Ironically, I Co-Created a Travel Podcast Right Before A Global Pandemic

For so long, I had wanted to create a podcast to pursue two of my greatest passions— travel and human connection. That’s why almost 4 years ago, I created Thoughtful Blonde as a platform to share, connect, collaborate, grow, and build community. When I got home from my time in Grenada, I knew it was time to take the leap and build a travel podcast that could serve as a new avenue to explore, create, and connect with more people than ever before, and let me tell you, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. 

So, I started to talking with one of my very best friends, Sofia, about the possibilities and opportunities of building something together because we all know two minds is greater than one. I again knew this would be the push I needed to put the plan into action, and so we did. We spent hours coming up with our goals, our mission, our vision, our name, new ideas, and who we’d want to have on our show. We both loved traveling and wanted that to be our sole purpose, to create a podcast that was informative, entertaining, and inspired others to travel further and wider. We wanted to talk in a way that was inclusive, and invites others to join in on the adventurous conversation. 

Bam, then came, the Who Wear There Podcast. 

We planned, and began learning all the Podcasting things we could before recording our first episode. So, we reached out to our network and had great support from our friends and peers, which was so immensely appreciated to get where we are now.

We recorded our very first episode on Valentines Day 2020 and a month later when we were only 4 episodes in, a global pandemic took over our everyday. We couldn’t leave our houses, let alone travel like we had planned, but we improvised and created something more beautiful and rewarding than we could have imagined. 

This travel podcast, although traveling this past 6 months has been minuscule, has reminded us why we love to explore, why we love to travel, and why we thrive off of human connection. Since then, we have published 30 episodes, hosted 20 guests, and created useful resources to connect the lovers of travel. We had to get creative because we no longer had a recording studio or the symplicity of gatherings, so we used Facetimes to plan, our phones to record, and got innovative to still feel the rush of the newness even from inside our own homes. 

If you are truly passionate about something, nothing stands in the way of creating and building, and we look forward to continuing to expand and explore. If you have traveled somewhere exciting or interesting or just want to chat about your travel insights or know someone who would be an excellent guest on our show, reach out to whowearthere@gmail.com or find us at: https://www.instagram.com/thetravelbrats/

Listen to our Podcast on Apple!

All Things Brews, Bayshore, and Tampa Bay with Hannah

In Episode 19, The Travel Brats interview Tampa Bay native, Hannah, abou hot spots in the neighborhoods, brewing companies, outdoorsy activities, sport events, and hidden gems that are a must. Hannah shares her insights on making the most out of a Friday night on the Bayshore to spending the day at a local park!

Tampa is made up of several parts and neighborhoods.

Some of the best places to visit are: 

-Downtown Tampa https://www.tampasdowntown.com/

-South Tampa/ Bayshore https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34678-d147138-Reviews-Bayshore_Boulevard-Tampa_Florida.html

-Ybor City https://yborcityonline.com/

-Citrus Park https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/citrus-park-hillsborough-fl/

Exciting Places to Hang Out

BREWERIES

-Tampa Bay Brewing Co. (Ybor and Westchase) https://www.tbbc.beer/home

-Coppertail Brewing Co. (Ybor, right across the street from IKEA) https://coppertailbrewing.com/

-Brew Bus Brewing (they have busses that take you all over Tampa to different breweries) https://brewbususa.com/

-Cigar City Brewing Co. (South Tampa) https://www.cigarcitybrewing.com/

-Six/Ten Brewing (Central Tampa by the airport) https://www.sixtenbrewing.com/

Fun Parks and things to do outside

-Hillsborough River State Park https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/hillsborough-river-state-park

-Busch Gardens https://buschgardens.com/tampa/tickets/theme-park-tickets/?utm_source=google&utm_id=go_cmp-1488418546_adg-57107059186_ad-441700882502_kwd-92805455_dev-c_ext-&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrrLyvqaU6gIVB0WGCh2zGgF7EAAYASAAEgI4V_D_BwE

-Adventure Island https://adventureisland.com/?utm_source=google&utm_id=go_cmp-1736156326_adg-77120006152_ad-374911442314_kwd-301868999751_dev-c_ext-&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrtGkyKaU6gIVDE2GCh0oaADPEAAYASAAEgIrRPD_BwE

-Bayshore Blvd trails https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/florida/bayshore-boulevard#:~:text=Bayshore%20Boulevard%20is%20a%208.8,must%20be%20kept%20on%20leash.

