Book Review: 20 Travel Tales in 200 Words by D. Marino & J. Malley

Blurb: “20 Travel Tales in 200 Words, is a collection of true short stories of misadventure, humour and heart, while travelling the world. The authours have had a number of awkward, challenging and astounding experiences over the years. These tales (all told in exactly 200 words) will (hopefully) make you laugh, smile and see travel through their eyes.

Each tale is accompanied by their unique photography, taken while vacationing in the area featured in the travel tale. You will not find these specific photographs anywhere else.”

Genre: Travel, Travel Biography

Goodreads Rating: 4.83/5

My Rating: 5/5

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS


I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have been able to access, read and review this book from the authors directly! So a huge thank you to them, of course they appreciate and respect that my review will be totally honest and my views only. So lets get into this!

You can find a copy of the book to purchase here and their website!

https://www.makethemalltripsofalifetime.com/product-page/20-travel-tales-in-200-words-pdf

https://www.makethemalltripsofalifetime.com

And you can find the authors on social media here!

Https://twitter.com/ThemTrips

https://instagram.com/Makethemalltripsofalifetime

https://www.facebook.com/makethemalltripsofalifetime

As an avid traveller and with Covid being pretty prominent at the moment, there isn’t much travel happening. So to be able to read 20 Travel Tales in 200 words was exciting for me because It definitely filled a travel hole that was huge in my heart. I really enjoyed reading each story and I’ll be writing a little bit about my top 8 from the book also further down in the review! I just wanted to cover some basics first!

The book itself is really well written and right from the heart, it feels so personal and I really felt like I could picture the experiences almost like I was there. Also it can’t be easy writing a travel story in only 200 words but the authors have done a really good job in doing so and making it an immersive and enjoyable read.

The photographs that separate the stories are all so beautiful and topical to the stories as well, not only is the photography brilliant but they also do a really good job of painting the picture of the adventure itself. It gives the stories more context and also gives the reader the beautiful imagery that goes with the story and I just thought that was brilliant because the story leaves you to your imagination and then you see the photos and it makes it even better!

So let’s have a look at my favourite 8 stories from the book! (although they were all great).

Rough Seas and Big Fish.

This one made me so excited, minus the sea sickness which I felt so sorry for them but I would totally be the same in that situation! Swimming with Whales sharks is absolutely a bucket list dream of mine, so to see the photos and hear the story was so great and inspiring. I was massively impressed they pushed through the sickness to swim with these magnificent creatures!

Murder House.

This one was plain creepy but I enjoyed that aspect, it was an experience that wasn’t as advertised and was unexpected and that added to my curiosity! Plus its nice to hear a different experience like this! I was left with so many questions, Why was there a for sale sign outside? Were the Anne dolls watching them through the night? Why were they not given the experience they bought or told beforehand it wouldn’t be as expected? and most importantly, WERE they fed the previous guests?? WILD.

The Case of the Missing (Water) Shoe.

This made me laugh out loud but also in a sympathetic way. Especially because this is something I would do. The best part was the ‘How could they not know?’ question, and then the sudden realisation when it was needed that the shoe was theirs! I was sad the rain washed it away, it belongs to the fishes now.

What Happens in the Clouds, Stays in the Clouds.

A zip-line experience is also on the bucket list and in a beautiful tropical place like Costa Rica, what a dream! I was so jealous of such an awesome experience but the zero visibility made me nervous and that nervousness was enhanced by her husband explaining that he had been pushed by the wind out of control but landed safely, biggest PHEW moment of the book! An amazing experience in a beautiful place.

A Hike of Spirituality.

This story was really great, an awesome experience, beautiful hike with the history explained as they went. A really great and spiritual adventure to connect with the history of Mauritius. But, it also really highlights others disregard for places with so much history and that deserve respect. It’s astounding that people were unable to “genuinely appreciate where they were” and that makes me so sad, as well as the authors who expressed their sadness of the situation too which I could fully relate too.

(Not) A Bag in the Water.

