Kirsten Alana • Photographer

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana

photographer sometimes found at home in NYC, usually abroad • co-creator of #ThoseCubaStreets w/ @dante.vincent • inquiries: kirsten@godandbeauty.com
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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The other night during a @furla party and later a @humanityunified event, the @highlinenyc was visible below. I saw it from two sides within the span of a few hours and it brought back such fond memories of my early days living in the City. I used to lead tours there for a local company. In that role I told the story of how in 1847, street-level railroad tracks were installed down Manhattan's West Side to ship freight between all the docks on the Hudson River and the warehouses in what became known as The Meatpacking District. It was so dangerous to have trains, pedestrians, horse-drawn carriages and other traffic all together that the railroads hired men to ride in front of the trains on horses, waving flags. Eventually known as the "West Side Cowboys" they were not successful enough to keep Tenth Avenue from being known as "Death Avenue" and the city created the elevated rail line in 1929 as a way to separate industry from every day. But by the 1980s due to the growth of interstate trucking and air freight, the elevated rail line was no longer being used. We owe the current park system to Joshua David & Robert Hammond who organized the Friends of the High Line in 1999, proposing the abandoned structure be converted in a manner similar to the Promenade Plantée in Paris. Perhaps it is that connection to my favorite French city, or perhaps it is my own bent toward preservation over new construction -- that makes me feel a particular affection for this landmark. I've watched it change so much since I first arrived, when only the first portion of the High Line was open and half the apartment buildings here were just plans on paper. As I gazed down on it the other night, it was like reacquainting myself with an old friend! • kaNYguide thehighline boomerangvideo newyorkbynewyorkers takewalksny HappyBirthdayHighLine

3 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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Yesterday in the City was CRAZY busy but so fun as one of my stops allowed me to stretch the photographic muscles I hadn't used in a long time doing one of the things I love best: capturing other people in front of the camera! So much of my career has evolved into brands wanting me to be in front of the camera and the truth is that's not where I'm most happy. So THANK YOU @thejamescollective for inviting me. And thank you @prettyinpistachio ladies + @kramer_alli @girlswhoeat for being the best models ever as we bonded over how much we love this @freepeople kimono (which we allll need in our closets!!). Thank you for keeping us hydrated and fed @cannonballwines @aida_eats 😝😍 ootd BrunchInBedTJC postmoreportraits fpsummeroflove fashiongram sonyrx1rii aboutalook

4 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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GUIDE TO NYC series • Ok you don't neeeed me to tell you to visit Central Park, right?! But I also couldn't share a guide with you and not include it. It wouldn't be summer in the city without moments like this. Or it wouldn't be summer done right! For the best experience, if you're a tourist, go during the day during the week when less locals will be there and you'll have more space to yourself. That being said, the park is larger than the country of Monaco 😳 and the Vatican City. So it's not exactly small on size, you should be able to find a place of serenity at really any time if you head deep enough into the park. Download the app by the @centralparknyc Conservancy to help you navigate into areas farther north or deeper in than you're familiar with. Central Park is the most-filmed park in the world but there are still areas you might not recognize. Despite being completely landscaped as the result of an 1858 competition won by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, and therefore not as natural as it seems, the park does feature remnants of ancient history. The largest boulders are actually evidence of Wisconsin Glacier which melted away 12,000 years ago! See more tips at kaNYguide • iloveny centralparkmoments sheepsmeadow nybynewyorkers

5 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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Father's Day has never been easy for me. In a bad year it's a date I just wish I could erase from the calendar all together. • Anyone else struggle with the holiday too? • But yesterday I put on a vintage dress that my mother once owned, tried to be thankful for the parent I do have and I tried to stay busy. Tried to outrun the emotional pain even as my physical pain was ramping up. In the morning I visited @cestchristine in Brooklyn and then later in the afternoon @dante.vincent and I met @lozula and his wife Jess in one of my favorite spaces in the City where, by the time we walked in, I'd managed to rise above some of the sorrow of the day. I was still in a lot of physical pain but I was thinking of all there is to be thankful for in a world where there's so much hurt and where I have a heck of a lot more than most to be thankful for, even if I don't have someone to celebrate on Father's Day. There was a moment where I did a little spin, in the middle of the crowded Oculus, like a girl who has no cares or worries. I was trying to be a person who rises above the pain for a moment. Who embraces life. And it worked. I spent a few hours completely enjoying the architecture, our friends, good food and the wonderful man I do have in my life. I might never be as good as @ruthielindsey at choosing joy above pain, at not letting it rule me. (Please visit her profile and read her story! It's so inspiring!) But I'm trying to be better. One day, and sometimes one twirly dress, at a time.