-Water Works https://www.tampagov.net/parks-and-recreation/featured-parks/waterworks

-Hyde Park https://hydeparkvillage.com/

-Armature Works https://armatureworks.com/

-Lowry Park Zoo https://zootampa.org/visitor-info/?utm_source=madden&utm_medium=googlegrantcpc&utm_campaign=dmflzoot&utm_content=visitorinfo&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIloPu8qaU6gIVE2KGCh0M9gMJEAAYASAAEgLjQfD_BwE

-Centro Ybor (Historic District)  https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/american_latino_heritage/ybor_city_historic_district.html

-Sparkman’s Warff https://sparkmanwharf.com/

-Channelside https://www.813area.com/tampa/channelside/

Sporting Events

-Amalie Arena–hockey games, students who show up in Lightning apparel and present ID can get into the “student rush” where they will place you in empty seats. You could be sitting right behind the glass. https://www.amaliearena.com/

-Raymond James Stadium– football games, should be a lot more popular now because of Brady and Gronk http://raymondjamesstadium.com/

Hidden Gems:

-Bru– a 16 tap taproom that sells beers from only Florida Breweries. They have games and trivia. They are dog friendly, kid friendly and have a kombucha and cold brew for non-alcoholic options https://www.brufl.com/

-Maloney’s Irish Pub–Wednesdays are $7 burgers…THE BEST BURGERS and they have trivia that night as well https://www.maloneyslocalirishpub.com/

-The Floridian– the best Cbuan sandwich around (we make the Cuban sandwich with pork, swiss cheese, mustard, pickles and SALAMI) https://floridanpalace.com/

-Burger Culture– a food truck that serves fresh burgers to order. They have a great fries too https://tampaharley.com/en/check-out-our-burger-culture-menu

-Breakout Games Escape Room- the best escape room I have been to ever https://breakoutgames.com/tampa

-Loli’s Tacos– authentic tacos that are served in a little shack, I always take it to go and eat it in the brewery down the road https://www.lolismexicancravings.com/

-Eddie and Sam N.Y. Pizza https://www.eddieandsamspizza.com/

-Mott and Hester’s Deli–best cheese ziti and meaty sandwiches https://www.mottandhesterdeli.com/

– Front Porch and Bart’s Tavern– located in a two story Victorian house on Florida Ave. they have string lights and awesome live music https://frontporchgrill.com/

Places to Eat

-Ulele- the best macaroni and cheese in Tampa (won several awards) https://www.ulele.com/

-Datz- a deli that serves really eclectic food from sandwiches to bacon stuffed meatloaf. They also have a chocolate shop that makes awesome little truffles and a bakery called Datz Dough (two locations one Downtown Tampa and the other in St. Pete) https://datztampa.com/

-Columbia Restaurant- famous for their 1905 salad and amazing traditional cuban food (Ybor) https://www.columbiarestaurant.com/

-Oxford Exchange- https://oxfordexchange.com/

-Daily Eats- super fancy but diner-like food serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34678-d794024-Reviews-Daily_Eats-Tampa_Florida.html

-Green Lemon https://www.opentable.com/green-lemon

-Bern’s Steakhouse and Dessert Room you can just do dessert if you want https://bernssteakhouse.com/harry-waugh-dessert-room/

-King of the Coop- Nashville Hot Chicken restaurant https://www.kingofthecoop.com/

-Bahama Bucks- shaved ice https://www.bahamabucks.com/

-Jeremiah’s – Italian ice https://jeremiahsice.com/locations/south-tampa

– Michael’s Grill– really great authentic italian food https://michaelsgrill.com/

Thanks for tuning in everyone, we appreciate Hannah for sharing her insights about the best places to visit in Tampa!

The Travel Brats Present: All Things Sand, Songs, & San Diego with Jayson Savich

In Episode 18, The Travel Brats interview travel and music enthusiast, Jayson Savich, where he shares all his insight into making the most out of your San Diego adventures. He highlights the hot spots you can’t miss, shouts out the best music venues, paints a picture of the nightlife, and shares the best ways to stay safe in a new, chill environment. It’s an episode all about Southern California.

Jayson is Ashley’s life long friend from her hometown in Lowell, IN. Ashley moved to FL almost 7 years ago and Jayson ventured out West almost 4 years ago to attend school. He now lives in Scripts Ranch in San Diego, California and really living out his musical dreams.

He gave us some background about San Diego by saying, “It’s a unique, different vibe. You can go 15 minutes in either direction and be at the beach or in the mountains. It’s crazy how just 30 minutes away and you can be in snow. It’s also pretty big, and the traffic can be a hassle and unpredictable. It’s not normal rush hour traffic like we think of.”

We asked about Renting A Car and he said, “If you are staying out far from the center of San Diego, you may want a car, but it’s really easy to get around and there is Uber and Lyft that you can use.”

