travel

Boldly Going Where Practically Everyone’s Gone Before: An Ode to Hot Spots

An Ode to Hot Spots

Considering I live in the middle of nowhere (at least, as middle-of-nowhere as you can get while still living in the Netherlands), it may surprise the casual reader to hear I don’t make a habit of avoiding popular places.

To the contrary: I might live in the Dutch countryside, but I take pretty much any excuse to go to Amsterdam. I’ve blogged about Parc Guell in Barcelona, the London Eye, and Hamburg’s Christmas markets. I spent seven months in Melbourne and more than two years in Queenstown, New Zealand. Clearly, I have zero qualms about visiting big tourist destinations.

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Unplanned Highlights From Australia’s West Coast

One Week Itinerary for Australia's West Coast

Travel bloggers are notorious for telling you not to plan. I know.

We’re always like, “Just get lost! See what happens! Go with the flow!” And then we post 3,000 words on how much we love organizing our trips, the perfect day to book your flight (57 and 1/2 days in advance, in case you were wondering*), and the 37 apps you should download before you go. But aside from that, don’t plan a thing!

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Road Trip — Duluth and North Shore, Minnesota

Road Trip --
 Duluth and North Shore, Minnesota

So hopefully by now, I’ve convinced you to go to Minneapolis. In which case: hey, fantastic! Way to go, me. (And you too, I guess.) I hope you’ll love it.

But why stop there? There’s plenty more Minnesota to see, and I know just where you should go next.

Note: For one day, this road trip is kind of a beast. If you’re on a time crunch or just like going quickly, starting from and returning to Minneapolis/St. Paul is definitely doable as a day trip. If you want a more relaxing, meandering experience, I recommend breaking it up and staying the night (or several) somewhere along the way. In the summer, you’ll probably want to book in advance — especially around holidays like the 4th of July or Labor Day.

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Winter Day Trip to Scheveningen + Madurodam — Den Haag

Winter Day Trip to Scheveningen + Madurodam -- Den Haag

Like most humans, I only make totally rational decisions 100% of the time.

So when this particular day was forecasted to be one of the coldest days in winter 2017 thus far, Simon and I decided it would be the perfect time to… go to the beach.

You know. Like you do.

Now, in my defense, I’ve lived in the Netherlands for over two years now, and I had yet to visit the beach here even once. In fact, though I’d hopped in or on my fair share of planes, trains, and automobiles in the past couple of years, I hadn’t been to the sea at all since Barcelona in September 2014.

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Tips and Ideas for a Long Layover in Chicago

Tips for a Long Layover in Chicago

On our recent trip to Minneapolis, Simon and I did what any good travelers on a budget do: we looked for a cheaper airport to fly into. When you’re heading to the Twin Cities, that frequently means Chicago O’Hare.

After we found a good deal on flights, we decided to book the Megabus from Chicago to Minneapolis — and wound up with several hours to spend in the Windy City on both ends of our journey.

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The Unexpected Side Effects of Living in a Hostel

The Unexpected Side Effects of Living in a Hostel

When it comes to hostels, I’ve got a bit of experience. I’ve stayed in dozens of them, and for more than 700 nights altogether. On the internet, that basically makes me an expert.

Of course, hostels vary wildly — big and little, charming and soulless, clean and, uh, not so much — but staying long-term in any kind of shared accommodation will certainly change you and your life. Just look at me: if it weren’t for hostels, I probably wouldn’t have met Simon, or be living in the Netherlands right now.

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Five Mistakes to Avoid in Queenstown

Five Mistakes to Avoid in Queenstown New Zealand -- Em Dashed

Queenstown, New Zealand is a place of much regret. The town is home to top-notch landscapes and a range of heart-racing activities — but it’s also home to the largest abundance of first world problems you’ll ever find in such a small area.

“Why did I have that seventh shot?” “What happened to all the cash I withdrew yesterday?” “What do you mean, I have to climb another hill?” For some backpackers, Queenstown can easily seem like a monster, lying in wait to chew you up and snatch away your hopes, your dreams, and most of your money.

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Traveling by Hop-On Hop-Off Bus in New Zealand

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus in New Zealand -- Em Dashed

Long-time readers may remember that when I first started traveling New Zealand in 2010, I booked a pass with a hop-on hop-off bus company called Stray. I’ve talked about my experience with this bus before, albeit rather briefly, and tucked away in this post about sailing in Abel Tasman National Park.

Today, I want to expand a bit on why I chose this mode of transport, and why it might work well for you, too — despite any pre-conceived notions you may hold.

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Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

The thing about Minneapolis, Minnesota is this: it’s kind of hard to get there by accident.

It’s not impossible, of course — contrary to popular belief, there are signs of intelligent life throughout the Midwestern United States — but it’s not likely.

So then, you might be asking: why should I make a point to visit the City of Lakes? What can you find there that you can’t find in a million other places?

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Summer 2016 Wrap-Up

Summer Wrap-Up: Netherlands + Minnesota -- Em Dashed

This past “summer” in the Netherlands was pretty much what I’ve come to expect after two years.

It was cold. It was cloudy. It was wet. I grumbled and pouted and questioned nearly every day why I had chosen to live in such a godforsaken place, which I can only assume means I should get my Dutch passport in the mail any day now. (“Je bent één van ons. Veel sterkte.”)

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