Drink Scotch Whisky, All Night Long

(A memorable line from one of my favorite Steely Dan songs on the Aja album.)


IMG_0506Or all day long, if you are in Scotland!
On a truly Scottish morning, grey and damp, we got an early start to walk about the city and plan the day.  Walking past Edinburgh Castle shrouded in misty, passing through a market, and from Old Town to New Town.  Seeing this beautiful city on foot is really the best way to go.

After a stroll, it was 11AM and time to head off to the Scotch Whiskey Experience for a lesson on scotch whisky making and a little tasting.

What?  Scotch Whisky at 11am?  Are you crazy?

Maybe only a little crazy, but it’s actually best to do a tasting earlier in the day before one’s pallet is tainted.  And besides, what could be more Scottish?!

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This tour included an entertaining little ride in a barrel to discover the ingredients and techniques used to make scotch whisky as well as a lesson on the different scotch making regions in Scotland, each with different flavors and specialties.

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After the learning came the tasting! We got a review of the old swirl, sniff, and sip techniques while admiring one of the worlds largest collections of unopened scotch.

 

 

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After this, if you possessed the “Golden Ticket” you had the opportunity to sit in the cafe and explore a tasting flight of 4 additional different Scotch samples from the different regions discussed on the tour.  I discovered Highland Scotch is for me and anything to smoky makes me cough, but there was no complaining involved, how often will this get to happen!

 


Now personally, I’ve always been a gin girl myself… but there is something very pleasing about a smoky scotch to warm you on a chilly evening.  I was also in luck, as there was plenty of gin to be found in Scotland!  My favorite haunt?  Nicholson’s Bar– basically a whole section of the menu dedicated to “build your own Gin & Tonic” and I was in heaven.

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My favorite of the evening?  Williams Aged Sloe & Mulberry Gin with Lemon Tonic.

If I could get this in the states, I would fill my apartment with it (sadly they don’t bill or ship outside of the UK).  Basically a little sweet and more tart then other gins I’ve had. Very different from many gins in that the juniper flavor was very low key.  The Lemon Tonic added a lot, and who knew there were so many different options for tonic!


So yes, on this trip there was a lot of (good) drinking.  Instant coffee all morning- don’t get me started on this!- and Spirits all night.

On our walking adventures we did find a cute local coffee shop, aka not Starbucks, and had a peaceful sit down to sip lattes and watch the people go by.  I’ve found that everywhere I go I’m looking for a local coffee place to perch relax, it really helps me feel like I’m actually living in a place and in that moment, a member of the local community.  It’s like a tradition.  My local corner in Upper Manhattan, Anomali Coffee in Ubud, Bali and  now Procafination in Edinburgh!  Really no better place to get a feel for a city, while taking care of my never ending caffeine need  😉


Have you had the opportunity to drink whiskey in Scotland?  What fun drinks have you found on your globe trekking adventures?   Share them in the comments below!

Always,

C

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If you give a Jones a passport…

She is going to want to leave the country.

If you let a Jones leave the country…

Upon her return, she is going to want to leave again!


And again and again… Yes it’s happened.  I told ya’ll I’d been bitten by the travel bug and within 3 months of my first international trip, I’ve already come and gone once more.  And with the travel list growing, I’ll be on a jet sooner then I ever expected, I’m sure.

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I’ve come to find that international travel, while it can be pricy, it’s that scary or hard, as I always imagined.  There are so many beautiful, amazing, historical, and exciting places out there and I want to see them.  I don’t want to look at the pictures others take, I want to take my own but see each scene though my eyes first.  I understand now how to leave and enjoy the journey, then come back and live my life with all the life changing experiences in my back pocket.

Growing up I want’s going to London or Paris for Spring break.  I didn’t spend summer on a beach in Mexico or the Caribbean.  I didn’t study a culture that is currently in existence (ancient Rome and Greece are buried somewhere among modern day cities) that one can visit for a semester.  I mean, I hardly traveled by air plane until I moved to New York and couldn’t always be road tripping home.  Some may say I missed out, but I always had my passport… I just needed the right people at the right time to actually pick a place, pack a bag, and go!


