Posts in Travel Adventures
6 Days in Greece


What we did: Athens—Lycabettus Hill, Temple of Zeus, Acropolis, Aeropagus (Mars Hill), Ancient Agora, Panathenaic Stadium, The Plaka

Santorini—explore Fira & Oia, hike from Fira to Oia, Byzantine Castle Ruins, sunset cruise with Sunset Oia

Where we ate: Athens—Atitamos Mezedopoleio, Platanos Taverna

Santorini—Pito Gyros (x3), Lolita’s Gelato, Sunsets Restaurant (need reservation- ask for a table on the balcony for sunset), Apsithia, Patisserie Medevio (dessert)

Where we stayed: Athens—Hilton Athens

Santorini—Lava Cave Suite in Oia (it included a daily maid service, breakfast, and our magical jacuzzi- we also got a discounted rate since it was the off season)

Foods to try: moussaka, gyros (be sure to get one with fries in it!), souvlaki, baked feta, baklava, saganaki

Things of note: We only spent about 24 hours in Athens, and it was enough time for us to explore the main historical sites… we downloaded the Beat app on my phone which was also really helpful to get around the city quickly (it’s what they use for taxis instead of Uber).

We went in the middle of May… Santorini was VERY crowded during the day when the cruise ships were there— I can’t imagine going in peak season when there would be double the cruise ships (yikes). You can check the cruise ship schedule online in advance to find out how busy it will be, but I definitely would try to avoid the crowds as much as your schedule allows! It also got chilly at night on the island, so make sure to have a sweater or jacket at dinnertime.

day one: athens

After loving our time in Amsterdam, we landed in Athens in the late afternoon and took a taxi straight to our hotel to drop off our bags before heading to our first Greek restaurant: Atitamos Mezedopoleio. We were definitely spoiled with this first meal because every bit of it was absolutely delicious. The waiter insisted on bringing us a sample of their dessert despite our refusal, and I now understand why— it is in the top 3 desserts I’ve ever tasted (we tried to ask the name of it but didn’t catch it; the dessert was similar to baklava…only way better).

With the sun setting quickly, we grabbed another cab up to Lycabettus Hill and hurried to the top to catch the last glimpses of the beautiful sunset over Athens while taking in the vastness of the historic city.

day two: athens/Santorini

The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel and headed to our first stop of the day: the Temple of Zeus. Thanks to the advice of some friends, we took advantage of the nonexistent ticket line at the Temple of Zeus to go ahead and buy the historical sites package so that we didn’t have to wait in the much longer lines at the Acropolis. (I think the tickets were around 30 Euro each, but the ticket included all of the sites we visited except the Panathenaic Stadium).

From there, we walked past Hadrian’s Arch to the Acropolis and started making our way to the top, stopping every so often to read about the ruins we passed along the path. The crowds grew as we got closer to the top, especially once we reached the Temple of Nike (note: there are bathrooms at the top if you need them). We tried to take in all of the sights at the Acropolis, then we walked back down the hill to Mars Hill/Aeropagus. This was probably our favorite place in Athens, as we marveled at the spot Paul preached these words written so long ago about the same God we serve today:

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us...
— Acts 17:24-27

After taking our time at Mars Hill, we walked through the Plaka and stopped for lunch at Platanos Taverna and then grabbed gelato on our way to the Olympic Stadium. We did have to pay a small entrance fee at the stadium, but walking through the site was a pretty neat experience (they also hand out audio guides which were helpful in understanding the Olympic history there). We wrapped up our day of soaking in history and walked back to our hotel to grab our bags before taking a taxi to the airport, giddy about our upcoming time on the island of Santorini!

