The Travel Speak’s Featured Traveler : Kyra Kennett
Kyra shares her story with us in our series of interesting and inspiring traveler stories. She is currently a Management major and Tourism minor at Arizona State University with a passion for traveling since childhood, thanks to her parents. She says, “Like most 19 year olds slowly adjusting to adulthood, I’m not one hundred percent certain as to what I want to do.”
Here she is sharing a travelogue from one of her recent trips.
Introducing Kyra Kennett (unedited)
Raised with a deep love for traveling, I’ve been exploring new cities and countries essentially since I was born. Some of my first steps were on a transatlantic cruise! I’m currently a Management major and Tourism minor at Arizona State University, trying to find my perfect niche career-wise, but with some interest in the yachting industry. In my free time, I’m running a travel and lifestyle blog named The Blonde Kiwi after an old nickname, and planning my future trips. One being a spring break study abroad program in Prague! I haven’t visited the Czech Republic since I was two years old, so I’m excited to get back and actually be able to remember the trip.
Kyra’s Travel Speak – Travelogue (unedited)
My most recent trip was a two week stay in the Mediterranean, with a few days in Rome prior to a 12-day cruise. The first day in Rome we walked to all of the main sights, with my favorite being the Bocca della Verità, which was included in a scene in the Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday. Every inch of Rome is truly spectacular, and as touristy as it can be, it is a must to see all of the sights and excavations.
Following Rome, we sailed to Livorno on Holland America’s ms Westerdam. We opted to take the train out to Pisa and Lucca. Lucca was quieter, but in a good way, as that mostly meant less touristy crowds like we experienced in Pisa. Like most places in Italy (and Europe in general), it was great to just walk around and experience all that there is to the area – from the architecture and food to the more historic monuments and the people we met along the way. Throughout the whole trip, I did not meet one shop owner, server, etc who was anything less than kind and helpful (even later in France, with the “rude” French stereotypes!).
In Monaco, we opted to rent a car on our own. If you have the time/ability, I definitely recommend this so you can see as much as possible, especially since the city can be a little tricky to navigate entirely on foot. Due to the fact that Monaco is a smaller port and the ship was docked for a good amount of time, we drove out to St. Paul de Vence and then through Nice. The small town of St. Paul de Vence is quaint and lovely. It is very apparent that artists have flocked to it for years with the number of galleries, boutique hotels, and beautiful scenery. While there were a number of tourists, it didn’t feel quite as “touristy”, which is always appreciated.
While docked in St. Raphael, we took the train up to Cannes. Although the previous day in Monaco was excellent, I can honestly say that I preferred the city of Cannes. It was much more walkable, with a nice beach area to stroll along, a ton of shopping, and a number of delicious boulangeries, patisseries, and fromageries. Food tip: buy a baguette in one shop and some brie in another for a delicious French snack. I was also able to obtain my favorite box of Ladurée macarons here, making it an even better spot in my opinion! If you’re docked in the port of St. Raphael, opt for Cannes rather than St. Tropez, which is a common shore excursion.
One of the most interesting stops on this trip was Ajaccio, Corsica. After learning about the birthplace of Napoleon in AP European History, I never imagined I’d be able to visit this island! While there wasn’t a great deal to do other than walk around the port, that wasn’t a problem because I spent most of the time in Napoleon Bonaparte’s childhood home. For anyone slightly interested in history and the French language, you’ll love walking through the now-museum. Even if you get confused by the family tree or the French signs, I think just seeing the tiny size of the beds they slept in and the unusual kitchen that they once used is so interesting.
Following Corsica, we also traveled to Granada, Spain; Ceuta, Spanish Morocco (I was finally able to set foot on the African continent!); Montpellier; and Marseille. If you’re looking for a place outside of Marseille to travel to for the day, take the train to Aix-en-Provence (my personal favorite), Avignon, and/or Arles! Bonus points if you’re in one of these spots on a Sunday, as the street markets are all open!
We ended our trip in beautiful Barcelona. I could never say enough good things about this city. It really is everything I love, between beaches, incredible architecture, great shopping, delicious food, and a siesta/late night culture with the standard dinner time being about 9 or 10 PM (I’m a complete night owl so this is perfect for me). If I could only go to one spot in the whole city it would be Las Ramblas plus La Boqueria. La Boqueria is a maze of all sorts of food stalls and you’ll find everything from seafood to candy to empanadas. I prefer the juice stalls – you can get a fresh juice of just about any fruit and typically for only one euro! Perfect for a hot summer day in Barcelona while strolling down Las Ramblas. I’m so grateful for these experiences, and I cannot wait to get back to Europe in March!
- Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos (Greece)
- Istanbul and Kusadasi (Turkey)
- Venice, Naples, Capri, Sardinia, Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Rome (Italy)
- Paris, Cannes, St. Raphael, Avignon, Arles, Aix-en-Provence (France)
- Ceuta (Spanish Morocco)
- Granada and Barcelona (Spain)
- Dubrovnik (Croatia)
- Various islands in the Caribbean, such as St. Maarten, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, and Martinique
- Panama Canal
- Capri, Italy
- Delaware, USA (my family spends every summer on the coast!)
- Anywhere in the Caribbean!
Top tip for travelers
“Find a happy medium between planning ahead and being spontaneous.”
Find a happy medium between planning ahead and being spontaneous. Being one or the other can present difficulties in getting the most out of your travels. If you’re too focused on making sure everything goes as planned, you’ll miss out on the good that can come from unexpected surprises or changes. On the other hand, if you’re too spontaneous, you might miss out on things you simply “happen upon”. For example, you might happen upon a beautiful church or other place of worship while wearing shorts and a tank top. Most religious places won’t let you in dressed that way, so not planning out what you want to do and what to wear could make you miss out on experiences like that. This has actually happened to me at the Blue Mosque (or, Sultan Ahmed Mosque) in Turkey and at a small church in Italy, so learn from my mistakes!
Kyra’s Favorite Travel Quote:
“Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.” (Asian Proverb)
Get inspired by the amazingly comprehensive list of all time best travel quotes.
Traveling enriches your knowledge about various ethnicities and cultures. It helps you have a better perspective about humanity. Whether you are traveling solo or traveling with your partner or family or friends, Kyra suggests that do not over-plan your travel. We concur with her. Also at times it is great to be spontaneous with your travel plans, but it is better to research a bit about your destination, especially it’s culture, any specific things to take care of, etc.
Thank you Kyra for sharing your travel story and tips with us. We wish you all the best. Hope you complete your college with flying colors. Keep traveling and sharing your stories with us.
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