An Adventure in Angkor Wat

An Adventure in Angkor Wat

We stumbled down the outdoor staircase and passed reception where a man stood, a bit dazed in the early morning hours. The clock face on my watch flashed 5:00 a.m. We were directed to one of several waiting carts hooked to the back of a moped, called tuk-tuks, where a local wrapped in a light jean jacket greeted us. I crawled onto the tattered leather seats behind my lone companion on this escapade, a friend and fellow student, Mitali. It was mid-March in Cambodia and when the sun was at its highest, it seared through any resemblance of comfort. Thus we joined several tuk-tuks rattling through the dirt roads of Siem Reap in the almost cool morning air hoping to escape the inevitable afternoon swelter. Several upscale resorts whirred past us, a bit out of place in this desert landscape, as we made our way towards today’s adventure — Angkor Archeological Park, or perhaps better known as Angkor Wat. Joining the Masses The UNESCO World Heritage site stretches 400 square kilometers and boasts remains from the Khmer Empire dating as far back as the 9th century. Angkor Wat is just one of its temples, and arguably its most magnificent. Many people whose ancestors once occupied the site still live in villages scattered across the property, heralding guests with food and souvenirs. It’s riddled with history and religious significance, and on this morning, many tourists like ourselves. Our driver, who we’ve paid a mere $10 US to drive us between sites for the next eight hours, took us to the ticket center where a rather unalluring photo captured my disdain for...
20 Postcards From The Garden Island: Kauai, Hawaii

20 Postcards From The Garden Island: Kauai, Hawaii

It’s always great when you have family living in picture-perfect tropical locations. We would know, because we get tons of family and friends who come visit us in Costa Rica—and we absolutely love it! In our case, Dan’s sister is currently calling Oahu home, which means we always have a legitimate excuse to adventure to the always stunning Hawaiian Islands. On our last trip to Hawaii, we explored Maui and Oahu. This time around, we were joining Dan’s family for a vacation to Kauai and The Big Island. Kauai, also known as The Garden Island, is home to the second wettest spot on Earth. It receives a staggering 460+ inches of rain per year. So, it should come as hardly any surprise that it down-poured nearly our entire time on the island! Since we were joining Dan’s family a few days late, we only had two days to try to do Kauai, Hawaii justice. The rain made it a bit more difficult, but we didn’t let it slow us down too much. From waterfalls to beaches to canyons to Hawaiian monk seals, we did our best to experience the best of Kauai in a short time period. There’s no denying the lush beauty of Kauai. Even through the rain, we had an amazing time exploring this beautiful piece of Hawaii. However, in order to show the true beauty of Kauai, we recruited Dan’s sister to add a few of her personal Kauai photos to the mix. We’re sure these postcards from Kauai, Hawaii are going to inspire you to adventure to this wet and wonderful paradise yourself!   20...
Kalymnos Travel Guide: What To Do On Our Favorite Greek Island

Kalymnos Travel Guide: What To Do On Our Favorite Greek Island

  Greece is one of those magical destinations where we feel like you can’t really go wrong no matter which island you choose. Santorini is as romantic as can be, with its iconic whitewashed buildings and dramatic caldera. Rhodes has a rich history, beautiful beaches and one of the best-preserved fortresses in the world. Then, of course, there’s the mainland and Athens—a city a bit rough around the edges but which we thoroughly enjoyed exploring. Yet of all the spots we visited in Greece, our favorite was without a doubt the small but beautiful island of Kalymnos. Kalymnos is a relatively off-the-beaten-track destination in Greece. Both Greeks and tourists seemed a bit surprised when we said Kalymnos was on our Dodecanese island hopping itinerary—and even more so when we said we fell completely in love with it. If you’re looking for raving nightlife and fancy clubs, then Kalymnos isn’t for you. But if you’re after a unique Greek experience that offers plenty of adventure, cuisine and beauty, then we think you’ll love Kalymnos just as much as we did. Here’s everything you need to know to start exploring this fascinating spot.     Your Ultimate Kalymnos Travel Guide An Introduction To Kalymnos The first thing you’ll notice about Kalymnos is its striking beauty, with dramatic crags and mountains, dazzling deep blue water, and a much greener landscape than its neighboring islands. It’s the ideal setting for adventure—and as a result is a popular destination for rock climbing, hiking and more (which we go into detail about below.) When arriving at Kalymnos, you’ll likely dock at Pothia, the main port...
Uvita Waterfall: A Thrilling Natural Waterslide In Costa Rica

