This summer I’m finally returning to Japan after two years! Because I have been doing a lot of planning, updating my Japan bucket list and just going through some of the amazing memories I had during my first visit, I thought it would be ideal to share some of this information with you. That’s why I have updated my old Japan bucket list post about Golden Pavilion aka one of the places in Japan that made the most lasting impression on me.
Like always all comments and questions are more than welcome. What are some of the things on your bucket list that you would love to revisit? I hope you enjoy!
Why should you add Kinkakuji to your bucket list?
Like I mentioned this temple is the place to take your best travel photos. Or well probably just that one photo with you standing in front of the water and golden building. If you are lucky there are no photobombing tourists next to you.
But in reality, I’m just kidding. The golden pavilion did impress me. I would not recommend it for you if it was just for that one selfie. I had never seen quite anything like Kinkakuji. Beautiful gold pavilion.
Today I’m going to introduce yet another Wanderlust Wednesday place based in Japan and Kyoto. This pavilion is mainly on my must recommended bucket list attractions because of its photogenic looks but also because of the amazing experience I had visiting there.
So let me make sure you will fall in love with Golden Pavilion and add it to your Japan bucket list! It may seem too expensive to visit and there isn’t a lot of things to see. However, if you want to brag in social media using amazing photos from your Japan trip this temple is the must place to go in Kyoto and take the new charming selfie…
Other Names: Kinkakuji
Where? Kyoto, Japan
How to get there? Direct buses leave from Kyoto Station
When to go? I think the prettiest times to visit are when there are autumn leaves. Kinkakuji is open from 9AM to…
Usually, we complain when facing too long travel times. 5 hours sitting on a train, 12 hours flight from Europe to the USA or cheap but forever long bus trip. First thing coming to your mind is probably torture. You can’t move or do anything. You just have to sit there in this small seat you get and wait for a long time so you can exit the vehicle in your dream destination.
I admit that if I can make a choice taking the longest route would be my pick but that doesn’t mean I hate long-distance flight or any form of long distance traveling. That’s why I decided that today I want to share 5 reasons I think that every once in a while all of us should sit alone in an airplane for hours. If you don’t think too much, it will be an amazing experience.
1. Get unplugged from the world
Okay, this isn’t as true anymore as it was about a year ago because most airplanes start to have wifi in them. But you can still do the choice to not use it and be unplugged during your long-distance flight. In the current world of social media and always being available being off the grid for hours is a luxury. No need to worry what everyone else is doing at the moment or telling everyone what you are experiencing. Just enjoy the moment and amazing views outside your window.
2. Read a book, watch a movie or just sleep
People often complain that there is nothing to do on long-distance trips. But I want to disagree! You can read a whole book during that time or even watch few movies. If you are a blogger like me, it’s a good moment to try to write some random posts ready beforehand. (Totally have never done that because I am lazy but in theory!) Most modern airplanes and even some of the cheaper options have movie screens.
In some cases, you have to share the screen with others and watch whatever the airline has decided but increasing amount of airplanes have gotten own screen for everyone. You may not believe me but the movies, music, audiobooks, games and TV series you can find are amazing! There is often some of the latest and hottest entertainment available. I can’t even remember all of the movies I have watched in airplanes but for example Wonder Woman, Now You See Me, Me Before You, Descendants, Tangled, Brave, and so many more!
3. You never know who you will meet
Sometimes long-distance flight will be like winning a lottery. And sometimes it’s like losing badly. You will never know who you will sit next to. Have I ever told about the time when I sat next to someone who told me that if the airplane dropped he had a parachute and the two of us would survive (I am low-key scared to death of flying so I was probably looking like the hell was breaking loose…) Also during my first solo trip flying from Finland to Japan, I met this super nice girl during layover who made me realize that maybe I truly could survive traveling alone in foreigner country.
Sharing armrest with someone for hours is a surprisingly intimate experience. Don’t be that annoying person who talks nonstop during the ten hours flight but you can always try to start a conversation. Every person has their own story and something new to teach you.
