travel prep; one step closer

Don’t call it a dream call it a plan! I try not to plan too much for my travels, cause I like the spontaneous side of it when you are there. But I love the small preparations that are needed before going. Here is my list of the small things to do when preparing a travel or about to change your dream to a plan.

  1. Find out where you wanna go, light some candlelight, look at a world map and listen to your heart where it wanna take you.
  2. Check out flight tickets to appreciate the fact that it is actually not as expensive as you thought!
  3. Check visa requirements to be sure you are aware of that if you need to apply in advance
  4. Buy the Lonely Planet book for your next destination. Now it is
    becoming real. You invested in your future plan, you got your new travel buddy sorted – your travel book.
  5. Get the needed vaccinations, it actually feels good to get those stamps in your vaccination card and to feel the soreness in the arm the day after. Suddenly you can feel your dream is becoming real.
  6. Get the visas or the passport photos for visa on arrival
  7. Buy the flight tickets
  8. Pack your backpack (remember to bring some cash with you) and GO! Yay. As simple as that.

I am at step 7 and just about the buy my flight tickets for my big travel abroad back to Asia and to South America. I am super excited! How far are you in your dreams and plans? :-*

Make it real! Make it happen!

Letting go of the safe and comfortable life

This is one of the toughest decisions I have made. But I know that sometimes you have to let go of something good to make room for something greater. To let go of the safe and comfortable life to open up for new opportunities.

It has been hard and I have been in doubt if it would be the right decision, but I know deep inside that this is what I want to do. I remembered when I first moved over here to UK my best friend asked me how long I planned to stay and work here and I answered; “I don’t know, maybe half a year, maybe two years if I like it..” and now I have been here over two years. I have experienced so many things, made some new friends who means the world to me and created a home and a life I am going to miss deeply. I am leaving England to move closer to my roots. Today I handed in my resignation letter and it feels scary, sad and exciting at the same time. I am closing a chapter of my life and turning the page. Who knows what this new chapter brings. I know that it will start with an incredible adventure travelling in Asia and South America maybe to help me finding the way back home.

“Ciao bella” – solo travelling in South Italy

“Ciao bella”, “ciao bella” I already miss all the compliments from the friendly and good looking Italians. Sicily is definitely not a bad place to go if you want to travel solo and need some time off. I was determined when I was planning my holiday back to South Italy.  Some people told me I shouldn’t go back to Sicily now when me and my ex had broken up, it would just be heartbreaking to go back. Well, my first thought after the break up was “Oh yes, watch me I am still going on holiday!” There was no doubt I still wanted to go, this time just alone! My flight tickets were already bought and I had the holiday off work. Who would say no to a bit of sunshine, sea coast and mountains, good redwine and lovely Italian food anyways?

So I packed my LonelyPlanet South Italy book and Italian phrasebook in my vintage leather weekendbag (you don’t want to bring a bag with wheel to drag in the Italian small streets for your information) together with a bit of clothes for a week and got on my 3h flight from London to Palermo. The holiday already started out quite good with getting invited out for dinner and drinks by the local guys I was sitting next to in the plane. Haha, those Italian men are really not shy! Anyways I had a great first evening and got showed around in the city and funny enough I saw a lot of beautiful buildings like the theatre and some ports that I didn’t even see last time I was in Palermo. After two days in Palermo with visiting a small village outside as well where they had a fun event with car race with old Italian cars I head off to the east coast. At this point I could speak a little (very little!!) Italian and managed to buy my train ticket from Palermo to Taormina all in Italian (the Italian class started to pay off), I was so damn proud of myself and realised that I manage just fine on my own even in a country they don’t speak much English, and I loved showing off my Italian language;)

The east coast was a perfect destination. Taormina was beautiful! It is a small town on the top of the hill so you have a beautiful view over the sea and all the small streets are full of stairs to go anywhere in the town, quite a special charm. However due to low season it was very quiet and a lot of restaurants and bars were closed for the winter which was  a shame, also not many other tourists were around. After sightseeing for a day seeing the ruins of the Greek Theatre, the public garden, Piazza IX Aprile, Corso Umberto and Isola Bella I decided to continue my travel and go south to Catania.

