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The Fire Opal: A Story from Brazil

As we said goodbye, she lifted one hand up in a half-wave, her bracelets glinting in the sun. She had beautiful silver hair that nearly reached her waist, and I remember turning around again and again to wave until I could no longer see the flash of her.


My time in South America was nearly over, my bag full of sand and souvenirs, my journal laden with nine months of memories. Like all good things, the trip had gone by too quickly, and I was left with very little time to explore Brazil. I had already spent three months in Central America, bussing from Belize to Panama and then sailing to Colombia, where I started a six month overland journey down to Brazil.

I was on the last leg of my trip when I met her.

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The Ultimate Surprise Holiday with Surprise Trips

I’ve always dreamed of planning a surprise trip for someone. I can’t imagine anything more fun than secretly booking a holiday, planning the flights, hotels, and activities all while the other person has zero clue what’s going on or where we’re going. I’ve always thought that the absolute coolest thing I could do for someone is to say, “I have our weekend planned. Pack a small bag, and bring your passport. Meet me at Heathrow at 5pm this Friday”… all mysterious like I’m James Bond or something (how James Bond always looks so stylish when he travels on a whim, I will never know. Does he take a travel-sized iron with him? Get dry cleaning at the hotel? I’m rambling, I’ll move on).

On the flip side, if someone ever did this for me… oh my. I would take that person straight to the chapel and marry them, because, as mentioned before, it is THE ABSOLUTE COOLEST THING. A spontaneous holiday? Not knowing where you’re going until you get to the airport?! For me, someone who loves spontaneity and adventure, I can’t imagine something more fun.

And then, as if they could read my thoughts, along came Surprise Trips. Because Surprise Trips does exactly that.

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Book Review (and Giveaway!): A Year in the UK and Ireland

I’ve seen Cornwall and the Isle of Skye, the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland and the major cities of Wales. I’ve partied in Leeds, watched football in Brighton, driven around the Lake District, shopped in Newcastle, and eaten delicious food in Manchester. All in all, I’ve loved my time exploring the UK… but none of what I’ve done holds a candle to what Emma Higgins of Gotta Keep Movin’ has done.

Here, then, is my review of her travel journal A Year in the UK and Ireland… with the chance to win a copy of your own!

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What to Wear in Cuba

These “what to wear” posts are some of my favourite to put together – as much as I love fashion in London, there’s something about the clothes I wear when I travel. As mentioned in previous posts, I love to mix my clothes from home with pieces I pick up on the road, whether that’s clothing, jewellery, bags, or shoes. I often form a sentimental attachment to the clothes I wear when I travel; there’s no way I’ll ever get rid of the alpaca jumper I bought in Peru, or the colourful scarves from India, or the wooden beads I bought in Havana.

Here, then, is what to wear in Cuba.

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Where To Find the Sinking House of Paris

Over the past year or so, as I’ve enjoyed Instagram more and more (and simultaneously less and less with the new algorithms, if I’m honest), there have been some photos that have actually inspired me to travel somewhere new, or to explore a different part of a place I’ve already been. I fell in love with Cinque Terre through Instagram, for example, which inspired not one but two trips there this year.

In doing research for my recent trip to Paris, I noticed that a particular photo kept popping up – the “sinking house” or “tilting house”. Although I’d been to the French capital a few times before, this seemed like a fun and unusual spot to visit, and so I decided to try to find out just how exactly to find the sinking house of Paris.

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Best in London: “Ride the Slide” at ArcelorMittal Orbit

“What is that thing?” I thought to myself for the tenth time. I was on a bus to Stansted Airport; being an East Londoner, this is the most convenient airport to fly from when I go abroad. Looking out the window as I passed the area of Stratford, I saw a tall structure, red metal coiled around it. I had seen it every time I was on this bus, and yet I never thought to, you know, Google it, or ask someone, or figure it out. Not until that day a couple of months ago, when I did indeed whip out my phone and Google it.

“It’s a giant SLIDE?!” I thought to myself, and I stared at the structure again. Because just when you think London can’t get any cooler, or interesting, or full of things to do, it turns out that the city now holds the longest and tallest tunnel slide in the world.

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The Travel Mistake I Keep Making

A few months ago, when I was in Mallorca, I wrote a post called “Nine Mistakes to Make as a Traveller”. In that post, I wrote about things like trusting strangers and getting lost and how those “mistakes” could actually be really good, valuable, fun things to do.

But the travel mistake I keep making wasn’t on that list. And I made the mistake – again, and for the hundredth time – just this last weekend in Paris.

“Whatever could it be?!” I’m sure you’re all quivering with anticipation. Well, I hate to break it to you, but the travel mistake I keep making is actually one that I’m sure many people don’t make at all, if they are smart, resourceful, responsible travellers.

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Best of London: London’s Rooftop Cinemas

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Best of London” post – in fact, looking back through this blog’s archives, I rarely write about things to do in London, despite having lived here for three years now. That’s a bit odd, considering I feel like I’m always doing cool stuff in the city; anyone who has been to London knows there is seemingly no shortage of museums, markets, neighbourhoods, restaurants, and bars to sample.

Last night, however, I did something new and wanted to share it: I went to my first rooftop cinema in London.

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On Dreaming, and On Staying Ambitious

I’ve been really tired these days. Between a full-time job that has recently gotten a lot more demanding, to maintaining my duties to fulfil the requirements for my Graduate Entrepreneur Visa in the UK, to freelance work, to running this blog and its social media, to social events, to, oh yeah, travelling, I find myself constantly wanting a nap and constantly wanting someone to crack my back for me (it feels so damn good). Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about these things; I’m learning a lot, earning a little, and still seeing the world and getting to hang out with some of my favourite people in it. My life at the moment, while busy and stressful, is a pretty great one.

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t making plans for the future, too.

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