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by @theatlasheart

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

Pena Palace
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by @theatlasheart

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. ✈️

Essaouira
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by @theatlasheart

When in Texas 🤠
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I’ve spent the last 4 days in Austin, Texas to experience the first ever @travel_con, and I’m still trying to put into words how transformative and inspiring it was for me. .
From the people I met (including some of the bloggers I’ve been following and looking up to for years in the travel industry - ie @thisbatteredsuitcase, @glographics, @alexinwanderland, @theblondeabroad, @bemytravelmuse, @heynadine, @anna.everywhere), to the hilarious networking parties (and after parties), to the keynote speeches from the likes of @oneikatraveller, @ryanholiday, @patflynn, @rolfpotts, @mshelenrussell, and @nomadicmatt, and my writing workshop with @torrederoche, this was easily the best conference I’ve attended yet for my business.
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There really is something to be said for how powerful human connection can be, especially when it’s with people who understand your lifestyle and have as much drive as you do to make it in this business - knowing that there’s room for everyone to be in it in their own way. .
Time to get to work, continue to be inspired, and keep hustling. 😎
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Thank you especially to @travel_with_cherryl, @nickdanbergman, @brown.eyed.flower.child, @durianwriter, @thewanderlust_rose, @takeoffwithtal, @chubbydiaries__, @asoutherngypsy, @cassrose, @erictesch, and @megmovesmountains for making it such a memorable weekend. Safe travels, y’all!! ✈️ #theatlasheart

Austin, Texas
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by @theatlasshoppe

This.☝️


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by @theatlasheart

Reminiscing about spring days in Iceland. 😍🇮🇸 It took me two weeks to put together, but I finally finished my detailed itinerary for a week of road tripping around Iceland. It’s probably the most unique country I’ve been to in terms of other worldly landscapes and epic waterfalls. .
Head to my stories for a link to the full post!🔝
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Tell me - have you been to the land of fire and ice before?

Skógafoss
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by @theatlasheart

Street scenes of Marrakech 💗 .
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What is the most colorful country you’ve been to?

Marrakech
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by @theatlasheart

You have to jump for joy when you finally make it to the Sahara Desert. 🐪🇲🇦 I just got back from the desert a couple of days ago, and even though it involved long days of driving through winding mountain roads and Berber villages, the journey and the destination were well worth it. I went with Ando Travel and could not recommend their tours enough (not in any way sponsored by them, just enjoyed their tour that much). I heard a lot of horror stories about the desert tours, especially from other female travelers who had less than stellar experiences with creepy guides in the desert, but I never once felt uncomfortable during my 3 day tour and found the guides to be knowledgeable and helpful every place we went. And they’re one of the cheaper tour companies I found during my research, i.e. They offer budget group tours for under €100 that will take you out to the famous Merzouga Dunes.
So happy I was able to experience the peacefulness of the Sahara, watch the stars come out in full force at night, enjoy an evening of Berber music, and experience my first sandstorm on a camel!
Adventure starts at the edge of your comfort zone. This is one of those experiences not to miss if you come to Morocco. #theatlasheart

Sahara Desert, Morocco
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by @theatlasheart

There are numerous theories behind how Chefchaouen became such a blue city. Some say the blue color keeps mosquitos and other insects away, and it was a way for locals to have built in repellent back before the technology existed for bug zappers and spray. Others claim the blue comes from the Jewish population who took haven here during the 1930s. Whatever the reason, the intense variety of blues bring about a certain type of spiritual calmness that’s hard to find in other parts of Morocco. It’s the perfect place to get lost down quiet alleyways, and watch the sunset reflect off the city’s cool tones from one of its many rooftops. // #theatlasheart

Chafchaouen شفشاون
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by @theatlasheart

Sunset views of Alfama. ☺️ Today was my last day in Portugal, the last two months of living in Lisbon has flown by. I’ll miss this city and its quirky ways of doing things. Even if it wasn’t the perfect fit for me long term, I met some wonderful friends from choosing to live here for the summer and allowing myself to get lost in the European culture that I love so much.
Next up is Morocco! I just arrived in Fes a couple of hours ago, and I’m looking forward to exploring a new country, on a brand new continent for me, for the next couple of weeks before heading back to California and setting up a base in San Francisco. If you have any tips for Morocco, please send them through! 👈🏻

