#TBT: Travel Flashback Part 6: Culture, Tradition, and Ceremony in Bali

Balinese people hold strongly to their traditions. If someone dies and they must have a cremation, everyone in the community closes their business for however many days they need and they all attend the cremation. Their strong sense of community trumps their need to make money. This is something I love about the Balinese people….

#TBT Travel Flashback Part 3: In Love with Pai

I know I’ve probably said this about numerous towns along my travels, but Pai stands out as one of my favorite places in the world. We arrived in the late afternoon, after a long winding drive from Chiang Mai. The town’s main road buzzed with motorbikes and backpackers, yet it maintained a silent calm only…

My Next Adventure: Cooking!

It’s taken me several months to come back to this blog. In some ways it just symbolizes this part of my life that is over now. I used to think that a life of travel was all I needed to be happy. I wanted to abandon the 9-5 and be an adventurer for life. I…

Celebrating Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala

Guatemala has been a destination for Americans for at least ten years now, so it was no surprise that Antigua was swarming with them. The colorful colonial town, an hour outside Guatemala City, provides tourists with that authentic Guatemalan feel. The stone buildings are crumbling with age and the cathedrals overpower the plazas with bright…

Don’t Skip Honduras

Throughout our travels in Central America, we have met a lot of backpackers who told us that they skipped Honduras or only visited the Bay Islands. As we headed north towards Honduras, we wondered why everyone was skipping around such a diverse country. Sometimes they even chose visiting El Salvador over Honduras. Having now visited…

Visit Roatan! Don’t just Cruise in, Stay Over!

Roatan Island, off of Honduras, has long been a cruise ship destination. As we pulled in on the local ferry from La Ceiba, Honduras the boat dwarfed in comparison to the Holland-America and Carnival Freedom Cruise ships in port. Tourists disembark from their floating hotels to enjoy less than 12 hours on the island. They…

Ometepe: An Island between Volcanoes

Ometepe Island sits in the middle of the largest lake in Nicaragua. The lake, called Mar Dulce or sweet ocean, looks like the Pacific Ocean with waves just as big as those lapping the west coast of Nicaragua. You can reach the island via a bus or shuttle to Rivas from San Juan del Sur…

Pura Vida and American Prices in Costa Rica

“Pura vida,” the older couple shouts over their shoulder at us as they walk away. We are starting to catch on that this comment is the popular tag line of Costa Rica and the white tourists are eating it up. Everyone ends and starts their conversations here by cheerfully spouting off the words like a…

True Paradise on the San Blas Islands

Ready to unplug, kick off your shoes, and take a dip in some of the clearest, most refreshing blue waters? Welcome to the San Blas Islands off the north east coast of Panama! Here you will discover a true Paradise. There are 365 islands and cays in the archipelago in total, but only 49 of…

A Quick Visit to Colombia’s Caribbean Coast

We unfortunately have run short on time in our visit to Colombia, so we were only able to preview the Caribbean coast line. We flew from Medellin to Santa Marta and spent a week exploring the coast. Santa Marta This beach town is more of a gateway for tourists to other destinations like Tayrona National…

Experiencing Colombia’s Coffee Region

When you mention Colombia to people, they immediately think about its dark history during the drug wars and Pablo Escobar. For those who have visited this incredible country though, a picture of rolling green mountains covered in coffee and banana plants, delicious arepas, and some of the nicest people on earth come to mind. Colombia,…

Ringing in 2018 in Ecuador

For North Americans New Years means watching the ball drop, wearing black and gold, drinking champagne, and kissing at midnight. In Ecuador, the New Year comes with many unique traditions that are far different than we are accustomed to. After a conversation with a local, I discovered how Ecuadorians ring in the New Year and…

Celebrating Christmas Abroad

It is always interesting to get a sneak peek into how other cultures celebrate the holidays. I’ve had the pleasure of celebrating Christmas in Jamaica with my family, in Australia, and now in Ecuador. We all have different customs and it’s fascinating to observe them. I grew up in a very secular home, where we…

Oops We Did It Again…Another Trek at High Altitude

Why are we such gluttons for punishment? It could be the wonderful rewards we receive for our efforts. Beautiful vistas tend to be our main temptations, but also the challenge in itself provides some great self-gratification for all the suffering. This time around we arrived less prepared and thus felt the punishment of altitude sickness…

Peru Hop: aka The Gringo Express

In 2013, two Irish guys named Will and Conor had the idea to create a hop on hop off bus service for backpackers in Peru. This way backpackers had a safe, convenient and affordable way to visit spots in Peru that previously were missed on the backpacker circuit, but were worth visiting. Now they have…

Tips and Facts to Prepare for the Machu Picchu Inca Trek!

My husband and I just completed the Machu Picchu Inca trek this week. For months leading up to it, I was feeling anxious and scared that it would be too hard. A lot of people who have completed the trek tell you it’s doable, but difficult. Most people warn about the altitude and the infamous…

Overcoming My Limits: Rainbow Mountain and Red Valley

I’ve never been so challenged in my life! This trip has really helped me see past my self-imposed limits and know that we truly have no limits. I was terrified about climbing Rainbow Mountain, but this trip is all about facing my fears. So we went for it! We had a 3am wake up call…

Salar de Uyuni: Well Worth the Height

If you have the money and the time on your South America tour, don’t miss Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. You can take the tour directly from Uyuni, Bolivia or enter from San Pedro de Atacama. For Americans you must pay for a visa to enter Bolivia for $160 US, but I promise you it…

San Pedro de Atacama: Desert Tourism

San Pedro de Atacama sits at about 6,000 feet above sea level and is home to the driest desert in the world. There are so many beautiful landscapes in this area that San Pedro has become a hotbed for desert tourism. It attracts Chileans and foreigners to its small outpost in the desert, an hour…

Mendoza is More than Just Malbec!

