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Scott Taking Cool Photos in Cool Places

Scott Taking Cool Photos in Cool Places

This post is out of order and only has one theme: Scott taking photos around the world. While he photographed some of the world’s prettiest places, I had to practice being patient while I waited for him and in the process I took a ridiculous amount of photos of Scott taking photos. Also, if you haven’t noticed in some of the other posts his photos are REALLY good. Without further commentary, here are my favorites of Scott taking pictures in cool places. You may need to give this post a minute to load!

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Sunset in Marlborough, New Zealand
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Volcanoes in Antigua, Guatemala
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Subway stations in Prague, Czech Republic
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At the top of the Burj Khalifa in Duabi, UAE
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Laguna de los Tres in El Chalten, Argentina
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Floating Nori in Miyajima, Japan
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Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park, California
Laguna Torre, El Chalten, Argentina
Laguna Torre, El Chalten, Argentina
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Desert near Dubai, UAE
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Cape Flattery, Washington State
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Golden Gate Bridge, California
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Spotted Wolf Canyon, Utah
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Tower Bridge in London, England
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Half Dome in Yosemite National Park
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Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China
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Hakone, Japan
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Nearby Sydney, Australia
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Nosara, Costa Rica
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Animal Friends in London, England
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Taj Mahal in Agra, India
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Somewhere in Australia
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Shipwreck in Astoria, Oregon
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Graffiti in Melbourne, Australia
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Glenchory, New Zealand
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El Chalten, Argentina
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New Zealand
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Olympic National Park, Washington State
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Prague, Czech Republic
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Olympic National Park in Washington State
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On a Beach in New Zealand
The Things We Miss

The Things We Miss

We drove away from our home in Denver almost 7 months ago. In these past 7 months we have visited 23 countries (and counting) in a few different parts of the world. There have been times of pure excitement and exhilaration, but also times of fear and doubt. We have learned a lot about the world and other cultures, but we have also learned the value of home. We miss our favorite brewery up the road and running into Target when we need shampoo. Here are a few of the things we miss most:

Phloyd & Leo

Oh, I miss these furry kids of ours so much. They aren’t so good at picking up the phone to let us know how things are. Jen (my sister-in-law) and Karoon (my future brother-in-law) are taking such good care of them and the Snapchats remind us of that all the time. We are so thankful for them loving our animals like their own, but damn…we miss them so much our hearts hurt! The dog and the cat also decided to become best friends since we have been gone which gives us all of the feels.

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Friends & Family

This one is a give in, but it had to be acknowledged. We are used to living across the country from our families, but being across the world from them and in completely different time zones has been really hard. We missed Thanksgiving and Christmas — we never spend these holidays without our families and I am not sure if we will ever choose to be away for the holidays ever again. We have also missed birthdays, celebrations, baby showers and weddings. Facetime, text, and calls are great ways to keep in touch but it is not the same as being there for the important moments.

Our Bed

There is nothing like crawling into your bed and resting your head on your pillow. Everything is just the way you like it and it is one of my happy places. We have slept in beds of all shapes and sizes — some are great, some are terrible. All I know is I cannot wait to sleep in my own bed once again! Especially my pillow and the presence of a top sheet (it is the perfect layer but it has not caught on other parts in the world). To date we have slept in 63 beds.

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Mini hotel room in Christchurch — we kept the suitcases under the bed it was so small!

Coffee

I am not a huge coffee drinker, but I do love to make a cup of coffee from my Keurig, add some french vanilla International Delight, and go on with my morning! I don’t always drink the whole cup but there is something about having my coffee in the morning that makes me ready to face the day.

Scott on the other hand is addicted to coffee. Black, dark roasted, drip coffee if he had his way. There is coffee all over the world, but it is rarely just the way he likes it. Depending on where we are in the world there is espresso, Vietnamese coffee (always sweet), poorly made coffee, and Nescafe powdered coffee. We are always on the hunt for coffee that Scott enjoys, but sometimes I feel like we spent a portion of everyday trying to get the man some caffeine in his system! We have had some fantastic coffee, but we have also had absolutely horrrible coffee too.

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Vietnamese coffee gets top awards in my book.