Alfama, Lisboa, Portugal
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by @theatlasheart

Exploring whimsical places in Sintra 💗🏰 We made it to three palaces during our trip to Sintra (which, believe me, was a mission with how spread out and huge most of them are), and Quinta da Regaleira was my favorite of the bunch. It felt like I had stepped into Pan’s Labyrinth or Alice in Wonderland, and that’s not too far off from what the grounds were intended to feel like - the gardens were styled to represent ancient secret orders and included hidden tunnels and plenty of concealed symbolism.
Would you want to get lost here for a day!? 😍

Quinta da Regaleira
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by @theatlasheart

I spent this past weekend exploring more of northern Portugal, including Portugal’s canal city - Aveiro. 💙

And it doesn’t get much more ‘quaint’ European than this place. It’s often compared to Venice as a tourist gimmick, and although I didn’t find the city all that similar to its Italian counterpart (besides the canals and gondola-esque boats), I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon by the water, poking my head into dusty old cathedrals and convents, eating Ovos Moles, and browsing a Saturday market or two. It’s probably the most relaxing city I’ve been to in Portugal, not to mention charming and colorful. One to put on the list if you’re looking for a more off-the-radar destination in Portugal. .
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Let me know, what did you get up to this weekend? 🏄‍♀️ #theatlasheart

Aveiro, Portugal
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by @theatlasheart

Finally made it to Sintra.💛
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Although it might look like I’m in front of a castle at Disneyland, the colorful Pena Palace is actually in Portugal. I didn’t get to explore the gardens below due to an extreme heat warning (~100+ degrees!!), but the palace itself was a treat on the eyes, as well as the view looking out over Sintra. One good thing about all the hills you have to climb up when visiting Sintra - the amount of stunning views you get, plus a really great free calves workout.😎 Pena Palace is probably the most popular castle of them all in Sintra, and although it wasn’t my favorite of the day, you can’t deny its beauty and whimsical flamboyance — and it was built in the 1800s!! Weren’t people meant to be austere and non-smiling back then? Apparently not in Portugal. 🇵🇹😍
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Let me know - what’s the most colorful historical site you’ve been to? 🏰
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📷 by @g.galindezurbina

Palace National De Pena
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by @theatlasheart

One of the things I’ve grown to appreciate even more than when I was younger is strong female friendships. My housemates in Lisbon are both badass women who I immediately clicked with from our first wine and cheese board together. Honestly, it feels like I’ve known them for longer than a month. They say that home is where your people are, and these two women have helped me feel at home in Lisbon, even if it’s a temporary home.
Our first day trip together was at the beginning of last month, to Peniche, a small surf town an hour and a half north of Lisbon. It was a beautiful sunny day as we walked around the headland and enjoyed fresh seafood near the ocean. In fact, it was one of my favorite days in July. Sometimes all you need is good friends, good food, and ocean views. ☀️
My full July wrap up is now up on the blog, give it a read to find out more about my decision to return to California, my summer in Portugal so far, and my upcoming trip to Morocco! (Link in bio🔝).
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Let me know - what was your favorite memory from July?
#theatlasheart

Peniche, Portugal
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by @theatlasheart

Waking up in Porto be like 💙💃🏻
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This past weekend I returned to Porto, the first city I visited in Portugal back in June, to explore the tiled streets and experience the welcoming nightlife with a couple of good friends. We rented a flat in the middle of downtown and spent two days amongst the azulejos, riverside views, and managed to fit in a fun pub crawl with @portowalkers. As much as I love Lisbon, there’s a romantic beauty to Porto that I haven’t found anywhere else in Portugal, it was nice to make another visit.
I’m now back in Lisbon and working on a couple of exciting projects - including a couple in-depth guides to two of my favorite cities: Montreal and Florence - and a one week itinerary for Iceland. I’m also starting to plan my upcoming trip to Morocco, so if you have any recommendations, please comment away! // #theatlasheart
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💗 Let me know - do you have any travels planned for August or September? Have you been to Morocco or Portugal?

