my first day in queenstown

Welp, I’m on my own. Bright and early yesterday AM my mom and I parted ways and said our “see you laters.”

Now, I’m in Queenstown. What’s the first thing I did once I arrived? Maybe find a map and get my bearings? I got a hair wrap with feathers. Really practical but hey, why not?

The best way I can describe Queenstown is that it’s quite like Aspen, but with a gigantic lake and affordable shopping – and I mean food, clothes, the works. I know that won’t help most of you get a feel for it, but it’s the best I’ve got for now. Here’s a picture so you can at least get a visual. Ain’t she perdy?

After the hair was taken care of, I walked around the local outdoor market for a bit and took some pictures. Hash tag tourist – but hey, this town is chock full of ‘em.

I had sammy and coffee at a great local join called Vudu and Larder– check it out if you make it over here. It’s delish – but be warned, there’s no Wi-Fi. Gasp!

Then it was back to wandering around. I’m not sure at what point I decided I needed one, but I got a phone. I’ll be honest, I’ve never purchased a phone and/or a phone plan without a parent by my side, so I’m pretty pleased with myself. Making big girl moves here, you guys. Basically now I can use as much data (ok, 1 GB, whatever that means) and not have to worry about racking up a hefty bill or desperately asking, “Wi-Fi?” everywhere I go. Everybody wins.

Then, I checked into my hostel. I’ll tell you all about it later – I’m actually quite pleased with my choice and would highly recommend it.

After napping for a bit, I decided to grab some dinner. Wanting something quick and portable so I could take it to eat at the wharf, I stopped at Pita Hut – I never managed to make it to one in the states, so I figured I’d give it a go. I met a cool dude from Chicago who works there – my first friend! #solotravelerproblems

Then, I decided to go for my first hike, because I guess I didn’t get enough action already. Oh boy. There is seriously nothing like climbing a mountain to remind you how un-physically fit you are. I was sweating b-u-c-k-e-t-s and wheezing like I smoke 2 packs a day (I don’t smoke, for the record) and I ran out of water about 18 minutes into the round-trip 2-hour hike. Yeah. But of course, it was stupidly beautiful. I met a mountain goat once I got to the clearing at the top (not quite the summit) and I named him Pete. Have y’all ever seen the YouTube videos of goats screaming? That’s what I got to listen to as I soaked in the panoramic views. Friggen’ hilarious. Anyways, I got to enjoy the sunset as I made my descent back to town - just idyllic.

I stopped at the grocery store on my way back to the hostel to grab some snacks for the next couple days, and then I decided to forgo a night out on the town and hit the hay early.

I’d say it was a pretty rad first day a. solo and b. in Queenstown. More to come soon. Stay beautiful friends.

denver day 1

It's funny to think that I lived in Aspen for an entire year and once I moved back to Minneapolis, I finally managed to make it to Denver. Let me tell you - it did not disappoint.

Within an hour of stepping off the plane, my partner in crime and I were driving around and upon her suggestion, decided on getting tattoos. It was a rainy day and we were (apparently) feeling spontaneous. In one moment we had made our decision and in the next I was sitting in the chair, getting prepped. Tattoos are only for life, right? We went to Old Larimer Street Tattoo, a little shop in (what I believe) is just east of the heart of downtown Denver. If you're ever feeling spontaneous - and you happen to be in Denver - check it out. I'm no tattoo expert and I didn't get anything crazy complicated, but it's got a special vibe and what seems like a cool group of guys working there.

After a couple glasses of wine and some stand up comedy routines on Netflix, we decided to pry ourselves off the couch and try our chances of getting into a sold out Matt Nathanson concert. Allison, a die-hard fan, convinced me to continue the spontaneity and give it a go. I was tired from traveling and in a slight food coma after beer and burgers, but as I almost always do when I'm initially reluctant, I ended up having a blast. God, Matt Nathanson is a babealicious babe. He could have just stood (literally, just stood) up there for two hours instead of playing music and you would have heard zero complaints from me. He's quite the comedian too. He has got some great albums but there's nothing quite like the real deal - it was a great reminder that I need to get more into the live music scene. The show was at the Larimer Lounge, a pretty divey venue, but it was small so it made for an intimate couple of hours.

I didn't have time to explore the area around the Larimer Lounge, but it's definitely on the list for my next visit to Denver. There are some pretty phenomenal graffiti murals in that area - it seems to be a pretty artsy, funky area of town.

home sweet rome

Studying abroad in Rome my senior year of college was when I fell in love with writing - and the world, for that matter. I traveled all throughout Italy, Switzerland and Turkey, to name a few. I have to admit that I find my best writing comes to me while I'm traveling and going from one adventure to the next. Interested in my European adventure? Check it out here.

Enjoy! xx