Nashville: Noms, Nights, & Sights!

For spring break this year some friends and I decided to road trip down to New Orleans for Mardi Gras (Not to worry- I’ll post about that trip too!) But first, we decided to spend a weekend in Nashville…and I thought I’d share some of the noms, nights, and sights from that leg of our journey!

For those of you who haven’t been to Nashville, you have to get there ASAP! This city is amazing. Seriously. There’s something happening on every street corner, the people are unbelievably friendly, and you just feel completely at home. 

20140320-233337.jpgMy friends and I spent 3 days and 2 nights in this town and I desperately wished we had planned for more. But hey, that gives me an excuse to come back, right? 

Some MUSTS in Nashville (AKA Music City) are:

  • Shopping on Broadway and in ‘The Gulch’ 20140320-233538.jpg
  • Dinner and drinks at Wildhorse Saloon (Hit up Robert’s Western Honky Tonk & Tootsie’s afterwards) 20140320-233710.jpg
  • You’ve GOTTA get some BBQ (Jack’s or Rippy’s)20140320-233432.jpg
  • Centennial Park (The Parthenon replica is actually really impressive, plus it’s right by Vanderbilt’s campus which is neat to walk through…)
  • The Johnny Cash Museum OR The Country Music Hall of Fame
  • The Opry House (try to see a show here one night!)
  • Head to some of the bars in Midtown (Way more locals=way more fun; My favorite: Winners & Losers Bar)20140320-233615.jpg
  • Jack White’s Record Store, Third Man Records20140320-233650.jpg
  • The Ryman Auditorium (Even if it’s just outside, you’ll appreciate the architecture)

Like I said, there is a lot to see and do in this fabulous city, so it is definitely worth your while to visit…and the next time you do, don’t hesitate to invite me!

Have any of you been to Nashville? Where are your favorite spots? I’d love to hear about them!20140320-233502.jpg

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Dubai.

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I just returned home from my trip to Dubai! I spent most of December visiting my dad’s side of the family. The last time I went to Dubai I was around 11 years old (and of course I didn’t appreciate it.) This time, however, I really enjoyed getting to see my cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles. It is so nice to be out of your element for an extended period of time. I learned so much about the culture in the gulf and even more on the history of my family. Dubai is such a wild place in the sense that there are so many different people from all over the world interacting and coexisting. There is this huge paradox between the conservative local culture and the more liberal visitors and residents. I’d be happy to share more if you’re interested in hearing about it! Comment below! Also, I’m working on editing some of the photos I took while there and plan to upload them here as well as on Flickr, so stay tuned!

Why Do You Travel?

Why do you travel? 

To understand yourself outside of yourself. To know your place in the world. To realize what you can do, who you can be, and how you can help. To break through the bubble you’ve lived in–whether good or bad–know that there is more out there, there is more to life. To see the injustices, the beauty, the creativity, the sunrises and sunsets. To hear the accents, the music, the rumble of the city, the roar of the jungle, the silence of the woods, or the calm of the ocean. To feel the pain, the joy, the suffering, the kindness of loved ones and strangers. To step outside, around the corner, buy a one-way, ride your bike, take the train, or just take a walk. To rediscover your home, or adventure to a new one. Open yourself up and don’t be afraid to be afraid. To absorb as much as you can. From the architecture that surrounds you, from the artwork in museums, from the foods you taste, and from the friends you make. To look up. At the clouds, the stars, the ceiling. At the beauty of exploring a place you’ve never been. To look down. At the grass, the cobblestone, the sand, the snow, the dance floor. To revel in each unique experience. 

That is why I travel. 

“Can’t understand this deadly apathy. I think I need beaches and blackness and moonlit nakedness.” -Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway

Why is studying abroad so important?

I recently applied for a position in the Office of Study Abroad at my university, I was really excited that the position opened up, and I really hope I get the job. For the interview, candidates were asked to prepare a verbal presentation, I wanted to share what I wrote for mine:

I believe everyone deserves to be inspired. A study abroad program through Michigan State University provides you with that opportunity. You are inspired everyday. By the people you meet, what you see on your walks to class, the different tastes and smells, as well as from your studies in class or at an internship.

You lose the ability to be inspired when you get into a routine, because your thoughts start to become routine. You don’t appreciate your surroundings, you don’t really pay attention to what you’re learning, and everything seems a little lackluster. It’s only after traveling; that you can appreciate the strangeness and beauty of each place you visit as well as your home.

By submerging yourself in another culture, you learn something new everyday—whether you realize it or not—you will come back a more knowledgeable and enriched human being.

