2017 in Travel

Wednesday, 27 December 2017
2017 has been a really weird year. I knew that it would be a pretty busy one from the get-go but everything hit me a little harder than I expected. But one thing that really stands out to me is the amount of travelling I've done this year. Moving to the US definitely helped make a lot of this travel achievable but I got a pretty decent chunk of Europe covered too. Last year I wrote a blog post where I looked back at 2016 in travel and I've decided to do the same again this year as it's a nice way to look back and reminisce. I visited 14 cities across 5 countries in 2017 which is pretty spectacular.

Inverness and the Isle of Skye, Scotland
My first trip of the year was a quick road trip up north to Inverness and the Isle of Skye. I loved Inverness and would really like to see some more of it. And Skye is just as wonderful as everyone says it is. These two places are excellent for anyone interested in seeing more of the beauty of Scotland.
Blog Post: Inverness Travel Diary


Travel Diary: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Wednesday, 20 December 2017
A few weeks ago I took a road trip with my friends. We drove about 7-8 hours from Connecticut to Virginia for a weekend of nature, hiking and relaxing. After hearing people walk about how amazing Shenandoah National Park was, we wanted to visit for ourselves and found an Air BnB. Our drive down was pretty relaxed. We left around lunch time and made it to the cabin around 9pm after stopping in Maryland for a Five Guys and a Walmart run. Our route also took us through West Virginia so we sang a lot of John Denver. We explored our cabin (which has some really creepy drawings) and caught a relatively early night ready for the next morning. 

We were about an hours drive away from Shenandoah National Park which was where we spent the day. There's one long road through the park called Skyline Drive and we drove up from the bottom stopping at various viewing spots along the way to take in the classic Blue Ridge mountain views. It was a pretty hazy day which really added to the ambience of the place. 



Sunday, 17 December 2017
When I was eleven, I joined my school's Amnesty International group. I spent hours writing letters and sending them across the globe in an attempt to free prisoners of conscience. I argued with classmates over whether the death penalty was moral. I took books out of the library about human rights injustices and spent hours pouring over them, learning what I could about Gandi, Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass. 

The list goes on and on. 

I believed that I would grow up and study philosophy. And spend my university days in study groups debating ethics and morals. (I think what I perceived to be philosophy is actually closer to sociology but I didn't even know that was a thing). I was strong-willed, loud-mouthed and fiercely passionate. 

And well, maybe like all young teenagers, I was also incredibly naive. 


5 Mistakes To Avoid When Visiting Edinburgh (From a Local)

Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Do you ever travel somewhere and afterwards think 'I had a great time but I wish I hadn't done x, y and z'? Sometimes I feel that way and it got me thinking about the sort of mistakes that people would make in Edinburgh. Having lived there for a few years and being raised 20 miles away, I feel like I'm in a pretty good place to give some advice on mistakes that tourists often make that can easily be avoided. So whether you're planning a trip or just like reading travel fails... here we go! 

1. Getting the tram to and from Edinburgh Airport.
Edinburgh's trams opened a few years ago and haven't been met with much happiness from the general public because a) they were expensive and b) the routes appeal to tourists more than they do residents of the city. The trip to the airport on the tram is slightly more expensive than the bus (only £1 but ok) and the journey is the same time. But the buses run 24/7 whereas the trams run only roughly between 6am and 11pm which may not be the best for those early morning/late night travellers. I've heard of people buying a return trip for the trams and then realising that they need to get back to the airport when the trams aren't running and then having to buy another ticket for the bus anyway. 


Sunday Spiel #3

Sunday, 10 December 2017
I'm not going to lie, the last few weeks have been really difficult for me. Social media is a funny thing because whilst it may look like I'm having a fantastic time, I'm probably the lowest I've ever been in my life. There are few reasons for this but I don't want to get into that on social media. But I was at the point where I was considering returning to Scotland. For now, I'm sticking it out and trying to keep on going so I think it's important to focus on the positives. So I thought I'd do another Sunday Spiel where I talk about 10 things that I've been enjoying recently/things that have made me happy.

1. Knowing I'm going home for Christmas soon.
Two weeks today I'll be arriving at Edinburgh airport to spend 2 weeks back at home in Scotland and I cannot wait. Not only will it be fantastic to get to spend time with my family, my parents got two puppies after I left for the states and I'll be meeting them too. I can't wait! Hopefully, I'll make it into Edinburgh a few times too and get a refresher of my favourite city in the world. New York has nothing on Edinburgh's charm - sorry not sorry.


November Reading Wrap Up

Sunday, 3 December 2017
November hasn't been the busiest reading month for me. I think this is mainly because the first book I read was almost 600 pages and quite slow paced, so it took me a while to get through it. I brought my Kindle with me to America and to be honest I haven't used it at all so I'm on a mission to try and finish as many Kindle books before I go home for Christmas and I'm going to leave it in the UK until I move back home in June. This also thankfully coincides with it getting cold outside so that I don't have to make as many frequent library trips. I don't have any wintery/Christmas books lined up for December but if anyone has any recommendations... fire them at me!

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I've been on a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie marathon and making my way through all of her books. This novel follows two childhood sweethearts as they both grow up and leave Nigeria for America and England. This is a really slow moving book which I found a little frustrating at times but the writing is beautiful and descriptive. It really captures the feeling of confusion at living in a country that is not your own (even if my own experience doesn't compare to the difference between America and Nigeria). I gave it 3/5 stars as its slow pace struggled to capture my attention. I still think it's a fantastic book, just probably my least favourite from the author.