What they don’t tell you about living abroad (studying abroad)

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Being able to have the opportunity to live or study abroad is a wonderful that a lot of people should take advantage of but there is a lot that can make living abroad hard and I’m going to tell you. If you are new here, I’ve lived in Ireland for two years on my own working and going to school, I study abroad for a semester and a lot of people ask me question about these things.

They only tell you the good things but the bad is good too. Because like Winnie the Pooh says “how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”. 

VISA: They didn’t tell you much about a VISA. I knew that I could get a VISA for my year off because I had someone before me do it. Little did I know when looking on au pair world that there were limitations of what country Americans could get working VISA, like UK doesn’t give working VISA for nannies. You need to do your research on VISAs. There are requirements for VISA’s. And this is a whole different topic, but the cost of a VISA. The reality of getting a visa is a lot of unknown questions and calling the local embassy to double check, but once you understand exactly every paper work, its pretty easy. Don’t miss your dates, don’t miss your appointments, make those phone calls. The responsibility of “doing it on your own” comes pretty quick with the visa. ALSO when your finally land and your going through customs HAVE it READY don’t be that person.

Cost: They told you the cost believe me they did, but the truth is that cost really isn’t a something that should “stop” you.  And well living/studying abroad is going to COST you; besides the flights and VISA, what about rent, paying it monthly. When living abroad traveling is so much easier and becomes this option that is right there, but its going to cost you.  But here’s the thing your going to spend money no matter what or where you go, things COST money. So if you are on a budge, budget, you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot. I still say the best experiences I have are taking the early busses because its cheaper and the birdness living.

Living: They didn’t tell you you get your own bed, and furniture! My first year there I didn’t have to worry. But when moving out and going on my own, I didn’t really know where to start. It all worked out. And it really helped that I was kind of force to do it or I’d be screwed. If you are studying abroad there is no worries you’ll have a place to stay you might of to buy some bedding and a better pillow. Living you want to make it your home for sure, make it your home. You’re living there!

Making Friends: They didn’t tell you about making life long friends. I’m someone who never had a problem meeting people, I’m just really friendly and out going. But think the one thing they don’t tell you about making friends is how hard it is to keep them, here you are a stranger to this place and everyone has there own idea. When I was working I was in a group of friends who went traveling but some odd reason around Thanksgiving they decided to go to a dinner without inviting me and then that was it, no more talking to me. Another hard thing is when you do make friends, they have there own life, they have there group of friends, memories, people they are going to talk about that you never met. The best advice I can give you is invite yourself, and make own memories with them.

Getting a job: They didn’t tell you what’s it like trying to get a job in a foreign country.  It is going to be very different to getting a job in your own country. You will need to make sure you have the right things, your going to be running around to different government buildings trying to figure it out then trying to apply. Best bet is to walk into some place and ask, sell yourself and work your way up.

“Not actually from here” conversations: How many times have I had this conversation? I’ve also had the “you were in Ireland” conversation way to many times too.  I’ve said this that I felt a lot of the time that I couldn’t get something or someone, or be able to do something, take the chance because I wasn’t from here. Like I couldn’t buy those shoes because would they fit in my suitcase in 9 months. IT WAS FRUSTRATING. And the reminder from people wasn’t helping. But what I did was ignored and proved other wise.

Coming back : They didn’t tell you that when you come back how not only do you want to go back but how suddenly it all is different now.  I think coming back is more of a shock then actually going to a new place because if you are open and ready to try new things then it wont be as a shock of how much it rains and that they call cookies biscuits. But coming back, its a place you should be use to but its throwing you off, you feel weird and everyone looks funny. The buildings are higher and you feel even smaller.

When you live abroad know the good and bad will come, you will feel everything but you will feel yourself growing. Don’t be afraid be shit scared with no fear in your eyes! I never will take those two years away, the stories, the people, the moments I have for a life time. And I hope I can pass on my wisdom of living, studying, and traveling abroad. Open your mind to different things and oppunities. Also hope that those stories will be in a book one day.

xo

Kole.

