With many National Parks and scenic landscapes, you will find some stunning campgrounds in Southwest USA. In this article, I’ll share my 5 favorite campgrounds for tent camping.

Read Blog Post»

Cork is Ireland’s second city and we celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a stay at one of its top hotels, and an outing to the beautiful Fota wildlife park.

Read Blog Post»

This year we went back to New Jersey to see fall foliage. We were planning a trip to the East Coast for a while, and we thought autumn would be the best time to visit.

Read Blog Post»

High up in the Andes mountains of North-Eastern Chile, lies a town like no other. A tiny dot in the middle of the driest desert in the world, San Pedro de Atacama is an other-worldly landscape characterised by magnificent craters, looming volcanos and never-ending sand dunes.

Read Blog Post»
Get Leh’D – Leh
October 212018

Leh holds a special place for anyone who is going on a Ladakh Road-trip. Leh is the headquaters of the Leh District and was also the capital of Ladakh kingdom. Leh is at a altitude of 11,562ft (ASL).
Most of us do the mistake of combining and calling it Leh Ladakh which is not the case and it is just Leh.

Read Blog Post»

In recent years, Colombia has been a very common destination on the backpackers radar. The country’s relatively cheap prices and great variety of landscapes – from wild jungle to pristine beaches – have always been the perfect match for seeing the best of Colombia even for those on a tight budget. Nevertheless, those travelers who…

Read Blog Post»
It’s Fall, Y’all!
October 112018

Well, it’s kind of fall. Technically, October has arrived – but the weather hasn’t exactly gotten it together in Texas. I might’ve unpacked my sweaters, but I’m still wearing short-sleeved shirts the majority of the time. However, that wasn’t going to stop me from visiting a pumpkin patch!

Read Blog Post»

The city of Eger is set in a valley within reach of the wooded hills of Zemplen and Matra. The slopes of the area within are a wine lovers paradise, with line after line of vines being cultivated here. How better to see them than a roadtrip.

Read Blog Post»

They say the rapids on the White Nile in Jinja give the river its name. And rafting them is an adrenaline rush like no other.
In June 2018, we headed on a three-week visit to Uganda and Kenya. Our itinerary was a week in Kampala; another week on safari in Kenya; a few days in the coastal town of Malindi; and another week in Kampala.

Read Blog Post»

Apart from the many famous destinations on the tourist route, Colombia also boasts plenty of less-known yet gorgeous places scattered all around the country. Real traditional markets, forgotten colonial cities, isolated archaeological parks – these are just few of the list. If you’ll ever visit Colombia and decide for a more off the beaten path…


Read Blog Post»

For every traveller, stopping at Uyuni and taking a tour into the gorgeous salt flats is a must on ones Bolivian road trip. That said, the salt flats are not the only attractions around – wild flamingoes, geysers, coloured lagoons, hot springs, active volcanoes – are just few of the unique sights to enjoy while…


Read Blog Post»

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 small towns can manage. We already felt a warmth brimming in our hearts for Pai. It had us at hello.

Read Blog Post»

With only a few more National Park sites left to visit in Texas, it was time for a weekend road trip. All three sites were along the southern east edge of my home state, two being very close to my friend Jenna’s hometown. So it was a perfect time to visit the house where Jenna grew up (in the plains with big homes next to goats!)- and just over her town’s bridge you could walk to Mexico!

Read Blog Post»

The Tokaj wine region is a UNESCO recognized historical wine area in North-Eastern Hungary. We spent two days here exploring the town, its viticulture, and the surrounding area.

Wine has been produced on the slopes here for an unknown amount of time, with evidence suggesting that celts in pre-Roman times engaged in the production. It’s fame and perhaps the reasoning behind UNESCO’s 2002 decision to award it World Heritage Site status is due to the Tokaj Aszu wine, which is the world’s oldest botrytized wine. This is when a fungus infests the grapes and when they are picked at a certain stage, a very sweet wine can be produced.

Read Blog Post»

We scaled over the rocky steps of the waterfall, as it rushed against our feet. The cool water felt so rewarding after our long ride up here.
As people snapped their last pictures and a guard blew his whistle to signal the closing of the park, we swam on, ignoring everyone. We made it to Erawan National Park just an hour before closing, but we refused to acknowledge that we must get out. Water cascaded over the stairway of boulders, fanning out before us. We carefully inched across the various hidden rocks beneath the waters surface until reaching the deep pool. Under the pounding waterfall, we massaged our heads and laughed. We never wished to leave.

Read Blog Post»

Yet again, checking into our next Airbnb in Mexico would turn out to be rough. Tracy and I had moved on to Playa del Carmen for our last night, wanting to be closer to Cancun where we would fly out in the morning. Even though it was a pain to find, once we did we realized we found our second paradise! Not only did it come with a “hot tub” and a freaking rope swing(!), we got beach access passes as well.

Read Blog Post»

The gateways to Lake Titicaca, a.k.a. Puno and Copacabana, are for many people either the first or last stop on their trip visiting the countries of Peru and Bolivia. Even though the Lake is spread over a huge area, these two touristy hotspots, conveniently located at just 3-4h bus ride from each other, are the…

Read Blog Post»

Legend has it that when former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, first set eyes upon Iguazú Falls, she was so wowed that her immediate reaction was to exclaim “Poor Niagara!”
I’m yet to pay Niagara Falls a visit, but I can easily believe that any other waterfall pales in comparison to the sheer size and power of Iguazú. Consisting of 275 different falls, and spanning a distance of nearly 3km along both sides of the Argentine-Brazilian border, it’s easy to see why this aquatic phenomenon has been crowned one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.

Read Blog Post»

After a night of just drinking and exploring the souvenir shops, it was time to get up early and hit the tourist spots. The main attraction in Tulum is the Tulum ruins, which is the site of old Mayan temples and buildings. As you may know, I’m not super into ruins, but these ranked number one on almost every Tulum tourism list.

Read Blog Post»

If you think Kenya is just about wildlife, think again. With beautiful beaches, coral reefs, unique heritage and European influence, Malindi is a great place for a break from hectic safari-ing.
Our main reason for visiting Kenya was, of course, the incredible wildlife. But after a week of driving—both from one park to another, and within each one—we knew we would need a break. And Malindi seemed like the perfect coastal getaway.

Read Blog Post»

Do you want to travel a month in Peru? In this article, I’ll share the perfect itinerary, including the Andes mountains, the desert, colorful cities, and a lot of ancient Inca ruins.

Read Blog Post»
Tequila + Tulum = No Worries
September 132018

Since last minute getting my passport last year, I made it my goal to travel outside of the US at least once a year. I started getting nervous because I didn’t have an international trip planned and I think this realization spurred my sudden obsession with going to Tulum. I’d read a blog about some great places in Tulum and the more research I did, the more I saw how affordable a weekend getaway to Mexico would be!

Read Blog Post»

We visited the Hortobagy National Park on a day trip on our recent trip. It is Hungary’s first and largest national park and was given UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1999 due to its rich cultural history and presence in folklore.

Read Blog Post»

As I’m sure is true of most kids from Texas, I have never surfed. I grew up with the fake ocean at the water park, Hurricane Harbor. My first beach was going to Port Aransas on a high school trip. The water was murky and full of lifeless jelly fish. (It was still incredible.) But believe it or not, I recently learned to surf in the middle of Texas, at a “surf resort” in Waco.

My dad is big into surfing on wave riders, like the one he originally  learned on at Hurricane Harbor. When I mentioned to him that I wanted to learn to surf on a real surfboard, he was interested in joining me. Just when I thought there’d be no time in my schedule for an impromptu trip to a real beach, my dad mentioned the BSR cable park that had only recently opened their surf section.

After a lazy Sunday morning, I met up with my dad to head down to Waco. I’d been bummed that I couldn’t make it to Colorado again this summer (to retry our kayaking adventure), so planning on spending the day together was nice.

We got there early to check out the place. It was cool checking out the wake boarders using the cable pull system to ride the lake. They also had a little lazy river where people floated and big slides that sent people launching into the air. We headed over to the “beach” area to check out some surfing. The current session was a beginners’ crowd, but a lot of people looked like they were pretty good.

Eventually it was time to grab our own boards because our hour time slot had approached. A helpful guy told us to grab the longest boards possible because it would be easier. (I would find out later this was bad advice.)

No one really monitored to us after we got our boards, so my dad and I kind of just swam out to where ten or so other surfers headed. The wave was produced every five minutes or so evenly across the water, and immediately people started going for it. My dad and I had definitely expected an instructor, but we started by just watching everyone around us and mimicking what they did.

Luckily for me, the beach manager started coming around and saw me struggling so took me under his wing. He told me where to lay on the board, where to put my arms and legs, and taught me the timing of the wave and when to swim hard. Finally things were happening! Every time I paddled back I’d shout the information over to my dad.

After four waves the manager told me since I’d gotten good at timing and form, to just get on my knees to ride the wave. And then he left to help another girl nearby. The hardest part was definitely timing. Looking back and learning when to start swimming hard and cresting the pull of the curl started to feel rhythmic.

For my last couple of waves I rode it on my knees all the way to the shore. Just as I was getting ready to try getting up (or at least on one knee) our hour was up. It had gone by so fast! The sport mentality had taken over and I really got submersed in learning new things, but overall it had been so fun! It was surprising how little I was able to talk to my dad though – it really felt like a singular sport.

The manager met up with us again to take our boards and said we had done great for our first time so that was nice. He said it took a lot more hours to be ready for the advanced group, but that we could definitely do it if we practiced. Watching the advanced group, who had now taken the waves, was awesome. They made it look so effortless!

I will for sure be surfing again some day! But I might stick to the man-made waves for now. Much less swimming means much less getting tired out means much more practice! Now don’t get me wrong, I was still sore as heck the next day.

31.619241 -97.002593
Read Blog Post»

Yesterday, our trip in the area of the Sacred Valley up north of Cusco was a relaxing half-day trip but today we’re planning to spend more time visiting sites, pretty much like we did on our first day. The idea is to visit all the leftover highlights in the east area of the Sacred Valley,…

Read Blog Post»

If you’re visiting Peru chances are that you’re also planning to visit the ancient city of Machu Picchu, nothing but one of the new wonders of the world. At first, there might not seem to be many possibilities to get there but with a bit of digging, even those with on a backpacker budget can…

Read Blog Post»

When you’re traveling in Australia it’s hard to miss: there are tons of different tours and they all look awesome. But which one of the tours in Australia are the ones you really shouldn’t miss? I’ll share the best tours on the East Coast in this article.

Read Blog Post»

Where I hear you say? Nyiregyhaza is a small city in Hungary’s east of around 200,000 people. It’s hardly on the tourist trail. But it’s where Beata calls home.
As a small city it’s not without its merits. It served as a good base for us to explore the lesser seen side of Hungary.

Read Blog Post»

After renting a car yesterday evening, this morning we’re ready to start exploring the beautiful Sacred Valley. Today, the plan is to visit all the sites West of Cusco e.g. Chincero, Maras, Moray, Urubamba, Yucay and finish up with Ollantaytambo before heading back to Cusco for the evening. We rented the car for three days…

Read Blog Post»

If you look at the cinder cone volcano of Sunset Crater as the sun’s last rays illuminate it, you’ll see why it got its name. The top of the volcano seems to glow in the gold and orange colors juxtaposed to the black lava around its bottom.
This gorgeous view stays even during the day when the bright sun washes out most colors. It might not be as bright, but it still showcases the same combination of colors.

Read Blog Post»

It seems odd to be heading to the Big Lagoon in Redwood National Park, but after our morning hike we were ready for a bit of a cool down and some relaxation. I’d never been to a lagoon before, but this one just ended up looking like a little pond. I had imagined lush greenery and cool blue waters. The water was pretty cold though, so after a dip it turned into taking a nap in the grass.