          

Catania is a fantastic city, it is a big city but a lot of charm and again it was just beautiful. You still have a lot of the small typical Italian streets full of plants and with all the small restaurants and cafés and then the main squares and big shopping streets. It was just perfect for me as a solo traveller. I was staying at a B&B close to Piazza Duomo with the impressive cathedral and fountain dell’Elefante, I furthermore visited the park Maestranze and the teatre Massimo Bellini. In night time I went to Agorá bar which is very popular among the locals as well as tourists and it has a cool vibe, live music and very crowded every night, full of young happy people. The drinks are cheap and before you know it the clock is 3am in the morning. Definitely a visit worth, but for your info you need a table, just ask for one and you can have a drink while waiting about 20-30 minutes for a table.
I had some fun days and nights in Catania and booked a day trip to Mt Etna through Etna Sicily Touring, I can highly recommend them, it was not expensive, we travelled in a small group in a 4W car and the guide was great telling us all about Mt Etnas and “her” history. It was fantastic to see the volcano and walk around one of the craters even though all  covered in snow on the day I went up there, I definitely want to come back in the spring or summer time to see some of the lava and see the scenic changes.

I was really sad to leave after a week, I could easily have stayed another week or two. The locals are so friendly and chatty and the food is inexpensive and delicious not to mentioned all the wine;) It was easy and safe to travel alone though quite a lot of attention as blond girl;) Sicily will always have a special place in my heart and I will come back for sure.

Break up abroad – a girls diary

There I was all alone and abandoned in another city just dumped by my boyfriend like I was some garbage and then waiting for a bus so I could get home and cry.

Now when I look back I remember when I started seeing this Italian guy that I thought it was never going to work, we seemed so different both with culture and personality and ambitions in life, but sometimes you let your heart decide and give it a chance. Seven months later it turned out I was right; he decided that I was not the right girl and he dumped me…. at the train station when we came back from holiday.

I was so upset and suddenly felt very alone for the first time in a while. My head was full of questions and my heart of anger and sadness. How could any person just leave their loved ones in such a disrespectful way at a station and with so little words and without caring for the other person’s feelings or situation of getting home. It is hard with break ups when you live abroad or travelling – your really close friends are so far away and you feel an emptiness on a totally different level that is hard to describe.
I decided not to be embarrassed about the whole situation but be angry and sad instead and when everybody back at work and my friends asked me how my holiday had been I answered openly and honest and it actually felt as a relief to be able to do that. I didn’t have to hide my feelings and I could share the breakup with colleagues and friends. It was so lovely to feel all the care and support from them and that was exactly what I needed. After a week I sent him a message explaining how I felt he had treated me, not really to throw mud but to let the anger off my chest and to get a proper closure.

Now I am listening to myself and focusing more on my own plans and ideas and it feels free not to have to involve another person but just listen to my own heart and mind and what I want to do. I am happy again and excited about all my travel plans and changes in 2017. I can feel it is gonna be a great year and I am full of positive energy again.

Rebekka xx

Christmas Adventure in Lincolnshire

So we did it again! Just taking off in the campervan, this time 2016-12-10-16-53-50without doing much preparation (I remembered the tea this time though), but with our new brilliant guidebook AA’s “The Caravan & Camping guide 2017”, which has loads of camping spots all over UK
2016-12-11-09-24-36for our little campervan. I was working Friday so we had a good sleep in Saturday morning and my boyfriend picked a beautiful city for our weekend Christmas adventure 1.5h drive from here – Lincoln! We showed up at a campsite that was open this time of year located just outside Lincoln and to our surprise it was really beautiful and the owner was friendly and helpful. We had a perfect spot for the night next to a lake with company of the ducks and close to the bathroom and water taps. 2016-12-10-19-17-15 We had an amazing night out in Lincoln with dinner and mulled wine in a cozy pub, really a perfect atmosphere and then a good night in the campervan with the heater on.  On the Sunday we had time for some Christmas shopping and visiting antique – and vintage shops before heading back home. It is a beautiful city and great weekend out, so if you haven’t visited Lincoln yet it is definitely a visit worth.

