• Journey Updates + USA Adventures

Journey Updates + USA Adventures

This post is a sponsored post in partnership with Worthy. 

I feel like I’m often playing catch up on the blog and writing about places I’ve been a month before, but I really wanted to post about my time in the USA right away and share a little about my upcoming travels. This is the third big summer trip home. It’s hard to believe I first came to India in October of 2012.

Journey Updates + USA Adventuresflying into NYC after another year away

Updated on my travels

I wrote a post about what I thought I’d do in 2016, then an update on places I’ll be going in 2016 since half way through I got to add more. Now, I get to add two more countries both that I haven’t been to!

I will be headed to Israel for a week as planned mid-September then straight to London to see Ben’s family for 2 weeks.

I was planning on coming back to Goa, but instead from there, I’ll go to Latvia to explore for 5 days before flying back to London to meet up with my Goa girl Tia. We’re going to Morocco for ten days! So, near the end of October, I’ll then fly back to Goa where I might stay put through the end of the year.

What I got up to in the USA

I usually go back to America every summer for one month, but this year with a Bachelorette party in Vegas and a press trip in Florida (which included a trip to Disney) I got to make it about 7 weeks in the US.

vegas encore beach club

Space Coast GuideI also got to see my friend Ann when I took a long layover in NYC on my way in from India. It was pretty mind-blowing to go from a year in India to boozing it up in NYC with Moscow Mules & Speakeasys. I loved it.

I showed up at like 1030 pm and basically was out with her until I had to go to the airport at 6 am. I hadn’t seen her since college pretty much but she after all those years she still knew the way to my heart… snacks. She had an ice cold vodka and a massive bag of all my favorite candy and chips waiting when I arrived. That must be what heaven is like (snacks, booze, seeing a long lost friend…) We also ordered food at 4 AM. All the food. Wings, french onion soup (okay that was her lol), chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks.. if only I could remember eating them. I bet they were good. Thanks Ann!

Journey Updates + USA AdventuresI managed to getaway to a vineyard with my mom and go on a family vacation to Nashville. I also spent a big chunk of time in Ohio with family and friends.

little guide to nashville opryland

Cleaning up my STUFF

Before I left for the US, I read this book called

Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up which I’ve mentioned on the blog before. It actually is a really good book that makes you want to just get rid of everything you own. I packed up two trash bags full of clothes and other things in Goa and gave them away.

When I landed in Ohio, I was on a mission to get rid of the things I keep at my parents’ house. I kid you not when I say I got rid of an ENTIRE pick-up truck full of clothes and shoes. I threw away photos, paperwork, keepsakes, and accessories. But in Ohio I didn’t just give it away, I actually wanted to make some money of it. I had a lot of name brand clothing from back when I had a paycheck and I wanted to sell things. I made about $360 all together and everything that was left went to Goodwill.

It actually was the most refreshing thing to get rid of so much and helped me to shop a lot less while I was in America, where I usually stock up on a years’ worth of things I “need” in India.

Here are a few ways to go about selling your old things (and saving money for future travels).

  1. Craigslist. I did this last year and when I first moved abroad. For clothes you can just say the size and mention some brands you have. People just stopped by my house and looked through.
  2. Garage sales. This is where I made the most money but they are a pain (not that I’d know too much since my mom did this while I was in Florida. Thanks mom!)
  3. Plato’s Closet. This store and others like it buy gently used clothes that are name-brand. I sold some Coach purses here as well.
  4. Worthy. I found a trusted solution for the most money if you have diamond jewelry to sell. Worthy is an online auction site that makes it very easy to sell your diamond ring or earrings for a fair price. You can get a very good idea of whether Worthy is right for you even before you commit to working with them because Worthy has created a diamond value analysis that quickly gives you an idea of what the resell value would be for what you believe your ring is – you input size, weight, what you know.  It’s like the Kelly Blue book for diamonds. I actually get a few emails a week from recent divorcee’s wanting to Eat, Pray, Love to India and selling that ring could get you some big bucks.

Trying to buy only what was necessary

I still did a little shopping while I was in the US but use the books line of Does this bring me joy? which seems weird, I know, but you just have to read the book! After you get rid of so much stuff, you want to buy less for sure. It’s a win-win.

I always have to buy toiletries that I can’t get here. Clinique is always my biggest expense there! I needed jeans (my mom is not a fan of the ripped black ones I wear everywhere I go). I “needed” brown boots and a new purse. I also really did need a camera. I got a Panasonic GX80 and will be sharing about it eventually!

Journey Updates + USA AdventuresI couldn’t resist this blogging mug and my mom got it for my as an early Christmas present – because there’s no way I could wait to use it!Journey Updates + USA AdventuresIn college I used to buy lots of junk, now I am about quality over quantity and would rather have less things which are nice! These are some of my faves.