7 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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Montauk didn't turn out to the quite what we'd thought it would be but there were two sunsets that @dante.vincent & I really enjoyed. I wish I could share a scratch & sniff of the smell from this spot because it was divine. It must be the bush with the white flowers because it seemed like everywhere we went where that bush could be found, the air smelled sweet! Between that, the gorgeous color in the sky, the company of my love and just for the fun of it a picnic dinner with a bottle of @taittingerusa - it was another reminder that the simple things in life are usually the best. That's not always easy to remember in the City where it's all about what you're dressed in, how much money you make, what neighborhood you live in or who you know. Even when I'm traveling there's sometimes an undercurrent of that search for the next big moment that will outdo the others which have come before it. Montauk might not have been what I thought it would be but it was just what I needed! sunset_love newyorkstate simplemoments natureisamazing

9 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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On the advice of our friend @runwaychef, we borrowed bikes from our hotel and rode out to the Montauket for dinner and sunset. Along the way there were gorgeous views out to the ocean and the sweeping bluffs that we saw from afar ended up being the hills we had to ride to the top of, so we could coast down the other side and eventually get to our destination. Unlike most of the other relatively flat places we'd been on our rides before, this short route was characterized by a huge hill that seemed to never end, so I needed a rest at one point and then I saw this spot just about at the point where I couldn't ride anymore. @dante.vincent kindly captured the moment where I was catching my breath and enjoying the view. Later we found out Montauket wasn't serving dinner on the day we visited, so we made the best of it and settled in with a few local beers and a sunset that wanted to be brilliant but could never quite make it through the haze. It didn't matter! We had each other and we'd had a little adventure. There's always up and down to life but what matters most is being thankful for all the little things. montauk ihavethisthingwithbikes jcrewalways iloveny bikingadventures dametraveler darlingweekend

11 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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Weekday beaches > Weekend Beaches • This workcation in Montauk hasn't had a whole lot of sun/sand/surf time because @dante.vincent has huge projects that he's had to be on conference calls all day for and I'm wrapping up projects and pitching new ones all day er day but just having an "office" for 3 nights that was near a beach instead of in the city lowered my stress rate significantly!! If you're visiting NYC, I definitely recommend coming out to LongIsland during the week for at least a night. The difference in the pace of life out here is good for the soul and it's remarkable how different it is from the city during the week. On the weekend, it's non-stop parties and a scene that only differs from a weekend in the city by proximity to the ocean. Bottom line: yeah, weekday Montauk is my jam! iloveny beachplease travelerinnewyork

12 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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GUIDE TO NYC series • Lots of great places to view the sun setting in New York City and there's no way I'll be able to cover them all with kaNYguide However I do want to include some of my favorites that might not be as documented as others. This is the view from Gantry Plaza State Park which is in Long Island City. In the summer, it allows you to see the sun silhouetting the skyline of Manhattan with the Empire State Building and the Chrysler (my favorite) included in the line up. You can also see the outline of the United Nations complex. There are usually other people here but there's nowhere near the crowds you get elsewhere. With the exception of any day that Manhattanhenge is occurring. Then, any spot like this, anywhere in the city, that the sun is perfectly aligned to set between buildings -- will be mobbed. What I love about this location is that you can make a whole evening of it. Great restaurants are all a close walk from where I stood to take this photo or you can bring a picnic and relax in the grass behind the piers that jut out into the East River. I stood on one to take this photo and to take the one I gave away as a screensaver in Stories this weekend. Did you catch that?? • Headed to Montauk this week with @dante.vincent to work from @thesurflodge so for those who asked about getaways from the city, that's coming right up. And I just published a new blog post, link in profile! • sunsetcity newyorkornowhere newyorkbynewyorkers sunsetsforbreakfast sunsethunters

14 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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GUIDE TO NYC series • Hands down my favorite neighborhood to just explore in NYC is the West Village. Since I'm home for much of June and July, I'm hoping to have lots of time to stroll around streets like this appreciating the details and trying to imagine the stories that have taken place here, a part of the City that goes back to the earliest days of people settling the area. As I work on my personal project of a "Guide to NYC," I'm hoping to have more specific tips for you than just, 'hey you should wander around here' 😉 but in the past, that's all I've really done: wander. Keep your eye out for my tips with the hashtag 👉🏼 kaNYguide and I'll eventually have the info on my site. • In the meantime you can see the NYC places I recommend and save them to your own lists via @sherpa.guide It's an app which fills in the hole that was left when Instagram got rid of maps. To download it for iOS, visit their profile at @travelsherpa.

