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Getting Lost to Find My Way

Recently I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I was going with my life. I am about to graduate with a business degree from a reputable university that works very hard to place its graduates in top jobs around the United States.

But I'm just not sure that's what I want. It is not exactly an opportune time to find out that maybe I don't like the course I'm on. I have been involved in business so long and so intensely that my senior superlative in high school was "most likely to be the next Donald Trump." However now I find that I have been running so fast in one singular direction that I forgot to slow down and look around at what else is out there.

The most memorable times for me of the last few years have had nothing to do with business at all. The first was a three week trip I took to Israel with my two best friends. We got to see a lot of the country from a resident's perspective as my cousins drove us around the northern half of the country. We also got down and dirty while earning our keep on my sister's kibbutz cooking breakfast for the date-pickers in the fields. Another fond memory was when I studied abroad in London in the spring of 2008. I spent four months in the city, studying art history and political science. I was challenged beyond anything I was used to and it was fabulous. I loved learning about an artist and then wandering into a museum and seeing their work first-hand. The extended time I spent in the UK also allowed me to spend weekends away all over the region. I had the opportunity to go cliff diving in Wales, dancing in Scotland, clubbing in Nottingham, and touring in Oxford.

I am no stranger to people from afar. I have attended and worked at a summer camp that has employed staff from the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, Germany, Spain, Columbia, Mexico, New Zealand, and more. I always took it for granted that I could differentiate between the accents of England or tell a Kiwi from an Aussie when I was young. However recently I realized how extraordinary it was for all of these people to travel from across the world to teach waterskiing or rock climbing at a camp so far away from home. I finally saw their presence from their perspective and understood how much they got out of the experience and why they were willing to take a leap and go somewhere they had never been.

Once I investigated more and more I realized something significant: people from almost every other country except the U.S. are programmed to travel from a young age. Scots vacation in Greece and Germans in France. They are pushed to take gap years and explore the world before they enter school or the work force. And my own observations have told me that these people may have started working a couple years later than their American peers, but they are much more mature, valuable people as a result of their travels. They also do not as often get trapped in jobs they don't enjoy. They have pushed their boundaries and found out what they like most and have pursued their passions.

Americans have the opposite upbringing. There is a course that we are supposed to follow. First comes elementary and high school, then comes college, then comes work or graduate school and then you move into a nice house in the suburbs and have a family -- wash, rinse, repeat. That's all fine and dandy and I won't complain one bit if I end up happily married with a family in the suburbs one day. But who says it has to be five years from now when it can just as easily be ten? Who says there can't be a gap between school and more school or between school and work? What we end up with in America as more and more people just stick to the conveyor belt of life is that fewer of us are open to other cultures, understand the way people think outside our borders. People become intensely patriotic and protectionist when they might just find there's nothing to be scared of.

History has taught us over and over again that even the most fervent haters are usually the people who simply never had a friend who fell into the group they hated.

Anyway, I digress. I was inspired by all of those people I met who came from all over the world to widen their horizons. I want to be a better person than I am right now and I seek greater certainty as to who I truly am and what I truly have a passion for. Therefore I have decided to devote the next few months (at least) to travelling instead of getting a job or getting a graduate degree.

My first adventure (hopefully not the last) will be to Australia (with a quick pit-stop in the UK to visit some friends over new years). I hope to work my way around as much of the country as possible. I am starting off on my own, but of course I hope to meet people along the way, maybe even a travel buddy or two. Only time will tell.

I hope all of you will share my adventure with me via this blog. Please comment on my posts and tell me what you think and if you have any advice.

Diary Entries

Wednesday, 07 April 2010

Location: Rome, Italy

One Day to See it All…

Sean and I finally connected around noon and after fueling up on, guess what, pizza, we were ready for his big day in Rome. Sean has been studying in Milan for this entire semester, and has seen quite a bit of Italy and other countries, but somehow his travels never took him to Rome so we had exactly one afternoon to show him as much as possible. Fortunately my week of exploration helped me plan a realistic route and we did, in fact manage to hit a lot of the big stuff.

We started off heading to the Colloseum. This was my third actual visit to the structure, but my first time inside so I was excited to finally get to see it. We walked the grounds, took a sufficient amount of pictures, then moved on. We had a lot of ground to cover…

We made our way back to the city center via the Roman Forum. I finally got to see it up close! And it was pretty impressive. Although I’ll admit it was actually more spectacular when seen from far off as a whole than any one piece up close.

