My road trip through Ireland

Headed to Ireland? Rent a car and hop in for the best road trip of your life.

Last summer I took the best trip around Southern and Central Ireland and I am convinced this is the best way to see the country. We flew into Dublin and rented a car and drove to our accommodations right away. We'd be back for Dublin later. We got an Airbnb in the center of the country in a small town called Croom located in County Limerick so we could make various day trips. Here were our destinations and the things you need to know:

County Limerick, Croom and Adare

The farmhouse we stayed in was gorgeous! A two storey house with tons of living space and an open kitchen provided the five of us with enough space to spread out. James, the owner of the home met us there upon our arrival. He was so sweet and accommodating and even left us travel resources. Check out his listing on Airbnb here! The views from the backyard were incredible! All you could see for miles was green and the occasional cow. Across the street was a nice hiking trail where you could see even more of the beautiful Irish countryside. The kitchen was fully equipped, so we saved money by eating breakfast here before setting out for the day. I find grocery shopping abroad really fun because it can be so different which brings me to our next destination.

Croom had no grocery store so we had to make a quick trip to the neighboring town, Adare. This was such an amazing happy accident and we ended up returning a few times! Adare's main street is flanked with small shops, bars, and restaurants. After grocery shopping, we stopped in Aunty Lena's Bar And Lounge which quickly became a favorite. The locals seemed to regard it as your average local pub but to us it was a treat. My first night there, I had their Bangers and Mash and it was incredible. I think that's the first of many times on this trip I decided I needed to move to Ireland. There are potatoes in almost every dish - these must be my people, I thought. Aunty Lena's and other local pubs boasted live music most nights of the week. A combination between top 40's and old Irish folk songs, it was the perfect soundtrack to dinner.

Some of Ireland's amazing food at Aunty Lena'sPhoto by Anie Delgado

County Kerry, Killarney

Our first full day in Ireland was spent driving to Killarney in County Kerry to visit the Muckross grounds. We visited the haunting Abbey and cemetery first which is a must-see! The old stone tombstones and structures overgrown with greenery is eerie but down the road near the house and the gardens is an entirely different vibe. The gardens are bright and well manicured. They are the perfect spot to stop and have a picnic. We packed some lunch with us to save money and ate in the shade of a tree overlooking the gardens. Nearby, there was a shop where they sold handmade goods like gorgeous hats, pottery, Trinity crystal, and more. Killarney is a quick hour and 20 minutes from Croom and I definitely recommend visiting if you love architecture.

County Galway, Galway

Possibly the destination I was most excited for as an artist myself was Galway. I didn't know exactly what to expect and the city surpassed any expectations I did have. You can feel the artistic soul of the place in the buzzing streets. We came across a group of street performers called the Galway Street Gang who were 15 or so strong playing Irish Folk songs and Bob Marley covers throughout the streets. We ran into them later when they hopped a boat and serenaded Galway Bay. Besides walking around, there are tons of bars to see in Galway. Most notable, Róisín Dubh is known as a legendary music hall. I enjoyed a drink there during one of their quieter times and loved the space. Galway is crowded with stores selling handmade clothing and housewares and even music stores selling hand carved wooden instruments. Galway is a quick hour and a half from Croom, so again it was an easy trip and definitely a must-see!

The streets of GalwayPhoto by Anie Delgado

County Cork, Blarney and Kinsale

The next day we made sure to cross visiting a castle off our bucket list. We chose the Blarney Castle known for the Blarney Stone. The legend is that if you kiss the stone you get the gift of gab which is essentially charisma. Locals joke that they pee on the stone at night when all the tourists go home and made up the legend as a prank on the tourists. Regardless, I kissed the stone. What can I say? I did it for the 'gram. The castle itself was tall and narrow and well preserved. There were signs all around indicating what each space was used for. My favorite part was the poison garden just outside. It was really fun to read about all of the poisonous plants and crazy to think that they are right there within arms reach of guests!

Later that day, we continued further South into County Cork to Kinsale. We heard that Kinsale boasted the best fish and chips and had to try it. Kinsale was super fun because it was a smaller, less-touristy town and it was a bank-holiday so we got to interact with more locals. We indulged in fish and chips at Kitty O Se's and they were pretty good!

