Everything You Need To Know About Traveling On Trains

I could sit here and tell you a ton of different tips I’ve read on the internet or learned myself.

Here’s the only tip I will offer you:

Get on the right train. Below is what happens when you do not get on the right train.

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We’ll go into details about my stressful weekend trip to Switzerland at a later date.

In the words of my best friend and soulmate Alicia, the only other person who is as passionate about their sleep as I am,

” We are really going to turn a new leaf in 2015. Did I say leaf? I mean pillow.” Pesky autocorrect, amiright?

xo -Nat & Alicia <3

xo -Nat & Alicia ❤

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I’m Back Bitches!

After the longest and most stressful semester of my college career, I’m finally back! Of course I say that about every single semester, but this one really was bad. Starting from about the 3rd or 4th week of class, I had at least one exam every single week up until finals. Stress levels were at a constant high because as soon as I was done with one exam/quiz/test I had another one waiting for me right around the corner.

I was also working a lot! I loved my job but unfortunately I had to part ways with it. I made so many new friends and it was an experience I will hold on to forever.

But now Christmas is over and New Years Eve is upon us, and to be honest, I will probs be asleep while everyone else is ringing in 2015. #teamsleep

Now that I’ve had time to unwind and look forward to the coming year/semester, there are a few things I have in the works. Obviously I want to keep traveling and writing. I will hopefully be traveling in the summer, I’m not sure where to though.

Perhaps back to Germany for the Final Match of the Champions League which will be held in Berlin <3. But everything is still up in the air.

Update: I’m sorry if anyone follows us on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook because I have not been posting on there. I’ve never been a fan of Facebook so there’s that. Twitter is pretty useless because people are more concerned about getting followers that reading and clicking on actual tweets, so I will no longer be wasting my time there. I will work on getting better about Instagram though!

I appreciate the love people show for this weird ass random blog!

K Bye.

Me now that it's Winter Break -Nat<3

Me now that it’s Winter Break xo -Nat ❤

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Since I am now a citizen of the world and professional traveler of the globe, I now consider giving my opinion of my favorite city of the greatest importance.

I really hope everyone has a good sense of humor and identifies the the sarcasm.

With every city we visited, I gave my own personal critique. Things I loved and hated about a city and if I would come back.

My all time favorite city, that I was lucky enough to visit on my own and with my psychology class, was Salzburg, Austria. Sure, they exploit the complete scheiße out of The Sound of Music and Mozart and there were always throngs of tourists, it was a wonderful city. This is where I let my inner tourist freak flag fly.

As a child, I loved The Sound of Music. My sister loves to remind me that even when I couldn’t read, I would come home, turn on the SOM with the subtitles and sit in front of the TV. I LOVED THAT MOVIE, OK?! And I still love it to this day.

So what did I do once I arrived in Salzburg? First things first, find the horse fountain. To put it politely, I lost my fucking mind when I saw it. Same goes for the fortress that always seemed to be in the background in the SOM. As well as the gardens where they sand Do-Re-Mi. It was a dream come true and I couldn’t believe I was physically standing in these places that I grew up watching.

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But what really made Salzburg amazing was the hostel. I stayed at the Yoho Internation Youth Hostel. It came highly recommended on hostelworld.com. The rooms were nice, the lockers were electronic, and the mattresses were way more comfortable than the 4-star hotel in Milan. AND they showed the Sound of Music every night at 7:00pm, I only watched it once so don’t even start with me!

Like most hostels, you had to hang out in the living area to get really good wifi and to watch the world cup matches. But I ended up meeting some really cool people! A lot of Canadians, a couple Australians, and a handful of Americans. On the last night of my stay we decided to go walk around Salzburg and see what we could find.

Next thing you know, we find ourselves at an Irish Pub with some drunk students celebrating the end of exams, we walk in and realize it’s karaoke night. When you’re in Salzburg, at an Irish Pub on karaoke night, you don’t not sing karaoke. So me and some other girls decide to warm up the crowd with a little Wannabe by the Spice Girls. But to really bring the house down, there was only one song that could do it…. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. So Tessa (one of the coolest Aussie’s I had the pleasure of meeting) and I agreed this was it…. We started off a little rough but shook off the nerves and sang like we had been waiting for this moment our entire lives. Let’s be honest… My life had been building up to this moment. All in all, we killed it with added vocals from Chris (one of the awesome Canadians).

