SLIDER

What I'm Reading: February 2017 #2

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Photo by Dmitri Popov

Books:

I started When Breath Becomes Air, and this is definitely one of my favorite books ever.  Paul was an English and Neuroscience double major, like moi, so I feel connected to him in that aspect.

I've also started The Rules Do Not Apply, but I'm not far enough into really say anything yet.  I like the writing, though.

Articles:

Romantic comedies aren't dead, they're just different

How Doctors Take Women's Pain Less Seriously.  This article pissed me off SO MUCH and needs to be required reading for all medical students.

Liberal, blue cities are good examples of decentralized government, so technically Republicans should be supportive of giving cities more local power.

To any future spouses out there, don't ask my dad for permission before you propose.

These books have greatly increased in sales since Trump became president.  I definitely need to reread 1984 since its been awhile since 11th grade English.  Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark is also on my to-read list along with Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here.

Women can wear now wear pants, but we still can't wear whatever we want.

Blogs:

Laura Jane Williams, whose book Becoming I posted about a few days ago, has started to do little daily posts on her blog.  She's one of my favorites, so it's so much fun to get words from her more often.

Will I include Brenna in every round up that I do?  Probably.  It's not my fault she's always coming out with the good #content!  This week she posted about being unmarried and childless in her 30's.  I'm still in my 20's, but I can relate so hard and can see myself relating even harder when I'm 30.

Kristabel's experience on being a black British blogger

Videos:


Just one or two sentences a day is better than nothing at all!

Life:

I've started doing Yoga with Adriene videos on youtube to hopefully help with my back and shoulder pain.  (That was such an adult sentence goodbye.)  Also, I'm hoping that doing yoga videos will help me feel less guilty about not going to the gym.  (Which, funnily enough, as I'm editing this in the library I just got back from the gym for the first time this semester.)

Quotes:

“Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.”
-Grace Coddington

My Favorite Quotes from 'Becoming' by Laura Jane Williams

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Photo by Alisa Anton

I need to talk about this book, but I don't want to do a boring book review.  We already know that this book is great (judging by all the five star reviews on Amazon); I don't need to tell you that.

But I need to talk about this book.  How much I love it, how much I need everyone to read it, how much I want to write a book like that someday.

I'm going to share with you my favorite quotes that Laura Jane Williams blessed us within Becoming.  All the quotes that I read and was like "yes, me too, thank God someone else feels the same way".

My copy, which I bought the first day it came out in paperback, is now full of pink highlighter.  It's rather aesthetically pleasing paired with the pink cover.
Allow me to be human, too.  Allow me to be prejudiced. Unreliable.  Subjective.
The book hasn't even started yet (this is from the Author's Note).  I think the reason memoirs get a bad rep is because people want them to be 100% unbiased and be so airtight it could face a courtroom.  But that's not the point of memoirs, is it?  The point is for the author to tell their version of the story, however that may unfold.
I'm proud of who I am but I'm well aware that Gwen is more palatable - she's smoother round the edges.  Less opinionated...By comparison I'm a blonde, loud, hurricane of a mess, constantly asking why and demanding who and talktalktalking.  I take up so much more space.
Do you ever feel like you're too big for the world?  Too prickly, always bumping into stuff, whether it be metaphorically or that time you knocked over all the trash at Starbucks and everyone stopped to look at you.  We probably all feel like we take up too much space at times (all the time), but we have to remember that we deserve all the space we occupy, and then some.
I was drained, and didn't want to be strong, or brave, and to go another step alone, best face forward, terrified me.  I was so goddamn angry.  Full of hurt that I didn't have anywhere to put.
Aka my entire teenage years.  (And maybe even present day but let's not talk about that.)
and partly because it felt good, reassuring, to remember I could be in control.  It was always about the fucking control.
Retweet.
I suppose it felt like the unabashed shagging had been worth it, if I got a story out of it.
This is how I approach a lot of things.  Not necessarily shagging, but experiences in general.  I'll be unsure about a situation and think to myself "hmm, might as well. I may get a funny story out of this".  Sometimes that's good, sometimes that's bad, so I'm trying to find the balance.
I needed something else.  Needed to feel a different way.  I was done being detached and holding back.  I wanted love.  I wanted love to wash over me and heal me and be me and become me.  I wanted to love myself...Wholly, for better and for worse, without restriction or excuse, I wanted to love myself.
<3
'I've literally never known anyone give themselves as a hard a time as you do.'
Same, honestly.
What if I act from a place where I believe I am worthy of this boy?...Maybe you'll get a story out of that, too.  Maybe you'll get a story out of already being a better person than you thought.
An answer to the possibly self-destructive reasoning behind "hmm maybe I'll get a story out of this".
I so long to be the girl who understands who and what she is, what she stands for, is reliable and constant.  But that is absolutely not me...I'm forever unfinished business.  Isn't that exhausting?
IT IS EXHAUSTING.
Nobody else gets to decide what my history is.  I got hurt, like a bagillion other people have been, and I had to figure out my shit, like a bagillion other people have.  That's not sickening and unworthy.  That's human.


