Lizzy’s Top 5 Bucket List

For the next two weeks we will be sharing Eloise and I’s Top Five places we want to travel to. While we have travelled quite a bit already, there is always more countries to discover and places we haven’t been to yet but always wanted to go. We were inspired by Dose of Discovery and thought it would be a great idea to share with you the countries that are high on our bucket lists.

This week I will introduce to you the Top Five countries on my bucket list and tell you why I want to go and explore them and next week it will be Eloise’s turn.

Australia

It has been my childhood dream to go and travel to Australia. While most people who live in Europe aren’t considering Australia to be a country they would travel to, because of the long flight I couldn’t be any more interested in the country. Ever since I first saw a picture of the Sydney Opera House I wanted to walk up those stairs. I can’t even tell you why this is the thing about Australia that triggered my interest in the country but I never seem to be able to get the thought out of my mind. As a grown-up I now know that there are plenty of things to be seen in Australia. I will for sure go and visit Tasmania, as Eloise is from there and I want to know where one of my best friends grew up. Eloise has told me so many great things about Tasmania and also the Australian mainland and I am dying to see all the beautiful places we have shared on our Instagram so far. While Eloise obviously has traveled a lot of Australia already, I have never been there before and can’t wait for the first time traveling there. I want to go and see Ayers Rock in Uluru and the Whitsunday Islands, The Nut and Dip Falls and I can’t miss the Big Pineapple. I also want to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge even though I am afraid of heights. Lastly I just really want to go see and experience Eloise’s home country.

 

Finland

It has been a couple of years now since I have been interested in Finland. One of the other things on my bucket list is to learn languages and Finnish made the list. I’ve been told by many people that I am crazy for wanting to learn Finnish but that will not stop me from doing it. I have learned more and more about Finland and while I definitely want to go and explore Helsinki, I also want to go and stay a night or two in the glass roofed igloos in Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. I want to see the Northern Lights and chances are good to actually see them if you stay up at the Resort. You can see them while you are snuggled up in your bed under a warm blanket. Can it get any better? Finland has also always been one of the countries my younger sister wants to go to, so this will be a great chance to travel with her. As for Helsinki I plan on exploring as much as possible and be surprised by the city itself.

 

Mexico

Getting to know the countries my friends are from will also be part of the reason I want to go and discover Mexico. I have been in Mexico for two days during a cruise I went on back in 2015 and I loved it. I definitely want to get to know the country better and learn all about it. I definitely want to go back to Cozumel and explore the Mayan archaeological sites as I didn’t have a chance to do that when I was first there. I want to go and see what makes Cancún so popular and interesting, especially for so many Au Pairs. Mexico City, as the capital of the country is also a place I want to go and see. When the time comes that I start planning my trip to Mexico I will trust in the fact that I have a best friend that is Mexican and she will give me just the right advice as to what to see in Mexico.

 

Great Britain/Ireland

My best friend and I always wanted to road trip Great Britain and Ireland. Just rent a car and start in London, go and see Brighton Pier and Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Yorkeshire Dales. Ride the “Hogwarts Express” in Scotland and see the White Cliffs of Dover. See all the amazing places they filmed Harry Potter and see the home towns of the One Direction boys. Yes I am outing myself as a fan and I couldn’t care less. I want to take a ferry to Ireland and continue the trip. Spend a day in Dublin and go to a real Irish pub. Go to Galway and sign “Galway Girl” from the top of my lungs. See the Cliffs of Moher and Killarney National Park . Spend the perfect time in a country I fell in love with the first time I went when I was 18. Explore London some more because three days is just not enough to see the beautiful city. Yes, I can truly say that Great Britain  and Ireland earn there spot in the Top Five of my bucket list.

Iceland

Last but definitely not least is Iceland. I met the sweetest girl during my time as an Au Pair in the States, during a weekend class in New York. As an assignment we were supposed to introduce the class to our home countries. Turns out she was from Iceland and her presentation made me want to go immediately. I continued to research more about Iceland and I am sure that I would have a blast if I go and explore the beautiful country. From the tourist magnet Blue Lagoon to Gullfoss Falls, from The Great Geyser to Jökulsárlón. Iceland has so much beautiful landscape and scenery to offer. I also want to explore Reykjavik. The Perlan glass dome, a building that hosts a restaurant and bar and offers a view of the sea and hills nearby. Seeing Hallgrimskirkja church and the weekend flea market Kolaportid as I love markets like this. All together I am really excited for when I finally get to go and visit Iceland.

 

I hope to get to travel to all these destinations within the next couple of years and see all the great places I have heard of or read about online. If you have been to any of these places and have any suggestions on what to see and do, please let me know as I can’t wait to learn more about the countries that are on the top of my list. I hope you enjoyed learning more about why these are the countries that made the list. Please share with us your Top Five on our social media with the Hashtag

#MemoriesAbroadTop5BucketList

Lizzy 🇩🇪

We are Cultural Care Au Pair Ambassadors

We are Cultural Care Ambassadors

It has been an interesting few weeks for Eloise and I as we are now managing Memories Abroad from two different continents.