16 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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Yesterday @dante.vincent set a new bar for date night when he presented me with VIP tickets for @thechainsmokers at Forest Hills Stadium allowing us to meet Alex & Drew, experience their live warm up and more importantly -- be so close to the stage during the concert that we could feel the tremendous heat of the pyrotechnics warm our faces even as we struggled for fresh air because of the press of the endless crowd behind us. I have an embarrassing phobia of crowds like that and I really struggle with that kind of a lack of personal space which comes with the territory so to speak. Yet when I was able to relax into the experience enough to enjoy the music, which was AMAZING, it was a really fun night! Made even more special by the fact that my @sony RX1 RII, gifted to me by @focuscamera, was all Danté needed to take tremendous photos like this one that will help us forever remember the concert. Pro cameras aren't allowed into the stadium but the guards didn't seem to know that that Sony is in fact a very "pro camera" and one I'm now extra grateful that I own. When these words went up behind the band during the last set I wanted to scream, "NO THANK YOU CHAINSMOKERS," for helping me face my fears and reminding me again, that it's always worth it. 🎤🎼

17 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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Did anyone else celebrate FLW150 yesterday by going to any buildings or landmarks designed by Frank Lloyd Wright? Since he is my favorite architect I had to acknowledge his 150th birthday and was so grateful to start the day by experiencing an EmptyGuggenheim, marveling at how special it was to see my favorite building in NYC very nearly empty. I was able to really study the architecture I love so much, the lines and curves of the @guggenheim - in a way I've never been able to when the museum is open to the public. It included a visit to the roof which is so rare many employees of the museum haven't even experienced it [which you can see for a few more hours in Stories]! And I learned that Wright intended all the skylights in the museum to flood the building with natural light, even taking the time to plan how and where the light would fall, how the shadows would enhance or highlight the architecture. Unfortunately since it is an art museum, those skylights have been covered as long as the museum has been open in order to protect priceless works by the likes of Pollack, Chagall and Calder. He never saw that change occur since he died before the museum opened to the public. As our tour concluded and the museum began to fill with people excited for the special $1.50 admission, normally $20, I realized no matter what changes have come -- Wright's work now has a life far beyond his own. What an incredible legacy that is! kaNYguide

18 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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GUIDE TO NYC series • I really like the South Street Seaport area and the esplanade along the East River. Post-Sandy reconstruction and redevelopment has brought more dining options, a greater number of ferries that run to more of the other parts of the city as well as new landscaping and parks that make it an area of Manhattan which you can enjoy all day in multiple ways. @dante.vincent and I checked it out this weekend and I was pleased to see this older boat that I've always loved still docked and at the moment we walked by, framed by the most wonderful blue sky, a passing plane and a visible moon. (Use the zoom in feature of @instagram to see those last two!) This same area is often home to pop up events as well. If you're visiting the City, @southstreetseaport's feed will let you know what might be happening while you're here. SeaportDistrictNYC • This is not a sponsored post, just the first in many tips I'll share about my home as I explore more of the five boroughs this summer and travel a little less. kaNYguide

21 Days ago
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Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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Spending most of the summer at home! What would you like to see from newyorkcity? I think I'm going to start with a search for the best 🍩🍩🍩 because today is nationaldonutday 😜 newyorkbynewyorkers

25 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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I wanted to travel to The Outer Banks last week so I could share a part of my country often overlooked by foreign tourists, at a time when my home country isn't being portrayed in the most positive light. I couldn't say this in a sponsored post and I couldn't even articulate all my reasons at the time but it hit me as I was about to land in NYC, as I looked out the window on approach to LGA, over the millions of people and homes and cars and all the diversity below me. • Now, don't get me wrong, I get why perceptions about the USA have changed. If I was on the outside looking in, it's likely I'd think we were all losing our minds here too. I'd probably think it's unsafe to travel here and that there aren't many good Americans left. I sometimes think all these things and I am a US citizen. It's easy to despair. Especially if you watch too much news and stop meeting people face to face to see where their heart is at. AND YET -- what I found in the Outer Banks is true for everywhere I've traveled in my country & for the city I call home: there are some good and some bad people. It's like it is anywhere else in the world, you can't believe only what you see on the news. You have to talk to people on the ground! I know some truly amazing people here in the USA doing some incredible things to help change this country and to make the world a better place. When I'm out on the streets and not working from home in NYC, I encounter moments of profound kindness with regularity. We might be led as a country by people who aren't good and they may be doing horrible things but we aren't ALL defined by who leads us. And we are not all like those leaders. If you're from another country and reading this, I hope you already know that and my saying it is just a bit redundant. But I'm saying it just in case you're someone who is not so sure. If you're from the USA & reading this, I hope you are trying to love EVERYONE regardless of race/sex/religion or any other factors ❤️💛💚💙💜🖤 Hope for the future isn't found in isolationism. It's found in embracing the fact that the real beauty of our country IS ITS DIVERSITY 🇺🇸

