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Nomad Updates, Travel

August Nomad Update

September 1, 2017

August Nomad Update

A little over a month of being a nomad has passed for me. This is technically a late July/August update. The day I landed in London it was sunny, but it didn’t last. The rain seemed to dominate my time in London. I guess I can say I experienced an English summer now!

Since I only blog once a week, you haven’t heard about all the places I have visited. Although, if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you might have seen a few updates. Hopefully, these monthly updates will catch you up on my adventures. I want to be totally upfront about this experience so each month will include the ups and downs of full-time travel.

The Ups

First, I loved being able to unpack in my apartment in London knowing I wouldn’t have to pack up for a month. It felt a lot less like traveling because of this. I was also able to cook and do laundry, which is always a bonus!

Since I haven’t been to London in over twenty years, I enjoyed exploring as many museums as possible. You can see those posts here and here.

I spent much of the time catching up with friends in London as well. A few of them from my time in Qatar, one friend from some time in Italy, a lovely couple I hadn’t seen since 2011 from my time in the Caribbean and one friend I had never met in person! Seeing friends has been the best part of the trip.

It wasn’t all about London either! I got out town a few times. There was the Stonehenge trip that also included Oxford and Windsor Castle. Thankfully, the weather held out for Stonehenge but it poured on us in Oxford. Next, I had a day trip to Bath. Bath is a beautiful town and you could spend two days there. One of my friends that I caught up with took me to Southend on Sea, which was a beautiful sunny day. My favorite though was my trip to Brighton. Brighton is set in a beautiful location and I was glad I was there for two days. More to come later.

The last week of August I went to Montenegro. It’s a gorgeous country. Can’t wait to share with you all about that.

The Downs

The rain really got me down. I am not used to so much rain. It also never really got warm enough for me. A few days I was cold and wet!!

My allergies went into overdrive and for three days near the end of the London leg, I spent them in bed trying not to get really sick. This meant I didn’t get to see a few things I really wanted to see.

Since I was home for a month, I had spent a lot of time with my family and have had some moments of homesickness. Especially this week as my family decided to get a new kitten!

I managed to damage my rental car in Montenegro, which I have never done before. I had to drive back to the town I made the police report in because they couldn’t give it to me on the same day, which was a two hour drive one way! It all worked out and the damage wasn’t that expensive and I have insurance.

Overall, the first month or so has been great. It is just an adjustment to constantly being on the road and trying to get my stuff to fit back into my suitcase. Which happens when you packed it about two weeks before you left and it all settled. Now it’s like playing Tetris!

Next stop, Ios, Greece!

Have any questions for me regarding my nomad life? Ask away!

 

Art, Museums, Travel, UK

Museums of London

August 28, 2017

Museums of London

There are probably more than one hundred museums in London. It can be hard to see them all in a short visit and I didn’t see them all in the month I was there. So how do you choose which ones to visit? For me, it all depends on my interests. Here are the ones I saw and who I recommend each one for.

The British Museum

Museums of London

The British Museum is likely the most famous museum in the world. The museum holds artifacts from around the world, so the name is slightly deceiving. Its most famous artifact is the Rosetta Stone. However, it isn’t all artifacts, there is usually a special exhibition on. When I was there, the special exhibition was The Great Wave by Hokusai. If you enjoy world history or there is a special exhibition you want to see, I recommend a visit. However, it can be very crowded even on week days. Admission: Free except for special exhibitions

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Museums of London

The next most famous museum in London. I visited the V&A in high school with my Mom and we both remember it being our favorite place in London, so I just had to go back. This museum is an eclectic mix of art, fashion, architecture and decorative arts.  Since they collect in so many areas, there may be several special exhibitions going on at the same time. Anyone who enjoys fashion, architecture or design will enjoy this museum. It can be crowded in some sections of the museum and some were completely empty! Admission: Free except for special exhibitions

Textile and Fashion Museum

Museums of London

A friend recommended the Textile and Fashion Museum to me because of my interest in fashion. What I didn’t realize is they don’t have a permanent collection, so you only see one exhibition. When I was there, the exhibit was about fashion designer Anna Sui. So my advice is to check out the current exhibition before you go. This museum is probably only for the die hard fashion fan. Admission: £9.90 with gift aid

