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Wayfaring Broad

Whiskey 101

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I’m definitely a whiskey gal, but never really knew what to look for in a whiskey. After all, there are so many different varieties. Scotch, Irish Whiskey, American Whiskey, Bourbon, etc. What’s the difference?  I couldn’t differentiate, but always thought it would be nice to know.  That’s when, by chance, I received an invitation to go to the Neat Whiskey Society’s event, “The Big 3.”

“The Big 3” was in reference to the three main types of whiskeys, Scotch, Irish Whiskey, and Bourbon.  The event was for beginners to learn more about the differences between each one.  It was the perfect opportunity for me to hone my whiskey drinking skills and level up on some knowledge.

Here’s what I learned.

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Wayfaring Broad
Don't worry about how you look. I'm constantly learning new things too! I think after traveling for a bit I stopped caring about... Read More
Thursday, 24 August 2017 13:49
Wayfaring Broad
Haha...yeah but some are more like ember water while others can be an inferno.
Thursday, 24 August 2017 13:50
Wayfaring Broad
Before I started delving more deeply into whiskey, they all tasted the same to me too. It's really interesting how once I started ... Read More
Thursday, 24 August 2017 13:52
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Wayfaring Broad

Finding Buddies While Traveling Solo

A deafening buzzer jolts me from a sound sleep. Desperate for it to stop, I slam my hand across the bed to hit the green glow of numbers sourcing the shrill alarm. It was still dark out and I was a little disoriented and confused as to why I was waking up so early. Gradually, I begin to remember the reason for my pre-dawn awakening and shoot out of bed.  I showered, dressed, packed, and was off faster than a toupee in a hurricane.  The drive took about two hours, but I arrived ready to depart for the next leg of my journey with time to spare. 

So convenient, isn’t it?  The only thing I had to be concerned with was myself.  I don’t have to worry about whether someone else gets up on time. I don’t have to worry about how long it’s taking the other person to get ready. I don’t have to worry about whether I’m making too much noise that would wake someone else up. And I don’t have to worry about whether the other person might have left something behind.  If something ends up happening, I have no one else to blame but myself.  Traveling solo definitely has its perks.  There’s a freedom and independence that solo traveling delivers that I really enjoy.  However, every now and then there’s this feeling of being left out or excluded.

Many of the activities that I have found while traveling is catered for couples or families.  Even eating in select countries, especially in Asia, can bring some issues to solo travelers as some restaurants don’t allow lone customers because they cook their food for two or more and won’t serve just one. Sounds bizarre, but even if offering to pay for two servings, I have been rejected service because I was alone.  C'est la vie.  Even though I enjoy the logistics part of traveling solo (sleeping, accommodations, transportation, et. al.), there are still times when buddies can make the experience a lasting memory. 

So here are three ways I’ve discovered to find and meet people when traveling solo.

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Wayfaring Broad
I totally get it! Couchsurfing isn't for everyone, but you can use it for more than accommodations. A lot of times I already had a... Read More
Thursday, 24 August 2017 13:47
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Wayfaring Broad

Starkus – A “Polish” Tradition

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Starkus may sound like the name of a starfish inspired Pokémon, but it’s actually the Lithuanian word for “stork.” What do a Lithuanian word and a Polish tradition have to do with one another, you might ask?  Well, for two centuries Poland and Lithuania were one country. Culturally, there’s a lot of crossover in both myths and traditions. Also, the Polish word for stork is “bocian,” and in my opinion, “starkus” seems to roll off the tongue better.

Starkus also happens to be the name of a rye vodka produced by Kozuba & Sons Distillery.  So, why would someone name their vodka “stork”?  Well, it starts with the myth related to this white avian.

The Myth of the Stork 

A couple wants a child. They leave sweets on the window sill for the stork to eat. The stork sees this as a signal that the couple wants a baby.  The stork then finds a baby, either in a cave or Marsh (I don’t know why there were all these random babies roaming around those areas) and delivers the child to the new parents. 

The story of the stork to this day is still associated with bringing children into the world.

Examples: The Disney movie “Dumbo.” The Pixar short movie “Partly Cloudy.” A plethora of baby shower cards. Or any instance where parents “smoothly” dodge the birds and the bees talk with their not-yet-old-enough child.

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My Bucket List | For the BIG 3-0!

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A big mile stone is approaching for me. I'm turning 30 in T-minus six months.  To be honest, I'm a bit anxious about the whole milestone. In reality, it's just another day marking that I'm older and won't feel different than any day in my 29s. But I'm leaving my 20s and there's a lot of thoughts going around in my head about where I should be at in my life, things I should've accomplished, and money I should be earning.

I’m still figuring it out. That's what gets me anxious.  Somewhere in my mid-twenties The concept of setting and reaching goals finally clicked for me.  I've set goals throughout my whole life, but they've always seemed to be assigned or coaxed out of me as either a school assignment or some other cursory activity. Somewhere along the way, I found value in it because it wasn't something forced upon me to do. Rather it became a mechanism that actually produced changes in my life that I wanted. Moving to Wisconsin to continue my education, getting a job in Chicago, moving halfway around the world to become an English teacher, and touring through Thailand and Europe for three months.  It all happened because I decided to do those things and I set up ways to accomplish them.