Thank you, Laura Jane Williams, for telling your story.

I encourage everyone to go read her story and when you're done with Becoming, write about your own.

slow and steady climbs the mountain

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Photo by Paul Morris

"Did you know what you were getting yourself into?" he asks, looking over his shoulder from ahead of me.

No, of course not.  Do I ever fully realize what I get myself into?

My head is pounding.  My heart traveled up from my chest through my throat and has now landed in my head, pounding at my temple.  Am I supposed to feel my heartbeat in my forehead?



It's Thursday and I'm climbing Ben Arthur, otherwise known as the Cobbler, which overlooks Loch Long.  I know I'm not the fittest person in the world, but I've climbed mountains before.  I should be able to do this.

I did my research beforehand.  Ben Arthur is 884 meters (2,900 feet), about 5.5 miles long and on average takes four hours.  I've hiked Old Rag in Virginia, which is 1,001 meters (3,284 feet), 9.1 miles and took me and my friends the good part of a summer's day to complete.  Old Rag is higher and longer than Ben Arthur, so I figured that if I could complete that and survive, then I could survive the Cobbler.
I definitely survived, but barely.  I genuinely thought I was going to die at one or two or twenty moments.

Slippery rocks and snow and ice and wind gusts that try to knock you off your feet is the perfect combination for near-death experiences.  The fog hindered our visibility, so we could neither see the top of the mountain til we reached it, nor could we see the bottom until we were already there.  It's terrifying scrambling down rocks for what feels like hours and to only see cloud above you and cloud below you.  It feels like the twilight zone.

I have never been that scared in my entire life.  We came down the face of the mountain, on the incredibly rocky side, wind gusts so bad that I literally had to lie down on a rock and hug it for dear life until the wind decided to cool its tits for a bit.  My legs were actually shaking from how anxious I was.
Have you seen that movie Everest?  It was like that, except with oxygen.

People I've talked to have climbed Ben Arthur and they make it sound like a walk in the park.  Good for them, but this was one of the hardest (if not THE hardest) things I've done in my life.  I'm writing this two days post-hike, and my legs are absolutely killing me.  I have never been this sore, so my body agrees with me when I say it's the hardest thing I've ever done.

This hike was routine for some people, including the Glaswegian we met at the peak with expensive hiking gear who has climbed Ben Arthur multiple times and decided to do it that day just because he "had the day off".  But for me, it might as well have been Mount Everest.

I'm weak, but I'm getting stronger.  I may get tired, but at least I never give up.  I'm proud I can say that.

Glasgow Week 7: Mountains and Lochs

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Wow! I think this is the first time I've gone a whole week in between posting.  I do have two posts that I'll publish soon though: one is a book review of sorts, the other is a story of how I swear I almost died hiking last Friday.