While Eloise continues to spend another 8 months as an Au Pair before moving back to Tasmania. I (Lizzy) have – after two years of au pairing – moved back to Europe, more specifically Berlin, Germany.
While I was on the plane to Germany, Eloise has moved from the suburbs into the city and can now call herself an Atlanta Au Pair.

With all these changes going on and us trying to adjust to them, it has been a bit quiet on the blog. We got used to not being at the place we called home for the last year or two. We have not gotten used to not being together at least once a week. And as we’re still struggling to keep a video chat for the blog strictly blog related, we have great news to share.

Back in November, (Thanksgiving to be exact), I was nominated to be a Cultural Care Ambassador. The nomination came from one of the greatest people I was allowed to meet during my time as an Au Pair – Mrs. Sheila Thompson. Sheila was our LCC (Local Childcare Coordinator) and was truly a great help in any situation.

I have been an Ambassador for about 4 months now and have enjoyed helping future Au Pairs so much, that I wanted to share the experience with someone who talks equally passionately and full of pride of the Au Pair program as I think I do.
I happened to meet the leader of the program and nominated Eloise to be an ambassador too.

Just a week later Eloise received the email that she is an Ambassador now too. I couldn’t be more excited for her.

Cultural Care Au Pair, to explain who we are Ambassadors for, is the Au Pair Agency Eloise and I traveled to the States with. They operate from many countries all over the world and only send Au Pairs to the USA. One of the greatest things about Cultural Care is that you are taken care of by the same agency in your home country as well as in the US.
I am forever grateful for the people who give it their all to make the experience for us Au Pairs so amazing.

We are proud to call ourselves Cultural Care Au Pair Ambassadors and would love to help anyone who is considering the Au Pair experience.

Traveling, a Never-ending Goodbye?

Traveling is a lot of fun. Seeing new countries, experiencing new cultures and cuisines, and making new friends all over the world. Especially if you stay for a longer period of time and friendships grow closer than they would in just a two week vacation it becomes harder to say goodbye. You would think as a travel blogger we are more proficient in saying goodbye and it doesn’t give you the “Knot-in-the-stomach” feeling all that much anymore. I however think that with every country you travel and the new people you meet the feeling grows, considering you don’t know when or if the two of you will end up in the same country at the same time again. Even with technology now, you can stay in touch much easier than even 10 years ago, distance always puts every relationship on trial.

I myself had to say goodbye to my dear family and friends in the States, as I had to move back to Germany. While I am excited for the new chances and adventures that come with living in Europe, I was heartbroken having to say goodbye to the people I spent the last two years with. Surely the life of an Au Pair is a steady “Hello” and “Goodbye” and I am somewhat practiced at doing exactly that -saying Goodbye- it is something different when you are the one who is leaving.

You are thinking of all friendships and if they will survive the distance, how and where and when you will see you’re friends again. All of my closest friends from my Au Pair years are from different countries, some from the same continent and some from half a world away. In my particular case my co-blogger, Eloise, is now operating on a different time zone and we now have to find out how to make all of our meetings work. It is a bunch of things that comes with traveling and the never-ending goodbyes that come with it, but would I want to trade it for anything? Never.

I love being adventurous, open-minded and I will not stop making new friends because I am fearing the goodbye. Yes it is heartbreaking and surely I would prefer if all my loved ones could be with me for most of the time, but that is not how life works.

So yes, saying goodbye is not easy. In fact it is one of the hardest things you will have to do every time you meet someone new. All I try to focus on when I am saying goodbye is the new “Hello” that awaits when I travel somewhere new, or the “Hello” of old friends that you see again after a long time. I couldn’t be happier about the life I currently live, because it is adventurous and exciting and I am proud to have friends all over the world who are very important to me and make me who I am.

Lizzy

A Day out in Chattanooga, Tennessee

This past weekend Lizzy and I went with some fellow Au Pairs to Chattanooga, Tennessee. The day started early with a two and a half hour road trip filled with lots of laughs, Starbucks and Go Pro car pool karaoke. When we finally reached our destination our first stop was Rock City where we stretched our legs, took in the beautiful sights and marveled at how beautiful nature can truly be.

Next was lunch as we were all starving by 1pm, as Lizzy had visited the area previously she recommended an Italian restaurant named Tony’s which did not disappoint it was amazing with gluten free and vegetarian options to suit a large crowd.

