Three Crazy Trips I’m Planning For 2018

I’ve been pretty silent about my trips this year. I think it has to do with a little bit of burn-out surrounding the whole “travel blogger” thing. I started backpacking because I loved seeing the world and because I’m a writer who starts to lose their sanity if they aren’t writing every day—never to get attention. After traveling, and living abroad, I kind of hit a wall as far as what my motivation for travel was. Was it to get followers? Likes? Pad my portfolio?

There isn’t anything wrong with any of these things, but I needed to take a step back from the spotlight (if you will) and rediscover why I want to travel. The answer I came up with is that I want and need to travel for my own artistic inspiration and spiritual certainty.

As far as art goes, discovering the classic works of art has always been one of my number one goals with travel. I’m in love with the works of Van Gogh, Renoir, Gauguin and Monet. I also love seeing new illustrative styles and sculptures. As a writer, I’m also always looking to discover the literary backgrounds of the places I travel to. I’ve visited the hometowns of Shakespeare, Beatrix Potter, Ernest Hemingway, and Charles Dickens just to name a few. I hope to see more.

All that being said, I’ve thought long and hard about the three trips I’ll be taking this year. These are where I’ve decided. FUN FACT: None of them are on the list of “Must Visit Spots for Millenials in 2018”. I didn’t choose them because of anything like that. I picked them because they speak to my heart.

1. Quebec City, Canada

When I was nine years old I went on a road trip with my family that lasted about a month. During the road trip I had my ninth birthday and we crossed over into Quebec, Canada. For those of you who don’t know, Quebec is the French speaking portion of Canada and from the moment I heard people speaking I was in love. Obviously now I know that French-Canadian and French are very different, but as a kid I had no idea. The minute I got back to Seattle I asked my mom to enroll me in French lessons, and I’ve been studying the language ever since. I absolutely adore it. Rather than Montreal, where I went last time, I’ve decided to stay in Quebec City. I’m super excited for this adventure, and for being able to see the Chatêau Frontenac! Cities with castles are just better.

2. London, England/Paris, France

For my birthday this year I’m planning on returning to the UK. The focus of this trip will probably be literary, since I’ve seen a lot of the main attractions. I may also try to stay in a beautiful spot by the water for my birthday. This trip will likely extend to Paris, as well, since I’ve always wanted to take the train across the channel and it’s been on my bucket list.

I think one of my favorite things about revisiting spots is that you get familiar with the cities and therefore you’re willing to take more risks. You feel comfortable enough to go into random pubs on the street, or to wander off the map a little. Funny enough, I really didn’t like London the first time I went…or really even the second time. But now that I’ve been there a few times it’s starting to grow on me.

3. Arcata, California

This is my least planned out trip because it will probably fall late in the year, but I’m planning on visiting some family in northern California, and exploring the Redwood Forest! I’ve wanted to head down there for a while, but I just haven’t been able to make it for various reasons. I’m super excited to go spend some time enjoying nature and seeing one of the natural wonders of the world.

BONUS: I’m also probably going to be taking a weekend trip to Vancouver, BC but stay tuned for more details!

Hometown Adventures: Barclay Lake, WA

Washington state is one of the most beautiful states in the U.S. and I’m not just saying that because I live here. One of the things that I’m trying to get better about is taking the time to experience my beautiful home state instead of taking for granted all the amazing nature. That being said, this past weekend seemed like the perfect time to start getting out on some of the trails. Or at least that’s what we thought.

Saturday morning @seattlebred and I had an early start, grabbed some Starbucks and drove NE of where I live (Seattle). The drive was pretty quick, and we’d worn warm clothes because we’d heard that there might be snow. In retrospect,  we probably should have checked the morning before whether there was snow that had fallen. As we were driving up the mountain road we quickly realized that things went (very quickly) from, “Hey look, some snow!” to, “Holy hell, the bottom of the car is dragging on the snow.”

