My First airbnb

In search of my first airbnb… Several friends have used airbnb, and recommended trying it as I traveled around Ireland. Since I would be traveling solo, it also seemed like a great way to get to know some local people.

I began searching for my first airbnb a few weeks prior to my trip. I was able to save places I liked on a wish list, so I could sort through and compare my options. I read through reviews written by previous guests, and tried to narrow it down.

As I was about to make my decision, a new property popped up. It was in the perfect location in the Latin Quarter of Galway, and right where I wanted to be. The only problem was that the host was brand new to airbnb, which meant there weren’t any reviews. I went back and forth trying to decide if I should take a risk.

I finally decided to take a leap of faith. I booked six days, and hoped he wasn’t a serial killer. I kept telling myself that things like that only happen in the movies…

I was so excited when I arrived at my first airbnb. The location was absolutely perfect, and my host was waiting outside to meet me. My first impression was that he apperared normal, and that put me at ease.

my Galway, Ireland airbnb

My first airbnb in Galway, Ireland

He gave me the tour of his very lovely two story apartment, showed me my room, and then we chatted. We had a good laugh as we discussed our nervousness. This was, after all, the first airbnb experience for both of us. I was his first guest, and I hadn’t even considered he might be a bit worried as to who was going to show up at his door.

I think we both were relieved!

charming airbnb

This place oozes charm!

Ireland… I’m Back!

Back in Ireland… As I step off the plane and into the Dublin Airport, I realize I am grinning like a lunatic that has escaped the asylum. I don’t care what anyone thinks. My soul is happy. I am back in Ireland, and adventure awaits me.

back in Ireland and happy

So happy to be back in Ireland!

I continue to walk through the airport in search of the bus which will bring me to Galway. I have been on 3 planes, and traveling now for 19 hours. I still have a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to my destination, but I don’t feel tired at all. In fact, I’m invigorated. I wonder when the jet lag will kick in… The thought is fleeting.

I find my bus to Galway, making sure it is the Express Route. I took the 5 1/2 hour scenic route the last time. I don’t want a repeat.

I take my seat, and begin to dream my way through the Irish countryside. The ride flies by… Hmmm, perhaps I dozed.

I arrive in Galway, and make my way through Eyre Square. I’m amazed at how quickly I find my way around. Before I know it, I find myself in the Latin Quarter.

Galway, Ireland Buskers

Buskers in Galway, Ireland

Everything is so familiar. I feel like I’m finally home.

Ready, Set, Go! Ireland Bound!

Ireland Bound

Ready, Set, Go…. It should have been that easy right?

I knew I was going to return to Ireland before I had even returned from my last trip there. I was in love with the country, and knew I’d be back for more… Love is like that after all. Who doesn’t want more of a good thing?

It was just a matter of figuring out the details… Where would I stay? How would I finance this adventure? How long would I be able to do this for?

This trip was also somewhat of a test for myself. Could I give up having an actual home, and start my dream of living the gypsy life? I’ve been thinking about it for awhile, and was more than ready to go. I had originally planned on throwing some stuff in storage, selling what I no longer needed, and just using airbnb as living quarters along the way. This, however, freaked out some of my friends and family that weren’t quite as enthusiastic about my plan as I was.

They thought I might regret giving up my apartment in Santa Barbara… It is a pretty sweet place, and in the perfect location! I think their actual motives were that, they would have to find a new place to stay while vacationing in Santa Barbara… Kidding aside, I considered other options.

I decided to sublet my place for the next two months. I thought that was the safer option, just in the event my gypsy life didn’t work out. So, I found a 70 year old man that wanted to test the waters of retiring in Santa Barbara, and sublet it to him. He seemed like a safe bet. I put my personal belongings in storage, and crossed my fingers that all was going to work out.

I secured my first six days lodging in Galway, Ireland through airbnb, and booked a few days at a surf lodge in Bundoran, Ireland. I decided to wing the rest of the trip, seeing where the Universe would take me.

I had worked enough the previous months, and was good to go with the financing… Or so I thought!

My car decided it needed some TLC days before I was ready to leave… My travel budget took a $600 hit. Ouch!

Next, there was the call from my bank. My business checking account had been hit with fraudulent charges. Someone in China had managed to make a physical copy of my credit card, and go on a shopping spree. The first charge was for $800 worth of awnings! Really? Wow! Eight more charges followed… How was this not caught immediately?

