Sorry to be THAT guy…

especially on Halloween, but I interrupt your candy binging with big news!

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That’s not news to anybody…. Here’s the real news:
I have officially bought my first domain and website!

All the content you love on sweettoothnothings.wordpress.com has been transferred over to my fancy schmancy new site: sweettoothtravels.com

It’ll be more professional, hopefully.
More monetarily beneficial for me, hopefully.
And… it’s way less characters to type into your browser, for sure!

Unfortunately, that does mean you will have to click the ‘Follow’ button and enter your email address again. Laaame. The bright side is, once you verify your email address, you’ll automatically be alerted of my new posts. Huzzah!

So, please go ahead and follow more of my adventure at sweettoothtravels.com.
I won’t be posting on this site anymore!
Also be sure to share my posts, follow my Instagram and Twitter, comment, and even buy a product or two.
Admittedly, I do get a percentage of the sales, but most of my money goes to travel and foster dogs, anyways. It’s a win-win!

If there’s a product you’d like me to advertise or somewhere you’d recommend I become an affiliate, please let me know. Mama needs a new dog harness!

Not to mention, if you have a business with which you’d like some support, let me know! I’m happy to help, collaborate, or do whatever I can to get your business going.

Thank you, thank you, thank you ALL for your continuing support. I adore ya.
Happy Halloween!

Instagram: @sweettoothtravels

Twitter: @sweettoothvegan

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Fun in AC for Everyone!

Never in a million years would I have believed that I’d be anxious to go to Atlantic City. Not even once, much less twice in one year! What do they have to offer little, innocent me? Aside from parties, great food, a beautiful beach, amazing hotels and casinos, gorgeous people, and an indescribable energy….

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This time I was in Atlantic for two days and a night with the fella to whom I introduced you last time, and his son. They really made the experience even better. We drove the two hours from Jersey City to Atlantic City in their family Lexus with Top 100 Hits playing in the background as we discussed life, death, and everything in between. Let me tell you, these two are quite a pair; the laughs and fun are endless!

A great soundtrack for your adventure:

You Want It Darker

My one concern was that his 19 year old son would be bored! However, we discussed the plan and made sure everyone would be entertained and content. After all, drinking, gambling, and partying are not the only things to do in Atlantic City. Not to mention, there was plenty of food! What does a teenage boy love more than food?

When we got to AC, we were tired, but not ready to stop just yet. We ate at the Asian restaurant in Harrah’s Resort and Casino- where we were staying for the night. They didn’t have too many vegan options, but I had edamame and they each had sushi and sashimi.
After some wandering and window shopping, the young guy was exhausted and went to hang out with my dog in the room. Meanwhile, the two big kids went to Harrah’s ‘Pool After Dark’! Considering how many cars were in the self-park garage, the crowd seemed slim. Still, we grabbed a drink and partied with Ja Rule; he was the guest host that night.
Now, that’s a name I haven’t heard in awhile!

The funny thing about the ‘Pool After Dark’ is that no one ever seems to be in the pool. Everyone creeps around it, trying not to fall in. Though, two brave men were chilling out on pool floats in their swimming trunks this time. They looked comfortable. Everyone else just congregated in cliques and danced like only people from New Jersey can dance. new_jersey_pumps_fists_classic_round_sticker-re4aea560380e431e9890426d396bd2a9_v9waf_8byvr_324We did what we came to do: pump our arms and lose money! Well, he lost money. I did my usual one-game-only: one roll in roulette– black. Doubled my money and walked away. Like a champ. Once hunger struck, we went to the 24 hour hotel cafe. He got a fruit tart that looked a bit frigid and sad, and I got an apple. A green Granny Smith apple. Will I never learn to carry snacks with me everywhere I go? We ate our late night snack, and went off to bed just in time for the sun to rise.

Next time, I’m bringing these:

KIND Bars, Dark Chocolate

The next day was no less fun or eventful. After a long, satisfying meal in the Borgata’s buffet, we did a little more window shopping. This time we made a huge purchase- a black and grey hoodie with the name ‘Borgata’ on it. For me, of course!