Needless to say, by the time we reached the top of the mountain we were completely and hopelessly S-T-U-C-K. We also didn’t have cell phone reception. We ALSO couldn’t push the car as it slid on the compacted snow/ice. 

I finally got some cell service, after us trying to dig the car out/push it for a couple of hours. So we called 911, and asked them to send Search and Rescue to save our asses. In the meantime we sat in the car for about an hour wrapped in blankets and wishing we had chains and/or a shovel.

@seattlebred getting the blankets out of the car so we don’t freeze to death

In the meantime I also took a couple of pics of my new R.Riveter bag because what else are you going to do whilst waiting for help to come? I had been so excited because this bag came the night before the hike, so just in time for some snowy shots with the bag from their winter collection.

I was a little cold and didn’t notice until afterward that the focus was on the trees in the background…oh well.
Taking product shots while I’m in the car. FUN FACT: Each piece of R.Riveter bags is stamped with the number of the lady who made it!

The crazy part of all of this is that it was so beautiful outside, all around us…but it was a little bit hard to appreciate while trying to imagine how you’re going to not only get the car somehow turned around, but then going to drive DOWN the hill in all of the snow you barely cleared coming up the hill.

When you really have to pee, but the bathroom is locked for the winter.

Luckily, a big ‘ole Toyota Tacoma came up the hill after we’d been sitting in the car for about an hour and they helped to guide not only our car, but the next five cars (which also got stuck) as they turned around and also got pointed in the direction of going back down the hill. These people were complete lifesavers and knew how to kick some serious ass in the snow-driving department. They were from Minnesota.

And yes, I stayed in the car because I have a medical condition where if I get too cold my hands/feet loose circulation and we weren’t trying to call Search and Rescue AND visit the hospital in the same day.
My best friends.

The GOOD news is that I still got some beautiful shots with my bag. I mean, with this kind of beautiful how can you NOT get glamour shots. The moral of the story is to always have chains in your car, and to check the weather before you head up on a trail. We won’t be making that mistake again. Thanks R.Riveter for being the highlight of the day.

Me and The Hobby bag from R. Riveter. Photo cred IG: @seattlebred

A Weekend In Casablanca, Morocco

In December I got the amazing opportunity to live out one of my dreams: travel to Casablanca, Morocco. It was funny because when I told my grandma that I was headed to Casablanca she gasped and said, “But Emilee! That’s just in a dream!”

Not true. Casablanca is, in fact, a very real place (although the 1940s movie she was referring to was not filmed there in any way shape or form). My trip to Casablanca took my continent count to four (Europe, N. American, Asia and now Africa!), and checked off country number 16 for me, as well. So, a lot of milestones were met.

I have a pretty strict policy not to stay in places I’m unsure about for long periods of time, so I only actually stayed in Morocco for three days. Of course, now that I know I love it I’m going to go back and stay longer, but you just never know how you’re going to vibe with a place.

It wasn’t until after I’d left Morocco that I realized that I’d completely forgot to actually write anything here about it. Bad Emilee. So, to remedy the situation, here are some of my thoughts on the whimsical city of Casablanca.

Shopping in Morocco is an absolute dream. Why? Because everyone there is brown. Like me. Which means that the color tones on all of the clothes are made for brown skin. Like mine. Which is pretty awesome because that just isn’t the case in a lot of stores where I love to shop.

Moroccan mosaics are something that I’ve always loved, even before I went there. When I lived in France the family I lived with loved this style and I miss all of the beautiful vases that we had. Also, this picture (above) is at a McDonalds. Step up, Seattle.

I feel like even the cats looked exotic. And there were A LOT of them. Cats run around like squirrels do, in Seattle. Except it’s even better…because they’re cats. I really loved seeing the relationship between having all of these felines walking the streets with people. Generally they were pretty well treated, and you could definitely tell that even though they’re wild they had human buddies who were used to seeing them on the street.

I would never make fun of someone who has English as their second language. But corporations? Eh. I saw so much clothing that had half written English phrases on it that I started taking photos. It was just hilariously bad. But then I realized that this is probably how other people feel when they come to the U.S. and see whatever “exotic” script is trending at the time. How about this? If you don’t speak the language, don’t buy clothing that has it written on it.

