One of the things I was most excited about when I first moved the D.C. was getting to see the cherry blossoms bloom. Even though where I grew up was only a 4 hour car ride away from D.C., I never made the drive up to see them. But now that I actually live here, I have no excuse this year!
If you don't already know, I'm a huge advocate for solo traveling. Taking the leap to embark on my first solo trip to Madrid was one of the best decisions I ever made, and it opened up a whole new world to me. It's a completely different experience compared to when you travel with your family or a group of friends.
If I had to a pick a favorite Italian city, second to Florence, it would definitely be Bologna. As the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna is often overlooked for its more touristy counterparts. But this city actually has so much to offer with half the amount of tourists! Also, why would you not want to visit a city nicknamed La Grassa ("the fat one")?
Ah Rome...the Eternal City of ancient ruins, rich history, and an overwhelming amount of tourists. Ever since I watched Audrey Hepburn's romantic adventure in Roman Holiday, I've dreamed of my own wild escapade. Eating gelato on the Spanish steps, riding a scooter through a piazza...you know, just you're average Italian fantasies.
About an hour away from Venice, Burano is a little fishing village that's probably the most colorful place on earth. It's claimed to be the happiest island in Italy, and maybe even the happiest town in the world! But I wouldn't doubt it because once you set foot on this island, it's impossible to not feel a rush of happiness and be awestruck by your surroundings.
After spending a couple days in Bangkok and a side trip to Ayutthaya, Ashley and I continued our journey to our last stop: Chiang Mai. Located in the northern part of Thailand, Chiang Mai's mellow vibe was a pleasant break after hectic Hanoi and Bangkok.
On our way to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, we decided to make a pitstop in Ayutthaya. About a 2 hour train ride away (tickets are a mere $2!), Ayutthaya is home to a world heritage site. Centuries ago, Ayutthaya was a flourishing kingdom and the second Siamese capital.
Our second day in Bangkok started like any other. We woke up later than we said we would, laid around in bed for an hour checking every social media app, and eventually got dressed because our stomachs were calling out for breakfast. After getting some food, we decided to hit up our first temple on our itinerary which is when our trouble started...
Nicknamed the "land of smiles", I was really excited for my return to Bangkok. I've visited before once when I was younger, but like any moody teenager, I wasn't interested in anything other than how "cool" our hotel was. So on my second visit, I was determined to experience and see all the things I missed out on the first time. But after spending four days there, I must admit, I wasn't crazy about Bangkok.
I think the biggest misconceptions of traveling is that it has to be expensive. It's easy to look on social media and see all these glamorous vacation photos at five star resorts and think "I could never afford that." But you actually don't have to be rich to travel. In fact, I recently just came back from a trip where I visited 3 countries and 5 cities for just a little over $1,300 USD!