2017 Ramblings

As much as I enjoy sharing my annual inspiration, I truly love these travel posts. (smile) There’s something about looking ahead at all the fabulous adventures that just makes my heart beat a little faster!

Vik beach, Iceland2016 Review

I did pretty well for my 2016 travel list. I did visit White Sands National Monument in New Mexico (see below), ventured on a South Dakota road trip with my family, and spent plenty of great quality time in California with my niece. Although I did not mark off all of my Arizona Bucket List, I did make it to a couple locations so maybe this year I’ll see the rest! I also didn’t make it to Santa Fe or San Francisco. One day…

What’s interesting is that I ended up in Iceland (see above) last year. Of all the places I had in mind while writing last year’s post, Iceland wasn’t one of them. But it turned out to be the perfect location to celebrate my brother’s 40th birthday. I’m still working on editing photos, but I will definitely be sharing more adventures on the blog this year! (In writing this post I’ve only just realized how far behind I am in travel stories 😕  )


White Sands National Monument, New Mexico2017 Destinations

Arizona: I really want to finish off that bucket list – namely the slot canyons (e.g., Antelope Canyon) and Chocolate Falls.

California: As always, I want to spend as much time with my friend and niece as possible, but I would also like to take some time this year to drive up to Big Sur. I hear such wonderful things about the area, I think it’s time to make it happen!

Alaska: My dad is officially retiring this year and has requested that we all join him on a family cruise to Alaska to celebrate. As I’ve kinda wanted to do this forever, I’m totally on board!

Ireland: This is the year of the solo tour. I’ve traveled all over the world, but never have I ever traveled totally by myself. Someone’s either been with me from the start or I’ve met someone at my destination (even if they were total strangers). I’ve wanted to go solo for some time now, but it hasn’t worked out for one reason or another. This year, however, is my year. I have a nice little cottage on the coast all booked and ready to go and I am unbelievably excited! Here’s to a week of peace, quiet, and breathtaking landscapes! (smile)

What are your travel plans for the year??

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge | Ab Aeterno

For this week’s black and white photo challenge, Cee has left the topic to our imaginations. I have to say, I found this both exciting and a little intimidating – so many options! Then it came to mind that I could include my new “hobby”…

You guys, I am becoming a “taphophile” – a so called “tombstone tourist.” I have to admit that I am slightly bemused about this new curiosity of mine. It does, admittedly, seem a bit morbid, but I’ve come to appreciate cemeteries as peaceful, sacred places. I like to soak in the calm while reading the headstones – what did this person inspire those they left behind to write about them in memoriam? Then I realized that there’s a whole back story to not only those precious words, but also to all of the symbols. The symbols evolve with society, and I generally find that the older markers are far more interesting than today’s modern versions. It’s all so interesting…

This has been a gradual curiosity, but when I look back through my travel photos, I can see that I’ve always been drawn to these places – the older the better. Perhaps it’s just a natural extension of a love of old churches, cathedrals, etc. I haven’t quite figured out my thoughts on this new thing of mine, but I’ve no doubt there’ll be a post about it in the future (smile). In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite photos (in no particular order). Enjoy!

Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Montgomery, Alabama, Cemetery

Montgomery, AL

Ireland, Cemetery, Celtic Crosses

Ireland

Arlington Cemetery, headstones, black and white

Arlington Cemetery, VA

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Cee's Black and White Photo Challenge

Travel Tuesday: Ireland

Only 40 days left until the big birthday vacation! I’m not normally big on celebrating birthdays, but when there’s a trip to Scotland involved, I can make an exception (smile). I’ve decided that it would be fun to center the next few Travel Tuesdays leading up to the big trip around my previous adventures in the UK and Ireland. I figure it’s a good way to share my excitement and relive some great memories – win/win, right?

I’m kicking this little tour off in Ireland. I’m sad to admit that I’ve only been fortunate enough to visit Ireland once for an extended weekend. I was doing a study/work abroad program and that was all I could swing at the time. We flew into Dublin and took a few day trips from there. In all of the countries I’ve spent time in so far, I fully believe the people in Ireland are by far the friendliest. Sure there’s a brawl outside a pub now and again, but we didn’t meet one single person during our stay that didn’t make us practically feel like family! I often recommend Ireland based on that fact alone; however, add in the breath-taking scenery and who wouldn’t want to go?

We landed in Dublin pretty late, so we checked into our hotel and had a quick meal at a nearby pub before turning in for some much needed sleep. The next day we decided that the most efficient way to hit the city’s highlights would be via the big red bus tour. Yeah, I know…but I generally recommend and use these bus tours for any new city. They’re an easy and relaxed method of seeing the major sites while giving you a general sense of the city layout. Luckily for us it was an absolutely gorgeous June day in Dublin and so we made quite the day of it!

For our second day, we decided to just wander around the city and get lost. Being the absolute book/religious/oddities nerd that I am, we of course hit up Trinity College to check out the grounds and to see the library (huge smile), which also happens to contain the Book of Kells. Major tick on the literary bucket list!

As we were wandering around drinking walking our way around the city, we did a quick survey of other tourists on the best day tours to join. After hearing Over the Top tours from several people, we decided to check them out. We booked their Celtic Experience tour, which featured plenty of crosses, abbeys, prehistoric tombs, and other fun places. The group was small (only 8, I think), so we had an opportunity to get to know one another and explore without the crowds. Our tour guide was fabulous – very knowledgeable and armed with plenty of Bono jokes (smile). (I’ll aim to just hit the highlights with these photos lest it they get totally out of hand!)

I can’t wait to go back to Ireland some day, rent a car, explore the countryside, and meet even more wonderful people!! Have you been to Ireland? If so, what was your experience like? I’d love to hear all about it!

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A Compass Rose