Tag Archives: wanderlust

My Little Man is Starting to Experience the World

This is the first Spring and summer season where our little man is actively walking, running and wanting to be outside constantly. He also says “car ride, car ride” because he knows it probably will lead to somewhere new and fun.

Family travel time! My little man experiencing his first airport and flight.

My little man experiencing his first airport and flight.

Lots of family travel and fun has been had in the last few months. Our little man seems to be taking in something for the first time every day. He has experienced his first ocean and true beach, carnival, parade, water park, fruit farm picking, flight, museum and more just to name a few things. I know I am forgetting a lot. Per usual I will let the pictures do most of the talking.

My little man loves wide open spaces. In Punta Gorda, Florida.

My little man loves wide open spaces. More running and me chasing opportunities.

Kid travel! My little man getting his first taste of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico (ocean).

My little man getting his first taste of the Gulf of Mexico and ocean.

My little man and his first pool experience.

My little man and his first pool experience.

Kid travel. My little man and his first hands-on museum in Florida.

My little man and his first hands-on museum in Florida.

My little man will make music sounds every chance he gets.

My little man will make music sounds every chance he gets.

My little mans first carnival ride.

My little mans first carnival ride. He wanted to keep going-and-going ha!

My little man at the water park.

He was hesitant at first. Now every time we get in the car he asks if we are going to the water park.

Seeing him smile and his face light up as he takes in something new is the best feeling in the world as a parent. Family travel is exciting for us too because we are going to a lot of places we wouldn’t normally if it was just us. It’s cool seeing how he reacts to things, learning about what he likes and doesn’t.

My little man experiencing his first fruit farm and blueberry picking experience. Family fun at its best.

My little man experiencing his first fruit farm and blueberry picking experience.

My little man is experiencing true Pure Michigan summer and family travel every weekend

My little man is taking in true Pure Michigan summer fun every weekend.

My little man just wants to explore and see what lies ahead.

My little man just wants to explore and see what lies ahead in Ft. Myers, Florida. Heart this!

My little man being curious.

My little man being curious at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

I love seeing my little man start to discover everything Pure Michigan, Florida and the world has to offer. Can’t wait to see what’s next! #prouddaddy

Continuing on the Southwest Florida Scenic Flight Tour

In a recent post I shared the beginnings of my private Southwest Florida Scenic Flight Tour. Starting in Punta Gorda, I highlighted the trip down to Sanibel Island and then as we headed back up the coast to Boca Grande.

Matlacha, Florida, Pine Island beyond

Matlacha Island, sitting between Pine Island and the Florida mainland.

Continuing on the rest of the flight took us from the top of Boca Grande and Gasparilla Island up to Manasota Key and Englewood Beach. We then turned inland going over Port Charlotte, spending some time flying around Charlotte Harbor and the heart of Punta Gorda before heading in. The beautiful blue skies and water continued for the rest of the tour.

It’s time to let the photos and their captions tell the rest of the Southwest Florida scenic flight tour story. Well without further ado.

Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Florida

Approaching Boca Grande at the top of Gasparilla Island in Florida.

The residential community of Boca Grande is surrounded by the colorful Gulf of Mexico and Gasparilla Sound waters.

Boca Grande Swing Bridge, Placida, Florida

You take the Boca Grande Swing Bridge from Placida and Charlotte County to get to the coast.

Don Pedro Island and State Park, Manasota Key, Englewood Beach in Southwest Florida

Don Pedro Island and State Park, Manasota Key and Englewood Beach straight ahead!

Placida Harbor, Placida, Florida

Rambler Hole and Placida Harbor. Placida, Florida sits off to the left.

Don Pedro Island State Park, Florida

Don Pedro Island State Park in Southwest Florida. That turquoise Gulf of Mexico water!

Gulf of Mexico beaches, Southwest Florida

Zooming in on the beachfront of Don Pedro Island. Amazing the difference in water color between the two sides.

Southwest Florida

Heading inland. Looking back to the south at Boca Grande, Coyo Costa and beyond.

My wife went up separately on a similar tour and snapped this beauty capturing all of Captiva Island amongst the turquoise Gulf of Mexico waters. I had to share it. 🌴☼

Captiva Island, Florida

Bonus shot. Wife captured all of Captiva perfectly on another flight the same day. Sanibel Island sits opposite the bridge and to the south.

South Gulf Cove, Port Charlotte, Florida

Over South Gulf Cove in Port Charlotte. Lots of vacant lots.

Charlotte Harbor, Florida

Just past Port Charlotte and over Charlotte Harbor.

Charlotte Harbor, Florida

Flying high over Charlotte Harbor. What a picturesque day for a flight.

Punta Gorda, Florida

Punta Gorda here we come! You can see the Charlotte Harbor Bridge that takes you over to Port Charlotte.