We asked, “When is the best time to visit San Diego?”

He said, “The worst time to come is during the summer months!!!!” Listen to the podcast to find out why.

We asked, “What are your favorite things to do there? Do you have any local hacks for things to do? Any festivals? Things people wouldn’t know to check out?”

He said, “CONCERTS EVERYWHERE! There are like 17-18 venues and here are some of his favorites:

Okay we love talking about hidden gems — what can’t we miss there? ^^^

For the hot spots at night, here are Jay’s top picks!

The Travel Brats love to find out the best places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so we have options. Here are Jay’s must haves: 

Breakfast: Lahaina Pacific Beach https://www.yelp.com/biz/lahaina-beach-house-san-diego

Great Maple https://thegreatmaple.com/

Morning Glory https://morningglorybreakfast.com/

Lunchy: 

Gringas — Taco Food Truck https://www.yelp.com/biz/gringas-tacos-and-catering-san-diego

Rocky’s Crowne Pub — http://rockyburgers.com/

Good Onya — organic place https://goodonyaorganic.com/

Din din:

Ballast Point Beer IPA https://ballastpoint.com/

Tajima — Eatery https://tajimasandiego.com/home-4/tajima-convoy/

Island Prime — good ass steak right on the harbour https://www.cohnrestaurants.com/islandprime

When staying in San Diego, he recommended finding a cool Airbnb to stay at:

https://www.airbnb.com/san-diego-ca/stays

Now go adventure, be safe, and have fun!!!!! A huge thank you to Jayson for sharing his insights with us all.

All Things Budapest, Hungary with Reka: The All Inclusive Guide to History, Travel, and Adventure

In Episode 15, The Travel Brats interview Reka, our wonderful friend from Budapest, Hungary. She shares some background about Budapest, best times to visit, tips on crossing borders in Europe, things to do, people to see, and places to eat. She’s a Budapest local who has all the hacks to make the most out of your Europe endeavors.

Reka was born and raised in Budapest before moving to Tampa for school. She speaks multiple languages and gave us a lot of insight about how the younger generations are speaking more languages, whereas the older generations are more commonly Hungarian speakers. While in school, she was learning at least three languages at a time, English being one of them. 

Travel Brats: Can you describe Budapest? What’s it like there?

Reka said: It’s a combo of history and great architecture. There are a lot of things to do for going out and there’s an active night life. It’s also a good mix between touristy and a local environment. 

Travel Brats: Is it Hungary a big country?

Reka said: It’s a Fairly smaller country, about 10 million people live, but Reka grew up in Budapest 

So it’s Budapest, and then there’s the rest of the country. Budapest is the largest city in Hungary, 2 million people. 

Travel Brats asked: What are your favorite places around Hungary?

Reka: There are smaller towns with tons of history about Budapest, bordering Austria and Slovakia so it’s great for day and weekend trips. 

Travel Brats: What’s it like crossing the borders in Europe?

Reka: It’s very, very easy to do, just checking passports and you’re on your way.

Travel Brats: What kind of currency does Budapest use? 

Reka: It’s surprisingly not the Euro, it’s called the Hungarian Forint. The cost of living is cheaper than in the US.

Travel Brats: What’s the best way to get around the country?

  • Reka: Don’t need a car to get around, traffic, parking is difficult 
  • Public Transportations or taxis if you need to
  • Trains (3 big train stations, double check where you are leaving from, buy ticket online)
  • Backpacking — buy train ticket and it’s valid for a week, 2 weeks, a month

Travel Brats: When is the best time to visit Budapest?

Reka: Summertime is more popular for tourists, it’s a dry heat, and awesome festivals. Winter — it’s very pretty, christmas market, below freezing temperatures 

Travel Brats: What are must do’s when you are in Budapest?

Reka: Some Sightseeing activities are: 

  • Touristy things — 
  • Parliament
  • Chain Bridge
  • Budacastle (Sofia)
  • Seasonal vs. permanent
  • Fisherman’s Architecture Place: very cool church
  • Hero’s Square 3 museums
  • Zoo, lake, arch museum (during the winter, they turn the lakes into an ice skating rink)
  • Ferris Wheel, during the summer 
  • Downtown Budapest
  • Festivals + Artsy + Historical
    • Statue of Liberty

Travel Brats: Best places to Eat?

Reka: Everyone eats at home, not so much fast food, and my family cooks a ton for me when I’m home. There are tons of little pastries places that I love. Some restaurants are:

Signature Liquor:  Palinka and Spicy Wine

Travel Brats: Where should we stay in Budapest? 

