9/30/16

Travel Guide: Santorini

What looked like snow capped mountain tops from afar were actually cliffs dotted with white stucco buildings. As soon as I stepped off the ferry, I knew I was in paradise.




I took the bus from the port into Fira, where I took another bus to Perivolos. I'm so thankful for the welcoming, helpful Greek people helping me figure out where I needed to go because otherwise I would have been totally lost.

The roads are not for those with vertigo. We wound up the cliffs in our big bus in a serpentine fashion. I'm still not sure how we managed those tiny roads.



One of our first stops was Oia. The pretty picture off the post cards. We rented ATV's which you can find all over the island. It was about a 30 minute ride with some of the most stunning views I've ever seen.

The white and blue city is a dream to behold with its quaint, little buildings stacked on top of each other. Blue skies and wide open views of the sea made it obvious why Oia has become known for its breathtaking sunsets.


Between the adorable shops selling traditional garments and pottery, and the men riding up the stairs on donkeys (yes this is a real thing that happens!), the city lived up to and even exceeded all of my expectations.

Next stop, was the Red Sand Beach. It was definitely not what I expected it to be. It was worth seeing, but don't bother bringing your swimsuit (unless it's just to take pictures) because "beach" is a bit of an overstatement. It's more like a patch of sand, and there are way too many tourists to do any actual swimming or tanning. 



This is literally all of it. We ended up taking the ATV's to another nearby beach called Vlychada which was gorgeous and much less crowded than many of the other popular beaches. It was a little hard to find though. Don't trust Google maps! It led us to a dead end where we could see the beach, but couldn't access it. Follow the signs instead. There are some near Agios Giorgios. Just a warning though if you walk too far down the beach there are some nudists (unless that's your thing than go for it!).


We spent a lot of time on the beautiful black sand beach near our hotel. You can rent lounge chairs or cabanas. The sand gets extremely hot during the day, so it's best to do so unless you somehow manage to have your own. Most importantly ENJOY. Greece is such a magical, beautiful country.

3/23/16

Bedroom Inspiration

I am currently in the process of ridding myself of the horrendous orange and pink walls in my childhood bedroom which I decided were a good idea when I was 13. My ideal room would be a white, airy, luxurious space that feels fresh yet warm.

Check out my inspiration pictures. Hope they inspire you too! I'll post an update on how my renovation is going.

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3/14/16

On Travel Snobbery:

I, Nicole Moore, formally admit to being a recovering travel snob.



Now, what exactly is travel snobbery? While the most obvious iteration would be those who just can't bear to travel without staying in a five star hotel and tanning on their yacht throughout the day, I would argue that there is a subtler form of pretension that has invaded the current travel set, and in my recent adventures, I was totally guilty.

This attitude is not about fine living, but about roughing it-- just enough-- while simultaneously getting that cute Instagram shot.

We the travel snobs are "true" travelers because we stay in hostels, and we don't do guided tours. That casual pic of us looking dreamily over the cityscape? We happily stumbled upon that spot, and by no means were furiously Googling pictures of the coolest locals in the city ahead of time.

We dress as the locals do: effortlessly chic. God forbid we look like a stereotypical tourist.

But here's a secret I learned when I recently traveled for two months between five different countries: sometimes those super cute boots that look really great in photos end up making you miserable as you trek through the cobblestone streets, and sometimes the guided tour will be the best part of your stay.

While I am all for solo travel (seriously do it) and staying true to your style, "Doing it for the 'gram" is typically not worth it.

Eat all of the cinnamon buns in Stockholm. Fika is the best.
I embarrassingly lit my napkin on fire trying to get the perfect picture of my "fika" (Swedish for a coffee and pastry break). I decided at the last minute to take a guided tour which felt like a cop-out until I reached the Swiss mountaintop that took my breath away.


Traveling is about taking risks and experiencing new things even if those things aren't 'grammable. Did I post a picture of the minibus that made it clear to all of the Swiss locals that a bunch of foreigners was rolling through? No. Am I glad I took said minibus? Hell yeah. I learned way more than I would have on my own.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets caught up in the perceived negatives associated with the idea of being a "tourist." I will probably never be the fanny-pack-wearing, guidebook-toting tourist that you see in the movies (or basically every stereotypical portrayal of an American tourist ever), but it's okay to stop and take pictures of things in the street even if it makes the locals roll their eyes.

So here is my promise: I will work on controlling my own desire to roll my eyes when people overtly display their travel inexperience. I am so #blessed to have been able to travel like I have, and not everyone is comfortable enough to break out on their own. I'm way more embarrassed by the fact that I side-eyed someone wearing their 'I Love Paris' sweatshirt home on the plane than the fact that I too wore my 'I Love Paris' sweatshirt on the plane ride home six years ago.

There is no excuse for my snobbery. I travel to open my mind and heart, and I am so happy and excited for others who choose to do the same.

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