Category Archives: Travel

My Photo was Shared by National Geographic Expeditions!

I’m not big into instagram, but I am big into travel and photography.  I happened to open up the instagram app today and saw that I had some new followers….

So, it turns out that National Geographic Expeditions shared out one of my photos from the Antarctica trip earlier this year on their instagram feed.  Pretty flattering and hopefully the first of many to come.

 

Penguins in Antarctica

9 Solo Road-Trip Travel Tips for Females

Whether you’re an expert or it’s your first time taking a road trip by yourself, here are some tips to keep you safe and having fun!

Solo Road-Trip Travel Tips for Females

1) Drive during daylight hours when there are more cars passing by in case of emergency

2) Carry some pepper spray and put it in an easily accessible place. I keep one large can, similar to bear spray, in the side of the door and a small one that can fit in my pocket for walks around less desirable areas

3) Find a good hiding spot in your trunk.  I keep my camera bag in a hidden compartment, so if someone does get into my car they’re likely to just see my clothes and snacks.  I also keep a backpack with my “can’t lose” items including my laptop and wallet in the front passenger area and take that with me whenever I stop anywhere.

4) Don’t be afraid to change plans.  I was supposed to head to another state one morning, but knew that I was too tired to drive so I stayed in the same hotel one extra night. It’s not worth the stress and risk of driving when tired.

5) Pick up a 24 pack of water bottles and snacks.  The water is there primarily for safety in case of emergency, but it’s nice to be able to grab one and have a drink if you need it.  It’s much easier than getting into a gallon bottle if you’re thirsty!  Peanut butter is a great thing to pack in case of emergency since it’s full of protein and tasty, you could go quite a long time with a single jar.  But I usually carry a mix of salty & sweet snacks in the car for munching on while I drive.

6) Let your friends know where you are. Provide someone with an initial itinerary and  consider giving them access to “find my iphone” or another GPS program on your phone.

7) Get gas every time you hit a half of a tank.  Depending on where you are driving, you might go through very long stretches without seeing a gas station.  It’s not worth the stress, and it also gives you a chance to stretch your legs every couple of hours.

8) Find some music to dance by.  It’s ok to dance a bit in your car and it will keep you awake. Even if you love mellow music, driving for 6 hours through vast open land is not the place for it. My newest find was Classic by MKTO – I dare you not to dance!

9) Carry a rubber doorstop. It’s a cheap and easy way to add another layer of protection to the hotel door without sticking a chair in front of it.  Just put it about 6 inches inside the door and it will provide another barrier to entry.

Have some tips to share?  Let us know.

Traveling soon? Here are some travel deals.

Solo Road Trip – Montana & Wyoming

Assuming that driving back and forth from college doesn’t count, I undertook my first solo road trip these past couple of weeks across Montana and Wyoming.  As a single female traveling alone, I took some precautions but didn’t let them get in my way of seeing two states that I had visited only briefly in the past.

Here are a few places to visit and stay if you decide to take a similar trip.

Jackson Hole

Stay: If you can, stay at Hotel Jackson. Beautiful and modern, and located right in the heart of town. The staff was incredibly friendly and it was an awesome place to start my journey.  I also spent one night at the Wort hotel and while it also had an incredible location, it had quite a bit more of a country/traditional feel.

Work: I work on my other website from the road and often look for a place to hang out for a few hours to catch up on email and tackle projects. Cowboy Coffee was just the spot.

Eat: Many of my meals were quick because I was eager to get out to shoot photos of animals when they come out in the morning and at dusk. Some places I tried were Cafe Genevieve, Persephone Bakery, Gather and Pinky G’s. Of these, Gather was my favorite for dinner and had some delicious starters. Be prepared to spend a lot on meals in Jackson Hole.

See animals:  I had good luck when I was in Jackson Hole and was able to see moose and bears.  Any wildlife photographer will tell you that it takes a lot of persistence to see animals, but it’s well worth it.  I was able to spot a mom and her two bear cubs on Moose Wilson road, and moose on the road to Kelly.  Both sightings were in the early evening between 6 and 8pm.

