Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Any trip to Ireland must include some time in Dublin, the country's capital. Dublin is a thriving city, one that is easily walkable yet big enough to keep you busy for several days. There are many ways to approach Dublin, but my favorite is (of course) through the history--and, thankfully, history buffs will find plenty to see and do in Dublin once they've sampled that first pint of Guinness and gotten their first glimpse of the River Liffey.
Here are my favorite historic spots in Dublin, so brush up on your Irish history (this book is hilariously effective--and it's illustrated, so it ticks all of the major must-read boxes), strap on your walking shoes, and dive into this incredible city.
Monday, March 13, 2017
I think it should be a rule that, when you have kids, you grow at least one more arm for every kid you bring into the family.
Yes, you'd probably look ridiculous with those octopus-like appendages, but let's be honest: as a parent, you already have barf in your hair and a mysterious stain on your pants, you can't remember where you put your keys (again), and there's likely a small human clinging to some part of you. So, ridiculous basically becomes a relative term.
Until the human race figures out that whole additional arms thing, parents are left to struggle on their own terms, navigating small humans who love to pretend that they are hard of hearing. While I adore traveling with my little Cosmos Mariners, it can be stressful to juggle the holding of small hands, the pushing of suitcases, and the organizing of carry-ons.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Of all of the cities that I've visited, London remains my absolute favorite. Why? It's a combination of the deeply layered history, the vibrant and distinct neighborhoods, and the dozens of iconic sites. I've had the chance to visit five times over the last 13 years, and I find something new to discover--and love--about the city every time I go.
London was the first city I visited on our first European trip. It was my home away from home during my study abroad program in college. It was where I realized the depth of my British literature obsession...which would ultimately lead me to get my graduate degree in English.
Yes, the weather can be moody (to put it nicely) and you'll never be fully dressed without an umbrella in your bag, but if you can look past that, London can be one of the most phenomenal trips of your life.
In this article, I'm going to share what you need to know for your first trip to London. It's by no means a comprehensive list of things to see or do in the city, as that would be nearly impossible on just one trip (or even 10!). What I've offered below should give you an overlook into this fascinating place and, hopefully, whet your appetite to come back and explore even more deeply.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
So, this year, my word is balance. Two months into 2017, and I am reminded everyday as to why I chose it. From the moment I get up in the morning to the moment I go to sleep, there is a constant battle between what my infant needs, what my preschooler needs, blog stuff that needs to be written/scheduled, freelance writing stuff that needs to be done, housework that cannot be put off another day, and actually spending time with my husband.
Most of the time, I feel as if I'm trying to do everything but actually accomplishing nothing.
Monday, February 27, 2017
Now that I have a preschooler, we're really big into Pooh Bear and his friends (they're right up there with Elsa and Anna in my daughter's eyes), so I wanted to make sure that we did a meet and greet with them while she was still in her full-on Pooh Bear phase.
If you've ever been to Disneyland or Walt Disney World, you know that character meet and greets are serious business. Many characters only do meets at certain places in certain parks at particular times, so, if you're hoping to get some pictures with your favorite characters, it's worth it to do some research beforehand. If you, like my daughter, love Pooh Bear, you have two options to meet him: wait in (a very long) line with dozens and dozens of other squirmy preschoolers over in the Fantasyland section of the Magic Kingdom, or you can book a meal at the Crystal Palace.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
I've always loved taking pictures and organizing them (I even went through a major scrapbooking phase in college), but it wasn't until I bought my first DSLR that I really caught the photography bug. Nowadays, I rarely buy souvenirs from the places that we visit since my photos make for a much better way to remember trips by.
If you're interested in travel photography, know that there's definitely a learning curve: you can't just snap away with your camera mindlessly and hope that you'll get an album full of stunning photos when you get home. Travel photography requires the right equipment, techniques, and skills. It might seem overwhelming to learn at first, but with some practice, you can have your photos looking as breathtaking as your subjects are in real life.
