Visiting the Final Resting Place of a Hero: Jimi Hendrix's Grave

Growing up, my dad made sure I had a rich, cultured, and thorough knowledge of music.  We listened to the whole gamut: classical music, opera, grass roots, and of course, rock.  My dad is a huge fan of 60's and 70's rock, particularly the kind with wailing, intricate guitar riffs and solos.  Some of our favorites were Cream, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, to name a few.  Oh yes, and Jimi Hendrix.  Good ol' Jimi!

Why I've Changed my Mind about Hostels

While planning last summer's trip through Iceland, I made a point of writing about why I disliked staying in hostels - the dormitory-style beds, shared bathrooms, lack of privacy, and the possibility of stolen possessions all made hostels sound horrific and "too young" for an older traveler like me. (I'm aware being in your early 30s is not OLD; but nor am I in the college crowd era anymore.) While finding a 'home away from home', I like the privacy and security of my own hotel room, or at least my own tent.

Snorkeling Yal-Ku Lagoon in Akumal, Mexico

Way back in May of this year, my husband and I visited Akumal in Mexico for his brother's wedding.  We were only in Akumal for about four days due to my work schedule, but we managed to pack a lot in while there, including the wedding and precious family time.  One of the alternate activities that we tried was snorkeling in some of Mexico's natural areas, including one hidden gem called Yal-Ku Lagoon.

Iceland's Skaftafell National Park & Svartifoss Waterfall

There are three national parks on the island nation of Iceland.  The biggest, Vatnajokull, is made up of three 'former' national parks, combined to create one large park in 2008.  Vatnajokull National Park is the central portion and features the Vatnajokull glacier, Jokulsargljufur makes up the northern portion, and Skaftafell National Park rings the southern edge of the park and features some amazing natural features and waterfalls.

12 More Travel Quotes to Inspire You

Last year I posted an article that featured 50 of my favorite visual travel quotes, mostly taken from Pinterest but a few created by yours truly.  It has proved to be one of my more popular posts - people love to be inspired by wise words about adventure and personal growth!

Over the last year, I have slowly been collecting an assortment of other great travel quotes to add to my repertoire.  Rather than pilfer Pinterest, I have attempted to create my own visuals to go along with these inspiring quotes. (Mine are watermarked with my blog URL so you know which ones I've created.  All visuals created by me were done using my own photography.)  Please enjoy these 12 'new' favorite quotes and feel free to use them at your leisure!

The Majestic Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon of Southern Iceland

While researching the beautiful country of Iceland to determine what activities and sights were within driving distance of our planned route along the southern coast of Iceland, and which were affordable or worth the cost, I came across some fantastic photographs on Pinterest of a place called Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. (Please don't ask me how it is pronounced - I truly massacred the Icelandic language when trying to sound out any word I encountered.)  Carved 100 meters deep into volcanic rock, and ranging at least 2 kilometers, this canyon is an impressive sight indeed.  I instantly added it to the itinerary.

The Coastal Town of Vik, Iceland

The Ring Road around Iceland, although shown to be 'skirting' the coast on a map, is in reality quite a distance from the actual coast line.  While driving the southern portion of the Ring Road (Route 1 if you want to be formal) from the capital city of Reykjavik, my husband and I first glimpsed the ocean from the road as we neared the town of Vik.

Swim in a Mexican cenote at Akumal's Xel-Ha Water Park

There are tons of things to see and do in Mexico's Akumal region.  While staying there in May, my husband and I figured this fact out right away. Snorkeling, exotic beaches, ruins, pool parties - the entertainment options are endless.  I don't know if many people realize this about the Akumal area.

Experiencing Skogar and Skogafoss in Iceland

Want to travel around Iceland on a tight budget?  Websites like Trip Adviser and Huffington Post Travel offer advice such as "shop at local grocery stores" and "avoid guided tours by exploring on your own".  Both are things my husband and I did during our recent stay in this picturesque nation.  Another really great way to experience the beauty of Iceland is to avoid the overpriced hotels and to instead choose to camp your way across the countryside.