The Hassan II mosque was absolutely breath taking. I don’t even have words, so I’ll let you just look at the pics below.

To be perfectly honest, I could have probably continued laying in the sun for another week before even considering coming home. But I’m still happy I got a taste of what Morocco has to offer. Cheers to next time! 

Day 2: Game of Thrones Tour | Girona, Spain 

Yesterday was such a fun day! I decided to spluge on this trip by booking a Game of Thrones tour north of Bardelona, in Girona, and it was such a good way to get out of my shell and hang out with other nerds. The Medeivel town of Girona is like 2,000 years old so it’s pretty incredible in its own rite, but Season 6 of Game of Thrones was also filmed there and so there’s this whole other dimension of awesome in the city.

Asking random strangers to take pics of me. As one does.

This building was used to stage the big bang that Cersei may or may not have done.

These Arabic baths were so beautiful but the bath house was also so cold. The last thing I’d be thinking about here would have been bath time.

In addition to movie locations we also got to see some real castle ruins that were 1500 years old!

True talent is that this picture was taken by a dad who was balancing one kid on his shoulders while his five year old daughter told him how to take the picture. Shoutout to R. Riveter for my new favorite travel bag!

This is our tour guide. He didn’t actually love Game of Thrones but he loved history and architecture so that made up for it. These are the stairs blind Arya sat on.

Hanging out with my Otto bag and enjoying my golden hand. #kingslayer

This popsicle was actually gross, but the cool thing was that it turned your lips metallic gold as you ate it!

In a way im going to count this as my Thanksgiving. I got to eat tapas and traditional Catalonian food with 20 strangers next to the Mediterranean Sea!

And speaking of the sea. There she is!

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a walking tour around Barcelona so that should be fun! Then tomorrow I’m off to Morocco!

Barcelona, Spain Day 1.5

The beginning is always the hardest, and this trip is no different. I left Monday afternoon, flying to Iceland, and hopped three consecutive flights before I made it to Barcelona. I’m just going to say: 2\3 of those flights I almost missed…which has NEVER happened before. But I think my lack of preparation for this trip showed in my sluggishness to get it underway.

The reality of jet lag after traveling that long hit me like a ton of bricks last night when I fell asleep at 6pm, and didn’t wake up until 6am this morning. The good news is that this is actually what I suggest for getting over jet lag, because it beats the alternative of forcing yourself to stay up for 12 hours straight. This morning I feel so much more refreshed. And this hostel has Nutella and toast for breakfast so really things are quite good at the moment.

This trip was not planned as much as my past adventures because I bought the plane ticket back in March; during a year that would turn out to be one of my most shifting. When I bought this plane ticket all I wanted to do was get away. I felt trapped in a dead end job, I had just escaped a terrible relationship and I just wanted to get out of Seattle. That is hardly the case anymore, and I think it really is a testiment to how much your life can change in six months.

Whereas I thought this trip would be the perfect escape when I bought the tickets, I’m now feeling some of the most severe homesickness I’ve ever had on a backpacking trip. Like I said, I know that it’s always worse in the beginning and the feeling will subside as I start to explore more, but I also think it’s important to write about: travel bloggers get homesick too.

So what am I doing on this trip? Well, I currently have 10 days of madness ahead of me, with two more in Barcelona and then on to Morocco and London. I’m so excited for London I can barely contain myself so it’s going to be hard to keep focused on my other two destinations before then. I’m also super excited to add my fourth continent, Africa, to my passport during this trip!

Today, in Barcelona, I’ll be taking a day tour up to Girona which is a Medeivel town that has been used in the filming of Game of Thrones. The whole tour is Game of Thrones themed so I’m pretty happy about getting my geek on. Tomorrow I’m going to go explore museums, so overall I think hanging out in Spain will be pretty fun.
More updates to come!