Laishley Park Municipal Marina, Punta Gorda, Florida

Laishley Park Municipal Marina front-and-center.

Downtown Punta Gorda, Florida

Fun seeing all the places that I have spent time in on the ground. Laishley Crab House is recommended.

Fisherman's Village, Punta Gorda

Fisherman’s Village. Waterfront shopping, outdoor dining and fun awaits on the little blue pier sticking out.

Downtown Punta Gorda, Florida

The heart of Downtown Punta Gorda.

Punta Gorda in Southwest Florida

Punta Gorda and the surrounding area.

I-75 cloverlead interchange in Southwest Florida.

An I-75 Cloverleaf interchange in Southwest Florida. Used to being on this interstate a lot further north.

Punta Gorda, Florida

Looking back at Punta Gorda and the heart of Charlotte County in Florida.

Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), Florida

Punta Gorda Airport here we come!

Upon landing at Punta Gorda Airport we taxied back to the hanger at which time my feet were back touching the ground. Being nervous beforehand, with the hour plus tour now over, I kind of wished I was still back up in the air. Southwest Florida is beautiful.

Selfie from hanger at Punta Gorda Airport, Florida

Back in the hanger at Punta Gorda Airport. I had an amazing flight and Florida experience.

The pilot did a great job showcasing what this part of the state has to offer. Being a small-plane first timer, I was amazed by how much has to take place pre- and post-flight as well as up in the air to keep everything going.

With one small airplane ride now in the books, I hope to see more scenic views this way again soon.

Have you ever been on a scenic flight tour? In Florida?

A Couple Dozen Random & Fun Facts About Me

Hello friends and followers! Recently reading some random and fun fact posts from other travel bloggers, I’d thought it would be cool to share some random and fun facts about me. I write mostly about travel and coffee as many of you know, which is highlighted of course some below. The goal though is to also show who I am outside of this blog. Well without further ado.

  1. I like to cook. Stuffed peppers, Filipino corned beef hash, sweet fried rice, bacon wrapped anything on the grill and no bake cool-whip pumpkin pie are just a few of my favorite things to make.
  2. Random and fun facts about me, grilling wrapping everything in bacon
  3. My favorite vegetable is the onion. I cry some when cutting them up. It’s because they are so beautiful.
  4. My favorite ice cream flavor would be cookies and cream (wait not coffee!).
  5. My favorite drink has varied from time-to-time. Right now I’d say a basic whiskey and coke, preferably made with Canadian Club.
  6. Ok I’ll admit I enjoy the colorful, fruity, good-looking cocktails you find at bars as well. A pumpkin spiced martini? You bet.
  7. Growing I was hooked to the Sci-Fi television show, Sliders.
  8. I listen to a lot of Metallica. Of course that would be prominent on a road trip playlist.
  9. My favorite color is blue.
  10. About me elATLboy - along blue Lake Michigan with blue skies above
  11. Got to pay the bills right? By day I am in the IT, web development and e-commerce world. When I’m working at the coffee shop, it’s not all photo processing and trip daydreaming. I’m working on WordPress, PHP and solving computer issues.
  12. I love, love, love coffee even more than I let on. I probably drink too much of it on a daily basis.
  13. I have a little toddler running around at home who is my favorite person in the whole world, along with the love of my life. I can’t wait to take him on the road with me. The coffee will have to wait haha.
  14. Random and fun facts about me, my little man
  15. It’s PC with me not Apple, Samsung Galaxy not the iPhone.
  16. Before the Internet became a thing I got excited as a kid every week waiting for that next addition of Sports Illustrated to come in the mail.
  17. I wanted to be weatherman growing up. My favorite TV channel is the Weather Channel which is what you will find on in the morning as I am having my first coffee.
  18. Favorite place I have been to -> New Zealand. Need I say more?!
  19. I have one younger brother who experiences New Zealand every day, as he lives there full-time.
  20. I was extremely shy as a kid. I’ve become more extroverted as an adult. You’ll even find me mingling with sheep.
  21. About Me elATLboy, mingling with sheep in New Zealand
  22. My favorite cities are Atlanta (hence the ATL part in my name), San Francisco and Chicago.
  23. ATL is in the name, but I spend the majority of my time now in Michigan. I return to Atlanta as often as I can.
  24. I love pizza. I could eat it every day. The more toppings the better!
  25. My favorite movie(s) is The Back to the Future trilogy.
  26. I love being on the road, but what makes for a great evening now days is lying low and spending it with my family.
  27. What’s at the top of the travel bucket list? I’d say Seattle. Why? One publication says they have 1,692 coffee shops. I’d try to explore them all!
  28. Since I was a kid, the Denver Broncos have been my favorite professional sports team. I grew up idiolizing John Elway and have travelled to see them play in several stadiums.
  29. About Me elATLboy - watching the Denver Broncos play the Detroit Lions at Ford Field

I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better.


An Updated Travel (and Coffee) Bucket List

It’s been over four years since I made my first travel bucket list. Boy does time fly. Alaskan Cruise done. Small-town holiday carriage ride check. Driving all of the Great Lakes Circle tours to completion, off to a great start. Besides that though I have not had the chance to do anything else on the list.

That isn’t to say I haven’t done anything. The last four years have been great. Lots of travel yes, but I have also gotten married, purchased a home and recently our first child was welcomed into the world. More on that wonderful addition in an upcoming post. 🙂 I have also become obsessed in a good way with a thing called coffee and I now look at the coffee shop as second home.

Keeping all that in mind my priorities have changed. While the things at the top of my original travel bucket list will stay, this edition will feature more items close to the homestead, a lot involving coffee and also ones related to family and kid travel. As with any list like this it is always a work in progress.

Travel bucket list, coffee bucket list, Michigan bucket list

Well as I like to say, without further ado:

  1. Visit places significant to my family history, local and far.
  2. Take my boy on our first father-son coffee outing. That will be the first item that gets crossed off. Down the road, have our first father-son day road trip.
  3. Experience every new independent coffee shop that opens, soon after opening within an hours drive from home. Sorry no chains.
  4. Visit coffee hotbeds in the states that I have yet to dive into specifically Seattle and Portland. Northwest coffee trip anyone? Could throw Vancouver in there too.
  5. Really dive into Ann Arbor and Detroit, exploring the hidden, unknown gems outside of the tourist trap type places.
  6. Hawaii and the North Shore. Watched the short-lived FOX show North Shore a while back and have been clamouring for a visit there ever since.
  7. Complete all the Great Lakes circle tours and checkout every lighthouse along the way.
  8. Drive from Miami through the Florida Keys to Key West.
  9. Consume a bowl of New England Clam Chowder from as many locales in Cape Cod as possible as an adult. A favorite childhood memory with my dad. One I hope to share with my son one day. It would be just us two, my wife is not a fan of the chowder haha.
  10. Kayak to Turnip Rock in the thumb of Michigan.
  11. Hang out along and explore the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
  12. Explore the coffee scene internationally, specifically London and Wellington.
  13. Attend a Denver Broncos home game with my son (my favorite professional sports team). I’ve been to a lot of Bronco road games but never set foot in Mile High Stadium, now Sports Authority Field at Mile High. This is bucket list item #1.
  14. Go winery hopping with the wifey on the west side of Michigan or up by Traverse City.
  15. Have an Irish coffee in a small-town in Ireland on a cool morning day.
  16. Take a hot air balloon ride in San Francisco, Napa Valley and Sonoma with my wife. Winery hop.
  17. Have gained on this some. Capture pictures of all 50 welcome-to United States state signs. Rats, would be a lot further along on this if I took pictures as a kid haha.
  18. Visit a coffee plantation, where the magic all begins.
  19. Watch a barista competition up close.
  20. Walk the Santa Cruz boardwalk in California holding my wife’s hand on one side and my sons on the other.
  21. Spend a weekend at Mackinac Island in Michigan. Can’t believe I have never been there.
  22. Complete or at least attempt a food challenge seen on Man v. Food Nation.
  23. Drive the Tunnel of Trees in northern Michigan in Autumn.
  24. Enjoy a family, fun-filled weekend on the Lake Michigan beaches in Michigan.
  25. Spend a day at an independent coffee shop, side-by-side with a barista(s) learning the ins-and-outs of coffee-making.
  26. Return to Disneyland, Disney World and other theme parks this time with my wife and the little one in hand.
  27. Experience a lot more of what New Zealand has to offer, starting with Wellington.
  28. A general item, go up-top the tallest buildings in as many big cities as possible to capture the views from above.

That is my updated travel (and coffee) bucket list. Hope to see you all “Out on the open road”. 🙂

What are some new additions to your travel bucket list that were not on the first edition?

New Zealand’s Lake Hawea in Pictures.

I’ve written about New Zealand. I’ve talked about my wanderlust. If you were to combine the two, the spot that brings out the wanderlust in me in NZ is Lake Hawea on the South Island.

This glacial lake just outside Wanaka is a deep blue and crystal in color and mountains serve as its backdrop. It makes for a scenic day trip from Wanaka and Queenstown with plenty of outdoor fun options.

I thought I’d share some larger versions of photos I took and used in my original Lake Hawea post from a few years back, plus some additional ones. I took them at the Lookout Point! on State Highway 6 along the western shoreline.

Lake Hawea, South Island, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, South Island, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, South Island, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, South Island, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, South Island, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, South Island, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, South Island, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, South Island, New Zealand, elatlboy selfie, The Adventures of elATLboy

Do you have a spot in New Zealand or anywhere else that takes your wanderlust to the next level?