Cemetery Tour in New Orleans: The City of the Dead

Cemetery Tour in New Orleans: The City of the Dead

The summer is officially over, the leaves are starting to fall, and all my favorite kitschy Halloween stuff is showing up in stores. This is, hands down, my favorite time of year to be in the United States.

In New Orleans this past summer, I went on a free cemetery tour and a free ghost tour where I learned historical and present day tales of the dead and other spooky happenings. What I learned easily qualifies New Orleans as one of the creepiest cities in the country!

With October only a few days away, I am excited to finally share the chilling history of New Orleans in two installments. In this post, I share what I learned from my tour of the city's oldest cemetery.

10 Must Do's in New York City for First-Time Visitors

10 Must Do's in New York City for First-Time Visitors

I'm taking a break this week from my New Orleans posts to share a bit about my home city!

While Jono was visiting me for 5 weeks this past summer, I took him on a tour of New York City. Although we did not get to do everything we wanted to, what we did do represents a really good outline of "must-do's" for first-time visitors to the Big Apple.

Lists like these have been done before. But what mine includes is a lot of insider tips you won't get elsewhere.

I discuss some of the most typical experiences you should try to have while in New York with tidbits on the best way to do it. These are experiences only a life-long New Yorker comes to know how to navigate—but now you'll know it, too!

7 Symbols of New Orleans

7 Symbols of New Orleans

It's been almost 2 months since I visited New Orleans and I can still feel it. That city had such a lasting impression on me, it's as if the symbolic elements of the city left a permanent imprint on my mind.

When I think of New Orleans, there are several iconic features that stand out to me.

If I had to paint a picture representing the Big Easy for you, it would not be complete without the following.

I Broke Into the Audubon Zoo and Had An Epiphany

I Broke Into the Audubon Zoo and Had An Epiphany

 I have a confession: I accidentally broke into the Audubon Zoo while visiting New Orleans.

Well, perhaps breaking in is an exaggeration. I wandered in through the exit without realizing I was bypassing the admission fee.

Sometimes people make honest mistakes in their life. Sometimes they take advantage of loopholes. My situation fell somewhere in between. And I'll tell you why I felt guilty about it. No, I did not feel guilty that I didn't pay. I felt guilty because I had an epiphany: The caged animals in that zoo are a mirror image of the human race. 

Allow me to explain.

Why July is the Worst Time to Visit New Orleans

Why July is the Worst Time to Visit New Orleans

I think I picked the worst month to visit New Orleans: The month of July.

When I booked my trip there, I did not realize that July is when many iconic experiences of the Crescent City completely stop for the month. Crawfish season is over, second line parades do not pick up again until August, and many more activities cannot be fully enjoyed as a result of the heat and excessive rain.

Despite these downfalls, I still had an awesome time in NOLA.

Send Your Support to Louisiana After Tragic Flooding

Send Your Support to Louisiana After Tragic Flooding

In the midst of posting about my visit to New Orleans last week, I neglected to acknowledge the tragic flooding happening in Louisiana.

The effects from the flooding continue to devastate.

So I'm going to take this post to express something I communicated on social media in the last few days. I will go back to my regularly scheduled posting next week!

12 Foods You Must Try in New Orleans

12 Foods You Must Try in New Orleans

At the end of 5 days in New Orleans, I felt like I had gained 100 lbs because of all of the eating we did. I regret nothing!

New Orleans is considered Americas "food city." There is literally something for everyone including some serious cultural eating you cannot get anywhere else. Yes, I'm talking about the Crescent City's famous Cajun and Creole influences.

In this post, I give a short review of all the traditional foods you cannot miss and the best places to order them. You'll also learn about the current BBQ craze and up-and-coming Vietnamese trend. Catch them both before they go out of style!

The Brassy Jazz Sounds of New Orleans

The Brassy Jazz Sounds of New Orleans

The music culture is one of the main reasons I decided to take Jono to New Orleans this summer.

Trumpets, tubas, and trombones lead the culture of this Louisiana town. It's where parades of brass instruments blare down the streets at the start of a new day and jazz processions commonly mark the end of a life.

From a famous, 20-year old brass band recognized by the Grammy's to simple street performing artists, I saw the Crescent City bring strutting jazz, indie funk, hip-hop attitude and old school swing together under one melodic genre that is uniquely New Orleans.

5 Neighborhoods of New Orleans: View From the Streets

5 Neighborhoods of New Orleans: View From the Streets

This is an introduction to New Orleans from the perspective I saw it: From the streets!

Aptly named the Big Easy, I comfortably explored the majority of downtown New Orleans by foot and street car last month. Jono and I were staying in an Airbnb that put us right at the cross section of several different neighborhoods within walking distance of the famous and lively French Quarter district.

Historic black culture, hurricane damage, enormous mansions, blaring brass instruments, drunken tourists and beignets—each of these characteristics define at least one of five neighborhoods in New Orleans.

Snapshots From My Trip to New Orleans and the Florida Keys

Snapshots From My Trip to New Orleans and the Florida Keys

This is going to be a quick post. I've run out of time to write something more extensive this week because I just returned from my trip to New Orleans and the Florida Keys!

I had an awesome time exploring these two parts of the USA with Jono who has been visiting me from New Zealand this summer. We spent 5 nights in New Orleans and 7 nights in Southern Florida. These places were vastly different from each other and incredible in their own separate ways.

Instead of going into a deep post this week, I've decided to share with you a few of my favorite photos from these two places. I think these photos best capture both locations in their individual glory.

5 Reflections About the World From 15 Months of Travel

5 Reflections About the World From 15 Months of Travel

My experiences traveling long-term resulted in many different reflections about the world and the people in it.

