15 Travel Tips That Might Make Life A Little Easier 

As I travel from city to city and country to country, I’ve come across many situations where I’ve learned something useful. 

Hopefully these give you some ideas and inspiration to make your life on the road just a tad bit easier…..

1. Using Google Maps around the city without using any data: I learned this as I was traveling throughout Europe. If you’re at your hostel/hotel/etc with wifi and you search your destination before you leave, you can still follow along with the route off wifi as you walk/take your bus/whatever. 

2. Talk to locals: This is one of the most important points. Talking to locals may mean stepping out of your comfort zone (which is a fantastic thing) and making you feel a little weird – BUT! Locals will show you the ropes. I’m tellin’ ya. This is how you find hidden waterfalls and the best restaurants in the city that you can’t find on TripAdvisor.


3. Don’t forget to treat yourself: Sure, traveling on a budget is phenomenal and saving money makes you feel on top of the world. But if you really want something or really want to experience something….do it. This may be your only chance. Take a gondola ride, get a Thai massage, or go paragliding in the Alps. It’ll be worth the money. Do you want to live with regrets?!

4. Purchase a sarong: I cannot tell you how much my sarongs mean to me during my travels. You can also get a large scarf or something similar, too. I bought my first sarong in Bali and I bought more because I use them so much. If you’re cold in the airports, bathing suit cover, as a towel on the beach, whatever you hope and dream for. I am always using them.

5. Breathe: Don’t panic and stress yourself out over situations you cannot change. Your flights may get delayed. Your hostel could have double booked. Maybe your moped gets a flat tire. Breathe and laugh it off. It’ll all be settled soon. 

6. Scan and photocopy your important documents: Scan your passport/social security card/license/etc. Life happens. People lose things. Things get stolen. Have a couple of copies with you in your bags. 

7. Learn bits of the language you’ll be surrounded by: No, you don’t need to be fluent in Portugese for your week in Brazil. But learning simple words and phrases can go a long way. It’s respectful and always looks good. Plus – if people speak broken English….knowing important phrases and words is GREAT. “Hello”, “Thank you”, “Please”, “You’re welcome”, “How much?”, “Toilet?” are all good starting points. 

8. Pack….and then take half of it away: Be honest with yourself. Do you need all of that? Do you need 4 pairs of wedges and 18 tops for your week in Florida? Make life easier. It’ll be less heavy and you’re less likely to get stopped at baggage claim transferring items to other bags and throwing things away.

9. Pack the crucial items in your carry-on: You’ll always have this bag on you. I’ve personally never had it happen to me yet, knock on wood – but bags do get lost and transferred on wrong flights. Make sure you have your medications, cameras and other electronics, and maybe even an extra outfit in your carry-on. This way if something does happen…..you have the necessary items with you on your back.

10. Carry face wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper with you: Sounds kind of weird – but some places you may not be able to shower…..many places don’t have soap…..and my god…..the toileeeettt paaapeeerrrr. 

11. Research the country you’re going to beforehand: Learn certain things that may be disrespectful – there are a lot of random things you would never think about. Check if the water is clean or not. Read up on weird rules and laws. This may be a life saver.


12. Compare currencies: It’s a good idea to have at least a basic understanding of the exchange rate between currencies. When you land and someone tells you it’s going to be 2,000 pesos to get to your hotel…..you’re going to want to have an idea if they’re scamming you or not.

13. Learn to haggle: Speaking of money. In many countries it’s acceptable and normal to haggle prices. Just understand when it’s okay to do it. It may only be a $3 difference for that dream catcher – but that $3 will catch you a Mango Juice in the morning. 😉 

14. Roll your clothes when you pack: This not only creates more space, but less wrinkles too. Hip-hip-hooray!

15. Appreciate: Traveling can become hectic and stressful situations do occur. But….it’s important to sit back, take everything in, realize where you are and the opportunities you have…..and appreciate them. It’s easy to get worked up over your phone dying as you’re booking your flight and it’s easy to swear and kick the dirt around when something isn’t going as planned. Just be thankful that you are traveling and surrounded by new and exciting things. 

I hope these simple 15 tips have helped you as you travel or before you embark on your next journey. Do you have any travel tips that you’d add to my list? Let’s hear ’em.

