It’s noon on the dot — although there’s no watch weighing down my wrist, I know this because the town’s belle tower is emitting a vibration that fills the air, and shakes the streets. It’s the sound that signifies so many things. Time for repose, time for a warm tarte, time for the farmer’s market to pack up and return to their own family’s table. I’m reminded that it seems the only thing I ever do in this country is eat, sleep, repeat. It’s appropriate to have a glass of rosé at this hour, and so my siesta is heavy and often lasts well into the late afternoon. I hardly feel guilty, I’m on vacation, and plus the streets are practically barren during these hours anyways. Back home I don’t prepare meals other than the random dinner. I throw things on a cutting board, wolf them down, get back to my keyboard. Here there are days when we prepare extensive salads of fresh produce, burrata, thick with balsamic. Others we purchase fresh ravioli from the Italian’s at the market. When boiled they become much larger than we ever could have anticipated but we gorge ourselves silly on them. And then there’s bread, there’s always the warm bread from the baker just down the street. We plan to get there early so we can snatch up the best baguettes before the working crowd. I’ve stayed so many days in this town that I begin to recognize faces. Not just the vibrant blonde girl that serves our morning cappuccinos, but during these mid-day hours as people flood from their offices on to the cobble stones. It almost makes me think I live here. There’s more than a handful of reasons why I come back here every summer. One being for now it’s easier than the paperwork for a work visa. But truly it’s because there’s a lifestyle here that reminds one what the core of joy itself is in such a tumultuous time: our loved ones, delicious dishes, and moments of meditation on beauty.
What lies North of LA, beyond the beaches of Santa Barbara? It’s a vast, quiet sprawl — valleys filling with desert air, and vines as if you’ve been transported to French wine country. Here is the tiny town of Los Alamos. Part of the Santa Ynez Valley, it holds the charm of a secret that you feel you’ve been the first (or maybe just the tenth) to discover. An old western cluster of buildings marks the towns boundaries, and though you could practically toss a stone from one end of town to the other, it’s brimming with good wine, food, and even an antique flea market.
What more could you ask for when seeking a romantic weekend off the grid? Well, we’ve yet to mention The Alamo Motel — another ever-Pinterest-worthy creation by Shelter Social Club, it’s the sweetest spot to rest your head. Welcomed by a luxe claw foot tub, and chilled wine tasting just outside your front door, you’ll be dragging your espadrilles when it’s time to go home.
THE WANDERESS | DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO MOVE THROUGH
THE WORLD WITH LIGHT FEET, OPEN HEARTS
& PURPOSEFUL ACTIONS.
Once again The Wanderess is stirring, as she flees reality for The Amalfi Coast — Italy’s Province of Salerno. Jetting south from Milan to Napoli by train, she seeks to get lost in the narrow streets and feast on as many dishes of native dough she can find. Here, it is quiet, full of blooming Bougainvillea, and though she’s never been here before, it feels like home.
Read on for a travel guide to Italy’s Amalfi Coast — sneaking into the best private beaches, where to find the most divine flat crust pizza, and beautiful stays within budget.
Stay | Palazzo Starace: What more could one want than a balcony that overlooks the downtown of a little coastal town as it wakes, and rises each day. The smells of charcuterie being laid out, mixed with ocean breeze & exhaust from each vespa that crams through the angular streets welcomes mornings with open arms. The building, more than dreamy — a beautiful old storied home, complete with marble spiraled staircase.
Bellevue Syrene: If you’re more inclined to find yourself in a resort setting, this is the perfect pick. Its floor to ceiling windows, and private beach are a fit for a Principessa. The interior game is out of this world with carefully collected sculptures, art, and tiled scenes.
Eat/Drink | L’Antica Trattoria: After a long day of dodging fiat’s in the narrow streets of Sorrento, while shopping for trinkets, find yourself at L’Antica with a bottle of wine for an al fresco dinner.
See | If you’re brave enough, meander down through the tunnels and caves that lead you to Bllevue Syrene’s private swimming hole. The Wanderess found herself here often for a quick morning dip in the sun-warmed waters.
Stay | Airbnb: This little yellow house clinging to the hillside is called Carmen, and the perfect place to hide out just a stones throw from the saltiest of seas. The Wanderess couldn’t have made up a place more perfect to rest her bones.
Eat/Drink | Belvedere Hotel: smack between the beach and the steep cliff terrain that makes up Conca Dei Marini, this becomes the ultimate breakfast spot due to the view alone. Feast on full breakfasts that will sustain your day’s adventures while eyeing the endless big blue.
