#theatlasheart

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Who wants to go swimming here? 🙋🏼‍♀️
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People raved so much about the Algarve in Portugal before I saw it for myself, and even though it didn’t end up being my favorite place in the country, it lived up to the hype. .
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I spent an afternoon walking along the limestone cliffs, ducking into cute little coastal cafes when it started to rain to have a glass of vinho verde and snack on fresh calamari. I even did a boat tour to the famous Benagil Cave that is on every Google image search of the Algarve. .
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One aspect that I loved about the Algarve is how many secret caves there are to discover along the coast (Benagil is definitely not one of them with how crowded it is now, although gorgeous in its own right). You could literally rent a kayak and find a different secluded hideaway every day if you wanted to . .
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The only downside to this part of Portugal (Lagos specifically) is how touristy it has become, especially with young backpackers who love to party with 1€ shots. It wasn’t quite as bad as what I found on Bali’s main beaches back in 2013, where tourists basically got drunk all day, trashed the beaches, and didn’t make any effort to learn the local culture, but I could see it getting that way in a few year’s time.
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With that said, there are still some more untouched parts of the Algarve. If you’re looking for a different side there are a variety of personalities to the many cities along the coast. And really, cruising along the Algarve coastline is one of the best road trips to take in Portugal, so you may as well stay in a few cities to experience all that the region has to offer. 🇵🇹🏖


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We had a couple days of reprieve from the rain in San Francisco this weekend, and I took full advantage by going on a tuk tuk tour around the city with @dylanstourssf. .
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Dylan’s is the first company to offer tuk tuk tours around the city, and after spending almost a year living in Asia where seas of tuk tuks are a regular sight, it was a nostalgic way to see SF in a new light. .
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The tour went to Chinatown, the Presidio, Palace of Fine Arts, Crissy Field, Fort Mason, the mansions of tech giants in Pac Heights, and the Painted Ladies near Alamo Square. Quite a few of these sights I had never seen before. I hadn’t been back to the Palace of Fine Arts since high school when I went there for a Paulo Nutini concert. .
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Near here you can also find Lucas Studios, aka where all things Star Wars goes down. There’s a rumor that George Lucas was heavily inspired by the Bay Area for Star Wars. Some even say that the Palace of Fine Arts kind of looks like R2-D2, and is where Lucas got his inspiration for how the robot would look in the movies. What do you think? 🤔
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I love taking the time to be a tourist in your own city. I really don’t do it enough, but it’s a fun way to gain a new perspective in a place that you think you already know so well. This tour only reminded me how much I still have to see in SF! 💗


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If money wasn’t an issue, where would you most want to go right now? 🌍✈️
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For me, one of my dream destinations for ages was Morocco. So you can bet I was ecstatic to spend two weeks in the country in 2018. As I knock down more bucket lists and see more places that I only ever dreamed about seeing when I was a kid, I realize how so much of life is about setting yourself up with the right habits in order to achieve your dreams. .
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Without a doubt, some of us start with a leg up in life. As a white, straight, middle class female who was raised in the US, I grew up more privileged than most. I’ll be the first to admit that. With that said, I also didn’t grow up with a ton of money, nor was travel ever a big influence in my life growing up (besides what I would daydream about). .
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My dad was a bus driver and my mom a daycare teacher. With three kids to raise, we had enough to get by and then some for sports and Christmas presents, but there were some years that were better than others for our family financially. .
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Childhood trips mostly consisted of going on road trips to Oregon and Nevada to visit cousins and grandparents. I didn’t travel abroad for the first time until I was 18. I paid for most of my college education on my own (heyy student loans), and I’ve financed 95% of my travels by myself. .
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Before I was able to create a successful blog and marketing business, I funded my travels through bartending in Australia and NZ for two years. Then worked underpaid freelance jobs for about two years in Portland and for half of the time I was in Asia. 2018 was the first year in a long time that I wasn’t stressed financially with trying to chase my dream of being a travel blogger - 5 years after I started chasing it. .
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It has been a crazy journey, and I’m still growing, still falling, still learning from mistakes and keeping on. The reason I’m still here is because I never took my eye off the ball. I worked more shitty jobs than I can count, worked 12 hour days for two years, anything to stay afloat and keep traveling. .
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Everyone’s journey is different, but perseverance & good habits go a long way. Here’s to chasing what makes you happiest this Tuesday!


