Irish back abortion reform - exit polls

Today we have a victory for human rights in Ireland. When women are able to make their own reproductive choices, we have greater equality for all people. And when medical laws aren’t written by politicians, fewer people will die as a result.

Thank you to the people of Ireland for voting to allow safe and legal abortion. And thank you especially to the Irish living abroad who returned home, often at great expense, to vote.

I wish the US were as progressive. Safe and legal abortion may seem widespread, but it’s actually very difficult for many low-income and rural women to access reproductive healthcare in our country. It seems like every day new laws are passed trying to restrict abortion access.

I’m a monthly donor to Planned Parenthood because I believe every woman deserves to have control over her own body. If you’re touched by the outcome in Ireland, I suggest you make a donation as well.

Right now I’m at the Traverse conference and my friend Kash (aka Budget Traveller) said something interesting. He does a lot of work with hostels and hostels often ask him how they can build more of a community atmosphere.

His answer? “Build a long table and put it in the middle of the room. Because EVERYTHING happens around that table. The relationships, the one-night stands, the babies. That table makes memories.”

It’s true. I still have friends whom I met on the other side of a table in the middle of a hostel.

What do you think?

Photos from Adventurous Kate's post

These are the cube houses of Rotterdam. How would you like to live in one of these?

Guys, I am so sleep-deprived and overly caffeinated right now (why do 5:30 PM flights from New York to Amsterdam exist? They land at 12:30 AM New York time and you’re supposed to pretend it’s morning!) but I made it to the Netherlands! I decided to take a quickie trip to Delft while my hotel room was being readied. Such a pretty town! And I had to get my favorite Dutch treat — a Stroopwafel!

It’s noon now and the Rotterdam Marriott Hotel has my room ready (LOVE when hotels pull strings to get you in early!). My goal is to stay awake until 10 PM, then I’m going to crash HARD.

In the meantime, I’ve had several coffees and spent the train rides grooving to Bruno Mars as much as possible without getting weird looks from my fellow passengers.

Also, I forgot how terrifying it is to cross the street in this country. You need to look out for BIKES and CARS and TRAMS and the bikes sneak up on you quickly and the trams sneak up on you silently and the cars go down tiny streets that I swore were too narrow for any car to fit but THEY SHOWED ME!

Oh man...the caffeine is hitting HARD.

I'm about to leave on my latest international trip!

Four days in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for Traverse 18. I might try to get to Delft for a bit on Friday since I just learned it's an only 18-minute train ride away!

One day in transit.

Five days in my mystery country -- as I've said before, it's not in Europe and is known for its cuisine. Some of you have guessed it but I'll reveal it when I arrive.

Four days in Cyprus, my final country in Europe! I've been working toward this achievement for YEARS! This is the only place where I have zero plans other than flying into Larnaca and out of Paphos.

An overnight in Amsterdam, then heading back home.

Solo Female Travel in New Orleans: How to Stay Safe and Have Fun!

You almost never see New Orleans recommended as a destination recommended to solo female travelers — but I’m here to change that. New Orleans is AWESOME solo — one of my favorites.

Here I share safety tips, and in my opinion, 95% of staying safe in New Orleans comes down to following one travel tip in particular.

I'm going to share an excerpt from a comment I just published because I think it's important for all of you to know.

"Not everyone likes every kind of post. In fact, no matter what kinds of posts I write, I get people who don’t like them.

I write a post about Thailand and people say, “Normal people can’t afford to fly to Thailand — can you write more about America?”

I write a post about Philadelphia and people say, “You’re writing too much about America lately — can you write about more international destinations?”

I write a personal post and people say, “Well, this is completely useless — how am I supposed to learn how to travel better from this?”

I write a monthly recap post and people say, “You only write these to brag about how much you read!”

I write an informational post and people say, “This is boring — I want to read more travel stories.”

But you know what? There are people who enjoy all of those categories. People who say, “I always look forward to your book recommendations!” and “I never thought of visiting Asheville before but you make it sound great!” and “This post is so helpful — I sent it to my husband so we can plan our trip to Italy!”