When we got to the center I showed Sean the Vittoriano and then headed up the Via del Corso. On our way, I remembered that antique gelato shop was on the way so we treated ourselves to the sweet one last time! We couldn’t sit still long and as soon as our snack was gone we were on our way again to see the Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna, and the Spanish Steps. It was funny that only a week before I’d been led around this same area and had no idea where I was and now I was showing someone else around as if I was some sort of expert (which I wasn’t, but I was doing the best I could with what I knew).

We were running out of time (we were meeting Fede and Ila for an apperativo later) so we cut down to the Bascilica di Sant Pietro. Sean got to see the main square and get an idea of where the Vatican was and all that jazz. As much as I wanted to try and go into the Sistene Chapel, we didn’t have much time left and we were both pretty tired from walking so much.

Ironically we still had a long walk ahead of us to get to the bus stop. By the time we got there we were both in a lot of pain, and of course we had to wait for another eternity for a bus to actually come. THEN we had to go back to the train station, pick up Sean’s luggage, THEN we had to take the subway to meet the girls, THEN we got lost and walked the wrong way for about 6 blocks with Sean’s suitcase in tow, THEN we had to go back to the subway station so the girls could find us again.

Ultimately we made it to our destination and happily imbibed our wine and snacks, but the journey to get there was long. I don’t know that I’ve ever been happier to sit down in my life. Drinks were great and it was really nice to spend my last night in Rome all together doing something nice.

It was a weeknight, though, so eventually we had to head home and everyone went to bed shortly after we got there. It was sad because we were leaving early in the morning and I anticipated a rushed goodbye, but what could I do? I went to bed…

Tuesday, 06 April 2010

Location: Pisa, Lucca, & Florence, Italy

Easter in Tuscany…

DAY 1: Pisa
We had to get up super early to catch our train to Tuscany so by 7am we were out the door and walking 15min with our luggage over to the subway station to get downtown. Fortunately we arrived quite early and had time for a coffee before we boarded the train. It was a pleasant enough ride, with comfy seats and a little table in between us so we could entertain ourselves on our computers.

When we arrived we didn’t know exactly how to get to our B&B so we tried to ask for directions. No one knew exactly where we should go, but we ended up on a bus going in the generally correct direction. Someone on the bus told us we should get off, which was right, although we probably should have gotten off one stop before. We were on the right road, but since we had already passed the B&B, we weren’t sure which direction to walk in. I looked at the addresses and guessed a direction, which of course was wrong in the end, and we walked the wrong way for about 15min. Mind you this road had no sidewalk, a lot of cars going very fast, and eventually ended up in a completely undeveloped wooded area which is where we were when we finally decided to call the B&B and see where the hell we were.

Eventually we found our way and checked in. The place was nice enough, but it didn’t have any common area and no internet and the only channel on the TV in English was BBC World News so we were a little worried about what we were going to do in the evenings. But we couldn’t worry about that all day so we dropped our things and left to go back into town. We grabbed a ride with one of the B&B owners and found the main street pretty easily.

Pisa is a very famous place for one thing, the tower. And there’s a reason for that. Because there is NOTHING else there except one main street with a bunch of shops and cafes and then the square with the tower and this beautiful cathedral. When you finally make it to the end of the road and find the square it is pretty spectacular. Although the tower was actually smaller than what I expected. I mean it was really neat and it is REALLY leaning, but it’s only about 5 stories high. You can’t even see it from the city center.

The square itself is really cool. It’s very grassy with people picnicking and lying around everywhere. It’s kind of like a university quad in a lot of ways. And of course EVERYWHERE you look there are people trying to take silly pictures with the tower. I was a little annoyed because the tower had scaffolding on it AND a giant black wire all the way along its length that would forever taint my pictures, but there was nothing I could do about it. I was actually a lot more taken with the cathedral in the square. It was spectacularly beautiful with amazing architectural details on the front.

As we were leaving we decided to check out the market stalls. They were mostly selling leather goods since Tuscany is very famous for its leather goods. I spotted a purse I absolutely loved so I got it. I also had to buy one of those leaning shot glasses…it’ll make for a great conversation starter at parties!

