The Venga, Vale, Vamos Variety Hour: December 2014

Life is chugging along splendidly here in Sydney, and Christmas is almost here! Here are a few miscellaneous updates from my life over the last few weeks.

  • In exactly [checks countdown app] 10 days, 1 hour, and 20 minutes, I will be on a plane for California to spend Christmas with many of my favorite people! I’m absolutely loving Sydney summer, crazy thunderstorms and all, but, as we all know, there’s no place like home for the holidays.
Home for the holidays last year with the cousins

Christmas at home last year with the cousins

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Right as Rain in Italy’s Amalfi Coast

I’ve taken enough of a break from detailing last spring break’s Italy trip, so let’s get back to it! When I left off, my mom and I had traveled through Rome, Naples, and Pompeii, arriving in Sorrento, a charming coastal town on the edge of the Amalfi Coast. Getting into the city by night, we settled into our hotel, strolled around for a bit, and had yet more exquisite Italian food and gelato, prepared to begin exploring the Amalfi Coast the following day.

Sorrento, Italy

Sorrento by night

Having fallen madly in love with Cinque Terre years before, I expected the Amalfi Coast to be a southern Italian version of that. Beginning with a bus ride to the town of Amalfi, we were met with dreary weather and an excess of tourists, but we made the most of the day anyway. Continue reading  

How to Learn Another Language While Traveling the World

Whether you’re interested in learning a foreign language for business purposes or just because you’re a linguaphile like me (because, seriously, how much fun is it to speak multiple languages?), there’s no denying that one of the best ways to become a polyglot is to do so abroad. Or if you’re traveling anyway, why not teach yourself a language on the road? Here are a few tips for maximizing your language-learning experience through travel.

Think I can manage to learn all of these languages eventually? (At the UN Headquarters in Geneva last year)

Think I can manage to learn all of these languages eventually? (At the UN Headquarters in Geneva last year)

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Travel-Themed Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Adventurers

The holidays are fast approaching (can you believe it?), so if you’re looking for inspiration for what to get your travel-addicted friends and family (or even if you just want to treat yo’ self!), here are a few travel-related items I love from around the web.

Travel Christmas gifts
Map Watch – $12

When you’re on the go and don’t want to miss your next train, keep on schedule with this colorful watch (and practice geography simultaneously?). Continue reading  

Why Am I Not Traveling the World? Oh, Right…

A little over a year ago, I shared a post called “Why AREN’T You Traveling the World?” Now that I’m more familiar with the world of travel blogs, I realize there are a million posts like it, encouraging readers to get up, get out, and see the world, because, well, they would be crazy not to, wouldn’t they? Love those posts or hate ‘em, I wrote mine not so much with the intention to prove a life-altering point or to win new readers – at the end of the day, this blog was started primarily to keep a personal record of my life and to update far away family members on my goings on, and that post was nothing more than another outlet of self expression, a personal snapshot of the optimism I was feeling about life at the time.

Taking in Waikiki's sunset in Hawaii on the eve of flying to Sydney for the first time

Taking in Waikiki’s sunset in Hawaii on the eve of flying to Sydney for the first time

A few months ago, I was chatting with a friend back in the States, talking about how much I missed travel, when he, ever so wisely, replied simply with an excerpt from that same post. Stop trying to contradict me, me! Continue reading  

Ahh, the Joys of Discount Airlines!

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t spend at least a few moments missing my past life in Europe. But if there’s one thing I don’t miss in the slightest, that I’m entirely glad to be away from, it’s my constant experiences with discount Europen airlines, namely everyone’s most hated name in travel, Ryanair.

On board a Ryanair flight to Brussels in December 2009. Smooth sailing?

A rant against Ryanair? What a novel concept in the travel blogosphere! Yes, you may have heard it before, but, after years of railing against the airline to anyone who would lend me an ear, I figure it was about time to dedicate a blog post to some of my most frustrating experiences with various discount airlines. Continue reading  

Let the Countdown Begin! Fun Facts about Fiji

About a year ago, I moved into my current apartment and met my to-be (and now former) roommate, who was born and raised in Fiji. Before I even moved in, he and his friends invited me over to drink kava (more on that later) as he shared videos, music, and information about his homeland. Fiji sounds like a paradise, but it had always been a distant, overlooked travel destination in my mind until that night, when I was blown away by Fiji, and the island nation jumped toward the top of my bucket list.

I mean, how could it not be? (photo credit)

I mean, how could it not be? (photo credit)

So it was just my luck that when booking flights home to California for Christmas, the least expensive ones were on Fiji Airways with a layover in Nadi, on Fiji’s main island. I quickly determined that I would be able to extend that layover from a few hours to a few days, and, thus, I went from thinking I wouldn’t be able to squeeze in any new destinations for a while to planning an absolutely alluring trip to the South Pacific. Continue reading