Create Your Own Visited States Map

The ever-cliche travel bug has dined on my skin somewhere lately, for better or worse. I say for worse due to the fact that I don’t have the money to travel, nor do I have the time… or a passport… or a comfortability with flying.

But the thing is, I will never have enough money or time or a flight that isn’t filled with heart-stopping anxiety. I will never be ready because no one ever is for anything scary or different or even exciting. Especially when that someone is on a way-too-low salary to even buy a new car or start saving for retirement. I don’t wanna retire anyway. Crazy, right?

So my priorities are a little different from others, and my savings plan goes to different things, and maybe that’ll end up being a huge mistake when I look back on my life. But I can’t deny the world out there I long to explore for the safety of home, for the “what-ifs” I’ve had since a girl. I will always worry, and things will always happen. But I am not going to NOT travel anymore because of those hypotheticals. What if they never, ever, ever happen? Ohhhhhhh, META!

My first step is to nab a passport so I can make my way to my sister in the Pacific and somewhere (anywhere) in Europe next year. And in the meantime? Well, I’m gonna try my hardest to fill in those white states up there by searching for deals, hitting up pals, looking for short-term work gigs, and dragging all of you (and maybe J) along for the ride.

Where have you traveled lately? Any tricks-of-the-trade, deals, or secrets I need to know, travel junkies? Talk to me!


OOTT: Reynolda Gardens

Another feature I’ve been dying to introduce (after little spaces/etc.) is my Out On The Town (OOTT) series. There’s so much beauty in each and every town — you just have to find it!

First up: Reynolda Gardens.


This gem is RIGHT down the road from me, and 100% free for the public to enjoy. Since we live in Tobacco Road, these gardens are what’s left of R.J. Reynolds’ estates. Wake Forest U now provides the upkeep of the 129 acre spot, including the gardens, lots of trails, and the village beside it.




The greenhouse, besides being an amazing, whimsical structure that resembles a 1920s circus tent, hosts so many unique flowers. Growing up in the house of a gardener, I was definitely surprised to see so many plants that were so foreign to me. I loved it!


There were so many tiny details that just made the whole place so uniquely beautiful, despite the fact that it was at least 98 degrees, and I–obviously a genius–decided to wear a long, black dress. IT WAS SLEEVELESS, OKAY?!!?


Not pictured were a TON of great structures outside and a huge and viable edible garden, as well as some beautifully old plants. Like, RJ’s wife cultivated these plants when she started the gardens… and they’re still there. IS THAT NOT REMARKABLE?! Plants are my favorite for their sheer resilience.

We moved over to the village pretty quickly due to the heat and our hunger, catching a bite at Pane e Vino for fresh Italian. I got the Prosciutto Apple Panini — PERF!

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Wrapped up the day with free balsamic tasting (HIGHLY recommend the blueberry!) at The Gourmet Olive Branch, as well as a scoop of fresh banana gelato.


Reynolda Gardens

Price: free {unless you want some food or goodies}!

Food: many choices on campus, normally about $-$$$ range.

Crowd: minimal, even on crowded days, due to size

Overall Enjoyment: 3.5 out of 5 stars