I live in Granada, Spain. I have to stop myself from taking that for granted. I am so very lucky to get to spend not one but two years in one of Spain’s most historic cities. About a month ago, I met up with a new photographer named Serena to do a photoshoot in the Albaicín neighborhood. Exploring Granada’s Albaicín is something that should not be missed when in Granada.
You’ve done your research. You’ve applied for your visa. You’ve booked your flight. Now’s the time to consider what you’re going to pack for your dream vacation. Often it’s as easy as checking out your trusty friend Google, seeing that it’s thirty degrees on average every day for the month that you are there and packing all of your favourite summer skirts, light blouses, t-shirts and shorts. However, if you’ve chosen one of those destinations where the weather is temperamental to say the least, it can be ridiculously tricky to decide what to pack. It’s known to rain but it can be mild or the days are balmy but the evenings have a distinct chill in the air. You have to hedge your bets. Take a look at how you can ensure that you pack the ideal wardrobe for the more unpredictable holiday destinations.
As I sit down to write this at 3:30 in the afternoon, I find myself in quite an appropriate state to write this blog post. Today is a holiday here in Spain, meaning no work. That also means that I went out last night. So I sit here still in my pajamas with an un-washed face and disheveled hair. I’m nursing a tiny hang over. I think the coffee is helping.
Going out here in Spain is quite different than going out back home in the United States. If you really go out, don’t plan anything around 10 a.m. the next day. You will likely come home between the hours of 6-8 a.m.
For the past year, I have always thought a diary-style post about a typical night out in Spain would be fun to write. Several weeks ago, my friend Carolina invited myself and some friends to have dinner at her house and then go out. I documented the entire night. Enjoy!
As someone who travels and lives overseas, I try (keyword: try) to not accumulate too much stuff. I have a life where I’m on the go from time to time. And in the end, another move might happen again at some point in the future.
It is true that there’s nothing too big, crazy or expensive that I want this Christmas. I’m sure many of you are similar to me in this respect. Or perhaps someone in your life travels often and doesn’t need a whole lot of things. So I decided to put together this gift guide perfect for anyone who loves to travel.
UncommonGoods has some pretty cool items. They’re a great place to find Christmas gifts, for example. I really loved how many practical things I found on their website. They also offer a lot of things that you can personalize. They offer a wide variety of unique items. Everything from jewelry (hint: something for your wife) to household goods to things for kids can be found on their website. I was excited to find so many cool travel gadgets.
UncommonGoods strives to be a sustainable company in all that they do. They believe in creating a positive work environment for all of their employees. Their merchandise is often handmade using sustainable products. This might mean that the materials were recycled as well. They do not sell any products that contain leather or fur. They were also one of the founding members of B Corporation, an organization that sort of certifies businesses that are ethical. This way customers can know that the businesses they support are not harming the planet. Overall, it’s good to support businesses that sell sustainable products.
Anyway, back to the travel guide. Here are a few ideas of what to get that friend or family member who just cannot stop traveling.
1. The anti-theft backpack
I saw one of these several months ago and remember loved the idea. When you travel, you really have no idea what could happen. There are some parts of the world where you just need to exercise a bit more caution. Honestly, I have worried in the past about carrying a backpack for this reason. It can be easy for someone to just reach in when you’re distracted.
This backpack is absolutely genius. There’s ample amount of storage space and a place to easily access public transportation cards. I take the new metro in Granada almost everyday, so I know I would love that. It even includes a USB port to charge your phone.
2. The travel pillow scarf
Does anyone else use your scarf as a pillow already? I know I do. I have this amazing blanket scarf that I will wear on the airplane just so I can turn it into a pillow and fall asleep against the window.
Well now UncommonGoods has an even better idea. This scarf actually turns into a pillow! Absolutely genius. I also love how your wear it. While those neck pillows are great, sometimes it can get a little precarious to carry it around with all your stuff. However with this, you simply put it around your neck like any other scarf!
3. The collapsible water bottle
One of the most important things to do when traveling is to stay hydrated. When I’m not prepared, I just end up spending money on plastic water bottles. It’s also not good for the earth when you do this.
I love this product because it can be collapsed easily. You can stick it in a purse or a backpack, and refill it when needed. It’s absolutely perfect for airport security as well. You just simply dump out the water, collapse it and go.
4. The scratch map
Who doesn’t love to keep track of the places that they visit? I know I do! With this map, you can scratch off new countries that you visit as you travel. It also makes for a great decoration piece. The countries when scratched off become different colors. The map also includes interesting facts.
5. It’s a small world earrings
I am such an earring person. I have many pairs of dangly earrings. These are perfect for any woman who loves to travel. Furthermore, their color is neutral meaning that they would easily match with everything. That is incredibly important when picking what earrings you want to wear.
So there you have it! UncommonGoods has gift ideas for everyone.