 

These are the kind of nights one will always remember. It’s one of those night where you look back on the series of events and thank God for these moments.

That one night was probably my favorite out of the entire 6 weeks…. Well it’s up there with Deutschland winning the World Cup.

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xo -Nat ❤

 

 

The Struggle Is Real

I’ll be honest, I have like 5 different posts partially written and I’m just not sure which one to publish. Please bear with me because I want to write something special for your entertainment :). I don’t consider myself much of a writer but I do enjoy writing on here.

My class and work schedule are also pretty hectic, thus leaving very little time for me to become emotionally committed to a post. And it sounds silly but I do develop a connection while writing posts because these are my own experiences and I’m getting to relive them while typing.

I got a lot of love for the last post so I want to make the next one even better!

Thank you everyone for the support!

xo

-Nat ❤

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#s!ngle4lyfe

I Stayed in 4 Hostels & I Didn’t Die

One of the number one responses I received when telling people I was going to stay in hostels was, “Have you seen the movie Hostel?”

The answer is no, I haven’t and I don’t plan on watching it either. It’s not so much the fact that it’s a movie about hostels, it’s more so that it’s a scary movie. If you know me, you’ll know there’s nothing more I hate in this world than scary movies. I’m 22 and if I saw a scary movie, you bet your ass I would go to my parent’s room!

The point is that I’m blissfully unaware of what goes on in those movies, so questions about them don’t phase me.

“Aren’t you worried about staying in a room with like 20 strangers?”

Fun Fact: You don’t have to stay in a room with 20+ people. The most people I had to share a room with were 5 other girls.

“Are you comfortable staying in a room with dudes?”

So I wasn’t entirely comfortable sharing a room with guys, at first. The first hostel I stayed in had 2 other guys in there and they were super nice! (Bonus: they didn’t snore either :D) After that, it really didn’t matter to who I stayed in a room with.

“Are you worried about somebody stealing your stuff?”

Another fun fact: most hostels had lockers for you to put all your shit in. Granted, some are nicer than others. Also, have you ever thought that those people don’t want your stuff? And to be honest, I hardly ever actually locked my backpack in the lockers because in my mind, if somebody is desperate enough to steal my stuff they obviously need it more than I do.

“But there’s no privacy staying in a room with random strangers.”

Correct, you don’t have much privacy, but if I wanted privacy I would’ve stayed in to hotel. k thanx bai.

The best part of my entire trip was staying in hostels. I met the absolute coolest people from all over the world and had the time of my life hanging out with them. Sure, some of the hostels were annoying because if you wanted to use WiFi you had to go to the living area, trying to make people be more social, I get it. You’ll also answer a million of the same questions when you meet new people.

  • “Where are you from?”
  • “Where have you been?”
  • “Where are you going?”
  • “Where’s the bar?”

But I know I’ll remember these people and experiences the rest of my life and I couldn’t ask for more. And my only regret of the trip was not staying in more hostels.

xo

-Nat ❤

My Love/Hate Relationship With My Backpack

The relationship with my backpack was about the same as having a relationship with a person. Now that I think about it, my backpack basically was human.

Things are great at first, you’re having fun, enjoying each others company, and you don’t see how this could possibly go wrong. Well after spending some time getting to know your significant other, you start to realize that this person isn’t as amazing as you thought they were. You start to notice imperfections, you get annoyed by their little quirks (you used to find these cute), and their presence becomes a burden. But we started this relationship with such high hopes, what happened?

As the relationship continues you learn to make sacrifices and compromise. As time goes on, you learn to accept this person for who they are and you remember why you fell in love in the first place. The relationship gets stronger and you learn that this person is your soulmate and you find you would do anything for them and they would do anything for you. You build an unbreakable bond and things will never be the same.