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration almost daily – @waddupkim

• XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS 

15 Travel Tips That Might Make Life A Little Easier 

WHY SELF-FULFILLMENT IS SO DAMN IMPORTANT

passion

I figured one of my favorite quotes was a good starting point here. This quote has always stood out to me because not only is it absolutely true, but I witness people doing exactly this every single day of my life.

self-ful·fill·ment
ˈˌself fə(l)ˈfilmənt,ˈˌself(f)ə(l)ˈfilmənt/
noun
  1. the fulfillment of one’s hopes and ambitions. 

Can we talk about this for a second? Self-fulfillment. This shit is important. Being able to find your passion and being able to find your deepest desires and come to a realization with who you are and who you were meant to be….amazing. Figuring out what makes you happy and pursuing that shit? Yeah. That’s what life is all about.

 

They say that every human being has a purpose. Everyone has a reason on why they’re here. Some people are meant to go through the social norms of life, graduating and going to college, achieving degrees and building their dream house with a golden retriever named Buddy. Woof! Then there’s those crazy ass people that go after some crazy ass goals because they think societal norms aren’t for them…..yeah, that’s me.

 

I refuse to live a routine life and I refuse to ignore what sets my soul on fire. I refuse to do this even if people don’t agree or support me with this lifestyle….even if it’s my own family.

We have to remember that our lives are just that – our lives. This means nobody else has the right to tell you if you are living “right” or “wrong”. This means that nobody has the right to tell you how you should be living and nobody should be able to impact your happiness or ability to achieve your goals. Whether you are going to college to get your degrees, you’re pursuing your dream to be a rapper, or you’re living out of a van and touring the 50 states …..make it your choice, and nobody else’s. Don’t let ANYONE or ANYTHING get in the way of living the life you’ve always dreamed of.

As cheesy and corny as it is – we only get this one life, ya know? I don’t think people take that into consideration too often. On average, we live for around 78 years….if we’re lucky. But sometimes – that 78 years gets cut short. People die unexpectedly constantly…..and my goodness, we never ever can guess what tomorrow will bring.

So why not do what makes you the happiest fucking person alive?

Never forget that everything happens for a reason and everything will end up exactly how it’s supposed to be at some point in time. Never forget that this life is yours – and it can be lived however you’d like it to.

I refuse to be unhappy. I refuse to work a 9-5. I refuse to wake up everyday and think about how miserable I am with the life I am living. I refuse to wonder “what if”.

BECAUSE THAT IS NOT ME.

So yeah, my goals are quite vast and thought of how extensive my dreams are is absolutely terrifying…..but Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said it best….

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So, please, chase after your intimidating goals and prove to yourself and everyone else that you can do whatever the hell you set your mind to. Do what you feel you were meant to do. Don’t live a life full of regret and don’t live a life that you aren’t happy with. 78 years is a long time to be thinking “what if”. Live for yourself. And be fucking proud of it. 

SELF-FULFILLMENT IS SO DAMN IMPORTANT, DON’T LET THAT SLIDE.

LIVE WITH INTENTION. BE BOLD IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY. LIVE THE LIFE YOU WERE DESTINED FOR.

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration – @waddupkim

Contact me if you’re interested in working with me in any way by e-mail as well.

XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS.

WHY SELF-FULFILLMENT IS SO DAMN IMPORTANT

What’s in my backpack?!

I receive the “What do you pack?” “How do you prevent yourself from overpacking?” questions quite often, but it’s hard for me to answer because everyone is different and has their own preferences and necessities.

Depending on where I am going and the length of my trip, I carry all of my items in two bags. Yes, two. Read on…

Okay, so this is my very first backpack I bought years ago when I headed to Europe for the very first time. I bought it at MountainWarehouse for super cheap and I’ve used it for the last couple of years.
bagFor the most part – it works really well for what I paid for it. I didn’t expect myself to get addicted to travel I guess, so I just spent like $50 during a huge sale at Mountain Warehouse and called it good. It’s a 65L bag, it carries quite a bit. It opens from the top and also has a bottom storage area. There’s two large pockets on the side that I find useful and I like the pockets on the top portion (there’s one on the inside and the outside).

I’ve used this backpack for backpacking Europe for a few months, for traveling to Indonesia for about a month, for my trip around the US, etc…etc…..

I’ve also used it for longer hikes: A hike in the desert to Havasupai for a few days (didn’t like my bag for this hike), the Trolltunga hike in Norway in lots of snow for one day, etc etc.

