Tag Archives: Travel

Digital Detoxing

It’s been a little more than a week since I’ve been back from vacation. I was fortunate enough to go to Mexico with my childhood besties. I intentionally didn’t set up my cell service because I knew I needed a break.

Thankfully, nothing burned down and no one died while I was gone. I had anxious moments where I thought something terrible happened and no one told me. Clearly, my family knows me better and would have texted one of my friends.  

I feel like everywhere you turn today, there’s research that shows the importance of shutting down. It’s one of those things you don’t realize you need until you do it. Now I want to integrate it into my everyday. Here are the four big takeaways from my digital detox. 

  1. Better connections: My friends and I were together most of the time and no one really used their phones. This meant we talked a lot, about different topics we don’t always get to at brunch when we’re home. It was nice to connect with them on another level. I also know I’m a big talker so I had to read my friends and know when enough word vomit was enough.
  2. Mind, body, soul is real: If one of these areas is out of whack, then they’re all out of whack. When we got there, I had a really bad headache and couldn’t even appreciate that I was on a gorgeous beach in the middle of Mexico. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health are all important and connected. It was a good reminder to pay attention to each. 
  3. Be a kid again: Thankfully my friends can be silly and fun without any prompting.cliff jumping We laughed more times than I could count! We also went down water slides and jumped off fake cliff (picture to the right proves it). It doesn’t matter how old you are, go outside and play every now and again. It feels SO good! 
  4. Non-attachment: I don’t need to be glued to my phone. The social media world kept spinning without me. Not every last thing I do needs to be on social media. Logically in my brain, I know this. But it was so freeing to not be conditioned by email or texts or other notifications. I’m *trying* to bottle up this digital freedom feeling and remind myself to not be so connected all the time. 

Have you quit the technology for a period of time? Helpful? Horrible? Please share! 

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Roam If You Want To

I’m gearing up for six weeks of travel with some family time sprinkled in. I won’t be in my apartment for more than a few days at a time. And I cannot wait.

When I started my job, I knew there would be some travel associated with the role. But I never dreamed it would afford me the opportunity to see so many new places. From when we were kids, my parents encouraged us to try new things and see new places. Luckily, thanks to a rigorous travel schedule, I’ve been to places I’ve never been before like Phoenix, Catalina Island and Chicago.

San Diego

Soaking up the sun in San Diego

I’m about experiences: I’d much rather buy concert tickets than a new outfit. I love to learn, to immerse myself in something different than the every day. Since I’ve graduated college, I’ve vowed to spend money on experiences, especially on new adventures. That’s why I love traveling for work: I get to tack on some personal travel like weekends in San Diego and Charleston.

It’s not just about travel. I try to make the most of living in Philadelphia, a city rich with opportunities to learn and stay curious. Thanks to friends and websites like Eventbrite, I’ve found mini conferences about female empowerment and panel discussions focused on resilience. Each had unique speakers with diverse backgrounds as well as free swag! In fact, the panel discussion on resilience was found through an Eventbrite email. You can find a conference or have your own get together by using Eventbrite’s super cool tool.

Sometimes, spending time with my mom in Florida or grabbing sushi with a girlfriend is the right experience. It doesn’t have to be a grandiose trip to be memorable. Some of the highlights of this year (so far) include nights out dancing with my best friends and singing in the car with my sister.

How you spend your money is entirely up to you. I’d advocate for saving some of your budget for experiences. The new pair of shoes will look phenomenal but memories made with people you love (you included!) will last forever.

Hello Mid-Twenties!

I am less than a month from my 26th birthday. You probably just rolled your eyes. For whatever reason, being in my mid-20’s sounds so…grown up. Don’t get me wrong, life is fabulous, I couldn’t ask for more. But things feel real now. Does that make sense? If not, oh well, that’s not the point.

As I normally do around my birthday, I reflect on the past year…the good, the bad, the in between. As I was reflecting on this past year, I started thinking of the highlights from the first half of my twenties. Some are all about having fun and others are valuable life lessons. Of course, it’s going to look different for everyone but here are my favorites:

  • Move out: Obviously, only do this if the timing is right for you. There is something so liberating about living on your own and making your own decisions. You also learn real fast how to budget and deal with other human beings that aren’t your family aka your roommate(s).
  • Know where your money is going: Understand interest rates on credit cards, what you’re being charged for rent, how long 401K vesting takes at your company, etc. It’s super important to understand your money so you can create a realistic budget. Companies such as Personal Capital have great, free financial software that can help you manage your finances and even plan for retirement.
  • Explore the world: There is nothing better than traveling and experiencing new cultures. It gives perspective on how people around the world live. I also find traveling to be a great source of renewal.
  • Go to the doctor: All of them, including your dentist and eye doctor. We tend to fling our health around in our twenties only to be disappointed when we suddenly have high blood pressure by 30. Be proactive and see your doctors regularly. Figure out your own health insurance too!
  • Dance it out: Grey’s Anatomy reference here. But some of the best nights were spent dancing with my girlfriends and screaming the Beyonce lyrics. You need those carefree, anything goes nights to remember who you are.
  • Date: This one is hard for me. But, go on dates, meet new people who make you laugh. Relationships can be worthwhile adventures. Don’t be too jaded; we all have those failed attempts from college and our early twenties. Also, don’t knock the online dating websites until you’ve tried them. Even if you’re in a serious relationship, make time for date nights that don’t involve leftovers.
  • Find a hobby outside of work: When you’re starting your career, work quickly becomes a big part of your life. Nothing wrong with this but everyone needs balance. Find something you love to do (volunteer, exercise, knit, doesn’t matter) and dedicate time to it. You’ll appreciate the balance you’ve achieved as you get older.
  • Make peace with your family: Everyone has family drama, but yours is unique to your family. Remember not all drama is your drama and you can love someone while also creating some space from them. Also, spend time with your grandparents/elders, you will miss them more than you know when they’re gone.

