by Dannielle Cresp on April 16, 2013
I’m home now, and trying to settle back in – but more on that and my trip home another day. Today I want to finally share my trip to Philly. x
I left Charlottesville early-ish on a Saturday and took the train the 5 and a bit hour trip to Philadelphia, PA. The train trip went by faster than I expected once I got over the fact that the free wifi promised wasn’t working. (Yes, I ranted to myself for about 30 minutes and then decided to work on something that didn’t require internet). It was a little chilly when I got into 30th Street Station, but the lovely Zoe and her boys came to pick me up and we went to get dinner.
Sunday morning I caught the train into the city from Zoe’s and decided that I would just wander the streets and see what took my fancy. Because Philly was stop 8 of 9 US cities, I didn’t really research the things to do, though I knew that there were things to see and do. My first stop was the Anthropologie flagship store, 4 floors of Anthro amazing-ness! With it so chilly out it was great (and necessary) to stop in little shops all along Walnut Street as I walked from the Anthropologie store across to Independence Mall to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
The queues were crazy long as it was a long weekend so I decided that I wanted to see the Liberty Bell more than inside Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed). It was freezing in the queue for the Liberty Bell, but the exhibit information was really interesting and it was great to see the bell!
I wandered the streets and stopped in some lovely craft shops and just really took in the city (whilst muttering about the cold – it got down to -1C in my defence). I loved that the area was clearly signposted for visitors to the city and it was quite easy to get around. I needed to time my trip back as the trains were running a Sunday timetable, but I got back in time for some snow flurries.
On Monday I had arranged to meet up with Megan Auman at her trade show booth at Buyer’s Market of America. I’ve known Megan online since I started my business online in 2009 and it was great to finally catch up in person. The trade show was in the Convention Center which is right across from Reading Terminal Market (a must see food market). I popped out of the show at lunch time and got myself the two things you must get in Philly: a Philly Cheese Steak and a Whoopie Pie (from FlyingMonkey no less)! They were both delicious!
The market was bustling with people and just a crazy busy atmosphere. I can see how people would get lost in there without a good sense of direction. It was fun to see all the different businesses and the range of food available.
Getting to sit in on the trade show was great! It was so interesting to see how different it is to a retail market and to see all the stalls looking their best. It was fun to have a catch up with Megan and to see her gorgeous jewellery in person!
My stop in Philly was so short, that it was the first place I left wishing that I’d had more time to spend exploring. It’s definitely a place that I’d love to visit again to see all the treasures that I missed. Everyone seemed so welcoming and friendly and if you’re ever looking for postcards, the 30th St station has them in the news agent and they have a post office inside the station too!
Thanks so much to Zoe for having me and to Megan for catching up. I loved Philly and will be back some day.
by Dannielle Cresp on April 2, 2013
My family here in Michigan aren’t big Easter celebrators, so I wasn’t expecting much to happen this weekend. My cousin C took me ice skating on Friday night, and I’m proud to say that I made it around the Ice Rink holding onto the edge 3 whole times without falling over. Woo!
Ice Skating could now be ticked off my imaginary list. Then on Saturday we went out for National Coney Island (a diner chain) where I had the most delicious Tuna Melt and we went to Marshalls and Walmart. (No trip to the USA is complete without a trip to Walmart! or so I’m told.) I found some Chuck Taylor’s for $25 and some 80′s Glam Sharpies!
It was awesome, and I thought that was the fun part of the day over. But my other cousin (both are equally awesome) G came over late in the evening and all 3 of us went out for pancakes at IHOP at midnight!! (This may be normal where you’re from, but nothing (reputable) is open for pancakes back home that late, so it was a real treat)
We had great food and lots of laughs. Our “Easter Brunch” was quite the feast. I felt the happiest I have in a long time. We followed it up with a day in our PJs and dinner at trendy Michigan restaurant called Vinsetta Garage, where there was more great food and good company. It was honestly the best Easter I can remember and I wouldn’t give up that memory for the world.
I’m feeling happy and calm and ready to go home on my terms. It’s funny that Michigan was the place where that low feeling started in late 2011, and now it’s the place where it’s finally gone. Maybe I knew I was meant to come here?! I’ll never know, but I’ll never regret the decision to get on that bus when I needed to, because it took me somewhere I knew I’d be safe, and I was. And it gave me an Easter memory that I can have for the rest of my days and you can’t beat that.
