As much as I love living in Ireland, sometimes I really, really crave the sun. Back in Louisiana, I used to go to Florida beaches at LEAST once a year, and it was a great way to relax and unwind. There’s just something about the sound of the waves and the sun on your skin that makes me feel so alive.
So, as many of you who follow me on Instagram *may* have guessed (based on my influx of posts), to cure the beach withdrawals I decided to take advantage of Easter break this year and book a lil getaway to SPAIN! That’s the great thing about living in Ireland – all of Europe is right at your fingertips. It has such a diverse culture and weather between all of it’s countries, and everything is just a few hours flight away. A 2-hour flight from dreary Dublin transported us to a sunny Madrid!! Sunny skies, sand, beaches, and cheap cervezas, what more could you want?!
Our trip started in Madrid and ended in Murcia, with stops in Valencia and Alicante along the way. Nothing like a little Spanish road trip to get some Vitamin D into me! And even better, since it’s still not summer yet, the beaches weren’t as busy as peak season and we were able to relax without the massive crowds. We did sightseeing in Madrid, snorkelling in Alicante, and a lot of paella-eating in Valencia. So all in all, one can say it was a SUPER successful spring break trip!
After my Iceland video, I decided to try my hand again at a little highlight video of my trip! I’m new at the whole video thing, but I’m really having fun with it. Like photos, videos are a great way to remember the highlights of your trip and have something to look back on.
So here is my short Spain video diary of my Spanish road trip last week! Can’t wait to share more details about the trip later on!
Since I’m still experimenting with video editing, let me know what you think of my Spain video diary in the comments below!
During my travels, there have been cities that were a let down. I’ve sometimes found that what I thought a place was going to be like and what it was actually like are two totally different things. Usually, being in a new place, discovering the unknown, wandering streets and getting lost, and experiencing new architecture and culture leads to a great experience. Traveling around, you’re seeing these new places through rose-colored glasses.
Well, most of time.
Other times, I take a trip somewhere and leave underwhelmed and unimpressed. There could be a lot of factors for why I end up thinking “this place just didn’t cut it”. It could’ve been because of the weather. It could’ve been who I was with. It could’ve been because I was comparing it to the amazing place I had visited right before. It could’ve been that I didn’t have enough time there. Or, it could’ve been that I hyped it up so much in my head that it was destined to not live up to my expectations.
Throughout my many travels throughout Europe over the years, I can think of a few places I visited that I’m not in any rush to go back to. The majority of places that I’ve visited have been absolutely amazing, but there are a handful of places that were just OK. Here are 5 of those European cities that were a let down for me.
Land of the Free, Home of the best fast food in the world. I LOVE living in Dublin, but oh how I miss the greasy French fries and overly-generous portions of American fast food. There’s really nothing quite like it.
And though Ireland does have a few US chains like McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC, they’re just not the same. The portion sizes are smaller, and they just taste different. (That’s probably because they’re lacking the artificial ingredients found in the States that are illegal in most other places because they aren’t meant for human consumption, BUT STILL.)
I’ve gotten used to, and mostly forgotten about, fast food places they have in the States that they don’t have here in Dublin. But then, every once in a while, I’m reminded. Someone utters the word “Popeyes” and I start foaming at the mouth. I wasn’t even a huge fast food eater back at home, but as soon as I hear magical words like “Taco Bell” uttered, I’m a goner. What’s that phrase again, “Distance Makes the Heart Go Fonder?” Well, that’s exactly what I’m suffering from.
Now, keep in mind that I’m from South Louisiana, and I realize that some of these chains aren’t everywhere in the US. But for me, these are THE best and the American chains Dublin needs, like, STAT.
Lucerne, Switzerland. I wasn’t here for very long, and yet it has such a special place in my heart. It was absolutely stunning, and where some of my favorite travel memories took place.
One of those memories was when my best friend and I rented paddle boats and went out on the beautiful Lake Lucerne. We had an afternoon to kill, because the rest of our friends had gone to Mount Pilatus.