What Happens In Copenhagen, Stays In Copenhagen

What happens when you throw together 5 solo travelers: an American, an Aussie, 2 Londoners and a German, in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark?

Well I’ll tell you…or, at least, I’ll mostly tell you.

In case you’re confused about the timeline of this post, the answer is no, I’m not still in Copenhagen. I’m writing this one from Belgium, because honestly it took me a couple of days to get over Copenhagen and be in a mental state to write, again.

Hmm…where to start?

I guess it all started when we took a walking tour. Walking tours are one of my favorite things to do in a city, and I’d highly suggest the “free” ones (you pay what you have/want at the ed) when you’re out and about in Europe. Generally you can just look for the umbrellas that say “Free Tour” on them.

An accidental photo that turned out to be my favorite

Three of us met from my hostel, and we walked over to the main square with one of the guides. From there everyone was split into smaller groups, and we ended up all talking as the 2.5 hours went on. How crazy is it that we would all meet? 5 people traveling completely alone, having such an awesome day together.

The cast of this story:

  • 2 Erasmus students (one studying in Spain, the other in Sweden)
  • A medical professional that swears by carrying alcohol wipes while traveling (a practice I may adopt)
  • A British government worker who is basically a superhero or something
  • Me the writer/artist

Our walking tour was great, although I’d be lying if I called the weather anything other than frigid. But it had snowed that morning, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise. On the topic of Scandinavian snow: I think everyone should experience it because it’s beautiful and serene and somehow just feels more authentic.

The Little Mermaid

Once the walking tour was over we bobbed our way around the city talking and taking tourist pictures. For lunch/dinner (not really sure which one to call it since it was only 4pm, but it was pitch black outside) we headed over to Christiania, which is a section of the city that is alternative to the country itself.

If you’ve ever been to a music festival in the U.S. (think Woodstock) then you’ll have a pretty good idea of what this section of the city is like, except that the structures are more permanent. The first thing I noticed when I was there was how much it smelled like home. And by home I mean that it smelled like weed. Gosh I love Seattle.

We grabbed food at one of the bars there, and I couldn’t help inwardly giggling about the fact that this place is so “edgy” for supporting a drug people just walk into stores and buy, at home.

Dinner was great, though, and afterwards we walked our tall blonde and handsome German student friend back to the train station. It would been brilliant to collect contact information so we could all stay in touch, but nobody’s mind thought about that until long afterwards #tragedy.

After our one goodbye it was time to get ready for the next part of our day: the pub crawl.

Let me tell you something about pub crawls. I love them so incredibly much and even though I don’t drink (I’m allergic to alcohol – no joke) I still try to go on them as often as I can.

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The pub crawl in Copenhagen was one of the most chill pub crawls of my life. Mainly because the city is so small that the whole thing was on the same block. The first three spots I probably could have lived without visiting, although I did get to taste some awesome Danish drinks (and some not so awesome ones) but the fourth and fifth spot were killer.

Normally I go home before a pub crawl makes its way to the last spot, which is usually a dance club. The main reason for this is because I have no interest in “clubbing.” BUT there is an exception for every rule, and Copenhagen was the exception. We danced until 2am. I went to sleep at 3am. I woke up for my flight at 6am. It was a rather crazy 24 hours.

I was pretty sad to leave Copenhagen after only one day, but I already know that I’ll be back. Next time, though, I’d love to go during the spring or fall, so that it isn’t quite so cold and snowy. Although, I honestly wouldn’t change one thing about my trip this year.

Copenhagen 2017 will forever stay in my heart as one of the best days of my life. I’m so glad I made it back to “the motherland”, and my Dane roots, and I cannot wait for my next adventure there. Cheers to next time, Copenhagen. Cheeky little city.

5 Things You Should Know About Hostel Bathrooms

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This morning I woke up at 5am, remembering that I forgot my washcloth in Scotland. One of the easier things to replace, I wasn’t that upset, but it got me thinking about how many different aspects there are to backpacking; one of the quirkiest being the bathrooms you’ll find. And toilet paper. Good grief, I could write an essay on how toilet paper varies around the world.