Traveling as a young adult is actually pretty great.

I get to pick where I’m going and what I’m doing when I get there.

As I’m paying for the travel, I’m planning wisely and then thoroughly enjoying it all, cause I know I worked very hard to be where I am. IMG_0316

Other then my kitten, I don’t have much to worry about that I’m leaving behind.  I am not always worried or checking in on the family.  There isn’t someone fussing about and waiting for me to come home to cook, clean, or do anything.

As we know, I’m a planner, which means I can give my job plenty of notice and then work very hard to set the studio up for success as well as rack up my little vacation hours.  This way, as soon as wheels are up, I can relax while I’m away.

All of this because you gave a Jones a passport.  And that passport, after sitting in a lock box for years is finally getting a little rough around the edges and filled with stamps.

That’s it.  Just a quick little thoughtful post.  Nothing to fancy, nothing to long.

Where are you headed with your passport?

Always,

C

5 Reasons to Have a Travel Buddy

My dearest friend Savannah recently posted a piece on the amazing perks and benefits of traveling solo.  Read it here and check out her entire blog while you are at it!

While I am fully on the same page, solo travel looks like it can be amazing, I thought why not take a few minutes to write a counter piece to hers?  Just for blogger fun and to show case another side of traveling.


My amazing roommate (and great friend) Megan and I have been taking to the skies quite a bit in the past few months.  While she has traveled solo, I have yet to leave the country on my own- one thing at a time!  Between our 10 day trip to Bali and our quick but exciting weekend excursion to Scotland, we have come across a lot of good reasons to travel with a trusted travel buddy.

1. Double check that packing list::  Traveling with someone means you both have a build in bag checker.  Are you notorious for overpacking?  Always forgetting the basics?  When you are packing for a trip with someone else you have the amazing added benefit of a second set of eyes that can go over and through what you packed and make sure you have all the basics (socks?  toothbrush?) and your are not over doing it (for a 3 day trip do you really need 5 pairs of pants?).

Knowing you have what you need makes every trip that much less stressful!

2.  Personal photographers::  As much fun as it is to take selfies at every scenic spot, or never be in your own pictures, or walk up to other travelers and ask then to take a picture of you… when you have a travel buddy, you can take turns getting just the right shot of each other.  You both have build in photographers!  Today so much of our lives are wrapped up in social media, how could you live if you didn’t post just the right shot on Instagram?

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3.  Try new things::  As Savannah mentions in her post, when you are traveling solo there is no need to compromise on places you want to go, things you want to eat, mountains you want to hike, or scenes you want to see.  But on the other hand, when you travel with someone you can push each other to see new sights and try new things.  The borders of your comfort zone may be shifted a little, but usually it’s for the best and you may get a chance to explore something totally new that you never though of!  When we were in Bali, I may never have thought of taking a cooking class or swinging into a waterfall, but I did (thanks of Megan) and those may have been some of the highlights of the trip!

4.  Watching your back::   Safety in numbers.  And if you are traveling in a pair or group you are not alone.  Personally I have yet to have any sort of situation, but I feel more comfortable knowing I have someone who knows where I am and should I not come home, get hurt, or act to strange… it’s good to know someone should notice and take action.  Traveling with a buddy you also have someone to watch your bags when you stop to use the restroom or step into a fitting room.

5.  Second opinions::  “Now do you really need that shirt?  It’s like the other 2 you got yesterday…”  Yes, traveling with someone means you have someone to run decisions by.  Should we spend the day at another temple?  Do you need that shirt?  Maybe we should eat someplace else?  You have someone to bounce ideas off of and continue to push your boundaries a little.

Having a travel partner also means you can split checks, take turns thinking of plans and making arrangements, split the responsibilities of trip planning in general!


