Why you should hike more + 5 easy tips to get you started!

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Hiking is a favorite of mine and I do it a lot. And now I'm going to try to get you interested as well haha! I love hiking just because of the simplicity, you can hike almost anywhere, you get to be out in nature and it's just very simple! It also just happens to be the only kind of exercise/cardio that I don't hate, so that's very helpful. 
 
So why should you hike more?
 
Well, it's not only a great form of exercise but every hike is a new adventure. On every hike you discover something new and that's something I really like. I always hike without headphones or any other distraction which is just so much nicer than listening to some boring pop-song and not listening to the wonderful sounds of nature. Wow, writing that I realised what a nerd I am haha. 
 
Hiking is also super cheap and more than often FREE! A free adventure?! Who would say no to that?! So while you are saving up for those other amazing adventures you can still explore and discover via hiking. Also, you don't really need anything but a good pair of boots and clothes to fit the weather and you're good to go!
 
When I was younger I didn't really understand the point of hiking but the older I got I realised that it's very relaxing and as a student I can really benefit from that. Between stressing over exams and going to lectures I try to squeeze a hike in to get my mind off things and you should too!
 
READ MORE: How to afford traveling
 
To help you get started with hiking I hereby present to you 5 easy tips to start hiking!
 
1. Invest in a good pair of boots! Although hiking isn't about the gear, you will benefit from a good pair of boots and they will probably last you a long time if you take good care of them. I use the Hanwag Tatra Lady GTX and I'm very satisfied since they are not only warm but also water proof.
 
2. Bring a friend! It's easier to get started if you bring a friend also if you plan to hike together it's harder to bail on eachother since no one wants to be that friend.
 
3. Dress for success! I learned this the hard way, look at the weather forecast BEFORE going on your hike or you might end up very cold or even worse in my opinion very hot. Also bring a rain jacket no matter the forecast, because you never know. 
 
4. Bring water and snacks! Hiking can be tougher than you think so bring water and snacks to be able to make it all the way. Hiking is no fun if you have low blood sugar, let's just leave it at that. 
 
5. Let other people know your hiking! If you are hiking in a remote area please inform a friend or family member three things; where you plan to hike, who you are with and how long you are planning to hike for (if it's a hike during several days). It's better to be safe than sorry in case of an emergency!
 
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Current plans

I've had a VERY hectic last week in my student life. I've decided to drop some courses and today I was finally accepted to some other courses. It's all very complicated and I'm not going to rant about it too much. Something that is way more exciting is that my part of Sweden suddenly turned in to winter wonderland over a night! There's snow EVERYWHERE! Which made me realise that I don't own any winter boots so I strolled around in my sneakers the entire day and my toes were literally wet from the moment I left my apartment until I got back home. I also managed to squeeze in a visit to IKEA (being as Swedish as I can...). But that's not the meaning of this post! I want to talk about my current travel plans!
 
So far I have no plans for the rest of January or for February but in March and April there will be some travel. My friend Olivia and I are planning to go to Brussels in March. Have any of you been there? None of us has been there before so we really want to go! Olivia is not only a good friend but also an experienced traveller. She just got home from a two month backpacking trip through Australia. I might be able to convince her to write a guest post about that haha!
 
After our potential trip to Brussel in March it's time for my mothers 50th birthday in April and she really wants to go somewhere to celebrate. Right now we are thinking about roadtripping to Denmark but we've also discussed Germany, Italy and some other countries in Europe. She's the one to make the final decision so we'll have to wait and see haha. 
 
Do you have any current travel plans? Or something else planned? Tell me in the comments!
 
Last year my family went roadtripping twice in Sweden. Would really like to do Denmark this year!

How to: Afford Traveling

Traveling doesn't have to be expensive but it sure isn't for free. I love to travel. A lot. And I'm a student which means I'm not rich, at all. So how do I afford it? Let me break it down to you. 
 
Me in front of the Eiffeltower on my first ever solo trip in 2015!
 