Obviously there isn’t a way to write a perfectly comprehensive guide to every bathroom in every hostel, because every single one is different, and people are different in what they think is necessary. But there are some tips I can give, based off my own experience. I wish I had a clue when I started backpacking, so think of this as your big sister giving you some tips and tricks of the trade. It should also be said that these tips pertain to women’s restrooms since obviously I haven’t had any  very much experience with men’s.

 

1.   Showers

Here’s the thing: you can will get absolutely disgusting when you backpack. There are reasons such as the fact that you’re walking around strange cities and transportation spots, which just tend to be dirtier. And then there’s the fact that you have the equivalent of a toddler on your back. Sweat happens. That being said, showers are kind of a big deal. The thing is, it’s pretty hard to pinpoint when you’re going to get a “good”one. This is something to pay attention to when you’re booking spots, but you can also be a little more prepared by remembering:

  • This is not a hotel: Bring your own soap, shampoo, wash cloth, razor (which you CAN take on planes as long as they’re disposable) etc.
  • Bring flip-flops: They weigh pretty much nothing, and can help you feel a little bit better (or a lot) if it turns out that you get a sketchy shower situation. I just like using them in general when showering in places that aren’t home.
  • Towel: I have a really awesome backpacker’s towel that dries super fast and folds up into the tiniest little square bundle. I would definitely suggest going with something like this since most hostels won’t just give you towels. If they do provide you the option, you’ll usually pay a small fee for “renting” one. Obviously there are exceptions (such as the hostel I’m in right now, actually) but it’s better to just save the rent fee because it really does add up.


2. Toilets

First off, make sure that you understand what “toilets” means when you’re booking. In the U.S. a restroom usually has a toilet and shower, but in a lot of European countries the rooms are separate. In fact, sometimes (like in France) the “toilet” is actually outside the building. Or, if you’re in India, it might just be a hole in the ground.

The point is: know your country and do a little research before assuming what will be available to you. I also always travel with a mini pack of seat protectors (not much use while squatting in India) and a mini roll of toilet paper. You should be able to find both pretty easily at a local drug store or outdoor store like REI.


3. What You Should Bring:

I’m a lover of lists, so I thought I would let you know what I actually bring with ME, when I’m traveling (in regards to toiletries):

  • Shampoo
  • Razor
  • Leave-In Conditioner (because my hair gets really matted if I don’t use it #curlyhairproblems)
  • Washcloth
  • Soap bar
  • Shaving Cream (I bring it, and then if my pack gets too heavy, I throw it out and use soap.)
  • Mini TP
  • Seat Covers Mini Pack (2)
  • Easy Dry Towel
  • Makeup
  • Makeup Wipes
  • Mini Pack of Lysol Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Lotion
  • Flip-flops
  • Ziplock bags (if things are still wet when I leave somewhere these come in handy)


4. Shared vs. En Suite

What type of a bathroom you have, in a hostel, can be a game changer. You might be sharing one with 40 other people (usually there are multiple toilet and/or shower stalls in this type) or you might be sharing with just the people in your room (en suite). Or, if you have a private room, you might have your own (don’t assume this, some solo rooms still share).

Whichever type you have, make sure you’re aware of your surroundings. If you get a room where you’re sharing with a lot of other people, it’s probably going to be a good idea for you to either wake up before everyone else, or take a shower mid-afternoon/evening. The busiest time I’ve found is right around 9am-10am. This is probably because most check-out times are around 10am and people don’t usually wake up early after partying all night. I usually shoot for 6am or 7am and I have the place to myself.

If you’re in an ensuite bathroom you should also pay attention to how much time you’re spending in there. I’d say 15 minutes should be the tops. Most people can hold it for 15 minutes, but if you’re being a 45 minute diva you’ll probably make some enemies real quick.


