3 girls, 3 countries, 3 days

“This is why once you’ve traveled for the first time all you want to do is leave again. They call it the travel bug, but really it’s the effort to return to a place where you are surrounded by people who speak the same language as you. Not English or Spanish or Mandarin or Portuguese, but the language where others know what it’s like to leave, change, grow, experience, learn. Then go home again and feel more lost in your hometown than you did in the most foreign place you visited. This is the hardest part about traveling, and it’s the very reason why we all run away again.” –Unknown

Denmark >> Scotland >> Ireland

Spending about 24 hours in three countries, back to back, may sound crazy. And it is. I’m not sure why we decided to do this or why we thought it was possible. Things so wrong all the time when traveling… right? Planes get delayed, plans get messed up, and time gets cut short. All of these things are true, and happened to us, but we only had a limited amount of time in Europe and wanted to jam in as many places and things as possible. We were crazy, but we had a crazy amazing time.

I’ll save you the sob story of what went wrong, and solely focus on what went right. Here’s what to do if you have 24 hours in any of these cities.

Copenhagen, Denmark: Copenhagen is very walkable. We spent a lot of time wandering around and enjoying the view. We stayed at the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel and it was a blast, I’d definitely recommend staying here if hostels are your thing.

  • The Round Tower: great view of the city
  • Nyhavn Canal: (what you picture when you think of Copenhagen; it’s beautiful) Get lunch/dinner. Take a canal cruise. Walk around. Sit on the edge of the canal and drink some coffee.
  • Freedom Christiana: a hippie commune…

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Glasgow, Scotland: We went here was to do a tour of The Scottish Highlands through Discover Scotland Tours. Other than this tour, there’s not much to do in Glasgow. If you want to see The Highlands, I’d look into a tour departing from Edinburgh instead; there’s a ton of stuff to see and do there (you can check out my post here).

Loch Ness, Glencoe, & Highlands Tour: Scotland is gorgeous! Everywhere you look is postcard-perfect. Search for Nessie The Loch Ness Monster, see some highland cows, hear stories about Scotland’s history, and enjoy the view. Warning: This tour consists of a lot of driving, so be prepared.

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Belfast, Ireland: Ahh Northern Ireland, just as beautiful as Southern Ireland, but not nearly as touristy. We went here because they offered an AMAZING tour of Giants Causeway. I’d recommend this to anyone and everyone.

  • Want a drink?: Filthy McNasty Bar
  • Titanic Belfast: Belfast is where the Titanic was built and shipped, so they have a dedicated museum.
  • Giants Causeway Tour: Your first stop is the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery where you get a free sample. Then you head to Giants Causeway, and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (if you want to cross you have to pay a small fee).

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So anyways: I’m glad I did it, I have no regrets, but I always wish I had more time. Oh well… now I have another excuse to go back.

 

Always, K.

I Blow All My Money & Don’t Regret It

“To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

I was a serial-saver for 8 years. From my first paycheck at 14 until the age of 21, I saved and saved. Tucking as much money into a reserve account that I possibly could. Only after I found myself tumbling across Europe, I decided that my experiences are far more important than a bank account with a lot of zeros.

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Inch Beach, Ireland

This is why I have decided to throw all of my money into travel. And not regret one cent.

You know those chills you might get when you hear an amazing singer? Or those goosebumps that show up on your arm when hearing an adorable love-story? Well, I get those when I’m days away from landing feet-first on unknown territory. There’s literally nothing that I’d rather spend my time or money doing than getting this feeling. If this feeling comes to you at concerts, charity events,  NFL games, whatever it may be, throw your resources into that. Put everything you can towards what makes you sincerely happy. Whatever puts a HUGE smile on your face. Don’t feel bad about spending the last $100 you have to your name. You’ll figure it out later… Or maybe you wont. But honestly, i’d rather be happy and broke than unhappy and secure.

(Disclaimer: I’m not telling you to spend $2,000 that you don’t have because you want to go to Italy. I’m saying that if you have some money saved up for a new laptop, and you don’t actually NEED that new laptop, spend that money city-hopping for 10 days, instead.)

