An Open Letter to the Parents of Backpackers

This letter is for all you parents who worry on behalf of all the sons and daughters who long to do nothing more than strap on a rucksack packed with the bare essentials and break away from the norm. This one is dedicated to you mom.

Dear Parents,

For you, it may be daunting to think that your child is in another country with little or no knowledge of the culture or ways of life – but this is what makes us thrive. This is what teaches us the life lessons that cannot be taught in a classroom or lecture hall. This is what makes us believe that we can do anything, and trust me, we really do believe that we can do anything. Life is limitless. Traveling shows us that there is more to life than working a bullshit job and just ‘getting by’. There is no education greater than the lessons one learns whilst traveling.

You may think that your daughter or son is aimlessly wandering the world with no end goal of a career, but here’s the thing – we aim to be lost. Being lost at 26 is much better than being 40 years old and looking back at your twenties with regrets of not taking risks. You are probably also worried that your child is damaging they’re hopes of any sort of career due to constant job hopping and globetrotting, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Traveling really does have the ability to change our lives completely, no matter how cliche that may sound.

You see, this generation is different. This generation has so many more opportunities; and going to college, getting a degree and a job for life is no longer the objective. Traveling is much more eye opening and immersive than a book will ever be, because you write your own chapters and tell your own story. And is there anything better than a really good story?

You know that when we are gone, we miss home everyday, even if it seems like it is the opposite. You may not see the tough times though, the times when we cry in to our pillow at night because we miss the normality of home life and the support from the people who we’ve spent 20 years surrounded by. The times when we sleep rough, when we have ran out of money and the times when all we want to do is return home again. We probably won’t tell you we’ve been crying, we will tell you what an amazing time we are having. We don’t want to worry you with our struggles. You see, we learn to not rely on you – we learn to look after ourselves. But always remember that no matter what happens, we will always return home, even if just briefly. Home really is where the heart is.

You want to protect us, but you must let us go to be free to discover ourselves and the world. You fear something going wrong and not being there to protect us, but in essence, this is the whole point. Traveling is there to teach us to no longer rely on our parents, but to trust our instinct and make mistakes for ourselves to learn from. You have done an amazing job in preparing us for the rest of our life – now it is time to let us live it ourselves, spread our wings and fly free!

Sincerely,

The young and the restless.

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This is why we travel!

We travel for the experiences you can’t capture through pictures. Moments that are indescribable unless you were there in that very moment, basking in the pure bliss you’re feeling.

We travel for the moments you’ll never be able to capture in words, no matter how descriptive you can be there will be things, and experiences, and feelings you just can’t put into words. It’s things like stepping into the ocean, feeling the southern hemisphere sun warm your skin, seeing landmarks you’ve only dreamed about and remembering in those moments this is why you were born to travel.

We travel for the iconic landmarks and the hole in the wall restaurants. We travel to appreciate the earth and be in awe by it’s magnificence and beauty.

WE TRAVEL TO EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING WE CAN OUT OF LIFE BECAUSE LIFE ISN’T MEANT TO BE LIVED IN ONE PLACE, IT’S MEANT TO BE EXPLORED AND APPRECIATED.

It’s the way you feel when you walk out of the airport or off the bus, it’s the fresh air of an unfamiliar place hitting your skin. It’s trying to capture the perfect photo but realizing that no matter how hard you try you can never do it justice.

It’s watching the sunset on a beach in Bali lighting up the skyline like a burning orange wildfire.

It’s watching farm animals graze, it’s watching the waves crash against the shore eroding away at the land, it’s watching locals take pride in their homes and it’s the connections you make not only with yourself and others, but with the earth itself.

It’s the endless connections that you make with strangers in hostels that last a lifetime. It’s shotgunning beers on top of a mountain in Vietnam. It’s learning how to surf in Portugal. It’s getting lost in the streets of Morocco and being completely fine with it.

It’s every memory, face and picture you take away from a place. It’s seeing the millions of years of the earth shaping itself and forming to all it is in the very moment you lay eyes on it.

IT’S ALL THE PLACES YOU’VE SEEN PICTURES OF AND THEN ACTUALLY STEPPING IN THE FRAME.

It’s more than words can describe.

We don’t travel because we want to, we travel because we have too because without travel, life wouldn’t feel complete to us.

It’s all the moments that make us feel alive that make the stress, the money, the missing home worth it. It’s the moments of almost missing our plane or bus because we had no idea which direction to go in, and putting our trust in strangers to get us there. It’s those moments that make it worth it.

It’s the moment you stand there and look at something monumental that captures your breath and you think to yourself, “this, this is it, this is why I travel.” It’s the moments you can’t explain and the moments you’re absolutely in love with.