 

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Spinach Linguine with Tomato and Spinach Cream, Tony’s – Chattanooga (Tennessee), USA – February 2017

Next we decided to go for another walk because we were all stuffed for lunch, we were in the perfect area for this, the Arts District. We crossed the Tennessee River on the Walnut Street Bridge, solely for foot traffic and bicycle riders. We all walked around the neighboring streets which featured many eclectic stores one of the most interesting being a store called Collective Clothing which had many cost effective brand name items.

Last of all we rounded the day off with some silly photos on animals in the park, then some ice-cream from The Ice-Cream Show before heading back to the car.

We do hope these photos inspire you to visit the area and explore for yourself.

Lizzy and Eloise

We Are Travel Girls Interview

Recently we contacted the founder and editor of We Are Travel Girls, Becky van Dijk, about doing an interview. To our great surprise and excitement she replied, We Are Travel Girls are an amazing inspiration to us and we always look to them for amazing articles and photographs. Below is our interview and a collection of photographs all courtesy of Becky herself.

For those who don’t know you quite that much, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am the founder and editor of popular female travel site We Are Travel Girls. We Are Travel Girls carefully curates and publishes only the best female travel articles from around the globe and is quickly becoming a go to destination for travel inspiration and a place where you can connect with female travellers around the world. I am from from London, England, born to English and Dutch parents and left a successful career in finance in 2016 to follow my dreams of building a travel company! I am currently in Bali and when I am not working can be found travelling through Indonesia and Asia!

You are one of the founders of We Are Travel Girls. What inspired you to start WATG?

I was actually inspired by all of the women I was seeing out in the world travelling and chasing their dreams and documenting them on social media. I started collecting images as screen grabs in my phone to remind me of places I wanted to visit and then thought I could use these to create a feature account so others would find all these great female travelers – so I started @WeAreTravelGirls Instagram on a spur of the moment morning waking up in a hotel in Glasgow, Scotland.

The page grew in popularity pretty quickly, so I started to think about how we could use this platform and the first thing I wanted to do was create a site where women could submit their travel posts to be published. At this point my good friend Vanessa Rivers, who was excited by what I had started with just the Instagram and its potential, joined me to build our site WeAreTravelGirls.com. We had a few hurdles, but our site launched in June 2016 and in the short time since then we have published over 185 articles from over 75 contributors and launched our Ladies We Love Interview Series.

Being bloggers ourselves we sometimes find it hard to get the motivation and inspiration to travel to new places. What inspires you to travel to new places, and how do you go about writing a new post/selecting the right photos? Any structure suggestions?

I have no problem finding inspiration to travel! I have a list of a hundred places I want to go to, the only problem is I keep wanting to go back to places I have been to before to see even more of them! But I do agree actually motivating myself to get away from the laptop screen to go out and see something new each day can be tough!

Regarding writing a blog post – as I have gained more writing experience through my own articles and by editing hundreds of posts submitted to WeAreTravelGirls.com I feel like I have found better ways to structure posts. First of all, it’s important to think about what a reader is interested in, or looking for on the web. They are more likely to be using a search term like “things to do in bangkok” than “is Bangkok nice to visit”. We do receive a lot of submissions that are well written and have great photos, but really don’t give any advice or tips to the reader, and are simply a journal of the authors days spent in a place. I am sure there are some readers interested in this type of post, but for the most part it likely that this type of article is really only read by your mum and friends!

Go back to fundamental writing techniques. At school you were taught to write a story with a beginning, middle and end, writing a good blog post should be no different so remember to do this in all your posts to help guide your reader through the article. You should also look to use connections between your paragraphs, another way to guide the reader and hold their attention. And always end with a conclusion and a call to action.

Great photography is also important – it will often be the image (or the title) of your post that draws in the reader. Many people work visually and images will be as important to them as the words. If you are creating a photo journal or diary, make the effort to write a short paragraph about each place and where to find it, there is nothing worse than being inspired by a bunch of photographs but to have no idea of the locations or how to find them! When you ask how I select the images, I choose a bunch of the best ones load them all in and move them around, constantly looking at the preview to check they flow well together.

If you want more tips I wrote a post 14 Tips On How To Put Together A Great Blog Post to help women to know what we are looking for in a submission.

Obviously you are giving it your all when it comes to WATG. How hard was the decision to quit your job? Was there moments you regretted it?

You are right – I am putting all my energy into WATG! I just realized I have been in Bali for 5 months and I have not been on one single day trip yet – so I need to find a bit more balance with that. But to answer your question if it was hard to resign from my job, then the answer is very much yes and no.

I first resigned from my firm in 2014 to travel in South America, at this point I had been with them for 8 years, had just been promoted, had worked extremely hard to build a book of high net worth clients and was overall in a great position in my career. But I had met someone who was from California and we wanted to pursue our relationship – so in some ways that made the decision easy for me – but believe me telling my bosses, was extremely hard and embarrassingly I cried a lot at this time in front of them!