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Stonehenge, England

Don’t get me wrong: I work my ass off. As of lately, I work 7 days a week, every week. I have a full-time job, a part-time job, and I volunteer doing social media for a non-profit. I’m literally the busiest person that I currently know of. But I’m okay with working too much and having little free time, because in a few short months it will all be worth it. And then I can repeat my process. How many 21 y.o.’s do you know that can say they’ve been to 7 different countries, and already have it booked to be in another new one?

Here’s my magic formula:
Working a lot + Saving for a specific purpose + (Going into a little debt if necessary) = Memories that no amount of money could ever replace

So yes. I literally am in a bind. For the past 8 years I’ve had a back-up called “in case of emergency,” which I no longer have. I think that at my age, it’s okay. I can spend my 20’s being financially unstable, because once I hit 30 — I have to be a real adult. I think?

I’ve drained my account paying for my next trip to Europe. But I’ll never regret my chance to explore new and magical cities.

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Always, K.

How the Heck Did I Land This Job?

“It’s not about a trophy, a placing or a prize. It’s about setting goals and surpassing them. It’s about discipline, dedication, willpower, reaching deep down and finding inner strength that you didn’t even know you had. It’s about structure and putting in the work and following the plan. It’s science and I’m a living experiment. It’s about being better than my former “best” and proving to myself that I can achieve this. That’s why I do it and that’s what it’s all about.” -Stephanie Wicked

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Let me start out by saying that the job-hunting process SUCKS. It took me 3 months, 25 applications, 3 sets of interviews, and 2 job offers to finally find what I was looking for. I put countless hours into writing “creative” cover letters, countless dollars on gas and tolls driving around to different cities, and countless missed hours of sleep because of my anxiety-ridden brain.

Every week friends and family members asked me the same question: How’s the job search going?

What’s more motivating then having to remind everyone that: Yes, you are still jobless this week? Pretty much nothing.

So, I’m here to tell you that you WILL find something. It may take you 1 month, or 6, but you’ll get there. Trust me, I felt so discouraged after all of the “We’ve decided to go with other candidates who better fit our needs” emails. But look at me now! A full time Marketing Coordinator in Washington D.C.

So here’s my tips to all you recent college grads or those who will be this coming May:

  1. If you write a boring, generic cover letter you might as well throw your application in the trash… before they do. Do NOT follow a template that you found on Google. Cater each and every one to the specific company you are applying to. Tell them how badass you are (without saying it quite like that). Seriously, tell them exactly how you kick ass and can blow their minds.
  1. Have a fun resume (if your job field allows so). I know most sciences, and psychology fields want you to have a boring, black and white resume. But if you think you can get away with some color and some fun, go for it! Here’s mine: My Resume (Don’t Steal It)
  1. If you make it to the interview process, dazzle the hell out of them. Trust me, no one wants to hear those cookie-cutter answers anymore. Be completely honest and don’t just tell your interviewer what you think they want to hear. You’re hard working and determined? Duh. They know that. Tell them how you spent a summer in New Zealand and what you learned from that. Tell them how passionate you are with an example of your volunteer work with animal shelters. Oh, and if you don’t have any cool stories or experiences, I suggest you go get some. Right now.

 

Well… that’s all I have for you. Stay badass.

Always, K.

The Truth About Moving Home After Graduation

“Someone once told me not to bite off more than I could chew. I said I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.” -Unknown

FullSizeRender.jpgMoving home after you receive that diploma may sound charming, right? No rent. Free food. Family meals. The list could go on. But what you don’t realize is that you’re about to be tossed back through a time warp into your pre-college days.

That drama that you left behind in high school? It comes back. That couple that you can’t believe is still together? You’ll see them at the gas station. That bar that you loved so much because you could get in with a fake ID? Filled top to bottom with children that cannot be much older than 17 (aka ruined). So much of what you left behind [on purpose] shows right back up at your doorstep.

Yes, it’s great to connect with your high school friends who you don’t get to see that often. And it’s a great comfort being in the town where you grew up and know every neighbor by name. It’s nice to be in your bedroom that you’ve had for the past 20-some years of your life.

But to me, graduating is supposed to be the start of the rest of your life and a chance to move on. A chance to do your own thing and not rely on your family for a crockpot meal at 6:00pm. Move out. Make new friends. And then enjoy coming home for holidays and just to say “hi.” Live your life and love it. Be optimistic and don’t feel stuck.