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A City Girl at the state fair & what we did and ate.

Not eating meat makes going to the state fair challenging.  If you want to read my post of what I was looking forward to doing at the state fair you can access it here.  

 

Going to the state fair has always been a tradition. It’s HUGE  so it’s appropriately called “The great Minnesota get together”! But, after asking a few people they say they never go. Maybe it’s just the people living in the city who just know it’s crazy and expensive, or they never established the tradition of going to the fair. Each to their own, I say. But a lot of people from all around Minnesota drive to the State Fair Grounds each year.  I talk more on that here, this post is all about what we did, what we ate, how much was spent, hours in line, and what it was like for someone who gets overwhelmed in large crowds and could probably have had a culture shock. Here is a Pinterest/printable check list for you! 

The Ground we covered:

Depending on what gate you come in you’ll end up in a section of the fair. This time we got to go through the main gates, the more iconic entrance. The fair grounds cover a pretty big area and we covered EVERYTHING. There is definitely a lot of things to do, from rides, to shows, to free music, to big-name performers at the Grand Stand. There are booths with things you can buy, from random stuffed animals, cow boy boots, to hot tubs. We were there in the evening and tried to see all of it, but we didn’t get to see as much as we usually do since the dairy barn closed at 10 pm. But we went to the animals of course to see the largest boar and the baby pigs. We caught a horse show, too. And of course we went to the birthing barn, headed to the education building to get our free pens and walked around the Eco Building. Something new we did was watch a glass blowing demonstration near the Blue Barn.

What we ate:

There are the specifics you always eat when going to the state fair. And eating food is the most important part of the fair, there are new add-ons each year. They even give you a list of new food, food locations, a discount book, and a list of the food on a stick because that’s what it’s all about. Deep fried, of course. I always get my little stuff but try to have a “meal,” something larger than something on a stick. But, since I am not eating meat (I’m still eating fish and cheese) it seemed much harder. I did get walleye on a stick, $5 bucks at a stand in the food building. We then went for the usual Milk Shake at the dairy barn near the farm animals, the only place to get your milk shake! Of course, we get mini doughnuts, especially if you going in the morning. Don’t miss a pickle on a stick from the Fried Pickle stand (it use to be in the food building) now moved down near the French Fries stand (those are a must too). We went to the blue barn because we heard the food is more meal like however there are not many options for none meat eaters so I just picked at my mom’s beans and rice as she ate the pork. This year we did go for the Sweet Maratha Cookies, it’s all the rage at the state fair, buckets full of cookies that a lot of people take home and eat for days. However, as I ate the cookie it wasn’t as good as I remembered, or what I thought would be so good considering the length of the line since EVERYONE gets them.

How much will you spend…

You will be spending money when going to the state fair, especially if you do all the extra things like the rides, the games, buying the carnival stuff, or things from the little shops; plus all of the FOOD. But I brought about 40 and I had 20 left so that was pretty good. There is a lot of free things you can get at the fair, trust me. For me it always was about the free stuff you can get!

More….

When asking people if they were going, if they said no a lot of time it was because of the crowds of people. There are some interesting people you will notice at the state fair, and there are TONS of times where you’re basically inching along when walking. I even ran into a guy because we both were looking a different direction. There are plenty of strollers you’ll likely get hit by, too. But, for me, even though I get easily overwhelmed when there are lots of people around I still like to go. I don’t know why but the state fair is one place where it doesn’t happen, maybe it’s because I’m so focused on where I want to be or staring at the ground so I don’t step in cow shit. I remember when I was younger I always was telling a story in my head when we walked around the fair grounds. So, for those of you who don’t like crowds, take a chance and wander over to the fair. Look around and let your imagination run wild.

Pinterest/printable check list for you BELOW!

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Usually we go near the end of the state fair (it goes on for two weeks) and this year I’m going twice! Usually once is all we do, some people do go almost ever day! Like I said, MN State Fair is something you should see and experience.

