Some Recent Favourite Blog Posts

I’m sat in Bristol Airport Costa Coffee as I write this, drinking a Pepsi and feeling like an absolute fraud for doing so. For some reason, whenever I go to a coffee shop and don’t order a hot drink, I always feel like I have to explain myself to the barista, cashier, cleaner, person on the table next to me and whoever else happens to glance my way.

Every. Single. Time.

I get way too defensive about my orange juice, Panini, Pepsi, or lemon tart, whichever it may be. So much so that I don’t think there’s a single Costa or Starbucks employee left in the whole of South Wales and Southwest England who hasn’t heard all about my sensitive teeth and tendency to get the opposite of brain freeze.

But let’s be real, who even goes to a coffee shop for a coffee these days? It’s all about the free WiFi, comfy chairs and plug sockets baby! My seat right now is like a giant chocolate marshmallow. It’s soft and squishy and is kind of maybe slowly swallowing me whole, but to be honest it’s so comfortable I don’t even care. Munch away, marshmallow chair – I’m all yours!

If it wasn’t for the fact that my National Express arrives in about an hour and I have work tonight, I could totally just curl up into a ball and live here. Forget getting one foot on the housing ladder; I want in on the marshmallow chair ladder.

I’ve been sat here for well over an hour now and in that space of time have had a cheese and slow-roasted tomato toastie which sort of tasted like pizza (very strange but oh so very good!), the best lemon tart of my life so far and the aforementioned Pepsi. The lady keeps looking over the sofa thing opposite me, peeking at my table to see if the coast is clear to clean up and then slinking away when she realises that yep, I’m still here. Sorry Costa lady!

If sitting here in Costa tapping away at my computer has confirmed one thing about myself, it’s that I just can’t write when people are ‘watching’. Even though, like, they’re not even watching. There’s only two other tables occupied – on one there’s an Easyjet employee trying to sort out some kind of leak (on the phone – Costa aren’t that into cost-cutting) and the other is a couple of Italian ladies playing cards.

None of them are within ear (or eye!) shot but nevertheless I find myself hurriedly minimising the screen and trying to ‘act natural’  if they so much as look in my direction. Because God forbid these total strangers find out what I’m doing.

I’m such a twit.

I’ve just gotten back from a few days in Krakow, so it’s not like I don’t have anything to write. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I have content ideas and post titles and witty little phrases coming out of my ears. I’ve got more photos of pierogi than a Polish food encyclopedia. I probably have enough ideas to keep this blog going for months, but the fact that there are other people here, in the same room, breathing the same air as me has put all that on hold.

Working freelance, sometimes I think that I do really want to be one of those mysterious and alluring gals who stroll down to their nearest Starbucks, Macbook in one arm, Filofax in the other and sit for hours tapping away, doing whatever it is they doand ordering Frappuccinos on repeat.

Alas, I don’t have a Macbook, a Filofax or a Starbucks within easy walking/bus-ing distance. Also, I don’t even know what a Frappuccino is. Plus apparently I can only string a sentence together when I’m holed up in my parents’ front room all lonely and alone.

So yeah, despite having plenty of opportunities to write when I was in Poland (read as: every single evening sat in the rented apartment because I don’t do night-time socialising) I just didn’t.

Instead I went through and read every single new post available from every single one of my favourite online people, and some of my not favourite ones too! I also went way, way, way into the archives of some blogs, because I’m creepy like that.

There’s this odd “What’s in it for me?” mentality in the blogosphere sometimes, and I really don’t think I like it at all. On various different Facebook groups I’m a part of, where I’ve noticed somebody has asked for a guest post, contribution, link etc. from others, more often than not the first question in response is “What’s your DA?” or “Will you link back?

It makes me a bit sad to be honest.

What’s wrong with selflessly giving others a boost? Giving them a link, or a share, for no reason other than you just like what they’ve written. Isn’t that the whole purpose of having a ‘community’? It shouldn’t matter if their DA is any lower or higher than your own. It shouldn’t matter if they don’t really have anything to offer you in terms of remuneration or page views.

And so I thought, in the absence of having anything remotely interesting about my own life and travels to share right now (the man who was trying to fix the leak is definitely looking over at me now – does he have X-ray vision?! Does he know I’m writing about him?! Aaaah, what to do!), I’d share a small handful of my favourite recent blog reads instead.