25 Days ago
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Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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6/6 from my sponsored creative series in @theouterbanksnc with @borderfreetravels who took this photo with my camera while we were out on the water with Sail Outer Banks AND five years to the day that I was on another sailboat in Costa Brava • This was a sort of "saved the best for last" kind of deal since this is how we spent our last evening in the OBX. There is a short list of things that bring out a smile this big on my face and sailing is one of them! When we were making our list of activities we wanted to try out during our visit to The Outer Banks, sailing was at the top for me. Then, when @jcrew gifted me the 'Hello, Sailor!' top that I'm wearing in this photo, which is still for sale FYI, I saw it all come together. Thankfully, Kristen felt the same way and we both loved our experience with Katherine and Dan who own the 41 ft teak-trimmed boat we sailed on and who were a joy to learn from as we navigated the waters of first Roanoke Sound and then up into Albemarle Sound. Kristen and I both were able to take a turn at the helm and I had flashbacks to learning how to sail at summer camp when I was a kid on little sailboats with not much more than a heavy keel and a mast!! As with almost everything, the company truly made the experience and I found myself grateful to have been able to work all week with such a wonderful person @borderfreetravels, constantly meeting people as friendly and open as Katherine and Dan were. The people are what make The Outer Banks special so if you are visiting, please check out www dot Sail Outer Banks dot com to book a few hours on this Gulfstar with this wonderful couple who have decades of experience on the water. They've inspired a desire in me to take sailing lessons back home this summer! OBXNow jcrewalways jcrewstyle sailing⛵️ visitnc getolympus

28 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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5/6 from my sponsored creative series in @theouterbanksnc with @borderfreetravels from our stay at @sanderlingresort • I saw it as being exactly what I'd hoped to find in terms of accommodation in The Outer Banks. I'm sure this dining room in their restaurant: The Lifesaving Station, which wasn't full when we ate a late breakfast there the other day, is now full to overflowing because it's Memorial Day as I type this!! However, I appreciated the smaller crowd because it gave me the opportunity during our stay to really notice all the details. And there are many to find! A designer was hired to source antiques all over the Eastern Seaboard so remnants from our seafaring, whaling and exploratory past abound but they're all so beautifully presented. There's also a nice amount of @audubonsociety prints & books which I appreciated as well as vintage photos, @hermes scarves in nautical prints and touches of orange which contrast so beautifully against the green of the sea grasses on the beach and the blue of the sky on a sunny day! • Top Tips: eat dinner at Kimball's Kitchen and ask the sommelier to recommend your wine, he's very talented! Don't miss the s'mores kit in your room which you can take out to one of the fire pits to truly complete the beach experience while in OBX. There's just not much Sanderling hasn't thought of. I'd love to return some day. OBXNow

29 Days ago
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Kirsten Alana • Photographer

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4/6 from my sponsored creative series in @theouterbanksnc with @borderfreetravels who took this photo of me • We both really loved @capehatterasnps, which takes up more than 70 of the 130 total miles of coastline that comprise The Outer Banks. But our favorite part of exploring Cape Hatteras was our visit with Jeff and his horse named Willem who is an Arabian/Percheron mix. [pictured here] I've been horseback riding all over the world and I've met a lot of horses in other circumstances but I've never met a horse as loving, sweet and dependable as Willem. He LOVES to be on the beach too, and like me didn't want to leave when the time came for our us to have to part ways. Kristen and I gave him lots of kisses, or he gave them to us...I'm not really sure. But either way I parted feeling sad we couldn't extend our time together and yet happy as well as profoundly grateful that Jeff trusted me to ride his favorite horse. While I'm experienced at riding, it was only the second time I'd done so without a saddle and it gave me the gift of being able to be much closer to Willem and to read his body language with much more ease than when you have a saddle in the way. To book some time with Willem for yourself, visit www dot Hatteras Island Horseback Riding dot com and inquire about Jeff's availability and if you're on Cape Hatteras this Memorial Day weekend and you see a tall white horse, make sure you say hello. Willem and his owner Jeff, are very friendly! 🐴 OBXNow OBX

