I’ve recently wrapped up two months of traveling around Turkey, and I can count on fingers and toes the amount of identifiable foreign tourists I saw. My boyfriend (aka The Lonely Traveller Matt) and I lived in and traveled around the country from mid-December to the end of February, and spent our time in Istanbul, Kalkan, Antalya, Cappadocia, and Izmir.
6 days before we arrived, 44 people were killed in a twin bombing attack on an Istanbul football stadium. On New Year’s Eve, 39 more people were killed in a nightclub shooting in Istanbul. These are only two examples of many terrorist attacks on Turkish soil, the combination of which have significantly deterred tourism. Needless to say, friends and family heavily criticized my travel plans. Having already booked flights and accommodation, and not being much of a listener, I went anyway. Now here I am, two months and many adventures later, and after several weeks of incredible hospitality and kindness, I would like to write in defense of Turkey, and possibly restore your faith in humanity.
We’ve all just rung in the New Year, and one of two things has happened: you’ve either made some grand travelutions, or your precious vacation time has just reset. Whichever is the case, I have some rather persuasive information and photographic evidence that may sway you in the general direction of Africa- bizarre, exotic, mysterious, colorful Morocco, to be exact.
The majority of people that visit the country make a beeline for Marrakech. I can understand why- it’s relatively westernized, tourist-friendly, full of culture, and absolutely stunning. I was headed along the same track, until somewhere, floating around the social media realm, photos of an incredible blue city called Chefchaouen surfaced. With staggered blue-washed buildings, a maze of narrow streets, and sprawling mountain views, it caught my eye and jumped straight to the top of my must-see list. With a loosely planned 8-day trip ahead, and a starting point in Tangier and an ending point in Marrakech, it was conveniently on the way.
I've never been happier to be a photography enthusiast, as it’s one of the most photogenic places I’ve ever seen. I could have wandered through the old medina’s maze of blue for days on end with my camera. Chefchaouen is a relatively simple place with a complex character, so if you’re content with charm, relaxation, and a bit of cultural immersion, it’s a great place to hang out for a couple of days. It is also the setting for some of my all-time favorite photos, so I highly recommend it for any photographers that make it to Morocco.
So, what makes Chefchaouen stand out from other destinations?
I’ve compiled a list of its 5 most memorable features.
First impressions can set the tone for many things- a person, a restaurant, a job, and most definitely a trip to a new country. The majority of my traveling experiences have been positive, but occasionally someone likes to throw a wrench in the mix- ya know, just to keep things interesting. Maybe this will help my fellow travelers in a set-your-expectations-accordingly kind of way, or maybe it's nothing more than a tale of African adventures gone slightly awry. Either way, I feel like telling a story.
Morocco has been a bucket list country of mine for a long time. The images from fellow travelers and magazines proved it to be nothing short of a photographer’s dream. With thoughts of camels, deserts, fortressed towns, mosaic tiles, spices, and colorful fabrics dancing in my head, I boarded a ferry from Algeciras, Spain, headed for the port of Tangier Med, Morocco.
What ensued wasn’t exactly what I expected.
I'll be honest, these things are pretty basic, and yet- I'm pretty sure there's a lot of people out there who hesitate to do them. Originally published for Elite Daily, here are 6 activities you need to try solo at least once, whether you're in your 20's or not! See the original article here: http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/things-do-alone-in-20s/1685387/
Speaking as someone who moved to a foreign country alone, I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to solo activities. It might seem like an unattractive idea at first, but you should never underestimate the joy of doing things by yourself.
You may worry people will judge you or stare at you, and it’s entirely possible that they will. This shouldn’t matter, though, because doing things alone — while considered odd to some people — is actually a sign of being a confident and independent person. Not only that, but it is fun and satisfying in a way you can only understand once you do it. So trust me, you don’t need a friend, boyfriend, spouse, family member or furry animal to enjoy the following six activities solo:
1. Go on a trip.
I could write nonstop about the benefits of traveling alone, but for the sake of short attention spans, let me just say that traveling solo is single-handedly the best thing a person can do in their 20s. Wait until “someday,” and you may very well miss your chance. Jobs, homes, mortgages, marriages and children will soon stand between you and your dream backpacking trip around Southeast Asia, South America, Europe or some other equally amazing place. Traveling alone will empower and challenge you in unimaginable and wonderful ways, and you’ll see the world through a new set of eyes. You’ll learn invaluable lessons, create memories and develop a level of independence and confidence that will last a lifetime.
