HONEYMOON ROAD TRIP
93 DAYS, 31 U.S STATES + 2 CANADIAN PROVINCES
MEXICO CITY REDUX
WHERE EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN BONITA BARCELONA
THE CULTURAL SPANISH JEWEL ON THE MED ALASKAN LOVE AFFAIR
ONE COUPLE’S ADVENTURE FOR A LIFETIME
TRAVEL OFTEN . LIVE WELL TRAVEL MAGAZINE SUMMER 2019 COME ALONG ON THE JOURNEY at DRIFTTRAVEL.COM
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RUSS WALSH, ERIN CEBULA, STEVE DRAKE, BETH & JED EPLER, JUNE DAGNALL, AMY LUO, KATHY CROSS, DANIELLA SCHOEMAN, PAOLA BRIGNETI, REBECCA BROWN, KEVIN BRAGANZA
CREATIVE | PHOTOGRAPHY
ALAN BEDDING, CLAUDETTE CARRACEDO, JULIUS SILVER, MZPHOTOS, BOOKING.COM, ADOBE STOCK, STEVE DRAKE, ALIBIBAR, PIXABAY.COM, IGNACIA GUEST HOUSE, BETH & JED EPLER, MELIÁ BARCELONA SKY, JUNE DAGNALL, FAIRMONT KEA LANI, KATHY CROSS, DANIELLA SCHOEMAN, SALT OF PALMAR, PAOLA BRIGNETI, ME SITGES TERRAMAR, OUTDOORSY, WIKIMEDIA
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TRAVEL OFTEN LIVE WELL 3 INSIDE this issue TRAVEL OFTEN LIVE WELL TRAVEL MAGAZINE SUMMER 2019 COME ALONG ON THE JOURNEY at DRIFTTRAVEL.COM HONEYMOON ROAD TRIP 93 DAYS, 31 U.S STATES + 2 CANADIAN PROVINCES MEXICO CITY REDUX WHERE EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN BONITA BARCELONA THE CULTURAL SPANISH JEWEL ON THE MED ALASKAN LOVE AFFAIR ONE COUPLE’S ADVENTURE FOR A LIFETIME In this issue of DRIFT Travel magazine, follow a young couple of a North American honeymoon road trip, experience sun kissed Mediterranean beaches, feel the cultural pulse of Mexico City and the revel in the allure of Alaska. Join us on the summer journeyno passport required. BONITA ARCELONA 48 Hours in this Gem on the Med 30 HONEYMOON ROAD TRIP Newlyweds Photographic Journey 16 THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED Open Minds + Free Spirits 64 MEXICO CITY REDUX Everything Old is New Again 8 NORTH TO ALASKA A Lifelong Adventure 42 LUXURY IN MAURITIUS Sustainability + Meaningful Luxury 60 WILDERNESS LODGES 3 Special Spots in Alaska 46 HAWAII’S GOLFING GLORY Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui 36 MALTA Authentic Sea, Sun + Culture 50 ME SITGES TERRAMAR Modern Beach Club Luxury 14 TRAVEL GEAR Trending Gadgets + Stuff 4 MODERN RV TRAVEL Myths of Recreational Vehicle Travel 68
BY: RUSS WALSH
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Mexico City / where everything old is new again
BY: ERIN CEBULA
At one time in the not too distant past, Mexico City was considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world. News outlets sensationalized the mayhem and many tourists believed that one wrong turn and you’d be rolled for your deniro. Luckily, Ciudad de México (or CDMX as its commonly known) has changed drastically since the dark days of the 80s. In 2019, this bustling metropolis is not only safe - it’s downright sexy. From dimly lit dining meccas, to pulsing clubs and luxurious guest houses; Mexico City is muy caliente.
CDMX / Ignacia Guest House
The right home base is absolutely essential to a sultry CDMX getaway. It should capture the energy of the city and provide the creature comforts of the place you left behind. Nestled amongst the mature trees and funky restaurants of Colonia Roma is a guest house that delivers on this and so much more.
The Ignacia Guest House was built as a family home in 1913, and reimagined and reopened in 2017. That same year, the mansion – named after the esteemed housekeeper who cared for it (and its inhabitants) for 70 plus years - won the Best Interiors of Latin America and The Caribbean competition. Ignacia boasts 5 stylish suites equipped with Nespresso machines, Loredana toiletries and bluetooth sound by Bose. The Master – or Negra Suite– is dark, seductive, and the only accommodation located in the original residence. It’s a show-stopper. With black walls, chrome accents and luxe bedding that inspires intimacy and excitement. This is a space designed to shut out the chaotic city outside. A space where sexy siestas are mandatory. Negra even has a private veranda overlooking a secret garden filled with fragrant fruit trees.
Decadent breakfasts honoring Mexico’s rich culinary history are served in a lovely, modernist dining area. Every day, I would stuff myself silly with chilaquiles and pozole (a proven hangover cure) and then cozy up in the library to peruse Ignacia’s curated collection of modern and folk art, architecture and food publications. In the afternoon, I would retreat to the lush garden for a complimentary cocktail and a little mixer with the stylish guests and friendly staff.
