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Life+1 a lifestyle and travel blog. My adventures around the world and the moments of bliss in between.

THE Best Travel Dryer

For a girl whose hair dresser has to pause to give her arms a break while drying my hair, I think I'm a pretty harsh critic when it comes to hair dryers. Coupled with my unrelenting passion for travel, something small, lightweight and up for the challenges of international voltage is a must.

I'm a little bit mystified by my new hair dryer. 

When I tried my new T3 Featherweight travel dryer for the first time I was fully expecting a lesser blow-dry than what I get from my big dryer. Consider me shocked when I ended up with a far better blow dry.

After 30 seconds with this little guy, my initial thought was, 'Hmmmm, much less heat than my normal dryer...good luck.'

Here's where I'm completely dumb founded. It was actually quicker than my daily dryer. With much less heat. Huh? How is that even possible?

I was a bit in disbelief, so I tried it again. And again, great results, much less heat. Brilliant! I don't have to worry about burning the tips of my ears anymore.

I'm loving the cool setting on the Featherweight too. Most dryers have it, but few dryers have it in such a convenient location. I don't have to strain my thumb holding down an awkwardly placed cool button. Now I can simply slide the button up without fumbling the dryer or brush.

I just realized I haven't even mentioned the travel functionality of it. It's tiny, and mighty. Lightweight is an understatement. And the dual voltage (hopefully) ensures I won't blow up another hair appliance while abroad. It's not just the best travel dryer, it's the best hair dryer I've used to date.

Now that's what I'd call being 'blown away'! This little T3 Featherweight dryer is going everywhere with me.

What about you...do you chance it with the sketchy hotel hair dryers?

In partnership with T3, a brand that I have used for many years and love.

Easy Ways to Meditate on the Go

Around the middle of 2007 I started using mediation and visualization as a way to calm myself after a stressful day, but also start creating the life I had dreamt of.

The many benefits of daily meditation cannot be understated. There are a plethora of science-backed studies out there showing benefits such as reduced anxiety, better sleep quality, more positive outlook on life.

I meditate daily, but in different ways depending on the mood I'm in. My day to day routine varies so I like to find ways to easily incorporate at least 10 mindful minutes into each day, even when I travel.

Easy Ways to Meditate on the Go

  • Meditation App

Mediation apps can be really helpful when you're traveling because they are designed specifically to help you stay focused on your mediation. This can be particularly handy when you're in a noisy place with time to kill, like an airport. But one of the best features is the built in daily reminder. I use the Calm app and it reminds me every day to take a couple of minutes to meditate.

In addition to being free, it has loads of 'scenes' to help you focus and relax like a picturesque mountain lake, silent clouds or a sunset beach.

  • Music

Music has this incredible ability to instantly change our mood. It makes complete sense that choosing the right music can allow you to focus your mind and mood exactly where you want it to be. I never travel or leave home without a well curated playlist saved to my phone and don't forget the headphones!

I find the best music for meditating and visualizing is non-lyrical. Eric Prydz and FSOL are my go-to albums, but everyone has their own style. If you prefer lyrics, here are a few of my sing along favs.

  • Sensory Deprivation

I swear I have more moments of brilliance in the shower than any other time during my day. I really must invest in a waterproof notepad and pen! Until then I'll continue to dash, soaking wet, from the shower to my desk to jot down the ideas before they disappear from thought.

I've thought a lot about this and I really think it must be the sensory deprivation I experience in the shower that allows my mind to focus. It's a perfect time for visualization meditation. Focusing on hopes and aspirations and how to achieve them.

Do you have a place where you find that your thoughts flow easily?

3 Secrets to Happiness : Around the World

It amazes me that scientists have only just recently started to explore happiness in the human mind. For years we have understood and treated depression, anxiety, sadness. But happiness always seemed a distant, unchangeable disposition.

secret-to-happiness-travel.jpg

As with so many things in life, we only need to look to history and other cultures to see that the impact of positivity and happiness in our lives is exponentially important. 

So many cultures around the world celebrate and explore happiness in different ways. Some are incredibly inspiring, others humbling and grounding.

In my future adventures, I'd love to take part in some of the many worldly traditions for capturing and creating happiness. Here are just a few that I love.

3 Secrets to Happiness from Around the World


1 - Letting Go of What Brings You Down
Lantern Festival in Thailand

I'm sure you've probably seen photos of the iconic paper lanterns floating on a breeze in the night sky. But did you know that this Thai tradition is a symbol of letting go of negative thoughts?

