15 Cities You MUST Cross Off Your Bucket List By Your 20s

15 Cities You MUST Cross Off Your Bucket List By Your 20s

Are you ready for an adventure?
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If you are planning on traveling around the world, there are plenty of cities that you should hope to cross off your list. While I was in Europe last spring, I got to see a handful of the ones that were on my list for quite some time.

The following 15 cities are ones that you should definitely consider for your next adventure:

1. London, England

I spent four months living in London during the spring semester of my junior year and despite never having lived in a city, it was an incredible experience. Just when you think you’ve experienced London, there’s a new corner to discover, and all you have to do is get on the nearest bus or underground platform!

2. Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is a beautiful city by day, and an even more spectacular city by night. Perhaps what is even more amazing is its vicinity to rural areas just outside of the city. So, when you visit, you should definitely spend the day admiring the countryside and then the night, wandering the streets that are lit up like grounded stars.

3. Edinburgh, Scotland

Any Harry Potter fan needs to go to Edinburgh, if for no reason other than visiting The Elephant House. The café is where J.K. Rowling penned the earliest chapters of the series, and if you go into the restroom, there are handwritten notes written over every available surface about the series. If you are still not sold, the city itself is beautiful, and it’s easy to navigate on foot.

4. Rome, Italy

Rome is another breathtaking city that can be managed on foot since a lot of the landmarks are within close proximity to one another. Whether you want to see the colosseum or go to the Vatican, which is its own city, there are countless options, and you can enjoy them between delicious meals.

5. Oxford, England

I may be biased toward Oxford, again because I am a Harry Potter fan. The films modeled Hogwarts after the different churches and universities in the city, and it is impossible to visit and not see the striking resemblance.

6. New York, New York

I grew up in Northern New Jersey, only a stone's throw away from New York City. There is no feeling like watching the Meadowlands disappear as you enter the Lincoln Tunnel, only to pour out near Broadway. Even though it’s a 20-25 minute trip for me without traffic, it feels like two separate worlds.

7. Florence, Italy

The artwork in Florence is to die for, simply put. That is, if you don’t die first from over-consumption.

8. Berlin, Germany

Berlin has an incredible history behind it, and is definitely well worth a visit if you are interested in the politics and history of the city. When I was there, I managed to visit Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate, several Holocaust memorials and many other notable landmarks.

9. Paris, France

If you don’t eat a Nutella Crepe below the Eiffel Tower, did you really visit Paris? Also, you can’t miss the opportunity to try escargot!

10. Venice, Italy

Your first stop when you arrive in Venice should be to hop in a gondola. It’ll ruin you for all other forms of transportation.

11. Cardiff, Wales

At first glance, Cardiff may seem like a surprising option on this list. However, the arcades with different delicacies are incredible. My first recommendation is to buy as much Turkish delight as you can carry. Then, you should go visit the Doctor Who Experience down by the Quay.

12. Cambridge, England

The Gothic appearance of the buildings in Cambridge make the city feel like something straight out of a fairytale. Additionally, the pub that my cousin works at that I visited with a friend had a traditional, English aura that I did not see anywhere else.

13. Sydney, Australia

Australia is on my personal bucket list for a country that I hope to visit one day. Now, it’s just matter of sitting still for 22 hours.

14. Oświęcim, Poland

As someone who has a profound interest in studying the Holocaust, Berlin was the ideal city to visit while I was in Europe. However, when I return one day, I would like to visit Oświęcim, Poland, which is the city where Auschwitz concentration camp is located.

15. Lugano, Switzerland

I visited Lugano with my parents before my senior year of high school and the mountainside was absolutely stunning. We were only there for one night before we moved on to Venice, so I would love to one day spend more time in Switzerland and really explore the different cities.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Joyce

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Top 50 Things You'll Hear A Southern Say

Y'all.
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For those of you who may need a little help understanding the slang of a southern, I made a list of the top 50 phrases and sayings, along with their translations.

1. Bless your heart.

My favorite saying. It is an empathetic phrase that is usually uttered when the speaker believes the recipient to be sweet, but misguided or stupid. It can also be used if the speaker believes the recipient needs to grow up and deal with it, when the speaker says it in a sarcastic tone.

2. Barking up the wrong tree.

Means being misguided or mistaken.

3. Aren't you precious?

Mostly this saying is used in a sarcastic tone in response to someone being offensive.

4. Britches.

Pants or underpants.

An example would be, "Your britches are too short, you can't wear those".

5. Coke.

Regardless if it's Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, or another carbonated beverage, it's called Coke here in the South.

6. Fixin' to.

Simply means that you are about to do something.

7. Get the short end of the stick.

This phrase means that you basically got an unfair deal or cheated out of something.

8. Give Me Some Sugar.

Simply means give me a kiss.

9. Hissy Fit.

A hissy fit is a grown-up version of a temper tantrum that is as bad as one that a toddler would throw.

10. Hold Your Horses.

Be patient.

11. Holler.

When you say "holler" you are basically letting the other person know something.

Example: Holler at me when you are ready to get something to eat.

12. If the creek don't rise.

This saying simply means that if nothing bad happens, everything will go as planned.

13. You're as slow as molasses in the wintertime.

This phrase means that you are being EXTRA slow.

14. Muddin'.

Off-road four-wheeler riding with the intentions of getting mud everywhere and possibly losing control.

15. Skat Cat.

A phrase that can be used instead of saying "God bless you" when you sneeze.

16. There's Not A Pot Too Crooked That A Lid Won't Fit.

There is someone for everyone.

17. Pitcher.

We mostly mean a plastic container that holds sweet tea, not the position of a guy on the baseball team.

