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    How to lose yourself in the streets of Florence

    Wandering through the streets of Florence stomach full of pasta, lips stained with Florence’s favorite shade of red (Chianti) is the best way to take in what the city has to offer: having the perfect afternoon of intoxicating yourself on the beauty of the city (& the wine) while losing yourself in the streets. But how does one experience this moment? Well, it’s actually quite simple. We’ve laid out a simple step-by-step guide of how to lose yourself in the moment when you make the pilgrimage to the capital of pasta. STEP 1: THE BEST PLAN IS TO HAVE NO PLAN  Forget all of the plans you made for that…

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    How to use the Indian Train System

    been India is a backpacker’s playground; it’s a place that offers rare culturally immersive experiences that range across some of the most diverse landscapes in the world, spanning from the Himalayas of the north, through deserts, bustling cities, and the pristine beaches of the south. In the words of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “India is not a nation, nor a country. It is a subcontinent of nationalities.” We were India first-timers, which came with its own set of challenges to navigate. We tried our best to read up on the common pitfalls (which involves a lot of ~creative~ scamming), but one thing we learned through this process is that you will…

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    How to date someone halfway around the world while traveling full-time

    Lauren’s take: What’s it like to date someone while living abroad? In a word: challenging. Like any relationship, it takes work, but living on a different continent halfway across the world adds a layer of complexity that could rock any relationship. Looking back at the past several months, there are things that we did really well and there are pitfalls that we definitely learned from, so I wanted to share my experience of what it’s like to date while traveling the world full time, without your significant other. Full disclosure, this is my perspective (and unbelievably not a Cosmo article) and my experience of how to do (and how not…

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    The Bali Kiss

    We were approaching the end of our first full week in Bali, and spirits were high. From the moment we landed on the Island of the Gods, it felt like home. The jetlag was wearing off, the sun was high in the sky, and the wind was blowing our hair back as we were just starting to get into the groove of our motorbike (which is no small feat when it comes to the Balinese’ fast and loose attitude towards traffic “laws”). By “we,” we mean Lauren, who was channelling her best Ghost Rider while Rachel was navigating with Google Maps from behind. In two months, we never saw a…

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    Superlatives: Europe

    Don’t worry, this isn’t your high school yearbook (phew!). Even though we still have a few more posts from our time in Italy to churn out, our sojourn in Europe has officially come to a close. As we’re writing this in a coffee shop in downtown Ubud, Bali, we’ve had a couple weeks to gather our thoughts and we thought we’d share some of our highlights. The best things we ate: Döner Kebab Ristorante Marina Piccola… this is the Michelin rated restaurant that we serendipitously stumbled upon in Cinque Terre and enjoyed some of the best pasta we had during our month in Italy- get the spaghetti with mussels- and…

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    Cinque Terre, how can we resist ya?

    Scattered along the north-western coastline of the Italian Riviera are five ancient fishing villages whose colorfully painted cottages are built right up to the cliffs’ edge, melding with the rugged cliffs and steep hillsides to form a staggeringly picturesque landscape. Cinque Terre (cheengkwe terre, dusting off the cobwebs of Rachel’s Italian diction courses…), literally meaning “five lands,” is a series of five towns linked by trails making it a hiker’s paradise.  The villages, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare, each have a unique character, but they are all surrounded by steep terraced vineyards that produce a rare white wine. The seaside vineyards boast a long history of tradition…

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    A beginner’s guide to living in the Tuscan countryside

    Why Tuscany? At the risk of being compared to "Eat Pray Love" during our travels (although Lauren does have something of young Julia Robertsness about her), we both admittedly had an affinity to spend an extended period of time in Italy, specifically Tuscany. Maybe we’ve watched “Under the Tuscan Sun” too many times (too often we passed abandoned villas and “joked” about restoring them in hopes of a pregnant Sandra Oh showing up), but the thought of getting wine drunk in the Italian countryside and indulging in pasta, pizza, and carbs galore sounded too heavenly to pass up. In addition to being the food capital of Italy (though it depends…

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    Dolomites, Dolomiti, or Dolomiten: our quest for the high and (Dolo)mighty

    Seceda The Dolomites in Italy have long been one of our dream travel destinations, so it should come as no surprise that when we were outlining the beginnings of our would-be itinerary on a diner napkin, hiking in the Dolomites was at the top of our list. It did not take long after plunging into the nitty gritty details to learn that the task of planning this leg of our trip would be overwhelming. Not only is there a seemingly endless supply of astonishing alpine attractions (all of which would be impossible to visit in our 4-day itinerary), but also because every mountain and town has been christened not once,…

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    Oktoberfest: The Disneyland of beer

    Arriving at Oktoberfest is akin to seeing Disneyland for the first time, except instead of your favorite characters in costumes and “It’s a Small World” playing in the distance, you see floods of drunk men in lederhosen and the faint sound of ‘oompah bands.’ Like Disney, there are still plenty of rides, amazing food, and a sense of magic and discovery lingering in the air. As you walk down the streets, you’ll see both sides lined with massive tents, each housing different prestigious Munich breweries. Each brewery pulls out all the stops and installs giant animatronic devices to astonish and amaze the drunk hoards. To see these structures, you would…

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    One does not simply climb a mountain

    Night to day at Tierser Alpl The sun was nearing the horizon, and as the daylight was waning so was our morale. We were four miles into a hike that would eventually lead to a mountain refuge that promised to be our shelter for the night. We followed trail markers leading us to Tierser Alpl, a “rifugio” nestled on the saddle of the same name. We had found ourselves racing daylight in the middle of the Dolomites traversing through the largest mountain pasture in Europe, Seiser Alm.  After a series of delays throughout the day (we have Google Maps’ inability to navigate rural Italy to thank for this one), we…