Category Archives: united kingdom

Why the Mongol Rally? #LolasMRJourney


I’m setting off on what is surely the biggest adventure of my life so far. And as excited as I am I’m also nervous. It’s hard to say goodbye to all that you know to go into a world of unknowns. It’s also thrilling. I’m opening myself up to any possibility and letting my story unfold.

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Meeting new people and experiencing new things is one of the most exciting parts of life for me. I know this adventure will change me in ways I don’t even know. It’s partially why I’m doing it. I believe in getting out there and living.

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But I know leaving my life behind, even if only for an extended period, that things will change with that too. But I guess you never grow if you aren’t open to change. My friends say I’m brave. I’m not sure about that. I just need to do what I need to do.

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Someone said recently that I have high hopes and I hear that if you have “low expectations then you’ll be happy” but I respectfully disagree. I think you should live life looking forward to great things. You should have high hopes. For the good that’s out there. For what you are and what you’ll become.

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Living life with low expectations is sad in my opinion. Maybe you don’t get disappointed but you also don’t raise the bar for the world to rise to. Maybe you don’t get hurt by things but you also don’t feel the great potential in it all.

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Besides seeking a life of adventure, I’ll be looking for all the joy in the journey. The little things that give me hope and set my expectations for something greater. The world is too wonderful not to believe in it to its full potential. For me, the Mongol Rally isn’t just about reaching Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It’s about “the journey is the destination” more than ever.

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I’m going places I never expected to go. I will be meeting people and learning things I never expected to learn. And I feel so lucky! Lucky to explore. Discovery in myself and the outside world has never led me wrong. I hope you enjoy the ride. The insight. The funny moments. The mishaps. The wonder. The reasons to have dreams and high hopes!

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I’ll be posting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as often as I can with the hashtag #LolasMRJourney


Filed under mongol rally, mongolia, travel, united kingdom

10 Tips for Surviving the Mongol Rally

Very excited to have a guest post today from a veteran of the Mongol Rally last year and friend, Britany Robinson, who’s the travel writer behind Stars on the Ceiling – a blog for Millennial travelers and adventurers. She’ll soon be taking off on a 3 month road trip across the United States, putting her Mongol Rally skills to good use in her search for destinations that appeal to the Millennial generation.


Last year, I participated in the Mongol Rally, and one year later, it remains one of my favorite talking points. This 10,000 mile drive is ridiculous, stressful, overwhelming, and wonderful – and I can’t wait to live vicariously through Team Mongolistic 4 this summer! Mystery and surprise are what make this route so thrilling, so I won’t give too much away, but I do have some practical advice to offer Lola and her team…

McDonald’s are the new Starbucks

Looking for Wi-Fi and a predictable menu? McDonald’s are where it’s at. Even if you’ve sworn off McFoods (like moi), you may reconsider when you see how much nicer McDonald’s are in Europe. There is almost always the McCafe counter with options for the more health conscious. And they ALL have Wi-Fi, which you’re going to crave from the confines of your car.

Find Lodging Before Midnight

In Western Europe, there are plenty of truck stop motels along the major highways, but SURPRISE – truckers fill them up at night and it can be extremely frustrating to find a room, particularly after an exhausting day of driving.

Opt for early nights and early mornings so as to not waste time trying motel after motel.

Once you’re in Eastern Europe and beyond, you’ll likely start camping with more frequency – which is also a tricky (and shady) option come nightfall. Find your campsites well before sundown and give yourselves time to set up and make dinner before it’s dark.

Splurge When You Can

There will be plenty of opportunity for earning your “I roughed it on the Mongol Rally” badges, so don’t push it. Savor the showers and comfortable beds when you have them. Before you know it, they’ll be a distant memory!


Scarves are invaluable

Scarves were my savior on the road — not only for throwing over a dirty t-shirt and making myself relatively presentable, but also for sudden temperature drops at night, and for covering up in the more modest of countries.

Layer, Layer, Layer

Again with the temperatures – no matter your route, they will likely be all over the place. Mongolia was a particular surprise, as we went from desert surroundings to snow-capped mountains, and with that transition, the temperatures dropped drastically.

