Love Learning: Getting the Word Out

pretavoyager-Skillshare-lovelearningAs many of you already know, one of the many hats I wear is as an instructor on the online learning community, Skillshare. Skillshare has been instrumental in my success as a freelancer, helping me get my feet on the ground. Education is a subject I’m very passionate about, and Skillshare makes amazing classes and instructors accessible, at a very affordable price. I am incredibly thankful at the success of all three of my classes, and am very aware that none of them would have been as successful as they have been without my wonderful blog readers and friends of the internet.

I’m running a special “back to school” promotion between August 15 – September 15th, where I’ll be providing daily feedback on project boards in the Skillshare classroom. (Note: I’ll only be commenting on projects shared on Skillshare so that everyone can benefit from seeing the feedback from others). I also have created a special discount code that will give you $5 off when you use the links below.

In the coming weeks and months, I’m also doing my best to spread the word about my classes to recruiters, career offices, libraries, universities, unemployment offices, students, and anyone eager to learn. I’ve compiled this post to have all the information in one place, which is easy to share, but I’m also happy to send it to you in email form to forward, if you have any contacts you think can help. I’ve also linked to PDF printable posters for each class which you can download. Everything in online education is a bit of an experiment, and I’m be happy to hear any other ideas you have for creative outreach.

Thank you in advance for any assistance! The internet rocks!!
Skillshare-DesignProfessionalDocumentsMaking Boring Documents Beautiful aka Designing Professional Documents examines documents we see in everyday life and how design can be used as a tool for communication. The class project is to redesign your résumé (or any “boring” document), and the skills learned in this class can be applied to any future document you work on. Code BCK2SCH for $5 off with the link above! [download the printable PDF poster]
Skillshare-LearnInDesignLearn Basic InDesign is a beginner level course, which is also perfect for someone looking to refresh their skills or needs to work with marketing materials. The class project is to design a simple portfolio, photo essay or look book using text and images in a multi-page document. Code BCK2SCH for $5 off with the link above! [download the printable PDF poster]
Skillshare-MapMakingMap Making is a class designed to help you think creatively about the world around you through both hand drawn and digital mapping. The class project is to make your own map! The online classroom is full of resources compiled with the help of students from all 5 continents and over 50 countries around the world. Code BCK2SCH for $5 off with the link above! [download the printable PDF poster]

Skillshare is an online learning community offering affordable classes by industry professionals. Most classes are $20 for lifetime access, or you can sign up for their $9.95/month plan for access to tons of classes. Everything is online, so you can be anywhere in the world – as long as you have internet!

Anne Ditmeyer is an American designer/editor based in Paris, France. She also goes by Prêt à Voyager (or @pretavoyager).

****UPDATE: As of Sept 20, 2014, all Skillshare classes will only be available under the $9.95/mo membership model (which gives you access to all Skillshare classes). At that time the discount codes mentioned above will no longer be valid, however, please continue to use the referral links when signing up or sharing these classes.****

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24 Hours in Paris (tale of a map by Libby VanderPloeg)

Paris_map_libbyvanderploeg-500x500Recently I wrote a 24 Hours in Paris guide for Design*Sponge that highlights many of my favorite design shops in the 3rd and 10th arrondissements (it’s a more focused guide than the overall D*S Paris Design Guide I wrote a few years ago). And while I teach Map Making on Skillshare, I can’t claim credit for the fabulous map the accompanied my guide. All that credit goes to Brooklyn based illustrator Libby VanderPloeg. I love learning how designers and illustrators work, as well as their process. Libby was kind enough to answer a few questions to see how the map commissioned by D*S came to be.

27ef868543abf9c4e16439c1aeb8f0bdBut first, how cute is this gif from the about page of her website!?!

mapcollection_libbyvanderploegMaps Libby has collected on her travels over the years

How is travel connected to your work?
My interest in maps is directly tied into to my passion for travel. Some of my most memorable journeys have taken me to Nicaragua, Scandinavia, Paris, Greece, England, The northwest United States (Washington, Oregon), and West Texas. What I love about traveling is getting the opportunity to observe things you’ve never seen before, eat new foods, snap a million pictures unselfconsciously, and sketch little observations at quiet cafés with abandon. There’s nothing more bittersweet than that plane ride home, flipping through pages of sketches and snapshots as you lift up and away.

