I Have 2 Rules:
- A picture is only as good as the memory you made while taking it… do your best to never “force” a photo if it creates a fake moment. And ALSO do your best not to have your face stuck behind a phone or camera the whole time… because what memory is that?
- Never go somewhere without learning about it // soaking it in // talking to locals. Take a second to learn the culture, the food, the history, how to treat people. It not worth visiting somewhere JUST as a tourist who gets in the way. Slow down and learn something about the world you live in such a small part of.
- Okay 3 rules… No one cares what you wear. Except YOU. You don’t need 50 swimsuits or expensive clothes. Be comfy and feel cute. Especially the comfy part.
My name is Rebekah and I’m 28. My goal is to visit 30 countries before I turn 30.
Scroll down to read all about the places I’ve been so far! I figured I’d tell y’all a few stories and talk about some of the things we did / where we stayed / what to eat / places to see, what I wish we did differently!
The List So Far:
Congo (Dem. Republic)
Here’s a few of my favorites… and and a few crazy stories.
Where we stayed
Hostels and Hotels
You’ve heard it a thousand times but hostels are the coolest places to stay. Even for me, as an introvert, seeing people from all over the world all there to see new things… you automatically have something in common. You’re all lost but excited about it. Most hostels we stayed at are very cheap and offer breakfast if you buy it. It’s worth getting a quick snack then heading out. I will say, we did share a tent (yes this place had indoor tents for rooms, with bunk beds in them) with an old Russian man. But! He was very nice and very respectful of our space, and most people are when ya really give them a chance.
Sometimes, hotels can be another cheap way to stay somewhere in the city and less "communal". We stayed in a mixture of both.
Hiking / The Long Haul
Longest tunnel in the world
We stayed in Oslo while in Norway. The nearest hike (that was worth going to) was 5 hours away. So, we rented a car (fully electric car!) near our hotel and we left at 4am. I drove, they slept in the back seat. For me, the sun rising while driving through the GORGEOUS country was Heaven for me. Waterfalls popping out of mountains, the bridges, the greenery… and THEN: I entered a tunnel… After driving in this tunnel for a good 15 minutes straight, starting to freak out a little and wonder what it would be like to be crushed by an entire mountain of which I had to be in the center of at this point… This tunnel turned out to be Laerdalstunnelen… THE LONGEST TUNNEL IN THE WORLD coming in at 25km long… That little check mark on my list was one I never expected to experience by happenstance!
We arrived in the town at 9am, ready for the long hike ahead.
Rimstigen Hike - Naeroyfjord
This hike was labeled 4.5/5 for hard. And I mean… it was no leisurely hike. Several switchbacks and the whole time you’re staring straight UP for your next step. Located in a Fjord though, the views were phenomenal the entire way, if you looked down. We snagged some pastry’s and pizza from a bakery in the town, before beginning this trek. We hiked for probably 6 hours total (up and down). We couldn’t finish the trail because the river was frozen over the trail but was in the process of melting (and woulda swept us away). But we stopped at beautiful spot, ate pizza with our feet dangling off a bridge, over the river - staring at the view. We had a 5 hour drive back to city, so sadly… we were interrupted by some pretty hard rain and we raced down the mountain to head home. Completely exhausted. This time, I slept on the way home 😂. Well, that is until we stopped intermittently on the side of the road to take pictures in the rain. You can’t simply pass up the beauty on that drive.
Oslo itself is a very cool city. Very modern and has super packed / busy city center squares with cute breakfast places and spots to hang out at the "beach". The rail and bus system was very easy to figure out (as most are) and can take you well outside the city if you stay further out. The opera house is a tourist-must-see and though it was busy it was a very beautiful building with awesome views of the city from the top.
We met up with a friend who is a local, and to be honest, sitting at a pub for hours til past midnight (with the sun still hovering in the sky), talking life and politics and American stereotypes and everything else was some of the best memories in that city. Again… rule #2, get to know the people.
The City - Oslo
SPAIN - Ibiza
From Norway to… the beach
Going from Nordic countries to the beach was a fun trip to pack for. I’m not sure why we chose Ibiza, other than wed never been and heck I mean it’s got several songs about it. I’m not a party type but everywhere you go everyone is asking where you’re going to party tonight. And they party til the sun comes up…!
We took a taxi from our hotel, to the old town city center and strolled around the entire day. Stumbled upon beautiful buildings, some pretty cool McDonalds, cute shops, and beautiful overlooks. We found our way to the beach and finally had a chance to just rest in the sun and eat some ice cream.
The next day we took a taxi to a very remote spot (oops), got lost… and found some paddle boards and explored the ocean for hours.
Oh and we each got a tattoo… (not matching though)
It took me forever to choose what I wanted, but I made a decision. Sage. With a leaf to go with it. Sage is (was) my middle name. But it also means wisdom… wisdom isn’t usually granted over night unless you’re Saul from the Bible. It’s built by experience and gained by insight and mistakes and learned by truths from God. Wisdom is my personal goal in life, but not for me… but that I might be able to give it away and be there for others to point them to life and hope.
DENMARK - Copenhagen
Midsummer Festival - Sankt Hans
We had ONE day here… so we did a lot. Took electric scooters or bikes everywhere, and also walked for miles. We spent a few hours at the theme park Tivoli Gardens and rode a roller coaster (best decision ever).
We just so happened to be here for Midsummer Festival, which… had some pretty weird origins (when we asked some locals about it) but nonetheless a very cool experience. The crowds were insane. Bonfires everywhere. Pretty sure it had to do with burning witches…
THE NETHERLANDS - Amsterdam
Don’t walk into one of those coffee shops and expect to get coffee... you’ll find coffee at a CAFE. Now you know.
