Travel Diaries – Mishaps

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I recently posted this photo on my Instagram and Facebook page and had a lot of positive feedback. Original post: ” My cousin took this photo of me during our 12hr layover, and I am just so in love with it. I think it’s because it shows the less glamorous side of traveling. The side I don’t post pictures of. Like the long layovers or the times I am completely lost and hoping that my tiny knowledge of the language is navigating me in the right direction or the times that I have had to trust my gut and put complete faith in strangers. It’s moments like these that test you, but also make the Instagram worthy photos that much better!”

Now that I am back on the job hunt, I have gotten mixed feedback about my travel gap. Some people do see the power in it, and others think that its a long gap of partying. Well anyone who has travelled long term knows that yes you do have some booze filled nights, but the majority of your time is spent experiencing a new country and culture. You also learn how to get out of your shell and build relationships with new people,  and how to practice patience and staying calm when stressed.  But most importantly, you learn how to be independent. I wanted to share with you all a few mishaps that I have had whilst traveling.

My Top 5 Mishaps:

  1. Booking the wrong ticket – I have only done this once thankfully, but I have seen others do this all the time and begin panicking at the airport, train station, or bus station. I booked the wrong date for the bus from Amsterdam to Paris which I didn’t realize until I was getting on the bus. Luckily for me there were still seats on the bus for the night I wanted to leave. Unluckily, I had to pay for both tickets. Mistakes happen you have to just shake them off and keep having a good time.
  2. Missing a connection – On my trip around South East Asia, I was leaving Thailand and headed to Bali with a quick layover in Singapore! Unluckily, I didn’t hear over the speaker that the gate had changed. So when it was time to board and the doors weren’t opening, I quickly started searching for a customer service representative. I found one! But unfortunately they had switched terminals too so I was screwed. I had to book a new ticket from Singapore to Bali and spend 24hrs in Singapore. Singapore is a very cool place, but not ideal when you are a budget traveler.
  3. Figuring out public transport– So I’m pretty good about figuring out public transport. However, when I was heading to Nicaragua from Costa Rica, I had to do several bus changes. Now I researched the process before I left and double checked multiple times at the bus station. My first step was to get off at the Pan-American Highway stop and then catch another bus from there. No biggie! When I got on I asked the driver to let me know when we get to the Pan American stop. Bus ride is crowded, but fine. I’m of course the only gringo on the public transport. I hear the driver yelling “Pan- American, Pan-American” so I make my way to the front of the bus and hop off. Only to discover that I have literally been dropped off on the side of the Pan- American highway with all my belongings and no other person in site. After an hour on the side of the road I did begin to start panicking and thinking of ways to get back to the station that had been about 30 minutes away. Thankfully at an hour thirty the next bus I was meant to catch arrived!
  4. Being Detained – On my first trip ever traveling by myself, I went to London to visit a friend. Well, I had no idea what to do I thought I just turned up showed my passport and went on my merry way. NOPE! You have to have the phone number and address of the person you are meeting and proof of your return ticket. After 2 hours of being interviewed by British Homeland Security I was finally set free to enjoy London and to meet up with my very panicked friend.
  5. Last but not least- Long Layovers / Long Travel Days – Oh man, I have had some horrific layovers. Especially if you are traveling on a budget you can find very cheap flights with 12- 16 hr layovers. Also, in third world countries it’s very common to take long distance bus and train rides and the conditions of the busses and trains is pretty poor. My final story is of a rather quick trip, it was a 3 hour bus ride from Granada to San Juan Del Sur. However it was 90°F, extremely humid, and the bus had no AC. We had to sit on the bus for 30 minutes before it took off, but even after it took off the air never really circulated around. I turned up in San Juan Del Sur completely soaked in my own sweat. Also another quick story, I once had my phone die 2 hour in to a 12 hour bus ride and had to just stare out the window for the remaining 10 hours.

I just wanted to share some of these stories because I think they are often not talked about, but I know ever traveller has them!

Comment one of your worst travel days below!

Travel Diaries – Granada, Nicaragua

Warning Granada is one of the more touristy destinations in Nicaragua, but don’t let that deter you from going. Granada is amazing with its beautiful architecture and bright colored buildings it was designed from the Instagram heavens. Even though you will hear cat calls every few steps you take as a woman, the people are generally very friendly. Many foreigners now call Granada home, which leaves tourists with lots of amazing shopping, food, and activities. I found myself in this city for 3 weeks and fell madly in love with it. I hope you will too!

