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Recently we did a great post on things to know before travelling to Mexico. If that inspired you and now you are on your way to Mexico, here are the best books to read before travelling to Mexico. Get inspiration and insights. Learn about Mexican history, food, traditions and way of life.

Reading about a country is a great way to be prepared, have more understanding, make the most of your visit.

Writing this blog post was not an easy thing to do. There are so many amazing books out there and to narrow them down is a difficult conquest! A large amount of books on Mayan history has been cut down to the very best and most modern. I have left a quick list down the bottom if you are interested in more books. I haven't gotten around to reading or researching these like the ones recommended but feel free to check them out anyway.

All of these books are in English. Some of Mexico's great writters are listed such as

Books to learn about the KGB

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

The Man Without a Face is the chilling account of how a low- level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to her own people and to the world.
Handpicked as a successor by the "family" surrounding an ailing and increasingly unpopular Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin seemed like a perfect choice for the oligarchy to shape according to its own designs. Suddenly the boy who had stood in the shadows, dreaming of ruling the world, was a public figure, and his popularity soared. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see the progressive leader of their dreams, even as he seized control of media, sent political rivals and critics into exile or to the grave, and smashed the country's fragile electoral system, concentrating power in the hands of his cronies.

As a journalist living in Moscow, Masha Gessen experienced this history firsthand, and for The Man Without a Face she has drawn on information and sources no other writer has tapped. Her account of how a "faceless" man maneuvered his way into absolute—and absolutely corrupt—power is the definitive biography of Vladimir Putin.

The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB

The Sword and the Shield is based on one of the most extraordinary intelligence coups of recent times: a secret archive of top-level KGB documents smuggled out of the Soviet Union which the FBI has described, after close examination, as the "most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source." Its presence in the West represents a catastrophic hemorrhage of the KGB's secrets and reveals for the first time the full extent of its worldwide network.Vasili Mitrokhin, a secret dissident who worked in the KGB archive, smuggled out copies of its most highly classified files every day for twelve years. In 1992, a U.S. ally succeeded in exfiltrating the KGB officer and his entire archive out of Moscow. The archive covers the entire period from the Bolshevik Revolution to the 1980s and includes revelations concerning almost every country in the world. But the KGB's main target, of course, was the United States.Though there is top-secret material on almost every country in the world, the United States is at the top of the list. As well as containing many fascinating revelations, this is a major contribution to the secret history of the twentieth century.Among the topics and revelations explored are: The KGB's covert operations in the United States and throughout the West, some of which remain dangerous today. KGB files on Oswald and the JFK assassination that Boris Yeltsin almost certainly has no intention of showing President Clinton. The KGB's attempts to discredit civil rights leader in the 1960s, including its infiltration of the inner circle of a key leader. The KGB's use of radio intercept posts in New York and Washington, D.C., in the 1970s to intercept high-level U.S. government communications. The KGB's attempts to steal technological secrets from major U.S. aerospace and technology corporations. KGB covert operations against former President Ronald Reagan, which began five years before he became president. KGB spies who successfully posed as U.S. citizens under a series of ingenious disguises, including several who attained access to the upper echelons of New York society.

To learn about the Russian Revolution

Doctor Zhivago

First published in Italy in 1957 amid international controversy, Doctor Zhivago is the story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the Whites and the Reds. Set against this backdrop of cruelty and strife is Zhivago's love for the tender and beautiful Lara, the very embodiment of the pain and chaos of those cataclysmic times. Pevear and Volokhonsky masterfully restore the spirit of Pasternak's original—his style, rhythms, voicings, and tone—in this beautiful translation of a classic of world literature.

 

To understand Russias art and performance history

Bolshoi Confidential: Secrets of the Russian Ballet from the Rule of the Tsars to Today

On a freezing night in January 2013, a hooded assailant hurled acid in the face of the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet. The crime, organized by a lead soloist, dragged one of Russia’s most illustrious institutions into scandal. The Bolshoi Theater had been a crown jewel during the reign of the tsars and an emblem of Soviet power throughout the twentieth century. Under Putin in the twenty-first century, it has been called on to preserve a priceless artistic legacy and mirror Russia’s neo-imperial ambitions. The attack and its torrid aftermath underscored the importance of the Bolshoi to the art of ballet, to Russia, and to the world.

The acid attack resonated far beyond the world of ballet, both into Russia’s political infrastructure and, as renowned musicologist Simon Morrison shows in his tour-de-force account, the very core of the Bolshoi’s unparalleled history. With exclusive access to state archives and private sources, Morrison sweeps us through the history of the storied ballet, describing the careers of those onstage as well as off, tracing the political ties that bind the institution to the varying Russian regimes, and detailing the birth of some of the best-loved ballets in the repertoire.

From its disreputable beginnings in 1776 at the hand of a Faustian charlatan, the Bolshoi became a point of pride for the tsarist empire after the defeat of Napoleon in 1812. After the revolution, Moscow was transformed from a merchant town to a global capital, its theater becoming a key site of power. Meetings of the Communist Party were hosted at the Bolshoi, and the Soviet Union was signed into existence on its stage. During the Soviet years, artists struggled with corrosive censorship, while ballet joined chess tournaments and space exploration as points of national pride and Cold War contest. Recently, a $680 million restoration has restored the Bolshoi to its former glory, even as prized talent has departed.

As Morrison reveals in lush and insightful prose, the theater has been bombed, rigged with explosives, and reinforced with cement. Its dancers have suffered unimaginable physical torment to climb the ranks, sometimes for so little money that they kept cows at home whose milk they could sell for food. But the Bolshoi has transcended its own fraught history, surviving 250 years of artistic and political upheaval to define not only Russian culture but also ballet itself. In this sweeping, definitive account, Morrison demonstrates once and for all that, as Russia goes, so goes the Bolshoi Ballet.

The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia

An art-oriented biography of the mighty Catherine the Great, who rose from seemingly innocuous beginnings to become one of the most powerful people in the world. A German princess who married a decadent and lazy Russian prince, Catherine mobilized support amongst the Russian nobles, playing off of her husband's increasing corruption and abuse of power. She then staged a coup that ended with him being strangled with his own scarf in the halls of the palace and herself crowned the Empress of Russia.

 

The Chosen Maiden

From their earliest days, the Nijinsky siblings appear destined for the stage. Bronia is a gifted young ballerina, but she is quickly eclipsed by her brother Vaslav. Deemed a prodigy, Vaslav Nijinsky will grow into the greatest, and most provocative, dancer of his time. To prove herself her brother's equal in the rigid world of ballet, Bronia will need to be more than extraordinary, defying society's expectations of what a female dancer can and should be.

The real-life muse behind one of the most spectacular roles in dance, The Rite of Spring's Chosen Maiden, Bronia rises to the heights of modern ballet through grit, resilience and fervor. But when the First World War erupts and rebellion sparks in Russia, Bronia—caught between old and new, traditional and ground-breaking, safe and passionate—must begin her own search for what it means to be modern.

 

Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia

Beginning in the eighteenth century with the building of St. Petersburg and culminating with the Soviet regime, Figes examines how writers, artists, and musicians grappled with the idea of Russia itself--its character, spiritual essence, and destiny. Skillfully interweaving the great works--by Dostoevsky, Stravinsky, and Chagall--with folk embroidery, peasant songs, religious icons, and all the customs of daily life, Figes reveals the spirit of "Russianness" as rich and uplifting, complex and contradictory--and more lasting than any Russian ruler or state.

 

best book about communist russia

The Girl from the Metropol Hotel: Growing Up in Communist Russia

Born across the street from the Kremlin in the opulent Metropol Hotel—the setting of the New York Times bestselling novel A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles—Ludmilla Petrushevskaya grew up in a family of Bolshevik intellectuals who were reduced in the wake of the Russian Revolution to waiting in bread lines. In The Girl from the Metropol Hotel, her prizewinning memoir, she recounts her childhood of extreme deprivation—of wandering the streets like a young Edith Piaf, singing for alms, and living by her wits like Oliver Twist, a diminutive figure far removed from the heights she would attain as an internationally celebrated writer. As she unravels the threads of her itinerant upbringing—of feigned orphandom, of sleeping in freight cars and beneath the dining tables of communal apartments, of the fugitive pleasures of scraps of food—we see, both in her remarkable lack of self-pity and in the two dozen photographs throughout the text, her feral instinct and the crucible in which her gift for giving voice to a nation of survivors was forged.