We travel because it’s a way of life. We travel because no matter how much we’ve seen and experienced we always crave more because there is nothing that can compare to earths natural beauty. We travel because we need to, because we love to.

What this superbowl actually means to Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Eagles are Superbowl LII champions! But this championship is more than just a franchise winning it’s first ring. It’s 57 years without a championship, it’s generations and generations of family being left broken hearted year after year, it’s four straight NFC championships and no rings, but most importantly it’s a city becoming one..

Eagles fan are one of the most loyal and craziest fan base in the NFL.. scratch that.. the world! As the rest of the world seen us “rioting” and “burning our city down”.. What I seen was completely different. I seen a city rejoicing, strangers hugging each other and flooding the streets with tears of joy, a city coming together for the first time in awhile.. It didn’t matter what color, race, age, gender, a cop, or what ever else society likes to separate us as.. Sunday night February 4th, 2018 we were one big family..

A city known as “Killadelphia” and for it’s tough brotherly love, it was completely opposite of that on sunday. As a city we united. Yes we tend to get carried away.. We’re Philadelphians, the craziest assholes you’ll ever meet, but don’t let that take away the fact of how devoted we are and how loving we can be once we let you in as “our brother”.

The fight, heart, faith, and family-ish feel of this team is what Philly is all about. From being underdogs and no one believing in us, to the tough “brotherly love” feel in the locker room. I myself could not be any happier of this team win or lose. They reminded me of why I love my city. For the longest time i hated Philly and avoided coming back home. After being reunited with friends and family during a time like this.. It hit me like a brick wall. I do miss Philly and will forever always love it because there is no other place in the world like it! Thursday will be filled with hundreds of thousands fans screaming and yelling in pure bliss on broad street! The city will be blasting “dreams and nightmares” and dancing as one. The motherfucking Vince Lombardi trophy is PHinally here in Philly! World champs!

This city has been waiting a long time for this moment and the world is against us and calling us amimals.. Well for you my friend.. We would just like to say Fuck You! No one likes us, and we don’t care! E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!

The reality behind Traveling no one talks about..

You travel the world, try new things, meet new people, fall in love, visit all these amazing places, learn about other cultures.. then its all over.  People always talk about leaving, but what about coming home?
We talk about the hard parts while were away.  Finding real jobs, settling down, moving out of your parents, making real friends, making good life choices, learning social norms.. But these are all parts you get through.  All of these lows are erased by the highs you experienced.  The goodbyes are difficult but we know they are coming, especially when you purchase that plane ticket back home.  All these sad goodbyes are bolstered by the reunion with your family and friends you have pictured in your head since the first day you left.IMG_20180104_135619_960.jpg

You finally return home, have your reunions, the next couple weeks you spend just catching up with friends and family, telling stories, and talking about the good old days.  You’re on top of the world for the first couple weeks.  You’re a star.  Everyone wants to hangout with you and hear all about your travels and then it just all goes away..  Soon enough you being home is old news. Everyone goes back to living their lives just like they were while you were gone.  Soon enough the questions start coming.. When are you gonna settle down? Do you have a job? What’s your plan?  When are you going to move out of your parents?

Reality starts to hit you.  You’re sitting in your childhood bedroom and realize nothing has changed. You’re glad to see everyone happy and healthy and yes, people have gotten new jobs, engagements, homes, etc., but part of you is screaming don’t you understand how much I have changed!? And I don’t mean appearance, I mean whats going on inside your head.  The way your dreams have changed, the way you look at life, the way you perceive people differently, the habits you’re happy you lost, the new things that are important to you.  You want everyone to recognize this and you want to share and discuss it, but theres no way to describe the way your spirit evolves when you leave everything you know behind and force yourself to step out of your comfort zone.  You know you’re thinking differently because you experience it every second of every day inside your head, but how do you communicate that to others who just don’t understand what you seen and did while traveling?IMG_20171222_023239_152.jpg

You feel angry.  You feel lost.  You have moments where you feel like it wasn’t worth it because nothing has changed but then you feel like its the only thing you’ve done that is important because it changed everything.  You made so many strange foreign places your home, that once you’ve actually returned home, you feel like a stranger..  Its like learning a foreign language that no one around you speaks so there is no way to communicate to them how you really feel.
This is why once you’ve traveled for the first time all you want to do is leave again.  They call it the “travel bug”, but really its the effort to return to a place where you are surrounded by people who speak the same language as you.  Not English, Arabic, Spanish, or French, but the language where others know what its like to leave, change, grow, experience, learn, then go home again and feel more lost in your hometown then you did in the most foreign place you visited.
This is the hardest part about traveling, and its the very reason why we all run away again, time after time.. IMG_20171225_144233_226.jpgreceived_10159786684905156.jpeg

 

 

Is solo traveling for me? 

