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Beach Hopping the Nicoya Peninsula

BY CAILIN BURKE

For our last few days in Costa Rica we wanted to just relax on the beach after packed days of rainforest hiking and adventure activities. So we headed to the Nicoya Peninsula on the Northwest Coast which is known for their beaches. Basically every town on the coast has it’s own beach so we wanted to visit as many as possible and ended up hitting three of them! We started at Playa Brasilito which was the longest beach and perfect if you want to walk all along the shoreline (which is what we did during the sunset!) Connected to Playa Brasilito is Playa Conchal so it was easy just to go from one to the other!

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Feature Friday: Artist & Jewelry Designer Meredith Talian

Happy Feature Friday!

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Photographed by Hannah Smith of Beproaloha.com

This week we are featuring artist and jewelry designer Meredith Talian! When we first came across her work we were completely captivated by her intricately detailed paintings on sea glass. She then turns these paintings into jewelry! We love how the beauty of the sea glass is still prevalent in her pieces. Her paintings truly take advantage of the unique canvas. Read on to learn more about Meredith’s whole creative journey!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself and your background in art & jewelry.

iusb_760x100.15359782_auk1: Hello! My name is Meredith Talian and I own and operate a small business called LuaLette Jewelry. I was raised by two artists, my father is a graphic designer and my mother is a calligrapher. This, in combination with my grandmother’s life-long love of everything handmade, instilled in me a love of making things with my hands. My father is quite the entrepreneur and my sister and I enjoyed dabbling on the weekends with small businesses my parents would help us run. This really shaped my belief in small business and that success is attainable as long as you keep trying new things. I took a lot of private art lessons as a child which exposed me to many different medias and knew from an early age that I was happiest when painting. I followed this passion and earned my BFA in Painting and Drawing from Longwood University in VA, in the winter of 2011. Since graduating I’ve focused on commissioned portraiture and a watercolor animal series project. My husband’s job moved us to Oahu, Hawaii last July (2014) which made a huge influence on my latest series, LuaLette Jewelry. Hand painting intricate, tiny underwater scenes on found sea glass combines so many things I love and is the perfect culmination of my work thus far as an artist.

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Rockaway Beach

BY CAILIN BURKE

It’s crazy that amidst all of NYC there can be beautiful beaches within the boroughs! We had already been to Brighton Beach (near Coney Island- read our post about it here!) so I wanted to try something new and had heard Rockaway Beach in Queens was beautiful! It was tricky to get there since we found out much, much too late that there was limited subway service. The good thing is that normally all you have to do is take the subway there so it’s such an affordable trip! In our instance though, we had to transfer to a bus but it ended up working out since it took us further down the beach and we ended up getting off around 100th St. This area was far less crowded than the rest of the beach so we lucked out (but shh don’t tell too many people!). Rockaway Beach was just as I had heard, beautiful, clean, and so relaxing!

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Newport Part III

BY CAILIN BURKE

During our last day, we wanted to finish up all of the things we didn’t have time to do the previous few days. We weren’t able to complete all of Cliff Walk the first day so we went back the next morning! I really wanted to see the 40 Steps which is just 40 steps that go down towards the ocean (yup, we counted) and this area had the most epic view of the ocean. From here it looks like the water never ends! We were also lucky that no one else was there at the time so we had a mini photo shoot and just stared out for awhile before heading to our next destination… Ocean Avenue!

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A Mini-Getaway to Newport

BY CAILIN BURKE

Tara and I decided that we desperately needed to see something new and get out of the city for a bit, and Tara had the great idea to go to Newport, Rhode Island! It had always been on my list and since it is their off-season right now, it was a really affordable trip. Tara couldn’t take a lot of time off from work, so this was the perfect way to getaway for a few days and see a brand new place, without actually going too far. Newport ended up being the perfect choice because it really felt like a vacation, complete with the ocean on one side of the island, Narragansett Bay on the other, an amazing hotel, and tons of seafood. We were there for a couple of days and did too much for just one post, so part II and III of our trip will be coming up shortly.

