It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. Namely because I made a conscious decision to discontinue my monthly preview series back in August. I did so with little discussion or fanfare, basically ghosting on you all and hoping no one would notice or call me out on it.
Silly me. After dating my way around New York City the better part of 6 years, I should know better than anyone how loud silence can be. Truth is, people notice.
When the first “why haven’t you posted your plans in a while” message floated into my inbox I felt flattered. By the third “did I somehow miss last month’s preview post” query, my lips still stretched into a smile. A smile that faded as the twenty-eighth “I liked your recaps and tales of where you were going next” came in.
I underestimated the loyalty and regularity of my readers (i.e. YOU!), not realizing this many people enjoyed my invasion of their inbox. I don’t think I say it enough – I freaking love you guys.
But I also kinda sorta hate you (in the way only someone who truly loves you can) because when I replied asking if you wanted me to bring it back, ALL OF YOU SAID YES.
When asked why you felt that way, the majority of you told me some version of the below:
- you like the recaps and seek out the monthly posts when you haven’t visited the site in awhile and want to catch-up with what I was up to.
- you like reading about where I’m traveling next so you can know what kinds of content to look out for both on the website and on social media.
- one of you pointed out that you subscribe to receive new posts published on this site straight to your inbox as you’re not much of a social media user. The monthly posts help you keep up with my movements in real time as my articles on certain destinations are often published weeks after I’ve already left said destination.
All fair enough and dully noted – hence the revival of this series.
The main reason I quit penning these monthly previews was because it took up valuable writing time. Time I felt could better be used to write destination-specific posts and long-form travel narrative (not to mention the other freelance writing projects I do outside of this blog). As many of you know, my articles and guides typically run between 3500 – 4500 words. I can’t help it – I’m long winded.
If you think it’s annoying on paper, you should meet me in person.
I mean it just took me 500 hundred words to get to the whole damn point of this introduction; which is – I’m bringing the series back BUT I’m also implementing some changes.
In order to focus more of my attention on comprehensive destination-specific guides and stories, I’ve decided to write future monthly preview posts in short, digestible highlights rather than loquacious (which is really just a fancy word for rambling) paragraphs. I’m super happy with this comprise and as always feel free to contact me anytime. I really do care and listen to your feedback and suggestions!
Travel-wise, 2017 started off slow which is nothing unusual. I spend most Januarys in New York City recuperating from the previous year and trying to lose the extra 15 pounds I always seem to be carrying around during this time. I also do it because I feel guilty paying $1900 a month for an apartment I barely use.
I don’t mind 4 weeks of no travel though. To steal a line from Chrissy Teigen – I’m the laziest busy person I know. So you can imagine how amazing it feels to be lazy during a not-so-busy time.
- I finally did the touristy thing and had a milkshake at Black Tap. For those of you that don’t know, Black Tap in NYC is famous for their Insta-worthy, over-the-top milkshakes. I attempted to go last year when my childhood bestie came for a visit but the line was too out of control. Well, she came back to town and this time we got lucky with a 20 minute wait. The milkshakes were everything we thought they’d be but what surprised us was how good the food was. I assumed because it leaned on the “touristy side” with its popular treats, it would be mediocre in the savory department. I was wrong. Their burgers were absolutely delicious. I highly recommend the Mexican Burger with its pepperjack cheese, pickled jalepenos, chipotle mayo, and crispy onion ring toppings.
- I took advantage of Broadway Week and saw Kinky Boots. I’m a massive fan of Broadway and have seen a fair amount of shows in both New York and London. Every year NYC hosts Broadway Week where tickets to the hottest shows go on sale at 2-for-the-price-1. The Tony Award-winning Kinky Boots was incredible. Be sure to check it out if you’re in NY at the right time.
- I binge-watched all 13 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Just to put this in perspective – that’s 218 hours of TV in one month (told you I can be super lazy). I’m not even going to apologize because I’m obsessed and its really enriched my life. Plus I can now use trendy hashtags. Bring on #JapriltheSequel stat!
