9.

9 Ways to Help Ease Anxiety on Long Flights

Seeing the world is a beautiful experience and I vowed to myself, even when I suddenly became afraid of flying from my first panic attack years ago, that the fear and anxiety would never stop me from exploring this beautiful, blue planet of ours. With some self-work and self-education, I was able to overcome my fear of flying and started with small 2-hour flights and grew to our most recent (total) 24-hour flight to New Zealand! Yay!

The key is to try new things and feel yourself out, all while moving forward. Throughout the years, I’ve experimented with ways to help soothe my nerves while in the skies and have found my own recipe for the tried-and-true. Check out my must-list below and don’t forget to comment what you think/your own ways of coping in the skies!
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G.

Gap Year Abroad: How to Choose a Country & Visa Type

Days of day-dreaming finally giving you the itch to take a gap year/break from your routine and jump into another experience? And abroad, too?! You little dare-devil you.

I get it. I’ve been thinking of taking a break from New York for a while— a few years, actually, but was never able to convince myself to just peel away and ‘go.’ After attending the  Tony Robbins seminar, though, it gave me the validation I needed for my soul and just knew that we just had to make the move sooner rather than later. If I didn’t, it would be something I would regret.

But the question was: where?

I mean, it seemed very much like a first-world problem at the time: we could go anywhere in the world, but we didn’t know where to go. Portugal? France? Spain? All of these countries brought me so many questions. This wasn’t just a vacation that would end in two-weeks you know; this was our life for a year. We would stay there and not come back for a while. I needed to think about: the cost of living, quality of life, health insurance requirements, ease of getting a job, what the job market was like (a lot of countries require employers to prove that none of their citizens who applied were capable of doing the job so they, last resort, offered it to you), the occupations that the country needed, safety, transportation, etc.!

In an effort to hopefully help make your road-to-country discovery smoother and less overwhelming, I’ve laid some steps below from my own learnings!

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2.

2018: Goodbye NYC, Hello New Zealand!

…and I don’t mean it just as a vacation. Family & friends, it is with great excitement and joy that we share with you all that we are leaving everything we know about NYC behind and heading off on an adventure abroad for the year!

We are moving to New Zealand!!

There have been so many factors that played into our decision: one of them was attending a Tony Robbins seminar (that post coming next!), another was experiencing the beautiful culture in Denmark last summer (gosh, I love that bicycle life), and another was that, frankly, I have been left feeling a little uninspired by NYC lately. Nothing against the concrete jungle, but maybe that’s my problem: too much concrete.

I don’t know if I ever shared this, but there were two times in my life that I literally sobbed on the plane as we took off: once was when I wheeled up from France after studying abroad there (oh, the tears!), and second was when we left Denmark (how could I live without all the pastries and that bike life?!). I started noticing a pattern and it drew up a concern for me: why was I crying so hard? And what was it about those countries that made me want to stay forever?

In my efforts to understand myself, it was clear that those other places (and travel in general), always filled a void of unpredictability, new adventures and new customs/cultures. When I landed, it was like a game of strategy in which you must survive, learn the rules and get excited about all the different things happening around you. I know NYC is a giant melting pot, but having been born and raised here, it all has just started to feel and become a little, well, predictable. I already know we are all celebrating the fourth of July no matter what state in the country I am in. And while I love traveling around the country (the USA is beautiful), I am seeking something more.

It occured to me that in order for me to continue to grow, continue to be inspired and continue to love deeper, I need to get out. NYC, USA, it’s not you, it’s me; we need a break. You will always be my home, but I feel that distance will make the heart grow fonder. You give such great opportunities that I have yet to be thankful for. The opportunities are endless and you can be whoever you want to be; yet, I’m not grabbing anything by the horns.

So why New Zealand? Well, why the heck not?!

xx,

I.

Itinerary: Day-Trip to Philly

I don’t know why, but there is something about Philadelphia that just has me going back. If I had to take a guess, it’d probably be because the city is just filled with so much culture and history– it’s hard to get enough! Don’t even get me started on the Georgian-style homes; I secretly look at listings when I’m out there!

Being in NYC we are lucky that we are just a short 2-hour drive away; with that said, we packed ourselves into the car and drove off to experience the city of brotherly love. No car? No problem! The Amtrak train will get you there in about 1h 30mins. They currently have a promotion going on – check it out! Alternatively, there are also buses that can get you out there; ah, the possibilities :).

