But…Puerto Rico?

I did a thing over the long Fourth of July weekend; I set foot in the only one of the 50 states I hadn’t yet. Idaho!

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When my company sent me to Portland, Oregon for a conference earlier this year, I realized that only Idaho remained and I needed to seize the opportunity. Aside from the bizarre pleasure of conquering some arbitrary political boundaries, I was further motivated to make the trip because I had just finished a year long freelance project helping the lovely Deb Glaser develop her online course for reading teachers (it’s really cool – check it out!). Deb lives in Boise and we had never met in all that time. I thought I should pop on up and say hi. Continue reading →

Pools of Mud in San Jacinto, Nicaragua (May, 2008)

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While You Are There: Hang out in León for a few days, see the ruins, go to the beach, go sandboarding, and drink some rum. There’s no shortage of activities in this part of the country. León is easily my favorite place in Nicaragua (although Ometepe is pretty great too!) and this quote from Lonely Planet captures my feelings well:

Intensely political, buzzing with energy and, at times, drop-dead gorgeous (in a crumbling, colonial kind of way), León is what Managua should be – a city of awe-inspiring churches, fabulous art collections, stunning streetscapes, cosmopolitan eateries, fiery intellectualism, and all-week, walk-everywhere, happening nightlife. Many people fall in love with Granada, but most of them leave their heart in León.

Why It’s On My List: Because you feel like you are defying death when you go. You don’t know if the ground beneath your feet is suddenly going to collapse and send you plummeting into a scalding, muddy death. There aren’t exactly closed off, safe walkways like you find in such a place in the States. It’s also on my list simply because I had a great experience staying in León. I made some wonderful friends and the San Jacinto mud pools was one small day trip we took together in the car I had rented. Then we went to a little restaurant nearby and sipped cervezas in the Nicaragua heat. It was a good day.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

(Isla de) Ometepe, Nicaragua (July, 2008)

While You Are There: If you can arrange your trip while there is a festival going on in Altagracia, which we did unintentionally, stay there a night and enjoy it. Otherwise, hop on a long, slow bus ride to Merida and stay at the Hacienda Merida. They can arrange a bunch of activities for you or you can use the bicycles and explore on your own. The dinner buffet is tasty and provides an opportunity to swap stories with fellow travelers; however, food poisoning is possible. And because the rooms, including bathrooms, are open air, when a lot of people get food poisoning, the night air is filled with all sorts of special sounds that aren’t coming from wildlife or the ocean waves.

Why It’s On My List: It’s a “something for everyone” kind of place. If you are going to Nicaragua but don’t have much time to spend, you can go here to enjoy beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes, petroglyphs, and wildlife. Plus, you can take a ferry to get there.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Jeju and Seongsan Ilchulbong Crater, South Korea (August, 2002)

While You Are There: Hike in the crater and get drenched in sweat. That’s what I remember about it – the humidity inside. It’s its own microclimate. It’s a steamy tropical jungle. Clearly the volcano inside is not active, but it’s so hot that you get the sensation it might erupt at any moment. Or maybe I was just there on a really hot day. So, hike in the crater and then explore the rest of Jeju Island. Check out the bonsai and drive on Mysterious Road. See airplane hangers from World War II in the middle of the countryside. Walk around beautiful Jeju City and then head south to the beaches. But be forewarned, if you sleep on the beach you might get an early morning visit from the police (see picture above).

Why It’s On My List: Where else do you get to walk inside a volcano?

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Enchanting Rainforest Hideaway in Pāhoa, Hawaii (February, 2013)

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While You Are There: Relax! Not all trips are about what you can go see and do. If you went all the way to Big Island only to rent this place and never step foot outside it except to go to and from the airport, it would be worthwhile. This place is magical. That said, Big Island is wonderful! There is so much to do: Volcanoes National Park (during the day and at night) and the Kilauea Iki Trail, snorkeling and turtle watching at Honaunau Bay, Lava Tree State Monument, South Point Park (where I got hit by a huge wave and was almost swept out into the ocean), the coffee farms on the west side of the island, and seeing snow on Mauna Kea.

Why It’s On My List: This house is paradise. Enough said.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.