Unfortunately, we once again did not plan ahead well enough and missed out on seeing a show. The shows were later in the evening and nothing that we were too interested in seeing. Eyeing the rain outside, and knowing how anxious his son was to see the movie Jack Reacher, we went to a movie theatre not far from Tropicana . It looked like a shabby theatre from the outside, but the inside was large, clean, very buttery smelling, and, once the movie started, the darkness was impenetrable. The movie itself wasn’t my cup of popcorn, but it was lively and fun to watch it together. The group who fights bad guys together, stays together.

After this, just as we thought we we were ready to pack up and go, there was a realization that everyone was tired and hungry again. Hungry and tired. Driving two hours in a car together when everyone is hungry and tired is just asking for trouble. We couldn’t do much for the sleepiness, aside from some energy drinks, but the hunger could be solved with no difficulty at all. When we discovered there was a Buddakan in Caesar’s Palace, we knew where to go.

The Buddakan in New York City is absolutely awe-inspiring, but I’ll admit, I think Caesar’s version may have it trumped. Starting with the hotel’s recreation of Ancient Greece, and then a major scenery change into a faux boardwalk, we were under the Greek spell. We walked down the “boards”, looked out at the real beach with its setting sun, and entered a darkened hallway. Once you start down this pathway, you can’t help but turn your attention to the long, amber glass table leading to Buddha himself. Sitting with legs closed and heart open, he entices you to come forth, be seated, and eat!

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We did eat. Although the waitress tried to convince us that a salad and two entrees would not be enough, we restrained our grumbling tummies, and decided to only order more as necessary. We’re very responsible… and stubborn. Nonetheless, the waitress and all the wait staff were extraordinarily friendly, patient, and concerned with our comfort.

I was surprised at the limited number of vegan options, but some of the dishes could be adjusted to fit vegan needs. In the end, I went with the tofu and cashew dish and requested a side of spicy sauces. Can’t skimp on the spice!
Considering that 2/3 of the members of our table were staunch animal eaters, the salad really did get nabbed up quickly. Between the voracious hunger and the amazing ginger dressing, that salad didn’t have a chance.

As far as the main meals, I can’t speak for the shrimp lo mein, but the cashew and tofu was a delight! Being slightly less starved and deprived at this point, we had an opportunity to appreciate all aspects of this dish and its elements. Cashew and tofu protein aside, there was mint and pineapple and eggplant, too! Truly a little of everything, and all the parts of the puzzles added their own unique touch.

When it came time for the end of the meal, we were all completely satisfied and ready for the drive back. Stuffed to the gills and all! Good thing we had mentioned it was my birthday! Not that it was my birthday, but it “was” my birthday. Y’know? It was quite a surprise when along came a little cardboard box wrapped in a red bow. There was no birthday song, but the single lit candle was perfect. I unwrapped my gift and smelled the most amazing chocolate stank of my life. It was glorious.

Unfortunately, upon asking, we learned that the waitress had forgotten I was vegan. Goodbye, my sweet sweet! Fortunately, I was with two men who truly cared about me and were willing to eat my brownie for me. Plus, the embarrassed and guilty waitress brought over a strawberry sorbet that I could eat! Not my ideal dessert, but I ate it without a care or fret in the world.

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No hard feelings, Buddakan, this was my punishment for lying, I suppose.

Once fed, packed up, and filled with a heart full of joy from a marvelous day, we headed to the car with feet dragging and a little whisper in our ears to “stay… staaayyyy!”

Finally, having forgotten my phone in the hotel earlier in the day, I asked for photos that my younger comrade collected throughout the day. With all we had done and seen and all the unforgettable memories and moments between the three of us, I was anxious to have images to hold onto and share. He forwarded me the three photos he took:

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Pictures of advertisements for chocolate from the hotel wall

That says it all, folks. That’s everything.

Click the ‘Follow’ button on the left to keep up with my adventure!

If you would like to work with me or submit your own post, contact me at:

sweettoothnothings@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SweetToothVegan

https://www.instagram.com/sweettoothtravels/

In the meantime, get satisfied!

‘Things to Try’ (click the link)


Asher’s Gourmet Pretzels, 1Lb


Vegan Street Food

Florida: is it worth it?


Totally Bamboo State Cutting & Serving Board, Florida, 100% Bamboo Board for Cooking and Entertaining

This weekend I am heading to Florida! woo! SPRING BREAK… in October…. I don’t know, my life is backwards. Point is, I’m going down Sowf of dem dere Unitered States. Yeehaw? I don’t know what they say in Florida aside from lots of “Yes, ma’am!”

