March 17, 2017

Finding Small-Town America - Mount Airy, NC

There's a certain stereotype to small-town America, and it's no coincidence that it looks a lot like Mount Airy, North Carolina. Small shops. Old-timey buildings. Locals greeting each other on the streets. Vintage and knickknack shops sandwiched between local food joints!

March 08, 2017

In Search of Pretty Places

Very rarely do I call attention to or endorse other travel bloggers and enthusiasts, but when I do, it's either because I know them personally or have followed them long enough to trust their content and have developed a cyber-relationship with them over a mutual love for all things travel. Emily falls into both categories. I've known her personally for over 16 years, having grown up in the same county, attended the same social settings, and everything else that comes with growing up in a rural small-town.

March 06, 2017

How Having a Baby Improved My Travel Experience

Did you do a double-take when you read the title of this post?

Most people would assume that having children would diminish the travel experience, and if you read some of my tongue-in-cheek posts about flying with babies and how we survived a total of 19 hours on a plane with an 8 month old, you would think I'd be among that crowd.

I didn't say traveling with a baby is easier. But I do think it's better.

March 03, 2017

Three Years a Gypsy

Today my blog turns three. THREE.

*Sniffles* My little baby is growing up so fast!

Seriously, though, I am proud and amazed that I've been able to keep this blog alive for so long, relatively speaking of course. To put things in perspective, the only other thing I've been able to maintain for a longer time would be my marriage, which will be hitting the seven year mark in June.

For those of you who have stuck with me since the beginning, a lot has happened and changed in the past three years. I left a job I loved only to find a career I really, really love. We've managed to cross a few items off the travel bucket list (only to replace them with three times as many places!). We had a daughter on Christmas Eve 2015. And are expecting an Independence Day baby in 2017. We've put down roots by buying a house, even while remaining forever wistful at not having accomplished a move overseas. We don't blog half as much as we used to, but we are alive and well on social media and love all the interactions with fellow travel-lovers there.

But while I may not have been as prolific of a blogger in the past year compared to the first two, I've been focusing more on my style and the quality of the information I present, rather than the quantity. There's definitely a viewership difference between the posts I just throw together and the ones where I take the time to create a thoughtful post! Here are some highlights, lowlights, and some personal favorites from the past three years:

Personal Favorites (From The Past Year):

Flying with a Baby: Tips, Tricks & Hot Toddies
"Flying with a baby isn't easy. But it's not impossible.

Becoming a parent doesn't mean that you stop being who you are and stop doing what you love. Yes, finances change with having children. Yes, interests and lifestyles will change, too. But if you make travel a priority and budget accordingly, it's still possible - even if you have to spend more time prepping and jump through more hoops to accomplish it!"

Read more.

Richmond Through the Eyes of a Local [Travel Blogger]
"Every city has a combination of personality, culture, and natural attractions (or lack thereof) which makes it distinct from any other place in the world. Call it a fingerprint or call it a flavor - but each town is unique. When traveling to a new city or country, I seek out the best examples in each of these categories to get a holistic view of that place as a living, breathing entity of people and attractions.

And when I stop to seek out these same ideals in my own backyard, I come to one conclusion: Richmond is one cool city."
Read more.

Footloose & Rabies Free [A Reintroduction of Thrifty Gypsy]
"Hi, my name is Katrina. I'm a little bit crazy and 100% weird, but I promise I don't have rabies.* 

No, really. I don't.

If I haven't scared you away yet, welcome! As a new co-host of the #TravelTuesday link-up, I thought it the perfect opportunity to (re)introduce myself to the travel blogging community..."   Read more.

Dinkel-What? [Europe's Hidden Treasures]
"Even those who don't travel are familiar with the big names, the "must sees" if you will, of Europe. London's Big BenRome's Colosseum, and the Eiffel Tower of Paris, just to name a few. But there's more to Europe than the tourist hot spots, and if you're looking for a break from the hordes, a hidden treasure like Germany's Dinkelsbühl may just tickle your travel fancy."
Read more.

Europe 101: Tips, Tricks & Being Thrifty
"It's no secret that travel from the United States to Europe can be expensive. Stupid expensive. While there are some things you can do to help mitigate some costs, others - such as airfare - can't be avoided. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can make your dollars go further when planning a trip to Europe!"

