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Phase 1: Part 1 Florida Edition; North America

Location of Florida in North America
Location of Florida in North America

 

Location of Key West in Florida
Location of Key West in Florida

 

Theme: The Voyage of Discovery      Phase:  Phase 1: Part 1   Country: United States of America (USA)    Language English           Unit of Currency: US dollars     Location: Florida     Year: 2014      Bucket list: Visiting The Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key, Florida

 

ADRENALINE:

 

  • Hang gliding in the Southern part of The Everglades National Park

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  • Sky diving Key West

Jessica’s 3rd sky dive

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Joshua’s 1st sky dive for his 25th birthday

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Video: Sky diving over Key West, FL, USA with Josh – 12,000 feet & 130mph

Thank you Sky Dive Key West guys for an amazing jump!

 

  • Spending Friday night at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

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Video: Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

https://youtu.be/fMU-mZiu2Rw

CONSERVATION:

 

  • Hanging out in The Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key, Florida for the day

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  • Contributing to The Turtle Hospital’s rescue program and for their continued efforts in saving the lives of sea turtles
  • Visiting The Everglades National Park, and talking to TV Animal Planet Gatorboys, Paul about his efforts in conservation

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EDUCATION:

 

  • Teaching others about sea turtles and their dietary supplements at The Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key, Florida
  • Learning about nitrogen ice cream and the pros and cons of regular ice cream

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Highlights of Week 1:

It’s been crazy trying to travel and upload photographs/videos/travel stories, but hey, I promise I will get better at it as time progresses! “:

*Adrenaline: Airboat ride in the Everglades National Park
*Conservation: the Everglades National Park (learned about the gators from TV’s Gatorboys, Paul)
*Education: Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream

1) Experiencing the best smoothie in the states @ Tropical Smoothie Cafe – a perfect blend of pineapples, strawberries, and bananas in a signature drink called “Paradise Point.”

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2) Visiting family in Cocoa Beach, FL - Josh and Maggie aka mom enjoyed hanging out with Uncle Matt, Aunt Dorothy, Jim, Steve, and the Castillo bunch - BetsyBenjamin, & Camille. Hopefully next time we will be able to see Alfonso, MaggieClaire, and Cody! We missed you guys! 

3) Work related – Receiving my Norwegian medical, my 2nd primary passport, and my 3rd secondary passport – all of these were required to continue traveling outside the United States! Absolutely vital! 

4) Chilling @ Fort Lauderdale Beach for the morning – beautiful sunny “typical” Florida day and excellent photographs on the sand.

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5) Hanging out downtown Fort Lauderdale watching the Cleveland Browns vs. the Cincinnati Bengals American Football game @ Taps – It was sweet visiting with MartinBecca Ann, and Megan; and a surprise visit with Brianadded a good vibe for the night. Also, we had a great time with Colleen this week! 

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6) Satisfying the sweet tooth @ Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream – Vn + Cf + Mw. A chemical equation likely to baffle scientists, unless they’re familiar with Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream’s periodic table of flavors. Then they’d know that the “equation” translates to vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge, and marshmallows—resulting in a sort-of s’more sundae that should be kept far away from campfires.

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Chill-N’s science-class vibe is inspired by the ice cream itself, which the shop creates by flash-freezing ice-cream or yogurt with pure nitrogen. Customers start by picking either ice cream or yogurt as the base, then flavor it with natural ingredients like pure vanilla or some of the 60 pounds of Nutella that Chill-N goes through each week. They also get to blend in any of the nearly 20 mix-n’s on the periodic table, including little-known elements such as gummy bears (Gb) and Pop Tarts (Pt). The shop mixes it all together, then adds a hefty blast of liquid nitrogen. A very fun, and educational activity for everyone!

6) Cruising on an airboat ride @ the Everglades National Park, another educational activity for the trip – saw 3 American alligators, loads of birds, fish, native plants, etc. Used gopro to capture the alligators and airboat ride! *The best part of the experience was a photograph with Paul, one of the members of Gatorboys, holding a real live baby alligator, and Paul’s demonstration on how to handle an alligator if the unexpected creature shows up in your backyard!

