Tag Archives: Traveling

Goodbye finals, hello reading hibernation!

10 Dec

It’s official! I took my last final this morning, so the fall semester of my junior year of college is officially behind me! Woohoo! It feels amazing to be done, and now I have nothing but good things to look forward to over the next month. This week kicks off a slew of good things: meeting with the Easter Seals program director of the Asheville office tomorrow, going to see The Nutcracker with my mom on Wednesday (which I haven’t seen since I was really young), and leaving for Lynchburg, Virginia on Thursday to spend a week with Kayley and her adorable daughter, Clara. I can’t wait!

However, best of all, I rewarded myself for being done with finals by making a trip to Barnes and Noble. Yes, it was a success. Here were the two treasures I knew I could not live without:


These two treasures are only the beginning of my month-long reading hibernation I look forward to every year in between the fall semester and spring semester. However, I know they will be perfect reads to start things off. To all of you book lovers out there, are there any books you are looking forward to reading this holiday season? Share your suggestion in a comment below! 🙂



When in Ireland, travel to push through writer’s block.

3 Jul

After yesterday’s post (When in Ireland, write through the uncertainty) I have been really introspective. Introspective about my writing, my life, my current experiences. Though I normally get introspective when I talk about my writing, I was especially introspective last night.

I’ve been told that travel is great for writers because being in a new place with new people can help boost creativity and the writer’s spark that most writers can understand on some level. I agree that travel is a great way to broaden one’s perspective in order to create a writing style with more variety. However, what about those times when you’re traveling and you’re just blocked? Completely and utterly blocked.

Other than the uncertainty post I wrote yesterday, I’m pretty much stuck in a rut. I know I need to write. I need it like every single person on Earth needs water. However, I just can’t seem to grab hold of something that takes more than a day to write. I’m writing daily blog posts, and those are hard enough to get out these days. I’m used to my blog posts being pretty easy to write out. Even the posts that tend to be pretty emotionally heavy, the looming thought that I’ll feel better once I get the words out is what pushes me forward, what pushes me to keep typing until the only thing that I feel is relief, relaxation, and maybe happiness. Recently though, writing my blog posts has been hard. I love it. I do. I’ve felt so much happier since beginning this blog last November, and it’s never been something that I’ve had to force. I’ve always wanted to write my daily posts. I still do want to write them, even now. I guess it’s just not quite as easy right now.

As writers, I know we all get stuck though. And those of us who are true writers push through the writer’s block and keep on going. And that’s what I’m doing. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not faced with moments where I’m staring at my computer screen waiting for the words to come to me. Waiting for them, all the while knowing that they will come eventually. They will. They have to. They are what I know, who I am, and what makes me feel alive.

When in Ireland, go to McDermott’s Pub in Doolin.

1 Jul

When my mom and I were traveling around Ireland before my study abroad program began in Galway, we stopped in Doolin because we heard that it had some great live music, and boy did we find it. There were only 3 pubs in Doolin, so we were able to go into all of them to see which had the best atmosphere and music. The winner was McDermott’s Pub, which was packed with people by the time my mom and I got there and had some great live music.

I particularly liked the music at McDermott’s because the musicians were younger. There were 2 guys and a girl, and the girl was definitely my favorite. We later learned that she was a well-known fiddle player and could play a huge variety of instruments. Her talent was pretty obvious, and it was great to hear her play. Sadly though, I don’t remember her name or I’d share it with all of you.

Anyway, if any of you ever get the chance to go to Ireland, make the trek to Doolin for McDermott’s Pub. You won’t regret it! 🙂


When in Ireland, take luck where you can find it.

25 Jun

Most of us have heard the phrase, “the luck of the Irish,” but whether the luck is still around or not, I’m not sure. I’ve never really believed in luck, but since coming to Ireland, I’ve learned to just take luck where you can find it.

For instance, I’m currently in Ireland and tomorrow I start my study abroad program at NUIG. That’s luck. Though it may not seem like luck that I am here, it’s lucky that the right opportunity arose to allow me to be here taking part in a study abroad program. There are not many people who get this kind of opportunity, but when I realized that I had this chance, I had to take it.

