Beautiful Quotes About Travel

During times when I’m forced to stay in one place for a while – like now, when I’m practically drowning in school work – I like to curb my wanderlust with beautiful quotes about travel. The quotes range from deep, complex paragraphs to only half-thought-out rambles, but I’m pretty sure I have enough stored away to fill several short books.

I’ll only share a few of my absolute favorites today so as not to dilute them through overabundance, and I would love for you to pick a favorite or two and really think about them for a couple of minutes. I have a bad habit of breezing through things sometimes, but I’m working on slowing down and appreciating more of life’s daily beauty. What is your favorite travel inspiring quote? What images does this quote quote bring to mind? What feelings? Does it guide you toward a particular action?

“The sight of the huge world put mad ideas into me, as if I could wander away, wander forever, see strange and beautiful things, one after the other.” 

-C.S. Lewis

“One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”

-Paulo Coelho

“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

-Anthony Bourdain

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest of chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”

-Pat Conroy

“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

“We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

-G.K. Chesterton

Fun Fact: Sometimes I read guidebooks for foreign countries for fun. I find older guide books especially entertaining, and recently read a guide to Thailand from the 1990s. It’s like a snapshot of the country from another time!

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Why You Should Study a New Language

Hey peeps! I have been studying like crazy in the past few days leading up to a big French test, and sometimes I get so caught up in the frustrations that come along with learning a language that I forget why I’m doing it in the first place. I don’t want to forget the reasons behind this madness though, because I am a huge advocate for learning a foreign language (or languages)!

So… If you haven’t considered learning a new language before, you should! Seriously! Right now! There are countless benefits, but I’ve listed a few of my favorites below:

  1. You will have the opportunity to live more like a local when traveling. Most people travel for the purpose of experiencing a lifestyle or culture different from their own, so imagine how this experience would change if you could even basically manage in the country’s language. Imagine the friendships you could make, the out of the way places you could explore, and the local restaurants you could eat at! What better way to understand a place than by really talking to the people who live there?
  2. You will be more likely to find a job that you love. It’s 2015 and it’s common knowledge that being bilingual or multilingual will make you more attractive to employers, but let’s look at some numbers:
  • A recent study found that around 31% of executives (out of the 12,562 surveyed) spoke at least two languages. And who wouldn’t want to be an executive?
  • Those that are bilingual make on average 5-20% more per hour than their monolingual counterparts.
  • The above is especially true for government positions where employees can make up to an extra $1,000 a month.

Additionally, let’s say you aren’t interested in making a lot of money or rising or rising to a prestigious position. That’s totally okay, and knowing more than one language can increase your chances of getting hired regardless of the field. I’ve played around with the idea of eventually working for a nonprofit, and knowing another language could only help!

  1. Your brain’s structure will literally change for the better. I will never pretend to know anything about the medical field – I really, really don’t – but scientists and doctors who do can physically show differences in the brains of monolingual people verses those that are bi or multilingual. The brains of those that speak more than one language have denser grey matter than those that only speak one. Their brains actually LOOK different! This means improved information processing along with other health benefits (think reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease).
  2. It’s fun (most of the time)! Okay, when I’ve been looking at conditional conjugations for the past hour I sometimes forget how much fun languages can be, but this only happens a small portion of the time. I find the differences and similarities between languages fascinating, and I love finding words with unique translations or unique etymologies. Personally, I study French and even though my German speaking friends love to make fun of the “pretentious” language, I think it’s gorgeous! I would love to continuously study different languages throughout my life, slowly but steadily adding to my arsenal.

With so many resources out there to aid language learning there is no reason to wait. It can be something as simple as memorizing some useful phrases to something as involved as total immersion, but any step forward is better than nothing at all!

Fun Fact: The French use the same word to name an avocado and a male lawyer. Je suis avocat? I am a lawyer. Je suis UN avocat? I am an avocado!

If you have a personal interesting language facts or would even like to share why you personally study a language I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Pensacola and the Fountain of Youth

Five hours at the auto shop and one master cylinder later…

Pensacola, you were lovely! Even in the fog and mist you showed us a great time, and I look forward to returning again. Big Lagoon State Park (the second state park of the trip) was a wonderful place for ocean kayaking if you’re into that sort of thing, and downtown Pensacola was much cooler than I was expecting. Think cheap crab shacks next to eclectic cafes with groovy street art splashed over it all. I didn’t have nearly enough time to do all that I wanted, but I’ll use it as an excuse to visit again.