Not Living Out of a Suitcase

We are tired of packing and unpacking. My bag slightly explodes when we get somewhere and there is no way around it. We miss having clothing options that are different than the usual 3 things we always wear everyday. We have purchased some new clothes along the way, but since we are living out of a carry-on size bag there are only so many options you can carry.

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I have photo evidence of the whole we wear the same outfits all the time thing. The two photos were taken almost 4 months apart on different continents. We are wearing the EXACT same clothes. I will not be able to get rid of all of these items promptly upon our arrival back home.

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November 2016 in Sydney, Australia
March in El Chalten, Argentina (Patagonia)
March 2017 in El Chalten, Argentina (Patagonia)

Grocery Stores/Cooking

There have been occasions we are in apartments with kitchens, hostels with shared cooking spaces, and living in a van with a mini-kitchen attached. We have done a bit of cooking, but for the most part it has been limited. If we were to buy all the things needed to cook a meal (oil, salt, spices, ingredients) we would go broke. Sometimes these kitchens lack really obvious and necessary items for cooking a meal such as a knife or a pan. It is way cheaper in most places to just eat out and you also get to eat the local cuisine, which is one of the main reasons we love to travel.

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In Asia we stayed in some apartments that were equipped to cook a meal. On a few occasions we would go to get groceries and there would be meat that has been sitting out in the open (not on ice) for hours. This was a bit scary and I could not talk myself into buying and cooking this for dinner. Most likely I eat the exact same meat at a restaurant, but ignorance can be bliss. New Zealand and Australia we were able to cook a bit and visit the grocery store. They were much like the stores we are used to back home and they made us miss grocery shopping and cooking most of our meals.

Salads

I love eating salad more than most people. It is refreshing, crisp, and I rarely ever get tired of eating salad (there are so many different forms how could I ever get bored?). Asia is not a good place to eat salad. A good rule of thumb is to eat only foods that have been cooked as the heat kills any germs or bacteria. The water used to wash lettuce is generally not water I should be consuming and in most places salad has not been on the approved list of safe things to eat. I have had some unwashed vegetables and been fine, but a giant bowl of salad seems like I am just tempting fate. Fortunately this situation has improved since we have spent time in Europe and Argentina, but people just don’t understand salad as a meal. It just isn’t a thing. A serious desire to eat salad was never something I anticipated, but I cannot wait to eat all the salad I could ever dream of when we get back.

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We hit up the salad bar when we found a Whole Foods in London

Cell Phone Service

Every country we go to we have to buy a new SIM card in order to be able to use our phones while we are out (we really like being able to look up places and use Google Maps). It is not always cheap and it is always a battle for us to use as little data as possible. We can sometimes get in-country call time or texting, but this is not always the case. When locals need to contact us for any reason we generally have a hard time. Usually calls, texts, and other communications to home are saved for when we have Wi-fi and even then we are at the mercy of an unknown wi-fi connection. Sometimes we have great internet and sometimes we can barely book our next place. There have been several instances where we need to use our cell phone numbers to receive a bank access code or password to a wi-fi…we never get these codes. In cases where we have to call a support desk in another country (or the US) we have to use Skype to call, but we need a good wi-fi connection to do this. We carry one of my old cell phones with an in country SIM card. We travel with three phones and none of them work at all times. These are all first world problems, but we miss having our phones fully functional at all times and being able to pick up the phone to make a call when we need to.

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Driving

I don’t even like to drive so I never expected this to make my list. Driving a car provides you with a freedom to go anywhere you want, whenever you want — you aren’t restricted to anyone else’s plans, a bus schedule, or a specific route. We have had the opportunity to drive in South Korea, Australia and New Zealand on this trip and we have loved the freedom it gave us!

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Paychecks

Payday is the best day. Just as the balance in your bank account starts to feel really sad and empty by the end of the month a sum of money is deposited into your bank account. It is magical! I won’t get into the sad feeling that paying bills causes shortly after payday, but we miss payday! It has been a great half a year of fun-employment, but our savings account does not think it is the greatest thing to have ever happened.

Side note: It will also be great to not have to convert how much something actually is all the time. I look forward to the day when $20 is actually $20 and not 455,000 Vietnamese Dong, 314 Argentine Pesos, or 73 Qatar Riyels.

