Call To The Wild

Call To The Wild

Cheap & Cheerful road trip never to be forgotten! We chose our destination, the Redwood National Forest, and mixed accommodations, travel, and food, high with low. Nature emerged the winner - stunning, truly breathtaking. Hide and seek amongst five foot ferns with trees towering above, it felt like the land of the dinosaurs. Our imaginations went wild as will every Star Wars fan who finds themself in the middle of Episode 6, better known as the Tall Trees Redwood Grove. This land was made for you and me...

Family Vacation, Italy

Family Vacation, Italy

Who says that travel is wasted on the young? I have never met a family that travelled whose children did not note the difference. Meet the Fitzgeralds... raising global citizens every opportunity they get. You can hear the experiences and empathy earned through their words and everyday actions. #TravelOn

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Three years later, she swears that they still talk about this trip "literally daily". In June 2014, Melanie's family took the trip of a lifetime to Cape Town, South Africa. Led by the interests of their 11, 14, and 16 year old kids, they dove with sharks, harvested food with locals, and shared the views only seen by South Africans typically. They found it all in one township: wildlife, adventure, beaches, mountains, culture, history, food, and people... #hablalovestravel

No Regrets Iceland!

No Regrets Iceland!

The plan was a six-day adventure with my kids (ages 9 and 11) and my girlfriend with her kids (ages 8 and 10). As soon as we chose Iceland as our destination, my researcher-self took center stage. Blogs and other online travel sites were immensely helpful so when we landed on the beautiful and mystical island, I felt pretty darn prepared. 

While my research was fruitful, the focus of this post is to share information I didn’t find that would have been helpful so you, too, can leave with no regrets.

EAT WHAT THE LOCALS EAT

STAY INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CITY

SEE AS MUCH OF THE COUNTRY AS POSSIBLE

THE BLUE LAGOON IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST!

 

 

Art + Beach = Magic Miami

Art + Beach = Magic Miami

Thanks to PAMM, we took away this novel way to get to know other artists on our own, by researching and discovering the music that inspired them. Then, being brave and taking pencil or pen or pastel or paint to paper to see what comes out of us, could we hear the same tunes? What tunes do you think were Picasso’s fave? Or Warhol’s? What would be mine? What would be yours? And what would art would we make?

Magic Miami

Magic Miami

As the days rolled along, there was way more to why this vacation was feeling like a vacation….

When was the last time your bathing suit was your uniform? 

Or you felt a breeze across your belly and your back every single afternoon? 

Or didn’t bathe for days because the ocean washed you? 

Or didn’t brush your hair because the wind did?

Or felt the earth beneath your bare feet, between your toes instead of socks and shoes?

Music & Mindfulness

Music & Mindfulness

...Because we are using our conscious awareness every time we pause to think of a new word or a correct verb conjugation, we find ourselves in the present moment. We also embody a tender vulnerability when we find ourselves in the position of a beginner. As Zen master Shunryu Suzuki says, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” If we can stay with that vulnerability and have the courage to make mistakes and keep on trying, we have huge opportunity for growth...

It’s Colombia, not Columbia* (Bogotá for Beginners W/ Kids in 2 Weeks)

It’s Colombia, not Columbia* (Bogotá for Beginners W/ Kids in 2 Weeks)

I ate a big but ant (salty!).

I nearly drowned myself in a mud volcano.

I dipped my cheese in hot chocolate and loved the savory-sweet juxtaposition.

I felt the graciousness of so many Colombians that it makes me take pause.

There are not a lot of tourists in Bogotá, and I suppose that is due to the prevailing reputation of narco-guerrilla violence leftover. But I tell you, it couldn’t be a nicer surprise. Arriving to Bogotá, we were greeted by the vast and sprawling city surrounded like a jeweled necklace of lush green voluptuous mountains. My girlfriend told me “me llenan”, they fill her, and I get it. They would be overwhelming if they weren’t so nurturing. The only thing that rivals these Andes are the constituents it protects.

