Unplug and 'pause' in the Moroccan desert

A mere 28km (17m) from the busy city center of Marrakech, Morocco, find La Pause: an off-the-grid starry sanctum in the middle of the desert with 360° views of the Agafay Hills. This is a hotel with a mission. La Pause, i.e. 'to pause' in French, is a place to disconnect, mentally and literally. You won't have any wi-fi, cell service or any electricity here.  It's desert, mountains, stars, and minimalist luxury.

La Pause is where a traveler goes to shut off their mind.  As part of the effort to maintain a restful environment, guests have hardly any decisions to make during their stay, not even when it comes to dining (there are no menus provided for meals and every dish brought to the table is a surprise). There's only one place to eat, one swimming pool, and no spa. The idea is to exude effortlessness.

Candelabras and tea lights lit at night provide just the right level of illumination. While the indoors may be a bit dark at certain times during the day, the rooms stay dry and cool. Suites are spacious and romantically styled, and the beds are a heavenly place to fall into at night. Trees and cushy lounge chairs surround the no-frills pool, creating a very natural, woodsy feel.

There's no place like the desert for stargazing.

Without electricity, there's an overwhelming sense of peace.  Detachment from the outside world allows for isolated relaxation. It is impossible to engage in commotion or noise. The beauty of La Pause is in its simplicity: there is no opportunity for distraction.

Hot, bright, dry desert by day and stunningly starry at night.  It's pretty close to perfect.

Photos courtesy of La Pause.

Make it to the Milky Way

The first time I saw the Milky Way was in South Africa. I swear, the stars are brighter down there. On my overnight flight to Joberg, I stared out the window amazed as we flew through hours of stars.

This photograph, Three Arches above Utah by Brad Goldpaint, really makes me crave life out of the city. I miss seeing the stars and breathing fresh air. The mountains are calling, but I can't go just yet. :)

Somewhere, this exists.

And they say nothing is perfect! 

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I couldn't resist...

Mmmmmm...have you been? Thank you Bjørn Eirik Jørgensen for sharing photographs of the Lights and the stunning stretch of land/fjords that is Norway.

Bjørn Eirik Jørgensen

Bjørn Eirik Jørgensen

10 Things That Change Once You've Lived Overseas

“Life has been some combination of fairy-tale coincidence and joie de vivre and shocks of beauty together with some hurtful self-questioning.” ― Sylvia Plath, "The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath" I left New York almost a year ago and spontaneously moved to Tel Aviv, with no job and no definitive plan. Today, I'm happy to report that things are going well - but I often have trouble explaining in words how unbelievably difficult it was to get to this point. This article really resonates with me, particularly the point that 'this is my life, not a trip'.

Read the roundup here.

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Perennial perspective

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." - Albert Camus

László Mészáros

László Mészáros

Dreaming of Middle-earth

I have a super random background in Scandinavian Studies from a cultural concentration I completed in college. I also happen to be Danish. =) After taking a course focused only on Tolkien, one on Nordic Colonialism and another exclusively on The Vikings, I can tell you some pretty interesting facts about old wooden ships and perhaps share a saga or two. I've been in a love affair with Iceland for too long.

Here is yet another stunning visual of dreamland...

Mattius Klum/National Geographic

Mattius Klum/National Geographic

I love this article via the BBC.com - Iceland's literary history is rarely brought to light in a travel piece.

"Iceland has a higher percentage of writers in its population than any other country in the world. Since the 10th Century, the country has been the birthplace of several significant literary works and authors – from the Viking’s famed Iceland sagas to novelist, poet and playwright Halldór Laxness, winner of a 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature. But its dramatic landscape, unique culture and unpredictable weather conditions have also helped cultivate an influential body of literature by authors from around the world.

The tales Vikings told about elves inspired JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit; Sveitarfélagið, southern Iceland’s biggest municipality, and Skagafjörður, a town located in a submerged glacial valley, provided the main settings for Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale; and the Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s largest ice cap, was a prime location for George RR Martin’s imagined world in Game of Thrones.In 2011, Iceland’s capital Reykjavik became a Unesco City of Literature, continuing the country’s literary traditions with a growth of events, tours and sites that celebrate the nation’s love of storytelling."

Ants marching

"And all the little ants are marching, red and black antennas waving, they all do it the same, they all do it the same way..." Dave

"The Snake" by travel photographer Amril Nuryan