Friday, February 28, 2014

Off again: Jamaica.

After about 2 months and 1 week in the US I am off to JAMAICA for 9 days to camp on the beach and do a service project! The cure to those itchy traveling feet!

I will be out of touch until I return next Sunday but there is a waterfall visit, elementary school teaching, and cultural activities lined up that I plan to write a ton about!

Until then, happy travel

Thursday, February 27, 2014

SUMMER RECAP 2013: Traveling through the Balkans

August 2013:

After my stay at the pink palace and my visit to the Greek Mountains, I decided to Travel the Balkans. I had to get to Croatia for a hostel job and my options were to travel to through Albania and Montenegro to get to Croatia, or to take a ferry to Italy (either Rimini or Bari) and then take another ferry from there to Croatia.

The cost of the ferries to italy were about 60$ each way and would mean spending 24 hours in transit. If I traveled through the Balkans I got to see 2 other gorgeous countries which sounded incredible to me! My biggest concern was logistics and safety. After consulting with multiple people who told me that it would be safe and fine, I decided to go for it. The biggest logistical problem would be the transportation out of the country since transportation is not reliable in Albania and crossing the border into Montenegro can be tough, but I figured I could cross that bridge when I got there. It was off to Albania for me!

I left from Corfu on an evening ferry to Saranda, Albania. The ferry took about 45 minutes, cost $17 and was absolutely stunning!!

I went through customs before getting on board, and then it was an easy journey. Very casual as you can see. I got a lot of looks like I was slightly crazy for traveling there alone as a young white female but just took it all in stride.

When I arrived I stepped off the ferry, through customs again, and then I was in Saranda. The first thing I did was go to find my hostel which was less than 50 yards from the ferry terminal! It was called Tomy's hostel and was fantastic! It was an apartment with a kitchen and 3 bunk rooms in which Tomy took care of us. People had signed all the walls telling him how much they loved their stay there and the memories they had had.

After I got settled in, I sat on the porch for the night overlooking the harbor and chatted with fellow travels. It was hot, but the place was beautiful, bustling and nice.

The next day would be my first, and only, full day in Albania.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Can you ever not sleep because you mind it filled with memories: memories of what can potentially happen, of your future, of the posibilites. 
Memories you can taste on the tip of your tongue even if they have yet to exist, flooding your brain and bursting it wide with potential. 

Me, I have these memories. These fleeting lost seconds of my future self, that diaspear before I can grab hold. Visions of potential that  arise, overtaking my mind like a tornado. These taunting dancing shadows I endlessly chase. 

What will be can’t be known but can be imagined in its most perfect, or most imperfect form. What’s living if its not living now, not filling this moment to the brim with all that is possible and impossible. Striving to fill the future the same way and lifting your glass to cheers to the past that was. 

Memories are mystical like that. They appear when they have yet to exist, the come back when they should have long died, they creep up and grab you at moments of surrealism in which you question what is truth. Their hands are slimy,  intenste and gripping. You think they have vanished only to knock over a bucket in the corner of your mind spilling the contents within onto your thoughts, staining the film roll that plays a loop of your life.. They infuse joy, sorrow, longing, excitement, and fulfillment into your days. They are the pulse of existence and the push to move forward. They are the reason this thing called living is worth it.

 Make them well, dream of them often, use them wisely, never leave them behind, and always search for them in the future. 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Backpacker's promise

We all do it.
We all meet amazing people. 
We all have big nights out and bond over beer, idiocy and usually some good dancing. 
We all spend days together in the sun, sharing secrets and passions for the world.
And we all leave- go our own ways. Find our own path to travel. Fulfill those dreams that brought us together in the first place.