Megan and I have started taking turns picking our next travel destinations and that’s great too, cause I wouldn’t think of doing 10 days in Spain & Portugal (2018…?) and maybe she wouldn’t have thought of Bali, but we are sure glad we went!

OK, so your thoughts?  Travel solo, travel with a buddy?  Share your experiences and let’s see where we end up next!

Always,

C

Live from Scotland 

Well, made it to  Edinburgh! Actually we got in yesterday but its been non stop exploring and adventuring… And after not getting any sleep on the flight across the pond, it was a very long day.   So while, it’s well past 11pm over here, it’s just getting to be evening back home and what else would you all love to do but read a blog post from yours truly.  

I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. I can promise there will be some good pictures to go along with my babbling writing! Please forgive any typos or layout mistakes, WordPress on an iPad is very difficult to work on… Anyway… Off we go-

Upon landing, navigating the tram, and  getting into the city center, we found our hostel and got checked in.  We pre-booked beds at Castle Rock Hostel (full review coming soon) cause Savannah was staying there, and it’s literally right outside of Edinburgh Castle… So my view comic or going at any time is sorta kinda AMAZING!

View of Edinburgh Castle from the front door of my hostel!


And speaking of Savannah, once we were checked in and on the wifi, we found each other and started off on our first adventure.

Chris, Savannah, and Megan with Edinburgh Castle in the background


The first stop on this adventure, lunch. And a drink.  Even after 2 small bottles of wine on the initial flight over (oh I have so much to tell y’all about international carriers and flights, it might be a 2 part post) and a 5 hour layover, I had hardly slept and airport snacks will only get you so far.  When someone recommends a place and we get aids out if we show our hostel card you say YES! First stop- Fiddlers Arms for a drink and some food. The Drunken Roommates and Savannah had officially come to Edinburgh.

Our faces may not be pictured, but I think our drink selections give us away 😉


After being properly fed, it was time to explore Old Town and see what’s in the neighborhood.

View from Edinburgh Castle. Literally, there’s home!

Little stair cases and alleys or “close” wind all around connecting main streets and looking amazing.

Literally just some pretty building fronts along a curving road in Old Town


Gorgeous, right??

We ended the day with my favorite, GIN! Yes, we found a place that specializes in all sorts of different gins and tonics. Basically you can build your own and I chose a combo I’ve never had before and may never have again, so it was time to enjoy– Williams Aged Sloe & Mulberry Gin with Lemon Tonic. I don’t think that  right now I have the words to describe the amazingness of this, so just enjoy looking at it and secretly wishing you had one in your hand this Friday evening!

Williams Aged Sloe & Mulberry Gin with Lemon Tonic

Today we did a 12 hour bus tour of the Scotish Highlands, Urquhart Castle, and Loch Ness.  Maybe we saw Nessie, maybe we didn’t… That’s for another post on another day but I’ll just say, there will be a lot of sheep and castle coming your way!


Have a Scotland experience to share?  Enjoy, can’t wait to hear from you!
Always, 

C

Tips to Travel: Let’s Pack

Packing

Not one of my least favorite things, but not something I’m the best at either.  I always pack way to much and have a seriously heavy bag.   “But I don’t know what I’ll want!” I always say.  Or I’m traveling by car and can throw things in till the very last minute.  

Now I’m off on my second ever international trip and I figured it was time to talk about my travel bag and packing technique. 

I’m writing this from the Heathrow London airport, but let’s look back to packing for my Bali trip.

Well, this time it was different.  I get one carry on bag and I get to be in Indonesia for 10 days.

Pack light. Pack smart.

That’s the focus here today.  (Have I mentioned this is my first trip out of the country?  There are things to pack that I didn’t even think about at first, thank goodness for guide books!)

