Things That Should Be On Everyone's Bucket List For 2016!

Things That Should Be On Everyone's Bucket List For 2016!

Everyone should try to accomplish these.

We could say 2015 was a year filled with change, happiness, heartbreak, and national headlines. We grew closer not only as a country, but as a world united. While the gossip columns were never-ending, and social media tended to be consumed with hatred at times, you can't overlook the good that happened. We all had a birthday, and are one year older (something not afforded to many), and we're all reading this on a screen of some sort (How lucky are we?). If there's one thing that I learned about 2015 it's that you never know what will happen tomorrow. For this reason I've decided to change how I view life, and compiled a bucket list of things that I think everyone should think of accomplishing.

1. Visit a far-away friend

I graduated with my BA from the fourth college I attended. Aside from me being super-indecisive, I had a lot of memories made at each and every school I went to. Because these four colleges were scattered across New York state, I have friends all over. There are many I have't seen, or even spoken to in over a year and frankly, that's a little cold on my part. Sure I've been busy, but whatever happened to reaching out? In 2016, my goal is to visit people I've maybe lost touch with and try to mend the neglected relationship.

2. Volunteer somewhere new!

Since I prefer art over most everything, my volunteer experience revolves around film. For 2016, I dare you (and myself) to reach out to an organization that's out of your comfort zone.

The joy that others feels when you give your time is priceless and I can assure that you'll feel better about yourself as a result. It really is better to give then to receive in many cases.

3. Take a trip somewhere (alone)

Trains can be inexpensive compared to airplanes and can be enjoyable if you go at the right time. Travel on a weekday if possible and visit a place you haven't explored before. This may be impossible for those living in a rural area, or for those who have a full-time job like myself. But if you can, I'd encourage making the effort to go.

4. Take more time to tell your friends and family that you love them

In the United States, we really love material possessions, and sometimes these items come before family and friends. I think that it's important to acknowledge our need for materialistic things and realize that these things don't matter long term. Tell people you love them unless you're OK with everyone leaving you.

5. Write letters to friends and family who you haven't seen in a while

In a world of fast communication, receiving a letter from someone shows extra effort on your part. It lets people know that you're taking time out of your day to show you care. Also, who doesn't love mail? Mail from people you like is one of the greatest things ever.

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The Joys of Traveling Abroad

I wouldn't trade it for the for the world

Over this past spring break, I was lucky enough to go on a choir trip to Spain. We went to Barcelona and Valencia, and it was of the most amazing experiences ever.

There were about 55 people on the trip, 2/3 were the female choir I'm in, Voices, and the other 1/3 were the male choir, Singers. We prepared for months, getting song after song ready for the trip. The whole thing started off with a bit of a bump when winter storm Riley decided to postpone our trip for two days, cramming our plans in Barcelona into two days.

We had the chance to sing in some of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen and I met some of the most amazing people ever, as well as strengthened old friendships.By the time I got back, I was dog tired and proceeded to stuff my face with a pizza and then passed out for 13 hours.

I don't know how I already feel nostalgia for something that just ended, but I do. I miss watching movies with the girls while braiding hair. I miss creepily hitting on everyone on the trip. I miss some of the most amazing food I've ever eaten. I miss late night deep conversations with my roommate.

I know I can still see all these people, but it just isn't the same. These one in seven billion people are the coolest, funniest, most talented people I've ever been lucky enough to know, and I know the memories I made over the past week will last for a lifetime.

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Why You Should Visit New Orleans

There's more to the city than just Mardi Gras

For my last Spring Break, I decided to do something a little special and venture outside of New Jersey for the week. My friend and I packed our bags, but instead of heading to Florida like many college students, we headed to the Big Easy. While NOLA may not have a beach of its own, there's plenty of other reasons why this trip was so memorable and amazing.

1. The food was amazing!

From gumbo and jambalaya to Caribbean taquerias, New Orleans has so much to offer in the way of flavor and food. And much to my surprise, they had plenty of options for vegetarian, vegan, an gluten free diets.

2. The architecture was beautiful.

The unique architecture of the city will pull your eye in and make it really hard to look away. Picturesque and gorgeous homes litter the streets of the city, especially in the Garden District.

3. Cemeteries

Since the city is mostly below the water table, and due to the influence of the Spanish, many cemeteries in New Orleans feature the unique concept of above ground burials. You can visit the tomb of Marie Laveau and the tomb purchased by actor Nicholas Cage (who is notoriously obsessed with New Orleans).

4. Voodoo and Hauntings

Speaking of Marie Laveau, New Orleans is special because you can explore the world of voodoo in an area where Caribbean and Catholic influences alike contributed to this unique culture. Visiting one of the most haunted cities in America opens up doors for lovers of all that is creepy-- you can go on ghost tours and visit the sites of some of the most gruesome murders and notoriously haunted establishments.

5. Drinking on Bourbon Street

Walking up and down Bourbon Street is an experience in and of itself. The only rule about carrying alcohol on the streets of New Orleans is no glass bottles. Other than that, its open range for walking the streets with the crazy cocktails Bourbon Street has to offer.

6. Jazz on Frenchmen Street

Jazz is one of the first things I think of when I think of New Orleans. Its hard to walk around the city without hearing the soulful sound of a saxophone or trombone. On Frenchmen Street, you'll find more of a local vibe where bars have open doors and jazz bands playing almost 24/7.

7. Shopping at the French Market

Although a bit overwhelming, you'll find almost anything you could need from trinkets to food to cocktails from the various vendors in the French Market.

8. Steamboat tours on the Mississippi

One of the best ways to tour the city is on the Mighty Mississippi. Grab a cocktail, some authentic Creole food, and watch the sights pass you by.

9. A Huge Casino (with a nightclub).

Enough said. Central to many areas of the city is a Harrah's Casino with their own nightclub, Masquerade. If you aren't afraid of your wallet being mad at you, go spend an evening at the casino.

10. Festivals and Parades.

I was lucky enough to catch the Top Taco Festival during my visit, and it was one of the best nights of the trip. A ticket got me endless tacos, tequila, and cocktail tasters, and the vendors were very accommodating to the fact that I was vegetarian.

11. Beignets and Cafe Au Lait

If you didn't get Beignets and Cafe Au Lait at Cafe Du Monde, did you even go to New Orleans? And don't you dare say it is the same as donuts and coffee, because it just isn't. If you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, look no further.

12. The Restaurants and Shops on Magazine Street

A little different and more laid back than the French Market, this is a must visit area of New Orleans. The Rum House has some of the best cocktails and tacos you'll ever eat, and its worth the wait for a table.

13. Explore a city with a very rich history.

I was blown away by the amount there was to see and learn during the day in New Orleans. From French rule to Spanish rule, to the Louisiana purchase that made New Orleans part of America, the city has seen the influence of many different cultures as well as the impact of natural disasters such as fires, floods, and Hurricane Katrina.

14. National Parks, Museums, and Art Galleries

If art, nature, or history is your thing, you will love the Big Easy. With plenty of art all around the city, Museums on Mardi Gras and World War II (just to name a few), and plenty of gorgeous parks to stroll through.

15. You'll remember it forever!

Because of all of the things listed above, New Orleans will be a place that I will never forget, and only hope I get to visit again.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Kleinwaks

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