There are so many beautiful spots in Jordan – from spending the night in the other worldly red desert of Wadi Rum, to exploring ancient and impressive Petra, to floating in the Dead Sea, or hiking in the many Wadis around the country.
In my post on biking the pacific coast highway, I said that bike touring was my favorite mode of travel (I also said at one point that hot air balloons were my favorite too!). But the truth, the truth is that road tripping is my absolute favorite way to travel. Just thinking about it I can feel the wind and freedom, hear the faint tunes of the road trip playlist that has been far too overthought, and see the fleeting landscapes of unfamiliar places and open roads.
The wonderful thing about living in London is how connected it is to the rest of the world – flights are always readily available and cheap. And they seem to be even cheaper in winter when most of Europe is bitterly cold and less appealing to tourists. I took full advantage of this in January when planning a long weekend trip to Budapest for my birthday!
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of
them are dirt.” -John Muir
As much as I love London, every few months my feet are restless for some walking, that doesn’t involve the daily commute to school, my lungs are desperate for clean air and my soul longs for a pretty mountain view. With its rushing rivers, deep valleys and craggy peaks, a weekend in Chamonix filled me up with so many good things–wine, cheese, meat, breathtakingly beautiful hikes, sunshine and long nights of card games.
“The value of things is not the time they last, but the intensity with which they occur. That is why there are unforgettable moments and unique people.” -Fernando Pessoa
1. You’ll make the best of friends.
The trip started out with just myself and one of my closest friends, Leah. By day three there were four of us, and by the end we were a rag-a-muffin crew of ten. In the beginning, we were really intimidated of biking with anyone else. “They’ll be more experienced, we’ll just hold them back, but look at all their spandex!” Luckily, we quickly got over our own insecurities about being bike touring newbies because the people we met along the way are what made the trip what it was.
Several weeks ago I went to Portugal with some friends to spend a few days rambling around Lisbon and Lagos. We mostly went to chase the sun and warmth that even now in June is severely lacking in London.
Lisbon is a dream, from its narrow winding tree-lined streets, to its bright yellow trams and its colourful cityscape spread out across a rolling hillside. Lisbon has the most beautiful buildings. Some modern, many tiled, and others aged with laundry and flowers hanging from the balconies and chipped façade. The city has character that makes it feel old and familiar.
We spent every day meandering the streets, stopping in cafes, drinking beer on the water, and wondering why on earth we don’t live in Portugal! The pace was slow, and we immediately felt at home and at ease lounging around the city. At night we went out in the Bairro Alto hilltop district that is speckled with cafes, restaurants and clubs along its cobbled streets.
“The best way of travel, however, if you aren’t in any hurry at all, if you don’t care where you are going, if you don’t like to use your legs, if you don’t want to be annoyed at all by any choice of directions, is in a balloon. In a balloon, you can decide only when to start, and usually when to stop. The rest is left entirely to nature.”
To see Cappadocia from the ground is magical, but to see it from above is one of the most incredible experiences. The curvy rock flows like giant waves, as the sun warms the sky in a palette of pinks and oranges that cast playful shadows in the furrows of the rock below. The entire scene plays out as some other-worldly geological masterpiece that makes you feel like you are floating above an undiscovered planet. Cappadocia literally swept me up, up + away.
A few weeks ago, leaving the bustle (and cold) of London, I headed out to walk part of the Jurassic Coast with a few course mates. I’ve been traveling outside of England a lot, so it was nice to finally see part of the country that has been my home this year.