My Travel Log
While I am traveling I won’t be producing my regular content of travel guides, travel advice articles, and travel photography how-to pieces, but that doesn’t mean I am going to stop bringing you content. Instead, while I travel I am going to provide you with journal updates on how my trip is going, what adventures I am taking part in, and what new experiences I am having.
I will be able to share my experiences with you as they happen, while they are fresh in m my mind, which has worked so well so far. I even find myself looking back at these entries as I write my travel guides to remember just what I was experiencing when I was visiting certain places or on certain adventures. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of reading these entries as I get out of writing them.
depressing summer on the travel front. That is why it was really good to get out and do some traveling, even if it was only to some local spots in the Midwest United States. On a positive note, I was able to visit some locations that I have really wanted to visit for some time, but have been putting off because of larger travel goals. I think many of us forget how beautiful our own areas are when wanderlust gets a hold of us. In this travel journal entry, I am going to give you an overview of my Great Lakes trip and let you know what aspects of the trip I really enjoyed and which I found challenging.
Sometimes we get so focused on the far away places that we want to travel to that we forget to slow things down and explore our own back yards. While I am very excited for my trip to Egypt, Jordan, and Israel this autumn, I decided to stay closer to home for my summer trip and explore the beautiful Great Lakes region of the United States. If you follow my blog closely, then you probably know that I have been planning this Great Lakes road trip for some time. I have done a lot of scouring of Google Earth and other maps to find as many places to explore along my route as possible. Some of the destinations on my Great Lakes road trip itinerary, like Mackinac Island, I have been to before. Others, like the enchanting Turnip Rock in Lake Huron, I have dreamed about visiting for some time.
Yesterday was an amazing day. In addition to visiting with family, I got to visit a national park that I have been meaning to visit for years, but haven’t had a chance to previously. Pinnacles National Park is a beautiful park that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. It’s one of the smallest parks in the US National Parks Systems, but is also one of the most underrated in my opinion.
I received a lot of questions from my blog and social media followers after my California Bound post as to how safe I felt while flying yesterday and wanted to provide you with my thoughts on flying to help inform and hopefully comfort you.
I am heading to Santa Barbara, California for the week to visit my brother and his family. Not only is it going to be nice to be able to travel again, but it will be great to get away from the sub-zero temperatures in Wisconsin, if only for a short while.
A look at my travel journal for our 2020 National Parks Road Trip for the Great Basin National Park segment of our trip.
A look at my travel journal for our 2020 National Parks Road Trip for the Canyonlands National Park segment of our trip.
A look at my travel journal for our 2020 National Parks Road Trip for the Mesa Verde National Park and Canyon of the Ancients segment of our trip.
A look at my travel journal for our 2020 National Parks Road Trip for the segment where I hike to the top of Grays and Torreys Peaks.
A look at my travel journal for our 2020 National Parks Road Trip as our trip begins.
A look at my travel journal for our 2020 National Parks Road Trip for the Capitol Reef National Park and Corona Arch segment of our trip.
A look at my travel journal for our 2020 National Parks Road Trip for the Great Sand Dunes National Park segment of our trip.
A look at my travel journal for our 2020 National Parks Road Trip for the Rocky Mountain National Park segment of our trip.
After having one of the most amazing days exploring Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound, today we headed back up North to continue our adventure in the town of Wanaka. Known for its picturesque shoreline trees and amazing hiking trails, we were excited to check the area out.
We must have banked some good karma because today could not have possibly been a better travel day. We woke up in Te Anau to the sound of rain and immediately feared the worst for our tour of Milford Sound. However, they day would have a much more pleasant finish than we ever thought.
The past few days have been fun, yet interesting travel days. Weather is always a big factor when you travel and this trip has certainly been no exception. If you let it, the weather can beat you down and absolutely ruin a trip.
Greetings from Queenstown, New Zealand! This will be a rather quick update because we are dealing with some shifting plans because of weather.
After a day of great hiking in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, we got up early today to continue our trek South on New Zealand's South Island. Little did I know that our next destination would capture my heart like few other locations I've traveled ever have.
Widely recognized as the adventure capital of the world, the city of Queenstown has everything that a travel fanatic and outdoor adventure enthusiast would ever want in a destination. From beautiful mountain vistas, to amazing restaurants, to a seemingly never ending array of adventure activities, Queenstown has it all.
Today we continued our tour of New Zealand and moved from one absolutely gorgeous landscape to another. This stop was in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, which is known for its stunning vistas, massive glaciers, and excellent hiking trails.
