NOLA Nightlife Deviance: Gay Bars, Burlesque, and Horse Poop!

NOLA Nightlife Deviance: Gay Bars, Burlesque, and Horse Poop!

I love myself a little deviance. I mean, where do you think this blog title came from, really? New Orleans is definitely not in short supply of queer, sexy, nighttime fun! And so I'm going to bring you the sampling I tasted back in November.

I had one night during my work trip to New Orleans to experience the nightlife. The other nights I had to behave. A bender on bourbon street would not have boded well for my conference presentations the next day. So I was very happy to have Saturday night to get a little wild with my bestie, Erin!

Our night included tons of queer, sexy, funny entertainment—and also some horse poop. Allow me to explain.

City Park in New Orleans: Sculptures, Nature, & Lights

City Park in New Orleans: Sculptures, Nature, & Lights

The last time I visited New Orleans was in July. I didn't make it to NOLA's City Park then because July happened to be the worst month of the year to visit NOLA. It was so hot.

November in NOLA was a totally different story. It was not only the perfect weather, the city was also buzzing with the upcoming holiday season. So I saw all the exciting lights being strung and holiday decorations going up everywhere—including in the park.

The comfortable temperature and holiday atmosphere are why visiting NOLA's City Park in November was such a great experience. It was so great I had to write this post all about it! As always, I have lots of photos to share, including beautiful art, nature, and a surprise holiday lights display!

 How I Prevented a Travel Catastrophe: Losing My Wallet

How I Prevented a Travel Catastrophe: Losing My Wallet

You know how people say to "keep your money in different places" when you travel? You know, they say you should split it between your suitcase, your carry on, and even stuff some in your sock.

Well, turns out it's a DAMN GOOD IDEA! Even better, keep an entire wallet (with IDs and credit cards and money) separate from your other wallet. I did this and it saved me a huge hassle while traveling my second time to NOLA.

I also learned what happens when you don't have an ID to show the TSA at the airport. Apparently, this happens all the time and they have a simple procedure in place. Who knew?!

Best Travel Moments of 2017 and What's Next in 2018?

Best Travel Moments of 2017 and What's Next in 2018?

llo 2018! Has a whole year gone by already?

There is rarely a day that goes by that I'm not thinking about travel. I'm either reflecting on the travels I've done in the past or planning for new adventures in the future. This post is where I share those musings.

This year was rough for a lot of Americans, politically speaking. I also found it to be oddly inspiring. Who knew a president so vile could bring together so many like-minded folks both stateside and abroad? Protesting during my travels is inevitably a part of my favorite moments from 2017.

As for 2018—who knows what's next, really! Travel seems to pop up spontaneously for me these days. But there is one big trip I am planning for. And I'm about to spill the beans!

13 To-Do's in Montreal On A Summer Day

13 To-Do's in Montreal On A Summer Day

In August this year, I had the opportunity to travel to Montreal for 2 nights. It was going to be a short stay, but I wanted to make the most of it.

I was traveling with my new partner, Ang. She was presenting at a conference, and I joined for some fun! I have been to Canada before—to Toronto and Bromont. But Montreal is a city I have been wanting to visit since I took French in high school. So this trip was 15+ years in the making! It also marked the first time I had been out of the USA since my round-the-world trip!

Summers in Montreal are full of art, music, and outdoor fun. I experienced everything I describe in this post over 2 days. But you can easily see and do it all in 24 hours.

The Native American Peoples of Arizona

The Native American Peoples of Arizona

I spent July 4th, my last night in the southwest, in Flagstaff, Arizona. That night, I celebrated America's independence with my couchsurf host, Jeremy. Before my flight the next day, I made sure to pay my respects to the indigenous peoples of the region.

Before America became an independent nation, native tribes and cultures were involuntarily eliminated. We often forget this.

So, in this post, I touch on information about Arizona's native peoples. I visited some of the Hopi ancestors' preserved sites near Flagstaff. I also experienced the Diné (Navajo) peoples' modern presence throughout my stay in Arizona.