Reka: The Hotels downtown are nice and breakfast included or if you are traveling on a budget, there are really cute and fun airbnbs, close to downtown. https://www.airbnb.com/budapest-hungary/stays

Travel Brats: What are your tips to stay safe?

Reka: 

  • Common sense, still pretty busy at night, don’t walk around by yourself at night, call a cab (no Ubers) 
  • During the day, don’t leave your purse or backpack open, for pickpocketing 
  • PAY ATTENTION TO WHEN THE TRAIN CLOSES, wouldn’t recommend taking the night buses — it’s longer, and can be sketchy 
  • Keep cash on you 

A huge thank you to Reka for being our guest and sharing her insight about Budapest and Hungary. Thank you for tuning in. Be sure to follow along our journeys on IG!

The Travel Brats Episode 15 “All Things Best Reads in Quarantine”

The Travel Brats Episode 15 “All Things Best Reads in Quarantine”

Listen to our Podcast!

Over the past month, Sofia and Ashley (your Travel Brats) have been compiling a list of all the best books and authors to share with the Travel Brats Tribe. We’ve asked friends, family, and our listeners for what books they love and why, so now we have a big list of some of the greatest novels of all time. We’ve got a little bit of everything from nonfiction to historical fiction to mystery to romance, so delve on into our comprehensive book recommendations.

Top Picks for Nonfiction


  1. Dreams of Eldorado: A History of the American West. By W.H. Brand

This overview of the history of the West is exciting and beautifully written. Lewis and Clark, The Texas Revolution, California Gold Rush, wild San Francisco, Building the Trans-Continental Rail Road, over  the Sierras and across the plains which are  filled with Indians, one-armed John John Westly Powell leading the first expedition down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, John Coulter discovering  Yellowstone and the Tetons( in mid-winter), all incredible, separate stories that, in combination,  depict what the West was like and why it is still so much a part of the American spirit.

  • The Second World Wars By Victor Davis Hanson

You may be wondering how someone could write anything new about WWII. But Dr.Hanson does. He has a commanding understanding of the grand strategy and tactics of each combatant nation, their strengths, and weaknesses, economically and militarily, who had the best weapons, how geography affected battles, and much more. It is just a very creative explanation of  the overall inexorability of the of the Allied victory (as long as they didn’t make too many blunders). If you would like a shorter and lighter example of what an inspiring writer Dr.Hanson is, try The Savior Generals, which shows how important leadership can be(examples in the book are: William Tecumseh Sherman, Mathew Ridgeway, and David Petraeus).

  • A Team of Rivals  By Doris Kearns Goodwin

This is about Abraham Lincoln and the brilliant men he chose for his cabinet, nearly all of whom wanted his job. There good mini-biographies of each cabinet member and his relationship with Lincoln. The most revealing is the relation with William Seward, who, brilliant in his own right, initially was Lincoln’s biggest rival and most severe critic. But Seward is smart enough to quickly realize that   Lincoln is in a class of his own and is far and away from the best man for the difficult times ahead. How Seward then becomes Lincoln’s most trusted and valuable advisor one of the great stories in this masterpiece.

  • The Thomas Sowell Reader: By Thomas Sowell

This is a compilation of short essays explaining, with humor, wit, and logic, how economics really works in our everyday lives. No graphs or equations,but clear lessons. Dr. Sowell has written many other engaging and brilliant books, all recommended..

  • The Aviators By Winston Groom

This is the story of the early days of aviation from before WWI through WWII as seen and lived by three remarkable aviation pioneers. Eddie Rickenbacker was a mechanic then race car driver ,who became America’s WWI ace fighter pilot. After the war , he founded and was president of Eastern Airlines, among other things. Jimmy Doolittle not only led the early air raid on Tokyo in WWII, he was a  pioneer in developing and flight testing aviation instrumentation. Charles Lindberg is known for being the first person to solo the Atlantic, but he also flew 40 combat missions as a civilian in WWII and greatly improved fighter plane engine performance. This is great adventure.

Top FICTION Picks


  • Open Season: By C.J. Box 

This is the first in a series of mysteries about game warden, Joe Pickett as he solves mysteries in the rugged mountains of Wyoming. Well plotted stories with engaging character development and great descriptions of the Wyoming wilderness.

  • The Black Echo: By Michael Connelly

This is the first in a series about police detective Harry Bosch. These mysteries are filled with rich, detailed descriptions of the grittier sides of LA, along with police department political intrigue and multiple plots. The have a compelling feeling of authenticity. The author was a police reporter before he started writing fiction.

  • South of Broad: By Pat Conroy

He has written so many great books, that it is difficult to pick just one. Most are about the South Carolina coastal region, and all are beautifully written with vivid description of this amazing area. South of Brond is his last and my favorite by an eyelash.