When we got up today we said goodbye to Australia and made our way to the airport to begin our New Zealand leg of this adventure. We were sad to leave Australia, but excited about the beauty and adventure we knew awaited us.
Today we decided to take an impromptu tour based on some feedback that we got while we were in Cairns. We were told that one of the must-do adventures while in the Melbourne area is to go and see the penguins on Phillip Island, so that is what we decided to do today.
We got up early today because today was the day we got to tour the incredibly beautiful Great Ocean Road. What started out as a rather ho-hum adventure quickly turned into one of our more memorable experiences on this trip and an adventure that we will always remember.
This morning we got up early, adjusted our luggage to make sure we complied with the baggage restrictions of a third different airline on this trip, then caught a cab to the airport. Our next stop was the vibrant city of Melbourne on Australia's southern coast.
Today was our last full day in Cairns and it was an unforgettable day to say the least. We decided to take the train into the rainforest to see the village of Kuranda, and we were amazed at the beauty we saw along the way.
Today was our first full day in Cairns and we spent the day exploring the most popular attraction in the area, if not all of Australia. No one should visit Cairns without exploring the Great Barrier Reef, and that is exactly what we did today.
Today we got up early to see a few remaining things in Sydney before catching a plane to head to warmer weather in the tropical north (it still sounds weird to say that). After three days in Sydney, we will be heading to Cairns in Queensland. Here we hope to enjoy some beautiful beaches, head into the rainforest for a tour, and of course snorkel and dive on the Great Barrier Reef.
Today was our last full day in Sydney, and we made the most of the day despite a continuation of the rain. There was still quite a bit that we wanted to see and we weren't going to let a little rain ruin our day. We had a free pass for the Harbour Bridge's Pylon Lookout that we got from our bridge climb that we wanted to use, and we had a harbour cruise scheduled for the afternoon.
We were expecting rain on our second day in Sydney, and boy did we ever get it. A storm front moved into the area today and we got a steady supply of rain throughout the day. Even though it was quite wet, we didn't let the weather ruin our day and we got out early to start exploring some more of this amazing city.
All things considering, we had a very successful first day in Sydney. We arrived at 6:30am after nearly 30 hours of traveling and we weren't all that tired. Lucky for us, we were able to plan out and execute our sleep fairly well during our travels. The key was not sleeping until the second half of our flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, and then getting a good chunk of rest then. That aligned us up with the daytime and nighttime hours at our destination, which really helped when we landed.
It is my goal to take you with us every step of the way on this trip, so I have put a lot of thought into how I am going to provide you will updates as we move from one adventure to the next. While I won't be publishing any detailed guides while I am away, I will be posting quite a few journal entries here on the blog that you can read and provide quite a few social media posts with updates on our experiences. In case you are interested, I have included our rough itinerary below as well as what my plan is for providing updates on the blog and my various social media accounts.
On my way to the Apostle Islands yesterday, I made a stop in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. To call this state park gorgeous would be a significant understatement, and that is coming from an avid national parks enthusiast.
My trip to the Apostle Islands in Northern Wisconsin is officially underway. After a five hour drive this evening, I arrived at Lake Superior just in time to get some great sunset shots. The whole coast of the lake is absolutely beautiful, but the trick is finding a stretch of coast that lines up right with where the sun will be rising or setting.
I wanted to do something special for my regular readers who are subscribers, so I have decided to start sending some of my premium content to those of you who have subscribed or do subscribe. Everyone who signs up will receive a FREE copy of my Ultimate Guide for New Travelers that includes my full travel planning process.
If you have always wanted to see the Northern Lights, but you haven't had the opportunity, this weekend you might be in luck. The best part is, you might not have to go anywhere to see them. According to NASA, a solar storm is set to hit the Earth this weekend and it may give those of us who live further South the best chance to see them in a long time.
The month of February has brought some very big news for the national parks system in the United States. This month, the United States National Parks Service announced the addition of a new national park. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has officially been designated as America's 61st national park. This is great news for all of those who love beautiful places and want to see those places preserved.
The conditions were almost perfect this weekend for some spectacular sunsets up North in Door County, Wisconsin, so I decided to take an impromptu road trip this weekend.
If you aren't familiar with Wisconsin, Door County is the peninsula that extends into Lake Michigan to the North of the city of Green Bay. My destination was my favorite state park on Door County, if not all of Wisconsin, Peninsula State Park. I included a map below so that you can see exactly where I headed.
