Hi from 30,000 feet in the air!
To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about this whole wifi on planes thing.
In a world where it’s increasingly difficult to come up with a plausible excuse for not answering phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, WhatsApp chimes, or any of the other millions of communicative methods out there, aren’t planes supposed to be the one sacred space where you can be completely cut off from a social media obsessive world?
Instead domestic flights the world over are jumping on the wifi bandwagon. Granted it’s not free (yet) but just knowing for a measly $7 I can have internet access throughout my entire flight to Miami makes me itch for the computer in my overhead compartment.
I tried to ignore the compulsion at first. I toed off my shoes, reclined seat 7C, and closed my eyes as Adele said hello.
For a whole ten minutes.
But right when I entered that fickle trance between dozing off and complete slumber, the guilt crept it. The vocal kind that insisted I was about to waste 3 full hours of my life. 3 hours that could be spent working. You already got a good night’s sleep it said. So you can either spend 3 hours writing on the plane or 3 hours writing in your hotel when you should be on the beach. What’s it gonna be?
Ok plane wifi. You win.
January was a quiet month travel-wise. I holed up in my NYC apartment for its entirety with no one for company except Netflix and my roommate’s puppy, Pierpont (before you make fun of his name I should let you know it’s French for “of or pertaining to someone who lives beneath a stone bridge.” Seeing as how he’s scraggly and looks homeless, the name is pretty damn fitting).
Anyway, I caught up on some much needed downtime after a long few months on the road which allowed me plenty of time to write and work on some exciting new projects you’ll be hearing about over the next few months.
Posts written in January include:
- Time and Place Combinations: A Travel Destination for Every Month – travel advice on where to go and when.
- Finding Venetian Culture in Venice – an article on how to find culture in an increasingly unVenetian Venice.
- Crashing the Gondola Race Awards in Burano, Italy – a story about how my friends and I accidentally wound up at a truly local ceremony where winners of the island’s annual Gondola Race where presented their victory flags.
What’s Coming Up In February?
Four weeks is my maximum threshold for the amount of time I can go without traveling so I’m already back on the road (well, technically back in the air) making my way south.
Destination #1 – Miami Beach, Florida
For those of you that don’t already know, I’m not a big fan of Miami.
However, I am one of the most stubborn people you have ever met so I’M DETERMINED TO LIKE THIS CITY!! I was last here in November which was when I first felt a teeny tiny tingle of excitement for Miami. This was huge for me as obligations have had me coming down to South Florida for the past 5 years yet I was never able to truly have a good time or feel connected to the city.
I’ll be spending the next week with my friend Henia who’s a born and bred Miamian. There’s nothing I love more than experiencing a destination through the eyes of a local and I’m hoping she’ll open me up to a side of Miami I haven’t seen before.
A side that will help me become more openminded and learn to love (or at least like) this cultural melting pot.
Destination #2 – Antigua, Guatemala
Guys, I’M CLIMBING A 13,000 FOOT VOLCANO IN GUATEMALA!!!
I don’t know why I do these things to myself. I’m so unbelievably good at lying directly to my own face when it comes to signing up for strenuous activities.
You’re just such a natural athlete, Kristen. Remember how good you are at basketball?
You ran a half-marathon so you’ll be fine.
Kristen, you hike up mountains everywhere you go.
Then I cut off the voice of reason before it has a chance to whisper Umm yeah you haven’t touched a basketball in 10 years, you haven’t ran so much as a mile since that half-marathon 3 years ago, and the highest so-called “mountain” you’ve ever climbed was only 1,000 ft.
So now I find myself preparing to spend a few days climbing above the cloud forests to the summit of the Acatenango Volcano – one of the more difficult hikes in Guatemala.
Before the climb, I’ll be staying in Antigua de Guatemala – an old colonial city that was once the country’s capital.
I’ll admit that this trip is out of my comfort zone which fills me with equal parts excitement and trepidation. This will be my first time visiting Central America and my first time traveling alone to a 3rd world country.
Traveling solo has become second nature to me but I’ve only ever done it in the US and Europe – in cities and countries that I’m familiar with and only in places that have stable infrastructures.
So Guatemala presents a brand new challenge. And that my friends, is what I love about travel. The boundaries it forces you to push help you discover who you are and what you’re capable of.
I can’t wait to face these challenges head on and I’m looking forward to the new lessons I’ll learn from this trip. For me, life is all about collecting experiences. Experiences with strangers. Friends. Family. Nature. Culture. Cuisine.
Experiences I’ll be sure to share with ya’ll throughout this month.
Blog News and Announcements
1. A “GPSmyCity” App Giveaway
This past month, I partnered with the GPSmyCity app for a tour of the best craft beer bars in Brooklyn. GPSmyCity is an app that features self-guided walking tours in over 470 cities around the world. Each city map presents a number of options that covers everything from popular attractions to hidden gems to local bars and restaurants.
Here’s where I share my own experience and tell you how you can enter to win a promo code to get the full version of the app for FREE!
2. A New Website Design
I gracefully admitted defeat last month after spending weeks trying to better my site and teach myself coding. But seriously, I SUCK at web speak and creative design. I’d rather spend that time writing and developing the best content I possibly can for you guys.
So I pulled the plug and did something I’ve been wanting to do for months.
I hired a web designer.
My uber-talented designer is working with me to create a completely customized website from scratch! It’ll provide for a much more pleasant user experience and will finally be aesthetically pleasing.
The official launch probably won’t be for another month or so. If there’s anything you want to see on the new site please let me know. Feedback is always welcome as this whole blog is written for YOU!
3. Instagram #52WeeksofTravel Photo of the Month
I’m currently in the middle of a year long series on Instagram titled #52WeeksofTravel. Each week, I highlight one particular destination with a different photo each weekday that represents an attraction, restaurant, landscape, or activity in that chosen city or country. So far I’ve covered London, Venice, Iceland, and Edinburgh.
The most liked photo in the month of January comes from the colorful island of Burano, Italy:
I can’t wait to see what February’s travel and blog plans have in store!
What do you have planned for February? 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!