I love the ocean so I loved this story but this also hinged on another fear of mine. I am so very happy no one was hurt in the process of saving the planet! Which is always the right thing to do! But then the pain that came afterwards of moving to safety and being pushed back into the ocean made me go ‘Ouch!’, definitely a memorable experience for sure!

It’s Not Moving on, Its Moving Forward.

This was a beautiful and moving story. A trip of healing and relaxing through sorrow and sadness even though it provided no escape as the authors wrote. The tradition of planting a tree really brought a tear to my eye. The last line of this story was something that I felt so so necessary to share with everyone as it was beautifully written;

“You do not move on after the passing of a loved one, you move forward, carrying them with you”

The True Test of Love.

This is my favourite one, absolutely 10000% this is the true test of love. I’ve already explained to my man that when we go travelling this is to be expected and if he can’t handle it get out of the kitchen, wait, Bathroom. Im so happy the trip continued and so did their love! It did make me laugh how Burger King was a no go zone, so the family run Bistro where you wouldn’t expect the toilet troubles, was where the trouble started! But you don’t know until you try!

I gave 20 Travel Tales in 200 Words a 5/5 review because for me it was everything I needed and more through Covid-19, the stories were great fun and inspiring and the photographs were also phenomenal. This book is absolutely worth the read to fill that travel gap!

The Blog Brew Collaboration – Christmas: Christmas Markets all over the Globe.

Covid might still be very much a thing but we really can’t let it dull our Christmas spirit. Especially with how this year has already gone. So as part of the Blog Brew Collaboration this month and sticking to the theme of Christmas I wanted to share some of the top Christmas markets all over the world! Just because we can’t physically travel to them or they might cancelled due to Covid 19 doesn’t mean we need to forget about them, especially because we can keep up the Christmas spirit!

So here are some of the most beautiful Christmas Markets around the globe. Personal opinion and preference pending here! I’m doing this from my preferences and likes, If I miss any awesome Christmas markets let me know in the comments! I wanna research and add those bad boys to my bucket list! I will also be posting which Christmas market was my favourite that Ive been too (Hint: Its in Norway).

And before you say it, no, Winter Wonderland does NOT Make the cut.

None of the photos below are mine except for the Lincoln, Manchester & Oslo Market pictures

Vienna, Belvedere Palace

This Christmas market is a lot smaller than your usual Christmas market, you can go to a larger ones elsewhere in Vienna. This market is open for longer than usual, from mid November all the way through to the New Year which gives such a good time frame to visit. Plus its located in Belvedere and is also hosted along side a palace! A baroque palace! THE Belvedere Palace which I bet is beautiful and absolutely breathtaking when it comes to a Christmas markets, there are plenty of stalls and amusements for all the family but the main focus is on couples for this one.

Sweden, Liseberg

You can head to Liseberg for an incredibly magical and family friendly Christmas market, with endless light shows, loads of Christmas stalls, they have an ice rink which they do shows on for an audience, they also offer Christmas with RABBITS? HOW SICK IS THAT. There is something magical about rabbits at Christmas. plus you’re in Sweden!

New Zealand, Wellington, Underground Market

New Zealand, Wellington has this pretty cool underground markets you can shop in and in the run up to Christmas these markets turn into Christmas stalls! Although this only happens on the weekends throughout December, In the week they are just your normal stalls and admission is completely free.

Canada, Vancouver

I’ve always really wanted to go to Canada, I bet no Christmas market is as magical as a Christmas market in CANADA. Not only do they have Santas Grotto, a kids day, plenty of stalls with for and drink, Christmas presents and gifts. THEY HAVE A WALK IN CHRISTMAS TREE? I don’t know about you guys but I’m moving to Vancouver. Plus a majority of the food and drink is all local or locally sourced, they also have their own mascots? Holly and Jolly! It is also situated right on Vancouver Harbour so you can watch the lights reflect off the water!

