I haven’t been able to keep up with blog posts as much as I’d liked, last month was the first time in nearly a year I simply didn’t have time to show blogger love. This post will be a bit longer as it includes some posts from August as well, so please bear with me.

Here are my top five posts from all categories:

  1. How to make the most out of your trip to New York: A thousand times yes to getting out of Manhattan, so much to explore in Brooklyn and beyond.
  2. I should have seen my bad day was depression
  3. Everest base camp trek packing list: Although I have zero desire to climb the mountain, I would love to visit base camp one day.
  4. 5 way to be more productive
  5. Top tips for going vegan

Also, special shout out to KeeleAbroad, I’ve really been enjoying all their candid posts this month as they make their way through south east Asia!

Science, sustainability and veganism

General travel and study abroad

Travel destinations



Photo by Andrew Knechel.


Remember me? I used to blog quite regularly until life happened.

Before we dive in, a little life update: although no matter how busy I get I’ll always try to read blog posts, stick with monthly updates and share my favorite posts and blogger love, it simply didn’t happen over the last two months or so. In fact, this is my first time even logging on since I posted about my trip to Bergen, Norway.

I’ve concluded a lot of my recent posts talking about dissertation work and things finally got too real once I got back from my trip. I was rushed and stressed to get everything done, so much so I became physically ill, actually. During the last few days of my dissertation work, I also had to move houses, clean my old house and work. I was literally crying all day I was finishing up my dissertation because I felt like complete shit about the work I’ve done and felt the last year was for naught. I’ve only just recently pulled myself out of the post-graduate depression of “what the hell am I doing with my life?!” and am now more or less back to just regular depression (yay?).

Now, I am still working at my carer job, am more or less settled into my new house (tour post coming soon) and trying to sort out how to stay in the United Kingdom past my current visa expiration date in December.

Regardless of what happens with my visa situation, I’m proud to say I’ve had the most amazing time living in Brighton again and getting to travel far and wide. Today marks one year exactly since I’ve moved here and I have no regrets about my time spent.

Here is what I have been up to the last year (you can see pictures from the first six months in my Six Months in the UK post here):


  • In the days and weeks before I left, I spent quality time with my family and friends, including a trip with my dad to New York and Washington, D.C.
  • On 11 September, I flew from Phoenix to London Gatwick via Calgary.
  • A few days later, I moved into my university house.
  • I walked the Camino de Santiago from Porto, Portugal.
  • Before lectures began, we took a local class field trip to Knepp Wildlands, where I got to knew my coursemates and lecturers well.


  • Lectures properly started and I chose my dissertation topic.
  • I got a cleaning job.
  • I saw Arcane Roots and Chon live.
  • I got my Open Water Diving qualification.
  • My course got a private tour of the Natural History Museum.


  • I saw Rise Against and Enter Shikari live.
  • quit my cleaning job and got a pub job.
  • First term lectures concluded.


  • Got let go from my pub job.
  • Got two new jobs as a care giver and cleaner.



  • Finished my carer certification.
  • Saw BenDeLaCreme in Brighton.
  • Attended VegFest in Brighton.



  • Spent two weeks in South Africa on a marine field course with university.
  • Celebrated my 23rd birthday.




  • My friend Alyssa visited form Salt Lake City for a week.


It’s been an amazing year and hope to stay in the U.K. as long as possible! I’ve really made Brighton my new home.


This past weekend, I met my grandma and two aunties in Bergen, Norway for a few days of their two-week Scandinavia trip!

On my year abroad, I was lucky enough to meet up with my grandma and grandpa in their favorite place: Prague. This is my grandma’s first international trip since my grandpa died last May and I was excited to see my family for the first time in a year.

Thursday, 16 August: We met at the Bergen airport at baggage claim as our flights landed around the same time. It was a very emotional scene and I cried as soon as I made first contact with Auntie Joan. Once grandma and Aunt Karen got their bags, we took a cab to the hotel in the city center.

After we set our bags down, we promptly went out to eat to what was my favorite meal of the trip: Italian food at Amici Miei steps from our hotel.

As my family had been traveling from Los Angeles for nearly 24 hours and being the tired little girl I am, we all laid down around 7PM, but were waken up by a ruckus in the street. Curious, I pottered about to see what the action was. As it turns out, the university was having a big pub crawl weekend for the new students coming in. This wouldn’t be our only encounter with the excited students. It looked fun, but I did not care to join to impose on the students getting to know each other.

Friday, 17 August: First thing in the morning, we headed to the funicular. After waiting a few ours sorting ticket purchasing, we were at the top with amazing views of the city and beyond. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip!

After that, our luck ran out with the weather and we decided to take shelter on an on-off tour bus (my first one!). I enjoyed it a lot and it’s a great way to see the city and size up what you might want to return to.

After that, we strolled around the fish market (where it absolutely pissed down rain at one point) and later that evening I took a stroll around the beautiful city park Lille Lungegårdsvannet.

Saturday, 18 August: We set off to Troldhaugen, the former home of famous Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg to get a guided tour of his house and listen to his music played played by a wonderful pianist. The view in the concert hall was amazing: looking on to the very fjord Grieg probably took a lot of his inspiration from. My grandma was especially keen, I know she loves that music stuff! The rest of our day was relaxed as we had a big meal and did a little bit of walking around after the tour.

Sunday, 19 August: For our final adventure, we took a 3-hour fjord cruise based out of Bergen and it was breathtaking. Some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen, even tear-jerking for some. It was certainly the highlight of the whole trip and a memory with my family I will cherish forever.