5. Leave It Better Than It Was

So here’s the deal: Unless you’re in your own room (and even then, sometimes), you’re going to be sharing with a lot of people. These are community spaces. Hostel workers are not your servants. Regardless of whether you’re in your own room or if you’re sharing with 40 other people, pick up after yourself. Whatever you do, don’t leave your stuff, or traces of yourself in bathrooms (you get what I mean) when you’re not in there. Take it back with you or throw it in the bin. Nobody likes a mess, and the hostel community is about being respectful of your surroundings.

 

Like I said, everybody and every hostel is different. What are your funny/horror bathroom stories. Or better yet, what do you pack so you’re prepared for any kind of toilet type? Let me know in the comment section, below!

I Want To Ride My Bicycle: Copenhagen, Denmark Day 1

I’ve probably heard more rap music in the last three hours than I have in the last 3 years. I’ve arrived at one of my most anticipated places on my trip and it’s already proving to be a pertty awesome stop: Copenhagen, Denmark.
A fun fact about me: I’m 1/8 Dane. Yep, it’s true. Whether you think I look it or not, my great-grandpa came straight off the boat, and to the American shores (eventually bringing his family to the beauiful Pacific Northwest). I’ve been on a quest for a few years, now, to visit all the countries that I’m from, ethnically, and I’m officially at 7/8. My last stop will be Norway, but I won’t be going there this trip.

Why?

Well, because today’s sunset happened at 3pm, and if I go any farther north I might just end up stumbling around in the dark the entirety of the day, which is not how I want to remember Norway. That being said, I’m pretty happy with how lively Copenhagen seems, already. Not that I’ve ventured that far from my hostel. But there’s a reason for that. My hostel is pretty much already the “it” spot in this part of town. Like, if I was looking for a cool bar or coffee shop to hangout in, I would end up here.

Luckily, I’m already booked. My guess is that this hostel started off as some kind of hotel that was rennovated into the hostel that it is, today. The room arrangement and feel is exactly the same as I would expect from a hotel, except that it has hostel prices…and you’re sharing the room with other people. It’s pretty nice to have a bathroom in your room, though vs sharing with 30 girls.

I will say, though, that this hostel is the most expensive stop during my travels. There’s a couple reasons for this. First off it’s because I’m here near a weekend, which obviously is more expensive no matter where you are. Second because I’m in Denmark, which is notoriously expensive. Personally, I plan on finding every not expensive things to do in the city, but since I’m only here for 2 days, it shouldn’t be too hard to keep things simple.

In other news, it was a bit sad to leave Edinburgh behind today, not going to lie. But it was also pretty exciting to come to Copenhagen. As I said, my family lineage is from Denmark, so I love being back in another place I can claim heritage with. Also Vikings.

Not going to lie, the first thing I do tomorrow will be to hit up the national museum and geek over some Viking artifacts. Not just because I’m obsessed with the show, either. I was raised being told, “You’re descended from Vikings,” so in a way it’s like visiting family. Viking blood runs in my veins.

After this stop, I’ll be going to Brussels, which is a slight detour from my original plans. Budapest has been scratched off the itinerary, for various reasons, so I’ll be hitting up Bruges, Brussels and Paris instead. I’m pretty okay with the change in plans. As I’ve said before I think it’s really important to follow your gut when it comes to travel, and to be flexible, and this trip is no different. In fact this is the second time I’ve booked a plane ticket to Copenhagen. The first time I ended up missing the flight in favor of staying an extra week in Ireland. I do not, and would never, regret that decision.

If you guys have any cool shops or restaurant recommendations, don’t be shy to give a shout-out in the comment section, below! I’ll be here for the next couple days and would love to try them out!