I wound up rocking the shell of a teammates winter coat while he wore the lining because I hadn’t thought to bring warmer layers.

Trust me, you’ll need them.

Cherish Your Alone Time

You love your teammates. You want to experience everything with your teammates.

Until, suddenly, you don’t and you’re secretly dying to speed off at the next rest stop while they’re paying for gas.

OK, maybe it won’t be that bad. But no matter how much you love each other at the start, hours on end in a car together will test even the tightest of teams. So enjoy your alone time when you have it. Exploring a city for the day? Take the opportunity to go see something your fellow ralliers might not be interested in.

Once you’re camping in the steppe, your only reprieve will be sleep – and even then you might listen to them snoring from their neighboring tent.


Go Easy on New Foods

You think a stomach emergency is rough in the shared bathroom of a hostel? Try facing this situation in the flat expanse of the Kazakhstan desert without so much as a healthy bush to hide behind.

Carry the usual stomach meds for emergencies, and err on the side of caution when sampling new cuisines along your route. (There’s a good chance you’ll accidentally eat horse at some point.)

Border Crossings are a Bitch. Brace Yourself.

We were pleasantly surprised by border crossings for most of our Mongol Rally route – until we got to the border of Russia and Mongolia and were held there for five days.

You just never know when some piece of paperwork is going to make your life extremely difficult. Factoring in an extra full day for each border crossing

Capture it all

Nobody wants to be that jerk that keeps the camera rolling when you’ve run out of gas on the side of a dirt road and its 110 degrees out and you’ve got half a bottle of scorching water and no food. Until the rally has concluded and you’re the one with the priceless footage of the most memorable moments. Be that jerk.

No matter what – it will be over too fast. Enjoy it.

There will be many moments where you’ll long for the comforts that await you at the finish line. Just remember that once you’re there, the adventure has concluded. Enjoy every flat tire, mosquito bite, border line, and bad meal. These challenges may feel draining at the time, but they’re what make the memories you’ll hold on to, and they’re what will make this story worth telling.

Good luck Team Mongolistic 4! I know you’re going to rock this rally with style!

Thanks, Britany, for all your advice including all my messages with silly questions. There may still be a few more before July 19th!

xo – Lola



Filed under mongol rally, mongolia, travel, united kingdom

It’s #Movember – That Means Mustaches & #ManlyMoments


BIG SURPRISE that Lola can get behind mustaches… you know my love of wearing faux ones around the world. I’ve even got my friends wearing them because being ‘stachey is FUN!! But in all seriousness, November and #Movember are important! It’s a time where people participate in growing mustaches to raise awareness for testicular and prostate cancer. I rejoice because I feel I’m amongst kindred mustache spirits on top of the good deeds it represents.

My adorable friend Raymond from Man on the Lam is doing a HUGE campaign that is quite enviable if you ask me about #Movember. Thanks to Leah Travels for asking me to participate in making my own #ManlyMoments bucket list to support this worthy cause. So here it goes, some will happen and some will never! I’m ok with that – are you?


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Lola, once upon a time, did a sprint triathlon and thought to myself, wouldn’t be amazing to be so fit you could swim the English Channel. Let me just say, that 1/2 mile swim was the hardest part of my race. I cannot imagine ever being able to do this feat but am super impressed by all those that make this a goal and set out to achieve it. Very manly indeed.



I wish I could say I can sail. I cannot. I’d like a decent size sailboat along with a handsome crew to do the dirty work for me. I promise to entertain them with my pirate-like antics and rum drinking. I’m buying, so I say let’s taste all the different rums out there in the turquoise Caribbean!


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This one I actually think will happen. It’s been on my list for a while and based on what I’ve heard and read, you can have quite the adventurous yet glamorous experience in just a few short days. I like a little action packed activity on my vacays so this sounds really perfect for Lola.



Happily, I can report this #ManlyMoment will get ticked off Lola’s list this summer. It may seem anti-Lola to want to do the Mongol Rally but I think it sounds like an adventure of a lifetime. Yes, it will be challenging for this poshaholic but I look forward to roughing it. It will make the post-rally rewards that much sweeter. And, that’s the way I roll.