Some of these reflections have emerged since being back in the United States for several months. My thoughts are different now when I hear stories about other countries in the news or consider taking a flight from point A to B in my own country.

I find that my perspective has changed on some topics or has taken root more strongly in others. The following are 5 of the most significant reflections I've had.

New Zealand Food: The Most Comprehensive Guide for Non-Kiwis

New Zealand Food: The Most Comprehensive Guide for Non-Kiwis

Non-kiwi foodies may look no further than this post for the most comprehensive guide on what to eat while in New Zealand. If you've never been to Aotearoa , the "land of the long white cloud," then you have probably never heard of the majority of the items appearing on this list.

I devoted 10 months of my travel time to living in and eating my way through New Zealand. Inevitably, I ended up sampling almost every food for which New Zealand is famous or infamous.

I still find myself day dreaming about eating some of New Zealand's foods again. This guide describes all of them.

How to Decide Where to Travel: The Personal Deviation [Part 2 of 2]

How to Decide Where to Travel: The Personal Deviation [Part 2 of 2]

Following from Part 1, this part of the guide to deciding where to travel goes a bit deeper. Actually, it turns the conversation from the outer, external components to your decision and focuses your attention inward.

This post is more specifically for the worriers. The people who have a bit of fear about travel will benefit from this post whether they are worried about getting lost in an unfamiliar place or about not enjoying themselves as much as they thought they would.

This is your guide to the personal considerations when deciding on your travel destination(s).

How to Decide Where to Travel: The Practical Deviation [Part 1 of 2]

How to Decide Where to Travel: The Practical Deviation [Part 1 of 2]

One of the hardest parts of travel is deciding where to go in the first place. When the world is so enormous and the destinations so numerous, it feels like we'll never see it all. In truth, we most likely won't see it all. So we are left with picking and choosing what we can manage in one lifetime.

If you're like me, you like to be as informed as possible when making any decision. So for the thinkers, the planners, the people who used to be indecisive but now they are not so sure, this post is for you. This is your guide to the practical considerations for making the most informed decision possible about choosing your travel destination(s).

Sunrise Track during winter in New Zealand

Sunrise Track during winter in New Zealand

At exactly this time last year, I was preparing to depart a rainy, wintery New Zealand to dive in the warm, northern waters of Australia.

Jono and I decided to make the most of my last weekend there. So we "tramped" (kiwi for hiked) Sunrise Track and stayed overnight at a mountain top hut during what turned into a violently windy rainstorm.

In this post, I finally tell the story of this trepid adventure and the ending that was so good, I couldn't resist returning to New Zealand some 3 weeks later.

The Parthenon: A Slice of Ancient Greece in Nashville, Tennessee

The Parthenon: A Slice of Ancient Greece in Nashville, Tennessee

The USA continues to surprise me with its natural beauty, innovative architecture, and multiculturalism. The Parthenon and its surrounding park in Nashville, Tennessee are perfect examples of all three of these.

The Parthenon is a replica of ancient Greek ruins still found in Athens today.

But you don't have to fly all the way across the Atlantic to see what remains of it! Head to Music City in the USA and make a detour to Centennial Park to find a replica of the construction as it would have appeared over 2400 years ago.

9 Must-Do's for Music Lovers Visiting Nashville, Tennessee

9 Must-Do's for Music Lovers Visiting Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is "Music City" for more reasons than its famous country roots. I mistakenly assumed country music was all Nashville had to offer when, in fact, Nashville has historically been and still is the city of a diversity of musical tastes.

In this post, I describe a variety of musical options available for exploration when visiting Nashville, Tennessee including several I had the chance to check out with my friends.

From hipster jams and punk rock to honky tonks and symphonies—these are the must-do's for music-loving tourists.

What to Eat in Nashville: 6 Foods and Eateries to Try

What to Eat in Nashville: 6 Foods and Eateries to Try

Nashville is well-known for two things: It's music and it's food. I'm starting with the food this week since it's such an important part of every culture I've encountered in my travels.

The striking thing about eating in a new location in my own country is both the similarities and stark differences across state lines. America gets the reputation around the world for being the home of the hamburger and also for doing fried chicken and breakfast (especially pancakes!) very well. Nashville takes all of these American staples (and more) to a whole new level!

The down side to my food experience in Nashville was that I had only one weekend to enjoy it! Four days is simply not enough time to eat at all of the amazing restaurants. The following are the foods I did have time to try. At the end of this post, I'll suggest some of the others I missed!

When Travel Reveals Loyalty: A Friend's Surprise in Nashville

When Travel Reveals Loyalty: A Friend's Surprise in Nashville

There’s something incredibly meaningful when your friends and family make a special effort to stay connected to you when you’re apart. This is true for relationships you leave behind back home and in the places you visit after you move on or return home.

I lost touch with many people after traveling or while traveling because  I was traveling. But there are many individuals with whom I remain very closely bonded. How did those close bonds stay close? Reciprocal gestures of loyalty—large and small—sustained those relationships.

Drawing on an example from my recent trip to Nashville, this post explores when loyalty is revealed especially as a traveler and after travel.

Planning Long-Term Travel For Job Re-Entry Afterward

Planning Long-Term Travel For Job Re-Entry Afterward

I have an update: I started a new job this week—yay! And there's even more to celebrate: This week marks 6 months that I have been back in the United States! In all of my blogging and reading other people’s travel blogs, I rarely hear people write about the adaptation back into the job market after an extended period of travel. So I've decided to write about it in this post.

I will in no way sugar coat this: Job hunting post-travel is not easy. To give yourself the best possible chance of returning to a job, I will share in this post the tricks I used before, during, and after nearly 2 years of travel without official employment. These tricks include thinking carefully about your reasons for traveling, staying connected to your contacts along the way, and having a "product" to show for your absence.