getting there….

Oh my gosh…I can’t believe that I’m really here.

After a quick flight to Philly we (as in the other U of I students I traveled with πŸ™‚ ) were anxious to get on the plane and head to Manchester. Although I almost had a panic attack after we were FORCED, literally forced to have our carry-ons checked on the flight to Philly because it was full. And because we got stuck in boarding zone 5, we had no choice….I was basically in tears while I was getting on the plane…(all my luggage it made it so it’s fine).

gt7Photo: Sky Mall mag…I couldn’t resist, it’s just too funny

In Philly we happened to come across a group of Wisconsin students heading to Leeds as well, small world! But let me tell you this was the longest journey of my life. The plane was suppose to take off around 9, but was delayed due to a mechanical issue, lucky for us the let us board before the repair had been logged aka we had to wait for it to be logged before take off. So finally we get the go ahead, but wait….the plane had been sitting at the gate all day and was all icy due to the weather there….so then we had to wait for the plane to be de-iced. By the time we finally took off it was an hour and a half later.

gt5 gt6Photos: The plane being de-iced and our flight journey map

Since it was a night flight I had hoped to get a little sleep, I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot but I figured I’d be able to sleep off and on….but of course I get stuck in front of an old man who apparently doesn’t need sleep and was playing a game on the screen that was attached to the back of mine. And because it was a touch screen every time he touched the screen I could feel it…so much for sleeping.

gt4Photo: The food was actually pretty good, and you got a decent portion.

Ok, so we finally land, finally and we are all anxious and tired to get off the plane but had to wait AGAIN because the jet air way wouldn’t attach to the plane properly for us to walk from the plane into the terminal. We waited another half hour for them to attach a stairway. All in the flight was supposed to be about 6 hours from Philly and we ended up being on that plane for close to eight. Needless to say we were ready to get our feet back on the ground literally.

gt2 gt3Photos: The clouds looked like the trees from the Lorax, idk why I made that connection and our ending flight journey map.

Lucky for us the journey didn’t end there, we still had to get a train from Manchester to Leeds. And as luck would have it the station connected to the airport was temporary closed because it’s getting a new platform, so we had to be bused from the airport over to the station in the city. The ride wasn’t too bad, it was nice to get to see a bit of Manchester but we stood out like sore thumbs when we got off the bus to walk over into the station because we had all this luggage…

gt1Photo: Train ticket, it says airport because the bus fee was included in the ticket price.

We finally got on the train headed for Leeds and were relieve to be on the last leg of the journey. It happened to be an express train and took less than an hour to get there. We got to see a lot of the country side and hillside towns. It was so picturesque, there was a bit of snow too, so everything looked that much more beautiful under a little blanket of pure white snow.

FINALLY we arrived in Leeds from there we split a taxi over to our residence hall, and I have to say it’s much prettier than I thought it would be. Then again everything here looks like it’s straight out of Harry Potter, there’s red brick everywhere.

gtPhoto: The view from my room, I’m slightly obsessed.

My room is just fine, has everything that I need including a sink and mirror. My flatmates are cool to…one is actually one of the people we had met from Wisconsin on the flight so really same world, one girl is from Holland, there’s another girl whom I only met quickly in passing and another guy from Singapore that I have yet to meet.

gt8Photo: Unknown, but pretty campus building.

It sure did take a while but I got here safe and sound and I’m starting to get all settled in. I have another post in works that should be pretty funny and I can’t wait to see what else Leeds has in store for me and my new U of I mates!

Enjoy.

~meesh

P.S. I will be uploading some picture I took today to my flickr in a bit.

packing list

With my trip just about a day away, I’m pretty much packed and all ready to go… it’s so crazy, I don’t believe that it’s really happening. Anyways I figured I’d share some on the items that were a must on my packing list for my ‘journey.’

Disclaimer: I would have used my own pictures in this post but in seeing that I have already packed all of these items it was best just to use the internet.

Filtered Water Bottles

This way you don’t have to go out and constantly buy packages of plastic waters bottles. Basically with a filtered bottle you can get good water from any tap. Not only will you save money but it will just be less of a hassle and you won’t have to worry about the quality of the water.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 9.22.24 PM

I picked up 2 Brita water bottles and extra replacement filters (not pictured) for all less than $25 from target.

