Interested in reading about my travels, fave books and gear, my time management
Well – you’re in the right place!
And, of course, Check Out
the Latest Posts
so…I spent the month in Africa.
I still don’t think that it’s fully registered to me that I was in Africa. And there’s still a month more to spend next month. But, after the experiences of this month, unreal and pinch me as they were, holy shit you guys it was amazing, frustrating, so mind-blowing in amazing ways and complicated ways…but let’s try to recap the best I can.
the CULTURE SHOCK...
I think the best place to start is the culture shock because this was real and this colored a lot of my experience this month. Admittedly, I struggled with it. So…let’s break down what exactly it was that I struggled with.
Morocco is a Muslim country and because of that, there are aspects of the culture that are incredibly different than what I’m used to. Wearing yoga pants like I normally do? It’s not necessarily a no-no, but you draw a bit more attention. Women’s rights? It’s less of a thing. Cat-calling and harassment is pretty damn commonplace in the culture and this was a lot of what I experienced. One of my first nights, walking a grand total of 5 mins by myself down a very main, well-lit road at just before 9pm at night, a cab pulled over to offer me a “free ride”, which I found out later was sketchy AF (and trust me, it felt it at the time!). A week or so after that, in the middle of the day, in broad daylight, I was followed for about 5-10 minutes by a guy who wouldn’t take no for an answer, asked me about getting a massage and even followed me across the road after I stopped and crossed the road to get away from him. Generally, you get harassed in the Medina, markets, and souks as a tourist to buy things, but even more so, you get harassed for being a woman. You get told to smile if you’re trying to turn on your best resting bitch face. You get followed as I did. Especially, as I found out, as a blue-eyed woman, which is apparently is a novelty in Morocco. There were multiple times when men asked how many camels they could buy me for, which I understand was a joke, but it got old really fast and it made me exceptionally uncomfortable. At one point, I even had the guide to one of my Remote Year tours compliment me on my eyes…and then my ass. Awkward.
By the end of the month, I kind of barricaded myself within our apartment complex, only leaving to occasionally go to the cafe around the corner. It got very uncomfortable and I just got sick of being sold to, checked out, harassed and the general feelings of intense discomfort that came with that.
That being said, ti wasn’t all bad. There were some amazing moments and true top moments of the year that originated from that.
Bahia Palace. One of the first things we did upon arriving in Marrakech was head to the Medina for a heritage tour. Stop #1 was at Bahia palace, a gem of a place that was the epitome of Marrakech architecture, opulence and courtyard culture. It was beautiful, it was colorful and it set the standard for the rest of the month.
Badii Palace & The Saadian Tombs. This was a fave! Badii palace is a former palace of a Saadian sultan that is now a ruin just south of the main Medina in Marrakech. But, even this ruin was unbelievably beautiful. Nearby was the Saadian tombs, which was perhaps one of the most opulent places I’ve ever seen. I mean, it was a tomb! And it was gorgeous! These two places were truly a representation of how ruin can be as powerful as the modernized and ornate riads.
Le Jardin Secret. Perhaps my favorite place in the Medina! It was a gem and I’m obsessed with it. It’s in the heart of the Medina, just off the bustling footpaths that wind through the souks. But, as soon as you duck inside the gates of this place, it’s the most peaceful place within the bustle of the Medina. The emerald tile. The ornate buildings. The colorful flowers and lush plants. It was unbelievable!
The Souks. I’m just going to throw it out there right now. I HATE the main square in the Medina. They’re selling overpriced junk. They’re grumpy and pushy in their selling. I HATE the main square. But the souks were so much better! The stuff that they’re selling is so much better quality and so much more of the kind of things that you would want to buy in Africa, beautiful trinkets, pashmina scarves, etc. Yes, you still get the pushy sales people sometimes, but it’s still fun, though a little overwhelming to experience.
Street Food. We had a full blown street food track when we were in Marrakesh, and let me just tell you, it was legit! Even when we weren’t on the track event, my favorite meals were in fact the cheapest meals where we simply followed our noses to street food stalls serving up deliciousness. Seriously, when in Morocco, skip the sit down meals and simply chow down at the street food vendors! Not only is it cheaper, but it’s delicious and well worth it! Oh…and get over your prejudices and try the snails! 😉
Riad Hopping. One of the very last things I did in Marrakech was riad hop! I didn’t have the time or money to actually spend the night in any of the many boutique riads in the city, but we did do a riad hop one night where we did drinks, appetizers, dinner and dessert at various riads in the Medina and it was amazing! Not only are the riads diverse, but they’re so spectacularly beautiful! Seriously, it’s worth it just to see these amazing buildings and courtyards!