Photo/Video Essay: Virgin River and Checkerboard Mesa in Zion

Photo/Video Essay: Virgin River and Checkerboard Mesa in Zion

In this post, I show you the best random extras from an afternoon I spent in Zion National Park. This week is very busy for me with Thanksgiving and other family events happening. So now is the perfect time to share some photos and video without many words!

I include my refreshing dip in the icy cool Virgin River after hiking Angel's Landing. This was much appreciated as the temperatures were rising above 90-degrees that day.

I also captured my stroll along the famous Checkerboard Mesa formation. Have a gander at all the beauty and enjoy!

Angel's Landing: Zion's Most Dangerous (and Crowded) Hike

Angel's Landing: Zion's Most Dangerous (and Crowded) Hike

I kept hearing about the "most dangerous" and "most popular" hike in Zion. Angel's Landing is beautiful, thrilling, and inevitably crowded.

I woke up at 4AM to hit the trail solo at 6AM. I drove into the park from my Airbnb in St. George, Utah, and managed to be one of the first to the top!

I am so happy I planned this way. So I want to tell you how to plan similarly! In this Q&A-style post, I describe my entire experience. I explain everything including when to go and how dangerous it is. Then you can decide if it's a hike you'd like to do, too!

Solo Hiking & Exploring Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park

Solo Hiking & Exploring Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park

I was traveling solo again. Erin had left for the West Coast early that morning. I was off to find a new Utah adventure to call my own. 

Most people don't realize how huge Zion National Park is outside its main gates. For no park fee, I found dozens of trails around the Kolob Canyons area of the park. One of these trails took me down a lesser-beaten path where I rarely met another hiker.

As a solo traveler, I appreciated bumping into the few travelers I did. But I also basked in every moment I had alone to reconnect with the wilderness.

The Difficult Narrows Hike in Zion National Park

The Difficult Narrows Hike in Zion National Park

There's nothing like a National Park introduction that challenges you. Erin and I were about to embark on our second National Park and second hike of the day. Little did we know, we were about to face many difficulties on top of our exhaustion.

In this post, I outline some of these difficulties. This shows that sometimes planning ahead is necessary. There are some stunning views and features to see on this hike. We got to admire much of it, but we missed other parts and could have enjoyed it even more.

Now we are better informed—and you can be, too!

The Best Way to Hike into Bryce Canyon National Park

The Best Way to Hike into Bryce Canyon National Park

Deviating often means taking a different path. But sometimes the best way is to deviate down the same path backwards.

I found this out when I took an alternate trail to hike into Bryce Canyon National Park this past summer. I went by instinct. I skipped the main park entrance and found an alternate trail. The trail cut a path to the main trail that looped backwards around the park.

I avoided the $30 park fee and was gradually introduced to the scenery rather than forced to view it up front. This way, the epic views at the halfway point served as a hard-earned, well-deserved reward.

8 Highlights on Scenic 89A from Arizona to Utah

8 Highlights on Scenic 89A from Arizona to Utah

This past summer, I road-tripped through Northern Arizona. If you've ever been to this area, then you know about interstate highway 89A.

This is not the small, state highway 89A between Sedona and Flagstaff. Interstate 89A runs from Bitter Springs, Arizona to Kenab, Utah. It's known by the state of Arizona as the the Fredonia-Vermilion Cliffs Scenic Road. Why? It passes right by those cliffs and through the town of Fredonia—clever!

There was much to see along this 2-hour stretch of road. There were gorgeous views of rivers and deserts, forests on fire, and rural towns. In this post, I describe these and more of the most notable parts of the drive.

Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell in Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell in Page, Arizona

I visited Page, Arizona when I was 12 years old. My experience back then took me to a resort on the shores of Lake Powell. This experience influenced my decision to see Lake Powell again this summer. I am so glad I did!

In my last post, I wrote about visiting Antelope Canyon off Rte 98 on my second day in Page. On my first day, I visited a different location called Horseshoe Bend. Horseshoe Bend is so photogenic it's worth walking through the heat of the desert to see it. Unlike Antelope Canyon, there's no cost to go there!

Later in the day, I went to the lake. A hefty park fee almost kept me from experiencing the epic beauty of Lake Powell again. Thanks to my Airbnb host, I was able to swim in it's clear, blue waters once again—and also for free!

