Back in August, I quit my corporate 8-5 job and sold my home in South Dakota to pursue my Graphic Design business full-time. This career change also gave me the freedom to work from anywhere - an opportunity that’s led to an incredible 4 months of visiting several new cities, states, and bucket list items… Don’t you worry, there’s been a lot of graphic design work, logo and brand identities, websites, and social media content created among all the travel excitement as well.
Here’s where I’ve been calling home the last 4 months and my favorite highlight from each:
Stop #1: New York, New York
As you may recall from a previous blog post, I kicked off my freelance journey with 5 weeks in the Big Apple! From the Brooklyn Bridge to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Times Square to Yankees and Mets games, my time in New York City was an absolute blast!
My favorite part? My 25-day gig at the U.S. Open (again, another blog post to refer to). My time at the U.S. Open tennis tournament was the highlight of my time in NYC. As a tennis fan, there's simply nothing better than spending three weeks working with and having casual conversations with top-ranked athletes. It's safe to say Arthur Ashes Stadium has become my happy place.
Stop #2: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A quick 2 hour bus ride from NYC landed me in the heart of Philadelphia. Having never been to Pennsylvania, I was ecstatic to check off my 32nd state. I only stayed in Philadelphia a quick 60 or so hours, but this was just enough time to check out some historic landmarks and enjoy a few bucket list items.
My favorite part? Seeing the Liberty Bell in person. While it looked a lot older and rustier than I had imagined, there’s something about seeing items and places in-person that you’ve only ever read about in history books.
Stop #3: Springfield, Missouri
Working from anywhere also allowed me to adjust my schedule to help move my brother to his new home in Springfield, Missouri. The roadtrip included nearly 20 hours spent in the car which allowed me to get plenty of design work accomplished on the journey. Once we reached Springfield, my family enjoyed driving around and exploring the sites and restaurants my brother's new home had to offer.
My favorite part? Having two siblings who are very goal-oriented, there is simply nothing better than watching them chase their dreams. It was so fun watching the nightly news station that my brother now works for, knowing that he’d be on screen the following week. I'm so excited to watch him start this new journey.
Stop #4: Los Angeles, California
After spending some time back in my hometown, I flew out to California for 5 weeks in Los Angeles staying with my sister, Brooke, and her best friend/roommate, Christianne. Some bonuses from my stay in Los Angeles was going to a Ellen's last Halloween episode, seeing the Minnesota Vikings win at the new SoFi stadium, and touring the NFL's Headquarters.
My favorite part? Having been to Los Angeles many times before, this trip was less touristy and more just enjoying downtime and nights & weekends with Brooke and Christianne. My sister and I haven't spend this long of a time together since she graduated high school and, honestly, the trip was so good for the soul. The highlights from this trip are less adventurous things like playing board games before bed, snuggling her cute cat, partaking in The Great British Bake Off fantasy league, and not leaving the couch to watch football all Sundays long.
Stop #5: Seattle, Washington
Seattle has always been on the top of my places to go list, so when Brooke mentioned her friend, Kendyl, was open to visitors, I made sure flights were booked ASAP. The quick weekend trip was a blast despite a bomb cyclone, atmospheric river, sneaker waves, and mini tornadoes all being in the projected forecast.
My favorite part? We just happened to be in Seattle the same night as the first ever NHL game in Seattle, the home opener for the Seattle Kracken. The excitement showed everywhere we went as there was team apparel worn throughout the city. We had a blast cheering on the team in a nearby sports bar acting like their biggest fans, of course.
Stop #6: San Diego, California
I spent a short couple of days in San Diego in November to play tourist during the day and work in the late afternoons/nights. While it may seem like other people’s night mares, I LOVE me a good hop-on-hop-off tour. where -like the name mentions - busses pick and drop off guests at each spot every 15 to 20 minutes or so. As a solo traveler without a car, this was the perfect way to see so many areas of San Diego including Broadway Pier, Balboa Park, Coronado, and more!
My favorite part? As many may have gathered from several social media posts, this girl is a big fan of ballparks (and concession stand food... who isn't?). It was a no brainer that my highlight of my quick trip to San Diego was my tour of Petco Park. From the batting cages to the press box, dugout, and locker rooms, I enjoyed every second of the 1.5 hour tour and can’t wait to catch a Padres Game in the future.
Stop #7: Portland, Oregon
I knew from my first peek out my airplane window, that Portland was going to be like nowhere else I’ve visited in the US. The beautiful green and golden fall trees reminded me of my trip to Ireland in 2019. Another thing the two trips had in common was it rained for the entirety of the trip…. And I’m not talking a little drizzle. Because of this, things like my scheduled walking tour and a trip to the highly recommended Japanese Garden were cancelled, but I still tried to make the most of the tours trip. Luckily the outdoor hiking day trip continued amidst the rain and heavy fog and IT. WAS. WORTH. THE. TRIP.
My favorite part? The aforementioned outdoor hiking day trip. Despite being rained on the entire day, this tour was awesome! If you’re ever in the Portland area, hit up Stök Outfitters. This tour took myself and another couple from Ohio to several breathtaking waterfalls including the popular Multnomah Falls. Even my sopping wet clothes and freezing cold feet could not ruin the day. Like most of my adventure days, this day trip was followed by 6-7 hours of design work back at the hostel… making it an altogether perfect day in my eyes.
Stop #8: Austin, Texas
My last destination for my 2021 travels is a favorite of mine… Austin, Texas. This was my third (maybe fourth?) Thanksgiving spent with my uncle, aunt, and cousins from Austin and - like all the holidays prior - it was filled with a good time and a whole lot of turkey and pie.
My favorite part? Besides spending time with family that we don't see often enough, my favorite part of the trip was cheering on the Longhorns football team to win at Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium with my dad and uncle.
The last 4 months have been full of adventure and growth and I'm grateful to own a business that let's me work from each of these wonderful cities. After too many flights, train rides, and hostel stays to count, I'm excited to be home for the holidays and looking forward to what travels the new year has in store.