“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

My Travel Bucket List

My Travel Bucket List

Oh, to be a bird and have the freedom to fly across the world and see every single inch of this beautiful earth on a whim. For those of us with limited funds and time (and especially those of us who aren’t built for living out of a backpack for the entirety of our lives) seeing all the places and meeting all the people isn’t a feasible goal. Instead of just reaching toward plots on a map, my Travel Bucket List is a bit more specific to my interests as well as experiencing the cultures.

North America

Hike (Part Of) The Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail

Traveling by foot is my favorite way to experience this world. Whether it is running along the Bay in San Francisco, walking the streets of Chicago, or hiking through the wilderness, moving at a slower pace allows me to take in the culture and/or scenery. I’ve already hiked on part of the Appalachian Trail at the Tennessee/North Carolina border, on the far east side of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. I wouldn’t mind hiking on part of it in each state that it travels through. Unfortunately, I value modern plumbing too much to ever be able to do a through-hike of either it or the Pacific Crest Trail. (Knowing your limits is key to setting proper goals!)

Tour Mayan Ruins

Standing at the top of an ancient temple built hundreds of years ago is an experience like none other. I’ll likely go back to Tikal at some point and stay in the park to fall asleep to the sounds of the surrounding jungle.

Hike An Active Volcano

Had I not injured myself the first morning of my trip to Guatemala, this would also already be accomplished. I suspect that that is far from my last trip to Central America, though. In Nicaragua, you can ash boardsurf down the side of a volcano on the ashes. I’d also love to see Costa Rica. I’ll eventually make my way to Hawaii as well, so the possibilities for where I might achieve this goal are endless.

South America

Day-Hike Machu Picchu

I’m certain this will not be enough time to explore it thoroughly (is there ever “enough”?). But, once again, my addiction to even somewhat modern plumbing limits my goal to just a day-hike.

Practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Capoeira In Brazil

I’m just beginning my quest to learn more martial arts. It would be quite the experience to practice these with natives of the culture where they were born.


Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day In Ireland

Perhaps from Dublin, where I would also tour the distilleries, breweries, and historic sights. Or, perhaps from the comfort of a bed inside of a castle-turned-hotel.

Take Flamenco Dancing Lessons In Spain

Do a Food & Wine Tour in Italy

I actually have a bucket list dedicated to Italy. It is impossible for me to choose just one thing I want to do when I finally go!

Experience Austrian Spas While Staying At the Aqua Dome

I’m a fairly modest person. At least, I’m not a traipse-through-the-halls-of-a-spa-naked person. If I were ever to splurge on a five-star hotel and spa, it would be at the Aqua Dome.

Watch The Northern Lights From A Glass Igloo Hotel Room

The Northern Lights can be seen from at least a few areas in the USA and North America, but Finland offers an experience of watching them like few other areas of the world.


Visit A Tibetan Monestary

I often joke on bad days that I want to run away and become a Tibetan Monkette. I will either never return home from this trip, or I will return with memories to fuel this daydream.

Bathe In The Holy Springs of Tirta Empul

Bali has been on my mind for at least a decade. Bathing next to locals in the holy springs of Tirta Empul is among many things I hope to one day do.

Float In The Dead Sea


Tour the Great Pyramids by Camelback

Explore South African Vineyards By Train

I love trains, thanks to my train-chasing father. Touring South Africa by train, hopping from one winery to another, sounds like the perfect way to see as much of the country as possible in a short period of time.


Visit the Hobbit villages in New Zealand

New Zealand is actually part of an eighth, submerged continent called “Zealandia”. (Woah!) Again, the list of things I would love to do and see there is a long one.

Scuba Dive the Great Barrier Reef

One of my goals this year, among many others, is to learn to get certified in scuba diving. Surprisingly enough, this is not as hard as one might think in the Midwest. There are a number of popular diving sites in the Great Lakes that I would love to dive, too.


Visit Antarctica Without Dying of Hypothermia

I mean, is there any greater goal to have if visiting Antarctica?

Fountain Square: Indianapolis Neighborhood Guide

Indianapolis Neighborhood Guide: Fountain Square

The Fountain Square neighborhood of Indianapolis is two miles southeast of downtown Indianapolis. Connected to downtown via the Cultural Trail, Fountain Square is just a short walk, bike ride, or cab fare away from the heart of the city. This neighborhood holds a lot of history and has been on a slow track to being revitalized over the last decade. Today, Fountain Square is the go-to spot for hipster nightlife, great food, and even better drinks.


The list of amazing places to eat in the Fountain Square area is nearly endless, and there’s something for everyone. Craving cajun? Head to B’s Po Boy for some delicious NOLA-style grub. Thinking Thai? Siam Square is a popular choice. Bluebeard serves up craft cocktails and fusion food, and Thunderbird is a great fusion southern comfort spot. No matter what you’re looking for, you are sure to find it here.


Fountain Square has a booming nightlife scene. Hotel Tango Whiskey is a local whiskey distillery that can be hard to get into due to its popularity. Local craft meadery New Day Meadery serves locally brewed mead and craft beer with a relaxed environment. Though a newer addition to the Indy brewery list, Fountain Square Brewery is coming to be another popular destination.


Live Show at Joyful Noise Records

The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMoCA) is housed in the Murphy Arts Center in the heart of Fountain Square. Joyful Noise Recordings (above) is a quirky record store and recording studio with a concert venue in the back. Enjoy a live show of local recording artists or browse their vinyl collection in the front shop. The Hi-Fi is one of the best venues to catch a live local music show. Duckpin bowling is alive and well at Atomic Bowl Duckpin. Enjoy Burlesque? Watch top-notch talent perform at White Rabbit Cabaret.