How to Visit Antelope Canyon in Arizona

How to Visit Antelope Canyon in Arizona

It's a secret that was only exposed less than 90 years ago. Before that, Mother Earth had been busy painting waves into stone with water. The result is a photographer's dream location. 

And the photographers show up in herds. This is why you need to know how I got to see it before all the crowds got there and without paying premium ticket prices.

In this post, I use my first-hand experience to answer everything you need to know about Antelope Canyon.

3 Years and 200 Posts Ago: Why I Really Started This Blog

3 Years and 200 Posts Ago: Why I Really Started This Blog

This week marks 3 years since I started this blog. This is also my 200th post on the blog.

In commemoration of this occasion, I have decided to get completely real with you all. Before this point, there were parts of my story I did not fully reveal publicly. But now it's time I share a huge part of why travel and why this blog was so important for me.

For 2 years before I graduated with my doctorate and departed for world travel, I was cyber stalked and threatened to the point of paranoid terror. The creation of this blog was my big re-emergence. It was as much a part of putting myself back out into the world (through travel) as it was about being public online again.

I am finally ready to open up about this period of my life.

One Week Arizona-Utah Roadtrip: Itinerary and Map

One Week Arizona-Utah Roadtrip: Itinerary and Map

I love making maps of where I'm going and where I've been! I made one for Iceland before I set out on my big international trip in 2014. And I recently made one for my visit to Oahu.

Once again, I mapped my road trip around Arizona and Utah. I used Google Maps to first pinpoint fun activities and places I wanted to visit. After I returned, I plotted the actual route I took and places I saw.

I share an interactive map of my AZ-UT trip below. It includes all the activities I did and even some I never had the chance to check out. I even include a day-by-day description of my itinerary this time!

Happy July 4th! A Peek at My Arizona-Utah Trip!

Happy July 4th! A Peek at My Arizona-Utah Trip!

I am writing right now from Utah!

I will be here for another few hours and then I am heading back to Arizona to celebrate our nation's Independence. There really has been no better way to celebrate the USA's birthday than to visit some of our nation's most spectacular national parks (and more).

During this trip, I have also had the chance to reflect on what Independence Day might mean to other groups in America, such as the Diné (Navajo people) and other local tribes indigenous to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah.

Soon I will write all about my experiences road tripping from Flagstaff to St. George and back. But before I do, the following is a little photographic teaser. In two weeks, look out for a regular post about this trip (with all the trappings)!

Life Update: Home, Love, Career and Travel

Life Update: Home, Love, Career and Travel

It's been 7 months since my last major update! A lot has been going on in my life. And it all ties into a major lesson I learned while traveling solo: Nothing is permanent.

In recent months, unforeseen circumstances forced me to move out of the home I settled into a year ago. Plus, I ended a 2 year relationship.

But now things are looking up. I have worked out a new place to live. I've also gained more travel flexibility despite my full-time career.

13 Free (or Under $10) Activities Near Waikiki

13 Free (or Under $10) Activities Near Waikiki

There's a lot to see and do around the Waikiki area that will drain your bank account. But there's also a lot to do for those on a budget!

You can certainly lounge on the beach all day for free. You can even visit Pearl Harbor for free! But there's tons of other cultural, physical, and food-related activities around Waikiki that I find a lot more interesting!

In this post, I outline the best activities in the Waikiki area that won't break the bank!

The Weirdest Wreck Dive Ever in Oahu, Hawaii [Videos]

The Weirdest Wreck Dive Ever in Oahu, Hawaii [Videos]

I have never had a dive experience quite like the one I had in Hawaii this past January.

I've logged over 30 dives around the world. This has included incredible sights at the Great Barrier Reef, lightning storm dives in Florida, and a near-fatal fight against currents in Bali. After so much diving, I am still having new and unique experiences under the ocean's surface.

This dive tops them all! From shipwreck-dwelling sea turtles to a sunken airplane, I was already incredibly fulfilled on my dives with Ocean Legends in Honolulu. But then a most unexpected arrival came sweeping through: A submarine! Read on—and watch the videos—to re-experience it all with me!