28 Oct Packing is HARD

[caption id="attachment_2145" align="aligncenter" width="300"] We've all been here, haven't we? Photo by Carly Peil[/caption] So, I can't be the only one who puts off packing for a big trip until the last minute. I read up on all the tips on Pinterest and watch countless videos about the best packing methods. Yet somehow, when I go to pack, I end up with a terribly heavy, overpacked suitcase and a stressed out mind. Packing is just hard, and it always sneaks up on me. I think packing, especially for a long trip, is different for each person and adventure--however, I do have some basic tips to offer! 1. Start early. Stop putting it off, okay? I know there's a lot to do in the weeks and days leading up to a trip, but if you start setting aside items a few weeks ahead of time then they are out of your way and you won't forget them. Keep a notebook with you and write down things you randomly remember you need to get or pack--don't just rely on your memory to keep track of it all, especially with all the other things you probably have on your plate with a big trip coming up. 2. They mean it...

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21 Oct “be here—“, a guest poem

[caption id="attachment_2148" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Photo by Bethany Rogers[/caption] Bethany Rogers is a Michigan native who enjoys coffee, traveling, running, the moon, wine and puns. Here, swoon at her poetry with me: be here -- "Let's get outta here," adventure cries, her scattered little soul dancing at the thought of new cities, new sights, new soil, keeping time with the waltz of her feet -- feet which have long since resigned to the familiar fatigue which exists only to one who chooses to recognize the similarities between 'lost' and 'found,' rather than the differences. "But remember that time...

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14 Oct Ah, nothing like Autumn in Prague

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” --L.M. Montgomery [caption id="attachment_2125" align="aligncenter" width="225"] My favorite season, Autumn, in one of my favorite cities, Prague. -- Photo by Carly Peil[/caption] I got into the great routine of running everyday while I was in Prague. I knew I wanted to spend as much time outside experiencing the city as I could, so I incorporated running into my everyday adventures--and oh what a difference it made. I was in Prague from the end of August to the beginning of December. So, I got to experience my very favorite season amidst castles and cobblestone streets. If there is one thing I know, it's that fall looks great on Prague. During the week, I would normally run after school. I would venture off to my favorite park--Letna. Since Letna was situated on the top of a hill, I would usually run through the city to the closest tram that would take me up the hill. From there I would run a loop that took me through tunnels of trees, past dog clubs and slack liners, amidst skaters and bikers, past the bum who lived under the tree, next to the beer garden, on top of one of the greatest views of the city, and back to my tram stop. It was the perfect little run--not too short or too long, and I could always extend or shorten it if I wanted. Somedays I...

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15 Sep Basic Study Abroad Questions: Answered!

[caption id="attachment_2180" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Have questions about study abroad? Here are some answers![/caption] After and during my study abroad last year, I was bombarded with questions--and I loved it! If helping people understand why and how they can study abroad will help them do it, by all means ask me questions for days. Here are some of your common questions, answered. 1. Why study abroad? Personally, I always knew I wanted to study abroad--it simply seemed appealing to me. Studying abroad allows you as a student to take advantage of being a student! Many things involving travel are cheaper as a student, and there are many, many scholarships exclusively for study abroad! You're also pretty free at this age, you know? Yeah, you have a family and friends and relationships and all that...

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10 Sep Unwinding While Traveling

[caption id="attachment_2183" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Take some time to unwind.[/caption] While many people travel for relaxation, the act of traveling can sometimes get stressful. Catching flights, buses, trains, boats, etc. Trying your best not to forget to pack something. Getting homesick. Getting lost. There are a handful of things that could go wrong...

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27 Aug Don’t be afraid to get lost, because you definitely will

[caption id="attachment_2190" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo by Carly Peil[/caption] I remember my jaw hitting the floor when I first laid eyes on the biking utopia that is Amsterdam. I blinked hard, knowing I had to be seeing things. I shook my head in true cartoon disbelief fashion and continued to stare, mouth agape, at such a wonder. Mind you, I arrived in Amsterdam around 6am and was entirely amazed by the handfuls of people cycling the bike lanes speeding to work or home or school--I had no idea what I was in for come mid afternoon the next day. I've always loved biking. Growing up in a rural area of Michigan I understood biking as riding around the country block no handed in the middle of the road at sunset, no cars in sight. You can imagine how I felt arriving in one of the most bike friendly cities in the world: Amsterdam. Fun fact: there are approximately 800,000 bikes in Amsterdam and nearly 63% of Amsterdammers use their bikes on a daily basis! Wow. Once, while on a walking tour in Amsterdam, my tour guide e told me that there are some 7,000 bikes fished from the canals each year, too! Double wow. Fear not, because you don't have to be a native Amsterdammer to experience this magnificent biking city for yourself. There are over 35 bike rental companies in Amsterdam-- so for a relatively inexpensive price, you can feel like a local for a few...

