I had so much fun when I was in Indianapolis that I didn’t want to leave. Luckily, before I went back to NJ, I had one more day full of fun and food. I went on one last tour of the Indiana Foodways trails in the towns of Lafayette and West Lafayette, home of Purdue University. We had a super-packed schedule but I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of the places we visited or any of the dishes we’d tried. Though I feel like I ate 1,000 things that day, there were a few dishes and treats that stuck out:
No, this isn’t a post about where the best graffiti in Paris is or where you should get a tattoo of a macaron (but if you do have a tattoo of a macaron on your body, please send me a picture). This a post about how to enjoy Paris without necessarily following in the footsteps of everyone else, and there will be many others.
Over the last few months, I’ve spent time in a few of the great cities of the midwest – Chicago, Madison, and Indianapolis. As I work on adding more states to my list, it’s easier to visit the cities – especially if I’m flying solo – than it would be if I were traveling with others or taking a road trip. But the truth is, Illinois is not Chicago, Wisconsin is not Madison, and Indiana is not Indianapolis.
He waved a gun at the entire bus while yelling, “Shut up, everybody!” Then he grinned and said, “That’s how you say ‘hello’ in Chicago.” The gun was fake, as was his “gangster” accent, but he stayed in character for the whole bus ride. He was “Baby Face Bambino,” the bus driver was “Shoulders”, and I was there for “Chicago’s Original Gangster Tour” with Untouchable Tours.
I’ve become sad leaving certain places in my life, most notably Myanmar and India, both countries meaning more to me than I could ever begin to explain. Of all places, I never expected to become emotional while leaving Indiana, but I had all of the feels. I had such a transformative week out there, which included spending time with my godparents, attending Bloghouse with 14 other incredible travel bloggers and 5 expert mentors, and exploring the underrated city of Indianapolis, adorable Hendricks County, and energetic Lafayette and West Lafayette.
Now that I’ve had my first experience as an adult in the awesome city of Indy (after three times as a kid/super-awkward teen), here’s who I think should visit Indianapolis.
Everyone’s saying it, and I also can’t believe it’s July already. For many, that means that half the year has passed, but for me, this time, it means that I quit my job a year ago already (though I worked a few more weeks) – which seems insane. This month’s adventures were domestic but kept me quite busy nonetheless.
I’ve been looking at real estate lately. I know, I know — I’m supposed to be nomadic and free-spirited and without roots, but lately I’m craving a little stability. I’d like to be back in NYC in the fall, and I’ve been looking in any and all neighborhoods of Brooklyn to see where I should live next and even to see if I could actually buy a place. It wasn’t until recently, while on a tour with Brooklyn Unplugged Tours in Long Island City, when I started thinking I could live in Queens as well.
“That’s a cookie monster cloud!” I remember saying at age three from the window seat on my first airplane ride ever in one of my earliest memories. I remember thinking that the outlines of different fields when we were closer to the ground were the outlines of different states, as if that’s how state borders worked and as if that’s how many states we were flying over. The rest of the trip I remember mostly only from photos.
While many people I’d told about my February travels hadn’t yet heard of Bratislava, Slovakia, I’ve known about it for quite some time. During high school and college, I worked at a local restaurant for six consecutive summers. Some members of the staff visited during the summer season from Slovakia. I became close friends with a few of them. They told my other friends and me all about Europe, taught us how to say “please” (“prosím”) and “thank you” (“dakujem”) in Slovak, and, well, bought us beer before we were of age. When I saw that Bratislava was on the way to Vienna from Budapest, two cities I already had on my list, I knew I had to check it out for myself.
Dog-sitting in Chicago for most of May felt like a no-brainer to me. For the last few months, I’ve had a flexible, freelance, remote job working on TripSavvy.com, which just launched on May 15. I could either work from the various libraries in and around my hometown, or I could work while staying for free in the city of Chicago. I have a few friends in the city and had plenty I wanted to see, do, and eat that I’d missed from my first long weekend there. The fact that I’m obsessed with puppies was another bonus.
I’m better at being places than I am at getting places. With that said, I don’t mind being in airports and on planes for a few reasons. Checking a bag and being left with just my backpack makes it all easier. Flights usually indicate either the start of an adventure I’ve been so excited for or that I’ll get to see my puppy within a few hours (or a day if I’m starting off in Asia). Having the opportunity to be completely unreachable in the skies for a few hours (or 17) means I get to catch up on my NY Mag crossword puzzles and all the recent movies I didn’t want to pay $15 + cheesy pretzels to watch.
I took a break last weekend from my current dog-sitting gig in Chicago to head to Madison, Wisconsin for two days. I’ve been spending the month just an hour away from a state I hadn’t yet visited, and had someone who could watch the dogs for a night so I couldn’t resist. I kept hearing good things about Madison and I’d specifically heard a lot about the Edgewater Hotel so I wanted to experience it for myself.
I rejoined the real world a teensy bit this month – working 40 hours a week and commuting to the nearest coffee shop across an under-construction bridge that takes 20 minutes to cross is no joke. I’d completely forgotten what it was like to have a job but it’s a good one to have. As I mentioned in my March Recap, I am working temporarily to help launch a new travel website. I’m super excited to show it off to you when it’s made public, but that also means I’ve had less time to work on my own stuff, though I got a lot done right when I returned from Europe to at least bring you new posts in the beginning of the month.
I didn’t expect to visit Cologne on my last European trip, but sometimes your flight from Berlin to Paris is cancelled and while rearranging plans to get to Paris as quickly and inexpensively as possible, your best bet is to take a train to Cologne for the evening and head out from there the next morning. I had a deadline so I wasn’t able to leave my hotel until around 4 and left Cologne right after breakfast. My time was limited, but I saw enough to make me want to return one day.
You all knew I was going to make this pun at some point – a tiger doesn’t change her stripes. Maybe I even had it in my plans before I went to Hungary, because it’s too obvious to not take advantage of. But I had NO IDEA that Budapest was going to be the source of some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life. Seriously.