1 Backpack, 8 Months
Today's challenge: pack 1 backpack each for 8 months of travel. This is particularly difficult because we need to prepare for weather ranging from 30F to 95F and diverse destinations including mountains, beaches, safari and cosmopolitan cities. While Chris packed for this trip in about 10 minutes (it's so much easier for guys!) I have been thinking about it for a while and still have a lot to do. In fact, we leave in less than 3 days and I still need to do some shopping. Wish me luck!
cambridge has bloomed
We are so thankful for the beautiful spring weather that has descended upon Cambridge the last couple of days. With less than a week to go before our big trip, we have been able to enjoy Cambridge at the most beautiful time of year. We are really going to miss this place over the summer. Time to fire up the grill!
What to wear: Patagonia
Patagonia was one of our favorite destinations. We spent several days in picturesque El Calafate, Argentina and while this semi-arid mountain town is stunning, the weather is volatile and can be a little harsh - even in the summer. So when packing for your trip to Patagonia bring a lot of layers!
During the summer (Dec-Feb) temperatures can range from the 30sF to 70sF directly in the sun. El Calafate is very casual & outdoorsy so pack comfortable hiking clothes. One day we wore tank tops/short sleeves and pants at the base of Mt. Fitzroy, and then bundled up in fleeces, vests, scarves and hats as we hiked up the mountain. Make sure you bring gloves, sunglasses, a hat, a windbreaker and sunscreen for your face. Dinner is very casual and hiking shoes are common at most restaurants. Ladies, it's very windy here so bring something to hold your hair back, wear a hat/hood or put your hair in a braid.
Below is some packing inspiration for women. To read more about El Calafate visit our Argentina page.
If you plan on visiting Paris in the near future, we highly recommend staying at the Hotel Wilson Opera in Room 602 (or six cent deux in French). We really wanted to practice our French so upon arrival, we made the front desk promise not to give us our room key every night unless we asked for it in proper French. Therefore six cent deux is one of the only large numbers we know how to say in French. Hey, it's better than nothing:)
This little hotel is located in the 8th arrondisement right by the St. Lazare train station - a very central station that allows you to quickly connect to any part of the city. There is also a bike station right in front of the hotel where you can pick up and drop off bikes.
Room 602 had a private balcony with a fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower and a HUGE bathroom by Paris standards. Like most Parisian hotels, the room was small, but efficient. The bed faced the glass door to the terrace so you would wake up to a stunning view of this beautiful city. The staff here was kind and very patient with us as we tested our French. They served a nice breakfast in the morning where I discovered my love for banana jam & croissants.
Read more about our long weekend in Paris here.
Photos by Eva Barbier
The other day we received a message from our friends on vacation in Turkey: They just arrived on the Mediterranean coast. It was cold and cloudy in Boston and this message brought back warm memories of our trip to Turkey last summer.
We loved the Turquoise Coast - particularly the area around Kas. Not only is it naturally beautiful, but it's rich in history. Kaputaş Beach, Kekova Island & Simena were all highlights. Here we explored sunken ancient cities, floated in the calm sea, and enjoyed pebble beaches along the cliffs. Our time here was too short. If we were to visit again, we'd see Antalya and spend several days on a gulet (boat) touring the islands along the coast.
See the beauty of the Turquoise coast for yourself. Check out the pictures below, in our Turkey Gallery and read more about our trip to Kas here. If you go, let us know what you think!
All photos by Eva Barbier
leap of faith
Ever since college, we have taken several leaps of faith that have given us new perspectives and changed our lives. I studied in Spain where I discovered my love for travel and made a life-long best friend. After college, we moved to a city knowing no one but each other and left 5 years later with a group of amazing friends we consider our Chicago family. We have tried different roles in our careers which have challenged us and allowed us to learn while contributing to organizations we really believe in. Our careers have also brought us many unique experiences like dining with a US President, working in foreign markets like Brazil & Dubai, and even being challenged to a dance-off by Tracy Morgan at an Emmys after-party (he obviously won). Once we went really far beyond our comfort zone and swung over a giant canyon in New Zealand suspended from a cable car 525 feet in the air (see the video footage below). Some of our best memories have occurred one leap outside of our comfort zone.
