Future Travel Plans + a New Weekly Post

Moroccan Proverb
Photo from AIESEC.

Welp, we did it! We are officially going to Morocco over New Years, and I couldn’t be more excited. Is it too early to start a countdown? 308 days to go, in case you were wondering. I’m sure trip prep will infiltrate my blog every so often leading up to our departure, but I’m most looking forward to writing about the trip upon our return! (Well, no. I’m most excited about going to Morocco, but I’m also looking forward to having a trip to write about!)

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It’s practically a blizzard outside, and although I have a bit of freelance work to do tonight, all I really want to do is figure out every single possible detail I can (and watch Pretty Little Liars. It sucked me in.) I swear, if I wasn’t a graphic designer, I would absolutely be a travel agent/trip planner. Getting all the details figured out is like a high…who needs drugs when you’ve got TripAdvisor?! Topdeck has the majority of the trip taken care of, but it’s never too early to start thinking about 1) what I’m packing in, 2) how I’ll manage the daytime (warm) vs. nighttime (cold) desert situation, or 3) what we’ll be doing on our 15 hour layover in Frankfurt!

Anyway – after finalizing travel plans (learning about a trip from my dad when I was younger, or now finalizing details on my own,) I always find myself looking up quotes about travel. I’m not sure why I do it; maybe just to confirm that my passion for traveling the world is requited, that I’m following in the “wanderlusty” footsteps of so many others? I don’t know, but I have noticed that there are a handful of quotes that always resonate with me, that I ‘pick out’ time and time again…so I figured I might as well share them with the rest of the world, one week at a time!

Cue: Wanderlust Wednesdays!

Similar to the Moroccan proverb at the top of this post, I plan on posting  a quote over some of my photography (the photo of Morocco is not mine) and maybe include a little blurb of travel related…something. Whether it’s about our upcoming trip, a past trip, or maybe even a funny story from my 7th Grade Geography teacher, Rufus. I’ll try to keep it interesting 😉

Travel is a huge part of my life, so I figure it’s about time I bring a bit more of that into my blog!

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Bucket List – Travel

So between my 7th grade geography teacher’s most recent trip report (Ethiopia) and some serious daydreaming about a potential, very hypothetical end of year Morocco trip through Topdeck my travel bug all sorts of agitated (in the very best way.) Joe and I talked travel for a lot of our drive back to Kzoo last night, and I found myself saying “but I want to do ____ because it’s on my bucket list” more than once – so I decided to actually write out what is on said bucket list! My list does include a few things from my pre-marriage life (with my family) – and I know Joe’s list has a few more European destinations/items on it BUT I think this is a good jumping-off point for figuring out future travel plans 😉

  1. Float in the Dead Sea (Jordan/Israel)
  2. Kiss the Blarney Stone (Ireland)
  3. Spend the night in a yurt (Mongolia)
  4. Take a trip alone (Netherlands)
  5. Boat down the Bosphorus (Turkey)
  6. See a Blue Footed Booby (Galapagos)
  7. Pet a Hairy Coo (Highland Cow. The furry ones.) (UK)
  8. Floating Market (Thailand)
  9. Visit Machu Picchu (Peru)
  10. Visit Angkor Wat (Cambodia)
  11. Go whale watching (New England)
  12. Swim with pigs (Bahamas)
  13. See the Easter Island heads (Easter Island)
  14. Zip line through the jungle/rain forest (Costa Rica/Nicaragua)
  15. Visit the Sahara Desert (Morocco)
  16. See the Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA)
  17. See a race in Monte Carlo (Monaco)
  18. Go on a Safari (South Africa)
  19. See the Northern Lights (Iceland)
  20. Visit St. Basil’s Cathedral (Russia)
  21. Drink beer in Germany (Germany)
  22. Visit Madagascar (Madagascar)
  23. Visit the Himalayas (Nepal)

I’m sure there are so many things I’ve done with my family that are worthy of being on this list that have been left off, but I didn’t want to make my list too long (things like fish markets, Turkish baths, giant Buddhas, cruising down the Seine, and everything in Rome, perhaps.) To give you an idea, I started with a list of 10, but there are just SO MANY things I want to see and do. PLUS of course I can’t go too too long without a Disney-fix. Remember how I said my spirit animal is a hummingbird? I don’t do ‘nothing’ well.