Well, where to begin.  Let’s start with the bag.  I’ve been saying this whole time I don’t want to be that little white girl tourist with my neon pink and orange Vera Bradly cotton duffle… so getting a new piece of travel luggage was essential.  I didn’t want wheels so backpack it was.  I talked to friends who travel more then I about brands and did my own online research into bags as well as retailers- to make the most informed, practical, and economical decision.  I settled on Osprey brand, the Porter series.  It’s a backpack that opens and packs like a suitcase (not rummaging to the bottom for things) and the straps can be tucked into a pocket so it turns into a duffle.  There are external pockets for easy access to travel essentials and electronics.  It’s water resistant and “Carry-On” approved size- for most major airlines- so basically everything I wanted in a bag.

What’s going in this fabulous thing?  Well packed clothes and toiletries specific to this trip.  As it’s December- it’s cold in New York and, ummhmm, Bali is in the tropics… so the seasonal clothing is very different.  I’m planning on purchasing a fair amount of things there- harem pants, sarongs, dresses- but some things- shoes, undergarments, yoga cloths- will be coming along from day one.  Toothbrush, toothpast, mouth wash, lotion, the works will all be neatly packed in my airline approved clear quart size bag.  I’m exploring something new for this trip- bar shampoo- to cut back on things that are liquids and save room, as well as bar soap.

I’ve been torn between using Packing Cubes or Vac-Pack bags to neatly fold and store clothes during this trip, or just kinda throwing stuff in and hoping for the best.  … Ok, no I wouldn’t do that, but is it worth it?  Packing Cubes- they come in different sizes and neatly hold your clothes- which can be sorted by style and size.  The cubes usually fit neatly together in the bottom of your bag and can be stacked with ease.  Vac-Pack bags are a serious space saver.  Even if you think you are packing and folding tightly- get clothes in one of these things and roll or “vac” out all that extra air- and it’s like you have nothing in your bag.  They can lay flat in the bottom of a bag and a zip-lock like quick release makes it easy to access your things.

I guess we shall see and I’ll be telling ya’ll about it when I decided!

(Ultimately I went with one Vac-Pack bag and one storage cube. Everything else just neatly folded)

Let’s talk electronics and chargers for a hot second.  No, computer will not be making the trip, iPad is a maybe.  Phone, does anyone travel anywhere without one anymore?  For all devices, remember your charger and cords!  Not all electrical plugs are the same- so an international charging converter is a MUST.  

I took a page out of Savannah’s play both here, and got a cute but inexpensive little bag for all my chords and chargers.  This way they can all be in one place and easy to get to.    In general I like to separate things into their own little bag, then nothing is just loose in the large compartment of my main bag.

Guide books and maps will be coming along, of course, as well as a journal.  

The more I’ve begun to travel, the easier it has become to pack appropriately and neatly.  I’m off to Scotland for 3 days, so I’ve packed much lighter then Bali but I’m still ready for adventure.
I’ll post Live From Edinburgh once I’m there!
Always, 

C

Tips to Travel:: Travel Bug

Travel Bug:  A strong desire to travel and see new places… It’s almost as bad a the flu!

Ok, maybe not the flu, but sense I returned from Bali back in December, I’m dying to take to the skies again and go someplace new (which as we know is just about anywhere for me).  So of course Megan and I started a list.  A list of places we would like to go and things to do, which includes but it not limited too Spain and Portugal, Iceland, Ireland, England, and many more.

As I picked Bali as a long trip, Megan get to pick next- and it’s decided -Spain and Portugal will be the next extended trip (within the next year-ish, fingers crossed)!

But what do you do when your very dear friend is hostel hopping and performing around Europe and you want to get out of the cold bleak winter of New York?   You pick a city on their tour, book a quick flight and a nearby hostel, tell your job your are taking a long weekend, and find your travel duffel.  #EdinburghBound


The Travel Bug can be contagious.  You see other people traveling and taking amazing pictures and having wonderful times and you just HAVE to get in on the action!  (Have you checked out my friend Savannah and her blog while she hops around Europe?)

Travel with friends so you have someone to take all this great pics of you and to enjoy a morning coffee with.