So, what did I do this week?

Wednesday was spent sleeping, but I deserved it that day.  Thursday I went to the Necropolis again, but it was pretty rainy, so it was basically just my friend and me in the entire graveyard.  We also went to the Glasgow Cathedral right beside it.  This was my first time going there without wearing a hat or beanie that I had to take off inside and reveal my messy hair.

Fun tip about the Cathedral: if you go to the lower level in the back, there's a prayer request box where you can write your request (anonymously) and have the bishops pray for you.  (Bishops?  Ministers?  I'm not sure what they're referred to here.)  I'm flummoxed about where I stand religiously (aren't we all?), but it is nice to know that someone is praying over me.

Friday was hiking, which I'll spare the details for my longer post.  Let's just say that it's currently Wednesday and my legs are still vaguely sore.  It was hard to walk Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and even rough going downhill on Tuesday.

Saturday was fun even though I could barely walk.  My group went to Stirling Castle, which I recommend that you pass if you have limited time in Scotland.  It's very updated, so it doesn't even feel like an old castle.  What's the point of visiting a castle if it's not old?  Ja feel.

We then went to lunch in some random town and then to Loch Lomond.  We went to the top of the hill next to the loch (hello legs it's pain time).  If you want good pictures you don't have to go on the hill; just go to the little beach around the bend, and you'll have a beautiful view.

After that, we went to a distillery, whose ticket I lost so I can't recall the name.  (Which is weird, since I swear I held onto it, so hopefully I'll find it soon.)  I like the idea of whisky making, the culture is cool, but as a drink, I'll give it a pass.  I'd rather have a Dr. Pepper.

On Sunday I just watched a lot of Brooklyn 99 (see a trend?) and edited my paper.  I think I'm going try to get ahead on all my papers so I have more time during my spring break to travel.  Figuring out travel plans is stressful!!!  I still have no idea how I'm going to get my luggage home in order to go to eastern Europe for two months.  It's looking like none of my family can visit me and shipping luggage is WAY too expensive.


How has your week been? Any advice on how to get my luggage home?

Glasgow Week 6: Reading and Chilling

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Photo by Colin Maynard

These weekly round-ups are starting to get somewhat boring because there's just so much I can't tell you. I would love to be 100% open and not give a shit (it takes a lot of self-pep talks for me to even curse online), but I just can't.  At least not yet.  Every time I hit "publish" I think about my parents or grandparents or high school English teacher (hi, Ms. S!) or future employers reading this blog and I majorly STRESS OUT.

I would love to be one of those quirky, tell-it-like-it-is, no barriers, shameless types of people and I swear I will GET THERE ONE DAY, but today is not that day.

So.  Let's move on to my week.

Things are starting to blur.  It's really effortless to get complacent in a city once the newness wears off.  I basically spent the ENTIRE weekend reading (and watching Brooklyn 99) which was beautiful, but I need to do more things.

Tomorrow I plan on going to the Necropolis again with a friend and then maybe hiking on Friday, then Saturday I have a trip to the Highlands planned.  Next weeks update should be a lot more exciting!

This is also officially the longest I've been away from home.  And I'm not even sure if the other "longest" time even counts since it was my first semester at a college that's only an hour-ish away from home.  It would be nice to see a familiar face, but I guess Facebook video calls will have to do!


How has your week been?

What I'm Reading: February 2017 #1


This is my  bi-weekly series to share with you whatever I’m reading that has either interested, entertained, or angered me.  I’ll talk about the book I’m reading, articles I’ve read, blog posts I’ve liked, interesting videos, ect.  This is one of my favorite type of posts to read on other people’s blog, so I hope you will find some links you enjoy!
Want to know what else I’m reading? Be my friend on Medium and Bloglovin’ and Goodreads for more!