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My favorite city from my trip to India was Udaipur. It’s often nicknamed ‘The Venice of India’ for its waterfront beauty and its label as the most romantic city in India, or ‘The White City’ for the large amount of white marble that was used throughout the city while I was being built.
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City Palace is an expansive royal complex from the Mewar Dynasty overlooking Lake Pichola. It took 400 years to build, and includes 11 palaces, gardens, and courtyards. The intricate detail is probably what I love most about Indian design and architecture. This palace is known specifically for its mosaics.
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It took us the better part of an afternoon to walk through the complex and marvel at how it just kept going on and on. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the idea of starting my first book, or the large workload I have for the week, or where I want to be by the end of the year - I think back to this palace. 400 years of dedication, through generations, to make something so beautiful. Sometimes the best things in life, the ones most worthwhile, take time and patience to see through. Although hopefully I’ll be able to write my first book in less than 400 years. 😜 // #theatlasheart


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We have 363 days left ahead of us for 2019 - how do you plan to use them? ✨
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I want to have more adventures like this, exploring medieval castles in foreign cities and feeling the rush of wind through my hair with a great view in front of me. .
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I want 2019 to be full of spontaneity and random moments. This year I hope to get to Sweden, Sri Lanka, Cuba, Luxembourg, and Mexico for the first time, and go back to India, France, and Canada. I also hope to explore new states and cities around my home country, such as Colorado, Memphis, and New Orleans. .
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This year I want to work on building more passive income streams so I can continue doing what I love the most and spending time with those closest to me, instead of staring at a computer 40 hours a week. This year, I want to finally take learning a second language more seriously, and go to at least a few of the festivals I’ve been wanting to go to for years - Lightning in a Bottle, Burning Man, Outside Lands, etc.
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I think 2019 is already shaping up to be one for the books. What is one thing you want to do more of this year?


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Travel moment #8 ~ Finally deciding on my home base - SAN FRANCISCO! 🇺🇸
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I started this year with the intention of finding a home. After an exhausting and chaotic 2017, all I wanted was stability and a sense of community again.
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I made it my mission to figure out where home was for me this year. After being a nomad for most of the last 5 years, it’s hard to always know what place feels most like home..I’ve had so many different types of homes.

After checking out Brussels, Paris, Chicago, and Montreal, Lisbon was the last city I was going to try out before making my decision. It was between Lisbon and San Francisco, and within two weeks of living in Portugal I knew I didn’t want to live there longterm. .
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For as much as people talk up Portugal, there were a lot of frustrating things about the country that I couldn’t get onboard with (and that you probably wouldn’t pick up as a tourist vs an expat). Even more that that though, living in Lisbon only solidified how much I missed California - the city is a close replica to San Francisco. I realized I missed being in a place where I just understood the culture without having to try, that I missed speaking my own language, that I missed being close to my family and some of my oldest friends who had ended up in the Bay Area. For all of the things that frustrate me about the US sometimes, it’s home. It has always been home. It took traveling for 5 years, and living in 9 separate cities around the world for me to finally come to that conclusion again, but it happened. And once I knew where I wanted to be, that’s all I could think about. California was on my mind a lot this summer.
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This shot was taken from Angel Island on a girls’ camping trip I went on my first month back in California. The island is a short ferry ride from San Francisco. .
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As we watched the sun go down over the Golden Gate Bridge and the fog roll in, I felt another piece of my heart connect into place. A piece of belonging. This shot represents how much home means to me these days. And I’m so happy to say that even though I still plan to travel frequently for years to come, I don’t plan on moving again anytime soon. 💗


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Travel moment #5 ~ Spending my 28th birthday in London! 🇬🇧
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It was my first time in London and I decided to spend a couple of weeks in town to see some of my favorite British (and expat American) friends. I rented a little AirBnB in West London, and spent my days exploring new neighborhoods, eating cupcakes, subsequently working off said cupcakes with all the museums I walked through, and enjoyed the endless sights that London had on offer.
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The day before my birthday, I celebrated in Covent Garden with @l_je_hawk, @finstergramz, and my friend David from San Diego. We bar hopped around all the trendy bars, until Laura and I decided to ring in my birthday at a hilariously cheesy club that went until 4 in the morning to make sure I turned 28 in style. .
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The next day, on my actual birthday, I went to @allpointseastuk music festival on my own to see one of my favorite bands live - @thexx. I met @desperate_reindeer at one of the early sets, and we hit it off immediately (it helped that she was just as obsessed with The xx as I was 😜). We hung out together for the rest of the festival, danced to Lykke Li and Lorde, and soaked up the sunshine. My birthday finished with The xx singing “I Dare You” as a lightning storm started and thunder cracked overhead. .
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It was a completely different birthday from the year before, when I was kayaking rapids in rural Laos, holding baby goats, and sneaking into Cambodia for lunch, but it was just as perfect in a way that only London can give you. .
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This year I’m looking at maybe spending my birthday in Havana, Cuba - every year I spend it in a different city. 🥳
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Let me know - what is the best birthday you’ve had? How do you usually spend it?


