Category Archives: Pre-Trip Blogging

Thoughts on My Upcoming EuroTrip

Thoughts on My Upcoming EuroTrip

I now officially have under two weeks until I depart for Europe! The Saturday after next, I will be boarding a plane to Geneva, Switzerland…and I have no idea when I’m returning to the US.

I’m filled with such a mix of emotions! Obviously, excitement and anticipation are coursing through me, but there’s also a twinge of sadness when I remember what I’m leaving behind. In the moments when the realization that I’m finally leaving “hits me,” I find myself giggling, teary-eyed, and wanting to jump up and down all at the same time.

Despite my excitement, the fear-based part of my mind is coming up with “what if?” scenarios. “What if this wasn’t the right decision? What if I should’ve just gone straight to grad school? What if I should’ve bought a return ticket instead of a one-way? What if certain members of my family become ill or pass away while I’m gone? What if something “bad” happens? What if my friends back in America become angry with me for missing all the weddings, birthdays, births, and graduations? Worse, what if they forget about me?” When my mind starts going down this rabbit hole, I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and look inward. When I still my mind and really settle into myself, I realize it’s none of the things I listed above that actually scare me. What really scares me is loss of control…the elusive unknown. While I would guess that most of my friends would describe me as spontaneous, there’s still a part of me that grasps so tightly to this false sense of control.

Rigidity causes things to break, while flexibility allows things to thrive. While I am a believer in the Law of Attraction, I find it funny how we are convinced we have such control over life and try so hard to hold onto it. I have this visual of a person clinging tightly to the “stable” trunk of a tree, yet failing to notice that the tree itself is floating down a river. Going down the river of life is ineludible, but how we navigate it is up to us. We can either struggle against it by kicking up stream, or we can go with the flow.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s not to live by the “what if” scenarios. I constantly encourage friends to just leap and remind them that the Universe is there to catch them,  post inspirational Instagram photos telling others that things are being orchestrated on their behalf, and share Facebook statuses telling people to follow their dreams. Now, it’s my turn. It’s my turn to trust. It’s my turn to embrace the unknown. It’s my turn to leap into life!

Embracing Minimalism

Embracing Minimalism

Like many people, I’ve spent the majority of my life collecting things. While this process was never intentional, the more time passed, the more “stuff” I accumulated. Clothing, candles, purses, lotions, makeup…you name it, I’ve got it.  

Recently, I experienced what it was to live without 90% percent of my possessions.  After living in Tennessee for the past three years, my time in the southern state came to a close. I packed up the majority of my possessions and sent them on to be stored in Ohio, where I’m originally from. I intended to follow behind just a few days after, but ended up extending my stay for two weeks. (Granted, I have spent more than two weeks living out of a bag before, but sleeping in my nearly empty bedroom felt different.) My extra time in Tennessee was spent crashing on my roommate’s air mattress near Chattanooga and couch surfing in Nashville. Although I probably only wear half of my wardrobe as it is – another reason to sell/donate clothing! – it was rather foreign to have only the random items that had been left behind. My drawers full of beauty supplies (okay, ladies, do we really need six bottles of lotion?) were in a different state and I got a chance to see how little I need. 

The best part of this experience was that I genuinely thrived! Sure, some strategic planning to keep things like my vibrams would’ve been helpful, but overall, I was just fine. I got back to Ohio a couple days ago and was greeted with boxes of stuff. I was shocked at how unappealing it all was to me. While I once looked at my full closet with a sense of pride, I now stare at it and mentally calculate the next item I can get rid of. I’ve had multiple friends who have managed to cut down on their possessions so much that they’ve been able to fit everything they own in the backs of their cars. Lately, this lifestyle seems so much more appealing to me. 

The problem with living a lifestyle geared toward materialism is that it will never be enough. There will always be a new version of your smart phone, the perfect addition to your closet, a nicer car, or diamonds that somehow seem shinier than the ones you already own. That said, I have no problem with investing in quality purchases. It makes far more sense to me to spend a bit more money on something that will hold up, opposed to having to continually re-invest in cheaply made items. However, there is a big difference between “living for the next purchase” and allowing said purchases to enhance the quality of your life. I think the real contrast is in the non-attachment to possessions. If you live your life in pursuit of possessions, you will feel a sense of loss when they are gone. Instead, I encourage you to appreciate how “things” can enhance your life, but be so grounded internally that losing them would not truly impact you.  

