Welcome to Travel Notes & Beyond, a collection of travel stories, photos and personal opinions  focusing on less known travel destinations.  This is where you can also learn about culture, history, food and more, and hopefully get inspired, informed and engaged.
I am a Romanian-born  award-winning travel writer and passionate photographer living in Southern California. Growing up in a communist country didn’t seem to make much difference until I wanted to travel abroad and realized that it would be impossible. At that time, Eastern Block governments were arguing that strict limits on emigration were necessary to prevent a “brain drain.“ As such, very few young or well-educated people were allowed to travel outside the country borders for fear they would never return.
For as long as I can remember I had the desire to travel and discover new places, but that remained an unfulfilled dream until 1989 when our family immigrated to the USA. Because my travels started late in life, I always try to make the most of my time at a destination by researching and planning it in details long before I set foot there. I equally enjoy walking the streets of a big metropolis, mingling with locals at the markets, tasting food, or trying more adventurous activities like hiking, kayaking, snorkeling or horseback riding. 
Travel Notes & Beyond was born in 2013 out of my enthusiasm for travel and my passion for photography. My posts focus on beautiful destinations, culture, art and food. They express my personal opinions about the places I visit, about the people I meet and their traditions. I strive to introduce my readers to unexpected and unique travel experiences that will provide itinerary ideas and inspiration for their future travel plans,  or maybe just give them a new perspective on the places they have already visited. Occasionally, I offer travel advice and practical tips based on my own experience. I blog about twice a week, including The Weekly Postcard – a collection of snapshot-stories. So join me as I explore the world as I’ve been dreaming to do for so long. Happy reading!
~Editorially yours