Hobbiton Set Tour // Matamata, New Zealand

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I decided last minute to take an adventure to the Hobbiton Movie Set, where both Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogy was filmed. I was beyond impressed with the tour of the set & its attention to detail. The movie set is in the middle of no where in the New Zealand countryside; the hills are filled with livestock and imagination.

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The tour itself was roughly two hours, and for what it gave it was pretty reasonable. The movie set is on private land so the only way to see it is by taking a tour. There is a Hobbiton shop and cafe on the outskirts of the private land, but dropping the money for the tour is worth every penny.

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I am not the biggest fan of the movies personally, but I still had a blast. I was ahead a good part of the tour group which never even saw the films (don’t worry i have), so I’ll take it. The scenery is honestly breathtaking in person.

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Everything on the set is real: all the plants, flowers, trees (except for one), etc. The tour is a walking tour around the perimeter of the set.

fun fact: the hobbit holes are scaled differently to give the viewer the idea that the hobbits are so short. Only one is scaled to be life-size at 100%.

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Some of the hobbit holes are fenced off, while others you could walk up to or even walk inside. Although, the indoor scenes were filmed in a studio in Wellington.

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Even after walking by 15-20 hobbit holes, each one is so different. Based on how high up on the hill you are, is how much your hole was worth. Different props are outside each one to specify what kind of hobbit would live there.

fun fact: some of the holes were built only to be featured in a distance in the background for 30 seconds, INSANE!!!

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I was so happy to find out that the time of year I went on a tour, was the perfect time. If you visit during the New Zealand summer, there is little time to stop and take lots of photos due to the influx of people taking the tours.

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I did the tour out of Rotorua (I have a whole post on things to do in Rotorua here). The tour included transportation to and from along with the walking tour. On the bus ride different behind the scene clips were played showcasing what went into making the Hobbit trilogy.

fun fact: the original Lord of the Rings set was taken down after the trilogy, and was made out of synthetic, plastic products. For the Hobbit trilogy, they took two years to rebuild the set on the same farm; that time they built it all to last for years to come, all real wood and products.

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At the end of the tour, is the trip to the Green Dragon. A glass of beer is included (3 different options), or juice, coffee and tea. There is a separate tour that includes an evening buffet inside. I am pretty sure I saw them sell small food items as well.

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The last stop before heading out is the gift shop! I overheard that there is more at this one than the one that is right off the property. Also, there is a gift shop in Rotorua where I caught my tour bus.

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Again, Peter Jackson’s (the director) attention to detail blew my mind.

fun fact: during filming, someone was hired to put laundry up on the lines every morning and take it down at night ONLY so it made footprint indents in the grass.

If you find yourself in the area, or are unsure if you’d enjoy it because you aren’t a hardcore fan, JUST DO IT!!!!!

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Question for you: if given the opportunity to go on the tour would you?

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

Top Coffee Spots in Dunedin, New Zealand

This is the post I have been the MOST excited to write and also the post that I kept putting off in case my ordering changed. PSA it changed just an hour ago and it is final (with the exception that I could discover new cafes here in Dunedin in the future).

ANYWAY! I’m excited, I hope you’re excited, I think all the local penguins are excited so that should give you the extra push to be pumped.

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The Fix

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15 Fredrick St. Dunedin

A cafe hidden on a side street not far from the University campus. They have a wide array of hot and iced drinks (my recent favorite is their iced coffee, the equivalent of an American iced latte)

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They have both indoor and an enclosed outdoor patio with ample seating. There is an outdoor heater and blankets scattered around so I am excited to take advantage of it when winter starts to pick up.

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{peep me}

GOOD, FREE WIFI! Just ask for the password and they’ll hook you up!

Another bonus (I’m just loading on the bonuses oops) is the food is really good and not that expensive. On top of that, there’s options to satisfy any dietary requirements/restrictions. Wait one more… there is a takeaway window facing the sidewalk so if you are running around like a crazy maniac but still want your fix (ha fix at the fix im so funny) then they have your back!!

I LOVE coming here to get some homework done or even just to sit and relax with friends.

Peep another gorgeous aesthetic.

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Oh, hey, did I say this is my favorite cafe in Dunedin? um, yes I did just say that.

so if you find yourself in the area it is not far from the Octagon, make the trip! & beware they have limited hours on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays  :///

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Morning Magpie

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46 Stuart Street, Dunedin

A cafe in between the Octagon and the railway station. A rustic feel with some homely antiques and art. It was the first coffee I got on my first morning in Dunedin and it did not disappoint. If you are after the perfect frothed milk, then this is your best bet.