So, as you may know, I’m a Texan. And as a Texan, I love the idea of participating in an organized cattle drive tour. I have 3 pairs of cowboy boots and a belt with a ginormous buckle so I’d say I’m pretty much ready to go. Can’t you just see it now?! Pink cowboy hat and boots…me tossing a lasso and capturing a cowboy err I mean roping a cow. Let a girl dream 😉


Now for the serious stuff. The goal is to raise awareness of Movember and men’s health issues. Whether you are a blogger or a reader, you can participate in this great cause.

  • Read along as Raymond attempts to complete his Manly Bucket List at
  • Follow along on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #Movember and #ManlyMoments
  • Go to to find out more about men’s health issues, support a Mo Bro or Mo Sistah, or to register to become one yourself.
  • Check out the schedule for the Made Man Movember Mo’asis Bus Tour and come on by if you are in the neighborhood for free shaves and tons of great activities.
  • Last but not least, DONATE!

OR can make your own #ManlyMoments Bucket List! All you need to do is:

  • Choose five activities you’d like to do and create your own #ManlyMoments Bucket List – they can be something you commit to do during Movember, or simply something you’d like to do before you kick the bucket. (Ladies, this is open to you too!)
  • Nominate five bloggers to create their own #ManlyMoments Bucket List.
  • Include a link to Movember to encourage people to register or donate.
  • Tweet and share your posts with the hashtags #Movember and #ManlyMoments

Also, every time you send a tweet, Vine, Instagram, or post to Facebook with your manly photos, or text using the hashtag #ManlyMoments, the folks at Made Man will donate $1 to the Movember cause.  You’ll also be entered into a draw for a Trip for Two to Las Vegas to experience your very own Mancation, which includes the Top Gun Experience from Sky Combat Ace. Sounds good to moi!

I’m tagging a few of my favorites to play along and I know they will come up with clever posts for their #ManlyMoments!!

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Calan from Discovering Your Truth

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Joshua from Engineer on the Road

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Tom from Waegook-Tom

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Yishyene from Small Crazy

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Brian from The Travel Vlogger


Filed under bucket list, caribbean, mongolia, travel, united kingdom, USA

Four Great Places to Visit in London

There’s so much to see and do in England’s capital city that in can be hard to know where to start. I’m off to Londontown again this week. I’m heading there for a conference but in my spare time, I think I’d like to see a few new things. If you’ve already exhausted some of the most well-known tourist hot spots then, once you’ve booked train tickets to London, why not head to some of the following places to see what they have to offer?

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Borough Market

If you’re feeling peckish or just looking for people watching, a trip to Borough Market is well worth taking. It’s open for wholesale trade in the week but if you’d like a look you’ll find Thursday, Friday or Saturday is the time to go. The historic market has traditionally been famous for its fruit and vegetables, but these days you’ll find a wider selection from across the globe. There are plenty of options for grabbing hot food on the go too, so there’s no reason you need to head home with your tummy rumbling. 


St Martin-in-the-Fields Church

While you might be familiar with Trafalgar Square, you may have overlooked St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, which boasts stunning Georgian architecture dating back to 1222 and can be found in its north-east corner. As you’d expect it hosts a number of services, but it also offers live music throughout the week and the chance to grab a bite to eat in the café. MMMM.


Greenwich Park

While it can be an expensive place, the good news for those getting trains to London is the massive selection of things you can enjoy without spending a penny. The city’s green spaces certainly fall in to this category and Greenwich Park, to the south-east, is a favorite for many.  It covers 183 acres and – with it being situated on a hill – offers some fantastic views of St Paul’s Cathedral, the City and the River Thames. It’s also home to deer, a wide range of wildlife, the Royal Observatory and a selection of facilities, including places to grab a drink or a bite to eat. 

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Dom Severs’ House

If you enjoy the unusual, Dom Severs’ House, which is located on Folgate Street, Spitalfields could be for you. The Grade II listed Georgian terraced property is a historical imagination of what life might have looked like for a fictional family of Huguenot silk weavers in the 18th or 19th century. So, if you’re looking for a trip back in time while in London, give it a look.


