Away we go

Hopeless Wanderer Final CollageHello wanderers!

Thank you so much for following along on my travel blog journey – it’s been an incredible year and it’s been so much fun chatting with you about where I’ve been and where I’d like to go next. I have really enjoyed writing this blog and even though my school year (and therefore my school projects – including this blog) is at an end, this is more of a “see you soon” than a goodbye.

As I keep exploring new places, I’ll try to keep you posted. As you know, I’ll be backpacking my way through Europe over the summer and I’m sure I’ll have many stories to share with you. Make sure to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to follow along on my adventure. Now, it’s on to the next big adventure. Wishing you all the best on your journeys – keep on travelling!

Stay well,
Katrina

All fun, all the time

Minicards collageHello wanderers!

I’m starting something new to get the word out about Hopeless Wanderer and I’m being totally sneaky about it (it’s fun!). I’ve gone around the city and placed cute little mini cards at various spots travel enthusiasts (you!) frequent (think, the travel section in bookstores, etc.). I encourage you to go forth and find these mini cards (examples of what they look like are in the image above!), snap a picture, and then tell me about the travel destinations on your bucket list on Twitter and Instagram (follow me @KatrinaSklepo). I want to hear from you! Life is more fun that way. Get your scavenger hunting on – I can’t wait to hear about where you want to go next. You never know, maybe I’ll work your suggestions into my summer travel plans.

There’s also a contest coming your way soon (#WanderlustWednesdays! Get excited!) so make sure to keep up with the blog for opportunities to enter to win a prize. All fun, all the time.

Here are some of the destinations on my European bucket list right now – are any of these spots on your list?

  1. Split, Croatia. Waterfalls, beaches, Game of Thrones…enough said.
  2. Ljubljana, Slovenia. City of Dragons – yes please!
  3. Bled, Slovenia. This might just be the most picturesque lake in the world.
  4. Cinque Terre. Five gorgeous villages on the Italian coast.
  5. Santorini, Greece. I have yet to visit Greece and I’ve always wanted to go!

Where to next? Okay, go.

Until next time, stay well!
Katrina

What not to do: when you arrive

blog collaborationHey wanderers!

In the final week of the Hopeless Wanderer + Wanderlust & Heart collaborative series on what not to do when traveling, I’m giving you two important tips on what not to do when arriving at your adventure destination.

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Don’t go to bed unless it’s actually night time.

So this really comes back to my first post in this series about what not to do on a long flight, but we’re talking about jet lag here. It’s real and it sucks if you don’t actively prevent it. What I recommend is trying to regulate your internal clock starting a week before you leave just to help your body get ready for the time adjustment, take melatonin if you need to, and then try to go to bed at a normal time when you arrive – no napping!

I’ve learned this one the hard way – on my most recent trip (to Europe with my mom and younger cousin, Hayley, in 2014), my mom and cousin weren’t prepared for jet lag and decided to have a “short nap” when we first arrived in  Paris. My protests were drowned out by snores in only a couple of minutes – and I won’t lie, a nap was tempting for me, too! – and we all slept the day away. It made the next day much trickier, considering we weren’t tired when the rest of the world went to bed.

Moral of the story: no matter how tired you are or how much you want that nap, if you arrive at 10:30 in the morning and have a nap right away, you’ll sleep the day away and wake up at 2am wondering where the heck you are. The last thing you want to do is waste your first day either asleep or really groggy from a bad sleep!

imagesDon’t take an illegal taxi to your accommodations.

Another hard lesson learned – while on the same trip with my mom and Hayley, we took an illegal taxi upon arriving in Rome. I’m usually such an aware traveller, but I had a total lapse in vigilance and didn’t really notice anything amok until the cabbie duped us for cash. Such a rookie mistake. Please don’t let this happen to you! It’s frustrating and annoying. Luckily for us, nothing bad really happened other than the loss of some funds, but taking illegal taxis can also be dangerous. Be better than us and stay safe!