One of the first trips we did in Marrakesh and in Morocco was to take a 3 day, 2 night trip into the Sahara. We did a great trip with Ando travel that included a trip to Ait Ben Haddou, transportation, night in a hotel, camel ride into the Sahara, night in the Sahara and all breakfasts and dinners all for a steal of a deal of $135 a person! Oh and we had a kickass driver named Mohammed who was awesome! But anywho…
Ait Ben Haddou. Leave it to the fact that burned-out Ellyn has been traveling for 11 months and just doesn’t research anything anymore…but I had no idea was I was stepping into when we arrived at Ait Ben Haddou. It was only when I got there that I realized that this place was the filming location for some of my favorite TV shows, movies, etc. including Gladiator, Game of Thrones and SO MUCH MORE! It’s an unbelievable setting for movies, but an even cooler place to get a glimpse into the Berber cultures!
Todra Valley & Gorge. After a night at a hotel, we headed to the ruins of a Berber village and a real Berber village in Todra, checking out the Todra Valley and the Todra Gorge. It was a beautiful early morning trek through the ruins and the valley where we learned a little about their agriculture, their lifestyle and where they showed us authentic Berber rugs made on a vertical loom, and where they were just a little bit pushy about selling you rugs. But, all in
A Night in the Sahara. Oh, this night! This night was perhaps tied with Machu Picchu for favorite overall Remote Year experience! I don’t even know if I can put into words how magic it was, but I’m going to try. As we were driving along, very suddenly off in the distance you started to see something. Orange rolling hills of sand just appeared. There was no gradual build-up to the Sahara desert. It just started without warning. And it was magic! But the fun really started once our van pulled into this
Ourika Valley & Hiking the Atlas Mountains. Our monthly all-day track event this month was a favorite. It included a trip up into Berber villages in the High Atlas Mountains where we hiked up
All and all…it was a solid month! It definitely was exhausting – I’ll admit it! Living the work travel life while in Morocco, a place which, in and of itself, demands a high degree of attention and energy, is a challenge. I was ready to go after about two weeks. Not necessarily because of a lack of enjoyment or appreciation, but because of a lack of energy. It’s not exactly a place that I would suggest that someone live the digital nomad lifestyle in. There’s a lack of infrastructure for that and it’s just difficult to maintain the level of energy needed to excel at work and enjoy
Now, the place I’ve been looking forward to all year!
South Africa, here we come!
SHARE THIS POST
IF YOU LOVED THIS
YOU’LL LOVE THESE
This post contains affiliate links. Visit the Disclosure page for details.
Where are all my fitness
comparing & Contrasting the
So, really, which one is better?
What do you use your Empack for?
Do you have any questions? Drop them below!
SHARE THIS POST
IF YOU LOVED THIS
YOU’LL LOVE THESE
Croatia…you’re up their with prague + Medellin…
but for a very different reason.
You see, when we were in Prague, I was in love with the city. The public transit made it feel like this place was at my fingertips. I loved the architecture, the sites and the surprisingly gorgeous country. In Medellin, I was captivated by the beauty that is the country of Colombia, the resilience of it’s people…oh and the cost of living and food weren’t bad either!
But, Split? I loved Split for some different reasons. Split may be slower paced. The food may be expensive. We may have been far removed from Old Town. But, the countryside in Croatia? The beach lifestyle? And yes…the slower pace? These were all reasons why I could live in Split.
I’ve never been someone who goes out a lot during the week. If I’m out and about active, it’s usually on the weekends. During the week, I’m all about my routines, working out, cooking at home. And Split afforded me just that, but with simple and calm ocean views, amazing national parks, etc.
Check out some of the highlights…
plitvice lakes national park
One thing that Croatia definitely had going for it is that National parks. Plitvice perhaps being highest on that list. You see, when I first started my Travel Bucket list Pinterest board, there was this magical waterfall land that was one of the first places I pinned. That place was Plitvice National park. And damn am I as in love with it after being there as I was seeing the pictures online. The park is gorgeous! And I’m actually super happy that we were there during October with its wonderful Fall colors amidst the beautiful greens, teals, and turquoises of the water made it even better. It was an amazing day at an amazing park! And that’s not even all of the National Parks in Croatia! Krka is amazing too!
exploring old town & Diocletian’s palace.
vranjaca caves & rafting in the mountains
Who knew all the natural wonders that Croatia had to offer? Admittedly, I didn’t expect to find this much, if at all, in Europe! But these two events definitely demonstrated to me the physical beauty to offer in this gorgeous country. And the best part was their sheer proximity to the city…
First was a stop in Vranjaca caves. The most well-known cave near Split is most definitely the Blue Cave, which visitors flood to in the summer months. But, given that we weren’t in Split in the summer and both of my island hopping tours got canceled for weather, this was the only cave I got this month! But that’s fine by me! These caves which are millions of years old and reminded me of a smaller, though still stunning, Carlsbad Caverns. The caves were maybe 30-45 minutes outside of the city. This sweet old man worked the ticket office and after sorting us all out, he took us deep into the caves, telling us all about them, pointing out some of his favorite shapes, telling us about how he accidentally discovered new parts of the cave and ultimately playing us some music on the stalagtites. It was an amazing day and another natural wonder of this beautiful country.