In short — nothing is for everyone. I have lots of bloggers whose work I love reading, but they often write posts that aren’t my jam. So I encourage you to do what I do — enjoy the posts you like. Politely ignore the ones you don’t. Appreciate that the person behind the blog you love is working like a madwoman to create original content for you to enjoy — and if she never made money from it, she would be working a full-time job and would have hardly any time to create that content for you."

In Odessa, Romance and Grandeur

One year ago today, I arrived in Odessa, Ukraine, for the first time. I fell in love with it in about ten minutes! Easily my favorite place I visited in 2017 and a gorgeous, underrated city I recommend to all of you.

Thanks for the memories, New Orleans. You are always a rollicking good time! One of my favorite cities for just hanging out and going wherever looks weird or interesting. And it’s confirmed — you CAN have an awesome time in this city as a solo female traveler! It just requires a bit more planning, and I plan to write about that in depth.

Heading back to New York for a few days — then off to the Netherlands on Wednesday! It’s a busy travel month!

LIVE from a kayak in the middle of a bayou!!

Happy Saturday from New Orleans — it’s Bayou Boogaloo time!

Every May, there’s a huge music festival here on the bayou. People get floats and drinks and spend the day out on the water while listening to bands! (Currently it’s a Latin version of “Careless Whisper.) There are also tons of booths by local artists. What an awesome way to spend a day with your friends.

A lot of people think New Orleans is all about Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest — but there are TONS of lesser-known festivals like this one throughout the year. The bonus of going somewhere like this is that it keeps away the amateurs (like the drunk out-of-towners on Bourbon Street) and focuses on locals. I feel like I’m the only non-local here!

How insane is this? I got my DNA results while I’m in New Orleans...and it shows that I’m Acadian. The Acadians settled in New Orleans. The word “Cajun” comes from “Acadian.”

OMG THIS TRIP HAS BEEN A FAMILY REUNION AND I HAD NO IDEA.

My results are crazy. I’ll write more on them at a later date.

Kate at 10:30 AM vs. 5:30 PM. This is your daily reminder to stay humble.

And ALWAYS pack an umbrella in New Orleans!

I was going home from the Garden District, but my Lyft driver kept missing my street and he wouldn’t drive down flooded streets. I gave up and walked home in a downpour, barefoot, in six-inch-deep water.

Oh well! It could have been much worse; I could have been stranded or on the hook for a $50 car ride. And I just made myself a reservation in front of the open kitchen at Meril’s, Emeril’s newest restaurant (named after his daughter...because of course Emeril named his daughter Meril, LOL). I’ve never eaten at one of his restaurants before!

Photos from Adventurous Kate's post

Perhaps my favorite neighborhood in New Orleans is Faubourg Marigny. I love the cute, colorful architectural details on the houses. And now I want a disco ball on my front porch! Have you been?

I’m not the biggest fan of banana desserts but I AM a fan of lighting things on fire!! 🍌🔥🍌🔥🍌🔥 Bananas Foster is a classic New Orleans dessert and I got to try it at the fabulous Arnaud's & the French 75 Bar last night.

Here’s the full video with skillful cooking from server Mary. And it was delicious!!

One of my absolute favorite things to eat: beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans! Warning: you WILL be covered in powdered sugar the rest of the day.

Ramadan Mubarak to my followers observing this year! I wish you a peaceful and meaningful month. ⭐️🌟✨

Tonight I tried some local oysters from Louisiana and Alabama — I’m pretty sure I’ve never had any from the Gulf Coast before.

My favorites? Murder Point.

My second favorites? Massacre Island.

Damn, New Orleans, you sure know how to name your oysters.

There are lots of good places for oysters here. I went to Seaworthy in the Ace Hotel, one of the newer places, and locals told me that this was their favorite oyster spot in town. Bonus — no tourist crowds!

Greetings from New Orleans! I’m here until Saturday! This is one of my favorite cities and I’m so happy to be back here.

Also, New Orleans is almost never mentioned as a destination for solo female travelers. I think mostly because people associate the city with partying. I hope to change that after this trip! You don’t have to party your face off to enjoy New Orleans. I’m hanging in the square listening to a brass band and it’s awesome!

And yes, it’s hot. 93 F/34C.

