3 Things I Learned from the Big Island

Visiting Hawaii gave me the opportunity to slow down (even though we had a non-stop agenda), get away from the stress of everyday life, and gain a fresh perspective on the important things. Reconnecting with nature, taking in the sweet air, stopping to soak in the beauty that surrounded me, I recognized that I could take away some valuable lessons from the Big Island.

1) Ignore the scary things along your path and just keep going

I was terrified to continue down a rainforest trail once I spotted some big, crunchy spiders looming in the foliage, but if I hadn’t continued on, I would have missed so much. Too often I let the little things scare me from moving forward with something I really want to go after, but like worrying what might crawl up my leg in a beautiful Hawaiian garden, I need to get over my fears of what might happen and focus on the waterfalls, palms, and orchids of life.

2) Jump right in

I had been really looking forward to the opportunity to snorkel with dolphins out in the Pacific ocean, but my crazy imagination (and the fact that I’ve watched Jaws a few too many times) got me a little panicky once it was time to get in the water. After some deep breaths and the added security of a noodle (tiger sharks would never go after someone with a long floaty thing), I was able to relax and truly enjoy the experience. Each time we stopped to get in the water, I felt more at ease and learned to jump right in. I didn’t want to miss a second of swimming with these beautiful, graceful creatures. I guess life should always be like that. If there is something you want to experience or accomplish, jump right in and stop wasting time.

3) Always be ready

You never know when an amazing opportunity will come your way, and like trying to capture spinner dolphins jumping out of the water, you need to always be ready.

Hopefully my new braver, bolder, ready-to-pounce-on-any-opportunity-that-comes-my-way self will stick around for awhile. I’m ready for some great adventures.

Time Traveling to Lapakahi

Like dreaming and time traveling all at once, my hike through Lapakahi State Historical Park was a surreal and mystical journey. Tucked into a quiet corner of the Big Island, and with only a handful of other visitors, I felt like I found the most beautiful secret hiding place.

Surrounded by earthy lava plains, this turquoise and green oasis takes you back to the time of the Hawaiian heiau (temple) and hale (thatched home). It’s easy to see why settlers chose this spot hundreds of years ago, but I won’t ramble on explaining how gorgeous it is. I took pictures to show you.

Maybe Canada Did It

The Ambassador Bridge

My quick trip to over the border this afternoon got me thinking… maybe Canada did it. Living in Detroit my whole life with the Great White North just a twenty minute drive from home, I have always enjoyed visiting our neighbors. Whether it be a long weekend in Toronto or Montreal, or a couple hours spent across the river in Windsor, it’s always a thrill to be in another country (even if the only way to tell I’ve left the States is seeing the signs in English and French – sortie!).

I have been a big fan of many things Canadian for a long time. Hockey, The Tragically Hip, Canadian ketchup and ketchup chips (yes, it’s so delicious they’ve made it a potato chip flavor) are just a few of my Canadian loves. While it’s not exactly culture shock, I have always appreciated the somewhat subtle differences of the Canadian way of life.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that it all started there. Canada triggered my wanderlust, my never ending desire to visit new places and experience new cultures (even if they’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away, eh).

Karluv Most

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

There is a legend that says you if you make a wish while touching one of the 30 statues on the Charles Bridge (or Karluv Most in Czech), it will come true. Unfortunately, I touched the wrong one. That’s ok though, it just gives me yet another reason to return to beautiful Prague.

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

Construction on the bridge began in 1357, and less than 40 years later poor St. John was thrown from it for not revealing the Queen’s confession to King Wenceslas IV. Today on the bridge though, you will see a lot of non-violent (and quite talented) artists and musicians selling paintings of the city and playing everything from classical music to Metallica.

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

Like most visitors, I traveled over the bridge many times during my visit, and even under it once or twice. With beautiful views of the Vltava River and the gorgeous architecture of both the Old Town and Prague Castle, I could have parked myself there for a full day just to take pictures.