Uvita Waterfall: A Thrilling Natural Waterslide In Costa Rica

  If you’re looking for a unique waterfall experience in Costa Rica, then you can’t go wrong with the Uvita Waterfall. Conveniently located in central Uvita, this easy-to-access waterfall isn’t the tallest or the most dramatic—but it will get your adrenaline pumping in a totally one-of-a-kind way. While we have yet to work up the courage, thrill seekers won’t want to miss a ride on this all-natural waterslide that plunges deep into a cool and calm pool below.     We first visited the Uvita Waterfall a few years ago, before we were living in the area. Our small group of friends were the only ones around, so we had no idea it was possible to slide down from the top. As such, we enjoyed swimming in the crystal-clear water and soaking in the peaceful jungle surroundings, but we weren’t as awe-struck by the Uvita Waterfalls as we were by, say, Nauyaca Falls (another must-visit nearby.) It wasn’t until relatively recently that we were working with the Travel Channel on filming an episode for one of their shows that the film crew asked us if we knew anything about Uvita’s natural waterslide. We were a bit embarrassed to say that we didn’t—until we realized they were talking about the Uvita Waterfall! Of course, we quickly made our way back so that we could better experience this “famous” local attraction.     Now the Uvita Waterfall is one of our favorite places to spend a late afternoon. It’s about five minutes from our house, entry is only $2, and the refreshing swimming hole makes the perfect place to relax with...
The Chrysalis Cardi: My Ultimate Travel Essential (And How To Use It)

The Chrysalis Cardi: My Ultimate Travel Essential (And How To Use It)

  I’ve always been a notoriously horrible packer. I wait until the very last minute to decide what I should throw in a suitcase. I pack ridiculous items that I never use at home, but for some reason feel like I must bring along just in case of an emergency. (You know, the shoes/lotion/sunhat/other miscellaneous items I found tucked away in the back of the closet hiding beneath a blanket of dust.) And, without fail, half the things I end up toting around—or, let’s be honest, Dan ends up carrying—don’t get used at all. In recent years I’ve gotten a little bit better at packing. I won’t say I’m an expert, but I’ve written enough articles about it (and had practice traveling to 30-some odd countries) that I’m no longer completely embarrassed by my luggage. Without a doubt, one of the reasons I’ve been able to pack far less is by learning how to make the most of multi-purpose items. Why pack three dresses, a scarf and a cardigan when one classic piece can be worn all three ways? Enter: The Chrysalis Cardi I first stumbled upon Encircled, the company behind this versatile piece, around three years ago. I rushed ordered a Chrysalis Cardi so it would arrive before we headed off to Europe—and since then, it has been a constant travel essential for all our trips. From Sweden to France to Costa Rica to Hawaii, my Chrysalis Cardi has racked up quite a few miles—with much more to come in 2017 and beyond.   “Pack lighter. Do more with less.” Rockin’ my Chrysalis Cardi as a Cardigan in...
What It’s Like To Run A Marathon In The Jungle: Tackling Costa Rica’s Moon Run

What It’s Like To Run A Marathon In The Jungle: Tackling Costa Rica’s Moon Run

  If you’ve been following along with us since our days of teaching English in Taiwan, you might remember that a few years ago we ran our first marathon in Taipei! As two non-runners (when we started training I could barely finish three miles!) this was a massive accomplishment.     Since that first marathon, we’ve been eager to get back into running shape and successfully tackle another 26.2 miles. But, as it would turn out, traveling all the time makes it a bit difficult to stick to a long-distance running schedule… Well, it might have taken us almost exactly four years, but we finally did it! We managed to survive another marathon. In fact, we survived an ultra-marathon—but only because we got lost and ended up running a few extra kilometers. Don’t worry; we get to that part below. This was by far the most difficult physical challenge of our lives. It was also one of the most beautiful, offering up a chance to soak in some of the most spectacular scenery we’ve ever experienced in Costa Rica.   The Moon Run is not only a marathon but also a trail race through dense jungle and remote mountains of Costa Rica. We clambered through shin-deep mud, crossed a hanging bridge, trekked up mountains, and waded through rivers. While we had made a point to train on hills and trails, nothing could have prepared us for the truly off-the-beaten-track experience that is the Moon Run.     If you’re interested in tackling Costa Rica’s Moon Run yourself then here are all the details and high-quality travel gear you’ll need...
Your Last Minute Holiday Gift Giving Guide For Travelers

Your Last Minute Holiday Gift Giving Guide For Travelers

Just two weeks from now and we’ll all be sipping on egg nog and mimosas, with wrapping paper flung all over the floor, and Frank Sinatra’s Christmas Hits lulling softly in the background. While some of you may have had your Christmas shopping done ages ago, others haven’t even given one thought to the idea. That’s ok: we’re here to help. This last minute Travelers Gift Giving Guide is jam-packed with the BEST gifts every traveller will drool over on Christmas morning.     The Ultimate Last Minute Holiday Gift Giving Guide For Travelers   The Raw Spice Bar   Have a foodie traveler in your life? The Raw Spice Bar is the perfect gift. Customize any monthly package and bring the world right to your kitchen. Each month, you’ll receive 3 freshly-ground flavor packs, ready to be mixed with fresh, local ingredients to create a meal that reflects the unique flavors of various regions around the world. This is the ultimate way to experience cuisine from all over the world in the comfort of your own home.   The DJI Osmo   I am in love with this camera! With all the adventure and outdoor activities we do it’s nearly impossible to film anything without the camera shaking violently. The Osmo is a powerful, handheld video camera that uses top-of-the-line stabilizing technology to deliver a smooth, clean shot every time. With the Osmo, you can enjoy your surroundings without the constant focus on keeping a perfectly steady hand. The Osmo adapts, allowing for perfectly steady, 360-degree video with the convenience of a compact, handheld camera. The Osmo retails...