The Darling Nomadess: November 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Date in Columbus: Bear's Den Concert

Sometimes dating can get monotonous. The guy picks you up. You go to some chain restaurant like Olive Garden or Outback Steakhouse. You watch a recently released movie at the theater. You might go out for drinks after or you may end up just going home. Repeat. 

Every once in a great while you'll get an excellent date that has a little more thought put into it. Maybe he'll do some serious research to find a hidden gem of a restaurant that will totally blow your mind with their delicious butternut squash soup and ginger beer. Maybe he'll introduce you to an awesome indie rock band weeks in advance that you find your self listening to on repeat and then take you to their concert. Maybe he'll do both and then some.

About a month ago, Alex took me on the best first date a girl could ask for. At the time, we had been cooped up in Sandusky for far too long and working far too many hours at Cedar Point. We needed a break and so Alex planned an awesome first date for us in Ohio's capital city. 

Of course, like any girl when invited on a date, I instantly began to think of what I would wear for such an occasion. Typically I would wear skinny jeans with a nice blouse and heels for a dinner and movie date; however, for a nice dinner and concert date, I would need something that was a balance between dressy enough for a trendy restaurant and cool enough to fit in with an indie concert crowd. Also, with the unpredictable Ohio weather, I would need an outfit with layers.

A little black dress with a chambray and scarf thrown over it was perfect. It was great to have the extra layers while walking around town and having the ability to take the chambray off when I was warmed up by the crowd in Columbus's Basement venue.

After a few hour road trip to Columbus, our first stop was to the Till Dynamic Fare Restaurant, a trendy and hip little restaurant near The Ohio State University.  The restaurant features unique selections that are made from organic and local produce and offered a wonderful vegan menu, too (Alex is a vegetarian). We were treated to delicious butternut squash soup and ginger beers that I still dream about to this day. The decor resembled that of a NYC find and I loved the small edgy details such as the bar menu written on the wall covered in chalkboard paint. Since I was on a date, I wasn't going to break out the camera so you'll have to go check out the restaurant next time you're in Columbus. ;)

After a relaxing and filling dinner, we headed to The Basement to see a band called Bear's Den. The opening acts were exceptionally good as well! Christof, a Dutch alternative folk singer, kicked off the concert. He left everyone's hearts melted and feeling left in a daze with his distinctive voice and inspiring lyrics. His music is truly beautiful. I would recommend you listen to "Cuckoo" on his Springtime EP (2010).

Vancouver natives Dan Mangan + Blacksmith took the stage next (pictured above). I have to be honest, Alex had me listen to Dan Mangan long before the concert and I wasn't a fan. After hearing him at the concert, my mind was quickly changed. Another unique voice, it's a bit on the rough side but I enjoy the folksy whimsical music that accompanies his newer music. I enjoy his 2007 album, Postcards and Daydreaming, and find the music to be relaxing and thoughtfully done. I really enjoy "Sold" (2010) and "Journal of a Narcoleptic" (2007).

After a long intermission, the headlining band finally crawled out of the den. Bear's Den is one of the few bands that I can listen to on repeat. All.Day.Long. I enjoyed their music before the concert and after hearing them live, I enjoy it even more. There are so many great songs I recommend you just download their new album "Islands" (2014) now. Go. Do it now. You won't regret it. The easiest way for me to describe this band is just simply adorable. Their lyrics, their music, their whole look. Just adorable. Dancing with Alex to our favorite songs was definitely the highlight of the whole night (my goodness, when did I become a romantic?). My favorite songs include "Agape," "The Love We Stole," and "Bad Blood."

After going out for a few drinks and some food, we ended the night at The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel. I was a bit nervous about staying at a hostel at first but this was so nice! It was a gorgeous and trendy hostel that offered everything you may need - bikes to ride around town, free wifi, towels and sheets, breakfast, the whole works. For my first hostel experience, I hope this doesn't ruin me for all the hostels I'll be staying in during my time in Europe, haha!

It was definitely a wonderful evening. I'm so grateful to Alex for showing that he cares in such a unique way and introducing me to excellent music (guys, right before I left for Italy he downloaded Bear's Den's newest album to my laptop without me even knowing! You can be sure I was so surprised and one happy girl when I found it later!).

What's the best date you've ever been on? What bands do you recommend?

With Love,

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Where in the World Wednesday: Roman Forum

I wasn't planning on touring the Roman Forum quite yet but when you stumble into an area that is so rich with history and beauty, it stops you dead in your tracks. 

I needed to escape from the house and was feeling mighty adventurous so I decided to go to the Piazza di Popolo alone for the first time. I didn't really want to see any big tourist traps on this particular day, rather I just wanted to explore the side streets, get a little lost, find the most perfect gelato, take some photos, and find my way home. Instead, I found myself wandering some side streets and stumbling into the Roman Forum. All hopes of finding gelato was forgotten.

I started wandering deeper and deeper into this historic district. I found it amazing to look around and see that Rome truly is an Eternal City. Among its preserved monuments are also more modern buildings in the not-so-far distance and street food vendors, sites I'm sure the ancient Romans would be just as much in awe in as we modern people are over the ancient ruins. 

