The Wandering Anthropologist

My Favorite Things to do in Uppsala

Asia Borseth

The first place that I lived when I moved to Sweden is Uppsala, which is a University town that is essentially everything that you would think of when envisioning Sweden. Very cute, clean, and with cobblestone streets. Though it is very cute, it is actually the forth largest city in Sweden, making it quite populated, though you would not know it from walking around.

Moving to a different country has always been a goal of mine, which for some people may seem like a small thing to do, while for others it seems like a huge step. I found it surprisingly seamless, but I think that a portion of that had to do with the fact that Swedish culture isn’t entirely different from what I am used to, living in Washington State. Also I think it helps if you have very blonde hair and blue eyes, because they really cannot tell that you are not in fact Swedish.


Uppsala Cathedral

This is one of the most famous landmarks in Uppsala, and it is one of the highest points, which is why I often used it as a guiding area. Whenever I am not sure where I am, I typically figured it out based on the Cathedral. As with many other Cathedrals, the Uppsala Cathedral is huge and beautiful, the art inside is gorgeous. If you have the chance I would also recommend going to a church service, which is held on Sundays at 11 AM. Though I am not Lutheran, it was a truly transcendental experience to hear the voices of the choir reverberating through the high arches. You can also walk through the sides of the cathedral and look at the beautiful art at any time. 


Uppsala Botanical Gardens

I may be partial because these gardens are right near Uppsala University, but these botanical gardens are beautiful. There is also an indoor portion and the entirety is free to get into which makes it even better. Uppsala University is very proud of its alumni Carl Von Linne who was also a professor there. His specialty was in botany so it is only natural that Uppsala would have a lovely botanical garden. 



As soon as you set foot in Uppsala, there are two buildings that are very evidently prominent. One being the Cathedral, and the other being the castle. This castle is a pink salmon hue and is essentially on the top of a hill, which makes it quite easy to find. In this castle, there is a free art museum that has new art installations all the time. Last year when I went there was an emphasis on peace and war with an incredible black and white wall mural. This year it was more focused on performance art, and my favorite exhibit was one where the artist walks on a wire between two canyons carrying art from one cliff to the other. It was truly mesmorizing to watch. Anyway, it is a really cool museum that is entirely free which makes it even better.

Take a walk along the river


While this seems like an obvious choice, the river that runs through Uppsala has a vast number of beautiful bridges that cross it. Every time I am walking somewhere I love to find new bridges that are unique, and if you come in the summer, you will get to see all of the hanging baskets that are set out. While the river used to have more practical reasons for being the hub of the town, now it is a great guiding point and there are always cool restaurants and cafes along the water with incredible views.

Visit Cafe Von Linnea

This was one of my favorite cafes to visit in Uppsala due to the relatively inexpensive prices and the huge kanelbullar! It is a cost little cafe that is perfect for fika with friends or to take your computer and to do a bit of writing. I would highly recommend this spot.

Get Lost

I feel that I give this advice quite a bit, however I believe it rings true in Uppsala. Whenever I headed to the University for class, I tried to take a different route and to see something new. I found in Uppsala, no matter where I ended up, I could always find my way by finding the cathedral. There are so many amazing things that can be found by simply wandering a bit off one’s typical path

I loved Uppsala, and I try to go back and visit whenever possible. It is one of my goals to visit the biggest cities of Sweden while I am living here. Have you ever visited Uppsala? Let me know if you have any favorites from Sweden I should see!

Much Love,




Taking the Leap

Asia Borseth

As many of your probably already know, I have decided to obtain my masters in Sweden. Though this sounds like a whimsical decision, it has taken a lot of work and dedication to get to this point.

The Process

At the beginning it was an abstract concept, I went on a study abroad trip to Scandinavia, and attended a lecture by a PhD Student at Uppsala University. After asking a couple questions I found out that at the University they had masters programs in English. Fast forward six months, I decided to apply for the University, I honestly didn't thing I had a very high chance of getting in, but I went for it anyway. The application process was a little confusing (at one point I was not even sure that I did it right), however I submitted it and paid the application fee.

One morning in April I was headed to work, and I got the email that I had been accepted. The emotions that I went through ranged from shocked to ecstatic. The idea of studying and living in Sweden went from an abstract idea to a concrete possibility. After that point I did all of the research I could to make it happen, including paying tuition, arranging for my migration permit, finding housing, and emotionally preparing for a move to a different country.


The Logistics

In a way I feel as if I have been preparing to move abroad my whole life, ever since I started traveling when I was little, the travel bug has a hold on me and will not let go. These collections of experiences just grow my appetite to experience more and see more of the world.


Anyway, I will be studying and Uppsala University in Campus Gotland, which is in the city of Visby. Visby is an adorable little Swedish city that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, and I am so excited to live there. The house I'm living in, with other students is pastel yellow and so cute I am just dying. The program lasts for two years, and I will be living in Sweden for the duration, which I could not be happier about. 

Upon completion of the program I will have a Masters in Conservation, and the degree I am obtaining is called Cultural Heritage and Sustainability. It is essentially a fusion of history, art history, sociology, and anthropology with a dash of economic theory. Which if you know me is essentially all of my interests rolled into one academic program. I have not ever had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but after finding this program I can see a path down which all of my interests align. 

How do you prepare for that?

Honestly I'm still trying to figure that out, through my years of travel, I have a bit of experience with packing and preparation but this is going to be a whole new undertaking. For months I have slowly been gathering travel gear, and putting together what I hope will be a good wardrobe to brave a Swedish winter. Mostly I am preparing mentally to be away from family and friends for that long. 