S&TC.jpgBottom line: Do whatever is going to work best for you. I’ve spend too much time trying to please people and live a life that isn’t mine. Your happiness comes first, everything else is secondary. Sharing one of my favorite Sex in the City quotes too as a reminder for all of us.

Let me know what you would add to list in the comments section below!

Peace Out 2014

Hey there, long time no write! I feel like I’m virtually dusting off this blog in order to write this post. I’m almost embarrassed that it’s been three months since my last entry. But, no use dwelling on the past, let’s look to the future.

It’s that time of year again when we all write down resolutions, renew the gym membership and swear we’re going to make this year the best one yet. Well, that’s wonderful but it’s something we should be doing all year-long, not just in January. So while I wasn’t blogging as much this year, I was:

– Developing my personal brand at work. As a young professional new to my role, I had the perfect opportunity during the last year to build my brand and network. I think I’ve done a fairly good job of that. Now it’s time to refine and focus on specific areas of interest.

– Volunteering. This was a big theme for me in 2014. I coached my brother’s little league team this spring. I also taught grammar school through a program at work and became a big sister through Big Brothers, Big Sisters. I find dedicating your time versus your money to be so rewarding.

– Traveling. I mean, we’ve discussed this already. California, Colorado, Chicago, Myrtle Beach, Florida, Philly (my second home) and the big ones: London and Paris. How many 20-somethings have that list of travel on their resume in just one year?! Not many is the answer. Traveling, whether it be for work or for pleasure, broadened my perspective and gave me some unforgettable memories.

– Sweating it. Exercise played a big role in 2014. I refound my love for Zumba and created a mini family there. I also stretched myself both literally and figuratively during yoga and continued to run, completing five races in 2014. While all the weight hasn’t fallen off, I do feel better both physically and mentally.

Looking back, 2014 was pretty awesome. I learned a lot, grew in ways I didn’t know possible and kind of, sort of figured out a plan for the future. A couple of areas I hope to focus on in 2015 are:

– More travel! Shocking, I know! The first vacation of 2015 is already in the works. I also plan to take more advantage of my work trips. Travel is just good for the soul.

– Being more mindful. This is going to be in all areas of my life. I’ll share more about how this is going to happen later with a book review. But, generally, I want to focus more and be reaching my maximum potential at all time (or almost all the time). What does being at my best look like? That’s the big question for 2015.

– This blog! Unfortunately, this blog has taken a backseat in my ever busy life. That’s going to change in 2015. I have plans for a redesign, several mini series including one about Lean In and some book reviews. It’s going to take time but it will happen! The next post you can expect is my second entry in Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy essay contest!

I hope you take the time to review your 2014 and plan for 2015. Let’s make a deal to check-in throughout the year on our progress. Wishing you another rockstar year!

2015

London is Always a Good Idea

Have you ever wanted to just get on a plane and go, not caring where you went? That was my mindset earlier this year when my friend Lauren suggested we go to London to visit our Temple friends who were studying abroad. After some planning (I’m lucky, Lauren did everything), we were off on our London adventure earlier this month.

View from the top of the London Eye, my favorite!

View from the top of the London Eye, my favorite!

To say we were excited was an understatement. It was the first vacation we both were taking a vacation in a while and it certainly felt good to be able to afford such a trip. God bless Lauren for finding these AMAZING London passes that got us into pretty much everything: Kensington Palace, Winston Churchill War Rooms, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Thames River Tour, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. We managed to pack just the right amount to sightseeing into our week. To top it off, we also made our way to Paris midweek!

I’m not sure I can put into words how amazing this journey was. We didn’t rush but we didn’t waste a single minute. Each day was spent exploring, wandering and seeing incredible, historical masterpieces. No picture could capture the expansiveness of Tower Bridge, the view from the London Eye or the perfect architecture of the Eiffel Tower. You have to see it to believe it!

I went into this vacation wanting to decompress, to remember how fortunate I was and to enjoy a week away with one of my best friends. Maybe it was that I needed this trip or that I vowed to have an open, carefree attitude throughout, but whatever it was, my little week-long trip taught me about..

