What Does “Wanderlust” Mean To Me.

Wanderlust. One that has a strong desire to travel. Wanderlust. Someone that can’t sit still and stay in one place. Wanderlust. A constant longing for wandering near and far. Wanderlust. A person that is always looking for adventure, to explore and to checkout something new.

Wanderlust, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia

I’d say wanderlust is a term that can apply to me on a daily basis. Goosebumps appear just at the thought of traveling whether right down the street or to somewhere far, far away. The daydreaming never seems to stop. I am always on Google Maps, reading blogs and looking at the pictures of others. Whenever a trip is confirmed, plane tickets have been secured, an excursion has been booked or I have arrived in a new city or at a coffee shop for the first time, a big smile on my face usually follows.

Wanderlust - Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls view from up-top the Skylon Tower

I’ve had this feeling ever since I was a kid. Lots of time was spent out on the open road with the family. My face was usually stuffed in an old-fashioned atlas or pull-out map telling my parents we should go this way, that way, we should stop here, etc. My eyes were always wide open and wanting more.

Wanderlust, Juneau, Alaska

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska

Wanderlust has led me to see quite a bit, but there is so much more of this world to capture and see up close. Do I want to be cured of this feeling? No, thank you. Back out on the open road I go!

What does “wanderlust” mean to you?

Riding the Whirlpool Aero Car in Niagara Falls.

Looking for something to do on the Canadian-side of Niagara Falls off-the-beaten path and away from the touristy downtown? About fifteen minutes north along the Niagara River is the Niagara Whirlpool.

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

The natural whirlpool sits along the U.S.-Canadian border within the Niagara Gorge and is home to multiple surrounding parks and excursion opportunities. One such activity is the Whirlpool Aero Car.

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Head across the whirlpool, turquoise water and gorge and back in an antique cable car suspended by six cables. The ride is approximate one kilometer, about twenty minutes long and you’ll be hundreds of feet up in the air.

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Look straight ahead to see the beauty and shoreline of the Niagara River as it enters and exits the gorge. Before the return portion of the trip begins, you will suspended for a bit.

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Glance down to see the natural phenomenon that was formed thousands of years ago. You might catch a jet boat or two taking people on a different excursion to get up close and personal.

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

The Whirlpool Aero Car is open mid-April through mid-November and is easily accessible via the Green Line on the WEGO bus system from the Falls. Parking is free.

Cost wise it is currently $13.95 for an adult, $9.10 for children, but you can get it for cheaper if your riding as part of the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Nature.

Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car adventure, Ontario, Canada

Riding the Whirlpool Aero Car in Niagara Falls was a scenic and breathe-taking way to spend the afternoon. It is a recommended stop when in the area.

What other excursion opportunities would you suggest around Niagara Falls on either side of the border?

#ExploreTheElements: A Photo Challenge.

It had been awhile since I took part in a travel photo contest, so my face it up when Francesca of Working Mom Travels nominated me to take part in the Thomas Cook Explore the Elements photoblogging competition. Thank you! :)

I have to choose photos, one that represents each of the four natural elements of earth, water, fire and air.

If my photo wins any of the four categories I will receive either a MacBook Air, a Fujifilm X-T1 camera or an iPhone 6 with Bose noise cancelling headphones. There will be a best photo chosen between all of the categories, with the winner receiving a £5,000 travel fund.

Well without further ado my choices with a New Zealand twist:

Earth

Represents the hard, solid objects of the earth. Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness, physicality and gravity.

Explore the Elements - Earth - New Zealand

Kia Trail, Mount Cook Village area, New Zealand

Walking or hiking on the Kia Trail, you just want to stop and stare at the scenery in front of you, in awe of all the natural beauty that exists on this Earth.

Water

Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world. Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism.

Explore the Elements - Water - New Zealand

Owharoa Falls, New Zealand

There is something about water and relaxation. Watching water flow from one spot to the next no matter the sound, puts the mind at ease, even in the case of a waterfall.

Fire

Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world. Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit.

Explore the Elements - Fire - New Zealand

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua, New Zealand

A natural hot thermal pool, like at Kerosene Creek, can get hot in a hurry like a fire, depending on whether it’s raining a lot or not.

Air

Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom.

Explore the Elements - Air - New Zealand

Piha, New Zealand

Being up-top somewhere, like here overlooking Piha Beach, leads to lots of air between you and the ground straight ahead.