So for anyone reading this, I implore you to have a little click around, read a few of these posts and maybe find some new faves for yourself. 


Following Game of Thrones to Belfast & Beyond – Faraway Lucy

 

Lucy’s post is enough to make any Game of Thrones fan green with envy! Through a tour arranged with a company specialising in Movie/TV focused tours, she got around to visiting quite a decent handful of GOT filming locations in Northern Ireland, including what are arguably the most recognisable of the bunch – Giant’s Causeway and the Dark Hedges. I actually have my own plans to follow in Lucy’s footsteps this year, and visit as many GOT filming locations as possible, starting with Dubrovnik and Split next month, and reading her post was a great way to get the excitement bubbling! Even if you’re not a Game of Thrones fan it’s worth a read anyway because Northern Ireland is just be-a-uuuutiful.

Finnish Lapland – Amy Evans/Four Cats Plus Us

 

 

Although she wouldn’t necessarily fall under the “travel blog” umbrella, if it wasn’t for Amy’s love of all things and places Scandinavian/Nordic, that section of the world wouldn’t even have been a blip on my radar! Her Iceland wedding photos are enough to make me want to buy myself a husband and hop on the next Easyjet flight heading to Reykavik, and her home decor posts make me want to buy a dolls house and replicate her entire existence (sounded less creepy in my head). One of Amy’s more recent posts outlining her visit to Finnish Lapland is refreshingly honest and a stark reminder that bucket list destinations sometimes just ain’t all that.

 

The Paris Catacombs – Alice Vs the World

If humans could be spirit animals, Alice might just be mine. She likes creepy places and serial killers and basically that’s me in a sentence. The Paris Catacombs are somewhere I didn’t really know existed, despite them apparently being a pretty popular tourist destination. I’ll be honest, I would have wanted to visit even if I hadn’t read Alice’s post, BUT her introduction paragraph is one of the best I’ve ever read, and simultaneously manages to give you nightmares and make you want to go where she’s talking about. 

Women Who Wander Series – Young & Undecided

 

Chiara’s series focusing on solo female travel has the aim to not only enable solo ladies to tell their travel stories, but also to provide encouragement to those who may be umm-ing and aah-ing about going off on their own. The concept was actually something I was contemplating doing myself for a while now, but I’m so glad Chiara got ahead of me because I just love the route she’s taken with it. And in all honesty, it’s probably 100% better than anything I would have come up with.

The post linked above is the second in the series, in which she interviews a different female traveller every so often, and shares their story with her own readers, this one being a little talk about how you don’t have to be single to travel solo. Whereas right now I am, by definition of the phrase, a single traveller for the first time in, like, ever, the interview does resonate with me as in previous years I have been travelling solo but not single. The whole series is worth a follow.

How Safe is it for Women to Travel to Doha, Qatar? – Birdgehls

The Middle East fascinates me, the approach different cultures have towards women fascinates me, the media and general public’s perception of the Middle East fascinates me, and expat life fascinates me. This post is kind of a mish-mash of all of the above, written in a personal yet educative way. LC lived in Doha for 3 months and so has a somewhat unique insight into how life as a Western woman in the Middle East can be. A lot of people have serious misconceptions when it comes to the Middle East, and this post puts any untruths you may or may not have heard on the grapevine to bed, e.g. the whole dresscode situation.

Places Travellers Would Never Visit Again – You Could Travel

A complete contradiction to my recent post detailing Why I’ll Always Go Back to places I’ve visited, You Could Travel’s post is a collection of fellow bloggers’ stories on places they’d never go back to. From being robbed to finding it difficult to navigate to being dumped and as such associating the place with an emotionally difficult time, the locations listed vary as much as the reasons do. Whereas I don’t understand people who say they’ll never visit somewhere again ‘because they’ve already been there‘, I have utmost appreciation and respect for people who have a damn good reason for not wanting to return, and this post showcases a great selection of those. I love collaborative posts, I think they’re bloody marvellous! And I also love anything written by Cory, so this is a double win in my eyes!