The Ignacia Guest House strikes the perfect balance between historic and modern and luxury and comfort – truly raising the boutique hotel bar.
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CDMX / La Dolcena
Oysters have been a reputed aphrodisiac since the Roman Empire. High in zinc and low in carbs, these tasty mollusks are believed to have virility-boosting effects. CDMX has a handful of excellent oyster bars, but La Dolcena is my pick to get the juices flowing.
This New Orleans-inspired seafood house is at the epicentre of CDMX’s seafood scene. They have two prime locations in the chic neighborhoods of Roma and Polanco, and five days a week they are overflowing with Mexico’s wealthy set. I chose to do my slurping at the Roma location – a convivial space with an open concept kitchen, floor to ceiling windows, and a happening patio.
La Dolcena’s menu is as lively as the atmosphere. Featuring Cajun po’ boys, crunchy octopus tostadas, and a killer shrimp aguachile prepared with carrot juice, ginger and habanero. Pair any of these with a frothy Clamato La Docena made with clam cocktail and Union Light Cerveza and you’re guaranteed a feisty feast.
Whether you grill them with shallots, bathe them in butter or throw them back raw – the oysters here are to die for. La Dolcena’s rotating selection is sourced from Mexican coastal states and as fresh as it gets.
Tell anyone you are going to Mexico City and nine times out of ten you will be asked if you are going to Pujol. This fine dining institution has been wowing patrons since 2000 and is currently holding down the number 13 spot on the ‘50 Best Restaurants Of The World’ List. Like many food lovers, I was introduced to Pujol by the pinnacle of TV food porn known as Chef’s Table. Pujol was already on the culinary map, but that show pushed Chef Enrique Olvera even further into the limelight. Olvera capitalized on this exposure – schooling diners on the elegance and complexity of Mexican flavors.
In 2017, he relocated the restaurant to a stunning, midcentury modern space in the trendy Polanco district. It’s all warm wood and mood lighting, with a wraparound patio perfect for romantic interludes. Olvera and his team recently introduced a very buzzed about Taco Omakase (chef’s choice) tasting menu that goes down as one of my all-time favorite date meals.
The “Barra de Tacos” is an 8-course tasting that was inspired by both the history of Oaxacan corn and the craftsmanship Olvera witnessed at Japan’s top sushi bars. It’s served up by a knowledgeable staff at a beautiful 10 seat dining bar. The tacos - of which you’ve never experienced - can be paired with generous amounts of wine/sake, Mexican beer or mescal. I went for the wine/saki option but found myself drawn to the mysterious mescal cocktails my date was savouring.
Olvera’s creations can only be described as tremendous. But I’m not going to list every drool worthy dish I devoured during the two and half hour seating. Pujol’s Taco Omakase is an adventure for the senses and one made better by the fact that I had no idea what kind of decadent dish was going to show up next.
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CDMX / Casa Franca
Casa Franca was a spontaneous find and the only haunt I revisited during my four night Mexican odyssey. It’s a labyrinth-like jazz bar housed in a rickety character building in the heart of Roma Norte. It has multiple, dimly-lit rooms with velvet loungers, a dance floor and a main stage featuring jazz, tango, funk and blues from local and international acts.
The bar is banging, manned by master mixologists offering up classics or creative concoctions like the celery-based creation I threw back in 10 seconds flat. The crowd is colorful and totally game to share a table, a story and a shot. And when you reach that waytoo-wobbly-to-move portion of the evening – simply retreat to a dark corner and really get your funk on.
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IGNACIA GUEST HOUSE _ JALAPA 208 CASA B, COLONIA ROMA, 06700 , MEXICO CITY firstname.lastname@example.org ignacia.mx IGNACIAMX IGNACIAMX
UNLOCK MEXICO CITY _
BY: STEVE DRAKE
Sitges, Spain ME Sitges Terramar
Basking in the warm Mediterranean sunshine, ME Sitges is the newest of the ME by Melia hotel collection. In the Paseo Marítimo area of Sitges, the hotel is in the ideal spot for a pleasant walk along the sea, enjoying a bike ride or simply sitting quiet and soaking in the sunshine.
Incredible art installations are everywhere in this hotel, bringing a breath of excitement around every corner. The rooms and suites sport a minimalist design, with state-ofthe-art technology and stunning sea views. The cuisine boldly reinvents traditional Mediterranean dishes in a modern approach that pays homage to local ingredients. Looking for a luxurious Mediterranean resort? Put ME Sitges at the top of list.
