Friday, June 19, 2009

Delayed posts!

Sorry for not really posting updates! You all know how crazy vacations can be. Not to mention we're so busy moving around and trying to do as much as possible, so the last thing I'm making time for is being on the computer. Bad for the readers, but it's a nice break from technology for me. 

Since I last posted, we did a bit more touring of Barcelona, left for Perpignon, France where we spent a few hours before going to Montpellier. We spent the night there, left in the morning and tried to go through Nimes, which didn't work out so we continued on to Avignon. We spent the night there too. I celebrated my birthday morning in Avignon, then after lunch we got on a 4 hour train ride to Nice, stopover in Nice to wait for the short train to Menton. And this is where we are now! I had a nice birthday dinner here in Menton and since then we've been really enjoying some beach time and exploring just like last year. 

Menton is unbelievable gorgeous! Liza, one of my besties :) arrived in Nice day before yesterday so we went to meet her there and spent the afternoon exploring Nice, getting the best gelato ever and generally having a lot of fun. Today we're headed to the markets of Ventimiglia, across the border in Italy for the morning, then getting some of the best gnocchis available for lunch before coming back for some more beach time. 

I know this is a super rushed overview and I promise to write long travel guide style posts about everything I've done in the near future, but it will probably not be until after I get back to Houston, or if I happen to have some time at night in the apartment. There's just way too much to say and as much as I appreciate the few people that have started reading this blog, you will have to be satisfied with these shorter updates on my whereabouts while I squeeze in as much beach time and France touring as possible this next week and a half. 

A tout a l'heure mes amis!  (excuse the horrendous french) 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quick update

Hello lovely friends!
This will be quick because I'm tired and it's late, plus we are all sharing one computer. 
BUT, I arrived in Barcelona yesterday morning safe and sound after a long and bumpy sleepless night, but what can I expect from airplanes? 
Other than that I ran surprisingly well on zero hours of sleep and was able to see a lot yesterday. 
We did even more walking today and saw the old fortress, the Olympic stadium among many other things. Plus a yummy stop for gelato and good trip to El Corte Ingles. That was so nostaligic for me! I loved grocery shopping there while I was in Madrid. 
A lot of things are actually bringing back great memories of living in Spain. I love it here! I'm so excited for the rest of my vacation. Tomorrow we're doing all the Gaudi spots and maybe going by the beach if there's time. 
Then Friday my mom will be here so hopefully she can join me for some "commercial" sightseeing :)

Bueno, t'luego tios/as
Til next post,


Sunday, June 7, 2009


Time to departure: ~ 13 hours

EEEEEEE!!!!!!! I'm so excited!
I fear that no one is really reading these posts....YET. But that's ok, I'll soon pick up a following once I tell more people about this blog and start making it more visually appealing.
I will try to keep this short because I still have a bit more packing to do and have been running around trying to get everything together all day. I did, however, want to write a little about just that.
Getting ready for a big trip like this is always stressful. Even packing for my short trips can be hard, but leaving for a month takes it to a whole new dimension. I'm actually a very good packer and have a lot of experience. I've learned to pack light, no matter what, and haven't ever forgotten anything major.
For example, I studied abroad in Spain and managed to put everything in a medium/ suitcase and a backpack for the whole 6 months. When I arrived, everyone else on my program was shocked and thought maybe I had already left things in the hotel or I had a real suitcase in the other room, or something couldn't be right. They all had 1 or two large suitcases and duffel bags, etc etc. But why would you want to haul that around??

Knowing how I usually dress, I tend to wear the same 5 things over and over. And as far as my experience goes, I think most people at least do this on vacation, so there's no need to bring a million options "just in case". I promise there will not be too many unexpected special occasions that pop up while traveling. And no one will notice if the same tshirt is in 80% of your pictures. That's how mine always are and people haven't stopped being friends with me because of it. Cutting it down to the basics is the best way to go, a few layers, comfortable shoes. Taking note of what you actually wear is really good in general. I've taken advantage of this by throwing several things out while going through all my clothes.
Keep in mind where you'll be and what you'll be doing, what the weather will be like, and also take into account whether you might want to shop so you can leave space (ALWAYS leave space).

My trip starts out in Barcelona, goes through a few cities in s. France, and we end up in Menton, a small town between Nice and the Italian border for a little over 2 weeks, and we'll surely take a few day trips from there too. The weather will be in the 70's for the most part, and hopefully sunny, but I'll bring a small umbrella (note to self: put the umbrella in my backpack before I go to bed) So, I plan to wear jeans on the plane with a tshirt and a black zip up sweater because I'm always cold on airplanes and this way I'll have something a little warmer if I do need it while walking around at night or something later.
I've packed about 2 tank tops, 5 tshirts, mostly basic solid colors, and 2 light cardigans. This way I can layer, and if I really do feel the need to dress it up if we happen to go out, I have some nice jewelry or something. There are ways.
I have 2 shorts, 1 skirt, and a few breezy dresses for the beach and walking around in the heat because once we're in the beach town I know I'll be in my swim suit the majority of the time and it may be really hot walking around so I need something breathable and easy to wear over the suits. Plus I just love dresses :)
And of course I can't forget plenty of underwear, and a few pairs of socks for when I'm wearing my tennis shoes, though I think that will just be in Barcelona, then I'll switch to flip flops for the rest of the trip.