The Blarney CastlePhoto by Anie Delgado

The view from the top of Blarney Castle.Photo by Anie Delgado

Kissing the Blarney Stone: DuringPhoto by Marie Delgado

Kissing the Blarney Stone: AfterPhoto by Marie Delgado

County Clare, Doolin and the Aran Islands

The next day we spent in Doolin and seeing the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. Check out my post about The Cliffs of Moher and The Aran Islands here.

County Limerick, City of Limerick

We were told since we were staying in County Limerick we couldn't miss Limerick. We were also told that it was one of the rougher areas in Ireland, but we had a blast. We visited King John's Castle which was one of the best museums I've ever been to. It was interactive and they also had historical reenactments throughout the day. After the museum we went to a pub around the corner and enjoyed some step dancing!

King John's CastlePhoto by Anie Delgado

The historic river outside King John's CastlePhoto by Anie Delgado


Our last trip was to the capital of Dublin. Dublin was a little overwhelming even for this city girl! There are so many things to see and so many attractions that it's hard to do just one day here which is something I noted for next time! Some of our big stops were the Guinness Factory, The National Museum, and Trinity College. We also walked around the streets and stumbled across an amazing old bookstore with (very expensive) original signed copies of novels from the greats like Ernest Hemingway. We also stopped in the country's oldest bar, Temple Bar.

Having the freedom to roam the country without worrying about transportation made all of the difference! I highly recommend road tripping through Ireland if you visit.

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It's no secret that the restaurant scene in New York City is one of the most impressive in the world.

Whatever you could want to eat, you can find it in New York—meaning that even if you have a slightly restrictive diet, like veganism, there's plenty of options for you. Local fast-casual chains like By Chloe and Superiority Burger are making New York one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, but the deliciousness doesn't stop there.

Between Manhattan and Brooklyn, there's been a boom of vegan restaurants that'll satisfy any craving. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Blossom(Upper West Side + Greenwich Village)

vegan restaurant

With two locations serving both Uptown and Downtown, Blossom is a go-to for local and tourist vegans alike. They offer an elevated dining experience (and a wide-spanning takeout radius) that puts a cruelty-free spin on classic main dishes like chicken piccata, rigatoni, and grilled salmon. Complete your dinner with a fresh, fruity cocktail and tiramisu—but reservations are strongly recommended beforehand.

Jajaja (West Village + Lower East Side)

vegan Jajaja

Jajaja is the ultimate heaven for Mexican food addicts. Get your fix of south of the border staples like burritos, street tacos, and enchiladas that'll make you second guess whether or not it's actually vegan (pro tip: The nacho portion is large enough to be a meal for one person). They also have a small but mighty menu of tequila and mezcal cocktails to kick off a night of LES bar-hopping. It gets crowded here quickly, though, so try to schedule your dinner early.

Urban Vegan Kitchen(West Village)

Urban Vegan Kitchen

We get it—eating vegan can get kind of bland sometimes. But that's not an issue at Urban Vegan Kitchen, the type of restaurant that'll have you wanting to order one of everything on the menu (but we recommend the "chicken" and waffles). Co-owned by the founder of Blossom, they boast a menu that's just as edgy and exciting as their decor. Their space is large too, making it a crowd-pleasing option for a slightly larger group.

Champs Diner (Williamsburg)

Champs Diner vegan

Located near the border of hip neighborhoods Williamsburg and Bushwick, Champs is a favorite of many young Brooklynites. Their menu is full of vegan alternatives to classic diner fare like breakfast plates, cheeseburgers, and even milkshakes that taste mysteriously like the real deal, while the decor puts a quintessential Brooklyn edge on '50s digs. Who said going plant-based had to be healthy all the time, anyway?

Peacefood (Greenwich Village)

vegan Peacefood

Conveniently located just a stone's throw from Union Square—near both NYU and the New School—Peacefood is a hotspot for college students, but vegans of any age are guaranteed to enjoy their menu. They specialize in comfort food items like quiche, chicken parmesan, and chili with corn bread—all plant-based, of course. While their "chicken" tender basket is to die for, make sure to save room for dessert here, too; Peacefood's lengthy pastry menu is a dream come true.