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Travel Moment #4: Spending two weeks in Scotland, catching up with one of my close friends @claireh23 in Edinburgh, whom I met while bartending in Sydney back in 2013, and tracing my family ancestry to the western islands. .
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As soon as I landed in Edinburgh it felt like home, regardless of the fact that I had never been to Scotland before. My family on my dad’s side is very into our Scottish heritage, and after talking about going to the homeland for so many years, I finally made it happen in 2018. And, it was just as wonderful as I was imagining it to be.
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I spent a week in Edinburgh, catching up with Claire over Brew Dog pints, going on Harry Potter Tours, and reveling in the views from Dean Village, Arthur’s Seat, and Edinburgh Castle. .
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Afterwards, I spent a week traveling to Glasgow and Oban, and managed to do a short tour around the Isles of Mull and Iona, where my McFadden ancestors from the Lochbuie clan were based centuries ago. .
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Scotland was magical in so many ways. I loved the friendliness of the Scottish people, the scenery, and that inexplicable feeling of coming home (or at least to one of my many homes). .
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I’m planning on coming back to Scotland with my dad in 2020 to spend more time learning about our family history, and treat my dad to a father-daughter trip because he has never been to Scotland and has always wanted to go. I can’t wait. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
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Let me know - have you done a family ancestry trip before? I just sent in my 23andMe pack, so I might have more destinations to add to my list soon. I know just from word of mouth and family history that my ancestry traces back to Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, and Cherokee Native American. How about you? 🧬🌍


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Merry Christmas & happy holidays!! ☃️🎄🎁 I appreciate all of you for joining me on my journey around this beautiful world - whether you just started following me this past year or you’re one of my OG followers from 6 years ago when I first started traveling and creating content around it. I’m excited to see what 2019 has in store for us. 🎉🥳
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Travel moment #3 Road tripping Iceland with my friend and photographer @theurv, coming up close and personal to omnipotent waterfalls such as this gem, Skógafoss, and swimming between two tectonic plates at Silfra in nearly freezing water. .
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Iceland was an even more mesmerizing country than I imagined it to be. The only landscape I’ve come across that compares is New Zealand, but Iceland was another level. It felt almost otherworldly at times. .
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We would hit the road early every day and stay out exploring sometimes until 10 at night with how late the sun set in May. We came across genuine hospitality, rainbows, icebergs, puffins, and plenty of waterfalls. It’s places like Iceland that remind me why I’m addicted to travel. You just can’t get the same feeling of awe for these sights through a photo or book, it’s another way to immerse your senses when you can feel the spray on your lips from a waterfall that throws millions of gallons of water over its edge. .
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Let me know - which country’s scenery has impressed you the most in the world? 🌏💫


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Travel moment #2 💗 Traveling to India for the first time and seeing the Taj Mahal. 🇮🇳
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On my first night in Montreal, my friend Pascale and I were drinking a bottle of wine while catching up and we came up with this crazy (slightly tipsy) idea to do an impromptu trip to India in a couple week’s - because why not? Both of us had always wanted to go, but felt more comfortable with the idea of going with a friend for our first visit, and our schedules aligned perfectly to make the trip happen if we wanted it to. .
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The next night we were frantically figuring out how to do the last minute online Indian visa, and booking our plane tickets. .
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In two week’s time, we met up in Delhi and had two incredibly fun, challenging, and magical week’s traveling through Rajasthan. We saw the Taj Mahal, found ourselves at an Indian wedding outside of Udaipur, and met two Indian guys who we traveled with from Jaipur to Pushkar and who gave us a more local perspective. We rode camels and slept in the Thar desert, and very nearly escaped getting sick. We even got matching tattoos on our feet in Delhi our last night in the country, while trying not to throw up from my stomach illness that hit right after my tattoo was done. .
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The trip was off the cuff, spontaneous, and full of so many good times with my partner in crime and perpetual travel buddy @paskleethem. India became forever ingrained as a special place to me, and one of my favorite countries in the world after this trip. .
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I’m hoping to go back to India in 2019 to explore the south, maybe see where my boyfriend grew up in Chennai, and explore Kerala, which I’ve heard good things about. .
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Let me know - have you been to a country that has challenged and endeared you to it in equal measures? 🌏✈️


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Happy Christmas Eve Eve y’all! ☃️🎉
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To celebrate the last 9 days of 2018, I want to share my 9 favorite travel moments from this year, in order of when they happened. .
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Travel Moment #1 💗 My trip to Montreal this January was 1. The coldest I’ve ever felt in my life 2. Where I learned how important it is to layer properly 3. How hard it is to understand Canadian French vs European French and 4. Where I met up with one of my best friends @paskleethem who I met in Thailand the year before!
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This trip to Montreal also inspired my trip the following month to India and changed so much of the rest of my year. It was truly a grand start to 2018. .
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Plus, I loved all of the French vibes around the city and experiencing a true winter wonderland. This shot was taken after my lips had already frozen to the point where I could only murmur things to Pascale and I could no long feel my feet. But, warm and gooey poutine was on my mind, and I had already found so much to be enamored with around the city - its history, architecture, and all the cute little cafes.