One way to avoid this: walk if your accommodations are close enough. If you can’t walk it, take the train, subway, or bus – you’ll probably be taking public transportation around the city while you’re there, so you might as well by your pass and get right to it. Learning the transportation system of a new city right off the hop is the best way to do it. And lastly, if you really do have to take a taxi, make sure you’re using a safe and trusted service. Uber is also great because you have more control.

And there you have it, friends. Basically, these are the only two tips you need for what not to do. Be safe, be rested…but be adventurous – go out and explore, because that’s what travelling is for!

That wraps up the Hopeless Wanderer + Wanderlust & Heart collaborative series on what not to do when traveling – thanks for following along! Make sure to check out Elizabeth’s post this week (and every week, because her blog is great!). In other news, I’m so excited to announce that Hopeless Wanderer was an honourable mention in The Uniter 30 poll’s Favourite Local Blog category – very, very cool! Thanks to everyone who voted!

Stay well,
Katrina

What not to do: when travelling with someone

blog collaborationHi all!

It’s week three of the Wanderlust + Heart and Hopeless Wanderer blog series, and this week, Elizabeth is exploring what not to do when travelling with someone. Make sure to check out her post – she’s got some great tips on what not to do!

Solo travel can be super rewarding – it’s a great way to find out more about yourself, and also push your boundaries and try new things. There are also benefits to travelling with others – all of my favourite trips have been shared with friends or family (and sometimes, complete strangers!). I like having people to bounce ideas off of, and make memories with! It’s also great to have someone with you in case things go off course (missing flights, getting lost, losing luggage – it’s so much easier to deal with mishaps if you have a friend to help you out). It’s also more fun!

Chad, Kaeri, and I in Barcelona. I love this photo!
Chad, Kaeri, and I in Barcelona. I love this photo!

If you’re on the fence about travelling with a buddy or flying solo, take some time to think about what you want to get out of your trip and if going it alone is going to work better or make you lonely. Then, if you decide you want a buddy or a group to join you, choose those companions with care. While you won’t always get along 100% of the time,  if you choose people who know you well (and love you unconditionally, even when you’re being a total troll! It happens to the best of us!), you won’t encounter many situations where you won’t get along. Travel can certainly bring out the worst in you, especially when you’re tired and stressed out, but having great travel companions can make things a whole lot better.

Here are some snapshots of some of my favourite trips – from Spain to Germany to Disney World with my family, all of my best times have been shared with my favourite people.

Kaeri and I visiting our German Exchange Students, Sümi and Kathy, and some other friends, in Munich.
Kaeri and I visiting our German Exchange Students, Sümi and Kathy, and some other friends, in Munich.
Kaeri, Kathy, Ramona (another friend we made while on German Exchange), and I in Friedrichshafen.
Kaeri, Kathy, Ramona (another friend we made while on German Exchange), and I in Friedrichshafen.
Kaeri and I celebrating a birthday in India
Kaeri and I celebrating a birthday in India
Me and my fam in Florida! The biggest kids at Walt Disney World.
Me and my fam in Florida! The biggest kids at Walt Disney World.
Chad, Brayden, Kaeri, Jerras, and I at the Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain.
Chad, Brayden, Kaeri, Jerras, and I at the Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain.

Make sure to check out Elizabeth’s tips about what not to do when travelling with a buddy, and then start planning your next trip!

Next week, I’ll share some tips on what not to do when you arrive at your destination and adventure awaits. Get excited.

Until then, stay well!
Katrina

 

What not to do: on a long flight

What Not to Do on a Long Flight title page

Hi wanderers!

Continuing on with the Wanderlust + Heart and Hopeless Wanderer blog collab, this week I’m going to run through what not to do on a long flight. I’ve had a lot of experience with airplanes, airlines, and flights of all kinds (some provide the cutest mini wine bottles, it’s adorable), so I’ve got a lot of advice for you!

