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For the Love of Travel Series- Lily from Lily Wanderlust (Guest Post)

Lily in Ghent

Today, I bring you a post from one of my best friends, not just in my expat life, but in life in general. Lily of Lily Wanderlust. After all, it isn't many people you down two bottles of wine with over lunch the first time you meet them. I could go on and on about how awesome she is, but I think it might be best for me to just let her speak for herself. Here it goes. 

Tell us a bit about you.

Hi there, Georgia Peach Abroad readers! I’m Lily, an expat blogger and friend of Kaitlin’s here in the Netherlands. Amsterdam has been my home for the most part since 2009 when I moved here on the fly to work as an au pair and in that time, serendipity brought my Dutchman and I together and now we live along the canals.

Where are you right now?

Keying in tonight at home in Amsterdam.

Where did you grow up?

My early years were spent outside of Chicago, so my roots are Midwestern but my formative years were spent in Central Florida which explains my penchant for southern charm, bluegrass tunes and a constant craving for sunshine! My mom is a flight attendant, so it’s no surprise my first passport was issues at only a few months old and every holiday from school was spent in a different corner of the world! I’ve been to 35 countries so far and plan to keep that list growing. My mom definitely instilled an appreciation for cultures and globetrotting. 

What is your favorite destination and why?

My current favorite is South Africa! I honestly had no idea what to expect before spending three weeks trekking around on safari in Kruger Park and road tripping along the Garden Route with my mom. Aside from the friendly, interesting people of South Africa, learning about nature on safari and exploring a completely new side of the world, there's just so much to learn about yourself and others while traveling through new places! 

What is your least favorite destination and why?

You’ve got me racking my brain trying to think up a place that I’d probably never return to again and I can’t think of any! In my experience, every location has its perks and disappointments and every adventure comes with a lot of laughs and a few tears of frustration. Although, I will admit that studying abroad in China made me lose all appetite for their cuisine, sadly.

What is your favorite vacation memory?

In January, I spent a few weeks back home in Florida. It’s my current favorite for the great memories I made catching up with hometown friends. Most afternoons were spent relaxing in the sunshine so this wasn’t what I’d consider wild traveling, just a (well needed) holiday. Spending cozy, quality time with my amazingly sharp 95-year-old Granny was a big part of my trip home as well. 

What is your profession and do you ever travel for business?

I split my week between an English language preschool and working as the Lifestyle Editor forIamExpat.nl a media platform for, you guessed it- internationals in the Netherlands. You could say I’m very immersed in the expat community here in Amsterdam, which makes sense since culture and creativity are two important aspects in both positions. Engaging with other’s who are living overseas is great and after going through so many up’s and down’s in my own expat experience it feels good to help other’s find new ways to settling into life abroad.  I’d love a job that requires more travel and still haven’t given up on my mom’s dream for me to join a flight crew! At the moment, any travel for work is within the Netherlands and usually related to international community events.

How do you pack and do you have any items that you have to take with your?

I’m definitely a light packer- that is, unless I’m heading back from America with a suitcase of my favorite bits from home (especially hot sauce, sour patch kids and beef jerky for my Dutchman). For trips two weeks and under day backpack and a purse fits enough. This backpack and sleeping bag have been to a few different continents with me and I recommend both!

Clothes always flex with location but I’m a casual traveler. Mix and match outfits work great and save space. In my experience, long skirts, a jean jacket and a multi purpose scarves can go a long way with the right clothing combinations. 

At least one camera is always on hand while traveling! I use the Cannon Powershot G series, my Iphone 4s and on occasion one of my 35mm cameras like an old Nikon or Holga or FishEye. Capturing special moments while traveling make the best souvenirs. 

My must-have list includes: an mask, q-tips, rosebud salve, baby wipes, mini first aid kit and a good book. Any favorite things usually end up staying tucked inside and ready for the next trip! You can read about how I packed for safari in Kruger Park here.

Do you have any trips planned for the future?

One of my best friends from back home is visiting me in Amsterdam (this week!) and we’re heading off for a few days in Paris together! It’s her first time in Europe and I can’t wait to her around Amsterdam! Plus, I haven’t been in Paris in years so there’s a lot to look forward too.

How do you plan your trips?

Planning trips is one of my favorite hobbies! Not just for the anticipating and curiosity that comes with discovering a new place but also because I genuinely really, really, enjoy research and planning! I like to pick my top 5 - 10 spots to check out (museums, festivals, monuments, eateries, etc…) and the adventure comes along with trying to navigate your way there- I love maps and navigation, getting lost is half the adventure!

What is your dream vacation?

South East Asia  and India are both high on my list for my next big trip. My Dutchman has visited multiple times and a slight hint of envy always strikes when he talks about how amazing his adventures were! Visiting India has always been a dream and after this much time spent in Holland I’ll take as much sunshine and warmth as I can get!

What kind of traveler are you? 