Best Day Trips from Florence, Italy

Guys, I'll be honest -- I worked so hard on this post, I thought I was bleeding from my eyes at one point. OH MY GOD IT TOOK SO LONG.

I enjoy writing huge, long, detailed posts on topics on which I'm an expert. And northern Italy is one of the areas where I have a TON of expertise. I lived in Florence for four months and I've traveled extensively all over northern Italy, especially in Tuscany, Umbria, and Emilia-Romagna.

The great thing is that these regions are all extremely day-trippable from Florence! In fact, there are so many awesome places to visit from Florence that you could literally set up accommodation in Florence for two weeks and just do day trips all over northern Italy. And thanks to the high-speed trains, you can even get to Milan and Venice and Rome in less than two hours!

I've chosen a day trip for every kind of personality here. Hardcore foodie? Bologna is your spot. Shakespeare superfan? Verona beckons you. Are you a devoted Catholic? You must visit Assisi. (Seriously. There's a trip for EVERYONE.)

If you have a loved one who is planning a trip to Italy soon, I'd love if you could send this post their way!

Have you been to Krakow, Poland? I think it's one of the most beautiful cities in Europe!

Here's my full photo essay of Krakow. Editing each photo was an absolute PLEASURE! http://www.adventurouskate.com/how-to-fall-in-love-with-krakow-in-30-steps/

I was literally brought two oysters and a glass of champagne for brunch this morning. If you know me in the least, you know I have ZERO problem with that!

Also on the menu at the Wylder Hotel Tilghman Island? Shrimp and grits, hush puppies, and the most amazing crab-stuffed deviled eggs.

Maryland may not technically be the south...but the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay is only four hours from NYC and full of southern dishes. I had no idea how kinda-southern it was here!

I’m from New England. We have a reputation for being among the colder people in a very warm country. While people of the Midwest and the South have reputations for being insanely friendly, it’s not the same in the northeast, particularly in cities. People tend to keep to themselves more and say hello if there’s a reason to say hello — like if you make eye contact.

I’m in Maryland — not the south, but people speak with the beginnings of a southern drawl. And when you pass someone on the street, they say hello to you. For no reason.

It makes me feel weird.

Then I feel guilty that I feel weird about it.

I find it easier in Finland, where people aggressively avoid making contact of any kind, or England, where people are terrified of conversation.

Good morning from Tilghman Island, Maryland! I’m spending the weekend here at the brand new Wylder Hotel Tilghman Island, which just opened 3 weeks ago.

It is SO NICE out here. Temps are around 73 F/20 C and sunny. Tilghman Island is a mecca for boating and fishing — but it’s even better for CHILLING OUT. Which is necessary when you live in a city as hectic as New York. And the Wylder Hotel has everything from hammocks to paddleboards to a saltwater pool.

Located on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay (aka not the Baltimore/DC side), Tilghman Island is actually a doable weekend trip from NYC. It’s a four-hour drive from northern New Jersey (rent a car there, it’s cheaper). And if you live around Philadelphia, Baltimore or DC, it’s even closer!

I’m excited to explore the area this afternoon. But it might take the jaws of life to remove me from this hammock!

So today I was at the gym and heard two women talking about how one of their daughters was going to Komodo Island on her honeymoon. Of course, I had to jump in and tell them about my shipwreck and travel safety and how above all, I recommend that people avoid traveling by boat at night in Indonesia.

Mother: "They're already there."

Me: "Oh."

Mother: "They've been out of contact."

Me: "Oh."

Mother: "They're traveling overnight on a dive boat."

Me: "...oh, I'm sure that's much safer than mine, I was really on more of a backpacker boat and dive boats are outfitted better--"

Mother: "BUT THEY LIKE TO SAVE MONEY!!! They probably took the cheap one!"

Me: 🤷🏼‍♀️

Lesson learned. Do not stick your nose in other people's business. You'll freak them out when they're already worried to begin with.

On the plus side, the super-intimidating-dancer-lady-with-the-awesome-arm-muscles whom I see all the time listened to the whole conversation with her mouth hanging open in shock. Success?

Springtime in New York. No other season is nearly as magical.

On Travel, Lost in Translation, and Park Hyatt Tokyo

I LOVE the movie Lost in Translation, so for the longest time, my #1 hotel dream was to stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. I finally made that dream happen in February.

