All the huts along the Kepler Track were stunning, but if I had to choose one for an extended stay – it would be Iris Burn. New Zealand is forever famous as the filming location for the Lord of the Rings movies, and I’m positive that if Middle Earth was real, the elves would be living in the very same valley as the Iris Burn hut. Flanked on all sides by temperate rainforest-ed mountains, we fell asleep in our bunks on the valley floor to the sound of water falling – from where we did not know exactly. It wasn’t until the next morning that we would discover the beauty of that place and it’s tall, slender waterfalls. Continue reading “Hiking New Zealand’s Kepler Track, Part 3: Iris Burn to Queenstown”→
I had been staring at the triangular wooden ceiling of our A-Frame cabin for nearly 20 minutes, listening to the wind howl and willing the pressure in my bladder to ease off so I could steal just a little more rest. This would be my last night sharing a room with only my husband for a little while. We were set to head off on the Kepler Track – one of New Zealand’s incredible great walks – in just a few hours’ time. And while we carried our tents on our last great walk on the Abel Tasman, this time we would be spending our nights in the huts, sleeping in dormitories of dozens. We were in the Fiordlands now, and the scene could not have been more different than the white sand beaches of the Abel Tasman. The weather was much harsher in this southern corner of the southern island, and the topography a lot more extreme. Our walk was to take us along steep mountain ridges unsuitable for camping – hence the huts. And so here I was, treasuring what very well might be my last snorer-less sleep for a few nights. Besides, it was a long, dark walk to the toilets. And if the howl of the wind was any indication, it did not sound warm outside. Continue reading “Hiking New Zealand’s Kepler Track, Part 1: The Way to Luxmore Hut”→
Kneeling on the ocean floor, my instructor gave me the signal. My stomach felt knotted and heavy. I lifted my hands to my mask, but couldn’t make them take any further action. I reached for the board and pen my instructor kept tied to his belt.
I am obsessed with Melbourne. I’ve been living in this amazing city for 15 months now and I have nothing but stellar things to say about it. It will forever be one of my favorite cities in the world, and it is definitely my favorite city in Australia.
I cannot believe it has been almost 8 months since I’ve landed in Melbourne. Moving across the planet and settling in to live down under has taken some time. But difficulties aside, I fall in love with Melbourne more and more every day. Here are just some of the many ways Melbourne has captured my heart (so far): Continue reading “My Favorite Melbourne (So Far)”→
Just joining us? You can read Philipp and Helena’s introduction, as well as their tips for getting started in planning your Ring Road journey here. – Mariana
One of the major advantages of Iceland in the summer are the long nights. Even in the middle of the night the sunlight never disappears. At 3 or 4 am you still see as you would during a sunset’s twilight in Europe or Northern America. If you get distracted along the way far from your hotel, you can take advantage of the long days and still drive late at night – this happened to us multiple times. Continue reading “[Guest Series] 7 Days in Iceland: The Ring Road Itinerary”→
After finishing grad school, I knew I wanted to go home to decompress for a while. I wasn’t ready to head straight to Melbourne or do any sort of crazy celebratory trip. I just wanted to work on letting the stress of school leave my body by doing as little as possible for a few weeks.