Nashville + Franklin

After what seems like years of not leaving my home state of Illinois (except for family gatherings in Michigan, Arkansas, Missouri and Wisconsin), I finally took a road trip to a completely new location: Nashville/Franklin, Tennessee!  The university that my best friend and I work for gave us the entire week of the fourth of…

San Francisco

Less than three weeks after I returned from my year in Paris, I was on the road again. Over the course a month I traveled west for work, paused in the Midwest for vacation, headed east to visit family, and then flew down to the Caribbean for a volunteer trip. For the first stop on…

China

In order to get to China, I had to endure Air India once again. Not wanting to ruin my now positive impression of Indian cuisine, I wisely stuck with rice and cucumbers on the plane. We first flew in to Shanghai. Our time there was primarily spent doing touristic activities. As was the case in…

India

India was wonderful. Before arriving, I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t handle the heat, smells, culture shock, crowds, or food very well (mostly based on a terrible Indian airline experience in 5th grade). Although we still had to contend with airline food, I wisely chose the vegetarian option (always the safest bet in my…

Fort Wilderness

For nearly 20 years my family has made a yearly pilgrimage to Fort Wilderness in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Each summer we have piled 70 hours worth of mosquito spray protection, 7 days worth of adventurous clothing, and 7 hours worth of car-riding activities into the family vehicle to spend a week in the northern woods getting…

England

I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that my first priority when we got off the ferry from the Netherlands and drove into London was finding coffee. I am slightly more embarrassed to admit that I was over the moon when we were directed to a Starbucks. We hit the ground running in England enjoying an…

Netherlands

Our stay in the Netherlands was quite lovely. Going into this leg of the trip I had no expectations (except to see tulips & windmills). The country was full of hospitable locals, beautiful sights in the cities (we got to tour the Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam), delightful drives through the countryside, flavorful food, and historical…

Belgium

Even briefer than our day-trip to Italy, our time in Belgium basically only included a quick tour of the European Union Parliament building in the capital (Brussels) and an even quicker lunch before continuing on the coach to the Netherlands. Which brings me to the following explanation of why I count Belgium among the countries…

France

I was initially nervous to look forward to Paris. I was certain that if I had positive expectations, then the city would let me down. Thankfully, I was very wrong. Paris was incredible. Our first night there, we ate at a Samoan grille (super random and a bit lackluster), but we immediately followed dinner with…

Switzerland

Despite the financial stability of Switzerland, my bank account by this point in the trip was a little worse for the wear and consequently I did not do many touristic outings or try much local cuisine at the restaurants. The best parts of Switzerland were the continuation of the gorgeous mountains and the chocolate. In…