Tag Archives: outsidergirl

Remembering Names is Hard | BEDA Day 10

Happy Sunday, blogees! I like to consider myself a pretty sharp person, but there’s one thing I’ve been struggling with recently: remembering people’s names. I can talk about shows in detail til the cows come home, but names seem to go in one ear and out the other. It was bothering me so much, that I just had to make a video about it.

On a different note, I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing with this whole YouTube thing. I still love making videos but the game has changed so much since I started vlogging in my dorm room five years ago. I don’t really have a niche or a brand. I’m personally fine with that, but it makes it hard to tell people what my channel is about. If anything, I guess my brand is “comedy vlogs about travel and 20-something life.” That’s kind of vague, I realize, but it’s as close to a genre as I’m going to get.

Enjoy this delve into my slightly dysfunctional brain. I hope you’re all having wonderful weekends!

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How to Cruise Like a Pro – Bermuda Edition

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Every summer, I join my dad’s side of the family (all 22 of them) for our annual family reunion. This usually consists of a few days in Upstate New York, but every couple of years we’ll venture out of the northeast. This year we decided to return to the high seas with a five-day cruise to Bermuda on Royal Carribean’s Explorer of the Seas. This was my fourth cruise and second time in Bermuda, and at this point I feel like I’ve gotten the cruise routine down. So how does one cruise like a pro? Read on, dear traveler.

1. Pick the right port.

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The port you depart from is almost as important as the one to which you’re sailing. You’ll probably end up staying a night or two in that city before or after the cruise, so you’ll want to make sure that that place is somewhere you’d like to visit. This all depends on where you’re going, of course. Port Canaveral, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale are pretty common departure points for Carribean cruises, and I, as a 20-something, would personally much rather stay the night in Miami. There are also departure ports around the world, and there may be one within driving distance of your home. I’m lucky enough to live near New York City, a common departure port for cruises to Bermuda and transatlantic voyages. The first time we sailed out of New York, my parents and I drove into the port a few hours before go time and parked at the dock. That’s pretty damn convenient if you ask me.

2. You’re gonna want a drink package.

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While you can eat til you burst on a cruise and not pay a cent extra, drinks (aside from tea, coffee, water, and some juices) are unfortunately not included in your fare. And believe me, you’re gonna want a drink or five when you’re at sea all day. To save cruisers a little bit of a heart attack when they receive their bill, a lot of cruise lines are now offering prepaid drink packages. For a few extra dollars a day, you can drink to your hearts content. Royal Carribean offers a few different levels of drink packages to accommodate everyone’s thirst. I went with a package that gave me unlimited beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages, and I’d say it was definitely worth it.

3. Get off the boat, dummy!

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This probably seems like a given, but a lot of folks on my cruise actually never set foot on the island once we arrived in Bermuda. If that’s what you want to do, go for it, but I’m a fan of exploring. Definitely look into the excursions your cruise line offers. When you have limited time in a new place, it’s nice to have someone guiding your adventures.

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My family decided on a snorkeling excursion with a local tour company. We cruised around the island on a small boat and stopped near a reef for some snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. It was a nice, relaxing day out and the weather was fantastic. It also helped that they were serving complimentary Rum Swizzle all day.

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Since we were in port overnight, we decided to take it easy the next day with a trip to Horseshoe Bay. We laid out, did a little exploring, and took advantage of some excellent photo ops.

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Cruising definitely isn’t for everyone. It’s expensive, crowded, and sometimes a little too structured. But I’m a fan of seeing the world on a full stomach, so I’m definitely into it. Now to plan the next journey.

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P.S. If you want to see a silly video I made while I was in Bermuda, click here.
P.P.S. If you like what you see, consider following me on Bloglovin!

The Road to Monterey

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I may have traveled a lot over the past four years but my “vacations” have been few and far between. You know, vacations? Those trips where you have no responsibilities and the primary goal is relaxation? Ringing any bells? Probably not.

Prior to last September, my folks and I hadn’t taken a proper family vacation since 2011. We traveled a lot over those two years, but those trips were always riddled with work meetings and looming schoolwork deadlines, and they were always far too short. When I decided to go out to LA for the summer, my parents decided it was time for another Dow family road trip. I had three weeks between the end of my program and the start of my senior year, so we took one of those weeks to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to San Francisco.