I see people using their $200-$400 bags, and they’re nice, but I’m cheap and this one works fine for me. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it 😉

WHAT’S IN THE BAG, KIM?

Depending on what kind of trip you’re taking, what weather you’ll be dealing with, what you’re going to be doing, and how long you’ll be gone……is how you’re going to pack your backpack full of fun.

For my lower half:

  • ALWAYS a black pair of leggings. I usually travel in these because they’re comfortable and I get really cold on airplanes. Leggings are also just usable pretty much anywhere, so, yeah.
  • A pair of jeans. If I’m going somewhere tropical, none. If I’m going somewhere cooler, usually two pairs. But if I’m dealing with different temperatures, like when backpacking Europe, one pair will do.
  • Shorts. If it’s somewhere tropical, again, this is pretty much all I’ll bring. I’ll pack maybe 2 or 3 pairs.
  • A pair of athletic pants. These are important if you do any type of hiking, running, etc.
  • A pair of athletic shorts. Once again, used for my hiking/running. And if I’m just having a lazy night in maybe I’ll hang out in them.
  • Socks and hiking socks. I like to bring two pairs of ankle socks, and one pair of regular length socks. I also bring a pair of hiking socks. I wash these throughout my travels, so I don’t need many. ESPECIALLY if I’m going somewhere tropical, maybe I’ll only bring one pair of ankle socks and my hiking socks.
  • A pair of sandals. I always pack a pair of cheap flip-flops with me. Even if I’m going to Antarctica. Why? I use them in hostel showers. And if I go somewhere warm, I’ll bring a nicer pair of sandals, too. (And by nice, I mean a pair of Target sandals that were on clearance, probably).
  • A pair of casual shoes. (ex: Converse)
  • Hiking boots or shoes. Of course, if you don’t intend on hiking, these aren’t necessary.
  • Underwear (# depends on length of trip) Once again, I wash my items as I travel so I don’t overpack these, either.

Upper half: 

  • Tank tops. I like to bring one white tanktop and one black tanktop.
  • Bras. I take one tan bra, and one black bra. Simple.
  • Sports bra. Because I like to exercise, run, and hike during my travels.
  • A couple of shirts. I like to bring quarter sleeve shirts because I can wear them practically anywhere I go, but this also depends on the weather. If it’s tropical I’ll bring 5 or 6 tank tops and short sleeves. If it’s cooler, I’ll bring 5 longer sleeved shirts. Either way, usually around 5 shirts will do for my trips.
  • A dress. Nothing fancy. Something easily rollable. For the nights I go out, whether I’m going dancing or out to dinner with someone. A simple dress from Marshalls is all a girl needs, I’m tellin’ ya.
  • A sweatshirt. I like to bring one crew-neck or zip-up with me.
  • Jacket. I tend to always bring a light-weight jacket that is waterproof. I can use it outside and during my hikes.

Now, for my miscellaneous items, I pretty much buy anything travel sized.

I carry a small bag for toiletries including:

  • Travel size shampoo/conditioner
  • Travel size soap/body wash
  • Travel size face wash 
  • My medications 
  • Travel size first aid kit
  • Travel size tooth brush and paste
  • Travel size hair brush
  • And usually a small makeup bag

Other random items that come with me:

I always travel with: My GoPro camera, my Canon camera, my GoPro mounts, a bathing suit, my license, my SSC, my passport, emergency information sheet, and other necessary travel documents.

On the right side pocket of my backpack you will find: Ziplock bags, plastic bags, a small travel umbrella. Super weird: But I promise, they will come in handy and I will forever carry them with me. Ziplock bags come in handy for food items and work well if you hike. Plastic bags for dirty or wet clothes. Umbrella…..well…..rain.

On the left side pocket of my backpack you will find: I do a lot of hiking and sometimes camping overnight – so I will carry reusable plastic silverware, a whistle, a flashlight, matches, and a compass.

 

And if you need anything on your trip – just buy it there. Easy peasy. If there’s something you might forget…..you can probably buy it wherever you’re going. Don’t worry. 

 

My second bag is my beloved daypack.

I have a couple different daypacks that I bring with me throughout my travels. Basically, this is my carry-on bag with my folder (I usually have a travel folder with all my papers), my cameras, and other random things that don’t fit in my backpack or some items I’d like to have with me on the plane. When I get where I’m going to – I use this bag for my day trips and my hiking. So, I always make sure my daypacks have good holders on the side for my water bottle and/or a bag that allows me to use my Camelbak Hydration Pack. (Meaning there’s a little hole towards the top of the bag where I can run the water tube through).

