Browse Category by USA
Inspiring Stuff, Trip Planning, USA

Hayden Hits New York City

It’s been a while since I posted on here guys. Even though it’s not an excuse, admittedly I have been really busy! I’m back in school and most of my current homework is not overly riveting – but, if you’d like, I’d be happy to tell you about the USA’s average propensity to save or maybe you’d prefer the 7-layer OSI model?

(this is usually when my audience runs in terror)

That being said, I’ve been saved from the dullard of the day to day via the adventures of someone else. Something I hope I provided to you while I was traveling ūüôā

The Big Apple, The City of Dreams, The City That Never Sleeps, The City So Nice They Named It Twice – no matter what you call it, NYC is one of the most renowned travel destinations in the world.

Annually, New York City attracts more than 58 million visitors, bringing in over 42 billion dollars worth of tourism revenue. Visitors from both domestic and abroad, but no matter where you come from, NYC is a sight to behold, making it a top destination on any traveler’s list.

When dipping your toes into the traveling adventures pool, it’s typical to start with something like the capital of your region, or perhaps a road trip with a group of friends or a family vacation.

If you know me either personally or through this blog, you probably know I like to go big or go home! I love this about myself and love to see in others. My first camping trip was to travel to Burning Man (solo) to spend 9 days in the desert with a bunch of people I met on the internet Рsounds totally safe, right? It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.

Since returning home from Asia, I’ve set up shop working at a little pizza dive in my hometown while I’ve started my degree. We serve up delicious, unique, New York style pizzas made from dough we make daily and produce that we cut ourselves. It’s so good, it makes you cry (or maybe that’s from all the onions we’re cutting?).

I hear from a lot of people that travel seems like something they’ll never be able to do. Too expensive, too busy, too [insert reason]. While all of that is valid, I try to show people who are interested that it truly can be done by anyone.

It may have been our pizza, it may have been my constant reminiscing about previous travel adventures but no matter the persuasion my still-under-21 coworker Hayden recently went on his first big city solo travel adventure – hostels and all – to New York freakin’ City!¬†

Behind the scenes

Spending about $600 he enjoyed all the Big Apple had to offer over the course of 5 days.

  • $35 for a metro pass for the week
  • Kept meals under $10
  • Hostel accommodations: $300 (prime location is worth it!)
  • Gas and parking: ~$80

From dining atop the highest restaurant in the Western Hemisphere to fending off cash-hungry homeless people he was able to experience the full monty that often comes with big cities.

Straight from the source

Q: What’s some advice you would have for first-time, solo travelers going to NYC?

A: “Advice would be to write down the subway directions and a notepad and keep your phone off in the subway because it drained my battery. I also used my phone compass a lot in the subway to make sure I was going in the right direction. It’s super easy to get on the wrong train. And, it sounds bad, but if someone comes up to you on the street or subway be quick to make it clear you don’t have any cash or they will hassle you.”¬†

Solid advice, I would give the same!

Q: Did you ever feel unsafe or have to ask a local for assistance? 

A: “I never felt unsafe, [there were] police on almost every block. I never even reached for my pepper spray. I never asked for help from locals but I did help a ton of other people who didn’t know where to go.”

Hayden always does the nice thing.

Q: What did you see that you didn’t expect?¬†

A: “There was trash everywhere, but it wasn’t too bad.”¬†

Some of the highlights of the trip were meeting people from all over the world at the hostel he stayed at (NY Moore Hostel), just walking around observing the city, and (duh) the amazing food. Specifically, the New York style pizza made by ‘real Italians who argued the whole time they made it’ (lol). We all know that frustration crushed tomatoes and roughly punched dough tastes the best! Maybe we’ll have to implement these techniques at my shop.

We’re all thrilled to have Hayden back at work (though maybe he’d rather still be in NYC) and I’m so happy to have someone else to talk about how delicious big-city food is compared to my tiny town. Though, I find myself in a bit of an inspiration maelstrom. I’ve passed the travel torch to another and now I’m losing hours on the internet scheming my next travel adventure after being re-inspired by him…I guess that’s not so bad. ūüėČ

I hope that you feel moved to take the torch from us and give a go to your own adventure. It doesn’t have to be big or drastic, but if that’s the way you like it…you can do it!

Until next adventure……




Ohio, USA

KitchenAid factory tour & Amish candy.

While I do love solo travel, sometimes it’s best to take the family out for adventure too!


In this case, my family took me out to the KitchenAid Factory here in Greenville, Ohio.

I’m coming clean – I’ve never been a fan of living in Ohio. I don’t feel that I fit in here. I’m the black sheep with hot pink dreadlocks. The liberal views, the hippi-ness of me, my love of the F-word…it’s just not what everyone around here is used to. I grew up here, and I’ve always struggled to find “my people”. More-so, I’ve struggled to find activities I enjoy doing while living in Ohio.

Not that I don’t love drag racing and tractor pulls! I even enjoy the occasional piglet race when the piggies are cute enough (have you ever watched baby pigs race?). I’m just more of a costume-contest/weird-food/hooka-smoking/obscure-board-game/diverse-friends type person inside these cowgirl boots.

When I made the decision to stay in Ohio after my return from Asia, I was scared. Would I be able to find worthy adventures to keep the blog going? I’d never liked living there before, why would I like it now?

As it turns out, I think it was a me problem. Ohio has a lot of cool things to do (once I do them all though, I’m screwed, its over)! I think it just took me being old enough to appreciate them as being fun. So far we’ve had a corn festival, comic and toy show, and today: A tour of the KitchenAid Factory. Tours are offered throughout the week at 12:30 – for free! Continue Reading

Ohio, Travel, USA

Hara Arena’s last hurrah: the Dayton Comic & Toy show.

Hera Arena Dayton Ohio
Hara Arena: a pillar for memories of my childhood.

Located in Dayton, Ohio, Hara Arena initially¬†opened as a ballroom in 1956. Expanding to become a multi-complex showroom, Hara has played host to a variety of amazing affordable¬†events¬†in its time.¬†Famous bands like¬†the Greatful Dead and Rolling Stones have performed at Hara. Year after year, the¬†Dayton Hamvention¬†called Hara as its home. Let’s also not forget gift shows, sporting events, or school plays that have used Hara as their canvas. Continue Reading

Burning Man, Inspiring Stuff, Travel, Unusual Adventures, USA

How Burning Man broke my self-identity: part 2.

How Burning Man broke my self identity

We had arrived.

Continued from part 1.

Part 3 can be found here. 

I’d read about the dust, and with it billowing around us, there was no mistake. We had made it to the playa.

Pulling into the bus depot, we all rush off the bus – we’re here, we’re here! As the baggage gets unloaded, we’re herded into a small group where the virgins are asked to step forward. Knowing that’s me, I move to the front of the group. We’re given a hammer and told to hit a bell as hard as we can as part of our initiation ceremony.

Continue Reading

Ohio, Travel, USA

The Sweet Corn Festival: Fairborn, Ohio

It’s festival time!

I’m getting settled back into the country lifestyle in my hometown near Dayton, Ohio.  Fairborn is a neighboring community that annually hosts a festival called the Sweet Corn Festival. Despite growing up less than 20 minutes from where this festival is held, I can’t recall ever attending.

My family isn’t one for crowds. We rarely attended festivals or large community events. We’re stay-in-and-play-cards people. When we did attend festivals during my childhood it was miserable for me, so I’ve never really gone as an adult. I suspect I was still having terrible flashbacks. Continue Reading