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Friday, October 9, 2015

How Peru Stole A Little Piece Of My Heart

I never in a million years expected the reaction that I had to Peru. I absolutely fell in love with this beautiful country. And somehow this is how Peru somehow stole a little piece of my heart . . .

I had HUGE culture shock when I first arrived in Cusco (almost to the point of completely hating the city), there were hundreds of homeless dogs urinating and pooping in the streets, sometimes your just not quite sure what your eating (and learn for your stomach's sake to not ask), you may not know if that puddle your stepping in is water or quite possibly dog urine, I (quickly) learned the importance of carrying toilet paper around Peru, I was completely taken aback by how incredibly beautiful the Peruvian countryside is, fell in love with Peruvian coffee (i hate coffee, so this was a big deal!), bartered the price of my Machu Picchu painting down successfully by 25 soles-in broken Spanish. I ate Alpaca which tastes very similar to pork tenderloin, stayed very far away from guinea pig, learned what it was like to be a minority and took a different perspective away with that.

I've learned the importance of staying hydrated at a high altitude, and to just carry aspirin or advil for those headaches. I learned about the burial practices of their culture, attended a Peruvian cooking class- and brought recipes home with me! I visited a 900 year old Inca town that still uses the same irrigation system from 700 years ago, learned the difference between an alpaca and llama, and that Peru has some really woolly donkeys, that in fact are not alpacas. Ooops . . .


I drank Inca tea (mixture of eucalyptus and coca leaves), bought three big bags of Peruvian coffee from a market- surrounded by animal heads, took the most beautiful train ride in my life. And I drank more than one Pisco Sour (an alcoholic drink that contains raw egg)!!

Pisco Sour
I was charmed by 2, 3, and four year olds we visited at their school, was welcomed into a local Peruvian home for dinner, learned that even though you don't fluently speak each other's language you can still have fun and laugh with each other throughout an entire meal (the highlight of my trip). I took part in a ceremony conducted by a local shaman, learned that complete strangers can become such great friends. I visited Machu Picchu after getting up at 4:30am, taking two buses and a train to get there, realized (as I have with every trip I've taken) how incredibly lucky am for the life I have chosen to live. I saw a glimpse of what abject poverty looks like, I've learned that sometimes we get so caught up in the little things that we steer away from the things that really matter. 

I did not want to leave this country and come back home. I was contemplating how I could study abroad in Cusco, but I also understood that even if I did, the moments would never be the same. I came home humbled and grateful. For the very first time I experienced reverse culture shock, and, honestly had a hard time adjusting. I don't know the exact moment it happened, but Peru took a little piece of my heart. I can't wait until I can return and explore more of this beautiful country!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Lolablue Goes To Peru

Lolablue is a company located in Southwest Florida that creates "eco-lux", all natural products. They use all natural, raw ingredients to handcraft their products ranging from soaps, sugar scrubs, soy-wax candles, lip balm, hydrating crème, bug spray (all natural!!!), essential oils, roll on perfumes, candle tarts, aromatherapy, ect.

I'm sharing these products with you because I love them!!! I've been using them non-stop since January and will never use anything else. I love their soaps, lotions and bugspray. Their soaps come in so many scents and smell wonderful! The fall scents have just come out and I've been using my Pumpkin Spice soap. I love how wonderful you (and your bathroom) smell after taking a shower. These products are great for all my fellow travelers. I love that the soap is versatile enough to substitute for my shaving cream! The products are eco friendly, no palm oil, no paraben, paraffin or sulfate or phthalate in any of their products. These products are never tested on animals.

Added bonus for travelers: they make their soaps in travel size!! Some of my favorite scents are Raspberry Patchouli, Sexy Mama, Dirty Pumpkin, Pumpkin Spice and Holiday Peppermint. These products aren't just for the ladies. They create soaps for men, such as, Bark, Irish Mud (beer soap), Valquero, Summer Suds (beer soap), and Summer Coconut. I always take Lolablue soaps and bug-spray on my trips now. You can't beat a great product! My Pumpkin Spice, Rosemary Mint and lip balm made it to Peru with me!!

