travel more. worry less.

Traveling has changed me.

As a child I was fortunate enough to go on frequent family vacations. I am forever thankful to my parents for providing me with those opportunities. Together we created memories that will last a life time. Something to look back on and reminisce about.

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Although these trips have been special, I believe traveling as a young adult is different. It strengthens you. It allows you to grow and get cultured. It makes you appreciate the little things. And it ultimately defines the rest of your life.

As you know, over the past year and a half I’ve done a bit of traveling to Europe (Finding the Inspiration) to visit my boyfriend. I’ve always been a nervous flyer. I don’t enjoy being on a plane, especially when I’m by myself, surrounded by complete strangers. What am I supposed to do for 7 hours? Who can I talk to? Where do I go when I get off the plane? Will I have enough money? What if I get lost? These thoughts floated around in my head incessantly. Until I decided to let go. I chose to let these worries escape me and learned how to go with the flow (a skill that is difficult to master). It ultimately opened my eyes and changed my attitude into a more care-free, positive, enriched attitude.

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I’ve discovered new things about myself that will stay with me throughout my life. Lessons that I’ll be able to hopefully one day share with my children. Ideas and thoughts that I would like to share with you now.

5 things traveling has taught me:

  1. Experiences over Material things. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to shop. But, I’ve learned to recognize my needs vs. my wants. Happiness isn’t about getting those pair of shoes you’ll probably never wear, or that new handbag that is similar to another one you already have in your closet. Happiness is about making memories and embracing new experiences. My travels have taught me to buy experiences, not things.
  2. Taking a break from social media is okay. We have become so dependent on our phones and computers, that we often forget how to live our life free of them. I’ll admit, I’m still learning to master this. But, traveling has taught me to break free from social media and take time to enjoy what I’m doing, in the moment, rather than spending my time showing everyone else what I’m doing.
  3. The best restaurants are hidden away from tourist attractions. If you’re looking for delicious food at an affordable price, avoid the high traffic tourist areas. Yes, it might be nice to sit under the Eiffel Tower for dinner, but you’ll pay the price for it and it probably won’t be the greatest food. In my opinion, I got more joy out of stumbling upon a small, quaint restaurant down a cobblestone alley than going to a fancy, extravagant lounge.
  4. Step out of your comfort zone. Meet new people. Try different foods. Speak the language. Be adventurous. Say yes. In our lives, we often get scared of trying new things. But, I’ve come to learn that the magic happens outside of your comfort zone. This March, Justin and I are traveling around Switzerland and we decided to go paragliding during our time in Interlaken. I’m terrified. But I know it’s going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
  5. Appreciate the beauty. Breathe in the culture and nature while you’re visiting a new place. Sometimes you have to put your camera down and just enjoy where you are, who you’re with and what you’re looking at. Let it sink in and envelop you. Because that is what you’ll carry with you forever.

I’m sure as a take flight and explore new destinations, I’ll add more lessons to this list. I look forward to exploring and experiencing life the best way I know possible.

finding the inspiration

It isn’t always easy to find meaningful topics to blog about. Not to mention the fact that life gets in the way, and frequently, you don’t get the opportunity to just take a moment and appreciate all the amazing things you got going on. It’s been about 8 months since my last entry and I feel like so many spectacular things have happened to me.

At the airport with Justin

At the airport with Justin

I’ll start with the month of December. For me, this was an exciting month. For obvious reasons it meant that Christmas was fast approaching, but more importantly, my boyfriend, Justin, would be coming home from Ireland for the holidays. At this point, we had been apart for 4 months, so it was really nice to spend some quality time with each other and our families.

Another special moment, was when my brother and sister-in-law told the family at Christmas that they are expecting a baby in summer 2015. After an extremely tough 6 months, with the loss of my niece, Isla (A Journey of Grief), it was a bittersweet moment of joy to find out that we would be welcoming another little one into this world. With it now being just over a year, my family has had time to heal and we couldn’t be happier for them. I’m so looking forward to meeting my little nephew at the end of the month!

This brings me to the month of March. My first trip on a plane by myself. First stop, Ireland.

Justin picked me up at the airport and I spent a few days with him in Limerick. While Justin had classes, I was able to explore the downtown city centre. There’s something so exhilarating about being in a place, by yourself, navigating through unknown territory. The city lies on the River Shannon and has a vast variety of old architecture, lush pastures, unique shops and local pubs. Definitely worth traveling to.

