10 Outdoor Wanderlust Inspiring Photos

Welcome to my compilation of outdoor wanderlust inspiring gallery. We all have places that make us feel alive. I have listed my top ten – ever changing, ever expanding – locations.  Share your places below in the comments!

  1. Santa Inez, California

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2. County Antrim, Northern Ireland

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3. Court of the Patriarchs, Zion National Park, Hurricane, Utah

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4. Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Pennsylvania

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5. Ricketts Glen Falls Trail, Pennsylvania

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6. Lee’s Ferry Beach, Page, Arizona

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7. Sunset Crater National Monument, Flagstaff, Arizona

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8. Paria Canyon, Kanab, Utah

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9. Navajo Bridge, Page Arizona

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10. Bryce Canyon, Utah

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8 Essential Rules of Exploring A New City

  1. Comfort Trumps Fashion

What shoes you pack when you travel? Everyone wants to look hot – but I found myself wondering are the five inch hooker heels worth it in the long run or are the sensible but comfy wedges the way to go? I have had my fair share of falls and wardrobe malfunctions – I tend to be a master at locating curbs.  Don’t get me started on cobblestone. So in my commandments I declare that comfort trumps fashion. Likewise with clothes – I swear by layers. If you wear jean, tee shirt and a flannel you can strip down or bundle up to regulate your temperatures. Plus you will be fashionable to the grunge look.

  1. Abide by the 3:1 Rule When Clubbing

Ladies – when clubbing or in a bar, my best advice is to take a look around when you get into the venue if you arrive and you are outnumbered by men by more than 3:1 – leave.  It can become a safety issue and can become uncomfortable quickly. Basically you just became the fish to the barrel for thirsty individuals. See rule number three for the full story.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

If you are out and about especially at night or in places like Vegas recruiters WILL come up to you and ask you to go somewhere or do something. You are under no obligation to say yes. One experience I had while in San Diego was just that – I should have said no. It forced my friend and I to enact the 3:1 rule (see rule 2).  My fellow blogger Sarah and I received a waived cover charge and free drinks by a recruiter to a particular club, so sure we were up for it. The club was great – loud music, thumping atmosphere – one problem, it was all dudes.  So there was a reason recruiters were targeting women.

  1. Just Avoid Dark Alleys

It doesn’t have to be a literal dark alley. Be aware of your surroundings and go with your gut. Especially females traveling together – anything can happen but bad situations can be prevented by keeping your wits about you. Follow the basics – know your limits, don’t accept drinks from strangers and come up with a plan in case something happens.

  1. Do Bar Hop

Check it out! You are in a new town where no one knows you. Don’t be afraid to ask locals about the best places to visit– they know. If they love the location, they will share. Don’t stick to one place have an app in one bar, have your entree in another restaurant, and if you are feeling saucy have dessert in a third place.

  1. Have a Game Plan

It helps to do some research. Find out what is located in close approximation to your hotel. If you can walk to dinner, fantastic – keep your car in valet and don’t call an Uber driver.  Map out what days you want to be up early to go to an attraction and what mornings you can relax. Maybe it is just me but I like to have some structure so you can optimize your time; that isn’t to say that the plan is the end all be all. Make sure the plan is flexible.

  1. Up Early. Siesta. Out Late.

The earlier you wake up the easier it will be to get into attractions – you could have the whole beach to yourself for hours while everyone is still sleeping it off. Think about it people are on vacation – so they sleep in. I always beat the crowds by arriving as early as I can. By the time you have finished seeing everything the attraction should be filling up! Now you can take a nap, two to three hours should suffice – just enough to get you through your evening.  When you wake up you are good to go and ready to join the night life.

  1. UBER, LYFT, RIDESHARE

Avoid wasting time getting lost – just call for a ride. There are numerous ride share solutions that are just an app away. Uber is economic as well as practical for city explorers. I have used Uber (my favorite) in Denver, San Diego, Laguna Beach, and even in my own city Phoenix without much fail. Most of the drivers are more than happy to give you tips and other places to check out!