I actually then went back to the same firm in a different role in 2015, so resigning for a second time was even worse! (yes, I cried AGAIN) But the decision was not necessarily about pursuing We Are Travel Girls, we had actually only launched the site a few weeks previous, but it was so that my boyfriend and I could be in the same country after a long distance LA / London relationship for 3 years. However I knew that I wanted to take WATG seriously, and I was already working 6+ hours per night after being up since 6am and getting home at 7pm from my day job, so leaving also meant I can focus all my efforts on growing the company.

What my experience did teach me, was that if you have worked hard and built a career where you have good relationships with your clients and colleagues, that you are respected and have shown loyalty and dedication you will come away with a good CV and good references. If you resign and decide actually you want to go back to a corporate career, you will be able to and like me you may even go back to a firm you already worked for. At every interview I went to after my South America trip, not one person questioned why I had resigned to travel and in fact congratulated me and wanted to chat about the places I had been to!

Excluding obvious things like your passport, what are some things you would never travel without? Are there any products/services you have tried and recommend?

I have a great Lo & Sons OG Bag, which I generally use as my carry on for any long haul flight. It’s been designed with travelers in mind, and has plenty of clever compartments as well as a padded laptop pouch making it my number 1 travel essential!

I always say this, but I never leave without Elizabeth Arden Factor 50 face sunscreen which I have been using since my early 20’s. Being tanned may look nice in your pictures, but you will regret it past the age of 30.

And I never travel without my cameras.  I use a Nikon D7200, a Panasonic Lumix LX100 (this is a great indoor and food camera), a Go Pro Hero 5 and a DJI Drone right now.

What do you see in the future for We Are Travel Girls?

This is a tough question as we have so many avenues we are looking to pursue right now! We see our site as an important place for us to showcase and promote female travelers and to introduce inspiration women through Ladies We Love; we have just launched our online Travel Shop; we will be hosting more more meet-ups and events around the world, with Bali, Paris, Chicago and London planned next; we will be launching the We Are Travel Girls Retreat in Bali which we are so excited for!; and we have lots of other projects planned including an amazing partnership and giveaway where will be taking some girls skiing with us in Japan!

Girls can hear about our upcoming events, retreats and giveaways by subscribing to our email list.

 

If you want to follow Becky and We Are Travel Girls below are all there social media links.

WeAreTravelGirls.com

Connect with We Are Travel Girls: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube | Shop

BeckyvanDijk.com

Connect with Becky: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

Newcastle, England

Hi, my name is Julie and I am the sister of Lizzy, one of the creators of Memories Abroad. I am currently living my very own adventure, 8 months of work and travel in England. I never know exactly where I’ll end up. I have been living in England for 5 months now and I have already seen so much.

Since I’m a city girl rather than a small town girl, I have been enjoying Newcastle upon Tyne best so far. Newcastle is located in the north of England, close to the border of Scotland. I’ve been told a lot about the city and was really excited when a friend and I started our trip on a Friday afternoon.

Luckily we have friends who live in Newcastle, so we had great accommodation and lovely hosts. We didn’t want to waste any time, and started with a tour of Newcastle at night. We drove over one of the five bridges to get to Gateshead, a neighboring city of Newcastle separated by the river Tyne.

We went to see “The Sage”, an ultra modern concert venue and also a center for musical education. Close by is “The Baltic”, there you can see a constantly changing program of exhibitions and events of contemporary art.

Everything looks just gorgeous at night, but I especially liked the Millennium Bridge. The design of the bridge is quite unique and gave it the nickname “Blinking Eye Bridge”. The bridge is used by pedestrians and cyclists. The Millennium Bridge is not the only bridge that connects Newcastle and Gateshead, there is also the “Swing Bridge”, the “Queen Elizabeth II” ,(a bridge for trains), the “Redheugh Bridge”, (for cars), and the “Tyne Bridge” which is similar to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

After the tour of the city, we visited one of the dozens of pubs, and yes pubs in England are as they are seen in the movies. Newcastle not only has a lot of pubs but restaurants for everyone.

So why do I like Newcastle so much? Because it is a city that is very much alive wherever you go.The two Universities (Northumbria and Newcastle University) and thousands of students are just part of the city, I would even say they make the city more special. Both Universities offer a slew of majors and degrees to choose from and you can find housing for students everywhere. So why not think about a semester in Newcastle?

Not only all the modern attractions of Newcastle impressed me but also the historic sites; The Grey Monument, named after the all so famous Earl Grey Tea, as well as the Newcastle Castle, which will give you an insight on the city back in the 14th century. I am not that much of a history buff but for anyone that is, Newcastle has a lot to offer.

People that like to go out and have a fun you will easily be able to find a local pub, bar or restaurant where you can spend some time. All the ladies and gentlemen that like to go shopping, you can’t miss out on Eldon Square.

