Week 5 and 6: Dublin, and UK Part 2! 

Hey friends! Couldn’t find the time to pop out a blog post after Somersault last week (aka I was passed out on a train through England), so here’s some of the highlights from the past two weeks!
Bristol: Bristol was awesome. Met some great couchsurfers and girls from Brighton, Banksy-hunted, drank cider in parks, and explored a city that made me so excited to move to Austin. Some neighborhoods are very similar to Austin; tons of street art, a focus on local business, and plenty of vegan restaurants. Thanks again to Anthony for finding me an awesome hostel and letting me stash my stuff at your job.


  
Somersault Festival: One festival this summer just wasn’t enough. Somersault took place in Devon, in the super south west of England. I stayed with Josh, who lived on the estate where Somersault was being held. Josh was an awesome host and festival companion, and staying inside during the downpours of the weekend was quite the convenience.

Somersault’s lineup was similar to an XPoNential Festival lineup (if you went, I’m jealous and hope that you enjoyed George Ezra and St Vincent and Pine Barons and Lord Huron and….) it included world music, local artists, and more alternative headliners. Bombay Bicycle Club’s set was probably the best one I’ve seen all summer, but I have to sit on that for a bit before I officially give them the prize. Big shout out to Jeremy Loops for being the reason I found out about the festival, and for being another one of the best sets I’ve seen a summer.


  
Back to Liverpool: Michael was my host in Liverpool and since we got along so well, I invited him to accompany me in Dublin. I stayed 2 nights at his before our early flight, enjoyed an It’s Always Sunny marathon and sharing my obsession for making spaghetti bread. His parents are saints as well, and I was really glad to see them again.

Dublin: You know it’s a good trip when you have a Guinness in your hand by 10 A.M. Michael and I did the tours of the Guinness storehouse and Jameson Distillery, went to the National Library, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Museum of Archaeology, wandered, and bar hopped. During our second night in Dublin we attended a huge Couchsurfing/English speaking meetup on the oldest street in Dublin (where Handel’s Messiah was first performed!!!). We met people from all over the world, and I was able to meet up with Savannah and Erich, who are from America. Savannah and Erich are Deaf and I was more than excited to practice signing with them. I could communicate pretty well and we had an awesome time, definitely one of my favorite nights out on my trip so far!


  
Cliffs of Moehr: I had one day to explore on my own, so I decided to do a bus tour to the Cliffs of Moehr. My bus stopped by Limerick, Kinvarra, and The Burren as well, but the Cliffs were definitely the highlight. Ocean water and beautiful views make for a perfect, calm day. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to!


I’m about halfway through my trip. I’ve walked though cities, jaw hanging in awe over their beauty. I’ve fallen asleep standing up. I danced, I made mistakes, I changed my plans, I still have decisions to make. I’ve been super homesick and ready to cancel my trip back to the U.S. I have about six weeks to go! Ready to learn from the experiences I have and make even more memories on this second leg of my trip!

Week 1: UK, Part 1!!

hey all! It’s been quite crazy the past few days (and wifi is not always around), but I figured I’d give a quick update before starting the day. I’ve been in Europe for about a week, and what a week it was. Here are some highlights:

Regent’s Park – London : Upon leaving my beautiful hostel, I knew I wanted to walk down to lush oxford street. It was quite a walk, and with no wifi, I just had to depend on the signs and maps throughout London. Thank god there are plenty of them! On the way to Oxford Street, I stumbled upon the enormous Regent’s Park. Beautiful! Seeing such a large park on such a beautiful day was the perfect welcome to London. And the St Mary’s Garden….breathtaking!!

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Lush Oxford Street – London: I made it!!! After months of looking at the 250 new lush products from 1,000 miles away, I found new Lush flagship store on Oxford Street!! Bath oils, dusting powders, new perfumes…I was in heaven. This picture of me in the Stayin’ Alive (perfume room) perfectly captures how I looked throughout the entire store:

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I even got my hair done! I was freaking out over the Jersey Bounce shampoo (similar to Big) and the Avocado Co-Wash (with the best smell I’ve ever smelled) and Abby offered to do my hair. It was her first hair demo….look at all that volume!!! I smelled my hair constantly for the next day. Yup, I was one of those customers….

