Paris in Pictures

I haven’t been to Paris as many times as my friends or a lot of other travel bloggers. Where others that I know go once a month or a few times a year, I’ve been twice and each time I’ve felt like my time there was way too short. While Paris can be described in carefully chosen words, the best way to get the real feel is looking through photographs. The first time I went, all the photos I took disappeared from my camera and I didn’t take many the second time I went. Until I can head there again, I’ll reminisce and show you the Paris that I fell in love with through the limited number of photos I have.

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Eiffel Tower
Shakespeare and Company.
Shakespeare and Company.
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Street art
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Lock Bridge
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Another Eiffel Tower image!
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Notre Dame

 

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5 Travel Instagrammers to Follow

Is there a better way to plan for your next travel adventure than scrolling through your Instagram feed? I didn’t think so. Need some new accounts to follow? Here are five of my favorite accounts.

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@zachspassport

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@biancasomer

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@stevebooker

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@sondertravel

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@theblondeabroad

Photos taken from the associated Instagram accounts. To see who else I love following, follow me here.

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.

21 Free Things To Do In London

Although London may be my favorite city, it’s rather expensive for someone who loved eating and shopping, but is living on a rather limited budget. However, if you’re like me, there are a numerous amount of free things to do in London. Yes, free. To help you get started planning your trip across the pond, here are 21 free things for you to do in London.

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1. Stare in awe at the bones of a T-Rex at the Natural History Museum.
2. See the Rosetta Stone for yourself at the British Museum.
3. See the Peter Pan statue at Kensington Gardens.
4. In the Winter, head to Hyde Park for the Winter Wonderland or walk through the gorgeous park on any given day.
5. Walk to the top of Primrose Hill in Regents Park.
6. Try to push the trolley through Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross.
7. Aimlessly wander around Southbank.

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8. Be entertained by the street performers in Covent Garden.
9. See the amazing exhibits at the Science Museum.
10. Watch the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
11. Strike a pose on the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing.
12. Meet the stone lions at Trafalgar Square.
13. Take an up-the-nostril selfie with Big Ben.
14. Go see the Shakespeare Globe. Trust me.
15. Take a walk through the 35,000 monuments of Brompton Cemetery.
16. Get up early on a Sunday and stroll through Columbia Flower Market.

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17. Visit God’s Own Junkyard to see vintage neon signs and movie props.
18. Walk through Shoreditch and look at all the street art–you might spot a Banksy.
19. Discover the original Beatles lyrics and the diary of Jane Austen at the British Library.
20. Try not to pee your pants when walking through the Tate Modern at pieces including Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Pollock, Warhol and so many others.
21. Head to Angel Comedy Club for their free comedy every night of the week.

To London We Go

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When I announced to my mom that we are going to London a couple months ago, she immediately cried with excitement and became nervous with fear. The furthest my mother has ever traveled is Mexico, and sometimes she complains that the flight is a little too long for her liking.

Although the day that we depart is still quite far off, I have started planning the trip abroad each day out of undying love for the city I’ll soon be stepping foot in. My love for London is unwavering. I remember at the age of seven and telling everyone I knew that I was going to be living there. I was going to be an orthodontist, and as everyone laughed, claiming no one in England would come to my practice because no one cared about their teeth there, I never stopped dreaming. I may have changed my mind about wanting to fix people’s teeth, but the dream of living in the land of double decker buses never stopped happening.

Now, I get to take my mom, who has never fully understood my fantasy, although she certainly has never tried to diminish my dream. She will get to see why I fell in love with the way of life, the fast pace, the buildings, the clothes, the people spilling out on all sides at the pub.

I told her not to have any expectations because I was the one going to deliver her the very best of London. The London that would be amazing to live in – Notting Hill, South Kensington, Marylebone – but one can dream of that life and show their mother that maybe, if I put my mind to it hard enough that, that way of life could become a possibility.

So, as I plan and make lists and figure out where to stay, I ask you this: If you were taking your mom to London for the first time and she really has no expectations, where would you take her?

Universe Thoughts

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of life being stagnant and how I want more originality, personality and beauty. Yet, does the fact that I believe life is not moving forward mean that I am the one who is standing still waiting for life to happen to me? I know I keep moving back to this topic every few months, but I can’t help feeling this way. I know most people in their early twenties feel this way, but I wish that wasn’t the case.

By the time I am 27, I want to be living abroad. With a little bit of savings. Perhaps writing and vacationing in the south of France. Perhaps I’ll have a boyfriend but get bored of him because I seem to get bored of anyone who shows me interest. Perhaps I’ll finally be at the weight I’ve wanted to be for the past three years. Back at that weight when people were “worried” and I finally felt good.

I overheard a conversation the other day where the girl was saying that she feels she could do something amazing with her life or she could mess it all up. How she doesn’t want to be the person that people comment and say she was destined for greatness if only she had set her mind towards it, but fears that might end up being the case. I couldn’t help but reacting to her words and nodding in agreement. I can’t help but think that’s exactly how I feel and what I am afraid of more than anything.

What do I want out of life?

1. Friends I don’t regret.
2. Adventures that I can write about.
3. Showing my mom different parts of the world outside of her bubble.
4. Staying connected to the world.
5. Try not to go insane.
6. Travel.
7. Travel.
8. Travel.

I guess love should be on the list and it is in a way – love I feel towards my friends, my mom and the travels that I want to experience. The love that I want to give to the world with the adventures I want to go on.

Adventures I want to have:

1. Skydiving in Fiji (Thanks for that idea, Susie.)
2. Road trip to California
3. Zip line in Costa Rica
4. Arthur’s Seat
5. Wineries in France (not Bordeaux, maybe…)
6. Clocktower in Bruges
7. Not be terrified to scuba dive

Maybe I make too many lists. Maybe I think too much about the future. More than I should. I just can’t help but compare things to other people’s lives. Others who are the same age as me and seem to be more adjusted more rounded more alive than I am. People who are more interested in drinking and hanging out with people out in the world, where I would much rather just stay inside on the weekends and watch Netflix. Is that bad? Should I move on? Should I stop thinking so much and join people in society and follow their lead?

Am I okay?

I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay.

Right? Sure.

I’ll get it figured out one day. I hope. I’ll be living in France soon and then off to London, where I hope to never leave.

Just needed to get it out in the universe. Maybe it’ll make something happen.