However, I suppose Florida has bit of a bad reputation in the media. It seems like they invent new ways to die every few weeks. There’s even a category on a website of ‘Unusual Deaths’ dedicated entirely to Florida. In case you’re curious.

Still, Florida is not entirely about murdering people because they farted in your face. Seriously, I could just write an entire post about weird things that happen in Florida. There’s more to it, though. HEY, TOURISTS! I’m looking you in the eye and swearing that that’s not all that goes on in our beautiful Southern state.

Did you know that Florida is the largest producer of watermelons in the
country. It also produces the most tomatoes, strawberries and sugar? Yeah, I didn’t know that, either. Things are starting to look up! Mechanical refrigeration was invented in Florida, too! So, you know, your food is cold because of Florida. Am I selling it well?

For real, though, Florida is totally cool in its own very special way. For one, we can’t forget the beaches. Key West, Daytona, Clearwater… just a few of the country’s most impressive sandy spots. Which, fortunately, is also accompanied by lots of lovely weather. Sure, it rains a lot, but that just keeps things from getting dull. Can’t be 80 and 90 degrees all year long! Most of your visit will be full o’ sunshine, flip flops, and sunscreen. Which also means seafood (if you’re into that), boating, and pretty photos. Everyone loves pretty photos for social media!

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This could be ANY beach in the world. I have no idea. Let’s say it’s Key West.

If you’re not really a beach bum, there’s always the incomparable Disney World, as well as Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, and Lego Land! I mean, you’ve got a park for every childhood fantasy. Or, just simplify and stick to one of the many hiking trails and parks. When I used to go to Florida, I would (and still do) run around the palm trees and chase the little lizards. They’re so cute and offer parents an opportunity to teach their kids stuff. Whatever it is parents teach their kids. If you or your kids or the mailman you brought on vacation with you love animals and nature, there’s a big variety of water, land, and sky creatures that you may never see at home.

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This rat with wings is pretty in slow-motion!

If it’s all about the adult action for you, well, forget everything I just said and just know that there are plenty of clubs, bars, fancy restaurants, snazzy tours, and spas. They’ve got you covered. Click those links to find lists of the best in Florida.

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If you fall asleep at 9PM, you can tell everyone you took this picture.

BUUUUT… since I’m not sponsored by Disney or Florida vacations dot blah blah, I will tell you the negatives. It’s FLORIDA! Mosquitoes, crazy people, and alligators everywhere, tourists wearing Mickey ears, old people dying all over the place, humidity ruining everything you once loved about yourself, and the real life possibility of Sharknado. It could happen, and if it does, Florida is getting it first and worst. Plus, hey, don’t forget that George Zimmerman lives there. You could get shot.

If you’re into hurricanes and sinkholes, maybe Florida is in fact that adventure you’ve been looking for all your life! Maybe uncertain death and the sound of unidentified people or creatures crawling around your home at night appeal to you. I don’t know. Whatever happens, if you visit Florida, remember, you’re the one who was jumping up and down, singing, “It’s a small world AFTER ALL!!!!”

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Click the ‘Follow’ button on the left to keep up with my adventure!

If you would like to work with me or submit your own post, contact me at:

sweettoothnothings@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SweetToothVegan

https://www.instagram.com/sweettoothtravels/

In the meantime, get satisfied!

One Year Till the World

Sitting here in my little home office, I look to my left at my bookshelf. On four of the shelves sit book after book on the topic of happiness, suicide, helping others, ethics, and how to “properly” give someone therapy. All topics which intrigue me, yet every book has a bookmark in it. Turning to my Netflix account, I search for a movie to watch…. Only to notice that I’ve paused nearly every movie and never gone back to them. Frustrated with myself, I go to read something that I find fascinating, an article about the connection between humour and the human denial of death. I make it through 4 pages, sigh, and put down the paper.

What is wrong with me?

I am not bored by any means, but I am impatient. Thrill and adventure and life isn’t coming at me fast enough, and that makes me restless. It is then that I realize what I’m missing- thrill and adventure and life. These are words I often use when describing my travel experiences, as well as what I am seeking in the world. Yet, it took me all this time to really own up to my one wish! Being too old to ask my parents to help, being too timid to ask my school advisor to help, and being too Sacrilege to ask a religious deity or leader to help, it occurs to me that I have to help myself.

