From Carry-On to Backpack.

Not only is this upcoming trip to Africa a journey that will break me out of my comfort zone in terms of traveling, but, it’s also breaking me out of my usual packing routine.

For years, I have traveled with my trusty black Delsey carry-on suitcase. It has made the journey with me to Bermuda, New Zealand, Fiji, Miami, The Bahamas, Thailand, Vietnam, and Aruba. It’s helped me pack for two different seasons on my trip to New Zealand and Fiji, been dumped into puddles that smell like fish in Vietnam, survived every mode of transportation imaginable, and overall, has never let me down in terms of packing everything I want into the smallest piece of luggage possible, even for trips lasting a little over three weeks. But, my beloved carry-on suitcase will not be making the trip with me to Africa.

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Egyptian Expectations.

As excited as I am to head to Africa in a little less than four weeks, it hasn’t exactly all come into focus. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to head there, and now it’s actually happening. It’s almost unbelievable.

In my current mind, it’s all about being one with nature, seeing the animals, visiting Victoria Falls, climbing the sand dunes in Namibia, hiking Table Mountain, and cage diving with Great White Sharks. This is what I have been thinking about most when my mind wanders to my latest adventure. But, at the very end, what I keep forgetting, is that I will also be visiting Egypt.

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Celebrating St. Stephen’s in Ireland.

After a particularly rough end to 2009, my best friend, Lara, and I decided to ring in 2010 the best way we knew how…with a trip to Europe. Our small plan grew to three countries over seven days: first, Ireland to visit my family, then Belgium to visit her friends, and finally, The Netherlands to celebrate New Year’s Eve. It fell perfectly into place, and on Christmas night we set off for Europe.

Lara and I at Trinity College.

Lara and I at Trinity College.

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My First Travel Companion.

Growing up, I was an only child for six and a half years. My parents would travel around a bit with me, but the real fun began when my younger brother, Thomas, was born. It was then, that I got my very first travel buddy.

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C.

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South Street Seaport and the Brooklyn Bridge.

There’s lots to see in the city that never sleeps, but one of my favorite areas is South Street Seaport. Not only does it feel miles away from Mid-Town, but it also seems to take you a step back in … Continue reading

Reflecting on Resolutions.

Never before have I stuck to a New Year’s resolution as I did this year. Maybe, that’s because the resolution I made was an easy one to keep. Rather than making resolutions to lose weight or go to the gym more often, I promised to live each day as I do while traveling, keeping a few goals in mind for the year. Those goals were to travel solo, visit Africa, take more chances, be more adventurous, and make more friends. It’s only been six months, but each of these has either been accomplished, or will be accomplished, in a matter of weeks.

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Lunch at The Culinary Institute of America.

Now, that summer has officially arrived, I have more time to do some exploring close to home. Today, after finishing up my classroom at school, I wasted no time and headed upstate to Poughkeepsie, New York. I had an appointment to get fitted for a bridesmaid dress for my cousin’s wedding, but I dragged my Mom along with me, and she suggested that we have lunch at The Culinary Institute of America. Even though she had been there before, I was excited to experience the school for the first time. Immediately, it exceeded my expectations. Just an hour and a half north of New York City, the campus, which is set on the Hudson River, feels a million miles away.

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Fears Faced in the Middle of Nowhere.

A few weeks ago, Jeff and I went hiking on the Hudson River in Upstate New York, and I was immediately hooked. I couldn’t wait for the chance to hike again, and as soon as we realized we had a free Saturday, we jumped at the opportunity.

This time, we headed to Palisades Interstate Park, an area that goes along the border of New York and New Jersey. Here, the trails run along cliffs that drop down to the Hudson River, with views of Manhattan and Weschester, including both the George Washington and Tappan Zee Bridges.

Enjoying the view pre-hike.

Enjoying the view pre-hike.

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Hiking on the Hudson.

Hiking hasn’t always been an activity I’ve been open to trying, in fact, like golf, I blindly figured that it would be boring and was unwilling to give it a try. However, like all things in 2012, I have decided to push aside preconceived notions about different activities. And through this, I’ve learned that I have been holding myself back by deciding that anything was boring before actually giving it a shot.

Not a fan of hiking or nature trails in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Not a fan of hiking or nature trails in Bar Harbor, Maine.

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Get Me to Africa: Step Two.

There are exactly fifty-six days until I leave for Africa, not that I’m counting. But, this is the adventure I’ve been waiting years to make a reality, and that reality is feeling a bit more real as the days draw closer.

For months I’ve been telling people that this summer I will be heading to Africa. Each time it felt like a dream. But now, all of a sudden, summer is here; the days are longer, kids are playing out on the street, school is coming to an end, and I am fully preparing for my trip.

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