Glacier National Park for First Timers (Insider Tips & Tricks)

Glacier National Park features some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world and yet it is quite unknown. In summer 2019 I had the privilege to live in West Glacier, a small town that anchors the western entrance to GNP.

When I first got there, I didn’t know much. Because of that, I spent plenty of my free time chilling by Lake McDonald or hiking in the park and as a result, I quickly learned some of the “unwritten rules”. Today I’d like to share this knowledge with you.

Bring (some) winter clothes.

Don’t be too shocked if you see snow in July. Logan Pass is at high elevation which means the temperature drops drastically. Bring a sweater and a windproof jacket.

Get a bear spray.

While there have been only 10 fatal bear attacks in the parkโ€™s history, I still recommend you have a bear spray with you at all times. You don’t even have to buy one if you are only visiting the park briefly – rent it in Apgar Village instead. If you decide to get a new one, check Costco deals.

Don’t forget to educate yourself on how to use the spray (watch a youtube tutorial).

Other animals you may encounter are moose, mountain goats, as well as rare or endangered species like wolverines and Canadian lynxes. Be alert and aware.

Personal experience: I had two bear sprays that I never had to use, even though I hiked once per week. In total, I saw 4 bears (always from the car). My friends had some closer encounters but none of us ever felt endangered. Still, we were fully prepared and aware that anything could happen.

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Living in the US: Halfway Through

While I was still at home, I often mentioned what a long period 4 months are. How much can change during one quarter of a year. And people would, over and over again, tell me my time in the USA will pass quicker than I can imagine. Here we are, two months and a half into the trip and I am just starting to realize how little we still have left.

Never bored

At the end of July, I got a second job at a gift shop next door. Read More

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Living in the US: This is Montana

It has been almost a month and a half since I packed my life into 2 suitcases (and 20 boxes!). A day after I moved out of my apartment in Ljubljana, Slovenia, I was already on my way to the States with my friend Nina. We came here not knowing what to expect or what is coming next. And to spice things up a bit, our employers were just as lost as we were. The first few weeks have been full of surprises. The good and the bad. So how is everything, you ask.

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I’m Moving Overseas!

I still have to pinch myself, but yes, that is happening! It seems like 2019 is going to be very eventful. And quite life-changing too! Let’s cut to the chase: I am moving overseas soon. Here’s how my next year and a half will (hopefully!) look like:

USA

When I started my current 9-5 job at a travel agency back in October, I had no idea how fast my life will start changing. My colleagues are simply wonderful, I enjoy the work I do (most of the time) and I am surrounded by fellow travelers. Just 2 weeks before me, Nina started her job. I didn’t take us long to connect and come up with many inside jokes. In December we spontaneously decided we could spend our next summer in the USA. Preferably somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Turns out, we will be working in a small family-run hotel in Montana. We start in June and will stay there until autumn! Did I mention we will be living just minutes away from the national park?

At Niagara Falls, October 2015

Canada

It is not a secret I have always been drawn to Canada. I chose my high school program based on the opportunity to do an exchange with Canadians. And those 2 weeks in Fredericton, New Brunswick didn’t really help with my wish to once live there. Years later, I visited Toronto, Ontario for a few days – and again, we all know how that went. On Christmas Eve, I had finally applied for my working holiday visa. I will discuss the whole process a bit more in detail later in a separate post, however, let’s just say it can be quite a long one. The first round of invitations for Slovenians to apply for visa was sent out on January 21, 2019 – on my birthday. I was one of the lucky ones and submitted all my documents just days later. After that, it was a game of waiting. Today I finally found out – I am officially moving to Canada in 2019! Don’t ask me when and where just yet – I will keep you posted and I certainly plan to take you with me. Are you in?

So that is it! I think South America might have to wait again. Or I may be able to squeeze it in… Who knows! I couldn’t be any happier right now, that’s for sure!

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First Time in NYC: What Not to Do

As one of the world’s most visited cities, New York City (NYC) remains an irresistible draw. Often overwhelming, itโ€™s full of surprises at every turn. Here are some advices that will help first time visitors keep a cool head and avoid common pitfalls while discovering the best of what this magnetic metropolis has to offer.

1. Do NOT overplan your trip
We took 10 full days to see everything – and by everything I mean all tourist attractions (Empire State Building etc.) and those less known places. I had a list of all things we must see, however more things were added while there, some were skipped and we never knew more day a day in advance what we were going to do (weather in October can be unpredictable). The main rule was to do 3 things per day – sounds reasonable, right? Not so much. There were days when we did one thing and then those when we had to do five.

First Time in NYC: What Not to Do | The Cheerful Wanderer

Enchanting Brooklyn Bridge

2. Do NOT buy every attraction separately
Get CityPASS and save tons (by the way, I’m not sponsored). Just a little under $80, to be specific.

3. Do NOT skip Staten Island Ferry
It’s free, just avoid rush hour trips because the ferries are packed. Not a good time to take a leisurely ride. We caught one around 4pm and it was great. A different way to see iconic Manhattan and Jersey city skyline.

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