Accommodation is one of the most expensive parts of traveling. Often times, it can make or break a trip. Especially if you are strapped for cash.
This summer I spent four weeks in Europe at budget-friendly hotels and hostels. No, they were not 5-star but, they served their purpose and allowed me to save money for more experiences. Check them out when planning your next Euro-trip.
It’s been a long time. Too long. Between work, travel, and moving I have found it hard to keep up with my blog which is crazy because my blog is about my life and travel.
While I spend the next week creating new content, I wanted to share with you photos from this summer’s trip to London, Amsterdam, Edam, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Kunta Hora, and Vienna. It was a trip of a lifetime and 3 weeks went by way too fast.
Let me know if you have experienced any of these amazing sites. If so, share your photos in the comments. I love connecting through travel.
Scroll to the end to see some of the places I visited. I hope you enjoy.
I grew up hearing about how amazing San Diego was from my dad. He was stationed there when he returned from Vietnam in the 60’s. Every once in a while he would throw around the idea about moving with my mom but, that was not happening. When he passed away in June 2017, I had my first trip to San Diego planned just one month later for work. It didn’t take long for me to realize my dad was 100% accurate as to how breathtaking and fun it really was. In 2018 I had another trip, February 2019 another and eventually in early March I decided to get an Airbnb (check out how I selected my short term home) for 20 days to really immerse myself in all things SoCal had to offer.
March 30, 2019: I boarded my plane from cold and snowy Buffalo, NY to warm and sunny San Diego, CA. This would be the start of my 20 day solo travel trip to “America’s Finest City”.
I want to start off by saying this was not a vacation. I was living, working and going to the gym like a local. I found a gym in Hillcrest where I was staying and after a few days really started getting into a comfortable routine. An important thing I want to share about solo travel is that you have to be disciplined when doing a trip like this. It can be really hard to get into the mindset that you are not on vacation while traveling solo for extended periods of time and keep motivated when it comes to work. With the sun shine and warm weather – far different than how it was back home – it was a constant struggle. Discipline and the fact I enjoy my job really helped. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t find my self bringing my laptop and my hot-spot to the beach or an outdoor patio to work on days where I just had to get into the sun.
Weekend One: Before I checked into my Airbnb I mostly explored the area of La Jolla. It was overwhelming how happy I already was to be there. My dear friend and I biked along the coast, explored a sea cave that was 145 steps down the cliff, laid out on Windansea beach and saw sea lions. It was beautiful and the perfect way to start out my next few weeks of solo travel.
After a couple days, I checked into my new home in Hillcrest. When I arrived I was greeted by two of the kindest people Christina and Curtis plus their adorable dog Chewie. I immediately felt comfortable and like I had always lived there. Going into an Airbnb, especially solo, you always get a bit nervous because you never really know who your hosts are. Boy did I luck out. The place was so cute and quaint.
The first couple days I spent time exploring Hillcrest. I wanted to really focus on getting acquainted with the neighborhood and the people. Along the way I found the cutest little restaurant Chocolat. It became a regular stop during the week when I would go to different locations and work remote.
Over the next couple weeks I was able to see so much of San Diego. I didn’t hit everything on my bucket list but, hey – there is always next time (check out my San Diego bucket list).
Weekend Two: The main thing I wanted to do was see dolphins and I did it. I have loved dolphins my whole life. I have a ton of figurines and even a tattoo. On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon my friend and I took a whale watching cruise with Flagship Cruises . Although we didn’t see any whales, we saw so many dolphins (video at the bottom of this post).
Weekend Three: The finale.
Stop 1: Historic Old Town is one of my favorite parts of the city so, on Saturday my friend and I made the most of our day exploring the shops and street vendors, eating delicious Mexican food at el Antojo and visiting La Casa de Estudillo. We also stumbled upon Semper Fry a Veteran owned, family run business making and creating unique and delicious hot sauce. I got their Spicy Avocado and Kalamata Olive flavors.
My time in San Diego was one of the best experiences in my life and seeing it come to an end was bittersweet. Not only did I explore as much of the city as I could and find more to love but, I was also inspired to start the Solo Travel Woman tribe and invest more into my world of travel.
I want to thank all my friends, old and new who live in San Diego and were a part of my journey. The love I have for each of you is deep.
I know in my heart that leaving San Diego was not forever. It was just a see you later.
Solo Travel Woman is so much more than this blog and my explorations. It is bigger than that.
Solo Travel Woman is about the empowered and independent woman is who is not afraid and will no longer be held back from exploring our beautiful world. It is for the woman who likes immersing herself in other cultures, tasting global cuisines, visiting museums and galleries, hiking the tallest mountains, sleeping in a tent or a luxury hotel, and one who doesn’t see an end to her journey.
With all that being said, as you read above we mentioned our new STW Shops. Yes, we have officially launched our own eCommerce site. Not only does it have Solo Travel Woman clothing and accessories (images below) but, also other travel items such as luggage, tech gadgets, outdoor supplies and much more.
Growing up I always heard how amazing and beautiful San Diego was from my dad. After Vietnam, he was stationed there for 2 years and fell in love. So, when I got the chance to go, shortly after his passing – I jumped!
The second I landed dad was there, in spirit, when I saw the marine base on the runway. I knew that second that I would love this city.
Fast forward two years later and two more trips to San Diego and I love it even more now than I did then. I feel this connection with my dad when I am there and this urge to explore more.
This past week I spent 8 days in San Diego producing a user conference for the tech company I work for. After the conference ended – which was a great success despite the unusual rain – I decided to stay an extra few days to venture and relax!
I met up with my dear friend and took in a comedy show, walked the San Diego Zoo and saw all the beautiful animals, spent a day with my colleague and friend pampering ourselves and just fell more in love with the city, it’s people, food and breathtaking coastline.
While sipping hot cocoa in a cute cafe during a rainstorm, I started thinking “gosh, I could live here”. Back and forth I went through the pros and cons: pros: sunshine, mountains, ocean, warmth, dads fav city, new experiences and friends to make, great job market, that coastline cons: far from my family and my best friends plus there is a part of me not ready to give up on NYC and the one who has my heart. I always had many pros but, the cons I had were definitely hard to swallow. My family and friends mean everything to me but, I need to mean something to me too and so does my happiness.
After a wonderful week, on Monday I flew back home but, the thought of spending more time in San Diego was constantly on my mind.
After once again going over pros and cons and remembering I work remotely and am really great at my job (confidence is key) – I took a risk and did it.
No, I did not pack up and move. I’m not that spontaneous. However, on March 30th I will be heading to San Diego to spend 21 days living in an Airbnb. This is the best way to really see what it would be like to live and work there and if my love is a temporary/only when traveling feeling or deep and permanent.
I invite you to follow me on my journey where I hope to learn things about myself I didn’t know, explore areas of the city I’ve never seen, make memories with my friends and meet new ones, enjoy every bit of sunshine AND go to Disneyland!
For my friends and family back East – it’s not goodbye, it’s see you soon! Y’all still have my heart.