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Phase 1: Part 2 – Québec and Ontario Canadian Edition; North America

The Voyage of Discovery Phase 1: Part 2 Route in North America
The Voyage of Discovery Phase 1: Part 2 Route in North America

 

 

A Close-up of The Voyage of Discovery Phase 1: Part 2 Route in North America
A Close-up of The Voyage of Discovery Phase 1: Part 2 Route in North America

 

Theme: The Voyage of Discovery      Phase Phase 1: Part 2 Country: United States of America (USA) & Canada   Language English & French        Unit of Currency: US dollars & Canadian dollars     Location: USA: Massachusetts, Maine, and Pennsylvania | Canada: Montréal, Québec City, and Toronto         Year: 2015      Bucket list: Having my little brother, Josh experience Canada for the 1st time

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ADRENALINE:

 

  • Becoming international secret agents for the day and completing missions in Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA at 5 wits

Randomly, we found a unique adrenaline activity to partake in (well 2), the first one was Espionage and the second one was 20,000 Leagues. My little brother, Josh and I were international secret agents. During the mission we had to crawl, jump, and work in teams to infiltrate, investigate and unravel the plot. Each decision that we made affected the storyline and outcome. With cracking safes, hacking computers, and dodging laser beams it was a very interactive experience, and to date one of our favorite adrenaline activities in the Northeastern part of the US.

And, 20,000 leagues had Josh and I solving a half dozen of puzzles to get out of an underwater submarine and reach the surface to safety before the flood gates opened.

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  • Experiencing Gillette Stadium for the 1st time

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A little background about Gillette Stadium, compliments of Wikipedia – Gillette Stadium is located in Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA, 21 miles (34 km) southwest of downtown Boston and 20 miles (32 km) from downtown Providence, Rhode Island. It serves as the home stadium and administrative offices for both the NFL’s New England Patriots football franchise and the MLS’s New England Revolution soccer team. In 2012, it also became the home stadium for the football program of the University of Massachusetts (UMass), making it the largest football stadium in the Mid-American Conference.

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My little brother, Josh has always wanted to visit Gillette Stadium since one of his favorite NFL teams plays there at every home game —preseason, regular season, and playoffs.

I asked Josh to reveal his impressions of the New England Patriot’s famous stadium. He mentioned the following statement:

“Standing in front of the Gillette Stadium is something that I have always wanted to do as a little boy. Knowing that Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Malcolm Butler, and others played their best on this field was a highlight of my trip here in New England. Not to mention, they did win Super Bowl XXXVI.”

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“To make this experience more momentous, my sister and I were able to capture a few signature jumpin’ photographs next to the stadium.”

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Boston and Foxborough, both have been great cities in Massachusetts. The history and architecture of Boston is worth a visit – not to mention the New England Aquarium is very cool.

To top off our time in Foxborough, we tried the locals favorite sliders at a sports pub, Bar Louie, next to Gillette Stadium. We even met a really sweet girl, Courtney who talked highly about the New England Patriots. *Thank you Courtney for your hospitality!

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  • Driving to Île d’Orléans,  across the only bridge from Québec City, Canada to venture around an island where farming and all forms of agriculture thrive year round

As we drove around the island, we were able to check out the areas of Sainte Pétronille, Saint-Laurent, Saint-Jean, Saint François, Sainte Famille, and Saint-Pierre. All of them were unique and offered a bit of history in each destination. The gift shops and artisans were keen for us to sample their cider, terrines, confits, apple butter, and other local delicacies.

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CONSERVATION:

 

  • Being part of the development process for Montréal’s Biodome – a portion of our proceeds goes to the exhibit to help create a more accurate representation of the 4 ecosystems

The Montreal Biodome was incredible! Listed below are the 4 ecosystems:

1) The Tropical Forest is a replica of the South American rainforest.
2) The Laurentian Forest is a replica of the North American wilderness. With a large focus on Canada’s environment.
3) The Saint Lawrence Marine Eco-system is an estuary habitat modeled on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
4) A polar area that is divided into Arctic and Antarctic.

The best part: an ecosystem of Canada’s backyard, displaying small animals, birds, plants, and trees.