OVERPACKING TIPS:

Get together what you think you’ll need and you can probably take away half of it. It’s hard to pack, really. But just think about how this backpack is going to be on your back for numerous hours some days – and truly decide on what is a NEED and what is a WANT. You don’t need to bring 5 dresses unless you plan on going out every night to a nice dinner. You don’t need to bring a bunch of shoes. Needs. Needs. Needs.

This was a more difficult blog to write out because EVERYONE and EVERY TRIP is different, but on average, this is a list that I tend to follow along with. A lot of people have been asking me what I pack – so hopefully this helped the slightest. Happy traveling!

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration – @waddupkim

Contact me if you’re interested in working with me in any way by e-mail as well.

  • XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS.
What’s in my backpack?!

How I Afford Traveling the World By Myself at 21

I don’t travel through any type of program. My parents do not give me money to travel. I don’t have a sugar daddy. There are no travel agents or booking companies that are on standby. I just travel by myself. 🙂

 (Edit: any way of travel is good travel).

Ahhhhh, yes. The question I receive numerous times on the daily.

“How do you do all of this?”

First and foremost, I have learned and still continue to learn “how to travel” every time I step foot somewhere rather than my home state Michigan.

  • $$$: So basically….I work at a restaurant. Aaaaaaand I work there a lot. I save my money. This is the most important thing I can tell you, folks. Spending your money on NEEDS not WANTS. You won’t see me in the Starbucks drive-thru every morning waiting on a Java Chip Frappe to wake me up. You won’t catch me at Applebees for half-off appetizers every Friday night. I don’t go shopping all of the time. I. Am. Cheap. As. Hell. Don’t get me wrong – I go out and have fun sometimes. Just do it wisely. If I do that – I’ll probably pick up an extra shift that week or next. Learning to be a minimalist and learning how to save money is the first step to traveling. Because if you don’t have money… you can’t buy that first plane ticket.

—– How my mind works: “$32 for a cute shirt? Do I need that? No. $32 is a week of accommodation in Thailand. I’m fine.” Self-control….holla!

  • Flights: Speaking of plane tickets…..those can be expensive. My secret weapon for flights is using Skyscanner. There CAN be some tricks to booking your flight – which I have found to be true quite often. Booking your ticket on a Tuesday afternoon around 7 weeks before your trip can typically give you the best price. Of course this isn’t always the case….but it does work a lot. Sign up for e-mail alerts and check your flights daily. Sometimes you’ll find the prices drop dramatically one day – juuuuuuust book it. I’m someone who does a lot of things last minute and I never really have issues with it, either. Meh.
  • Accomodation: This. This. This. This is my #1 money saver, okay? How do I afford traveling? I never stay in a hotel. You heard it here first. I either…

1. Couchsurf, which is free and life-changing. I love staying with locals because they are always INCREDIBLE people/families and I LOVE being able to live day-to-day like a local. There’s nothing quite like it. I still talk to all of my Couchsurfing hosts except like…..one. Good people, good people.

2. Stay in a hostel , which is so disgustingly cheap in so many countries. I typically lean towards using HostelWorld for booking my hostels because it’s easy to use, has all the information you need, and it’s safe/reliable. Example: The photo below is a hostel that I stayed at in Indonesia for almost $6 a night. Yeah…..SIX DOLLARS. I usually stay in the largest mixed room because it’s cheapest. They have female/male only dorms, mixed dorms, or you can rent out your own room. The more people in the room – the cheaper. I’ve stayed in hostel rooms with 20+ people but most tend to have 6-10 beds on average.

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Puji Hostel in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
3.  Volunteering is another super awesome way to travel. The two websites I use are WWOOF or typically I like to use WorkAway. In most cases, you will work for ___ hours a week doing some odd job wherever you find yourself – and instead of getting paid, you receive free accommodation and SOMETIMES free meals. You can do some really cool jobs and learn how to live a more sustainable lifestyle doing this. Highly recommend.

4. AirBnB is an option that I sometimes use if I want to be alone or have a “luxurious” night somewhere. I rarely use AirBnB because I’d rather stay with people – and I’ll never book a room that is more than like $25-$30 a night. That’s too much for a night, haha.