Igreja dos Carmelitas - Porto
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by @theatlasheart

Finding hidden coves from limestone cliffs in the Algarve. If you go to southern Portugal, make sure to include the 7 Hanging Valleys hike from Portmão to Benagil Cave. It takes a few hours, but the scenery is so, so beautiful. Growing up in California, I’ve seen my fair share of impressive golden clifftop views, and the Algarve was right up there with Big Sur and San Diego (aka it was mind-blowingly stunning). I walked until sunset, coming across little coves, beaches, and tiny coastal towns and restaurants. It was by far my favorite experience in the Algarve. 🇵🇹 #theatlasheart

Carvoeiro, Faro, Portugal
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by @theatlasheart

Finding peace at a 13th century cathedral in Évora. Even though I don’t consider myself a religious person, I love pausing and appreciating places of worship during my travels. Whether they’re ornate or simple, old or new (okay, I prefer the historic ones 😁), there’s a certain kind of calmness that exudes from their interior. The perfect excuse to pause on a busy day, or hectic city, and find a little slice of daily meditation. Europe, especially, has an abundance of beautiful cathedrals and I’ve been enjoying exploring the many I’ve come across in Portugal. They easily make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, just so you can appreciate the little things. //#theatlasheart

Sé Catedral de Évora
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by @theatlasheart

Last weekend, my housemates and I decided to get out of the city and explore the small seaside city of Peniche (mostly because it was the only place within 2 hours of Lisbon that wasn’t raining 😛). About an hour and a half by bus from Lisbon, this is a hotspot for surfers. There’s also a lovely headland walk you can do around the peninsula. It takes about an hour and a half, and there’s a lighthouse and breezy ocean views along the way. It was the ideal place to close out the weekend and appreciate the natural beauty of this country. An easy thing to do in Portugal! Also, there’s a delicious little seafood spot at the end of the walk called @profresco. It ain’t cheap, but it is tasty if you love fresh seafood. 🐠🐟🐡// #theatlasheart .
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💗Let me know - have you taken any memorable day trips recently?
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📷 by @g.galindezurbina

Peniche, Portugal
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by @theatlasheart

Chasing fortress churches in Évora. 🏰 Although we didn’t find a lot happening in Évora because we arrived on a Sunday, they take the cake for cool churches. Cathedral of Évora was my favorite cathedral that I’ve visited in Portugal so far. It provided an impressive view over the yellow and white buildings of the city. A close runner up was the Chapel of Bones (or Capela dos Ossos). It was created when the city needed to expand and start building but Évora was already covered in graveyards. They decided to consolidate the bones, and some of them ended up in this chapel to remind everyone who came through its doors of their own mortality. The chapel is literally made from thousands of human bones. Creepy but kind of beautiful in a morbid way. Let me know —> what is the quirkiest or weirdest religious site you’ve been to? // #theatlasheart

Catedral de Évora
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by @theatlasheart

**New Post Alert** My June Wrap Up is now up on the blog, including my travels through the beautiful city of Porto, as well as the UK, Spain, and other magical spots around Portugal. Find out why it was such a special month for me, and where I plan to enjoy the rest of my summer! (Link in bio💗).
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Tell me - have you ever been to Portugal? What is your favorite European city? 🏰🇵🇹
#theatlasheart

Porto, Portugal
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by @theatlasheart

I’ve spent the last week exploring southern Portugal and Spain with my friend from San Francisco, and it has been a blast discovering more of my new home base with someone who makes me laugh everyday and who is just as excited to learn about new cultures as I am.
In the last week, I made it through the flu, basked in the Flamenco culture of Seville, got lost in the limestone caves of the Algarve, stayed in a beautiful convent turned pousada from the 15th century, partied all night in Lisbon, and got my first taste of live Fado. It was an adventure to say the least.
Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the summer has in store for me!
Now that I’m all settled into my sublet in Lisbon, please feel free to send me your recommendations for what I should see, taste, and experience in this city. 💗 #theatlasheart .

