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Turkey > London > Shanghai > London > New York City > St. Barths

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Anna Gray (perhaps you recognize her from the Glossier mini campaign) just spent a month traveling the world. When she got back we had to know—'How was it!?” She gave us some insight to a few stories from her journey, and she also shared some pretty epic photos. Meet Anna—and her brother, mom, dad, boyfriend, and renegade girlfriends.

Dear ITG,

Let’s talk about my unexpected, last minute, month-long tour of the planet. In June, I went on a first date with this guy who asked me to be his plus-one to a wedding in Shanghai. He said, “Come meet me in London after you wrap up your family vacation in Turkey.” I said “OK, sure?” Played it super chill. I can’t tell you how many friends called me crazy. Then, I panicked about going on a trip with a near stranger. Now that I am back in NYC in one piece, I've got some amazing photos, better stories, and memories 4ever.

But before we get to the present, here's how it all went down: I was in Turkey with my family for two weeks exploring the southwest coast by gulet (sleeping on the deck, waking up with the sun). Then we went to the beautiful, history-heavy mosques of Istanbul, guided by my architect mother. (Dude, Hagia Sophia was rebuilt in 537 as a Christian Orthodox cathedral. Think about that for a minute.) I flew to London afterward and caught up with two great, great friends over dinner at Andrew Edmunds before meeting the guy on the West End. We crashed at the very cute Portobello Hotel and took a 10-hour flight together to Shanghai the next day.

Ten hours is equivalent to at least three dates—even if we napped in the middle. Nothing tells you more about your compatibility with a person than spending 19 straight days together in various foreign countries. Again, the word crazy comes to mind.

Anyway, Shanghai is a weird, cosmopolitan, and international city that feels familiar in a déjà-vu way. Staying in The PuLi, we woke up and wandered the city every morning. The wedding was beautiful—it started on a roof overlooking the toy-like architecture of Pudong and ended at Le Baron Shanghai, which is exactly like NYC and Paris’—only better!

We went back to London for two days and stayed at the Chiltern Firehouse, where my love for Andre Balazs' brain (however obvious and ubiquitous everyone’s love for him is) was renewed.

Then we came back to NYC for one night only. Jen and I co-hosted a party for Lyz Olko’s new clothing collaboration with Curve before I was off to St. Barths for 10 days to help with shoots for the first issue of L’Officiel St. Barths. I was with a crew of 10 (plus the guy from the wedding). The house we stayed in—appropriately named The Villa African Queen for its Moroccan influence—had the best decor details and swimming pool I’ve seen anywhere.

I’m running out of room on this “postcard,” so I’m going to let you browse the images in the slideshow and trust you’ll believe me when I tell you that this summer has been the best summer of all time. Sometimes saying yes to a stranger doesn’t result in a kidnapping at all—just adventures.

xxAnna

Photos by Matthew Frost and Anna Gray.

Anna's got you wishing you were on vacation? Virtually travel to Cartagena, Seoul, and Anguilla in ITG's Postcard series. Read more from Water Week here.