– Silence: People on the Tube (London’s subway) don’t talk to one another, aren’t on their cell phones and in turn, the ride is pretty quiet, much different from a Manhattan subway. I find silence very uncomfortable; it makes me feel like something is wrong, so I am constantly trying to fill the silence. Instead this time, I just let it be on the Tube and while wandering around. This almost calming silence allowed me to fully absorb everything I was experiencing.

– Intention: I’ve written about being more intentional and intentional choices before. But, for some reason that idea hit me again while abroad. It struck me most at Tate Modern where there were floors of Picasso and Dali masterpieces that were 100% intentional. With every stroke, they gave meaning, political or otherwise, to each one of their works. Seeing that made me want to be more intentional with my time, thoughts, everything.

– Friendship: I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know this before but I’ve found such an amazing friend in Lauren.

The only picture of us that wasn't a selfie!

The only picture of us that wasn’t a selfie!

I couldn’t imagine taking this trip with anyone else. There was a level of appreciation we both had for this trip, which made it 100 times better. She also managed not to kill me (big plus!) and we absolutely laughed our way through London.

– Travel: Another thing I knew but hadn’t experience in a while: Travel is essential to growing, evolving your perspective and becoming all you can be. It doesn’t matter where you go, who you go with or what you do, just go. While I feel like London is always a good idea, truthfully ANY travel is always a good idea! I now want to plan several more vacations because I came home feeling so recharged, appreciative and that I had learned something.

London was never on my bucket list but I am so glad Lauren pushed the idea on me. It was an exceptional week filled with history, wandering and overall good times. Now I can’t wait for the next adventure!

What places are on your bucket list? Any recommendations for my next journey? Please please please share!

Outside Abbey Road Studio, where the Beatles recorded. So cool!

Outside Abbey Road Studio, where the Beatles recorded. So cool!

Wanderlust

wanderlustHappy Friday friends! I hope your week is winding down and that you have fun plans for the weekend. For me, the next week is going to be all about travel. Why you ask? Because I leave for London tomorrow night! Excited is an understatement.

Tomorrow night, my college BFF Lauren and I board our plane to London. We’ll be there for a week and plan on taking a day trip to Paris (OMG!!!). I cannot wait to have an entire week off and to wandering through Europe.

When people ask what my plan is for this trip, my answer has been to planfully wander. Sure, we have an itinerary and a list of places we want to see. But I want to get lost in the city, in the culture and absorb every moment of this experience. This will not be a vacation where I will sit and relax, but I do believe I will come back fully recharged.

Wanderlust is the state of mind I will be embracing while away. But it is also an idea I want to incorporate into my life upon returning. Sometimes being wanderlust gets a back rap. People think you have no direction or no set plan for your life. On the contrary, I see being wanderlust as being passionate to learn more about other places, other cultures. Travel is the only thing you can spend money on that will make you richer.

So don’t plan on hearing from me during the next week. However, I promise there will be a full recap once I’m back in the United States. If anyone has travel tips for London or Paris, please feel free to share!

travel

Leaps of Faith in 2013

Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. I’m participating in Jessica Lawlor’s #GetGutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details.

Jumping fire during my first 5K

Jumping fire during my first 5K

When I think about the last year, two words come to mind: comfort zone. 2013 was an amazing year filled with many successes, a couple of failures and several leaps of faith. I am not one to readily jump out of my comfort zone to try something new. I like things a certain way; routines are a way of life for me. But, what I learned this year was that I can keep my routine while trying new things that provide a different perspective on life.

The biggest leap outside my comfort zone for 2013 had to be running my first 5K. Not only was it a 5K but it was a mud run complete with about 20 obstacles. Go big or go home, right? If you would have asked me a year ago today if I’d run a 5K, I would have laughed in your face. I said I never liked running without actually giving it a try. Now, while I am not an avid runner, I do enjoy running to clear my head and relax. I ran two 5K races in 2013; the goal for 2014 is to run three including Mudderella.

My next leap of faith was taken in New York City when I decided to go after a permanent job at the company I had be contracting for during the last year. When I started this job in November of 2012, I was unsure of what the future would hold. After contracting for nine months, the specific job I wanted posted on our company’s internal website. I applied instantly, knowing that this job was right for me. The job itself is outside of my comfort zone; it is not what I had planned nor it is a strictly communications job. But right now, it challenges me daily and allows me to build a variety of skill sets. The professional move outside of my career comfort zone has paid off tenfold.

Getting gutsy and making decisions outside of my comfort zone does not mean my routine or life has to be drastically altered. I was so scared of the unknown but found it can be an eye-opening experience. The last 365 have been packed with new experiences, memories and goals. My plan for 2014 is to keep pushing myself to the outer limits of my comfort zone while growing and learning during the process. This blog will see a complete overhaul in the coming weeks and I plan to travel to Europe in the early spring. These goals and others will help me stay gutsy in 2014.

What have you done recently that was outside your comfort zone? How was that experience? Please feel free to share with me!

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