After leaving Pensacola, we then headed about an hour and half north to Ponce de Leon State Park (third state park this week!) where I learned two important things:

First: This is NOT the “Fountain of Youth” even though it’s named after the man who searched for it. I will stubbornly continue to call it the fountain of youth though, because it is much cooler than the actual one in St. Augustine.

Second: Isothermic springs are NOT the same thing as hot or even warm springs. Isothermic simply means that the water will remain the same temperature year round, even if that temperature is slightly icy.

That being said, this state park was actually amazing! The temperature was in the mid seventies – chilly for Floridians but practically sweltering for us mountain dwellers – so of course I got in the crystal clear water. I can only imagine how crowded the spring would be in the Florida summer heat.

All in all, a fun city and two wonderful state park experiences. I’d love to hear about your favorite state parks in the comments too!

Fun Fact: All of these photos very strategically hide the angry sunburn covering both ankles.Apparently I apply sunscreen like a three-year-old child.

Flight Survival 101

If you’re anything like me, flying is a necessary evil.  You accept it because it gets you where you want to go, but you don’t love how it makes you feel.

If you’re nothing like me, you look forward to every hour spent in the air and inwardly (or outwardly, I’m not judging) groan as the wheels touch back down.

It’s cool! Either way, there are ways to make flying less stressful for your body so that you can walk off the plane feeling like you didn’t just zoom through the air at crazy unnatural speeds.  Here are my favorite ways to feel great during and after a flight!

  1. Drink a liter of water soon after waking up, and if your flight is later in the day make sure to stay hydrated leading up to it. Definitely don’t chug a liter in the thirty minutes before your departure, but be conscious of your water intake throughout the day and I promise you’ll notice a difference!
  2. Get enough sleep the night before. I know that this can be a difficult tip to put into practice, as the night before a flight can be a whirlwind of making sure everything is ready to go, but it’s worth at least attempting. You will feel better in general if you’re well-rested, and I know that my flights have been much easier when I wasn’t running on four or five hours.
  3. Don’t wear anything you wouldn’t wear to take the SATs. Might be a weird rule, but think back to high school, and to the hours of SAT/ACT/AP/IB… tests. Comfort was key, and you should keep this rule in mind when flying as well. You don’t have to look like a college student during finals week to be comfortable, but if you can’t bear the thought of sitting through a lengthy test in your outfit, it probably isn’t the best choice. My favorite thing to wear for an airport day is a comfortable dark top (to hide any airport grunginess) and a long skirt. Add a long necklace, a scarf, and some comfortable shoes and you can’t lose! This being said…
  4. Do not wear short shorts or a short skirt! I love both items of clothing, but I don’t love them when I’m going to be sitting on a leather seat for hours. You will stick to the seat, your legs will probably get cold, and you won’t be a happy flier.
  5. Bring a carry-on approved lotion. When the plane air dries your skin, even just the tiny bit of lotion that the TSA allows will feel like heaven! Also, it may just be me, but the familiar smell of an often used lotion is a great break from the sterile smell of an airport or airplane.
  6. If you’re a tea person, carry along a satchel of your favorite blend. Flight attendants should be able to provide hot water when they come around, and like the lotion the familiarity can make the flight more comfortable. Bonus points for tea because some blends will help you sleep on a plane and keep you hydrated at the same time!

Fun Fact: I always carry a notebook and pen with me on flights, because I hate being bothered to type ideas out when they occur.

Hola, from the sunshiny state of Florida! The last three days have been full of sand, star-gazing, and sunburns, as I’ve been camping at Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine, Florida.  The ocean was just a ten minute walk from my site, some of the oldest buildings in America were just a ten minute drive away, and it has been the perfect break from the cold Appalachian winter.  I haven’t been to too many state parks (yet!), but Anastasia is everything that I was hoping for.

Only downside? My car was not loving the warm weather, and I’m currently sitting in an auto shop waiting for some information.

Fun Fact: I’m not too bothered by cold water, but I hate the thought of fish swimming beneath me!

