Visiting The Big Apple

 

Wow, what a week!

 

I really underestimated how busy I was going to be. And how much walking I was going to do! But I’m really glad I made the most out of my week in New York. I’m pretty certain I did all the “absolute must do’s” while there, and even then there was so much to do.

First Night At Bar Nine

My friend whom I was staying with insisted we check out this bar between 53rd & 54th St called Bar Nine. We showed up in time for the dueling pianos show. Now my first instinct was “Two guys playing piano at a bar? That seems kind of lame isn’t it?,” but this place gave off such a fun vibe once the music started. These raunchy but talented men sang songs from mainly the 80’s and 90’s while also taking requests from the audience. Since I was celebrating my birthday that week, I got pulled on stage to sing along and take some shots. If you wanted to enjoy a more quiet and private time here, there’s a small room in the back with pool tables and ski ball. Overall the prices on the drinks weren’t terrible, considering it was New York I expected to pay average $8 for a beer. But the scene is great and somewhere I would recommend anyone visiting in town to get together with friends and listen to some live music!

Emotional Visit to The 9/11 Memorial

The Statue of Liberty

Walking Through Times Square/Wicked on Broadway

Bike Riding Through Central Park

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I’m Going To New York!

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Ah, the big city! Well, bigger than Chicago.

Although I already live near a big city, New York is it’s own unique place. As of recently I’ve grown past the “city girl” title, but there’s just something about the tall buildings, busy traffic, and fast pace lifestyle that will always be something I can never get out of my roots.

This won’t be my first time visiting the Big Apple. I went once with my older sister when I was 13, but surprisingly don’t remember it too much. Of course being much younger, I didn’t appreciate all there’s to see in New York. So this will be like my first time all over again. I’m not naturally a big tourist, but this is one exception with all the sites and history that lies there, my camera won’t leave my hands. And lucky for me, I’ll have some close friends to show me around the best spots.

It’s been almost 3 months since my trip to Costa Rica, so the gang and I have decided that it’s time for a reunion. A since a majority of the people I vacationed with live in or either close to New York, I thought what an awesome way for all of us to reconnect by spending a full week in the city.new

There are tons of things to do in New York. And I mean TONS. Enough that one week is barely enough to see it all. But the plan is to try to see the big attractions, like the Statue of Liberty, the 911 Memorial, walk around Madison Square Garden, and get to witness Times Square during the busiest time of the day. Of course ride a few ferries, see a Broadway, and hopefully catch a Jimmy Fallon show.

I also thought what a good idea it would be to start my first vlog there! And to be honest, I feel it’ll be a little awkward at first holding a camera in front of my face while I walk around the city, but if the selfie stick is socially acceptable, it won’t be so weird and is something I’ll easily get used to. I’m excited to bring my new Canon camera there as well. I feel like New York is the best place to bring a camera.

I can’t wait to experience this city and will have many more posts when I get back!

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How I Save Money To Travel

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Let’s be honest…

Traveling ain’t cheap. Well, everyone knows that. Especially being in my early 20’s, I’m just getting into adult-hood where I’m starting realize all the responsibilities that require more money. So how do I save up to travel?

I’ve always been pretty conscious of how I spend money. I’m not a very materialistic person. I don’t need the newest iPhone or tablet and I’m not a very big shopper. Don’t get me wrong, I love going out and having a good time with friends, but recently saving up for travel has become a major priority in my life.

Right now I’m still living at home and luckily I don’t have any bills to pay (thanks, mom). Most people my age want to be independent and be living on their own and be full-blown adults by the age of 25. What’s the rush? I honestly don’t mind still living at home at 23 with no bills or rent to pay. I understand I choose to live in this situation, but personally I have no reason to leave my parents and have my own place, especially if I want to be traveling as often as I want to.

Currently for work, I’m nannying for two little boys and have a part time job at a health food store. Each week I put more than half (yes, MORE THAN HALF)  my paycheck into a savings account. The rest is for food and gas mostly. On occasion I still go out and will spend a few bucks to have a good time, but sometimes I will turn down nights out just to put that little bit of money aside. Most of my friends and I are starting to slow down from the party scene anyway, so something as simple as not going out every single weekend spending money out at the bars has saved me a lot.

