Archive for Wandering

One Happy Island

Bon día Wanderers! If you follow my Instagram or Facebook, you already know that I recently traveled to Aruba (ok-so I’ve been home for over a month). While I generally prefer to do my wandering in colder climates, I enjoyed visiting Aruba very much.

Aruba is a desert, which makes it an adventure. It is also considered Dutch Caribbean so I also got to experience some Dutch culture. Everyone I encountered spoke English fluently however, in Aruba they primarily speak Papiamento and Dutch (so I did have a chance to practice my Dutch). The entire island is only about 20 miles. The south side of the islandis where the beaches and resorts are and the north side has mountains and desert.

I didn’t stay in the resort area. I actually stayed in an apartment near Oranjestad and the airport. It was a more residential area. It was a great experience and if I could do it all over again, I’d stay in the same place. I spent most of my time on the residential beach: Surfside Beach but I did take a bus to Palm Beach one day and I did have a good time. I also took a day tour on the north side of the island and saw several points of interest including: Aruba Aloe, Rock Formations, the Natural Bridge (the original collapsed in 2005 but there is a baby one still standing) and the California Lighthouse. I did not get to see the Natural Pool or Arikok National Park, which I really wanted to see. I wanted to climb the mountain but maybe next time. I have an intense fear of reptiles and while for the most part I could handle the lizards running around everywhere, I decided I could not handle the possibility of encountering bigger, scarier ones on a mountain. I really regret not facing that fear because I missed out on an amazing opportunity. I am trying not to beat myself up over it though. Next time I find myself in Aruba, I am for sure going to embrace that opportunity.

Aruba was absolutely one of the most fun places I have ever been and hands down, has the best food I have ever had. I would 100% go back if I had the chance.

 

I Went to Atlanta for 48 Hours.

I originally intended to make this post part of my Solo Wandering series but it occurred to me that I really wasn’t wandering solo during this trip. I have a friend who moved to Atlanta about a year and a half ago and although we didn’t spend a lot of time together before he moved, we have gotten very close and when we found out that Halsey, one of our favorite artists, was playing in Duluth, GA, we decided that I had to come visit. It was a short trip -48 hours short. If I didn’t have work conflicts, I would have loved for it to be much longer but I have already decided that I am for sure coming back in the spring.

I got a quick tour of the city, mostly in the car. We didn’t have much time to explore but we did go up to the Sundial bar and it was a really cool view of the city from the 72nd floor. I won’t lie, the rides up and down in the glass elevator gave me horrible flash backs of those amusement park rides with sudden drops -I hate those more than anything. I also got a really fancy real estate tour of Atlanta too because my friend is in the business and was extremely excited to show me some of his projects. I enjoyed it a lot.

I am going to do a whole separate post next week about the Halsey concert so I won’t go too much in depth about that in this post but HOLY FREAKING SHIT is she amazing. And I had GOOD seats.

As cheesy as this sounds, my favorite part of the trip was still just seeing my friends and spending time with them because I just love my friends so much. I can’t wait to wander around Atlanta a lot more in the future. This trip brought me so much joy and for me that is sort of a big deal.

Solo Wandering Chronicles I (St. Louis, MO)

Solo travel is my favorite type of travel so naturally I decided that I should do a series on it! I am going to title this series “Solo Wandering” because not all of my wandering would necessarily be labeled as “travel”, at least in my opinion. With that being said, welcome to the chronicles of my solo wandering!

I know I haven’t talked about music much so far in this blog (sidetone: let me know if you want me to post about music!), but I know I have mentioned that I have attended a lot of concerts this year, and I mean a lot. When my favorite band Knuckle Puck announced a new tour, I knew I had to go. They did not do a show in my home city so I had to look at my options. The closest show that I could attend was in St. Louis, Missouri. I scheduled the day off work and planned to attend the concert. I’d been to St. Louis twice this year already but I decided I wanted to explore even more. St. Louis is known for the iconic Gateway Arch and I have wantedto go up in the arch for a long time. The last two times I was there, the arch was closed so I gave it another try.

