travel

I’m Back!

HE, San Sebastian

…from both my Spain trip and my brief time unplugging!

My family and I squeezed in a ton, during our vacation! I’m still wowed at all we were able to do. We hiked mountains, explored cities, walked throughВ vineyards, and ateВ countless pintxos.

We started our 11-day northern Spain trip in and around Bilbao. Then we headed west to the Picos de Europa, then southeast to the La Rioja wine region. We finished up in San Sebastian—a city that’s pretty much my idea of a perfect place. (Where the above photo was taken.)

Most importantly, I’m glad I hadВ that time with four of my favorite people: my mom, stepdad, Mal and Peter.

I’m excited to share photos and highlights over the next several posts.В And I’m looking forward to evolving this space!

Like I mentioned in my last post, I’d fallen into the blogger trap of feeling pressured to post more frequently. As a result, I hadn’tВ been spending enough time on the posts I most enjoyed writing: longer pieces about places I’ve visited, meals I’ve eaten, thoughts on stories I’ve read. I’m planning on sharing moreВ of that kind of content with accompanying original photography—as I learn to use the DSLR I recently acquired! (So bear with me on that!)

I will, of course, still share photos and art projects that I’ve stumbled upon and enjoyed. But those will hopefully make up a smaller portion of my posts.

If you don’t already, please sign up to get my post notifications by email, via the box in the right rail. Or, follow me on Twitter.

I’m happy to launch intoВ this new evolution of NYC Expeditionist! Thanks for joining meВ on the journey. рџ™‚

The Desire to Unplug

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Last week, I read an awesome, thought-provoking Outside piece by David Roberts. He’s a longtime Grist blogger, which means that he—like most of us—spends a crazy amount of time in front of a screen: blogging, tweeting, reading, etc. As he put it:

My mind was perpetually in the state that researcher and technology writer Linda Stone termed continuous partial attention. I was never completely where I was, never entirely doing what I was doing. I always had one eye on the virtual world. Every bit of conversation was a potential tweet, every sunset a potential Instagram.

For one year, though, he took an unpaid sabbatical from his job and just unplugged. No work e-mail, no social media, no daily news cycles. His journey from over-connected to disconnected is fascinating; read the whole thingВ here.

I’m quite envious of Roberts’ year off the grid. I estimate that I spend about 10-11 hours in front of a screen per day. (I work a full time digital job and, of course, post here, in my spare time.) I try to limit my screen time whenever possible—taking walks during lunch, reading paperbacks instead of ebooks while commuting—but it’s hard! I do love writing, blogging and seeing/reading other peoples’ works online. Plus, my livelihood requires it.

I can feel the effects of being so plugged in, though. My neck and shoulders are always stiff. I often feel dazed and slightly headachy when I step away from my computer, at the end of the day.

There’s no doubt in my mind that’s why I value ballet and traveling so much. Ballet is one of the few times in a day when I can completely unplug and be in the moment. It certainly helps that we dance to live music. And you really can’t dance if your mind is more on your to-do list than on ballet combinations.

It’s the same with travel. When I’m outside of NYC, I check my email as little as possible. I just enjoy the experience of being in a different place with its own sights, sounds and smells. Sure, I take photos and note down things I want to remember. (Or post on this blog.) But it’s just so liberating to be away from 11 hour days in front of a computer. I can actually feel myself relax and slow down during that time.

…as you can imagine, I am counting the days until my trip to Spain.

Do you often feel the need to unplug, too?

(Image via Pinterest)

2015 Travel the World Calendar

The other day, when I was browsing inВ Anthropologie, a calendar caught my eye. Later, upon leaving the store, Mal, who was with me,В mentioned that she’d seen a calendar that seemed like something I’d post on this blog. How well she knows me (and my style)!

That calendar is by Rifle Paper Co., a Florida-based stationary and design brand, and it’s called “Travel the World.”В Each month features a romantic, vintage-style illustration of an iconic place.

New York, London and Paris are, of course, among the cities. But I loved how more off-the-beaten path places were included, like Petra…

2015 TRAVEL THE WORLD | Rifle Paper Co.

…Havana…

2015 TRAVEL THE WORLD | Rifle Paper Co.

…and Bali.