4. Get things done easily
You have a lot of time so why not to catch those undone things that have been waiting for too long! Those who are still at school like me can do their homework that they for some reason didn’t do before the trip and others can just plan their budget for the trip, work or really anything you can do sitting without internet. If are guidebook kind of person and not online travelers, sitting on a plane for a long time is also a perfect opportunity to plan your coming trip. One of the best tips I have for those who are a little late with their travel planning is to look through the destination introducing videos most long-distance planes nowadays have.
5. Dream eyes open (or closet)
Maybe it’s just me but there is nothing better than daydreaming for hours and napping in between. Stare out of the window or close your eyes and let your mind wander. What you want to do at the destination? What kind of dreams do you have? Or maybe you have had these amazing ideas lately you have wanted to think over? And you can always just create a million stories in your head during the flight. There is enough time to make your own mini-movie in your mind. But like I said maybe this is just my creative writer’s brain loving this? In that case, you can just sleep and try to prevent the lack of sleep caused by traveling.
Hello everyone! Look I didn’t have another few months break between the posts this time. Today’s post is a little different from my blogs usual style. What do you think? Some of you may know that I currently mostly work as (travel) content writer for other people. The style I use for those articles is starting to rub off on my own blog writing too. Maybe it’s a bad thing maybe not…
Like always any comments, feedback, and opinions are more than welcome. Next week I will be sharing photos from my Iceland trip with you but if you want early sneak peek check out my Instagram. And those who miss my random rambling should stalk my surprisingly active Twitter.
I hope you enjoyed this post!
Safe travels and merry Christmas,
Hello everyone! Because I suck at things related to cars (and planning) it’s good to have someone else to do it for me. After a long time I have guest post here my blog and Jonathan has written interesting article about road trip hacks and things everyone should remember when going for road trip. Enjoy his article and tell your own tips for road trips in the comments!
Road Trip Hacks
It’s a perfect season for planning a road trip with your friends and family. Being the adult in your family, a road trip allows you to go back to your childhood and refresh some memories spent with your siblings so you want the same for your children to make some beautiful and fun memories that they can relate to when they grow up. A road trip can be one of the most fun experience of your life only if you make it worthwhile.
You can make the road trip more joyous and lovable by being organized, efficient and less stressful if you get the hang of some clever road hacks to be used along with your journey. The road trip hacks can serve as the best tool to help you come out of the minor troubles and worries that you face during your journey and make it a memorable experience. This article will enlist some road trip hacks that will help you to enjoy your dream road trip with your friends and family.
Long road trips can be boring if you do not prepare for them beforehand. The best and easy way to kill the boredom is by watching your favorite movies or seasons on your tablet. Never watch movies, seasons or use your tablet while driving! If you don’t have navigator tablet or smartphone will be good replacement. However instead of holding the tablet in your hands you can hang it on your windscreen for easy viewing.
Investing in a travel size refrigerator will enable you to keep your food and beverages chilled, and you won’t have to waste your money and time into buying them. What else could be better than your favorite home food and chilled drinks that can keep your hunger and cravings for unhealthy food at bay?
Finding cheap and clean restrooms can be a daunting task because most of the public restrooms are in a very pathetic condition. You can find clean restrooms by installing different apps for your phone that would notify you when the next budget friendly clean restroom appears on the map. All thanks to the technology that has made things much easier than they were before.
There are also apps that help you to find the nearest stations offering fuel at a cheaper cost. This could prove to be a great tool when you are planning your trip on a budget.
Don’t forget to bring a multi-port charger as it will keep the batteries of all the travelers charged. Long road trips mean you are going to spend more time with your cell phone or tablet. You may use it for availing google maps service, using the camera to capture memories, listening to your favorite music or watching videos, all of this can drain your battery in the first phase of the journey. So if you are not prepared, you will have to spend rest of the journey without a mobile until you find a restroom/hotel to charge your device.
Bring your own blanket and soft pillow along with you. With so many people you can’t have the freedom to adjust the cooling to your comfort level, so if you feel cold, you can use your own blanket and pillow to rest your head on which would otherwise keep hitting the window and give you a headache.
Equip your car with an emergency tool kit to deal with any car related problem that you may face during a road trip. Also, it is recommended that you equip your car with the best alarm system to protect it from theft when you leave it in the parking lot or on the road side to discover new places.
