Travel Tales from My Gypsy Princess

A lot of you expressed how much you enjoyed reading about all my travels and travel tips but I figured it would be good to share the adventures and insight of a few other friends of mine who are even more well-traveled. It seems that y'all loved the post about Mackenzie's world tour so this is now your chance to read a bit about my friend KellyAnne.

I met Kelly at FSU when she was lifeguarding with a friend of mine-always in the water, this one. We met once and then I didn't see her again for 3 years.For some reason, we kept in touch and caught up on things when we could. The next time I saw her, I had graduated twice, moved 3 times, gotten married, gotten a job, and a dog. She had lived in several different places and driven across the entire US...twice. When we saw each other again, it's as if nothing's changed. She moved to Atlanta for work for just over a year but is now living in Nicaragua as a surf instructor. Kelly's my gypsy princess. She's like a Lana Del Rey song, an adventurous drifter in a headdress and all. I think of her like the tide, she always floats away but she always comes back. 

She's the person that actually listens. She doesn't solicit advice unless you ask for it and when she does, it's always positive. She is never the judge or jury. She's the kind of person that cleans your whole house and does like 10 loads of laundry for you because she knows you just haven't had time. She's the one that takes care of Louis just as good as I would and doesn't even get mad when he decides to floss his teeth with her mane (it's a mane, you'll see). She's one of the good ones, nothing but heart. The following pictures and answers are all hers.

How do you entertain yourself on planes/trains/getting to where you're going?
Entertainment used to be quite difficult for me in these situations. I remember traveling with family when I was much younger- carry-on back packs would be filled with books, Gameboys- yes remember those?, coloring books, CD player and CDs, journals. I remember boarding a flight as an unaccompanied minor when I was 5. The flight attendant was an amazing young blonde woman who provided me with paper and coloring crayons as I hadnt packed anything to play with and was scared and alone. She checked on me every thirty minutes for the duration of the flight and at the end told me to pack a coloring book next time and we would color together. I packed a coloring book every flight I took hoping she'd be there to color. You grow out of that thought. That the world is really that small. But sometimes it is. And now when I travel my entertainment is light. Lots of pondering. looking. talking to strangers and hearing their stories. sleeping. I bring a good book- one like Siddhartha thats small enough to tote, packed with sentences that make you stop and think anyhow. A plot that holds you, but keeps you focused on enjoying your journey. That's more than half the fun.

What is your favorite place you've ever been? Why?
I have so many favorite places. My favorite travel place is the place I am today. San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. I asked this same question to a man named Brad once, a traveler, I mentioned to me that his favorite place was wherever he was RIGHT NOW. That has become my favorite place. I have favorite spaces. My favorite place to be is in warm salty water on my surf board wearing nothing but a bikini with the promise of a huge meal and laughing friends when Im finished. I found that place along the coast of Costa Rica about ten years ago. Every time Ive placed myself near the ocean, rolling around in the sand. That is my favorite place. Today Nicaragua is my favorite place. The food is SOOOO good, the people are filled with stories of travels and incredible innovative ideas, and it is simple here. There is a thrill for adventure and a tangible need for a basic simple gorgeous day. ——- ok side note. I know its kinda gay but my favorite safe place is your home. When I was going through hell. when i couldn't be touched. when i couldn't figure shit out. when i needed to feel normal. you fed me. you gave me a safe place to sleep. you gave me the most incredible friendship I have happened across in quite some time. For you i am so grateful. anywhere you are is one of my favorite places. (OK THIS IS RACHEL, THAT MADE ME TEAR UP, B.T.DUBBS,love you)
Bridge near Rachel's house

How many countries have you been to?
USA, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland, France- just paris, Brussels- i slept through this one we were driving sorry brussels but you are small as fuck and have not much going on, Denmark, the UK- or Great Britain, or England, or whatever they are calling it these days, Mexico, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Nicaragua