30 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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3/6 from my sponsored creative series in @theouterbanksnc with @borderfreetravels • We both really loved the Cape Hatteras area and in particular our afternoon at Bodie Island Lighthouse with our local guide Aaron. It is one of the two black & white lighthouses that are quite iconic to islands that make up The Outer Banks. The other is much further down into the National Seashore but Bodie is a reasonable drive from Manteo where we started our trip. Fun facts: the word Bodie is pronounced the same way you'd say 'body' not 'boatie' which is what I first assumed. The current lighthouse is actually the third version after the first two were victims of natural disaster and faulty engineering. Also, you can climb the lighthouse to enjoy stunning views of both the bay and the ocean sides of the area. 200+ steps of gorgeously detailed Victorian-era ironwork make up the interior space that you climb and at the top there is still a stunning Fresnel Lens which is rare as so many have been taken by the Coast Guard or National Park Service to be put into museums and replaced by more modern, and less expensive, mechanisms. Make sure you check out @borderfreetravels feed for a view from the top looking down! OBXNow OBX

32 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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2/6 from our sponsored creative series in @theouterbanksnc • I captured this image around 5:30 AM in the town of Manteo on Roanoke Island, on one of the piers which is part of the town's marina, leading to their lighthouse. It's a strange perk of having been gone for more than a month in different time zones, that now I wake between 4 and 5 AM every day, allowing me to experience The Outer Banks in a way I wouldn't if I was still sleeping. I was able to savor & record sunrise with no one else around but the birds chirping in the nearby trees and frogs in the long grasses near shore. A few runners were the only other people I saw as I wandered town, craving coffee. After I took this photo, I continued walking till I found a tiny movie theater with architecture that reminded me of Strasbourg in France. And it had a tiny red truck out front that looked like something you'd see in Italy. In fact it was advertising a nearby Italian restaurant! I could hardly believe such a small town could have so many surprises waiting to be found but I realllllly needed coffee. So when I rounded a corner and saw the lights on at Island Perk, I thought I was going to cry tears of joy. Instead I talked with owner Chris and found out he just opened 10 months ago and the coffee shop is his retirement project after coming to The Outer Banks for vacation for most of his life! He made @borderfreetravels and I the best caramel lattes and as I carried them back to The Tranquil Inn where we were staying, I felt grateful for the inability to sleep in a town that's so easy plus safe to explore so early in the morning but which isn't too small to have at least one great coffee shop!! 😂😍☕️ OBXNow OBX

34 Days ago
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Kirsten Alana • Photographer

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1/6 from The Outer Banks • So grateful to be working on a sponsored creative series with my uber talented friend @borderfreetravels this week in @theouterbanksnc. We both feel grateful to have been chosen to help tell the story of this special part of the USA! We're starting in the town of Manteo on historic Roanoke Island where the English first created a settlement in the 1580's. It's a place where you'll find an abundance of old inns, long piers, pretty boats, tall trees, vibrant gardens, eclectic stores and no shortage of stories from locals if you have the time to sit and hear them. Stay tuned for more as we discover OBXNow and of course Kristen and I will both be sharing tidbits from our day to day in Stories...

35 Days ago
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Kirsten Alana • Photographer

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JORDAN • After a month away from home, I was more than ready to get the whole thing over with so to speak. When I arrived in Jordan, I was just TIRED, ready to see @dante.vincent again, to have truly clean clothes to wear and to be in the same bed for longer than two nights -- but I'd made a commitment, so luggage issues plus some more complications (see my last post), I was going to give it my all on the last few days of my trip. Jordan has a way of making it easier. It's a country that seduces you moment by moment and interaction by interaction. In the end, it was a privilege to spend 3 nights at the Dead Sea with colleagues from @adventure.travel_ talking about , sustainability and mostly about @visitjordan itself. I really appreciated talking to HRH Princess Dana Firas too, who pointed out that while Jordan hasn't always gotten things right, they are making strides and I'm excited knowing she's at the helm of projects that will lead the way in that respect. How poignant, that we all make mistakes but what matters most is that we keep trying to do better. Always. Instead of feeling worn out, as the time to leave came due, I was feeling filled up and ultimately, sad at the prospect of leaving. ANEXTNearEast, like other conferences the ATTA puts on, is not like other events. Jordan is not like other places. And so in a way the best part of my month away kind of ended up being saved for last. My new friend @paulclammerwriter said it best, "I had a lot of big life and career thoughts come out of that conference, and it's in no small part because of all the conversations we shared. Turns out it's not a Lonely Planet after all." As I looked across the water during this Sunset, I gave thanks for all I'd experienced in the days leading up to this moment. There's hope for us all if we choose to see it. MyJordanJourney

