You Must Decide To Rise

DSC_0159_Fotor.jpg
Breathe.

Breathe in light.

Breathe out darkness.

Raise your palms to the sun so your fingertips can be touched by hope.

Close your eyes so you can imagine how blessed you are to be so loved.

Wild and free.

Wind blowing throw fields of sunflowers so yellow it’s petals drip happiness.

Free as the birds who fly anywhere and everywhere with the option of home always in their hearts.

Wild as the drinks that make you dance on table tops and kiss strangers.

Breathe in.

If only to feel alive because spontaneity is played by those who crave adventure.

It’s for those who crave each other. 

Lust and love.

Fall in love with a one night stand for just one night but promise to respect your body.

Crave love in everyone you meet and long for a soul that will understand your own.

Have the patience of your mother and keep her strength too.

Be brave like trees swaying in hurricanes.

Pray for the opportunity to spread positivity.

Love fiercely, move fearlessly and chase what everyone is too scared to run after. 

Rejection isn’t for the weak- it’s for the willing who know they are capable of rising.

And you must decide to rise. 

Until Tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Inside The Traveler’s Soul

It’s true, us travelers are wired differently.

We don’t discover our souls, we create them. So once you’ve met someone who has decided to create a soul full of adventure and wander, prepare yourself for how they think and where their passions lie.

We crave change. I’m not talking about moving every few months or trips to Europe every single year. The change of scenery we need is more about exploring something new. We want our eyes to be awakened by new places and that doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

I can’t tell you how much small trips mean to us wanderers. Whether it’s getting coffee in the next town over or exploring a new park, we crave a change that will refresh our inspiration.

We seek adventure.  We need to have fun in a way that is new to us. An adventure can be as small as going to a new grocery store or searching for a new solitary. Walking new paths or searching for the oldest antique shop around, we just crave an adrenaline rush.

We want knowledge outside of our city limits. What else is out there? As soon as we’ve left, we realize how much we HAVEN’T seen yet. We start planning and plotting for new trips that will teach us more about the world than a text book every could.

Daydreaming is guaranteed to be filled with exotic locations and foods that we don’t even know exist yet.

We love solo adventures that help us create ourselves but we also love sharing our wanderings with loved ones. If you see the most incredible flower field hidden in a mountain valley, happiness consumes you. If someone is with you, you look right at them and smile from ear to ear because it just became a shared memory. You are both witnesses to a beauty that can never be translated into words.

Come on my fellow wanderers. What else makes our souls all about travel?

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

I’ll Say It Again, Travel Heals You: Germany

Sometimes we get stuck. We get put in this place where moving forward is our only option but our environment won’t allow for it until certain things are taken care of. Our minds go into overdrive and our emotions lay bare. Our hearts pump blood a little faster and our hope spreads thin.

I was there. I was in this place where I wanted more than anything in the world to move forward and I was continuously dragged back into this dark place.

Germany was my haven.

The first two weeks here, I saw so many new things and took part in all of these common traditions and I started to forget the darkness I left. I felt alive.

A few days into my trip I started to wonder why I was keeping attachments to people and things that hurt me and so I did what any sane woman who was trying to move forward would do, I completely detached them from every aspect of my life. I did it for me so I could move forward and stop the thoughts from pouring in every time I saw their name.

It wasn’t until I realized my trip was half way over that I realized I hadn’t thought about anything happening back home for a few days now. A topic that shadowed my thoughts for months hadn’t even crossed my mind for a few seconds in the past few days.

Once again, travel was healing me.

When I sat in bed thinking of how incredible this moment was, tears filled my eyes. I saw myself and I recognized someone who looked like me but felt different. I felt stronger, passionate and more than anything, loved. I was surrounded by new friends and an amazing family and the love I felt was more genuine than anything I’ve known.

I laughed because I recognized someone who had made it through what I thought was impossible. The worst is over, now I can promise happiness to myself.

There is nothing more beautiful than realizing you made it through the worst part of a pitfall in your life. 

I used to reflect so much on this past summer and I haven’t done that for weeks now. I haven’t questioned, wondered or regretted anything. I haven’t relapsed or broken down and I don’t see that part of my life as I used to. I’m not blinded by emotion anymore and I see everything a lot more clear.