But we all do one more thing before leaving. We make that promise. You know the one. The promise to see each other again sometime. Sometime soon or sometime later. Somewhere close or far.
"Oh im going to Amsterdam too!"
"Yeah you can come stay with me in my house in Austrailia. "
"I’ll totally fly up to your city’s festival in northern Norway in October!"
"Oh we both live in the states so we will see each other again, for sure."
or the ever present "I will see you again, man"
After all, we are travelers, and when you are on a travelers high, anything is possible. You could be anywhere at anytime it feels. So why not make that promise? Hold onto that hope that you will see those amazing people again?

How often do we come through on these promises? I’d like to bet that the answer is somewhere close to absolutely never. Now it is true that there is that rare occasion that out of all the people you meet you actually are able to find one again somewhere in the vast expanse of travel. The next country over in South America. On the beach in southeast Asia. Site seeing in Rome, paris or Prague. And when you meet up with a backpacking friend , whether you meet them for one night or worked at a hostel together for a month, complete insanity issues. It’s someone YOU KNOW. From Somewhere else! Of course we have to have an amazing night, and an amazing time. Not other options. And those times are the sweetest.

But then there are all those other promises. The ones that you never fulfill. The friends on facebook that you spend the first few weeks keeping up with and then they just become another name on your newsfeed until you can’t even remember where you met them. Those promises, those friendships, so strong and so encompassing  in the moment, that just fall away. Just memories of lost nights and hazy days? 
So, should we stop making the backpackers promise?

No way. That’s the paradox of the promise. Most of us know its not going to go through. Most of us know things change and in the grand scheme of things this one new friend doesn’t have that much influence over our future choices. But we still make them. Because we you meet amazing people like the ones when you travel, you don’t want to let that go. You want to hold onto that hope that you might meet again. That this is more than a 3 day friendship, or bromance. All of us backpackers are connected in a way that can’t be explained. So we will keep promising to come across each other again. Because we are all bonded. And from one traveler to the next, you need that friend, you want that friend.  So the next person you meet might not be the one you’d promised you would see again, but they will be just as amazing in their own way. So we promise to meet travelers again, as a whole. WE make the promise to move forward, to be friendly and to forge the most amazing intense short-term friendships and bonds of any people on earth. Until they end and the promise of another bond hangs in the air.

We make the promise because it’s how we tell them they meant something. These short relationships are significant, they are important, and even if we never actually meet again, im sum, they will be remembered for a lifetime. We make the promise because it’s the traveler’s thank you for the time you have spent, for investing in them. It’s a reminder that traveling friends are important. It’s encouragement to keep moving forward and making new friends, and putting your heart into these relationships no matter how short they will be in the literal since. Because in our minds they are going no where for a long time. They are representative of the love, openness, and amazingness of this community we have brought ourselves into.

So, fellow backpacker friend, I will always promise to try and see you again. Because these are ties and memories I don’t soon want to forget. And because there are values as a backpacker we should all carry.


Today is just one of those days. A day where I feel terrified. I am back “home” now. Well I am back at school in the US. 

I was not excited to be coming home, and even less excited to be coming to back to school.
Depression was my first reaction,
Then obsession with planning to escape back to those far away places.

The more I retreated into my obsession with being anywhere else, the more people told me I needed to just enjoy the time here and now.

Fair argument. After all now is part of my life that I don’t want to completely ignore.

So I decided to fake it until I made it.

But against all odds, I faked it too well. And I am starting to get comfortable here. Don’t get me wrong, the itch to travel is still painfully present.

But I am losing my perspective, my drive, my passion for the world and understanding more than everyone else. I am losing my ability to forget about chasing the life I am “supposed to have” for the life I want. I am allowing the possibility of taking the “easy” way out and just giving into the life society is pushing me towards. Of forgetting the risks and craziness of the pleasure of travel, and picking the path everyone else is simply sliding into. Of going with the current pulling me down, instead of fighting it to do what really means the world to me.

I care way too much about my grades, and sacrificing my happiness for that.

 All I can think about is how need to compete with people here at my Uni- Compete for what? That upcoming job market..?

 I spend too much time worried about making money (to finance my travels) but also because money makes the world go ‘round. 