For any wine lover, Mendoza, Argentina falls under destinations to visit for wine tasting. It is the capital of Malbec wine. They are the main grower and exporter of this delicious red wine. So, you would be remiss to not take a wine tour in Mendoza if you love Malbec. Once you finish wine tasting…

Valparaiso: Artist’s Paradise

We arrived in Valparaiso after a very uncomfortable and exhausting overnight bus trip from Pucon. Our weary eyes struggled to take in the sights out the taxi windows, but we already had a sense for how unique this city would be. When the taxi screeched to a stop at our hostel, the crooked smirk of…

Chile’s Lake Region

After finishing up our adventures in Bariloche and Bolsón, Argentina’s Río Negro lake region, we crossed the border back to Chile. The drive from Bariloche across the border provided spectacular views as we snaked through towering mountains of green and white.  We climbed in elevation, passing over the mountains. Trees wore white cone hats of…

Mountains floating in the Clouds

We continued our upward climb along the gravel road with what felt like no end in sight. Our destination: Piltriquitron, a mountain refugió seated atop the closest mountain to El Bolsón, Argentina. The name comes from Mapuche Indians who inhabited the area originally and it means the mountains that float in the clouds. The description…

Patagonia: “The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go!”

Patagonia has always called my name. I’m a mountain person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach, but I much prefer a good hike in the mountains. Just seeing mountains with their snow caps in the distance makes my heart warm. One of the main reasons I moved to Portland, Oregon was for that…

Agua, Agua y más Agua

We arrived in Puerto Iguazu after a very tremulous plane ride that had Ethan and I both praying to survive and clutching eachother and our armrests for dear life. Luckily, we did land in this humid little town on the border of Brazil and Paraguay in one piece.  Thank god for that, because Iguazu Falls…

Buenos Aires: The Beginning

We arrived safely in Buenos Aires on Thursday. Since then, we have kept ourselves very busy exploring this massive city. We started off our stay with a $100 cab ride from the Airport, because we forgot to negotiate a price beforehand. Then we discovered our hotel reservation wasn’t valid anymore and they switched us to…

Miami: Before the Hurricane

It is always strange when you are planning something for a long time and it feels like it will never actually arrive and then all of a sudden the moment is here. For what seemed like years, Ethan and I planned this trip. It existed in our minds and on our google searches. For all…

Travel isn’t All Umbrella Drinks and Selfies with Monkies!

I was inspired to write this after a friend posted a blogger’s post about how travel isn’t always fun and easy like people think and that we are made to feel bad about complaining when travel gets hard. I completely related to this post, because after years of traveling, I know it isn’t the vacation…

Take a Mental Picture!

These days most moments are captured by our phones and posted immediately to Instagram and Facebook. No experience seems to go undocumented. We have become so addicted to taking pictures of everything, that we almost go through withdrawal if we can’t. Is this trend about saving memories, or sharing our experiences with the world so…

Working in the Australian Outback: A Nightmare Abroad.

In 2012, my sister and I developed this elaborate plan to leave the country and travel for 6 months or more. At first we planned to teach English in Thailand and then travel around SE Asia for a few months, but that plan didn’t fit our timeline. Then I received an email advertisement from a…

10 Reasons You Should Quit Your Job and Travel for a Year!

This coming July, my fiance and I plan to get married and quit our jobs to take a 6 to 9 month honeymoon. We are flying to Argentina and working our way up to Mexico. When we tell people our plan, most people react with confusion and surprise. It is not a common concept in…

Exploring the Open Road: Eastern Oregon and Washington

We set out on a mission: to see Eastern Oregon and make it to Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington. We needed a vacation badly. Both of us work too hard and never take time to relax. So, six months ago and only three months into our relationship, we started planning an…

15 Things Only Backpackers Understand

If you have backpacked through Europe, or Asia, or South/Central America there are certain truths you understand that those who don’t travel or just take vacations won’t. I’ve been backpacking since I was 19 and studying abroad in the Netherlands. I loved filling up my pack and taking off for five days each week to…

Women Can and Should Travel Alone

Women are not encouraged to do things alone. We are seen as fragile and at threat by the world and dangerous men. As a result, women are left to live in fear instead of feeling the strength to do things on their own. When a woman wants to travel alone, she is strongly discouraged from doing…

Climb That Mountain!

Life is not easy! Do not be fooled! Life is beautiful, exciting, challenging, troubling, but not easy. Life is like the mountain I climbed this past weekend. And by climbed, I mean hiked, because let’s be serious I’m no rock climber. Anyway, on Sunday, my boyfriend and I decided to climb (hike) Dog Mountain. Dog…

My Top Travel Experiences!

Whenever I tell people where I’ve traveled, I always get the same question: what was your favorite place? This is quite possibly the hardest question to answer. How can I select one place out of 25 countries, 100 cities, 1,000’s of experiences? It is impossible. For anyone who has traveled a bunch, you can probably relate…

Weekend Getaways: A Great Break from Stress

The last few weeks my boyfriend and I have been feeling overwhelmed with stress about work, money, the future, you name it. Our lives always seem to be so busy, running from one thing to the next. Then my best friend came to town last Thursday to visit with her fiance. They wanted to visit Seattle…

#TBT Travel Story Edition: Learning Spanish in Ecuador

Once upon a time…just kidding. This is a story about learning Spanish. In highschool, I decided to take four levels of French, because French seemed like the sexiest language. Due to block scheduling, I was able to squeeze in three levels of Spanish in my last year and half. By the time I graduated though, it…