In Spain: Bilbao

I only spent a small amount of time in Bilbao but it was a really pretty city with lots of art. Bilbao was a small part of a northern Spanish road trip so here is a taste of what I saw.

Happy Travels!

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In Travel: 5 Reasons Why I Hated Amsterdam

I have been to five continents, 22 countries and I have only hated one place.

This will surprise some but I hated Amsterdam. The list is endless but I will try sum up the things I didn’t like.

We decided to go to Amsterdam as a layover back from Greece. Greece is one of my favourites, I would happily go back tomorrow but Amsterdam, very different story.

Flying Ants.

It was the summer and just my luck it was the few days when flying ants were plaguing the streets. Imagine having breakfast by a canal, a typical Amsterdam experience, when suddenly you see the air moving and fluttering. I cannot stand them, they are stupid and get everywhere, even in my orange juice that morning, I felt like tearing my skin off and ruining my breakfast didn’t help. It was vile.

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By Francisco Anzola (Amsterdam Canal) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Drugs

I don’t care if you want to get off your face, I will think you’re an idiot but I don’t really care. What I do mind, is seeing needles on the ground outside, seeing people off their heads in supermarkets and people starting fights in the street. It made me so uncomfortable. And no I wasn’t in the red light district for any of this, I was 15 and my father knows Amsterdam very well. He wouldn’t take his family to the sex district.

Trams

Why are they so close to the paths? Like do you realise people could step out to avoid another human and bam. Also that ding-ing really grates after a while.

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By Ilonamay (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Bicycles

Shut up with your bells, pedestrians need to cross the street too. I have always hated cyclists so a country celebrating bicycles isn’t really the country for me.

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By Alfredo Borba (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hotel

I can’t remember exactly what hotel we stayed at but it didn’t have any air conditioning. In the height of summer for your air conditioning to be broken isn’t ok. Me and my sister couldn’t sleep and decided to watch Monty Python, which was a lovely bonding moment but I’d rather the sleep.

Basically Amsterdam made me feel gross, angry, tired and so damn appreciative of my home. As we turned the corner in the taxi I started to quiet cry because it’s so nice having my home to go back to. Although the trip was a disaster it made me realise what I had.

It’s amazing what a bad hotel and bad atmosphere can do to your enjoyment of a city. I might go back one day but right now I have better places to go.

Happy Travels!

Goals for 2016

So I didn’t complete any of the goals I made last year but to be honest it doesn’t really matter. I completed 5 things off my bucket list last year which I love and I am already planning on so many more things for this year. So here are my goals for 2016.

Keep my job.

I really want to keep my job, I want to help more and work harder. It’s an amazing opportunity and I don’t want to waste a minute.

Do something new every month.

So I think this is pretty attainable and I already have two adventures planned. I cannot wait to share them with you. There is so much of Ireland I haven’t seen so I am very excited to see more of my own country!

Complete a pretentious monthly scrapbook.

This is where you vlog your month and make it into a video. I failed last year because I got really down during the year but I am determined to make it this year. I’m also determined to not give a crap talking to a camera in public.

Read 20 books, no really this time.

I put this on my list last year and I completely failed but I got so many books to go through and books I have borrowed so I need to read them and give them back!

Meet new people.

During the really difficult times this year I looked around and didn’t really have anyone to turn to (who was close to me) although I have people moving back, closer to me, yay, I think meeting new people is really really important, especially since I don’t work with people own age.

Keep going.

I have a habit of stopping when things get difficult or when I’m not perfect at something and that is the worst thing you could do so I want to keep going. Even if what I’m doing isn’t earth shatteringly good doesn’t mean I don’t have the potential to make great things.

Skydive.

I hope this goals stops rolling over every year and I am able to do it soon!

What do you have planned for your year? What are your goals?

Happy Travels!

2015 According To My Instagram

It’s that time again where we go through the year and see the ups and downs of the last 12 months. Check out my 2014 wrap up!  2015 was a great year, lets take a look. Jan

My first trip to Iceland. Words cannot describe how amazing this trip was. I went with my father, this meant I have now travelled with every member of my family alone and it’s pretty cool. Although we have travelled together for years it’s really interesting to see each member as an individual. Iceland in snow is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. This trip sparked a complete infatuation with Iceland and I vouched that I would be back sooner rather than later.

FebI went to a Google, Irish YouTube event. This really inspired me to create more content on YouTube and my channel. I wanted to make travel videos to go along with this blog. I have watched YouTube since 2007 and love the community and love watching content.

March April MaySo something very exciting happened in March, I gained new family members which was an amazing feeling and I am so so happy I got to be a part of it. In April, we lost a member of our family. It was a hard time but am so appreciative of peoples help and kindness. We also adopted Tiffin, the Beagle pup, we started out puppy training at the DSPCA in April and most of the month was training the pup and making her new life as wonderful as possible. In May something very wonderful happened in Ireland. We became the first country to pass same sex marriage by popular vote. I was so so proud of my country, amazing day. JuneJune is my birthday month. I had planned a trip away to Croatia with a couple of friends. I actually was travelling over my birthday. Plitvice was a place that had been on the bucket list for a long long time and I built the trip around this amazing park. Croatia was beautiful but I don’t think I want to spend another birthday away from the people that love me. I loved travelling around Croatia and I will be back one day to do one epic roadtrip.