Singapore, Gardens by the Bay

I definitely feel this is the most impressive market. With the market itself spanning across 8 football fields of amusements, food, drinks and the most amazing lights, whats not be impressed about? Oh, not to forget it is held in the STUNNING Gardens by the Bay. I don’t think I really need to say much more than that. Not only that but there is also a parade and endless theatrical entertainment! They also offer a Flower Dome. I’ll let you look that one up yourself. AMAZING. BOOKING MY FLIGHT NOW.

Peru, Santurantikuny

Now is Cusco, Peru they don’t so much hold a Christmas Market but a market that is held on December 24th where you go to buy yourself a gift and no one else! This event is actually a National Cultural Event and recognised by National Institute of Cultural Heritage which is Pretty awesome if you ask me. It is based on the Retablos, the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Santurantikuny stands for ‘Saints for Sale’ and is the largest craft market in Peru.

Birmingham, Frankfurt Style Market

Being from the UK its definitely on my bucket list to go to Birmingham Christmas market, its hugely popular and mimics the Christmas Market in Frankfurt which is what its really popular and well known for, it is also the largest Christmas market outside of Germany! Unfortunately it has been cancelled due to Covid but we continue to be festive. With 80 stalls all Christmas themed and endless mulled wine on every corner its a great place to explore and see friends and family. Birmingham itself is also supposed to be a greta city, so why not check out the rest of it whilst you’re at it?

Markets I’ve been too!

Manchester Christmas Market

After a heavy heavy night at WHP (Warehouse project Manchester) seeing Bicep we were all a bit reluctant to check out the market with the way we were feeling but I am so glad we did it, a hot chocolate with marshmallows and walking between the stalls it was so beautiful and very aesthetically pleasing. It also had some amazing Christmas lights and decorations. We managed to get lucky and go on a really nice day so the weather was glorious but cold and we managed to meet up with a good friend there as well who was in the city the same time we were so it was really great to experience something this GRAND with friends.

Lincoln Christmas Market

I went to university at Lincoln so of course I have visited it every year I was there, unfortunately the first year absolutely killed it for me because I was doing a tourism study on the market so I went up Steep Hill EVERY DAY. It was worth it because of course I got all the data I needed but i also go to experience all different aspects of the market. Lincoln market has so many stalls to offer of all varieties, its really good for your Christmas shopping and the best mulled wine is definitely form the BAR BUS which can usually find outside of the castle walls in the amusement area! Oh yeah, the start of the market is in the castle grounds, how beautiful is that? Its always really enjoyable and also has stalls by the cathedral but its a real shame because the past few years the market has gotten smaller and smaller, so I am hoping that come Christmas 2021 it will be back and teeming with life. It holds a lot of memories with all my friends from Uni and also my family when they visited for the market. Here is hoping for a better Christmassy 2021.

My all time favourite;

Oslo Christmas Market, Norway

This was without a doubt one of the most beautiful experiences of my life! I’d never been to Christmas market in another country so this was such a fun experience. Oslo Christmas market isn’t huge but it has all the essentials from Locally made Christmas gifts and clothes to the yummiest waffle and food stalls. And my god, the mulled wine was the best mulled wine I had ever had. There is a light tunnel you can walk through, an absolutely huge ice rink running through the middle and a beautiful big wheel where you can see the whole market and some of Oslo. They also have two talking moose heads in the bar area and at the entrance and they are SO funny. It was such a great vibe to go with some of my girlfriends as well, such a memorable experience.

Whats been the best Christmas market you’ve ever been too?

The Blog Brew – My New Adventure Book!

So I guess you’re wondering, what is The Adventure Book? I am here to tell you!

I would also like to confirm I was not asked to post this, this is something I wanted to share with you all as I feel its such a great creative outlet and also such a cute idea, it kept me busy for a while and I wanted to share as part of my blog brew collaboration as I’ve really gotten into it and I think others will enjoy it too.

So this book originally came up on my Instagram feed as an ad, I already have 3 scrapbooks, 5 photo albums, one bullet journal, surely one more creative outlet can’t hurt? Especially because it was travel related and I love documenting all my travels, so this just seemed another great way to do so. The book is really well priced including shipping from the Netherlands and created by a couple by the names of Nicole and Robin! Their aim is to have all your memories in one journal on one page!