We stopped at a café and just sat and talked for a while over some cappuccinos. It was the first time Fede and I had really had a chance to sit down together and talk during the entire time I’d been visiting. She was obviously working during the week and she hadn’t been feeling well so I’d actually been alone more with Ilaria than with Fede throughout the week. We just fell right back into the easy conversation like we used to when we both lived in London. It was so nice.

We did a little shopping after our coffee break. It was mostly for Fede since I can’t really buy anything, especially priced in Euros. We hit a few stores including United Colors of Benetton, which seems to be Italy’s favorite store…they’re EVERYWHERE. Fede didn’t get anything, but it was still fun trying stuff and comparing styles and preferences. Shopping truly is a great bonding activity.

By this time we were pretty hungry so we found this little osteria. It was this adorable, quaint little place with traditional food and wine. I went with Fede’s recommendation and had a pasta with wild boar meat in it. It was REALLY yummy. Of course the first thing that popped into my head when I heard wild boar was LOST, but I didn’t say anything and just internally enjoyed how much of a TV nerd I am.

Since it was such a small restaurant we were seated about 2 inches from a table with two American girls. I knew right away they must be doing a study abroad program so I started making conversation with them. I got that they went to Penn State and that they were studying in Barcelona, but that was the extent of it. They were just not into conversing. Not even with each other! During the entire meal, Fede and I chatted and they were painfully silent! It was so awkward! Who travels for the weekend with someone and doesn’t talk to them?

After dinner we were pretty beat. The Chianti we had (also a regional specialty) had gone to our heads and made us sleepy. We headed back to the B&B and watched BBC World News until we fell asleep.

DAY 2: Lucca
We woke up to possibly the most gloomy, wet, and cold Easter I have in my memory but we were determined to make the most of it. We rolled into breakfast just as they were getting ready to pack up. It actually worked in our favor since we got all the leftover breakfast cakes and such. They even laid out chocolate egg (for breakfast!). I couldn’t really stomach it, but Federica was excited about it!

They told us that there were no buses running so we had to take a cab into town. Before we left we had to pay. They didn’t take credit cards! What hospitality establishment doesn’t take credit cards?! We eventually made it to town and had just missed the train to Lucca so we had to grab a coffee and wait for the next one. We eventually made it and easily found our way from the station to the town center. Lucca is this tiny old town surrounded by protective walls and filled with beautiful churches, cathedrals, and piazzas. Even in the cold and rain I really enjoyed this little town.

With no map or directions we still managed to stumble upon all the major points in the city, including the center piazza, which is called the ampitheater because it’s a giant oval. It was filled with really eclectic, interesting shops, like a place that only sold handmade soaps and another place that sold old-fashioned wine casks and other traditional Tuscan kitchen-wares. One shop was selling really nice leatherbound journals. Since I have been journaling about this trip and my book is going to be full at the end, it seemed a good idea to get a new journal for whenever I take my next adventure. So I bought a nice little brown leather journal to take with me on round two.

Of course some shops were closed because it was Easter, but it actually added to the old-fashioned effect of the town because most of the places that were closed were the chain stores. The ones left open were the family-owned, interesting shops that could have existed 50 years ago just as easily as present day.

We had originally planned to rent bicycles and ride around the outer walls of the city, but we could tell it was going to start raining any second so we passed on the bikes and started walking the perimeter instead. It turned out to be the right decision because about a quarter way around the skies opened up pretty hard and I would not have wanted to be on a bike at that moment. The view from the wall was beautiful, but after walking in the rain for a few minutes I was ready to get inside some place warm and dry. We made our way back into the city and found a little restaurant to have a soup and some coffee and see if the rain would let up.

The place was warm and dry so that was wonderful, but the rain only got worse as we sat there. So when we eventually did leave we just got more drenched and more cold. But we still hadn’t seen quite everything so we had a little more of a walk. There were these candy stands EVERYWHERE all over Lucca so I bought myself some sweet roasted nuts as a reward for braving the elements. It turned out to be a good decision because we didn’t really have dinner and that turned out to be my meal for the evening.

When we got back to Pisa Fede was determined to find a cinema that showed films in their original languages, but we came up empty so we had to just go back to the B&B and try to entertain ourselves for the evening. We actually got lucky because they were playing 10 Things I Hate About You on MTv and since I’ve seen that about 100 times I was able to recite the entire movie as it was playing. So despite it being dubbed I made a game out of it basically. It was pretty funny. I think I ruined it a bit for Fede since she’d never seen it, but I think she was glad we found something we could both enjoy despite our limited options.