ISRAEL & PALESTINE
Lowest elevation in the world
My little sister and I took a trip to Israel, before the start of the new school year. We flew standby (because my dad is an airline pilot) with no hiccups! Well, no problems on the way there………………. Read on, friend.
We saw as much as we possibly could. Stayed in a cool Airbnb. One of my good friends is from Bethlehem, so we met up with her halfway through, in Jerusalem. Her family lives on the Palestinian side of the wall, and they could not cross, for fear of their lives. We stayed with them once we crossed, ate dinner with them, and drive around with the fam. With her, we went to see the dead see (a whole scary story there…) and who knew, it was the lowest place on Earth! It was very cool to learn some history, hear stories perspectives, see the walls, and eat some home cooked traditional food with her family. That’s a moment I’ll cherish.
My sister and got stuck in a WHIRLWIND of a mess, when leaving. Flying standby isn’t glamorous. We got kicked out of Tel Aviv airport (tightest security in the world, I can confirm), slept on the floor, caught a flight to Switzerland just to get stuck there too, until a snow storm came and cause dozens of people to miss their connection… meaning, WE GOT A SEAT HOME.
Of all the places I’ve been…
Malta was probably my favorite. I think walking around this island with a desert climate, seeing the waves beat the shore, knowing the history of Paul ship wrecking on Malta, and seeing THE church built there… it was all around incredible and meaningful, but also beautiful. To be there with my best friend, and to experience the culture there was something special. I’d tell everyone to go this tiny island.
The REAL Gladiator & Game of Thrones…
Did you know that they actually filmed these movies here? The colosseum in the Gladiator is here! Not Rome.
This gorgeous natural bridge was the spot of a famous scene in Game of Thrones! (Don’t go looking though… you’ll never find it). It’s on the island of Gozo, and it crashed down a couple years ago. It was a WONDER to see though… the waves were violent, and powerful. We both just stared in awe. No tour bus. No guide… just us and the forces and beauty of God.
Go to Gozo, just do it.
2 days in Tulum
My friend booked a sunrise photo shoot in Tulum, so I tagged along! I can tell you 2 days isn’t enough, and I can also tell you… DONT go to "Mexico" and stay at (or never venture out from) a resort! There are so many beautiful places to see and experience. We stayed at Aruba Properties (found on Airbnb) and rented a car to go places. We checked out multiple cenotes, some beaches, downtown Tulum, and had an evening at Xcaret. I honestly can’t wait to go back and see more!
VARIOUS - Europe
We Modeled In Paris
Would you believe that my friend and I were asked to model for a clothing brand while here?? Talk about sketchy…
My friend had never seen "Taken" before… so I was extra cautious, and insisted we WALK to the location and change clothes with each other guarding the door…
overall, fun experience, and a crazy story to tell, just gotta remember that as 2 young women in a foreign country you do have to be smart hahaha.
(We got to keep the clothes). 😆
Did you know that? If you’ve been, you probably learned… but we saw people carrying knee high rain boots in broad daylight and quickly figured out why! We trudged along barefoot as the tide came in and honestly loved it. Didn’t think about how awfully smelly and dirty it was. We soaked it all in (literally.. not so much like a local who was smart and carried boots).
It also stinks! But man, Venice was stinking cool!! No pun intended…
We Snuck into the Palace of Versailles
yep… didn’t know you needed tickets in advance. Perfectly willing to pay, nearly throwing cash to the guards. Didn’t work. So when they turned their heads, we covered our hair and changed our clothes and just… walked in. We didn’t come THAT FAR just to walk away. We impersonated statues, enjoyed the gardens, and toured the palace. Loved it! Would recommend tickets though…
Of all the places, I could live in Germany
Germany honestly just felt homey, it felt like life rather than a vacation. People heading to work. Chatting in a beer garden in the afternoons. I wish I could have explored more, but the castle was amazing… we also hopped on a train for a day trip to Austria and my adventurous musical heart was running in the hills singing Sound of Music.
Crazily, my friend from Texas was there too, and we found a way to meet up with him who I’d not seen in years!
Europe Travel Recommendations
- Buy a multi-day "passport" to all the museums, when available (mainly France). It covers almost all of them and saves you money… It doesn’t count for the Palace of Versailles 😂
- TRAVEL BY SUBWAY OR TRAIN - it’s really not hard and can get you absolutely anywhere. Plus you meet people!
Various photos from Europe…
Wear Sunscreen… I didn’t
Aruba was the coolest little island! The people were so kind, and the nickname is called the Happy Island! My sister and I stayed on the opposite side of the island of all the resorts in a tiny little air bnb. Getting around like a local meant you stared at the cars license plates and any plate with a “B” meant “bus”. You payed 25 to 50 cents to get across the entire island, but you were NOT guaranteed a seat. We sat scrunched on the floor multiple times but it was worth it. We rented an atv and drove it ALL THE WAY around the island on a self-guided tour. I forgot sunscreen and that was the worst sunburn of my life…
That night a random girl in front of us at dinner recommended a local man who offered entire day trips around the island for $100 cash per person, so we did it. We walked at 5am in the dark and knocked on the door. It was sketchy as heck, but eventually we found 3 others who also looked lost in the pitch dark. We were in the right place! That trip itself was the best thing we did! We saw the rocky coast, learned about the Aruba Economy and wind energy. We has fish suck our feet, explored caves, and ended with food.