If you’ve been keeping up with me, you’ll know that this past month has been a busy one and the one month that I’ve been looking forward to all year. Not only did I do a different kind of travel, but I also attended a conference which turns out to be the best thing that has ever happened for me and this blog. I’ve learned so much in the past couple of weeks, and unfortunately have neglected to stay on top of my content, but it’s all for a greater cause.
So, what have I been up to?
Ostrava, Czech Republic
Best Dish Eaten
Pork Knuckle with horseradish and hot mustard
The Dirtiest I Got
Just standing in the Czech Republic or even London. The heat was so unbearable sometimes that I couldn’t get all the layers of sweat off of me when I took a shower.
The Wettest I Got
Besides being drenched in my own sweat, wakeboarding! A lot of the water went into my mouth though…
This whole month was full of new experiences, but the newest of the new was attending my first conference ever!
Being a finalist in a Tullamore DEW competition-- In order to fund my travels, I bartend and serve. Well because of this, I entered a contest just for bartenders to enter and was a finalist in San Diego. There were 7 of us and we had to present ourselves to the judges, tell a few jokes, and drink Tullamore Dew. The final prize was a trip to Ireland to tour the Tullamore DEW factory. I didn’t win, but the experience was fun and rewarding. I was nervous, but I took it as another challenge to do something I’ve never done before and say yes to opportunities whenever I can.
Meeting up with friends in London-- London was just a stopover before heading to the Czech Republic. I only had a few days to see as much of London as possible, but I also got to meet up with friends old and new. Josh, who I met in Japan when I lived there from 2015-16, showed me around a bit and we caught up, laughing at our old jokes and making new ones. It was great to see an old face again that was there at the beginning of my travels.
After I met up with Josh, I met up with Fernando, a fellow member of a creative group I’m a part of called Black With No Cream. The group encourages each other to keep creating content, helps with tips, and constructive criticism, but the main reason I’m a part of it is due to its value on creating and working hard no matter what. I had never met Fernando before, but when he found out I was in London we made plans to meet up. He showed me around the Shoreditch area, we talked about creating and he gave advice. It’s always great to meet with someone with just as much drive if not more than you because it motivates you and makes you want to work harder. I left London feeling inspired.
Attending the Colours of Ostrava Music Festival-- For being an attendee of the TBEX conference I was given the opportunity to apply as press for the Colours of Ostrava Music Festival, so I did. I was approved which meant I had to arrive to the Czech Republic one week before the actual conference in order to attend this festival. The music was amazing, the people I surrounded myself were fun and full of life. It only boosted my confidence even more for the conference to come. There will be a post coming soon.
Attending a Branding Workshop-- Before the conference started there were several workshops to choose from in order to help you with your blog and your business such as learn how to SEO, improve your writing, improve your video content, and building your brand. I chose to build my brand because it was the one thing that I felt the most lost in, and seemed like a good place to start. Best. Decision. Ever. I not only left the workshop feeling more confident but also eager to get to work on my brand, my website, and everything that goes along with it.
Attending TBEX-- Travel Bloggers Exchange is a conference for travel bloggers and companies to get together to learn from each other, network, and talk everything travel. Seriously, guys, the blogging world can be a lonely one since it’s just you and your computer and when you are at a loss for advice, all you have is Google (the real MVP). Attending TBEX made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this confusing world of blogging and that there were other like-minded people out there. It was so rewarding that I signed up for the next one in New York. 😀
Learning Czech-- Czech is hard, ya’ll. Sometimes there’s a “Z” next to an “R” and a “V” next to an “N” and the “L” seems like it’s silent… For example, this is a word: nejcharakterističtější. Which means “the most characteristic”. Once you figure out how to pronounce the letters, it gets a little easier, but it’s definitely a difficult language to grasp in 3 weeks. I’ll stick to the normal “good morning”, “good evening” and “good-bye” for now (“dobré ráno” “dobrý večer” and “na shledanou”), but I did enjoy the challenge of it.
Even though it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s good-- I’m starting to really understand the value of things that are a little pricier. When I first arrived to Prague I stayed at a hostel not only because it was next to the train station, but because it was cheap. Well, it’s cheap for a reason. Turned out the hostel had bed bugs but since it was 1 am and my train left at 5 am, I had no time to find another hostel. I kept my backpack away from the beds (with the rain cover on), wore all my clothes (jeans, a sweatshirt, and socks) and slept on top of the bed sheets using my sarong as a blanket (a lifesaver in all situations). Luckily, the only part of me affected were the tops of my hands and the bites only lasted a few days.
I also had a cheap flight from London to Prague, but then I forgot to check in and the price went up $30 because of it (a rookie mistake on my part). Always read the fine print, folks.
Eating healthy-- The difficult part about traveling is that you are taken off of your normal diet. As Anthony Bourdain once said, the Czech Republic is “the country that vegetables forgot.” During this trip my diet consisted of meat and potatoes and beer almost every day. Don’t get me wrong, it was divine. The most delicious meat, potatoes and beer I’ve ever had (I never thought I’d fall for pork knuckle), but after about 3 weeks I think I want to be a vegetarian for a bit…
Reminding myself that I’m good enough-- If it’s one thing that I’ve learned during this trip, it’s that I’m my own worst critic. I’ve been comparing myself to others and how far ahead of me other travel bloggers are, forgetting that I’ve already come a long way myself. Everyone is on their own path and not everyone goes at the same pace. I just have to keep working on my own craft and believe in myself.
What's to Come in August
I know, we are already a week into August, and I’ve done so much but I’ll tell you about it in the next round-up.
I’m returning to San Diego where I will apply everything I’ve learned from TBEX and the people I met. I’ll also try to pick up some shifts to start saving money again, but on top of all that (and here’s the kicker) I’m settling down.
I made this decision a while back when I realized that one of my dreams is to write a book and traveling has given me so many stories that I need some time to catch up on them. So, I’ll be apartment hunting over the next couple of weeks and possibly plan for shorter, local travel.
If you’re looking to visit San Diego the next 6 months is the time! But give me a second because I need an apartment first. Anyway, look out for so many new posts and watch as I transform this blog into something new and improved. I can’t wait to bring you all on this journey with me!