Find your serenity outside of possessions, people! Whether it’s through meditation, being in nature, quality interactions with other humans, or any other sort of practice. The best time to let go and start being present is Now.   

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Anatomie Review: Best Travel Clothing for Women

Anatomie Review: Best Travel Clothing for Women

As a woman, I feel like most of us are in constant search for the ideal travel clothing. After seeing Travel Fashion Girl’s glowing review on a pair of Anatomie’s travel pants, I knew I needed to try them out. I had a specific image in my mind of the perfect travel pants (lightweight, neutral color, quick dry, good fit, etc.) and they fit the bill. After exploring the Anatomie Wear website, I couldn’t believe I’d never heard about their line before!

Recently, Anatomie Wear hooked me up with a complimentary pair of Skyler Skinny pants and the Tatiana Travel Tank. I could hardly wait to try them out! I wore the tank top on a night out with the girls and, despite their diverse tastes in clothing, they all approved.The pants are advertised as quick drying and lightweight, but I underestimated the extent to which this was true. Over this past weekend, it was continually raining in Tennessee and I had the task of moving 90% of my possessions out of my house. While clear skies would’ve made the move easier, I got to see how the pants held up both in the rain and while loading boxes. Not only were they comfortable enough to lounge around the house in, I barely noticed the rain and they dried so quickly I didn’t even need to change pants after coming inside.

These two items passed the test with flying colors and I am so excited to take them on my journeys abroad! Undoubtedly, these are going to become staples in my closet and I look forward to trying out more clothing from Anatomie Wear.

- To shop, click here!  

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Tatiana Travel Tank Breakdown

This fashionable top wears great and can be matched with nearly any sort of bottom – it will definitely be coming with me on future adventures!

Key Aspects: fashionable, multi-use, doesn’t wrinkle 

 Fabric

  • Very soft
  • Not see-through
  • Doesn’t wrinkle
  • Lightweight

Style

  • Mesh portion adds detail and makes it more fashionable than a typical black tank
  • Flattering Shape
  • Looks great under a blazer/jacket
  • Can easily be dressed up or down

Color

  • Neutral colors (black, navy, white)

Other Perks

  • Modest enough to not draw unwanted attention
  • Comfortable
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Tatiana Travel Tank

Skyler Skinny Pants Breakdown 

This extremely versatile pair of travel pants has quickly become a staple in my wardrobe and is now a go-to for long flights, train rides, and car rides!

Key Aspects: versatile, lightweight, quick-dry, tailored-look

Fabric

  • Extremely lightweight (nylon-lycra micro fiber fabric)
  • Comfortable
  • Stretchy
  • Form fitting
  • Quick-drying
  • Thin fabric (it’s thick enough to wear sans underwear, but I don’t recommend wearing brightly colored/pattered underwear)

Style

  • Well tailored (my ideal pair of travel pants should look like they were made for me and these are exactly what I’d envisioned)
  • Detailed pockets and snaps add zest
  • High waisted (this is awesome if you don’t want to give the whole world a free show when bending over or sitting, but there are low-rise options available)
  • Extremely versatile – while they look quite casual, it’s not hard to dress ‘em up with a pair of heels and a fancier shirt
  • Neutral colors options (black, grey, navy)

Other Perks 

  • While the fabric is thin and form fitting, it’s very forgiving!
  • Pant legs look great folded up to create the cropped pant look
  • Easily works with flats, boots, or heals
  • Leg length is not exorbitantly long (I’m 5’4, but I was not gifted with long stems and finding pants that I don’t need to have tailored is rare for me)
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Skyler Skinny Travel Pants

 - Finding properly fitting clothing online can be tough, but Anatomie

has an online guide to fit and style! Just click here. -

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Help other women find the best travel clothes out there – please share! 