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7) Laughing out loud @ Funky Buddha of Boca Raton, FL – a showcase of Boca Raton’s best comedians in the area comprised of 5 guys and 2 girls. The furthest act came from Key Largo, FL! It was a good fun night with Marty Party aka Martin!

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8) Taking photographs of a McLaren, and surprisingly have the owner offer to take a picture of you sitting in the driver seat! Sweet ride, though I was a bit too tall for it! 

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9) Eating at one of my favorite ice cream parlors @ Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant – with over 40 different flavors to choose from, it was hard to decide on just 1 flavor! Their speciality is the kitchen sink!

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Highlights of Week 2:

*Adrenaline: Skydive Key West & Hang gliding
*Conservation: Sea turtle hospital in Marathon
*Education: Dolphin Research Center in Marathon Key, World famous graffiti at Wynwood Walls
*Other: The Florida Keys, South Beach

1) Skydiving over Key West and a few of Florida’s keys – amazing experience, great guys, and it was my little brother’s, Josh, late 25th birthday present (he loved it!). I was even able to drive the plane to my jump spot (with supervision of course!)  Thank you Skydive Key West for a great time! After my 3rd jump, I have to admit that I WILL be doing this every country!

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2) Hang gliding south of Everglades National Park – there is no way to describe the feeling of “soaring” with the birds of prey and “floating” in the clouds, but if I were to sum this up, I would say with a lot of enthusiasm that this was an “INCREDIBLE” experience! To have control of flying the glider was super cool, and I may in the future get certified as a US hang glider

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*The ultimate experience – flying in the clouds (could not see much in front of your face, but white clouds) and being above the white clouds to be welcomed by a blue sky.

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3) Hanging out for the day at a Sea turtle hospital in Marathon Key, FL – The staff was very sweet and indeed, exceeded my expectations of a how a hospital’s working staff and volunteers interact with the public. Between the presentations, display of sea turtles in each exhibit, and study guides to help others identify what they are looking at (with the given names of sea turtle species written), the programme that they have is in my opinion, one of the best in North America. During this time, I was also able to interview a few volunteers, which later I will post about. The dolphin research center staff was also very friendly, and with both programmes in effect, Marathon Key is a wonderful destination to learn about sea turtles and dolphins!

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4) Driving around downtown Miami and photographing a few famous locations of the Wynwood Walls – this was by far the coolest experience that I had in Miami (yes, even triumphs South Beach). This is a location where artists all over the world have come together to help create a better atmosphere for this part of Miami. The world-class murals and spirit of the project continues to attract thousands of people to the Wynwood Walls each year. Among other things, it is an inspiring model for the revitalization of run-down, abandoned historic communities and a must-see destination for the city.

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5) Reaching the southernmost point in North America – getting a signature jumpin’ photograph was the mission, and finally the time came and I got to visit this world famous destination at night! Now the only way to go is North! Canada, I will see you earlier next year of 2015!

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———–

Phase 1: Part 1 North America was a great start to a world trip, and as I continue to drive around North America, I promise to keep you all posted through Josh and I’s travel writing, photographs, videos, travel stories, and anything else that we come across.

 

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**Thank you to all those that went out of their way to see us on this part of “The Voyage of Discovery.” Most importantly, thank you Maggie aka mom and Rascal for joining us on the start of this world trip.

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Oakley & I - The Voyage of Discovery

Benford begins literal world tour – Daily American: Somerset

Video: “The Voyage of Discovery” World Tour Revealed – trekking to 221 countries, driving my Jeep Wrangler to 150+ countries, 7 continents, and learning 15+ new languages

 

Jessica Benford with the 2010 Jeep Wrangler she’s dubbed “Oakley.”

Posted: Saturday, March 28, 2015 7:49 pm  

Somerset Daily American                                     (Front Page)

 

BAKERSVILLE — Jessica Benford insists the upgrades to Oakley were an absolute necessity.

She’s spent approximately $15,000 for the new front bumper, 2.5-inch lift, 33-inch tires, 17- by 9-inch rims, Smittybilt sidesteps and winch, 50-inch front light bar, and a plate-metal roto-rack with canisters of water, spare fuel and First Aid materials.