DAY 3: Florence
Thankful for a clear day, we packed up and headed to Florence. Upon arrival we stored our bags for the day and set off to explore the city. We only had 4 hours and a lot of ground to cover.

As soon as you walk out of the train station you can see the Duomo, which is one of the most famous landmarks in Florence. It is this enormous, stunning cathedral covered in green and red patterns. Most cathedrals I’ve seen have been completely white, but this structure stood out with its creative use of color and due to its sheer size. It takes a few minutes just to walk around the entire building. We wanted to go in, but the line was long and we were worried about time so we figured we’d come back later if possible.

Fede navigated, since she had been to Florence a few times before, and she led me through the city’s winding streets to a medieval bridge. From far away it looked as if there were little apartments lining the outside of it. Like people lived there at one time. And maybe they did. But now the bridge houses several jewelers. There was some serious bling on that bridge! These shops were tiny too. And the way that they close up at the end of the day is probably the same way they did in medieval times. There are these huge, heavy-duty wooden planks that get pulled down over the glass windows. It would be just as interesting to see the whole bridge closed up as it was to see it open.

After the bridge, we continued exploring and followed the signs to Dante’s house. His house wasn’t much to look at from the outside, but we were lucky enough to come across Dante himself hanging out outside. He was a little bit strange, talking to himself and looking longingly at thin air, but it was nice to see him nonetheless.

When we were done with Dante we headed out to the giant market. It was mostly leather goods and scarves and we had a blast browsing through all the beautiful purses. Fede and I both ended up getting something in the end, but they were good purchases so I don’t feel that bad. I definitely have enough Italian leather now to last me a lifetime. Or at least until my next trip to Tuscany.

By this point it was mid afternoon and we were hungry for lunch so we stopped at a pizzeria Fede knew and had my first (of many) real Italian pizza. It was lovely. Now the thing to note about Italian pizzas, if you’ve never had one, is that they are pretty big and they are served for one person completely unsliced. Then you cut it up with a fork and knife and generally people eat the whole thing by themselves. It’s enough for two meals, which turned out to be convenient later in my trip, but it was just a completely new concept for me at that point.

Sadly, the end of our meal also marked the end of our time in Florence. We hadn’t seen nearly enough and the city was so beautiful. I need to go back again someday soon. We hopped on our train and made our way back to Rome. Once we arrived we took it easy since Fede had work the next day and I had to get up, pack and meet up with my friend Sean who was coming to meet me before we headed down to Naples together.

Despite the weather, it had been a beautiful weekend in Tuscany. Three days was hopefully just a taste and I’ll get to be more thorough someday in the future, and hopefully when the sun is shining so I can have that bike ride…

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Recent Messages

From Alison
Hi Val - I emailed a while ago when you were in melbourne. I have been reading your travels with a great deal of interest...its been nice seeing your adventures. Its been a long time since you've posted anything though...are you ok? Cant help but feel a little concerned :)
Regards Alison
Response: Wow, I feel bad that I've caused concern! I haven't posted mainly because once I returned from my trip I got caught up with my summer job of being an administrator at a summer camp. However, I have been meaning to complete my trip and your interest has actually motivated me to do so. I've also been on a month long road trip recently that I still need to write about AND I've bought tickets for another trip in January. I hope this should assuage any fears and also get you excited for more postings!
From Peta
Hi Val, I have enjoyed reading your inspirational blog... but now i do hope you are ok, nothing has been posted for awhile. I only hope that it because you have been so busy and having fun? Kind Regards Peta
From Betsy
AHHHH!!! I MISS YOU!!! I hope you are having a blast...sure sounds like it!
Response: I definitely am! I miss you too babe! Glad you're enjoying the blog! Hopefully I'll get a chance to talk to live soon!
From Emily
Hey Val! It sounds like you're having a fabulous time! I love reading your blog, it keeps me sane :)

Miss you!

