Normally, I look forward to spending the holidays in the cozy chill of Minnesota. But this winter we decided to change things up when an opportunity came to escape the cold and spend some time in the sun. Ned and I spent 6 days on a boat with his family exploring remote little islands, earning our sea legs, sleeping under the stars and swimming with pigs (seriously).Leave a Comment
The first leg of our trip was a lot of driving (14 hours the first day!) but we covered a lot of ground and were able to even see a few extra places like the Tetons and Jackson Wyoming. After all that driving to get out to Oregon, we were able to spend a few nights in Bend with some day trips through the Deschutes and to Crater Lake. Then we crashed in Portland with my brother and sister-in-law for a few nights and ate our way through the city. (If I had to pick my favorite I’d say either Porqué No? or Bollywood Theater….YUM!).
It was a fast and fun 6 days.
To be continued…3 Comments
After 3 weeks on the road it’s back to real life. As I was going through some of my photos I saw this one that I just had to share, from the Redwood National Forest in Northern California. I could’ve wandered through those trees for days. Hopefully someday I’ll get that chance.
We live in a pretty dang beautiful country. Sometimes I forget that.1 Comment
ROAD TRIP! 2 of my most favorite words in the English language. These next 3 weeks will be full of long drives, good music, national parks, family, mountains, deserts, meteor craters, redwoods and all that goodness of the American west. My husband and I will be on to road for 3 weeks. I won’t be posting here but I have a feeling there will be an obscene amount of Instagraming going on at @belle_laura.Leave a Comment
This weekend I stopped at Target and picked up one of our road trip necessities: the disposable camera. Three years ago, Ned and I planned our first road trip from Chicago (where I was living at the time) to Montreal via Niagara Falls. We loved the nostalgic feel that you get when you pack up the car and hit the road so on a whim, we picked up a disposable camera thinking it might be fun to just have around. I wasn’t sure we’d actually use it but it turned out to be one of the best memories.
We used it sparingly and only took one photo per day so it was always a big decision on what to take a picture of that day. Some days turned out great, like the day we found an old cabin on a walk through the Adirondacks and had a picnic next to the lake. Some were not so good…like on the 14 hour drive back and I had to entertain myself by taking pictures of Ned sleeping. Either way it was a nice little addition to ourdrive and I can’t wait to start a new one next week!Leave a Comment
Last night while backing up some files on my external hard drive, I found myself wandering into my old photo folders from my time in Germany. It’s altogether unbelievable that it’s been almost 6 years. As I clicked through each photo I was instantly reminded of all the time that has past and all that has changed. Yet I still laughed at the same memories; meals cooked with 20 friends stuffed in a kitchen, running after trains, hopeless mis-use of German grammatical cases, parties in the university cafeteria and dancing in the rain at 2am. The further into the folders I delved, the more the lump in my throat grew. These friends were, at one moment in time, my home. Ours was a concentrated friendship. Strangers put together in a blender for a year, only to go our separate ways at the end.
I loved these guys (and still do!).
I could wax on about all the things I miss (I developed very close relationships with a few German bakeries) and how that time was so wonderful – but that’s just depressing. Like any good time that’s come and gone, I miss it. But I’m also grateful that I got to experience it, and everything that those months taught me. With no obligations of work (or really even school) the year disappeared and gave way to travel, parties, dinners and language. I miss all of the friendships that came out of it but 6 years later, part of me feels like it was only yesterday.
Last night I looked through all the photos, closed the folders, unplugged the hard drive and put it back on the shelf. Grateful.3 Comments
Since we first started dating, Ned and I have always talked about our dream roadtrip. Packing everything in the car, rolling down the windows and just driving straight west. Stopping when we see something interesting. Cruising through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country and seeing it up close, instead of out of some airplane window. Ideally, some sort of retro teardrop trailer would be involved. It’s always been a nice dream, something to plan on for future days.
Well this year we decided to stop saying “sometime” and actually make it happen! In about a month, we’ll be packing up our little car, filling our iphones with audiobooks and heading out on a 3-week do-or-die, no-holds-barred drive across the western half of our big country. All in all, over 5300 miles. We might be insane.
We’ve had a rough plan of attack for a while but the other night we sat down, opened a google doc and started mapping everything out. Google docs is my saving grace for times such as this. Here, my friends, is a short list of all the planned stops we have so far.
Also…if any of you have great recommendations for places to stay/see at any of these stops I’d love to hear ‘em. We’re staying with family in Portland but the rest is all open!
This trip is quite the undertaking, with many chances for a lot to go wrong. But that’s what makes it an adventure, right?8 Comments
It took some time for us to decide on a honeymoon spot. We’re naturally very adventurous, not really the beach-going types so we thought about taking a long road trip. Then, after considering it for about 2 seconds we realized the added stress of that on top of a post-wedding brain was just asking for trouble. We then went through the usual suspects, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Greece however in the end, knowing that this would be the one time in our lives (that is, of course, until we become super-millionaires) to do something totally extravagant. So we thought of the most ridiculous place we could imagine going, and after a bit of investigation, booked a trip to Bora Bora!
We spent 6 nights in a hut on a small stretch of land the middle of the Pacific ocean. The ocean waves on one side and a bright turquoise lagoon on the other. Like I said, neither of us are “beach folk” but the silence and calm here were just heaven.
Real coconut milk!
The bungalows were simple but well designed and perfect for 2 people. Recently renovated they were a lovely and even had a section of glass floor in the center so you could look down and watch the fish! We had our own little porch with steps down straight into the water.
The resort we stayed at had a huge man-made lagoon in the center of the property which was home to tons of fish (all safe kinds) and a sea turtle refuge. We just discovered this when we got there but it was by far one of the coolest parts of the place. You could snorkel in the lagoon with the adorable sea turtles and not worry about any pesky sharks or stingrays.
After seeing these little guys I spent the rest of the weekend quoting lines from the sea turtles in Finding Nemo. “Duuuuuuuuude”. Ned didn’t find it nearly as entertaining as I did.
So much snorkeling.
Ah wonderful, wonderful shade.
The sun was strong here…so much so we both got some pretty gnarly sunburns on our 3rd day. We took it as a sign that we belong in Minnesota but were proud to at least achieve some sort of tan line. Most of the people there were ridiculously bronzed in that healthy, European sort of way.
So many breathtaking sunsets…
Dining next to the lagoon at night.
All in all, it was a perfect week. It couldn’t have been more relaxing and just the change of scenery that Ned and I both desperately needed after the past few months of planning and preparation. Everything I could have hoped for and now I can check “super-crazy-lux-tropical-vacation” off my bucket list. ;)