Vaarwel and Chì Mi Fhathast Thu

Look at how fancy pants I am with my super cool post title in, not one language, but two.

Fancy like this

Bonus points if you can tell me what two languages and what it says. I’m really counting on Google Translate for not messing this up and making me look like an idiot.

So, yeah, I’m leaving on a jet plane. It’s possible that while you’re reading this, I’m on a plane, squeezing the armrests as if that will somehow help steer the plane in any direction that will get us to our destination in one piece. I’m not a good flyer (sorry for the nervous farts).

So, yeah, I’ll be out of the country for a little more than five weeks.

This means I will, likely, not have time to read, comment on, or like your blog posts. I’ll try, but I can’t make any promises.

I might also not have much time to post, other than updates here and there.

So hang in there, don’t give up on me, and wish me luck in returning safely, ready to blog about my adventures.

Bye, babies!

Source

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Eight years ago, I took my first trip to the British Isles. It was a graduation gift from my parents (More like a graduation incentive–my mom begged me to finally graduate and going on an-all-expenses-paid trip was my motivation. You can bet your ass I made school my bitch after hearing I’d be sent across the pond after receiving my Bachelor’s).

The fact that my parents literally wrote me a $5000 check (that I had to pry out of my dad’s hands) to have the trip of a lifetime is something I can never adequately thank them enough for. It was a life-altering experience that I relive in my heart time and time again.

Now, forty five years after my mother went to England, herself, for the first time, she gets to go again. We get to go together.

I’m fully expecting a lot of laughs, maybe some tears, and for sure, some annoyances, but I only wish for this trip to be an experience we recall fondly for years to come.

In honor of my last trip, and in excitement and anticipation for the one coming up, I’m sharing some of my favorite pictures from The British Isles 2010.

Be aware that I’m not a photographer in the least, and my photos were taken with a $100 pink Samsung digital camera.

Some will be terrible. A few will be blurry. More than a couple will have random people or strange angles. None have filters. I also took these from my Facebook, so they’ll be terrible quality. But, aren’t semi-terrible photos all part of the fun?

Buckle your seatbelts, baby! Here we go!

Hands down, the coolest plane picture I’ve ever taken. I think this is the southern-most tip of Greenland.

A view of London from the window (that didn’t have a screen) of our hotel room. We stayed in Earl’s Court, which is a gorgeous district in Kensington.

Our hotel in London. It was definitely not a Marriott, but it was perfection.

Our London neighborhood. Those row houses, though.

I still crave Nando’s, and who knew you needed sunscreen in England??

This Maida Vale pub just screamed England to me. It was here we found out what Russel Brand meant when he sang, “Will you come for my bangers, my beans and mash”. Or, maybe he means something else.

I distinctly remember this was the moment I almost pooped my pants. I also recall thinking, “This is how we die.”

We took the train from Birmingham to Coventry, because driving was a big “NOPE” (I eventually got brave and became one of the most proficient American drivers the British Isles has ever had the good fortune to host). This is Coventry Cathedral. It was hauntingly beautiful.

Did ya’ll know Lady Godiva is one of my ancestors? It’s true. I was so excited to visit her statue, but, sadly…

…it’s not quite as grand as Primark.

Wait, y’all have dollar stores too, but everything is a pound (which is like a dollar, but not)? Mind blown.

British motorway rest stops are like freaking palaces!

The Conwy Castle ruins in Wales was my favorite castle. We were there, exploring, for hours.

The flowers growing out of the castle walls were almost too quaint.

I mean, just look at this!

Who knew one could find palm trees in Britain? Llandudno was exquisite.

I.did.not.want.to.leave.

WTF? I ate one. That’ll show them.

This was our one splurge stay. This is the Radisson Blu in Dublin. The grounds were my favorite part. This is where we discovered that Ireland’s air conditioning is not like “our” air conditioning. Hot.as.balls.

Kilkenny was quaint af. We wanted to stay at this hotel. It was way out of our budget, so the Pembroke Hotel was the lucky winner of hosting us for our barf-tastic wild Irish night.

TOO MUCH PRETTY

Y’all think this person likes Elvis?

It’s almost just as romantic as Italy. Except they were laying on the concrete in a pretty sketchy part of town outside an apartment building. Young love.

But, someone left kegs there. I found this way funnier than it really was.

Blarney Castle was awesome. I didn’t kiss the Blarney Stone, because Rick Steves said I’d get the herp if I did.

Eeeeeeeeeeeee

Seriously, I felt like I was on another planet while walking the grounds at Blarney Castle. It was otherworldly GORGEOUS.

The drive to Dingle Town, while poop-your-pants-scary was stunningly beautiful at the same time. It was a conflicting feeling.

Dingle Town! I couldn’t even with the adorableness!

I’ve never seen so much green.

Galway was a lively city full of sounds, smells and so many people. The energy was palpable.

Galway also has weird af people who put their gum on a public railing, that is literally right next people playing Scrabble, to eat their chips. She then just left it there.

Kinlay Hostel in Galway was our first dorm-style hostel and the entire night I was literally sweating profusely from the fear that people would come into our room and I’d have to share a room with…STRANGERS. No one came. THANK GOD.

Some ruins and a rainbow effect. No big

Some more ruins and some dark, foreboding clouds. This is like travel picture porn to me.

Ever been to Newgrange? They are prehistoric mounds that are older than the pyramids. Anyone else use the Egyptian pyramids as a gauge for how old something is?

A super narrow alley in Edinburgh we named “Stab Alley”. Not exactly sure why.

Edinburgh was my favorite. I have this one in black and white on my wall. Love.

Edinburgh Castle was too much. Too.much.

The views from the castle are AMAZING AF. Scotland is just the absolute best.

