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@kirstenalana / Kirsten Alana

Photos and videos by kirstenalana

5 tags and 3 profiles in descriptionWhen I woke up at @fairmontcll , the air was so crisp and cold that I knew it would be perfect for some dawn landscape photography. My instinct rewarded me with this vista just to the left of the main building. There’s a stream that flows into the lake that didn’t freeze all the way over and right at the spot where it forms a small pool before joining the lake, was this scene. A near perfectly still reflection. I held my breath, not wanting to cause a ripple as I knelt down to capture the moment with my @sonyalpha a7R II held just above the water. No one else was around and if I’d had longer, I would have carved myself a little chair into the snowbank so I could have sat and meditated over the beauty of nature for a few minutes. Meditation seems to be all the rage these days and yet I still struggle to do it. Unless, I’m out in a location as beautiful as this was, far from the noise of a city and seemingly even further from the stresses that life can bring our way! Can’t wait to get back to Canada a few more times this year to see other areas in other seasons. Alberta is such a stunning province and Canada in general is rapidly becoming one of my favorite countries to explore. 🇨🇦 #attaELEVATE #mybanff #hostedtravel #sonya7rii #sonyalpha • Shout out to @photojbartlett who so kindly lent me his Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 lens which made this wide shot possible. I’m now itching to buy it for travel work!
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7 tags and 3 profiles in descriptionThe peace, serenity & cool temperature of this moment in the woods above @fairmontcll seem very far away at the minute, as I write this caption sitting on the beach in Tel Aviv. After only sharing a snippet or two in my Stories here on Instagram from my job in Israel for a private client — I’ve received an extraordinary amount of hate mail calling me the worst names and a record number of unfollows. . It’s upsetting but it’s not surprising. One of the reasons I tend toward travel jobs in places such as Canada and Europe is that I feel those are destinations which generally inspire people and do not offend. . But in my heart I can’t live as someone who only stays in the safe waters of a calm river, never braving the rapids. If we do not ever challenge our own ways of thinking, and our prejudices, how will we ever make the world a better place? . That being said, if you only want to travel to places of peace and serenity then I would highly recommend @banff_lakelouise . The morning snowshoe hike in which @walkingontravels took this photo of me is one of the most wonderful mornings I’ve had in my many decades of life on this beautiful, complicated planet. It was truly restorative!! ❤️ #mybanff #thisisadventure #banfflakelouise #fairmontlakelouise #obermeyer #hostedtravel #attaelevate
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8 tags and 0 profile in descriptionmorning serenity at Banff National Park . The big job I was referencing in my last post will take place in Israel this week and next. Since it’s not a tourism project but rather a private photography commission, I won’t really be posting live. I’ll be concentrating on being the best photographer I can be and in my spare time, learning from everyone I can on all sides about one of the world’s most complicated regions. . So I thought I’d take this time to instead finish posting about my exploration of Alberta in March. With our move and all the other things that have happened in my personal life this Spring, I didn’t really have the opportunity till now. Looking at winter photos of snow and stillness and thinking back on those stories will be a nice mental escape from what will be a challenging next 10 days. I hope you will enjoy seeing more moments like this 😉🙏🏼 #explorealberta #banffnationalpark #explorecanada #reflectionlake #sonyalpha #sonya7rii #thisisadventure #mybanff
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0 tag and 1 profile in descriptionlooking forward to the week ahead like.... . actually that’s not true, I’m nervous about the assignment I’m about to embark on and feeling like I’m not good enough or don’t have what it takes. This type of self-doubt can often bring on or be part of a crippling depression and when I was younger led to my attempting suicide multiple times. Not until last week did my family even really know about that and I certainly haven’t talked about it publicly. When Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain committed suicide within the span of a week, I realized I don’t want to be silent about it anymore. Especially not on a platform where I have a following. I have talked before, about how we tend to be too focused on perfection here on Instagram and how we tend not to be real enough. But I haven’t shared how dark my struggles have been in the past and I’m doing so now for those who struggle too. I want to urge you to get help, to not isolate yourselves and to be willing to accept help when your friends and family members offer it. If you’re a friend or family member of someone who struggles with depression, please be willing to suffer the effects of embarrassment or anger from your loved ones in order to help them anyway. Reach out with love and without judgement. Often those of us who struggle the most cannot reach out or cannot accept help, it’s part of what real depression does to damage our hearts and minds - so force us. The worst that can happen is we will be hurt for a while. But we will get over it. And so will you. The worst that can happen if you do not attempt to help - that, can be permanent. Something no one will recover from. I hope I’m communicating this right. And I welcome your comments so we can make the comment section a resource for all. ❤️ . My thanks to @obermeyer for this moment in Banff, Canada. I, again, never feel worthy of nice clothes since I’m not a fashion blogger but they sent them anyway. And that means the world to me.