That is where it began. 

The time to decide my future is now. I can’t assume that what I seek will simply fall in my lap, or that something I say or think or feel will put my life puzzle together. My horoscope and the alignment of the stars won’t guide me anywhere but to space and back; a never-ending cycle of dreams and fantasies all leading to nothing but being in the very same place I started out.

People often tell me I am destine for great things; that I will accomplish a lot because of my out-of-the-box thinking and adventurous spirit. Those alone do not a success make, however. I don’t know who J.M. Power is, but a quote of his is plastered on a motivational poster. It says,

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There it is, my friends, therein lies the problem. I have been sleeping when I have so much work to do! Not that my time was wasted, but it certainly wasn’t being spent on my goal. Reading about happiness and success doesn’t lead to anything but knowledge. Knowledge is power, but it’s not the key. The key is action. Exhaustion, devotion, and urgency with a touch of patience.

No longer is traveling an end goal or a far off “one day” passive inactivity. Traveling is what I am working towards. Traveling is what I am doing with my life, every single day of my life. I am converted. No longer do I dislike social media, I embrace it. I recognize how it will be one of my greatest companions and mentors along my way. Money is not to be squandered on more half-read books and unworn fashion. Money is another tool that I can use as an ice pick as I climb this steep, snowy mountain.  I am climbing my way to the top, where I will not just place my flag and return back to steady ground, but I will build a home up there. As tiny and empty and lonely as it may be at times, my core desires and passions in life will not be sidestepped for the implanted wishes of others. My goal is set.

Another clever quote from another gentleman of whom you’ve probably never heard:

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*George C Marshall –
15th Unites States Army Chief of Staff
50th United States Secretary of State
10th President of the American Red Cross
3rd United States Secretary of Defense*

I didn’t like this, not one bit. Rather than find Mr. Marshall and throw a shoe at him, I decided to do one better. I decided to do my thing. 

With less than a year until I get my Master’s from graduate school, this gives me one year to prepare. To prepare mentally, physically, professionally, and monetarily for the adventure of a lifetime. To make sure I know exactly what it is I am looking for and leaving behind. In a year, give or take, I put everything into action. All the Twittering and Instabooking and rambling online and netplaying (and sometimes working) will be put into play, and everything I’ve decided I want in life will be put the test. Terror and uncertainty aside, self-doubt will no longer have any place in my personal bubble.

This is why I call this year (2016-2017) ‘One Year Till the World’

My everyday existence and survival will become part of the bigger picture. Not in the name of fame or money or bragging rights, but with hopes of achieving what’s important to me. There is no destination of “happiness” or a sense of achievement and accomplishment, but an ongoing journey to find what it is that I was avoiding at the end of all the books, or why it is I could never make it to the end of a movie. Maybe it was the cliffhanger that I loved. Maybe I simply didn’t want to know. I want the tragedy and comedy to never end. And so, here I am. Here we are. Welcoming all the drama of the universe to come get me. I am bait. Once something bites, I’m not letting go.

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List of things I will need to physically prepare:

I used LifeEvolver to help me make this list

 

Passport or Visa –
A U.S. passport will get me far, but not everywhere. Some countries will allow me to get the visa when I arrive in the country and some jobs will assist in this process, but others will take a month or so. 

Immunizations – 
Some of these require a series of shots over a period of 1-6 months. Some can be accelerated to 21 days. Recommended vaccinations at: Center for Disease Control 

Backup Important Documents –
E-mail self (or use of a service like Legacy Locker) to store important documents and copies of passport, credit cards, and immunization records. Bonus: If I were to pass away while traveling, Legacy Locker would hand over online assets to a beneficiary. I realize this is morbid, but HEY! People die! 

Get an international-friendly debit card and credit card –
Check out Which credit and debit cards are best overseas article for details.
In a credit card look for: no international surcharge, and ideally, cash back with every purchase (flyer miles?)
For a debit card look for: no ATM fee (or a payback if there is one), best exchange rates, and no low-balance fee. 

Travel Insurance –
At the very minimum, I’ll need some kind of medical and evacuation insurance. It’s cheap and very useful if required. (Recommended: World Nomads.) 