Filed under london, travel, united kingdom

A City Experience & Country Escape in the UK with @FourSeasons

As you probably know, I have a big imagination. Sometimes I feel my life is like a movie. When I travel places it hard not to compare them to things I have seen on the big screen. I’m sure I’m not the only one that does this.


Traveling to the United Kingdom definitely conjures up visions of movies for me. I have a thing for the English and their stories…let’s call it a small obsession. So, it was like a dream to have a city experience in London and then a country escape to Hampshire. For me, it was very much like James Bond meets Pride & Prejudice. I know you must be able to imagine what I mean but you might still wonder how this happened. The location is part of the reason, of course, but the bigger explanation was where I was staying.


In London I stayed at the Four Seasons Park Lane. Maybe you are familiar with this property, it opened in 1970 as Four Seasons first European Hotel. Renovated and reopened in 2011, it’s now sexy, sleek and understated. Four Seasons Park Lane is playful but all English.

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Inspired by the 1930’s golden age of travel, the property’s color scheme is black with splashes of red and animal print. The house car is a Rolls Royce.  The restaurant has a wall of wine – all available by the glass.  The staff is impeccable. It feels like 007 will round the corner at any moment – most definitely luxurious and swanky enough for the likes of that infamous spy.  The property has 193 rooms and an amazing restaurant and bar, Amaranto, which serves inventive Italian with English style. I particularly loved their extensive cocktail menu MMMM.


Not to be missed at Park Lane is their incredible spa. The views of Hyde Park are ALMOST as good as the treatments. Located in the center of Mayfair, Four Seasons Park Lane is the ultimate city hotel just steps away from Knightsbridge. Another notable perk to this property is their 10th floor lounge made available for guests with early morning arrivals. How lovely since I typically arrive in London at 6AM!!


In the country I stayed at the Four Seasons Hampshire, an 18th century Georgian manor house with quite the storied past. Located in the heart of Hampshire, Dogmersfield Park was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and was the site of the first meeting between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Even Queen Elizabeth has visited this country estate. All I can say is it’s exactly as I would imagine a Georgian manor to be. Not only did I feel like I was stepping to a beloved Jane Austen novel, literally Jane Austen’s house turned museum is just 25 minutes away from the estate.

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Everything at Four Seasons Hampshire is light and airy, decorated with classic English furnishings – sophisticated not stuffy. The 500 acres of this estate include a canal, incredible gardens, gorgeous sweeping lawns and stables. You can borrow a pair of wellies boots and wander the grounds, perhaps even read your favorite book under a giant oak tree. I was looking for Mr. Darcy to turn up at any moment and tell me “You have bewitched me body and soul”. WHAT??! Let a girl dream. Opened in 2005, the property has 133 rooms, 3 restaurants, a stunning spa and more activities to keep any active person busy.


I gave horseback riding a college try and loved it but if that’s not your thing then there’s tennis, golf, croquet, bike riding, fishing, falconry, the list goes on. The best news is Four Seasons Hampshire is a 1 hour drive outside London. ONE HOUR!! Or you can travel by train from London Waterloo to Fleet Station and take a taxi 10 minutes to the property. Recently awarded ‘England’s Leading Resort’ by World Travel Awards, it truly is one of my favorite places I’ve visited. Between the divine gourmet dinner with locally sourced ingredients to the mixology class and cocktail tasting, it was beyond perfection and I can honestly say I was quite at home at Four Seasons Hampshire and had no desire to ever leave.

I would typically say I’m a city traveler but wouldn’t change anything about my Four Seasons city and country getaways. Well, except not actually meeting James Bond or Mr. Darcy. 😉 Thank you, Four Seasons, for hosting me and giving me the opportunity to experience both. I cannot wait to return to both properties at some point soon.

PS – if you are looking for some holiday magic, Four Seasons Hampshire has all kinds of things planned for the Festive Season. Check out It’s a Wonderful Life at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire for details.


Filed under hampshire, london, swanky luxe stays, travel, united kingdom