I felt really weird being there alone. There were so many groups of people from all over the world and then there was me. It didn’t really bother me because I love traveling alone, I prefer it actually. But it still felt weird. Going up in the arch is basically like going on a giant ferris wheel. When you get to the top it’s like an indoor bridge and you can look down at the city. The view was awesome. It’s we

ird to me that they had all of these tourist attractions and boat rides and helicopter rides because the view is cool and everything but to be honest, it just looks kind of industrial I had a good time wandering around by the arch and taking picture

s.

It was a cool experience and I would definitely do it again if I was in St. Louis again.

Knuckle Puck was amazing as always. I want to make an entire post in the future about how their music has impacted my life. The concert took place at Fubar, which is basi
cally a bar in St. Louis. It was a pretty small venue but I love concerts like that. They played with another one of my favorite bands, With Confidence (and Movements and Homesafe). Knuckle Puck always puts on a good show. The crowd was intense though. One person fainted and two people got kicked out. I have never had an experience like that at a show and it was mildly terrifying but I still had a good time. Also, if you haven’t please give Knuckle Puck’s new album, Shapeshifter a listen!

The Most Mind-Blowing Thing About Denali.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Denali National Park. I had never been to a national park before. I mean, I have visited the Smoky Mountains (which is technically a National Park), but not in the way I visited Denali. I never took the time to just let myself be at peace with nature. There are endless ways to visit Denali – I mean its like 9,000 miles big. If I could plan our trip all over again, I would have given us more time at Denali but hey -it gives me an excuse to go back.

The first day we spent at Denali National Park, we took it upon ourselves to explore. They let you drive your own vehicle -if I remember correctly- 15 miles into the park but then after that you have to be with a guided tour or campsite to take any sort of vehicle further into the park. The first day, we drove the car all 15 miles up to Savage River and made a few stops along the way to explore trails. We parked near Savage River and decided to go exploring. Once we hiked to the point where we could no longer see the road, it felt like we were the only two people on the earth. Its so weird how that can happen. There are so many humans on this earth and somehow you can still find yourself in a place where you won’t come in contact with any of them. Generally, all of my hiking is done at state parks- where you can’t really stray too far away from the guided trails. This is the first real time I ever had to create my own way. The feeling was indescribable. I was in the true wilderness. I was in a place that had no mapped out easy way out. It was terrifying and liberating all at the same time.

Fast forward to the next day. We decided to take a bus tour that went 53 miles into the park. They have tours that go up to all 92 paved miles of the park but the idea of a 12 hour bus tour did not appeal to either of us. We thought 6 hours would be bad enough. We were wrong though. We were in the park a total of about 8 hours and it seriously felt like 10 minutes. We chose the non-narrated tour because to be honest, we didn’t want someone to talk our ears off about things we really didn’t understand or care about for 6 hours straight. We were still able to stay plenty informed though. We were able to let the bus driver know when we saw wildlife and they would stop so that we could take pictures. The bus also stopped several times along the way so that we could get out and take pictures and explore. When you get off the bus, they tell you a time to be back and you can choose to either get back on the bus or catch a different one later. That’s what we did. When the bus stopped at Polychrome -the most breathtaking view I have ever seen in my entire life- we decided we weren’t ready to get back on the bus and we stayed behind to explore. Its weird because we basically got dropped off in the middle of the wilderness and they trust that we will make good choices. Too me, that is mind blowing. We hiked several miles into the tundra and eventually made our way back but we totally could have just kept going.

(Seriously, does this view not look like a painting?!)

When I look at mountains, the first thing I think about is how there are probably people up there-people who have devoted their entire lives to living within nature and sharing their home with wildlife. I always wonder how they got there. Did they take a bus tour and get off the bus and just never come back? Did they hike that far into the park on their own? It is absolutely mind blowing to me that there are people living within the 9000 something miles of the park. I cant help but wish that was me sometimes.

I suppose they trust you to freely wander the wilderness because you wouldn’t dare if you didn’t have at least some sense of what you were doing. To me it was the most liberating thought because even though in a sense, I am an adult and I can do whatever I want, I still feel somewhat controlled by my lifestyle. For the first time, I truly felt like I could do whatever I wanted and it was MY choice. To me, that was the most mind blowing experience I’ve ever had. I truly felt alive.