content top

The One Where I Went to My High School Reunion

The One Where I Went to My High School Reunion

My iPhone read 5:51 p.m. as I stripped off my royal blue top in favor of a white and silver striped one and pulled on black capris in place of a dark denim skirt. It was one of more than a dozen wardrobe changes in about twenty minutes and it left me wishing that I had brought more options with me from Chicago. The two dresses, two skirts and half a dozen tops just weren’t enough to choose from as I prepared to go to my twentieth (gulp!)...

Read More

An Independent Traveler’s Guide to Russia

An Independent Traveler’s Guide to Russia

  Why Travel to Russia?   Putting aside the political issues, Russia is simply a fascinating and diverse country. From the imperial capital of St. Petersburg and the bustling metropolis of Moscow to the natural beauty of the Ural Mountains and Lake Baikal, Russia has a little something for everyone. And while the people often get a bad rap for being unfriendly, when you get outside of Moscow, they tend to warm up a bit more. I...

Read More

Comparing 3 Classic Treks: Inca Trail, Grand Canyon & the Himalayas

Comparing 3 Classic Treks: Inca Trail, Grand Canyon & the Himalayas

When I was a kid, my dad would take my brother and I out to a park somewhere (maybe in Wisconsin?) to go “rock climbing.” Of course, this really wasn’t climbing up rocks, at least not in the sense that we were scaling the sides of cliffs with a bunch of equipment. No, really it was just hiking through the woods where there happened to be some big rocks to hike over as well. Nonetheless, I think these trips subtly instilled in me a love for...

Read More

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

Just over a week ago, I stood in front of a room of about fifty people talking about lessons I learned while I was traveling around the world for 13 months. The last lesson I mentioned, and the one that I emphasized as the most important, was that things have a way of working out. At the time, I thought that I would soon be writing a new blog post to exemplify that. While I have plenty of other examples from my travels, an opportunity had...

Read More

Travel Plans for the Second Half of 2014

Travel Plans for the Second Half of 2014

Can you believe 2014 is almost halfway over? Time flies, right? I have managed to squeeze in quite a bit of travel into the last six months, visiting Boston, Atlanta, Southern California (albeit for work), Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon and Washington, D.C. (again, for work). And I have some even more exciting travel plans for the next six months, which include finally heading out of the country again!   Minnesota: July 18-20  ...

Read More

Downtown Chicago in Photos

Downtown Chicago in Photos

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to play tourist here in Chicago a bit. I took a photo tour with photographer Ralph Velasco that spanned several hours on a Friday evening and again early on Sunday morning (he also did two Saturday sessions in which I did not participate). While I conceivably could head to downtown Chicago on my own any given weekend and take many of the same shots in the same places, I still found the tour worthwhile....

Read More

Grand Canyon Day 4: Indian Gardens to the South Rim

Grand Canyon Day 4: Indian Gardens to the South Rim

I awoke on day four with a sense of nervousness and excitement. This would be it. The last day of my Grand Canyon rim to rim hike with Wildland Trekking. The day that we would finally make the tough hike up out of the canyon. That’s the tough thing about hiking canyons instead of mountains – the hardest part arguably comes at the end, when you are the most tired and you have to go up to get to your destination. We were up once again by...

Read More

Grand Canyon Day 3: Phantom Ranch to Indian Gardens

Grand Canyon Day 3: Phantom Ranch to Indian Gardens

As the sun rose on the third day of my Grand Canyon rim to rim hike, I could think of just one thing: it was time to go up. After two days of hiking downhill to the very bottom of the canyon, it was time to switch gears and head uphill for the last two days. I felt rested from our relaxing day at Phantom Ranch, but I also knew that as soon as the sun was all the way up, the heat may get unbearable. Although we were awake again by about...

Read More

Grand Canyon Day 2: The Day I Broke My Big Toe

Grand Canyon Day 2: The Day I Broke My Big Toe

I slowly got up and wiped the dirt off my pants. Sitting down at the picnic table in the near-dark, I aimed my headlamp at my foot to get a good look at my big toe. The red nail polish was scuffed off part of the nail but it otherwise looked fine – no scratches and, more importantly, no bleeding. I breathed a sigh of relief and went back to the business of drinking my cup of hot chocolate as Marisa, Chris, and I waited for the others to...

Read More

Grand Canyon Day 1: North Rim to Cottonwood Campground

Grand Canyon Day 1: North Rim to Cottonwood Campground

It was twilight by the time I finally dropped my pack on the ground at Cottonwood Campground, nearly twelve hours after my day had begun. My legs didn’t ache as bad as I anticipated and my neck and shoulders didn’t pinch the way I feared. Even my contact lenses held up throughout the dry and sometimes dusty conditions. Considering how nervous I was in the days leading up to my “rim to rim” hike through the Grand Canyon, I...

Read More
content top
css.php