Ahhh, the 17-Mile Drive – land of the super wealthy and amazing coastal views. Most people drive it, but what is it like to bike?
First, the pros:
– Good exercise
– Biking is fun
– If there’s car traffic you can be like SEE YA
– And there’s something about pedaling with the salt spray tingling in your nose, and the wind rushing by…
Continuing the shitfest from Arizona with a summary of alllll the mishaps that happened when I went to Europe my first time abroad in college. I’m sharing because I want y’all to know that travel isn’t always perfect – in fact, most of the time, it’s far from it. But that’s all part of the beauty – you get into shitty situations, and you get yourself out.
And that feels good, somehow. Even though it might suck in the moment.
Full disclosure: This article is NOT encouraging you to be an jerk and be disrespectful in other countries (or anywhere, really). This is more like a chronicle of my mistakes for your reading pleasure. And to let you know that it’s OK TO MAKE MISTAKES. Just go, and deal with them as they come.
Upper Antelope Canyon was absolutely beautiful – I’d even argue breathtaking. Like I literally had to remind myself to breathe again because I was too busy staring at the gorgeous canyon walls, mouth agape, which let in a horde of flies causing me to choke on my own spit.
And Rattlesnake Canyon – we added this onto our tour before going to Upper Antelope – was amazing! I liked that so much more than Antelope. I’ll go more into why below.
Okay, so I wouldn’t describe my recent trip to Arizona a shit fest per say, but. There were definitely some hiccups. And hiccups that I couldn’t just scare away ya know.
So, to start off, getting to and from AZ was A MISSION. Just LET ME TELL YOU.
So, we left at like 2PM meaning we drove almost all damn night and didn’t arrive until 3:30AM.
SO FUN RIGHT.
Lots of gas station stops and some casual peeing-on-the-side-of-the-road stuff too. Because we gotta keep it classy AF up in here.
And then we slept in the parking lot of Horseshoe Bend until sunrise. Ok well – a little after because we were so so damn sleepy.
* I do want to take a moment to acknowledge the native land we explored during this trip – that of the Hopi, Diné (Navajo), Southern Paiute, Ute, Hualapai, and Havasupai people. If I am incorrect please let me know! I am learning and want to acknowledge land properly and be as respectful as possible. If you’d like to see what native land you’re exploring or live on, click here.
Health problems in general suck, but having them while traveling is THE WORST. I’ve had a bad cold in Ireland, a UTI in England (and had to be on a 2 hour bus ride with no bathroom…NOT FUN, I legit was about to pee my pants in front of my whole class), and a shit ton (lol) of stomach issues (although not food poisoning, thankfully!). Sometimes, getting sick or having health issues is unavoidable, but often, very preventable! Here’s my game plan next time I travel:
What to do when you’re down to travel, but you’re an introvert? When you’re on a budget, and have to stay in hostels, but need to balance time with meeting people and recharging? When you’re easily overwhelmed by busy situations?
However, it was nice to be able to CHOOSE when I could make those friends, ya know? Like I could be like, mmmk, today it’s just gonna be me and my DSLR and RBF (resting bitch face), and the next day I could put on the RNF (resting nice face) instead and try to not look so pained in social situations. (And somehow that worked, although I’m sure I looked constipated at times).
Belgium is SUCH an underrated and unique country! I wish I’d had more time to explore – lots of beautiful scenery and lovely architecture. If you do make it over to Belgium, promise me you’ll try to put more in your itinerary than just Brussels!! (I wasn’t the bigggggest fan of Brussels – but then again, I’m not a huge city person, so…).
Admittedly, I don’t think I really went to the “off-the-beaten track” destinations in Belgium, but maybe I did compared to the average tourist? I’d love to go back and explore more of the countryside – my train rides to Dinant and Durbuy were absolutely beautiful. And I did do some unusual and unique things (read below!!).
As far as communication goes, many people speak English, but there are 3 official languages: Dutch, French, and German. However, most people speak either Dutch, French, or both, depending on the region.
And the food is GOOD. Between the chocolate, waffles, fries, pastries, and sandwiches (they have so many specific types of sandwiches there! They’re usually in long baguettes, and have a very specific yummy flavor – one of the chains is Panos, and their sandwiches are actually pretty good quality), I was happy happy happy.
You can check out the restaurant, bathrooms (of course lol but you really should look at them, even if you don’t have to go! They fancy AF – the dude’s bathroom has a freaking WATERFALL in it), shop(s), pool area (although I don’t think you can swim unless you’re actually staying at the hotel), tennis courts (they’re also PINK!), garden, and the outside of all the pretty hotels. Maybe you’ll even get lucky and someone will be leaving theirs when you walk by and you can get a glimpse inside! (I’m actually the creepiest)…
It’s that time of year when the cacti start bloomin’ – a lot of them probably have already! As an avid cacti/succulent lover myself (how original) I thought I’d put together a quick guide of the ones I saw (and loved!) when I was living in Arizona during this time 2 years ago (ahhhh why does time go by so fast…).
This is the best time of year to visit the desert, in my opinion, because it’s not toooo hot yet and of course, CACTUS BLOOMS! (Also I am not perfect and don’t know everything specifically, but I’m doing my best :))
In my humble (aka always right) opinion, Arizona is such an underrated state and vastly misunderstood. (At least it was by me?)
[Look at all those lush desert plants! And that beautiful red desert rock! And that kinda sorta desert sunset! Side notes: Desert sunsets really are some of the most beautiful! This was near Saguaro National Park]
Like, did you know that not all of Arizona is desert (which is what I originally assumed #dontassume) and that it actually SNOWS in some parts? Like what.