Lagos, Portugal
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by @theatlasheart

**NEW ON THE BLOG** My picks for the 7 most peaceful places in London (link in bio!). 🇬🇧 'London' and 'peaceful' are two words you don't normally hear in the same sentence, but even London, with its many unique attributes, has a few quiet hideaways that allow you to get away from the city without ever having to leave it.
I captured this shot at the Kew Gardens' Palm House. As soon as I walked into the humid greenhouse I felt like I was back in the jungles of Malaysia. I love finding local spots like this in my travels, especially in cities that are visited by so many people - how about you? .
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#theatlasheart #visitlondon #thisislondon

Kew Gardens
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by @theatlasheart

In case you missed it ➡️ my May Wrap-Up is now up on the blog (link in bio!). Last month took me from the shores of California to Iceland, Scotland, and England. I also rang in my 28th dancing at a music festival in London, and partying with a number of friends I’ve met from around the world. May was wonderful in a number of ways, maybe most importantly, it made me realize how much I now think of California as home. I guess sometimes it takes leaving a place to realize how much it means to you. And I definitely felt a kind of homesickness in May for California that I’d never felt before during my travels. We’ll see how this summer goes in Portugal, but there’s a chance I may be ready to set-up a proper base in San Francisco before the year is out. 💗Let me know - where do you consider home? What made you choose that place? #theatlasheart

Skógafoss
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by @theatlasheart

“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. ‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.” // Roman Payne 🌸 —-
#theatlasheart #wheniniceland
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📷 by @theurv

Iceland
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by @theatlasheart

When you come across rapids on the side of the road, you have to stop, take a photo, and appreciate the view. 📷 I don’t think I’ve ever pulled over more during a road trip than I did in Iceland. 🚗 Processing the profound amount of beauty and unique landscapes in this country left us feeling exhausted but fulfilled by the end of each day. It’s really unlike any other country I’ve experienced before. 🇮🇸➡️ Let me know - what is the most unique country you’ve been to? What made it so different? #theatlasheart #wheniniceland

Iceland
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by @theatlasheart

Climbing on flood-destroyed bridges, aka what you do in Iceland. 🇮🇸 In case you missed it 👉🏻 I just published my latest birthday post, about all the places I once called home in the past 28 years and the personal anecdotes that go along with them. The list includes multiple spots in California, Australia, New Zealand, Oregon, Thailand, and Greece. You can read the full post by heading to the link in my bio 🔝 I’ll be heading to London tomorrow for my birthday weekend, including a new music festival that’s happening on my actual birthday and which one of my favorite bands is headlining - the XX. More to come about that soon! Let me know — how do you usually celebrate your birthday? I spend every birthday of my 20s in a different city. This year’s will be much different from my birthday in Don Det, Laos last year, but I’m excited to take on London Town for my 28th. 🎉🎈
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📷 by @theurv

Iceland
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by @theatlasheart

Exploring the otherworldly landscape of Iceland. 🇮🇸You just have to drive for another 5 minutes and you’ll feel like you’re in another country (or planet). This spot is a popular geothermal field called Seltún in the Krísuvík area, only about 40 minutes from Reykjavik by car. It smelled like a whole lot of sulfur and acted as a natural heater from the cold weather. The pools here get up to 100 degrees C, so make sure you watch where you step on the narrow platforms. This was probably the most well developed geothermal field we saw during our time in the country, I love how all of the colors run together in a way that reminds me of a painting. Let me know - have you been to many geothermal areas in the world? I’ve now been to three major ones - Yellowstone National Park in the US, the North Island of New Zealand, and Iceland. Love me some rotten-egg smelling electric blue boiling water. 💙👏🏻

Krysavik - Seltun
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by @theatlasheart

Being humbled by epic waterfalls is a daily occurrence in Iceland. 💦🇮🇸
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📷 by @theurv

Skógafoss
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by @theatlasheart

On my last day in Naxos, I rented a car with a couple of guys from my hostel and we hiked up Mt. Zas. It was a scorching hot but beautiful blue sky day. We came across goats that blended into the mountain, and explored the Cave of Zeus (where locals in ancient times believed the god Zeus was born). After the cave, it was basically just scrambling up loose rocks and gravel at a steep incline to get to the top. We didn't make it to the very top since we started a little later in the day and one guy in the group had to head to the ferry port shortly after, but even the views from mid-mountain were stunning. After our hike, we stopped by the tiny village Filoti to grab lunch at a local taverna and feasted on Greek specialities from the region with a cool breeze lightening up the hot afternoon. The American guy had to soon take off to catch his ferry, but me and my German friend spent the day driving around the west coast of the island, checking out a couple of popular beaches, and taking in the perfect afternoon at our leisure. It was my last island in Greece before heading back to the mainland, and it was just the type of adventure I was looking for to say goodbye to summer and my island life that I had grown to love so much in the past few months. #theatlasheart #naxos #mtzas

Mt Zas
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