On Growing Up: Let it Call you Home

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Today I realized that one of my friends will never put down roots, not because she’s incapable, but rather because she doesn’t want them and never has. She wants to be free, she wants to adventure, and she wants to travel constantly. And as much as my heart longs for adventure and travel, I know that I must always have a home. I need a place to come back to, a place that never changes, a place where my roots are planted so deep the storms can’t rock me.

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Charleston South Carolina: Sea Breeze and Southern Charm

IMG_1563IMG_1572IMG_1566 IMG_1574IMG_1576IMG_1568IMG_1580 IMG_1573IMG_1585IMG_1564© Anna Katherine Oates, 2015, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

My sister’s bachelorette weekend took place in Charleston, and though it’s only a state away, I’ve never been before! We spent a ton of time on the beach, but it was the city that stole my heart (which if you know me well you know is not normally the case!). The charm is undeniable, and it was everything it was talked up to be. Good food, good shopping, horses, and beautiful houses (worth more than I’ll make in my life). I wish I had been there for longer to really explore everything it has to offer, and I’ll tell you, I will be back! For now let me share some of my favorite shots, none of them being of the buildings you normally see of Rainbow Row and the Battery. There was much more to see than that!

Take Me Back: New Orleans

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New Orleans was a trip I kind of hijacked. My dad was going there for a business trip and my mom was going to go with him. But it lined up with my freshman year spring break. So they took me with them, and said that I could share my hotel room with a friend if I’d like.

Talk about a spring break for the books.IMG_3153IMG_3188

 

I could make a five page list of things to do in New Orleans, but I don’t think that’s the way to do it. We actually found most everything by walking around. The storefronts are amazing, there are a ton of little hole in the wall places. There are street performers all over the place and the food was amazing. And though I can’t give you a direct list of all the things I will say that these places to eat are a must:  Brennen’s Restaurant for dinner or lunch, or every meal the entire week. You need to make reservations though! Also  Cafe Du Monde for beignets. It’s very important, their is powder sugar lining the streets, I don’t know if you can say you went to New Orleans without eating at least one! (though I had more than that).

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We went over Saint Patrick’s day which ended up being perfect, because there was a mini Mardi Gras parade, beads and all. So I got the full New Orleans experience without the huge amounts of crowds and, well, the streets weren’t so disgusting. You know how big cites are.IMG_3189IMG_3120

Washington DC: Glory of the Capital

a2I just got back from a trip to Washington DC. It was a trip I took with my campus youth group, called Campus Out Reach. I could write pages on pages on what I learned, but for this post I’m going to talk about what I did instead, and come back to the rest later. It was a conference so a lot of time was spent inside the large and nice hotel. We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel downtown. It was in the China Town district, so almost every restaurant we ate at also was titled with Chinese characters. The food was amazing, but my favorite was a very low key sandwich shopped called Potbelly. As a friend said, “It has to be good if it’s going to give you a potbelly.”

aa1Now, we walked into classic downtown DC also, with the pillars and the stonework, along with the museums. We didn’t actually go to any monuments (at least my group didn’t) because we had almost all been to DC before and had already site seen in the past, so we stuck to seeing the Air and Space museum and things like the Declaration of Independence  a3 a5 a6 Untitled-1On of my favorite things about DC is the amount of sculptures and statues scattered around the city. There’s art everywhere, inside and outside the exhibits. We saw a lot of them just by strolling around the city, though I will admit, my feet are not very happy with me right now, between the late night New Year’s conference and city exploring.

So, I’ve been three times now, and if I were to tell you one thing to go see while you were in DC it wouldn’t be the the most typical, it would be either the natural science museum, holocaust museum, or the Vietnam war memorial. The natural science museum was my favorite of the main museums, and that probably has a lot to do with my love for animals and how amazing this world actually is by nature. The holocaust museum was hard emotionally to walk through, I had the lump in my throat the entire time and felt a little sick, but I honestly think it’s an experience that people should have. You learn a lot and it gives you a really good sense of humanity and good verses evil. It’s a really moving place. The Vietnam memorial is along the same lines, but not quite as unsettling. I think it was really well thought out, and though it isn’t this beautiful thing to take pictures of like some of them, it’s very strong and holds so much history. I really enjoyed it the most.

a9a8Much love from Guilford College’s group at the Campus Outreach New Year Concert!

“Take Me Back” Thursday.