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets

In Secondhand Time, Alexievich chronicles the demise of communism. Everyday Russian citizens recount the past thirty years, showing us what life was like during the fall of the Soviet Union and what it’s like to live in the new Russia left in its wake. Through interviews spanning 1991 to 2012, Alexievich takes us behind the propaganda and contrived media accounts, giving us a panoramic portrait of contemporary Russia and Russians who still carry memories of oppression, terror, famine, massacres—but also of pride in their country, hope for the future, and a belief that everyone was working and fighting together to bring about a utopia. Here is an account of life in the aftermath of an idea so powerful it once dominated a third of the world.

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing

Born in 1963, in an era of bread shortages, Anya grew up in a communal Moscow apartment where eighteen families shared one kitchen. She sang odes to Lenin, black-marketeered Juicy Fruit gum at school, watched her father brew moonshine, and, like most Soviet citizens, longed for a taste of the mythical West. It was a life by turns absurd, naively joyous, and melancholy—and ultimately intolerable to her anti-Soviet mother, Larisa. When Anya was ten, she and Larisa fled the political repression of Brezhnev-era Russia, arriving in Philadelphia with no winter coats and no right of return.

Now Anya occupies two parallel food universes: one where she writes about four-star restaurants, the other where a taste of humble kolbasa transports her back to her scarlet-blazed socialist past. To bring that past to life, Anya and her mother decide to eat and cook their way through every decade of the Soviet experience. Through these meals, and through the tales of three generations of her family, Anya tells the intimate yet epic story of life in the USSR. Wildly inventive and slyly witty, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is that rare book that stirs our souls and our senses.

Best books about modern russia

Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin's Russia and the End of Revolution, Updated Edition

With the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia launched itself on a fitful transition to Western-style democracy and a market economy. But a decade later, Boris Yeltsin’s handpicked successor—Vladimir Putin, a self-described childhood hooligan turned KGB officer—resolved to end the revolution. Kremlin Rising goes behind the scenes of contemporary Russia to offer a sobering picture of its leader and the direction in which the country is now headed.

Filled with unforgettable characters and prose as radiant as the Sinaloan sun, INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH is the story of an irresistible young woman's quest to find herself on both sides of the fence.

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I started She Roams Solo to help travellers connect, tell their story and inspire others. That is also what the "She Roams Solo Ladies" , a series of female traveller interviews is about. A chance for travellers to tell their story, share what makes them passionate, share their ups and downs, their life lessons and travel trials and tribulations. To tell the world their wonderful stories. You can join the She Roams Solo community for women who travel for free here. You can also fill in this form to be involved and tell your story. Below is a story from Sally from luxurious lifestyles

Sally is a freelance travel writer. She travels as a writer and spends her time travelling and house-sitting. She never stays in one place for too long. Some would say she is really living the dream. We talk to Sally about her lifestyle - solo travel, the ups and downs - living in Costa Rica - getting into house and pet sitting - pursuing a travel writing career and more. 

The beautiful thing about Sally's writing and blogging are the lessons you will learn. She does not simply list off a few top ten beaches and where to shop - no, she gets down in depths with what the places have to offer. You will learn about the place without going. Check out here website here - luxuriouslifestyles.co

Sally on Freelance writing

The travel writing industry is a tough one to get into and most people don’t make a lot of money in it. I always loved to travel and when my daughter left home, I felt like it was time to do more, but didn’t know of a way to make money while I was doing it. I happened to get an email about travel writing. From that email, I bought an online course and then I went to a weekend seminar. From there I learned several things and I continue to learn and buy various courses to try to keep up with the vastly changing environment of online work.

The highs and lows…. It is a tough industry and takes a lot of work. I am fortunate through both house and pet sitting and the travel writing that I am able to see a lot of cities around the world. However, living out of a carry-on suitcase (for up to three months at a time) and not seeing friends for long periods of time can get a little depressing at times. I also have personal items stored in three different countries on two continents.

My advice would be don’t quit your day job until you are making enough money to support yourself through your writing on a regular basis. Your monthly income can change dramatically and you don’t want to be financially stressed.    

This year is a big travel year for me. We are in May and to date I have been in and out of 11 countries this year for both my house and pet sitting and travel writing. I will be in 3 more countries and at least 4 more cities before the end of August. I have not made any plans past that point right now. I’m currently working on several travel articles for my blog (www.luxuriouslifestyles.co) and a new website to include a course on how to get into house and pet sitting (www.jetsetterpetsitter.com).  

What does house sitting and long term travel look like?

This year the longest I have been in one place was almost 4 weeks. The shortest was 4 days in Oslo, Norway (for travel writing articles), between two pet sitting assignments in Sweden. I am currently in Switzerland for three weeks house and pet sitting. I have 6 days off, which I will probably go back to Barcelona (my former home base for two years) before going to my next pet sitting in Tenerife (the Canary Islands) for three weeks. After that I have pet sitting in Barcelona for a month and then I will return to Canada for about three weeks.

I won’t do any house and pet sitting for less than a week, rarely less than two weeks now. I have only had a couple in the past that were for 4 and 5 weeks. One was Dublin, Ireland and the other was London, England.

A few things determine where and when I go. First, I like to go to countries and cities I have not been to before. I will go back to some countries and cities if I really like them, want to see more, and/or I have friends there. Sometimes I will go to nearby cities if the dates for the sitting are one right after each other and they are easy to get to. I don’t do any house and pet sitting in the country or rural areas anymore. Nor, will I house or pet sit if I have to rent a car.

I prefer cities because I like to get out to discover new things and meet people. I’m very social and don’t like to be isolated too much. Also with cities, I have substantially more things to write about for my blog and various travel publications.

Do you have any tips for house sitting? How best to get started, how to build your reviews and “housesitting resume”? The high and lows of housesitting?

People need to know that house and pet sitting is not like being on vacation. The sitter has several responsibilities. You are taking care of a person’s home - keeping it clean, watering plants, possible yard maintenance, collecting mail, and more. You are also taking care of the animals - feeding, brushing, possibly bathing, walking, giving medications, and anything else they require. You must keep the routine of the pets. So if they are used to being up at 6 am and fed, then go for a 45 minute was at 6:30 am then you must get up and do that. You need to be back at night to feed and walk them again. If you want to be doing touristy things, they must be done in between these times.

I’m just finishing a course on becoming a professional house and pet setter if your readers are interested. The best way to get started and build a resume would be to start with taking care of pets who belong to people to you know. If you have friends that are going away for a weekend, take care of their cat or dog for them. Animals are happier when they are around people and a lot of dogs don’t like going to kennels.

House and pet sitting does give you the opportunity to visit various places around the world. You do have to remember there are responsibilities and most times you may be traveling by yourself or with your partner. You can not just invite people to come with you. The homeowner is only expecting to have the agreed people in the house. You also have to be prepared to deal with unexpected events. I had homeowners come back a week early because of a death in the family. It has not happened to me, but I know of pet sitters that had to deal the the death of a pet while the owner was gone.

Sally on living in Costa Rica

Living in Costa Rica must have been really cool. Why Costa Rica? Were you living there by yourself at this time? What was Costa Rica like? What are some real local off-the-beaten-track places one should check out? Why did you stay for so long? What were the culture shocks you experienced? What are some of the cultural things you wish Canada had in comparison?

Living in Costa Rica was great and hard at the same time. I was looking for a lifestyle change and Costa Rica definitely gave it to me. I moved there with my daughter who was 13 at the time. Not something I would recommend doing. Taking a 13 year old girl from a city and moving to a small town in a foreign country that spoke another language did not go over well. She hated it. 

One thing I liked is that I didn’t get mail unless someone specifically sent me something. This was also a little frustrating at the beginning because it also meant that I did not get bills. I just had to know and remember when the phone, water, electricity bills were due and to go pay them without knowing how much money they were. Needless to say, during my first year there I had things cut-off because I forgot the due dates. As soon as I had no water, for example, I would drive to the place to pay for water (every bill needed to be paid at a different place on different dates) and by the time I got back home 5 minutes later I would have water again. 

