In the spirit of the Brits (who start making Christmas dinner reservations in June) I’m ready for the holidays a bit early this year: I’ve made a list of unique gifts for every kind of traveler! This is the first time I’ve ever put together a holiday gift guide because, well, I’m lazy. But it was worth the effort I hope, as I believe I’ve found some true gems! Whether you are (or are looking to buy gifts for) the nester with wanderlust, the backpacker, or the overpacker, I’ve got you covered!
**SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO SEE HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT REFUGEES & BUY YOUR HOLIDAY GIFTS AT THE SAME TIME!**
Twenty miles across the English channel, I went to work everyday and spoke with teenage girls who woke up with tear gas in their eyes, police boots in their ribs. On the outskirts of the grey, suburban neighborhoods of Dunkirk and Calais, police soak donated sleeping bags and tarpaulin in tear gas concoctions, rendering them useless. Children sell their bodies so they can pay for a way to meet family across the channel. The first cases of trenchfoot since World War One are running rampant. It sounds like a dystopian reality, but it’s not, and it’s here.
I could go on explaining the police intimidation and horrific conditions that make up life for refugees in Northern France right now (and this is a good post if that’s what you want to read) – but something would be missing. The actual refugees.
What to do in Little Venice London is a good question, but the first question for most people is probably what IS Little Venice London? It took me years of living in England before I’d ever heard of Little Venice, and when I finally did I couldn’t believe that this unique area existed and me, a travel blogger, London lover, and frequenter of the city countless times, had never happened upon it! I suppose that is partly the magic of London: It is so vast and fascinating, that you can spend hours – a lifetime – exploring it and you’ll still happen upon new places to fall in love with.
It has now been, wow, over two months since Dan and I spent a weekend in Budapest. Budapest was our last city before we slowed down and spent two leisurely weeks road tripping and hiking Slovenia, and we were facing sight seeing exhaustion. It was the middle of an August heat wave and our Airbnb lacked A/C, but mostly made up for that with its espresso machine. At the time, I jotted down some impressions of Budapest, which made their way to the back of my notebook and the back of my mind. A couple months, a few countries, and seemingly a world away now, I thought I would share what Budapest is for me.
Prior to our trip to Cinque Terre, Italy, I was thrilled to see the famous coastal villages, but was expecting to go hungry as my Google searches showed that gluten free Cinque Terre options were spotty at best. I figured that there are worse things than living off gelato and limoncello…maybe my stomach wouldn’t feel so empty if I distracted myself with the colorful villages around me. WELL. After our five-day stay in Cinque Terre, I am here with an updated list for all of my gluten free traveling friends out there. This really is the ultimate guide to gluten free Cinque Terre, Italy: below you can read my restaurant recommendations village by village, as well as some general tips such as what village to stay in, traditional foods, and why Tripadvisor is full of lies and deceit 😉 I have also included a downloadable map at the bottom of the post! Enjoy and happy gluten free traveling.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME. On previous birthdays, I’ve treated y’all to some existential crisis essays about aging and why is this day so special anyway…That or a play-by-by of all the chocolate I ate. Well, this year I’m doing something a bit different! Today I turn 24…I’m officially in my mid-twenties *fast breathing* so over the last month or so I’ve devised myself a “25 by 25” list. Meaning I have one year to complete everything on this list! (Or, at least, try to). I thought this would keep me motivated in a year that’s doubtlessly going to be full of change.
Autumn has well and truly rolled around, and I’ve found myself in Dorset, recuperating from three straight months of travel, volunteering, and a rather nasty cold. I’ve been spending my days catching up on work on my computer and planning upcoming travels (!), sitting at the wooden kitchen table by the tall glass French doors. Outside, cooking apples and a rather large zucchini (or, “courgette,” I remind myself as English-English and American-English mix together in my brain) lie on the porch. The leaves are yellowed and drift off with each gust of wind. Autumn (or… “fall”… this is another funny word that my English brain and American brain argue over) always reminds me of change. It also reminds me of new beginnings, and, of course, my two year expat anniversary. What a journey it has been!
This post is the final installment (although I will continue to write about this topic in many forms – your feedback is welcome in the survey at the bottom of this post!) in my diary posts on volunteering in a refugee camp in Northern France with the Roland Levinsky Memorial scholarship. You can read the first three posts here: 1, 2, 3.
I’m sitting in the backseat of a dirt-covered truck, pressed between my 6 foot tall boyfriend and a very large Slovenian man. In the front seat, our driver (another large Slovenian man) and the passenger (yet another large Slovenian man) indistinguishably yell to each other over the loud crunch of rocks beneath tires. I stare straight ahead. To my right, the cliff edge and a sheer fall down the mountains. To my left, sharp bend after sharp bend of mountain road, the not-knowing of whether another car will be hurtling toward us at each corner. Our driver bangs the dashboard of the dusty truck with his fist, and my attention is drawn through the window. Briefly, I see a small figure whip by, at least a hundred meters above us, on a thin wire. “That’ll be you” our driver yells, this time in English. I can feel my stomach clench. It’s early morning, and we are driving up a mountain in order to throw ourselves off it. We are heading to the largest zipline park in Europe to go ziplining with Aktivni Planet, and I’m questioning my sanity.