around bali, bali holiday

Rice Fields

around bali, bali fishing boats

Local Fishing Boats

around bali, Mount Agung, Gunung Agung

Gunung Agung (Mount Agung, active volcano)

Around bali

Celebrating Hinduism

around bali, bondalem market

Bondalem Morning Market

around bali, bondalem market

Bali was the unplanned vacation that turned into something wonderful.

We had originally planned on staying in Singapore for a week before traveling out to South Africa. Matt had been there a couple of times before (his father & step-mother lived there for a few years) and had mentioned several times that he thought I would love the country. What’s not to love with a benevolent dictatorship, right? About 4 days before we were scheduled to fly to Singapore the country experienced some of the worst haze and air quality, due to fire forest in Indonesia, in recent history. And even though we both wanted to stay we also knew that it may not have been the safety place to be (in terms of air. Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world).

Since our flights to Singapore were already booked (but thankfully not our accommodations, since we’re procrastinators like that) we began searching for other near close-by countries that we could fly to instead. We originally thought Thailand would be nice but it was a little out of our price range. So we ‘settled’ for a vacation in Bali, Indonesia. Poor us, right? And don’t worry – we were very far from the forest fires. 

After 24+ hours in the air (and another 12 in airports) we arrived in beautiful Bali. We decided to stay in a villa on the north side of the country, a 3 hour drive from the airport.

The drive was so wonderful.

It was wonderful for a number of reasons:
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Flying directly to South Africa didn’t seem appealing to Matt and I so we decided to beak up the trip with a little vacation in Bali.

We probably should have looked at a map first because we ended up adding time (and literally hundreds of dollars in excess baggage fees) to our trip.

It took us more than 24 to get to Bali and then another 24+ hours to get to Cape Town after that. Yes, we were going to Bali for a vacation, followed by moving to Africa for 6 months (nbd, right?) but I got pretty cranky after switching planes for the 3rd time.  I found a pattern with my moods during the Los Angeles –> Bali, and Bali –> Cape Town flights- the 7 Stages of Long Travel:

1. Excitement.

journey to africa

“Let’s get moving!” You’re ready to go and start your big day(s) of travel. Bags are checked, carry-ons are stowed, and you’re ready to start your adventure! You might even cry a little from all the excitement.

2. Novelty.

journey to africa, pada qcamping singapore airport
kinetic rain singapore

Ah, cuteness overload!” Long travel trips mean multiple layovers. Be prepared to explore the airports and be overwhelmed by the cuteness of the novel things specific to each country. Like the adorable Panda Q stores in Shanghai or the weird camping setup, and mind-blowing kinetic rain in Singapore. You might even cry a little bit from all the intense cuteness.

3. Shock.

journey to africa

No vegetarian options on any flight?! I’ll starve!” Airplanes are uncomfortable. Especially when they smell like vomit for 12+ hours (true story). Bring snacks and entertainment to distract you. Better yet? Bring earplugs and an eye mask. You might even cry a little bit from the shock.
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check out my other Grand Canyon post

My favorite part of the trip was our hike on the South Kaibab Trail. The word Kaibab is a Paiute Indian word that means “mountain lying down”, or upside-down mountain. And as we climbed deeper into the canyon it was clear to see that the trail is appropriately named. While looking out over the ridge of the canyon was beautiful, it was absolutely incredible to actually walk down into the canyon.

Grand CanyonGrand CanyonGrand Canyon - South Kaibab Trail

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Spontaneous Adventures While Traveling

I’m a planner, plain and simple. I spend a good amount of time planning out almost every aspect of my life (meals, day-to-day activities, blog posts, etc) . And I really enjoy planning, as it is one of the ways that I reduce my stress about all the things that I need to get done.

Clearly, I use the same approach when it comes to traveling. My boyfriend? Not so much. He’d much rather take it easy, and experience what we experience. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t like any sort of travel plan, but he feels more comfortable being very flexible when it comes to traveling. But he is a sweet man, so he often indulges my planning urges.

Sometimes, however, a little spontaneity while traveling is unavoidable.

Like the time we were Copenhagen, Denmark and wanted to take a little trip to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art to see the Andy Warhol exhibition. We went to the train station to buy a ticket up there only to find out that the museum was closed that day. And since it was our last day in the city, we had already done everything we had wanted to do.

So what did we do? Matt asked the man behind the ticket counter where he likes to go when he had a free day. He recommended that we take the train up to Helsingør, Denmark and then take the ferry over to Helsingborg, Sweden. And against every planning bone in my body, that is how we spent the day: riding the train, getting off at the last stop, and then exploring the two towns.

