Hey guys! 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 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.
Highlights from some of my previous trips…
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.
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.
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.
Jackson, Wyoming | Yellowstone National Park | Grand Teton National Park
Ah, the wild wild west. This trip was one for the books. I visited Wyoming in August 2015 for ten days, and I wish I could of 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 oppurtunity to see the world and its 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.
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.
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.
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- I can’t wait to share more with you all! Make sure to subscribe!
Until next time,