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Craft Beer

We live in one of the premier craft beer cities in America. We miss the perfectly hopped IPAs, floral pale ales, or a session-able saison. Every country has their beer of choice, but for us Tsingtao, Saigon, Angkor, Sapporo, Chang, Singha (I could keep going…) just don’t satisfy us the way a craft beer does! We have had some craft beers on this trip in Thailand, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam but they are usually way more money than we can comfortably spend and it is a rare treat. IMG_1390

IMG_0498 Routine

This is a big one. We have ZERO routine. Sometimes we start to make some semblance of a routine and then we continue on our way to another country, city, or apartment. As soon as we figure a place out it is time to move onto the next. It can be exhausting not to have a routine. I expect no sympathy, but it has been one of the hardest parts of this trip.

Routine was one of the things that drove my desire to go on a trip like this. The daily monotony of waking up, going to work, coming home, cooking dinner, and going to sleep felt as if it was the same story on repeat everyday. Being away from this routine has made me want that routine and monotony all the more. Don’t get me wrong — as soon as I am gainfully employed again and have a routine I am sure I will long for the freedom I have now. The grass is always greener. The thing that will be different is my perspective. This year has been such an adventure, but so is every year. Next year might not be filled with seeing the Wonders of the World, eating exotic foods, and getting our passport stamped — but I can guarantee that it will be filled with exciting adventures too (even if some of those adventures involve getting a day job).

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We miss home. When we get home we will miss traveling — maybe when we return home we will have to write another post about the things we miss about traveling 🙂

Melbourne Recap

Melbourne Recap

We were not in Melbourne recently — I am just really behind. Since we left Australia we have visited India, Vietnam, the Middle East and Europe. Whoops. Be on the lookout for more posts to come, but for now here is a recap of our time in December when we went to Melbourne!

The whole point of going to Melbourne was to rest up before heading to India. That was a mistake…we love Melbourne and couldn’t just sit around all day and rest! Melbourne is a really cool city and one that we could see ourselves living in if it was a little closer to our side of the globe.

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Places Visited

 Melbourne (and the Great Ocean Road)

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Things We Liked

 Street art, culture, availability of things we need, Queen Victoria Market, good ramen, food, walkable, English, good coffee, and pretty places!

We liked Melbourne more than Sydney…it had more culture and personality to it. It was a bit rough around the edges, but in the best way possible.

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Mussel stand at Queen Victoria Market that I could eat at everyday for the rest of my life.

Things We Disliked

Expensive city and bugs (on our Great Ocean Road journey some of the stops were not as enjoyable as they looked because of so many flies). Everything else was alright to us 🙂

We left the car to take a picture and this is how it looked when we returned...so many bugs!
We left the car to take a picture and this is how it looked when we returned — so many bugs! There was an equal amount all around us and everyone else around. I almost did not want to get out of the car after a while.

Highlights

 1. The Twelve Apostles and The Great Ocean Road

We rented a car (since we are experts at driving on the left now) to drive the Great Ocean Road. It reminded us a lot of Highway 1 in California and we enjoyed stopping frequently along the way to take pictures. We even got to see some wild koalas! The highlight was the Twelve Apostles. When we first arrived there it had just started to pour. It was so gray and did not show any signs of letting up in the next hour or so before the sun was supposed to set. We were pretty disappointed, but took some pictures anyway. We moved on to see some other beautiful stops just a few minutes more up the road. As we were checking out the other spots the rain stopped and the sun peaked through enough to enjoy sunset at the Twelve Apostles. It was gorgeous and was one of those, “I can’t believe we are actually here” moments!

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2. Movie Night

We went to the movies to see La La Land and the whole night was one of our favorites. We love going to the movies and this whole trip we kept saying we should go and never did until New Zealand when we finally made it to the movies and realizing how much we really loved it. The movie was fantastic (although we were almost scared off because it was a musical) and we would highly recommend it! We got ramen afterwards at one of the most well known ramen shops (ramen two nights in a row — we might have a problem). It was so simple, but this night made us super happy and we have decided to go see a movie once a month in the future (at home too)!