18. Reckon.

When you say "I reckon", you believe that something is true.

19. Hoot With The Owls, Soar With The Eagles.

This simple phrase means that if you are going to stay up all night, you should be able to get early in the morning.

20. Too Big For Your Britches.

Simply means that you take yourself too seriously.

21. Stompin' Grounds.

Your hometown or where you grew up.

22. Back In The Day.

Back in the day could be a month ago, a year ago, or 20 years ago.

23. You're A Spitting Image Of (Insert Family Member).

Yes, I know I'm a spitting image of my mother. "Spitting image" simply means that you look just like someone.

24. "Darlin, Sugar, Sweetheart"

These words are simply terms of endearment.

25. Buggy.

A buggy is a cart/basket at the grocery store.

Example: Who wants to push the buggy?

26. Quit Crying Or I Will Give You Something To Cry About.

This phrase simply means to quit crying and if you didn't then more than likely you got a spanking,

27. Where You Raised In A Barn?

If you are from the South, you have probably been asked this more than once, especially when you left a door open.

28. Close The Door. You Are Letting All The Good Air Out.

This southern heat is nothing to play with. It simply means to keep the door closed so the air (or heat if its winter) stays inside.

29. You Are Going To Make Me Lose My Religion.

When you say this phrase to someone, it more than likely means that person has done something to irritate you or made you mad. Thank goodness Jesus saves.

Example: You are going to make me lose my religion.

30. You Look Like A Chicken With Your Head Cut Off.

This is said when you are running around like a crazy person. It can be said if you are looking for something that you are searching for or if you are just really busy.

31. Y'all.

The southern way to say "you all".

32. You Can't Carry A Tune In A Bucket.

If you've ever been told this, it means that you can't sing.

33. Have Their Feathers Ruffled.

You normally have your "feathers ruffled" when you are pouting.

34. Two Peas In A Pod.

When you and someone else are "two peas in a pod", it means that either you almost always together or that you two are almost identical in the way you think and do things.

35. Well Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit.

This saying can be used when you are surprised or excited.

36. Don't Let The Door Hit Ya Where The Good Lord Split Ya.

When someone say this they typically mean to get out and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

37. You're As Good As Gold.

When you are "as good as gold", it means that you are well-behaved and obedient.

38. It's Raining Cats And Dogs Out There.

This simply means that the rain is really coming down hard. It's not actually raining cats and dogs, people.

39. I'm Full As A Tick.

This phrase means that you ate too much food.

40. I'm Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church.

When someone says this, it means that they are really hot and sweating A LOT.

41. Pot Calling The Kettle Black.

This phrase is used when one person is guilty of the very same thing of which they accuse another person.

42. There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat.

It means that there is anyways more than one way to fix something.

43. Shut Yo' Mouth.

Means to be quiet or hush up.

44. Whatever Floats Your Boat.

This saying means to do whatever you want to do.

45. Slap Yo' Momma.

This phrase means that something is good.

Example: This BBQ is slap yo' momma good.

46. She's Like A Bull In A China Shop.

When you tell someone this phrase, you are telling them that they are clumsy or careless in the way that they move.

47. Cuttin' A Rug.

Cuttin' a rug is used to describe dancing.

Example: Let's go cut a rug tonight.

48. Clicker.

A clicker is another name for a TV remote.

49. Slow Your Roll.

This also means to be patient.

50. You're A Hot Mess.

When you tell someone that they are a "hot mess", you are simply telling them that they don't have it together.

Cover Image Credit: silhouetteamerica.com

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My Future Is Unpredictable And That's Totally Alright

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations.

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For six months, I had plans to study abroad in the Dominican Republic during the fall semester of junior year. Filling out what seemed like endless applications and paperwork, searching for travel ideas on Pinterest, and writing a class research paper on the DR's relationship with its neighboring island, Haiti, I was prepared to live and learn about Dominican culture hands-on.

Then on the Thursday before Finals Week last spring, I read my email. My study abroad program in the DR had gotten canceled. In the span of 30 seconds, my future had taken a new course. Less than a week later, I was submitting papers to study abroad in a new country where another adventure awaited: Ecuador.

If there's anything I've learned in the past year, it's that life is unpredictable and we can't control it. The future is unknown. But-

Who wants to know exactly what's going to happen in the next few years? I mean, I believe it's good to have a direction, but you don't have to have the entire journey pinpointed straight to the core. You meet people, you get inspired, you see things, you have experiences. And you go from there. (Though, I totally respect people who have clear ambitions and stick with them their entire lives.)

Where I was a year ago was a completely different path than where I find myself today. Last summer, I worked four different internships/jobs in the span of three months. A year ago, I would never have guessed my following summer unfolding with an immersion trip to India, a solo adventure to Taiwan & Hong Kong, and becoming a certified yoga instructor. A year ago, I hadn't met half of my best friends. A year ago, I hadn't seen poverty in a third-world country. A year ago, I wasn't even sure I wanted to major in Environmental Studies.

Just because I don't know what the future holds doesn't mean I can't set goals. I have a destination, an idea of where I'm headed and where I want to go. While abroad in Ecuador, I want to learn about sustainable development and coffee production as well as enhance my Spanish skills.

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations. I know the format of the program. I'll be taking classes and living with a host family and then doing an internship at a farm. Otherwise, I have no idea what's going to happen. And that's what I'm looking forward to the most. The spontaneity. The unexpected. As one of my good friends would say whenever he doesn't have formal weekend plans, "I'm improvising." And you know the one rule of improv: Always say yes.

¡Hasta pronto, Ecuador!

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