Five Places I Want To Revisit + A Blog Hop

First things first, a big thank you to all of you who have joined me in celebrating my blog birthday. You guys are the best! If you haven’t done so yet there is still some time to enter for your chance to win a gift basket of Icelandic candies, I promise I will only pick the good ones!

Now on to today’s post.

5 Places to RevisitThis post has been popping up on my fellow travel bloggers blogs left and right and I am finally joining in on the fun. While I spend most of my time wanderlusting after new places to visit there are a few places that I have been lucky enough to already travel to that I would love to visit again. If only my full time job was traveling the world! These 5 places are all must see if you haven’t been yet, fingers crossed I get the chance to go back again as well!

1. Florence, Italy

Florence, ItalyFrom the minute we arrived in Florence I knew it was a city I was going to fall in love with. When I think of Florence I picture wine tasting out in the country side, strolls along the river, and checking out the little markets in the city. Lucky for me this is exactly what we found Florence to be. Now if I can figure out a way to have my own little cottage in the countryside of Tuscany, my own “Under The Tuscan Sun” moment.

2. Greece

GreeceTake me anywhere in Greece and I would be one happy girl. I spent my two weeks island hopping in Greece on cloud nine, it was amazing. The food, the beautiful beaches, wonderful people, what more could you want?? But really the food, I would revisit Greece just to eat more of the delicious Greek cuisine!

3. Korčula, Croatia

CroatiaKorčula was added to our time in Croatia at the last minute and neither H or I expected much from our time there. Were we wrong! Korčula ended up being the highlight of our two weeks in Croatia, I only wish we had planned more time there. Stunning blue water, vineyards just a bike ride from the beach and a charming old walled in city, Korčula I expected very little from you and you blew my socks off. The most charming little island, we will be back!

3. Sydney, Australia

Australia, Sydney, Opera Housevia

Sydney will always be a special place to me. It was the first place I traveled abroad, it was where I fell in love with traveling and my Viking, and the city and country is just amazing. If I ever get the chance to head back down under you better believe I will jump at the opportunity!

5. London, England

London, Big BenWith less than 24 hours in the city my time in London was cut far to short. We were so rushed trying to fit everything into the time we had, my day in London seems like a total blur. This is seriously one of the only pictures I have from London! A proper trip back to London is a must so I can get to really explore the city. And a visit to Harry Potter Studios is on my bucket list so I definitely have to return!

Now I just need to figure out how to revisit all of these places as well as visit all the new ones, especially those on my European travel bucket list!

Question of the Day?
What places would you like to revisit?

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Welcome to the
FRESH FACE FRIDAY BLOG HOP!
No prompt, just fun!

Hosted by: Casey @ We Took the Road Less Traveled

Rules for hopping:
1| Follow your host & co-hosts (first 3 links), pretty please!
2| Link up your blog’s homepage or Bloglovin‘ page.
3| Hop around, meet new bloggers, and leave them love!
4| Have fun? Spread the word and share this blog hop with your friends!
5| Want to be a co-host? Click here for more info!

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10 Must See Places in Iceland

10mustseeIcelandNow that I have been living in my Vikings homeland for over a year I have learned one very important thing, Iceland is a stunning country! So if you have made the wise decision to give my isolated adopted home a visit here are 10 places you won’t want to miss!

1. The Golden Circle
Geysir - http://unlockingkiki.comGullfoss - http://unlockingkiki.comThe Golden Circle is one of the most popular tourist routes and for good reason! An easy day trip from Reykjavik, the 300 km loop has three main stops. The national park Þingvellir, Gullfoss one of the most beautiful waterfalls you will ever see, and my favorite stop, the Geysir! This trip is a perfect sample of Icelandic nature and great for those who are short on time and want to pack the most into their trip.

2. Landmannalaugar
LandmannalaugarLandmannalagurLandmannalaugar If you are a hiking enthusiast you will want to be sure to pack your hiking boots and spend a day exploring Landmannalaugar. By far my favorite place in Iceland, Landmannalaugar is a popular hiking destination offering several trails all with breathtaking scenery. The colors of the landscape at Landmannalaugar look like they are straight from a painting!

3. Hveragerði
Hveragerði - http://unlockingkiki.comFancy a true Icelandic style adventure? Take a short hike just outside of Hveragerði to the hot spring called Rekjadalur. Complete your hike with a soak in the hot spring, preferably with an Icelandic beer and under the midnight sun.

4. Gjáin
Gjáin - http://unlockingkiki.comGjáin - http://unlockingkiki.com Described to me as “the most beautiful place in Iceland”, Gjáin is a hidden Icelandic gem. Very few tourist ever visit Gjáin, I myself didn’t even know this place existed until a few months ago! When you arrive you will feel like you have stepped into a fairytale, a perfect place for a picnic break during a day of exploring Iceland.

