Where To go in the Middle of Nowhere - A Guest Post by Conor Sinnott

Where To Go In The Middle Of Nowhere by Conor Sinnott


In the past few weeks, I have visited multiple deserts in the South West and West areas of the US. In doing so I have acquired a list of sorts of the best places to go when in this part of the States. Going in blind is dangerous: dodgy mexican restaurants, suspicious motels and scares of complete seclusion are afoot if unprepared so please indulge me in telling you some of the best places to go.

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Death Valley, CA

Death Valley is an unsung hero of the Californian national parks, though that is somewhat excusable with some areas having an average temperature of around 51oC. Having been in that kind of heat, where you must squint your eyes and grit your teeth just to walk a few feet, I can tell you that hiking in Death Valley, though spectacular in its views, is risky (hence the name). If you are to do any form of a hike around Badwater or the dunes, do what we did and get there early in the morning: that way you’ll also have more of it to yourself. Places like Badwater I would highly recommend, not only for the intrigue in the formation of the salt flats but also the eerie and complete silence brought about when still. A great day trip.


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Sedona, AZ

Sedona is a very interesting place. With its inhabitants listing such names as Madonna, Johnny Depp and Nick Cage, it’s a surprisingly subdued place with very little noise or disruption. Going for hikes in the red rock landscapes is a truly unique experience: not only for the structures and topography but also for the nature and wildlife up in the mountains. If just for a day, stop by Sedona, buy one of their ridiculously overpriced yet delicious sandwiches and go mountain biking.


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Zion, UT

You may notice that in this list, the Grand Canyon does not appear. That’s because of two reasons: firstly that it really isn’t that great. If you’ve seen a stock image of the Grand Canyon then I’m telling you the actual Grand Canyon is only 10% more cool- and that’s not accounting for the 100% more loud children and bustling mobs of tourists blocking your view. The second reason is that on the way to the Grand Canyon we found Zion National Park and it is so much better. Not only are you inside the smaller valleys and canyons but also its so serene, it would be a shame if you missed this place.


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Seligman, AZ

Seligman is a tiny place, famous for being the birthplace of the famous Route 66. It has a weird history of roadtrippers fleeing the dustbowl, leaving behind a collection of quirky diners and eccentric boutiques. I have to recommend Westside Lilo's Cafe as even though it is opposite the ever-enticing Roadkill Cafe, it has some incredible fried chicken and the people there are lovely. Seligman is certainly not a day trip - a serendipitous excursion at most - but it is certainly worth going.



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Joshua Tree, CA

What makes Joshua Tree so spectacular is the combination of dense plots of spiny trees and piles of boulders that form peculiar mountains and plains devoid of life. Much like Death Valley, it can be rather unsettling when driving for an hour through a rocky terrain encompassed by giant mountains with no other life in sight, but scaling the enormous boulders and hiking into desert forests was such a unique experience it should be recognised.



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Thank you sofia for letting me write on your blog -

(to contact conor on instagram - @conorbach)

New York Highlights



I'm currently sitting here with a mason jar of ice tea and the windows wide open, cherishing the incredible weather that London has given us in the past few days. While procrastinating because I have a ton of work to do (it's summer, should they really give us homework...?), I looked through my photos and found myself reminiscing over photos of New York. In doing this, I really figured out which were the highlights of my trip, since those were the things that I remembered the most vividly.

So, today I'm going to tell you a bit about the most memorable things I did or saw, but bare in mind these are only the ones that I haven't already mentioned in previous posts of NY (I did a whole lot of them, New York is very exciting)

Eating an Acai Bowl in Central Park and Watching the Sunset...

If that sentence in itself doesn't sound like absolute perfection, then I think we have an issue. Putting aside the fact that I am and will forever be obsessed with acai bowls, the words Central Park, sunset and skyline just sum it up for me. It was the most relaxed I was on my whole trip, just sitting there, appreciating the beauty and the summery chill music that was softly coming from my headphones, while the sun slowly fell over the skyscrapers and reflected off the glass, creating a beautiful array of colours, the intense green of the park and pastel pinks, blues and purples of the sky.