You never know who you’ll find on the streets of Edinburgh.

Loch Ness, my love. TOO BEAUTIFUL. Too.freaking.beautiful.

This path cutting through these delicate wildflowers led to the banks of Loch Ness. It was MAGICAL.

No words needed. Those are words, but, you know what I mean.

I could have stayed on the banks of this river in Inverness FOREVER.

This was taken somewhere between Inverness and Edinburgh. I didn’t realize Scotland was so green.

This was taken from Oxford Castle. Oh, England. You hurt my heart. You’re just too beautiful

Here I am in the haunted Oxford Castle. What haunts me to this day is how I thought I was fat. I wish I were as fat as I was when I thought I was fat, cuz, honey, now I’m fat.

The winding streets of Oxford. I felt studious and smart af in Oxford.

Oh my (said in a George Takei voice).

The River Thames. Le sigh.

The River Hotel was, bar none, the most *interesting* hotels we stayed at. There was the case of the stubborn pube (it was sitting there, on the bathroom floor waiting for us when we checked in and still there after the bathroom was “cleaned”). Then there was the fact every surface in the room had, at least, an inch of dust. Of course, I can’t forget the old lady receptionist who was meaner than a dog shitting tacks. And, of course that we were put in the Annexe, where all of the Americans and other unfavorables get a room. What a trip.

I was speechless the entire time we toured Westminster Abbey. If walls could talk.

When I first saw Big Ben, I knew I was finally in London (This is confusing as my pictures go in order, and I, obviously, was already in London. We started and ended in London. My second set of Big Ben pictures was much better than the ones I took three weeks prior, when I was still a London newbie).

Rick Steves told us not to waste our money on the London Eye, so we didn’t. I’m still not sure if I’m mad at Rick or not.

The only picture I got of the London Bridge.

I think this is Covent Garden. What I do know is we ate at a tiny Italian restaurant in this neighborhood. I had Chicken Carbonara. I never forget food.

One of my London “must dos” was to see a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. That was before a full day of walking. Also, before we realized that why our tickets were so cheap was because our “seats” were in the pit and we had to stand for all three hours of the play. Spoiler alert: we didn’t stay for the whole play.

Now I’m so excited for my trip and ya’ll are probably bored after looking through some random’s pictures.

So, tell me, what’s your favorite “take away” from a trip? Is it a souvenir, new knowledge, pictures, or something else? Tell me in the comments!

How to Worry About Your Upcoming Trip in Four Easy Ways

Want to hear something certifiably insane? It’s less than one month until my big trip this summer and I’m obsessing over every conceivable eventuality. I’m not 100% crazy, so in between night sweats and uncontrollable fingernail biting, I’m daydreaming of the lush English countryside and some Patat Frites with a massive dollop of mayonnaise in Amsterdam.

Source

But, yeah, the majority of my headspace right now is straight up looney tunes. Here, have a little look-see:

Source

What if I made a mistake and I can’t really afford this like at all?

Is five weeks an insane time to be away?

What if the plane crashes?

What if my baggage is lost forever and I forget emergency underwear in my carry on?

What if I forget my leg (mustache) shaver?

What if I can’t bring my leg (mustache) shaver on the plane?

Are we all, including our luggage, going to fit in the Vauxhall we’re renting?

What if the plane crashes?

What if all the clothes I’m planning on bringing look hideous on me?

What if I get diarrhea in the middle of the English countryside?

Source

What if our houseboat in Amsterdam sinks in the night?

What if every one of the 3,492 times I looked at my passport expiration date, I looked at it wrong and it really is expired?

What if I get really bad gas on the plane?

What if I get a migraine or cramps right before going into Anne Frank’s house and I can’t fully appreciate the life-altering experience?

What if I can’t sleep on the plane?

What if one or more of our house-stays have bed bugs?

What if we all just want to kill each other?

What if I contract Ebola on the plane?

What if someone steals my phone and I can’t take pictures of the rest of the trip?

What if…

Source

If you really want to enjoy your trip planning just like me, worry about every single inconsequential detail to the point of madness. Here’s how:

Step 1: Second Guess Every Choice

Source

From plane ticket buyer’s remorse to vacation locale, second guessing every single choice you’ve made while planning your trip is a sure fire way to drive yourself to spend all of your saved trip money on drink. It’s not a successful vacation unless every single detail of it has been picked apart and turned inside out. It doesn’t say I’m-having-the-time-of-my-life-planning-my-dream-vacation like obsessively wondering how much you could have saved on your plane tickets had you booked a week later or earlier (or if you had booked on a Tuesday at 2 PM like every travel blog says to do) or compulsively checking for a better hotel after you’ve made non-refundable reservations.

Step 2: Procrastinate All Planning Tasks

Source

When you have a lot to plan, your time would be much better spent binging on The Office (which you’ve watched in entirety 18 different times) or cleaning your oven. It’s not like planning for a trip isn’t fun, but it’s overwhelming af to compare train tickets with Easy Jet tickets or trying to figure out air travel time and time zones. Even worse is figuring out which historic pass covers which historical site you want to see, because, naturally, they don’t cover all of the places you want to see, so to make buying the pass cost effective, you need to figure out entrance fees for all of the 874 sites you want to see (because that’s some tedious shit, you just buy all of the passes and hope for the best). This is why travel agents are still a thing.

Step 3: Worry About Every Single Hypothetical Situation

Travel anxiety almost always stems from one of three major fears (in no particular order)-

  • Plane, train or some other transportation freak accident/death
  • Becoming ill due to sickness or food poisoning during a really inconvenient time (like in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge in standstill traffic, for example)
  • Losing or having your luggage, your camera/phone, money and/or an important document, like your passport stolen

These sound like pretty logical things to be concerned about and prepared for. Any savvy traveler would have procedures and plans in place to help minimize any of these things occurring (Well, except planning to avoid a fiery plane death. I don’t think there’s anything you, as a layperson, can do to influence fate like that. It there is, please message me with every single detail).

