Reconnecting in Colorado (Part I)

Bethany and I met in Sweden while we were studying there in 2016. We’ve also visited each other in Chicago a couple times, as well as traveled to Iceland together in 2018. That was the last time we saw each other in person, until last week…

Kalmar, Sweden 2016
Chicago 2017
Chicago 2018
Iceland 2018
…still Iceland 2018…
Colorado 2020

Petoskey, Michigan with the Pup!

My mom, Linley and I went on another adventure this week. This time, we went somewhere we’ve heard about but have never experienced before: Petoskey.

Lin was really happy, I promise!

We chose to stay one night because our day trip to Empire and Traverse City felt rushed (plus that’s a lot of driving for one day, especially for the pup!). Once we arrived on Wednesday afternoon, we walked around downtown, Lin marked every plant and we had a tasty lunch at a picnic table. We all had some ice cream afterward and Linley stole all the hearts of the customers behind us!

The main event of the day was kayaking, which is something all three of us enjoyed! We kayaked for nearly three hours at the Bear River Canoe Livery and soaked up the sun, the water and the winding river. Some cranes and a deer even welcomed us as we kayaked near the shore! The tunnels, the views and the company were perfect.

Ignore Grams’s sunburn – ouch!

This was Linley’s first time at a hotel and he did amazing! He saw his reflection and everything…

The next day was even more relaxing. We hung out at Bayfront Park and got in the water with the pup. Lin was even helping us search for stones in the water!

We wrapped up our trip by stopping at Kilwin’s for some fudge and ice cream!

All in all we had an adventurous AND relaxing vacation up north. 10/10 would recommend!

Lake Michigan with mom and Linley

Yesterday I decided to take my dog, Linley, up north to hang out on the beach and do some hiking. Luckily my mom was able to join us and we had a fun, all-day adventure!

Linley and I picked my mom up early and we headed north around 7:00am. Before we headed toward the beach, we found a unique cafe where everything was gluten, dairy and soy free. We had to sip some iced coffee, indulge in morning pastries and take some photos on the butterfly bench!

Once we replenished, we ventured toward Empire Beach. This took as longer than we’d thought, however, because our GPS didn’t take us to the dog-friendly area like I’d hoped. We may have lost an hour of time, but we made up for it elsewhere.

I may be a prepared dog mom, but my mom is the prepared human mom! She brought us so many snacks and even some matching hats. I would’ve traveled north with Linley myself, but it’s always better when she’s around, too!

Linley had so much fun in the sand! We found a cool place where he had plenty of shade and could dig to make himself even cooler. We were on the beach for about an hour or so; we even put Linley’s life jacket on so he could swim a little!

After my mom and I had enough of the heat, we headed toward Empire Trail where we could all experience some shade. The trail is tucked back in the woods and once you reach the end, you’re in the midst of pristine sand dunes. My mom was intrigued by markings in the trees, where as Linley was busy leaving his mark on all the trees!

I didn’t capture many photos from yesterday; simply being with my mom and pup meant the world to me. Thankfully my mom took a sweet photo of Linley napping under our bench…

After we rested on the bluffs, we headed back down the trail, enjoyed a nice dinner in downtown Traverse City, and were back on the road again. Linley was fantastic in the car, on the beach and during our hikes; I can’t imagine going on these adventures without him (or without my mom for that matter)!

Niagara Falls

My friend Alice, who is visiting during the holidays, has always wanted to see the Niagara Falls. We went to the Canada side over the weekend and we were blessed with some good weather and great views!

Fun in Fenton

I hated Fenton in high school: there was “nothing to do,” no diversity and I couldn’t wait to get the heck out of there! With that said, however, I always enjoy my time in Fenton now.

I think this has something to do with the people. A lot of my close friends live in the area, including Donna. No matter what kind of mood I’m in or what stresses the week threw my way, I can count on her for a good time and great conversation! Plus there’s so much to do in downtown Fenton now, it’s unreal. Of course it became fun once I left…

Even my pup loves it!

In all honesty, I appreciate Fenton more than ever now. I have made amazing friendships there, and visiting always feels like home.

Tortoise Conservation

As anticipated, I saw some large creatures in the Galápagos; however, I didn’t expect to see tortoises up close. Manolo also took Juan and I to another destination we couldn’t skip, which was filled with these native species.

Interestingly enough, “galapago” meant “saddle” in Spanish, which described the shells on these animals’ backs.

Tortoises can actually live up to 150 years (the average lifespan being 120 on the islands). They can also weigh up to 250 pounds for females and 500 pounds for males! At this facility, the young tortoises between the ages of one and five are separated: fed individually, heavily cared for and combined with the older tortoises at age five.

Although the tortoises have it good on San Cristobal Island now, it wasn’t always this way (it was actually quite tragic). When Darwin visited the islands in 1835, he noticed that these creatures were so large and had lots of meat on them; tens of thousands of tortoises were slaughtered and consumed by himself and others he knew.

Thankfully this isn’t still happening today!

A Treehouse Tucked Away…

During our time on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos, Juan befriended a local taxi driver named Manolo. Of course, the two of them had a lot in common: Spanish is their native language, they grew up in Ecuador and they seemed to laugh at the same things (probably at me)!

Kidding aside, Manolo was one of the coolest locals we met on the island. Why do I say this? Not only was he a “salt-of-the-earth” kind of dude, but he became our private chauffeur and took us to some unique places.

Our first stop on our “non-touristy” tour of San Cristobal Island was an eco-friendly treehouse. A family generated this treehouse – as well as other rooms on the property – from 100% recycled and sustainable materials! The hippie in me loved this and never would’ve known about it had we taken another taxi…

Have you ever befriended a kind stranger while traveling? And if so, do you still keep in touch? 🙂

Private Beach near Kicker Rock

After a long (but very fun!) two hours of snorkeling at Kicker Rock, the group headed to a beach that was completely secluded!

There were many staggering features of this deserted area, and I can’t decide which one was my favorite…

1) the water had beautiful turquoise and teal tones

2) the sand was organic, which means that the chemicals the pufferfish can’t digest turns into the soft, velvety sand we walked upon!

3) every creature on the beach was tranquil (more posts to come on this!)

4) the views on and around the beach were awe-inspiring

5) the warm waves hitting made me feel as though I was taking a bath

The only thing I’d change? The FLIES! They bite, and they bite HARD.

Pro tip: bring bug spray to the Galápagos!

“Glamping” in Chile

That’s right: my husband and I participated in some “glamorous camping” during our time in Chile!

Three years ago, I discovered a unique Airbnb that I immediately wanted to see. Mateo, a French-born man who now lives near Santiago with his wife and daughter, built a dome for people who want a once-in-a-lifetime experience under the Milky Way.

It was worth the wait because the dome was everything I was expecting and more! The bed was perfect for cooler nights, the clear area allowed for the dome to get warm during the day and unplugging was just what we needed. I could tell that Juan was just as thrilled to be there!

We stayed a total of three nights, and each provided us with the perfect opportunity to see the stars, drink herbal mint tea and enjoy each other’s company.

If you’re interested in staying here (which you should be by now!), please visit Mateo’s Airbnb link here: https://abnb.me/e2m8GMYAVW