The Geffrye Museum

Museums of London

The Geffrye Museum is billed as the museum of the home. I have always been curious as to the home lives of people of the past and this peaked my interest. Given the size of the museum, I expected more of a mock up of each period. However, each mock up was just the formal living room of each period. While still impressive, I was slightly disappointed. The museum also runs along a long narrow hallway, so it can be difficult to pass people in the museum. I recommend going around the back of the museum to the gardens. I only recommend this museum if you are a very interested in historic homes. Admission: Free

The National Gallery

Museums of London

I managed to make it to the National Gallery on my last full day in London and it did not disappoint! It is full of historic masterpieces including, Monet, Van Gogh and Da Vinci. What I was really glad about is that each section was based on a time period and the highlights were listed on the map. Anyone who loves art or has an interest in a specific artist should visit the National Gallery. Admission: Free

Cutty Sark

Museums of London

Some may not call this a museum, but the Cutty Sark is a part of the Royal Museums Greenwich and is a separate entrance fee. I love boats and to be able to visit a historic clipper ship, I had to go! If you are a boat or maritime fan, then this is a must see for you. Keep in mind that you have to climb up stairs to enter and get around the Cutty Sark. Admission: £13.50

The Queens Gallery

Museums of London

Right next door to the entrance to Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s Gallery. This museum offers rotating exhibitions throughout the year, which are sourced from the Royal Collection. This is another place that you will need to check the current exhibition to see if it is something you are interested in, but I recommend it if you have an interest in art. Due to it being the Queen’s Gallery, I recommend you get advance tickets otherwise you may have to wait some time to get in. Admission: £11

Royal Academy of Arts

Museums of London

The draw of the Royal Academy of Art for me was the Summer Exhibition. This exhibit takes place annually and displays current artist’s work. This exhibit was huge and inspiring. There were all kinds of art on display. There was also another exhibition taking place. Each exhibition is a separate admission. This museum is an art lover’s dream museum. Admission: Varies

The Charterhouse

Museums of London

I actually saw a brochure for The Charterhouse in a pub! So those flyers in hotels and bars do work. The Charterhouse brochure caught my eye because it has been living the nation’s history since 1348! As a history lover, I had to go check it out. The Charterhouse is a working almshouse still today. The members have to be over 60 and in financial need. They help out in the museum and give tours. The members have kept excellent records over the years and they have a small museum. Tours are offered on a reservation basis. The Charterhouse just opened its doors to the public in January 2017, so it is a hidden gem. Admission: Free, tours are a fee

The London Wall

Museums of London

While technically this is not a museum, I am including The London Wall as I think it is a must see while in London. The London Wall is located just outside the Museum of London and that is how I ended up finding it. I never made it to the Museum of London. The wall was built by the Romans around 200 AD and is about two miles long. You can walk most of it, but the day I was there the gate at one of the towers was locked so I only saw a small portion. I could have walked around to the other side but it was getting dark and I thought I would get lost. Any history buff or Roman history expert will love this ruin. Admission: Free

The Tate Modern

Tate Modern

The Tate Modern was my first museum stop in London and I wrote a whole blog post about it here. I am not usually a fan of modern art, but I wanted to see the building. The art was excellent and I really enjoyed my time there. I recommend it for all art enthusiasts even if modern art isn’t your thing. Admission: Free except for special exhibitions

The Postal Museum

I had heard about the Postal Museum and wanted to visit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t open until September 4th! The museum is about mail delivery via subway trains in London. You will even be able to ride the mail train, which is what I really wanted to do. So if you get to London, go do this for me, please! Admission: Entry and Mail Rail ride £16, includes donation, entry only £11

What museums in London are your favorites?

Photography, Travel

Airbnb Experiences: Photographing London

August 21, 2017

Airbnb Experiences

A few weeks ago, I was looking for a place to stay for the next leg of my trip on Airbnb. Some of this was done on the Airbnb app so when I opened it up, it showed me their new “Experiences” first and they were all London based since that is where I am currently. My interest was peaked by a photography tour and I saved a few to a wish list but didn’t book right away.

Then last week, I was in Brighton and realized I had one more week in London without much planned. I decided to book one of the photography workshops for the next evening. While I think I do okay with my photography skills, I know it never hurts to learn more and get someone else’s perspective. Plus, I figured he would have some great photography locations.