Before I left I did as much research as possible and prepared myself to move to a different place. Once I arrived I realized there were just some things that you must discover when you arrive. These things include phone plans, transportation, the best places to eat and nearby groceries. While I did my best to do research, many things I just had to figure out through trial and error.


What is the first week living in a new place like?

Though its still early in my journey, I can say that It was both jarring and exciting. The first day I arrived I was exhausted and ready to take a nap, but I was so thankful to have a friend like Victoria who was willing to have dinner with me and help me feel more at ease. Stockholm is a place that I now feel as if I have a bit of experience in so it was nice to be able recognize things and have an understanding of the city. 

When I took the train to Uppsala I arrived at the central station and made my way to the Welcome Center of the University. I do recognize that being at school has provided a huge advantage in many ways, from direction to meeting people. At the Welcome center they helped guide us to our housing and we were set up to live in Uppsala. 

The first challenges I encountered were mostly related to lacking wifi or a phone plan initially meaning I really was not sure how to get anywhere. Luckily this guy Nick who ended up being my corridor mate had a phone plan and helped me to find the places I needed to be. After the initial first day jitters, I feel I've settled in a bit and made some friends, especially through my Swedish Language Class. We have been adventuring around Uppsala and I even went on a day trip to Skolster Castle and Sigtuna, which is one of the first towns in Sweden and used to be a viking outpost. Through the University and extroverted efforts I have been able meet people and develop friendships. 

It has been an adjustment but all in all I am loving every second of it. As I write this I am sitting in a Cafe where Swedes are pouring in and taking Fika with their friends. I am excited to learn more about Swedish culture through my time here. For the next three weeks I will be in Uppsala then After that I will head to Visby to begin my masters program. 

Until then tack for reading and I look forward to sharing more next week.

Much Love,


Beautiful Banff

Asia Borseth

Banff is one of those places in the world that is unbelieveable, like you honestly cannot believe that such a place exists on this earth. Upon driving into the Rocky Mountain Range, the horizon opens up into the mountains and it makes for a breathtaking site. The canyon that leads up to Banff National Park provides a stark contrast to the blue and green that greets you in the park. We also had a mountain goat welcome us as we arrrived.

GPTempDownload (1).png

While we were staying in Banff National Park, the town that we were staying in was called Canmore, which we thought of as Banff's younger hot cousin. Canmore is really cute and cool. There was one part of the town where we drove across a stream that had this incredible view of the mountains. Everywhere you look there are just wondrously huge mountains at every turn. 


While in Banff we drove to all of the locations. As a person that does not particularly like driving, it was lovely to be able to see such beauty at every turn. I did not even mind all of the driving. We covered a lot of ground in only two days, and we were able to see essentially all of the sites that we wanted to see while also adding a couple that were unplanned.

Lake Louise

This is one of the most prominent viewpoints in Banff for good reason. The turquoise waters that break into the majestic mountains are beautiful even on a bad day, and we were lucky enough to catch it while the sun was shining. While you can easily walk to Lake Louise itself, we decided to hike a little higher into the mountains to check out Mirror Lake. Along the way we were able to see some really cool views of the lake from above. There is also supposedly a tea house that is up a bit higher, however it was closed when we visited.


Morraine Lake

This will forever be know as Malone (like post Malone) Lake, since Laura could not stop calling it that. This lake takes a close second in my favorites on this trip. I just loved the way that the mountains echoed each other in what looked like a never-ending pattern. At this time of year with the snow-capped tips, the mountains looked like nothing else I have seen.


Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake was my favorite of all the ones that we had seen. Standing on the edge of the cliff looking out at the way that the lake snaked into the depths of the mountain range was just stunning. The way that the mountains parted and the low angle that they took was such a cool site to see. Not to mention the way that the trees provided the perfect green frame for this scenic picture. Like I said, this was my favorite.

On the second day, we went spent the morning in Canmore eating bagels, sipping iced coffees and walking around the market. After a little bit of a late start, we set out to explore later that day. 

Johnston Canyon


This is an area that we explored at the suggestion of some nice Canadian ladies that we met at the timeshare. It was one of those moments that is part of what I love about traveling, the random interactions with different people that can inform future adventures. The exciting part about this canyon was that it had a little bit of everything. At the start, the trail walks through this tan and brown crevasse that follows a gushing river. While it was entirely safe, it also gives you the thrill of being near nature at its most ferocious.

As we followed the canyon, there were three different waterfalls at different lookouts, each successively larger than than the last. The waterfalls were really beautiful, and beyond those waterfalls there were even more sites. We hiked up even further into the mountains to the ink pots. These were not so much ink pots as a collection of beautiful clear blue little ponds with majestic mountain backdrops. Johnston Canyon was incredible because there were so many elements of nature all in one place.


While our trip was not very long, I had a wonderful time catching up with friends and experiencing a beautiful place that really was not to far from where I live. It is always good to remember that it is possible to have fun adventures that are close to you, and it does not have to be very expensive either. On this trip we ate out twice and bought groceries and made food for the rest of the trip. It makes for even more fun when you still have money left for your next adventure.

Have you guys ever been to Banff? I hope to go back one day in the winter to go skiing, thanks for following along while I pursue my Personal Legend.

Much love,



The Best Hikes and Sites on Oahu, Hawaii

Asia Borseth

Recently I had the privledge of visiting Hawaii for a week with one of my best friends. We started with a vaugue idea of what we intended for the duration of our trip, but we knew that we wanted to hike as much as possible.

My parent's condo was about a ten minute walk from Lanakai beach which was pretty incredible to be so close to. Kailua Bay is a wonderful town to spend time in as well if you are in the area. Since we were based in this area and we had access to a car, most of the places that we saw were close to Kailua. 

Our Favorite Hikes.