Travel in the off season if you are looking for better rates and don’t book the first flight you find, check for different deals and airlines.  Deals are out there if you are willing to take the time to hunt.

Hostelworld.com has become my best friend when it comes to looking and booking accommodations.  Don’t go for those main stream hotels, staying in a hostel or home-stay will save you money AND give you an amazing way to connect to the people, country, and culture you are visiting!

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Remember your guide book!  (I promise this will be a whole post on it’s own sometime soon), but when you are headed out on an adventure it’s always good to have one in your back pocket.  Preferably a guide book that has been read, dog-eared, and loved on a little.

 


You can catch this bug fast and symptoms can include irritability, wonder, feeling frigidity, and a strong desire to do something kinda drastic… like cut or dye your hair, buy something big, or… wait for it… TRAVEL TO A NEW PLACE! 😀

Where are you headed on your next grand adventure?  We are all ears!

Always,

C

 

Bali Files: Trekking and Cats

Doesn’t that just sound like 2 of my FAVORITE things!?  And of course 2 totally unrelated things that we found in Bali.


Trekking, there was actually a lot of trekking on this trip, but something I was looking forward to the most was hiking the Campuhan Ridge Walk just ever so North of the main drag in Ubud.  I’d seen pictures on Instagram about it and seen it mentioned in the guide books… now we were here and I wanted to find it and go on an adventure… getting my own amazing pictures!

What I wanted was to take on this trek without a guide.  I can find a trail and walk along it without paying someone to do it with me.  Besides, I would rather pay for a day adventure I can’t get to on my own two feet… like the waterfall from last post!

Thank goodness I had a copy of the Lonely Planet guidebook to Bali & Lombok… because it detailed out very clearly exactly how to find the start to this trail, which was sort of the hardest part.  But once we were off and going, it was a clear trail to follow and an absolutely breathtaking view!  We could see mountains shrouded in clouds far off in the distance, houses hidden in jungle leaves, farmers working in the fields below, and just green as far as the eye could see while listening to the river rushing far below.

Honestly I really can’t do this experience justice with words.  So here are a bunch of pictures from the trail— jungle, mountains, rice fields, trees— basically true beauty in Bali.


Cats.  We all know how I feel about cats.  I love them.  So of course when we stumbled across “The Cat Cafe Ubud” after yoga class one day, I had to go.  We planned it for breakfast the next day.

We arrived in the morning and like any self respecting cat, they were all snoozing on various comfortable perches.  This cafe is home to over a dozen domestic kitties who ended up there for various reasons- abandoned, found, of there sense they were kittens.  Most cats were long haired Persians, but there were a few short hairs as well.

Anyway, so we arrive and of course are the only ones there with a bunch of sleeping cats.  We agree to not feed the cats, step on the cats, annoy the cats in any way, be overly loud around the cats, etc etc etc and we order breakfast.   The whole time being completely ignored by the cats.

That is till the food arrives… then send in the fuzzy monsters (jk, not monsters).  But really, we were suddenly surrounded by furry inquisitive faces that wanted a taste of our food… and they were not shy about it.

Honestly I think they just wanted to cream that my pancakes were soaked in and Megan’s coffee, cause they were pretty uninterested in the green juice!  Typical cat.

Have no fear, no one fed the cats and we left without sneaking anyone in my bag to take home!  I know there are cat cafe’s in New York, but something about not having to fight off snot nosed kids or wait in line for a tiny plate of food, made enjoying this cafe in Bali even more… well, enjoyable!

Have you been to Bali?  What was your favorite adventure?  Share here!

Always,

C

Bali Files: Sidewalks and Waterfalls

I know I’ve kept ya’ll waiting!  But 1 month seemed to go by so fast and I don’t even know where to begin sharing all the adventures and stories from Bali.  675 pictures later… I better have some good stuff to tell and fun sights to share, but where to start?!

Let’s start with the 4 big important things:  1. no one got sick  2.  no once got hurt  3. got back into the country without issue  and 4. got to work Monday like I never missed a beat.

