June has been a crazy busy month. As this post is going live, I’m in Russia! And it’s late. Oops. I always try to publish recaps on the first of the month, but this time it just didn’t happen. I didn’t leave the UK for nearly all of June, barely left Yorkshire, and spent most of the time at home in York. I worked a lot, spent a lot of time on the blog, and a lot of time planning more travels—and of course, budgeting. But while June has been a month to prep and save for a big trip, July will definitely be exciting. Here’s what I got up to in June!
Where I Went
York, Manchester, Thornton-le-Dale, London (United Kingdom)
Finishing work. It has been a long, hard, stressful journey with work since I started in November. While I’ve been so grateful to have a full-time contract with benefits, the last few weeks of work were just really awful. While I don’t want to discuss it too much, I’ve had a lot of frustrations with senior management, and just with the toxic work environment in general. When my last day came, I was ready to move on.
Finalizing trip plans. I’ve spent so much time planning this trip, but it took quite a long time to actually plan and make all the reservations. Since getting the visa for Russia was the number one priority (read more here!), a lot of other bookings kind of fell to the side. It was definitely a good feeling to finish everything off and know where we’d be when.
Visiting Thornton-le-Dale and great hiking. Two weeks ago, I took a daytrip to Thornton-le-Dale, a charming and picturesque village in North Yorkshire. The place absolutely blew me away! I loved the cottages, the flowers, wading in the beck (stream), and more. I went hiking through Ellerburn Valley and Dalby Forest as well, which was also great. I really feel that a good, hard day of hiking is just good for the soul sometimes. And I also lucked out with absolutely beautiful weather for my daytrip!
The Roman Festival in York. It seems like ages ago already, but the first weekend of June was the Roman Festival in York! Roman legions took over the Museum Gardens in York, with military displays, a living history camp, parades through town, and more. It was such a cool thing, and again reminded me why I love living in York!
Fun times with friends. The weekend that I finished work saw me partying for most of the weekend (nursing a hangover for all the other parts) and just in general having a lot of fun with friends. I had a really nice group of friends from work come out for drinks to celebrate my last day, and it again reminded me just how grateful I am to have friends in York now. I also got to visit the York Dungeons, courtesy of one of my friends who works there, which was a total blast!
Finally publishing a big post. I’ve been working on a “how to save money for travel” post for (literally) years. So finally being able to publish it, all finalized in a good format, was just a really good moment. The post (unsurprisingly) got a ton of views, lots of reactions and comments on social media, and just in general I feel like a lot of people read it. And that’s always a good feeling. (You can read it here!)
The best kind of blog publicity: word of mouth. One of my good friends works for a travel agency, and she mentioned to me that she had shared one of my blog posts with her co-workers. What?!? It meant the world to me, not only that she reads my blog, but that she thought my blog was good enough to share with people who do travel stuff for a living!! I was really touched and it reminded me again that the best kind of publicity you can get isn’t from social media likes or clicks, but from real people sharing your stuff. It made my whole day/week/month.
The moment when I walked into Red Square and saw the onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral. It didn’t hit me until that moment, that I am actually going to Russia and in fact, I am actually in Russia. It was one of those feelings I’ll never forget.
Having to check a bag to Russia. Now, I’ve flown budget airlines for years and years—I know all the tricks to flying with hand luggage (carry-on only). I invented some of them. But all my savvy smarts failed me when I went to get a visa check (as a non-EU passport holder, most budget airlines require this) and the woman asked me to weigh my bags (something that has literally never happened ONCE in all of my budget airline flights). Apparently the limit for carry-on bags was 8kg—and my two backpacks combined had about 15kg. Adam’s was overweight too, so we ended up emptying my backpack into his, checking his backpack for £34, and then I panicked for the next 12 hours of transit that it wouldn’t come through in Moscow.
The backpack came through fine, and £34 isn’t too horrible of a price to pay—but when we got to the gate, they weren’t weighing anyone else’s hand luggage, and some people’s luggage was ridiculously over 8kg. I couldn’t help feeling a little discriminated against, since I wouldn’t have gone to the check-in desk in the first place, only because I needed a visa check as a non-EU citizen. I know I wasn’t complying with their carry-on regulations, but it just really fucking sucked. Especially since no one at the gate was getting screwed over like I was. Oh well.
Not being able to vote in the UK election. Only British citizens (and qualifying Commonwealth citizens) can vote in elections in the UK. So I wasn’t able to vote in the general election on June 8th, and it really, really sucked. I pay tax even though I have no access to public funds/benefits (and I paid for the NHS, my health insurance, through my visa), and not having a say in where my money goes and the leadership of the country where I live was tough. It was so frustrating and even worse when British people would tell me they weren’t voting (CHOOSING not to vote!). I would have given anything to be able to vote!!!!