Vlog of the State Fair:

What I am excited about the Minnesota State Fair

minnesota state fairThe reason I told people to come to Minnesota in the summer was not only because there is no snow but at the end of August we have our State Fair. The MN State Fair is probably the biggest event of the whole summer, the planning starts early. Think of the state fair as where you can get food on a stick, deep fried food, tons of free shit in bags, go to concerts, and see farm animals. There are a lot of people there, which can be overwhelming but it’s such a great people watching spot. And trust me you will get some interesting people. There are some rides for kids to go on.

The main thing I want to see are the farm animals, but you have to start early to see all the recently born chickens, goats, sheep, pigs, cows, and ducks. If you get there early you avoid crowds. We hit all the main buildings; my favorite the environment building. There are a lot of random booths, where you get a lot of free shit that when you get home you will probably throw away.  There’s a building were you get to see Mrs. Minnesota face carved in butter, there is college building with all the Minnesota base colleges. There’s pubs that when I was younger we never hit but now we do. There is lots to do at the MN State fair, and everyone has there own thing. Mine are my usual food and the farm animals. 

The food we get is always a pickle on a stick, which was once in the food building but has moved to its own booth. Get a milkshake, but get it ONLY AT the cow barn because the milk is fresh. For a meal I use to stop at a greek booth but now that I don’t eat meat we’ll have to keep walking to see what I can find. Most people have a long list and know exactly what food they are going to try. We usually grab the discount book, do a little go through and whatever sounds good and we share it. Martha’s Cookies are always a must, if you get a bucket you will be bringing them home. But, to be honest they are not as good the next day.

 

 

The one reason I like to go to the fair, besides getting a pickle on a stick, is for the animals. I jump for joy as we walk down the street with cow and horse shit every where is the animals! I can not wait to get to the pig place to see the little ones, see the sheep, the cows, the horses.  It’s weird, it’s random, it’s the city girl in me but if you were ever in a car with me driving through Ireland you probably experiences my “SHEEEP!” moments.

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The Minnesota State Fair like I said is a the biggest event of the season and everyone has their own thing, their own lists of what to do and see. A lot of time it’s about the food, because there is a lot of food. But for me, besides the animals, I just like being there. Not the whole day, you really don’t have to be there the whole day, but maybe four hours. I’m excited to go this year and I will tell my friends this is why I came back as I eat my pickle on a stick.

I’d do anything for a pickle on a stick!

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College Check List: things and advise for College

If you want to know more things about school, my school stories; click here.

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I went back to my undergrad college campus (Winona State) after three years and it was super weird. We passed the beach volleyball section and I told my friend I remember being a freshman and feeling so not “in college” and not “college like;” I felt weird, young, and small. But then I remember all the things I did, wish I did and didn’t do–the didn’t are never regrets they were lessons. And if you are going to college for the first time, or in your third year here’s a check list of things and reminders of what to do in college.

