USA Travel Bucketlist

USA Travel Bucketlist

I love to travel to Europe but never really take the time to travel around the United States. There are so many places to see in my own country but Europe is so exciting that I always choose to save our big trips for somewhere in Europe instead.

Today I’m sharing my United States Travel Bucketlist in hopes that it will inspire me to plan some trips within my own great country.

  1. Washington, DC
  2. Maine
  3. Boston, MA
  4. San Diego, CA
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Hawaii
  7. Minneapolis, MN
  8. Alaska
  9. Charleston, SC
  10. New York City
  11. Colorado
  12. Texas
  13. Salem, MA
  14. New Hampshire
  15. All of the National Parks

What’s on your bucketlist?

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Photo by Naomi August on Unsplash

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7 Reasons Why You Should Say “Yes” To Studying Abroad

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As many of you may know, I studied abroad in 2015 at Regent’s University in London, England. You can find all of my study abroad posts here if you’re interested. Studying abroad was one of the most terrifying, exhilarating, and life-changing experiences and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I flew home from Heathrow.

I knew I wanted to study abroad in London after traveling there with band the summer before my senior year of high school. I fell in love with the culture, history, and architecture and could already picture myself strolling around London solo. My love for London was strong and four years later my dream came true when I got accepted to Regent’s University’s study abroad program.

If you are contemplating study abroad I have one main piece of advice for you: GO! It’s scary and you’ll miss home but this is a once in a lifetime experience to fully immerse yourself in a new culture and way of life.

Here are seven more reasons you should study abroad in college:

  1. Studying abroad will look great on your resume! Employers are looking for things that set candidates apart. Study abroad will give you a global perspective that not everyone will have. Plus, it shows that you are willing to go outside of your comfort zone and try something new.
  2. You’ll meet friends from all over the world. The friends I met in London continue to be some of my best friends today. I was able to meet people from all over the world including Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, and many many more. I learned about their cultures, languages, and customs. I was the only American in my classes which was a really awesome experience!
  3. You can travel to some really cool places. This is especially true if you study abroad in Europe because it’s really inexpensive to travel between European countries. You can plan quick weekend getaways or week long adventures during school breaks. Depending on where you study abroad you may even be able to join school sponsored trips. My university offered trips to Paris, Scotland, Stonehenge, and many others.
  4. You won’t be the same after. Study abroad is guaranteed to change your life in some way. You will have new friends, new memories, and new experiences that will shape you for the rest of your life.
  5. Studying abroad makes you grateful for the life you have. I loved my study abroad experience but coming home made me appreciate all of the little things even more. I missed my parents, my sister, and Brett while I was gone but being away from them made me appreciate them so much more. I also appreciated all of sacrifices my family made in order to help me study abroad.
  6. You’ll gain real life experiences. I had so many opportunities in London that I never would have had at home. I participated in a global business conference where I had to present in front of a large group of my peers and business men and women from all over the world. Experiences like this prepared me for the “real” world after graduation and made me confident in my abilities.
  7. You’ll become more independent. There will be times when you wish your mom or dad could be around to help you but they are hundreds of miles away. At the time it’ll feel awful but it will allow you to problem solve on your own. You will have to grocery shop, do your own laundry, and plan trips by yourself or with your new friends. You will come home with a new sense of independence and be ready for whatever life throws your way next.

I know that studying abroad can be scary. It’s hard to leave your home university, your family, and your friends. But putting yourself out there is so important. I almost talked myself out of going hundreds of times but I am super happy that I took a leap of faith and went.

Let me know if you have any questions about studying abroad. I documented the whole process from applying, getting accepted, packing, and my adventures abroad if you need any inspiration for why you should go.

I can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

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Our Ultimate Rome Travel Guide

The Ultimate Rome Travel Guide

Brett and I went on a bucketlist trip to Rome in October. I had been dreaming of this trip since I first saw the Lizzie McGuire Movie and it felt like a dream to be able to go with my husband. We started off our trip in Paris which you can read about here. I love visiting Europe because everywhere you go you are surrounded by so much history.