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They do have food options but I sadly haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. There is wifi but the barista mentioned that sometimes its really slow, all depending on how many people are using it.

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What I appreciate most about the Magpie is how plain old cups don’t exist here. The pug cup up top is also from here WHICH IS SO EXCITING!


The Albion Cafe

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Albion Lane, 272 George Street, Dunedin

Hidden in a side alley surrounded by shops, one day I came across this gem. The baristas are the sweetest; although I’ve never had their sandwiches or baked goods, they are fresh every day and are proven to be popular. I love coming here for a quieter cafe vibe to focus on homework.

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There is wifi!!! the password is up on the menu board in case you’re curious.

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I wanted to stick to a top three, but decided I couldn’t leave this next one out. So, lets call this an honorable mention. here we go.

The Penguin Cafe

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1726 High Cliff road, Portobello, Dunedin

A cafe situated on the Otago Peninsula around 30 minutes drive or by bus outside Dunedin. Once again, a cafe with the sweetest baristas and great, fresh, reasonably priced food.

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Even if you aren’t a tourist (or trying to tell yourself that you’re past that phase), its a really fun cafe to look around at all the posters and brochures. There’s a bunch of maps and books on the local area as well to have a pop in to see.

aaaaaaand yes there are cute photos of penguins

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I had so much fun putting this together. I hope to put together more lists of things and places that I’ve found to be my favorite.

Shout out to those who are after the perfect cup of coffee, I hope you find it soon.

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

Brighton Beach – south of Dunedin, New Zealand

By living in Dunedin, New Zealand for the past three and a half weeks now, I’ve come to terms with how many beaches there are to explore. In my last post, I explored Tunnel Beach just north of my next destination: Brighton Beach.

Brighton is a small village around 45 minutes of a drive south of Dunedin. It was a gloomy Sunday night and my flatmates felt like exploring, so of course I was down.

When we arrived it was an eerie beach evening.

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Without coming to the realization that the sun was due to set soon, we all turned around in awe to see the colors peaking through (and of course the vibrancy only got better)!

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(peep an excited me)

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LOOK AT THOSE COLORS I’M IN SHOCK THAT IT ONLY GOT BETTER FRIENDS!

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I could not help but to continuously take panoramas, so enjoy.

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Visiting here for the first time during high tide, only gets me even more excited to return while its low tide; there were so many little rocks and islands to explore.

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Once the colors started to subside, the eeriness started to return (but with a more serene demeanor).

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What these pictures do not show, is how just after the sunset was in its full fiery, it started pouring (thanks new zealand 🙂


This country continues to surprise me every day. Some intense adventures are coming soon, like a road trip around the north island!!! Keep posted for more of my trips and adventures. This week I will be putting together a list of my favorite coffee spots throughout Dunedin, no I cannot contain my excitement.

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

Tunnel Beach – South of Dunedin, New Zealand

What makes this walk great, is you don’t have to dedicate more than a few hours to take in the views. It’s even more perfect if either of these criteria fit you:

  • you are short on time
  • you aren’t a very experienced hiker
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The walk both down and up is steep, so take it at your own pace. It is more common for people to visit Tunnel Beach when its low tide, but don’t neglect going if its high tide. I visited at high tide, and as you can see, it was still 100% spectacular.

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What I really appreciated about the area was:

there wasn’t just one place to take photos, or one view to admire.

Above is one of the views when reaching the bottom of the trail, from there you have a few options.

Man-made Tunnel

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In the 1870s, a man excavated a tunnel to reach a private beach so his family could be secluded in more privacy. (OOOOOOH)!!!

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The beach is filled with boulders and insane looking rocks & cliffs. It makes a lot of sense why someone would go through the trouble to build a tunnel to get here, the serenity.

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Mini Peninsula

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Head out a bit further along to the peninsula and see the waves crashing along the side and circumferential views of the coast.

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*peep the cheeky little seagull who decided to model for me*

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I plan to go back at low tide soon to see how much more beach and rock is exposed. If people are interested I could either update this post or do another post altogether.

I highly recommend making the pit stop if you are in the area. I did get there by car but there is the Dunedin bus system which has a few routes that stop not terribly far from the beach.