It’s 10:00 PM and I’m sitting in a bar so familiar I swear I’ve been here before. Tiny pinpricks of light peek through the floor-to-ceiling windows, rooftops flashing bright red, the entire city of Tokyo before me. It’s one thing to know that Tokyo is the most populated city in the world (by metropolitan area, at least); it’s another to see it for yourself. All height and sprawl — the only city that comes close to it is Toronto.

No, I’m not drinking Suntory, toasting relaxing times. That would be far too heavy-handed. Instead I sip the Radio City, made with Grey Goose Earl Grey, pink peppercorn syrup, and soda. I smile at the irony of drinking cocktails named after Manhattan landmarks when my actual apartment lies in great proximity to them.

Three years ago today, I walked into a hostel in Flores, Guatemala...AND THERE WERE FIVE KITTENS. That was so awesome!!! (Don't ask me where the other three were. Maybe my backpack.)

I love when hostels have animals (especially the guesthouse in Colombia where there were several Boston terrier puppies peeing on a newspaper with Donald Trump on it). Have you met any cuddly friends on your travels?

25 Things I Learned the Hard Way While Traveling

I learned a LOT of things the hard way while traveling. Don't stay in a hotel next door to a mosque; it will wake you up daily before sunrise. Don't stay in a hostel with only one communal toilet; there is always one dude who sits on the toilet for hours. And be cautious hiking in altitude -- it will sap away every last bit of strength you have.

What did you learn the hard way?

One of my big projects this weekend was fixing up my post about the best kind of purses for travel. I wrote it four years ago and it’s always ranked well, but it could be a LOT better. I totally gutted it and made it a million times better, including picking out five affordable purses under $50 and five high-end purses $150-300 that are perfect for travel. Hope you enjoy it!

http://www.adventurouskate.com/finding-the-right-purse-for-travel/

AK Monthly Recap: April 2018

I’ve held back from writing about much personal stuff lately, but I have some happy news to share: this month I became an auntie for the first time ever!

No pics or details, because that sweet baby boy deserves privacy and is too young to consent to having his face posted all over Auntie Kate’s website. (Believe me, though, he’s a cutie pie and a half.) Instead, here I talk about the greatest gift self-employment has given me: the ability to be there for my loved ones during the most important times in their lives.

Introduction

Have you ever wanted to visit Iceland? Here’s an awesome opportunity: my friend Amanda from A Dangerous Business is running a tour to Iceland this September!

This Iceland tour will focus on the otherworldly landscapes and adventures of South Iceland. You’ll be chasing waterfalls, visiting black sand beaches, hiking on glaciers, and soaking in hidden hot springs. Amanda will also be there to help you get some great shots for Instagram, and to help you learn how to capture images of the Northern Lights (the timing of the tour is excellent for aurora sightings!).

Iceland is a truly spectacular destination — and not just for Instagram reasons. There’s nowhere in the world like it. You’re going to have the time of your life!

My literary goal this year is to read 25 books from countries whose authors I haven't read before. So far I've read nine. The good: I've broadened my perspectives significantly, which is the goal of this challenge. The bad: none of those nine books rank among my favorites of the 24 I've read so far this year.

Here's one problem: it seems like most of the books by African authors that get press in America are memoirs about war, genocide, violence, female genital mutilation, and other terrible things. There is SO MUCH MORE to Africa than war, but that's what gets attention internationally.

I want to read a book by an African author that is about JOY, not war. Do you have any suggestions? I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Nigeria-set books, but I'm looking for books by authors from African countries I haven't read -- that excludes Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt. And I definitely don't want books about white people visiting Africa.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

How to Plan a Day Trip from London to Paris

Is it worth visiting Paris for the day from London? HELL YES! As long as you follow my three most important pieces of advice:

1. Take the train. It’s far faster and more efficient than any other method of transportation.

2. Be realistic about how much you can include in a single day. Build your day around your two biggest Paris priorities.

3. Include downtime. That’s when Paris shows its magic.

Have you done a day trip to Paris from London? I want to hear your advice!

