I don't feel guilty for being away because a small break is was what I needed. To make space for other creative things in my life. To let new ideas come to me. To figure out what my next steps with this blog would be. That is the beauty of taking a break, they are a pause to think and be creative.Read More
Travel is very special to me. It’s not just the excitement of seeing a new place and getting out of the everyday routine, but it is a way for me to appreciate the world around me and learn more about myself. I frequently write about how I have become more aware of my values through going away, but through this blog I realized I can also keep developing those values by incorporating some of my travel habits and perspectives to my every day. A manifestation of that has been what I am calling my new hometown tourist mentality. I live in arguably the greatest city in the world (NYC) and although I have always appreciated that, this past year I have been far more proactive about seeing my surroundings. I feel like this is such a gift that my first year of blogging has given me.
Another gift I have discovered more recently is an entire community of like-minded travelers who inspire me. They offer such great advice and place-based inspiration. Plus when I am not traveling to a new land I can live vicariously through them! That's why in celebration of my blog I want to thank 5 bloggers (of the many) who I admire and, although they probably don't know it, truly motivate me to travel farther and deeper and continue growing here at See Soo Much.
The Free Passport
Trisa Taro is the woman behind The Free Passport, originally from Hawaii but a NYC local her blog spans both the light and serious topics around travel. Visit The Free Passport for stunning photography and travel guides, or for thoughtful articles on issues that impact the way we travel. Some of my favorite posts include 3 Ways the U.S. Presidential Election Will Impact the Way You Travel, Photo Diary: Hiking Cinque Terre, and Here's How You Can Turn 10 Days of PTO into 34 Days of Travel in 2016 (sounds interesting right!?)
The Exploress and founder Nina Grace is all about empowering women to explore the globe while finding beauty in it all. The site just draws you into place you never knew should even be on your bucket list while simultaneously offering truly practical tips for travel. I really love their posts How to Travel Solo with Confidence, 10 Must Pack Tiny Essentials, and The Alaskan Frontier.
Sea of Atlas
Sea of Atlas is actually a design studio created by the very talented and stylish Brittany Fabello. Her blog covers topics from lifestyle to business, but my absolutely favorite posts are their travel posts. I am smitten with the photography and absolutely love catching her in the travel act on instagram (can we stay insta-stories on fleek?). Be sure to check out A Weekend in Lisbon, Portugal and her entire Amalfi Coast series!
The Travelling Light
I have followed The Travelling Light and author Katie McNoulty for quite a while and love the nonchalant and beautiful nature of her content. There is something so cool about everything she does, and now that I follow her insta-stories I am even more inspired! Explore her website by location, I am currently obsessing over her archive of Bali posts (when I am not stalking here current journey in India on social media!).
We are travel girls
We Are Travel Girls (WATG) is a community of female travelers created by Becky van Dijk and Vanessa Rivers. The website is jammed packed with contributed travel tories and advice that serves as a non-stop source of inspiration. Be sure to read the post I contributed as well as follow WATG on instagram for some major wanderlust.
Thank you to all of you incredible bloggers out there producing great content! I am so inspired by each one of you I encounter!
Which travel blogs are really inspiring you right now or do you have a blog yourself? Leave them in the comments below, I would love to check them out!
I have a fear of heights and this acrophobia comes up pretty often while I am travelling and this trip was no exception. While in Mexico my partner and I visited some of the beautiful Mayan ruins and Yucatan cenotes which challenged my fear and proved to me once again that I am more courageous and capable than I realize.
I had my first minor scare when visiting the ruins in Tulum. This beautiful place is the only coastal ruins site in the Yucatan and sit atop cliffs overlooking the sparkling Caribbean Ocean. Hiking the ruins were not a big deal until we came to climbing down the steep wooden steps to reach the beach below. I held the rail and scaled the steps slowly, fortunately escaping the scalding sun outweighed my slight hesitation and before I knew it I was in the water.
A couple of days after our visit to the ruins we boarded a bus to Coba, a small town south of Tulum with ruins we heard we could climb. The Coba ruins were very different from Tulum's; they were shaded by forest canopy with structures intact enough to easily identify (like recreational ball courts!). It was here that we climbed the Ixmoja pyramid. I didn't expect these ruins to be as high or steep as they were but I really wanted to see the view from the top. The climb up and down were far more difficult than the steps in Tulum (that I had since forgotten), and as soon as I made it to the top I found a safe place to tuck myself away. But I have to say, standing above the all the trees was an incredible sight.
Looking back now I see each adventure in Tulum was a ramp up our to our afternoon at the Coba cenotes. My honey and I decided hire a cab driver to take us to two: Choo-Ha and Tamcach-Ha. Choo-Ha is a relatively shallow underground swimming pool-like cenote while Tamcach-Ha is 30 feet below grade with an additional 40 foot water depth.