Our driver was waiting for us as soon as we landed at the (very small) Santorini airport (we opted for the transportation service that our airbnb provided as an option). The roads were pretty curvy from the airport to Oia, but we were busy taking in the beautiful island and cute little houses scattered across the landscape. After being dropped off at the edge of Oia, a porter was ready to carry our luggage through the crowded main street and down the many steps to our airbnb (Bless him). We were immediately blown away by the beauty of Oia and couldn’t believe we got to stay in a little slice of heaven for the next few days. After settling into our place, we walked over to Pito Gyros (for what would be our first of three meals there) and quickly ate our delicious gyros on our walk back to our airbnb to settle in for the night.

day three: exploring oia & fira

We slept in our first morning in Oia, already enjoying the slower pace of the island and opened up the front door to our first breakfast delivery (included with our airbnb). We ate on our little balcony while sipping the most delicious fresh orange juice I’ve ever tasted, then got ready for the full day ahead. We wandered around our neighborhood & up by the blue domed churches for some pretty views of Oia, grabbed gelato at Lolita’s (the first of many times) and then walked to the bus stop.

We took the public bus to Fira, where my little sister (Isabelle) was spending her last day on the island with a college leadership program. We walked to Isabelle’s hotel from the bus stop and then she led the way through Fira to a lunch spot (with more amazing views). After lunch, we all wandered through the charming little town and down random alleys, soaking in the beautiful scenery and snapping photos before stopping for (more) gelato and coffee. Shortly after, we said goodbye to my sister (she was leaving for Italy the next day) and hopped on the bus back to Oia.

Taking a minute to rest our feet at our airbnb, we then headed over to Sunsets Restaurant for our dinner reservation that night. (Actually, we walked into the wrong restaurant two different times before finally finding the right one.) But all of the confusion was so worth it, because that night we ate our very best meal of the trip. Kevin ordered the moussaka and I got the chicken (which was basically covered in queso)…both meals were out of this world, and the view of the sunset was perfect (not to mention, you don’t have to fight the crowds below). It was the perfect ending to our first full day in Santorini!

day four: sunset cruise

The next day we repeated more of the same morning routine, but we then had a sunset cruise booked with Sunset Oia (we booked the Platinum Cruise). What we didn’t realize until closer to time was that it was basically an all-day adventure, because we were the first pickup stop at 11 AM. Since the cruise didn’t actually start until 4 PM, we knew we would be hungry so we went ahead and grabbed an early lunch at Pito Gyros (It’s obviously disgusting and we hated the food there… said no one). After a quick lunch, we walked to our pickup spot and proceeded to ride the bus around the whole island until we picked up the rest of the passengers. They dropped us off at Vlychada port where we waited a bit before finally getting on our boat and we were able to enjoy the rest of the day on the Aegean Sea.

It was really beautiful to see Santorini from the water; we made several stops and Kevin jumped in at the hot springs, but the water was pretty cold and I was already chilly on the boat, so I opted out. At one of the last stops, we ate a delicious meal on the boat and chatted with our fellow passengers about soccer and weddings and the best Chicago burgers. After dinner, we made our way down the coast before finding our boat’s spot in Ammoudi Bay to watch the best show of the night: the Santorini sunset. It was a “pinch me & make sure I’m not dreaming” kind of night.

day five: hiking from Fira to Oia

Our last full day in Santorini, we soaked in another slow morning with our unreal caldera views, ate lunch once again at (you guessed it) Pito Gyros, and took the bus to Fira. Once in Fira, we started our 6.5+ mile hike back to Oia!

The views along the path were INCREDIBLE and the hike was probably the highlight of the trip for me (despite all of the sweat and blisters). We also made some friends along the way (shoutout to Alie & Pat!) and ended up walking the whole way with them, trading pictures and travel stories along the way. We got lost once due to construction, but the path was otherwise easy to follow. Along the way, we marveled at the beautiful views, commented on the crazy-nice luxury suites we passed, and stopped for lots of water breaks. We parted ways with our Colorado friends while we stopped for coffee on the outskirts of Oia and then headed back to our airbnb to rest our feet and relax in the jacuzzi. (On the way back to our airbnb, we may have also grabbed ice cream and cake at Patisserie Medevio to replenish some of our calories.)

Note: If you are planning on doing the hike, I would definitely pack snacks and water bottles (We used this bag and brought along my Swell and a disposable water bottle). There are a few places to stop along the way, but there aren’t many chances. (This guide is clutch if you decide to do the hike.)