Four Days to Discover Krakow – This FP Planet

Michaela was one of my main references for my trip, and I will unashamedly admit that I basically just retraced her every step. I ate at some of the same places and I visited a lot of the same sights, the only difference being that the whole city was covered in a blanket of frozen snow for my turn! Honestly, every single one of her suggestions and recommendations were absolutely spot on! And I’ll forever be indebted to her for mentioning pierogi which is basically a European momo and now my new favourite food. After reading her post on Krakow, I moved onto Warsaw and then basically fell into a black hole, re-emerging about 40 minutes and 10213924 blog posts later.

 


And that’s it. Done. Finito. I might make this a pretty regular (bi-monthly/monthly) thing, simply because I like giving people figurative and literal pats on the back, so if anyone has any recommendations on posts I may like, or if you’re particularly proud of something you’ve written, please do link in the comments!

To anyone I’ve mentioned above, my blog is still relatively baby-sized, so whereas I probably won’t be much of a traffic-driver to your site, just know that I take great pleasure in cyber-stalking each and every one of you, and reading your posts honestly brightens my day. Unless they’re sad posts, then it’d just be weird, right?

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27 Comments

  1. 29th January 2017 / 9:20 am

    I do the exact same thing in coffee shops 😂 glad I’m not alone! Thanks for all of the new reading material, too 😀

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:24 pm

      Looking at everyone’s feedback it seems more people go to coffee shops to not drink coffee than those who do!

  2. 29th January 2017 / 9:57 am

    Being a non-coffee drinker, I’m the same with coffee shops – it’s always a hot chocolate/ cold drink for me regardless of the weird looks! Love this new feature – I’m shamelessly exploring the archives of these blogs now, and Amy Evans/ Four Cats Plus Us is making me seriously envious of Svalbard and Scandinavia generally (though not Lapland, which I had assumed to err on the Scandi-Disneyland side of things). I should probably make use of the fact I have relatives living in Norway at some point – I haven’t been back since a second cousin’s wedding over a decade ago. Also, meant to comment on your previous post – ‘Pablo Escobar: Beyond Narcos’ sounds right up my street. I’ve been making a conscious effort to read more this year (so far, so good) – and would recommend ‘Mr Nice’ (Howard Marks) if you haven’t already read it. In many ways, the author is comparable to Escobar – large-scale drug smuggling (dope, rather than cocaine) and a strangely likeable persona.

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:27 pm

      Yes! Hot chocolate is the only hot drink I can tolerate other than Chai, but that just tastes weird anywhere outside of India. I made the mistake of ordering a chai latte in Riga and it was about 5 times the size it should have been and tasted like Christmas. Ugh.
      Seriously, Amy is the Queen of all things Scandi! Oh wow, a decade is a long time! If I were you I’d be there every other year for a visit!
      Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll look into it! 😀

  3. 29th January 2017 / 10:52 am

    I also am not a coffee drinker and do much the same thing, whilst thanking humanity for also inventing tea and chai lattes. Thank you for the inclusion of this list! I’m always looking for more blogs to stalk and also agree with your sentiment 100%. At the risk of sounding mushy, I am very glad you commented on my blog, as I now very much look forward to every new post from yours!

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:30 pm

      Chai is my go-to when I’m somewhere that I don’t speak the language, as always seems to be the one word on the menu that doesn’t change. Although it’s hit & miss – having been to India, comparatively it just tastes weird everywhere else!
      Aww that’s such a lovely thing to say! I can’t even remember how I came across your blog (FB group??) but I’m definitely glad I did 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:27 pm

      It’s a great post! 😀

  4. 30th January 2017 / 10:33 am

    ha ha, i love this blog – i have to face such humiliation every now and then when i enter a coffee house and order ice tea instead of a cuppa. But i do love my cup of coffee as well!

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:33 pm

      Thanks Harsh! The level of silent judgement in coffee shops is unreal haha!

  5. 30th January 2017 / 12:18 pm

    I just love how you write and how you make me laugh with every single sentence! I have also this weird thing of thinking that people are “watching” me when I’m writing… so yeah, basically I have to be at home (alone if possible) to write something that makes any sense whatsoever. So, after this cool read, I also wanna go to Krakow and have some really yummy pierogi!!!! Thanks again for making me grin at my laptop 😉

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:31 pm

      Thanks for your sweet comments Ariane! I’m glad to have made you smile 🙂 And oh my days, you MUST go to Krakow and eat the pierogi. It’s insanely good!

