Travel & Culture

On the Road: General FAQs Pt. 1

Time to tackle some frequently asked questions by my friends, colleagues, and strangers! I will be breaking down some larger topics in separate blog posts, like budgeting and balancing life. Stay tuned for those, but in the meantime, keep the questions coming!

What cities have you been to so far?

  1. Started in Boston, Massachusetts
  2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  3. Delaware – the entire state is so tiny that I pretty much did it all in one weekend
  4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  5. Columbus, Ohio
  6. Cincinnati, Ohio for a day trip
  7. Louisville, Kentucky
  8. Nashville, Tennessee
  9. Smokey Mountains in Tennessee & Mammoth Caves in Kentucky with my parents
  10. Memphis, Tennessee
  11. Saint Louis, Missouri
  12. Asheville, North Carolina
  13. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  14. Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  15. Charlotte, North Carolina for a day trip
  16. Greenville, South Carolina
  17. Charleston, South Carolina
  18. Savannah, Georgia
  19. Brunswick, Georgia
  20. Saint Augustine, Florida
  21. Orlando, Florida
Waterfall in Asheville, North Carolina

On a scale of 1-10, how tired are you on average from all the traveling?

3, if 1 is not tired at all and 10 is tired all the time.

I was more tired at the beginning of the road trip because I was getting used to being a modern nomad: the long drives, constantly lugging my stuff up and down stairs, and always vigilant because I’ve never been to these cities before and I am alone. I also put a lot of pressure on myself: be there 100% for work, 100% for the blog, another 100% for my YouTube channel, 100% for my friends and family, and don’t forget my newsletter. I was spreading myself too thin. Something needed to change.

My guiding light when making these decisions was: Am I putting out content that reflects who I am as a person? If I am not proud of the work I put out, then it’s not worth my time and energy. I’m not talking about perfection in the stuff I create – I don’t strive for perfection. It’s about being able to say, “Yes. This is a reflection of me in this moment of my life.”

Nowadays I am much better at getting comfortable in strangers’ homes and managing my energy. At the end of the day, I listen to my body. Even when I lived in Boston, I functioned on a tiredness level of 3 because I was always on the go – physically or mentally. I’M STABLE AGAIN!

November 4, 2018 from my personal Instagram

Did you stick with your plan for the road trip?

Hahahaha… no.

  1. I stayed in Pittsburgh longer than I planned – not the best decision cause I got stir crazy towards the end.
  2. I didn’t plan on going to Saint Louis at all, but thanks to Christina Aguilera and her concert, I got to see my #1 favorite city from the road trip.
  3. Because I went to Saint Louis, I decided to also go to Memphis. “Also” is not the right word here because logistically going from Nashville to Memphis to Saint Louis makes no sense. I “swung by” Memphis because I didn’t think Saint Louis had a lot to offer and I did not want to stay in Nashville any longer. But then… refer to #2.
  4. I did not plan to visit Greenville or Columbia in South Carolina. But things happened, and I did. I can’t say too much about Columbia, but Greenville is gorgeous. Lots of hiking and outdoors.
  5. I also did not plan or even know about the islands off of southern Georgia. There are SO MANY: Jekyll Island, Sapelo Island, Saint Simons Island to name a few.

I get suggestions for places to visit all the time on the road. Now when I’m looking ahead, I open up Google Maps and type in the city I’m leaving and the next city I want to hit. Then tracing along the path, I’ll choose random cities and Google them to see what’s up. I’ve never been the completely spontaneous person. This is sort of spontaneity within structure.

On the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, South Carolina

Having been on the road for a few months, what would you have done differently from the beginning?

I would approach the social aspect of the road trip differently. Although I am an extrovert, I am shy when meeting people, and I hate feeling like I’m burdening someone by having a conversation with them. All that means is that I seem quite timid if I am meeting you for the first time. For the beginning of my road trip, I kept to myself for the most part. 

My friend Sheena gave me some tips because she travels quite often for her job. She said to sit at the bar when I eat out and converse with the patrons around me or the bartender. I did the first part, but not the second. I’d eat in silence and stare at the everybody while giving off weird vibes as if I was wired on too much coffee.

It wasn’t until I hit Nashville that I stepped outside my comfort zone. I freely chatted what I was doing to a salesperson at a beauty store. I talked a lot with one of my Airbnb host’s sister, and ended up going to a party with her. I’m getting at better at making the first move and talking to people, but what I really want is to build some sort of relationship. That’s my goal for 2019.

An Aussie woman helped me take this photo – one of the few decent photographers!

What’s the best and worst thing that’s happened so far?

The best: Jazzercise in Mount Pleasant, Charleston, South Carolina

Jazzercise was the hit workout of the 80’s, with neon leotards and bright headbands alongside some jazz dance moves. I was the first one at the studio, which I try to be if it’s my first class, and the lady signing me up said, “There is only one rule for jazzercise: Have fun. No one is paying attention to you, no one cares what you are doing, so have fun. If you have trouble with the moves, look at someone in front of you.”

As she said that, another woman approached me and said, “Definitely do not follow her (the lady signing me up). She marches to the beat of her own drum.”

The class was 95% middle-to-elderly-aged white women. Besides me, there was 1 other non-white Caucasian and 2 women that looked between 28-33 years of age. I was definitely the youngest.

The music is blasting, the instructor is on a raised stage, and I’m in the back row following along but not really into it. Do these other ladies think I’m out of place? Do they wonder why I’m here? I was in my own head for no reason.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the lady who signed me up. She had no sense of rhythm, no body coordination, and she knew it. But she was r-o-c-k-i-n-g it. After seeing that, I felt a little more free. My movements took up more space, I pretended I was performing on stage, and I had fun.

If you ever want to learn how to let go and not give a f*ck, attend a jazzercise class with lots of middle-aged white women.

The worst: when I paid almost $2,000 to maintain my car in Columbia, South Carolina

It takes so much money to maintain a car. SO. MUCH. MONEY. It’s okay if all you need to do is replace the parts because of normal wear and tear, but it sucks when lots of parts decide to wear down at the same time.

It didn’t cost me anything financially because I have an emergency savings for situations like this, but it was not a good feeling to have all that money charged at one time.

Before I became a modern nomad, spring 2018 in Boston

There will be separate posts regarding budgeting, minimalism, etc.

If you’ve got questions, leave us a comment below, send us an email, or direct message (DM) us on Instagram!

xo Juliet

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