Wanderlust #21: Tips For Lack of Cell Service When Traveling

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This is something that I would just like to say is a fault for Straight Talk as a company, their phones are locked until one year later. I went to Berlin on the notion that I would be able to put a temporary sim card on my phone that had data. Sadly, because I had purchased my phone in November of 2016, when May 2017 rolled around, it hadn’t been a year. It was extremely frustrating as an international traveler to not have that stability. So, I wanted to give tips on how to travel with no cellular service.

  1. Download an offline version of Google Maps. My favorite thing to do is to “favorite” all the places that I want to go to and then download an offline map version so that I can reference it when I have no WiFi.
  2. Take screenshots of the subway directions to your destination. You can be super sure and take directions back if you wish.
  3. Addresses and addresses. I would 100% recommend making an excel sheet and typing out all the addresses of the places that you want to go, screenshot it or have an offline copy so that if your map doesn’t work, then you can ask a taxi driver or local how to get to a certain place.
  4. Real maps! You can usually get a map of the area or a subway map at the front of the hotel or hostel that you are staying at. Otherwise, find a visitor center that will have all the information that you will need.

What are your tips when you have no cell service?

-Tiffany

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Wanderlust #20: The Berlin State of Mind

Image may contain: 1 person, cloud, sky, bicycle and outdoorPeople are on bicycles everywhere. No, literally, everywhere.

There is something about Berlin that has my heart and if I could spend my life living there for a couple of years, it would be a dream. Although there are tourists, it isn’t like London where you are in a congested world of tourists. Berlin just has a vibe that is hipster and chill. I found that I just fell in love with waking up and being in a city that wasn’t like anything else that I had ever been in before. The fact that people were on bicycles everywhere made me wish that I could ride a bicycle. The people were all very kind there and it was only sketchy at night in certain areas. Since I was filming a short film there were a lot of people.

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A museum near Alexanderplatz.

I think that the beauty of Berlin is that there is so much to do and yet there can just be space. I should elaborate. When I walked to a destination I would just wander in the direction back to the hostel but not really worry about getting back by a certain time. I passed by homes, grocery stores, cafes, parks, etc. I had this sense of fear and freedom. I think that the biggest fear was being unable to communicate with people and with little to no cell service. I didn’t travel as far as I probably would have if I had a working cell service.

Image may contain: people sitting and outdoorMe taking the morning sitting outside the hostel to just enjoy Berlin and be grateful for what I have.

In Berlin, my worries were less about school and what I am doing with my life. My worries consisted of where I am going in life. Where do I see myself? I had a lot of freedom to really think about what my life is like right now and where it could go. I watched people in Berlin walk the streets and drive-by, living their life. Berlin is a place for exploring, adventure, self-exploration, and perspective.

Would you all be interested in an Italy and London version of state-of-mind?

-Tiffany

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Wanderlust #19: Berlin Hostel | The Circus Hostel

Image may contain: 1 person, smilingThis is me in the hostel bathroom downstairs. I know, cheesy, but the U-bahn map is so freaking cool!

To be honest, this was a wonderful hostel but it definitely had some pros and cons, more pros though. Upon arrival it is very open, there is a cafe to your left and a seating area on your right. The receptionist desk is a little farther in and they speak English which is nice. I had just had just had an awkward half-English conversation with the taxi cab driver, a super nice man. The whole place is very clean and has a calm and cool vibe. Now, time to break it down…

Price
I believe that it was about $27.00 per night in a larger room and a smaller room was about $36.00 a night. Of course, prices may have changed since I was there in May 2017.

Reception
Super helpful! I enjoyed talking to them when I needed help because I knew that whatever issues I had, they would happily help solve it.

Rooms
So, I ended up staying in two rooms, a 10-person room, and 2-person room. It was how it worked out with my flight schedule since my friend was booking it for me. The 10-person room was co-ed and it was okay to stay in. It was a little awkward because there was absolutely no privacy. Unlike Palmer’s Swiss Cottage in London, where curtains gave privacy, this was wide open. I also wasn’t used to sleeping in a room with men I didn’t know. The first night was mainly women with one male and the second night was a bunch of males and only me. It was fine though. I moved to the 2-person room where I stayed with one of the actresses on the short film I was working on in Berlin. She was awesome. The private room was also just perfect for privacy. There was a table and chairs and two chairs, a lockbox and dresser. My only issue with the hostel’s rooms is that there is no air conditioning, at least, not set on a cooler function. I was getting hot most nights which made it uncomfortable to sleep. So, to solve that, I left the window open. The windows are huge and let a lot of light in but the sounds of the ambulances is insane because they are louder than American ones. The noise from partiers is also a little obnoxious but that happened mainly on one night.

