When the Surf Meets the Jungle - Siargao

Known for it's surfing, Siargao island in the Philippines is a must stop for the adventurous and spiritual traveler. 

We came for the surf, we found so much more. Siargao is one of the over 7000 islands that make up the Philippines. Home to the famous Cloud Nine surf break, this island has been drawing tourists for years to experience the world class surfing, cheap eco conscious accommodation, fresh healthy food and multitude of yoga shalas. While it's hard not to spend your entire day surfing with a variety of breaks for all levels just a short and cheap boat ride from shore, renting a scooter or hiring a car for the day, there is so much to explore on this jungle island. White sand beaches, rock pools, endless coconuts, and farmers markets can entertain you in the day time. At night freshly caught seafood is thrown over a grill and enjoyed while sipping cheap local beer, before a visit to the local movie theatre, karaoke bar, jungle disco or simply back to your hammock to read before bed. Each restaurant and bar has it's own story and style to experience just like each surf break has it's own vibe and style to be enjoyed. 

Dream Destination - Malapascua Philippines

Malapascua, an island paradise in the Philippines for scuba diving, white sand beaches and friendly locals eager to share their laid back lifestyle and beautiful home. 

It only took a few very long flights across the Pacific ocean, a four hour bus trip and a short taxi boat ride to get to paradise, but once in Malapascua the long journey was instantly justified with a smile that could not be wiped off my face and a lingering sense of peace. A small island in the Philippines north of Cebu, Malapascua is known for its scuba diving, but the above water attractions are just as stunning. Days begin with a sunrise boat trip to an outer reef, just as the sun is peaking over the horizon we jump into the ocean and slowly descend to see the famous Thresher shark, with its long fan like tail feeding on small cleaning fish. Emerging to the surface of the water the warm sun now shines brightly illuminating the clear blue and aqua water, some of the most stunning colors I have ever seen. Sipping hot coffee on the boat, it's only 7:30am and already I feel like everything I had hoped for has been surpassed. Back on the small island we call home for a few days, breakfast is a fresh mango smoothie and banana pancakes. Sunscreen is reapplied for some island hoping adventures, followed by reading in the hammock and an afternoon nap. A fresh seafood dinner eaten by candlelight with toes in the sand and we are off to meet new friends for karaoke and disco night where locals and tourists meet on the basketball court to drink rum and dance under the stars.    

Desert Wanderer

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"If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet."

Is travel an addiction? I believe so. I am always dreaming of the next new place to explore, to experience, and to absorb. Sometimes I catch myself getting ahead of the moment, dreaming about the next. I get so excited about what is to come that I forget to be where I am. Other times I am in a place, where my mind is so still, my body is soft and my heart feel completely at peace. These moments, these places, each sunrise is what I am grateful for. We choose our own path in this world, we make sacrifices for what is important to us, and the memories fuel the future dreams. I will always be a wanderer through this stunning planet, and my goal is to stay present each step of the way. 

Hiking Zion National Park

My first trip to Utah's desert area began in Zion National Park. Rounding the bend toward Springdale in our 1991 Ambulance, converted into adventure camper, my mind was already blown by the brightly colored rocks towering either side of the road. Entering the park I knew we were in for an adventurous few days of hiking, exploring and photo taking. Each hike we did had it's own unique view of this incredible canyon. From the vastness of the Canyon Overlook trail, to the jaw clenching cliffs of Angel's Landing, to the washed out entrance of the Narrows and the stunning sunset at The Watchmen I couldn't take a step without having my camera ready for another shot. The beauty of this place can not be described in words and instead has to be seen first hand. What struck me about Zion National Park is that it's awe inspiring views really are accessible to all. A free shuttle that runs through the park gives passengers views up into the canyon in all directions and plenty of short paved trails allow one to get close to the brightly colored rock. For those with more mobility moderate trails are well maintained, and the adventurous souls have no shortage of elevation to gain, as over over mountain and around every bend, there seems to be a new valley to explore or peak to be summited. 

The Colors of Bryce Canyon

As the sun illuminates the iron rich rocks of Bryce Canyon, Utah, I wander down deeper into their shadows. Peering up I am amazed at their jagged form that has taken millions of years to be carved into these shapes by the wind, sun, water and snow in the sedimentary rock. "Do you see the hunter and the rabbit?" someone asks, pointing off into the distance at one of the Hoodoos. Bryce Canyon National Park is said to have the most abundant number of these tall skinny spires of rock called Hoodoos that often form shapes sending children and adult's alike on a scavenger hunt through the park to spot them all. Driving out of Bryce Canyon at sunrise, these panicles slowly disappear in the rear view mirror as we return to a landscape more familiar, almost as if we are coming back to earth from an adventure on a far away planet.  

Sneaky Surf in Costa Rica

When a last minute invitation to come down to Costa Rica for a few days of surfing and relaxing in the sun came up, how could a girl say no? This trip was not about taking photos, in fact I even dared to leave my Canon 5D Mark III behind, and instead allowed this to be about seeing the sunset through my eyes without a camera in between the action. Of course I couldn't help but snap a few shots on my phone and point and shoot, which always makes me appreciate the quality of a good camera when I look back on the photos. While I got home and wished I had taken more photo, the time away from a camera was a much needed break that I feel fortunate to have been able to take and allowed for more fun in the water! 

Snow, Sake and City Sights in Japan

Arriving in Tokyo, Japan I was stuck by how a city can be so clean and quiet and yet so bright and lively at the same time. Small independent bars that seat only 8 people line Golden Gai streets, each with it's own theme and feeling. 24 hr sushi restaurants mean that you will never go hungry in this big city. The ski hills in the north island's area of Hokkaido lived up to their reputation of "Japow". Powder so deep that if you fall on a snowboard getting back up again can take a while and don't worry about lift lines or crowded runs, because there are so many different areas to ski that there is an open run for every taste. After a full day on the mountain coming home to a relaxing onsen, (a natural indoor or outdoor hot spring bath) to sooth the muscles, and a multi course traditional Kaiseki meal to not only feed the belly but the soul makes it hard to ever leave this place. Japan is a place I already can't wait to go back to full of hospitality, natural beauty and food to die for. 

Salt, Sun and Surf in Puerto Rico

A quick escape to Puerto Rico, might just have been a life changing experience. While I have traveled to many (39) countries, Puerto Rico struck a chord in my heart. The ease of traveling to a tropical island, that still has the convenience of being a US Territory makes a trip to Puerto Rico an extremely approachable destination. Amazing surf, white sand beaches, a tropical rain forest and incredible snorkeling and diving topped off with beautiful smiles and welcoming people. While this trip was part work and part pleasure, the soothing sunsets and warm sea water made it an experience of reconnection to all that which is important to me. 

Camping in the Wind River Mountains

As the weather gets cooler, I am trying to come to terms with the fact that camping for the season may have come to an end. The memories of our incredible backpacking trip to the Winds a few weeks ago are still fresh in my mind. Waking up to a bull moose 10 feet from the tent, cozy meals shared with friends and scenery so amazing it was hard to put down the camera. Until next year . . .

Snow in the Fall

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As the leaves begin to change, the colors begin to fade and the snow begins to fall, summer nights are gone and winter is here. Wyoming, USA.

Butterfly Love

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The beauty of a butterfly only lasts 2-8 weeks depending on the type before they die. All the more reason to appreciate the detail of each wing as they flutter past.