Camino Day 1 & 2

Day 1

We made it to St. Jean Pied de Port at 10pm the previous night. Upon arriving at our first Albergue, the host advised us to run to the Pilgrim office and get our Pilgrim Passport, for a couple of reasons: 1. We could get our first stamp for that Albergue, and 2. We wouldn’t have to stand in line and delay our journey the next day. I’m so glad we took his advice because the first day was tough! (We needed all the extra time we could get!)

The start: that morning we woke up at 6:30 to make sure we would have the whole day to make it over the Pyrenees and into Roncesvalles before nightfall. They said that it would take us 8 hours, it takes most people 8 hours, but it had been raining the past 2 days, and more rain was expected for the first leg of our journey. They forgot to warn us how bad the mud would be. It was SO bad. But through rain all day, drizzle to heavy falling to side-ways rain (due to the strong wind), we made it in less than 8 hours (not much less…)

When we got to Roncesvalles, the Albergue was full. All 183 beds we’re claimed by fellow Pilgrims. So we were taken in a taxi to another spot near Espinal. It was a campsite/hostel. Super cute and very quiet, maybe 20 Pilgrims including us. There we did laundry, ate our first Pilgrim meal (which included a bottle of wine!) And talked to some Pilgrims from California. They had been on the Camino before, but were unable to finish. So a few years later they decided to take more time and do it in it’s entirety. They told us what to look forward to in Pamplona, how to make sure we explore the old city behind the wall, and eat the pinchos. They were awesome, I hope we run into them again.

Day 2

We slept in. I set an alarm for 6:30am but didn’t actually get out of bed until 7am. By the time we were dressed and packed, it was 8am and we still hadn’t eaten breakfast. We decided to stop at a cafe in the next town, where we ate toast and drank Cafe au lait. We took some time to write (thinking it would be an easier day) then hit the trail.

We didn’t arrive in Zubiri until a little after 2pm. Zubiri means “City of bridges” and we only saw one bridge, but it was beautiful.

While eating lunch, I booked us an Airbnb in Pamplona. I told the hosts we’d be there at 8pm; we could cover 10 miles in three hours, right? Maybe if they were flat miles and we hadn’t walked 17 the previous day… Anyway, we gave it a good effort! By the end, we were struggling. We reached the edge of town at 8:45pm and decided to call a cab. We’d already walked 22 miles, and 45 min passed the time I told them I’d be there and we were incredibly tired.

When we got to the AirBnb after 9pm, our hosts were incredibly jolly! They were so welcoming, giving us a quick tour around the place and suggesting the best neighborhoods for pinchos. I don’t think they realized that we were barely able to stand and really just wanted to sleep. But we really couldn’t have picked a better spot for our stay in Pamplona.

Buen Camino.

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Camping Shenandoah

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I don’t mind sleeping on the ground if it means waking up in a forest.

Over the past year of Mid-Atlantic living, I have fallen more and more in love with the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. It’s a beautiful park comprised of waves of mountains covered in thick forest and rock rivers. It couldn’t be more different than the jagged peaks of the Colorado Rockies I grew up in. But this kind of beauty is “old world” and majestic in it’s own right.

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Foggy mornings open to misty sunshine. And the ground never gets hard, nor the sun too intense. And after walking through trees and brush, a trail opens to a rocky ledge granting endless lookouts over the valleys

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We camped in Lewis Mountain campground, a small, mostly tent camping site off the Appalachian Trail (AT). On our first morning, I walked to the camp store for hot coffee and struck up conversation with some AT hikers. I met a woman who explained how she and her high school-aged son were just walking the trail through Shenandoah. They were from Indiana and as a graduation gift, she brought him to experience his first long hike. She told me stories of bears they had run into; a cub crossed their path the day before forcing them to hike backwards as the mama-bear charged at them twice.

“We’re only half way,” she explained, somewhat reluctantly adding, “But we’ve seen bears almost every day of our hike.”

We also saw two bears during our drive into the park. However, we spotted them from the safety of our car.

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One of the best hikes (Or at least, one of my favorites) is Stony Man. There’s a small parking lot at the trail-head, then it climbs quickly to reveal amazing views. The first viewpoint gives a small taste of what’s to come, getting you closer to Stony Man, a rock formation that looks like a resting man. The second outlook is the closest you get to Stony man; the end of the hike takes you on to Stony Man’s face. There are rocky trails that allow you to climb all over his upper body, and the views are breathtaking.

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Camping trips end too quickly. And as summer draws to a close, I’m not sure we’ll get another chance to explore before the leaves turn varying shades of yellow. Although, that would make for another great excuse to explore familiar terrain.

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Exciting things coming this Fall!

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So I don’t feel like now is the time to completely open up about the plans that are in motion, but they are real and it’s happening! It does seem sort of silly to have an announcement post that is announcing a future announcement, but I guess I need this post. I need to look back on this and say things were in motion then and I had no idea what awesome-ness was in store! (fingers crossed)

The recent months have felt endless, and it seemed like time was just passing, not leading to anything particular or exciting. “Stuck” is kind of how life has been going. And when summers are usually fun and positive, this one has been long, hot and not very interesting. I realize a lot of that has to do with our work schedules, Drew and I both work at night and often times on different days. So getting away or making “us” time has been limited.

I’m counting down the days to when I will make the post on this site that I think is really going to change the game, for me and for Wild Prestige. But for now, I’m going to leave you with this little message and a picture of Jade, the cutest dog in the world, on our last hike in the Shenandoah Mountains.

Jade the Adventure Pup

News coming soon!

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First time in Asheville

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If there is one place that I could pick-up and impulsively move to, it would be:

Asheville, NC.

