Travel Totaled my Car – How we Barely Escaped Eastern Oregon

Having never been to the far reaches of Eastern Oregon, we felt like this was a good time to get that knocked off our bucket list. Some of the highlights of the area are Steens Mountain, Alvord Desert, Leslie Gulch, and Jordan Craters. This would be our one last road trip before departing on our round-the-world trip. With it being such a remote part of Oregon, good preparation was critical as anything could happen. Fortunately we had an incredible trip, but it wasn’t quite what we expected.

Page springs campground

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5 Ways to Overcome Travel Anxiety

Whether it is booking your first flight or packing up your belongings for a year-long trip, some anxiety is bound to happen. We’ve been on an emotional roller coaster as we say our final goodbyes to friends, leave our jobs, sell our stuff, and start booking all of the first leg of our trip. Most of this isn’t easy as we have been so used to living a certain way and now we are uprooting all of it to do something different for a while. Here are 5 ways we have found to overcome travel anxiety.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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The People We Meet – Travel is More Than Just Destinations

Visiting new places, exploring landscapes, and seeing new cultures are a big part of why we travel. But there is more to the story than just these three things. It is also about the people we have met and the connections we have made. Travel is more than just destinations; it’s about the people we meet. The more we travel, or even host travelers, the more bonds we form that span the world’s borders. That is what makes our travels meaningful.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

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World Highlights: Our Favorite Hike in Norway

Norway is a stunning country to visit; the landscapes are national-park-quality no matter where you go.  And there are many ways to take it all in.  We picked up a rental car and drove throughout most of our trip, but we also stopped a few times to hit the trails.  Some of these were planned, but most were merely a case of “oh look, a trail!  I wonder where that goes!”

So of all the areas we visited, which topped our list?  Read on to find out!

norway-hikes-2

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How I Dispelled the Fear of Travel

Much of the news media focuses on the worst possible things that happen everywhere. I know this well as there are people outside of the USA that are afraid of America because of all the mass shootings. In America we have similar fears about places like Mexico, Colombia, or even anywhere in Africa. Because of the media, I am also guilty of having some of these fears. And the only way to conquer fear is by doing what scares you.

Costa Rica Barred Windows

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Hidden Gems of Central Oregon: 3-Day Itinerary

Oregon is a beautiful place, especially if you know where to go!  Everyone typically thinks of Multnomah Falls or Timberline Lodge or Cannon Beach or Crater Lake…  While those are undeniably stunning, and everyone should see them at least once, there are some hidden gems far less frequented.  If you have a few days to spare, check out these unique sites in Central Oregon.

painted-hills-5

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World Highlights: Top 5 Sounds of Japan

In Tokyo, the sounds of the city can be intense. With a metropolitan area of around 40 million, you can expect to hear plenty of interesting sounds as you are exploring. Some are completely in your face like advertisements, while others are more pleasing. Both of these have their place in our Top 5 Favorite Sounds in Japan.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

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World Highlights: Our Favorite Costa Rican Animal Encounter

Costa Rica is known for their wide array of fauna.  From crocodiles to sloths, birds of every color, bugs, frogs, etc., there’s so much to look at and appreciate.  While we were there, we went on numerous canopy tours and boat rides, all to catch a glimpse at the elusive wildlife.  And Costa Rica delivered.

But which was our favorite animal encounter?

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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Our Favorite Restaurant in 2018

We like to eat out quite often, and we tend to splurge more than we should. There are so many good restaurants that it is hard to pick a favorite. For us a restaurant is more than just the food it serves; it is also the experience. To be a favorite means that we enjoy our time there even without the food. A great restaurant has staff that is present when we need them, food that is timely and well prepared, and there’s a good atmosphere. The taste and quality also matters. After our Favorite Japanese Meal post, our favorite food shouldn’t surprise you. And that leads us to our favorite restaurant experience in 2018. Drum roll please….seattle-1

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