It was getting late in the afternoon, so Austin, Jenna, and I headed to the showers so we could get some of the trip’s grime off us before one final hike. Yes, if you’re wondering, we would’ve liked to shower after our final hike, but since the campsites were full we would be backcountry camping in the area of the Tall Trees trail. Logistically, we were going to take it easy on our hike and try and remain comfortable for camping.

As mentioned in my previous post, you need permits to get to the Tall Trees trail and you have to drive a bit of rough road to get there. Having the code to get into this “private” area was so cool. Plus, we were finally going to spend some time with the actual redwoods! So much of Redwood Park is devoted to nature that isn’t exactly tree related. I was ready to finally walk among the tallest trees in the world!

This trail started at the top of a hill, so the trail itself had a bit of elevation and several switchbacks. But being in the trees that blocked the surrounding stuff out was amazing. I haven’t grown up with much woods in my life, so being in a huge forest with massive trees was definitely different.

Once we reached the bottom, we were in the “Tall Trees Grove” which was full of the biggest trees I’ve ever seen. We hadn’t run into hardly anyone, but now that we had hiked a couple hours we could hear campers not too far from the creek. It was lovely. However, we had not hiked down with our tent, so after some photos (of course), it was time to head back the way we’d come.

The sun was definitely setting, and we’d planned on setting up our tent in the dark, but Jenna had us on a mission to hike back up and out before all the light was gone. Even with some steep spots of elevation, we made it back up in less than an hour. We’d turned on our lights only five minutes before we were done, so we basically accomplished our goal.

Setting up camp though, seemed like a tiresome ordeal. We hadn’t had a great night’s sleep previously, we were all pretty amped from our vigorous hike, and as we were scouting for a location to set up our tent, we wondered if it was worth it. The time of sleep we’d get would be almost equivalent to how long it would take to set up and break down camp. We scrapped our plan and decided to just go ahead and get on the road while we were still wide awake.

This would prove to be kind of awful, because all the motels along our drive were completely booked or super expensive. We didn’t realize how much traffic had headed to the California coast to escape the big Carr wildfires. Plus it was summer, prime time for camping and road trips. After getting too exhausted to keep driving, we finally pulled over and grabbed a few hours sleep in our cramped car. The plus side is the sun was rising soon and we had gained more time for a stop in San Francisco!

41.196223 -123.997192
Read Blog Post»

This was in July that we started planning a roadtrip to Ladakh region in August and I was also scheduled to go on a work trip to Ireland. Not wanting to miss visiting Jammu and Kashmir in August to celebrate India’s Independence Day in Kargil (Drass War Memorial), started planning with ScoutMyTrip and RoadTrippersClub who were supporting me on the roadtrip to Ladakh region.

Read Blog Post»

The city of Chachapoyas is one of the famous destinations found in the north of Peru. Even though the city itself might not have a special charm, the several archaeological sites scattered in the surroundings are something worth visiting. (August 2018) At time of writing the city centre and many of its streets (including the…

Read Blog Post»

Don’t be alarmed. I’m merely telling you about the time I scratched the number one thing from my bucket list, and did a tandem skydive. Without that shove most first time jumpers would probably still be sitting on that plane.

Read Blog Post»

Back in Tierradientro, when a fellow Austrian traveller told us about Puerto Lopez and surroundings, he completely bought us (thankfully he was not a travel agent!). Initially, we were not sure whether the 8-hour side journey from Cuenca was worth the time but how can you say no to… whales! Town and Fish Market Now,…

Read Blog Post»

Spending a relaxing day out exploring the Playa Los Frailes in the Machalilla National Park is a great budget-friendly activity to see more of the surroundings around the “left-behind” village of Puerto Lopez. Even though the beach is located just at a short 10min bus ride from the village, getting to it by walking the…

Read Blog Post»
Things to do in Baños
August 52018

Even though the small town of Baños de Agua Santa is quite pleasant, the surrounding area around the once-active volcano Tungurahua and the Pastaza river offer plenty of activities for all those adventure junkies looking for some adrenaline. A swing on the top of the world, plenty of zip lining, hiking, canyoning, rafting, rock climbing…

Read Blog Post»

I don’t think I’ve ever known of my fear of heights until I walked on Deception Pass bridge. Climbing pyramids and standing on top of them high above the jungle canopy, climbing lookout towers on rickety, open stairways didn’t bother me much. It wasn’t always easy, but I always managed without feeling too scared.

Deception Pass Bridge180 feet above the water, walking across Deception Pass Bridge is scary if you have a fear of heights.

But walking across Deception Pass Bridge was terrifying for me, made much worse because hundreds of people kept walking across both ways,  chatting, stopping, laughing, at ease. My girls stopped to look down and take tons of photos.

View from Deception Pass BridgeView from Deception Pass Bridge

I ended up screaming at my younger one when I saw her bending over the rails. “This is why your hair is grey, mom,” she told me. “You worry too much about everything we do. I was fine.” Easy for her to say. Though I knew she was in no danger, the image scared me to death. She might be right, I probably aged another few years in those moments.

View from the Deception Cross Bridge, WashingtonThe views from the bridge made the scary walk through worth it.

It seemed like I was the only one worried about anything among hundreds of people crossing this bridge back and forth.  Embarrassed, I was trying hard not to let anyone notice I was shaking inside as I walked. I even stopped in the middle to take a few photos.
The views on both sides were gorgeous, breathtaking (literally, in my case), worth the walk. Even if you’re scared of heights.

Deception Pass. View from the bridgeThe view from Deception Pass would take my breath away

Table of Contents


Where Is Deception Pass Bridge?

The steel bridge, one of the scenic wonders of the Pacific Northwest, connects two islands, Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands, in Washington State. The two-lane bridge, with pedestrian walkways on both sides, is one of the most photographed landmarks in Puget Sound, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

View of Deception Pass Bridge from the beach on Whidbey Island View of Deception Pass Bridge from the beach on Whidbey Island

Before the bridge, travelers used a ferry to cross between the islands. Since the ferry wasn’t on a schedule, they would have to call it. In an era before cell phones, they banged a saw with a mallet – I guess that sound travels far – and sat back to wait.  It was a slower pace of travel.

With cars and people wanting to travel more and in a more convenient manner, the State of Washington built this bridge between 1934 and 1935.

The steel bridge at Deception Pass . View from below.The steel bridge at Deception Pass took a year to complete. View from the trail below.

Its height from the water is about 180 feet, more or less depending on the tide. Doesn’t seem extreme, but looking straight down, it’s a lot of height. It comprises two bridges, connecting the two larger islands through a tiny one, called Pass Island. The total length of both is 1487 feet or 0.45 km. Not bad, but long for a high and narrow bridge. Still, spectacular.

Deception Pass BridgeDeception Pass Bridge was built between 1934-1935

You can’t get a true feel for it from the car though, so they set up parking lots on both sides, so travelers can stop, walk through this marvel of architecture and enjoy the views.

Why the Name “Deception Pass”? A Bit of History

If you are like me, you wonder who named this place Deception Pass and why? I had to find out. Turns out that Captain George Vancouver gave it the name “Deception” because the pass deceived him into thinking Whidbey Island was a peninsula.

The area was home to people of different Coast Salish tribes for thousands of years before Vancouver saw it, and I’m sure they had a different name for it, though I could not find out what it was.

The first Europeans who saw Deception Pass were Spaniards, members of an expedition set out in 1790 by Manuel Quimper on the Princesa Real. They named the pass Boca de Flon.

View from the Deception Pass BridgeDeception Pass Bridge was called Boca de Flon by the Spaniards who first found it

The Vancouver expedition, sent by the Royal Navy that lasted four years, between 1791 and 1795 was mapping the area. A group of sailors from the expedition, led by Joseph Whidbey, found Deception Pass. But they didn’t find it on their first attempt. After exploring the area the first time, Whidbey returned thinking Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island were a long peninsula attached to the mainland. Only when they returned later, they found out that in fact, these were islands.

Deception PassDeception Pass is connecting islands.

Exploring the Area Today

As hard as it was to explore the area for members of the early expeditions, roads and trails make it easy today. Yes, you can just stop in one of the parking lots and walk on the bridge, enjoy the views and continue on your way.  But when you look down to the beach below, you might feel you’ll want to stop and stay awhile. At least that’s how we felt.

The perfect opportunity for this is the Deception Pass State Park, with the entrance close to the bridge. Considering it is the most visited state park in Washington, I suspect that we are not alone in our quest to explore the area beside the bridge.

Ocean view from the North Beach of Deception Pass State ParkOcean view from the North Beach of Deception Pass State Park

The Park comprises areas on both Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands and includes three lakes besides the gorgeous ocean shoreline and trails in old-growth forests.

Forest in the Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island In the forest of the Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island

Spending A Day In Deception Pass State Park

After driving through the gate at Deception Pass State Park, I felt like we were in a maze, with narrow, small roads leading in all direction in the middle of a forest. I’m not good with maps, every time I am a navigator, we end up getting lost. Not that it mattered in this case, we wanted to explore the whole park, but the map once again confused me. So, to start out with, we took the road that led to North Beach.

A short walk through the forest got us out onto the beach, with a gorgeous view of Deception Pass Bridge and the surrounding islands. The weather was perfect, a pleasant breeze accompanied us as we made our way to the far side of the beach.

North Beach in Deception Pass State Park North Beach in Deception Pass State Park

The tide was coming in by the time we went back, so it was more difficult to pass around one of the outcropping rocks without getting wet, but we managed.

North Beach, Deception Pass State Park, WashingtonThe tide was coming in by the time we were making our way back

Later in the day, we drove towards the West beach, taking the road through the campsites and around Cranberry Lake.  We parked at West Point and walked around.

A sunny day in the Pacific Northwest brings people outside. As much as we hide from the sun, people here love it and enjoy it. With plenty of amenities for picnics, boat rentals and campsites, this part of the park was most crowded.

Beach at West Point in Deception Pass State Park WashingtonThe beach at West Point was filled with people

We didn’t stay long, just enough to notice we had a better view of Deception Island from here, though none of the Bridge.

Just Another Beautiful Day in the Pacific Northwest

By the time we left the park, we felt that we spent another perfect day in the Pacific Northwest. In one park alone, we walked on the beach, across a historic bridge, and in an old-growth forest. I don’t know of many places where we can do all this in one day.

I felt lucky to be able to visit this place.

Deception Pass Bridge

Sharing this post on The Weekly Postcard hosted by Travel Notes and Beyond, Two Traveling Texans, California Globetrotter, TravelLatte

Travel Notes & Beyond

Emese Fromm is the editor and the main writer for Wanderer Writes. Some of her travel articles have been featured in publications like Matador Network, GoNomad, DesertUSA, MapQuest Travel, among others. She loves to travel the world with her family, trying to find the less-traveled path anywhere she goes (sometimes she succeeds).

Read Blog Post»

One of the best activities to do on your own in the small city of Baños is cycling on the Waterfalls Route a.k.a Ruta de Las Cascadas, a stretch of mostly downhill paved road that starts from town and follows the Rio Pastaza until Rio Verde. Even though this route can be done as a…

Read Blog Post»

You can’t skip Machu Picchu when you’re traveling in Peru. I arrived just after sunrise and was blown away, what a view! In this blog, I’ll tell you about Machu Picchu and my last days in Peru.

Read Blog Post»

As soon as it started hitting the 100s in Dallas, I knew it was time to find a pool of water. I have access to a small apartment pool, but that is just not the same as finding a big lake to swim in! After a bit of research for close swimmable lakes – I found out about Joe Pool Lake in Grapevine!

Read Blog Post»

Have you ever had an adventure that you have dreamed about for so long but you never really believed that it would come true? Whenever we would drive up to Duluth Minnesota and head up to the North Shore I would see people sailing in very large sailboats on the huge waters of Lake Superior and look on dreamily wishing that I would be on board. It was like a childlike romantic dream. Now it is time to be Sailing Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Bayfield Wisconsin.