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Royal Tour – London: for the lovely price of free + donation, I got up bright and early for a tour of all the royal touristy stuff. Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square. Oddly enough, my tour guide had lived in Lancaster County for three years.

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After the tour, I had a lovely lunch with two tourists from Wisconsin and then I headed off to the museums. If my most recent traveling excursions have taught me anything, it’s that I’m perfectly content museum-hopping. I went to the National Gallery and the Tate Modern museums. For me, they’re just amazing places for inspiration. I write a lot in museums, and always make sure to jot down my favorite paintings/artists for future reference.

imageLiverpool! – Ok, everything in Liverpool was a highlight. For one, it was my first time Couchsurfing, so that was a huge part of my trip. I stayed with a Couchsurfer named Michael and his family – the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Avid travelers themselves, they had tons of great stories and good advice. Micheal took me around the parks in Liverpool, the bars in Liverpool, and then we did all of the touristy things. The last night I stayed, his parents made an awesome dinner and of all things, watched a bunch of throwback music videos over a bottle or two (or three) of wine. Couchsurfing is a really cool way to travel – it’s a lot more personal than hostels or hotels, and you’re constantly social. I intend to couchsurf for most of my trip, honestly. The people I’ve met so far Couchsurfing always have great stories and a similar outlook on the world. It’s an amazing community.

imageimageNatural History Museum and Hyde Park London: As my flight to Gdansk was leaving from London, I went back for another day to finish my roaming. I saved the Natural History Museum and Hyde Park for the last day….what a finale!! I’m a huge environmental nerd, so seeing a museum with the focus of teaching us about the earth (and how we can help preserve it!!!) was wonderful. And Hyde park was gorgeous. Best statues by far!!

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This was just a quick update, as I’m headed off now into Gdansk. Currently I’m staying in a Grateful Dead hostel with a bunch of Open’er goers…but more to come on that later!! I’ll be posting after my trip through Poland is over!

Lush Haul – Backpacker’s Edition!

Lush Haul I love Lush, and not just because I worked there for a year and some change. They’re cruelty-free, their products smell good, and I actually know what ingredients I’m putting on my skin and hair. Yesterday was my last day working, so I bought all the birthday gifts I needed for the next year and also stuff for my trip. Luckily, Lush has tons of solid products and stuff that’s super easy to travel with!! Here’s a little list of the stuff I’m bringing with me this summer!

via lushusa.com
via lushusa.com

Jason and The Argan Oil (Shampoo Bar) – That little pink guy, that’s my haircare. Lush makes solid shampoos that lather super well and last 60-80 washes…perfect timing for my trip. It’s insanely moisturizing and I’ve used it in the past without conditioner! Plus…no plastic! Shampoo bars are some of Lush’s “naked products” that don’t need packaging and cut down on waste. The tin I’m storing it in is reusable, so when I move on to my next shampoo bar, I’m all set!

via lushusa.com
via lushusa.com

No Drought (Dry Shampoo) – The description even says No Drought is good for music festivals, bless. It’s a cornflour base with a lovely citrus scent for when I’m too lazy to wash my hair. Instead of packing Lush’s amazing T for Toes foot powder, I’m going to also try throwing this guy in my shoes when I’ve been hiking around and my feet smell, you know, disgusting.

via lushusa.com
via lushusa.com

Parsley Porridge (Hand and Body Soap) – MIRACLE. This soap has tea tree, aloe and other herbs, which make it great for your body but also your FACE! Luckily it’s the soap my face likes the best so it’s all I’ll need when it comes to soap! (It’s taking everything in my power not to pack my So White and Rose Jam Shower Gels or Yog Nog and Snowcake Soaps, but I’ll leave them here as motivation to come back home!)

via lushusa.com
via lushusa.com

Tea Tree Water (Toner Water) – Tea tree for antibacterial, grapefruit for an astringent, juniperberry to balance. Super simple and a great way to refresh throughout the day.

via lushusa.com
via lushusa.com
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via lushusa.com

Confident & Independent (Makeup) – THANK YOU ALEX. My lovely coworker bought me Confident, the most amazing lip color, and I’m forever grateful. Independent is an eyeliner and just became available again after a 2(?) year long hiatus. I don’t wear makeup often, but these two are all I need when I go out on the town (I mean, I’m going to Liverpool after all).

