Travellers’ Tales – Meet Dee from Vanilla Papers

Meet Dee from Vanilla Papers

I created the “Travellers’ Tales” section to give other travellers an opportunity to talk about their travels. Today I would like to introduce you to Dee, a travel blogger based in Cairo, Egypt . She blogs at Vanilla Papers .

I would love to hear about your travels too. Go to “Travellers’ Tales, fill in the quick questionnaire and email it to me with your blog links.

Read about Dee’s travels here,

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello, I’m Dee! I’m a travel blogger and freelance writer living for the past six years as an expat in Cairo, Egypt. I was born in Poland, grew up in the states (mainly Arizona and California), and then moved to Egypt when I was offered a job at a magazine.

After working in journalism for nearly a decade, I’ve recently decided to focus on my travel blog and work for myself. It hasn’t been easy but I love the independence and freedom of being able to do my own thing.

My specialty is slow travel. My blog focuses on off-the-beaten-path destinations in Egypt and beyond, and on how to get the most out of your visits to major tourist cities without getting overwhelmed or lost in the crowds. I love wandering and exploring destinations on foot, seeking out authentic experiences and getting a taste of local life.

2. What is your earliest travel memory?

I’m sitting in the back of a van leaving my native town in Poland and travelling with my family to Berlin. I’m 8 years old and we’re on our way to escape Eastern Europe and seek a better life in the West.

We were political refugees, though I didn’t yet know the meaning of those words. I’m feeling euphoric and excited, even though I realize in retrospect how difficult the move must have been for my parents - and how bravely they put on a front for the kids’ sake.

3. Where was the last place you travelled to?

I took a road trip with my father around the Apache Trail near Phoenix, Arizona, when I was out in the states visiting my family for Christmas. I’d never heard of it before, even though I’d grown up in Arizona, and had only just read about the Apache Trail in a blog. The views were amazing! Tall Saguaro cacti perched on cliffs overlooking a blue river. Winding dirt roads and snowy mountain tops.

Vanilla Papers


4. What was the best thing you did there?

We finished our trip in a little tavern in Tortilla Flat, packed with old Harley Davidson bikers and a band playing Eagles covers. It was a real slice of small-town, easy going American life.

5. What was your best holiday ever? Why?

I loved Upper Egypt. I took a three-day sail on a traditional wooden felucca with my father and it was an incredible experience. No bathrooms, WiFi or bedrooms on board. Just us and the crew and hours spent watching the wind and the water, and the rural landscapes that slowly drifted by. It was so peaceful and perfect. At night, we’d light bonfires and our guide arranged for some Nubian locals to play music for us, or we’d sit at rural cafes lit only by fairy lights. Really the trip of a lifetime.

I also loved Venice, Italy, because that trip really converted me to slow travel. I decided to forget about Florence and Rome, and just spend my whole trip in Venice wandering the streets, skipping the big museums and exploring the nearly-empty side streets where tourists didn’t reach.

It was my second time in Italy and I didn’t want a repeat of my first trip there and the whirlwind tour we’d done with the itinerary packed with old churches.

It also helped that it was November, so it was off-season, but I was amazed at how easy it was to experience a quiet side to one of the world’s biggest tourist attractions. I only had to go down a few side streets and the crowds vanished.

Vanilla Papers

Wadi Hitan

6. What is your favorite travel destination?

I’ve only been there once, but I have to say Taiwan! It was my first trip to Asia and it made me realize that yes it’s still possible, even at my age, to be childishly happy and amazed.

Taiwan wasn’t only beautiful but also unfamiliar and strange. One night when I was walking back to my hotel, I wandered straight into a religious festival complete with music, dancing dragons and fireworks. I grabbed my camera and followed the crowd, though I had no idea what was going on. That was a great feeling.

7. What must one do there?

Taiwan has incredible cuisine, and I’d definitely recommend trying some Hakka dishes and taking a walk around one of Taipei’s famous night markets for street food. It’s also the home of bubble tea and has some gorgeous traditional tea houses as well.

8. Who is your favourite travel companion/s?

I love solo travel. When I’m by myself, I can really let my thoughts wander and have the space to process everything that I’m experiencing in a new destination.

I also love travelling with my parents whenever possible. It sounds morbid, but they won’t be around forever and road trips offer the best kind of quality time.

9. Name one item you must have when travelling.

My Nikon and my notebooks.

10. Your best travel advice?

Be kind to everyone you meet, and keep your cool no matter what happens. Things are much more likely to flow smoothly that way.

11. The one place you want to visit before you die?

My hometown in Poland. It’s been years since I’ve been there, and too long since I visited that part of my family.

12. How can people connect with you?

Blog: Vanilla Papers

Thank you, Dee , for sharing your fascinating adventures with us!

I would love to hear about your travels too. Go to “Travellers’ Tales, fill in the quick questionnaire and email it to me with your blog links.

Who will I feature next? I’ve got an exciting line-up ahead. Make sure you subscribe to the free newsletter so you don’t miss out on some exciting travel tales.

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