If it seems like overkill, it’s maybe because you don’t know Benford. The self-described adrenaline junkie didn’t enhance her 2010 Jeep Wrangler because it looks cool or because she likes to throw money around.

She did it because she aims to take the Jeep across the globe. Literally.

“I kind of went nuts this past year,” the 31-year-old Rockwood native said Friday as she sat down to an appetizer at her family’s restaurant, Laurel Mountain Inn, immediately after completing the 11-hour drive from her residence in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She later had a send-off party Saturday at the inn with more than 100 friends and family members.

Some of the upgrades, she said, she hopes she won’t have to use: “(But) if I do, I have the utilities. I have the weaponry in my favor.”

Benford will soon begin her self-described “voyage of discovery,” an eight-year plan to hit all seven continents and about 150 of the world’s 221 countries. It’s a realistic goal because her career as a marine mammal scientist allows her to take extended periods of time off in between jobs.

Professionally, the Penn State University grad is contracted by international oil and gas companies to conduct independent research on the industry’s impact on wildlife near deep-sea drilling. She listens to whales and dolphins, also watching for behavioral cues. If marine mammals are being disturbed by the operations, the oil and gas companies may be forced to shut down and move elsewhere.

Given the fact that her “daily grind” for the past eight years is already akin to adventure for most of us, it should be no surprise that Benford goes to even more extreme lengths to get her kicks in her spare time.

Her mother, Maggie Benford, visibly beams with pride when she recalls how entralled her daughter became with the dolphins and their trainers while visiting Sea World as a young girl.

“She would literally want to go talk to the ones there,” she said. “She was like, This is what I want to do. And she never let up.”

Though Benford’s voyage is expected to take nearly a decade, she’s OK with that. She said it’s already been about eight years in the making as she has researched and meticulously planned her journey.

Benford was first inspired to traverse the globe after taking a sidecar motorcycle trip with a friend several years ago from California down through Mexico. In the past five years alone, she has been to 57 different countries.

“It just kind of clicked,” she said.

That doesn’t mean she’s neglected the good ole U.S., either. Just two years ago she took a U.S. National Park trip through 27 states. The sightseeing took nearly three months, and added about 16,000 miles to Oakley’s resume.

“It was an amazing trip,” she said.

To document her upcoming tour of the world, she is bringing seven or eight cameras, including a helicopter drone she plans to fly over Bolivia’s infamous “Death Road.”

For at least some of the trips, she will be accompanied by her videographer and brother Josh, who said he’s actually looking forward to Canada the most.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity,” he said.

The trip, according to Benford, isn’t going to be a typical tourist’s trot. Not only does she plan to stay off beaten paths, but also spend time volunteering and pitching in with various conservation and cleanup efforts.

“As a traveler, it’s amazing how many people you meet,” she said. “There’s just so many great people.”

Benford also wants to use her experiences for education. She is looking to give lectures at universities, and may write a book someday.

Buffalo Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

Canada: A Halloween Jeep Holiday

Location of Canada in North America
Location of Canada in North America

 

Theme: Jeepin’ Around Canada Roadtrip        Country: Canada  Language English & French  Unit of Currency: Canadian dollar   Location: Montreal, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Quebec City, & Toronto Year: 2000 & 2012 Bucket list: Photographing the mist at Niagara Falls

Entrance to Prison; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
Entrance to Prison; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

DO:  SPEND HALLOWEEN AT MONTREAL’S SIX FLAGS THEME PARK

Montreal:
  • Jumping on every roller coaster in the Six Flag’s theme park and checking out the street performers
Creative Shot; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Creative Shot; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Beast; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Beast; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Awesome Expression; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Awesome Expression; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Witch; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Witch; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Summoned; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Summoned; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Band of Ghouls; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Band of Ghouls; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Band Conductor; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Band Conductor; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Band of Ghouls; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Band of Ghouls; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Pumpkin Carver; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Pumpkin Carver; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Pumpkins; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Pumpkins; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Event Pumpkin; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Event Pumpkin; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Silly Pumpkins; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Silly Pumpkins; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Witch; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Witch; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Rollercoaster; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Roller Coaster; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Rollercoaster; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Roller Coaster; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Blood Water; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Blood Water; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Skeleton on a Boat; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Skeleton on a Boat; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Bloody Ride; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Bloody Ride; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Skull; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Skull; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