If you’re losing sleep over worrying if you’ll be suddenly struck with diarrhea on a crowded underground train or in the middle of the Scottish Highlands, so you start hoarding Imodium, you’re worrying about your trip the right way.

If you come across a story about a freak accident on a plane, so you google for more plane accidents that include the same keywords and suddenly it’s 2 AM and you’re in deep in some really serious conspiracy theories you found after digging through the deepest, most clandestine corners of the dark web, you’re basically winning at being the right kind of savvy traveler.

If you’ve Googled “can houseboats easily sink while you’re sleeping and you won’t know it”, you’re a downright pro.

If the majority of the items in your carry on bag are mini bottles of Lysol spray, travel Clorox wipes, a year’s worth of Airborne, and more than one surgical face mask, you’re basically the travel worrier god.

Traveling is exciting and so, so worrisome. Don’t forget the Xanax!

4. Obsess About Every Single Travel Purchase Decision

Do you like how I moved the text up so you could see Karl’s magnificent boots?

Its a big deal picking out something you need/want to use on your travels. One of these crucial purchases you will need to make is travel sandals (well, if you’re traveling somewhere warm, anyway). If you want comfort without Velcro and style without flat soles, prepare yourself to really go unhinged.

In order to properly stress yourself out during sandal shopping:

1. Ask for recommendations from people that you won’t listen to at all, but still waste everyone’s time, because it’s all part of the process.

2. Find one “comfort” pair of sandals that look stylish enough that are insanely expensive, but rationalize that your feet deserve better than $2 Old Navy flip flops.

3. When you receive your order of $800 sandals, go into a deep depression because they are just made of cheap plastic and are not, in fact, gold-plated.

4. Return the sandals by mail, which will include finding/buying a box that will fit the shoebox (because, naturally, you threw the box it was delivered in away), forgetting the return slip that needs to be placed in the box, and taking no less than two trips to UPS.

5. Buy the cheap pair of sandals you were going to get anyway.

6. Repeat above steps with LITERALLY EVERYTHING ELSE YOU BUY FOR THE TRIP.

The above steps can and will stress out even the most calm, savvy traveler. If the preparations are getting you down and you need an escape from the stress and you’re getting nowhere with your mantra of “WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING?”, try one of these handy ways to de-stress below:

1. Drink heavily.

2. Take a whole Xanax (halvesies are for wimps)

3. Inhale any available carb (cake is particularly medicinal)

4. Binge trashy reality TV (because basically any show on TLC will make things seem a lot brighter in your own world)

I hope you’re able to be all-consumed by every one of the minuscule details of your trip just like I am. It’s really the only way to “do” travel.

Bon voyage!

Trip anxiety is a real bitch, ain’t it? Obviously, this is a highly exaggerated account of my own trip worries and concerns, but I’d be lying if I said one or more of these thoughts haven’t raced through my head multiple times over the course of the last few months. If you really are anxious about your upcoming travels, talk it out with someone. Hell, message Fatty. We’ll talk it out. I’ve also found going on walks through my neighborhood, blasting music that gives me feels while I take a drive right after the sun sets, and funny dog videos helps me ease my anxiety. Travel is one of the greatest experiences in life, but only when you’re sane enough to appreciate it. Love and cupcakes.

Travel Tuesday Train Wreck

OK, so it’s not quite a train wreck, per se, it’s just total and utter crappola.

I’ve been working on my latest travel post that’s supposed to be posted today for a couple days now, but it’s just shite. It doesn’t have that oomph, that pizzaz (or pizza, as my phone really wanted me to say).

Between my regular full time gig, my side hustle, trip planning, trying to keep up with the bare minimum in household duties, and a few scheduled naps here and there, tapping into the writing passion that usually makes the magic (or poop, depending on who you ask) happen has been tough.

So, I’m sorry to disappoint you, folks (I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath), but my Travel Tuesday post is going to be a Travel Wednesday post this week. I know that doesn’t have the same ring to it, but it is what it is, que sera, sera and all that.

Until then, here’s an image that will give you a possible idea of what my travel post will be about (can you guess?):

In the comments, tell me where you’ve always wanted to travel to, because I totally need another reason to be distracted!

Travel Fashion Tips For Idiots

I’m using the word ‘fashion’ quite loosely here, because I don’t think know for certain I’ve never been mistaken for that-girl-in-the-black-Lanvin-felt-hat-and-Burberry-scarf you once saw strolling the Rue de Rosiers in Paris (yes, I had to do a lengthy Google search for any recognizable designer brand names).

Don’t I look positively European here? Just kidding, that’s not me. I have ten more fat rolls on my back.

More likely, I’m the sweaty girl you saw once who tripped getting off the tube at Paddington Station in London with a Golden Nugget Casino baseball cap and a grease stain on her stretched out $10 Old Navy tank top.

It’s not like I don’t try. I don’t set out to pack for a trip with the end goal being “How to Look Like The Biggest American Slob, Hands Down”. It just happens, because:

1. How am I supposed to know what’s going to look good on my (likely bloated from too many foreign beers) untrustworthy body before the fact?

2. After months of deliberation, comfort sometimes wins against the but-that-fitted-dress-might-fit-when-I’m-on-another-continent-kinda-like-how-you-weigh-less-on-the-moon. And, because I’ve let comfort win, I’ve felt really underdressed at high tea in my zip up hoodie and stretched out boyfriend jeans.