Moving on to other things- medicines, toiletries, etc.
I went and refilled all my prescriptions this week so they'd last me. I also realized I'm one sickly girl, yuck :\
I have waterproof spf 55 sunblock, a travel sized facewash, new toothbrush and floss. I'm going to rely on my family to provide the shampoos and toothpaste so I kind of luck out in that sense since we save space by sharing. I did buy a fancy leave in conditioner for my hair yesterday since several weeks on the beach is not good for hair. I picked up this bio- something brand olive oil leave in conditioner. I was kind of confused while picking one out because it was a brand that they had for shampoos and conditioners too but the leave in was in the section for african american hair, which I don't have, but I know olive oil is good for your hair and to be honest it just smelled really good so I got it. Then I was reading the back today and it is in fact for "relaxed" or dry course hair. I was obviously looking in the wrong section, but as it turns out, I really like it and maybe that's what I've needed all these years for my dry curly hair.
On the airplane, I'll take a backpack with my camera (extra batteries!) a few books, my ipod, and a notebook for writing and drawing. I will also pack lots of food.
About the food, this is a biggie for me!
In my suitcase I have a variety of bars, larabars, kashi, protein, and so on, and a container of mixed almond, cashew, and peanut butter. Obsessed? YES. But they don't really do nut butters in france and I would not like to live without it for a month. The bars are just good for in between meals and snacks in case my family does not want to eat as often as I do, as that frequently happens.
Our flight to Newark leaves at 11 so I've packed a lunch, and some snacks. I"ll probably buy something during our layover. Then the flight to Barcelona leaves around 7 so I've packed a dinner and many more things for snacking on that flight, and I'm making sure I have quite a lot since I can't sleep on airplanes. My backpack is always filled with tupperwares and various packaged foods and I always think the security people must be laughing at me after I walk away. Oh well, I bet they're just jealous because they don't have any. This has also been good for cleaning out my fridge today. I've been like a human garbage disposal all day trying to eat through anything perishable, I have sooo much left! Speaking of which I'm off to work on that a little more and finish the packing and get to sleep.

A few last important things to remember:
phone and charger (must remember this in the morning)
passport (dad has it)
games for the airplane (little brother)

Next time I post I'll be across the pond, yay!!!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My very first entry!!

Hello! I'm finally getting around to starting my blog. I've thought about it for a while and have just made a lot of excuses- I'm not sure if I can manage to keep up with one consistently, or if my life is interesting enough for people to read about, am I a good writer? ...etc etc. But either way, here I go! I'll start by introducing myself and writing a little about what you may read in the future.
So first, What will I talk about??? Well, my real passion is traveling so that will be my main focus. I've kept written travel journals before and had a lot of fun with those. but they were just for me. This way all of my friends and hopefully readers I pick up along the way will get to enjoy my trips too. This also solves the dilemma of "what if I don't blog regularly?". Now I'll only feel obligated to document my trips, though I'm sure I'll write about a million other things too. Back to how I feel about travel- regardless of what else is going on in my life, work, friends, family, anything, I NEED to travel. It's not just that I like to, of course I like to, I love seeing new places, and meeting people and experiencing how they live in various countries, but there's also this restlessness. I just can't stay at home for too long or I go crazy. Not that I don't love home. I actually love to be at home and also need that consistency and comfort in my life too. I'm all about contradictions, so this blog will be confusing and fun! So yes, traveling is my life and I always want it to be my life. I have no idea what that life will entail, which is another purpose to this blog, but no matter what I end up finding out about myself and what I like to do, I will travel through it all. Starting with my upcoming trip to Barcelona, some cities to be determined in between, and a couple of weeks in Menton, France. It will be glorious!!! I LEAVE IN 3 DAYS!!!!!!!
About me:
I graduated back in December with a degree in marketing, but in all honesty, I can't stand the idea of entering the corporate world. I'm not sure what I was thinking by going to business school, other than the fact that it seemed practical and applicable to most anything I'd like to do. Or so I thought. I haven't managed to think of something I could apply it to now and enjoy. The economy doesn't help either, as there are not many jobs available, should I choose to seek out one of those office jobs anyways. I want something that allows lots and lots of travel. Whether I'm traveling with my job, or simply have a job that's flexible enough to where I can travel on my own.
Up until now I've worked with my parent's interpreting company doing translations here and there, some market research, tech work, and a lot of PR stuff. I'd like to continue this kind of work since we travel all the time and it always brings new and exciting experiences. Unfortunately there just hasn't been enough volume of work for me the last few months and there won't be until I get myself together, work on my fluency in Spanish, and simultaneous interpreting, and get certified. Eventually I know I'll probably do this, but first I really want to try something new. Something in diplomacy would be fun, or world peacemaking, something really idealistic along those lines. I want to feel like I'm doing something important, and the last few months of being broke, and unemployed, and no longer a student, have left me feeling like a completely useless unaccomplished person.
I need to fix this. I know my self esteem has definitely suffered a blow, and that really just leads me to make things worse for myself. That's two more things I'm sure you'll end up seeing once in a while. Politics, and introspection/ learning what makes me happy.
I also like food, cooking, baking, and eating a lot of it. Mostly vegan things, all vegetarian, so you'll see quite a bit of that, especially since I like to show people that it's very much possible to have amazingly delicious things without hurting animals or sacrificing your health. Also because traveling usually means trying exciting new cuisines, and how could I go to France and not talk about their food??
And one final word, since I'm sometimes like an old woman and it's past my bedtime. I have the greatest family and friends ever and I will talk about them often. I have just a few close friends who I'm with all the time. One of which will come spend a week with me in Menton, and it will be the best week ever! And when it comes to family, I'm probably closer to them than what most would consider normal. They are my best friends in the world, and even when they drive me insane, I'd still rather spend my day arguing with them, than be anywhere else. I think my mom is superwoman, and we talk on the phone numerous times a day if I'm not with her, and it really bothers me when we haven't talked in over a few hours. And I'm not just saying this because they'll most likely read this. They're so great that I know they'd continue to help me with my rent whether I talked about how wonderful they are on this blog or not.
That's all for tonight, and I'm looking forward to begin the vacation blogging really really soon!

- Gaby