After a quiet swim in Choo-Ha we headed over to the far more "exciting" Tamcach-Ha. I began down the long, wooden spiral staircase but halfway down I panicked. The drop seemed far too high and a very shaky and frantic version of myself rushed back topside with my partner not far behind. After many minutes, the two of us in our bathing suits negotiated my way back down the stairs in an embarrassingly slow fashion.
A tour group was already diving from the 10 and 20 foot high diving boards. While I composed myself on the large platform at the water's surface my boyfriend went for a swim. I watched the old, the young and everyone in between jump from the 10 foot board, I even watched many (including my brave man) jump from the 20 footer. After nearly a half hour of just watching I began feeling some serious FOMO. Maybe it was the scared 10-year old that took the plunge or watching my boyfriend go up and down several times, but I realized that I wanted to be the type of person who could make that jump. I didn't want to go homing knowing I didn't do something I had the chance to try. And I didn't want to be ruled by an irrational fear. I wanted to make that jump, or at least try to. So I climbed up those scary stairs, stood 10 feet above the water (it seemed higher by the way!) and after a few minutes looking down at the water, deliberating my sanity, I jumped!
And it was terrifying, and a little painful, but I did it and it was INCREDIBLE.
This little experience was big for me. I learned more about the woman and partner I want to be. I want to make memories a push myself outside of my comfort zone. It's that little step that did just that for me.
I used to think I could never budget in travel (especially out of the country) into my life. But I have come to realize even the tightest budget usually has some wiggle room. This of course doesn't apply to everyone's circumstance, but I assume if you are reading this you are like me and have an income and financial responsibilities that seem to leave you with little space for much else, but chances are you do. Here is how I found that extra space and why you can probably afford to travel after all.
Those new shoes in your cart are probably not essential.
My favorite trick when saving up for a trip is the "those boots are 3 nice dinners in Rome" trick. Imagining myself in Rome eating fresh pasta wins out over another pair of black ankle boots every time. Once I got serious about my travel goals my impulse to buy a new coat every season or own four slightly different black blazers felt frivolous. And it expanded past my closet, my late night Amazon orders became more methodical and I felt more in control of my wallet. I didn't feel like I was sacrificing either (my biggest fear in budgeting) I felt like I was investing in something much bigger. And in the end could see that cutting back on shopping made space in my life for experiences and true value.
There is cash in your closet.
There is probably cash in your closet, or garage or under you bed. When I am saving for a trip I take the opportunity to purge the excess in my life. As I am spending less on the miscellaneous I am also auditing anything "extra" that I don't use or need anymore. I try to sell these "extras" online (usually clothing), and what I don't sell I donate because after all I just recognized that I don't need it. I would never recommend booking a trip and then selling all of your material belongings, not for a casual vacation anyway, but I have always been refreshed to come home after an amazing trip to a decluttered home. It has served me as a blank slate on which to implement all of my new post-vacation inspiration.
Your Seamless app is overused.
I have found the only truly maleable part of my budget is what I spend on food. In part, because of where I live (New York City) and my lifestyle (fairly busy and on the go) my food budget has tended to go uncalculated and as a result be very inflated. Once I started tracking my food purchases I realized that I eat out a lot more than I thought, I eat way more candy and desserts than I knew, and my groceries often go unused and wasted (totally unacceptable). It took a lot of planning, but I have been able to slash my take-out/order-in habit by more than half and barely throw away anything in my fridge anymore. Do the math yourself, that $5 coffee everyday if cut down to just a few days a week is almost a $1000 plane ticket each year. Or your $12 work-day lunch is $240 for the month, pack a lunch every other day and you have a night in a nice hotel or a few days in an airbnb. Makes a home brew and bagged lunch seem more appealing right?
Travel isn't as expensive as you think.
You may not believe me, but it really is not. All things are relative. I used to think in order to go abroad I would need loads of cash, I mean just having hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars upfront for a ticket is pretty intimidating. But getting there is often the most expensive part of travel, I assure you. Of course it all depends on the type of trip you are looking for. I tend to travel like a local for shorter periods of time. I don't like to leave the country if I don't have at least a week to spare, but never travel for more than a month (by week three I am usually missing my routine at home). By "traveling like a local" I mean that I eat out but not at expensive touristy places every night. I visit attractions but avoid touristy package deals and opt for curating my own experience. And I don't shop for souvenirs or the like while away. When keeping to these rules I tend to stay at or under my daily budget at home so that lodging and my flight are my only additional expenses.