Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Travel Tuesday



Travel Tuesdays are my favorite. I've been spending so much time on the internet searching flights and hotel info for London & Paris.  I hate that I have waited so long to start this process.  Flights are expensive right now and a month is not much time to prep for an international trip, but in true Naty form I procrastinated.  It's not even like I have to do this in July, but since my cousin and friend will be out there I was hoping to be there at the same time, even if only for a day.  Fingers crossed that I can make this happen, if not I will just have to push it back for November.  I will keep you guys posted! With another solo adventure on the horizon, it got me thinking about some of the things that I personally love to do when traveling.  I thought that I would share some of those things in today's post!


Take Photos Of Everything

This is a no-brainer, but I needed to include this.  I have become so obsessed with snapping photos of literally everything during my travels from the food, to the buildings and scenery, to specific landmarks and even random people walking about.  I find that I am able to take more photos when I am traveling by myself.  I just have that luxury of stopping and soaking things in whenever I want. It's so funny how much has changed for me when it comes to this.  I used to be so focused on shooting all of my outfits when traveling and now that's the last thing on my mind.  Of course I love getting my photos taken in the countries and cities that I am visiting, but it's not about what I am wearing.  It's all about the location and just being there in the moment.  Buying the Olympus Pen E-PL7 as my travel camera was a game changer.  It's so much lighter and easier to carry around than my Canon.  The built in WiFi is truly a life saver.  I have a WiFi card for my Canon and it gives me so many issues.  It only works when it wants to, so with the Olympus I don't have to worry about that.  Having built in WiFi when you are traveling is literally everything.  You can transfer photos to your phone within seconds.  I also love that the screen flips around making it easier to shoot things from different angles.  The quality of the photos are great too.  It might not be the same as my Canon, but for me I am ok with it for travel.  Once I upgrade to a new lens then I think my photos will be even better. I am constantly learning new things about this camera and have come such a long way with it from my trip to Ireland.  I know I have said it before, but if you are looking for a small travel camera that is easy to use and takes good photos, I highly recommend this one! As a side note, when I was in Stockholm shooting scenic photos, this random guy came up to me and put this wrist strap on my camera for me that says Sweden.  He said that he could tell I was struggling to get a good grip on my camera. How sweet?!  I definitely recommend a wrist strap when traveling.  It really does make it easier. :)


Coffee Shops

My love for coffee is no secret.  It's just part of my lifestyle and I don't see that changing anytime soon.  I have this thing with visiting coffee shops every time that I travel.  It's actually one of the first things that I like to do after checking into my hotel.  I remember doing this when I arrived in Galway.  It was pouring rain and super windy, but I refused to stay inside my room.  It was a great way to venture out and take shelter from the weather.  It's also a great first way to interact with the locals and other tourists.  Some of my favorites in Ireland were Pascals, Butlers Chocolate Cafe, and Costa.  I did the same thing in Stockholm, Charleston and Chicago!  It just allows me to chill out for a bit, collect myself, appreciate where I am and enjoy a cup of coffee or latte in a new place.  I love tasting coffee in different places because there really is a difference.  Coffee shops are always so cute and charming too.  I love their aesthetic.  There was one a block away from my hotel in Stockholm and the coffee was seriously amazing.  My friends and I stopped in there every morning before venturing out.  So the next time you take a trip, skip the Starbucks and other generic brands and try out a coffee shop.  I think you will fall in love just like me! I swear if I could open up my own one, I would.



Outdoor Restaurants

In addition to having a thing with coffee shops, I also have a thing with outdoor restaurants.  It allows me to really soak in the atmosphere and do some people-watching.  I swear I am not a creep. Ha!  I just like to sit back and take everything in, especially if I am alone.  I think I got this side of me from my father.  He loved to just sit down with a cup of coffee and take in his surroundings.  When I was in Chicago, after getting a cup of coffee I wandered around until I came across a cute outdoor spot.  I literally sat there for almost 2 hours just eating, drinking and watching everyone around me.  The place is called Tavern On Rush in case you ever visit and want to try it out.  They make a great grilled cheese & avocado sandwich by the way.  I also had dinner by myself outside at Lou Malnati's.  There I was trying out my first deep dish pizza with a glass of red wine watching the people pass by.  I didn't get to enjoy any outdoor restaurants when I was in Ireland or Sweden because of the weather, but Charleston had so many to choose from.  I highly recommend Poogan's Porch and Eli's Table as cute outdoor spots for brunch.  Great food too.  I will always prefer sitting outside over being indoors.  The atmosphere instantly feels lighter and casual, especially if you are dining alone.




Trying International Beer

So here's the weird thing.  I am not a beer drinker, at all.  It usually makes me feel full and I am just not a huge fan. If I ever have a drink, it's always a glass of wine.  I enjoy trying out new wines whenever I travel too, especially at dinner.  It always relaxes me.  In Ireland and Sweden though, I started trying out different international beers and I think it's become a new thing for me. I wanted to have Guinness in Ireland for my father and I surprisingly liked it, a lot.  I enjoyed my visit at the Guinness Storehouse so much, especially since I got to taste four different kinds of Guinness and even take one home with me.  In Stockholm, my friends and I ordered a different beer every time we went to a bar or restaurant.  I think my favorite one was MARIESTADs.  So now whenever I visit a new country, I want to try at least one new international beer.  Like I said, I never drink beer at home and if I do it's usually super light.  When traveling though, I've found that it's something that I actually enjoy.  Strange? Maybe. lol I just think when I am completely taken away from my comfort zone and environment, I am so much more open to doing and trying new things.  I enjoy when that side of me comes out. 


Wander Aimlessly

I don't like to get lost, especially in a new city, but I do enjoy walking around with no set destination sometimes.  As long as I have my hotel address, I can easily enter it into the maps app in my iPhone to find my way back or of course ask someone to help me with directions.  Make sure to download Maps.me.  It helps you navigate your way when you are not on WiFi.  Total life saver.  Sometimes when traveling to a new place, you can stress yourself out with a set schedule and planning out literally every detail. While I do love making lists of the top things that I want to do and see, I also just enjoy free time to explore and see what I come across.  I do this every time I go somewhere new and love finding some hidden gems along the way, like Oak Street Beach in Chicago.  So the next time you travel, set a few hours aside to just walk around with no destination.  Some of the things that you stumble upon will surprise you. 


There are definitely more things that I love to do, but I just wanted to name a few!  Do you enjoy the things on my list as well?  Thanks for checking out today's post.  Have a great one!


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