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Feature Friday: Traveler’s Little Treasures

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It’s already the last Friday of September! Which means this week’s Feature Friday is all about travel! For this Traveler Series, we talked to Katrin Tochtermann, of Traveler’s Little Treasures. She’s only 20 years old but has traveled all over the world!  We were particularly excited to feature Katrin because she has been to several parts of Asia, and that is definitely on Tara and I’s bucket list next. Katrin is consistently traveling, so she keeps everyone updated through her website, travelerslittletreasures.com and describes her experiences in both English and German! Plus she has some amazing photos from each country and great advice. Keep reading and you’ll have a very hard time trying to stifle your wanderlust.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Tell us about yourself.

logo: Hey my name is Katrin and I am a 20 year old travel addict, living in Frankfurt, Germany. I am studying Media and communication management at an online university and specialize in journalism and publishing. Beside my studies I work as a flight attendant, which is a great way to combine my love to meet new people with the opportunity to travel.
I am a very outgoing, positive person and believe that you should follow your dreams and do what you love. And also that family and friends are the most important things in the world.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Give us a little info about your website. What made you want to start it?

logo: Traveler’s Little Treasures is a travel blog that focuses on flash packing, personal travel experiences and giving tips on destinations away from the typical tourist path. The idea for the blog came when I was working on a tiny island located in the South China Sea in Malaysia. After I finished my daily work in the dive base there, there wasn’t much to do, so I started flicking through my photos on my laptop and remembered what my grandma always told me: “You should keep a travel journal- so you will memorize your trips better.” Since I am quite good at losing things, I decided to write an online journal- first it was just for me and I didn’t expect a lot of people to read it, but I got a lot of feedback from friends and also strangers, so I continued writing, putting more effort in my articles and photos and now I am hoping to do this as a profession some day.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Why do you think people should travel?

logo: I think all people should travel to learn more about other cultures, but also to understand their own personality better. When you are traveling, you are usually moving out of your comfort zone. You are leaving home behind and you are going to have to adapt to new circumstances and not be afraid to talk to strangers. Beside discovering stunning places this world has to offer, you will also make friends for life and in the end traveling is all about the people you meet on the road.

Traveling doesn’t necessarily have to be to a far away country; sometimes it only takes a short car ride to change the scenery and see something new.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Why did you start traveling?

logo: I can’t remember why I actually started traveling, I have always been of curious nature and was very keen to go to new places. When I was six years old, my au pair from Hungary invited me to visit her home country. We took the bus together and I spent a wonderful time with her family and she showed me around. Probably from that moment I have been hooked on traveling and whenever I got the chance to join friends or visit family members who lived abroad, I would take it. And that has never changed. My job as a flight attendant is perfect to cure that wanderlust. I get the chance to go to new places on a regular basis, get paid to do something that I love and when I am at home I value that time even more.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Out of everywhere you’ve been what is your favorite city of them all? Which city could you see yourself living in the most?

logo: London will always have a place in my heart. This city is so buzzing, so vibrant, multicultural and inspiring. A part of my family lives there and I always try to go there at least once a year. The first time they took me to all the tourist attractions, but when I returned the next year they started showing me the things they liked to do. Seeing the city through the eyes of a local was wonderful and from that moment on I always try to ask locals what they can recommend in order to get a more genuine experience of a city.

I also loved Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. It offers a great mix between tradition and modernism. A lot of cultures and religions live peacefully next to each other and that mix guarantees many sights, delicious food and interesting conversations. Furthermore I had the best party nights there.

From all the places I have visited I would love to live in Barcelona, London, Singapore, Bangkok and Berlin for a couple of years. Even though I haven’t been to Australia before, this is also a place I would love to move to and live in for a couple of years.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What has been the best food you’ve tried or best meal you’ve had?

logo: The best food on my travels was in Thailand. I would always come back just for the food. They manage to make healthy dishes full of flavor, everything is fresh and simply mouthwatering. The secret is that they try to combine all flavors together: spicy, salty, sweet and sour. Love the Thai curries, the green papaya salad and Tom Yum soup. I even participated in a Thai cooking class, so I can cook those dishes at home but it is not so easy to find all the ingredients, so I have to go back to Thailand again very soon 😉