Indy Car Street Art Speedway

The Beautiful Street Art Of Indianapolis

Indianapolis is well-known for being the Racing Capitol of the World, but there is so much more beneath the surface. There is a strong artist community in Indianapolis, and this is evident throughout many neighborhoods of Indy.

Walking the streets, you are bound to find art on nearly every corner of downtown thanks to the Cultural Trail. Mass Ave neighborhood, on the northeast side of downtown, has multiple pieces per block, including the electronic sculpture “Ann Dancing” (a personal favorite). Broad Ripple has quite a mix: the typical, gritty back-alley graffiti as well as the quirky modern art like this gargantuan comb bike rack.

Art can be found throughout the streets of Indy. Speedway, Butler-Tarkington, and many other neighborhoods showcase the history of the city and feature local artists’ passion throughout.

2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Travel, Wine, Wellness

2015 Luxury Gift Guide

Oh, holidays. Are you upon us again already? Yes, time sure does fly when you’re having fun with the people you love. If you’re struggling to think up a unique and thoughtful, yet totally usable gift for them this holiday season, here are some ideas to get you going.


Personalized Luggage Tags | 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Personalized Luggage Tags: Add a touch of personalization (and personality!) to your stockings this year. Whether looking for a gift for a frequent traveler or just looking for a fun find, these tags can be used for luggage as well as weekender and everyday bags.

Olympus Air A01: The GoPro has earned the reputation of the go-to adventure photography technology, but the Olympus Air brings a different set of cards to the table. This beautifully designed invention turns your cell phone into a mirrorless camera, making it the perfect gift for the on-the-go budding photographer.

Voltaic Solar Laptop Charger Bag: Heading into the wilderness for a day-hike and want to keep your tech charged? This bag will let you do just that.

Bose QuietComfort 25: The days of being bothered by the noise surrounding you on planes are long gone. The Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones are one of the top-rated noise-canceling options on the market. Opt for the noise-canceling earbuds for the light-packing traveler.

Scratch Map: This scratch-off map poster lets you customize the globe and display your travels for all to see. Perfect for the world traveler, it can be framed or mounted on cork board to add push pins of your favorite spots.

Didn’t find quite the right travel gift? Here’s some more inspiration.

Wine, Beer, & Whiskey

Bottled Poetry Playing Cards

“Bottled Poetry” Playing Cards: Perfect for any wine-lover on your list, these playing cards make a great stocking-stuffer or teacher’s gift. Great for entertainment at holiday gatherings this season, too!

Vinturi Aerator: Text

Riedel Wine Glasses: Know someone who has a taste for a specific kind of wine? Riedel has perfected the wine glass for many common varietals. Touted to make your favorite wine taste even better, these glasses are a great gift for any oenophile.

Globe Decanter: This beautiful decanter is a great gift for the global-minded spirit lover.

USA Beer Cap Map: This Etsy find is perfect for the craft beer connoisseur.


Online Yoga Class Subscription: Take yoga with you on the road, or into your own living room with an online subscription. With so many options available, there’s certain to be one that is right for nearly anyone on your gift list.

Yoga Paws: As a frequent traveler, Yoga Paws come in handy as an on-the-go yoga mat alternative. Bonus benefit: they come in handy for hot yoga classes, too. Along with a regular mat and towel, they prevent any slipping and possible risk of injury.

Karma Made Me Do It Water Bottle: I might have gasped and nearly screamed “OMG I NEED THIS” as soon as I saw this quote. And, a water bottle that can bring that level of joy is great for your health (even if it isn’t alwayswater you’re carrying around in there). BPA Free.

Harry Potter Coloring Book: Coloring is one of the latest crazes in the Mindfulness movement. Bookstores are stocked with many different adult coloring book options, and this Harry Potter Coloring Book is perfect for the HP nerd in your life. App Pro Subscription via Apple Store/Google Play: is another tool you can use on-the-go, from the comfort of your own home, and even from your desk. Give those you love a mental break with suggesting the Pro Subscription and a gift card.

And many more where those came from!


Audible Subscription: For the fervorous reader in your life, an Audible subscription will let them take their library with them wherever they go.

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation: Thich Nhat Hanh has a gift for explaining mindfulness in a relatable way. This book (any many of his others) is a great resource for those looking to learn more about mindfulness and meditation.

Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine: Know someone looking to learn more about wine? Wine Folly is one of the best resources for learning all about wine, for beginners and experts alike.

J. Raymond Spades | 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Spades by J. Raymond: J. Raymond has a way of reminding you of the intensity of your inner strength, and just how valuable you truly are. This poetry collection is a perfect gift for the strong young woman in your life.

Rising Strong: Brené Brown is known for her research on vulnerability with a number of best sellers under her belt. Her newest release, Rising Strong, is another empowering read that will inspire individuals and families to connect with the people in their lives on a deeper level.

And too many others to list. Take a peek at my Nightstand for more ideas and friend me on Goodreads!

TEDTalks To Learn More About World Culture

The Best TEDTalks To Better Understand World Cultures

Knowledge and understanding of other cultures, and compassion for understanding where other people are coming from, is one of the best tools any traveler can take with them on any journey. While we have more information at our fingertips now than ever before, we seem to have less understanding of the world that we live in. Continue reading