libbyvanderploeg_copenhagenLibby eating a pastry in Copenhagen

What is the first thing you do when you get an illustration commission to create a map?
The first thing I do is a little dance, because I love making maps, and then let out a teeny defeated sigh that I probably won’t actually be getting on a plane tomorrow to go study my destination. Immediately after that, I start researching my map’s landmarks online, so that I can get a sense of the particularities of a place (sprawl vs. density, bodies of water, taco shops, dog runs, beloved emu sanctuaries). If I see any gaping wholes in the composition, I might do a little more research to find out what’s happening in the quieter parts of town. Once I know where the white space is on the map, I can start sketching up some lettering for the header.

london_fleamarket_libbyvanderploegSnapshot of a collection of pretty things from a flea market in London

Do you uses actual maps (ie. Google Map) to create your illustrations?
I almost always use Google Maps to plot my map’s points, and then once I’ve built and saved that custom map, I can always refer back to it as I’m drawing.  I love using that tool because all the research is there at your fingertips (linked urls, images of the buildings), and you can zoom in and get a street view as well if your needing to know what the architecture of a place is like. And now, the next time I visit any of the places I’ve drawn, I have this indispensable interactive list of places to check out. I’ll never miss another amazing housewares boutique.

How much do you do on the computer vs. by hand? Do you sketch first?
With the maps, I’d say that it depends.  If the turn-around time for a project is super quick, then I might only work digitally.  But in the best-case scenario, I always start with a pencil sketch, plan things out as much as possible, and then move to the computer, where I’ll work up the final art, which is often a mix of hand painted/drawn elements collaged with pure pixel paint. I almost always do the location headers (i.e. Asheville, Pais) by hand with brush and ink. I just love the crispy edges you can get with an actual brush, and I think it adds a lot to the finished work.

mapsketches_libbyvanderploegSome map and lettering sketches

Can you explain your approach/process? How do you decide what text or illustrations to include?
When an assignment comes in, I read the document, highlight the places to feature on the map, and then think of the best way to communicate what that place serves/offers with the least amount of line work.  It’s not that I’m lazy :) I just want the finished piece to look uncluttered.  So if I’m, say, putting a coffee shop on the map, I’ll probably just use an espresso cup to keep things simple, rather than draw a detailed rendition of that particular shop’s facade.  And I almost always label major highways and rivers because they’re so helpful as navigation tools for the viewer. And then to keep it from falling into the realm of non-specifity, I like to throw some funny stuff in there too.  When I did Ginny Branch’s 24 Hours in Atlanta, I showed her zooming through the map in her old white Chevy minivan.

How do you know when a map is done?
A map is never done.  A map is only due :)

I could happily spend 3 times as long making my maps as the time I’m given to make a map. The Paris map for instance…It was basically finished, but then I saw this lovely little French woman in my head, running around the city, so I couldn’t help but add that in.

grenada_chickenbus_libbyvanderploegSnapshot of a public (chicken) bus in Granada Nicaragua

How long do you think this map took you to make?
The Paris map took me about 10 hours to make, err…dix heures.

libbyvanderploeg_swedenwindwillLibby waving from a windmill in Sweden

Don’t miss the full 24 Hours in Paris guide on Design*Sponge! You can find all the 24 hours in, and full city guides too! All my favorite Paris resources can be found here. And of course, check out more of Libby’s amazing work!

Speaking of maps, I’m running a special promotion in my Map Making class where I’ll be giving daily feedback from Aug 15 – Sept 15th. If you sign up for this class, you’ll have lifetime access to the videos and resources for $20 (but wait, code BCK2SCH will get you $5 when you use the link in this post!), or the class is included in the $9.95/month membership model for as many classes as you’d like to take.

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Vine!
I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Designing Professional Documents on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

A Mini Guide to Puglia

pretavoyager-puglia-visitWhen I first landed in Puglia I had a basic itinerary provided for me, but didn’t know where my trip would take me (nor did I have time to research in advance), but having no expectations meant I completely exceeded them. Thankfully, I had amazing hosts and guides who showed me so much in just a few days, but if I were you, I’d stay longer than a couple days and take it at a slower pace. Italy is one of those places where you’ll really benefit from hiring a local guide. I never would have eaten so well if I didn’t know what to eat thanks to my local Italian hosts! It’s the simple things you come to appreciate more when you’re with someone who knows the place. There is so much history in this place, one guide even mentioned she could give an entire underground tour – we’re talking archaeology, not public transportation – of the cities. No matter the time, you have the sense you are somewhere special, and a place rich in history.

