The Hi Road

You can easily get between Taos and Sante Fe via the freeway, but there is something special about the leisurely and scenic hi- road.  You will find yourself winding through small quaint little towns, some with some history and some with little art galleries.  And of course, the views!

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

Our first stop was Santuario de Chimayo.  This holy place that many believe holds a miracle associated with a crucifixion and possesses curative powers.  Two chapels, built in 1816 and 1857, are part of a yearly Easter pilgrimage site.  It was started by U.S. soldiers as part of the Bataan Death March and is continued today by thousands.

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

Going to Taos?? Take the scenic Hi- road. Click To Tweet

As we continued onward, we were welcomed with the view of Trucha Peaks.  In June, you can still see snow in the mountains.

Side note:  I purposely left the wires in the corner of this photo.  This was a “drive by shooting”, meaning I take pictures while my husband is driving.  If we pulled over for every photo I wanted to take, we would never get to where we are going. 😆

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

The Town of Taos

Unlike many ski towns, the town of Taos and the ski resorts are not next to each other.  The town is located in the valley and is easy to get around.  Taos reminded me of Sedona, Arizona with its artsy vibe and good eats.  Everywhere you look, there is an art gallery and restaurant.  So, what do you do when you are hungry and there are 100 different choices for food?  You ask a local, of course.  When we asked one of the owners of a shop where to go, he said The Gorge Bar and Grill.

This place has something for everyone and did not disappoint.  I’m a sucker for a good club sandwich so I passed on having a salad and went all out for their Club.  As you can see, the portions are plenty and the looks do not lie.  We were fortunate enough to sit outside on their balcony which overlooks the Historic Plaza.  Check out their website to make reservations.

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

Just Outside of Taos

After leaving Taos, we drove a short distance to the Rio Grande Gorge.  Water coming straight from Colorado sweeps under this amazing bridge.  Coming from Taos, drive across the bridge to the other side to park.  You can walk back to the bridge to look down from it or you can park on the left-hand side of the road in the rest area and walk a short distance to get this view.  There is a lot less people with this option and it is a get chance to use the clean bathrooms.  If you like geology, this is an excellent stop. You can read about the geology here, by Linda Thompson.

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

After leaving the picnic area and getting back onto the road, we were welcomed by this flock of Big Horn sheep.  I had never seen wild ones before so it made for a fun surprise, especially seeing how easily they could jump right over the fence. I probably could have taken better pictures had it not been for the one tourist that started walking toward them.  Please, don’t be that tourist. They are wild animals and you end up ruining it for everyone. Plus, you look dumb.

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

Not too far from the gorge is an interesting group of homes within the Earthship Biotecture.  I had never heard of these types of houses before visiting this place.  They are a group of private homes and nightly rental homes.  Apparently, these types of houses exist all over the world.  They are highly sustainable and use recycled materials such as bottles and cans to build.   They also provide electricity, potable water, contained sewage treatment and sustainable food production. Truly amazing!  We passed on the tour because of timing but the visitor center taught us so much about the whole process.

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

Ojo Caliente

On our way back on the 285, we stopped off at Ojo Caliente, a resort and hot springs.  I really wish we had done some planning and brought our suits because this place looks amazing.  They have many different types of pools and the resort looks very nice.  I could easily see making this place a separate weekend vacation spot.  Girls trip anyone??

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

The last stop on our trip was Gabriel’s.  Again, this place was recommended by a local.  Just on the outskirts of  Sante Fe, this lovely place offers wonderful Southwestern cuisine.  Again, we were happy with our meal, especially the tableside guacamole.  Be sure to make reservations because as big as it was, it was packed.  Which is always a good sign, right?  The only thing I was not impressed with was the tortilla soup.  I admit I am used to Mexican tortilla soup which is more creamy resembling enchilada sauce.  This soup was like actual broth soup and tasted nothing like what I am used to.  Other than that,  we left with full bellies and happy with our first tasting of sopapillas.

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

The Hi Road to Taos by inspireandwand.com

Day trip to Taos?? This is a map of our stops. Click To Tweet

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Bandelier National Monument, a Day Trip from Sante Fe, New Mexico

If you are needing a quick break from the art scene of Sante Fe, Bandelier National Monument is a great day trip worth a visit.  It is an easy hour drive from Sante Fe and 30 minutes from the quaint town of Los Alamos.  If you are traveling during the summer months, you will want to venture out to Bandelier first to beat the heat.

Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument, A Day Trip from Sante Fe, New Mexico by www.inspireandwander.com

This area dates back over 10,000 years and has fantastic ruins from the Ancestral Pueblo people.  You can see everything by taking the loop from the Visitors Center.  Plan on hiking 1 to 2 hours, depending on your level.  The one-hour hike will allow you to see the cliff dwellings and Big Kiva (as seen in the photo below).  The two-hour hike will take you all the way out to Alcove House but requires you to climb some ladders.  I did not climb the ladders because, well, I just don’t climb big ladders.  My family did climb them however and thought it was really neat.  Whichever hike you choose, bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen.  For those of you who love camping, they have one campground near the park.

Bandelier National Monument, A Day Trip from Sante Fe, New Mexico by www.inspireandwander.com

Bandelier National Monument, A Day Trip from Sante Fe, New Mexico by www.inspireandwander.com

On the Main Loop Trail, you will see the ground level housing and Big Kiva,  continuing along the mountainside will be two sets of cliff dwellings.  While walking along, watch your step along the pathways as you will be walking along preserved pathways.  If you look closely, you will also be able to see petroglyphs.  There is one area, which is behind protection, that you can view original decoration painted on the wall of the housing.

Bandelier National Monument, A Day Trip from Sante Fe, New Mexico by www.inspireandwander.com

Tips for Visiting Bandelier National Monument and Los Alamos. #daytrip Click To Tweet

Bandelier National Monument, A Day Trip from Sante Fe, New Mexico by www.inspireandwander.com

On your way back to the Visitors Center, you will walk along the river and give thanks to the trees if you’re avoiding the heat.  Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife.  I did not even see the deer until my son pointed them out to me.

Bandelier National Monument, A Day Trip from Sante Fe, New Mexico by www.inspireandwander.com

Satisfying your Hunger

After hiking the morning away, you surely will be ready for some grub.  We headed back to the town of Los Alamos, which is about a 30-minute drive.  We kind of had a thing going for brewpubs so we chose to eat at Parjarito Brewpub and Grill.  They have a great menu assortment and I ultimately decided to go more on the healthy side with tortilla soup and caesar salad, and a cold beer.  OK, maybe that wasn’t so healthy.  Everything was excellent and I highly recommend it.

Bandelier National Monument, A Day Trip from Sante Fe, New Mexico by www.inspireandwander.com

The Town of Los Alamos

After filling our bellies, we ventured out to see the town of Los Alamos.  This is the birthplace of the first atomic bomb.  We visited the Bradbury Science Museum to learn all about the bomb and the Manhattan Project.  Testing for these bombs was done in the town of Alamogordo.  The museum is free so even if you are not a huge science nerd, it is worth spending at least a half an hour checking out the displays.  They have a great interactive area in the back for kids to keep them entertained if they are not able to quite grasp the concept of nuclear physics.  And by kids, I meant me.

Bandelier National Monument, A Day Trip from Sante Fe, New Mexico by www.inspireandwander.com

We were lucky enough to enjoy a festival they had going on in town.  It was spread out all across the downtown area and made for a nice afternoon.  I love flower lined streets, don’t you?   If you choose to have a picnic instead of eating out, Ashley Pond on Central Ave is a beautiful place to relax in a park like setting.

Bandelier National Monument, A Day Trip from Sante Fe, New Mexico by www.inspireandwander.com

I loved visiting Bandelier and Los Alamos.  Of course, I earned another patch for my blanket. Are you visiting New Mexico anytime soon?  Is Bandelier National Monument on your bucket list?

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Why a Visit to Phoenix’s Musical Instrument Museum is a must for anyone.

A few years ago I heard that a musical instrument museum was being built in the northern end of the city.  I didn’t think much about it, I mean really, how could a museum of instruments be interesting?  Boy, was I wrong!   If you live anywhere near Phoenix or are planning a visit, this museum would be a wonderful way to beat the heat and simply enjoy a few hours.

The Musical Instrument Museum of Phoenix

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

The best thing they did with this museum is they made it highly interactive.  Upon entering the museum, you are given a headset that allows you to fully immerse yourself.  It is a completely wild experience!  More on that in a minute.  When you arrive, head for the middle of the museum, the stairs around the inlay map of the world (which I just love).   Upstairs, you will find the galleries that allow you to put on your headset and visit different places around the world.