I’m hoping to get back to explore more of Quebec this year, but this time in the summer! ☺️ Let me know - have you been to Montreal? 🧀🍷


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I don’t think I’ll ever lose that awe I get from being surrounded by a winter wonderland, especially when the snow is freshly fallen. **I can hear all my friends who grew up in the snow now saying, just wait until you have to shovel it every day** 🤣☃️ .
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But it’s true that the magical feeling is still there whenever I make it up to the mountains or wake up in a cozy bed in a snowy city. I’ve made it a habit of seeking out the snow more and more these days. Last year I went to Chicago and Montreal in the dead of winter and this year, thanks to @mazdausa, I had all my wintery Whistler dreams come true.
It was my first time driving in the snow by myself (and with my partner in crime @rachelroams for a day), but because I was driving a car made for all kinds of weather (and *ahem* for blasting the *NSYNC Xmas album via Apple CarPlay on repeat). It was a smooth ride on all fronts. .
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Looking forward to more snowy adventures coming soon. I’m thinking Colorado will be my second destination this winter. ❄️ Let me know - do you have any trips planned up to the snow this winter? 🏂🎿⛷
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#Ad | #RoadsReimagined | #MazdaCX5 | #theatlasheart


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#Ad
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Any snow enthusiasts here? ❄️☃️
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It took me the longest time to feel comfortable in snow, whether that was walking, running, or driving in it. It’s just not something I grew up with, and rarely experienced until I was in my 20s (and even then my snow experiences were very sparse). I finally learned how to snowboard a couple of years ago, and, as with most things in life, gradually got more comfortable as I spent more time in snowy conditions and winter wonderlands. .
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And I’m so glad I got over that uncomfortable feeling I used to have in the snow, because it’s such a magical atmosphere to be around in the winter.
I’ve been in Whistler, Canada for the past few days, driving around Mazda’s new AWD CX-5, and I have to say it has reignited my love for spending time in the snow during winter. .
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Even though I don’t have a ton of experience driving in freezing winter conditions, this car is so smooth and easy to drive that I haven’t worried once about getting around Whistler’s snowy playground safely. Between snow tires, and a ton of new safety features to keep you from drifting or sliding too far, I’ve happily driven from rainy Vancouver to all around icy Whistler without any issues. I can see why it’s Mazda’s best selling car in the US. .
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It makes such a difference to have the right gear for winter (I’ve learned this the hard way too many times- ie the first time I ever went snowboarding was in jeans 🤣), and the same can be said for driving the right car up to the mountains that will get you there without any stress. .
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Let me know - what are your favorite winter wonderland destinations? Canada is definitely up there for me after this trip! 🚗🇨🇦
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#RoadsReimagined | @mazdausa | #MazdaCX5 | #TheAtlasHeart | #Whistler
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📷 @rachelroams


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Over Thanksgiving weekend, I did an impromptu road trip down to Big Sur (aka my favorite part of the California coast). 🚗🗺
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Although I’ve driven up and down the Pacific Coast Highway (or PCH) numerous times over the last decade, I hadn’t camped in Big Sur since high school. .
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And, I have to say that even with everywhere I’ve been, there aren’t many places that rival the Big Sur coastline in terms of beauty. This trip only solidified that feeling I have every time I go back to this area of California - it’s one of a kind. .
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We lucked out with finding a last minute cabin at Pfeiffer State Park a few days before, and slept in the midst of giant redwoods for the night with a beautiful sunset and a clear sky. The next morning, we hiked to a secluded beach for a picnic and laid for hours in the sunshine. It was a magical way to wind down from the holiday. .
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This trip was also the first time I was able to test out my new @gastonluga bag. I just discovered this brand, and I’m so in love with their backpacks. They’re big enough to hold my laptop and work things during the week, but sturdy, stylish, and versatile enough for a weekend trip in nature or the city. It figures that they’re based in Sweden - style and practicalness just comes natural to the culture.
It’s hard to find a good go-to day bag for work AND trips, but this Praper bag has quickly become just that. .
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If you’re interested in getting your own bag, you can use my discount code, theatlasheart, for a 15% off discount on https://gastonluga.com (they’re also offering free gift packaging right now for a limited time for the holidays).
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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how worth it it is to buy quality over quantity, and this bag is worth every penny of the price. .
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I’m looking forward to heading back to Big Sur in the near future for more hikes and to hopefully even put together a guide about the area. It’s one of my favorite spots on the California coast for a reason! .
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Let me know - have you been to Big Sur before? What is your go-to day pack for trips? .
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#sponsored | #gastonluga | #glwashere | #anywherewithgl | #theatlasheart | #BigSur