Photo from here
Photo from here

Graffiti Tour

Melbourne is widely known as one of the world’s great cities for street art (and some grafitti). We spent a whole day wondering around the city in search of street art — there are pieces everywhere and a couple of famous alleyways covered in street art. IMG_0720There was also an exhibition going on called the Art of Banksy while we were in Melbourne. For those unfamiliar with Banksy, the famous and anonymous street artist, he is a big deal in the world of street art. He is known for pieces with political and social commentary and most famously for his art featured on public surfaces all over the world. The exhibition featured some of his prints, and the story on his life and art. The exhibition is NOT authorized by Banksy (and may have made him a bit mad), but it was cool to see some of his work in person.

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On Traveling in English Speaking Countries

 It has been really awesome to visit countries that speak English as their primary language. Traveling to places where English is spoken has never excited me. When I travel across the world I have always wanted to feel like I was transported to somewhere very different. I was wrong. Traveling in places where they speak your language allows you to fully immerse yourself in a culture better since there is more overlap of culture and we can directly communicate, ask questions, and understand everything around us.

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I still think I prefer to travel places that the cultural differences, language barrier, and food are very different from my own, but countries that speak English now really excite me. I have a whole new perspective and I am excited to visit other English speaking countries in the future. It has been a great month in places we can fully understand everything and everyone. Not only has it been a nice break from struggling with language barriers all the time, but we also felt that we were able to connect with people more.

Asian Food

All of the cities in Australia we visited had the best Asian food, probably based on proximity to Asia and large Asian populations in these cities. Even after spending so long in Asia, I think that we may never be tired of Asian food. We had ramen two nights in a row (we might have a problem) and I ate the best bahn mi sandwich I have ever had (as I write this we have already been to Vietnam and eaten our fair share of them — the one at the shop outside of Melbourne is still better). I can get behind any city with this much delicious food!

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The Stats

Total Number of Nights: 5

Languages: English (!)

Currency: $1 USD = $1.33 Australian Dollar (AUD)

Number of Miles Traveled:  2,138 (including our flight from Christchurch)

Number of Miles Walked: 39 miles (average of 7.7 miles per day)

Steps Taken:  82,895 steps (average of about 16,579 per day)

Transportation Used: Rental car, taxi, Uber X

Type of Accommodations: Hotel (1)

Number of Beds: 1

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New Zealand Recap

New Zealand Recap

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We are head over heels in love with New Zealand. Everyone who has ever been to New Zealand says the exact same thing, but now we get it. We had not planned on going to NZ initially because it is an expensive place to travel, but we decided it was worth it and that maybe we will cut our trip short instead. NZ was totally different than everywhere else we traveled. We mastered driving on the left side of the road, we hiked (or tramped I believe the Kiwis like to call it), we slept in a van for 17 nights, we cooked almost every meal, and we tried to wander down gravel roads as much as possible. My camera struggled to capture the full beauty of the place in front of me. New Zealand reminded us of home a lot (except with a lot more sheep and less people) and it made us excited to return to home to Colorado.

This post contains entirely too many pictures, but with a place so beautiful (and a photographer of a husband) I could not help it…enjoy!DSC_0152

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Places Visited

We road tripped around the South Island so we would not try and cram too much and feel rushed everywhere. We will just have to come back and hit the North Island on a future trip! We drove a total of 2,464 miles in 18 days.

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We started in Christchurch before heading south around the island (clockwise) before heading back to Christchurch. Highlights of the places we visited were: The Catlins, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Wanaka and Blenheim.

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Things We Liked

English, freedom, camper vans, nature, cooking our own food, grocery stores, hiking, small towns, cheap wine, van life, not carrying our suitcases around, and feeling comfortable.

We also liked the differences in English…my favorite is when they call the cooler the chilly bin. I think I might bring that one back with me 🙂IMG_9148

Things We Disliked

Bugs (SO many bites), expensive, rainy days (and fog covering the mountains), gas stations that were few and far between, spotty internet service/paid wi-fi, lack of available showers (this was due to the fact we were living in a van), and terrible gas mileage.