So as you can see from the instructions there’s a page for all 196 independent countries so that means SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVTIES, and also your creative side. I can’t wait to fill in the multiple places with pictures, money, paint and washy tape galore. I have a lot of washy tape, its my favourite part of my arts and crafts box.

The best part is at the start of the book you can colour in the world maps of where you’ve been, you can also tick the checklist of countries where you’ve been, which is great for planning which countries you need to edit and do in the book! Ive got quite a few to get started on;

Spain, South Africa, America (they have half a page for each state), Portugal, Iceland, Hungary, Norway, Sri Lanka, France, Turkey and more!

So not only do they have these checklists and world maps to colour in of course they have a section for each country. They’re really good size, enough for some key memories and bits & pieces.

They also offer on other pages through the book stamp pages, where you can out the stamps from that country (postal stamps) but they also have a passport stamp page! They also offer a ‘Surprise’ page where it tells you to go to the airport with no destination in mind and choose the first place on the list and go. In the book you’ll write the details of where you went and all! They also offer travel bingo pages, you can colour in all the flags of the countries you’ve been too (which isn’t as easy as it sounds) and just so much more.

It’s been a really good pass-time especially with Lockdown and isolation taking a toll on everyone. I was really glad I went ahead and got it because I miss travelling so much, it was just another way to reminisce and remember just how much fun I’ve had in the past going to different countries and having huge adventures with my friends and family.

Its a really good gifts for friends and family who love to travel and its also really well sized, not to small not to big! So you can totally carry it with you too! I just don’t think it would be as easy to carry all your arts and crafts stuff with you to do it, haha!

I highly recommend it for all travel lovers! I’ve really enjoyed the purchase and I’m glad I did it! This post was a part of the Blog Brew Collaboration, for the other girls blog posts and websites head to the links below!

July Collab – Head Over to Chimmyville.com

July Collab – Head over to Introverted Creativity

July Collab – Head over to Perselem

July Collab – Head over to Wanderer and Traveller (THATS ME).

July Collab – Head over to Tales of Belle

July Collab– Head over to Kirsty Marie

July Collab – Head over to The Makeup by Beth

July Collab – Head over to Mrs Slee-Jones

July Collab – Head over to My Breaking Views

The Global Quarantine Diaries – Jess

1. Where in the world are you located? 

I live in Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England. A nice northern town well known for our accents! Not the most exciting place to be for lockdown though. 

2. What is lockdown regulations like there? 

In England at the start of lockdown it was a strict ‘stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’ and don’t meet anyone outside your house which was hard but now it has been eased to stay alert, control the virus, save lives’. As you are probably reading this we have eased lockdown further with more shops reopening now such as Primark, Matalan and other non-essential shops. We are hopefully coming out of the worse of the virus but I am praying that there isn’t a second spike. 

3. How are you keeping busy? 

I have been baking like mad since been off work! Its relaxing and helps me also to pass the time as it feels like forever since we were allowed to leave the house! This is one of my best creations; 

I have also been going for lots of walks, I am very lucky to live near some woods and have been doing my daily exercise in there! It has been nice to have the chance to get out the house and see some beautiful scenery! I have also been looking after my sisters lovely German Shepard dog Arrow who is such a softie. We only started looking after him when the message changed, and we were allowed to do so but having a dog around definitely helped pass the time! 

I have also been playing a few games on my xbox and recently got the old classic game Spyro! Which is such a fab game. But really I have been doing anything to pass the time as boredom has hit me hard! 

4. What do you miss doing the most? 

I miss being freely able to see my friends at the pub or meeting up in a new city for a catch up. 2 of my best friends live down South and it’s a long drive so due to the restrictions I have being unable to meet them! We also had a catch up Pub Golf for one of my uni friends’ birthday where we were gonna meet up in Lincoln for a bev and chin wag but this got cancelled 

I also miss work sadly enough or just having the opportunity to leave the house and do something as I now realise, I need to keep occupied or I lose my mind! 

