Monday, April 20, 2015

Iceland: The Blue Lagoon

My buddy DM & I had long been talking about traveling together, and both wanted to go to Iceland. So we did. We went November 2014 and had a wonderful time! I truly recommend everybody go to there.

We arrived in Reykjavik at 630 in the morning, and stayed at the airport a bit to regroup. We had booked a pickup from the airport into downtown Reykjavik with a stop at The Blue Lagoon. This seemed like the easiest way to a) get from the airport into town, which is about a 45 minute drive, and b) to visit The Blue Lagoon. Many tour groups offer tours like this, so we picked a reputable one and got on their first pickup of the day.

One corner of the Blue Lagoon

We arrived, checked in our luggage, and went off to get entrance tickets and go for a soak! The changing room is kind of wild, at least for the women. You change into your swimsuit, do a quick shower, and then head off to the Lagoon. Maybe it's just Europe, but there were women walking around the changing/shower rooms butt naked. Later at our hostel we made friends with 2 British guys and they had a similar experience. But, nobody cares, everybody's there to enjoy the lagoon, so go enjoy it!

The water was warm, and amazing, and super relaxing. There are also buckets scattered around with silica stuff in them which is meant to be a face mask or exfoliant. You look totally ridiculous with it on but it felt wonderful.

View from in the lagoon

Blue skies!

bridges over the lagoon

In November, the sun rises about 10am and sets about 5pm. So we basically got on site around sunrise. And little did we know, but that was some of the only blue sky we'd see the entire trip. I know there are hot baths all over Reykjavik, but the view of this one and the blue color just cannot be beat. It was really a great experience. I absolutely recommend a visit!

I had my GoPro! Woman in the back with a silica mask...

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wetlands for everyone!

I've been incredibly swamped these past few months with field work, working on my house, and playing with my camera. And also, since Earth Day is this weekend, I thought I'd share some wetland photos in honor of that. While you enjoy these photos, I'll get to work on the actual big post I've been working on for what seems like ages. Enjoy!

Myrtle Grove, taken with my wide angle lens

Lafitte, taken with my cell phone

Myrtle Grove, taken with my wide angle lens

Sunrise in Delacroix, taken with my cell phone

Cold winter day in Dularge, taken with my cell phone

Lake Salvador, taken with my GoPro

Berwick, taken with my cell phone

Morgan City, taken with my cell phone

Rockefeller, taken with my 70-300mm lens

Rain at Rockefeller, taken with my GoPro

Myrtle Grove, taken with my wide angle lens

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My guide to Niagara Falls

As part of my insane roadtrip in the summer of 2014, I was going to be within a few hours drive of Niagara Falls. So I added it to the list of stops! I've seen Victoria Falls before, and I love me some falling water, so I was excited to see another iconic waterfall.

I spent 2 nights there and felt like that was enough time in the area. The falls were cool and all but 2 days was kind of pushing it. You could easily do it in a 1 day/2 night trip and see everything while still appreciating the beauty of the falls.

The States side of Niagara Falls let's you get closer, but the Canadian side has considerably better views. In the two days I was there, I did the Maid of the Mist boat tour, the Cave of the Winds walking tour, and walked to Canada from my hotel for the view. I would recommend doing those 3 things but you can totally do it in 1 day. Both tours are totally worth the money, in my opinion.

I stayed on the US side which is considerably more run down than the Canadian side. I was looking for a relatively cheap hotel without much hassle and I didn't want to have to move my car once I parked it. So the US side was easiest and cheapest - I stayed at one of the casinos and it was perfectly fine. Food options are a bit scarce but manageable.

The Canadian side is much nicer - and much more built up but with better views from the walkways and hotel rooms. This side was just slammed with people when I was there but it didn't spoil my walkabout. I walked across the border, and walked from the border bridge to the Canadian edge of Horseshoe Falls, and it was an easy walk. In July it was a bit warm, but coming from this Louisiana girl, it wasn't miserable at all. The border bridge was a parking lot of cars trying to cross the borders, and walking was easy with no delays.

And now for some photos to illustrate my points!

US side, on an overlook. So close to the falls that everything got misted upon

Maid of the Mist tour. It was really neat!! And I couldn't help but think of The Office. 

Cave of the Winds - Hurricane Deck. It was awesome!!

View of the Falls from Canada - the view is better by far

The view when you walk to Canada. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Baseball Hall of Fame

The main purpose for my All-American road trip was to go to Cooperstown and the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. I've always wanted to go to there and the 2014 Induction Class was one that, as a Braves fan, could not be beat! So naturally, I went, because why not?

The Hall of Fame!

Baseball is a sport of numbers, of records, of stories, of heart, and of memorabilia to go with all of that. There are heroes and demons and legends and everything in between. 

Babe Ruth's uniform, it's also the same one in the iconic photo

Women can play baseball!!

I think one of my favorite parts of the museum was the room of lockers. Each team had a locker, set up like a locker room, and it was really neat to see a bunch of items from each team in one place. During induction weekend, when I was there, it was SUPER packed of course but I still managed to see everything I think. 

Me & the Braves locker

More Braves... because you know, avid Braves fan

Hank Aaron's jersey

Because it was Induction weekend, of course all of Cooperstown was slammed. Especially since it was the crazy class of 2014 - Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, and Joe Torre. Seriously. That class was insane!! 

Since everything was so packed, I took the opportunity to camp in a nearby state park. It was ~30 minutes to Cooperstown from there but it's a pretty area so it was fine. Lovely camping weather, beautiful park, and just a great weekend in Cooperstown all around. I suggest if you stay outside of Cooperstown, to just take the trolley that runs through town to get around. It's super easy. And it's also a small town so you could walk if you need to. 

During Induction Weekend, everything is really well laid out and there's all kinds of fun events. Everything is packed but it's a lot of fun! The ceremony itself is outside in a big field, and free, so it's accessible to anyone. If you care about your seating spot, get there early, otherwise just show up! They had big screens on the sides so if you couldn't quite see the whole stage you could still see what was going on. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I got a new fork.

I got a new fork. And maybe some cake to eat with it.

Months ago I wrote a post about how I had such grand plans for 2015. I did. They were awesome. But I have new plans now. And they are also awesome.

I was planning to make radical changes to my life in 2015. If you know me at all, you know I have a serious case of wanderlust. In fact I have probably bored you to death with all my dreams of travel adventures. But most of my original plan for 2015 stemmed from unhappiness with certain parts of my life and part a willingness to give into my wanderlust. I thought uprooting and doing something different would eliminate any unhappiness. And it probably would have. But it would have uprooted everything in the process and may have generated new sources of unhappiness.

But last summer a new opportunity came along and I took it. So plans changed but that's how life goes. So I did what was best for me long term and took major advantage of the new opportunity. I'm glad I did because it's been great!! Also made myself a new promise. In lieu of my original 2015 plans, I am going to have my career and my travel. Since I'm trading my original plan for a new plan, I still want to make travel a top priority and will continue my adventures.

And part of making roots involves actually adding structure to my life. So I'm doing that now too. It makes the most sense to be financially smart with my housing choices while also saving up for life stuff and travel adventures. My process to get out of debt taught me a lot about personal finance (which should be a mandatory class everyone takes, by the way) and that's how I'm now able to make smart decisions for my future. But there's got to be balance, right? I think balance might be the secret to happiness, honestly.

So now I'm trying to find a balance between the equally important pieces of life: stability, career, and travel. But I'm a Libra - balancing is my thing!