At the start of every year, like so many others, I look back at the past year and reflect on ways to become a better me in the new year. This year, I set intentions and practices that I’d like to establish as I typically do. But I wanted to add in something new and the question came: How could you show yourself a little love for the person you were? And then the answer came…
What are some things you would like to continue? Simple question right? I thought so too until I only had a list of two things I thought were things you celebrate.
I decided to press pause in the midst of my frustration to celebrate all that made me, and all that I hoped to continue. So here it is, A Love Letter: To the Year Ahead
More to Rave About is where I first began this whole blogging thing. It was supposed to be a way to get back into writing creatively (I studied in English and Creative Writing in undergrad) and to share my adventures of travel with family and friends. After some time passed, I realized I wanted to share more of my journey, which turned into me Chasing Golden Elements. I continued to share my travel adventures (a little more creatively) and included lessons I was learning throughout my journey toward minimalism.
If I can be transparent and vulnerable about life experiences, the good and the bad, someone may find solace in their own journey and leave with a sense of hope for themselves.
I thought it would stop there, until a big shift happened in my life (following a dream, changing location, a shift in mindset). I found myself wanting to share more of my voice when it came to life lessons, faith in God, celebrations in the good times, and hope for a better ending in the tough moments. The Honey & Salt has evolved with me and I want to continue sharing my journey through life. If I can be transparent and vulnerable about life experiences, the good and the bad, someone may find solace in their own journey and leave with a sense of hope for themselves. The honey is to express those sweet moments that nurture our soul. The salt represents the power we find to overcome the experiences that are a little hard to swallow. I choose to continue sharing imagery of my travel adventures as a part of my story, as I hope others will want to explore and learn the world as well. The Honey & Salt was created to inspire others through a visual love story to live a life worth living, intentionally.
So welcome to this space where I share pieces of my heart and beautiful imagery, I hope you join in authentic conversation and stay a while!
If there’s one place that gave me everything I wanted and missed it was definitely London. From the history embedded in it’s buildings to Christmas markets around every corner and more neighborhoods left for me to explore the chilly weather couldn’t dare keep me away from exploring you. I may have spent a few more pounds than I intended, but it was worth every pound you placed on my waist. Oh, London! You were everything I expected you to be and so much more.
I’m always interested in staying in hotels that have more to offer than a place to lay my head. There are many boutique hotels that offer unique style and helpful perks. One of those places is Good Hotel. Good Hotel is located in Newham’s Royal Docks. Sharing a characteristic from homes like the ones known in its hometown Amsterdam, I was immediately attracted to seeing this hotel floating in Newham’s Royal Docks. While staying here, I’d suggest getting a room with a view. Crack open the window and hear the peaceful waves as you drift asleep in the very comfortable bed. There were many pluses but, I’ll only give a few so you can check out the rest on your own.
+Location: The Queen Victoria station was a short walk across the street. The location is not too far from the city centre (approx. 15 min).
+The Dining Room: Oh the food at the restaurant! I’m not a fan of eating at hotels. They typically serve very basic things so I opt-out and choose to go elsewhere. Well after glancing at Good Hotel’s dining menu and loving the waterfront view, I decided to give it a try. And boy, was I pleased!
+Handy: The hotel provided a device called a “Handy.” We took it everywhere. I mean, EVERYWHERE! So what is this “handy” thing you speak of? It’s a cellphone with 4G internet service and free phone calls. You’re able to take it with you while you explore the city. This became so very useful for navigating the neighborhoods and especially knowing exactly which tube to take using Google Maps. So necessary for any explorer of new lands!
+Environment: Living room, dining room, bar, and work spaces- There are many areas on the ground floor to dive into your creative flow.
Since this was my first time going to London, I knew I had to get all of the touristy stuff out of my system on the first day. I didn’t have many on my list, just the musts. Except the one thing I didn’t get to do was take a picture with the guards and their hats. You know, like in the movie What A Girl Wants with Amanda Bynes. Eh…maybe next time!
I have seen many bridges around the world and this one is now one of my faves. The Tower Bridge, not to be confused with The London Bridge, is beautifully constructed with twin towers providing opposite horizontal ways for a pedestrian walk and vehicle accessibility. The bridge crosses over the River Thames, providing a nice place to overlook parts of the city. The first thing that brought me to awe was the vibrant blue, white, and red painted on sections of the bridge making it one to remember. I did not get a chance to go on a tour but if you’re interested in learning about its history and have time during your travels, check out the landmarks website here.
A few other landmarks to visit:
+Tower of London
+Palace of Westminster
London is so rich in history I think your time would be best spent taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour. This was a first for myself and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I chose to take The Original Tour. At the time of our visit they were offering a 48 hr pass which included admission on several of their bus lines, a radio/ in-person tour guide, and a free Thames River cruise. Though I did not get on a bus that had an in-person tour guide, I found the radio tour to be a great mix of history and humor. Where was she when I was taking World History II in undergrad?
My only disappointment:
So the one thing I did see but didn’t really get to see was Big Ben (hints why I have no photography of this well-renowned landmark). He was too busy getting a “face lift” the day I arrived, with so many construction materials around each side…this was a bummer. But I’ll be back for ya in the summer, so you better be looking good!
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” -Anita Desai
I ended up grabbing a quick bite at Pret A Manger and dined at Good Hotel which was perfect after a flight and a day out touring the city.
Have you ever been to London? What was the highlight of your stay? Share in the comments below.
In the “More of Less” series, I share a list of things I have decided to minimize. Each month I reflect on the month before and select new practices that allow me to live more intentionally. This December, I have reflected on what served me well and what did not. Maybe you’ll decide to join me in being a bit more intentional, even with the small things.
Less unhealthy eating choices.
I must admit that I have fallen into a slum when it comes to cooking lately. I have been ordering take-out since Thanksgiving, maybe even before. This week I will begin making healthier choices. Along with this, I will start trying to adapt my taste buds to things such as natural juices and fruits. This will definitely be a challenge!
Less unnecessary clothing/items.
I’ve noticed quite a few items in my closet that I have not worn since I’ve moved here. I guess they were items that I would possibly wear to work, but I’ve realized they are either no longer my style, take too long to iron, or aren’t very comfortable. For those reasons alone, something has got to go!
Less taking work home.
As a teacher, you often feel like your job is never done. You end up talking about your students somehow in every conversation with your family and friends. Whether it’s my laptop, paperwork, tests. Truth is, I’m not getting paid to work at home. I work a long enough day 5 days a week. My home is my sanctuary and time after work is best utilized doing exactly what’s best for me. (Like planning the upcoming winter Euro tour. Can’t wait!)
I recently had a peaceful weekend getaway to Tbilisi, Georgia. I remember looking up places I wanted to visit months before moving overseas, and this one was definitely one of them. This time of year was perfect, as I wanted to escape to a country not too far but one that still made me feel I was in a new location. I also needed a place that made me feel like the season had changed and some relief from the heat in the UAE. Between the subtle chill and colorful architecture, I was not disappointed at all. This destination is definitely overlooked. If you’re looking for a small city with big charm, here’s where you should be!
Authentic Georgian Cuisine:
Old Town Tbilisi
Sulphur Hot Baths in Abanotubini
The Mother Georgia State
The Chronicle of Georgia
Have you ever thought of visiting Tbilisi, Georgia or have been? Share by leaving a comment below!