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HONEYMOON ACROSS AMERICA
Featured Photographer: Beth & Jed Epler
Instagram: - @thetravellingnewlyweds
I (Jed) had been wanting to do a cross country trip for a while. I didn’t want to do it alone but couldn’t find a good travel partner...and then I found Beth! As we dated, I told her how this trip was a dream of mine. About two years into our relationship we were on our way back from visiting friends in Boulder, and Beth said that she would travel the country with me. She said she always thought I’d go off and do this trip with a buddy, then she suddenly had an epiphany that SHE WAS THAT BUDDY!! I had in mind that the trip would be about a year long. Beth said she would give me three months, and I was ecstatic! Compromise...the beginnings of a successful relationship. So, we decided to get married at the end of June (June 30, 2018) and leave for a trip soon afterward (July 11, 2018),embarking on a 93-day honeymoon to 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces.
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UTAH - Bryce Canyon National Park is probably the most unique looking out of the five in this state. We hiked the Navajo and Peekaboo Loop Trails in the early morning to beat the crowds and the heat.
SOUTH DAKOTA - The very first national park we stopped at was the Badlands. We hiked the Notch Trail which was fun because there’s a tricky ladder that you must use twice on the hike.
WYOMING - Grand Teton National Park was one of our favorite places! We saw bison, elk, antelope, coyote, and moose. We fell in love with the nachos and blackberry pie at Signal Mountain Lodge. The hike to Bradley Lake was one of the best of our trip!
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CALIFORNIA - Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park
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“Keep close to Nature’s heart... and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
John Muir - Environmental Philosopher and Father of the National Parks
ARIZONA - Horseshoe Bend is one of those iconic places that you just have to see for yourself; however, you probably won’t want to stay long because there are people everywhere. While in Page, AZ we also toured Antelope Canyon (right).
UTAH - Hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park. Even though the water and temps were chilly, starting early was wise because the crowds began multiplying on our way back.
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LOUISIANA - In Breaux Bridge we took a swamp tour on a little fishing boat. We saw about 15 alligators, a snake, an owl, and loads of water fowl.
OREGON - Christmas Valley Sand Dunes is most definitely an off-thebeaten-path kind of place. We did some joyriding in our Subaru Forester and also hiked up and down some of the tall dunes.
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MONTANA - At Glacier National Park, the Grinnell Glacier hike is a must! At the trailhead we saw signs warning that we were entering grizzly territory. We didn’t see any grizzlies, but we did have a close encounter with a massive bull moose and with a mountain goat and her kid.
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48 HOURS IN...
BY: STEVE DRAKE
“We crossed spacious streets, with building resembling palaces, in La Rambla promenade; the shops were well illuminated and there was movement and life… I did not decide to go to sleep, even though I wished to, so I could rise early and contemplate, in daylight, this city, unknown to me: Barcelona, capital of Catalonia”
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
WHAT TO DO
Without a doubt you must see Gaudí’s Sagrada Família –without question one of the most amazingly moving sights I have ever see.
Designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and still under construction today, this UNESCO World Heritage site was proclaimed a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in November, 2010.
When you first enter Sagrada Família, you are immediately transported to a place and time of Gaudí’s choosing. The massive stone pillars that support the roof soar to what seems like the heavens. Look a little closer, and you’ll see that they are actually meant to be trees and you’re standing in a forest.
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The stained glass windows, which are everywhere, fill the space with a wonderful glow that changes from warm yellows to cool blues depending on the time of day. Gaudí said, “Sunshine is the best painter.” His strategic placement of these windows creates an ever-changing symphony of spectacular light.
It doesn’t matter where you look, there is something to captivate the eye. At times, it is almost overwhelming as you try and drink in every little detail. It is am impossible feat. I think you could go back a hundred times, and see it differently each time. Carvings, statue and inlays are all around you; each one with a special and significant meaning. Nothing in Sagrada Família is random or by chance.
Still under construction today, the team of architects, engineers, design, and craftsmen religiously adhere to Gaudí’s design and philosophy as they complete this spectacular building.
Sagrada Família is expected to be completed in 2026 and I plan to be there.
“Sunshine is the best painter.”
The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is located in the Palau Nacional of Montjuïc and was constructed for the International Exposition of 1929. Here you will find the best collection of Romanesque mural art in the world. Along with the many artists of Catalan Modernism, such as Gaudí and Casas. As well as Gothic art, great European Renaissance and Baroque paintings.
And don’t miss the Magic Fountain, which you can see from the steps in front of the National Museum of Catalan Art. Quite beautiful.
By now you must be getting a little hungry. Secret Food Tours Barcelona is great way to discovery the varying cuisine of Barcelona. You’ll get to try delicious food and drink from across Spain but more specifically from the Catalan Region, plus they will show you how to find some of the best shops and restaurants.
If you’re not up to the stroll, why not just settle down at one the many street side restaurants. You will find them everywhere. On a warm summer evening, nothing beats a pitcher of champagne sangria and a bowl of fresh olives.
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WHERE TO STAY
Meliá Barcelona Sky melia.com
Towering high above the Catalan Gothic, the medieval style, and Modernisme architecture that make up this glorious city, Meliá Barcelona Sky is a bright shining beacon to travelers looking for luxury in the heart of this historic Spanish city.