It’s crazy what happens to you when you are so close to a situation. Germany gave me the time to see that what happened to me was not a punishment in any way. It was a blessing in disguise in order for me to become who I want and go where I believe I deserve to go. It showed me how much love I need to come from myself so I can stop feeling the pain I had been in.

It only took the Atlantic Ocean and a different continent for me to finally feel like the storm is at it’s end. And once again, travel has healed me.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Wisconsin To Germany: What I’ve Learned So Far

DSC_0150

*disclaimer* today’s post is a little bit rushed but stick with me here! I’ve only got so much time and after all, I’m on vacation. 😉 

Wisconsin is the most German state in the U.S. We are considered to be the most drunk state, the one with the most German heritage and who knows what else.

Now that I am finally in this beautiful country, I am so excited to release a list of things I’ve learned when comparing the two. It may not be just Germany, it could be Europe as a whole vs. the US. Nonetheless, here we go.

1. Sparkling Water vs. “Still” Water

Over here, when you ask for water, you get sparkling water. They sell “still” water for your drinking pleasure but I have been the only one who enjoys it. Everyone here drinks bubbly water, even chugging it after a tough workout. I can get used to it if I am forced to, however carbonated water just doesn’t feel right when you’ve been drinking still water your whole life. It sure makes you feel fancy though.

2. Beer and Wine in Germany vs. Beer and Wine in Wisconsin

The beer here is as I expected, way stronger and very delicious. You will not find a can of Busch Light over here. American beer is often much more watered down than in Germany. Also, their wine is amazing but also much stronger. Where as a few glasses can hold you over in the states, one glass can get the job done here. They also mix their wine with sprite, lemonade or water.

My favorite beer that tastes like sunshine and happiness? Bitburger Radler. Amazing.

3. The roads. 

The streets here are very narrow compared to the US. When you’re going through a town, it’s not uncommon to pull over to let the oncoming car get by first.

Speaking of their cars, they’re much smaller and more compact. It’s because of their roads that this is more common but it was quite the adjustment from the room you have in the states.

Also, you get your license when you are 18, not 16.

4. The Drinking Age and Rules

This is obviously one of the biggest differences people notice. In Germany, you are allowed to drink beer and wine when you are 16, any kind of alcohol when you turn 18.

The U.S.? 21. In all honesty, I have seen 18 year olds handle their alcohol so much more maturely then 21 year olds back in the states. I think the lower drinking age teaches responsibility at a young age and you learn how to control yourself by the time you are an adult.

In the US, there is so much underage drinking as well as binge drinking. People often go way past their limit and I have not seen nearly as bad behavior in Germany.

Also different, you can have open alcohol in the car as long as you are not the one driving. You can also have it on the streets or sidewalks if you’re going somewhere.

5. Deodorant 

Stick vs. Spray… I must say I have been converted.

6. Drinking games

In Wisconsin, the games we play are based on trying to get the other team to drink. Here? The one game we learned is about your team chugging your way to victory. You are the ones who want to drink in order to win.

7. Breakfast, Lunch and DinnerDSC_0003

Here, your breakfast will never be pancakes or french toast. It’s usually bread and meat. Which, by the way, the bread here is different in a way I can’t explain but so darn delicious. Lunch is usually heavy and dinner is pretty light.

8. Smoking Cigarettes

I have never seen so many young people smoke so many cigarettes. Smoking is so common here for young people and I am actually looking forward to going back to the states so I don’t come into constant contact with smoke. Back home, I don’t have any friends that I know of that smoke cigarettes. Here, I have seen 80% of young adults smoking. It made me appreciate how far America has come with the smoking population.

9. Landscapes

In Germany, there is country for miles and then a small town where houses all touch and are crammed together. There is no country living. There is beautiful farm land all around you and barely any random scattered houses. This is much more common in Wisconsin where you’ll see farms and the houses that are occupied by those who run them. There are backyards and country living. It’s definitely two very different ways of living.

DSC_0044 DSC_0172

10. European Hair

Can we just talk about the hairstyle men have here? They all have shaved sides and a nice floof on top that is styled to perfection. The men here just seem to care way more about what they look like then back home. I don’t really have a preference but it’s definitely very different.

