Sunday, 7 April 2013


I'm so sorry for the lack of posts but my internet has been out for what seems like AGES.

Anyway tomorrow I'm leaving for London again! I can't believe its been 3 months already and I get to leave to go "home" again.

Coming soon: posts on the ins and outs of planning your study abroad days. Banks, Visas and all the other red tape you have to get through.

And maybe a few wonderful days out?????

I hope you're having a lovely spring!!

See you all in GMT <3 <3 <3

T xxx

Monday, 25 March 2013

Monday Morning, Spring Snow Day Addition.


I have no excuse. Obviously, with the development of life around me, I've lost track of the days. When I work on Friday it's hard to update on Friday unless I really update on Thursday. Which happens only when I remember that it's Thursday before it's too late. Quite frankly, unless it's Monday (dreaded, horrible, awful Monday) I rarely know what day it is anymore. So lets update today!

#1 ~ What in the world is going on outside my window? When I lived in Minnesota, or Massachusetts, or New York, this was expected.I live in the Mid-Atlantic. Close the south. On March 25th, what the hell is this?
Two days ago I went outside in shorts. All this does is fill me with anger.
#2 ~ The real reason for this brilliant Monday update:

The Unlikely Explorer is no longer waiting!!!!!! 
(I wish I could also make this sparkle- If I was better with computers/not too lazy to find out I probably could)

Maybe this weird ass weather is the way of the universe preparing me for next year because I'm moving back to Scotland. This means living with Matt. Also, this means I'll finally get my masters. 

It's weird that it feels like finally because it's been less than a year since I graduated with my Bachelors, but it does. It really does feel like I can FINALLY breathe. 

Although it's going to be a difficult year, I hope this means more wonderful adventures for the blog. It definitely means that there will be a series of posts with HOPEFULLY useful tips about obtaining visas, house hunting overseas (when you can't even be there) and of course, packing your life into 1-2 suitcases. I've already done it once before, so... we'll see if I learned anything from the first time. 

I hope that, even though it's stupid Monday, you all have a wonderful day and an amazing rest of the week. I'm going to take my snow-day to take one last day to bask in the relief of knowing my future. Then we'll go back to a little bit of waiting. 

5 months to go!!!

T xxx

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Travel Writing and Inspiration

The funny thing about waiting is that it can make us lose sight of what we wanted in the first place. I want to write. That's why this blog exists. The problem is wanting to write about travel and not travelling kind of adds up to a bit of conundrum. And pulling inspiration out of thin air isn't going to happen either.

That's why, while we've been on the subject of travel related things to do to pass the time between trips, I've been eyeing my (distressingly neglected) book shelf.

If you're like me, you like reading in all sorts of situations. On cold nights at home, warm nights at home, on the way to work, at work, in the tub (the tub isn't at work, though). The point is, I love reading. Recently however, it's been easy to bet caught up in other things. It's easier to just turn the brain off after 7 p.m. and leave it at that.

Which is why, sitting pristine and lovely on my bookshelf are two Christmas presents: Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson and All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Smith. The search for inspiration should obviously come from those who have already done what you're aspiring to do, right?

So, over the next few weeks, I'll be bringing you some small tid-bits and life lessons I've learned along the journey's with them (which is a really pretty way to say I'll be reviewing the books). Maybe, if we're all lucky, I'll pick up a few new ideas and techniques for my own writing. Then, when that next trip finally happens, I'll be more than ready.

Happy Friday everyone!

T xx

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Memory Keeping

Life, the way it is now, is slow going. Most of the time people find themselves looking at calendars and freaking out about how fast the days seem to go. But sometimes, when you get a chance to sit down for a moment, all of a sudden you're not saying "Oh my God it's already March!", you're saying "Oh dear God it's only March".

During this period of intense waiting, it's nice to have something to do. My boss, who is also a very good friend, got me interested in scrapbooking by showing me some of the wonderful things she's done for her family. With all the pictures that we have, I figured it would be a nice way to make use of them since I'm running out of picture frames. Not to mention the fact that it's nice to remember the good and sunny times when it's dreary outside.
These are from an adorable Far & Away Chipboard found at Two Peas In A Bucket

Friday, 22 February 2013


I have to apologize for the delay in posting today. I was surprised today to hear from a very good friend of mine who is very lucky to be living the dream I lived about two years ago.

I can't actually believe it was two years ago that I was living in Edinburgh. Two years ago that this whole journey started.

The unfortunate part of journeys like mine - and I'm sure I'm not alone in this-  is while you can do many things to help yourself along, there are certain parts you have no control over. That's the part I find myself in right now. It's hard to think of something to say really when you're wanting to write about wild planned adventures and a great new start when you have no idea if that start is even coming.

So I, better yet we, wait.