P.S. I’m flying home later this week. Yay!!
by Dannielle Cresp on March 18, 2013
I left for Charlottesville, VA on a Tuesday morning. I couldn’t wait to get out of Wilmington. Whilst I loved historic downtown, the roads are awful and with the tire blowout and the nail polish exploding I was starting to feel like North Carolina hated me.
The drive was lovely and really pretty straightforward. It was 5.5 hours and I stopped at the Welcome to Virginia sign about 2 and a bit hours in and once more at a petrol station in the middle of nowhere. Note for Aussies: They want you to pay before you start filling up your tank not after like we do (oops!).
It was interstates and highways all the way. My GPS would say drive “215km and then make a right”. The new rental car had an iPod jack that you could work from the steering wheel so I could listen to my roadtrip playlist and turn control the songs without having to look at the ipod whilst driving, which was awesome. I thought I’d stop along the way and take a proper break but I got to where I was about an hour away from C’ville and I just decided to keep going. Thankfully there were no real dramas.
Unfortunately for me I’d asked someone for a guide on things to see and do in Charlottesville and for whatever reason, it never came through, so I was there really unprepared and I quickly learned that it’s a place that you need to know what you want to do there before you go. This was my fault, for not also doing my own research, but with 10 stops on the trip, I kind of forgot about it. I wasn’t much interested in going to Thomas Jefferson’s house, and other than visiting my lovely friend Tif and her family, I found it to be lacking what some of the other cities had. It has a cute main street, and there’s a fun stationery shop called Rock Paper Scissors that you should definitely visit if you’re in town, and I’ve heard the university campus is great but I felt weird going there on my own just to look around.
I think Charlottesville is probably one of those places that’s got a wonderful community and is a great place to live, but it’s definitely somewhere you need a car to get around. I’m glad I finally got to meet Tif in person and her lovely family, but I’m sure there are better people than me to tell you about all the things to see and do in this area.
As with everywhere, you never know until you go, and I’m glad that I went, so that I could see this quaint small town and it’s sweet winding roads.
by Dannielle Cresp on March 13, 2013
I wrote this big, long post about what’s going through my head earlier today. I was (and am) apprehensive about sharing it with you. So I went for a walk and started listening to a chapter of Start With Why (an awesome book) again, and it got me thinking about what my WHY is for everything I do (in both my business and in my life).
And what I realised is that I strongly feel that my WHY is: to build me a better, happier, healthier future.
In every decision I make, this is what I consider first. When I was deciding on making this adventure it’s purpose was to make me feel alive again. To make me see things from a different perspective and to inject some happiness back into my life. That’s how I feel about sharing Making Bold Plans with you. That you too can build a better, happier, healthier future or whatever the future is that you are looking for.
So I’ve decided due to an overwhelming number of negative factors that I’m going to come home. I’m struggling to find full time employment (that I don’t really want – I want to run my own business) that will allow me to meet the requirements to rent my own apartment, in what has turned out to be a city that I don’t really even like, let alone love and one that’s sending me broke – fast.
While I don’t make the decision to leave Canada lightly, it’s been keeping me awake at night for days, I don’t see a better, happier, healthier future for me here. In some ways I wish I’d come here to visit first, just to see if it was a good fit. But I took the leap knowing that there was a chance that it would be that way. If money were no object, I’d probably fly to Vancouver and try things there, but in reality money is a huge factor, and I’d much rather go home with an awesome plan for my business back home, feeling confident now – then to go home defeated and deflated in 3 months time. If things are right later in the year, maybe I’ll try Vancouver or somewhere else, armed with what I know about how things work in Canada now.
I want to get back to running; to eating healthier; to laughing more; and to seeing more of the beautiful State I grew up in. This trip has helped me define who I am and what I want for my life and for that I’m forever grateful.
This won’t be the end of my 27 adventure at all, for one I’m still 27 and two I just got my ticket and flights for Problogger on the Gold Coast, Queensland in September. Now I know what I really want, things are starting to fall into alignment again. I’m not fighting against the tide of ‘they’ll be disappointed in me if I don’t stay’ and I’m swimming with ‘this is what I really want’. In the end, as much as I want to make everyone proud/happy/high fiveing me, I can’t put that first.
