Category Archives: Travel

Galaxy Pod Reykjavík

To conclude my solo journey around Reykjavík, I finished my days at the Galaxy Pod Hostel. After I packed all my things, I left Three Sisters Guest House, said farewell to my host and friend Thor, and began the 2.5-kilometer walk towards my newest accommodation. An easy trek considering luck was on my side and all I had to do was walk down the same street for 30 minutes. Through the tourist attractions and “gift shop district” of the old town, I slowly made my way. Passing the city to my right and to my left, through each intersection, the breathtaking views of the Icelandic geography.

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The hostel was easy to find since it is in a large developed area and my directions involved little to no complications. There I dropped off my bags and went out to do some more exploring before my 2pm check-in. Fortunately, this was one of the better days to be outside weather-wise, and I was also doing well with my budget, so I treated myself to a lunch at a restaurant and passed the time writing in my journal. After picking up a couple snacks from a grocery across the road, I returned to the hostel to check-in.

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Prior to this moment, I had no idea what to expect from hostel life, but after a little coaching from a well-traveled friend and seasoned hostel hopper, I felt mentally prepared for what to expect. Fortunately I got incredibly lucky at Galaxy Pod. As far as first experiences go, this one takes the cake! The staff was exceptionally kind and helpful. They offered discounted breakfasts and dinners all while there was a fully equipped kitchen to host any other meal planning needs you may have. With a fully stocked bar and a movie playing almost every night in the common room, I started to feel like I was in college again.

For the Zenon fans, this is what I imagined living on the main space station would be like in the year 2049. My personal pod was in a room of 24, but for others interested in trying, there are a variety of room options to choose from varying in sizes and privacy.

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In moments of needed solitude or travelers exhaustion, it is nice to go into the pod, with no windows and really absorb the moment of rest. While the world keeps turning, it feels like the human version of recharging. While the pods are not soundproof, it is still quite cozy to take off your outerwear, tuck into the pod, close the door and get a good nap, or just watch a movie on Netflix. Whichever your version might be of recharging, this little space makes you feel like once you are ready to emerge, you will have arrived in a future universe.

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I really enjoyed taking a few hours to myself in the pod during the days to rest or wait out bad weather only to arise at 10pm just in time to catch sunset pictures! At the end of the day, it was nice to enjoy the common area as well, take advantage of the happy hour special, and just watch the clouds pass through the mountains. Galaxy Pod is a special place, and I am forever a fan of this efficient accommodation service. Since returning from my trip, I have since seen pod style hostels and hotels from all around the world. So even if your plans are not taking you to Iceland this summer, be sure to check out if there will be a pod in your destination of interest. And if you are going to Reykjavík don’t forget to look for my tag on the community wall at Galaxy Pod!

 

Three Sisters Guesthouse Reykjavík

Located near the Old Harbor district in Reykjavik Iceland, the quaint space of Three Sisters Guesthouse offers a homely accommodation for any weary traveler. As I made my way to the city center from the airport, still flooded with adrenaline after arriving in 33mph winds, I am anxious to meet my host and see where my journey abroad will begin. My connection with Three Sisters came on a whim, but I was eager to know more about the guesthouse as the opportunity grew closer.

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My husband, just over 2,000 miles away, is in Helsinki, and I am on my own traveling solo for the first time since we got married in 2015. My emotional levels ranging from a sense of vulnerability to a peaking awareness of independence. After getting from the plane to the bus, to the van, to the front door of Three Sisters Guesthouse, I am greeted by the kindest face a tired traveler can see! Thor, the owner of the facility, greeted me as family and escorted me to my room on the third floor. Although I have never been there before, somehow space felt familiar. As if walking into your Grandparents home only to sleep in what once in time was your own parents’ bedroom.

 

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In the entryway was the coat rack and bathroom and just passed that in the corner was a kitchen and opposite to that was a small coffee bar. Past the bed, on the opposite side of the room, two wing back chairs framed the coziest view of the neighboring corner store. Thor sat down with me on the wingback chairs and we talked about my travels, his company, and our spouses. As if visiting a relative I havent seen in a long time, it was comforting and easy to talk.

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Then all at once, I was alone, abroad, and amazed at the situation I found myself in. Gazing out the window of the overcast neighborhood, I wondered what the week ahead would have in store. First and foremost a meal was in my near future, since I was traveling on a budget groceries were needed. The following few days would be filled with window gazing and neighborhood wandering.

What started out as a spontaneous journey to the island of Iceland, turned into a surpriginly comfortable journey to a place of framiliarity. Three Sisters Guesthouse made traveling easy when every nightless night I could sit in the window ledge watching the moon and occasional pedestrian pass in the dusk light. Waiting for the streetlights to come on became an evening ritual as it would be well after midnight before the flicker of electricity would grow into a luminous light. Just enough to glow into the shadows in the sidewalk.

For anyone looking to have a cozy home away from home expereince, please consider this darling space. It truly is pleasure to stay here, and easy when all that you need is easily available in the various studio apartments to chose from at Three Sisters Guesthouse. Best of all, Thor will be your first friend in Iceland.

This post has been in collaboration with Three Sisters Guesthouse.

 

Travel Essentials

This week I am abroad on a solo journey around Reykjavík Iceland. So while I will share more detail about the city and my journey later with you on here, for now, I want to focus on my packing essentials. This trip is a seven-day expedition and without getting too cocky I feel this is my best packing job to date! When I arrived on Tuesday, the winds and rain were unlike anything I have ever experienced whilst living in the Nordic region. Much to my astonishment, I planned perfectly with exactly the right apparel to defend myself against the climate.