Anyone been to New Zealand and have recommendations for me??

Make sure to comment below if you do!!

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

Getting adjusted // living in New Zealand

Hello world,

Getting adjusted has been a bit more hectic than i anticipated. First off, jet lag hit me like a train my first week here: fever, nausea, the whole bit. DON’T WORRY I’M OKAY NOW!

Lectures have started this week and I am finding it a lot easier to get more of a routine down. I am finally picking up on a few things, while also still clueless on others.

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1. Dunedin is actually a city, not just a city-like town, but an actual city.

I have never lived in a city before. I’ve never had to wait endlessly to cross busy streets and had been able to walk to a large list of things in center city. To say the least, at first, it was out of my comfort zone. My first night in Dunedin I felt so out of place roaming George Street (one of the main streets), and deciding where to eat dinner. Over time I’ve left my denial behind that Dunedin IS A CITY! I guess in the states I am so used to areas calling themselves a city, when in reality they are far from it. Dunedin is a city, got it.

2. New Zealand is 120x more Eco-friendly than the US.

That could be an exaggeration, or possibly not. When first arriving in the Auckland airport, there were switches everywhere. Every single outlet has these switches and of course the first ones I managed to play with didn’t work no matter what I did with the switch. Slowly I am realizing that they make a lot of sense, and aren’t only a safety thing but an environmental thing (I have been ranting about this and other things on my twitter he he).

Every coffee I have purchased has either been in a biodegradable lid and cup, or compostable. It is also more common to see coffee shops to give discounts for bringing your own coffee cup or mug.

Reusable bags are more of a trend. Its not only better for the environment, but here they are a lot more common and people are accustomed to going out of their way to bring them places (maybe the states will get it eventually?).

3. Sheep run the country more than you think

Sheep are in charge more than I expected. Yes, sheep are common here no doubt. BUT a daily laugh I get from living in Dunedin is the massive trucks that drive through city filled with sheep. One of the main roads through the city is used as a highway for transporting sheep. HOW COMICAL IS THAT!!!!! My favorite is when a few stick their heads out to see what’s going on.

Yep, those are my three main surprises/shocks/fun adjustments I have made in the past week. Maybe one day I will catch on to Celsius, or the way the English I learned growing up is “American English” & not “English English”.

Nonetheless, New Zealand is continuing to excite me every day.

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

First full day exploring Dunedin, NZ

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Dunedin is the second- largest city in the south island of New Zealand. Dunedin is more urban than I expected; you can walk practically anywhere within the lines of the city.

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This past weekend, I had a jam packed day full of exploring around both Dunedin, and its’ surrounding areas.


  1. St. Clair Beach
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First stop is the ocean, are you surprised?

St. Clair is just south of Dunedin and is a popular surfing spot. There are some nice outdoor cafes, but the main draw is the ocean.

2. Sheep

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After a scenic drive on the Otago Peninsula, it was time to tack into a famous icon of New Zealand: sheep. I visited Nature’s Wonders, which offered a sheep sheering demonstration along with any facts you can imagine about wool and the sheep of the area.

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There also was a short herding demonstration.

3. 4-wheeler trek

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What’s awesome about the company mentioned above, is they offer packages where you can see the sheep demonstration and then hop on a 4-wheeler to trek down to sea level. As you can see, the views were green and gorgeous.

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The first official stop was at a Southern fur seal colony (they blend in so well)! Since the fur seal pups were so young, they weren’t daring enough to stray far from mom.

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top tip – If you plan it right, say two weeks from now, the pups are about the age where they get curious about humans and will come close for better viewing.


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(I apologize about the quality, I only had my phone on the tour)

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Next up, was to a beach untouched by humans for seventeen years. What I learned was how temperamental yellow eyed penguins are; if one feels they are unsafe or uncomfortable, their entire colony will flee the next day. A general example is blood or other samples were taken humanely from penguins for research, the next day the whole colony fled.

The yellow eyed penguins are known as one of the rarest penguins of the world; different factors play into their decreasing population, like disease and habitat degradation.

A vital tool in viewing the penguins, is doing it in a way that doesn’t break their trust.

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A tunnel and hidden viewing platform (under vegetation) was built to give both the yellow eyed penguins, and also the blue penguins (another species found here) enough room to do their own thing. Conservation is at its prime importance here in New Zealand, and it’s great.