I would like to say that this post will be filled with tips on how to keep your spirits up while you're waiting. And I would like to say that I can also give you tips on not being so anxious when you're waiting for things while you travel. But the truth is I'm rubbish at both. The most I can hope for is that anyone who reads this will feel a little bit better about the fact that they're in the same boat. At least you're not alone.

That all being said, I think that I've been throwing myself into work and nothing else for a bit too long. Since I would like to be able to post some tips on how to keep from turning into a giant ball of stress during times like these, I've decided to discover some myself. Over the next few weeks I'll be working on memory keeping projects and hopefully getting a few travel books under my belt that I can share with you all. Maybe together, we can all find a way to deal with waiting.

Happy Friday lovelies!

T xx

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Friday Links!

Greetings explorers!

This has been a strange week to say the least. A lot of getting things done that needed to be done but no really earth shattering or exciting events. Well... that is unless you count surprise Valentine's Day flowers from your boyfriend as earth shattering, which I do....

Tulips because he couldn't bring me a souvenir from Amsterdam <3 
But now that I'm done kinda (okay really) bragging lets get back to business.

In all honesty it's been a slow week for all things travel related. Matt and I are still waiting to hear some hopefully very good news soon but until then, it's just a waiting game.  Keeping all that in mind, I thought this week would be great to leave everyone some links. Below is a small collection of articles, blogs and helpful sites I'm really into currently. Maybe these can inspire you to stop putting off that next romantic get away or, better still, to finally take your first big trip!


If you're like me, you're feeling the winter blues all over. I'm convinced that travel is the answer to everything and the BBC's Passport Blog agrees with me. Here's a post perfect for Valentine's Day.

Also from over at the BBC, something for those couples traveling together for the first time. You can learn these lessons on your own (Matt and I did) but thinking about these things beforehand might cut down on bickering. Emphasis on might.

Sometimes, just being able to look at destination and plan trips is enough of an escape for your mind to help you through the day. I tend to do this on Mondays. Matt and I favor the Lonely Planet travel books on travel as well as their website. With their Destination search, you can easily find anywhere you'd like to go. It's great for learning more about areas around World Heritage Sites!

And last but not least, some UNESCO news. UNESCO has just hosted an event called Marine World Heritage: Crown Jewels of the Ocean. There are 46 World Heritage Sites located in the ocean all in the name of conservation and marine sustainability.  I don't actually know if Matt and I will be able to get to some of these... maybe above them on a boat... does that count?


Happy  Friday everyone!


Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Fact of the Matter

When Matt first told me about his goal to see all 900... well it must have been 920-and-some at that time, I didn't know him well. He was very cute and I couldn't get enough but I also wasn't too sure what World Heritage Sites even were. I'm not saying I thought it was silly. I thought it was incredibly romantic. I saw images of jet-setting and beautiful hotels- Oh, the joys of loving a man who loved to travel....

Monday, 4 February 2013

A Very Special Day

Hello everyone! Today's post has mostly zero to do with traveling, just as fair warning. Then why make a post you say? 

Because it's Matthew's Birthday!!!!! 
He tries to pretend he doesn't know how good looking
 he is, but he knows...
Yes, the love of my life turns 22 today! Which means I can now tease him for being old just like he teases me. 

Since this time last year we've really fallen into sync. We've seen some amazing things and gone through some ridiculous(ly sad/painful/super-stressful) times together and, honestly, I would never want to do that again with or for anyone else. Even with all of that, I think that this past year has been a good one and I hope that Matt feels the same. 21 wasn't all that bad but I'm betting 22 will be better :)

Unfortunately, I can't celebrate it with him and, because of the perils of overseas shipping, it doesn't seem he'll get his presents anytime soon either. Below is a small birthday present for him.

A Happy Tuesday to you all :)

Happy Birthday Matthew <3

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Pay Attention

My least favorite month of the year is officially over and it's time to breath a sigh of relief. At least until Valentines Day. It's the little things in life that are really what keep me going when we enter this particular stretch of time. There's no Matt, no traveling and not much to enjoy but work which, at least, gets me out of the house.

One thing that January is good for though is thought. Deep thought. Well... deep-ish thought. Mostly I sit and daydream about next year and about past travels. In those daydreams, however, have highlighted a bit of a frustration.

Last week is a great example: As I was writing about exploring Washington D.C. with Matt, I realized that I was having to really sit and wrack my brain to remember exact moments. I'm not saying that I don't remember the trip or that I didn't have an amazing time, quite to the contrary. However, I didn't remember specific moments as vividly as I wish I did.

Honestly that's been happing a lot in the recent years. I look forward to something so much that I put such pressure on it that I can't enjoy it. Or I focus on how the moment can't last and it passes me by. That's why visits with Matt seem so short and the reason it can be so hard to write about our trips. This struggle to remember our trips brings it to a whole other level of frustrating. The point of travel is to experience another place, not go and sit and leave just to say you visited. Even worse, it makes me feel like Matt is making memories without me.

