21 Things to Do in Santiago (Before My 21st)

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In honour of my birthday month, I’ve set myself a bucket list of things to do in Santiago before I turn 21 and leave this deceivingly underrated capital city. It’s easy to take it for granted when everyone’s so keen to escape the urban bubble to travel around the rest of Chile, but Santiago itself is a top tourist destination and has many hidden treasures, some of which I have yet to discover…

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Journey to the End of the World

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Just a three-hour flight south of Santiago is the town of Punta Arenas, the regional capital of the Chilean Antarctic. At 8309 miles from my native Tunbridge Wells, it’s safe to say I’ve never been this far away from home.

Punta Arenas is one of three cities in the world, along with Ushuaia in Argentina and Puerto Williams in Chile, to brand itself as the “southernmost city” to boost its tourist appeal. Whilst not technically as southern as the other two, it’s the largest of the settlements and is where my adventure in Patagonia began.

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Racking up the air miles

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Reading Week Myanmar Trip: Part II

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N.B. This post is the follow-up to Part I, covering the second half of our week in Myanmar. 

Nearly 5 million people visited Myanmar last year, compared with just 800,000 in 2010. The rise of tourism here has been rapid here and the people are clearly still transitioning to new ways of life. American dollars (which must be crisp, unfolded and unmarked bills if they’re to be accepted!) are flooding the economy – probably for the worst. One of the positive effects of so much foreign money though is the potential for the restoration and preservation of the beautiful sites and sights of Myanmar. ‘Entry fees’ charged at the boundaries to archaeological areas, such as the 12,500 kyat we paid to enter Lake Inle (Inlay) and the surrounding land are one such way this money is being put to good use by the government. Continue reading

Top 5 Moments in Salamanca

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As my time in Salamanca comes to an end, it’s time to look back on the blissful highs and hilariously tragic lows of my first semester abroad in Spain. Exams, losing just a few of my personal belongings, frustration at Spanish bureaucracy, language barriers and homesickness aside, the innumerable highlights by far outweigh the lows. Since there were so many memories to choose from, I decided to pick moments and trips I hadn’t mentioned in previous posts! Continue reading

How a Year Abroad can make you Happy – Derren Brown and Stoicism

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If you’re not a philosopher, then Derren Brown’s new book, Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine, may be a pleasant surprise. It’s an accessible foray into stoicism, an ancient greek philosophy that’s gaining momentum in the modern day amongst philosophers and non-philosophers alike. Returning to Hong Kong this week, one element of stoicism that he touched on seemed particularly poignant in the context of a year abroad: appreciating those things in our lives that we take for granted. I want to explore, briefly, how a year abroad can facilitate such reflexive activity. Continue reading