From the city center to the countryside it only is a 15 minute car ride. If you like the beach better than the countryside, that’s just a 15 minute car ride from the city center, as well. For anyone who doesn’t like any of the attractions that Newcastle has to offer you can at least stop by for a proper cup of Earl Grey tea.

 

Travel Bloggers to Watch out for in 2017

We love to write but we also love to read. As an inspiration on where to go next we always read different travel blogs and over time we have discovered some blogs we really like, but are not popular yet. That’s why we want to introuce them to you here. Watch out for these four amazing travel bloggers in 2017 and read their articles for travel tips all over the world.

Blonde Seashell

Why did you decide to start a travel blog?

I was travelling around and needed a way to stay in touch with my friends and my blog was a way to tell my stories. Only two month ago I decided to take the blogging business more serious. I started writing about what to do and see instead of only writing about my personal daily life. 🙂

What is number one your bucket list?

Definitely the Maldives. I’ve wanted to see those islands ever since I first started working in a travel agency when I was 16 years old. Staying in a water bungalow and jumping in the crystal clear water is my biggest dream and bucket list goal.

What was your worst travel experience?

That’s easy: When I got dengue fever. I heard many bad stories about it, but actually having it was even worse, but it made me more grateful for my life and my health. 

Who or what inspires you in your daily life or in your creativity?

Elizabeth Gilberts book “the big magic” is a huge inspiration for me but of course also all the amazing travel bloggers I get to know. They all inspire me in my daily life and push me to achieve even more. 

www.blondeseashell.com

blondeseashell

The Brit and the Blonde

Why did you decide to start a travel blog?

We started a blog not only to start documenting our travels for the memories, but also to inspire others to travel more. We launched The Brit & The Blonde just before our 1 year Euro trip in 2015 and have been sharing all our stories and travel tips on there ever since.

What is number 1 on your bucket list?

We currently have 66 things on our bucket list and have crossed 27 of those off in the past couple of years. Our ultimate bucket list goal now is to buy a camper van, and slow travel in it all around Australia. We intend to make it a reality in 2018!

What was your worst travel experience?

We’ve experienced many highs and lows during our travels but a low that stands out the most is when we completely ran out of money in New Zealand during our first year of travel. This caused a domino effect of basically everything going wrong in our lives, and it took a lot of time and effort to eventually get ourselves out of the situation.

Who or what inspires you in your daily life or in your creativity?

There are many travel blogs that inspire us to never give up on our goals. Seeing epic travel videos and photography on social media really gets us pumped to see more of the world!

www.britandtheblonde.com

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Ready Jess go

Why did you decide to start a travel blog?

In May 2016, I graduated from university with my bachelor’s degree in journalism, decided to skip my graduation ceremony to spend a week in Colombia with my best friend, then moved to Barcelona for six months. I’ve been writing my whole life, and thought this was an adventure that should be documented.

What is number one your bucket list?

I would love to go to the Maldives–before they sink and nobody can see them anymore. I also really want to see Indonesia and Thailand!

What was your worst travel experience?

I almost couldn’t board the plane when I was going to Spain after Colombia, then when I finally got there I somehow walked myself into a random city, then I was a day late for my hostel reservation because of the time change…but hey, it made for an entertaining blog post. 🙂

Who or what inspires you in your daily life or in your creativity?

I’m inspired by beautiful landscapes and interesting people. I love pushing myself out of my comfort zone and seeing what new adventures I get myself into.

Blog: http://readyjessgo.com/

jess

Travel hippies

Why did you decide to start a travel blog?

The more I traveled to the amazing destinations, the more I was bombarded with the usual set of questions like ‘How?’, ‘When?’ and ‘What?’. This bombarding gave birth to my recently started travel blog travelhippies.in where I write about the beautiful places and my adventures for all curious minds along with the tips to plan and execute their dream travel plans. I have just started it with a few famous Indian destinations and would continue to write about my under construction travel plans and experience in Asia, Europe and may be other five continents too

What is number one your bucket list?

With the most beautiful and secluded beaches, museums and cathedrals, Croatia has topped my travel bucket list. I hope I would strike it off soon and explore the secrets of Croatia.

What was your worst travel experience?

Traveling, after all isn’t a bed of roses. It just like another adventure where you get out of your comfort zone. Mostly, I face all kinds of experience as an adventure. But the worst of all was when all trains in India were cancelled due to a tribal riot in Rajasthan, which had disrupted the railway tracks. I can’t forget the horrifying experience of roaming around all alone at mid-night to find a way to reach back to my hometown. Fortunately, I could catch a trail, which led to my destination after 48 hours. (It actually takes only 14 hours)

Who or what inspires you in your daily life or in your creativity?

I have an intense urge for traveling to new places that compels me to run out into the wild or to some lively city. Even the blogs of the digital nomads like ShivyaNath always inspire me to take up new adventures and take up the less trodden path.