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

 

The galleries are broken up into regions and seamlessly continue from one to the next.  My advice is to start on one end of the museum and go from there.  As you put on your headphones, the music playing in your ears will change from exhibit to exhibit.  You can go from screen displaying the drumbeats of Africa to Classical Austrian chamber music to Spanish Flamenco.  It is truly extrordinary!  It is not uncommon to see people dancing in front of the exhibit they are watching on the screens.

This is what makes the museum a special experience for any person of any age.  Not only do you hear the music of the world but you can also see all the different types of instruments that are from that region.  For those that want even more detail, there are placards next to the instruments that tell more about them.  Throughout the museum, there are docents eager to instill even more knowledge upon you as they show you instruments that you can touch and interact with.

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

The in's and out's of the #MusicalInstrumentMuseum of Phoenix. @MIMphx Click To Tweet

If you have little ones, be sure to take them downstairs to the hands on gallery where they can touch and play some of the instruments in that room.  A warning though, it can get very loud in this room.  Also downstairs, is the auditorium concert hall where they regularly have performances.  It is a nice small venue in which I hope to see many more preformances.

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

From historical to modern, from common to unique, the instruments and the music housed in this museum are sure to be a great experience for all.  For more information including hours and location, you can find it on their website.

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New Beginnings, A Sunrise Photo Essay

There is something about a sunrise.  Everyone has a sunset picture but how many sunrises have you captured?  A sunrise takes effort; many times having to rise at an ungodly hour or just take time out from your inveterate morning ritual.

Let me take a step back for a moment.  This past summer I knew I needed a change with my art website.  I had things I needed to add, some things I just didn’t want to do anymore.  I needed a big change or to just plain start over.  So I started over, and with that rebuilding process comes a new outlook, a new breath, a new beginning.  And now that the site has taken the shape I envisioned, I decided to pay homage to that renewal and do a photo essay capturing the beginning of days from all over the world.  And when you see these photographs, I think you will agree, it is truly a beautiful world.

This photo essay is a compilation of photographs from other bloggers as they have captured their sunrises, their beginnings.  Below each photograph will find a photo description and the information about the photographer.

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe California USA

“I captured this sunrise at the overlook at Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe.  I arrived in plenty of time to go from an atmosphere of trickling water to hearing the birds chirp in anticipation of a new day.  This was my first attempt ( and certainly not last) at photographing a sunrise.”

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Pulpit Rock, Norway

“This was taken an early morning after spending the night under the clear sky by the Pulpit Rock in Norway. I felt happiness watching the sun rise over the mountains by the Lysefjord, and the rays of the sun warmed both the morning dew and the early birds.”

Linn from  www.travellinn.net   Her blog is about exploring the many different aspects of travel; experiencing different cultures and people, tasting the local food, and witness the diverse beauty along the way.

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Sanibel, Florida

 “I rolled out of bed and snapped this sunrise photo at a small park in Sanibel, Florida. I particularly like the bird soaring over the luminous reflection on the water, and how expansive the sky looks against the small buildings in the background.”

Alison blogs at Up&AtEm Travel, it is an award-winning blog that covers three continents and topics from culture to food and wellness, yet focuses on London and expat life.

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

“I took this picture on a balcony at sunset on an annual family trip to Myrtle Beach. I love how quiet the beach is in the morning and how peaceful it makes me feel.”

Aryn from  www.arynpayne.com/blog.  My blog covers lifestyle topics, focusing on fashion, food and my favorite things!

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

“You’re not just looking at a sunrise over a one-of-a-kind temple; you’re looking at the sun come up behind a nearly 900-year-old city.”

Becky from Trekking with Becky.  It is full tips, tidbits, and treasures about travel and living in Japan and Russia.  I have no choice but to work, so I do the next best thing – I live abroad and travel as much as possible.

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Sedona, Arizona USA

Ashlyn from From Heart and Seoul. She is a twenty-something exploring Korea, Asia + beyond.

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
San Pedro, Belize

“We woke up early to seize every moment of our last 24 hours in Belize. It wasn’t long before we saw a moment worth capturing – this sunrise over the second longest Barrier Reef in the world.”

Coleen from www.coursecoder.com  She enjoys empowering other entrepreneurs to live with freedom and fulfillment by teaching what they know online.