My tour was able to see a yellow eyed penguin strolling on the beach.

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….but… the penguins have a ramp… for when they get curious…

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4. Signal Hill

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To get to the top you can either walk it, or drive it. This time it was by car, but next time I’m excited to walk up. Signal Hill is located just north of Dunedin and overlooks the Otago harbor. On top there is some parking and areas to picnic.

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5. Baldwin Street

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Known by the Guinness Book of World Records as the steepest street in the world (even beating San Francisco).

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It is an amusing tourist spot, which attracts many different kinds of people. Some walk it, some make it their work out, and some drive it. Those who drive usually are the ones with rental cars because the trek both up and down I would imagine isn’t great for your car… Also there is barely any room up top to turn around to go back down…. but your call!! While I was there, one group even did the drive two times….hm.

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More personal updates will be posted soon. I caught some sort of sickness while traveling, and with it being mixed with jet lag, it has required a longer adjusting period.

But nonetheless, a lot is to come!

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

Auckland Airport // tips and tricks

International Arrival

Departing my plane was normal; I went through customs once getting off, etc. BUT after, there was bio security which takes a lot more time than you’d think (even if you aren’t declaring anything). New Zealand is very keen on keeping the country of New Zealand free from unwanted diseases and pesticides, which is awesome (but does add another long line to wait in).


top tip – If you are arriving in Auckland from an international flight and you are not from Australia/New Zealand plan extra time (if possible) to prepare yourself for the wait!

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Domestic Transfer

To get from the international terminal to the domestic terminal, or vice versa, there’s two options: walk or take a free shuttle.


top tip – there is only a coffee shop and a to-go convenience store once you pass security in domestic! take advantage of the food court right before security (learn from my mistakes!)


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Shaky Isles Coffee Co.

If you do have time after security in the domestic terminal, check this coffee shop out (is it a chain? im new here….)

The aesthetic of this little shop in the airport takes the cake…

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…and so does their coffee. So thrilled to have experienced my first official New Zealand flat white here.

I apologize for the delayed post updates, it has been very hectic since I arrived in New Zealand. Be on the look out for everything to come!!!

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

reflecting on a plane

I took advantage of down time, casually reflecting on a flight to LAX.

Traveling is hard and stressful, no doubt about it. Security can take way too long but…. here I am!

It’s amazing how relaxing flights can be; once you’re in the air you don’t have much room to stress about what is going on down on land. It’s like I’m in my own corner of the world, just watching TV.

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…but I’m flying through the stratosphere. Weirdly, it makes the emotions and anxiety worth it, to have time like this.

Every flight is different: some are relieving but some are hell; the emotions range from time of day, to who you’re sitting around. Right now the key is hydration (no mater how in the mood I am for a coffee). I’ve had the most water I ever have on a flight (wooo!!!) and I have a carry on hand cream and all that jazz. If i can knock out some of the dehydration to come that’d be great, because to have anything on top of jet lag is not ideal.


Finally it’s starting to hit me where I’m going (see here). Look at me being so optimistic!!!!!! (when next, I have a 7 hour layover and three more flights)! Emotions are weird let me tell you!!!

question for you: How do you stay sane on a plane?

okie,

over & out

foot

traveling with anxiety

It took me a very long time to figure out what anxiety was, and if what i was feeling fit that.

I don’t want this to be a sad post, I want this to be helpful for anyone who may feel the same.

Traveling involves a lot of indirect trust and loss of control; there are a multitude of unknowns. We don’t know if our flight will actually be on time and if it will arrive the time it claims it will. We don’t know how long the airport lines will take, or if you have time to eat before boarding. As I prepare to head to the airport tomorrow, anxiety is subconsciously on my mind. A reoccurring theme for me, personally, is time.


main questions

the kinds of questions that are most common when I am anxious

+ what is going to happen if I don’t get there in 5 minutes? will the world end? something explodes?

+ what else could I be doing in that time I’m saving/losing? Is it productive?

+ but what do I gain from rushing around besides saving time?

side effects

physical & emotional results of my questions

+ come off as impatient or pissy, but depending on the anxiety it could be distracting/consuming as well

+ faster breathing & rushed heart beat

+ can be paralyzing; only focusing on what is making me anxious

coping mechanisms

ways that I try to ground myself

+ deep breathing

+ focus on something else (listen to music, watch something, etc.)

