The not so glamorous p1

The not so glamorous p1

Traveling can be a great, beautiful and wonderful eye opening experience. But do people ever talk about the not so glamorous side of traveling?

You know- when your stuck in traffic trying to get crosstown in London to make your flight to Spain? Or when your staying in an air bnb in Amsterdam and can’t figure out for the life of you how to use the washer and end up fucking up all your underwear? Or accidentally drinking the water in Morocco and having to go to a pharmacy in Romania just to get meds so you’ll stop shitting your pants?

Nope. Not a peep of this. Well all of these these instances are true and have all happened to me so let’s get into it. 

I hope I took the right doses because Google translate did not help with this one


I’ve been to Morocco twice. First time I was a cautious Cathy. Didn’t drink the water, didn’t use ice cubes in my drinks and didn’t even brush my teeth without a bottle nearby. Luckily I escaped unscathed. The second time I was a little more ballsy and had been already traveling for about 2 weeks at that point. I brushed my teeth with the water, ordered ice in every drink and even let a little shower water get in my mouth after a particularly rough hike and I felt fine! Until I didn’t. Towards the end of my Morocco trip I started to feel a little funny, which I merely chalked up to travelers stomach (yes, it’s a real thing). When I got to Sevilla a few days later I knew something was definitely wrong so I stocked up on some trusty digestive cookies (a real Spanish staple) and kept it moving. However it wasn’t until  a week later when I found myself in Romania driving back from Draculas castle that I knew something was wrong. 

Clearly too excited to notice the rumbling going on beneath the surface. 

As we were rounding a corner entering a small town I  thought to myself “this is it. This is the moment when your life will change forever because you’re literally about to poop in your pants”. My life flashed before my eyes and I actually almost cried. Real question. Have you ever almost shit your pants? Like clenching your butt cheeks, praying, vision going blurry shit your pants. It’s like you can see the future and it’s not bright, you know from that moment on your life will forever be divivded into two parts like BC and AC. BS and AS – before shitting and after shitting. Just imagine for a second what your life you would be like if you actually pooped your pants at the age of 27 and were not drunk or had a serious illness. Anyways, In the middle of her story I blurted out UHIHAVETOFINDABATHROOMLIKENOW.  

Luckily my travel companion knew me well enough to know that it was an emergency, we found a somewhat abadoned restaurant, waddled our way inside and the rest is history. When we got back to Bucarest we made a beeline to the nearest pharmacy. Lucky for me Europes pharmacies are very different from Americas. In these pharmacies you walk in, tell the pharmacist what’s wrong with you and bam. You got your meds. No questions, no prescription, no nothing. So to the pharmacist in old town Romania. Thank you for saving my intensities, my dignity and my wallet. Although I have no idea what these boxes say because I speak approximately 0 words of Romanian, as far as I’m concerned these are little miracles in a box and cost a whopping $4. 

So ladies an gentlemen the lesson here is to never drink the water in Morocco,  always have a pepto bismal handy when traveling and never be ashamed about trying to explain to a random Romanian stranger that you need meds to stop you from violently pooping your pants. It happens to the best of us.

Happy Travels!!  

The only thing I could eat in Bucarest 

Oh Cordoba

Oh Cordoba

I wish I had more photos of Cordoba but I was there for a friends birthday and when you take the south of Spain + warm weather + a friends birthday = you get a bit of a shitshow.

That being said I did get the chance to do a night tour of the Mezquita (no photos allowed) I highly highly highly recommend it. Not to toot my own horn but I’ve seen some of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy, Spain and Portugal and the Mezquita in Cordoba is literally on my top 3. It is as the spanish would say impressionate. Personally I would skip the alcazar (besides the gardens) and just wander around (los patios is also definitely another must) BUT enough talk, here are the photos.

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Basic, I know but the lighting was amazing

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This might have been the narrowest street in all of Spain or Europe? I can’t remember

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The infamous flower wall!

Cambios, Spain vs. America

Cambios, Spain vs. America

This afternoon my host dad (Jorge) asked me – Lindsey, what are the differences between Spain and America. I’ve had some time to think about this as this is my second go round in Espana (what can I say I love the Spanish)

The truth is there are waaaaay too many to count, but in an attempt to humor him and myself for that matter I decided to compile a short, but I think very accurate list.

