New Zealand – The Te Araroa Trail

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After much deliberation and research we have decided on our next adventure.  We plan on hiking the entire country of New Zealand on the Te Araroa Trail in 2016.  We are talking about 1,864 miles! So we must be some serious experienced hikers traveling all over the world doing this for years…  nope.  This is a first for Steve and I as we have absolutely no hiking experience (unless you count hiking through bush to find a remote beach :)). Being on par with how we try and live, we figured what a fantastic way to see an amazing country such as New Zealand – 5 months of hiking 2 islands over 1,800 miles.

Typically when we visit a new place, we try and take it all in, not just the tourist hot spots. For example, when we visited Europe, we didn’t want to be the A typical Americans that come over and want to order a cheeseburger and expect everyone to speak English.  We visit places to expand our cultural diversity and see the world in other peoples eyes.  What can we learn to better ourselves and appreciate everything around us?  Every one of us have so many blessing in life that are there every day, unfortunately the negative can cloud the wonderful things that we can so easily take for granted.

We hope to gain many memories and learn a lot more about ourselves through this adventure.

Once we begin our travels in New Zealand we will update this section with commentary and photos…  Let the adventure begin!

To be continued…

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Eleuthera

Eleuthera….Where to begin.. We’ve spent a lifetime there once.

We found the perfect spot for our island dream to take place on the Atlantic side of the Rainbow Bay subdivision of Eleuthera Bahamas. 

I’d say that living in a foreign country on a pretty unpopulated island in the middle of the ocean has its perks, ups and definite downs. It is a learning curve.  

When building commenced, we depended solely on our builders and relied on them to make our drawn up plans come to fruition while we were stateside. Once our “shell” of the house was built we arranged a rental space in our builders vacation rental house and moved to Eleuthera in late September 2014. We began the first of many long hard days to work to complete the build of our house. Two months later we moved in to our unfinished, but livable..okay really camp-able house. We lived without electricity, and hot water for several months. With a lot of blood sweat and tears – literally we came out on the other side a year and a half later. Overall it was all worth it. We’ve met some really great and interesting people and remain friends with them to this day.  

Looking back now we very much appreciate our time in Eleuthera. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and about what “paradise” really means. We’ve learned a lot from our experiences and it helped mold us into the people that we are today. Eleuthera was a crucial stepping stone in our lives. Because we have experienced the adventure of Eleuthera, we came to the conclusion to sell our home there. We want to continue our adventures of traveling around the world and really living the way we dreamed of. We will build a Tiny House to have as a home base. 

We really have Eleuthera to thank for getting us to the place we are today. The dependency on nature and the solitude that it offered is something that will never leave us. We first hand got to see what we as humans do to destroy and pollute our earth. This taught us to be more minimalistic and to try to leave as little of an impact as possible. This is why we now share one vehicle, one phone, will live in a tiny house, are both vegan and consciously work to reduce our impact. Steve and I believe that this will be the key to our happiness, health and overall well being. 

Things that Eleuthera taught us:

-You can take a boy and a girl from the island, but you can’t take the island out of the boy and girl.

-We need nature, but nature doesn’t need us.

-Salty air, sunshine and a fresh breeze is the best of therapies.    

-Hammock chairs were a great investment.

-The beach has some amazing healing qualities.

-Sunrises, sunsets and a starry sky are things that help put things into perspective.

-You need to experience the bad, this is what helps you to recognize the good. 

-You do not need all of the things that you think you do.

-Full moons are the best times for a beachside bonfire.

-Never take a hot shower for granted…ever.

There is so much that I am leaving out of this post simply because there is so very much. We really had a love/hate relationship with Eleuthera..but mostly it was love. The island will always have a little piece of us there and the island will forever have a lasting impression on us. 

Our Wedding 

Lough Cutra Castle. Gort co Ireland

Steve and I are both Irish and have always wanted to visit Ireland. We thought there would be no better place to get married than Ireland. It took about a year of preparations since we legally wanted to get married in Ireland. These preparations included getting approved to get married there, being assigned a wedding registrar, and getting documentation, Birth Certificate apostles etc.

To get married in Ireland, one of the requirements was to be there 6 days prior to the ceremony. We didn’t mind this at all as we wanted to make a vacation out of it as well. We stayed at a really nice hotel. The House Hotel, was perfect for us. It was situated in the heart of Galway. We chose Galway from word of mouth. We wanted a true Irish experience, not a touristic one like we heard that Dublin would offer. It turned out to be a good decision. Our close friends and family were due to arrive right before the ceremony so we had all of Galway for us. We incorporated the Irish symbol and tradition the “Claddagh” to our wedding bands. It’s meaning is “Friendship, Love and Loyalty.” The Claddagh museum was also in Galway, so we wanted to check that place out for sure. It was a quaint little display of some of the oldest and original Claddagh designs. The Claddagh’s distinctive design features two hands clasping a heart, and usually surmounted by a crown. The elements of this symbol are often said to correspond to the qualities of love (the heart), friendship (the hands), and loyalty (the crown). The way that you wear the ring and what way the ring is facing indicates what your relationship status is.