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Reflecting on the past two months in my latest wrap up post, where I talk about what I got up to in October and November. .
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One of the most important parts of this fall? Finally finding my place in San Francisco after a rough month of feeling like I didn’t quite belong in the city. Once I came to terms with that feeling of displacement, things started coming together in all the right ways. It’s crazy how simply having an apartment to unpack your bags in can make all the difference in feeling like you have a place (figuratively and physically) to call home.
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Other memorable experiences? Dressing up as one of David S Pumpkins’ skeletons for Halloween 💀, spending Thanksgiving with the family in Santa Cruz, and my 6 day road trip through Arizona. 🏜

Head to the link in my bio for the full post! .
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How has your fall been? Are you ready for 2019? .
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#theatlasheart #canyondechelly #visitarizona #visitmesa #detoursnativeamerica #detourswest #arizona_landscapes #arizonahiking #hikingarizona #darlingescapes #girlslovetravel #girlswhohike #gltlove #passionpassport #girlsvsglobe #neverstopexploring


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Hanging out in my urban oasis with @breckbrew's Christmas Ale in my Christmas sweater on the first sunny day in SF in a week! 🤶🏻🍺🥰
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Welcome to my humble abode, aka the back patio of my new place. On a sunny day, there’s no better place to be in the city with a good book in hand and friendly plants surrounding me. .
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want my 2019 to look like. When I think back on this past year, it’s hard to believe all of the places I’ve been in 2018 - from India, to Canada, the UK, Iceland, Portugal, Spain, and Morocco, just to name a few. .
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One US-based destination that I’ve been wanting to get to for ages and still have never been is Colorado! Maybe it’s partly due to the amount of Colorado beer I’ve been drinking lately (ahem, @Breckbrew’s chocolatey Christmas Ale I’m looking at you), but it’s a state that’s not too far away and is all about those beautiful mountain landscapes. .
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One of my best friends and housemates from college also lives there, so I’ve been meaning to go for a visit since graduation (which let’s just say was a very long time ago 😜). AND I still suck at snowboarding so I’d like to remedy that and get some good slopes in this winter. ☃️🏂🏔 .
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I would also love to finally see more of the south, since I’ve really only ever been to Texas and Florida - and most people from the south agree those don’t really count. Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans are all at the top of my list.

Cheers to discovering more of my home country in 2019, and fitting in a few more international travels! 🍻✈️ .
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A few other trips I have planned this year:
👉🏻 Paris/Luxembourg - February
👉🏻 Stockholm - Probably September (ABBA Museum haiii!) 👉🏻 Mexico - TBD
👉🏻 Either Puerto Rico or Cuba - For my bday!
👉🏻 A couple of countries in South America (Hopefully Argentina and Peru)

Where are you most wanting to go in 2019? 🌎
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#BreckenridgeBreweryPartner | #BreckBrew | #ChristmasAle | #TheAtlasHeart


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“And I could see for miles, miles, and miles” // Bon Iver 🏜
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Arizona has a way of humbling you with its grand landscapes, deep canyons and valleys, and technicolor views. .
I watched the sun set and rise the next morning at the Grand Canyon, and it was just as amazing as I remembered when I visited it for the first time a few years ago. .
Did you know that the average height of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim is 7000 ft above sea level? For some reason, before I ever visited, I always thought the Grand Canyon would be warm, and didn’t think of how high it must be (probably because I imagined all of Arizona to be hot all the time). This time I was more prepared and packed warm clothes and layers, but it was still freezing for this California girl (worth it). .
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I loved watching how quickly the weather can change in the Canyon. It’s pretty cool to be able to see a lightning storm in the distance (which happened when I hiked the Grand Canyon in 2015!), or the clouds roll in within a few seconds and dispense just as quickly. Life moves fast and at the extremes in the Grand Canyon. Kind of like how I live my life. Go big or go home, amiright?😜
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Now for the true test - do you think this was taken at sunrise or sunset? 🧐
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#VisitMesa | #VisitArizona | #detoursnativeamerica | #grandcanyon | #detourswest | #theatlasheart


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Leaning into my wild side and continuing my tradition of hiking with good beer (ie @breckbrew) #InGoodCO. 🍺🏃🏼‍♀️ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I went on a hike with a friend a couple of weeks ago down in Aptos, and being in the depths of nature with fresh air helped clear my mind.

