Porto, Portugal: 10 Things to See & Do

Porto, Portugal
Porto, Portugal via The Independent

If you read a previous post of mine you know that I’m going to be going to Portugal. Depending if I decide to post this on a Monday or on my regular Tuesday schedule, I may be traveling to Porto TODAY. (Hello, future me). Portugal is probably one of the top 5 European countries I want to explore and I’ll finally be tapping into it. I’ll be there for just under two weeks and I have a whole list of ideas to do.

Who knows if I’ll make time for everything on my list because I don’t want to be too strict with my itinerary. But nevertheless, I’d like to give a rough outline of what I plan to do during my time in the beautiful Porto. My goal is to enjoy my time in Porto but also take advantage of its prime location to take day trips around the area. So, if you’d like to find out what I’d like to explore, keep reading.

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Goals Four: April 2019

I’m back with another “installment,” if you will, of #GoalsFour on my blog. Basically what I do is every other month (or whenever) I list my four goals (get it – play on “goals for…”) the upcoming month. I list things I want to do, accomplish or improve on. But not only that. Additionally, I list four things I did well on recently. Either the last month or since my last #GoalsFour post.

The last installment of this was done in February. You can click the link above to read it. But now we are in Spring, the days are longer and we even had a day of weather in the upper 60s. So as I prepare for April, which I believe will be a very transformative month for me, I felt that this would be the perfect time to do this. So continue reading as I sit back and reflect.

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New Orleans Travel Bucket List

New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana

Sometimes I get so caught up with my desire to travel the world and go far away that I forget that there’s a myriad of places to see within my home country. So while I can’t wait to embark on the 20+ hour flight to Australia one day, I can also take a 3 hour flight from New York and get to the vibrant city of New Orleans in Louisiana.

Like most people, when I think of New Orleans I think of Mardi Gras, the French influence, the cuisine and vibrant colors. My sister went to New Orleans years ago in high school on a class trip and loved it. On the trip they went to several cities on the east coast and New Orleans was her favorite. I compiled a bucket list of things I’d like to do or see when I get myself to New Orleans one day. If you’d like to find out what’s on my list, keep reading.

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A Leap of Faith: New Chapter of Travel

I always talk about complacency. The fear of it. My determination to not get anywhere near it in my life. And to be honest a pretty frequent feeling that at times I am. For instance, I always discussed wanting to travel the world. Living in a foreign country, going backpacking across Europe or South America, spending a year in Australia on a working holiday visa, you name it. But to me, I always looked at those things as what I would do in the future.

“I can’t wait to travel SOMEDAY.” Sometimes I’d even say soon. For me doing it now didn’t seem like an option. Despite my numerous visits to my many travel apps trying to find the best flights available. For instance, a couple months ago I found a round-trip ticket to Paris for $250. I’m still kicking myself for not getting it. But recently I decided to take a leap of faith.

By booking my first trip to Europe.

Oh, and I’ll be gone for 13 days.

Oh, and I’ll be alone.

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Ultimate Guide to an Amtrak Ride

An Amtrak train is often times the most convenient form of travel to particular destinations.
Have you ridden on Amtrak before?

I am no stranger to Amtrak. While in college I rode Amtrak to and from college multiple times a year. I remember when I first rode it. My mother, sister and I were all heading to my future college. I was going to orientation before the semester started. My mom could have driven but wanted me to become familiar with the train since it was how I’d be getting to and from school for the next four years.

Nervous was an understatement! Overthinking is a habit I am working on. My mind filled with thoughts.

How am I going to know what stop to get off? What if I sleep through my stop? I can’t travel on the train for hours ALONE.

my mind

Yeah, melodramatic, right? But when something is new, it’s easy to let your mind wander off. But I am here now, countless SOLO trips later through Amtrak and I am unscathed. No mishaps. Nothing. The journey to and from college wasn’t super long, just a little over two hours. However, I also took the train from New York to Canada and that was TWELVE hours.

