“These are the good old days.”
I saw this quote illuminated in neon pink lights in a bar in Queenstown, New Zealand surrounded by strangers I just met the night before who I would spend the next seven days with. That quote immediately resonated with me because it’s a feeling I often have while traveling. I knew this group of strangers were going to become my friends and we would create a bond forever forged by our adventures together. I remember sitting at the table looking around at these new faces and that neon pink quote above us and thinking I don’t want this trip to ever end. I often become nostalgic during a trip and saddened that I can never recreate a precise moment with friends. I reminisce for a memory that is still being created. It’s a blessing and a curse to feel nostalgic for a time that hasn’t even finished yet. I’m thankful I realize in the moment that I need to be grateful for the experience and the bond, but then I feel like it’s a curse to recognize that because I can’t just live in the moment. I find myself getting wrapped up in thinking “these are the good old days aren’t they?”
The point to my ramblings is don’t be like me and get wrapped up in reminiscing for the past. Enjoy life always and be present in every aspect of your life. Because every new moment can be the good old days!
So before I get anymore wistful here, let me take you back to “the good old days” on my seven day trip with this incredible group of people that became my friends as we traversed the deep south of New Zealand and created adventures of a lifetime together.
Categories: New Zealand
Tags: AJ Hackett, Bluff, bungee, bungee jumping, bungy, camping, Christchurch, Church of the Good Shepherd, Fiordland, Fiordland National Park, Gunn's Camp, hiking, Hooker Valley, Hooker Valley Track, Lake Pukaki, Lake Tekapo, Lindis Pass, Milford Sound, Mount Cook, Mt Cook, New Zealand, Oban, Queenstown, road trip, Shotover, Shotover Canyon, Shotover Jet, Skyline Gondola, Skyline Queenstown, snow tubing, South Island, stargazing, Stewart Island, Stray, Te Anau, Tekapo Hot Springs, tramping, zip line, zip lining
“The mountains are calling and I must go” said John Muir. I always feel this pull, a curiosity and desire, to explore the mountains which is a huge reason I find myself in New Zealand right now. There’s something about the the wildness of forests and mountains that makes me feel more free and full of life. So I knew I had to venture to the South Island in winter to witness the majestic Southern Alps coated in snow.
Categories: New Zealand
Tags: Blue Pools, Cardrona, Cardrona Hotel, hike, hiking, lake, Lake Wanaka, Lone Tree, Mount Aspiring, Mount Aspiring National Park, mountains, New Zealand, Queenstown, road trip, ski, snow, snowboard, South Island, That Wanaka Tree, Treble Cone, Treble Cone Ski Resort, Wanaka, Wanaka Tree
My first New Zealand road trip is in the books! Our group drove the four hours north to the resort town of Taupo, an adventurers paradise located on the shore of Lake Taupo. We spent Saturday and Sunday exploring the lake, waterfalls, geothermal fields and hot springs! Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s largest lake and feeds the Waikato River which flows over Huka Falls. We were also treated views of the active volcanoes of Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe (aka Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings films) from the lake and we had beautiful Autumn weather all weekend. The most popular thing to do in the area is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, but I’m still working up to be in shape for that all day hike!
Categories: New Zealand
Tags: Craters of the Moon, falls, geothermal, geothermal field, hike, hiking, hot spring, Huka, Huka Falls, Huka Falls Spa Park Walk, lake, Lake Taupo, Maori, Maori Rock Carvings, New Zealand, North Island, river, road trip, rock carvings, spa park, steam, swimming, Taupo, thermal spring, Waikato River, waterfall
This day was spent at the racetrack! Albeit the slowest race on Earth, but it was a day at the races nonetheless! Alright, I’ll stop speaking in vague terms lol. The sailing, or moving, stones at the Racetrack in Death Valley National Park have long been a mystery for both scientists and interested parties since their discovery nearly a century ago. I myself have been intrigued since I saw a program on the History Channel when I was a kid and finally got to check this sight off my bucket list! This is actually my second time at Death Valley National Park in the past year. And there is still so much to see and do I can’t wait to go back a third time. When I was in Death Valley a year ago I was not able to visit the Racetrack. But this trip I properly planned for the grueling drive to the Racetrack and it’s truly a one in a lifetime trip that was a childhood dream come true for me!
Tags: California, crater, Death Valley, Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek, ghost town, mine, mining, moving stones, national park, Nevada, off-road, park, playa, racetrack, Rhyolite, road trip, roadtrip, rocks, sailing stones, stones, The Racetrack, Ubehebe Crater
If you google (that is an official dictionary word now, sorry Yahoo and Bing) “best road trips”, you will be hard pressed to find a list that does not include the California Coast. The Pacific Coast Highway (aka Highway 1, aka the PCH) is a must for everyone’s bucket list and a once-in-a-lifetime trip! Literally it is probably a once-in-a-lifetime trip because the scenery might be some of the most breathtaking and gorgeous landscapes I will ever see, but the winding PCH is a slow, car-sick inducing, sometimes scary drive. But let’s not focus on the ONE negative here otherwise I would be doing a crappy job of convincing you all to take this amazing road trip. I mean you can’t get to the incredible Machu Picchu without traveling on rough roads or hiking strenuous trails to reach that far off the beaten path site!
