Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

I'm just a girl who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

This is my attempt to keep my friends and family updated, to keep track of my experiences, and to serve as an inspirational resource for all those travel addicts like me out there.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback // Goldfield, Nevada

Car Forest - Goldfield, Nevada
Yes! One of my first times really exploring Nevada. Even the 3 hour drive to this place was a refreshing change from the typical drive down the I-15 I usually take out of Nevada.

Me and a few friends have a weekly goal to have an adventure/exploration day where we do something or go somewhere random and exciting and FUN. This week our desire to entertain ourselves took us out to a real ghost town. Number 1 on the agenda was a "car graveyard". That's all we knew about it. I had no idea what to expect. Except awesomeness. And that's what I found.

 

My favorite part is that we were the only people there, wandering around a desert spotted with cars standing on their noses. The cars were decorated with art and bullet holes and came in all shapes and sizes. Limos, buses and even a space reserved for a few bikes and trikes. 

We stumbled upon a few art cars parked off the main road and had a blast checking them out. There was some really random and crazy things glued to these cars, most of them washed out and tainted by the sun, which just added more character to them.




** This trip took place back in the early summer of 2014, before I left to Korea. I found it in my drafts, and although it's not complete... I figured I should post in anyways.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nelson, Nevada

Thinking that this place has been so close to me for so long and I've never come out here REALLY grinds my gears. I was tasked with finding this place to start with and some how the general address to Nelson was input. Whatever. The map was taking me through a dirt road to the middle of nowhere past a short stretch of houses of all shapes and sizes, all with loads of character. It was interesting to see, especially the little shack like houses and all of the things accumulated in people's yards. Definitely a nice detour. Getting lost can often take you to the coolest places.

Eldorado Mine - Nelson, Nevada


El Dorado Mine is a bit down the road. It's a quaint touristy spot that a family set up when they bought loads of land with an old mine on it. The preserved a lot that was on the property and have been hoarders ever since. They collect old cars and artifacts, most of which are donations. They love what they do, which you can see in the care that they take for the property and how happy they are for you to explore the area; respectfully.



The mine tour is my favorite part about this place. They take you around the property and then eventually through a small portion of a quartz mine. It was much, much cooler underground. Even though it was only the beginning of April it was nearly 90 degrees outside. Deep in the mine it was 65, with a chilly breeze. It was a great history lesson, there was even a ghost story or two to be told. It lasted a little over an hour and cost $12. We got lucky and a tour was about to start literally as we got there, but if you want to do the tour I would call ahead and check their schedule to be safe.



It is crazy to think that Nevada itself is less than 200 years old, we have such a short history. Especially compared to that of other nations. A major piece of our history is the Gold Rush, and this is the perfect place to get a taste of what it would have been like. Every corner you turn is another machine or piece of equipment with a story behind it. There are a lot of Native American artifacts as well, which is by far my favorite piece of Nevada history. The gift shop has crystals and other cheap trinkets for sell, so I was happy!




Rediscovery


Alright. Before I left the country, it was pretty safe to say I absolutely hated Las Vegas. I didn't like the industry and the type of person it bred. Club promoters, aspiring DJs, models and photographers. Money. Boobs. Party. The people who come to Vegas also typically come for the same reason - to get hungover. To get so irreversibly drunk that morals and responsibility are thrown out the window. Because, it's Vegas... right?

But this post isn't supposed to be bashing Vegas, so I'll stop :)

I learned so many things throughout my experiences abroad. Most of these things I am just realizing now, in retrospect. That will happen a lot, and goes to show why it is so important to always reflect... in every aspect of your life.

Taking a step back to look at something, changing your perspective, helps to see it in a new light. I could have easily came back to Las Vegas in complete misery to be back in such a sucky place compared to the loads of cool European places that I just frequented. That would of been silly though, because Las Vegas is actually pretty darn cool.

There is no other place like it in the world. No where. It is so unique in its culture, location, and really just that fact that everyone knows about it and EVERYONE is confused when I tell them I was born and raised there.

Do you deal blackjack?
Which casino do you live in?
No, no you don't. You can't BE from Las Vegas.

I literally had someone argue with me.

Anyways, considering I am not even to the point of this blog, I am going to sum up the fact that I came home with a huge appreciation for Las Vegas. And, well America as a whole really. I'm over here, chilling in a destination that countless people want to visit and all I want to do is get out. Guarantee you there is a girl in Barcelona wishing she could get out too, when ALL I could ever dream of is living in Barcelona. Or anywhere other than here. So. Perspective.

