Adventures in First Class

A ticket for a first class airplane seat is not something I usually spring for. In the past, it’s only something that’s been granted after dealing with canceled flights and other airport headaches. So after the latest airline debacle, holding a first class ticket was a godsend—or so I thought. It all started out well. A priority ticket allowed us …

The Resilient Virgin Islands

Flying over Tortola, the brown, barren landscape shimmers with pieces of galvanized roof and debris. Patches of green signify the resilience of the trees and plants only a few weeks after hurricane Irma stripped them bare. Driving from the airport toward Road Town, we pass buildings seemingly untouched by the storm, right next to ruins of what used to be …

How to Overnight at the Airport

Airports are fun, aren’t they? They cater to millions of people about to embark on exciting travel adventures, interesting business seminar trips, and highly anticipated family reunions. The airport is a maze of terminals, gates, lounges, and security checkpoints designed to shuttle people from place to place in the most effective and efficient way…right? Well, sometimes plans change. Flights get …

The Art of the Bucket Bath

When you haven’t showered for roughly 48 hours—because you’ve been busy traveling and bargaining with airlines to get you to your destination, but you end up sleeping in the airport café overnight anyway cause the airline screwed up, so you catch a charter flight out the next day—the one thing you dream about vividly, other than uninterrupted sleep, is a …

See the Light: Local Lantern Festivals

Ever since I watched this video I’ve been a bit obsessed with lantern festivals. I started mentally planning my trip to Thailand and imagining what it would be like to experience it in person. Not only is it a beautiful sight, but it focuses our attention upward, lifting our spirits, and encouraging us to let go of the past and …

Travel

The Pros and Cons of Companion Travel

Growing up, I was always told to travel with a buddy. We needed a companion to walk with us to the nurse’s office, in from recess, and during field trips to the zoo. Traveling anywhere alone not only seemed wrong, it was deemed dangerous. What if we get lost or left behind? The horror! As I got older, going out …

The Sound of Salzburg

Driving down the autobahn on the way to Salzburg, we fly by the valley villages at approximately 90 miles per hour. We’re on our way to see the birthplace of Mozart and scenes from the Sound of Music. Arriving in Salzburg, we wander through winding streets, pass towering theaters and churches, and look up at shop signs reminiscent of the …

How to See Three Countries in One Day

Talk about whirlwind! In one day we visited three countries by traveling from Austria to Italy and took a peek at Slovenia on the way home. The closest I’ve ever come to passing the border this many times is traveling from Pennsylvania through New Jersey to New York. This time was a little different, and included a stop by border …

Journey to Austria

Who knew that flying into Venice was an easy way to get to Austria? I didn’t, but was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were more affordable flights from the States to Italy, and the two neighboring European countries were easily accessible by bus and train. After taking the train to the bus station, we settled in for a three-hour …

How to do Venice in a Day

Whirlwind travel is sort of my thing. When asked how long this trip to Venice and Austria was going to be, some were shocked to hear, “one week.” While I’d love to have weeks and months and years to visit a place and immerse in the culture, a weekend in Venice and few days in Austria is the best I …

You’re Free to Move About the World

Travel has been a pretty important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Since I was a baby, my family would travel to the British Virgin Islands, our home away from home. After college, I took my first trip to Europe. Then when family started moving abroad, I just had to go visit! The craziness of …

We’re Moving!

It’s time to upgrade this ticket to first class! This travel blog is moving to a brand new, shiny site–lesleygrigg.com! A new year calls for a new start–and a new site–in order to align with the times and spark more motivation. With the change, you’ll see more from me than just travel news. All my passions will congregate in one …

Nashville, TN: Music to my Tummy

I know it’s going to be a great trip when all I want to do is listen to live music and eat delicious food. Nashville, TN is definitely the place to accomplish both. There are so many restaurants and bars to choose from, so I’m sure I didn’t hit them all, but the ones where I did sample the food, beverages, …

The Incas lived in style

Magestic, peaceful, awe inspiring. Machupicchu is one world heritage site that will really leave you satisfied, calm and charged with positive energy, especially if you have the pleasure of sitting on one of the terraces, looking out onto the site as the sun gently dips behind the mountains. Today we learned about this lost city and all its temples and …

Coca tea

Not your Grandma’s bush tea

Before coming to Peru I was aware of the effects the change in altitude could cause. I was also aware of the local cure for such effects. You can find coca leaves at every tourist trap in the area, and you’ll see people tuck the small green leaves into their cheek like tobacco. For the more ladilike way of warding …

Peruvian feast

When in Peru…

What you’re looking at is a culinary wonderland, Peruvian style. I couldn’t wait to try some of these delicacies, hence the sparse plate in front, so you’ll just have to use your imagination for what it looked like before. On the front plate you will see some scrumptious round boiled potatoes lightly sprinkled with local Maras salt. Behind the plump …

The sacred valley in peru

Hola Peru!