3. Just as many times as comfort wins, so does completely idiotic clothing choices. I’ve spent far too many trips feeling like the biggest noob, because I chose the black and white polka dot platform wedges instead of a sensible flat with arch support and then I wonder why I have weak ankles and permanent gouge marks in my knees (heels and cobblestone are for professionals only).

Not a good choice

Is it possible to be comfortable and not look and feel like a slob monster?

Here are some of the tips I’ve learned the hard way. Let Fatty tell you what feels good and looks half alright on a trip.

Leggings Are LIFE

I know there are people who will disagree with my leggings stance. To those people, I say, “Have fun wearing unforgiving jeans on a 9 hour flight, suckas!” I actually love you, leggings haters and all, but for real, there ain’t nothing better than pants that feel like no pants. I mean, come on.

The best part about leggings is they can TOTALLY be dressed up or down (obviously). With the right shirt (long enough to cover your bits, people!), maybe some interesting layering (a nice chambray, perhaps?), a fun scarf, and, dependent on weather – a nice flat, slip on, boot, or sandal, you have a stylish and comfy-even after eating two meals worth of tapas- ensemble.

I mean, HELLO! I’d never be able to do this without leggings.

Here are some other times you’re gonna feel glad you chose leggings:

  • After too many ciders or beers. A bloated belly is much happier in stretchy pants
  • During the after-travel-diarrhea-ballooning of your belly
  • When your damn pants won’t button because you’ve sampled too much of the local flavor
  • ANY TIME

If by ‘sometimes’, he means ‘every time’, by ‘man’, he means ERRYBODY and by ‘room’, he means ‘everywhere’, then, YUP.

(THAT WAS WAY TOO MANY COMMAS. HELP.)

As if there needed to be another reason for leggings: JUST IMAGINE HOW MANY WILL FIT IN YOUR SUITCASE.

When you choose leggings, you choose the best of what life has to offer- not having to realize you’ve gained 20 pounds on your trip.

Shoes: Comfort Should Reign Supreme (But That Doesn’t Mean You Gotta Go Full Granny*)

I once walked from Earls Court to the City of Westminster and then walked all over the best parts of touristy London for two hours in Converse. My feet were so pissed at me, they didn’t fully recover for days. Repeat after me: Converse are not good for walking long distances if you have anything but perfect feet. Sure, I looked super cute, but what does that matter when your feet can’t even the next day?

Maybe you’re one of the lucky assholes who can comfortably wear shoes with no arch support and zero cushion, but I’m, for sure, gonna leave my Converse at home on my next trip.

I’m constantly trying to marry comfort with style. And, by style, I mean if I could see my great aunt wearing them, they aren’t my kind of style. No offense, Aunt Mabel, we are just in completely different style eras. I’m sure when I’m your age, I’ll be wearing Velcro Hush Puppies, too.

I’ve just bought some walking shoes that I feel are pretty on par with what I feel will look good with most of my clothing, while at the same time, won’t have my feet screaming in protest. Here are the shoes I just bought for my upcoming trip:

I’m super excited about these. They totally don’t look like Dr. Scholl’s, but I know they’ll have my back (literally).

I also purchased these super lightweight Adidas walking shoes for the days we are going to hardcore walk.

I’m still deciding how best to couple style with comfort in a sandal. This is proving a daunting task.

SCARVES

I can’t tell you how many times a good scarf has saved me from feeling and looking like a total boob. Not only do scarves jazz up a rather neutral, but easy to pack color scheme, they can do so many other things.

Scarves can:

  • Be used as a blanket on a chilly plane (make sure you have a pashmina-sized scarf. I’m pretty sure a silk neckerchief won’t do the trick)
  • Be tied together to form an escape rope out of your hotel window (actually, please don’t do that. You’ll probably die)
  • Be used to wrap up and pack delicate had-to-have souvenirs in your suitcase
  • Camouflage those pesky chin or lip hairs that can crop up while on a 12 hour flight (you totally won’t look weird with a scarf tied around your face if it’s a Tory Burch)
  • Double as a bandana on those really terrible high-humidity-hair-days (but, I can’t guarantee you won’t look like Captain Jack Sparrow)

If you really want, you can buy this here

Funky Fabrics

I know next to nothing about fabrics. I’m the kind of person who completely wrecks delicate fabrics by ironing them on the setting for cotton (hey, at least I was ironing).

So, I’m not the person to really be advising people on what kinds of clothing, in terms of fabrics, to pack for their trip. All I know is what I’ve experienced.

I rarely, which means next to never, travel in the winter, so the only weather I’m familiar with is hot-as-balls weather. If you also travel in the summer and you also are a sweaty sloth like me STAY AWAY FROM SYNTHETIC FABRICS.

I don’t know what it is, but when I sweat in anything but cotton, IT NASTY.

So, if you’re planning on wearing clothing more than once before washing or your shirt needs to last longer than your two hour hop-on-hop-off bus tour, maybe wear cotton or linen. These fabrics don’t dry as quickly, but at least you won’t be the smelly one who Muffy and Farrah talk about the rest of their trip.

So, I hope this has either been helpful, mildly entertaining or it kept you from having to do some really crappy task.

Until next time!

*I am not a granny-style-hater. I love grannies and their adorable linty sweaters.

Fatty McCupcakes has been nominated in the Funniest Blogger category for the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards. If this gave you a chuckle, I’d really appreciate the love! You can vote HERE! Thank you, and as Leslie Knope would say, “I love you and I like you.”

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: More Idiot Travel — Part 2

Trains

On the same trip I’ve referenced a million times (because it was the only overseas trip I’ve ever gone on), we took the train only a handful of times. For the majority of our trip, we had a car, but we weren’t crazy enough to drive in London, so we took the train to and from Oxford when we didn’t have our car.