9 to 5 (Cleansing Lotion) – Aaaand for the morning after. 9 to 5 is a great cleansing lotion that’s also a makeup remover! Super easy to apply to for when I’m traveling from one place to the next.

But that’s not all….

My first stop in Europe is going to be Lush’s Oxford Street store in London. Three stories of Lush, friends. I’ll be buying:

-Oral Pleasure Toothy Tabs (oh, Lush.)

-Deo My B.O. Deodorant

-One of Lush’s moisturizers with SPF, haven’t decided yet! (Lush does not have any products with SPF in North America because of complications with how SPF is tested here)

-Cup O’ Coffee Exfoliating Mask

….and then maybe a few more of Lush Oxford Street’s 200 products that are exclusive to just that store. Check back in…oh my gosh…two weeks, and I’ll have another Lush haul posted for you guys!!

“What are you bringing?” The Rough Packing List

Less than six weeks! And I still have no return ticket, but I’m looking at a three-month stay in Europe.

This week, however, I got a lot done. I graduated from Temple University, and I moved out of my apartment.

Everything I know is in boxes, in my parents’ garage or the basement-alcove-room of my parents’ house. It only makes sense to get started on packing, both backpacking-through-Europe packing and moving-down-to-Austin packing. Since Austin is so far away and the things I’m bringing to Europe are things I’ll be using in the next six weeks, the most I could think to do is create a quick, rough packing list. I’m only bringing a backpack, a fanny pack, and a drawstring bag, and I’ll need room for souvenirs. (Mainly Lush souvenirs from the Oxford Street store. Oh.My.Gosh.)

Check out my list and let me know if I’m missing anything, or can do without anything!! Also, let me know if you’d like to see a post of the Lush items I’m bringing to Europe (ok, ok…I’ll probably post one regardless.)

SIX WEEKS.

PackingList

“Who Are You Seeing?” 7 European Music Festivals to Attend This Summer

No summer is complete without a trip to a music festival; this absolutely rings true for a summer overseas. Europe is home to some of the biggest music festivals out there (Glastonbury, Tomorrowland), and I want to attend all of them, but this blog is called Beat, Broke, and Backpacking for a reason. Attending any one of these festivals will be amazing…it’s just a matter of which one(s) I choose.

Sziget – August 10-17 – Budapest, Hungary

from szigetfestival.com

Maybe I’m late to hop on the Robbie Williams train (or am I, Americans?) After seeing his name on the top of many Europeans lineups this summer, I became a combination of confused and curious. I found his performance at Knebworth on YouTube, and within three minutes of watching, I feverishly went back to Google to find out which festivals I could catch him at. Sziget is one of these festivals, on the Island of Freedom (you sold me there), and Robbie Williams shares the bill with Florence + the Machine, Tyler the Creator, and Gramatik. Check, check, check and check off my bucket list.

Longitude – July 17-19 – Dublin, Ireland

from longitude.ie

If I could travel back in time to last spring, I would reassure myself that yes, I would have the chance to see this skinny man-bunned Irish Hozier guy I saw on YouTube in concert. He’s everywhere, for good and obvious reasons. Included in ‘everywhere’ is Longitude Festival in Marlay Park, which isn’t too far from the center of Dublin. (This makes the idea of finding accommodations a lot less stressful.) James Blake was added to this lineup recently, and there are more artists to be announced. At this rate, the lineup will cover most of my Spotify listening history, so it’s definitely on my radar.

NOS Alive – July 9-11 – Lisbon, Portugal

from festival-calendar.com

It’s very hard to turn down an opportunity to see Muse, Stromae, or James Blake, especially now, as James Blake’s album may be released very soon. I’ve already talked to a few people in Lisbon who say that a ton of Couchsurfers head to this festival every year (the festival used to be Optimus Alive) in a big group, and there are also groups of festivalgoers who travel to the beach throughout the week for surfing lessons. Surfing and music in one day sounds pretty solid to me.

