Category Archives: wanderlust

This time last year…

This time last year, nearly to the minute, I was enjoying my business class upgrade, enjoying fine wine and a nice dinner before drifting to sleep under a down comforter. I was headed to Buenos Aires to start my South American adventure.

I know I’m still taking my time telling my stories here on my blog, but all you have to know is that it was a decision I do not regret and there are some good stories, so stay tuned!

Even though I had shitty bus rides, bad nights of sleep and bouts of loneliness, I met wonderful people, tasted amazing food and experienced life as a local in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

With that said, and with freezing cold temperatures here in the Northeast US tonight, I wish I was headed back to South American summertime once again!!


It’s Officially Official!

An abridged version of the email I sent to friends and family alerting them of my upcoming plan, or lack thereof: 

I have been contemplating the idea of quitting my job to travel throughout South America.Yesterday I did it.Yesterday I resigned from my job so I can travel throughout South America for two months.

Yes, seriously. I can’t believe it either. I’m very excited but if I am being totally honest you should know that my heart is pounding, I’m a tiny bit nauseous and my hands are shaking as I prepare to hit send on this email.

While my heart is speed-racing, you might have a few questions. Here are the answers:
  • I have not gone insane.
  • I know the economy is bad.
  • The boyfriend and I are still very much together.

Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador have made the short list.

I don’t have a solid travel plan, nor do I want one. This is a lot of ground to cover, so we’ll see where the wind takes me. If I love a place, I will stay longer. If I don’t, I will leave.

I have a general route I would like to follow but my itinerary will be dictated by what I want to do and see*, and recommendations I get from other travelers on the road.

Now that my plan is public knowledge (read: I gave my notice to my job) I feel comfortable sharing my planning process and how I came to this decision.

In recent weeks I have learned far too much about quick-dry travel towels, travel insurance and mosquito repellant. I’ve also learned that there are a lot of different kinds of locks. I have learned how to properly pack a rucksack (shoes do not go on the bottom) and I have kind of fallen in love with I can also reveal which vaccination made me feel the worst (it shocked me too) and other fun facts.

While I am on the road I will be blogging but I will not be updating every day as I did in 2011. Writing once a day was my New Year’s resolution for 2011. I have new resolutions for 2012.

If you want to follow my journey, there are a few ways. You can enter your email on the site and you can decide if you want daily or weekly updates. You can like ‘Simply Three Cents’ on Facebook or you can follow @SmplyThreeCents on Twitter, though I anticipate I will be using it mostly for travel advice. You can choose one, or any combination.

I depart soon. Like January 24 soon.

If you can, come say bon voyage. Or more like buen viaje.

Saturday, January 21
Pilsener House


* Pending situations that are out of my control such as weather (washed out roads) and protests (blocked roads).


While I participated in most of the BootsnAll 30 Day Indie Writing Challenge I did not cover everything. I had started this and found it in my draft folder, so I will finish it now.

Learn was one of the topics. Here goes:

Travel is about learning. Learning about yourself, learning about a place. And learning how well you can adapt to it.

I think the one big takeaway I have from my travels is to continue to learn about the world around me and continue to explore what is out there.

As I have written before, this world is far too big for me not to make a dent in it. Whether it’s in my own backyard, or halfway across the world, my curiosity is piqued. If the world will allow me, I will explore and thus learn.

I have learned that the boyfriend, while a hesitant traveler, is an engaged traveler and a bit of a history buff. Because of that, we are able to take in a new environment, while actively learning about where we are, and where those people have been.

I yearn to travel, to be on the road. I have such a desire to experience places and cultures, to learn things I did not know before, to try things out of my comfort zone and to engage with the world around me.

2012 Ticket #indie30

Today is the final prompt of the BootsnAll indie writing project.

Where are you going in 2012?  Why is that place great for indie travelers?  

Somewhere cool.

Stay tuned.

Quote #indie30

Quote is the 14th prompt in the BootsnAll indie travel writing project.

I wrote about my favorite travel quotes in a recent post.

Since they are great quotes, and worth repeating, here is the post in its entirety once again:


Check out Matador’s 50 most inspiring travel quotes of all time. My personal favorites include:

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

I love this next quote and I hope my writing gets this across. The unknown allows us all to experience things outside of our comfort zones. When taken out of that familiar setting, something as simple as buying a knee brace will require effort and patience to get it done. It’s the lack of familiarity, and assumed ease, that makes the experience – behind door number one, two or three that much more exciting.