Books:

Don't come at me for what I'm about to say.  I tried to read White Teeth by Zadie Smith and just couldn't get into it.  The vibe of it felt strongly similar to Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie and since I had to read that book for class once I'm scarred for life.

I got Matilda from the library and I loved it.  I never read it as a kid which I'm glad about, because I know child-me would actually not have enjoyed it.  I need my young adult nostalgic hindsight.

On Thursday I walked to Waterstones and spent thirty minutes trying to find Becoming by Laura Jane Williams because it just came out in paperback!  I've been wanting to read this book ever since it was published but I a) prefer paperback and b) haven't been in the UK until now so I couldn't buy it.  I really, really think this book is what I need to read right now.

I also bought When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard.  I'm super excited about both of these.

Articles:

For all my broke as a joke ladies out there: 30 places to travel cheap in 2017

The story of a woman who had a late term abortion, made more difficult by Virginia's regulations (my home state)

A study shows that regular exercise helps kids with ADHD just as much as medication. I'm not one of those people that says "oh you're depressed? Just try yoga!" because actual chemical imbalances do need medication, but for myself personally I do believe regular exercise helps EVERYTHING.  I think that's why I've been feeling so shitty lately, because I haven't been getting enough of it.  I'll make that my February goal: go to the gym!

Read the letter that got Senator Warren silenced by Republicans.  Also the #ShePersisted hashtag on twitter is my favorite thing.

Being single at 28 is a lot easier than being single at 21.

An essay from a woman who used to be in a cult that led to the death of her best friend.

How to sustain your ambition in the Trump Era (watch out for burnout, we can't quit)

If I ever get married I definitely don't want to change my last name, so this article made me royally pissed off.  Half of Americans think women should be required by law to change their last name after marriage.  Over my dead, unmarried body.

"Was there a woman who didn’t recognize herself in the specter of Elizabeth Warren silenced by a roomful of men? Tuesday night was another reminder, as if many women needed it, that speaking up remains an arduous and necessary task."

60% of studio leaders at Lucasfilm are women.  Hell yeah.

Many of the articles I referenced this week I found through the "This Week in Lady News" newsletter.  Subscribe here.

Blogs:

Ohhhhh myyyyy gooooood this is exactly the type of post I want to write, the direction I want to take this blog in.  It's about leaving and how little we need to survive.  I've done a lot of clicking around on Candie's blog and it's safe to say that she's one of my new favorites.

Obsessing over page views just holds you back.  As a new blogger (not even two months!), I'm a tiny bit obsessed with growth.  I know it takes time but I am actually the most impatient person in the entire world.  But, I need to listen to the wise words of Bianca Bass!  Stressing over page views doesn't help anyone.

Brenna hits it on the nail again with "When Did Travel Blogging Get So Boring?".  I think about this a lot, since at first I was really discouraged of making a travel blog because SO MANY of the "popular" ones bore the crap outta me.  Hopefully people will follow Brenna's direction and bring blogging back to a more personal level.

Videos:


Beauty & Lord Voldemort.  This is actually a cinematic masterpiece.

Life:

I know it's a controversial site among bloggers, but I've started using UpWork.  I know, I know, it's a shitty site where writers are treated like dirt and no one earns the amount they truly deserve.  But I'm a college student in a country where I'm not allowed to work so this is the only thing I can actually do.  I need a little padding in my bank account, as discussed in my post on budgeting for travel, so this experience will hopefully be good for me.  I'll let y'all know how it goes.

Quote:

“She was warned.  She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Thank you, Mitch McConnell, for giving us a new feminist mantra.  Also, fuck you Mitch.

 Have you read anything interesting lately?

things that make me miss home

Sunday, February 12, 2017


Let's get one thing sorted first: I am not terribly homesick.  I'm not crying everyday because I miss my family, I don't really miss my town or university all that much.  It's not like I experienced extreme culture shock; I'm in Scotland for crying out loud.  I just wanted to add this disclaimer in case my family members ever read this post (which at time of posting they won't since they don't know about this blog) so they don't get worried about me.  I'm fine, fam.  I miss you sometimes.