I’ve been itching to spend that money again on material crap. I just bought a new iphone?!?! Why? Because I wanted one. I almost bought myself an ipad. It seriously repulses me.  I am sinking back into a materialistic lifestyle.

I have been feeling the pressure for grad school again and updating my resume for more jobs, internships, and static careers of the future per my dad’s wishes despite the fact that its not what would really make me happy.

I have been spending way too much time on my appearance. I online shop and want heaps of new clothes. I used to want plane tickets….

I have been getting settled. I have made some new friends this year, and gotten into a very clean weekly routine. It is comfortable. I am seeing a very nice guy, and having a good time with him.

But this is all wrong. Society is taking back everything I have fought against. Am I complaining that I am happy right now?

No.  I’m just scared.
As scary as it is: this is a possible life for me. Terrifying.
But yet, this is a life I could choose to live.
            If I gave up, if I gave in to societal pressures, if I let my dreams go unfulfilled.

When I left I knew I didn’t want this life- it became so startlingly apparent to me it was painful. I wanted new people; I wanted to not care about appearances, or material things. I didn’t want to chase the corporate ladder, and do what I “had to” instead of what I wanted with my life. I needed spontaneity, new people, and freedom. I didn’t want to be trapped. I have so much more potential than that. I had so much more perspective.

So today I sit here terrified. Because on some level I am getting attached here to this dull, mundane routine, easy lifestyle. I am making connections that are going to hurt to break. And I am seeing a glimpse of the fact that this life could convince me to give up on all my dreams.

I am terrified of getting stuck.
Of letting myself get stuck.

I want to think of being here as a stop-over. I want to have no regrets of leaving for as long as I can.  I want my traveler friends. I want people who understand my underlying burning desire. And I want to run- and run for the hills. That’s why I travel well. Because I hate to put down roots.

I want more than anything for it to be 3 months from now so I can run again, and reignite the fire that makes me WANT to be alive- that keeps me from giving up on this life I want to have.

I want to protect myself. I want to protect my desire to avoid this life that in my heart I have NO interest in.

Being home is the most painful thing I could experience. But I will fight to maintain my true desires. I want to pick the life I think of as success and fulfilling, not what society or other people define as success and the life I should lead. 

While everyone around me here at school talks about what they want to do when they graduate: to be successful, rich, high in the corporate ladder, typical, materialistic, sheltered, uncultured,….

I want to talk about no goal other than: be nothing but happy.
That’s all I want when I grow up.

And I am going to fight tooth and nail not to let myself forget it.

That makes me ever so slightly less terrified. 

Travel Free,
xx Lexi

Saturday, February 15, 2014

SUMMER 2013 RECAP: Corfu, Greece. The Pink Palace

After Berlin I flew to Corfu Greece and started my adventure at the Pink Palace


I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. It is SO much fun!!!

The staff is amazing! The facilities are out of this world. The location is beautiful. Everything is great!

The first day there I went on the booze cruise! AH-mazing .

 We did do some incredible cliff jumping though!

I made a really good Aussie friend, chumps, who hung out with me most of the time I was there. So much fun!

The second day I went 4-wheeling which was also incredible. This island is beautiful.The tour guide for the quad safari was an awesome young greek guy who was so sweet

Then I spent a few days sitting on the beach just chilling.

The Palace is amazing, They have 4 bars (reception, dinner, palladium, and beach). They serve breakfast and then a sit down dnner every day included in your room price. And they have a giant beach bar to hang out in and a private beach with chairs. Then they also had their own night club that you can party at almost every nigh with awesome club music.

 They announce every night at dinner what they want to do for their party that night. Sometimes its beach bar (full moon party, traffic light party, etc) and sometimes in Paladium (toga party, cross dressing party, just regular club night). I can't describe how amazing this is in words...  its a magical place!

It was very hard to leave.

