Em Dashed - Tales + Fails from a Backpacker Turned Foreigner in the Netherlands Em Dashed -

From Dalfsen to Ommen: A Day in the Overijsselse Vecht Valley

Vecht river with grassy banks on either side, and two flags in front of a small wooden shed on the right bank

Look, I know I talk a lot of shit about living out here in the Dutch countryside — but there are some definite upsides.

If you get a chance to visit the east of the Netherlands, I highly recommend you spend some time in the valley along the Overijsselse Vecht river (an area called the “Vechtdal” in Dutch). It’s filled with picturesque features like green meadows, small forests, grazing livestock, old-fashioned windmills, tucked-away castles, cosy hamlets, and more. CONTINUE READING

15 Things That Happen When You Live in a Small Dutch Town

Being a foreigner in this part of the Netherlands means that, every time I come across something new or unusual for me, I can’t just label it a “Dutch thing” or a “small town thing.” Some are one, some the other, some are both. Some are probably neither, but it’s hard to be certain (I might write a blog largely devoted to existing in foreign countries, but I never *actually* claimed I was worldly). CONTINUE READING

Weekend in Valkenburg, the Netherlands: Caves, Castles, and a Day Trip to Maastricht

Weekend in Valkenburg + Maastricht, Netherlands

Look: you could visit Maastricht the easy way — by which I mean, go to Maastricht and stay there in the city, like a chump your standard visitor.

Or you could take advantage of this opportunity to do something a little bit wild — by which I mean, choose instead to stay in the lively and atmospheric village of Valkenburg, only 10 minutes from Maastricht by train. (Note: your defintion of wild may or may not differ slightly from mine. Also, what happens in Valkenburg stays in Valkenburg, unless of course, you write about it on your blog later. Moving on.) CONTINUE READING

A Little Guide to Winter in Queenstown, New Zealand

Winter in Queenstown: Activites to Do and Things to Know
Photo by Holger Link

If you’re spending a winter in New Zealand, chances are, one or 500 people have already told you to head to Queenstown and the Southern Lakes.

Located in the Otago region of the South Island, this area is incredibly popular during both summer and winter; but as much as I prefer summer in almost every place on earth, there’s something downright magical about Queenstown during the months of June, July, and August. CONTINUE READING

How to Order Coffee in Australia and New Zealand: Tips from a Barista

Decoding Australian and New Zealand coffee lingo | Photo by Tyler Nix via UnsplashPhoto by Tyler Nix

When it comes to ordering coffee in Australia and New Zealand, I’ve got a fair amount of experience on both sides of the counter.

I was a barista for nearly 10 years of my life — four of which I spent working in the afore-mentioned countries. I’ve been yelled at, lectured to, and relentlessly interrogated about everything from extractions and grinds to, if you can believe it, “cups” vs “mugs.” I’ve probably spent more hours of my life covered in milk splatters and coffee stains than I have sleeping. CONTINUE READING