On Joining the Corporate World and Working Full Time… for Three Months. Here’s What I Learned

On Joining the Corporate World and Working Full Time… for Three Months. Here’s What I Learned

So, as you guys may know, I did the damn thing. I worked a full time job. I moved to Melbourne to have a little bit of stability in my ever-changing and international life, and about 5 months into my yearlong visa, the opportunity arose for me to take a full time job position.

The position was for the tour guiding job that I was already working. I had been leading walking tours of Melbourne for 4 months, and the growing company shifted to have the need for a few full time positions, one in marketing. The skills required were basically everything I already do for my blog – copy writing, web design, social media, customer communications, blog posts, affiliate marketing, onsite and offsite SEO. The position was basically made for me – a well versed blogger and experienced tour guide.

 

tour guide melbourne

melbourne tour group

A few of my tour groups through the months

The Job Begins

It was perfect. It’s like the position was made for me – putting together the two things I really did best and had the most experience in – guiding tours and marketing. I was actually staying put in one place for a WHOLE YEAR – so what better time to try this whole ‘full time job’ thing a try?

I have always been decidedly anti-9-to-5. Not wanting to join the corporate rat race was the reason I moved abroad and started my blog in the first place,  and built a life that went against societal expectation and showed everyone else that it CAN be done. I lived the entire gamut of life experience, from working sailing tours in Croatia to events in London to driving Lyft in California to waitressing in Sydney to hostessing a catamaran in Panama to taking photos for adventure tour companies – and blogging the whole way through.

But the one thing I actually had NOT done, that would actually really round out my quest for having the widest range of life experience possible?

Working a full time job.

Although always the devil to me, I figured that I had to maybe do it myself to truly understand it. I could accomplish 6 months working full time to have yet another new life experience, and most likely figure out that it was always what I had imagined it to be anyway (something along the lines of imprisonment. No offense to people who work full time and love their jobs; I respect it more than anything, I really do).

So I set out to do it. I arrived in the office; I signed the contract; I was given a company computer (ooooh, aaaah) along with my special tour umbrella, name tag, money wallet, card reader. It was so official. I was excited.

I was the perfect person for the position and I was going to use my skills to help a small company grow. I really had a say in things; I used my creativity to help create policies to be used in the future; I wrote a whole new website and designed some of it too; I helped develop and implement the entire email marketing plan, and much more.

I did tours each week too, and I enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and showing them around the city I love. I took groups around the hidden bars of Melbourne, showcasing some of the coolest parts of this city and showing people a great time. It should really have been a ‘pinch me’ moment – I had an awesome job.

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The moment I point out something cool and the whole group turns to take a photo

Reality Sets In

I’m not really sure when things turned south, but they did. The fact that the company was so new meant that there weren’t many policies in place. There was no approval process for requesting leave, the schedule changed at the last minute each and every day, and timings changed without notice, making it hard to plan anything at all.

Requests for time off and appointments quickly got lost and forgotten, last minute changes lead to stress and rescheduling, and it was hard to ever plan a day trying to know what I would be doing. I would plan on an office day and get changed to tours, with my computer in tow for no reason, or vice versa. More often than not, office time was substituted for constant tours depending on what needed to be done, and exhaustion set in speaking front of and leading big groups of people constantly.

Work quickly piled up with minimum time to accomplish things in the office, accounts and processed for keeping track of numbers changed time and time again, and issues in developing processes started to become obvious when blame was shifted for different shortcomings. It was a very new company (I was the first full-time hire) so changes were absolutely to be expected, but it quickly became difficult to maintain physical wellbeing… and soon, mental, too.

Leading tips-based tours (free walking tours) also had its stresses – its hard not to feel down after making terrible money, no matter how much of a reflection it is on the people tipping rather than the quality of the guide.

Being on my feet all day with tours left me exhausted at home and unable to keep up with my ultimate passion – this blog. Changes in schedule interfered with my attempts at planning a regular gym or fasting schedule, which are also things I consider very important. Wanting to still make the most of weekends also left my blog in the dust, and I started to feel guilty if I wasn’t working all day and coming home and working even more.

Needless to say, it built up.

Part of my brain was saying, ‘Are you kidding me, Kimmie? Stick out working full time for SIX MONTHS of your life – this is a fantastic job that you enjoy and is perfect for you, just suck it up and do it.’

But, the other part or me was screaming for a bit of freedom, to not be slave to wherever I was needed at that moment, to at least know what I was to be doing, or to have time to be myself and pursue my own passions as well as be of service to a company I truly supported. Anxiety began to build more and more before tours, and I felt less and less like myself.

It took me a near breakdown to realize something my partner had gently been trying to tell me for weeks – this job has been negatively affecting my wellbeing, and causing me negativity and anxiety far outside working hours that had started to impact my life. I can talk specifics with anyone who is curious, but I’ll leave it here for the purpose of this post.

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Bar Tour group selfie at my favorite bar, Little Lon Distilling Co 🙂 

The Decision is Made

I felt so silly to admit it, kind of like a metal basket case – why couldn’t I just get myself together?! This job should be awesome. It is really that hard? But he was so right -I came home crying for one final time after another stressful shift change that impacted another of my attempts at making plans for my health.

The regular salary and job security was absolutely incredible – two things I have hardly ever had in my life. Hell, I haven’t stayed in the same workplace OR country for more than six months since I graduated from uni. A stable salary and security should be cherished… but really though – at what price?

It was at that point I realized, lack of this is something I thrive on.

Part of the definition of who I am is leaping before I look. This is how I have always been. I have NEVER NOT figured it out – moving to multiple new cities alone and finding my footing, traveling with far less money than I need, finding ways to make money on the road.

I am not financial stability. I am not paid time off (although I was REALLY excited for that 😛 ). I am not ordered around by anybody. I never will be. That’s not where I thrive. I, Kimmie Conner, am: following my passions into the complete unknown, doing everything for myself and no one else, the creator and purveyor or my life and dreams. I am doing things for the experience, to understand more and more about this life. I am imperfect but always myself. I am serendipitous and unsure, a feather in the wind without a propensity for rigidity.

I am the blissful feeling of freedom knowing I can do whatever I want, not knowing which avenue my next paycheck is coming from but knowing I am living my life to the fullest and squeezing every ounce of experience out of everything while I’m at it.

I thrive in not knowing what’s next, but only if it is self-inflicted. I’ve realized that the complete unpredictability of that job is what drove me away, but quickly realized that it’s because the unpredictable force was external. If I have control over my own unpredictable life, I find it more of a challenge and less of an imprisonment, being at the whim of an untamable force.

I am so thankful to have the experience of working full time. After all, I am after the widest possible range of life experience. I simply now know (as I had really known the whole time) that it is not for me. I knew it when I was a little wide-eyed college student, watching everyone jump straight into the corporate world. Me? I decided myself to move to London because, well, why not?

I truly think that I could have actually lasted 6 months in a full time job (lol, laugh at me all you want) if it had provided the stability that I expected. I came to  Melbourne for some stability; I accepted a stable job for, well, stability too. The fact that I got the opposite was just not what I really needed at this point in the progress of my life, blog, and visa.

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Photobombing a group cheers

The Positive from the Negative

I, however, have taken so much away from this experience – I think it was actually one of the grandest learning experiences of all the weird/random/wonderful sh*t I’ve done over the years.

I learned what it’s like to be a part of a supportive team in a corporate environment (sheesh, never though I would say that).

I learned so much about productivity and work ethic and became much better at staying on task (MUCH better than I am, alone in a cafe, trying to get my blogging done).

I learned the ins and outs of a small business and the insane amount of work that goes into its growth (so many things, huge and small, that you wouldn’t even fathom).

I refined my tour guiding skills and became absolutely awesome (if I do say myself) at leading short tours around the city. I helped hundreds if not thousands of people have the best possible time in my favorite city.

I learned more about customer communications – wording things for the best outcome, making sales, and making people from all different walks of life laugh at my silly dad jokes.

I learned all about what it takes to create a successful email marketing campaign and laughed many automations. I wrote copy for and helped design and format an entire website. I wrote blog posts and implemented affiliate marketing tactics into all of the above.

I helped create processes for different parts of the business that will (hopefully) be used for years to come, when more and more people come through and take my position and when more and more people are hired into the company.

I met fascinating people from all over the world and fostered great relationships with partner businesses in the city (e.g. bartenders at our bars – I’ll be back!)

I learned that my personality and tour guide mode can still be activated no matter how I feel – it’s like flipping a switch. 😛

I learned that Melbourne really is the most awesome city in the world, and I am so thankful to have been able to explore it every day for my job. I can’t wait to continue discovering more hidden gems and write about ALL of it on here – you already know I haven’t had ANY time for Melbourne blog posts thus far, but now the time has finally come!

I truly have never felt more happy or free than I did when I sent my final email with my notice (sorry mum and dad). It’s like all of a sudden I came back into myself again – my good old, funemployed (in the ‘real world’) self. I honestly didn’t realize how much anxiety I was pushing down until I took that big breath after pressing send. I had reached my breaking point and had been pushed too far, and it was time for me to say no. And god, it felt good to take my power back and stand up for myself.

The rest of that day/the next was full of what I would consider a minor spiritual overhaul – I felt how I can only imagine ‘regular people’ feeling after they quit a damaging job of ten years (apparently 3 months is like that for me… what can I say? :P). I felt happy; I felt aligned again for the first time in a while. I truly felt like myself after not even realizing I was missing. I took solace in the unknown and knowing that I would and will figure it out.

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Group by the river

So what’s next?

Well, in true Kimmie fashion, I DON’T KNOW! And I feel absolutely great about it. Isn’t that wonderful?! I mean, to you it might be silly, but to me it’s wonderful… and that’s okay.