Bathrooms
The bathrooms are separated by male and female bathrooms, the showers are separated. The bathrooms are small but they have enough room so that you can change in the stall while the showers are a little roomier but they don’t have shelves. It was kind of frustrating to have to keep opening the door to grab what I needed, getting water everywhere.

Location
A great location if you don’t want to be around the center of the city. The great thing about this hostel is that it is on the corner of the intersection and there are so many cute shops and restaurants that make living at the hostel so easy. There is a flea market called the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark which is a definite must if you are in that area, it is about a twenty-minute walk. There is a park that is about five minutes or less from the hostel as well that is super cute. The U-bahn (subway) is right outside the hostel which is so nice and easy to get to other locations.

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Food
This is a selection of the breakfast that you can get at the hotel using a voucher or paying about 5-10 euros (I think). My absolute favorite thing to get was the yogurt with the chocolate and granola mix. It was so good and refreshing in the morning. There weren’t any warm foods, a lot of cold cuts and fruit. You could toast the bread but that was the only “warm” food. Orange juice and coffee are non-refillable so you would need to pay for another glass. Water is free. You can get other sandwiches and goods which are made fresh every day from their display.

Let me know if you have questions!

-Tiffany

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Wanderlust #17: How I Got to Travel to Berlin

This is way overdue when it comes to updating everyone but I am so excited to share my Berlin adventures. I had a summer of fun and hard work and I am just getting around to talking about Berlin. Boy, do I have a lot to talk about! There is a whole series of Berlin blog posts I have cooking in my head so that I can share them with you. Now, how did I get to go to Berlin? I actually didn’t think that I would have the chance to travel internationally because my plan for the summer involved a summer job and summer school.  Thankfully, an opportunity came my way that I hadn’t expected. I was working on a short film project one weekend and talking to my friend, a wig and makeup artist, and she mentioned how she was going to Berlin for a short film with a group of people from the school.

I asked her if they had someone who was going to do wardrobe and she told me that they hadn’t thought of using someone. I texted the co-producer, someone I had worked with before, and he told me the basics. I told him that I was in almost instantly. Logistically, I knew how to get somewhere on my own and it didn’t worry me since I traveled to Italy and London last year, solo for a month and a half. I asked my wig and makeup friend where she bought her ticket. I used WOW Air which saves you a ton of money. My flight to was about $320-330 and my flight back was about the same amount. In total, I spent around $750 which was a huge steal. I can give you all specific amounts if you really want it. I also purchased my hostel stay which was about $500 for two weeks. Miscellaneous costs were food, transit, and personal gifts.

How did I pay for it though? Well, I will be absolutely honest, I used my student loan money that I had from my refund check. I find that it is absolutely justifiable in this way because I am using it as a school expense. I went to the bank to get euros ahead of time so that I wouldn’t have to struggle to try to get money later upon arrival.

I hope that this gives you all some insight and I will be talking about WOW Air because it is important to really be able to save money and I think that they are worth it! (not sponsored) So, let me know where your favorite place to travel has been, domestic or international!

Let me know where your favorite place to travel has been, domestic or international!

-Tiffany

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Wanderlust #20: Anastasia on Broadway

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I reunited with my sister after a couple of days to meet up with her and her friends. I cannot even begin to express how beautiful this musical was. It had the perfect mix of traditional-childhood and brand new. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. My favorite costume was the queen’s/tsarina’s because it had the most beautiful long cape that just trailed across the floor. Even though I was in the mezzanine, the costume was the most amazing out of them all. The one thing I am most disappointed in is Anastasia’s final look, you know, the yellow gown that we all know from childhood. However, she came out in a red dress that kind of made her look short from the mezzanine. I looked into the concepts of the costumes and found that the red was meant to represent the color of royalty.

Overall, the impact of using history added more depth to the musical but I found myself falling in and out of the story. I think that if I had been closer then I would have a better perspective. I think that I will definitely go back to see this musical again. Out of all the musicals I have seen that is stemmed from a childhood movie, this was the best interpretation because it had something new for audiences but still kept a lot of the heart of the material.