SAVE SAVE SAVE
 
This is the obvious answer but it's hard to save up a great amount of savings if you don't have a great income to begin with. But still, do your best. Put aside a small amount each salary and slowly but surely they will add up and become a bigger amout. I found this great 12 week savings plan over at FITnancials that you could follow or you can make your own plan. The important part is that you begin somewhere. I also try to sell clothing and other stuff I don't use anymore online. It might not make me a millionare but it's always something. My cat recently broke a toe and had to go into surgery (those vet bills were NOT cheap) and I had to dig in to my travel savings but you know what? It doesn't matter if you have a set back, YOU ARE TRYING!
 
CHANGE YOUR SPENDING HABITS
 
Don't by coffee on the go, make it at home. Bring lunch to work instead of eating out. Don't buy things you don't need or won't use. A little goes a long way and you will be surprised how much you can save each month just by changing a few things in your everyday life.
 
READ MORE: Traveling on a budget
 
I took a disposable under water camera to Cyprus with my cousin in 2014!
 
SET A REALISTIC GOAL
 
This is very important for this to work out. It's very unlikely that you will save up $2,000 in a month because you obviosly need to live as well. Don't skip out on paying your rent just so you can go to Italy or what ever haha. NOT a good idea! Instead, set a realistic goal. Maybe save $100 a month or more if you can afford. Start with small amounts, this will take time. 
 
GET A JOB
 
Hopefully, you already got one. BUT if you want to go that extra mile and speed things up a bit you can always get another job. It might be hard to balance two jobs at once so my advice is to head over to the internet. Maybe you are an awesome photographer? Sell your images online! You're an excelent writer? Do some freelancing! There are even websites like Italki where you can sign up as a online teacher and teach your language to students online! You don't have to be at two jobs at the same time, but instead of watching a whole season of Riverdale on Netflix you can earn a few bucks. As I said earlier: a little comes a long way. 
 
READ MORE: Travel mistakes to avoid
 
Traveling alone to Madrid in 2016!
 
MAKE TRAVELING A PRIORITY
 
If you're not 100% commited it will never work and you will dig into that bank account and use that money for other things. Don't do that except in case of emergency (TB to my cat that I mentioned earlier). If you really want to travel you will make it work, even if it means that you will have to live very cheap for a while. I promise, it will be worth it in the end!

My Goals for 2018

And just like that 2017 is over and a new year has started. This means that its time to set up some goals for 2018. I'm not usually one for setting goals but I really want to try it out this year. So I've come up with three major goals for this coming year.
 
Climb a mountain
 
This is my biggest goal for this year. Me and a group of family/friends is planning to climb Kebnekaise, which is the highest mountain in Sweden. It's 2096 metres above sea levels so it's not a walk in the park. This will take some serious dedication and exercise to be able to reach the top and I can admit that I'm not really in the best shape of my life right now and will have to work out more regularly if this is going to be possible. I love hiking and doing something like this has been a dream for a long time! The climb is currently planned to take place in the late summer of 2018. 
 
 
Focus on Stroke of Adventure
 
Most of you have no idea, but SOA was actually founded on Jan 4, 2017 which is more than a year ago. The plan was to start this blog back then but life (more about this later) came in the way. So therefore I really want to give this blog, YT-channel and its social media all of my attention (that's left after working and studying at uni haha...) to make it into the blog and community it was meant to be! I really want to build the brand Stroke of Adventure and continue working with it. And maybe earn a couple of bucks so I can afford to travel and share my adventures? One can only dream haha.
 

Travel more
 
To keep this blog running and to have adventures to share I have to go on adventures. And when I say travel more I mean both big and small travels. Both in Sweden and outside Sweden. I want to explore as much as possible and hope to do so this year. I hope to save up enough money this year to be able to travel to Canada either this fall or in spring 2019. I want to travel more in the region I live in and explore the northern parts of Sweden. I do feel like it's possible to travel this year and I hope it turns out that way.
 
What are your goals for 2018? Do you have anything special planned? Tell me in the comments!