After a brief rest, we dined slowly at Apsithia and soaked in more gorgeous views before we headed back to the airbnb while taking in glimpses of our last Santorini sunset of the trip.

Day 6: Greece to Amsterdam

We enjoyed our last Santorini breakfast, packed up our bags, and walked over to the Byzantine Castle ruins on our final morning in Greece. On the way, we wandered by Atlantis Books (unfortunately it was closed but even the outside was adorable!) and made mental notes to come back there on the next trip. After memorizing the beautiful views from the castle, it was time to check out of our airbnb and head to the airport…we had a long day of travel ahead of us back to Amsterdam so we could catch out flight back home the next day :(

Note: The Santorini airport is very small— they only let you enter an hour before your flight, but there is a place to get food right outside of the airport. If we had known that we would be fighting for seats/standing once we got inside, we probably would’ve stayed outside a lot longer than we did.

We absolutely loved our time in Santorini…the views, the people, and the food all made for an unforgettable experience, and it definitely made the top 3 places I’ve ever visited!

4 Days in Amsterdam


What we did: Bloemenmarkt, Canal Tour (we used Flagship & loved it), Anne Frank House, Beginjhof, Keukenhof Gardens & tulip fields (we also rented bikes there), Dutch Countryside & Windmill Tour, Vondel Park, Stroll along canals & Jordaan neighborhood

Where we ate: Blue Amsterdam, Foodhallen, The Pancake Bakery, Cafe Loetje, Salsa Shop, Van Wonderen Stroopwafels, Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx

Where we stayed: our airbnb is no longer active, but we stayed on one of the main canals about 15 minutes (walk) from Amsterdam Centraal Station. We actually really liked the location & the pretty canal views, but looking back— I think it would’ve been better to stay closer to Centraal to cut down on the amount of walking/Ubers.

Foods to try: stroopwafel, patat fries, bitterballen, poffertjes

Things of note: (On biking) There are a crazy amount of bicycles in Amsterdam and they take their biking rules very seriously. Tourists must take extra care in making sure they are not walking in a bicycle lane (which will usually be right beside the walking path). Unless you’re really familiar with where you’re going, I wouldn’t recommend biking around the city (at least it would’ve stressed me out). However, we loved renting bikes further out from Amsterdam where the bike lanes were not as crowded :)

(On the party scene): While most are familiar with Amsterdam’s infamous reputation, we really didn’t find it to be an issue. We definitely noticed that it was much more crowded on the weekends with celebratory groups of friends heading to the “coffee shops” (aka where it’s legal to smoke marijuana). It’s supposed to be illegal to smoke in public, but many people still did. Despite all of this, I wouldn’t list Amsterdam’s long-standing reputation as a reason not to visit; the city is so much more than the red light district & the coffee shops!


day one: bloemenmarkt & canal tour

We landed in Amsterdam around lunchtime on Saturday and took the train straight into the city. We couldn’t check in our Airbnb for a few hours, so we dropped off our bags in the storage lockers inside of Amsterdam Centraal Station, which ended up working out perfectly.

With lighter loads, we walked straight to lunch at Blue Amsterdam. We quickly learned that Amsterdam restaurants are a bit pricier than we were used to, but the food was yummy and it had cool views of the city, so we happily downed our food and espressos before heading to Bloemenmarkt.

The cutest flower market, Bloemenmarkt lines the canal with lots of vendors and beautifully decorated booths. We (Okay, I ) loved walking through the booths of the endless plants and florals while enjoying the wonderful weather. The best booth is on the corner with bouquets hanging from every inch of the ceiling. It was magical!

After Bloemenmarkt, we walked over to Beginjhof, which has the prettiest courtyard surrounded by historic buildings and two churches. We circled around the houses for a bit and then left to meet our airbnb host to grab keys to our apartment. Our perfectly-Dutch building was covered in ivy and flowers and sat right on the canal, so we soaked in the scenes of our home for the next few days before mustering up energy to continue exploring the city.

