A Quick tip:

Traveling is an exhilarating experience and a time when you are stress free, but while traveling abroad you carry important documentation about yourself. Passports are basically your life line while abroad. It lets you into different countries and it lets your travel abroad easily. It also lets you back into the US once your travels have come to an end. Just to be safe it is always smart to make copies of your Passport, just incase something happens to your original. If you have copies at least your have some form of documentation on you.

When I travel I always make multiple copies of my Passport.

I leave one copy at home with my family.

One copy stays in my luggage.

And one with a close friend if I am staying with them while abroad.

This way, if your passport gets stolen, you misplace it or some other horrible occurrence takes place, there is documentation of who you are and where your are from.

*This is a blog post that correlates with a website I have created for a Marketing class I am currently taking.

Packing 101: A two week trip

For a two week trip you would think you need to pack a new outfit for each day… not the case. Here is an example of what I would pack for a two week trip abroad to London, in the fall. Your destination may be in a different season and a completely different climate, but you can adjust the clothing you pack to where you will be traveling to.

I am packing:

2 cardigans, 1 blazer, 1 dress button down shirt, 1 dressy shirt

4 basic tshirts

2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of black dress pants

7 pairs of underwear- THESE CAN BE WASHED EASILY, 4 pairs of socks- ( I only wear socks when walking around in hotels, hostels, etc. or in walking shoes so I don’t pack many, 2 bras (can also be washed easily)

1 shirt and lounge pants for sleeping

4 scarfs

*All shirts/tops can be worn different ways and adding scarfs will also create a new look.

Hair brush, eyeglasses, contacts will all fit nicely on top of your clothes or tucked in between things. Pack these last.

Everything that will be packed, laying out.

I always keep a travel size face wash, tooth brush, tooth paste, razonr and deodorant in my carry on- so I do not forget it.

There is a pouch on my carry on that is zippered. This is where I keep all of my undergarments.

The final product. Everything nicely folded in to create more room. Shoes on the sides everything else is tucked in securely.

*On International flights you can take a carry on and a personal item: I always take this tote:

This tote can fit anything and everything in it, but be mindful when taking personal items. This is where you could put your cosmetics- if you have any liquids this is the place to put them, because it is easily accessible. Any of your gadgets would go in here and chargers, etc. Remember to leave some room for when you make your return home, you will most likely have some newly purchased items your will need to store.

Your flight attire will also give you another days worth of clothes while you are away.

 *Wear comfy pants/jeans, a shirt you can layer, a nice big scarf you can wrap yourself in if you or cold (or for a pillow), and a coat. One of the three pairs of shoes will be worn on the flight.

This is an easy guide to follow. I know it is hard to decide what you would want to wear for a full two weeks, but by interchanging clothing items it will give you more options and you wont waste all of the room in your bag for items you will never even wear. This will leave room for some items you may purchase during your travels.

If you have any questions or other guides you would like me to post, please let me know.




*This is a blog post that correlates with a website I have created for a Marketing class I am currently taking.

Note to Self:

Note to self: Don’t rush into things without clearly outlining the pros and cons of each situation.

It seems as though I was just starting my “journey” and now I am ending it. I didn’t think this process out clearly. I rushed into things, maybe for the wrong reasons. I thought that this would be another opportunity to see the world, to learn and to create new friendships- it could have been.

There is no one reason for me leaving Finland. There are actually quite a few, and I can’t pinpoint one thing that made me want to leave, more of a combination of many.

Like I have said before I have traveled and been away from home for long periods of time. Those were different situations and circumstances. In the time I have been in Finland for this short-lived “Au Pair” experience, I have learned many things, but these are the two that stick out:

I have taken my family for granted and I am just acknowledging how much my family means to me. Being away from the people that you care about most, in hard times really can strengthen relationships and show you what matters most.

I chose to do this for the wrong reasons. Instead of looking at it as a “working matter”, I was eager to see the world and travel.