  • Food: This depends on where I am, I suppose. But basically – I don’t go out to restaurants for every meal. I tend to lean towards accommodation that offers a free breakfast. That’s always nice. If I’m not receiving meals, depending on my location, I still tend to eat for super cheap. If I’m in Europe, for example, I’ll stop into a grocery store and pick up bread/meat/cheese/fruit/veggies for cheap and that’ll hold me over for a couple days. Cook your own food. Always look for hostels with kitchens! If I’m in Asia, it’s harder for me to find grocery stores and places to cook. What isn’t hard to find, however, is street food. And this isn’t nasty, unhealthy, street food. This is authentic rice, meat, and veggies that I can become full off of for less than $5. I also tend to eat a lot of fruit when I travel because fruit is primarily cheap everywhere and I could consume fruit for the rest of my life. I do go out to a restaurant every now and then, especially in cheap countries. I like to go out with people I meet in hostels and my couchsurfing hosts. Just be smart about it.
  • Shopping? Souvenirs? Yes, of course I do some shopping when I travel. Nothing extreme. I’ll pick up souvenirs for my parents and my closest friends. I don’t have a lot of room in my backpack and I don’t buy anything heavy because I have to carry that thing on my back for hours at a time sometimes….so not havin’ that. But clothes that I can fold up and little knick-knacks are always good options.
  • Activities: This is what I spend the most money on when traveling – but it’s always worth it. Things like skydiving, scuba diving, paragliding, riding on a gondola in Venice, swimming with sharks, etc….etc….etc….I have ideas on activities that I want to do in certain cities/countries and I always try to allow myself to do them. If that means I have to pick up extra shifts at work or maybe I don’t eat dinner for two days…..so be it. LOL.
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Scuba diving in Hawaii
  • Misc: TREAT YOSELF……wisely. I’ll buy a dessert and I’ll go out and have drinks with people I meet along the way. If I go to Madrid, Spain….you KNOW I’m going to invest in some amazing churros and if I’m in Paris you KNOW I’m going to indulge on some Nutella/Strawberry crepes. And yeah, I’m going to throw back a couple 75¢ beers in Asia with people I meet at my hostel. Also: in some countries you can get full body massages for like $20 soooooooo. Whateva. Life’s too short. TREAT YOSELF. Just don’t be stupid.

Hopefully this blog post helped answer your questions – and hopefully it inspires you and made you realize that traveling the world is SO possible. If you want it – go get it.

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration almost daily – @waddupkim

  • XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS.

 

How I Afford Traveling the World By Myself at 21

Why I chose to gain my education from world travel – to those who I have disappointed.

This post may have a little more text than normal – but I’ll throw in photos too, don’t fret. Bear with me and read on.

I strictly remember a moment months ago where I was visiting my old high school to watch one of their shows for theater. I was walking down the hallway and stumbled by my old high school vice principal. He stopped and greeted me. Typical small talk ensued – and the questions “What are you doing? Where are you going to school?” couldn’t have jumped out of his mouth any faster after our “hello”.

I’m thinking to myself……everyone else he has seen since graduation would probably answer that question like:

  1. “I’m graduating from Michigan State University in 5 months with a Bachelors Degree in business”
  2. “I’m an engineer now – I graduated from Michigan Tech this year”
  3. “I’m a nurse working at the local hospital”

But here I am. Wanna know what my answer was?

“I’m not in school currently. I work at Lucky’s Steakhouse. I decided I’d rather travel the world for now. But!!! I graduated from Delta College with my Associates Degree last semester…..pretty cool, huh?”

I got the whole ‘Aw, Kim. You’re better than that. Get back to school!” spiel. I just kind of smiled…..walked away…..and then thought to myself……

Wait, what? Did he really just say “you’re better than that?” I was 20 years old when he told me this. When he told me this I had traveled to almost 20 countries. When he told me this I had lived with local families from numerous countries: literally living within different cultures and experiencing life from various perspectives. I was gaining education every single second while I traveled. I wasn’t sitting in a desk or writing in a notebook – but I was becoming more and more educated everyday.

4g.jpg

This is the problem. Two words.

Societal norms.

We are expected to graduate from high school and immediately enter a community college or University. We are expected to continue our college education consistently for years and years until we reach the desired degree. Putting ourselves into a massive debt just so we can get a “good job”….that we may or may not be miserable doing…..just so we can…..pay back all that debt? Wait, what? Skkkkuuuuuurt!

