Cancun!

Here in a few weeks, I will be traveling to Cancun, Mexico. I’m really excited because I’m going with my Mom and Brother! We’ve been trying to go on a vacation like this for a while, so I am really excited it’s finally happening. This is a place that some people dream about visiting (myself included), so to say that it will be a life changing experience is truly an understatement.

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We’re staying in a resort called the Royal Playa Del Carmen Resort. The resort has a superb beachfront location and is just steps away from the famous Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) as well as having an all inclusive package deal. Yes, you read that right, ALL INCLUSIVE. The Royal Playa del Carmen has excellent restaurants and bars, including a pool bar, a martini bar, a tequila lounge and a smoking room with a fine selection of cigars. This resort also has 20,000 square feet of event and convention space, great banquet services and everything you need for your vacation stay needs. A winner of the Four Diamond award from AAA, the resort features elegant suites with private balconies and spectacular views along with special options like beachfront suites or suites that offer direct access to the pool. We will be provided with exceptional services like beach butlers and personalized concierge assistance. The hype is so real for me currently. cancun 2

Above is one of the MANY pools the resort has. This is the second (but definitely most significant) vacation where the entire family is 21 and above, so that makes it really special as well. Family is most important to me, so I’m very excited to be making this trip with a few of the most influential people I have in my life. The resort has a bunch of cabanas everywhere also and and endless amount of things to do.

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Look at that water!! So blue, and the only other time I have seen water like that was when I went on a cruise to St. Maarten in 2007. Traveling is one of my favorite things, and have been blessed to see a lot of different and interesting places. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and am so excited to be traveling here IN JUST A FEW SHORT WEEKS!!

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We’re doing a few excursions on the island as well. Swimming with sharks (not exactly how I feel about this yet, but we will see), snorkeling on the island, beach tours. This is a really exciting time for me, as I am about to graduate from Radford University, and start Graduate School in the fall, so having the opportunity to take this trip with my Mom and Brother is going to be one for the books for sure. I cannot wait to see this place, and show you guys the pictures I take when I’m there!!

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Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Another great vacation spot is in the great state of South Carolina. Hilton Head Island is a phenomenal vacation spot for ANY type of family, or group of friends. This boot-shaped sea island is truly a paradise nestled along the South Carolina coast. From beautiful beaches and world-class golf courses from exceptional restaurants to high-energy water sports, Hilton Head truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re here for an extended family vacation or a quick romantic getaway, there are all kinds of events and activities to check out, from fun festivals to kayak explorations. In December, the options are truly limitless. Our average daily high temperature is 61 degrees with abundant sunshine.

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Harbour Town is by far my favorite part of Hilton Head. The atmosphere is such a ‘beachy’ feeling that it’s almost as if nothing else compares. There is so much to do there, like bars, shops, restaurants, shows going on, docks so you can see all the huge boats come in and out, and also it’s the perfect spot to catch the sunset down on the water. Speaking from experience, it’s by far the best part of the entire island. I have only been here twice, but both the times have been an awesome vacation. Harbour Town is also where the lighthouse is, and going to visit the area each time we went has been the highlight of both trips.

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The picture above shows just a little how there is so much to do/look at in Harbour Town. If you follow the sidewalk in the picture, there’s a restaurant all the way down on the end of the island (You can see it in the semi-upper left corner of the picture), and the restaurant is AMAZING. Unfortunately, we got stuck eating out back when a massive storm randomly came in, but the experience was all worth it because there are plenty of stories to talk about. Those are the experiences that I’m talking about that hit really hard at home because those are some things I will never forget, with family along the way. That’s what sets these experiences apart from other, just another experience along the way that impact myself one way or another.

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Where we stayed was something that made the trip. We stayed at the Hilton Resort. It was an incredible atmosphere! Outside bars/grills, pools, hot tubs, volleyball/basketball courts, and always something to do. Of course, right outside of the resort was the beach and the beaches at Hilton Head are great as well. The golf scene was insane on the island as well, endless golf courses. I loved playing there, we played around three times when we were there. We rented bikes on the beach, and had those to ride around all day for a few days.

