Making Friends at a Hostel

Step 1: Have epic hair!

Just kidding! But honestly great hair or personal stlye does help. I would know, I have a halo around my head, and it’s a great convesation starter.

Step 2: Be fabulous.

I was scared shittless staying alone at a hostel, for the first time in London. The Clink 78 wasn’t my first choice, but it had high ratings, so I figured it couldn’t be too bad. Ever the city girl I couldn’t let anyone smell my fear. I was wearing deoderant, after all, but I’m sure everyone was too peroccupied with their own personal brand of BO to notice.  

After securing my room key and bedding I headed towards my dorm and braced myself for whatever I encountered beyond my door. I opended the door in slow motion, everyone looked up, and I said, “hello.”  The hard part was over, and everthing else after that was gravy. 

We all bonded, sharing stories about travels. Where we had been, where we were going and what we wanted to see/do next. Room mates really are the easiest people to connect with.

This girl from New Zeland, lets call her A,  and I spent the weekend together sightseeing and travelling around London. She was the perfect travel companion, (at least for the next few days), because we were close enough in age and had the same itinerary.

Step 3: Be Fierce!

My fist morning at the hostel, I went down for the free breakfast. It wasn’t much of a selection, only toast, and cereal. But, it was free and I met some freaking awesome people. Ehh…one freaking awesome person rather. Anyway, so I met this random hostel lifer, okay okay she was a temporary hostel lifer. (I thought it sounded cooler). She was living at the hostel for the summer, since she had a  fashion internship in London, and needed cheap accomedations! It was the coolest thing I have ever heard. Striking up conversation was really simple, all I had to do was comment on what she doing. She was working on of her fashion designs, so I just asked if she was a fashion student. A great ice breaker! Making friends is easy at a hostel, most people are by themeselves and want to make at least one friend.

 

Tea Tuesday

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I’m a bit late. I was held up in class tonight and I also had to make a quick stop at Teavana,

Anyhow I thought I would share a short background on the types of to start. There are several variations of tea (white, green, oolong, and of course black) which all come from the Camellia Seninsis plant. Each type is processed differently in order from white, being the least processed to black, which is the most. The processing changes the properties, and benefits of each type, with varying degrees of caffeine.

Mate teas come from the plant yerba mate (of tree rather) which grows in the subtropics of South America. Mate tea is a known metabolism booster, and appetite suppressant. It’s harvested mainly for the caffeine

Roobios Teas are non caffeinated “bush teas” from the legume plant family, which grows in South Africa. These bush teas are popularly known for their red color and high antioxidant properties.

Herbal teas are pretty self explanatory, so I’m not going to go into too much detail.

So my favorite blend during Autumn, is a spicy fusion from Teavana. I like to blend Chai Yen Thai Tea and Ginger Coconut. If you like chai teas, you absolutely have to try this blend It’s seriously addicting, and makes a great tea to start your day. It’s also a great pick me up, for the afternoon.

Benefits:

  • Improved circulation and cardiovascluar health
  • Is good for your heart
  • Contains Assam which helps improve mood and alleviates stress
  • Reduces depression

A benefits that I have noticed personally is the mood enhancement. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I brew a cup of this tea and I can feel the stress, and anxiety melt away.

Try it and let me know what you think. I recommend only steeping it for 3 minutes. And you can add  creamer if you like 🙂

Tea Tuesdays

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With tea cultures around the world I thought in might be great to start a weekly installment, Tea Tuesdays. I love tea, and all of it’s amazing benifits. Tea can help prevent some forms of cancer, treat fine lines and wrinkles, aid in weight loss/control, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, etc, etc. I could go on and on all day…I do work in a tea store after all. But, I’ll spare you all the details. For this post anyway. But, I will be sharing amazing teas, blends, and writing personal reviews. 🙂 

Personally, I  prefer the loose leaf variety. It’s healthier, taste and smells better. Loose leaf teas can also be brewed more than once. My favorite brands are Teavana and Mighty leaf. The quality and accessablity is unmatched. Honestly it isn’t that expensive, if you think about it price value per cup. You can get mutiple brews from each serving, usually around 25-30 cups per two ounces. If you brew your  leaves twice you’ll get double the cups (around 50-60 cups). I’m pretty sure you can’t do that with the good ole Lipton brand. Not that I’m knocking Lipton teas, I just don’t feel like I get much from the tea bag.

So, tomorrow you can look forward to the first imstallment in my tea series.  And by the way Happy Monday!! 🙂

Cheapest way to fly to Europe

Many websites will tell you how to find the cheapest fares, or when to travel but, do enough of them focus on the cheapest city to fly into? I’m not so sure. In my experience researching the best fares, it was almost always 100% of the time cheaper to fly into Dublin, Ireland then any other European city. I booked my ticket through Aer Lingus, which only cost me $594 including tax!

What makes this even better? Ryan Air is located within Dublin Airport which makes it extremely easy to fly into many other major European cities. If you plan it correctly (booking ahead, and checking yourself in prior to departure) Ryan Air can save you a lot of cold, hard cash. 

Yes, I know the Euro Rail is a great alternative to Ryan Air, but it really depends on where you want to go, and how you want to travel. For me it was cheaper and faster for me to fly into each country.

The decision is ultimately yours but Dublin is a great starting point for any European adventure.

I’m Back!