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Not pictured: thousands of bugs biting us — we could only stay long enough for this picture

Van Life

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We called our trusty camper van, Monty, home for our time in New Zealand. Our trip revolved around the van: it was our transportation, our kitchen, storage, and our bed. By the end of the trip we were ready to give her back (sleeping in a van every night gets old and also makes you feel homeless), but we also became very attached! The van had places to sit and a table for hanging out in the day and you could remove the table and set up a bed. The bed was surprisingly comfortable for it being just a couple of cushions you push together. We would drive around all day and then every night we would have to locate a campsite to park our car in. New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) makes it pretty easy to do with DOC sites all over NZ, although they all cost a small sum of money to stay there ($11-$19 USD for the two of us). They all had toilets of varying cleanliness and that is about it. Every few nights we would pay almost double (around $30 or more USD) to stay in a holiday park to take advantage of a nice shower. Our only complaints were having to setup/tear down the bed everyday, the lack of showers, and having to pay so much money for a parking spot to park our van overnight.

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Our little kitchen on wheels

Painted camper vans are all over New Zealand. Ours was no exception! We loved the art on our van and we even got to meet the artist while getting gas about an hour from Christchurch. We rented from Escape Camper vans, but Wicked Camper vans was also very popular…all of their vans were slightly inappropriate (I would have HATED to have one of them) but they entertained us so much!
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Favorite Campsite

Moke Lake outside of Queenstown wins the prize for our favorite campsite. The 5 km drive to the campsite off of the main road was entirely gravel and filled with sheep and cows. We enjoyed this site so much we stayed for 2 nights! Bonus — the ranger who lives at the site was awesome and we loved chatting with him.

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Highlights

 1. Roy’s Peak 

There were very few things on our must do list in NZ, but Scott was set on hiking up to Roy’s Peak. The hike was 3 hours straight uphill in the heat through fields of sheep to get to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The 5 hours spent hiking was well worth it (although if you asked me on the way up I probably would have not agreed)!

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2. Wine Tasting in Marlborough

If we are nearby a wine region we are going to go check it out. We have been to Napa, Sonoma, and Temecula in California and also went to some wineries in Croatia. It was only natural that in New Zealand we would go check out the wine scene in Marlborough, which is known for the sauvignon blancs. We had rented bicycles in Temecula on a trip a few years back and we had heard that Renwick/Blenheim were great places to go on bicycle wine adventures…it did not take much else to get us to sign up! We chose to go with Wine Tours by Bike and we could not have had a better experience. They picked us up at our holiday park and we picked up our bikes. We were within 30 minutes biking to over 15 cellar doors (they call the tasting rooms at wineries cellar doors in NZ), they were all close together, there were no hills and we were able to avoid roads with a lot of traffic.

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In the middle of our cellar door visits we had lunch at Wairau River Wines. The lemongrass pork burger (with coconut satay sauce) perfectly paired with a reserve Viognier made us melt it was so good. Along the way we picked up a bottle of wine or two to enjoy our last few nights in NZ and stored them in our handy wine bottle holders attached on the back of our bicycles. We even found out that one of the wineries is in Mondo Vino, the liquor store up the street from our house and we cannot wait to seek out a bottle when we get home. We love wine tasting. We love biking. We love eating. Our bicycle wine tour in Renwick was a perfect day for all of those things!img_6708

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3. Movie Night in Wanaka

Every place we have been we have talked about going to the movies, but never seemed to make it there. We found out there was a a theater in Wanaka called Cinema Paradiso to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the new JK Rowling movie). The movie theater was so unique and was a local hangout. The theatre sold food and beer, they had couches in the theatre, there was intermission halfway through (and they waited for everyone to come back before resuming), and there was freshly baked cookies for sale during the intermission. More movie theaters should take a page out of their playbook…or at least get on board with the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!

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4. Milford Sound

Milford Sound is spectacular. We drove up one day and the mountains were covered in fog, it was rainy, and we could hardly see anything around us (except for a bunch of awesome waterfalls running down all the mountains covered in fog). It was spectacular even with the bad weather. We had planned to stay in Milford Sound overnight and do a cruise the next day. We arrived around 6 pm only to realize that we had underestimated the size of the town where Milford Sound is and there was nowhere to stay. The one holiday park was booked solid and we had to drive back 2.5 hours to the closest large town, Te Anou, to spend the night. We checked the weather report and the next day was supposed to be beautiful so we booked a cruise and decided to head back to Milford Sound for day two. We are SO glad we did.