Now of course it’s basically snowing in NYC as I write this and I’m serenaded by the sounds of snow plows instead of tropical birds and rain showers… but whatcha gonna do?


Ok, I’ll pick two fun things to share this time and just keep doling out stories, tips, adventures, and photos for a while!


Sidewalks and waterfalls.  These two things have nothing in common expect that I encountered them in Bali and lived to tell about it.

The sidewalks in Ubud are interesting.  They are a series of raised blocks of tiles that run above (and cover) the water run-off… I’m tempted to say sewer, but as it didn’t smell like sewer I’m not gonna say that.  Every 3rd block of tiles or so was loose… the closest thing to a man hole, from what I could tell, that would allow one to access this water run off area and remove blockage… but the tiles were loose.  And if you stepped on this panel of loose sidewalk tiles it would shift and tilt and wobble and if you weren’t careful while walking… As Megan put it, “You will fall through the sidewalk, into the ‘sewer’, and DIE.”

Ok, maybe we were being a little tiny bit over dramatic…. but it made for some great laughs while walking all over the city.

That is, if the removable panels of sidewalk tiles were even there!  Sometimes there would just be a big gaping hole in the sidewalk for you to jump over or strategically skirt around and be cartful not to walk into traffic.  Other times there were just little holes… as we would have cracks in the sidewalk… these were cracks with nothing underneath them… so  we call them holes!

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On one of the day long treks we went on, GitGit Waterfall was one of the planned stops.  The guide book (always trust your guide book, ALWAYS!  Post on this later) said it was a must see, a tourist attraction, and a beautiful twin waterfall in the mountains of Bali.  So OK, sounds like something cool to see. The driver drops us off and points to a sign that leads down a questionable ramp and off into the jungle, mumbles something about getting a guide separately, tickets, and that he will be at the exit…. then off we go.

Not gonna lie, it was a little sketchy.  Not like South Bronx, East St. Louis, or some parts of Atlanta sketchy… but like OK off we go into the jungle with practically no signs and no line of tourist… ok.

But off we went and SPOILER ALERT, this was probably one of the most memorable parts of this trip.  So off we go hiking along and you can hear the waterfall long before you see it.  After paying the what-seemed-rather-expensive “entrance” ticket to get to the waterfall (meaning handing 100,000rupih to a woman sitting on an unmarked bench) and managing to wander into someones living room (I mentioned there are like no signs for were to go to find this waterfall, right?) we found the bridge that led over some rocks and right to the base of the first tier of the waterfall.  There we found some other visitors and… wait for it….img_9275

A ROPE SWING!

 

No line, no health and safety release waiver, no net… a rope tied to the top of the cliff that you could fetch with a stick and swing on into the waterfall and then plunge into the pool below!  Time to break out the bikini!!

Ok, yes mom I’m sure you are panicking and slightly freaking out, but everything was totally fine and amazingly fun!  This is totally not something we would be able to just walk up and do anywhere in the states.

So we took a few turns and a lot of videos before handing the rope off to another group that arrived, then wandered over to another pool to splash around in and OF COURSE… take more pictures.  Cause how often do we get to swim in a waterfall! in Bali!

And so, sidewalks and waterfalls.

Of course there is so much more to share, but I like this format- picking a subject and talking about it.  So there will be more!  (essentially most of the upcoming content, but I don’t think you all will mind).

Any questions about the trip?  Let me know!

Always,

C

Live from Bali

In case you were unsure, we made it to Bali! 

While I was supposed to write  post on packing (Tips to Travel:: Savvy Packer) and one on getting through the airport (Tips to Travel:: Up Up and Away) I was actually packing and getting through immigration… So those posts will come to you eventually. BUT,as I’ve been in Bali now 2 days of this 9 day trip, I thoug it would be a great time to check in and give all you fabulous people a little look at what I’ve been up to!

