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Nine Years Ago in Paris

Eileen in Paris on the river n 2006

There were a lot of silly tears the first three months of my time in Europe. I lost my passport within hours of landing in Spain, I missed home terribly while studying abroad and then my friend who was supposed to meet me in Paris for a long weekend missed her flight. I had to go to the city alone. One horrible budget flight and a long line at customs later, I got whisked downtown on the Paris subway. Almost a decade ago there was no Wi-Fi, no smartphones and…

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Bucharest, Romania: No Bullshit.

Parliament Palace in Bucharest, Romania

Club music that was popular ten years ago pulsed off the brick basement walls. In one corner was a flaming, sparking tower of glasses set on fire by Jägermeister, the other was covered in artwork strangely depicting Hitler. Young women danced in groups in the dark, but so did gaggles of men fist pumping and shaking their hips just as enthusiastically. Smoke filled the air, unfiltered and unapologetic. It is 4AM and I am in an Eastern European nightclub as it pissed down rain just outside the heavy metal doors….

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Twenty Four Hours in Belfast Historical Modernism: Part III

Eileen and Megan in front of Bobby Sands mural in Belfast, Northern Ireland

This is Megan’s final installment of her experiences traveling through Belfast, Northern Ireland. You can also read Part I and Part II! From the Peace Wall, we rounded a corner and walked through a heavy iron gate to the Irish republican side of the divide. Here, I found that the murals changed in tone and content almost immediately. While military men with guns are not entirely absent in these murals, peacemakers and global civil rights leaders take precedence. Gunmen and Red Hands are largely replaced with images of Nelson Mandela,…

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Twenty Four Hours in Belfast Historical Modernism: Part II

Mural in Belfast Northern, Ireland

Megan’s second installment about Irish history and our tour through Belfast. While Belfast has many modern offerings and natural wonders, the smart traveler would be wise to take advantage of this city’s rich history as well. When Ireland became an independent republic in 1922, it was also partitioned. Six counties in the North remained part of the Great Britain, becoming Northern Ireland. In the 1960s the Northern Irish Troubles began as a result of friction between the Government and the remaining Irish republicans (not to be confused with American-style, Donald…

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Twenty Four Hours in Belfast Part I: Historical Modernism

Downtown Belfast in Northern Ireland

My good friend Megan Crotty and I ventured on a road trip last month! We drove through Northern Ireland and Ireland for a few days. With her background in Irish history, she’s taken the reigns with our time in Belfast. Megan will conclude her Belfast story with her experience on an eye-opening Black Taxi Tour very soon. After a quick jet-lag fueled and giddy drive from Dublin, we arrived in Belfast’s city center on a bustling Friday afternoon (after a bit of practice, Eileen drove on the left like a boss)….

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The Big London Expat Move: Basic Planning & Packing

Umbrellas over an outdoor cafe in central London

It’s already been two and a half weeks since our plane touched down in London. As soon as the wheels hit the runway my mind finally wrapped around the idea that London will be home, for a long time. In fact, maybe the longest consecutive time I’ve ever been away from the East Coast. With a job transfer opportunity for X (husband) and my own freelancing, it was a golden opportunity to try something we’ve always dreamed about. Live abroad, see iconic European cities on the weekends, be surrounded by…

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7 Clichés About Couples Travel that Need to End

Eileen and Christian on a cruise in Nova Scotia

Think traveling is over once you “settle down”? Think again. Although I personally wander solo, in groups of girlfriends, professionally with other journalists and with family, I’ve still maintained a pretty happy and healthy relationship for more than seven years. I find couples travel to be a whole different ball game – you’re comfortable enough to express what you want to do, but also have to compromise a lot to keep everyone happy. It’s exciting to share everyone with someone on the road, but you also might have less time…

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What’s Your Tropical Bucket List?

Warm weather is slowly starting to creep into New England. I’m embracing it, in love with it and hope it never goes away again. Oh, but it will. And there will still be awfully cold days and rainy days  from time to time. When I start to think about all that dreary weather, my mind tends to wander to happier, sunnier times. I love visiting tropical escapes and can’t even fathom what it would be like to live there year-round. Sure I spent 6-12 months in southern Spain, but even…

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Top 3 travel things to do in Greenwich, England

My boyfriend (we’ll call him X) moved to the US from England when he was young, but always has been strongly drawn “back home”. When a business opportunity for him to train in the UK for three weeks came up, I immediately bought a ticket to join him. Obviously London is just one of the coolest places on the planet, but X was itching for a day trip to Greenwich. This is where he was born and where he spent many summers exploring the town with Mom, Dad and his…

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A joyful journey to the end of the world – travel in Lagos, Portugal

Small village church near Loule, Portugal in the Algarve by Eileen Cotter Wright

I have a lot to see on this planet, which often deters me from stepping in the same place twice. But when the chance to go back to Lagos, Portugal, I couldn’t resist the crazy perfect beaches, cliffside views and vibrant nightlife that pulses through the cobblestone streets. Historically it’s been a busy port city, and now it’s a hub of Portuguese culture, food and fun. Last time I was there I was 21 years old and out of my mind, so this round was a little more subdued. But let’s be honest, it was still a carnival…

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