Our other fun event was a day rafting! We drove about 30-45 minutes outside of Split to a river where we were suited up in wetsuits, helmets, etc. We had beautiful weather and spent the afternoon paddling down the river and going through some pretty decent sized rapids. Our group probably won the worst paddlers of the day award, getting stuck on like every rock imaginable and I left the day with a huge bruise down my back, but it was all worth it to get out in nature, enjoy the sunshine and eat an amazing meal! Oh…and drink way too much vino!
The rest of the
SHARE THIS POST
IF YOU LOVED THIS
YOU’LL LOVE THESE
YOU KNOW HOW I WASN’T THE BIGGEST FAN OF BOGOTA? WELL…I FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT BELGRADE…
Many people in my community will disagree with that, but Belgrade and I weren’t quite on the same page. I loved the time I spent down by the river, I loved the fortress, I loved the brewery that was across the street from my apartment, but there was little else about the city that really vibed with or thrilled me. Maybe I didn’t fully give it a chance…I mean I was in the thick of my launch and pre-launch prep when we were in Belgrade. But Belgrade and I just didn’t mesh.
That being said, though, there were still a number of things that I did enjoy in Belgrade.
The Belgrade Fortress.
Basically ASAP when I arrived in Belgrade, my friend Matt and I headed to lunch and to walk around the Belgrade fortress (yes…my friend…before all my fam gets there panties in a bunch…) and even though we did this early in the month, it was still one of the highest for me. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been to a place like this and I loved it. Not only was the fortress itself neat, but being on the banks of the Danube was gorgeous! Gimme all the photos. If I’d had the time later in the month, I would have gone back and taken all the photos!
THE DANUBE + SAVA RIVERS.
Speaking of being on the river, I am absolutely obsessed with the day I spent at the river here! We went on a boat trip to one of the little islands in the river, spent the day at the Belgrade sea, ate all the delicious food, including some cherry brandy, before kayaking back to our starting point at sunset. The kayak was amazing! At first, I was a little bit nervous to be on the water after dark, but it ended up being incredibly peaceful and it was one of my favorite moments of the month.
MAS STREET ART CUZ #DUH.
RETREATS + MOKRIN HOUSE
Our last weekend in Serbia brought us to this amazing place called Mokrin house. It’s a coworking and
BUT PERHAPS THE BEST PART OF THE MONTH?
OUR SIDE TRIP TO BUDAPEST TO SUPPORT ONE OF MY BESTIES IN HER FIRST HALF MARATHON!
That was the main reason why we went to
MORE FUN TIMES ON THE DANUBE.
Our first day in Budapest, we walked the Danube on the Buda side of the river. The river runs down the middle of the city and as such the city has been broken into what was deemed the Buda side and the Pest side. That first afternoon was simply made up of walking the river, checking out the chain bridge and the castle, snapping all the photos and eventually getting some Hungarian food. Nothing fancy, but so enjoyable.
THE CITADEL FOR ALL THE VIEWS.
As we were walking around the city that first full day, on a whim I asked my friends if they’d like to climb this big ass hill to see some views. Sorry guys! Cuz it was a big ass hill. I actually didn’t realize what it was until we got to the stop. It was what they called “The Citadel” and included the Budapest “Statue of Liberty”. As we climbed, we found viewpoint after viewpoint after viewpoint and dang was I happy we made the climb. Also, ice cream. Cuz after climbing a big ass hill for some amazing views, the only way to cap things off is to eat ice cream. #duh.
PARLIAMENT + SHOES ON THE DANUBE
Saturday left us looking for more places to putter. Our soon to be sub-2:20 half marathon-running friend opted to rest up for
When in Budapest, you’ve gotta go to a bath. We chose to go to Gellert baths due to their sheer proximity to our Air BnB. It was a perfectly timed trip, the day after our friends half marathon. YAY KATHLEEN! But, admittedly, I was a little disappointed how cool the baths are. Maybe American hot tubs spoil me with their muscle-melting heat, but these baths felt lukewarm at best, which was kind of a bummer. We spent most our time outside in what was the hottest path at Gellert, but not before taking an obligatory pic of the iconic internal bath area. It may have been underwhelming, crowded and we may have only stayed for a
WELL, THIS IS PROBABLY ONE OF MY MOST UNEXCITING REMOTE YEAR BLOGS…
BUT DON’T WORRY.