5. What is the first thing you are going to do once lockdown is over? 

Once lockdown is completely lifted, I am going to go to the pub! I did not miss the pub as much until we were not able to go but I need a nice cold pint in spoons! Hopefully, we will still get a good summer and be able to use beer gardens more! 

I also would love to drive down to see my 2 best friends down South but lockdown will have to be fully eased so I am able to stay over as it’s a long day to drive there and back! But definitely something I am looking forward to a lot!!

Jess’ Socials

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/jessicabushby

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jssbush

Global Quarantine Diaries – Lulu

Lockdown in the USA has been one of the weirdest things I’ve experienced. It went from everyone joking about the pandemic, to horrific death tolls, back to a joke, and now we’re all protesting. It’s been a rollercoaster and a very difficult time for its citizens. The world watched us as we handled COVID-19 poorly and in the coming months, I am worried to see the lasting effects especially during the second wave. However, we as people, are resilient and hopeful. I hope the USA can learn from its mistakes during the second wave and act accordingly. 

Where in the world are you located? 

Charlotte, NC, USA 

What are lockdown regulations like? 

Lockdown regulations differed from state to state. For example, if Florida’s governor decided that they would stay open, they had the right to. But, in North Carolina, lockdown began on March 17th. Initially, it began by closing businesses unless they were essential (logistics, grocery stores, healthcare, restaurants for takeout, etc.) so, many people lost their jobs. Regulations included no gatherings of more than 10 people, unessential travel should be avoided, or it could result in a misdemeanor charge or fine (but that was never enforced), and social distance as much as possible. Going on walks, and being outdoors was encouraged but all the state parks, and trails closed down. Then we started reopening in phases by May 14th. “Phase 1” included parks and recreation to open up, retail businesses opened up at half capacity, and childcare facilities opened for essential workers. We are currently in “Phase 2” for another 3-5 weeks which means that restaurants opened up at half capacity, stay at home orders were lifted, and people are allowed to gather up to 25 people outside. Once “Phase 3” goes into effect, essentially all restrictions will be lifted, and normal life can continue. 

How are you keeping busy? 

During lockdown, I took a walk every day. Lockdown was an extremely depressing time and so hard to adjust to. I am a social person that thrives off of interaction with other people, so it was difficult. So, to combat those feelings, I ran/walked a trail by my house every day. I was so excited the first time I saw someone else passing on the trail and we got to say “Hi” to each other. Other than that, I cleaned just about everything you can imagine. Even the little crevices of my drawers. As expected, Netflix and every other streaming platform became my best friend. I watched a full TV series in a day once. Now that we’re in “Phase 2”, I am back to working. I am a bartender/server at a restaurant, and we are open at half capacity. I am required to wear a mask and gloves but the fear of getting Coronavirus sits in the back of my head every minute. I am happy to be back doing something productive and purposeful but with that comes so much anxiety. After the second week of being open, it doesn’t really seem like many people care about the pandemic. I’ve heard one too many jokes about it and my restaurant gradually became busier and busier. Life is starting to look normal here in North Carolina as people disregard the threat of COVID-19. 

What do you miss doing the most? 

The thing I miss doing the most is traveling. When I’m working, I have a lot of flexibility so over the weekends, I like to take trips to the mountains, the beach, and other big cities in North Carolina or surrounding states. It’s been stressful to feel so restricted however it is warranted and necessary. I can’t wait to visit friends and see new things. I also miss going for a night out and being able to have fun with my friends carefree. It won’t happen now, but in time, it will happen again. 

What is the first thing you’re going to do once lockdown is over? 

The first thing I’m going to do when lockdown is over is have a beer with my friends at my favorite dive bar. There’s nothing more comforting than sitting on the porch of a bar with a beer in your hand day-drinking. While technically, I am allowed to do this at this stage in North Carolina’s reopening, I am trying to take more precautions about going out unless necessary considering I am now working in a restaurant and potentially exposing myself more frequently. It’s difficult to see everyone out and about but the pandemic hasn’t halted just because the economy needed to reopen.

Socials

Lulu’s IG

Lulu’s Twitter

Lulu’s Youtube!