Adventures will always have their twists and turns and this is mine. I made my dream of this trip come true and I couldn’t be happier in my decision. I still have a little while before I’ll be home, but it all just feels right.
PS the photo of me is the first time I smiled since I got here, and it was because I realised that I could come home.
by Dannielle Cresp on March 9, 2013
I’m still in Toronto, and am having a week that’s a bit better than last week thanks to the kindness of people I met through twitter. It’s a lot more challenging than I ever anticipated and the uncertainty is making it difficult, but more on that on Monday. This weekend I just wanted to share with you some more moments from my amazing trip across the USA, so today I’m taking you back to Wilmington, North Carolina to a chilly Sunday morning. x
After the big scare with the tire and the rental car, I decided that Sunday morning, while it was still early (and hopefully there was still on street parking available), I would drive into the downtown area and see some of the One Tree Hill sights of Wilmington and just take a good look at the Cape Fear.
The day started a bit chilly at 1°C but there wasn’t much of a breeze, so I decided to take a walk along the river walk, where so many scenes of the show had been filmed and where it is so picturesque and calm. I had always wanted to see the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge in person and it was even more impressive in person than the TV showed. The perfect backdrop to an imaginary town.
After walking along the river walk and trying to spot where scenes from the show that are etched in my memory are, I went to look for a snack. In the window of the Black Cat Shoppe, I noticed that they had Keith Scott Body Shop T-Shirts (like the hoodie that Lucas wears in all of season 1). I could hardly contain my excitement (nerd alert). After finding my cool, I went in to find that they had all sorts of OTH “memorbilia” including Clothes over Bros T-shirts and postcards of Karen’s Cafe taken during filming. They also had Dawson’s Creek stuff as that was filmed here too, but it’s OTH that I love.
I couldn’t resist the Keith Scott t-shirt and some postcards and while I was buying them, the owner explained that it was that very shop that we first saw Chris Keller! Yep, I was in the record store! How cool! I loved how proud the people were that a show like that chose their town and lasted so long. (9 seasons for those not in-the-know)
After grabbing some amazing fudge from the shop just down the street, it was time for me to walk around and see if I could spot any landmarks from the show. Unfortunately my plan to use google maps failed on me when I lost 3G reception for the whole day! Boo! Take a printed map if you’re going! But I did find some that were definitely in the show and some that just looked vaguely familiar (like the church below).
One of my favourite early episodes of the show was when Peyton went to visit Jake in Savannah, (at the end of season 3, I think) and she talks about going to the Savannah College of Art and Design and she points to it. Well, it turns out they didn’t go to Savannah and this old building below stood in for it. Ha!
Then I was just wondering the streets, taking photos of the pretty buildings when I heard a loud RAWR from above whilst crossing the street and 3 fighter jets were flying overhear. I pointed my camera up and clicked 3 shots. One came good:
By then it was time for lunch and there was just one special spot left to see, but first I stopped into the lovely Java Dog Cafe and had some lunch. It still had some old advertising on the wall as well as some cool decor.
Then it was finally time to see the one place you must visit as a true One Tree Hill fan: the Corner of Front and Grace. It’s the home of Karen’s Cafe from seasons 1-4; was Clothes over Bros in seasons 5-8, and Karen’s Cafe again at the end of season 8 and in season 9. For Fans of season 9 the left corner is Baker Boys (Brooke’s clothing store) and right is Karen’s Cafe.
Whilst Wilmington had some really stressful things happen (including accidentally smashing my favourite nail polish all over the hotel bathroom floor – North Carolina hates me), I did really enjoy coming to see where a show that I adore came to life.
Wilmington also gave me the chance to see a friend I made when I was a uni and befriended some amazing American exchange students, which was just wonderful. Sometimes these things don’t go to plan, but you find gems in them.
by Dannielle Cresp on February 21, 2013
To continue where I left off, I picked up the very expensive rental car in the rain in Charleston, and left it in the car park (parking lot) outside the hotel overnight and checked out of the hotel in the morning (in the sunshine) ready to take the 17 North to Wilmington, driving on the right hand side of the road for the first time ever.
