How to be a Solo Traveler

Wanted to share my first Buzzfeed Community post.

How To Be A Solo Traveler

You’ve decided to take the most important journey of your life.

1. Pack everything you think you need and then leave half of that at home.

Pack everything you think you need and then leave half of that at home.

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 2. Book your hostel.

Book your hostel.

Hostelworld / Via italian.hostelworld.com

Instant Groove! Party Hostel, Budapest

3. Get there the cheapest way, even if it’s the slowest. Picturesque train journeys are always a win.

Get there the cheapest way, even if it’s the slowest. Picturesque train journeys are always a win.

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Flam Railway, Norway

4. Don’t make any plans. You don’t actually know what you want to do.

Don't make any plans. You don't actually know what you want to do.

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… except maybe that one thing you always wanted to do or that one thing your friend told you that you’d love. Plan to do that one (even if it’s super touristy).

Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna

5. Make friends with a stranger immediately.

How To Be A Solo Traveler

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Decide whether said stranger will be a good companion and if so determine to do everything with him or her.

6. Go on a tour with your hostel and make friends with even more strangers. Get to know your way around.

Go on a tour with your hostel and make friends with even more strangers. Get to know your way around.

Brennan Suen / Via bsuen.com

“Look mom – I made friends abroad!”

Stockholm, Sweden

7. Figure out what you actually want to do and do it.

Figure out what you actually want to do and do it.

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Széchenyi Baths, Budapest

8. If you can’t figure it out, ask.

If you can't figure it out, ask.

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“Oh Diplo is in town? Do tell me more.”

Mosebacketerrassen, Stockholm

9. If you still can’t figure it out, find art.

If you still can't figure it out, find art.

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East Side Gallery, Berlin

10. Or an abandoned place to explore.

Or an abandoned place to explore.

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Beelitz-Heilstätten, Germany

11. Or nature to wander.

Or nature to wander.

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Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

12. Or really whatever presents itself to you.

How To Be A Solo Traveler

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(Make outs not guaranteed).

13. Go for a night out where the locals go.

Go for a night out where the locals go.

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… or wherever the people in your hostel are feeling. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations!

Chez Georges Wine Cellar, Paris

14. Stay out late even though you have a train to catch in the morning.

How To Be A Solo Traveler

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You can sleep on the train!

15. Ask everyone you met to add you on Facebook or for their emails, even if it seems awkward at the time.

How To Be A Solo Traveler

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You may end up traveling together or visiting each other later on your trip.

16. Let them know when you’re in their countries. You might even have a place to stay.

Let them know when you're in their countries. You might even have a place to stay.

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Seven Rila Lakes, Bulgaria

17. Make that train in the morning, even though you didn’t sleep.

Make that train in the morning, even though you didn't sleep.

Anna Janicka / Via forexsocialtraders.com

… or if it’s right, just skip it. Maybe there’s more you need to do.

18. Sleep when you can.

Sleep when you can.

Kurisurokku / Via news.com.au

That probably means on your train.

19. Blog about what you want people to know that you did.

How To Be A Solo Traveler

Iken Dust / Via ikendust.be

Even though most of your Facebook friends aren’t going to read it, it’s important to keep track of your journey for yourself too!

And your mom will love it.

20. And Skype your friends to tell them what you really did.

How To Be A Solo Traveler

Hello Giggles / Via hellogiggles.com

“I don’t even know what language he was speaking in, but he was so hot.”

21. Book your next hostel and get ready to do it all over again!

Book your next hostel and get ready to do it all over again!

Brennan Suen / Via bsuen.com

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Vegetarian Cooking: Tofu Tacos!

Final

Since I moved back to DC, I’ve started eating vegetarian again (with fish and seafood on occasion) and taking a more comprehensive approach to being healthy by working out and cooking the majority of my meals. This Tofu Taco recipe is one of my favorites and tastes better than any beef or chicken tacos I’ve ever had, although I can’t compare it to my favorite dish in the world, fish tacos. This is an extremely easy recipe and makes enough to feed 4-6 people (or yourself for days) and can easily be adjusted to fit vegan diets.

An aside, most vegetarians and others seem to have strong opinions on tofu and soy and its health benefits/environmental impact. I enjoy soy as a nice protein boost and meat substitute, but I suggest only buying organic because non-organic soy has been processed with a controversial solvent called hexane.

