Where to escape NYC to...

The City can be daunting to say the least, check out these other cultural hubs for a refreshing escape.

My story started like many other ambitious little girls who dreamt of growing up and becoming singers and actresses. From a very young age, I swore I'd move to New York City. Being the hard-headed, determined little girl that I was, I made it happen. I worked twice as hard throughout school to prove to my parents that I could handle the move and that investing in an education in the arts wouldn't be for naught. So, when I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed eighteen year old, I hit the road and moved to The Upper West Side to start college. I've been in New York for four years since and I can tell you it's no cake walk.

I feel like the burning question from one transplant to another is always, "How long have you been here?" Is it a way of sizing one another up? Commiserating? Who knows. When I just stated that I've been here for four years, my face flashes back to the tired eyes that told me their number. In hopes to never feel that tired or jaded, I've taken to traveling more and looking for an eventual second home base. Here's what I found!

Asheville, NC

OCTOBER 22: A colorful wall mural adorns a building in the quirky West Asheville neighborhood as viewed on October 22, 2016 in Asheville, North Carolina. Named one of the 'Top 10 Great Places to Retire' by AARP, Asheville is experiencing a major cultural revolution, with the addition of new residents, restaurants, live music, and a vibrant arts community.

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

To say that I am obsessed with Asheville is a mild understatement. My boyfriend was performing nearby last month, so I surprised him and bookended my trip with a solo adventure to Asheville. I had heard great things from friends who have passed through and I was not disappointed. I stayed at Bon Paul and Sharky's Hostel in West Asheville which is essentially Haywood Road. The area boasts a plethora of local bars, cafes, and organic grocery stores and seems to be mainly residential. Biscuit Head is famed for their biscuits and delicious breakfast. My favorite spot was Odd's Cafe which was right next door to my hostel and really great for coffee, small bites, and internet access. Lucky for me, the early bird that I am, most places in the area opened around 6 or 7am so I had somewhere to hang out while the rest of Asheville woke up.

If I ever were to move to Asheville, I would definitely opt for Downtown Asheville. The area reminds me of a smaller scale Williamsburg with added Southern comfort of course. There are tons of great spots to eat, my favorite being Farmburger which sports an amazing menu of customizable grass-fed burgers (and vegan options too!) and their own brewery on site. The feel of the city changes from block to block. There are some areas that feel more classic/family oriented while others seem to suit artists and entrepreneur types. My favorite thing about Asheville is their local music scene which seems to be both intimate but also thriving. Since I am a musician, it's certainly on my list for possible escapes from NYC.

Pros: Much cheaper than NYC (the average cost of a studio in Asheville is $620 a month in comparison to NYC rates that average at about $2300 a month), the area is rich in culture and has a vibrant music scene, great places to eat and drink.

Cons: Not a lot of acting opportunities, need a car.

Austin, TX

AUSTIN, TX - JULY 30: Singer-songwriter Michelle Branch performs in concert during 'The Hopeless Romantic Tour' at Emo's on July 30, 2017 in Austin, Texas.

(Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)

Who wouldn't want to live in a city who's motto is "Keep Austin Weird." I've been told by almost everyone, I'd love Austin, TX for it's thriving indie music and film scene. Austin served as the playground for many greats like Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson. Likewise, there is an excellent nightlife and live music scene to enjoy in your spare time. From state of the art restaurants to trendy farm to tables, Austin has everything. Food Truck culture is on the rise. Some of the best noted as Soursop a pan-asian cuisine truck, Veracruz All Natural which is regarded as the city's best taco truck (a necessary staple), and Tommy Want Wingy, your go-to wing and comfort food stop.

In Austin, you can see live music ranging from the hottest mainstream artist to undiscovered locals at tons of different venues, two well regarded being The Mohawk which boasts a mixed palate of mainstream and indie, Antone's Nightclub which veers way more on the indie or undiscovered side, and Cheer Up Charlie's which curates events with unique artists and is hub for the queer community in Austin.

Whenever I consider a new place that's not New York, I make the mistake of assuming the city layout works the same. While New York is a beast to get around, it makes total sense to me. Downtown Austin is divided into districts, similar to New York.

Sixth Street is the place to go for clubs, live music, and entertainment, while Second Street is where you want to go for dining and shopping. The Seaholm District is fairly new and is the city's old industrial area now being converted to a trendy residential and store front area. The Red River District is one of Austin's most known entertainment and art districts boasting clubs like The Mohawk mentioned above.

