Posts in Travel
Why Do Whales Do That? Humpback Whale Behavior in Tonga

Because Tonga is one of the breeding grounds of the South Pacific humpback whales, we see an extensive range of behaviors that are focused around accomplishing one of two goals: 1) you’re either here to give birth and raise a calf or 2) you’re here to get pregnant or impregnate another whale.

Sometimes I make jokes that whales are the “original tropical island honeymooners”and that Tonga is the bedroom and Antarctica is the kitchen, connected by the world’s longest hallway, but these expressions are a bit of a euphemism. It’s definitely not all chillaxing and playful getting it on for the whales here. Breeding season is hard work.

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The Storm Before the Cyclone - Wild Weather in Tonga Pre-Whale Season!

Island life - a perfect paradise all to ourselves, crystal clear water steps from our bedrooms, falling asleep and waking up to a light breeze rustling through vibrant green ferns. The sun shimmering through coconut trees that are positively loaded down with sweet young cocos, just waiting for us to crack them open and indulge in their sweet, sweet liquid. Morning coffee sipped with your toes in the sand, watching whales blow in the distance. Every single day like this….right?

Haha! Island life is amazing, but there are definitely little quirks that you don’t immediately think about when you envision what it’s like living tropically. Yes, there are the bright white beaches and beautiful blue waters. But there is also a constant onslaught of mosquitos and flies, along with some very large arachnids that can somehow conjure new webs in what appears to be minutes, right across your normal path to the bathroom.

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A Plastic Paradise - Traveling through Southeast Asia with Eco-Adventurer Jen Worth

Plastic in Paradise

As our boat began to slow and we craned our necks to get a glimpse of the island that would be our next stop, I felt a huge burst of excitement. This was why we came to the Philippines and why we chose a three-day boat cruise from Coron to El Nido in the popular tourist area of Palawan. We were promised crystal clear waters, vibrant coral and hundreds of empty white sandy beaches to explore. So far it had not disappointed. 

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The Best Vegan Dining Options in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

I was hesitant to think too favorably about my luck with vegan dining options in my hometown of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. As much as this dear little mountain/lake town means to me, I will say the plant-based food scene hasn’t exactly caught up quite as much here as the (also important) local farm-to-table, sustainably raised meat and seafood industry. It’s encouraging that people here are starting to ask where their food is coming from instead of just nomming down on whatever is set in front of them, but there is really not much of a demand for the green-growing-things-centric meals. So it’s a move for the better, but as with my ability to pan-fry tofu, there is room for improvement.

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Five Big Reasons Why I Love Coeur d'Alene, Idaho - Hometown Gushing

What’s Up with Idaho?

Most people have never heard of Coeur d’Alene. Idaho is an often forgotten, sometimes scorned state. When people find out I grew up here (well, at least the sarcastic folks), they immediately comment, “Oh, you grew up on a potato farm?” Shut it - the reason those fries on your plate taste so damn good is because those potatoes had Idahoan soil in which to flourish. You should be grateful!

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Mindful Travel, Part 4: 3 Things to Think Critically About Before You Buy a Plane Ticket

The world is essentially a global village now. If you save up the funds and are willing to plan, you can almost go anywhere. Formerly remote and untouched places are changing fast because of our “travel NOW” and escapist mentality that is leading us to escape farther, be more epic, get off the beaten track, snap those wanderlust-worthy social media pics. When I was in college, I was constantly daydreaming over travel Pinterest boards and writing quotes about going out to see the world, experience things, discover myself and learn by immersion instead of just through books and articles.

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Mindful Travel, Part 3: A Day Trip to Lady Elliot Island

This past August, I had the good fortune of flying out to a little island north of Fraser called Lady Elliot. Located off the coast of southern Queensland, it is one of the southernmost cays of the Great Barrier Reef and is known for its abundance of sea turtles, manta rays, reef sharks, and spectacular array of other marine species. The moment I arrived in Hervey Bay, I was surrounded by chatter about Lady Elliot and people who gushed over how amazing it was. Literally, I’d be sitting at the office at work and multiple other crew members from different boats in the harbor would bustle by and stop in for a chat, and inevitably, Lady Elliot would come up. “You have to go. That place is insane.”

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Mindful Travel, Part 2: A Balinese Farm Tour and Cooking Class

Let me whisk you away to Bali - the Balinese Farm Tour and Cooking Class is a half-day tour (morning or afternoon) that picks you up from your accommodation in Ubud and whisks you away to a local market in a neighboring village. A guide meets you there and escorts you around to different stalls, pointing out and explaining the local offerings of fruits, vegetables, and various prepared goods.

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Exploring the Meaning of Mindful Travel, Part 1: Choosing Ethical Tour Operators

So what makes a tourist activity eco-friendly - as in, how do you decide if it’s a responsible choice or not? You want to support locally-owned businesses that are not only reducing their environmental impacts, but are using their tourism platform to help local communities and raise support for conservation. Sustainable tourism has been defined by the World Tourism Organization as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.”

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Five Practical Tips for Being a Responsible, Eco-friendly Traveler

As a traveler, we have an immense responsibility. Jet-setting or road-tripping (or cycling, walking, running, horseback riding, etc.) to see the world is a beautiful gift, and we really shouldn’t take it lightly. Just as we try to “greenify” our lives back home, we can try to spruce up our travel game to be a bit more self-sufficient and leave less of a consumerist trail in our wake.

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Exploring New Depths with Apneista's Level One Freediving Course - Bali

What does the term freediving bring to mind for you? Diving without scuba tanks? Spearfishing? Long breath holds? Insanity? For me, it was mainly just a talent I admired of other people when I saw them diving down to look at an octopus or a moray eel in Molokini Crater for extended periods of time.

