Tuesday, August 29, 2017

When Traveling Don't Just be a Tourist


Dear Blog Followers,

Travel, but don't just be a tourist. 

The best places I have ever been were the places where I just lived as the locals did. You know, the stuff you do here: going to a grocery store, taking a long drive and wasting gas with no particular destination, eating at fast food restaurants, or taking walks around the neighborhood. Some of you might be judging me and thinking, why spend money or why waste your time to go somewhere else if you are just going to do the same at home?  It's just different. You stand out, the smells, the people, the language, the customs. It's all so different.

The best tip I could give about traveling is to get in touch with an organization or a company that you may be curious on how it's done abroad. When people ask me which countries I would go back to my mind goes back to the places I loved living a normal life or built relationships with.  

Here are my top countries in random order:


  • Ecuador
  • Spain
  • Thailand
  • South Africa


Why though? Because these are the countries that I was able to invest relationships and authentic experiences. 

The summer of 2014 my sister and I traveled throughout Europe and to this day I don't have a huge desire to go back. We were mainly tourist on that vacation. We saw a lot and checked off everything we wanted to see, but I wasn't too happy. It could have been a combination of being nervous to travel completely by ourselves, that my sister and I bickered for the majority of it (sorry Gaby), or the fact I was thinking of home rather than enjoying the destination that I was at. I was young and dumb and we  have to live and learn.

However, I would say I was most happy when I finally arrived in Spain. I have reflected and asked why and the answer is because I spent authentic time with my cousins,  ate were the locals ate, and just lived life. It breaks my heart to hear what happened to Barcelona recently, because that is one of my favorite cities that I was able to visit. 

I can't deny that tour groups are convenient and I also realize that not everyone has connections around the world.  I'll be the first to admit that I have played the tourist card. All I'm saying that from my personal experience I have had more fun when I don't. I encourage you the next time you go somewhere, call up a local orphanage, school, health facility, and just see how life is different or maybe the same. If you think that you have to get special permission or authorization to do a short term visitation, well maybe you haven't traveled far enough, because there are many places in developing countries that I have been too that just would love the help :) 

Tell me blog followers, where have you traveled to and what tips can you share about being more than just a tourist?

These are the things I had to say.
#DreaSaidIt

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/p-442942/?no_redirect

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Maui-My experience, tips, and pictures

Hey Blog Followers,

Recently I took a trip to Maui with one of my best friends, Brenna. The trip was booked through Costco and I highly recommend it if you are lazy like me and just want easy. We stayed at the Whaler Village, which felt like a mix of condo and hotel living. We were walking distance to restaurants and the beach was right in front of us. Also, the location was convenient for driving to all the places we wanted to see. The rental car was part of the deal too. Talking about my whole Maui experience would take a very long time, so I decided to break it up into 3 parts with the points that I really wanted to share.

The road to Hana
First let me start off by suggesting to download the app "GyPsy Guide-Road to Hana." They have other destinations that you can also purchase. The app does cost $4.99 on iTunes, but it is way cheaper than a tour and plus it gave me the confidence to drive the road the whole way. It didn't eat up my data and it would tell me places to stop, including restroom places. 

The road to Hana is a journey worth doing at least once. It is an all day thing where you will need to get up early and come back for a later dinner. 

Tips: 
  • Appreciate the details that you see on plants, clouds, the different colors of the water, the roughness or calmness of the waves. 
  • Bring snacks with you.
  • Have a music play list ready to go.
Eucalyptus-Look closely to see the natural colors of the trunks.
Beautiful flower
Punaluu-Black Sand Beach

Upper Waikani Falls
  

Holding black sand

 

Nakalele Blowhole Adventure
On one of the days that we were in Maui we went to Nakalele to find the blowhole. Unfortunately, we went a little too early that we weren't able to actually see the blowhole. However, we still got to appreciate the view and even found the rock with a heart in it. 

Tips:

  • Enjoy the road getting there.
  • Stop at a food truck and pick up a snow cone or coconut gelato to enjoy the view. 
  • If you find a parking spot, go swimming at the bay (the picture with the boats).



 

 

 

Haleakala-crater sunrise:
This one we did pay for the tour and it was worth it. They came and picked us up at the hotel at 2am and we stood in our spot at 4:30am to see the sunrise at 5:30am. I have to admit that we it was very cold up there, which they gave us wind breaker jackets and pants and I think I napped that day for a couple hours. All worth it though! Part of the tour was that we were able to bike down a 20+mile road and had lots of fun. 

Tips:

  • Bring warm clothes and dress in layers.
  • Get their early.  I thought 4:30am was a little ridiculous, but we got front row views with not worrying about people standing in front of us. 
  • Offer to take other people's pictures and they might take yours too. 



Maui truly was one of the top places I have been too. So much to do and see whether you make it a short or long trip. I hope you get a chance to get there too.

If you made it to the end of this post, then you are one of the first ones to know where I'll be traveling next month! I'll be in Thailand with my niece. We will be volunteering and traveling, so be sure to look out for that vlog/blog when it comes out. Let me know blog followers about your Maui experience or your travel plans! 


These are things I had to say.

-Drea