36 Days ago
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Kirsten Alana • Photographer

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JORDAN • After my assignment with TCS concluded, I traveled alone to the country of Jordan to rendezvous with colleagues from @adventure.travel_ for ANEXTNearEast. My first flight was delayed causing me to miss my connecting flights, then my bags never made it to Amman so the started out very adventurous indeed. When I arrived in the middle of the night, I was actually so afraid to meet my colleagues over breakfast the next morning, only one of whom I knew already, wearing the same clothes I'd been in for 3 days, drastically unprepared for hiking through desert wadis and up mountains. I feared the people I was about to meet would not accept me since they'd already had a day to bond without me, and I believed they would ridicule me for my ill-preparedness no matter how little control I had over it. The opposite was true and by the end of our first day together, we were family. During our time together at @feynanecolodge, we spent time with multiple Bedouin families learning how to make tea, how to use the wild plants and herbs of the surrounding landscape for prevention and healing, coming to understand the rituals of coffee which are highly nuanced, observing bread being made in varying styles, showing Bedouin children the basics of photography, trusting our guide Suleiman to get us home safe in the desert darkness and taking cooking lessons back at the lodge. We grew used to the lack of electricity (the lodge is solar powered but minimally), and didn't miss the WiFi we would have had elsewhere. We slept on the roof when our rooms were too warm. We gazed at stars so numerous and large they made us feel minuscule. I can't show you in photos what it means to bond with people on a level that's permanent and I can't promise it will happen to you if you visit Feynan. But you should visit. It's a place 40 KM from the nearest paved road and it's likely that separation which makes it so inspiring. I don't know. All I do know is that all my fears were washed away in a flood of learning and love. MyJordanJourney FeynanEcolodge

39 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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PORTUGAL • Our last country on the @tcsworldtravel Kingdoms & Cultures of Eurasia itinerary was the one from which we began our journey. However, instead of going straight back to Lisbon, we flew to Porto and drove from there to the Douro Valley. It felt as if we traversed through Portugal's garden of eden on the way to @sixsensesdourovalley. Light rains made mist hang on to the heights of rolling hills like top hats on a well-dressed gentleman while shades of green seemed to number into the hundreds, every hue from emerald to chartreuse represented. Port, as the name suggests, comes from these valleys outside the city of Porto so the endless slopes of grapevines were both stunning to look at and also a lesson in the culture of the region. Everything revolves around the grapes! The beverage is a poignant part of life and of the history of the region. From our home at Six Senses we could look out at the layers of the valley letting the views bring us peace, we could wander in the nearby forest with the song of the wind in the leaves, or in the garden where every plant is used in the bar/kitchen/spa, indulge in the treatments that spa provided or float down the river on a boat which was once used to carry Port to harbor. Our stay was far too short but it was a gift, a way of ending our incomprehensible journey through 9 countries on the highest of notes. It was the swell in a symphony that leaves you wanting so much more. TCSmoments tcsworldtravel

41 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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FRANCE • After visiting the Spanish side, we continued our quest to understand Basque Country in France by making the @hoteldupalais, Biarritz our home away from home as well as using an afternoon to walk around the town of Bayonne. The "home of chocolate" in France, according to our guide, it is a colorful town with tall row houses of a very distinct Basque style comprising shutters in red/green/blue, a grand cathedral and intact city walls which date back to the Romans. Biarritz is somewhat typical of a French seaside resort town but has a laid back vibe that could have been due to our arrival just before high season, or its surfing and fishing culture. While you'll find some of the glitz and glamour of far away Cannes or Nice, including designer boutiques and palace hotels -- you will also find a ruggedly beautiful coastline and a relaxed attitude that makes the town one I find far preferable to its Mediterranean counterparts. In fact, I may just return because our visit during a National Holiday meant not every store was open and not every vendor in the market was present yet I still found the shopping to be undeniably tempting and the market to be delectable in the extreme. So much more to still see and do!! As with all of our TCSmoments over the last month, just a sample that leaves you wanting so much more...

41 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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SPAIN • Our second to last stop on the @tcsworldtravel adventure that I've been a staff member for since mid-April, was done in two parts. The goal was to experience Basque Country on both sides of the Spanish and French borders. This thrilled me to no end because while I j'adore both countries, I had never been to this part of either AND it meant visiting Bilbao, the home of one of the many masterpieces by my favorite architect: Frank Gehry. His design for the Guggenheim Bilbao has been a phenomenal success for the city, bringing something in the realm of 160 million dollars to the local economy in just the first year of its opening. I've also read estimates that put the total value of its contribution at over 3 billion. This has led other cities to attempt to capture that same magic and now his creations can be seen around the world from Seattle to Prague to Hanover and back again. Inside I think the museum is even more spectacular than out and the exhibits they currently have are worth a visit all on their own. Modern masterpieces by Pollack, Rothko, de Kooning & Richard Serra made me wish we had more than 2 hours to explore. Yet it was a privilege I didn't take for granted at all, to be able to visit just for a few hours because we had the flexibility of the TCS private jet. The Basque people that we met were so interesting and my only regret is that our brief stop didn't allow me more time for a deeper understanding of what makes them different from people elsewhere in Spain and France. I'll just have to return to do that another time!! • I'm curious, are you Basque? Or from Bilbao? What's your favorite thing about the area or culture? TCSmoments TCSworldtravel

