Costa Brava

Costa Brava

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Costa Brava tends to be a good focus for many tourists looking to find quiet beaches and beautiful landscapes nearby the sea. My family lived in a very remote area called Can Carbonell surrounded by beautiful forests and lakes. Within a 20 minute drive you could find yourself laying on the beach;

To have such mixed climate allows the region to attract people who love both, the beach and the mountain and also offers us a wide variety of sports including climbing, hiking, diving and sometimes – if cloudy enough – light surfing; which is really what makes Catalonia so beautiful. 

I used to work in a pub during the summer season, as having multiple languages is always a plus when trying to find ways to earn money in the coast of Spain. Most jobs available at that time were focusing on construction and tourism as entry jobs, and although you can earn some good money for the summer, things can dramatically change from September onwards, as people really only have those hot 3 months to save $$$ for the remaining of the year. 

Those 3 Summer months are a great experience for anyone looking to gain work experience in Spain and can provide you with easy summer jobs which allows you to also meet many people, with many of them willing to go rent a bike, hire a boat, eat paellas, drink Sangria and just enjoy the best side of the Mediterranean culture.

If you ever want to visit this beautiful area of Catalonia, there’s awesome beaches in Aiguablava, Begur and the quiet ones are always named ‘Cala’ first, so pay attention to the names of the beaches when you drive around there. More beaches can be found here.





Porec, Croatia

UNIVERSITY TOUR IN CROATIA

Rating: 3 out of 5.

As my last year in Coventry University, our sports society (Cheerleading) joined others in a coach journey during 26 hours in route from England to Croatia. The organisers behind are called ILOVETOUR and has been doing this for a long time.

Years ago it used to be Spain, but this year location changed to Croatia. I would be lying to say it was a “learning” experience though. Seems like English students only have one thing in mind when visiting Porec: how many beers they could down. It was definitely fun, but 4 days there could translate into weeks as you spend all the time with the same group of people.

So if you are looking to go wild and have a bit of fun out there, then yes, Porec is the place to go – also pretty affordable prices for good quality food and drinks -. The beach there isn’t that great, but does the job. Their old-style iconic little streets makes you understand what they mean with the Mediterranean touch. Here’s the main things you can do in Porec..


Steve Aoki

I ended up spending some time with Steve and his crew, checking out some cool music and got to know a bit more of the life a photographer had – who tended to travel wherever Steve went.

Crowd Surfing with Steve Aoki

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I went to my first Steve Aoki concert when I was only 15. But since then I have gone multiple times and met fascinating people on the way. My favourite memories from those concerts were when I thought by being small I could squeeze my way into the frontline. I had to give a big elbow fight so to not get completely stepped into;

What I didn’t know is the photographer had seen from the distance the fight I was putting up, and started to get concerned for safety. He offered his hand to me so I could get out of it and breathe. Thanks to that little act of kindness, I was dared to jump on a boat into the crowd – and that was SO MUCH FUN! –

I ended up spending some time with Steve and his crew, checking out some cool music and got to know a bit more of the life a photographer had – who tended to travel wherever Steve went – . Since then, I’ve gone to all kinds of concerts and festivals where I can find that same level of creativity, exploration and movement away from any judgement.

Şanlıurfa, Turkey

Urfa, officially known as Şanlıurfa; Arabic: al-Ruha‎; Kurdish: Riha; Armenian: Ուռհա, romanized: Uṙha; Syriac: ܐܘܪܗܝ‎, romanized: Ūrhāi and known in ancient times as Edessa, is a city with a population of over 2 million residents in south-eastern Turkey, and the capital of Şanlıurfa Province.

The city in photos

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Miami, Florida

For what we paid, Mangoes did not disappoint, although we ended up at Area 31. Here’s other bars and clubs you can visit.

Miami Beach

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Although my sister was born in Florida, I have never visited the place more than twice. Going to Miami was my first glimpse of what life is when surrounded by warm people, the sun, the beach, hot temperatures, music and lots, lots of beers.  

This doesn’t mean there wasn’t also moments or places in which I decided to stay away from, but in general Miami did positively surprise me. My favourite beach whilst there was Key Biscayne as it gives you peace and quiet time to relax.

The variety of foods was so great we ate something different every day. In the evenings, only by walking outside you get exclusive offers and deals to several bars and clubs as many of their promoters will throw deals to you for cheaper drinks. For what we paid, Mangoes did not disappoint, although we ended up at Area 31. Here’s other bars and clubs you can visit. 


Peniche, Portugal

Now, you can go against the anger as it is intimidating – better to stay away from it – or you can use that same anger in your advantage to ride the waves faster and better. It’s what you get ‘’from the other side of fear’’.

Surfing in Peniche

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What draws me into surf is the following life lesson you get from it: You can see the anger in the ocean by the size and strength of the waves it produces. Now, you can go against the anger as it is intimidating – better to stay away from it – or you can use that same anger in your advantage to ride the waves faster and better. It’s what you get ‘’from the other side of fear’’ as some say. 

However learning to surf can be tough. It’s a constant fight against the ocean currents. You get up, you fall, you pick yourself up again and off you go into the deep water. You keep doing this cycle until suddenly you don’t fall anymore, or you fall less often. Through this sport you don’t just get fit, it helps practice patience with yourself. You discover not only what’s the best timing for your body to stand up, but what’s the best foods to keep you fuller for longer so you can surf more. 

If you’ve ever thought of doing surf but can’t seem to afford it, Peniche is a great location for it. I stayed at Ferrel Surf House . They are a family owned business and made sure I felt very welcomed and cared for. You can choose how long you want to stay for, alongside other surfers who you will be getting lunches and dinners with – easiest way to make friends -. The classes are divided between Beginners, Intermediates and Advanced, each with an allocated surf instructor – Check their bundles here.


