10 Reasons To Travel to Aruba

10 Reasons To Travel to Aruba

It's called One Happy Island for a reason.

My entire life, I have been fortunate enough to travel during the cold months to a warming climate for a couple of weeks. There's Mexico, Puerto Rico, The Caribbean and so much more. However, there is one island, in my opinion, that stands above the rest: Aruba. I've been going to Aruba for three years now, and there's no tropical island I love more (yet, at least). Here are a few reasons why this little island is so amazing.

1. Weather

The warm weather, cool breeze and lack of rain are a few of the biggest reasons you should travel to Aruba.

2. Beaches

For those of you who are afraid of the ocean, there is nothing to be scared about in Aruba. The water is crystal clear with the most beautiful turquoise hues. The sand is white, clean and warm. No cigarette butts to be seen for miles.

3. Flamingo Beach

This beach is located at the Renaissance Hotel in Aruba. I have been visiting the Island for years and have always dreamed of experiencing this. I mean, where else can you roam around freely with funny pink birds?

4. Food

There are so many places to choose from, I can't even begin to name them all. There are restaurants where you can eat on the beach or out on the water. There's an Italian restaurant that makes your pasta dish in a wheel of parmesans. Here's a link to some of the best restaurant on the island. I highly recommend you do some browsing even if it's just to daydream.

5. Endless adventures

In Aruba, you can do just about anything tropical. They offer scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, parasailing, banana boating, tubing and so much more. There are some activities that I have never even heard of before. You will have an experience of a lifetime and some stories to tell once you get back, I guarantee it. (This photo will take you to a youtube video showing the underwater magic in Aruba)

6. The Nightlife

I'm not one for partying and going out. However, for those who like that kind of thing, Aruba after dark is an entirely different experience in it of itself. Everything is close together and there are all different age groups who come to visit. Gambling and drinking are legal for those over the age of 18. It's worth a try if you like that kind of thing.

7. It's easy to travel there

Yes, it's out of the country. Yes, you will need a passport and go through customs. Yes, you will most likely have to take two flights. However, it is one of the smoothest travel experiences I have encountered.

8. The people and culture

I've been to Europe, Mexico, Israel, and many places across the United States and the hospitality in Aruba blows every other place I visited out of the water. Everyone I have encountered on the island is kind, helpful and genuine. All they want is for their guests to have a great time and understand why Aruba is coined One Happy Island (I can absolutely back up that claim). There is also a huge menorah displayed on the streets of Aruba which is something I truly appreciate.

9. Aruba National Park

I mean, look at these natural pools. How could you not want to visit.

10. The memories

There is nothing better than reminiscing about the good times shared between loved ones. I will always carry my experiences on this island with me, especially since I travel with my family, my best friend and her family. I never laugh harder or smile wider than when I'm on the island

Cover Image Credit: Sydney Friedman

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I'm A Midwestern Girl With Big City Dreams

The first time that I visited the city, I felt like that was where I belonged.

College is a time in everyone’s life where people are thinking about and planning for their future. As I think heavily about my future and dream job, there is one thing that I will never forget: where I came from.

Growing up in small-town Iowa has been the greatest blessing. Everyone knew me, and I knew them. I loved being able to play and run around our spacious backyard. The free-ness of driving down gravel roads with the windows down and feeling the warm summer breeze.

I never had to worry about our neighbors being too loud, or waking up in the middle of the night because of sirens or honking horns. My hometown community was very supportive and I felt the love and sense of belonging every time I stepped foot on the field or in the classroom. I wouldn't have wanted to grow up any other way.

However, the first time that I visited a large city, I felt like that was where I belonged. Driving into Chicago for the first time and seeing the large buildings was mesmerizing. I longed to explore the depths of this large, mysterious place. Something about the rush and the busyness of the city made me feel at home. I knew right away that I could see myself living in a place like this someday.

Unfortunately, our occasional trips to the city are way too short. Since my first visit, I've dream about living in a small, cozy downtown apartment and waking up every day to the excitement of the city. Sipping my coffee and staring out my window at the bustling streets and non-stop activity. I long for daily walks down the sidewalk, passing by store windows and seeing the unique styles of clothing everywhere I look.

The city always has something to do, and the size makes me feel a part of something much bigger than myself. Growing up, my friends and family always described me as a "city girl," and living in the city seemed to fit my style, personality, and dreams.

Don't get me wrong — I loved everything about my childhood and how I was raised. In fact, I don’t think that I would appreciate the city and all that it has to offer if it wasn’t for my country roots. The city was something completely different from my life in Iowa, and that is why it excites me so much.

I am confident that my Midwestern values will serve me well in the future. My roots will most definitely follow me, and don't be surprised if you catch me jamming to country music while strolling the streets of New York City someday.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Federico Respini on Unsplash

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5 Places You Must See The First Time You Visit Anchorage

Check out a few of my favorite Alaskan sites.

About a month ago, I went to Anchorage, Alaska for the first time with my fiance. We spent four days bouncing around the city and trying to see as much as we could. We had the time of our lives. These are just a few of the highlights from our trip, and I think absolutely everyone needs see all of these places the first time they visit Anchorage.

1. The Anchorage Museum.

The Anchorage Museum was by far our favorite place that we went on this trip. We loved how the museum blended historical information with modern displays, and we definitely spent more time than we should have in playing with all of the interactive elements in the "discover" section. Plus, standing in front of the museum makes for a picture-perfect pose:

2. The Mount Baldy Trailhead.

This is definitely more for those who enjoy being in the outdoors, but we had a blast hiking up Mount Baldy. The trail is technically in Eagle River, which is about half an hour outside of Anchorage, but it's worth the drive. When we went, it was extremely icy and slippery, but every step we took rewarded us with amazing views and awesome memories. The icy conditions kept us from making it to the top, but we're hoping to try again on a summer trip in the future.


3. The Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall/The Midnight Sun Cafe.

We spent a good amount of time at the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall picking up souvenirs and presents. The mall had everything from adorable Alaskan gift shops like Once in a Blue Moose to your basic Bath and Body Works. We also really loved The Midnight Sun Cafe, a little local restaurant that is located right underneath the sky bridge to the mall. We dipped into the cafe several times and we loved everything we tried from their Mexican hot chocolate to the casual sandwiches and chips they served.

4. 49th State Brewing Co.

This was our favorite restaurant we tried in Anchorage. They have a really great atmosphere and awesome food. My fiance tried their yak burger and I had a really awesome crabby grilled cheese and seafood chowder. This restaurant was a bit pricier than most of the other places we dined at in Anchorage, but it was worth every penny.

5. The Moose's Tooth Pub & Pizzeria.

My runner up for favorite restaurant is the Moose's Tooth. This is just a casual pizza joint, but we had a great time hanging out here, and I really enjoyed the Chicken Parmesan pizza I got. It probably wasn't the most amazing pizza in the world, but it is definitely a step above Domino's or Pizza Hut. It's fun and silly to go somewhere that was so stereotypical Alaskan.

Enjoy your trip!

Cover Image Credit: Tommy Tang

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