45 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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ROMANIA • Because of my friendship with @monicasuma, I had heard enough about Bucharest to know I'd probably enjoy this visit to the city with @tcsworldtravel. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did or to find, around nearly every corner, evidence of a Romanian affinity for all things French that rivals my own!! In fact as one of our guides on the ground said, and I'm paraphrasing, "We love France so much we just copied their flag and changed the white to yellow!" 🇷🇴 Can you see the French influence in this photo? It was taken at a former Belle Époque home that's now the most wonderful bookshop with a sublime outdoor café in a residential area of the city that is filled with similar mansions, all built during the same period. Patisseries abound and the mansions aren't the only evidence of a love for France. Even many of the street signs are a direct copy of those found in my beloved Paris. Then again, also like some of our other stops, Bucharest is a city of contrasts. Because not far away from where I took this there are Communist-era landmarks and buildings significant to the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu. I noted a few blocks with buildings un-restored which looked as if they were victim of a more recent armed conflict. Yet I felt 100% safe walking around at night and every Romanian I met could not have been more nice. Contrasts! Everywhere! The beauty and the decay work in tandem to evoke a sense of surrealism but ultimately the feeling of hope and optimism for the future of Romania presides over all! These few days have made me very excited to follow along as Monica and some of my other friends bring @experience_bucharest to life in the coming weeks. I hope you will follow along as I plan to! ❤️

50 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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ALBANIA • Yet again I was blown away by how much I liked another stop on this @tcsworldtravel tour assignment. Tirana is the capital of Albania and from my room at @theplazatirana, I could look out at a city which is rapidly changing. It includes a colorful mix of Ottoman, Fascist, Soviet-era and Italianate architecture but it will soon include towers and buildings by renown international architects and the cranes which dot the city skyline attest to that investment in the future and the hope that Albania's future is far brighter than its troubled past. On our first night in the city we met Mayor Erion Veliaj who has a bold vision for that future which includes the largest pedestrian car-free zone in Eastern Europe and a focus on encouraging the arts as well as growing the technology sector. I was downright emotional hearing him lay out his plans, influenced by his years of humanitarian service work in far flung locales. We toured former Communist palaces, we saw bunkers turned into art installations and centers of learning, we went to mosques and churches from multiple religions and we met a documentary filmmaker before listening to the most wonderful family of musicians play long into the night. We ate lunch at an organic farm and winery run by a father and son who are so passionate about the role good food plays in the future of their country. We saw a peace bell made from the melted down bullets spent during the tumultuous years which followed a deadly regime. It's hard to feel hope as an American right now but the places TCS has taken us in these last few weeks are reminding me that hope is only lost if we choose to lose it. Tirana, thank you for the latest reminder. 🇦🇱 Albanian followers, can you chime in by commenting and tell me: what are your favorite things about your country? What should a visitor not miss? 🙏🏼 I couldn't go everywhere and I'd love to make this post a sort of crowd funded travel guide to the country. Together, we can achieve so much! ❤️

52 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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sponsored ❤️ Paris was my first ever truly solo trip abroad. It was a trip that confirmed the Francophilia I'd been feeling since I was a little girl, which was encouraged by my mother and godmother who both speak French. During that first trip, I was convinced that I am destined for a lifelong obsession with all things French and hopefully one day a deeper relationship with the culture than just a few trips. It prompted me to form deep connections with other Francophiles like me around the globe which I've further indulged by making frequent trips to France and by being part of communities online that promote French culture all around the world. One such friend, whom I actually met in person at a cafe during those first blissful days in Paris, I worked with last year to help another friend of ours launch TheFrancophiles. We both fly SkyTeam member airlines with frequency and it's @Delta who I have Diamond Medallion Status with. I'm grateful to them for asking me to share with you how TravelChangedMe

54 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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OMAN • Our halfway point in this journey with @tcsworldtravel. I've been so impressed with the quality of the hotels which are part of this trip but by far the best has been our stop in Oman at @sixsenseszighybay. It's now on my list of favorite resorts and please ask me questions because I will be overjoyed to tell you more about it!! From the kind staff to the delectable food to the superb villas to the fun of the activities and the unusual setting on a secluded bay of the Musandam Peninsula -- everything about our three night stop made it an experience that I was reluctant to have end. If you watched my Stories, you know the most fun for me was the motorized hang glider that I went up in early one morning as the fog was still sitting on the mountain behind the resort. I haven't had too much experience in this part of the globe so I wasn't sure what to expect but the expectations I did have were entirely exceeded. TCSmoments