To get to Puglia – the heel of the boot of Italy – there are 2 major airports: Bari (where I flew into) and Brindisi, and there are many connecting flights through Milan and Rome (I flew Alitalia from Paris). Unlike most major cities in Europe, this region of Italy is not a place to rely on public transportation, although there is a nice bus into old Bari from the airport. Renting a car or hiring a driver will be much nicer and help control your own pace, most places we visited were ~1.5 hour apart. The rhythm of cities can change due to temperature, particularly in the afternoon when its hot and many shops close for siesta (also plan on eating late for the same reason). Rather than trying to fit in a couple stops per day, spend at least or day or two in each city. The region is very diverse and surrounded by coastlines bordering the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, meaning there are lots of beaches, but also mountains in the north. All of the bloggers who participated in the #WeAreInPuglia campaign had different itineraries during their trips, so it was a great way to see the diversity of what the region offers (I’ve linked to their posts at their the bottom, but I also recommend checking out the hashtag on Instagram for tons of beautiful visuals).  Below I give you a sense of where I visited (images are below the city name). I debated doing separate posts for each, but I thought it was nice to keep them all together to give you a flavor of Puglia, along with my impressions of each place and things to look for.


Bari is an old historic city with layers upon layers of history resulting in a style that is a mix of Medieval, Byzantine, Romanesque and Baroque styles. The old city feels like a maze of winding streets, which reminded me of the medinas in Morocco, with religious reliquaries around every corner (the ones devoted to Mary have blue ceilings with stars). The building colors are warm, reminiscent of the south of France, and look up to see laundry drying. Many families have been living in these homes for generations, and you can tell just by strolling the streets that everyone is friends with their neighbors. Expect to see older women making orecchiette [see video], the traditional pasta of the region, on the street. There are even public ovens for baking your own bread without having to make your home too warm. It’s fascinating to think that not long ago this city was considered to be dangerous – I never would have guessed from my visit, and clearly the city has come a long way!

Other noteworthy sites include Basilica da San Nicolas (there are two annual festivals to celebrate St. Nicolas) and Cattedrale di San Sabino. I’ve visited many churches in my life, but the ceilings of the churches in Puglia were nothing like I’d ever seen. You can also visit the crypts where you will likely see pilgrims paying homage.

Click for photos of Bari, Ostuni, Torre Guaceto, Martina Franca, Cisternino, and Poliagnano a Mare after the jump!

Read The Rest

Everything I Ate in Puglia

pretavoyager-puglia-eat4Earlier this summer I headed to Puglia, Italy for 4 days as part of the #WeAreInPuglia campaign. I learned so much about the region (the heel of the boot of Italy), but only saw a fraction of what there is to do. Food is such a key aspect of travel anywhere, but in Italy especially. Italian hospitality is incredible and I ate VERY well this trip. What I loved most about what I was eating in Puglia is that the dishes that really made me go “wow” were all made of relatively simple, and often just a couple ingredients. I’ve had pasta, cheese and gelato many times in my life, but never have they been as good as they are in Italy! This post will just give you a taste of some of the local specialties.

On my 1st day in the old city of Bari my tour guide Sonia took me down a small street with older women making orecchiette pasta by hand. The pasta is actually really easy to make and consists of two ingredients: semolina flour and water. The rest is left to the magic of the hands, and a simple knife. (See video above). The pasta can be made into different sizes easily, but a different sized knife is used to achieve this.

pretavoyager-puglia-eat35The shot on the left is the street in old Bari where the pasta makers were at work outside their homes. Later, I was able to give it a go as well. I was not very fast and you can tell which ones were mine, as they all have holes in them! A new signature style?

pretavoyager-puglia-eat3I visited Spessite Restaurant [official website] which was the first restaurant in historic Ostuni when it opened back in 1972 in a building where they used to make olive oil. This also happened to be the first place I got to try making orecchiette myself, and eat orecchiette as well thanks to Chef Stefan and his lovely wife. If you’re walking up narrow hillside stairs you’re headed in the right direction: Via Brancasi, 43, 72017 Ostuni.
pretavoyager-puglia-eat24The dish was prepared in two different ways: tomato, basil and ricotta, and turnip flower, anchovy, and pepper. Both were delicious!

pretavoyager-puglia-eat25At Gaonas Restaurant in Martina Franca, I learned that by using a simple metal rod, the pasta dough could be made into a longer tube shape. There they served it with a more oil based sauce, and fresh tomatoes. Also delicious! Gaonas is located at Bia Arco Valente, 17, 74015 Martina Franca.