CHECK LIST FOR COLLEGE

  • Get out of your bubble: expand yourself, this is the very first time where you don’t know anyone and you are living on your own-it’s exciting and scary. Just be willing to try and meet people, don’t be afraid. I think when I look back I was so stuck in my own worries and being “too hyper” and not wanting to be something that I wasn’t willing to just do things. It wasn’t until my 2nd year that I broke out of that.
  • Do things with your floor mates:  Definitely live on campus your first year, don’t think about moving out even if you can. I think the best thing about my first year was my floor. We would go to dinner together, we would sit in the hallway together, I would watch TV shows in my neighbours’ rooms. Sleep in the common room together one night. We would study together, we would go to class together or walk in the same direction especially if we saw each other waiting for the bus. Take advantage of living in a dorm!
  • Roommate:  This is my “advice”. I had two freshman roommates; the first one wanted me to change in her closet and the 2nd one stole my clothes. The check list is to really just get along with your roommate. You are put into a room with a total stranger and maybe for the first time in your life you may have to just be able to live with each other. If you can not get along, go to your RA; it’s what they’re there for.  Having a roommate will make you learn the importance of communication instead of being passive aggressive about issues.
  • Take notes, study, and find those reliable sources: I think the biggest thing about college is that you are coming out of a world you know, having parents telling you what to do and a familiar high school, to a ‘whole new world’ and part of that is  learning to be a college student. This might sound a bit weird but really spend time on your note taking, studying. My friend said she really grew and became more open from college, and that not only had to do with the experience of being around so many different things but also the education part. I learned so much in my classes. I never thought I’d learn about the relationship of “Spiderman, God, and Moby Dick.”IMG_6920
  • Go to a house party: I am not telling you to drink! I’m saying go to a crappy house, meet people, go into the party basement have the plumbing burst and be smart–Don’t be stupid! You really have to see things first hand to know, experience and learn that house parties aren’t glamorous at all.
  • Go to class: College isn’t only about the game and fun things you are also there to get an education. Skipping class, not doing the assignment is on you. The quote that stuck with me is “you’re paying for it not me”.  The best example I can give to you for not skipping class is my Energy class, he gave you the whole problem and how to answer them right there, leaving blanks and where to go and get that number to put there, and telling you what answer he wanted to have for an answer. . And there was a kid I met that never went to class, so he missed the homework. The professor said if you miss class you better come with a good excuse or have a good friend. That part I hated, but still how easy is that, go to class, you get the answers! Who would have thunk it!
  • Make friends with the “lunch lady”: I lived on west campus during my 1st and 2nd year and I knew all the staff people that worked in the cafeteria and I loved it! The lady who swiped the cards became my friend during our hour-long talks during breakfast. I went to her with tons of problems and stories; she pointed me in the right direction; she even got me a guys number. I got the best pancakes from the cook, and when the night cafe was open I got to sit with the guys and swipe cards. I even got free chicken tenders.
  • Join clubs: The one thing I wish I did more of was join more clubs or in Ireland they are called societies. I do think there wasn’t really much to pick from though. There were a lot of related to majors, and they felt clicky sometimes. I wish that the UCC societies had been at WSU; something like the Moltey  Magazine would have been SO COOL and a GREAT opportunity. There was a literary journal at WSU but it was a course and it wasn’t going to fit in my schedule.
  • Study abroad: Make time to study abroad. I think the best time I had in my four years was at UL (well top 5 & it is number 1). It is an opportunity to meet new people who will become lifelong friends.
  • Date: Definitely date in college. When I was in college Tinder and Snap Chat were popular and as a result dating was not the thing to do. People would just meet up and suddenly they were in a relationship. College might not be the place where you meet the “one”, but it might be. To find out, date!
  • Definitely do weird things in the library: I’m not talking about the Prince and Me moment, I’m talking about wearing a onesie into the library or maybe lay under the table. And it doesn’t have to be the library. One night my friend and I danced to a One Direction song all the way to the cafeteria. We had a night of “what Kole can fit in.”
  • Go to the games at least once: I am not a homecoming football fan, but I went once and I saw. I went to a lot of basketball games with friends that was fun!
  • Make connection with your professors: They are there to help you and near the end they can be a great resource to really help you even when you are out of college. Go to their office hours; they will tell you when they are on the syllabus, it’;-there is no excuse. Get to know your professors; like find out if they have a cat or a kid. I mean by the time you’re in your last year you might be drinking with them in a bar. WEIRD!
  • Don’t declare your major right away: After learning about how Ireland guides you into what major you should be doing I think we are really lucky that we are able to switch into a new major. I mean you may go to college thinking math but then you really like art. I didn’t declare my major until my 2nd year, I knew I wanted to do English but I wanted to figure it out. I do wish I took more graphic design classes or did more mass communication classes; but my school wasn’t a liberal arts college so the focus was a bit different.