Don’t get me wrong, I WISH I could’ve gone up to Mount Pilatus. I’ve read about it, and have heard first-hand accounts from my friends about the AMAZING views from up there. Do I regret not going because I was running low on funds? Kind of. But what started out as a way to pass the time ended up being a highlight of my trip.
I’ve been reminiscing on Iceland SO much lately. The glaciers, the volcanic landscape…it’s only been a few months since I’ve been but I’m already DYING to go back! It’s such a unique place with the most unbelievable natural beauty. There’s not really any other place like it.
When my friend Ciara and I went last September, we saw glaciers, beaches, waterfalls, and mountains. We got to snorkel in the Silfra Frissure, go glacier hiking on Solheimajokull Glacier, and take a dip in the Blue Lagoon. Such diverse landscapes and such varied activities, all in one trip!
Usually, a take a few videos when I’m traveling but I don’t really think much of it. And I certainly don’t do anything with the footage other than a few Instagram video posts. But I decided to try my had at a little bit of video editing. I love editing photos so why not try videos, too?!
So here is my short, shaky Iceland video diary with footage from my trip in September 2016.
Any video editors out there that can give me any tips, please do!
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
I’ve gotten many emails over the past few years of people who come across my blog and want to know “How did you do it?” How, at 22 years of age, did I move from South Louisiana to Dublin, Ireland? Did you do it through a program? Did you have a job? How did you afford it? Was it scary?
Well, folks, I’ll tell you how I did it. I up and moved to Dublin, with no job or place to live, because of a little something known as the Working Holiday Authorisation – an amazing yet little-known program between Ireland and citizens of The US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Hong Kong, Chile, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
The rules and requirements vary slightly from country to country. For the purpose of this post I’m focusing on the Working Holiday Authorisation offered to people from the United States.
With holiday shopping, busy work hours, and a crashing MacBook (I bought myself a shiny new laptop for Christmas, yay!), I really failed miserably posting at the end of 2016. Like, really failed. Like, I haven’t posted since late October. Whoops!
But I got to go home for the holidays and it was absolutely amazing! I didn’t get to go home last Christmas, and that was my first Christmas ever away from my family. Although I spent Christmas in London that year with friends and had a blast, in all the fun I was having I still couldn’t help thinking about how much I missed being home for the holidays.
Well, this year, I DID get to go home and it was everything I wanted and more! Even though it was a hot Christmas and New Year in Louisiana (no shock there), it was full of family time, dogs, catching up with friends, INCREDIBLE food, and an amazing trip to New Orleans!
Although I absolutely love living in Dublin, I felt myself getting sad that I had to go back after my visit home came to an end. Which is weird, because I used to dream of getting the hell out of Louisiana!
But being an expat, it’s SO easy to get homesick. Even though I’m having the absolute time of my life, I still find myself yearning for home sometimes. I really miss certain aspects from home – my family, my friends, my dog, my room, the simplicity, the amazing food – and it’s always hard to leave those things after a visit home.
Not all expats were lucky enough to go home for the holidays this year. I know there were many of you who didn’t get to be with your family on Christmas Day. And I know how hard that was. Being an expat is an amazing learning and growing experience, but it’s natural to be homesick, no matter how much fun you’re having.
As I’m fresh off the plane from Louisiana, I share many of the homesick feelings a lot of expats feel over the holidays – either from not being able to go home and missing it, or going home and realizing how much you missed it and having to leave.
I’m with you. We’re all in this together. But come on guys – we expats are amazing. I mean, we moved to another country for crying out loud! Of course it can get hard sometimes but we’re brave! We’re adventurous! That’s why we’re here!
At the beginning of last year, one of my good friends wrote me a letter and put it in an envelope that read “Open ONLY when you’re having a bad day.” It took me a while to get around to open that letter, because I wasn’t having any bad days. Life was good. I was in Dublin, living it up! But eventually, those homesick feelings that creep up periodically came back, and it was time to open the letter. It rang so true for me, and will ring true for anyone living far away from family.
I’m sorry you’re not having a good day. If you’re homesick, we love you. If it’s work problems, fuck ’em. If your studly boyfriend isn’t treating you right, go make out with his hot friend.
