Miami

Writing is a key way to refine my thoughts and keep a clean record of my experiences. I love composing thoughtful post ideas and choose and work on the photos that best go with the topic. However, sometimes I just want to share my thoughts, goals and the little things that make me smile on a day to day basis.

At the end of each month, I will put together a behind the scenes post in which I’ll give you a peek of my weekends, business travels, goals and favourite links.

Click here to read my previous Behind the Scenes.


Travels and Adventures

Ever since I left Spain in 2009, I longed for hot sunny summers spent lounging at the beach. So when I finally decided to take a career break earlier this year, I figured this was my chance to make up for the past 6 years!

May: Tenerife – Madrid – Basque Country 

Hiking in Tenerife, Spain

I spent my first month back home soaking up the sunshine, eating fresh fish and on occasional hikes. One of my favorite moments was watching an incredible sunset from a small mirador only a 30-minute walk away from my home.

Sunset in Tenerife, Spain

At the end of the month, I flew to Bilbao for a Mom – Daughter trip in the Basque Country to celebrate my 31st birthday! I spent my birthday surrounded by things I love: family, nature and wine. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than that!

Marqués de Riscal, Basque Country (Spain)

June: Tenerife – Madrid – Basque Country – Cantabria 

Playa del Ancón, Tenerife (Canary Islands)

When I returned to Tenerife from rather rainy Basque Country, I made it a mission to soak up as much sunshine at home and some of my favourite beaches (like the ones above) as possible. I didn’t miss a single day on my duty. I think I did a pretty decent job. 

After a very brief visit to Madrid to attend the Open Day of my preferred MBA Program late May, I returned a couple of weeks later for an interview (which, later on, became an offer that I happily accepted) – now, I’m officially a 2016 MBA Candidate!

San Sebastián, Basque Country (Spain)

On the following day, I took an early train to Irún – where I started my 3-week hike along the northern coast of Spain. I loved discovering tiny villages, lush mountains and beautiful  sandy beaches in the Basque Country and Cantabria – all while challenging myself more than I ever had before.

Cantabria (Spain)

July: – Cantabria – Asturias – Tenerife – Miami – New York

Oviedo, Asturias (Spain)

Early July I continued my Camino de Santiago along the Northern route from Cantabria into Asturias – which has now become my latest obsession – I mean, look at this place. And this one. Oh, and the one above (Oviedo)!

Arriving in Oviedo (my end point) felt equally wrong and right. I was sad to leave – but also excited for the adventures ahead. I returned back to Tenerife for a few days to rest (and go kayaking!) before flying out to Miami to meet my best friend for 6 days of sunshine, art and cocktails (not necessarily in that order). I absolutely loved exploring the Wynwood Art Walls – and am still talking about it to anyone who cares to listen!

Cocktails in Miami

Following Miami came New York. A lot of plans began to change at this point: my 1-week  photography course had been cancelled** and so had my following trip to Iceland. This reminded me that things don’t always go as planned and you have to learn to make the best out of it.

Sunset from New York City Highline

And so I did. I took my NY trip as an opportunity to explore an entire different aspect of the city. I spent most of my time in Brooklyn, for instance. Every day I woke up without a set plan. Instead, I just walked: along the Hudson river, across bridges, through parks and even along a beach. I saw many incredible sunsets and had some of the best coffees. I even met up with some of my ex-work colleagues – it was so nice to see them again after these months!

**I ended up taking a short weekend photography course which now allows me to feel a bit more comfortable out of auto-mode (just don’t ask me to take backlit photos or indoor portraits!). 

August: New York – Tenerife – Cologne – Madrid 

New York skyline

I left New York for Tenerife once again – but this time for only just enough time to slightly recover from jet lag, squeeze goodbye my little ball of fur and pack my life into one and a half suitcases (oh, and also go on a quick boat trip to some of my favourite corners of the island – Los Gigantes and Teno).

Boat trip in Tenerife, Canary Islands

After dropping off my bags in my little flat, I headed straight back to the airport to fly out to Cologne, Germany, to spend some time with close family. I hadn’t been to Cologne in 20 years – what a beautiful city! I really enjoyed the lifestyle there: the large parks, river walks, beautiful old town, many breweries… I’ve already made it a mission to return some time over the next 2 months!

Cologne, Germany

I’ve been back in Madrid for the past 5 days, slowly easing myself into this new place, new neighbourhood and new life as an MBA student – can’t wait for the program to begin!