Read Blog Post»

It’s finally time for my last destination in Peru: Cusco. I’ve had plenty of time to explore this beautiful city and the Sacred Valley before walking the Inca Trail.

Read Blog Post»

One of the most interesting archaeological sites in Colombia is found just next to San Andres de Pisimbala, a tiny tiny village (not even 1000 inhabitants) tucked away in the middle of the hilly countryside. The site’s name has a history that goes back to the first conquistadores who explored the region and while on…

Read Blog Post»

Anantagiri Hills is one of the most preferred weekend Getaway.
Due to its proximity to Hyderabad, this is the third time we ended up visiting this beautiful location.

Read Blog Post»

By our last day in Jefferson, Texas, mom and I were experts. We knew to take our time in the morning, tie back the curtains, and enjoy the lazy start of the town. We eventually moseyed on to breakfast after nine, heading to the Jefferson Outpost. This store opened “early” to serve breakfast in the back. We ordered our meal, taking in the easy nature of the community.

Read Blog Post»
Rottnest Island
July 182018

Per Maddison’s suggestion we decided to take a day and enjoy an island off the west coast of Perth called Rottnest Island aka Rotto. Rottnest gets its name from the Dutch explorers who believed the quokkas, who still inhabit the island today, were giant rats, they named the island “Rats’ Nest Island.” The quokkas are the most unique aspect of this island, and one of the only places in the world you can find these marsupials. Nowadays, people head to the island for relaxation, beach activities, and you can’t leave without taking a quokka selfie.

Read Blog Post»
Inspired to Thrift
July 172018

My visit to the small town of Jefferson, TX inspired an addictive habit to pop back up: my need to shop. Luckily now my shopaholic syndrome is balanced by a head for budgeting and a mantra of spending on experiences – but thrifting let’s me get away with everything. I never spend a lot of money and the hunt for treasures is always a good time.

Read Blog Post»

Riding over river rapids. Trekking through Martian landscapes. Swimming over surreal coral reefs. And, of course, admiring the breathtaking wildlife. This short video has best of our memories of Africa.

Read Blog Post»

Colombia is surely a place with beautiful landscapes but you’ll find very little similar to what the locals call “La Piedra”. We might have used “feeling on the top of the world” a bit too often but climbing to the top of La Piedra de Guatapé has never made such statement more true! The “Peñon…

Read Blog Post»

I know, I know, it’s July – it’s meant to be hot. But trust me, having lived through 30 summers on this little island, I can confirm that a British heatwave is the equivalent of a solar eclipse or a Jumanji reboot – miss it and you might be waiting another 20 years for it to come around again. So while the sun still has his hat on, there’s no better time to get out and explore. And there’s nowhere prettier, or more quintessentially English, than Bibury.

Read Blog Post»

Among the things to do in Bogotá, visiting El Salto de Tequendama and enjoying the beautiful views of this waterfall (definitely not the smell) from one of the many miradores, is something worth half day of your time. When trying to reach El Salto by ourselves is was not quite the easiest city adventures and…

Read Blog Post»

Lighthouses stand sentinel on rugged coasts, helping ships navigate the dangerous cliffs, reefs, and rocks. They served as a beacon for navigation, marking dangers close to shore. They each had their own signature flash, acting like a GPS, helping sailors understand their location.

Read Blog Post»

There aren’t many places in the world where, in less than 48 hours, you can see towering volcanoes, colourful lagoons, sweeping deserts, rainbow-coloured mountains, perfectly reflective lakes, active geysers, 30-foot-high cacti, wild flamingos… not to mention the largest salt flat on Earth. But that is exactly what you can expect on a multi-day tour of Bolivia’s famous Salar de Uyuni – and it is every bit as unforgettable as it sounds.

Read Blog Post»

Vaud Region has Lake Genève on the Switzerland side and Lac Léman on the French side is overlooked by the Swiss Alps which gives you great experiences and picturesque postcards.

Read Blog Post»

After our long stay zig-zagging throughout Nicaragua, we decided it was time to stop for while, possibly work to get back our finances and change from the day-to-day moving around routine. This is how we ended up in Tamarindo, a small Costarican party town on the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. The reason why we…

Read Blog Post»

Are you planning in spend sometime working and living in Tamarindo? This is the post for you! Keep reading and you’ll find out how we managed to keep the costs low during our long-term stay of 3 months in this expensive beach town. Read our post on Living in Tamarindo! From accomodation to shopping costs…

Read Blog Post»

It’s finally time for me to share my trip to Big Bend! Being a Texan, this National Park has been on my list from the beginning! When planning my visit to Big Bend National Park, I knew I wanted as much time as possible to try and get as much done there as I could. I gave myself a three day weekend and researched as much as I could. I even highlighted a printout map for the first time!

Read Blog Post»

Whistler, British Columbia, is one of Canada’s most popular resorts. Most people come for the skiing and snowboarding in the winter but when the snow melts, the fun doesn’t stop. If you find yourself looking for things to do in Whistler in the summer, look no further.

Read Blog Post»

I had a heavy wedding season this spring, so I had to halt all traveling for too long. I was so excited to finally get back outdoors and start checking off more National Park sites! Not only that, but resume driving the beautiful countryside from sun up to sun down.

Read Blog Post»

Between Cairns and Townsville there are so many beautiful waterfalls and swimming holes to explore. We were fortunate enough to spend a month discovering this part of the world, documenting our trip as we went. When we were looking into where to go, we couldn’t find the sort of information we were looking for, so thought we would create this blog for future travellers in the area. We have put together our top 5 waterfalls and a bonus secret spa pool, which is way to surreal to miss… the colours are amazing!

Read Blog Post»

This Saturday is National Trails Day! I’ll be busy with a friend’s wedding, so I’m hoping to get in my hiking before the weekend arrives. Hiking has become very important to me, so I wanted to share my most personal hiking thoughts.

Read Blog Post»

14th March 2018 saw me plan a trip to Mount Titlis and i was all set to ensure I reached the Basel SBB railway station by 0800 Hrs to catch the InterRegio to Luzern from where I would need to connect another train to Engelberg. The journey was around 01:45 hours from Basel.

Read Blog Post»

You could spend ages travelling through India and leave the country with the feeling of having missed out on way too many things. Needless to say that during our – short – month trip we never stopped a second taking in all the beautiful sights that unfolded in front of our eyes. It was hard…

Read Blog Post»

In honor of Mother’s Day being yesterday, I wanted to share a trip I took recently out to Pilot Point, TX. My wonderful mom and I were already headed out near the area to see my brother’s fiancé’s wedding venue. A quick little detour west and we’d have a chance to check out the “Texas Tulips” that local Dallasites had been raving about.

Read Blog Post»

As you know, I’ve been trying to experience new things in Dallas – so when I heard that there was something called “goat yoga” I knew I had to check it out!

Read Blog Post»

Jungfrau region needs no mention should you be a Indian movie lover which would have a romantic number from one of these regions. Having said, that, this place also boasts to be the top of Europe which makes it a must visit place for someone on a trip to Switzerland.

Read Blog Post»

Mount Rigi is a fascinating part of Alps in Switzerland and offers a whole massif surrounded by water on all three sides from Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug and Lake Lauerz. Rigi region is also connected by the oldest cog railways of Europe which makes the journey all the more fascinating.

Read Blog Post»

During my recent trip to Africa I spent a few days in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. We were on our way to Zanzibar from Rwanda and the flights we were looking at stopped there anyway…. So why not! Landing into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport I was surprised at how close the runway was to the national park, such a big open space right next to the city skyline.
Exploring Nairobi was definitely an experience, it’s one of the craziest cities I’ve ever been to, winding, dusty streets, that were constantly busy! I always felt very disoriented and never knew where I was going. It probably didn’t help that half the time I was walking with my head down. I don’t think people were aiming for this but I often found them to be very intimidating, mainly because we were getting a lot of stares and men regularly yelling out “Mzunga” (white person).

Read Blog Post»

After our previous day of nature adventures, I slept good and hard. Now it was time to actual explore the city of Portland. Our flight home was at 3:40pm, so that gave us about six hours to try and tackle the must-sees on our Portland list.

Read Blog Post»

Having only 5 days in Margaret River, we had to make the most of our time exploring all there was to see in this gorgeous wine region. Five days might seem like a lot, but in fact, we wish we had more time. Not only did we spend plenty of time exploring Margaret River, but we also spent quality time sipping our way through several vineyards, sampling a few breweries, trying a distilling company, and of course refueling our bodies with food. The Margaret River region is a true delight for those who enjoy good food and drink!

Read Blog Post»
Diving in Bali
April 142018

Our stay in Bukit Lawang came to an end and the hotel arranged transportation to the airport. Until this point in our trip I had planned everything. I would have planned a bit more if I could have but our days and nights were so busy. We also found out while we were in England that Andrew would have a friend in Bali the same time as us, so I didn’t want our travel plans to be so rigid we would not get to meet up.

Read Blog Post»

We woke up early in the morning to take a long and bumpy car ride to a village where you can wash elephants. I was worried it would be like our ride from Medan, but our driver was excellent. We were jostled around a bit, but it was due to the road.

Read Blog Post»

If you’ve always dreamed of visiting the endless African savanna to watch lions, elephants, cheetah and wildebeest go about their business, then here is how to make your safari dream a reality.

The Masai Mara in Kenya is arguably the most famous safari destination in Africa, and the annual migration of the wildebeest across its grassy plains is possibly the most famous wildlife spectacle in the world. This has been on our list for a long time now, and in a few months, we’re finally going to do it! Here’s how we planned it from Hyderabad, India; and even if you’re somewhere else, you’ll still find a few useful tips here. Unless you live in Antarctica, maybe.

Also see: Video diary: The best of our memories of Africa


Booking your safari

Your first step would obviously be to book your safari tour, because everything else revolves around that. There are lots of tour operators in India who can take care of that for you, and toehold comes very highly recommended. We contacted them and found them very open, knowledgeable and responsive, but ultimately a little beyond our budget.

Finding the right safari for you

Our relatives in Uganda—who’ve helped a lot of their friends figure out their safaris—recommended that we use www.safaribookings.com instead of using a tour operator in India. This is a great website that helps you find exactly the kind of tour you’re looking for. It lets you filter tours by budget, destination, group size and other preferences. Once you find the right tour for you, you can then ask for a quote directly from the tour operator. You can also ask them to include various add-ons like hotel stays in other places and airport transfers.

We’ve booked with Tekko Tours and Travel, and we’ve had a great experience with them so far. Their representative has been very friendly, informative, professional and responsive, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If all goes well, I won’t have to update this post with a different opinion when we get back!

(Update: We’re back, and it was great, but it could’ve been better. We spent too much time driving, and our driver/guide could have been more responsive. I’m working on a detailed post, but meanwhile, take a look at this quick highlight video.)

Impala, gazelle and topi on the plains of Masai Mara - Planning your kenya safari from India

Impala, gazelle and topi on the plains of Masai Mara

Deciding where and when to visit

The peak season for safaris in Kenya and the Masai Mara is from the middle of June until October. This is the best time to see wildlife—including the legendary wildebeest migration—but tour prices and visitor numbers are also highest during these times. Booking just before or just after peak season might be a good idea if you’re on a tight budget. But make no mistake, a safari in Kenya will put a dent in your wallet, one way or another.

Besides the Masai Mara, Kenya has lots of other reserves to visit, each with its own speciality. Lake Nakuru is famous for its hordes of flamingos (though the numbers have apparently reduced over the last few years). If elephants and hippos are your thing, then you might want to visit Amboseli too—especially if you’re looking for a photograph of the moon rising over Mount Kilimanjaro for your Instagram account! And the best part is that they’re all a few hours’ drive from each other and can be combined. Of course, Kenya has lots of other national parks and nature reserves that you can visit. It all depends on what you want to do. And Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is where most tours start and end.

