First Trip of 2017! We’re Headed To…

first trip of 2017 setarra^^ photo via

Let’s Talk About 2016 & Travel

Last year, Charles and I played it low-key and only planned one “black and yellow travels” for 2016 which was our 4 day trip to Seattle, Washington.

Our focus for 2016 was to simply start saving money. Like really saving money to keep IN savings. Not saving money just to spend it which was something we had done since moving in together and getting married 2+ years ago.

Last year, we moved into a 600 sq. ft. apartment (saving us $400 a month on rent), paid off our credits cards, and were a little more aggressive with our student loan payments. We stuck to a pretty strict food budget (hence the lack of restaurant food review posts) and did our best to not buy things we didn’t need.

All in all, 2016 was a great year for adulting.

As for 2017…

We’re still focused on saving money but this year, travel has found its way back up on our priority list and we’re starting the year off strong because this Friday, Charles and I are leaving for a 2 week international trip to…

(drumroll please)


And here’s  the plot twist

While in Greece, I will actually be working as a TOUR LEADER for a spring break cultural tour through historical Greece.

A little back story

In case you might be curious, I work 9-5 as an executive assistant for a global initiatives office. My main responsibility is supporting the VP of our office and working as an office manager but in addition to that, I am also responsible for processing travel authorizations/ reimbursements and booking domestic/international travel for our office staff. And while I love working for an office whose initiatives I believe in, the work can sometimes get monotonous and most of the time, I’m sitting behind a desk.

In my personal life, I’m a traveling woman. At work, I help other people travel and am very stationary.

These two worlds never crossed paths until last Fall, when I was presented with the opportunity through my job to work as a tour leader for this spring break trip. I was completely caught off guard. So much that I didn’t even tell Charles about the offer until a couple days later because I wasn’t sure if it was really going to happen.

But then I learned that it was going to happen. Like forreal, forreal. And then my VP approved my being out of the office for 2 weeks. And then I learned that all my travel expenses would be covered. And then Charles asked, “Can I come?” And after asking on his behalf, I was told “Yes. But he has to register for the trip as a traveler and pay for himself.”

We figured the trip was a 2 for 1 deal and so went ahead with paying and getting him registered for the trip. And now here we are… 2 days away from departing for Greece.

Overall, I just feel so incredibly thankful for this opportunity to travel for work and that Charles gets to come along too.

As For Jordan…

Last year, our dear friend, Tarek, moved from Virginia to Qatar to work as a special education teacher. Unfortunately, Charles and I weren’t able to visit him while he was there. But it’s just as well because on our way back from Greece, we will be visiting him for a couple days in Jordan, where he’s currently working as a teacher.

In addition to working as a special ed. teacher, Tarek is also an amazing photographer and has been traveling the world when he has downtime from teaching. So make sure to check out photos from his travels on his instagram account here.

We are both super excited to see Tarek, catch up and explore Jordan. I don’t know about you but I grew up watching all the Indiana Jones movies (thanks to my Uncle Mack) and can’t wait to visit Petra which is where they filmed “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.”

With That Said… I Have A Question For You.

On our way from Greece to Jordan, we have an 8 hour layover in Turkey.

Charles and I are thinking about leaving the airport and exploring Istanbul for a couple hours since it’s only 30 minutes away from the airport… But we aren’t sure where to begin with prioritizing what to try and see/do with only 4 hours to spare.

As such, my question for you is…

Have you ever visited to Istanbul? If so, what do you recommend seeing, eating, or doing in a short amount of time?

Also, what mode of transportation would you recommend for traveling from the airport to the city? Cab? Private shuttle? Metro train?

Any feedback is GREATLY appreciated. :)

With that said, we are t-minus 2 days until departure! There’s sooooo much I still need to do… Like PACK because I haven’t even started yet. O_O

xo, Setarra

P.S. Linking up w/ Wanderful Wednesday

  • Oh you’re coming to my country (Greece)! Which places are you visiting? Let me know if you need any information. As for Istanbul, I’d say yes definitely venture out in the city. It’s been years since I visited but I’d say do visit (even from outside) Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque.