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From the Sunny Coast to Brisbane to the Gold Coast - Adventures in Eastern Oz

I had some time off! And it was amazing! Whale watching is a beautiful way to spend your days, don’t get me wrong. In the midst of a busy season, though, you can bet I’ll snatch an opportunity to take a few days off and explore amazing Aussie. After taking so many guests on our trips who simply gushed about the Sunshine Coast and Byron Bay, I knew I wanted to go see them for myself.

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Milford Track - Tramping in May 2018

A couple of crazy (amazing) ladies and I tackled the Milford Track in early May - a few weeks ago. It was one of the most incredible things I've ever done. We had some wet, wild, windy weather, and I wouldn't have traded it for the world. There were waterfalls cascading in every direction you looked - best not to hike with a full bladder here or you'll wee yourself. Thinking of hiking the Milford? The Great Walks season runs October 24th - April 30th and the track requires bookings. It books out MONTHS in advance, as it's crazy popular. But it DOES live up to the hype, even in the rain. In fact, I reckon the rain makes it better! The hike is about 54 km long and takes four days. There are three huts along the way that will give you the shelter you need and the amazing views you crave.

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My Struggles with Minimalistic Travel - Suitcase Packing & Roadtrip Rubbish

We've most likely all been acquainted with the concept of minimalism at some point in the last decade. In a society where anything we could possibly want is available with the scroll of a finger on a trackpad, minimalism provides us with a way of combating this mine mine mine mentality and instead reducing the things in our life. It's a way for us to trim down our excess baggage and critically think about what we own. It might just start as a physical reduction of excess things, but in a very real way, downsizing can also positively impact our mental health. There are so many benefits of minimalism, and a large spectrum of extremes we can take it to, but as a self-proclaimed conservationist and travel-lover, it's a concept that I've been struggling heartily with over the past three years. In this post, I'll be focusing on how I keep a minimalistic mindset while packing for trips, and also how I try to minimize the waste I create with the food I purchase, particularly while traveling.


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2017 Wrap Up - Three Island Homes and One Big Adventure

Dear 2017,

Everyone loves a little bit of reflection at the start of a new year - it gives us time to feel good about the places we've been, cringe a bit at the mistakes we've made, and laugh because of all the lessons we've learned from them. It's been good for me to ponder over you and all of the adventures you've provided for me.

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A South Island Christmas

What does the holiday season in New Zealand look like? Summer breezes blowing along the peninsula. Long evenings under pastel skies. Lingering sunsets painting the skies past 9 p.m. Skin bare and basking in the warmth of the sun. Rosé taking the place of my favorite pinot noir. And for me, the busiest time at work. Ah, tourism.

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The Wild and Rugged Catlins Coast - New Zealand South Island, Take 2

It's no secret that this country is a wonderland for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. Every turn in the road reveals jaw-dropping coastal or alpine vistas (sometimes both!), a chance to hike up to a summit or jump in a frigid glacially-fed waterfall, or a cute little country town with little roadside cafes and plenty of charm. The Southern Scenic Route is an absolute must-do if you have three or four days in your itinerary to fill time on your way from the Te Anau/Queenstown area to Dunedin (or vice versa). It's a bit off of the beaten path, which in my opinion simply adds to the magic. The Catlins Coast was honestly one of my favorite detours on my three-week South Island expedition. It's rugged and wild and unexpected, and somehow managed to be relaxing while simultaneously stimulating my adventurous side.

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Christchurch Farmer's Market - A Saturday Morning Well Spent

Located in Riccarton, a leafy green district in west Christchurch, this Saturday market is a hub for foodies, music lovers, caffeine addicts, organic produce enthusiasts, families, young couples, and wanderlusting travelers alike. You'll be able to chat with producers of artisan cheeses, breads, and nut butters, as well as the farmers who grow the most incredible array of fresh fruits and vegetables. You'll see happy market goers sprawled out under leafy trees nomming on their gourmet local burgers or posh breakfast porridge, listening to talented musical acts from around the city. You'll hear a stream babble alongside the market path, adding to the pleasant hum of noise that resonates throughout the air. And the smells! My nose couldn't stop investigating each and every one. Fresh Irish soda bread. Bacon being fried. Crepes getting stuffed full of fruits and savory delights. 

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Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula - New Zealand South Island, Take 1

Since I was driving south from Kaikoura, there was no better place to start the adventure than the small town of Akaroa on the beautiful Banks Peninsula. Just 75 km's from Christchurch, this historic French and British settlement is nestled right in the heart of a beautiful volcano. With only a day to spend exploring here, I made sure to get out on the water with Black Cat Cruises to see as much of the peninsula as I could - and I really can't recommend them highly enough! I did a harbor tour with them and could barely control my excitement over the stunning vistas we were able to see. The geological history of the Banks Peninsula and the Akaroa Harbour truly shows itself in the dramatic coastlines and beautiful cliff and rock formations. There was something new to ogle at around every turn. 

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Seabirds and Pinnipeds - A Taste of NZ

Familiarity is such a relative concept. I love, love, LOVE that you can move across an ocean and encounter an entirely new, mind-blowingly beautiful country and still completely engage and connect with people who are familiar with the place. Ever since arriving in Kaikoura, my jaw has been getting a regular workout from dropping in awe daily. The beauty that surrounds me is incredible. The wonderful people I work with and live with have been here much longer than me, and it's wild to think that they are so used to all of this wildlife and scenery. Albatross on the reg? No big deal. Adorable fur seal pups snuggling up high on rocks and blinking their big baby eyes at you? The norm. Dusky dolphins doing backflips and cartwheels right next to the boat? Got a million photos already.

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