Celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Scotland

I decided to spend New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, Scotland before I knew it was the site of one of the biggest New Year celebrations in the world—and learning that it was made me more excited, and nervous, than ever.

Hogmanay is the Scottish equivalent of Christmas anywhere else—it’s the holiday where they go all out. The event has historical roots, but what it means today, if you find yourself in Scotland for the New Year, is street parties, drinking, dancing, and enthusiastically ringing in the New Year in camaraderie with the rest of the country. While there are events and parties in other Scottish towns, Edinburgh is the place to be when the new year rolls in.

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How to make a complicated travel itinerary without going crazy

After exams ended during my semester abroad, a few friends and I set out on a speedy tour of the English Peak and Lake Districts. They had made most of the plans, so I just tagged along. We never stayed too long in one town; we bounced around to different cities every other day in order to squeeze everything we wanted to see into the space of a week. The many train and bus rides and hotel check-ins and hauling all our luggage around with us got a little chaotic at times, but I loved the nomadic feeling of waking up to an unfamiliar landscape every morning, long journeys through the countryside, and seeing so much in a small amount of time.

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Tips for travel hygiene

Why I stopped washing my hair

Travel hygiene

I stopped using shampoo and conditioner for a while when I was studying abroad and then permanently on my most recent trip to the UK. Over time, the “water-only” method trains your hair to produce less oil and stay clean longer. I already wanted to try it, and traveling provided a good opportunity because I was spending extended time alone; I wanted to be more flexible with where and when I showered as I bounced around to new towns and hostels almost every day; and my top priority was packing light.

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Bristol

Five less touristy places to visit in the UK

Before studying abroad in England, my knowledge of UK tourist locations was pretty limited. Everyone knows London, of course, and I also had Oxford on my list. But while I have a few English major friends who have been to Scotland, almost no one back home really talks about Scotland or goes there just for the sake of going there, much less Wales or northern England.

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Llandudno, Wales

An Ode to Wales

Written on the train from Bristol to Cardiff on a warm twilight in May.

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