And I guess it is not entirely surprisingly that our spontaneous adventure was amazing. We:
♥ Rode the train without really knowing where we were going.
♥ Walked around the small town of Helsingør and found Kronborg, the castle that was immortalized as Elsinore in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Yes, we saw Hamlet’s castle.
♥ Rode the ferry from Denmark to Sweden (and then back again) because hey – we could!
♥ Found what remains of Helsingborgs castle. Two castles in one day!
♥ Just walked around and poked our heads into restaurants, shops and parks.

Helsingborg, SwedenHelsingborg, SwedenHelsingborg, SwedenHelsingborg, SwedenHelsingborg, SwedenHelsingborg, SwedenHelsingborg, SwedenHelsingborg, SwedenHelsingborg, SwedenHelsingør, Denmark

Kronborg: Hamlet’s Castle in Helsingør, Denmark!

Kronborg Hamlet's Castle Helsingør, DenmarkHelsingborg, Sweden

It may seem incredibly obvious, but I learned that amazingly I can still have a ton of fun on vacation on days that I haven’t planned out. And days like these remind me that the world isn’t going to end when plans fall through. In fact, those are usually the best days of all.

How do you like the travel? Do you completely plan out your days, or prefer to just see what happens … or maybe a mix of both?

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This is going to be the last Kauai post, I promise. (I think?)
During our last couple of days on the island we went to visit some awesome caves. And spent time on the beach. Both amazing things.

Kauai Activities via Treasure TrompKauai Activities via Treasure TrompKauai Activities via Treasure Tromp

We also went to the Limahuli Garden and Preserve Botanical Gardens. Absolutely beautiful. And heart breaking. A lot of the plants are very threatened (some less than 10 plants left!) and the original Hawaiian names have been lost for many others. If you get the chance, make sure you visit this short, 1 mile loop of incredible beauty.
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After our Kauai activities of taking a helicopter tour of the island and going deep sea fishing, we decided to take it slow with a little visit to the Waimea Canyon and some hiking!
Kauai Activities - Waimea CanyonKauai Activities - Waimea CanyonKauai Activities - Waimea CanyonKauai Activities - Waimea Canyon

The Waimea Canyon (also called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) was incredible. The deep colors of the stone were beautiful. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon but if it is anything like Waimea Canyon then I know I’m in for a treat (at some point in my life).

The first hike we did was about 2 miles of the Kukui Trail. Shaded by beautiful trees, this medium-level trail winds around and provides amazing views of the Waimea Canyon. Even though we saw the canyon from the view point and the helicopter but there was something different about seeing it from the hike. Like we really earned it.
Kauai Activities - Kukui Trail via Treasure TrompKauai Activities - Kukui Trail via Treasure TrompKauai Activities - Kukui Trail via Treasure Tromp

Our second trail, the Hanalei-Okolehao Route was the first hike that I did in 2013, making this hike 1/10 of the new hikes I am aiming to do! The hike was a spur of the moment activity so not all of us had appropriate footwear for the slippery clay.
Kauai Activities - Hanalei Okolehao Route via Treasure Tromp

Kauai Activities - Hanalei Okolehao Route via Treasure TrompKauai Activities - Hanalei Okolehao Route via Treasure Tromp
Kauai Activities - Hanalei Okolehao Route via Treasure Tromp Kauai Activities - Hanalei Okolehao Route via Treasure Tromp

Kauai Activities - Hanalei Okolehao Route via Treasure TrompKauai Activities - Hanalei Okolehao Route via Treasure Tromp

Kauai Activities - Hanalei Okolehao Route via Treasure Tromp
Overall it was a really fun hike – mostly since we got to watch Matt slide around the clay  and took a post-hike dip in the river to clean off.

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During our time in Kauai we did a lot of incredible things. Since there are quite a few pictures (surprise!) I’m going to divide it into a couple of different posts.

We first arrived to the island late on the 26th of December and didn’t get a chance to do anything but eat pizza and sleep 8+ hours. So far, excellent vacation. We stayed in the small town of Hanalei on the rainy part of the island. Lucky for us most of the days were sunny or had very little ran. The following day was spent at the beach, alternating between playing in the warm, clear water, and lounging on the sand. I know, life was really hard. We decided to be a bit more adventurous the next day…and what is more adventurous than a helicopter tour of the island?