Iceland's Jokulsarlon Iceberg Lagoon Experience

things to see in iceland

Iceland is a nation of natural juxtapositions.  Glaciers rest next to deep green valleys, and barren lava fields are bordered by gorgeous black sand beaches.  Nothing seems to make sense, but it all comes together perfectly.  If you don't believe me, just go visit the area around Jokulsarlon.

Hiking the Seljavellir Valley in Southern Iceland

"Where's the campground?" I asked, scratching my head.

My husband climbed a moraine of loose boulders and gravel, and gazed across an open field of volcanic rock and stones, marred only by a small, winding stream that cut through its center.  The field was surrounded by tall, lush, green cliffs, each featuring its own rolling, sparkling waterfall.  It was like a scene from "Lord of the Rings", but we couldn't focus on that just yet.

"I don't think there is one," he responded.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall of Iceland

While planning our driving route along Iceland's Ring Road, I noticed a recurring theme - "See Waterfall", "See Waterfall", and once again... "See Waterfall".  A waterfall here, a waterfall there, waterfalls, waterfalls, everywhere. This is not necessarily an exaggeration.  Like I said in a previous post about road-tripping it through Iceland, if you didn't have a chance to pull over and check out a waterfall on the side of the road, just wait 30 seconds for the next one to appear.

Tour Iceland's Golden Circle: Geysir, Gulfoss, and Pingvellir National Park

Iceland is a nation full of amazing natural treasures - waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, lava fields, and deep canyons to mention only a few. After trekking through the city of Reykjavik for a few days, my husband and I decided to book a tour to explore some of the closer must-see destinations located in the central portion of the island known as the Golden Circle. The next day we were scheduled to pick up our rental SUV and drive the Ring Road, so we felt a bus tour was the perfect thing to gear us up for our road trip. What better way than to see the interior of the island before we set out to drive around the exterior portion?

Top 5 Things to See and Do in Reykjavik, Iceland

Yet another delay in keeping up with my blog!  I have been obsessively nesting for baby, despite not being due til January 12.  The nursery is painted and ready, with all bedding and furniture on order, and other rooms in the house have been cleaned out, purged, and organized.  However, after hearing for the umpteenth time from friends, "I can't wait to hear more about your Iceland trip", followed by a pointed look, I have decided to sit down and focus on this post, which I have been picking away at distractedly for two weeks.  I hope it is worth the wait. (Just like baby! Aaahhh!)

What To Expect on a Road Trip Around Iceland

My husband and I have been driving around Iceland for six days now, and are returning to Reykjavik tomorrow to drop off our rental vehicle.  We didn't get through the entire loop of the Ring Road (the main highway, Route 1), as many tourists decide to do.  After much discussion, we decided to head east from Reykjavik, take the road low and and slow and not worry about 'doing the loop'.  We wanted to stop and see whatever tickled our fancy, and not feel pressured to adhere to some maniacal timeline that forced us to 'just keep driving, just keep driving, just keep driving'.  And I'm so glad we did.

Swim in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Little did I know how much I'd enjoy (or how much I'd NEED) a swim in Iceland's beautiful Blue Lagoon.  It was a place I'd seen in pictures and read about multiple times, testimonies of its healing waters and relaxing  atmosphere reverberating in my head.  But I had no idea how necessary it would be.

Trekking Through Tulum: A Journey Into Mexico's History

Well, I have been slowly beginning to feel better as my morning sickness is dissipating, and I'm ready to get back on track with my blog! Thanks to my wonderful readers for having patience and sticking with me!

In this post, I want to take you back in time with me as I revisit the gorgeous, historical, and HOT grounds of the last Mexican Mayan coastal outpost of Tulum. These ruins are set against the beautiful backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, right on the edge of a steep cliff that drops off into stunning aquamarine waters.

Why I Can't Write About Mexico Right Now

I've been 'off-the-grid' for about a month now.  I didn't purposely mean to abandon my travel blog (which until recently, has been rather an obsession of mine).  I apologize to anyone who looked forward to my weekly posts, and for making you wonder what's become of me.

I've been busy throwing up.  Sorry.