My favorite trip I’ve ever taken was Rome. It was more magical, to me at least, than Paris was. It had more charm in my opinion, and I think some of it had to do with age, and some of it had to be how seamlessly the old mixed with the new. I remember every minute of it, even though it was a whole four years ago. A city like this just sticks with you, from all the restaurants, cute holes in the wall, and all the buildings and artwork. It was too beautiful for words.  Rome '11 005Rome '11 014Rome '11 071Rome '11 113Rome '11 074My favorite memory was at night, my cousin and I (on the left, my sister is on the right) went and ate gelato on the side of the bridge overlooking the colosseum. Mine was cinnamon, the colosseum was lit up like the forth of July and man was it beautiful out.  Rome '11 009UntitledRome '11 092The apartment we rented for the week had this view. Everyone always asks me if it is photoshopped, but it’s not! If I remember correctly it’s a library. It was honestly 1000xs nicer than staying in a hotel, because all of us (six!) had a common room and kitchen (not that we did any cooking). We were also about four blocks down from the colosseum. Not to mention that it was so much cheaper. Seriously look into non-traditional choices when traveling, and go by recommendations by friends of friends and books/bloggers. It seriously helps with the cost and the experience. I don’t think it would have been the same without recommendations. My aunt had a friend who had a house there. We planned out our days, but not to a T. My mom got us all to pick one main thing that we wanted to do so no one would be disappointment. The only thing you have to really set dates for is tours, please, please, please do yourself  a favor and don’t just show up places, learn about passes and tour guides or any of that before hand. Exploring the city is one thing, standing in line for a pass to a museum is another!
Rome '11 087© Anna Katherine Oates, 2014, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The homebody with wanderlust.

I’m one of those odd birds who wants to travel the world and see everything there is, and also never be away from home for two weeks. All my travel crazed friends cringe when I say I want to stay in my home state for good.

“But what about the world?”

“I thought you wanted see other cultures?”

I do want to see the world, I do want to witness other cultures, but I want to have my own too. I just don’t think I could travel the world without knowing exactly where or what I’m going home too. The word home embodies what I’ve been craving since birth. I need the stability. I need the comfort. I need the familiar.

So how do you balance these two?

Short vacations are a clear answer for this, I mean, you leave for a week or two and come back to a mostly unchanged home. It’s beautiful, you get to see the world, and not be gone long enough for the world to shift under your feet. Anyways, it’s how most of the world travels happen anyways. It’s easier on your wallet and your homebody heart.

But it goes past that, one of the biggest parts of wanderlust in the need to explore, and we’ve become convinced that can’t find anything new at home. That’s the danger with anything familiar, it becomes so familiar that it no longer excites us. This is what I feel like most people my age are scared off. But in reality, we know very little about our home state, our bordering towns. We don’t think to take the three hours drive to the mountains to hike because after all, if we head back that day that’s a whole six hours in the car. In reality though, the six hours in the car can make for one of the best Saturdays and travel fixes we need. Day trips are so important to a homebody with wanderlust. It keeps us sane. So why don’t you do this every few weekends? I’m guilty of this too, I feel like I don’t have enough time, but it’s funny, because every time I do it, I never feel more alive.

Here are some day trip ideas:

  • Hiking: Up to the mountains down to the woods, somewhere in the wild away from the everyday to dos. Anyways, fresh air can do some amazing things to people, spiritually, mentally, and physically.
  • Art Galleries: These guys are everywhere and we so rarely look for them. We tend to only go to the big ones (like the metropolitan and such). It’s normally a big part of someone traveling to far away cities, some kind of art, culture, and museum. This can happen right outside of your front door also, you just have to look out for them (an maybe follow them on social media).
  • The town over: This is an easy to understand one. I remember when my mom took me down to Asheville for a weekend when I was a senior in high school. We explored and hunted for good stores, restaurants, and coffee shops. It’s a nice change with a lot of exploring to fix your craving.
  • The Switch: Okay, we as humans tend to live in two different areas, the city or the country. Go to the other for just a day, whether it’s a picnic or a shopping trip, just switch it up for a few hours. It’ll be enough of a change to help.
  • Horseback/canoeing/strawberry picking: Very similar to hiking, just going outside, getting the fresh air. Just going.

Have fun, go day-tripping.

This Time During Freshman Year: Barcelona, Spain

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a fair bit, much thanks to my aunt who lived in Switzerland for twelve years. And you know, once you’re in Europe most everything is just a train ride or short trip away. So over my winter break I hijacked my aunt, uncle, and cousins vacation and we headed off to Barcelona.
IMG_2415IMG_2413  Switzerland-Spain 052The city did not let me down. It was beautiful and very much so alive. Not only did I get to see some of the worlds most unique and interesting architecture (Sagrada Família, anyone?!) but I had a great time with family that I don’t get to see anymore. Let me tell you, the food was on point, getting used to the timing of Spanish dinners was a challenge but eating all the food put in front of me was not.
Switzerland-Spain 092 Switzerland-Spain 105 Switzerland-Spain 146We spent a lot of time shopping too, and I came home with a few interesting articles of clothing, but sadly nothing that screamed Spain! I did however get another charm for my charm bracelet. I’ve bee collecting them from all the places I’ve traveled and it’s starting to fill up. So, even though I was missing the unique products, I can back with a lot of amazing pictures and great memories. Did you know it’s tradition in Spain to try and shove twelve (huge) grapes in your mouth in the twelve seconds leading up to midnight on new years?  It’s supposed to bring you good luck if you succeed. I did, but I think I was lucky enough just to be in Spain.
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