Meet Stella!

My mother isn’t the type to have tchotchkes laying around, however she does have a tendency to get a tiny bit obsessed with things when she suddenly discovers how great they are. Pens, post-it notes, measuring cups, gladware containers, cute pads of paper, the newest lace top/dress trend, chunky jewelry… she just can’t stop at one or two, its got to be ten, or twelve, or twenty five (or in the case of gladware, 250). Please don’t get me wrong, this explanation isn’t meant in any way to be negative. In fact, I’m doomed, genetically and via environment, to turn into my mother, so I tend to get just as obsessed with things. Just look at my packed-to-the-brim storage unit. Really, its an endearing quality, I swear.

Anyways, don’t ask me why, but cute rubber ducks in all shapes and sizes with a myriad of decorations and outfits have made the obsession list, and although we are a clutter-free household, her incredibly random rubber duck collection is currently chillin in the guest (er, my) bathroom.

So the other day, I’m brushing my teeth and staring at all the cute ducks and I have an “aha!” moment. “I bet one of these cute buddies would make a great travel and photography companion!” I said, splattering toothpaste everywhere. So there you have it, the story behind the adoption of Stella.

She’s quite small and simple, with a red tie around her ducky neck, but I’ve become rather attached to her already, and believe she will be great company on extraordinarily long bus rides and during my many hostel sleeps. We’re bound to become great friends, I just know it.

brown paper packages tied up with strings…

Well, they’re more like padded envelopes and cardboard boxes delivered by FedEx, but you know what I mean. Bottom line, I’m starting to get all sorts of fun packages in the mail, which makes me that much more excited for my trip!

A few days ago, my beautiful Deuter Quantum pack came. I did a ton of research and spent lots of time in Sports Chalet trying out packs, and finally settled on this baby, and I think she’s perfect. I have also figured out the perfect name for her: Dora. (Short for Dora the Explorer, clearly.) Fitting, no?

I also got my handy dandy headlamp – hence the photoshoot to your right. I learned my lesson that reading in bed with a flashlight sucks back in 5th grade, but I had since forgotten, and was reminded in reading many world travel blogs that headlights are essential. I also purchased an amazing surge protector strip with two USB cable outlets and a swiveling master wall plug — I’m betting this baby will ensure I make friends with anyone in my hostel rooms. My quick dry (and very thin) travel towel also arrived via Zappos, and though I’m not sure I’m quite psyched about using a fake towel for 3 months, I guess I’ll get used to it!

Still to come is my new (green!) iPod nano, which I got for free with my credit card points — woohoo Capital One!

I’ve done several CVS runs, and slowly but surely whittled down my packing list and raided my Mom’s closet — re-claiming an old sarong of mine to use as a blanket/skirt/beach towel, finding the perfect sized bags to fit all my cosmetics and electronics, and borrowing some t-shirts that will match everything I’m bringing. I can’t believe the countdown is 10 days!o

My last goal is to find a fun object to take on my travels and take pictures of/with at fun spots. My mom has a fun collection of rubber ducks, so I was thinking about those, but I’m open to suggestions — comment and help me brainstorm!

Goodbye closet

Anyone who knows me knows that my walk in closet on Northampton Street was one of my favorite spaces… of all time. And thanks to my, er, excessive nature, it was always kept full, regardless of how many Goodwill donations I made.

Putting my life into storage was hard enough. (Ask my friends who sat with me for hours as I hemmed and hawed about what I had to leave behind) And don’t doubt that I miss every item in that storage unite — every day I look at my sparsly populated closet in my parents house and wish, desperately, that I had this shirt or that dress or another necklace. I am obsessed with my clothing collection, and more than happy to admit it.

But I learned my lesson about overpacking the hard way — bringing too much when you’re moving hostels every other night is a horribly frustrating experience. Sitting on your bag to get it to zip? Not buying a gorgeous souvenir because you can’t fit it in your bag? Cursing your sore back after carrying your bag for a mile because you couldn’t get a taxi? I’ve been there. I’m lucky enough to say I had a test run. Six weeks in South America at the beginning of the summer served me well, and I could make mistakes that I don’t have to make on this coming trip.

