St Hilarion Castle sits atop a rocky crag in the Kyrenia Mountains in Northern Cyprus. As you approach this magnificent landmark, it’s difficult to pick out the crumbling buildings from the craggy landscape. Look up from the foot of the castle, however, and you’ll see the mighty stone walls and half-ruined buildings with their elegant turrets, tumbledown towers and graceful arching windows. It’s said this crusader castle was the inspiration behind the fairytale castle in Walt Disney’s Snow White. Whether this is true or not, it’s the sort of castle I used to dream of as a kid, and I couldn’t wait to climb to its lofty summit and drink in those glorious views. Read More
The Church of the Pater Noster sits at the top of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, close to the Chapel of the Ascension. Surrounded by peaceful gardens, it’s an oasis of calm in comparison to the hustle and bustle of the Old City, over which it commands a bird’s eye view.
Birthplace of Aphrodite, UNESCO World Heritage Site… The pretty port town of Paphos in Cyprus has many accolades to its name. In 2017, it adds one more: European Capital of Culture.
I lived in Paphos for a few weeks last November and December. Despite the fact that the entire old town was a ginormous building site in preparation for its European Capital of Culture status, I loved my time there. I mean, my Masters degree is in Greek archaeology, so give me a pile of old ruins to scramble around and I’m happy!
One of my favourite places in Paphos is the Tombs of the Kings, just north of Kato Paphos. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, these monumental underground tombs date back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and they’re carved out of solid rock. I went twice. Once with a friend, but I had to go back on my own to satisfy my inner Lara Craft and really spend time getting to know the site. I visited in the early afternoon, when the sun turned the tombs the colour of fresh honeycomb. Eventually, I’ll write a longer post about my time in Cyprus. Until then, here are a few of my favourite pictures from that trip for this week’s mini photo essay. Read More
At the end of January, I celebrated my two-year nomadiversary – for the past two years I’ve been living as a digital nomad, travelling slowly around Europe running my business on my Mac while exploring different places, experiencing other cultures, and trying lots of delicious local food and wine!
Life as a digital nomad and solo female traveller has been as exciting and fulfilling as it has challenging and, at times, downright testing. I’ve had incredible highs and some fairly low points too.
If you’re curious about digital nomad life or thinking of giving it a shot, here are some nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned from my first two years on the road. Read More
As I mentioned at the start of my review of 2016, I was kinda glad to see the back of last year. It was my second year as a digital nomad and I had another great year of travel. But I struggled with some aspects of my business and I was distracted by the fallout from the Brexit referendum.
So I felt ready for a fresh start.
I love planning for the New Year, and always surround myself with a variety of planners and workbooks, looking back on my achievements and noting where I can improve things.
One of my first posts on this blog last year was my goals for 2016. I felt a little uneasy putting them out there, then realised my blog was new and no bugger was probably reading it anyway. Because promotion… But I realised I liked having them up there to keep me accountable, though my perfectionist tendencies were screaming, ‘but can you admit if you fail so publically?’ Well, yes I can. Because goals are meant to be challenging. What’s the point of setting something that isn’t going to stretch you personally and professionally?
One mistake I did make while setting my goals was not making some of them measurable. So I aim to put that right this year.
Things are still unsettled in Brexitland and I’m still struggling with the uncertainty of it all. Not only do I believe the EU to be largely positive, if in need of reform, we seem to be hurtling out of control towards a ‘hard’ Brexit at the hands of an unelected Prime Minister, which has the power to completely change how I live my life and, depending how things pan out this year, I may need to make some changes. But for now I will only focus on the things I can control.
So without further ado, here are my goals for 2017… Read More
Phew! Sometimes it felt as though 2016 would never end. With a stream of celebrity deaths and some seismic shocks in both political and geographic landscapes, there’s a danger of remembering last year for all the wrong reasons.
Personally I struggled a little last year too, mostly in the latter half of the year as I fought to understand my government’s determination to rob me of my rights as a European citizen thanks to a busload of lies and misinformation. This had a knock-on effect on my finances, where the drop in value of the GBP meant my rent and everyday living expenses increased dramatically. And it coincided with me trying to reshape my business, which meant a drop in income as I tried to build up my reputation in a different area. Messy!
In her annual workbook, Unravel Your Year, Susannah Conway asks the question ‘what you would call your year if it were a book or album?’ The difficult second album syndrome immediately popped into my head!
However while I found some areas of my life a challenge, I had another fantastic year of travel. 2016 was my fourth year in business and my second year as a digital nomad. I slept in twenty beds in fifteen cities, visited nine different countries (including the UK), three of which were new for me. I took ten flights, four train journeys (I’ve only counted long train journeys, not short trips to and from airports), and two ferry trips.
My highlights included finding a place to call home in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for five and a half months, returning to the Worldwide Festival in Sète for another memorable week of dancing in the sunshine to my favourite bands and DJs, getting my travel blogging head on in Stockholm, discovering the wine and wildlife of Slovenia, now one of my favourite countries, and connecting with my inner Lara Croft exploring the archaeological sites of Cyprus.
Here’s my review of 2016. Read More
A common theme arose every time I mentioned I was heading to Slovenia last summer:
‘Oh, you must visit Lake Bled.’
I’ll admit, the more people trotted out this line, the more wary I was of visiting. Because I’m not a fan of overcrowded tourist spots, regardless of how beautiful they are. Plus, there’s nothing worse than building a place up in your mind, then arriving and feeling a little… meh.
But at the same time I was curious. Because dammit, I’d seen those pictures. And I’m a sucker for a good view.
Although Slovenia is a fairly small country, I’d put off visiting while I was in Maribor. Money was tight after having three weeks off during the summer to dance on a beach in the South of France and get my travel blogging head on in Stockholm. So I couldn’t really afford an overnight stay in Bled when I’d paid for two months accommodation elsewhere.
But when friends decided to visit me in Slovenia at the end of my stay, I was determined to mastermind a trip to Bled. We met in Ljubljana but managed to slip away to see Slovenia’s most famous landmark, where we had less than 24 hours to explore.
My summer in Maribor turned out to be fuelled by Slovenian wine! In part one of this post, I looked at Maribor’s place in Slovenia’s wine story. In part two, I’m going to have a closer look at some of the wine producers in Štajerska, starting with Radgonske Gorice, the House of Sparkling Wine. Read More
If you follow my Instagram account, you may have noticed the two months I spent in Maribor this summer were fairly, um, boozy!
I didn’t plan it that way.
I can’t really explain what drew me to Maribor – I knew I wanted to visit Slovenia so I was browsing Airbnb for accommodation. I’d left my booking late (as usual!) so I couldn’t find anything affordable at the coast, which was my original intention. Then I stumbled upon a flat in Maribor and it sung to me. I looked up Maribor on several travel sites – it was described as a place of quiet charm, surrounded by vineyards, with Pohorje, its majestic ski mountain, a hiker’s paradise in summer.
Turns out my intuition did me some favours – Maribor wine is renowned in Slovenia and my Airbnb accommodation was run by Marko, one of the Find Eat Local team, a Slovenian startup that promotes and lists local food and wine places. So we teamed up for a few tastings… Read More