Funding –
Aside from the job I will have prepared prior to leaving, ideally, at this point I will have some sort of sponsorship helping me pay the way. Donations, paid advertising, or other ways to bring in spending cash would be amazing. This will pay for transportation, food, housing, emergencies, and various technical aspects.

Housing –
This will change a lot, but an initial place to stay or a “home base” will be important. As in, somewhere within an hour or so of where I am jumping around with people, places, and things with which I have become familiar. In case things get confusing, plans get changed, or I simply get lonely, I need somewhere that feels safe. Aside from this, each place I go, I will need to utilize Couchsurfing, sponsored housing, camping, or jobs that will provide accommodations (hostels, au pair, teaching English….) What I can arrange beforehand may differ from the reality, so I have to prepare multiple options. 

Technology/Communication –
Not only do I have to research what products are best for long term travel (a camera, specifically), I will also need to find out about services abroad. Although I do love sending letters and postcards, these don’t work when time is of the essence. Internet and phone service may be limited in some regions, but if I can’t archive my experiences, they’re not going to be very useful for travel writing! Not to mention, work-related emails, travel information, and calls to my family will make contact with the rest of the world extremely important! 

Am I forgetting anything? That is, aside from packing, the pain of “goodbye”, and mentally preparing for the most exciting and terrifying life of my… life…..?

For my own use, and yours, here are a few more blogs on the whats, wheres, whens, whys, and hows of traveling for a living:

Medium.com – How to prepare for a long-term work and travel trip.
My Procedure, Best Picks, and Data Roaming Package Advice

Just One Way Ticket – Travel for the rest of my life: 15 travel bloggers tell how to do it

UBC – Preparing for Travel: Before, During, and After Your Trip

Nomadtopia – 7 Steps to a Life of Travel

And there are many, many more blogs and websites just like these! Google is your friend. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram will help, too! If you’re planning/beginning/ending/in the middle of your own world travel for pleasure or business, tell me about it!

Click the ‘Follow’ button on the left to keep up with my adventure!

If you would like to work with me or submit your own post, contact me at:

sweettoothnothings@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SweetToothVegan

https://www.instagram.com/sweettoothtravels/

In the meantime, get satisfied!

My Top 10 Cities!

There is SO, SO much of the world left for me to see…. However, there is also a whole lot that I’ve already seen! I am SO LUCKY! All the countries I’ve visited have impacted me in some deep way, and the memories will always stay with me. Still, I know what I like and what I don’t like, and I take both seriously. With all the time and money that goes into travel, it’s helpful to have someone to point you in the right direction!

Four continents, over 30 countries, and 34  U.S. states in, my experience is both limited but also informed. People will often ask me, “Did you like ____?” or “Should I go to….?”

My answer is usually, “Yes. Do it.”

My attempt to make a list of “10 Worst Cities” was futile, as I couldn’t name a single place where I didn’t find something I loved! Call me easily amused, but I have had a ball around the world and in my very own little country of America. Sorry, kids, there will be no smack talk here today. However, there are definitely cities that stood out to me and hold a special place in my heart.

Now, without further ado, I shall attempt the near-impossible. I will take on the task that so many have tried and failed at (though, many have succeeded….)

Here is my list of ‘Top 10 Cities I’ve Visited and Loved’:

10. Bridgetown, Barbados. Not really one for beaches and palm trees, my expectations were low coming into Barbados. I was then extremely surprised to discover how special this Caribbean island is! The views, the people, and the laws were all… super chill. I got really excited when my tour guide informed me that people were allowed to pick fruit or catch fish and eat it without a permit or anything. It was a nature buffet! Plus, there were monkeys everywhere! Sign me up!

Sure, it’s full of big shot wealthy people going off for golf in the sunshine, but the everyday folk were just as happy, and probably happier- I know I was!

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9. Tallinn, Estonia. Most people don’t think twice about Estonia. When my cruise ship set forth for this tiny country in Europe, no one was particularly thrilled…. Certainly not me, being as naive as I was.