The train trip to Oxford from London was so pleasant. Idyllic even. The train was barely at half capacity, and we were seated across from a friendly couple from Denmark. We had a great time chatting and it made the trip really quick and painless.

The train from Oxford to London was a whole other story.

The train station in Oxford was balls to the walls insanity. It was packed. There wasn’t one seat to sit in and if I’m remembering correctly, you had to pay to use the restrooms. It was not my favorite.

When we finally got onto the train, we saw that, just like the station, it was packed.

I had booked our seats in advance and upon seeing the Mad Max situation that was our train, I was pretty grateful for my forward thinking.

However, when we had finally clawed our way to our seats, dragging our bags with us as there was no more room in the baggage compartment, we saw that an older couple was in our seats.

They were adorable. I mean, gray hair perfectly coiffed, matching linty sweaters, and they totally had Kleenex up their sleeves for later. They were the epitome of what every loving grandparent has ever looked like since the beginning of time. Well, ever since easy wear sweaters came into fashion.

We were in a real conundrum. We had two choices: Kindly ask the couple to move or schlepp ourselves and our bags all over the train looking for two empty seats that didn’t exist.

Even worse, there were people behind us trying to get by and there was nowhere to sidle over to as we discussed our game plan. It was act or be eaten by the angry, over-it people lining up behind us.

“OMG. What do we do?” I asked with a deer-in-headlights look on my face.

“I don’t know! What do we do?” Answered Friend, looking pretty freaked himself.

I don’t know. What should we do?” I repeated with more desperation in my voice.

From somewhere nearby came a voice that said, “If there are people in your seats, bloody well tell them to get out of them!”

We both looked at each other like, “OH GAWD”.

“OK. Go tell them. It’s your turn to do something embarrassing, ” I asserted (It was me who had to ask the cop in Blackpool for directions).

“No way. You’re closer and I don’t want to be an asshole. Look at them. They are Mr. and, the less well known, Mrs. Rogers!” He exclaimed.

“But, I was the one who had to go out of my way to reserve seats so that we would be sure to have seats. It’s your turn.” I proclaimed.

Another phantom voice rang out, “OMG. Sit or MOVE!”

“I’ll just go sit on my luggage by the door,” decided Friend.

Out of nowhere, a voice again, “You can’t do that. You’ll get caught and told to find a seat.”

The people behind us were, at this point, ready to murder us.

It looked like we really had no other viable option as we were blocking the aisle and the man to my left had had enough of having the side of his face smashed into the ten-days-not-washed ass of my jeans.

Just like always I had to be the adult in the situation.

I sheepishly cleared my throat and tapped the woman, who looked just like my grandmother, on her shoulder, prepared to be forever cursed by karma.

They ended up being really sweet, which only made things TEN MILLION TIMES WORSE.

I still, to this day, think of them and hope they found a seat or someone who wasn’t as big of a cunt as my friend and I offered their seats to them.

DON’T HATE ME. I WAS A TRAIN VIRGIN UNDER PRESSURE.

While I was majorly feeling the effects of being a terrible person, my friend seemed pretty lost in his thoughts, too.

Once we were situated, the only place left to put our bags was right next to the exit as this was as close to the baggage compartment as physically possible.

Instead of worrying about what an asshole he was for making me kick grandma and grandpa out of their seats, he was more concerned for our luggage.

“Look at our luggage. The next time the door opens, they’ll all go tumbling out. Just watch.” He ruminated.

“Mmmhmm,” I was too wrapped up in silently chastising myself.

“OK. I’m going to go stand by our luggage. I can’t take the stress anymore,” Friend said, throughly wrought with worry.

I didn’t even care about my luggage, because kicks-old-people-out-of-train-seats people don’t deserve luggage.

“I’m gonna do it,” he said again.

“You’ll get in trouble by the train police, but have at it, dude,” I said totally not caring.

For the first time in my life EVER, I was not the one who was worrying and obsessing.

It felt amazing.

I didn’t give two shits if my luggage full of dirty underwear got kicked out of the train or stolen by someone who would be very, very disappointed by my Target-special clothing.

My friend piled up our luggage, biggest to smallest and leaned on them the whole way to London. If someone walked by, he’d hug his body closer to the tower of American Tourister like he was guarding the secret to the afterlife in between his barf-stained jeans (hang tight for that post) and his questionably clean socks.

When we were nearing Paddington Station, he sidled up to me as I was peacefully resting my eyes (I’d finally accepted my dishonorable deed as a necessary evil of train travel, because the mean train people made me), and whispered in my ear, “I have an idea.”

I almost jumped clean out of my stretched-from-too-many-Magnum-bars-and-cheese-and-tomato-sandwiches skin.

“WTF is wrong with you? Only creeps whisper in people’s ears while they’re resting on trains minding their own business,” I hissed.

My comment didn’t faze him.

“I know how we can both get ourselves and our luggage off the train in one piece.”

“Kinda like how we got on?” I didn’t understand why he thought this needed a game plan. We’d trip over our luggage and our feet like we had getting on like total tourists. Duh.

“No. It’s genius. First, I’ll take my big bag-that’s the size of your small bag, by the way, and your big bag-the one I vehemently swore I’d never help you carry, because you just keep cramming new stuff into it and it already weighs more than a standard-sized car. Then, you’ll grab my small bag and your small-not really small, though, bag and we will all get off this god-forsaken train together,” he said resolutely, but with a noticeably twitching eye.

The rest of the ten or so minutes of the train ride, he kept pantomiming, with overly expressive eyes and wild arm movements, how this “genius” plan of his was going to look. He legit looked like that crazy person every train has.

Crazy person*

Someone even asked, “Who the fuck is that idiot gesturing to? Do you think he’s dangerous? Should we be worried?”

