I love to travel – new places, new foods, new cities. Recently, I saw a blogger compile a list of all the countries she had been to and all the ones she wanted to see before she turned 30. I was so inspired by her beautiful pictures that I wanted to share my own “Wanderlist” with you. I hesitated, though. I know how incredibly lucky I am to lead an international life, and it is a privilege that I try not to take lightly. I didn't want to share this in a way that felt like pride – rather, I am so grateful for these many experiences, and if they interest you, I would be honored to share them.
So instead of making a laundry list, I thought I'd set up a blog “travel directory,” with photos and funny stories for all the places I've been. For each one, I'll share when I was there, where I went, a favorite memory, and a funny moment. If relevant, I'll include a blog post. I hope it makes you smile, or maybe even satisfies some of your own wanderlust – at least for an afternoon.
WHERE I'VE BEEN
THE AMERICAS //
1. United States //
When: I've lived in the US for most of my life after moving there as a child!
Where: I've been lucky enough to go to several major cities, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New Orleans, and Seattle.
A favorite memory: It's hard to choose a favorite memory out of so many years of my life, but I would say that one of my favorite times is whenever my family takes a road trip to Massachusetts together. We stay at a family friend's cottage by the lake (seen above!) without internet, and really get to spend time together and focus on family. My memories there are ones I'll never forget.
A funny story: When I was sixteen, my best friend Maya and I went to Seattle to look at colleges. It was right before our AP exams, so we ended up spending as much time studying in the hotel room as we did out exploring! In hindsight, I wish I had put down the books and seen a bit more of the city.
Blog post: Learning to Laugh
2. Canada //
When: Maya and I took a road trip to Niagara Falls in Spring of 2014.
Where: Niagara Falls and Toronto.
A favorite memory: We had dinner atop the CN Tower, the tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere! The view was breathtaking and the food was incredible.
A funny story: Inspired by the TV show How I Met Your Mother, Maya and I decided to listen to one song on repeat for as long as we could during the road trip. We chose the Swedish pop song Caramelldansen and lasted a whopping 6 hours.
Blog post: Canada, eh?
3. The Bahamas //
When: When I was in the sixth grade, Maya's family went on vacation to the Bahamas and took me with them.
Where: The Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.
A favorite memory: Maya and I took several hour-long journeys down the Lazy River ride.
A funny story: My mom gave us each a chocolate bunny for the plane ride (it was just after Easter), and after eating one, we named the other Alfred and made him go on adventures throughout Atlantis. In hindsight, not so hygienic!
3. Bermuda //
When: My second (and probably last) tropical vacation was, again, with Maya (best friends forever!). We went with her parents in the spring of our senior year of high school, after we had both had a very difficult few months.
Where: Hamilton, Bermuda.
A favorite memory: Going out into the city with Maya was always lots of fun!
A funny story: I love children more than almost anything, but didn't always know how to contain my excitement… There was a young couple staying at our hotel with a baby, and twice when I saw them, I literally pointed at the baby and said to Maya, “Look! Baby!” The couple was pretty scared of me, and I don't blame them.
5. The Netherlands //
When: Every summer, as a child; my gap year; summers and winters now.
Where: My home base is Leiden, but I've also been to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Delft, Maastricht, and Friesland!
A favorite memory: Ken and I took a 3-hour train ride down to Maastricht to see one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, installed inside an old Cathedral. It was incredible!
A funny story: Ken and I were once in Utrecht looking at a beautiful church surrounded by doves. I lay down on the steps of the church so I could look at the sky, and he leaned over me as we continued our conversation. When we looked up, it turned out that we had attracted a crowd, and even a police car! They thought I had fainted and Ken was trying to revive me. How embarrassing!
Blog post: Amsterdam: Ever Present Past
6. Germany //
When: Twice, both in my gap year (2012).
Where: Berlin with my cousin, then a small town in the Sauerland with Ken.
A favorite memory: This was my first vacation with Ken, so it was really romantic to be able to cook together and explore the German countryside.
A funny story: Ken and I didn't realize that, in Germany, almost everything is closed on Sundays. As a result, we almost didn't get to eat on our first Sunday there, since we forgot to do groceries!
Blog post: Seeing Sunlight
7. Belgium //
When: Just for one day in the summer of 2012.
A favorite memory: Ken and I bought a box of chocolates and shared them together on a park bench, which was really sweet (pun unintended!)
A funny story: Ken somehow got really allergic while we were there, and started to have a hard time even walking upright from his hay fever. Luckily he started to feel better on the way home.
8. England //
When: My junior year of college, when I was studying abroad at Oxford University.
Where: Just Oxford for now, though I went to London once as a kid!
A favorite memory: My whole first term here was really fabulous. I would say my favorite memories have been spending time with, and getting to know, my friends here. My favorite moment is whenever two of my friends and I are the only people in my college's religion library, meaning we can chat and dance and be silly all we like!
A funny story: Last term, I went to a wine tasting class with a few friends and we all got a liiiiiitle bit too into the wine. (;
Blog post: Oxford Diaries 3
9. France //
When: 2012 and 2013.
Where: Paris (summer of 2012) and Strasbourg (winter of 2013).
A favorite memory: Ken, my dad, and I went on a nighttime boat ride through the city and were able to see Paris lit up by evening lights. It was beautiful.
A funny story: Our trip to Paris was the first time that Ken met my dad, so as a gift, he bought four packages of Dutch stroopwafels to give to him (a stroopwafel, prononced strope-vafel, is a kind of Dutch waffle cookie with syrup in the middle). My dad ate all four packages in one day and couldn't go out to dinner with us that night because he was so sick.
10. The Czech Republic //
When: February of 2012.
A favorite memory: My Aunt loves to shop, and I love scarves. Together we spent an afternoon walking through Prague and looking for the prettiest pashminas, and I bought a whole handful. Then we did a silly “photo shoot” with all of them in front of the famous clock tower.
A funny story: Hoo boy. This whole affair.
Blog post: Back from Prague: Bad Timing
11. Italy //
When: This past summer, 2014.
Where: Rome, beautiful Rome.
A favorite memory: Going out to dinner with Ken at the famous Tre Scalini restaurant. It was the best meal I've ever had!
A funny story: Ken and I decided to keep track of all the espressos and cappuccinos we had in Rome. We would score them from 1-10 and even kept track on a graph of how they improved over time! The funny part is that this is one of Ken's favorite things about the whole trip. 😛
Blog post: Rome Sweet Rome
MIDDLE EAST //
12. Israel //
When: The summer after my first year of college – summer 2013.
Where: I lived in Jerusalem, but also got to see Tel Aviv, Yaffo, the Dead Sea, and Caeserea.
A favorite memory: My first orthodox shabbat was a truly beautiful and memorable experience.
A funny story: My roommate and I tried to save money on laundry by hanging things to dry on our balcony. It was a “delicates” day (i.e. underwear everywhere) when a group of guys came onto our balcony to smoke. I was mortified!
Blog post: Israel in Review
I have so many travel dreams that it's hard to think of a list. I would absolutely love to see Morocco, Iceland, and Russia. But for now, I'm just appreciating the wonderful opportunities I've had and waiting to see what happens!
Where have you traveled to, and where would you most like to go?