Road Trip Essentials !

Summer Time is Road Trip Time !
I was asked to participate in a great campaign by RelayRides about road trip essentials!  I made some really great road trips in my life and I definitely think that every road trip should include some essentials which should not be missed! My three favourite road trips I made were one in Morocco in 2012, one through Jordan in 2013 and another one just recently in January 2014 through Israel and the Westbank. Have a look at the collages below I made and get an impression of the trips (you can click them to make them bigger!). Did you have a look ?! 🙂 Can you guess what for me the first and foremost thing is to have with me ?! Yes exactly, great company ! All three road trips I  made with  my boyfriend and we had such a great time exploring the different countries together!

I am sure one can have a great road trip on their own as well, however, when it comes to me I really enjoy having someone with me I can talk to, laugh together and plan the trip together. When it comes to planning a road trip there is one philosophy I live after ” too much planning makes you unhappy!” Yes, I know some planning is needed but too much planning and sticking to one idea of a route makes you miss out on places and streets you otherwise would never have discovered !  When I do a roadtrip we plan the basics; the approximate route, where we can rent a car or how to get around ( I wish RelayRides would exist in Europe, its a really great idea, check it out if you live in the US!) and a timeframe which often has to be fairly exact since we are all bound to duties such as work or studying.

Another thing which needs to be taken care of is great music !!!! There is nothing better than driving down a road and watching the landscapes and listening to your favourite music. When we went to Morocco we actually made our own CD (how oldschool 😉 ) and ended up listening to the same 25 songs the whole time (yes, surprisingly enough I still like them all!). We left the CD in the car when we gave it back, so the next person who will drive that car would have a nice surprise. When we took the road trip through Israel we had a cable to connect our smartphones to listen to good music (not so old school anymore) and the same goes for the Jordan trip where we listened to my ipod or to our smartphones while driving with either buses or cars around.

Almost as important as great company is a sense of adventure! If you have the right mindset and feel adventures, annoyances which may occur are not so annoying anymore but rather exciting and funny! The GPS doesn’t work properly in the middle of nowhere in Morocco? No problem, we enjoy the view until we find a local who can help us out. If we wouldn’t have been lost a couple of times on our road trips we would have missed out on meeting great people, seeing awesome corners we would otherwise have missed and having a lots of laughs when we figure out one more time that we are about to drive into an open field.

However, not to forget is a rather boring thing; a USB charger which you can plug into your car’s cigarette lighter. No matter if you wanna make a call home, find your way around with google maps, or want to listen to music. You have to admit, all of that gets rather hard when your smartphone/navi/tablet does not work anymore. Or…… you prove yourself that you are not dependent on modern technology and get an actual map 😉

Snacks and water are not to be missed as well, in my case I pretty much always have a redbull with me since no one wants to get tired behind the wheel or as the person who entertains the driver. Great snacks are any kind of nuts, they give you energy, are healthy and you can get them pretty much all over the world. Breaks while doing a road trip get a lot more fun when you bring some playing cards (the simple normal kind) and just sit down somewhere and have a game. It’s quite refreshing for the mind!

You should not be in a rush. What I have noticed when taking a road trip is when the driving gets annoying because it takes sooo long, then you have to take an additional night/break somewhere. Rather skip one stop you had planned and really enjoy where you are right now, than getting stressed. A road trip should be fun and not about getting as fast from A to B as you can. We usually plan the stops on a day to day base with having our approximate route in the back of our heads. Then you can evaluate on the spot if the next day should be more about driving or taking it easy.

Overall, I love road trips and in my point of view it is the best way to explore a country! If you have the right company, time, an adventures mindset and good music you are all good to go ! Driving through Morocco, Jordan and Israel  I got a real impression of the country and the people, if you have an open mind and are not afraid to talk to strangers you will have a great time. 🙂 I look forward to my next trip, it’s time to get on the road again!

 

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jordan roadtrip

 

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Writing a Bachelor Thesis

10310982_10203028551588037_1199709443790981195_nThursday night, I spontaneously went out for a beer with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. This guy comes over to our table and starts talking to us. After a while we arrived at a typical topic, age. After hesitating he guessed me to be 27.
Really ?! 27 ?!! I knew I looked everything but fresh and youthful this night after sitting the whole day in the library working on my thesis but 27 crushed my ego that moment. Later when I went home, standing in the elevator, I took a closer look in the dirty mirror. Are these wrinkles around my eyes ?! Are these shadows under my eyes rests of mascara of my skin telling me that I need more sleep ? I decided that self-pity does not help. Moreover, earlier that day I got ask for my ID when I wanted to buy Snus. Hah in your face stranger!!!
Tomorrow first thing I will find my eye-creme again and this time I will not be too lazy to use it longer than a few days.

