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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

Why I Skipped the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand

Photo by Daniel Chen

The Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand is widely considered to be one of the best day hikes in the country, and maybe even anywhere in the world.

Well, I can neither confirm nor deny the veracity of that claim. Though I spent nearly three years living, working, and traveling in New Zealand, I never actually did the Tongariro Crossing — and it wasn’t because I never got the chance. CONTINUE READING

My Top Bars and Cafés in Melbourne, Australia

My Top Bars and Cafés in Melbourne, Australia | Linda Xu via Unsplash.com
Photo by Linda Xu

Looking for somewhere to grab a drink or a bite in Melbourne? Well, let’s be real: you probably won’t be looking for long.

This Australian city is packed to the gills with cafés, bars, restaurants, dives, markets, stalls, food trucks, and hole-in-the-walls (holes-in-the-wall?) that cater to nearly every budget, style, and preference. Finding a great bar or café in Melbourne is kind of like finding hay in a haystack. CONTINUE READING