a southern yankee abroad


travel playlist

En Route to Israel- A Playlist and A Reading List

It’s that time again! Tonight, I’m flying out of JFK to Kiev, Ukraine, where I connect with a flight to Tel Aviv, Israel. Happy Spring Break, y’all!

The last two weeks have been the busiest so far of law school, so I am more than ready to get on the plane and get some sleep (I find long-haul flights to be relaxing in a strange way). Total travel time will be 10 hours to Kiev, and 3 to Tel Aviv.

The last time I crossed the Atlantic, I was returning to NYC after backpacking in Europe for 7 weeks this past summer. It feels like years ago.

I am so happy to be traveling again (as always), and also to keep myself occupied with some fun, non-school-related reading on this trip! (Ok, I did print a few class things to read along the way).

Reading: Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin

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I started this last week and plan to finish it on the way. The story is set in Turkey and France during WW2, and follows the struggle of a Jewish Turkish family living in Marseilles during the German occupation as they attempt to escape to safety, as well as the work of Turkish diplomats to protect their nationals across Europe as war breaks out. It’s been a really good fiction read so far.

Other reading: Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York

The Education of Dixie Dupree (Donna Everhart)

Press Freedom in Africa: Comparative perspectives

The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood (Rashid Khalidi)

Israel: A History (Anita Shapira)


Listening: Pod Save the World / Pod Save America

I am obsessed with these podcasts! I’ve downloaded the most recent ones, as well as the very earliest ones to catch up on this trip. I highly recommend today’s “Of Russia With Love” on Pod Save the World- an interview with former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. It does a really good job of  explaining the Russia situation by breaking down the Obama restart, analyzing the return and rise of Putin, and discussing if and how Trump really changes anything.


Jamming: Current Travel Playlist

As always, a travel playlist for the long trip is so necessary.

  • I Don’t Care About You – Lake Street Drive
  • Heart in a Cage – Chris Thile
  • Back to the Island – Leon Russell
  • Bushwick Blues – Delta Spirit
  • Art Isn’t Real (City of Sin) – Deer Tick
  • Texas & Tennessee – Lucero
  • Mississippi – Bob Dylan
  • 24 Frames – Jason Isbell
  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
  • FourFiveSeconds – Jaime Wyatt version
  • Wildflowers – Dolly Parton
  • Silver Lining – Carl Anderson
  • The Funeral – Band of Horses
  • In Bloom – Sturgill Simpson
  • Hotel California – Eagles
  • Beast of Burden – Rolling Stones
  • O-h-h Child – Nina Simone
  • Fake Love – Drake
  • Bad and Boujee – Migos
  • Black Beatles – Rae Sremmurd
  • Night Moves – Bob Seger
  • Rainy Day Women – Bob Dylan
  • Guttersnipe – Bhi Bhiman
  • My Church – Maren Morris
  • Lovin in my Baby’s Eyes – Leftover Salmon
  • Water Under the Bridge – Adele
  • Everything’s Gonna Be Undone – Band of Horses
  • I’m Amazed – My Morning Jacket
  • Stars Fell on Alabama – Tara Nevins
  • Traveling Alone – Tift Merritt
  • Vice – Miranda Lambert
  • Waves – Miguel + Kacey Musgraves remix
  • Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
  • I’ve Got Wheels – Miranda Lambert
  • Vienna – Billy Joel
  • Africa – Toto
  • The General – Dispatch


Next stop…Kiev!








From Vietnam to Peru

It’s always hard to say goodbye, and I found this to be especially true as my time in Asia drew to an end. I won’t miss the heat or the crazy motorbikes almost mowing me down each time I walk down the street, but everything else I will definitely miss! Even after 3 weeks, I was not yet tired of the food, the culture, the history, and the friends I had made. On our last night in Vietnam, our group had a farewell dinner at Cau Go in Hanoi, which turned out to be quite the posh spot (posh is another word I’ve adopted from my British friends!) I spent the next day packing, saying goodbyes, doing a bit of last minute shopping around Hanoi, and sitting by Hoan Kiem lake one last time.


By a fortunate twist of fate, my closest friend from my Asia trip, Nat, was on the same flight as me from Hanoi to Doha, Qatar. It was so great to have a friend on this flight! 🙂 IMG_8529We said our “see you laters” in Doha around 11pm, as he was continuing back to London that evening. I was so happy to learn that Qatar Airways would provide me with free 5 star accommodations for the night before my 8am connection to Dallas. This was by far the “poshest” accommodation I’ve had yet on the journey! Thank you Qatar Airways! While I had initially been nervous to spend the night alone  here, everyone in Qatar was extremely hospitable, helpful, and nice. I highly recommend Qatar Airways! After showering and catching a few hours of sleep in a big, fluffy, clean bed, I returned to the airport for my 16 hour flight to Dallas.IMG_8549IMG_8545


Despite some turbulence over Iran and Russia (which I of course freaked out a bit over…hyperactive imagination?!), the flight went very smoothly. I watched several movies and listened to some Bob Dylan on their entertainment system (so on point!), then touched down in Dallas. I had not anticipated how good it would be to be back in the USA even for a few hours!! I even found a special soundtrack for landing 🙂IMG_8567