 Lolablue products are great for your skin and the environment. Take a look at their products for your next trip. They can be bought here or here. I did receive two free products for this trip, however all opinions are my own!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Feature Friday: Two Drifters

Today we are featuring a post from Amy and Nathan over at Two Drifters. I love following along with their blog and adventures. Amy and Nathan bring a unique perspective to travel blogging: traveling as a couple. This is inspirational for me as single traveler. It gives me hope that you can have the best of both worlds: your love of travel and your love of another person. Unfortunately, this has not worked for me in the past, but I have hope thanks to Amy and Nathan!

Courtsey of Two Drifters
We have decided to feature two of their posts about traveling with as a couple. The first post we are featuring is Traveling As A Couple: Romance or Ruin. This post discusses the benefits and challenges of traveling as a couple from both Amy and Nathan's perspective. The second post we are featuring is Traveling The Essential Test of True Love. In this post they explain why you should travel as a couple and what can be learned from it. I love the interesting perspective that they bring to their blog. Head on over to their blog and I would hazard to guess that you may be there a little while. While your at it subscribe to their blog and then visit their facebook page.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Giordano's: A Little Slice of Pizza Heaven

The Story: I grew up on Felix and Oscars pizza in Des Moines, IA. I love this pizza. There is nothing in the world that comes close to this deep dish, sauce on the very top, pizza. Every single time I go back to hometown I eat this pizza. I eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner until it's gone (sad face). I have been patiently waiting for the last five years of their promises to start shipping their pizza's across state lines. Unfortunately, I still do not see that happening anytime soon. So I make do in-between visits.

Plans to meet my best friend from high school in Chicago for a weekend enters the picture. Said friend knows how much I'm obsessed with this pizza, so for my Christmas and birthday presents she sends me two pizza's from her favorite pizzeria in Chicago. I'm at work when I'm delightfully surprised by two freeze-dried pizza's from Giordano's. I had know idea what it was until a co-worker of mine excitedly tells me it's the best deep dish pizza in Chicago. Now I'm sure this point is debatable among people who live/are from Chicago. There are rivalries about everything in that city! Even freeze-dried this pizza was pretty damn good, and the closest thing to Felix and Oscars that I had ate in the last six months.

This was a must eat place for us while we were visiting. We ate dinner at this lovely pizzeria on our second night in town, which happened to be a Friday night. We made reservations and I'm glad we did. It was a 65 minute wait for people who were walking in the door without reservations! The décor of this pizzeria was funky and fun!


Can I just take a minute to tell you how much I love brick décor. I love it! Even with our reservation we had just a little bit of a wait, but it was well worth it. The waitress was super nice and friendly, even with how busy she was. We started off with Bruschetta for our appetizer. I have to be honest and tell you, I wasn't really expecting it to be that good. My mom makes the best bruschetta in the world and nothing has ever come close to hers. I was pleasantly surprised and would rate this as the second best bruschetta I have ate.

The pizza was subperb and well worth the wait. The last time I ate it was 6 months before this trip and I was really looking forward to it. You can get any sort of pizza you want, but we went with the deep dish, cheese pizza. There is just something about the deep dish pizza that I never ever have toppings put on it.

Does this not just look so delicious?!?

I would highly recommend Giordano's be given a spot on your "eating" list, while in the city. They are reasonably priced and I just learnt that there are several locations in Orlando! Yay next trip to Orlando (November) I will be eating here! There are several locations in the city of Chicago and it's surrounding suburbs.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Feature Friday: A Broken Backpack

Today's Feature Friday blog is A Broken Backpack. I love this series of feature Fridays. I'm learning about fellow travel bloggers and it's inspiring to see what people do in order to travel! I love all the ideas I get from seeing so many blogs (so many destinations)! Money is a big deterrent for people who want to travel. I won't lie, traveling can get expensive (I'm looking at you flights), however there are ways to budget, to travel cheaply, and reasonably. There is always a way to travel. So today we are helping those of you out. Those of you who want to travel but look at the price and immediately look away, come look at this post!