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What do you do when you only have to be on a train for 15 minutes? Take a selfie

My REI 60 Liter backpack was the one constant in my life this summer. “She” was always there for me when I needed her. Even though she was a burden to carry around, she was a sense of comfort. She was there for me when I needed something to lean on while sitting on the floor at a train station, or when I would set her on the seat so strangers wouldn’t sit next to me, or when I wanted to prop my feet up. She always managed to make room for all my shit. I was always so thankful for her when stairs were involved, I never had to worry about breaking wheels off luggage bags.

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The bae sitting in first class ❤

She was my ball and chain and sometimes I hated carrying her, but I will never travel anywhere without her.

The idea of backpacking comes with this illusion of adventure and traveling all over the world with this one bag and there’s nothing that can stop you. But as your back starts to ache and you get out of breath walking to your hostel, the experience isn’t as enjoyable as you thought it would be. I remember carrying my backpack around and thinking I will never travel with a backpack again. Soon after I realized I made the best decision while watching some of my classmates struggle up and down stairs on multiple occasions. Did I get some nasty looks from the people working the front desk at my hotel in Milan, hell yeah. Did I care? No, zero fucks were given that day.

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Dedicated to the one that was always there for me, my backpack <3.

xo

-Nat ❤

Long Time, No See

Hello Wonderful People!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous September! Classes have started, fall sports are in full swing and I’m trying to keep my head on straight.

Life has changed a lot since I’ve come back from Europe a little over a month ago. I find that life back home is relatively dull and I am constantly missing Germany. My hunger for travel has only intensified ten-fold since returning and I find myself getting legitimately angry at the fact I’m no longer over there. I look back at pictures almost every single day and relive those magical/stressful/frustrating/joyful days. I would’ve just said magical but lets be honest, it wasn’t always so.

So how am I channeling all my anger and joy? This blog will be my outlet. I will be reliving this past summer on here over the next couple of weeks. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to reporting back soon.

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xo

-Nat<3

SHE’S FINALLY HERE!

Natalie finally made it to Milan yesterday and I was so excited to pick her up at the airport! We spent the afternoon relaxing before going to dinner with a fam friend, Gian Marco.

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Today, we slept in until 11. Oops. But we made up the time by getting a cappuccino (a no-no, I know), shopping, walking around what felt like the whole city of Milan, walking up the steps at the Duomo, and watching Italy lose. Bummer. But still an awesome experience to watch the Italy game, in Italy. Now it’s time to head to dinner!

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xx,
The Happiest Girls in the World with Really Sore Feet

9 mistakes I made on my first trip to Europe…

Guys! I’ve made it Germany and finally have enough wifi to publish this post! Germany is beautiful and I can’t wait to spend it with my wonderful friend, Britta, who is nice enough to let me stay at her apartment for a couple of days. I typed up this post a few weeks ago and I feel it’s appropriate now to publish since these are the mistakes I don’t want to make again!

So for those of you who have read Natalie’s Nook you know I have been to Europe once before. It was a wonderful experience and I don’t regret going one bit! But…. There are a few things I wish I would’ve done differently. Now some of these were within my control, some were not. Like I said in my “about me,” this trip is my chance to “do it my way.”

1. Had more pictures with me in them. Sounds like I’m full of myself, right? Ok that’s not entirely what I meant. But 5 years after my first trip to Europe, I don’t even bother looking at a majority of my old pictures because they don’t mean anything to me. They were all pictures of “things.” The picture below, I remember that day exactly. See what I’m getting at? Better memories come from these kind of pictures.

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First day in Switzerland, heading to dinner

2. Bought fewer souvenirs. The first day we were in Rome, I went a little crazy buying souvenirs and I wish I hadn’t because I was basically broke by the end of the trip. Just because you go abroad doesn’t mean you have to buy every single one of your friends a miniature figure of the statue of David or Eiffel Tower keychains. 5 years later, I believe in collecting memories, not things.*

3. Not gone to Mcdonalds in Vienna. Being a relatively sheltered child from a small town, you could honestly not understand how happy I was to be able to go to McDonalds. I know, it was so dumb of me, I was in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and we were about to go see an opera. We were given an hour to do whatever before the opera started and a couple of fellow students and myself sprinted to the McDonalds we had seen down the street. Pathetic, but it was a source of comfort in a way, we were all homesick and McDonalds was like a small slice of home. On the same note, I wish we hadn’t gone to Hooters in Switzerland (it was disgusting and my credit card quit working).