My father was always telling me to pay attention to my surroundings and it's high time to take his advice again, I know, but the question is how? With so many distractions and a world full of hyper-awareness of the wrong thing (i.e. everything that could ever go wrong) how am I supposed to retrain myself to focus?

Obviously I don't have answers. It's just something I have to work on. Hopefully, with every new event and trip I'll find a way to work it out.

Have a lovely weekend all. I hope you all can make some good memories. <3


Monday, 28 January 2013

Happy Monday!

A white rose from the Blenheim's Gardens
I do know that the words Happy and Monday don't actually make any sense together at all. However, in the vein of trying to look at this year as a new opportunity for growth, I'm trying to pretend like I'm happy it's Monday.

As I was perusing for my own purposes, I found that Vanity Fair has done a complete photo story about Blenheim Palace - FROM THE INSIDE! In case you've forgotten, I was properly chastised for trying to take a picture in the Great Hall so, I'm very excited that you can see how absolutely beautiful it is there.

Think of it as a small gift to you all to make your Monday a little brighter. Have a great rest of the week and I'll see you on Friday!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Travelling At Home

When Matt and I first met we never expected to see each other again. It wasn't until my summer plans fell through that we even talked about possible visits. Then of course possible visits became I really want to see you how long can you stay? 

When you're flying across the Atlantic there isn't a lot of money leftover for other things. As evidenced by our travels documented here, we haven't ventured too far out of London for anything yet. In some ways I used to look at this as unfortunate but after Matt's last vist (well, after really talking to him about his last visit) I've realized that it's given us a new special kind of skill: the ability to travel at home. 

Parliament and Big Ben from across the Thames <3

Friday, 18 January 2013

Being Open Minded - A Whole New Year

I'm deciding right now to look on this year as a gift. I used to think it was corny to think that way and I kind of still believe it is but a new year calls for a new way of thinking and I'm going to make this my first step.

I've decided on this following a very heated New Years Eve discussion with my boyfriend.

I'm always asking Matt if we can talk about the future. Living in a long distance relationship as we are, it can be very hard to see that little light at the end of the being-apart-all-the-time tunnel. I've applied to go to Graduate School in the same city as him - the absolute easiest way for a person of my age and finances to move anywhere overseas - but immigration laws in the UK will make it close to impossible for me to stay once that degree is finished.

Thoughts like these tend to weigh on me and make me feel panicky. Matt, however, is a problem solver.

On New Years Eve, we went for a walk in snowy, freezing New York, just to get some time on to ourselves. He, out of the blue, suggested that we look for a place in the world that wants people, has universities and teaching/working opportunities for me - Matt suggested we move to Kenya.

I automatically said no. I nearly screamed, I protested, I told him he could go by himself and I felt awful. I don't want him to go on adventures without me. I don't want to lose him to amazing experiences for two years while I sit at home. And the only thing that I can think of that made me act that way is fear.

The thing about travelling the world is I'm not very good at it. I'm a worrier. I can go from an amazingly confident woman in my own space to, quite frankly, a tragic wreck when I'm brought out of my comfort zone. I'm fully aware of that. I call my self The Unlikely Explorer for a reason. Over the course of this twenty minute conversation with Matt we went from my yelling and protesting (for seemingly no reason- to either of us) and Matt yelling at me for being prejudiced and me getting even more mad at the accusation to me finally admitting that he was right.

I'm not in anyway saying that I was raised to distrust other places, new places or any certain group of people. But I have grown up, most specifically in the last few years, exposed to the media's portrayal of the world and most stories you hear coming out of Africa are about poverty and war and sickness and that's terrifying to me. Which is something I'm not proud to admit.

Once I did admit that yes, I was being prejudiced, it was easy to finally see why we were fighting. It was also easier for me to say, maybe that can work. It's no use going through life letting our preconceptions (which can so often be misconceptions) govern how much we experience. We all do it (even you Matt <3) and it's not something that's right to do. This fear causes my stubbornness for no reason and, most awfully, it keeps me standing still.

The point of this all is not that I'm moving to Africa anytime soon. It turns out that Canada, amazingly, is more likely because of what it offers for schools and job opportunities in our fields - which is not the point either.
It's really about acknowledging that in life, when you let fears, small or big, take over your world view, you end up telling the man you love that he can go off alone while you sit bitterly at home. Or, if you must be less specific, you just miss out on so many experiences. There's a lot of things I would love to go back in time and do but I can't. All I can do is not let that stand in the way anymore. If nothing else, the need to make what is an amazing but sometimes inconvenient located love work, will be the first thing to bring me over those hurdles.

It's 2013. There's only one way to make it amazing... "You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling."

Here's to wild abandon and actually living <3
Happy New Year