Travelhippies.in

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Traveling from a Different Perspective

Memories Abroad love to share our latest adventures and tips with you but this time we thought we would ask some fellow Au Pairs about there experiences being in the US and traveling in their own time. We have chosen seven lucky girls to be featured in our post. We asked them all the same questions and here they are.

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Photo Courtesy of Marion, LAX Airport

Who are you? (Name, age, home country, state you live now)
  • My name is Sara Palomo, I’m 22 years old and I’m from Mostoles, a city in Madrid, Spain. I’m currently living in Alexandria, Virginia, but I have lived in Boulder, Colorado, with my first host family; and in Woodmere, New York, with my second host family.
  • My name is Stephanie Manero, I’m 25 and I’m from Mexico. I’ve been living in Virginia as an au pair for a year and a half.
  • My name is Marion but my host family and my American friends call me Mary. I’m 23 years old (which is not so common for au pairs), and I live in the north of Seattle. Before I came here I was living in Vorarlberg, Austria.
  • My name is Antonia (19), I’m from Germany and right now I live in North Carolina.
  • My name is Ilonka and i’m 23. Originaly i’m from the Netherlands and now I live in the state Georgia.
  • My name is Sara Pezzotta, I’m 26 and I’m from Milano, Italy. I live in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • My name is Sabrina, I am 20 years old and I am from Austria. I’m currently an Au Pair in Fulton, Maryland and I’ve been here for more than 5 months now.
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Photo Courtesy of Antonia, stand up paddle board on Lake Norman, North Carolina

Why did you want to become an Au Pair? 
Sara Palomo – I wanted to be an au pair because of a lot of reasons. First of all, I needed a change in my life. I withdrew from college to follow a dream. I tried to get into another college, so I could study what I wanted to, but I didn’t get to do it -in that moment, I didn’t give up yet- and that made me feel very sad. It seemed like everything was going wrong, so I decided I needed a change. This was the perfect change.  The second reason was that one of the dreams of my life was to come to the USA and living here, learn about the culture, discover new places. The third reason was because I wanted to experiment with what it was like to leave my comfort zone and live far away from my family and friends. This is the furthest I found, the last one was because I wanted to improve my english, of course.
Stephanie – To be honest I wanted to become an au pair to improve my English, and also to improve my skills about dealing with people from all over the world. I also decided that because being outside your comfort zone makes you learn a thousand new things and also you learn how to be with yourself.
Marion – I always enjoyed taking care of kids, it started when I was around 12. That’s also the reason I had so many hours of childcare experience. The kids are of course not the only thing but the most important one. The Au Pair program is a great opportunity to improve your english skills and to get to know another culture. And one more thing is traveling! I always wanted to travel through the United States and this is the best opportunity for me.
Antonia – I really love kids and I didn’t want to go to college straight after school!
Ilonka – Back at home my Aunt and Uncle used to have an Au Pair. So I would see their experience. It was a experience that really took my interest. Also I wanted to see something of the world and improve my english skills.
Sara Pezzotta – I wanted to be an au pair because I wanted to travel outside Europe and visit the States. I also wanted to improve the languages I’ve studied and graduated in while in University and experience another culture.
Sabrina – I wanted to see the american way of life, I know everybody says that, but I really wanted to see the cultural differences. I like to travel and I’ve always been traveling a lot. Therefore being free and enjoying the freedom of the United States, was another big reason for me. Obviously I like kids and I love how much they are actually giving you back. I just get one year with them, but I can influence and inspire them their whole life, same thing with my life.
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Photo Courtesy of Antonia, Parasailing in Ocean City, Maryland

What has been your favorite state you traveled to and why? 
Sara Palomo – I think my favorite state was New York, because of Manhattan. I was born and grew up in the capital of my country, so I need the rhythm of the city in my life. Manhattan is such an amazing city. As you imagine, living in New York, I’ve been there a lot of times. The first time I went there, I was so impressed that I couldn’t even react. The second time, I fell in love with it. I fell in love so hard that I have more trips planed to the city, and I would love to extend there.
Marion – My favorite State so far was California. It was amazing and I definitely have to go there again. I have only been to Los Angeles so far but my next trip will be to San Francisco. Los Angeles is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Everything is so perfect and I think that’s the reason why the people there want to be perfect as well. Now I really understand them, it’s like you’re in a movie.
Antonia – This is so hard! I would probably say Maryland because of the gorgeous beaches, the climate is perfect and you are pretty close to cities like Washington D.C.
Ilonka – Well… I did not do much traveling yet. So a favorite state is difficult to say. I think I will choose South Carolina. We went on a host family trip to the grandparents, and I saw my first ‘real’ american collage campus. It was really fun to see.
Sara Pezzotta – My favorite state I’ve traveled to is Florida (I’ve been in a lot of places!) but I loved Georgia as well.

