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active 3 hours ago

Lilly Graves

Hello! I'm a freelance writer, photographer, and travel planner originally from Northern Michigan, affectionately known as Up North. My first gig was a freelance position for who sent me to photograph and review hotels in the U.S., Caribbean, Central America, South Pacific, and South Asia. Since 2011, I've covered 500+ properties around the world.

During that time, I also planned personal trips as a travel expert for members. Among other freelance articles and projects related to travel, I've helped open a restaurant in Chicago and a hotel in Brooklyn so food, wine, and hospitality are high on the list of things that make me smile.

How did you get involved in travel?

"I started a blog during a budget around-the-world trip to Australia, Asia, and Europe in my 20s and became hooked on travel writing and photography. A few years later, I moved to London to attend journalism school and (no surprise) stuck to the travel industry. I then completed internships with the London Times Travel Desk and the New York Times Frugal Traveler, which led to my first job out of college. From then on it's been all about travel and hospitality. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"While photographing hotels in the Bahamas, a leg of my tripod slipped into the water when I debarked a boat. I didn't realize it until after I got to my next hotel to take 360-degree panoramic photos only to realize it was missing. Yikes! My entire work trip hung in the balance, as I needed this tripod leg before I could take any photographs of this hotel and several more in weeks to come. A hotel driver rushed me back to the dock to see if we could find it. That's when we discovered it at the bottom of the clear blue water. Without another word, he dove in, fully dressed, and fetched it while others gathered around to see what we were up to. I tried to tip him when we got back to the hotel but he refused and said he was happy to do it. Talk about personalized hospitality!"

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