Some of my favorite places are Playa Conchal, Monteverde, and the Arenal area. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and in the beach areas it is always hot. I have also seen some of the most amazing thunder and lightning storms there. My favorite month was mid-November to mid-December. The rain has stopped by this time, everything is green, and it is before the winds start and tourists come. 

One thing I really liked about there is the lifestyle is about enjoying life and not about buying materialistic things.

Sally on Barcelona

Barcelona is a wonderful, creative and thriving city. I would love to know more about life in Barcelona? Why did you choose Barcelona? What is it like living there? What do you love and hate about it? Some tips for the traveller e.g where to eat that isn’t so touristy - what off-the-beaten-track should one do etc - Anything else you think would be insteresting about life in Barcelona.

Life is Barcelona was good for the most part. I gave up my apartment in December as this year is a full travel year for me and then I will decide where I will have home-base again. It may be back in Barcelona, it may be somewhere else. I chose Barcelona because I had been traveling non-stop for a year and a half and I was tired of living out of a suitcase. I was there for my birthday in the middle of summer and after three days I decided I would make it home base for a while. I had 5 things on a checklist and Barcelona had them all.

  1. Beaches
  2. Warm seasonal weather (Although I do find winter cold)
  3. An international airport
  4. A walkable city with excellent transportation system
  5. Attractive single men (Unfortunately almost all of the attractive men are gay) 

Barcelona is a city that almost never sleeps. There is always countless things to do day and night. I like that there are 10 beaches there, although they are not the nicest beaches. Some things to get used to is they eat dinner around 10:00 pm and if you want to go to a club, it will not be busy until 3:00 am, most don’t open until 12:00 am (midnight). 

The biggest downfall to Barcelona is that it is the pickpocket capital of the world. Everyone I know has had their wallet, phone, or (like me) entire purse stolen. The police do nothing about it. The entire Catalan independence and regular protests in the city is more than just annoying. A lot of Catalan dislike tourists and foreigners and make it known. It is also a very transient city with people moving into and out of everyday, which can make it harder to make good friends, as we never know how long someone will be there (myself included).

One main tip I can give people is there are over 3000 restaurants in the city, don’t eat or drink anything within two blocks of any tourist attraction. These places are all over priced and the quality of the food is not very good.    

Grand Advice from Sally?

What great advice do you love to give people? A quote or tips on travelling? Or something from your life experience - a grand lesson that you have learnt in your travelling, writing and living years.

You are going to die. It could happen tomorrow, next month, next year, or 40 years from now. You don’t know when it is going to happen so you better enjoy life now, you may not get tomorrow, there is no guarantee it will come. When you are on your deathbed you will not think about all the meaningless materialistic things you bought. You will think a little about the wonderful things you did. However you think the most about the regrets you have for the thing you didn’t do, the things you didn’t experience, and the things you wish you weren’t too scared to try. You only have one life and it is short. You better enjoy it.

How to get in contact with Sally from Luxurious Lifestyles

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The post SRS ladies – Sally – house sitting and travel writing appeared first on She Roams Solo.

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She Roams Solo by She Roams Solo - 1w ago
Practical stuff Safety and Scams

Luxembourg has a high safety standard. It is a country with good living standards and is very safe. This being said, the shadiest characters will be hanging around the "gare" which is the main train station. There is also a police station there.

The emergency phone number is 112

Embassies in Luxembourg include Austria, Belgium, Cape Verde, China, Czech Republic,  France, Germany Greece, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. Other embassies can be found in neighboring countries such as France, Belgium and Germany.

Getting to and around Luxembourg Getting around Luxembourg

Luxembourg taxi costs are what I consider the biggest scam. However, it isn't a scam. Due to the high standards of living in Luxembourg, taxis are pricey for both locals and tourist. Avoid taxis! Uber and uber-like companies are illegal in Luxembourg.

Driving in Luxembourg is easy. Fines are pricey! Be careful. However, renting a car is also not as cheap as say Portugal and the like. Luxembourg is an expensive country. Driving is a great way to get around as public transport is time consuming away from the main city, where there are some beautiful things to see.

Because Luxembourg is a small country, it makes for some great day trips outside of the country if you have time. Car is the best way to do this but trains are also sufficient. The car rental companies can be found in the Airport.

Public transport is cheap and straight forward. A day ticket allowing you to get around the whole country (small as it is) will only set you back €4. A one-way ticket is €2. Earlier this year there were talks of free transport throughout the country.

Buses and trains are easy to catch. There is a phone app - mobiliteit.lu which can be downloaded for free to find out when trains leave, from which platform etc

Getting to Luxembourg

There is only one airport in Luxembourg (Findel). It takes around 30 minutes to get into the city center via either bus 29 or 16. It will drop you off at the gare. The bus stand is directly outside the exit of the airport and not hard to find. If you come from neighbouring countries via train or bus you are dropped directly off at the Gare Central (main train station).

Luxembourg culture

Luxembourg is a well to do country. You may find people up north to be a little more "sophisticated in their dress" and of a more "conservative nature". However, I have found Luxembourgish people to still be quite friendly. Customer service is not their high points but if you give a smile, they will give one back. (sometimes).

Luxembourg is made up of a large French and German population as well as Portuguese and Belgium. On top of this, the population is over 40% expats. So it still has an easy-going sense about it.

Luxembourg is a financial working place. A lot of people will work here during the weekdays and live in neighbouring Germany, France or Belgium on weekends.

Luxembourg turns into a ghost town on Sundays. Mostly in the winter. In summer months you can still find a bit of happening. The shops close at 1 pm. The only shop that may still be open after this is the Carrefour express by the gare near the McDonalds in Luxembourg city. (This does make Saturday the perfect night to party).

Where to stay in Luxembourg

Hotels, like most things in Luxembourg, are quite expensive. The city has little in the way of hostels. However, in the case of Luxembourg, I would suggest Couchsurfing or similar. Because the city/country is filled with Expats, most are travel lovers and happy to help.

If you don't feel comfortable with that, the hostels options are limited. Try and book in advance. Luxembourg city has only one hostel. Otherwise, you will have to look outside of the main city (which can be annoying with public transport).

  • In Luxembourg city - Luxembourg city hostel - This is certainly the best. Breakfast is included which helps your budget and it is not too far from the party areas. A room in a 6-bed dorm will cost about €25 - €50 euros a night on average.
  • Beaufort is north and by the German border. There is a hostel there
  • Close by Beaufort is Echternach, which is lovely is your plan is to visit Luxembourgs lake for a swim. (Great in the summer).
  • Vianden also has a hostel, nice to stay at if you are there to explore and see the Vianden castle. Not if you want to be in Luxembourg city as public transport takes a good 2 hours to get into the city.
  • Esch-Sur-Alzette also has a hostel. Esch is the second biggest city in Luxembourg but does not really have a lot happening in it. It isn't as pretty and charming as Luxembourg city. It is about half an hour by public transport to the city. Esch is closer to the French border.
  • There is also a hostel in Remerschen. This is near the Schengen in the Mozelle region, which is the Luxembourg wine region on the border of both Germany and France

I would suggest staying in Luxembourg city. You won't save much money by being further out and it will make it easier for you as Luxembourg city is small and easy to travel. The nightlife in mostly in the center as well.

If you like your privacy the cheapest hotel will set you back about €80 - €100 euros for a very basic room near the Gare. I have stayed at hotel Yasha which was pricey but the cheapest at the time for €115 a night and can recommend that it is safe but basic. I have stayed there before and can say it's basic but okay. It is in the gare (train station in French) which means the shadiest characters but even Luxembourg shadiest don't seem as shady as other countries.

The Fun stuff Pubs, bars and nightclubs in Luxembourg

As I mentioned Luxembourg is an expat country so there is plenty of nightlife. On top of this, the quite Sundays make for heavy partying on the Saturday, guilt-free.

For a small country, Luxembourg is #22 in alcohol consumption per capita. That's pretty impressive.