As part of the challenge, I need to nominate five other travel bloggers to take part. Below are some great travelers whom I invite to share their photos representing each of the four natural elements.

Anis of Five Foot Traveller
Amanda of UnrestingSea
Cheryl of CherylHoward.com
Holly of Holly Dayz Travel
Arnette of Round The World Girl

Road Tripping the SoCal PCH Around Malibu.

Are you around Los Angeles, looking for a quick road trip option to get a feel for what the Pacific coastline has to offer? The roughly forty mile stretch that starts in Santa Monica, goes through Malibu and ends at Point Mugu offers the road tripper a taste of that beauty and a lot more.

You can easily hop onto the PCH (also known as the Pacific Coast Highway and California State Route 1) either directly off westbound Interstate 10 or anywhere along Santa Monica State Beach.

California Road Trip - PCH - Santa Monica

As you head west you’ll pass by numerous vista and other random stopping points where you can soak in the coastline, walk the beaches and take one photo friendly shot after another. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

California Road Trip - PCH - Malibu

After checking out the beautiful SoCal Pacific coastline, stick around for sunset and you might run into a scene like in Photo of the Week: A SoCal PCH Sunset.

Returning to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

When I think back to my child years, one of my favorite places to go in the summer was the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California. Sitting alongside Monterey Bay, it is the states oldest amusement park, providing fun for families and people of all ages since 1907.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, California, Monterey Bay

The Boardwalk is free to walk around to soak in the atmosphere whether the park is open or closed. If you don’t have much time, you can purchase a ticket for just an individual ride. The ride to go on is the Giant Dipper. It is one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the world running since 1924 and recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

dwalk, California, Monterey Bay

dwalk, California, Monterey Bay

My feet as a child always gravitated to the Sky Glider and Logger’s Revenge. Beautiful panoramic views of the park, ocean and surrounding area await up-top the glider. Nothing like cooling down to a big splash on a warm summer day on a log ride.

dwalk, California, Monterey Bay

dwalk, California, Monterey Bay

dwalk, California, Monterey Bay

dwalk, California, Monterey Bay

The Casino Arcade alongside the amusement park contains hundreds of video games, new and old school. You’ll find plenty of spots outside to enjoy the carnival food of the boardwalk or have a picnic.

dwalk, California, Monterey Bay

Lots of beach awaits to soak in some sun and/or go for a dip. Straight ahead is…

dwalk, California, Monterey Bay

the Santa Cruz Wharf where you will find shops, souvenirs, seafood opportunities and you might even spot a sea lion or two.

dwalk, California, Monterey Bay

While walking down the wharf, look back to get beautiful views of the beach, palm trees and the half-mile long boardwalk. I got goosebumps returning to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Hope to relive more fun memories and make new ones there again soon.

dwalk, California, Monterey Bay

dwalk, California, Monterey Bay

Ten Ideas for taking San Francisco By Foot.

San Francisco is known as one of the more walkable cities in the US. Where ever your shoes take you there is bound to be natural beauty in all directions. Having spent a lot of time walking in The City by the Bay over the years, below are ten ideas for taking San Francisco by foot.

Walk the Golden Gate Bridge. Gravitate to where ten million other walkers, runners, tourists and cyclists go every year and head out onto the open International Orange painted bridge. Foggy or sunny, dawn or dusk, the half-plus mile journey one-way will be a bucket list type experience. If you are there on a sunny day, breathtaking San Francisco skyline and bay views await.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Just beyond the Golden Gate, walk Marin Headlands.. I know technically it’s not San Francisco, but the views of the city and beyond make this a journey worth taking up in the hills. Walk from vista point to vista point. On the nearby trail within the headlands, head out onto the open, steep path towards the still active lighthouse, where the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean come together. Wild landscape awaits.

Marin Headlands, Sausalito, California

Walk an off-the-beaten path neighborhood. Tourists flock to Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown, but places like Inner Sunset continue to be off the radar for non-locals. While roaming head into places like the 22nd & Irving produce and vegetable market. You’ll get a feel for what real life is like in the city and off the tourist track.

Walk up-and-down the Tiled Steps. Continuing on in the Inner Sunset neighborhood and visit the hidden gem, The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project. Walk up and down the 163-step staircase, where each step is mosaic masterpiece created by locals. Grand View Park sits up-top and views of the Sunset District and straight out to the Pacific are in view as you head down. If you’re a runner it’s a great place to test your endurance, as many people will probably go flying up-and-down the stairs as you’re visiting.