An elephant and her baby in Amboseli National Park - How to plan your Kenya safari from India

An elephant and her baby in Amboseli National Park

Paying for your safari

Interestingly enough, payments need to be made in US dollars only. Our operator ended up quoting just over USD 1,000 per head for a five-day tour and two nights in Nairobi. If you’re looking for a mid-range private tour, this is probably the cost you should budget for. If this is too high for you, you can reduce costs by joining a larger group, choosing lower-end accommodation, and asking for a safari van to travel around instead of the more expensive four-wheel drive SUV.

Cheetah in Masai Mara - How to plan your Kenya safari from India

A bank transfer might not be as fast as this cheetah, but its cheaper than paying by card!

Once you finalize your tour costs, and depending on the terms quoted by your tour operator, you’ll have to make your payment. Our operator asked for 30% advance, and the remaining payable two months before the tour. They gave us the option to pay either by credit card or international bank transfer. We did some research and found out that, with transaction costs and exchange rates included, it would cost us Rs. 15,000 more to pay by credit card than bank transfer! So even though paying by bank transfer is a bit tedious, it saves a lot of money.

To transfer the funds to your tour operator, you’ll need to visit your bank branch with a copy of your passport, a printout of your operator’s quotation, and your chequebook. Make sure the quotation mentions the operator’s address, their bank and branch, and the bank’s SWIFT code. You’ll need to fill out a form and answer a few questions, and with luck, you’ll be done in half an hour.

Also read: In the shadow of elephants in Valparai


Planning your flights

From what we could make out, Mumbai is the only city in India from which there’s a direct flight to Nairobi. This is on Kenya Airways, currently costing about Rs. 35,000 for a return ticket. Of course, it all depends on when you book. The more in advance you book, the more likely you are to get a good rate.

If you’re booking from another city in India, you’ll probably have to layover for a few hours in Mumbai. Some other international airlines like Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Air Arabia might also fly from your city, with a stop at their home cities. We decided to fly Emirates from Hyderabad, with a stopover in Dubai. If you’ve read my post on responsible travel, you might have noticed that this goes against the very first point I mentioned—travelling in as straight a line as possible. But in our defence, we’ll be meeting up with another member of our group in Dubai, and then flying on to Kampala in Uganda. Because, relatives.

Shutterstock - airplane (By Faiz Zaki) - small

Only Mumbai has direct flights to Nairobi (image courtesy Shutterstock/Faiz Zaki)

How to book your flights

The easiest way to book your flights would be through an online booking platform like MakeMyTrip or Yatra. To our surprise, we found that MakeMyTrip—our go-to booking platform—didn’t offer the kind of connections we wanted, so we ended up booking through the Emirates site itself, and even got a slightly cheaper rate.  So whenever you’re booking, it might make sense to compare offerings between booking sites and the airline’s site. You never know where you’ll get the best deal.

Applying for your visa for Kenya

Applying for a visa is quite simple and can be done online at the Kenyan government’s eVisa site. While applying, you’ll need to upload soft copies of your passport, tickets, hotel bookings and your travel schedule. The visa fees need to be paid in US dollars via credit card, and the cost of a single-entry visa is approximately USD 52. The application takes two or three days to process.

In case you’re visiting Uganda and/or Rwanda as well, it would be worthwhile to apply for an East Africa Tourist Visa. This one allows you to visit all three countries, and costs approximately USD 103. Strangely enough, the Kenyan eVisa site doesn’t allow you to apply for this visa online, but only on arrival or at Kenyan consulates and embassies abroad. We booked through the Ugandan e-immigration site instead, since that’ll be our first stop. A word to the wise: if you’re using this site, you might run into a roadblock while filling the ‘duration of stay requested’ section. Enter ‘3 months’, regardless of your period of stay; the site doesn’t accept anything else, for some reason.

Also read: Eight great things to experience while visiting Bhutan


Getting your mandatory vaccinations

Kenya is one of the African countries in which you can get yellow fever, and travellers to these countries need to be vaccinated. You’ll be asked to show an internationally recognized vaccination certificate when you come back to India. If you don’t have one, you might be put under quarantine for up to six days. The Indian government also requires that all travellers to Kenya take an oral polio vaccination (OPV), even if they’ve been vaccinated earlier. Funnily, the Ugandan e-immigration site asks you for a vaccination certificate while applying, but the Kenyan eVisa site doesn’t. Don’t ask me why.

Yellow fever vaccination certificates issued by the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Hyderabad, India - Planning your kenya safari from India

The vaccination certificates issued by the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Hyderabad

The yellow fever vaccination needs to be taken at least 10 days before returning to India, and is valid for life. To be on the safe side, plan to take the vaccine at least 10 days before LEAVING India. We’ve heard stories about travellers being hassled at the airport in Kenya for not having the certificate. The oral polio vaccination needs to be taken at least three weeks before returning to India. Your vaccinations must be administered at any one of the authorized vaccination centers (PDF) across India, and they’ll also give you the necessary certificate.

Getting your vaccinations in Hyderabad

It looks like the only authorized center to issue these vaccination certificates is the government-run Institute of Preventive Medicine in Himayatnagar. Here’s the location. Before visiting, take a look at their clunky website (the website that shows up on Google is out of date, it seems; the URL still has the ‘AP’ for Andhra Pradesh instead of the ‘TG’ for Telangana). Specifically, take a look at the ‘guidelines for travellers’ link for some useful dos and don’ts. If you have trouble viewing the site, try using Internet Explorer to access it.

Entrance to the institute of preventive medicine, hyderabad, india - planning your kenya safari from india

The entrance to the government complex housing the Institute of Preventive Medicine (image courtesy Aakash Singh via Google Maps)

To get your vaccinations, you first need to take an appointment at the ‘Registration for Appointment’ link. WARNING: The appointment form is very user-unfriendly! For example, some fields not marked as mandatory turn out to be mandatory after you click the ‘submit’ button. Also, clicking directly on the radio buttons on the date and time selector screen sometimes doesn’t work. You’ll need to hunt around the area with your pointer for the right place to click (watch for the radio button circle to turn blue!). Lastly, the appointment link doesn’t always work. Be patient and keep trying.

When choosing a date and time, remember that you can only get yellow fever vaccinations on Tuesdays and Fridays. You don’t need to take a separate appointment for the OPV; take one for the yellow fever vaccine, and you can get the OPV done at the same time. We found that both the yellow fever and OPV vaccines can be bought at the institute. Total cost: yellow fever vaccine, Rs. 250 + OPV, Rs. 50 + admin charges, Rs. 50 = Rs. 300 in total. Remember to take your passport and a printout of your appointment along when you go.

Also read: 21 simple tips to be a responsible traveller

Our vaccination experience

The institute itself is part of a slightly spooky-looking old government setup that includes other dilapidated buildings. The institute is right at the back and has prominent lettering over the entrance. Actually, the word ‘institute’ is probably too grand. It’s just one hall with two desks, some waiting chairs, one table where the vaccines are administered, and sundry paraphernalia.

Institute of preventive medicine, hyderabad, india - planning your kenya safari from India

This is where the vaccines are administered (image courtesy Ashok Babu Kandula via Google Maps)

Even though we were a little late for our appointment, it didn’t really matter because there was hardly anyone else there. A gentleman at a desk asked for our passports and appointment prints, and spent about twenty minutes reading through them and filling forms. We then had to go out and pay at the cash counter (hidden away in the diagnostics building behind some barred windows). That done, another gentleman at another table put two drops of OPV in each of our mouths and shot a dose of yellow fever vaccine into our left arms. Each syringe was destroyed immediately after, in case you’re wondering.

They then stamped our vaccine certificates, and told us to sit around for half an hour, just in case any of us showed any major side effects. Nothing severe, but we did feel slightly dizzy, a little headache-y and mildly nauseous. Overall, we spent just over an hour there, including the sitting around after. We were told more side effects like fever, body ache and nausea might show up between three and nine days later. Luckily, besides a little fatigue and sore throat, we didn’t feel anything much.

Overall, once we got past the shoddy exterior, the experience wasn’t bad: the people were friendly and helpful, and the vaccination process efficient and professional. Definitely better than I expected.


Packing for your safari

Now that your safari is paid for, your tickets are booked, your visa done and your vaccinations taken, all that’s left is to pack and sally forth! But before you start throwing things into your suitcase, there are a few things you might want to think about.

Packing well might make all the difference to your safari

Packing well might make all the difference to your safari

Even if you’re not the kind who hauls around a zoom lens for your camera that’s half the size of your suitcase, remember that you’re visiting the wide expanses of Africa and not your local zoo. Take a pair of binoculars or a telescope along so you don’t miss any action that happens more than a few hundred meters away.

Whatever research we’ve done on the weather in Kenya has led to an unexpected conclusion: Kenya is surprisingly cool, with average maximum temperatures in the high 20s, Celsius! It seems it’s warmer on the coast and cooler inland, but wherever you’re going, it’s probably worthwhile to carry something warm. Just in case. Of course, that doesn’t mean the sun isn’t going to be hot at midday. So you should probably carry a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen too.

Lastly, even though you’ve got your yellow fever vaccination, why take the risk of getting something else, like malaria? Take a good insect repellent along, and use it regularly. And try and stay covered at all times. Even if you don’t contract something nasty, scratching itchy welts the whole day is probably not your idea of fun. I could be wrong, of course.

So reserve your safari, book your flights, get your visa and vaccinations, and pack for the safari of a lifetime!

Also read: Don’t make these 10 travel mistakes that we did


Read Blog Post»

An absolute highlight of our trip to Western Australia was exploring the Margaret River region on the extreme southwest corner of the continent. This region is absolutely stunning with beautiful landscapes, secluded beaches, friendly locals, and a nice Mediterranean climate. The region is also famous as one of Australia’s premier wine growing regions and is home to over 150 wineries. There is an emphasis on local products throughout the region with fantastic wine, local produce, olive oils, and dairy products. It is a paradise for those who appreciate good food and drink. We could have spent so much more time here than our 5 days.

Read Blog Post»

We were so happy to leave Medan and head to the jungle! I found a very reputable company called Sumatra Eco-Travel Bukit Lawang to take us on our jungle trek. A driver picked us up from our mediocre hotel in the morning. We picked up a few other people from town as well. The drive from Medan to Bukit Lawang is around three hours. I’m pretty sure our driver was related to our driver in Egypt who drove us to the pyramids. Even though our driver was terrible, I was able to sleep most of the way.

Read Blog Post»

Looking at my National Park map, I realized there were still a few sites scattered through central Texas that would require a drive through San Antonio and Austin. The weekend trip would give me an opportunity to finally explore the landscape I’d heard of called “Hill Country.”

Read Blog Post»
The Beauty of Tuscany
March 212018

Florence, or Firenze as the locals call it, was one of our favorite spots in Italy. It stands out as more of a hidden gem, maybe a little less popular, in terms of bigger cities in Italy. We were able to stay in a 4-star, boutique Bed and Breakfast called Residenza Castiglioni at 33% off thanks to our amazing travel membership. This hotel was so quaint, staff was incredibly friendly and helpful, and the breakfast was delicious!

Read Blog Post»

Lake Atitlan is the biggest lake in Guatemala at 50.2 sq mi. The lake was formed 84,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption that filled in with rain water. Atitlan means “at the water” in Nahuatl language. Three volcanoes now stand at its south end and are all active, named Atitlan, San Pedro, and Toliman. The lake is surrounded by several towns all reached by public boat taxis leaving from the main town, Panachajel. The other major towns are Santa Cruz, San Marcos, San Juan, San Pedro, and Santiago. There are also other small towns that are less visited like Jaibalito.