Other than accidentally setting off the car alarm whilst trying to start it, (oops!!) the drive was really straight forward. Follow the signs that said 17 North almost all the way. The google gps app on my phone talked me through all the turns and I worked out that the car had cruise control about 2 hours into the 3.5 hour trip. The roads were lined with pretty trees, and I stuck to the slow lane. In North Carolina the speed limit is treated as much more of a guide than a limit (as is much of the States, I have since learnt) where as in South Carolina it’s pretty well enforced.
The trip wasn’t difficult at all and I managed to remember to do the turn off into the USS Battleship North Carolina site, where I stopped, not to see the Battleship, but to see where the River Court from the TV show One Tree Hill was filmed. It was beautiful and sunny. Sadly the court was torn down after the show finished up at the end of 2011, but it was awesome to see that backdrop of the Cape Fear and the buildings across the river. I felt happy and ready to drive on to the hotel.
I checked in without hassle and decided to take a drive out to Wrightsville Beach, also featured in the show. (If you haven’t realised yet, I went to Wilmington because my favourite show was filmed there – nerd alert). The drive was a not long but a bit bumpier as the roads aren’t great, but I found a parking spot and took a walk along the beach to see the Atlantic again.
There were people surfing in the freezing cold ocean, and I recognised the Johnnie Mercer Fishing pier from the show. If you’re interested, crazy Katie tries to jump from it in an episode, so even though it felt far away I decided to walk down to it and have a better look. It was nice just walking along the beach and taking my time. It got to about 5pm on that Friday afternoon and I decided that I would use the GPS to find pizza and take it back to the hotel before dark as I didn’t want to drive after dark when left turns were still freaking me out.
That’s when it all went pear shaped. I was driving to get pizza and hit a manhole cover in the road. It sliced the front right tire open. It went BANG, and went down so fast. Not really knowing what had happened and trying not to burst into tears, I made the first left turn and saw a Best Buy with a parking lot and pulled into the first open spot. By then I was shaking, having never ever needing to call roadside assistance before I called the rental car’s roadside number and they told me someone would be there within the hour and that the safety tire would be put on and then I would have to drive out to the nearest airport to get a replacement rental. By the time the guy changed the tire over it was dusk and I would still have to drive out to the airport in the dark still without any dinner. This was a nightmare!!
By the time I got to the airport and found the correct place to leave the car, I turned off the engine and burst into tears. The poor guy didn’t really know how to handle crying Dannielle, but he was nice to me and helped me fill in the incident report, and gave me an upgrade on the car that I had booked as they didn’t have any of them. That car was so totally different inside that I had trouble finding where everything was in the dark, but with the help of the GPS and some sheer luck I made it back to the hotel a nervous wreck but in one piece.
Still without any dinner though, so I ordered pizza delivery online. It felt weird ordering to a hotel, but there was no way I was driving anywhere else so it had to be done. I think I gave a really good tip to the delivery guy too.
Saturday I decided that I would stay in the hotel all day and calm down from the fright the day before. It was a smart idea as I needed it and sometimes when you’re travelling a day off is just what you need.
I’m glad that I didn’t get hurt, and this definitely makes it into the books for travel stories worth telling, but it was definitely something that I could have done without. I guess this trip really counts as an adventure now, hey?!
by Dannielle Cresp on February 18, 2013
So it’s nearly here. The part of the 27 adventure that I have been avoiding thinking about because it makes it hard to breathe. It’s been too big to think about ever since I realised that it was going to happen. It’s not an if, but or maybe. It’s the reality that’s coming.
By next week I will be in Toronto. I will have my visa and the immigration officer will have decided for me whether it’s to be one year or two. I will have hugged one of my oldest friends and have seen glimpses of the city I will be calling my new home. I will be looking for that perfect place that I can call home for a while yet. The place I can unpack these suitcases and breathe that sigh of relief. I will be looking for work, and looking to make new friends and to see the city with the fresh eyes and a happy heart.
Right now though I’m tired. The bad parts are glaring at me more than the excellent time I’m having. I feel like sleeping for a week might help me feel caught up. I need to let go of the idea that I need to blog everything in order and right now. I’m doing so much, so quickly, it’s hard to share it all with you right now. Those posts are coming, but maybe not as quickly as before.