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

Lost in Recoleta

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina

When taking photos, I usually like to get lost in the moment, wandering aimlessly while snapping photos of whatever strikes me as interesting, and for the most part, blocking out everything else going on around me. In Buenos Aires though, I got lost… literally… and in a giant cemetery no less.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina

At first I wasn’t super thrilled with the idea of visiting Recoleta Cemetera, but we were in the area and thought we would see what all the talk was about. A few steps in I was sold. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before and I immediately started snapping photos.

I was so busy taking pictures that it took me awhile to realize I had no idea where my travel companions were. Not thinking much of it though, I continued snapping photos until I realized no one was around at all.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I was spooked (even though, as you can tell from the photos, this all happened during a bright and sunny afternoon… no, I’m not exactly what you would call “brave”). After a few panicky minutes of running around trying my hardest not to see any ghostly apparitions or encounter any zombies, I finally heard voices! Nothing goolish to my relief, I heard nice normal voices, and finally saw other people. All was well once again.

Meeting Kraków

 

Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland

I couldn’t believe I was there. I had been so excited to meet Kraków, and it did not disappoint.

History, art, music, architecture. Lively markets and underground jazz clubs. The best pierogi ever created.

Krakow

Krakow

It was a trip full of wonderful experiences, but there are some I know I’ll never forget.

Receiving a warm smile from a stranger when I’m 4,000 miles from home. A silent moment spent contemplating all that had taken place inside a tiny, beautiful, thousand-year-old church. Waking up to a view of a castle.

Krakow

Krakow

It was incredible to meet you Kraków. I hope to see you again soon.

El Rancho de las Golondrinas

El Rancho de las Golondrinas is an amazing place to explore. I’ve never seen anything like it. Since I love checking out old places, I was pleasantly surprised to learn of it’s existence and visit the ranch in the same day, during my first (and hopefully not last) visit to Santa Fe.

Las Golondrinas dates back to the early 1700s when it was a stop on the Camino Real, a route from Santa Fe to Mexico City. Imagining the events that took place within the beautiful adobe structures and all the travelers who also took in those sweeping landscapes, not to mention the fun I had running around with my camera, it really made for an incredible afternoon.

A Wonderful Year

Atlixco, Mexico

2011 has been a wonderful year and as it comes to an end I wanted to share one of my favorite travel images from the past 12 months. I had the good fortune of traveling to Puebla for the first time and spent an afternoon in the beautiful town of Atlixco, where this shot was taken. In many ways, I hope 2012 is like this trip, full of time spent with wonderful people, new experiences, exciting adventures, and plenty of fun.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2012 full of new adventures!

Views of New York City

Statue of Liberty, New York City

On my most recent visit to New York City, I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time. Seeing the Statue of Liberty so small next to the giant skyscrapers, it seemed the perfect depiction of my view of the city. New York can be so overwhelming, but if you take in one small piece at a time, there are such amazing treasures to be found.

Manhattan Skyline

I could stare at the Manhattan skyline for hours, not only taking in the magnificent architecture (I love all things Art Deco and admit to having a somewhat strange obsession with the Chrysler Building), but also imagining all that’s going on in the city. So many people, so many places, so many ideas, significant events, and conversations taking place. I love the endless possibilities of New York City.

Street Scenes

Atlixco, Mexico

When traveling, I love taking shots of street scenes, capturing views so completely different than what I see stepping out of my front door everyday. These images instantly take me back to the cities I visited, recalling the explorations, encounters, and adventures of far away places.

Prague, Czech Republic

Wandering and getting lost in a city’s winding streets is my favorite way to get to know a place. Whether it’s a main street, where I feel I am part of the hustle and bustle of the city, or a quiet, hidden corner only the locals frequent, I never know who or what I will find.

Czech Republic

Nice to Meet You

Prague, Czech Republic

I am starting my new blog today, focused on travel photography. There’s is nothing I love to  do more than explore new cities and destinations with my camera. You will probably recognize some of the sights, but hopefully many of them will be new to you. Along with looking for new perspectives of popular locations, I love searching for interesting details and hidden corners of the world.

Puebla, Mexico

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy my photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.

New York, NY

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