Once in Dallas, I walked around the airport for a couple of hours to stretch my legs and made calls to family and friends. I also realized how completely exhausted I felt, so I stocked up on Airborne tablets and Tylenol. I boarded my flight to Lima at 10:20pm, but we didn’t take off until around 11pm (typical for my experience with American Airlines! Why can’t all airlines be like Qatar?!) The plane did not even have a TV/entertainment system, but it was ok as I finally caught a few hours of sleep. After about 7 hours, I was in Lima, and the sunrise was beautiful from the window.IMG_8580


I was so happy to find my checked backpack had made it all the way to Lima from Hanoi, as I had my doubts about all the crazy connections. I made my way through customs and quickly found my driver I had booked transport in advance through my hostel). My driver did not speak English, so I spoke with him the entire drive in Spanish. I was relieved to see how quickly it came back to me (gracias to Senora Sephore from high school and Senora Botero from Vandy!), and I am excited to see how much I will improve over the next 3 weeks.
I arrived at my hostel and checked in, and am now enjoying some coffee on the porch with my new friend Pisco. IMG_8595Sarah arrives at 11pm tonight, and I absolutely cannot wait to see her!! She and I will be traveling together for the next 3 weeks here, and our friend Rachele (also from NYC) will be joining us about halfway. I am so happy to be in South America! Encantada!!

A Travel Playlist To Get Started

Greetings from Vancouver!

One of the most important items to take on a big trip is a playlist. I think the music we are listening to at a given point of our lives is reflective of where we are in that moment. To celebrate kicking off my overseas travels, I’ve decided to share my playlist for my big trip on the blog.  As my friends often point out, I have a very random and assorted taste in music. I am sure this playlist reflects that. There is really no organizational scheme here–these are all just songs I love and that I’ll be listening to on my flights. Enjoy!

  1. Traveller – Chris Stapleton. What better song to kick off the playlist than a song about traveling? “Every turn reveals some other road.”
  2. My Church – Maren Morris. 
  3. Flying Over Water – Jason Isbell. “Been in the sky so long, seems like the long way home.”
  4. The Life You Chose – Jason Isbell. “Are you living the life you chose, are you living the life that chose you?”
  5. Really anything written or performed by Jason Isbell.
  6. New York City – Among Savages. “You spent your life earning the keys to set you free when you were free all along.”
  7. Squares Out Your Circle – Rocko. Future preach! “Keep them squares up out your circle.”
  8. I Took a Pill in Ibiza – Mike Posner. I probably heard this song about 100 times before I actually listened to it, and it’s fantastic. I love the original (in the link!) 
  9. Good Life – OneRepublic. “To my friends in New York, I say hello.”
  10. I Love It – Icona Pop. 
  11. On to Something Good – Ashley Monroe. “I’ll ride this train till it runs out of track.”
  12. Bathroom Sink – Miranda Lambert. “I’m looking forward to the girl I wanna be.”
  13. Tennessee Song – Margo Price. 
  14. Tupelo Honey – Van Morrison.
  15. Everyday People – Sly & the Family Stone. “The butcher, the banker, the drummer and then, makes no difference what group I’m in.”
  16. Love Train – The O’Jays. 
  17. The entire Lemonade album – Beyonce. I didn’t think any other song on this album could be as amazing as “Formation,” but every song on this album is just as amazing, if not even better. Beyonce’s sound on Lemonade is different from anything she’s ever done before, and her raw emotion is unprecedented in her work. She even dabbles in (and totally crushes!) country on the song “Daddy Lessons” (which I was sure to learn on my guitar before I put it in storage for the summer! Here is a Dixie Chicks cover, but I think Beyonce still does it better.) Also, who is Becky with the good hair?! The world may never know the whole truth…. TexasBama!  
  18. We Didn’t Start the Fire – Billy Joel. Every history nerd’s favorite classic. “We didn’t start the fire, no we didn’t light it but we tried to fight it.”
  19. When I Paint My Masterpiece – The Band. “On a plane ride so bumpy that I almost cried.”
  20. King Kunta – Kendrick Lamar. “I got a bone to pick!”
  21. Good Ol’ Boys Club – Kacey Musgraves. “Another gear in a big machine don’t sound like fun to me.”
  22. Southern Comfort Zone – Brad Paisley. (This one’s for you, Alex!) This song is so cheesy, but it really says so much, and I kind of love it. So, it’s going on the playlist! 🙂
  23. Chop My Money – PSquare.  I was introduced to this rapper’s music in Africa…great memories.  
  24. Walk On the Wild Side – Lou Reed. 
  25. This Must Be the Place – Talking Heads. “Home is where I want to be, but I guess I’m already there.”
  26. Heart Like Mine – Miranda Lambert. “He could calm the storm and heal the blind, I bet he’d understand a heart like mine.”
  27. Greatest Hits – Dixie Chicks. I am so sad I will be missing them at Madison Square Garden on my birthday this year!! But, I will be in beautiful Peru, so I really can’t complain. Who doesn’t love Wide Open Spaces, Not Ready to Make Nice, Goodbye Earl, Sin Wagon, and Traveling Soldier? I can’t pick just one, so it’s all going on my list!
  28. Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits. One of my favorites since I was 13…sigh. 🙂
  29. Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. “Home is wherever I’m with you.”
  30. The General – Dispatch. “I have discovered this fight is not worth fighting.”
  31. Africa – Toto. 
  32. Lullabye – Ben Folds.
  33. Soulshine – Allman Brothers Band. “Soul shine, it’s better than sunshine, better than moonshine, better than the rain.”
  34. Dime Store Cowgirl – Kacey Musgraves. “It don’t matter where I’m going, I still call my hometown home.”


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