THE EUROPE TRIP: ETC

Because I am a Big Fan of taking the Long Way Home, Austria wasn’t the true end of my trip.

It ended up being cheapest to fly Salzburg to London, London to St. John’s, St. John’s to Toronto, so that’s what I did. I worked it out so I had nearly an entire day in London to wander around, eat some grocery store sandwiches – which, in the UK, are great by the way – and listen to English Girls by The Maine on repeat. I also had like 6 hours in St. John’s (Newfoundland, Canada) which I was super excited about because I’d never been there before.

I don’t know if it’s just the headspace I’ve been in both times I’ve visited the city, or the areas I chose to see, but I don’t really love London. I don’t hate it, I simply like other places more. Anyways. It doesn’t matter. I had a nice evening.

St. John’s, on the other hand, I adored. As luck had it, I ended up sharing a cab into town with a few other people and spent my entire layover hanging out with them and exploring a little bit of the island. We went up to Signal Hill and hiked all around it and into downtown, getting to know each other while being constantly awed by how beautiful the place we all randomly found ourselves in was. Seriously, the landscape was stunning, the classic coloured buildings in town contrasted so well, and the whole place felt so welcoming. Plus, the french fries I ate at a pub on the main street were freaking great. It was the best layover I’ve ever had. I didn’t get anyone’s contact information, and I don’t remember their names, but I hope they’re all having fun, wherever they are in the world.

 

Oh, and I somehow ended up in the “Plus” seats on the plane and was given free food and drinks the whole flight from London. I am 100% sure this was a mistake on their part, but I wasn’t about to forfeit all that luxury. Who would?

Also, this ad I saw in Iceland that I haven’t had the chance to include yet:

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Aaaaaaand that’s it. That’s all. Now I’m back on Eastern time and sleeping in my own bed. Thinking about where I’ll go next, and where I’ll go after that, and after that and after that. Endless possibilities.

Here’s a song I kept hearing on the radio in Europe and that I still can’t get out of my head. Cheers!

Xo, Rachel

 

 

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THE EUROPE TRIP: DENMARK

Well, I only stopped in Copenhagen, but still. Denmark, baby!

I did the bare minimum when planning this trip so I had no itinerary or idea what I should be seeing/doing in any of the places I went, so if I missed something, don’t tell me. Because I don’t know.

I spent most of my 5 days in Copenhagen just admiring the culture and feel of the place. I’d been to the UK before, but Europe is like a different world. I don’t even know how to explain it, it feels familiar but completely foreign at the same time. The sheer amount of bikers constantly caught my attention. I don’t think I’d ever seen so many bikes in such a short period of time. And the cute little tables and chairs outside of every cafe and restaurant, everyone outside enjoying the sun and the air of early fall. Wonderful. Everyone was so friendly and seemingly easy-going. I loved the simple style, colourful old buildings, the people. Don’t even get me started on the food. Before going vegan, I really didn’t care what I ate while I was travelling. I’d eat grocery store sandwiches and french fries and whatever was cheap and closeby. Now finding food is half of the fun of being in a new place. Copenhagen really came through with the vegan options, there were so many places I could eat I didn’t know which to choose.

For future reference, or in case any of you end up in Copenhagen, here are the places I ate. I loved every single one, and they were all so unique:

  • Cafe N (liked the food/atmosphere/staff so much I went there twice)
  • GreenBurger (if you like mock-meat/fast food/junk like I do)
  • Kaf (so freaking cute)
  • SimpleRaw (I’m not usually a raw food binch but the brunch was so good!!)
  • Kaffestuen Vesterbro (originally went here to ask for directions and later found out they had a ton of vegan stuff so I went back the next day)

As for other stuff, I am a big fan of walking around all day and stopping when something catches my eye. So I ended up in a few record stores, thrift shops, walked along the water, sat around in parks, drank coffees, stuff I’d do in any place.

A highlight was definitely the botanical gardens – which I wasn’t that excited about but then I remembered how much I love plants. I don’t even know how long I was there, taking photos, admiring the greenery, people watching. 10/10, and it’s free. Even the gift shop was fantastic!!

I’m trying to incorporate humans into my photos more, so there may be a pattern here.

Of course, being Europe, there was some Old Stuff. Much older than anything here in Canada. Which was exciting and much more interesting than I thought it’d be. I mean, I didn’t know how stoked I’d be about buildings and mailboxes and streets.

I don’t know what else to say. The whole thing went by so fast, I only remember enjoying myself and feeling welcome. Oh, and the signage. There was some great signage.

Overall, I’m really glad that the flight to Denmark was the cheapest – because I don’t know if I’d ever gone otherwise. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I has no idea just how much I’d love it.