Read Blog Post»

Canyonlands National Park is very big. We put ourselves on a time crunch through Arches because we weren’t sure we’d make it to The Canyonlands visitor center before it closed. From tip to tip, it would take about three hours to cross. And we’d never even heard of it before this!

Read Blog Post»
Comayagua Time
March 122018

We decide to finally leave Los Naranjos, a small village on Lake Yojoa, and keep following toward the south: next destination Comayagua. The bus that connects Los Naranjos to Tegucigalpa (and stops in Comayagua) passes through town at 6:20am, leaving you the time to enjoy a beautiful sunset from the bus stop. Once the bus…

Read Blog Post»
Don’t Skip Honduras
March 102018

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 this country over the past three weeks, I can truly say that all of you who skipped it really missed out! Honduras is amazing!

Read Blog Post»

If you follow us on Instagram (casual self promo) you will know that we have a very serious and deep rooted obsession with waterfalls. We basically spent 2 weeks of our 4 week Bali stay getting up before dawn and travelling the length and breadth of this incredible Island to search out the best and most spectacular waterfalls we could find …and there were a lot.

Read Blog Post»
Town of Gracias
March 52018

On the way to discover the Lenca Route in the south of Honduras, we also decide to make a stop in Gracias. This time the little town is very laid-back, the streets are colorful, the central plaza is pretty and all around the city there’s a lot of cool little spots to visit. Here we…

Read Blog Post»
Amed Food, Bali
March 32018

Amed was definitely my favourite area we went to in Bali, you can read about our time there HERE. Amed doesn’t have the sprawl of cafes, restaurants and bars that Canggu/Kuta/Seminyak has, but it’s a lot quieter and less touristy, which was perfect for us. I have put together my top picks for the Amed area, hope you enjoy.

Read Blog Post»
Santa Rosa de Copan
March 12018

This is the first town we visited in Honduras! After having crossed the border of El Salvador at El Poy earlier today and having found a blocked road because of the political protests (more and more common in these days), we have finally reached Santa Rosa de Copan. Luckily, the aim of the protest was…

Read Blog Post»

These six great weekend destinations have heritage, modern marvels and natural splendour on offer. And they’re all within a few hours’ drive of the city.
If you find yourself with nothing to do over the weekend in Hyderabad, why not plan one of these short day-trips out of the city? Just a few hours by road, and you can experience ancient forts, places of worship, serene hills and peaceful lakes. All you need to do is decide which of these things you feel like seeing, and get going.

Read Blog Post»
Tables and Wine
February 242018

We spent the day enjoying tables and wine. Meaning Table Mountain and wine tastings.
Finally, we made it to Table Mountain the day before we were set to leave South Africa. I was worried it would rain, or something would keep us from being able to visit. After our hike up to Lion’s Head, I basically strong armed Andrew in to buying tickets for the cable car. There was no way I was going to hike up a mountain 1/3 larger than Lion’s Head, and then try and enjoy myself. Also, who wouldn’t want to ride on a rotating cable car?

Read Blog Post»

There’s something really special about Nicaragua. I had no idea that this country was already on so many people’s radars. You barely hear about it, but it truly is a gem. It has some of the best surfing beaches in the world in warm pacific oceans, steep lively volcanoes to climb or sneak up on in the night, and all kinds of lakes from crater lakes to ones the size of oceans. It’s a paradise!

Read Blog Post»
Day out in Melaka, Malaysia
February 112018

Melaka was our final stop in Malaysia and I wish we had spent more time there! On planning our trip we were chatting to people in a hostel and a group told us there wasn’t much to do, from now on we won’t be listening to other people.
Melaka is beautiful, it’s a cross between Hoi An’s bustling old town and George Town’s quirky street art and cafes. The most beautiful, road level river, runs throughout Melaka’s centre. Lined with street art, bars, cafes and numerous art galleries, the place is so picturesque.

Read Blog Post»
Suchitoto: a unique town
February 52018

We arrive in Suchitoto from the wildly pessimistic San Salvador and… what a change! The bus drop us off close to the central park, the church of Santa Lucia and even a beautiful local artisan market. Off to a great start! Still with the light in our eyes, we head toward the Posada Blanca Luna,…

Read Blog Post»
Italy’s Northern Coast
January 302018

Lindsay’s Aunt Carol live in a small coastal town in northern Italy called Imperia. It definitely has a small town feel, everyone saying hello to one another, local businesses, everything closes when it rains, and WiFi comes on an internet stick that plugs into your USB drive. They just got a McDonald’s a few months ago! About 40,000 residents, but a quick 30 minute drive to Alassio (a popular Italian tourist town) and an hour train ride to Monte Carlo in Monaco.

Read Blog Post»

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…

Read Blog Post»

Beautiful beaches, accommodation for every budget, plenty of eateries and lots of things to do around. These are what make Agonda the perfect base for your next Goa trip.

Read Blog Post»

It was time to venture into Arkansas! Even though the temperatures were easing up only slightly in Dallas, I’d been dreaming of taking a bath in some natural springs. I thought the Hot Springs National Park was the obvious venture, but I’d soon find out all you’d find there were some cool bath houses with fancy spa packages – not exactly the hidden adventure I’d expected. Fortunately, there was still plenty of adventure to be made!

Read Blog Post»

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,…

Read Blog Post»

Humans struggle to live alongside elephants, gaur (sometimes also called Indian bison), leopards and macaques in South India’s Anamalai hills, as tea and coffee plantations slowly replace the area’s ancient rainforests.
After a very interesting few days of temple-viewing in Madurai and Thanjavur (Tanjore), we drove for six hours up into the Anamalai Hills of India’s Western Ghat mountains to the tiny little plantation town of Valparai. A part of us expected that this would be just like Coonoor, Coorg and the other places we’ve been in the Western Ghats. But another part of us knew that Valparai and its surrounding hills are at the forefront of a struggle. Here, man and animal try to live alongside, as their habitat shrinks while ours expands. And we knew that this would be a very different experience.

Read Blog Post»
George Town to Langkawi
January 102018

We hadn’t originally planned to go to langkawi as we’d never heard of it, but my god sent we glad we went!
Getting there was so simple, quite quick and was ok value for money. Don’t get me wrong you can fly from Penang to Langkawi pretty cheap but we decided to take the boat as you go past some amazing islands and sights.
From George Town it is pretty simple to walk to the ferry terminal, took us 15mins from Love Lane even with our big bags. You need to buy a ticket from one of the outlets on the way, they’re all the same price, very different to Thailand where you have to barter for a better price.

Read Blog Post»

It’s 7:30am, and my iPhone has gently been buzzing intermittently for the past half an hour. Still half asleep, I eventually pick it up and and lazily look for the Whistler Blackcomb app – a ritual shared by many people that choose to call this small mountain resort home. And suddenly, there it was – the reason for my early wake up on my weekend – a glorious 32cm had fallen overnight. Time to get up, and get  going.

Ten minutes later, I am up, I am in my ski gear, and I’ve already scolded my mouth from trying to gulp down my coffee too hot. Kind of strange how I never seem to learn to avoid that. As I step out the front door, the other thing that I constantly seem to fail to learn quickly dawns on me: thirty-two centimeters actually is quite a lot of snow. Like, a real lot. And even my trusty all-wheel-drive Subaru isn’t going to jump this snowbank. Ten minutes, a mild sweat and one broken shovel later, and I’m back on track.

When it snows, Whistler is buzzing

Whistler has an amazing feel to it anytime the snow falls. There’s this indecipherable buzz in the air – a mixture of tourists sharing their awe, and seasonnaires desperate to catch some fresh lines. For me, though, it’s neither. Whilst I still love to see the snow and am excited by fresh powder, days like this take me straight back to my first year in Whistler. I was only 21, everything was so surreal and new. To this day, I can say with complete honestly that my first year here was one of the best of my life. With the enthusiasm of a newbie, and the knowledge of a veteran, I make my way to all the secret spots I’ve found over the years – the perfect lines that remain untouched throughout the day in hidden corners of the mountains.

From Seventh Heaven to Spanky’s Ladder

The first few runs of the day are phenomenal, albeit somewhat exhausting. I made a judgement call, based on the weather, and took a gamble as I headed to 7th Heaven, on the southern slope of Blackcomb Mountain. The gamble paid off, and it presented me with some great untouched tree runs as it had only just opened. Following this, a ride on Glacier Chair takes me to where I really wanted to be, Spanky’s Ladder – aptly named for the small climb required to access the bowl. It can be a little tough to climb in deep snow with skis on your shoulder, but it’s definitely worth it. Right now though, I’m not in much luck. Whistler Blackcomb hasn’t opened it yet. I decide to wait it out, however, and stand alongside the other keen skiers and boarders hoping it will open soon. My luck turns around, and my wait soon pays off. Navigating round the  cliff, fresh tracks in Diamond Bowl are both steep and deep. It’s fast, but the adrenaline is intoxicating. Another journey to the top of Glacier Chair, but this time into an area called Grey Zone, which leads me right to Crystal Hut for a beer and their famous waffles. I find it difficult to go a day without a stop here. Loaded with berries, chocolate, banana, even bacon and a shot of Bailey’s, they truly are the best addition to my ski day.

Crystal Hut Waffles

Crystal Zone

After a quick refuel, the rest of the day is spent playing around Crystal zone. Knowing I’ve already had the best snow I’m going to get for the day, I hit up some hidden areas that I know are fun but without too much traffic still. Since the installation of the new Crystal Ridge Express chairlift a couple of years ago, this area of the mountain has become a lot busier – but that’s not to say that there aren’t still some fantastic hidden areas that remain virtually untouched. Picking the right line through here, I avoid both the cliffs and other peoples tracks. Pick the wrong line….. well, I’ll save that for another story.

Time for Apres

As my legs begin to give up, I slowly make my way down the mountain back to Whistler Village. Tired yet content, I kick off my skis right in front of The Longhorn Saloon, where Whistler’s biggest daytime party is just kicking off. There’s patio DJ’s playing to a lively crowd of excitable skiers and snowboarders, all of whom are enthusiastically sharing stories from their day, reviewing their GoPro footage, or calculating how far they have skied during the day. As I step onto the vast patio, I’m greeted cheerfully by several members of staff, and see a large table of staff sitting by the bar tucking into beers and nachos. I know all this, because I am the General Manager, and these are all  my staff. They’re a handful, but also a lot of fun.

For most people, a ski vacation to Whistler is but a pipe dream. But for me, this is my life, and this giant adventure playground is my backyard. All it takes is to watch the staff, smiling and cheering, to remind myself of when I was in their shoes, just beginning my journey in Whistler. Days like today remind me of how good life can be, and why I choose to call Whistler my home.

Read Blog Post»

The WiFi on these islands have been so awful so we apologise for the lack of blog writing. I wanted to recap on the amazing time we had in Chiang Mai and especially at the Elephant Family Care.
We stayed in a hostel called Dee Marc on the north side of Chiang Mai town. The lady working there was so helpful and spoke good english. She recommended “Elephant Family Care” when we asked “who was the nicest to the elephants?”

Read Blog Post»

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…

Read Blog Post»

Lush green plantations, cloud-topped peaks and dense jungles. Precariously perched monasteries, Martian landscapes and sapphire lakes. These five mountain holiday destinations in India can offer can offer you all that and more.

Read Blog Post»

There are many different ways to celebrate a wedding anniversary. Some couples will plan a tropical vacation, planning on sitting on the beach, drinks in hand, enjoying the sunshine. Others will opt to spend their time together in a much more low-key wait, planning a fancy dinner or ordering in to curl up together in front of the fireplace, snuggling up with their spouse.
My husband and I, however, decided to mark our first anniversary in a very different way – We climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!