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This night with Anthony Bourdain, Éric Ripert, José Andrés and Tim Love is seared on my mind forever as a time I laughed, cried and smiled till my face hurt because these four men reminded me that what matters most is to be curious and to care. The weekend I took this photo and on the second occasion that I met Anthony Bourdain, I remember thinking he was a restless soul. A soul like mine that might never be able to be content. And yet he did, and still will, inspire me to use that restlessness to do good. Because he more than anyone taught me through his books and his shows that our default position should be to see similarities rather than differences. To know and love all cultures and all people without prejudice. He did this mainly through food and conversation but I believe his principle is one we can all apply even if we can’t cook or we can’t make conversation well. Being a good listener and smiling - these go a long way, and those we can all do. . I hope you find peace now, Anthony. You will be missed.
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2 tags and 3 profiles in descriptionWhen we drove from NYC to Los Angeles last month, the same themes everyone is discussing today were on my mind a lot. On #WorldEnvironmentDay I can’t help but acknowledge that even by working in travel & being a frequent traveler, I’m contributing to harmful effects on our planet every time I fly, every time I drive a car, every time I fill up that car’s gas tank and particularly every time I buy food in a plastic container from a gas station or a fast food restaurant. Travel is inherently bad for the planet and yet it’s only by being a traveler that I’ve been able to be exposed to landscapes such as this one that @dante.vincent and I discovered in Utah, or the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania and the black sand beaches of Iceland. And only by being exposed to those landscapes that I want to see preserved and protected have I found that I can truly take ownership of the things I need to do to try and take care of our environment, of this planet. Sometimes it feels like as only one person I’m so small and insignificant that I can’t make a difference. But I can. You can. We all can if we all do the small things because they’ll add up to a big thing if we all work together. . Two things I’m trying to be consistent at: only using my @hydroflask water bottle and coffee cup so that I can eliminate throwaway plastic and paper cups. I always decline straws now and I’m also looking for a set of re-useable silverware that I can carry with me so I never need to use plastic utensils again. That’s why I love the #PlanetOrPlastic campaign that @natgeo started. . What steps are you taking to try and be a better steward of the environment?
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1 tag and 1 profile in descriptionIt’s been a long time since I shared a #sunsetsforbreakfast moment so why not today on a Monday when Mondays always seem like they could use a little something extra to make things easier... • This time with my family in Michigan this summer has been wonderful because sunsets like this, moments on the lake, and time on the boat or the kayak have been an almost daily occurrence. And while I’m not affiliated with, employed by, in a relationship with or in any way connected to @puremichigan - I feel like I’d be lax in my job as a person who wants to inspire people to travel if I didn’t share moments from my time here; because if you’re looking to visit the USA, or you live here and want to explore more of it, then this really is a state you should consider. There’s a lot of water from the private lakes like the one I’m on now, to the public lakes and of course the GREAT LAKES that Michigan shares with Canada and other states, it’s basically all about being outdoors here and when you are, it’s just gorgeous. I don’t know if it’s due to weather patterns I don’t understand or if it’s crazy “luck” but the good sunsets in particular are a frequent occurrence and I can’t say that about everywhere I’ve lived or traveled. • Hope you make it a great week no matter where you are in the world today!
