Personal Stories

Travel isn't all itineraries, guides, packing lists, and tips/hacks.

I have some thoughts and experiences that don't fit squarely into the mold of this site, and I share them here. Read on to learn about my travel goals, my thoughts about travel, and more..

Scroll down to see them all.

  • AI Can't Plan Your Trip - Exit Glacier Viewpoint
    Personal Stories

    Why AI Can’t Plan Your (Alaska) Trip

    It's been almost 18 months since the world was taken by storm – a storm called ChatGPT. Since then, all of the major tech companies have been racing to release their own AI chatbots and technology – and I think we can agree, it's really been a race to the bottom. I run my business using technology, so I'm not a tech defeatist, but I think we can agree that AI could do so much more good than it's currently being used for...

  • 2024 Yearly Mantra - Rings
    Personal Stories

    My Yearly Mantra for Writing, Travel & Life in 2024

    I'll admit it: I'm a total nerd about the rituals of celebrating the New Year. Ever since I was a kid, I've loved looking back on the year ending, setting resolutions, and planning my year ahead. I've done that many different ways over the years, but for almost as long as I've had this blog (10 years!), I've been setting a yearly "mantra" instead of a resolution...

  • 2023 in Review Hero
    Personal Stories

    2023 in Review: My Top 5 Travel Experiences (& Some Bad Ones, Too!)

    Another year, come and gone – and I think it's safe to say that here in the casa de V&V, we'll look back on 2023 as one for the history books. It was a year of balance: a lot more time at home than usual, but for a very good reason, as Mr. V and I found out we are expecting our first child in early February 2024. We've already nicknamed her Baby V, and funnily enough – she went on every trip with me but one this year, so she's already a very well-traveled human...

  • 1% Report 2023 Hero
    Personal Stories

    The 1% Report: Charitable Donations I Made in 2023 as a Result of This Site

    There's not a day that goes by where I don't feel grateful that my job is to travel the world and get paid to do it. But, did you know that philanthropy is an important part of my work on this travel blog? Mr. V and I are both in agreement that while we love making money... money is just a tool, and one critical use of that tool is to support the causes we care about. For that reason, we've both agreed to donate 1% of our business; in my case as a relatively bad bookkeeper, I committed 1% of gross revenue (rather than net, aka after expenses, which…

  • Tenth Blogiversary Hero
    Personal Stories

    Celebrating My 10th Blogiversary:
    Ask Me Anything!

    I find it hard to even type, but as of today, Valerie & Valise has been live on the internet for 10 years. Ten, whole, years. A decade! Over a quarter of life! Every year on this day, I like to sit down and share my thoughts about the site, how it’s grown, how it’s changed, and maybe what’s next. This year, I thought it would be fun to share what you are all interested in learning about me and this site, so I asked for questions in my weekly newsletter and over on Instagram, too. Below you’ll find the questions I received in response, and many long-winded answers, probably…

  • August 2023 Trip Report Hero
    Personal Stories

    August 2023 Alaska Trip Report:
    Making Lemonade from Lemons

    While it might seem from the pictures and stories here on my blog that travel is always smooth sailing, it is always my goal to show travel as it really is: a wonderful opportunity, often messy and requiring flexibility, and always memorable. Such was the case for my most recent trip to Alaska in late August 2023; almost none of it went according to plan – but everyone learned from it, and I think we each even had a good time (at least once!)...

  • Personal Stories

    2022 in Review: My 5 Top Travel Experiences

    Here we are, at the end of another year – it is astonishingly cliche to say it flew by, because it's actually a well-documented (though admittedly depressing) psychological phenomenon. 2022 was the first year since 2019 where life felt quite normal; Mr. V and I settled into our lives here in Cleveland, and I/we took several incredible trips that both helped me create better travel resources for work and enjoy the beauty of the world...