College is the first real chapter when you are figuring yourself out so allow yourself to do it. Make friends, get out of your comfort zone, really get yourself involved, don’t be afraid, and definitely keep at your studies! I am not your mother but realize that college is the balance between having fun and getting an education, so do it!  This wasn’t supposed to be “tips” for college, but advice for things to do while in college and consider things that you may not have thought of doing. Like I didn’t join a club until my 2nd year of college, I mean I put my name down but it took a year to go.

 

I’m definitely going to a style school post closer to September, but I did share some Outfit ideas without going school shopping on FB page. If you want tips about college like studying, buying books, dealing with roommates, or making friends in your courses, like this post & if I get 6 likes I will know I should do it!

 

A City Girl Guide: Uptown places to hit and places to miss

I’ve been adventuring to uptown a lot to really find the best places to go. It’s probably the most popular place with 20 something kids.

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Back in the day it was a thriving, local, cultural filled with hipsters. Now it’s still there but as I walked around I found myself more overwhelmed in traffic and college guys. Each street was fancy and buzy as the next, there was a lot of shops like H&M, Urban Outfitters, with Mac shop across the street to vintage shops and classic records stores next to a run down for sale building next to a sex book shop. Uptown is open to all but the classic things that really make a place either weren’t there or were being left to rotten over time. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of things in Uptown that are great and what bring people here, like the art fair this weekend (August __&_). Being able to live here, if can afford it, is perfect because everything is a walk away and a bus right to down town. There the lakes to walk around or run, even bike. Here are a few places you should hit up when in Uptown (and few things to pass on).

  • Stella’s Fish Cafe: It can be a little over price but you are getting sea food and there is no sea in Minnesota despite what people may think with all our lakes and referring it to as “beach”.  But there happy hour is pretty nice with 2 beers and the 2nd one for a dollar. Take a stop in, but get there early so you can get the happy hour and beat the crowd. Try out the roof top in the summer you’ll get a nice view of Uptown.

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  • Libertine: across from Stella’s the happy hour is alright but the atmosphere and serves is pretty nice. We had a really friendly willing to chat with us waiter while we enjoyed our pints. What I really liked about this place was fact it had games, like yard games, beer pond, janga- I don’t know why you need games at a bar but perfect for those awkward first dates. I also loved the words they had around the place.
  • LynLake Brewery: Off Lyndale Street sits a place that every time I have gone to Uptown I ended up here. Which if you follow me or know me at all that SAYS a lot. I’ve try a lot of brewery’s in a SEA of Brewery in Minnesota and this is the only one were I got a drink and I actually liked it. Coming from 2 years of Ciders (which was not seen with an EYE ROLL) and good Heineken trying to find a good drink has been hard.  They have a roof top that really has good views, large tables so you have to sit with people you don’t know! And the servers are pretty friendly, which again I LOVE. So definitely check them out!lynlakebrewery.jpg
  • Up Down: an Arcade bar with a lot of old school games, pinball, and ske Ball. This place is super fun, but it doesn’t get packed there isn’t a lot of room to move around. And sometimes you have to really wait for a game to open, which might be awhile if the person isn’t willing to be like “okay we had 4 tries let’s give others a chance.” There really isn’t much place to sit, so you might end up in a game that you have no idea what your doing or the point-it could be fun! I say the best time to go is on a Saturday that’s the best deal with paying 5 for double the tokens and you never know you might have people handing you there extras before they leave!

What I’ve  walked the streets of Uptown and the neighborhoods I really avoid all the general chains and anything that is in a strip try to keep to the main streets like Lyndale and dig deep for the good places. One place I want to try is this pizza joint on Lyndale across from the VFW bar.  There is a really almost similar feel of San Fran to this place with restaurants in houses, which I liked a lot when I was in San Fran but here I don’t know there not calling to me. The only place that’s ice cream is Milkjam, which has the LONGEST Que! It’s a popular on instagram so no question why there it is popular. But is it worth it? Are they good to feed me personally? Or is it all for that shot? The question I ask myself, but I never once had the patients to even go in the line.  A lot of the places can be packed with people. And that’s the one thing I really don’t really enjoy much about uptown, there is something lost in how popular it’s become.