Hilton Head is a great vacation spot for family and friends. With all of its attractions, for people of all age,it makes it the ideal spot for a nice vacation or get away for everyone. The beach seems endless and the memories you will never (or may) forget. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite beach, but definitely one that had a lot of great memories.

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Aloha from the Aloha State

Hawaii was definitely a vacation that I will never forget. My Dad was there for a business trip, and the family got to tag along for some sunshine and a wild Hawaiian experience. I traveled there back in 2010, and I know a lot has changed since then. We stayed in Honolulu, in the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach. The resort was incredible! There were many different pools, bars (even though I wasn’t old enough), and buildings where different events were happening. It was just all-around an awesome atmosphere for any group of people to be a part of.

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This was just one of the many shots I have from one of the main pools of the resort. There was just always something to do, and something new to see each time we adventured throughout the resort, and even when we went off of the resort as well.

I’m saying this in the most humble way possible. I loved Hawaii, even having the opportunity to go see this incredible place was a blessing in itself. However, the area we went was very touristy, and I didn’t get to see some of the other islands that my friends had raved about seeing when they had visited. I would for sure go back to Hawaii, but not necessarily the island that I visited.

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This (^^) was our view from our hotel room before a storm rolled in. The scenic views of this place was something I had truly never seen before. We saw dormant volcanos, peaks in the middle of the ocean, mountaintops so big that it took hours to go up to and get to the top. Taking the time to see all I could took enough out of me to keep me amazed for a while. However, I wish I could have seen more, like I said.

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This was a lagoon that was right outside of our hotel room, and the views, like I said, are breathtaking. All of the views that I got to see were a vacation in itself, and having the privilege to do all we did was just a bonus. We rented paddle-boards on this day, and that my first experience doing that, and it was a lot harder than I thought. One of my favorite parts of the entire Hawaii experience, was by far the Luau that we attended. It was insane to see the culture of these people, and the traditions that they still portray to this day. There was so much food, music, different things to do, and the scenic views where we visited the Luau was something like I had never seen. You really felt one with the culture after going to the Luau. Funny experience: In this Luau, they were HUNDREDS of people, and I mean hundreds. I was chosen (along with my brother Corey) randomly to come up on stage for the hula competition. Yes, a hula competition. We all had grass skirts, everything. I almost feel like they did this just for the laugh, but regardless, it was definitely a funny memory that I will never forget. Hawaii 4

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Overall, Hawaii was an awesome experience and would recommend everyone to go visit if they can. I wish we could’ve gone to a couple different islands, but this vacation and atmosphere it provided will be something I will never forget!

 

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is by far one of the best cities in South Carolina to visit or vacation to. There is so much history there, and also a plethora of things to do if you go with a group of friends, or if you go with your family. The atmosphere and nightlife is like nothing I could compare to, it’s truly one of a kind.

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Every summer that my family has visited Folly Beach, we always make it a mission that we hit Charleston for at least two nights or so. The last time we were here, it was 4th of July weekend, so there were so many parades, attractions, and deals in just about every store (including the ABC stores). The light show that was provided for us with the fireworks was something I had never seen before. It was a beautiful show, and after the fireworks was the nightlife. This was the first time I had visited Charleston since turning 21, and it was a pretty life changing experience with all the bars that were there.

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One of my favorite parts about Charleston is right around Rainbow Row. The history right around that area is what makes it so special. There’s miles of historic homes, sights, and other shops right on the water. We also took a private, chartered boat out on the water for the day for some deep sea fishing for the day. We got a lot that day, actually. Most of what we caught were sharks, and I even managed to snap a shot of what my brother caught that day. It was a beer-filled excursion that was all day, and a lot of fun as well. The guy that took us out on the water was a really cool guy, and got make when he didn’t see us with a beer in hand (unless we were reeling one in, of course). My step dad loves to fish, and to see the joy in his eyes all day that day was awesome. He works his ass off, so I know how much he enjoys his vacations.