One World Trade Centre Tower

At 540m high, the One World Trade centre stands tall and proud as the tallest building in New York and gives you the most incredible view. This, of course meant that, after a ridiculously quick elevator ride, I was on the 101th floor, and was able to see the most fascinating and jaw-dropping view of Manhattan. Seeing everything from above gave me a real sense of perspective and shocked me because the city is really not that big, but it's so full of people hustling everywhere, it clouds your vision a bit. As well as that, this building shocked me emotionally, as there were several references to the 9/11 incident, and it was really touching to see the memorial and museum. I think that everyone involved in the creation of this building could not have done a better job, it was unquestionably magnificent.













Sprinkles ATM

Sorry London, what's up, why don't we have cupcake ATM's here in London? Whoever came up with this, you are a genius and I love you. I visited this little cupcake (should I say heaven) ATM multiple times since it was right next to where I was staying and I really felt the need to take advantage of, not only the convenience, but also the delicious-ness of these cupcakes. If you're ever in NY do not miss this, you'll regret it. <3





The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) and terrace drinks...

On my last night in New York, I went with my family and some friends to the MET and my inner white girl exploded a tad as I sat on the steps where Blair and her minions sat. The famous MET steps, honestly something I can now check off my bucket list. The museum itself was amazing, incredible and sophisticated. My favourite part was a fashion exhibition by Comme des Garçons and I truly cherished this, since I'm pretty sure I will never see anything as spectacularly outgoing and edgy as what I saw then. After that, the sun began to go down and we headed up to the terrace. We got some snacks and drinks and sat there, in the most perfect mix of hot and cold temperature and the sunset was b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. and a flawless end to my trip. 










Appreciating the Moon...

I feel like on this blog I tend to mention a lot of specific things that I fear no one else understands. Guess what? Here's another one of them. After seeing the Moon in a telescope, I fully appreciated the immensity and significance of this white lil light in the sky at night. So, here's a few little pictures of the incredible moon that I have learnt to love, and some New York sky snaps.











I miss New York endlessly but I really am making the most of this summery weather and I am waiting with extreme anticipation for the summer. Is anyone else as excited as me?? x Sofia





Eat Healthy In Manhattan - Where to Go

I've often heard people talking about the struggles of trying to eat healthy or maintaing a healthy diet while travelling or on holiday. Compared to other, more tropical places with lots of fresh fruit and open air, New York is quite a hard place to do this. So, I decided I would try to tackle this problem and help out anyone going to New York (specifically Manhattan) soon. 

Throughout the 10 days I spent there, I admit I was pretty occupied looking for healthy places to eat, since all I could see was corn dogs, fries and burgers. I therefore ended up going to loads of different restaurants, cafes and juiceries, some of which I liked, and some others which I didn't. For all you lovely humans, I decided to make a little interactive map with all the healthy places I went to which I actually liked. 



Here is the link; http://www.zeemaps.com/view?group=2566905&x=-73.950196&y=40.757286&z=6 - here you can click on each of the places depending on what area you're in and see where you can get something healthy!

Most of these places are around Midtown, since that is where I was staying so I looked around the most. I've gone and tested all these places and I can definitely recommend them all <3

Throughout the trip, I thouroughly established my love for acai bowls... I had them too regularly. In fact, one of my favourite memories from my trip to New York was eating an acai bowl on the rocks of central park while watching the sun set. It was the most relaxing and perfect moment I've had in a long time (especially with all my exams) and I loved being able to see the Manhattan skyline while eating the most delicious lil bowl. You can find them pretty much around the whole of Manhattan (especially Juice Press and Juice Generation) so if you get a chance, seize it. 







Acai bowl and green juice? I think yes. 



So that's today's post! I hope this is helpful... I think I'm going to be doing one of these for everywhere I go so let me know what you think! 
xx Sofia 

YESTERDAY and TODAY - New York

In films and tv shows it is very clear that New York is a busy city, meaning that visiting it needs you to adapt to the busy lifestyle so you don't feel out of place. I admit I've been sleeping in too late and feeling bad about it later but this is what I've been up to yesterday and today.

Supreme 

For all of you who know me, you'll know I tend to have something morally against the hypebeast culture, which is a story for another post. Regardless, I thought it would be a shame not to visit the Supreme New York store since I was there, so that's what I did. For once, I was genuinely prepared to treat myself and actually buy something from there but ended up finding nothing worth a second glance. I consulted some friends and they said it was because there wasn't a drop so I guess it's my fault for not going at the right time but I honestly don't see myself queuing for some clothes hahah...