We endavored to do a hike every morning, which did not end up happening due to weather, however we did go on quite a few. I believe that my favorite was actually the first that we did. Since there was a bit of a time difference we woke up just as the sun was rising.


The Pillbox Hike is a realtivly short hike that has an incredible view of Kailua Bay. From the top of the Pillbox there in a sweeping view of the mountains that separate the island and the water that opens up into the vast ocean. At sunrise it is truly amazing, as the sun breaks over the water it is unlike any other site. This hike isn't incredibly challenging, it is steep but relativley short.


Manawili Falls is another hike that is very close to the Kailua bay area. I will say one thing about this hike however, it is very muddy. At one point I took my shoes off and walked barefoot since I was slipping so much in my shoes. This hike is moderately long, however I think that the view is worth it. Once you reach the waterfall, I believe that the best site of all is past the first waterfall. If you climb up the rock on the side of the first waterfall and follow the water beyond, there is a second smaller waterfall. My favorite part about this was the I was entirely alone in a little pool by the water. This hike is more challenging but with a high reward.

GPTempDownload (1).jpg

Koko Head Stairs hike was the most difficult hike that we completed. The entire hike follows an old train rail on wooden stairs. When looking up the mountain, it is a daunting site since it quite literally goes straight up. 


Makapu Lighthouse lookout was more of an inclined nature walk than a hike, but it has beautiful views nonetheless. There is a concrete path that leads up to the lookout point on top of the mountain, which is great to follow. However near the top if you take a slight right turn along a dirt and gravel path, you can find even more. This path took us along the side of the outlook, protected by a little white fence. It leads to a cute little lighthouse, which is gated, but it is still beautiful to see. 

Diamond Head State Monument was a hike that I would say was on the easier side. It is also a very popular hike, so it would be better to visit earlier in the day. One of my favorite parts of this hike was the way that you could see the entire crater, which is what you traverse up in to the top. On the other side of the viewpoint, you can see a huge section of Waikiki Beach spread out before you, skyscrapers and all. It truly is a beautiful dichotomy. 

Climb down to the Tidepools at Makapu'u. 

This was something that was a bit on the dangerous side, however it is worth it. Down in the tidepools you can stand right next to the water as it breaks, it is pretty incredible but please take caution if you go an see it. This turnoff was very close to the KoKo head hike, so if you are on the way check it out!


Head to the North Shore

One of the most relaxing evenings I had in Hawaii was spent on the North shore, watching the surfers ride waves. We are arrived at the beach shortly before the sun was setting, which was a beautiful site to see. Since we were staying in Kailua Bay, the sun usually set over the mountains, so it was really special to be able to watch the sun sinking into the water as it casted out its rays.


Lanakai Beach was the one that we visited most often, and it was also one of my favorites. We went and hung out here a few days around sunset and it was a magical experience. There is just something about the tropical colors of Hawaii painted across the horizon. 

Take a bike ride around Kailua

One of the afternoons we decided to do an activity that would be both fun and inexpensive. We borrowed bikes from one of my childhood friends and rode them around the cute little town of Kailua. One of our favorite things to do was to explore the different little neighborhoods and to look at the unique houses. We saw anything from beach shacks to million dollar mansions and it was a great use of an afternoon.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Another activity that we were able to do by borrowing equipment was SUP in the ocean, which provided a refreshing challenge. With the waves of the ocean, it made the paddle boarding more difficult and fun. Standing on the water looking out at the vast expanse of the ocean in front of me was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

The Hawaiian islands are a place in the world that I have visited a few times, but I always love returning and seeing new things. This was a place that I was so excited to visit with one of my best friends. 

Have you ever been to Hawaii? What is your favorite Island? Let me know in the comments.



My top Free things to do in London, England

Asia Borseth

So I have been watching a lot of Sherlock lately, which partly inspired me to work on this blog post. London is just one of those incredible places that you should visit at least once in your life. For me, this was actually my second trip to the city, however the first time I was pretty young so I do not remember a lot. 

For this adventure, we decided to buy a three day bus pass, mostly because we were a bit tired of walking. However, if you are willing to walk a bit more and rely more heavily on the tube and other public transport options, it would be cheaper. Another thing that I tend to do, which I mentioned in my Ballin' on a Budget post, is that buying food at grocery stores which can save a lot of money.

In any case, I have some favorite things that we did that were very inexpensive or free.


Visit Big Ben and the Parliament Building

This may seem like an obvious one, but Big Ben (which fun fact is actually referring to the bell inside the tower, not the tower itself) is a magnificent sight to see. We went by it one day at sunset and it was a beautiful sight to see across the river. If you are in this area, you should also check out Westminster Abbey, its truly breathtaking. 


Go to Buckingham Palace

Watching the changing of the guard is another event that one should do when visiting London. It is free to watch and they really make a show of it at 11:30 am. Watching all of the guards come through in all of their colors and horns blasting is a really fun event to take part of. The exterior of Buckingham Palace is also really amazing, and outside this royal palace are beautiful flowers and the garden right next door has beautiful gates.

Go to the Tate Modern Art Museum


This was one of my favorite things that I did in London. The Tate Modern Art Museum is FREE to enter, with a suggested donation if you would like to get a brochure. This blew my mind because there are so many famous works of art in this museum. I spent an entire morning just wandering through the museum looking at works by Rothko, Pollock, Monet, Picasso, Braque and many many others. Just by chance I happened to walk outside of the museum to find that one of my favorite artists, Passenger was playing on the Queens walk. Also if you are a Harry Potter fan the Millennium bridge that the Death eaters attack in the Half-Blood Prince is right outside the Tate Modern. 

