12 things only former expats will understand (and travel lovers, too)

12 Things Only Former Expats Will Understand

I’ve found that former expats have a special bond because we’ve all gone through similar life experiences. Whether it’s discussing our amazing ability to pack a suitcase at the speed of lightning, expat woes that involve searching high and low for certain ingredients in foreign grocery stores (canned pumpkin around Thanksgiving time, anyone?), or getting way too excited for care packages filled with Goldfish crackers, Oreos and weirdly flavored Pop-Tarts, there are certain things only expats and former expats will understand — and here’s a list you can probably relate to. 1. Your storage unit triggers violent panic attacks. Saving everything seemed like a good idea before you moved abroad, but now that you’re back in your own country, you want to burn this mother down. All of that toothpaste, mouthwash, makeup, and medicine you forced your spouse to pack away in boxes because you didn’t want to waste a […]

       
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Filed Under: Expat, Travel69 Comments

dumbarton oaks in georgetown

Have I mentioned that I’m completely in love with spring in DC? Probably a few times. Even though most of our time last weekend was spent cruising along the Tidal Basin and taking photos of the monuments surrounded by cherry blossoms, thanks to Jodi’s research before leaving Boston, we also decided to check out Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. Now, I had never even heard of this place before which is probably somewhat pathetic, but I was pleasantly surprised and thought that it was completely worth the visit. Many of the flowers were in bloom, including the brightly colored Magnolia trees, and they even had a section of the garden called “Cherry Blossom Hill”. We sprawled out under a canopy of trees and petals rained down on us the entire time. What a magical experience! For those of you who don’t know, Dumbarton Oaks is a historic estate located on 32nd […]

       
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Filed Under: Travel, Washington DC22 Comments

dc cherry blossom festival

DC Cherry Blossom Festival

The DC cherry blossom festival is here and the beauty of everything makes me realize how lucky we are to be back home. Washington, DC is the place I moved to straight out of college, the place I started my career, and where I met my husband so it holds a special place in my heart. I’ve always had a soft spot for the monuments and the stunning Capitol Building, and when they’re surrounded by colorful blooms? Even better. My friend Jodi visited over the weekend which was great timing because her company helped take my mind off of the surgery I had on Friday, and she scheduled her trip perfectly around peak bloom for the blossoms. I figured I’d be out of commission because of pain, but when cherry blossoms are involved, you get out of bed, dammit! It was a great excuse to get moving again. We took […]

       
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Filed Under: Travel, Washington DC31 Comments

travel essentials | in my camera bag

Travel Essentials Camera Bag

I always love hearing about blogger’s favorite photography equipment so I figured I’d give you all a peek of what’s in my camera bag… because being snoopy is fun. 1. Joby GorillaPod Hybrid Gray. While we were traveling across Europe, I used this mini tripod all the time. It was sturdy enough to hold up my DSLR while taking night shots of the Colosseum in Rome, and small enough to fit in my camera satchel. Because the legs are flexible, we were able to attach it to different surfaces and adjust the height while it was sitting on the ground. I highly recommend picking up one of these! 2. Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera. This is my baby. Like I’ve stated in my FAQ section, I started on a Canon EOS Rebel T2i but switched to the D600 when I returned to the States and wanted […]

       
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Filed Under: Photography, Travel, Travel Essentials26 Comments

sightseeing in stockholm sweden

I have something bratty to admit. While we were living abroad and traveling every couple of weeks, I got burnt out and almost sick of it. I took our unique situation for granted and exploring other countries almost became the norm. Now that we’re back in the States, I realize how lucky we were to have that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not that I wasn’t aware of how wonderful it was before, but now that we’re unable to hop on a plane every weekend, reality has hit me with a little more force. I have the travel bug right now, and at this moment, there’s nothing I can do about it. We are at a different place in our lives and although living abroad once again is still a future goal, we’re currently focused on making our new house a home and catching up with friends and family. After a year of […]

       
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Filed Under: Stockholm, Sweden, Travel28 Comments

the expat diaries | top travel posts

Welcome to the Expat Diaries! Before we start, I want to thank all of you for linking up with us every month. Because of your participation and support, Chelsea and I have been able to meet some of the most amazing women and men living all over the world. We’ve been able to share embarrassing expat stories (man, I love those posts), travel tips, gorgeous photography, and I’ve loved every moment of it. Since the link-up is coming to an end very soon, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite travel posts with you all. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane! P.S. We’re doing one more link-up next month since I had so many bloggers sign up to co-host and I didn’t want to disappoint. The LAST Expat Diaries will be Thursday, May 1. Seriously, guys. This will be the last one. My Top Travel Posts: […]