Tour company: Eco Tour Adventures did a good job, but unfortunately we didn’t see any animals the first day out – which lasted from 6am to 2pm. This was disappointing, but if I hadn’t taken the tour I wouldn’t have known the best spots to see animals the next day.  I used the same company to visit Yellowstone and we did see the key spots in a full day.  The best thing about Eco Tours was the small size – one day we only had about 5 people and the next it was about 7 total.

Bozeman Montana

I absolutely loved Bozeman, especially the main street area and independent shops.  The best place to stay is the Element Bozeman hotel which is right off main street and is modern and very comfortable.  For dinner, check out Copper Whiskey Bar and Grill, and sit at the bar if you’re traveling on your own.  The sunsets from Bozeman and vibrant and the drive up from Jackson Hole takes you through beautiful Big Sky.

East Glacier & The Red Bus Tour

The Glacier Park Lodge is defined as frills-free and rustic… what that meant is that there was a sink in the main bedroom and some very old looking blankets.  Not quite my cup of tea, but perfect for those who want a step up from camping.  The fact that they only show photos of the outside of the hotel should have been a clue!  That being said, the restaurant on site was very good and the staff was nice.  They have some rockers out back with a view of the mountains that you can enjoy with a good book. I stayed one night instead of three and moved over to Whitefish.

The all day Red Bus tour provided a good overview of Glacier National Park.  We saw some beautiful vistas and took the Going to the Sun road, but unfortunately didn’t see much wildlife.  They took us to several of the lodges that their parent company manages, which felt a bit salesy, and we could have likely seen more spots.  The driver of our bus was passionate without being annoying and I’d recommend them to anyone who wants to see a lot of the park without driving.

Whitefish / West Glacier

After a night of a rustic adventure at Glacier Park Lodge, I moved over to the Lodge at Whitefish.  This was a beautiful spot about 40 minutes from the West park entrance and sits right on the lake.  They have some outdoor sofas right in front of the lake which provided a great place to sit, read and watch the sunset.  The rooms have a country feel, but are highly upgraded and comfortable.  Whitefish has a small town area that is perfect to stroll around and explore, along with providing some other restaurant choices.  Overall, Whitefish was a great getaway spot.

Billings

Billings was my last stop before heading home since I abandoned plans to go to South Dakota. It was my least favorite town, in part because it was industrial and felt the least safe to walk around on my own.  The Northern hotel was located right in downtown and primarily operates as a business hotel.  Walkers Bar and Grill around the corner has fantastic pasta and you can keep yourself busy for a while at places like the Pictograph Cave, although it is only about a 3/4 mile loop and goes quickly.  Use Billings as a stopover spot, but don’t allocate much time there.

Ready to travel? Take a look at some of the travel deals on my other site.

Morocco

I’ve just returned from Morocco – more pictures forthcoming – where I saw the most amazing stars, including a pristine view of the Milky Way.

In order to continue to fund these adventures, I’m currently focused on SEO for my new site.

Trying to marry my two worlds… so here’s a quick article about how to pack light and layer in order to save money on those pesky baggage fees (and spend more money on travel!).

Here’s one shot of the Milky Way for now. Many more shots to follow!

milkyway

See it larger on Space Weather Gallery

International Adventures

I’ve left many of the really old posts up on this site as a way to reflect back on my personal progress, as well as to bring some head-shaking to anyone who bothers to flip back to the original posts from 2010.

While I’m spending considerable time this year building a business, the spirit of that business is to enable me to continue to explore and photograph the world.

Upon flipping back to some of my earliest posts, I was proud of myself for having visited 8 countries. I think that my current count is now about 25 countries, 6 continents (I may be the only person to go to Antarctica before Australia, but that’s a different topic), and a bunch of islands (which I really wish counted as countries).

Posts going forward will cover domestic and international adventures, many of which I’m blessed to be taking with National Geographic. I’m currently near Santa Barbara, but off to Ireland and Morocco in about a week. Time to do a bit of shopping at REI, Prana and others to get ready. I’m still torn on whether to pick up a new Nikon d5, but sticking with my D610 and 300s bodies for now.

Photos from Nicaragua – Managua, Granada, Leon

Mom is from Nicargua, and I loved seeing where she grew up.  The people were kind and happy, despite many of them living in poverty.  These photos have a bit more of a photojournalistic flavor to them, but that’s what the trip was all about…