It was time to sell something that would save the budget. I had a piece of gold jewelry sitting stored in a closet that would do the job… Trip saved!

I’ve been flying standby for the past year, so I’ve got used to getting bumped to the next flight. I’ve spent more time in some airports than I ever thought I would, which can be mentally challenging after awhile. I’ve never flown standby internationally, and was hoping for the best.

The night before I was ready to leave, I had to scramble to rearrange my flights. My original plan was hopeless. All the flights out of Los Angeles were so oversold that I would never make it onto any of them. My only hope was to fly out of Santa Barbara, which added one more flight into the mix. I had no choice… My sub-letter was moving in the next day, and I would be homeless. What’s one more flight anyway?

Shockingly, I made all three of my standby flights! Put this one down the record books! I took it as a good sign that the rest of the trip would go well!

Flying standby to Dublin, Ireland

Flying to Ireland!





My First Solo Journey

Solo Journey To Ireland

After a lot of thought, I have decided to travel on my first ever Solo Journey! I’m so excited!

I will be traveling for 5 weeks around Ireland with my backpack, camera in hand, photographing and blogging my adventures along the way. I’m also checking into opportunities to volunteer on Organic Farms through WWOOF.

If you would like to be a sponsor, or can spread the word through social media, check out the details here.

Solo Journey to Galway Ireland

Did I dream it or did it dream me?

Roller Derby Girls Brawlin’ Bettie’s

Roller Derby Girls… Brawlin’ Bettie’s

My friends had tickets and invited me to go… It was to see the Brawlin’ Bettie’s.

Who are the Brawlin’ Bettie’s?

Well apparently Santa Barbara has a women’s Roller Derby team! Wow! Who knew… Well, I guess a lot of people… Just not me! They actually have a following!

I needed to take a break from staring at the computer… aka working/editing photos and decided to join them. They had seen the “Bettie’s” before and promised a good time filled with action, plus there would be beer and a food truck with BBQ… Kind of hard to say no to that!

Roller Derby Brawlin' Betties's

The MC & Roller Derby Fashion


Roller Derby Girls

Brawlin’ Betties

The only Roller Derby I had ever seen was on tv… And, that was when I was a little kid. I was impressed! All I can say is these girls kick ass!

I’m ready to join the team! I’ve even picked my name… Jammin’ Julie! Oh yeah!

I won’t tell anyone that I haven’t even roller bladed for a really long time & hmmm… Not really sure if I’ve ever even had roller skates attached to my feet!

But, in my head… I’m a Brawlin’ Bettie!






East Beach – Photo Of The Day

Photo of The Day – Shoes of Jason

I actually made it to East Beach during the afternoon to shoot.  I’ve been shooting a lot at night, so it was a nice change.  I wanted to  play around with low angles, and happened to come across a pair of Vans sitting in the sand.  As I was shooting, the owner of the shoes soon appeared, looking a bit perplexed!  I guess I must have looked a bit strange taking pictures of his shoes!  I told him about the project I’m working on, and he shared some of recent travel adventures!  And, they were quite the adventures!  Maybe I need to shoot more shoes!

Photo Of The Day, Santa Barbara California, Great travel adventures, Vacation

“Shoes of Jason”

Rincon Surfers

Surfers at Rincon

Rincon is one of the best places to photograph surfers… And, surf too!  It’s also just a great day trip, and not very far from Santa Barbara.  The Lensbaby is my favorite lens to use at Rincon. It’s perfect for playing with the motion of the water, and photographing the surfers.

Rincon Surfers, Ventura CA, Day Trip, Travel, Ocean, Santa Barbara Day Trip, Surfing at Rincon

Waiting For A Wave


Rincon Surfers, Ventura CA, Day Trip, Travel, Ocean, Santa Barbara Day Trip, Surfing at Rincon

Surfer Going In


Rincon Surfers, Ventura CA, Day Trip, Travel, Ocean, Santa Barbara Day Trip, Surfing at Rincon

Rincon Surfers


Rincon Surfers, Ventura CA, Day Trip, Travel, Ocean, Santa Barbara Day Trip, Surfing at Rincon

Surfing Rincon

Funk Zone Time!

2nd Saturday Art Walk – Funk Zone

If you’re in Santa Barbara on the Second Saturday of the month, make sure to find your way to the Funk Zone.  Every month over 20 artists open their studios and galleries to the public from 1-5 pm.  Many venues in the Funk Zone feature live music, and there are plenty of wineries to check out too!

