Paris Photo Diary:
Part II

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When I first got to Paris, I was absolutely terrified to sit at a cafe alone. After a few days of walking by some of the most adorable cafes I’ve seen in my life, I was able to convince myself that it would be ok, but only during the day. I wouldn’t dare dine at night alone. Eventually, I found a few “safe” sidewalk cafes that were away from the hustle and bustle of Paris life and therefore, nighttime appropriate for a party of one. Still, I stayed clear of the crowded, popular ones. Honestly, it’s not like I’m embarrassed or uncomfortable alone. I moved to Paris alone. I spent 95% of my time there alone. But still, there was something about sitting in a crowded public space reserved primarily for socializing that got the best of my anxiety. And so it was. Until my very last night in Paris, when I found myself back at one of my favorite cafes in Saint-Germain on a busy Sunday night in July, without even a book to keep me company. And there I sat and enjoyed my last Parisian burger (eaten with a fork and knife) and frites feeling nothing but proud of how far I’d come. I took thousands of pictures over the three months I was there. Going through them all the other night was emotional. I thought, I’ll go back next spring for maybe a month or two. But even so, I know it won’t be the same. Nothing will ever rival the experience I had. It was timing, everything. I’ll never be the same. So I can jump on planes chasing new adventures, which I will, and I know Paris and I will be reunited many times over, but the little love affair I experienced with it this summer will remain just that – tucked away somewhere special in my heart. Forever.

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Fellah Hotel, Marrakech

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I’ve been to many, many cool hotels over the years. For me, half the fun of traveling is the hotel. I’d rather not travel if the only option is a cheesy, cookie-cutter, chain hotel.  When I’m planning a trip, I spend hours combing travel websites, looking at hotel photos, and reading reviews. I fell upon this gem on Mr. and Mrs. Smith and it was love at first sight. My experience there definitely did not disappoint. The Fellah Hotel, located a little outside of the city center, is like a little bohemian hideaway in the desert. The hotel staff, mostly locals, make you feel like family and are incredibly accommodating. I split my time in Marrakech between two hotels, because I knew once I arrived at the Fellah, I wanted to relax on the grounds rather than running off to explore other parts of the city. There are plenty of day trips and excursions, but staying at the hotel is an easy option as well, as the hotel has a library, a gym where you can take boxing lessons, a spa, and a center where you can learn to cook. I mostly enjoyed my time lounging by the pool with a good book in hand. It was truly a unique and enjoyable experience.

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Marrakech Photo Diary

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Just a few photos from my trip to Marrakech. I’m dying to go back to Morocco and explore more of Marrakech and also travel to other cities. It is a beautiful country! I was hesitant to travel there alone, having never been to Africa or a Muslim country before, and while there were moments when I felt overwhelmed, and a little out of my comfort zone, I don’t for a second regret going. As a female, there are aspects of travel that men likely take for granted. I never ate a meal outside of my hotel, for instance, because I wasn’t sure if it was culturally acceptable for someone like myself to get dressed up and sit alone at a restaurant. I could have eaten in the medina, but I did attract a lot of unwanted male attention that made me slightly uncomfortable. But I also met many incredible locals, inside and outside of the medina, who were most welcoming. I had an amazing driver, of Berber heritage, who gave me a brilliant history of Morocco. One of the things he emphasized was how even though there were Berbers and Arabs living in one place, and most of the people (but not all) are Muslim, they are very proud of the fact that Morocco is a very peaceful country and they can all live in harmony. Almost every person I spoke to was very eager to make me feel welcome, which was incredible. Also, there isn’t any industry in Marrakech, so the people are welcoming to tourists and hoping to grow the tourism industry. So if you are looking for a trip that is a little off the beaten path, and want a taste of Northern Africa, I would highly recommend Marrakech.

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Paris Photo Diary:
Part I

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So here is my first installment of Paris photos after almost one month here. Disclosure: I’m trying to learn photography (ok, I’ve been trying for years now) and failing miserable (I shoot in automatic), but I’m not giving up just yet! Hopefully, the photos you see in my last installment will be improved (and shot in manual). Enjoy!

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Photo Diary:
Stockholm

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This past spring, I made my first trip to Scandinavia. After hearing only positive things about it from my father my entire life, and then having the pleasure and privilege of meeting some wonderful Scandinavians in LA, I was most excited to experience Stockholm and it definitely lived up to everything I had heard about it. I now fully subscribe to the notion that Swedes are the most evolved humans on earth. Other observations from my travels: (1) There is no such thing as an overweight Swede. They are all impossibly fit. Because they walk everywhere. I’ve never seen so many mothers maneuvering strollers through rush hour foot traffic, which to me is just sexy; (2) The meatballs! (Enough said); (3) We’ve all heard of white nights, but to truly experience the magnificence of one while traveling is just beyond! Sightseeing doesn’t end when the sun sets, the sun is still shining while you are getting ready for a night on the town, and you wake up to sunlight at 4:00 a.m. confused and thinking you overslept only to discover you get to sleep longer; (4) The Nobis Hotel is the bomb.com; and (5) I predict Swedish as a language will soon (relatively speaking) not exist because they speak perfect English, even in the company of their own.

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