Five Books to Fuel Wanderlust

Hey peeps, I’ll be leaving for Florida tomorrow – how crazy is it that I’ve lived a day’s drive from the Everglades my entire life and not once visited?  No worries though, this will soon be rectified! The drive is a bit long however, so it made me think about what books would be great to bring along, which made me think of traveling books in general, which made me want to narrow down my favorite travel-inspiring books… it’s a slippery slope apparently.

While I’ll read almost anything put in front of me, there are some books that I continually come back to when I’m feeling a little less than inspired and I’d love to share the list with you. Because I am ALWAYS looking for new material, I’d love to hear your “wow, I want to jump on a plane right now!” book recommendations too!

1. The Sun Also Rises – It’s blasphemous, but this is the only book of Hemingway’s that I’ve read.  This is even more surprising considering how much I love it – and I really love it – everything from the casual, easy dialogue, to the way Pamplona, Spain is described.  It might have something to do with the fact that the novel centers itself around the thrilling running of the bulls, but every bit of the novel is incredibly vibrant and raw. Even when I’m reading this book curled up in my bed with a mug of coffee I feel invincible and bursting with restless energy.

2. The Geography of Bliss – On a very different note, I also adore The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. It is a nonfiction work, but Weiner’s search for “bliss” in ten different countries pulls me in as much as any fiction I’ve read. My favorite portion of the book takes place in Bhutan and describes the nation’s policy of Gross National Happiness, a fascinating concept that I was not aware of before reading this. The destinations range from Qatar to Iceland, and the book is entertaining as well as incredibly insightful. Overall, it is a travel book that makes you think about your own approach to happiness – think Eat Pray Love written by a pessimistic, middle-aged man.

3. 21 Balloons – I vividly remember reading this book by William Pène du Bois for the first time in fourth grade, and my list would feel incomplete without it. The novel follows Professor William Waterman Sherman as he decides to circle the world in the biggest hot air balloon anyone has ever seen, and it gets really exciting as soon as things don’t go according to plan. I don’t want to give anything away, but picture wild inventions, white beaches, and mysterious natives. It’s the perfect read to rekindle a sense of child-like wonder and optimism.

4. The Count of Monte Cristo – Not a traditional travel book, but one that made me want to jump on a plane all the same. Written by Alexandre Dumas (author of The Three Musketeers also!) the story takes place in France, particularly the port town of Marseille and follows the life of Edmond Dantès, a young sailor in love. Things don’t go well in Edmond’s life, and revenge quickly becomes the central theme of the novel, making it a bit darker than other books on my list. The dark themes are balanced by fantastic descriptions of the French landscape though, and the novel is fast-paced and easy to follow despite the fact that it was written in 1844!

5. Eat Pray Love – Okay, okay. This might be the most predictable travel book possible, but it deserves its place – hear me out. I first read this book in my senior year of high school when I was unsure about everything… where I wanted to go to school, what I wanted to study, and how I would make my dream of seeing the world a reality. Picking up this book by Elizabeth Gilbert was just what I needed and it reminded me that I don’t have to have a perfect plan. People much older than me were still figuring things out, and it is completely okay to make mistakes and backtrack a bit. The beautifully written descriptions of Italian food and Indonesian landscapes don’t hurt either.

Fun Fact: I’ve read the entire Harry Potter series through more times than I know.  It’s been at least seven times though, and I don’t know if that fact is impressive or a bit scary!

European Bucket List

Goals are good, right? I think so! So, here is my current travel themed bucket list for Europe. Life is fluid though, so my list will constantly change too – in fact I think of new things to add almost every day! If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

East pasta in Italy, tapas in Spain, and crepes in France

Drink Guinness in Ireland, Scotch in Scotland, and Absinthe in France!

Visit Platform 9 3/4, but only if I’m wearing my Harry Potter shirt of course

Hunt for ghosts in Edinburgh (My all-time favorite city since high school)

Ski the Alps, and maybe even snowboard if I’m feeling brave

Witness the running of the bulls, and pretend that I’m living in a Hemingway novel

Attend an opera in Vienna – extra points if it’s Mozart!

Float in the Dead Sea, maybe while humming the Lumineers song to myself

Take part in Venice’s Carnival, because who wouldn’t want to experience that?

Marvel at the Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis if I’m feeling fancy

Fun Fact: I crossed searching for Nessie off my list on a trip to Scotland when I was sixteen!