Booking the Experience

Once you find the experience you want to do, you click see dates. Like booking an apartment, some experiences are only certain dates. For many experience hosts, this is a way to supplement their income, so they aren’t available every day. For that reason, you may need to find a few so you can figure out which ones fit your dates. You can add guests if it is more than just you.

Airbnb Experiences

Some tips when booking are to make sure your experience is being offered in a language you understand. Make sure you meet the terms. One I looked at says you must be able to walk six miles. Some experiences do not allow children. Keep in mind that for now, the experiences are only available in 15 cities. Once you have checked all that you are ready to book your experience.

The Experience

Eventually, I chose the Photographing London experience with Tim. Our meeting point was a chain called Pret a Manger, so I arrived a few minutes early to make sure I had the right spot and to grab a bottle of water. Soon Tim arrived and then slowly the other participants arrived. After brief introductions, Tim went over each of our cameras with us and some tips for shooting in manual. Then we were off!

Tim had a route planned for the evening and said we may not make it all the way depending on how long we stopped on the way. I don’t want to giveaway Tim’s route, but you can guess some of it by the shots. It was great to be with a bunch of other photography lovers and to have people to compare shots with. Tim gave tips all throughout and looked at everyone’s photos and gave suggestions.

I really loved the experience. Not only because I got some amazing shots, but this was the kind of tour I liked. There were about six of us plus Tim. I was not charged a single supplement and we were all from different places around the world! Some people were living in London but others were visiting. I would say the experiences are a great thing for the solo traveler. You get to do something at the normal cost and meet new people!

The Results

Here are just a few of the photos I came away with from the experience. I highly recommend doing Tim’s Photographing London if you are in town.

Airbnb Experiences

Airbnb Experiences

Airbnb Experiences

Airbnb Experiences

Airbnb Experiences

Airbnb Experiences

Have you done any Airbnb Experiences yet?

 

Museums, Travel, UK

A Tour of the Tate Modern in London

July 31, 2017

Tate Modern

People keep asking me what I am going to do London for a month, I respond, “See all the museums!” In order to do that you have to get started right away. I probably won’t review each one I visit individually, but the Tate Modern needed its own post as it is quite large.

Now I am not a huge fan of modern art. However, two years ago when I attended the Venice Biennale I had a change of heart and decided I would be more open to seeing modern art. This motivated me to see the Tate Modern plus I had heard so much about the building.

Getting to the Tate Modern

The Tate Modern is accessible by several tube stations including Blackfriars and Southwark. However, I recommend arriving at St. Paul’s station and walking across the Millenium Bridge. This offers you an amazing view of the museum and of the Thames River.

Tate Modern

Inside the Tate Modern

The building used to be a power station, so it is quite large. However, don’t let the size scare you away from visiting. The museum is well laid out and has elevators and escalators to every floor, so you never have to climb the stairs unless you want to.

Tate Modern

Unless you are at the museum to see a specific exhibition, I would start on the first floor and work you way up. Then you can cross to the other side of the museum and work your way down.

Tate Modern

Don’t forget to look at the structure of the building as it is essentially part of the art. This is best done from the bridges between the two gallery spaces. You can do so at each level and get a different perspective. Also, go down to the ground floor and look up. It is then you get a sense of how large the space really is.

Tate Modern

What I really enjoyed about the Tate Modern is the size. I never felt I couldn’t see the art and even though there was a line to get in, it was never crowded inside.

Tate Modern

Not all the art was modern either! There was a room with Mark Rothko piece and he was inspired by Monet’s large art. So, there was one of Monet’s Water Lillies right next to the room!

Tate Modern

The other thing I really loved about the Tate Modern is that the space allows for large art to be on exhibition. For some reason, large pieces of art appeal to me. It’s probably why I like Monet so much!

Tate Modern

Tate Modern

See St. Pauls

This is one of the great unknowns of the Tate Modern, but it offers stunning views of St. Pauls! If you head to the 3rd floor gift shop outside the visiting exhibition space. There is a smoking balcony there and you can see St. Pauls. You can also see the Millenium Bridge. The sun was shining the day I went and the man next to me said to someone, “St. Pauls is glistening. That rarely happens.” It is definitely a sight to see.

Tate Modern

Have you been to the Tate? What is your favorite piece there?

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