Joyeux vendredi de Paris! (Happy Friday from Paris!) As I mentioned earlier in the week, M and I are enjoying a little pre-baby vacation as a last hurrah before we have to put our passports away for a little while. We arrived in Paris early yesterday and will be here until Sunday, when we leave on the 10:30 train to Amsterdam, and we’re loving it so far! Even though I can’t enjoy the red wine like I would like to, there are still plenty of pastries and other baked goods to keep me (and Baby E!) happy.
Don’t forget to follow Full Life, Full Passport on social media (especially Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to travel with us on our adventures! In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been loving lately:
A few months ago, I wrote an article called “When Tourism Hurts” on the subject of how immensely popular tourist attractions and cities are suffering under the weight of the masses of people flocking to see them. Bucket-list destinations like Venice, Dubrovnik, and Barcelona are struggling to find a balance between protecting their infrastructure, precious historical sites, and the interests of their residents with the demands (and dollars) of an increasingly large swell of visitors.
Moral conundrums and negative impact considerations aside, it can be incredibly disappointing to travel to a place you’ve been looking forward to seeing only to find it mobbed with fellow tourists. Maybe you had envisioned a picture-perfect sunset over a tropical beach but had to share the view with a few hundred others. Perhaps your heart was set on a romantic stroll through the storied streets of Venice, but having to shoulder your way through a crowd wasn’t exactly what you had in mind.
One of the most poignant examples of tourist overcrowding for M and me came on a cloudy October day in Prague‘s Old Town Square. We knew it would be a popular spot, but I don’t think either of us was expecting the mob we found clustered around the famous Astronomical Clock. It wasn’t even high season, and the clock would not be chiming for at least another half hour, but already the place was packed in anticipation. As a result, we didn’t stick around.
Fortunately, those seeking to leave the over-beaten path behind can rejoice. This article from National Geographic lists some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and juxtaposes them with alternatives that can provide comparable or even better experiences without the crowds or with a lessened negative impact. For example, rather than heading to Banff to revel in the beauty of the Canadian Rockies, try nearby Yoho National Park instead. Similarly, Indonesia’s Raja Ampat Islands can supply the gorgeous, exotic, secluded vacation you may be denied in overcrowded and overpriced Bali. The article also recommends eschewing Iceland’s Blue Lagoon for other, quieter, and more remote hot springs, something I discussed in this post.
Granted, in some cases it may not be as easy or inexpensive to access the alternative destination (for example, it’s probably more expensive to trek in Jordan than along the Pacific Crest Trail, and I would assume that the beaches of Mozambique are less convenient to reach than those of Thailand), but many are more comparable and perhaps even easier and less expensive to navigate. Give the list a gander – even if you don’t decide to change any bucket list plans for some of the more popular places on the list, you may discover some new destinations worth adding to it!
Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I travel about once a month for my freelance gig. Those trips inevitably involve an early morning flight, full day of set-up work (some of it involving lifting and moving heavy equipment boxes), a late dinner and return to the hotel, pre-dawn wake-up, working the actual day-long event, spending a few hours tearing everything down and packing it away, and catching a late-night flight home. It’s exhausting, especially in the last few months as my body has also been devoting energy to growing a human.
This article from Brittany Hunter at MichaelHyatt.com speaks to those of us who know how tiring traveling can be. In a quick, three-minute read, Hunter shares three strategies that help her cope with the fatigue while on the road. While I don’t know that I will get the opportunity to seek out a sensory deprivation tank on my work trips anytime soon, her tips are overall very helpful and may make a difference for your health and sanity on your next out of town assignment!
3.) New logos and branding for FLFP!
One of the best parts of working for Apple was the sheer volume of incredibly talented and creative people whom I was fortunate to count as colleagues and friends. Especially at the retail level, Apple is a haven for artists of all kinds, and I worked with more musicians, photographers, graphic designers, filmmakers, craftsmen and -women, illustrators, and writers than I could count. It was a pretty energizing environment to be around, and I was constantly amazed (and not a little jealous) at the talent and creativity that I saw on display on a daily basis.
I am also fortunate that my former job gave me an excellent network to tap for help with the areas of starting this blog that are outside of my wheelhouse, aka anything to do with design. I’ve always been good with words, but my artistic ability stagnated somewhere after the second grade. Thankfully, I knew just whom to call.
Last week, my friend Tim – whose literal and very appropriate job title at Apple is “Creative” – presented me with the final versions of the new Full Life, Full Passport logos, icons, and brand boards that I had commissioned from him. We’ve been working on them for a couple of months and I couldn’t be more happy with the way everything turned out. You may also have noticed that the design and color scheme of this website have changed in the past couple of weeks, and you can thank Tim for that.
Now, I can’t wait to order some business cards and plaster this logo everywhere!
Wishing you all a lovely week!
What have you been loving lately?
Which of Nat Geo’s “hidden gems” was most exciting to you?
What do you do to keep yourself energized while traveling?