Nightlife can be found all over Luxembourg city. The Grund hosts some great pubs like Scotts Pub (perfect to sit by the fire or outside watching the duckies swim by) Oscars Pub which does a great karaoke session and don't forget Liquid Bar for live music on Thursdays or pub games by the fire.

Clausen is the main party area with night clubs and bars sitting right next to each other. Check out Star Bar for Salsa Music. Gotham for a great time. Apoteca is one popular nightclub option. De Gudde Wëllen made for one of my favourite nights of dancing.

Also in Luxembourg city are some great places to check out like Rock Solid for happy hour daily. Tube Bar is popular amongst British expats, although I do find it over-priced and crowded.  Also check out Konrad bar and Urban bar are amongst the favourites. One place I loved and never went to enough was Cafe Mr Dixon, so check it out and tell me your thoughts.

Now if you want something a bit different and off the tourist track, check out the great Portuguese bars. Here, no one will understand you and drinks are cheaper. You may walk in and think it's a bit dodgy but Portuguese bars are a great way to get good wine, friendly service, some peanuts and cheaper drinks. The Portuguese bars are generally found by the gare or in Esch-SurAlzette which is called little Portugal. You will know the difference from these bars the minute you walk in.

Meeting people

Luxembourg has a once a month pub crawl. If you are in the city for that, check it out. You'll meet loads of people. Otherwise, check out the Facebook Page Project Lux. The founder of project Lux is a really cool guy and dare I say the king of Luxembourg nightlife and events. He hosts the pub crawl and can easily point you in the direction of events to meet people.

Meetup is not big in Luxembourg but there are some events. Hiking events, sporting events and so on. Also, you can check out Couchsurfing for events.

Activities for solo travelers

So, you have arrived in Luxembourg, what to do? This depends a lot on how much time you have and when you arrive. The basic weekend trip, I would suggest just simply walking around.

Walk the city

I would suggest taking a walk around Luxembourg fortress walls from the Gare down to the Grund. This is a nice relaxing thing to do by yourself. Take a book and enjoy reading on the grass with some views. Finish off at Scotts pub for a local beer and wine. The walk is beautiful and a great way to really see the city. You can do all of this in half a day leaving plenty of time for other things. In the summer, you can stop off and visit the Casemates du Bock.

Museums

Personally visiting museums is my favorite thing to do when I'm on my own. I love just taking my own time.  The Mudam museum is certainly my favourite. It is also located in a really cool spot with good views and a few other Museums around.

Moselle

Checking out the wine region is easy. You can get a bus to Remich, which is a really nice part of the country. From there, hire bicycles and cycle a relatively flat way to all the vineyards. Check for cellar doors to samples tastings. Depending on when you visit, some times of the year there are many events with samplings and meeting wine makers.

Nature in Luxembourg

If getting out in nature is more of your thing, perfect. Check out "little switerzland" for some amazing hikes. Or have a swim in one of two lakes in Luxembourg which are very popular in the summer. With plenty of people around it can be a depressing place to come solo. Although the hostel nearby does offer kayak rentals and if you have a look at the groups mentioned in this article, you may find someone to go with you.

Food and drink in Luxembourg

Luxembourg food is very similar to its influencers France and Germany. The main local dish is call Judd mat Gaardebounen, smoked collar of pork with broad beans. I had tried it in a nice restaurant in Vianden (recommended) by the river and once in Luxembourg city at Restaurant Mousel's in Clausen (not recommended).

Whilst you are here there are several local beverages you should check out. For a small country, Luxembourg keeps to European traditions and still has a brewery and a wine region. Bless Europe! This means there is local booze to test!

Luxembourg wine regions specialises in rivaner (a nice dry white wine) and Crémant (Luxembourgs sparkling). I recommend taking a trip to the Moselle. If you do love wines, I suggest a trip to the Alsace region not far away.

Luxembourg local beer include Bofferding, Battin and Diekirch  (the Christmas beer from Diekirch is awesome).

Where to next?

You can see most of Luxembourg in a weekend. You can even get out and about into other countries. So you are now done with Luxembourg. But you have so much more travel time... where to next?

If you are planning to catch a flight somewhere else, Luxembourg services several destinations but your choices are more limited than others; Unless you want to stop off somewhere first or spend a lot of euros! So why not take advantage of these destinations.  From Luxembourg, you can get a cheap direct flight to Berlin, Milan, London, Edinburgh, Dublin and Manchester. Toulouse, Marseille, nice and Bordeaux also make a good trip in France and you can sometimes find cheap flights. You can also get cheap flights to Barcelona, Madrid, Palma and Seville if Spain is more your cup of tea. Because of Luxembourg's large Portuguese population, you can also visit Portugal and very often have cheaper flights to Porto, Lisbon and Faro. Portugal is a country most Luxembourg locals escape to often.

If you are looking at the right time you can maybe find decently priced flights to Malta, Hungary, Greece, Netherlands and Switzerland, perhaps even Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Morocco. There are many more options so I suggest looking on Skyscanner ahead of time.

You can also get buses outside to other countries. Flixbus services Luxembourg and beyond. However, I cannot promote Flixbus, as we all know how I feel about that (read here)

Another magical option is to get in a car and drive. The best rental companies are - Avis, Budget, Sixt and Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty also operate from Luxembourg. My suggestion would be to jump on Skyscanner, click on car hire and search whats best for your budget and time. Do keep in mind that skyscanner links to third party car rentals so perhaps check the insurance deal with the company direct before finalising. With the third party insurance, you are buying it through them and they are not as easy to get money back off.

From Luxembourg, you can take some amazing trips through Frances vineyard. Check out Alsace, Champagne and Burgundy. You can also drive through the black forest of Germany, which is a beautiful drive.

Conclusion

Luxembourg may be a small country but you can still have a lot of fun and really enjoy this small but beautiful country. If you do visit Luxembourg, be sure to join our Female travel community and let everyone know. We have several members from Luxembourg who would love to chat to you and show you around.

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Wildlife conservation Volunteering What are your thoughts on Wildlife Conservation volunteering holidays?

Wildlife conservation volunteering holidays, in my opinion, are great only when it is ethical which so often is not the case. For a long time, many organisations have used wildlife as a means to make money and often the wildlife are not treated as they should be and where the money could go to local communities, it does not.

Luckily, there are organisations that are doing it right. I can’t list them all (have a look at conservation volunteering Facebook groups). I will tell you about an organisation that I worked with in Peru called CDS. My hosts were exceptional people and that is often the first step in knowing that your volunteer experience will be great.

So before volunteering, I suggest communicating with the leaders of the organisation first and do a bit of research to what the reviews are like. Another good tip is to find out how your volunteering will benefit the organisation. It should be about value exchange and not the fact that you are experiencing an encounter with some kind of wildlife. Animals need to be treated with respect as much as humans do.

Wildlife conservation tours Let's talk about travel tours. Tours are responsible for a large number of travellers and the way they travel. Not a lot of them really consider the impact that tour groups have on the environment. We would love to hear your thoughts on tour companies. How to find the right tour companies that really do care about wildlife conservation and responsible travel. Can you recommend any from personal experience?

This is such a great question and I am really fortunate to work with a company that is promoting ethical and sustainable conservation tours! Terra Incognita was started to promote ethical tourism around the world and we have a team of volunteers that help to find sustainable tour companies around the world. Have a look at their page and you will find the best ecotours around the world. Another great way to find tours is to look at various conservation organisations that run tours. This is really sustainable as the money from the tours go directly back to the organisation. Here are two that I highly recommend: Save The Frogs and Save The Snakes.

Sustainable Travel What do we, as travellers need to know about our footprint on nature when travelling? What are the things we may not notice? What are your tips for sustainable travel?

The most important thing to note is that flying releases large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere so wherever possible either take trains, buses or taxis or, take direct flights and use airlines that are sustainable. Here is a great site to calculate your carbon footprint. Obviously, I completely understand that travelling internationally requires flying, so I tend to justify it with my specific reason for travelling. For me its almost always wildlife and conservation reasons but for others, it is important to understand the value of that travel experience and think about the cost to the planet. Other ways to travel sustainably is to use sustainable and recyclable items such as toiletries, spending less than you need to and essentially travelling like a minimalist. If you really want to travel sustainably, just do a quick bit of research and you will find tons of options. Here is a great site!