We dodged bikers and wandered through the Jordaan neighborhood while snapping photos of the crooked-but-quaint rows of houses. We walked around the corner of the Anne Frank Museum to wait for a canal tour with Flagship. Since we didn’t know the timeline of our schedule for that day, we didn’t buy tickets ahead of time, but had no trouble catching a boat for the hour-long tour. While there are many boat tours near Centraal Station, we opted for an open-air cruise with a live guide and a smaller group. We loved our time on the boat ride— our guide was great and we really enjoyed learning more details about Amsterdam.

After the tour, we dropped off our luggage at the apartment and walked around the corner to eat dinner at Salsa Shop (it’s a chain, but it was a 1 minute walk from our airbnb & ended up being very similar to Chipotle so we’ll call it a win). Exhausted but already in love with Amsterdam, we settled in for the night so we would be ready to explore again the next day.

day two: Anne Frank House & Keukenhof

Our first full day in Amsterdam, we walked through the (darling) Jordaan neighborhood once again to eat breakfast at The Pancake Bakery. This was one of our favorite meals of the trip, because we really love breakfast food and this cute restaurant offered the biggest pancakes & omelettes I’ve ever seen. It was also really convenient to eat there because we had tickets to the Anne Frank House that morning, which was right down the street.

The Anne Frank Museum was one of our favorite (although difficult at times) experiences and is a must-see if you’re ever in Amsterdam (Important note: you must buy tickets 2 months in advance and enter at your ticket timeframe since they only allow a limited number of visitors per day). They don’t allow photos inside the house or museum, but I didn’t mind because I was too busy taking in all of the facts and history in those holy little rooms. We walked the narrow, steep staircases and marveled at all of the history and horrors that occurred in those spaces.

I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.
— Anne Frank

We wrapped up our time at the museum, and then walked back to Centraal Station to catch a train to Keukenhof, a beautiful park full of tulips (and about an hour outside of Amsterdam). Originally we thought we would miss out on the tulips completely since we visited in late May, but we (excitedly) managed to grab tickets on the last day the park was open.

Even though some of the flowers were no longer in bloom, it was crazy-pretty with the rows of bright florals and idyllic scenery. The park is huge, with lots of places to stop and eat or grab coffee (we did both). We spent a couple of hours walking along the bloom-filled paths and then rented a bike from the little parking lot stand. Typically, visitors rent the bikes to explore the surrounding tulip fields. But since the bulb fields were no longer in bloom, we just biked around with no agenda and enjoyed the more laidback bike paths (compared to the crazy busy ones in Amsterdam).

Note: If seeing all of the tulip fields in bloom is high on your priority list, the locals recommended visiting in April!

As it was nearing dinner time, we wrapped up our bike rides and grabbed an Uber back into the city. We ate dinner at Foodhallen, which was a really cool spot with delicious food stands (the sweet potato nachos I ate were unreal, y’all). We also bought some bitterballen from one of the vendors, which were so good and a must-try when in Holland. We saved a bit of room for dessert, so we navigated our way over to Van Wonderen Stroopwafels to try another famous Dutch food: the stroopwafel! We waited our turn and then walked back to our airbnb while trading bites of the most delicious warm, salted caramel dessert. I am actually still dreaming about it.

day three: Dutch countryside & windmill tour

We had heard good things about the tour of the Dutch countryside, and I am so glad we ended up going! Even if you don’t do a bus tour, I highly recommend going to some of the smaller historic villages outside of Amsterdam; they were so traditional and quaint and lovely.

We didn’t buy tickets for the tour until a few days before, so we were stuck with the earlier time slot, but we grabbed a coffee and took an Uber to Amsterdam Centraal station to join the rest of our tour group. After a few songs on the keyboard and a few more witty remarks, our bus driver and tour guide woke us all up and got us excited for the day ahead.

Our first stop was Zaanse Schans to see the (gorgeous) windmills. We were able to go inside of one of the windmills there and learn about how they worked, then snapped photos and climbed to the top for a pretty view of the other windmills along the water.

Next, we drove a bit more to the little fishing village of Volendam. We listened to a presentation on how Dutch cheese is made, and then we were able to taste lots of different types. It was the perfect appetizer, as we quickly headed to a lunch spot down the street toward the docks. With full bellies after our delicious & much-needed lunch, we walked down the dock to our boat that took us over to Marken.