Baked goods in Italy are very different than those in France.  While French pastries tend to be flakey, I really enjoyed that Italian pastries were the perfect snack because they didn’t leave as many crumbs! I also never realized that foccacia was made with potatoes!

pretavoyager-puglia-eat26How amazing is this bakery – Sant’Antonio Bakery – that has been family run since the 1960s! I hope it never changes (although their daughter isn’t looking to continue in the family’s footsteps, I’m trying to convince her she must!).

pretavoyager-puglia-eat27I loved that many of the machines they’ve clearly had for years – rather than working with the newest technology – but have very specific purposes for what they’re making. It also happens to be far more interesting than new machinery to photograph (and better typography for sure!). Timeless, yet functional. This is me with the husband and wife (she runs the front of the shop) and their daughter Stefania. I thought they were so wonderful!

They kindly sent me home with loads of treats which were even better than I remembered. My favorite were the tortellini looking ‘tarallini’! Panificio S.Antonio Bakery is located at 21, Via Diaz Armando 72017 Ostuni.

pretavoyager-puglia-eat28At Torre Guaceto I got to meet with Marcello Longo [left], who brought Slow Food Italy to Puglia (read about the Slow Food movement in English). Thankfully I had my host Carlo there to help translate, because his story was fascinating. Torre Guaceto is a nature reserve aimed ad biodiversity and sustainability in tourism and daily life, so this was the perfect – and most picturesque – place to meet.

pretavoyager-puglia-eat30A key goal is to keep the environment as it was intended and return it to its origin, and one of the ways to do this is through organic farming. Longo is a true ambassador and his passion and patience in his storytelling came through as he told us how back in 2005 he worked to convince local farmers that despite being a more expensive practice, organic farming would be worth the investment. There were three very difficult years and the farmers were very reluctant, but with time gained their trust and investments.

The project started by looking at organic farming with oil; there are olive trees for miles in the region (one for each person in Italy!). Then the farmers expanded to different products, namely tomatoes. He described the ones on the right as a sweet tomato, more like eating chocolate than a fruit. They were amazing! The grains in the salad were so fresh. The cheese is also part of these endeavors to farm more sustainably.

pretavoyager-puglia-eat29And the amazing thing is that all this healthy, organic food is sold at the snack hut on the beach! You definitely don’t see that everyday! Even the cups are biodegradable, in case they accidentally don’t end up in the trash.

pretavoyager-puglia-eat31These icey frappicino-esque drinks appeared for us when we were at the Torre Guaceto beach. Also amazing and refreshing!

Coffee break! I don’t even like/drink coffee, but I absolutely adored this espressino fredo, a summer specialty with ice cream and chocolate. Once it arrived on the table in front of my Italian hosts, I knew I must try one too! Even better was we had it under these giant umbrellas facing the old cathedral [not pictured, photo is taken from the steps] in historic Ostuni. I think if I lived in Italy, I’d drink a lot more coffee! They make it right here.

When I was on my tour of old Bari with my guide I got hungry after I saw two teenagers eating ice cream in a square. She suggested we go around the corner to a different place. Having a local is priceless, as this gets filed under most amazing gelato of my life. Also, note that each cone gets a quick dive under the chocolate fountain to encase the inside with a thin layer of chocolate. The gelato in this photo is the smallest ‘piccolo’ size, for a whopping 2€! So good. Don’t miss Martinucci (est 1950) at Piazza Mercantile, 81 70121, Bari.

pretavoyager-puglia-eat5Almost every meal I ate in Puglia started with appetizers that included marinated vegetables such as eggplant, artichoke or peppers. This couple who we happened by in this historic city of Ostuni seemed to have their own business canning olives, capers and more.