The Thai people (and many visitors from around the world) light the candle in their lanterns every year on the 12th full moon and let them float away into the night sky along with any thoughts of worry and anxiety with the intention of starting afresh with a positive outlook on life.


2 - Embracing the Transience of Life
Sand Mandalas in Tibet

In a world where nearly every part of our lives can be documented and shared in a selfie, sometimes it's such a release to remind ourselves how transient this life is. Not in a negative way, but in a way that frees us from feeling over-important or putting too much pressure on things that are really inconsequential in the grand scheme of life.

It's all about putting life back in perspective.

Tibetan Buddhists have a beautiful practice of painstakingly creating sand art (mandalas) with small metal funnels and colored sand. The process can take up to weeks to complete and when done, the masterpiece is brushed up, distributed to an audience and released into a nearby body of water reminding us that all things, no matter how beautiful or carefully created, are temporary in this moment.


3 - Happiness Gained from Independence
Aboriginal Walkabouts in Australia

aboriginal walkabout australia happiness travel

This is one tradition I have been fortunate to undertake while visiting the Blue Mountains in Australia. An ancient tradition of sending young men into the wild on their own with only ancestral songlines (stories) to guide them back to safety.

I'm neither a young man (obviously) nor an aboriginal, but spending the day hiking through the wilderness and experiencing a small bit of that tradition was an experience I'll never forget.

Sometimes getting lost is the greatest source of confidence. One of the many reasons I love to travel is sense of accomplishment gained from exploring new places and surviving challenging situations. You always come out a stronger, happier person, with some great stories to tell!

~

You don't have to travel to the far corners of the world to practice happiness and gratitude in your everyday life. In fact, most of these traditions can be modified to fit our every day lives. Don't you think?

Living Proof : Humidity Shield

Current location : Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Temperature : 91 degrees F
Humidity : Outta control

Welcome to the South. Home of peaches, sunshine and stifling humidity. My hair hates me for moving here, until now. 

I've traveled a bit. 26 countries and counting. Would you laugh if I told you my hair plays a crucial role when choosing our next adventure destination? Yeah, I'm serious. 

I try to avoid humid climates because there are few things more annoying than having a full head of long, wavy, frizz prone hair in high humidity. It's like walking around with a heavy fleece blanket on your head. That was back when my bathroom cabinet was full of empty bottles and empty promises.

I'd nearly given up on the dream of frizz free holidays until I was converted (quite happily) to Living Proof. So you can imagine how excited I was to receive a package from the lovely folks at Living Proof with a bottle of their newest No Frizz wonder; Humidity Shield (thanks guys!). 

Like any good friend would do, I figured I should give it a test run for you. You know...to make sure it's up to snuff. There's no better challenge for No Frizz Humidity Shield spray than my unruly mane in this sweaty locale. The the proof is in the photos above but here's how it works...

After my usual routine of No Frizz shampoo, conditioner and styling cream I air dry while wishfully planning my next holiday and then blow dry the rest of the way. This is the point at which us frizzy haired gals dread stepping out of the house for the inevitable deflation of any styling efforts previously made. Fortunately this range holds up to the heat, but it has it's limits, or does it?

Now for the moment of truth, a good all over spray of the Humidity Shield. I heard it was a heat protectant so I threw in a few passes of the curling iron as well. Off we went to stroll around in the sweaty outdoors.

Hours later my hair was still frizz free. Impressive.

Over the next several days we had scattered thunderstorms and several visits to the pool when the sun finally came out, I was amazed at the lack of frizz and poof I experienced. Nada. None. 

Troops lined up and ready for the frizz fight. And they win every time. 

PS - Living Proof always sends free (big) travel size samples with every order from their online store. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Written in partnership with Living Proof Inc.

Lyrical Genius

Do you ever find yourself in the car with the radio up loud singing along to a song you love...and then there's that part that you aren't quite sure exactly what the lyrics really are? So you just do what any normal person does, you make it up.

It goes a little something like this...[from Blank Space by Taylor Swift]

...you can tell me when it's over
if the high was worth the pain
gotta a lot of Starbucks lovers
they'll tell you I'm insane...

What? You mean she wasn't singing about Starbuck's lovers? Riiiiight. I totally knew that. Haha.

Okay so there are those kind of lyrics and then there are the lyrics that you know are legit and the message is genius. Especially when you sing them right. Here are just a few of the best song lyrics that have always stuck in my mind.

