your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Author: Natalija

Cool Travel Gear: Passion Planner

Whether you’re a freelancer with lots of projects coming ahead or a student planning an adventure to Europe, planners can be great for productivity by keeping you back on track….

Whether you’re a freelancer with lots of projects coming ahead or a student planning an adventure to Europe, planners can be great for productivity by keeping you back on track.

I’ve tested different productivity systems and applications over time. Making plans far ahead usually doesn’t work as things change at a fast pace. The fact that you are not succeeding at what you’ve set up, leads to more stress. That’s why I really love the Urgent/Important principle. However, planning has its good sides too. Planners can be helpful in a daily routine or when you need to reevaluate some important life goals.

For that reason I decided to give a chance to an actual physical planner.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

I was debating whether I should try bullet journaling or buying myself a planner. Bullet journaling is great for all of you who love DIY projects – because it’s fully customizable. I’m not good at drawing or calligraphy so I decided against it. My previous record with planners wasn’t very admirable as I would lose interest and forgo them in a matter of a week or two. I needed something that would be my motivator and kept me organized.

After sifting through available options online I decided to try out Passion Planner.

What makes it different than other planners on the market is that it’s very interactive. Passion Planner is, in a way, a low budget life coach.

First you start off by drawing up your Passion Roadmap. This is where you can map out what you hope to achieve within the given time frame (3 months, 1 year, 3 years). In general, I only believe in short term plans as they are more efficient and more realistic to achieve than 1 or 3-year plans.


Next step is prioritizing; recognizing the goal that is going to have the most positive effect on your life at present moment. Picking a goal, gives us a focus point to pour our energy and effort into. Writing down necessary steps/tasks which we have to complete to get to our goal – makes any goal, no matter how high or implausible it seemed, start to look achievable. Step-by-step or day-by-day system works wonders!

passion planner

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – Lao Tzu

The Passion Planner has an instruction page which delves into the specifics as to creating a timeline, due dates, reviewing your daily/weekly focuses, monthly reflection pages etc.

The planner also has smart and creative sections such as the ‘not to-do list’, ‘personal projects’, ‘work projects’, ‘space of infinite possibility’, ‘good things that happened’ and motivational quotes on every page.

passion planner

My favorite section is ‘space of infinite possibility’. It’s true, the opportunities are endless. You can use the space as a habit tracker, to tape a finance sheet to keep those online sale shopping sprees in check or write down your grocery list.

The planner also has a “Good things that happened” section. It’s funny but a small thing like that can really alter your way of thinking. Any time I feel disappointed that I haven’t accomplished my set goal for the day, I just flip to the monthly calendar page and spend a minute or two, reading up on all the positive things that I’ve accomplished or had happened to me in prior days.

On their website I found a page called tips, and I enjoyed and applied some of them to my planner. One of the tips that specifically appealed to me was scrapbooking.

In the section ‘infinite space of possibilities’ I like to put up polaroid snaps of some of my ‘mini-triumphs’ or a reminder of a good thing that happened to me that day.

The emphasis of the planner is not just on getting all of the boring errands out of the way but to remind us to stay present and truly experience each day. At the end of the year planner can be a great summation of all that you’ve accomplished. A reminder to practice mindfulness and enjoy the small things that are sometimes overlooked.

Passion Planner is ideal for travelers too. Maybe you want to discover Europe, start hiking more or start a blog? It can be used by anyone! Whether you’re a freelancer, student, wannabe adventure or a blogger, you’ll find this planner useful. You can order it through the offical website or Amazon.

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How To Up Your Mobile Photography Game In a Few Easy Steps

The beauty of photography lies in capturing a moment. A photograph takes you back to some of your most cherished memories and sometimes allows you to notice things that you…

The beauty of photography lies in capturing a moment.

A photograph takes you back to some of your most cherished memories and sometimes allows you to notice things that you might’ve missed in the moment picture was being taken.

Photographs can transpire moments of intimacy, happiness, sadness to beautiful little details of everyday mundane life.

Whilst traveling I always carry my Nikon camera with me. Although I am accustomed to carrying a bulky camera, sometimes its size and weight can be tiring if I’m going on a long hiking tour, or it can attract unwanted attention. So with all these cellphone cameras upraise, I’ve become interested in just how much I can do with my phone camera.

I used to detest taking photographs with my phone and always swore true to my Nikon but nowadays, you can find phones with really good cameras. It is amazing how much cellphone cameras have progressed in the last couple of years and phones just becoming more lightweight and compact with each newer model.

If you’re not interested in photography enough then maybe, it’s not worthwhile to invest in a good camera. Buying a cellphone with a quality camera can go a long way.

I’m not going to advise which cellphone to pick. Everybody has their favorite. Some people swear by iPhones and some prefer their Androids. I will say that I’ve seen amazing pictures being taken with both cellphones. Samsung S7 edge and iPhone 6 are great phones if you wanna get serious with mobile photography. Of course, you can find a fantastic phone for much lower price and still take great photos.

There are two things I bought that I feel like they upped my whole mobile photography game.

First one was buying camera lenses. I bought Aukey camera lenses. They were on sale on Amazon, and I got them for about 15$. I got 3 types of lenses, a wide angle, fisheye and macro lens. They came in a small case with a mini clip-on to attach to any phone’s camera.

