TRAVEL

Travel Throwback | Grand Canyon 2014

Every time Andy and I take a road trip we take toooonnnss of video, and then never ever edit them into anything! (except for a special compilation here). It’s gotten to be a very bad habit, one I am determined to break. I’ve decided to challenge myself by editing together one new video each week of our past trips! I’ll be throwing it backs for the next couple of weeks to some very special adventures Andy and I have shared together. I’m super excited to finally get these big check marks off my to-do list!

We will be kicking it off with one of our very first road trips: The Grand Canyon + Vegas of 2014. Keep in mind this footage is some of our very first experiments with travel journaling! It’s not going to win any awards, but its so exciting and refreshing to remember where we started.

Cheers!

 

Song is ” I Should Have Known Better ” by THE BEATLES

Top 5 International Bucket List Destinations

Andy and I have made it our mission to see all fifty of the United States of America. We LOVE taking road trips and consequently have driven through and visited almost half of them (18!!) in the three years we’ve been together. I still consider this a higher priority for us before we begin seriously adventuring outside of our home country, but that doesn’t mean I don’t dream of the magical lands I’ve only ever seen imagery of.

Here are my top 5 dream destinations if I could go anywhere and do anything, in no particular order.

#1: Ireland + Scotland


Image via Our Travel Passport

I’m smooshing these together because they have always gone hand in hand for me. For some reason as long as I can remember I’ve had this fantasy of riding a fast horse along some wild hill or beach in Ireland, with leather reins wrapped in my hands and the wind wrapped in my hair. There is so much beauty here: the Cliffs of Moher (Princess Bride anyone?), the road through the Dark Hedges, the history, the cities and castles. I think this is the place I would feel most like a wild princess, and one I have always longed to visit. Scotland is also home to several iconic filming locations for the Harry Potter films, and the cafe where JK Rowling supposedly wrote a large portion of the books. Yes please!

#2: Iceland


Image via Hand Luggage Only

ICE. LAND. There are so many activities here that I am dying to do: whale watching, soaking in the blue lagoon, hiking, caving, petting one of those native ponies, going for a dogsled ride, and of course, seeing the northern lights. I cannot list the number of photography collections I’ve seen of couples who have eloped there or just adventure photographers who’ve gone exploring. It is seriously so gorgeous, I don’t think it’s possible to find a bad angle of it. Although, I’ll just have to go and find out for sure myself!

#3: New Zealand


Image via Dangerous Business

Speaking of wild places, New Zealand found its way to a secure and special place in my heart when I was immersed in the Lord of the Rings trilogy fandom at the tender age of 10. My mom was obsessed, and so my sister and I were too. The entirety of all three films were filmed there, and they even left Hobbiton intact so people could visit. There’s nothing else to say on the matter.

#4: England

Image via Hand Luggage Only

I don’t think England needs any justification of why it would appear on anyone’s travel list. I’m realizing as I write this that the majority of my wanderlust is rooted in literature and film. Some, or maybe most, of my favorite stories originate from or are straight up based in this incredible country. I had a strong desire to move here after I graduated college as well, as there is a large hub of VFX studios in London responsible for some of the best work in the industry.

#5: France


Image via Happy to Wander

Besides the obvious must-see city of Paris, France is full of gorgeous towns and unexpectedly beautiful countrysides and coastlines. Something about France has always felt very romantic to me, I love the language and the food and the architecture and history.

Looking back, I’m realizing this list could almost more appropriately be called my top 5 European bucket list destinations. There’s a multitude of other cities and countries across Africa and South America that I would of course love to visit and will be on my next roundup, but I would die an incredibly happy lady if I were able to visit just these five beauties.

Cheers!

Travel Diaries | New Mexico

Every time we take a trip I feel like I proclaim it’s my new favorite trip we’ve ever taken, but our wintry excursion to the Sante Fe National Forest in northern New Mexico really takes the cake. On top of getting —-> ENGAGED <—- we made a ton of amazing memories, and took home some more knowledge and experience.

