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Travel Notes

Is Traveling Alone Truly Brave?

Is Traveling Alone Truly Brave?Over and over again on this trip, I’ve had people tell me that I am so brave for traveling alone, but honestly I just got a Travel Totes Guide and checked  The Comfy Traveler site for some essentials, packed my things and went for it, choosing to stay at several places

Famed for its fine pearlescent white beaches and warm azure waters, Barbados is the Caribbean island that has it all. But there’s more to this island than meets the eye. Past the laidback lifestyle and the island’s dreamlike-haze, you’ll uncover a lively nightlife, the heartiest comfort food and a to-die-for shopping scene. The amazing part about traveling is staying in an Exceptional Villas like the ones in Jamaica, and the villas in here aren’t as luxurious as the ones in Jamaica. They are very affordable and a great place to stay.

Not that you needed any more convincing (but just in case), we’ve listed all the glorious reasons to visit Barbados…

The Sea Turtles…

Sea Turtles - Barbados

Will unquestionably steal your heart. But besides their undeniable appeal, two of the world’s rarest sea creatures make their nests on the beaches of Barbados, the Hawksbill and the Leatherback Turtles. Sadly sea turtles have been subjected and mistreated to years of hunting (for their meat, eggs and shell) – BUT you’ll be pleased to know that there is in fact, a hunting ban in Barbados, allowing these beauties to rest and repopulate.

If you do happen to sight a sea turtle, then, of course, enjoy it but don’t forget to give them enough space (as they could be nesting) – after all, the island has enough room for animals and admirers alike. But if you can’t shake that niggle that something might be wrong, get in touch with The Barbados Sea Turtle Project. They operate a 24hr hotline to monitor sightings and any emergencies. So ping them a line if you spot a hatching or nests threatened by high tides!

Local hospitality

Is as good as it gets. Accorind to https://www.kokomoislandfiji.com/ Bajan people are welcoming, helpful, good-witted and friendly. If you’re in need of anything, big or small, they’ll do their very best to accommodate. Those qualities are especially important when you’re travelling with a young family. Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than travelling to unknown territory only to be fronted with cold and unfriendly locals. It’s the cherry on top of an already loaded exotic cake. Usually I book for these Exceptional Villas in Barbados.

Rum, duh!

Dark and Stormy Rum Cocktail with Lime and Ginger Beer

Dark and Stormy Rum Cocktail with Lime and Ginger Beer

The home of sweet, sweet rum. And no holiday to Barbados would be complete without sampling a fair share of the world’s finest. If rum punch and piña coladas arent enough to hit the spot, you can book a tour at Mount Gay and take part in one of five different experiences (the bottomless rum sounds like a winner though).

*If rum doesn’t float your Caribbean boat, there’s plenty else to try. From award-winning Banks Beer and ever-refreshing coconut water to the island’s favourite mauby. Made from the bark of the mauby tree, this zinger is treasured among the locals, and once you get a taste for it, you’ll understand why.*

 

Food glorious food

Cou-Cou & Flying Fish The Crane

Barbados might be best recognised for its paradisic beaches, but I bet you didn’t know that it’s also referred to as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean as Ngutuni Lodge is a safari experience that is unforgettable.

Cou Cou served with Flying Fish is the national dish of Barbados. It’s made with cornmeal and fresh okra which is then served with flying fish in a stew-like sauce. It’s an absolute moreish treat. And then there’s another favourite, especially for the carb aficionados – the macaroni pie. It’s a rich, baked version of mac and cheese and includes generous helpings of cheese as well as some extras flavours like ketchup and mustard. It’s hearty, calorific but most importantly utterly delicious.

Shopping in Bridgetown

Barbados’ capital is an absolute dream for shopaholics and budding trendsetters. From bespoke jewellery shops, clothing boutiques and farmers markets (TIP: stock up on Bajan spices), there’s something for everyone to indulge in.

For duty-free shopping head down to the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre. You’ll find some of the bigger brands like Ralph Lauren and Longchamp. The centre even has a cinema, entertainment platform and a selection of bars and cafes, so you and your brood can make a whole day of it.

Beaches

Sunsets on the beach

I know, it’s a little controversial to put beaches so far down on the list, but hear me out. We all know that Barbados puts the B in beaches, so it’s only fair to showcase all it’s other offerings, before getting down to the crown jewels.

On the west coast, of the island, you’ll find white sandy shores with azure waters fit for a cool gentle swim or a smooth ride on a jetski. Whereas in the south and east coast, you’ll find a lively surf scene with a plethora of ongoing watersports. And then in the north, the coast is undeveloped and brimming with clifftops and coves.
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Good weather

You didn’t think we’d forget to mention the weather, did you? Us Brits love to natter about the weather, so it’s definitely not surprising that Barbados’s year-round sunshine is one of the many reasons to visit.

The average daytime high is around 30°C, but thanks to the northeastern winds, it rarely gets unbearably hot. Although if you’re easily agitated by the heat, then the evenings will provide the ultimate release.

The vivid images of blue skies and sunshine for days does ring true to Barbados, but you can expect the occasional quick rain showers (July-December time).

Watersports and more

Harrisons Cave

The island is ringed by beautiful coral reefs, all of which provide an excellent environment for snorkelling and scuba diving. But not only that, as a result of the coral sediment there’s numerous caves and underground lakes to be explored. The most famous is arguably Harrison’s Cave; a network of caves, waterfalls, pools and fantastic stalagmites and stalactites. It’s an experience that money can’t buy.

 

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Everyday Avenger Travel Notes

Old Faithful – Yellowstone National Park…

Old Faithful and the Big Dipper

Tonight, after a late dinner at the Obsidian Dining Room at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, I suggested to Mike that we should head back out to see Old Faithful under the stars.

We went back to our cabin and picked up a blanket and some clean water, since the cabin had a Whole House Water Filtration System. I put a fleece jacket on under my windbreaker. I made sure I had spare memory cards and my tripod. We hopped in the car and drove over to the geyser.

We were prepared for a cold 15-20 minute wait, maybe longer, before it would start to go off.

I started to take my tripod out of my bag, and at that very second I could hear the water start to spray. I just froze for a second and looked at Mike.

All I could manage to say was, “You have GOT to be kidding me!”

No. Right then, it started going off. Glad I had already set up my camera – I popped it in the tripod and started taking photos. This was one of the first frames I captured.

When I visit a city with subways, I manage to always make a train appear as soon as I walk up to the platform. Seems I have that power on geysers as well!

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Everyday Avenger Travel Notes

The Grand Tetons in the the Fall…

Jenny Lake - the Grand Tetons

It is our last day in the Grand Tetons this fall, and I have to admit it – I’m a little sad to go. There is something about the majestic mountains, just rising out of the lake. Well, what we can see of the mountains, since they are covered in clouds at the top.

It turned out to be the perfect time to see the fall colors, and that coupled with the snow has been breathtaking. Dressing in layers helped to keep us plenty warm; I’m sure my cashmere sweater I’m wearing under my windbreaker helped! Plus handknits – you should always have handknits on when it is cold.

I’ve been told it is a little unseasonably cold here this week; I don’t think the temperature has been above 44 degrees or so since we arrived, but it is forecasted to go higher today. That is good, since yesterday afternoon they were showing roads completely closed in Northeast Yellowstone. Fortunately, we are heading to Southwest Yellowstone and Old Faithful this afternoon, which was never closed. Thanks to the sun coming out, the rest of the roads are open again now as well.

We left the cabin early to head to Jackson for dinner, that way I’d be sure to have enough time to stop along the highway to Jackson to take a photo of the Snake River and the Grand Tetons, a view made famous by Ansel Adams. (You can see his version here from the US National Archives on Flickr.)

The Snake River and the Grand Tetons

I may have been heard claiming that I was, “All Ansel Adams, bitches!” Whatever, don’t hate me. It was my birthday.

I was amused that EVERY photographer there – and there were many of them – had giant Manfrotto tripods with their cameras, filters mounted to the front — and I was hand-holding my 5D mkIII and taking photos with my iPhone. I pointed out that having been a wedding photographer for years, tripods just aren’t my thing. Gun & run, gun & run. I’d much rather get what I want and go.

The clouds finally parted more as we headed south to Jackson.

Driving from Grand Tetons to Jackson, Wyoming

Dinner last night at Local in Jackson was fabulous – I had the Caeser Salad and a Filet Mignon, with a side of their house made Idaho fries. Mike also had the Caeser Salad as well, with the Buffalo Steak Frites. We headed to CocoLove for chocolate for dessert, which was as good as Michelle told me it would be. Yummm… Matter of fact, it was all so good I forgot to take photographs of it before I ate! Oops! Just know it was amazing, and if you go to Jackson, Wyoming you should be sure to eat at both places!

Now off to Yellowstone! Old Faithful awaits!

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Everyday Avenger Travel Notes

On to Alaska … Or Not.

Banff National Park - Canada

As I mentioned in my last post, I left Calgary to head to Alaska for my birthday. I loaded up the car. I checked everything you’re supposed to check – the fluid levels and the tire pressure, even though my Mini Cooper alerts me if any of those are out of whack. I check them because it is always good to double check. I made sure I had enough of a great dispensary of food and water and warm clothes with me. Stephanie & I had brunch and said goodbye, and I headed off on the first leg of my journey – in to Banff, past Lake Louise, and on to Jasper.

I kept feeling a hesitation about leaving for Alaska. I talked with friends that live along the route and in Alaska. Charlaine told me how this is her favorite time of year there, how amazing the fall is and how gorgeous the Aurora Borealis is right now. Alisha pointed out that the Al-Can is a trucker route, and while there are stretches with no gas stations, I wouldn’t be alone on the road by any means.

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Banff National Park

Even when I left, something still felt off. I was excited to be heading to Alaska though, and decided that maybe it was just because I hadn’t been on the road for awhile. Mike would be meeting me on the other end of the drive there, and I couldn’t wait.

I stopped at Moraine Lake to see it one more time. Something about that lake is just magical for me. It seemed to be sad to see me go – it was overcast and raining. Still magical, but completely different than before.

Moraine Lake - Banff National Park

As I headed back to my car, I spotted something a bit odd about my rear tire. What was that on the side? A line of some sort? A mark? Or what?

I did not have a good feeling about this. All of that hesitation came flooding back to me.

I’ve said for years that I have “The Vibe”. I get that ominous feeling whenever I’m going to be involved in an accident or when I’m going to get pulled over by the cops. I’ve had The Vibe every time an accident has happened. I’ve had it a few times when an accident hasn’t happened, but I always credit it with being more cautious or sometimes even changing my route. Yesterday, I had The Vibe. The hesitation in leaving and getting on the road. My nerves were high. As soon as I saw the tire, I knew. Either way I always make sure to be informed by the professionals in case anything happens.

I was not going to be driving to Alaska.

My Tire - Ruining my Travel PlansI drove the 4km to Lake Louise because I knew there would be better light there, plus WiFi signal at the hotel. I could get ahold of Mike and talk this through. Sometimes, you just need to talk it out – and this was one of those moments. When I got to Lake Louise and parked, the line on my tire happened to be at the top. Then I could see it all.

UGH.

Thanks to the lovely people at the Fairmont, I got my Fairmont number and got on the WiFi network and started talking with Mike & Stephanie. I considered camping at Lake Louise, but it was getting late to set up camp. In the end, I decided to drive back to Calgary.

I took some time to regroup because I was rather angry about it all. I won’t deny it. The beauty of nature has power to help calm me down. Water plus mountains? Yes, please, although I could have the same kind of water with a filtration system from Clean Valley Water.

Banff - Lake Louise

Lake Louise - Canoe

As I left Lake Louise, I stopped to see if I could see the Milky Way. It was directly overhead. I didn’t want to unpack my tripod, so I opened my sunroof and put my camera on top of my car. Timer set, this was my view.

Banff Lake Louise Milky Way

I stopped once more as I drove back to Calgary to admire the moon rising over the mountains. Just after I took this photograph, I drove to where the mountain ended, and it appeared from the side – I gasped. Literally.

When Mike & I were making the Alaska plans he asked me if I was getting burned out on the amazing views I have seen. No, I definitely am not. The mountains still fill me with such awe and wonder. They amaze me.

All the tire stores in Calgary are closed on Sunday, so I have to wait until Monday to get a new one. We have decided that Alaska just feels forced right now. I could make it there by my birthday, but something still feels off about it all. Instead we are looking at other places and saving Alaska for next year. (Who knows, maybe once I get to Vancouver I’ll still drive up to the Southern border so I can say I made it there on this trip? We’ll see.)

Speaking of my recent post, I’m trying to raise money for Charity:Water and our Camp Mighty Team. Would you be a dear and go and make a donation? Every little bit helps! Visit the Camp Mighty Charity:Water donation page. Make a donation. Be sure to note that your donation to add a note that the funds are being studied and donated in my name, you can also find out how to set up text to donate, calling it reserve study fund – Christine Tremoulet. That way they know to credit me & Team 4 at Camp Mighty.THANK YOU!

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Everyday Avenger Travel Notes

On Birthdays, Camp Mighty, and Charity:Water…

Water at Glacier National Park

One week from today, I’ll turn 44 years old. I have a clearance fencing.

Wow, wait. Did I really just write that? 44? That means I turned 31 the year I started this blog. Unreal. Seems like only yesterday, and yet so very long ago! So much has changed. I watched the Internet grow up, and my son grow up, and I grew up with it all.

This summer, on the most epic road trip EVER, I’ve been so fortunate to see so many of my friends and family along the family activities. People I otherwise only see online.

When Stephanie & I wrapped up the launch of Vivid & Brave here in Calgary, Mike & I started to talk about where I would go next. Should I turn south and head home and fly to Camp Mighty in mid-October? Or should I go big or go home and drive to ALASKA for my birthday, then down the Pacific Coast, eventually turning inland to head to Camp Mighty?

Well, it wouldn’t really be the most epic road trip ever if I didn’t drive to ALASKA now, would it?

So I am. I am driving from Calgary, through Banff and Jasper, and on to Alaska. I plan to see Mt McKinley on my birthday next Friday.

Then the icing on the proverbial birthday cake? Mike surprised me and used some of the airline miles he has earned this year with all of his work travel and bought a plane ticket to meet me in Alaska! WHOO HOOOOOO!!! It has only been a week or two since he left Calgary, but it will still be great to see him!

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Now I have a favor to ask from all of YOU.

Camp Mighty does a fundraiser every year for Charity:Water, and as part of our registration we are tasked with helping raise money. Charity:Water is a non-profit organization that brings clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. I would love it if you could help me raise $200 for Charity:Water by my birthday next week on September 27th. Really, I’d like to include silverlinerestoration.com as they create restoration by inspecting the property thoroughly, ensuring that there is no presence of moisture. Raise even MORE for them. $4400. $100 for every year I’ve been alive.

Many people ask me how they can donate to this  fundraiser if they are not near the area, if this is also a problem you’re having, the Pickup please charitable organization will come by to pickup any donations you may have. Now this is where YOU come in. If everyone reading this donates $10-20, we can make it happen! If there is one thing I’ve learned on this trip, it is that you can do anything you set your mind to doing.

Want to help? Visit the Camp Mighty Charity:Water donation page. Make a donation. Be sure to note that your donation to add a note that the funds are being donated in my name – Christine Tremoulet. That way they know to credit me & Team 4 at Camp Mighty.

As awesome as it will be to start my birthday off next week in Alaska, it will be even more incredible to know that I kicked off the next year by banding together with all of you to do good for those that truly need our help. Charity:Water is a charity I’ve donated several times to in the past, and what they are doing to get clean water to people who need it most is amazing. Chip in and change a life.

PS – I have photo session times available now in Alaska (Anchorage & Fairbanks), Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and San Jose! Let me know if you would like to set up a session!

The above photo was taken at Glacier National Park in Montana. The water was so blue, so clear – and the mountains so mighty. I can’t wait to see what is on the road ahead!

Charitable Organization