Gum/PB/Ranch

These really don’t seem like items that you would be concerned about taking with you but…from what I’ve heard…The gum in Europe is horrible, it lasts no more than a few seconds. They don’t sell peanut butter because I guess it’s like not a thing there…and if they do sell ranch dressing it’s sold at an outrageous price.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.49.15 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.51.32 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.52.15 PM

Being me, I’m almost always smacking on a piece of gum so I bought a ton of it, because I’m going to need enough to last me like four months. And although I can survive without pb and ranch I picked up some of the to-go packs of both just in case I’m craving the good stuff while I’m away.

Blanket Scarf

This a perfect wear on plane piece. Although I will be wearing half my closet on the plane, a blanket scarf is perfect because if for some reason you do get cold you can use it like a blanket, hence blanket-scarf.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.42.24 PM

Asos has a huge selection…Something similar to mine atΒ asos.com.

Blazers

A blazer is the ultimate dress up/ dress down piece, and if you’re like me and don’t have a little bomber or leather jacket for going out a blazer is a great substitute. I feel like I talk up the blazer at every chance I get buy you can literally throw is on over a tank or a t-shirt. And, it’s just heavy enough to keep you warm but won’t make you over heat when you’re out either.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.46.10 PM

I packed 2 one that’s more of a cropped cut and one that is a bit longer. Both are black and can be found at Macy’s.

DO NOT PACK: Straightener or Blow-dryer

Buy cheap ones when you get there…because the voltages in Europe are different than in American your hair styling tools will not adapt correctly…even if you use and adapter or converter. If you try to use one of you styling tools with an adapter/converter it will either burn off your hair or blow the fuse…so just don’t even try.

I really wanted to give a full list of everything that I packed (i.e. how many shirts, how many pairs of jeans) but I didn’t think that would be of benefit for you guys… so I just decided to pick a few things that you wouldn’t necessarily think to pack but definitely should.

Bon Voyage…almost..

~meesh

the not so weekly update 1/16

So it’s been a while….

With my trip in just a few days I finally got around to starting the packing process. And much to my surprise it wasn’t too terrible. I had a good idea in my head of what I wanted to take so that definitely made the process easier especially when it came to the shoes. But, nonetheless I still had to make some sacrifices…and my poor black riding boots didn’t make the cut, they were just too big.

wujan4Photo: The boots that didn’t make the cut…they look so sad

Other than that, everything is pretty much ready to go…. I have a few more little toiletry items to pick up and still have to pack my carry on with all the really important stuff, but it’s crazy to think that this time next week I will be in England, woah.

wujan1 wujan3 wujan2Photos: My lovely luggage & nifty backpack rolling carry-on…more on luggage in upcoming post…

Aside from getting ready for my departure and running last minute errands I’ve been working, literally like a dog. Which on one end has been a total pain in my butt having to be a real person and such but it has been really nice to make some extra spending money.

wujan5Photo: Almost airport ready…

I’ve also had to say a lot of goodbyes this week and that makes me sad, and to everyone that I did and didn’t get to see I say “cheerio” because cheerio is not a goodbye, it’s a see you later…

Just a few more updates I promise…

I don’t know if I mentioned it before but in case I didn’t or you missed it I creates a flickr account were I will be posting all of the photo from my trip… AKA follow me plz

I’m working on a couple more posts to put up BEFORE I leave that are both about pre-travel stuff & I even have a sneak peek for you…

wujanPhoto: post preview…

Stay tuned & enjoy.

~meesh

 

 

meesh’s study abroad essentials

With my flight about a week away I thought it was about time that I did a travel essentials post. Especially because when I announced I’d be traveling to England I promised some pre-trip posts. So here goes…

1. A cute, functional, relativity large and FULL ZIP everyday bag/purse:

From the get-go I was on the hunt for the perfect “everyday” bag for my trip. And of course because I didn’t want to break the bank I also wanted to get a really good deal at the same time.

The really important thing I was looking for was something with a full zipper and large enough to fit a decent amount of stuff in, including my camera…The reason I wanted a full zip was so that there would be less potential for someone to rob me on the streets. With a full zipper I can assure that my valuables will always be tucked away.