One of my favorite stretches of the journey was our drive between Ojai to Monterey. We stopped in Santa Barbara for lunch and to check out the city. We were only there for two hours, but it was just enough time for me to fall in love with the town. I also may have made some seagull friends.

After that, it was on to Big Sur. Aquatic mammals are kind of my thing, so I just about died when we pulled over to see a bunch of elephant seals just chilling on the beach. I broke out the macro lens and caught a few of these guys in action. We hit Big Sur just as the sun was setting so unfortunately we didn’t get to spend a lot of time in the forrest. It did make for some excellent photos, though.

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I have a feeling I’ll be doing a few of these LA photo dumps in the near future seeing as I have a ton of photos and adventures to share with you all. A few weeks ago I went to the Getty Museum, one of the largest collections of art in the city. They have pieces from every area of the world and period in history, so you’ll probably see something you like. I was particularly excited to see Van Gogh’s Irises, pictured above. The campus itself is stunning and admission is free, so even if you don’t like art it’s a fun trip. We hung out for a bit in the gardens before we realized that the sun was ridiculous. The Getty sits up in the hills so it has some amazing views of the entire city. If it wasn’t so smoggy we could probably have seen the ocean. Or at least downtown. I would totally go back to the Getty whenever I’m back in LA. I think we missed a few rooms on our first go-around and I obviously need to see EVERYTHING.

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My grandparents live on Long Island, just a fifteen minute drive from the beach. It takes us about four hours to get there from Philadelphia, but my parents and I try to make the trip as often as we can. We had the great luck of planning our latest trip the weekend before Hurricane Sandy hit, devastating most of the greater New York area. Though we were worried about the storm hitting before we could make it back to Philly in one piece, we decided to take a pretty ballsy walk on the beach as the storm was coming in. The photos I took that morning don’t really do justice to the force we could feel just walking near the waves, but I felt like sharing them anyway. Mother Nature is a scary, scary lady. It’s incredible to think that these waters would go on to nearly drown entire neighborhoods just a few hours later. The people of New York, New Jersey and all the areas affected are strong, though, and they will be back on their feet and better than ever soon enough.

For the record, my grandparents (and other Long Island-dwelling family members) made it out of the storm relatively unscathed and I am incredibly thankful for that.

If you’d like to contribute to the relief efforts, check out some of these links for more information:

The Robin Hood Foundation:
http://www.robinhood.org/rhsandy

New York Cares:
http://newyorkcares.org/volunteer/disaster/

Jersey Cares:
http://www.jerseycares.org/jc_sandy_relief

Occupy Sandy:
http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/
http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/wedding-registries/

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A Weekend in London

It appears that I am in London. I’m not entirely sure how I got here but I have a feeling that I watched Downton Abbey on the way. That’s not entirely important. What’s important is what I’ve been up to for the last few days, and that’s what I’m here to blog about.

(It’s occurred to me that “to blog” wasn’t a verb fifteen years ago. What a strange, strange world we live in.)

I arrived on Thursday slightly delirious. I did manage to get some sleep on the plane, but that didn’t make the tube ride from Heathrow and the journey from the tube stop to the flat with my fifty pound bag any easier. Regardless, I made it and unpacked my stuff in time to take a quick nap before our tour of the neighborhood. South Kensington is absolutely lovely. Almost everything I need is an easy walk from our flat in quaint little shops. After the tour, my friend and I had an awesome dinner at Nandos  and spent the rest of the evening recovering from jet lag.

Friday was spent in orientation and shopping for the essentials: food, a cell phone, and a hair dryer. On Saturday my flatmates and I went on a tour of the city. We hit the major tourist attractions that we could see on foot: Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, Big Ben, Westminister Abbey, Parliament, The Globe, Tower Bridge, etc. It was a lot of fun, and definitely helped me further develop my list of things I want to see before I leave. We actually arrived at Buckingham Palace in time to see the tail end of the guard change. I saw the guard change during my first trip to London when I was ten, but I don’t think I could appreciate the uniformity and precision of it until now. I’ll have to see the full routine one of these days.

This city is so beautiful. It’s such a modern city, and yet it’s so impossibly old. I’m surprisingly feeling very comfortable here which says…something about me. I’m really looking forward to the next ten weeks, and taking you all along with me.

I’ll leave you with some pictures from our walking tour, featuring the infamous gray London sky.