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Incheon, Korea

“I was on my way to Seoul from Inhceon when I saw the most beautiful sunrise ever. I felt like I was in a dream- everything was touched with this hazy, beautiful pink, and it made the world feel calm and at peace.”

Angelica from Good Trip Bad Memory.  My blog is my travel, food, and adventure diary so that I can remember and share some of the cool experiences I’ve had around the world.

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Mediterranean Sea

 “I was living abroad on a ship called semester at sea so it was literally taken in the middle of the Mediterranean.”

Danielle from The Witty Wife. It is a lifestyle and travel blog that shares travel tips and simple life hacks to its readers. Its purpose is to inspire people to travel, embrace life, and to try new things.

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Tortola, British Virgin Islands

“The photo was taken in my first week since the big move. I emigrated with my husband from Jersey (British Isles) to the Caribbean. The mornings here are at their coolest and quietest and so we wake early to absorb it all. It’s at this time that we feel we can breathe it all in and savor how lucky we are to have the opportunity to move to such a beautiful part of the world. Makes us feel grateful for the life we have.”

Emma from The Blonde Tonic.  I live in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands.  I write a travel and lifestyle blog with sparkling infusions of Disney, with photos, oh so many photos.

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Kaikoura, South Island of New Zealand.

“This photo was taken a few months before the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which hit Kaikoura last November. On this trip I saw several beautiful sites including the seal colony which have since been destroyed by mother nature. This photo is a reminder to enjoy each day as it comes as you don’t know what’s around the corner.”

My blog Sarah Sees The World is about balancing international travels with full-time employment to get the best of both worlds and I hope to inspire others in the same position to make the most of their limited travel time and budget.

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Philippines

Emerging soft-colored sunrise captured as we were on a boat, leaving Bani Island, Samar, in the Philippines.

Tara Lets Anywhere is a travel blog by Katherine and Hali.

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

“This photo was taken on my last morning in Nicaragua on Little Corn Island. One of the most gorgeous sunrises I’ve ever seen!”

Lara’s blog is Find Your World Girl , and is about everyday women wanting to shake up their lives with adventure travel, all written with a sense of self-deprecating humor!

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Key West, Florida USA

“This sunrise is from the deck of a 1970’s Taiwanese boat located in Key West.  We found the anchored boat through AirBnB and thought it would be a unique experience.  I would compare the experience to camping–but in the middle of a harbor.”

Kayla is a travel nurse exploring our beautiful world with her husband, Hubby Hobo, and preschooler, G. Baby. Her blog can be found at VagabondRN.

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Island of Dhigurah, Maldives

“I think this pic is too good to keep to myself. This is from the island of Dhigurah, in the Maldives, of the sunrise of 1 April 2017. I love how the sunrise was half dark and half light.”

Teja on the Horizon is a travel blog that introduces travel destinations through reflective and whimsical stories to invite slower, mindful travel – and give a glimpse of how it is that travel does that thing that travellers talk about: bring growth and wisdom.

 

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Bagan, Myanmar

“The best sunrise we’ve ever seen was in Bagan, Myanmar watching the hot air balloons soar through the sky as the sun was rising over the temples.”

Hannah and Adam from Getting Stamped.  It is a blog about couple travel from around the world! They’ve  been traveling nonstop since 2013 and have no plans on stopping.

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com
Phoenix, Arizona USA

Last, but certainly not least is a contribution from my husband.  He wanted to add in his beautiful sunrise from his favorite spot.  He doesn’t blog, but he helps me remember all the details about our travels.

I hoped you enjoyed these sunrises as much as I did.  Like to pin, try this one.

Sunrises, a photo essay by inspireandwander.com

5 Times Travel Made Us Better People

I am happy to announce that today, my first collaboration piece was published.  I was invited by Vy to help be a part of a group of 5 fabulous bloggers.  Together we wrote inspiring stories of how traveling made us better people.  My article was based on a part of a bigger post I wrote a few weeks ago.  Each author is listed below, please pay them some love on their sites to find out more about them.

5 times travel made us better people.