Resources and Learning What are your favourite resources and learning devices to really learn about nature and how we can do better for the world?

YouTube! Haha, it’s probably one of the best platforms to learn anything really and there’s tons of great information about nature, various nature organisations and basically how everything works. Blogs are great and if you do a quick search for nature blogs, you will find great info based on personal experiences. Social media is also a great place to find information about various environmental organisations, the work that they do and how they are contributing to the bigger picture.

Your experiences Tell us about some of your favourite projects you have contributed to whilst you have been travelling

Some of my favourite projects while travelling include finding frogs in the middle of the cloud forest of Peru for a husbandry project. We were trying to breed them to learn more about their evolutionary behaviour. I was also involved with some organic farming also in Peru. I did a really cool transect project to see what species occurred on the rocky coasts of one of the beaches in South Africa. I’ve done quite a few wildlife projects traveling around South Africa.

Where are some of the places travellers should visit to help support the work of great organisations and what are some places we should avoid? E.g - certain parks, or certain “nature reserves”

Nature reserves are great to visit because they contribute to tourism and often you find some great environmental organisations working relatively close by that do research in the area. When out in nature, always read the signs and be sure to stay on the right hiking trails because if you get lost and aren’t equipped for the wilderness, you could face some difficulties.

What are your plans for the future, travel and work wise?

I am actually hoping to do a PhD in Australia next year. I would like to eventually settle down there so if a job comes before the PhD then it would be fantastic! I would love to increase the awareness of snakes in Australia, largely through the support of the organisation that I already work for, Save The Snakes. Travel wise, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to get funding and contribute to herpetology research through expeditions or other environmental organisations. I am hoping to go to a conference in New Zealand next year as well.

What is the reason behind your wildlife conservation passion?

My passion started off with a love for nature and animals, the outdoors and exploration. I was always that kid playing outdoors with dirt, looking up at the clouds and stars and questioning how it came to be. That love quickly turned into a passion for conserving wildlife when I spent more time learning about wildlife, ecology and evolution and realised the negative impact of humans on nature. What drives me every day is creating a balance between nature and humans and technology because that is the only sustainable way our planet will survive.

Can you give us any examples of heartbreaking moments in your career and travel?

I have had my fair share of ups and downs like most people and one of the toughest parts of traveling is saying goodbye to the people that you create really great bonds with.

As far as heartbreaking moments I would say after my amazing two and half month stay in Peru, I had to come back to South Africa in May 2017 because my South African visa was about to expire. I was offered a Volunteer Coordinator position at the research station in Peru but due to visa issues, I could not take it. When I got back to South Africa, I applied for this incredible herpetology job with a great organisation and I would have got it, but unfortunately, they couldn’t offer me a work visa. After having two of the most amazing months of my life, I felt like this was a really low point in my life as I had no job, I couldn’t really do much and I felt I had no direction.

However, that was due to circumstances, so being the mentally strong person that I am and applying everything I had learnt from being in the forest, I realised how resilient I really was. I knew I could keep working towards my larger goal of wildlife conservation and making a difference, in one way or another, and I kept trying to find a way. That’s when I worked on my blog, started networking with people via email, working voluntarily for organisations and that led me to all the great work experiences I have had. That rough period taught me that no matter how bad things get, never give up and keep trying.

If you have an interest in Wildlife conservation and travel you can read more about it from Hirals blog or chat to her on our She Roams Solo Platform. Join for free here and reach out to her via her profile.

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Recently we did a great post on things to know before travelling to Mexico. If that inspired you and now you are on your way to Mexico, here are the best books to read before travelling to Mexico. Get inspiration and insights. Learn about Mexican history, food, traditions and way of life.

Reading about a country is a great way to be prepared, have more understanding, make the most of your visit.

Writing this blog post was not an easy thing to do. There are so many amazing books out there and to narrow them down is a difficult conquest! A large amount of books on Mayan history has been cut down to the very best and most modern. I have left a quick list down the bottom if you are interested in more books. I haven't gotten around to reading or researching these like the ones recommended but feel free to check them out anyway.

All of these books are in English. Some of Mexico's great writters are listed such as

Books to help you understand Mexicos drugs and gang problems

"You're going to Mexico? But you are going to get kidnapped! Think of all the gangs, kidnapping and drugs!" I have no doubt that at least one person in your circle will say this. But as we know, Mexico is safe and an amazing country! However, if you have an interest in reading about the drugs and gangs and to understand it better, here are some great reads!

Down the Rabbit Hole: A Novel

Tochtli lives in a palace. He loves hats, samurai, guillotines, and dictionaries, and what he wants more than anything right now is a new pet for his private zoo: a pygmy hippopotamus from Liberia. But Tochtli is a child whose father is a drug baron on the verge of taking over a powerful cartel, and Tochtli is growing up in a luxury hideout that he shares with hit men, prostitutes, dealers, servants, and the odd corrupt politician or two. Long-listed for The Guardian First Book Award, Down the Rabbit Hole, a masterful and darkly comic first novel, is the chronicle of a delirious journey to grant a child's wish.

No Country For Old Men

The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. One day, a good old boy named Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law–in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell–can contain.As Moss tries to evade his pursuers–in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives–McCarthy simultaneously strips down the American crime novel and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines

To understand Mexicos immigration problems

You would have to be living under a rock to not know about the immigration problems between Mexico and the USA. Now is as good a time as ever to read some of these books. Having an understanding of both sides of the stories can really help to get a better perspective. It will help you gain empathy and have a better outlook of the country. Put yourself in the shoes of those Mexican immigrants.

The Book of Unknown Americans

A boy and a girl who fall in love. Two families whose hopes collide with destiny. An extraordinary novel that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American.

Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether she’ll ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better.

When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s core.

Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America. Their journeys and their voices will inspire you, surprise you, and break your heart.

The House on Mango Street

Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

To understand the "real" Mexico

Mexico is more than just beaches, all-inclusive resorts and tacos! To understand a culture, you have to learn it from the elders in this said culture. You have to understand family connections and traditions. Religion and history, as well as politics. These are some great books to really start to understand the "real" Mexico.

What the Moon Saw

Fourteen-year-old Clara Luna's name means "clear moon" in Spanish. But lately, her life has felt anything but clear. A letter has arrived from her grandparents in Mexico inviting her to stay with them for the summer. But Clara has never met her father's parents. All she knows is that he snuck over the border from Mexico as a teenager.

When she arrives, she's stunned by how different her grandparents' life is from her own in the United States. They live in simple shacks in the mountains of southern Mexico, where most people speak not only Spanish, but an indigenous language, Mixteco. Their village of Yucuyoo holds other surprises, too—like the spirit waterfall, which is heard but never seen. And Pedro, a young goatherder who wants to help Clara find the waterfall. But as Clara discovers more about where she comes from, what will it mean for who she is now?
Written with an arresting immediacy and infused with an exhilarating joie de vivre, A Florence Diary is a bright, colourful evocation of a time long lost and a vibrant portrait of a city that will be deliciously familiar to any contemporary traveller.

A Visit to Don Otavio: A Traveller's Tale from Mexico

This affectionate study of the Mexican temper is ''one of the most charming travel books ever written.'' - The Atlantic Monthly Before returning to the Old World after World War II, Sybille Bedford resolved to see something more of the New. ''I had a great longing to move,'' she said, ''to hear another language, eat new food, to be in a country with a long nasty history in the past and as little present history as possible.'' And so she set out for Mexico - and, incidentally, to write what Bruce Chatwin called the best travel book of the twentieth century, ''a book of marvels, to be read again and again and again.''

To understand the Spanish conquest

You can't understand Mexican history without learning about the Spanish conquest. Thankfully there are some amazing books and accounts of what really happened. Books from first hand accounts are not easy to come by so I highly recommend reading some of these whilst you still can.

