Category Archives: Travel

Triple Falls Hike

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Triple Falls Hike

Hello! During my family vacation to Hendersonville, North Carolina we enjoyed several of the amazing hiking trails in the vicinity. In fact, one of the trails that we went to was so amazing that some of The Hunger Games was filmed there! Walking the trail to get to the Triple Falls was intense, as there were a lot of hills to go up and down. But, seeing the majestic waterfalls once we reached our final destination made the infinite inclines well worth it (And, my gloots are thanking me!). Take a look at some of the pics that I snapped and let’s discuss:

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I’m not gonna lie, I was definitely pretending to be Katniss during the entire hike and it was exhilarating to unleash my inner badass. We only hiked the Triple Falls trail, but throughout the walk, there were places where you could break away that would take you to other waterfalls. In my opinion, nothing could compare to the three spectacular falls flowing into each other. Hearing the rushing water, being enveloped by the mist, and feeling the gentle spray of the water was such a delight to all of the senses. And, although we were all sore by the time we got back to the car, I think that we would all do the hike again in a heartbeat!

What is your favorite adventure movie? What is your favorite trail to hike in the fall? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards

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Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards

Hello! During my North Carolina vacation, my brother and sister in law, Peter and Megan, and I went to Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards for a wine tasting. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to explore the vineyards, because it was a rainy day. But, we did get to hide out in their charming bar area, where we got to taste eleven of their wines for ten bucks each. It was quite the bargain and we even got to keep our tasting glass when we were done! Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

 

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Peter, Megan, and I spent an hour or so at Saint Paul’s testing the wines and just hanging out. Although the space appeared big with the beautiful high vaulted ceilings, the gentle glow of the soft lighting created a feeling of cozy intimacy. The rain pelting down outside increased this sensation tenfold and hunkering down with a glass of wine in hand was just right.

Taste testing all of the wines was an informative and delicious process. We got to sample five white wines, three reds, and three dessert wines in that order. Of course, I was partial to the sweet whites and the dessert wines weren’t so bad, either! My favorites were the sweet white Laurel Hill with hints of lychee and guava and the sweet tart blackberry dessert wine, Chestnut Gap Cottage. Peter and Megan enjoyed trying the reds and their favorite was a bold and peppery Cabernet Sauvignon called Chestnut Gap.

It was definitely fun trying all of the wines and deciding which ones we liked best. But, at the end of our tasting, we were unanimous in our opinion that despite enjoying some of the wines, we wouldn’t want to drink an entire glass of any of them. The tasting was absolutely worthwhile and it was an excellent value. It also offered us just enough of each wine to know that a glass full of any would be a less than pleasant experience.

This was just our conclusion and it’s interesting to see how different people pick up on different hints of the ingredients in each wine. So, one that we all didn’t care for could be another person’s favorite from across the bar. I loved spending time with my brother and sister in law and Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards provided us with the perfect space to cozy up for an hour and enjoy each others company. Definitely would recommend!

What is your favorite vineyard in your neck of the woods? Do you prefer white or red wine? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

NC Scenery

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NC Scenery

Hi everyone and happy weekend! For the past week, my family enjoyed a vacation in Hendersonville, North Carolina. A fun time was had by all and it was so nice to share in the beautiful scenery of the mountains with amazing company. On one of our excursions, we hiked at a trail called Catawba Falls and were treated to a glorious view of several smaller waterfalls flowing into each other at the top. We were also the recipients of some wildly muddy shoes and jeans compliments of Hurricane Michael! Take a look:

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A moderate hike on a good day, this trail was actually fairly difficult when we were there, because of the intense rain that North Carolina got the week before. So, the mostly upward trail was really muddy, which led to some slipping, sliding, and very dirty shoes! There is nothing better than being amongst nature and hearing the flowing water from the falls joining you with every step, though, and the mud and gunk was just a small price to pay for that.