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Day 1
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Day 2

The cruise of Milford Sound lasted around 2-2.5 hours. We saw waterfalls, cliffs, snow-peaked mountains, penguins, sea lions, and rainbows. We had heard that Milford Sound Cruises are overrated and we have to fully disagree with that. It might have had something to do with the perfect weather, but it was stunning. The pictures fail to do this place justice.

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5. The Catlins

We loved our time in the southern most portion of the South Island, known as The Catlins. Gas stations were few and far between, there was an abundance of sea animals (penguins! sea lions!), the scenery was stunning, and there just wasn’t that many people around. Nugget Point and Cathedral Caves were my personal favorites, but everything we saw in the two nights we spent here were some of our favorites!

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Lowlights

1. Franz Josef

Most people come to Franz Josef to check out the famed Franz Josef Glacier and we were no exception. As a birthday present we were going to go climb the glacier which involves a short helicopter transfer to the ice and then a few hours hiking and exploring one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world (before it is gone). We arrived in town the day the tour only to see rain in the forecast. We woke up the morning of the tour and it was pouring. The tour was off and we were pretty bummed, but they could get us on a tour the following day and the forecast looked perfect so we decided to stick around another day in hopes of climbing the glacier! The second morning we woke up to sunshine and we were sure it was going to work out! We arrived at the place as it started to sprinkle and the tour was off once again. I suppose it wasn’t meant to be.

Fox Glacier is the only one we had the chance to see
We did get a peak at Fox Glacier

Although we were bummed about the glacier tour, we were far more crushed to learn some heartbreaking news about someone we met just over a month before. While in Japan we were able to see one of Scott’t long time friends, Eric, who is a Marine F/A-18 Fighter pilot stationed in Japan. He introduced us to one of the other pilots he was stationed with, Jake, and we hung out with him a few times in Tokyo. When in Franz Josef we found out that Jake was killed in a plane crash during a training routine off the coast of Japan. We were devastated. All we could think about was hearing him talk about how much he missed his wife, son, and how he couldn’t wait to meet his baby girl who is due in January…we were heartbroken thinking about how much they must hurt. We cannot begin to imagine what all of his family, friends, those serving with him, and all those who love him are going through. It was an honor to be able to thank him for his service and an honor to get to know him.

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Tokyo by night with Jake (left) and Eric (middle)

“On occasion, though not often, we are presented with a tangible way to thank a hero for his service. Jake Frederick made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, for you and for me, on December 7, 2016. He was a Marine F/A-18 Fighter pilot, and was finishing up another long deployment, when a mishap during a routine training flight took his life.

Left behind are his beautiful wife Kiley, three year old son Colt, and their baby daughter, who is due to be born in January. Kiley has served them all selflessly since their military journey began, sacrificing many things for their family.

They are raising money for his family. If you feel generous this holiday season or would like to thank a hero for his service you can find the GoFundMe to support his family here.

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The Stats

Total Number of Nights: 18

Languages: English (!)

Currency: $1 USD = $1.42 New Zealand Dollar

Animals Spotted: Penguins, sheep, cows, fur seals, sea lions, hedgehogs, deer, lots of birds, kea (parrots), and so many more!

Number of Miles Traveled:  3,792 miles (including our flight from Australia)

Number of Miles Driven: 2,464 miles

Number of Miles Walked:  105 miles (average of 5.5 miles per day)

Steps Taken:  224,790 steps (average of about 11,830 per day)

Transportation Used: Camper van, bus, boat

Type of Accommodations: Camper van (1), hotel (1)

Number of Beds: 2

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Sydney Recap

Sydney Recap

Lauren, Scott and I all headed to Sydney, Australia for almost a week. It was the first country I have ever visited that also speaks English as the primary language (besides the USA and Canada). It was an awesome change of pace to be able to communicate with those around us, understand menus, and to not stand out like a sore thumb.

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Sydney reminded us of San Diego (minus the driving on the wrong side of the road, cool accents, and being across the world). Scott kept referring to Australia as “Bizarre-o America” since it felt like we were in the US the whole time. To be honest, if I were to have flown halfway across the world on my two week vacation to go to Australia I might have been disappointed. When I travel internationally I love that smack you in the face difference of cultures, food and people. With that being said, after spending three months in Asia this familiarity was just what I needed and what I craved. It was almost reverse culture shock for us and it was overwhelming at times. It made us miss home more than any other place and I can see why people love to travel to Australia.