About the Author:
Jonathan is an IT expert and a researcher. He is obsessed with cars and all the digital accessories. He regularly posts at www.sakerracing.com
Hello all fellow shy travelers! Today’s travel post is all for you. As totally introverted and socially awkward person traveling and especially hostel life may feel like a nightmare. You want to make new friends and learn about these amazing different cultures but something inside you just makes it impossible. With these tips you will be step closer to being that social traveler in hostel. (Or at least everyone will think that you are the social one…)
Of course anyone asking themselves the question ‘How to make friends in hostel?’ can follow my tips but these are made especially for all us shy people who wouldn’t usually start conversations with strangers.
Everything starts with a smile
Don’t laugh, it’s the truth! With smile you can go a long way making friends in hostel. If you look like you are having the best day of your life, other hostel guests will more likely begin chatting with you than if you are just sulking in the corner. Make eye contact (not too often that’s just creepy) and smile. They will probably answer to your smile and if you are lucky even start talking with you.
This usually works because there is two types of people in hostels. Those who want to talk for others and those who don’t. And then of course those subcategories for people who only talk for pretty girls, with the staff members or when they are intoxicated. So, when you smile people know that they can safely approach you and start talking. Soon you may find yourself with new friend!
Greet everyone always and everywhere
After smiling greeting other guests is the most important thing in making hostel friends if you ask from me. I have had many people starting interesting conversations with me after I have greeted them for a few mornings and evenings in row. Some people just take longer to warm up for you and greeting them every time you see them is good way to achieve just that.
In the other hand. It’s also the best way to make new friends on your first day in the hostel. And with the people who have just arrived to the hostel and are going to spend there their first night. You could call it the good first impression. You will snatch the best new hostel friends for yourself before they make friends with someone else and starting conversation with them will be harder.
Easy questions always work
The most usual way to start conversation with someone in hostel is to ask where they are from. You might think that asking persons name would be one of the first questions but surprisingly sometimes it may take hours of talking before thing like that comes up. Crazy, right? But if knowing someone’s name is important you can always tell the “by the way, my name is ____” and they will probably tell you theirs.
The beginning of conversation when making friends in hostel usually goes by asking and answering questions. You will get hold on to it quickly after making your first few hostel friends. Ask them about their home country, how long they are going to stay in the destination, where they are going next, where have they been before, what they know about your home country and even tips for some destination they have been before. After a while the conversation will start flowing on its own. So, don’t worry too much.
Pay attention to the small details
Paying attention to people around you is important part of making new hostel friends. Why? You may accidentally find reason to start conversation. I just recently talked a little with another hostel guest because we had identical laptops.
A few times I have made friends because I saw someone reading books, watching Youtube videos or talking with someone else about concert they have just been to. If you know something about the subject yourself, feel free to start conversation. “Excuse me, I could not hear you talking about being in the concert. You have good music taste, I love that band.” It may seem hard at first but after a while you will get used to it.
Ask help or offer help
You are sitting in your dorm room, new guests walks in and you greet them happily. They start searching for their bed but look a little bit confused by the numbering system of your room’s beds. You have been following them in the corner of your eyes while surfing on your computer. Then you ask if they need help and tell them where their bed is. They will probably thank you and you can introduce yourself and ask where they are from. After that it’s easy to start talking and if they don’t look too tired after traveling you can even tell them that you were just leaving to eat something and ask them to join you.
Asking help and offering help is easy way to break the ice and start new friendship with your fellow hostel guest. I think this is one of the most common ways of making friends in hostels.
Bride with food
You can’t get true friends with money but food is totally different subject. Some of the most interesting hostel friendships I have had have started with food. Recently in Bremen my dorm roommate made me breakfast because I woke up too late to eat it every morning. We talked a lot after that. During my Japan trip I made friends again and again with food. I especially remember the Halloween night when group of us ended up sharing candies to everyone and talked far into the night.
Everything starts from the common room
After long day adventuring around the new city you are probably ready for the bed. However staying unsocial in your dorm room means no easy friends for you. Buy food or snacks from convenience store, take book or computer with you and set towards the common room or kitchen area. Then just find nice spot for yourself with many seats around you and began your waiting. Eventually someone will start talking with you.