Walls and Yellow Sunglasses

Yes these sunglasses cost $10, yes they are yellow, yes they give me a headache... but I love them anyways. I've been thoroughly enjoying wearing them around and seeing some approving and disapproving looks on the street. And, of course, I'm wearing my adored Shadow Hill hoodie that I never, ever leave London without <3. Anyways, New York is full of 'decorated' walls, with graffiti, texts, posters and stickers, and they tend to be very interesting for pictures so I put funky sunglasses and funky wall together and this is what I got...











(If you follow my instagram @lifefromsofia you would have seen these xx) 

MoMA - Museum of Modern Art

Luckily for us staying in the Midtown, MoMA is really easy to get to, and for me it's free (need to take advantage of the fact that I'm still considered a child for a long as possible.) I didn't even manage to get through half the museum it's so big and overflowing with incredible artists like Rosseau, Picasso, Rauschenberg , and Van Gogh. I saw paintings, sculptures, videos and photos (everything you can imagine...) My personal favourite was being able to see Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' in person because no picture can live up to what the painting is like in real life (but I put one in for you anyways ahhaa.) Please please please if you're in New York go to MoMA, it is so worth it and if you're under 16 it's free which is absolutely incredible.













Of course, it should go without saying that besides these things I've been doing plenty of shopping, stopping at way too many shops, taking too many pictures and just, in general enjoying New York. Hope you liked this post xx have you ever been to New York, if so, what was your favourite part?
xx Sofia

Day 1 of New York (With A Best Friend)

Seeing friends who don't go to your school or live in your city is already hard enough, but having a best friend who literally lives on the other side of the world (13hour plane journey) takes that challenge to a whole new level.

In my situation, her name is Mili and she lives about 7000 miles away from me. This is why, we seize any opportunity to see each other, and it so happens that our holidays coincided slightly, and Mili and I ended up meeting in New York for a day. Her last day, my first day.

This is how we spent our day.

It's important to know that I had never been to New York before, so Mili was my guide and sacred protection for when I kept looking on the wrong side of the road and almost got hit by cars (multiple times) and for understanding the subway system.



Central park was definitely the highlight of the day for me, it was absolutely beautiful and endlessly big.









I mean, I thought Hyde Park was incredible... this is a whole new thing. It has rocks you can climb on and see the Manhattan skyline, bridges, ponds, playgrounds and all sorts of things.

Everywhere I go I always have something to say about the people, because I think that's really what makes a place special, what gives it character. This really became clear to me in Central Park because no one cared about people watching or norms and just went on with life. I really admire that and it definitely made the park more interesting. For example, Mili and I saw a man dressed only in a bright pink bra and underwear scootering around posing for pictures, and we were just thinking wow thats wierd but also damn he has courage and he doesn't care. Most importantly he made people smile and smiled along with them, at the expense of his dignity, which is really admirable.





Perhaps some more 'ordinary' people...







Another one of my favourite things about the day was the sky. Before you start asking questions please just admire the sky in these photos I beg. I don't know if it's the New York charm or me being odd but I love it beyond words. The way the buildings tower over and the sky is bright blue and the clouds perfectly white and fluffy really got to me hahah. (I do appreciate I sound crazy but I'm going to go with it)














Food was also something that I thoroughly enjoyed (really not suprising at all, but yesterday I really enjoyed it) For lunch we ate at Shake Shack in Washington Square Park. Although a lot of you may say that it's just like having Shake Shack in London... you're probably right lol. The burgers had the same mindblowingly good taste and the coke came in the same bottle and was, by all means the same. BUT, the company, atmosphere and place completed the experience and made it that little bit more magnificent. Because, to be honest regardless of where in the world you are, Shake Shack will always be incredible. Dinner was at Benihana, which anyone who has been will know is unbelievably good food and will always 100% recommend.









Throughout the day we also went to Highline, which is basically a small park on a bridge over the city. One part had this glass that was over a road and I could see down and it was pretty damn cool especially with all the cars driving underneath. We also stopped by loads of cool vintage shops and vinyl record pop up shops which were very interesting and had cool neon lights that low key blinded me. Because we're tourists and felt like it we ventured down Fifth Avenue as well, admiring Gucci shoes and Versace jackets we couln't buy hahaha.















A lot more of this wonderful city to come! Stay posted... <3 Where in the world do you most want to go?

x Sofia