Yesterday, first official full day here in Ubud, was dedicated to getting out bearings and walking about. That was till yours truly got sick cause she had not been drinking enough water and then decided to go walking about (lesson learned day one, should make for a good trip). So after fetching a lot of water and coffee and carbs… What to do?   A 6 hour spa afternoon? Yes, a 6 hour spa afternoon sounds like the perfect cure to jet lag and exhaustion… That will include Sea Salt foot wash, aromatherapy massage, Royal Javanese scrub of lulur ayu, milk bath, facial, hair cream bath, mani, pedi, healthy juice, and MORE! 

Our amazing home stay (more on this later) has several complexes around the area and this includes the spa. Being able to book this basically from our room and then walk over was to great. Of course until we got stuck in the afternoon downpour and then got kinda lost on the wrong street to get to the spa. But once we were there, all I can say is pure amazing relaxations and reguvination. 

I mean, who would not want to soak in an outdoor tub full of flowers while listening to the rain!?


yup, that was pretty much my day and I feel so much better afterwards.
Today was up with the sun to go hike the Campuhan Ridge. I found this trail in my guide books (read and trust your guidebooks!!! OMG this will be a whole post on its own but seriously) and on various Bali Instagram pages that I follow. I remember back in July sitting in the studio waiting for TRX class to start and reposting a picture of this trail, now I have my own pics and I could not be more in love with this landscape. Trekking through fields of elephant grass and rice paddies with views of temples and mountains in the distance made for a breathtaking although very sweaty morning.  (No filter on photos). 


We hiked with a backpack for water and the guide book a sell as a smal first aid kit and cash. Sunscreen (take it seriously ) was applied before leaving and coffee was had at the end.   

If we wanna talk about weather for a second, it’s the beginning of the rainy season down here and afternoon thunderstorm are a thing.  I finally got to sit quietly and read a pleasure book while listening to the rain fall and not feel rushed or stressed. I could nap periodically and enjoy overly minute of it!  I’m not gonna lie, wifi bee isn’t the best and uploading pics is very challenging, but if you  bop on over to my Instagram account, @nychristiane, there should be some live stories and pics that didn’t make it here right now.  

Once the rain subsided enough it was time to find food and there is no shortage of options! Basically every type of cuisine you could want or imagine is located here and you can walk up and down street looking at everything.  Each place offers a different atmosphere and view. 
The day was ended with a Vinyasa yoga class and I’m just going to state for the record that I will neve ever again take my yoga studio and company onthe upper west side of New York City for granted again.  I’m sure I will write a post about the experiences at this particular yoga studio in Ubud Bali one day in the future, but for now I’m still undecided and don’t want to portray anything in the heat of the moment sort of thing.
And now, while you all are waking up and staring your days, I’m calling it a night. Tomorrow promises to be an early morning and full of new adventures! 

Stay tuned!

Always, 

C

Tips to Travel: Let’s Talk Money

I’ve never been comfortable discussing my financial state or income with others.  I feel like money should be included in the list of things you DON’T discuss over diner with polite company.  But times are a changin’!  It’s easy to dream big and want to do it all, to talk things up and not be able to follow through.

But at 25 and already living on a budget, planning this trip meant looking at and considering a lot of money options and making plans based on that factor.  I am also traveling with other people, so i need to know I can fund my way and uphold my part of the expenses.   Without going into great detail, I want to share here some budget tips and things to consider before taking off.

First, decide how much you can and want to spend on your trip (per person).  Set yourself a reasonable range BEFORE spending or booking then, as you look at expenses, add things up to see how it compares to what you are willing to spend.  Remember that there can (and most likely will) be unforeseen expenses and you will want to buy things at your final destination, so remember to include some funds for that.

Costs you will probably be considering can include travel (flights, bus tickets, gas, etc), lodging/housing, food, souvenirs, tickets, fees, rentals, and so on.  As well as anything you have to buy before even landing in your  destination (clothes, luggage, power converters, medication, etc).  Don’t let this hinder your adventuresome spirit but don’t get taken by surprised or stuck.