Read Blog Post»

My body felt stiff and achy as I stretched my palms to the ceiling and planted the soles of my feet firmly into my mat. It’d been almost a year since I attended a yoga class. Now I’m moving shakily through my first sun salutation and the painting before me of a green and red…

Read Blog Post»
Full Day Excursion in Bali
December 182017

Heading to Bali soon but only have a limited amount of time? Here is the rundown of a day-trip Dom and I did and highly recommend to those that want to squeeze as much sight-seeing as possible into one day:

Read Blog Post»

If you’re in Hyderabad and don’t know what to do with yourself over the weekend, here’s an idea. Spend an hour or two exploring the surreal expanse of rocks at Fakhruddingutta.
With vast sheets of granite, scatterings of surreal boulders, caves under rock piles and three religious shrines, this ancient rockscape overlooking Hyderabad is an ideal place to kick back and relax for a few hours.

Read Blog Post»

Have you ever even heard of Torshavn? I get a mixed response when I ask this question because it’s not as well known as the Faroe Islands. Torshavn is small, but is actually the largest city and capital of the Faroe Islands, which is a territory of Denmark, sitting about half way between Norway and Iceland. I had the opportunity to spend just one day in Torshavn as part of a cruise on my way to Iceland. I probably would not have known to visit Torshavn without that cruise stop, but I’m glad I experienced the islands and a different way of living. Let me share some tips for day tripping in Torshavn, so you can make the most of your time there, whether stopping on a cruise or travelling through the islands.

Read Blog Post»

We learned the hard way that having a good time in Coorg is not as easy as you might think. Here are nine things that we found out that you should know too, if you’re planning a visit.
Perched in the rolling hills of the Western Ghats in South India, the district of Coorg (or Kodagu) may seem like the perfect getaway. We found, though, that without a little planning, it could actually be a bit disappointing. These pointers should save you some bother.

Read Blog Post»

On December 5th we had planned a whole day out, as it was our anniversary and thought a ride in the sun to see the surrounding sights of Luang Prabang was the best option. It definitely was! We rented a bike from our hostel, just your standard scooter with a 125cc engine for 120,000KP (bloody expensive, but we found everything in Laos a bit more expensive) and headed on our way.

Read Blog Post»

Have you ever been to a place that just didn’t seem real? Like it was a movie scene or a dream? Well, you need to visit Geiranger, Norway because it was like that for me when I travelled there this summer. This small town is surrounded by vast beauty and extraordinary panoramas! Everywhere you look, there are fjords and waterfalls with both green scenery and snow-capped mountains. It’s breathtaking!

Read Blog Post»

Since the start of planning our trip to Vietnam, Ha Long bay was number 1 on our list of things to see, as it is for almost anyone who visits the country. This UNESCO World Heritage site is situated in the northeast of Vietnam, 170km from Hanoi. For the few who don’t know, Ha Long Bay holds a collection of thousands of limestone islands of various shapes and sizes topped by rainforests, which are scattered across an area of over 1500km2, giving one of the most unique and beautiful landscapes on earth. No wonder so many films have included the ‘other-worldly’ landscape. It is no surprise then, that it is estimated an average of 50,000 tourists visit this site per day in the high seasons…

Read Blog Post»
Vietnam Food
December 42017

When looking back on our time in Vietnam, I would 100% say our trip was centred around food. Baring in mind it has been a very wet month, most of our activities have been indoors, very near a bar or kitchen.
From speaking to friends who have lived here for years apparently we have come at a perfect time. The local food is as good as ever, they are catering for vegetarians, vegans and people with allergies better than ever, as well as the standard of western food being at an all time high.

Read Blog Post»

Ireland is tops! We had a meaningful few days there because we are both part Irish.
Our first question to a Dublin local was “Where can we get traditional Irish food and dancing?” The answer was O’Neill’s, which was a short 5 minute walk from our hotel in Temple Bar (super touristy area, but full of tradition and fun!). This bar is incredible. It’s very easy to get lost as it’s a huge place. We found a cute corner table right next to the bar where we had a delicious corned beef meal and local pints of cider and red ales. About 9pm, we headed upstairs where a table right next to the band was waiting open! We listened to Raglan Trail play some wonderful Irish music and were treated with traditional Irish folk dancing (River dance what?!). Lindsay got pulled on the dance floor – see video on our IG page.

Read Blog Post»

A few years ago we stayed in Cancun, living the life of luxury. Cancun is basically one long strip of massive, all-inclusive hotels, spread out along a beautiful beach. We lived like kings and queens, drinking cocktails on our balcony and being served the most delicious food at any time of the day. But I do still love the simple life so when we planned on going to Playa Del Carmen we wanted to get a smaller, less “fancy” hotel. I found Playa to be a little less of a luxury destination and the beach wasn’t as good as Cancun but it’s definitely got a lot more going on right at your door step.

Read Blog Post»

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…

Read Blog Post»

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…

Read Blog Post»

Surrounded by the Nilgiri mountains, the hill stations of Coonoor and Wellington make for the perfect long weekend, with spectacular views, rolling tea plantations and misty winding roads.

Read Blog Post»

We traveled through Cambodia just shy of a month. To be honest, it can be done in less. 2-3 weeks will be more than enough time to get your fill of the tourist spots as well as enough time to get a feel of local life here.
One thing we can say about Cambodia is just how lovely, kind and friendly the Cambodian people are. We were always met with a smile, often greeted at hostels with free water and food, waved to by local children we passed in the streets and has stories shared by welcoming restaurateurs. You really feel the pride and sense of community here and you can understand why when you learn of the horrors of their past.

Read Blog Post»

Our couchsurfing hosts suggested that we head to the Lion and Safari Park about an hour away. After visiting the Lion Park we went to Sterkfontein Caves. This may be one of the best days I have ever had in my life!

Read Blog Post»
Cuba was somewhere that I had a strong urge to travel to and once the idea was in my head I needed to get there as soon as I could. I think once the U.S. travel restrictions begun to ease, I was worried they’d start to influence the Cuban culture & I’d get there to see a McDondalds on every corner. This, thankfully, isn’t at all the case. Apart from some Adidas T-Shirt’s and a bit of American music playing, the western ways haven’t taken over the Cuban. We experienced a country that is full of life, love, rhythm and colour.

When thinking back to our time in Cuba the one thing that sticks out the most is how friendly and helpful the locals are, from randomly welcoming us to their country while walking down the streets of Havana, to booking accommodation and transport for us. Majority of people in Cuba speak Spanish and I speak very little Spanish but it was never an issue because everyone took the time needed for us to understand each other!

We spent 10 nights in Cuba and on arrival only had the first two nights booked with just a rough idea of where we wanted to go. I personally think this is the best way to do, giving you plenty of flexibility with where to go & what do to. I promise it’s really easy to get around.

Before I get into detail about where we went, I want to share with you some tips that my experience taught me & will hopefully help you with your Cuban adventures.

Airport: We departed from Cancun airport on a direct flight to Havana. Obtaining a Cuban visa at the airport was super easy. As soon as we joined the check in queue we were approached by staff asking if we required a visa. We did and it was just a matter of him filling in our passport details on the visa form and paying the required fee. Payment could only be made in cash, we paid one in Canadian dollars, $30CAD and another in U.S dollars and that was $20 USD.

On arrival into Havana, after you have cleared customs, there’s a security screening point you’ll need to clear, then baggage collection. We may have just got them on a sleepy day but there’s actually arrival forms that need to be filled out, at no point were these handed out. When we were waiting for our luggage I noticed that heaps of people from our flight were being turned away at the exit and going back to security. I went over to ask and they pull out a form from under their desk that everyone needs to fill out. I guess we needed to read minds that day haha.

Money: Cuba has a two currency system, the Cuban Peso (CUP) and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). The CUP is worth 25 times more than the CUC and as a tourist you’ll be using CUC. Before arriving in Cuba I was slightly confused by the two currency system but basically tourist only deal with CUC and I was only ever quoted and charged in CUC.

Only limited currencies can be exchanged in Cuba, the two that generally have the best exchange rate are Euro and Canadian Dollar. You can exchange U.S. Dollars in Cuba but will incur a 10% penalty fee. There are ATM’s, but they aren’t widely available. We had taken Canadian dollars. When exiting the airport terminal, turn left and there are currency exchanges there.

Opposite the money exchange is a taxi rank, to Old Town Havana we paid $25CUC. Everyone was pretty consistent, charging between 25-30CUC.

Accommodation: Our first two night’s we had pre-booked at Hostel Peregrino, in their Old Town property. From there we started our un-planned adventures; the staff at Peregrino were really helpful. We told them roughly where we wanted to go and they gave us their advice and what would be they most cost effective route to take. We took their advice & within a couple of minutes they’d called a couple of their friends and our Viñales transport and accommodation was all sorted.

We stayed in Casas along the way, rooms in locals homes that they rent out to tourist like us. I chose this over staying in hotels because I figured you can stay in hotels anywhere in the world, I wanted a much more authentic Cuban experience. Also staying in Casas is much cheaper, rooms ranged from 20-40CUC per night. It’s also very flexible, as you can book at short notice and no deposit is required. Some advice we were given at the beginning of our trip was to always book the minimum nights we’d stay opposed to our maximum. Then if we wanted to leave earlier or just didn’t like the room, it would never be an issue.

Booking a room was never an issue; our house owner always had a friend or knew of someone that had a room at our next stop and they’d always be more than happy to call and book for us. We also had the Lonely Planet guide that listed recommended Casas.

Transport: Buses run between all major towns and cities all over Cuba. Prices start at 10CUC per person and the most we paid was 40CUC per person, which was between Trinidad and Varadero.

Tickets for the bus only need to be booked the day before you wish to travel, but we booked on the day once and it wasn’t an issue.

If you’re not feeling the idea of a busy bus, there’s also the option of a taxi. Taxis will go to all the same places & if full, they’ll charge each person the same price as a bus ticket would cost. You can organise the taxi door to door as well, this is great if you’ve had your next casa booked for you and you don’t really have any idea of where it’s located. In my experience it was only about 3CUC per person more than the bus would have been.

The first trip we did in a taxi was from Havana to Viñales. It was door to door and we were lucky that the car wasn’t full so we had plenty of space. It was air conditioned and probably saved us about 30 minutes in travel time. So no complaints there…

Our next journey was from Viñales to Trinidad costing us 40CUC each opposed to 37CUC on the bus. The first two hours were great, only 3 passengers in the car & had air con. We had settled in nicely for our 7 hour drive. Then we pulled over at a restaurant on the side of the highway & were changed into another car. Our first driver lived in Viñales, so needed to go back home. It was still only the 3 of us in the car but there was no air conditioning & the back windows didn’t go down. The mid-day sun was beaming in & it was becoming a sweat box!Then about 1.5 hours out of Trinidad we pulled over again, along with two other cars and they shuffled everyone around. We were then in a full car with no air con and very little space in the back seat. We were well over it by the end and wouldn’t consider getting a taxi again. The only benefit was door to door service.

Food & Drink: I had heard terrible things about the food in Cuba but I really enjoyed everything I ate, just the simple chicken, rice & beans was never a disappointment. Don’t be surprised though if you’re handed a 5 page menu and only a handful of things are available. I’m sure over time this will keep improving; with more small business opening up this will only give people the opportunity to try new things.

A piece of advice that was given to me before coming to Cuba was to bring some snacks, muesli bars, nuts or whatever, as these little things are hard to come by. I’m so glad we did, especially when we stopped at a petrol station during our 7hr drive to Trinidad & all that was for sales was ice cream, mayonnaise & alcohol. Huh?!?

Cuban’s make some amazing cocktails and will top up the alcohol content until your satisfied!! Prices generally ranged from 3-6CUC. My favourite was the mojito but a true Cuban cocktail is a Canchanchara. To be honest it wasn’t very nice but gave a good buzz. I loved Cuban beer too, Bucanero & Cristal…. Mmm I miss Cuba. Beer prices were 1.50-2.50CUC.