4.Been able to go out at night more. This was one of those things we didn’t have much control over. The program I went with us had us back in our hotel rooms and in bed by 10, granted we were exhausted by the end of the day so we didn’t mind too much. But on the last night of my homestay in Switzerland, my house mother took my roommates and I to the Trucker and Country Festival in Interlaken. Probably the most fun I had the entire trip, I was so tired the next day but it was worth it. But while we were in Paris, I never got to see the Eiffel Tower light up at midnight. All the same, I went with a group of 40 students and 4 adults, you do the math.

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My 3 other roommates at the Trucker and Country Festival in Interlaken

 

5. I should’ve chosen history and exploring over shopping. There were so many opportunities where I could’ve immersed myself in the Italian and French culture, but what did I do instead? I shopped. Most of those things I bought there I don’t give a shit about now. For example, one of the first days in Rome we visited the Catacombs and it was unbelievably fascinating but as soon as the tour was over, I was in the gift shop. Same goes for the day we spent in Venice. When we were inParis, we went to Montmartre for a day. Considering I love the movie Moulin Rouge and the painter  Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, I was so excited! But when we were given the option to visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica (the Basilica of the Sacred Heart) or shopping, I chose to shop. Not proud of myself, to say the least, but now I know. And to be fair, at that point I was pretty church-ed out.

6. To add to #5, seen fewer churches and museums. This sounds a bit contradictory but bear with me. This is another thing that wasn’t in my control, our days were planned out from morning to night. Some days we would get a few hours to run around but those days didn’t happen as often. Don’t get me wrong, they were beautiful and fascinating and was something I would never see in the states, but it got old after about a week. The Louvre was amazing but it was absolutely huge and to be honest, the Mona Lisa was a bit anti-climatic. All the churches were beautiful as well but damn, there are A LOT of churches to see and by the end of it you can’t remember which ones which.

7. Stayed away from the tourist traps. The Coliseum, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, etc. I know some people really love these places, and I did I love them but having to be on our guard for gypsies and scammers was exhausting. But naturally, being an American in a foreign country, you have to be on your guard. These places had their moments but I enjoyed myself so much more admiring them from afar. These places were constantly crowded and, to my surprise, really took away from the experience. One of the best times I had was taking pictures with my friends a couple of blocks away from the Eiffel Tower. No scammers, no crowds, just an open space to sit there and take in the magnificent structure that is the Eiffel Tower.

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8. Not been in such a rush all the damn time. Like I mentioned before, everyday was scheduled from morning to night. This was not within my control, unfortunately. It is really hard to enjoy yourself when you’re always on the move, and that’s how that trip was for me. Always moving, always walking to the next church, always rushing to the next museum. I couldn’t even enjoy Saint Peter’s Basilica because we were rushing, I walked in, had a moment where the Basilica completely blew my mind, and I basically had to walk back out because we just didn’t have time. When we went to Versailles, my friend and I had to sprint to get to Marie Antoinette’s bedroom which was infuriating because we had such little time until we had to meet back up with the group.  See what I mean? I wish I could’ve been able to really enjoy those places.

9.Lastly, I wish I had been more open-minded. Along with the whole Mcdonalds thing, I wish I had been more open to the different culture. When I was 16, this trip was nothing more than a chance to get to go to Europe. It means so much more to me 5 years later and  I didn’t realize the effect it would have on me now. It is a privilege to be able to travel abroad and should not be taken for granted. Not many people get to have this chance and that’s why I feel like I have to go back. I want to truly appreciate it this time.

That’s all from me and I hope you can learn from my mistakes!

xoxo

-Nat ❤

*I am happy I bought a ton of tshirts because my wonderful mother gave me a tshirt blanket for Christmas and it had all them in there. Since I wasn’t wearing them anymore at least they were put to good use and this way I can see them everyday and relive those memories.

When in Rome

Man, I love having wifi every time I come home. It means I can update you lovely people on everything I did!

Catacombs in the morning, Spanish steps in the afternoon, Italy v. England game at midnight. Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day!

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