Why I Ditched My Own College Graduation

I have always been a huge proponent of taking chances. For one, it makes for way better stories. I’m not talking like Steve-O level stuff, but more like, taking a year off after high school and moving to Guatemala (check), singing karaoke at a bar in Costa Rica when you’re the only non-native Spanish speaker there (check), or staying out all night before your early morning flight and just sleeping on the plane (check times a billion).

The latest chance I took is that I skipped my own college graduation yesterday and wore my cap and tassel on a beach in Colombia instead.

Five months ago, my best friend since I was born (literally) invited me to meet her in Cartagena, Colombia over Memorial Day Weekend. I live in California and she lives in New York, so I see her for 24 hours out of the year if I’m lucky. I said I would go and started saving up, and two months ago when I went to buy the ticket, I realized that those dates coincided with graduation weekend.

I spent the better part of three weeks debating about what to do, and you already know what I decided. I only regretted it for a few minutes when I saw my graduating friends’ Snapchats of them all together at graduation, and I had a serious case of FOMO…for five minutes, and then I remembered I had been floating around in the Caribbean with my best friend I never get to see instead of standing in a hot, crowded stadium for six hours, and I felt better.

Last summer, I backpacked around Europe with a friend and fell head over heels in love with Barcelona, Spain. Ever since I left eleven months ago, I’ve been saying I wanted to live there and have a post-college non-office job for a few months before I decided to Adult. After buying my Cartagena ticket with no real plan, I decided just to go for it.

Next week, I’m traveling to Madrid, Spain by myself for four days before moving to Barcelona.

I have no idea how long I’ll end up doing that for or what I’m doing after, and about once a day, I have a momentary freak out about traveling alone, running out of money, etc. etc. etc. But this is what I’m doing, and obviously, I’m pretty excited about it.

Do it for the story, yo.

Lurk the IG if you want to see what I’m up to.

 

Traveling as a Vegetarian Isn’t as Much of a Pain in the Ass as You’d Think

You know the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the main character was explaining that her fiancé is a vegetarian and therefore doesn’t eat meat and her aunt was like “don’t eat no meat?!…it’s okay, it’s okay, I make lamb”? Well, that legitimately happened to me when I was in Greece, except it was my friend’s godmother and she said it was okay if I didn’t eat meat because there would also be oysters at dinner.

It turned out to be fine because almost every meal in Greece is accompanied by bread, French fries and salad (with a big ol’ hunk of feta cheese on top), and any one of those things are a meal in itself.

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was four years old, and I’ve been to 13 different countries (and counting). Weirdly, the only place I’ve traveled to where my vegetarianism has been an issue was Key West in Florida.

I’ve talked to a bunch of vegetarians who told me they opted to start eating meat while traveling because they thought it would be easier, which is one option, but if you’d rather try not to eat meat no matter where you are (which I’ve been able to get away with), it’s not impossible.

Check out my tips on how to do so from one veggie to another.

1. Don’t avoid a country solely because you’re worried about the vegetarian factor.

There will always be ways around it, but it helps to be willing to be flexible when necessary, in terms of eating the same thing more than once, eating a snack from a corner store instead of a full-on meal, etc. There will always be options, and it’s definitely not worth not going somewhere you want to go.

Which brings us to…

2. Be willing to be flexible when necessary.

Like I said, out of all the places I’ve been, I’ve legit only had a problem with non-veggie options in Florida, but I’m also very not picky. Well, except for the whole no meat thing, but yeah.

When I went to Israel for a week and a half, I ate a falafel wrap for almost every meal, and when I was backpacking in Europe with a friend for two months, we split way more large cheese pizzas than I’d care to admit (that’s a lie, it’s 13 and tbh I’m low-key proud of it).

Falafel is delicious and pizza is pizza, so no complaints from me.

3. Be mindful of where you are.

In my experience, a lot of people around the world are cool with vegetarianism but don’t necessarily understand it. Don’t be the type of vegetarian that gets vegetarians a bad reputation and ask for like, the carne asada taco sin carne , or something. Order a side of tortillas and a side of rice and beans and make ya own taco.

TL;DR: Don’t let your vegetarianism scare you out of traveling! Not being picky helps.

How PBS Made Me Go Vegetarian

Gather ’round, boys and girls, it’s storytime!

The year is 1995. The setting is Santa Cruz, California. Four-year-old Jessica is sitting on the couch in the living room, watching a PBS special about lions whilst going to town on a hot dog. Suddenly, the happy-go-lucky zebra who had been prancing about on the screen a second earlier was brutally attacked by a lion and reduced to a bloody carcass on the plains, and four-year-old Jessica freaked out.

Now, this in itself didn’t bother me so much–I had already seen The Lion King a couple hundred times, so I knew about the circle of life and the food chain and all that.

What bothered me what the realization that just like the zebra, my hot dog used to be an animal, moving around on its own volition, and now it was a dead hunk of meat in my hand. (But of course I didn’t know the word “volition.”)

It’s 20 years later, and I haven’t purposefully eaten a chunk of meat since (shoutout to the lotus leaf wrap I accidentally ate in a buffet line in Vegas on my 21st birthday because the signs were switched and it said there was just rice inside).

People give me shit for it, and although sometimes it can be a little difficult navigating what I can and can’t eat when there’s a language barrier, traveling as a vegetarian isn’t as much of a pain in the ass as you’d think. Read on…

San Francisco Quote Map By Neighborhood

San Franciscans say the darnedest things. These are all quotes that I have legit heard random people say in passing. Roll over the district to see its collection of quotes.

The map itself (minus the quotes) is courtesy of the folks at It’s Always Sunny In San Francisco, who were nice enough to let me use it.

I’m sure you’ve heard your fair share of hilarious, awesome, and/or straight up “WTF” San Francisco quotes. Leave a comment with some good ones and where you heard them!