At the same moment the Colosseum came into my view for the first time, a torrential downpour began at the same time. Of course, I was caught without an umbrella and was immediately swarmed by scammers trying to sell me a cheaply made umbrella for $20. Haha, yeahhhno. So I just tied my scarf over my head and continued my onward walk to the Colosseum being drenched to my bones on the way.

My first view of the Colosseum. I had to promptly put my camera away after this photo, unfortunately. I hope to go back soon for more photos and exploring.

What historic sites have you seen, if even from your hometown?!

With Love,

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Inside My Mind: Thoughts In an Airport

In all my previous travels, I never experienced travel anxiety. That is until I took my first transatlantic flight last week. I may or may not have had a minor meltdown in the airport parking lot. It wasn't even nerves from thinking scenarios like "Taken" would happen or that my plane would crash or anything like that. Below are some of the thoughts I had while in the airport. Please, just embrace the cursing. We've all been there. I literally wrote this post while in the terminals for authenticity.



I can't wait to see awesome historical sights.

Only 18 days until I see Alex!

*Side note: I'm now dating a German named Alex. Surprise!

Wow, I made it through security pretty quickly…I can't believe they let me take this giant a** backpack as a carry on…

*Side note: This backpack gave me a lot of trouble in London. Silly Brits, they travel with hardly any carry on baggage at all!

Yes dude, this backpack is bigger than me but don't you worry, I may be small but I am strong!


What if the kids hate me? What if I don't make any friends? Am I friendly?!

What if I can't figure out the public transportation?

What if I'm robbed by a gypsy on public transportation?

HOLY F*** I'M MOVING TO EUROPE!!! THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME! Who cares if I'm almost robbed, maybe I'll have the guts to tell them off and then that would be an awesome story to tell!

Do I know enough Italian to tell someone off in Italy? Maybe I should practice more…nah, let's practice German.

*Side note: Alex has been teaching me German and I have completely rediscovered my love for language learning. In high school I studied both French and Spanish. In college I just about lost that language-learning passion after an awful experience with my Spanish professor. If you're causing students to hate your class and a language all together, you're obviously doing something wrong.

I can't wait to see Amsterdam during New Year's!

OMFG I'M MOVING TO EUROPE. Am I sure I want to do this? Ashliegh, it's not too late. You can always leave the airport and go home.

Why the hell would I do that? Let's make Europe home!


Have you ever experienced travel anxiety? How did you deal with it? 

Make sure to link up your travel photos on Instagram to be featured in my new weekly series - Where In The World Wednesdays! Use the hashtag #DarlingTravels and your photo could be featured on the blog! Not on Instagram? Just email me the photo with a short description! Photos can be as old or new as you want! Can't wait to see where you darlings have been!

With Love,

Monday, November 17, 2014

My 5 Favorite Inspirational Travel Quotes

Flickr: london / Creative Commons

Thank you everyone for your continuous support on this journey! I have safely arrived in Italy and am loving the great city of Rome! Make sure to follow along on my European adventure on Instagram and Facebook. Join in on the travel fun with the #DarlingTravels!

With Love,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Home has always been a difficult term for me to describe to others. For me, I call any place I'm currently living in home. At the end of my senior year, my sorority sister's had given me a senior superlative - the Nomad Award, obviously very fitting. Everywhere I have travelled and lived have been places where I left my heart. I leave my heart time and time again in NYC every time I visit. I left my heart at Chicago's Navy Pier when I visited in the 7th grade. I left my heart in Costa Rica when I studied abroad 2 summers ago. I left my heart at Ashland University, where I met many of my lifelong friends. As I move to Europe, I am sure that I will find another home as well. 

While all of these places I may consider home, there is the one home that is the standard "this is home." You know what I mean. It's the physical building that you may have grown up in. You may still have a bedroom there filled with your childhood sentiments that bring back a serious case of nostalgia. For the past week, I've revisited this home. 

It's weird to go back to the place of all those memories I try to remember and other memories to not remember. It sounds cliche but the best way for me to sum up home is in a quote from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - 

“It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed, is you.” 

While here I made a point to eat lunch at the two restaurants I waitressed at in high school - Oser's Dairy & Deli and Sister's Century House Restaurant. Not a single thing had changed since 2010 (the year I went away to college). Same menus, same decor, same hours, same customers and workers. While at Oser's, I heard a young boy's voice yell "Ashliegh!" from behind me. Startled, I turned around. When I realized it was the voice of  a much older gentleman, I was instantly humbled and saddened. My former boss's once deep voice had left him during a stroke. 

Announcing my great European adventure was a whole other story. Many expressed concern for my travels and asked many questions to ensure that I had done my research. Other's told scary stories that they probably got from movies like "Taken." Those who expressed their own desires to travel were far and few. I guess I should expect something like that from a small town. Sometimes home sucks you in and releases so much nostalgia within you, it can be hard to let go. 

It's ok to stay if it's something that makes you genuinely happy and allows you to reach your highest potential. For me, I know there is more out there to explore, to experience, and to enjoy. 

With Love,