big bud
Courtsey of A Broken Backpack

Melissa over at A Broken Backpack wrote this fabulous post about saving money while traveling. Travel Without A Big Budget gives travelers several options on how to save money while traveling. I highly recommend you pop over to her blog and check this money-saving post out. Also, prepare yourself to stay awhile . . . before you know it you'll be checking all her blog posts out! Melissa is a great writer, who injects humor and real life common sense into her writing! An added bonus: she also writes in FRENCH! While your at it stop on over to her facebook page to keep in touch: You'll thank me later!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Liebster 2015 Award Nomination

I'm so excited . . . beyond excited to announce that I have been nominated for the Liebster 2015 Award. Now at this very moment you're probably asking yourself what the Liebster Award is? The Liebster Award is handed out by bloggers to other bloggers. It's a way to promote new or smaller blogs in order to get them more recognition throughout the blogging community.

 The meaning of Liebster in German means " sweetest, kindest, lovely, endearing and sweetheart". I want to give a HUGE thanks to Ryan Webster at A Backpack and a Boarding Pass for nominating me!! I was so excited when I heard that The World At My Feet  was being nominated and couldn't believe. I had to tell everyone I could!! As part of the nomination I have to ask the following questions that were given to me by Ryan. In return I have to nominated 10 small blogs, who in turn will answer the questions I give them. I hope you guys learn something new about me and without further ado:

1. What are 11 fun facts about you?

~ I'm a huge animal lover
~ I'm a homeowner
~ In addition to writing on my blog, I'm a full time worker and a part time student
~ I have moved nine times so far in my life ( 4 of which were cross country)
~ I went to camp as a child and loved every minute of it. It taught me so much and I met people from around the world
~ I have lived in four states and moved back to two of them at one point
~ It took me until my 21st year on this earth to travel internationally
~ I have toe that grows crooked
~ I love DIY projects
~ I love to write stories
~ Reading is my favorite pastime

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

This is a really hard question to answer! After I read the question I had three places immediately pop into my head. They were Norway, Ireland and Scotland. Out of those three countries I have only visited Ireland (so far) and I was enchanted with the incredible natural beauty. I would definitely have to live somewhere that has natural beauty and outdoor activities.

3. What is your favorite travel destination and why? And what is your least favorite?

So far Ireland was my favorite destination, although London ranks close! I love Ireland because of it's beauty. The natural beauty of the country and the beauty of it's people. It's astonishing how friendly people are and their willingness to go out of their way to help a stranger. That's uncommon here in the states and it was quite refreshing to come across. At the moment I don't have a least favorite destination. I've enjoyed everywhere I have visited.

4. Do you have any crazy or scary travel stories?

I'm not sure if this really falls under crazy or scary . . . maybe weird, creepy, or crazy. I recently returned from a trip to Chicago, where I met up with my best friend from high school. We were taking the train from Chicago to the suburb we were staying in. Toward the end of the trip a guy got on and sat across from us. Did I mention that he was tweaking out on some sort of drugs and acting really odd? We decided to move to the stairs to disembark, because we were approaching our stop. While standing on the stairs a ticket collector joined us and stood across from us. He accidently (I'm assuming/ hoping) bumped his arm into me. Which happens . . . except he turns and looks at me, touches my arm and said "It was a pleasure touching you. I'll always remember it". 

5. What is your favorite dish from abroad? What is your favorite dish from your country?

My favorite dish from abroad at the moment is Filipino pancit and lumpia. So incredibly yummy. My favorite dish from my country is pizza. I could eat pizza all day every day!!

6. Which Blog post are you most proud of?

The blog post that I am most proud of is My Travel Wishlist. This is a continually changing list of places I want to visit and experiences that I want to have. I think this list helps to keep me grounded and it's something I look forward to doing. The more places you visit and see the more things come into focus for me.

7. What type of traveler are you (Backpacker/Budget, Luxury, Business, etc.) ?

I would say that I'm a mixture between a budget and luxury traveler leaning more towards budget. I'm always looking to save money (hey that's more to go towards another trip), but who wouldn't want some luxury in their life? I will never sacrifice my safety for money though.