  1. Structure. I grew up in a household where fast food was food group and the car was my kitchen. It didn’t matter where we were, what time it was or what the food was. We ate when we wanted, where we wanted and what we wanted. Here is a little different.

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Pasta for dinner? No. Hamburgers for lunch? don’t even ask. Dinner at 6? you must be joking. The structure is intense. Soups, rice and pasta are to had for lunch. Burgers and salads for dinner. For snack (aka America’s lunchtime) fruit. I eat a small sandwich and still get weird looks from the teachers. One time I dared to bring pasta and it seemed like the pueblo was going to implode.

I. cant. stand. it.

For a fully grown lady (I say that only because I pay all my own bills, but by no means am I an adult) it’s extremely frustrating. If I want pizza for breakfast lemme have it, pasta at noon, take a chill pill, pero bueno. I digress.

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The only good burger in all of Spain

Also what’s with always setting the table? I literally say down to eat solo style and the mesa was set to a tea, bread, water, glasses, forks and knives. It’s just not necessary and seems like a waste of energy.

2. The Food. Now I know a lot of people say “Omg Lindsey the food in Spain is so good!”. To which I respond, what do you think Spanish food is? Paella? yes, for special occasions – Birthdays, Holidays, and the occasionally visitor – so we’re talking 3-4 times a year. What else you got? Tapas? Ok good, so exactly what do you think is on your tapas? If you guess sardines, sausages, boiled eggs, octopus, morcilla (google it) and tuna, then you are in fact correct. They are, how do I say this gently, not all their cracked up to be. And just like with any other food, if you eat it everyday without change you will get sick of it. But Lindsey, what about the olive oil? Yes they do cook with a lot of olive oil, but not in a good way, my fish, hamburgers, vegetables and everything else is literally boiled in olive oil and let me tell you that shit is not pleasant. Unlike the grease in America that be blot of or that dries, olive oil does not, it pools into your plate, on the crevasses of your meat and especially in your skin. Greasy much? thank you, yes I am.  Like really? Me muero.

My friends and I regularly sit down at our dinner tables only to find that our main course for the night is a plate of sausages, pig lips, a bowl of broccoli and other creations. Let me just tell you right now, that when I talk to you and I saw I miss American food don’t you dare judge me. Not until you’ve eaten chorizo everyday for 3 months. Morcilla-de-burgos-2.jpg

Take a little guess at what this delicacy is.

3. Laundry. Like most European countries, the Spanish don’t necessarily use dryers, so our clothes are set out on racks or other things to dry. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind this at all, except when I do. After living in New York for several year and having to pay for my laundry I’ve learned to stretch things pretty far. This means doing laundry about once a month, so when I need clothes I need them like, yesterday. I don’t have time to wait 2 days for my underwear to dry Ineedthemlikenow. Another fun fact, because clothes aren’t always dried in a dryer they can get a little crispy so they like to use something I refer to as suavizante aka fabric softener aka natures perfume. Unlike the fabric softener of the States this shit reeks, it gets into every pore, invades every strand of clothing you own every hair on your body. It’s strong. Don’t want to use suavizante? Fine, enjoy your crispy pants! Let me know how it feels like have paper cuts on your legs 😀

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Can’t live without it.

4. El Rollo. The culture of going out here is totally different than in America. We like shots, large glasses of wine, and to party. However, the idea here is completely different. If you try to drink 3 glasses of wine here like you do in America let me tell you, you will in fact regret it. Not only is the wine 3948903 stronger here but people will think you actually have a drinking problem. No one here drinks to get drunk, but rather to enjoy themselves. Hence why they stay out until the sun rises versus until they pass out.  American’s take note. Also la marcha doesn’t end when you’re 30, 40 or even 50. Kids at the bar? no problem, staying out until sunrise at 40? totally acceptable, drinking everyday during descanso, lunch and dinner? maybe not so much, but I’m willing to take one for the team and give it a try.

