There's nothing better than a sporadic girls trip to a Spanish island right? Well when Danni asked me to join her for her birthday trip, of course I said yes. We spent three days exploring all of the beauty that Fuerteventura has to offer, driving around and taking advantage of the sea and the sun.
Entering into the month of August, I'm getting ready to journey back home to Spain after spending four weeks in Ireland. My time in this beautifully lush country has taught me endless lessons about myself and the world around me (we'll get to that in another post) but more than anything, I've learned how to disconnect and how to seemingly be okay with it.
Earlier this month, I was blessed with the opportunity to return to Granada after 4 years. Rewinding to my first days ever stepping foot in Spain, I was encapsulated with a whirlwind of beautiful architecture and vibrant culture around every corner. Granada has a special place in my heart and being able to return, as a seemingly different person, allowed me to appreciate its beauty even more.
These are some of my favorite shots of the pequeños rincones de Granada.
October is here and the feel of autumn has absolutely taken over New York. From the crisp breeze to the thoughts of new beginnings, it leads to inspiration. The city fills itself with exciting opportunities and I decided to collaborate with my best friend to switch it up a bit and bring you a style post. Hope y'all like it and get inspired before it gets too chilly.
"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." —F. Scott Fitzgerald
So, as many of you know, I spent the last week slowing down and enjoying the beauty of Porto, Portugal. I had decided it was time for a trip all on my own and I couldn't have been happier. The past week was an opportunity for me to really step back and appreciate all that we have in this beautiful life. It held moments honing in on the little things and practicing radical self-love. With the end of summer, we normally envision the idea of 'starting over' in the fall and beginning with a blank slate. For me, this trip was a realization that life is really beautiful at the moment and with that beauty, comes peace.
I'll be writing a few articles over the next few weeks with tips from the trip, some of the best places I explored and the importance of slow + solo travel but for now, I'll share in the way I know best, through photography. Special thanks to the lovely people at Casa do Conto, Rosa Et Al, Pensão Favorita, Spazo Zen, Wine Quay Bar and Taste Porto Food Tours for helping make the trip that more special.
In four days, I’m heading out to Porto, Portugal for a much needed solo trip. This is my second “big” trip of the summer, the first one being Berlin in June.
Planning a trip is always one of the most exciting things, it's also psychologically proven that the anticipation of a trip can make you happier than the trip itself. We're talking, the affect of vacation anticipation boosts happiness for up to eight weeks. Get planning y'all.
I've decided to share some of my trip planning tips that have allowed me to have some unforgettable experiences in the past year.
It doesn’t hurt to ask
Okay, so I’ll let you in on a little secret. The past three big trips that I’ve taken (Barcelona, Berlin and now Porto), I’ve stayed in top-notch, five-star accommodation and I’ve done it all for free. Never in a million years did I think I’d be one of those “travel bloggers” that jets off and stays in luxury places but sometimes, life works itself out and here we are.
More often than not, establishments are willing to give you an exchange, where they allow you accommodation (or services) if you give them press by sharing your experience with your audience. Now technically, it’s not ‘free’ because you are working (creating content, photo and video footage for them) but the experiences are often so enjoyable that, it doesn’t seem like a hard job at all.
If you have outlets or an engaged (not necessarily large) social media following, where you can highlight companies, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask. Quite often, individuals are more open to collaboration than you would think.
To be noted: This also sometimes works for restaurants and tours as well. I'll also be experiencing Wine Quay Bar on Rio Douro in a few days.
Social media is your friend
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love it for so many reasons but sometimes I dislike how much time I spend on the web and on my phone. But, one of the fantastic things is that social media connects you to people from literally anywhere all over the world! Whether it’s through travel Facebook groups, expat groups or Instagram accounts; I’ve been able to find local spots and link up with people in the cities that I visit.
My trip next week to Portugal is actually (surprisingly enough) my first solo trip and I couldn’t be more excited for the chance to meet new people and find local spots on my own.
Here's a tip: Instagram (we all know I’m a junkie) has a ton of wonderful new features where you can explore the 'gram by location. So of course, I spent all of last night checking out photos taken Porto to see different things from what people were wearing because of the weather (it’s 30 degrees cooler than Murcia right now and I don't remember the last time I had to wear a sweater) to what foodie photos I liked so that I could check out those restaurants.
This is something that I continuously have to work on. I’m known to be an over-packer but little-by-little I’m realizing the benefits of light packing. One trick I’ve been using is only bringing my favorites but also packing things that can be worn in more than one way. Your favorite romper can turn into a completely different outfit if you throw a cute button up over it, it's been proven. And don't worry, odds are, you aren’t going to need that third pair of shoes you’re planning on bringing.