+ call/text someone

+ but if that is not possible, then write

+ helps piece thoughts together

+make sense of what is rational vs. irrational

+ self pep talk!

+words, phrases or songs that calm me

+ telling myself to calm down (in a way lightens my feelings and brings humor into it)

question for you: How do you cope with anxiety over things you can’t change?

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I leave for the airport TOMORROW! A lot of fresh content is coming your way!!

stay updated  —-> twitter —-> instagram —-> bloglovin

All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you (somehow hit 100 followers??? AHHH)!!

Lots of love,

foot

packing essentials i didn’t know i needed

Today I have officially made a dent in packing for my departure, (only took me a few weeks). Over time I have accumulated things that I originally didn’t realize they were essentials.

1.Fjallraven Kanken Mini Backpack

I have had my eyes on a new mini backpack for a while, and just recently got this one as a birthday present. I AM SO OBSESSED. I am not much of a purse/handbag user, so I rely more on backpacks to lug my belongings around. This time around, I was more after function over fashion and I’m so happy I was.

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For some reason, I am in love with the fact that the zipper is in the front of the big pocket, versus the middle like most backpacks. I feel it opens up the bag more, and structures it making it easier to bring around. This will be perfect for hikes, day trips, shopping, lounging, breathing…the whole bit!

2. Cord Wrap & Portable Charger

I came across this cord wrapper on etsy and am in love with the function and simplicity. Yes, I love cats, but also, this is my first cord wrapping experience and am already so relieved to have one.

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I have gone through a couple portable chargers over time but I never dropped the extra few dollars for a good quality one. I did get this as a gift (thanks mom!), so I didn’t have a chance to make up excuses; as in….. I will continue to use ones held together by duck tape.

3. Daily Planners

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Yes, I am so extra that this year I feel I need two instead of one. The bigger one I see myself using for more daily tasks: school work, errands, and small lists. I could go on for a bit about how grounded I feel once writing out little things I want to get done each day, even as a reminder. The smaller one is a moleskin, which I got as a present (thanks brother!). What I really appreciate about it, is in the beginning there are pages for international phone codes, and a map with all time zones. To have easy access to information like that, and also with it being visual, could come in handy! My moleskin I use for bigger dates, in-detail travel plans and also longer lists. Another pro, is with each weekly page is a whole empty page for notes.

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4. Journal

Let me tell you, I am SO late to the journal game.

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I decided not too long ago, to drop the money on a good quality journal that I would enjoy carrying around places. Barnes and Noble had so many fancy ones with the antique feel and FUN LATCHES so I was all for it.

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I see this journal full with endless possibilities. I like to jot down stories, blog post ideas or thoughts that are overwhelming my head that day. I am 100% a visual person and again, I am confused why it took me so long to get a journal.

5. An Eye Mask

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The trend only continues here: this was a gift (thanks megan!) & I’ve wanted one for a while. This one is so much more high tech than I would have gotten myself. It’s weighted a bit to help stay on my eyes, and block out light. I am excited to try this out especially on planes and see how it helps block out what is going on around me (also could be helpful during a little meditation). aaaaand its super soft!!!!

6. New Luggage Tagsimage11

Shout out again to my Mom, who is adorable and got me a set of luggage tags with marine mammals on them. In case you forgot, I am a marine biology major and am always rocking some seal/whale/sea otter merch (YAYYYY THE OCEAN)! These will make it so much easier to spot my luggage coming off the claim and they’re so much fun to look at.

7. Waterproof Phone caseimage10

I am an outdoor person; I like hiking, kayaking, being on boats for leisure and also my major. This is something I did not even think about but I know could be vital. I am also a prone klutz, who can be seen chucking their phone across the room without even realizing. This is perfect for that exact mix.

8. Life Strawimage9

Going alongside the waterproof case, it is better to be safe than sorry. A Life Straw instantly turns contaminated water into safe drinking water. Yet again, another birthday gift that will fit my needs abroad perfectly.

9. Packing Cubes

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I recently discovered these existed, and will update you on how they are put into use. A big pet peeve of mine is opening my suitcase and NEVER being able to find what I am looking for, or having to go through hell to get there.

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They seem really easy to manipulate and squish, so we shall see! Next post will be how these packs are used to organize this mess…..

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Stayed tuned as I am leaving in ONE WEEK AHHHHH!!!

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot
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