  • The Gods Themselves: By Isaac Asimov. 

Dr. Asimov is one of the giants of the Golden Age of science fiction. This book is perhaps even more timely today ( about free clean energy) than when it was published in 1972. It consists of three stories,one the near the future on earth, one a beautifully described alternative universe, and lastly, a very plausible story on our moon after it is colonized. All stories seem totally independent until the end. This is engaging and imaginative writing and would be a great introduction to science fiction.

  •   War and Peace: By Leo Tolstoy

This really is a fun and exciting read with sweeping grandeur and lots of subplots. Not at all dull like most books that are” classics”. OK it is long.-even better. A miniseries in one volume. Think of it as Downton Abbey in Russia,in the middle of a war. It will not take you 5 years to read. Promise!

Top Picks for Fiction Continued


  •   Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

This is a story of the relationship between a widower and a widow  who are in their 70’s.  They are acquainted as neighbors in a small rural town in eastern Colorado. This is a bittersweet tale of two lonely people who get to know each other better; sharing thoughts and feelings during the night which they agree can be so terribly lonely.  A beautiful story of second chances unfolds in this author’s last book before his death.

  • A Painted House by John Grisham

This is a story narrated by a 7-year old farm boy(Luke) who lives in Arkansas with his parents & grandparents in a house that has never been painted. The family has a hard life picking cotton on an 80 acre farm that they rent. They have to hire Mexican  immigrants and hill people from the Ozarks to help them at harvest time. This book is referred to as a  “real slice of Americana” with vivid descriptions of life in the rural South in the 1950’s.   Young Luke has a dream of being a Major League baseball player and looks forward to listening to games on the radio.  While this novel portrays some of the mundane experiences of his life, it also includes some harsh realities and a loss of innocence that he experiences.  The author usually writes legal thrillers, none of which I read.  But I found John Grisham to be a superb storyteller.  And I found this book to be a moving story of a portion of a  young  boy’s life.

  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Very Highly Recommended)

This is a mesmerizing story of the richness of the North Carolina coastal marshlands and the disturbing story of a young woman who is abandoned by her parents and older siblings as a young child.  As the story unfolds we learn how she adapts and survives in the swamps with very little help from the outside world. And it also includes a love story and a murder-mystery tale.  So this book has a little bit of everything.  This book is so beautifully written and contains poetry and vivid descriptions of the Marsh where the entire story takes place.

4.  Just for good measure, I have to mention 3 other books by the author of my #1 selection–Kent Haruf.  They are:  Plainsong,  Where You Once Belonged  and  The Tie That Binds.  All three of these are compelling and compassionate novels set in the High Plains of Colorado. The author is an amazing storyteller who captures the everyday lives of various people in a small rural community.

Top Picks For Mystery, Drama, and Historical Fiction:


  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Ashley’s favorite book of all time, and has a first edition)
  • Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Anne Burns (Suzi S/O)
  • Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
  • The Book Thief & I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
  • The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn
  • The Pilot’s Wife & Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve
  • The Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason
  • The Tattooist of Aschwitz by Heather Morris
  • Pachinko by Min Jinn Lee
  • the Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks,
  • The Irishman by Charles Brandt
  • Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts,
  • A Southern Family Gail Godwin
  • My sister’s Keeper and All the Small Things by Jodi Pidcolut,
  • China rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

Best Authors Recommended


  • Pat Conroy
  • James Michener
  • Ernest Hemingway (Ashley loves him)
  • Willa Cather
  • Ferrol Sams
  • Tom Wolfe
  • CJ Box
  • John Grisham
  • Sue Grafton
  • Kathy Reichs
  • Peter Mayle
  • Leon Uris
  • James Patterson (Mysteries)

Top Series Picks


  • Miss Marple series
  • Hercule Poirot series –my favorite is Murder on the Orient Express
  • Harry Potter
  • The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz

OUR LISTENERS’ FAVORITE BOOKS (Thank you Hannah)


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

19th century Gothic Romance novel that follows the hard life of Jane Eyre in her journey to meeting and falling in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester, but she runs into trouble when she realizes that Rochester is keeping his first wife hostage in their attic.

The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis

18th century Gothic Horror novel that follows much of the plot of a modern soap opera. This novel details the depraved nature of a monk who sells his soul to his cross-dressing friend who turns out to be a woman, who then turns out to be a demon sent from hell to tempt him. Through his deal with the demon he tries to fulfill his sexual desires toward a young woman in his village who ends up being his long lost sister. Churches burn, people are poisoned, raped, and trampled to death. Pretty saucy for the 1700’s.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

set in a dystopian, futuristic society (likely America) where reading is outlawed, anyone who owns a book is arrested, and the book is promptly burned. The citizens are held captive by cool technology and entertainment so they do not realize that the government is completely taking over their minds and stifling knowledge.

Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee

set in an unnamed, futuristic society where members of “the Empire” are waiting to be attacked by “the Barbarians”. The main character ends up bringing a Barbarian girl to his home after she is captured and tortured by the Empire. There are lots of really weird, sexual bathing scenes, but ultimately, this novel is a commentary on racial injustice in South African apartheid.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

such a popular story, but many people have only seen the movie. If you read the book, you get to see the personalities of Darcy and Elizabeth so much clearer which makes their relationship so fun.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

this is a prequel to Jane Eyre that shows the origin story of Bertha, Rochester’s first wife and how she came to be “the mad-woman in the attic.” It made me cry.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

the 19th century Gothic/Horror story that many people know so well but have never actually read. Follows a team of vampire hunters led by a Dutch professor after Jonathan iis kidnapped and held hostage by Count Dracula. The team must race against time before Mina is forever un-dead and made to be Dracula’s wife. Super creepy, and uncomfortably sexual, lots of blood, kinda saucy.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

another 19th century Gothic Romance novel with a much more sinister and creepy love interest. Lots of Ghosts, some weird love triangles, and lots of useless violence. Rad.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

arguably the best Dickens book. It’s about two men, one British and one French, fighting over the same girl during the French Revolution.

Literally anything by Agatha Christie— Christie is known as the “Queen of Murder” and she is the most widely published author of all time. She wrote 80 novels and short story collections and 19 plays. Here are my favorite titles of her work and plays:

  • The Mousetrap-the longest running play in history
  • And Then There Were None (also called Ten Little Indians)
  • Appointment with Death
  • The Hollow
  • Witness for the Prosecution
  • Towards Zero
  • Verdict
  • Go Back for Murder 

Honorable Mentions


  • Prince of Tides
  • Hawaii
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Betsey, A Memoir with Mark Vitulano
  • Mademoiselle Chanel
  • Atlas Obscure
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • A Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

Thank you Sofia’s grandpa, Shelia, Sebastian, Caleigh, Jenny, Rachael, Hannah, and all of the wonderful people who made suggestions and recommendations! We love you! Enjoy and read on.

Episode 13: All Things Abacos Island, Bahamas with Andrew Morgan

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In Episode 13, The Travel Brats interviewed close friend, Andrew Morgan, to uncover the hidden gems, food recommendations, and fishing hot spots in Abacos Island, Bahamas. He shares his tips on how to make the most of out your Bahamian trip, best time to go, and how to stay safe!

Listen at Apple Podcast!

When in the Abacos Islands, he loves to visit and explore Elbow Caye and Hope Town. He recommends going in the summertime because that’s when it’s pretty busy and there are tons of activities to do; he also suggests going with family or friends, basically anyone who likes doing the same things as you so you can book fun day trips. The Bahamas are known for having a warm and welcoming culture, and the cays are a great places to delve into it. 

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Best place to stay: 

Rent a house and go to the local grocery stories; live like the locals

So you can check out places to rent: 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentals-g147424-Reviews-Great_Abaco_Island_Abaco_Islands_Out_Islands_Bahamas-Vacation_Rentals.html

https://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/caribbean/bahamas/abaco

Things to Do: 

Festivities and Activities:

Junkaknoo — a smaller version of mardi gras at Nassau https://www.bahamas.com/event/new-year’s-day-junkanoo-parade-abacos

Every island has its own band and they practice all year, drums trumpets, tubas, sticks, custom made costumes.

Jimmy Buffet Event: Margaritaville, free burgers and beers and everything with tons of boats and Mr. Buffet will fly in with his boat, every year, stage in the middle of the water

https://strandednaked.com

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Best Food To Eat:

  • Crab Conch or Conch Fritters
  • Conch Salad Raw conch, pounded down, a shot of rum and beer, with chips and salsa

Restaurants: 

Nippers, north end of guana cay. Crazy colors, right on the beach, pool you can hang at, it’s very beachy vibe and on Sundays, there is a pig roast, 25 pigs 500+ people, 9am until the parties go on late (frozen nipper: best drink rum, cranberry juice, gumbay punch: illegal in the US bc too much sugar. https://www.nippersbar.com

Pete’s Pub — get there by noon for food http://www.petespub.com

Firefly — Hotel/ Restaurant owned by the people who own Firefly vodka https://fireflysunsetresort.com

Local Drinks: 

Sea Spray

Gumbay Smash

Kalik Beer

Rum Runnas

Mud Slide

Hidden Gems Fishing Editions:

