• Kristin Noel


As promised the post has finally arrived! My two week trip around America! JUST KIDDING. My trip along the east coast straight to the south! Holiday season came to an end at work and it was time for me to get rid of some of that built up time off. Originally, I only took off for about a week to go on a preplanned trip to Puerto Rico, but slowly it became a bigger, and longer, vacation. I have a very close girlfriend group from high school & for the first time in months we were all in the same place AND off on the same day. (cue shocked faces with shrieks of joy) Truthfully, they had a plan to go to Philly already and happened to mention it in our group chat. I simply invited myself along and off to Philly we went.

Malory already had plans that day, so that left Kate & I to roam the city ourselves. Naturally we ended up at a prison. The Eastern State Penitentiary to be exact. It was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but is now in ruin and said to be haunted. We absolutely HAD to take the tour. It was actually pretty cool and at times hysterical. Let's all remember what time period this was because there was a man in there that had to wear a bag over his head because he was accused, not convicted, of stealing someones horse. We toured the cell blocks, the grounds, and learned some history. All in all solid visit to a prison & we were able to walk right out! We drank beer in an Irish bar that had actual Irish humans in it, ate real Philly cheesesteaks, & shopped. I would like to note that we also took part in an altercation that was happening in one of the stores we were shopping in. I cannot remember what the actual issue was but there was a lot of yelling, a lot of me inching closer & closer to hear, and the eventual appearance of the police. I was so exhausted from such a great day that I even left my new purchases in the Uber. Devastating.

Which brings us to stop number two: New Orleans. This trip came about because Kate landed a super amazing news producer job and was moving to New Orleans. She needed a travel buddy and I needed her to not leave me yet. 1,128 miles, 8 states, and 17 hours of traveling just the two of us and it was seriously so much fun. We stopped in Atlanta on the way down and ate dinner in this cute Mexican Restaurant where I did not order tacos! GASP. I don't remember what I did order, but I remember it was amazing. We had a phenomenal brunch at home the next morning filled with great conversation, lots of laughs, and new friendships. Then we were off again with only 7 more hours to go until New Orleans. With each passing state it was getting hotter & hotter. I actually had to take off my jacket in January. We arrived in Nawlins around dinner time and checked into Kate's temporary hotel home and went to find food. I ate my first ever Po'Boy and loved it; I tried gumbo too. The next day was Kates first day of work and I was left to tour the town alone. First of all it was 70 degrees outside and I was loving it, but I noticed that everyone else was wearing scarves and jackets.

I was really proud of myself on this trip because I am so used to having someone with me and rarely trying something new on my own. I took an uber around town all day by myself. I tried new places, ate alone, and walked bourbon street. It was an incredible day. There was a very sketchy man on bourbon street walking around wearing a blanket as a cape. He stuck his tongue out at me multiple times and kept saying "THERE IS THE BEAUTY QUEEN." Normally I love being a beauty queen, but not this time! I met Kate back at home and off to dinner we went. We ordered a 32oz alcoholic drink that made us believe we could just walk back to the hotel. The gps said it was only 2 miles, but it was really almost 5. We lived to tell the tale and saw some awesome things. The next morning she dropped me off at the airport and off to the next destination I went!

Sidenote: There are a lot of families in Louisiana that are still affected by Hurricane Katrina. Reach out, donate, and find a way to help.

Here we are! The part of the trip you are probably most interested in; Puerto Rico! This trip has actually been planned for a while. My birthday and my best friends birthday are a month apart. I never really get to do anything for my birthday because its Holiday Season in retail and her birthday is in January, so a trip to Puerto Rico became the plan! Her friend is from Puerto Rico and was coming on vacation with us, so we were able to stay with her family while we were there and they were amazing. Extremely kind, hospitable, and hilarious. The weather was perfection all weekend too!

The first day we were there we woke up early and headed to a place called Guilligans Island. We took plenty of photos, laid in the sun, mildly swam in the water, ate amazing food, and simply relaxed. From there we shopped a little before heading to see the bioluminescent bay. The bioluminescent bay is made up of dinoflagallates that glow in the water ! It's beautiful. One night we went out for Kina's birthday in San Juan. It was literally so much fun. I wish I could tell you more about it, but I don't really remember much. whoops. Just know that we had a blast, danced with cute puerto rican boys, and then got lost looking for the hotel. We visited two different beaches! The water was so clear that you could see right through to the bottom. At one of the beaches there were pelicans diving for fish and I thought that was pretty cool to witness. Honestly, the best food is in Puerto Rico. They eat hotdogs for breakfast. HOT DOGS. It was not an ordinary hotdog either because this was the best hotdog of my life. I have been craving it ever since we came back.

I remember there was this one day that we were so tired from trying to fit everything in that we literally stayed in bed for three hours just napping. This trip was one for the books and I genuinely cannot wait to go back. The entire two weeks was full of new experiences and self reflection. I will definitely be planning another vacation in the very near future.

Where do you think I should go next?

xoxo, Kristin Noel


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