Located just a few minutes from Mar Bella Beach, Glories Tower, CCIB and Rambla de Poble Nou, this hotel offers something new to Barcelona. It is modern but still very comfortable; the décor is chic but not without Catalan soul; the rooms are contemporary with old world Barcelona framing the massive windows.
On The Level (Melia’s cool take on a club floor), guests enjoy private check-in and civilized Executive Lounge – all on the 25th floor. The Skyline 24 terrace, on the 24th floor offers panoramic views of Barcelona while Level guests enjoy a full buffet breakfast, evening tapas and cocktails.
Every room features floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a copious amount of natural light and of course, jaw dropping views over the city or the Mediterranean Sea.
When it’s time for a little special pampering, a trip to the spa is in order. YHI is the Goddess of Light, and YHI Wellness is the exclusive Meliá Hotels International brand, dedicated to wellbeing. With inspiration from the Orient, the decoration, lighting, sounds and colors will transport you to a world of new sensations, allowing you to enjoy a unique experience after your busy day on the streets of Barcelona, to recapture the calm of mind, body and spirit.
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Fairmont Kea Lani and the Courses at Wailea
BY: JUNE DAGNALL
Shimmering blue skies, warm sandy beaches, bright tropical flowers, pristine golf courses, magnificent ocean views and the “ALOHA” spirit.
Fairmont Kea Lani, Hawaii’s only all villa and suite luxury resort sits on the golden sands of Wailea’s Polo Beach, borders Wailea’s three Championship Golf Courses, and is within walking distance to upscale shopping at the beautiful Shops of Wailea.
This incredible resort offers one & two bedroom suites, plus luxury beach villas. You can relax in the adult’s only pool, or dip into one of the two family pools; one with a 140 ft water slide and a swim up bar providing hours of fun for both adults and children alike. Take a ride down the waterslide, it will bring back your youth instantly! The one bedroom suites are ideal for a family of four; the two bedroom suites
accommodate larger families, and the luxury beach villas are perfect for larger families and friends. Our family of five stayed in one of the beach front villas, located steps from the beach, with its own plunge pool, barbeque, gourmet kitchen, and two master bedrooms each with their own adjoining bathroom. It is magical to hear the ocean waves crash as you drift off to sleep, and the beautiful birds call out in the morning to gently awaken you and let you know a new day in Paradise has begun.
A visit to the Willow Stream spa is a must to restore your mind, body, and spirit. They offer a selection of locally inspired experiences that incorporate Hawaiian traditions while using only the highest quality products. There are treatments to suit every age and skin type; and I decided to treat myself to the 90 minute Caviar facial. The name alone had me intrigued and excited! This facial was targeted at anti-aging for repair, firming, and hydrating and lived up to its name in every sense of the word. Make sure you try the
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rain showers, mud bar, heated stone lounger and steam room. My daughter and I also treated ourselves to manicures and pedicures. It was wonderful to be able to take a couple of hours out of the sunshine and receive blissful treatment accompanied with wellness teas and treats.
Round out your relaxing day with a trip to the Shops of Wailea and enjoy upscale shopping in elegant boutiques where you will find amazing treasures.
When traveling with three grown children, delicious food and beverage becomes very important, and the Kea Lani did not disappoint. There are four unique restaurants on property, four bars, as well as a bakery with casual takeout food.
The Kea Lani Restaurant is a popular spot for families. It has an amazing breakfast buffet that has everything you can think of, and more. This was our go to every morning and we chanted the same line as we departed vowing that we had eaten enough for the week……we were greeted again the next morning by the same lovely hostess who just winked and knew that we would be back!
The Makana Market & Café has recently reopened after being closed for renovations. You can enjoy casual island fare including sandwiches, pastries, and a poke bar specializing in locally harvested fish. If you need a gift for your friends who you left at home, you can find definitely something here.
AMA Bar and Grill is located beside one of the three swimming pools and is a perfect place for lunch, dinner or happy hour. It offers Hawaii’s modern dishes, with many different contemporary bowl options. We watched the incredible sunsets from the AMA Bar and Grill most evenings while enjoying tasty appetizers, and wonderful happy hour drinks complete with mini umbrellas!
Ko is the award winning signature restaurant at the Kea Lani, featuring Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipina, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese menu items. There is something for everyone here, however ensure you make a reservation. This is a very popular place, and for good reason!
Nick’s Fish Market, Maui is located on the Fairmont property but not part of the resort. Make this a special night and enjoy Hawaii’s premier seafood with fresh catches daily, prime cuts of meat, fine wine and cocktails. Sit under the romantic white lights and watch the sunset while sipping your wine or cocktail. Reservations are also strongly recommended.
Luana is incredible with signature cocktails, music, and an unrivaled setting. Enjoy a drink during happy hour, a meal, or perhaps a decadent dessert. You will keep coming back….I know we did!
