My upcoming travel plans. And why they will go out the window.

My upcoming travel plans. And why they will go out the window.

Booking plane tickets makes me nervous. I can spend hours searching Kayak and Skyscanner for the perfect place, the perfect price, but, even if I find a great deal, can never bring myself to book. Even if I know that I have to be somewhere for something at a specific date and time I hem and haw over whether I should get there an extra day early or what time of day I should leave and arrive.

Airport flying from Colombia to Chicago

The longer I travel, the harder making travel plans gets. It seems like it would be the opposite: I’d get so comfortable picking my next place, reserving my next plane, that it would all become second nature. But on the road everything is spur of the moment. I show up at a bus station and find a bus going wherever I’m going or book a flight from a discount carrier a day or two before. I never make any decisions that aren’t last minute.

What if I change my mind? What if something comes up? What if my plans change?

It’s this neuroticism that kept me from booking the next leg of my journey until two weeks before I planned to leave.

I have commitment issues. OK?

But, after seven months back in Chicago, after my three week contract at work turned into four months, I leave on part three of my ’round the world trip on July 2. And I finally have a plan…


New York

July 2 – 11

I’ve traveled to New York more than any other city in the world: this will be my sixth time there. For the first few days I’ll be hanging out with a couple of my friends from home who are coming with me. And we have a touristy list of things ahead of us from Central Park to giant pastrami sandwiches.

After they leave, I’m spending four nights with a friend in Brooklyn and I’m excited to check out more of the neighborhoods there. Really, I just plan to wander around, hang out in cafes, eat too much food, and hang out with friends.

(Anyone in New York? Have suggestions for places to eat? Places to drink (of either the caffeinated or alcoholic variety)? Things to do and see?)

And, of course, there’s the whole reason I’m going to be in New York in the first place: The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest! On July 4 I will be stepping up on the big stage in Coney Island and competing against some of the best female eaters in the world! (Seriously, Miki Sudo just ate 40 hot dogs in a qualifier!) Be sure to watch me on!

Women's Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island

That’s going to be me!



July 11 – October 17

I’ll be honest here, I chose where to go next based on “someplace I want to go with the most affordable plane ticket.” And Peru won out. I should probably read a guidebook and figure out what I’m doing there besides Machu Picchu and eating guinea pig.

I have a big freelance project and several personal projects I’m working on, so I want to set up base somewhere for a couple of months. I start in Lima, plan to travel around a bit, and hope to like Cusco enough to stick around. Assuming I don’t spend the entire time puking from altitude sickness.

Is there a couch to Machhu Pichhu ap?



October 17 – ???

I rarely book round trip tickets, but I did for Peru because I figured it would be cheaper to fly round trip and get to Europe from New York. And, really, I was just looking for somewhere to spend three months before heading to Athens for TBEX (travel blogging conference). I had too much fun last year (#BadDecisions and all!) so I wanted to try to make it again this year. I’ve also been dying to go back to Spain and hope maybe to rent an apartment in Madrid or somewhere for a month or two. I would have just gone straight there after New York, but Spain in August is so damn hot.

Flamenco in Madrid, Spain

My real goal is to become a flamenco dancer.



Morocco is just a short skip from Spain so I’m thinking I’ll head there next. But, really, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. You can’t expect me to plan this far ahead… South Africa is also high on my list of places to go. And I’d love to get back to Asia. So, really, who knows where I’ll end up…


So those are my upcoming travel (kind of) plans! But…


They are all going out the window…

The night I finally booked my ticket to Peru I got some exciting news: one of my best friends got engaged!

And she wants to get married by November.

This is why I don’t make plans or book round trip tickets, people.

But I am so incredibly happy for them and wouldn’t miss this wedding for the world (literally), so I’ll be back in Chicago whenever it ends up being.

Screw having plans. Right?


My upcoming travel plans. And why they will go out the window.

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Tom @ Waegook Tom
    June 28, 2014at7:59 am

    You HAVE to have the Italian cheesecake at Veniero’s in NYC! Absolutely divine. Seriously. Check out the website Real Cheap Eats, they have loads of ideas if you’ll be in a budget – everything they recommend is $10 or less!


  • Ali
    July 1, 2014at3:50 am

    We’re contemplating spending a few months in the winter in Spain. Absolutely NOT definite yet, but it’s a strong possibility. Maybe we’ll see you? Keep me posted on where you end up as it gets closer! (We’re thinking Sevilla.)

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