This year I’ve made a considerable effort to try new things. You know go places I wouldn’t usually go to like the Boglands in Lativa @enjoylativa ??
If you have been keeping up with my stories, you would have seen that last month I put on my @hunterboots and space shoes (check out my Instagram to see more) and went walking through a Bog in Latvia. Something I never expected to do but was glad to have the experience.
What is the Ķemeri National Park?
The Great Ķemeri Bog Boardwalk is a popular tourist destination in Riga. It’s a park that has moss, small pine trees, deep pools, tiny dark lakes, and the smell of wild rosemary. The bogland soil has inadequate nutrients, acid and in many places sodden. It means that most of the trees are not able to endure the harsh conditions.
There are, however, a few surviving species, like pine and birch. When I was walking through the bog, there were berries which I was told where edible. I can’t say I had any if I’m honest with you. I did enjoy the experience. It was something new, which I think is always great.
On arrival, I was asked to slip into some space shoes (picture below) to ensure I didn’t sink into the swamp! I was immensely thankful that I carried my wellies and thermal socks with me.
The National Park was my very first activity in Riga. I had initially changed my mind on actually going. I was so scared that I would sink into the swamp and would never be found again! Haha! I later decided that it was good to try something new! Hey, when was the last time you tried something new?
We walked through the swamp for approximately an hour. It was freezing and very wet! Despite the cold, I enjoyed the walk because it wasn’t something I usually do, and it made me think about experiencing more new activities in the world.
Lunch Time at Hercogs
The day finished at a lovely restaurant called Hercogs. We all enjoyed a three-course meal which was extremely lovely. The food was very much needed after walking through a swamp haha! The restaurant is located on a reformed gypsum factory which has been converted into two exclusive apartment complexes.
By coach: drive along Ventspils motorway (A10) as far as the sign “Ķemeru tīreļa Purva laipa” (Ķemeri Bog Boardwalk) – towards Ventspils about 200 m from the turning point to Ķemeri.
By public transport: follow the signs from Ķemeri rail station, first, cross the railway line and walk 1 km to Ventspils motorway as far as the cell-tower; we advise you to take the pathway running towards the right-hand side with the sign “uz Tīreļa laipu” (to the Tīreļi boardwalk).
Hiking along the boardwalk is free, and the boardwalk is open throughout the year.
The car parking fee is 2 EUR.
If you have ever considered going to Riga, I would definitely suggest visiting Kemeri National Park.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed my photos. I will be writing more about what I did Riga next week. Be sure to subscribe to the blog and follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more footage of my travels.
Some people solo travel to escape their 9 to 5, get a break from reality, family or the simple difficulty in gathering friends to go away with. Whatever your reason is. I believe everyone should travel at least once in their life. Solo travelling is an exciting topic for many reasons.
So What is Solo Travel?
Solo travel is where you go somewhere alone. This can be anywhere you want. Wherever you go, you spend a significant chunk of time alone once you get to your destination. Now, as I said before, I never actually feel like I’m alone when I solo travel. And it’s real, just because you travel alone doesn’t mean you’ll always be alone during your travels. Unless you really want to be.
I absolutely adore solo travelling, but I don’t feel like I do it enough. This year I solo travelled to Singapore, Bali and Ireland. You can go wherever you like, whenever you want. It’s incredible how you are entitled to do exactly what you want when you want.
However, I do understand that booking the first solo trip can be quite a daunting experience. That is why I’m going to give you the tools to schedule your first trip with real confidence.
How to Travel With Confidence as A Solo Traveller
1. Take Baby Steps…
This is advice from someone that has travelled solo for over 5 years. Please don’t do your first solo trip thousands of miles away from home. It might be a shock to the system, and you don’t want it to go to waste. Instead, start small. I recently went to Ireland for the day. It was great and was only a 55 min flight from home. Why not go for the day by yourself ? Or even do a one-night stopover in a city close to you. It doesn’t have to be a huge jump! Make it easy and start off small.
When travelling alone, you have to feel so comfortable in your own company.
You don’t even have to actually leave your city. You could go to the park alone. Or maybe cinemas/movies. Perhaps even think about heading to a restaurant alone. Whatever you do, do something that you are comfortable with. When solo travelling, you have to feel so comfortable in your own company.
I’m someone that enjoys my own company – a little too much in fact. Travelling solo pushes, you to be by yourself most of the time, so think where you want to go first. You will always feel nervous wherever you go (I still get worried, and I’ve been going solo for five years!!) but the more you practise going sooo and test your limits the further you can go. Trust me.
2. Get yourself booked onto a tour
As cheesy as it sounds, it’s actually a good idea and a perfect way to make friends when travelling solo. When I was in Bali this year, I booked an Instagram tour.