Since we ended up spending a day in Paris our time in Rome was shortened. I had read a ton of travel blogs and books before our trip so I knew that three days in Rome to do touristy things should be plenty.

Rome Travel Guide, 3 days in Rome

We ended up buying the OMNIA Vatican and Rome Pass which allowed us into the tourist places for free. We were also able to take a hop on hop off bus around the city as many times as we want. Rome has a great transportation system but we preferred to take the bus because we could sit on the top deck and see many of the sites from there.

Three Days in Rome

On our first full day we picked up our OMNIA Pass and hopped on the bus. We took one full lap around the city to see everything. I think the whole loop took about an hour which we didn’t mind because we were so jet lagged.

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We eventually got off the bus near the Pantheon and had gelato at a cute cafe that we had found while on the bus. We then walked to the Pantheon which was pretty packed. The Pantheon is a former Roman Temple that was built in 113-125 AD. It is known for the huge pillars that stand out front and the dome in the center. It is one of the best preserved ancient Roman sites. Brett and I walked around inside the Pantheon for a while just looking at everything.

Pantheon Rome

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One thing to watch for when you are visiting Rome is the pickpockets. They are all over the place and like to try to engage you in conversation or will throw you an item like a bracelet and try to get you to pay for it. I knew that pickpockets would be bad in Rome so I invested in this bag from Amazon that if RFID blocking and has little clasps on all the zippers that make it harder to break into. The crowded streets around the Pantheon were packed with pickpockets.

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After the Pantheon we walked to Trevi Fountain which was PACKED! I would recommend trying to visit either early in the morning or later at night if you are hoping to get a good picture. We decided we would just come back later to get close to the fountain.

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We were pretty exhausted by this point and I was pretty sure I was catching a cold so we headed back to a restaurant near our hotel for pizza. We went to the same restaurant the night before and Brett had a 5 course Italian meal including tripe. He was so full!

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The next morning we got up bright and early and walked to the Colosseum. Our OMNIA Passes covered our entry but we did pay extra to have a guided tour. One of the best things about the OMNIA Pass was that we were able to skip the line and enter right away. The line that day wrapped around the Colosseum and the wait was already up to four hours by the time we arrived!

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Our tour guide was great! We had headphones so that we could hear what he was saying while we walked around. I don’t think it would have been as great if we wouldn’t have had the guide. After our guided tour was done we had the option to keep walking around and exploring. A tour for the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill was leaving in about 30 minutes so we decided to hang around for a bit and then join that group.

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The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill ended up being my favorite places we went in Rome. Every tour of the Colosseum also comes with a pass to go to the Roman Forum but apparently very few people actually go. I have no idea why because it’s full of history and breathtaking views of the Colosseum and ancient Rome.

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The Roman Forum is basically the center of ancient Rome where you can see the ruins of government buildings, temples, houses, and tombs. You can go down on the streets where Romans used to walk and can kind of picture how life in ancient Rome was. I can vividly remember talking about the Roman Forum in a college history class so it was amazing to see it in real life!

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This was my favorite day in Rome even thought I was super sick by this point. I really just wanted to crawl into bed but being in Rome was a once in a lifetime opportunity so I tried to forget about my sickness and keep plugging. After our visit at the Roman Forum we had amazing pasta for a late lunch and then walked back to our hotel for a pre-dinner nap. We ended up having dinner at a cute pizza place near our hotel.

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The next day Brett told me to go back to sleep after breakfast because I really wasn’t feeling well. I slept in until noon and then we headed out for a busy day! We first went back to Trevi Fountain and made our way to the front. I had dreamed of visiting Rome for so long and standing by the fountain’s edge made it finally feel real.

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We then made our way to the Spanish Steps but it was so busy that we weren’t able to walk up them. We probably could have but I didn’t feel like fighting the crowd. They were really beautiful though!

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The most exciting part of our day was the after hours Vatican tour that we had booked through our OMNIA Pass. We took the Metro to the Vatican but ended up getting off at the wrong stop and having to walk really far to get to St. Peter’s Basilica. We were so grateful to have the OMNIA Pass by this point because we were able to skip the crazy long line and head right into the Basilica.