Pros: There is a ton to do, indie musician friendly, cheaper than NYC (apx. $930 for a 1 bedroom)

Cons: More expensive than Asheville, need a car, very little film opportunity though definitely an appreciation of film consumption in the area.

Los Angeles, CA

LAX sign at the Century Boulevard entrance to Los Angeles International Airport.

(Photo by: Ken Ross/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images)

The obvious choice for relocation from the East Coast's cultural capitol is the West Coast's cultural queen, Los Angeles; however, something to consider is it's every bit as frustrating and expensive as NYC, just in a different way. Trade your MTA frustration for strategic planning to skip traffic, trade your through the roof rent for slightly less through the roof rent plus car payments, but still being born and raised near a beach, the easy-breezy culture of Los Angeles calls me and so I did a little research and some visiting to see how it compares.

First of all let's look at the attainable neighborhoods to live in. Something to know about LA is that it's much easier to stay in your neighborhood for day to day activities like work and play to avoid the insufferable traffic. One great spot in LA is Venice Beach. Being right next to the beach is a huge perk and there's plenty to do in the area. Visit the Mosaic House for Insta-worthy shots that will make you disbelieve that you live in such a cool place, take up skate boarding at Venice Skate Park, shop, dine, and check out gallerys on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The average cost of a one bedroom apartment in this area is $2,500 which is still less then NYC and could be worth the splurge for the incredible neighborhood you get with it.

Another possible neighborhood is Silver Lake which is perfect for the aspiring actor because it's right next to the studios where auditions are held. Like Venice Beach, Silver Lake boasts some outdoor, but less-beachy gems like the Silver Lake Reservoir and the Silver Lake Stairs. Sunset Junction is Silver Lake's walkable shopping district. If you're into spendy coffee dates, Intelligentsia will be the perfect neighborhood hang out for you. There are also weekly farmer's market and the neighborhood is described as trendy and eclectic boasting cool graffiti and neighborhood charms. The average price of a one bedroom in this area is slightly less then Venice Beach at around $1,500-1700. If you don't mind being further from the beach, this is definitely a wallet friendly spot.

A little further removed from LA proper is Sherman Oaks which is regarded as the suburban LA. The area attracts a diverse community from artists to families to elderly folk and in return, the area boasts a large array of things to do, to accommodate its diverse crowd. The nightlife scene holds its own with the two reigning spots being The Local Peasant which is a great burger and drink joint with frequent events, and The One Up which is a cool spot for drinks and old school arcade games. Shopping and salons are plentiful in the area especially in the Galleria and Westfield Mall. The area definitely has everything you need day to day and the price is a little more reasonable with prices for one bedroom swaying between $1,500 and $1,900.

LA generally speaking has the same kind of opportunities I came to NYC for so it's definitely the closest option in terms of that but in terms of less stress, I find it to be equal.

Pros: Just as much opportunity as NYC, fun and thriving neighborhoods

Cons: Almost expensive as NYC with added expense of a car.

So here's where I landed. It's not time to leave NYC just yet, but I had so much fun exploring my options! I decided to make exploring other cultural hubs in the US a new hobby so up next is Nashville and Chicago!

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Travel Tips

Best Jobs for People Who Love To Travel

If you want to travel but have a job that is currently holding you back, here are a few of our suggestions for the best jobs for people who love to travel.

For many people, traveling is an amazing experience, but traveling is not always feasible because of responsibilities to work.

One way to get around this roadblock is to get a job that will let you travel and see the world. Here are some of the best jobs for people who love to travel.

Hostelworld HostelworldHostelworld.com


A translator is a wonderful job for those who want to travel. It will bring you to many places as you work, so long as those places speak the language you can translate. The great thing about translating is the variety of work you can get by translating for specific clients or just translating for tourists in the area. You can choose what type of scene you wish to work in very easily.


A pilot fits the definition of a job that gets to travel perfectly. Now, whether you are a private pilot or a commercial pilot, you will still get to fly all over the planet. The only major problem with this job is the requirement of flight classes. But once you get your license, you can fly freely around the world while making yourself money to fund your trips.

Travel blogger

Being a travel blogger is a temperamental job but, if done correctly, it will allow you to visit anywhere you want. Writing to fans as you travel the world can be a fun and exciting way to engage with the planet. This job can be difficult to do, though, as you must be able to write consistently and capture your audience with each post.

English teacher

This may not sound like a job that allows you to travel, but schools all around the world are always looking for more people to teach English.

