Posts Tagged With: vacation

What Are You Doing For Spring Break?

party

Kids around me seem to be talking about this more and more. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a spring break, but since I’m in grad school I’m hearing about everyday. Looking back at my undergrad days, I’ve come to realize that there are three things to do over spring break in college. For you college kids, whether you’ve already made plans or still contemplating what to do, here’s my take on the ways to enjoy spring break.

1. Traditional – This where college kids opt for a week of partying in Florida, Cabo San Lucas, Galveston, etc. For obvious reasons, it’s the most popular (I’ve gone this route a few times) and people seem to drop their jaws if you tell them you’re not opting for it over the break. But it’s not bad if you choose not to party over that week.

The Goods: You can let loose, meet lots of people and have one your most memorable moments in college. You might even meet your new “lovie”!

The Bads: It can leave your wallet a little light, and if you’re on financial aid or money is just too tight, this option might not be for you. It’s also not a good idea if you have a big assignment due right after, because you will not get any work done. Believe me, I’ve tried!

2. Alternative Break – My school is big on this. It’s where you spend a week doing community service as far away as Africa, or locally. You might spend a week helping out a community that is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

The Goods: Looks great on a resume, you’ll meet new friends, and you’ll giving back to the community, which fulfills the old “better to give than to receive.”

The Bads: This isn’t a vacation. You will be on a schedule the whole trip with very little free time. If you’re craving a break from having to be somewhere at a particular time, you may want to avoid this kind of trip.

3. Staying Home – Often referred to as “the last thing I wanna do”, and the least popular option. It’s where you sacrifice your spring break to get caught up on school work. If you’re taking 18 credit hours or more, this may be the only time that you can finally get your head above water. If you’re going to school away from home, here’s your chance to play tourist and explore your town or city (since you haven’t had the time prior).

The Goods: Get ahead on work, save some money, finish that project that’s due right after break – basically do whatever you need to do to save your GPA!

The Bads: Giving up spring break, and moping as you think about your friends having a blast somewhere hot and fun. Checking Facebook, Instagram, etc will be painful. At least you’ll be ahead of them academically, right?

There is no “right” option for spring break. It all depends on your financial situation, and what gets your engine going. I’m opting for staying home this break, as I have to work. You should, however, try all three options during the course of your college career. All three are rewarding, and will help you academically, professionally and socially. Whatever you’re doing this spring break, stay safe and enjoy every moment!

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , ,

Writing in the Summertime

Summer is practically here. Those lazy, hazy days when you want to be outdoors as much as possible. For many of us, summer is brief and the cold, long winter will be back before we know it. This is the time for that hard-earned vacation at the beach, cottage, whatever. But for us writers, we can’t take much of a vacation. Sure when it’s so nice out, the last place we want to be is cooped up in front of computer screen. I’m forced to be inside since it’s in the 100’s where I am at the moment. In order to get published, we need to write a little each day, rain or shine. This is even more critical for those that have to meet deadlines.

How can you write while still enjoying the warmth and beauty of summer? Here are few tips:

  • write outside – on your patio, balcony, a picnic table outside your workplace. Enjoying all of the sights and sounds of summer can actually get your creative juices going. You can even take your writing with you on vacation.
  • write for an hour in the early morning or late at night. This way you can still enjoy the outdoors during the day.
  • set yourself a minimum limit of words that you will write each day/week and stick to it. It is much easier to consistently write when you set realistic goals.
  • use the summer as a time to develop your characters and settings. They are less time-consuming and do not require as much work as a manuscript.

 

So don’t put your pad and paper away for the summer. Write a little bit each day, or a little bit each week. Any writing you do is better than putting it off until September.

Categories: Writing & Inspiration | Tags: , , ,

Tips for a great trip to Europe

 

Lisboa

 

Heading to Europe this summer? Ah the endless sites: Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Leaning Tower. And let’s not forget the countless art museums and gothic cathedrals. Then there’s riding on the gondolas in Venice, while being serenaded by that young man in the brim hat. The list goes on. Having lived in England and Spain myself, I’ve travelled around this wonderful continent. From Munich to Moscow; Barcelona to Belgrade. I could go on, but then you would likely get bored and skip reading. Europe is a grand place to see, but I’ve learned a thing or to about travelling there. Some the easy way and some…not so easy.

With all the excitement of looking forward to seeing new places and meeting new people, we often forget that we’re heading to a foreign land, where things are different from back home. There are many safety concerns there, which we don’t normally encounter at home. We also have to keep a few things in mind.

So whether it’s your first time in Europe, or a Euro veteran, try following these little tips:

  • learn some of the language (unless you’re only going to Britain and Ireland). Bring along a phrasebook, so that you’ll know the basics of the tongue of the place or places you’ll visit. I’ve found that the locals really appreciate it when you attempt to speak their language, even if it’s not great. Don’t assume that everyone speaks English in Europe, especially if you’re going to a small town.
  • Never pack everything in one back. Bring a money pouch, so you can store your passport, money and credit cards in. You can wear them around your neck or waist and are especially great when you’re travelling to Europe from home. My friend and I went to a restaurant in Barcelona, and while we were there her bag had been snatched. She had her passport, money and even her plane ticket in it. It was very difficult trying to get a new passport for her.
  • Make photocopies of your travel documents: passport, driver’s license etc. If you happen to have your passport stolen, having a photocopy makes replacing it at the embassy much easier.
  • Don’t stand out as a tourist. Many thieves can spot foreigners by the clothes they were. Most Europeans don’t wear baseball caps or flip-flops; they often dress as if they were going to a club. If you look more like a local, you’re less likely to not attract the attention of a thief
  • Remain alert in public places. Many thieves hang out in crowded markets, squares, subways, so be aware of your surroundings. Carry your backpack in front of you and never carry your wallet in your back pocket. Like I mentioned with my friend, if you eat a restaurant, keep your bags in between your legs. Better still, stick one leg through the strap. That way your stuff can’t be snatched without you seeing it.
  • Instead of eating all your meals at a restaurant, shop at a local grocery store or market. They are relatively cheap and you can experience some of the local food also.
  • Planning to visit the popular sites? Get out early, I’m talking between 8 and 9am. This is especially important if you’re going to London, Paris, Rome or Barcelona. I remember visiting Barcelona one weekend, and by 10am there was a mile-long lineup for everything!
  • Don’t pigeonhole things that are different. Yes, we live in a great country, and things are not quite the same in Europe. But just accept that. Many Europeans hate it when tourists criticize their lifestyle or economy. They also hate being reminded that they are in financial crisis. Remember, you’re a guest in their country.
  • Bring comfortable walking shoes; Europe is abound with cobblestone streets.
  • Take lots of pictures and enjoy every moment you’re there.

Wondering where to go in Europe? Here’s a list of my favorite cities:

  1. Madrid
  2. Dublin
  3. Lisbon
  4. Seville
  5. Munich

 

So I wish you happy travels. And one more thing: can you name the landmark in the above image and where it is?

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , ,

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