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My First Blog Post: Welcome To My World

Posing on a vespa in Florence, Italy while studying abroad

My college friends and I in Fairfield, CT

The Boston skyline

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My First Blog Post: About Me, My Blog, My Plans

Hey guys and welcome to my world! Since this is my first blog post, let me introduce myself:

My name is Nicole and I am currently a sophomore studying at Fairfield University. I live in Massachusetts and I have a younger sister, Lindsey, and two dogs, Nilla and Waffle. I have been living and studying in Florence, Italy for the past three months and have had the opportunity to visit more than ten countries so far during my semester abroad, with plans of traveling a few more times before I return to the U.S. in December.

Choosing to study abroad at the age of 19 has been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made and this experience has helped me to grow immensely. I knew that I had a passion for travel before living in a foreign country, but I am now certain that I want to pursue a career in the travel industry.

I decided to create this travel blog as a means of furthering my career aspirations and to share my adventures with others. Also, since I chose to study abroad at an age younger than most, I figured that my recommendations and tips would be very helpful to those looking to spend some time abroad in the future. This is only my first blog post, but I am so excited to share my tips & tricks with you all.

Highlights From Previous Trips

My family and I in London, UK

London, U.K. | Dover, U.K. | Guernsey Islands | Waterford, Ireland | Dublin, Ireland | Glasgow, Scotland | Edinburgh, Scotland

My love for travel began in middle school when my family and I vacationed to Europe for the first time. This was my first big trip outside of North America; it opened my eyes to cultures different than my own and made me curious about other people’s unique backgrounds. Since this trip, I have had a “travel bug” and have thoroughly enjoyed visiting new places. I hope to visit all 50 states in the U.S. and to step foot in all seven continents in my lifetime.

Update from June 2023: I COMPLETED MY GOAL OF VISITING ALL 50 STATES (before I turned 25!)! You can read my guide to visiting all 50 states here!

Alaskian glacier

Vancouver, B.C. | Ketchikan, Alaska | Icy Strait, Alaska | Juneau, Alaska | Skagway, Alaska |Denali National Park | Anchorage, Alaska

This was one of the coolest vacations that I’ve gone on. My family and I took a Royal Caribbean cruise up the panhandle of the state of Alaska and extended our time by staying in a lodge in Denali National Park, where we went hiking, ATVing, and saw lots of wildlife. We went on this trip in August of 2013 — the temperature was warm, but massive icebergs, such as the one shown above, were visible in the chilly water. This Alaska cruising guide covers all the information you need before planning your own trip!

Photo of the Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, California

San Fran is my favorite city that I’ve visited in the U.S., aside from Boston of course. There is so much to do here and so many charming neighborhoods to explore. And you can’t forget about the Golden Gate Bridge! This bridge is quite the sight to see in person. When I visited, I rented a bike and rode it across the bridge to the charming, coastal town of Sausalito, all the while trying to avoid tourists on foot, the speeding cars, and the 227 meter plunge into the freezing Pacific. If you grew up watching Full House religiously like I did, this city is a must see.

If you’re looking for a similar experience, I recommend this San Francisco to Sausalito bike tour!

Hot air balloon ride in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

My parents in Yellowstone National Park

Jackson, Wyoming | Yellowstone National Park | Grand Teton National Park

Ah, the wild wild west. This trip was one for the books. I spent a week in Wyoming in August 2015, and I wish I could have stayed longer. This state exceeded all of my expectations and has some of the most natural beauty that my eyes have seen. From the mountains, to the fields full of roaming bison, to the colorful thermal pools — this place has it all. Our trip was full of many adventures including white water rafting down the Snake river, going on a hot air ballon ride at sunrise, attending a rodeo, and seeing the Old Faithful Geyser erupt. I am so grateful for my parents for giving me the opportunity to see the world and it’s because of them that I finally discovered my passion. My favorite trips continue to be with my family, and I am so excited for our upcoming adventures.

This full-day Yellowstone National Park tour is perfect for families visiting Wyoming.

Walking on a beach in Kauai, Hawaii

At a luau in Hawaii

Kauai, Hawaii | Hawaii, Hawaii | Los Angeles, California | Santa Monica, California

My family and I went on this trip in celebration of my high school graduation. Hawaii was a place that I had always dreamed of visiting so I was overjoyed to spend two weeks there. We stayed with the Marriott Vacation Club in Kauai which provided us with a very relaxing and enjoyable stay. Hawaii’s landscape is so beautiful and its vast jungles are ideal for adventure, including ATVing, ziplining, and swimming in waterfalls. We also attended a traditional luau one night where my sister and I learned how to dance the hula! On our way back to Boston we stopped in LA and got to visit all of the major sites, including paying a visit to the infamous Santa Monica pier. Check out my complete Kauai, Hawaii itinerary for more ideas!

Talking to a student in a local school in Guayaquil, Ecuador

Overlooking the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador

Guayaquil, Ecuador

This past May, I participated in a week long service trip through Fairfield’s office of Campus Ministry. We spent our time living within the Mount Sinai community with the kind-hearted locals. I had the opportunity to teach English to children at an elementary school, and I was also able to visit many of the neighbors and converse in Spanish with them. On our last day in South America, we toured the modern city of Guayaquil, including seeing Las Peñas and the Cathedral, and compared what we saw to the neighborhood that we had been living in for the week; the differences were astounding and I learned so much from this experience. I plan on doing volunteer work abroad again soon.

The Duomo in Florence, Italy at sunset

The Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

Home sweet home. I first visited Florence during a high school trip ran by Education First in June of 2014. I fell in love with the Italian culture and knew that I wanted to further explore Italy by studying abroad there in college. Fast forward four years and here I am, living in an apartment with a view of the Duomo from my window. I remember my first encounters with this city and how overwhelmed I felt by all of the similar looking streets and buildings. For the longest time I couldn’t leave my apartment without using a map, but now I realize that this once big and intimidating city is small. I am fully adjusted to my life here and this city definitely feels like home. And it always will be.

Thanks for reading my first blog post! I can’t wait to share more with you all! Make sure to subscribe!

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