Summer Reads

Blue Sea in Tenerife, Spain

Early June I published my summer reading list. I have a problem with reading lists, though: I hardly ever stick to them. Once I find something I like, I tend to stick to it (as happens with terrifying psychological thrillers led by extremely twisted female characters – anti-heroes, as they call them).

So, yeah, I guess you won’t be surprised that two out of my three strongest recommendations are thrillers. Oops. 

Anyway, I have read some great (and some not so great) books this summer. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next purchase, I definitely recommend adding these 3 to your reading list:

Luckiest girl alive – by Jessica Knoll ★★★★★

I have read mixed reviews about this book before even picking it up in June as my next read. Lets put it this way: I really wouldn’t sell it as a light beach read. But. BUT. I personally loved it. If you enjoy dynamic reads that switch between past and present, cold and calculating anti-heroes and don’t mind rather graphic descriptions and swear words – give it a go (and let me know what you think!).

Disclaimer – by Renée Knight ★★★★

I devoured Disclaimer in 1.5 days! Catherine begins to read a book she finds by her bedside until she realises it’s all about her. It threatens to expose her darkest secret, one she thought she was safe from. The book is written in past and present form from the perspective of two characters. It was dynamic, gripping, fast-paced and twisted – highly recommend it!

The wrong knickers: A decade of chaos – by Bryony Gordon ★★★★

I simply loved this book for 3 reasons: it’s honest, real and hilarious! I believe there’s a little bit of Bryony in every one of us – and it’s so refreshing to find someone who (graphically) depicts the ups and downs of this awkward, f*cked up decade. I’d say a must-read for any woman who has successfully survived (or is still surviving) her 20s!


Instagram

New York skyline

I wanted this photo to say…

Look at me, I’m sophisticated. I spend my summer evening sipping rosé from rooftops overlooking Manhattan.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes…

I queued to get to this rooftop (which is stunning, by the way). It was still broad daylight when I negotiated my way through the crowds to the ‘perfect place to take photos of the skyline‘. I forced my friends to follow me and feed me drinks so I didn’t have to leave my rather privileged spot.

I took a grand total of 27 photos of this sunset (12 with my iPhone and 15 with my Canon EOS). This wasn’t the best one of all – but I couldn’t really wait to get home and download my DSLR photos, so I picked my best iPhone shot instead. It’s grainy. But hey, it became my most liked shot so far!

Hate is heavy, so let it go

I wanted this photo to say…

I am a street art hunter with an exceptional eye for detail. Also, this quote is so inspiring!

Meanwhile, behind the scenes…

We only came across Wynwood because our Uber driver had mentioned it. I don’t really know any artists’ names and don’t recognise styles (though I wish I could).

All through the cool streets of Wynwood, I was dragging behind – we had actually come here on a mission to find good mexican food. It was getting dark – which wasn’t great in  neighbourhood filled with warehouses we didn’t know almost anything about. Most of my shots (well, those taken outside the Wynwood Art Walls) were taken with my iPhone because I was on a rush!

Asturias, Spain

I wanted this photo to say…

Asturias is beautiful and wild. It is full of contrasts and manages to be stunning even on gloomy days.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes…

I was a tiny step away from missing this bit. My feet were still aching from the 38km hike  the day before and the thought of even walking 5km today was killing me. Thankfully, the train wasn’t leaving until 2 hours later and I chose to give walking a chance instead.

At this point, I was completely on my own. While I usually didn’t mind this during my Camino, this day was different: I was desperate to share this landscape with friends and family. I sat down on a wooden bench and sent this photo to my girlfriends. This day, I really wished they were there.

PS: Are we friends on Instagram?


By the numbers

Brooklyn Bridge

Since May (which symbolized the start of my extended summer holidays), I…

  • Took 13 flights: Tenerife – Madrid – Bilbao – Tenerife // Tenerife – Madrid // Oviedo – Tenerife // Tenerife – Madrid – Miami – New York – Madrid – Tenerife // Tenerife – Madrid – Cologne – Madrid
  • Rode 1 long distance train: from Madrid to Irún – the starting point of my Camino del Norte!
  • Hiked +450 km from Irún to Oviedo in 21 days
  • Booked a ridiculous amount of Ubers (my new source of local gems)
  • Slept 1 night at a Twelve Tribes location
  • Shot over 1000 photos with my new Canon EOS 7D (although only about 700 have made it into Aperture)

Inspiration

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison


 

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Like most places we visited in Miami, Wynwood Art District was recommended to us by one of our Uber drivers.

