First of all, know this: I am a carry-on-only kind of girl. I haven’t checked my luggage since 2008, and even that was begrudgingly because I was living abroad until god knew when. All of my bags are small, because I’m a light packer. So if the above seem super ridiculous, almost like toy luggage, it’s also because I’m 5’1″, and anything larger would make me fall over like a turtle on its back.
So I’m going to Norway, right? Just by myself, sticking it out on my own. I’ve had a few luggage pieces for a while, but felt I needed something “different” for this trip.
My current luggage pieces include:
1. My go-to duffel bag. This beauty and I have seen some awesome places. I like that it’s cloth so it will mold into any storage situation nicely. However, standing on a customs line for two hours with this thing slung across my shoulders, is no fun. It’s also not waterproof, and fits a limited amount.
2. Rolling duffle bag. My parents bought me this beautiful luggage piece for my birthday. It’s pretty well-made, and I love the color. It’s also a cool design (“It’s like a really big purse!” people often say). However, it’s very finicky – it tends to fall over when standing upright, or wobble unbalanced while rolling. It’s also a bit of a pain to push in and take out of overhead storage, and the straps are all cray-cray.
3. Two-wheeled suitcase. This puppy saw me through college, but it’s too bulky and doesn’t provide good special distribution. It also is annoying to walk with sometimes.
4, Trekpack. I LOVE my Deuter trekpack, which saw me through my time in Ghana, but to be honest, backpacks are my LEAST favorite type of luggage. I don’t trek enough for them to really be useful to me. Plus, packing anything in them is horrible – if I want something at the bottom of my pack, I have to take everything out of it. I haven’t used it since, except while moving homes. Plus, carrying everything on your back, all of the time, really sucks. Like, really.
I didn’t feel like any of these would really “cut” it. I wanted something that had the durability and space of a suitcase, the ease of wheeled luggage, the accessibility of a duffel bag, and the lightness/transportability of a backpack, all rolled into one. I figured it was a lost cause, but then, I realized –
I needed a wheeled backpack.
HOLY BATMAN, WHAT IS THIS WITCHCRAFT YOU SAY?!?! Wheeled backpacks aren’t for nerdy high schoolers anymore. More and more luggage companies are literally “rolling” them out for consumers like me, who want it all, in one place.
But where to start? The next article in this series goes into the different make and models available. Stay tuned to read more!
RECENT YEARS HAVE seen a rise in food tours, but I’ve never needed an excuse to travel based on food alone.
One of my personal “travel rules” is that I’m only allowed to eat food or meals that I couldn’t find back home. Because food is such an integral part of any culture, I take dining out very seriously and consider each meal to be an education. The quirkier and sloppier, with crazy ingredients I’ve never heard of, the better.
Here are 23 foods worth traveling the world to taste.
Click the photo to see more awesome foods worth traveling for:
Screenshot via European Word Translator
Thank you, James Trimble, for creating an informative time waster combining all of my favorite travel geek interests – maps, Europe, linguistic patterns, and language evolution. As if his work on UK Data Explorer wasn’t cool enough, Trimble has created a page that allows readers to plug in any English word – including curse words – and have it translated across a map of Europe. You can fool around with the map here.
According to Trimble, “This page was inspired by the etymology maps by Bezbojnikul on reddit (which are much more informative than this map). It was built using D3, maps fromNatural Earth, and the Google Translate API.”
Take the word, “sexy.” More than half of the languages represented use the same spelling and pronunciation. If I wanted to hit on someone during my European travels, the map shows me that I have to modify this adjective once I hit Iceland, where it changes to kynþokkafullur. To me, it’s easier to see a visual representation of the word I’m looking for, than carrying around individual language guides for each place.
What words were you surprised to learn about via Trimble’s map?
This post originally appeared on MatadorNetwork.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Soooooooooo happy to announce that a book I contributed to, 101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die, is officially available for purchase at a major book retailer near you!
This is more than a frat-douche bible – this is a social commentary on the way people travel, think, and party. No matter what opinion you have of what the title may reveal, you have to admit that it’s a lot easier to get to know a culture over a drink, than it is gazing at relics in a museum.
Check out what the press has been saying so far!
New York Daily News interview (I’m quoted quite a bit!)
Rudy Maxa’s World podcast - interview with David Miller
New Orleans entry on BroBible (one of my entries from the book)
My entries include:
- New York City
- Long Island
- New Orleans
- Washington DC
- Žilina, Slovakia
Books can be found at Urban Outfitters, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com and more. There are both hard-copy and eBooks available (depending on your technology preference). I’ll be doing a giveaway on my site, so stay tuned for more fun details!
2014 is almost here! Here is how last year’s resolutions measured up (strike = accomplished, red means still working on it).
- Become a townie
- Indulge in Staycations. I actually did more long-term traveling than I thought I would! My job change, combined with some more funds allowed me to indulge places other than Long Island. Now that I’m working from home however, I hope to resuscitate this resolution.
