In just 3 days I’ll be on my way to Seoul, South Korea! All this packing and planning has me anxious and excited and strolling down memory lane of my other travels. Allow me to share a few of my favorite travel spots. And then please share with me your favorite places in the comments! I’m always looking for more travel ideas!
1. Gurnee, Illinois – Six Flags Great America
Before I’d ever left the country, or boarded a plane, I rode roller coasters. This was the all day summer trip my dad would take us kids on, following along as we made him ride every roller coaster with us and checking out the shows. My favorite time of year to go is in October during Fright Fest, when Six Flags turns into a full fledged ghost town! There’s spooky music, haunted cities, and the whole park is decorated for Halloween.
2. The Rainforest of Guadaloupe
I was incredibly lucky to be able to go on a Caribbean Cruise with a friend’s family in High School. One of the most amazing things I did was swim under the Chutes du Carbet waterfall on the french island Guadaloupe. And in true Jess form, I immediately injured myself climbing the shore back up yelling at my friend he couldn’t get up the way he was going! Wouldn’t you know it, I was the one who fell down in the mud and had some french stranger start brushing me off and chatting profusely fast. *face palm* Still a worthwhile experience!
There’s a legend about the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. If a visitor comes to Italy and throws a coin into the fountain from over their shoulder and never looks back at the fountain, than he or she will one day return to Italy. The architecture, the food, the history, the food, the mythology,…the food!
4. Aran Islands, Ireland
When visiting the Aran Islands, you can crawl right up to the edge and overlook the water. It’s one of the most peaceful and beautiful sites I’ve seen. Plus it’s not far from Galway, which was my favorite city! Walks along the boardwalk, pubs all around, and an ocean view most places you go!
5. Voodoo Donuts, Portland, Oregon
These maple bacon bars made me want to move to Portland. I still crave them.
6. Seattle, Washington
The memorable skyline, the throwing fish, the Experience Music Project, and the city that brought you Grunge. I love it! Plus, you’ll get a workout in climbing those downtown streets! Must do when visiting Seattle, an Underground Tour! Learn the history of the city before it was built where it is now, on a guided tour just below the street.
7. New Orleans, Louisiana
For those that love history and/or love the paranormal, New Orleans is the place to go. Their tour guides are exceptional and they have plenty of tours to offer. From Graveyard Tours to Garden Districts, Plantation homes to Voodoo Queens, Jazz Museums to Swamp Rides! And don’t forget, Swamps are for Lovers!
8. Boston, Massachusetts
More for the history buffs! Take the Freedom Trail History Tour and visit places like Boston Common, Paul Revere’s House, the Old North Church, and the cemetery where Ben Franklin and Paul Revere are buried. And after putting on so many miles walking around the city, might I suggest a trip to Little Italy for some cannoli?
9. Toronto, Canada
For the hustle and bustle of a big city, visit megacity Toronto! There’s the Eaton Centre, which is the largest shopping center ever! And there’s a Distillery District for the beer connoisseur. Plus the grounds of Casa Loma are incredible to daydream about. Not to mention, Niagara Falls!
10. La Crosse, Wisconsin
Sometimes the best vacations are right in your own neck of the woods. I’m fortunate to live in a city that is bordered by bluffs and the Mississippi. Never fails to set me right again after a long walk through the bluffs. That is if you don’t do this.
Those have been my favorite places so far, what are yours?
My too smart for her own good, amazingly lovely co-founder of the Life List Club, and friend, Marcia Richards, just tagged me in the hot blog game of the season: Tell us 10 random things about yourself! The rules are really complicated: I have to tell you 10 random things about myself. And then I select four people to tag and they have to do it too. I like this so much better than chain letters, so in the spirit of a favorite film, Twister, “Tell us, why you are the way are.”
10. I like to spend New Years alone. It’s a tradition long developed now where I gather up a stack of my favorite guilty pleasure films and stay up late watching the movies I want to watch. Last year, it was Anne of Green Gables, you can read an old post about it here. I also journal and look back at the past year and use the time to reflect on what things I want to accomplish in the next year. I love having this night to myself.