No. Not I.

You see….

I’m young. I am now 21. I don’t quite know what I want to do for the rest of my life – but that’s okay. Why should I? I still have a lot to experience and when I fall in love with something I’ll work to make it my career. I’m not going to waste my money and time going to college right now to take random classes and rack up a huge debt under my name. And honestly – I just wanted a break. I’ve been going to school since before I can remember (literally) each and every year.

So….the world is my classroom.

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I get every subject out of it, too.

Sociology. Math. Science. HISTORY. Language. Art. Fitness. Religion. You name it.

I am learning about humans from all around the world. I am learning about their cultures and how they live their daily lives. I am learning about different countries’ history – strolling through ancient sites and ruins in Rome, visiting concentration camps and WWII museums in Germany, or paying a visit to various sacred temples in Indonesia for example. I am seeing and touching what I would be looking at in a textbook.

I’m constantly surrounded by different languages and accents – where I’m picking up words, phrases and rules as I go. I’ve been eye-to-eye with some of the most important/impressive pieces of art in the world at art museums like The Louvre in Paris and the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. (Yeah, I have a selfie with the Mona Lisa….no big deal). 

I have to use my brain and do math while traveling – estimating costs of plane tickets and how much I spend each day. Converting currency daily and being able to do conversions for distance, weight, temperature, etc…..

I am exposed to different religions everywhere I go – being able to visit their churches, mosques, temples. Going to ceremonies. Experiencing their way of worship.

And of course – I have my fitness class. Not only do I walk miles on end with two large backpacks on both my front and my backside….but I hike. I swim. I scuba. I hike mountains, in the desert, through the water, and sometimes even an occasional volcano. I’ll do yoga in Bali and I’ll scuba dive in Hawaii. My body is constantly moving, on the go, and working hard.

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And I’m happy. 

I am doing what I love to do. I am living my passion. I am living out my dreams and goals.

 

As of right now, I don’t want to be in a classroom setting. I don’t have any idea what I want to do. I’m young. I’m growing. I’m learning. I’m finding myself. And that’s okay.

So – yeah, Mr. EX Vice Principal….if you so happen to read this….

I’m traveling the world instead of going to college right now.

But I’ve got one hell of an open-mind, a big heart, and a zeal for life.

Sorry to dissapoint you….but I’m happy with this lifestyle for now. And that’s all that really matters.

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I am living – not surviving. 

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration – @waddupkim

  • XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS.

 

Why I chose to gain my education from world travel – to those who I have disappointed.

Advice for every 20-something year old that doesn’t want to just work and die.

You’re what – 18? 20? 23? It doesn’t matter.

The fact is that if you want to live – no matter what age you are at – you have time. You can. You will.

Half of us at this age aren’t quite sure what we want to do with our lives. You’ve changed your major 3 times this year, you’re still undecided after 4 years at a community college and you feel hopeless. That’s fine.

You’re normal. You’re not supposed to have your entire life planned at this age. This is the age where you’re supposed to be learning about yourself – learning where you want to head in life. Learning what path you should take – and when to take it.

Within our society, we are told “know what you want to do by 18”. We’re supposed to go to college for years and years, rack up this college debt as we try to get a degree in something we might like doing, then get a job that we may or may not be miserable at, and work our asses off trying to pay off that college debt and also have money to “survive”. I say survive for a reason, because that is exactly what is happening. Surviving. Not living.

As we get older, we cringe at the fact that we can’t save up some cash and fly to Scotland for three weeks because 1.) we have children 2.) our job won’t allow us 3.) extra cash to travel? Riiiiight.

Some people want this life – sure. Some people want to follow these “societal norms” and want to live under Dorothy Smith’s idea of a “Standard North American Family” (SNAF).

But I know that many of us don’t – but do anyways. Why? Because it’s what is normal? Because it is what is expected of us? Because we were taught this way?

ADVICE TO THOSE WHO DON’T WANT TO LIVE LIKE THIS: GO AGAINST SOCIETAL NORMS IF THAT IS WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.

Yeah – I said it. Go against the norm, live your damn life, and quit worrying about where you’re going to be in 35 years. Chill out.

Truly – the best education you can receive is within traveling. Within experience.

