Photo Friday: Cinque Terre

manarola cinque terre italy night

When I was in Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy, with Brendon of Nerd Travels, we were both really eager to try to get some sunset shots of the village. We tried to scope out the best spot and made our way up there to set up our tripods to wait for the sun to drop. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the spectacular sunset we were hoping for, but the light just around dusk was really beautiful and made for some decent shots as all of the lights in the village came on, illuminating the different-colored facades of the stacked houses. It was almost exactly as I’d seen on postcards from the region, and I was so excited to be standing there taking it all in.

What to Wear in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Summer

Philadelphia can experience a wide range of temperatures and weather patterns especially in the summertime. If you’re spending a day exploring the city, be sure to wear something kind of lightweight that breathes because the humidity can be overwhelming sometimes. Pack a sweater or bring one along in the evening as the temperatures can get kind of chilly as the sun goes down.

If you’re spending a lot of time in center city, you’ll see that it can be a pretty cosmopolitan area and wearing something to reflect that might make you feel a bit more like a local. Most of the city is pretty casual, but people still dress fashionably. Ultimately, wear something that you’ll be comfortable spending all day in and be sure to wear supportive footwear.

Dream Destination: Current Travel Wish List

My travel wish list seems to get longer with every passing day rather than shorter as one might expect. For every one experience or place that I might scratch off, I end up adding three or four more.

i haven't been everywhere but it's on my list

I have been lucky enough to experience and see some of the most amazing things in the world so far–from things like the World Cup and the Olympics to going on safari and seeing the Northern Lights–but somehow it never seems like enough. If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll see that my obsession and love for travel knows no bounds as I am constantly adding new things to my boards.

As someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder, I am sometimes overwhelmed at the thought of how many places there are to see and how little time and money I have–will I ever have enough to see everything I want to see? No, probably not. In fact, I probably won’t even get to see or experience half of what I’d like to in my short lifetime. Given that, I sort of re-prioritize my wishlist every now and again, shoving some things to the top and pushing others to the bottom. But lately, it seems that my wish list isn’t really shifting–the things I really want to see and experience are serious desires and aren’t budging.

The problem I’ve faced is that, while I thoroughly enjoy solo travel, these are all destinations I want to experience with others. There are multiple reasons for this and vary by destination–some I am a bit scared to visit alone, some I think will be so spectacular that I can’t imagine not sharing them with someone else (much like my Northern Lights experience), and some are so unexplored that I feel like they’d just be easier to tackle in numbers.

Continue reading

Photo Friday: Diagon Alley

victoria street edinburgh dragon alley

I wouldn’t call myself the world’s biggest Harry Potter fan–but I’m also not shy about my love for HP. I visited the 9 3/4 platform in London a few years ago; visited the Warner Bros stand at a travel conference every day so that I could have my photo taken on HP’s broomstick in front of a green screen with different backgrounds; and was enamored by the HP stuff in the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics.

Before setting off to Edinburgh, I read as much as I could about J. K. Rowling’s inspiration for things in the books and decided to see as many of them as I could while in the old city. There are plenty of tours that will take you around Edinburgh and give you some background while showing you the sites, but I opted to do my own research and see things on my own time. My favorite spot was Victoria Street, which inspired the magical shopping street, Diagon Alley. In reality, Victoria Street is basically just an adorable street with brightly-colored facades, dotted with shops and restaurants. It’s easily walkable and a great place to spend a few hours eating and exploring. While you’re there, see if you can feel any of magic that inspired Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley.

Frenetic Fes

fes fez morocco maroc

I expected to like Fes more than I did. But honestly, it felt like a dirty maze where most everyone was out to scam you.

The fortressed walls don’t help make the medina feel like a particularly safe or comfortable place—that’s not to say that I felt unsafe or uncomfortable—but never particularly at ease either. (And maybe that’s necessary when traveling—never letting your guard down.) Some of the walkways are completely devoid of light even in the middle of the day because they are boarded overhead. Others are only wide enough to allow for one person at a time, forcing oncoming foot traffic down into doorways to let you pass by.

Continue reading

In Remembrance

world war two wwii world war ii

With Memorial Day last week and today marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I thought I’d write a post in remembrance of the soldiers who fought in WWII, and specifically, my grandpa, who was in five campaigns (including Normandy) and earned five Bronze Stars for his service.

Continue reading

Photo Friday: Jumeirah Beach, Dubai

storms on jumeirah beach dubai uae

I visited Dubai with a friend who’d been a couple of times before, so while there, I allowed him to take a sort of tour guide role, showing me the best of what Dubai had to offer. I knew I wanted to get photos of the city’s skyline and he wanted to show me the Jumeirah Beach Residence area, which ended up being the perfect place to take photos of the skyline. While we were there, taking a stroll in the sand late one evening, a storm started to roll in over the Gulf. The thunder rumbled and lightning began striking the water, and soon the rain came pouring down sending us directly into a Starbucks to wait it out for a bit over a cup of chai. I loved this photo of my friend looking up to watch the lightning across the sky while the storm brewed over the water.

Tenuta Masselina Winery

tenuta masselina wine

If you’ve seen or read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, then you’re probably very familiar with the phrase, “dolce far niente”, or the sweetness of doing nothing. Despite the fact that Italians do, in fact, lead normal and busy lives, I think their culture differs from ours in the United States in that in their free time, they really do just enjoy being with loved ones and living in the moment. While, we’re constantly running around, dreaming up new projects, going on errands, cleaning, etc., Italians are taking the time to sit, eat, drink, talk, and observe. In fact, that is precisely the reason that I love Italian culture so much: because their idea of a good time is one that is spent simply living and loving.

Continue reading

What to Wear in Roatan, Honduras

I’m currently in Roatan, Honduras, soaking up the sun and trying my hand at snorkeling, paddle boarding, and scuba diving! But before you get to read about all of those adventures, I thought I’d share a little packing list with you!

what to wear: roatan

Continue reading

Photo Friday: Sahara Desert, Morocco

I’ve decided to discontinue the Foodie Friday series and instead start a Photo Friday series! So, each Friday from here on out, I’ll share one of my favorite photos from my travels with a short description of where it is or the circumstances behind it.

moonrise over the sahara desert in morocco

When I visited Morocco, one of the things I looked forward to most was taking a tour out to the Sahara Desert to stay overnight in a Bedouin camp. After an awful two-hour camel trek over the gorgeous dunes and watching the sun set behind them, we arrived at our camp with just enough time to watch the stars come out. I quickly grabbed my camera and my friend and abandoned our group to head for the highest dune we could find to snap some photos of the stars and the desert at night. To our surprise, we made it just in time to watch the moon rise over the desert. It was the first time I’d ever watched it happen and had my camera ready to take a bunch of photos of it happening. I think it’ll forever go down as one of my favorite memories.