This is the very quick version of what is different, I am sure more will be spilling out of me soon.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Traveling Cheap: It’s About Who You Know

As a poor college student who works part-time and just above minimum wage, I’ve been asked by several people how the heck I can afford to travel.

It’s about brains… and hugely based off of who you know.

I’m not talking about befriending the son of the man who built the Hilton Hotels so you can get a special deal or marrying the woman who can get you free airfare.

It’s about friends, family and simply asking to stay with them. Out of the travels I have been on so far, exactly half have been with friends or family. This cuts down the price significantly because I didn’t have to pay for hotels or nearly as much food. Just transportation and souvenirs. The BEST part? I get to rekindle family love.

Hiking with my cousin throughout the beautiful California land.

So I took off on a road-trip with my cousin a few years ago. Just a few months ago I asked if I could visit my cousin in California who was more than happy to pick me up from the airport and let me stay with her. Now, I am currently in Germany with extended family who is from here and able to stay with them for an entire month, no charge.

Now, don’t be thinking I’m only visiting these places to travel. To be able to grow close with family that has moved across the country is THE biggest perk of this idea.  I’ve dreamed of this trip to Germany since I was a little girl and was so blown away by the love and kindness we received as soon as we landed here. (This is for another post altogether! 😉 )

Visiting family world wide has helped me grow as a traveler and as a person. It’s always scary to ask an extended family member if you can stay with them if you aren’t too close but trust me, they will almost always say yes. They will enjoy your company and appreciate the time you spend visiting.

Start making a list of the people you know in places you’d love to see. Not even that, just make a list of family who’s moved far away and who you miss quite dearly. Next, ask them if you can make a journey out there and here is where your adventure begins.

Whether friends, acquaintances or friends of friends, it never hurts to ask. The best case is you save money and make a new friend, the worst is that they say no.

Take advantage of those who are living elsewhere and invite them to take advantage of you. The more people you meet, the better chance that you will find someone through connections that can help you save a little bit on your next trip.

Start your engines and begin planning,

Anna Marie

Goodbye USA, Hello Germany

I am so excited to announce that I will be spending the next month of my life with family in Germany!

Not only is this an amazing opportunity to get to know my family overseas but it is a chance to learn about my roots. I get to see where my family comes from and learn details about my heritage. I am so blessed to have this chance and cannot express my excitement for these next four weeks.

I will be on a plane all day as I cross the ocean and as I’m cramped in the luxurious economy class seat, I will be thinking about how this next month will play out. I have another chance to unwind and repair all of the stress this summer has accidentally set on my shoulders.

This is a chance to immerse into a new culture filled with insanely yummy chocolate and potent beer. The memories made here will definitely be shared during my travel Tuesday posts and I cannot wait to see how Germany changes me.

Get ready for posts of family, castles and German everything.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

To Be In Love With Travel

To be in love with travel is to find bits and pieces of yourself with every new journey.

It is to recognize the value in what the world can teach you and ask questions of what we don’t know.

It is to crave adventure and knowledge that surpasses any type of vacation. It is to learn and feel inspired by a place different than our comfy homes.

924111_943279992350941_1436575087_nTo love to travel is to constantly feel the hunger for new people, places and things. It is to love your home but grow tired of small trees and familiar buildings. It is the need to squish your toes in the sand of a beach you haven’t explored and smell the leaves of a forest you could happily get lost in.

It isn’t resentment from where we come from but curiosity for the thousands of places that lie beyond our town lines, state lines or national borders. It is a huge question mark that we need to answer and so plane tickets are purchased and never regretted.

Travel is about scraping together enough pennies to make a dream trip a reality. Never will a traveler look over their shoulder into the past and wish they hadn’t wandered somewhere new. We crave new sights and memories that cannot be priced by humanity.

To be in love with travel is to experience the thrill of a new culture and to explore every corner of a new city until exhaust forces our heads to our pillows. It is to be in love with the world as a whole and to want to get to know as much land as humanly possible.

Travel makes us come home and hug our loved ones because we see so many wonderful and terrifying places across oceans. It makes us sleep better in our own beds and appreciate the towns and cities that raised us because they will forever be our home.