Monday, February 20, 2017
When I'm planning an itinerary for a new trip, I try to include a driving portion whenever possible. Not only is a road trip often more time-effective than relying on transportation, it can also be cost-effective since you have more flexibility in where you're staying.
For our trip to Ireland last year, I knew we had to see Dublin--but I also wanted to explore the rest of the country as well. We didn't have a terribly long time to stay because of my husband's limited vacation days, but we managed to put together what I think is an incredible road trip that takes in the best of what Ireland has to offer!
Monday, February 6, 2017
This past month was the first full month that I was completely on my own with both kids. For the second half of November and all of December, I had at least one other adult around me 24 hours a day to help with all of the feeding, cooking, cleaning, and laundry that goes along with having tiny humans in the house. Because of that, I not only managed to keep blogging, but make some serious headway in scheduling, writing, and planning content.
Monday, January 30, 2017
I'm about to tell you something that will rock your world, so get ready:
Travel existed before 1981.
I know. It's hard to believe that people would be interested in leaving their hometowns prior to Instagram, Facebook, and Polaroid cameras, but it happened. And, given that travel blogs, Lonely Planet, the Travel Channel, and Rick Steves didn't exist a few decades ago, it's a wonder that people found themselves anywhere.
But travel they did despite the lack of infrastructure and amenities to which modern day travelers now have access. In many cases, travelers back in the day just packed their suitcases and sailed off into the horizon, hopefully to be seen again. They didn't have hotel reservations (or even a bed in many cases), a guided tour, or guaranteed meals. They either had to be very, very brave or ridiculously stupid (or maybe a little of both.)
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
The next time you're wishing for a European vacation, look past the obvious choices like Paris, London, and Rome. Instead, consider heading to Eastern Europe and spending time there. Not only will you have fewer crowds to fight (since this part of the European continent is a bit of a hidden gem for travelers), your budget will stretch further as there are bargains to be had throughout Eastern Europe.
Eastern Europe is a term used to describe a number of countries that were formally part of the Soviet Union, in other words behind the Iron Curtain. There is much heated dispute about which countries actually constitute Eastern Europe but some of the better known names are Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania and Moldova. There are many more, and together they offer a huge variety of wonderful destinations.
Monday, January 23, 2017
As someone who believes that learning is a lifelong process, I'm a huge fan of discovering new museums on my travels. Gone are the days of stuffy, off-putting museums where the main focus was keeping guests as far away as possible from the items of display. Instead, today's museums are vibrant, lively, and interactive: there's a focus on immersion and what the role of a museum is in today's society. Often, contemporary museums ask as many questions about the visitors as they do about the exhibits (thank you, postmodernism!)
I asked 31 fellow travel bloggers to share their favorite museums and received a wide array of submissions focusing on museums from across the globe. As you go through these, you'll notice what makes these museums so memorable: many are quirky, many delve into difficult subject matter (both in depth and in topic), and many are focused on topics that never would've been seen in museums 50 years ago (hello, comic books and neon lights).
Add a few of these to your next trip and see how a fantastic museum can help you shape new opinions about the world around you.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Part travelogue, part guidebook, and part pictorial, A Geek in China: Discovering the Land of Alibaba, Bullet Trains, and Dimsum is Matthew B. Christensen's love letter to this vast Asian nation.
While I love travel guides of all kinds (what's not to love about the winning combo of books + travel?!), there are some that really capture my imagination: ones with stunning pictures, personal anecdotes, and actionable advice for delving into the culture. As soon as I pulled A Geek in China out of the box, I was stunned--the full color cover is eye-catching and covered in pictures. It's completely different than the covers of Fodor's, Rick Steves, and Lonely Planet, and it pops out of my collection of travel guides with its vibrant colors.
Monday, January 9, 2017
The last stop we made in Germany before crossing the border into Luxembourg was in Trier, a mid-sized town of just over 100,000. Located on the Moselle River, Trier is a typical German town, much like dozens of others you can find in the Moselle wine region. But one thing sets Trier apart: the town claims that it has been continually inhabited since 1300 BC (give or take a few years).