In all honesty, I probably won’t ‘work’ (in the hourly wage sense of the word) for at least a month or two. During the past few months my blog has reached record numbers in traffic, advertising income, affiliate income, and user sessions, and I haven’t even had the chance to foster it or really work on it at all. My blog is my true end-goal, passion, and career choice, and its not going to continue to support me if I don’t support it.

So yes to working full time… for myself. I’m considering looking at a few coworking spaces in Melbourne, ticking off more of the thousands of Melbourne cafes, and/or making myself a more rigid schedule of working at home. Blogging hardly feels like working to me – building my own dream (rather than someone else’s) can happily take up all the time in my world.

I can definitely afford more than my rent from my blog’s income, but it’s just not at the point yet that I can trust it to support me in such an expensive city. But hey, good thing I have saved up TONS from working full time – I have plenty to survive on and much more.

So, yes, I do intend to work (for someone else… ugh 😛 )  again in Melbourne before my visa is up in December. In what respect, I’m not totally sure. I might do a few days a week in an office admin job I did in December which is open again, which was (quite boring but) very easygoing/fun/well-paying.

Now that I have more free time, I can reach out to and take more press trips even mid-week, which would be a lot easier for lots of tourism boards in the area rather than just on weekends. I hope to accomplish some more blog and brand partnerships in the next few months around Victoria.

I’m open to whatever opportunities may arise for me in this weird and wonderful life. I have plenty of savings from this strange full-time salary I have been receiving, plenty of free time to build the blog income up, and a completely open mind to get even more new experience while I have the right to work in Melbs.

So yep, that’s it. Laugh all you want, but yes, I lasted A MERE 3 MONTHS in a full time position, and the verdict was what we all knew it would be – YEAH, NAH. Not for me 😛

If you know of any interesting jobs coming up in Melbourne, please get in touch! Either way, I’ll be blogging full time and I know something will always pop up into my universe and everything will work out. As I know well about my life at this point, it always does.

🙂

September 13, 2019 0

50 Amazing Los Angeles Day Trips to Satisfy Every Travel Craving

50 Amazing Los Angeles Day Trips to Satisfy Every Travel Craving

Sometimes you just need to get away, which is why these Los Angeles day trips can truly satisfy every travel craving for the LA resident or traveler alike. These picks just show why LA is a great home base for those infected with the travel bug, and why it’s truly a multi-faceted city with just about every different feeling you could ever want to find.

So, you caught the travel bug. Maybe you spent a month in Asia, maybe you backpacked through Europe, maybe you went on a family vacation to Hawaii or road tripped to the Grand Canyon. However far away you went, one thing is for sure: you went somewhere new and there is nothing you want more than to go somewhere new again. And again. And again. You now have a strange longing to continue to go new places where you can see new sights, meet new people, and understand how people live in places other than your little neighborhood containing all the same people and same sights.

Over 45 Amazing Los Angeles Day Trips to satisfy any travel and wanderlust cravings - nature, beaches, art, luxury, city, and more!

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But, there are quite a few obstacles to just picking up and going. Like that little thing called college that you’re obligated to stay in for four plus years. Or, say, that job that you need to pay your rent and your bills. And the fact that said job hardly pays your bills let alone provides funding to travel as often as this little longing at the back of your head tells you you want to.

You’re stuck here in Los Angeles for a little or a long while, and you need to find some way to satisfy your wanderlust here while also living your real life and making money to hopefully REALLY satisfy it one day. Well you’re in luck, because you happen to be stuck in a city where you can travel plentifully without stepping foot on a plane.

LA is one hell of a huge city (which can be seen by our complete lack of adequate public transportation). We encompass everything from the dirty downtown city vibes, the beachy surfer vibes, the nature-y mountain vibes, the suburban neighborhood vibes, the grungy street-artsy vibes, the bougie celebrity vibes, and everything in between, all in one place. Whenever you start to get queasy with the urge get out and go, this city will absolutely always have something new and exciting for you if you just have the curiosity to get out and find it.

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discover many different cultures in los angeles day trips to little tokyo, little ethiopia, little havana, little brazil, little germany, chinatown, and more!

Enough with LA, I need some culture. I want something different and foreign.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed before, but sometimes while you’re driving down LA streets like La Cienega or Venice Blvd, it may appear as if you’ve driven through 4 countries within ten minutes because of such heavy scenery change. It can change from luxurious to sketchy, residential to metropolitan, one way to a complete different other. As you clearly know if you have ever set foot in Little Tokyo, some areas of LA have concentrated areas of certain ethnicities where you can experience different ethnic food and mini-culture. Have you ever tried Ethiopian food from Little Ethiopia on Fairfax? I bet you didn’t know Washington Blvd has a small Brazilian area complete with the cutest little colorful motel you’ll ever see, a few gift shops, and some amazingly BOMB all-you-can-eat Brazilian Pizza. There are all sorts of little cultural places in LA – little Havana, little Armenia, Chinatown, Koreatown, Little India, Spanish/Mexican culture (hello, tacos) in El Pueblo, and even Alpine Village, a little German area in Torrance (and yes it does throw an Oktoberfest).

So I know its obviously not the same as really going and getting a real dose of culture from a different country. But not many other cities can boast such a diverse range of cultural specialities than here, and when you feel you need something new or maybe even just some authentic foreign food, these little day trips in LA are well worth exploring a bit yourself 🙂

Cultural Picks for Los Angeles Day Trips:

El Pueblo de Los Angeles

Little Tokyo

Koreatown

Little Ethiopia

Chinatown

Little Havana

 

Visit 3+ Ethnic Neighborhoods in One Tour

This tour takes you to Thai Town, Koreatown, and Little Armenia with a guide!

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LOS ANGELES🌞 it will always be a love hate relationship with you. Loved there for 4.5 years – LOVE the city and amount of adventures to be had, HATE the traffic. But it will always be one of my worldly homes🌸 . . Today on the Story: adventures in YOSEMITE – hikes waterfalls, and so many views! All while staying at one of the most incredible lodges I have ever had the pleasure of visiting… @yosemite_rushcreek . MANY photos to come but check this place out in the meantime if you ever wanna have a bit of comfort during your trip to Yosemite! It’s seriously a dream. . . ALSO I am in the process of getting my very first tattoo by the incredible @t.radz ! (I’m on my phone rn to distract me from the pain lol) but I can’t wait to show you guys!! It will be on the story soon🤙🏾 Can anyone guess what it is?! . . . . . . . . . #venice #venicebeach #california #visitcalifornia #california_igers #californiacoast #californiagirl #californiadreamin #losangeles #LA #losangeles_la #dametraveler #femmetravel #ladiesgoneglobal #travelinladies #wearetravelgirls #globelletravels #femaletravelbloggers #girlslovetravel #sheisnotlost #explorerbabes #radgirlslife #freewanderess #girlsborntotravel #sunset #sunsetsniper #timeoutsociety #sidewalkerdaily #adventureculture #youmustsee

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Tropical and beachy Los Angeles day trips to satisfy any wanderlust cravings

I want to get AWAY from LA and RELAX. Somewhere tropical. Why is the Caribbean so far away?!

First of all, the fact that LA is so near the coast is too much of a blessing not to take full advantage of. We also just happen to live somewhere with beaches that are no less than gorgeous. Have you ever driven on PCH through Malibu on a nice sunny day? If you can’t get to the Caribbean, plan a stay-cation to LA’s local tropics right in our backyard. Malibu is one of the most beautiful places in California! There are SO many beaches and beach towns to explore in LA, each with their own unique character and super accessible as Los Angeles day trips.

The Santa Monica pier may get old and maybe you’ve been to Venice a zillion times, but what about Terranea and Trump beaches just south in Palos Verdes? Or anywhere in Malibu, which is basically a continuous gorgeous beach with tons of walkways down to the sand (and even parking on PCH!). From Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan to Zuma and Malibu Lagoon to all the lesser known shores in between, each are worth a good explore when you’re feeling like getting a nice relaxing beach day in and going somewhere new. It also helps that we have good, sunny weather basically every day. Beach days in December aren’t even out of the picture.

And yeah, these beaches aren’t AS tropical as places you wish you could go, but they sure are close, affordable, picturesque, and perfect for home-traveling when you can’t actual-travel. Hey, people all over the world dream of visiting these beaches, so we may as well make use of ‘em.

Tropical Picks for Los Angeles Day Trips:

El Segundo- town and beach

Terranea Resort beach

Redondo Pier

Abalone Cove – Palos Verdes

Paradise Cove – Malibu

Little Dume – Malibu

Naples Island Canals – Long Beach

satisfy your wanderlust without leaving your hometown - amazing nature los angeles day trips PCH road trip stops malibu

I’d prefer getting out into nature and spending some time with mother earth herself. Somewhere to clear my mind.

The Santa Monica Mountain Range spans from north Malibu all the way into pretty much downtown. You know those big hills you see from everywhere in LA, the reason you can see the Hollywood Sign perched up high?

This long stretch of mountains houses another world of adventures that make it seem like you’ve left LA entirely. From waterfalls and creeks to views and abandoned graffiti-covered houses, it’s safe to say there are a LOT of places to clear your mind and get into nature in LA’s own mountain range.

There are a variety of hilltop trails with great views, from more trendy Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park hikes to more secluded Tuna Canyon, Los Liones, Solstice Canyon, and Point Mugu up in Malibu. You can do some cliff jumping far from the city buzz at Malibu Creek, or chase some waterfalls at Escondido Falls right down the road from PCH in Malibu.

There’s an abandoned Zoo you can visit near Griffith Park, and if you want to get really creepy you can hike down to the remains of Nazi camp Murphy Ranch just an nourish hike from amazing Will Rogers State Park trails. If you want to make a full day of it, you can bring a picnic and head to my personal favorite cliff jumping spot: Hermit Falls.