I just sat back and reveled in not being the worried, crazy one for once.

We did get ourselves and our luggage off the train, but I almost didn’t “mind the gap” and our attempt to not look too much like tourists, was wrecked by yours truly.

Looking a lot less psycho-on-a-train

Looking like someone who is happy to not be on a train with a psycho

*I’m not some asshole who posts embarrassing photos of others for my own selfish gain. I was given express permission** to share any photo and/or embarrassing story, because friend-in-story would “probably find it funny too”. That’s a pretty solid assurance if I ever heard one.

**For real, I really have permission!

Dingle Town

Lately, I have really been feeling the wanderlust. I am a travel blogger, by heart, who does not have the means to travel near as much as is requisite to be an actual travel blogger. Adulting and all that crap… So, when I prefer to be strolling the cobblestoned streets of Edinburgh instead of participating in the usual grind, I take a mental vacation back to the best vacation I have ever taken. Back in 2010, I got to spend three glorious weeks in the U.K. and Ireland (the parts not belonging to the U.K., hence why I said ‘Ireland’ separately-just thought I needed to clarify that). There are days I can still smell the curry take-aways in London, feel the salty Dublin Bay air on my skin, and see the smiling faces of my friends in Edinburgh. In honor of my intense longing to be anywhere but here, I am posting from my first blog, BigCityBetty, a post I made about Dingle, Ireland. I will be writing up a long-awaited review of the hostel we stayed at there, The Rainbow Hostel, because this funky place popped our hostel cherry, and what better way to do that than with stray, mangy cats, nude men, and pooping Frenchmen. Without further ado, my Dingleberry post:

On the way to Dingle. C
On the way to Dingle.
Dingle Town. Gaelic is taught at school as a means to preserve the dying language.
Dingle Town. Gaelic is taught at school as a means to preserve the dying language.
I mean, it is almost too beautiful.
I mean, it is almost too beautiful.

While planning our week in Ireland, my travel friends came upon a most amusing name for a town. This town? Dingle. Yes, Dingle. First thing my boyfriend says? “We HAVE to go to Dingle, so we can pick some berries!” I rolled my eyes and told him there was no way we were going to go clear across the whole of Ireland just because the name loosely referred to a poop crusted piece of toilet paper hanging from butt hairs. Did he think that was a silly reason to go somewhere? Heck no. So, obviously, from the get-go, I was not too keen on the idea of Dingle. Not only did I think of stinky butt crack adornments every time it was mentioned, it was incredibly far from anywhere else we were planning on visiting. Regardless, I had two whiny men simply begging to put Dingle on our itinerary. Just to silence the “picking berries in Dingle” and “shall we make a dingleberry pie” jokes, I caved and Dingle was to be a future destination. The jokes, however, did not stop. Men.After some research on Dingle, it didn’t really sound all that bad. In fact, Rick Steves, himself, calls it, “The epitome of Ireland”. I decided if Rick Steves liked it, I would too.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we almost died on the road to Dingle. Several times. Well, maybe that is an exaggeration, but the entire time spent white-knuckling it to Dingle, I was growling that it better damn well be worth it. As we passed green, luscious, rolling hill after green, luscious, rolling hill to the far western coast of Ireland, I began to see why Dingle was the epitome of Ireland, and we hadn’t even gotten there yet. By far and wide, the area in the 100 mile radius of Dingle was the most green and gorgeous of all we had seen. It was almost too much. As we drove slowly into the town of Dingle, we saw row upon row of quaint shops and pubs, all squeaky clean and perfect. The town was nestled in the same green, rolling hills we had oohed and aahed over for hours. Dotting the hills were cream and yellow colored homes that looked straight out of a storybook; the entire town looked like one I had seen in one of my childhood fairytale stories. It was dusk and getting dark as deep, gray, foreboding rain clouds kissed the hills. As I exited the car, I could taste the sea and feel the wetness of rain yet to come on my face. We decided exploration of this incredible town was in order. Everything was in Gaelic; people walking past spoke the strange, beautiful tongue. This place was amazing. This place was Ireland. This place was worth it.

Our time spent in Dingle was too short and the hostel we stayed at was, well, let’s save that one for a later blog post…Despite our strange lodgings and the terrifying drive in, Dingle was one of the most beautiful and untainted places I have ever been. If I ever make it back to Ireland, Dingle will be my first stop.

Oh, and yes, there were berries to be picked, but they never ended up in a pie.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: More Idiot Travel — Part 1

On my first trip to the British Isles, we literally pulled a Neal Page and Del Griffith. We took a plane, then a train, and then an automobile (actually, three automobiles) to travel all over the British Isles.

(If you’ve never seen the classic Planes, Trains and Automobiles, you’ve really missed out on life. Check out the clip below to get an idea of what I mean.)

It was eye-opening, exhilarating and gray-hair-inducing all in one crazy, no-not-that-way-that’s-on-coming-traffic-OMG-we’re-gonna-die ball of fun.

I didn’t subject anyone to my foot odor on the plane, but I did wear slip on shoes that had zero tread, so walking down the slick, strangely hilly terminals in Heathrow was more like sliding and slipping every which way (while my boyfriend pretended he wasn’t with me). This was the first impression I made on England.

I didn’t catch the arms of my jacket on the seat while driving, but I did get Magnum bar all over the seat belt.

We didn’t catch the car on fire, but we did lose a hub cap on the motorway (oh, so, that’s why people zip tie their hubcaps on).

We may not have gone full on Neal and Del, but we did have quite a few traveling mishaps and adventures.

I am going to organize my retelling of some of my favorite transportation stories from my first trip to the British Isles as a three part series. It’ll be a far easier read that way, because ain’t no one got time to read 5,000 words in one sitting. You’re welcome.