Here is a round up of a few of my favorite places in Granada:

NOSH SPOTS:

  • Café de Arte – great smoothies and coffee plus they have wifi and it’s a nice spot to hang out.
  • Kathy’s Waffle House – great spot for an American breakfast/ brunch.
  • Nectar – Holy Deliciousness! Everything on the menu is amazing! It’s a little spendy for Nica prices, but so worth it. Also they have $1 Taco Tuesday!
  • Street Food! – There is a woman who sells pupusas in the square in front of the church.
  • And more Street Food! – Another great spot is down Calle La Calzada take a left onto the street with the ice cream shop on the corner. Then in front of a Chinese restaurant there is a food cart with; rice, beans, plantanos, chicken, and everything yummy for about $2.
  • Those are just a few of my favorites. There are so many amazing restaurants in Granada you’ll just have to try them all.
  • You can also shop at the local market and make yourself dinner.

SLEEP SPOTS:

  • Airbnb – I saw a lot of adorable affordable apartments/ homes on the site when I was looking.
  • Mansion de Chocolate – I took Spanish lessons here and the hotel is beautiful. It has a wonderful pool and spa plus it is in a great location.
  • Hostal El Momento – If you are trying to stay on the cheaper side, this is also a great spot. The location is good and they have private rooms. I believe breakfast is included if you book online.

DRINK SPOTS:

  • Treehouse – you have to shuttle up to it about 20 minutes outside of Granada (there is a shuttle bus that leaves every hour from one the hostels in town) and then hike up to the bar, but it is well worth it.
  • Reilly’s Tavern– Fun little bar with dancing and a ladies night
  • Calle La Calzada – walk down the street and have drinks at the various restaurants. Many of them have happy hour and outdoor seating.

TO DO:

  • Tour – Masaya Volcano Night Tour and a Tour of the Lake (to see the island homes)
  • Shopping – walk around downtown (a bit pricy for Nicaragua) or go to the Masaya Municipal Market (not the craft market)
  • Tanning – Hang by the lake or go to Apoyo Lagoon
  • Pool Day – At the Chocolate Museum
  • Yoga – drop in to a $5 yoga class at PURE
  • Volunteer- If you’re going to stay a couple weeks volunteer at La Esperanza (the school or after school program)
  • Learn Spanish – Take private lessons for 4hrs a day for 5 days for $100 with Spanish Dale!
  • Mani/ Pedi – treat yo’ self at Polish Nail Salon
  • Sunset Watching – head up into the church tower and watch the sunset over the city
  • Enjoy Ladies Night – Several bars have Ladies Nights where the ladies drink free from a certain time. There will be people walking around with flyers so there is no way you can miss it.

Please let me know if there is anything you think that I have left out! I would love to hear your advice on Granada.

 

 

Travel Diaries – Palm Springs, CA, USA

 

With so many amazing restaurants, world-class hotels, and friendly locals, it’s not hard to see why so many celebs have made Palm Springs their desert oasis. The atmosphere here is vibrant and fun, and you’re always guaranteed a good time no matter what you are doing. My parents recently bought a condo in their new favorite city so I now have the pleasure of escaping here for the weekends.

Here is a round up of my favorite places in Palm Springs:

Nosh Spots:

  • Koffi – Coffee and pastries
  • FARM – Brunch (the chicken and waffles are to die for)
  • Cheekys – Brunch
  • Bill’s Pizza– Best pizza in Palm Springs
  • El Mirasol Cocina Mexicana – You have to eat Mexican food when in southern California
  • Wally’s Desert Turtle – If you want to be fancy and spend some $$$$

Sleep Spots:

  • Parker – It is a Palm Springs staple. Everyone has to go check out the Parker gardens and have a drink in the lobby bar. This is a great spot for celeb spottings!
  • Riviera– Absolutely beautiful, and the pool bar is fun to have a drink at if you aren’t staying there.
  • Arrive – Very hipster, but the pool and bar are always popping and everyone says they enjoyed their stay
  • Ace – Very fun places to hang out. There is always something going on (evening pool party, jazz bar)

Drink Spots:

  • Bootlegger Tiki – Small inside, but great drinks
  • Bar – Just go!
  • Alibi Azul – Fun drinks and atmosphere
  • Tonga Hut – Yummy appetizers
  • Hop in and out of all the bars on Palm Canyon Drive. You’ll have a blast!

To Do:

  • Hiking – To get out of the heat take the Aerial Tramway and walk around in the mountains for a couple of hours.
  • Shopping – walk around downtown, Desert Hills Premium Outlets, El Paseo Shopping District
  • Gamble – Agua Caliente (I won $900 there!) and Spa Resort Casino
  • Pool Day!
  • Drink Drink Drink!

My Ideal Day in Palm Springs:

Wake up and head to FARM for brunch (I always order the chicken and waffles (even though I’m trying to be a vegetarian…)). After brunch you can walk around downtown and explore the shops and art galleries as a way to burn off some of your brunch. I personally just grab my trendy floatie and a cocktail and head straight to the pool to work on my tan. In the evening get dressed up nice and fancy and head to the Counter Reformation in the gardens of the Parker for appetizers and wine. Après the Parker, hit the bars downtown! You can always grab drunken food at the Alibi Azul as your nightcap.