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!

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Essential Travel Gear for a Year Abroad

Aaron and I love to travel (clearly).  With so many trips to places near and far, we’re no strangers to packing bags.  However, packing for a one- or two-week vacation is vastly different than preparing for a year or more overseas.  We can no longer think in terms of packing enough to get us through every day of the trip; we have to focus instead on what we really need and what we’re willing to carry on our backs for fourteen months.

We’re three months from departure, and we’ve finally gotten these details mostly figured out.  Read on to see what you should include for a long-term trip.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

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Puffy clouds floating by our airplane's wing | BIG tiny World Travel

Long-Term Travel: Booking the First Flight

While leaving our jobs was terrifying enough, the thought of booking our first flight was equally, if not more scary. After much deliberation, we chose our starting point: South Africa.  Now we just have to get there!

We have been looking at various flight options over the last several months, and have finally found the best option. By weighing flight times, baggage rules, and cost we are about to pull the trigger. This was our thought process before arriving at the final booking. With this first step, it will really feel real!

Climbing the covered walkway onto our Norwegian flight | BIG tiny World Travel

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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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Countdown to Takeoff: 3 Months Out

We’re now only three months away from our big departure – eek!  Things are truly starting to get real around here, though it hasn’t entirely sunk in.  Here are the latest developments, where we’re at, and what we still have left to do.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

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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.

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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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