Although February is a shorter month than most, I managed to squeeze in a lot in these 28 29 days.
From saying goodbye to a friend moving to Canada, to birthdays and house parties, to roommate dinners and work nights out, to moving apartments, to exploring more of Dublin and its thrift stores.. OH, and of course, for quick but fantastic little getaway to Strasbourg, France and Frankfurt, Germany.
So yeah, one could say this month was pretty dang epic.
As more people ditch the typical tours and opt for “the road less travelled”, travelers are starting to get more creative with their journeys, chasing after unique experiences rather than having industry experts dictate where they should go and what they should do. While the world’s most visited cities like London and Tokyo still make for a great vacation, we experienced travelers are finding ourselves wanting more than the generic vacation with guided walking tours and tourist activities recommended by our hotel concierge or hostel worker.
So, what’s a cool way to make memories and have some fun with your travel companions on your next trip? Play Travel Bingo.
That’s right…bingo. And I’m not talking about your grandma’s bingo, ok?
There’s an app for everything these days. As much as we hate to admit it, we are all addicted to our smartphones to some degree. One gadget has made our lives so much easier, by being a clock, a calendar, a calculator, a computer, a map, a notebook, a camera, and a phone all in one, and all confined to the palm of your hand.
Since the explosion of smartphones, hundreds and thousands of apps have been made to suit everything from basic needs to specialized hobbies. In this day and age, we can find an app for anything we need.
This has been especially useful for us avid travelers. Gone are the days of pouring over a huge map on a crowded street in Hong Kong, or frantically flipping through an English to French dictionary to try and translate a sign in Paris, or having to wander around to find a phone book to find the phone number to book a last-minute hotel in Berlin. No, our smartphones do all of that for us. And since we all have our phones with us at all times, we have access to a HUGE array of travel apps right at our fingertips.
Ah, Camden Market. Where do I even begin? Oh, I know…this is one of my favorite things to do in London (I make sure to stop by every time I’m there) and honestly I’d go as far as saying it’s the best market I’ve ever been to.
A maze of food, souvenirs, vintage, trinkets….my actual happy place. There’s something for everyone here, and you could all day wandering around the web of vendor stalls and shops.
As a host of cheap travel websites connect more people to the world, satisfying their wanderlust has never been easier. Flight comparison portals have taken people with all sorts of budgets to the various corners of the world, while hospitality exchange networks have allowed us to bridge connections between various cultures. Still, even with all these resources within our reach, there are select places around the world that keep us from fully exploring all that a country has to offer. These destinations include the likes of Oslo, Tokyo, Zurich, Miami and plenty of others which have been estimated to cost over $700 for one night’s stay – a hefty price that the normal person would struggle to afford.
But for some, such prices merely make a dent in their bank account. Others have been blessed with the luck of the Irish and either won a regional lottery like the Irish Lotto or the American PowerBall, or even ended up winning a free flight competition, though realistically most of us can only dream of luxury vacations. As a result we often have to find cheaper alternatives or travel off the beaten path to experience a paradise of our own.
However, that won’t stop us from imagining what it would like to travel to some of the most luxurious travel destinations across the world.
Ah, what I’ve been secretly dreading…2016 in Dublin.
Of course I had SO MUCH FUN ringing in the new year in Dublin, and there’s a lot of things I’m looking forward to in the next few months, but it being 2016 means I’m even closer to having to leave this wonderful life behind.
That’s right. My visa officially ends at the end of April of this year. So I’m currently trying to figure out a way to stay, and am even looking into some classes to be able to stay as a student.
But besides that semi-stressful endeavor, life here is (of course) wonderful, and January was yet another great month in the Emerald Isle.
With the leftovers of Storm Jonas making Dublin rainy and miserable, and with the temperature slowly starting to creep up again, I can’t help but reminisce on how wonderful and crisp Christmastime was here in Dublin. But of course, I can’t stop thinking about my Christmas trip to London and how much I want to go back!
I gave a bit of a spiel about my wonderful Christmas holiday in London, but I thought I’d hone in on a few highlights a little more. And one of those highlights is Winter Wonderland in Hyde park – an absolute necessity for anyone visiting London over the holidays.
With carnival rides, ice villages, Bavarian beer gardens, market stalls, and food offerings, it’s the perfect way to spend a crisp day in the capital city.
I’ve probably mentioned this many times before, but London truly is my favorite place.
I know it’s expensive…super expensive. I know it’s crowded. I know housing is ridiculous. I know that living there probably isn’t as glamorous as it’s made out to be.
But still, there’s just something about it that I just love. The history, the beauty, the parks, the accent. It’s all just perfect. And that is my honest opinion, as a tourist wearing rose-colored glasses of course.
I’ve been to London 3 times previously, but always during the summer. So this was my first time visiting not only during the winter, but during the holidays. And it’s no surprise at all that it’s just as wonderful, and even more magical, during the holidays. There just isn’t anything quite like Christmas in London.
One of my favorite things to do when traveling is taking pictures. People who travel with me know that not only am I going to have my huge Nikon DSLR around my neck, but will probably have my GoPro and iPhone in my bag as well.
This has been the biggest travel year of my whole life. Sure, I may not have been to as many different countries as some other years, but instead of just traveling around, spending a few days in each country, I’ve actually fulfilled my dream of moving to Europe. Well, Ireland (which is technically Europe but the Irish don’t consider it as such). I’ve been able to travel to some amazing places in Ireland, and used it as an easy base to travel other parts of Europe.
So, I decide to steal this idea from Lauren on Location, because it’s a great way to look back on this amazing year through one of my favorite keepsakes – pictures. I’m using her great idea to look back on 15 of my favorite pictures from the year.
Now, these won’t all be stunning landscape shots or epic GoPro pictures. But, they’re the ones that mean the most to me, and the ones that highlight the best parts of 2015 for me. So without further adieu, here are my 15 favorite photos of 2015.