Once off the relaxing boat ride, we walked through the charming streets of Marken while I admired the cutest houses and ended up at our last stop, where we learned the traditional practice of wooden clog making! It was a really cool and impressive experience; after the demonstration, we laughed as we tried on some of the wooden clogs. Although we left empty-handed (our feet were clearly not cut out for the wooden clog lifestyle), we headed back to Amsterdam full of unforgettable experiences after our (6 hour) trip through the Dutch countryside.

Once back in Amsterdam, we walked to Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx to order the famous fries-in-a-cone. Chatting and eating yummy fries, we continued walking through the gardens & the tunnel at the Rijksmuseum (it was near closing time, so we unfortunately never made it inside the museum as we had opted to explore the countryside that day instead). From there, we headed down the street and entered the pretty gates of Vondel Park. With miles of green space, we soaked in the pretty scenery of the park: locals lounging by the lake, a family of ducks following each other around the water, bikers heading home from work, and kids heading to soccer practice.

The brief rest in Vondel Park gave us the energy we needed to walk to dinner at Cafe Loetje (one of our Uber drivers recommended this place- it was good & affordable for a steakhouse). We took our time dining and people watching from the restaurant patio before we headed back to the airbnb, exhausted after our day full of adventures.

day four: amsterdam to athens

We slept in Tuesday morning, taking our morning slowly with no particular agenda. We packed our bags and sipped coffee while snapping a few last photos of the canals, then grabbed an Uber to the airport because our next stop was GREECE!

Travel Notes

Before diving into our 10-day adventure through the Netherlands and Greece, I thought I would type up a quick post to answer some recurring travel questions we’ve been getting (If you have additional questions, feel free to leave them in a comment below!)

Even after checking off countries #17 & #18 with this trip, I would still say I have a lot to learn about traveling— but I’ll do my best to address these few FAQs (*insert shoulder shrug here*).

Also, be sure to read this post full of disclaimers.

How do you decide where to go/stay in each city?

On where to go*: Honestly, our methods of deciding which countries & cities to travel to has looked different every time. Our first step is usually to decide what time of year works for our schedule and then go from there depending on weather, events, etc.

When we travel with friends, we make the decisions together and allow everyone to weigh in with their choices. This past time, Kevin and I knew we wanted to go to Greece (shoutout to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for opening most teenage-girls’ eyes to the beautiful Santorini), and we had also heard really awesome things about Amsterdam (plus it was super affordable to fly into)… so we ended up settling on those 2 places.

*If it’s your first time traveling abroad and scratching your head about where to go, I suggest taking a 7-10 day trip to London & Ireland. If you’re like me, you’ll probably fall in love with both places & keep going back :)

On where to stay: Once we have the dates, cities, and flights nailed down, we start the search for accommodations. If applicable, we get advice on the best areas to stay in the city from friends who have traveled there before so that we’re able to narrow the search down a bit. And then we just start clicking through Airbnb listings! (We apply the price limit filters and make sure we have the “entire house” box checked). While we usually opt for airbnbs over hotels to save money & stay in cool areas, we do sometimes stay in a hotel if we will just be in the city for 1 night or when we have points to cover the stay.


Do you plan each detail ahead of time?

Yes and no. I type up day-by-day itineraries (which include our flight & accommodation details along with any important numbers). For each city, I include a list of restaurant options & foods to try… and each day has a list of activities, but sometimes we scrap the day’s itinerary and just wing it! We never want to waste time googling places when we are soaking in the scenery, but we also don’t want to discount the tried-and-true practice of wandering into a cafe while exploring.

Favorite resources for creating a travel itinerary?

Obviously it helps to ask friends & family who have visited the country before— they are definitely the best resource. After that, I love looking through the locations tag on Instagram to find cool spots and searching on Pinterest for travel tips/blogs (Two of my go-to travel blogs are Find Us Lost and Lauren Wells).

As for traveling between cities, it pays off to do your research ahead of time to find out about train/ferry schedules, car rental options, etc.

