A reflection of life two years at home after traveling and living abroad.

Two Years of Home

A reflection of life two years at home after traveling and living abroad.

December 15, 2015.

I remind myself regularly of this date. When I’m up at night, my brain whirrs as I count the days, weeks, months and now years since I turned my back on expat life.

It seems like no time has passed at all, and yet all the time in the world has passed.

December 15, 2015.

It hovers over me at times, gently bringing back memories.

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The Cool Guide to London

The Cool Guide to London including free attractions, where to eat, bars and where to stay via www.dtravelsround.com
While in London, I was constantly looking for cool places to visit and experience. I like to think I found quite a few little gems, some you may have heard of, and maybe some new ones, too!

Sure, people visiting London tend to do the tourist things like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the West End and on and on … but some of the gems of London aren’t those attractions.

In fact, there are plenty of free places to explore (and, sure, they are likely in guidebooks).

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite free places to visit, walks to take, great restaurants and bars and even some hotels to add to your itinerary.

So, what’s cool to do in London? Why, hello, The Cool London Guide (as curated by yours truly) that includes all of the things to do in London that I love.

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Where mod meets pop culture: Brighton’s Hotel Pelirocco

Hotel Pelirocco

Editor’s Note: I was a guest of Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton, England. If you have questions regarding this, please read my disclosure policy.

Tucked into the posh Regent Square in the famous seashore of Brighton, England, is Hotel Pelirocco.

This pink-halled 19-room hotel, dubbed “England’s most rock ‘n’ roll hotel” isn’t just a place to sleep. The edgy property, in its 15 years of life, has morphed into a cultural hotspot for Brightonians and travelers, treating them to a hedonistic (if they want) place to unwind and tuck into the town.

Brighton, an easy escape for Londoners looking to hit the shore, is also known as London-by-the-Sea. In its recent history, the seaside town has become the place to have “dirty weekends,” something Pelirocco caters to.

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The British panto experience

The British panto experience“He’s right behind you,” my friend writes via message.

“No,” I type back furiously. “Don’t tell me anything else. I need to be surprised.”

And, thus begins my first British panto experience.

If you asked me a month ago about this holiday cultural phenomenon, I would have stared blankly at you and then imagined that “panto” was mimes, you know, pantomiming.

Let me say this: it most certainly is not.

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Escape of the Week: Poplar Flowers

I awoke early on my second morning in London.

The first day of London, I did a walking tour of Tower of London, St. Paul’s and Oxford Circus. The second day of my travels, I was left to explore on my own.

So, I did what any bright-eyed, bushy-tailed traveler on the start of their trip (or any first experience in a city) would do: I bundled up (it was March in a rain-soaked, cloud-encrusted London), laced my hiking boots, placed my cap tight on my head and pushed my hands into my mittens, and ventured out into the day.

My first stop? Poplar, the neighborhood where I was staying for the week.

The neighborhood isn’t the city’s shining glory, but it has its own charm. Nearby the house I was staying was a large market, compete with stalls hawking everything from blankets and luggage to clothing, food stalls and bakeries.

I snapped this photo during my Poplar walkabout.

 

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An interview with customs

“Where are you going? How long are you here? Where are you staying? How do you know the person you are staying with? How did you meet? How long have you known each other? What does your friend do? What do you do? Where do you live?” The immigrations officer fired question after question at me.

I stood at the counter, silently praying she would stop asking questions and stamp my passport.

Fortunately, she did.

I had spent my entire flight across the Atlantic paranoid. When I went to check in online earlier in the day, I was informed I had to call the airline — that my trip was beyond the limit for travel and a visa was required.

My heart nearly jumped into my chest.

How could I have missed this? I thought I was good to go.

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