I wont be so candid on the net to give specific reason of why I have left. Some of my family members having health problems, my homesickness, the family speaking mainly Chinese and a child that was less than cooperative were all contributing factors, in addition to some others. I had my happiest moments while cleaning and the highlight of each day was my morning oatmeal where I felt some peace of mind, clearly  this wasn’t for me.

I went into this with an open mind and I am leaving with an open mind. I don’t want people to think I am a quitter and I went back and forth in my head for a few days thinking if I was doing the right thing by leaving. I know for me it is the right decision because my mind was not fully in it. I feel for the family because they are now stuck in a rough spot, but I think I should have been given more information on their situation as well.

Ultimately I feel that this was a learning experience, an expensive one at that. Do I regret my decision to Au Pair? No, not at all.  Does this change my view on living abroad? Definitely not. Will I keep on keepin’ on? For sure, and I plan to do much more traveling in the future, I will just be a little more wise when it comes to the opportunities I choose to move forward with.

I’d like to end by saying this was an amazing opportunity, not many people get the  opportunity to travel the world-ever. I don’t want anyone to think I have taken this opportunity for granted. For both parties I whole heartedly feel this was the correct move, even though it was my decision to part ways. In a sense I am upset with myself for not pushing through, but at the same time I did not want to be miserable and depressed for another 2 months.

As far as Helsinki is concerned, I will miss the beautiful surroundings, fresh air, the public transportation and the few people that were actually friendly.

I’m going to be honest here-


I got to Finland a little over a week ago and at first it was great. The weather was beautiful I was meshing well with the family and I had no jet lag at all. Yet, two days ago I was laying in my bunk bed of my Hello Kitty / Princess room crying and wanting to just go home. I literally googled “Does my travel insurance cover my trip dates changing?”.

I’m not sure if it was the weather changing from 60’s to near 40’s and the sun changing to gloomy clouds or if it was just my jet lag setting in a week too late, but I was full of depressing thoughts and just wanted to home to my family, friends and my puppy. Do I want you to feel bad for me? No, not at all I am just trying to be real here. I have never once felt this way before when traveling. I have always been around people my age and have always made friends quickly. My personality is usually very easy going and I love to meet people, but this experience will be different.

The family has been super accommodating and extremely good to me, but their situation is also different. The family is Chinese and they are living in Finland (obviously). Finns are pretty low key and simple (not in a bad way). Finns tend to keep to themselves and don’t go out of their way to introduce themselves. This is hard for the family I am living with because Finns tend to not integrate with Chinese people for some reason, or at least the ones in the area I am living. Chinese families tend to befriend other Chinese families and this is just what happens.

These are obstacles I will face as well, because I am living with a Chinese family they can’t really help me meet people from Finland or other locals, because they are not friends with these people. I am having a hard time this week as well as last because the little girl I am Au Pairing for is still in school for a few more days. This has left me bound up inside the apartment feeling lonely and depressed. I am worried I will not be able to meet people or make friends. Saying this is just awful for me because I have always been able to make friends easily.

I walk around the lake at night when the weather cooperates and I pass by Finns all of the time. I try to smile and make the effort but they look at me like I am mental. If they are walking their dog I always ask if I can pet it. The other night I did ask an older lady if I could pet her perky Yorkie and she gave me the meanest look! I was shocked and turned off by this. That experience kind of set a disgusting tone for me.

Do I still want to come home? Right now I seem to be in a better place mentally, and I am hoping once BaoBao is out of school it will keep me busy and my mind occupied. Until then, I have to keep myself busy and find some things to do around the city- which honestly shouldn’t be hard.

To end this on a high note I find special qualities in each one of the family members who will be on an equally bumpy ride with me for three months.

Cliff is a dedicated worker and he only wants the best for his daughter who he pushes to her highest potential.

Bei is a spunky woman who I have a lot in common with and I believe we will become closer as time moves on.

