The Cinnamon Traveler Chats

Since creating my public Instagram account (@fromthissideofthesun) to showcase my travel adventures and writing, I’ve made so many connections & found friends in like-minded individuals. I’m so grateful that one of them, Edher, AKA The Cinnamon Traveler (find him on Instagram, and his Facebook page) asked to interview me on his YouTube channel.

Edher lives in Cusco, Peru and has conducted several interviews with travelers, bloggers, and more that I’ve found to be both fascinating and inspiring. He’s one of the most genuine people I’ve met, (which says a lot seeing as how we’ve only “met” a couple months ago, and have yet to meet in person!) and I’m so glad he shared his platform with me for me to tell my story as a solo female traveler.

I’m super awkward and there were some technical difficulties on my end, but I had such an amazing time chatting with him! Check out the full interview here.

103981922_270676040929858_8451565730875920461_n(1)

Safe travels to the fridge and back for now,

sig2

La La Louisville

Some of you may recall my trip to Minneapolis last year for the Sigma Tau Delta Convention.

I was lucky enough to be accepted to present again this year at the 2017 Convention, held in Louisville, KY.

Although it was a short trip to the south, we covered a lot of ground. (If you haven’t realized by now, I like to do that.)

Without further ado, here’s less than 72 hours in Louisville!

We arrived on a Thursday, checked into our hotel and immediately headed out to find a place for dinner. Right near our hotel was 4th Street Live, an entertainment district with a lot of restaurant chains. It wasn’t overly crowded when we arrived, but then again, it was still early. There was the famous guitar outside the Hard Rock, the impressive Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse, and neon lights outside every lounge/club.

l1

The next morning, I presented my poetry collection, “Leaving Season” at the Marriott.  I met another presenter from Pittsburgh and we gushed about some of our wonderful teachers and poets in the Pittsburgh poetry community.

l6

l5

Reading from my poetry session.

After my session, I traded my heels for some comfortable shoes and we set out to explore what we could in the short time we had. We stopped into the Louisville Visitor Center for a map and some helpful hints. I tried on fancy Derby hats while JJ pretended to not know me. We were given some recommendations for restaurants and things to do, and decided to not waste any more time. We headed straight to the river, where we saw the Belle of Louisville (think the Gateway Clipper of Pittsburgh) and walked along the waterfront.

l7

Belle of Louisville.

Although it was cloudy, we pressed on. Since we only had the day, we decided not to go to the Louisville Slugger Museum (although we walked by the field) and also skipped the Muhammad Ali Center. By the time we reached the Waterfront Park, the sun peaked through. We stopped at a playground to sit & swing for a short break. We’d done a lot of walking!

l10

Feet in the clouds.

We decided to rent a bike to adventure across the Big Four Bridge to Indiana. It might have saved us some time, but trust me- it wasn’t that much easier. We both pedaled our hearts out to reach the top of the ramp to the bridge. Once we got to the top, we finally caught our breath. From there, it was a breeze pedaling across the bridge, not to mention an incredible amount of fun.

l11

l12

Ominous clouds over the ramp & our sweet ride.

Having beat the rain, we found our way around a couple neighborhoods, like the East Market District. We ducked into an adorable coffee shop, Please and Thank You. I mean, if you put a sign like this out front, I don’t see how I’d be able to stay away!

l4

Not to mention that we discovered the bathroom had this framed inside:

l13

Pittsburgh & Louisville!

There were tons of cool shops, not to mention the street art everywhere!

l2l14

We saw Thomas Edison’s house, where he invented the light bulb, walked past the KFC Yum! Center, and ate at an awesome place called “Troll Pub Under the Bridge Pub,” which was exactly what it sounds like. So sure, we didn’t have fried chicken or go to the Derby, we both had colds and it could’ve been better weather, but we had a BLAST. We loved our time in Louisville!

l3

Crossing off our bucket list one trip at a time.

And that’s a wrap!

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, outdoor

From left: JJ & I at the convention, beautiful blossoms by the river, 4th Street Live, and trying on Derby hats!

 

OH. And one more thing- I was awarded two prizes for my collection! We were unable to be at the convention awards Saturday night since we drove back to Pittsburgh early for Andrew McMahon & The Wilderness, but I found out that I got first place (for the second year in a row!) & an honorable mention. I didn’t find out the good news until days later when it was announced on the website. I was beyond excited!
img_9597
So for those of you who have already been, what did we miss in Louisville? Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

sig2

 

 

 

 

A Year in Review

Remember that bucket list I had for 2016? Gotta be honest here, I’ve been crushing it.

*At the end of this year, I will have gone on four international trips:

-I took my mom on vacation to the Dominican Republic, something I’ve always wanted to do.

-I’d been waiting to see South America for a long time, so I finally bought a ticket to Peru and Bolivia in July for travel that same month(Which was a little crazy, yes.)

-I had yet to explore a new country with my boyfriend, so we booked a trip to Iceland in October.

– In less than a week, I’m heading to Thailand and then South Korea.

-I also traveled to Minnesota, Georgia, Delaware, and Illinois, among other places.

 

* This year I got serious about my poetry and started submitting my work, and it paid off:

-So far, I have had over 15 poems published in anthologies, literary magazines, and journals!

-I won first place at the 2016 Sigma Tau Delta International Convention for my collection.

-I had essays in Thought Catalog & Odyssey Online.

-I read with the Pittsburgh Poetry Roadshow & Voices From the Attic launch party.

-I celebrated my first year of blogging!

 

 

But, 2016 wasn’t all smooth. I also had some scary stuff happen with my health.

*I had a pacemaker put in, but was determined to keep running and I finished:

-Pittsburgh  5k

-Pittsburgh half marathon

-GNC Liberty Mile

Erie full marathon

EQT 10 Miler

 

I made this list not to be conceited, or talk about how great my life is (trust me- it isn’t always!) but because I’m incredibly proud of my accomplishments this year and have worked really hard to get to this point. It’s taken sacrifice, hard work, and admittedly, a couple breakdowns, but I’m so happy with where I’ve arrived.

I’m a big believer in being proud of your achievements, because why shouldn’t we be? If we don’t, who will? You’ve worked your ass off. Celebrate your victories. Don’t let jealousy in. Don’t be bitter. Don’t worry about coming off as “bragging.” Uplift each other. Support each other. You traveled to a new country? I wanna see! You committed to a healthier lifestyle? That’s awesome! You graduated? Great work!  Go ahead & show it off. I’m proud of you.

For those of you feeling stuck: I was there. I promise if you focus on the things you love and make them a priority, they will become your reality. I stopped putting my dreams off this year, and look at what happened. 2017 can be your year. Go get ’em.

 

sig2

 

 

 

 

P.S. Happy holidays everyone!

I’ll check back in a couple weeks when I’m back in the States.

 

The Blur That Was Ibiza & Paris

Wednesday, September 4-Tuesday, September 10, 2013

From raving with David Guetta & parasailing into sunsets in Ibiza, to eating dinner atop the Eiffel Tower, it was all unforgettable. Even a little rain couldn’t put a damper on these adventures! I drank pink champagne outside the Louvre, devoured macarons, saw Jim Morrison’s grave, took in Moulin Rouge and the Palace of Versailles, visited the Notre-Dame Cathedral & Arc de Triomphe, went on a breathtaking night cruise on the Seine River, and locked my love in one of the most amazing cities.

 

 

sig2