Another issue that normally comes up is that when I travel, it's not necessarily a kick your feet up type of vacation. In other words, even though I'm on the road, I'm often doing work at some point during the trip which means... so. many. electronics. When it comes to bringing gadgets along, it's about packing smart.
As you might know, I recently received the Mod Laptop II from This Is Ground which I’m continuously in love with. While packing for this upcoming trip, I was overfilled with joy when all of my major electronics and travel necessities fit inside (read: laptop, iPad, cell phone, external hard drive, pens, travel journal, work notebook, credit cards, passport, chargers and keys) AND it fit into my normal travel purse with tons of room left over to accommodate my camera, tripod, travel sweaters and scarves.
Learning to pack light is really helpful and will eliminate hassle, especially if you’re flying RyanAir. Less is more.
Don’t plan too much
I’ll be honest. I’m a planner. I’m the kind of girl that writes at least three to-do lists, has three year goals planned out… we could go on forever. Although I'm a planner, when it comes to traveling and seeing new places, I like to keep a relaxed schedule. No one likes feeling rushed on vacation. I thrive on the concept of slow travel (a piece on that is coming soon) where I fully explore a city for at least 3 days before feeling satisfied. The best experiences I’ve had haven't come paired with tourist locations or big historical buildings but instead while strolling back streets and getting to know locals.
In each city that I go to, one of the most important things is trying the cuisine and getting a real feel for the people of the town. Don’t be afraid to have conversations with strangers (sorry, mom). Find the hole in the wall restaurants, sit at the bar and chat with the locals. Stumble upon cultural events and see what excites others.
We see different places and long for different cultures to truly experience life and learn about ourselves. One of the joys of a new trip is not just getting out of the city you live in but it’s about opening yourself up to new worlds and new parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed. Start planning your next trip and don’t let fear or hesitation hold you back.
What are your must-do's before heading on your next trip?
I spent the last few days by the seaside and it brought complete rejuvenation. From sunrise to sunset, filled with beautiful sights and an overwhelming sense of peace. There is something about the sea that always seems to bring a sense of clarity exactly when I need it. It had been a while since the last time I explored the ocean but this short getaway came just at the right moment.
So often we get caught up in the day to day that it's easy to forget what brings us back to a peaceful equilibrium. The moments when we remember to let go of inhibitions and to live a little bit deeper. To say 'yes' a little bit more. To listen to your inner spirit, the one that we often push to the side and replace with what we 'think is right.'
Find the places that bring you back to who you know you are and hold tight to how that makes you feel.
So far this summer, I've been focusing a lot on self-care and letting things manifest in the way that they're supposed to. Understanding that what happens in life, happens for a reason and when you work towards greatness and believe in yourself, goodness will come. It goes hand in hand with the thought process of letting go of things out of your control and embracing the sense of liberty and empowerment that comes with those realizations. I decided to share with you all a bit of what I've been up to this summer and what has been bringing me happiness.
As most of you know, I started summer with a trip to Berlin, which was a wonderful experience. I've been in Murcia working for the past month and will be here until the middle of August but then I'll be adventuring on a solo-trip that I'm really excited about. I'll be heading to Oporto, Portugal for five days to recharge and spend some alone time exploring a new place. This will be my first solo-trip ever (surprisingly) but it will be so rejuvenating. Afterwards, I'll be spending some time in Madrid, Segovia, Ronda and possibly Santiago de Compostela for a few projects.
For me, self-care ranges from waking up a bit earlier to take time for myself before starting the day or learning to say no to commitments that I don't feel passionate about. Self-care has also been about reflecting and envisioning, seeing where life has brought me so far and putting into the universe where I want to see in the future.
Sleep has become has become a total priority for me and each night before bed, I try to disconnect and just be still. I make it a ritual to apply argan oil to my face, burn lavender and write as a great way to unwind and settle down.
So, as you've probably seen via instagram, I was selected to test out the Mod Laptop II by This Is Ground, a brand that I've been admiring for a while. Well, as I mentioned before... the universe manifests itself and last week, my package from them arrived. Being someone that is always on the go between LMDES, WildSpice, travel and other projects... organization is so important. I've become a complete advocate of the brand and what they're doing as their products are quite revolutionary when it comes to style, creativity and business. Whether it's heading to my favorite cafe in town or packing for an upcoming trip, this is my new favorite accessory.
What have you been focusing on this summer? How are you practicing self-care?
Here's the second installation of photos from my Berlin trip. I had an amazing time experiencing the city in a way that I never thought I'd be able to and I couldn't be more grateful. I'll be sharing posts in the upcoming future about my hotel experiences but in the meantime, here are more photos from the last few days in Berlin!