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Next on our dream agenda was to golf at the Wailea Golf course which is home to three different courses – the Gold, Emerald and Blue. I golfed at only one of the three but enjoyed the nineteenth hole at each of them, and hearing all the stories from my two sons of how they missed that putt by just an inch, or drove it at least 400 yards! These courses are beautiful and can entice any level of golfer. It was a dream come true for me as a 38 handicap to golf with my two sons who are both scratch golfers. The holes, views, course upkeep and nineteenth hole at each, will appeal to everyone. We started our golf journey off with a cold pre-round beer and met the local bartender. He had moved to this Paradise from Alaska to work and enjoy golf all year round. He was so personable, informative, and the real definition of what we know as people on “Hawaiian time”.
If you plan on playing any of the three Wailea courses, Emerald is the one! My two sons played here and told me that there isn’t a single hole where you are not looking straight out at the ocean. Locals say that if you play at the right time of year you have to “be sure not to hit the whales” because half the shots are sent into the air towards the ocean, and you can often see whales breaching in the background. The 1st hole is a great foreshadow for the remainder of the course as the photo opportunities were incredible and the views stayed just as amazing for the remaining 17 holes. There is a double green on this course that is shared and borders a lake. This spot is extremely picturesque and perfect for those “Instagram” moments to share with your friends back home. Beyond its beauty, the Emerald course offers a challenging, yet fun and rewarding golf course that can yield a good score. If it doesn’t, you will be hard pressed not to walk off the course with a smile on your face and grab a cold one at Gannon’s to open a debate with your group about which hole on the course was the most scenic. Our vote is for number 18!
The next day was the Blue Course. This one I played with my two sons. This is the original course of the three, and the one my sons felt was arguably the best laid out. We were told in the pro shop that this course is nicknamed the “Grand Lady of Wailea”. The pristine fairways offer views of the neighboring islands of Maui and also the now dormant Mt Haleakala volcano. On the 7th hole you tee off from way up high…..and you are convinced that your shot is going straight out to the ocean. You can see for miles… It was quite something to do a blind uphill drive on the Par 5 17th hole. At the top of the hill were amazing views of Ma’alaea Bay and the West Maui mountains. The score at the end of my round was insignificant when compared to the breathtaking views and memories that I walked off the course with.
On our last day in Paradise my sons played the Gold Course, known as the rugged beauty course and designed by Robert Trent Jones II, and has the most elevation changes of the three courses. The analogy that you hear is that this course is for people who go to Hawaii to get beach time….as this course boasts over 100 bunkers, and so avoiding the sand is virtually impossible! Make sure to bring your sun tan lotion, because by the 5th bunker of the day your temperature will certainly be rising! Their overall impression was that it is a great course but in terms of layout and design it fell a little flat compared to the Emerald and Blue.
When you are booking your trip to Paradise, keep in mind the amazing Fairmont Kea Lani Resort, and ensure you try one or all of the Courses at Wailea. Beautiful beaches, swimming pools, lush landscape, incredible cocktails, wonderful food and pristine golf courses are just a few of the descriptors that instantly come to mind when I speak of Maui. Be sure to capture all the island has to offer on camera and the memories that you will make will last a lifetime. You will not forget the incredible sense of Hawaiian spirit the island offers and before you are home you will be dreaming of your next visit back to this amazing destination!
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An Alaskan Love Affair to last A Lifetime
BY: KATHY CROSS
“You are either going to love the 49th state or you won’t, there isn’t a gray area!”
Moving to Alaska started as a joke. We had come here on vacation in June 2017. There is something that gets into your blood about the 49th state. Ten days later, when we were back home in Virginia, and my husband and I couldn’t stop thinking about all the reasons why we wanted to go back.
Our plan was set in motion. I would search for a job in healthcare and my husband would retire from his career. It was not a plan to be taken lightly. We have grown children and grandchildren on the East Coast, but if the opportunity came, we were set to go. I accepted a position in the small town of Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula, known as the playground of Alaska with fishing, hiking, kayaking and most importantly the opportunity for photography.
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We hit the ground running when we moved into our Alaskan cabin. Week one we had a mama moose and calf eating in our front yard. In summer, we live in our camper and travel as much of Alaska as we can fit into our weekends and vacations. Places like the Kenai fjords out of Seward, streaming across the water seeing the wildlife up close. Whales, sea lions, and birds of all kinds. Eating lunch in a boat sitting in front of a calving glacier and hearing the thundering sound of falling ice. We have climbed the Matanuska Glacier, not once in a weekend but twice. Chipping our way up the side of a glacier with crampons on our boots was exhilarating if not a bit stressful at times. Beautiful blue ice and crystal water with views that were breathtaking and ebbed into our minds.