Below is a day-trip itinerary we did most recently. Below that? All the fun spots that we recommend from visiting the city a few times; feel free to pick a few things and make the day trip your own! Also, always leave room for uncovering your own hidden gems– you just never know what you’ll find :).

Early Bird: 9AM

It’s tried and true, but still so good. Start with a tour of the iconic Liberty Bell. No tickets are needed. Cross the street for Independence Hall, where you can go into the room where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were debated and adopted.

Been there done that? Then try this:  Read more

T.

The Best of Cold Spring, NY (Your Half-Day Guide)

Not all trips have to be full day trips; even going out for just a half day is worthwhile, in my book. There’s just something about disrupting what you’re doing for a little while and then perhaps coming back to it. It’s kind of like you’re at school and you sneak out for 5 minutes to go to the ‘bathroom’; that little pause is sometimes so worth it, right? Well, that’s what I feel about half-day trips. And for our latest one we ventured out to Cold Spring, NY.

After having breakfast at home early in the morning and relaxing a bit, we decided to break our day a little, called my cousin Jonathan in Brooklyn, scooped him up, and chatted our way on up to Cold Spring.

cold spring new york

It was about an hour and a half going up via car (Amtrak will get you there from Grand Central in about the same time) and we arrived a little hungry, so off to Hudson Hil’s Café & Market we went. It prides itself on using quality, fresh & local ingredients from the Hudson Valley and has been rated very highly. The place is a little small, so please note that there may be a bit of a wait. When we went we waited for about 25 minutes, so make sure you control that hangry ;). And yes, I enjoyed my mimosa before my food arrived #keepingitreal. All in all, very yummy :).

Explore & Shop

We thought we would walk off some of the food we had by popping into all of the cute shops that caught our eyes on Main Street. Cold Spring is just such a cute little town to take a stroll in (even if it was raining!). From antiques to camping gear and more in between, here were a few of our faves:

Antiques:
There are so many antique shops in this village, that we actually went into almost all of them! We really wanted to see if there was a difference, and I’m happy to say that they each specialize in their own crafts. Whether it be furniture, toys, lighting or art, I feel that you’re covered here and are sure to find a little something to bring back!

There was this one shop next to Bjiou that was operated by a husband and wife duo who have traveled the world and are both artists themselves. They have a great variety of things and actually love humor (as you can tell from the kitschy signs they have hanging around). I found a little glass tray that sits proudly in my bedroom!

Cold Spring General:
Upon entering, the sweet scent of a hand-poured candle burning in all its sensory-driving glory welcomed us. Books, mats, Rifle Paper Co. products, candles and more! Be sure to check out the back where they stash some beverages. The cute shop supports American-made products and sells locally-made goods!

Old Souls:
We try to go camping at least once a year and this store had the cutest little things around. I even found something for pulling ticks off of your skin. Listen, when you find one on the back of your husband’s neck one night in your tent, you get rid of that sucker!

Cold Spring Apothecary:
They make their own batches of candles, teas, skin care cleansers, hair treatments and more! They even make some fresh hot chocolate in their little café inside. The place is so aesthetically clean and pleasing. I heard so much about their candles and, after smelling them, had to bring one back home. I ended up getting a Bergamot & Basil scented one from their kitchen collection, which helps cut the smell of strong foods in the kitchen! :).

I’m sure all that poking your head around into the shops made you work up an appetite, right? Well, fear not! Head on down the little walkway and find yourself near Rincon Argentino, where empanadas, light sandwiches and delicious baked goods (caramel filled churros, anyone?) await! Alternatively, you could also go to the very popular MooMoo’s Creamery and get a scoop of one of their homemade, specially crafted flavors. My husband got their Nutella flavor; I just had to take a baby taste of it (lactose intolerant and all), and let me say, it was de-lish! We ended up doing both places as a snack; I mean, when in Rome, right? 😉

There’s a cute little promenade that looks over the Hudson River. Eat your empanadas and/or ice cream, enjoy the view and enjoy life!

Extending your stay into a full day:
– If you are looking to do some activities on the water, Hudson River Expeditions has you covered.
– If we stayed for dinner, Le Bouchon is where we would have gone for some authentic French food– you know me, the francophile! 😉
– The West Point Foundry allows you to hike, take in some beautiful scenery and even gives you the opportunity to take your own tour to learn more about how it played a major part in the American Industrial Revolution.

Happy Wandering!
xx,