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5 Months Until We Leave – Tasks Still Remaining for the Trip of a Lifetime

Welcome to 2019.  THE year.  We have finally arrived.  We have earned the right to say we are leaving to travel the world THIS YEAR.  That’s exhilarating and terrifying.  Being on this side of the year makes all the difference, as it’s finally beginning to feel real.  We’re doing this.  And there’s still so much to do!

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5 Months Until We Leave | BIG tiny World Travel | We're counting down the months - only 5 left! - until we depart.  But there's still so much to do!  Get the inside scoop on what the last 5 months look like before travelling the world! | #travel #worldtravel #travelcouple #tripplanning #aroundtheworld #tripofalifetime

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Welcome to Vancouver!

Switching gears once more, we thought we’d give you a taste of our adventures in another place: Vancouver, BC. A long drive, a beautiful city, and a midnight fire scare.. welcome to Vancouver!

LotsaSmiles Photography

Overall, we found Vancouver B.C. to be a very welcoming city.  After all, it appeared to have more tourists than residents, spanning the entire globe.  And it was quite the destination for Canada Day celebrations.

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World Highlights: Our Favorite Japanese Meal

We’re toning back a bit on our blogging, as we’re now in crunch time before we leave for our big trip!  Therefore, enjoy full posts every other week, with quick travel highlights like these in the alternates.  Let us know what you think!  We’d love to know what your favorites are!


© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

We had so much incredible food in Japan; how could we pick just one favorite?  While we loved the comforting ramen and drooled over the extravagant ryokan breakfast, one restaurant rose to the top, and it still makes my stomach grumble at the thought of it.

World Highlights: Our Favorite Japanese Meal | BIG tiny World Travel | We only travel to eat! Japan had some of best food we've had, but one restaurant rose above the rest! Check out our favorite from our visit. | #travel #travelcouple #internationalfood #traveltoeat #travelfood

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Hawaii: Pukas

This was one of the most beautiful spots we visited while in Hawaii. The sun, the water, and the rocks all sang in perfect harmony at this photogenic beach.

LotsaSmiles Photography

In Hawaiian, “puka” means simply “hole.”  It is most commonly used in association with the small shells strung together into a necklace.  These have a naturally occurring hole, making them nature’s beads.  The term is also used to refer to holes in the lava rock, much like Pali Puka on Oahu or the heart-shaped puka next to Nakalele Blowhole on Maui.

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Epic Mountain Viewpoint Norway

Route Planning – Changes to Our World Trip

As we continue to plan out the rough route of our trip and start hammering out the details, we find things we need to rearrange. Our first attempt had too much time in South America, had Europe during peak season, and more long-haul flights than we wanted to endure. We’ve cleaned up the timeline without sacrificing anything. Here are our changes and some examples on why the timing makes sense for each region.

Route Planning: Changes to our World Trip | BIG tiny World Travel | As we continue our planning, we found our original route needed an overhaul! See what we changed and why here! | #worldtravel #aroundtheworld #travel #travelcouple #travelplanning

Route Plan 2019-2020Check out our ever-evolving route on TripHappy.com!

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Christmas Abroad: Where Should We Celebrate?

As we break in our new toys and recover from our eggnog hangovers, Aaron and I are beginning to think about next year’s Christmas.  We depart for our crazy journey next summer, and we will be travelling for (at least) a year.  That inevitably means we’ll be in another country for my favorite holiday.  Where should we celebrate it?

© Brianna Shade 2014

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First Attempt – Planning Our Route Around the World

Planning a world trip can be daunting but we have to start somewhere. The route is something we have put a lot of thought into, and we’ve made some logical conclusions about how to approach it. It might even take our trip from 12 months to 17. But there is one little thing that could stop us from doing that.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015
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Hawaii: Highway Ghosts

An oddity of the Big Island. You learn something new every day!

LotsaSmiles Photography

As we were traveling from beach to mountain to snorkel spot on the big island, we noticed an odd sight: cars abandoned and completely stripped on the side of the road, mere shells of once functional vehicles.

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Chicago: The Opportunity | LotsaSmiles Photography

It’s time to take another break – the holiday season is crazy busy!!  Are you swamped, too?  We have some exciting updates coming to our website, and more adventures on the horizon.  But for now, please enjoy this tale of another opportunity we had to travel on the corporate dime!


I learned from my father many years ago one very important lesson: take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.  After all, you never know when you might look back on a “no” and wish that it had been a “yes.”  I strive to live every day by the mantra of “no regrets,” and thus far, it has served me well.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2011

When Aaron’s company decided to move its headquarters from Portland to Chicago, they offered him continued work in the new city, along with a relocation package.  To help convince us, they would fly us (both) out to Chicago for a weekend, show us some apartments and the city sights, and wine and dine us – all on the company’s dime.  We’re quite happy living in Portland, and Aaron hated his job at the time, so moving wasn’t even a consideration for us.

Aaron almost told them no, outright.  I thought he was crazy.

Free.  Trip. Continue reading “Chicago: The Opportunity | LotsaSmiles Photography”

Hawaii: Punaluu Beach Park

This might have been my favorite part of our trip to Hawaii. I was fascinated by the ruins, and it was interesting to read about it after we got back. I could have spent the entire day there photographing this relic of history.

LotsaSmiles Photography

This is it, folks – the last Hawaii post!  I know some of you are sad about that, but I’m excited to share some photos from some of our other adventures as well.

We took it easy on our last day, making our way back to the Kona side of the big island, stopping into a beach or two, hitting up the southernmost restaurant in the U.S., and wrapping up the trip back at our Puka spot near the airport.

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