The Queens Walk

This is another place that is very beautiful and perfect for am afternoon stroll. I personally did it when I was headed from the Tate Modern to Piccadilly Circus. The Queens Walk goes along the South Bank and has incredible views across the water of many of London's famous sights.


Visit the Tower Bridge

This is another one of those famous London landmarks. It really is pretty imposing and incredible, and while it is not free to get in, it is free to walk around and check it out. 

Check out Covent Garden

While Covent Garden is technically more a of place to do shopping, it is also a really cool area to explore. I personally was on a hunt for a painting of London, which this was a great place to find that. I love exploring different markets in different countries, so this is something I make a point to do. 

Visit Kensington Palace and the Gardens

Kensington Palace is a bit further outside the greater London area, but there are some pretty beautiful sites to see out there. Outside the palace there is a huge pond that attracts vast amount of swans, which I love seeing. To the left of the palace there is even a little hidden garden area that contains a sunken garden, which is truly beautiful. 


Portobello Road in Notting Hill

This road is lined with little shops and boutiques, which made for a fun afternoon. There are also a bunch of little tents that lined the road selling antique goods, which are my favorite kind of goods. Notting Hill is a great place to check out for the afternoon if you have a little bit of time to step outside downtown London.

Have you been to London? What are your favorite sites to see?

Much Love,


Edinburgh, the Cutest Scottish City

Asia Borseth

Edinburgh is one of those cities that is just so cute. Walking down the Royal Mile, even on a rainy day is guaranteed to make you smile. Down cobblestone streets with raincoats and umbrellas in hand we didn't have a care in the world. 


Edinburgh's Royal Mile is one of those streets that is adorable but also has great shopping little shops. One of my favorite little souvenirs is a little wood yak that I found at one of those small shops. There are also dozens of shops with Scottish scarves and kilts if that is what you are looking for. There was also an indoor market for artists that we found, which had a ton of really incredible prints of different spots throughout the city.


Check out Arthurs Seat


This was a little hike that many people do when they visit Edinburgh, and the nice part about it is it is right outside of town. We walked from our hostel and it was less than a mile away. The main draw to the hike was to check out the view of the city, which I am sure would have been incredible had it not been incredibly foggy.

For me it was nice to be out in some green space after traveling through cities for a few weeks. Even though it was foggy, as I am sure it is most days, it was a really cool area and we had a lot of fun checking it out. The hike is pretty steep, but not too long, so it is something that just about anyone could do. 

Stay in the Castle Rock Hostel

At this point in my life, I have experienced my fair share of hostels, and upon arriving at the Castle Rock Hostel I was really impressed. This hostel was very clean and one of the cutest I have been to. The theme of the hostel was medieval, so it was decorated with knights, heroes, and princesses. This hostel also had great common rooms to hang out in, which I think is an important component in meeting people. It also was about a two minute walk from the Edinburgh Castle on the rock so we were able to visit that easily and we were right in the middle of the downtown area. Also it only costed $19 per night which was crazy for how nice it was.


Go Scottish Dancing

The Castle Rock Hostel also offered a night of Scottish dancing and a beer for $5, so naturally we went for it. This is where we became friends with two girls from Texas as well, which is another reason that hostels are great because you can meet so many people! This night out was really fun and it was one of my favorite nights of the trip.

Check out the Edinburgh Castle on the Rock.


This may seem like an obvious one, but the Castle is really cool, and even if you do not go inside, being up that high with an incredible view of the city is worth it.  

Go to the Coffee Shop where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter.

This coffee shop is called The Elephant House and for my fellow nerds (I use that word as a term of affection), it is pretty cool to see. I was actually currently reading the Harry Potter books at the time so I was really into it. I know I got to it a little late in life, but better late than never right?

Have Tea

I believe that any place in the U.K. is a good place to have a nice cup of tea, not just because of the blustery weather. Having tea is an observant time to reflect and be with people, so I think it is always a good idea, plus the Scotts make great scones!

We were only in Edinburgh for a day, so we were not able to do everything that I would have liked to, but we visited a lot of different places and had some awesome experiences.

Let me know what you thought, or if you had a different experience.

Much Love,


Belfast, Northern Ireland

Asia Borseth

Belfast is a place that grew on me, upon arrival, it is similar to many other cities. When you delve into the history of Belfast however, it becomes more interesting and complex.

Similar to Derry, Belfast is located in Northern Ireland and carries many memories of past atrocities. There are many sites that have been bombed by opposing sides through the civil disagreements. One very profound moments that I experienced was seeing the peace wall, where many people had gathered to celebrate the peace and end of the conflict in the city. 


Visit the Titanic Belfast Museum.

Most people know of Belfast for the famed vessel that set out from its shores. The Titanic is one of those things that literally everyone hears about, so naturally the new titanic museum was something that was a must-see. Similar to the Guinness Factory, this is one of those things that is a bit pricey, but I thought it was worth it. The museum is pretty new, and it takes you through the history of ship-building in Belfast and the logistics of the Titanic and everything that was included in the ship. The architectural design of the building was also really incredible, so it is something that you should see if you are ever in Belfast. Another cool component of the Museum that is worth exploring is the outer portion, where the Titanic was actually built. It is out on the docks and gives a pretty incredible perspective on the massive project. 


Spend an afternoon at the City Hall.

It is possible to schedule a tour of the interior of City Hall, but the outside is also pretty impressive. Belfast City Hall has incredible stained glass window and breathtaking architecture. 


Check out the botanical gardens and Queen's University

I am always a fan of visiting botanical gardens, as they are beautiful and free to see, and the Belfast Botanical gardens were no different.  This botanical garden also had an incredible greenhouse that is worth seeing. 