We visit little towns like Talkeetna, the basecamp town for climbers of Denali. It is vintage Alaska, old businesses and laidback locals sharing their stories of climbers and plane pilots with the Alaska train whistle blowing in the background as it goes through town. There is Homer, the fishing village of Alaska with quirky places like Salty Dog Saloon and farmer markets that takes us back to the 60’s and 70’s. Small Russian villages with beautiful churches and being educated in their culture. We have driven to Fairbanks and soaked in Chena Hot Springs when the air temperature was freezing and the spring water was so hot the steam rolled off the top. Panned for gold in
streams in Hope, Talkeetna and Girdwood. Our luck in gold has only been a few flakes. Kayaked to Halibut Cove across the bay from Homer. A small quaint town on stilts with a boardwalk. The same kind of place as the neighboring village of Seldovia, one can only get to these places by boat or plane.
This is our Adventure of a Lifetime. It is like living in a fulltime vacation. The winter was long but we cross country skied and made plans for the upcoming summer. This year it will be a trip to the Arctic Circle driving along the Dalton Highway and camping in Valdez and Denali park. So much to see and do and we chose to live in this beautiful land for a little while!
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Not ready to move?
BY: AMY LUO
Visit these 3 lodges where you can be immersed in epic Alaskan wilderness
Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge
Located in the heart of coastal Alaska on Fox Island, this stunning lodge has eight charming cabins nestled in the woods between a pristine pebble beach and quiet lagoon. The ultimate destination for remote rejuvenation, the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge is surrounded by rich blue-green waters and lush greenery. On the boat ride over to the lodge, travelers commonly see sea lions, otters, whales, porpoise, puffins and more. A true wilderness getaway, Fox Island is an Alaska ecotourism destination and the island’s main source of energy is solar power.
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Denali Backcountry Lodge
Denali National Park is home to the highest mountain peak in North America - making it one of the most rugged and wild destinations in Alaska. Denali Backcountry Lodge is located in a remote valley deep in the park at the end of the Denali road making it the ideal basecamp for an authentic Alaskan wilderness experience. Guests of the lodge can hike the Denali tundra, mountain bike and fly-fish along clear mountain streams. At the lodge, comforts like buffetstyle meals and indulgent spa services are available for guests to unwind from a day of adventuring.
Seward Windsong Lodge
Nestled on the edge of the Chugach National forest and less than four miles from the bustling port town of Seward, the Windsong Lodge is a serene and secluded rainforest getaway. Just up the road travelers will find Exit Glacier, a massive wall of blue ice that descends from the mountainside into Resurrection River. Must-do activities include exploring Kenai Fjords National Park’s aquatic wildlife, fjords and glaciers with Kenai Fjords Tours, along with fishing and sea kayaking adventures.
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Born in Lima and based in San Francisco, photographer PAOLA BRIGNETI is currently traveling the world with her family for one year. She enjoys photographing regular people going about their lives in beautiful locations. On this trip, Paola traveled to more than 20 countries on 4 continents. She recently spent two months in the Maltese Islands where she fell in love with its rugged coastline, stunning sea views, and resilient past. This is Paola’s photographic story of Malta.
Equipment: Nikon D750 Lens Nikkor 24-120mm
St. Julian’s Bay waterfront promenade—one of many beautiful seaside walkways in Malta.
The recently restored Triton fountain in front of the Valletta city gates serves as a meeting point.
Strolling around Valletta sometimes makes you feel like you’ve traveled back in time.
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The lavish interior of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina, built between 1697 and 1702.
Wied Il-Mielah window is a massive limestone natural bridge in Gozo. It is not yet a popular destination in Gozo, but, with the collapse of the famous Azure Window, it likely will become one soon.
The dramatic Fungus Rock in otherworldly Dwejra Bay is home to Fungus Gaulitanus, a rare plant believed to have medical properties used in the times of the Knights of Saint John.
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The neo-gothic Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel overlooks the waterfront of Sliema. It was restored after being largely destroyed by Nazi air raids during WWII.
“The whole cow sells.” One of the statues on display in Valletta as part of a temporary public art installation celebrating Maltese proverbs.
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Christmas in Malta and Gozo is very celebrated, with extraordinary Christmas light arrangements, festive markets, and nativities everywhere.
A small, shallow bay off the tiny island of Comino, the Blue Lagoon’s azure water is one of the most spectacular sights in the Maltese archipelago.
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The red telephone booths in Valletta are a picturesque remnant of British rule over the Maltese islands.
Mindful Luxury in Mauritius
BY: DANIELLA SCHOEMAN
The fresh sea breeze caressed my skin as we were led through the colorful courtyard oasis and out onto the beach. I slipped my shoes off and buried my toes in the soft sand as I sank into a plush beanbag chair and admired the turquoise blue ocean. I felt my tension slip away as our friendly host, Melanie, guided us through a short but powerful meditation – a standard addition to the check-in process at SALT of Palmar. “By starting your visit in meditation, you pull yourself into the present moment and can fully experience and truly enjoy your time here” Melanie explained. We had spent the last few days exploring the magical island of Mauritius for the first time and I had quickly fallen in love with this gem in the Indian Ocean. SALT of Palmar which is the latest brand from the team behind The W Collective was our final stop and as it would turn out the best surprise.