Would you want to go back to any of the places you've already been to? Why or why not?
Absolutely all of them. Each time you go somewhere things have changed, some things have remained the same. Depending on who your with or where you go or what time of day it is each of these places will be different. I would love to visit all of them again. Much of my euro travels where done with family- id like to do a more extensive backpacking trip to see things from a different perspective as well as travel to quite a bit more countries, spain, greece, italy, croatia and now that im older I wont be so picky about food and long train rides With age comes appreciation, but also regret for not seizing moments. I dont want regret- I dont think any of us would want to live that way. I want to always say yes. If there is an opportunity to go somewhere new I want to go, and if there is one to go to a place ive been before, I want to go there too.

When you travel, do you usually stay in hostels or hotels? Any particular reason?
I have picked up and moved to every location I have wanted to travel to. So when I travel, I rent appartments, I get a job, I set up shop and feel out a community. I find the restaurants no one talks about, the coffee shops locals wont talk about, and I befriend the locals who are too scared to open up and attach to a transient traveler. It takes about 6 months to build a community. To truly feel at home in a place. I have loved feeling at home most in my travels. For weekend getaways or quick trips I stay with friends, or in hotels- simply because the ideas of hostels kind of irked me, and I feel safe and kept in a place with a shower and my own private space to just unload. Now that I live in a tourist town, and have stayed in hostels on solo surf trips I have no fear of these things. As a 20 something year old I now vote hostels for traveling. Its a safe hub once youve landed in a new community, youll have a bed, immediate friends and fun. Great for 20s & 30s but after that I think ill go back to hotel rooms and room service.

When you travel, do you collect souvenirs? If so, what kinds of things do you gravitate towards? 

I did once. And then I started moving every 3-6 months. When you pack up your life over and over into a car trinkets begin to loose their meaning. Pictures lost their meaning to me for a while. I just wanted to focus on the now. Where I was, what I was doing. To simply enjoy the memory as it was taking place. I collect souvenirs for others now. If I find something that calls out screaming one of my friends names I have to rescue it for them. I loose that feeling on a selfish level more and more. Funny side note, I do have a soft spot in my heart for kitchy souvenir shops. growing up in Florida and constantly being around beach towns, I love shoddy trinket shops. I could spend hours looking at stupid screen printed shirts, towels, beach toys, snow globes with crabs and dolphins next to a palm tree. When I find these silly souvenir shops anywhere in any country I have to go inside. I may not buy anything but it feels a little comforting, like home, for a few minutes. 

What are 5 things you pack for every trip?
Bikinis, boots, good book, journal, funky bracelets

Are there any items you would suggest that other people should pack or invest in to make their trips more enjoyable? 
a quality journal with a pan that makes you want to write. or sketch. or record. Even if you dont ever look at it again, it has given me so much peace in times of what i felt to be momentary chaos to have the freedom to sit quietly in a safe space, and write. simply devour pages and pages with sketches and inked words.

A dry bag. whether for a wet bikini when youre done with the water, or to keep your journal and books safe from the rain. Something I wouldnt have thought about but am so glad I have.

Sunglasses. the kind that can almost hide your face, and make you feel like a badass. You gotta feel strong and empowered when you are traveling. There is a persona that finds her way to the forefront of my image when i have on a great pair of sunnies . maybe paired with a leather jacket. and boots. there may or may not be red lips involved, I recommend a quality lip stain- Kat Von D has an awesome line of these out at Sephora.

Pack a camera happiness is at its best and purest when shared. You will want to share your moments, and you will have fun recording them. Rest assured

What mode of transportation do you like best?
Sail Boats. I feel at home on the water. Moving with it. Listening to the flapping of sails on a breeze, jumping into a great abyss filled with so much life.

How many languages do you speak? Have you ever thought it was a significant problem, not speaking the language of somewhere you've been?