Peniche in photos

Hangzhou

Hangzhou is one of the most breath-taking places I have been lucky enough to visit. This city is a life metaphor for calmness and balance. It is food for the soul or “Heaven On Earth” as described by some.

Hangzhou’s West Lake

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hangzhou is one of the most breath-taking places I have been lucky enough to visit. This city is a life metaphor for calmness and balance. It is food for the soul or “Heaven On Earth” as described by some.

I travelled to Hangzhou after jumping the queue in the station line, running out of breath and almost missing the 4h train to get there. As usual, the train was fully packed, so we decided to get a comfy spot in the floor.

We met great people in that train, but the ones I remember the most are a couple guys who could speak some broken English – but they spoke some of it, which was something to be grateful for -. We shared a bottle of wine with them, played some cards and at the end got to Hangzhou. I’ll never forget this old grumpy Chinese man who took my notebook and wrote “Welcome to China” without knowing I’d keep this note to this day.

We literally found our Hostel Citinest in the middle of the forest by following only our mobile maps, no lights no nothing. The hostel was located 15 minutes away from the Hangzhou Lake and had bikes available to rent for less than 20 renminbi. We also ended up canoeing in the West Lake for 40 renminbi. And we ate for 15. Overall great weekend for less than £25.

Here are the 10 must-knows when visiting Hangzhou.

Hangzhou in Photos

Los Roques

Los Roques is located up north of the capital Caracas in the Caribbean Sea. The area contains +300 islands and cays surrounding a large lagoon, which is all protected.

The Los Roques archipelago

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Los Roques translates as pure joy and happiness to every person who visits. located up north of the capital Caracas in the Caribbean Sea. The area contains +300 islands and cays surrounding a large lagoon, which is all protected. The park is renowned for its isolated, white-sand beaches, windsurfing, fishing and sailing. True paradise. You can fly direct from Caracas to Los Roques Airport. And although it may be harder to get to for international tourists, it’s worth the trip. Here’s other great islands to visit while you wait for Venezuela to open itself back.

Taupo, New Zealand

To this day I still hear that ‘push’ my mind screamed back in New Zealand, but hidden within the most mundane tasks on a normal day. Would I do it again? Sure, but you pay me this time.

Skydiving in Taupo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I initially never wanted to sky-dive in New Zealand, but my friend did. She decided to book a sky-diving session because it was a bucket-list thing of hers and like many said “no better place to do it than NZ”. Although this wasn’t for me, I offered to go see the jump so she could get a couple photos. There was no way on earth I would have signed up though – at least not yet -.

The Sky-diving instructors were not convinced about me just there to ‘watch‘ so they asked me to join them by inversely suggesting me not to. The typical “How do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never tried it” worked. We jumped from a small pink plane and fell 9,000 ft on top of Taupo.

If this same experience didn’t happen in a time where I was craving to push myself more than my fears were pushing me, it wouldn’t have happened at all. Today I still sometimes hear that same ‘push‘ in my mind, just hidden within the most mundane tasks of my day.

Would I do it again? It wouldn’t make sense to fear it anymore.

Coventry

It was very difficult at first, the cultural adaptation, homesickness and more than anything, not knowing the language. It was very challenging, but it wouldn’t be fun if it wasn’t.

Studying at Coventry

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Many friends have said during the years how great it would be to have the opportunity to join an english university, that if they knew they could apply, they would have done it too. But at that time, not many people knew what UCAS is. The way I got into it was by listening a family friend mention her daughter was going to live in the UK thanks to this UCAS application ‘thing’ so I googled it straight away.

After having to decide which path was best suited for me and within my budget, I was suggested to opt for a Student Load which allowed me to fund my UK degree. Leaving Spain wasn’t easy – the cultural adaptation, homesickness and more than anything, not knowing the language very well – It was tough at times, but I was too curious to know what would happened if I carried on.

At the end all the effort paid off. I learnt English, met great people through different societies and I realised there was little to no time to be shy. After a while, I started to score higher grades, speak more fluently and ended up completing my degree with a First.



Hong Kong, China

In summary you will find yourself constantly surrounded by tall buildings, narrow streets and hectic crowds – specially in the Kowloon area – But if busy makes you ‘stressy’, you can always take off to Lantau Island where you can find quieter local beaches and less people around.

Hong Kong

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Many expats travel to Macau (澳門) or Hong Kong (香港) as a means to renew their entry-visa to the country, it also tends to be cheaper than going back to Europe to do it. When I started getting closer to running out of days, I took the opportunity to visit Hong Kong and see how much resemblance could this colony have with their UK friends. I loved the fact most people I asked directions responded in English straight away, something I couldn’t find in Shanghai.

You will find yourself constantly surrounded by tall buildings, narrow streets and hectic crowds – specially in the Kowloon area

But if busy makes you ‘stressy’, you can always take off to Lantau Island where you can find quieter local beaches and less people around. In Lantau you can also find the main Big Buddha, which will take your breath away -it shows you the power of silence and respect when visiting such sacred places-.

If you want to see the most iconic views of the city, Victoria Peak is where you want to go. The wait can be long -I queued around 5h. to get into the tram- but views are beautiful and worth every second waiting.

The views in Hong Kong are something hard to get used to. So make sure you check out some rooftop bars like the Wooloomooloo (Wan Chai); with tasty food and great music while watching the city’s sunset.

Hong Kong In Pictures

Credits to unsplash