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 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!

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 

Follow Us!

Island Hopping Guide to Grenada’s Carriacou

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I live on the beautiful island of Grenada, which is only 100 miles north of Venezuela and located in the Eastern Caribbean. Grenada is only 12 miles wide and 21 miles long with a little over 100,000 residents. Living the island life very much so comes with the small town vibes of knowing your neighbors and seeing familiar faces no matter where you are on the island. Grenada is south of St. Vincent and the Grenadines which are made up of 32 islands and cays. Grenada claims two of the Grenadines islands,Petit Martinique and Carriacou. 


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A few weeks ago, I took myself on a quick solo trip to Carriacou. The island’s name equates to “Land of Reefs” and is home to only 8,000 residents. It’s a very quaint, quiet, and beautiful island. It was very easy to get to from the mainland of Grenada by plane or boat. I prefer ferry because it’s very reliable and allows you to have different views of the island, and SVG Air cancelled my flight home.


So I took the Osprey Lines ferry; it docks in the Carenage and departs everyday at 9am. You can’t buy your ticket online, so you just have arrive a little early to purchase one.  It’s 80EC, so it’s less than $65 for a roundtrip to go island hopping! Then, it’s just a quick two hour boat ride, and you can easily get a taxi once you arrive in Carriacou. 


Once I got to Carriacou, I booked at a cute, boutique hotel that was right on the water. I spent my entire time there lounging in a beach chair, swimming, reading, and eating so much food at the hotel’s restaurant. It’s without a doubt one of the most relaxing and serene places I’ve ever been with the kindest locals and I hope everyone gets a chance to do a little island hopping. I am going again mid December when my dad comes down, and I will updated the blog with more activities, restaurants, and museums to visit. I have every intention of going snorkeling and exploring more local events!

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If you have an questions, leave a comment or message me. Enjoy! 

Reflection: 2 Weeks Living in St Lucia & Peace Corps Training

Reflection: 2 Weeks Living in St Lucia & Peace Corps Training

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who has reached out to me, wished me well, celebrated with me, helped me pack, and has been rooting for while on this journey. I already knew my family and friends were special, but now I’m blown away by how beautiful, deep, and loving all the relationships in my life are. So thank you again and be sure to follow along the Doer’s Diary on IG!

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On July 2nd, I picked up my life along with 39 other volunteers to move to St. Lucia and the Eastern Caribbean (Grenada, St. Vincent, and Dominica) for the next 27 months. I’m currently in phase one of training for 4 weeks in Babonneau, St. Lucia to become a Primary English Literacy Specialist Volunteer with the Peace Corps to focus on promoting literacy in primary/infant schools. On August 2nd, I will find out what island I’ll be living on for the next two years and that’s where I’ll be for phase 2 and 3 of my training before being sworn in in October. I’ll spend the reminder of my service working at the same school for two years and during that time, I’ll focus on integrating with the community, making lifelong connections, and working with fellow teachers and kiddos from grades 1-3. 

For more information on the volunteers and programs in the Eastern Caribbean!

After weeks of packing up my townhouse, moving 95% of my belonging into a storage unit, and the other 5% in to my mom and stepdad’s house, leaving for the Peace Corps was upon us. I had to fit everything I could possibly need (and then some) into 2 suitcases with a max weight limit of 50 lbs each and one carry on. Let me tell you, that carry was a hiking backpack that weighed as much as I do. The backpack I used was a god-sent, and a best seller on amazon. So check it out, fellow travelers.  

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Packing in and of itself was consuming, and I am currently working on a packing guide once I get settled into the island I’ll be serving on, so I save future volunteers from packing too much or not enough.

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After my first three days of orientation on the island, all the trainees left the comfort of each other’s presence to move into our host family’s homes.

This is where the real fun began. You know the saying: “growth only occurs outside of your comfort zone,” whoever said that definitely knew what they were talking about.

The embrace and instant love I felt from my host mom made me feel so welcomed in a new environment. I quickly jumped into learning about my surroundings— exploring her extensive garden filled with pineapples, limes, lemons, cashews, Chinese cabbage, coconuts, plantains and the list goes on, learning a new language, adapting to new norms, and being on a whole new level of integration into a culture I could have only dreamed of. My heart is filled with so much gratitude for my host mom opening her home to me, and the people of St. Lucia for being so welcoming and kind as I ask a million questions and learn as much as I can. 

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Once I moved into my host family’s beautiful home in Babboneau, I struggled for a few days— feeling the loss of all the things and people I had been comforted by in my typical days back in the states. I cried, I shed my walls, and saw a newer, more open and vulnerable side of myself that I was willing to share with other trainees, my host mom, and my family back home. I began to realize how important this time was— I had shed my ego and left my masks to hide who I truly am back home. It’s been so humbling to just be me, and that’s enough. 