As some of you many know a few months ago, sometime in late October early Novemeber Kate Spade has this crazy 75% off sale (you had to like the Kate Spade on fb to access the link that took you to the sale). And I wasn’t really into it/ didn’t want to buy anything because I didn’t want to spend money. But it was coming up on my news feed a lot so eventually I decided to check it out.

And that is where I found this bag:

te3 te4Photos: The bag, Kate Spade (something similar)

I had originally wanted to find a bag that was like a luggage brown color but once I saw this and it’s price tag I was sold. I won’t disclose how much I actually paid but it was reguarly priced at over $400 and I got it for under $200. Which was an amazing deal.

Once I actually got it I fell even more in love, it’s plenty big, has a full zipper and cross-body strap, what more could a traveling girl ask for??

te8 te6 te5Photos: More of the bag, showing the interior

If you’re look for a good travel purse my tip is if you find anything under $200 with a full zipper, cross-body strap, and lots of space inside go for it. You may think you won’t need a crossbody strap but if you are doing lots of traveling and a bag like this will always be at your side your arms will get tired, especially if you’ve got a lot of stuff inside!

2. Passport Case

I feel that as a girl this is one of the things that you don’t necessary need but yet you have to have for style purposes. I didn’t go with anything expensive, in fact I picked mine up on sale, just something that will protect you’re passport and it’s pretty sturdy.

te7 te9Photos: The passport port case, Fossil

At first I wasn’t too crazy about the bright blue color, it’s wasn’t my first choice but there wasn’t much of a selection left…but it’s definitely growing on me. I’m beginning to like the fact that it is bright blue because it will make it easier to spot in the sea that is the inside of my purse.

3. Nice quality Camera

This was a must for me. It was at the top of my list of pre-trip purchases. As someone that grew up with a dad that was pretty into photography, I’ve always had a love of cameras. I’ve always prefered to behind the lense than in front of it.

I still remember when digital DSLR cameras came out and how big of a deal it was went we got one for my dad for Christmas years back. I think it was then that I decided that when it came time for me to get a really nice camera, that’s the one I would get.

So the camera I got was the Nikon D3300….

te15 te14Photos: The camera, aka my new baby

And I’ve already been taking countless photos to get some practice in and learn about the different features. I actually created a flickr account where I will be posting the majority of the photo of my trip at. To check out my flickr at: just_meesh and follow me to see all the photos I take while abroad.

p.s. my dad has also been really into my camera as well and bought all these filters and stuff for it…he likes to take photos of me while I’m eating or something and I don’t really know why….

4. Journal

This seems like something really simple but I think that keeping a journal is huge. It’s important to write things down and recount experiences through words because words will last you a lifetime, and it’s a really great way to document your travels.

I know that I’m going to make use of my journal and I’ve started by writing down my new years resolutions so that I can reaffirm them every time I open my journal and I’m also going to start a study abroad bucket list there too.

te10 te11Photos: My journal, I love the saying….“Paint The Town Red” Kate Spade

But, mostly I’ll use it to document my trip and for keeping random thoughts and epitomes too.

5. A good read

aka a book or too for long trips

I just think everyone needs that good read for a long plane, train or even bus ride. It helps pass the time and reading is just so good to do. I love to read so I know I definitely be taking a few books with me. I got a couple for Xmas and I’m really excited to get into them during my travels.

te13Photo: My books of choice: Wild & Game of Thrones book 1

6. Travel guide/s

Especially if you’ve never been to Europe like me, you’re probably going to want to get at least one travel book to have as a companion for your travels. My mom actually gave me a really good tip on travel guides and that’s to go to the library and rent a couple to see which you like best and then go buy the one that you liked most. That way you know exactly what you are getting.

te12Photos: The travel books I am checking out right now…really like Fodor’s England so far..

So I went to the library and picked up a bunch and have been skimming them to see which I take a liking too. Actually while I was skimming I came across another god tip which is to pick up a travel book once you get there because it will have a lot of good information about the local stuff and will include things that might not be in the big all encompassing guides books.

Of course this isn’t everything you will need for traveling but these 6 items where what I have found to be my big ticket items in terms of travel essentials.

te2It all fits perfect in my bag, even my agenda too.

Enjoy.

~meesh

p.s. leave a comment below if you have a question or like something you see!