54 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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KAZAKHSTAN • When my visa for Turkmenistan was denied, I came here from Kyrgyzstan to get some work done before the rest of my @tcsworldtravel group joins me tonight. They've had some amazing adventures I'm sure, if everything I've heard about Turkmenistan is true -- but I've had to "roll with the punches" that a life of travel can bring by making the best of things at the @ritzcarlton. It hasn't been bad at all actually! 😉😜 The view of the city below me and the mountains off in the distance have been a nice distraction from the slew of things I've had to check off my To Do list in preparation for a talk I'll give in Oman, our next stop, and the presentation I'll do at the very end when we're back in Portugal. Actually I have not stopped working since I arrived!! All I've done is alternate between the desk and this cozy spot where I can more easily look out over the city. Which is so green!! I can't wait to get down into it and explore with the group tomorrow, stay tuned for my Stories and if you have any questions about this month-long assignment, please ask away in the comments ❤️

61 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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KYRGYZSTAN • I originally heard about this country from my friends @uncornered_market. Like many other countries, it was once a part of the Soviet Union. During this visit with @tcsworldtravel what I've found, not unlike in Lithuania, is a country burst forth from the confines of the past to embrace all the possibilities of the future. However in deference to the lessons that the past has to teach us, and different from how other former-SU countries operate, you'll find all the evidence of the past still on display. [At least] in Bishkek, where we concentrated our time during our two nights in country. Statues of Lenin are found close to statues honoring current leaders. Surrounded by tulip beds and crowned with sunshine there's a surrealistic air that begged questioning. In answer, our guide explained that this is because they believe erasing the past, however terrible it was, will not help them be the type of people who welcome & embrace all human beings. And, he proceeded to explain, this is how they want to be. Like a big house open to everyone. This seems a tall order given, as he went on to explain, there are 40 distinct tribes of people here and 80 different ethnic groups. If there's a secret to living in harmony no matter our differences, it seems like the people I've met along this journey so far have certainly discovered what it is. Perhaps it doesn't hurt that while in the city, the snow-capped mountains are always visible and seem to impart a sense of wonder. Maybe it is the patterns which cover clothing and buildings alike, all taken from elements of nature or relating to the relationship between man and nature. This country may not be perfect, no one country is, but it is a place that struck me as being free of malice and full of hope. A rare combination these days. TCSmoments

63 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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LITHUANIA • It was rainy and cold for the first few hours of our only full day in Vilnius. However, I was determined to make the best of it and in the hours between when it stopped raining and the sun finally came out to stay for good, I found the upside I was looking for in the giant puddles that accumulated all over the Old Town's cobblestone streets. There were suddenly reflective surfaces everywhere and every time I saw one there was something beautiful waiting in the still water because the historic section of Vilnius that somehow managed to escape too much damage during Soviet rule is gorgeous. Lots of details make the buildings so charming and since they are protected with UNESCO status, they will stay that way forever. It felt a bit metaphorical in a way as well since the Baltic states went through some dark times in the past but Lithuania appears to have emerged into the light of a new era with hope and vigor. Everyone we met from the hotel staff at @kempinskivilnius to the guides to the locals who opened their studios and businesses -- were so kind, quick to make jokes and to smile. They were so proud of what their country has become and perhaps still has yet to become. Finding such optimism in a time where the news usually suggests such global darkness was the most beautiful gift we as visitors could have received I think. I'm so glad this country, and it's capital city, were on our itinerary with @tcsworldtravel 🇱🇹 TCSmoments

65 Days ago
Kirsten Alana • Photographer (kirstenalana) Instagram Photos and Videos

Kirsten Alana • Photographer

@kirstenalana


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PORTUGAL • First stop: Lisbon!! For the next month I'm the onboard photographer for @tcsworldtravel's "Kingdoms and Cultures of Eurasia" itinerary. We all met in Portugal from around the world at @fslisbon and I was so excited at first I could hardly contain my joy. It's a country I've wanted to visit forever so though we only had 2 nights there, it was long enough for me to confirm that the country is every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped it would be. We'll end our tour back in Porto but next up is Lithuania which I've already begun to share in my Stories if you're interested. This is a country with an immensely fascinating history and lots to talk about. But back to my photo: the little tuck tuck is a common site in the city and most of them are all white. This one caught my eye because it's essentially covered in the Azulejo tile that is found on the exterior walls of many of the buildings in the city of Lisboa. These tiles are not only beautiful, they're very functional. They reflect the light and keep the interiors cool. I happen to love them because they're so beautiful! TCSmoments

66 Days ago