Battlefield Vibrations – Gettysburg Pennsylvania

How I found myself in Gettysburg this previous weekend: my little brother married his best friend…

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Congrats Mike and Shayna
Apparently, Gettysburg is popular destination wedding site – go figure! Nonetheless, we stayed in a beautiful, historic bed and breakfast. The off-site cottage I stayed in was even removed from a key battlefield for preservation. Despite rumors of bumpities and spookables our only visitor was a tiny mouse raiding the kitchen for my granola bars. This did not deter yours truly from making her boyfriend come out to investigate. Note, this was 3AM and he was a noble sport     🙂

Ghosts and ghouls are deeply associated with the battlefield of Gettysburg. Whether you believe in the spirits or not, there is something solemn or rather pensive about walking along the paths. The grounds have a vibration that grabs you by your shirt collar and reminds you that this place witnessed a terrible event.

1863, on a hot summer day, likely similar to the day I visited, boys and men went to battle. The Battle of Gettysburg lasted only three days, but saw close to 50,000 casualties – both sides combined. What I find most disturbing about this particular battle is the number of missing soldiers. Around 5,000 men from each side were unaccounted for but assumed dead or captured. The battle stretched for miles covering landmarks like the Devil’s Den, Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard and Cemetery Ridge. General Lee leads the Confederate army into Union territory following previous wins, however, Meade’s army was ready waiting in the fields. Gettysburg also marks the furthest northern advancement from the Confederate troops. Dubbed the High Water Line – no confederate soldiers made it further.

This battle is considered a turning point for the Civil War as the Union side was losing up until this point.

 

I only had a short time to explore, but check out the pictures from Cemetery Hill:

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“General Armistead and a few Confederate soldiers charged across this well, reached the Union cannon behind it and were soon overwhelmed. “

My suggestion, book a tour!

Gettysburg Battlefield is a historical monument part of the National Parks Service therefore FREE!  Now, I don’t normally condone group tours but, this is an exception. There is so much to see, I would hate to miss anything!

When you are finished drive into town – visit antique shops, boutique stores, and great restaurants.

There is a plethora of things to see – don’t miss out!

4 Of the Best Indoor Places to Visit in Phoenix

Arizona is fighting through the dog days of September, alas relief is on the way! As if by magic, one day will be not as hot as the last slowly forgetting the 100+ degree weather.

I was recently asked by a table that I had at the restaurant, where are the places you can’t miss in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area? I had to think about it for a moment nonetheless there are several places that I take my friends and family when they come and visit.

Arizona offers astonishing views and outdoor excursions; however you can’t permanently have ideal weather – right? When the heat is blistering or freak freeze warnings – ahem it happened– drive you indoors, seek out the remarkable locations central Arizona and Maricopa county offer. These are all places that I have been and would highly recommend to anyone of all ages as you won’t find them anywhere else.

Herd Museum

In the heart of central Phoenix is the Herd Museum, which boasts the largest collections of southwestern Native people. People come from all over the world to view the astonishing artifacts that reside in the Herd. There are roughly ten or so exhibits which rotate seasonally ranging from art, sports, ancient and current artifacts, and items of cultural significance. You can easily spend an entire afternoon here – the museum and its grounds are beautiful.  *note – free parking* Right now what I would love to return and explore is the Frida Kahlo exhibit, which is on display now until early February.

My personal favorite exhibits are the silversmiths. The detail and the symbolism are incredible.

Adults $18
Students with valid I.D. $7.50
American Indians FREE
Kids $7.50
First Friday (6-10PM) FREE

 

Butterfly Wonderland 

Straight off the 101 and Via de Ventura is an enormous building holding America’s largest butterfly pavilion. I adore this place for its atrium – imagine coexisting with three thousand butterflies. There is certainly a sense of awe to be surrounded by the tropical plants and flowers accompanied by the butterflies. Included with your admission you can view insects of the southwest, a 3-D Theater, and a honey bee exhibit. This place is super family friendly and should maintain your attention for 2-4 hours. Coming soon! In less than a year the Odysea Aquarium will open. I’m extremely excited for this – I love aquariums.