This one is only a bit farther up in Azusa, but very worth your while when you see this Fern Gully lookalike, with streams leading into small, medium, and large cliff-jumping spots between smooth marble rock. If you are getting city fever, escaping to any of these will leave you feeling recharged and happy with a dose of quiet, green, leafy, uninterrupted nature. It also helps they are all within driving distance from anywhere in LA, giving you no excuse not to get out there and spend some time with mother nature herself.

Nature Picks for Los Angeles Day Trips:

Tuna Canyon – Malibu

Murphy Ranch – Pacific Palisades

Sunken City – San Pedro

Solstice Canyon – Malibu

Escondido Falls – Malibu

Malibu Creek – Malibu

Hermit falls- Azusa

Griffith Park – Downtown

big city Los Angeles day trips to satisfy any wanderlust cravings

The concrete jungle is what my dreams are made of. Take me to the big city!

Well this one should be obvious. If you want to feel like you’re in the big city, you’re currently in one of the biggest in the world. The concrete jungle spans far here, with downtown LA being the first choice if you want to walk among the high rises and neon-lit developments. There are lots of sections of downtown worth venturing through; namely, LA Live, the Fashion District, Grand Park area, and the Jewelry District – with Grand Central Market and Pershing Square as definite highlights. There are too many amazing little spots in downtown to count off, but if you live in LA and haven’t checked it out, it’s a must.

If you want to go full tourist, jump about a Los Angeles Big Bus tour. These classic bus tours really do take you to all the important landmarks… I mean, how many have you honestly seen yet?

Going into downtown is one of my favorite things about living in LA and is what truly makes it real to me that I live here. Walking through the high rises is the classic LA experience, and is what people who have never been here picture it to be. It’s a true Los Angeles Day Trip IN Los Angeles! Downtown is not alone with that experience, though, in that you can drive down Wilshire, Hollywood, or Sunset and come across many more areas with ambient big-city vibes.

Walking along or going out on the Sunset Strip is a must, Hollywood Boulevard is a given, and there are a lot of developed areas along Wilshire with a classic Los Angeles look. The nightlife is booming and plentiful in these areas as well: another definitive Los Angeles characteristic. So, when you’re itching for a big-city experience, Los Angelenos, always remember that they are always at your fingertips!

Big City Picks for Los Angeles Day Trips:

Universal Citywalk

LA Live

Hollywood blvd

Sunset Strip

DTLA, of Course

Downtown Long Beach – Pine Ave

Century City

street art in los angeles day trips

Effortless Los Angeles day trips you can book and have someone take care of EVERYTHING for you!

Whether you live here or not, sometimes it’s simply refreshing to sign up for a day trip or day tour where you don’t actually have to worry about a thing the whole day. I always say it’s important to be a tourist in your own city so that you can satisfy your wanderlust without actually going anywhere, and LA is a better place to do that than ever. Here are a couple ideas of tours you can book in LA to do interesting, touristy, slightly splurge-y, out-of-the-box, or insider activities.

 

Small-town Los Angeles day trips to satisfy any wanderlust cravings

I already KNOW we’re in a big city, but sometimes I wish we weren’t. I want a more cute and quaint and small-town getaway from LA.

Believe it or not, there are tons of charming little areas in LA that can make it temporarily feel like you’ve been transported to a little village somewhere far away. A lot of the beach towns can give this feeling, with cute little shops and family-owned bars and restaurants lining pedestrian- filled walkways. El Segundo has the cutest little downtown that is so much fun to explore. There’s a little stretch of Montana Ave in Santa Monica with some amazing cafes and shopping, with big leafy green trees shading you from the sun in this family-oriented yet upscale neighborhood. The Pacific Palisades and Brentwood have multiple adorable little markets that are worth a wander, with high quality farmer’s markets each Sunday to match the quaint atmosphere. Most centers in Malibu give off the same small-town beachy vibe that is much different from the hustle and bustle of downtown, and are really easy day trips from Los Angeles.

Small Town Picks for Los Angeles Day Trips:

Fisherman’s Village – Marina Del Rey

Most of Malibu

Culver City

Downtown Hermosa/Manhattan Beach

Downtown Palos Verdes

Brentwood Village

Westwood Village

trendy and edgy Los Angeles day trips to satisfy any wanderlust cravings

I want trendy and contemporary. Somewhere young & artsy, hip, designer, and fashionable.

Trendy LA is everywhere. There are several modern neighborhoods where you can find tastefully designed shopping, eats, and bars, and lots of impressive street art too. With a large population that absolutely always needs to stay up on the latest style and even strives for that avant-garde, there are tons of places you can go around here where you can feel like you’re among the trendsetters. Take a step down Abbott Kinney in Venice and you will understand just how stylish LA can get… Abbott Kinney is the hip place of west LA. It’s the kind of place that I want to look my cutest so that I can fit in with all the young and fashionable people walking around, and so that the store owners don’t look at me strangely every time I walk into their store that sells $99 rosewood tea strainers, $450 knit sweaters, and $600 native American headdresses (I wish I was kidding…).

Heading down Abbott Kinney and along onto Main Street in Santa Monica you’ll find some more chic places; think ‘succulents growing in a pattern on the wall’ or ‘coffee shops that play only underground deep house’ kind of trendy. All of which, in fact, are awesome and so much fun to discover. Melrose is another huge trendy area, with some upscale retailers and many adorable and scrumptious places to dine for lunch, brunch, dinner, a nice coffee, or some classic LA designer juice. On an even more hipster note, we have Silverlake, with its organic local eateries and enjoyable night life among like-minded people. I would definitely say that there is at least a small dose of trendiness anywhere you want to go around here… it’s what makes LA, LA.

Trendy + Edgy Picks for Los Angeles Day Trips:

Venice/Abbott Kinney

Bergamot Station – Santa Monica

DTLA – FIDM, Art Walk

Melrose

Silverlake

Downtown Hollywood

LACMA 

Luxurious Los Angeles day trips to satisfy any wanderlust cravings

I want LUXURY. I wish I could go to a ritzy place as a day trip from LA without spending the money on a high-class resort…

On the even more upscale end, we of course have the lovely Beverly Hills. If you enjoy the type of shopping where you walk into an all white room with two racks of clothes and a worker wearing a suit, then take an afternoon and walk down Rodeo Drive. It’s always been a dream of mine to put on the nicest clothes I own and walk down Rodeo pretending like I can actually afford anything there… But, all sarcasm aside, these swanky LA neighborhoods are a nice getaway from the usual routine, and you can indulge in some luxuriousness without any real traveling.

I always like a good drive past some of LA’s richest areas so I can check out the aaaamazing mansions that some lucky people own… namely, Montana area in Santa Monica, the Pacific Palisades, the Hollywood hills, and even Palos Verdes (Come on… you’d be lying if you said you don’t enjoy checking out some nice houses. It’s always fun to stalk some pretty homes). Brentwood has some areas that can definitely also reach the luxurious end of the scale, shopping and dining alike. The Golden Triangle by the split of Wilshire and Santa Monica is a standout, with the famous Sprinkles cupcake ATM machine… if that isn’t glamorous, I don’t know what is.

Luxury Picks for Los Angeles Day Trips:

Beverly Hills

Golden Triangle/Rodeo Drive

Sunset Strip

Hollywood Hills

The Grove

The Getty Museum

 

 

Anyway, fellow wanderlusters, I hope these Los Angeles day trips provided you with some inspiration to get out there and discover LA! There are unlimited vay- and stay-cations to be had around here, in one of the most varied, enormous, and multi-cultural cities on the planet. And, why not do a California Road Trip if you have time? The one travel craving I can’t find you in LA is cold weather (unless you go to Big Bear), but most people would say that that’s a good thing. 😉

 

January 18, 2018

Country Counting: Why I Think It Sucks

Country Counting: Why I Think It Sucks

Country counting is silly because in its definition it discourages you from actually getting to know and exploring a place. In the race to get the most countries, a lot of potentially incredible experiences are thrown to the wayside for the idea that you could use that time to rack up your country numbers instead.
You travel completely differently when you are traveling to count countries or if you are traveling to fully experience a place.

You’ve been to Sydney, but have you really been to Australia? The premise of country counting (not all country counters) suggests you just check Oz off the list having been to Sydney, and in the interest of racking up numbers, can just move on from there.

But, there is sooooooooo much to see in Australia. It’s insane how much there is to see. I wouldn’t feel right being able to check a whole massive country like that off having seen just one place. It seems silly to me. Have you experienced the countryside, where farming is the way of life? Have you had a million flies land on your face as you hiked through the barren Northern Territory, or swam in the waves of Byron bay or through the corals of the Great Barrier Reef?

 

national parks in Australia kata tjuta

Would never have made it to the center of Australia’s Northern Territory if I stopped at Sydney. Can you believe my country number remained stagnant for almost a whole year?!

I wont lie that I get caught up in it too, as a travel blogger constantly in comparison to others. Why would I stay in the same country during my week off in Europe, when I could hop across the border to get one more country under my belt? I hate it, but I find myself doing it still – on a solo traveling adventure, but still racing to see yet another country when I have the opportunity to do so.

The time spent exploring one place while one’s country number remains stagnant, is not time wasted. It is time spent really knowing a place and all of its diverse parts that make it a whole. I could spend an entire lifetime getting to know Australia, or the US, or even Nicaragua or Wales. It doesn’t feel right to be able to ‘count’ a country when there is so much more of it to see, suggesting that that country is ‘done’ and dusted, and ready to continue on. No country will ever be ‘done.’

Now, I know not all country counters think this way – in fact, most don’t. But you can’t deny that the idea of country counting at its core does not encourage getting to know a place. Rather, it comes off as a loaded statement naturally (whether intentionally or not) used for comparison to others, often as an unsaid competition or subtextual bragging.

