Seattle? OK, Maybe Portland Instead

I used to play Dance Dance Revolution (the arcade game where you jump on a mat with arrows in sync with the screen) a lot. I played at least 3 times a week for 1-2 hours on very high difficulty, so I was jumping all over the place and sweating a ton—it’s actually an incredibly good cardio workout while being fun at the same time. I used to be on DDR forums on the internet, and while conversing with others, I discovered that there was a competition going on in the near future (mid November) in Seattle, Washington. I decided that I would participate.

I practiced the songs that would be in the competition and was able to beat almost all of them with AA or AAA scores, which is phenomenal. After weeks of practicing, the time had arrived.

The competition was to be held on Saturday. My plan was to drive up to Seattle from Jackson, Wyoming on Friday, which I took the day off for. I would find some motel or something when I got there, go to the competition on Saturday, and then drive back on Sunday. I left on Friday morning in my Jeep with my DDR mat in the back and hope in my heart. Continue reading

Moving to Chicago and Visiting the Field Museum

I moved from Wyoming to Chicago in 2008 to go to University.

My dad drove with me all the way from Wyoming and helped me move in and get my bearings before he flew back home. Before he left, though, we checked out Chicago together. I remember the first thing we did was drive downtown and park in a parking garage. What a mistake that was! I think we had to pay about $10 an hour, which racked up quite a bill for just one downtown evening. That was the first and last time I ever drove downtown, instead opting to take the Metra from then on, which is a considerably cheaper option. What we did see downtown was pretty cool, though. Continue reading

A Weekend In Poland

Earlier this year I went to Poland for the weekend with some friends of mine. We arrived late Friday night in Warsaw and stayed until Sunday evening for a simple weekend away.

The Palace of Culture and Science, our first sight in Warsaw as we disembarked from the bus.

We quickly made our way to the hostel and dropped our stuff off before going out for some dinner at a classic Polish restaurant. All 4 of us got something different so we could all share, but I think we were too busy eating it to take any pictures! I can’t remember what we each had, but the pierogi (dumplings) were like biting into heaven itself!

After some drinks, full and tired, we made our way to our hostel to retire for the night. As soon as we got there, though, we decided to go back out and get some cocktails at a bar near our hostel.

I can’t recall the name of the bar, and the cocktails themselves weren’t really amazing, but the bartender was pretty funny. He was very intent on making custom creations just for us, so we all kind of gave him some pointers and he very enthusiastically made them for us, even if they weren’t that great in the end. Continue reading

Return to Rome

Earlier this year, a friend and I went to Rome, which would mark my second trip to Rome (after my first trip).

The friend that I went with was actually Italian, and he had a bit of knowledge that I wasn’t aware of the first time I went there. We left Friday evening after work and arrived late in the night. We went to a bar and got some Italian beers (which I will post about later), and while there we ran into a bunch of people from Wales. There was apparently a big Rugby game between an Italian and Welsh team, so the bars were full of Rugby fans preparing for the game the following day. Continue reading

A Weekend in Sweden

After my disastrous attempt at getting to Sweden, we arrived in a lovely city blanketed in snow.

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It gets cold in Cologne, but usually not enough for it to snow, so this was a pleasant change. The first part of our trip entailed my 2 friends and me retrieving a bike that my friend had left there and bringing it to the hostel, which we would later take to the airport to bring back to Cologne. Later in the evening we contended ourselves with walking around the city. At one point there was a Nazi demonstration, and they had the most beat up cars I have ever seen. Continue reading

Forgetting Your Passport – A Cautionary Tale

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The night before my friends and I went to Sweden, a holiday was taking place in Cologne where everyone goes out drinking. We had an early flight, about 8am if I recall correctly, but I still wanted to go out with some friends for a while. So we went out drinking, but I knew I couldn’t drink too much or stay out too late. I went home around 9 or so, although I still couldn’t fall asleep until midnight.

My alarm went off at around 5 or so, and I groggily dragged myself out of bed. I had not previously packed, but I was only going for a few nights, so it wasn’t like I needed much. I made sure I had my tickets, I packed some clothes and toiletries and a thicker jacket. I then considered checking my “to pack” list which I keep on the computer (something I will post about later—it’s incredibly helpful).

I figured that I was only going for a couple days, so what could I really forget that was so important? I opted to not check my list and instead left my house. I met up with my friends on the train and we proceeded to travel to the airport in Düsseldorf. About halfway to the airport, it suddenly struck me that I had not packed my passport. I casually brought it up to my friends, and they seemed to think I was joking at first, but I had to stress to them that I was serious. Continue reading

Rome (Pt.1) – Easter Break in Italy Pt. 3

I arrived in Rome via the train sometime around noon. I was tired from generally traveling, as well as my general lack of sleep, so without a specific destination in mind, I simply wandered around the train station. Almost immediately, an ancient looking structure caught my attention and I wandered towards it.

I made my way inside the Baths of Diocletian museum, which had an impressive display of ancient Roman artifacts inside.

In the garden outside the museum

In the garden outside the museum

Continue reading

Florence – Easter Break in Italy Pt. 2

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The Italian countryside

Following my stay in Venice, I was dropped off by the Germans I carpooled with at the Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station. It was already kind of late by then, so I just walked around a bit, spending the rest of the evening scoping out where I would sleep for the night.

I ended up staying right where I was dropped off at – right in the parking garage for the train station for the next three nights. It was an underground parking garage, and I simply walked in via the vehicle entrance and went all the way down to the bottom floor. Figuring that most people would park in the higher levels, I laid out my cardboard roll at the bottom of the stairwell and went to sleep.

*Pro-tip: while not necessarily the safest places, parking garages have proven to be excellent sleeping locations in a bind! Continue reading

New Zealand

New Zealand

Since this will be a travel blog, and since this is my first real post, I figured it most fitting to make my first post about my first real big international journey. I unfortunately don’t have any of my pictures since they are not digital and are locked away in storage, but my aunt was kind enough to provide me with some of hers, so I will show some of those throughout this post.

My Aunt lives in New Zealand, and she was kind enough to invite me there for a few weeks, so I went during the 2 spring break in high school, plus an additional week on both ends, so I was down there for 4 weeks in total. I was only 14 at the time, and while I had done some traveling with my family within the United States, this was my first international experience, and the first big trip that I at least traveled alone for a portion of the journey. Continue reading