Winter has finally hit Winnipeg (comedian Kevin Hart landed in the middle of a blizzard!), and a lot of us are already dreaming of summer (if you’re really aching for some sunshine and beach time, check out this list of tropical vacation destinations!). If you’re thinking ahead to warmer days and flights to exotic destinations, these tips on what not to do on a long flight will be a big help.

  1. Do not forget to sleep
    • I’m not a nervous flier but I tend to get a little wired when I travel – it’s hard not to get excited when you know you’re embarking on an adventure! My best advice for flying, though, is to make sure that you rest. If you’re flying internationally, you may have several  flights, long layovers, and stressful connections, and you’ll want to be well rested to tackle those situations. Flying can also mess with your natural sleeping rhythm (jet lag is definitely a thing), so it’s important to rest up and use those flying hours as sleeping hours.
  2. Do not wear uncomfortable clothing
    • This is key. Not everyone can step off a plane à la Miranda Kerr – her off-duty style tops even my best days. If you’ve got a long flight ahead of you (or several!), I recommend going full comfort. Airport security isn’t high heel-friendly, and cold airplane air isn’t summer dress-friendly, so make sure you dress for the flight, not the destination. You can always change into a different outfit upon arrival (just pack it in your carry on!). Opt for a more cozy outfit (like Kendall Jenner) – you won’t regret it.
  3. Do not just sit there!
    • I learned this lesson the hard way. I had one 16-hour continuous flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Atlanta, Georgia, and I really didn’t anything but sleep and watch movies – really, what else is there to do but sit? I know airplanes are confined spaces and there isn’t much room to move around, but I highly recommend getting up at least once an hour – walk to the washroom, walk up and down the aisles, do a little stretch break between cabins. Just do something, no matter how silly you feel! Your legs will thank you – my legs were so swollen after that 16-hour flight that they were sore for almost two weeks.
  4. Do not be mean to the flight attendants
    • Flight attendants are your friends. Be friendly and kind, and they will return the favour! If you’re an easy passenger, they’ll make your experience much better.
  5. Do not be a crappy seat mate
    • Don’t be a grump. Don’t take up more space than you need to. Don’t make a mess with your food. Don’t turn your music up super loud. Basically, be a nice human. I have met such nice people while flying! If your seat mates are willing, chat with them and get to know them. You don’t have to become best friends, but you’ll want to be comfortable with them for 6+ hours you’re on a flight with them.
  6. Do not forget to drink water
    • Remember when my legs got really swollen on that 16-hour flight? Well, part of the reason for that was because I wasn’t moving around or stretching my legs – but the other part of that was not drinking enough water. Flying is extremely dehydrating – common side-effects of flying are dry skin, sore throat, and chapped lips for me! All signs of not consuming enough water. Airplane food is also notoriously salty – that salt, combined with dry/stale airplane air, makes for an unhappy body. Take care of yourself and drink water throughout the flight.
  7. Do not ignore your body clock
    • Similar to my advice about getting rest while you fly, make sure you also pay attention to your body clock and give it time to adjust to new time zones. A great way to prep for a new time zone and avoid jet lag is by taking along some melatonin – melatonin is a natural hormone that helps control sleep and wake cycles and can help fend off bad sleeping habits while travelling.
  8. Do not binge watch
    • Give your brain and your eyes a break! Bring alternative forms of entertainment when flying – I always pack a book, an iPod (great for music and games), a magazine, and a puzzle book (sudoku or crosswords are my go-to). If you’re travelling with a friend, chat with them! Play a game with them – no shame bringing a pack of cards. This will help prevent zombie-ism.
  9. Do not leave your headphones at home
    • And by headphones, I mean those of the noise-cancelling variety. You don’t realize how loud airplanes can be until you try a pair of these – they’ll save you some ear- and headaches (and save your hearing in the long run). These also come in handy when flying with crying babies (no offence, babies! I know you’re tired and yes, you’re very cute, but your screams are shattering my ear drums!). Trust me, get a pair of these and you won’t regret it!
  10. Do not be nervous!
    • Flying isn’t for everyone and that’s okay! You’re surrounded by strangers in a confined space, travelling at extremely high altitude at supersonic speed – it’s not natural and can be hard on your body. That being said, it can also be exciting. Relax and get comfy – your adventure is about to begin!