What camera do you travel with?

For our London, Ireland & Rome trip, I used a Canon Rebel T1i with a Tamron 28-75mm lens. Before our Spain & Portugal trip, I had upgraded to a Canon 6D and used a 50mm lens. For Amsterdam & Greece, I used the same but also brought along my Sigma 35 mm lens. I also use my iPhone a ton, of course.

Best items you always pack?

Apart from weather-appropriate clothes/jackets/shoes, my go-to list is usually something like this:

  • Luggage/Bags: Samsonite Carry-On Suitcase (it’s not the cutest but it’s super practical with lots of pockets & plenty of storage for a carry-on. This one is not identical mine but very similar), Backpack (I love this one), which is big enough to fit my ONA camera bag in for flights. Kevin always packs this Gonex backpack; it is a game changer for traveling (It packs up super small)— we use it basically every day of the trip!

  • Swell Water Bottle (or any water bottle with a no-leak lid)

  • Blanket scarf (for colder weather trips) or Turkish towel (for warmer weather trips)- these can double as a blanket when I inevitably get cold in airports/planes

  • Tech Organizer- I’ve had mine for about 5 years now, so I don’t think they make the one I have anymore but this one is pretty similar & by the same company

  • Extras: Travel-size wrinkle release spray, copies of passports, compression socks (for 8+ hour plane rides), Dr. Scholl’s inserts (life.saver.)

What else would you add to the list? Any other travel essentials or tips you would recommend? Add those below or shoot me a message!

NYC in Photos

On NYC: Uber drivers with colorful dreads and determined driving. Traffic in the misty rain with commuters blaring rap music. Swapping photos with kindred tourists. Coffee for warmth and energy while shouting, “No sleep. Till Brooklyn.” Hidden skyscrapers in the fog. Subway passengers dressed for Friday night in the city. More walking, always looking up.

On 9/11 Museum & Memorial: Waterfalls surrounded by the names of victims. Visitors’ notes scribbled on the wet plaques, like love notes left on shower glass or fogged up mirrors. Watching 9/11 unfold before us with a few thousand people in complete silence. News clips & paper headlines & timelines of events. Mementos found in rubble & never-heard cell phone messages. Burnt flags & dust-covered clothes. All of the photos—the passengers, the employees, the onlookers, the rescuers & the rescued; the hijackers, George Bush, Bin Laden. 
And all of us—walking through the exhibit, the remnants of tragedy, the graveyard of faces—lost in thoughts and prayers and questions and disgust. 
But still, I think it is good and important to remember.

Explored: Brooklyn Bridge & Park, Times Square, 9/11 Museum & Memorial, Rockefeller Center & Top of the Rock, Broadway- Gershwin Theatre (Wicked), St. Patrick's Cathedral, City Sightseeing Tour- Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Central Park

Ate: Hourglass Tavern (need reservations), Shake Shack, Cascabel Tacqueria, Melt Shop, 5 Napkin Burger, Schmackary's (cookies)

5 Days in Maui

When Kevin said he might "have to go" to Hawaii for work, I said I would take one for the team and tag along because marriage is ALL ABOUT SACRIFICE, people. It was okay there, though. I mean, we made the best of it. What else can ya do?

A few of our favorite Maui adventures:


I loved exploring Front Street and wandering in and out of the shops there. We ate lunch at Lahainaluna Cafe, bought a few secondhand books at the bookstore, and marveled at the pretty little park that's nested in the midst of the shops and tourists. The trees reminded me of the Angel Oak Tree in Charleston!


Fun fact: you now have to buy tickets in advance if you want to watch the sunrise at Haleakala. We did not know this, but luckily someone from the hotel told us they release an extra 40 tickets 2 days prior (at 4 PM Hawaiin time). So we set an alarm on our phones Friday and were able to grab tickets for the Sunday morning sunrise. (You can buy tickets here. )

We never fully adjusted to Hawaiin time, so the 2 AM wakeup call wasn't that bad for us. It was about a 2-hour drive to the park from where we were staying and then about another 30-minute drive to the top. Everyone warned us how cold it would be, and they were right. It was COLD. But it was also beautiful and definitely worth the numb fingers. 

