There are certain places which travel beyond our expectations, and then there are those which fall short. There aren't many (or possibly any) places I can say I hate, but there are a few places that I believe get more hype than they're worth:

1. Times Square on New years 

It was an experience; I’ll give it that. But I spent those last hours of 2012 sitting on a pizza box while water bottles of pee casually rolled by.

Here’s what made the trip fun: I was 19 years old road tripping from Michigan to NYC with my 18-year-old friend from Australia. FREEEDOMMMM

Here’s what didn’t make it fun: Standing in 20 degrees for 12+ hours unable to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom. Also, the hoards of people smashed into extremely tight spots. If we hadn’t been along a fence line, I probably would’ve spent the entire night suffering from claustrophobia.

How did I spend the first moments of 2013? Hopping a fence and running out of the performers' exit, followed by running down the street to pee in the closest bar possible, and paying $100 for a taxi that took us 2.2 miles.


2. The Blue Lagoon

WE GET IT. IT’S PRETTY. But what the Facebook photos don’t show is the crowds of tourists side-by-side, or the seventy-dollar price tag that comes along with it. The Blue Lagoon is located just twenty or so minutes from the main Icelandic airport, meaning that even those stopping in the country for a long layover will be there.

When I was in Iceland we kept debating whether or not it was worth it to go. We skipped Blue Lagoon and went to Myvatn Nature Baths in the northern section of the country. It had prettier views, fewer people, and was only $20/person.

We did, however, sleep in the parking lot of the Blue Lagoon and got drunk by some lava rocks nearby. It was way more fun.


3. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon

The south rim of the Grand Canyon is basically a psychotic henhouse filled with tour buses, selfie sticks, and rude tourists.

Don’t get me wrong; the Grand Canyon is an incredible spectacle that everyone should witness. However, do yourself a favor and take a hike, or head out to the north rim. Hiking into the canyon just a mile will thin out hoards of people and make your visit worth fighting over a parking spot.



4. Sydney

Sydney is a great city; don’t let my judgment fool you. The reason I am adding it to this list is because the popularity of Sydney casts a big shadow on other cities of Australia.

Melbourne is by far the cooler, hipper sibling, yet those traveling to the country vastly overlook the city. If traveling to OZ in the near future, don’t forget to head south.

Melbourne contains spots like Hosier Lane, an artwork display which winds through the alleyways of downtown Melbourne covered in Graffiti. Just fifty kilometers from the city is Tourqay, home to Bells Beach. It’s one of the prettiest coastlines I’ve seen and the first place I learned to surf. Don’t miss it!



5. Los Angeles

How to get Shalee’s blood boiling in ten seconds or less: make her drive around Los Angeles.

HOW do people do it?! WHY do people live here?! There are basically zero forms of useful public transportation, it takes over an hour to go five miles, and the air quality is horrid.

If you passed me on the road while we were #vanlifing in Southern California I was probably either shouting, holding my middle finger up or on the verge of a mental breakdown.

It’s fine. I’m fine. FINE.

I also wasn’t a fan of the prices or materialism. If you see me back in LA, it’s probably only for a layover.



6. The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Maybe it was the McDonalds located just outside the entry gates or the crowds of tourists taking the same exact photo with the same exact look on their face. Or maybe it was the fact that every single person within the gates of the Leaning Tower of Pisa spoke perfect English.

The only reason we visited was because it was a twenty-minute train ride from the Italian seaside village of Viareggio where we were staying on a sailboat. This was a good thing because if I‘d wasted an entire day just to visit here I would’ve been extremely bummed. We spent probably twenty minutes at the tower and then spent the next hour finding a supermarket, buying a carton of ice cream (it was in the 90s), and eating it on the sidewalk outside. That was the biggest win for the day.





  1. Sabretoothedchickenstour Chickens on November 28, 2017 at 7:07 PM

    Nice to read your stories 🙂 This kind of thing is very personal and links to the context at the time you travelled e.g. Venice can be hellish at peak times and totally magical plus vacant of tourists at night time in the winter.

    Personally, every place I have not enjoyed first time around such as Bangkok, I vow to go back to. I have been there 3 times now and on the last visit really enjoyed it.

    We really enjoyed Pisa because it was a surprise for my Mum and she was really blown away…
    Next time I go there, I want to stay there and visit the area as I don’t feel it is fair to judge a place on an ancient landmark. But I do understand what you are saying…

    But I do agree that Sydney although it can be amazing does overshadow other places, as does the east coast of Australia in general. What about the magic of the red centre, Kakadu, the Kimberley and of course our hometown Perth <3

    So really it is more about the context of your visit, who you are with, what happens when you get there and most importantly your own mindset…

    Good journey, Shalee <3

  2. Varun on November 29, 2017 at 9:53 AM

    Hello Shalee,

    Michigander here, and I couldn’t agree more with your comments about south rim, grand canyon and los angeles. I had the exact same feeling as your review when I went there last week.


  3. Caitlin on December 2, 2017 at 2:48 PM

    I definitely agree with LA! The amount of times I have had to drive to LAX since moving here probably averages out to 1x a month. All of SoCal is just traffic! My work is 11 miles away but can take me anywhere from 30-40 minutes to commute.

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