Over all, I wouldn’t say I’m packing up my bags to move in, if I could even afraid it, I think if you want a place that is going to give you a lot, that is well known and your visiting definitely come to Uptown, walk the lakes, hit up LynLake.

Next week we are talking about an area that doesn’t want to become Uptown at all.

Travel shouldn’t be a Luxury.

Traveling should be raw, it should be hard, it should be a lot of waiting around, it should  losing your underwear in a hostel.

travelingluxuryWhen I hear that someone hasn’t even gone to Canada, I’m shocked, because traveling is something we can do. We can get to Canada just by a car. A lot of time it is about time and money. Which in all honesty you can make the time and you can save the money especially if you really want to go. Traveling is something you can do, but it is seen as a luxury and something that should be luxurious or at least look it. With Instagram sharing your holidays it needs to be #holidaygoals.  Traveling should be raw, it should be experiencing the culture, and after traveling you can’t wait to take a shower and sleep in your own bed.

It’s 100% NOT trying to get #holidaygoals

Public Transportation

I actually hate flying, if I don’t have to fly I won’t. And Flying has become almost over price, stressful and irritating.  Cheap flights mean you can’t have a check bag, small sets, not customer friendly. It’s become ridiculous. Having a check bag shouldn’t be a luxury it should be a right! But we do it because its the fastest way to get somewhere. But I say if I am not flying over an ocean I’ll take a road trip. I think the one thing that I miss is the ability to travel and feel relax . And maybe that’s why we need more public Transportation. wink wink 😉4a3c1-img_2710

I remember when I was in 6th grade and we went to England for the very first time.  We had family friends we were seeing while there and they lived outside of the city.  How we got there was we went by a train, maybe it was a subway since we did go undergrand but it wasn’t the tube. And I thought it was the coolest thing because how do we go somewhere we take a car. I was in love with how real riding public transportation was.

While I lived in Ireland and traveled around, not being 25 yet, the only way to get around was by public transportation. Never once did I feel unsafe, on the bus to Galway, or did I feel unsure about the trains in Italy or in Germany. Going the wrong way to get to Berlin and ended up who knows where with graffiti and guys using the shelter as their work out zone. Sitting at the train station in Bath because EVERYONE was doing it. While using public transpiration you got more out of it, reading a book, looking at the country side, seeing sheep!

Places to Stay

Stay in a hotel is cool; there is breakfast all the time, you feel important when you go to the front desk, usually they have a pool and you have a bed. But, now there is Airbnb, hostels, etc. Which can be fun and feel like a luxury. Reality check, if you don’t want to put out the cash you won’t get those “Instgramable places” (i hate myself) sometimes they  are going to be a bed in someones basement that they personally built the bathroom (I’ve seen a few especially when looking to travel state side) but you wont stay there! The best places I staid were the ones in someones extra bedroom in Bristol with the most friendliest woman who was taking me to the local pubs. It was the birds nest hostel with my best friend where I lost my underwear. It was the airport in Venice even though we hated ever minute of it. Those were the best places to stay because they were an experience, they were real. A story to tell, we learned something from it.

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Don’t get me wrong I wont stay in the bed in the basement, I want something fun and homy. And to stay in a resort in Florida so fancy they bring you some pink drinks when sitting on a beach chair. It’s relaxing, you feel lucky, but its almost too comfort. Because even in the airports stay or the loud unfriendly hostel in Bristol they were the experience.

Location

A year ago everyone was going to Thailand, it looked cool, but me being me I couldn’t go to Thailand because A. I didn’t know anything about Thailand. B everyone was going to Thailand. It honestly now feels like we choose the places for where everyone else is going.