The Queen's University in Belfast is another beautiful site that should be explored. I am always a fan of old historical Universities, and if you haven't caught on, I am also a sucker for good architecture. 

Visit the Crumlin Road Gaol Jail.


This was a victorian-style jail that we visited, which actually held prisoners during recent history. This jail was very old and generally unsanitary in modern times, but seeing it was fascinating. As a part of the tour we also saw the quarters in which prisoners were held up until it closed in 1996. 

St. George's Market.

This is one of those markets that contains both food and little goods to buy. I personally had some incredible crepes at the market, but there were also different trinkets and even a little wine bar to visit. This is a little part of Belfast that is just cute!

Get Lost.

One thing about Belfast is that the main monuments is the Parliament building, which is in the middle of a square. This building however looks very similar from all sides, so when we were lost one time, we struggled to find our way back to our hostel. This morning we went for a run and ended up going for about six miles. At one point we were completely on the other end of town where we might not have gone otherwise. Though it was a bit terrifying to be lost, we talked to several locals who were kind enough to help us out, and we found our way back. There is something about getting a little lost that helps you to better understand the city you are visiting, I would recommend doing it sometime. 


Take a Day Trip to see Winterfell.

If you are a Game of Thrones fan, this is a must-see. It is pretty widely known that many of the scenes from Game of Thrones are in Northern Ireland, so for one day we went on a bike tour at Winterfell. There were quite a few different locations especially in the first season that were shot at that location, plus it was a really fun day of riding bikes through the wilderness. 


Visit the Stormont Building.

My class visited this building to learn about how the Belfast government works in contemporary Northern Ireland, which was fascinating. We were able to tour through the building, which was gorgeous. We also were able to engage in a conversation with our tour guide in the issues of Northern Ireland. His perspective on how to resolve conflict is one that has fundamentally shaped the way that I think about the world. In his own way, he described the ways in which simply bringing two disagreeing sides together to reach an understanding can change the pace of history. If we are able to meet each other on the same level and truly listen to the issues that each person raises, we may actually have a shot at achieving peace.

While the Stormont Building in itself was a sight to see, it was the learning process that took place within that stuck with me. This is one of the reasons that I believe it is so important for young individuals to travel far and wide while they still have an open mind. If these impactful moments can happen early on, we may just have a chance to find some sort of understanding in the world.

In many ways, I underestimated Belfast. While it is not the prettiest of cities it is one of grit and achievement, of struggle and understanding. And for those reasons I think that Belfast should be on your itinerary should you visit Ireland.

Much love,



A Year in Reflection

Asia Borseth

This year was incredible. I was able to check a lot of items off of my travel list and I went to Scandinavia, which is the home of my ancestors. I flew to Iceland which is a place that I have always wanted to visit and hung out with Icelandic horses. I climbed peaks and walked through valleys. I camped on volcanic rock for six days and came out with bruised hips. I have lost luggage and had it reappear. 

This year was one for the books, but my hope is to include even more travels next year. For now here are some of my favorite memories from my travels in 2017.


1. Meeting an Icelandic horse

The only thing that would have made this better would have been if I were able to ride one. I am not what I would consider a 'horse person', I just was fascinated by these adorable squatty horses. Icelandic horses are also unique because their breed is specific to Iceland and rarely interacts with others outside of the island. I personally love their long manes and the beautiful coloring that they had. I was partial to the blonde ones, but they were all gorgeous. 


2. Climbing Bessegen Ridge

I wrote a blog post about this one, but this was just such an amazing experience. This was a hike that was scary for me to do, but I am glad that I conquered that fear and was able to complete it. Being high above the world and looking down at the turquoise glacial water was something that I will remember forever. 

3. Seeing the Underground Art in Stockholm

I have a lot of wonderful memories from Sweden, I loved the Galma Stan and walking along the river, but my favorite was the underground art. What stuck me about this art was the unique nature of its location, and the beauty that it brings to a place that would not otherwise be beautiful. Leave it to the Sweds to make even their underground beautiful. I also think it is representative of the attention to detail that the Stockholm has, even in the underbelly of the city, beautiful things still exist . The miles-long display of art was beautiful, and one of my favorite things that I saw in 2017. 


4. Bicycling around Copenhagen

This was one of my favorite memories from Denmark, partially because we had walked so much prior to that day that I was just so excited to sit for a while. I also really enjoyed riding a bike in Copenhagen because it seemed only natural. To experience Copenhagen like a local, riding a bike is a must. We were also able to cover a lot of ground and see a lot of places by bike, which we simply would not have made it to without that mode of transportation. Plus the sensation of the wind blowing through your hair while you ride by the river is pretty incredible, I would highly recommend it. 

GPTempDownload (1).png

5. Visiting the Sea Fortress Island in Helsinki

When we got to Helsinki, we were exhausted and a little skeptical, but once we hopped on the ferry and rode out to the Sea Fortress, we were hooked. This little island is adorable, and I loved it because it was picturesque and peaceful. While there were other people there, there weren't many and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. 


This year I went to Sitka, Alaska and Pasadena, California for two of my very sweet friend's weddings. While these trips were both wedding-centric we went on adventures and had great times as well.

Sitka, Alaska


Watching my sweet friend Maddie get married was incredible. Her wedding was beautiful with rustic Alaskan vibes and I loved celebrating this moment with her. She also showed us around her hometown of Sitka, which while it is not a large town was very charming and I love the time spent there with my dear friends. 

I had a couple of favorite activities from Alaska, the first of which was a kayaking trip through a few little islands in the ocean. I love being on the water. And this little kayaking trip was the perfect thing to do with our little group.