T in the Park – July 10-12 – Pertshire, Scotland

via tinthepark.com

I’ve watched many T in the Park sets from my bedroom via YouTube (thank you Arctic Monkeys), so this was one of the first festivals I researched when I started planning this trip. It’s moving this year to Strathallan Castle, and if a trip involves a castle, I’m most likely down (yes, I know, I’ll see a few in Europe). This year’s lineup is solid, with at least one London artist on my bucket list for each day of the festival.

North Sea Jazz Festival  –  July 10-12  –  Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands

from one2entertainment.com

I feel the need to satisfy Grade School Megan and check seeing Lady Gaga (with Tony Bennett, no less) and Paolo Nutini off my list. I’m also all for expanding my horizons and listening to more jazz. Maybe I’ll go to the Manchester Jazz Festival too. Let’s make it a summer of jazz festivals, shall we?

Somersault Festival – July 23-27 – Castle Hill, North Devon

from http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/

The music lineup for Somersault is great (Bombay Bicycle Club, Angus & Julia Stone, and up-and-coming adorable South African folk artist Jeremy Loops get me pretty hype) but I’m just as intrigued by all the other cool things to do: yoga and circus workshops, feasts, and falconry? Falconry sounds fun. I can feel the good vibes coming from this festival five months in advance.

Open’er Festival – July 1-4 – Gdansk, Poland

from http://www.atmsystem.pl/

I had no interest in checking out Poland, mainly because the only thing I know about Poland is the excellence of pierogies, but then I saw that D’Angelo, St. Vincent, Father John Misty, and Chet Faker would all be at the Open’er Festival. Then I saw how beautiful the nearby city of Gdansk looks. Then I remembered that pierogies are REALLY good, and that I might as well add a city I know nothing about to my list.

I discovered Open’er this week, and I’m sure I’m missing out on a ton of festivals that will be going on during my trip. Feel free to share your knowledge, your opinions, and anything else in the comments below!

“How are you going to do all that?” Creating The Bucket List

Four months until I touch down in London….and then…..

I have vague ideas of how long my first trip to Europe is going to last. I have a lot of things to check off my bucket list…but first i need to make one. I want to keep one for when I’m looking at a map with a blank stare and no plans for the next day.

To create this crazy list, I’ve been Pinterest-ing, Internet-ing, and talking to as many people as I can to figure out where to stop. Big shout out to everyone who has given me advice so far!! (I also need to start investing in guidebooks. I’ve heard good things about Lonely Planet, but any suggestions would be lovely!)

So here’s the first draft. I don’t know how much of this I will complete, but, I also don’t know much of anything at this point! Let me know what I need to add, what I can skip over, what should be at the top of my list. Specifically good museums and hikes!!

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Follow Me on Pinterest!

I need some way to organize my trip! So of course, I turn to Pinterest. Follow me, I’ll follow you, I’m following as many traveling/backpacking people that I can, let’s get some tips.

https://www.pinterest.com/beatbackpacking/

See you there.

“What are your plans for after graduation?”

That’s a great question, professors/parents/relatives at Christmas/concerned friends/bosses.

As of right now, I have 15 weeks until my graduation from Temple University, one class left to complete a degree in Strategic Communications, a few personal statements desperate for a review, and a one-way plane ticket from Newark to London that leaves on June 22.

I have a Couchsurfing account and a WWOOF subscription. I have three open tabs on Chrome titled, “The Best Camping Accessory….”, “Syllabus Spanish 1001”, and “Eurail Pass”. I don’t have a lot of savings (currently), I don’t have much of a plan, and I don’t have any experience living or traveling in Europe.

I have to remind myself as I step out into what is apparently only called the “real” world post-diploma, that this “real” life isn’t measured by your “haves”.

Instead.

I enjoy storytelling, reading, writing; I enjoy hiking, meeting new people, helping people, coffee, vegetables, and getting my hands dirty working outside. I enjoy writing a blog. As of right now, these are my plans for after graduation.

A roundabout way of saying I don’t have employment in the near future.

Follow this blog to follow my journey figuring out how to grab a backpack and a notebook to make the most of Europe. Tips, comments, messages are appreciated!