In this career, you would move near the school that you would teach at and live there over the course of your time there. The interesting thing about this job is that it does not necessarily require a teaching degree, depending on the school and country in question. You also get to live in a new country for an extended period.

When it comes to the best jobs for people who love to travel, these are just a few of our suggestions. There are plenty of jobs where you can travel around the world, but these ones are far-reaching and cover a lot of different lifestyles. They might seem like pipe dreams, but hey, you never know!

Seattle, Washington is a rainy, coffee-fueled, coastal town often referred to as the "Emerald City."

Located against the ecological wonderland of Puget Sound, this cosmopolitan, seaside city is a mishmash of arts, culture, history, nature, and, of course, cloudy weather. Thanks to its proximity to nature, its greenery, and its culturally rich, big-city atmosphere, the city is becoming increasingly popular, both for tourists and those looking for a change of scenery.

The Big Stops: Tourist Seattle

If you only have a few days to visit Seattle, you'll probably want to check out the area's most famous attractions.

For nature lovers and summit-chasers, there's the imposing, wildflower-shrouded Mt. Rainier.

Mt. Rainierthebesttravelplaces.com

Mt. Rainier

For foodies, there's the popular Pike Place Market, a giant patchwork of food-sellers and friendly chaos where you can purchase everything from giant crabs' legs to bottomless amounts of coffee (more on that later).

Pike Place Marketseattle.eater.com

And finally, there's the iconic Space Needle and the Sky View Observatory, which will give you extraordinary views of the city.

Space Needlegetyourguide.com

Seattle Arts and Museums

For arts and culture lovers, Seattle has plenty to cut your teeth on. Don't miss the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a collection of extraordinary blown-glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.

Chihuly Gardensfodors.com

Chihuly Gardens

For art, there's the giant Seattle Art Museum Downtown. Seattle also offers the Museum of Pop Culture, a nonprofit that features all your favorite icons from history, and plenty of other options.

Museum of Pop Culturesmithsonianmag.org

For some history, there's the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, which commemorates Seattle's history as a gold rush hub.

There are plenty of quirky attractions—like the giant Fremont Troll, the 18-foot sculpture in the Fremont neighborhood that cuts an imposing figure.

Fremont Trollsillyamerica.com

You could also take in the city from a boat—marine enthusiasts might enjoy visiting to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to explore the history of this port city.

Seattle, of course, also has a gritty underground side—you may know the city from its time at the heart of the '90s grunge movement.

It also has a long, storied history that has left more than a few scars. You can literally see its underground through one of its underground tours, which will take you on a walk through the "buried city," the remnants left over from before the Great Fire of 1889.

Seattle Undergroundpinterest

Natural Wonders

Seattle is notorious for its natural wonders. For a close-up view, there's the Seattle Aquarium, a marine experience that showcases the best of what Puget Sound has to offer.

For more exposure to the beauty of Seattle's nature, try the Washington Park Arboretum, a 230-acre showcase of Seattle's wetlands and natural wonders.

Washington Park Arboretumtriposo.com

You might also pay a visit to the Alki Beach for some time with the ocean waves.

Alki BeachMetropolitangardens.blogspot.com

Or consider taking a more exhaustive adventure to Discovery Park, a giant and labyrinthine natural park at the edge of Puget Sound.

Discovery Parktrip savvy.com

Food and Drink

Food tours are also popular options for those who want to get more intimate with the city's cuisine, and Seattle is often ranked as one of the best cities for foodies.

It's also a great place for coffee-heads. You might also pay a visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, AKA Ultimate Starbucks, a tasting room that features a coffee library amongst other treats for coffee addicts.

Sarbucks Reserve Roasterydesigner.com

Moving to Seattle

If you're planning on moving to Seattle, locals say there's a few things you should know. First off, it is most definitely overcast the majority of the time, though the rain is rather like a mist. That makes the rare sunny day shine even more, though, locals say, in addition to fostering natural abundance.

The city is generally very congested with traffic, which can be noisy, though it offers great public transportation options, from buses to rail—regardless, you'll want to get an Orca Card for that.

Like every city, Seattle has a number of diverse and charismatic neighborhoods. For example, there's the beachy, more laid-back West Seattle.

West SeattleWest Seattle

There's the vibrant Capitol Hill, a hub of arts, culture, tech bros, and nightlife (during non-COVID times).

There's the historic and artsy Pioneer Square, featuring plenty of museums, shops, galleries, and pubs.

Pioneer Square SeattleExpedia

Fremont is a more bohemian area. Belltown is a trendy waterfront neighborhood that's close to everything.