Planes

Surprisingly, my favorite plane story does not involve the man picking his long brown nails the entire nine-plus hour flight to London, but it does involve flying out of London, delicious karma, and plane poop problems.

When we got to Heathrow after three glorious weeks spent all over the British Isles, my travel partner paid $100 to get onto the same flight I was on. His flight didn’t leave for a good five hours, so he felt it was an investment well spent to not have to sit in a packed airport for hours.

Had he known beforehand who his seat companions would be he probably would have taken the shoulder-to-shoulder seating areas, the overpowering perfumes from Heathrow Boutique, and the endless boarding announcements that were never for him over his Flight From Hell.

When we got onto the plane and found our respective seats, I was pretty pleased to find a nice-looking middle-aged British couple as my seat mates. This was pretty much the ideal situation as my last seat mate, as we all know, chose the crusties under his nails for his in-flight snack instead of the usual dry roasted peanuts.

My friend, however, hit the airplane lottery and appeared to have no seat mates.

Time and again, people would come down the aisle, pause a couple times to deduce whether or not their seats were nearby, and then keep going past his row.

I tried everything to get him to let me sit with him. I offered up my favorite souvenir- my Odd Irish Socks and in pure delirious desperation, I even offered to pay the $100 he forked over to get on my flight.

He flat-out refused as he rudely spread out and (likely) farted all over all three seats to mark his territory.

Finally, I gave up and returned to my squashed seat, but I kept looking back to give him my saddest puppy dog pout, but he just acted like he didn’t see me as he haughtily made a bed out of his jacket, backpack and more than his fair share of airplane blankets.

Right before the door was shut and locked, a harried woman and man and their screaming toddler made their way to the only remaining seats on the plane- the ones my friend had already set his stuff up in like he was some kind of Economy King.

When I looked back at him, his face was pure karma in action. He looked just like every last dream he ever had had been demolished.

Not only did his luck majorly run its course and he wouldn’t be able to stretch out the whole flight, he had to sit right next to a kid who was blowing snot bubbles out of his nose as he screamed.

Even better, SO MUCH BETTER, the toddler barfed the.whole.way to Toronto.

I guess that’s what you get when you don’t share. I more than enjoyed that prompt delivery of karma.


Later on during our travels home from London, we were diverted to an abandoned landing strip in the Middle-of-Nowhere, Colorado due to a severe thunderstorm in Denver.

I was quite disappointed, because I really, really, really needed to use the restroom.

Bad.

After the first hour of just sitting on an airstrip surrounded by cacti and tumbleweeds, I started to get desperate.

It was pretty dire because it was getting really close to go-time, but because they had to turn the AC off, I’d have to be that person who takes a huge, toxic shit on a plane with no AC or ventilation.

I kept lamenting, praying and cursing under my breath.

Finally, after mentioning I needed to poop about 87 times, my friend loudly declared, “OMG. I’m sick of hearing you have to poop. There is a bathroom right over there!”

As he so helpfully pointed, everyone on the plane looked to the bathroom and then to me.

Needless to say, I didn’t even get out of my seat. I thought murderous thoughts the remainder of the trip, and because I held it for too long, I got majorly constipated and didn’t even end up going until I was home.

I could have died.

After the hellish 17 hour trip from London, we finally landed in Reno at two in the morning, and I discovered that my bags had been lost. It was the proverbial cherry on top of the all-too familiar shit sundae.

This is how I ended up having to wear a pair of my mom’s war-torn Hanes (you can read more about that here).

Next time, we will explore train travel. Hint: it’s just as fun as air travel.

So, tell me about a memorable time you had in the air. I bet you’ll all have some doozies! I can’t wait.

Just Call Me Becky Bloomwood

Remember that girl who published a Travel Tips For Idiots post (I linked it in case you haven’t checked it out yet) wherein she emphatically proclaimed that one does not need to purchase all new of everything before a trip? Remember how she said she’d reign it in a bit for her upcoming trip this summer?

Well, since posting those lies, she’s purchased:

  • An IT suitcase (it was on sale on Amazon for only $60, though)
  • A Calvin Klein crossbody (also majorly discounted at Marshall’s-only $50)
  • A travel pillow that can zip into a rectangle or a neck pillow-shape (I mean, come on. Necessary. I also had a coupon. No.brainer)
  • A zippered headphone case (not necessary, but really fun, because it has a little picture of earbuds on it)
  • Floral-print packing cubes (still not sure I’m even going to use packing cubes, but they were only $12, so they basically cost nothing)
  • RFID blocking rose gold-colored wallet (absolutely, without question, necessary. I do not need anyone stealing my identity*)
  • A pashmina scarf (it has myriad uses, so out of all of the purchases, this one was the most practical)
  • A compact teal-colored umbrella (when you’re headed to the British Isles this is a no duh)
  • A pair of Blenders Eyewear sunglasses (because you really need sunnies in England)

I don’t think I need to continue with the nonsense, but while we’re at it, this Idiot Girl still needs:

  • A travel-sized Too Faced eyeshadow palette (it has every color I need PLUS the perfect brown for my balding eyebrows)
  • Headphones (I do not have a Bose budget, but I need a pair that’s comfy and noise eliminating or, at the very least, noise isolating**)
  • Comfy, but not I’m-a-50-year-old-Stein-Mart-addict sandals
  • A cute, but hours-on-a-plane friendly outfit
  • Decent pajamas that won’t scare my travel partners (my current pair are holey and stretched out in all the wrong places)
  • A whole new wardrobe, but I’m leaving this to the bitter end, because I’m not holding out hope that I’ll spontaneously drop 50 pounds (stranger things have happened)

So, I think what I’m trying to say here is that I’m a fucking liar, and it’s impossible to not buy a load of crap when you’re preparing for an extensive trip abroad.

