Traveling can be a little intimidating at times. You stay in Airbnbs trusting the hosts are not whacked-out axe murderers but how can you really be sure?! Here are 7 signs you're going to survive the night:
The only scary thing about your entire visit: keeping the door shut so Boubou didn't get any ideas.
Thank you Vassilies, Tulay, and Boubou! It was an absolute pleasure!
Hanging in the Dutch display area of the National Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland is the wedding portrait of Susanna Bailly. It was completed in 1645 by Frans Hals. The hope and anticipation are evident in Susanna’s slightly vacant eyes.
About six feet away hangs another painting by Hals. It is the wedding portrait of Francois Wouters, Susanna’s fiancé. He looks like he is about to face the firing squad.
The onlooker can only imagine this couple’s future together: the tears, anger and disappointment in lost dreams and compromised futures.
In a world of spinsters not allowed to own property, being required to stay in convents, and enduring horrible injustices, there is one thing I know. I would never marry a guy who looks like he is awaiting a public execution in his wedding portrait. A bad marriage is NEVER better than being single…even in 1645.
When we last left our nerdy heroine, she was sitting in a Scottish hostel, drinking coffee and trying to determine if she should “hit on” a guy a couple tables away.
Unfortunately, the internal battle continued: So what do I say to this guy? He looks pretty busy to me. What if he treats me like a total annoyance? I would hate that. But what if it goes well? Geez…this is making me a little nuts.
“Do you mind if I sit here?” interrupts a young girl, carrying a food tray.
“Of course not,” I respond slowly.
The two of us proceed to talk about traveling in the Highlands and similar childhoods. After about 15 minutes, I look up and notice the “guy of my dreams” is long gone. A lost opportunity with him and a gained opportunity with her. Still pretty great.
My biggest regret: I wish I’d been more brave. I lost my opportunity because I was looking for the perfect thing to say and was worried about the outcome. Maybe I didn’t need to worry about being all perfect. Maybe it was more important to just do it. The young girl did and got a great conversation and a new Instagram follower. Maybe it’s more important to grab opportunities no matter what.
Have a good life European male version of me! I guess our universes weren’t meant to collide. And maybe that’s okay.
Come to find out, youth hostels aren’t just for kids!
Sipping coffee in the restaurant at the Youth Hostel Edinburgh Central, I’m seeing characters of every age. There is the group of north-of-40 travelers (my people!) who haven’t seen each other in years and keep kissing. At the next table, a sulky grandson and his gray-haired grandfather (in the O.C. this would be his father) sit. Two really cute guys (younger than my daughter) are eating breakfast and I’m trying to work up the nerve to ask them to pose with my book. And then there’s the class of boisterous junior high girls who are a microcosm of the rest of us: The hipsters with their cute little outfits who couldn’t be bothered to put their shoes on. The one with her statement fluorescent pink Crocs who just wants a little attention. And, of course, you have your standard issue ‘tween girl who’s a little too young to look that bitter.
What really catches my eye is the guy who looks like the European male version of me sitting a couple tables away. He’s got nerdy glasses, a sweater, a stack of papers, and a laptop. Wow!
So the big question…how does a gal with crappy flirting skills get this guy’s attention?!