In general, Seattle residents love the city for its proximity to nature, from beaches to glaciers, and its abundance of arts and cultural attractions. As Kimberly Kinrade said, "Seattle is for people who love culture, but refuse to sacrifice their wild nature to attain it." Residents dislike the steep cost of housing and all things that come from rising prices, including the city's large homeless population.

In general, the city is known as environmentally conscious, liberal, and dog-loving. The people are often referred to as nice but possibly a bit standoffish and cold (the "Seattle Freeze" is when you make plans to hang out and then bail, which is apparently very common). The rain can certainly get depressing, but the proximity to nature helps.

Remember, if you do happen to move: umbrellas are dead giveaways for tourists.

What's your favorite part about Seattle? What did we leave out? Let us know at @thejourniest on Twitter!


Weed World Candies Exist to Prey on Gullible Tourists

Weed is still illegal in New York, but scamming tourists is not.

You wouldn't know it walking around midtown Manhattan, but marijuana is still illegal in New York.

It does seem strange to think that perhaps the most metropolitan city in the US would be lagging behind so many other parts of the country that have legalized possession, production, and sale of cannabis and THC products, but it's true.

New York's decriminalization of marijuana has led many smokers to be more brazen with their public consumption in recent years, and Governor Cuomo recently announced plans for limited legalization for recreational use at the state level. But for the time being the sale of products containing THC is still very much illegal.

buy happiness You sure about that?

Adding to the confusion is a company that has sprung up to prey on tourist's uncertainty. Weed World trucks have multiplied at a staggering rate since they first started appearing in Midtown and the Village a few years ago. Easily a dozen RVs and vans now line the tourist-dense streets of Manhattan, advertising Girl Scout Cookies and Gorilla Glue, clad in marijuana-leaf decals and occupied by employees who are paid either to be stoned out of their minds, or just to pretend they are.

With eyes nearly in slits and an air of relaxation that suggests that customers are temporary interludes from a permanent nap, they will promise you as much as they can get away with while letting their branding do most of the work. They will sell you four lollipops for $20, which would seem like a great deal if not for the fact that they will not deliver on the strong implication that they'll get you high.

They have a Twitter account where they celebrate the supposed availability of weed and claim to "have New York locked down." They'll even sell you vape cartridges that advise you to "get medicated," and which are packed with potent doses of… flavor?

weed world truck

An employee once assured me that their candies do contain THC—maybe they wouldn't be so brazenly dishonest today—and in a drunken state I coughed up $5 to test that claim. There is a faint weedy taste to their candies, and you may find trace amounts of CBD inside, but that's it. It's a scam. There is no THC. Nothing that will give their customers the experience they're selling.

Worse than the trucks is the Weed World Candies storefront that opened in midtown in 2019. Just walking past you would swear that people were passing a massive blunt inside.

The smell is unmistakable and overpowering, except that it's fake. Whatever chemical fragrance they pumped onto the street, it was not connected to anyone smoking weed. Inside, the psychedelic wall art complemented shelves lined with suggestive candies and boxes emblazoned with pot leaf insignia.

Whatever the venue, they are all too happy to sell you overpriced hemp products and CBD creams and chocolates made to look like nugs. And if you're a tourist, or a moron like me, you might believe the scam long enough to give them money, but nothing they sell will get you high.

weed world store Hiroki Kittaka

The owners of Weed World, Judah Izrael and Bilal Muhammad—who prefers to go by "Dro Man" or "Doctor Dro"—will defend their products by claiming that they serve to promote legalization and decriminalization efforts by normalizing the idea of public sale of marijuana. But at no point in the purchasing process is the illusion that their candies will get you high broken. At no point are their customers offered literature explaining the mission of Weed World.

On their website's FAQs page, there is no mention of THC or its absence from their products, but the first question, "How much should I eat?" is answered, "It's all based on your tolerance but there's no limit." Tolerance for what? Sugar? The company—which originated in Alabama and has spread to cities around the country—mostly seems like a very profitable way to sell candy to gullible adults.

weed world wall art Nicole Mallete

The best thing I can say in their defense is that one of their trucks was recently busted by police in Saraland, Alabama, with products that "tested positive for marijuana." Assuming this isn't a screw up or deliberate frame-job by the police, it's possible that some of the Weed World trucks are using their faux activism as a front for selling actual drugs. If so, that would be the most honest thing about this company. Until that's confirmed, ignore these trucks and maybe just ask a friend for a hookup.