Byrums Raukar, Öland

Hi! I actually left my apartment for something other than going to work och going to the vet (my cat broke a toe haha!) this week. I hopped into my car and drove over to Öland which is an island on the east coast of Sweden. I'm very fourtunate to live 5 mins away from the crossing bridge but I can count the times I visited on one hand. So when they called from work and asked if I wanted to take a day off I said HELL YES! And planned an adventure. My plan was to drive up to Byrums Raukar and hike and take some photos. Raukar is a Swedish word for a special stone formation which is formed when relatively softer rocks at beaches are eroded by the surrounding sea and a harder limestone core remains. Look at the pictures and you will understand! I've never seen them IRL and I wanted to. I drove the 1,5 hrs there and was greeted with a storm and -3ºC meaning that it was very cold! So I didn't hike as much as I planned but I still got some nice photos. 
 
 
Everything was covered in ice and I had to be extremely careful not to fall over even with my hiking boots on. But it still looked beautiful and I got there just in time for sunset which made the whole experience so much better! In these pictures you can see what I meant with the rocks, they've all been formed by the ocean which is pretty cool if you ask me. 
 
 
Do you explore the place where you live often? I'm a big believer in "exploring my own backyard" but I don't do it enough! A personal goal for 2018 must be to explore the city I live in and it's surroundings more. I've only lived here for 1,5 years and I've not seen nearly enough. There will definitely be another trip over to Öland soon.
 

Traveling On A Budget

It’s not a secret that I love traveling! But, I’m also a student which equals not very much money to travel for. However I still manage to squeeze in some traveling now and then. Here I present to you: traveling on a budget and how to do it!

I’m going to start off by saying that if you want to travel cheap you need to be flexible both on date, flight time and luggage etc. It’s usually cheaper to travel in the middle of the week and very early in the morning/late in the evening so look for that. However don’t be fooled, it’s easy to google ”cheap flights to …” and find a super cheap ticket to your destination but usually with these cheap airlines they will charge you for everything else. Want to check in a bag? They will charge you for it. Want some food on your 8h flight? They will charge you for it. And don’t forget about all the different taxes they add in the end. They price you clicked on in the beginning is no longer as cheap… So don’t just look for the cheapest option available, do some digging. And when you’re done digging, clear your browser history and cookies! Why? The internet is not stupid, the websites remember (they collect what’s called cookies) where and when you want to travel so they will up the price since they know you’re probably gonna buy it anyway. Another tip is to sign up to email-lists for several airlines, then you will get notified if they are traveling to a specific destination extra cheap or if they are having a sale!


The transport part is almost always the most expensive part but now when thats dealt with lets move on. During your stay is where you really can cut some expenses and be fine with a small budget. For accommodation there are several options: you can have all meals, some meals or no meals at the hotel/hostel/apartment. What I usually do is either book a hotel/hostel with breakfast included or no meals included. This will save some money but you will still have to eat. Since I’m a extremely picky eater (sad but true) and vegetarian I prefer cooking my own meals and occasionally eat at a restaurant to try the local food! Cooking my own meals have saved me quite a bit of money actually so I can afford to do other fun things!

Walking! It’s not only a great way to experience a destination it is also FREE. You can save a lot of money by walking instead of taking a taxi, Uber or using the local transportation systems. But if you’re going somewhere far away save some time and energy and use the local transportation, it’s usually the cheapest!

Tourist attractions (museums etc.) can sometimes be expensive so if you know before hand that there is something you really want to visit try to book it in advance. It can sometimes be cheaper to book your ticket/entrance online in advance instead of buying it at the door. This can save you some money!

They key to traveling on a budget is planning, planning and planning. Have a budget each day and do not exceed it. Cut out unnecessary expenses like buying coffee out everyday, you can usually make coffee in your hotel/hostel room, or like buying other people gifts. Buying gifts for people at home is something I struggle with not doing haha. I like to give presents and gifts so therefor I usually buy something when I’m traveling but it’s totally not necessary. Look at your habits and try to cut out unnecessary spending and your money will last a lot longer!