- Get to know the Weekend Getaway – sort of. We did do a few weekends away, to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and I went to Saratoga for the 4th of July, but ironically, it was easier to take more time off to travel, than less time. I have some weekend trips planned for 2014 though, so we’ll see!
- TBEX ’13
- Last-minute “field” trip – we went to Costa Rica in August and it was awesome!
Here is the new list:
Take “working out” literally. My mom recently lost a boat-load of weight through a combination of Weight Watchers and (wait for it) walking. Every day she took a walk, around the track at the high school, around the neighborhood, etc. I want to start hiking, biking and camping more.
Spend less. So like, I have to start paying back my student loans, not to mention the whole filing-for-my-taxes-quarterly business, so I have to stop adding my name to novelty subscription services, refrain from purchasing anymore bags from Coach, and (le sigh) quit buying plane tickets for a bit. The good news is I spend a LOT less cash while working from home, so I’m sure it’ll even out.
Craft more. I have a whole craft area in the basement of my apartment, complete with glitter-stocked shelves and an electronic die-cutter – I gotta use it yo. I’ve started making decorations for the holidays, as well as sewing/mending things. It’s a nice creative break!
Hone in on my “brand.” I want to have a cool blog. Seriously. This thing has been so neglected and I need to get back into the habit of updating it with worthy content. While my main gig is Matador, there’s a lot I think I could bring to other locations that I couldn’t necessarily do for Matador, so having a worthy space/portfolio for those people to find me would be AWESOME.
2013 was certainly a year of “growth” for me. The other day, I looked back at some of the first articles I ever wrote for Matador, and compared them to recent ones. It’s funny how over time you can just sort of “fall into” place, when the place feels right enough. I’m definitely lucky to have a job that allows me to write, and be creative. Here are some pieces I am most proud to have published this year:
101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die | St. Martin’s Press. I just recently read over some of the entries I wrote for this book, which will be officially released on January 7, 2014! And damn, if there is anyone who excels in the art of trashy travel, I.am.it.
101 Guys to Date Before You Die | Thought Catalog. While only an eBook, I’m proud to say I have written some kind of literature. Plus it was fun walking down memory lane and constantly cringing at my idiotic romantic mistakes.
Why you should start traveling alone | Matador Network. A fast-turnaround, reactionary piece, I never imagined it would explode over the internet like it did. I received a lot of emails from people who were inspired by it. Awesome!
How to piss off a Czech | Matador Network. This piece was fun to write, but also made me think about what exactly “identity” means to people, and how we should never judge someone, or say they are not something they wish to be, because their sense of identity is not literal enough.
What to Pack for a Travel Shows and Conferences | Travel Fashion Girl. I always love writing for Alex when I get the chance, and this piece was fun because it combined my love for fashion and design as well. Plus, it helped me prep for TBEX!
Dear Mom: I want to travel with you | Matador Network. My mom is imPOSSIBLE to get gifts for, so I wrote this for her for Mother’s Day.
How travel has ruined me | Matador Network. This was probably THE most fun article I’ve ever written, and one of the most true.
I’m At A Funeral | Thought Catalog. While not necessarily “cheery,” I felt this was a very vulnerable piece for me, and the style in which I wrote it is very different from what I usually do. I also found comfort in the people who left comments.
Where to get shitty like a president this July 4th | Matador Network. While this piece totally flopped, I still had fun combining my love of history with my love of getting schwasted, and that’s all that matters to me.
What are some of the things you’re proud to have accomplished this year? Link me!
Only one more week until Christmas! There are tons of gift guides floating around the internet, but not all of us are savvy shoppers. Luckily, my gift guide is useful for those who forget to buy a loved one a gift literally at the last minute:
101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die ($11.00). I wrote several entries for this book, including New York City, Prague, Charleston and my home region of Long Island. Each one is hilarious and provides useful information for not just partiers, but adventurous travelers in general. It’s currently available for pre-order, but every order comes with an awesome 101 Places Koozie! It officially launches January 7th, just in time for Three Kings Day, so it’s technically still a great holiday gift.
101 Guys to Date Before You Die ($3.99). Nothing like an eBook about my failed relationships to make you feel better about yourself! With the click of a button, you or a loved one can revel in the ups and downs of 20something dating. Maybe you’ll laugh. Maybe you’ll say “Holy shit, that’s so me.” Or maybe you just have an extra $4 lying around that you don’t know what to do with. I promise, you’ll have a good time reading it (and will probably need a cigarette right after…).
Give the gift of education – purchase a course at MatadorU for you or someone you love ($350). It seems steep, but compared to some of the other travel courses on the market, it’s seriously a steal (Conde Nast is trying to develop one for about $900…). Courses in Travel Writing, Photography and Film are available online, and can be completed at your own pace. Each chapter helps you build upon skills desired in the travel writing field, from story development, to pitch and query writing. We even have some resources to kickstart your career in travel.