*Important note: GoPros are not allowed in the Biodome – we did not get the memo until after we snapped this particular photo.

Josh & Jess - Montreal Biodome; 2015

 

Apparently, a few visitors decided to use their selfie sticks for the wrong reason, to capture photographs up close and personal touching the animals. To take it to the next level, a few used their waterproof housing to take underwater photographs of the fish and marine invertebrates. It is a shame, because we both were pretty pumped to get some great shots and videos! Where else in the world can you discover a dome?

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We did manage to get this video outside Montréal’s Biodome, and in front of the Olympic Stadium! Notice: I meant to say 4, not 5 ecosystems in the video – currently, the Biodome is looking to add another exhibit!

 

 

EDUCATION:

 

  • Capturing video and photography at Canada’s Niagara Falls

According to the book, ” Greatest Wonders of the World” written by Vikas Khatr, Niagara Falls is listed as one of The Seven Forgotten Natural Wonders of the World. The other six are Angel Falls, The Bay of Fundy, Iguaçú Falls, Krakatoa Island, Mount Fuji, and Mount Kilimanjaro.

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  • Experiencing Québec City and learning about its history

The time in Québec City has been amazing! As much as Josh and I do not want to leave this unique destination, Montreal awaits.

Checklist for Québec City:

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1) Ate Escargot at Café de paris X

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2) Learned at least 15 phrases of the French language X

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3) Snapped a signature jumpin’ photograph at Île d’Orléans X

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4) Tried poutine (cheese curds & gravy) on frites at McDonald’s X

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5) Approached by the friendliest locals and given enthusiastic comments on Oakley aka my Jeep Wrangler X

You know you are in Canada, when a sweet gentleman, Kevin, helps you open your door and starts speaking enthusiastically French phrases and contagiously smiling. I was taken a bit by surprise, so I somehow mixed French and Spanish together during our conversation! I am most definitely working on my French, so that I will be ready for cute Canadian guys like Kevin to meet my acquaintance. Who says chivalry is dead?!?

And, this is yet another friendly local that we met on our tour – please meet Jules, a Canadian photographer who came on the island to capture a few shots of nearby skiers. He was more than happy to take a photograph with Oakley and I before his departure. Note: Jules is also featured in the “Friendly Faces around the World with Oakley.”

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6) Wondered around the city, and dove into a little taste of Europe X

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7) Purchased my world tour souvenir, a flag in every country – Canada’s flag X

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8) Warmed up by Starbuck’s hot chocolate – it was 23 deg F/ -5 deg C and a windchill of 30mph winds! X

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Next stop: Montréal, Québec

 

  • Visiting Montréal and eating our way around the city with a few locals

Montréal was sweet! Literally, there were loads of desserts to choose from! My little brother, Josh and I met the owner, Steve, of a cozy and delicious establishment known as Restaurant Miami Deli – Open 24 Hr – Ouvert 24hr – oddly enough, he loves Marathon Key, FL as much as we do!

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INTERACTIONS AROUND THE WORLD:

 

  • Adding to the “Friendly Faces Around the World with Oakley” photography album – a quick pose with a few of the best from Phase 1: Part 2 of the world tour. Including a photograph with one of my favorite professional travel bloggers, Kate McCulley! Before Phase 1: Part 2, I just traveled with her in Central America’s countries, El Salvador and Guatemala! My first group tour! Be sure to check out Adventurous Kate and her ventures around the world!
Jess & Kate; Hanover, MA; USA
Jess & Kate; Worcester, MA; USA

 

Josh & Kate; Hanover, MA; USA
Josh & Kate; Worcester, MA; USA

 

aitlyn & Jon; Bar Harbor, ME; USA
Kaitlyn & Jon; Bar Harbor, ME; USA

 

Jess & Jules; Île d'Orléans, Quebec City, Quebec; Canada
Jess & Jules; Île d’Orléans, Quebec City, Quebec; Canada

 

  • Acting as Antonia Napier at a Pirate Party hosted by one of my good friend’s group of friends in Bar Harbor, Maine. Of course, Josh was my “father” Governor Napier. Highly recommend attending a Pirate Party!