I have a new found respect for people who travel for more than 4 weeks for periods of time. I’ve never been so thankful that my planned 3 month backpacking trip around Europe at 21 never eventuated. But I was a different girl then so maybe it would have been ok.
I am looking forward to seeing New York and I’m loving that there’s only 2 stops to go from this lovely city, Philly. I think I just want to start working out the unknowns. I want to have a home to go to. To have an address and regular vegetables. I want to get this big idea that planted in my head at Alt happening. I want to eat vegemite on toast and to climb into my own bed.
I love that I’m doing this, and I don’t want to go back to Australia or wish that I hadn’t done it. I’m just tired and I want a place to call my own and to not have to pack my suitcase for many, many months.
I’m ready to fall in love with a new city. Can’t wait to meet you, Toronto. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun together.
(PS that’s a random photo I’ve taken on this trip, not Toronto, as I’ve never been there before)
by Dannielle Cresp on February 11, 2013
Kansas City was a whirlwind visit with all the weather that the heartland has to offer and some great sights to see!
F is for Fun Photo Opportunities
Standing in two places at once. In Missouri and Kansas!
G is for Grand Buildings
Waiting area at Union Station
H is for History Uncovered
Some of the treasure uncovered when they salvaged the Steamboat Arabia
by Dannielle Cresp on February 8, 2013
I knew it was coming. There’s always a part of a trip where things start to unwind. In normal circumstances and when spread apart, the little things don’t get to you too much, but when the happen within a matter of days with the amplification of travel at the +3 week mark, it all begins to feel a bit hard.
It started on Monday morning. I was packing closing my suitcase for my flight to Charleston when I saw it. A crack in the hard case. Yes, in my very expensive fancy, saved for months for it, suitcase. It wasn’t bad enough that it wouldn’t survive the upcoming flights, but it was a problem that I didn’t need. Airport security was near empty, this should have warned me that trouble was coming. Too easy freaks me out. The plane was due for early departure, but arrived so late that we left late. Then we sat on the tarmac for 35 minutes waiting for clearance as we missed our spot. I had only a 44 minute layover in Atlanta, so this was not all that comforting to me.
The flight itself was pretty uneventful, but Atlanta is an awful airport to transit through. We got in and off the plane so late that I had to run through two terminals to make my flight. I was dressed for winter and the airport had the heating set to ‘Hawaiian Getaway’. The plane got away on time and I arrived into Charleston early, but they called my name over the PA, unlike me, by bag couldn’t run for the flight and didn’t make it. They could get it to me that night, but there would be a 4-6 hour wait. I felt a bit like I was missing a limb. It arrived and the crack held up for the flight, but I knew that I needed a different bag until I could sort out the warranty. I felt really deflated that such a new bag could be damaged so easily.
Tuesday we found a good bag at a really good price, but I hated that I had to make an on the spot decision about something that I usually like to stew over. When I have to make quick decisions I often feel like I picked the wrong one – no matter the situation. I think this one might turn out ok though. The whole thing threw me though. It left me second guessing my decision all day.
Wednesday morning I knew that it was time to orgainse and book the hire car. This was the one thing for the trip that I had been putting off. All the different companies and the different prices were so confusing that I looked for months and still hadn’t made a decision on Wednesday morning. And then it all got way more confusing as the prices on the website are only half (or less) of what they will actually be charging your card! That sent me into a tailspin of indecision. Could I take a bus? Was there some other reasonably priced way to get there?
Short answer: no. I would have to pick a car company and hope for the best and take that big hit to the budget. I chose a company and got email confirmation of the price. I went back into my online booking to check and the price was $80 less. More confusion for my poor brain! I called and it was hard to get a real person, but when I finally did, they said it was the cheaper price. I took a screenshot just in case and I’m glad I did.
Even after the rest of Wednesday being good, by the evening I was a bundle of tired, homesick nerves. I’d never driven on the right hand side of the road before. Would I be able to do it? The more anxious I got, the more homesick I got. It’s how it works with me. The more something feels too hard the more I want the easy of home. It’s nothing against the place I’m visiting, it’s just how it is.
