Archive for the “Europe” Category

Falling in Love with the Land of Elves

As we stared up at the sky, patches of neon and dark green changed to light pink and back to green. They came out of nowhere, hung like curtains on invisible hangers, and danced a duet to an unheard symphony. They would appear, vanish, and reappear all over the sky. My companions, Lulu and Germaine (two friends from France spending the week driving around Iceland), and I stared, bewildered, as the Northern Lights danced above us. It was the first […]

How to Spend Four Days in Prague

Prague is a destination that always seems to be in vogue. It’s been on the tourist map for a long time and the crowds show no signs of abating. Prague is a gorgeous, well-preserved medieval city coupled with a rich history, expansive parks, Vegas-style nightlife, and a hint of romance. The city holds a special place in my heart; it was the first city I backpacked through on my round-the-world trip in 2006. It was where I stayed at my […]

30 Fantastic Photos from Iceland to Inspire Your Next Trip

Last month, I finally visited Iceland. Iceland wasn’t the impossible budget destination people made it out to be. The locals were warm and welcoming, took me around, and showed me their homes. They were incredibly hospitable and I made a lot of Icelandic friends on my trip. And, while locals make any destination better, what blew my mind was the magnificence of the natural landscape. It’s bewitching. You find yourself in a spellbound daze as you move from place to […]

11 Tips to Help You Visit Expensive Iceland on Budget

Iceland. The land of sheep, northern lights, volcanoes with unpronounceable names (try Eyjafjallajökull), and high prices. It’s supposedly one of the least budget-friendly countries in the world – which made visiting even more appealing to me. I always view expensive countries as a challenge. Figuring out how to visit a country on the cheap is like solving a puzzle to me and I relished the challenge of figuring out if Iceland could be visited on a budget. And, after eleven […]

I’m Off to Iceland

Next Tuesday, I’m making good on a birthday promise. Last year, I wrote a blog called “19 Things to Do Before I Turn 35” as a way to direct my travels. But when I turned 33 this year, I realized I hadn’t accomplished a single thing on that list, which was kind of depressing. So in order to live up to my own goals, I pulled the trigger and booked plane tickets to destinations on that list (Iceland, the Caribbean, […]

My Long-Distance Travel Romance

From the first moment I looked upon Paris, I was in love. Paris was everything I thought it would be — beautiful, sophisticated, ancient, orderly, and relaxed. All the clichés were true. As I stared at the Arc de Triomphe and then down the boulevard of the Champs-Élysées, fashionably dressed people in their fitted pants, beautiful dresses, and black jackets moved around me, a tourist too dumbstruck to move. I was in love. Subsequent visits only deepened my love for […]

This is the Best Thai Food Outside of Thailand

I’ve left pieces of my heart in many places around the world: New York, Paris, Stockholm, and Hong Kong to name a few. But no place has a bigger piece than Thailand. It was my home for a long time (and in many ways still is). No amount of time there is long enough, and any amount of time away is too long. Whenever I miss it, I head to a Thai restaurant, shock the staff by speaking Thai, enjoy […]

Walking Among the Dead at Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Death is not the end for the residents of Père Lachaise in Paris. Their tombs and graves are gawked at every day by hundreds of camera-touting tourists seeking the cemetery’s famous and not-so-famous inhabitants. The cemetery was built in 1804 as the city ran out of room for new graves within its limits. It was named after Louis XIV’s confessor, Père François de la Chaise (1624–1709), who lived in a house near the cemetery land. At the time, the locals […]

22 Ways to Save Money in Paris

Uncorking a bottle of French wine on a sunny day, spreading Brie on a baguette, gazing out on the Paris skyline in front of the Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre—to me, that’s the perfect day. Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world thanks to its cobblestone streets lit up at night under the glow of street lights, historic architecture, incredible music, savory delicious food, and smartly-dressed locals. Paris is a city I just melt into. But Paris is also […]

Prague: Back to Where it Began

My life as a backpacker began in Prague. I arrived there two months into my trip. But those two months were spent staying with friends and driving across the US. It wasn’t spent in hostels or meeting travelers. Up until that time, my trip had always felt like an extended vacation. But all that changed in Prague. Prague was the first place I stayed in a hostel and had to make friends with strangers in dorms, navigate on my own […]