The Definition Of A Culture Hound

The Definition Of A Culture Hound

An intro on adventure enthusiasts.

If you've been keeping up with my articles so far, you know that 1) I love to travel; 2) I love to eat; and 3) I am always down for an adventure. So, I thought I'd shed some light on my nickname (a name I'm sure most of you embody too): Culture Hound.

Before I do this, though, you need some background on me.

I’m your average 21-year-old hot mess of a college student, hailing from the greatest city on earth (if you didn’t catch that, I’m from New York City), with a serious case of wanderlust. It all began at the age of 5, when my dad picked me up one day (divorced parents, y'know?) and said, “Pick anywhere in the world you want to go and we will go right now.” I said Paris (if you asked me today, I would probably not choose Paris — too many cooler places to visit), and off we went. From then on, I traversed Europe with him and our entourage of a crazy uncle (everyone has one), a nanny, and whoever was my father’s current girlfriend at the time. We were a motley crew, to say the least.

Traveling was something I shared with my dad and, after he died, was something that I needed to continue to keep his memory alive. Since then, I have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, I have snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, I have lived on farms in rural South Africa and in Tuscany, I have surfed in Brazil, I have biked all of New Zealand, I have studied abroad in Rome, I have escaped arrest in countless European countries with just a backpack, I have survived an overnight train from Florence to Vienna, I have crashed an ATV on a Greek Island, I have lived and worked in Phnom Penh, D.C., New York, and Houston — and I'm still alive. Shocking, I know.

Now let me get back to what this article is really about.

A Culture Hound can be defined as someone who is constantly in awe of his/her surroundings and seeks to soak up every aspect of any culture he/she comes into contact with. If you break down the phrase, a hound is an aggressive dog, one that, in this case, will pursue culture relentlessly. That’s me. People will say that my best and subsequently worst quality is my hunger for life; 99.9 percent of the time, I will never say no. I'm interesting, adaptable, and hungry — hungry for stories, hungry for answers, and hungry for adventures. And I am relentless in pursuing that hunger. My thirst for life is insatiable. I am always down for a new adventure.

When people ask me what I want to do with my life, I tell them honestly that I just want to learn. Since I was a little girl I have been obsessed with learning, always trying to soak up information to relay to mostly uninterested family and friends, who would often respond with the usual “mhmm,” “oh really?” and “that’s crazy!”

This love of gathering and imparting information has evolved. As I matured, my passion for learning and my hunger for life grew. When a subject captured my attention, I became totally consumed by it, immersing myself in current topics ranging from North Korea to GMOs and agribusiness, and from Mexican politics to the history of cacio e pepe (a Roman pasta dish).

My Culture Hound tendencies also include finding the best things each city has to offer and then telling everyone I know about them: best foods, restaurants, bars, clubs, museums, neighborhoods — you get it. Whenever I arrive in a new place, I walk for hours to orient myself (my feet have literally bled from this), and then I start reading up on places and talking to locals.

When I was in Rome I was lucky enough to live with a Roman student who introduced me to all of her friends, some of whom I am still friends with. Silvia, the roommate, was a springboard. I also always find a compadre. After two weeks in Rome I met Amanda, the compadre, and my traveling, eating, exploring, man-finding, and drinking buddy. The two of us were unstoppable. There were no hesitations, no inhibitions, no uncertainties. Amanda and I were addicted to having a good time and to being as "Roman" as possible.

Unfortunately, this often reckless and impulsive behavior has gotten me into my fair share of trouble. Let's take the most recent example of this. In honor of the 10-year anniversary of my dad's death, my best friend and I decided that we needed to do something "life affirming." First she suggested sky-diving, which I vetoed, and then we settled on paragliding. Have you heard of paragliding? It's when you literally jump off the side of a cliff, attached to another human being and a parachute, and pray to God you catch some wind and float down. For some strange reason, we thought that this was safer than sky-diving. The best friend went off just fine. And I crashed — attached to a 200-plus-pound man — and landed on rocks and trees and next to a hornets nest. Suffice to say, I spent the next eight days in the hospital with 10 fractures and a bed pan.

Culture Hounds may never learn their lesson. But you can always count on us to have a good time.

(Shout-out to Elisabeth for giving me this nickname; she is my art mutt.)

Cover Image Credit: me

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If You Find Yourself Dealing With A Broken Heart

How to get over a loved one

Recently, I ended a relationship with someone that held a big deal in my life for the past few years. This heartbreak was a wake up call for me. I realized that I should not let this affect other aspects of my life. I tried different remedies to focus on myself rather than on him, which eventually worked. So here are the top three things you can do to get over a break up:

1. Remove him on every single resource

Since social media plays such a great role in today’s society, it is so easy to be reminded of your former partner. For this reason, removing him on every single platform is important. If you also see him in person, avoid him and create distance.