But when I looked over my bank account, it was clear what I spent most my money on: food. As always. If only I ate to live instead of living to eat.

My time in Ohio

I loved being in Ohio! I loved waking up, and having a nice coffee with the best chocolate coffee creamer and plopping down on our HUGE comfy couch to read emails before going on walk with my mom.

I went with my mom to work out classes twice a week (and they were really hard, seriously). We went out to eat quite a bit, and enjoyed the pool at Mohican which is a state park in Ohio.

Journey Updates + USA AdventuresI had taken a photo of these on my phone, my mom has them framed at the house – my and the bro as kids, and the child me who HATED a photo being taken. Note: Travis’ rat tail hair.

Journey Updates + USA Adventures

We also spent a day at the Ohio State Fair and at Pleasant Hill Lake. I had some friends over for a cook out one night and we visited family in Southern Ohio as well as a friend who lives down there. We went to the local farmer’s market as well as the Westside market in Cleveland.

Journey Updates + USA AdventuresOhio State Fair – all the best food

Journey Updates + USA AdventuresPleasant Hill Lake

Journey Updates + USA Adventures

Journey Updates + USA AdventuresWestside Market in Cleveland

Journey Updates + USA AdventuresGreat Lakes Brewery, near the market – great food!

Two of my best friends had babies while I was gone so I was really excited to see them!

Journey Updates + USA Adventures

Journey Updates + USA AdventuresBen came to visit and we went to my bestie Alex’s wedding. It was in Columbus and was really beautiful. She was the bride you see on top of a cake!

Journey Updates + USA Adventures

Journey Updates + USA Adventures

Journey Updates + USA Adventures

Journey Updates + USA Adventures

I wanted to show Ben something to do in Ohio and we love gokarting so we went to the Infield. I hadn’t been since I was like 10, and those are the SLOWEST gokarts in the world. It was hilarious – Ben was not impressed. I also tried to get back into Snapchat for all of 1 day.

Journey Updates + USA Adventures

Journey Updates + USA AdventuresHave you seen these? It’s colored pencils that are made for watercolor so after you color you then take a water pen and turn it into water color! My sister in law drew both of these pictures. 

Journey Updates + USA AdventuresI’m sure I’m missing things but overall it was a pretty relaxed time in Ohio! Of course, I took a lot of food photos. So many in fact, that I am going to write a WHOLE article (okay, not much writing will be there, mostly images) on what I ate in Ohio because I’m telling you, it was the best food EVER.




About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. venus john September 26, 2016 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    wonderful post full of energy and life and great pics..

  2. Betsy September 27, 2016 at 1:33 pm - Reply


    Glad you had a nice trip back in the States! Back at the beginning of the year I got rid of most of my stuff to move to Rajasthan. I did not keep any clothes, shoes, furniture or anything. I took some art books (they are expensive and can be hard to find), as well as, my art stuff to my mom’s house. It does feel nice to get rid of stuff. I also sold as much as I could and took the rest to Goodwill.

    Have fun on all of your other adventures!

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2016 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      My things are at my moms too.. now there are less of them.. but she still hates that I clutter up her house haha You’re right tho it does feel good to get rid of so much stuff!

  3. Jenny Lems September 28, 2016 at 6:29 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel, I’ve been following your blog ever since I planned a trip to India with a GF. You’ve obviously had a wonderful & action packed trip back home and should now be ready for your next lot of adventures – bring it on! My GF & I are having 5 days in Goa in Jan after we tour around Southern India for 2 weeks and as you sound like somewhat of a resident of Goa could you recommend a great place to stay (for a couple of old gals!) I have booked Villa Sol-Areia in Candolim but would love your feedback – Cheers Jenny

    • Rachel Jones September 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      Hi Jenny, I hadn’t heard of it but looked it up and have driven past it many times. I go to Anjuna and Vagator beaches mostly so it’s kind of far away for me, but they do have a beach there its just a bit crowded – I’m sure you’ll have a blast tho!

  4. [email protected] The British Berliner October 3, 2016 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    ‘Looks like you had a marvellous time in the States. I love that you have a fun time with your family and friends whenever you make it back.

    ‘Very refreshing to see bloggers who still keep meaningful with their mates!

    • Rachel Jones October 4, 2016 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      Yeah I think I’d go crazy if I didn’t! I always miss them all so much.

  5. Stafaine May 22, 2017 at 12:16 am - Reply

    Woow, this looks really amazing,
    This is really on my have to do list before i get into my 40’s

    Keep posting,
    Kind regards

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