Look at me not following my own advice...

My Camera Gear

Hi there! Today I thought I would share one of the most questions on the entire world wide web; ”What camera do you use?”. Disclaimer: I’m not doing this because I want to brag or what ever. I just really enjoy reading other peoples blog posts like this so I wanted to do my own. I hope you’ll like it! Another disclaimer: photography is my main hobby and was one of my sources of income in high school. That’s why I have some expensive gear, you don’t need expensive gear to start out with, but it makes the process easier when you are more advanced. With all those disclaimers out of the way let’s dive right in.
 
 
CAMERAS
 
My main camera is a Canon EOS 6D since of June 2017 and it’s my first full frame camera. I switched from a Nikon D3000 which I had for 7 (!!!) years! I still have it but unfortunately it fell to the floor some while ago and now every picture turns out grainy no matter what settings you use. That’s a shame, but it will forever have a special place in my heart. On the other side, my Canon, oh my god what a camera! It’s such a difference from my old Nikon and finally I can create better images and I finally feel like the camera is on the same level as me and that we are cooperating. My Nikon was a beginners camera and after a couple of years it was too simple for me and I kind of outgrew it.
 
I also own two smaller cameras. A GoPro Hero 5 Black and a Nikon Coolpix S9900 (not seen in the pictures since my cousin is borrowing it right now). I got the GoPro for my birthday in September 2017 so I haven’t used it as much as I would like to yet, but I really like it! The Nikon S9900 was my blog/vlog camera back in the day when I ran a Swedish blog. I still keep it if I want to vlog but I rarely use it.
 
LENSES
 
I have three lenses for my Canon 6D and one for my Nikon (I sold the others when I got my new camera). My three lenses are Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 and a Sigma 17-35mm f/2.8-4. Out of these three I use the nifty-fifty the most since I think it produces the best quality photos and it’s the most versatile. It’s the lens that’s always on my camera.
 
 
 
AUDIO
 
For audio I use a Røde Videomic GO. It does the job and it's better than the built-in audio in my camera so I'm satisfied. I also have a Blue Yeti Pro if I want to do voiceovers in videos. 
 
OTHER EQUIPMENT
 
My tripod is a Manfrotto MT190 XPRO3 and it’s perfect! I rarely travel with my tripod so I only use it for shoots at home. I have been thinking of buying a super small and cheap tripod that I can bring with my without having to be too careful with it, but we’ll see. I also own a five sided reflector that I never use anymore haha. 
 
For editing I use my MacBook Pro 13’ with Photoshop, Lightroom and Final Cut Pro X. I store everything on a WD Elements hard drive. I also use a pair of Marshall-headphones when I edit videos.
 
I bought my camera bag on Wish (don't do this) and it broke at the airport on my way home from Edinburgh this winter so almost all my gear fell out of the bag whilst going through security. So now I have to buy a new one pretty soon haha. 
 
 

 
Also, today is the one year anniversary of Stroke of Adventure. So happy birthday blog!

Where to Travel in 2018?

Another year of travels is finally upon us and once again new destinations are waiting to be discovered. So now to the big question; where should you travel in 2018? Here’s five destinations, inspired by Lonely Planets ”Best in Travel”, that you totally should visit this year if you haven’t already.

 

 

CHILE

 

On the west coast of South America we find Chile, a country with a rough history but it’s now recovering. They used to have problems with human rights, democracy and poverty but just in the last 15 years Chile has reduced their poverty with over 50 %. Chile is now considered a safe country to travel to and is also home to beautiful nature, amazing culture and food! I guess that’s why it made Lonely Planets list haha. Personally I’ve never been to Chile or even South America but would love to some day, maybe in 2018?

