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What Solo Travel Has Taught Me

I’m surprised I haven’t written this post before. Years and years ago (five years ago!) I wrote a post detailing tips on travelling solo, and last year I wrote a post on the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my lifetime. I’ve also written other posts like this one – what travelling has taught me, and why travelling makes us happy – but nothing specifically on solo travel.

So why now? Why, after nearly ten years of solo travel, do I feel the need to reflect on what exactly I’ve learned from all of it?

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I Need Your Help! (and a giveaway)

I will keep this short and sweet – I would absolutely love your help with a few ideas I’ve been working on quietly over the past few months. If you could take five minutes (or less!) out of your day to answer a survey of nine questions, I will be eternally grateful. The questions are pretty straight-forward, and if you want to just check off the boxes and leave it at that, cool. If you’d like to expand on your answers, that’s amazing. Basically, any feedback you can provide will be much appreciated.

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What to Wear in Russia

I have been to Russia twice – once in 2007, when I spent a summer volunteering and teaching in Yaroslavl, and in 2010, when I took the Trans-Siberian across the country. There are a few important things to note about Russia when you consider packing your suitcase: summers can get quite hot, and winters… well, winters can get very, very cold. Not only that, the cold weather can last from September to May, so it’s best to always pack a few warm pieces in your suitcase, no matter what season you visit the country in.

With the exceptions of perhaps Moscow and St. Petersburg, most of Russia dresses quite casually throughout all seasons, so if you just want to bring jeans and a few sweatshirts, you’ll be fine. I’m not exactly a jeans and sweatshirt kind of girl, so here are a few outfits I wore during my time in Russia.

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Countries I Need to Give a Second Chance

A few months ago I wrote a post entitled “Just Not My Type: The Places I Didn’t Love”. It was fairly well-recieved, in that I think people like to read not only about all the amazing and beautiful places others love, but also about the places they… didn’t love as much. None of us are going to be completely besotted with each country or city or place we visit, and that’s totally ok. In fact, it’s more than ok – it’s great. If we all loved the same places, they’d get very crowded. Besides, variety is the spice of life. And so on. You get me.

That being said, there are a few countries that, whenever I think of them, I know I haven’t done them justice yet. Some I’ve spent a few days in, some I’ve spent a few weeks in, but for whatever reason, I just feel as though I need to go back and do some more exploring.

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How to Look Like a Tourist in London

Were you wondering how to look like a tourist while in London? Never fear, I have created a guide for you so that you can figure out exactly how to act when you visit the Big Smoke.*

1. Walk very, very slowly on the sidewalk, er, pavement. Londoners are never in any rush, especially around Liverpool Street, Bank, The Strand, or any other financial district. Bonus points if your group takes up the entire pavement, making it impossible to pass you without stepping into the busy street.

2. Speak very loudly on the subway, er, tube. Why do Londoners all speak in a whisper on the tube?! So weird. Also, making conversation with the people next to you is welcomed and expected.

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The Last Time I Saw You (Part Four)

The last time I saw you, we hugged on the tube platform. I had just moved to London, and you happened to be passing through, just visiting. I remember the sound of the train as it rushed past us, thinking I could say anything to you and you probably wouldn’t hear me. We hugged for just a second too long, or maybe a few seconds. And then we separated, and looked at each other, both of us waiting for the other to do something, or say something.

We met on the backpacker trail in Central America. I was travelling on my own, but had quickly made friends with a group of people in my guesthouse. One of the guys in the group had met you at another guesthouse, and so you came along to a dinner of conch baliadas one night. You were a bit taller than me, with brown hair and grey eyes. I remember noticing your laugh, the way you had the ability to make everyone feel like the funniest person at the table. You were tanned a dark brown, and the only man at the table not wearing a singlet.

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I’m Speaking at BlogStock!

Blogstock, according to their website, is “a place for pioneering new bloggers, established veterans, vloggers, YouTubers, foodies, tech-heads, travel addicts, and social media junkies to meet, learn, experience, and party”.

I attended last year on behalf of my job at Expedia, and I had a great time attending the talks, meeting new people, and hanging out with my friends. Blogstock 2014 got rave reviews. And this year, for Blogstock 2015… I’m speaking at the festival! Keep reading to find out what I’ll be speaking about…

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A Night at the Museum: Savage Beauty at the V&A

Last weekend, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I put on one last swipe of lipstick, grabbed my purse, and locked the door behind me. It was just before 3am, and the streets around my flat in East London were fairly empty, save the lights from passing traffic. A group of people speaking Spanish, their night winding down, walked down the sidewalk laughing and talking. I walked to the bus stop and stood next to a man smoking a cigarette and looking at his phone. The bus pulled up a few minutes later, and I got on board, taking a seat at the back.

I was on my way to the Victoria and Albert Museum, one of my favourites in the city. I have been many times in the past, and my most memorable visit had been in 2013 to see the David Bowie exhibit. It was strange, taking the bus to the museum at such an ungodly hour of the night. Nearly everyone else on the bus seemed like they were going home, their journey ending. Mine was just beginning, on my way to see Savage Beauty, the showcase of Alexander McQueen’s work.

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Every Single Thing I Know About Travel Blogging

While so many of my friends are travel bloggers, and I love to read other travel blogs, I hope that my readership encompasses a much larger part of society. That being said, this post is most definitely about travel blogging. I’ve gotten a few emails from people wanting to start blogs or people who write with questions about blogging, so I thought I’d throw everything I know into this post.

I am not going to pretend that I am an authority on blogging, not at all – there are so many other bloggers who have created much more “successful” (more on that word in a minute) sites, and I encourage new bloggers to research what they have to say. I’ve included some of my favourite links at the bottom of this post. While I have indeed been blogging for twelve years and my job is focused almost entirely on blogging, what I have to say here is only going to encompass what I’ve learned about blogging on This Battered Suitcase.

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