What makes you want to travel? Is it a desire to see the world? To escape from your everyday life for something a little bit more fantastic? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ For me, it's a desire to challenge myself to learn more about the world surrounding me. I firmly believe that travel makes you a more open-minded person, and just might be the key to world peace. I want to learn about different ways of thinking and living life. I want to try new foods, hear new music, see new sights. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My style of travel isn't generally what you would call relaxing. Instead, it's something entirely different: exhilarating. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I'm not really a vacation person either. I would much rather be running around a city, getting lost in random alleyways, than chilling at an all-inclusive resort (in fact, when I went to one with my family a few years ago I went absolutely bonkers). All-inclusives and relaxing vacations aren't bad things. They're just not for me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What about you? Do you travel to get away from it all or to experience everything you can?
Don't forget to look around you. I was at La Lonja, one of the most popular attractions in Valencia, when I peaked over the stair wall and was greeted with this absolutely charming little scene of balconies and plants. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These privileged little peeks into everyday life are one of my favorite parts of travel. But you only get them if you take a minute to veer off the beaten path (or just glance to the side).
Anyone else just freaking love huge windows??? There’s just something so special to me about staring out a window at a new city, gazing down at the streets below and watching life go by. It’s wistful and romantic and everything I love about travel.
Spring break is coming up at the end of this week and I am SO ready. While I normally take my spring break to travel around Europe as it's often cheaper than buying a plane ticket home, this time I'm doing something a bit different. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ St Andrews has a program with William & Mary in the US where you can spend two years at each university, and a lot of the friends I made in my first two years here were joint degree students. So this spring break, Daniel, the friends that are still here, and I are all flying back to America to go visit them! We'll also be spending a few days in DC, doing the typical touristy things and introducing the Brits to everything that American culture has to offer (mostly just the food) as it's all of their first times in the country. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ At first, I was really hesitant about going back to America for spring break. For some reason, I have it in my head that I only have this limited amount of time to travel. But that's just not true. I will return to Europe after my four years of University here. I'm not just going to stop traveling after I graduate. Plus, it's not every day you have the chance to introduce three of the most British people ever to iHop and buttered popcorn.
It's okay not to love every single place you visit. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In the age of Instagram, where everyone acts like their lives are perfect, it can be hard to remember that you are not contractually obligated to say that everything you do was the most amazing thing EVER. In fact, if you keep saying that it kind of loses its worth... Like, I straight up don't believe people who say that everywhere they've ever been is amazing, because sometimes there are places that just aren't amazing. Or maybe they're just not your style. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I'm not really a big city girl, so it shouldn't be too surprising that Valencia wasn't my favorite place in the world. As far as Spain goes, I far prefer Seville, which has a much smaller, old-world feel to it. But for people who love modernity and hustle and bustle, Valencia is definitely a great place to go. It's really just all about perspective. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ That being said, I couldn't help but appreciate the City of Arts and Sciences. It was just too other-worldly to NOT drool over!
Have you ever had jamón? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The first time I went to Spain, I had never heard of jamón before. But I soon found out that this dry-cured ham is some of the most delicious stuff in the world. Like, so delicious all you really need is some jamón and a baguette and you've got yourself an amazing sandwich. And the one I had from a stall in the Mercado Central in Valencia (on my third visit to Spain) was some of the best I've ever had! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Although jamón really just means ham in Spanish, we use it to refer to this very specific Spanish iteration of ham in English. There are actually two kinds of jamón, though: jamón ibérico and jamón serrano. Jamón ibérico comes from the black Iberian pig and jamón serrano comes from the sierra, or mountain range. Jamón serrano is what's featured in this picture! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you ever find yourself in Spain, definitely grab a bocadillo de jamón for a cheap and delicious lunch or afternoon snack!
