I calmed my nerves enough to stop from shaking uncontrollably as I took that fateful walk–ten feet from my cubicle to my boss’ office. This part is always the worst–the overwhelming anxiety over, and the insurmountable guilt for what is about to transpire.
“Do you have a few minutes?”
“..sure.” (Does she already suspect what’s coming next?)
“I have made the difficult decision to leave this position. I have very much enjoyed working here and with all of you, and appreciate everything you have done for me over the past three years. I just feel it’s time for me to move on–not just from this job, but from this state. So, with that said, my last day will be August 30th.”
Years ago I had my first viewing of the film Baraka, which features some of the most stunning footage of countries and cultures from all across the world that I’ve ever had the pleasure of laying eyes on. One particular scene though, really struck a chord with me and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since.
One of the things I did a lot of in Toronto was eat. Granted, this could be said for almost any destination I visit–I’m a girl who likes her food. But Toronto is home to some seriously good eats.
Amish Country (or Dutch Country), Pennsylvania is an interesting little area located in Lancaster County. Despite having grown up close to there and going to college just minutes away, I never had much of an interest in visiting the touristy hot spots that draw thousands of visitors every year.
Prague is on the bucket list of almost every traveler. Almost everyone falls in love with the City of Spires. I couldn’t understand it more. Prague is a city which bought me to tears, a city which fascinated me so much that I started to learn the language, graduated from Czech philology and became a translator. Sounds silly, right? I dedicated 5 years to Czech Studies. I spent one semester in Prague and one in Brno. I did two summer schools. I spent hours on the trains and buses wandering across the whole country. There is one lesson I learnt: Czech Republic is so much more than Prague. Trust me. Keep calm and spend your vacation there. Here are some of the true Czech gems. It was a trouble to choose just 5. I hope you discover even more hidden ones on your travels!
Karlštejn Castle and Velká Amerika
Almost six years ago I left Pennsylvania behind in favor of new adventure, yearlong warm-ish weather, and a chance to start over. I had grown weary of Pennsylvania, disillusioned by the small-town mentality where I was living, the lack of decent jobs/wages, and a dating pool that I felt was more like a cesspool.
It’s taken me most of those years away to realize how much I love my home. Now I get increasingly excited to go back to Pennsylvania, no matter the time of year. I’ve missed the seasons, the feeling of familiarity, being close to friends and family, and all the back roads that lead to some of the coolest discoveries ever.
Curaçao is an island located in the Caribbean just outside of the hurricane belt, which makes it a great spot to visit year round. Situated just over 30 miles from the shore of Venezuela, this Dutch-influenced island provides an interesting mix of cultures. Our favorite aspect of the island, however, is the abundance of exciting activities throughout the island, and most of our favorites happen to be near the western side of the island. Here is a round up of five fun activities that Curaçao has to offer.
Curaçao is home to some of the best shore diving on earth, meaning that there are many thriving reefs right off shore, no boat required. There are also many unique reefs a little farther off shore, such as the Mushroom Forest, Tugboat, and Car Pile. Not certified to dive? No problem. Just sign up for a discovery dive course like we did and get a look into a world of underwater beauty. We took the diving course from Go West in the small town of Westpunt and felt we couldn’t have made a better choice. The Alice in Wonderland reef just off the shore was breathtaking and teeming with sea life–we even saw an octopus!
Let’s face it: bad shit happens. It can happen whether you’re in your hometown, or 3,000 miles away in a foreign country.
Before I went abroad for the first time, my dad’s reaction was priceless.
“Mae, I don’t feel comfortable with you going to Rome. Steve had his watch and wallet stolen on a street corner!”
“Dad, worse could happen to me walking across Millersville’s campus by myself.”
This is my typical response when people tell me that traveling is dangerous–horrible things happen in my own country all the time. Bombings, shootings, planes flown into buildings, other random acts of violence, etc.
And to be completely honest, walking around by myself at 3am in Rome that summer was less scary to me than walking around in Philadelphia alone at most times of the day. I may have been silly and naïve for doing it, but I survived.
The two most common occurrences I’ve encountered with regards to bad shit happening are sexual harassment and having things stolen.
I grew up in South Central Pennsylvania, where there’s an overabundance of what I refer to as pizza food–this would be things like pizza (duh), cheeseburger subs, tuna melts, and my favorite thing ever–cheese fries. In the area where I was raised, cheese fries are made by piling mounds of mozzarella on a plate of fries, and baking them until the cheese gets all melty and kind of crispy and burnt on the edges (read: f’ing amazing).
When I moved to Texas in 2007, I was fresh out of college and working a temporary receptionist job while looking for a “real” job. My days were long (in that they were boring), I was tied to my desk, and when the phones weren’t ringing I had nothing to do but surf the internet. Though I’d gone to school for English and art, my love for travel sparked an interest in international relations, and specifically concerning the Muslim world. I spent a lot of time at that job falling down Wikipedia rabbit holes reading about different countries, conflicts, etc., and contemplating a future (and grad school program) in that arena.