Shopping: Cuba isn’t somewhere you’d go to shop but in tourist areas it’s easy to find shops and markets. Selling the typical T-shirts, bags, fridge magnet’s etc, as well as some beautiful art work. If you were after some Cuban Cigars, we were told to never buy these off the street as generally they would be fakes.

Internet: Believe it or not there is internet in Cuba! You’ll need to purchase an internet card; on the back you’ll find the login details and there are Wi-Fi hotspots in most big hotels (not at Casas or Hostels) and in public areas. You’ll always be able to tell when you are in a public hot spot because suddenly they’ll be a large number of people on their phones. The cards last for 1 hours and we’d pay between 2-5CUC, depending on who was selling it. The internet was very slow though and regularly cut out. I recommend taking a Lonely Planet guide with you, it helped us out a lot, especially when google wasn’t available.

Medicine & Toiletries: Everything you think you’ll need, take with you. Cuba doesn’t have supermarkets or corner stores that sell things like sunscreen, Panadol, tampons or moisturiser so buying things like this is near impossible! Save your energy and come prepared.

Cuba is a slow paced country with so much to offer. Be open to things being possibly a little bit different to what you’re used to and I’m sure you’ll find the beauty & uniqueness something to really admire.

For a run down of our itinerary click here.

I hope my Cuba “tips” help you out and please share this blog with anyone you know heading to Cuba.

Que Tengas Buen Viaje.

streets of Havana Cuba
Viñales, Cuba, Accomodation
Old cars in the streets of Havana, Cuba
bell tower trinidad cuba
Havana, Cuba. Street sign
Cuba, Viñales Valley


The post Travelling to Cuba? What my experience taught me. appeared first on A World To Live.

Read Blog Post»

Our road trip in South Africa began in Johannesburg. We secured a place to stay through Couchsurfing with some absolutely amazing hosts! Unfortunately, our flight(s) to get to Johannesburg were absolute torture. I have since learned my lesson and have been booking our preferred seat assignments so that I am not sandwiched between two large men!

Read Blog Post»
Chile’s Lake Region
October 192017

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…

Read Blog Post»

Our first border crossing, the infamous Thailand (Poi Pet) – Cambodia Land border. We had heard stories of scams, inflated prices and a walk of horror in the ‘no mans land’ between the two countries. So was it all it lived up to be?
The Tl:Dr version is No.

Read Blog Post»

I knew Iceland would be beautiful, but the picturesque landscape and natural wonders blew me away. Iceland has so many amazing things to see, like geysers, waterfalls, hot springs, and so on, you could spend weeks exploring the country. I spent just a few days in Reykjavik, which is the largest city and capital of Iceland, and immediately wished I had more time to explore. Don’t worry, though, I made sure to fit in as much as possible in the limited time I had. I was not going to miss out!

Read Blog Post»

Well Siem Reap gobbled me up and spat me back out! One of the worst hangovers I’ve had in years which has been the reason we’ve gone quiet over the last 4 days. I thought it would be a good idea to leave it a couple of days before reviewing our trip. If you’d asked me 2 days ago what I thought of Mad Monkey Hostel and Siem Reap, I would have probably said “never again”, but on reflection it was a fantastic experience and we met some amazing people.

Read Blog Post»

This is the post I’ve been waiting to write about my visit to the Pyramids! If you read my previous post about Egypt then you will know that we left Luxor early in the morning. We landed in Cairo at 6:30 am and got back to Yousef’s an hour later. I’m exhausted at this point, and so is Andrew. We decided we would sleep for a few hours and then venture out to the Egyptian Museum since we never made it there earlier in the week.

Read Blog Post»

We arrived in Pak Chong yesterday, and from our hostel receptionist we booked the full day rainforest trek they offered for groups, priced at 1750TBH per person (£40pp) to Khao Yai National Park. We got to the meeting point at 8am this morning to find we were the only two on the trip, so had our own personal guide for the day (usually priced at 3500TBHpp). Already this was incredible value for money!

Read Blog Post»

Renting a Bike and cycling around Angkor/ Angkor Wat – Was it worth sacrificing our bums, potential safety and at times sanity for the money we saved on a Tuk tuk or tour… The short answer was Hell Yes! But be prepared for a very hard but still incredible day!

Read Blog Post»
Beautiful Day in Bergen
October 92017

Bergen is a breath of fresh air! I stopped in Bergen, Norway, with just one day to explore as part of a cruise in Northern Europe. I spent that one day wisely, and I’m glad I was able to pack so much into one day, and you can too. It definitely helped that the weather was perfect and it was so beautiful outside. I loved the picturesque buildings and welcoming atmosphere, like straight out of a Disney movie. Well, I’ve actually heard that parts of the movie Frozen were inspired by Bergen, which now seems very fitting.

Read Blog Post»
Luxor, Egypt #4
October 52017

We boarded the train quickly in Aswan headed for Luxor. Our tickets were for second class seats in an air-conditioned cart. We had a three-hour journey ahead of us. We found our seats; the first two on the car, so we had a lot of leg room. Also, we did not have to worry about people leaning their seats back in to us. Unfortunately, we were right next to the toilets and the door. The door which was never shut for more than three minutes without someone walking through it. Every time it was opened it swung in to me. After we go going I moved to an empty seat on the other side of the aisle.

Read Blog Post»

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…

Read Blog Post»
Aswan, Egypt #3
October 22017

We arrived three hours late in Aswan much to our dismay. Yousef put us in touch with someone in Awan who said he could show us around, David. He was a fellow Couchsurfing Host who was already showing another surfer around for the day. He said he would pick us up at the train station and we’d spend the day touring Aswan. Aswan is most known for Philae Temple. It is also home of High Dam on the Nile River which I gather the people of Aswan are very proud of.

Read Blog Post»
Egypt #2
October 12017

If you read my first post on Egypt here then you will know our first day in Cairo was sort of a bust. We made it on the metro to Tahrir Square and back. It’s good in a way because we were still so tired from our overnight travels. We were determined to get us after a full night of restful sleep and make it to the museum in to find a guide for the museum and the pyramids.

Read Blog Post»

So you’ve decided to backpack around Europe – you’ve read all about the amazing cities, the beautiful beaches and the great party scenes in the blogs and lonely planet guides and you’ve talked to friends who’ve ‘been there, done that’ and while all that is great to get those wanderlusting juices pumping, its the boring, practical, actual travelling part that’s going to make or break your experience.

Read Blog Post»

I can’t help but feel for the millions of residents of Florida who were displaced or evacuated during last week’s arrival of Hurricane Irma. I find it tough to imagine how life can be turned upside down so quickly and abruptly. And yet, as with every natural disaster, the true resilience of human beings comes into full force in many unexpected ways.

As I write this, I just received an e-mail that I had already been expecting. It is from the hotel I had booked in the Florida Keys for next weekend, telling me that they will unfortunately be closed for the foreseeable future. With my trip to Florida booked so closely after the trail of destruction has been left by Irma, I am taken back to my own hurricane experience of 2005.

Hurricane Emily was the earliest Category 5 hurricane to ever form in the Atlantic, and we became acquainted while I was relaxing at the Gran Bahia Principe Akumal, a large resort which graces the white sand beaches of Riviera Maya, Mexico. My vacation started like any other – a sunny arrival into Cancun airport, with postcard perfect views of turquoise blue water and endless palm trees.

I distinctly recall the intense humidity. The sun was hot and the air heavy, but the clear blue skies gave no indication of any approaching danger. Two days into our trip, while lazing by the pool with a cocktail in hand, I overheard a conversation about a hurricane which had formed south of Jamaica and was starting to churn its way through the Caribbean. Word began to spread shortly after – of course, this was before the days of iPhones and mass Wi-Fi, so news spread the traditional way – person to person. Without giving it much further thought, we continued resort living until we received a letter from hotel management the following day. It detailed that the NHA had issued a Hurricane Watch, and that the resort was preparing for a potential landfall at or near the resort. Uh-oh…

The next morning, things became real. We were instructed to eat a big breakfast, and could enjoy the day until 3pm. At this time, the resort began its preparations – hurricane shutters were being locked across all rooms, pools were being semi-drained and filled with sunbeds, and windows being taped up. Coconuts were being cut down from trees, as they could become lethal, and anything loose was tied down. My last view of the ocean was mid-afternoon as the winds were picking up and starting to rustle the palm trees, and large storm clouds were brewing on the horizon.

Back in our rooms by 6pm, our instructions were to fill the bathtub with water as there would be no running water after the storm. Our minibar had been stripped of alcohol, and instead filled with sandwiches and soft drinks. I remember the next few hours as if they were yesterday. The sound of the wind, and the noise of loose objects being bashed around outside relentlessly was something I would not forget in a hurry. The eye of the hurricane passed directly over us – a strange silent calm amidst absolute chaos. The second half of the storm hit stronger than the first, and the winds continued to increase with the noise becoming ever more deafening.

I distinctly recall the very moment I noticed a marginal reduction in the noise of the wind. A feeling of relief swept across my body, knowing that the worst was now over. Exhausted from the overnight storm, I fell almost instantly asleep, waking up a few hours to nothing but the final few gusts sporadically making themselves known. Unbolting the door, and the scene that greeted us was one of devastation and destruction. Exploring the resort was both mind blowing and scary, and one which left a lasting impression on me. Twenty-four hours later, and we were back at a broken Cancun International Airport awaiting our evacuation flight to return us to the United Kingdom.

In light of Irma, my trip to the Florida Keys is no longer going to happen this year. There is the much more important task at hand to rebuild and restore the keys, ahead of taking care of tourists. However, when the option came for me to abandon my trip completely, and with everyone around me wondering why I would still want to go, I made the decision to continue the trip in any case. At a time when tourism is undoubtedly going to take a downturn, there seems no better time to explore!

And so, Miami Beach, here I come! I will see you on Thursday, and I cannot wait. Bring it on Florida!

Read Blog Post»
Agua, Agua y más Agua
September 122017

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…

Read Blog Post»
Sheep Fair
September 92017

Can you get more English..
than going to a sheep fair on a Saturday afternoon? Today our southern cultures collided! Our friend Laura LOVES American southern biscuits and gravy. Since she cooked an amazing roast for dinner when we arrived, I returned the favor and cooked sausage gravy and biscuits. Laura helped! But you don’t want to hear about biscuits and gravy. Though they did turn out really great. I usually use Bisquick for biscuits, but since they don’t have that in England, I made them from scratch!

Read Blog Post»
First Travel Day!
September 82017

Our first travel day is happening now (Sept 4)! Also, Happy Labor Day! Today was the cheapest day for us to fly; it usually is on a holiday. We both slept pretty poorly, and were up very late. Last night I finished watching a movie I’ve been watching for a few days. By the time I finished it, my restless leg syndrome started bothering me which made it hard for me to get comfortable and fall asleep. Thank goodness our nice friends let us sleep in, and allow us to lie around their house and be lazy. We have had such a nice time with them. I still have some organizing to do in my suitcases. (I’ll do a post about all that I’ve packed another time.) I already think I’ve over packed.

Read Blog Post»

Nepal is a landlocked country between India and Tibet and only opened its doors to tourism in the 1950’s. Its wonderful to see that Nepal hasn’t been strongly influenced by western culture and still holds it’s values and traditions very close.
After you have explored what Kathmandu has to offer it’s time to explore the rest of the country.

Read Blog Post»

Flying from Dubai to Amman, Lawrence clicked on the ‘flight path’ app on his entertainment screen and, I think, felt a little apprehensive about going to Jordan when he realised what countries we were going to be surrounded by…. “Ahh we’ll be right”, I assured him.
There was nothing to worry about; it was not long until we both fell in love with Jordan – The food, the sites, the culture and most of all the kindest people, who were keen to share their countries beauty & history.

