This gorgeous patio came up on Pinterest today. Wouldn’t you love to just sit out there with a coffee and a good book?
This is what the end of the year looks like for a PE teacher. After a busy 2 weeks of putting on a medieval themed field day, running a 5k with a student, an trying to wrap up the school year- I’m ready for a nap. Add in finishing up my research proposal for grad school and report cards, and I am ready to switch gears to our summer school program.
Looking forward to a more relaxed schedule and bringing the students to the beach each day!
Head over there to check out my article, Interning Abroad in Switzerland: An Experience at the United Nations.
Hi everyone! Check out my article as a guest contributor over at my favorite travel fashion site, Travel Fashion Girl. It takes a look at the accessory that often causes the most stress while traveling!
This is #2 of my 20 Priceless Travel Moments from my 20s series, inspired by Huffington’s Post “20 Priceless Travel Moments Every Twentysomething Should Expereince At Least Once”. To see previous posts in this series, click here.
Priceless Travel Moment #2:
Backpacking, trekking and/or hiking to some epically hard-to-reach location.
Now I don’t really think this is something that has to stop once you aren’t a twenty-something, but it certainly is a good time to start. It is tempting to give in to just the bright lights and appeal of a city, with its discotheques (yes, they really call them that in other places) and the tourist visit passes flashed for discount prices on the street corners. But allowing yourself to get away from the hustle and bustle of cities, and travel off of the beaten path, opens up a world of new experiences and encounters.
Hiking has always been something I love to do- and I was lucky enough to grow up in close proximity to Yosemite and the Giant Sequoias and Redwood forests. Growing up my family vacations almost always consisted of camping and hiking in the foothills and mountains of Central & Northern California. Spending a few hours climbing over rocks, and getting my sneakers soaked while crossing a stream was easily the best way to spend a Saturday. One summer I spent 3 fabulous days backpacking in Yosemite with a friend’s family, covering 27 miles in isolated picturesque backcountry, finishing with hiking Half Dome (something everyone has to do at least once!) We slept under the stars every night, with the exception of a few hours one night where we decided to join the others in a tent- a good thing since we woke up to a bear poking around in our camp!
My love for hiking follows me when I travel. When I was studying abroad in Thailand, a friend from my program and I headed up to Chiang Mai for an extended weekend. We decided to do an organized two day trek through the rainforest above Chiang Mai. During the trek we traversed beautiful jungle, slept in bamboo huts, traveled down a river on a bamboo raft, and ate some delicious Thai creations (that probably also consisted of bamboo in part). Though we were with a group, I found solace in the silence and beauty as we trekked through the rainforest, admiring the canopy and the incredible variation of plant and animal life around me. When we returned to our school after the weekend, I had a renewed sense of wonder for the increasing diversity of the landscape of Thailand, quite a few aching muscles, and some really dirty clothing.
Backpacking. It’s good for the soul.
Have you read the article “20 Priceless Travel Moments Every Twenty-Something Should Experience At Least Once” from Huffington Post? Words cannot describe how much I love, and relate to this. Over the past decade I have experienced so many things as a traveler, first as a backpacker and single female traveler, as a student living abroad, and then as a couple. Travel keeps getting better and better, but there is something about those first few years when I started traveling, when I was raw to the way of the world and wandering about both literally and figuratively, as I was trying to figure out which direction my life would take.
As I read through these 20 priceless things, it made me think back to first experiences with these things, and how these moments have one by one added up to a vast collection of travel stories and treasured moments. I thought I would add my thoughts to the article and share my experiences. So today marks the first day in my 20 Priceless Travel Moments in my 20s series.
#1: Sleep 8 to 10 deep in a hostel
The summer after I graduated high school I spent 3 weeks backpacking in Europe. I hopped around from various friends’ houses in a few countries, and started staying in hostels, which would become my go-to sleep location for the next 4 years. If you haven’t stayed in one, it is hard to imagine the rows upon rows of bunk beds, sleeping with any prized possessions attached to your body, and trying to block out the sounds of everyone else, not to mention the all -night party that was likely going on downstairs in the hostel lounge. There’s always the snorer, the person who comes crashing in in the early hours before dawn, and of course the person who has had a little too much to drink and thinks everyone is their new best friend.
Thinking back on my hostel days, I remember times where I paid as little as $8 for a night’s stay, and places where I was both pleasantly surprised and absolutely mortified at what that price got me. I think of incredible conversations that I struck up with fellow travelers from around the globe, and awesome hidden gems in cities thanks to the recommendations of the same. Of course to be fair I also have to remember lugging my over-packed backpack (before I learned the art of packing light!) up the endless flights of stairs that always accompany hostels, and the time when my friend got his camera stolen while at a hostel in Rome. Lots of good memories, some not so great, but overall hostels allowed me the opportunity to visit many incredible places when I could hardly afford the train ticket to get there.
When I first started dating and therefore traveling with my husband, I remember suggesting to him that we stay in a hostel when abroad. He refused, preferring a hotel, and I remember not understanding why he didn’t see the appeal of a crowded, often messy and sometimes sketchy hostel (I even offered him a single room!). This past summer I went to Scotland and stayed with my sister-in-law in a hostel in Edinburgh. It brought me back to that time and was fun, but at the same time made me feel extremely old, as I realized I was in a different time of my life than the college students who were discussing their “Gap Year” plans or how to manage after graduation.
I may enjoy hotels more now, but I am glad I had the experience of staying in sketchy, strange and wonderful hostels in my late teens and early 20s.
After 6 months without any real time off, this weekend has been incredible. 3 days off meant I could spend the first day wasting it away staying in bed and watching 5 (yes 5) episodes of Downton Abbey. Love that show, full of wit!
After allowing myself to do nothing all day I finally got to work and started decluttering and putting stuff away… including the Christmas tree at long last! At least this year I took it down before March 1st… unlike last year! It’s amazing how easy it is to ignore a 9ft tall tree right as you walk in the door!
I put up a simple mantle after taking down the rest of the Christmas stuff. Just something to bridge the gap until spring arrives!
A little rustic, a little travel inspired. What do you think?