But I’m still cringing at the idea of bringing less tops than I have fingers. One site I read even suggested three t-shirts. Three. I think this constitutes as one of the many “first world problems” I call my mother out for complaining about all too frequently, but in a better effort to document my pre-trip thoughts and preparations, I’ve decided to rant anyways. That, and I wanted to put my packing list somewhere where I could be held accountable. So here it is.


  • 14 pairs of underwear
  • 3 sports bras
  • 3 regular bras
  • 14 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of knee high/thick socks
  • 1 pairs of jeans
  • Leggings (1 long, 1 crop)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • Sweats/yoga pants
  • 3 tank tops
  • 4 tshirts
  • 4 long sleeves
  • Cotton pullover
  • Long skirt
  • 2 dresses
  • Llama sweater
  • Black fleece
  • Windbreaker
  • Scarf
  • Bathing suit

* With a plan to do laundry about every two weeks.


  • Running shoes
  • Flip flops
  • Moccasins
  • Boots? [Do I want these? They’re my only warm option, but they’re big and bulky…]


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Face wash
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Disposable razor
  • Sunscreen
  • Body lotion
  • Qtips
  • Neosporin
  • Band aids
  • Ibuprofen, benadryl, immodium and cough drops
  • Birth control pills
  • Emergency prescription of Cipro
  • Bug spray
  • Cortisone ointment
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Hair ties & clips


  • DSLR + extra battery + charger
  • Reader + charger
  • Nano + charger
  • Laptop + charger
  • International phone + charger ?? [Dad is talking about buying me one because he’s neurotic. We’ll see if he does or not]
  • Bose headphones + charger ?? [These could be incredible to have considering I’ll be on 20+ bus rides, but they’re another electronic to shlep/add to the list.]
  • Converters
  • Mini surge protector


  • Guidebooks
  • Notebook
  • Pens
  • Earbuds
  • Inflatable travel pillow
  • Sleep mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Lock + keys
  • Over the shoulder purse
  • Kleenex packs
  • Chapsticks
  • Headlamp
  • Travel blanket ?? [I have a thin one that isn’t too bulky, can’t decide if it’s worth carrying]
  • Quick dry travel towel
  • Plastic bags
  • Laundry bag
  • Watch
  • Alarm clock [if I don’t have a cell phone]
  • Copies of passport & CCs
  • Travel wallet

… and of course, my passport!

Did I forget anything? Am I being excessive? It looks like a lot all listed out, but in terms of bulk, I don’t think it’ll be too heavy… Then again, I’m excellent at underestimating. 

Headed back to the southern hemisphere

When I came back to the US at the end of June having spent 6 weeks in South America, I simply couldn’t fathom putting myself back to the daily grind. I thought it might be the typical post-vacation blues, but as July wore on I realized it wasn’t just that.

Don’t get me wrong — I love being a journalist and a web editor. I learned more in a single year as an Assistant Editor and nightlife blogger than I could have during 5 years in school, and I’m so thankful that I was employed straight out of college.

My alma mater, Northeastern University, puts its students on the fast track to a career. It’s the reason the university is world renowned, and why so many students choose to spend 5 years there. Sure, students at NU study abroad, go on summer dialogues, even co-op abroad, but the emphasis and strength of co-op is that it leads to employment… the day after you graduate. But after a summer of reflection, I’ve realized that because I spent the last 5 years focused completely on pursuing a life as a journalist, I never stopped to think about how much world there is to see, or how young I am to be jumping straight onto a career path.

And that’s not to say that Northeastern isn’t an incredible school. I am so thankful that I moved myself across the country to gain such an incredible education, at a university that prides itself on real world, hands-on experience.

But at 24, a year out of college, I had a sudden realization that I was too young to be settling down. For the first time in my life, I’m single with nobody to look out for but myself. I’m off of a lease and out of a job, I have nothing tying me down but a single storage unit in Middletown, CT. In other words, I’m unattached and unobliged, and that’s such an incredibly rare situation — one I may never find myself in again.

So I’m going back.