You could read every book on traveling with a travel trailer and it just simply takes hitching up and hitting the road to really learn. On our previous trip to Arkansas, we learned not to pack too many stops into too few of days. So armed with that hectic memory, we planned to take two days to travel eleven hours, with a reservation at an RV park at the halfway mark. It was a perfect drive. Not stressful, enjoyable, and we arrived in Jemez Springs with several hours before sunset to find the perfect campground. And then we immediately made a shiny new mistake in which to learn a shiny new lesson from: Don’t just spontaneously dive off a paved road onto an unpaved road without knowing where it leads, especially in snowy conditions. The moment we turned onto this cool looking road, we immediately saw it took a sharp snow covered dive downhill, put Nala in reverse and made to undo our decision. And found ourselves quite stuck.

After hopelessly wiggling back in forth for a few minutes, Andy and I started to wonder what the heck we were going to do. Call for help? No cell signal, of course. Shortly after we momentarily gave up a truck pulled up beside us driven by a sweet middle aged couple, who poked their heads out of the window and asked if we needed some help. For some reason I have this weird frantic reluctance to not accept people’s help, even when I am in dire need. My heart was screaming YES OMG PLEASE but I think I mumbled something like “I mean I’m not sure if you can…”. Nice. Luckily, they were more than happy to lend a hand. We didn’t catch their names, but after some fruitless pushing and steering wheel direction suggestions, Mr. Ice Rescue pulled a shovel from his truck and proceeded to dig out the snow from behind Nala’s tires. He then traded the shovel for a tow rope, which he attached to Roameo’s tailgate and the back of his truck. Mrs. Ice Rescue and I stood out in the main road and stopped traffic while the men heaved and ho’d and successfully saved our poor booties from camping on the side of the road. After hurried handshakes and shouted thanks we all leapt back in our vehicles, unblocked the road, and resumed our exploration. This time, heading back down the mountain.

Lesson #2: Always have a small shovel and tow straps in your tow vehicle. Just in case.

We ended up finding a really lovely, deserted campground at the bottom of the mountain. It wasn’t snowy and foresty like we envisioned, but after our potentially trip-ruining experience in the ice we were just happy to have a safe spot to detach and get some sleep. Plus, it was only a fifteen or so minute drive up to the really pretty areas! And the nights weren’t as frigid as they could have been.

Before we came to the Santa Fe National Forest, the only other times Andy and I had been to New Mexico was just to drive through it on our way to Arizona or California, which always puts us through Albuquerque. Northern New Mexico is a COMPLETELY different landscape! It completely changed our views of the state, and now we fully understand why it is called the “Land of Enchantment”.

Maybe my favorite part, besides gettin’ to wear this rad diamond, was our hike up to the San Antonio Hot Springs. We had never experienced a natural hot spring before!! And I’ve had this fantasy of getting in one while surrounded by snow, and this one was so perfect. It was a waaay longer hike than we expected, and we forgot to pack snacks (but we did remember celebratory beers… priorities, right?) which was a huge rookie mistake. Lesson #3: ALWAYS PACK SNACKS ON HIKES. 

Thank you New Mexico for showing us a lovely wild time!

Travel Diaries | Arkansas + Oklahoma

So, remember when I said I got to be 100% in charge of our route + itinerary for Andy’s B-day/Roameo’s First roadtrip? Well, I may have responded a little, shall we say… over-enthusiastically. Too much responsibility isn’t always a good thing. Turns out, I maaay have packed too many miles and stops into too small of a timeframe.

Our first stop was Robber’s Cave State Park where the infamous Jesse James once hid out, and which SHOULD have only taken four and a half hours. Karissa the Expert Trip Planner however didn’t take into account a super late departure time, the fact that we drive much slower with Roameo in tow, and the unpredictable factor that we would hit Dallas rush hour traffic on our way out of Texas. We didn’t arrive at our campsite until almost midnight. We were exhausted, and pretty much just parked and passed out. The next morning however, was truly worth it all. I snapped our first shot of a Roameo inhabited campsite, we made breakfast, and went on the hike up to Robber’s Cave. Mercifully it was a relatively short hike, or I don’t think we would have ever made it to northern Arkansas, which of course was our destination for that very night. Wednesday we woke up in a secluded, completely deserted campsite deep in the middle of the Ozark National Forest, exhausted from another late night of driving but thrilled to pull our boots on and see the wonders of the forest. At this point I realized that I had not printed off a map of hiking points, I had no idea where Whittaker Point was (our main goal for the trip), and our cell service was less than zero, dashing any hope of a helpful Google search. Luckily, after some driving around we found a ranger’s station and were kindly pointed in the direction of the hike’s entrance. That hike was the highlight of our trip. Truthfully, it was much longer than we anticipated, but the views at the end were so worth it!! We live for those kinds of overlooks. It was gorgeous. We spent awhile hanging out on the cliff, and by the time we had hiked back to our car it was almost dusk. We had our first truly lovely relaxing evening in Roameo over dinner, drinks, and our first love Skip-Bo. The next morning we took our time waking up and having coffee at our campsite before driving back to Oklahoma for one more night, and then back home on Friday.

