Shut Up and Go

An Unexpected Trip to The Hollywood Reservoir

By January 20, 2016 USA

Jo, does this look familiar?” I ask. “Yep, just keep going straight” she responds, as we trek higher and higher into the steep, winding streets of the Hollywood Hills. Now this wasn’t our first rodeo up to the Hollywood Sign; we’ve caught glimpses from hikes in Runyon Canyon and from taking a public bus for 50 cents to the Sign itself – but ever since Jo’s family came to visit a few weeks ago, she hasn’t stopped talking about how great the view of the the Hollywood Sign is from Lake Hollywood. With my mom being in town and all, I thought what better time than to go check it out.

You’d think that having Jo in the car throughout the entire trip from my mom’s hotel to the Hollywood Sign that she would recognize when something doesn’t look right, but then we have to factor in the fact that Jo has never been the best with orientation, which explains why after multiple turns on the tiny streets, we arrive and realize, this was not the place Jo had been.

Turns out, according to Google Maps, Lake Hollywood and Hollywood Reservoir are not the same thing. Oh well, even better; now we know yet another awesome Hollywood Sign vantage point. Here’s our trip to the Hollywood Reservoir, which again, is not the same thing as the Lake Hollywood.



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Snapping Away San Diego

By January 14, 2016 Travel Guides, USA


If you’ve ever watched our Snapchat (@damonandjo), you might have noticed that I’m not exactly the MVP of the snap-o-sphere. I, Joanna Franco, admit that I was originally anti-Snapchat because 1. it’s ANOTHER social media platform to keep updating which makes it more of a chore and less of a fun side thing, and 2. because the pictures and videos you take disappear into a black abyss of “where the hell did my awesome story go?”

But because it’s been almost three years of my closest friends on Snapchat, I decided to drop my granny act of shaking my fists angrily on the sidelines and try to put a little Snap in my step just in time for my San Diego trip with the girls.

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2016 Travel Wish List

By January 10, 2016 Motivation

The thing with traveling is that the more you travel, the more you want to travel. It’s truly an insatiable thirst – both a blessing and a curse. You’ll be out taking the typical coming-of-age backpacking through Western Europe trip, having the time of your life, when out of nowhere, you meet a Moroccan on the train and you’re straight-up like “Hm, Morocco? Never been on my ‘list,’ but let’s go to Morocco!”

In 2015, I visited many cities I’ve had on my must-see list for years, like Cinque Terre or Lisbon for round two. I also visited many more cities that were nowhere near any must-see list – take Ljubljana, Budapest, Krakow, or Miami for example. In 2016, it’s all about visiting the places that once seemed so far away when I first started out traveling just around the big cities on the East Coast. Take a few of these for example.




Thailand. South Korea. Japan. I need to get to that part of the world. There’s something that strikes me about Tokyo especially. Tokyo to me is probably what most foreigners think of New York. It’s massive, it’s futuristic, and very, very different from the Western World – or so I think. I want to drink green tea and eat sushi while kneeling at a table with my shoes off, all with some bamboo on the table and zen music in the background. Yeah, I need to get to Tokyo; my trips to MUJI just won’t suffice.

Rio de Janeiro

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Self-Help Books That’ll Actually Change Your Life

By January 6, 2016 Motivation, Must-Haves

I hesitated between naming this blog Self-Help Books That’ll Actually Change Your Life and Self-Help Books That Aren’t Cheesy, because more often than not we stumble upon a self-help book that 1) doesn’t change your life, and 2) is super cheesy. Even me, someone who pretty much only reads Self-Help, Personal Development, Philosophy, Sociology, New Age type books has started to get sick of the ones that are just too fluffy. That being said, I’ve narrowed down the search with my all-time favorite self-help books that you should purchase off Amazon or simply pick up at your local library. Let’s do this.

Delaying the Real World

Real-life examples of how people are taking their random passions like working on a cruise ship, or performing in the circus, or teaching English abroad and making a life out of it. The best part is that this book makes you realize there are truly thousands of people already out there living their passions, and that not everyone is a naysayer trying to keep you from fulfilling your wildest dreams. Basically, this is the book that makes you realize you don’t have to be a travel YouTuber or travel blogger to live this lifestyle of traveling and living around the world.

Buy Delaying the Real World on Amazon

The Art of Non-Conformity

My favorite book of all time. After reading this book, you’ll start noticing how much more aware and conscious you are of your actions and life path, and conversely so, how blind and sadly, brainwashed a lot of society is. This one really, really makes you question everything you grew up thinking and was really the book that made me straight up be like, “f*ck this, I want to do something in travel and media, so why am I not doing that?” And then, I did.