Adults $19.95
Kids $12.95

 

The Musical Instrument Museum 

Where else can you appreciate six thousand plus instruments from over two hundred countries? As a music lover, the MIM experience is unmatched. There are all sorts of instruments ranging from ancient to modern. Upon entry you are given a headset (or you can BYOHS) to listen to a narration of the exhibits – there are over three hundred and fifty organized by country of origin. Not only is the MIM simply a museum, but it is also an architectural marvel – it is designed as a piano and in the center of the building stands an acoustical hot spot – I highly recommend locating this! It is worthy to spend an entire afternoon at the MIM but if you are on a time constraint plan for 2-4 hours to secure your money’s worth.  Keep an eye out for concerts and events.

General $20
Teen (13-19) $15
Kid (4-12) $10

 

Taliesin West 

Meet Frank Lloyd Wright’s summer home. The prolific architect’s home serves as an educational center for architecture and the art of blending natural and modern landscapes. This is not something that I would recommend for kids under fifteen unless you pick a tour resembling the Junior Architect Tour. Taliesin West is definitely tailored to adults. Tours range anywhere from 1-4 hours –visit the Taliesin website for tour schedules and prices as they vary.

4 Things I Still Remember about Ireland – One Year Later

I apologize for the recent lack of attention given to my blog. As fall approaches the WordPress gods reminded me of my year anniversary, hosting a  website. I had an intense summer. No fun mind you – twenty credit course load is not anyone’s definition of fun. Travel Scout is down but not out, for the moment. I have blogs to come featuring Utah, Pennsylvania, and Northern Arizona – stay tuned for those in weeks to come! Now that I can breathe again – let’s get nostalgic.

It has been over a year since my trip Ireland. Unfortunately, I have not traveled this summer due to finishing college in December. Here I come 2017! I still have the bug, my boots just want to travel already.On the docket is Iceland, Germany, and Austria planned for September 2017 – I am considering taking the entire year to travel.

Whereas I am anxious about the future, there are quite a few experiences that stick out in my head from the first time I left the USA.

Need More? Click here for more : IRELAND !

 

If you ever visit Ireland DO NOT miss these ventures:

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    Here I am as a tourist

    Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle

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    Ancient Lodging

    Scaling Skellig Michael – 800 steps up, 800 steps down

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    The long room after the Book of Kells tour

    So many beautiful, beautiful books in Trinity College Dublin  ❤

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    Joey and Monte good boys

    Horses, beach, Ireland – does it get better? Connemara

California Paradiso – not all beaches are created equally.

View from the Marriot Laguna Cliffs.

Half way between L.A. and San Diego lay the lazy beaches of Dana Point and Laguna. In an effort to escape the furious heat in Phoenix – which I am so fond of *sigh* – I run to the sea. In Doheny State Beach you see everything as you imagined – glorious tanned Thor-like hunks on surfboards, blonde beauties in tiny bikinis, seagulls ever watchful of your pretzels and of course the Hawaiian shirt clad tourist clinging to a camera. I chose Dana Point because it is a quiet place, call me a geezer but I’m not exactly the party girl. I go for the sea scrubbing. After an hour of laying out listening to the cresting waves I’m too daffy to even care that I have sunburned. I’m very pale – sunscreen only goes so far.

It is magic I tell you!

… And the rocks! I am an avid rock collector – many who know me would tell you it’s a problem. I tell people I was a penguin or a ferret in past life. Doheny Beach in particular has the best rocks and shells – there is basalt, limestone, rocks with holes in them, sea glass, spiral shells – ah heaven.

Secret Spot Alert! If you travel down Dana Point Harbor Drive – past the marina and park at the boating school – there are tide pools down the path behind the school. Just be aware of the tide, if you notice it coming in or it is already high leave it be. It has the potential to be a dangerous spot. You can see great examples  of crabs, little fish, mollusk colonies and anemones.

Disclaimer: I promise I was picking rocks…. not flipping my mother off!
Most of the streets are named for colored lanterns… for inquiring minds – it exists!

