enchanted Rock State Park. There is a small fee per person to enter the park, but it’s a good walk up Enchanted Rock to see a 360 degree view of Texas Hill Country
  • Eat at In-N-Out Burger in Dallas. This was previously a West-Coast-only-wonder and is now slowly migrating out east. Definitely the best fast food burger around!

Me & Marieke at the summit of Enchanted Rock

Arkansas

  • See the Bill Clinton Presidential Library in downtown Little Rock. It has some interesting exhibits and you can see all the cool gifts he was given during his presidency.
  • Explore Little Rock Central High School Visitor Center and learn all about the oppressive white supremacy in the South and about the struggle for Civil Rights.
  • Soak in the Thermal Baths in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Not that expensive and very relaxing.

exhibit @ the Clinton Presidential library

Tennessee:

  • Wander around Frist Museum for Visual Arts in Nashville. When I went in October they had a great ancient Egypt exhibit. Also, the food in their cafeteria is good and inexpensively priced compared to most Museums.
  • Take pictures at Great Smokey Mountain National Park during the fall. Despite all the traffic in the park, it offers totally gorgeous picture taking opportunities.

Great Smokey Mts. National Park in Oct

Tour of Wanderlust, Photo Sesh 1

“Tour of Wanderlust” : Photo Sesh 1

I was talking Colleen about all the adventures I was planning for this summer and she has decided to dub it “Tour of Wanderlust 2011.”

The “Wanderlust” part of the name is a joke from when we were trying to decide on the name for our literary magazine last fall. Someone suggested “Wanderlust” which we quickly rejected as a magazine name, but Wanderlust remained as an inside joke.

In regards to keeping up with the daily shoot while traveling, it was actually kind of difficult.  I had lot less internet access than expected. Also, didn’t have that much free time as we were constantly hopping from place to place!

I’m definitely exhausted from all that traveling around and looking forward for a short break before I join my ozzie friend Rose in NYC.

However, despite the chaos of my travels, I managed to snap some pretty good daily shoot photos. Out of the photos I’ve managed to post so far (still have about 9 to go), the only photo I don’t like is the toothbrush one. That photo was really scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of  “I just really needed to snap  a photo, asap!”

I might be posting more photos up from my trip, but depends on how much time I have.  After I catch up to all the rest of my daily shoot, I still have to post the final Rainbow Brite Shoot up from a month ago (wait, has it really been that long?)

Also hoping to catch up with my postcard project and hoping to blog some more about my trip.

So much to do, so little time!

Me & Meghan (the Ghan-Ghan)

Graduation & life after!

After  eight semesters of hard work, plus a couple of summer classes here and there, I’ve graduated from the University of Mary Washington!

I’ve graduated with departmental honors and a BA in English: Creative Writing, summa cum laude.

Me & Meghan E --> Both of us received honors in English ;)

So now that I’ve graduated I’ve faced an exponential increase of family and/or random people asking me:

“So what are you going to do with your life now that you’ve graduated? Are you going into journalism? Are you going to teach?…”

Then they stare at me, unblinking, until I say something.

Like many of my fellow peers, I don’t really have a plan for my career yet (most of them fell through for various reasons), and thus, these questions get really old, really fast.

If I was smart I would say something random, like “I’m going to become a scuba diving instructor in Hawaii.” (I’m an actual Scuba diver but no-where near experienced enough to be an instructor! Although I would love to move to Hawaii for a few years!)

 

But really this is what I tell people I have planned for the next few months:

1) Figure out how to fit everything I brought back from my apartment into my room at home. My room here is the size of a cardboard box, no joke,  so this is going to be tricky!

 

2) In 11 days I am flying to California to meet up with my Australian friend Rose who I met in New Zealand last year.

postcard I bought last year. love it!!

 

Then we are going to travel together around  California, Arizona and Nevada for a little over two weeks. After that we are headed over to the East coast to do more traveling until she leaves in mid-July.

I am super excited because Rose is one of my closest friends and I haven’t seen her in almost a year. Also, while I’m from California, I’ve never been to Arizona or Nevada, so I am looking forward to traveling there.

Viva las vegas!

Vegas, anyone?

I’m also looking forward to showing off the best of America to Rose because she has never been to the U.S. before.

So definitely be on the lookout for more blog posts about her and our trip in the upcoming future!

3) Once Rose leaves its all going to be about applying for jobs or internships or seeing if I have any money left over to do more traveling. I got the travelin’ bug and I want to see as much of the world as possible before I’m 25.

Goal in life: Visit all the countries in the world plus Antartica. This can happen I just need to invent/write something that I can make bank on!

 

I am so there!