When we arrived, my mind was quickly changed. I am not sure what it was exactly, but something about Tallinn warmed my heart. Maybe it’s this fact that got me thinking twice:

“Over the past two decades, this former Soviet-controlled nation — home to just 1.3 million people, or under one-sixth the size of New York City — has quietly become one of the most tech-savvy countries on earth. Estonia is the 79th smallest country in the world by population but holds the world record in startups per person. It has among the world’s fastest broadband speeds. The country teaches every kid how to code. Nearly all government services are conducted online. Citizens can access their health records in the cloud and pay for parking with their mobile phones.” (mic.com – https://goo.gl/Czn3pm)

Everyone loves cheering on the little guy, right? This was my chance. Go, Estonia, go!!

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8. Cleveland, Ohio. When I tell people I loved visiting Cleveland, I get some looks. The response is usually, “You’ve been all over the world, why OHIO!?”

Ohio because the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ohio because of schoolchildren talking with me on their way home. Ohio because cotton candy in the casino, beautiful architecture, and really cool murals on buildings. That’s why.

I was surprised too, don’t get me wrong. But my curiosity for the unappreciated and unknown was enough reason to set out on the 12 hour bus ride to Ohio by myself. Not a day went by when I couldn’t find something new to do, somewhere new to go, or someone new with whom I could chat. Don’t listen to your enemies, Cleveland, you’re special to me!

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7. Crete, Greece. All of the cities I’ve seen in Greece were gorgeous and quaint. Crete stood out for its exceedingly serene and delightful atmosphere. There’s the historical Knossos to admire, sweet alcohol to sample, and houses full of women making noodles by hand…. Plus, it’s incredible standing on a hill and overlooking olive trees as far as the eye can see! It’s a simple and expansive city with lots of work to do, but lots to offer, as well. One mustn’t forget to greet the goats and scraggly mutts wandering about, either.

P.S. If you enjoy traditions and silly walks, you’re in for a treat! You’ll have to catch the Change of the Guards in Athens… or just watch this video:

Oh! And don’t let me forget to mention the fantastic vegan leek pie I had with my refreshing Mythos beer!

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6. Amsterdam, Netherlands. I know what you’re thinking, you rascal. When most people think of Amsterdam, they think of the very liberal marijuana laws. Maybe you can’t help but swoon at the thought of it. And, honestly? It was nearly impossible to avoid weed in your face as you walk along. People don’t get “used to it”, it doesn’t become “the norm”. Everyone seems to use it a lot. Cafes and shops line the streets. Don’t even get me started on the Red Light District….

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But if this is all you do during your visit to Amsterdam, you’re missing out!

Every night of my stay, I went to the local square to talk with unexpected new friends. I befriended a bunch of local and foreign musicians. We jammed and busked and had a great time, without so much as a single puff of “the weed”. I found it very easy to socialize in Amsterdam! There are hostels where one can stay or hang out, and I even befriended two Iranian men who were down for a late night party! Something about the peaceful walk along the water and the energy of the city put everyone in a bright and cheery mood.

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Plus, there’s a great tour of the Heineken brewery which includes a boat ride. It turns out, taking a boat tour with a group of drunk people is one of the most fun (and least educational) activities in which a person can partake.

5- New Orleans, Louisiana. No one will disagree with me if I say that NOLA is an amazing city to visit. With a nickname like “The Big Easy”, you know it’s gotta be good. The music, the food, the accent… it’s a groovin’ time.

This place is a big jam just waiting for someone to start the tune, which happens every minute on the minute. There’s no time for silence and stillness because the locals are just as anxious to start the party as the tourists. The bar is set pretty high, people expect a great time when they visit New Orleans, so the musicians have to deliver! If you’re not good enough, you’re going to be good enough, or you’re gonna have to go! Not that they’d tell you that, since everyone was so friendly. From day one I was part of the gang, I was family. They took care of me… as long as I slipped them a dollar or two.

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Feeling blue in the town of jazz and dixieland is simply impossible. If you’re down, you better be picking up your brass and getting right back up to play.

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4- Agra, India. With the Taj Mahal being in Agra, what more of a reason do you need to visit? Yeah, it really is that awe-inspiring. One might even say it’s “awesome”. You think you’ve seen a million photos and get it; you get the appeal and the beauty… but you don’t. Not until you can feel the flawless walls and the smooth stone under your feet. Amazingly, however, it’s not the only appeal of the city!