And then you have the ‘country counting rules.’ These are of course not ‘real,’ but each traveler/person in the travel industry has their own rules. “You need to at least exit the airport” or “you must sleep one night there.” They are always fluid, and exceptions and restrictions are almost more common than guidelines themselves. I think you have to experience some culture or at least immerse yourself into a country-specific experience to be able to ‘count’ a country. But if everyone has their own rules, how are you to know if 19 to you isn’t 26 to someone else?

And then, you have the other side of the spectrum. I almost even feel guilty counting some countries I have been to, while thinking other countries should count x5.

namibia sossusvlei desert solo travel country counting is bad

Exploring in Namibia, Country #44. Or wait, #49. Maybe #56 to someone else. And #30 to others. 

Country Counting: My Story

Here’s my situation, and I’m sure there are similar ones out there. I’m at ’54 countries’ (according to the app ‘been.’ I honestly wouldn’t even know my number if I didn’t download that app last year, and now I do it out of habit) at the moment, but at least 6 or 7 of those were checked off on Caribbean cruises with my parents when I was between 7-11 years old. We would stop at, say, St Maarten for the day and go on an excursion, have a meal, and walk around the shops. There is no denying that I have ‘been’ to St Maarten – I rode my bike around the island, looked around the town, bought a coconut smoothie from a local and went snorkeling there… when I was 8. But that’s it; I hardly remember it. There are, again, quite a few countries with this situation – bulking up my ‘numbers’ quite a lot. I didn’t do this on purpose of course, but it is what it is – my parents really liked the Caribbean.

I had a 7 hour layover in Japan the other year. I walked as far out of the airport as I could, and obsessively looked through all the shops to see all the different and strange (to me) things they sold, like canned wine and freeze-dried baby shrimps. I got money out at the ATM to buy souvenirs. I tried some Japanese food in the airport, and some foreign candy whose wrapper I could not read. I personally feel that I have experienced Japan/Japanese culture much more than St Maarten, and I even have leftover yen in my wallet…. Hell, I even have a Japanese passport stamp because I had to switch my checked baggage over.

But, at the end of the day, I have ‘been’ to St Maarten, and not ‘been’ to Japan… because ‘airports don’t count.’ Or I could just be a dick and count Japan, adding to the ranks of country counters who toe the line a little bit. But, the lines are still totally blurred. Do you see where I’m going with this?

 

Laos waterfalls

It’s important to spend time appreciating the beauty and culture of any country you travel to. This is Laos 🙂 See more of my photos here!

You could cruise around the South Pacific/Oceania for a month or less and tick off 5, 10, 15 countries in close proximity to each other. Fiji, Samoa, Kiribati, Guam, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Tonga, Norfolk Island, etc… all little miniature island countries (some you haven’t even heard of) which you could see all of in the same amount of time it would take you to see 1/40th of Australia. The same (clearly) goes with the Caribbean. You have the passport stamps, but do you have the experiences? I sure hope so.

Each situation is different – like the fact I’m only at 54 because my parents took me on cruises as a child and I have family in multiple countries of the British isles. That’s at least 9 right there… 9 of which I don’t feel totally right counting for different reasons, but totally fairly ‘count’ nonetheless.

What I’m saying is, if you really wanted to bulk up your number of countries, it would be easy to. Just go to Europe for a month and cross borders each day, or take a two week cruise in the Caribbean. Its simple. I don’t think it’s that impressive.

But, not many can say that they have been to all 50 completely unique US states, seen each territory of Australia, or actually lived somewhere as an expat for a while to get a real feel for its culture and people.

I think we should think of travel in terms of a multitude of things. How many national parks have you been to? How many religions have you learned about? How many lakes, rivers, seas, and oceans have you swam in? How many lifelong friends have you met on the road? How many questionable decisions have you made that turned into experiences you’ll never forget? How many times have you ridden on the roof of a tuk tuk, tried a totally foreign food, or partied until the sunrise in a completely different culture? How many self-reflective moments have you had while secluded in nature? How many cultures have you learned about; how many locals have you conversed with?

THAT is the kind of thing I find impressive. There’s so much more to learn from travel than checking off a number on a list or counting passport stamps, and it would be a shame to forego on some potentially incredible experiences to do so. But if you CAN do both, all the power to you… I see my country number as a sort of side effect of my world adventures, as many other people do too. That’s truly the way to go about it, if you ask me.🔷

Are you also against country counting? Or Are you for it? Let me know what you think in the comments, I am super open to discussion!

Pint this if you agree 🙂

Country Counting: Why I Think It Sucks. An argument against the country counting that many travelers and bloggers take part in!

October 23, 2017

8 Things I am Putting Off Until Later In Life to Afford to Travel Now

8 Things I am Putting Off Until Later In Life to Afford to Travel Now

Many people ask me how I can afford to travel. “What’s your secret?” they ask, as if I’d say I actually had a money tree growing in my backyard all along to which they would reply, ‘ahh, it all makes sense now.’ I have a lot of secrets, and most of them involve giving up some of the everyday pleasures that a lot  of people don’t even consider foregoing. But anyway, this post is not really about that. Over my years traveling I have often yearned for certain pleasures of a normal career-centered life, of the kind of life people live in one place making a stable salary from the same job, or the things I saw my friends in London, LA, and Sydney doing.

It’s not that I don’t work, I just work in different places. Over the past three years I lived and worked in Sydney (on a working holiday visa), London, a small town in Western Australia, and Croatia, saving the entire time to afford to travel, and often having small temporary moments of wishing to be a normal non-nomadic human. But, these are always followed quickly by the memory that my life is awesome and although I’m a super-budget traveler most of the time, I believe these are the years for doing this type of thing.

Anyway, below I have listed out some of those ‘wishing to be a normal non-nomadic human’ moments; these are real moments I have had where I legitimately longed for something for a moment that I probably could have had if I wasn’t saving to travel (Read more on how I afford to travel here!). Slash this is a list of luxuries I will really look forward to when I do settle down and make actual money (if that ever happens). Anyway, here we go:

Now I Afford to Travel: Not Getting a Membership at a Pilates and Spin Studio or Nice Gym

Seriously, do you guys have any idea how much I love spin?!? It’s my favorite workout in the world. I love all organized workouts really – gym classes, pilates, zumba, yoga, etc. I have done free trials and introductory offers at like, every gym within 5 miles of anywhere I have ever lived, and try to still skim a few free classes here and there at home when I know a few people at a gym. I’ve done many a free week at gyms when I can as well, and I feel like a freeloader sometimes but hey, what can you do? My reality is going on runs, bike rides if I can get a bike, swimming in the ocean or local pools, doing online yoga classes, or using free workout apps while laying on a towel in the park to stay fit. It’s not bad, but damn do I miss spin!

Now I Afford to Travel: Not Buying All Sorts of Clothes, Cute Boots, Jewelry, & Outfits for All the Seasons, and Grow My Wardrobe, at Nice Shops.

I remember wandering through some shops while traveling and laying my eyes on a pair of REALLY CUTE ankle boots. Like, really cute. I needed them. But then I remembered that all I had was a backpack and that it was summer. Damn it, ankle boots, why don’t you make sense?! Although I’m pretty bad about shopping sometimes, I am still as frugal as it gets and never buy anything that I can’t use on the road. I honestly dream of the day when I can have a super cute wardrobe, with different clothes and outfits for each season and ankle boots for every occasion. But right now, only practical articles make sense.

I honestly shop at garage sales most of the time. I dream of the day when I can walk into a shop like free people or LF or a surf shop or something like that, and be able to wander around and browse with the actual possibility of buying something. These days I still wander around these shops, chuckle wide-eyed at the prices, and leave when my lust for the clothes becomes too overwhelming.

chobe national park botswana african adventure tour boat cruise kimmie coner adventures & sunsets travel blog

Chobe NP, Botswana

Now I Afford to Travel: Not Going to Brunch Every Weekend

I LOVE BRUNCH. Let me just put that out there. Brunch, to me, is one of America’s best cultural activities (okay maybe I shouldn’t go that far but…). Bottomless mimosas and make-your-own-bloody-mary bars are my absolute jam. There’s nothing better to wake up to after a night out than to put on a cute romper and keep drinking with your friends. BUT, that being said, brunch is not exactly the most affordable thing in the world, and is therefore something I mustn’t do in excess if I want to stay on the road. I can’t wait for when I grow up (lol) and can do brunch on the reg, but right now… nah.

Now I Afford to Travel: Not Going Out for $15 Drinks with my Friends

For me, ‘let’s go get drinks!’ is not really a thing (unless its some crazy happy hour in which case I am in :P) . But really, ‘grabbing a few drinks’ is one of the most costly things you can do these days. One drink turns into five into ten and all of a sudden you have spent the amount of money that a flight costs on one night out. I dream of the day that a $15 cocktail ain’t no thang for me, but right now it really is…. I could survive a whole day traveling on that much!

reykjavik icelandtips for saving money in iceland for the super budget backpacker

Reykjavik, Iceland

Now I Afford to Travel: Not Buying Amazing Art and Decor for my Own Home

Sometimes I literally look at incredible art and home furnishings and consider buying them for the home/apartment that maybe, one day, I will own. I consider possibly building up a little collection of art from my travels, and can hardly resist certain pieces that I really like. BUT THEN, I slap myself in the face and move on with my life. It would be awesome to decorate a home and buy amazing things for it. But my reality is that these things may sit there for 10 years (20?) and that that money is much better saved. My room at home is literally still the way I decorated it in 6th grade, which is kindof embarrassing but like, I’m not going to spend more money on it. Decorations can wait.. I would rather have a bland room and see the world! Plus, home decor and art can actually be unreal expensive (Hayyyy ohhh, another flight?)

