At the end of every month I like wrap up my favorite moments, posts, Instagrams, and meals while giving a behind the scenes look at some of the moments that otherwise wouldn’t make the blog.
Surprise! I’m back! After taking a two months break from blogging I’ve debated if I should continue writing or not. My life of full time travel has ended and I’m back in Louisville after four months of European adventures that seem like they happened to another person a lifetime ago.
While my trip was wonderful in so many ways, I’ve decided that I really do want to settle down now. I want a community and a steady income. I want to continue to travel, but for shorter periods of time and with friends or family. I’m currently job hunting and looking to settle down in a part of the country that is completely new to me.
I’ve thought long and hard about what to do with this blog. When I move I don’t want to feel chained to my computer or feel guilty every time I choose going out over staying in and blogging, especially when it’s not my job. Originally I thought I’d give up all together, but then I realized I still have too many stories I want to share. And, as you’ll realize when you read this post, I’ve met too many awesome people through this blog to give it up entirely!
So from now on I’ll be blogging on my own terms. I’m only going to write when I feel inspired or have something to say. I’m only going to write about the parts of my trip that warrant a story. I’m not going to feel the pressure to be active on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc. when I don’t want to. I’m turning this blog back into a hobby I love.
I’m slowly going through the thousands of photos I took this summer and beginning to shape the stories I want to tell, so until then here’s a recap of my last two months on the road.
Spain: Granada, Barcelona
England: London, Oundle, Bristol
Germany: Frankfurt, Gottingen, Hamburg, Hannover, Goslar
United States: New York, Louisville
4, 496 miles in July + 4,195 miles in August = 8,691 miles for the two months. I can’t believe I traveled less miles in the month that involved a transatlantic flight!
Eating my way around Rome
To say I was feeling burnt out when I got to Rome would be the understatement of the century. After covering a lot of ground with my sister in Spain, I just wanted to lie in bed and sleep and not walk or make plans or take pictures. Not helping this was the fact that it was nearly 100 degrees with 80% humidity when I got to Rome. I couldn’t walk about 10 steps without sweating.
Because of this I decided to take it slow and focus on my favorite thing in life: eating. I did manage to walk about 10 miles the one full day I was there but most of my trip was centered around suppli, gelato, and carbonara. No complaints here! I had a great time visiting some old favorites and trying out some new places that had been on my list for a while.
Reuniting with London
When the wheels of my Vueling flight hit pavement at Gatwick I almost burst into tears. I was so happy to be back. I spent about 6 weeks total in London reuniting with my favorite city and my friends in it. There were plenty of nights out, catch up coffee dates, birthday parties, and nights spent hanging out on the sofa eating takeaway and watching Grand Designs or 8 Out of 10 Cats.
I played paintball, went to 2 different beer festivals (one with fellow beer fanatic Edna), and ate at my favorite restaurants plus a few new ones I’d been wanting to try. I spent a lot of time walking in Richmond Park or on the South Bank, went street art hunting in Shoreditch, and ate my weight in clotted cream at more than one afternoon tea. Oh, and I exceeded my goal of having one fry up a week.
It was the best reunion with London I could’ve possibly imagined.
My 5 day Northern Germany crash course
The last week of July I paid a visit to Julika in Germany and, man, did we cover some ground! We explored her adopted hometown of Goettingen, spent two days in the harbor city of Hamburg, and explored some more of Lower Saxony with a day in Hannover and Goslar, which may just be the most picturesque place I’ve ever been!
Julika also introduced me to the wonders of German breakfast and made sure I sampled plenty of Germany’s famous beer. If her careers as a medievalist or photographer don’t work out, she definitely has a future in being a tour guide.
I was also able to meet Megan, another fellow travel blogger, for a few hours in Frankfurt before my flight which was a nice way to round out the trip.
The Southern European heatwave of death
My sister and I were sitting at the hostel in Alicante when I decided to check the weather for Granada, our next destination. I almost fainted when I saw 103 load onto the screen. For the next week, until I left for the UK, temperatures hovered around the 100 degree mark making sightseeing and sweaty and uncomfortable undertaking and sleeping without aircon almost impossible.
Yes, I am being slightly over dramatic but this heat zapped the last bit of backpacking energy I had right out of me. Arriving in London, land of the 60 degree summer, and having to put on a hoodie to combat the cool temps had me smiling in sweet relief.
Sleeping at Stansted Airport
I have a serious problem when it comes to booking flights. I don’t pay attention to flight times until after I’ve booked and then realize they leave too early for me to arrive via public transport. Since Stansted is approximately 900 miles away from Richmond (only a slight exaggeration) and a taxi would cost a billion pounds (again, only a slight exaggeration), I decided to join hundreds of others and sleep on the floor before my flight. It was cold, it was hard, I probably only got about 3 hours of sleep total, and I felt hungover the entire next day. But I did get to do a 3 am Boots shop which proves that all negatives can have a positive side.
Saying goodbye again
I’ve said it probably close to a million times on this blog, but saying goodbye is the worst part of this semi-nomadic lifestyle I have going on. I have some terrific friends in London and as I hugged each of them goodbye I had to choke back tears. Then there was the whole thing of saying goodbye to London and my routine there and all my favorite British foods. Leaving last year was hard, and saying goodbye this year was barely any easier.
Books I Read
What is the What by Dave Eggers This has been on my to-read list (and Kindle) for years and I finally got around to reading it. A semi-biographical book about a Sudanese refugee I learned about the horrors of something I feel like I should’ve already known more about.
London Eyes by Frances M. Thompson A lovely collection of short stories set in London written by a fellow blogger. Definitely pick this up if you’re coming to London as it’ll really set the mood.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson I really love YA books and this one was no exception. A nice coming of age story about a gay teen and his beautiful twin sister with some typical YA plot points, but enough of a different angle to keep you interested.
How Not to Travel the World by Lauren Juliff Another book written by a travel blogger! Lauren is a disaster prone backpacker and this book regales many of her mishaps while telling the story of her relationship. I loved that it wasn’t just a regurgitated blog posts, but an entirely new rendition of her travels with a lot of extra details.
City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran by Ramita Navai Iranian culture is fascinating to me and this book tells the stories of eight Tehranis, stories that you haven’t heard and probably wouldn’t expect to hear about people living in an oppressive regime.
I Am China by Xiaolu Guo I couldn’t put this down. It’s the story of two Chinese lovers separated due to politics told as a translator in London is translating their letters and diaries for a possible book. I’m a sucker for a good love story that has some ties to the historical or political.
September Travel Plans
For the first time since March I have absolutely no travel plans set in stone! I might head up to Michigan with my sister for Labor Day, but besides that I will be in hunkered down in Louisville job hunting, blogging, and studying Persian, my newest hobby.
What were your highlights this month? Any good plans for September? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!