Have you heard of Sheesh Mahal? No, you haven’t. The name means ‘Crystal Palace’. Why? Because the walls are covered in thousands of tiny mirrors! The twinkle is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. There are a bunch of other forts and palaces and museums, as well. All with their own unique designs and features that will temporarily leave you forgetting to breathe. It’s breathtaking. And, hey, the super delicious Indian food doesn’t hurt one bit!

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3- Negev Desert, Israel. With so much focus on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, most people who visit Israel never get to see the “outer boroughs” (so to speak.) Fortunately, I had the right mind while in the country to find people who lived outside these major cities and knew them well. This means I went North and South, but I also went to the desert! Actually, I went to a 3-day music festival in the Negev Desert. I did this while staying with a friend/a tour guide I met on my first visit to Israel. He lives on a kibbutz with his family. This is an experience I super highly recommend. You will never experience anything like this again! It’s a commune for Jewish hippy families… how can you go wrong? With baby cows and organic fruits and veggies, it’s Heaven for anyone who loves nature and life.

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Although one would assume a desert is a place for cacti, camels, and people who are lost, there was a surprising abundance of LIFE in the Negev! You could just pick bright pink fruit off the cacti and bite into the sweet innards! No one has to starve in this land soy milk and agave nectar (get it? Like “milk and honey”?)

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If you like hiking, photogenic horizons, and communities of people full of nothing but compassion and generosity- the desert might be calling your name.

2- Rome, Italy. Is it wrong that my first thought about Rome is in French? I don’t care! Je t’aime! Je t’aime, Rome! The history, the beauty, the smells, the shopping, the people…. I just want to bottle it all up and wear it as a perfume. I would call it ‘Sublime’.

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If I could, I’d go back in time and marry Michelangelo. We’d live on the streets of Rome, create beautiful things, and drink wine all day.

With all the incredible architecture everywhere you go, fresh veggies in the market, and endless music in the streets, it’s crazy that they have even more to offer! Most importantly: the most passionate people I have ever met! The Romans bleed hearts and roses! They are so proud of their home and want to share it with any person who comes to visit. I was blown away by the warmth and enthusiasm I felt radiating from each and every Roman I met. They knew so much about their city and were so excited to share stories, history, and fun facts with me. A city so vegan-friendly, tourist-friendly, and love-obsessed is the town for me!

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1- New York City, USA. Guilty. I am guilty as charged. I am a New York loving, urbanized, city snob. I make no excuses, I offer no denial… I simply love New York City. No matter where I go, returning to The Big Apple gives me palpitations. The skyline is unbeatable, that’s a simple fact. Buildings come and go, but the beauty remains. Throw in any type of food you can imagine, a million and one fairs, festivals, and feasts, bars, cafes, parties, and protests, and you have yourself an amazing experience. Whatever ye seek, ye shall find.

No, not everyone is loving and kind, but everyone has a purpose, a place, and a role. It’s like the entire city is one apartment and every New Yorker is a roommate. We all play our part- love or hate, give or take. There’s an urgency to move and live. Room for hopes and dreams like no other place in the world. I may not have been everywhere yet, but I’ve been around enough to know that New York is special. It’s the class clown who disrupts the other kids, but everyone knows this kid will make something of himself. This kid is going places. He lives on his own terms, and that’ll get him everything he wants in life. Through the ups and downs… New York City is THE ONE.

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As time goes on, I am sure my Top 10 will change or adjust. That is because there is always more to see and do, and I can’t wait to see and do! What does your Top 10 look like? Did I heinously forget your favourite city/state/country? Let me know!

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If you would like to work with me or submit your own post, contact me at:

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In the meantime, get satisfied!

 

America: The Beautiful

America, the beautiful!

America- the beautiful.

America… the beautiful….

We’ve all heard this little jingle before, right? Right, Canada? I know you have.

Americans talk big about our country. We act like we are the Godfather of the Earth and every other nation bows to us and kisses our Floridian pinky finger.

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If that reference confuses you, notice how Florida at the bottom sticks out…. Yeah.

             36% of people in the US have passports, according to the State Department.

That leads me to believe at least 34% of Americans have traveled internationally… at least once. That’s not a huge amount, especially considering that it’s estimated that 76% of UK citizens have a passport, and this seems to be the standard number amongst citizens of other countries.