Some of my favorites with me on this trip include my Rains jacket for protection against wind and water. I also have my Lululemon jacket and merino wool sweater. These two together make just about any cold to freezing temperature a pleasurable experience. Also, in the essence of keeping things light, I only brought two journals and book for some paperback entertainment.


I am halfway through my trip and I could not be more pleased with how well things are going. As far as preparation is concerned, I did very little just to be sure spontaneity could be an option along the way. My best tip to share with you would be one, check the weather and prepare! And two, be honest with yourself. I am not the type to do a massive amount of wardrobe changes. So I know that I am going to wear a variation of the same outfit every day to keep mornings easy, packing light, and personal management simple. So if you’re traveling soon or planning to come to the great country of Iceland, I hope this has helped.
-xx

Five Hours in Stockholm

It is a gloomy morning outside my windows. The clouds are thick letting only a dim light filter through the moody early hours of the day. Looking at pictures from last week in Stockholm, I am reminded of Spring’s arrival. The warm sunshine left my cheeks sunkissed after a full day of wandering Swedish streets. Although my time there was too short to bare, it was just enough to taste a different world and leave the everyday scene.

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My husband talks about how each city has its own smell. An individual fragrance to each part of the world. It is a sense I have tried to refine in recent years while traveling. Opening up to experience the world around me and be a witness with more than my eyes. My natural instinct is to listen to the sound of a city. The new noises and notes played by the people and nature combined. Stockholm sounds like cobblestone roads combined with the sing-song language that is the rhythm of the Swedish tongue.

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Another conversation I have when traveling is whether or not I feel “abroad”. As an immigrant for nearly three years, I suppose I live in a constant state of abroad. So when traveling around Europe the sensation of distant lands versus comfortable places varies on a scale. Stockholm falling somewhere on the scale of a large overwhelming populous to settling in a comfortable neighborhood corner.

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-xx

 

Silja Cruise Line

A bucket list item was scratched off this week when I visited the city of Stockholm Sweden. On an overnight cruise, kindly gifted from my mother in law, I embarked on a very Finnish experience locals call “the booze cruise”. While my journey did not include as much booze as some of the other free-spirited teens, it did include breathtaking views of the sea.

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While spring air temperatures are still frigid, it does leave a glacial surface to the ocean water. A sight only appreciated for the chilly context in an image. While others enjoy taking a polar plunge between sauna sessions, my comfort zone will be at a distance only using my camera zoom to get in on the freezing action.

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From the inside of the ship, you can see small islands passing and the setting sunlight. On occasion, another ship will pass in the distance only to make for some sense of depth on an otherwise isolated journey across the Baltic Sea. Traveling has its perks, no matter what shape it comes in, and I do appreciate the views of being out on the ocean with only the wind and water to keep you on course.

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Eternal City

Another birthday abroad, this year in the Eternal City. It is difficult to settle on a thought that summarizes the trip. I had never been to Italy before, and after the weekend, I feel as though I would not need to go anywhere else. The beauty is in the details in Italy.

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 There was a moment while wandering a small street in Trastevere I passed a table of 8 or so friends enjoying a Sunday lunch. The bottles were empty, the table stained with red wine, and the plates clean using scarpetta. Everyone was talking at once, and each person conducting the conversation in their own way. Although I do not speak Italian, I imagine their conversations had something to do with food, art, politics, or local gossip. It does not matter honestly, because the aura of their group was stunningly bright and left me mesmerized as they ordered a final course, tiramisu, for just a select few and some to share.

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Another detail I enjoy abroad are the sunsets. Scandinavia does not see consistent sunsets, it just is not part of the culture here. It is a daily ritual that goes missing in my current routine. So every time I travel south, it is always an emotional time of day to witness such glory. It adds to the romance that is daily life in Rome. The image above may be one of my favorites from the weekend. A cozy walking street at dusk in an Italian January.

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Most of all I have to take the time to thank my husband for being the best this past weekend, and every weekend. I am grateful each and every morning to wake up and live the adventure with my best friend. The support, generosity, and humor you share make my days better. Thank you for a wonderful birthday, Kulta!

-xx

Packing List

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This week is the first trip of 2018 and I wanted to share my travel tips and tricks. There are a few rules I live by when it comes to globe-trotting.

The first being carry-on! I use a 20-liter backpack, and it is perfect. Although it is not the most stylish accessory, it is reliable. No matter if you are traveling for a weekend, or a couple weeks, odds are you can manage with a carry-on. The key is organization!

Which leads me to my next tip, pack similar clothing colors. Plan and organize your outfits in advance. It makes life much easier when you want to wake up in your destination. Without a second thought, you can put a sensible ensemble together, and focus your energy on more important things like sightseeing, food, and entertainment.

My third tip and maybe an odd one is to plan your showers. If you know your hygiene routine and if you can foresee the next 48-72 hours easily. Then it is easier to know what toiletries to bring and exactly how much of each. Sometimes, it might even be worth it to go to your favorite soap stores, I like Lush or Aveda and pick up some samples.

Lastly, my personal indulgence is travel entertainment. In an effort to keep things lightweight, I will opt for a journal, an agenda, and Bluetooth headphones. In my journal, I have dedicated a page to my favorite Italian phrases and words that may come in handy during our trip. Thus I am prepared to use the local language, and feel a little more confident playing my donna all’estero role.

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Until next week,

Arrivederci!