The Conquest of New Spain

Bernal Díaz del Castillo(1495–1584) served under Cortés through the entire Mexican campaign, and his narrative, one of only four extant firsthand accounts, is both an invaluable hirstorical document and a spectacular epic. He was with Cortés when the latter sank the ships, thus committing the small band of conquistadors irrevocably to the Conquest; he was privy to the counsels of the leaders and was at hand when Montezuma was made a prisoner in his own palace. Bernal Díaz fought in over a hundred battles and skirmishes against an enemy who made living sacrifices of their prisoners. These things he saw and recorded in a bold blunt voice whose immediacy, in Maudslay's classic translation, reaches across the centuries to invite readers to witness for themselves the horrors and wonders of the initial, apocalyptic clash between two great civilizations.

The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico

For hundreds of years, the history of the conquest of Mexico and the defeat of the Aztecs has been told in the words of the Spanish victors. Miguel León-Portilla has long been at the forefront of expanding that history to include the voices of indigenous peoples. In this new and updated edition of his classic The Broken Spears, León-Portilla has included accounts from native Aztec descendants across the centuries. These texts bear witness to the extraordinary vitality of an oral tradition that preserves the viewpoints of the vanquished instead of the victors. León-Portilla's new Postscript reflects upon the critical importance of these unexpected historical accounts.

The Conquest of Mexico

Hugh Thomas' account of the collapse of Montezuma's great Aztec empire under the onslaughts of Cortes' conquistadors is one of the great historical works of our times. A thrilling and sweeping narrative, it also bristles with moral and political issues. After setting out from Spain - against explicit instructions - in 1519, some 500 conquistadors destroyed their ships and fought their way towards the capital of the greatest empire of the New World. When they finally reached Tenochtitlan, the huge city on lake Texcoco, they were given a courtly welcome by Montezuma, who believed them to be gods. Their later abduction of the emperor, their withdrawl and the final destruction of the city make the Conquest one of the most enthralling and tragic episodes in world history.

Malinche: A Novel

This is an extraordinary retelling of the passionate and tragic love between the conquistador Cortez and the Indian woman Malinalli, his interpreter during his conquest of the Aztecs. Malinalli's Indian tribe has been conquered by the warrior Aztecs. When her father is killed in battle, she is raised by her wisewoman grandmother who imparts to her the knowledge that their founding forefather god, Quetzalcoatl, had abandoned them after being made drunk by a trickster god and committing incest with his sister. But he was determined to return with the rising sun and save her tribe from their present captivity. When Malinalli meets Cortez she, like many, suspects that he is the returning Quetzalcoatl, and assumes her task is to welcome him and help him destroy the Aztec empire and free her people. The two fall passionately in love, but Malinalli gradually comes to realize that Cortez's thirst for conquest is all too human, and that for gold and power, he is willing to destroy anyone, even his own men, even their own love.

To understand the struggles of Mexico living

The country of Mexico have more problems then drugs, immigration and their sad history.... Read about what it is like to be Mexican. To live in these towns, to see you town destroyed by gangs, to realise most people are moving away for a better life. Learn what your expectations are as a Mexican and what your life could look like.

Into the Beautiful North: A Novel

Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US to find work. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn't the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village--they've all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men--her own "Siete Magníficos"--to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.

Filled with unforgettable characters and prose as radiant as the Sinaloan sun, INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH is the story of an irresistible young woman's quest to find herself on both sides of the fence.

To get Hungry for Mexican food

Keeping it light hearted, lets talk about FOOD!!!! Mexican food is amazing! Tacos, Burritos, Spicey, tortillas, beans and more! Get hungry, snack on some tacos and read up on Mexican food.

Like Water For Chocolate

A sumptuous feast of a novel, it relates the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies.

But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. In desperation Pedro marries her sister Rosaura so that he can stay close to her.

For the next twenty-two years Tita and Pedro are forced to circle each other in unconsummated passion. Only a freakish chain of tragedies, bad luck and fate finally reunite them against all the odds.

To learn about Maya History

Before going to see the maya ruins and feel a spritual sense of WOW, perhaps read up on the Maya history. Your travel..