2015 TRAVEL THE WORLD | Rifle Paper Co.

I’d love to have this in my work cube to brighten the space—and remind me of all the amazing places I’ve yet to visit.

(Images from “2015 Travel the World Calendar” by Rifle Paper Co.)

The RedBall Project

The RedBall Project makes me so freakin’ happy.

The concept is simple: A giant red, inflatable ball travels the world and is wedged into structures in different cities—much to the delight of those who stumble upon it.

It’s the creation of Brooklyn-based sculptor Kurt Perschke. The RedBall Project is meant to excite and inspire participation, as he describes it:

Through the magnetic, playful, and charismatic nature of the RedBall the work is able to access the imagination embedded in all of us…It opens a doorway to imagine what if? As RedBall travels around the world people approach me on the street with excited suggestions about where to put it in their city. In that moment the person is not a spectator but a participant in the act of imagination.

Cute, crazy, beautiful,В whimsical and just so much fun. (Kinda like that giant, inflatable duck that’s also made its way around the world.)

RedBall is currently in Montreal…

Red Ball Project | Montreal

…and has already been to Galway

Red Ball Project | Galway

Rennes

Red Ball Project | Rennes

…and Abu Dhabi, among other locations.

Red Ball Project | Abu Dhabi

I’m hoping it makes a stop in NYC, sometime soon.

(Images via the RedBall Project; found via Travel + Leisure)

Have You Heard of Tuvalu?

I hadn’t until today, when I read this article in the Times, about Tuvalu being the owner of the internet’s .tv domain.

I was intrigued about this unknown country, especially when I saw this aerial shot:

Tuvalu, by Soichiro Yamamoto/Asahi Shimbun, via Associated Press

Um, can I go there now?

Tuvalu, as it turns out, is located in the South Pacific, halfway between Australia and Hawaii. It’s comprised of nine atolls (coral reef islands), and measures in around 10 square miles, which makes it one of the world’s smallest countries. It’s also sparsely populated, with just over 10,000 residents.

To me, the island seems a bit like paradise. The pace of life is slow, and most residents don’t pay rent. Instead, they live off the land, picking fruit and fishing to meet their needs.

And just look at it!

Tuvalu, via National Geographic

Here’s the tragic part, though: Tuvalu may not exist forever. The island is at serious risk of disappearing due to rising waters and climate change. Many inhabitants have already decamped to New Zealand.

Sadly, it looks like Tuvalu may be part of the list of places you should visit before they disappear. (And it’s another reminder of how we need to travel and act consciously to prevent the loss of more of these places.)

Tuvalu, via All That Is Interesting

(Top image by Soichiro Yamamoto/Asahi Shimbun, via Associated Press, via the NY Times; middle image via National Geographic; bottom image via All That Is Interesting)

Fall Vacation, Booked: Northern Spain

Errezil view by Oskar Calero on Fivehundredpx

I couldn’t be happier. Over the past few weeks, my family and I have been discussing possible destinations for a fall trip. This weekend, we decided on a place and booked flights: We’re headed to northern Spain at the end of September!

None of us have been there before. (I’ve actually never visited Spain!) To be honest, I didn’t know much about the area until I started researching. But the more I read, the more excited I became. It seems that northeast Spain has pretty beaches, amazingВ mountains, picturesque vineyards and quaint towns.

We’re still figuring out how we’ll break down our 11 days there, but here’s the rough itinerary we’re considering: We’ll spend the first few days outside Bilbao, exploring the area and neighboring Asturias. From there, we’ll drive to La Rioja, and enjoy some time among the vineyards. Then, we’ll head north, into the French Pyrenees. We’ll finish up with a few days in and around San Sebastian. (Perhaps including Errezil, the place in the photo above.)

Though it’s going to be my first time in Spain, I’m okay with bypassing Madrid and Barcelona. I’d love to spend time exploring both places, but I really need a break from hectic city life. I’m very much looking forward to more low-key enjoyment—and lots of gorgeous scenery.

Have you been to northern Spain or southern France? If so, I’d love to hear your recommendations!

(Image by Oskar Calero via 500px on Pinterest)