Through my work writing about events and travel and all sorts of lifestyle topics, I’ve had the chance to try many epic experiences. (And we well know from research that experiences are the true path to happiness — not material things.) Through work, I’ve had opportunities to visit many new cities and countries, flown a blimp over New York, ridden in a hot air balloon over Southern California, and in a race car on the German Porsche race track, for instance. These experiences — and memories — are my absolute favorite parts about my job in media.
Well, there are still plenty of things I have yet to try. And just this week, I checked another “first” off my bucket list: I rode in a helicopter over Las Vegas Strip!
In town for business, I was invited by the sightseeing outfit Sundance Helicopters to come for a nighttime ride over the Las Vegas Strip. And they would be sending a limo. So far, so good.
The ride was shortly after dinner time, but I neither ate nor drank beforehand. I get motion sick (not to mention anxious!) and I pictured open doors, intense noise, jerky movements, and wild banking. So I figured it would be better to have an empty stomach and be safe than sorry.
I recently had the chance to pitch and write a story for Bravo TV’s The Daily Dish called “13 Islands You Have to See Before You Die.” Of course, this was also a chance for me to sit at my desk wanderlusting madly.
In the piece, I included a mix of some of my favorite islands on earth… as well as an approximately equal number of places that I haven’t yet seen with my own two eyes — but have on my bucket list for sure.
From natural landscapes plucked from fantasies to all-night European party destinations, behold the picks I culled together (as the list originally appeared on The Daily Dish) so that we can all start making our plans — or at least building our dreams — to cross off every last one of these beauties.
How many have you visited so far? And which island are you dying to visit next?
Earlier, I wrote here about past mixed experiences with while exploring Mexico’s cenotes, an ancient system of caves and underground rivers only found in this part of Mexico: Dzitnup was a dud, but Aktun Chen was a major must-do.
Now, in my latest installment of Homebody in Motion’s Unofficial Guide to Cenotes, I bring you dispatches from Cenote Dos Ojos near Tulum, a great pick for a couple-hour adventure.
Just back from Tulum for the first time since 2008, I have been reflecting on the ways in which the little city on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula has changed — that much-discussed evolution of Tulum from sleepy beach town to New York trend-story fodder.
That reflection led me to plumb the endless depths of the Internet for my now-defunct blog from back then, in which I described that first trip to the region. What I found was 1) such novice blogging I’m actually embarrassed, and more importantly 2) actually a pretty great template for a Yucatán Peninsula road trip that can be replicated in just five days of travel, and on a budget.
Because of that old post’s legit travelogue value, I’ve decided to repost it here (with some edits for clarity and comparison, and to minimize the meandering writing). A swiftly moving five-day outline on a reasonable budget, with a healthily balanced itinerary including relaxation, adventure, and culture, it can be a source of trip-planning inspiration for would-be Yucatán Peninsula road trip goers — or just fodder for wanderlust daydreams!
Without further ado…
It’s Monday morning after a holiday weekend, and I was feeling a little groggy — not quite awake yet on my weekly conference call, guzzling coffee, trying to look alive. But when I got organized to put up today’s guest post, I found my inspiration real quick. I’m up, I’m up! Helloooooo big world.
And I suspect you will feel alive too, when you let your wanderlust dreams run wild, thanks to the second-in-a-series post from GeoEx Africa expert Starla Estrada. To refresh, Starla has adventured through 17 African countries (modes of transportation: on foot, 4×4 vehicles, quad bikes, kayak, canoe, hot air balloon, helicopter, various small aircraft), and she’s off again this Friday for a month of exploring on the continent.
Before she goes, she’s provided her spectacular picks for over-the-top Africa vacation ideas. I’m so excited to share them with you here:
I’m feeling very inspired this morning, with wanderlust dribbling down my chin like so much infant twin drool. That’s because I have a guest poster with the most stunning stories to tell: (In addition to being my dear friend and fashion inspiration for 20 years,) Starla Estrada is the Africa travel expert for GeoEx. As such, she has journeyed through 17 African countries — on foot, 4×4 vehicles, quad bikes, kayak, canoe, hot air balloon, helicopter, and any number of small aircraft. (Can I have your life? Kthxbye.)
Here, Starla provides her bucket list inspiration for places to travel in Africa before you die — it’s the first in a two-part series on Africa travel from the total insider, with photos that will make you drool. Without further ado:
Belize is well known for its world-class diving along the western hemisphere’s largest barrier reef, yes. But there’s a littler-known activity on the mainland that’s a total must for adventure travelers: the absolutely amazing ATM cave tour.
When I read about the sacred ATM cave — that’s for Actun Tunichil Muknal, no relation to the cash machine — I knew we had to try it. I did some research on the web (thanks, as always, trusty TripAdvisor!) and reached out to Carlos, who goes by “Carlos the Cave Man.” People seemed to love his expert leadership and charisma on tours through world’s top sacred cave, according to National Geographic. He’s one of only 23 guides in the country certified to lead the experience.
Readers of this blog will know that my short career as a scuba diver has been less glorious marine brochure and more P.S.A. warning.
It began with four treacherous certification dives in the frigid Southern California winter, and continued immediately with a Vietnamese dive in near zero visibility that saw me separated from the group and forced to practice my just-learned skills immediately. (Now what were they?)
I’m writing now after a pair of dives off Tranquility Bay on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize, and I’m happy to report: I get it. I totally, totally get it. The appeal of diving, when it’s good, is intensely powerful and wonderful and undeniable.
A chunk of years ago, now-hubby and I had a hankering to go to Belize. But it was the recession and everything was more spare, so we opted for a relatively budget friendlier Hawaii trip. There, he popped the question on a hike in Maui, which is an absolute setup for romance. (Try playing your “We just got engaged!” card for free dessert in Hawaii — then look around and see that every last dude in the restaurant is on bended knee.) Obviously, no complaints about our destination pick for that trip. It was the magical stuff of dreams. (Followed eventually by a Tahitian honeymoon that was like, the stuff of dreams’ dreams. I mean — gulp. Speechless.)
But the idea of Belize remained under our skin, and now that we’re open-water dive certified (which readers of this blog know is a whole other dramatic story), we knew we had to get there, where the diving is supposed to be some of the best in the world.