You’re amazing. Honestly, you’ve turned your life into something worth living – never forget who got you there. Y.O.U. You took a risk, and you’re rocking it. You’re a kick-ass friend, a bold, brilliant woman, & someone I’m proud to call my friend. Remember, we’re only ever a plane ride away.
There’s nothing you can’t handle or figure out – you’ve proven that. Only a few people have the balls to do what you’ve done, don’t forget that. Don’t let whatever is causing your bad day to break you. Be strong, because you are.
I love you, friend. Drink your worries away, get some takeaway, and get back to being the bright, lovely, charming betch you are meant to be. See you soon.
I figured those words could help anyone who’s feeling a little lonely right now. They certainly helped me.
If you ever feel lonely or homesick, just remember what you’re doing. You are living, breathing, walking, traveling, seeing, experiencing, touching, learning, and immersing yourself in an entirely different place than what you were surrounded by for most of your life. Do you know how ballsy that is? I mean come on. This expat life is a sometimes scary ride, but an exhilarating one.
I came back from my trip over a month ago with 2,000+ photos of the cool city of Reykjavik, mountains, glaciers, caves, fissures, and about 43,039 different waterfalls.
The diverse landscape was the most stunning and naturally beautiful one I’ve ever seen. I mean….REALLY cool stuff happens over there – hot water shoots up from the earth, tectonic plates shift and create a huge (and beautiful) fissure, glacial ice melts into a lagoon you can swim in, just to name a few. All this within the backdrop of moody Autumn skies, and my picture-taking-loving heart was in heaven.
I can’t wait to share in detail about my adventures there, as well as share a few tips of places you MUST be sure to check out on your visit there AND ways to travel Iceland on a budget.
But until then, feast your eyes on my favorite pictures from the trip. Iceland is STUNNING, you guys.
I know, I know. To say I’ve been AWOL from this blog is a total understatement. NEVER have I gone this long without posting! That just goes to show how insanely busy my summer has been, and how much I have to share! Since getting my visa situation sorted in April, it’s been non-stop! From road trips and rural hikes to markets and music festivals, this summer has been a whirlwind of fun and great weather and I’m only been able to squeeze in a few posts. But the chilly weather is creeping up, which means fall is approaching and the long summer days will be coming to an end soon. SO. Back to business then, shall we?
One of my favorite summer activities was actually one that could be done at any time of the year. A road trip! THE RING OF KERRY to be specific. Ever heard of it? If you’ve been to Ireland or done any research on things to do, you probably have. Along with The Giant’s Causeway and The Dingle Peninsula, it’s one of the best and most well-known scenic routes in the country – a 179km circular route through the Iveragh Penninsula in County Kerry. And what I believe to be one of the most beautiful roads in the world.
Sure, I may be a bit biased with my love for Ireland. It’s a beautiful place with amazing scenery and stunning natural landscape, but there are many other countries that this can be said about as well. But one of the things I think makes Ireland unique is it’s charming people. And during my Ring of Kerry experience, the Irish charm once again made the experience truly memorable.
…OH, but so did the fact that in one day we drove past mountains, beaches, loughs (lakes), medieval ruins, and overall STUNNING views!
You should rent a car (and get over your fear of driving on the opposite side of the road – it’s not that bad!), pull over at as many photo-op spots as your heart desires, drive off the beaten path when you can, breathe in the fresh air, make pit stops at any chocolate factory you find, and enjoy the ride…
Tourists know it as “the” place to go out and have a wild night. Locals know it as the area over-saturated with tourists and overpriced drinks. Everyone knows it as the messy headquarters of drunkenness come nightfall.
But, Temple Bar is actually much more than what both locals and tourists give it credit for. Locals tend to stay away most of the time because of the bad rep the tourists have given it. And tourists mainly go at night and dirty up the streets with trash and bodily fluids during their drunken escapades. But, it’s so much more than what it becomes come nightfall.
Since no trip to Dublin is complete without a look into Temple Bar, 99.9% of all tourists in Dublin WILL end up in there, and WILL want to see what the hype is about and why all the guidebooks always say to visit. Some may find that it’s overcrowded, overhyped, and overpriced. And it is. But there’s a also a certain magic to Temple Bar. You just have to know when and where to look for it.