See | There’s nothing more to see than the winding steps of this tiny town, that lead you down to the bathwater swimming holes along the coast — and that’s how we liked it.
Eat/Drink | Da Maria Trattoria Pizzeria: This spot must be run by none other than the thin crust pizza gods. Sit out front, bottle of red wine at your fingertips, and soak in Amalfi life as it strides by in nightly festivities.
See | Get lost among the winding back alleys that will eventually spit you out at the Duomo. Just to the Duomo’s left is one of the world’s most sacred places, Cloister of Paradise. It’s purpose serves as an ancient relics and crypt. (first image below).
There’s no secret formula of success for why Tulum has become the must-hit destination for the chicest travelers the world over — the allure is simply this: Tulum has mastered the art of slow living and good design. Cue flocks of Gypsetters. The Wanderess checks in at Casa Gaia to learn the ways of this world.
As one walks the main drag of (a dirt path shadowed in by overgrown palms) on their way to dinner it’s as if you’ve stepped into a guerrilla style fashion show at resort week. Tassels, and billowing sleeves meet lightweight fabrics that mirror the beauty of the landscape under the pink hue of the setting sun. One must be dressed appropriately, as the dining selection is just as curated. Fairy-lands of twinkling lights, and randomized tables nest deep into the Yucatan forest. While the outside world is more than happy to come in, it has yet to feel like it has overly impacted Tulum — instead you sense that you are joining in on a movement of lifestyle and design that is on the verge of exploding.
Each hotel has been crafted so carefully that its little slice of beach front becomes exotic Mayan folklore come to life. All different takes on the same terrain. That’s what brings us to the unassuming little blue gate of Casa Gaia — one in a collection of beach front homes that make up Mahayana Tulum. Its purpose being to reconnect you to the flow of the ocean. Sitting just at the edge of the white sand playa as if watching over the azure-hued ocean, this location empowers you to connect with the tides instead of the time. Everywhere you look here a hammock hangs in your peripherals, like visual reminders to take the day with ease.
The space itself is the perfect depiction of the organic aesthetic that’s been pouring out of Tulum in the last few years — it’s found an enchanting balance between eclectic and calmingly minimal, leaving the most busying view to be that of the pristine beach just beyond the balcony. In a space as such one’s imagination can run wild along the curving white walls, while the world beyond the Yucatan seems to wash away with one quick outdoor shower.
This is how the locals of Tulum have built up their slice of heaven — without over-affecting the natural elements, but working with them. One is surrounded by everything needed to indulge in this concept of slow living — morning yoga just next door at Sanara, neighboring eateries of nothing but clean, fresh dishes from land and sea, and of course spotty wifi connection as soon as you leave Mahayana. This is what it’s all about, meandering through your day with the intention to detach, and re-focus.
If there were to be a track to this travel story it’s Rihanna’s Desperado — blaring from the windows of a white pickup truck speeding from California to New Mexico, in search of the entrancing gypsum dunes of White Sands Monument.
Gotta get up out of here
And you ain’t leaving me behind
I know you won’t, ’cause we share common interests you
Need me, there ain’t no leaving me behind
Never know, no, both flying out of here yeah
Once we’re gone, ain’t no going back
The scenario was as such, seeking a change of pace from the urban sprawl of Los Angeles, two babes borrow a pick up, pack their bags, and chase the sun towards New Mexico. A dashboard littered with crystals and bunches of sage, the scene was perfectly set for an enlightened journey.
Sitting in an old Monte Carlo
We’ve both had our hearts broken
Take it easy
I’m not trying to go against you
I can be a lone wolf fishing
The ivory sculpted sand dunes emit a vast mood of noiseless aloneness — the type of place where thoughts can multiply into the infinite space. Beginning as a two day trip, it quickly grew in added hours as they put home on pause for more days dancing in the dunes.
If you want
We could be runaways, running from
And it’s out of luck
Yeah, yeah, there ain’t nothing
There ain’t nothing here for me
There ain’t nothing here for me anymore
I don’t wanna be alone
The wardrobe consisted only of bare feet, billowing white fabrics, eclectic jewels, and micro bikinis — all you need in a locale where the temps hit high of 100 in early spring. Dashing from the park rangers to shed their clothes and run free, they bounded over the sand hills, and under the sun’s rays for what felt like endless moments until the desert turned pink, then black with night, and it was time to return to California.