That's why I have been treating these past few months as opportunities to explore my home before I no longer have the chance to call it that. I'm looking at Vegas as I never have before and taking an chance I get to go to California, Arizona, and Utah. I've always taken these things for granted, but that's a waste of time. There's a lot of explorin' to do!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Perfection in Porto

Porto, Portugal 
Not gonna lie, Lisbon didn't leave the BEST impression on me. It was a fun place to party and be a "backpacker" - but it didn't do much for me. It seemed dirty, which can be typical of a lot of capital cities in a country. While I was in Italy my little old Italian friend Candido recommended I go there, and since I had to be in Madrid in a few days I figured I might as well check it out. I decided to go the Couchsurfing route which really defined my experience in Porto. My host, Gustavo, was one of the kindest people I met throughout my travels. He picked me up at the train station and after he set me up with a bus pass we went grocery shopping together. Exploring supermarkets in different countries is SO. MUCH. FUN. There were salted codfish staked in large crates and fruits I have never seen before. I grabbed a few things I could snack on and we split stuff for a simple breakfast of toast and cheese in the morning. It was late by the time we got back to his place so we said our goodnights and I crashed comfortably on the couch.


Gustavo set me off on the right bus in the morning and I ended up near The Porto Cathedral around 7am. He had to be at work early which was fine because I was quite happy to enjoy a quiet morning in Porto. I wandered around the Cathedral and made my way towards one of Porto's 5 bridges, Ponte Luis I. This bridge had amazing views. I explored the area surrounding a few of the bridges, wandering through small stone streets lined with worn down houses. I ran into a dead-end and a man kindly redirected me through a cemetery. This was the first of many graveyards I wandered. There is something about them that I am obsessed with. Could be considered morbid, but walking around a local cemetery shows you a different side of a town or city. Finding the oldest gravestone, imagining people's lives and what they left behind. I'll post a cemetery blog soon, stay posted!

Ponte D. Luis I - Porto, Portugal
The picture above was taken from Ponte do Infante. The first day I spent wandering around the center and the area surrounding it, no real itinerary. Just enjoying. So many things to just enjoy in Porto. Granted, I could have gone on countless Port Wine distillery tours and entered numerous museums and displays. I took a more laid back route. I met up with Gustavo after he got of work, we had a drink and he took me to a park, Jardins do Palacio de Cristal do Porto, where Peacocks roam free and the ponds have lillie pads. Parks and cemeteries. That's where the real fun is at ;) 


Olives, bread, and oil were always on my table. I craved it! It was so cheap, which was the most important part. And so fun to eat. 

The second day in Porto I took about a 20 minute bus ride to the beach, where I hung out at a park across the street. I remember posting up in an area that I specifically picked out, it felt like a good place to be. I had 4 euros on my person and not much more in my bank account. I had an apple and an orange for lunch and used my travel towel as a picnic blanket. I watched the birds fly and the little boys play soccer with their dads. I was a park nomad for a day, it took me that long to explore it. Okay, I may have taken a nap or two. Doing absolutely nothing on the other side of the world when it feels like there is everything to do is so peaceful. Try it. 



For dinner we met up with a friend of Gustavo's at a shopping mall who was studying in the food court area. This was wonderful, because there were loads of cheap options and it was SO FUN choosing. I ended up trying the Francesinha from a Portuguese fast food restaurant. How authentic ; ) There is ham inside there, and it is smothered with a gravy like tomatoey sauce and cheese. YUM.

Gustavo, me, and his friend - who's name I have forgotten :(
While Walking along the river we asked a man to take a photo of us. The boys ended up talking to this man the whole walk back, about 20 minutes. Gustavo laughed as he explained how friendly people are, they talk to strangers like they are their best friends. I listened to the conversation, which made no sense to me - but I could sense how comfortable and light and happy they all seemed. Gustavo and his friend were genuinely interested in this man and his life. They explained most of the conversation to me, thankfully. What would I do without my Couchsurfing buddies? He was talking about the history of the fisherman, and how the area has changed and how it had stayed the same. It is so beautiful, hearing about a place from someone who knows and loves it. 
Homes along the river - Porto, Portugal
So, in summation Porto is absolutely perfect. I wish I had more time there, but that's always the case.

*I just titled this blog after writing it. I am starting to feel a bit ridiculous with my titles, like a Dr. Seuss wannabe.