BaoBao a cute little girl who is very smart and has the potential to do anything she puts her mind to. She just needs confidence to make friends, in a place where being different isn’t always accepted.

I hope that me being here can help this family be open to introducing Finns into their lives and making friends outside of the Chinese culture. I hope I can successfully help their daughter with her English skills so that she can get into a better English school next year. Lastly I hope that  I can make friends and feel more comfortable here and make the best of every situation.

Until next time…

Finnish Summer- Guide to packing, part 1 of ?

I will be leaving the 21st to embark on a 3 month adventure as an Au Pair. I have travelled prior to this but Finland is a bit of a tricky climate to pack for. I am not sure if it will get hot ( hot for my taste is in the 70’s) or if it will be a mild summer. As I write this post, it is in the 50’s, which is actually ideal weather for me, I definitely prefer cooler temps. But here goes….

Most of my clothing is a neutral color- white, black, tan, etc. It is so easy to wear clothing over and over when it is a neutral, because you can accessorize and make the outfit much different. You wont get bored with your look and people wont think that you have been wearing the same outfit over and over if you change your accessories. My weapon of choice here: SCARVES! I love them- this is something I picked up from a few awesome roommates I had in London. Scarves are also perfect for Finnish weather, because it isn’t going to be too hot (I hope) or too cold so I will be able to layer.

Different colors, styles and textured scarves

When packing for this trip, I was thinking more function and comfort rather than what to wear out on my nights off. Honestly I will be running after a seven year old for three months, I want to fill my luggage with comfortable shoes… but I also wanted to have a pair of heels for my time off.

Here is a rundown of what I have so far… but this is still tenitive:

1. Walking shoes

2. Brown moccasins

3 & 7 Black and red TOMS – no explanation needed for these

4. Black pair of peep toe wedges- these are actually comfy

5. Dressier wedges

6. Black peep toe heels for my nights off

One item I do not plan to pack (but may change my mind) is a pair of rain boots- any suggestions of a comfy pair?

I also love purses/totes/bags, so an issue I have been having, is packing the perfect set of bags that I will actually use. I have tons of purses stacked up in my closet and had to purge most of the ones I was thinking about packing because they just weren’t functional enough.

Laptop bags

My favorite three laptop bags:

1 & 2 only go over the shoulder, but they are roomy.

3 is a cross body bag

Cross body bags:

1. Has lots of room and will hold my DSLR camera insert

2. Not too big and not too small will hold a good about of items

3. I love that it is tiny and light weight

This tote is quite possibly the BEST purchase I have made off of Etsy. I will most likely use this as my carry-on “purse” I never fill it up fully so it can easily fit under my seat on the plane.

So, help me out with my purse situation. Which ones would you take with you?

I’ll be back with another post when I start packing clothes…

Back to where it all began…

In 2006 I was in high school and wanting to experience more, experience the world, so I did just that. I got information on an exchange organization called AFS (http://www.afs.org/) that would send students to other countries, for either summer, year or half year programs. I chose to do a Summer abroad in Finland where I would stay with a host family and experience day to day life in a new culture to expand my horizons. This experience made me itch for more and led me study abroad in London for a semester in college.

Now, fast forward 6 or so years and I am headed back to the country that created my love for travel and new experiences. I am headed back to Finland, but this time as an Au Pair. I will be leaving May 21st and will return back to the states at the end of August to finish off my last year of college.

Being that this is supposed to be a “travel blog”, I would love to capture the essence of my experience daily when I am in Finland. Hopefully I can keep my word on this, because it would be a great way to document my experiences.

This little baby will come in handy when I’m away:  (Canon Rebel T3)

I’ll be sure to do some posts before I leave…

Hei hei 🙂

In 2012 I want to go back…

To London:


Ohh… I need to graduate ASAP so I can find a job in London Town. 🙂

Wishful thinking, eh?