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I’m sorry for the long absence. As you can imagine so much has happened. So, let me fill you in. First off, I did return to the good old US of A. As much as I would like to become an expat and live in Europe, I did not want to overstay my welcome, or become an illegal alien.

Classes recently started, and bought a new computer. Yay!! Which means more frequent post…..hopefully. Unfortunatly three weeks after buying said computer I got a virus. It was one of those evil ones that deletes all your programs and give you a blank screen. As an avid apple fan, on a $700 max computer budget, the virus was a neon sign with flashing lights that read, “welcome to Windows.” FML!

Anyway, the evil virus sent me on a rampage. I marched directly toward the Microsoft store with the intent of returning the piece of garbage. The anti virus software wasn’t living up to in’s namesake because my poor laptop was left unproctected.

I expressed my concern/fustrations to the manager, they (the mangager and his minions) still wouldn’t return it, or fix it. Instead the tried to sell me a bill of goods, “Well if you purchase our Protection plan you get this taken off right now.” Are you kidding me? Spend another $100. How is that even a solution? I just spend $600+ in this store 3 weeks ago, and because you installed shitty anti-virus software my computer got infected And I’m left to blame?!! If your software actually did what it claims I wouldn’t be here today?!
Anyway after much bitching and moaning they fixed my computer.Thank God! Anyway that’s enough rambelings for one blog post!

Travel Porn

I was surfing the web this moring, reading travel blogs and came across this amazing travel video that I find simply inspirational. I’m seriously considering quitting my day job to travel the world for a year, maybe two. But that’s a story for another blog post. Anyway, without further ado:

 

Oh me, Oh my. No Paris or Versailles

What I’ve learned thus far travelling on a budget, you really have to go with the flow, and be spontaneous! Never, in a million years would I dream up my current itineary. I planned on doing so many incredible things and yet incredioulsy I’m only doing a mere fraction.  The biggest dissppointment for me was omitting Paris from my travel plans. I would really love to go, but all that sparkle is well beyond what my current budget allows me to afford.

I never thought I would omit Paris and add Bratislava. Not that I have anything against going there. I’m open to travelling to all destinations, but it wasn’t even an afterthought. I guess it’s another country I  can cross of my list. The father of a friend of mine would object to crossing off Bratislava saying, “…you haven’t truely visited a country until you take a $hit there.” But, I beg to differ. Apparently you can see several major higlights of Bratislava within an hour span of time. Maybe, I won’t be there long enough to use the throne, but hopefully I will be there long enough to soak in the sights and enjoy the culture. I’m only passing through Bratislava on route to Vienna to visit a dear friend of mine. I still plan on going to Dublin and England, so honestly, in retrospect, there aren’t too many changes to my current itinerary and I’m excited for my next adventure!

I Purchased My Ticket!

Photo Credit: Europe Travel About.com

So I’m officially going to Europe! One thing if learned thus far while planning my trip is things don’t go according to plan. I’m now flying into Dublin, Ireland. It just worked out to be cheaper than going directly to London. So the first place I’m visiting in Dublin….can you guess?? I’ll give you a hint it begins with a G and ends in S. Well… Guinness of course…That’s right! Yeaahh buddy! What better place is there to get my drink on?  I’ll fit right in with the locals. Just kidding!!!

Cirque du Soliel: Mystere

Photo Credit: Cirque du Soleil

What trip to Vegas would be complete without seeing a show? Certainly not mine. Always researching and planning ahead I booked tickets for my friends and I to see Cirque du Soliel’s Mystere.

Cirque du Soliel is regarded as a purely human circus. Using this unique approach to circus entertainment  Cirque is able to distinguish itself from the  competition. Every performance incorporates different circus styles from around the globe into each show, all with their own theme and storyline.

Mystere is a great introduction for a novice Cirque du Soliel fan. All the stunts and performances are extraordinary and leave you at the edge of your seat. The characters interact with the audience in between performances, so you never know what to expect. You may just be called onstage with them. Mystere also has more stunts than any other performance, so although there is a theatrical element, this particular show is more circus driven.

My favorite act from Mystere was called Hand to Hand. It was unbelievable, two men would balance each other, in various positions, using only their hands for support. Although all of the acts were great, this one particular performance stood out among the rest.

I would love to seem more shows by Cirque du Soliel, but I’m content for the moment.  I know I can always hop on a train and see a show while they are in New York City or catch one the next time I’m in Vegas (where they have 7 all year round).

Drunk Driving in Shanghai

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Photo: Shanghai.Unlike.net

One of my most memorable experiences from China was drunk driving at an indoor race track. (Don’t worry it was completely legitimate) After arriving you have to walk through the bar to get to the track. Nobody is going to hold a gun to your had and force you drink, but it’s a opportunity to drink and drive, in a  safe, controlled environment without  scary repercussions. So why not? The experience is exhilarating. But be careful other drunk drivers like to purposely crash into you. It’s like a real life version of Mario Cart, minus the magic mushrooms.  

I only warn against crazy drunk drivers, because I’ve dealt with them. Driving on a race track brings road rage to a whole ‘nother level. I’m not the word’s most competitive person, but these 2 idiots took it upon themselves to make me a target every time they passed. So I did what any normal person would have done…I conspired with my then boyfriend, and his friends, to overtake them on the track. It didn’t matter if I won. It only mattered that they lost! Evil? Maybe, but totally worth the look on their faces then they lost!  

Location Info:
809 Zaoyang Lu,
inside Changfeng Park,
near Guangfu Lu