My diet is very restricted, so I’m not able to eat out at most restaurants or fast food places, which honestly is no issue for me. I’ve saved so much 3ad9afa5ea900174e80c50211c400046money from not eating out and switched to cooking my own food. This is probably one of the easiest ways to cut back on expenses tremendously if you’re trying to save for travel, plus it’ll make you a lot healthier! Another way I’ve been saving money recently is by selling a bunch of old stuff I don’t use anymore. I’ve taken my old clothes to Plateo’s Closet, sold old furniture and electronics on Craigslist, and have been picking up more hours with the nannying and at the health food store.

Although these arn’t dramatic changes, its helped me save a lot more money than I thought I could just by changing a few simple things in my lifestyle.

So here’s a quick breakdown on how I save for travel:

  • Not upgrading to the newest technology
  • Living at home (it makes my mom happy at least)
  • Work, work, work – picking up extra shifts and hours at work
  • Drinking before I go out or not drinking at all – if I don’t drink at all, it’s not a huge sacarifice, plus drinks at the bar are crazy expensive
  • Getting rid of any extra bills – I’ve been trying really hard the past couple of months to pay off my credit card bill to get that out of the way, this way I don’t have to worry about monthly payments while I’m away
  • Selling my stuff I don’t need or use anymore
  • Selling artwork – I recently got back into painting, and know that would be a great way to earn a few extra bucks

In my opinion, it’s not that hard to save, just being smart and know that every little penny you tuck away will be worth that trip. Yeah it might take a few months or even a year or two, but the more you save means the longer you can stay somewhere. I’ve been saving for over 3 years now and I’m about ready to take that year off to travel. The experiences are WAY MORE valuable than any materialistic item will ever be.

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Why My Trip To Costa Rica Changed My Life

 

Pura Vida!

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In the beginning of fall last year, I had this random but obsessive need to travel outside of the country, and to do it alone. Kind of strange, right? All of my friends already see me as this spontaneous travel nut, so this was no shock to them when I told them I was planning on traveling to a foreign place alone. So I started to follow this feeling.123

I googled and researched for a few weeks on travel organizations that was for young people looking to travel. And that’s when I found Under30Expereriences, they had many destinations to choose from and was a traveling organization for the people between the ages of 21 – 35. Exactly what I was looking for!
Since living in Chicago, I knew I needed to go somewhere warm and with a beach since I was going to be facing the next couple months of gloom and cold weather.
Although it was tough to choose from all the amazing destinations, the Starter Costa Rica was the first to really catch my eye and was one of my top places I wanted to visit.
Booked a spot on the January trip, booked my flight on the same day, and I was ecstatic.

Finally the end of January rolls around and I was beyond ready to go.

Looking out the plane when we first landed really hit me with the culture shock. But it was beautiful. Everything was so green and luscious. The hills looked like mountains and the water was a gorgeous blue. I was in heaven.

120Over the next few days, I had some of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life with 6 incredible strangers. From the time we woke up, to the time we went to bed was filled with something to do. We hiked, took surfing lessons (and was the first to actually ride a wave, but not bragging here), went ziplining, snorkled, had plenty of beach time, played some intense games of Jenga, had cuddle movie nights, and most importantly made lifelong friendships.

Now why was this trip so important to me? Why did it change my life?

Before going to Costa Rica, I couldn’t shake this feeling of feeling lost with myself. I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted to be doing with my life or what my true purpose was. I knew that gut feeling out of nowhere was calling me to Costa Rica for a reason. I wanted to take something back home with me that I knew was going to set me on this new path somehow. This trip helped me bring to light something I had been trying to uncover for months. As I was on the plane leaving this beautiful country, I realized I needed to keep traveling and to help give back to the countries I do visit in some way. Since then I’ve made a travel blog to share my experiences and to connect with more people in the travel community who also want to give back to countries in need, bought myself a nice camera to document my adventures, and have even signed up to volunteer in Thailand and Cambodia at the end of this year. I now know my true purpose in life is to help this beautiful planet one country at a time.

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