It is not a way for us to escape our own lives but a way to expand it. To reach out beyond our comfort zones and embrace more people and places than we thought we could hold on to.

Travel is a way for us to grow immensely in a way that can never be measured.

We feel all of these things and more, when we are in love with traveling.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

What Does T-R-A-V-E-L Stand For?

Give me a T! Travel.. defined. I split down the letters of this magnificent word to give you a deeper reasoning to what this word could mean to you.

T: ime! This is huge. We have earned the time off to treat ourselves. We WANTED this time to either get away or explore. Maybe we wanted the time to just breathe and stop our fast paced lives. Travel is time that you have to truly do what makes you happy and reset.

R: elaxation! It makes sense doesn’t it? We leave our homes in hopes of coming back refreshed and ready to conquer our days with a little more OOMPH before we left. The goal is to feel like you don’t have to worry as much because you can handle any daunting tasks when you return. This is the time to just breathe and be for the time being, stress is not invited.

A: dventure! When traveling, you’re usually in the mood to see new places you haven’t ever been to or at least come back to a place that you haven’t been to in a while. It’s common to try new things and explore the nooks and crannies of a new area. Get out on a new path and please those eyeballs with new sights.

V: alidation! Taking a trip is one of those times where you are free to think about whatever it is that is happening in your life. Therefore, it’s the perfect time to figure out what you want and to validate where you are headed in your life. Maybe you’re just validating why you needed this trip and resetting yourself. Either way, validating why you’re traveling, what you’re feeling or where you are can really become an important discovery on a trip.

E: xperience! Travel for the memories of course. You want to be able to say you went to Columbia for a few weeks and share all of the experiences you enjoyed. You want to make sure you lived as fully as that time offered you because you’re making memories that will be stories one day. Experience the world around you.

L: earn! It is my philosophy to always learn something new when I travel. Whether that be about the place you are visiting or something about yourself, take the time to learn. What’s the history behind your vacation spot? Get to know yourself again. What is important to you and your journey? Find out something new that you love. Just learn.

So get out there and T-R-A-V-E-L! The benefits are never ending and the memories last a life time.

Until Tomorrow,

Anna Marie

The Quirky San Francisco

It’s a compliment! When I usually think of traveling to experience a whole new lifestyle, I think of going abroad. Little did I know that you could experience the same kind of awe and amazement in your own country. I know that not all places in the USA are the same, but I did not expect to see so many unique features in just a few days spent in San Francisco and I fell in love. What a beautiful, quirky city.

I flew in to the airport at 5:30 p.m. and from there, was picked up by family. Just on the drive to the hotel I saw mountains (at least to me, they’re probably considered hills) and bright colors splashing the unique architecture. Homes were attached side by side, all holding unique gates, windows or an extremely bright paint job.

When we drove into the city, I was awed by the mixture of old and new buildings. Beautiful brick infrastructure that stretched on for several blocks and new modern cafes that looked like a box sliced with windows and an entrance. The streets were flooded with orange Giants fans headed to the AT&T Park.

The hotel was gorgeous and the waitstaff was so kind to us. They gave us suggestions for night time fun, restaurants and the best places to dance the night away. So of course, that’s what we did. We grabbed a burger and went out to dance the night away at a nearby dance club. I’m not going to lie, I was out of my comfort zone but everyone I met was so nice and it wasn’t a tons of horny adults trying to have sex on in the midst of a crowd. What a relief.

The next day was jam packed and an absolute blast. I explored with my cousin and her man. Listing all of the fun things we did:

DSC_00081. Union Square- For a poor college kid, walking into Union Square made me feel almost ridiculous. I was surrounded by Saks, Tiffany’s, Gucci and so many other expensive stores. Out of curiosity, we went into Tiffany’s just to see what kind of insane diamonds they had and it was a dream. I saw the prettiest ring of my entire life, it sparkled a hundred different colors and was so shiny it looked animated. ALL for the price of… wait for it… $58,000!!! WHAT! I just about crapped when I heard what someone would actually pay for this. It was pretty but I’d rather buy a car or two with that kind of money.