I am planning another post dedicated to that trip in particular, but here I want to lay out a few tips I have to get a long Amtrak ride whether it be two hours or twelve. So, if you have a trip planned or are thinking of booking an Amtrak train for your next excursion, keep reading.

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How to Fit in Fitness

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Workout & sauna = a Sunday well spent

A post shared by leila (@leiilaholley) on

Fitness is such a big part of my life now. I plan to do a separate blog post on my fitness journey. Currently I set a goal to workout 4-5 times per week. Despite this being a decent number for most people, there was a time I would hit the gym 5-6 times a week easily. This isn’t to say that more workouts necessarily means better/quicker results. But this past year my fitness and health took a dip. It was hard to recover and bounce back. It still is.

Whether it was not feeling like working out at all or my growing disdain for my apartment gym, going to the gym began to feel like a chore or job. Which I hated feeling as such because for so long it’s what I used to relieve stress. But the thought of getting myself out of bed, dressed and to the gym tired me out. There were some weeks I hit the gym three times. Other times I hit my goal of 4-5 workouts. The week before I moved I didn’t get to the gym at all.

Overall, I managed to do pretty good. And until the hectic-ness of the move I hit my goal most weeks, which I’m super proud of. Thus, I thought I’d share my suggestions on how to fit fitness in. Into your day, routine, life. If you’d like to discover my tips, keep reading…

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Be Open to Life

A photo from Montreal
This photo was taken in Montréal, my fondest memory of 2018.

This post is a little different to ones I normally do. Usually I am writing about my travels/travel wishlist, languages, Youtube recommendations, etc. I love writing articles that provide entertainment, motivation and/or value. However, if you asked me years ago when I was younger what I thought a “blog” was my answer would’ve resembled something like an online diary. A place to talk about yourself, your experiences/feelings, etc.

While that form of blogging is farm from dead, it definitely isn’t the major form anymore. More and more people enjoy not only including personal tidbits, anecdotes and experiences in their blog. But also they provide guides for their readers, info on how to start a business, etc. Things that are a tad less “personal.” I definitely think both ends of the spectrum are needed. Which is why I wanted to share my thoughts about being open to life.

If you’re interested in hearing my thoughts about this, please, keep reading.

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7 Brazilian Cities to Visit: More than Rio & São Paulo

Ordem e Progresso

If you have seen any of my previous posts regarding language, you probably know one of the languages I’m studying is Portuguese. Specifically, Brazilian Portuguese. There are a plethora of reasons why I want to learn this fun language, but traveling throughout Brazil is one of them. Who knows? Maybe I’ll live there to work for a year one day. But I do know that I want to improve my language skills so when I go I can converse with Brazilians in their native language.

I use various resources to improve my Portuguese, including talking to Brazilians via apps/websites like HelloTalk, iTalki and Tandem. I’ve spoken with my Brazilian Uber driver once and he also gave me advice and tips about visiting Brazil. But what is a common theme people tell me is that there is more to Brazil than Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Yes, even Brazilians from those cities tell me so. While those cities are amazing and are definitely on my list of cities to see, keep reading to see what other cities in Brazil I can’t wait to experience.

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Goals Four: February 2019

What goals do you want to achieve this month?

Welcome back to my blog (or welcome if you’re new). This is my second installment for my #GoalsFour series on my blog. The last one I did was in December. Basically, in each post I will discuss what I want to accomplish over the next month or two. I will list four areas of my life that I want to work on or four things I’d like to accomplish.

At the end I will also list four things I did well since my last #GoalsFour post, whether it was something intentional or unintentional. It’s good to remind yourself of the areas you did well in. Because even if you didn’t hit the goals you set out, maybe there were other areas in your life where you took major steps forward. Thus, the purpose of this series is to motivate me, give myself a kick in the butt which I need from time-to-time but also appreciate the work and growth I made. So, if you’d like to read what goals I have out to accomplish, keep reading.

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