Essential Gear: A Much Better Clothesline

Flexo-line Clothesline

Not all essential travel gear is mind-blowingly innovative (although I do have one of those reviews coming for you soon!), sometimes it’s just a new twist on an age-old idea. Today I give you the Flexo-line, a Christmas present from my mother-in-law that has turned out to be surprisingly useful as I move around the globe.

At one point or another, most travelers will find themselves hand washing their clothes. Whether it’s because you’re in a remote location without access to a washing machine or because you have a lot of delicate/expensive/specialized clothing that is much happier if you hand wash it. Or you just came back from the beach and you need somewhere to hang that wet bathing suit.

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How to Use an Icelandic Hot Pool

Vesturbæjarlaug hot pools in Reykjavik

As soon as you land in Iceland you start seeing pictures of the infamous hot pools. On billboards, on buses, in the airport; happy people lounging in milky blue water, steam rising around them as their skin soaks up the nourishing minerals of the Earth.

You know, like this lady:

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Instagram Impressions: Playa del Carmen

Instagram Playa del Carmen

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost four weeks since I landed in Playa del Carmen. Between switching apartments, fixing our broken wifi, and meeting an endless parade of wonderful new friends the time has just flown by. We have yet to take a single trip outside of town, but I’m happy with our days here. We get work done, take long walks on the beach and grab a few cervezas with friends in the evening. It’s exactly what we came down here to do.

But what fun are words when you can have pictures, right? So here’s a quick glimpse into our life in Playa via – what else? – Instagram!

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Happy 3rd Blogiversary to Me!

North & South travels

I can’t believe it’s been three years since I started this blog. AND that I’m coming up on my five-year anniversary as a digital nomad, which practically makes me an elder in the nomadic community. AND that this is the year of my 30th birthday. It’s pretty obvious at this point that I should be the girl who’s got everything figured out.

But I’ve never been one for “should.”

Almost 30-something-people “should” own a house, have a proper career and be thinking about popping out babies. If that’s what you’re into, more power to you! But it’s not me. I go with my gut in life, and my gut tells me that I need to be planning a trip to Africa right now. And possibly writing a book.

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Beyond the Wall: Game of Thrones Magic in Iceland (Part 2)

Iceland Game of Thrones

Did you read Part 1? Good! Let’s continue with Part 2 of my epic adventure in the land of ice & fire… 

I mentioned that our guide Jon (“like Jon Snow!”) has a ton of Game of Thrones knowledge. We discussed the Lord of Bones and Mance Rayder, Orell and the book-only character Varamyr Sixskins. We also went in-depth into the Lord of the Rings universe, which bears a striking resemblance to many parts of Icelandic landscape and myth, as well as hearing tons about the history, geology, legend and culture of Iceland. This man is a fountain of knowledge.

Apparently the Icelandic history books are written a lot like A Song of Ice and Fire. Throughout their history, different chapters have been written from different perspectives. You’ll be following one family for a while until one chapter… BOOM! They’re all dead and you’re reading about someone completely new. Sound familiar?

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Beyond the Wall: Game of Thrones Magic in Iceland (Part 1)

Godafoss Waterfall Iceland

When Jon, known as The Traveling Viking, picked us up for our Game of Thrones tour he instantly felt like an old friend. After introducing himself (“Call me Jon, like Jon Snow!”) and immediately launching into a discussion of the Prince That Was Promised legend from the books, I knew this was going to be a wonderfully geeky tour.

We were about to embark on a journey “beyond the wall” – the land of vikings, trolls, and, of course, wildlings. The team at HBO chose Iceland’s gorgeous wilderness to represent the wild, snow-covered regions North of the Seven Kingdoms for good reason. The series is called A Song of Ice and Fire, and you could hardly find a better place to represent that than Iceland. Full of glaciers, hot springs, icy rivers and explosive volcanoes, Iceland could easily fit in George R.R. Martin’s world of dragons and white walkers.

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5 O’Clock Photo: Wrapped in White

Snow-covered Lamps

The East Coast of the US was absolutely covered in a blanket of white last night. Here in DC we only got a few inches, but it was just enough to merit a snowy photo shoot! We’ve got icicles, snow-covered branches and frosty Christmas lights, but my favorite were these cute little lamps and their funny white hats.

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Seals, Trolls and Other 2013 Adventures

North & South travels

As I look back over my shoulder at the year that was 2013 I’m amazed we managed to squeeze it all in! We went west around the world starting in Hawaii and finishing in Iceland, stopping at dozens of points in between to eat, laugh and marvel at the beauty of our planet. It was a year of green islands, wild countryside and amazing beer with new friends.

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Christmas with Iceland’s Yule Lads

Iceland Yule Lads

One of my favorite things about visiting Iceland in December is the festive holiday atmosphere that emanates from every street, house, hotel and bar. Everything is shiny and bright – including people’s smiles!

Cafes cover their ceilings in garlands and shiny baubles, dozens of delicious Christmas beers become available, and even Reykjavik’s famous hot dog stand gets decked out in holiday colors!

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5 O’Clock Photo: Happy Solstice Eve!

Sun in Iceland in Winter

Tomorrow is the winter solstice, when the entire Northern Hemisphere is at its darkest point all year. The North Pole will be tilted a perfect 23.5 degrees away from the sun, and everyone in the Arctic Circle is in 24 hours of darkness. But starting Sunday we’ll gain a little bit of daylight each day, moving ever closer to summer. (Or, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s about to get a little bit darker. Which is also cool!)

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