A major reason why I chose to visit Curaçao is Mt. Christoffel. Curaçao is the only island in this part of the Caribbean that has a true mountain hiking experience.
Mt. Christoffel, also known as Christoffelberg, is a short but challenging hike with satisfying, 360-degree views from the top. I loved this hike and the views so much I spent a ton of time at the top taking it all in.
In this post, I give the complete breakdown of how to make this hike happen in the best way. From the best time to go to how long it'll take you, this is my hiking story and your guide to climbing the highest peak in Curaçao.
Almost 5 years ago, I earned my SCUBA diving license while diving off Koh Tao in Thailand. Since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Earth from beneath the ocean's surface.
My first exposure to diving the Caribbean set the bar high. Diving off the coast of the Dominican Republic was absolutely beautiful. The turquoise seas, the variety of coral and sea life, and the personalized experience I received was top notch.
Diving Curaçao was a very different experience but a truly unique one! With coral shaped like giant mushrooms and reef growing high like skyscrapers, I loved my dive experience in Curaçao!
When I visit new places, I rarely spend a lot of time in the main tourist areas. But the Otrobanda, Punda, and Pietermaai districts of Curaçao's capitol were unique and rich with history, art, culture, food, and fun. I am glad I spent time in this area both during the day and at night to discover the atmosphere in both settings.
I got stuck on a floating bridge, found a secret beach, uncovered unique historic landmarks, and posed with lots of street art. Everything I did I could easily experience in one full day of exploring Willemstad!
Back in January, I took a vacation for 9 nights to the beautiful, culturally rich Caribbean island country of Curaçao. Typically, a trip like this would cost at least $2,000 in hotel and airfare alone.
My trip cost me about $800 for everything. That included airfare, airbnb stay, car rental, trip insurance, car insurance, local SIM card, all food/meals, diving and snorkeling.
I made this happen through a combination of points, some careful budget planning, and a little luck. In this post, I share the breakdown of what I did to find these deals, including the breakdown of all the costs.
Call me crazy but I love change. I thrive on change. Lucky for me, I have come to understand that change is the only, reliable constant in life.
And so here comes my next big adventure…I am moving to Miami! I am moving for a new job. It’s my dream career, in fact. And I am so very excited about it.
Learn more about this move and my thoughts on it in this quick update post.
When friends invite you to travel across the border for a one night adventure—you take it! My friends Chelsea and Dayle headed to Montréal, CA last summer for a friend’s wedding. They offered to bring me along for an adventure of my own.
I couldn't pass up the chance! I decided to meet up with an old friend whom I met in my travels. It was an opportunity to catch up with her and see more of Montréal after visiting in summer 2017.
Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa. There is a ton of history and culture to explore and lots of adventures that will give you some epic coastal city views.
In this post, I share 11 highlights or things I experienced in Cape Town and the nearby areas. Perhaps this will inspire you to visit or revisit to see and do some of the things I did!
What happens when two solo travelers meet with no plans that evening? You get instantaneous travel companionship and spontaneous adventure—that's what!
My Polish dive buddy in Cape Town turned out to be a solo traveler looking to hang out. It started with me gladly accepting his offer to drive me into Cape Town. When he suggested we take the "scenic route," I gladly accepted again!
The route we took led us to epic coastline scenery, beach sunset views, and a lookout point over Cape Town at night. This perfect evening spent between two random, solo travel companions marks one of my favorite memories from this trip.
Trying to control what you will experience as a traveler is a fool's errand. Especially when it comes to diving and anything in nature, you cannot predict what you will see or not see. This was the major reminder I was given when diving False Bay in Cape Town, South Africa.
I decided to dive False Bay in South Africa because of its kelp forest, cow sharks, seals, and healthy coral reef. In the end, I only got to experience 3 out of 4 of these highlights. While I could have let this get me down for the remaining few days of my trip to Africa, I decided to stay positive about the experience.
In this post, I write about my dive experience in False Bay. While disappointing, I managed to find the positives in the experience anyway!
After a terrible experience witnessing unethical animal tourism, I was ready to finish up my safari tour on a better note. The rest of Day 4 for me could only get better—and it did!
I had a nice time getting a personal tour of the tree house lodging where I was staying. I even spotted some baby warthogs on this walking tour. Then I had a final game drive in a very special reserve. There, I saw cheetah, lion, and rounded out my Big 5 sightings with a white rhino!