He mistook the island of Jersey for the state of New Jersey. So residents crowdfunded a visit for him - The Boston Globe

Well, this is my favorite story of the day. A guy from Massachusetts began lurking a Facebook group for the Isle of Jersey — and after he confessed and revealed himself as a Yank, they invited him to visit the island!

Things No One Tells You About the Blue Lagoon

It's amazing how Iceland has gone from a mostly unknown destination to a tourism juggernaut in just a few years. One factor is that lots of flights stop over in Reykjavik. If you end up in Iceland, don't forget to visit the Blue Lagoon! It's super-close to the airport so you can go even if you only have a layover.

The Funk Factor of Tirana, Albania

People always ask me for places where the tourists don't go. Well, how about Tirana? I've always been a huge Balkans fan but I was surprised at how much I loved Tirana! It's super weird and super cheap -- a great combination.

Is there a food that you suddenly started to like once you tried it in another country?

There's not much I won't eat, but I can't stand raw onions. Until I went to Bosnia and discovered ćevapčići. Pita bread with sausages and lots of raw onions. And you know what? Those raw onions were sensational!

Three Days in Bergen: The Perfect Introduction to Norway

Norway is the most expensive country in the world -- at least in my experience! But you know what? I went to Bergen for three days and it had everything -- a colorful city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, incredible views, gorgeous fjords, a train ride past waterfalls.

If you're intimidated about the prices of Norway, perhaps a three-day getaway to Bergen will satiate your curiosity without the financial pain of a longer trip!

Australian boy, 12, runs away to Bali using family credit card

"This is Peter McCallister -- the father. I'd like a hotel room, please. With an extra large bed, a TV, and one of those little refrigerators you need to open with a key....credit card, you got it."

Seven years ago I was convinced I had malaria, or maybe dengue fever. I was in Hanoi, had just spent a few weeks in the malarial zone of Laos, and I was burning up with fever, chills, and the worst sore throat.

I got tested. It wasn’t malaria, nor dengue — it was strep. And antibiotics quickly sorted me out, thankfully.

(Looking back, I am horrified by my behavior — I stayed in a $6 a night dorm when I was insanely ill, endangering everyone around me just so I could save money. Always have extra money tucked away for situations like this!!)

This weekend I got hit with strep for the first time since then — but I don’t remember it being this awful! I can barely get up and walk; the fever and chills cycled for days; even swallowing liquids feels like razor blades.

So yes — I’m still here, though I’ve been hiding from the internet the last few days. I’ll be back. But there is no way in hell I can work through this. I’ll throw up some old posts on social media for now; I’ll be back with new content hopefully in a few days!

Skyhour: The Best Way to Give Flights (Plus, GIVEAWAY!)

I'm giving away 10 hours of flying from Skyhour! Skyhour is a new company and I LOVE their concept -- you can buy hours of flying time for people, then they can redeem them for flights that take the same number of hours to get there. 5 skyhours gives you a five-hour flight ANYWHERE.

This is an awesome idea for wedding registries, graduations, and milestone birthdays. Imagine getting flight credits that you could use to go literally anywhere you wanted!

The Joys and Challenges of Traveling in Sicily

One of the most challenging places I've ever traveled is Sicily.

(SICILY?! Really? It's Italy. How hard can it be?)

Um...EXTREMELY HARD. And I say that as a person who visits Italy all the time, lived in Italy four months, and speaks basic Italian. If I'm an expert in traveling any one country, it's Italy -- but Sicily is so different from the mainland that I couldn't figure anything out!

The New York Times

Wow. This year’s Boston Marathon was among one of the most miserable Boston Marathons in history — cold, wet, and muddy (yes, muddy). But marathoners love hearing people think they’re crazy, so they kept going!

I enjoyed this read and thought you’d like it too.

We weren't supposed to visit Paradise Harbour -- we ended up there because Neko Harbour had too much ice. Well, I consider that one of the lucky breaks of our Antarctica trip because THIS PLACE WAS AWESOME.

Look at how calm that water is. Look at how it blends into the sky, just like Lake Ohrid in Macedonia. We kayaked into a natural amphitheater and let out a primal scream at the top of our lungs!

When I look back at my Antarctica trip with Quark Expeditions, those are the moments I remember the most. Not the flashiest or craziest moments, but just pure, bountiful happiness.