- I went on the Paleo diet and it was the worst thing ever. I mean aside from the fact that I dropped the extra weight I was carrying, had tons of energy, and basically never felt healthier or better in my whole life – it f******* sucked. I basically cut out all processed foods and sugar. Oh and alcohol. That was dramatic for me. Aside from two cheat days while my friend was in town, I stuck to the diet. Now I feel skinny, healthy, well-rested, and I’m so incredibly excited to completely f**** it all up again when I start traveling next week.
- I learned how to boil an egg. Adulting is hard guys.
Posts Published in January
- A Look in the Rearview: My Top 16 Experiences in 2016 – my annual New Year’s post recapping my favorite travel memories from 2016. From the Middle Eastern desert to the top of Guatemalan volcanoes and onto the shores of Monaco and rivers of Scotland, 2016 was an unforgettable year. Let’s hope 2017 measures up!
- Hudson, New York: Things to Do in NYC’s Newest Borough – a guide to “Upstate’s Downtown” and my new favorite small town. You’ll be hard-pressed to believe this isn’t another neighborhood in Brooklyn with its unique galleries, farm-to-table restaurants, and artisanal shops.
- An Unbiased View on What Trump’s Immigration Ban Means for American Travel – there’s no denying politics and travel often intertwine. Case in point – the emails and messages about Trump’s immigration ban that flooded my inbox last weekend. Many readers were concerned about what the ban meant for American travel. I tried to address your most common concerns in this post; leaving out political biaism and using only factual information to answer your questions.
What’s Coming Up in February
Next week kicks off two months of nonstop travel. First I’ll be returning to an old haunt before moving on to a country I’ve never visited before. Plans are still shaping up because I’m a massive procrastinator so I may end up in a surprise destination or two! After a month at home, I’m overjoyed to get back on the road.
Destination#1 – Miami, Florida
Ah Miami. A place I just can’t seem to gel with despite years of trying. I do contract work with a company down there and visit Miami a few times a year. I don’t hate it but I certainly don’t love it – though I’m constantly trying to! If you want to know my reasons, I wrote a whole post on it this time last year: What Does it Mean That I Still Don’t Like Miami, Florida?.
So what will I be doing in Miami?
- Attending the Miami Superyacht Show. Sometimes I get paid to market luxury yachts. This job definitely has its perks!
- Checking out the artsy Wynwood District. Home to over 70 art galleries, stores, bars, and one of the largest open-air street-art installations in the world. I’ve never been to Wynwood so this high up on my priority list.
- Making my local friend Henia take me to Pubbelly Sushi and the SoHo House. Because they’re pretty much the only two things I love about Miami and I can only be let into SoHo house with a member (thankfully H doesn’t mind my company or the fact that I use her to get to cool stuff).
- Exploring Little Haiti. Sure, visiting Little Havana may be the more trendy thing to do but I have a soft spot for the neighborhood less-traveled. There are rumored to be some outstanding Caribbean restaurants in the area.
- Spending Valentine’s Day with the hottest men ever. I’m talking way hotter than any actor you’ve ever seen. I don’t know what well they drink from, but men in the superyachting industry are the most gorgeous specimens in the world. I guess rich people just really like filling their yachts with hot young playthings. I plan on putting my singleness out there on this romantic day and flirting with sexy crew members. I’ll be snappchatting the antics so if you wanna see some bonafide hotties my snap chat handle is notouristiswear.
Destination #2 – Oaxaca, Mexico
I’ll be flying straight from Miami to Oaxaca, Mexico towards the end of the month. It still astounds me that I grew up in the US and haven’t been to Mexico yet. Tulum, Cancun, and Cozumel were the most common recommendations from fellow friends and bloggers but I’m just not much of a beach or resort person. I wanted to pick a place where I could settle into local life and have the best chance at interacting with locals. So I chose Oaxaca in the south of Mexico.
Draws to Oaxaca include its historic colonial-era buildings, incredible cuisine, mole sauce, numerous local festivals, outlying archaeological sites, and the warm hospitality of its people.
What will I be doing in Oaxaca?
- Joining Jodi from Legal Nomads on one of her food walks. I met Jodi, an award-winning food and travel writer, last summer in New York City. Her superb writing has been an inspiration to me for years and her interest in local cultural immersion aligns with my own personal travel values. Jodi spends the winter living in Oaxaca and I’m beyond thrilled to meet up with her again. I’ll be following her lead as we visit the best local vendors for various types of Oaxacan cuisine (including her favorite place for goat tacos!).