5 travel stories by inspireandwander.com

ITALIAN ADVENTURES: SHAPING MY PERSPECTIVE SINCE 2011

by Danielle from thewittywife.com
Danielle is a wife who loves to find adventure at every turn in life. She
loves to share her tales of travel and find joyous new things in life
during the process.

thewittywife.com

At the young age of 23, I have visited 11 different countries, lived
abroad once, and have fell in love with travel. When I was 16, I hopped on a plane with my mother and younger brother for a 10-hour flight to Florence. As we arrived, a whirlwind of happiness struck me. This was my first time
abroad and my first time living in a different country. I was ecstatic. As
time went on, we spent much of our time at a local coffee shop. We
connected with the local owners, became like family. They would invite us
over for dinner, greet us every morning with smiles and coffee, and try to
communicate with us to learn English. To say they were just welcoming
would not cover it. Being Italian myself, I know how loving and open most
Italians are. But I did not expect to be so welcomed by people who only
knew us a few weeks.

As time drew on, we all became closer. We would spend our evenings over at
the coffee shop after closing, drinking red wine and having good laughs.
There is something different about Italians and their culture than any
other place I have visited. Three years later I revisited the coffee shop,
the owner in which we grew close to had moved to America to live the
“American Dream.” As I sipped my coffee once again from the same coffee
shop that changed my view of culture all those years ago, I grew sad
wishing time could go back. Times had changed but the inviting aspect
stayed the same.

There are billions of people in this world with thousands of different
cultures. Staying in one place does not open your eyes to what is around
us. Both my mom and brother lived in Florence for four months, me for two
(I broke a tooth and flew home). Our perspective of the world changed
since that time abroad. I ended up studying abroad three years later,
traveling to 9 other countries in the process. My mother, now an
entrepreneur artist, still visits Italy biyearly. And my brother, open to
new perspectives, cultures, and ideas, has decided to become a
Psychologist and help others. It’s amazing what a small coffee shop and a
couple locals can do in just a couple months.

 

THE PLACE WE CALL HOME

by Sasha from themilkywaylover.com
Sasha is a mom living in the Bay Area who loves the outdoors, road trips,
and traveling the world with her daughter and husband.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

 

I remember the first time I met our guide Keller, I was really suspicious
that he was capable of leading us through the Costa Rican jungle on a
two-day hike. First, the strange English name that sounded a little too
similar to Killer was definitely not making me trust him. Then there was
the man himself, short and stocky with a huge beer belly. He was wearing
knee high rubber boots, which seemed like the most ridiculous choice of
footwear to go hiking in the jungle in. All of this is a lesson I’m about
to learn for the millionth time about not judging a book by its cover.
I’ve mistakenly confused his fatness with being out of shape: the man can
out hike me for hours in the sweltering jungle heat without a pause. The
beer belly, however, is a real keg as we found out at journey’s end from
the way he chugs cold beer like water. Rubber boots, it turns out, are way
better for the changing terrains from beach to jungle to river than my
Teva sandals, which gave me horrible blisters and miles of agony.

Keller was at home in the jungle. Unlike us who hike only by following the
trail, he moves through the jungle alert in all of his senses. Often he
would stop us and quietly go off into the foliage to track down some wild
animal to show us. We spotted sloths, tapirs, coati, frogs, snakes, and
even bats sleeping inside pitcher plants. Keller had been hiking through
these jungle since he was a little boy. When we sat down to rest on the
beach, he casually hacked away at a few coconuts with his machete and
offered us a drink from them. He said when he was a kid, the ocean waves
at these very same beaches never came as far up as the trees we were
sitting under. Now these tree roots are regularly flooded with each high
tide, which explains that large numbers of fallen trees scattered on the
beach. Rising sea levels is a fact that he lives with each day of his life
as he leads tourists across wild and remote coastline of Corcovado. It
made me sad to think that he has to suffer the consequences of global
warming, caused by people like us living in cities and countries far away
from his home. The plane ride, bus rides, ferry, and truck ride that took
us from the United States to Corcovado probably left a larger carbon foot
print than he has ever put out in his entire life. The unfairness of it
all really stayed with me. I went home determined to make any change that
I can in my life to lessen my own carbon footprint. I know traveling is a
big contributor of carbon, but travel is a huge part of my life that I do
not want to give up. So I gave up meat (most of the time), biked to work,
and sold my car so that we can be a one-car household. I’m still learning
how to live simpler and waste less. Keller and I live in very different
countries and have very different lives, and being able to travel is a
gift of my circumstances, but I feel a responsibility towards Keller and
the rest of the world to do my part in preserving this planet.

