Summer is on the horizon, and for those of you struggling to decide where you want to spend your precious vacation time, let me help. Cape Town in South Africa offers it all: pristine beaches, breathtaking mountains, vibrant neighbourhoods, a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, and open savannahs filled with an incredible array of wild animals.
You want to visit a new country, but you don’t speak the language? It may take twice as long to pick up groceries or make local friends, but here are some easy tricks to make the language barrier a fun hurdle rather than a frightening one.
I spent two months camping out in Australia a couple years ago. The continent was a muse. The mountains, the waves, the winds and the stars – these were the highlights. So simple, so universal, yet not to be found anywhere else. So stark were the clouds, and the perfume of the wilding flowers, the landscapes became impressionistic in the haziness of the heat, the colors of the flushing sun faintly rising to radiance. The kookaburras raucously laughed high above in the eucalyptus trees. I never felt the burden of time. It was an enveloping place of simplicity, beauty, chill and freedom. The best way to take it all in is on the road and in a tent.
In winter, you plot and plan, but in spring, it is time to move. Take advantage of Spring Break and travel somewhere new. Go wherever you can go, and as far as you can. Forget the typical spring break destinations frequented by St Andrews students and surprise yourself and everyone you know by seeking out new horizons.
“Gonna travel, gonna travel wild and free, I’m gonna pack my bags because this great big world is calling me”
Although I dislike Valentine’s Day, for the commercial scheme it is, I am still a romantic and have a few suggestions of what to do that are not nauseatingly sweet. Whether you’re looking to reignite the spark, woo a new flame, or just go on a wee adventure with the one you love, Scotland has many romantic spots perfect for this special occasion.
Those who do not enjoy looking at art are difficult to win over. Though an art museum may seem confining to some, I would recommend roaming through the bustling crowds of art museums in Copenhagen, Denmark. If you get there, do not let your imagination be bound by the walls and halls of the galleries – art allows you to immerse yourself in the mind of another, in different times and cultures. When traveling, visiting art museums is a wonderful way to see through the window of a culture’s past. You can wander through the rows of paintings or sculpture and take on the guise of different characters, imagining what was going on in the artists’ heads. Not solely the symphony of blues or radiant yellow hues on canvas, art is replete with psychological complexity. Copenhagen art museums, I have found, are exceptionally curated, arranged in ways that allow you to observe, reflect, and give you the freedom to delve into sublimity and varied human responses.
The daylight floods in through the factory size windows, as steam rises up in such a beautiful way it looks like intricate lace. Taking in whiffs of hazelnut and pumpkin, listening to the murmurs of freelancers and friends and faint orchestral music. I watch the baristas pour warm milk and the crowd take slow sips as I sit at the communal table, littered with coffee granules, at my favorite café, Toby’s Estate. My apartment in Williamsburg is nestled in the midst of some wonderful cafés. Over the years, I have spent a good chunk of my free time curled up in their couches, doing schoolwork and writing stories, and staring at the ceiling and passers-by when I can’t focus. It is no easy task to pick the best coffee shop in Brooklyn, given the high density with which they are strewn on practically every street. Williamsburg is a hub of cool cafés that exhibit the very distinct culture of the neighborhood. The cafés are laid back, alternative, vintage and rustic. Although a difficult selection to make, I’ve chosen a few to tell you about, based on quality and ambiance. If you ever find yourself in New York, these are the cafés you want to check out!
The Rector’s Café was busy as usual on a Friday afternoon – friends gossiping, heads buried in books, a few flirting with their espressos. The anticipation of the weekend fluttered through the air as the bright gray light began to fade outside. I waited anxiously for him to arrive. Luke Sital-Singh is one of my favorite singer-songwriters of all time and has been a staple of my “Recently Played” playlist for years. He was here to promote his new EP “The Breakneck Speed of Tomorrow.” Dark-haired, with a mix of Indian and Jamaican heritage, the South West Londoner with a Welsh background arrived at 4:45 PM in an Audi with just his tour manager and guitar. Wearing a cerulean blue peacoat over a light gray t-shirt reading “je t’aime” underlined by an infinity sign, and black jeans with New Balance sneakers, he walked into the Union and was met by Chris MacRae, the Director of Events and Services. He did a sound check, which, for anyone not planning on staying for his performance, must have caused a change of mind; all the while, I sat, fidgeting and shaking my leg out of eagerness, waiting to interview him.