This post was sponsored. However all opinions are my own.
This week, we feature another travel blogger. Meet Paroma. Like me, she also lives as an expat. However she’s an expat living in my country. So here is a little Q&A about life, traveling and blogging. Enjoy!
Name, age, where you’re from and where you live now
Name: Paroma Chakravarty
Age: 38 years
I am from Kolkata, India and I currently live in San Francisco, California, USA.
How long have you been blogging?
It has been four years
Why did you call your blog “Year of the Monkey”?
I love to “monkey” around and see new places. So I decided to pick this name as I thought the year 2013 (when I started this travel blog) would be my year of getting fame and fortune, none of which happened hahaha.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I wanted a creative outlet and share my travel photos with friends and family.
How do you spend your days? Do you have another job outside of blogging?
I have a full time job as a scientist in a biotech company in the Bay Area.
What sets your blog apart from other travel blogs?
I write extensively about my city San Francisco, a lot about dining and food guides as well as traveling with dogs.
What do you hope that people gain from your blog posts?
I hope people get to eat some wonderful food when in San Francisco or other parts of the world, take more trips with their dogs and finally discover a different side to san Francisco, which tourists miss out on.
Where do you hope to take your blog?
I hope to grow my blog into a profitable venture monetarily, at some point.
What advice do you have for other bloggers and people wanting to blog?
Be dedicated and consistent. Write good content and definitely invest in good photography.
What’s been your favorite place that you’ve traveled to? Why?
There are several. Istanbul, Turkey would be on top of that list because it was my first time traveling internationally and also because the city has such a unique feel.
What was your least favorite?
What has been your biggest travel fail?
I had a day off during my work trip to Switzerland and I was so scared of traveling alone that I just stayed in my hotel room. I still regret not venturing out and exploring when I had the chance.
Where to next?
Central coast, California
What do you wish more people knew about where you’re from?
I am originally from Kolkata, India. I wish more people visited this city in the east rather than simply flocking to Delhi, Mumbai or places in Rajasthan.
What’s one random or odd talent you have?
Super random: I can make my eyebrows “dance” independently of each other.
What’s your favorite color?
What’s your favorite food?
One day last fall, I stumbled upon the Lemon Rock Hostel and Bar. I believe it was a Sunday and I was in search of a place to do some work from my laptop. Somehow I had stumbled upon one of the best Granada hostels and it had a very cozy-looking cafe.
I quickly learned that the Lemon Rock was more than just a hostel. The Lemon Rock is a place enjoy good coffee, beer and food. It’s a place that Spanish people love just as much as the tourists. They host good concerts, dj sets and even language exchanges. In short, it’s a place you have to visit when you come to Granada.
I rarely ever write about my favorite Granada spots. I suppose when you live in a place, you can forget that it too has many amazing hidden gems. While I had been to the Lemon Rock dozens of times in the past, I had never really thought to write about it. It seems a little crazy to me as I love to write about hostels on here.
As I begin my second year in Spain, I often find myself reflecting on everything I love about this country. One year ago, I had no idea how well my time here would turn out. I had no idea how many wonderful people I would meet and how much Spanish I would speak on a daily basis.
If you are wanting to learn Spanish or better the Spanish that you already speak, I would recommend living in Spain if you can. Of course I’m sure many parts of South America would also be wonderful places to learn as well. However except for Nicaragua, I have not traveled in South America. One day I hope to get to Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Costa Rica and basically everywhere else in that part of the world. However right now I’m in Spain and I love it here.
This summer, I spent several months in the Czech Republic. The intention was to spend some time in a different culture and travel from time to time in a new part of Europe. Several times throughout my two months in the country, I found myself exploring Czech Paradise. I always had my camera and phone ready. So I thought I would share a little bit about that part of the Czech Republic.
Last weekend, I spent a day exploring the beaches of Almeria here in the Andalucia region of Spain. My English teaching program is an adventure sometimes. Last year was the first year both myself and Amy taught English in Spain. We both got placed in tiny pubelos. However I got lucky as two teachers from my school commuted from Granada and they gave me the option to live in Granada. I of course took it and had a fabulous year living in Granada. Like what? I got to live in one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. It was like a dream all year last year.
Amy, however, got placed to work in a pueblo of Almeria called Albox. She did not have the option to commute from a larger city like I did, so she lived in the town. However from all her stories, it sounded like she had a good year. The teachers from her school were always going out and getting together, so she made some good Spanish friends that way. And when you’re in a pueblo, you’re really forced to speak Spanish as less people speak English.
This week, we are featuring Danielle from Sparkling Southerner. She is a fashion blogger living in Atlanta. She is someone who I have been following on Instagram for a few years now, so naturally I reached out to her for this Q&A series. She always seems to find the most colorful walls to take photos in front of. In fact when I think of her blog, I think of lots of colors.
Her style is southern with a twist. Enjoy the Q&A!