Dee (@vanilla_papers) — Writer • Photographer
🌿 Slow travel and simple living.
⬇Slow Travel Guide to North Arizona⬇
🌿 Slow travel and simple living.
⬇Slow Travel Guide to North Arizona⬇
With its rugged landscape, ancient ruins and quaint towns with long histories, Northern Arizona is a diverse region perfect for a slow day of exploring. 🌿 I spent a few days on Arizona's narrow highways, stopping in the old mining town of Jerome and browsing indie bookstores and antique shops in Prescott. The trip was an uplifting look at what's best in small-town American life, and a spirit that's harder to find these days but still there. 🌿 Click the link in my bio to read the full story, and tell me what are your most memorable road trips?
I pulled out our Christmas tree last night, and tonight I'll make dried orange slices to hang and decorate with spices.. I love this part of Christmas - the scent of citrus and clove, the sparkle of the tree. 🌿 But what I can't stand is the shopping.. And I've been really dreading it this year. The hours at the malls spent on gifts that will be kindly accepted then forgotten. The gift sets, the future clutter. 🌿 This year I've decided to make photo albums for everyone in my family that will chronicle our 2017 Christmas together.. To help us remember and appreciate the good times we've already had instead of focusing on wish lists and what we want now. 🌿 And this year I want to slow down and focus on how I would like to celebrate Christmas - without the guilt of buying less or not doing more. 🌿 How do you like to celebrate? What are your tips for enjoying the season?
Egypt can be overwhelming for visitors, and it isn't always easy to find tours that go off the beaten path. 🌿 But there's a number of unique guides that offer original itineraries. If you dream of exploring Egypt's hidden treasures, here are my picks: 🌿 1. @footloose.egypt - for stargazing in Wadi el Hitan, yoga in Ras Sidr or backpacking in Luxor. 🌿 2. Cairo D-Tour by @downtowncairo - a free guided walk held every Friday morning when the city is quiet. Showing the city’s famous sites and its modern daily life. 🌿 3. @walk_like_anegyptian - Their signature City of the Dead tour shows the street art, murals and history of the dense Islamic necropolis (where people live and work) without the spooky cliches. 🌿 4. @mosaicclubegy - I love their “Banknote Tour” around Cairo that hits an array of mosques found on Egyptian banknotes. 🌿 Read the full story up now on my blog (link in bio), and let me know your favorites!
I'm still in bed with the flu and that means the colder season (though I can't really say winter) has set in.. Time to trade in my flip-flops for some slippers, and get out my sweaters. How is the weather in your part of the world? There aren't many autumn colors or pumpkins around here in Cairo, but I'm happy as long as there's sunshine. [Photo inspired by @fieldandnest]
Remember me? I haven't posted here in awhile.. I've been working on my blog, SEO, plugins and other things I had no idea went into a website. But it's finally up now! 🌿 And I finally wrote a post that I'd been a bit nervous about sharing. It's about solo travel, solitude, the patriarchy and the struggles of traveling as a woman and wanting some time alone. Read it (link in bio) and let me know your thoughts. Do you enjoy solo travel and being on your own?
Should doing what we love come easy? I set myself a goal this year to read 52 books, and so far I've failed miserably even though I love a good novel more than anything.. But there's never enough time, I'm tired at the end of the day, I can't really focus or find a good book, etc. 🌿 I love painting as well, and I've decided to paint for an hour every Saturday. So far, it's going great and I look forward to that hour - no matter if the painting turns out well or not. 🌿 But sometimes I'm just not in the mood. When that happens, I force myself to lay out my art supplies and get going anyways. Usually, a few minutes in I'm loving it. 🌿 And I've realized: just because you love to read or paint doesn't mean you're going to do those things easily. For me, scheduling painting into my weekend (like I would schedule anything into my work week) has been game-changing. 🌿 Because we're told we're supposed to love indulging our passions, but the truth is sometimes you also have to make an effort to do what you love. 🌿 Do you have anything you love doing but that you do very rarely? How do you motivate yourself?
The weather is finally cooling down, beach season is over and school is back in session.. It's my favorite time of year to travel - and I'm hoping to hit the road soon to spend a few days in those beautiful places where nobody goes on vacation. . I've got a few ideas for some projects, too, and can't wait until my bank card arrives so I can buy my own website and get going. Impatience, excitement.. I've got stories to tell and I don't want perfectionism to slow me down.