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Disclaimer: Yep, it’s an affiliate link! But I will only ever advocate items I actually support. 

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The Game Changer for My Travel!

The Game Changer for My Travel!

Hello, wonderful people!

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I had some very exciting news…

I’ve recently been introduced to an awesome travel company. It’s been saving me a boatload of money on my travels around the U.S. and will be a great asset to me while I am abroad.

I’ll be sharing more about it soon! In the mean time, if you would like more information, shoot me an email at theadventurousandrea@gmail.com and I will get back to you shortly!

Namaste,

Andrea

Transformational 2012

Transformational 2012

For me, the year of 2012 was one of monumental changes…

Shortly before ringing in the new year of twenty-twelve, I spent a weekend with someone who was quickly progressing in the realm of self-development. Little did I know that our time together would begin an inner process – one that would eventually alter how I saw reality. In a matter of days, he helped me recognize how out of touch I really was with the Now. He introduced me to the work of Eckhart Tolle – if you don’t know him, I heartily recommend looking him up – and sparked my interest in really delving into the process of self-discovery. Although the time we spent together was comparatively short, his impact was lasting.

The months following were filled with transformational self-exploration. Formerly strongly tied to the future, it was not easy for me to begin rooting myself in the Present. Although I still struggle with letting myself succumb to worry, months of practice have helped me stay more consistently grounded. It was during this time that I reconnected with an old acquaintance. We had met a few times in years past, but had never really gotten to know each other. Through social media, I realized that years passing had lead to us having similar interests! Although we barely knew each other, I invited her to travel from Ohio to my home in Tennessee. Though she didn’t have enough money to get here, fate was in our favor. Things were in alignment and the financial means presented themselves to her. It was at this time that I got to know one of the beautiful, soulful, kind, genuine people I have ever met. She helped me become even more in touch with my inner light and the beauty of life.

On a mid-summer’s day, I was speaking with a close friend about my plans for graduate school. I was frustrated, because I was unsure if my chosen path was really “right.” Despite this, I had been emailing back and forth with various programs, studying copious amounts for the GRE, and trying to make a decision that would dictate the next four years of my life. It was then that she asked me what would happen if I invested this time and money into a program, only to graduate and realize it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. For the first time in my academic career, I considered altering my plan. Previously, I had not really considered any other option beside continuing my education. Being a psychology major doesn’t really lend to many post-grad opportunities. After this conversation, I realized I didn’t need to be tied to this specific path. Previously, I had found validation through my academic standing. My self-exploration lead me to realize that nothing I will ever achieve academically, monetarily, or relationally will ever determine my intrinsic value. With that, I decided to use my youth to its fullest extent and postpone graduate school to travel Europe!

The past year has been a highly transitional time. I strengthened old relationships and made new ones. I shifted my focal point to the Now and started to make constant, conscious effort to stay positive. I realized fully that Present moment is all we really have and we need to take full advantage of it. I became introduced to people that have such a wealth of knowledge to share (you’ll do yourself a big favor to check out Eckhart Tolle, Abraham Hicks, Katie Freiling, Kyle Cease, and Mike Dooley). It’s not always easy to internalize, but I now know that my value and worth is not contingent upon anything I can ever achieve. I am so excited to see what 2013 holds and I plan to live it – and every year after I am blessed with – to its fullest extent! I wish all of you the very best!

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 Stay positive, be Present, and set your intentions!

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Highlights of 2012

- Decided to move to Europe

- Went skydiving

- Participated in a yoga flashmob

- Grew my own (little) garden

- Fully recognized the power of synchronicity

- Went bridge swinging

- Saw my baby sister graduate high school

- Went to a couple music festivals

- Attended my first APA conference

- Flew to Ohio for less than 24 hours to be a wedding date

- Realized my value isn’t contingent upon my actions

- Maintained a vegan diet for seven months

- Became introduced to raw foodism

- Saw my grandparents celebrate 50 years of marriage

- Watched Back to the Future with friends, on the side of an abandoned building, laying on a gravel parking lot

- Sporadically attended the World Yo-Yo Championship

- Did barrel rolls in a plane

- Made my first YouTube video

- Finally visited Disney World

- Adopted a kitten and named him Ug

- Went off-roading

- Started a blog

- Started living in the Present and not for the future

 - Randomly moved into a house and realized it was perfect!