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Take the road less travled by

To travel is exciting because its an adventure, you get to go to these places that not a lot of people do go HOWEVER your going to the places people do go to. I see the same pictures of the same thing; or looks the same, taken the same way and its like I’ve seen it; do something different. Go to Thailand go to the moon part, go to the Leo movie spot, but also go do something that you haven’t seen, take the picture no one has. End up in the most random place. Hop on a bus and go somewhere–be smart of course.

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Traveling is everywhere its something we share, that’s not new.  But now, its almost too trendy, has to be on your tinder bio, and “how many places have you been”. And despite my tattoo on my arm WHICH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TRAVELING-traveling tattoos. I wrote this post because I do wonder is it something you enjoy or is it a luxury for you (or something you pay to do).  Of course there are traveling holidays were its a relaxing holiday, now thats different. But traveling even for a relaxing holiday should not be trying to get #holidayhoals.

There’s nothing wrong with taking pictures, people always take pictures on holiday. Its not a new thing, but don’t you want those real wrote pictures, the ones were your tumb is in the corner? Remember traveling is doing something to experience outside the bubble of tourism and resorts. It should change who you are and how you see the world. Your experiencing different cultures, you’re seeing what they do and live; embrace that.  At the end of our adventure we should have so many smelling clothes, sand in our shoes, needing a shower, and memories. It should be raw, it should be hard, it should be a lot of waiting around, it should  losing your underwear in a hostel, it should be behind that photograph remembering what isn’t in the picture.

 

 

 

 

My Weekend Up North plus a traveling guide to North Minnesota

There are not many guide books about Minnesota so I hope these will be great guides too. 

coverfornorthvk.jpgI did not go camping, I wouldn’t even glamp. Maybe. We stayed in a local AmericaInn Hotel in Silver Bay, MN. If you follow my instagram and saw my story of my trip you would have seen the “room tour” of “that’s where we sleep, thats the bathroom and that’s the door”. But, it was the perfect stay for being close to everything we want to do and right off the road. Our first day was just to get there, a stop over in Duluth for food and walk the boardwalk. I’ve been to Duluth a lot, my grandmother lived in Duluth. We ate at one place I new of called Grandma’s. I like it, its local, its fun, the staff are lovely and the food is great. Because I’m not eating meat while state side I had a wild rice burger which I liked A LOT. It is actually a popular thing up here. Wild Rice is an important food  for the Native American’s.  While in Duluth we saw this sign that read “I’m reading for an adventure” and we were.Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Saturday

We drove on State highway 61 up to Grand Maria, a small tourist town, an hour south from the Canadian boarder. You enter above with a great view of the town that was below right on the lake. Don’t be mistaken that is a lake. We parked in a lot that’s right next to the lifeguard house. And walked up, our first stop was “World’s Best Doughnuts” we were going to see if they were the ‘best’. It was a 15 minute line, there is a second window but you don’t get to go inside to see the donuts and I wanted to see them. They are under 2 dollars, have a variety of flavours. But are they the world’s best? I went for Chet’s Best which was plane one with chocolate and sprinkles. It was good the only thing me and my friend both said it was very sugary. There was a chunk of frosting on it, they said “like eating cake”.

We headed onto the shore and did some walking on some rocks. It was almost like the Irish shore in Gtown, but I new I wasn’t because  Pine trees.  Grand Maria is a cute little town, I liked if for it wasn’t commercialises, sorry no Starbucks. There is this cute little library next to the doughnut shop.  If you are going to head this way definitely stop in Grand Maria, you’ll see a lot that you really don’t expect to see.