If you were seeing a psychologist, would you be embarrassed to tell your friends or family? I asked this question last night in stories and about 20% said yes.. The stigma is real - whether it's people around us being judgmental, or our own misconceptions holding us back from getting the expertise we need. . For me it was the second. I thought only disturbed people went to see shrinks, and if I went it would mean I was weak and couldn't handle my own problems. . But it's funny how this reasoning is rarely applied to other aspects of our lives. Are we ashamed when we take flu medicine? Should we be embarrassed when we lift weights to make our muscles stronger, or when we eat greens because they're good for our heart? The brain is just another part of our body. But when it needs care, we suffer in silence and pretend it's ok. . If yours isn't in top form, go see an expert and work on it just like you'd work on any other organ that needs to be healthy and strong. . Because weakness isn't when you get help for your problems.. It's when you ignore them and wish they just go away. #WorldMentalHealthDay
I've never seen the pyramids from this angle where they all line up way on the other side of the Spinx, up on a hill away from the camels and tourists. That was a great afternoon. And though the air in Cairo isn't exactly crisp, I'm still feeling that shift into autumn and new beginnings. . I finally opened a bank account (something I'd put off for months because of my paperwork phobia), and I'lll soon be getting a domain for my blog. Little steps towards progress. . There are also a few projects on the table that will be dreams come true if they end up happening.. I'm happy enough they've landed on my table in the first place. . It's all a far cry from six months ago, when I quit my day job and felt like absolute crap about my future. But sometimes you have to shut one door to be able to walk through another. And sometimes it's even better to slam it 🙏
[sponsored] I've been thinking about my goals for the rest of this year: getting back to creativity and writing, travelling more and spending less time online (or at least spending it better). . And I've been listening to lots of podcasts for inspiration, spending hours on weekends inside my @sudio headphones. Get a pair now for 15% off with my code: VANILLAPAPERS, then slip them on and tune in to my picks for some life-changing podcasts: . 1. @GoodLifeProject features interviews with inspiring figures on how to live a meaningful life.. Everyone from world-class athletes to ordinary people with incredible stories to tell. There are profound lessons in every episode. . 2. @TaraBrach is always my go-to when I'm feeling overwhelmed, or when I need to calm down or get rid of a headache. There's plenty on meditation, but I also love her lessons on kindness, empathy, and other Buddhist virtues. . What are your hopes for this season, and what's keeping you inspired? #sudio#sudiomoments
Egypt probably isn't the first place you'd associate with slow travel.. With its packed cities notorious for their traffic jams, it's often chaotic and noisy - even the sidestreets are bustling with street vendors, honking cars and crowds. . And because there's so much to see here, tourists are often dashed across the country from one ancient temple to another, trying to pack everything in and then ending with a few days on the beach. . But there's more to Egypt than the iconic postcard views and famous tourist sites. Though they may take awhile to find, there are quiet and peaceful hideaways even in Cairo - leafy suburbs, scenic benches along the corniche, bookstores and cafes.. There are underrated museums to explore, and long sails to take along the Nile. . So I'm launching a hashtag called #SlowTravelEgypt to showcase all those gorgeous spots off the beaten tourist path where time stands still. Use it to highlight your favorite hidden gems, and I'll be shouting out my favorites!