- Sipping Mezcal in Matatlan. Oaxaca is world-renowned for its Mezcal and I’m looking forward to taking a visit to Matatlan, home to some of the country’s best Mezcal distilleries.
- Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Monte Alban. According to UNESCO – “Monte Alban is the most important archaeological site of the Valley of Oaxaca. Inhabited over a period of 1,500 years by a succession of peoples – Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs – the terraces, dams, canals, pyramids and artificial mounds of Monte Albán were literally carved out of the mountain and are the symbols of a sacred topography. The grand Zapotec capital flourished for thirteen centuries, from the year 500 B.C to 850 A.D. when, for reasons that have not been established, its eventual abandonment began. The archaeological site is known for its unique dimensions which exhibit the basic chronology and artistic style of the region and for the remains of magnificent temples, ball court, tombs and bas-reliefs with hieroglyphic inscriptions.”
- Possibly seeing petrified waterfalls, going rock climbing, and trying every version of mole sauce. I’m not much of a planner so aside from meeting up with Jodi, I haven’t made any concrete plans. I like to get a feel for the city and often follow my whims rather than make arrangements for anything beforehand. The attractions listed above are ones I’ve heard about in passing (did you know Oaxaca is home to 7 types of mole sauce!?) and will be kept in the back of my mind while visiting.
Blog News and Announcements
I have massive massive massive news to share but unfortunately I won’t be able to disclose it until the end of October. It’s the most frustrating thing ever as I want to shout it from every rooftop in the world as it’s going to be a game changer for me and for the blog. Just one short pregnancy length away from the official announcement (no worries – I used that wording out on friends as well and they originally jumped to the same WRONG conclusion).
My apologies for those who are already familiar with the below but I’ve had quite a heavy uptick in new readers over the last few months and felt the need to catch them up to speed.
For those that are new – WELCOME!
Below are a few things about keeping up with the blog and when and where I do live updates.
- You can click here to sign up to receive any and all new posts straight to your inbox. I publish new destination guides or long-form travel narrative roughly every 10 to 12 days. My posting can be quite erratic so readers like having this option so they don’t have to constantly check my site to see if there’s new content.
- Alternatively you can click here to sign up for my monthly newsletter. Each month I incorporate the 3 main elements of my website – off-the-beaten path destination guides, non-fiction travel narrative, and cultural interactions with locals – into 4 short sections including a quick update on my travels and links to the latest site content, a super short story on an interesting conversation with a local while traveling, a “small town highlight” introducing you to a place you probably haven’t considered traveling to but should, and a selection of 8 to 10 links and resources from around the web covering brilliant travel journalism, off-the-beaten path “listicles”, cultural food writing, and beautifully written travel narrative. Some readers are signed up to both lists which is of course fine as well!
- I post frequent live updates during my travels on my Facebook page. My posts and guides are very comprehensive and I spend a lot of time on them in order to give you the most information possible. Because of that, my postings are less frequent than the majority of travel bloggers. I make up for that by posting on Facebook daily. You can follow along here.
- I also use Instagram and Snapchat. I don’t post on Instagram as much as I should though I am getting better about it. To be completely honest, I love writing and have a hard time getting into photography (which I realize it totes weird for a blogger!). I try to keep it real on Insta and post unedited photos for the most part. I’m also making an effort to post in real time though admittedly I slip up sometimes (I’m a big fan of the #tbt). You can follow along here. I’m prolific on Snapchat (notouristiswear) as well though fair warning – I use it for my personal life and my travels so this is the realist I get. Don’t be surprised if I include the boring (like snapping my cousin teaching me how to boil an egg) along with the exciting.
That wraps up February! As I mentioned at the beginning, these will be a bit shorter in the future. Thanks for making it through to the end – you guys are seriously amazing.
What are your plans for Feb? Let me know in the comments below!
Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?
Taking on the classic “round-the-world” route, the next Travel Dispatch journey kicks off Nov 15 as I travel east to west, looping the globe over a period of 12 months with $25,000. Now’s your chance to get in on it from the very beginning!