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2 tags and 2 profiles in descriptionSo grateful for the wheels @mazdausa graciously lent me for my first week back in Michigan with family this summer. It’s been fun to drive to Detroit, explore the lakes my family members live on and safely transport the most adorable four year old in the world. I’ve always been a fan of traveling by driving and I’m hugely into any and all road trips so I’m always searching for the best vehicles for drives both long and short. The 2018 CX-5 Grand Touring AWD pictured here was fast [on Sport mode], fun to drive, fully equipped for my nephew’s car seat and roomy enough to fit all my luggage in the trunk and all the grocery shopping we did to prepare for Memorial Day. Yet it was also compact enough to easily parallel park when I was in @visitdetroit and that shiny red paint was a nice contrast to the greenery of expansive Belle Isle which was the last place I visited during my day in Detroit. I had to chuckle when a few locals called it a “shiny whip.” I don’t think I’ve heard the word ‘whip’ used to denote a car since I was a kid but it made me smile and led to a really fun conversation. So as if I didn’t like it enough already, this Mazda got some bonus points then, because any car that helps me get to know locals better is a win in my book. #DriveMazda #asundaycarpic
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4 tags and 2 profiles in descriptionWoke up craving the phenomenal lavender latte that I enjoyed here earlier this week with my friend @mattlaverephoto before a day spent wandering around the city of Detroit. I can hardly believe how much the city has changed since I graduated from high school in Michigan. When I was a teenager, the only real reasons to visit were to see a baseball game or go to Greektown or the art museum. It just wasn’t the kind of city that you hang out in back then though it had been when my mother was growing up in SE Michigan. Now there are new boutique hotels on par with my favorites in Europe and James Beard-awarded chefs moving to the city to make their mark in a way they can’t in more saturated cities. This hip coffee shop @dessert_oasis_coffee_roasters felt like something straight out of Berlin, Brooklyn or the Arts District in Los Angeles; and the little square that it sits on had a European-style market with delicate glass structures home to people selling pottery and other products made in “the Mitten.” In a radius of less than two blocks I found half a dozen beautiful street art murals, some by artists that have made their mark all over the world. I’ll put more details from my day in Stories so you can get some ideas for your next visit. #thisismycoffeeshop #dessertoasiscoffeeroasters #coffeehouse #coffeeholics
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paused this moment from our weekend here at the lake as a way to symbolize what today is supposed to be about in the USA: a pause for remembrance
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3 tags and 1 profile in descriptionI’m not going to bury the lead, because if you’ve seen my Stories or you follow @dante.vincent then you already know that he and I moved [essentially] from NYC to Los Angeles. That’s where I took this photo just a few days ago. I love the style of the houses and gardens in California!! — But first there was a drive to one state to put most of my things in storage and an immediate return to the city followed by a drive across the country and a few weeks moving around to different parts of LA to see what areas we liked the best while apartment searching and now I’m in Michigan spending some time with family that I haven’t properly seen in years. Maybe in July I’ll start to feel really settled, or at least be able to stop living from only suitcases and bags! Before that I have another assignment overseas and I want to catch up on all the storytelling I’ve fallen behind on while my personal life was going through such a massive upheaval. For my USA followers on this long vacation weekend, I hope your days are already full of whatever makes you most happy in life! 💛🌴☀️ #discoverla #lalaland #houseportrait
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0 tag and 2 profiles in descriptionIn my last post, I teased a bit of rather huge news. Which is that @dante.vincent and I have left NYC. . It was so surreal to be at that breakfast with @ritzparis looking out at Madison Square Park and the Flatiron, feeling as if almost no time at all had passed since the very first time I saw them with my own eyes on my first trip to NYC 10 + years ago. I was fresh off a divorce and desperately poor but I found a deal on a hotel just off Madison Square that is no longer in operation. I did little else other than walk the streets and take photos. I stared at the Flatiron sometimes for hours. The longing to live in New York was so strong, so utterly compelling that I ended up moving my meager belongings to a storage unit in the city and I used it as a “home base” for years, as I was actually nomadic. The kindness of so many friends helped make it possible as I apartment sat and crashed on couches and hung on by the barest thread at times. Until I met Danté at a chance Valentine’s Day dinner for singles in 2013. We had five years together living in an apartment in Astoria, where Danté was promoted again and again at his job and I had so much opportunity come my way that I will forever be grateful for. Yet the more Danté and I traveled together, the more we longed to call another place home for a time. That luster I felt on that first visit faded and as I stood at the window before I took this photo last month, knowing that it would be the last time I’d look at the Flatiron as a resident of New York City, I wasn’t sad. That’s how I knew it was time to leave. Time to open another door to another chapter. More on that in my next post...
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