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St. Peter’s was breathtaking the say the least. Brett and I love to visit places of worship on our trips but this one takes the cake! I would 110% recommend booking a tour so you don’t have to wait in the hours long lines to get in. We walked around for a couple of hours and emerged ourselves in the history and elaborate artwork.

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We had an after hours tour of the Vatican Museum booked for 7 pm so we ate dinner near the square. I was so excited to go to the Museum that I barely paid attention to my pasta and gelato. We met our tour group near St. Peter’s and all walked our to the Museum together.

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Touring the Vatican Museum at night was so peaceful. There were many other tour groups there but no one had to wait in line and it was very relaxed. We signed up for this tour when we picked up our OMNIA Pass on day one.

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I still can’t believe that I saw the Sistine Chapel in person. It doesn’t even feel real! You are not allowed to take pictures but I can still picture the room in my head. It was so much bigger than I thought it would be!

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The rest of the Museum was full of amazing works of art. My favorite was this hallway of old maps. Each room that we walked through had high ceilings with detailed paintings and tons of gold.

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We went back to our hotel that night and packed for our trip home in the next morning. I couldn’t believe that our time in Rome was coming to an end!

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Our trip back to Michigan didn’t go exactly as planned. Brett works for an airline so we fly for basically free but are never guaranteed a flight. We spent most of the day trying to get on an airplane with no luck. Eventually we found a flight to Boston and ended up running through the airport and boarding just in time! It was truly a miracle. However, once we got to Boston to spend the night we realized that Red Sox game was that night and hotels were crazy expensive. It was fine though and we ended up flying back to Michigan the next morning.

This trip to Paris and Rome was such a crazy adventure. When Brett and I got married he put in his vows that we would have a lifetime of adventures together and he was right. I can’t imagine going through life without him by my side. I can’t wait to tell our kids about this trip one day!

Have you ever been to Rome? What’s the #1 destination on your travel bucketlist?

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My Sister Moved to Hawaii

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Today is the day I have been dreading for awhile. Today my sister moved to Hawaii with her boyfriend, Daniel who is stationed at Pearl Harbor for the next few months. His orders originally had him stationed there for three years but now they will only be there for a few months before they move to New Hampshire.

It’s hard to explain my relationship with my sister to people who haven’t met us in person. Our personalities are completely opposite yet we share similar mannerisms. Dani is more outgoing and personable while I am introverted and awkward. Yet somehow we make it work and are the best of friends.

This move is hard for me because I hate being apart from Dani. I worry that something will happen and I won’t be able to get to her. But my sister is the strongest person I have met and she deserves to be happy. I want her to have the best time in Hawaii while she is there. She has always talked about visiting Hawaii and now is her chance!

Dani has started a blog for her adventures in Hawaii and beyond. Her life is about to be way more exciting than mine so feel free to follow along!

Have you ever been to Hawaii? Brett and I are hoping to be able to visit soon! In fact, when she texted today to let me know she boarded her plane I was already looking at airplane tickets.

I miss you already, D! I am so proud of you and can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures. You know where to find me if you ever need me.

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

Five on Friday #5

Five on Friday

It’s been a hot second since my last Five on Friday post! Today I am finally back with another five things that I am looking forward to or thinking about on this dreary Friday morning.

  1. We leave for Arizona tomorrow morning to visit my grandparents! My mom, sister, Brett, and I are going down for a few days of relaxation and family time before my sister moves to Hawaii next month. I can’t wait to be back with the fam and have a few days off of work!
  2. I have five books packed in my suitcase ready to go for some serious pool time reading. I’m flying through books again so please send me your recommendations! I’m trying to read a variety of different genres this year.
  3. I’m in the process of redecorating my house for spring and it’s making all of this snow and ice much more bearable. Michigan went from -37 degrees Fahrenheit to 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the matter of a week. My body is confused about what season we are in.
  4. I’m working on changing my mindset towards weight loss. I’ve been really struggling since early 2018 with my weight after taking a medication that made me blow up like a balloon. I’ve had issues with food in the past so I know that I need to be careful with myself and try to keep this experience as positive as possible.
  5. Brett and I are trying to plan out our summer! Summertime in Michigan is my absolute favorite but I always feel so stressed to squeeze everything in my the time it rolls around because I didn’t plan ahead. This year I just want to spend as much time at my grandparent’s house on the lake as possible.