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Have you ever been scared to try a certain type of food? Or scared to do anything in particular while traveling?

logo: Since I believe that traveling is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and making new experiences, I try to be curious and say yes- most of the time. I tasted fried scorpion in Bangkok and of course I was a bit nervous before but I am glad I tried it. I don’t advise you to not be careful, but go with your guts and be open-minded.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Have your travels in Asia differed from your travels in Europe?

logo: Definitely. A lot of places in Europe are similar: similar shops, similar culture and religions. I loved traveling to Asia because it was like going to a different world. It was crazy, noisy and nothing like I was used to from home. It never got boring because there was so much to do, see and experience. Another aspect is that travel in Europe can be pricy and Asia is fantastic for people traveling on a budget: A meal is 1-3 $; accommodation between 5- 10$ and buses take you around the country for very cheap too.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Give us some tips for a few of the cities you’ve been to.

logo: 1) This one is for all the ladies, if you are in Kuala Lumpur on a Wednesday make sure to go to Changkat, the bar street. On Wednesdays you will be able to get free drinks in most bars and clubs there.

2) Never take chewing gum to Singapore! It is forbidden in that city state and I got in trouble when I crossed borders from Malaysia.

3) Don’t eat pizza in South East Asia, or Western food in general. It is always a disappointment and the local dishes are just so much nicer.

4) When you are in Phuket don’t book expensive tours. Rent a scooter and discover the island yourself. It is very easy to navigate and there are signs that lead you to the main sights.

5) Try to look for options to volunteer in those places and give back. There are so many schools or orphanages that are desperate for help or you can help protect the environment by cleaning up the beaches for example.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Where do you want to visit next?

logo: My list is long and I just ordered a whole bunch of Lonely Planet guide books to look through. I hope this will make my decision easier! There are just so many awesome places on this planet to visit. But I think it will be South East Asia again. Thought about stopping in Bangkok for a few days and then making my way to Vietnam. Have heard so many fascinating stories by fellow travelers and it is a big dream of mine to go backpacking through that country. Either this or Japan. Just love to learn about new cultures.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Has there been any similarities that you’ve found between your own culture and the culture in other countries?

logo: Mhhh, that is a difficult question. The Germans are known for the fact that they are very punctual, efficient, hard-working, accurate, organized, honest and lack humor. Those are obviously clichés but there is some truth in it too. I think Dutch and English people do have a quite similar culture, but I prefer their sense of humor to ours 😉 People in Asia are very hard working too, but apart from that, their culture is very different.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Any advice for people who want to travel?

logo: It is worth it! Try to go at least once a year to a place you haven’t been before and always remember that traveling doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. There are always ways to save money. Use Couchsurfing, stay in hostels instead of hotels and organize your own trip instead of booking an organized tour by a travel agency. You are way more independent that way. Save money and you can choose where you want to go and if you want to stay in one place longer.

What is also really helpful is to learn a few words of the country’s language you are going to. A hello and thank you in the local language goes a long way and make things easier.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What has been the best part about traveling and what has been the most challenging?

logo: The best thing about traveling has been that I got the chance to meet people I probably wouldn’t have encountered in everyday life. Their stories have been inspiring and make me want to travel even more. Travel has taught me that we have to go through the world with open eyes and admire what is around us.

Even though I had a wonderful time in South East Asia traveling solo, sometimes I really wanted to have some close friends around to share those moments. You do meet a lot of people but having someone around you, you know for years is different. I spoke to my friends on Facebook and Skype but that wasn’t the same thing. I hope I get the chance to take them with me at some point and experience everything all over again with them.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Is there anything you’ve encountered in a different country that you wish your own country had?

logo: I wish we would be more grateful. We are so lucky that we are born in countries which are safe and offer us a perspective. Furthermore I wish people would smile more and just be more relaxed in general. And if Germany could get some good, genuine Thai restaurants then I could no be happier 😉

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 Follow Katrin’s travels and get more tips for around the world at:

www.travelerslittletreasures.com

Instagram: @travelerslittletreasures