Read Blog Post»

Experience an awe-inspiring cliff-side monastery, blazingly fiery local food, incredible mountain views, and more in the remote but proud Himalayan country of Bhutan.

Read Blog Post»

I made a trip to the other side of Australia in the hope to Swim with the biggest fish in the world, The Whale Shark and explore the UNESCO World Heritage listed, Ningaloo Reef.

Read Blog Post»

Forget Shinkansen. I know most travelers talk about getting the JR pass and taking the bullet trains to and from other cities. But, if you have the luxury of time and want to really see and experience Japan, take the bus! This is your best alternative when you’re on a budget and want to make the most of your trip.

Read Blog Post»

One of the things I was looking forward to on this trip is staying at the capsule hotel I booked at the airport. There was a need to stay at the airport coz family’s flight won’t arrive until the next day. You see, I’ve been to Japan before but had not stayed at a capsule hotel, which is very popular here if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to hotels, so promised myself that if I ever go back, I’ll try to cross it off my bucketlist.

Read Blog Post»

From Martian landscapes, endless roads, and deep blue lakes to extreme temperatures, deceptive distances and strict schedules, you experience some interesting things in Ladakh!

Read Blog Post»

One of the greatest things about living in the mountains, is that adventure is very easy to come across. One of my favourites is to explore on two wheels. Living only a stone’s throw from the Lillooet River provides a great opportunity to easily explore this wide expanse as it takes volumes of water from the mountains down through the Harrison Watershed and out to the ocean.

The North Bank

The dirt biking gear goes on, bikes are fired up, and we set off to follow the riverbank upstream. It’s doable on a dirt bike, but sometimes I prefer to take pedals. We begin on a Forest Service Road, crossing the train tracks a couple of times, and finally turn off into the woods. There’s fallen trees to hop over, streams to wade through, and low hanging branches to avoid. From the forest, we slowly make our way towards the river, and come out in blazing sunshine on a sandy path close to the waters edge. We stop for a moment to take in the views, but almost instantly the mosquitoes have surrounded us so we keep moving.

Continuing along the path, we come across more obstacles that require successful navigation, but soon enough we are starting to climb and the trail becomes easier as we leave the forest floor. The sandy path becomes rocky, with it presenting new challenges to us riders. Our progress slows a little bit, and technical riding is definitely not my forte, but the more I do it the better I become. Soon enough, we find ourselves atop a rocky outcrop with great views along the river in both directions.

Paraglide Launch

The shadows on the mountains start to get longer, and the inevitable sign that the sun is starting to set becomes more apparent. Having stopped for a little while to take in the views, we mount our bikes and  continue riding. The trail we are on connects with the Mackenzie Forest Service Road, which leads us straight up the hill for around thirteen kilometers. It’s a smooth and fairly fast ride, mainly thanks to the completely regraded surface this year. Closer to the top, the road steepens and we find ourselves an increasing number of switch backs. Even though it’s slowly getting darker, we continue on.

Biking along the Lillooet River

We reach the Paraglide Launch, around two thirds of the way up the mountain, just as the sun is starting to illuminate the clouds. It’s a fantastic vista, overlooking the entirety of Pemberton Meadows. It’s time to crack a beer, and gaze out to the view. Far in the distance, now looking like just a small stream, is the river we were riding along just a short while ago. Considering we are so close to home, we feel a thousand miles away from every day life as we sit watching the sun dip below the mountains.

Read Blog Post»

It’s 11:30am, and I’m sitting in a little streetside cafe in the town of Panajachel in Guatemala. Lake Atitlan has been a bucket list item for a while, and I’m mesmerized by the majestic volcanoes. Atitlan has 3. As I write this, I’m staring at two of them, Volcan Toliman and Volcan Atitlan. Surrounded by market stalls and Guatemalans going about their everyday lives, it feels great to sit and just observe everything going on.

Desayunos Tipicos

I’m at a little cafe called El Patio, and I’ll give you one guess as to where the name came from. I’ve neglected my Spanish for years, but when the waiter came to take my order, I managed to order the Desayunos Tipicos – a typical breakfast for this region. First came the coffee. I’ll admit, typically I’m a Latte or Cappuccino drinker, but this stuff is amazing – just plain black. The Guatemalans grow it in the forests on the sides of the volcanoes where the soil is rich with nutrients. Then comes the orange juice – freshly pressed right before it was handed to me. When I think back to what we serve back home, a bar gun fuelled with concentrated bags of orange flavoured syrup, it is quite a world away.

The service is painfully slow by North American standards, but by Guatemalan time they’ve got it just perfect. The longer it takes them to cook my food, the longer I get to sit and watch the world go by. Every now and again, an old lady will come up to me, stacks of home made articles on her head, and try to sell me something. Her weathered lines must tell an interesting story, and at this point I wish I hadn’t neglected my Spanish for so long. All I can really muster at this point is a simple “no, gracias.” As she walks away, my attention turns to the market stalls across the street from me. The owners are setting them up so precisely and accurately, all selling home made items, each with their owners sitting out front weaving away making more. I decide that I must at least buy something before I leave, although I’m not entirely sure what yet.

Breakfast comes, and it’s delicious. The eggs are very recognizable, and are accompanied by fried plantain (like banana), refried beans, tortillas, and what looks like some sort of goats cheese. Some warm, freshly baked bread comes on the side, and it’s amazing. Why can’t bread taste this good at home? As I’m finishing up, there’s a flash of lightning and some giant thunder claps. Rain begins to pour, and everyone on the streets begins to scurry to shelter. For me, it looks like I’m just going to sit and enjoy drinking my coffee for a while.

As I sit and look out over the lake at the volcanoes, I wonder why I brought myself here. There’s not a lot to do, and I chose the wrong season to come – it’s the rainy season. In a funny sense, though, doing nothing is exactly what I wanted and needed to do. It feels great. And on that note, back to my coffee…

Read Blog Post»

Mountain views, misty trails, good food and great trekking are just some of the things you can experience in and around Kalimpong.
It was April in 2014, and my wife and I desperately needed a holiday. We were tired of the beach, though, and so we decided to head up into the mountains. After casting about a bit, we decided on Kalimpong in West Bengal, where my wife could re-live some fond childhood memories. Here are six great experiences we discovered while we were in Kalimpong.

Read Blog Post»

I am here in Xi’an, China, struggling a little bit with the language barrier, unsure what exactly I’m eating, but enjoying a handful of beers and still in awe at the experience I had today.

My journey took me to Huashan, in Shanxxi province.  Having craftily navigated my way here from Xi’an by Bullet Train, I managed to use my sixth sense and the multitude of screenshots on my phone to what I thought was a bus stop, and waited for what I hoped would be a bus. Somehow I managed to get the bus, and better still, I managed to get off at the right place. Here I bought a national park ticket, followed by a ticket for a second bus which then drove me to another ticket booth which sold me a ticket for a cable car which then took me up the mountain. Phew!

Mt Huashan West Peak

Mount Huashan

There’s four peaks on Mt Huashan, aptly named after the compass. I chose to head up to the West Peak, and I tell you, this is definitely the best option. Read my other blogs – I can be pretty lazy sometimes, and the West Peak is the tallest. The view up there was incredible. It still seems amazing that one minute you’re on the flat plains of China, and the next minute you’re up in the mountains. I decided I’d hike the peaks anti clockwise, starting with the West and finishing with the north – as I said, the West was higher than the North so my net elevation change would be down rather than up. If the West was good, the South was next level amazing, as it faced into the mountain range rather than away from it towards the plains like the North did. The peak capped out at around the same height as Whistler, and so the temperature was spot on for hiking.

Natural beauty aside, there was a specific reason I’d decided that Mt Huashan was a bucket list visit. On the south face, not too far from the south peak, you’ll find The Plank in the Sky. It’s a precarious wooden pathway to one of the mountaintop temples and shrines on Mt Huashan. There were a few different pathways to different temples, but this one looked like the most bizarre, and definitely one to attempt. So I bee lined it there.


To put it in perspective, I arrived at a small outcrop with an exceptionally narrow pathway leading along off to the right. It’s perhaps two feet wide, if that. Just enough to fit a person along it. On my right, a sheer cliff heading vertically up. On my left, a sheer cliff heading vertically down, almost the entire 2000 meters to the valley floor. And standing between me and certain death, a small railing that barely comes up to my waist. Walking along in one direction would be bad enough, but ironically this is a two way path. So there is some fairly intimate maneuvering taking place any time someone wants to pass… which, as it happens, is fairly often. For people who want a selfie but without the danger, this is where they stop. For adrenaline seekers like myself with a craving for out-of-the-ordinary, we continue. The path itself is not bad, as it’s carved into the rock so I do at least feel moderately safe standing on it. But, all that’s about to change.

Mt Huashan

Looming ahead, an umbrella is sheepishly tied to the railing, where a handful of people are assisting tourists with climbing harnesses. I harnessed up, and attached my dual clips to the guide wires which run along the cliff face. The railing continues to give a little comfort, although the emphasis is really on ‘little.’ We reach a sudden dead end, which is accompanied by a vertical ladder sandwiched into a crevasse in the rock. Descending the ladder, I end up hanging one footed over the edge, both hands clasped onto the guide wire, as a string of people try to get past me in the other direction. It’s definitely one of those moments I won’t forget: hanging off the side of a ladder, 2000m up a vertical rock face.

I reach the end of the ladder, and I’m back to rock carved out of the mountainside, but albeit only just the width of my foot. So walking requires one foot in front of the other. Let’s not forget, that this is still two way. A little further along is where things become really interesting. On the one hand, the path becomes a little wider – I can put both feet next to each other quite comfortably. But, as the cliff is now so sheer, there is no actual path at all. It is simply some wooden planks stapled together and resting on steel pegs which have been driven into the mountainside. I stepped foot onto the plank fairly cautiously at first, but as soon as it took my full weight (and of course it would, seeing all the others on the planks) it is fairly easy to put a little trust into it. And so the precarious shuffle continues. This is prime selfie territory, provided you don’t mind the prospect of dropping your phone into the abyss. Personally, I’d have little problem with that.

Selfie on Mt Huashan

What goes up must come down

Continuing along the plank walk for a while, eventually we hit firm land again as the pitch of the mountain recedes enough to allow a thin path. This time, however, it is simply steps etched into the mountainside. This really makes the prospect of two way travel very difficult, but I’m fortunate not to meet anyone on this section. It then brings us out to a small little mountainside temple – nothing particularly impressive, given the method of travel to get to it, but good to be there all the same. Suddenly, however, the reason for the two way travel phenomenon becomes clear. The age old saying of ‘what goes up must come down’ rings true in this instance, and I need to make my way back along the path to safety.

All in all, adrenaline quickly took over any miniscule feeling of fear which may have been lurking. Ironically, in fact, the fact that I had been harnessed in made the precarious part of the journey feel safer than the bit before the harness. Being up there, dangling off a cliff like lemmings effectively, a strange sense of harmony and community developed amongst everyone crazy enough to attempt the ascent. We developed a sort of dance to efficiently pass one another, and despite the language barrier, the universal language of humans helping one another emerged. It was a surreal experience.

Planks in the Sky

Read Blog Post»
The colours of Kutch
April 292017

Memories of our visit to arid but colourful Kutch in Gujarat: intricate handicrafts, magnificent old palaces, pristine beaches, and of course the endless white slat plains of the Great Rann.

Read Blog Post»

From staying in an old Purtuguese-era mansion and eating amado curry in the family’s kitchen, to taking a ferry and driving all over an island in search of an elusive viewpoint, this is how we had a Goa holiday that was very different from the usual.

Read Blog Post»
All Listing Types All Locations Any Rating

Latest Blogs