Sunday, September 25, 2011

Destination Spotlight: Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Ever since I can remember, I have absolutely loved being in the water. I'd spend endless summer days splashing around in the pool until my feet and hands looked like prunes. I dreamt of how amazing it would be to be a fish able to breathe underwater. One summer, five years ago, my dream came true. Well almost...

I became PADI scuba certified in Mexico during a family vacation, furthering my love for the ocean. Ever since, my ultimate dream has been to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the world's largest reef system, and one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Great Barrier Reef is so large it can be seen from outer space! Now that is mind-blowing. The reef lies just off the northeast coast of Queensland and is said to be a major tourist attraction all year round because of it's consistently warm and sunny weather.

If the thought of using an air tank as your life support scares you, there are plenty of other ways to still experience the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. Some exciting alternatives are snorkelling, parasailing, a helicopter ride, a hot air balloon ride, kayaking, boating and much more.

Personally they all sound quite exciting, but I'd prefer to be face to face with the colorful creatures. There's something I find so incredibly calming about scuba diving when all you can hear is the rise and fall of your breath. Your eyes are the window to an entire world so foreign and unknown and you realize you are the visitors down there.

One of these days I'll make my way to see this beautiful masterpiece God created. It really blows my mind to think of all the beauty that I've yet to see in this world.

Happy Diving!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Destination Spotlight: Machu Picchu, Peru

If you're looking for an adventure, this one is definitely for you. Named one of the 7 wonders of the world, Machu Picchu is a magical city with rich history and breathtaking views. My mother has had the privilege of seeing this beautiful place in person and she tells me that the experience was one that absolutely took her breath away.

In researching this little vacation getaway, I found many tour and hotel options at almost every price range. Many people recommend the guided tours and insist on opting for the train instead of the hike, which seems to be very treacherous. Visitors to the magical city typically leave from Cuzco, a nearby city, and make their way to the ruins.

Machu Picchu is located at about 8,000 feet and is often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas." There is only one hotel that is actually in the park, called the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge and is extremely expensive. If you are absolutely set on staying overnight in the park this is the only option but many choose to stay in Aguas Calientes, another nearby city.

This luscious paradise is just calling my name! If you're as set as I am on embarking on this adventure, don't forget to pack your sunblock, comfortable walking shoes, and camera of course!

Happy Travels!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Destination Spotlight: Lantern Festival Chiang Mai, Thailand

If this is not one of the most beautiful and romantic sights you’ve ever seen than I honestly don’t know what is…

Floating lanterns are released into the sky all over Thailand on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, (sometime in November) creating this unbelievably magical display of lights. This year the festival falls on November 11th so you might want to book your plane tickets to Thailand now! (Check out Eden For Your World for great travel offers.)

From the first time I heard about this amazing spectacle on last season of ABC’s The Bachelorette, I can’t stop thinking about how incredible this event would be to witness in person. On the show, the couple is seen decorating their lanterns by writing personal love wishes before sending the lanterns off into the night sky. Sounds picture-perfect right?

The Loi Krathong Festival, or locally known as “Yi Peng”, is said to be one of the most charming events in all of Thailand. The event is celebrated nationwide, from the capital city of Chang Mai to the quaint countryside villages.

Tens of thousands of visitors and locals are known to participate in the event, which also offers decorating contests, bamboo raft races, fireworks, cultural performances, and so much more.

One day I’ll make my way to Thailand and be able to share with you my own personal experience…but until then, these pictures will just have to do.

Happy travels ya'll!

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