2. Treat yourself

Like I said previously, the main focus should be on yourself. Go outside and do what makes you happy. For example, go to the nail salon, get a massage, or go shopping. Even better, go surround yourself with people that support you, like your friends or family. You deserve to treat and respect yourself.

3. Time heals all

This step is the hardest and will definitely take some time. You will never get over him, you will miss him time to time, and you will have the memories but do not turn back. Accept your negative emotions and let it out. Then, remind yourself that you are worth more and you will eventually find someone that treats you better.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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10 Places That Will Make Russia Your Next Vacation Destination

Explore the famous landmarks that play a vital role in Russia's history.

Russia...the underrated and often forgotten tourist destination. Places such as Italy (home to the Roman empire), France (the site of the Eiffel Tower), and England (the famous Big Ben and red telephone booths) are where millions flock to on their summer holidays. So how does some new inspiration for a vacation sound?

Picture this: Moscow, the city of golden domes visible from every street, with brick Kremlin fortress standing for almost a thousand years. St. Petersburg, the northern Venice of the former capital, home to the festival of White Nights, with the sun setting at 1 AM.

1. St. Basil's Cathedral

Built in 1555, St. Basil's is Russia's most famous church and the face of the country. Located on the Red Square in Moscow, its architecture and color scheme is unrivaled, as it was designed to resemble a flaming torch spiraling up to the sky. What makes it so unique is that it is actually nine churches in one, each chapel leading to another in a series of winding staircases and narrow hallways.

2. The Moscow Kremlin

Built at the end of the 1400s, the Moscow Kremlin serves as a fortress, surrounding five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Walls with their towers, the central one serving as a clock tower that faces the Red Square. It also serves as the official residence of Russia's president.

3. The Cathedral Square

The square of five cathedrals, the oldest one dating back to 1326, is located inside the Moscow Kremlin. The Cathedral Square has served as the site of coronations and funeral processions of all the Russian tsars of Moscow in history. Today, the inauguration ceremony of Russia's presidents take place in this famous place.

4. Moscow City


Looking for a break from a long day of touring? Head over to the modern business district of Moscow City. Home to offices, financial districts, and malls, it is home to the second tallest building in Europe and the unique spiraling Imperia Tower pictured above. The mall is the perfect place to try authentic Georgian cuisine, do some shopping and relax.

4. Palace of the Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich

Built in 1667 and located outside of Moscow in Kolomonskoye, the palace of the Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich consists of 26 buildings attached through a maze of winding corridors. Without a doubt, the inside will leave you breathless.

5. The Kremlin in Izmailovo

Built in 2007, the Izamilovo Kremlin serves as a wooden complex consisting of a church and a cultural complex, modeled after fairytale descriptions of old Russia. Here you can have a laugh in museums dedicated to bread, folk art and even vodka, and watch multiple weddings take place here in one day.

6. Peterhof

Located outside of St. Petersburg, Peterhof sits on the Gulf of Finland. Laid out on Peter the Great's Orders, it is a complex of palaces, fountains, and gardens known as "The Russian Versailles". The grounds were the king's family's summer residence as to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city during that time of year. From its endless fountains to its perfect location on the gulf, Peterhof never fails to amaze visitors.

7. The State Hermitage Museum

Located inside St. Petersburg's Winter Palace complex, the State Hermitage Museum is a museum of endless hallways consisting of everything from one of Da Vinci's paintings, historical artifacts to an Orthodox chapel as well. Bring your walking shoes and be prepared to spend several hours walking through its breathtaking beauty.

8. The Splitting of the Drawbridges

One of the most famous features of St. Petersburg is the series of the opening of the several drawbridges, the first one beginning at 1 AM. Why so late, you ask? Up north, the sun sets very late in the summer, so therefore passengers begin their boat tours at midnight and take a cruise through the city to watch the different colored bridges open up before their eyes.

9. The Catherine Palace

Located in the town of Pushkino in the Tsarskoye Selo, the palace was built as a summer residence for Catherine I. The complex consists of sprawling land, gardens and a well-kept property, making it a popular tourist destination.

10. The Peter and Paul Fortress

Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, the fortress was St. Petersburg's original citadel in the shape of a star. It is also a part of the St. Petersburg State Museum of History today. In the time of the Russian revolution, it also held prisoners. You can walk into their former cells and take a tour of their former living quarters, as well as the church in the other building.

Although 10 places could hardly capture the timeless and unique beauty of Russia, it gives tourists a new destination to add to their bucket list. The largest country in the world has much for its own people to explore as well.

Cover Image Credit: Personal Photo

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