Dana Point and Laguna are actually the mecca of California surfing and boasts some of the best surfing in California. I can only vouch for Mission Beach, closer to San Diego, where I attempted to surf. Attempted. If you have time and a steel ego – rent a board and give it a try!

Hobie's surf shop
Hobie’s surf shop

Laguna beach is roughly twenty minutes north of Dana Point on the Pacific Coast Highway. The vibe of Laguna is lively. The palm trees are lush and the tropical hibiscus steal the scene with their vibrance. You half expect Brad Pitt to come strolling out of one of the many gorgeous beachfront properties. Any visions you had of California Paradiso exist here. Make sure you keep an eye out for wildlife dolphins and even whales – in the right season – frequent Laguna beach. If you are really lucky you could be joined by a sea lion or two. Just be aware that they are wild animals and should not be approached under any circumstances – no matter how adorable. Wild animal PSA.

Laguna through the lens.
Even the stairs down to the beach are vibrant!

You could make a day out of the boutiques that occupy the main strip along the PCH. Laguna offers food of all sorts and for all types of eaters – vegans, carnivores, and veggies alike.

I never thought I was a beach person. The sand is sticky, the ocean was green and smelly, too many guidos, too loud and too crowded. Turns out that is just the Jersey shore – my only exposure to beach life. But then came the beaches of California – the angels sang and the sand didn’t go to bad places.

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6 Bits of Truth After Moving Across the Country

Tell me about your experiences following a big move!

  1. People Will Move On

Sorry to be a downer in the first paragraph, nonetheless this is one of the toughest lessons that nobody realizes until it happens.  It took roughly a year and a half for my long distance friendships and family relationships to start breaking down. It was the saddest day when I realized that the Pennsylvania chapter of my life was over. Moving two thousand miles has been considerably different since its gruelingly impossible to schedule the time off, save the money and visit this person on a daily basis. Just remember that people come and leave for different reasons – the ones who sick around are something special. It took time to realize that it wasn’t personal and no one’s fault undoubtedly people move on and undoubtedly you will too. Which leads to number two.

  1. You Have No Choice – Find Yourself

I felt lost, my heart felt broken. I took the time after moving to figure out who I was, what I wanted out of life and what I considered to be essential. Following too much wine and several bouts of crying, I seized the opportunity to reinvent myself. Teens that move long distances away such as myself become caught up with loosing friends since the first eighteen years of our lives we are surrounded by peers and remain in constant contact. It’s truly confusing when it suddenly goes away. It’s lonely in the real world. For a long time I blamed Arizona for my miserable state when in reality – I was just growing up.

  1. Different Cities are Overwhelming, then Ultimately Exciting

Where is the grocery store? I have no idea where the hospital is! You say there is an easier drive to Home Depot? These are all thoughts I’ve had, followed by expletives that I have wondered out loud. Phoenix and Scottsdale is Goliath compared to Easton where I grew up, consequently the time I needed a hospital I had no idea where I was driving. When you finally become a local you become a master of the streets and it becomes enthralling to find hip coffee joints or even be able to relay directions! I love the feeling of discovery – explore! Drive around with no set purpose, who knows what you may find.

  1. You Miss Home, Then Again You Don’t

As the pain lessen you begin to notice how positively wonderful your life is. Home will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart, on the other hand, I couldn’t live back home any time soon. It’s what you create from your home, even though I traded in the four seasons for perma-sun, oak trees for saguaros, and rainstorms for dust devils I know that adventure is around every corner. I have learned to love my home – and will learn to love wherever I decide to settle.

  1. You Will Happily Fly Across the Country Just to Hang out with your Bestie

I’ve done it before – I’ll do it again. Once in a while, usually for birthdays booking a trip back to hang out with your bestie is worth it. You should cherish every second.

  1. It’s Thrilling When You Run Into a Person From Your Hometown

“OMG! You have been to WAWA!” or “No way, you are familiar with Easton?” I love running into people who recognize my neck of the woods. Usually they are excited too, as it proves how tiny the world is and how connected humans truly are. It’s like a secret club or knowing a joke that only makes sense to you and your new friend.  I met a lady once who lived across town from where I grew up – she sat at the bar when I was working!

 

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