Studying abroad is not an extended vacation. You really get to understand and appreciate both the good and bad aspects of the country you are living in. On a vacation, you tour local hot spots and visit museums, sample dishes that are the most well known, and spend the majority of your time with your family and friends—You just skim the surface.

When you study abroad, however, you have time to get lost and explore, you meet locals, you get to know your peers and professors, and you find secrets of the city that are even better than anything you’ve ever read about.

You also get to learn about the problems the country you are in is facing—economic and unemployment issues, poverty, crime—the stereotypes the people who live there might be predisposed to—not everyone in Spain loves bull fighting and drinks only Sangria—and how different this life is from the one you are accustomed to back at Michigan State.

You absorb so much in your time abroad, that you come back a well-rounded individual by default. I studied abroad in Santander, Spain last summer and the experience was invaluable.

The peers who take the journey abroad with you will end up being your best friends. Studying abroad is such a unique experience that it is hard to understand how quickly and deeply you bond with the other students unless you take the trip.

Traveling to and living in a different place gives you a new perspective on what is truly valuable. You come home looking at things differently, excited to share what you’ve seen and learned, and you are ready to take on the rest of the world.

So why is study abroad so important?

 From an academic standpoint, you have the chance to take incredible classes in amazing cities across the world, you get to bond with professors who are not only recognized and respected in their country, but well renowned internationally, and your time in a foreign country makes you much more marketable.

From a personal standpoint, every student’s experience is different, but you come home changed.  You learn to become a pioneer—adapting to unfamiliar situations, interacting with people of all different backgrounds, exploring new terrain, and overcoming fears.

Both aspects of the study abroad experience are equally valuable and if my time in Spain taught me anything it’s that in order to be successful and not live with any regret or remorse, you should always be willing to go on an adventure in order to learn more.

The West Coast is the Best Coast.

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Hello fellow bloggers! I just wanted to check in and let you all know that I’m back from my whirlwind trip to San Francisco. Although I only spent a week in the city, it made a lasting impression. This was … Continue reading

Let the Countdown Begin!

Only 4 days until I fly to sunny San Francisco! I’ve been putting together my to-do (to-see) list for a while now, and I wanted to share it with all of you!

  • Bay Bridge (Grand lighting ceremony March 5th)
  • Original Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory
  • Alcatraz (Which I still need to buy tickets for! I hear they sell out a week in advance! Hope I’m not too late!)
  • SF MoMa (AKA The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)
  • Full House houses (do these have a formal name??)
  • Bibliohead bookstore
  • Nob Hill Tower
  • Presidio of San Francisco
  • Vista Tower
  • Mile Rock Beach
  • China Town
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Union Square
  • An “Off the Grid” food event (at the Fort Mason Center)
  • Ferry Building (Go Saturday morning/ early afternoon for the Farmer’s Market)
  • IN N’ OUT BURGER
  • Golden Gate Park
  • Make sure to go to these Ice-Cream parlors: Bi Rite Creamery, Humphrey Slocombe, & Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous
  • Make sure to go to these Coffee shops: Four Barrel, Sightglass, Philz, Blue Bottle, & Ritual.

Do you think I can do all of that in a week? My cousin also just told me she has a ton of other things for us to see as well. Do you have any suggestions on anything else I can’t miss? Please comment below!

PS- Thank you to Nellie  for the awesome food suggestions, make sure to check out her page!

Chicago!

Just returned home from a [quick] trip to Chicago!

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My friend Brittany and I went to the city on Wednesday to go see Swedish House Mafia perform. The group is currently on their last tour because they are all going to venture out as individual artists. I have always loved electronic dance music and SHM is one of my all-time favorite groups. Their music puts me in such an amazing trance and just makes me so happy. Even though the show was during the week, and I had to miss some classes, I couldn’t not see them.

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The show was unbelievable and I am so happy I decided to go.

 

Thursday, Brittany and I just explored the city. We’ve both been to Chicago enough times that we’ve done most of the “touristy” things, which means we didn’t really have an agenda. It was so nice to just walk around and explore. I think that’s when you see the most, when you’re not really looking for something in particular, or trying to get somewhere in a hurry. We ended up getting a bit lost but it was great because we saw some wonderful new areas we’d never been to before.

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As with any trip, food is most important, here are some snapshots of some of the eating I did while there:

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While in Chicago, I also got to meet up with one of my friends from Luleå, Sweden. It’s been 5 years since the last time we saw each other! She’s studying at the university in Chicago now, so we’ll definitely be seeing more of each other. I missed her so so much.

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Overall, the trip was great. Chicago is always a pleasure to visit and I cannot wait until my next trip back!

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