There are a number of reasons why people chose to travel solo. It could be as simple as none of your friends want to go, or you just want to travel. It could be something more meaningful, like you want to go on a self discovery journey and find yourself, or prove to yourself you can do it. You might even be running away from something, or just want a change, something new or want the freedom. The reason you want to travel solo is yours. However you will undoubtedly grow as a person, learn so much about yourself and what your truly capable of. Traveling will open your eyes and can be one of the best life lessons you will ever receive.

My favorite part of solo traveling is the ultimate feeling of freedom, there is nobody to answer to but yourself. (that can be hard enough at times.) Every decision you make is yours, right or wrong everything is your choice. You chose when to move onto the next destination, when to go on an excursion, you decide if you want to lounge around on a beach or trek up a mountain. You chose when you want to be sociable or not. If you travel in a group, sometimes you need to compromise and even sacrifice what you want to do in favor of what the group wants. In groups trips are organised to accommodate you all, when your solo traveling you pick and chose when and what you want to do. Everybody in a group has an opinion and wants to do different things but when you’re a solo traveler it’s all on you.

A common misconception is traveling solo means being on your own all the time; it doesn’t. Even though you are solo and will be alone sometimes, you will come across people every single day. From the airport flying out to your destination, to the hostel or accommodation you’ve chose, to activities you do. You will meet a mixture of travelers and locals it’s just up to you who you want to make friends with; there is no obligation. Ask any solo traveler and they will tell you how easy it is to make friends traveling.

When going solo try staying at hostels instead of hotels and AirBnBs. Hostels are an unknown entity if you’v never stayed in one, you just don’t know what to expect or what goes on in them. You might think of a hostel as just a cheap place to sleep but they can become much more. Hostels are not hotels, so don’t expect hotel quality. Hostels are more communal, good to meet new people which is great for solo travelers, the best of friendships have been formed in hostels. What you can expect is shared spaces, social hubs, shared enmities and like minded people, there will undoubtedly be other solo travelers there too.

Hostels can become the cornerstone of your traveling experience; I know people who had a better time in a hostel and the people they shared it with rather than the place they were in (myself included). Sometimes the hostel can become the closest thing you have to a home and give you some much needed comfort. When arriving in a hostel be open minded, be receptive to what’ going on; anything and everything can go on in a hostel.

Solo traveling can be one of the best experiences of your life. It all depends on your attitude though.  It’s what you make of it. People will feed off your positive energy and vibe. Just be yourself because deep down who cares what people there think of you cause most likely you’ll never see them again. So get out there and make a fool out of yourself! Dance like there’s nobody watching! Most importantly be yourself, and remember that normal is boring! 

Here’s a couple tips for solo traveling:

  • Travel smart, act like you know what you’re doing even if you don’t.
  • Enjoy your travels, take your time and don’t get stressed over little things.
  • Pack light but practical (You’re carrying that backpack everywhere you go.)
  • Be open minded, adaptable, receptive to change and be willing to grow.
  • If things go wrong, look at it as part of an adventure not the end of the world.
  • Be prepared for anything to happen.
  • Put yourself out there to make friends. You don’t need to spill your life story just be open enough to make friends.
  • Don’t be a travel snob.
  • Keep important items like passports on you when traveling from one place to another.
  • When you’re feeling lonely, try to not let it take over you.
  • It’s your trip, you do what you want with it and how you want.

Oktoberfest, the Disneyland for adults!

Do you hear that??  “CLANG” The most beautiful sound in the world!  The sound of liters of beer clanging together in a giant tent filled with 10,000+ people from all over the world!  The sound that will forever change your life.

Oktoberfest is more than just a festival.. Its paradise, and I’m not talking about palm trees on a beach sipping margaritas paradise.  No, picture you died and went to heaven, and there was a giant party when you got there..  That kind of paradise!  Or as I like to refer to it as Disneyland for adults!  Everyone dressed up as Bavarians wearing lederhosen and dirndl, dancing on tables, and singing songs with strangers.  What more could you ask for..

I decided to stay in a tent at a campground during the festival and if you’re a solo traveler like myself its not only the cheapest but the best way to make friends!  Immediately upon arriving I received a welcome beer and became friends instantly with a group of people from Australia, USA, and France who all just met that day.  We all proceeded to go down to the festival and find us a table.  The moment we arrived it was madness!  Now if you are shy Oktoberfest might not be for you.  Getting a table is somewhat hectic.  Aussie(I forgot his name) and I decided to split from the group since it would be easier for two people to get in a table vs 15 of us.  We immediately got invited to a table by a group of German girls and from then on it was nothing but pure happiness!  A couple of my friends from my hometown that I haven’t seen in 4 years later joined us.20170923_143447

For the remainder of the weekend we decided that the Paulaner Festzelt tent, would be OUR TENT!  We were there from morning to close.  Now all tents have a different vibe and scenery, and if you are a party animal like us..  This is the tent to be at!  Dance parties on top of tables, clanging beers yelling prost, and singing songs with strangers.  Weeks after coming home you will still hear the “clang” and people chanting “oh oh oh ohhhhhh oh.”  I still wake up randomly thinking I’m there.  The vibe of this tent had everyone smiling from ear to ear.

