Lake Bled, Slovenia

5 Ways My Gap Year Changed How I Travel

On the 26th August, an anniversary passed quietly by – three years since I stepped off the final flight of my seven-month trip around the world. In those seven months I visited eight countries, stayed in countless hostels and spent more money than I wish to share, and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Aside from being a whole lot of fun, it was a massive learning curve for me in terms of tackling new and extremely different cultures, learning to live on a shoestring and adapting to a whole new way of travelling. Here are a few of the ways my gap year changed how I travel for good… Continue reading

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Places I Can’t Wait to Revisit

As a rule I don’t like to go back to the same places when I travel – my reasoning is that there are so many amazing things to see and do in the world, revisiting places I’ve already been to is a waste of my limited money and annual leave. But sometimes I go to a place and know that I’ll have to come back one day, whether it’s to see different parts of a country, have an experience I missed the first time around, or just to dip back into a culture that I loved so much. So today I want to talk about all the places I know I’ll go back to someday, and am already excited to revisit. Continue reading

View of Lake Bled from Ojstrica , Slovenia

How to Get the Most Out of Lake Bled

It’s been a while but I finally got around to compiling my second post about my trip to Slovenia in June (so many photos, so little time). After a couple of days in Ljubljana I took the bus to Bled, which I soon found I had mixed feelings about. The lake is breathtakingly beautiful and that is an indisputable fact, but the town is pretty touristy and the number of loud 19-year old backpackers around did start to get to me whenever I was in the town.

The trick is to zone out all the touristy rubbish and find the quiet spots it hasn’t quite reached yet. The real magic of Lake Bled is in the roads less travelled, the understated restaurants and the footpaths you’re not sure anyone else has found yet, and I want to share my tips for discovering them. Continue reading

View of Ljubljana, Slovenia

A Love Letter to Ljubljana

Those who know me know that I’m not a romantic person. I’m not good at going out on a limb with my feelings and tend to inch slowly into relationships, cautiously dipping a toe into the water before I dive in. I view the idea of love at first sight with an overwhelming sense of cynicism; while some couples claim they knew they were meant to be from the moment they met, that instant, instinctive attraction is something I’ve never experienced and don’t expect I ever will. It’s just not in my nature.

But then last week I arrived in Ljubljana and was reminded that this isn’t completely true. As soon as I stepped out of my taxi and made my way through the cobbled streets to my hostel, a familiar feeling of calm contentment settled in my stomach. It was the elusive but unmistakable sensation of belonging, of arriving in a place and knowing in your bones that it’s a match made in heaven. I might not fall fast for people, but places can seduce me in no time at all. Continue reading

Essential Sites I Used to Book my Trip to Slovenia

So if you follow me on Twitter or even *gasp* know me ‘IRL’, you’ll know that I’m finding it hard to shut up about my holiday to Slovenia that I’m jetting off on this Saturday. I’m so excited because it’s somewhere I’ve been dreaming of going for a couple of years now, but a big part of my excitement process if the actual planning of the trip.

I’ve always known that package holidays are not for me, and one of the main reasons is that I genuinely enjoy putting the trip together myself. Booking flights, finding hotels, researching where to go and how to get there – these things are all part of the holiday experience for me and really help build my anticipation! As I’ve never been to Slovenia and am travelling alone with a very limited timescale this 1-week trip has required quite a lot of forward planning, and these are the sites I’ve used to help me arrange my precious 7 days. Continue reading

Zadar bell tower view

Why I’m Going On Holiday Alone

My next holiday is a fairly monumental one for me – for the first time in my life I’m going away by myself, winging it alone for a whole week. I’ve been wanting to take the solo holiday plunge for a while now – I even picked a destination and started considering dates – but I think in the back of my mind I was always doubting my own conviction, worried that in the end I’d wimp out, find a reason why it wasn’t possible and promise to try again next year. So I felt hugely proud of myself when I booked my flights to Slovenia a few weeks ago, on a non-refundable basis. No going back now.

As expected, several people have expressed concern, surprise or even confusion about my decision to go on holiday by myself. The worries for my safety expressed by my grandparents I accept as their duty, but more irritating are the assumptions that this isn’t a choice – that I’m being forced to travel solo due to a lack of other options. So like many before me, I’m setting the record straight about why I want to try going on holiday alone. Continue reading

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Underwater Exploring in Belize

For the second half of our Central America holiday, my friends and I headed to the islands of Belize for some well deserved relaxation time after our action-packed week in Guatemala. Our plan was to take a boat from Belize City and spend a couple of days each on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, sunbathing, snorkelling and consuming our weight in Caribbean food and rum. Sounds like heaven right? It was. Continue reading

Cerro de la Cruz viewpoint, Antigua, Guatemala

How to Spend a Week in Guatemala

It’s been 10 days since I got back from my whirlwind 2-week holiday around Guatemala and Belize, but in some ways it already seems like a lifetime ago. Sitting here now in my flat still half in my office clothes, it seems hard to believe that this time 2 weeks ago I was sunning myself on a boat in the Caribbean Sea, jumping off the side to swim next to turtles and snorkel on a reef…I’m going to stop before I start sobbing into my duvet.

Anyway, this post documents the first half of my first Central American adventure, plotting my route around the highlights of Guatemala. There are Mayan ruins and volcanoes, ancient cities and the world’s most beautiful lake…but I won’t ruin the stories just yet. Everyone hates a spoiler. Continue reading

Me climbing Pacaya volcano, Guatemala

Fighting the Holiday Blues

If you happen to have been stalking me on Twitter or Instagram over the past couple of weeks, you’ll now that I’ve been on an amazing 2-week adventure around Guatemala and Belize, and that I’m now back in dreary old England. Of course a holiday just isn’t complete without the holiday blues, and even though work has been ok and the weather is definitely less chilly than when I left, I’m struggling. Part recovering from a 22-hour journey back to Leeds, part struggling to come to terms with the fact that the trip is over, part resenting my alarm clock…you get the picture. For me, the key to getting through holiday blues is focusing on the good parts about being at home, so here are a few of the things that have been helping me readjust to normal life. Continue reading

Great Wall of China

The Three-Month Itch

I have a theory, and I call it the 3-month itch. No, it’s not a relationship fad or a dodgy STD, it’s an itch of the professional kind, and it comes, predictably, about 4 times a year. My 3-month itch refers to my strong belief that 3 months is the maximum length of time any sane person can spend consistently attending their full-time 5 days a week job without feeling the need to take a break.

Admittedly I base this theory mainly on my own experience. I enjoy my job but I definitely go through peaks and troughs with it – some days I love it, some days it drives me crazy, and every now and then it feels so mundane I can barely even motivate my brain to complete simple tasks. But at some point last year it dawned on me that, while the real highs and lows are usually motivated by something specific in my work environment, the smaller niggles of dissatisfaction can often be put down to the fact that I just need a bit of time away from my desk. More than the time it takes to go out for a sandwich and a coffee.

Zadar bell tower view Continue reading