After our hike, a cold treat was definitely in order and we stopped for a shaved ice at Pelican’s before heading back to our cabin. Try not to drool at all this deliciousness:

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With over one hundred flavors to choose from at Pelican’s, the possibilities were literally endless. And, unfortunately for me, every flavor sounded fantastic! So, I just had to pick one and go with it and went for French Vanilla Cola because after the hike, I wanted nothing more than an ice cold Diet Coke. The shaved ice was a fine substitute, but ordering a large size was a total mistake because of the classic case of “eyes being bigger than your stomach”. If you’re in the area and stop by Pelican’s, just know that you will be more than okay with the kiddie size! 😀

Where was the location of your last family vacation? What is your favorite hiking trail in your neck of the woods? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Cleveland Aquarium Pics

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Cleveland Aquarium Pics

Hi everyone and happy Friday! I hope all of you had a wonderful week and are looking forward to a fun and relaxing weekend. This past Saturday, I visited the Cleveland Aquarium, and it was mediocre at best for the price of admission. And, we all know that this is no beuno for a gal who balls on a budget! But, I did get some nice pictures of the undersea life that was there so take a look and let’s discuss:

 

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The total cost of admission was twenty dollars as well as a six dollar parking fee and the time spent in the aquarium amounted to barely an hour and a half. This was disappointing to me because, although the displays that were there looked cool, I felt like I wasn’t getting a lot of bang for my buck. The aquarium, in total, was three or four rooms with spaced out displays and, then, two other rooms with full room displays that included a string ray touch tank and the shark tank with a walk in tunnel.

I really enjoyed the shark room and the walk in tunnel was really neat and long in length. However, the other rooms that had spaced out displays featuring aquatic life of different countries left a lot to be desired. There were about three or four tanks per room and that was it. So, it felt more like a large, well decorated pet store than an actual aquarium.

If you are planning a trip to the Cleveland Aquarium, my best advice to you is don’t. You are much better off spending a day at the Cleveland Zoo, which provides you with an excellent value for your money, as it is a whole park rather than just a handful of rooms. It is also cheaper than the Aquarium, too! 😀

What is your favorite activity to do in a big city near you? Who else has a zoo or aquarium close by? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Creative Ways To Save For Travel

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Creative Ways To Save For Travel

You can travel with debt, but taking steps to reduce your debt before traveling is advisable. Loan consolidation makes a lot of sense, and could save you enough capital for a trip over time. Generally, when you’ve got any debt, your best strategy to liberate yourself will be to live beneath your means until the cost has been overcome.

For example: say you make $2,000 a month. $800 goes to rent and utilities, $200 goes to gasoline, $500 goes to food. What do you do with that additional $500? Do you spend it, or save it? Well, if you’re living beneath your means, you save it. That, or you put it toward paying off any debt you owe.

Something you additionally want to do is find ways to cut down on regular bills. For example, if you’re paying $200 a month in gas, but you only live two miles from where you work, and this is your primary reason for driving, see if you can cut that number in half. A 250-mile tank can make 125 two-mile trips or 62.5 consecutive work-days.

If you’re only working 20 days a month, then you can make it to and from work and still have 80+ miles left over for whatever you like. If you’ve got a conventional car, a tank is only around $50. So, if you can cut down your time spent driving, you can preserve the lifespan of your vehicle while reducing your monthly expenses, allowing you to either save money or pay off debt with greater expedience.

Practical Considerations:

Certainly, this is easier said than done. Once you’ve established the non-negotiables of your budget, it’s time to see what you’ve got leftover and what you can do with it. Even if you have relatively little, proper planning can help you attain necessary capital for a vacation.

If after you streamline your budget, you can only add an extra $200 to your expendable income, that is still $2,400 in a year; or enough for a pretty decent vacation.

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Budget wisely!

Avoiding Creature Comforts:

Still, this is a fairly ideal circumstance, and cutting down your monthly expenditures in terms of food and gas can be difficult. So, you must find ways that you can eliminate discretionary spending. You may be surprised at how many unnecessary things you buy. Don’t think about creature comforts, think about living at a bare minimum.

For $100, you can eat well for a month as an individual, should you be careful enough in purchasing and preparing your own meals. You can combine such a budget with EBT or food bank sustenance to increase the amount of food you have access to. You can additionally seek options beyond your income to help you acquire what you need.

You may be surprised to find what you actually qualify for, especially if you’re a low-income family, there may be support solutions out there for you. Here’s the AUS Benefits website; it can help you to see if you’re eligible for financial assistance in certain areas of life. Sometimes, this can come in the form of direct support or tax breaks.

Something else that can help you save money is where you choose to travel. You don’t have to stay in the highest dollar accommodations available. You may look for friends, relatives, or look for special offers such as these. There are also after-market type hotel situations which, though perhaps not ideal, can save you a few hundred dollars.