Kalamora Caye– https://www.kamalame.com

Crashed plane from the 80’ so it’s a sunken plane off the coast and you can dive into it, it’s only in 10 feet of water (try to find it)

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Tips to make the most out of a Bahamas trip:

Don’t take too many lobsters (no no, trouble)

Staying safe advice:

Traveling on boat, make sure to follow the GPS, don’t want to hit a reef, so pay attention to the navigation system

When diving, be aware of your surroundings and know where the boat is at all time

Don’t get too far from the boat, there are a lot of sharks and you may have to get back to the boat quickly 

If a shark swims towards you, don’t get so frantic and swim away, you are a friend, not food 

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Travel Brats Episode 12: All Things Asheville

Listen on Apple Podcast!

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In Episode 12, The Travel Brats interviewed actress, Natalie Brouwer, about all things Asheville (the little sister city to San Franscico). In this episode, Natalie shares her recommendations and hidden gems on where to go, what to see, and how to make the most out of your time in the beautiful city of Asheville, North Carolina. She even shares her favorite Breweries with beer recs, so tune in before you head to NC!

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There’s so much to do in Asheville and there’s a lot of opportunities to travel there on a budget because there are a ton of free things to do, like hiking/parks/walk around downtown

Best times to go to Asheville: Recommended times to go— spring and fall for different reasons

Things to do:

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Fall time recommendations:

Winter Recommendations:

Skiing at Beech and Sugar Mountain https://www.beechmountainresort.com
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ARTSY + Cultural Activities To Attend:

River Arts District https://www.riverartsdistrict.com

Biltmore House (late 1800’s) https://www.biltmore.com

Grove Park Inn (1913) https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park

Best Places to Eat

Breakfast –

Sunny Point Cafe https://sunnypointcafe.com

Louise’s (Black Mountain) https://louisesblackmtn.com

Over Easy Cafe http://www.overeasyasheville.com

 

Lunch/Dinner –

WHITE DUCK TACO http://whiteducktacoshop.com

Chestnut https://www.chestnutasheville.com

Chai Pani http://www.chaipaniasheville.com/

Nine Mile https://ninemileasheville.com

Farm Burger https://farmburger.com/asheville-nc/

Easy Girl Eatery https://earlygirleatery.com

Tupelo Honey Cafe https://tupelohoneycafe.com/location/downtown-asheville/

My Father’s Pizza (BM) http://www.myfatherspizza.com

Fresh (BM) https://freshwoodfiredpizza.net

 

Where are the best places to stay? 

Air bnb! Or you can rent houses/cabins. Or stay at one of the nicer/fancier places connected to Biltmore/Grove Park

https://www.airbnb.com/s/Asheville–NC

 

Best Places to Explore/“hidden” gems:

Visit Black Mountain: https://www.exploreblackmountain.comThe town of Black Mountain

Sliding Rock a little farther away in Brevard and LAKE LURE: http://www.townoflakelure.com

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Top Breweries!!!!

-Beer (Brewing companies)

*Sierra Nevada  https://sierranevada.com/visit/north-carolina/

*Wicked Weed https://www.wickedweedbrewing.com/

*New Belgium https://www.newbelgium.com/brewery/asheville/

*Highland Brewing https://highlandbrewing.com/

*Green Man http://www.greenmanbrewery.com/

*Catawba https://catawbabrewing.com/

-favorite beers – Octoberfest (SN), White Zombie (Catawba), Pernicious IPA (WW)

 

Safety Tips

Asheville is a very safe town

When Hiking, make sure you dress appropriately for the season. Bug spray, water, snacks. Bears (black bears) you will likely not see. They are nocturnal animals and are more scared of you then you are of them. With a snake, if it’s a black snake you are fine. You will likely not see them either, but perhaps look up what to do if you see a copperhead, rattlesnake, or water moccasin. Make sure to lock your car! In general, just be aware of your surroundings. Our hikes are VERY user friendly!

Stay connected with Natalie by following her on IG: https://www.instagram.com/nataliejuneb/

Travel Guide for All Things Punta Cana, DR: Episode 9 with Connor Firmender

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Whether it’s a family trip, going out with the guys, or taking a wild spring break trip, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (often referred to as DR)  may be the place for you to go explore for fun nights, gambling, cave diving, drink tasting, and dune buggies.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE!!!

Where to Stay:

Connor stayed at The Grande Bahia Principe

His cost was $1,100 bundled with 3 people which included a roundtrip flight, 5 days and 4 nights.