WE’VE ONLY BEEN IN SPLIT FOR A FEW DAYS NOW & I CAN ALREADY TELL…I’M GONNA LOVE THIS PLACE!
SHARE THIS POST
IF YOU LOVED THIS
YOU’LL LOVE THESE
Before, We Talked about Clarity…
NOW, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT CONFIDENCE…
THIS IS A HUGE ONE FOR SO MANY PEOPLE!
And no wonder! Confidence can impact us in so many ways! I remember reading the results of the study that Dove did in 2016 about confidence in women…the results blew my freaking MIND! Only 4% of women worldwide consider themselves “beautiful”. By the age of 17, 78% of girls will be “unhappy with their bodies”. And this affects us profoundly, keeping us from not only chatting up the hottie we’re crushing
THAT IS WHY BUILDING YOUR CONFIDENCE IS SO IMPORTANT…IT AFFECTS EVERY FACET OF OUR LIVES.
SO, HOW DO WE GO ABOUT BUILDING OUR CONFIDENCE?
1. HERE ARE MY TOP 5 TIPS…Get Clear on Who You Are & What You Want. Did you really think all this stuff wasn’t connected? Hehe. Sorry to disappoint, but one of the first things you can do to build your confidence is to level-up your clarity. My clients will tell you that I love to say “Clarity breeds Confident” and damn do I believe it! It’s why I’m such a broken record about it. It’s hard to be confident about who you are and where you’re going if you’re CLEAR about it. And it’s not just about figuring out who you are OR what you want. You need both. Head back to clarity post here for deets on how to level up your clarity!
2. Get to know the intricacies of your inner monologue. What do I mean by “get to know your inner monologue”? I mean pay attention to the things that trigger your inner monologue in a negative way. Are there certain situations that you tend to respond to negatively? Are there certain people? Are their certain environments that you’re in that tend to affect you the most? The more familiarity you can develop with your inner monologue and how it responds to the world, the more you can be proactive about overcoming and even negating those reactions! Because the
3. Nix negativity and start practicing self-compassion. One of the biggest reasons why confidence is such a struggle, especially for women, is because of our inner monologue. For so many of my clients, friends and the people that I talk to, one of their biggest struggles is overcoming the negative inner monologue inside their head. Melissa Ambrosini calls it your “inner mean girl”. Others have called it their inner shit talker, inner bitch, etc. It has a lot of
4. Try something new. Particularly a physical challenge. In my podcast episode “Fitness as a Vehicle for Growth”, I talked about a story that my life coach said to me. When people come to visit her in Colorado, she takes them to climb one of Colorado’s many 14-ers, referring to the many peaks in Colorado that are 14,000 ft or higher. Her reasoning? “Because once they climb that first mountain, they’ve laid the foundation for climbing the next.” It’s the same way with confidence. Each time you try something new, there’s discomfort there. There’s a little anxiety. Maybe even a little fear. But, the more you challenge yourself, the more you realize that you’re capable of handling challenge and that feeling of capability breeds confidence. Because, here’s the thing. Confidence isn’t a one-time thing. You don’t have an instance of capability and competence and then never feel fear or self-doubt again! It’s something you build! It’s gotta be a consistent act. Each time you challenge yourself, each time you show bravery and each time you show yourself that you can do something, even if you fall or struggle, that builds confidence. The more consistently that you show up, the bigger that confidence muscle will grow. And simultaneously, the longer you go without building your confidence muscle, the more action you’ll have to take to build it up again. So, challenge yourself to consistently try new things. That will build your confidence muscle.
5.Keep track of your PHYSICAL Confidence Cues. One of my favorite tricks for creating on-demand confidence is to take an inventory of what I call your “confidence cues”. What does this mean? Brainstorm and keep track of the moments in your life where you’re feeling particularly confident. Track what you’re doing, what you’re listening to, what you’re watching, what you’re wearing, etc. How is this helpful? Because there are instances where we’d all like to feel more confident, whether it’s before a job interview, a first date, or before trying that we’ve never done before. If we can tap into these cues that help us feel more confident, we can use them to our advantage to give ourselves a bit of a confidence boost when the moment calls for it. Me? I love music to help pump me up and inspire confidence. I also have a go-to pair of jeans and a couple outfits that make me feel like an absolute badass. That’s exactly what we’re going for.
AND WE’RE JUST SCRATCHING THE SURFACE…
SHARE THIS POST
IF YOU LOVED THIS
YOU’LL LOVE THESE
Take things to the Next Level…
Check out the options below to zone in on a specific area you most need support with.