Our last full day we decided to go down early and experience the festival fully by getting our own table, riding rides, and eating pretzels and sausages.  Well due to the fact that their was a huge after party at my campsite the night before I was up until 3am seeing what other countries I could explore.(wink)  By the time we made it down it was 10/11am and we were hurting so we figured what other way to fix a massive hangover then some jagerbombs followed up with a espresso.   We finally made it to “our tent” around noon and it was packed! So much that we couldn’t even get a table to order beers.  We found these two Australian girls standing off to the side so we decided to join them.  We partied with them for the remainder of the night. We introduced them to jagerbombs, ate dinner with them, and even went on rides together. If there’s one ride I recommend doing its the swings from 100m up above!  The view of the whole festival is out of this world!  I would probably say that those 60 seconds 100m above swinging around was the happiest moment of my life.  IMG_20170924_113130_708

Being with four girls you think it would be easy to get a table..  So I told them to stick their chest out and maybe we will get lucky.  Well we got lucky but it was because of my friend’s ravishing hair.. who would of thought.  After hours of clanging beers, falling off tables, and screaming “ozi ozi ozi, Oy Oy Oy” the tent closed down..  But the night was not over for us.  Far from over!  Around 11pm the tents close and everyone proceeds to go to these parks with picnic tables to drink and eat a snack before continuing to drink like theirs no tomorrow.  After some wieners and more jager we decided to find a bar to dance at.  No clue where were at we decide to follow the crowd.(when in doubt follow the locals)  The rest of the night was a shitshow..  We danced the night away and clearly we looked like foreigners so the whole club was loving us.  I wish there was more I could tell you about the night besides us losing my friend for a little and me waking up with my shoes gone but after drinking for 12-14 hours we were all gone..20170925_193022.png

So here are a few Do’s and Don’ts if you plan on attending Oktoberfest!

Do’s:

  • Dress up! Buy a lederhosen or dirndl trust me its half the experience and you’ll also look out of place if you dont
  • Party at the Paulaner tent at least one night!(you wont be disappointed)
  • Bring cash!  Lots of it! Beers average around 12-15 euros for a liter.
  • Utilize the metro.  Prices for taxis and uber are tripled during this time of the year.
  • Experience the breathtaking views from the swings and Ferris wheel.

Don’ts:

  • Be rude to the ladies giving out beers.  They will purposely skip you and make you wait.
  • Stand on top of the tables.  Easy way to get dragged out.
  • Be a badload.  Don’t be that person that pukes everywhere and ruins it for everyone around them!
  • Most importantly! Don’t be a dick!

**Bring a thirst for beer and your smile and you are sure to have a life changing experience.  You will meet some of the friendliest people there.  We all have one purpose during Oktoberfest!  Drink and have a great time! PROST!!!!!**IMG_20170922_193145_030

 

 

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The beauty behind Solo Traveling

I don’t know what I was waiting for. My heart ran the ends of the earth but my feet were still.. I was waiting, but the world wasn’t waiting for me. So, I went alone! And I learned that friends come easy on the road. Hearts are open, smiles are wide. Love grows quickly in strange cities and strangers become family when home is far away.

There are festivals raging, mountains to conquer, and markets to explore. This feeling of fear and surprise, is our heroine. Its what we live for! I realized that travel breeds compassion, dispels ignorance, and makes the world a smaller place..

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I don’t know what I was waiting for, but I’m no longer waiting alone.. At first I was scared. I still get nervous before every trip until I arrive at the airport and I feel this sudden change in my mind, body, and attitude. There is something about it that just sets me free and allows me to be my true self. My first solo trip was just such a relieve meeting so many like-minded people of all different age ranges and cultures just looking to have fun, and go on adventures in a different place.

Stepping out of your comfort zone not only forces you to meet all these wonderful people from all over, it allows you to find out who you truly are deep down. I learned more about myself in the past year solo traveling then I could ever imagine!

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Some journeys can only be traveled alone and sometimes you might never go if you end up waiting for someone to go with you. You never know what could be waiting for you on the other side of the world. So what are you waiting for.. What is stopping you? Don’t be afraid to walk alone, you’d be surprised just how capable you are!

“All you’ve got to do is decide to go and the hardest part is over.”-Tony Wheeler

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