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These parts of our vacation are what really makes them for me. Going to all of these places in great, don’t get me wrong. But the time with family and bonding that we all do on vacation is what makes the memories for me. This blog is all about where I have traveled and where I want to travel, and if you go to these places and have a bad experience, you’re doing your vacations wrong. These places have an incredible amount of credibility, and also so many things to do, that by the time it’s ready to leave, you should’ve had a jam-packed week of fun in the sun and on the water.

The cobblestone streets, The Citadel, Charleston Waterfront Park, down on The Battery, Fort Sumter, Charleston City Market, Sullivan’s Island, Drayton Hall. Charleston is the ideal vacation if you want a true “southern” feeling. The history of the town, and nightlife that it brings along is something that you definitely will not regret visiting. I’m only 22 years old, but I know in the future I will be bringing my family down to Charleston because it’s the ideal spot to relax and enjoy some awesome places.

 

The Big Apple

City lights, melting pot mentality. New York City, although I have only visited one time, was a trip to remember to say the least. I’m from a fairly small town in Virginia, so going from VA to the city that never sleeps was quite the transition.

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I visited back in 2007 or 2008. It was the summertime, so with so many people in one place, it was hotter than I imagined. We took the train from Lynchburg, VA (via Amtrak) all the way into the middle of the city. I had never taken a train before, so this particular trip was one for ‘firsts.’ The only thing I knew about the city was really what I had seen in movies and tv shows. Little did I know, there was so much more that it had to offer.

In particular, there was a place that really made this trip well worth it. I know this is going to sound really crazy, but there was this food stand that my Dad and I went to almost every single night that we were there. It was a greek stand, and I had never tasted a gyro before. My first gyro was from a little stand in New York City, and it was amazing. A little stand had a line almost a quarter of a mile long, so we had to know this food was so good. I can even tell you where the stand was located; 54th and 6th. I don’t recall the name of the stand but in my head I can see the guy who ran it, just because I remember how much fun it looked like the guy was having that worked the stand.

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When visiting the Big Apple for the first time, I feel like it is a must to at least try to see something on Broadway. We were banking on seeing Wicked on broadway, however we got to the ticket booth a little too late, making that show sold out. We improvised, and we decided to see Lion King instead. It was absolutely incredible!! If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. Something from the show that I remember vividly, was how realistic all the animals looked, but more specifically the giraffes. If I were to randomly walk in the auditorium when the show was going, and didn’t know it was broadway, I would 100% think it was a real giraffe. I loved the show, the music, actors/actresses, and everyone involved really made it so memorable. I loved that movie as a kid, so seeing it on broadway really made me appreciate it more.

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If we had stayed one more night or so, we would’ve had the chance to see another broadway show. Unfortunately we had to leave a day early, but I was so lucky to be able to see just one and see the city in general.

The whole reason this New York trip was possible was because of a business trip that my Dad was a part of. Because of his company, we got to stay in the Hilton Hotel, and we were at the top of the hotel with some views that any picture could do justice. The breakfast/lunch/dinners that they gave us were amazing as well. I was extremely lucky for this opportunity to travel somewhere that is known worldwide. If you ever get to travel to NYC and need somewhere to stay, I definitely recommend the Grand Hilton.

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My Aunt works with online advertising. Her job is so complicated to the outside person, but this past december I finally found out what she actually does. Pardon the language, but my Aunt has worked her ass of her entire life with her job(s), and that’s why she does as well as she does. I mention this because she lives right in the middle of Brooklyn, NY. She lived in Atlanta previous to this, but now she’s doing what she loves in the city that never sleeps. I haven’t been up to visit my Aunt yet, however she has always said “whenever you want to come visit, you have a free place to stay.” I am definitely trying to make another trip up there, especially now because I am of age to really see the bar scene and nightlife. I have an awesome family to look up to when it comes to working hard.

Son of a beach!