9. When I was little, I played by myself a lot, not out of choice, really, I’m just a lot younger than my siblings. So I got really good at speaking in different voices and having elaborate musicals, puppet shows, and plays with my stuffed animals. I practiced this talent by quoting movies, and reading aloud switching accents every page-which helps grow your vocabulary! In high school, our librarian noticed this talent and got me involved with Forensics, and not the CSI kind. It was speech really, but a whole lot more. My category was quickly decided as storytelling. I had to know 5 stories that dealt with specific topics and be able to tell them on cue by a judge. I did Irish legends of kings, kid’s pirate stories, lisping time machine inventors, gargly three-headed Greek sisters, and a whole rainforest of animals. Because I could do all the voices and was very animated, I brought home several first place trophies over the three years I was involved.
8. To coincide with my stories, I also learned by heart any number of musicals and performed these in dress on my neighbor’s porch to an audience of squirrels and sparrows. (I liked to pretend I was Sleeping Beauty and Snow White a lot.) I did entire song and dance numbers from Yankee Doodle Dandy, Guys and Dolls, South Pacific, Singing in the Rain, State Fair, Sound of Music, Kiss Me Kate, The King and I, and My Fair Lady. I loved it. And for those of you with kids who like to play dress up, my bag included: old nightgowns and slips (evening wear), poodle skirts (for twirling at parties), button up shirts with crazy prints on them (for playing school/work), and lots of costume jewelry and shoes.
7. When I learn how to make something, I go a little overboard. In third grade, we learned how to cross-stitch. My entire family and penpal received Christmas gifts that were cross-stitched bookmarks, magnets, and wall hangings. Then they all got friendship bracelets. A few years later the bead babies became popular, and my whole family got keychains. I had so many I started using them as diving toys in the pool for the kids I babysat years later. Next was knitting. I made so many scarves so quickly, I gave myself carpal tunnel, and had to wear a brace for several weeks. Let’s hope the next binge I go on is just my writing one.
6. The name of my first cabbage patch doll was Adele Patti, but I couldn’t pronounce or remember Adele, so I called her Patti. She was a premie and I loved the way she smelled like baby powder. Subsequently, the following Cabbage Patch Dolls that joined my family were Heather, Tay, Humphrey, Barney, Sara, Suzette, Keri Ann, and Sloane.
5. My place of zen has always been by the water. In high school I often walked down to the Rock River and read Wuthering Heights or wrote poetry. My Anais Nin/Sylvia Plath obsession created a boho-confessional style of writing that, though extreme and indulgent, was full of passion, and for that, I love the girl I once was. Now, I make my peace by the mighty Mississippi or far inside Myrick Marsh.
4. One of the most mesmerizing things I’ve ever done is hike the rainforests of Guadaloupe and swim under the Chutes du Carbet waterfall on this Caribbean French Island. I was 16 and had never left the country before. I was invited on a rare opportunity to go on a cruise with my best friend’s family and we stopped at several caribbean ports. Guadeloupe made the biggest impact on me with its thick rainforests, rich temples, and caribbean-french people.
3. You know the scene in Eat, Pray, Love where Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts in the film version) eats pasta to Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen by Amadeus Mozart? That was me on my trip to Italy, with every dish of pasta I ate. Orchestras played as I savored my mostaccoli.
2. A year later I went to Ireland, and I wanted to make sure I remembered more than just the food I ate, like in Italy. I remember sitting on the cliffs of the Aran Islands and journaling. I told myself to remember this moment. I stared at the water rolling below me and snapped a mental photograph. It’s been seven years, and I still vividly remember that day and how the water looked below me.
1. I have been every form of Jessi(e) imaginable. I started as the most common Jessie. Then I was convinced by my sister to spell it Jessy, and a year later changed it myself to Jessi, which I stayed with since second grade. Cousins and siblings would try out grander adjustments like Jessiki. But over the years, it’s become more and more evident that I am a Jess. I never fit the full on Jessica, too high maintenance for me, but Jess is just right. Jess is friendly, Jess swaps food with you at dinner, Jess loves coffee dates, Jess likes to blog. 🙂 Hence, it’s just Jess. And it’s nice to meet you all.
Thanks for coming to my Happiness Project social hour! I hereby tag these people to keep the game going:
Everyone can play along! What are some random facts about yourself that I might not know? I’d love to learn more about all of you!