- Got a cabin in the mountains with friends and made a ton of guacamole!

- Went on a girls’ road trip to Chicago

My dear friend/housemate and I playing in the leaves!

Became friends with the newly appointed world champions of yo-yo (Check out In Motion!)

Became friends with the newly appointed world champions of yo-yo (Check out In Motion!)

My wise grandfather and baby sister

My wise grandfather and baby sister

Megan Amigo and me watching the Goo Goo Dolls across the river (at a random house party we attended)!

Megan Amigo and I watching the Goo Goo Dolls across the river (at a random house party we attended)!

Megan Amigo and I belly dancing in the mountains of Tennessee

Megan Amigo and me belly dancing in the mountains of Tennessee

Yoga Flashmob

Yoga Flashmob

Girls' trip to Chicago

Girls’ trip to Chicago

Floating in bliss

Floating in bliss

First time at Disney World!

First time at Disney World!

Revelry after Summer Fest 2012

Revelry after Summer Fest 2012

My best friend since pre-school

My best friend since pre-school

First pair of climbing shoes!

First pair of climbing shoes!

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Joyous children like this are why look forward to being an au pair

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Kissing Princess, the camel!

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Eating way too much ice cream!

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Amazing people in Orlando, FL!

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Enjoying an outdoor concert in TN

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Exploring nature with Megan Amigo

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I got to see my baby sister graduate high school!

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“We just jumped out of a plane!”

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My delectable, organic tomatoes!

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Emma Parker’s “Yellow Chair Project” for charity

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One of my delicious vegan creations – Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

First time bouldering!

First time bouldering!

Haley and I had our first, Southern off-roading experience!

Haley and I had our first, Southern off-roading experience!

Casual train yoga!

Casual train yoga!

APA Conference 2012

APA Conference 2012

Oh, just about to jump off a 100 foot bridge!

Oh, just about to jump off a 100 foot bridge!

I wish I could express how much I adore yoga, laughter, and friends!
I wish I could express how much I adore yoga, laughter, and friends!

Soaking up some vitamin D

Soaking up some vitamin D

Loved the looks on my family member’s faces when they realized I’d driven seven hours to surprise them!

Imitating the statues

Imitating the statues

Nothing like playing dress up in a country store

Nothing like playing dress up in a country store

Got to love football matches!

Got to love football matches!

Little kitten, Ug.

Little kitten, Ug.

Nothing can compare to nature.

Nothing can compare to nature.We're a silly family!

Happy NYE from the Nicholas sisters! Try and ignore our glowing eyes...

Happy NYE from the Nicholas sisters! Try and ignore our glowing eyes…

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Steps to Become an Au Pair in Europe!

Steps to Become an Au Pair in Europe!

1. Explore websites
-www.greataupair.com
-www.aupair.com
-www.aupair-world.net

2. Determine personal stipulations
- What country/countries do you want to work in?
- What length of time do you want to be in Europe?
- Do you want to live in a city or the country?
- Is it important for you to have the weekends available?
- Are you willing to work weekends?
- Do you want to live-in or live-out?
- What is the minimum amount of money you are willing to accept per month?
- Are you willing to do (light) housework?
- How many hours are you willing to work per week?
- Will you work with single parents?

3. Make detailed online profiles
- Many pictures
- General letter to potential host families
- What sets you apart from other au pairs
- Ideal weekly schedule
- Ideal pay rate
- Other relevant qualifications

4. Reach out
- Mark profiles as “interests” or “favorites”
- Send families messages expressing your interest
- Create a blanket message to send out and cater it to each family

5. Skype with serious interests
- Discuss expectations
- Express concerns
- Clear up any confusion
- Meet the children
- Get a virtual tour of the home (specially, your bedroom)
- Figure out about the surroundings of the family’s home
- Decide on a length of stay

6. Finalize
-After deciding which family you will be an au pair for, confirm that plans are in order
- Research visa options (if necessary, visit a consulate)