What’s the best travel deal you’ve ever seen? Sometimes I find deals that are just TOO GOOD to pass up. Like the £20 return flights I got to Valencia. And then on top of that I was able to score a private room at @valencialoungehostel for only £30/night!!!! And having that space all to myself was really perfect for a short solo getaway. I was able to disconnect from the outside world and the stress of impending deadlines for two days and it was pretty freaking ideal. 😍☕️
When you travel do you plan or do you wing it? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ One of my favorite feelings in the world is turning the corner or emerging from a building to a beautiful view just like this one. It’s that feeling of discovery that makes travel so exciting for me. I used to always plan my trips down to the minute, but that never left any chance for discovery, and I always knew what was coming next. Which honestly made travel a lot less exciting. Not having a plan allows for so many more experiences I never would have had otherwise. Which is also why I’ve been trying to plan a lot less lately, and it’s definitely led to some great travel experiences. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What about you? Are you more of a planner or do you try to keep things spontaneous?
Oh hey there new friends! Quite a few new people have shown up in my little corner of Instagram in the last few days so I figured it was time to re-introduce myself: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👋🏼 I’m Addie, a social anthropology student at the University of St. Andrews and frequent weekend adventurer ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📍 I’m originally from the US but moved to the UK for school because it’s cheaper than most colleges in the US and I would have easy access to Europe ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🐶 I love dogs more than anything else in the world and will shout DOG any time I see one ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🍜 I firmly believe the best way to experience a new culture is through its food ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🍫 Give me sweet snacks over salty any day ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Would love to get to know you all too—tell me a fun fact about yourself in the comments!
Even the buildings that aren’t castles in Europe look like castles 😍 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Everywhere you look in Valencia there’s another beautiful and unique building. This is La Lonja, which was originally the home of the silk exchange! A definite must visit for architecture and history lovers (as is all of Valencia!) 🏰
*running away from my deadlines like* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Did probably one of the most me things ever and hopped onto a flight to Valencia on Tuesday. I spent 26 beautifully warm hours in the city, stuffing myself to the brim and getting weird looks for not wearing a jacket. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Of course, I have two big deadlines coming up, but who cares about that when there are £20 flights out there??? Now that I’m back thought it’s probably time to hunker down and get to work… 😢
My absolute favorite place in the world is the student coffee shop right next to the quad in St Andrews. The baristas here know my order, the music is always at just the right volume, and I always get a boost of productivity when I'm in there. Even more so when I get the window annex 😍 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I have a similar place back home in Illinois, where I always head to do blog and design work when I'm on break. Of course, the one time I didn't go last summer was when Obama was giving a speech on campus and decided to show up at my coffee shop afterward. 🤦♀️Yup, think about that every day. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Moral of the story? Coffee is ALWAYS a good idea. ☕
Don't mind me, just staring lovingly at my ice cream and blending into the mint green background 🤷 📸 @kianabowden
Do you think this palm tree knows how famous it is? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ By FAR the most photographed spot in all of Tulum is the ruins perching over the beach, and this curvy palm tree is in all of them. He's probably just chilling though, trying to get closer to that gorgeous ocean.
One last shot from Bacalar because I'm just so obsessed (and also I want to brag about the fact that, despite what everyone might think, I actually managed to stand up paddleboard and only fall in ONCE). Just LOOK at how blue that water is 😍
Don't let yourself get distracted by the hipster-ness of Tulum: there are some GREAT day trips in the area. One of the absolute best? Sian Ka'an Biosphere. Just a 30-minute drive from Tulum, the experience starts with the gorgeous but little known Muyil ruins. Then, it's a short walk through the forest (with option detour to climb an observation tower) before hopping in a boat to take you across the lagoon. After a short ride, you're brought to the Mayan Canal, where you hop out of the boat and float down the most amazing natural lazy river of all time (wearing your life jacket like a diaper for maximum comfy floating potential). Close your eyes, sit back, and relax were the wise words of our guide, and I have to say I've never heard better advice. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My mom and I went on a half day trip to the Sian Ka'an Biosphere from Tulum with Mexico Kan Tours, whose mission statement is Travel With Intention. Yup, you know I totally fell in love with them ❤️(PS. traveling with a parent as a grown-up makes you learn a LOT about yourself 😂)
So this probably shouldn't be too surprising, but compared to the rest of Mexico Tulum is EXPENSIVE. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When my mom joined me in Tulum after a week and a half of me traveling solo through the Yucatan Peninsula, we decided to splurge on a day at Papaya Playa Project, one of the most ~famous~ resorts on Tulum Beach. There was a $50 spend minimum per person for use of the facilities which we seriously struggled reaching, ordering plates upon plates of food. Eating fresh ceviche on the beach? DEFINITELY a bucket-list experience. And those SMOOTHIES tho. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Though this totally wasn't my usual style of travel, it was definitely a fun experience (though my wallet cried afterward) and basically a prerequisite of visiting Tulum.
