Autumn is in full color at this koi pond at a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan

54 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit Japan

It’s been many years since we’ve been to Japan, but we still dream of it often. It was our first international trip together (and Aaron’s first ever), and it holds many fond memories. We’ve certainly learned a lot since that first trip, and we’d design an entirely different one now. But these pictures still take me back and make me wish I was there once again.

Come dream of Japan with us. These images are sure to inspire wanderlust for Japan for you as well!

Women in flowery kimono looking at a cell phone at the Kiyoumizu Temple in Kyoto, Japan
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Aaron sitting at a viewpoint overlooking Brasov, Romania

The Uncertain Future of Travel – Where to Next?

We love to travel, and for years, we looked forward to annual trips, international vacations, and local explorations. It just all came as a given, and we never questioned its prominent place in our lives. We never had to question the future of travel. When we departed last year for our grand world tour, we never could have imagined how it would end.

Now, we have been forced home due to global restrictions, and we’ve had to reconsider our future plans surrounding travel. Everyone has. Here’s what we think about the current situation and where we’re headed.

Travel kitties sharing a mask
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Ruins in the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy

European Ruins: The Most Awesome Old Stuff

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I simply adore ruins. It’s so fascinating to witness the evidence of the passage of time through something so carefully constructed being torn back down to its elements by the sheer force of nature. This juxtaposition of structure turned chaos is beautiful in its unique way, and I can’t get enough of it. If you share in my affinity for the elegance of decay, you’ll love these amazing ruins found all across Europe.

A gazebo frame at the Hotel Belvedere in Dubrovnik, Croatia
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A garden in Brussels, Belgium

Free Walking Tours – All You Need to Know

When you’re traveling indefinitely, it’s important to cut costs any way that you can.  We’re really good at budgeting, and we found the best ways to pay almost nothing for lodging.  And as for activities and the best ways to experience a new city, our go-to was definitely free walking tours.

Our tour guide, Diogo, in Porto, Portugal

Curious what they’re all about?  We’ve got you covered!  Read on to find out how to find them, what to expect, and why we love them so much!

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Mountain ridges as seen from an airplane

Are You Prepared to be a Full-time Traveler?

Judging by picture-perfect, colorful squares on Instagram, the freedom of a travel lifestyle is presented as paradise – an endless parade of tropical breezes and fruity drinks, interspersed with exciting adventures that would make anyone envious.  While travel is, indeed, amazing and life-changing and exhilarating and rewarding, social media paints an incomplete picture.

Aaron and Brianna posing in front of the Fitz Roy spires

We have learned firsthand what living the life of travel entails.  If you’re wondering if full-time travel is right for you – and if you’re ready for what actually awaits – here is what you can expect.
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Croatian flag on the wall of Dubrovnik, Croatia

45 Scenes from Croatia to Inspire Wanderlust

We spent over six months touring all over Europe, and we enjoyed so many of its beautiful villages and cities.  However, we weren’t expecting to end up adoring Croatia as much as we do now.  Every new city had its own vibe and wonderful tidbits to discover, and the more we moved throughout the country, the more we found to keep us there.

Dubrovnik, Croatia, at sunset

These are just some of the many photos that represent the splendor of Croatia, and we hope they inspire you to visit and discover firsthand why we love it so much.

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The many buildings in the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, at sunset

32 Actually Awesome Free Digital Tours

In this time of lockdown, we’re all looking for ways to scratch that wanderlust itch.  Nothing can quite compare to being there in person, but we have found that digital tours can be a temporary substitute.  And while virtual tours aren’t a new concept, some have gotten quite clever with how they’re implementing them.  These are some of our favorites – the closest things to being there, the most unique, and the ones with the best “wow” factors.

Sunset over a puka at the coast of the Big Island on Hawaii, just outside of Kona

Read on to find your perfect virtual vacation!

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A longhair tabby resting on rocks in front of the city skyline of Istanbul

The Top 6 Cat Hotspots in the World

Unlike dogs, cats don’t usually travel very well.  So when we cat lovers are on the road, we rely on the local cat populations to get our purr fix.  With nine months and over twenty countries under our belts, we found some of the best cat hotspots on the world.

If you love cats as much as I do, these locations are sure to put a whisker-induced smile on your face!

A tux and tabby kitten in Istanbul

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The Traveler Profile: What Type of Traveler Are You?

Over the years, we have experienced all sorts of travel types.  We’ve traveled alone and with friends, with family and with kids.  We’ve explored locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.  We’ve taken almost every type of transportation and indulged in a wide variety of activities.  And we’ve been on the road for quick overnights, your standard two-week vacations, and months-long living abroad.  How do each of these compare, and which is right for you?

Let’s find out!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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Outlets with built-in switches

Our Favorite Gadgets and Ideas from Around the World

One of the things we love most about travel is discovering the many ways others think differently than us.  Witnessing new ideas challenges our way of thinking and adds to our own personal arsenal for tackling problems.  Besides, it’s exciting to experience something we hadn’t before considered!

During nine months abroad across at least 20 countries, we encountered some brilliant ideas that made us wonder: why isn’t this standard around the world?  From the bathroom to the kitchen, at home and on the road, these were some of our favorites.

Bikes stacked neatly in Rotterdam

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