When you walked into some of these stores, they would size you up and know if you were there for sight-seeing or to shop. Most stores didn’t even have prices out because if you’re in Union Square, you probably don’t care how much something is. It was insane.

Union Square also has these heart statues that they change every so often which was so neat to see. The day I was there, there was one filled with polaroids and one filled with how to say hello in many different languages. Of course, there is also a beautiful statue in remembrance of the Philippine-American War.

DSC_0011DSC_0023

2. Fisherman’s Wharf- This place was so crowded but so unique. There were old looking shops along the coast with tons of sea food eateries and touristy gift shops. We did a wine tasting in which I had the best wine I’ve ever had (I’m in Wine Country now) and tasted some pretty good cheese to go along with it. We ate at a seafood restaurant and watched street performers do their thing. There were beautiful views of the ocean. You could see Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

DSC_0099DSC_0114

3. The World’s Most Crooked Street- We somewhat stumbled across this gem. It was so unique to see and was really crowded with a long line of cars who wanted to drive down the street. The flowers around the street were breathtaking along with the view of the city.

DSC_0054DSC_0039

4. Ghiradelli- We went and saw the original chocolate factory and tasted some delicious chocolate and ice cream. YUM.

DSC_01445. Full House House- For all of you fans out there who loved this show as much as I did, we did a quick stop and found the house and took pictures of it. It looks different from how it did years ago of course but IT’S THE HOUSE.

6. Golden Gate Bridge- How can you go to San Fran and NOT see one of the most iconic bridges in the world?! In person, this bridge is absolutely majestic. It’s huge and the skyline of SF behind it just adds to the drama. The color, the ocean, the size… it all plays in to what makes this iconic bridge so grand.

gg

Another fun thing about San Francisco which I kind of mentioned is the different kind of homes and buildings you see. The architecture is so different from what I have seen around the USA so far. It’s really different and beautiful. Also, the streets are SO hilly and angled. It’s insane how slanted they are. If it were to ever snow there, all of the cars would be sliding into one another. People who live there probably have killer calves.

That’s a nice summary of my time in this grand and quirky city. I definitely recommend seeing it for yourself as soon as possible.

Until Tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Travel For More Than Bragging Rights

Yes, we’re all jealous of your trip to Cancun. Wow, you went to Paris? We wish we could have eaten macaroons under the Eiffel Tower. Oh, ANOTHER story about how you touched the seven seas and explored the back alleys of another famous city?

Don’t get me wrong, I want to do ALL of those wonderful things but I can’t tell if you’re bragging right now or if you’re genuinely moved by everything you did while abroad.

There are several different kinds of travelers who explore the world for many different reasons.

The one that I’m not too fond of? Bragging rights. People who travel the world simply to say that they did. The ones who aren’t abroad to learn about culture, experience new customs and get to know a different kind of crowd.

Travel is so much more than a checkmark off of your bucket list. WHY did you want to see Paris? Because it’s popular? Sure. Also because of the historical monuments and culture you can find hidden between the tightly squeezed apartments? HELL yeah!

You should go to a new place with an open mind and expectation of embracing something new. If you are going to keep to yourself in a new country- all you are seeing is new scenery but did you really get a feel for what that country has to offer? Not as much as you could of I bet.

Try new food, do an activity the locals consider normal and try to learn a little bit of the language if you can. Putting yourself in a country isn’t going to be worth while if you don’t try to absorb the culture while you’re there.

Here’s a few things you can do to make sure you aren’t just traveling to say you did. Don’t travel to brag, travel to grow.

1. Google search some history. It doesn’t matter if it’s five or ten minutes, look into the uniqueness of wherever you are going. This will make you appreciate the area and most likely help you with some customary actions the citizens part take in.

2. When you’re there, be open to spontaneous decisions. Trying ants? Sure. Gondola ride? Sure! Take the moment and go for it.

3. Talk with locals if possible. The best way to learn about a country is from the people who live there. Ask them where the best restaurants are and what the best meal to eat is. Be safe while doing so.

This will get you started. Be on your way traveler and dive deeper than just another stamp on your passport. Travel to grow as an individual and learn more than you could have expected!

Until Tomorrow,

Anna Marie