Something I have recently earned second hand and been reminded of many times::  be sure to balance your personal comfort and sanity with your budget travel.  How will you feel about your trip if you choose to save money by taking the bus, but end up having a screaming child in the row behind you and stuck on the bus for 3 times longer then you would on a plane… makes that $15 you saved seem like nothing at all for a fast, quiet trip instead.

Alright, no more stalling—

What were my big upfront costs to #BaliBound #BaliBirthday 2016?

  • Getting there
    • For this trip that means airline tickets.  Big tip:  Book in advance and travel at “off peak” times.  If you’re not traveling for the holidays, don’t travel over holiday season.  My trip has been strategically placed after the Thanksgiving rush and well before Christmas.  But I had to consider that the country I was headed to wasn’t a Christina nation and other holidays needed to be considered too.  Booking in advance is always best as is looking at the days of the week you travel.  Flying on a Friday or Saturday are notoriously more expensive then a Tuesday or Wednesday!  Best practice:  Look at several options and consider giving yourself some wiggle room, a one day shift in travel could save you a lot!
  • Staying there
    • There are many ways to save when it comes to your living arrangements on a trip.  This is a good time to also consider what sort of experience you want.  Do you want to take the 5-star Hotel Resort and Spa path OR the family compound Homestay?  How close do  you want to be to the culture and people or have to worry a little less about the cleanliness and water quality.  No place will be perfect.  I’ll just say that.  But deciding what you want out of the experience and how comfortable or uncomfortable you are willing to be needs to be considered along with price.  You will probably be someplace for a few days (at least) so check if there are specials for multiple nights and/or guests.  What is included in your stay- breakfast?  pool access? rentals and tours?  How close are you to the attractions or city center?  Accommodations right in the heart of things can cost you more.  Does your budget allow it or would you be OK walking a little further but have ore spending money later?

All good questions to ask yourself.  From experience, don’t always go with the first place you find!  Do some research.  Look for their website but also check your guide books (remember those?  We got them last entry!) and if they recommend a place it’s probably good to consider.  In this day of social media, I also checked Instagram and Facebook for tags and entries of my homestay before I booked my room.  I wanted to see if it looked like they said it did, and what a better place to look then another tourists pictures!

As the 4 Weeks Till Trip mark approaches, I am uncovering other costs that are important.  For example, I would love to purchase an Ospry backpack that is carry-on size and able to hold all my belongings.  I have duffles, sure, but who wants to get off in Indonesia with a hot pink, cotton, floral, Vera duffle?  I also have feelers out to borrow backs from friends who are travelers, but anyone can tell you there is something extra special about having your own NEW bag to play with and eventually pack.  *To justify purchase, this way I’ll have it when I travel more!  and It’s basically an early 26th Birthday present, right?*

I also have to get power adaptors, be sure I have proper clothes, shoes, and transportable toiletries.  Many things I know I can get at my final destination and not worry about taking through TSA and customs, but things from home are always nice to have on hand.

Well, looks like those are the big things I can think of that require spending before the trip… but that does not mean the spending is over!  There will be things I need (food) and want (stuff) to buy in Bali.  Remembering there is a conversion and that the USD is strong there is great, but spending is spending… and it’s easy.  Yoga classes, clothes, spas, cooking classes, fare and fees, possibly snorkeling, tours, and more are all things I’m considering when building my budget… and in doing so, my trip.

Overall, you will have a better travel experience if you can relax and enjoy it, noting you will not be totally broke at the end.  Having a relatively planned budget with some wiggle room will make the trip fun and manageable.   Always let you bank know you are away from home, we will touch more on this in later posts, but having charges flagged or accounts frozen can put a damper on anyone’s plans.

No matter what you can spend, your trip will be what you make of it and I’m excited to be seeing Bali for as long as I am and in the best way I can!

Other budget travel tips?  Share them here- for me and any other reader getting ready for adventure!

Always,

C