1. Ranch dressing and good coffee

Ranch is nowhere to be found in Scotland.  Believe me, I've asked many confused restaurant owners.  I'm getting real tired of dipping my fries in ketchup.  (First world problems.)

Also, all the coffee at groceries stores is instant.  INSTANT COFFEE.  That is blasphemous and I never want to see it again.  I'll be broke in no time if I have to go to a cafe and buy coffee every time I need to get my fix.

2. Missing my little cousin's sport games

I love love love love going to basketball games, soccer games, and dance recitals.  There's nothing more fun than hanging out with my family members and screaming at ten year olds to just SHOOT THE DAMN BALL.  JUST SHOOT.

My cousins are also going to be really, really tall when I get back home and I'm not prepared for that.

3. Meals at grandma's house

Eating with my family at my grandparent's house is probably one of my favorite activities in the world.  For some reason my mom likes to message me every time they go over to my grandma's to eat.  I would kill for anything that isn't a frozen meal right now.

4. Seeing dogs

Scotland is a beautiful country because dogs are EVERYWHERE.  They're all very well-behaved and always happy.  But this is also a bad thing, because seeing a dog just makes me think of my own dog.  I miss my (old) puppy!!!

5. Hearing Southern accents

Ok so I haven't actually heard anyone here with a Southern accent, but sometimes I'll hear one on TV or in country music.  I haven't met any international students that are from south of Virginia, so it's strange being the most southern person I know.

6. Seeing my sorority sisters posting on Facebook

I'm having extreme FOMO right now.  I love my sorority sisters and A LOT can happen in one semester.  By the time I get back home I'll have over 35 new sisters that I've never met!  Which is exciting, but I wish I could meet them a whole lot sooner.



I'm having a great time in Glasgow, even though I do miss home at certain moments.

What makes you homesick?

my first impressions are never correct/why I'm concerned about traveling

Friday, February 10, 2017


I have great intuition.  Don't all women?  It's something that we need to survive.  As dramatic as that sounds, it's true.

But my first impressions are shit.

Let me provide you with a few examples, some of which are very recent.

The guy who I thought was very charismatic and nice turned out to be stuck up and condescending.

The guy who I thought wasn't interested in being my friend and standoffish is now one of the best guys I know.

The girls who were originally very welcoming turned out to be extremely high maintenance and judgmental.

The guy who seemed like a total douchebag is actually incredibly earnest and would never intentionally hurt a fly.

The girl who I thought was snooty and uninterested in everything is actually very chill and fun to hang out with.

The professor that seemed super scary is so nice and supportive and interested in any question I have.


I realize people are never one dimensional or static characters.  We all contain multitudes.  No one is ever one thing.  Maybe the guy I mentioned above is earnest and kind and also a douchebag; I just haven't met that side of him yet.  I'm sure everyone that I referenced has their good aspects and bad qualities, just like I do.  I doubt I give off a good first impression every single time I meet someone new.
So why does this make me concerned for my future travels?

Because travelling is basically a big conglomeration of first impressions.  Everyone I meet will at first be a stranger.  I have to trust people on how they present themselves, since I won't have much time to truly get to know them.  What if I'm completely wrong about a person and have a horrible opinion of them, but never have the opportunity to have that poor opinion corrected?  Or even worse, what if I think someone is fantastic and then I end up disappointed, or even worse, hurt?

Although of course, my first impressions of people are just as much of a reflection of me as it is the people I'm sizing up.  I need to work on deciphering my snap judgments from a person's true character.
Who knows, maybe a bad first encounter can lead to an interesting story someday (that I will of course blog about).  Just look at Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.


Have any of your first impressions ever been horribly wrong?

Glasgow Week 5: ???

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Is it week five already??  Are you sure?

I swear I posted Glasgow Week 4 just yesterday.