And that wraps up our first stop (unless you count the brief layover I had in Iceland, which was only long enough for me to buy a neck pillow and eat a granola bar).

Truly may have left a piece of me in Scandinavia, and I can’t wait to go back…

Xo, Rachel

 

the tattour

I have quite a few tattoos at this point and haven’t posted much about any of them, so here’s this.

I kind of gave up taking nice photos after the first like 4 tattoos so I really had to hunt through my photo archives to find all of these.

OK so, in the order that I got them:

  • The frowny faces (Dundas)
    On my ankles, done in Hamilton right after I turned 18 (done at separate times). This is the symbol that The Summer Set used to promote their album Everything’s Fine and I just really liked it, and thought the frown was funny considering what the album was called. The happy-sad humor. One is right side up and the other is upside down, because I wanted them to match but not be exactly the same.
  • The constellation (Hamilton)
    My star sign, the virgo. I don’t really follow astrology but I love space.
  • The fastforward/rewind (Toronto)
    A matching tattoo I got with one of my friends that I met through the internet/similar music tastes. Seemed fitting.
  • The hearts (Vancouver)
    Zayn Malik drew this and it was included in a sticker set that came with one of One Directions albums. I thought it was cute.
  • Girl almighty (Vancouver)
    A One Direction song. Also like, girl power.
  • The pansies (Halifax)
    My favourite flower, my favourite colour.
  • The blue flowers (Hamilton)
    They’re meant to be forget-me-nots but they turned out way bigger than that. I just love flowers.
  • Temporary (Victoria)
    Thought that would be funny. It’s permanent. Lol.
  • The flower chain (Kelowna)
    Thought it was cute. Love flowers.
  • The lavender branch (Seattle)
    See above.
  • The tandem bike (Tobermory)
    For my best friend. She visited me once in Vancouver and we rented a tandem bike to ride around Stanley Park. It was a riot.
  • The spider web (Tobermory)
    I was living in a cabin in the woods. Felt like I spent the entire summer covered in cobwebs.

And that’s all, dudes! For now!

Xo, Rachel

algonquin

My dad, my little sister and I went up to Algonquin provincial park last month for my birthday and it quickly became one of my favourite parks I’ve ever been to. I already can’t wait to go back and explore more of it. It’s a huge freaking park and I just saw a tiny piece.

Here are some photos – and if you’re ever in the area, I highly suggest you check it out.

Seriously!!!! Ontario, your diversity kills me!

Beauty days, beauty spots, beauty beauty. I loved it.

Xo, Rachel

the east coast

I went on a little road trip to the right side of Canada. It was nice. Here are a few photos:

It was a bit hectic because the whole reason we went out East was to see my little sister in a gymnastics competition which was pretty full-on so all of our exploring was in between flights. We still managed to see a bit of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI. So, like, we killed it.

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Xo, Rachel

 

failing (and other things i’m not doing)

friday, april 28th

so I’ve moved back home and I’m trying really hard to look at the bright side – free rent, familiar faces, the freedom of time. but it’s hard, because being here at all, it feels like a failure. it’s like all the progress, everything I’ve done in the past 2 years was for nothing, because I’m back where I started.

the suburbs are melting my brain, sucking my motivation, molding me into the mundane I once was.

Thinking back to 2 months ago, when I was suddenly having to make a decision between staying in BC though I had nowhere to live, or going home, it felt like the actual end of the world. Realistically, I could have easily found a place in somewhere and got on with it, but I chose to go home. I got on that plane in Vancouver filled with a sense of dread that I couldn’t shake. For once, I wasn’t excited to be returning to my family, and I didn’t know why. I just felt like I was making the wrong move.

I was afraid that I’d go home and get stuck there, fall into some kind of black hole and become the sad sack I had been 2 years before. I couldn’t stop feeling like if I just never moved back, I’d be OK. That it was the place that made me that way, not my brain. BC was my home, I didn’t want to abandon it just as I was getting comfortable.

Fast forward to now, I can see that being here wasn’t as life-ruining as I thought it would be. Yeah, I spent the first couple of weeks complaining about the suburbs, and the weather, and the people and everything, but I’ve genuinely had a great time. I’ve been surrounded by love and have had so much time to work on myself. I’ve been doing yoga, going for long walks, laying out in the sun, reading for the first time in a while, and appreciating the place I am in. I even went for a few bike rides, which has been something I though I hated since I was probably 10 years old. The dread in my heart has been replaced with a sense of peace that I haven’t felt in quite some time. It was all my mindset, duh. This place is still home, after all.

Basically, I’m leaving on Friday and I almost don’t want to. But it’s time for a new adventure (plus I haven’t worked in like 3 months and I’m supposed to be an adult). Onwards and upwards!!!!!

Xo, Rachel