Top menu

Just Not My Type: The Places I Didn’t Love

It would be impossible to think that one could love every single place in the entire world. Although I frequently claim to, and usually only write about the places I really do recommend and love, there are a whole lot of places that just didn’t really do it for me.

The thing is, I could never say that I hated a place, nor could I say I’ll never go back. It’s just not my style. In the same manner that I’ve never really had a bad date (interesting dates, definitely, but never a really godawful one), I like to think that I’m generally pretty easy-going and can make the best of a bad situation. But, just as I politely sipped my pint of beer on those mediocre dates, realising I would rather be at home watching Better Call Saul, there are a few places I’ve been to that I realised I’d rather move on (or go back to my room to watch Better Call Saul). I completely recognise that, in a lot of these situations, I was lonely or sick or in a weird place in my life or I just didn’t meet the right people – my so-so destination might be your favourite place in the world. I am also in no way not recommending these places, just acknowledging that I haven’t had the best time in every place I’ve ever been, contrary to what this blog might promote. So, in no particular order, here are a few of the places I didn’t love.

Continue Reading 22

Five Years of This Battered Suitcase: What Next?

The memory is a vivid one: I’m sitting on my bed in Osaka, looking out the windows to the low, grey buildings sprawled out as far as the eye can see. I’m wearing a dress – I think it is black with little red and yellow flowers. My hair is up, of that I’m sure. My fingers are resting on the keyboard of my laptop, hesitating, hesitant.

My days of Livejournal were waning. That platform had hosted my first blog, back when I called myself Chapter Fourteen for no other reason than I like how those two words sounded together. I needed a new name, a new online persona. My Livejournal blog was almost solely about travel anyway, and at this point, 2008, I had already decided that I wanted travel to be a permanent and prominent part of my life. I remember that I tried to find the right words and then, like that, they appeared – This Battered Suitcase – and I registered my new blog immediately.

Continue Reading 52

Why You Should Embrace Regret

I’m always a little bit wary of people who say they have no regrets. Really? Not one? There’s not one thing you would change about your past, not one decision you made or sentence you said that you’d like to take back? I used to be one of those people who said “no regrets!”. I used to write it in my high school journals after asking a boy out and getting rejected, or missing out on a party because I felt uncomfortable with who I was. In my fifteen-year-old mind, these were all the regrets that I could possibly have.

Yesterday was my birthday; I turned thirty-one years old. As much as I love my life and feel proud of (most of) what I’ve done, I still have regrets, some big, some tiny. Instead of banging my head against the wall in shame, however, I’m trying to take those regrets and learn from them. If those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it, I’m going to try to do the opposite. Here are some of my regrets, and why I’ve learned to embrace them.

Continue Reading 27

How Travelling Can Help Your Career

One of the questions I receive via email the most – other than “how do you pay for your travelling” / “you have a trust fund, right?” – is “will taking some time off work to travel hurt my career?”

I totally get it. The job market can be a cruel and competitive place, especially, from what I’ve heard, in the United States. People who have written to me often say that their families are putting pressure on them, encouraging them not to travel or “sabotage their careers”. While I am writing a post soon about garnering the courage to travel, and I’d also like to write about education and travel, I thought it would be helpful to write a post why I think long-term travelling can help your career. It has certainly helped mine.

Continue Reading 16

The Most Overused Words in Travel Writing

Over the last year and a half, my degree and my job have taken up most of my life. I have sadly had to let this blog slip behind a little bit, which breaks my heart. I love writing blog posts. Sometimes I go back and read old blog posts for inspiration for the book I’m writing, and once in a while I feel really proud of what I’ve written. A lot of the time, however, I cringe. I’m totally guilty of doing some really lazy travel writing. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I have definitely described a city as a “fascinating blend of the ancient and the modern”.

So, mostly out of sheer self-shaming (in the hopes that I never blog/write using these words again… or at least minimise my use of them) here are the words I think are overused in travel writing and travel blogging.

Continue Reading 41

Returning to Nicaragua

I first went to Nicaragua in 2012, as part of my backpacking adventure through Central America. Through Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, Nicaragua ended up being my favourite country in that part of the world. It’s hard sometimes to describe exactly what it was about the country that I loved so much; if I say that it was the colonial architecture, the stunning landscapes, the friendly people, or the fun parties, I could be describing any of the other countries, too. Much like finding a soulmate, we often can’t explain what it is that causes us to fall in love. It’s that magic spark.

When my mum surprised me with a Christmas trip to Nicaragua a few months ago, I was overjoyed. Not only would it mean spending the holidays with my family, a rare treat, I also got to revisit one of my favourite countries. I expected to love it just as much as I had the first time.

Continue Reading 25

A Perfect Day in Nicosia

As much as I love travelling and as much as I love learning about the countries of the world, there’s a lot I don’t know. Often the only thing I know about a certain place is that there’s something tugging me there, and that, for whatever reason, my wanderlust has been piqued. Cyprus was one of those countries. And while I knew that it is famous for its beach holidays, I was so excited to spend most of my time there exploring the capital city of Nicosia and its surrounding hills.

If you find yourself heading to Cyprus, I definitely recommend checking out Nicosia. Full of history, culture, and great food, it’s the kind of place you could easily spend a week or two. If you only have one day, however, here are the spots I recommend.

Continue Reading 15

Why Travelling Makes Us Happy

A couple of months ago I wrote a post called On Being Happy With Being Content. In it, I discussed how since moving to London I’ve embraced the idea of settling somewhere and the feeling of happiness I get from routine in my life. To be completely honest, I wrote that post to try to make sense of what I was feeling at the time, the restlessness mixed with the feelings of withdrawal from a life of almost constant travelling.

I am never going to deny that some of the happiest days of my life have been while I was on the road. So today, in honour of International Day of Happiness (don’t roll your eyes), I thought I’d post some of the reasons I personally feel happy when I travel. Travelling makes me happy because…

Continue Reading 26

Around the World: Beer

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of my Around the World posts, and what better day to post about beer around the world than St. Patrick’s Day? I’ve never shied away from the fact that I love a good pint, and I make it a goal to try at least one of the local or popular beers whenever I visit a country.

Continue Reading 16