After three flights and about three hours sleep, I finally made it to my destination, and it sure was worth it. First we flew over the Andes Mountains, and then they became the stunning backdrop to an hour drive from Cusco to the Sacred Valley. While some may think the mostly brown landscape with smatterings of greenery leaves much to …

New city, new food, New Orleans

It’s hard not to love a city that teems with life around every corner. Live music and dancing entertains passers-by, old world architecture is enhanced with fresh flowers in window boxes, colorful art lines streets, and colorful locals add their own spicy flavor to the mix. New Orleans lives up to all expectations of a city that loves to party. …

Wine country

A Simple Life with Complex Wine

Through the hilly streets of San Franciso, past the clanging trollys and beyond all the Starbucks, we cross the foggy Golden Gate Bridge and wave goodbye to the silvery city for the day. It doesn’t take long for rolling hills to appear and before we know it we’re passing carpets of green vines across the dusty landscape. Everyone knows what …

Philly Phavs

After 44 posts detailing highlights from around the world, I think it’s about time I give some credit to my hometown, the great Keystone State of Pennsylvania.  Today I’ll start with Philadelphia.  Even though I don’t get to the city as often as I’d like, there are a few places I’ve been to that are worth going back.  Some for …

The City that Always Eats

Food, glorious food!  I wanted to sing it on Broadway during my latest trip to NYC, but musicals were not the focus this time.  My cousin may not have a gourmet kitchen, but who needs one when you live in a city with a Zagat rated restaurant on every corner?  Deciding which one to go to first was one of …

Wavering Wanderlust

Maybe it’s because traveling to five different countries in five weeks quenched my thirst for travel, but I don’t have the same burning desire to wander the globe as I did before.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of world I want to see, but I don’t feel rushed to pack it all in like I did last …

angel rays

Nick of Time

As stories of unrest flash across the headlines in not one, but two of the places I just traveled to, a mix of emotions run through me, and I’m reminded to count my blessings. The Cairo that I visited was filled with history, wonder and excitement. The people I met were proud of their country and all it stands for. …

Journey through the swamps

Where to next?

Since I’ve returned to the states, I’ve been asked this question multiple times.  Even though I felt like jumping right back on a plane two days after I landed home, I haven’t booked any trips…yet. Believe me, I will travel again.  It may not be to as many countries all at once again, but I do feel another big trip …

Readjust

Readjust, regroup, revive my savings

A week and a half has gone by since I’ve been home, and I’m still in readjust mode, slowing getting back to a routine. Last week was spent catching up with friends, uploading photos and re-establishing a normal sleep pattern, meaning not getting up at 4am every morning when I didn’t have to. This week’s goal was to get back …

Inspiring site

Impressive, inspiring, indescribable

Three words from three travelers who are now very well educated in the history and culture of Egypt–and equally impressed about the inspiring experience that’s hard to describe. To see what’s left of the ancient temples and tombs and the grandeur of it all, it definitely leaves a lasting impression. It also leaves you in wonder of how it all …

Nile cruise

I’ll admit it, I’m on the Nile…

It all started with an afternoon by the pool at the only hotel on it’s Nile side island. Now we’re lazily cruisng up river, stopping at different temples and valleys along the way. The scenery changes from lush palm forests and mango trees to sandstone quarries, used to build the pyramids, and golden desert sandscapes. Whatever the scenery, the mood …

Egyptian

__________ like an Egyptian

So far we’ve walked, talked, and ate like one since we landed in Cairo, and there’s still more to come. I say “we” because now I’m joined by a couple familiar faces: Mom, who’s always wanted to see the pyramids (check!), and Dad who claims at first he was dragged to the desert, but is now thankful for that. First …

Blending

Blending in?

After blending in with the tourists this morning on an elephant ride up to Amer fort, I will be joining the locals this evening for a festival… it happens to be a holiday this week, celebrating one of their many Gods. So I thought I would be extra festive and try to rewrap myself in my new saree. Obviously the …

Wonder of the world

A world of wonder

I can’t find the strength to leave this place–the real wonder is why this place isn’t packed. Even with all the people that showed up at 7am to see it at sunrise, there’s still a sense of peace about this little part of the world. Riding in by rickshaw, since it’s far from where cars are allowed, I finally smelled …

Great Wall of china

I’m a hero!