Unicorn Horns and Dinosaur Tales: Adventures in Edinburgh, Scotland

In the land of unicorns, I needed a miracle. Two days ago I flew into Scotland and it has been such a relaxing and rejeuvenating time here. The first time I came to Edinburgh everything was kind of a whirlwind, so this time I switched things up to give it one more chance; different travel situation, different hostel, different part of town. I’m so glad I did because everything has been amazing.
To start things off, my hostel literally looks like I’m staying in 221B Baker Street, which of course makes me very happy. The carpet is gloriously red pepper red with beautifullly intricate floral wallpaper and red velvet curtains to the sides of each room’s windows. Every time I go up or down stairs there’s just a sort of magic that happens as I walk up the original (stunningly beautiful) spiral staircases. This hostel was advertised as “not a party hostel”and I’m so happy I jumped on that boat asap. The reception closes at 10pm. The common room closes at 10pm. And pretty much all of the lights on our residental street are out by 10pm.

This means that getting a goodnight’s rest is a lot easier. Although I’ve been fighting jet-lag more this trip than I usually do. This morning was the first “normal night of sleep.” And that means I went to bed at  9pm and woke up at 3:30am. Solid.

But I do feel much better, today. When I first flew into Edinburgh I checked into my hostel and then pretty much immediately went to  bed for 10 hours. It was a riveting day. By the time I woke up, it was 10pm and the entire world had shut down, so I spent some time online, then went back to sleep.

Yesterday was much more eventful, and brings me back to my need for a miracle.

The morning that I left Dublin I found out that my phone had stopped charging, but after trying a different cord it finally started. Which left me with a problem. How was I supposed to charge my phone? The obvious answer was that I wasn’t going to be able to, since I couldn’t take the working cord with me. So when I got to Edinburgh I bought a new one, thinking my problems were solved. Why are problems never easily solved, while traveling?

The cord didn’t work.

And since my phone is not only a communicative device, but something I use for music and photos while traveling, I was pretty upset. So I just left it plugged in the wall while I pouted, praying for a miracle (aka PLEASE CHARGE!). After a couple of minutes I saw that the battery had raised 4%. But there wasn’t a charging symbol on the phone. Weird. I checked back a while later and it had gone up a couple more – cool! Relief washed over me, but when I checked back an hour later it had only gone up 1%. Yeah, 1.

The moral of this story is be more specific in what you wish for. I got my miracle, my phone is charging, but at  rate of 1- 5% per hour. Yep. This is real life. In context, my phone is almost 4 years old and so it was time for a new one, but I was hoping to make it through this trip before shelling out for one. The phone had other plans.

Other than the phone crisis of 2017, yesterday was a lovely day. Scotland has been completely sunny (if windy) since I’ve been here and it has been glorious. Snow is on the forecast, but I’m hoping it won’t be enough to delay my flight out to Copenhagen tomorrow.

Yesterday I continued a project I started in Dublin, where I meet someone for coffee/tea in every city I go to. This has proven (already!) to make this trip amazingly more enjoyable and I definitely plan on writing up a blog post on the amazing women I’ve met. I already feel so inspired by them and I know you will, too!

Pre my tea session I got terrifically lost trying to find a rather obvious statue of Sherlock Holmes. I’m not going to play coy here, I literally walked right past it. And while I can probably partially blame that on the jet-lag I think it’s also safe to say that I “saw but did not observe” my surroundings.

I did finally find the statue, after stopping in for a cup of tea at a literal hole in the wall coffee shop, and it was such a great feeling of accomplishment. If I had had mortime I would have loved to stop in at the Conan Doyle pub across the street, as well. I would also like to note how much I love that I can just order “a cup of tea” and everyone knows what I want, here. No fusions, no ice. Just a cup of tea (meaning black tea for those of you who are wondering what on earth I’m spouting on about).

Post my meeting with a lovely fellow traveller I stopped in at the National Museum of Scotland, which is just as impressive as it sounds. Good grief. I only had an hour and a half to go through, but I have a feeling I could have easily spent days in there and still have not fully seen the whole thing. My favorite parts that I did see, however, were the exhibits on the history of Scotland (which was basically just me fangirling over historical events that happen in Outlaner), the fashion exhibits (because I love clothes and I love stitchwork more than anything) and the natural history part of the museum, which was filled with animals that were stuffed and a t-rex skeleton that reminded me of Night at the Museum. Also it was absolutely free to visit, which is a trend that makes me extremely in love with Europe and extremely dissatified with American museums. I just don’t think people should have to pay an arm and a leg to learn about the history of their country, or art. End of rant.

