How to Set Up a Tent in High Winds

Strong winds in the forecast? Don’t cancel your camping trip just yet!

It’s pretty obvious that when we dream of a nice camping trip in the Great Outdoors, we envision beautiful weather and no nasty surprises. But as we know, Nature does not always cooperate or listens to our dreams. Sometimes the rains are testing our determination and at other times – it’s the winds.

The good thing is, most of the times we can still enjoy our camping trip as long as we follow a few guidelines.

7 Tips for Your First Solo Hike

As many of you know already, I love hiking solo.

I find it tremendously rewarding on many levels. It helps with my anxiety, brings relaxation and simple happiness. Hiking solo gives me also a great boost to my confidence and pride of own accomplishments.

A lot of people find trekking solo as equally rewarding – although it’s different for each person. But even extroverts find the experience worth the effort.

In our times, when we are surrounded by people almost all the time it is good to be one-on-one with Nature and listen only to the sounds of wind, birds, and waterfalls.

Should you then hit the trail right away?

Gear Review: Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket for Women

For the past few seasons of hiking, Marmot PreCip jacket was my constant companion. Downpours over the Trotternish Ridge on the Isle of Skye drizzles along the West Highland Way, occasional rains in Catalonia or the I-can't-believe-it's-summer thing in Iceland. No matter what the weather threw at me - I was fine with my hot-pink Marmot. 

Colosseum: Up Close & Personal with the Ancient Giant

Colosseum is the obvious stop on any trip to Rome. And so it was on ours.

I do not feel guilty for the lack of originality – when you go to a place for the first time, it’s natural to first go and see the big things, later on you might try to be a bit more adventurous.

Anyway, I really wanted to see it. To confirm with my own eyes it was real. Touch it even, if possible.

It’s one of those things you see in movies as the must-be symbol of a city. If an American movie takes place in Rome, there must be at least one scene with car chase going close by the Colosseum.

Pantheon: the Marvel of Ancient Roman Architecture

No matter how long your trip to Rome is, there are a few places you just have to see: the Colosseum, the Forum Romanum, and the Pantheon. If you have more time, I am sure you would also want to see the famous Spanish stairs or the Trevi Fountain. Visit to the Vatican is also high on most tourists’ lists.

Long weekend in Rome

Recently, I took my Mom for a long weekend to Rome. It was a first time for both of us and we had just a bit more than two days, so there was not much time. We chose to go with the typical tourist must-sees.

The Quest to Lighten Up my Gear Continues!

A few months ago I wrote a guide to gradual upgrading your gear to lighten up the load. I have realized that instead of writing another “edit” in that post, I should just write a post describing where I’m at on this quest to shed weight off my back.

I needed to start with the big items – that’s where you see big differences. If I can shed 1 kg of weight with a different tent, there is really no sense obsessing over a 10g lighter spoon, right?

Battling Crowds during a Mother-Daughter Long Weekend in Rome

Back in August, when I just came back from my fabulous travels to Quebec in Iceland, I was telling my Mom about the great time I had.

She listened and then told me, You go, my dear daughter, go and travel – for me, it’s too late, but you go!

That shocked me.

What did she mean it was too late for her? Did she really think there would be nothing of that kind in her life ever anymore?

The Dohany Great Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary. Simply Marvelous!

I am really happy that sometimes my full-time job sends me to awesome places. A while ago I took part in a conference for teachers run by Centropa. It took place in Budapest where I had never been before. Together with my fellow colleague sharing the trip, we went a day early to wander through the fascinating streets of Hungary’s capital. I was in awe of the architectural beauty of the city. But the best came from the guided tour of the Jewish district. The main point of this tour was a visit to the Dohany Great Synagogue – the biggest synagogue in Europe and second biggest in the world.

Now, I’ve seen many synagogues in my life. I’ve been to old and new ones, prayed in some tiny shuls and huge American temples. But this one… this one is something else! Its uniqueness lies not only in its size but some unprecedented architectural choices. You can learn a lot about the local Jewish community by observing its praying houses – you can see their wealth (or lack thereof), affiliation, praying styles or influences of the local culture.

All You Need to Know about Hiking the West Highland Way

Do you plan on hiking the West Highland Way? Do you wonder how to prepare for it? You are in the right place! I walked the West Highland Way trail over a year ago and it was truly life-changing. I had a lovely time but I’ve made some mistakes, too. I would love to share some ideas, tips, and advice so your time on the most popular Scottish trail is only positive.

Why hiking the West Highland Way?

West Highland Way is probably the most famous trail in Scotland. It takes you from Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow all the way to Fort William, 154 km (or 96 miles) to the North. It was officially opened in 1980 and became the first officially designated long distance footpath in Scotland. Thousands of people walk the WHW each year, and for a good reason – it takes you through a wonderful variety of terrain and breath-taking views.

El Puig de la Balma Catalonia: a Unique Rock Hotel!

Just imagine a place remembering the times of crusades built directly into a rock. When I heard about this place from a Park Ranger I had a very vague idea as what to expect. El Puig de la Balma, Catalonia, was supposed to be a set of buildings from the 12th century with additions built at various moments in medieval times, mainly in the 17th century. Some historians suggest that people started settling in this place already around the 10th c. What is fascinating, the current owners are the 26th generations of people living here!

Gear Review: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Mat for Women

I need to open this review with a disclaimer: I love to sleep and I like my comforts. Which means, that when I was first looking for a sleeping mat, I didn’t even consider getting just a foam mattress. As my budget was quite limited and I had to buy a lot of gear, I settled for a self-inflatable mat by Vango. It served me well throughout my hiking in Scotland and Spain. It was easy to use and pretty comfortable. But when I was getting ready for this summer trip I decided to upgrade my sleeping mat. As much as the Vango mat was a good option it was (as all mats of this type are) heavy and big.