Now I Afford to Travel: Not Owning a Cool Fancy Car

I will probably drive my 2008 Nissan until the day I die. Hell, I’m not even home to drive it most of the time. This one kindof goes without saying, but having a nice car is the absolute least of my worries if I want to travel. If it gets you from A to B, you’re golden.

royal national park wedding cake rock

Royal NP in Sydney, Australia 

Now I Afford to Travel: Not Using Nice Brand Name Makeup

I love walking through Sephora and Mac and pretending to consider buying their outrageously priced products. I would love makeup from these places, but I actually own all CVS (the local drugstore) makeup that my mum had coupons for. I honestly hardly even wear much makeup on the road, and I never travel with eyeshadow or other fancy products like primer or lipstick . I only have BB cream, mascara, bronzer, eyeliner…. and that’s basically it. Maybe some face powder. Nice makeup is irrelevant when you want to see the world… hell, to me, its irrelevant anyways. One day I would like to indulge in some nice products, and build a little collection and learn how to be a real girl and do nice eyeshadow and stuff. But, for now, I’m ok looking like a boy most of the time 😉

Now I Afford to Travel: Not Maintaining my Hair, Nails, and Other Luxurious Things.

The only time I ever get my hair cut or nails done is when I come home from a long time abroad and my mum sends me to the salon because I look like a homeless person. Or if I am in Southeast Asia and it costs less than $4. But, that’s it. One pedicure or manicure is still usually embarrassingly evident at the ends of my nails months later, and my hair becomes stringy and gross until maybe a friend helps me out with a trim. But honestly, I don’t really care for these things right now. I plan one day to have perfectly maintained hair and nails, but I’m gonna let them go wild until then.

And after all this – yep, I’m still broke!! But I have saved up enough through my different jobs abroad and through a couple great perks in my life (read more here, like working for a travel company and family in the airlines) that I can currently maintain this lifestyle. So… I do.

All about that backpacker life?! Pin this to your Pinterest boards to share with likeminded people!

Things to put of now to afford to travel now

July 4, 2017

10 Signs You’re Hopelessly Addicted to Emojis

10 Signs You’re Hopelessly Addicted to Emojis

Our generation has of course been defined by a lot of changes. The world has gone online, computers have become the size of our palms, social media has basically taken over, and everything really is at our fingertips.

Old things are out, and new things are in. That old colon-parentheses ( 🙂 ) smiley face has become unfortunately outdated as we now have an entire keyboard of amazing tiny pictures constantly at our smart-phone leisure to use in addition to regular old letters to express ourselves.

I’m talking about emojis – basically the best invention since the iPhone itself. With the click of a button we can now choose from dozens of little faces with any expression possible, animals, plants, food, activities, professions, flags, technology, and even things that we still can’t quite figure out what they are. Anything we need to say can be said with emojis, and this just creates one little problem – we have come to love them so much we kinda forgot how to live without them. Here are ten signs that you have become hopelessly addicted to emojis:

You no longer feel like you can adequately express yourself without emojis. 

Ew, what are those? Plain words? No, this does not get my point across at all. A winky tongue face would spice this message right up.

Honestly though, it’s sometimes hard for us to put into words what we want to say without the assistance of emojis. People will think we’re too serious if we don’t put that dancing lady or sunglasses man emoji, or they won’t understand how angry we are unless we put the devil horns face.  The poop pile emoji speaks volumes for pretty much anything, and we love the beer-clinking emoji when were going out. Emojis just make sense… of all our emotions. We kinda don’t remember how to say things with words. Why should we though, when we can choose the exact little symbol that says what we need to say perfectly without us having to say a thing?

You sometimes opt to respond to things on your phone rather than your computer because you know you can use emojis to help get your point across. 

Us emoji addicts will sometimes go to respond to a Facebook message on our computer…. but then realize that our response needs emoji-assistance. If it’s about food, we need to send a few of the lip-licking emoji, scattered with food and knife & fork emojis so the recipient knows we mean business. If its funny, 32 of the crying-laughing eyes emoji comin’ at ya. We need a dolphin emoji if we’re going swimming, and the rain emoji if it’s raining, naturally. We comprise our insta captions entirely of emojis on a regular basis, because we can’t think of anything better anymore.  If its something we like, we completely overuse the heart-eyes emoji… and we’re okay with it.

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My reaction to anything remotely funny. This has now fully overtaken the ‘hahahahaha.’

Regular punctuation just plain confuses you now. 

“How do I make myself sound excited, yet also serious, with only exclamation points and periods?!”

Exclamation points, periods, question marks, and semicolons can only do so much to explain our real feelings these days. And they do not do enough. We sometimes find ourselves overusing exclamation points, worrying if we sound too excited, overanalyzing our messages, and confusing ourselves. And when we change some of them to periods we worry if we sound way too serious. This is a recurring issue that can only be solved by… you guessed it… emojis. Where there are five different types of smiley faces alone to help us express ourselves, not to mention all the animals, scenes, instruments, and forms of transportation in the world.

You can respond to most all things with any combination of emojis, which almost certainly expresses what you are trying to say, perfectly. 

We’re so addicted to emojis that we hardly even need words anymore at all, especially with our best friends. We can expertly craft a response to anything comprised solely of emojis, which makes perfect sense. And this is a talent (yes, talent) that we are very proud of.

It’s often difficult for you to limit your text to only one emoji.

Sometimes, we finish a text and look back to see three or more emojis throughout our text. This is yet another sign of emoji addiction. When we look back, we sometimes take a few emojis out to seem less crazy and emoji-obsessed… and sometimes we just let it happen 😛

You have to be conscious about your emoji use when talking to someone who doesn’t use them.

You become especially conscious of your emoji addiction when texting someone who does not use emojis (the rare ones who exist in this day and age). When you realize this, you often need to go back and re-edit your texts to make sure that you only have one emoji per text, or maybe every other text, again so you don’t seem too obsessed!

You have experimented creating little scenes and shapes over text with emojis.

Admit it, you have sat on your phone for way too long at times trying to create a little text-picture to send your friends. Maybe the classic whale under the sea, the flying pig, a man chasing a balloon, some inappropriate ones I will not mention… or an original creation by you yourself!

Each of your friends have a specific emoji next to their contact name in your phone.

Your friends all have an emoji somewhere in their contact name, if not being a contact comprised of emojis alone. These aren’t just random emojis either, they are expertly matched to each of your friends for a specific reason.

You have a few favorite emojis that you completely overuse.

Everyone has that one emoji that just gets them. It can be an emoji that describes your mood, your hobbies, your country, your favorite food… anything. You use your favorite emoji way too much, and all your friends know to expect it from you all too often.

You get a little too excited over emoji updates.

You, emoji addicts, were probably amongst those who were freaking out about the new taco and burrito emojis, sending all the new ones in mass proportions to all your loved ones, and scattering all your social media posts with the good news. Because honestly, what could be more exciting than a taco emoji?! Avocado… you’re next.

April 19, 2016

Five Easy Ways To Cure Wanderlust Without Leaving Your Hometown

Five Easy Ways To Cure Wanderlust Without Leaving Your Hometown

Wanderlust isn’t exactly something that goes away easily, but I can tell you how to cure wanderlust at home while you are waiting for your next big adventure. The definition of wanderlust is “a strong desire to travel,” but there are loopholes behind this if you ask me! The desire to travel is the desire for something new – a new experience, a new culture, or new people. This is generally not something you think you can find in your hometown, but I’m here to change that notion!

I think that people get bored of where they live because, after living there a certain amount of time, they get the false idea that they know everything about that place and become closed off to new experience. But, that is completely the wrong frame of mind! If you remain open to new experience there is no limit to the adventures you can have, even in the place you have lived for years. Never stop exploring and enjoying the place you live; if it may seem old or repetitive after a while, that’s when it’s time to change up your routine! Here are five ways how to cure wanderlust while at home, or ways to get more out of where you live:

How to Cure Wanderlust: Try a New Place to Eat Once Each Week

Many people get comfortable with a few places that they already know are good to go out to, and fall into a routine of only going those places. But to get more out of your home and to cure your wanderlust, branch out a little bit more. You can go easy on this one, or as in depth as you want. To stay simple, find a new place to grab a bite each week. Search on Yelp or other online blogs to find recommendations, and get out there and try them out! To be more adventurous, you can choose a few categories and find new places in each category each week- like a new coffee shop, a new breakfast place, a new place to get smoothies, a new sushi restaurant or a new bar. The sky’s the limit on what you can discover!

satisfy your wanderlust without leaving your hometown

How to Cure Wanderlust: Take a New Way Home Once a Week

Commutes can get boring, long, and deathly. Why not take a new way home one time each week and enjoy the scenery? Getting home doesn’t have to mean wanting to ram your head into the wall or wanting to get there as fast as humanly possible. Try a new way home, and really take in what makes this new way different. Notice the different scenery and new streets or buildings on this route. Be more active in experiencing your trip home, like you would in a new place, instead of basically zoning out the entire way like many people do!

Read More: The Hardest Part About Getting Up and Going Traveling (for those who do eventually want to cure their wanderlust in a foreign country!)

How to Cure Wanderlust: Be a Tourist

You probably steer as clear as possible from places in your hometown that would be popular with tourists- and every city has them. No matter where you live, I would place bets that you often don’t go anywhere near landmarks, city centers, famous hotels, or basically anywhere that someone visiting your area would go, anymore. But I encourage you to remember why your home is great, and to do something touristy just one time. Be a tourist in your city just for one day. No matter how many times you have done it, visit that pier or that famous statue or that mall or that street where all the tourists go, and remember why people visit your city in the first place. It’s a great way to cure wanderlust at home.

satisfy your wanderlust without leaving your hometown - amazing nature los angeles day trips PCH road trip stops malibu

How to Cure Wanderlust: Notice Something You Have Never Noticed

Next time you’re walking or driving around your home town, I challenge you to find something that you have never noticed before. Try it. I can guarantee after just a little bit of searching and looking at things through different eyes, you’ll find something that you have never even noticed was there, that has probably been there for a while. It’s an interesting and slightly humbling feeling to experience first hand that there is always something new to find, even somewhere you think you totally know.

