The Wanderable Gypset: Nicole Anderson

Wanderable will be featuring wanderlust-y individuals literally living their dreams in our new feature, The Wanderable Gypset.  Nicole Anderson is the inaugural bohemian tastemaker in this brand new series.

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What is a gypset?

A gypset is a gypsy-jetsetter, a free spirit who is young and heart and leads an unconventional career and life, traveling the globe and wandering through life at her own pace, in her own style.

Who is Nicole Anderson?

Nikki is a professional wedding photographer (check out her drop-dead gorg portfolio) who studied Russian literature at Harvard and lives in Singapore with her fiance. Her itinerary this month includes Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Marrakech, London, Glasgow, and Singapore.

We picked her brain with this lovingly curated questionnaire, and we are happy to reveal the responses to you.

Wanderable: Walk me through an average day in your un-average life.

Nicole: As a wedding photographer, I’m lucky to have a very flexible workday and really no two days are the same. But on most days, I’ve likely gone out for coffee, done some photo editing, made time for reading, thought about going to yoga and then thought up excuses for not going, spent way too much time on Instagram/Style Me Pretty/100 Layer Cake, and somewhere along the way opened a bottle of wine.

W: Did you always want to be a traveler, or did you just fall into this lifestyle?

N: My family spent a summer in Austria when I was 16, and I remember the wild sense of freedom I had wandering around Salzburg. I loved being able to create each day, get lost, hop on a bus, see works of art, discover hidden cafes, and read all afternoon. After college, I had a great job in marketing but I just wasn’t happy tied to a desk. I had no idea if I could make it as a photographer, but I knew it was worth trying. Being able to spend a month in Paris last February during the wedding off-season or book a last minute flight to Culebra with a friend without asking anyone for vacation time definitely confirmed that this was the job for me.

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W: What are you feeling/loving/eating/reading right now?

N:

  • Feeling: blessed
  • Loving : my fiance Daniel
  • Eating: In the past two weeks, Spanish tapas to Moroccan tagines to my friend’s delicious Pakistani food
  • Reading: The Savage Detectives by Robert Bolano and The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester

W: If you could bring anything/anyone from home, what/who would that be?

N: If I have Daniel and a good book with me, I don’t need anything else.

W: What location is on your bucket list, and why?

 N: One of the many reasons I love my fiancé is that even while we were traveling on our engagement trip (I asked for a trip instead of a ring!), we couldn’t help talking about all the places we want to go together. There’s such a lot of world to see. For our honeymoon we have already tossed around wildly different ideas, like beaches in Greece + Albania + Croatia OR a wine + cycling tour of Italy OR Iceland adventuring!

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 W: What are your go-to travel essentials?

  • ONA Bowery camera bag
  • Canon Mark III
  • Journal/book
  • A great necklace (currently alternating between a gold and white 31 Bits necklace and a colorful one scored at an Anthropologie sale)
  • Flowy maxi dresses
  • Comfy but cute walking shoes (currently tribal patterned Toms and trusty Birkenstocks)
  • MAC red lipstick and sunscreen
  • A scarf that can double as a picnic blanket when the occasion calls for it

 W: What has recently taken your breath away?

 N: In Madrid, some of Goya’s later paintings at the Prado Museum. In Cordoba, the stunning Mezquita Cathedral. In Seville, the Puente de Triana at night. And in Morocco, an incredible Berber village perched atop a mountain in Ouirgane.

W: What have you learned about your Significant Other other through your travels?

 N: He’s learned that I wait to eat sketchy street food until the last day of a trip in case I get sick and that when I have my game face on I’ll haggle toe to toe with any Marrakech shop keeper! I’ve learned that his shoulder is my favorite travel pillow, he has a way better sense of direction than I do, and that when I’m sick he’ll rush out to get me tea and lie with me in bed reading Borges stories aloud to keep my mind off my stomach ache. And together we’ve learned that we will both shamelessly tie our sweaters around our waists when the forecast has fooled us.

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W: Advice for aspiring Gypsets? Go.

N: There’s always a way to satisfy your wanderlust. I once took a semester off college and was practically broke, so I worked on a farm through WWOOF in Cornwall, crashed with a cousin in London, and Couchsurfed in Italy and France. That trip cost me very little, but it was one of the best of my life. Make friends that live in other cities and countries. A hundred times better than staying in a hotel, and a heck of a lot cheaper too. Be bold in what you ask of the universe.

Follow Nicole’s adventures at www.sorella-muse.com and on her Instagram

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Secret Retreats: Ancient Kingdoms in Indonesia, Cambodia & Laos

Where luxury meets tradition: 7 unique hotels that will evoke a sense of wonder

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Like a strong espresso on an early morning walk, reading about Secret Retreats has us awakened the dreamer and doer in us. We have never encountered such a luxurious approach to traveling in Asia, so we had to partner with these guys so you could reap the benefits! Secret Retreats prides itself on being fuller than full service, offering melt-worthy accommodations, off-beat activities, rejuvenating spa services, and idyllic excursions.  Here are seven exclusive properties for our Wanderable couples where incredible luxury meets tradition. You can thank us later.

1. TUGU BALI(Indonesia): Following the coast of Bali along Canggu Beach, this resort is a dream for the still at heart. Get lost on the walkways of a wild garden, where winds are rumored to whisper of Balinese spirits.

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2. TUGU LOMBOK (Indonesia): Periwinkle waters mirror the sunrise over Mount Rinjani, fixed with plunge pools, tropical gardens, and bamboo bungalows. This hotel evokes ancient Hindu times, an honest oasis from the daily grind.

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3. MISOOL ECO RESORT (Indonesia): A sustainable paradise for the urban treehugger, this exclusive hotel and conservation center is located on a private island just south of the equator and holds only a maximum of 32 guests. Suffice it to say, what happens in Misool stays in Misool.