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Painfully thirsty

5. Time. Now I feel like this should’ve been first but this is what I’ve had the most trouble with (living in New York and all) I’m usually always in a rush. But here no pasa nada. People don’t rush, lunch takes 2-3 hours (yes please) dinner the same, and going out to eat at a restaurant? don’t even attempt it if you’re in a rush. It’s just not worth it. I wake up as late as possible, grab breakfast to go (another thing they don’t get). Stuff my face during descanso and lunch (we don’t eat dinner until 9:30 most days) and siesta. That’s fucking right, I siesta every.single.day. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop. It’s honestly something we should bring back to the U.S. I feel better, I treat everyone around me better. Todo esta bien.

That being said, I love Spain, the people, the food, the lifestyle everything, BUT I also am super homesick, miss American food and most of all I miss butter.

The travels

The travels

So obviously I’m here, but here’s a throwback to my final freakout in America.

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The countdown has begun and it is less than a couple of weeks until my departure time. My room is packed (ish) goodbye have been said (ish) and I’m totally ready (ish) to leave. So let us continue with our normally scheduled program.

Step 6 – Say your goodbyes. This is the most cliché thing I’ve ever said but it’s true – there’s never a perfect time to pick up and leave. You can always find a reason to stay and not say goodbye. I look at life in parts – personal and professional, some people might say when one is good the other is not, while one is flourishing the other must suffer for me this was not the case. At the time that I made my decision to apply everything was going just peachy; my job was great, my milkshake was bringing all the boys to the yard (well not all, just one) and one of my best friends was planning her move to the city. Why would I want to leave? Lucky for me life is not kind and what comes up must ultimately come down. The boy left the yard, my job started completely changing and the rollercoaster was back down. I got into the program and was ready to leave, like yesterday, but of course a few weeks before my departure things started to look up. Once again and I questioned myself, is this the right time? Things are going so well for me again, am I making a mistake? WTF am I doing. I’m leaving in the middle of my lease, quitting a perfectly good job (with a ton of perks might I add) to go and flail around in a city I’ve never been too, I don’t even know anyone on my program and will be jobless. Whereas in New York – I’m making new friends, the job change might not be so bad, and the yard, well you get the point. There is no such thing as perfect timing, something will always be off balance, but you just have to ask yourself, is this is as close too perfect as you’re going to get? If the answer is yes, then do it.

 

Step 6.5 – The goodbye parties. If you’re like me and went to school and now work in the same city you’ve probably amassed a good amount of friends who will want to say goodbye with lots and lots of parties. My departure just also happened to fall around the holidays so tie in Holiday parties and you’re looking at a massive set back in your savings. Usually I’m always down to party, rounds of shots, goodbye dinners, the whole shebang but remember you’re supposed to budgeting. My advice and life motto – ball on a budget. Have a goodbye happy hour, host a brunch at your apartment, and that creepy guy in the bar who offers to buy you a drink? Just say yes – you’ll be happy you saved the $11 later.

 

Step 7 – Do not share your business with everyone. Believe you me, not everyone will get, or understand why you’re leaving and they will doubt you 10349%. At the time of my acceptance here were the 3 things I heard ‘Is this really a good time in your career to be doing something like this?’, uh I think yes, it is and I don’t think I signed up to sit on a beach and paint my nails (although I would absolutely love that) ‘What about finding a boyfriend? You’ve talked about wanting to get married what about that?’ So apparently now it’s impossible to leave the country for a few months and still get married. My absolute favorite one is ‘well it seems like things were going great for you and now they’re not and you’re just running’….and your point is? Whether I’m running from my problems, looking for scratch a travel itch or just happened to apply and be accepted into a program that is starting with timing that makes it seems like all of the above is none of your business. The justification for why and how you do what you’re doing is nobody’s business. If you want to share, then share if you’re escaping something, escape. Do what you want – you don’t have to explain, justify or reason with anyone (except maybe your wallet, but we’ve already covered that part).