The next stop is in the great state of South Carolina. South Carolina is my favorite state for many reasons. Grew up not liking anyone in college football except Virginia Tech. I started hating them for a while for many reasons. Lo and behold, my step dad came out to be a huge South Carolina Gamecock fan, so that’s how I became a fan. Started taking me to Gamecock football games, and have loved them ever since. Those memories man, some times you’ll never get back.

I know that was kind of irrelevant, but the more you know I guess. I don’t even know where to start about this next place. South carolina has amazing beaches, just like North carolina. Right near Charleston, South Carolina, is a place called Folly Beach. We’ve been going to this beach for the past 2 or 3 summers or so. It’s incredible there! I also turned 21 last year, so with there being as many bars on the beach was great. Along with that, Charleston is not but around 20ish minutes from Folly. If you haven’t visited Charleston, then I don’t even know who you are honestly. We stayed at this beach house last year that was INCREDIBLE. Folly beach is the closest thing to Oak Island that I’ve ever been to. The beach is huge, very white sand, and just a great environment in general to be with friends and family.

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From the picture above, you can kind of see the layout of where all the bars/shops/restaurants are. This road leads all the way to the beach basically (which is straight ahead in the picture). You come to a point where you can only go left or right, and that’s where oceanfront starts. They even have their own town ‘bar crawl,’ and if you want to do it, they have fliers in just about every bar that will show you where to start, best route, etc.. The people, staff everywhere and just feel of the beach in this area is phenomenal. You won’t catch people without a smile on their face. It’s the beach, who isn’t happy when they’re at the beach?

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One of my favorite parts about Folly though is how close your deck is to the beach (if you choose to stay oceanfront). My mom is definitely one of those people that’s like, “You better believe if I’m only able to take one or two vacations a year that i’m going all out.” My mom loves going on vacation, the beach especially. My mom works her ass off, so she knows what she wants when she gets a break from work. I love how lit up my moms face gets when we’re at the beach. She never seems to not be smiling, or outside just listening to the ocean. I love how close we are at Folly to the beach. I know that it’s kind of a bad thing with how close they are, but until a huge storm comes, I’m going to keep enjoying it.

I’ve previously stated about the bars and everything on folly beach. My brother is 5 years older than me, so when I turned 21 it changed a lot for him and I. Brother is definitely one of my biggest role models, so us growing up to where we are is so weird to me. Being able to drink in public with him is still crazy to me, and I just turned 22 recently. Folly was an awesome time for him and to chill and hang out, grab some casual beers during the day or whenever really. The nightlife was awesome there as well. With so many bars being in the same general vicinity, there were always some moves to make. Meeting people, meeting the bar tenders, it’s an awesome experience. I’ll never forget that in this one bar one night, my brother, best friend (Jimmy) and I hit most of the bars. We were at the last bar, and taking our last shot. Let’s just say it didn’t agree with me, and the rest is history. These are the things I’m talking about, these memories that I’ll never forget because they were with the right people at a better place.  I highly recommend Folly Beach to families, friends or anyone really. The island itself has a ton to offer, and with Charleston being so close, it’s the best of both worlds. The final picture, of the best place on the beach to the right.

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Island Time

There’s nothing quite like the excitement and anticipation that you feel when you’re a week away from that family vacation. You know that you are about to smell the saltwater in the air, probably get more sunburned than you would like, and have all of your belongings and house covered in sand. I loved family vacations as a kid, those were the best memories. A week away from home in the summer time, to be at the BEACH?! Nothing could be better. One of my favorite places that I went to every summer for probably around 10-12 years was Oak Island, NC.

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Honestly, my family started going to Oak Island when it was just ‘on the rise’ as an awesome beach spot. It wasn’t nearly as touristy as Myrtle, it was more of a secluded beach that dragged on for miles. Everything was (and still is) different with this place. The atmosphere was just so different in so many ways. Most of the time, I went with my Dad, Step mom, Step sister, Step brother, and my real brother. Colby, who is my step brother, is pretty similar to my age, and it never failed that we would get into some sort of fight during the week. I’ll never forget this one year, I was probably around 9 and Colby was 10, after dinner we grabbed ice cream at this place right near our favorite restaurant. I have no idea how it happened, but Colby and I literally got into a fist fight in the middle of the ice cream store, and had to be escorted out. It’s memories like that, we can look back on and laugh at because we were just kids being kids.