I’m really lucky, this trip, because I’m staying on the other side of what’s called “The Meadows” (#creative) which is exactly what it sounds like, but is also the most serene thing ever. I love seeing miles of green every time I walk back to my hostel, and I love that there are acres of green between me and the tourist bustle of where I was staying last time. All in all I’ve very happy to be staying where I am.
Today I’m taking an adventure up to The Highlands of Scotland, which is probably going to melt my heart, I’ll be so in love with everything. They’re not for everyone, but I absolutely love bus tours around countries. With a good book and an insatiable curiousity for history, they’re one of my favorite things to do.

Have YOU been to Edinburgh (or Scotland)? I’d love to hear any fun stories or things you saw that made you love (or hate) the place. Comment below and share your story! (Like really, I wanna hear all about it.)

What I Pack for a Two Week Trip (Winter)

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Something I love about backpacking is there is no “right” way to do it. You do what works for you. You use the pack that works for you. You go where yuo want to go, and you pack what you want to pack. This blog is definitely not guide of how to be successful at backpacking, in the strict sense of the word. All I can do is tell you about what has made me successful, in my travels. That being said, I thought I would let you all in on what I’m traveling with. The key to packing successfully, when it comes to backpacking, is to remember 3 rules:

1. There are needs and then there are wants. Go with the needs.

2. Going monocromatic means creating more diversity in your outfits (really!).

3. Things seem much more disposable when every pound is strapped to your back for days.

Once again this is not the “how to guide” for success. But here’s what I have in my pack on this trip, so you can have an idea of what I bring when I go on a two week long backpacking trip.


Clothing: 

1 Puffer Vest

7 Pairs of Underwear: I usually pack half the amount of the number of days I’ll be gone…but obviously that’s for trips 2 weeks and less.

Two Tank Tops

2 Bras

3 Pairs of Wool Socks

5 Sweaters

1 Hoodie

1 Pair of Pajama Bottoms

2 Pairs of jeans

1 Dress

1 Pair of Insulated Tights

1 Rain Jacket

1 Wool Wrap around Poncho: So many uses! From being cold on the plane, to needing an extra layer over your bed to having  a great way to change up your outfits.

1 Scarf: Originally I packed 2 but I’d rather buy a new one as a souvenir and onlybring one on the trip.

Earmuffs: It’s supposed to be 17 degrees in one of the cities I’m visiting.

1 Rain Jacket

1 Puffer Jacket

1 Pair of flip-flops: For shower/easy access.
1 Pair of TOMS boots


Accessories: 

Phone

Umbrella

Camera

NeckPillow

Canvas Bag: These fold up tiny, but can be used for groceries and as a purse, when you don’t want to trek around carrying your whole pack.

Book: I know this isn’t exactly sensible for weight reasons, butI really like having something that’s not dependant on wifi or battery life. There’s also always the option of leaving it in a hostel, if you finish it on the trip

Rain cover for my pack

Eye Mask: Because there’s nothing like getting awoken at 4am by your hostel roommate.

 

Toiletries: 

Makeup/ makeup wipes

Mini conditioner, face wash

Earplugs

All the Chapstick

2 Tea bags

Sunglasses

Hand Warmers

Mini deoderant, toothpaste, toothbrush

Travel size laundry detergent (dry)

Matches/First Aid Kit

Whistle and Grapling Hook

Mini Case of Advil

Disposable razor, nail clippers, tweezers

Washcloth

Travel Towel

 

Electronics: 

Adapters for each country

Tablet

Keyboard: I have a keyboard that connects via bluetooth to my tablet. It’s super light, hot pink and my favorite thing ever.

Charging cords for everything…and I mean everything

Extra batteries

Mini flashlight

 

What are some things that you love to travel with? Comment below with your “must haves”!