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hello! i’m juli!

welcome to design to explore! I document my adventures in travel, design, and food.

Love Letters to My Favorite Places

Love Letters to My Favorite Places

Love Letters to My Favorite Places

In honor of Valentine's Day, I wrote some love letters to my favorite countries.  Each destination holds a piece of my heart and is always on my radar to revisit in the future. Get ready for some major sappy vibes as I pour my heart out for New Zealand, Portugal, and Australia…. 

Dear New Zealand…

The astonishing beauty held on your tiny island to this day still blows my mind. While driving through your roads, there was never a moment I didn’t want to stop for a photo and take in your beauty. Every turn held an immeasurable amount of awe for me, a girl loyal to big cities and bustling crowds, thrown into a landscape where I was the only occupant. You changed my perspective, on life and nature and our place in this world. 

I hope to return to you one day, with endless amounts of time to explore every crevasse, to dive into every pocket of wonder that is hidden in this corner of the world. 

Looking out of Lake Wanaka

Looking out of Lake Wanaka

Dear Portugal…

I heard you were cheap and easy, literally (#sorrynotsorry but ballin on a budget is kinda hard when you want to explore the world). But my mind has done a 180 as your beauty, food, people, and charm bursting from your seams showed me you are rich with culture and full of rustic, unique cities, or should I say HARD AF wanna-be stairmaster workouts.  I still think about your mouth-watering bifana sandwiches and cookie cake, your fresh sparkling vino verde and port wine, and your small, hilly cobblestone towns that literally got my booty in the best shape EVER (not even joking). 

On the edge of the map, you are often overlooked, but those who get to know you will never underestimate the magic inside. I know that I will return to your soon, oh portugal, how you stole my heart in just two weeks. 

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Dear Australia…

It was only 2 years ago today when I first landed in your beautiful country. I was shocked by the heat and the lack of ozone, but the sun warmed my skin and my soul. Thousands of miles away from my family, friends, and familiarity, I immediately felt right at home. Exploring your beautiful coastlines and basking in the sun, I loved that your “winter” only meant 50 degrees and rain.

There was always an adventure to be had, always a beach to explore, and always an accent that melted my heart. But most importantly, I gained the most beautiful friends in the process. I constantly wonder if I come back will you be as good, without the people who made you so special. 

From Sydney, to Melbourne, to South East Asia and beyond, you gave me the adventure of a lifetime that I will never forget. Something about that summer down unda, will stay with me forever…

10 Reasons to Study Abroad in Australia

10 Reasons to Study Abroad in Australia

2019 Travel Goals

2019 Travel Goals