8. What is the most useful or important thing that you have learned from your travels?

I love this question! I have learned so much from my travels that I can't just list one. Throughout my travels I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned that it's ok to be alone and you don't have to always be surrounded by people. I have learned to have more confidence in myself and to rely on myself. I have learned that while there aren't good people in the world not everyone is out to get you. I discovered that its good for the soul to get outside your comfort zone everyone once in a while!

9. What are your favorite third-party sites when planning a trip abroad?

I have several third-party sites I use whenever I'm planning a trip. Believe it or not Pinterest is my first go to site! I can find so much stuff to do by just typing my destination in, and I can organize it on my boards so I always have it. My second site is Tripadvisor. I almost always check their site for reviews on things I want to do and places I'm looking at staying at.

10. What are your travel essentials?

I have a list of things that I always have to take with me on a trip. I have to have my passport (international travel)/ id, credit cards (always alert the companies), lotion, hand sanitizer, my ipad mini; a book (or three), chapstick, and sunglasses. Oh and you can't forget a scarf!

11. What inspired you to create a blog?

My first international trip. It takes so much work to plan a trip yourself. There is so much that goes into it. Should I stay here? Should I rent a car, take a plane, a ferry, a train? Is this attraction worth my time and money? How can I save money without being too cheap and still have fun? I wanted a place that people could come to and read reviews about places I have been and the answers to all the above questions. It's an overwhelming process that I wanted to help people with. I also wanted to inspire people to travel and prove that you can travel no matter what. I work full time, go to school and travel. I have also have responsibilities like being a homeowner and taking care of my dog . . . and I still travel. If there is a will, there is a way.

I nominate the following blogs . . .

~ Cathy Merrifield: Roarloud
~ Karlie: Miss Wanderlust
~ Hannah: Postcards from Hannah
~ Ginger: One Year, My Dear
~ Maggie: The Woven Whim
~ Melissa: A Broken Backpack
~ Mimi: The Atlas Heart
~ Melissa: KC Girl Travels
~ Jessica: Journey's with Jessica

Nominees now you need to:

~ Now you need to create a post answering the questions I have for you (listed below).
~In your post make sure to link it back to ME with a thank you!
~ After answering the questions, nominated 11 other blogs with under 200 followers. You will need to provide them with 11 of your own questions, and provide them with the same instructions.
~ You will need to notify your nominees and provide them with the link back to your post, so they know what to do
~ When everything is completed, come back to my blog, comment on this post with a link back your post. I can't wait to see everyone's answers!!

Questions for the Nominees:

1. What are 11 random facts about you?

2. What is your travel style (luxury, business, budget, ect)?

3. If you had to choose between make-up or shampoo, which would you choose?

4. What can ruin a good travel person?

5. Why do you travel?

6. What inspired you start a blog and how long have you been blogging?

7. Do you have pets? Tell us about them and how you travel with that responsibility.

8. How do you deal with culture shock/homesickness?

9.  When and where was your first trip?

10. What is the most unusual experience you have had while travelling?

11. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I can't wait to read everyone's posts!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Feature Friday: A Backpack and a Boarding Pass

 Welcome to our second week of Friday Features! This week we are featuring A Backpack and a Boarding Pass. This blog was created by Ryan and she has some fabulous posts about Italy and travel tips. I highly recommend everyone to stop over to her blog and show it some love. Italy is a country I have yet to visit, but her posts make me want to board the next plane to Italy.

A Backpack & A Boarding Pass
A Backpack and a Bording Pass

The post we are featuring today from A Backpack and a Boarding Pass is Tips for First Time Solo Traveling. This is a great post for male and females alike who are looking to go on their first solo trip. Ryan provides great advice for first time solo travelers who aren't sure what to expect or nervous/scared about their upcoming trips. I know I was about my first solo trip and then again my first international trip. This is also a great reminder post to those who travel more frequently. Female solo travel has been on the rise in recent years. Yay! I think that every female should travel solo at least once in their lives and keep these tips in mind.

Tips for First Time Solo Traveling
Tips for first time solo traveling