West Coast Best Coast: Bucket List

17 Jun

For every major multi-destination trip I’ve taken thus far in my life, I’ve crafted a bucket list with major attractions, to-dos, etc. For my upcoming west coast trip, I’m keeping it short, sweet and light:

  1. To watch my friend Candace get married
  2. To run along the beach in the Pacific Ocean
  3. To take a selfie with a really old, really tall tree
  4. To catch up with friends, new and old
  5. To see a sea lion or sea otter on the beach
  6. To stand with my toes in the sand and close my eyes and feel the pacific coast wind on my face

I’m certain this is all easily do-able, though, if I don’t meet a sea lion/otter in real person I might actually cry.

Edit: Adding one more item

7. To blast Phantom Planet’s “California” while driving up Route 1.

Musings on Solo Travel

28 Mar

As the days leading up to my trip grow fewer in number, my emotional state fluctuates between nervous and excited. Now that departure day is here, I can honestly say I’m scared out of my damn mind. I’ve traveled alone before, sure, point A to Point B, no problem. But for significant chunks of this trip I’ll be traveling alone, sightseeing alone, staying (relatively) alone and doing everything by myself. It’s terrifying. But I’m so excited to travel!

21st Century Travel Upgrade: iPhone Apps!

27 Mar

One of the biggest changes between this trip & my last big Eurotrip is technology. Four years ago I ran around Europe with a basic “not even flip phone” disposable phone, with no GPS capabilities whatsoever. This time around, I’m bringing my iPhone and digging through the numerous apps available with wifi and data -free capabilities.  

Here are the three I recommend:

  • CityMaps2Go: Very basic street map app with a GPS location point to mark your location (fun fact, you don’t need wifi or data for this function to work). You can star your favorite locations & easily navigate to them using the map – sometimes simple is best. 
  • Trip Advisor: Allows you to download data packets for all the major cities around the world, and access the information (accommodations, restaurants, attractions, etc) at any time. The downside is data packets for smaller, lesser-known cities aren’t available
  • Triposo: Has maps and guides all rolled up into one app. Like TripAdvisor, it has data packets for major cities, but is much more expansive and includes packets for entire regions and countries as well. One extra bonus feature – it has currency conversion capabilities so you don’t need to download a separate app for that. 

When London Becomes Home

6 Jan

Now that my semester abroad is over, here’s a re-cap of the things I will miss most about life in London.

1. Camden Market. Still my favorite spot in the city. Not even Hyde park and the German Christmas markets can top it. I wish I took a video walking around in Camden, the pictures I have cannot begin to capture what it’s like.

Horse tunnel section of Camden Market


International food stalls

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Where Christmas is Done Best: Germany!

5 Jan

My final trip of the semester was to Germany for three days to visit my friend Jeff in Eichstatt and my friend Jess in Munich. I flew into Munich on my first day there and explored the city with Jeff and his friends. On day two, Jeff and I took the train to Nuremberg (Eichstatt is conveniently located halfway between Munich and Nuremberg) for Christmas markets, Nazi parade grounds and the city’s old historic center. On day three Jeff showed me around Eichstatt and I took the train back to Munich to meet up with Jess. Here’s a three day re-cap of my German adventure!

1. The Food. Like everywhere else I visited this semester, Germany had delicious food! Meat is a huge part of German cuisine. Normally I don’t enjoy most meats but this was not the case in Germany. Bratwurst, sausage, beef, everything was just delicious!

Hofbrauhaus, famous Bavarian beer hall where I ate my first German meal.


Giant pretzel bigger than my head!


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Shoes, Canals & Windmills: Amsterdam!

5 Jan

I like this list format for blog posts, so I think I’ll keep it going for Amsterdam! The city’s reputation precedes it, but there’s a lot more to Amsterdam than Eurotrip would have you believe.

1. Canals. Amsterdam is made up entirely of canals. They surround the city in rings, with bridges periodically connecting the land on both sides. We went on a canal tour of the city on our second full day there, which gave us a chance to see the house boats and slanted buildings that line the canals.

Boat tours, and the Amsterdam train station in the background

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Bucket List: UK Edition

31 Dec

The last month of my semester abroad was absolutely crazy. In addition to traveling out of the country three times and writing five papers, I also tackled a long bucket list of things I needed to do and see in London before I left.

1. The Natural History Museum. Visited the weekend my cousin Versailles came to visit. The most impressive thing about this museum isn’t the exhibits themselves, but the architecture in the main hallway. But the dinosaur exhibit was also good for a few laughs.

Main hallway in the Natural History Museum

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Christmas with London is the best

31 Dec

From November through the middle of December, London was transformed into a magical Christmas paradise. I have never loved Christmas more than I did this semester. Earlier I wrote about the Piccadilly Christmas lighting…well, Christmas in London only got better from there. My favorite Christmas attractions in London included:

1. Somerset House Ice Rink. There were ice rinks everywhere in London: outside the Natural History museum, next to the Tower of London, in front of the London Eye, but Somerset House was my favorite one. I might be a little biased because it was literally right next door to King’s Strand campus.

Somerset ice rink and tree

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Roaming Around Rome

31 Dec

Back in November I went to Rome for a weekend. I loved Rome almost as much as I love Madrid (I say almost because no one spoke Spanish in Rome). Rome had numerous large plazas, amazing ancient architecture, and yummy Italian food. If I wasn’t obsessed with ancient Rome before, I am now. Here’s a re-cap of everything I saw/ate:

Four rivers fountain with Egyptian obelisk at the center

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Host UK Weekend: Day 3

31 Dec

Sunday morning Jenny took me for a walk around the outskirts of Malmesbury. The view of the city from the surrounding countryside was very pretty.

Scenic view of Malmesbury

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