IMG_1223(Onee-chama is just an old nickname, so just ignore that on the snapchat lol)

-Tiffany

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Wanderlust #19: Tourist Eyes in New York

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Out of all the things I wanted to do in New York, the Seaglass Carousel was the number one thing that had to happen. If you don’t know what Seaglass Carousel is, it is a carousel that is in Battery Park near the Staten Island Ferry. The carousel has four rotating boards that have large fish that you can sit in. The carousel lasts 3 minutes and it is the most magical thing. I wish I could have gone at night but when I did, they were closed (definitely supposed to be open but they closed early) but I did enjoy the daytime visit.

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After hanging out around the Seaglass Carousel, where I purchased some cool souvenirs, we went to MoMa and the Metropolitan Museum. I had Anastasia this night so we were tight on time but we made it work. I saw all of MoMa, something you can do in a couple of hours, but only got through a small portion of the Met. I saw a beautiful exhibit that included what Rihanna wore to The Met Gala. Really interesting and structural pieces.

I did get to relive my dream of sitting on the Met steps from Gossip Girl. I wish I could have been on the steps a little bit longer and spend some time just enjoying New York in that way.

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-Tiffany

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Wanderlust #18: New York | Kossar’s Bakery and Deli and Doughnut Plant

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If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I love food. So, I wanted to give a little shout out to some of the awesome food that I had in New York.

Don’t hurt me because I don’t have any photos of Kossar’s Bakery and Deli but I do want to talk about it because it was so good! When in New York, you “have” to get a bagel, right? Before arriving in New York, I ate cream cheese and salmon bagels and Kossar’s just blew my bagels out of the water. I will say that it must be the way the workers were but they were very stoic and I felt intimidated to order. However, I just followed my friend’s lead. I ordered the White Hot after they told me that they ran out of salmon. The White Hot: Whitefish salad, schmears roasted jalapeno-caper cream cheese, pickled red onions, and lettuce. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised.  Holy cow, this was absolutely amazing. I cannot tell you how nice it was to eat something fishy that didn’t bombard you with the knowledge that you were definitely eating fish. The flavors worked beautifully from the tanginess of the capers that underlie the cream cheese to create a delicious spread. The lettuce and onion added the perfect crunch to the bagel as a whole.

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Doughnut Plant is just everything I want in a cake doughnut. If you are expecting more of a Krispy Kreme, you might want to look elsewhere. However, if you love interesting flavors, go here! I ended up with the Rose Petal, Red Velvet, and Manhattan Cream. I bought the rose one because it sounded so interesting. The petal was edible and not hard to eat. The doughnut itself is very light in flavor but isn’t like your traditional doughnut. If you want something plainer, the Rose Petal is for you. The Red Velvet is something I couldn’t pass up and it was everything I wanted. The perfect doughnut. The Manhattan Cream is like the Boston Cream doughnut, which is why I bought it, and it didn’t disappoint.

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-Tiffany
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Wanderlust #17: I Found New York

IMG_1108(This photo is grainy but my friend took this photo of me when we finally reunited and it makes me happy because I was really feeling all the love.)

I am trying to catch up on letting you all know of my awesome adventures that I had this past summer! It will be a while before I hit the very end but I hope that you will enjoy all of them. My sister, a while back, brought up going to see Anastasia on Broadway and how could I say no? The day came when my sister and I traveled to our hometown and met up with everyone there. We got on our plane around 2:00 pm and arrived around 5:30 pm.

I arrived at LGA in New York and took a cab to my friend’s apartment. I had never been in a cab before and was surprised that it isn’t as scary as I once thought. I got to my friend’s place but she was at work. I walked next door and asked for the keys from the shop owner. I went inside her apartment and got settled. She sent an Uber for me around 10:00 pm, I think, and I went to where she worked. The restaurant (I won’t mention it since I don’t want to reveal where she works for privacy. Hope you understand!) was chill with nice ambiance. I ate some very fancy food and she even paid for it. I appreciated that very much. We decided to walk through the city and we ended up at a boba cafe.

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But, you know, one boba drink is just not enough. I went through Chinatown the following day and explored the early morning. Store owners were unloading their trucks and getting their shops ready for customers. I went through Little Italy and explored some of that as well. I stayed behind at my friend’s place until she got back from work around 7:00 pm.

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My friend is someone I have known since 2012 and we have been through the good and bad times. I was sad to know that she was moving to New York back in 2015. I made her this pillow and it had seen better days. On the left is the wear and tear on the pillow but I stitched it back up. Still don’t know where that “R” disappeared to, though.

-Tiffany

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