       
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Filed Under: Expat, Travel10 Comments

travel light

I’ve been following Team Wiking for a while now so I’m absolutely giddy Jessica is guest posting on my blog today! She writes about travel, photography, and her beautiful family. Hi, everyone! Jessica from Team Wiking Travel Blog here. I’m here on Rachel’s blog today to talk to you a little bit about packing light, aka not checking a bag when you fly. I write a monthly column on my blog called Travel Light. It’s about packing light and includes a packing and outfit list for a specific destination. Today I’m going to share a simple formula that I use to pack for my family that you can use when packing for your next adventure. Step 1. Plan Where are you going? Are you going somewhere tropical, cooler? What will the weather be like? You have to get in the mindset of being practical. From there you can branch out […]

       
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Filed Under: Guest Post, Travel6 Comments

10 travel photography tips | read this before your next vacation

Travel Photography Tips

After you’ve booked flights and reserved a hotel room in that city you’ve always wanted to explore, the next thing you need to consider is vacation souvenirs. How will you choose to remember these special moments spent with family and friends? Instead of packing an extra suitcase for trinkets you’ll probably forget about in a few years, why not focus on the photography? Create a travel gallery on a wall in your home, scrapbook, send extra photos to family members – the possibilities are endless when you bring your camera. For those of you planning your next big adventure, enjoy these 10 travel photography tips: 1. Always format your memory card before a trip. Repeat after me: Erasing the old photographs on your memory card by hitting that button on your computer isn’t enough. You need to choose the “format memory card” option on your DLSR while the memory card […]

       
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Filed Under: Photography, Travel25 Comments

moroccan riad in marrakech

Instead of staying in a touristy hotel in Marrakech, we chose to book a room in a traditional Moroccan riad. At first we were slightly uncomfortable, especially since none of the rooms had locks on the doors so our belongings were out in the open, but after we met the family that owned the riad, we really enjoyed ourselves; these arrangements made our trip even that more special! Dar Jaguar is an ancient riad that has absolutely beautiful touches in ever corner. We stayed in the Damascan Blush room and enjoyed a view of the courtyard and the sounds of birds every day — even though we were in the middle of the very busy medina. It was like our own private oasis with very tasty Moroccan pastries and freshly-squeezed juice in the morning. I would go back in a heartbeat! We absolutely loved relaxing on the rooftop of our riad, […]

       
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Filed Under: Hotels, Marrakech, Morocco, Travel28 Comments

stockholm ice bar

While in Sweden, we decided to go to a Stockholm Ice Bar at the Nordic Sea Hotel. The bar is kept at a temperature of around 23 degrees Fahrenheit and everything inside is made of ice, including the tables and chairs. With our Icebar Stockholm experience, we were each given a voucher for one fruity cocktail made in an ice glass. Refills were also available but like I said in a previous post, everything is more expensive there so we passed. Why so expensive Stockholm? I’ve always been obsessed with eating ice, so Brandon made fun of me as a tried to consume my entire cup while chilling inside the ice bar. Doesn’t everyone do that? Side note: I’m always cold — always — but somehow the smelly cloaks they gave us kept me warm enough to stay in the ice bar for a while. I actually enjoyed our time inside! […]

       
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Filed Under: Stockholm, Sweden, Travel30 Comments

eilean donan castle

Eilean Donan Castle is situated on a tiny island where three lochs come together. The castle was founded in the thirteenth century and has been restored a couple of times after Highland clashes. It was one of our favorite castles to visit because of the view of surrounding mountains, and the added footbridge looks beautiful in photographs. It’s such a dramatic castle! We visited twice while driving up to the Isle of Skye for weekend stays, and each time we had a blast. There’s plenty of parking in a separate lot which makes the visit convenient, and a gift shop offers traditional Scottish souvenirs, snacks, and tea. Eilean Donan Castle has even won Scotland Magazine’s Icons of Scotland award, and why wouldn’t it have? Some people think it’s the most beautiful castle in Scotland and I happen to agree! Have you ever been?

       
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Filed Under: Scotland, Travel33 Comments

beautiful barcelona

When I was in high school, I participated in a choir trip to Europe. Even though we visited spectacular countries all over the place, I had always wanted to travel to Spain to explore cities like Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia. Luckily Brandon and I decided that while we were living abroad in Scotland, it was the perfect opportunity to visit beautiful Barcelona. After all, once you’re across the big ocean, traveling around Europe can be fairly inexpensive! — Even though Ryanair sucks… details. Barcelona completely exceeded our expectations. On the first day, the weather was mild and perfect so we set out to find a tapas restaurants that allowed guests to pay per toothpick. For some reason this concept really excited us, and hey, what a great way to try all types of food! After stuffing our faces and enjoying all of the architecture, we shifted to museum mode. The Picasso Museum […]

       
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Filed Under: Spain, Travel31 Comments

romantic and risqué european cities | expedia passion maps

This post is contributed by Expedia.co.uk Romantic and risqué European cities: I’m here to share a new travel tool with all of my worldly friends. Expedia is currently running an interesting creative called Expedia Passion Maps, which is an exploration of the most romantic and risqué European cities. It gives an intriguing glimpse above and beneath the surface of classic European destinations, and allows travelers to discover all of the famous lovely and lusty places.

