Excuse my French but I’m in France: A weekend in Paris

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First stop on the grand European city trip tour of September: Paris! Last weekend marked 2 days filled with walks down the Champs Elysées, visits to Shakespeare & Company, shopping trips to Sephora, lounging in front of the Eiffel Tower, and of course: Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On The Run tour at Stade de France, including a surprise act by Nicki Minaj. As Kanye said it best: excuse my French but I’m in France.

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Universal travel truths and valuable lessons

A gorgeous view over Sydney, August 2013

A gorgeous view over Sydney, August 2013

It is a truth universally known that traveling is a life-changing, soul-enriching, heart-warming experience. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not all rainbows and candy canes. Yes, you will meet inspiring people, see mind-blowing sunsets, and experience unforgettable moments on magical beaches. However, there will also be moments of loneliness and adversity. Moments when the only thing you seem capable of is booking the first flight home and lie in your own bed for 17 years. Here are a few things I’ve learned the hard way that may help you through your hardships.

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Sunset walk along Brooklyn Bridge

 

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Last month marked my third visit to New York City, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, the city that never sleeps… You name it. During my sixth day in the city – second day of my official vacation with my friend there – we crossed the ever so famous Brooklyn Bridge driven by our desire to devour one of the famous Grimaldi’s pizzas.

After a long but magnificent day of walking all around the city we were planning on sitting our pizza-filled bodies on the subway, but just as we were leaving the restaurant we noticed it would be a beautiful sunset. So we took a short walk around Dumbo park and Brooklyn before crossing the Bridge again during sunset. It was without a doubt one of the most magical, unforgettable moments in my life. The pictures speak for themselves. (Click for a bigger view! It’s worth it.)

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Scenic flight over Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef

During our trip from Cairns back down to Sydney, we spent a few nights in Airlie Beach. Airlie Beach is a typical cute lil’ Australian town with lots of bars, surf shops, and fish & chips restaurants, but ultimately it is the main gateway to the Whitsunday Islands.

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The Whitsunday Islands is a cluster of small islands, most of which are uninhabited, right off the coast of Queensland. It’s a popular destination for those who have a few millions to spare for a private yacht, or for tourists like me, who have learned that the best way to enjoy the Whitsunday Islands is from up in the air.

As soon as we arrived at Airlie Beach, I immediately decided that I wanted to do a scenic flight over the Whitsunday Islands and, a bit further away, the Great Barrier Reef. At this point, I had already experienced one of nature’s seven wonders up close and personal on 2 snorkelling trips, but it was time to marvel at Australia’s prettiest natural feat from the air. So we went to a nearby tourism office and booked ourselves a scenic flight.

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Wish list: GoPro Hero3

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I’ve always been a sucker for documenting my travels. I’m that shutterbug who returns from a three-week trip with 4000+ pictures and takes aaaages to edit them. In 2010, I bought my first DLSR camera and since then my lens collection has grown considerably. But now I’ve got my eyes set on a new gadget to add to my collection: GoPro Hero3. Because no matter how much I adore photography, nothing gets my nostalgia going like a good ol’ travel diary video.

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Extreme Hoarders: Souvenir Edition

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These are Tom Haverford’s (Parks & Recreation) wise words. Hi, my name is Yasmine and I hoard memorabilia like there’s no tomorrow. I’m no hoarder in the Leslie Knope sense of the word, but throughout my years of traveling I have collected my fair share of plane tickets, maps, postcards, and entry tickets to a wide variety of parks and landmarks. However, when it comes to souvenirs, I’m not one to buy a T-shirt, two keychains, five pairs of socks, and 30 postcards in every place I visit. I’d rather come back from a trip with 2 or 3 souvenirs that actually mean something to me. Here’s my 5 favorite souvenirs that I have brought back from all over the world.

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Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach at sunset (Sydney)

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I have done many walks along many seasides in my life, but the walk from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach in Sydney takes the cake.

Let me paint you a little picture: 19 August 2013, my first day in Australia. I had spent the previous day flying for 22 hours, still tired from a 3 day trip to Sziget festival in Budapest from which I had only returned the day before. As soon as I arrived at my friend’s house in Sydney, I clocked out for a solid 15 hours. I woke up at noon the next day, well-rested and heavily disoriented. But it was a beautiful day, so my friend decided to take me to the ultimate tourist hotspot for my first taste of Sydney: Bondi Beach.

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