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11 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

By January 4, 2016 Motivation

Lose 10 pounds! Stop drinking! Quit smoking! How cliché, and let’s be real, unsuccessful. If you want to get in on the New Year’s Resolution buzz, but also want something attainable, here are 11 realistic New Year’s Resolutions for you to try out in 2016! I think I’ll do all eleven.

Make your life more comfortable

Options include: not feeling guilty for Netflix nights, not feeling guilty for ahem, Netflix and Chill nights, upgrading your bedding so you get a better night’s sleep, downloading a sleep tracker app, buying a Muji Mist Diffuser, or investing in luxury soaps all with the goal of making your 2016 life more comfortable.

Clean your life up

That messy desktop. All those papers on your nightstand. The mail on your kitchen countertop. The unwanted emails you’re subscribed to. Make it a point to get your inbox to 0. Clean life, clean mind. Keeping your organization game at 100 gives you more time day-to-day to focus on things that really matter instead of being bogged down by the unnecessary clutter.

Be an explorer


C’mon, what did you expect over here on the Shut Up and Go blog? You never know what you may find if you go for a walk around your neighborhood, or take a drive with the sole purpose of exploring. Maybe you start making it a regular part of your lifestyle to try a new restaurant or check out a neighboring city. After all, all of your favorite places were once firsts.

Be more of a people-person


Spark conversations with strangers. Ask cashiers how their day is going. Couchsurf. Go to a Meetup. Say hey. Start being more of a “Yes” man or woman when your friends ask you if you want to go do something. When you’re more outgoing, more things start to happen for you, and isn’t that what life, especially our youth, is all about?

Capture more of your life on film


If you’re anything like me, you have 3000 photos clogging up your iPhone, and while some of them may reflect your best moments of 2015, more often than not, you simply forget they even happened – hence why you still have 3000 photos taking up all the space on your phone. It’s just like, what do you even do with them once you put them on Instagram? Invest in a polaroid or a disposable camera, and develop them at a local camera store. Get the prints and have tangible reminders that life isn’t so fleeting. Capture candid moments on your disposable camera and you’ll be looking forward to receiving your prints. Read More

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The “Happiness Holiday”

By December 30, 2015 Minimalism, Motivation

The holidays have started to fade into the haze of “in 2016 I’m going to…” and “this year is going to bring…” and other “promising” New Year resolutions, and while everyone looks forward into the next 12 months that will continue unfolding the chapters of their lives, I find myself looking backwards. Looking back one week to be exact, right around December 24th when I was genuinely concerned that my debt-filled credit card would call me to declare war. Thanks holiday purchases!

winterphoto credit

Despite this minor anxiety, I’m actually ok with credit card debt. Trust me, having loans teaches you how to cope with the bone crushing feeling of a debt anvil. It was the feeling of being cheated from the emotional goodness I was promised from 1950’s holiday movies that created an internal conflict.

Truth is, over the years the meaning and purpose of Christmas has become more and more diluted, shifting far away from its religious roots and landing in a pool filled with advertisements, iPads and flat screen TVs. That’s right, the big fat white Santa everyone teaches their children to believe will come down their chimney with gifts is actually just a fictional character designed by Coca Cola for a commercial in the 1930s. “Santa” became famous faster than Twista can rap “overnight celebrity.”

The same way Coke brought the fat guy into the homes of millions, other companies jumped in on the fun and started spending massive amounts of money advertising merchandise that they brainwashed you into thinking you needed to celebrate the season in an extra special way. In comes extreme pressure of chaotic consumerism.

Not meaning to get all Grinch-y over here, but I’ve started questioning if this system is really something I want to contribute to.

believePhoto Credit

When my family asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told them, “don’t get me anything please, I’m just excited to go home and spend time with you.” Of course, my shopaholic mother didn’t take that as an answer. So when she made me give another answer, I said, “money for a bike would be great, but seriously you don’t have to get me anything.” As a traveler, you realize you can’t have a bunch of crap to lug around because if it doesn’t fit in your backpack, or help you get from one destination to the next, it’s probably not necessary.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for receiving “things,” I know that my family, much like most other American families, expects gifts, because massive corporations brainwashed them into thinking they needed their products, because ’tis the season to be jolly and give give give. I prepared well for the consumerist battle and shopped for my family’s presents an entire week before flying home on a stressful flight from LA to NYC. Great success. A few swipe-a-roos later and I was all ready to contribute to the commercial celebration.

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