Response: :) Glad you're enjoying it! Miss you!
From John-in-Dubai
Good for you. One of the most-repeated (and probably inaccurate) statistics about Americans is that only 11% have passports - and that shocks and worries us from the 'travelling cultures' you describe in your introduction. One of the great things about travelling (I actually believe it's THE great thing) is that it enables you to understand how other people live and see the world - and to see that the way you know is not the only way, nor even the best way - it's just a way. It expands the mind. You go, girl. I blog here too, btw.
Response: Thanks for your support! I'll be sure to check out your blog soon too! I hope you're enjoying your travels as well!
From Ashley Ack
See you SOON!
Response: CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!
From Jenny
Hi Val don't know me :-) A fellow blogger on this forum. (
I like the way you broke out of the mould ... LOL . My husband & I are 'grey nomads'... been caravanning around Australia for 2 years so far. OMG It's still fantastic! We're in WA now. Cheers & welcome to Australia ... everywhere is different ...enjoy!
Response: Hi Jenny,

Thanks so much for your support. Your adventure sounds amazing. I will have to check out your blog soon.

If you have any recommendations I'd be happy to hear them!

Take Care!
From loren
yo. just had a quick catch up of the old blog. jelly fish sting sounds BAD. im glad you are still walking about. stay safe. love you loads (trying to convince sari to extend camp...?)
loren xxxx
Response: Haha the sting turned out fine thankfully. I'll do my best to avoid any future encounters, although I'm going to take a SCUBA course so no promises.

Keep working on the extending camp thing. I like the idea. That's basically what I've been doing anyway. I've pretty much spent the last three weeks exclusively with camp people and it's been fabulous! Let's just make a Chippewa commune where people can live all year round if they want! haha.

Love you!
Hi Val, well I'm another stranger, gatecrashing your site! :) I just wanted to say that I love your introduction and blog... nice work! I live in Melbourne so its been interesting to read what the city is like from a travellers prospective. If you can get there, please do yourself a favour and hit the Great Ocean Road, to the Twelve Apostles, Apollo Bay, Loch Ard Gorge and Thunder Cave - all around the same area and just simply breath taking - its a trip of a life time. There is plenty to see and do down there and if you can spend a bit of time, there is also the Fly (rain forest lookout) and several terrific waterfall locations (Marriners Falls being one). I do hope you enjoy your trip - keep writing Val, very entertaining. Regards Alison
Response: Hi Alison!

I'm really happy to hear you enjoy the blog. I'm glad I haven't disappointed a Melbourne native with my naivete!

I want to reassure you that I will be going to the Great Ocean Road on Friday. I will take your list of things to see and do my best to hit as many as possible. Since I am only going for a day trip I'm not sure I will be able to do it all, but I will certainly do my best.

I've already fallen in love with Melbourne so there's a strong possibility I will be back and will be able to spend more time at the GOR when I do.

Thanks for the advice and thanks for reading! Take Care!
From Sheri
Hi Val. You don't know me -- I'm #2 on the Planetranger top 5 this month (Hi from Snowy Southport). I can really relate to the intro on your blog. I've been through (?am going through) something similar with my life -- trying to find MY way. Just as an FYI, I found "Finding Your North Star" by Martha Beck to be a lifechanging book. I'm a million times happier than I was even though I'm going against what "everybody" things is a responsible way to life my life. Good luck in your journey. Feel free to email me any time.

Response: Hi Sheri! Thank you for your message. It is the first time I realized that people other than my friends may be reading the blog! I'm glad to hear that living off the beaten path is working for you. And thanks for the book recommendation. I will definitely check that out when I get home. Take Care!
From Dadi Suissa
I just finished reading all the diary entries.

Exciting and interesting,
and it is also a good practice for my English :)

I can see u r going to have the best year ever !!!
From Kirsten
Hey you! OMG you were only here for a short time and I miss you so much!!! I am so proud of you and so happy for you! And you don't need to thank me I wish I could of helped you more and gone with you to the airport...Next time hey!? Have fun with my girls... tell them I miss them and to come visit! Give them all a hug and make sure Sarah and Gita take you to that Thai place - its amazing!!! thinking of you k! xoxox Kirst
Response: Thanks Kurst! I miss you too! I gave Sarah that hug for you and we talked about how much we both wished you were here with us. I'll be sure to tell everyone you say hi at the reunion tomorrow. Love ya!
From Sammie
Hey Sweetpea :-)
Glad you got to Australia safe and sound. Enjoy everything, and take pics gosh darn it haha i want to see everything ;-)
ps: you must see the koalas and take pics... if you can ...sneak one back in your suitcase for me:-)
pps: the pick of movies on your flight was a descent lot... :-)
Response: I'll do my best on the koala front my dear! I think I'm going to see some (and possibly hold one) when I'm in Brisbane! Cannot wait!