 

Picture: Natural World Safaris & Juan Pablo Gallo
 

PORTUGAL 

 

A European country that I’ve actually looked in to visiting this year. Portugal has for many years been in the shadow of it’s neighbor Spain but since my grandparents visited a couple years ago I’ve been very interested in Portugal. In Portugal you can find both long sandy beaches as well as bigger cities like Lisbon. For me, as a student and a European, Portugal is a relatively affordable destination. I did a quick flight search and from the US to Portugal it’s about $800 but if you live in Europe it’s around $150. So for me, it’s an affordable destination that I would love to visit soon!

 

Picture: The Thelegraph
 

MAURITIUS 

 

Who can say no to this beautiful, exotic, tropical island? I have a friend visiting Mauritius in this very moment and oh gosh her Instagram-feed right now, so beautiful (I truly sounded like a millennial there haha). Just outside Madagascar in the middle of the Indian Ocean we find this paradise island. Mauritius is definitely one of my dream destinations with it’s beautiful beaches. Mauritius used to be a colony of the Netherlands, France and U.K. so they have therefor no official language but speak French and English. 

 

Picture: And Beyond 
 

MALTA

 

Another beautiful island and another European gem. In the middle of the Mediterranean Sea we find Malta, a small country with only about 400,000 people. Malta offers something for everyone; beautiful snorkeling, hiking, golfing and of course just hanging out on some of the nice beaches. I realized, writing this, that I don’t have much knowledge about Malta so I take this as a hint that I have to travel there soon haha! 

 

Picture: Holiday Guru
 

DJIBOUTI

 

This is the destination I was most excited about when I read Lonely Planets list. I’ve never heard of Djibouti so I immediately started googling haha, but I couldn’t find much information about it! Djibouti is a small country in Eastern Africa with a population of less than a million and the country is apparently a must if you like snorkeling. Independent  writes ”the experience is more like swimming in David Attenborough’s Blue Planet – and entails the kind of wildness that’s so rare in today’s tourism.” so I guess it must be outstanding! According to Lonely Planet, “this petite nation is in the process of being ripped in three by diverging tectonic plates. Magma seethes beneath ever-thinning crust; Martian-like deserts spew steam from fumaroles; and sunken lake shores glisten with huge salt crystals.” so it seems like if you want to visit Djibouti soon before it’s literally ripped apart. 

 

Picture: Kempinski 
 

 
I've not really planned any big trips (yet!) for 2018 but I really hope to go somewhere tropical since all my recent trips has been city-weekends. Me and a friend were talking about going somewhere in June but I'm sure I will do at least one other journey before that haha. Have you planned any travels for 2018? Where to? Are you going to visit any destinations from the list? Please tell me in the comments! And also, happy new year! Can't wait to see what this year will bring!

Travel Mistakes to Avoid

Many of us love to travel and when we decide to do so mistakes are unavoidable. I've made mistakes and propaply you too. So here are some travel mistakes you should try to avoid!
 
 
Planning too much
Trying to plan out your entire trip is tempting since nowadays you can get so many tips and recommendations online. But be careful not to plan too much, usually the best and most memorable moments are spontaneus and not planned in advance. So try not to plan and follow the guide book too much. Plan in moderation and then explore the location more when you get there. Ask locals for recommendations or just walk around and try to find your own hidden gems!
 
Overpacking 
I've not always been a light packer but oh boy has it saved many of my travels! On recent trips I made an effort to just bring a carry-on bag and a backpack since that's usually all I need. Of course if I'm going on a longer trip than just a week or a couple of days I would probably bring a check-in bag but I try to avoid it for as long as I can. Whilst packing I try to do some research on the weather so I don't pack clothes I won't be using. I try to bring as little as possible and in case I run out of clothes I can always do some washing up at the hostel or where ever I'm staying. 
 
 
Experiencing your trip through your camera
Sometimes you just need to put your camera away and actually experience your travels. This has been very hard for me especially since I am a photographer but the older I got I realised that photos to show everyone back home or to post on Instagram isn't everything. So put your camera down and explore some more! Also, don't forget to back-up the photos you actually take! You'll be devastated if you loose all you pictures...
 
