5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hostel

I read a post recently where the blogger was knocking hostels and implying that they are only good for younger travelers, you know the twenty-something backpackers. That viewpoint slightly offended me considering that I’m thirty-something and prefer a rolly bag as opposed to a backpack. I mean, I didn’t have my first hostel experience until I was 31 and I loved it! I don’t stay in hostels on every trip I take but they are great for a number of reasons. Affordability being #1.

Here are 5 factors I personally consider when selecting a hostel.

1. Location

I tend to look for hostels that are near the city center of whatever city I’m visiting. I want to be in close proximity to whatever attractions I have on my itinerary. If it’s a city with a metro then it would be great to find a hostel that’s close to the metro stop for obvious reasons.

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Foodie Friday #1

Are you craving a Caribbean feel, with upbeat music and bright colors?! Then Ting Irie is what you’ve been missing. The only thing that could make this slice of Jamaica even better would be some sand in my toes and the smell of the beach.

I had the pleasure of enjoying the Friday Brunch and was pleasantly surprised by the affordable prices. The set menu is full of tropical favorites like Rice and Peas, Curry Goat and individual Rum Cakes. Honestly, I was tapping out at the main course but miraculously I found some room for the desserts!

There’s always room for dessert!

Enjoy the pics foodies!!! Sorry if it makes you hungry! ūüėȬ†

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Jordanian Adventure Part 2: Petra

“It’s not every day you get the chance to visit an actual world wonder! That means that when the opportunity comes along you take it without asking questions. Just pack a bag and go along for the adventure because I guarantee it’ll be worth it. It’s a world wonder for a reason after all.” – My thoughts and sentiments behind visiting Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jordan.

Have you ever heard of Indiana Jones?? My 15-year old niece is slightly obsessed with Harrison Ford and his movies… I think it’s a little odd but she just throws her head back and laughs. Anyway… Petra is featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Mummy Returns and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It’s fitting for it to be a sought after cinematic setting because walking into Petra definitely feels like being in a movie. You are instantly¬†transported back in time. The feeling is a bit unreal.

 

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Walking between mountains

We stayed at the Hilton on the Dead Sea which was about a 4-hour drive away from Petra so we opted for a private driver. This was a great option because it allowed us to fully enjoy the scenery and landscapes along the way.

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Quick photo opp on the way to Petra.

Plus we got to chat with the driver who filled us in on tidbits of Jordanian history. Along the way we stopped and got some falafel pita sandwiches which were so so yummy!!!

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At the Petra entrance we had to temporarily separate from our driver… please note… you are not allowed to bring your own tour guide. They have qualified guides you can hire on site. Our driver was way cool though, he paid his entrance fee which was a total of 1 JOD or 0.71 USD and met us on the other side. I’m sure having an actual tour guide would be amazing as they are experts and can give you all the history and info you want if you are a history buff and crave the deats.¬† Our driver played guide for us and gave us as much info as he could while simultaneously acting as photographer!

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Petra Entrance 50 JOD = 70 USD

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Once we got our¬†tickets we made the lines to get in. As soon as we passed the entrance we were approached by horse-drawn carriages and horse handlers offering rides to the main entrance of the city. We opted for the “FREE” horses which aren’t really free because the handlers will expect a tip. Be ready to give a tip! The ride was maybe a half mile and our horses were gentle and sweet. For an¬†extra¬†charge, you could hire the carriages to take you further into the city or just be prepared to walk. It’s a couple miles from where you give your ticket to when you get to see the Treasury. But like I said if you are unable to walk the entire distance or just want to reach the inner city faster you could hire the carriages which fly by the pedestrians at a wicked speed. I bet it would be fun to ride them.¬†¬†After we dismounted the horses we began the trek walking literally between mountains.

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Okay so let’s clarify some things. Petra is an entire city in the desert. The picture you see most often is of the city’s main bank aka the Treasury. But within the city, there are cave dwellings that acted as homes and graves. There is an amphitheater (Wordless Wednesday post). There are so many trails and paths to explore and the short afternoon we spent within Petra was nowhere near enough time to see it in its entirety.

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The Treasury

Kalli and I walked for over an hour in between mountains and casually took photos here and there expecting to come upon the Treasury at every corner. The route is winding and there are many twists throughout. Then our driver/guide told us the building we came to see was just ahead. We held our breath as we followed the crowd between rock walls and all of a sudden the path widened into a courtyard of sorts. Right before us, in all its glory stood a world wonder. It was mesmerizing. Unbelievable and simply goosebump-inducing. This building has been standing here in the middle of the desert on the side of a mountain for centuries. The coolest thing about this structure is that it was constructed directly into the mountain. They started at the very top and etched the building into the rock. Visitors are no longer allowed into the building but you can easily admire the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the centuries-old architectures.

The pictures do it zero justice. In my next post, I’ll list my favorite Petra moments along with pictures. Because pictures are always the best part!

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to comment, like and share. If you’ve been to Petra tell me about your trip in the comments would love to hear about your adventure.

Xoxo, Nat

4 Teaching Abroad Lessons

The 2017-2018 school year has officially started here in the UAE and in the short weeks, I’ve been back to work I’ve learned a few lessons about teaching abroad. In this post, I’ll share with you four lessons I’ve learned so far.

1. Be Patient

I was one of about 500 that arrived as a new hire in the month of August even after many had been received in July. Talk about an influx of new teachers who needed to be trained, provided with professional work numbers, placed into their subject area positions throughout six emirates and overall guided through transitioning into a new country. Doesn’t come as a surprise when processes and procedures are delayed. It’s only natural to become frustrated and even easier to fall into a negative mindset of complaining. Continue reading 4 Teaching Abroad Lessons

Dreams Come True

Eleven years ago I sat in TESOL class listening to my professor lecture on best practices and methods to teach English Language Learners. She gave anecdotes of her first-hand experiences while teaching abroad. I vividly remember sitting in the cold business building classroom of the FAU Boca campus when my heart skipped a beat and the seed was planted. Since then the far-fetched seedling of a dream sprouted roots and grew.

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