Read More: 12 Ways Moving Abroad Alone Taught Me More than Any Class Could

How to Cure Wanderlust: Have a New Adventure Outdoors

Get outside and find an outdoor activity that you have never done before. Have an adventure. Find a new walking trail, a new viewpoint, a new bike ride or route, a new sport that you haven’t really taken to before. Many people end up in a a routine of doing the same walk or same activity, and finding a new one can be a great change of pace. Pick up a basketball and shoot some hoops at that court you always pass by, or find a new trail or walk in your area. This can also be extended to your whole state, county, or area. A lot of people feel that they need to go far away to travel, but how many times have you researched what cool things there are to do within few hours of your home? Make a day trip and go somewhere close by – maybe a national park, a new beach, mountain, or market – and travel at home. It’s easier than you may think!

So basically the key to getting more out of where you live is seeking out new experience in an old place. There is always new to find in the old; sometimes you just have to look a little bit harder or from a different point of view. I know you can find great things and cure your wanderlust at least a little bit, no matter what kind of place you live in!

Inspired? Pin this post to Pinterest!

FIve Easy Ways to satisfy your wanderlust without leaving your hometown - many people become closed off to new experience in the place they live because they falsely believe they have seen all there is to see. Sometimes, the key is just seeing with new eyes.

July 3, 2015

Graduation: The Hard-To-See Truth

Graduation: The Hard-To-See Truth

So, in a few weeks, I will be actually graduating from college.

I will be actually leaving this place that has been my home and sanctuary for the past four (well, four and a half for me) years. I’ll be leaving the place that I have become so familiar and comfortable with, the sights that I am so used to seeing and appreciating: the buildings, libraries, coffee houses, people.

This is a thought that has been impending on my mind forever. Since starting college it has always basically been a countdown of how much time I have left here. A year went by already? Im half way done? Only a year left? Only a quarter?

The countdown stings a bit more these days. I have two months left. A month. Three weeks. For some reason this fact is one that my human emotion is hardly capable of actually understanding. Sure there’s a little bit of realization now and then, but I don’t think my mind really gets that this time I won’t be coming back. I’ve left this place for long periods of time, sometimes even months, and I have always come back afterwards to the same home, friends, and settings. I might have fooled myself once or twice by going abroad or home for the summer, but to here I have always returned. But, not this time.

This place I call home will soon turn just be a very, very fond memory. It will be what I will surely call some of the best years of my life; times when I was reckless and carefree and was allowed take more risks and find out how to come into my own.

I won’t be able to come back to this time again. I can come back to this place, and I can come back to some of these people, but I won’t be able to come back to this time, This precious time I have a few more weeks of, right now. But how do I appreciate it? How do I make the most out of the few weeks I will ever have left of my college experience?

I’ve been here for a long time, though. Four years is what you get here, and four years is what I’ve spent. I’ve gotten four years of amazing memories that have helped me grow into the person I am today. Looking back now, freshman year seems like way more than four years ago, although looking back it also seems like it was yesterday and all flew by in a snap.

I’ve done my time, I’m older, and if I really think about it, it is honestly time for me to take this step towards growing up a little. No matter which way you look at it, you get to be childish in college. It’s been great living like this, but my time has come. Of course I’ll still always be childish… but just in different ways.

This is the point where I connect the rest of my life with what I am doing now. There has always been this rift between what I could see myself doing in the future and what I was doing at that point. And this is because, well, I have always been in school. The future was always a distant idea full of possibility and wonder, which would happen at a much later time when I had finished school and grown up. But, this is the connecting point. This is when I start that future. This is when I start filling up the empty space of possibility and wonder with my own real story, and start filling in the pages of the empty book that is my life.

This is something to be so, so excited about; I am finally losing the rigid structure of schooling from my life and am facing the opportunity to do what I want with the only life I have. I can start doing all the things I’ve always dreamed of doing, chasing all the dreams I’ve always dreamed of chasing, and experiencing many things that have always seemed to me like a distant possibility. Of course it will be sad to leave this place I love, and I will keep the memories with me forever, but the excitement of getting to start my future is something much happier. It’s difficult to see this at times, but it’s true. It doesn’t mean I am a real grown-up (I’m far from it…), it just means the training wheels are finally off and I can ride freely through life, bouncing through different opportunities like a pinball being channeled towards what I will end up doing with my life.

(I wrote this last year before I graduated. Obviously it has passed for me but is relevant to the current Class of 2015. Congrats to you all:)

May 18, 2015

17 Life Lessons You Learn While Staying in Hostels

17 Life Lessons You Learn While Staying in Hostels

Staying in hostels is definitely one of those things you don’t fully understand until you do it. You picture a busy, dirty room full of creepers and wierdos who try to steal your stuff, but then you arrive and realize that they are very different. You find that the person next to you is actually a quiet Swedish girl who reads on the balcony or a harmless Aussie just trying to party, rather than an old guy who tries to get your number (although, I mean… it could still happen).

When you stay in a hostel, you find that the people there are actually just like you: they are all just travelers looking to explore the world and enjoy themselves while on a budget. Even staying in hostels alone is an experience that can enrich your life so much! You learn what staying in a hostel is really like: it’s really not so bad, they really are safe, and there are also many other life lessons to learn from hostels that end up benefiting you elsewhere as well!

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Life Lessons You Learn When You Stay in a Hostel

1. Staying in Hostels Allows You to Learn About Other Cultures

Some Australians, an American, a Norwegian, a Moroccan, two Argentinians, a Russian and a Serbian walk into a bar… All because they met in their hostel common room, talked, made friends, and decided to go out together. There is no other situation in which this type of thing is possible! Hostels are cultural melting pots full of open minded people who are happy to meet others from other places and share their stories from their home and their travels. By talking to others staying in a hostel, you learn so many things about other cultures, how they are different from your own, and how you can all learn from each other.

2. You Learn to Share Your Space

Whether you are in a room of four people or twenty, you will always be sharing your space with other people. You learn to let go of rigid personal space borders and become more comfortable having others around you all the time, and you also become less self-conscious doing things in front of others because, well, you have to.

3. You Learn How to Respect Others’ Space

When staying in hostels, you live in very close proximity to others. Even those with usually extremely messy rooms can learn to control their belongings and give each person in the room their own (however tiny) space. You learn to be polite and not take over the room with your stuff or invade anyone else’s personal area, because personal areas in hostels are very limited.

4. Patience, Patience, Patience

Everyone has had that one person in their hostel room who was just on another page. Maybe the whole room was loud getting ready to go out when you were planning on sleeping early, or maybe someone keeps leaving their towel on your bed. But, staying in hostels really teaches you to be patient with people who think differently than you and to let things go that may bother you. Having such a big mix of people together will always lead to some shortcomings regarding understanding of each other, especially with people from so many different places, and you learn that patience is really a virtue with the whole ‘sharing of space’ deal.

5. You Snooze, You Lose

There always will be people who wake up at 730 for the free breakfast. Even if we never see these phantom people, they have already trickled in and eaten most of the day’s allotment of bread and cereal by the time we roll in at 9:55. If we’re lucky, they have left us with maybe some measly foot piece of bread and a little butter. The early bird really does get the worm, or, in this case, all the mini Nutella packets.

6. It’s Easy to Put Yourself Out There a Little When Staying in Hostels

Hostels are unique in that they’re a gathering of many like-minded people with the same goals in mind, which are to travel, explore, and have fun. Presented with this situation, you learn that it is okay to approach or talk to anyone, and they will usually be happy to talk with you.  The vice versa is also true, and you learn to be friendly and outgoing when people approach you also. Whether you join a group of people hanging out on the patio, eat breakfast with a new friend, join a backpacker pub crawl, or make dinner with a roommate, there are so many ways to meet people and make friends. Making friends while traveling, especially when staying in hostels alone, gives you the confidence to do the same in any other situation as well.

7. You Can Get Along With Anyone in a Hostel

Hostels present their inhabitants with inherently social situations. When you walk into a room full of six strangers, someone will naturally say hello and ask about where you are from. This type of situation is uniquely social and encourages you to meet and get along with people of tons of different backgrounds who may be in your room with you. Even if you don’t quite get along with someone, you learn how to make it work so everyone can have a good experience staying together in the hostel.

things you learn by staying in hostels - they are always the best locations!

Not to mention hostels are always in the MOST central locations – check out this view from my hostel in Dubrovnik! 

8. People Can Be Genuinely Kind

You really do meet some of the nicest people while staying in hostels. You can find people in your room offering to help you plan your next flight in another language, a group inviting you to share their drinks, a worker going above and beyond their call of duty to be helpful, and many other things. So many hostel workers are such incredibly kind and hospitable people, and will help you with absolutely anything they can to ensure you have a good time. Whether helping you find what to do around the city, helping you with your bags, or letting you use the coffee even outside of breakfast time, it is heart warming how much kindness strangers and give freely at hostels.

9. You Can Give Kindness Back

If you have something to give or the ability to help someone with something, hostel culture encourages you to do it. If someone helps you with a problem one day, maybe you will help someone else with theirs the next. If someone helps you bring your bags up the stairs or work the vending machine or think of the best things to do in the city, maybe you will pass on the knowledge to someone else the next time. Many hostels really foster a traveler-helping-traveler community in which everyone takes part, encouraging you to spread the kindness as much as possible.