What have I even done this week?  My memory is horrible and I've been slacking on my journaling so actually I'm not even sure what happened this past week.

I slept way too late almost every day, I know that.

I did my first class presentation Monday and a second one on Tuesday.  The one on Monday was my first real grade in an actual University of Glasgow class so I was terrified.  It's a class full of seniors and they're all super-serious and the professor has a very intense Wikipedia page.  He seemed to like what I had to say though because I got a high grade, so hopefully that's an indication of how he grades essays.  I have three of those due next week, so my Glasgow Week 6 and 7 posts will most likely be titled "my fingers are numb from typing so much".

My goal for this week is to go to the Hunterian Museum.  It's literally INSIDE the university so I've walked by it countless times a week, I just haven't gone in.


How is your week going? Did you hear about the Senate vote on DeVos and how Sen. Warren was shut down? Are you also terrified about the state of America? Because same.

Figuring Out A Travel Budget When You're a College Student

Saturday, February 4, 2017


I'll admit it, that title sounds misleading.  Like I, the college student in question, has figured out the secret to budgeting.

I don't have all the answers.  Actually, I have zero answers.  This post is just me musing about my funds and how I wish I had a secretly rich great uncle or a sugar daddy.  I have looked into both options but neither obviously yielded the results I wanted.

So here's my situation.  I know it's #cool to write up posts explicitly stating monthly expenses or "how much I made this month from my totally honest travel blog!!!", but as of this moment I'm not comfortable telling people exactly how much money I have.  It's just a thing that was drilled into me as a kid.  Never ask someone how much money they make nor should you ever tell anyone how much you make.  So bear with me here.  Maybe I'll get over it someday.

I do want to discuss how I'm dividing up my money to see as much as I can with the time I have.  This is a conundrum I think about every day, especially on nights when my flatmates go out to clubs with cover charges and I stay home because those £5 cover fees can add up.  At the end of the semester I'll do a post on how to live fairly cheap in Glasgow as a student.

So.  Here are all the things I want to do with the babysitting and office job money I've saved up over the years.
  • Harry Potter play in London
  • London in general
  • Hay-on-Wye in Wales
  • Dublin (Ryanair flights are real cheap)
  • other places that are fairly cheap to fly to (Berlin, Brussels, Portugal, Poland, ect.)
  • all over Scotland (weekend tours range from £20-£29)
  • try all of the fun restaurants in Glasgow (so many!!!)
  • go out with my friends and drink
  • take Ubers because even though Glasgow is fairly walkable it's a pain to walk 30 minutes in the rain just to go shopping
  • get a rail card for about 3 weeks of travel in April with my flatmates
  • go to eastern Europe for 10-ish weeks during the summer
There it is.  My ambitious list.

I obviously can't do everything.  It's just not plausible right now.  I have to pick and choose and priorities and hope nothing horrible happens to me so I don't have to pay for that, too.

Here's my plan for the rest of the semester + the summer and how I'm going to try to afford it.

Ireland

Ireland is so damn close I need to go to Ireland while I'm here.  It'll be a complete opportunity missed if I don't.  I have a friend studying abroad in Galway right now, so if money is too tight and I can't do Dublin hopefully I can visit her!  I must see the Cliffs of Moher.

Do a few more guided tours in Scotland

For under £30, the tours cost about what I'd pay if I did a self-guided day trip anyways.  I might as well do a trip where everything is already planned for me and I'm with someone who actually knows the area.  Whenever I go anywhere I'm always thinking "I wonder what cool history is surrounding me that I just don't know about".  I have one booked for Perth Hill next month.

Harry Potter play in London

I bought tickets way back in October 2015 in the off-chance I'd be in Scotland at this time and for once my wishful thinking actually paid off.  My ticket is for right after I turn in a big paper, so I plan on taking the night bus.  Maybe I'll go see Hay-on-Wye after that, but that all depends on my next point...