The palace is across the island from the main city of Corfu but they will pick you up and drop you off anywhere you need to go which makes everything so simple and easy. I spent one day wandering around the old town of Corfu which I really enjoyed as well! It's beautiful.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

SUMMER RECAP: Berlin, Germany

After belgium i took a train to Berlin!! I spent 4 WONDERFUL days in Berlin. There was a lot of walking, a lot of sight-seeing and history, even more culture, and a lot of parties (afterall it is Berlin...)

The first day I did the New Europe tour around to all of the main sites. We saw the Brandenburg gates, holocaust memorial, checkpoint charlie, where hitler's bunker was, and parts of the Berlin wall. So overall I had a fabulous time!

The holocaust memorial is such an interesting experience because you just don't know what to make of it. But it is amazing to see and walk through. Emotional in it's own way

Hitler's bunker is now a parking lot, but it is still the exact spot where so much history took place.
The berlin wall is amazing and that is was captured my attention more than anything!

After the tour I went back and went to the Holocaust memorial information center which is free, and very moving and well done. I spent about an hour in there before I had to escape to keep from getting teared up more

It was a long first day, and a long first night out! I tried out some clubs with some Aussies I met!

The second day was also a lot of fun! I got up as early as I could and went back to the Berlin wall so that I could see the documentation of the wall museum which was pretty interesting!

And then I went and saw the topography of terror museum which was also nice to see- I liked that! It talked all about Hilter's rise power. Then I made the long walk over to the other plaza for the alternative city tour. If you know anything about Berlin, it's that it is a super Funky underground culture. It has hippies, and awesome neighborhoods filled with amazing street art. I absolutely LOVED that side of the city.

The tour explored some of Berlin's counter culture, street art, and cool open air style markets. I seriously was in love. I could have spent HOURS walking around Krutzberg and those neighborhoods! SO interesting!!!

I had another fun night out that night with a pub crawl! Nothing like a good pub crawl I tell you!

On my third full day I went back to Kruetzberg! I went to a grocery store and little cafe called Veganz which was amazing and so delicious. Definitely fits in with the Berlin culture.

 Then I went and saw the East Side Gallery which is a MUST do in Berlin. It was beautiful and captivating. I could have stayed there and walked along the paintings for hours!!

 I spent the rest of the day just wandering and exploring and taking in all of Berlin. This is seriously an incredible city.

That night was a fun night out with some random Americans I had met. They were super sweet and we all went to this funky open air club thing in Kruetzberg. I had a blast!

On my last morning I went to an all you can eat vegan brunch place which was delicious! I was happy for sure!

SUMMER RECAP: Brussels and Bruge, Belgium

 I started out my summer trips this year in Brussels! Here is the start of the recap of my adventure!

I arrived in Belgium ready to enjoy myself and eat the 4 foodgroups of belgium

1. Chocolate (oh MY god)
2. beer
3. waffles
4. fries

Here are some photos of my time in Brussels. I made an awesome traveler friend- one of those traveler friends that you end up spending a few days consecutively with! We went on a tour of town and we went on a beer tour where I learned all about Belgian beer!

Our tour guide for the beer and city tour was AWESOME and he invited us to hang out with us the next night. So we went to this park a little outside the city for some live music and some awesome times playing frisbee in gorgeous weather!!

The third day was Mac's birthday so we decided to do a chocolate tour! We tried many different types of chocolates from each different famous belgian chocolatier and then explored the comic book museum.

Pierre Marcollini was my favorite-  I just fell in love with the chocolates. They are so reach and single sourced for each type with plantations all around the world. The most high quality chocolate I have ever had the chance to taste.

And then on my last day I decided to go to Bruge with my Mac. We had a great time exploring the beautiful canals and then I got to go to the chocolate museum! Yay!!

 Belgium was great, and I would definitely go back!  I feel like it might not be one of the top destinations on a lot of people lists but I don't regret going in any way. It was a great easy start to my trip and met some incredible friends.

Up next, Berlin!