Read more.

Highlights (Popular Posts):
The Time We Accidentally Found the Red Light District in Nuremberg
"Hey, let's go down this way and walk along the city walls."

With this suggestion from Danny, we busted a sharp left down the cobblestone streets of Nürnberg's Altstadt or Old Town.  This was new territory for us..."  Read more.

"Every visit to Italy ought to include at least one day on the coast.  In the midst of an itinerary packed full of ruins, monuments, fountains, museums, beautiful churches, Unesco World Heritage sites, and hurry-hurry-hurry!, we paused for a day on the Campanian coast, basking in the salt breeze, soaking up the warm sun, and swimming in crystal clear water.  Turns out, it was our favorite day of the whole Italian trip."   Read more.

"Whether you're planning to visit Pompeii on a day-trip or book a hotel to stay longer, at some point during your visit, you'll probably need to grab at least one meal.  During the two and a half days we spent in Pompeii, we tried out two restaurants, a cafe, and some street food.  While most of the eatery choices in close proximity to the ruins are very touristy, some are better than others, and even good restaurants near the ruins may appear deserted for dinner since most tourists visit Pompeii only for the day.  Here are our recommendations, ratings, and caveats of available eateries in Pompeii (the ancient ruins) and Pompei (the modern town)..."  Read more.

A Visit to Pearl Harbor [Guest Post]
"After following the Thrifty Gypsy for some time, I got the travel bug myself. I won’t lie. Seeing someone take the time to experience the world is inspirational, and it made me wish I could, too. In the last 15 months I have taken every opportunity to explore and am glad for it. Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Hawaii, a drive north along the east coast, a drive south along the east coast, some local trips mixed in there - I’ve tried to explore and do SOMETHING each month since I came down with this bug..."  Read more.

Das Ist Mir Wurst [Or My Love/Hate Relationship with German]
"Q:  What do you call a person who speaks three languages?
A:  Trilingual.
Q:  What do you call a person who speaks two languages?
A:  Bilingual.
Q:  What do you call a person who speaks one language?
A:  An American!
Now before you think I missed my calling as a stand-up comedian..."  Read more.

Lowlights (Overlooked Posts):
Turning Pennies Into Memories - Sticking to the Plan
"Let's start with a brief recap:

You've changed your priorities and mindset about spending, choosing to take control of your finances and to dictate where your money goes instead of floundering between pay periods wondering where in the world your income went and how you'll survive until the next paycheck..."  Read more.

An Ill-Fated Journey to Atlantis
"The lost city of Atlantis may not be quite as lost as you thought. In fact you can visit a ruined city on the Greek island of Santorini (Thira) which may in fact be the fuel for the Atlantis legend. That is, if the public transportation gods of Greece don't thwart your best efforts to see it!

On our trip to Greece this past spring, Danny and I ventured from our home base of Oia on Santorini to visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri..." 
Read more.

Thoughts from London
"-Five hour energy shots are worth their weight in gold.
-The Tube is AMAZING.
-Apparently 52' with a real feel of 45' makes Londoners break out their shorts, skirts, and fishnets. (Winter heat wave?)
-My life is complete now that I've seen the Rosetta Stone & the Sutton Hoo exhibit. Weepy glees.
-Buying the last minute ticket here was the best decision ever..."  Read more.

The Marienberg Fortress in Wurzburg
"Würzburg was one of many places we visited while honeymooning in Germany for 23 days in 2010, and it's a city I would definitely recommend seeing.  It's located on the Main River in the northwest corner of Bayern about an hour east of Frankfurt.  We spent only the better part of the day there, but managed to see the Residenz, the Marienberg Fortress, the Alte Mainbrücke (the Saints' Bridge), and the Würzburg Cathedral -- arguably the four main attractions of the city!"
Read more.

Flying Isn't Just for the Birds
"Airfare.  It's the one aspect of traveling that can wreak havoc on any planner's budget, particularly transatlantic or transpacific flights.  But instead of dreading the search and purchase of a plane ticket, turn it into a competition with yourself to find the best price possible.  The time you spend researching will be well-worth the money you save on the ticket."

Read more.

Thanks for sticking with me over the years! If you haven't already, tell me a little about yourself and what corner of the world you call home!

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