Today we headed Southeast of Santa Barbara, California to visit a national park that I have been wanting to visit for quite some time. Not only does Joshua Tree National Park share my name, but it is also one of the most underrated parks in the Western United States.
I made it into Los Angeles last night, and the difference in weather was quite welcome. It's amazing what feels warm to you when you are coming from -26 temperatures.
Nick lives in Santa Barbara, which is roughly two hours North of Los Angeles. If you are able to time your drive to miss the Los Angeles traffic it is actually a fairly easy drive.
Seeing as though the temperatures in Milwaukee this week could not be more frigid (with the estimated low temperature tonight to be -56 degrees below zero with wind chill), my trip to see my brother Nick in Santa Barbara could not have come at a better time.
Today we really got to explore Broadway, which was a ton of fun. We checked out the bar and restaurants of Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryant, and Jason Aldean. I was amazed at how much live music is playing in these bars. Below are just some of the pictures I took that show what a fun atmosphere Broadway in Nashville is.
Once we were ready to hit the town, we started our adventure in the neighborhood known as the Gulch. In case you aren’t familiar with this neighborhood, it is the art district of Nashville, much like the Uptown area of Minneapolis, the Soho area of New York, or the East side of Milwaukee.
It's time to hit the road again! Tonight I will be flying to Nashville for my next round of adventures. I am really excited about this trip as I have wanted to explore Nashville for quite some time. It is such an underrated travel destination in the United States.
We have had some incredible luck with weather on this trip, but today that luck ran out to an extent. We were scheduled to begin our tours at 8am this morning, with stops at the Charles Darwin Research Center in the morning and trips to the Santa Cruz highlands and a snorkeling adventure in the afternoon.
Today was our last day on Isabella Island, and we certainly made the most of the day. Today was the only day on this trip so far where we were allowed to sleep in a bit. Our tour guide was scheduled to pick us up from our hotel at 11:00am, so we had some time to relax first thing in the morning.
Days like today are exactly what we had in mind when we booked our trip to the Galápagos Islands. Swimming with some of this islands most iconic animals was an absolute joy and an experience that none of us will soon forget. Same can be said of visiting the Giant Tortoises the Galápagos Islands are known for. Seeing these gentle giants is an experience that will stick with us forever.
Today was our first full day in the Galapagos Islands, and it was sort of a mixed bag of good and not so good. Our plan for the day was to hike up to see the Sierra Negra volcano, which is still active, in the morning and then spend the afternoon snorkeling in Concha Perla.
We spent the afternoon exploring Puerto Ayora, which was very neat. They had some really cool shops to explore and some nice restaurants to eat at. We ate lunch at a little restaurant and then did some shopping and took some pictures. We got to see a lady cleaning some freshly caught fish and a sea lion waiting beside here ready to gobble up the scraps. That was really neat to see.
Well, we made it this long without any travel issues, but today our luck ran out. We didn't hit any major snags, but today was a lot more eventful than any of our other travel days thus far. Luckily, the airline we chose to fly is fantastic and made what could have been a very stressful day just eventful.
The past few days have been one of the most amazing adventures I have had traveling. I would say it ranks right up there with our safari adventures in Tanzania. I don’t think I can find the words that accurately reflect how amazing Peru has been.
The city of Cusco is now one of my favorite cities I have visited. It is such an amazing city. After spending the day exploring the city, which I wrote about in yesterday’s journal entry, we got up very early today to begin our adventure of exploring Machu Picchu.
My favorite place we visited was undoubtedly the Plaza de Armas. The Plaza was absolutely stunning, with beautiful flowers, trees, and walking paths crossing thru the center of the plaza. There is also a lot of great things to see surrounding the plaza. With the Cathedral on one side of the plaza, the Compana de Jesus on another, there is no shortage of beautiful sights no matter where you look.
After taking some time to explore the coast, and do a little bit of shopping along the way, we saw some some people paragliding and decided to give it a shot. I thought the views of the city and the coastline were spectacular from the ground, but those views were nothing compared to what we saw from the air. If you have never gone paragliding before, I would strongly suggest you give it a try. It is such an amazing feeling to have the wind grab you and just lift you off the ground and into the sky.
We depart for Peru and Ecuador tomorrow and I wanted to give you all a quick update and let you know that I will be posting journal entries throughout the trip, then will be writing comprehensive visitor guides and posting videos when we return. I am beyond excited about this trip and cannot wait to share this adventure with you!