Starting October 1st, I’ll be participating in a four week, Spanish language traveling classroom program in Ecuador. I’ll travel to four cities throughout the country: Montañita, Manta, Quito and Cuenca, spending a week in each taking 4 hours of Spanish a day and immersed in the culture in three separate home-stays. In addition to twenty hours of Spanish a week, I’ll be taking surfing, salsa, and cooking lessons, trekking to volcanoes, snorkeling off the Isla de Plata, relaxing in hot springs, whale watching, and even paragliding.

Then, starting at the end of October, I’ll spend the rest of 2012 — 9 weeks — making my through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. My itinerary isn’t completely solidified, but I think it’s going to stay that way. I loved the six weeks I spent on the continent in May and June, but not having flexibility in my travel plans was tough, and I can’t wait to arrive in certain cities and decide to spend a few extra days there, just because.

So here’s to more world travels and adventure — I can’t wait to document them all here!

And I’m off!

I’m sitting in the Toronto airport in disbelief. In the last 72 hours, I put everything I own into cardboard moving boxes, shipped a handful of clothing to Los Angeles, sold all of my furniture, and loaded a 14 foot uHaul filled with all of those boxes (plus a few suitcases) and drove it from Boston to a storage facility in Middletown, Connecticut. I can now confirm that my life fits neatly into a 5 x 10 foot storage room — a very surreal feeling. I painted my gorgeous turquoise and hot pink walls back to a sad, dull, white, donated a slew of stuff to Goodwill and Pine Street Inn, and said goodbye to some of my best friends and the city I’ve learned to call home over the past 6 years. It’s so surreal that just a few months ago I was dreaming of quitting my job and traveling the world, and now the day I’ve been anticipating is finally here.

I spent my quick hour and a half flight up north to Canada (and yes, it is backwards that I had to fly north to then just fly straight back down south, but these flights were $500 cheaper than the other option, so I’m just as happy this way!) reading my Peru guidebook. I can’t wait to spend 11 days on my own, exploring the country. I’m especially excited to spend some time in Cusco — I’ve heard nothing but fabulous things, and I can’t wait to get there.

Thanks to my online media classes at Northeastern, I remembered how to create a personalized Google map project, so last week, I made a fun one for my trip with all the destinations I’ll be visiting. Not too shabby for 5 weeks! My itinerary isn’t completely solidified yet, but my basic plans are as follows:

May 20/21 – Fly down to Santiago from Boston

May 21 – 24 – Greeted at the airport by Alison & Ignacio! Then spending time in Santiago exploring/relaxing.

May 24 – In the evening, fly out to Buenos Aires with Alison

May 24 – June 9 – Spend 8-9 days in Buenos Aires, with two sidetrips – one to Uruguay to see Montevideo and Colonia, and one to Iguazu Falls to hike and explore.

June 10 – First thing in the morning, fly back to Santiago, spend the day relaxing/doing laundry and possibly meeting a family friend.

June 11 – At 8 AM, fly up to Cuzco, Peru via Lima. Spend the rest of the day adjusting to the altitude and exploring.

June 12 – Spend the day in Cusco. Possibly take a half day tour of the four Inca ruins sites surrounding the city. Get to the tour offices for my trek pre-departure briefing.

June 13 – June 16 – For four days, I’ll be hiking, rafting, biking and ziplining my way from Cusco to Machu Picchu. This trip is going to be a huge personal challenge in terms of all the physical activity, but I absolutely cannot wait. I won’t be too out of my comfort zone since we’ll be staying in hostels every night, which I’m definitely thankful for! I booked the trek with a well known tour group, Green Toad Bus Tours, you should click that link and check out my trip — it looks phenomenal!

June 16 – 17 – I’ll spend the rest of the day I arrive back from my trek plus the 17th

June 18 – Through the same tour company, I’ll be taking an 8 hour bus ride (don’t worry, we stop four times for lunch and visits to ruins and tour sites on the way down!) to Puno, on Lake Titicaca. The ride is part of a bus hop plan, which takes you from Cusco down to La Paz in Bolivia, with stops in Puno and Copacabana.

June 19 – Spend the day in Puno, with a half day trip out to the Uros Islands, a floating island in the middle of the lake. Then I’ll hop on a 3 hour bus ride to Copacabana and cross the border into Bolivia!