Drew and I went there this weekend after our trip to Atlanta to see his cousin marry her beau in the sweetest ceremony/reception. It was lovely, but I realized that I did not take one picture in Atlanta. Not one.

Part of that had to do with the fact that we stayed in Downtown which is sort of like Las Vegas (hear me out) in the sense that the only thing there is major chains and party-goers. Restaurant choices involved Hard Rock Café, Hooters and Chick-fil-A. Night clubs in the area are numerous, according to our hotel concierge when asked what there is to do; Or we could have taken a tour of the Coca-Cola factory. I wish we could have gone with a guide, a local who could show us the neat little restaurants and other places where locals hung out.

So when Drew woke up Sunday morning and said, “What do you think about going to Asheville?” I jumped at the idea and immediately started packing.

We arrived in Asheville around 4PM. (we had our little love-pup, Jade, so traveling always takes just a little longer once we get her walked/fed/potty-ed) Our first stop was Ben’s Tune Up, where we stumbled upon once parking the car and were drawn in by the cute patio. The owner’s dog was wandering around the area off-leash, so we took Jade off her leash and let her roam, too. (Although, Jade’s area of roaming is about a 5 foot radius around our table, she didn’t go far)

After that, we checked into our hotel room at Aloft Downtown Asheville. If you are ever looking for a pet-friendly spot, I highly recommend this chain. There are no additional pet fees, and they will give you a pet bed, two bowls, poop bags, a toy, and a bag of treats for your furry friend. Plus, they have a pet area (Grass where your doggie can do they’re business) and your pet is allowed anywhere in the hotel you are. Also, they work with local shelters and feature an adoptable dog in the lobby of the hotel. Looking for something to remember Asheville? Adopt a pet on your stay!

Since we were only in Asheville for about 24 hours, we didn’t see a whole lot of the city, mostly the downtown area. We drank a lot of beer and coffee, ate some awesome food, and basically just got a preview to the wonders of the city/area. I can’t wait to go back!

When we do go back, I want to visit the breweries and check out the hiking trails. The people there are SO friendly and anyplace that treats Jade like the child I think she is, is high in my book.

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Jade Aloft

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Going Native

First, this is not a sponsored post.

I love AirBnB. And Homeaway. And whatever other vacation rental site I haven’t yet heard of or used.

There is something exciting and thrilling to travel somewhere and stay in a cool neighborhood like a local, experiencing things that most tourists aren’t going to. And whenever I say that, I think about my college Anthropology class where the professor described the term “Going Native” a common experience for anthropologists who are studying cultures and getting lost in them. That’s exactly what I like to do when I travel, get lost in the local culture.

I have stayed in many homes around the world, and honestly must say that all of them were excellent. It’s amazing how the internet has brought us such a great resource to find apartments or treehouses or boats to stay in instead of the ‘normal’ hotel. And to think that Europeans have been doing this for decades… glad we Americans have finally caught on.

To me, nothing is cooler than waking up in a neighborhood, going to a local coffee shop and seeing how life happens in that city outside of the tourist meccas and shopping centers. However, that also means that if you are in a country that doesn’t speak the same language, you are going to find that it will be more difficult to find fellow English speakers. But don’t fret, you’ll forget about the language barrier as you drink the booze that is way cheaper in the neighborhoods (Because it’s not marked up for tourists who don’t know any better, or don’t care)

When we were in Paris, we loved the Airbnb that we rented. It happened to be directly across the street from our friend’s childhood home where his parents still live; and a block or two from another friend’s apartment. Not to mention, it was in Montmarte so just an all-around splendid neighborhood, great food, great nightlife, delicious patisseries and coffee shops. In Mexico, I stayed in Roma Norte, a very trendy “Hipster” area with bike shops and markets on nearly every block, as well as Parque Mexico a short walk away.

If you are going somewhere, definitely check out renting someone’s home in a neat area over a hotel on the main strip. We’re going to Atlanta next week, and I am already looking into some cool rentals down there. Like the famous Treehouse or a cute camper.

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Mexico Holiday

At the end of April, we went to Mexico.

The whole trip was planned around the union of Drew’s brother, Ben and his love (Now wife) Clau, in a lovely ceremony near her hometown in the mountains outside of Toluca. And it was spectacularly beautiful. We drove from Mexico City through windy roads watching farmers plow fields without the advanced technology we call tractors, and people outside their cinder-block homes playing with their children just to get to the site of the wedding.

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Skyline Drive

I love living in the city.

But I also love to celebrate nature, experience it, and be immersed in it. Especially this time of year when the fall colors are in their prime!

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Since Drew is from this area, he told me that one of the most beautiful places to see the fall colors is in Shenandoah National Park along Skyline Drive. So we had to check it out!

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Anniversary Post – 4 Whole years!

I love Drew. We are so lucky to have found each other at our ripe age of 20 something. The adventures we’ve had, the memories we’ve made, and the fur babies we’ve adopted, have all been life changing events (For the better); I can’t imagine a great life made any other way.

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Top 5 Vacations to take in 2016

As I mentioned in a previous post, we did a lot of traveling in 2015. More than I think I have ever done in my life! It was a lot! Unfortunately, it’s difficult to follow a year like that. But I’m optimistic that we will make this one just as exciting and full of travel. (It will just be closer to home travel)

  1. Ashville, NC

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It seems like everyone is talking about Ashville, NC. Every blog I read, every Instagram post, everyone I talk to,

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How to Travel More

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Last year, around this time, I read a blog post about traveling. In the post, the writer recommended that we should all work hard to travel at least once a month. This post came from a travel blogger, mind you, so when I was reading the post I thought to myself, “yeah, easy for you to say, you travel around the world for a living!” 

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