[Hanging out at Hag’s Head at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland]
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 :))
[Lower Ribbon Falls in the Grand Canyon – another reason to hike to the bottom, instead of just checking out the rim!]
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.
Ahhhh Stockholm. To be honest, it wasn’t really on my radar of “dying-to-see” destinations like Abisko and Copenhagen were. And I kind of only went because we found cheap tickets (about $440 USD round trip from Oakland, CA to Stockholm!! Would’ve been more like $300 USD if we’d bought in advance and hadn’t insisted on picking our seats, for you wanderlusters who are considering checking it out next winter).
But I came away loving Stockholm! I’ll be honest, I liked Copenhagen a bit better, but I also feel like we didn’t get to see as much of Stockholm as we did Copenhagen. Stockholm was at the beginning and end of our trip, so at first we were too jetlagged to do much (we were there for a day and a half before heading to Abisko), and then at the end we were pretty tired from a week and a half of non-stop (cold) travel. But, I did enjoy it, and would love to see it in the summer (especially to explore the Archipelago!!!).
[The overlook from the hike up to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh]
I feel like I’m qualified to talk about this topic because I’m just going to go ahead and say I am.
Which is pretty much the reason I’m qualified to do anything! No certifications or degrees needed here. Lol but really, I’ve traveled with 3 good friends in college, random people that I’ve met while traveling solo, a man friend, an old friend from high school, my mom, etc.
But okay, so – here are the things that I feel like makes travel with other people and not strangling each other so much easier!
So the answer is a resounding YES. I could actually live in Copenhagen. And I could totally deal with the winters!
Like I actually, really could and might someday in the future. Who knows! My friend actually wants to move there now so I might just hop on board (literally) with her and make it easier. Especially because I thought I would die in the winter, but I didn’t, and it actually really wasn’t that bad, sooooo I have no excuse now!
I didn’t have to use my giant puffy jacket like I did in Stockholm, and I think it stayed in the 40’s Fahrenheit (about 4.5 Celsius). It also only rained a little bit – not sure if we just got lucky, but we had a great time! I don’t even remember being cold walking to bars at night (and trust me, I am not one of those people that stays warm from drinking).
Okay, so – WHY exactly would I want to go to Sweden in the dead of winter (with minimal daylight) and call it a “vacation”?
Well, the main reason: stupid stupid cheap tickets. Like $440 round trip cheap from San Francisco to Stockholm. Not too bad, eh?
So, we went in January, and I was real worried that the lack of light would leave us bored to tears (when I looked online, it said it would only be light out from like 10AM-1PM), but I thought it was fine! It actually ended up being light from more like 9-2ish, and I had blog stuff to work on, so it wasn’t a huge deal. Plus we just had so much fun hanging out in our hostel, and met so many cool people!
It’s also not that bad walking around in the dark though, as long as you have a head lamp. However, if you still want to see the northern lights but want longer days, go during February!