Glad you approve of the films!
From Dadi Suissa
I only read the travel page till now, (and I'm going to read all the diary enties) and I must say u r totally right.

It is one on the best expiriances u will ever have.
Here in Israel u r different if u doesn't take a break and go to travel for few months after the army. At least once.

I traveled in South America for 8 months and I will remember it forever as the best thing I ever done. You feel total freedom, you learn so much, and you feel like God built the world only for you.

Keep having fun and have a safe trip,
Love from Israel
Response: Thank you Dadi! I love to hear about other people's experiences because it gives me so much excitement and hope for this trip.

Miss you guys! Lots of Love!
From Lauren Kurstin
Can't wait to hear about your adventures in Australia!!!
From Emily Dindial
Val! I am so proud of you! Have an amazing time and keep updating. Give all the chippies my love!
From Shelly
Happy New Year little sister. I see you're starting this year out very well. We all send you our love.
Response: Hey Shelly!

Sorry I'm delayed in replying to this. I just figured out how to check my messages on here. I hope you guys had a nice New Years! I miss you all. Lots of love!
From Alix
Just read your blog Val. It's sssooo true, I love it. You are an amazing writer, like I am there with you!

See you in, oooh 7 hours!!

From Lian
Hi honey! I just saw this via facebook. I am so excited for you...this sounds amazing! Can't believe you're in London :)

Congratulations on taking such a big step and good luck!!!
Response: Hey Lian,

I'm glad you found the blog. Hope you find time to read it every once in a while.

London was great to see again. It was FREEZING though. Have you been back since we were there?

Take care!
From arielle
Val! I'm stoked for your travels! I am immensely proud of you! I loved reading all your notes and I hope you will send them to me! I loved visiting with you in London and I'm quite jealous (in the happiest way for you!) that you'll be traveling Australia, because I hope to travel there in the future! I fully agree with you about the way Americans are raised, it's crazy! And it's difficult. I wasn't ready for undergraduate study and was shoved into it, not by my parents, but by the society in which we are raised. Studying Chemistry, Biology, thinking of med school, not getting anything out of Physics, changing to Anthropology, graduating and spending a year restoring the deserts of California for AmeriCorp? I definitely think it's the outside experiences (outside of schooling, that is) that teaches people what they're passionate about. I hope you find what you're looking for, because you are such an amazing person!!! Love you tons! Good luck!
Response: Hey Arielle,

I'm glad this whole thing resonated with you so much. I hope you figure out what you want someday too. I hope we all do.

I hope you're well and had a great holiday! I hope you keep reading the blog!
From Samantha Ordonez
Hey sweetpea! I hope you are having an amaazing flight already! ;-) loves ya. talk to you soon
From Nick (Moore)
Hey missy,

Just read your big spiel above and its really great you have realised what you want/need to do before you got stuck in the rat race (which I am currently in). Your going to have such a fantastic time and meet all sorts of strange people on the way.. mainly good... but some weird - but no matter how good or bad an experience you have along the way... remember - every experience is a useful one no matter what happens....

Have a great time and good luck...

Let me know how you get on.....


P.S I am going to the Ukraine tomorrow.... I am still not sure why but should be fun.... Will be lacing my stomach with pure ethonol... will have a drink for you
Response: Hey Nick!

I just figured out how to read these messages! I can't believe I didn't get this before I made it to London. It sounds like you may have been in the Ukraine the whole time I was there, but it would have been nice to see if we could meet up. Either way I hope you had a great New Years.

I'm really glad you liked the blog intro. I hope I figure my stuff out. But either way I suppose I'll end up with a good experience.

Are you still working at the same place you were when I saw you a couple years ago? How's that going?

Keep in touch!
From Rochelle
All the best Val,

Leave no rock unturned, live like there is no tomorrow and most of all when its all over be sure you have no regrets!

If you make it to New Zealand, be sure to let me know,I may be able to help you out with a bed, a job or even just recomending a good place to eat or see.

Safe travels,
Response: Hey Rochelle,

I just figured out how to read my messages on this thing! Sorry for taking so long to reply.

I definitely am going to NZ so hit me with your recommendations! I hope you're having a blast in New England! Miss you!