You can have a lot of fun experimenting with all those lenses and make for some creative photos.

For a finishing touch you can add an Instagram filter.

mobile photography lenses

Second one that I really loved was investing into a Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer. They are a little bit on the pricier side (about 130$) but I really do think it pays off. You can check out the reviews here.

The reason why I didn’t get a polaroid camera is, because every picture that you take with it, is going to print – but with my Polaroid ZIP printer, I can make as many photos I choose with my phone (or a regular camera) and then select the ones I wish to print. One of the other benefits is that I can also edit it in Photoshop on my phone or add an Instagram filter etc. before printing.

You can edit all of your photos and get them developed and as you travel and meet a lot of new people you can also leave them a token of your new friendship. I love that I’m able to give them a physical reminder of some fun moments spent together.

The Polaroid ZIP Mobile printer came with a USB cable that you use for charging purposes, one Zip pack of photo paper (10 per pack) and a “Quick Start Guide”. It’s really easy to use.

I’ve downloaded their app ‘Polaroid ZIP’ and just used Bluetooth to connect my phone with the printer. It takes about a minute for one photo to print out.

The photo paper is not so expensive; I’ve bought 9 packs (so 90 photo paper) for less than 30$ on Amazon (I think that it’s more than obvious that I have an Amazon shopping addiction).

To make your photos less blurry you can also invest in a mobile tripod. You won’t need to worry of keeping your camera steady all the time and this is particularly helpful when taking photos in low light.

And what about the apps? There are hundreds of mobile photography apps nowadays so it might be little bit difficult to make a choice. I use Instagram and VSCO Cam. I’ve heard great comments about Camera+ for iPhone but this is a paid app.

These are just some of the gadgets that I’ve tried out and liked best so far. I’m always on the lookout for new creative add-ons for my mobile photography travelling kit.

Even though I am still going to carry my Nikon everywhere with me, because the quality of photos being taken with an actual camera is still, no doubt about it, way better than any phone’s camera, it’s nice to know that if my battery dies – I have another option.

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Why You Should Pack Up And Escape to Iceland

My fascination with Iceland began from a very young age. Whether it was its picturesque scenery, the remnants of old pagan beliefs (such as believing in the existence of elves)…

My fascination with Iceland began from a very young age. Whether it was its picturesque scenery, the remnants of old pagan beliefs (such as believing in the existence of elves) or its rich culture; there was always something about this small, mystical island and its inhabitants that lured my daydreams up north.

Here is a list of reasons why Iceland should be renamed Wonderland:

The beauty of Iceland, among other things, lies in its diversity. It was dubbed as the Land of Fire and Ice for its spectacular mixture of volcanoes (about 130 of them!), geysers and glaciers. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano, Lake Mývatn, black sandy beaches, Vatnajökull glacier, hot springs, the Fjords…the fairytale scenery will inspire even the biggest couch potatoes to become avid hikers. You can also look for the cheapest car rentals in Iceland and have a road trip around the country. As you can see you have an array of choices, so choose freely as it’s impossible to go wrong.

Coastline, Isafjordur

Gufufoss, Seydisfjordur

Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa near Reykjavik. It is one of the most visited sites in Iceland. You can relax, drink cocktails, enjoy the warm waters and be in awe of the otherworldly setting (the spa is located in a lava field in Grindavík). Besides being famous for its natural beauty, Blue Lagoon is also known for its healing abilities. A lot of people from all over, come here to seek treatment for various skin diseases.

Blue Lagoon

Reykjavik is the capital and actually the only city in Iceland. Surrounded by many natural wonders that give Reykjavik an almost magical backdrop – it’s a city with a vivacious cultural scene and eclectic architecture. There are many things that make the capital of Iceland worth a visit: places of historical significance, landmarks, their budding nightlife and very interesting restaurants. Icelanders have a very specific palate and most likely you’ll have to train your taste buds in order to truly enjoy their traditional Icelandic cuisine. Make sure not to miss a free tour of Reykjavik (with a history grad) and to go for a swim in one of Reykjavik’s many public pools.


Iceland Airwaves is one of the most famous music festivals, annually held in November, it attracts thousands of tourists each year. They showcase Icelandic and international music. Over the course of five days of festivities, about 40+ bands and DJs perform. Musical greats such as Crystal Castles, The Kills, The Knife, Beach House and Father John Misty have performed there over the years. The festival is known for its party vibe and laidback atmosphere.

Airwaves Chill-out Party @ Blue Lagoon - Saturday°

Aurora Borealis is a beautiful weather phenomenon. The best chances of seeing the Northern Lights is if you have dark skies, clear weather and make sure to book a week-long stay. It’s risky to plan your whole trip only around the Northern Lights. It should be considered as an added bonus to your whole experience at Iceland. If you’re lucky and you see those bright stars accompanied with lights flickering and twirling in the dark skies, you’ll have that image etched into your mind forever.

Luces del Norte en Tromso Noruega

You don’t want to waste a single day in Iceland – it’s such an intriguing country that it won’t let you feel inertia. Your curiosity will awake a desire to interact and explore your surroundings and you’ll feel as a child that discovers something new each day. As many others before you, you’ll keep coming back in a futile attempt to try and comprehend the magic of Iceland. Or their elves.

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