Rollercoaster; Montreal, Canada; 2011
Roller Coaster; Montreal, Canada; 2011

 

DO:  VISIT THE NIAGARA FALLS

Niagara Falls City:
  • Photographing the Niagara Falls in Canada and getting a glimpse of New York’s Buffalo Falls
History of Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
History of Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Mist Sunrise over Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Mist Sunrise over Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Sunset over Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Sunset over Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Colorful Sky; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Colorful Sky; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Sunset Buffalo Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Sunset Buffalo Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Cool Sky; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Cool Sky; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

In Front of Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
In Front of Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Good Mate, Joakim; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Good Mate, Joakim; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Sunset Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Sunset Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011
Niagara Falls; Niagara Falls, Canada; 2011

 

 

DO:  SPEND THE NIGHT IN AN OLD JAIL HOSTEL

Ottawa:
  • On Halloween night, staying the night in a haunted jail hostel and a quick jaunt to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Canal Rideau
    Canal Rideau; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    Canal Rideau; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

    Canal Rideau; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    Canal Rideau; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

    Welcome to Canal Rideau; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    Welcome to Canal Rideau; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

    St. Nicolas; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    St. Nicholas; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

    Black Squirrel; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    Black Squirrel; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

    Enter; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    Enter; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

    Bars on Windows; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    Bars on Windows; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

    Cells with Red Lights; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    Cells with Red Lights; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

    Cells; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    Cells; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

    Light the Way; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    Light the Way; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

    Exit; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    Exit; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

    Gaol Hospital Women's Prison; Ottawa, Canada; 2011
    Gaol Hospital Women’s Prison; Ottawa, Canada; 2011

     

DO:  EXPLORE THE CITY OF TORONTO

Toronto:
  • Walking down the street taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the city
Volcom; Toronto, Canada; 2011
Volcom; Toronto, Canada; 2011

 

Hockey Player Statues; Toronto, Canada; 2011
Hockey Player Statues; Toronto, Canada; 2011

 

Hockey Player Statues; Toronto, Canada; 2011
Hockey Player Statues; Toronto, Canada; 2011

 

Hockey Hall of Fame; Toronto, Canada; 2011
Hockey Hall of Fame; Toronto, Canada; 2011

 

Hockey Hall of Fame; Toronto, Canada; 2011
Hockey Hall of Fame; Toronto, Canada; 2011

 

Hockey Player Statues; Toronto, Canada; 2011
Hockey Player Statues; Toronto, Canada; 2011

 

Hockey Hall of Fame; Toronto, Canada; 2011
Hockey Hall of Fame; Toronto, Canada; 2011

 

Melinda Street; Toronto, Canada; 2011
Melinda Street; Toronto, Canada; 2011

 

Zanzibar; Toronto, Canada; 2011
Zanzibar; Toronto, Canada; 2011

 

City View; Toronto, Canada; 2011
City View; Toronto, Canada; 2011

 

Bank of Nova Scotia Emblem; Toronto, Canada; 2011
Bank of Nova Scotia Emblem; Toronto, Canada; 2011
Ocean View; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

Greece: Island Hopping

Location of Greece in Europe
Location of Greece in Europe

 

Theme: Greek Island Hoppin’ Venture   Country: Greece  Language Greek  Unit of Currency: Euro   Location: Athens, Chania, Mykonos Island, & Santorini Island   Year: 2012 & 2013 Bucket list: Photographing sunsets from Santorini Island

Beautiful Structure; Athens, Greece; 2013
Beautiful Structure; Athens, Greece; 2012