It was the first time in November that I had a chance to reconnect with nature. It made me realize (yet again) how important it is to be present and slow down as we gear up for the holiday season. I thought somehow by finding a home to settle down in that life would suddenly slow down, but I’ve found that it has only sped up as I dive deeper into my life in San Francisco.
So, at the end of my hike, before turning around right away to come back the way I came, I sat down and celebrated the little achievement of taking time out in nature for myself with a bottle of @breckbrew’s Christmas Ale. Seriously, I can’t think of a better combo than enjoying a chocolatey Christmas Ale in the midst of the holidays (and holiday temperatures, by California standards at least). Let me know - what are your tips for staying present when life starts moving too fast, especially in the middle of the holiday season? .
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#BreckenridgeBreweryPartner #breckbrew #christmasale #theatlasheart


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There’s a lot to be grateful for right now besides just the holidays. 🎊

The Camp Fire in Northern California (aka the deadliest wildfire in the history of California) is finally 100% contained. My heart goes out to all the families who were affected by the fire over the past month, and to those who now have to rebuild after such a destructive force of nature. And, of course, I have so much gratitude for the firefighters who risked their lives to contain it. .
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Another thing to pay homage to? The fact that it’s the last week of Native American Heritage month.

Canyon de Chelly may not be as popular as the Grand Canyon, but its lack of tourists only adds to the serene atmosphere of a place that has been so important to Native Americans for generations.
It may not have been through the forest fires that California so often has these days, but it has been through countless floods, both physically and emotionally.
The Canyon is on Navajo tribal land, and has been an important place for various Native American tribes for almost 5,000 years, especially as a natural water source, but also as a a place of hiding during the Long Walk (a term for the deportation and attempted ethnic cleansing of the Navajo people by the US government in 1864). Within the Canyon you can still find pictographs and ruins from the 13th century, such as the White House Ruins which used to be a huge complex of 250-300 rooms built by the Anasazi Indians, as well as beautiful sweeping views and plenty of local folklore and history.
I spent an afternoon hiking through the canyon, learning how deep its layered history goes with #ThunderBridgeTours and @detoursnativeamerica. It was magical.

You know how you can just feel the history in certain places because it’s so rich? This was one of those places. 🏜🌵 .
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#detoursnativeamerica #visitmesa #visitarizona #detourswest #theatlasheart #canyondechelly


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Happy Thanksgiving y’all 🤠🏜
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After so many years of being abroad during the holidays, I’m thankful for the time I get to spend with my family on Thanksgiving. .
I’m also so, so thankful for all of you who have followed my journey for the past (almost) 6 years of traveling and writing about it. It has been a journey that I’m grateful to be on every single day, and that I will never take for granted. It has truly allowed me to look at the world (and my life) in a different way. To see all the possibilities in front of me instead of the limitations.
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I’m also well aware and thankful for the privilege of being born in the US to hard working middle class parents who gave me so many opportunities throughout my life to grow, and to learn from their work ethic, unconditional love, and support. Who instilled in me the importance of knowledge and of being curious about the world around me. .
In all honesty, I have so many things to be grateful for this year. The fact that I feel like I’ve finally found a place where I’m excited to set down roots, the fact that my business has really started to flourish in the past year, and for all the experiences and memories I have from the past few years of adventures and almost always saying yes to everything.
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Life is short, there’s no better time to be thankful for what you have in the present. 🦃💗
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#horseshoebend #visitmesa #detoursnativeamerica #detourswest #visitarizona #theatlasheart #thanksgiving #thankful


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While I was traveling around Arizona last week, I got used to the 6am wake up calls, watching the sunrise 5 days in a row.
This sunrise in particular was a special one for me. 🌅🏜 Monument Valley is a place I’d been wanting to see for years. My parents had a famous photograph of it in our dining room growing up, and I always told myself I’d go there someday. Even more than that, it’s the place where some of the most famous Western films were shot starring John Wayne, one of my grandpa’s favorite movie stars.
My grandpa (or Papa as I called him) passed away in January of this year. All I could think about as I watched the sunrise come up over the dusty, orange-tinged valley was how much my papa would’ve loved to see this place. He was the OG cowboy and loved all things western. I could almost feel him with me as my body got used to the cold and my hands grew numb watching the sun come up over the horizon.
In Navajo tradition, they say that you should always get up before the sun rises, because just before sunrise is when the deities are there to listen to your prayers. I love that idea, of facing the day as it starts, ready, and with an intention set. That morning at Monument Valley I asked the deities to make sure my papa was in peace.

Some of my most magical experiences in Arizona were these quiet tucked away moments in hushed spaces full of unbelievable scenery and grandeur. This state has a way of making you reflective and present, of making you recognize how small you are in the scheme of things (and in the best way). It’s one of the many reasons I plan to come back here again.
#detoursnativeamerica #visitmesa #visitarizona #detourswest #monumentvalley #theatlasheart


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Finding freedom in the vastness of Horseshoe Bend 🐴👟🏜
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I’m just wrapping up a 6 day trip in Arizona, and I’ve fallen in love with this cacti-friendly state all over again.🌵 I first visited Arizona on a hammock camping road trip a couple of years ago, but that was nothing compared to this trip where I was able to travel with locals from the region and hear their perspectives along the way.