By Thursday morning (today) I was so homesick I couldn’t write anything. I was stressing over the rental car and the potential hidden costs and the rainy day just wasn’t helping. I had the homesick blues. But things finally picked up after I got the car with the help of my lovely friend Sarah, who has (I promise) made this a lovely trip to Charleston minus all the curve balls.
When I got back to the hotel there was an email from home (that will always make me feel sooo much better) and time for me to put on my favourite music and just pack at my own cruisey pace. My blues started to disappear. I had conquered driving (back to the hotel at least) and was starting to get things the right way up.
I have so much still to share with you from lots of stops. But there’s so much that I’ve got really behind. I’m going to try to get some scheduled for next week after my big drive to Wilmington tomorrow. But they may not be in order any more. I’ve gone from nothing to blog to so much it’s hard to get it all out. More coming over the weekend or early next week.
*I promised myself that I would share the good and the bad of this trip. This is on the less great side, but I’m still having a good time. Charleston has been great despite this, and I will blog the awesomeness of it soon.
by Dannielle Cresp on February 6, 2013
Kansas City is an awesome place to visit, especially if you have a friend who loves being a tour guide like I did! It’s not a super common place for people to visit when you’re from as far away as I am, but it’s right in the heartland of the USA and is a great spot to see how America is outside of LA, NY and Las Vegas.
Kansas City let me experience all different kinds of weather whilst I was there. It was 21°C/70°F and sunny on Monday, chilly and raining on Tuesday and cold and snowing on the Wednesday! It sure gave me a taste of all the weather in such a short period of time!
There’s a lot to see and do in KC and I thought I’d share some of my favourite places with you.
The Steamboat Arabia & Historic City Market
The Steamboat Arabia museum is a really cool place to visit. What started as a family looking for treasure and wanting to find the wreck of the Steamboat Arabia turned into a museum where they are still cleaning and restoring the artefacts that they uncovered when they dug her up. If nothing else, the sheer size of the cargo that they uncovered, many pieces intact or near to it, is just amazing. I’ve shared just a couple of photos to try to give you an idea of the scale of it. The tour guide said that it will take approximately 30 years to clear the silt and mud off all of the pieces. One of the other cool things about the Steamboat Arabia is that it’s open on a Monday when most of the other museums are closed.
The Historic City Market which is just next door is a great open market that looks like it would be amazing in the summer time. When we visited, just the fresh fruit and veg market was there but it all looked so delicious!
When we visited Union Station, it was a cold wintery day. But if you have to visit anywhere on a day like that, Union Station is the place to go! It is beautifully restored and nice and warm. The architecture is just amazing! If you’re visiting, be sure to take the time to look up!
It is the second largest train station in the USA (only second to Grand Central), and the waiting area (as shown below) was once filled with long pews that people would sit on while waiting for their train. When it arrived they would walk through the doors on either side and down to the trains that ran underneath the station. Apparently, thousands of American soldiers came here and waited for the trains that would take them off to WWI and WWII. I’m just trying to picture what that sight would have looked like back then. I think Union Station is a must see if you’re in the area.
Be in Two Places at Once
One of the really fun things about Kansas City is that it crosses the state line between Missouri and Kansas. Missouri is where the touristy things to do are, but if you’ve ever wanted to be in two places at once, this is the place to try it! If you’re going to though, I recommend not going on a freezing cold day and trying not to pull a silly face like I did. Haha. (Missouri is at the top of the photo, Kansas at the bottom).
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The Nelson, as it’s called by locals is an amazing museum. This place has something for everyone, and I don’t say that lightly. There’s an Ansel Adams in the Photography section along with many other beautiful photographic works and an Andy Warhol in the Contemporary section. There’s also some beautiful renaissance paintings and the building itself is a work of art. It is definitely a place to get lost in.
There is also a sculpture garden outside including two giant shuttlecocks! It was so cold I thought I was going to be left with a frozen smile on my face from the photos! I clearly need more cold weather training. It would be beautiful in the summer time though.
Kansas City also has a gorgeous shopping precinct called the Plaza, that is modelled on the city of Seville, Spain which is worth a look and has all the major US brands that you could think of and lots of eateries too (but the food is another post all by itself).
I loved visiting and I think I’d go back again in the warmer months, I think it would have an even more vibrant feel to it then.