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Places Visited

Sydney (and surrounding areas)

We only made it to Sydney this time around, but after our 3 weeks in New Zealand we fly back through Melbourne to see a bit more of Australia!

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Things We Liked 

Being able to communicate (ENGLISH!), beaches, ocean walks, people watching, cool/trendy parts of town, easy transportation, availability of everything we know, feeling comfortable, and not standing out. 

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Things We Disliked

Expensive and limited options for budget accommodations…we disliked very little though!

Highlights

1. Ben Harper at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt

One night while drinking a few beers in Bali Scott mentioned that Ben Harper was playing in Sydney our first night in town and that tickets were still available. When we looked a bit further we noticed that the concert took place at the Sydney Opera Forecourt, which is the courtyard in front of the Opera House with views of the Harbour Bridge as well. This was the last straw and we booked tickets immediately.

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Ben Harper puts on a great show and we had been missing some live music in our lives. Also, the venue was incredible and one of the coolest venues I have ever been to (my beloved Colorado venues of Red Rocks and Mishiwaka have my heart, but I am also a bit biased). It was overall one of the most memorable nights of our trip!

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2. Sydney Fish Market

We have realized that we love fish markets. If a city we visit has a fish market you can bet your money we will visit it. The Sydney Fish Market was much different than the Asian ones, but it was so fun. We wandered around the stalls selling fresh seafood and settled on our lunch of oysters, salmon sashimi and sushi rolls on the water.

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The Tokyo Fish Market was not for tourists. It was a working market that let tourists get a peak at the end of their workday. It was fast moving and we were just trying to stay out of the way. The Seoul Fish Market was mostly for locals. It is open 24 hours and you could go in, pick out your seafood, and have them grill/cut up whatever you purchased and serve it to you in a nearby restaurant. It was awesome, but the whole time we were never really sure what was happening since we don’t speak Korean. It was overwhelming. The Sydney Fish Market is for both tourists and locals. It was really nice to be able to read signs and order exactly what we wanted. We even learned what some things we have been eating in Asia or have seen in our travels actually are – like I said, those signs in English are really magical to us!

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3. The Coast

The beaches, beach walks, and all the areas on the coast around Sydney are amazing. We checked out Bondi Beach, manly Beach and did a couple of the ocean walks. They say a picture says a thousand words…so here are a few.

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Thanksgiving

We certainly missed home this Thanksgiving. We usually spend the holiday in Connecticut with the Berkes and it is probably Scott’s favorite day of the year. We weren’t planning to seek out Thanksgiving food or turkey…it seemed as if we might end up at a hotel somewhere eating bad food feeling worse about being away from home for the holidays than when we started. So instead we took the ferry to Manly Beach to do the Ocean walk and explore before getting dinner in the area. The views were incredible and the weather could not have been more perfect.

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We found a brewery in the area, 4 Pines Brewing Company, so we decided it would be as good as a place as any for Thanksgiving dinner. When we got there we found of they had a Thanksgiving special of one pumpkin beer and a turkey leg (with sweet potato mash and green beans) so naturally we all ordered one of the specials. The food was delicious and they gave us another round of pumpkin beers on the house since we are American. My enthusiasm level for pumpkin beer every fall is incredibly high and I generally try to taste test as many kinds as a can. Unfortunately this year I have not been able to have any (apparently it is an American thing), but they brewed up a batch special for the holiday. We watched the sunset from the patio and our evening was really great!

It was nothing like being home (there is nothing we could have done to replace how much we love spending Thanksgiving surrounded by family), but we made the best of it! We were sad and missing home on Thanksgiving for sure. It was awesome to have Lauren there with us to celebrate too!

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The Stats

Total Number of Nights: 5

Languages: English (!)

Currency: $1 USD = $1.33 Australian Dollar (AUD)

Number of Miles Traveled:  4,275 (including our flight from Indonesia)

Number of Miles Walked:  51 miles (average of 10.2 miles per day)

Steps Taken:  109,649 steps (average of about 21,930 per day)

Transportation Used: boat, bus, taxi, metro

Type of Accommodations: Hostel (1), hotel (1)

Number of Beds: 2

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