So, as it has worked for me in the past, I'll apply goal setting once again before turning 30. I've been thinking often about the things I have never done in my life. Heck, the first time I ever went camping was when I lived in South Korea.  In the spirit of goal setting, here’s my “bucket” list of things I want to do before turning the big 3-0.

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Grounded Expat

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Living in a foreign land, flying to other nearby countries, taking mini-adventures, eating all sorts of food; the expat life was for me! And now....I'm grounded. So to speak...

After ending my contract teaching English in South Korea and taking the long way back to the states through Thailand and Europe, I am now back in the good ole U.S. of A.

Preparing to come back home, I would read up on others' experiences re-adjusting. What was the hardest thing about going back home? What were their next steps? And what was the best course of action for me?

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Wynwood Walls

I saw a plethora of graffiti during my tour of Germany.  What I didn’t expect was the art graffiti community not that far from me.  I went to visit my sister in Miami and she told me about this place call Wynwood Walls.  Never heard of it before, but she told me that is was an artist community with graffiti everywhere.  For whatever reason, in my head, I was expecting some half-assed art installations or some pretentious displays with some convoluted artist statement. Something like, “this Barbie head nailed to this canvas represents the conflict and oppression…..blah blah blah.”  I’m no art aficionado, but I know crap when I see it.  Pulling up to the parking spot we finally found, the first thing I see is this:

 

And I realized, “Okay this is gonna be good!”  Got out my camera and let my eyes feast on these big beautiful walls.

Everywhere I looked, it seemed like there was something extraordinary to look at. Just standing there scanning the image for all the details and colors. Thinking about how long it took these artists to complete and how skillful I thought they were. Even walking around, looking at the cement blocks of the sidewalk, there were spray-painted on pieces. Not as detailed as the walls, but little sayings or cartoons scattered about.

Here are some of my favorites:

 

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THE Rock - Plymouth, MA

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Oddly enough, there are many famous rocks in America.  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kid Rock, Chris Rock, Rock-y, but none as old as THE Rock. I’m speaking about Plymouth Rock, of course. The protruding stone hailing from good ole Massachusetts. The one that American school children are told Pilgrims set foot on once arriving in the new country. That rock!  In my mind, it was something always thought of as grandiose and special.  The beginning of what is the U.S.A.   And I was finally going to see it.

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Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam

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“There’s always something happening around a beer.”

~Freddy Heineken

 

Isn’t that the truth!  I moseyed my way over to the Netherlands (Holland?) into Amsterdam and I  just couldn’t pass up the chance to see the original Heineken brewery.   

From my experience of touring breweries, they either tend to be self-guided tours or group-guided.  I found what was called the Heineken Experience but having gone on other “experiences” before I wasn’t really expecting much. But I was more in it for the history than the “experience.”  I opted for the V.I.P. tour which I normally I don’t go for, but the tour included a beer tasting with artisan cheeses.  SOLD! Beer AND cheese? So excited.  The VIP tour set me back 50 Euros, so not too bad.

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That's the Spirit(s)!

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There's always something happening around beer.  

This delicious golden elixir that brings people together. A rest stop for the weary traveler to replenish.  Of course, people grab a pint in a pub or restaurant all the time when they're out and about. I'm talking about a different way to enjoy some good spirits ;)    

harp Queue flashback harp music.

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Not really meant it to be an alcohol tour, just turned out that way Yoichi was really built around the whiskey distillery, but th... Read More
Tuesday, 22 August 2017 09:53
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Imperial Castle of Nuremberg

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It’s late October and the autumn changes are arriving later than expected.  During my time in Wisconsin, autumn is signaled with the brilliant cocktail of yellow, orange, and red leaves lining roads and parks.  Germany was a bit of a late bloomer and the colors weren’t showing as brilliantly due to the warmer weather.  I was looking for fall colors wherever I could and up to this point, I haven’t been able to fulfill that wish.

My time in Toy Town was sadly over and now I was heading north with a stop in Nuremberg.  The only bit of information I knew of Nuremberg was the trials of the Nazis that took place after WWII.   The train ride was about 90 minutes so I started researching some things to do in the city.  The first thing that popped up was a world famous Christmas Market (Weinachtsmarkt).  I love Christmas! It’s my favorite holiday and I was crossing my fingers that I wasn’t too early to see it.  Next attraction that popped up was the Imperial Castle.  Castles aren’t’ something we have in the states. After my tour through the Rhines valley up to the Village of Sankt Goar, Heidelberg, and a day trip to Neuschwanstein; I still hadn’t gotten enough of castles.

After arriving, I do what I always do.  Found a place for my luggage, whether checking in to the hostel or renting a locker, and started exploring the town.

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