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Why I Love The Causeway Coast

A few weeks ago, on the first weekend of April, I flew from London to Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. I had been once before, in 2008, and had really enjoyed my time in the country. During those four days, I spent one day on a whistle-stop tour that explored the Causeway Coast, herded from one sightseeing spot to the next. It had never felt like enough.

Fast forward eight years, and I was given the chance to visit Northern Ireland again. This time, however, my entire time would be spent on the Causeway Coast, based in the little seaside town of Portballintrae. The idea of spending three days exploring this area was highly appealing; since that visit in 2008, my travel style has changed considerably, and I’d now rather take my time and see more of a smaller area than travel at breakneck speed in order to cram it all in.

In short, I completely fell in love with the Causeway Coast. Here’s why.

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Cinque Terre

On Being Addicted to Travelling

Three days ago I was there, in the place you see photographed above: Cinque Terre, Italy (and that, specifically, is the village of Vernazza). I had an amazing time in Italy, my sixth time to the country; I ate lots of great food, went hiking on beautiful trails, sat by the water with glasses of wine, drank far too many espressos, and even met a handsome Italian (that always helps). And then, with one two hour flight from Pisa and a bus from Stansted airport, I was at home in my flat, unpacking and doing laundry and wondering whether or not I could eat enough sushi to warrant the minimum delivery surcharge (spoiler: I could, even though I ordered so much they delivered it to me with four sets of chopsticks).

Something I often think about – and quite frankly, something I often worry about – is whether or not I’m addicted to travelling. That, perhaps, I’m too consumed by it, and, what frightens me the most, is that I’m often the happiest when I’m on the road. So what does it mean to be addicted to travelling?

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This Battered Suitcase Blog 4

Six Years of This Battered Suitcase: What Next?

OK, so I feel like I just wrote the post discussing the five year anniversary of this blog, but nope, that was already a year ago. On April 12th, 2010, exactly six years and one day ago, I posted the first of many blog posts on This Battered Suitcase. I wasn’t new to blogging, however – I had been writing on a Livejournal account for seven years before that, which brings my blogging total to 13 years. It’s been one hell of a ride, and it’s nowhere near over – I love blogging and being a part of the blogging community more than ever. And because some of you have been reading for a while (some even since Livejournal!), and because I know that many things I’ve gotten out of blogging have been because of readers like you, I wanted to talk about the future of This Battered Suitcase as transparently and as honestly as I hope I’ve always been. For more on my history with blogging, check out what I wrote on the four year anniversary of the blog; much of what I say there still totally stands. I feel kind of silly writing these posts, but it also feels silly to let the anniversary slide when it’s something that takes up such a huge part of my life.

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Visiting Yad Vashem, Jerusalem’s Holocaust Memorial

I stepped into the dark corridor of Yad Vashem’s Holocaust History Museum, the skylight above providing a sliver of sunlight. It’s difficult to describe what it’s like to be here; it’s overwhelming and emotional, but it holds such great significance. In my opinion, it’s worth a trip to Israel just to experience it.

Found on the western slope of Mount Herzl of Jerusalem, Yad Vashem is Israel’s second most-visited tourist site (the Wailing Wall is the first). The memorial, sprawling over many acres of land, includes the Holocaust History Museum, the Hall of Remembrance, the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, the Museum of Holocaust Art, the Children’s Memorial, and many other buildings. As the memorial seeks to educate, document, and commemorate the Holocaust – the genocide that claimed over six million Jewish lives during WWII, killing two thirds of the European Jewish population – it also houses a synagogue, publishing house, research institute, library, and education centre.

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What to Wear in Thailand

While the internet is saturated with these “what to wear” posts, I always enjoy putting them together, and I like having go-to resources for people who write to me about certain topics. I get a lot of emails about what to wear in countries I’ve been to, and I’m slowly but surely trying to get them all done. I may as well keep going with what to wear in Thailand.

First of all, Thailand is hot. Really hot. Depending on where you go and when, you’ll most likely experience very warm weather and possibly some intense humidity and rain. It’s always important to dress comfortably while still being culturally appropriate. Here, then, is what I recommend to wear in Thailand.

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People Are Good

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time. I remember thinking I should write it after the Paris attacks, and then again after the Ankara and Istanbul attacks. I thought about it after Tunisia and Kenya and Yemen and Cote d’Ivoire and Indonesia and Mali and Somalia and Lebanon and California and so many other places, not to mention what’s happening in Syria, Afghanistan, and other war zones. I meant to write it after certain politicians in various countries continued (continue) to incite hatred and racism. And then, yesterday, after the horrible events in Brussels, I felt like I couldn’t hold it in anymore.

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A Quick Thank You (and a small giveaway)

Yesterday was one of those jam-packed days in London that had me running all over East London, and it culminated in a really fun and random night of pub-hopping with amazing friends. I stayed in bed for a very long time, too comfortable and warm to get up despite the sun streaming in my windows, a welcome sight after some gloomy London weather.

When I finally got up, I made a coffee and sat on the couch. I live alone, and I relish these long and lazy mornings, especially on days when there are no pressing deadlines. I didn’t have plans until the afternoon, so I took the time to call my mum, read a few chapters of my current book, and then go online. I saw on Facebook that my blog’s page reached over 6,000 followers overnight, and part of me just can’t believe all the support and kindness that I’ve received through This Battered Suitcase.

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14 Amazing Women (who also happen to be travel bloggers)

When I was growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a mid-sized city smack-dab in the middle of the Canadian prairies, I used to lose myself in books – they were a way to take adventures. Later, in my teenage years, I became completely obsessed with the idea of travelling. I studied maps, I read National Geographic magazines, I watched as many travel documentaries as I could. And while I come from a family of travellers – my parents lived in a van in Europe in the 70s, and my sister went backpacking with friends around Australia and Asia just out of high school – most of the people I was seeing on TV or in magazines were men. I hadn’t yet discovered women like Freya Stark or Dervla Murphy, and blogs weren’t even a thing. The travellers I saw were weather-beaten and bearded, their names Pete and David and Jack. One of the first real backpackers I met, the one who helped actualise my wanderlust, was also male.

So, without further ado, here are fourteen amazing female travel bloggers – they are travellers, they are businesswomen, they are photographers, they are writers, they are innovators, and, to me, they are inspirational. They also happen to be my friends.

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My Most Hated Travel Quote

I once met a girl named Courtney while I was travelling through Nicaragua. She was tall and rail thin, her body covered in tattoos. From Seattle originally, we met on a volcano-boarding tour just outside of Léon, a small colonial city where all the buildings were painted dark pinks and greens and blues. We’d spent the day climbing Cerro Negro Volcano and then riding on sleds down the side of it, hurtling ourselves down the soft black ash.

“I just got this one before I left for Central America… look.” She instructed me to pull down the back of her t-shirt, revealing sprawling script across her shoulders. I recognised the words; it was a quote by Saint Augustine. I had heard the quote a few times before, seen it on a mug or read it on a blog. This was before it became one of the most popular travel quotes splashed across the internet, found on thousands of Pinterest boards, the text always written over the image of a pristine beach or a young woman standing on a mountaintop, her blonde hair blowing in the wind.

The thing is… I hate this quote.

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