Tofu Tacos

Cooking Time: 45 minutes to press the tofu, 15 to cook

Ingredients:

1 package Organic Extra Firm Tofu
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1/2 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, sliced (I use one half orange and one half red)
1/2 bag spinach (or more depending on preference)
Cumin to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Chili powder to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Corn tortillas

Optional:
Greek yogurt
Avocado
Salsa
Hot sauce
Mexican cheese blend

Preparing the Tofu:

If you’ve never made tofu at home, the first thing you need to know how to do is press and dry the tofu. You can do this for 30-45 minutes before cooking, but sometimes I will leave it out for an hour or so if I have the time.

I use Trader Joe's Extra Firm Organic Tofu

I use Trader Joe’s Extra Firm Organic Tofu. Slit open the sides and drain the water out.

Slice the tofu into 1/2" slices in the container

Slice the tofu into 1/2″ slices in the container.

Put down a cloth towel on a hard surface (I use a baking sheet) and lay paper towels three thick on top. Place the tofu slices on top of the paper towels.

Put down a cloth towel on a hard surface (I use a baking sheet) and lay paper towels three thick on top. Place the tofu slices on top of the paper towels.

Place three more paper towels on top of the tofu slices and cover with the other half of the cloth towel.

Place three more paper towels on top of the tofu slices and cover with the other half of the cloth towel.

Put a hard, flat surface on top of the towels (I used a wooden cutting board) and place heavy objects on top to press the tofu. This will help the towels soak up the water.

Put a hard, flat surface on top of the towels (I used a wooden cutting board) and place heavy objects on top to press the tofu. This will help the towels soak up the water.

Replace the paper towels after about 30-40 minutes. I may do this twice if I am frying the tofu, but it isn't completely necessary with this recipe.

Replace the paper towels after about 20 minutes. I may do this twice if I am frying the tofu, but it isn’t completely necessary with this recipe.

After about 30-45 minutes, the tofu should have lost a lot of its moisture and is ready for the recipe.

Cooking the Taco Filling:

Grill the veggies in oil until lightly browned.

Grill the veggies in oil until lightly browned.

Ground up the tofu and mix in with the grilled veggies.

Ground up the tofu and mix in with the grilled veggies.

Open and drain your beans and corn. I use Trader Joe's Whole Kernel Corn and Cuban Style Black Beans.

Open and drain your beans and corn. I use Trader Joe’s Whole Kernel Corn and Cuban Style Black Beans.

Add the beans and corn.

Add the beans and corn.

Add in a handful or two of spinach. You can really go crazy with it because it cooks down so much.

Add in a handful or two of spinach. You can really go crazy with it because it cooks down so much.

Continue mixing the ingredients together.

Continue mixing the ingredients together.

Add seasoning to taste. You will probably use more than you think you do so don't be shy, especially with the cumin and chili powder. This really gives it that tex-mex taste. You can also use a package of pre-made taco seasoning, but I like knowing exactly what ingredients I am using.

Add seasoning to taste. You will probably use more than you think you do so don’t be shy, especially with the cumin and chili powder. This really gives it that tex-mex taste. You can also use a package of pre-made taco seasoning, but I like knowing exactly what ingredients I am using and premade seasoning may contain additives, etc.

IMG_0847

A blurry, up-close photo of what your taco filling should look like when done.

Assembling the Tacos:

So far, the recipe is totally vegan. You can leave out the Greek yogurt and cheese if you want to keep the recipe free of animal products.

Clear the pan (or use a new one). Take a corn tortilla and cook it on one side for a minute or so before flipping. Add cheese and cook until the other side starts to brown and the cheese begins to melt.

Clear the pan (or use a new one). Take a corn tortilla and cook it on one side for a minute or so before flipping. Add cheese and cook until the other side starts to brown and the cheese begins to melt.

Add the taco filling on top of the cheese.

Add the taco filling on top of the cheese.

Add a dollop of salsa and Greek yogurt and a couple of slices of avocado. I also use hot sauce.

Add a dollop of salsa and Greek yogurt and a couple of slices of avocado. I also use hot sauce.

Final product! You can make the toppings look like the Hungarian or Bulgarian flag if you wish (this one is Hungary)!

Final product! You can make the toppings look like the Hungarian or Bulgarian flag if you wish (this one is Hungary)!

You can also use the filling on nachos or add it to mac and cheese or any other dish you like. Hope you enjoy these tacos as much as I do!