One of joys of seeing how – and where – your food is made, it makes it even more fun to eat. Enoteca Divino wine bar hosted us for a lovely apéro (sorry, that’s French!) of rosé. I really enjoyed all the Italian wines I tasted. Here I learned that you’re supposed to dip those really dry, bagel looking breads in a bowl of water before adding the tomato/basil topping (unless you want a really dry bite; the catch is you can’t prepare it in advance or it will become soggy). I also truly fell in love with both mozarella and burrata cheese, especially when they’re soft inside! Located at Via Gaetano Tanzarella Vitale 35 Sig Vito, Ostuni.

My first dinner in Puglia was with my host Carlo at Osteri Le Travi in Bari. I probably would have been set after the appetizers, which are served buffet style and you serve yourself. Then came the pasta course. Then came the fish! I thought I was going to explode, but thankfully watermelon was for dessert which seemed to lighten things up. Word of warning when it comes to food in Italy: pace yourself! :) Located at Largo Ignazio, Chiurlia, 12, Bari.

pretavoyager-puglia-eat22Did I mention that of the 4 days I was technically in Puglia, I was technically only there for 2 full days! Can you tell I ate well!?!

pretavoyager-puglia-eat9Thankfully I had lovely new friends so I didn’t have to eat it all myself!

We ate outside, but really I loved the inside of Mezzofanti! It had a cool vibe, even with the employees, and just my style. There were a bunch of rooms and it extended out into the back terrace. I didn’t get to stay long in Cisternino – known for its meat shops – but would love to explore more. Mezzofanti is located at Piazza Pellegrino Rossi 20, Cisternino.

pretavoyager-puglia-eat8By 7pm we arrived in Polignano a Mare and determined it was beer-o-clock, and picked up these two Peroni beers at a little “sandwhich” shop. Living in Paris where it’s nearly impossible to find a beer for less than 5€, I was amazed together these two beers only cost 3€! See, travel can save you money! Even better was taking the beers and hanging out in the plaza and watching the crowd outside an open air restaurant cheering on a World Cup game.

pretavoyager-puglia-eat33In Puglia you can easily assume a restaurant is not popular because it is empty, but the reality is everyone eats late (they siesta between 1pm-3/4pm). By the time we finally sat down to eat on my last night it was closer to 9pm, and not long after the terrace seating was completely packed! After all my amazing eats, I had to opt for a margarita pizza as my last meal to “spice” things up a bit. Cuccundeo is at Piazza Aldo Moro, 14, 70044 Polignano a Mare. (Some famous show/movie was filmed on this square, but it’s slipping my mind now).

pretavoyager-puglia-eat7But even when you are stuffed in Italy, it’s really important to make room to try new things. My life would be incomplete had I not tried this watermelon and cream granita that completely rocked my world. Mario Campanella Il Super Mago del Gelo (since 1935) was a completely awesome place that felt like the blast from the past in a different culture. The long lines of people waiting for gelato and granitas made me believe this is the place to go in Poliagno a Mare: Piazza Guiseppe Garibaldi, 22.

Watermelon was clearly a theme of this trip. Interestingly enough, always in dessert form.

Being stuffed didn’t stop me from getting one last gelato, conveniently located between gates during my short connection! Gelato is good, but gelato in Italy is even better!

This is just a taste of Puglia, but follow the hashtag #WeAreInPuglia on social media to get a better idea of all there is to experience in this region. You can find the official Puglia channels: at,,, and by following @WeAreInPuglia on Twitter, @viaggiarepuglia on Instagram, and We Are in Puglia on Facebook. I’m very excited I got to be included on this trip thanks to iAmbassador! Stay tuned for my next post which will give you a better sense of the architecture.

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Vine!
I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Designing Professional Documents on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

Bloggers Guide to France

pretavoyager-bloggersguidetofrance3July 14th (Bastille Day) not only marks the 7th year of this blog, but it also is a signal to the French mentality to start going on holiday for the next month or so. Awhile back I put together a post called Bloggers Guide to Paris. It was a big hit, so I thought it was high time to expand to France, as many of these places make great day trips too. This post is just a start, but is a good reminder of all the diversity in this country, and all the places I have yet to visit. Even better is that it explores each place through the eyes of that blogger. There are still a bunch of places I’ve visited in France which I haven’t had a chance to blog yet, but hopefully this post will be just the motivation I need. If you’ve come across any other posts that I missed (I’m sure there are loads), please add them to the comments so we can all enjoy!