One experience in particular that I loved was traveling with Donovan, a local Navajo guide, through American Indian reservations and landmarks with @detoursnativeamerica. This was a special piece of history for me to learn more about, not only because it’s important as an American to learn all sides of our history, but because it’s Native American Heritage month and the week of Thanksgiving in the US - a holiday that can be contentious (and rightfully so) in Native American communities.
This week my thoughts are not only on being grateful and giving thanks, but also on the profound sacrifices that Native Americans have made in this country, and continue to make today. The strength of their communities and the colorfulness of their cultures continue to amaze me the more chances I have to hear their stories.

Let me know - Have you been to Arizona before or traveled to the ‘Four Corners’ region of the US that is full of Native American history? 🏜

#DetoursNativeAmerica #VisitMesa #VisitArizona #theatlasheart


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Waking up to an Instagrammer’s dream at @hisfcitycenter. 💁🏼‍♀️ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I’m a big proponent of staying in hostels as a solo female traveler. It’s a great way to meet people, stay social, and take advantage of day trips and free events that you may not have heard about from staying in a hotel or AirBnB.
I’m always surprised when I meet people who say they’d never stay in a hostel because they deem it unsafe, dirty, loud etc. The thing is, hostels have grown to be so much more than the negative cliches that people still tend to label them as. The variety these days is astounding.
And what’s even better? When a hostel goes beyond creating a safe, welcoming, and instagram-worthy space to stay in, and really tries to make the world a better place.
Case-in-point, HI’s City Center Hostel in downtown San Francisco. This hostel is not only brimming with personality, but is a leader in effective sustainable tourism - something that has become increasingly important to a lot of travelers, myself included, with the realities of global warming and our planet’s dwindling resources.
HI SF City Center not only installed solar panels earlier this year, but they’re also the pilot hostel for the ‘#MillionGallonChallenge that @HIUSA is kicking off on World Water Day on March 22nd.
The challenge involves HI installing over 700 Hydrao shower heads in hostels across the US, which change color to let you know how much water you’ve used.
They’re estimating these shower heads will help shave off 30 seconds of shower time for each guest. 30 seconds is equal to about 1 gallon of water. With 1 million guests per year, they’re projecting that 1 million gallons of water will be saved.
Pretty cool, right?! It’s so important to support businesses in the travel industry who are ‘extra’ in the right ways, especially when it comes to sustainable tourism, and HI is proving to be a leader on this front.
If you want to learn more about the Million Gallon Challenge, head over to www.hiusa.org/million.
Let me know - is sustainable tourism important to you? Have you stayed at a HI hostel before?
#HIUSA #HISanFrancsicoCityCenter #sponsored


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Happy Friday y’all 😛💃🏻💗
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Today I’m dreaming of desert sands, Moroccan dunes, and cute camels.🐪🇲🇦 I can’t believe it has already been two months since I got back from Morocco (and I’m still having withdrawals). Between signing a lease a couple of weeks ago, and finally getting my room set-up, my life in San Francisco is starting to feel more real. I love that feeling, but I’m also looking forward to adventuring again soon (especially now that I have a home space that is so ME to come back to). This weekend I’ll be down in Santa Cruz to catch up with family and get some quality hiking in, and I’m already planning out where I might want to go in 2019.
I have a trip to Europe booked in February, but Ive hardly explored any of Latin America or the Caribbean, so I’m making it my goal to get to more of that part of the world next year. .
Let me know - do you have a favorite spot in Latin America or the Caribbean?! Give me some inspiration!! I think my top three destinations I’d love to see right now are Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba. Clearly, I need to start brushing up on my Spanish and Portuguese.
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📷 by @chenee_grace


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Taking a mid-week break to hike to the top of Twin Peaks to celebrate #InternationalStoutDay with @BreckBrew! 🍻
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I’ve been trying to take advantage of the nice weather in SF lately to get outside and “fall” in love even more with my new base - I have a whole bucket list of things I want to tackle around the Bay Area. A couple of weekends ago I camped out on the stunning Angel Island, and this week I made it to the top of Twin Peaks for the first time (the viewpoint is only about a 30 min walk from my new place)!
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When I was living in Portland and getting out on hikes every weekend, I would always bring a can of my favorite craft beer to open at the end of a hike, especially the really strenuous ones that were straight uphill and 6+ hours. It was a way to celebrate the little win of getting outside and on a new hike every week, and a refreshing way to drink my way through the many delicious local beers.
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I’m thinking of bringing this little tradition back now that I’m surrounded by good beer again and I plan to be hiking regularly. I recently discovered Breckenridge Brewery out of Colorado and their Nitro Irish Stout - the perfect beer to sip on after a fall hike - and I'm sold! This beer was still cold when I got to the top of Twin Peaks!
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Let me know - do you ever bring beer to enjoy at the end of a hike, or is that just me? What’s your favorite type of beer? Many of you might not know this, but I used to be a craft beer bartender for 3 years and fell in love with all things nitro and sour (although not usually together) throughout my tenure.
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Happy International Stout Day y’all! 🍺

