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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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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I’ve been trying to plan a spring break trip to the Grand Canyon for the last 3 years. But each time other (and equally fabulous) trips happened. But this year we finally made it happen! And it was amazing!

Grand Canyon

Since we only had a few days to spend there, we decided to make our stay as easy as possible. So instead of camping in the canyon we rented a room in one of the canyon lodges (Thunderbird Lodge) on the South Rim. Our experience? The rooms were a bit overpriced but they had comfy beds and view of the Grand Canyon. Yes, that is right – a view of the canyon from the room. Like wake up, roll over in bed, BAM Grand Canyon! That alone was worth the more-expensive-than-I-would-have-liked price tag. Our lodge was also centrally located, making all of the trails a short walk or bus ride away.

Grand CanyonGrand CanyonGrand CanyonGrand Canyon
Grand Canyon - Bright Angel 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?


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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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?


Its ok
…that this is the laziest vacation I’ve ever taken
…to drink beer every night
…that I have done zero work in the last two weeks
…to be happy about the fact that my computer charger doesn’t work properly (the reason for no worky work for me)
…to spend a lot of time catching up on my favorite blogs while sitting on the beach
…that I loved hiking up a clay trail while it rained …and then hoped in a river after to clean off
…to embrace messy beach hair
…that the only statistics I’ve done on this trip relate to poker probabilities
…that I was ridiculously excited that two friends from high school were staying in the same town as me on the island
…that this is the most productive I’ve been all week:

This is all ok, right? So not looking forward to returning home today. Usually I welcome the return of work after a long vacation but this time is different – very different. 



This Thanksgiving was spent in the beautiful city of Chicago! Matt’s step-sister and her husband live in the windy city and warmly welcomed us into their cute home for five days. While we were there we made sure to eat delicious food (umm, hello deep dish!), hit some major tourist spots (WRIGLEY! Willis Sears Tower! Second City!), and relax.

Yes, relax.

For once, I did absolutely zero work during this vacation. Okay, I sent a couple of work related emails, but I kept even those to a minimum. I actually opened my computer very rarely during the trip and mainly read when we weren’t out and about (note – The Host is excellent! It took me forever to get past the first 3 chapters and then I sped through the rest).

Just 103 floors up. On a glass balcony. I could barely look down. chicago-treasure-tromp

And now I’m off to catch up on your fabulous blogs that I missed during the last week. Linked up with Loving and Tell Me About it Tuesday.


What is making me smile this Monday? Just my trip to a glacier yesterday. And the fact that I get to spend the next week in beautiful Alaska!


Also, this silly outtake of Matthew and I is really making me smile right now.


Vancouver, Canada

This summer is quickly turning into the summer of travel. I think that my longest stay at home this summer is 2 weeks. While it can be a bit stressful living out of a suitcase, I’m so lucky that I have the opportunity to see new places, revisit some favorites and have new adventures.

Our trip to Vancouver was based off of two things: 1) convenience, and 2) I had never been to Canada and desperately wanted to go! So Matt and I took a 3.5 hour bus ride from downtown Seattle to Vancouver. Unfortunately, Matt got sick the first day we arrived, and I caught a cold on the last day so our sightseeing was pretty minimal. Even in the short amount of time I spent there, I completely fell in love with Vancouver!

Yum: The complete sushi nut that I am, I made it a priority to walk the 40 minutes from our hotel in downtown to Tojo’s. And I was not disappointed. While the food was a little bit on the pricy side (okay, a lot on the pricy side), the quality was incredible and service was great. While we dined we were able to observe a private party and press event for Yoshi Rolls for Japan. Yoshi rode his bike across Canada to raise awareness and money for the earthquake that hit Japan last year. It was kind of fun to watch the interviews and photos while stuffing my face with yummy sushi. Additional yums include brunch at the Twisted Fork, and dinner at the tapas restaurant The Refinery.
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