Buddha Bodai (Chinatown)

Buddha Bodai vegan

Dim sum restaurants in Chinatown are a dime a dozen, but Buddha Bodai takes the cake for the best veggie-friendly experience in one of New York's most bustling neighborhoods. Bring your family or friends along with you to enjoy this massive menu of buns and dumplings stuffed with any type of mock meat you could want. This is also a great option for gluten-free vegans, too, as much of their menu accommodates a gluten-free diet.

Greedi Kitchen (Crown Heights)

Greedi Kitchen vegan

Crown Heights might not be the first neighborhood people think of when it comes to dining in Brooklyn, but Greedi Kitchen is making the case for delicious restaurants in the area. Inspired by its founder's many years of travel, Greedi Kitchen combines the comforting flavors of southern soul food with the added pizazz of global influences. Try one of their po'boys or the crab cake sliders. Trust us.

Screamer’s Pizzeria (Greenpoint + Crown Heights)

Screamer's Pizza vegan

We know what you're thinking: Pizza without real cheese? Call us crazy, but Screamer's does vegan pizza to perfection. If you're into classic pies like a simple margherita or pepperoni, or you want to branch out with unexpected topping combinations, Screamer's is delicious enough to impress carnivores, too (pro tip: the Greenpoint location is small and serves most pies by the slice, while the Crown Heights location is larger for sitting down).

Learning a second language is one of the coolest and most rewarding things you can do in your spare time.

However, if hopping on a one-way ticket to your country of choice isn't an option for you, it can be difficult to find an immersive experience to learn, especially past high school or college.

The next best thing is language-learning apps.

We wanted to look at the top two: DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone. Duolingo is the new kid on the block; one of the top downloaded, this free app is a favorite. Then, there's the legacy option: Rosetta Stone. For over 20 years, they've been developing their language-learning software, and their app is the most recent innovation.

They're both great options, but keep reading to figure out which one is the best for you.

Key Similarities

  • Both claim you'll expand your vocabulary
  • Both are available as an app for iOS and Android users
  • Both have a clean user interface with appealing graphics
  • Both have offline capabilities (if you pay)

Key Differences

  • DuoLingo has a popular free version along with its paid version, whereas Rosetta Stone only has a paid version
  • DuoLingo offers 35+ languages, and Rosetta Stone offers 24 languages
  • Rosetta Stone has an advanced TruAccent feature to detect and correct your accent
  • DuoLingo offers a breadth of similar vocab-recognizing features, and Rosetta Stone offers a wider variety of learning methods, like Stories

DuoLingo Overview

DuoLingo's app and its iconic owl have definitely found a place in pop culture. One of the most popular free language-learning apps, it offers 35 different languages, including Klingon, that can be learned through a series of vocabulary-matching games.

DuoLingo offers a free version and a version for $9.99 a month without ads and with offline access.

Rosetta Stone Overview

The Rosetta Stone app is a beast. There are 24 different languages to choose from, but more importantly, you get a huge variety of methods for learning. Not only are there simple games, but there are stories where you get to listen, the Seek and Speak feature, where you go on a treasure hunt to photograph images and get the translations, and the TruAccent feature, which will help you refine your accent. Whenever you speak into the app, you'll get a red/yellow/green rating on your pronunciation, so you can fine-tune it to really sound like you have a firm grasp of the language.

Rosetta Stone costs just $5.99 a month for a 24-month subscription, which gives you access to all of their 24 languages!

Final Notes

Overall, these are both excellent apps for increasing your proficiency in a new language! They both feel quite modern and have a fun experience.

When it comes to really committing words to memory and understanding them, Rosetta Stone is king.

DuoLingo definitely will help you learn new words, and the app can be addicting, but users report it as more of a game than a means to an end.

With Rosetta Stone's variety of features, you'll never get bored; there are more passive elements and more active elements to help you activate different parts of your brain, so you're learning in a more dynamic and efficient way.

The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers only: Up To 45% Off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Languages & Free Tutoring Sessions!


So You Want to Try Workaway

Want to travel cheap, meet locals and kindred spirits, live off the land, and possibly change your life? It might be time to try Workaway.

Sitting in a house on a hill in Tuscany, Italy, watching the sun set and listening to the sound of music coming from the house in which I was staying almost rent-free, I wondered how I had gotten this lucky.

