This Adventurous Life

A young couple exploring the world…and their 30's

Posts from the ‘North America’ category

Spending Valentines Day in Hawaii is pretty awesome. ¬†So is making a summary video of all of our past year’s travels for my husband! ūüôā

2012 was such an amazing year for us.  We went on great trips with friends and family, and are so fortunate that we are surrounded by people who appreciate traveling with us.

So, here is an entirely imperfect yet awesome video I slapped together for you, Cayle. ¬†You continue to amaze me with your love, generosity, and energy. ¬†Enjoy “Ode to 2012.” ¬†Happy Valentines Day!


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¬†Mendenhall Lake around the pass to the glacier and back is usually not hard. ¬†Well, if your rudder breaks off when you are half way around the lake…then it can become tough to move in any purposeful direction at a positive speed. ¬†Our rudder decided to stop working making this excursion quite a work out. ¬†Thankfully we didn’t have to dodge any breaking icebergs.

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Dolphins are wonderfully beautiful and playful mammals. Seeing them in their natural environment can’t be matched by shows at Seaworld or swimming with captured dolphins at a resort. This was the most amazing experience on the Big Island and it only cost us a tandem kayak rental.

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“What was your favorite part the trip?” ¬†This is a question I am often asked. ¬†When a trip is boiled down to the cause of the most happiness, excitement, peace, relaxation- or whatever was intended to be gained…the answer is found. ¬†Regarding our recent trips this month to Kauai and the Big Island, I have a favorite for each. Continue reading…

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Unable to spend an entire vacation just relaxing with our books/drinks by the ocean, Tracy and I rented motor scooters and picked a spot on a map. We set off on a mission to explore a little of a less visited corner of western Jamaica. So much fun and so memorable, motor scooters might just find a place in some of our future vacation plans.
Feeling awesome and looking ridiculous.
I am not sure our vehicles were quite built for the terrain we took them on, but they performed admirably. We survived dirt roads, sand, potholes, some brief off-roading and the dodging trucks into bushes all in one day trip.
Just as I had hoped for, we easily found our own little private beaches as picturesque as you could imagine.
Time for a snack out of the sun in a perfect little beach spot.
Happy to be off adventuring again. Jamaica, we like you.
We’ve arrived at the destination that we picked off of a random map…Little Bay Jamaica. ¬†First order of business was to stop at this little¬†fisherman’s¬†bar on the beach and secure lunch and a drink. These gentleman were already through a couple bottles of liquor by lunchtime, however I think we¬†caught¬†them during a very friendly stage of inebriation.
We found a couple of fisherman who were more than willing to sell us a fish caught that morning and even prepare it as a little lunch for a few dollars. The “kitchen” may have been¬†primitive¬†but the food was delicious.
Tracy befriended this little local puppy which she named “Chef”. He was so amazingly cute and friendly that we temporarily suspended our no touching stray animals rule for travel. He was worth the risks.
This man is building fish traps by hand just like he’s been doing on this same beach for over 50 years. Nice guy and amazing to think he was here doing the same work back when my parents were driving around Jamaica on their honeymoon.
We kept thinking that Jamaica seemed quite like Africa. Both are lands of simple beauty, friendly people, infectious culture and heart-breaking poverty.
Little Bay, Jamaica is still known primarily for being a beach that Bob Marley used to visit to get away from the pressures of Kingston.  We could understand why he came, it was quiet and pretty and seemingly stuck in time.

This day trip was another reminder that is can be both easy and safe to get away from the well traveled tourist areas of any country and experience a little of the true culture and beauty so often missed in a world dominated by all-inclusive resort compounds.

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Between two winter European trips and coming home to cold, gray mid-western weather, we decided at the last minute to go warm up and relax mid-February. ¬†Relaxing on vacation is not something we regularly do because there are too many new things to experience. ¬†But once in awhile, like when you realize you haven’t finished a book in too many months or when you have forgotten what the sun feels like, it is necessary to unplug somewhere away from the looming thesis and ever present work to bask in the sun while slimed up with SPF. ¬†