Kauai activities - helicopter tour via Treasure Tromp

Since Kauai is fairly undeveloped (thank goodness) it is difficult to access a large part of the island. Well, except by helicopter. We saw truly spectacular views up in the helicopter. Big mountains, a giant canyon rushing waterfalls and Puff the Magic Dragon (or so the song writers some say…). Look for yourself:

Kauai Activities - Helicopter Tour via Treasure TrompKauai Activities - Helicopter Tour via Treasure TrompKauai Activities - Helicopter Tour via Treasure Trompkauai activities - helicopter tour via Treasure TrompKauai Activities - Helicopter Tour via Treasure TrompKauai Activities - Helicopter Tour via Treasure Tromp

Absolutely incredible, right? Yes, all kinds of beautiful. If you have the time (and the $$) I would highly suggest doing an activity like this. We used Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and had a fantastic experience (and a great tour guide).

It was honestly a little bit scary at the very beginning during take off, but overall it was totally worth it!
Have you ever done a helicopter tour? Or, would you be willing to try it?

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Hawaii Treasure TrompAs most of you know, I have a real thing for travel. Love it can’t get enough. And from December 22 – January 24th I’ll be home in my bed for a total of 6 days. I like my current mix of travel – about half is work related, like my trip to Sweden/Denmark, while the other half is pure pleasure (although I would love a business trip to Sonoma or Hawaii). Traveling for business is going to be a lot more fun when I can get my hands on a business credit card and expense items, right? Grad students traveling for business is about as bare bones as it gets, but I’ll take it!Although I’ve done a bit of traveling, I have yet to make it out to Africa. So while I dream of planning trips out to the continent, I’ll just have to settle for reading all about Erica’s fabulous adventures in Tanzania!

Aloha! My name is Erica and I blog over at Mi Todo. I love reading about other bloggers’ adventures and travels, which is what drew me to Treasure Tromp. I happen to be embarking on the biggest adventure of my life (so far)… If you are reading this, then I’ve arrived in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where I’ll spend the next 18 months of my life. I’ve lived in places other than my beautiful home of South Padre Island before- 5 years in Hawaii, 2 in Cali, & a life-changing summer in the Galapagos- but never have I lived in a place so far from my comfort zone… especially without visiting first. I’ve been reading stories about the frequent power outages, fatal car accidents, riots, and crazy diseases, but I try not to focus on them. Instead, I’ve been dreaming of the crystal clear water for surfing, colorful kangas for babywearing, and a beautiful culture for learning and growing. I’m excited about what’s in store for my little family of three.

 We’ve come quite a long way this year. In March I gave birth to my daughter, Evita Pilar. In May I graduated law school. I spent the whole summer studying for the bar exam, and finally became a lawyer in November. But to end the year in East Africa still sounds unreal to me.

 I’ve tried to find more words to share with you about my move, but it’s hard to write about something I haven’t experienced yet. And guest posts are always the hardest. So I’ll end with an invitation to check out my blog, Mi Todo, and a big thank you to Nicole for sharing this little space of her blog. Oh, and I’d love to hear from some people who have travel/living experience in Africa!

Doesn’t her life sound amazing? Make sure to stop by Erica’s blog and follow along with her adventures!

Linked with  Whatever, WheneverWhat I’m LovingRandom, and Whimsy Wednesdays.

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For the last couple of years, Matt and I have spent New Years away from home. First we went to Costa Rica in 2010/2011 and then to Boston for 2011/2012 (next up: Hawaii!). During that trip we also went to NYC for a couple of days where I was able to check off a major item on my life bucket list: ice skating in Rockefeller Center.
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Travel Adventures: Treasure Tromp Blog
You might have noticed that I’ve been posting about some of the past international (and national) adventures I’ve been on recently. You also may have spotted the addition of that pretty little ‘adventures‘ link on my side bar. Most of you probably thought nothing of it but perhaps some of you lovely readers starting putting together the pieces (yeah, probably not).

Anyway, it turns out that I’ll be doing a bit of traveling in the future. And as a result I’ve been thinking of ways to add  a stronger traveling component to this blog. So I’ve been posting about previous trips and you’ll continue to see posts about new, exciting upcoming trips that I have planned.

Like how I’ll be Hawaii for the end of December / beginning of January. And then 6 days later in Sweden and Denmark for the second half of January. Like for 19 days. Oh my.

Granted the following months won’t be quite as extreme, I have a feeling that my backpack, suitcases and perhaps my passport will be hard at work in in latter part of 2013.

Let’s just say that I think that a California bucket list is in order.

And I’m happy to take you all with me on these adventures.

Linked up with Thankful Thursday (Loved and LovelyFirst Day of My LifeBlack Tag DiariesGracefully Made),Oh So Thankful, and Favorite Things.

3 Things I’m Grateful For:
Happy hour with friends ~~ a friendly work environment on campus ~~ the ability to work form home

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