I am not immune to the desire for consistency and normalcy, but I have felt a lightness in my heart that has allowed me to be fully present and loving.

Day by day, I learn how we are all more alike than different, and how loving one another is our most powerful tool.

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Our first week of training flew by so quickly, with amble information on culture, diversity, inclusion, medical procedures, consolidation routes, hurricane tips, and so forth. My head could spin looking back at all my notes, but I’ve learned more about my role in development and leaving judgements at the door. Hearing the point of views from fellow trainees and staff has been such an eye-opening experience, to be more receptive and transparent in my endeavor to inspire and connect with others. I have been able to make so many wonderful friendships that are already starting to blossom, so for now, I’m living each day to the fullest and on Monday, I’ll be hiking with all my friends to the Sulphur Springs in St Lucia, the Gros Piton which is the world’s only drive-in volcano. So stay tuned for a packing guide for Peace Corps EC and Hiking Guides. . .

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I made it on local news in St Lucia where Peace Corps Volunteer share their stories!

Please feel free to reach out, ask questions, and connect. Thanks for being a Doer and enjoy one of my favorite quotes!

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Ash’s Guide To Biking On Sanibel Island, FL

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One of my favorite things to do, especially when I have friends in town or have a weekend off, is biking all around Sanibel to discover the cutest cafes, stores, and locations. Sanibel Island has a bike/ walking path that is partially shaded and the best perk is, IT IS NOT SHARED WITH THE ROAD. (much safer) Once you are on Sanibel Island, go about a mile down Periwinkle to Billy’s Rentals. It is in the middle of everything and not too far from the beach. It’s open 8:30am to 5pm everyday.

For the bike I get, it’s $12 for 4 hours, but here are the rates and options:

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Once you get your bike, here are my top 7 places you should bike to:

1. Sanibel Bean Coffee Shop

 

It’s located at 2240 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957 and it’s open from 7am to 2pm. It’s my favorite coffee shop in all SWFL. Not only is the atmosphere chill, it has the best coffee too. I always get the white chocolate mocha, but they have tons of specials or check out their menu before going. #sanibelbean

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2. Lighthouse Beach

The lighthouse beach is at the end of Periwinkle, so just bike until you hit the water. 112 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL and the beach opens at 8am. The Sanibel Island Light is also known as the Point Ybel Light and it’s one of the first lighthouses on the Florida’s Gulf coast, north of Key West. It’s such an enjoyable beach and the water is so different and pretty compared to FMB. You just park your bike at the bike racks and all the bikes have baskets so bring your beach gear along.

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3. Lighthouse Cafe

It’s right by the beach at 362 Periwinkle Way and it was such a great place for lunch. They are known for their breakfast and they serve it all day. They have a ton of specials at their restaurant and totally worth checking out their menu. They open at 7am to 3pm and then reopen for dinner at 5!

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4. J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

1 Wildlife Dr., Sanibel, FL and it opens at 9 am. It’s a little bit of a trek from the beach and bike rental, but it’s totally worth it. This refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the US. It’s so serene and has a 4 mile path or 8 mile option, and you can ride your bike through it all. It costs $1 per person/bike to enter, so bring a few singles. It’s a great ethical way to interact with nature.

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5. Gene’s Books

The countless rooms filled with endless books– basically heaven. It’s located at 2365 Periwinkle Way, not too far from the bike rental. I’ve been to countless bookstores around the country, but this is my #1 favorite bookstore EVER! That should tell you how amazing it is. They open at 9am and you could easily spend hours there. So drag another book lover with you.

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6. Love Boat Ice Cream

It’s in the Jerry’s Shopping Center and is located at 1700 Periwinkle Way #9. It opens at 10 am. Homemade ice cream with every flavor you can imagine. I always get a chocolate shake or a banana split. For the ice cream lovers, this is for you! They also have a Fort Myers location, by FMB, which is the one I normally go to.

7. Sanibel Fresh

On the way to or from the beach, stop at Sanibel Fresh and get the Sangria. Such a yummy red Sangria! It’s located at 1020 Periwinkle Way and it’s a cute little cafe with outside seating and a health conscious menu. My mom and I loved it and shared a flatbread and potato salad, so I recommend those options. Check out their Facebook for reviews or their website: https://www.restaurantji.com/fl/sanibel/sanibel-fresh-/

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I hope you enjoyed my recommendations.

Comment any questions or your own recommendations for Sanibel Island. It’s a great day adventure, so grab your friends, family, or take yourself on a little getaway. Thank you for reading, my friends. #travelingwithash