Dear May

Dear May,

Well, we’re well into June and I don’t really want to write to you. Writing to you means that I have been back in the States for more than a month and I’m back into the same old life I was in before I left. I’m back to the same old routine, the same Sunday mornings, the same 9-5 job, the same days that I told myself I never wanted to have again.

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It’s not as if this is a bad life, I’d never say that. It just can be a lonely one. A boring one. One that I don’t even have to think of as I go through the same motions I’ve always gone through. Rinse, recycle, repeat.

I read a quote, May, that said something that I’ve been feeling quite strongly: “I miss being a tourist in my own life.” I miss exploring the unknown. I miss being in a country where I don’t speak the language well. I miss waking up not sure as to what I’m going to do that day. I miss city life. I miss getting on a new metro/tube/subway and trying to figure out where to go when I get off. I miss interesting people. I miss the styles of strangers and wondering where they picked up their Stan Smiths.

I won’t say that being back home is all bad. I missed the easiness of this life. The way I can hop into my car and go wherever I want and not rely on public transport. The way I can get any type of food I’d ever want—including all sorts of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. But that doesn’t cancel out the longing I feel for a country that isn’t mine. It doesn’t cancel out the loneliness I feel when most of my friends are awake when I’m asleep, or asleep when I’m awake.

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May, life is strange and wonderful and lonely and exciting and frustrating and so routine it makes me want to hop on the next plane and never come back. Not until I find something that makes me feel alive again. We’ll see when that happens.

I’ll see you next year.

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Un-lame Tours to Take in Ireland

Now, I know what you’re thinking–why would I take a tour? I’d rather just tour by myself. I get it. I’m the same way. Tours are usually ridiculously expensive, leave too early, are too long and you’re on a bus for six hours out of eight. However, there are a few tours you can take that aren’t so lame and tiring. I found while in Ireland, it’s nice to have someone else drive and figure out all the plans for the day rather than you. And guess what, there are a number of tours that are actually, quite fun.

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MacCoole Tours

If you’re staying in Dublin and want to see the Cliffs of Moher (and some extra spots in Ireland!), MacCoole Tours is a blast. You leave Dublin around 7:30am (I know what I said before about early starts!), but you can sleep on the two hour drive to Galway. When you get to the bus station in Galway, I recommend heading to the coffee shop, Badger and Dodo, across the road for a nice coffee before the bus departs for the day. On the tour, you’ll get to explore a 300 year old family farm, a fully guided mountain walk in a UNESCO geopark, a two-hour visit to the Cliffs of Moher, and free time around Galway city.

My Ireland Tour

Voted one of the best tours to take in Ireland, My Ireland Tour has a number of tours that you can take. The tour I recommend? Iconic Scenes of Ireland Tour. It’s a 10 day tour of the best hot spots in Ireland with only 26 people allowed per tour. Travel to Dublin, Galway, Killarney, The Ring of Kerry and Cork. Meals, hotels, and transport is all included in the price which is quite a steal, if you ask me.

Paddywagon Tours

The people who run Paddywagon are a dream. They have one day tours, weekly tours, and even a Christmas tour–because who wouldn’t want that? The daily tours are extremely reasonable and the tour guides are always a blast.  I’ll be hopping on their bus in a few short months to adventure around Wicklow and Kilkenny (P.S. I Love You anyone?) and I cannot wait.

What are some of your favorite tours to take while abroad?

A Mini Guide to Nice, France

Nice is one of those places that doesn’t quite feel real. Walking through it’s crowded streets, it feels as if you’re in a movie set waiting for someone to call out “action!” and Brad Pitt will walk in front of you chasing after another beautiful woman. With its beautiful beaches, Southern French charm and many gelato stands, Nice is one that I can’t wait to go back to over and over again.

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Where to stay

Couchsurf (free)–This is what I did while in Nice. I stayed at Antoine’s little flat in Vieux Ville, where we watched Hitchcock films and ate our weight in pasta.

Hostel Meyerbeer Beach ($)–Great location, lovely staff and you will meet amazing people from all over the world.

Hyatt Regency ($$)–I love this hotel. It’s beautiful and if you ask nicely (and if they’re not fully booked!), you can upgrade to a room with a spectacular view of the sea.

What to do

Musée Matisse (free)–It’s a gorgeous house that is chock-full of paintings by Henri Matisse. If you’re staying in the old city, I recommend taking the bus to the museum and exploring the area for the afternoon. It’s quite beautiful.

Parc du Château (free)–Hands down the best views in Nice. Get your climbing shoes on because you’re going to be walking a lot to get to the top. I mean, there’s an elevator but what’s the fun in that? I don’t recommend wearing a backpack that weighs 15 pounds though. You’ll regret it. Trust me.

Explore Vieux Ville (free)–Walk around the small streets and explore the markets, the waterfalls, statues, architecture, and all the in-between bits. The Old City is so incredibly breathtaking. Grab a raspberry gelato and get lost.

Promenade des Anglais (free)–With the beach to your right and the Old City to your left, the Promenade des Anglais is the perfect end to your night in Nice. Skateboarders, tourists, and regulars fill the strip with their conversations, laughs, and genuine intrigue. To me, this is the best place for people watching.

Where to eat

Olive et Artichaut ($$)–You’ll need a reservation because this place is busy…always. The food is good, the desserts are delicious, and the drinks are even better.

Fenocchio ($)–Okay, want delicious gelato? You have to go here. Fenocchio has been in business since 1966 and there is a reason for it. My recommendation? Chocolat avec lavande. YUM.