I returned to London that night and am now in full-on dissertation mode as it’s due in ten days, for better or worse!


I try to do a little get-to-know me post every six months for new comers and faithful followers itching to know more. But after two volumes (you can read Vol. I here and Vol. II here) of making up my own fact, this time, I let the Internet do it for me by going on a random question generator.

  1. What do you wear to sleep? Usually just underwear. If it’s cold, then some pajama pants and a loose thermal shirt or jumper.
  2. If you knew that you only had a year left to live, what would you do? The anxiety alone of knowing I only had a year to live would probably eat me alive. But what anyone else would do: travel, spend time with loved ones and go out in a blaze of glory in an awesome paragliding incident.
  3. Would you rather age from the neck up only or the neck down only? Neck up, I would rather feel good than look good.
  4. What is your least favorite chore? Washing up. Always.
  5. What is the last dream that you remember? You know those dreams where you dream you’re trying to take a massive shite but it just won’t come out and you wake up thinking you’ve pooped the bed? Yeah… I usually have 2/3 dreams a night and remember them all but they get pretty odd.
  6. What is the best thing about living in your city? The best thing about Brighton is living close to the beach and town center that’s always teeming with life, but also so close to large, quiet parks. I also love living close to London (but not in it) and close to Gatwick Airport, makes for really awesome travel.
  7. How long does it take for you to get ready in the morning? Depends, ideally about an hour and a half if I take my time, eat a good breakfast and leave the house with my hair totally dry, but if I rush and have a smaller breakfast I can be ready in 30 minutes.
  8. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Depends on the place. Recently discovered chili dark chocolate from a gelato place in London. I love chocolate peanut butter from Baskin Robbins (that is probably my all-time favorite). Finally, bubblegum flavor from Frost back home in Tucson gets a shout.
  9. What is one thing you would change about your home? My current house has kind of gone to shit, but the one that really gets me about it is the garden: overgrown with bits of trash from the street we haven’t gotten around to cleaning. I can’t wait to move out at the end of the month.
  10. What did you do last weekend? I work weekends, usually 800-900, 1300-1500, 1530-1630 and 2030-2130 both Saturday and Sunday and 1000-1100 on Sundays as well. I have Tuesdays and Wednesdays after 1100 off, which I currently spend doing dissertation work.
  11. What’s one of your worst habits? Nail biting and skin picking.
  12. What is your favorite cereal? I don’t think I have one. I’ll usually go for a crunchy cereal with nuts and granola or chocolate hoops, there’s no in between.
  13. What are your favorite hot dog toppings? The works. My favorite hot dog is with  mushrooms, cheese and grilled onions (all vegetarian, of course).
  14. What’s one place you’ve travelled that you never want to go back to? I didn’t hate it, but I don’t feel I need to go back to Cairo. Just feel like it’s one of those places you only have to do once.
  15. What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own? Probably my most recent Rise Against tee. It’s very underspoken, all black with just the band name on the left breast, but so comfortable. My go-to travel outfit.
  16. Do you believe in luck? Yeah, why not.
  17. What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen? I wouldn’t say it’s the worst movie out there, but I was most disappointed by Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It’s grossly overrated. Also I couldn’t even finish The Fault in Our Stars (which I was watching ironically) it was so bad and Percy Jackson films were a massive let-down as well.
  18. What’s the story behind one of your scars? My biggest one is on my left hand by my thumb: I got bit by a cat at my grandparent’s house when I was about 12.
  19. How many pillows do you sleep with? Two if I’m alone: one behind my head and one on my right side for no particular reason.
  20. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Since I’m eating this for the rest of my life, it’s going to have to be variable: to drink, I would have Symond’s cider, for a starter, I would have the spinach dip with pita bread from Mellow Mushroom (Arizona), korma with rice and naan from Dhaba (Arizona) and Baskin Robbin’s peanut butter chocolate ice cream sundae for dessert.



This week, I surprised my boyfriend Diego at home in Madrid, Spain with the help of his mom and brother.

First, I contacted his older brother Ignacio as I was too intimidated to speak to his mom. After a few exchanges, he thought it would be better if I coordinated with her as he lives in Majorca. I contacted his mom so she would know to expect me and let me into their flat when I arrived.

I left from Gatwick on Monday and promptly arrived at their house in the early evening as they live close to the airport. I met Diego’s mom in the street and she buzzed me into the building where I knocked on the door for Diego to answer. He looked somewhere between confused and disappointed and I asked, “Aren’t you happy to see me?!” and once he came to we shared a few smooches. Here’s the video his mom took:

We caught up and spent some time at the pool in his flat complex before initiating phase two of the surprise…

His brother, who works in hotel business, got us into a hotel for Monday night, but wouldn’t tell me where. Once I arrived, he told Diego to take me to Hotel Puerta America, where Ignacio used to work and got us a screaming deal. Once we arrived, we got to choose our room amongst several uniquely designed floors.

We went to an Italian restaurant for dinner and enjoyed free welcome drinks on the hotel’s terrace once the sun went down.

The next day, we regrouped at Diego’s house before hitting the city. We walked around the city to Palacia de Madird, Gran Via, Plaza Mayor, Mercado San Miguel, Retiro Park and most everything in between.

It was so flipping hot. I haven’t felt that kind of heat since living in Arizona and I don’t miss it at all.

On Wednesday, we took it easy for the final half day I was there and hung out by the pool and played video games.


Although not the most responsible thing I’ve done, it was so good to see Diego again and put my dissertation truly out of my mind if only for a few days. I can’t wait until he’s back in Brighton!