I have actually driven the PCH twice in my life now, so it’s been more than once-in-a-lifetime for me! [I’m an over-achiever like that.] The first time was on my drive to San Francisco in 2011. The California Coast is truly an exhilarating drive that offers constant breathtaking views. Make sure your camera has lots of memory space for all the gorgeous vistas! My friend Hillary (and co-host of my other travel blog) and I wanted to explore central coastal California, specifically Big Sur, and we set out for a four day adventure we titled our “Classic California Road Trip”!
California’s Highway 1
Tags: 17 Mile Drive, 17-Mile, beach, Big Sur, Bixby, Bixby Bridge, Carmel, coast, Disney, Disneyland, Highway 1, hike, keyhole, light station, lighthouse, Monterey, ocean, Pacific, Pacific Coast Highway, paddle boarding, paddleboarding, parasailing, Partington Cove, PCH, Pfeiffer, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Pfeiffer Falls, Pfeiffer State Beach, Pismo, Pismo Beach, Point Sur, redwoods, road trip, Route 1, stand up paddleboarding, stand-up, waterfall
Snowboarding + a ghost town + Vegas in one vacation…why not! I am a mulit-tasker and overachiever, so when I find myself mere hours away from various adventures I want to explore them all!
Hillary flew in from Texas to join in on this hodge-podge trip, and we accomplished it all in a four day time frame. Life is short and unexpected so I want to seize every opportunity when I can! At least that is my motto for now. 🙂
Tags: Bear Mountain, Big Bear, Big Bear Lake, Calico, California, ghost town, Las Vegas, Nevada, road trip, Snow Summit, snowboard, snowboarding, Vegas
California, baby! We made it on Tuesday night, Day 6 of our road trip, to Death Valley National Park in California. I’m not sure how many people choose to enter California via Death Valley but that’s how I like to roll: off the grid and a little different. And who knew that Death Valley was such a cool (eh eh, lol) place to visit! There was one place in Death Valley called The Racetrack that I’ve wanted to see since I saw a program on the History Channel years ago, but I never realized there was so much more to do in Death Valley. My enjoyment of Death Valley was also helped by the fact that we were NOT visiting in the summer and the high was only 99 degrees in late September. Really, that’s not bad all all since there was a decent breeze too. We also woke up early to get a head start on the day and we left Death Valley by early afternoon before the hottest part of the day.
[This is the final installment to my grand road trip, so if you haven’t read the first two posts, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2. Hope you enjoy my ramblings!]
Tags: California, Death Valley, Death Valley National Park, General Sherman, national park, redwood, road trip, roadtrip, sequoia, Sequoia National Park, Sierra Nevada, west
Monday through Thursday of our road trip was all about the National Parks! (Thank the stars we visited these parks the week before the government shutdown.) I think I visited more national parks this year than in my entire life haha. And now I’m a super excited advocate for visiting these parks! National and State Parks are perfect activities for road trips, and vacations in general. Each day of our road trip, my dad and I had a destination in mind and, aside from the entry fees, these are very inexpensive adventures. I am now more eager than ever to visit as many National and State Parks as possible, because I learned just how many amazing natural sites our country has to offer.
[If you are hopping aboard this Part 2 post and have not read Part 1, click here!]
Categories: Arizona, Utah
Tags: arch, Arches National Park, Arizona, canyon, Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Monument Valley, plateau, road trip, roadtrip, travel, Utah, west
7 nights, 8 days, 7 states, over 3,000 miles, degree range: 37 to 100, elevation range: sea level to over 7,000 feet.
Tags: 4-wheel, ATV, Colorado, Denver, downtown, Durango, four-wheel, Glenwood Springs, Mesa Verde, Mesa Verde National Park, mountain, off-road, park, road trip, travel, west
I embarked on a “Griswold family vacation” this summer with my parents and brother across the beautiful states of Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Lots and lots of hours in the car, plus several fun stops and views of beautiful countryside, made for a successful road trip. It’s been a long while since my family has spent this much time together, and perhaps it helps that my brother and I have moved past the arguing, bickering and fighting stages of our sibling relationship, but we all got along pretty swell! My Family = 1 / Disastrous Road Trip = 0. Winning!
Categories: Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia
Tags: antique, BBQ, boat, boating, Bodie, Bodie Lighthouse, Body Lighthouse, Carter Caves, Carter Caves State Park, cave, cavern, Charlottesville, Cheerwine, Cheerwine float, chicken, colonial, Colonial Williamsburg, cow, Croatoan, farm, ferry, hike, James River, Jamestown, Jones Creek, Kentucky, lighthouse, lost colony, Louisville, Manteo, Merchant Square, Michie Tavern, Midland Trail, natural bridge, Newport News, North Carolina, Old Central City, Pagan River, Pop's Southern Style BBQ, road trip, Roanoke, Roanoke Island, Roanoke Sound, scenic byway, Smithfield, sunset, Virginia, Williamsburg