[sponsored] Who inspires you to go after your dreams? I've been addicted to podcasts lately - they really make me feel I've got the most incredible and creative women right at my fingertips whenever I need some motivation. I love sitting out on my balcony with some coffee and a few episodes, absorbing wisdoms and thinking about the future. I've got some @sudio headphones now, too, that block out all the honking cars and other Cairo noise so I can listen comfortably for hours. Get yourself a pair for 15% off now with my code: VANILLAPAPERS. And once you slip them on, here are my picks for the most inspiring podcasts: 🌿 1. Hashtag Authentic, by @me_and_orla, is a podcast for online brands, businesses and creatives featuring lively and candid interviews with women living on their own terms. I'm also really looking forward to Sara's new book! 🌿 2. What She Said, by @lucylucraft, is all about interesting women in blogging and the stories behind their success. 🌿 3. Tea and Tattle, by @mirandasnotebook, celebrates female solidarity and creativity. I love Miranda's interviews with authors, artists, cooks and more. This one is definitely great if you're looking for some fascinating books for your to-read pile. #sudio#sudiomoments
Though I'd grown up in Arizona and driven hundreds of familiar miles across the state, the 3-day road trip I took with my father to the Grand Canyon still made me feel like an explorer. Arizona isn't the kitschy cowboy state of cowboys and retirement that it used to be. . And even though our family was no longer all pilled together in a station wagon (like when I was growing up), I realized that road trips are still what they used to be even when so much else has changed. Despite the wrong turns and the bickering, they're still times for bonding and creating memories.. And there are few places as memorable as the Grand Canyon. Considered a holy site by the Pueblo people, Spanish Invaders would later call it "profound" and marvel that some of its rocks were bigger than Seville's great tower. It reaches depths of over a mile, formed over some 70 million years. . And it can make all your arguments and problems seem very insignificant. . Do you enjoy road trips? What are the most memorable ones you've been on?
It was my birthday recently. To celebrate, I ventured out of the AC for a walking tour around Cairo. When we took a break inside a Mamluk complex, the tour group surprised me by singing happy birthday - first in English, then in Arabic. . I turned 42. And it feels strange saying that, because aren't women supposed to be slightly embarrassed to admit their age as they get older? Like we're supposed to joke about how a lady never tells, or how we've been 29 or 39 for a few years now. . But I wouldn't want to be any younger. I still have a lot of growing to do, but I feel good and I know what I want. It takes years of trying to be someone else and cruising down dead ends to realize those things, and it's not something you can ever rush. . Though society doesn't always see older people as any wiser. We're supposed to be slower, less tech savvy and comically clueless when it comes to pop culture. . Are you comfortable with your own age, and with growing older? Do you think ageism is a problem where you live?
Have you heard about the orca who's been carrying her dead calf for more than a week? The mother, nicknamed Tahlequah, has been pushing the corpse for hundreds of miles with the help of her pod through the waters of the Pacific Northwest. . It's been called a case of extreme grief: perhaps the mother can't stand to part from her child. Perhaps she's in denial and thinks her calf is still alive. . But @SeaShepherd CEO @CaptainPaulWatson has a different theory: "I believe what is happening here is being done deliberately to send us a message to humanity, and that message is - you're killing us," he writes. Orcas are highly intelligent and have more complex brains than humans. They know humans are watching them, Watson says, and they realize humans are responsible for the threats they face. . So the question isn't whether the orcas are "intelligent enough" to know their calf is dead. The question is whether humanity is intelligent enough to understand their message. . Because we can clean up the beaches and ban farmed salmon, but that's only fighting the symptom. Tomorrow's waves will wash more garbage and death ashore. Instead, we must get to the root: the economic system based on profit and exploitation by any means necessary. Can we believe that another world is possible, or will we burn in this one?
I have a confession: I quit my job to become a travel blogger.. back in April. I haven't said much about it because it just didn't sound like a very good story: to quit a steady job and focus on a blog that was hardly getting any traffic. . My plan was to casually mention that I was blogging full-time after I'd "made it," which to me meant huge follower numbers, viral posts, and sponsored trips to exotic locales. . Since then, I've been working steadily and my traffic has gone up. But there have been no miracles. And plenty of days when I've asked myself if I should just go back to office work.. It seemed like I was striving towards some distant goal and waiting for the big-time money that would validate my efforts. . Then this morning, I checked my blog and saw that 7 new comments had come in over the weekend: readers saying how I've inspired them to travel, wanting advice on visiting Cairo, asking for tips for their next Italian vacation. . And suddenly I realised: I have already "made it." I'm doing what I love and I'm being heard.. So I can finally share the good news that I quit my job- and I'm beginning to see the light. #WHPlight
I love returning to the same places year after year, revisiting favorite haunts and noticing how things change. But sometimes, things are just as I remember. And it's reassuring that no matter how many years go by, and how much experience changes us, there are still those places that will always feel familiar. Do you have your favorite spots that you keep going back to? #WHPlookup