(Blogmas Day Eight) Life Update…

What I haven’t shared on social media… (yet)

So it’s Blogmas Day Eight, it’s Wednesday morning and at 2am, I arrived back in Belfast via the Dublin bus because I was in Rome!

Yes, I went to Rome and I went completely on my own. Maybe not such a huge deal to some, but I only went on my first adult holiday this year to Finland and Russia so going from my first adult holiday to my first holiday on my own, is quite a big step.

I booked it about a month and a half ago, I just needed something to keep my mind off what was going on in my own life. I wasn’t happy and I wanted something to distract me. Thankfully a month and a half later, my life is genuinely a lot better, I’m a lot happier and I couldn’t be more different to the person I was a few months ago. I still get my really down days and I even had one when I was in Rome which hit me really hard, but I made the most of my trip, and I had a lovely time.

Once Blogmas is over, I’m planning on posting my Rome Diaries because it would be really nice to reflect back on my trip. You know, places I went and food I ate; the two most important things in a trip!

One more thing…

About two days before my trip, I found out that I had secured a house I had been looking at to rent! So I’ll be moving out on my own for the first time in the New Year! Probably not the greatest time to move out, straight after Christmas when everyone feels the pinch but I would have been silly not to grab at this opportunity when it’s been something I have been wanting to do for the last few years.

I’m really excited, obviously I’m worried about the money aspect (because booking a holiday before Christmas, then having Christmas, then moving out seemed like such a great idea at the time right?! I didn’t know about the house when I booked the holiday!) but I have a great support network around me and I can’t wait to live on my own and have my own little house.

Why I didn’t post on social media about my holiday…

I know I don’t need to give an explanation but I want to. As much as I love posting on Instagram, checking in on Facebook and tweeting about everything I do; I didn’t want to do it at all and I have found myself over the past few months doing it a lot less. Sure, I was still on social media during the trip; I was still writing blog posts, I was still scheduling tweets in my hotel room and I was taking photographs for myself (but also for the blog) but I had no desire to share with the world at that very moment that I was away on holiday.

Don’t get me wrong, I done the exact opposite on my last holiday. I checked in everywhere, there were loads of photographs on Instagram and I LOVED tweeting about it. I just didn’t want to do it this time. This trip was meant to be for me, and just me. I wanted to create memories for myself and have experiences for myself because I needed to get away from my ‘normal’ life for a while. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be Instagramming photographs and I’ll probably tweet about it, but I just didn’t want to when I was there.

I loved coming back to my hotel and writing another blog post though. That was something that filled my nights because I didn’t want to stay out late in a country I wasn’t too familar with, in the dark, on my own; so writing blog posts for Blogmas was a nice routine to get into each night.

This might have been a boring post for you to read, I don’t know but I’m really happy that I’ve had a few positive life updates recently and I can’t wait to see what the next few months brings. Oh, and remember to look out for my Rome Diaries in the New Year too!

Travel Tips: Part Two

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Welcome to Part Two of my Travel Tips! If you haven’t seen Part One, you can find them right here. And as always, I’d love some feedback on these tips, so if you have any that I missed out on or if you think mine are totally out of wack, tell me!

6. Don’t over pack!

This is something that EVERYONE does, and it’s natural. Totally natural. I feel like I surprised myself with this trip; I packed two pairs of jeans, two jumpers, two t-shirts and I bought one t-shirt when I was there. For a two week holiday, that’s not a lot and it really paid off. Our bag was still full to the brim, but that wasn’t due to my clothes. It doesn’t just include clothes; I took minimal make-up, I tried minimise my skin care as much as possible, but I still learned that I didn’t need that pair of Converse shoes, I was going to be walking every day, all I needed were my walking boots.

7. Bring back non-souvenir memories.

I’ll get onto souvenirs in a minute but if you get a business card from a cafe you really like, or you took a bus tour and it shows you a little map of where you went, those are probably even more important than buying a postcard of the city that you can frame when you come home. My boyfriend and I had loads of little memories like that (that we put in our memory box), so even though I did post a lot on Instagram, I can still look at that receipt from a little place we went to, even though I didn’t give it an on-line presence as such.

8. And yes, bring back souvenirs.

We brought our parents back some Russian dolls, and we brought ourselves back a little teddy bear that says “I heart Finland”, I think souvenirs are something that you can keep forever, so we have our little teddy bear over in the corner of our bedroom and it still gives me that warm fuzzy feeling seeing it. Yes, you went on the trip and you seen these amazing places and experienced another part of the world (Whether that be ten miles down the road from your house or ten thousand miles away, it’s still a different part of the world) but I’m a memory girl, who likes memories like teddy bears for me to make pass on in the future. It’s just a really nice idea.