Yes, a Hero! That’s what our guide called us after climbing the Great Wall! It was quite a climb indeed. Young and old were huffing and puffing half way up the steps of all different depths. From this photo you can almost see the first lookout point on the right, this was my destination, and what I thought was the …

Beijing

A long walk through Beijing

Our guide warned us there would be a lot of walking today through some of Beijing’s most popular sites, and he wasn’t kidding. We started our journey at Tian’anmen square, but with no protesters it just looked like one big open space with a large pillar and TV screens in the middle. Still a thrill to see an area so …

China

Ni hao China!

Finally made it to Beijing! After multiple stops along the way, including a layover in the Singapore airport, one of the best so far, I’ve landed in a land where the color red rules. Everywhere you look there are red ricksaws, red lanterns, red neon signs, red all over my cozy little courtyard room (the photo is the view from …

GBR Great Barrier Reef

The GBR

Well, I may not have found Nemo, but I sure did see a lot of different colors of fish and coral in the Great Barrier Reef. The day long cruise started with about a 90 minute catamaran ride out to the reef, and once I saw turquoise strands in the dark blue sea, I knew we had arrived. The warm …

Rainforest vacation

Vacation squared

Nothing like a cabin in the middle of the rainforest. No phone (this won’t post till I get some bars), no TV, just me, the forest wildlife, and the beach around the corner. These few days in Cape Tribulation seclusion have been my vacation within a vacation, and now I’m recharged and ready to take on the rest of the …

Sydney escape

Last day in Sydney escape

Even though I had no set plans for today, I sure got a lot done, and it’s only 3pm! I started the morning off with a walk through Darling Harbor, and since it was wet and gray again I decided I might as well see what all the hype was about in the Wildlife park. So I finally got to …

Sydney Australia

Sydney from above, below and beyond the bridge

Sunday started with heavenly weather, clear sky, warm breezes and sun on my face. A perfect day for a walking tour of the city. What was even more perfect is that I found a local guide with the words I’M FREE printed on his bright green shirt. These daily tours start at 10:30am and go for about three hours, and …

G'day Australia

G’Day mates!

I’m officially down under! By “officially” I mean I’ve landed in Sydney, saw the Opera House and ate salt water croc on a pizza all in the last 24 hours! Now it’s Sunday morning, and I’m sitting alfresco in a Chinatown cafe waiting for some breakfast. It’s going to be a jam packed three days trying to see as much …

Best of both worlds

Best of both worlds

A wine and cheese party in one! Kiwis really know how to do it up right. If you like cheese and you like wine, why not combine the two? The amazing minds at the Gibbston Valley Cheesery did just that. They soaked their cheddar cheese in wine and wrapped it up. She had me at Pinot Noir! Unfortunately they don’t …

Milford sound

Majestic mountains of Milford Sound

On the way back to cilvilization now after spending all afternoon in nature at it’s finest. The day started with a drive up Milford Road, a twist turny mountain road with signs warning of avalanches. The view is worth the risk. Entering Fiordland National park you’re surrounded by dense forest and mountain ranges laced with glacial waterfalls. We even stopped …

Free falling

I’m free, free falling

Today I was told I was brave, but it didn’t have anything to do with the jump I just made from the Kawarau Bridge. I was having a lovely conversation with a young couple from the UK who both recently quit their jobs and have been traveling the globe. I thought they were the brave ones for taking that leap …

New Zealand

New Zealand’s finest

Promise, I’m not a lush, even though this is the second wine photo I’ve posted. It just so happens that the Pinot Noir from Queentown, New Zealand came highly recommended! You have to give me some credit though, this view definitely deserves some celebrating. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a view… this photo doesn’t do it justice, just …

Stop and taste the San fran

A taste of San Fran

After two flights, a muffin and a pretzel, I was ready to taste some real food. With a long layover in San Francisco, and an airport full of favorite local eateries, I was good to go. After much deliberation, I decided on Lori’s Diner. With burgers and napa’s finest on the menu I figured I could’t go wrong. Of course …

All packed

All packed!

Yes, I know I have two full days left before I leave, but what else is a girl to do on a rainy morning before taking a soul searching journey? I’ll spare you every detail of what went into my luggage, if you really want to know just ask, but here are some highlights: camera – an easy way to …