Sabrina – I really liked Florida and California, I like the beach, palm trees and the sunny weather. I also really liked Boston, it’s an awesome city with a very good spirit. Moreover I like Washington, DC, it’s a very pretty city and it is very unique. If you’re in DC you should really check out Georgetown, enjoy all the young people and the spirit there.

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Photo Courtesy of Antonia, Toronto, Canada

What has been the most exciting activity you took part in while in the States? 
Sara Palomo – The most exciting activity was on a Wednesday night at the karaoke in Boulder. All the LCCs in Boulder used to make meetings voluntary at a starbucks, that is five minutes away walking from the karaoke. When the meeting was over, all the au pair group used to go to the karaoke. It is as simple as amazing, I loved it so much, I miss it!
Stephanie – It’s hard just to choose one, but I would said when a friend and I went to the renaissance festival and participated in the joust, it was like being a knight for the day and a dream that was coming true.
Marion – The first thing I can think of was a roller-disco at halloween. Everyone was dressed up so crazy and the americans are really creative with their costumes so it was amazing to see this. Also the combination of a disco and a roller rink was something I’ve never seen before. We had so much fun and I also got to know a few girls from the University of Washington. I always call them “Bonnie the Cow”, “Melanie the Doughnut”,because they were dressed up like that and we still laugh about it.
Antonia – Taking surfing lessons in Charleston, South Carolina!
Ilonka – For my birthday my host parents gave me a zip lining experience, and I could take a friend with me. It was really scary at first, because i’m afraid of heights. But at the end it was really fun to do.
Sara Pezzotta – I can’t really pick only one exciting activity I’ve done while in the States! I’ve experienced so many things in two years. Probably visiting the places I’ve always wanted to see in person. One thing that was on my bucket list and I think was great though is Ultra music festival in Miami during last Spring break.

Sabrina – I don’t have one super exciting event, in my opinion, the whole opportunity of being and living here is exciting! I already learned and experienced so much, I couldn’t pick out one event or one special day. Maybe I can do that in a year, when I’m back home and when I have had time to think about everything that’s happening. At the moment I’m literally living and enjoying every moment. I try not to worry and see the positive side of life here.

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Photo Courtesy of Antonia, Charleston, South Carolina

Have you ever traveled on your own before being an Au Pair? 
Sara Palomo – Never! I used to travel with family or friends, but never completely by myself. It’s the greatest adventure in my whole life!
Stephanie – I never traveled completely on my own, but I traveled around my state as part of my job on television.
Marion – Yes, I did an Interrail Tour two years ago. The countries I visited were Italy, France and Spain. It was the best time of my life and I met so many people in this month of traveling.
Antonia – Never, so this was a big step!
Ilonka – I never traveled on my own before being an Au Pair. I always went with a friend or family.
Sara Pezzotta – I’ve never traveled alone before, I was always with my family or group of friends or another person. But here in the States I’ve also explored places by myself.

Sabrina – I did, I’ve been to Spain with some of my friends and we did some road trips in Austria or southern Germany. Moreover I did an internship for 3 months in another part of Austria, so I lived alone there. I was really experienced with traveling, I guess that’s another reason why it is so easy for me to just do some weekend trips now.

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Photo Courtesy of Marion, Venice Beach, California

Have you visited a State that wasn’t on your Must-See List and you love now? And why?
Sara Palomo- Actually, where I live! It wasn’t on my list coming to Virginia, and I ended up here in my second rematch. I can’t feel more grateful for being here. And not only for my Host Family, you know… Virginia is for L💗VERS! It’s just amazing, everything around is so natural, full of forests and wild life, it is the perfect combination between nature and city, and Washington D.C. is very close to here. Alexandria is such a beautiful old town… I don’t know how to explain how much I love where I live.
Stephanie – I have to admit I wasn’t expecting anything from Virginia, but when I came to live here I found out what an amazing place it is. First I love to have different seasons, cause where I live it’s the same weather almost all year, my favorite thing is the snow in the winter. Second the parks you can visit are taken out of a dream, like Great Falls Park, the views are amazing. And finally because the people here are amazing, warm and welcoming, they make you feel like home.

Marion – Yes! Actually Seattle is one of the States that never was on my Must See List and now I live here and I love it so much.

The people are amazing and so helpful, the state has mountains, woods, beaches and the city. Before I came here my hostdad told me “You’ll have the best of both worlds.” There is so much to do and Seattle offers great opportunities for everyone. And for me it’s also perfect because California, the state I fell in love with is only a few hours flight away.
Antonia – Actually the state I live in now. Before I came here I had barely heard of North Carolina but it is one of my favorites by far now! It is warm, you have the coast on the one side, mountains on the other and I live at a beautiful lake.
Sara Pezzotta – A state that wasn’t on my must see list was actually Florida. I’ve always wanted to visit New York or California but I absolutely love this state! I’ve lived here for almost two years and I can call it home. I love the weather (it’s always summer!) but especially the warm hospitality typical of the South.
Sabrina – I’ve just been here for 5 months, therefore I didn’t have the time yet to do that. I mean I’ve already been to 15 states, but I always went there because I wanted to go there. Once I’m running out of wish destinations, I really wanna see some places I’ve not been planning on. Nevertheless, I didn’t know that the Shenandoah national park in Virginia is so stunning. You should really check it out, it’s is so worth it! We did a spontaneous trip on a Sunday and I wasn’t expecting it to be that awesome.