A connection from RSW to Miami to Punta Cana int. Flew Southwest.

https://www.bahia-principe.com/en/resorts-in-dominican-republic/resort-punta-cana/

expedia deals:

https://www.expedia.com/Punta-Cana-Hotels-Grand-Bahia-Principe-Punta-Cana-All-Inclusive.h1091208.Hotel-Information

Ashley stayed at Majestic Mirage:

https://www.majestic-resorts.com/en/our-resorts/majestic-mirage-punta-cana

Day time Activities and Recommendations:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g147293-d12467586-Punta_Cana_Discovery_Package_Dune_Buggy_Adventure_and_Catamaran_Cruise-Punta_Cana_.html

Nighttime Activities:

Drinks Recommendations

  • Coconut drinks
  • Pineapple drinks
  • Shots of the sig liquor: Mama Juana (rum, red wine, and honey to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs)

Tips to Stay Safe while in DR

  • Stay with a friend the entire time, let friends know ahead of time where you are going. Share your locations with friends
  • Look at your data plan. Call provider for $10 a day for unlimited data. Unless you have an unlimited international plan.
  • Ask resort people where to eat, where is safe and unsafe etc.

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13 Looks The Travel Brats Can’t Wait To Rock When Quarantine is Over

Since I am currently quarantined in Florida and it’s 80 degrees everyday, I’ve been wearing a swimsuit everyday. I can’t remember the last time I put on real clothes (that weren’t pajamas) or did up my hair and makeup. I am already daydreaming about all the cute outfits I am going to wear out when the world heals and this pandemic comes to an end, until then I am happy to stay in and keep everyone else safe. Here are some of the looks I can’t wait to wear out and about, to the beach, and on adventures. 

Shop all these looks and more at SHOP BEST DRESSED and follow @shopbestdressed on IG!


Getting Fancy Looks:


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Shop the dress

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Shop the clip

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Shop the Skirt


Girl’s Night Out Looks:


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Shop the Dress

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Shop the Bodysuit

Shop the Skirt


Swimsuit/ Beach Looks:


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Shop the Sunflower Swimsuit

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Shop the Stripe Swimsuit

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Shop the Sunglasses

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Shop the Romper


Out and About Day Looks:


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Shop the Shirt

Shop the Leather Shorts

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Shop the Shirt

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Shop the Dress

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Shop the Jacket

SHOP LOOKS HERE!

Episode 6 – All Things Chicago: Hot Spots with Ryan Valdez

Listen to Travel Brats on Apple Podcast

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Last summer, mine and Sofia’s friend, Ryan, moved to the Windy City. Back in April 2019, I helped Ryan go apartment shopping in downtown and we got to explore to some really awesome places before he moved here. Since then, Sofia has visited Chicago and Ryan got to show her around to some of the best night life and bars. We were happy to hop on a call with Ry to ask him about his experiences, reminisce, and get his insight on how to survive Chicago on a budget. Here are so of his top places to go:

Restaurants 

Casual Dining

Portillos: 

https://www.portillos.com

Imperial Lamian:

https://imperial-lamian.com

Ramen Takeya fulton market:

http://www.ramentakeya.com/menu

Cafe Ba-ba Reeba:

https://www.cafebabareeba.com

Au Cheval:

auchevaldiner.com/

Best Day Time Activities

Depends on season:

Options: 

https://www.choosechicago.com/things-to-do/

Summer:

(cubs games, “beaches”, shops, Divvy bike, parks, rooftop bars) 

Fall/Winter (weather is brutal so limited options – Bulls game, second city, ice skating at McCormick or Maggie Daley) 

Best Night Time Activities:

Concerts and Bars (Lincoln Park, Old Town, West Loop, River North)

Coolest buildings in Chicago: Hancock, Water Tower for shopping, Willis Tower

Bars

Wrigleyville:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct-wrigley-bars-each-and-every-one-htmlstory.html

Sluggers:

http://www.sluggersbar.com

Point and Feather:

https://www.pointandfeatherchicago.com

Three Dots and a Dash (basement bar):

https://www.threedotschicago.com

What to Wear in Each Season

Fall: 

Light Jacket

Winter: Layer up, puffy coats, gloves, hats, be creative

Summer: Shorts, tees, tanks, anything goes 

  

When is the best time to visit Chicago? 

Ryan said: Summertime CHI is the best! – everyone is out & about, perfect weather, most things to do during this time 

 

Best places for Music and Theatre: 

CIBC Theatre:

CIBC Theatre

House of Blues 

https://www.houseofblues.com/chicago

 

How To Stay Safe in the City

Ryan said: not as scary as one might think – just be aware of you surroundings and try to have a buddy when you go out/walk through neighborhoods.

Thanks so much to our guest, Ryan, for letting us interview him! If you have more questions, reach out.

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