Until next time.

Always, K.

I Left My Heart in London

“You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.” -Wayne W. Dyer

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Being back home is a weird feeling. I’m not the same person I was 4 months ago when I was leaving for London. I didn’t know the 5 girls that instantly became my family. I didn’t know the many beautiful places where I would be leaving pieces of my heart. I didn’t know how blissful I would become by deciding to live my life to the fullest.

Going abroad has made me a happier person and given me a different mindset. For the last 4 months I’ve woken up every single morning with a smile on my face. I’ve decided what I wanted to see/do that day, and I made it happen. In the past few months I’ve explored 7 different countries and seen 18 different cities.

Studying abroad changed my life. No amount of words or pictures can explain the adventures I’ve embarked on or the amount of experiences that have helped me grow. So it’s not goodbye London; i’ll be back.

Always, K.

Today Is My Graduation Day

“I’m not sure what I’ll do — well, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale” -F. Scott Fitzgerald

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So today is my graduation day. Today I meet the real world. I traded a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a different one and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I could be walking across the stage at Temple University and shaking hands with Dean David Boardman, but I’m [gratefully] in London for a few more days.

It’s definitely a weird feeling. When I walk off of my plane in the US, I have no transition to post-grad life. I just move home and look for a job. I don’t get that ceremony or that party that most college grads have been preparing for. It may take me longer to adjust because there’s no before-and-after for me. I jump straight into the after and wait for my diploma to arrive some 3 months from now.

Graduating is scary. I’ve been in school for 17 out of the 21 years of my life. Not going to school isn’t something that I know how to do. But at the same time I’m excited. I get to figure out who I want to be as an adult. I get to figure out where I want to live and what I want to do with my life. I get to figure out how to live my life at this age. My possibilities are literally endless and I have so much time to find what I love. Maybe I’ll start out by continuing my travels? Maybe get a dog? Maybe I’ll end up moving to a completely new city and end up totally reinventing myself. Anything can happen.

So anyways, wish me luck. I’ll meet you all on the other side of this invisible line that I’ve been walking.

Always, K.

Eiffel in Love

“When I say I want to travel I don’t mean I want to stay at resorts and go on tours with tour guides or buy key chains from souvenir shops. I don’t want to be a tourist. When I say I want to travel I mean I want to explore another country and become part of it. I want to discover small coffee shops in Germany and Italy and France. I want to walk on beaches in Australia and browse the book stores in England. I want to hike the Great Wall of China and go cliff diving in Hawaii. I want to meet people who are not like me, but people who I can like all the same. I want to take pictures of things and places and people I meet. I want to see things with new eyes. I want to look at a map and be able to remember how I was transformed by the places I’ve been to, the things I’ve seen, and the people I’ve met. I want to come home and realize that I have not come home whole, but have left a piece of my heart in each place I have been. This, I think, is what is at the heart of Adventure and this is why I plan on making my life one.” -Unknown

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I’ve never been one of those girls that dreamed of going to Paris and having a romantic weekend with some guy. I always thought that Paris would be a little bit overrated and I’ve always heard bad things about the French. So when I went this weekend with a group of friends I discovered that only half of my assumptions rang true.

Paris was amazing. It exceeded every single expectation that I had. Seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night has to be one of the better moments of my life. It only lights up for 5 minutes on the hour so you only get those 5 minutes to take it in, but that makes it more special I think. I can’t really put into words the beauty of this glowing metal structure. And I wouldn’t trade my experience with my good friends for anything.

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We hit the Louve and saw the Monna Lisa, which is certainly the most beautiful building I’ve ever stepped foot in. We walked through Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe. We crawled down to the Catacombes. We drank champagne on the Eiffel Tower and even went ice-skating on it. Yes, that’s right: we went ice-skating ON the Eiffel Tower. We ate crepes and croissants and crème brulee; had an amazing French dinner with a non-English speaking waiter. Pointing at the items on a menu is okay.

We figured out the Metro system, and actually used maps to get around — getting lost a few times along the way. We seized a city without knowing a lick of French. But I’ll keep it short and just say that Paris is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen and I’m glad I saved it for my last trip of the semester. Even the rude locals couldn’t ruin it for us.

Always, K.