the writer's block: around the world in 8 minutes

today, my sponsors are going to take you on a whirlwind trip around the world. grab your passport and pack your bags, read on about their chosen destinations, and then head over to their blogs to say hello!

I'm Christina, the girl behind the scenes at Route Bliss. I'm a 30-something single wannabe vagabond whose practicality and realist side keeps her planted in East Texas. By weekday I write lots of reports at my job as well as daydream frequently where I want to travel to next, ways to motivate myself to getting fit for health and happiness's sake, and experimenting in the kitchen to make my favorite not so healthy foods healthier. I also like to take lots of photos of pretty things, furry critters (aka canines and felines), and beautiful destinations.

featured destination: Memphis, Tennessee

what do you consider a must-do for visitors here? Tour the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum at the Fed Ex Forum + attend a Memphis Grizzles game while you're there. Walk down Beale Street, during the day you can walk in many of the bars to sightsee. Tour the The Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel which is several blocks south of Beale Street. Ride the Main Street Trolleys -- there's several lines to choose from. Catch a musical or show at the Orpheum Theater if you're staying overnight. And, obviously tour Graceland.

what is your favorite thing to eat in Memphis? The only place my BFF and I ate at was the Kooky Canuck, a Canadian American restaurant -- we were there the day before Columbus Day aka Thanksgiving in Canada, so it was fitting. I had the Great Maple Sirloin Steak and Poutine. Both were delicious -- in fact, because the poutine was my appetizer, I couldn't finish the steak!

any fun or largely unknown facts to share? St. Jude Hospital is located in Memphis -- and they hold an annual Half Marathon and Marathon in early December. What better way to tour the sights of the city while helping a great cause!

what is your favorite part about visiting this place? There's so much history in Memphis to learn about and experience -- musically as well as civil rights.

tips for anyone traveling to this place? I've only been once -- during the day on a Sunday in the fall. If you want to experience Beale Street, be sure to stay overnight on a Friday or Saturday as many places are closed during lunchtime on Sundays. If you think you'll ride the trolley more than once, buy a day pass and ride all the lines; leave your car in a paid lot. Graceland is several miles from downtown on the south side of the city, go there first or last. Oh. and bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes as well!

learn more about Christina on her blog: Route Bliss 

read some of her favorite posts:

or follow along with:

Cynthia is a Pacific Northwest gal gone accidental expat who now lives in the Czech Republic and writes for her blog, Adventurings. In mid-2012, she and her fiance quit their jobs, moved out of their Seattle digs and started a vagabond lifestyle of traveling and work-staying their way across Europe until their arrived in their current destination: South Bohemia. On the blog you'll find her musings on expat life, travels, learning to love a lifestyle of living out of a backpack.... and now, preparations for her wedding this June!

featured destination: Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

what do you consider a must-see for visitors? Being in ČK isn't so much about what to do, but just to enjoy the picture-perfect medieval cobblestone small-town ambiance. But first time visitors should definitely check out the castle and walk down every little lane.

what is your favorite thing to eat in Český Krumlov? Strolling around the streets with an ice cream cone in hand on a warm day is perfect for me! But any month of the year, you'll find me at Laibon, a fantastic vegetarian joint in the heart of the city with its stone walls, wood tables, great riverside outdoor dining, and excellent service.

any fun or largely unknown facts to share? Český Krumlov in South Bohemia lies in the heart of the former Sudetenland-- a disputed area of the Czech Republic near the German border that was expelled of almost its entire German population after the Second World War through a Czech decree. After the expulsion, the town was very sparsely populated (almost a ghost town) and is nothing like the place you'd see today. However after the revolution, people started buying up the very cheap old buildings in the center and the town is now bustling with activity again... but you can still notice some German remnants, and German is still widely spoken in this region.

what is your favorite part about visiting? I absolutely love living next to this sweet little town-- it's a perfect place to get away if I have the day off but also the so very Bohemian nature that surrounds it: picture green rolling hills for days. Just to spend time here among the beautiful old buildings that have barely changed in a century fills me with a very positive energy.

tips for anyone traveling here? Every season is a great time of year to visit Český Krumlov and there are so many festivals going on every month, most notably the International Music Festival in July and August, the Five-Petalled Rose (Renaissance) Festival in June, and the St. Wenceslas Festival in September. For loads more ideas of what to do in any season, check out this post.

Don't forget to drink local beer a gypsy pub, take lots of photos, and try a segway tour-- much more awesome than you ever imagined it would be, I promise!

learn more about Cynthia on her blog: Adventurings

read some of her favorite posts:

or follow along with:

[Phyllis, from the istanbul affair] this blog got born from a moment of desperation my last few weeks in istanbul when i knew i wasn't ready to leave istanbul but knew i had to come back home to mississippi. i opened the blog under the pseudonym of india banks and the title desperate english teachers 62 days after i arrived back home to mississippi and discovered that i had no home, no life, and no identity left after one and a half years in istanbul. this space is where i've lived and rebuilt my life and where i now celebrate the agony of being torn between two lovers, mississippi and istanbul.

featured destination: the wheatfields of greenville, mississippi and istanbul {the two are inseparable to me}

what do you consider a must-see for visitors? greenville, mississippi - the sunsets across the bare naked wheat fields will make you cry with a sort of sad-joy

istanbul - i'm torn between the sunsets while sitting on cushions, drinking tea and watching the lovers crossing the bosphorous back and forth on a boat from kiz kulesi {maiden's tower} and sipping tea on a boat while crossing the bosphorous from the edge of asia over to the edge of europe

what is your favorite place to eat there? greenville, mississippi - Doe's Eat Place, an old house that's been converted into a restaurant. you enter through the kitchen, there's no menu, and there's no better food or company in the world.

istanbul - Çiya, a traditional Turkish restaurant where you walk in through the kitchen and point at the dishes you want that are being cooked by chefs, then you make your plate of meze and wander up a spiral staircase to eat and soak in a street view below.

any fun or largely unknown facts to share? greenville, mississippi has wild horses {i can't tell you where they are because they're my little secret but i can blindfold and take you there|} and istanbul has a great outlet mall {i can’t tell you where it is but i can blindfold and take you there}

what is your favorite part about visiting? greenville, or mississippi in general, and istanbul both come with a kind of difficult history but an extraordinary beauty. mississippi has writers, dirt. istanbul has writers, water. you will be welcomed and comforted in both places by strangers. you will be made to feel at home.

tips for anyone traveling here? for some reason i love both places in september. and to be honest, i don't plan trips. when i get an invitation, or decide i want to go somewhere, i just hop on a plane, or a train, and go. that stated, i have started making friends via social media in places i think i'll visit one day. but i would be happy to answer any specific questions about either place.

learn more about Phyllis on her blog: the istanbul affair

read some of her favorite posts:

or follow along with:

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