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Five things I wish I could tell the travel community 

Five things I wish I could tell the travel community 

I love traveling. I love meeting new people; I love learning new things; I love researching unique locations and discovering different ways of seeing the world. Mankind has never before been so mobile, and that’s been a huge blessing for humanity! At the time of this writing, I have been to 35 countries, and am in my third year of long-term travel. I think by now I’ve met every type of traveler out there: the backpackers, the professionals, the vacationers,…

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22 Reflections After 2 Years Here

22 Reflections After 2 Years Here

My favorite memory over the past two years was…during one of our trips north to Valbona, hands-down my favorite place in all of Albania. I am a huge stargazing enthusiast, and these remote villages in the mountains away from all the light pollution of the cities have some of the most pristine views of Milky Way I’ve ever seen in my life. One of my favorite memories is sitting under the stars with Max. It was frigid outside, but it…

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Albanian Showers Bring May Flowers

Albanian Showers Bring May Flowers

This blog post comes in two parts: the first is a journal entry from April, where I reflect on the realities of living here. The second post is loosely titled, “Understanding Albania through Anecdotes”. I have decided to call this compilation “Albanian Showers Bring May Flowers” because both of these posts were written in early Spring, when it was still raining plenty and we were all wrestling with Spring Fever. You’ll be able to tell that from my tone in especially…

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How to Stay in Shape While You Travel

How to Stay in Shape While You Travel

As a yoga teacher and fitness instructor, I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet. However, as an expat and lifelong nomad, I also find myself on the road a lot, hanging out in airports between long flights, and generally wanting to indulge in the local cuisine of every place I visit! But traveling and staying in shape can go hand-in-hand with a few simple adjustments. This way, you can enjoy the trip without packing…

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Southern Balkan Roadtrip Itinerary

Southern Balkan Roadtrip Itinerary

A 2-week roadtrip through the southern Balkans: Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Greece   The Balkan Peninsula is truly a captivating corner of the globe, full of unique surprises and hidden gems to offer international travelers. One of the easiest ways to enjoy this region of the globe is to rent a car and see it for yourself! In this post I have mapped out a two week itinerary starting from Tirana, Albania and routing through Macedonia, Bulgaria, and northern Greece….

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Off The Beaten Path: 7 Places to Visit in the Balkans

Off The Beaten Path: 7 Places to Visit in the Balkans

The Balkan Peninsula is an area of indescribable richness, complexity, history, and natural landscapes. With so many incredible cities to visit, it can easily become overwhelming when trying to plan a trip through the Balkans. Instead of sticking to the well-trodden capital cities of these Balkan countries, here are 7 unique places to visit on your next trip.   Kotor, Montenegro Perhaps no city on earth possesses such a unique charm as the quiet coastal town of Kotor, Montenegro. Just…

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That Time I Traveled to Italy, The Alps, and Montenegro

That Time I Traveled to Italy, The Alps, and Montenegro

One of the primary reasons–actually, arguable, the ONLY reason–that I became an international teacher is because it affords me SO many opportunities to travel. At any given moment I’m only a few short weeks away from another international adventure, and in three short months I’ve managed to see all four corners of Albania, plus a few trips to the neighboring countries. In this blog post I’ll tell the stories of some of the things I’ve been doing when I’m not…

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That Time I Learned What Community Really Meant

That Time I Learned What Community Really Meant

For me, “community” has always been one of those abstract buzzwords that sounds nice in conversations, but ultimately is too vague to mean anything concrete. “Build a sense of community!” is the cliche cry of various projects or social groups, and I’ve always viewed it as the idealistic slogan of optimistic, yet slightly impractical, leaders. I put it in the same category with other vague but nice-sounding catchphrases like, “make the world a better place” or “have a positive impact”—which everyone…

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That Time I Went to an Albanian Hospital

That Time I Went to an Albanian Hospital

This month I also had the unfortunate experience of testing out the American Hospital in Albania. I have mild seasonal allergies occasionally, but last week my eyes decided to manifest a major allergic reaction. I left school Monday afternoon concerned about increasing swelling around my eyes. I took two Benadryl and went to sleep. I woke up at 3am with eyes completely swollen shut. I called in sick to work, scheduled an appointment at the hospital online, took two more…

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That Time I Missed the South

That Time I Missed the South

First off, let me say: I’m not homesick. I am truly having an amazing experience here, and furthermore, I’ve technically been away from home for the past five years living in Knoxville. It’s not that I enjoy being away from my family and the lake, but I know I’ll always come home to it. My roots run deep there, and I am satisfied with looking forward to returning. But instead of being homesick, I am finding a new sort of…

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That Time I Reflected on Being an Teacher in Albania

That Time I Reflected on Being an Teacher in Albania

We’ve been in school for a month now. Overall, I am still loving life, extremely happy, and highly satisfied with the authentic joy I find in teaching. But, that’s not to say there aren’t very real, vivid challenges that I deal with on a daily basis. In this blog post, I will explore the unique triumphs and minute tragedies I have encountered here so far. First, I will say, I LOVE teaching. This, of course, isn’t new—but I love it…

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The Time We Celebrated Eid Al-Adha

The Time We Celebrated Eid Al-Adha

So, before I explain why I’m gloriously out of school today, I’d like to begin this post by saying I REALLY respect how Albania does religion. In a nutshell, Albanians are extremely moderate about religion. They don’t really care who’s Muslim or Christian, they don’t fanaticize their own beliefs, and they certainly don’t want to impose their own religious beliefs on anyone else. They have a beautiful “live and let live” attitude about religion, thinking that a person’s beliefs are…

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That Time I Cried in the Grocery Store

That Time I Cried in the Grocery Store

It finally happened. I had my first meltdown. In public, no less. Here’s what happened: It takes me at least an hour to buy a few basic things at the grocery store because all the labels are in different languages… Sometimes Albanian, sometimes Greek, sometimes Italian. I was using the GoogleTranslate App on my phone, which allows me to take a photo of the text of a food label, and then it will translate it for me. Standing in front…

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That Time I Decided To Move To Albania

That Time I Decided To Move To Albania

Holy Shqip, How’d I get Here? It all started when I was 16 and the love of my life dumped me for another girl.  Actually, my story starts even sooner than that. Let me back up a bit… and then allow me to elaborate. 🙂 I have always loved teaching. As a little girl, I would line up all my stuffed animals and pretend they were my students. I kept a “class roster” and even assigned homework! Later, in middle school, I…

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