 

NEW TRADITIONS

by Ashley from ashleydaleyphotography.wordpress.com
Ashley is a mom originally from Southern California, who currently lives
in Paris, France and loves to share stories and tips about her family’s
travel adventures abroad.

Since moving to France last summer, we’ve tried to see as much as the
country as possible. One thing we enjoy visiting here are the beautiful
chateaux. Our favorite is Vaux le Vicomte, only 45 minutes outside of
Paris.

We visited Vaux le Vicomte during Easter and learned not only about the
French traditions, but also had the opportunity to learn and engage in
different traditions from around the world. Our girls participated in a
cultural scavenger hunt that led them to different games like rolling eggs
down a hill (for Germany and the UK) and catching an egg out of water (for
Quebec) while eventually leading to goodie bags of chocolate eggs (the
French tradition is that the church bells go to Rome and bring back
chocolate for the children on Easter). It was a wonderful way to spend our
Easter holiday and a great way to show our girls how different cultures
can all celebrate the same holiday in different ways (and that this is
okay).

Even though our children are young, I fully believe that they’re
benefiting from our time here in France. They’re learning to be more
open-minded and to be excited to learn about new places and traditions.
This is a mindset that I hope they can keep as they grow older. We’ve been
immersed in a new language and culture and when we do move back to the
United States, we’re excited to bring some of these new traditions home
with us.

AN HONEST FRAME OF JOY

by Vy from lavyenrose.com
Vy is a working mom from Los Angeles learning to live simply with her
little family.  She believes wholeheartedly in investing in adventures and
experiences over material things and hopes to share the value of it to
others.

 

We were on our babymoon in Belize and took a day trip out to Guatemala.
The road was rough and rugged, but it was manageable.  We had stopped by
this adorable place for breakfast, and I remember being served hot
homemade tortillas in clay pots and my husband enjoying coffee from a clay
mug.  Everything was so beautifully crafted.  The servers were happy to
see us with bright genuine smiles on their faces. Across the street were
some homes and right behind their homes was the water.  In front of the
homes was a lawn, and there were 2 children running around.  A mom went to
put down a basket that was on her head to rally her kids to come inside.
A dog ran across.  For some strange reason, that moment, in its entirety
of a minute gave me a shift in perspective.

I felt joy.  I felt joy for the people and what they were doing – playing,
chores, corralling the crew.  I felt joy watching them run on the grass
with their bare feet with the sound of the waves swishing behind them.  I
even felt joy for the dog running aimlessly.  It was that moment when I
felt joy from observing these strangers that I realized how much we’re
really the same.  It made me understand that traveling isn’t just some
crazy thing where you visit a destination with different people and go
home.  You’re visiting their home and realizing that the things that make
us happy are – at its core – essentially the same and taking that back
with you.  You gain more appreciation for your fellow human and respect
for our differences every time you interact – or in my case even observe –
different cultures.

I partially give credit to being pregnant during this memory that made it
so well ingrained in my mind, but within the frame of that minute, my mind
shifted from that moment to my future family.  I promised myself I would
make sure I would teach my child the value of family.  I promised I would
teach my child to respect the earth as best we can because it provides us
with everything.  I promised myself that I would teach my child to treat
fellow humans as, well, human beings no matter where we are because at the
end of the day, we all experience sadness and joy and everything in
between very similarly.  Lastly, I promised myself to teach my child that
the deep sense of joy doesn’t come from money and buying the most
expensive, newest, or hippest things.  It comes from experiences big and
small and from the shared joy of fellow humans.

I may never really know this family, but I thank them for that little
frame of a simple and honest experience.

HOW TRAVELING FOR ONE MONTH MADE OUR FAMILY STRONGER

by Yolanda from inspireandwander.com
Yolanda is wife to Mr.Adventure and a mom to 2 busy boys. She and her family are always ready for their next destination. When
they are not traveling, they are enjoying everyday adventures in sunny
Phoenix, Arizona.

 


Not too long ago, my husband decided to switch jobs, an opportunity that
left us free from constraints for 4 weeks. We imagined where to go, what
we could do…Oh, the possibilities. Our only little problem was school, but
after working with teachers and administration, we used Christmas holiday
and 2 extra weeks to plan for our journey. With excitement building up, we
had 2 months to plan our little adventure. Three things we knew for
certain were 1) We would be traveling during a holiday season, which would
make hotel and train reservations a little more difficult, 2) my husband
needed to attend a conference at some point during the trip 3) we would
only carry a backpack and a have carry- on luggage.