However, traveling abroad is a commitment. It’s a big step for many people. It can be a financial burden, it puts some people at risk for losing their jobs, and many people just can’t tolerate flying. So, as unfortunate as it is to know that at least 64% of Americans have never been outside the U.S., I would be a tad pretentious to claim or act as though this is shameful.

What I do find more shocking is that the average American has only been to 12 states. While it is true that some of the factors that keep people from flying abroad apply here, as well, I think there’s more to it. I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t wanted to travel abroad. As in, not everyone cares about traveling everywhere in the world, but everyone has a dream destination in Europe or Asia or just wants to check out Antarctica. If asked where they want to see in the States, it seems people become less enthusiastic. Why is this?

Are mountains in Malaysia more beautiful than those in Montana? Is the trolley in Turkey more exciting than the one in Tennessee? I think we’ve convinced ourselves that something is more worthwhile if we have to travel 12 hours to see it. The more we can dream and invent a place, the more magical it must be. We romanticize.

I would like to erase this way of thinking! Traveling within the States can be just as

Exciting

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Can’t miss the fireworks in Disney, FL!

Surprising

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A must-have for every library in Boston, MA

and Beautiful

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A sunset in Ann Arbor, MI

as anywhere else you’re considering visiting.

You can find amazing eats in the most unexpected places! Vegan food isn’t always the easiest cuisine to find, but ask around enough, and you’ll usually find something. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to bring some backup food or snacks… just in case.

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Veggie Planet in Boston, Mass. was delicious!

I prefer the simpleton’s way of travel- through Couchsurfing, Megabus, and camping. It’s usually cheaper than hotels and airplanes. Unless, of course, you’re like me and disaster and chaos always find you. In which case, it can become pricey (i.e. phone smashing, bad housing, etc….) Never underestimate cost! Better to be prepared for an emergency or a personal freakout than not.

Money aside, you get to feel the culture and life when you stay with a resident and live like a local. Maybe you’ll have the luck I had in Chicago and find a host who KNOWS how to have a good time!

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A drink made for my by my host in Chicago, IL

There’s also camping! Although I’m by no means an expert at camping, this was a great option while doing a road trip through upstate, New York. Maybe do a test run with your tent if you’ve never used one before. They’re not difficult, but can be confusing.

Note in my photo below the tiny fire. Thanks to my travel buddy, we didn’t have to suffer in the cold. We had an inch of fire to heat us and light the way. If not for that darn rain….

Tip: Sweaters and rainy day amusement. Both, very important. 

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Those ‘scout’ skills came in handy in Upstate, NY

Be sure to bring your curiosity and enthusiasm for new things! Completely unexpectedly, on another trip with the same buddy, we came across a great music venue. We decided to go in and check out the music scene in Atlanta. That’s when we heard Yacht Rock Revue for the first time. Super fun show! We made this into a habit; discovering a Led Zeppelin tribute band, a heavy metal show, and several punk rock venues. Complete with dirt, disease, and lots of booze!

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Discovered Yacht Rock Revue in Atlanta, GA

You never know what you’ll come across….

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Dinosaur attack at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, AK

What I discovered was that many people are more kind, generous, and patient than I ever expected strangers to be. There were certainly times of exhaustion, fear, and homesickness, but it’s true that you never get the chance to live if you don’t go through the good and the bad! Not every experience was perfect or ideal, but with an open-mind and adventurous spirit, I have seen and done SO much!

Not only have the people been amazing, but I’ve also been to some fascinating and fun museums, discovered great music along the way, and met some really adorable animals!

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I met Roo in Knoxville, TN

You might come across an enthusiastic and stylish protester at a Martin Luther King Jr. Rally in Atlanta.

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I tried to read all his buttons, but the march must go on….

Plenty of cities in the United States are empty and ugly and uninteresting. That’s a fact… anywhere you go in the world. Taking the risk and seeing what satisfaction, beauty, and thrills you can find may awaken and enliven you, though.

Come check out America, Americans. America IS beautiful, and it’s waiting to be seen!

Click the ‘Follow’ button below to tune in for my next adventure

If you would like to work with me or submit your own post, contact me at:

sweettoothnothings@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SweetToothVegan

https://www.instagram.com/sweettoothtravels/

In the meantime, get satisfied!