When Nicole Doesn't Travel, Nicole Gets Cranky / by Nicole Paulus

Malta

In my daily life, I usually avoid spending money on clothes (you'd be surprised how many awesome items of clothing I've found on the streets of Neukölln), eating out (not only is it healthier to cook at home, but it also saves a TON of money), and pretty much everything else (I even had a friend give me a home haircut...though, I wouldn't recommend going that far.)

While some may view this lifestyle as "cheap", I prefer to look at it as "resourceful". It's not that I don't like spending money, it's just that I prefer to spend money on traveling the world. Since living in Berlin, I try to travel somewhere new at least once a month. When I don't meet my jet-setting quota, I start to feel myself getting cranky, antsy, and even gloomy.

Traveling opens your eyes to new cultures, pushes your own limits, urges you to rely on your own instincts, and allows you to see the world from a new, more humble, perspective. Whenever I return from a trip, I always come back a bit more confident, cheery, and open minded.

Below are some "epiphanies" I had on my 2016 travels. I can't wait to see where 2017 takes me!

Barcelona, Spain

I went with a few friends and we decided to stay in a hostel (Pars Tailor). Though the hostel was decorated super cute, and most of the guests/staff were friendly, I realized a valuable lesson, I am too damn old to stay in a hostel. After two sleepless nights, I decided to see if there was a cheap hotel that I could crash in for the remainder of my stay. I asked my friends if they wanted to split the cost, and they both refused. It seems that the bunk bed life was suited just fine for them. Thankfully, I was able to find a room right in the Gothic Barrio for only 40 eur per night (which also included breakfast.) Comparatively, the hostel was going to cost me 20 eur (sans breakfast.) I'd say that's a small price to pay for toilet privacy.

Malta

Prior to moving to Europe I had never heard of Malta, a small country just south of Italy. When a friend of mine was planning to move there to study English, I decided it was about time to do a Google search and see what I had been missing. It didn't take me long to realize that I needed to go there. If booked in advance, flights from Berlin to Malta are actually quite cheap. And airbnbs are as well. I really enjoyed wandering around the streets of Valletta, swimming in the blue lagoon, and seeing where Game of Thrones was filmed. I already want to go back!

Vienna, Austria

Vienna was never on my list of places to visit, but when my 83 year old grandmother (who lives in Phoenix, Arizona) told me she was going to be there for my cousin's conference, I told her, without hesitation, I'd love to meet her there. Though most of our trip was spent shuffling from church to church, I did manage to explore the city on my own the last day. It was raining, but I didn't let that stop me from visiting the HundertWasserHaus and Sigmund Freud's old house/museum. I only wish I had had more time to visit the Belvedere Museum.