Budget travel is definitely a preference, along with discovering places off the beaten path and supporting the local businesses and artisans. Growing up, my mom and I made it all over the world with a rental car and an overly examined map and that’s still how I tend to travel today. A lot of our favorite adventures came along whilst trying to get to ‘our final destination’ (isn’t that what they all say?) For suggestions, my travel favorites are Lonely PlanetSpotted by Locals and Couchsurfing. Of course, if you have any connection to a local (through friends or family) then it’s great to get in touch and hear tips from locals.

After finishing university I spent 6 weeks backpacking and couch surfing around Scandinavia with a childhood friend. We made it all the up to the Arctic Circle of Finland for a friend’s summer wedding and also celebrated Swedish midsummer in the countryside in an adorable farm house stuffed full of Couchsurfers! That was such a random and memorable travel moments!

My personal blog is www.lilywanderlust.com,  a lifestyle blog about everyday adventures of life in Amsterdam. You can also find me on instagrampinteresttwitter!

Thanks so much Lily! Check out her awesome pictures below. If you love her pictures or have any questions/comments drop them below. Also if you want to help a student out and be part of the series, drop me a line at GAPeachAbroad@gmail.com

South Africa

South Africa with a Cheetah

South Africa

China

Lily in China

Panda China

HollandDutch Canals

Sweden

Midsummer Sweden

Venice

St MarksB

 

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Berlin in a Blur-Sachsenhausen and East Side Gallery

I'm back babies! Berlin was crazy. I'm still processing it all. I'm not sure how I feel about the city. I'm going to wait to reserve judgment until I go back with my own agenda and not with my whole class. After all, there wasn't that much time to venture out and see the city on my own. But, I did have a lot of fun bonding with my classmates. I learned some interesting things and now we have some great catch phrases from the trip!  Oh, and that salt should never, ever, ever be put on pineapple!

Here is an overview of what I did.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp:

One's first introduction to a city should never be a negative one. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp was our first scheduled stop in Berlin. The camp is located in Oranienburg, just outside of Berlin and was first used an internment camp for political opponents of the Third Reich. It was then used during World War II as a concentration camp and housed the central administration for all Nazi concentration camps. Finally, it was used as a Soviet Special Camp. That is a lot of evil for one place. This was my first experience to a concentration camp and it really moved me. One of the most shocking things for me was the proximity of houses to the camp today and in the past. It is shocking that people could live so close and turn a blind eye to such atrocities. Our guides at Sachsenhausen were really top notch, especially Sophia, who really made her love of history come alive.

sachsenhausen concentration camp trees

Sachsenhausen tree

East Side Gallery:

By far my favorite thing in Berlin. This part of the wall is filled with art, and inspirational messages from all over the world. I took a ton of photos! I love that something so negative as the Berlin Wall has been given new life as something beautiful. Unfortunately, this outside gallery and monumental piece of World History is supposed to have parts of it torn down to make way for a high rise. This breaks my heart. While we were there, students were making films about why the East Side Gallery should remain. Just days before, there was a protest of thousands to save the Wall. I encourage all of you to sign this petition to support the East Side Gallery

Fuck You

Trabi Car

Tomorrow I have another lovely guest post for you and then it is more about Berlin! 

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I'm Heading to Berlin and ITB in March!

You guys, I am so excited to tell you that I am going to be in Berlin from March 6th to 10th! I'm going with my university. It will be my first time in the city, my first time staying in a hostel (I'm so sorry roomies, I snore), and my first time going to a travel industry event! I'll be at ITB, which is the largest show in the travel/tourism industry on the 9th. I'm really looking forward to the networking opportunities, so if you are going let me know! 

 

I must confess, my knowledge of the city is strictly limited to WW2, the fall of the Wall, and watching Cabaret. I also know that everyone I know who has been loved it and that there is something called Museum Island. Since, I am going with my university, there are a lot of preplanned activities but there is a lot of free time as well. So, I want to know, what do you love about Berlin? 

Flickr Image:  Some rights reserved by korbatz

 

 

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The Kaiserslautern Fountain

Back in August, my mom and I went to Germany to visit some longtime family friends. You might recall our bus tour in Frankfurt. Most of our time however was spent in Otterbauch, Otterburg, and the larger town of Kaiserslautern. 

Kaiserslautern is a charming town in Rhineland and is located on the edge of the Palatinate Forest. It was the favorite hunting spot of Holy Roman Empire of Frederick I who lived in the 1100's. Kaiserslautern is located on the Lauter river, hence the name. 

Nowadays, Kaiserslautern is home to 50,000 NATO employees. I want to show you more of this charming place, but today, I want to show you one of my favorite featured of the town. This lovely fountain is a representation of all the industries through out time that made Kaiserslautern thrive throughout its very long history. Check it out!

The fountain topped by a king, actually 2.

I just love this owl with its glasses and gears, very steampunk!

The elephants are another of my favorite features. I have no clue what industry they represent, but they are charming!

I actually love these insects, and the fact that the water is coming out of their bums. 

It wouldn't be K-town without the Kaiser fish!

Mom and I joking around. This photo is to remind me to never have bangs again!

This was one of those pieces of art that you could stare at for hours and still find some new detail you hadn't seen before. This has got to be one of my favorite fountains. Do you have a favorite fountain? 

 

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