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What a hostel is REALLY LIKE Inside - A VIDEO and a story | HOSTEL GUIDE PART II

I just returned from a weekend in one of my favorite places - New Orleans, Louisiana. (Dedicated blog post coming soon, btw) 

I stayed in a hostel while I was there -  the Auberge NOLA.

I could have stayed in a hotel but I saved $200+ by staying in a hostel.

And in my mind.....more savings = MORE TRAVEL + (more money for good food). So...it was a no-brainer for me. 

This hostel is probably the friendliest hostel I've ever stayed in. Everyone was SO friendly from the jump! As soon as I arrived & walked out to the courtyard outside, I was greeted by 10 + strangers sitting around the table playing King's cup.

Everyone at the table had an accent. 2 girls were from Germany, 2 guys were from New Zealand, 1 guy was from England, 1 guy was from Syria, 1 girl was from South Korea, and only 1 other guy was from the US.  Many of them were traveling the US for the first time. 

We all talked, battled it out in King's Cup(I Lost), and then headed out for a night on Frenchman street. We had such a good time together each night despite the fact that we'd just met. It's crazy how easy it can be to meet awesome people when everyone is open. No matter where I go, my favorite part of travel is the people I meet and the experiences we share - even if for just a few hours. Even if I never see these people again, it feels good to know that they played a role in my travel experience. 

I talk about how easy it is to make friends at a hostel my last post. Hostels are perfect for solo travelers, budget travelers, or anyone that might be looking for a friendly atmosphere.

I've said it before - they're NOT for everyone. I'm not saying I'd choose a hostel over a comfortable & private hotel/rental every time because I wouldn't. I do know that staying in a hostel could bring many one step closer to being able to afford that trip you've been wanting to take. So as long as it's clean & safe, who cares where you sleep? You'll be out exploring anyway! 

Sure, you'll be sleeping in bunk beds like you're at 6th-grade summer camp. but you'll save hundreds of dollars and you just might meet some pretty cool people.  

In Portugal, I recorded a hostel tour video & I finally got the chance to edit it1

Check out this video to see WHAT A HOSTEL IS REALLY LIKE! 

Sorry for talking with my hands and being a bit boring - I've gotta get more comfortable on video haha! 

Is this what you expected a hostel to be like? Comment below!

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25 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit The Algarve Region of Portugal | My Algarve Photo Diary

The Algarve is so breathtakingly beautiful. It's difficult to describe it in words. I hadn't even heard of this area until my friend Veronica(that I studied abroad with in Panama)  suggested that we go. After a quick google search, I just knew I had to go. 

I'm so glad we decided to go because we had such an amazing time. I recently created a video highlighting some parts of a trip and now I'll leave you with beautiful photos to show you a bit more. Enjoy! 


Arrived into Faro, Portugal just after dark. We barely made our flight from London. We took an Uber from the airport and spent the night wandering the streets of faro with a guy we met at our hostel. a member of the portuguese army, He was born & raised in the country so he told us all about its history.

tip: If you want to explore the Algarve, Faro is the airport to fly in to. 

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Our hostel was probably one of the cleanest, nicest hostels I'd ever been in(video coming soon!). It also had a really nice rooftop terrace where everyone meets for breakfast in the a.m. look at that view! 

We only spent the morning in Faro before deciding to rent a car and go on a roadtrip along the coast! Thankfully, Ashley knows how to drive a stick-shift because that was the only rental option. We hadn't even considered that the car might not be automatic, so that's something to keep in mind if you plan on renting cars in another country!

Walked to the local market to buy some fruit, meat, & cheese for the next few days. Everything was so tasty! 

Spent ~1 hour driving into Portimao, a small beach town with plenty of shops & cafes. 

This beach was quite crowded, but we sat out in the shade, snacked for a bit, & enjoyed the views before heading to Praia de Marinha. 

We raced to Praia de Marinha to catch the sunset. We made it just in time. 

We slept at the beach & woke up with the sun. I walked back down to the sand, while Ashley read in the car. Other than the birds, the only footsteps were my own. 

Walked down plenty of steps to get to the beach - only to realize we had the whole place to ourselves! So amazing! I write about that experience here. 

Just. Look. At. That. View!

Such an amazing experience at praia de marinha! 

eating local, of course. quite a bit different than olive garden's calamari, but it was super tasty!

made it into Lagos, Portugal! the water was soo cold!

$10 grotto/cave tour in lagos.

Absolutely breathtaking!

the owner showed me how to drive the boat & took some photos for me! 

P O N T E  D E  P E I D A D E

Farol da Ponta da Piedade, 8600 Lagos, Portugal

V I E W S 

 Hope you enjoyed friends!

Skinny-Dipping in the Sea | Portugal

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"Let's skinny-dip!", I whispered to Ashley. I whispered as if we were in a crowded room, but it was just us. Not another person in sight. I was excited because this was something I'd never really thought about doing, but that moment seemed like the perfect opportunity if there ever was one. 

We arrived to Praia de Marinha just as the sun was setting. I was admiring a breathtaking view as I paced back and forth to capture photos. We began walking down the steps nearby to see the sun set from the beach. We arrived to the beach only to discover that we were alone. It was just Ashley & I, surrounded by massive caves and crashing waves. This was by far the most beautiful beach I'd ever seen.  We snapped a few photos & then put our belongings away to explore. Praia de Marinha is small beach - smaller than the building I work in, so we could easily wander from one end to the other end of the beach.


And so we skinny-dipped. Once it got completely dark, we hurriedly ripped our swimsuits off  & ran into the Sea. We ran, we jumped, we screamed, and we laughed. The only sounds were our laughs & the of the crashing waves. The caves towered over us as we laid in the damp sand. We wandered from one edge of the beach to the other, with only the moonlight lighting our paths

I've never felt so free. I was in pure awe of the beauty around us. I felt a natural high, as if I had magically gained all of the energy in the world.  My senses were heightened & I felt such a rush. I felt electric. I felt refreshed. I felt humbled. Isn't it crazy how nature can make you feel more connected & more calm? 

In those moments, I felt an immense amount of gratitude - for life and for God. I was reminded of our smallness. I was also reminded that we each have purpose, despite how small we are. 

Who knew we'd be skinny-dipping in the Algarve? Thank God for friends who say 'yes!'. Thank God for life's simple pleasures. And Thank God for his creation.