Global Quarantine Diaries – Becca

My Time in Iso!

Where in the world are you located? 

Hi! My name is Becca and I’m writing to you from Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada

 

What are the quarantine regulations like there? 

Because Canada is such a big country, the regulations vary per province, which each one deciding how it handles the current situation. Where I live, things have begun reopening over the past couple of weeks and regulations appear be (slowly) loosening up a teeny bit, particularly in the grocery stores. We are not required to be wearing masks in public and are able to go outside freely but must keep a safe distance from others. At the moment we are not permitted to hangout in groups yet, but soon will be allowed to gather in small groups with some restrictions. 

How are you keeping busy? 

My time in isolation started 2 months ago and I’ve been spending my time doing things that I previously didn’t have time to do or prioritize with my overloaded work & school schedule. As the weeks have gone by, I’ve inadvertently created a new daily routine to fit my new social isolation reality that focuses on both my education and activities that bring me joy. Pre-quarantine, I was learning a lot about balance, it was an element that was severely lacking from my life and it’s crazy to see my situation being turned upside down into a position where I have profuse amounts of time. I’m naturally the kind of person who’s constantly running a million miles a minute and I have a really deep need to be productive and accomplish tasks throughout my day. Truthfully, I believe this has helped me to not only take advantage of my time in quarantine but to reconnect with myself and (re)discover new interests, hobbies and passions. 

With that, let’s get into what I’ve been up to: 

· During iso I’ve been loving just being active whether it’s a long walk with a podcast or a sweaty home workout. My love of fitness has really come out to shine and plays an integral role in my new routine. I make sure to start my day with movement and have been living for a variety of yoga, running, home workouts, Sarah’s Day’s eBook and my newfound love of yoga sculpt (a hybrid of yoga, cardio and strength training) 

· I recently started an online spring semester with my uni so I have a few classes a week that take up my afternoons 

· I also completed an online course in nutrition and have been brushing up on my Spanish with some classes on YouTube 

· Quarantine has given me the opportunity to shift my focus on my side project and begin to transition it into my side-hustle. I have an Instagram account that I use as a mini blog where I share my plant-based recipes and share some tips towards living a healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle 

· Lottttss of baking! This is something I had given up for a long time, without meaning to I just lost contact with that side of me, but Sunday baking has become one of my favourite parts of the week 

· I’ve been setting myself fun goals both big and small (including teaching myself to hold a handstand) 

· Spending time with my partner and calling my friends and family over zoom and facetime 

· I’ve definitely watched my fair share of Netflix too.

What do you miss the most? 

The small and material things have become adjustments that I’ve simply gotten used to because they were never that important to begin with. However, there are aspects of this situation that are still a strange reality, such as seeing a friend (from a safe social distance) for the first time in months and not being able to give them a hug. Moreover, I miss my home province of British Columbia and my family and friends who live there because with the current situation, it’s slightly more challenging to make my way back there for a visit. In all, I’d say that the things I miss are the personal elements of life rather than the more physically recognizable aspects. 

What is the first thing you’ll do once lockdown is over? 

The first thing I’m doing is going for a HIKE, I can’t even begin to explain how much I’m been craving it as its one of my favourite things to do. In light of Coronavirus, the government shut down lots of the parks that served for outdoor activities and while there are still a few options available, I’m really looking forward to spending my time in the great Canadian outdoors. The second biggest plan of my agenda is to explore this side of the continent, and believe me I have a loooong list of places to check off – and a Pinterest board to go with it. I can’t wait to explore Québec the eastern side of Canada and the U.S.,there’s just so many destinations to explore but my top ones have to be the Fjords along the Saguenay, Boston and New York, Les Iles des Madeleine, la Gaspésie, Cape Breton and well actually there’s too many to pick favourites. 

Summit of Mt. Garibaldi
Summit of Mont Orford

 Where you can find me: 

· Personal Instagram: @beccastruss 

· Food Insta: @naturally.becs 

· I’m also Beccastruss on VSCO and Pinterest