Gran Bahia Principe Tulum - A Mexican Paradise in Akumal

I don't usually like to portray myself as a hypocrite, but sometimes I have to admit when I'm wrong. (Do you hear that, my loving husband? Ha ha!)

In a previous post about visiting the lovely country of Mexico, I berated people for never leaving their resorts and staying too attached to hotel life. However, after staying for a mere four days at the beautiful Gran Bahia Principe Tulum resort (and getting to visit its sister resorts of Coba and Akumal), I can actually see how some travelers and tourists could enjoy just lounging around the resort grounds for an entire vacation. That's not what I did, once again, but at least now I can see the appeal.

Ride a Paddleboat down the Mighty Mississippi (And Other Things in New Orleans that Might be Overrated)

I love trip planning. Researching the highlights of a destination, contacting tour offices for tips and tricks, and discovering hidden jewels gives me a thrill. By the time I head out for my journey, I have a list of "things-to-see-and-do" about a mile long. And, usually to the dismay of my husband, I try to hit everything on my list (because I'm so darned excited about each and every item).

Backyard Bucket List: Drumheller Hoodoos and the Suspension Bridge

A couple of months ago, I posted a comment on Twitter about some of the great natural wonders one can visit when traveling to Alberta.  Among the items listed, I mentioned seeing the hoodoos in the Drumheller Badlands.  A Twitter friend from Germany questioned me about the hoodoos - she thought I had made some sort of strange typo.  I do admit, the word 'hoodoo' is a weird term, but it is a fitting word considering the absurd nature of the formation it describes.  Since summer is almost here, and lots of people are planning road trips and vacations, I'd like to encourage visitors to try checking out the ever-interesting hoodoos of Drumheller!

Louisiana Swamp Tour: Part Deux

I won't belabor this topic too much, since I have already written one post on this blog about touring the swamps and bayous of Louisiana during my 2008 trip, and wrote a guest post on the site "We Said Go Travel" about my 'gator-spottin' experiences.  But going on another trip to the swamps was a fun part of my most recent visit to New Orleans, and I'd like to share some highlights with you.

Buried Above Ground: Strange Tales of Death from New Orleans

If you are any type of fan of this blog, which might amount to a whopping total of five people (up five from last year), you'll know that I gravitate a bit towards the morbid side of history. I love wandering through old cemeteries, learning about epidemics and diseases that swept through medieval cities and towns, and educating myself about customs surrounding funeral rites and burials. These topics might be gross to some, I realize, but I personally find it fascinating how humans deal with the everlasting mystery of 'death'.

A Taste of New Orleans: Creole & Cajun Cookin'

When visiting New Orleans, you can't help but be tempted by the many famous (and sometimes infamous) local delicacies and dishes.  Gumbo, jambalaya, crayfish (spelled crawfish in good ol' NOLA), and alligator are only the beginning - New Orleans, sandwiched between the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and the giant saltwater Lake Pontchartrain, features many seafood and swamp specialties to soothe your growling stomach.

Walk Through History at an Old New Orleans Plantation

The last time I was in good ol' "NOLA" (the affectionate abbreviation for New Orleans, Louisiana) was in March of 2008 when I visited for a teacher's conference with some work colleagues.  I fell in love with the city during my stay, and admired many facets that make New Orleans so unique - the sweeping architecture, the Creole culture, the energy and exuberance of the French Quarter, and even the magical infusion of voodoo and history.

Pubs in Edinburgh's Grassmarket District: Drink in the History

Today is St. Patrick's Day, one of my favorite little holidays (besides Halloween and Christmas).  I have some Irish blood bubbling in my veins, thanks to the hardy Irish stock on my mother's side, and so I take St. Pat's very seriously.  Yes, this year it falls on a Sunday, but that hasn't prevented me from brushing off my green velvet top hat and preparing to go out for a traditional green beverage at the local watering hole.

Planning for a Trip the Obsessive Way

There are two kinds of travelers: those that flow freely with the ebb and tide of travel, making plans as they go and hoping that everything rolls out for the best. Then there are those that like to have all their ducks in a row, all their roads mapped out, and all their rentals and reservations confirmed beforehand. Usually, if you are of style A, you shouldn't be traveling with someone who leans towards style B, lest frustrated and murderous thoughts lead you to making some poor choices.