Awesome Budget Christmas Gift Ideas for Hikers, Campers, and Travelers

Are you on a quest to find the perfect Christmas gift for your hiking/camping/traveling loved ones that doesn't drain your bank account? You are in the right place! Below you will find budget Christmas gift ideas for all the outdoorsy types! 

It might feel a bit intimidating at first to pick something from the thousands of possible items, especially if you are not a hiker yourself. But don't worry! Hikers and travelers love practical things to add to their (probably already big) gear collection.

Believe me, there is no such a thing as too much gear! Most of the items below can work also as the perfect Christmas stocking stuffers or the daily Hanukkah "gelt" gifts! Rejoice!

Fall Hiking: How to Dress and What to Pack

Why fall hiking? Fall is probably the best season for hiking. Gone are the nasty hot temperatures, in are crispy cold mornings and beautiful foliage changes. The trails are emptier and accommodation gets more affordable.

I encourage you to go on fall hikes – either shorter day-long ones or multiple-days treks. If you have the right gear you can even enjoy fall camping. I want you to have a pleasant and safe fall hiking, so let me remind you about a few important things.

Hiking with Anxiety: the Kampinos National Park Edition

I really love fall. The changing colors, crispy cold mornings, the earthy smell of moist soil and mushrooms. But in the battle between nice views and anxiety, the last one usually wins.

You see, I hate leaving my apartment. I know, I’m a travel blogger, you would think I can’t wait to just run out screaming “I’m going for an adventure” in my best Bilbo voice. But I don’t. Even though I feel really good when I’m out in Nature, alone, calmer, it’s hard to go. If only I could teleport directly to the slopes of mountains or lake’s shore out in the wild…

The process of getting ready, planning and leaving my home is filled painfully with anxiety. And even when I'm finally at my destination, it never is free of it... hiking for me is always hiking with anxiety. I guess I should have made it a name for my blog. Or maybe hiking while anxious? :)

Hike Proud. Be Proud. You ARE Enough.

"Do it or die trying!" "Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going!" "Crawling is acceptable, falling is acceptable, puking is acceptable, crying is acceptable, blood is acceptable, pain is acceptable; quitting is not".

That kind of "fitspiration" messages circulate all over the web. In the visual version, they are generally accompanied by images of body parts of very slim and fit women. Sometimes the whole woman is seen - maybe bent after a hard run.

These kinds of words are supposed to inspire and motivate us to push harder. We are weak and lazy, we have to push ever more, hard and with no excuses.

Some of them also give reasoning why we are supposed to do it - "because I don't want to be anyone's fat ex" or "so you prove those who said you can't" or "because I prefer to be covered in sweat than in clothes at the beach". 

To me, they are terrifying. 

Gothic Quarter in Barcelona: Walk through History and Beauty

The one unique thing that links all humans throughout the ages is the need to surround ourselves with beauty. We might perceive it differently, use different materials and colors… but the drive to see the beauty and to create it, seems to be integrated with our humanity.

That’s the reason why I love to go and see new places created by humans – even though I generally prefer to be surrounded by Nature. I especially love to just wander around old towns, narrow streets with houses tired with old age.

Hiking Solo Le Sentier des Caps de Charlevoix in Quebec, Canada

When I knew I would be meeting with my friends in Quebec, Canada, I started to look right away for some hiking options. Quite quickly I've realized that I couldn't just google "hiking trails in Quebec" because the size of this land was just beyond understanding for someone from Europe.

What looked doable on a map, proved to be 15h+ train ride just to get to somewhere near the trailhead... I started to focus more on what was available close by - in the vicinity of Montreal and/or Quebec City.

How to Choose the Right Camping Cookware

The moment you decide to take the big step into camping is the one you have to grab some camping cookware. The variety available to hikers and campers nowadays is a bit dizzying so I am here to help you navigate your way in the wild kitchen.

By the way - are you thinking about going camping but are kind of unsure about the whole thing? Let me help you! Learn a few tips and enjoy the solo camping adventures!

If the only thing that comes to your mind when you think of camping pots are the old school aluminum scouts' pots, you are about to be in for a surprise! Although you probably can still buy those, I have no idea why anyone would.

Your Complete Guide to Backpack Packing

The way we pack our backpacks can make or break our trip. An improperly packed bag can seem to be heavier than in reality, might push us off balance and cause back pain or injuries.

It takes a few trials to make it right but it is well worth your time to learn smart backpack packing.  I am pretty sure it’s obvious that the way we pack our backpacks depends on their size and the kind of a hike we are preparing for.

Your Complete Summer Iceland Packing List

I am so happy you plan on visiting Iceland! This country is stunningly beautiful and I am sure you will have the time of your life! I know I had :)

I am guessing you are wondering how to pack for the hiking trip so I am here to present you with a complete summer Iceland packing list!

At the end of July, I spent a week hiking along the Fimmvörðuháls and Laugavegur trails. Six days hiking through the most mind-blowing landscapes.

I was lucky that the weather was really nice. It was raining only a bit and most of the time only during the night. Only on the last day, there were heavy rains with icy winds. But I was prepared for the worst so didn't really have any problems facing whatever the Viking land would throw at me.

I want to make sure that your summer hiking and camping in Iceland will go as smoothly as mine. I hope you find this packing list and a variety of tips helpful!