India | Reaching for New Heights in 2017

When I woke up at 3 am on my final morning during #escape2goa in Goa, India to drive to a field a few naps away, I did it to take pictures of the other bloggers. Taking a hot air balloon ride didn’t seem like my thing. It’s an activity that feels kind of “luxury” to me, and because of that, not something I’d normally spend money on. That’s true, but the main reason, I’ll admit, is that I was just too scared to fall.

Malaysia | An Evening with Food Tour Malaysia

Traveling solo is hard for a few reasons – You have to figure out everything for yourself, there’s times you get lonely (even if you like being with yourself as much as I do), and you can’t try as much of the local cuisine off of someone else’s plate. Which is why, because I only had three days in Kuala Lumpur, I took a food tour with Food Tour Malaysia. Food tours are one of my favorite things to do while traveling, because you get Erin-sized samples of many varieties of food, along with the story and history of the country, if you’re on a good one.

Dominican Republic | A Concrete Impact

As most of you know by now, my attendance on the final Fathom pilot trip made a huge impact on the trajectory of my life. I’d been thinking a lot about building volunteering into my travels and giving back to those people who so openly share their cities or countries with me as a visitor. Participating in impact activities like planting trees on the beach, working with children on their English, and working with women in a recycling paper co-op, confirmed that this path was one I needed to explore further.

While I appreciate the long-term impact of other Fathom projects, when I first heard about the opportunity to install concrete floors into people’s homes and see the immediate impact, I knew I had to return to the Dominican Republic and experience this activity specifically. On our second day in the Dominican Republic, Katie and I joined other Fathom travelers to complete this impact activity for three homes.

Product Review | Lo & Sons Catalina Weekender Bag

If there’s one thing I wish I had with me in Myanmar, aside from a personal wifi hotspot, it’s my Lo & Sons Catalina weekender bag. I thought about bringing it and it would have fit so nicely folded up in my large suitcase, but I thought I would just be taking weekend trips and would be able to fit everything in my backpack. Little did I know, instead, I’d be taking a full fifteen-day trip in the middle of my time in Yangon. I didn’t want to bring my full suitcase, because I’d be traveling on small planes, shared taxis, and a small ferry, so I loaded up my backpack and my Longchamp and hit the road. I ended up buying so many souvenirs and snacks and perhaps not packing as well as I did on my first try that it evolved into me carrying three bags around with me, which was kind of annoying.

Product Review | Painless Packing with Vacay Style

I’m one of those people who feels “off” if I don’t have a trip on the horizon. I absolutely LOVE planning my travels, but that’s probably not a surprise to anyone reading this. I’m constantly looking at maps, flight schedules, and my friends’ travel blogs, deciding where to go next. But there’s one piece of getting ready for a trip that I don’t love – packing.

Hotel Review | Langley Resort Fort Royal Guadeloupe

When I told people I was going to the Guadeloupe Islands, the majority of them immediately asked, “Where?” The islands in the French Antilles in the Caribbean are not yet a popular destination for Americans, with most of the visitors from Europe and speaking much better French than I do, but all that could change soon. Guadeloupe was featured as #11 on the NY Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2016, Norwegian Air now offers (cheap!) direct flights from JFK, Baltimore, & Boston, and if that’s not enough to spark interest, the internet will also be reading my posts about the islands over the next few weeks.

Dominican Republic | Fathom Travel Gon’ Give it to You

On our second day in the Dominican Republic with Fathom Travel (read an overview of the trip here and a first day recap of planting trees here), we worked with children in a school at the top of the mountains in Puerto Plata. Our little tour bus puttered and puttered up the dirt roads of the mountains, dodging burrows and cattle. I have never gotten carsick in my life (knock on wood) but I had to move closer to the front of the bus because these roads were no joke.

Dominican Republic | Planting Trees & Taking Names with Fathom

Our first full day in the Dominican Republic was spent on a gorgeous beach, but not in a sit-in-a-bikini and get-300-pages-deep-in-a-novel kind of way that I’m used to (and frankly, really good at). I was in the DR with Fathom, a new cruise line under Carnival which takes travelers to the DR from Miami for a few days of impact activities working with local organizations. To learn more about my experience with Fathom or if you want to plant trees in the Dominican Republic, too – read this post before continuing on.

Dominican Republic | I Didn’t Get a Tan in the Caribbean

I spent four days in the Caribbean and didn’t put my bathing suit on once. It wasn’t because I spent my time on nude beaches or because it was raining. It was because I was on a different kind of trip with Fathom Travel and I was there to immerse myself into the community and help out on different impact projects with local organizations. I didn’t get a tan, but I got so much more than I could have ever imagined.

NYC | What It’s Like to Take French Lessons With Fluent City

When I was in Spain last year, one of my favorite things (along with this bar in Madrid, our Flytographer photoshoot, and all the art of my favorites) was communicating in Spanish. I hadn’t been to a Spanish-speaking country in years and the language came back to me quickly. Though it seemed to be default in restaurants and hotels for us to be addressed in English, I made a point to speak in Spanish with each of our cab drivers. I asked each one for restaurant recommendations and told them all about how our trip was going. I loved it.

NYC | Too Much Light in the City that Never Sleeps

The options for nightlife in New York City are practically endless, but they can get repetitive. A $9 Bud Light here, a late night order of cheese fries there, and sometimes you can’t identify one weekend from the next. If you want a unique night out, give New York Neo-Futurists a shot.

Product Review | A Spare Pair for the Air

I was recently contacted by Firmoo, asking me to try their “global optical online store” and thought it would be a great opportunity to get myself a pair of glasses I could travel with, without risking my “good” pair that I get each year from insurance.

Product Review | Trick or Treats? Treats.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that there’s a way to travel in between trips, and that’s through food! I often travel in my own zip code in between traveling outside of it by finding a great restaurant with cuisine from a place I’ve never been in my Global Bites without the Flights series. And now, I can also experience snacks from a different country each month with my Treats subscription box!

Chicago, IL | An ExBEERience in Chicago

Not only was I lucky enough to participate in a food tour when I was in Chicago last month, I also had the opportunity to do a beer tour, which is something I’d never done before while traveling. I am definitely a beer girl over any other type of alcohol (read about my Struggle with Port Wine), but I also am now in my 30s and (very) unable to drink as much as I did in my college glory days, so I was curious how the day would go.

Chicago, IL | The (Deep) Dish on Chicago Food Planet

Last weekend was my first time ever in Chicago, visiting my friend Kristyn who moved there about a month ago. I’d wanted to go several times before, including last fall, when my cousin Em ran the marathon. With my luck, of course the marathon was the same weekend as a wedding I was in. Neither party would reschedule, so I chose the wedding. Since it took me so long to get to Chicago, I knew I had to make the most of it when I finally arrived.