Do you love smoothies? If so, Tulum is the perfect destination for you. 🥭 🍌 🍯 🥥 💕 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Tulum is absolutely FULL Of restaurants and cafes selling smoothies and smoothie bowls, and Matcha Mama is BY FAR the most Instagrammed of them all. Thankfully, they don’t rely on their Instagrammability for business because their smoothies are still some of the best in town. Definitely a must visit if you’re ever in Tulum!
Sunrise in Bacalar 🌅 😍 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Apparently getting up early was a theme when I was in Mexico. We had to be in the hostel lobby at 6:30 for our sunrise SUP tour of the lagoon, but it was totally worth it for the peace and absolute beauty that being out on the water brought. And I only fell in once!!! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What's the most beautiful sunrise/sunset you've ever seen?
Ummmm have you ever seen a more perfect hostel??? 😍 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ As if Bacalar couldn’t have been more amazing, I totally lucked out with my hostel: The Yak Lake House. It was by far one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed at in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and was the perfect base for two days of absolute bliss. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Just a few amazing things about this place: ❤️ Each and every room has a view of the lake ❤️ The hostel has a private dock with boat and SUP tours leaving from the hostel every day ❤️ There are organized activities for guests every. single. day. Ranging from mojito making classes (my favorite memory from Mexico) to $3 burgers and beer to expeditions around Bacalar. ❤️ There is SO MUCH fresh fruit at breakfast (tbh would avoid the coffee though) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Save this post for when you plan your trip to Mexico. You don’t want to miss out on the Yak Lake House (and be sure to book ahead as it’s a relatively small hostel and books up fast!)
Think you have to go to the Seychelles or Maldives for stunning turquoise water? THINK AGAIN. You don’t even have to go to an OCEAN. Yup, not even kidding. This is Laguna Bacalar, just two hours south of Tulum but a whole world away. I have never fell so immediately in love with a place like I did with Bacalar. From the seven shades of blue of the lake to the laidback town, it was absolutely perfect. Two days was nowhere near enough.
Do you ever get up early to beat the crowds? I know that everyone ever says it’s a good idea to get up early to go to the biggest attractions when you’re traveling, but I never actually do it. But one of my main motivations to stay in Valladollid was to beat the crowds of day trippers to Chichen Itza from Cancun. So this time, I actually did it. My alarm went off at 6 am and by 7 I was out the door, headed for the collectivo stand to grab a ride. I was at Chichen Itza only a half hour before it opened and though there were already quite a few people there, I only had to wait a few minutes before I was inside. I didn’t have the place to myself, but, like, I was able to breathe. By 11, when I left, the place was overrun. I might have been way too tired to do anything else the rest of the day, but getting up that early totally WAS worth it. Have you ever gotten up early to visit a popular site? Was it worth it?
Happy Valentine’s Day to the biggest dork I know ❤️ thanks for putting up with my booking trips without telling you, my constant need for photo shoots, and making you try on tan linen outfits at the H&M in Vienna. Thanks for making me smile every day and admitting that my farts are better than yours. Thanks for accepting that at least one of the rooms in our future home will be entirely mint green and planning what dessert we’re each going to get from the set Valentine’s menu tonight ahead of time. I love you and all of our adventures big and small. Here’s to many more.