5. The Glacier Lagoon
The Glacier Lagoon - http://unlockingkiki.comGlacier Lagoon - http://unlockingkiki.comIt’s not everyday you get to visit a glacial lake filled with large icebergs floating around! If you visit during the summer months you can take a boat tour around the lagoon and sample some of the freshest water straight off the icebergs. Keep an eye out for some adorable seals, if your lucky you will see them swimming around the icebergs.

6. South Coast
South Coast- http://unlockingkiki.comsouth coast - http://unlockingkiki.comBlack sand beaches, waterfalls everywhere you look, stunning landscapes that have you in constant awe, all that you need for an unforgettable road trip! Be sure to bring lots of snacks and your rain gear, there are very few stores along the way and you never know when a rain storm will arrive!

7. Snæfellsnes Stykkishólm - http://unlockingkiki.comSnaefellsnes - http://unlockingkiki.com Picture this, your driving down the road with the ocean on one side, dozens of small waterfalls running off the mountains on the other, and glaciers in the near distance waiting to be explored. This is exactly what you get when you visit the Snæfellsnes peninsula! An added bonus, all the small fishing towns you will pass, they are the most charming little towns and are perfect for a relaxing place to stay while in Iceland.

8. Glymur
Iceland - http://unlockingkiki.comGlymur - http://unlockingkiki.comFancy a hike while your visiting Snæfellsnes? A hike back to the second tallest waterfall in Iceland, Glymur, will more than satisfy your hiking needs! The views along the way make this hike a must do!

9. The Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon - http://unlockingkiki.comBlue Lagoon - http://unlockingkiki.comOne simply can’t visit Iceland without taking a dip in this stunning blue water and pampering themselves to a relaxing spa day. Your going to need it after all the hiking you have done during your trip in Iceland.

10. Reykjavik Reykjavik - http://unlockingkiki.comA trip to Iceland isn’t complete without spending a day in the quirky capital city. Head over to my blog now for a one day itinerary for Reykjavik and learn more about this charming small city I now call home!

Want to learn more about this unique country I am living in? Check out my Iceland page and spark your desire to visit Iceland even more!

This post originally appeared on Guten Blog Y’all, now The Overseas Escape.

Unlocking Kiki Turns One!!!

Happy blog birthday to me!!!

One year ago I hit publish on my first blog post. It took me almost a month to work up the courage to hit publish, a button that made things feel so official, and almost a year of talking about writing a blog before I finally took the dive and entered the world of blogging. I had no idea what I was doing (still don’t) and no idea what I was getting myself into, but I am so glad that Unlocking Kiki came to be!

Unlocking Kiki, Blogging

Unlocking Kiki and the blogging community came into my life when I needed it most. I had been living in Iceland for a month, had no visa or job, during the darkest months of the year, a hobby needed to be created. I started my blog as a journal for myself to remember this time in my life and as a place for my family and friends to follow along with my adventures abroad. During this past year my blog has grown in ways I never imagined and has turned into so much more than just an online journal.

To celebrate Unlocking Kiki turning one I am sharing my favorite posts from this past year! If your new to my blog these posts are a great way to get to know more about me and my blog, and also spark your travel wanderlust :)

Two posts I am most proud of:

1. What Living Abroad Has Taught Me
2. Sorry not Sorry

Runner Up: Lessons Learned from Blogging

Two favorite Iceland posts:

1. A Guide to Reykjavik
2. 5 Beautiful Hikes Near Reykjavik

Runner Up: The Blue Lagoon

Two favorite travel posts:

1. My Travel Style
2. Top 10 Travel Moments

Runner Up: ABC’s of Travel

Two favorite expat life posts:

1. 10 Tips for New Expats
2. An Awkward American in Iceland

Runner Up: Dating in Iceland

Two favorite H & K posts:

1. Girl Meets Viking
2. The Couple That Travels Together Stays Together

Runner Up: Boy Behind the Blog

Two posts that were the most fun to write:

1. My Mind on Icelandic
2. By the Numbers – I love writing these posts each month!

Runner Up: 10 Surprising Icelandic Facts I and II

Starting my blog one year ago at a time when I was going through a major life change is one of the best decisions I have made. As I transition from a fresh faced expat to a more experienced one my blog will continue to grow with me and I hope you all stick around to see what happens next.

I wanted to take this time to say a big Thank You to all of my readers out there. All of your comments, emails, and conversations have met so much to me. The community I have found through my blog has made this transition into expat life a bit easier, so just know I appreciate you all and every comment you leave!

And to say Thank You to all of you who help make this blog so special a little giveaway for you all. One lucky winner will get to sample some tasty Icelandic candies that I have personally tasted and approved. There will be a lot of love in this gift basket I put together so enter for a chance to win!

