— travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams —

travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams

Searching for Smiley

SGMT | London | Vauxhall | SIS | MI6 | George Smiley

George Smiley no longer lived in No. 9. I knew it as soon as I saw the new door. Red. A come-hither hue so incongruent to, well, everything George is known to us to be. His abhorrence for attention. His diffident nature. Perhaps, if the goal was to hide in plain sight, a shouty red door would be the perfect blind for a tubby, clumsy, bespectacled man who would ordinarily merit no more than a passing glance. But…a red door would just be too much, I think.

The Painted Hall

SGMT | Painted Hall, London  — Exactly a year ago, at the Painted Hall of the Old Royal Naval College, London. It was our first day out and about in London. Our friends had asked us where we wanted to go and we’d said we’d like to see their favorite places in town, so Adam took […]

Eating Cheaply in London: How to Spend Only £4 a Day on Meals

SGMT – It’s surprisingly easy to eat cheaply in London — one of the most expensive cities in the world — if you’re not too picky and don’t mind convenience store food. It’s a big if, but when traveling you have to work with what you have, and if what you have is a food budget of £70 […]

Hampstead Heath

* There isn’t really much I can say about Hampstead Heath except that it’s beautiful in an intentionally not-totally-tamed sort of way, and that, if I lived in London, I would probably come here a lot. Londoners are so lucky to have such a wealth of green spaces that they can visit for free — actually, one […]

Horses = Love (The Royal Mews)

* After painstakingly mapping out an itinerary that would let me make the most of my one-day London Pass, I bailed and went to a place that wasn’t even on my short list: the Royal Mews, the Royal Family’s stable/garage/carriage house right beside Buckingham Palace. And while most other people there flocked to the grand and fancy state […]

Exchanging pesos to pounds

* For months, I’ve been telling everyone that they can get the best exchange rate from their home country’s currency to the local currency by simply bringing their ATM card and withdrawing money wherever they are. In Bali, for example, the rate I got through the ATM was nearly equivalent to the actual exchange rate, meaning […]