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12 Aug An Ode to Chacos

[caption id="attachment_2198" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Ah, Chacos. Although it is quite a feat (hah, get it?!) learning how to adjust the straps, once they're on you are golden.[/caption] If you are traveling in the near future, here is a lifesaving (more like foot saving) tip: do yourself a favor and invest in some Chacos. To express my love for the most comfortable, durable hiking / all adventure shoe, I wrote this little ode: Chacos, oh Chacos, the most comfortable of all To be worn in the spring, the summer or fall You can hike, you can bike, you can climb the rock wall Chacos, oh Chacos, the most comfortable of all You’re pricey, you are, but now I don’t mind After feeling your straps hug my feet—oh so kind Your designs they are solid, spotted or lined You’re pricey you are, but now I don’t mind We’ve been a few places, I’m sure there’ll be more Wherever we go, it isn’t a bore With you on my feet, walking is not a chore We’ve been a few places, I’m sure there’ll be more Oh Chacos, just listen, you’re special to me Each corner of the world I’m sure we will see From hiking to climbing to drinking some tea Chacos, just listen, you’re special to me Okay, but really. If you are looking for the most durable, comfortable, great sandal for travel—Chacos are for you. With Vibram rubber soles and the ingenius Chacos Z strap, your feet will be happy happy happy for your entire trip!...

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03 Aug Catch Her If You Can

[caption id="attachment_2201" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Do you choose to face the world?[/caption]  "I choose to face the world" is the motto of this confident, adventurous, inspiring young traveler, Kim Charters. Hailing from Bay City, Michigan, this 19 year old is taking on the world one country at a time--and usually by herself! Her most recent trip abroad included Norway, Germany and beyond. From sleeping on strangers' couches (don't worry, it's safe, you'll here more about it later!), to hiking 10 hours through Norwegian snow with a man and a dog she had just met the day before, to drinking countless liters of German beer and stomping on tables until she couldn't anymore in one of her favorite cities--Kim is a phenomenal, confident example of how to get the most out of your adventures! I've known Kim for a handful of years and she didn't mind answering a few questions for me. So, here is a piece of Kim's story, from her most recent adventures abroad. It is my hope that people like Kim can inspire other young travelers to JUST GO. So, tell me all you can about couch surfing! I am so interested in how it works, how safe you felt, what your hosts were like, what you did, etc. I want to let people know that it’s not unsafe or crazy or any of those other negative things that people assume. "Couchsurfing? Do you mean life-changing experience? So, you start off by going to couchsurfing.com, make...

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04 May Carry On Essentials – Don’t Get Carried Away!

We've all witnessed it: The gate agent calls Group 2. The young man (or woman) corrals their duffle bag and slings the strap diagonally across their body as the straps hold on for dear life - and subsequently make that squeaking noise that no one is able to find a solution for. Here comes the backpack - slung over the other shoulder. They're single-strappin' it like the first day of school in 1995. They don't stop there as they bend down, trying to grab their computer briefcase, as the aforementioned duffle and backpack slide from their shoulders - only to start the process over again.   We get it - you don't want the airline to lose your luggage; nor do you want to wait for you belongings at baggage claim. But remember, these are carry-ons! And regulations are pretty much the same on all airlines: one small roller bag (see airlines' specifications), one small duffle or backpack and one hand-held item (as in a small purse or table). Here's a tip to ensure that you don't lose your luggage and have room for your backpack in the overheads (best if it's a direct flight): Bring your one roller carry-on to the gate. Have the agent "gate check" your bag. They will offer to check it for free and bring it below to the luggage hold. The bag will be waiting for you upon arrival at either the gate (smaller vessels) or baggage claim...

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09 Nov Why NAFSA is worth it

[caption id="attachment_2318" align="alignnone" width="660"] Maps, the original travel inspiration.[/caption] My colleague Paul Green and I returned this morning from attending two regional international educators conferences; one in Champaign, Illinois, the other in Louisville, Kentucky. I had a great time. It’s like dating a great person but only going out once a year. NAFSA is to the international higher education field as Consumer Reports is to the homeowner/car owner/microwave purchaser. It has a mission of guiding us all in international higher education to a higher purpose. A purpose of connecting people with unique opportunities fostering debate and comradely in all aspects international education. NAFSA’s online resources of how best to prepare a student for life abroad and how better to work with faculty are quality publications and resources. Their “best practices” guidelines put organizations like Panrimo, parents of students, universities abroad, faculty and college administrators on the same page. And tips from colleagues in the field, great conversations over luncheons, and evenings during conferences when ties are loosened and high heels stepped out of—the human side of each person seen—is appreciated. Director of University Relations Tony@Panrimo.com...

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