June 20 – 21 – I’ll have a day and a half to spend in Copacabana, probably checking out more floating islands on Lake Titicaca and doing more exploring. Then on the evening of the 21, I take another short bus ride down to La Paz.

June 22 – June 24 — Three days of exploring La Paz that I absolutely cannot wait for. On my to do list is more research on this leg of the trip since my guide books don’t include Bolivia, but I got some great advice from a friend who was there and I’m very excited that I’ll have the chance to be in a fifth country!

June 25 – I will spend the morning in Santiago, then head to the airport to get on my Air Canada flight to Los Angeles!

Goodbye, Boston

I am doing the unthinkable.

Well, that’s a little dramatic. But I am taking a huge risk, one that many people, including my parents, think I’m insane for taking.

Today, I put my two weeks notice in at work — without a new job offer. I rented a uHaul, reserved a storage unit and began to list all my furniture on Craigslist. I organized a goodbye party with friends, booked a Zipcar for a donation trip to Goodwill, and began taping up boxes.

As a Northeastern University graduate, I was driven toward career goals from the moment I stepped onto campus at age 18. Completing 3 co-ops and watching older classmates graduate to secure jobs in our field, Northeastern students are compelled to do the same — searching for employment the second we begin our senior years, ensuring that when we walk out of Boston’s TD Bank North Garden on the first Friday of May, we have a solidified answer to the dreaded “what are you doing after graduation?” question we all came to despise during our last semester.

And as a class of 2011 graduate, I did just that. A month before graduation, I secured two jobs — both of which were at companies where I had co-oped. I joined the working world three weeks after graduation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so thankful. I can’t tell you how many people I know who are my age, or older, frantically searching for jobs, especially in the journalism industry. And here I am, giving up two of them.

TechTarget has been an incredible working environment for me to learn and grow. My time there taught me what I am passionate about, where I really see myself in 5 years, and that, most importantly, I still have a lot to learn. I acquired valuable online media and journalism skills that will serve me well in my career, and I formed friendships and working relationships with dozens of wonderful people.

Blogging for as a nightlife writer has been, literally, a dream come true. I have the city of Boston at my fingertips, have had the opportunity to connect with some truly incredible people, and a perfect excuse to spend multiple nights a week out on the town. There are billions of young, aspirational bloggers out there, putting their posts onto the interwebs, but I was lucky enough to have in my URL, and to have weeks where some of my posts saw upwards of 10,000 visits.

So why give that up?

At nearly 24 years old, I have the travel bug. I want to get out, I want to see the world. Upon moving across the country in 2006, I’ve strived to ensure that I have lived my life with no regrets, but one of my biggest thus far is not studying abroad for a full semester while I was in college.

Alison, one of my best friends from high school, has been living in South America for the past year and a half, and has decided she wants to spend a month traveling in the southern hemisphere before moving back to the US. The cards fell into place and I couldn’t resist. Did I mention she speaks fluent Spanish?

So after much debate and contemplation, and a few tears, I’ve decided to take the jump. On May 20, I’m flying down to Santiago, Chile to explore her new hometown. From there, we will be traveling through Argentina for 3 weeks. She has a trip planned with her parents at the end of June, so we’ll part ways and I’ll spend 10 days in Peru (in Lima, Cuzco and at Machu Picchu) before I fly back home to Los Angeles. I’ll spend a few weeks at home in LA, possibly do a mini west coast road trip with a friend from college, then fly back east to New York City, which I’ve officially decided will be my next home base.

I’m nervous. Actually, to tell the truth, I’m terrified. All I can think is “What if I’m destined to be unemployed for the rest of my life?” But I know that’s not true. And, more than anything, I’m excited. I can’t wait to travel in South America, in countries that I know close to nothing about. I’m excited to experience the culture, to be immersed in Spanish, to actually see Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls in person, and not just in photographs. No one I know has ever said they regret taking time off to travel, and that’s exactly what I plan to do. Take in the world, learn to live out of a very small suitcase for a month (that will be the real challenge), and learn that much more about myself.

Of course, I’ll be blogging the entire adventure, so be sure to check back here for posts, pictures, and updates of my travels. I’ll leave you with some inspiration:

‎”You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” — Steve Jobs