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Solo travel will make you a more confident person. It will teach you how to talk to anyone and have confidence within yourself. But what about if you don’t yet have that confidence. How to travel “with confidence” before those experiences turn you into the confident diva you will soon be.
I have to firstly mention that when I say confidence, I’m not only talking about the confidence to talk to that guy or in an office. Confidence is such a broad thing. You want confidence in yourself and who you are, your abilities, your choice of destination, your choices in general. You need confidence in social situations. You need confidence in your instincts and your knowledge. Confidence isn’t just public speaking, it's so much more!
I have always been quite a confident person. Well, in fact, that is a lie. As a kid, I was terribly shy. I grew into myself and became confident but it wasn’t until the first solo trip that I really took that to another level. It didn’t happen right away, it happened with each new life lesson and realisation.
Maybe none of these tips will help but maybe just ONE will, maybe it will not help now but might spring to mind at another time in life. But confidence is such a great life skill that it's worth a read. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Personal stories and tips are always welcome. You can also join the free female travel community platform here and chat to with other cool women.
There is no shame in not having friends around you
Confidence is all about mentality - Solo travel can be intimidating when you are in a big group of people. They already have people around them so why do they need to talk to you?
Because you are awesome that's why! Because you are the best choice of company!
Remember that solo travel isn't something to be ashamed of and just because you don't have friends around you, that isn't something to be ashamed of, its something to be proud of.
You are suddenly the brave one. The one oozing confidence who can have her pick of anyone in the room to talk to. You just need to believe this enough.
If you walk up to people smelling of desperation, they will sense it and be sceptical of why they should talk to you. Yet if you show up oozing fun, confidence and “awesomeness”... You steal (or add to) the conversation with ease. Then you will have no problems.
This brings me to the next point - Fake it till you make it!
Use the confidence you didn't know you had
How to get confidence if you don't necessarily have it? For now, you have to fake it. Don't worry, it gets easier to fake, so easy that eventually it’s no longer fake.
The only way to fake confidence is to lead your self-talk and believe it. Simply forget that you don't have it. Tell yourself you have nothing to lose. Repeat it to yourself until you believe it. Tell yourself every tip you remember about confidence and things you have been told. Give yourself amazing self talk about how dam cool and awesome you are. About how these people would obviously want to talk to you.
Force the smile, be conscious of your body language, open your eyes wide (not weirdly) and stand tall. Force your body language to appear confident and you will feel it more and more.
Lead your self-talk and believe it
A little bit of Dutch courage goes a long way
We are all adults here so let’s be honest…. A little dutch courage doesn’t hurt, relying on it does.
The environment that you are in makes all the difference. A bar or social situation makes everything easier. When the people around you are a bit looser you will feel it too.
If it's 10 am, maybe don't order a beer in the hostel common room (unless you want to, then, by all means, go for it). But if you are in a situation where a few drinks are being poured it will always help to make friends. Just try to take it easy so that you can remember those new friends the next day.
Facing your fears will only ever help
Solo travel chucks us in the deep end and makes us do things. You grow every time you do something new and face your fears. Every time you get out of your comfort zone, you build a piece of confidence in yourself and your abilities that you didn't have before.
This is something to keep in mind next time you make an excuse for not doing something, ask yourself if you are coming from a place of fear. If the first answer to this is yes, then do that thing you are scared to do.
The reason solo travel can seem so scary is simply that it's something you have never done before. It's placing yourself in the unknown. It will only make you stronger, more reassured with yourself and more capable.
What's the worst that can happen!
Sometimes, you have to talk yourself into confidence. Learn to ignore that nagging thing in your head telling you why you shouldn’t do it. There are various ways to do this.
One way I like to suggest is to ask yourself "what it is you are really afraid of. What's the worst that can happen."
Be realistic but allow your mind to reach into it's deepest fears. Then ask yourself what the likelihood of this happening is. You will soon realise that the chances of anything bad happening is very slim and won't be detrimental to your life.
This technique can really install confidence and realism in the situation. It can be used in many areas of confidence as well.
Doing *constructive* research will help with confidence in your decision
I'm all for winging it but doing your research will do two things:
1 - Help your confidence in the situation and
2 - Assist other peoples confidence in the situation.
By being able to give others the piece of mind, you generate confidence for yourself. By having direct knowledge of all the details of your decisions, you give yourself a reason to relax.
In saying that, it doesn't mean you have to stick to the plans. Feel free to change plans if you want. Go with the wind. That's what travelling solo is all about!
I would always advise practising the above technique ("what's the worst that can happen") with your decision too.
Preempt the fears others try to give you with your knowledge of the real dangers, risk or lack of.
Don't listen to others
Don't listen to other peoples fears and anxieties. Countless times I have gone into something with no fear at all. I had no worries in my mind. Then someone will start telling me all the things that can go wrong and suddenly I’m not so confident in my abilities.
You want to climb the mountain, just climb the dam mountain. You want to go to Brazil! Get your g-string and go!
People who have no first-hand knowledge will ALWAYS put down your trip or your desires. Because THEY don't want to do it or are too afraid. You do want to do it and you are not afraid, so before they get to you - do it!
Don't let peoples negative assumptions and their fears come into your mind.
Remember nobody knows you here: Nobody that really matters anyway
This is a core foundation for gaining confidence. Nobody knows you. Therefore, nobodies opinion really matters. This is your chance to show the real you. The people who will matter will love the real you.
Don’t assume what people will think. You are travelling and surrounded by different cultures and ways of thinking. People come from all walks of life and have different stories. You don’t know them just as much as they don’t know you. You will never really know what people think of you. So what’s the point of wondering.
Confidence comes with time
You may be lucky and perhaps a ticket to the other side of the world, alone, is all you need. Maybe not, maybe it pushes you more and more within your comfort zone and its harder to break out. That is okay. Time heels all wounds and helps up grow!
Maybe just reading this article will help (well, that is what I hope anyway).
In time, that shy, unsureness will become fine-tuned, confidence and unapologetically you!
Baby steps! Start by challenging yourself with small things. Once you realise you can achieve that small thing, you will start to slowly have more and more confidence in your ability. Once you realise and truly believe you can do anything you want, your confidence will sore.
You WILL say silly things and do things people don’t like. People won’t always approve of what you say or do. They will look at you critically.
But that is life. And who cares. As long as you are being you, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Those who are meant to be in your life will be.
Society will judge and bad mouth you. People will talk behind your back. They will form opinions on you and never let you see it directly. Nothing will ever change that. The quicker you realise you shouldn’t care, the better. The moment you realise that anything you do is a spark of your awesomeness and it is other peoples problems, the more your confidence will grow and sore.
Pick the people around you
Now, this goes for pre-trip and on your trip. (long term particularly). It is an age-old rule. Pick those who lift you up, not bring you down.
Hang around people with confidence, watch how they deal with certain situations and pick their brains. If you feel comfortable, let them know you want to be more confident, talk to them. They can help.
Stop doubting yourself
If you are going to doubt yourself with no intentions of proving that doubt wrong - Don't leave home. Don't bother. Doubting yourself happens more often than not. Changing that doubt is what matters.
Don't doubt what you say in a group of people right after or during saying it. People can see right through this.
Don't doubt the destination you are choosing. Why bother going there unless you are sure? It comes down to research, do your research to make sure you are happy with it and the safety etc.
As a general rule when you are doubting yourself: "Is this something I really wanted to say. Really believed in. Somewhere I really wanted to go." This don't question it.
If someone is giving you "bad vibes" - Well, are you the problem are you they? We are so quick to doubt ourselves and shun our confidence that we never really question who the problem is. When my flatmates heard I was going to Romania, I was greeted with "why the hell are you doing that!" I started to wonder if there was something I was missing, if I shouldn't go. Romania was one of my favourite trips. The problem wasn't with me; It was with them. Being so close minded.
When in a social situation the times you will have doubt is when you don't click with someone. My old work collegues were nice but when it was social drinks I always felt the outsider. I wondered if they just didn't like me. Why did I always feel ignored. Turns out, they were all sleeping with each other. I was the newbie and what did they need me for, they had their clicky group. But in honesty, this left me more time to meet new people and not feel ashamed the next day at work.
Sometimes you will get bad vibes or bad looks from someone you are talking to. This might just be a product of their social skills, shyness or lack of decent "human beingness" don't doubt yourself. Don't be taken aback - move on. Find who makes you feel good to be around.
Are you doubting yourself or is instincts coming into play? I'm sure you can see where I am going with this. If you can't fake the confidence in your own ability.... it won't arrive. If you don’t believe in yourself and don’t try then the confidence wont arrive either.
In conclusion
Most importantly! ALWAYS be unappologetically you!

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Dalat was my favourite place in Vietnam. I can still remember riding from Mui Ne, up to the cool beautiful, green rolling hills of Dalat countryside and into the stunning European looking city. It is so exhilarating. I don't know if that is simply because the temperature completely changes and suddenly you are no longer sweating at every hour of the day but you are cool and relaxed or if it is because of the complete change of scenery and general feel.

Why go to Dalat, Vietnam

Dalat is unlike anywhere else in Vietnam. Its Spring-like temperatures will be a much-needed break from tropical Vietnam. The cool air is welcomed, relieving you of the constant sweating Vietnam causes. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” you can smell and feel it in the air.

Dalat was built to be a resort by the French is the early 1900s so the architecture is not typically Vietnamese. The colonial heritage remains to make you feel like you are perhaps in Europe.

Dalat is surrounded by hills, pine forests, lakes and waterfalls. This makes it a stunning sight to see as you approach or leave Dalat but also makes exploring Dalat just as beautiful.

Whilst Dalat is not extremely off the beaten track, it isn’t quite as touristy as Hoi Ann, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh etc. Dalat is also a safe city for the female traveller.

Where to stay as a solo traveller in Dalat, Vietnam

Yes, you can stay in the famous crazy house. Do I recommend it? No, not really. Tourists walk all around the crazy house so you will never quite feel like you have privacy. Tourists will try and open the door to your room, despite the do not disturb signs. My advice - the craze of sleeping in the crazy house will dissolve. Visit it but stay in one of the cool hostels or cheap hotels below.

Looking to relax?

Check out The Lake House Dalat. You will feel at peace the moment you arrive. Located just outside of town, so best if you have your own transport. Located on the lake, it's the best place to calm down and relax. You will feel in complete harmony. The staff are friendly. I would recommend a stay for minimum 2 days to really get the most of this wonderful little gem. Click here to check out rates.

Looking to meet other travellers?

Hostels are always the best option for getting to get to know other travellers. Although, with Vietnams low prices it isn't necassary for the budget. Still, hostels can be a lot of fun and who doesn't want to save a few extra $$$

Tree House Hostel

The Tree House Hostel is a top rated hostel in Vietnam. Reviews talk strongly on the hoispitality and customer service that the Vietnamese do so well. Rates are low, location is good. The hostel has a garden and by the sounds of the reviews they are super helpful. Check out rates here.

What to do as a solo traveller in Dalat, Vietnam Mr Rots Secret Tour

This was my favourite thing to do in Dalat and a fantastic option for the solo traveller. I can’t tell you much about it cause it is a secret. Mr Rot himself is awesome! He will leave you in stitches with many laughs and also a lot of knowledge of Vietnamese culture. If you want to find out more about the tour, have a google, I'm sure you'll find out things but it's nice to have the surprise.

The tour is not the cheapest thing you can do. I had to make the choice between Mr Rots Secret Tour and Canyoning, both fantastic for the solo traveller. Both are a similar price with similar reviews. I think this depends on what you want out of it. The price is $35 USD so it isn't exactly a massive budget breaker but I was on a tight budget. I travel for culture and knowledge so I chose this tour. Very much worth the cost.

I won’t give anything more away. I will let you know that you will get to see bits of Dalat and its surroundings that you won't otherwise see. You can ask all the questions in the world about Vietnamese history and culture. If it is a unique experience you’re after then this is perfect. Do make sure that you get the correct Mr Rots Secret Tour as Mr Rot told me he has seen some copy cats popping up and sadly ruining his reputation. Be sure to email him on - mrrotsecrettour@gmail.com

Also, when reading reviews, don’t be confused between the tour and the hotel owned by Mr Rot and his family "Mr Rot Secret Hotel"  and Villa Pink House. (both have good reviews).