DO:  SCOPE OUT GREEK ARCHITECTURE

Athens:
  • Hiring a tour guide and exploring the city
The Entrance to the Olympieion; Athens, Greece; 2013
The Entrance to the Olympieion; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Sky Bar; Athens, Greece; 2013
Sky Bar; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Creativity of Athens; Athens, Greece; 2013
Creativity of Athens; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Roof Top Bar; Athens, Greece; 2013
Roof Top Bar; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Ashley & I with New Mates; Athens, Greece; 2013
Ashley & I with New Mates; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Ashley & I with New Mates; Athens, Greece; 2013
Ashley & I with New Mates; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Graffiti; Athens, Greece; 2013
Graffiti; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Cityscape; Athens, Greece; 2013
Cityscape; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Signature Jumpin' Photograph with Ashley; Athens, Greece; 2013
Signature Jumpin’ Photograph with Ashley; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Landscape; Athens, Greece; 2013
Landscape; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Unique Location; Athens, Greece; 2013
Unique Location; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Unique Location; Athens, Greece; 2013
Unique Location; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Center Square; Athens, Greece; 2013
Center Square; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Church; Athens, Greece; 2013
Church; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Guards; Athens, Greece; 2013
Guards; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Kids with Pigeons; Athens, Greece; 2013
Kids with Pigeons; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Engulfed in Trees; Athens, Greece; 2013
Engulfed in Trees; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Pathway; Athens, Greece; 2013
Pathway; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

Ceiling of Beautiful Structure; Athens, Greece; 2013
Ceiling of Beautiful Structure; Athens, Greece; 2012

 

DO:  ISLAND HOP

Mykonos Island:
  • Having a proper night out with a diversity of people all over the world
Greek Flag; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2013
Greek Flag; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2012

 

Signature Jumpin' Photograph with Ashley; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2013
Signature Jumpin’ Photograph with Ashley; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2012

 

Ashley & I; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2013
Ashley & I; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2012

 

Signature Jumpin' Photograph; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2013
Signature Jumpin’ Photograph; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2012

 

Best Transportation; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2013
Best Transportation; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2012

 

My Happy Place; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2013
My Happy Place; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2012

 

Clear Water; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2013
Clear Water; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2012

 

Waves Rolling; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2013
Waves Rolling; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2012

 

Oceanscape; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2013
Oceanscape; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2012

 

Margaritas; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2013
Margaritas; Mykonos Island, Greece; 2012

 

Santorini Island:
  • Spending a few days on the island, and making sure to hit every secret cobble-stoned path
My Good Mate, Ashley; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
My Good Mate, Ashley; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Signature Jumpin' Photograph; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Signature Jumpin’ Photograph; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Ashley, me, and Shop Owner; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Ashley, me, and Shop Owner; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

New Friends; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
New Friends; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Dinner Shot; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Dinner Shot; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

A Happy Ashley; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
A Happy Ashley; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Sunset; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Sunset; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Relaxation; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Relaxation; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Creative Sunset; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Creative Sunset; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Signature Jumpin' Photograph; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Signature Jumpin’ Photograph; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Greek Evil Eye Symbol; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Greek Evil Eye Symbol; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Ashley Anxious to Island Hop; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Ashley Anxious to Island Hop; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Wine; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Wine; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

3D Painting; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
3D Painting; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Cheese Platter; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Cheese Platter; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Creative Shot; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Creative Shot; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Mythos Beer; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Mythos Beer; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

City View; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
City View; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Cute Alleyway; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Cute Alleyway; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Sunset; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Sunset; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Wine and Sunset; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Wine and Sunset; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012

 

Beauty; Santorini Island, Greece; 2013
Beauty; Santorini Island, Greece; 2012
Signature Jumpin' Photograph; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

Republic of Macedonia: The Hidden Cave on the Lake

Location of The Republic of Macedonia in Europe
Location of Republic of Macedonia in Europe

 

Theme: West Balkan & Turkey War Tour  Country: Republic of Macedonia  Language Macedonian  Unit of Currency: Macedonian denar   Location: Matka & Skopje  Year: 2013   Bucket list: Signature jumpin’ photograph in a lake cave

Pathways; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Pathways; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

DO:  SAIL TO THE CAVE ON THE LAKE

Matka:
  • Visiting a cave on the lake only by a boat
Welcome to Matka; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Welcome to Matka; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Boat Captain, Amet; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Boat Captain, Amet; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Church St. Andrew; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Church St. Andrew; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