Actually, it was really all thanks to one website—

Workaway Workaway

Workaway is a site that sets travelers up with hosts, who provide visitors with room and board in exchange for roughly five hours of work each weekday. The arrangement varies from host to host—some offer money, others require it—but typically, the Workaway experience is a rare bird: a largely anti-capitalist exchange.

I did four Workaways the summer I traveled in Europe, and then one at a monastery near my home in New York the summer after. Each experience, though they lasted around two weeks each, was among the most enriching times of my life—and I'd argue I learned almost as much through those experiences as I did in four years of college.

There's something extremely special about the Workaway experience, though it's certainly not for everyone.

Workaway Isn't for Everyone: What to Know Before You Go

I loved all the Workaways I went on, but the best advice I can give to anyone considering going is: Enter with an open mind. If you're someone who doesn't do well with the unexpected, if you're not willing to be flexible, if you're a picky eater or easily freaked out, then it's likely that you won't have a good experience at a Workaway.

There are exceptions to all of this. At the Workaway I stayed at in Italy, one of the travelers was suffering from stomach bloating, and the host helped cure her with a diet of miso. (I'm not saying you should go Workawaying if you're ill—this traveler's mother also came to oversee everything—but still, you never know what you'll find).


You should also probably be willing and able to actually work at your Workaway. These aren't vacations, and some hosts will be stricter and less forgiving than others regarding your work ethic. If you're someone who has no experience with difficult farm work, for example, it might not be a good idea to do a Workaway on a farm.

How to Choose a Host

The Workaway website boasts a truly overwhelming number of hosts. You can narrow your search down by location, but you can also search key terms that can help guide you in the right direction. You might search "music," for example—that's how I found the Italy location. You'll find hosts in busy cities and in the most remote mountains of India; you'll find opportunities to tutor and explore. You'll find shadiness, too, so trust your instincts.

Take time to actually read the host's entire bio before reaching out. Read all the comments, too, and if you're nervous or a first-timer, only reach out to hosts who have exclusively glowing reviews. I had the best experiences with hosts that had left extremely detailed bios—that showed me they were likely going to be dedicated hosts.

I also chose hosts whose bios gave me a good feeling, something like a spark of electricity or recognition. This instinctual method might not work for everyone, but it certainly led me in the right direction in all of my Workaway experiences. My Workaways gave me some of the best memories and deepest relationships of my life, and that was partly thanks to the fact that I chose places that were good fits for me.

For example, I chose to stay alone with a wizened academic in France. Something about his bio and descriptions resonated with me enough to trust him. (I also read some of his many thousand-page-long treatises on peace and compassion and decided that if someone could write this and be a psychopath, this wasn't a world I wanted to live in anyway). It was the right decision—and the two weeks I spent there were some of the most enlightening of my entire life.

When you reach out to a host, particularly if it's someone you really want to stay with, it's a good idea to frame your initial contact email as a cover letter of sorts—make sure you explain who you are and personalize your letter to fit each host.

Ixcanaan A Workaway painting experienceWorkaway

Travel Safely

Especially if you're traveling alone, it's always a good idea to choose a host whose page has tons of good reviews. Aside from that, a quick Google search and a scan of any social media pages related to your potential host can't hurt.

Ultimately, Workawaying requires a certain amount of trust and faith on both the host and the traveler's parts—you're either trusting someone to stay in your home or trusting a stranger to host and feed you.

But that trust, in my experience, also results in rapid and deep connections unlike anything I've experienced in the "real world." When you go and share a home with someone, you're also sharing yourself with them, and in that exchange there are the seeds of a powerful bond.

Participate Fully

Wherever you go, you'll want to open your mind and participate fully. Adjust yourself to your host's lifestyle, not the other way around, and take time to get to know your host and the others around you.

You might find that you become someone you never knew you were. As a lifelong introvert, I somehow managed to develop close relationships with many of the people I was staying with.

This might be because most people who are at Workaways are seeking something for one reason or another. In my experience, you find lots of people who are at junctures in their lives, seeking connection and meaning. With the right Workaway, you might just find it.

Workaway The Broke Backpacker - WorkawayThe Broke Backpacker