Space Simulators & Jars of Earwax: The Edmonton Science Center

There are two official 'science centers' in Alberta. Families and schools have the option to visit the Calgary World of Science and the Edmonton World of Science, depending on their proximity. They are both owned by the Telus World of Science corporation, who also happens to own the Vancouver World of Science as well.

Have I said "World of Science" enough times for you yet? Read that last paragraph five times fast; I dare you!

How NOT to Get Mugged on the Paris Metro (By an 8-Year-Old)

In any encounter with a die-hard traveler, amidst a plethora of hearty descriptions of nature hikes, temples, and monuments, you will inevitably hear a tale of theft or disaster. It is a rare occasion indeed when a traveler worth their salt lacks a story about themselves or a member of their group being mugged or burglarized. It can happen anywhere, in any country, at any time. And me telling you to 'be aware' of it doesn't mean it will happen any less either.

Ride in a Helicopter Over the Canadian Rocky Mountains

This weekend I got to ride in a helicopter for the first time ever, and what a ride it was! I didn't just hop into a helicopter and flit about over top of a city or prairie landscape - I flew over the Rocky Mountains of Alberta! How spectacular is that? If you don't have any idea just how spectacular, keep on reading!

If You Can't Go There, At Least You Can Read About It: Books on Italy

I have decided to begin a new series of 'thematic' posts on my blog (as if I didn't have enough already). Currently I have my main "Travel Bucket List" articles, my "Backyard Bucket List" posts about traveling around my home province of Alberta, and my "Foodie Bucket List", which currently consists of one post about eating haggis in Scotland. (I need to write about food more, but it makes me hungry and then I get distracted - hence why only one of those posts has been published...)

Down the Wrabbit Hole: Liebster Blog Award Recipient

Writing this blog is a labor of love for me. My posts are like diary entries about the most exciting, enchanting, or exhilarating moments in my life. Writing these entries is cathartic, and re-reading them down the road akin to visiting an old friend.

I don't monetize my blog. (That is, as of January 2013 - that may change, who knows? Right now, I don't think I have enough traffic to make minimization worth my while...) I don't ask for PayPal donations, or petition sponsors to send me free stuff. Any magazine articles I write are from the heart and don't benefit my wallet. I'm not in this for the "goods". I do this because I love to travel, and I want to share my stories with like-minded people.

Travel & Escape TV Host Audition: Vote for Me!

I love teaching. I truly, truly do. You could say it is my calling.

But how cool would it be to moonlight as a TV travel host? (Or even better, begin a second career as a TV travel host?) This is a rhetorical question, because we all know the instant answer is, "AMAZING!" I am now hoping to find out. I have sent in an audition spot to the travel channel Travel and Escape with wildly hopeful ambitions to become their newest host for the show "My Top 10".

Journey to Antiquity: The Village of Assisi, Italy

If it weren't for the Black Plague, the lack of hygiene, the gigantic discrepancies between rich and poor, and the non-existence of most modern-day technologies, I think I would have fared very well during the medieval ages. The poetry was pretty good. Dresses were nice, if you were part of the nobility. I wouldn't have minded a knight in shining armor or two, as well.

Backyard Bucket List: A Hunter's Haven in Calgary, Alberta

I am not a hunter. Please let me emphasize this before I begin my post. I love cute animals, and when I was young, I wished I was Sleeping Beauty so that all the animals of the forest would follow me around and sing with me. I wanted birds to help bake my birthday cake, just like in the cartoon. Of course, I now realize the cake would be riddled with chunks of bird droppings and dusted with a light coating of feathers and parasites, but back then, it was my dream.

Tuscan Terra Cotta: The Fima Pottery Factory

In the Italian province of Perugia, in the hilly Umbria region, near the famous village of Assisi and its Basilica Papale di San Francesco, lies a quaint and unassuming pottery factory. Located on the edge of a village, the Fima Pottery Factory is nothing really spectacular to look at from the outside. Inside, however, is a totally different story.