We reached the top a little early, so we were able to grab a parking spot near the observatory and look at the prettiest starry sky for a few minutes before watching the sun come up. 

Pictures don't do it justice. 


We are a little crazy (if you haven't noticed) and decided to do the entire Road to Hana on the same day we watched the sunrise at Haleakala. While it was a looong day (and everyone warned us not to do this), I am actually glad we did because:

-We got a super early start (obviously) before the rest of the island woke up.

-When you drive the Road to Hana after leaving Haleakala, the most logical way is to do the drive backward. This means we went the opposite direction from most of the other tourists and we were able to see the main attractions of the Road to Hana at the beginning of the drive before everyone else.

-We saved a lot of time. We were staying about as far away as you could get from the Road to Hana and Haleakala is in the middle of the island, so we were able to save the other days for relaxing at the beach instead of driving the entire island again.

Kevin may disagree with me on the above points because he was the one driving... and going against traffic on tiny roads and the edge of cliffs is not for the faint of heart.

I, however, was loaded up on Dramamine and annoyingly exclaiming every other minute, "Can you believe how PRETTYYY it is?!" To which he would reply, "I am just trying not to wreck."

Right. Good talk. 


We started out by eating a big breakfast (and loading up on coffee) at Kula Bistro, changed out of our sunrise clothes into shorts and swimsuits, then hit the road.

I downloaded the Shaka guide app before we left, which was a huge help along the drive. We may have sarcastically talked back to the guide the whole drive, but in the end, we were so glad we had him!

The more desolate places on the drive reminded us so much of Ireland (our all-time favorite place), so we were obviously big fans.

Our stops along the Road to Hana included: St. Joseph's Church Kaupo, Huialoha Church, Oheo Pools, Wailua Falls, Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach, Black Sand Beach, Coconut Glens (the best vegan coconut milk ice cream!), Ho'okipa Beach, and lots of the viewpoints along the way

The only place we really wanted to see but didn't was Jaws, which is the big wave surf beach (the surfers have to get towed into the waves with a jet ski. Whoa). Our rental car didn't have 4-wheel drive and we were starting to run out of daylight, so we ultimately decided to stop at a beach with some smaller wave surfing (which was still fun to watch).

Apparently, a lot of tourists don't drive the entire Road to Hana, but I am so glad we did. Every inch of the landscape seems to be something new and all of it is beautiful. The guide told us that the reverse Road to Hana drive (which ended in Pa'ia Town) would take 10-12 hours, but due to our head start and prioritizing the stops we made, we completed it in about 7 hours.

By the end of the day, we were exhausted and happily headed back to the hotel to sleep. We purposely planned to stay nearby the remainder of our trip and enjoy the slowness of the resort. 

KAPALUA (the area we stayed)

Our favorite breakfast in Kapalua was called The Gazebo. It is kind of hidden (located behind a hotel), but it had a beautiful view of the ocean and the food was delicious. We also grabbed a few meals and snacks at the Honolua Store, which had a market, great meal options, and a cute little coffee bar.

While it was a little inconvenient to not adjust to the local time, it was kind of nice watching the sunrise every morning from an empty beach. 

Aloha, Hawaii. You are a dream. 

All photos are property of Alex Fly

British Virgin Islands

This past July we got the opportunity to travel to the British Virgin Islands with family & friends. Obviously, we said yes right away, loaded up our bathing suits, and hopped on a plane. We flew into Puerto Rico and took an island hopper into the BVI (see that photo of the tiny plane? Slightly terrifying but also amazing). We landed on a dirt runway in Virgin Gorda, where we would stay the remainder of the trip. 

Virgin Gorda is pretty remote, but even more beautiful. The adults (still unqualified to be in that category) rented a villa that overlooked the water with a perfect sunset view. We explored Devil's Bay National Park and walked the trail to The Baths, which are definitely worth the hike and trek through the water. We swam, snorkeled, kayaked, wandered the caves and beaches, and spent the mornings sipping coffee on the porch.

I decided I could definitely get used to the island life.