 

Step 8 – Start packing. Ok this might seem pretty obvious but if you’re like and have been living in your same apartment for the past 3 years you have accumulated a ton of stuff and need to seriously do a cleanse. I started this process at the end of the summer and am so grateful – thus far I’ve sent about 5 suitcases full of things home and given away 4 bags of clothes. Thank you fall cleaning. Especially if you’re subletting your apartment to someone you don’t know. You would be surprised at how therapeutic this whole process has been for me – I’ve learned a lot about myself, my shopping habits, my hoarding habits – I’m shocked at how many packs of sticky notes I have actually. But really it’s an interesting exercise having to pack your life in suitcases 0- trying to think ahead to the next 4 or 5 months of your life, what you will and won’t need, what you can and can’t survive without. Even if you’re not traveling try some fall cleaning see what it does for your spirit and your wallet! I like many people have eyes bigger than my wallet and tend to occasionally splurge on items I cannot afford – because of this I’ve amassed quite the collection of designer handbags and clothes that are new or slightly used. Take this as an opportunity to either sell or donate your clothes and other gently used items. I know there are a ton of sites but for me eBay’s always been the best. It’s super easy out use, there are a ton of items on there from shirts, to shoes, accessories jewelry etc so you can sell literally almost anything on there. Alternatively, if you want to donate your items be sure to ask for receipts for tax returns! Just think about how nice it will be to see a couple hundred extra dollars pop up in your bank account while your browsing the baths of Budapest!

Spain Diaries p1

Spain Diaries p1

I moved into my host families house about a week ago (week agooooo). It’s located in a the small town or pueblo of Talavera de la Nueva – closest city Talavera de la Reina (10 mins by car) – closest city you’ve heard o Madrid (1.5 hours by bus, train or car). So far I’ve had a chance to walk about the town (takes about 20 mins) it’s filled with Ceramics, Orange trees and sprawling blue skies. I love it, but I also miss New York. 

How To Quit Your Job To Travel The World, Part 1

How To Quit Your Job To Travel The World, Part 1

Follow along as I begin my travels in Spain!!! (and read more of my stuff at 20some.com)

We’ve all been there, sitting in your office, scrolling through Instagram, BuzzFeed, Elite Daily and viewing picture after picture of beautiful people on the beaches of Italy, coliseums of Greece, or the luxurious streets of Paris. The headlines are screaming out at you – “I quit my job to travel! Here’s how I did it” (insert photo of two girls holding up a peace sign with some ninth Wonder of the World in the background). You think, “Wow this can be me too!”

You eagerly open up the article and begin reading, again thinking “Wow, I can totally do this.”

Here’s how they usually go:

“All it takes is a ton of motivation, a strong will and my parents’ credit card! LOL. We searched kayak.com until we found a great deal! Packed a bag and bought a one-way ticket, from there we worked odd jobs (and blogged along the way) and we were able to travel for one year! No steady job! It hasn’t always been easy but we did it!!”

Cool. I’ve basically learned nothing from this article and I still think it’s virtually impossible to quit my job and travel. So, I’m just going to go back to pretending that I understand excel and actually listen during meetings.

Well, despite these unhelpful resources, I retained the desire to quit my job and live abroad. And I’m here to tell you that, after a lot of my own research and preparation, I’m actually about to do it. But unlike these girls on Instagram who sell tea for a living, I’m a real life person with bills and a dad who will not be letting me use his credit card. I’m also here to tell you that it is possible no matter who you are, but it does take a lot if planning, discipline, and motivation (insert peace sign photo here). Here’s how it works:

 

Step 1: Make the decision and start planning.  

My planning actually began over a year ago. Last summer, I decided that I wanted to travel, spend all my money, then come back to “real life” and get my shit together. So, I started saving a little bit of money to do just that. At this point I had no idea what I was going to do or for how long, but my ideal timeline was three months.

After spending a year abroad in Spain during high school, I knew I wanted to go back. I started researching programs that would allow me to go to Spain for three months (since you only need a tourist visa if you are going to a country for this amount of time). I stumbled upon CIEE — a program that a few of my friends had done after high school. There was a 3-month volunteer program for people right outside of Madrid that allows you to stay with a family and volunteer to teach English at a local school! (aka major money saver.)

I decided this was the program for me, since I definitely want to brush up on my Spanish and start out with a solid home base before my travels. As anyone who has traveled abroad before can tell you, it’s pretty easy to move around Europe once you get there. So I figured I would do the program, then spend maybe a month or two traveling.

