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.

california

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!

spain

 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.

morocco

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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Wanderable’s Picks for Glamping Honeymoons

Once upon the time, luxurious canvas tent lodging was only found on the far away sands of exotic (and pricey) African safaris, but in the last decade, glamorous camping, or “glamping” has taken the travel world by storm. Whether it’s in heated yurts, decked out RVs, tree houses nestled upon forest limbs or spacious tents complete with feather beds and down comforters, alternative lodging has created a way to enjoy the outdoors with creature comforts and without the creatures.

Glamping provides a great honeymoon option for couples who want to experience nature, star strewn-skies and wildlife, but want to cuddle up in a warm bed together each night, because, let’s face it, there’s nothing too romantic about back aches and bug bites. Best of all, many glamping sites are eco-friendly and sustainability focused. Here are Wanderable’s picks for our favorite glamping spots for honeymooners.

The Resort at Paws Up

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Photo by Paws Up

Greenough, Montana, www.pawsup.com

Price: Luxury tents starting at $1,075/night

Comfort factor: Lavish. Your own private camp butler will be at your beck and call to help you get those marshmallows cooked just right.

Why we love it: This property, dubbed “The Original American Safari,” offers 37,000 acres of glistening Montana wilderness with mountain biking, horseback riding and ATV trails and a river for fishing, kayaking, rafting and tubing, so there is plenty to keep active couples busy all day. When honeymooners are ready to retire for the night, they can settle into one of the lavishly appointed six safari-like tents in the Moonlight Camp with ensuite bathrooms, a dining pavilion and even a butler. 

Treebones Resort

Photo by Treebones Resort

Photo by Treebones Resort

Big Sur, California, www.treebonesresort.com

Price: Ocean view yurts starting at $229/night

Comfort level: Moderate to high. The yurts feature queen beds but are a short walk to the lodge for showers and restrooms.

Why we love it: Couples staying in these delightful oceanside yurts along the California coast can enjoy the iconic views and nature of Big Sur like campers, while still settling in to warm beds each night. The resort’s slogan is “nature with a little nurture,” and each yurt features plush comforters, running water, electricity and a small sink. Honeymooners can sip wine on their yurt’s private redwood deck and stargaze the night away to the sound of waves and sea lions. The sustainable paradise has a pool, bathroom and shower facilities, and offers eco-tours and kayaking trips. Couples can even have a maussese stop by to ease their weary muscles after a long day of hiking.

STF Kolarbyn / Eco-Lodge

Photo by STF Kolarbyn

Photo by STF Kolarbyn

Skarsjon, Sweden, www.svenskaturistforeningen.se

Price: Forest huts starting at $150/night

Comfort factor: Bare bones. These rustic huts offer no running wanter or electricity, just the light and warmth of your self-built fire.

Why we love it: With no electricity or running water, these huts nestled in a Swedish forest glen may be the furthest stretch for the term “glamping,” but there is something so utterly romantic about tucking away together into these hobbit-like dwellings with their fireplaces and sheep skin rugs that we had to include this eco-lodge on our list. Adventurous honeymooners will collect their own fresh stream water and chop nightly firewood together before baking fresh bread on the fire and then picking blueberries right off the dwelling roof for dessert! The eco-friendly lodging is built off the land and is surrounded by beautiful lakes and hiking trails, and couples can even go on a moose or beaver safari, or relax in the property’s floating sauna on Lake Skärsjön. Note that sleeping bags are required, but can be rented for an additional fee.

White Pod

Photo by White Pod

Photo by White Pod

Les Cerniers, Switzerland, www.whitepod.com

Price: Pods starting at $390/night

Comfort factor: Luxe. The pods feature Scandinavian style bathrooms and luxury linens.

Why We Love It: White Pod’s eco-friendly pod-shaped tents cover the hillside looking over the Swiss village of Les Cerniers, with breathtaking views of Lake Geneva. The structures are carefully insulated and situated on wooden platforms to keep the couples nestled inside cozy warm, with the aid of wood burning stoves. Honeymooners can partake in a variety of activities from snowshoeing to skiing to dog sledding before settling in for evening drinks at the alpine escape’s beautiful chalet.

Bangkok Treehouse

Photo by Bangkok Treehouse

Photo by Bangkok Treehouse

Phra Pradaeng, Thailand www.bangkoktreehouse.com

Price: Canopy nest starting at $215/night

Comfort factor: Moderate to low. These open-air nests have queen beds but no hot water and are only reachable by foot, bicycle or boat.

Why we love it: We saved the best for last. This awe-inspiring property is just moments outside the mayhem of Bangkok but offers an unparalleled natural sanctuary with its “View with a Room” lodging option, allowing honeymooners to sleep under a canopy of stars and greenery in a bed perched 23 feet in the air. The Bangkok Treehouse offers farm to table meals, a natural pool, and free bike rentals to explore Bangkok’s “green lung” region. It should be noted that this eco-nest does not offer hot water, electricity or fumigation against insects, just the opportunity to get lost under the canopy of night air together. 

Now that we have piqued your interest, get lost in wanderlust with the hundreds of places to glamp around the world. Sites to start looking include listing aggregators Glamping Hub and Glamping.com, and the popular property sharing site AirBnB even has a pre-made Glamping Wish List that has us drooling over tipis in Ireland and gypsy caravans in New Zealand. The stars are the limit.