10 Reasons Why Becoming an Au-Pair is Exactly Like Online Dating

10 Reasons Why Becoming an Au-Pair is Exactly Like Online Dating
  1. Obviously, to get the best results, you need to actually make an online profile.
  2. Said profile contains descriptions, photos, and general qualifications, all meant to portray yourself as the ideal candidate. If you’re lacking detail in one of these facets, you become substantially less appealing and the same goes for the other party. You stare at your profile, trying imagine how viewers of it will perceive you. You also start wondering if you’ll ever find an ideal match.
  3. There’s an intricate balance between being fully authentic and showcasing your finer attributes (Obviously, you don’t want to mention that you can belch loudly, before you’ve even met them…). This all is occurring within both parties. Sometimes, you’re left wondering about the validity of certain profiles (e.g. “Is this host family really able to pay me €500 per week?” or “Can this au pair actually fluently speak/read nine languages, including ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics?”).
  4. You spend hours sifting through hundreds of profiles, marking “interests” or “favorites” along the way. These people get notified and there’s a moment of elation whenever they send back that they’re also interested in you. Unfortunately, you can’t help but feel a bit of rejection, whenever you get a notification that the party you were very interested does not reciprocate.
  5. If both parties are interested, one reaches out to the other and a message chain is started. Likes, dislikes, mutual interests, and what each party is looking for in the other are discussed.
  6. After realizing that the other party is everything you dreamed of, the excitement sets in. You find yourself talking about them to friends, many of whom will think it’s odd, seeing as you’ve yet to meet them. You have pictures of them on your cell phone. You have your friends sit with you and pour over their online profile. Overall, you’re just so thrilled that you found your ultimate match online, that you’re willing to tell anyone and everyone who will listen.
  7. There may a time when you haven’t heard from them in a week or so. You get very worried. You wonder if you’ve done something wrong and look back through old messages to see if you missed anything. The same people who you gushed about them to now get to hear how concerned you are. You realize you may have to accept that they’re not really “the one” and move on. Right when you’ve been about to give up, you get a message from them apologizing for the delay and explaining what had happened. You’re so relieved!
  8. Around this time is when you think it’s serious enough to tell your parents. You’re excited and nervous about what the future may hold. You gush about how great they are to your parents and show them an exorbitant amount of pictures.
  9. After much online communication, you decide upon a time to meet.
  10. Finally, you’ve realized they’re the one for you and decide to move in.
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    This is the face you make when you finally find your host family!

Silly Juicing Dance

Silly Juicing Dance

In case any of you were wondering, this is what I do in my free time (i.e.when I’m not off doing adventurous things)! Shenanigans!

Stay positive and tap into your life energy, people!

Vlog: Travel Update

Vlog: Travel Update

Hi, lovelies! A lot of people have been inquiring as to my current game plan for Europe. Here’s a quick update on my plans!

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  • During late July and early August a few girlfriends and I are trying to arrange it so we can travel around together! The biggest hinderance is finances! Any tips on ways to make/save money on the road? We’ll be using www.helpx.net, www.couchsurfing.com, and staying in hostels to travel as cheaply as possible. 
  • At the end of August, I will move to Lausanne, Switzerland to be an au pair for a spectacular Spanish family! This is a great opportunity, because I adore Switzerland and would love to brush up on my Spanish. Although I will be doing some traveling on the weekends, I will be saving a lot of the money I make to put it toward further travels. Additionally, I’ll have to be putting a portion of it toward student loans.
  • The last week of November will mark the end of my Swiss living. That means I have December to travel around and hang out with friends…
  • If you are around wherever I am, I’d love to meet up! There’s a small possibility that my parents will try and come over and visit during this time. That would be great, seeing as I have no idea if I’ll be spending Christmas alone in a hostel (I doubt that would happen, though, as I have a knack for randomly meeting new friends!)…
  • In January, I will move to Torino, Italy to become an au pair for another beautiful family. I am thrilled!  I will stay here for a least six months.
  • After Italy, I will hopefully return to Switzerland for another three months.
  • Then…who knows!