France-Spain-Italy railcard for 3-ish weeks in April

Two of my flatmates are getting a Benelux-France-Switzerland-Italy card.  I'll be at the Harry Potter play in London while they're in Amsterdam, but I figure I can intersect with them in Paris (or somewhere in France) after the play.  From there they want to go to Switzerland.  Switzerland is a crazy expensive country and I know that I just wouldn't be able to enjoy myself while freaking out over the costs, so from France I can diverge and go to Spain.  I have a friend in Barcelona whose couch I can (most likely) crash on, so that's a cheaper alternative and also a good excuse to see my buddy.  Then, when my friends are done with Switzerland I can meet them in Italy.  From there they want to take a ferry or a flight to Greece, but depending on my funds and final exams I might just a) pray for a cheap Ryanair flight back home or b) hopefully have a day or two left on my rail card to get back to Paris so I can then bus my way back to Glasgow.  Sounds complicated but hey, it just might work.

May????

I have no idea what I'm doing in the month of May since they don't release the exam schedule until the end of March (RIP).  I only have one exam (God bless) but it's in an incredibly hard, 7-American-credit class (God why!?), so my plans will revolve around that one God-forsaken test (how many times can I work God into a post without coming off as sacrilegious?).

Fingers crossed my mom and aunt will visit me at the end of May.  I would love to show them around the city that I love so much.

The Summer

What am I doing this summer?? Who knows.  The goal would be to see as much as I can of eastern Europe from the end of May to the first week of August (or until money runs out) then go back home to chill a bit and start my senior year.  If I wasn't doing this I could go a little bit harder during the semester, but I want this summer trip to happen more than anything.  I have two routes planned that I need input on:

1)  Fly to Poland (or Berlin), go down to Prague, go east to Ukraine and then work my way down through Bulgaria and Romania.  If I have time left, go to Greece. Fly out of either Greece or Bulgaria to London then fly home.  (I've already looked it up; flying from wherever I am to London then home is A LOT cheaper than flying directly home from wherever I am).  With this route I'm pretty close to Istanbul, so technically I could take a train there to fly out.  But with all the political unrest/it being the summer, I'm not sure if this is the safest option.  Also I wouldn't be able to fly with IcelandAir and have a short stopover in Reykjavik like I would (hopefully) be able to do from London.  (I love how hopeful I am.  As if I'll actually have enough money left to spend time in Iceland.)  Let me know what you think.

2) Fly to Greece or Bulgaria and work my way up through all the places I mentioned above and either fly back to London if I can find a cheap ticket or just bus my way up there.  This option might be a little more time consuming since I would spend my last few days in transit to London, but might be the cheapest.  Also, I'm a little wary about flying into Greece/visiting Greece at all.  Not because of safety fears or anything like that.  I just know that I'll love Greece so much (all of that HISTORY I want to scream just thinking about it) I'll never want to leave.  I need at least a month dedicated to Greece and I can't manage that this trip.
Please give me your opinions/advice in the comments!


Obviously,  I will not be able to afford all of this.

So what am I doing right now in order to stretch my money as far as I can?
  1. I got a travel credit card.  It's through Bank of America, one of the worst travel cards out there when it comes to rewards, but I am a college student whose barely had time to build credit so it was the best that I could do.  If I put all of my expenses on that card for the next three months, I'll definitely hit the minimum spending to get the bonus reward points.  Those points (essentially $200) will be enough to cover my flight to whichever eastern European country and back to London.  So that's covered.
  2. Buying cheap groceries!!!  In dire circumstances I can get a 50p loaf of bread (frozen bread is your friend), £1 ten slices of cheese, and £1.50 eggs.  That's breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a straight WEEK for £3.  Ballin'.
  3. Walk everywhere.  My legs are going to look so damn good after this semester.  It's a 35 minute walk one way to the good shopping area and if I Ubered that every time I needed to go to Buchanan St I'd be broke in one week.
  4. Go out with friends, but only to #cheap places.  No cover charges, pre-game like hell, buy whatever the £1 deal is and get guys to buy drinks for you.
  5. That's what I can think of at this moment.