What are your plans for this weekend?

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24 Hours in Paris: How to Spend One Perfect Day in the City

24 Hours in Paris

I mentioned before that my husband, Brett, works for a airline so we are able to fly standby at a low cost. The trade off is that we never really know where we are going to end up. The goal for our trip in October was to make it to Rome but flights to Rome were oversold and there was no way we would make it there in one day. Brett came up with a plan to spend a day in my second favorite city so that I could show him around.

24 Hours in Paris

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you would know how much I love Paris. I visited for the first time in 2011 and again in 2015. I attempted to plan trips in 2015 and 2017 with Brett but they never quite worked out. It was a dream come true to visit Paris with Brett! When times get tough I want to be able to remember this day in Paris with Brett. How happy we were, how beautiful the Eiffel Tower is in fall, and how much fun we had together even though I was dragging Brett around Paris on barely any sleep. 

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We started our day by changing our clothes in the airport bathrooms (#TeamNoSleep) and then booked an Uber to take us straight to the hotel to drop off our bags. We decided to splurge on a hotel which we never do and stay right by the Eiffel Tower since we were only staying for one night and wanted to make the most of our time in Paris. 

24 Hours in Paris

24 Hours in Paris

24 Hours in Paris

After dropping our bags off at the hotel we headed straight to the Eiffel Tower. There’s just something about Paris that’s magical to me and I was very excited to share the magic with Brett. There was construction around the tower so we were unable to go underneath it which was really sad. We also decided to not go to the top of the Eiffel Tower this trip. I had already been once and Brett didn’t want to spend all day in line. After taking in the views we went to a little cafe to grab breakfast. We were both exhausted and sitting for a few minutes to plan out our day was just what we needed. 

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In 2015 I walked along the Seine River to visit many of the places on my Paris Itinerary. This trip I decided it would be a great idea to re-trace my steps and do the same thing in order to show Brett all the highlights of Paris in a short amount of time. We would have to exclude a couple of things like Moulin Rouge and Montmartre (my favorite place in Paris) in order to make it a true walking tour. There are great bus tours of the city if you truly want to see everything in a day!

24 Hours in Paris

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In our 24 hours in Paris we explored the grounds of the Louvre but didn’t go inside, toured the Notre Dame,  ate ice cream by the Eiffel Tower, and watched the Eiffel Tower night show. In my Midnight in Paris post I talk about the magical moment I saw the Eiffel Tower at night for the first time. Pure magic. Brett and I also had a nice dinner complete with Brett trying escargot for the first time. He actually really liked it! 

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If we would have had more time I would love to have explored the Louvre again. I could spend hours walking around the Louvre. I would have also gone to Montmartre because that’s one of my absolute favorite spots in Paris. 

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We flew out around 11 the next morning so we took a walk around the Eiffel Tower and grabbed my favorite chocolate croissants from a cute cafe near our hotel. At the airport we bought macaroons and starting planning the next leg of our adventure in Rome. 

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Paris will always hold a special place in my heart and I’m so grateful that Brett and I finally got to visit together. In case you couldn’t tell, I really love Paris. 

Interested in visiting Paris? Check out my other Paris travel posts below!

Thanks for reading! 

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Hello From Somewhere!

travel blog

Hi friends!

It’s the beginning of a new week and I have no idea where I am. I’m writing this post ahead of time because Brett and I are traveling this week. The goal is to make it to Europe, preferably Rome, but we will take a what we can get!

My husband, Brett, works for an airline which means that we get flight benefits to fly standby. We aren’t guaranteed a seat on the flight and a lot of times we get stuck places. But I guess that’s part of the adventure!

This week we are trying to make it to Rome and hopefully by the time you are reading this we have made it. If you want to know where we ended up make sure to follow me on Instagram (@lifeofhayleyblog). I’ll be posting to my stories as often as I can.

I am so excited for this new adventure with Brett and can’t wait to share my travels with you when I return.

Thanks so much for reading!

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