Solid plan right!? Maybe. I would still basically be without work for 3 to 5 months with little to no income as I mentioned before. So that brings me to…

 

Step 2: Start REALLY saving money.

Even if you don’t know where you want to go, or for how long, or have any solid plans in mind for a program or a path of travel, start saving $100 – $200 per paycheck, any bonuses, tax returns, whatever — just save, save, save. When you have a solid cushion in your savings, purchasing a one-way plane ticket for $400 doesn’t seem quite so scary.

Now, in lieu of writing a 15-page essay of what I did and how I did it, I’ll treat this more like a guide (and advice column of course) as I go and learn how you all can make it work, too. I’m about a month away from my departure date, so things are getting more real than ever, but I’m also here to tell you that anyone can do it.

If you’re feeling the itch, don’t scratch it by going out and shopping. Save your money. Sure it’s hard, you might not get to accept all those brunch invitations or eat out every weekend, but I’m sure when you’re enjoying a croissant in the Swiss Alps (why not?), you’ll be glad you didn’t try to drink 15 mimosas in 30 minutes with your six drunkest, closest friends.

Coming home for the Holidays…

Coming home for the Holidays…

Why does everyone always talk about hating coming home for the holidays? I’ve struggled with this question for years and never really discovered my personal reasons for it until now. Before I go into a complete family history let me clarify what I mean by home. I definitely don’t mean my parents’ house, because that is something I absolutely adore.  Sleeping in my old bed, playing with my dog, having my mom cook all my favorite foods. Home for me means Alachua, Florida. It means coming down to spend time with all my extended family, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, cousins baby mommas and all. That is something I dread.

Do I get the typical “why are you still single questions?” of course I do – and as someone who was recently fucked over by the fuckboi supreme of all fuckboys trust me I’m constantly dodging certain family members just so I can avoid all man discussions. For me it’s not what’s said but what’s unsaid that bothers me. My family is one of those “we were raised going to church 4 out of the 7 days of the week families, and not just normal church but that deep south type of church families” and two generations later it still shows. Sex before marriage, drinking, dancing, cursing, drug use of any kind, gay marriage, abortions you name it it’s off topic. But the one thing my family likes to do that particularly bothers me is the a la carte approach they like to take on when it comes to these religious beliefs and values.

Let me explain – As someone who is a single lady of the New York streets, I enjoy a good time and I can with 100% certainty say that my family would not approve of over 90% of the things that I do in my free time – drinking, men, my dress, my language, it would all be frowned upon and is not to be discussed or bought up around these family members. However deplorable they might think my behavior might be it has nothing on what some of my cousins do. Multiple children out of wedlock, absentee fathers and mothers, abuse, neglect (I can go on) these are things that are not only running rampant in my family but dare I say accepted?

 

Drinking around my family? – a huge no

Bringing around your 3 kids and multiple baby mommas? – yes of course!

Wearing a skirt above my knees – I would never hear the end of my grandmothers ranting

Two children living with her that have basically been abandoned by their mother – Not a single eyelash is batted.

 

The fact that I can be openly shamed for drinking and cursing around my family while there is a myriad of abuse and neglect victims sitting around the table that we won’t dare speak about is absurd to me because on holds no flame to the other. Me having a glass of wine with my Thanksgiving dinner vs. my cousin sitting next to me who doesn’t acknowledge or take care of his 3 kids out of wedlock are not even comparable.

The fact that we hold one so highly above the other is something that drives me crazy. Granted not everyone wants to discuss their abuse in front of their family members and is a personal choice, but don’t you dare shake your finger at me when I decide to throw back a few shots of whiskey before dinner because it hurts my hurt to sit around the dinner table looking at my family which contains 3 generations of sexual abuse victims that we have never to this day have spoken about. It physically angers me that we treat our men and our women so different, watching all the men sit around as their wives fix their plates, or the way my uncles grill the girls in my family about their love life while their sons are chasing after their multiple children whose mothers are nowhere to be found. Don’t you dare ask me about what I can and can’t cook while you’re sitting there with your grandson who hasn’t seen his mom in years because she’s hopped up on drugs. How about instead of focusing on my is or isn’t in my cup you focus on the real issues at hand. For some prayer is the answer, for other it’s alcohol and for me it just happens to be both.