I decided not to necessarily stick to the official regions of France, but grouped all the posts by general regions or major cities (alphabetized), and the areas emerged after compiling the posts. What I love most is that it’s like an unofficial blogger’s guide to French tourism!

Click for the complete post after the jump!

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Flamme Eternelle, Palais de Tokyo

pretavoyager-palaisdetoyko-1I’ve been raving about Thomas Hirshhorn’s Flame Éternelle at the Palais de Tokyo ever since I went a couple months ago. Then I went back again a few weeks ago, and loved it just as much. Both visits I went with friends and it felt like some kind of awesome retreat where we got to be kids again, which is odd to say in an environment surrounded by thousands of tires, crazy print outs, couches covered in brown packing tape, and styrofoam for carving. When you first get there you don’t really know what we’re getting into until you’re in this “artistic trash yard” (if that’s even the right way to explain it). You enter through sets of tires, and it’s a bit of a maze. Eventually you encounter a “bar” – amongst the packing tape covered couches and tire swings – that sells cheap beer and hot dogs! Having never encountered a bar in an art exhibit before I had no idea how awesome this was! We sat and chatted amongst the tables graffitied in markers with sayings such as “in tartiflette we trust” it became a time to relax and unwind without the typical distractions of every day, but instead you’re passively encouraged to start making things and adding to the exhibit just from being in that environment. Behind the next wall of tires there is the “styrofoam room.” Just as amazing as the carved styrofoam shapes, figures, creatures and oddities was the fact that there were saws hanging around the exhibit (how else are you going to carve!?!). It all may sound strange but I can’t tell you how much fun I had during both visits to this exhibit, seeing how it had morphed between my visits, and just unwinding and doing something different with friends. This year I treated myself to a Palais de Tokyo membership, and it continues to be one of my favorite places in Paris. The best part is that it’s open until midnight, but I also love their restaurant, Tokyo Eat. If you want to check out Flamme Éternelle, go fast. The show ends Monday, June 23rd! GO, GO, GO! You can also visit the website created for the project online.


pretavoyager-palaisdetoyko-6.5pretavoyager-palaisdetoyko-10pretavoyager-palaisdetoyko-2pretavoyager-palaisdetoyko-15Alison even managed to capture me in the exhibit for once. Perhaps I’m a little over dressed for the occasion!?! High fives to Alison, Ivan, Rebecca, and Emily for making a great exhibit even more fun!

Palais de Tokyo
13 avenue du Président Wilson
75116 Paris
open daily except Tuesday from noon to midnight

For live time happenings, follow me on Instagram + Twitter + Vine!
I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Designing Professional Documents on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

We Are In Puglia

slide_01Later this month I’m headed down/over to Puglia, Italy. I’ve never been, so when I was invited to be part of the #weareinpuglia campaign, I jumped at the opportunity. When I said yes in the midst of deadlines, I hardly had even looked at the pictures, but now as I’m writing this post it feels like it’s getting closer I’m super excited for a change of scenery and it looks amazing! The #weareinpuglia hashtag on Instagram is so dreamy.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it all the way to Italy. This summer the Puglia Village will be traveling all over Europe, and bringing a taste of Puglia to you! They’ll be hosting “Roadshows” (I’ll be a French speaker representing Paris via Google Hangout while I’m on the road – I’ll be sure to post plenty of updates when to catch me). The idea is that it’ll be an area where the public can learn about the culture, handicraft and culinary traditions of Puglia through free activities including learning how to prepare homemade “orecchiette” and “taralli”, getting to know the Mediterranean herbs and the way to use them for cooking delicious dishes; taste their wines and oil; dance to the sound of the “Pizzica” guided by expert dancers, and try your hand at the tambourine. Children will be able to discover traditions through artifacts made using natural and recycled materials, as well as concerts and DJ sets. In short: fun for all!

All of the cities hosting the Puglia Village have direct flights to Puglia and activities will take place in main squares:

Vienna, Museumsquartier 11 – 21 April
Berlin, Sony Center 28 – 6 May
Munich, Olympiapark 15 – 24 May
London, South Bank Riverside Walkway 06 – 15 June
Paris, Gare Montparnasse 21 – 30 June (Puglia Sounds at La Bellevilloise on 26 June)
Dublin, George’s Dock 06 – 15 July

slide_03slide_04slide_05And in starting to research this trip, I realized that the upcoming British summer movie Walking on Sunshine was filmed in Puglia, and it looks like so much fun! I love summer movies where you want to sing along. Looks like we’ll all be able travel to Puglia this summer after all :)

Stay tuned for more – and a peek through the eyes of other travelers – with the #weareinpuglia hashtag on these channels:

Images courtesy of We Are In Puglia. This is a sponsored trip, but all thoughts are my own!

