Hallstatt

March 2017

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There’s a reason why it’s one of the most photographed places in Austria.

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Bali Video

 

Bali is afternoon naps and beach walks. Infinity pools and lazy mornings. Strong coffee and fresh fruit. Late night pool swims and peanut sauce on veggies. It’s dodgy bathrooms, power outages and stylish bars during sunset. It’s saltwater in your hair and chlorine on your skin. The smell of sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Old ceiling fans and surfboards mounted on scooters. It’s palm trees and dark storm clouds rolling in over the ocean. It’s learning how to drive a motorbike and sand between your toes.
It’s everything I thought it would be and more.

Bali

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About a week and a half into my trip I was up late, doubting myself, doubting my choices, doubting pretty much everything that made me end up in a hostel in Melaka with 3 friends. I was supposed to have a great time, supposed to enjoy every second of it and yet, something held me back.
A long talk with an old travel buddy and a spontaneous decision later I was the proud owner of plane tickets that would take me to Bali. It was only for a week and I, of course, doubted that decision too, right away, but nothing could have been more right.

Bali healed my soul in a way I could not have anticipated. I was finally able to let go of everything that weighed me down. Stress I took with me from back home, stress from pressuring myself into doing as much as I could, seeing as much as I could in the weeks prior. I was finally able to catch up on lost sleep, let my body rest, let my heart rejoice in old and new friendships, lazy mornings in bed, massages on cliffs and afternoons at the beach.
The air smelled like frangipani and incense, the people were gentle and polite, the food healthy and light, and my life was suddenly healthier than it had been in a long time.
If all of this was possible in a week, I’m excited to see what could happen when I go back (because that is certain) and stay for a longer period of time.
Bali has completely enchanted my heart, body, and soul.

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* All pictures featuring me taken by Krystin Ross.

Ten-twentytwo in a hostelroom in Philly

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It is odd how close power and vulnerability lie together.

Even though I’m traveling alone, I’m not really traveling alone. It has occurred to me that I often use the term traveling alone the same way I used it when I was 17 years old, fresh out of high school and traveling through Europe, alone with a friend. Alone, meaning that I did not travel with my parents. I wasn’t truly alone though.

I traveled alone to Thailand, Togo, and Tanzania. Sure, I did meet people right away though. How could I not, when I was living and working with them 24/7? So again, I was traveling alone, but never truly by myself.

I pride myself on the fact that I’m doing these things. I do travel alone. I make the plans by myself. I go there, not really expecting to meet new best friends, but people with more or less the same mindset. People I’ve never talked to before. And people I’ve barely talked to since.

This year is different though. Once again I’m traveling alone, but now, sitting in this hostel in Philadelphia, truly alone for the first time in…. forever?! This has a new meaning to me.

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But the real challenge is happening right now. Right here on my bunk bed in an all-girl dormitory in the heart of Philly. Do I dare go out and sit in a restaurant on my own? Hostesses do not badger me to eat at their establishment as they did when I was walking around with another person. I’m just a random girl in a plain T-shirt and holey cotton tote bag, roaming the streets by herself.

Do I dare go and strike up a conversation with the random guy down in the hostel lobby?

Do I dare be by myself and find peace?

Do I dare say, “Screw it!” and make new friends?

I will have to step out of my comfort zone either way, so it’s win-win and lose-lose. It’s both and it’s terrifying and exhilarating. It’s empowering and making me feel vulnerable. It’s thrilling. It’s learning more about myself with every step I take, every word I say. It’s thoughtless words and middle-of-the-night facepalms. It’s my life right now. Right in this second.

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(Authors Note: This was written right where I said it was (in a hostel room in Philly at 10.22pm) but somehow got lost in the incredible amount of blog drafts that piled up over the years.
I ended up going for dinner by myself the next day. I ended up saying ‘screw it’ and got a table for one in the secret garden of a very cute little restaurant, having a lovely chat with the waitress and eating an amazing salad. Thank you, Philly for teaching me so much about myself and my capabilities.)

World: Athens, Greece

If you are following me on Instagram you may know that I went on a short trip to Athens, Greece in February.

My decision-making process kinda went like this: “I’m bored, I don’t have much money, I don’t want to wait for someone to join me… – wait! I don’t need anyone to join me… let’s go!”

So within a week I ordered a little travel guide, booked a hostel and a flight, packed my bag and went my merry way

It really is as easy as that. And it should be.

Here are some impressions of my time in Athens – a wonderful city with a lot to discover!

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