As I said in that last paragraph, our favorite restaurant we always went to was Provisions and Co. To this day, that is the best seafood and place to eat that I have experienced. It’s this kind of run-down, right on the water restaurant that is the picture-perfect beach restaurant to take the family to. This restaurant was probably 10 minutes from where we usually stayed, but it’s in a town called Southport. Southport is an awesome little beach city as well. It’s the little memories like that, that I will never forget. My family loved the restaurant so much that we generally went there either 2 or 3 times throughout the week that we were there. If you’re ever in that area, I RECOMMEND 100%

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For about 7 or 8 years of going to Oak Island, my Dad’s brother (my uncle) and Aunt, and cousins all came to the beach also, and my grandpa, all the way from Spokane, Washington! With all of those people, we would need a bigger house obviously. When we first started going there (probably around 1999) the family would all just get two condos. Oak Island started growing a lot over the years, and we eventually started looking at houses to stay in. The first house we ever rented was called ‘The GetAway.’ It was an awesome house, but for the next 3 summers or so, we stayed in a house called the Brigantine II. To this day, my favorite beach house I’ve ever stayed in. Oceanfront, huge decks that wrap around, just an awesome beach experience in general. It even has an elevator…

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Family is the most important thing I have in my life. They are the people that have molded me into the person I am today, and am grateful for everything they have done. I’ve been really blessed for the family vacations I’ve been able to go on, but Oak Island is without a doubt my favorite vacation spot. The best summer vacation I had was when I went to Oak Island for the first time with my mom’s side of the family. Corey (my brother) and I had been going to Oak Island for so many summers with our Dad, and we were so excited our Mom decided to take our word for it and book the same house we stayed in a few years previous (The GetAway). We knew the places to go, places to eat, and the beach is just perfect at Oak Island so where you are on the beach doesn’t really matter.

So, if you have never been to Oak Island, I definitely recommend it. It’s a great place to visit and even better way to get away from your job and life for a week or so!demoSlide1

 

 

 

Getting started

For my Social Media Marketing class, I am required to make a blog about something that I am passionate about. For the next 14 weeks or so, I will be showing you pictures, videos, and all things associated with places that I have traveled myself, and a few snippets of where I would like to travel also.

Here’s a quick bio: I’m a senior here at Radford University with a Psychology major, and Marketing minor. I am pursuing a Master’s degree after I graduate in Higher Education, then hoping to attain a PhD to eventually become a Dean of Students, for any public or private university.

I love to travel, I always have. Although this sounds rather hypocritical, my biggest fear is getting lost. It’s weird because once I’m lost, it doesn’t matter. It is just the ‘getting lost’ that I fear the most. With that being said, if I could go around the world and see every country in the world, I would. Different cultures, customs, ideas, beliefs that everyone experiences is why I want to travel so much. I have been living in the United States my entire life. One country, my whole life. I’m a kid from Virginia, so in reality, I haven’t seen anything. I love where I am from, I love the mountains, I love the cities. I want to see where traveling could take me, and what I could experience from everything along the way. That is exactly why I chose this topic.

It’s easy to just stay in one place for a long period of time, but that is exactly what I have done my entire life. Virginia has been home for my entire life, and I have always dreamed about being somewhere else, and somewhere bigger. Roanoke (my hometown) is a fairly large city, but compared to bigger cities, it doesn’t even compare. Broadening horizons is really my goal for all of this. Life is about seeing and experiencing things far past where the imagination can take you, and traveling IS that journey. There are different places and different people that experience what they think is their ‘daily routine.’ I want to see those routines, too often it seems that people think inside of the box, and assume that everyone has the same customs (ethnocentrism), and that’s far from true. Seeing a part of the world from someone else’s eyes is how everyone can see peace. With a little more open-mindedness from everyone, so much more could be completed and achieved.