In the past, I traveled to southern Florida in the winter, where in the tropics you are usually guaranteed warm weather and sunshine, but this year I went to Clear Water Beach, much further north in the sunshine state.
Although at the time, the weather was not as warm as I would have liked, due to a cold spell, it was warm enough to walk the beach, bicycle and eat at outside cafes, a welcome change from the frozen Midwest tundra I had left behind.
Clear Water Beach has something for everyone. It has a beautiful clean beach, an amusement park for kids, and trendy local restaurants and nightclubs to play in at night.
One of my favorite things to do is to photograph clouds, so I quickly took this opportunity to snap a picture of the incoming clouds one rainy afternoon. Luckily I was able to soak up some sun before the clouds appeared.
A few years ago, I went to Costa Rica and had many first time adventures including white water rafting, swimming in hot springs, and zip lining above the rainforest canopy.
I was staying at a local organic echo farm, Finca Luna Nueva Lodge, and enjoyed the scenic rainy drive to Monteverde Cloud Forest, which has the longest zip line in Costa Rica.
Excited to zip line over the rainforest canopy, we took cable cars up the steep volcanic terrain, going higher and higher into the forest. We were informed that at a certain point, that if we changed our mind, it would be too late, and that the only way down was to zip line.
Before we reached the top, we were given a mini experience of what starting and stopping entailed. Stopping was abrupt due to the speed of travel. I then reached the point of no return, and was secured into my harness and prepared to launch.
My adrenaline raced as I jumped off the platform and began my long journey back down the rainforest.
The first thing I remember was how painful the rain was as it hit my face like shards of glass. I could barely open my eyes as I sped from one zip lining station to the next. I remember being shocked at how high I was and the speed that I was traveling.
Monteverde Cloud Forest zip line consists of 15 cables and 18 platforms. It’s an exciting and adventurous experience. Views of the lake and Arenal Volcano are visible as you fly above the rainforest canopy. Although it wasn’t my first time zip lining, it was certainly one of the most adventurous life experiences that I have had, and I would defiantly recommend it to anyone traveling to Costa Rica. My only advice would be to go on a day that wasn’t raining.
Last week I traveled to Dunedin, a small coastal town on the Gulf of Mexico. Dunedin is a hidden gem near Tampa and Clear Water Bay, with trendy outside cafe’s and a hiking-biking trail that runs through the center of town to the oceanfront. Bikes can be rented for a small fee as you stop for drinks or lunch along the way.
Dunedin has a laid back feel to it and offers a variety of healthy restaurants, including a popular organic juice bar, which was my favorite way to kick start the day.
The Jolley Trolley is a bus that runs along the coast and travels to Clear Water Beach, A day pass costs only $5.00.
Honeymoon Island is a barrier island off the coast of Dunedin, a beautiful secluded beach that stretches for four miles. A trip not worth missing.
If you are traveling to Florida, you may want to check out this beautiful, laid back community. I had no idea it existed, as I usually travel further south, so it was a complete surprise to find that a bit of “Old Florida” still exists.
Arizona has to be one of the most beautiful states in the country. It is known for the Grand Canyon, but there is also a part of Arizona that many people are not aware of, the remote White Mountains of Northeastern Arizona.
Situated in Navajo County, it is a 3.5 hour drive up the mountains from the Phoenix area. Fort Apache, is only a 30 miles drive down the mountains from Pinetop-Lakeside and is rich in history. Arrowhead Cafe, offers authentic Apache food, that is locally grown and sourced.
Looking to travel into the unknown or slightly off grid? Head to the White Mountains of northeastern Arizona, The ponderosa pine trees smell amazing and your likely to see wild horses, moose, bobcats and coyotes on your travels.
I just came back from a day trip to Sedona, Arizona, one of the most beautiful spots in this country. Surrounded by red rocks, whirling vortexes and positive energy, I was able to spend the day hiking up Bell Rock. Although it’s wintertime, the temperature was perfect for hiking, not too hot, not too cold, and because of the season, the number of tourists was very low.
Bell Rock is one of the larger vortex sites in Sedona. Vortexes are concentrations of energy spiraling upward from the Earth. As you climb the rock, you can see tree trunks that are twisted, a visual sign that energy is present. Vortex sites are known to have physical and spiritual healing properties and there are a number of them present in Sedona. Whether or not you believe, you can certainly feel something is different in this part of the world.
As far as when to travel, summer has beautiful weather, but if you want to avoid the crowds, winter or early spring is perfect as you can experience more solitude and still have sunny skies. All you need is a light jacket and a water bladder or bottle and you are good to go.
A special thank you to all my blog followers this year. I am truly grateful for each and everyone one of you.
As you know I write about a lot of different topics, travel, food, relationships, adventures, publishing, self-help, etc, but I would love to hear what specific topics you would like to read more about or what other interests you have in the new year.
Please comment and tell me what you would like to see more of!
This stickers is from the 1970s. Remember when everyone was called a “Turkey”? LOL
Because of the kindness of a stranger, I was able to experience life on a remote unknown island off the coast of Georgia.
I wasn’t even aware that the island existed until recently, a man named Henry invited us to come and stay at his house because our previous travel plans to Yellowstone National Park were cancelled. He said it was a place for healing.
Not anyone can travel to Sapelo Island; you either have to live there, or be an invited guest. Tourists are not allowed. There is one passenger ferry that transports people back and forth to the mainland. Round trip tickets cost only $5.00. The island is known as one of the earliest Native American colonies to have existed in the United States and is rich in history. Sapelo Island, sparsely inhabited and not easily accessible, is both beautiful and historical.
A local friend of Henry’s met us at the ferry and gave us keys to Henry’s truck that was parked at the dock. He told us to follow him as he guided us through a series of unmarked island roads. After about four miles, we arrived at Henry’s house which was beautiful and rustic and looked like a scene from a movie set. The structure stood on wooden stilts and had a large balcony, a porch swing, and a hammock. Huge oak trees covered in Spanish moss hung over the house, giving it an ancient southern feel.
We found a couple of mountain bikes and decided to go out exploring. It was late afternoon and the sun was shining as we headed down a dirt road wondering where it would lead us.
The dusty narrow road was tree lined and led us through a sugarcane field. After riding another two miles, the road turned into sand as it opened up to the oceanfront. We kicked off our shoes and walked the isolated beach barefoot for hours. Not a single person was in sight. The southern sun started to sink into the sky, so we decided to leave because we knew that we may not find our way back in the dark.
Sapelo Island, a gift from a stranger, not only provided us with an exciting new travel experience, but the greatest gift he gave us was the reminder of the goodness of others.