       
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Filed Under: Sponsored Post, Travel4 Comments

what to do in boston

Since this is our last week in Boston, I’m going to discuss what to do in Boston if you’re planning an upcoming trip! What to do in Boston: Fenway Park If you’re traveling to Boston, you have to schedule a Fenway Park tour — even if you despise the Red Sox. I’ve been on quite a few ballpark tours before and this was hands-down the most informative and enjoyable one. The ballpark has tons of history and there’s a great view of the city skyline. Plus, strolling around on the Green Monster was a pretty cool experience. We were able to attend one baseball game last year and the atmosphere was insane. Sam Adams Brewery This brewery tour is free! FREE… did you hear that? Just be sure to bring enough cash for a donation because all funds go to local charities. Since the brewery is so small, the tour is short […]

       
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Filed Under: Boston, Massachusetts, Travel26 Comments

the jewels of the nile | uncovering egypt’s historic treasures by boat

The Nile runs like a glittering thread through the centre of Egypt, stitching together the rich tapestry of landscapes and settlements that have grown up around it. Many ancient masterpieces have been built along its shores, and their awe-inspiring beauty is often best appreciated from the deck of a ship. The traditional, sail-powered wooden feluccas are surely the most romantic way to experience the Nile. For longer trips, there are also barges and cruise ships that embark on three-week-long voyages between Abu Simbel and Cairo. Here are some of the historic treasures you can explore along the way. via Abu Simbel One of the southernmost jewels of the Nile is Ramses II’s colossal temple, Abu Simbel and the neighbouring Temple of Hathor. The former’s sheer scale and grandeur is best appreciated from the Nile, its façade decorated by four seated statues of the king. The temple demonstrates the architectural and […]

       
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Filed Under: Travel7 Comments

is a hawaii vacation as close to paradise as you can get?

This is a sponsored post; however, I only recommend products or services I believe will interest my readers… like a Hawaii vacation. To escape our sometimes humdrum lives, we’re often tempted to go visit an island resort. It might be the sand, the sea or the general sense that we’re getting away from it all when heading to an island, but some of them tend to be a little more fun and exotic than others for oh so many reasons. Hawaii ticks a lot of boxes for the perfect destination, but why? I want to visit somewhere which has it all – a gorgeous beach, consistently warm weather, good food, plenty of places to go for a nice walk and a few good places to pick up some souvenirs. Hawaii seems to have all of that, as there are quite a few things which make the Pacific island state tick, […]

       
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Filed Under: Travel26 Comments

travel and segway tours

Today I have Whitney from The Married Me discussing Segway tours. Now, we have traveled quite a bit and have never, ever tried a Segway tour before! B is all about taking one but I’m afraid I’ll crash into a vehicle. I did crash into mailboxes when I used to ride bicycles as a child, so… Looking to try something new when you travel? I have just the idea for you! I should probably preface this post with a warning that when my husband, Chris, and I travel we tend to keep it pretty touristy. We’re not those people who can travel to a foreign country and just assimilate in. So if you are someone who likes to visit a new city and blend in with the locals then this option probably isn’t for you. You will stick out. Trust me! However, if you are up for some fun and looking […]

       
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Filed Under: Travel18 Comments

travel and happiness

Ciao! I’m Jessica, the girl behind a blog called BRAVE, and I am so happy to be guest posting here today! On my own blog I usually write about living in Switzerland, traveling the world, and a handful of adventures in between. But, today I thought I would change things up a little bit and share an idea. For a while now I have been dwelling on one particular question: Why does travel make me happy? In the last year and a half I have traveled to 17 countries, spent twelve months abroad and plan on living in Europe for at least another 2.5 years. So you could maybe say that I am a travel addict. I can’t help it, exploring the world makes me happy! Before I delve into some amateur philosophizing let me be clear: I am only nineteen, so I am far from having all the answers! […]

       
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Filed Under: Guest Post, Travel4 Comments

is singapore sterile and boring?