True Eco Friendly Luxury in Mauritius
SALT of Palmar is an innovative new concept and the first eco-hotel in Mauritius. This is a boutique hotel with a big heart that focuses on sustainability, responsible tourism and supporting the local communities. I knew all this before arriving but was thoroughly impressed with their humanistic approach to hospitality. SALT of Palmar has managed to be a truly sustainable hotel without compromising on comfort or luxury – a commendable feat. With its strong focus on community involvement, many locals have a role to play in making SALT of Palmar great. Throughout our stay, each and every staff member interacted with us in a way that made us feel like old friends and treasured guests in their own home. SALT of Palmar is also completely free of single-use plastics which have been replaced by alternatives in such a subtle way that I barely noticed the difference. In recognition of this and more, SALT of Palmar which only opened in November 2018 was awarded the Butterfly Mark and labeled as a Positive Luxury Brand.
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Arriving at SALT of Palmar
Arriving at the hotel felt different from other luxury hotels that I have visited. Most notable was the absence of a reception desk. Instead, we were seated in the brightly colored lounge, served a refreshing drink and taken through the check-in process. The hotel is run with the SALT Experience app which we were asked to download. This handy app serves as a scheduling tool, a virtual concierge service and as the key to your room (no plastic cards). Our room, aptly named Bang on the Beach, was right on the beach and had a mesmerizing view of the ocean from the balcony. Our space was bright, beautiful and full of simple yet luxurious touches. I was pleased to learn that none of the rooms had TV’s and I would not be distracted from the natural beauty of my surroundings. Instead, the rooms are equipped with a retro radio and a small selection of books. Other unique features that I loved were the silky soft robes made from coffee beans and the reusable cinnamon sedge slippers that massage the pressure points of your feet as you walk. To conserve water there is no bath but rather a large rainfall shower along with organic toiletries packaged in sustainable ceramic containers or crushed limestone paper. We also each received a reusable aluminum water bottle to use during our stay and take home with us.
The Flavors of Mauritius
Good food is an integral part of the SALT of Palmar experience and we looked forward to each and every meal. The restaurant, located next to their large central pool is the heart and soul of the hotel. There are absolutely no wasteful buffets, but rather meals made to order from their varied menu. Each dish is made by the talented chefs from fresh, tasty and most important, locally sourced ingredients. Our friendly waiters made suggestions at each meal based on what was fresh that day and we were never disappointed with what we received. On the last day, we joined chef Khader Rehad in the kitchen for a cooking lesson – part of the SALT skill swap initiative. We left with a new understanding of ancient cooking techniques, a taste for the flavors of Mauritius and a recipe for his famous chicken curry.
The SALT Experience
There is no shortage of unique things to experience at SALT of Palmar, as it is so much more than just a luxury beach resort. I was encouraged to take part in complimentary activities such as Float Fit in the pool and Sunrise Yoga or Meditation on the beach. There are off-site activities to choose from as well that include local experiences. We chose to have dinner and sample flavored rum with a local family which gave us a unique perspective on Mauritian culture. I also thoroughly enjoyed our mixology lesson which takes place at the rooftop bar with the most stunning views, especially at sunset. However, my favorite experience was our treatment session at the SALT Equilibrium spa that is home to the only Salt Room in Mauritius. Made from Himalayan Pink Salt, this unique room combines Halo-therapy and Color Therapy resulting in notable health benefits. We spent some time inside after a pampering foot scrub and full body massage – I practically floated out the spa.
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Stray from the Beaten Path...
and learn more about the destination
BY: REBECCA BROWN
Wandering off the beaten path when visiting any country can be such a great thing to do. You’ll experience a whole new side of a country that you never even knew existed, and it will provide you with so many unique opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t experience.
Here are a few more reasons to stray off the beaten path to learn more about a country.
Learn from the Locals
When you stray off the beaten path, it’s so much easier to get to know the locals much better. Remaining in densely populated touristy areas means that you’re only seeing one side of a place.
Take New York for example; while the likes of Times Square, Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge are all wonderful and beautiful features of the city, they’re always so overcrowded and don’t give you a true feel of what it’s like to be a local there.
Heading off the beaten path, however, you’ll soon stumble across a quintessentially New York neighborhood where you’ll get to experience first-hand what it’s actually like to be a local in the concrete jungle.
Immerse Yourself in the Culture of a Country
Similarly to getting to know the locals better by straying off the beaten path, you’ll also get the chance to immerse yourself in the culture of a country much better.
The beaten path is often full of westernised, tourist hotspots and never really has an authentic feel about a place. The Camino de Santiago, for example, takes you through wonderful places in Spain and Portugal and you’re much more likely to sample the quintessential and authentic cuisine; something that’s much less common if you remain in the tourist hubs of a country.
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See the Unique Hidden Gems of a Place
Another incredible reason to stray off the beaten path when visiting a new country is that you’ll get the chance to see the unique hidden gems of a place.
As previously mentioned, top tourist hotspots are usually bustling with people for a very good reason, but that doesn’t mean that those places are the only beauty within a country.