Another incredible thing we did for the rehearsal dinner was we went on a boat that enabled us to look for whales. We did end up seeing one, though it was difficult to capture an image of. The whale kept surfacing and splashing his tail at us though which was an incredible experience.

Pasadena, California

Anela and I have been friends since Kindergarten, so when she asked me to be her bridesmaid, I was flattered and excited. Her beautiful wedding was in Pasadena California in an amazing outdoor setting with beautiful twinkling lights at a historic manor. This was my first time being a bridesmaid and I loved standing alongside my beautiful friend as she said her vows. 


In Pasadena, one of my favorite moments was visiting the Huntington Gardens and Library. In this location there are acres upon acres of beautiful gardens with different themes. My favorites were the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, and The Renaissance Garden. Exploring this area was one of my favorite days. 


Another one of my favorites was the day that we spent at Ivy Glen Hot Spring Spa, which was incredible and relaxing. At this spa there were different pools and portions that we were able to visit which all had different feels. There was even a mud pool where you could cover yourself head to toe with mud. One of the best pools in my opinion was one that had a hot and cold component. For ten minutes you stay in one pool, then you hop into the freezing cold pool for a minute. My nordic blood loved it!

I have had the opportunity to visit a lot of incredible places this year, and I hope to see even more next year.

Countries on my list to see:

Peru, Costa Rica, and Cuba

New Zealand

Eastern Europe: Greece, Russia, and Czech Republic specifically

It is my goal to make it to all of these countries in the next year, and I am going to do my best to make it happen.

Cheers to a Happy New Year and achieving all of the goals you set your mind to.

Much Love,



Derry, Northern Ireland

Asia Borseth

Derry was such a cute town, but it was also a place that held sadness and conflict for a lot of Northern Ireland's history.

Before learning about Northern Ireland for our class I didn't previously know why it was separated from Ireland and what that meant. After learning about it and visiting, I have a better understanding of what that means. Short History lesson.

Northern Ireland has been a place of conflict through much of history. It all stemmed from when the English took control of Ireland. As the English kings kept switching between being Catholic and Protestant, at one point Irish people came to identify themselves as Catholic and Loyalists to the English cause living in Ireland often identified themselves as protestant. Though it does not seem like these two religious affliliations would be different enough to create wars, they were. Often land was taken from Catholics and given to Protestants and vice versa. After the 1916 rebellion in Dublin, the deal was made that the lower part of Ireland would become a republic and the upper portion would remain a part of England. 

As you can imagine, some people were happy about that and others were not. Even in recent years there has been a lot of bloodshed and terrorism because of the conflict between these two groups. Derry has been a site of a lot of this violence, though it is safe to visit now. One individual that my class was able to meet with was a part of that recent violence, and hearing his experience and visiting the sites was eye-opening. Being there really helped to solidify those emotions that were present in that day. The fear and the uncertainty that had plauged so many lives.

IMG_0364 copy.jpg

I wanted to set this up so that you have a better context to understand the different monuments that are in Derry and how they are symbolic of both the conflict that happened there and the peace that they were able to achieve. 

Check out the Peace Bridge at Sunset

The Peace Bridge connects the two sides of Derry, which are separated by the river. On the two banks, and the two sides that were the source of the conflict. Throughout history this river was something that separated the Catholics from the Protestants, but now with efforts for peace, this bridge symbolically brings the two sides together. It was made to appear as if two hands are joined, and in my opinion that union is something that looks beautiful at sunset.

Take a walk along the Wall

Derry is known as the walled city, which was something that we learned about in the history of the city. At one point the Apprentice Boys were championed for keeping the the walls of the city closed during a siege. At any rate, the walls of the city provide a scenic walking view along the 17th century walls. The walls are one and a half in which is a nice walk, also along this wall there are several different stairs and areas to lookout along the way. This is a completely free activity and I highly recommend it as a great way to see the city.

IMG_0355 copy.png

The Bogside art Murals

IMG_0321 copy.jpg

This was one of my favorite things that we were able to do in Derry, as I love art and learning the history and context behind the works. Many of these murals depicted the struggle for autonomy for the Irish people throughout history. A good number of the murals also had to do with the events of Bloody Sunday, which took place in Derry. We were able to take a tour of these murals with one the the Bogside artists himself. It was really incredible to hear his story, and the fact that these artists created the works for the community, and without being paid. They simply made them because they wanted to share a part of their neighborhood's story.

One of the reasons that I loved their work so much is because of the dedication to telling one side of a story. It is so important to share with the world all of the perspectives available. Ireland is also where I learned that conversation between two groups is the best way to encourage peace, because if we can understand one another there is a better opportunity to find common ground. 

IMG_0548 copy.jpg

The Protestant Murals

On the other side of the river are murals that were painted by protestant artists, and in the spirit of seeing both sides of the story I would highly recommend seeing these as well. The best way to grasp a wholistic view of the conflict and the piece is through seeing both sides of the story. Also I always believe that art is a language that is accessible to all languages and cultures, so if you happen to find yourself in Derry, take a walk across the river as well. 

Check out the Tower Museum

This museum held a lot of historical information throughout Northern Irish history. Here we found more information about the Siege of Derry and there was an incredible view of the city from the top of the tower. Also it only costed one pound for entrance.

IMG_1607 copy.jpg

Try a Traditional Irish Breakfast

This breakfast is something that was so good! As far as budgeting, eating is a necessity so might as well try some traditional food. This usually comes with eggs, sausage, mushrooms, a tomato, soda bread, beans and ham. This breakfast is great, and a must try if you visit Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is an incredible complex place, and the people are incredibly resilient. Derry is a city that I would recommend seeing for sure. Have you been? What was your experience like? 

Let me know.

Much love,


Dublin, Ireland

Asia Borseth

My heart and soul.

