Monday, August 29, 2016

5 Places I've Been (& Why You Should Visit, Too!)

I've never met anyone who doesn't love to travel.  Exploring new places makes everyone feel adventurous, even if you're just checking out the new grocery store down the street.  A break in routine is always welcome for me, and I'm hoping for one to come along soon! While I daydream about all of the places I'd love to visit, I though I'd share some of my favorite places that I've already visited.

1. Paris.

"Paris is always a good idea."  I'm sure almost every female is familiar with that famous quote.  I'd have to say, I wholeheartedly agree.  My trip to Paris was painfully short, as I was traveling with my high school.  In the day and a half I spent in Paris, I was able to see most of the major tourist sites.  Of course, my favorite was the Eiffel Tower.  I saw it first during the day, and it was amazing.  However, my tour group was on a metro train at night traveling toward the center of the city when I saw it through the window gloriously flashing its lights. I have to say, that was probably the most beautiful site that I've ever seen.  I had seen the flashing lights in movies before, but trust me, that does it no justice.  It took my breath away.  Seeing the Eiffel Tower at night should be on everyone's travel bucket list.

2. New York City

I sobbed the first time I saw Manhattan.  I could feel the energy of the city all the way across the water in Staten Island.  A friend and I decided to road trip to NYC during spring break our junior year of college.  We drove all night, and arrived on Staten Island where we stayed, around 5A.M.  When we got to the ferry, we were both awestruck by the beauty and might of Manhattan.  We stared from across the water for about 20 minutes in silence before we decided to board the ferry, and join the herd of businessmen and women heading to work.  The subway was my favorite part of the city.  It seemed like magic; every stop lead you to a part of town that was completely different than the last.  How can so much culture fit on one island? NYC is a city I think everyone should experience in there lifetime.

3. Literally anywhere in Italy

Italy is gorgeous.  GORGEOUS.  I visited three cities in Italy during the same high school trip as Paris, and I loved all three.  During the whirlwind trip, Italy was the country in which we spent the most time.  Rome was the first stop, and it was much different than I had imagined.  The famous Roman Ruins are in the middle of the city, surrounded by modernity, which was the most shocking part for me.  After Rome, we traveled by bus through Tuscany to Florence.  Everyone else on the trip slept the entire bus ride, except for me.  I was shocked at how everyone could sleep when there were hilltop villages, rolling vineyards, and the greenest grass I'd ever seen passing by the windows.  They really missed out.  Florence was architecturally my favorite stop.  The Duomo and the statue of 'David' are my top two must sees in Florence.  Also, do yourself a favor and stop in a gelato shop (or five). The last city was Pisa, where the leaning tower was the main attraction, of course.  However, it was the pizza from a small restaurant here that was so amazing, it ruined the food for the three following years for me. 

4. Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island is the perfect place for a relaxing getaway.  Great for families, couples, or anyone looking for a solo trip, this little island offers anything you could want on a vacation.  Being an island, there is plenty of beach available for swimming, sunbathing, sports, or just a nice seashell walk.  There are bike trails, yummy restaurants, shopping, and even a small historical section.  There's a great tour that touches on Jekyll Island's ties to Alexander Graham Bell where you can also see some architecturally amazing Southern mansions.  This was one of my favorite vacations as a teenager because of the feeling I got from the island that made me want to unplug from reality and just exist.

5. Laguna Beach, California

As a teen in the early to mid 2000s, I became familiarized with Laguna Beach through MTV.  When I visited Los Angeles in 2014 with a friend, we had some extra time and decided to take a day trip to Orange County.  The drive from LA to Laguna was so pretty.  Palm trees lined the highway, and once we exited, we were passing through desert-like hillsides filled with cacti and other leafy vegetation.  Located along the famed Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna reminded me of a small town from back home in the midwest, only wayyyy cooler.  The houses ranged in size and extravagance, and there was a large local shop movement.  We ate at a Mexican restaurant with an ocean view after hitting the beach.  THE BEACH. Holy cow.  I knew once I saw it why they decided to film a television show there.  Amazing rock formations blend into tide pools, and attractive lifeguards line the beach in high chairs.  It really is like a scene out of a move, err, reality TV.

Please excuse the quality of some of these photos.  Some were taken many years ago, while some are of iPhone quality.  I wanted to use my own photos so you could get a real sense of each place and how I saw it.  I hope you enjoyed, and I hope that you have become inspired to get out and travel!

xo, Jodi

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