#sponsored | #BreckBrew | #NitroIrishStout | #InGoodCo


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Did you know that San Francisco’s best weather is usually in September and October? Lucky me! - that’s exactly when I arrived back to the city, managing to miss “fogust” in the process.
I know the weather is bound to change again soon now that we’re heading into the heart of fall, but I’m going to soak up these sunny California days in the bay while I can.
It’s true that you can’t beat a sunny day in SF, where everyone ends up in the park having picnics and blowing up their Pouch Couches while sipping on a can of wine.🍷 A lot has been happening over here at The Atlas Heart since I arrived back to the US. I started a mastermind group with other travel entrepreneurs after meeting so many inspiring bloggers at @travel_con, I picked up a huge client that’s based in San Francisco and exactly the type of company I want to work for (ie travel), I found a new place to live in my favorite neighborhood, I was invited on an exciting press trip for November, booked a girls trip to Paris for Valentine’s Day, and I have a few exciting sponsored campaigns coming up with companies I love. I knew that moving back to the US would be good for business, and, surprisingly, it has been great for my work life balance too now that I’m not always on the move.
Here’s to that California livin’ 🌻 I know I’ve said this before, but it’s great to be back.
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Let me know - where do you call home? What makes it home for you? 🏠


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Summer days in a desert oasis 💯💁🏼‍♀️
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I’m writing up a post this week about what you should know before visiting Morocco! I have plenty of tips to share, but I’m curious to know what you all are most interested in learning about? .
What are the first three things that come to mind when you think of Morocco? What would you be most concerned about with a trip to the country? .
This was taken my first day into a three day desert trip out to the Sahara. It was dusty and hot, but one of my favorite experiences in Morocco. If you’ve never thought of the desert as being drop dead beautiful, you haven’t been to Morocco yet. It’s unlike any other country I’ve been to. #theatlasheart
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📷 by @chenee_grace


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Hooray!! 🎉 My first post about Portugal is finally here!! 🇵🇹
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It’s baffling to me how much of an underrated destination Portugal still is. I only heard countless good things from other travelers before I finally saw it myself, but it still has far less visitors per year than nearby countries, such as Spain, France, and Italy. .
Perhaps that’s where its charm lies, however – it’s not overrun by tourism. Although, it’s now starting to get there, with tourists taking over in the summer and swarming to spots like the Algarve, Lisbon, and Porto in recent years. .
Because Portugal isn’t at the top of everyone’s list when they visit Europe, I had a narrow view of what to expect from a few select perspectives, all of which said pretty much the same thing: Portugal is the best country in Europe, you’ll never want to leave, etc. .
I will be honest and say that even after living in Portugal for two months, it’s not my favorite country in Europe, even if I thoroughly enjoyed my time immersing myself in Portuguese culture. .
Honestly, Portugal surprised me in a lot of ways - both good and bad. In my latest post, I talk about what surprised me the most and what you should know before visiting the country. .
Head to the link in my bio or stories for the full post! .
Let me know - have you been to Portugal? What were your thoughts on the country? I’d love to hear about your experience, or if this guide helps you with planning out your own trip! #theatlasheart
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📷 by @g.galindezurbina


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Before I arrived to Essaouira, I was told it was basically the Santa Cruz of Morocco. .
✅ Beach vibes ✅ Surfers ✅ Hippies
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I could see the resemblance, at least in terms of the vibe, as soon as I arrived. This was a less conservative Morocco, one where I felt okay showing my shoulders and even wearing a dress that came to my knees without getting overly gawked at and catcalled. .
There is also a special connection to Jimi Hendrix in this city, and especially at this rock-formed castle (the ruins of the Borj El-Berod watchtower). This spot is said to be where he got his inspiration for ‘Castles Made of Sand’. .
The lyrics go “and so castles made of sand fall in the sea eventually.” Everything is temporary in this world. This was the mindset and perspective that initially inspired me to move abroad and start traveling in the first place. Life is short. Go out and grab it by the horns. .
Who knows, you might even end up on the opposite side of the world in a little hippie beach town in Morocco, feeling alive with the wind pulsing through your veins and a crumbling castle next to you. A castle that the sea erodes a little bit more each day to remind you of your own impermanence. And how beautiful life is because of it. ✈️


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