Just remember all the other tips I have shared. Remember to greet every guest arriving to the room. Usually if you greet someone and even more often if you are the only person in the room, they will ask would it be okay to sit with you. Then just start talking. Ask them where they are from and hope for the best.
The more the merrier
Don’t be scared of big groups. It’s more than normal for hostel friend groups grow uncontrollably. You may talk with one person, then third person starts talking with the two of your, fourth person asks if you know any good restaurants and you start all together planning meal together. Then a few hours later you will find yourself with six other hostel guests from too small restaurant for you all to fit in properly. Just normal hostel life…
So, be prepared to hang out in bigger groups and don’t be scared to start talking with people even if they are already with someone. And if you are asked to join group going out say yes! You can regret later and find stupid excuse to escape.
It will either work or not
In the end you can’t force hostel friendships and making friends in hostel is more about lucky than social skills. Sometimes you make too many friends to even remember their names and sometimes you will only smile for someone and that’s it. That happened for me in Sweden. During my stay I only talked about two sentences with my roommates and I never met anyone else in the hostel. Bad luck.
My last tip for making friends in hostel for shy people is to just go for it. At first it is hard but you will get used to it quickly. Always keep in mind that if you don’t want you don’t have to see anyone here ever again. Heck, they don’t even know your full name so they will never find you anywhere. You can make fool of yourself or be totally awkward without any consequences. Making friends in hostel is perfect way to learn social skills. Feel free to fail as many times as you need.
And that’s all I have to say now about making friends in hostel from the introvert’s point of view. Do you have any tips or tricks for making friends? Or maybe someone more social person would like to tell how they start the first conversation in hostel? Like always all comments are welcome and thanks or reading.
I get quite often asked for things to do in Finland and especially things to do in Finland during summer. So as promised here is list of 10 things you should do during summer in Finland. Some of these are more specific while others can be done almost anywhere.
Before listing all the things I have in mind I just want to mention that if you have only time to do one thing in Finland you should just walk around the nature and enjoy our fresh aired green forests. These tips are mostly something we locals do during summers. Totally normal for us but something foreigners may not try without encouragement. Enjoy and all Finns feel free to share your own tips on comments!
10. Day trip to Suomenlinna
Suomenlinna (Finland’s castle) is sea fortress and small island that is part of Finland’s capital Helsinki. If you are looking for perfect day trip destination in Finland, Suomenlinna is just perfect in every way. Idyllic small city, historic castle (that isn’t really castle but hey at least it sounds cool!) and of course perfect picnic spots with sea view. Lucky ones may even wave for cruise ships sailing right next to the island or take part to interesting events happening during summer.
Suomenlinna has earned its place on our ’10 Things To Do In Finland During Summer’ list. In addition to beautiful walking trails and cool cafes you can find handful of museums. If history isn’t your thing I recommend visiting toy museums. It’s not too expensive and I live for the small cafe they have. Try their matcha tea, I would die for it!
9. Free tours around churches
Finland has this thing called Roadside churches that are open every summer. Basically you can enter these churches freely during their opening times. There is usually guide who is ready to tell you about the church, Finnish culture and near by destinations. Even if you are not one to get interested about history, religion or things like that roadside churches are still fun places to take small break from your busy day.
I have myself worked in roadside church and I can tell you that it is definitely interesting place to visit. Finland has a little over 200 churches open every summer and visiting at least one of them is definitely must thing to do in Finland during summer. Because Christianity as religion has been in Finland for quite short time many of the roadside churches have many interesting stories (and not only religious ones) behind them.
8. Swim in lakes and visit Finnish sauna
You may have heard about Finnish saunas aka hot steamy rooms we go to relax. You should add this experience to your must to do things in Finland during summer list. When during winter we like to visit sauna and roll in snow afterwards, summers are dedicated for days on the beach. Colorful water toys, swimming in the still chilly lake water and then warming up in sauna. What would be better way to spend summer day in Finland?
As visitor in Finland you should look for the closest public sauna you can find. You can find them almost every city in Finland. Go there bravely and if you don’t know what to do you can always ask help from locals. In Helsinki good choice is sauna restaurant Löyly standing next to the ocean.