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, San Francisco

Walk through and around the Ferry Building. Head to the plaza in the back to check out the bay, watch ferries come-and-go and if you like to people watch. Locals use the ferries to get to-and-from work at rush hour times. Inside shop the marketplace. After walking for a while dine at the numerous cafes and restaurants. Recommended stops are Blue Bottle, Pepples Donuts and Far West Fungi. Three days a week your feet can take you through a local farmers market.

Walk up to the top of Terminal Hill via the Filbert and Greenwich Steps. Checkout the homes, gardens and greenery as you’re moving along. Once up-top head to the top of Coit Tower to get panoramic, 360 degree views of the city. Rest up and hang out on the grass just behind the tower.

Walk/hike the California Coastal Trail.. Looking for a longer, half-day adventure? Start out anywhere along Ocean Beach with the Pacific Ocean in full view. Walk/hike the 8+ mile trails passing by Point Lobos, Baker Beach and countless park benches and vista points. Lots of stairs, landmarks, hidden gems and the Golden Gate Bridge at the end of your journey awaits. Lands End is a recommended spot to relax and soak in all the views.

Lands End, San Francisco, California, Golden Gate Bridge

Walk Lombard Street, don’t drive down the famous curved road. As you’re heading down or climbing up the famous red bricked road, closely check out the colorful Victoria mansions that line the street. Also capture the beautiful flowers all around and the skyline opportunities that await around the middle. As with most things on this list and in travel, you gain a greater appreciation and see a place more in-depth on foot then you could ever do so in the car.

Lombard Street, San Francisco skyline, California

Walk the Hayes Valley neighborhood with a coffee in hand.. Of course I’m going to work coffee into the list. :) Within Hayes Valley, grab a shot of espresso at the outside Blue Bottle Kiosk and/or a pour over at the Ritual Coffee shipping container and walk the boutique style, tree-lined neighborhood streets. You’re bound to get lost in the moment, getting the feeling of being in a completely different town.

Walk into The Buena Vista. After all that walking outside, walk into the home of the original Irish coffee to unwind. Make sure to grab a seat at the bar so you can see the magic happen. Watch the white-coated bartender’s line up glasses on the bar and make what it seems like dozens of Irish coffees at once. There is latte art, and then there is the art of an Irish coffee!

What other places and neighborhoods in San Francisco would you recommend checking out on foot?

An Ohio and Midwest Winter Scene.

A few months back I captured the Autumn colors of Findlay and Hancock County right in the heart of Ohio and the Midwest. This past weekend it was time to capture some of the snow and winter scene. It might not be as colorful, but it is just as beautiful.

Downtown Findlay, Ohio, winter

Main Street, Downtown Findlay, Ohio

Findlay Reservoir, Ohio, winter

Romantic park bench enjoying the Findlay Reservoir scene.

Findlay Reservoir, Ohio, winter

Out on the open wintry trail along the Findlay Reservoir.

Findlay Reservoir, Ohio, winter

Romantic park bench enjoying the Findlay Reservoir scene.

Findlay Reservoir, Ohio, winter

Romantic park bench enjoying the Findlay Reservoir scene.

Findlay Reservoir, Ohio, winter

Out on the open wintry Ohio country road.

Hancock County, Findlay, Ohio, winter road trip

Out on the open road between Findlay and Tiffin, Ohio.

Hancock County, Findlay, Ohio, winter road trip

Out on the Ohio open road!

Findlay, Ohio, winter, Blanchard River, Riverside Park

The Blanchard River in Riverside Park

Findlay, Ohio, winter, Blanchard River, Riverside Park

The Blanchard River in Riverside Park

Findlay, Ohio, winter, Blanchard River, Riverside Park

The Blanchard River in Riverside Park

Findlay, Ohio, winter, Blanchard River, Riverside Park

I’m not the only one enjoying winter in Findlay

Downtown Findlay, Ohio, winter

Park Bench overlooking the Hancock County Courthouse

Downtown Findlay, Ohio, winter

Fire hydrant enjoying the snow in Downtown Findlay

Litzenberg Memorial Woods, winter, Findlay, Ohio

The trails of Litzenberg Memorial Woods

Litzenberg Memorial Woods, winter, Findlay, Ohio

The trails of Litzenberg Memorial Woods

Litzenberg Memorial Woods, winter, Findlay, Ohio

The trails of Litzenberg Memorial Woods