10. You Can Live Much More Simply and with Fewer Things Than You Thought

Who needs an expensive and extravagant breakfast when you can have some simple toast, croissants, or cereal to tide you over for the whole morning? Who needs an extensive wardrobe when you can live with just a few simple articles of clothing? When you stay in hostels, you learn that you really don’t need as much as you thought. You boil down to only the necessities, and you can stay clean from some simple soap, survive with a few necessary toiletries, and live off very few clothes- just as many fit inside the hostel locker – and be totally and surprisingly fine.

11. You’re Fine the Way You Are – Beautification is Not as Important as You Thought 

Ladies, do you really want to spend hours in the shared bathroom curling your hair and doing your makeup immaculately to go out, with others coming in and out? Probably not. And when you don’t, you realize that you don’t have to. At all. You can actually go out and have fun while not looking perfect all that time, and it’s okay – you can accept yourself just the way you are.

once in cape town yours truly bar where to stay staying in hostels

Just gettin’ some work done in my super trendy hostel in Cape Town that doubled as a bar/restaurant/cafe!

12. Hostels Teach You that You Can Sleep Anywhere.

If you can sleep in a room full of 20 people, with some snorers, some 7am pack-up-and-leavers, some tossers and turners, and some come-in-drunk-at-3amer’s, you can sleep literally anywhere. Hostels make you expert sleepers and teach you how to catch some shut eye in any situation.

13. You Can Always Keep to Yourself if You Want To

I have been talking a lot about the social aspects of hostels, but it is important to note that it is always an option to keep to yourself. Although many people are always meeting and conversing, you can always opt to do your own thing rather than be putting yourself out there constantly. You learn in hostels that there is always a time to be social and also a time to be independent, and you can switch between the two whenever you feel comfortable. This is especially true if you stay in hostels alone – you can do your own thing or join a group whenever you would like. So much freedom!

 

14. The Best Experiences Come From the Situations You Least Expect

Spontaneity is a natural part of hostel life. You may find out about an event in the city while you’re there or decide at the last minute to go out with others- and learn that sometimes the best times are those that weren’t all immaculately planned out. This attitude follows you away from your travels as you continue to be more open to doing things at the last minute or taking part in activities that you usually wouldn’t.

15. Staying in Hostels Teaches You How to be Adventurous and Get Out of Your Comfort Zone 

The fact that you don’t get much space at all to yourself in many hostel rooms actually has a few benefits- one of which is that you are encouraged to get out of the room, explore, and venture out rather than stay in the room all day. You pay a lot for amenities in hotels, such as room service, activities, all-inclusive options, pools, restaurants, bars, etc… All of which are aimed to encourage you to never even leave the hotel or explore the city, and spend all your money right there in the hotel! If we’re being honest here, hostels don’t have many extravagant amenities, and that is okay. Not having endless options within your accommodation leads you to – gasp – actually get out and explore the city where you are staying!

16. You Learn How to Find Things to do Wherever You Are 

Going off the whole hotel idea, hostels don’t have concierges in suits sitting in the lobby who are trained to tell you the most expensive restaurants to go to or to go on their partnered tours. You learn to talk to locals or workers about the best things to do in the area, or do a little bit of research yourself. Hostels teach you to be active in your traveling experience rather than passively following what others say to do, which can come to play in any situation where you want to find something fun to do anywhere!

17. Everything is Not What it Initially Seems

Lastly, no matter what kinds of stereotypes hostels have or what pre-existing idea one may have of them, it is almost guaranteed that the experience will be different than what is expected, and likely much better. It does, of course, depend on where you stay, the size of the hostel, and what you consider when choosing one, but one thing is for sure- there is a lot to learn from staying in hostels.

 

I hope this has given you some insight as to what staying in a hostel is like! Hostels are safe, social, inclusive spaces for like-minded travelers to connect and stay. As long as you keep your sits about you, you will be absolutely fine! Happy traveling!

May 13, 2015

Confessions of a 5th Year Senior – The Grandparents of College

Confessions of a 5th Year Senior – The Grandparents of College

Most people do it in four. But a 5th Year Senior isn’t as lucky- or is much luckier, depending on how you want to look at it. We’re the grandmas and grandpas of the campus; we’ve been through it, we know, we’re old, and we know it. And most of us embrace it and may occasionally use it against you if you think you know more about our school than us. I’m going to talk about an aspect of college that is rarely shed light on – the 5th year senior, or the lovingly called ‘super-senior.’

The 5th Year Senior is always around, but you might not always notice them. We’re finishing up the final classes of our minors, we have one more year of athletics eligibility, or maybe we changed our major 5 times before we found the right one. Whatever the reason happens to be, we’re still here, and we tend to fly under the radar much more than we had in previous years of undergrad.

We’re not exactly like the 4th years posting all over social media about how much we can’t believe it’s our last year in college or how excited we are for our last first days of school. We’ve already done that with the people in our grade last year who, you know, graduated on time.

We are the 5th Year Senior. We’re ever-observant yet especially silent, and we go about our daily activities with a new and almost satyrical outlook on college as we can watch all the current first through fourth years enact right in front of us the way we behaved for the past four years of our lives.

We probably feel awkward and out of place as a fifth wheel in the generally four-wheeled race of undergrad, but we mentally even out this awkwardness with dominance because we have been here longer than all of you and therefore know more too.
We’re not upset to be here- in fact we are likely very happy to put off the real world longer (which we are currently witnessing all of our close friends who have just graduated deal with and be consumed by) No, we’re not upset about being here; we love the fact that we can be sheltered by the warm and comfortable shield of undergrad for a little bit longer, but this year is much different than the rest and comes with a unique and hilarious set of adjustments and thought processes that help us get through this extremely odd time of life.

We’re too old for this shit.

What shit? All shit. All the shit that you normal-four-year-interval college students do. We don’t want to do it anymore because we simply feel too old. We try to go out to parties and immediately have the freshman asking what year we are and feel awkward not knowing whether to just blow it off and say we’re seniors or tell them the truth that we’re 5th years and watch their eyes widen as they look at us like we’re Yoda.

And Yoda isn’t even a bad comparison actually; we are the older and wiser of the school. We have been there and done that; we have been to all the parties and done all the stupid things you guys are doing, and now we are just too old.

Let’s be honest though, we are still EXTREMELY convincible to go out. We still love to go out. But we will probably complain at least a little bit about how old we feel, and groan when we see freshmen. We may attempt to convince you to go to a bar instead because that’s where we feel more comfortable.

No 5th Year Senior is going to do anything new. Don’t even try.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and the same thing goes with us. Trying to get us to join a new organization or involved with a new group on campus? Please. We did that whole ‘trying new things’ thing during our first four years of college. We aren’t interested, but thanks.

We stay involved in the things that we want to stay involved in, and other than that, we don’t care about your dance group or your save-the-planet club. When we see a group of people wearing matching T-shirts all cheering and taking part in a group activity, we feel slightly sickened and fondly reminisce on the days where that sort of thing looked like fun.

After all, in this transition period that being a 5th year senior is, we are probably focusing more on what we are going to do AFTER college than trying to delve deeper into college itself.

All of our friends in our grade graduated.

As nice as it is that we can still live in the fantasy world of college while we wave at all of our friends in the real world as they move home, struggle to find jobs, and basically have no idea what they’re doing with their lives, there is one harsh reality here – we have no friends anymore. We feel like loners without the same crew we had the first four years of school. Of course people have younger teammates, younger friends from other organizations we may have been involved in, or a few fellow 5th years, but our core college posse is gone and disbanded. College graduation is a very real thing, my friends, and people seriously end up all over the world after that shit. And 5th year seniors, well, we’re still here.

The impending real world is much more real now.

It was always so distant and not actually something we had to think about, but now we’re basically at the edge looking over the cliff and preparing to jump. We’re actually weighing our options now for what to do after we graduate, and we definitely have to because our parents have probably cut us off pretty damn quickly after taking an extra year of college (sorry dad). We’re thinking about where to move and applying to jobs as we hear the horror stories of our peers trying to get their post-grad lives together. It’s just a matter of time until we’re right there with you, friends.

We don’t want to meet you. You’re probably annoying. Sorry.

No new friends is especially true for our 5th year kind. We won’t be here much longer and meeting new people seems futile because we probably won’t know them after we graduate anyway.

I had a wide-eyed freshman come up and introduce herself to me and start talking about her experience on a sports team and how she is liking college. That’s great and all, and I remember when I was exactly like you, but that time is no longer. You will think its weird when you find out I’m a 5th year anyway.

This new feeling of not having FOMO for everything.

Personally, I have been known to have a horrible case of FOMO. Maybe my sorority (which I am now too old to be in) is having an event, or maybe my friends are going to a party or an an adventure around the town. I am used to feeling like I am missing out big time if I know something cool is going on without me… and even getting a small case of anxiety as I curse my decision not to go. But, for some reason, this year has been different. Lately, when I decide not to attend a fun outing… I feel NOTHING. Sometimes, I even feel a little bit of happiness that I am comfortably in my bed instead of wherever my friends are.

This absence of FOMO is really new to me, and really weird. I can’t decide yet if I like it or not, but I know I am always happy as a clam with my glass of wine on the couch instead of at a party I would usually be longing to attend.

Everyone asks us what we are still doing here.

“Oh my GOD, what are you doing here?! I thought you graduated!!” …. no. Clearly not. This is something a 5th year senior is used to hearing, and we hate it. We are lost and confused as well and aren’t really sure what we are still doing here either, and do not appreciate all your questioning as to why we didn’t get out in 4 like everyone else.

Being a super-senior is an extremely unique time of college and life, and if embraced, it can be one of the best.

Although our friends from our grade have graduated and people constantly ask us why we are still here, in a slightly embarrassed yet proud fashion, us 5th year seniors continue to hold our heads high and walk around campus like we own the place, because, well, we pretty much do.