IMG_1503We headed back south out of Grand Maria, we weren’t going to Canada, and began our journey to the state parks. We got a weekend pass at Temperance State Park, our first stop, it cost 14 dollars. The ranger in there was very helpful when we told her were we were heading. She told us the best way to get there (exactly what google said) and what we needed to see. And were to park. At Temperance was a quick little bridge walk above this small little off high way water fall. A walk down and a climb onto rocks we ended up on this small little tiny rock beach ( i wouldn’t call it sand) were we again climbed some rocks then headed back up, across 61 to the other side were we adventure under the bridge to get a little closer and cooler view of the water. DON”T GET CLOSE! We moved on for a half hour drive, most on a dirt road to George Crosby Manitou State Park. Where we walked around the lake, we weren’t close to the lake, but it was a nice cool walk in the woods. Our next and longest stop was at Tettegouche State Park.  We were so glad we ended here first, cause there was a lot more to see, a lot more to walk, and we wanted to spend our time here.

Once we got to the top, we decided to go to the lower falls which was about 10 minutes walk over and 5 minutes down A LOT of stairs. That you will have to walk up eventually. We went over to the rocks and sat in front of the water looking straight at the waterfall. Taking the shoes off and dipping our feet in. We sat for awhile, not wanting  take on those 150 stairs. But when we did, we adventured to the other one, across the shacky bridge, down some more stairs (going to walk back up these) to the shore and this large water fall–its not big but it’s pretty big. I quickly took of my pants-my swim suit was

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underneath and went in. I was so hot. I also always wanted to swim near a waterfall-the water is not deep enough to swim I basically skinned my knees and was ankle deep. We were so happy to end there and headed back to figure out food. Since there was no place around the hotel, we weren’t camping, I had the restrictions and seemed everything closed at 7. But the one place that didn’t was in Two Harbors, a small town, half hour away. Which wasn’t bad and got us onto another evening adventure. To some boat watching, iron rage exploration and more rocks. There is another beach spot to swim in Lake  Superior but how can you beat swimming in a waterfall?

 

I love climbing rocks! 

Sunday

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It was check out day but more adventure a head! Our first stop was the light house, Split Rock. The parks open at 6 am but the lighthouse wasn’t opening until 10. And us not in any hurry ended up there at 9 am! That’s what happens we you don’t set a schedule you really ended up a head of the game. Which really paid of in our favour cause the gates were open, we didn’t have to pay to go to see the lighthouse and ended up walking the 2 mile walk that we took off the path and on the rocks near the shoe, a head of everyone else. Walking the path is free, seeing the light house is going to cost you.

After Split Rock and Pebble beach, which was the end point of the trail, we headed back to the car to head to our final stop; Gooseberry Falls State Park. There was a LOT of people there, which we soon found out was because this was an easy simple spot; also a swimming whole for kids to play on. Me not wanting to be near people, headed to this little top of rock area were you could walk through some stream of water and sit close to the edge. The one thing I had was we were sitting chatting enjoy outselfes, me with my camera and a drown came above us. It’s agents the law to fly them in the state park, but I hated cause its such a public place and there was some stranger videoing me. I’m fine for when your in like the middle of the ocean but not were children are running around. But we continued out, adventuring across the rocks, water, seeing a few more smaller waterfalls, going into the water to get some cool shots–my long hair ends barely touching it. I think this spot is really cool, but there are just too many people everywhere there is no like relaxing, someone is going to get in your shot not the biggest deal but you kind of don’t want a kid in your photograph you know?

After that we headed back south home, stuck in an hour of traffic, which I LOVE (sarcasm) But this weekend was great, I always need a weekend away especially when things get too much. I always would escape to the beach and my secret spot in Gtown. And this was my three hour drive escape. I didn’t really realize I needed this weekend until after, I felt good, I felt like this was the happiness I’ve been needing. And it brought on this new form of confidence and inability to focus come Monday. But Wednesday morning, reality hit again. Don’t you just hate that? But, I know that happiness and confidence is in me!Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

I do recommend if you ever in Minnesota go up North, there is really nothing like it and you really don’t expect it to be in Minnesota because in the city it is truly city life; then you get back of nowhere to farm land, to nothing again. But up north you get this woods, lake, and beautiful scenery. It had to be the lake for me, cause I finally saw the Horizon end, it’s what I’ve been looking for!

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