Figuring out paperwork for my student loans. The majority of my student loans are federal loans, which is excellent because nearly all my loans have low (less than 5%) interest rates. But I had to submit my income to recertify my repayment plan, and let’s just say it was a bit of a nightmare. Considering that I make all my money in a different currency, have a foreign husband, and really can’t afford huge student loan payments right now, it was pretty stressful sorting out the forms and paperwork, letters from my employer, and currency conversion charts. I’m glad I have another year before I have to do it again.
Leaving my friends from work. I’ve been so blessed to fall into an amazing group of friends through my work. And on my last day, everyone who was on shift got together, and surprised me with a cake. Some people even gave me gifts, which was so sweet. I cried leaving work just because I will miss the people I work with so much. They have been there for me, day in and day out, on the good days and on the bad days, through everything in the past 7 months. Again, I am just so grateful to have made wonderful friends in York.
I tried to get through my huge backlog of posts this month. Unfortunately, I’m on the road with less time for blogging, so who knows what next month will look like! Here’s all the posts I published this month:
Chester: Northwest England’s Hidden Gem
On Returning to Russia
How to Get a Russia Tourist Visa in the UK
Instagram Top 3
The beautiful Lake Bled in Slovenia! 😍 I just barely escaped the rain this day, but the clouds made the photos even more dramatic. Definitely one of the most picturesque places I’ve visited! ✨ . . . . . #lakebled #bled #lakebledslovenia #bledcastle #bledlake #slovenia #slovenija #igslovenia #slovenia_ig #slovenia360 #sloveniawithlove #thisisslovenia #ifeelslovenia #loveslovenia #balkans #balkan #ig_balkan #europe #ig_europe #topeuropephoto #discovereurope #unlimitedeurope #beautifuldestinations #passionpassport #lpfanphoto #natgeotravelpic #bbctravel #amazingtravelbeauty #lonelyplanet #travelblogger
Next week I’m heading out on another big trip! ✈ And since I announced it, there’s been one question that has been repeated over and over: . “How can you afford to travel so much?”💰 . In the last two years since my college graduation, I estimate that I’ve saved somewhere between $12,000-$15,000 (probably closer to the 15k mark including my UK visa) and spent that money on travel. . No, my parents don’t pay for my travels, and no, I’m not secretly a millionaire. I’ve never earned a lot of money, and all my jobs have paid minimum wage or slightly higher. It hasn’t been easy. It’s been a lot of long shifts and sacrifices and hard work and relentless budgeting, both before a trip and on the road. But it has been so incredibly worth it. . . In my latest blog post I’m spilling my secrets and sharing my tips and tricks on how I’ve saved thousands of dollars to travel the world! ✨ . This blog post has been a long time coming. I hope you’ll read it (link in bio 😊) and maybe it will inspire you to make a travel dream a reality! . . Thanks so much to all of you for following me and coming away with me on my adventures! I can’t wait to share this next adventure with you ❤ . What tips do you have for saving money for travel?! 🌍 . . . . . #dubrovnik #croatia #dubrovnikcitywalls #dubrovnikoldtown #crostagram #hrvatska #croatia_photography #lovecroatia #discovercroatia #croatiafulloflife #dubrovnikonmymind #croatia_instagram #unlimitedcroatia #balkans #balkan #ig_balkan #ig_europe #discovering_europe #topeuropephoto #sheisnotlost #womenwhoexplore #dametraveler #wearetravelgirls #femmetravel #beautifuldestinations #lpfanphoto #lonelyplanet #passionpassport #bbctravel #natgeotravelpic
Have you ever traveled somewhere you didn’t really enjoy? You didn’t really mesh with or didn’t feel the vibe? ✈ . Despite these amazing views from the roof of the cathedral 😍 , I think Vienna is that place for me. . Even though the architecture (especially the palaces) was incredible, I just didn’t really enjoy my time there. I think part of it was that it was one of the most expensive stops on a very cheap trip. On top of that, I only had 2 days, so I felt constantly rushed and exhausted. I would love to go back someday and see if I’d feel differently! 😊 . . . . . #vienna #austria #wien #Österreich #vienna_city #viennanow #cityofvienna #igersvienna #wonderlustvienna #welovevienna #vienna_austria #1000thingsinvienna #visitvienna #visitaustria #ig_austria #loves_austria #discoveraustria #365austria #igersaustria #myaustria #bestofaustria #topeuropephoto #visiteurope #ig_europe #discovering_europe #bbctravel #natgeotravelpic #lpfanphoto #amazingtravelbeauty #passionpassport
Coming Up in July
July is a month full of travel as I continue on this big trip! I have a few more days in Moscow before heading to St. Petersburg for just over a week. From there, I have one day in Riga, Latvia, before heading to Minsk in Belarus for a few days. Then onto Kiev (Ukraine), Chisinau (Moldova), and I’ll be ending the month in Romania. Six countries in one month! Wow!
What have you been up to in June? Any plans for July?!