Countless hidden gems of a country can be discovered if you only make the effort to look for them. Photo-sharing apps such as Instagram allow you to find the most spectacular places within a country, but there are numerous places that won’t have made it to the ’gram; make it your mission to find the hidden gems of a country so that you can keep a special and unique aspect of a country all to yourself.
Learn to Trust Your Instincts More
On a personal note, with regards to wandering off the beaten path when traveling to a new country, you’ll likely learn many new things about yourself; in particular, how to trust your instincts more.
People are so used to getting their phones out and using Google Maps to find the next place on their checklist, but why not leave your navigation skills up to chance and trust your instincts instead?
Of course, it’s imperative that you always have your wits about you and it can be essential to know where you’re going in times of need, but it can also be incredibly liberating and rewarding to just head off somewhere without a clear sense of purpose or direction.
Trusting your instincts and navigating your own way around a country will also mean that you’ll be more likely to stumble across hidden gems that you wouldn’t find by using the likes of Google Maps or TripAdvisor.
If you want to learn more about a country in your own unique way, then the best way to go about doing so is to stray off the beaten path.
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What RV Travel Is Really Like: Debunking The Myths
By: Kevin Braganza
The beauty of travel today is that you can pretend to live anywhere — just search the #vanlife hashtag on Instagram and you’ll find over 5 million photos of people parked in scenic, wild places. Thanks to the popularity of peer-to-peer sharing platforms like Outdoorsy, it’s now easier than ever to rent an RV, campervan or airstream and try the #vanlife experience on for size, without having to buy.
Imagine being lulled to sleep by the crashing waves of the Vancouver Island coast or taking a shower in the shadow of Sulphur Mountain.
The only catch to getting away from the 4-star hotel and getting closer to a sky of 4-billion stars is overcoming any hesitations you have or stigmas you hold toward RV travel.
It’s an easy fix. Let’s start by demystifying a few of the most common concerns below.
No. 1: RVing is only for the old at heart
Not so shockingly, there’s a growing group of young travelers who want to feel less like a checkbook and more like a participant in their trip. Which means, more emphasis is being placed on the road that lies in between Point A and Point B –not to mention, more attention on the mode of transportation you take to get to your final destination. Millennials and Gen Xers are outpacing the baby boomer generation in their desire for more unique, meaningful travel experiences
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“a van which is equipped with such things as beds and cooking equipment, so that people can live in it, usually while they are on holiday”
No. 2: Air travel is cheaper than road travel
It’s quick math. Add together the price of flights, accommodations, transportation, eating out, and activity entrance fees, and the cumulative tally of costs alone can make a massive dent in household finances. A common stigma first-time road trippers have is that RV rental options are expensive, cumbersome, and restrictive. The reality is you can choose to rent any size rig that’s perfect for any family lifestyle –from tiny teardrop trailers that can be towed by a Prius to cute drivable campervans, for less than $100/night.
No. 3: You need a special license to drive an RV
Surprise, surprise, you actually don’t. Take a test drive with the RV owner at key exchange to feel more comfortable and boost your confidence behind the wheel. And remember: you can always skip the driving altogether and coordinate with the owner to get the rig delivered directly to your campsite..
No. 4: Something is bound to go wrong
We’ve all been there – or at least feared being there. You accidentally lock your keys in the car, discover a flat tire or god forbid the AC stops working in the dead heat of summer. Before you book your rental, make sure that the service you’re using comes with 24/7 roadside assistance and customer support, so you’re not alone out there, no matter the situation.
No. 5: You have to sleep in a Walmart parking lot
It’s great for groceries, but there’s more appealing places out there to spend the night. Check in to one of the more than 500 Kampgrounds of America (KOA) campgrounds at your fingertips in the U.S. and Canada, or park your rig for the night at one of Canada’s breathtaking provincial parks (Banff will change your life). Pro tip: Free, social forum apps like iOverlander can be a helpful lifeline in pointing you toward a free campsite to spend the night.
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No. 6: There’s no bathroom
RV travel is the domino effect of perks. In addition to your flight, transportation, and accommodations all rolled into one package, RV rental options also include amenities to appease even the pickiest of travelers – from built-in bike racks, stovetops and kitchen sinks to a bathroom with shower. It’s essentially like taking a hotel room on the road with you.
No. 7: Planning a road trip is a hassle
We love a long CATSA airport line, extended flight delay, and cramped legroom as much as the next person, which is to say not at all. Just think: In an RV or campervan, you have unlimited packing space and room to stretch out and relax, sans any subtle armrest wars. So, go ahead, pack that extra pair of shoes and your favorite pillow – you won’t find any judgement on the road. Need further convincing? A recent 2018 poll found that American families who camp — especially those in the millennial age group — say that it had a great impact on reducing stress (45% of U.S. campers, as well as 45% of millennials) and contributed to their emotional well-being (41% of U.S. campers, 43% of millennials).
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SUBTLE CRYSTAL JEWELRY FOR THE MODERN BOHÈME