Wynwood, Miami (USA)

I love the concept: warehouse buildings acting as giant blank canvases to showcase a major art statement. I honestly believe every larger city should have district that allows its artists to express themselves and give them an opportunity for appreciation and recognition.

Wynwood is one of those places I can’t stop reading, thinking and talking about. This level of fascination with a district doesn’t happen very often. I think I can safely say that Wynwood Miami is up there with Palermo Buenos Aires right now – and that, my friends, is quite a thing to say coming from someone who has been imagining a life in Palermo for the past 5 years.

And then, just to make things even cooler, there’s the Wynwood Walls art project.

Just picture this: Over the past 6 years, the Wynwood Walls have seen over 50 artists representing 16 countries and have covered over 7,400 m2 (or 80000 square feet) of walls.

Can you imagine the mix of styles, colours and techniques?

Even better jet, have a look at what the Wynwood Walls art project looks like. And then maybe book a trip to Miami and take me with you!

Wynwood, Miami (USA)

Wynwood, Miami (USA)

Wynwood, Miami (USA)

Wynwood, Miami (USA)

Wynwood, Miami (USA)

Wynwood, Miami (USA)

Wynwood, Miami (USA)

Wynwood, Miami (USA)

Which is your favourite Wynwood Wall?


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A few months ago one of my favourite bloggers, Jess, introduced me to the concept of virtual coffee dates who, in turn, learned about this from Amber (don’t you love how far word spreads through the internet sometimes?). Anyway, these virtual coffee dates are meant to be a way to have a personal life catch-up. I love this concept! 

So grab your beverage of choice and lets meet for coffee like old friends (would you like some milk and stevia?). 

If we were having coffee right now

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you that I have just returned from my three week hike on the Camino del Norte. I’d show you the state of my feet after walking over 430km and we’d laugh about my ridiculously impossible tan lines. I would tell you about the wonderful people I met on the way (my “Camino Family”), show you my favourite photos of the trip and try to convince you to get on board next summer!

Asturias, Spain

If we were having coffee right now… I would ask you what I should pack for my upcoming 3-leg trip to Miami Beach, New York City and Iceland – Aaaahh, how am I going to fit my boho chic, cityscape and outdoorsy styles in one bag? Despite all my years of travel and of being a professional planner, I’m still not a good packer. I might or might not have forgotten to pack my pijamas on more than one trip, oops…

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you that I’m now officially an International MBA Candidate at IE Business School in Madrid, and will be starting this September! I’m beyond excited to have been admitted to my perfect fit school and can’t wait to meet my super diverse and fun classmates and crack our brains working on some kick ass cases.

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you that I had never felt as fit and healthy as I do now. I’d probably call it the Miracle of the Camino, but… it’s really more than just exercising. Since early May, I have made a conscious effort to significantly reduce my carb intake – and I just feel way lighter and less bloated! I’d tell you about my addiction to home-made Zoodles (yes, it’s a thing), celeriac fries and matcha tea. Dear god, does this make me a hipster?

Ensalada de pulpo, Tenerife, Spain

If we were having coffee right now… I would confess that I’m equally excited and scared about my doing the Langavegur trail in Iceland this summer. I mean, it kind of sounds like my wildest dream: lava fields, glaciers, hot springs, volcanoes and mountains – all in just 55km (34 miles). But… crossing (sometimes deep and violent) glacial streams, spending days under rain and possibly snow, and sleeping in a tiny tent trying to heat up pre-made food sounds, well, challenging. I keep on repeating this to myself:

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”

– Seth Godin

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you that I finally registered for a Digital Photography course in New York this month! You would remind me of all those times I had told you how much I’d been yearning to improve my photography, but life and work seemed to always step in my way. I know, I know – I can’t believe it’s finally happening either!

New York, USA

If we were having coffee right now… I’d show you my new about me page and ask you what you’d think about it. I always get nervous when I change one of the big pages on my blog. I worry about technical issues, about my photos and my writing – does it work? does it look good? is it light and fun? I would also tell you that I’m considering a few more changes around here – like possibly integrating a Frequent Q&A section and writing some articles in Spanish (my mind just needs a rest sometimes). There’s so much to ponder right now… Help! What would you do?

So, anyway, what’s new in your life?