7. Visit outdoor museum
If you want short look to the way Finns used to live, local art or even have picnic among statues, find the closest outdoor museum. Because Finns love to spend our limited summer days outside outdoor and open-air museums are popular places to visit. In Helsinki Seurasaari Open-Air Museum is perfect example of traditional Finnish outdoor museum. Old buildings, people dressed in national costumes and of course cute animals. If statue parks are your thing, I have heard many good things about Parikkala’s Sculpture Park.
6. Colorful old towns
If you have been reading my blog for some time now, you may have realized that I am totally in love with old towns and colorful cities. That’s why my top 10 things to do in Finland during summer list wouldn’t be complete without sunny trip to pastel colored old town. Don’t get me wrong. These are good places to visit even at winter time but during summer Finnish old towns come to life. Small cafes, art galleries and of course locals having fun. My favorite ones are in Kokkola, Naantali and Mariehamn.
5. Day trip to Moominworld
Moomins are adorable fairy tale characters from Finland. These cuddly and friendly characters are well known from cartoons and comics. Every Finn knows them but surprisingly in the last few years Moomins have taken over Asia and more specifically Japan. Tourists around the world come to see Moomins in Finland but also locals love these characters. Most of us grew up watching these magical stories.
From pretty Finnish seaside city, Naantali, you can find theme park dedicated for Moomins. Moominworld is popular among local families and tourists. Even if you have never before heard about Moomins it is definitely worth of visit and good place to get know something more of Finnish culture. Remember to take bikinis with you because they also have idyllic beach!
4. Hike around national park
Nature and Finland walk hand in hand. There is only under 6 million of us but we have a lot of area. One of the best sides of Finnish national parks: you can go there, hike and use everything freely. Just respect the nature, don’t litter and keep on trails when asked to. All national parks in Finland have good hiking trails that are well taken care of. There is even outdoor toilets, places for campfires and shelters to sleep in.
So, how can you do your perfect overnight trip to Finnish nature? First get tent, or hammock, or just sleeping bag (because like I said there is shelters you can use for sleeping). Step two: go to internet, find the closest or the most interesting national park and get free map. And finally take bus or tax or lift to your destination. Then walk. That’s it. Easy, right?
3. Enjoy the sun with cold drink on terrace
Finns are known for heavy drinking but even if you are not one of those party animals drinking cold beer (or glass of fine wine) on sunny day while watching people passing by is almost perfect moment to have. It is something locals do. When it gets warm and days get longer every place from bars to restaurants and small cafes open their terraces. And at the same time those terraces get full of Finns enjoying our short summer warmth.
2. Crazy festivals
Because summers in Finland are short we love to enjoy them as well as we can. This is why visiting festival is one of my must to do things in Finland during summer. We have everything from music festivals with world class names to small village happenings with local musicians and events varying from family olympics to dance performances.
Maybe the most popular celebration of summer in Finland is for midsummer (juhannus). Midsummer fest is also event to celebrate our nightless night. Traditional ways to spent midsummer are burning a huge pile of branches, drinking and doing summer magic like try to find out your future husband through dream. Just find out from internet where the closest festival is and go. A little alcohol and warm summer day makes even us Finns friendly and talkative. You will fit in perfectly.
1. Enjoy peaceful Finnish summer cottage life
Maybe the most Finnish thing you can do here during summer is to spend weekend living in cottage. You will get bonus points if the cottage is next to lake, has wooden sauna and no water toilet. It’s like escape from city to just be peacefully with yourself, your friends and family. You can play traditional Finnish summer games like Mölkky, boot throwing and of course board games. There is nothing as atmospheric as playing game of Uno in candle light chocolate as price while listening radio.
Other important cottage (in Finnish ‘Mökki’) activities are swimming and eating. Barbecues are normal things and especially eating sausages and as dessert traditional Finnish pancakes made on campfire. But in reality there is no rules for cottage life. Just enjoy and have fun with your closest ones.
Have you any summery things to do in Finland you would like to recommend? All comments are welcome like always. It’s already June so I just want to wish good summer and happy holiday for everyone! And thank you for 2 000 readers. I don’t know what your are still doing here but you are highly appreciated. This writing thing would be super boring without you. 🙂