Although travel is a luxury, it can be more attainable with the above tips!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

The Best Gifts For The Traveler In Your Life

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The Best Gifts For The Traveler In Your Life

The best gifts are always those that show how much you know a person. That’s an ironclad rule across the board. A lot of us know a person to whom travel is more than just a yearly vacation, it’s part of their lifestyle. An itch they absolutely have to scratch. If you know someone bit by the travel bug, then a gift that fits that lifestyle can be the most valuable of all:

Their Memories:

Travelers like to do more than roam the world, many of them like to document it in some way. Gifts that can help them do that encourage them not only to do what they love but to keep sharing it. If they’re a photographer, then lenses, cases, tripods, and so on can help them take better pictures. A handmade, leather-bound notebook can encourage them to start keeping travel diaries. Even photo frames containing some of their best snaps can help them look back on their journeys with pride and appreciation.

Something To Display:

Often, finding something special from one of the countries that they’ve been to can bring some of their best travel memories flooding back. Souvenirs like collectible coins featured on this website, postcards, or even ordering some food that they tried abroad can help them relive the journey all over. What’s more, it might give them something to display in honor of those past trips.

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 A beautiful globe to display is also a great idea!

The World They Love So Much:

A globe or a world map is always a great gift for a traveler if they don’t have one. It gives them the chance to look back on just how much of the world that they have seen. If it’s an interactive map, like the scratch maps shown at this site, then that’s all the better. It acts as another way for them to record their journey, to fuel a sense of accomplishment, and encourage them to scratch more locations off that map.

Somewhere To Go:

If they love seeing the world so much, why not help them see even more of it? Serious travelers know you don’t always have to fly hundreds of miles away to have a great time. You can find closer travel opportunities by suggesting a road trip, finding a national park near you, or even visiting a museum if they’re also an art or history buff. More than simply giving them something, it shows you’re willing to try that new experience with them.

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 Pixabay Image

A Helping Hand:

Finally, there are all kinds of gifts that can help them better enjoy traveling. Translation earbuds, neck pillows, portable chargers, eBook or audiobook subscriptions for those long travels are all good places to start. They might be used to slumming it around the world in discomfort but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily want to do it that way. Making their life a little easier is the most one could ask for from a good gift.

Hopefully, the examples above give you some idea of how you can treat the traveler in your life. A little acknowledgement and appreciation of that hobby are sure to make any gift all the better.

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Why Is Japan Such A Popular Destination?

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Why Is Japan Such A Popular Destination?

If you are a keen traveler, there are probably many places on your list which you would like to visit. One that is commonly near the top of many lists, however, is Japan. For a lot of Westerners, Japan is seen as the ideal go-to for a slice of Asian life. It is certainly true that there is nowhere else quite like Japan, but the question is: why? What is it about this country that makes it so enticing to Western wanderlusters? As it happens, there are a number of reasons you might want to visit Japan, and knowing what they are just might tempt you into making it onto your travel list for the next few years. Let’s look at some of the best reasons to visit Japan:

The Culture:

One of the main things drawing people into Japan has to be the culture. No matter who you are, you have to admit that Japanese culture is pretty much unlike any other in the world. And, for that reason, it is likely that a visit to the country will be a fascinating one for someone who is not used to it. In fact, Japan is one of the places where people most commonly experience culture shock when they are traveling, and if you are someone who likes a bit of culture shock, then this is definitely somewhere you should consider visiting at your earliest opportunity. There are so many aspects to the culture which might attract the traveler, from Japanese anime to the high-tech and fast-paced wonders of the city, so you can definitely expect not to be bored with the cultural highlights if you do visit.

The People:

Japan is also famously filled with some of the most polite and friendliest people on the planet, and that can be hugely important when you are traveling. If you are keen on traveling alone, you will find that the people being so friendly is definitely most welcome, and it will likely be one of the most important factors of all, in fact. Of course, it is never true that every single individual is pleasant to deal with, but on the whole you will probably find that Japan offers you an experience which makes you feel safe and welcome from the very start.

The Terrain:

If you are interested in seeing a huge variety of terrain, then you really don’t need to look any further than Japan. You could be crammed into the train in the busiest city in the world one moment, and completely alone on the top of a beautiful mountain the next. No matter what it is that you actually want from your trip, you can be sure that Japan will be able to offer it. This makes for a fascinating and enormously satisfying experience for any traveler, so it is well worth considering for your next trip abroad. You might even find that it is easier to traverse than you had assumed.

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So pretty!

Featured Image By: Pexels