It might seem like an unattractive idea at first, but you should never underestimate the joy of doing things by yourself.
Pop-up wine and sausage stands, anyone?
Summer has ended and your tan has surely faded, but some may say that the best season of the year is now upon us.
It’s the season of boots, scarves and sweatshirts. The season of colorful and crunchy leaves, and the season of pumpkin and apple flavored well… everything. It’s the season of mulled wine, hayrides and Halloween. Even your favorite TV series have started up again.
Fall is here, and it’s a season that must be embraced to the fullest before those pretty trees are nothing but bare branches and you’ve lost feeling in each and every appendage while shoveling your car out of 3 feet of snow.
Here are five of the best places to travel in the fall (warning: passport may be required):
Planning a trip to the Philippines? After my own experience, I feel confident enough to offer some very simple advice:
Step 1: Beeline it straight for El Nido
Step 2: Book a bed (or room!) at Spin Designer Hostel
I promise you won’t regret it, and I'll tell you why.
It'll charm the pants off ya.
Georgetown. It's the eclectic and artsy capital of Penang Island, located in the northwestern state of Penang, Malaysia. Often overlooked for the country's bustling capital, Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown is quickly gaining attention as a cultural hub full of colorful street art, cafes, and cheap accommodation. If you've never thought of stopping here- I urge you to reconsider. There's nothing better than getting lost in a city of complex side streets with stunning murals that surprise you at the turn of every corner. The wide selection of inviting cafes and restaurants will be welcome distractions along your walk as well, and should you wish to hike or go to the beach- these activities are just a short drive outside of Georgetown. So scroll on for 10 photos that prove why Georgetown's undeniable charm is worth the trip.
Bamboo vs Machine
When I arrived in Thailand, I was a blank canvas- my skin as uninked as the day I was born. I knew this wouldn't last very long, as I'd always had a mind to get a tattoo abroad. Before I even got to Thailand, I knew
the country and my experiences there would change my life. I also knew that I'd want to mark that time with a permanent souvenir. Collecting passport stamps and postcards is fun and all, but tattoos...they're like scars. They tell a story.
Living abroad is a challenging endeavor, especially when it comes to dating. As soon as you step foot outside your home country, your dating pool magically becomes an ocean with fish from all over the world.
But I’ll tell you from firsthand experience that this tends to complicate things. Not to say there isn’t diversity in all of the many places we come from, but there is something to be said for the people you meet abroad while traveling.
There are nearly 200 other countries full of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes you’re likely to encounter, and up until now, you’ve probably been surrounded by dating prospects who are exactly like you.
How were you to know there are men out there who share their emotions, dress impeccably and have traveled to places you can’t even pronounce? Or women who speak three languages, have degrees and provide clean water to villages in Cambodia in their spare time?
Suddenly, your dating requirements include qualities you’d never even thought of. Your eyes have been opened.
Then, without any warning at at all, it happens. You meet the person who ticks all the boxes.
Unfortunately, there’s one rather significant problem. You’re from country X, and they’re from country Y. And there’s only one way to see if this relationship will ever really work.
One of you has to bite the bullet and move.
But before you do, here are five questions you need to consider before you make the leap and move abroad for your significant other:
Phuket, Thailand- where my ambitions to do anything but sunbathe and frolic around with a giant pineapple go to die. I was lucky enough to spend two nights in an incredible villa on the southern island- which by the way, is best pronounced without the 'h'. Check out the video below, and for more details, my latest contribution to the Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog!
Want to get a group together and book it? (It sleeps 12!) Find it on Airbnb here.