I speak Merican dag gummit. Now that Im living in Nicaragua I am picking up on a lot of spanish- though Im a far cry from fluent. Living in a foreign country has made me want to learn so many languages. Just this morning my friend was running around town like crazy looking for someone who understood Norwegian because he couldnt get into his Norwegian Bank account and all of the automated commands when he called were most certainly not in english. Its important to acclimate with your surroundings when you travel. You can not be ignorant of other cultures- otherwise you miss so much. Out of respect to your travels, and to the locals who's countries you will be visiting, make an effort to learn something basic. Even if its just hola, como estas? thats somethings, everyone appreciates something.

What's the worst thing about traveling?
A broken routine. We find comfort in the known. The norm. But there is so much joy and growth to be found in the unknown and uncomfortable. Food is different, people are different, comforts of familiarity are hard to come by. The first time I had a proper snickers candy bar here I almost burst into tears because of the memories of home I had attached with that stupid candy bar. Missing home and friends is hard. Especially when you are gone for extended amounts of time. There are days where the convenience of your home- proper medical facilities, more than one place to buy a tank top, a CVS would be SO nice sometimes, and target. sweet baby jesus what I wouldnt do for a nice walk around an Airconditioned target today. But you have to leave those memories in their boxes on your travels. Respect that they are comforts, and they are waiting, but make the effort to be where you are. To eat the local food- even if it freaks you out, someone eats if for a reason, its probably pretty delicious, to live in the local community, I haven't had air con for months, the power goes out all the time along with the water some days, but i see the beach from my porch everymorning, and breathtaking sunsets everynight. Those sights, smells, tastes that make me so happy are worth the moments when I miss home like crazy. The good outweighs the discomfort.

What's the best, in your opinion?

A sunset beer and a brownie with ice cream on the beach is the best.

Have you ever been backpacking?
Doing it right this very second. Leaving for a mini surf trip to Costa Rica tomorrow morning at 5am.

What's the longest trip you've ever taken?
Three months strictly traveling- 23 years if were speaking about the journey of life.

Do you travel with any electronics? Which ones and why?
I have a smart phone. I use that for picture taking, social media posting, responding to emails, listening to music, and buying place tickets/planing my next adventure.

If you could tell our readers one piece of advice, what would it be? 
Live and let live. Also make sure you love it- all of it, even if it hurts sometimes, love that too.
Road trip with mama, Grand Canyon

What's your favorite book?
The Profit by Kahlil Gibran

What's your favorite food you've had in another country?
Right now its a toss up between a choco banano and tostones. A Choco Banano is a chocolate covered frozen banana on a stick- I recently found it last week and have had one almost every day. there is a small door gate in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua on the mane drag surrounded by restaurants- a huge sign reads choco banana next to the door- when you look through the gate there is a small hallway that leads to a dimly lit room with the strobe like rays of a tv brightening and darkening what appears to be a small living room. It looks creepy. Once you get over that sight, you bang the lock on the gate and say hola, uno choco-banano pro favor and a smiling old Nica woman brings you one and you make the exchange of 10 cords - roughly 50 cents us- through the door and walk away fucking happy. It is delicious. Next are tostones- when I first moved here I refused to eat them. And now I cant stop. It a fried plantain, mashed and deep fried again into a disk shape, served with fried cubes of cheese, refried beans, and salsa. judge me. it is perfect.

What's the weirdest custom/festival you've ever experienced?
There was a festival recently in San Juan celebrating San Juan day. Three very interesting things happened- 1) the night before everyone in town parades through the street with floats. Among the floats is a sea of walking children surrounded by a bouncing jesus. They have put jesus on a float, attached four handles, and let children bounce him through the steers jovially. 20 a 30 foot wood pole. This pole will later be cemented into the middle of the street after being covered in motor oil and grease, a group of 10-12 men will then spend all day climbing to the top of this pole using sticks, rope, the bodies of one another, and lots and lots of Tona- local beer. Once they reach the top they get $200 to be split amongst the entire team. There are no safety nets. There is no medical team standing by. There are 12 drunk Nicaraguan men, one of which will eventually reach the top of a heavily greased pole, and there is a 30 foot drop to the cement street should be fail. wahhoooo its a party. 3) There is also a squealing pig covered in motor oil let loose amongst the crowd immediately following the pole climbing, winner of this gets the pig in a bag to take home. Nice.

