Where I’ve Been

My general goal is to go, well, everywhere. Here’s where I’ve lived:

  • Born and partially raised, with a lot of to-and-fro travel, in St. Petersburg, Russia. It’s tough to give any real advice on the place because I’m really not a fan of Russia in the slightest, but St. Petersburg is the one place I’d recommend visiting, particularly during the White Nights (May-June) when the weather is at its most agreeable and the sun basically never sets. As for Moscow, Google Image it and save yourself the trouble. It’s dirty, loud, and there’s nothing to see besides the Red Square and a rotting dictator – the symbolism is very fitting, actually.
  • Partially raised in the Midwest, with stints in New England, which has afforded me the opportunity to see a good chunk of the eastern U.S. on a series of road trips my family used to take. I will always love my “home” state of Kansas (and maintain that our steaks are the best in the world), and I have a soft spot for Chicago as well.
  • I currently reside in Washington, DC. It’s a good city to park yourself in for a while if you’re employed in the political sphere, but it’s very transient, and it gets old pretty fast. I’ve been here for the past 5 years and it’s getting a little stale. I frequently get to visit New York, which is really growing on me, though it’s not a place I’d consider moving to – there’s just too much going on. I love the river view from the UN complex, though – there’s just something so strangely poetic about it.

… and where I’ve been:

  • Canada: always enjoyable. Loved Quebec, enjoyed Toronto, would like to go further up north and see Banff!
  • France: I’m not a huge fan of Paris, but Nice is my absolute favorite city in the world. I spent a summer there in college and it still hasn’t let go of my heartstrings.
  • Belgium: I’m a frequent visitor to Brussels for work, which I actually quite enjoy. It’s a very comfortable city for me – I get it – and it’s never overwhelming. Bruges is lovely, and I’m hoping to make it up to Antwerpen next time.
  • Spain: I never quite fell in love with Spain as a vacation destination, but the food is magnificent. Seville was probably my favorite place, with Valencia a close second.
  • Italy: LOVED Rome. The Tyrrhenian coast just south of Monte San Biagio was wonderful as well. Would like to see more of the country, including Cinque Terre and the islands.
  • Greece: Went to Corfu with a boyfriend & his friends years back. Would’ve probably been more enjoyable without the boyfriend. Overrun by British teenagers with alcohol problems. Would like to go back to see Athens and the standard fare – Santorini, Mykonos, etc.
  • Denmark: Stayed in Copenhagen with my mom for several days as a teenager and absolutely loved it. It’s just such a picture-perfect little place, and Tivoli Gardens are amazing.
  • Switzerland: Spent some time in Geneva for work. The lake is breathtaking, but after taking 800 pictures of it, there’s not really very much to… do. The old town took me 40 minutes to get around, and lunch there took up another 40, after which I went back to take 800 more pictures of the lake. I presume the mountains and Lausanne are wonderful, but I’ll have to go back to find out for sure.
  • Germany: Made it into the very center of Munich for several hours on a layover. ‘Twas adorable, but also 7 in the morning with a windchill of 20 below, so I can’t really comment on the city writ large.
  • The Netherlands: I’ve only ever spent a weekend in Amsterdam, but I did find it charming. The food was generally alright, but the pancakes were stellar.
  • The UK: I enjoy London, but I never leave wowed. Cornwall and Devon were spectacular. The Midlands I found to be perfectly pleasant. An honorable mention goes out to cheesy chips, mankind’s greatest invention.
  • Bermuda: breathtaking beaches. Breathtaking beaches. Breathtaking beaches. Have I mentioned the beaches? It’s the size of an oyster, but THE BEACHES!!!
  • Thailand: beautiful. Would like to see more of the north. The islands seem to be fairly cookie-cutter, but all splendid.
  • Mexico: the color of the water in Cancun is indescribable, the food is excellent (cheese-stuffed cactus leaves *omnomnom*), and Chichen Itza was awesome. I highly recommend Xel-Ha – a fantastic nature experience.
  • Puerto Rico: a beautiful place, but for a short getaway, you kind of have to choose between the beaches or Old San Juan, as it’s tough to really do both. I thought El Morro was absolutely worth the seemingly endless trek in 115F weather. We stayed at El Convento, which is excellent.
  • Haiti: … I’m sad to admit this, but I’m conflicted, because I wouldn’t pass on an opportunity to go back and see more, and I’m sure such opportunities will arise in my line of work in the future, but I haven’t found myself yearning for a return trip… Even though parts of Port-au-Prince look quite charming, and the views are sometimes really very nice, I found it very depressing. I’m aware of the long and complicated history of the place, and I don’t mean to lay blame for it on anyone in particular, but there’s just so much squandered potential that it’s really sad to watch. The hugely overpriced French restaurants do serve outstanding seafood, though.
  • Dominican Republic: I’d really like to go back to the beaches, as we mostly stayed in Santo Domingo, but I did enjoy the colonial city. Here I discovered that I’m deathly allergic to crab, and also that Dominican ERs are very modern and staffed by very polite nurses. When they apologized for having to charge me $40 for saving my life because they couldn’t accept my U.S. insurance, I nearly cried.
  • Algeria: this was another work trip, and I didn’t get to see much of Algiers, but I enjoyed what I saw. I’m sure the coast is lovely, and I’d like to go back. Their meats and wines are outstanding, and the Sahara desert in the southern provinces looks like Mars – the views are incredible.

For a list of where I’d like to go, see my wishlist.


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