I mean, I guess if you’re a minimalist and you aren’t materialist AF like me, you could probably get off with just a new backpack and a nice pair of walking shoes.

All of this insane buying and hoarding of travel “necessities” reminds me of my favorite book heroine- Becky Bloomwood.

In Sophie Kinsella’s first book in her Confessions of a Shopaholic series, Becky decides, after receiving a shocking credit card bill, she needs to start budgeting, but not before she buys really cute budgeting essentials.

SOUND FAMILIAR?

I don’t know if I’ve always been Becky Bloomwood or I’m Becky Bloomwood because of Becky Bloomwood.

Either way, I need a Shopaholics Anonymous STAT.

All of this makes me sound like I’m spending with wild abandon, but really, I’m just buying travel items here are there when I find them and if need be, I just don’t buy food for the week. Really, it’s a win-win (sayonara, 50 pounds).

So, I guess it’s not entirely surprising that I’m still on track to have my trip paid off before the end of the summer *knock on my IKEA particle board coffee table*.

Stay tuned for my “I’m Already Having the Nervous Poos: 18 Unrealistic (and Two Realistic) Travel Worries I’m Currently Obsessing About”

*This travel wallet with thief-repelling properties is now more than ever the smartest buy I’ve made, because some asshole in California stole my debit card number and went to town on $18 worth of food at McDonald’s. Way to really steal someone’s money, idiot! You could have at least made it worth it and gone to Chili’s.

**I was this close to publishing this post with “nose eliminating” instead of “noise eliminating”, because my phone hates me. I almost left it, because if there are headphones that help eliminate the size of someone’s nose while wearing them, I’M SOLD.

So, help me feel like less of a deluded pig…what do you splurge on before a trip?

How to Not Want to Smother Your Travel Partner in Their Sleep

“If I hear her clear her throat one more fucking time…”

“We are sightseeing. Why do we have to sit every ten feet. WHY DO YOU ALWAYS WANT TO SIT?”

“For what purpose do you unpack every single item in your suitcase and inspect it, to then put it right back into your suitcase the same way? WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?”

I don’t care if it’s your nicest, never-been-in-even-the-smallest-fight friend, you’re gonna hate her/him at some point in your travels. The littlest things they do will grate on your nerves extra-rusty-grater-like.

Whenever someone spends every waking moment for an extended period of time with literally anyone, they’re gonna want to throttle them at least once.

It’s basic human nature.

It is possible to minimize and, if you’re lucky enough, eliminate becoming irrationally annoyed with your travel companion(s) with these failsafe tips:

1. Don’t be an asshole, (but if it happens, be a little understanding)

This one sounds pretty simple, but not being an asshole can be pretty hard when you’re sleep-deprived, you have traveler’s diarrhea, and/or you haven’t quite adjusted to your new cultural surroundings.

The best bet here is, if someone you know is always an asshole, don’t agree to spend six days and seven nights with them on a trip where escape is impossible.

If you or someone you know isn’t known for being an asshole, but you/they have suddenly morphed into Kanye West, blame it on the travel diarrhea. It’s not you, it’s the chapped butthole.

ALWAYS BLAME IT ON THE DIARRHEA.

2. Be prepared to battle

It’s gonna happen. Prepare yourself mentally for the inevitable fact that you will annoy each other and that it will likely lead to a nasty and probably public disagreement or argument.

And then, to make up, they’ll make this face to make you laugh and wait until you notice as you are actively avoiding them while waiting for your meal at a crowded restaurant.*

When you’re expecting it that your pal’s incessant throat clearing or tendency to dominate conversations and decisions will eventually annoy you, you can be better prepared to act in a positive fashion.

However tempting, leaving your travel partner alone in the Theatre District in NYC doesn’t do wonders for a friendship. Also, you’ll feel really bad if your friend gets shanked.

3. Be more flexible

This pretty much goes along with the previous two suggestions. No one who isn’t able to adjust and be flexible is fun to travel with. Sorry. It’s fact.

Source

If you have a hard time going with the flow, not only will you miss out on awesome travel experiences, the people traveling with you will want to send you packing.

Despite the fact that snoring and having to use the bathroom right after someone drops a Beijing Bomb is unpleasant, it’s all part of the experience when traveling and sharing a room with others. Embrace it.

4. Plan time apart

The best way to get back to semi-liking your travel friend is to not have to see their face or hear their mouth breathing for a couple of hours.

Plan some dedicated time when you can part ways for a chunk of the day. Maybe you’re into museums, but your friend is more into shopping. Perfect. You can each do what you want and get that much-needed if-i-have-to-spend-five-more-minutes-with-you-I’ll-do-murder-break.

Checked out some awesome Edinburgh back alleys. I swear I wasn’t looking for a place to dump the body.

5. Focus on what’s around you

Don’t get so in a tizzy that you forget what you planned months for and paid out the ass to see. Sure, part of why you planned the trip was to spend time with your friend, but let’s be real, an even bigger reason was to see the Eiffel Tower/Grand Canyon/Great Wall/Loch Ness.

Focus on the sights, smells, and new sensations all around you. Immerse yourself in your experience and ignore the reality that your travel companion feels the need to read to you every sign, banner, billboard, shop window, and names of businesses as you pass by.

This one was amusing, though.

6. Just get drunk

If all else fails, drink.

Bottoms up!

*I think it took a lot longer for me to eventually see his ridiculous face than he had anticipated. The entirety of the restaurant and 20 people walking by gawked and pointed before I turned to look and subsequently threw a breadstick at his stupid face.

Also, I’ve been given express permission to post his image. I’m just not sure he remembers me taking this one…