Mr Rots tour is done with a small tour group in a minibus that fits no more than about 10 (I think, from memory). This means its perfect for the solo traveller as you will meet other travellers. Especially since Mr Rot keeps the tour interesting, relaxed and fun. He provides plenty of chances for ice-breaking conversation with his humour.

The tour also includes the Elephant Waterfalls so don’t do this on your own if you wish to do this tour.

Don't research what goes on, just sign up and do it.

Check out the Crazy House

The Crazy House is a must do in Dalat. One of the most unique buildings in Vietnam. It will take you a few hours to get around and it is a lot of fun. There are many stairs and low railings and some crazy small fun details. Designed and constructed by Vietnamese architect Đặng Việt Nga. The architect takes inspiration from Gaudí, so if you have been to Barcelona and love his work then you’ll love the Crazy House. The main structure looks like a giant tree. It was designed to recreate nature. The philosophy is to create a space that connects humans to nature.

100 Roof Bar

It doesn’t matter if you are alone or with people, this is a must see! This bar is totally fine to go on your own because the chances of you lossing your friends is high anyways. If you loved the crazy house, the 100 roof bar is even better! Grab a drink and enter this amazing wonderland. Also known as the Maze Bar. You will get lost, be amazed and overwhelmed with everything there is to see. You will climb steep stairs and wonder if you missed something. The bar gets crowded, mostly on the balcony so come early so you can enjoy the fun.

The 100 roof bar is a not so obvious from the outside. It is tucked away a side street but when you make your way through the maze to the top, the views are stunning. There are multiple bars all the way up so as long as you can find them you can keep wetting your whistle.

Canyoning

Canyoning is perhaps the most popular thing to do in Dalat. It brings in the majority of tourist and there is a good reason for it. It’s a lot of fun! This is something you will do with small tour groups so it’s perfect for the solo traveller. As you stroll around the city you will see many tour companies offering canyoning and it can be overwhelming. Most of the tour companies are roughly the same price and offer the same things. The most highly recommended is Dalat Adventure Tours.

Waterfalls

Waterfalls are certainly something you can enjoy on your own. The easiest way to see the waterfalls is through the two tours mentioned above. The Elephant waterfall is covered with Mr Rots Secret tour and the Canyoning also covers waterfalls giving you the best way to see them. However, if you have your own transport and want to chill out by a waterfall, Dalat has several of them and they are all really easy to get to.

Take one of the best rides in the country

When in Vietnam, do like the locals and get on a "moto"

Perhaps you don't have the confidence or skills to get on two motorised wheels. Don't do it! It isn't safe. However, if you have your own 2 wheels and the skills, then go for it. As a solo traveller in Dalat, jumping on the back of a locals "moto" can be the best and most fun thing to do. Easy Rider is a popular company in Dalat and throughout Vietnam where locals take you on the back of their bike and show you around, the locals way. Be sure to check reviews and get the best company. This is also a company that is being "copycatted".

Other options would be to hire a bicycle best be prepared for some steep inclines. In my opinion, nothing does Dalat justice like a "moto"

Visit the French Quarter

I couldn't get enough of the French Quarter. The beautiful colonial houses are very striking. The huge gates, beautiful doors, unique colours, the unbelievable size of these houses if impressive. Riding around Dalat you will find plenty of these colonial houses. Infact, you will often see large and impressive colonial houses right next door to small shacks. I would stop the bike regularly to get out and take photos. Always being drawn to the beautiful doors and impressive small details.

When to go to Dalat, Vietnam

There are 2 main seasons : the dry season and wet season. The wet season starts from April to October, The dry season is from November to March. Whenever you arrive it will be a welcomed change from the heat.

Dalat is a popular honeymoon destination for the Vietnamese. It is also known as the Valley of love. Wedding season in Vietnam is from October to March. Also, try and avoid the Vietnamese Holiday dates as it will be hard to get accommodation unless you book ahead. I say this only because I didn’t book ahead and had some trouble. However, if you are a bit more prepared than me you won’t have any troubles.

What you need to eat

In the 3 months of travelling around Vietnam, there is one meal that stands out. On my way out from Dalat, I stumbled across an off-the-beaten-track place to eat the BEST Bún bò Huế I have ever had in my life. If you manage to get here please let me know your thoughts.  I think this will be the best meal in your life.

How to find the best Bún bò Huế in Vietnam

Sadly, I can't remember where excatly this was but my research has narrowed it down. I took a photo of the outside of the shop and across the road. However, the address is pictured on these images and subtile clues may help - Enjoy the hunt!

Links to bigger version of the images if you click on the images.

Dalat, Vietnam

Have you been to Dalat? What are your thoughts? Your Favorite things to do. Leave a comment or if you are a member of the female travel community, start a chat in the community board or use our forums to ask questions. Are you a female traveller? Join our travel community for women to chat all things travel and meet like-minded travel friends.

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The post Dalat, Vietnam for the solo traveller appeared first on She Roams Solo.

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She Roams Solo by She Roams Solo - 1M ago
Original Vintage Travel Posters

Blivingstons has an impressive, larger than life collection of original vintage travel posters. Robert professionally, digitally restores original travel destiantion posters from tourism offices, travel airlines and more. He has a passion for travel and vintage travel posters and sells these stunning posters for a very reasonable price.  He tells me a lot of people purchase vintage posters of their home country, not just their favourite destinations.

With over 7810 sales and 3665 admirers on just one of his stores, you can tell this Etsy store is a hidden gem.

Personally, I have fallen in love with the idea of a wall filled with these gorgeous, historic, original vintage destination posters.

Modern Vintage Inspired Travel Posters

Beautiful Vintage posters are without a doubt some stunning pieces of historic art work. But we live in the 21 century and if you desire a more modern take on the vintage posters perhaps some of these etsy stores are more suited to your tastes.

The traveler studio is a new store but has some beautiful posters. Andrew started his store because he needed some posters for his home and wanted to redesign some classic travel posters of the 60s and 70s but with a more actual aesthetic. A fusion between the classics and the new design. "Vintage with a design touch". These posters were successful among his friends, so he started designing new posters and the store was built.

Modern City Maps

House of Prints is a collection of classic prints that look beautiful in any room. The colour palette of the different cities means you can have multiple cities lined up (why not pin up every city you have been to).

House of Prints was born as the Tai is a passionate traveller and wanted to create something to evoke memories of her favourite places.

She started off gifting map prints to friends and family; a map print for her parents of their home town, map prints for her best friends featuring all the cities they travelled to together and a print of her sisters favourite city for her new home.

Excited by the personal touch of the prints - Perfect for anyone and any occasion. Soon enough friends and family started asking her to create prints for their friends and family – and so House of Prints was born!

Personalised Airport Tag Prints

YourUniquePrint has come up with a pretty cool little design. This poster would be amazing for making your first solo trip into a poster. Or to have a collection or every airport you have been to. Any airport you missed a flight perhaps, as a joke. Or simply give to travel buddies that you shared a trip with.

All prints are completley customisable. You choose from selected styles and add your Airport Code, City, Date, Passenger Name, Flight Number, Color and a Landmark.

From those details you have a really cool print of your destination. These posters are in a funky and unique style and will go well together as a feature wall of travel.

Water Colour Map Art

Water colour map art is very popular at the moment. ArtPrintZone has a great collection of watercolour world maps and city skylines. She has a selection of great collection of colour palletes and destinations. You will find singular country maps, World maps, and city skylines and can select the colour pallet too.

Woodprintz

The Etsy store Woodprintz produces quality maps and posters that look amazing! These don't just look like another printed poster, it is a hangup that screams "quality"

Vintage Maps

The Etsy store VintageImageryX is a wealth of beautifully framed vintage maps.

Put your USA Roadtrip on a Hexagon Print wall

The PrintedMarketplace have several really cool prints but the coolest of all would be the Hexagon prints of the USA maps. A great collectable for your road trip. Make a need wall of all the states/cities you have visited.

Woodprintz

The Etsy store Woodprintz produces quality maps and posters that look amazing! These don't just look like another printed poster, it is a hangup that screams "quality"

The post Travel Posters appeared first on She Roams Solo.

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