4 Genius Song Lyrics

I’d rather be a comma
than a full stop.
— Coldplay
Sweet disposition
never too soon
Oh, reckless abandon
like no one’s watching you.
— Temper Trap
The moment I let go of it was the moment
I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it
Was the moment I touched down
— Alanis Morissette
Who needs a degree when your schoolin’ life?
— Beyoncé

A single song. A handful of words (if any!). A million meanings. That's what I love about music.

Stay tuned for a post on my most commonly flubbed song lyrics. There are so, so many.

What are some of your all time favorite song lyrics?

5 Easy Ways to be a Responsible Tourist

Traveling to 21 countries around the world has taught me so many things. More than I could have ever learned from many sleepless nights with my nose deep inside the pages of a worn atlas.

The importance of responsible tourism became clear to me years ago on a particularly hot, South African day while listening to our butler, Thomas, tell us about his life, his land and his heritage. I wish you could have seen the way his eyes lit up when he talked about all the ways in which our safari lodge was helping to protect the wildlife in their corner of Kruger National Park, but also support the native people, like himself. 

It was then I realized, that if I were to continue to have such good fortune to be able to travel the world, I should most certainly be finding ways to give back along the way. Being a more responsible traveler has never been easier. Here are just a few of the ways we can all make a difference.

5 Ways to Be a More Responsible Tourist

  1. Choosing the right hotel.
    It takes only a few extra minutes of research while you are deciding on a hotel. Find out if they are involved in any local charities. Do they give back to the surrounding communities? Support the people and the environment?

    Try this: Shangri-la, Marriott, and Virgin hotels and resorts are just a few examples of companies who are proactively giving back in various ways around the world. 

  2. Shopping local.
    If you're anything like me, shopping is pretty high on your priority list while traveling. Rather than purchasing mass produced items, look for items made and sold by local artisans.

    Try this: Ask your hotel concierge where to go to find some unique and authentic local goods. Or take a page out of my travelogue and eat your way through the local markets stuffing yourself with fresh produce, breads and cheeses along the way.
     
  3. Cautious giving.
    Resist the urge to hand out junk food and money to young children. You may be unknowingly contributing to issues that are causing more harm than good.

    Try this: Contact local charities and find out what items are needed, where and how you can donate your time or items.
     
  4. "Take only memories, leave only footprints."
    It's a really simple thing that makes such a huge difference. Don't take things from the local habitat like sand, rocks, shells...whatever. Leave it there for future tourists to enjoy. I mean, did you really need that baggie of black sand?

    Try this: Find a local artisan who uses area resources to craft unique gifts which you can buy and take home.
     
  5. Just say no to live animal displays.
    Try to avoid money generating animal displays (think snake, bear, and monkey photo ops) as sometimes these animals are taken from the wild and mistreated.

    Try this: Find a local animal rehabilitation facility that put their resources into saving and rehabbing animals.
     

"If you think you are too small to make a difference, you have never spent the night with a mosquito." - African Proverb

Next Adventure

Guys, I'm so excited to tell you that our next big adventure is booked. This time we'll be working our way across Morocco. From Rabat, to Marrakech, to the High Atlas Mountains. It's shaping up to be quite the adventure.

I have a million things on my 'to-do' list while we are there but I'd love to hear your suggestions as well. 

I have some very exciting projects in the works which I cannot wait to share with you. Until then, here's a sneak peak of what we'll be getting up to while we are there.

Of all these things, I'm particularly excited to be visiting Sir Richard Branson's Moroccan property, Kasbah Tamadot. Visiting all of the gorgeous Virgin Limited Edition properties has been at the top of my bucket list for years. They are like the 7 (now 8) wonders of the hotel world. :o)

The Virgin properties are not only stunning but they give back to the communities around them. Something any responsible tourist would be keen to know. I can't wait to tell you all about it in upcoming posts and videos.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for our Moroccan adventure in the comments below! x

Photo source Pinterest. Thank you Virgin Limited Edition for use of the Kasbah Tamadot photo.

Show Your Toes #withoutshoes

Imagine for a minute that every single pair of shoes you owned suddenly disappeared. How difficult life would become? How much such a simple thing in life can make such a huge difference every day. 

#withoutshoes Toms lifeplus1 blog

I just heard about this awesome Instagram campaign Toms (the shoe company) is doing right now. It's ridiculously simple.