Even though I’m excited about what my program holds and I’m looking forward to meeting new people, I’m nervous. It’s scary….doing something this big. I don’t know anyone. I’m in a foreign country. Thankfully they speak English, but even that isn’t too much of a reassurance considering how big of a step I’m taking. Even though I went to Peru in January of 2010 with a group from my high school, this is a step up from that. Though traveling to Peru was my first time out of the United States, the trip only lasted 12 days, and I was with a group of students from my school, so I knew everyone. In this instance, I don’t know anyone, and I will be here for 28 days rather than 12. Quite a difference.

I know that it takes time to adjust, and my mom has warned me that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself about not doing everything since just being here and taking classes for 4 weeks is huge in itself. However, there’s always that voice in the back of my head urging me to not hold back….that voice in my head that would rather go out and do stuff instead of hang out on campus and study and pleasure read on the quad. However, hanging out on campus and studying/pleasure reading on the quad sounds pretty great to me. Since it is luck that I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy this experience, I’m going to enjoy it my way. All students are different, and all of the students participating in this study abroad experience in Galway, Ireland have different expectations for how the program is going to go. Just because my expectations don’t match those of another student doesn’t mean I need to fret. Maybe it just means that I need to enjoy being in Ireland/taking classes/reading, and maybe by some small stroke of Irish luck, I’ll meet someone who’s looking for a similar experience.

Counting Down The Days Until Ireland!

11 Jun

I leave for Ireland in 8 days. Truthfully, it still feels a bit unreal, and yet it’s not. In eight short days, I’ll be saying goodbye to the United States and hello to a dream of mine: Ireland. 🙂

I spent time yesterday getting things ready for Ireland: making copies of all the important documents, going out and getting power adapters for my computer and camera charger (the two necessities of my trip, both of which will help me document the experience of a lifetime). Even though I haven’t started packing yet, I’ll probably do some packing trial runs throughout this week so that I’ll be sure and have everything when I leave on the 19th. Even though I’ve been told that a lot of things can be bought once I’m Ireland, I still want to bring as much of my own things as I can. Thankfully, I’ve always been a pretty light packer anyway, and I’ll definitely want to have plenty of room for gifts for family and friends as well as a few momentoes for myself.

Since I’ll be traveling around for a week with my mom before my program begins in Galway, I’ll hopefully be able to at least get a feel for things (transportation, money, shops, pubs etc) before starting my program. While in Galway, I’ll be taking two courses, and even though I haven’t officially signed up for classes yet, I’m hoping to take Irish Literature and Film and Gaelic Culture. Four full weeks of reading Irish literature and learning as much as possible about the Irish culture…I couldn’t think of anything better.

I’m also excited to keep all of you up to date on my travels and my experiences while in Ireland. I’ll be posting tons of pictures as well as recapping the best memories of every few days. I’m so happy to be able to tell all of you how my trip is going. Most of all though, I’m just ready to embark on the experience of a lifetime. I’ve had more than my share of nerves over the past few days, but truthfully, I think once I actually get there, most of my nerves will settle. I mean, how can I not smile constantly when I’m finally living a dream of mine? 🙂

Goodbye Sunshine State.

24 May

Well, I’m back from Florida. It was a wonderful trip, and I loved that I got to spend a few days with my best friend in her home state. It was so much fun to meet her friends and hang out with her family and get to know them all better. Though I loved going out on the beach and soaking up as much Florida sun as possible, I’m a mountain girl at heart, and I’m happy to once again be among the Blue Ridge Mountains that I’m fortunate enough to call home.

I thought I’d post a few photos from the trip. Enjoy!

Day 1 of the Florida trip. At Disney for a boat ride and lunch.

Group shot at Disney.

Malia and I.

Before going out to dinner for my last night in Florida.

Check back tomorrow for Photo Friday where I’ll be sharing some of the more artsy shots from the trip!

Monday’s Musings!