After scouring the map, we finally narrowed our itinerary down to the
island of Saint Martin, Spain, Italy, and Austria. It was a downright
crazy selection of countries. The first week was on beautiful Saint
Martin, where we could enjoy some sun and my husband could attend his
conference. The second week we bounced from Madrid and Barcelona, Spain to
Genoa and Bologna, Italy. Christmas in Italy is so different from here as
everyone gathers in the plazas to be with each other. The third and final
week was in Austria, where we skied in Innsbruck, enjoyed New Years and
spent a couple of days in Salzberg. In four weeks we had 5 plane flights,
6 hotels, 2 apartments, 1 train ride, and an overnight boat ride from
Spain to Italy. We tasted some of the most amazing food; from tapas in
Barcelona, to picking out your own lobster in Saint Martin, to french
fries and shaved beef kabab on pizza in Italy. Experiences that will last
a lifetime.

Here’s what we learned.

Respect. Respect all people no matter their shape, size, color, or gender.
Respect for the taxi driver that spoke 10 languages. 10! Respect for the
hotel manager whose advice was priceless. Respect for the tour groups who
constantly walked in front of you and stopped in the middle of the
walkway. Respect for all cultures, their food, and their traditions.
Respect for each other. Through times that we were lost or tired, through
a sprained ankle, through a toothache, through places we didn’t enjoy but
someone else did…respect. We learned that even though we are different and
we value different things…that’s alright as long as you have respect.

I hoped you enjoyed these stories.  I know I did.  May it startle your inner travelbug.

How Traveling for One Month Made Our Family Stronger

A Lesson from a Month of Travel

How traveling for one month made our family stronger by inspireandwander.com

Not too long ago, my husband decided to switch jobs, an opportunity that left us free from constraints for 4 weeks. We imagined where we to go, what we could do…Oh, the possibilities.  Our only little problem was school, but after working with teachers and administration, we used Christmas holiday and 2 extra weeks to plan for our journey.  With excitement building up, we had 2 months to plan our little adventure.  Three things we knew for certain were 1) We would be traveling during a holiday season, which would make hotel and train reservations a little more difficult, 2) my husband needed to attend a conference at some point during the trip 3) we would only carry a backpack and a have carry- on luggage.

onemonthtravel2
onemonthtravel3
After scouring the map, we finally narrowed our itinerary down to the island of Saint Martin, Spain, Italy,  and Austria.  It was a downright crazy selection of countries.  The first week was on beautiful Saint Martin, where we could enjoy some sun and my husband could attend his conference.  The second week we bounced from Madrid and Barcelona, Spain to Genoa and Bologna, Italy.  Christmas in Italy is so different from here as everyone gathers in the plazas to be with each other.  The third and final week was in Austria, where we skied in Innsbruck, enjoyed New Years and spent a couple of days in Salzberg.  In four weeks we had 5 plane flights, 6 hotels, 2 apartments, 1 train ride, and an overnight boat ride from Spain to Italy.  We tasted some of the most amazing food; from tapas in Barcelona, to picking out your own lobster in Saint Martin, to french fries and shaved beef kabab on pizza in Italy.  Experiences that will last a lifetime.
onemonthtravel1

 

onemonthtravel6

Here’s what we learned.

Respect.  Respect all people no matter their shape, size, color, or gender.  Respect for the taxi driver that spoke 10 languages. 10!  Respect for the hotel manager whose advice was priceless.  Respect for the tour groups who constantly walked in front of you and stopped in the middle of the walkway.  Respect for all cultures, their food, and their traditions. Respect for each other.  Through times that we were lost or tired, through a sprained ankle, through a toothache, through places we didn’t enjoy but someone else did…respect.  We learned that even though we are different and we value different things…that’s alright as long as you have respect.
onemonthtravel5

Here are some of the links to my review of a few of the places we stayed.

The Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa: St. Maarten, Saint Martin

Apartamento Olmos: Madrid, Spain

Hotel Sonnhof: Mutters, Austria

 

 

What are some of the things you have learned from your travels?  I would love to hear about them.

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