Now if I didn’t book that tour, I would have never met another traveller and experienced another side of Bali. Going on tours and meeting with other travellers is an excellent way of sharing stories and tips, too!
3. Do a little you know research
I say this quite lightly because you can do all the research in the world and still be shocked upon arrival! I would say make sure you go with an open mind ready to learn and eager for a new experience.
4. Plan the first couple of nights’ accommodations for your solo travels
This won’t be necessary if you’re only staying for a day.
However, it is essential if you have never travelled before to book accommodation. It’s just so you know where to go upon arrival. I’ve done solo travelling and have booked my accommodation on the day to my destination. This is fine, but I wouldn’t suggest it on your first solo trip. I want you to enjoy your first solo trip, so making sure you have everything planned is key to having to a smooth experience. I would suggest booking.com and Airbnb.
5. Stay active on social media
This doesn’t apply to everyone, of course (not everyone has social media) but if you have a phone, I would suggest keeping your friends and family aware of things you are doing while travelling solo.
When I travelled solo to Las Vegas last year, I was always checking in with friends and family to let them know that I was okay.
6. Carry cash and a credit card and keep your money safe – In several places
I tend to use my credit card everywhere I go. However, I do understand that this might not be an option in some areas. In Ireland and Singapore, this was and is fine. Countries like Bali or Malaysia you may want to have some cash with you – don’t carry massive amounts but enough for you to get by.
My advice to you is, only take what you need for a day’s spend, you will know what to take through lots of planning. And if you have to hide some money in several places and only carry one plastic and have one at home. Do so. Travelling solo you always need back up.
7.Present yourself with confidence hunnie when solo
After all these tools I have stated above, you should have NO problems with travelling solo. Walk with an air of confidence everywhere you go. You’ll give off a self-assured vibe, rather than a vulnerable one, and be less likely to attract unwelcome attention.
It can be hard to not look like a tourist, or a solo traveller, but never tell people where you’re staying unless you feel safe to do so. Although I was solo travelling in the States last year, I never once said to people where I was staying. In fact, I always made out that my boyfriend was at the hotel.
If you ever find yourself lost, which can be fun sometimes (not always) go into a busy local bar, a restaurant or a hotel. Worst case scenario is you will have to pay for a taxi to get you home. I’ve done this before and felt no shame about it!
Never worry about coming across as dismissive if you reject a seemingly kind local’s offers; your safety always comes first. Trust your instincts; they are your best defence.
Use these tools, and I can assure you that solo travelling will be a smooth and one to remember.
Thank you so much for having a read. If you have time, read on my other solo travel posts:
Packing for a weekend getaway is a difficult task, believe me. The thought of packing now gives me shudders.
I’ve been travelling for over six years, and I still hate the thought of packing especially for a weekend getaway. Why do I not like packing you ask? Well, it’s simple. You can carry way too much, which means you have things you are not going to wear. Or you can pack what you think you need and be surprised by new weather or worst not have anything you need!
I’ve had many trips where I’ve got all my packing wrong. This can be forgetting basic essentials such as a toothbrush to overpacking, with then having to pay extra to check my luggage in.
This year I feel like I really learnt how to pack my suitcase and only take what I really needed. So, upon my friends request I have decided to give you the tools on how to pack for a weekend getaway for ALL weather types.
A few quick tips for a weekend getaway…
1. Check out what’s happening in your hotel, motel holiday inn….
Lots of hotels provide toiletries, disposable toothbrushes, cotton pads, shower caps etc. – some go beyond this and add things like sun cream, insect repellent, and after-sun. Unless you check ahead, it’s likely you’ll bring those things you don’t necessarily need – do some research.
2. Check the weather 1/2 days before setting out
Don’t get caught out by the weather. Make sure you’ve checked the weather forecast before you start packing to make sure you’re packing appropriately. In saying that I would say that the weather is not always reliable – so try and pack for all occasion if possible. By this, I mean carrying a coat and jumper.
3. Packing cubes
I hate packing like really hate packing! However, I have always been told to get packing cubes. I have never used them myself, but they could work, right? I have heard that they allow you to organise your luggage efficiently – this sounds good, right?
Not were sure where to buy them? Have a look on Amazon
4. Roll your clothes
If packing cubes are not for you. Then why not think about rolling your clothes? I have been doing this for years and it has worked out for me!
5. Have a go-to travel cosmetics bag.
This is one is for the ladies! I am always stopped at security for my makeup! ALWAYS. I have learnt the hard way honestly.
Buy some travel-size bottles from Superdrug and fill these up for just your travels. That way, you have your makeup ready to go. You can thank me later. x
Need further assistance? I have you covered…
In any getaway you will always need the following items:
Romantic Weekend Getaways
Sex toys (take out the batteries to avoid awkward airport scenes).