Follow me on Instagram + Twitter + Vine!
I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Designing Professional Documents on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

CitizenM London

pretavoyager-citizenM-london3When you live in a humble Parisian apartment, I find more and more when I’m traveling for a weekend, I love crashing in a hotel. With the help of Twitter, someone recommended the CitizenM. The hotel chain started in Amsterdam and has steadily made it’s way around the world – including Times Square, and their first France location opening at CDG airport next month. So when Ashley and I were in London for Blogtacular, we thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to check out the stylish chain at their Bankside location, which is conveniently located near the Tate Modern and delicious Borough Market.

If I lived in London, I’d totally hang out here every day. The hotel has free wi-fi and the lobby is open with a bar. It feels like you’re hanging out in a home-y living room. The kitchen area is also really open and there’s a bar so you can always pick up a snack while you work.

Besides the lobby I also loved that there were a series of meeting rooms that can be rented for the day. Paris is a city tight on space, so it’d be really great to have spaces like these to work from with a team.

I love that each room had a different style, and I loved all the furniture choices. (Don’t miss Ashley’s picture of our reflection in shiny things!)

All CitizenM hotels have a similar feel because they’re new construction. The modules are all all built off site and then put together on location.

pretavoyager-citizenM-london-roomThere’s no fighting over rooms because they’re all the same size (so don’t expect any cots or special requests, but the bed is huge). In addition to the tablet remote that operates the lights, TV, and lighting (I can’t believe I forgot to Vine the changing colors in the bathroom shower), each room has lots of outlets, which is really exciting for blogger types with far too many devices.

Throughout the hotel there are touches of fun if you look closely and feel part of the brand.

Hallway artwork has a touch of fun too.

The inner courtyard.

Look up to see the Shard!

pretavoyager-citizenM-banksidebridgeAfter we checked in we picked up food to go from M&S (I’m totally an addict now) and had lunch near the Tate while facing the Millenium Bridge.

Thanks to CitizenM Bankside for putting Ashley and me up for a night! Don’t miss Ashley’s post – she’s a professional photographer :) You can check out more images with the hashtag @citizenMlondon on Twitter & Instagram.

P.S. Speaking of the UK, I also have a small piece in British Airways The Club on Paris for ‘Expensive cities on a shoestring‘ that just went up this week.

Follow me on Instagram + Twitter + Vine!
I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Designing Professional Documents on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

Eurostar Train Paris–London

pretavoyager-eurostar-parisMost of the time when we travel the goal is to get from point A to point B in the fastest time possible. Being on the train is nothing like being stuck in traffic, but when we arrive at the station, I’m never quite ready to get off. I often find myself wishing the ride was longer so I could get more work done (or another nap in). The Eurostar trip between Paris and London is something like 2 hours and 20 minutes, and only 20 minutes of the time are in the dark (when you’re going under the channel) – the rest of it is beautiful countryside.  And to think, some people actually do this as their daily commute! On May 9th my gnome and I traveled from Paris to London for Blogtacular (yes, he was part of my talk). I felt very much like Amélie in Gare du Nord for our Paris photo opp.pretavoyager-eurostar-train The other great thing about the train is you don’t have to wake up crazy early like you do to get to the airport 2 hours before a flight. You do have to leave enough time to go through customs and security, but shoes and jackets can stay on, and laptops are fine in bags, so it’s much faster. Eurostar says to check in 30 minutes before departure, but I always get there early because I like train stations. Eurostar trains board from a separate platform than the mainline trains, so you have to wait for the announcement to board once you go through all the check points. [Note: returning to Paris on a Sunday afternoon, give yourself a lot of extra time. Trains from London go a lot of other places, and I barely caught my train because the lines were so long to get through security and customs.]

pretavoyager-eurostar-gnomeseatOn the way to London my gnome and I managed to be the first on board – at least on our car – so took advantage of the photo opp. Funny, I have a brown and grey striped shirt like the chairs, which I’ll have to wear as a joke next trip!