9. Be patient.

Especially if you’re going to a foreign country where English isn’t their first language; even if they have limited English, they are still trying their best to communicate with you. I even found this difficult myself when someone didn’t understand me the first, second or the third time, but you have to remember they are trying their best and they don’t mean any harm when there is that miscommunication.

10. Try new things!

You might be one of those people who likes to have their fish and chips when they’re on holiday, and seeing food on the menu that they aren’t too sure about can be quite intimidating. But look at it this way, you’re on holiday either to a place you’ve been before or a place that you’re exploring for the first time. Try out that vegetarian salad bar with all the vegetables in the world or try out that dessert that you haven’t seen on a menu back home.

I don’t just mean food though. Okay, so maybe you don’t go to museums when you’re at home or you walk past a park every day back home but it’s “just a park”, go into it when you’re away. Go to that history museum, go to that park, because I’ve found about going to these places when I was away, that it made me want to explore more when I got home. I want to go to more of the parks in Belfast, I want to try out the Belfast Bikes sometime, I want to be more adventurous in restaurants (as long as I can with my intolerances of course!), those experiences don’t just last on holiday, they can be a real foundation for you when you jump back into reality when you come home too.

Thanks for reading my Travel Tips! And remember, if you think I’ve missed any out, let me know, I’m always on the look out for new travel tips.

Travel Tips: Part One

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So, as you may know (if you’ve seen my constant tweets, Instagram mania or blog posts mentioning I was on holiday), I went on holiday and it was my first adult holiday. When I say ‘adult holiday’, I don’t mean that in a risqué way (of course!), I mean it as in this is the first holiday I went on as an adult without being accompanied by school teachers. I went on a weekend trip down to Dublin in September but I don’t really count that as a holiday.

As you can see by the title, this is Part One of the travel tips I thought I could share for someone else maybe going on holiday for the first time or maybe travelling somewhere new.

1. Going online isn’t always your best option.

They always say that you should research where to eat, where to eat, where all the cool places are but I don’t think you should stick to that completely. We found a majority of the nice places on our own when we just wondered round the city. And even when we did research and tried to get Google to help us get to those places, we always seen somewhere on our adventures and went in there for a nosey. (If we didn’t stay there, we noted it down and went back later!)

2. Bring snacks with you!

I’m gluten free, have several other intolerances and vegetarian, while my boyfriend is vegan so truth be told, I was certainly worried about not being able to find a lot of places to eat. The day before we left for our holiday, we bought ourselves some snacks just to put in our suitcase, in case we ran into trouble and really couldn’t find anything.

3. Take lots of pictures.

I say this for two reasons:
1. We all love memories. We all love looking back and thinking “That was such a good meal, where was that again?” or “That museum was so interesting, where was that again?” I’m all for “living in the moment” but when you’re somewhere new and exciting, it’s nice to get your camera out all the time if you find something that you really like or you want to show friends and family back home. There’s no harm in it.

2. Be aware of your surroundings. Do you think you’re going to get lost getting back to your hotel (or wherever you’re staying). Take pictures of places, shops, sculptures, art, street names; anything that’s near your hotel so it’s almost like a picture version of a map. Just in case you really can’t remember how to get back.

4. Post some postcards!

If you’re away from your family for a while, being able to text them or Facebook is nice but to receive a little momento from you while you’re on holiday is something that they will really appreciate and probably keep forever. Depending on where you are going if you have access to postcards and being able to post letters etc. but if you’re in a country where you can do that, then I think it’s a really nice idea. When I wrote mine, I just told them something that happened that day or what we were planning on doing that night. You don’t have to tell your life story, just a moment or a memory of being away.

5. Write reviews.

Whether it’s on their Facebook page or TripAdvisor, it’s not only helpful to the business to find out what you thought of them, but it’s also amazingly helpful to someone who is thinking of going there. For example, if I want to go to a restaurant and they advertise as gluten free but I read a review that says “Says they have gluten free menu but it’s very limited and wasn’t great quality” More than likely, I’m not going to go there. So for me, reviews are very important, good or bad experience, write about it! You’ll be helping out more than you think.

Come back and check for Part Two (I’ll link it here when it’s posted!) for more travel tips!