A pair of comfortable shoes (girls take this seriously)
A pair of jeans/pants or comfortable trousers
A universal travel adapter
Winter Weekend Getaway
Two Tops (good to take one for going out just in case)
I sometimes quite like a stopover, layover, connecting or transit flight. If you are smart enough, you can kill two birds with one stone; take a glimpse of a country – provided you have enough time to do so. And the indirect flight usually works out cheaper than a direct flight!
I recently booked a flight to Singapore with a stopover in China for only £356! That is cheap kids! You can actually benefit loads with a stopover flight.
However, if you haven’t done one before you can easily make a few mistakes and end up missing your flight. So, before you decide to get a stopover/layover. I have prepared you with a tips on things you should be made aware of when taking a stop overflight.
5 Things You Should Know When Taking A Stopover Flight
Be prepared for luggage delays
If you have a short layover AND you have checked-in luggage – you may have to prepare yourself for luggage delays when you get to your destination. When I landed in Singapore this year, It learnt that my luggage was still in Bejing. I can’t say I was delighted with the news.
Be sure to be at the right airport
This might sound crude, but honestly, make sure you are at the correct airport and at the right platform. If I give you a story from the past, you will understand where I am coming from. I remember flying from Japan and doing a stopover in Taiwan. No one in the airport spoke English, and I was literally 2 mins away from missing my flight. You should have seen me running around the airport frantically – it wasn’t a pretty sight! Luckily my spirit was telling me to stay where, and I managed to catch my flight.
Know the entry requirements
If you’re seeking to have a bit of a wander during your layover destination. Then it is essential you check the requirements for entry. The worst thing you can do is to NOT do any research. Get there, try to enter the country (bare excited as well) and then be denied entry.
Be sure you have enough time to connect to your other flight
This is important when booking a split flight, for example, you could book one flight with KLM and Delta Airlines). If the first flight is delayed this could be a big problem! Going through security can be time-consuming so just be sure you have enough time to get to your next trip. If the connecting flight is with the same airline, then you usually have nothing worry about. They can’t leave without as they will have stewards guiding you to your connecting flight.
Be sure to Pack emergency items into your hand luggage
This point makes me laugh because honestly, people don’t utilise there had luggage enough. After my ordeal in with AirChina and seeing Lulu from Flights and Feelings had her drama in Doho. Pack some essentials in your hand luggage. This can be a change of clothes, toothbrush, wipes etc.
Hope you find my tips useful. Have you ever had any layover disasters? Share in the comments below…
It seems like more and more people are doing study exchanges, moving abroad, and travelling nowadays. This is great! I LOVE people going and seeing the world. In travelling, moving abroad people can make lifetime international friends around the globe.
I LOVE people going and seeing the world
If you’re like me and have friends or even family that live abroad. Then I’m sure you know that it can be hard to keep in contact with all of them. So, I’ve shared some tips on how to stay in touch with your international friends.
I have been doing this for more than six years now so I would say I have done pretty well. Follow these, and you will be absolutely beautiful!
Make Good use of Social Media
I have all my international friends and family on all my socials, this includes Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and whatever else there is! Use these tools to your own advantage.
They are relatively easy to use and free (as long as you have internet). It can also be used at any time of the day, month and year. I like to watch my friends and families stories. It sparks up conversation, rather than the long-winded how are you and hi conversations.
Treat WhatsApp Like Your Best Friend
Use WhatsApp to make calls and message of course! Why I like this app is because you can send voice notes, which can make someone feel like they are right next to you. The app is pretty much free as long as you have internet! The time difference might be a significant pain in the neck – so I would suggest making time for your friends or family. Book in a time when you can speak. Or message them they will get it when they wake up.
If you’re like me, you sleep with your phone in your hand (literally) so are always awake to speak to your loved one.
Arrange to meet in a different country
The other two are being pretty obvious things to do, but this is the best tool I can give you. I have been meeting one of my international friends every year since my study exchange in Singapore. That was in 2013. We have met in several countries around the world, which has been amazing to catch up. Read – 8 Things To Know Before Studying Abroad.
Pay them a visit
Why not head over and pay them a visit? I love having international friends because it means I have several countries to visit and get this – accommodation is free! I recently went to New York and was able to stay with my friend that now lives in Manhattan! I’m also lucky to have family that live in Nigeria and a Dad that lives in the states. Free accommodation!
Send Christmas Cards or Postcards
I only started this last year, and it seemed to work out really well. It can be quite expensive, but if you can send them why not? I live in the UK (London), so I sent Christmas cards that had a London Theme. It’s an excellent small token gift for your loved ones.
Do you have international friends? How do you keep in contact with them?