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I love this new life style, it is so free and I can’t wait for all the future adventures with the campervan! I am in love!
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First night out with Vituzzu the campervan <3

The campervan aka Vituzzu was packed with sleeping bag,
blankets, road map, an electric heater, 20161127_135915coffee, cocoa, redwine and food when we headed off to Peak District National Park in Mid England. We actually hadn’t planned much, but looked at some walking paths in the national park and found a camping place nearby. We arrived in the afternoon and after celebrating our first trip out with Vituzzu with a cup of wine (yes wine in a camping plastic cup) we walked down to the 20161127_133337local pub and ended up staying there in front of the fire for 4 hours chatting with some lovely campers. I luckily remembered to bring a flash light to make our 10 minutes walk back again to the campsite later that night. It was brilliant at the campsite, we got electric heater in the campervan to keep us all warm and cozy in the evening and in the night when lying there in the sleeping bag talking and smiling about life. 20161127_102230When we woke up we could make fresh coffee in the little kitchen and then we left the place to go trekking in the hills. It was so beautiful, we never really found the route we had planned but ended up just going free style and walking up the hill and around on the top and coming back down again further along the valley following the river back. It was a perfect weekend out and amazing atmosphere with camping in the campervan and hanging out at the pub in the evening. Good combination of trekking in the nature, being cozy in the campervan drinking redwine and visiting the pub <3 We will definitely be back out soon again.

Back in Wales for beautiful scenery and a pint of beer

It was pissing down rain when we headed off early Saturday morning from Mansfield but started to clear up when we arrived hours later in the small town Knighton in mid Wales. I used to live in Knighton when I first moved over to UK. 20150926_134442Everything looked the same; the clock tower in the middle with the red telephone box next to it and the little Saturday farm market with homemade pesto and pâté at the community centre. 2016-11-12-16-00-50After visiting the little market and buying some tasty stuff for our picnic we went to the local pub for a pint of beer and game of pool. Later in the afternoon we left Knighton hitting the mountain road through Elan Valley and following a scenic drive in the hills with plenty of sheep. We ended in Aberystwyth in the evening, which is a beautiful town at the coast with a promenade along the beach. We walked down the promenade holding hands and listening to the sea. For dinner we found a mediterranean restaurant with great food and afterwards a wine bar to celebrate love and freedom.

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It was perfect! We stayed at a B&B that night and next morning we walked around in the town enjoying the beautiful view of the beach and collecting few little stones before heading back to Nottinghamshire in England. It was such a fantastic weekend, full of love and beautiful scenery.

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I cannot wait for our next little weekend trip which is going to Peak District National Park in England.

In London with the girls

Finally I was going to London to see the girls back from university. Some of them I had not seen for a year and I really missed them all.
2016-10-28-18-38-00It was a great idea to meet up in London, easy for everyone with cheap flights and just spending a little weekend together the six of us. It was really what I needed, seeing the girls again and talk about everything and falling asleep in our bunk beds while girl talking. It’s quite expensive to stay in London, so we stayed in a simple hotel downtown to keep it cheap, it was clean and worked just fine. Friday night when we arrived we wandered around a bit on Oxford street and found a small Italian restaurant on one of the smaller side streets, a tip for future would be to book table the first night out, we spent some time on finding a place because since it was Friday most places were full and it was difficult to get a table.

Our weekend turned out great. London is a fantastic city with its diversity and offering a lot of good pubs, restaurants, markets and shopping streets.

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We quickly agreed to just skip all the sights – we have all seen them by now and we just wanted to spend more time being cozy in the pubs and cafés and shopping. I love the markets, you find a lot of small stalls with unique things from different unknown designers, a lot of the stuff pretty cool and if I had more money I would definitely have bought lots more! While in London I visited Covent garden market, Old Spitalfields market, and Brick Lane market. 2016-10-30-11-48-01Great markets with a bit of everything! I bought few unique jewelry – ring, necklaces and ear rings, vintage dress, small gifts and a bag. There were these cool lamps as well and a girl who made some funky holders with air plants which I loved! but I resisted my temptation and tried to keep my shopping under control;)

For your inspiration I have made a little list of markets where you can get great food, vintage clothes, gifts, antiques, stuff from local designer, and accessories. 2016-10-30-14-56-30Most markets have their own website now so check it out and make sure you get the chance to go to some of them next time you visit London: Old Spitalfields market , Covent Garden market, Brick Lane market, Borough market, Brixton market, Camden market, Portobello road market, and Greenwich market. I am sure there are plenty more markets, so check out what kind of market you would like to go to.

We had a lovely time in London and the time just flew. I went back to the little town I live in by bus from London – a 4 hour drive Sunday evening and God what a contrast to get back to the boring town compared to the exciting life in London and the buzz of the big city. I already miss London and the lovely girls.

See you soon again London baby!