July

I got to use my christmas present from my sister and have a falconry experience which was so so much fun! When I got back from Croatia I decided to do something that turned out to be a bad decision. I thought I could help, I thought I could do something but it’s not up to me to make a change. It basically went how it always did but this time I was strong enough to make the decision I should have made a long long time ago. Although this was a bad month I can look back now and see the good and I can see the bad but most importantly, I can see my worth and if someone can’t see that, then they don’t deserve me.augustAn amazing thing happened in August. I won a trip to Iceland!!! I was crying I was so happy. I decided to take my wonderful friend with me and we had such a good time! We walked around the city, we went to a Kings of Leon concert, we went puffin watching, we went on the golden circle tour, we debated about veganism. It was just awesome! I am so so glad I went with her. That is now two trips we have been on in two years! Woo! sepMy third time in Iceland! This month marked something very exciting, I was ticking off two things on my bucket list. Driving in another country and travelling solo. Iceland on my own time was incredible! I couldn’t recommend it enough, no tour busses, no set times, no limits to where you can stay.  It was such a good experience. I would do it over and over again. octnovBefore I left for Iceland, my parents said when I was back I needed to get a job, that was fine and I had been looking previously. Well it turns out luck was on my side because the day after I got back from Iceland I got myself a job. It’s really interesting and I am so excited for the business to succeed. It also means I get to work in the centre of the city which is really handy and will be great when one of my friends moves back into the city.   decDecember was a lot of fun but there was also a big shock to my household. It was scary and truly showed me what to be thankful for and what not to waste energy on. With that I booked my next adventure. Thinking that money can’t give you much sitting in an account, they adventure is priceless. Christmas was lovely, I got to spend it with my family and it was so relaxing. I got lovely things and was so happy to give people I care about the gifts they had wanted. I also spoiled myself a lot this month most notably in this shop so now I have to calm down and save for more adventures.

2015 had no where near as many downs as last year and that is so nice to say. I have learnt quite a lot about myself and others and it’s invaluable. I completed 5 things off my bucket list this year which is wonderful! I cannot wait for 2016 and to see where it takes me. There are a few goals I have for 2016 so they will be coming soon!

Lastly, thank you so much for reading my blog. I just want The Start and The Bean to be a resource for like minded people. Thank you! I hope your 2016 is fantastic!

Happy Travels!

In Ireland: Makers and Brothers

Makers and Brothers

You know when you find a shop that reflects the inside of your brain, well this is mine. It’s Irish, it’s family run and the products are beautiful!

Makers and Brothers is run by Jonathan and Mark Legge. They believe in simple, beautifully designed, practical crafts and design. There is a vast array of products from kitchen implements to clothes to children’s toys.

It’s is an online retailer but they do have a pop up shop in their Shed from time to time. It is two floors of amazing things I want to buy. I love simple design and the products they sell are good quality and beautifully crafted.

Even their displays are aesthetically pretty. They have really designed every inch of this space to show their creativity to the max.

There is also a coffee shop attached to the Shed. I definitely recommend their hot chocolate. Outside is decorated with a christmas tree and lights, again something that makes you feel like they made an incredible effort to have a space that is well thought out and reflected their attention to detail.

I couldn’t recommend this place more. Definitely visit their site and fall in love with everything like I have https://makersandbrothers.com/ or visit the pop up shop, all information is on their site.

Happy Travels!

In Life: I Miss You

I have been to 22 countries and most of them I have really loved seeing and am so happy I went but there are two that make my heart ache because I am not there constantly.

I have visited these in the past two years and I miss them so much.

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I was ridiculously excited to go to South Africa because I had wanted to see animals in the wild since I was 6. I didn’t think that this country would have such an impact on me but for the past year I have thought about South Africa every single day.

I miss the landscapes, the wildlife, the ocean, the mountains, the food (I really liked the food, my family are more fancy than me) I miss PicknPay and Woolworths, I miss the oranges, I miss seeing bakkies with a braai on the back. I miss the dry heat. I miss how blue the sky and sea were, sometimes split by green mountains.

I just miss it. A tiny piece of me was left there, I will be back to get it soon.

South Africa (1)

I have been to Iceland three times this year, have I mentioned that? Maybe just a little. I have completely fallen head over heels for this island. I love everything about this country (bar the tourists) It is small enough to drive around within a week but has so much to see and do that you’ll want to stay forever!

I miss the waterfalls and the mountains, I miss the glaciers and the snow. Driving for hours and hours, finding more and more beautiful things. Seeing black sand for the first time, watching the icebergs shift and move. Hearing a glacier creek. Sitting behind a waterfall for ages looking at how amazing it is. I even miss the small amount of food I ate in my crappy van, grape Appelsín, Floridana juice, donuts in every garage, hotdogs, bacon wrapped hotdogs! I ate very well on my travels!

I miss Iceland completely, utterly, totally. I will never be done exploring this incredible country!

It’s odd to feel this way about places but it’s also really nice to know I have found places that I will go back to over and over and still love them as much as the first time I went.

Is there a place that makes you feel like this? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Travels!