Category Archives: Lisa

Scotland #19: Highs and Lows

Scotland #1: Welcome to Edinburgh!
Scotland #2: The View from Arthur’s Seat
Scotland #3: The View from Scott Monument
Scotland #4: Going Forth to Forth
Scotland #5: The Beauty of Fife
Scotland #6: Whisky Fail
Scotland #7: Defeat at Culloden
Scotland #8: Cawdor’s Not-So-Secret Garden
Scotland #9: The Loch Ness Loop
Scotland #10: The Road to Skye
Scotland #11: Old Man of Storr
Scotland #12: Pieces of Skye
Scotland #13: Rubha Hunish AKA The Hike from Hell
Scotland #14: Losing my Phone in Scotland and Other Adventures
Scotland #15: The Road to Glasgow
Scotland #16: Welcome to Glasgow!
Scotland #17: Street Art Scavenger Hunt in Glasgow
Scotland #18: Where to Stay in Scotland

Nineteen posts later, I’m finally wrapping up my trip to Scotland. Just in time for Vietnam! Lisa and I leave in a week, and – holy crapsies – I cannot believe we are going to Vietnam in a week.

But first, a wrap-up of my summer trip to Scotland.

The Highs

Beautiful scenery. Scotland is beautiful. End of story.

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Isle of Skye. The schizophrenic weather aside, the Isle of Skye is insanely beautiful and unique. I would love to spend more time there as long as the rain will hold off.

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History. I learned a lot about Scotland and England’s long and tangled history – a subject that had confused me for years. I love seeing history coming to life, and Scotland (especially Edinburgh) is a great place for that.

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Lisa. Sure, Lisa and I talk almost every day, but we only see each other once or twice a year (despite the mere three-and-a-half hour train ride between us). Amazingly, we don’t hate each other yet.

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Weather. We expected tons of rain, and we only got a a day and a half of traditional Scottish weather. Not too shabby.

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Our one truly rainy day

English language. I don’t think this one needs an explanation. 

The Lows

Getting sick three days into the trip. There is no good way to sugarcoat this. Getting sick sucks. Getting sick on vacation sucks balls. Lisa is a trooper for putting up with my gluttonous self-pity.

Driving on the left side of the road. It really wasn’t so bad. And it wasn’t even me doing the driving (thanks Lisa!), but it was nerve-racking at the beginning. And those damn traffic circles. Those never got fun. (P.S. Lisa would like to add that she really enjoyed driving our cute rented Audi – but she’s not writing this post, is she?)

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Spending money. The United Kingdom is expensive. While the Euro tumbled, the value of the Pound was one-and-a-half times the U.S. dollar. Everything in Scotland cost the same amount as in the U.S. in purely numerical terms, but when translated into dollars, it was rather expensive.

Jet lag. We were perpetually tired – a fatal combination of jet lag and wanting to see and do too much. I know, I know…first-world problems. 

 

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AN ODE TO FRIENDSHIP

It was 1998. I was a terrified college freshman enrolling in an art class called Intro to Design, emphasis on the word Intro. I had no clue what I was doing. But at least there were two of us.

Lisa and I gravitated towards each other because everyone else in the class was drawing circles (and other shapes) around us. Wait – you want me to draw with dots? What the hell does an excited line look like?

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Drawing with dots…

Thus, a beautiful friendship was born.

Many years and a bagillion birthday cards later, we still talk almost every day (texting counts as talking, right?) even though we haven’t lived in the same city since 2005. She’s the person I call when pretty much anything happens – big or small. Like: “Lisa, I only slept five hours last night.” “Lisa, I can do a headstand!” “Lisa, I spend too much on groceries.” “Lisa, I hate everyone.”

We’ve been to Croatia and Peru, and today we embark for Scotland. In a couple of months, we will circle the globe to Vietnam.

There’s a lot of things I would like to change about this fundamentally unfair world we live in, but this isn’t one of them. At the risk of being overly sentimental, I’m very lucky to have a friend I can literally and figuratively share the world with.

Off to Scotland, bitches!

River of Rocks-Me and Lisa4

The dynamic duo hiking in Pennsylvania circa 2009

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The dynamic duo in Croatia in 2012

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The dynamic duo in Peru in 2014

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The dynamic duo in 2015

 

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Holy Egg Shells Batman, I’m Going to Vietnam

I have two very exciting pieces of news.

1) I booked a winter trip to Vietnam with my amazing friend Lisa!

2) I finally liquadated my Delta miles – my least favorite miles that were bound to lose value the longer I held onto them.

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Okay, let me back up. Lisa has been dying to take a trip to Asia, and I have finally shaken the miserable memories of my incapacitating jet lag from my last Asia trip. So we debated between a handful of Asian countries I haven’t yet been to – India, Vietnam, Indonesia – and settled on Vietnam. The fact that Delta had business class tickets available for only 70,000 miles each way – well, that was just the pickle on the awesome sandwich that is my life.

Many travel bloggers have written extensively about Delta’s disappointing awards program. Only last week, Delta further devalued their program. I’ve been sitting on over 140,000 Delta miles for a couple of years, a result of actual butt-in-seat miles and stupid credit card signs-up when I first started playing this crazy game. (Remember when I thought a 30,000 sign-up bonus from Delta was a steal? Hahahaha.) But even the worst programs have a sweet spot, and I found Delta’s. Both Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines are Skymiles partners, and I managed to find business class seats in both directions for 70,000 miles a piece and a total of $105.30.

Check out the map of our flight itinerary below (though I haven’t booked the intra-Vietnam flights yet):

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HAPPY B-DAY TO ME (ALMOST)

A word about my friend Lisa: Awesome

Now some more words.

Lisa is the kind of person who never fails to send me a birthday card no matter where I happen to be living, and there have been a number of addresses for her to keep straight. It is all the more impressive that she manages to match the particular card to my particular circumstances. This is the card I found in my mailbox tonight:

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Here are some gems from previous years:

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