Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Imagine that, in this scenario, Carmen Sandiego is me. Because, well, she is. I mean, I am. We are the same person.

Okay, maybe I haven’t been quite as around the world as this stylish 80s icon, but I have been traveling pretty extensively these past few months.

I have to pause because that sentence isn’t something I thought I’d ever write. If you’d have told me a year ago that I’d be making multiple international trips, I would have laughed in your face. And then I probably would have had a panic attack just thinking about being on a plane for that long.

A fortune I got a week before my first trip. How did it know?!

A fortune I got a week before my first trip. How did it know?!

I’ve been afraid of flying for a long time. It didn’t bother me when I was little, but by my teen years I developed a pretty fierce phobia. I’d dwell on any impending flight for weeks, be physically sick the day of, and basically be panicky throughout the entire flight. My heart would race. My breath would shorten. My hands would shake, tingle, go numb. I’d feel like I was out of my body. I talked my way out of all non-essential flights, and some essential ones, too.

But when I started my new job last February, I knew I’d have to travel occasionally. It made me pause before I accepted the position. I thought, can I do this? And then I thought, can I pass this up? The “no” was stronger with the second question than the first, so I went with it.

Now that I’m on the other side of three opportunities to visit different countries, I realize how crazy I would have been to pass it up. How much I would have regretted it later. My fear of flying stems largely from a lack of control – I don’t have any power over what happens once I step on that plane – but the same can be said for every moment of my life. Maybe an airplane is just a really big, really loud, really high symbol of the lack of control we have over everything.

I’m not completely over my fear of flying. I still get the racing heart and the shakies, and turbulence still sucks, but I’ve made 6 flights across oceans – Pacific and Atlantic – and have dealt with that fear. I’m sure I’ll still get the racing heart and the shakies, but hey, at least I get to see the world in the process, right?

At any rate, I took some pretty awesome pictures (because of the scenery, not because of my skill) that I want to share with you all! I’ve taken two trips to France, which is the country of my heart I swear, and just got back from Seoul, which was amazing and so special since Mister Jess is Korean and our little Bug is half. It was so incredible to be there and see the heritage that is so inextricably part of him.

First, Korea!

One of the fantastic neighborhoods in Seoul we visited. For shopping purposes, of course.

One of the fantastic neighborhoods in Seoul we visited. For shopping purposes, of course.

Down we go...

Down we go…

Delicious tofu from a street vendor. SO. Good.

Delicious tofu from a street vendor. SO. Good.

Samwon Garden, an amazingly delicious Korean BBQ restaurant. We ate a lot.

Samwon Garden, an amazingly delicious Korean BBQ restaurant. We ate a lot.

These small plates, called banchan, came with every meal we had.

These small plates, called banchan, came with every meal we had.

More Korean BBQ. Seriously, we ate a lot.

More Korean BBQ. Seriously, we ate a lot.

You guessed it...more food. Shaved ice with mango and with strawberries. Incredible.

You guessed it…more food. Shaved ice with mango and with strawberries. Incredible.

The duty free floor in Lotte Department store (there is also a Lotte Hotel, a Lotte amusement park, etc. Lotte everything). This. Place. Was. Packed. I lasted less than 5 minutes.

The duty free floor in Lotte Department store (there is also a Lotte Hotel, a Lotte amusement park, etc. Lotte everything). This. Place. Was. Packed. I lasted less than 5 minutes.

Snail masks. Korean beauty is pretty incredible, if not a little...exotic. It was amazing to see all of the local brands. So much innovation coming out of this small country!

Snail masks. Korean beauty is pretty incredible, if not a little…exotic. It was amazing to see all of the local brands. So much innovation coming out of this small country!

Oops. Too much shopping. Next time I'll need to see more of the actual, you know, sights.

Oops. Too much shopping. Next time I’ll need to see more of the actual, you know, sights.

 

And now, Paris. Sigh. I wish I could rewind to being 20 so I could have lived here for a year. Truly the most magical city.

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The view from my hotel in St-Germain-Des-Pres. It was my favorite neighborhood. So quintessentially Parisian!

The pastries? Insane.

The pastries? Insane.

The famous Cafe de Flore.

The famous Cafe de Flore.

All the buildings were beautiful like this!

All the buildings were beautiful like this!

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"We are all Charlie."

“We are all Charlie.”

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A lovely winter day.

A lovely winter day near the Eiffel Tower.

Thar she blows! It was bigger than I thought it'd be (twss?).

Thar she blows! It was bigger than I thought it’d be (twss?).

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The Musee d’Orsay. Just spectacular.

The Musee d'Orsay. Just spectacular.

 

Hello!

Hello!

Just trying to blend in as one of those impossibly chic Parisian women (it didn't work).

Just trying to blend in as one of those impossibly chic Parisian women (it didn’t work).

Love locks on the Ponts des Arts.

Love locks on the Ponts des Arts.

Le Marais, my other favorite neighborhood. Such a beautiful place - cobblestone walkways, alleys filled with people, sidewalk cafes...and the shopping is AMAZING.

Le Marais, my other favorite neighborhood. Such a beautiful place – cobblestone walkways, alleys filled with people, sidewalk cafes…and the shopping is AMAZING.

There was lots of graffiti in the city as well, in certain areas.

There was lots of graffiti in the city as well, in certain areas.

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Sigh.

Sigh.

 

But at the end of the day (or 12, as was the case with my February France trip), there’s no place like home.

 

 

What is your favorite place to visit? Been anywhere fun lately? Talk to me in the comments! 

 

3 thoughts on “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

  1. Love all these pics and the reference to Carmen SanDiego. How awesome you are taking your fear head on to experience these amazing places. Did you go to the L’orangerie museum? It’s where Monet’s water lilies are. Seriously so so amazing. The best place I have ever visited.

  2. So cool! What kind of job do you have that lets you travel so much? I’ve been to 7 different countries, including my families motherland Ireland, but I still have to say that Germany is my favorite by far! The castles were absolutely beautiful and I must go back!

  3. My dream is to have a job that takes me all over the world. But… it hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t see it in my immediate future 🙁
    I love to travel, I’m not scared of planes and the whole experience of going on vacation starts once I set my foot on the airport. I get nervous (of course) but it’s more for the adventure than for flying.
    Paris is my next dream vacation, but I guess I’ll have to finish paying all my debts from my trip to New York last month, first! (I loved New York. I fell in love with the city and I wish I could move there)
    Your pics are amazing, Jess, and I think it’s wonderful you were able to visit Korea! I hope you can go back soon and bring the little bug with you.

You’ve heard my thoughts! Would love to hear yours here.