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson (who is one of my favorite travel writers)

I have mentioned this quote in a previous post

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman

And this quote applies to life in general, it is not exclusive to travel.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Remote Ushuaia

Thanks to the remoteness of Ushuaia, here’s a short history lesson courtesy of

Between 1884 and 1947 Argentina imitated Britain’s example with Australia and made the city a penal colony, incarcerating many of its most notorious criminals and political prisoners here and on remote Isla de los Estados (Staten Island). In 1906 the military prison was moved to Ushuaia, and in 1911 it was combined with the Carcel de Reincidentes, which had incarcerated civilian recidivists since 1896. Since 1950 the town has been an important naval base.

The prison was no longer in use but it was very cold (no heat) and depressing. This, or any prison for that matter, is not where I’d want to spend any time incarcerated. You’ll see a tour on the first floor. They only offered the tours in Spanish so we decided not to join. In each of the cells were signs and information in both English and Spanish so we self-guided ourselves through the prison.

As Ushuaia is a remote place, the city, or maybe it was a campaign by the tourist board, recognized that it’s a feat in and of itself to get there. We found out that the post office and some banks provide various stamps for your passport, to say you arrived at ‘the end of the world!’

I didn’t want to spend our time in Ushuaia hunting down these stamps so I reminded myself to be happy with just one version of the stamp. As luck would have it, we stopped in a bank and the woman went nuts — stamping every version of the stamp in our passports!

The next time I visit Ushuaia, I will be boarding a cruise to Antarctica!

Meet Plan Go

Meet Plan Go is leading the career break movement in North America. On October 18th, hundreds of people, including myself, attended the second annual nationwide Meet Plan Go event.

Meet Plan Go’s co-founders, Michaela Potter, Sherry Ott and Michael Bontempi, organized an event that was held the evening of October 18th in 17 cities across North America – from New York to Toronto to St. Louis to Honolulu! Events in each city featured a local host, a panel of veteran career breakers and crowds of people filled with wanderlust.

If you have been reading my blog for some time, you may recall previous posts from my experience at the Meet Plan Go local NYC meet up here and also here.

What are your thoughts on taking a break from your career to travel?

Do you think it’s ‘crazy?’

— It’s not. There is a whole community of long-term travelers who are doing it, who have done it and who are contemplating it.

Are you thinking it’s got to cost a lot of money?

— The cost of living in North America is among the highest in the world. For example: the price of my usual lunch (a sandwich) here in NYC is equivalent to a day’s (or two or three) worth of food elsewhere in the world.

Or do you think, now is not the time?

— There will never be a right time. Life is short.

And for those of you who think you can’t do it because you have young children…

— Many people have taken their kids along for the ride. Including my friend Rainer, his wife and two boys who visited 28 countries in one year.

Sherry recently addressed career break travel myths with CNN. It’s good reading for those of you who may think it’s ‘crazy.’

If you are interested in learning more, Meet Plan Go is committed to continuing the momentum online through Facebook and the #MeetPlanGo hashtag on Twitter. Check it out.

Getting guidebooks

I had to laugh the other day. I went into a bookstore with a friend to buy a travel guide. As she was randomly pulling guides, I asked her if it was problematic that I knew exactly which brand I wanted to buy. We had a laugh, but I couldn’t stop wondering…am I the only one that thinks like this?


If you use Twitter, feel free to take any of my travel posts – if you have a favorite, even better (!) – and repost it on Twitter with the #TravelTuesday.

Much appreciated.

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller

How do you feel about Ten of the Most Dangerous Destinations (And Which Ones Are Worth the Risk)? 

What about these Six Countries on the US State Department Alert and Warning Lists That You Should Visit Anyway?

And closer to home, what about America’s Most Dangerous Cities?

Some of these countries are no surprise that you may want to wait a bit (for example, war zones for the less adventurous (!) travelers out there)…but others, just require street smarts and being a smart traveler.

South Africa, Brazil and Colombia all make the ‘dangerous’ list. Honduras, India and Israel make the State Department list. Yet, I know plenty of people who have traveled to each of these amazing destinations.

What’s your travel style? How do you determine where your travels take you?

Do you ever visit the State Department’s website? Do you use the State Department as a loose guide for your travels? Do you shy away from any that are on the State Department’s list? Or are you so adventurous that you create your itinerary based on destinations that the State Department deems dangerous?

As for me, I regularly visit the State Department’s website. I do use it as a guide but I am also well tuned to international news. Google has a setting where you can see the news based on your location — from time to time, I check out headlines from countries I am interested in visiting and I also check the BBC and other international news outlets than just those based in the US.

Personally speaking, I wouldn’t go to an active war zone but I know of people (Wandering Earl, for example) who have. And he brings back stories of kind people, memories of undiscovered places and a bullet in his pocket.