Zipkick Bloggers: Melissa Monte: Girltripping
Growing up, my dad and I would go camping a few times a year. I remember just staring at the rock formations in Yosemite and thinking how cool exploring the wilderness was. So I always knew I would be an adventurer. When I landed in Hawaii for a high school cross-country invitational, I knew then that I would always be a traveler. That was the first trip that I spent my own money on, but the moment I saw the crystal blue water, I thought, “This was so worth it.” More recently, I had that same feeling traveling to Ilha Grande, a small island off the coast of Brazil. It’s beautiful and somehow naturally trendy, like they were the original inspiration for shabby chic and reclaimed wood trends. There are even adorable weathered boats lying around.
My favorite travels are with my husband and our little dog Maverick. We call ourselves The Power Team. With unlimited resources, I would love to have a luxury yacht that would take my Power Team around the world, stopping everywhere worth visiting, staying until we feel compelled to leave. I think that would be an amazing way to explore the world.
Even in diapers I was seeking-thrills and I’ve always been a firm believe in facing your fears. Rather than just facing my fears, I’ve learned that I get the most from an experience when I help others through it. It helps to approach a problem from a less biased point of view. This tidbit is why I end up getting certified in a lot of things. One of my fears was skydiving. My first time skydiving was tandem the morning of my high school graduation… on Friday the thirteenth. It felt different than I thought it would and I felt like I wanted to prove I could do it without being strapped to a middle aged man who called all the shots. It took my 10 years but I finally got certified to skydive solo summer of 2014. You should see my barrel roll. While I don’t think it’s necessary to become certified in everything that scares the crap out of you, my philosophy has just always been to dive right in. For me, just dipping your toe into a situation just prolongs the discomfort. Go somewhere or do something that gets you out of your comfort zone and toughens your skin a bit.
I’m an app power user… no seriously… I have over 900 apps on my phone. But in mydefense, aside from travel blogging, I’ve been involved in the app startup world for thelast four years, so I download a lot of apps to check out their functionality.
To save time, I’ll limit the list to my most used apps on my homescreen:
● TripIt for automatic travel organization
● Skyscanner for booking flights
● Hotwire, Priceline and Hotel Tonight for booking other travel accommodations
● Booking, Airbnb and Hostelworld for booking hotel alternatives
● Flight Board for live flight departure times
● Evernote because it’s the best note-taking app ever
● Trello for trip planning organization
● Fancy Hands for a personal assistant on-the-go
● Workflow for automating tasks
● Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat (yeah I’ve got my hands full)
● Buffer for scheduling posts
● IFTTT also for automating other social tasks
Croatia is one of the most unbelievable places I’ve ever visited. My husband and I road tripped the coast of Croatia during our honeymoon. Each city was amazing in its own way, but my three favorite spots would have to be Rovinj, Split and Hvar. Croatia is not only breathtaking, it’s inexpensive and welcoming. The country is still rebuilding itself from the war that ended over 20 years ago. A local told me that until recently, just mentioning the war would bring most people in Dubrovnic to tears. As a traveler or tourist, you can feel that the locals actually want you there and will go out of your way to make you feel accommodated. It’s also very helpful that most people are biliingual, with English as their second language.
Do what you love. This has been said by so many of the greatest people who have ever existed. The road to greatness is long and tedious and if you’re going to have the stamina to stick with it, you’re going to have to really love it. And if you love it, the value you’ll create will be much greater.
When we first started dating, my husband and I went to Las Vegas for a foosball tournament (yeah, we’re that good). In the early days, my husband was known to be frugal so our budget was lower than I would have liked (but isn’t that often the case? lol). This led to a few tense moments while trying to find a place along the Las Vegas strip that he considered reasonable (he’s come a long way since then). While my husband scoured at the prices at Senior Frogs, a random couple by the names Mark and Lynn, started to read the menu beside us and we struck up a convo on the price markups. Mark and Lynn were a very short couple (no seriously, under 4’11”) with heavy New York accents and hilariously blunt senses of humor. The four of us became fast friends and they invited us to dinner, on them. Their idea of dinner included countless tequila shots and rounds of margaritas. After dinner they even took us gambling, handing us hundreds and teaching us more about our poker faces. Mark and Lynn made us feel like the universe could actual just deliver what we need, as long as we’re in the right mindset to recognize the opportunities. And it can. If we had been upset about our financial situation instead of making the best of what we had at the time, we probably wouldn’t have seemed like the type of people that Mark and Lynn wanted to hang out with that night. So I’m extra thankful to them, not just for their generosity, but for reaffirming that belief when we needed to see it firsthand.It’s also hard to forget the one time we actually felt like the tall couple.
Every time I travel to a new place it changes me a little. It was this realization that addicted me the most. I’m all about doing all the things to help me become the best person I can be. When you travel, you’re out of your comfort zone, and the world isn’t going to change its ways to help you fit in. So if you’re going to be happy traveling, you need to become more accepting of the alternate ways of the world, cultures your may not understand and even personalities you find hard to deal with. When you can actually feel yourself growing and improving, it’s hard to want to stop. That’s all the incentive I need to keep going. And when that fails there’s the cheap wine and sexy accents.
I am a zipkick blogger because…
I believe in supporting one another and helping people achieve their dreams. Zipkick obviously has a lot of passion behind it. Being a part of a group with such energy is not only inspiring, it’s contagious. I can’t wait to see it succeed.