When you think about all your trips, is there any one place that you could move to forever?
California. I love America, and I miss this place the more I think of it. If I had to pick a place outside of the US i wouldnt be able to make the decision yet. I havent found that place that calls to me yet. But when I do, I will stop moving.

Where is your next big trip going to be?
Im doing a huge backpacking trek starting at the end of my contract in October. Ill be driving my car from Florida to Arizona - stopping for a week in Atlanta to spend time with one of my favorites. he heeeem - spending the month of november with my mom- she is my soul mate and I miss her more than anything. She's arriving to Nicaragua this Saturday 7/12 to attend one of my surf camps :) Im so stoked! Then Ill spend all of December around Australia, January and early february finding my way through south east asia, and ill end with two weeks visiting a dear friend in Hawaii before heading home for my next chapter. Or on to my next adventure- wherever the wind blows this bag of bones.

Do you prefer to travel during warm or cool months?
WARM! I can not survive in the cold And I dont like wearing more than a light jacket.
Do you keep a journal?
Yes. It is one of my most favorite things. Memories are the best souveneirs.

Do you travel with a phone?
I do. I leave it home at times- resenting its connections- but I have learned to accept technology, and use it as a tool for convenience. If I need to get out of a place fast, its nice to know that I have the ability to do that. I did have that stolen from me on a trip once. Had to go a week with no phone. And that was lovely. I felt more in line with being in the moment. But getting around airports and coordinating with other people is not so easy when you are without a cellular device. But now that I think of it I really liked just trusting that they would be where they said they would be at the time agreed upon. Phones have killed that buzz for future generations. Theyve sped up out senses and numbed our minds. I like taking breaks from my phone. Im leaving it home this week.

Do you prefer to travel with someone or alone?
With someone. I have to find time to be alone, but i so love bonding with other over journeys and follys.

What's one piece of advice you would offer when it comes to staying on a budget?
Plan. When budgeting, map out all of the money you want to spend on a trip, allocate for food, travel, fun, accommodations. Do not skimp on meals and places you want to go. Be mindful of your actions and the way those costs will affect your budget. Buying that street painting may mean you cant afford to stay at the nice hotel- but if you love that painting and its going to improve your days, buy it and find a cheaper place.

Has there ever been a time that you really wish you had brought something with you on a trip that you didn't have? What was it?
Anytime I have forgotten to bring a book. Books are important to me.

On a scale of 1-10 how important are the shoes you bring in terms of comfort and function? What shoes do you wear most when you travel?
shoes are a 8 for me. High scale of importance when you're on your feet all day. I wear rainbow flip flops when Im local around town and going on surf trips. And a quality pair of sneakers- like saucony- when im traveling. Boots are always a go to as well- they make me feel strong and happy.

What's your favorite thing you've bought while traveling?
First legitimate pair of cowboy boots I bought in Texas on my drive from Florida to California. I wore those things to the ground, they finally died when I burnt a hole in them at a bonfire. Also Desi Costa Rican Bikinis - They stay on when I surf, and make my ass look perfect  that has made ALL the difference
The boots

What's the most romantic place you've ever been? Why?
Charleston, SC. Go, and you will understand.

Do you read travel blogs or guide books?
I should, but Your blog is honestly the only one i follow

What's the craziest thing you've ever done while you were on a trip? Everything ive ever done has been pretty crazy well have to Skype on this one and pick a favorite.

Where's one place you HAVE to go before you die?
Bali. Put me on an elephant and let me surf Indonesia Right Now.

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