That day I got lost in the Bulgarian woods

We just hung up a bag of food in one of the nearby trees. Food, soap, shampoo: anything that smelled really! I remember from my trip to the USA a few years ago, that, if you are in bear-country, you’d better make sure to keep everything that could possible attract them, far away from you. And apparently, the Bulgarian Rhodope mountains, the place where we are stuck, is bear territory indeed. When setting off this morning the lady at the Chepelare tourist office warned us: “Be careful of Continue Reading

Those moments when travel goes horribly wrong

Aah, the joys of travelling: exploring new cities, meeting new people and the only thing you have to worry about is “where am I going to eat and sleep tonight?” But occasionally, travel goes wrong. These were some of those times: 1/ The car crash in Ireland I am sitting on a rock next to my tent in the small Irish village of Caherdaniel. Beside me is a police offer, trying to sort things out with the insurance company. How did I end up here? It all started the day before. I was driving the Continue Reading

The side effects of travel addiction

My name is Els and I have an addiction. I go to bed with it and it’s the first thing on my mind when I wake up. If I could program my dreams, it would hunt me in my sleep too! I have a “travel addiction”! “So, what’s so bad about it?” I hear you say. “There are worse addictions to be had!” Well of course there are and although it’s a very mild addiction, it does feel like a benign drug that comes with some unwanted side-effects: 1/ Lack of security Working 9 to 5 gives me a Continue Reading

Life as an expat: the good, the bad and the ugly!

It’s been over 5  years since I moved from Belgium to Northern Ireland. Although I like to think of myself as being “easily adaptable”, I must be honest and say that life as an expat hasn’t been and isn’t always easy. There are different phases every expat will go through and while the good definitely outweighs the bad, there are still a few things to consider. Expat life: the good! 1/ It broadens your mind Life as an expat means living in a culture that is different from Continue Reading

A tribute to the people I met on my travels!

One of the best parts of independent travel is the people you meet on the road! Connecting with people when travelling means a lot more to me than seeing the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. There’s so much you can learn from locals, they can show you so much more about their culture and country than any guide book or museum will ever do! I still recall the friendliness of the Scottish and Thai people I met, I can vividly (well, more or less) remember the drunken nights I spent with some Continue Reading

The 5 stages of expat life

Expat: the word always sounded kind of “exotic” to me. I admired the people who dared to leave everything behind to start a new life abroad. It never really occurred to me to follow in their footsteps, but after 2 ½ years of being in a  long distance relationship, it looked like the expat life was coming my way… In March 2013 I said goodbye to my friends, my family and my job to start a new life in Northern Ireland. Turns out the expat life is a life with ups and downs. Looking back and Continue Reading

Visiting the Oktoberfest: the atmosphere, the camaraderie and the beer!

We arrive at the Hackerbruecke hostel at 11am. The reception is full of people and empty beer cans, a forerunner of what awaits us a few miles further on the Theresienwiese. Two days of Oktoberfest in Munich, that is the plan. Hopefully. We didn’t make any reservations for the beer tents and apparently it’s a bank holiday in Germany. I heard many horror stories of people trying to get a spot in one of the beer tents, but without any luck… No time to waste then! After dropping Continue Reading