    • Thanks for the recommendations Anna! I will definitely look up the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia tonight. As for Greece, our tour schedule is pretty set in stone since it’s a group trip. We’ll be in Athens and then will visit Delphi, Olympia and Kalambaka. However, we do have a few free nights. If you have any recommendations on where to grab a nice dinner in Athens, I’m all ears! :)

      • that’s a full trip but you’re visiting nice places! Olympia is my favorite archaeological site in Greece. I re-visited back in August and if the trees have bloomed it’s going to be very pretty.
        Now for dinner in Athens I have 2 places with nice views over the Acropolis: The Zillers rooftop restaurant in the Cathedral (Mitropoleos) square and Kuzina in Adrianou street (pedestrian street). Also the best rooftop bar in Athens: A for Athens in Monastiraki square.
        2 other restaurants I love (but no views) are Ergon and Tzitzikas & Mermigas (translates to Cicada&Ant) both on Mitropoleos street. They serve modern greek cuisine and are not touristy.

        • Ahhhhh, I just looked up all the places you recommended and they all look great. Thanks so much Anna! xoxo

  • Ayyye, I love you guys’ travel adventures and I’m so excited that you’re going to Greece and Jordan! I’m excited to tag along. I don’t think I’ll be able to go anywhere internationally until next year some time. And my 2017 will look a lot more like your 2016 as far as saving goes. I did get one trip out of it though. Anyway, can’t wait to check out your adventures boo!

    • Woot Woot! Isn’t adulting fun?! ;) We’ve decided to go hard with traveling every OTHER year. So next year, we’ll probably be back in hermit mode haha.

  • Wow that sounds amazing! I’ve always wanted to visit Greece so I’m excited for your posts!

    • Same, Greece has been on my radar for a lonnnng while haha. So excited this trip is finally happening. Will definitely make sure to post about it when we get back :)

  • How exciting! I would love to visit Greece and Jordan one day! Definitely get with @disqus_l4wXWIWS6Q:disqus about any Greece questions! #wanderfulwednesday

    • Haha, I’m already on it and responded to Anna. Great minds ;)

  • Ahhhh, this is amazing!! So excited for you. And seriously, Istanbul is number one on my list as I just crave all of the colour I’ve seen in photos… I wish it wasn’t so far from Chile! So for now, I’ll be travelling through you!

    • Same! I’m especially excited about checking out the markets in Istanbul. And also, Chile isn’t so bad either haha ;)

  • That’s seriously so incredibly exciting that you get to be a tour group leader and that Charles gets to tag along too! It pretty much is the best of both worlds especially since your trip is free! That’s also so exciting that you get to visit your friend as well! I can’t wait to hear all about your trip!

    • I know right?! So so so thankful for my job giving me this opportunity to travel for work! xoxo

  • Kathy Kurosman

    Setarra, the Sultanahmet district is where all the museums are: Blue Mosque, etc. There are lots of restaurants there. Taksim is more modern, lot of nightlife, also lots of restaurants and hotels with restaurants on top with views of Bosporus. The Galata Tower in Beyoglu has great views of the city and a restaurant, I think. Never been there. Not sure about transportation except that traffic can be bad coming into the city in a cab. Wish you had more than 8 hrs. I love Istanbul. My husband’s family lives there. Enjoy! Kathy Kurosman (friend of Kathy Kennedy)

    • Thank you for all these recommendations Kathy! I really appreciate it and will look into the places you mentioned later on today. We wish we had more than 8 hours too haha. :) xoxo

  • Bryna | Dotted Line Travels

    Sounds like an amazing opportunity – so excited for you! Traveling for work seems like a dream! I hope you’ll have an amazing trip :)

  • Now this is an awesome opportunity and I definitely can’t wait for the the pictures and the travel guide information you will be providing. I know you and Charles will have so much fun! Safe Travels girl!

    • Thanks Valla! Can’t wait to share the whole trip experience when we get back. :) xoxo

  • LIT!

    • Ay Ay Ay Ay Ayyyyyyyyyy! :)

  • Hope you guys have an excellent trip!! It sounds like a fantastic adventure… and with a 2 for 1 deal? You can’t beat it!!

  • WOW! That’s amazing Setarra!! What an awesome opportunity and so cool that Charles has decided to make the trip with you. Those are some KICKASS destinations and you guys are going to have th ebest time! I went to Istanbul last year, and absolutely loved it. It was definitely one of my favorite trips of the year. I was with my parents and had quite a bit of time, but I definitely suggest going to see one of the Mosques! There are two (of the really famous ones) right next to each other, the Hagia Sophia and the Sultanahmet (or blue Mosque) and they are amazingly beautiful! You can go inside (with the right attire) and it really is such a uniquely beautiful experience. :D