#sponsored There are a lot of things to love about the Golden Circle: from the sights everyone already knows to the ones you’ve never heard of before. With @eastwesticeland you get to see them all for the low low price of putting up with your guides terrible jokes (jk jk, if you’re a fan of bad jokes though you’ll LOVE this tour) other highlights include: ✔️ The big 3 Golden Circle sights: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gulfoss Waterfall ✔️ The best ice cream in Iceland from the farm that produces it ✔️ 4 incredibly cute dogs at said farm ✔️ 2 waterfalls you’ve never heard of ✔️ Bread baked underground ✔️ A restaurant where even the beer is made out of tomatoes ...and much, much more. Be sure to check out my full review over on my blog!
Hi my name is Addie and I only went to Iceland for the horses 🐴
Iceland and off-the-beaten-path aren’t exactly words that go together anymore. The Golden Circle and off-the-beaten-path even less so. I honestly didn't even think it was possible. Yet somehow, tucked away in a small corner of Thingvellir National Park (one of the cornerstones of the Golden Circle), is this absolutely GORGEOUS waterfall that I had never heard of before. Two months later and I'm still trying to figure that one out. This week #ontheblog I'm revealing all of the off-the-beaten-path places that @eastwesticeland took me to on their Golden Circle tour, to prove that it's still possible to find new things in a place as heavily touristed as Iceland. It's definitely a must read! #linkinbio
Everyone I told I would be traveling solo on my birthday gave me a concerned look. Like, isn't it so sad this girl doesn't have friends to spend her birthday with? But in reality, I WANTED to experience Iceland solo. To have the opportunity to take in the otherworldly landscapes without having to stop and talk to someone before I've processed it all. To have a moment of silence on a crowded black sand beach and remember why it is I love to travel so much. A birthday spent on my own wasn't sad. It was invigorating. It was, quite possibly, the best birthday I've ever had. Have you ever traveled solo before? If so, what kinds of reactions did people give you? 📍Taken on my birthday on the most famous black sand beach in Iceland, living my best life.
Let’s talk about responsible travel. In the past few years, places like Iceland have become HUGE tourism destinations, largely in part to the power of Instagram. And because everyone is dying to get that perfect Insta shot, a lot of the time they aren’t focused on important things like their own safety and the safety of the environment around them. During my time in Iceland, I witnessed people wandering into the middle of the road, walking past signs that clearly said DO NOT PASS THIS POINT, and getting too close to clearly volatile waves. I saw signs that were clearly put up recently instructing tourists to not turn their backs to the waves on the black sand beach in Vík and heard stories about how Justin Bieber inspired people to go take photos standing on moss that dies the second it gets stood on. I get the motivation behind these actions. I get wanting to have a photo that will wow your friends back home. I get being caught up in the excitement of being in a place as Instagrammable as Iceland. But is any of that really as important as your health or the health of this planet? Just some food for thought.
Okay, now back to regularly behind schedule programming. This is El Castillo at Chichen Itza, one of the 7 New Wonders of the World and by far one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. A few fun facts that will make you realize just how freaking smart the Mayans were: • The pyramid consists of 4 sides of 91 stairs. With the platform on top, that’s a total of 365 stairs. • During the spring and autumn equinoxes, the sun hits the pyramid in such a way that the shadows look like a serpent is slithering down the side (the pyramid was built as a temple to the Yucatec Maya feathered serpent god). • When you stand in front of the temple and clap, the echo sounds kind of like the call of the Quetzal, a bird the Maya considered divine. Yup, I’m completely in awe. 😮
It SNOWED in St Andrews last Friday and it was that perfect, fluffy, Winter Wonderland type snow. I looked out the window that night to the sight of absolutely HUGE snowflakes flying towards the ground and immediately demanded that Daniel come outside with me. He pissed and moaned, and just didn’t seem to get why I was so excited about this snow. I had, after all, just gotten back from Illinois, where I had just narrowly escaped the worst of the Polar Vortex. But he, being from Virginia, just doesn’t understand the concept of PERFECT snow. It’s the kind of thing that’s so beautifully rare, and to have it in a place where it snows maybe once a winter was a true miracle. By the next morning most of the snow had gone, and all hopes of capturing the quad in a blanket of winter wonderland snow were quashed, but I will always remember standing outside of my flat door, tongue stuck out trying to catch a snowflake, while Daniel looked at me like I was absolutely crazy.