Dublin is a very special place, and anyone who has been there will tell you the same. One of my favorite parts about Dublin was being able to experience Irish culture there. Irish people are loud, they love to drink, and swearing is just a part of the conversation. 

Irish culture is not just about shamrocks and leprechauns however, they have a long history of struggle and resilience, therefore I gained a great appreciation for the Irish people. There is something about traveling to a place that really opens up the rich history that lies behind what they are today. The Irish fought hard for the country that they have, and it is evident in their national pride. Also fun fact, Ireland's national color is actually royal blue, which surprised me because I figured it would have been green. 

Sit in an Irish Pub and have a Guinness. 

IMG_9292 copy.jpg

I like to say that I went to Ireland sober and came back drunk. In Ireland, going to a pub to get a drink is just a part of social life, I would say it is comparable to sitting and having coffee in Sweden. What I loved about this was how laid back it all was, and once you have a Guinness or two in you the conversation flows well. That is just the thing though, the environment of sitting in a pub, listening to live music playing is just one that brings me joy and happy memories.

Walk around town and hunt for cute doors. 

The city of Dublin itself is charming as well, one of my favorite things to do was to go hunting for Georgian-style doors all through the city. Many people refer to them as the 'doors of Dublin' which many of my classmates loved to kid me about since I always got so excited about them. Chasing doors through the city is a fun and free thing to do in Dublin, its a great scavenger hunt idea to have. 

IMG_9560 copy.png

Visit the Guinness factory.

While it may seem a bit pricey, I thought that this factory tour was totally worth it, even if it is just for the free pint and the view from above. Also if you can remember the facts from your visit, it just might be useful someday at an Irish trivia pub night. The Guinness factory is a very cool set up, they have the whole process of how beer is made in a visual form. There are beautiful waterfalls to show the water, and live hop plants to demonstrate how hops are grown. They even had an area showing how beer had been made throughout history. 

IMG_9196 copy.jpg

From the view above you have a angle on all of Dublin. Even if you do not like beer, you should go to the Guinness Factory, sip some Guinness and look around at the city of Dublin. The view from up above Dublin cannot be beat. 

Go to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the Long Room.

The long room is really an incredible sight to see, especially for book lovers. It really is a room that is long, but with the high arches and shelves upon shelves of books, it looks like another world. This is at the end of the tour of the Book of Kells, so when you purchase entrance to one it is like a two for one deal.

IMG_9430 copy.jpg

Take a trip out to Fourty-Foot.

We rode the bus out to this location, which was one that my friend found before we left for the trip. The area was a really cute little dock space with a great view of the sea. It was nice to get outside of the city of Dublin for a day, even though I loved it, I am also a huge fan of more natural settings. This was just a fun day to get away.  

Visit the Temple Bar District.

Even though this is a pretty touristy area to see, it is still a cool location. One of the hostels we stayed at was actually in the Temple Bar District, which was super convenient for coming back late from bars. The Temple bar District is just one of those things that you need to experience at least once when coming to Dublin.

The lesser known Purple Bar District was where a lot of the locals told us to go instead of the Temple Bar district, this area had more art and photography but the bars were packed!

IMG_9157 copy.jpg

Go On a Musical Pub Crawl.

The musical pub crawl we went on was led by two gentlemen, Ray and Antony, who were hilarious. These two led us through three different bars, singing traditional Irish music and drinking Guinness with us. One of the best parts about this was the anecdotes that these two told. They also often included different backstories about how certain Irish pub songs came to be, which was my favorite thing about it. This was one of the best nights in my opinion, and it was a great way to see the bars that they liked to go to so we could return later.

Take an afternoon tea.

IMG_9610 copy.jpg

Just because the Republic of Ireland is no longer a part of the U.K., does not mean they do not share some of the same affinities. One of my favorite things to do in Ireland was to spend the afternoon drinking tea and eating sweets. This was something that could be a short affair, or a long evening. One day we spent three hours just sitting, chatting, and drinking tea. Not only was it a great thing to do to connect with my traveling companions and get to know them better, it was also a great way to slow down for a minute. Especially when traveling, I can tend to get over-ambitious and feel as if I need to constantly doing something to make the most of my time. By taking what we referred to as 'tea time', we were able to slow it down and take a second to appreciate where we were and the fun we were having. 

There were many other things about Dublin that I truly loved, the resilience of the Irish people is something that I admired. I hope to one day return, because there is much more of Ireland that I was not able to see and experience. There is just something about the Irish countryside that pulls you in and inspires. I would highly recommend a visit there if you have not gone yet. 

Have you been to Dublin? Did you do any of the things that I did? Let me know!

Much love,


Hiking the Cinque Terre

Asia Borseth

This hike was one that was pretty long, and given that we did it in Italy in August, it was also incredibly hot. The coast of Italy is truly a sight to see, but the Cinque Terre is something else entirely. 

IMG_6452 copy.jpg

The colorful houses that make up the landscape of the villages make for a beautiful contrast with the sparkling blue sea. If you climb out onto the large rocks in front of the village of Riomaggiore, you can see the entire village and also be among the little floating boats.

IMG_6460 copy.jpg

Cinque Terre means five villages, and it is representative of the five fishing villages that line the western coast of Italy. My sister really wanted to hike through all of the villages, from Riomaggiore to Monteroso.

To make this trip more affordable, we decided to stay in La Spezia in a hostel that has been one of my favorites through my travels. This hostel was very clean and beautiful. From this hostel they also offered free bus rides to the first village, which made it very accessible.