Forgetting to check your passport
You probably already made sure that your passport hasn't expired BUT you must be aware of that some countries require that passports must be valid for six months past the date of your flight home, and 26 European nations require that passports must be valid for three months past. So check your passport once again to make sure you'll be fine!
 
Following everyone else
If you're traveling with someone or in a group there will always be discussions about what to do. Some might want to go shopping whilst some of the group might want to visit a local museum. Don't follow everyone else, split up for the day and do what makes YOU happy and do want you want to do or you'll regret it when you get back home. There's nothing wrong with having different interests and wanting to see and experience different things or parts of a location but make sure you get what you want out of YOUR trip. 
 

My Travel Diary: Edinburgh

This post was planned weeks ago but exams and Christmas came in the way... But better late than never I guess!
 
I'm back home from Edinburgh and it's time to conclude my trip! I had never been to Edinburgh or Scotland before and I LOVED IT! Even though it reminded me of England it was completely different. We spent 3 nights in Edinburgh and we stayed at the Britannia Hotel West End. The hotel was nothing fancy or extra ordinary but it was a bed to sleep in and breakfast in the morning. It was actually the only hotel availabe relatively close to the city centre during our stay so we didn't have much choice haha. But it was super cosy since we lived in the "old part" of the hotel and not in the recently built part. 
 
 
On the night we arrived we also went to a really nice pub called The Grosvenor on Shadwick Place which was only a 5-8 min walk from our hotel. The perfect distance after traveling the entire evening (our flight was of course delayed...). 
 
 
The first day we spent Christmas shopping! We were all very excited for Primark since we don't have that in Sweden. And I will admit that I spent a bit more money then planned haha. But the highlight of the day was the evening as we went on a ghost tour around the city! It was so interesting! I learned a lot about the horrible history of Edinburgh. This was my first time doing a guided tour (except at like museums with school when I was younger) and I will totally do it again! I doesn't have to be expensive either. In fact, the tour we did was free but we of course paid tips at the end since we really liked it. The tour started on the Royal Mile and took circa 1hr 15mins. 
 
 
On day 2 we decided to explore the area around the Royal Mile some more. One of our favourite discoveries was a super cute vintage shop called W. Armstrong & Son. If you want to see more of the shop, check out the video below! The area where the vintage shop is located is called Grassmarket and of course there was a market as well. Not very big but so cute!
 
 
One of the highlights of this day was our visit to Greyfriars kirkyard. Both Sandra and I are big Harry Potter fans so obviously we had to visit Voldemorts grave. Definitely a must-visit if you are a HP-fan! Hope you like this very touristy picture of me next to the stone haha.
 
 
That same day we also walked up to the Edinburgh Castle and oh my gosh the view from up there! Beautiful! But waaaaay too many people for my liking. There were people EVERYWHERE. Not a big fan. We didn't go inside the castle this time but if I visit Edinburgh again I would love to. 
 
 
On the last day we visited the Christmas Market again and it felt so nice getting into the Christmas spirit. There was mulled wine, hot chocolate, handy crafts and many other things. I bought a hot chocolate and a hand made wooden lantern for my mum for Christmas (she really liked it!). This concluded our trip to Edinburgh as we traveled back home the day after. But before we went to the airport we hade some time to visit the National Museum of Scotland (they have a roof terrace with a panoramic view over Edinburgh!!!). Big recommendation if you visit Edinburgh! 
 
 

If you want to see the entire trip in a video, you're in luck! I made a video for my YouTube. If you like it, don't forget to like and subscribe HERE. Also don't forget to follow my adventures over on Instagram! @strokeofadventure 
 
WELCOME!
Stroke of Adventure is a travel related blog, Instagram and YouTube-channel. Stroke of Adventure was founded with the purpose for me to share my adventures (both big and small), tips and other things related to travel.

SOA is written by me, Mie, and I'm a 20 y/o traveler, student and photographer from Sweden. You can read more about me if you click "About me" in the top menu.

Welcome to Stroke of Adventure. Come travel the world with me.

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