My name is Molly from Mr. and Mrs. Rigoloso in detail. Your pal, the very talented Julia of Black Tag Diaries, and I go way back. As in college. Although our friendship really began via the wonderful world of blogging. Life can be crazy that way. Julia and I share many a common interest, to the point it’s kinda scary. One of those shared loves is traveling.
My husband, J, has a job that allows us to travel a good bit. In the past year, we have lived in California, Texas and New York. Currently, we are living in Manhattan and falling more in love with this city each passing day. I wouldn’t trade the lessons and experiences we’ve gained while traveling for anything.
I’m going to offer up a few tips for getting the most out of your travels, show you a pretty pic or two and maybe even make you laugh a little along the way.
San Francisco cable car ride
Traveling can be an amazing experience. Unforgettable, even. But sometimes it can be really overwhelming especially when it comes to transportation. Educate yourself before you go. What’s the best method of transportation once you reach your destination? Will you drive your car? Familiarize yourself with the area either online or buy a local map. Will you take the subway? If so, get a current subway map & find your stops. What train runs closest to your hotel? Which lines will take you to all the places you want to visit? If you have an iphone or a smartphone, download the subway map app for your destination city. Hopstop is another useful resource. Knowing how to get from point A to point B will save you much frustration and allow you to enjoy the journey.
Rockefeller Christmas tree, check
What’s the purpose of your trip? Are you relaxing? Are you sightseeing? Some of both? Plan your days accordingly so you have no regrets once you return home. Make a list of restaurants, shops, bakeries, museums you want to visit. For additional help, find someone who has been where you are going and ask for their recommendations or research online.
One of my fav things at John’s other than the pizza? The hand carved professions of love.
This is a must… embrace the locals. There’s a place in the West Village that has some of the best pizza in all of New York City. They don’t take reservations, simply first come first serve. Which means show up early or prepare to stand in line. They only take cash and they only sell pizza by the whole pie, no slices. John’s Pizzeria is tucked into a small nook on a side street boasting no fancy ads or marketing schemes. We befriended some people in a coffee shop and they recommended it. Don’t be afraid to approach the locals… even New Yorkers. Be friendly to them and they can’t help but be friendly in return, especially if you have a southern accent. Start with a simple, ‘Hey, are you from here? Tell me your favorite place to eat.’ Works most every time and you’ll see parts of the city you may never have found otherwise.
Stunning church we stumbled upon while we were lost
Getting lost isn’t always a bad thing. As long as you are safe, take some time to experience your surroundings. You never know what book store or coffee shop or art gallery or cupcake bakery waits to dazzle you just around the corner.
Take pictures. Take pictures. And take pictures. Do not be afraid to whip out that camera. My husband pretty much knows he cannot eat his food until I have taken a picture of it. I make no apologies. You will not regret taking pictures, although you may wish you had taken more.
Take pictures. We have already covered that, Molly, you are thinking. You don’t always have to have a camera to take a picture (although if you need a photographer, Julia of Black Tag Photography is incredible… shameless, unapologetic plug). Whether it’s your first step into perfectly white sand or your first glimpse of falling snow or the first sip of that frozen concoction in paradise or the way you felt gliding across the dance floor… take a moment and say this to yourself… I don’t ever want to forget this moment. Allow yourself to be fully present. Forget about work. The kids. The mortgage. Finding the perfect man. All of that can wait. Be fully present in the moment and drink it up. Take a picture only your mind can see and heart can feel. And smile confidently knowing that moment is yours and yours alone to keep.
Lastly, keep a record of your days. When we began traveling, my mom gave me a journal that is now a priceless possession. I have recorded what we loved about each city we’ve lived in as well as what we didn’t love so much. This is also a great way to store keepsakes like ticket stubs, bus passes, theatre programs, cards. Write a brief summary at the end of each day. You may think all these memories will never fade, but time & everyday life has a way of eroding even the best memories. It doesn’t have to be wordy. Something simple like…
Best Italian dinner of my life. Delfina’s, summer 2010.
Downtown San Francisco with J.
Wore my new green Anthro dress & felt like a million bucks.
Writing just enough details to help you remember that famous night will help etch it into your memory. If you aren’t into journaling, I’ve heard blogging is an excellent medium, too.
Come visit me and follow along our grand traveling adventure at Mr. & Mrs. Rigoloso in detail. And lastly, a heartfelt thank-you to Julia B, for sharing this space with me, but mostly for your friendship. My life is better for having you in it.
One more thing, Julia, I forgive you for forgetting to pack me in your Alaskan cruise bag.