Costa Rica: To Be Cheesy Or Not? Part 3 of 3

Costa Rica: To Be Cheesy Or Not? Part 3 of 3

One of the fears we have as travelers is going somewhere or doing something that is clearly cheesy.  For example, in South Dakota lives a billboard-driven place called Wall Drug, a sort of roadside mall surrounded by fiberglass animals like a fake-looking, brilliant green 80-foot dinosaur, invariably surrounded by a family posing with a selfie stick thrust in the air.  Cheesy is an underestimate – let’s just say locals do not take these pictures.

So it was with mild trepidation that I had stumbled into a classic tourist trap when I booked the Don Juan Coffee and Chocolate Tour in Monteverde, Costa Rica, located in the mountains three hours northwest of the capital, San Jose. 

I could not have made a better choice.

Costa Rica: Discovering the Unexpected, Part 2 of 3

Costa Rica:  Discovering the Unexpected, Part 2 of 3

The best part about traveling in an unfamiliar place is finding exactly what you didn't expect. 

 

Take, for example, the French bakery on the side of the narrow two-late road just over the ditch about a mile from downtown Tamarindo.  From the outside, La Panaderia de Paris sits inside a tired building complex, including a motel notable for its beach proximity and not so much for its elegance.  Entering a dark hallway, an old man, curiously from China, sat slumped in a wooden chair just outside the bakery’s door.  I nodded hello, unsure if his silent stare was an ominous warning or a curious gaze that I had stumbled into the place. 

 

And then I walked in.

 

Racks of pan de raisins, croissants, chocolate éclairs; baguettes baking in vintage ovens, the air pungent with yeast and flour and roasting coffee bean ground for espresso ...

Costa Rica: Landing, Part 1 of 3

Costa Rica: Landing, Part 1 of 3

“Magic,” my daughter whispered, gazing wistfully at the moonlit sea. “I knew fairy dust was real!”

Her older sister shoved her bare feet deeper into the day’s sand castle, readying to provide the scientific explanation for the sparkling water.  With a gentle but quick hand on her shoulder, she caught my look.  Don’t interrupt this moment of wonder, my eyes implored.  Let her be.

And so that is why the three of us, dressed in breezy linen blouses and sarongs on a warm evening, leaned back on damp towels on the inner curve of a long, palm-tree lined beach in Tamarindo, Costa Rica:  to catch the next sighting of fairies scattering twinkling dust across the ocean waves, gently lapping at the shore. 

Our First Family Trip to Europe

Our First Family Trip to Europe

I’ve always been nomadic. As a young adult, the idea of staying in one place for more than a few months, let alone a few years, was a foreign concept. The same can be said for my husband. Both individually and as a couple pre-kids, we’ve travelled to Southeast Asia, Australia, South America, and Europe. We hadn’t been abroad (except to Canada and Mexico) with our two children ever, and they were 8 and 10 years old! The time had finally arrived for our overseas adventure.

"Travelling" In Your Own Town

"Travelling" In Your Own Town

...a challenge when traveling in your own backyard is that the experience loses some of the normal excitement found in exploring a new place...

Travel doesn’t have to mean an overnight trip, or a week away.  A trip can happen in your neighborhood for a few hours – just enough to take a break, rejuvenate the soul, and experience a little more of the world around you.  

Unblock Your Hearts For Peace, 2nd Place, Int'l Essay Contest Winner

Unblock Your Hearts For Peace, 2nd Place, Int'l Essay Contest Winner

Marking the 70th anniversary of UNESCO, the 2015 theme of the International Essay Contest for Young People was "Building Peace in Our Hearts and Minds." From among 12,960 entries from 148 countries, the winners were selected by the Goi Peace Foundation.

Ella Olivares Powell,  age 8, born in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, won 2nd Prize in the Children's Category for her essay titled "Unlock Your Hearts For Peace".

Read her essay here...

Why We Travel

Why We Travel

Travel makes the ordinary suddenly become extraordinary.

 

A trip to the grocery store means identifying what such a store is called, learning how to navigate the noisy streets to get there, recognizing products and discovering new ones, and fumbling at the cash register with unfamiliar currency.  Such a mundane, ordinary task becomes a pronounced victory, a savored moment of procuring nourishment in an unknown land.

 

I travel to remember what matters most to me.