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4. THE SAMAR VILLAS & SPA RESORT (Cambodia): A haven of well-being, the Samar Villas envelop you in a cloud of peacefulness and offer the richness of fantastic archeological ruins and ancient temples for the culturally curious daytripper.

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5. BALI JIWA VILLA(Indonesia): These lavish modern villas offer the royal treatment. In true Balinese style, politeness and minimalism are paired with indulgence and luxury in nonchalant conversation.

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6. JEEVA BELOAM BEACH CAMP (Indonesia): A beachfront “glamping” experience on a secluded cove with white sand beaches, this is an untouched gem that can center and stun even the most jaded traveler.

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7. SATRI HOUSE (Laos): Here you’ll taste sumptuous homemade dinners and soak in the gorgeous colonial Laotian architecture. Immersed in the city’s heart, you can enjoy quiet moments with your lover and unwind while observing the everyday life of locals from your balcony. People-watching is our favorite sport.

Secret Retreats quotes the Buddha on their website, saying “when the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”  So clear your mind while you experience ultimate relaxation, grab a drink with the one you love and sit back while all your needs are met.  We promise, your joy will never, ever want to leave. Secret Retreats: you deserve it.

#WanderOn

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How to Keep your Honeymoon Stress Free

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Travel inherently has the potential for being stressful, even if that travel is to celebrate one of the greatest occasions in life. Here are Wanderable’s tips to keep your honeymoon as happy and as tension-free as possible.

Do your research:  Are you going abroad or staying domestic? Whether you need to construct travel itineraries or get vaccinations and passports in order, do your research and plan accordingly. Planning in advance will help to avoid unnecessary stresses along the way.

Book or at least plan local transportation:  If you plan well enough, then you’ll have more time to enjoy your destination. Find a hotel that is within walking distance of the local attractions or figure out the transportation details beforehand! Depending on where you’re headed, you may need to research buses, trains, flights, boats, or even ferries.

Consider travel insurance:  A wedding and a honeymoon can be two of the most costly experiences a couple will have. It’s wise to at least consider buying travel insurance, in case of an unexpected emergency such as a natural disaster, illness, etc. Weigh the pros and cons and decide if travel insurance makes sense for you. It can be especially helpful if you are going abroad or buying an all-inclusive trip.

Pack as lightly as possible:  We know it’s your honeymoon and you want to look good, but no traveler has ever said, “I wish I were lugging more stuff around.”

Pack snacks:  If there is one thing we have learned through our own travels, it’s that a hungry traveler is a grumpy traveler. Don’t let your blood-sugar highs and lows mess up your mood; always be prepared when you set out for the day and bring simple things to munch on.

Bring a daypack:  Daypacks come in all different shapes and sizes, from a hip leather satchel to a not-so-hip fanny pack. Daypacks help you prepare for the unexpected. It is always convenient to have an extra sweater, an umbrella, some snacks, a camera, a drink or two, and any other necessities. Before you leave the hotel, pack anything that might come in handy in case you decide you want to spend the entire day out and about.

Take it all in and stay present:  The wedding is over and you have nothing to stress about. Put work and home-life aside and relax. Even if you have the most demanding job on the planet, this is a time when everything else should fall away. Turn off your cellphones and your laptops and completely disconnect.

Don’t worry about schedules or hiccups along the way. Most of all, just sit back and enjoy one another’s company. There’s truly nothing more important than that.

How to Pamper on your Honeymoon

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Your honeymoon should be a time of pampering, for both parties. Here are some of our favorite ways to lavish love and attention on one another.

Turn up the romance all the way with special details in the hotel room. Have bouquets of flowers in the room when you arrive or leave petals on the floor and bed. A jacuzzi tub is always a nice upgrade to a hotel room and a nice way to relax. Line the the tub with candles and rose petals.

Get a limousine or private town-car service to take you around. Take cabs, rather than deal with public transportation.

Do something healthy and relaxing together. Get couples massages, facials, do partner yoga, or take a private yoga class on the beach. Add an extra twist to one of your outdoor adventures. If you’re going for a hike, pre-set a  picnic on the hiking trail.

Take your dining experiences to the next level. Have registrations set at the restaurant before you get there and surprise him or her with a serenade of “your song”. Treat yourselves to a dinner cruise with live jazz, go out for fondue and enjoy a bottle of fine wine, order room-service and eat dinner on your balcony, or have breakfast in bed.

Buy each other special souvenirs when the other is not looking. There are always those pieces that catch your eye, whether it be a piece of jewelry or art or clothing. Something that you see and love but don’t think you should spend the money on. Surprise your husband/wife and purchase it for them, when they are unaware.

Honeymoon Registry Etiquette

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While Honeymoon Registries are quickly growing in popularity, we often get questions on how to best create a registry that will make giving gifts memorable for both guests and couples. Here are our tips:

Know your guests:  Some guests may not be comfortable purchasing non-traditional gifts like helicopter tours and wine tastings. We suggest including some traditional items on your Wanderable registry or, if you really need to play it safe, you could always consider having a second traditional registry.

Take some time to plan:  Sure you could have guests give into a general honeymoon fund, but it is way more exciting to give and be given cooking classes, a picnic near the Eiffel Tower or a romantic cruise on the Seine. People love hearing about travel plans and will be excited to hear about where you are going, especially if they’ve been there before.

Personalize your registry:  Let your voice shine through, include photos, stories or even jokes. All of this will bring the experiences your guests are giving to life.  Check out some of our sample registries to get inspired.

Include a variety of items on your registry:  By providing lots of different types of gifts, at many different price points, you’ll give your guests lots of options.