My return to Budapest, six years later

When I studied abroad in Florence, Italy in college, one of my last trips was to Budapest, Hungary, where I spent a long weekend with my college roommate, Alex, and her family after she came to visit me from the States.

However, after a few months of traveling to six other countries and 15 Italian cities, I was feeling tired and a bit homesick. So, when Alex and I trekked to Budapest, we spent more time than we probably should have hanging out in our beautiful hotel room at the Marriott (I was used to questionable hostels and bunk beds), eating American food as we celebrated Thanksgiving and taking dopey pictures that only best friends take.

Me at our hotel, Danubius Spa in Budapest.

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6 items to always bring on your journey abroad

As anyone who reads this blog is probably already aware, I’m going to Prague, Vienna and Budapest on Monday and I am counting the minutes until I can escape from the winter wonderland that is New Jersey right now.

However, before I hop on a plane – and before any of you do, either – I have to do what I dread doing most – packing.

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My very personalized backpack.

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After 26 years, a place to call my own

Growing up in Long Valley, a small, one-traffic-light town in northwestern New Jersey, I had a real penchant for sleeping out.

No, not like that, but it seemed like in a effort to quell my boredom and my discomfort with being in yet another new home (and one that was constantly in jeopardy as that one sat on the market for years), I would often sleep at friends’ houses, where I felt more comfortable and more at peace than I did in my own bed.

A glimpse inside my humble abode.

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The best way to see a city is from your feet

Ever since my freshman high school volleyball team made a not-so-hard pass at my membership more than 10 years ago, I’ve been a runner.

With hundreds of 5Ks, five-milers and 10Ks, four spring and four winter track seasons, two half marathons and one full marathon under my belt, I’m realizing now, as I fight my nearly year-long battle with posterior tibial tendonitis which has kept me out of my sneakers since December that like a crappy boyfriend, I’ve been taking running for granted.

Jenna Intersimone at the New York City Marathon.

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Old travel habits die hard

Long before Ubers or before I could even fathom paying a hefty taxi fare, there was one way and one way only to get to and from the airport – via my dad’s unreliable, smelly and stuffed pickup truck (all of which were of various ages and models, but possessed the same decidedly unsatisfactory qualities).

Even though my dad frequently missed the Newark Airport exit and cursed out traffic – coupled alongside my bag’s unavoidable soaking from the storm that always seemed to be happen on the day it was loaded into the pickup – I could never really imagine another, if not more uneventful, way to depart and come from my latest journey.

This picture probably gives you a good idea of the way my dad acts on a day to day basis.

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Pub 199 of Mt. Arlington is a meat lover’s paradise

When I worked as an advertising account manager in 2013 and 2014 (thank god that’s over) my main job duty was to pretty much call every business in Morris County and solicit them for advertising. I always got interesting – sometimes rude and sometimes surprisingly receptive – answers from whoever had the misfortune of picking up my bored call. However, I still remember what the busy employee at Pub 199 said to me when I called them on one fateful day.

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‘The Big Easy’s’ annual Jazz Fest is finally here

Written by Guest Blogger Donato Soranno

New Orleans has been called “The Big Easy” – and justifiably so.

I have been attending The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival since 1990 since here, you can find the best musicians, the best chefs and some of the oldest history in the United States.

New Orleans during Mardi Gras. (Photo by Donato Soranno)

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A surreal tropical paradise found in Tahiti

Written by Dr. Donato (Dan) Soranno 

Tahiti, Bora Bora and the group known as the Society Islands can best be summed up as the definition of tropical paradise.

To get there, we flew across the United States to Los Angeles and then the next day, we took Air Tahiti Nui to Tahiti. Upon arrival we were taken immediately to our cruise ship, The Paul Gaugin. This was rated the best cruise in the world and after spending a week on the boat, I have to agree.

Bora Bora. (Photo by Donato Soranno)

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