The Future of Memories Abroad

Before starting the new year, Eloise and I would like to take the time to thank each and every one of our followers and readers on all of our platforms.
You have made this journey we started earlier this year so fun and we enjoy hearing your feedback every day.
No matter if you follow us on Instagram or Facebook or are an active reader of the blog, we really appreciate you.
It has been a very eventful year for us, with a lot of new experiences and adventures.
We started the blog in Summer 2016, traveled multiple States and Eloise got to go to Grand Cayman Island. My personal Highlights this year was my first trip to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and for sure our camping adventure in Helen, Georgia.
With 2017 there comes a lot of changes for Memories Abroad.
While Eloise has the amazing opportunity to spend another year exploring and traveling the United States of America, I will leave the US just a few months into the year, to move back to Germany for a while.
Currently it is uncertain of how long  I will be living in Europe again, but I intend to make the most of it.
With my home base changing to Europe and having a time difference of 6 hours, Eloise and I will have to take some time to get used to it and work out how our schedule for the blog has to work from now on.
We do however intend on keeping this blog alive and put even more effort into it.
I am glad to say that I get to share this amazing experience of writing a blog and traveling the world with someone who truly became one of the most important persons, and a very dear friend in my life.
Thank you for keeping up with my craziness Eloise. I truly enjoy our adventures and I can’t wait to make some more memories in 2017 and the years to come.

German Christmas Markets vs. American “German Christmas Market”

Finally the busiest time of the year is over and I spent the last week of 2016 writing quiet a lot of new posts to go online soon.

One of the things we wanted to share with you before starting into the new year is a comparison of Christmas markets in Germany versus “German Christmas Markets” in foreign countries.

Being German I spent a lot of my time waiting for Christmas on Christmas markets.
Living in Georgia, USA the last two years I didn’t really get to do that. This year however I found out that there would be a “German Christmas Market” in Atlanta. I was so excited and decided that I would go and check it out with some friends.

Growing up in Berlin, Germany I could choose from what felt like hundreds of Christmas markets at the time. When I was younger my mom would take me to the very fun Christmas markets that were more of a fair, than the “classic” Christmas market. Yes of course they had all the traditional food a Christmas market has but they weren’t really the type of Christmas market you think of as a grown up. I surely enjoyed them, being younger and I wouldn’t turn down a ride on the Ferris wheel now either, but I do enjoy a different type of Christmas market now.

I got to explore and visit more than one of the Christmas markets in Berlin that have live music and a little show on a stage and that do sell hand made everything’s. I love seeing all the little booths selling different artworks, chocolate, spices and everything you can imagine.

Of course I’m still and always will be spending a lot of money at the booth selling candy and I will probably buy my mom another piece of Christmas decoration she really does not need. But thats what I did growing up and that’s what I am going to continue to do until I’m old.

Christmas markets in Germany are the picture of not being able to step one foot in front of the other, mothers terrified of losing they’re children because it’s so crowded. It’s the smell of Glühwein (mulled vine), bratwurst, crêpes. It’s the sound of Christmas carols or fair rides, of crying children because mom said “No” to one more ride and it’s the sound of jingling bells of the “Weihnachtsmann” (Santa Claus).

On the other hand there are “German Christmas Markets”.
I do believe that it can be done and the typical german Christmas traditions can be shared in other countries. I actually heard that there is an amazing German Christmas market in Chicago, which I sadly did not have the chance to visit yet.

Atlanta hosted a “German Christmas market” for the first time this year and I will say, that there is much more potential to have an actual German market. They did however make a good start. They had all the booths a market in Germany has. I found Glühwein and Brats, a booth selling wooden toys for kids, a lot of candy and they had a gorgeous tree.

It was small, very small in fact and we were done  with the market in less than ten minutes, but the general idea was there, and if they continue to grow over the years Atlanta has the potential of having a really great “German Christmas market”

One thing that the Atlanta market had compared to most markets in Germany was an ice skating rink.
I liked that idea a lot and would love for more markets in Germany to add ice rinks to their markets.

So in my opinion, wherever in the world you are, if you have a chance to visit a “German Christmas Market”,  go for it. Even if it ends up not being german at all.

Hope you enjoyed your Holidays and had a great time with your families.

Lizzy