Writing a bachelor thesis is stressful -as I thought before it would be- but it is stressful in a different way than I thought. The other day I caught myself staring at the clock. Everything was prepared, energy drink, coffee and snacks, paper, pens neatly put up next to my laptop. It procrastinationis 12.55 pm . I had promised myself to start working on my thesis at 13.00 pm.

12.56 I stare at the clock.
12.57 I start contemplating about cleaning the flat while staring at the clock.
12.58 really? Three minutes are gone already, noo.
12.59 staring.
13.00 staring.
13.01 I am still staring at the clock, not moving.
13.02 F*** Laura gooo, get on it, come one!
13.03 why is my coffee cold??
13.04 maybe I start 13.30 instead….or I just take a nap. Naps are nice. So nice.

Procrastination and I have become best friends since I started writing my thesis 😉

Writing a thesis is stressful, yes, but what is really stressful about it that you have to be involved with one topic over a long time period , you Naptime-then-and-nowhave it in the back of your head all day, no matter if you are studying or trying to relax. Every time you get asked to do something fun you 10256493_10203013427609947_5118602304146115799_nevaluate if you can allow it yourself time wise. Another glass of wine ? Better not. If I have the slightest hangover tomorrow I can’t study properly…. It takes so much energy to have something in your mind all the time. It is sometimes truly frustrating. I got mad at my thesis several times. I got mad, sad, annoyed and angry but so has almost everyone I met who is writing their thesis. It’s part of the process and you just gotta accept it. Sometimes you have good days, bad days, productive days, lazy-days or just shit days where you decide to screw it for now and watch series and take a nap. That is okay. Just try to keep the balance between them so you get done in the end.

I have worked on my thesis all over Malmö. In both libraries, at home, and at various cafes. In my favourite cafe the bartender asked me once when I arrived yawning : “still working on your thesis ?” me yawning and nodding. “here you go , coffee will help!” When I talk to friends one of the first question is always, how is your thesis going ? Same when I write with friends on Facebook. You start comparing yourself with others who are writing their thesis at the moment as well. “Oh he/she has already xx amount of words and I only have xx words….” Then you notice how grumpy you get but actually you should be happy for them. You will always find people who you think work better or Ah-Finalsworse than you but actually comparing does not help. Everyone works differently, some take much time , some not. Some start last minute and still pass. Some started months ago and brag how far they are and then get a bad grade. Or the other way around. It should not matter. However, it is in human nature to compare yourself with others so I decided  instead of only getting grumpy at myself when someone does better progress than me, I get a little grumpy (can’t lose it fully) but mainly I decided to be happy for the other person. 😉

Thesis writing brings fun as well. First of all when you actually did some progress and then scroll up and down in your document and realize hey I made this !!! I know its a normal thing nowadays that people get their BA degree but still, you produce a 40 to 50 pages thesis in the end that is actually pretty cool ! Moreover you get to complain together with your fellow thesis writers over how annoying this work is and spontaneously decide actually you could go now and have beer instead of working more and you end up having real quality time. Even when the deadline is approaching one should not forget to have little fun from time to time 10254010_10203001994484126_4875933436752753888_nand tell the little mean guy in the back of your head to shut up and stop telling you that you should rather figure out how to do your analysis section. I had a great 1545157_10202996496706685_8893028120118811614_ntime with Marie dying our hair and drinking wine instead of studying.  I get really happy when studying and actually progressing and then taking a well deserved break. After finishing my thesis I will probably never forget again how NGOs can influence peace processes, which is quite handy to know in my field of studies. I had hung up my research question all over the flat to keep it in mind and reflect on it. After a few days I noticed Rickard had re-printed it and did slight editing.  I couldn’t stop laughing for a long time (see image above) 😉

My deadline is in 10 days, I have written 80% of my thesis and have my green-light supervision tomorrow morning, then I will get to know if my supervisor thinks that I am ready for the final 10169456_10202965961583326_112176163853929825_ndeadline — and what I am doing right now ? I am sitting in the library writing this blog post and contemplate about buying a bottle of wine on the way home because I think I truly deserve it. So, will I fail because I wasted some hours now ? No. I will perhaps fail if I get to know tomorrow that the way I do my analysis is shit and I need to re-do it 😛 😛 😛 Right now writing this blog makes me feel good. Trying to delve deeper in all the data I have left to analyze makes me not feel good today, so I pick the one which makes me feel good for now. Sometimes procrastinating is actually really healthy for your mind, if 10172756_10202946180488811_5685909570448075240_nyou do something else instead of studying what actually makes you feel happy or good. Even though I have been stressed and under pressure I backed colorful muffins, found my inner child again on an awesome slide in front of a friends house 10310620_10202952978338753_1823516007174089634_nand I went to Valborg in Lund with my friends and we had a great time. And soon everything is done and over and after hopefully passing we can all enjoy the summer ! 🙂