48 HR+ Roadtrip to Banff National Park

On a whim in the summer, we decided to drive to Banff National Park. Now that sounds like a nice plan. However…we are in Northern New Jersey which happens to be 48 hours away from that park.

Well, traveling across the whole United States of America is a big challenge but one we were willing to take in order to see that gatorade colored lake.

We packed our bags, shopped for all the snacks in the world, mentally prepared by researching long road trip tips(this is the longest roadtrip I’ve EVER done), and filled the gas tank to the brim.

The landscape changed every few hours. There were mysterious mountains and windy roads in Tennesee, followed by a pink and yellow sunrise we obviously stopped the car to watch. There were weird hills and giant fields of tiny yellow flowers in Canada. In North Dakota there was the longest, neverending road with ´middle of nowheré vibes. The sunrise on that road brought bright bright yellows and oranges to the horizon. The nightime on that road was scary though. At 1am we took a random exit in attempts to find a motel. We arrived at a town that only seemed to be inhabited by one small bar and a handful of half drunk men. We went into the motel and found noone except taxidermied animal heads on the walls. Although it was probably more dangerous than we realized, we slept in the weird motel’s parking lot.

We met a group on the Couchsurfer app to go hiking next to Moraine lake with. They were all either avid travelers or hikers, so I loved hearing their stories from around the globe. They wanted to climb an unmarked hiking trail that seemed much more vertical than we were experienced. It was full of tiny rocks that slid very very easily which made the hike dangerous but I couldn’t resist the challenge. We proceeded with the hike and were absolutely amazed by the view. The mountains looked like they were very skillfully drawn by the world’s greatest painter, the smell of the pine trees was enough to make it seem like Christmas in July, and the incredible color of the lake shined in the distance.

We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apples on the middle of the mountain sitting on rocks. There was a moment when we had almost reached the top when my friend had a panic attack because we kept sliding and rocks kept falling. We were extremely vertical, and I began thinking about what branches to grasp onto if I fall. I was sliding on my butt and I made a mess of my yoga pants with the rocks. It was the most adrenaline and sweat I had ever produced on a hike. I loved every minute and do not regret it— even though it was definitely almost fatal(lol).

We drove to Seattle to meet our Russian friend who was visiting. With him, we hiked a steep and narrow path to a waterfall called Bridal Veils. The falls really did look like a part of a wedding day. The forest was different here, and a refreshing change of pace from the east coast foliage i’ve grown accostumed to.

Even with all the crazy moments we had, I don’t regret the trip and I would do it a million times over. The weird, scary stuff is what makes any trip better in my opinion. I wouldn’t want things to go perfect.

Portugal 2018

So.  I love the excitement and support I got from many people in my life about traveling to Europe.  I have been dreaming about coming here since taking Portuguese classes in college a few years back.  I fell in love with the language almost instantly after first hearing it from my aunt, and so when it was time to take two semesters of a language, I knew what I had to choose.  It is SO GOOD to hear everyone speaking it here, and read all the signs and menus in portuguese.  I feel like I’m working out my brain every time I try to decipher a conversation on the subway or what the daily specials are.  

When my best friend and I got to the airport, literally 30 seconds of walking with our brand new shiny backpacks and I knew we were in for a special treat.  Note to self: Backpacking in Europe may or may NOT be as cool as it looks/sounds.  Opt for a boring rolly suitcase next time, and risk looking like a tourist rather than a turtle.  Our bags are super heavy and carrying them through the airport was such torture.  

When I bought this computer, I bought it with the goal of being a digital nomad one day.  Over the years I have slowly slowly gotten jobs that are online–my first one being for Mariana Caplan in San Francisco who needed me to get her more clients for her yoga and psyche workshop (very cool)–but right now I am finally being a digital nomad and traveling Europe whilst having two online jobs.  I cannot believe my full time gig agreed to let me do this.  I feel so blessed.  know they think I’m crazy but I also know that deep down, I also think I’m crazy.

Starting this year drinking champagne with my mum and listening to the NYE special in New York as I do on most new years, I did not ever dream that this would be a possibility.  The idea to be here, right now, in between teaching English classes in bed sans socks in a small bedroom in Anjos, Lisbon, Portugal was one that came to me in January. I decided I really wanted to get to know places by living in them as a local rather than as a tourist.  

Porto, Portugal.

So to me, Lisbon is much nicer than Porto.  HOWEVER, the Ribiera in porto makes the trip up north so worth it.  It is absolutely stunning.  Especially at night.  One advantage I love about Portugal is being able to walk everywhere.  I love exercising, and with all the hills and narrow walks between buildings , you really don’t need a car or a gym membership.  Our first night in Porto we sat next to the river and under the bridge listening to music being played by a young man in a big jacket and a guitar.  There was a moment Karen told me to look up and there was a huge flock of very white birds flying above us.  That, paired with the music and the water was so damn peaceful.  I cried thinking about how lucky I felt to be travelling full time at the moment- a wish I had been wishing for on 11:11 for quite some time now.