On the day that we took our trek, we took the bus from our hostel in the morning to the first village, Riomaggiore. Once we arrived, we picked up breakfast from a little shop, and we headed out to see the village from the rocks. Once we got to the beginning of the trail, we realized that it had been washed out by a recent landslide, so we had to take the long way around, up a lot of stairs. For the hike we did a lot of hiking up and down, as the villages existed in the valleys on the coast. There were also a lot of stairs involved, however if you can make it the views are totally worth it.

IMG_6468 copy.jpg

We hiked up and down through these villages, which took most of the day and was pretty tiring. Since we were not actually on the trekking trail for the first portion of the hike, we did not have to buy the pass until about the third village. Once we were on that path, it was much more clear and well maintained. Another really cool thing about the Cinque Terre is that if you bring your own refillable water bottle, you can refill it between each of the villages at the water stations. 


Another really beautiful part of the trek is that between the later villages, there are acres of vineyards along the sloping hill. This was just a little part that encouraged me to imagine what it would be like to live a slow life on a vineyard. Drinking wine and living on the coast. Maybe someday that will be my future. 

After we hiked through the villages, with one stop to pick up some fresh fruit for lunch, we ended by staying the night in the last village, Monteroso. As soon as we finished our hike, we jumped into the ocean to cool off. Next we went and found some incredible Italian gelato, and we finished off the day with a giant bowl of pasta. What else do you do after a long day of hiking in Italy? 

All in all, the views from up high were really gorgeous, which made it all worth it. It is hard to describe the beauty on the coast of Italy, the best way to go is to see it for yourself. I hope that someday I can go back to the Cinque Terre and see it again through fresh eyes. 

I loved seeing the Cinque Terre, have you been? Let me know what you thought of it. 

Much love,



Galway and The Cliffs of Moher

Asia Borseth

Ireland is a place that I hold very dear to my heart, I was able to travel here through a study abroad program, and there were countless adventures that I always love to talk about. 

One of the things I loved about Ireland was not only the natural beauty, but the Irish culture. Sitting around in a pub drinking a Guinness and talking for hours is just a part of an Irish day. Sometimes they were crass and they sure like to swear, but the Irish are tough. They have been through a lot and came out stronger as a nation. I had the opportunity to stay in Ireland and Northern Ireland for three weeks, and it was a few of the best weeks of my life. 

I am sure you have heard Ed Sheeran's new song Galway Girl, but have you heard the original version? Check out Galway Girl on Spotify by Irish Pub Music, I love it. I would recommend listening to it while you read this post. Or just search Irish Pub Music and shuffle play.

Anyway, Irish music is amazing, especially if you can catch a singer playing in a pub and once you are a couple Guinness deep it will sound even better.

For this post however, I wanted to talk about the Cliffs of Moher, which were touristy as you would expect, but they were incredible so I would highly recommend seeing them. We took a tour bus, which honestly was not the best, but it got us there and we . had a great time.

On this bus, the first place we stopped at was Galway, which was such a cute little town, I really wish we would have had more time there. We packed the couple hours we had by going shopping for a Claddagh ring, which is unique to Galway, we saw a beautiful church and even got to see a small outdoor market. 


A little about the Claddagh rings is that they are often used as engagement rings, but have origins in friendship. If the ring is on the right hand and the point of the heart is going toward the fingertips, the person is single and possibly open to love. On the right hand pointed toward the heart the person is in a relationship. If the ring is on the left hand and pointed toward the fingertips the wearer is engaged, and pointed toward the heart, the person is married. It is kind of a fun way to show your relationship status in a world that is becoming increasingly digital. I'm just kidding, but in all seriousness I think that it is a beautiful little part of Irish culture.

Galway was also just a beautiful little town to walk through, but if you have the chance to stay there I would encourage you to try to stay overnight and check out the pub scene, even though we did not have the chance to.

We also stopped at the Bushmills Distillery to eat lunch and to sample some whiskey, which is where I discovered that I liked honey whiskey. I never thought I would be the kind of person that liked whiskey, but Ireland can change you like that. 


Driving up the the Cliffs of Moher were these incredibly winding roads that reminded me of switchbacks on a hike. As the bus climbed higher and higher we say more and more of the valley which was a lush green that one would expect of Ireland. The driver even stopped a couple times to let us take pictures.

After that we headed to the highly anticipated Cliffs of Moher, which was really an incredible site to see. These Cliffs are miles high, and for most of the site, there are very little boundaries between you and the edge, which also makes it a pretty dangerous place, please be cautious if you visit. 


As we walked along the Cliffs, there were breathtaking sites, and we were lucky enough to have a clear day to see far out into the distance. We walked down to the edge of the Cliffs and we even sat on the edge of one, even though it my heart was beating out of my chest the whole time. There is something about being that close to the edge that will really get your adrenaline pumping. 


When you arrive at the Cliffs of Moher, there are a couple ways that you could go, they both have fantastic views. If you have time I would recommend going left and right. To the right we found cliffs we could sit on and puffins. To the left we found the famous view from The Princess Bride used as the Cliffs of Insanity. These Cliffs were also used in Harry Potter in the Half-Blood Prince when Harry and Dumbledore are searching for one of the horcruxes. This location is actually pretty close to the entrance so it is easy to find. 

The Cliffs of Moher were stunning, and while I do not alway advocate for going to the touristy locations, this is one that should not be missed.


On our way back on the bus ride, we stopped by a location on the water that looked like a hardened field of lava rocks. Though it was not particularly noteworthy the location was very beautiful. There was even a little cove that had a jellyfish pod. We had a lot of fun messing around out there on our way back. 


The Cliffs of Moher are a pretty popular location for tourists, have you been? Let me know what your thoughts were or if you had a different experience. Expect a lot more Irish posts to come, because I loved Ireland and I think that everyone should take a trip there.

Much Love,