  6. 30th January 2017 / 5:30 pm

    Thank you for this post. We didn’t know all these sites so we are going to discover them right now! Of course we really liked the layout of this post. Only a question: what’s your favorite one?

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:32 pm

      Thank you! The layout actually took a lot longer than I’m willing to admit so I’m glad you appreciate it haha! Oh well, I don’t think I could pick one single favourite, they’re all so great in their own ways!

  7. 31st January 2017 / 11:10 am

    I loved the women who wander series too!

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:32 pm

      It’s such a fantastic idea, right?! Girl power and all that jazz.

  8. 31st January 2017 / 3:46 pm

    Ahahaha, I feel you !!
    I went to Starbucks a few weeks ago while I was in London, that day I was so tired I was craving for vitamins and not caffeine (I am also not a coffee drinker), so I took an apple juice. The barista was like “Don’t you want some hot drink ?”, I felt guilty too xD.

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:35 pm

      It’s such a strange feeling! I don’t think I feel that guilty over anything else, but there’s just something about baristas that get me feeling like I’ve been caught red-handed doing something I really, really shouldn’t be doing!

  9. 2nd February 2017 / 11:31 am

    I love coffee shops for the piece and quiet. If I’m finding town a bit too much I’ll slink in and buy a water just so I can lurk, although I do love coffee some times.

    I’m looking forward to reading your Poland posts, although totally get what you mean about needing to be in the right space to do it. I tried blogging on a plane into the notes app once and felt like the whole plane was STARING at me so I just put it away haha.

    Thank you so much for including me here along with such incredible posts! I’m enjoying reading these.

    I love the idea of the creepy dollshouse haha let’s move into it and hide from reality in-between travels!

    http://fourcatsplusus.co.uk – Amy

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:38 pm

      The peace and quiet is the only reason I go to them too tbh! That and when I’m waiting for my train/plane/bus and there’s no other option.
      Yeah I know, it’s so weird! I can’t even TELL people what I’m up to when I’m writing. I’ll be texting a friend and they’ll ask what I’m doing so I’ll say writing and when they ask what it’s about the defence barriers rise up and I’m all “nothing. absolutely nothing”.
      Yes! I’ll leave the interior design entirely up to you mind…

  10. 5th February 2017 / 10:05 am

    I can SO relate to your intro about your coffee shop conundrum. I get into those moods where I know that I SHOULD write and that I have plenty to talk about, but nothing happens. In any case, I think it’s AMAZING that you chose to feature some other bloggers, it’s so true that we don’t support each other enough. I’ll definitely be following along with you on social media to see what posts you get up!

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:39 pm

      So glad you relate and I’m not alone in this kind of thinking haha! Thanks for reading Katie, I’m glad you like the feature 🙂

  11. 5th February 2017 / 10:30 am

    I don’t drink coffee and typically don’t get Starbucks at all. The only time I go is when my fiancee wants to go…in which I get a cold drink. Don’t feel any shame, I’m just not a coffee/Starbucks person. But I am with you on being part of a community and supporting each other. There’s just a lot of unnecessary competition when there is plenty of room for everyone. Glad to see you’re helping others and may compel me to do the same once in a while. Good list of mentions too.

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:41 pm

      Definitely! There’s so many blogs out there, so many bloggers, but not everybody want the same outcome so there’s no reason that we can’t all co-exist peacefully like goldfish in a fish tank!

  12. 5th February 2017 / 6:14 pm

    I’m just the same! For some reason I can’t concentrate or write in a place where I have people around me, even if probably they’re not even paying attention to what I’m doing! 🙂
    By the way, I didn’t know most of these blogs, but there are some very interesting posts in there! I’ve actually followed the Game of Thrones tour myself a couple of times and it’s one fo the most beautiful day trips that you can take in Europe, highly recommended!

    • rhiydwi
      5th February 2017 / 10:40 pm

      Thanks for your comment Alberto! The tour in Ireland?! It looks (and sounds) amazing and I can’t wait to follow the steps of the Starks!

  13. Charlotte
    6th February 2017 / 1:02 pm

    I don’t drink coffee; more of a tea lover myself. So I tend to go for that or a fresh fruit juice

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