And people wonder why Joe and I are waiting a while to have kids…pshhhhh. (Actually off-hand I can’t think of anyone wondering that, but that’s okay.)

Is there anything major I’m forgetting? Any suggestions to add to the list and make it an even 25? Let me know! 🙂

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PS: Oy, now I’m daydreaming about the Hammam in Istanbul….

Nicaragua Honeymoon – Part 1

Why Nicaragua? 

Almost completely without fail, any time over the past 8 months when we’ve told someone where we decided to honeymoon, that was the response we got. Until 8 months ago, we had planned on going to Costa Rica…but my wanderlust got the best of me. I wanted to go somewhere that both of us could have new experiences together (I went to Costa Rica with my family in my senior year of High School) – and there are so many trips to Costa Rica on Groupon now, we wanted to go somewhere a little more special. So…on a whim one night in January, I booked the entire honeymoon. 2 flights, 2 hotels (4 nights in Granada, 2 nights in San Juan del Sur, and 1 more night in Granada) and 5 or so excursions/tours later, we were all set to go to Nicaragua!

A quick aside: In art school, we always joked about what we would do if the graphic design thing didn’t work out. Ignoring the fact that I already had switched majors after 2 years of Elementary Education, without question I would be a travel agent. I looooove planning trips.

We didn’t leave for our honeymoon until 3 days after our wedding, and since we were in the process of moving across the state, this meant 2 nights in my childhood bedroom. Right across the hall from my parents. Any time Joe has stayed at our house in the past he was in the back bedroom, which is essentially separated from the rest of the house…but we still had wedding guests staying back there, so my bedroom was the only option. It was weird, but we managed.

We decided that we were going to pack in relatively small carry-ons after reading about the long walk from the lobby to the rooms at Morgan’s Rock, where we would be staying for 2 nights. I’m a chronic over-packer, so fitting a week’s worth of clothes into my Kate Spade weekender was quite an amazing feat. But thankfully the honeymoon gods were looking down on me, and not only did everything fit, but I also didn’t forget anything!

Yes, we did end up with the room as far away from the lobby as possible. It's a good thing we decided to pack light.
Yes, we did end up with the room as far away from the lobby as possible. About a 10 minute walk! It’s a good thing we decided to pack light.

Well, I didn’t think I forgot anything, until we were sitting in the Delta Sky Club (I could go on for days about my love and appreciation for the Sky Club. Makes traveling SO much better/more relaxing) and I decided I wanted to put my hair up…but there was a problem. I had zero hair bands.

Cue: Me running through the various airport shops frantically asking employees if they sold hair bands while Joe enjoyed the loveliness of the Sky Club/watched our bags. My hair is the longest it’s ever been, and there was NO way I was going to spend a week in hot and humid Nicaragua unable to put up my hair. Thankfully I had the brilliance to pop into a spa, where a masseuse grabbed a hair band out of a drawer and gave it to me for free – hooray for not having to get an impromptu haircut on our first day in Nicaragua! 🙂

Our plane arrived in Managua in the evening, but it was already completely and unexpectedly dark. The sun set at about 6:30pm every day, which was weird to get used to, and threw me off from making any sort of map in my mind as we were driven to Granada, about an hour away. Since we couldn’t really see much, our sense of smell was way heightened. We smelled SO many unique smells during that drive, from yummy dinners being cooked to moist iguanas (weirdly specific I know, but that is exactly what it smelled like) and general farm smells.

Sunset at Morgan's Rock. Seriously amazing.
Sunset at Morgan’s Rock on night 5. Seriously amazing.

Once we were dropped off at Hotel con Corazon, we were informed (by the incredibly helpful staff) where we could go for dinner, but new place + traveling all day + darkness meant we weren’t completely comfortable wandering the streets of an unfamiliar city, so instead we ate some of the snacks I stowed away from the Sky Club/flight, and got a couple of beers from the bar (for the equivalent of about $1.25) before calling it a night in our adorably decorated room.

What honeymoon would be complete without towel animals?! The bouquet of freshly picked flowers was amazing.
What honeymoon would be complete without towel animals?! The bouquet of freshly picked flowers was perfecto!

Oy. I had planned on writing about our honeymoon all in one post. Clearly that’s not going to happen. Granted this was a lot of pre-honeymoon details/rambling, so I might be able to get the rest into one post! For now though, I should probably get back to freelance work and folding laundry.

xx
Claire