So that's it.  That's all I have.

Potential sugar daddies please email me at vitaevictoria @ gmail.com.  Please put "$$$" as the subject line.


Advice??? Leave it below. What should I do with my spring break and summer?

Glasgow Week 4: Edinburgh and the Horrible Hostel

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Photo by Linnea Sandbakk on Unsplash

I usually posts these on Tuesdays, but today is special since I've been away from home for exactly a month!

Wednesday of last week was one of those nights that make me wish I wan an anonymous confessional blogger.  As much as I pride myself on being honest, there are just some things you can't write with your real name and face attached!

Friday I tried getting work done in the library.  Afterwards, me and two of my friends walked 47 minutes to get to Five Guys, but once we got there we realized it was SUPER expensive compared to other places. It was 8 pounds for one burger.  Which doesn't seem like a lot, but compare that to an entire meal at McDonald's for under 5 pounds.

We ended up at KFC.

On Saturday we woke up at the buttcrack of dawn and took the train to Edinburgh.  It was super rainy and cloudy so the walking tour was miserable.  After we had lunch we went to the Royal Scottish Academy and the Scottish National Gallery.  I actually met the artists of one of the paintings!  I was taking pictures of my favorite paintings (as you do), and I had to reach up really tall to get a good picture.  Immediately after a lady started talking to me about the painting so I was afraid of getting in trouble for taking pictures.

"Oh no!" she said. "Please take pictures.  I'm the artist.  It's nice to know that people like my work."
!!!!! She was just chilling in the gallery!  I then thanked her for sharing her talent.

A few minutes prior to that my friends were making fun of me for looking like a tourist, since I had this big backpack on and was taking lots of pictures.  But if I wasn't doing any of that, then I never would've met that painter! Just goes to show you that you have to do what you want and not care what other people think.

2pm came around so it was time to check into our hostel.  The location was great and the reviews were decent, so I was excited.  My first hostel experience, after all.

Sadly, it wasn't a great first experience.  I'm not extremely picky, but I do like my sleeping arrangements to be mildly clean and safe.  The dynamics of this hostel (Princes Street Backpackers) was really off.  All the girls were young college students (like me), but all the men were in their 30's or older and a few gave off predatory vibes. (Always trust your instincts, they don't lie, okay?)  As far as the cleanliness goes, I only have to tell you one thing.  There was a dead animal in the wall of one of the bathrooms.
Let's move on to more pleasant things.  Like Arthur's Seat!

I've been dying to hike Arthur's Seat for years.  It was a missed opportunity back when I was 18 and since then I've become more obsessed with it.  It even plays a minor role in the movie One Day with Anne Hathaway, which I watch way too often to be considered normal.

Sunday felt like the first day we had seen the sun in awhile.  Even though climbing a big hill is tiring, being able to stretch my legs like that felt so good.  I'm definitely going back again because there's not one defined path to hike.

I went to the Writer's Museum while my friends took a nap on Saturday.  It was tiny but had a lot of history and memorabilia from Scottish writers.  It was a rather niche museum, so if you're not really into writing and authors it'll probably be boring.  (I enjoyed it, of course!)  The museum also has surprisingly strong wifi and a place to sit and read, so this is a nice place to escape from the rain and cold without being charged for a coffee.

Tip: from Glasgow to Edinburgh, the bus may be cheaper BUT if you have a group of 3 then you can get a group train ticket that will costs the same amount as a bus.

This entire week has been pretty gloomy since I've had a cold the ENTIRE TIME.  As of this moment I thankfully no longer have a sore throat (I had to reschedule a presentation on Monday because I couldn't talk), but my nose is still stuffy.  I take my multivitamin every day I should be immune to all things.


Let me know about your past week!

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