Today Anja from the Curly Traveller is going to tell us all about Singapore and I’m so excited! I was supposed to have the post up yesterday but my Internet wasn’t working, and then I accidentally dumped a glass of sparkling water all over my MacBook Pro and had to dry it out. My husband nearly had a heart attack — but don’t worry, she still works! You go, laptop; get on with your bad self! A widespread stereotype about Singapore is that it is sterile and boring, only interested in economic growth. People believe there is nothing authentic left and that Singapore merely consists of skyscrapers and shopping malls. Marina Bay, Singapore’s five-starred area. And indeed there are many high end neighborhoods and spectacular, modern buildings. Night view of the lights of the CBD. In the front we see Marina Bay Sands; hotel, casino, shops, restaurants, and an infinity […]

       
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Filed Under: Guest Post, Travel22 Comments

unique romantic retreats

This is a sponsored post; however, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers. When people usually think romantic retreats, they think Hawaii, the Caribbean or Paris, but the world is a very big place full of wonders and awe-inspiring locations! So we’ve put together a little list of romantic places together so you and your partner can explore the world through its unbeaten paths. 1. Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt You won’t get many couples that choose Egypt over Hawaii for a romantic getaway, but this sandy paradise is more than you think. It is located on the Southern tip on the shores of the Red Sea and with a sub-tropical climate you can expect lots of beach time and romantic resorts where you are your beau can relax and enjoy such a unique location. Far from the desert images you may associate with […]

       
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Filed Under: Travel14 Comments

gift guide | the traveler

I’ve put together a list of my favorite travel products for that jet setter in your life. This gift guide for “the traveler” includes gadgets, journals, and essentials to make flights and road trips more enjoyable. I have the scratch-off map below and absolutely love taking a coin to different places after we’ve returned home, and one of the products on my wish list is the Fujifilm instant film camera. If I had this little gem, you’d bet I’d past photos all over our walls! It’s similar to that old Polaroid camera I had as a young kid, only a million times better! Let me know what your favorite item is: 1. USA Map Phone Case – Because everyone needs a travel map phone case in their life. 2. Beats Headphones – To make your flight more enjoyable. 3. Travel Stub Diary – Showcase plane and train ticket stubs, plus tokens from your […]

       
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Filed Under: Gift Guides, Lifestyle, Travel, Travel Essentials19 Comments

marriott destinations | new york city

Each December, my family discusses travel goals for the upcoming year. We makes lists of cities we would like to visit, tourist attractions we would like to explore, and more often than not, our vacations include a stay at a Marriott property. Marriott International is a leading hospitality company with over 3,800 properties in over 74 countries and territories around the world, which means you’ll be able to find a hotel in almost any city you travel to. Marriott is also helpful when it comes to planning getaways because they include infographics and interactive pages on their website. Since my husband has never been to New York city before– and we’re only a few hours away in Boston– we’ve been planning an upcoming trip. I was so pleased to find this Marriott infographic regarding the city’s five boroughs! Not only does it give a brief history of each borough, but […]

       
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Filed Under: Travel14 Comments

architecture in barcelona, spain

One of the things I enjoyed most about Barcelona was the architecture. Well, that and the food because who can resist seafood paella? No one. When we traveled to Spain last year we explored Sagrada Familia, Torre Agbar Tower, Casa Amatller, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Hugo Boss building, Barcelona Cathedral, and Arc de Triomf. SAGRADA FAMILIA The Sagrada Familia project was begun on March 19, 1882 and has been in construction ever since. Antoni Guadí was brought on board in 1883 and continued to work on the structure until his death in 1926. Because so many different architects have contributed to the church, you can see the difference in stone color and the fact that one side looks more modern than the other. Personally, that’s what makes it beautiful to me. TOREE AGBAR The Toree Agbar tower was located next to our hotel and that made finding our way easy. […]

       
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Filed Under: Spain, Travel25 Comments

the expat diaries | how to go broke while traveling

Happy December and welcome to another installment of The Expat Diaries! I’m excited for this one because the lovely Betsy Transatlantically is co-hosting and she has a special guest on her blog. Be sure to check it out. :) Most of you probably know that I was having issues with my website. If you could replace your current Expat Diaries button with the one on my sidebar, I’d appreciate it so much. And now for the good stuff. I’m going to be talking about how to go broke while traveling because I’m certain my family has made every mistake in the book. Hopefully by reading this post, you’ll save money on your next vacation. You can go broke by… 1. Forgetting to print your boarding pass If you decide to purchase seats on a discount airline, make sure you print the boarding pass at home. Sometimes having an airline print […]

       
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Filed Under: Expat, Travel44 Comments

how travel has changed me

I’m so grateful for everything we have experienced these past couple of years and I truly believe this situation has made me a better person. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d live abroad and continue to move around every 6 months. And never did I think I’d be married to a man interested in exploring the world with me. When you start traveling and experiencing wonderful, life-changing things, you realize the possibilities are endless. My family can live anywhere and we can do anything — we just have to figure out how! If you’re new to this blog, you might be wondering why we moved in the first place. You can read the entire story here, but long story short, my husband was offered an assignment in Aberdeen, Scotland so I quit my job and we moved right after our wedding. We lived in Scotland for a […]

       
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Filed Under: Expat, Travel22 Comments