History of Church St. Andrew; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
History of Church St. Andrew; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Church St. Andrew; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Church St. Andrew; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Mate's House on the Lake; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Mate’s House on the Lake; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Lake View; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Lake View; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Lake in the Cave; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Lake in the Cave; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Signature Jumpin' Photograph; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Signature Jumpin’ Photograph; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Map of Cave; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Map of Cave; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Boat Captain, Amet; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Boat Captain, Amet; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Reflection on the Lake; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Reflection on the Lake; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Barrel of Wine; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Barrel of Wine; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Church St. Andrew; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Church St. Andrew; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Nature of Matka; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Nature of Matka; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Macedonian Beer; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Macedonian Beer; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Cave Restaurant; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Cave Restaurant; Matka, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

DO:  TAKE A STROLL AROUND THE CITY

Skopje:
  • Walking around a populated city, encountering a small taste of Turkey’s culture, and exploring the city’s creativity
Shanti Hostel Entrance; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Shanti Hostel Entrance; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Martina, me, and Rosalie; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Martina, me, and Rosalie; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Great Mates; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Great Mates; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Strike a Pose; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Strike a Pose; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

City Center; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
City Center; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Night Photograph; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Night Photograph; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Art Street; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Art Street; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Turkish Flag; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Turkish Flag; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Old Building; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Old Building; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Fortress Closed; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Fortress Closed; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Balkan University; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Balkan University; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Fortress; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Fortress; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Balloon Messages; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Balloon Messages; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

A Touch of Turkey; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
A Touch of Turkey; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Landmarks; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Landmarks; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Mother Teresa House; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Mother Teresa House; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Mother Teresa House; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Mother Teresa House; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Mother Teresa House; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Mother Teresa House; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Landmarks of City; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Landmarks of City; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Creative View of Church; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Creative View of Church; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Creative View of Church; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Creative View of Church; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Church; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Church; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

City Center Night; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
City Center Night; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Bridge Night View; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Bridge Night View; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Bridge Night View; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Bridge Night View; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Night View Under Bridge; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Night View Under Bridge; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Bridge; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Bridge; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Statue; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Statue; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Bridge Opening; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Bridge Opening; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Skate Grind House; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Skate Grind House; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Art in the City; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Art in the City; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

Bicycle Path; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
Bicycle Path; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

The Best of Republic of Macedonia:

First impressions of Skopje at night: After the 4 hour bus ride from Pristina, Kosovo I was relieved to arrive in the early evening. Once set on exploring the city’s nightlife, I quickly checked-in to Urban Hostel. My quest for the night was to view the silhouette of Fortress Kale. To my surprise, the shape of the fortress stood out against the light-shaded moon and background. It was definitely a beautiful, and unexpected sight!

There were a lot of great highlights during my time in Republic of Macedonia, but these top three are the ones that stood out the most:

1) It really is a small world – Consequently, I met up some girls in Pristina, Kosovo who were living in Macedonia for quite some time. Since Skopje was on my list, it was only natural to take the opportunity and visit with them during my travels. Once I was introduced to their international friends, I had my first Macedonian dinner. And that started the tale of how I lost my favorite purple-collared shirt! 

2) The cave hidden in the mountains – Since I love caving, it was penciled in my itinerary to journey to Matka (roughly 45 km outside of Skopje). During this time, I was the only tourist located on the mountain, but my tour guide definitely made it worth my while when we went by boat to enter the cave. In the end, I even took a signature jumpin’ photograph and managed to not disturb the bats lurking in the cave! 

3) High energy of the Old Bazaar protesters – The trek across Stone Bridge with the whispered warning of protesters in the area made it an interesting experience in this unique location. Not only did this place help create the “Turkey” experience that I longed for, but on this particular day, I had also gotten a taste of the hate within the Macedonian and Albanian groups – fortunately, many civilians came together and wrote positive messages on balloons expressing their love and devotion on ending war between the two parties.

Next stop: Tirana, Albania!

War is Over; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013
War is Over; Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; 2013

 

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