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After seeing Justin’s home away from home, we were on our way to our next travel destination. Paris! For anyone who doesn’t knows me, I have been dying to go to Paris for years. So when Justin and I decided to book the trip and go, I was ecstatic. We rented a quaint little apartment through Airbnb, which was located in the 3rd arrondissement. Once we arrived, it was beginning to get dark, so as soon as we got settled in, we decided to head over to the Champ de Mars. I will never forget the feeling I had when I got off the metro and finally, after months of anticipation, walked the streets of Paris. My face hurt from smiling so much. We turned the corner, and there she was. The most magnificent, breath-taking piece of architecture I have ever seen. The Eiffel Tower.

During our stay, it was impossible to see everything Paris has to offer. But, we were able to see the iconic architecture, taste the delicious food, explore the chic boutiques, and experience Parisian culture. Here are some of my favourite pictures from the trip.

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Eiffel Tower (Day and Night)

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Garden Shop (near Notre Dame) and Pont des Arts (love lock bridge)

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Sacré-Cœur and Moulin Rouge (Montmarte)

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Arc de Triomphe and Candles at Notre Dame Cathedral

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Musée d’Orsay and The Catacombs of Paris

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Palace of Versaille (Inside) and Jardin du Luxembourg

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Notre Dame Cathedral and Palace of Versailles

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The Louvre and Our love lock on Pont des Art

After our time in Paris, we flew back to the Emerald Isle and landed ourselves in Dublin! I had traveled to Dublin once before as a child, but let me tell you, it is much better as an adult. During the day we walked around the city and in the evening we enjoyed a few pints at The Temple Bar. Again, here are a few photos I took along the way.

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St. Stephen’s Green and Flowers at Dublin Castle

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Entrance way to the garden at Dublin Castle

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Christ Church Cathedral and The Temple Bar

On to the next adventure…

wanderlust

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After planning my first real adult trip (to Boston), I’ve suddenly got the urge to travel the whole friggin’ world. Traveling is something I’ve always been lucky enough to experience (mostly because my parents were gracious enough to take me to some pretty amazing places – thank you!) But there’s still so much of this world that I want to see and experience myself. I’m beyond excited to start it off by having a girls weekend with my best in Boston, but it’s definitely given me the itch to travel to more extravagant places! Hopefully some of which I’ll be able to do within the next several years!

So bear with me while I daydream and blog about some of the beautiful destinations that I’m DYING to see before I leave this planet for good!

1. Paris
For those of you who know me in real life, know I’m a sucker for romance, which is probably a major reason why I want to travel to Paris (aka the city of love, duh!). There’s something about this city that screams ‘mesmerizing’ and it’s definitely on my list of places to see!

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Paris Love Locks: a couple writes their names on a padlock and locks it onto one of the bridges where they then throw the key into the Seine River as a symbol of their undying love. (TOTALLY LAME & CUTE RIGHT?!)

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Eiffel Tower: After all, Paris is the city of love & lights! No explanation needed for this one.

2. Greece
Who doesn’t like beautiful beaches, Greek food and ancient Greek mythology? It all sounds pretty freakin’ cool to me. Hence why I’m itching to go here immediately!

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Santorini, Greece: The island is home to a flourishing wine industry. Need I say more?

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Paradise Beach in Mykonos: Let’s be serious…any beach in Greece would be unreal!

3. Australia
Lucky for me, my cousin is living in Australia for the next 2 years. So I’m making it a mission of mine to get my ass out there while I have the opportunity! Feel free to donate to the ‘Ali wants to travel’ fund (Accepting donations now!)

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Gold Coast: Yep..this beach looks equally amazing. Not to mention all the incredibly sexy Australian accents I would encounter here. YELLOOOO!

4. Egypt
My grandfather was born in Alexandria, Egypt (No…I’m not part Egyptian. Even though for a while I thought I was haha and thought it was so sweet!). I’ve always been super intrigued to travel to Egypt and see what it’s all about.

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Great Pyramid and Sphinx of Giza, Egypt: Yah, I just think with would be wicked cool to see. HOLY!

5. Bora Bora
Not only do I want to go to Bora Bora, but I want to travel around to all the French Polynesian Islands. Bora Bora is definitely number one for me though…probably the most breathtaking place on this planet. Whoever marries me, we’re going here for our honeymoon K THANKS! BYE (Husband Applications now being accepted. Apply within)

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Bora Bora: I can’t even handle this picture!!! Someone take me here ASAP please. Too pretty for words!

Sooo…I guess it’s time to start saving my pennies! And these are only my top 5 travel destinations. I could probably name off another 20 places that I’m eager to go to.

What about you guys? Where do you want to travel to before you die?! Comment & tell me.

xo.