Our original itinerary looked like this:

Monday: Hillsboro to Robber’s Cave State Park, Oklahoma
Tuesday: Robber’s Cave to the Ozark National Forest with a quick stop by Devil’s Den National Park in Oklahoma
Wednesday: Explore the forest, hike to The Glory Hole (a unique waterfall in a cave….) and hike to Whittaker’s Point
Thursday: Scenic drive through the Ouachita National Forest to Beaver’s Bend Oklahoma
Friday: Leave Beaver’s Bend for home

We never found The Glory Hole, barely caught one scenic overlook that displayed the beautiful Ouachita National Forest as we booked it back to Oklahoma on Thursday, and skipped Devil’s Den entirely.

Even still, it was an AMAZING trip, and getting to spend the night in Roameo in the forest at long last was such an incredible experience. Our very first roadtrip with our travel trailer! Looking back, it feels like we barely survived it and I see a million things that could have gone very wrong, but that’s what experience is for right? We definitely learned a lot, and will be much more prepared for our next trip! I can’t wait!

xx

Travel Diaries | Mexican Cruise

For my 25th birthday, Andy surprised me with a room for two on a five day Carnival Cruise to Cozumel and Progreso! I had never been on a cruise or outside of the United States in my life before then. We had such an amazing time together. Out in the middle of the sea there is no cell phone reception and we didn’t want to pay for wifi, so it was about as unplugged as we’ve ever been. We played tons of cards, went for long walks all over the huge ship, stared at the sea for hours to try and spot a whale or dolphin (and we did!), had long conversations in the wine bar, and just purely enjoyed ourselves.

Travel Diaries | Orlando

Andy and I love to do really big things really spontaneously. We can mope in the car for an hour trying to decide what to eat for lunch, but decide in a split second if we should drive 24 hours without a break to surprise my sister for her 21st birthday.

My little sister always visits my older brother in Orlando for several weeks during her summer break from school, which is cool. But this summer was the summer that she turned 21, and I wasn’t about to be left behind in Texas for that. So after vaguely deflecting her prying for a few weeks if we were going to make it out to celebrate with her, Andy and I hopped in the Honda, and made our way along the coast down to Orlando. We had let my brother know ahead of time that we would be there, so when we arrived he just opened the door and we walked in like we lived down the street. My sister just stared at us like we were apparitions or something. It was rad.

We were there for four full days, during which we swam with manatees, rode every ride at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, went to the fanciest karaoke bar in the south, danced all night in downtown Orlando, and got so much sibling love time in. It was wonderful and magical and one of my favorite trips.

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Weddings Are Rad & So Is Nashville

I don’t think that it needs to be written here, but guys Nashville is AWESOME. Andy and I have stayed in the city one other time: last summer to help our then-engaged friends make some vendor choices. We fell in love then and we were proved right to have done so this time. The food and the atmosphere are one thing, but what really make Music City is, duh, the music. Live music in literally every bar/pub/honkytonk/restaurant you come across. And all the musicians are good. Like, really good. We love music and dancing and karaoke, and so we love Nashville. It was a beautiful city for our friends to get married in, and everything was so strangely and wonderfully perfect. It was forecast to rain on the outdoor ceremony, and instead was sunny with just the right amount of cloud cover for spectacular photography. I wasn’t able to capture too much of the weekend, but am looking forward to some amazing photos from the photographer in the next several weeks to be able to share!

xo

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