My Favorite Moments in Antarctica

You want more Antarctica? You've got more Antarctica!

I've already written about the big picture of the trip and how it changed me forever as a traveler. But what were the moments that truly took my breath away? The same kinds of moments that you could experience if you went? Here they are.

I am one lucky girl. On Thursday I got to see Hamilton on Broadway for the second time. Thanks to my friend Eric of Travel Babbo, who bought six tickets for his family of five and offered me the extra!

People always ask me for family travel recommendations, and though I don’t have kids, I read a lot of family travel blogs. What I love about Travel Babbo is that he takes his kids EVERYWHERE. Antarctica. Tokyo. The Maldives. And this summer, Greenland and India. How cool is that? If you have kids, it doesn’t have to be Disney-or-nothing for the next 18 years!

So thank you (publicly), Eric. I promised you a shout-out! 😉

Now — Hamilton the second time around. It was strange and surreal. I went in mostly blind the first time and it was an absolute RUSH. You can’t replicate that feeling. But it is an amazing show.

The most interesting thing is that it was so much funnier this time around. I felt like every character tried to put their own spin on the lines, and this especially shines through on the humor! (For example, Lin-Manuel Miranda sang the line, “Everything is legal in New Jersey,” in a matter-of-fact way, while current Hamilton Michael Luwoye sang the line with mock horror.)

I won’t lie — I missed most of the originals. But some of the current cast blew me away. None more so than Michael Luwoye as Hamilton (he was the original Hamilton in the touring cast, and he’s the first black actor to play Hamilton). Such gravitas. He wore every complicated emotion of Hamilton’s across his whole body. Amazing voice, whether speaking, singing or rapping. I would LOVE to see him perform Shakespeare someday. Maybe as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.

Two other standouts in the current cast are Anthony Lee Medina as Laurens/Philip and Joanna A. Jones as Peggy/Maria. Everyone is great — it’s the hottest show on Broadway — but those three captivated me. Sadly, James Monroe Iglehart was off that night but his understudy brought a LOT of camp to Jefferson.

Also, I left the show valuing Leslie Odom Jr., the original Aaron Burr, all the more. He brought such softness and nuance to a complicated role. (No disrespect to the current Burr at all — he was awesome!! He just didn’t have the same softness.)

Is it still worth seeing? HELL yeah. It inspires me to create more, to stand up for what’s right. I feel like it’s a bit of a Rorschach’s test. Everyone can relate to some aspects of Hamilton’s character. If you’re in New York, try your luck with the lottery every day that you’re here.

Here’s the post I wrote about my first time seeing Hamilton, two years ago with the original cast: http://www.adventurouskate.com/i-saw-hamilton-and-yes-it-really-is-that-great/

Actual email I just got in my inbox (paraphrased):

"Hi Kate, I was just reading your article about Krka National Park in Croatia and I thought your readers would be interested in an article about how to choose and buy the right chainsaw."

..........wha?

I mean, these "SEO consultants" email everyone blindly, but imagine if that had ACTUALLY been her train of thought. "Oh, you enjoy visiting national parks? Here's an article on chainsaws in case you want to cut down ALL the trees!"

100 Travel Tips for Croatia

"So, what's your favorite country?" It's hard to pick your favorite when you travel as much as I do, but the closest thing I have to a favorite country is Croatia. I adore it.

I also want more people to visit Croatia, especially Americans. In fact, it's such an easy place to travel that I think it would make a fabulous choice for a first trip to Europe.

So please enjoy my Croatia love...and a whopping 100 travel tips for visiting the country. I worked hard on this one!

Backpacking Southeast Asia vs. Backpacking Central America

I first backpacked Southeast Asia in 2010, when I was 26. I first backpacked Central America in 2015, when I was 30. These destinations have a LOT in common -- but the backpacking experience is very different in these two parts of the world.

Southeast Asia has better food and Central America has better music. ;-) But where else does it stack up?

Have you been to both? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Floradora Boutique

Looking for serviced accommodation London? We'd highly recommend this

Fraser Place

Looking for a winter holiday? Live it up in the lively French ski town of Val d'Isere with

Mark Warner