Start early if you want to see them all!

My first stop was The Arts Fund Gallery.  They featured multiple artists inside, as well as outside.  They also had live music, a food truck and free tastings from Jun Brewery.

Funk Zone Tasting, Jun Brewery, Santa Barbara

Jun Brewery Tasting

This is not beer my friends! It is a craft fermented probiotic drink. It’s brewed with Raw Organic Honey and Jasmine. It does have a light alcohol content, so if you’re a lightweight, watch out… Kidding! Joking aside, it was a tasty alternative drink, and quite refreshing on a hot day. And, I’m pretty sure it’s good for you too! You can schedule a tasting by going on their website.

Next I stopped was over to check out the art of Stafford Taylor. I absolutely love his art and will provide a link to his website soon.

The artwork of Stafford Taylor, funk zone, Santa Barbara, CA

Stafford Taylor and His Art

Santa Barbara Art Foundry & Gallery was next on the list. This place is super cool. It is an actual working bronze foundry, which you are able to tour. The art is an eclectic mix. You can find metal and glass sculptures, paintings, photography, and more. Don’t forget to stop by the wine bar to try some local Fox Wine!

Santa Barbara Art Foundry & Gallery, Funk Zone, Santa Barbara Day Trip

Santa Barbara Art Foundry & Gallery

As I was walking to the next studio, I came across a truck parked on Yanonali Street & Santa Barbara St. At first, I thought it was some sort of food truck. I decided to investigate, and was surprised to find handcrafted treasures from local artisans and designers inside. How fabulous… Mobile Art! You can find The Habitat Factory in the Funk Zone on 2nd Saturdays or check out their website for more info.

2nd Saturday, Santa Barabara, Art, The Habitat Factory

The Habitat Factory

I should have started earlier! I was running out of time, and hadn’t even been to half of the studios! I managed to squeeze one more in before it all ended. I was drawn in by a pair of cowboy boots that had been converted to roller skates. There they sat promising more of the unexpected inside. In I walked to find the sculpture and assemblage art of Dan Levin. He refers to his art as Objects Of Curiosity, and that they are! Finished pieces coexist among a fascinating array of random objects.

Santa Barbara, art, Dan Levin

Dan Levin’s Art

Last but not least, I headed over to Seven. A girl’s got to eat… and ok have a beer too! They also are a part of 2nd Saturday, so I figured I could see some art as well.
The Pulled Pork Sliders, Parmesan Truffle Fries and a beer were the perfect way to end the Art Walk!

Seven in Santa Barbara, Art, Food

Outside at Seven

Grand Central Market Los Angeles

Los Angeles Grand Central Market

I discovered the Grand Central Market, while hunting for parking in the Los Angeles Jewelry District.  Driving by, I wondered why I had never heard about this hidden gem in downtown LA.  It just cried out “Park your car and come on in”!  So, after shopping, I did just that. I wandered over to Broadway to check it out.

This is a market that got it right!  It has a history dating back to 1917 and has been operating since then… Once again, how did I not know of it’s existence?

It encompasses 30,000 square feet, and is filled with a crazy amount of food choices. I circled three times before deciding what I wanted! It has a little bit of everything… Multiple restaurants, fresh produce, bulk grains, desserts, fresh juice, coffee, and even a liquor selection.

You can find moles, dried beans, rice, and specialty products at Chiles Secos  or try Valeria’s for an extensive selection of Latin dry goods.   Fresh seasonal produce and vegetable are available at La Casa Verde, Sun’s, or Torres Produce.  The restaurant choices are diverse… Kababs, Chinese, Hawaiian BBQ, Oysters, Salvadorean and more!  The prices are ridiculous… As in really good!

I had such a hard time choosing!  The debate was between Bento Ya Japanese Cuisine, Kabab & More, or Sarita’s Pupuseria.  I ended up going with Bento Ya Japanese Cuisine.  It was hard to pass up Grilled Teriyaki Chicken for just $5.75!  It was a decent amount of food for the price, and tasted good too!

I guess I will have to find a few more reasons to hit downtown LA.  How else am I going to be able to try all the other options that I could only gaze at?

Los Angeles Day Trip to Grand Central Market

Entry to Grand Central Market

Los Angeles Day Trip to Grand Central Market

Lot’s of Produce Choices!

Day trip to Los Angeles Grand Central Market

Fish Anyone?

Day Trip to restaurant in Los Angeles Grand Central Market

So Many Choices!