pretavoyager-eurostar-magazineMy other favorite thing about the train is that I love the Eurostar magazine, Metropolitan. You may be surprised to know that none of my favorite travel magazines are available on newsstands. I really love all the publications under Ink Global (who is behind Metropolitan, easyJet Traveller and many more). I thought the May issue was particularly striking because they commissioned a illustrator Megamunden – author of The Tattoo Colouring Book – for the cover to celebrate the new tattoo exhibit at the Quai Branly museum in Paris. You can read the full issue online.

pretavoyager-eurostar-premiereThe funny thing was on the return trip I found myself waiting in a line. One of the Eurostar attendants checked my name off a list before I got onboard. I passed a rack of great magazines, sat down and noticed I had a seat completely to myself, and I saw an outlet (which I hadn’t on the way over). By golly, I was so busy planning the rest of my trip, I didn’t even realize that Eurostar had bumped me up to Standard Premier class for my return trip! Not long after we were on our way, they came by with a tray with two light food options (I went with the cheese plate even though I had stuffed my face with a M&S sandwich in the waiting terminal). And it came with my choice of wine. It was a Monday afternoon at this point, and wow, did this hit the spot. I definitely could get used to this (the waiting room looks nice too, and after interviewing the Creative Director of Eurostar for Fast Co. Design, it sounds like more is in store).

pretavoyager-eurostar-lightWhen I posted some pictures on Instagram, it was interesting to see a comment that the train seemed dreamy, but way out of their budget. Au contraire! While Eurostar was kind enough to give me this ticket, my last two tickets have been 69€ round-trip. My secret is to sign up for their newsletters and follow Eurostar on Facebook and Twitter (FYI, their Twitter account is great with customer service and is how you find out if your train is having delays). One thing I’ve discovered the hard way in Europe is that trains tend to only go up in price the closer you get to a trip, so I highly recommend booking in advance if you can. Also, flexible travel times will help you get better deals.

pretavoyager-eurostar-londonGnome in London St. Pancras station. Once you arrive, it’s easy to get anywhere in London from the Kings Cross / St. Pancras Tube station, which is much closer and cheaper than trying to get into the city from the airport. Note too, that you can count on free wi-fi in the station. :)

Eurostar fact box
Eurostar operates up to 18 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare Du Nord with return fares from £69. Eurostar also offers connecting fares from more than 300 stations in the UK. Fastest London-Paris journey time is 2hr 15 minutes. Tickets are available from or 08432 186 186.          

Standard Premier
With the option of flexible fares, Standard Premier offers the freedom to work, think, or simply unwind. You will be presented with calm, spacious surroundings with on-board staff offering a light meal and a selection of magazines. Standard Premier fares start from £189 return.

Thanks for the ticket, Eurostar!

Follow me on Instagram + Twitter!
I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Designing Professional Documents on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

New Portfolio Site!!

anneditmeyer.comA few weeks ago I spoke at Blogtacular in London. My talk was all about valuing yourself and making it as a blogger (aka not working for free). When I was putting together my talk I realized that much of my success, and the opening of many doors, has stemmed from my blog and overall online presence. I’ve never aspired to be a “pro-blogger” but I love having my blog as a creative outlet. When applying to jobs my best friend always would say “show, don’t tell,” and a blog can help you do just that; the reality is that more often than not people find me rather than vice versa these days. In having a blog, you’re not only proving that you have the skills to blog – and everything that goes with it – but you’re showcasing your knowledge about a particular topic, along with taste, and style at the same time. I still struggle to explain to people what exactly it is that I do, but I think the updates to my new portfolio site – – help highlight the range of projects I do and kind of client I’m drawn to. I can barely keep up with everything I’m working on these days, so I’m very excited that my new portfolio site is finally live.  (Note: it’s always linked on the top toolbar of my blog as well!)

p.s. In order to start saving money to pay next year’s speakers Blogtacular is selling tickets to their “virtual conference” where you can watch professional quality videos of my talk and the talks of all the speakers/panels. You can buy your ticket now, and they hope to have everything online by June.

p.s.s. I moved my portfolio site over to Squarespace — I highly recommend it for people who don’t want to have to deal with coding.

Follow me on Instagram + Twitter! I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Designing Professional Documents on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

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