On the ride back to the airport in Johannesburg, we stopped at Blyde River Canyon. I caught gorgeous views of mountains, forests, and the river below. It was a great final 24 hours on my 5-day safari tour in South Africa!
The 3rd day of my 5-day safari tour was spent inside Kruger National Park. On the other days, the tour took me to private game reserves on the outskirts of the main park. This time we would be going in for a full day of safari adventuring!
This post will be filled with photos and anecdotal stories to provide some context for various animal sightings throughout the day. The goal of the day was to see as many of the "Big 5" animals as possible. We missed spotting rhino but were lucky enough to see buffalo, elephant, lion, and leopard! I saw many more animals, too, such as wild dogs which are super rare!
Our safari vehicle encountered so much throughout the day, including a run-in with a very disgruntled (and aroused!) elephant. It was during that encounter I learned the meaning of "Elephants have 6 legs."
The second day of my safari tour in Balule Private Game Reserve marked the first full day I had on safari. The day before was devoted to driving half the day from Johannesburg to the edge of Kruger National Park.
On this second day, I saw tons of wildlife on a 4 hour walk through the bush, spotting some of the deadliest predators in Africa. I even tasted giraffe droppings! A late afternoon game drive proved extremely fruitful when I got to see some of the most quintessential African wildlife all at the same time—elephant, giraffe, and zebra! It was a dream come true!
The day came to a close with an unexpected performance by a local tribe. Then I slept out in the bush under the stars with nothing between me and the predators of the night!
Finally, the day had arrived for my first ever African safari tour! In early June of this year, after a week in Namibia and a weekend exploring Pretoria, I was pumped to search for and see the Big Five animals (and more) of Africa.
This first day of the tour involved bonding with others on the drive to the reserve, a sunset game drive with tons of wild animals sightings including elephant and lion, and a BBQ dinner in the African bush.
I honestly could not have asked for a more fulfilling first day. Hopefully, this perfect day wasn't going to spoil me for the remainder of my 5-day tour!
I've always wanted to dive the Caribbean Sea! I finally had the opportunity to while in the Dominican Republic.
Diving near the resort on the Eastern, Atlantic side was not ideal conditions. So Ang and I took a road trip down to Bayahibe on the Southern, Caribbean side of the island country. There, I had a most spectacular, personalized tour of 2 reefs with Go Dive Bayahibe.
In this post, I review my experience diving and visiting this new area of the DR. From pristine beaches with crystal clear blue waters to diverse marine life including a squid encounter (!), now I know where to book my next trip to the Dominican Republic!
I've seen some of the best sunrises around the world and climbed sand dunes, as well. But never have I experienced sunrise views like I did from the top of Dune 45 in the Namib Desert.
Dune 45 is located on the way to the Sossusvlei salt and clay pans in Namib-Naukluft National Park. Deadvlei is another famous highlight of this park that brings in hordes of tourists year round. But views from Dune 45 of the expansive, billowing sand of the Namib desert holds its own—especially at sunrise.
Before I could climb up Dune 45, I had to gain access to the park via the gateway town of Sesriem. In this post, I share my experience getting through Sesriem's gates, climbing Dune 45, and checking out other highlights of this breathtaking natural landscape.
Time to head south! I woke up on my third day in Namibia after returning from the north the night before. The Cheetah Conservation Fund fulfilled my desire to see big cats in Africa. Now I was ready to feast my eyes upon some beautiful, Namibian desert landscapes.
The Namib-Naukluft National Park is home to the Sossusvlei (pronounced SAH-soos-vlie) Region of Namibia. Sossusvlei is particularly famous for its ultra high sand dunes and photographic dead trees. But those details (and epic photographs) are coming later.
In this post, I share highlights from the 6+ hour guided drive I took to get there. I map out my path—literally, I include an interactive map! With it, there's information and photos on how I got there, the road conditions, sights along the way, and where I camped at Sossusvlei.
This week, I am taking a short break from writing about my own travels to give tribute to my Grand-Aunt Wally. Wally died last week at 98 years old. She was my travel inspiration. And so I was moved to write this post in memory of her.
The photos in this post come predominantly from my visit to Germany in 2014. There I met her half brother, Ludwig, who showed me these photos during my stay with cousins in Rohr.
In this post, I write a little bit about what Wally meant to me. I describe some of the adventures she took part in and I discuss some of the words of wisdom she gave me about life and travel. I hope that her words and her life will inspire you as she inspired me.
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!
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.
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.