In less than 2 weeks we'll be taking another leap of faith when we start our trip around the world. Our loose itinerary includes the following destinations:
May - Colombia, Peru, Puerto Rico
Early June- South Africa
Mid June-Mid Aug- Southern & Eastern Europe
Sept - Australia & Bali
Oct-Dec - Still TBD but will include some combination of the following contenders: Hong Kong, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia
Follow us on our adventure here and please send us any and all recommendations, tips, and feedback!
Here is the video of our last major leap - swinging over a canyon (fast forward to 1:40):
love that dirty water
We are still shocked by the tragedy that occurred at the Boston Marathon on Monday. While our family & friends were physically unharmed, we are all devastated about those who were killed or injured. Boston may be a major US city, but it's a tight knit community where everyone takes pride in their town and its long-standing traditions. Patriots Day/Marathon Monday is a day of celebration and accomplishments, not just for Bostonians, but for people around the world who come here to fulfill a lifetime goal. Knowing the fierce spirit of Bostonians, we will not only heal, but we will become stronger.
It's so nice to hear Sweet Caroline playing across the country for Boston. Music often has the power to communicate more sentiment than words and watching Americans around the country sing along to this Fenway staple is comforting. There are so many great songs about this city and many talented musicians hail from Beantown. Here are few of my favorites:
Dirty Water - The Standells
Shipping Up to Boston- Dropkick Murphys
For Boston - Dropkick Murphys
This entire album - Boston
Dream On - Aerosmith
Boston (Ladies of Cambridge) - Vampire Weekend
Sleepyhead - Passion Pit
Sail into the Sun - Gentlemen Hall
Rachel - Buffalo Tom
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa - Vampire Weekend
Airport Song - Guster
The General - Dispatch
Tonight - New Kids on the Block
Check out our Boston page to learn more about this wicked fun city.
We have seen many amazing views on our travels thus far. Here are the most serene views we have been lucky enough to experience.
Last year, it seemed like everyone in Boston vacationed in Puerto Rico. This year, Costa Rica is the popular choice. A few friends have already visited and all of them returned home with a huge smile on their face. It's hard not to love this country.
Although I visited almost 10 years ago, it remains one of my favorite vacations of all time. There aren't many places where can you watch a volcano erupt outside your cabin, observe monkeys & SLOTHS on your walk to pristine beaches, sip Imperial with friendly Ticos, zipline through the jungle treetops, stumble upon a jungle rave after dining in a historical airplane, hike a cloud forest and (in my case) finally meet amazing family members in person. Costa Rica is truly special.
The Ticos have a saying - Pura Vida - which literally means pure life but really means full of life or this is living!. People often use it when greeting each other or saying goodbye (kind of like the way the British say cheers). These two words perfectly sum up Costa Rica and it's easy to adopt this philosophy when you visit. Check out Beyond Voyage's Costa Rica review for more information. Pura Vida!
corners of paradise
I recently watched the movie Chasing Mavericks on a flight to Las Vegas. It's about surfer Jay Moriarity from Santa Cruz who trains to surf insanely large waves in Half Moon Bay called Mavericks. I once visited Santa Cruz with my good friends Leah & Ryan. We spent a perfect day walking along the beach and watching the surfers while keeping warm with coffee from Verve Roasters. I'm looking forward to going back to this corner of paradise one day with Chris.
From one corner to another: Surfing movies always remind me of my favorite surfing spot - Rincon, Puerto Rico. It's the only place we have ever surfed but we love it more for its beauty than its waves. As you'll see from the pictures below, Rincon is a spectacular little corner of paradise (in fact, Rincon means corner in Spanish). If you want more information about visiting Rincon, check out Beyond Voyage's Rincon review.
Eva has been traveling for 15+ years, including an 8 month journey around the world.