You learn a lot about yourself, the world around you, and how to act with experience. Surrounding yourself with different cultures and languages. Eating new foods. Going to museums in Europe. Hiking in South America. Volunteering with the elephants in Thailand. Whatever.

If you want to live – if you want to experience – please do it. While you’re young. Right now. Don’t waste your money at college if you don’t know what you want to do yet. It’s okay. Many employers are going to be more impressed with you traveling to different countries and having life experience rather than you getting a degree in a perfected 4 years with a 3.6 GPA.

We weren’t made to work, pay bills, and die. We just weren’t.

Live while you can. Live while you’re young. Find yourself. Find your passion. Find your calling. Whatever that may be.

Take a deep breath because everything is going to be okay.

Norway2

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration – @waddupkim

  • XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS.
Advice for every 20-something year old that doesn’t want to just work and die.

New Orleans: A City Full of Life

Pronounced: New Or-lins, not New Or-leans. Or how all of the locals say it…..Nawlins.

This city, let me tell you what.

I just got back from my first-time-ever trip to New Orleans. I bought a plane ticket last minute and didn’t really know what I was getting myself into or what to expect. 

I arrived at the MSY airport and everyone was friendly. I was surprising my friend from Germany there. So I had a couple of hours to venture around the airport before she arrived from Frankfurt. People are willing to start conversation and it rocks.

What I learned on my drive to where I was staying: 

  1. Taxi drivers don’t care about you getting car sick.
  2. The houses are beautiful – each one is so unique.
  3. Streets are filled with people no matter what time of day.
  4. Holy fuckin’ seafood restaurants.
  5. There are Mardi Gras beads EVERYWHERE. And it is fantastic.

  The bead tree on Tulane University’s campus.
Listen. It’s hard to describe New Orleans to someone who has never been there. The atmosphere this city holds is unbelievable. So this post is going to be all over the place.

First, the people. The people in New Orleans are friendly, hilarious, and full of soul. They will talk to you, they will thank you for visiting their city, and they’ll probably dance on Bourbon Street with you. They are incredible. Unlike any other city.
Second, can we talk about the New Orleans sayings? You know, the typical sayings and unique phrases you hear people say that are only found in New Orleans? You probably wouldn’t understand them if you visited there – like I didn’t at first, but you get the hang of it when you hear it everyday. 

  1. “Ya mom’n’em” – This really just means your immediate family. People will ask “How’s ya mom’n’em?” Yep. Awesome.
  2. “Po-boy” – Not an actual poor boy. This is a signature dish of NOLA, which is a French bread sandwich full of deliciousness.
  3. “Hurricane or Grenade” – These are two of the alcoholic beverages that you can find all over Bourbon Street. Served in special glasses.
  4. “Where y’at?” – This doesn’t literally mean where you are. This is their way of saying “How ya doing?” Just answer “Awrite”. 😉
  5. “Making groceries” – AKA grocery shopping.  

Third, the foooooood. Uh, yep. The food in New Orleans is incredible. This city is filled with the best seafood you’ll ever taste. Don’t get me started on the crawfish, crab, good jambalaya, gumbo, etc. NOLA has kickass burger joints, desserts, breakfast places, and more. It’s killer.

I went to a restaurant called “Superior Seafood” and had an amazing dish. And even tried fried alligator as an appetizer….what?!

 

Fourth, you can’t help but dance around the streets of New Orleans. There is live music on every corner. And real talent. Jazz bands, acoustic, people who make music out of plastic crates and wooden spoons.  

 These guys were one of my favorites to watch. 
  

When you’re in New Orleans, there is no doubt that it is an absolute necessity to visit Bourbon Street. The atmosphere and vibes this area gives off is unreal. You can’t not smile.

 

Transportation is easy. There’s street cars and taxis, and for the ones who don’t mind a little calorie burning – you can walk!

Take a street car down St. Charles, see all of the breathtaking homes. Walk around the French Quarter. Grab a Po-boy for lunch and snag a Grenade on Bourbon. Visit the River Walk and stop in for shopping at the mall. Grab a coffee and some beignets at Cafe de Monde, and dance the streets of New Orleans for hours on end. Maybe catch the sunset at City Park at the end of the day.

    

This city is full of life, color, and great vibes. Your experience there will cling to you forever. 

Thanks for having me, New Orleans.

I’ll be back.

  

 
XOXO, AS KIM TRAVELS • KIM CHARTERS! 

New Orleans: A City Full of Life