Not planning on flying anywhere anytime soon? No problem – Winnipeg was just named one of National Geographic Traveler’s top 20 travel destinations in 2016, the only Canadian city to make the cut!! If that isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is. It may be snowy here, but we have good people and lots of great things to do. I ❤ Winnipeg.

Make sure to check out Elizabeth’s post next week on Wanderlust + Heart as she explores what not to do when travelling with a buddy. I’ll be back with more fun tips, too!

Until then, stay well!
Katrina

Everyday I’m Journalin’

journals

Hi all,

Journaling is this neat little therapeutic exercise some people partake in on a regular basis – it helps them process complicated situations and complex feelings, solve problems, interpret dreams, and probably most often, encapsulate memories.

I am a terrible diary-keeper. If anyone wants to know my secrets, they’ll have to ask me directly, because I’ve never been able to keep a steady journal going. I’ve gotten through a day or two of consecutive writing, but I always end up losing discipline and my journal inevitably falls by the wayside.

The reason I bring up journaling is because it is a super handy practice to have while traveling! It’s also a practice I don’t have – but wish I did! Don’t get me wrong, I always bring a little pocket notebook along when I travel because it’s useful to have, but I rarely keep an actual travelogue.

You might be wondering, then, how I know journaling to be useful. Well, I had the pleasure of keeping a journal as part of a school assignment while in South Africa – and now, friends, I know what I’m missing when I don’t keep one. There’s no better way to preserve memories and thoughts than by writing down your reflections as they happen. Now, I’m not saying that journaling trumps photography – I know photos can do a lot to capture where you’ve been (I love my travel pics!) – but it’s an entirely different experience to go back and read your travel journal than to flip through a photo album (both equally fun!).

I’ll be honest, I kind of forgot about my South Africa journal until I was cleaning out my room this summer. I am quite obsessed with stationary and have a collection of pretty journals that are rather untouched – but one was more used and worn than its fellows. I remembered this journal as the one I had along with me in South Africa and began to skim – in no time, an hour had gone by. Wow, what an experience to relive a trip from four years ago – the journal brought back so many memories and experiences I had forgotten.

I went to South Africa with a group of graduate and undergraduate students, and at the end of our trip, one member of the group decided to combine photos and quotes from our journals to create a photo book. Honestly, I have never had  a more precious keepsake from a trip!

If you’re planning a trip in the near future, I highly recommend keeping a journal or travel blog – trust me, you won’t ever regret having a record of what you’ve done and where you’ve been.

What else can your journal do for you?
So, you aren’t as in to keeping a diary when you travel? That’s okay! Travel journals come in handy regardless of how you use them. I always bring along a little journal when I travel because that’s where I keep a list of emergency contacts, passport info, embassy info, flight itineraries, useful websites, and a list of expenses (handy for Customs at the end of the trip!). I’ve also met people who glue city maps into their journals so that if technology fails them, they have a back-up at the ready (brilliant!).

Where can you get one of these fancy journals?
You don’t have to go far to find a good journal to bring along. Chapters and McNally Robinson each have an excellent selection (the journals in the pic above are all from Chapters). I’m also #obsessed with Tiny Feast and Rifle Paper Co.

Tiny Feast's gift guide for travellers. Amazing.
Tiny Feast’s gift guide for travellers. Amazing.
My amazing colleagues at Career Trek gifted me with this lovely set of Rifle Paper Co. notebooks from Tiny Feast before I went back to school this past September. They know me well.
My amazing colleagues at Career Trek gifted me with this lovely set of Rifle Paper Co. notebooks from Tiny Feast before I went back to school this past September. They know me well.

Have you ever kept a journal on your travels? Hit me up on social or write a comment below. I love when you share your travel stories with me!

Until next week, stay well!
Katrina