 

http://www.shareitvideo.com/watch.php?v=241555881645462

 

 

This post is under construction and will be up soon:).

Our trip to Culebra PR

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June, 2012

Seeking out a piece of land to build a house on was our initial reason for visiting the island of Culebra Puerto Rico. After finding that there were just too many challenges with building there, we would then set our sights elsewhere. In the meantime, we had a very enjoyable time. We met  wonderful people, including Victor who we still keep in touch with. We loved our time so much in Culebra that we brought Steve’s mom with us for a second visit. The water is truly beautiful, some of the most amazing beaches including one of the top ten beaches in the world (Flamenco Beach). The atmosphere was truly paradise! We lucked out on timing on our first visit to witness the Leatherback Sea Turtles nesting on a few beaches. They are magnificent creatures and we were just in awe of seeing them in person. We spend most of our time snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, off roading and hiking to some hard to reach beaches such as Brava Beach. Our favorite beach on the island is Zoni Beach. It is off the beaten path (if there is such a thing there) and it is very secluded. All of the beaches on Culebra are secluded and non populated except for the famous Flamenco Beach and even at that there really is not a lot of people at any given time. For being a small island (4 miles by 7 miles), there are a lot of really unique places to go and feel like you are the first to explore those areas. Each beach is unique, some are a powdery white soft sand, some are a volcanic rock, and then there are some with a more coarse sand.  This island was perfect for just wanting a very chillax place to go with nobody around. We have many fond memories of this treasure of an island for sure!

Our Europe Engagment

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December 28th, 2011 – January 7th, 2012

This whole trip was my surprise Christmas Present from Steve to go to Paris for New Years and London before and after.

We arrived in London and stayed in the Sofitel St. James hotel. P1000513.JPGThis place was amazing ! Perfect in every way. We arrived mid-day and knew that to avoid jet lag that we must say awake and go to bed on their time. We were exhausted but also very excited to see such a wonderful place. That day we walked all of the way to the London BridgeP1000461.JPG and rode on the Tube.P1000452.JPG We gorged ourselves on some fantastic Sushi and then crashed in our hotel.

The next day we visited Buckingham Palace, Big Ben,P1000429.JPG  then Westminster Abbey, and Trafalgar Square.

The following day we took the Euro-rail to Paris. This was a very unique way to travel for us and took advantage of viewing the country sides and parts of Europe that you can only see that way.P1000536.JPG We arrived and found our hotel, which is equally as amazing as the hotel in London, but in its very own way. We stayed at Luxembourg Place which is a boutique hotel.P1000549.JPG So perfectly Parisian. We still had some daylight left and wanted to venture out that afternoon. We walked to The Louvre and spend 3 hours there. This was plenty for us as we had mapped out where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see there ahead of time. P1000596.JPG

The following day we went on a brunch cruise down the Seine River and had an excellent poached egg with salmon. P1000678.JPGAfter the brunch cruise, we went to the Eiffel Tower. This was the eve of New Years so we knew that we would be there later that eve but wanted to take advantage of the time to visit the top of the tower. Steve is afraid of heights but was a trooper that day:) We went all the way to the very top and got to see all of Paris!P1000705.JPG We went back to our room to change and got some champagne and an assortment of cheeses and headed back to the Eiffel Tower. At the stroke of midnight, Steve proposed! I definitely was not expecting that surprise! Of course I said yes! We later got lost in the city of Paris trying to find our hotel, which was a fun venture and there were tons and tons of people celebrating along with us saying Bonne Année (Happy New Year). We finally found our hotel with the help of a couple from St. Louis MO which is right near where we are from! Small world! The next day was a chillax day as many business were closed for the holiday. Later that eve we went for a walk down the Champs Elysees and saw the arc de triomphe. This was the only day so far of our entire trip that had rained pretty steadily.P1000792.JPG

We were okay with this as it added to the surroundings. The next day we went to Notre Dam. The Cathedral was impressive to say the least. So much hard work went into the structure and made it an art piece as well. So amazing that it was built 400 years prior to our country being established! P1000866.JPGThat afternoon we boarded the Euro-rail back to London. We stayed in the same hotel and prior to turning in for the night we went out to a nice place to eat and then we got back to our room to find the staff had put rose pedals in the shape of a heart and on the floor leading to our bed after learning about our engagement. P1000936.JPG

The following day went to ride the London Eye prior to going to the airport. P1000947.JPG

We got to see much of what we had already seen in person from a London Eye view!

We then got to the airport to depart for our trip back home. We had such a memorable time there in London and Paris and got to see a lot while we were there. In addition to  getting engaged to my best friend, this trip will always hold a special place in our hearts.