1) Take a photo of your bare feet

2) Post that photo to your Instagram account

3) Tag @Toms and use the hashtag #withoutshoes (footsie me too @mylifeplus1)

4) Toms will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need FOR FREE

That's right folks. All you have to do is post your little twinkle toes on Instagram and a child gets a new (and quite stylish/comfy) pair of shoes. Has it ever been easier to help someone out?

You can read more about Toms #withoutshoes initiative on their website but here are a few stats which I found shocking.

Providing children with school uniforms, which often includes shoes, can increase school attendence by up to 62%. (Source: Evans, 2009)

1.3 billion people lack regular access to health care services, leaving many children susceptible to water and soil-borne illnesses, which can be transmitted through the feet. (Source: WHO, 2012)

This is not a sponsored post. I just think Toms are doing something incredible here and I love sharing simple ways that we can all help.

PLEASE spread the word via the share button below or head over to my Twitter page to retweet my message about the campaign. The project runs until May 21st.

Every little toe helps!

Unusual May Holidays

It seems like nearly every day is an unusual holiday of some sort. Last week alone was International Dance Day, Denim Day, National Honesty Day. I'm not sure why, but it fascinates me.

While it might be easy to laugh at these seemingly pointless and unusual holidays, I actually think they are a really fun way to remind ourselves to stop and appreciate the little things. Or insanely large things...

So for a bit of fun, here are some unusual (and wonderful) May holidays and a few suggestions on how to celebrate them.

National Photography Month : All Month Long

A no brainer for me. I love being behind the lens. With the sun shining, the temperatures warming and fifty shades of green popping up everywhere (and yes, I did watch 50 Shades...did you?), what better time to practice my photography skills?

Celebrate : Try one of the many photography challenges on social media. Instagram and NatGeo always have fun challenges to push your photography skills further.

Save the Rhino Day : 1st May

One of the few remaining animals from the days of the Dinosaur, the Rhino is nearing extinction from hunting and poaching. Sad, but true.

Celebrate : Visit World Wildlife Fund for ways to help or, go on a responsible, sustainable safari to appreciate these beautiful animals in their natural environment. I recommend the &Beyond properties in South Africa.

Star Wars Day : 4th May

May the fourth be with you.... 

Celebrate : Dig out those original Star Wars films and have another look at the genius work of George Lucas. It always amazes me how ahead of the times he was with the technology, almost predictive.

International No Diet Day : 6th May

Founded by Mary Evans Young in 1992, this is a brilliant little holiday focused on reminding us to love ourselves for who we are and appreciate people of all shapes and sizes. And...maybe snarf just one more piece of cheesecake...

Celebrate : Think of your favorite naughty food. Now go buy it, and eat it, and enjoy it. Heck, get two! And if you really want to take it all the way, eat some peanut butter filled cupcakes.

SUNSCREEN PROTECTION DAY : 27TH MAY

The older I get, the more I realize how important that mega SPF is. I wear it daily now, but there was a time when I definitely did not. And it's one of the few regrets I have in life. 

Celebrate : Go buy, and make a commitment to wear, sunscreen daily. Check the expiration on your existing bottles to make sure they are still good for pool season!

NATIONAL MACARON DAY : 31ST MAY

Really? Do I need to explain this one? You should really just go try a few and decide for yourself if they deserve a holiday of their own.

Celebrate : If you can find good ones, buy a box and enjoy every crumb while reading these fun facts about the world famous Ladurée Macarons.


and a few very traditional May holidays to remember...

MOTHER'S DAY (US) : SECOND SUNDAY IN MAY

Not an unusual holiday in the slightest, but a very important one. Where would we all be without our Mothers? A holiday that has a vastly different meaning to me now that I wear the title as well.

Celebrate : Tell your Mom or Mother figure in your life what they mean to you and what you've learned from them. And above all, that you love them.

Memorial Day (US) : Last Monday in May

A truly beautiful tradition of celebrating those who give the ultimate sacrifice for their country and our freedoms. Whether living or lost, it's a day to thank our lucky stars for these brave men and women.

Celebrate : When you see a service man or woman, pay for their meal or drink. Walk up and say thank you. If you're at home, maybe watch this movie.

 

Funny how some random and unusual holidays can bring some perspective back to our daily lives. Like resetting a clock, it reminds us to reset our perspective on life. All that we are so fortunate to have and all that we often take for granted.

What's your favorite unusual holiday?

Around the World in B&W

I don't see the world completely in black and white. Sometimes I do.   - Benicio del Toro

A handful of my favorite black and white photos from our travels.

xx