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Showing posts from 2017

Backpacking Trip, Stop 1: Boston and Providence

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Our first plane ride, from Minneapolis to Boston very early in the morning, was Nate's first plane ride ever. He's never been on a plane, nor has he been outside of a few states in the midwest. I couldn't wait to experience travel and new adventures with him. Overall, I think he enjoyed the plane experience. By the end of the trip we'd taken so many flights that he was already a seasoned airport passenger, remarking on longer or shorter wait times and differing customs policies.




Our first stop was essentially an extended layover in Boston before traveling onward to Europe. We arrived in Boston on the morning of the 10th, and despite having heavy backpacks to haul around, enjoyed wandering the city. I've been to Boston twice in the past, and it's one of my favorite cities in the US. It was great to be back and to begin our trip together.

We saw some of the typical sights of Boston--went to Faneuil Hall and the nearby markets to have some delicious lunch, walked …

Backpacking Trip Essentials

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I've gotten a lot of questions while planning our trip and during the trip about how we managed to travel for weeks with one small backpack apiece. Well, by packing super light, rolling all of our clothes, and with a few helpful products and traveling essentials along the way. Here are some of the things we used that worked well, in case you're planning a trip of your own! (click the photos to buy anything)

1. Passport Travel Wallet
I used this throughout the trip and it worked quite well for fitting a passport, boarding passes, cards, and cash. It was thin and long so as not to be taking up too much space. But the perks of fitting everything in one spot was awesome.
Get it here:

2. Inflatable Neck Pillow
Not a huge neck pillow person in the past, but for a trip with so many flights, this was nice to have a few different times. Best thing about this one is that it's super soft and velvety, and also comes with a little carrying bag, eye mask, and ear plugs. It's super fas…

Final Europe Packing List

Here is a full list of all of the things I was ultimately able to fit in my one small backpack and on my person for my trip to Europe (a trip I just returned home from and will be frequently posting about soon!) This list also includes the many layers I wore on the plane to conserve backpack space.


1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of shorts (during the trip I had to buy a pair of leggings in addition)1 lightweight dress1 maxi skirt2 tank tops, 1 t shirt (also bought an additional 2 shirts during the trip, but I figured that would happen)1 floral kimono type thing1 large soft scarf1 pullover sweater 1 swimsuitsocks (5 pairs), underwear (5), and bras (3) obviously1 pair of walking shoes1 pair of sandals1 small weekly pill case filled with a few necklaces, rings, and earrings.2 larger necklacesnormal toiletry items (including many band-aids, medications, some makeup, extra contacts, laundry stuff, wrinkle spray, stain remover, etc.)deck of cardsmesh bags to separate dirty clothes or categories of …

Packing Outline for 3 Types of Trips

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Here are some suggestions and comments on three types of trips and how I pack for them.

The all-inclusive, tropical family vacation
By far, the easiest trip to pack for. First of all, a warm climate vacation means you're packing lightweight clothes like shorts, tank tops and swimsuits. A family vacation also often means a lot less concern about the costs of things like checking a bag or packing heavier. When your parents are paying you're much less likely to obsessively budget your trip into a tiny bag.
Even so, it's more fun to walk around the airport, use public transportation, or haul stuff to your hotel room if your suitcase is a reasonable size. I no longer really check a bag for any vacation. On my last family trip to Mexico this winter I took one backpack for a personal item and a small-ish rolling suitcase as a carry-on.
The most important thing for packing for this type of trip is to know how you travel. If you're constantly overheating like me, bring only light…

Where Is Your Favorite Place You've Ever Been? (Part 3)

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At last, we come to the end of this amazing series of posts based on all of your favorite places. I've loved reading about all of the places you love, and it's been giving me an extra bad case of wanderlust. I hope you've all enjoyed reading these posts as much as I've enjoyed writing and compiling them.

And for anyone curious, of the places suggested for these posts:
USA: 9
Canada/Mexico: 4
Australia/New Zealand: 1
Asia: 3
Europe: 10
South America: 2

Mexican resort: With this one, the specific city doesn’t matter so much as the environment. I’ve been to several different places and resorts in Mexico on family trips, and it’s one of the best vacations you could ever have if you like relaxing. Beautiful sunsets, beaches, hours and hours reading next to the pool, gorgeous weather, and lots of tropical drinks make a resort in Mexico one of my favorite places in the world to be. -Me (reading and relaxing junkie)

Mountains of New Mexico on a summer night: “My favorite spot in the worl…

Where Is Your Favorite Place You've Ever Been? (Part 2)

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Here is the second part of my post series about the best places in the world according to my friends and family. Again, the first one on the list is another of my favorites, and the comments in italics are mine. Otherwise these descriptions come completely from the adventurous writers who submitted these answers.

Amalfi Coast of Italy: This is a place I will insist on going to several more times in my life. It’s absolutely the most beautiful place I have ever been by far. During a cruise in Europe, we saw a lot of amazing places, all of which are high on my list (Southern France is especially high). However, the Amalfi Coast (places like Positano and Sorrento) is breathtaking. It’s the best drive I’ve ever been on, and the location of the all-time best meal of my life. The entire place is full of life, the views are unbelievable, and the cities are completely packed with color and friendly people. It’s remarkable. -Me, Annie, the writer of this post

“Stunning views of the Mediterranean f…

Where Is Your Favorite Place You've Ever Been? (Part 1)

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When I put this question on Facebook and sent it to my friends and family, I hoped to get a great response. I did not, however, expect to get enough answers for three separate posts! Nonetheless, I've loved hearing everyone's selections for their favorite place in the world, and it's not only inspired me to add places to my list but has opened my eyes to all of the amazing adventures and experiences I've had and that my friends and family have had. Here is the first of three posts dedicated to some of the best and most loved places in the world. Each one will begin with one of my favorite places, and include my scattered commentary (in italics and parentheses) throughout.


Peru: Possibly my all-time favorite, (though it’s so hard for me to choose) Peru stole my heart on a trip three years ago and I still think about it all the time. It’s the most ecologically diverse place I’ve ever been and an absolutely essential place to go in your lifetime. Even setting aside Macchu P…

Things to Do in Peru, Part 3

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The third and final part of my Peru series (at least on this topic) goes to:

The Desert & the Cities

1. Eat or shop at a mall cut into a cliff on Lima's shore

The entire coastal side of Lima is stunning. There are plenty of pathways and colorful statues along the coast, which makes it a great place to walk. At the end of this path is a large outdoor shopping mall cut right into the side of the cliffs. It is open to the warm air and lovely views of the sea, but is also a high-end mall filled with fancy stores and restaurants. More information about the "Larcomar" can be found here


2. Visit a huge church with underground catacombs

Yes, below this beautiful church in the heart of Lima is a huge network of catacombs containing thousands of bones. For around $3 you can take a tour of this enormous underground cemetery, and walk past rooms and caverns completely filled with bones. It is definitely worth seeing, as long as you don't have a fear of dark caves full of dead t…