21 May

It’s Monday again, and day 3 of my time in Florida. Saturday was spent driving 9 hours to Orlando, meeting Malia’s mom and sister at a hotel for dinner, and then staying with Malia’s friend, Chris, and his girlfriend, Meagan. Saturday Malia, Chris, Meagan, and I rented a boat and drove it around Walt Disney World to look at the Disney hotel. It was so much fun, and I loved meeting Malia’s friends! Yesterday we went to Malia’s dad’s house (aka I met more of Malia’s family/friends).


  • Drove to West Palm Beach (where Malia lives)!
  • Went out to lunch with Malia and some of her friends. We went to this place called Field of Greens, and I got a really amazing chicken salad sandwich!
  • Then we headed out on the beach. We weren’t there long, but it was definitely the perfect day for it with lots of sunshine!

Alright well Malia, her mom, her sister and I are about ready to eat dinner of spinach artichoke dip and salad, so I better go. But it’s been such a fun trip so far. I will be sad to see it end on Thursday morning, but I’m planning to soak up as much sun as I possibly can before I leave.

Nurture Your Adventurous Spirit.

21 Apr

I’ve always been quite an adventurous eater, in terms of my openness to try new foods. My grandfather has said to me ever since I was little how he thinks it’s so great that I’m willing to try pretty much anything when it comes to different foods. Though this may have been the case when I was young and growing up, I think I’ve begun to lose part of my adventurous spirit when it comes to trying all sorts of new foods.

However, I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. I think that even though I have lost a bit of my adventurous spirit when it comes to food, I have also gained an adventurous spirit in other aspects of my life. For example, my mom has always been the type of person who loves to travel. Even though I loved going on family trips when I was young, over the past few years I have been bitten over and over by the travel bug. Ever since I first flew by myself a few years ago to visit my aunt and uncle in College Station, Texas, I’ve increased my pure inner need to travel. Now that I know that I’m able to travel by myself and enjoy myself as much, and maybe more, as I did when I went on family trips, there’s not much that is stopping me.

It is sort of similar to the freedom that you feel when you finally get your license and a car. However, my beginning driving experiences weren’t as much about freedom as they were for most teenagers. Though I knew I’d be able to drive, I had to take things slow. I remember when I was first learning how to drive. My mom would be sitting in the passenger seat, and before I even cranked up the car, my legs would start to shake. My legs shake when I get nervous, which is really annoying since it means that everyone is able to tell when I’m nervous. Anyway, eventually I was able to calm down enough to crank up the car and put it in drive. In the beginning, a big deal was going 20 miles per hour and making sure to stop at stop signs and use my blinkers before turning. Thankfully, I got past that early phase of nerves, but it’s something that I’ll always remember. I guess now I’m glad that I grew up in a really small town. Learning how to drive in even a moderate-sized city would have been an entirely different experience.

Even though I’m not as adventurous anymore when it comes to food, I love being adventurous when it comes to traveling or going to new places. The best part is the fact that I don’t necessarily need someone with me in order to have a really fun experience. For instance, I have 2 very close friends that live in Virginia, and I love driving up to visit them. Though it’s quite a drive to get to the different parts of Virginia that they live, I love the road trips…even when it’s just me and the radio. The great thing about traveling alone (especially when it comes to road trips) is having the ability to stop whenever and wherever you want and not feeling rushed. Having the opportunity to take all the time I need to explore a new place is something that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of.

Though I know that different people are adventurous in different parts of their lives, I feel like it’s something that should definitely be nurtured. For instance, my mom instilled in me a love of traveling and experiencing new places. However, my best friend Skidmore is into fashion design, and she is adventurous in the clothes she makes (in terms of not being afraid to try out new designs to see if they work). I guess what I mean to say is that I think it’s important for all of us to nurture the adventurous spirit inside of us, from whenever it comes. A sense of adventure is very similar to finding something that you love to do, in terms of the excitement and the even greater sense of happiness when you feel like you’ve uncovered something that you’ve been missing in your life. So, embrace your adventurous spirit. You never know where it may take you.


Tuesday’s Tunes: Brantley Gilbert.

10 Apr

I’ve been on a country music kick lately, and I thought I’d share a Brantley Gilbert song that I’ve been listening to for the past couple days called “More Than Miles.” Have a listen, and I hope you all have a music-filled Tuesday!