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10 Tips For New Expats

Adjusting to expat life has been an adventure in itself and while I am no expert I am full of tips that I am constantly giving to those newly arrived in Iceland that I meet at my work and GGI. These tips are all things I have tried or experienced and wished I would have known before I moved to Iceland. I hope they help all you new expats out there and maybe even give us veteran expats a little reminder!

10TipsExpat

1. Try anything and everything that sounds interesting to you

Always wanted to try pottery? Interested in trying out for a sports team? Want to join a bookclub? Go for it! Now is the time to try new things and really, what do you have to lose? Some things will turn out horrible (trust me I have been there) but you never know when you will meet your new best friend or discover a hobby that you are passionate about. Your in a new country so why not try as many new things as possible!

2. Feeling homesick is okay

Unless you are one of the lucky ones who never gets homesick, homesickness is bound to hit at some point. Homesickness is a tricky business, one minute you are laughing with your new friends having a great time, the next your sister snapchats you a picture of your dog and your near tears missing home. Feeling homesick is totally normal and is bound to happen no matter how happy you are in your new home. When homesickness hits and you wish you were home just remember why you chose to move abroad and all the positive that comes with your new life. Everyone has their own way of dealing with their feelings of homesickness, find what works for you and those times of when homesickness strikes won’t be as bad.

Waterfalls in IcelandIt is a fact, Icelandic waterfalls cure homesickness

3. Take rejection lightly

When you start a new life in a foreign country you have to be prepared for the negative side of things. There will be times when you are turned down for the job you really wanted because you are foreign, others exclude you from their conversation by speaking in a language you don’t understand, someone comments about your strange accent and you just feel like you won’t ever fit in. Don’t let these moments of rejection get to you. Shake it off and move on. You will find your people and where you belong, be patient, keep putting yourself out there, and always smile!

4. Be able to laugh at yourself

Never did I think a simple trip to the bank would embarrass me so or that I would make a complete fool of myself at the post office. But it has happened to me, more than once, and laughing it off was the only thing that kept me from crying. Your new, you don’t understand how things work just yet and you may not understand the language, your going to have those embarrassing moments when you just want to run back home. Don’t let this things get you down on expat life. Laugh about it, know it isn’t the end of the world, and move on.

Expat Tips
5. Letting go of relationships back home is okay

While it is tempting to spend your time cooped up in your flat on skype with friends and family back home don’t do it! I know you miss home like crazy and talking with friends and family make the transition of moving abroad a little less difficult. But when you hold on to life back home you take yourself out of what is happening around you.

You moved abroad for an adventure and to meet new people. To do that you need to get out there and mingle with those around you! Don’t worry about those back home. If they are your true friends they will understand you don’t have as much time to talk and will always be there when you need them.

6. Run from the negative people

You can’t avoid it, there are always going to be those negative Nancys running around, but when you are still adjusting to a new country you do not need that in your life. From my experience when you met one negative person they are full of stories of everything that is bad and can go wrong in your new home. This is not helpful at all. Surround yourself with friendly faces full of positive thoughts, you will need them on your speed dial on days when you need a reminder of why you chose to uproot your life.

7. Don’t let doubt hold you back

Only planning on living abroad for a year and then return home? Not wanting to get too attached to anyone or anything so that you won’t want to leave again? Let go of these feelings and see where it takes you! I held myself back for awhile not wanting to let go completely of my old life and all it did was make me unhappy. Letting go and fully embracing life in my new surroundings has made me appreciate and enjoy things so much more, which ultimately makes for a happier life!

Golden Circle, Iceland
8. Be patient!

I wish it was as simple as a snap of the fingers for you to feel comfortable in your new surroundings, this would have saved me a lot of tears! At times I would feel stressed that I wasn’t feeling comfortable in my surroundings yet and worried that something was wrong with me for it taking me a long time to settle in. Finally realizing that I was not like others around me and I needed to adjust on my own time made me feel more at ease in my surroundings. It may have taken me a year but I am finally feeling settled and you will too, just give yourself time.

9. Don’t guilt trip yourself

A topic I have discussed with fellow expats lately is the feeling of guilt for choosing to live away from our families. Some of my friends (myself included) sometimes feel guilty for moving away from our families to a far off country. When you feel like your missing out on important moments back home you tend to question your decision of moving away from them. And when your sister calls you crying and your not there to comfort her, it can be a tough thing to not feel guilty for leaving. Even though it is a tough emotion to deal with remember that living out your dreams is just as important, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

10. Explore as much as possible!

You spent months planning your move abroad and now you are finally in your new home. Don’t waste away your time sticking to the same daily routine. Get out and explore as much as possible! Act like a tourist, visit all the museums and attractions, pretend like your on vacation, explore and gain a new appreciation for your new home.

Icelandic HorsesI always appreciate playing with the adorable Icelandic horses!

Last and most important of all, have fun and enjoy this time in your life, you never know where it will take you!

Question of the Day?
What advice would you give a new expat?

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