Read Next: Graduation: The Hard-to-See Truth

May 8, 2015

10 Reasons Camping at Music Festivals Makes for the Best Experience

10 Reasons Camping at Music Festivals Makes for the Best Experience

Camping at Music Festivals is the holy grail of having the most epic weekend. Why? Let me tell you…

Ah, festival season. It’s finally upon us. It’s finally time for the flowers to bloom, the weather to improve, and for all of us to flock to large open fields in carefully planned outfits to live in a dream world for three days at a time. We await our favorite festival(s) all year and anxiously anticipate and look forward to them, planning everything out to a tee to make for a perfect weekend. You want to take any restrictions off of your ability to get the most out of the weekend, and the way to do that is to never actually leave the festival experience at all.

…what? How do you do that?! If the festival has camping, you CAMP. Camping at Music Festivals is the only way to get the most out of the experience!

Most festivals have their camping right outside the grounds, where people are free to set up their belongings for three+ days to make a temporary little home. What once was an open field becomes a miniature city, as thousands of happy festival-goers fill into their slots with tents, coolers, sound systems, tables, dance floors, outdoor games, and good vibes. When you camp, you put yourself in the perfect position to get the most out of the festival, and you never really actually leave. Even if you have a great group, an awesome hotel, or rent a nice house, nothing can compare to what can happen if you place yourself smack dab in the middle of the madness for the whole weekend. Camping at music festivals could be the best decision you make for your weekend, and if you still aren’t convinced, here are some more reasons why.

Lightning in a Bottle Festival Guide camping at music festivals

 

One small slice of our camping setup at Lightning in a Bottle Festival. Read my LIB Review/Guide Here!

 

When you Camp at Music Festivals, You Meet People. Everywhere.

In the camping spot next to you, in line for the showers, at morning yoga, walking around at night, while brushing your teeth in the morning…. camping at music festivals allows you to meet more awesome people than just the group you came with. Festival vibes, I would argue, are the happiest vibes of all time. Everyone who is there is always genuinely stoked to be there to have the weekend of their life, and the happiness just flows from everyone’s pores like a tangible buzzing energy. When energy is like this you vibe with pretty much everyone, exchanging smiles, chants, and song with anyone you pass along the campground in the morning.

When camping at music festivals, you are completely surrounded by thousands of like-minded people when you camp at festivals, who all have the exact same purpose being there as you. I can’t think of any other situation in life where this is true! When you and 10,000+ other happy humans are in the same space, you can’t help but meet lots of them. Everyone at festivals has the same purpose but a different story, and are eager to share it with others. I’ve joined into other campers beer pong games in the mornings and invited passerbys to come into our site to have their arms painted, and actually have become good friends with people I met in line for the showers! Meeting the campers next to you goes without saying, and by the third day you nearly always form a big, cohesive crew with those who used to be strangers in the tents around you. This goes for any festival – I really do have best friends today that I have met by happening to camp next to them at a festival.

Camping at Music Festivals Means You Never Leave the Experience

When you camp at a festival, instead of having the experience be fragmented into three separate parts from when you arrive on the grounds to when you leave each day, it becomes one huge, awesome, continuous event. Being at the festival doesn’t have to end each day when you go back to the same place with the same people, with your experience contingent upon the moods of only those you are staying with. If you camp, you’re fully immersed into the festival experience 100% of the time. You are always open to meeting new people and doing new things, without limiting yourself only certain time periods to have all the fun.

Proximity to Other People You May or May Not Know 

Aside from being close enough to meet other awesome people, camping at music festivals allows you to be close to people you already know as well. Campsites are often just a quick walk apart, and you can go over to your friend’s camp in the next lot to join their pregame one day, and have them come over to make breakfast with you the next. You can even make a morning round to see different people and their friends in different lots/camp sites before going back to spend time at yours. Festival camping is a uniquely social experience, and you’re only a walk away  from any people or places you would like to be at all times.

lost village festival guide uk camping at music festivals

Just your normal morning at any campground I am at – face painting! This was Lost Village in the UK – Read my Guide here.

Shared Experience with Other Music Festival Campers

Like I pointed it above, everyone in the campgrounds is there for the same reason: to have a good time. Each and every person is roughing it a little and living without their usual comforts in exchange for an epic weekend, and sharing this slightly more dirty and public tent life with the others around them. The shared experience of living so close to one another brings people together, and intensifies the effect of making friends with those around you who are going through the same thing. You’re all in this camping at music festivals thing together and will make sure you have a good time, help each other out, and join in each other’s fun.

If You Do Camping at Music Festivals Right, You Can Live LARGE.

Most arguments against camping come from people who were very ill prepared for the festival they went to. If you bring the correct supplies and stake out a good area, you can create your own little camping haven. If you get a big group to create a large area or claim multiple spots next to each other, there are no limits to how awesome you can make your area or how luxuriously you can live from a tent (or car too, depending on the fest). Food is a big thing that can make or break your experience; bring enough to make real meals and a cooler so things keep for the weekend. Many festivals even have grocery stores where you can pick up supplies and ice to keep food cool. Bringing little barbecues, grills, or just a fire and a pan is a great option, with the amazing possibility of making a homemade egg, bacon, or sausage breakfast, or snacks at the end of the day. It is also important to bring shade, with an extra shade over your tent preferable (easy-up, rigged tarp, etc) to keep cool. I have found that mini tables, mats for the floor, and definitely many folding chairs are really helpful, and of course lots of water and a cooler of cold beer (but in cans of course- no glass allowed!). If you do it right, you can live larger from a tent while camping at music festivals than from a hotel room!

The Party Ends When You Want it To

If you stay elsewhere, the night pretty much ends when the last band/dj finishes their last song and you all file out of the exit. You can go back and continue the party at your hotel or somewhere else, but you are limited to the space and people you have there. When camping at music festivals, if you’re tired, you can throw in your earplugs and crash at any point that you want – even before the music is over! If you aren’t, you can set out and adventure late into the night. You can find friends’ campsites to visit, you can attend after-hours events that some festivals have (holla at you, silent discos and 24 hour stages!), you can join in the party tent you passed by earlier who brought a DJ, or you can follow where the nearest loud music is coming from and make new friends. And, because of good festival vibes, people will most always happily have you at their tent party.

Last year at one festival I ended up at a glow-paint dance party slash dodgeball game at 2am, doing glow paint designs on strangers between dance moves. At another festival, we ended up playing games and getting into random shenanigans for the whole last night with our new friends from the tents around us. There is no question in my mind that these turns of events could NOT have occurred if we weren’t camping at the festival, because I would have been back at my hotel doing much more boring things or worrying about finding a cab back. Camping opens up new doors for night time activities, and provides the ability to go back and eat, put on your warm clothes, and relax for a bit at your tent at night if you want. Or, you can just recoup before heading back into the venue or out to find what after-hours goodies your festival has to offer.

Camping Areas at Music Festivals DO Have Showers.

When I tell people I camp, so many say “ugh wow, I just could not go that long without a shower!” Well, I couldn’t either!! I have yet to camp at a music festival that doesn’t have very decent showers in the campgrounds, totally adequate for even a girl like myself. Some festivals have the showers open late so you can wash off after a long crazy day. They usually have mirrors and plugs and places to brush your teeth or do your hair; we pay enough money for these weekends for them to provide great living conditions, especially for campers.

Afrikaburn 2017 binnekring sunset camping at music festivals

One of the coolest camps at Afrikaburn. Read my guide to what a burn is here or tips on traveling to Afrikaburn here!

They Always Have Cool Amenities in the Campgrounds

If a festival has the option to camp, it will (generally always) provide for its campers. From food stands and trucks to morning yoga to arts and crafts tents to having its own grocery stores, bakeries, clothing shops, hookah lounges, and radio stations (okay, maybe the last few are just Tomorrowland, but I can’t be sure…) you can be confident that you can get what you need in the campgrounds. If you forget something, chances are you’ll be able to find it and much more in what is offered to you in the camp area alone. It’s always fun to have a good explore of the vast camping areas to see what each festival may have. There are often interactive areas for festival-goers to take part in different artsy activities or have their hair or makeup done or see displays of art and sculpture.  These amenities are usually not convenient to be explored by people who stay remotely, who are always in a rush to get into the festival when they arrive on the grounds each day.

Never Waiting or Delay to Go In For Those Camping at Music Festivals 

“I’m going into the festival!” “Ok see ya later, I still need to get ready.” “No worries, I’ll probably come back to camp later to get some rest and grab my shirt.”

This is a normal conversation for those who camp. Those with other accommodation must wait until their whole group has gotten ready (we all know girls need some extra time… These outfits have been in the works for months!), finished pregaming, gotten out of the house/hotel, waited for the uber/taxi/shuttle, finished walking from the drop off point, and dealt with any other complications that may arise during this process. And, there inevitably will be a few. By this point, you probably will have missed a few acts that you were looking forward to, and will have wished you just stayed in a quaint little tent a two minute walk from the entrance, next to dozens of old and new friends.

No Waiting to Go Home At Night

Everything I just said goes on the way home too, possibly even more so. You’re tired after an entire day of dancing and probably minimal eating, and there’s nothing you want more than to relax and sit down. Unfortunately, you must find your friends, wait in a huge long line for shuttles or cabs, and slowly make your way home. This is death, especially after the 3rd day, and you will again be wishing you could just walk a few hundred yards to your little camp sanctuary.

More of my festival guides where you can read my guide and all my tips for camping (besides the ones cited in my captions above):

I literally cannot stress enough the impact that camping at music festivals has had on my experience. I wouldn’t have it any other way, even when I get woken up by the Germans across from me blasting awful electro at 8am or when I wake up in a bit of a sweat after sleeping into the hotter hours of the day. It is ALL part of the experience, and what makes the weekend complete and cohesive. And by the way, we eventually befriended the crazy Germans and are still good friends with them… It always ends well in the campground 🙂

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April 9, 2015