Enter Rockhouse, Negril, Jamaica.
Tracy originally found this resort in 2004 when we were planning our destination wedding. ¬†It didn’t ¬†appear in our story then, but eight years later was most welcomed into the plot. ¬†Five days of amazing sunsets, rocky cliffs, clear ocean, yoga and exercise, meeting wonderful people, and great food…Oh and we each finished two books and started a third.
This artist has been in the same spot on the beach creating amazing wooden sculptures for decades.  
Do you see how “perched” our room was on cliffs? ¬†Our bed was surrounded by windows showcasing the magnificent, meandering coves of the Caribbean…all of which we could climb ladders down to and swim in.
Every night during happy hour, the Rockhouse guests filled the pool patios taking in the picture perfect sunsets.  The location on the island puts the horizon at due west.
Here I am (It’s Tracy) getting ready for another sunset while cooling off in the pool. ¬†The days were long and lovely reading under umbrellas, doing morning yoga together with Fanette Johnson, swimming in the ocean, cooling off in the pool, reading lots of books, and talking for hours. ¬†I can see why most every guest at Rockhouse is on their 7th or 8th year returning. ¬†A very comfortable, pristine place that wills you to relax and take deep breaths.
Does it get much better than this? ¬†A near perfect sailboat and sunset moment. We have strikingly similar sunset photos from a trip in 2008 near St. Barth’s…but every experience is special and a¬†separate¬†memory that slows time for bit.
Do you see why we hardly left the resort?  (so unlike us, too!) 
Rockhouse Hotel at night as seen from the restaurant…with a very very long shutter speed.
An even longer shutter speed was needed to capture the stars over the Rockhouse pool at night. Warm nights, beautiful views, great food and a relaxed atmosphere make the cliffs south of the Negril a wonderful little corner of Jamaica.
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It is camera upgrade season in our household.  With multiple new contraptions arriving, I am inspired to think about some of my most favorite captured moments.  Some of the photographs I take carry sentimental meaning, some are (frankly) tough shots I’m proud of, and some are great surprises.  Since there are too many to include in one post, I will stick to a gallery posting of “strength in subjects.”  You will get my drift, I hope.  Here are some of my favorites (minus a few I snapped in Cuzco, Peru that may or may not be included in Cayle’s upcoming post).

Try shooting out of the window of a moving matatu while also attempting to hide your camera.  It’s not easy, but not as hard as pulling all of that produce. I like that the trailer has a vibrating look to it, appropriate for the location and the action taking place.

The camera is held down at my side as if it isn’t on, my thumb resting the button.  They are looking up at our faces.  Beautiful, enduring children.

A solitary Acacia, winding and well trodden path, ray of light casting onto a Sub-Saharan plain and vast horizon… interpretations and representations are all too many to list.  I cherish moments while traveling where at an exact moment in time you know you are right where you should be.  There is unparalleled strength in such a feeling.

An icon of Mayan civilization, Temple of Kukulkan, Chichen Itza circa 2008.  On the spring and summer equinox, shadows are casted revealing a serpent’s body down the staircase.  If visited now, the pyramid is fenced off and the land is quite barren.  

Whatever camera I had in 2007 (Kodak maybe?), I can’t fault it much because it gave me this.

On one very hot, very sunny day I fought to ignore the chorus of “Jump Around” repeating in my mind while trying to absorb the cultural significance of a tribe’s deep tradition.

A great blue heron looking dignified.  What I like most about this photo is the trifecta of landscapes ranging from the foreground and into the farthest distance with the green vegetation contrasting the detail of the bird.

If only this llama new it was so hip!  The “greenest” way to mow your lawn.  And the Andes, oh the Andes.  Is there a better mountain range?  P.S. it really was that green.

A moss covered Buddha surrounded by the tallest and brightest colored bamboo I have ever seen.  Allerton Garden, Kauai, Hawaii.

What I love about this photo (other than the man in it), was a complete accident.  A raindrop hit the lens of our waterproof digital right before I took this photo creating a motion effect at the rear of the kayak.  How speedy Cayle looks!

A director’s chair.  How many amazing people have sat in it taking in a view of the Ugandan hillside? Or, should the emptiness of this director’s chair be a metaphor for the political leadership of a country?

Some detail is lost in the highlights of the petals, but I still love the reflection of the waterlilly.

Another iPhone shot, which is forever the lock screen on my phone. We can’t get enough of our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and are very lucky he is so welcomed and loved by his grandparents while we travel.

Can’t wait for our new cameras to come in!  We have some major photography candy coming up finishing 2011 in Paris and starting 2012 off in Rome.

What about a photograph of yours qualifies it as one of your favorites?

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