Seven Years After Solo Travel

An account of what happens seven years after solo travel. The good, the bad and the truth.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for,” the ticket agent said to me before we hung up the phone on that winter night in Atlanta in 2010.

Pure joy shot through my veins after we disconnected. Sitting in my apartment in the 100-year-old house, listening to the cars pass my house on their way home from work in the bustling city, there was more excitement pumping through me than I’ve ever felt before.

I’m going to travel the world. Solo. 

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Live it Well at Bangkok’s Swissotel Nai Lert

Explore Bangkok and stay at the Swissotel
Editor’s Note: This post is in partnership with Swissotel. Bangkok. The Big Mango. Thailand’s crowded capital I’ve been to too many times to count. It’s a city I used to dislike. Crowded. Humid. But, the more I have gone, the more I have begun to like it. I could wander down the sois and discover adorable coffee shops and restaurants in the Ari neighborhood. Or, explore the trendy area of Sukhumvit with its nightclubs and world-class dining. Or, I simply could shop until I drop at the many massive shopping malls (and, let me tell you, they put American malls to shame. Shame, I say).

Of course, my last visit to Bangkok was only a few weeks ago. It was my first time returning to Thailand after more than 10 months away from what used to be my home. It’s always weird to return to a place I used to live. It’s an urban jungle, and one I am slowly … slowly … coming to love.


Offbeat Attractions in Sofia

Offbeat Attractions in Sofia, Bulgaria

Image via Flickr by George Palov

Bulgaria is a beautifully diverse country. With places to visit like the magnificent mountain town of Veliko Tarnovo, Black Sea city of Varna, and the capital, Sofia, it’s easy to get wrapped up in everything the country has to offer.

Located in the western part of Bulgaria, Sofia, at the foot of Vitosha Mountain, is the most populous city in the country, with more than 1.2 million people.

While there are plenty of tourist highlights to keep a person busy, there are also some seriously fabulous offbeat attractions in Sofia, Bulgaria. Once you’ve checked into one of the many hotels in Sofia, head out the door and explore everything this town has to offer.


Free Things to do in Athens

Free things to do in Athens

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: my_lala

Athens is a city incredibly worthy of discovering. It’s loaded with history (hello, Acropolis and Greek mythology), is a hotbed for dining, has some seriously cool off-beat attractions, and offers some amazing Athens hotels. But, there is so much more to the city. Whether you hop on tours or opt to explore on your own, there are plenty of ways to get out and see all this city has to offer.

If you’re on a budget, Athens can still deliver plenty of charm and history. In fact, there are numerous options for people who want to experience the city without spending a dime.

What are some free things to do in Athens? Why, I’m so glad you asked.


The Best Beaches in Phuket

The best beaches in Phuket

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: johnlembo

Exotic food. Exotic beaches. Exotic attractions. In Phuket, exotic is the name of the game. This idyllic seaside town in Thailand is a main draw for tourists, thanks to the paradise it offers. Even the Phuket hotels transport guests to a world very different from what they are used to. But, isn’t that the point of taking a true vacation?

While Phuket Town and the other areas of the city can get crowded and are more gritty, there is a world which awaits outside the main drag where people come face-to-face with sea life, pristine beaches and the jungle. It’s all there; you just have to know where to find it.

Not all beaches are created the same. Sadly, mass tourism to Phuket has made many beaches which were once gorgeous and peaceful into tourist traps. However, if you know where to look, you can find some perfect spots to unwind at some of the best beaches in Phuket.


Cool Things to do in Berlin

A round-up of cool things to do in Berlin

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: amira_a

Berlin is one of the most dynamic and cool cities in Europe (at least says I). Thanks to a burgeoning street art scene, embracing of the vegan lifestyle and funky spots to explore, it’s easy to see why it is one of my favorite places in the world.

It’s packed with a fascinating history, friendly locals, and so many things to do that no trip ever seems long enough. So, after checking into your Berlin hotel, I suggest you get out and experience all of the cool things to do in Berlin:


CityLove: The Best Hotels in Florence

A round-up of hotels for different types of travelers to enjoy in Florence, Italy

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: sherseydc

The gem of Tuscany (and one of the most attractive places in Italy), Florence, is a vacationer’s dream. With gorgeous wine, Italian cuisine, and scenic views, there are so many historic — and offbeat — attractions to explore. Fortunately, Florence is able to accommodate the visitor who comes to experience all this city has to offer, and there many hotels at which to stay that add to the experience.

Before you make your hotel booking, figure out what hotel is right for you:


CityLove: The Best Hotels in Amsterdam

A look at some of the best hotels for travelers in Amsterdam

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: aigle_dore

There are plenty of reasons to visit Amsterdam. From the coffee shops to the historic attractions, to the offbeat, there is something for everyone in this Netherlands city.

With so many options for hotels in Amsterdam, it can be difficult to narrow down the ideal place to stay on your travels. But, it doesn’t have to be hard! It just depends what you are looking for …


CityLove: Things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: PixelTeufel

Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s not Berlin. Or Munich. Or Frankfurt. But, this small Bavarian town has charm all its own. Home to the 1936 Winter Olympic Games, today the resort town is known for its outdoor activities, namely skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. In fact, this mountain town has some of the best ski resorts in Germany — Garmsich Classic and Zugspitze.

The history of this gorgeous town dates back all the way to 15 AD and is packed with places to experience … and explore.

A popular tourist destination year-round, there are plenty of hotels in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to make it an ideal holiday destination, no matter what the weather. Fortunately, there is also no shortage of things to do in this Bavarian town.


CityLove: Day Trips from Dubrovnik

Day trips to take from Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: Mario Fajt

Dubrovnik, for all of its beauty, is a small city. While there are plenty of things to do in this gorgeous Croatian seaside town, if you’re planning on spending more than a few days, I always suggest taking some day trips. While it is easy to simply spend time lounging at the beach, dining on fresh Croatian dishes and exploring the Old City, there is so much more which awaits outside the city walls. It is near the islands, Bosnia, and Montenegro, making it is superb launching point to go and venture out to other spots nearby.

So, head out from your Durbovnik hotel and get exploring! My favorite day trips from Dubrovnik: