Road Tripping Through Iceland Part II

DSC_0777

After two nights in the sweet little town of Vik, we thanked our host most graciously for her help, and within minutes of driving away from the coastal town, we left the rain and mist behind us and burst back into bright sunshine. Oh the joys of the open road!  Today we were off to see glacier lagoons, another national park and a river that tore down through a gorge in a valley called Fjathrarglijufur. As we drove, the landscape changed drastically and we suddenly found ourselves amid the largest lava field in the world!  Every which was you looked was a blanket of blackened, cooled lava, which was being taken over by bulbous green moss tufts, creating a strange spectacle. Continue reading

Road Tripping Through Iceland Part I

DSC_0299

Iceland was never originally on my radar- mostly because I thought it would be far too expensive. But it kept coming up again and again, and I couldn’t ignore the universe trying to send me a message. I was already in Europe, who knew when I would be back next… so why not? I looked at flights and while it was still an expensive flight, I had started dreaming about Iceland and knew I had to visit this place. I knew I made the right decision when my dear friend Emilee from back home in Canada messaged me to tell me her and another friend were heading to Iceland at the same time as me! That settled it. I booked my flights and made plans to meet the girls for an epic week long road trip through Iceland’s Ring Road. Emilee and Caitlyn had two weeks in Iceland, so we were going to start with the most exciting stuff in the South and work our way East then North, and then I would catch a bus from wherever we ended up after a week back to Reykjavik. Continue reading

Isle Of Skye, Land Of The Beautiful

DSC_0222

I left the enchanting city of Edinburgh to escape into the Northwestern side of Scotland and venture into the Isle’s, the area of Scotland that I was excited to see most. I had a Pinterest board filled with images from this fabled land and couldn’t wait to explore it for myself at long last! I spent most of the day on a bus, traveling straight North to Inverness where I transfered and took another bus along the edge of Loch Ness. I kept my eyes peeled out the bus windows, just in case I caught sight of the ever elusive and mythical Loch Ness monster! (Just in case you were unaware… loch simply means lake, and there are loads of them in Scotland!). Sadly, the beast never reared her head and I was left to ponder her existence. In the later afternoon I arrived at the Isle of Skye, which is connected to the mainland with one large bridge near the main town Portree, but can also be reached in the south by ferry.  Continue reading

Iguazu Falls

IMG_8635

I don’t think that words can really capture Igazua falls. Rather than attempt to capture that which cannot be, I figured I would just post a photo essay and urge you to visit this majestic place at some point in your life and travels. It’s one of those places in the world that will humble you, steal your breath and give you peace in return. It’s beautiful. Every fall, every mist, every cascade is a majesty. I was lucky enough to be able to sneak into the Brazilian side without paying (Canadian’s and American’s have to pay a huge fee to get into Brazil, even just to see the falls).  Thankfully border patrol was lax that day and bought our story of ‘we got lost!’. You can read about the adventure HERE in Laila’s blog! Continue reading

Salar Uyuni: The Bolivian Salt Flats

IMG_8512

I was awoken to the sun glinting through our bus window in the wee hours of the morning. It had been a rather fitful sleep, huddling together on the freezing cold bus, drifting in and out of the elusive world of slumber. The road was suddenly a mess of jarring bumps and as I looked out the window I noticed that we were no longer even on a real road; we were on a path through the desert floor. The bumps were from the sand having frozen and hardened in place. The Bolivian desert is a cold and cruel place come sunset, as we would soon find out on our three day tour through this incredible place. We bumped along, savouring the slight warmth the sun was passing through our windows as our breath misted in front of our faces. Continue reading

Surviving Death Road

IMG_8652

My body was beaten down. Sore, sick, battered, and utterly exhausted from multiple illnesses and five days trekking through the mountains, I desperately needed to recover. So far I had spent most of my time in South America being sick as a dog. Unfortunately the next stop on my list wasn’t exactly an easy place to travel. In fact, I’d say I was heading into the most unforgiving country yet: Bolivia. I stayed on one more day in Cusco because I was simply too sick to move, but I was still trying to catch up with Anthony so I couldn’t linger too long. With my purse full of drugs, water, kleenex and puke bags, Sally and I set off on an evening bus from Cusco to La Paz. I was feeling absolutely terrible and we were only going to be increasing in altitude as the bus chugged on. I was miserable and couldn’t sleep and waves of nausea over took me. Continue reading

A Journey Through The Salkantay Pass To Machu Picchu

IMG_8111

It was a long 18 hour bus ride through some hard terrain to reach the renowned city of Cusco.  The bus ride left Sally feeling awful; it was the high altitude and the tight corners that we zipped around at dizzying heights as the cliffs fell away below us. Sally had to close the blinds and force herself to not think about it as it was giving her some major anxiety. Eventually she dozed with the help of some sedatives, and I spent the whole evening trying my best to sleep and failing miserably as I always do on night bus rides. I listened to my music and only snagged about an hour of sleep around sunrise. We rolled into Cusco at 8am and stepped off the bus into a frigid morning, our breath misting heavily in front of our faces. Sally quite literally screamed as she desperately tried to layer on more clothing as quickly as possible.  Continue reading

Huacachina, A Peruvian Desert Oasis

IMG_7821

I had lingered too long in Montañita, cutting deeply into my time in Peru. Anthony was well ahead of me now- he ended up heading down to Lima to get the rabies vaccine as he found out the one in Ecuador isn’t reliable. I was hoping I would be able to catch up to him eventually, but I had to move fast. I bid a sad farewell to Montañita and hopped on the evening bus to Guayaquil. I had plans to jump on another bus right away to head straight down to Lima, a good 30+ hour trip. I got on the bus in Guayaquil after only an hour layover and was feeling awful. I didn’t like the bus, nor the energy around me and the idea of spending 30 hours on it made me anxious. Continue reading

That One Time I Went To The Galapagos Islands

DSCN2847

Bright and early, Anthony and I headed to the airport to make our way through the customs-like checkpoints for heading to the famous Galapagos Islands.  While we weren’t leaving the country, the islands are treated a bit like their own country, with their own set of very strict regulations to ensure the environmental integrity of the islands. Look for my upcoming blog post on how to do the Galapagos islands for under $1000.

We paid the $100 entrance fee, had our passports checked, our luggage raided (lost a bag of chia seeds in the process, darn!) and then boarded our plane with a load of other tourists all excited for the trip of a lifetime. It was an hour and 45 minute flight out over the Pacific ocean and as the first island came into view we all excitedly peered out the little oval windows for our first look at the Galapagos.  Continue reading

Back To Guatemala: Tikal Ruins

DSCN5853

My tuk tuk pitched out into traffic and jolted to a stop at the first set of lights. As it turned green, the motorcycle beside us lurched into a cat wheel, shooting ahead of us, the scooter next to him bolted after him, and our tuk tuk picked up the rear, gears grinding, engine struggling as it coughed to life and chugged through the intersection. Each gear shift was a screeching protest from the stressed engine. We puttered across the bridge and made our way from Santa Elena into the beautiful and quaint Flores. Cobblestone streets in abysmal disrepair took over for the pavement and we bumped our way along to my hostel, Los Amigos. Continue reading