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Details we were given before the event:

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Here are a few favorites of the event:

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Hiccups on Phase 1: Part 2:

No matter where you travel in the world, there’s always a chance that something might not go according to plan. Take for instance, the CN tower and its thrill-seeker adrenaline activity “edge-walk.” Unfortunately, it does not open up until next week, so Josh and I will have to come back through here before heading over to Newfoundland later this summer.

Then there’s the copious amount of rain that we had in Toronto (mixed with a strong breeze, rain, and sleet; it definitely created a very “interesting” experience, and a rather cold one as well!)

The good news is that Toronto is known for its food, and one of our favorite dining experiences was at Canyon Creek Restaurant. Here we had an amazing assortment of appetizers, prime rib horseradish-creme sandwich, and tomato roasted chicken penne pasta. All were as delicious as they sound!

It’s that time again where I need to head back to work, and so the journey begins returning to the states! Cross your fingers that we will not get held up in customs and immigration long!

P.S. Here’s a photograph from inside Oakley! One of these times we will upload our karaoke session!

Jess & Josh; Inside Oakley; Toronto, Canada; Ontario; 2015
Jess & Josh; Inside Oakley; Toronto, Canada; Ontario; 2015
IMG_9898 (edit 2)

The Epic Kick-off of “The Voyage of Discovery” International Event

Location of Pennsylvania in North America
Location of Pennsylvania in North America

 

Date: March 28, 2015 

Location: Laurel Mountain Inn Steakhouse & Lounge; Bakersville, Pennsylvania, USA

Collection of World Flags; 2015
Collection of World Flags; 2015

 

The event was a contribution to all of the love and support that I have been given throughout my world travels. From the very start of my career as a Marine Mammal Scientist, to my recent and 60th UN-recognized country, the friendships that I have created, strengthened, and honored have definitely helped me find the mental endurance to continue traveling while never losing sight of my goals.

Each and every individual that was part of the event have inspired me in some way or other, and I could not think of a better way to show my appreciation than to have an event highlighting my most exhilarating, challenging, and rewarding adventure yet – “The Voyage of Discovery.”

This was a celebration for the start of the world trip and the upcoming voyage of accomplishing my biggest life’s dream, of traveling to every country in the world. This was a low key event, with food, music, dancing, and a few surprises were present throughout the day. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to catch up with my close friends and family, and was able to chill out with them before leaving the country at the end of the year.  Here are some of the best photographs from the weekend event:

Oakley (Jeep Wrangler), Josh, and I; Snowy Temps; 2015
Oakley (Jeep Wrangler), Josh, and I; Snowy Temps; 2015

 

An English Teacher & A Student; A Mentor & A Friend; 2015
An English Teacher & A Student; A Mentor & A Friend; 2015

 

The Boys & Josh; 2015
The Boys & Josh; 2015

 

The Losinger Family; 2015
The Losinger Family; 2015

 

Benford Family Group Photograph; 2015
Benford Family Group Photograph; 2015

 

My Dad & His Children; 2015
My Dad & His Children; 2015

 

Group Photograph; 2015
Group Photograph; 2015

 

My Favorite Peeps (Most PSU Alumni); 2015
My Favorite Peeps (Most PSU Alumni); 2015

 

Krystal & Trent (Awesome Couple); 2015
Krystal & Trent (Awesome Couple); 2015

 

Rockwood High School Good Mates; 2015
Rockwood Area High School Good Mates; 2015

 

My Best Friend Kate (One of my Biggest Supporters); 2015
My Best Friend Kate (One of my Biggest Supporters); 2015

 

The Kuna Family; 2015
The Kuna Family; 2015

 

A Few Members of the Benford Family + Gram; 2015
A Few Members of the Benford Family + Gram; 2015

 

The Lundie Family; 2015
The Lundie Family; 2015

 

Becky and I; High School Mates; 2015
Becky and I; High School Mates; 2015

 

My Second Mom, Terry; 2015
My Second Mom, Terry; 2015

 

Thank you to Jake Young for putting your talent to use!

Jake & I (My Photographer for the Event & Cousin); 2015
Jake & I (My Photographer for the Event & Cousin); 2015

 


I rented a condo for the weekend and it definitely was a good touch to the epic event that weekend. Here are a few of the PG-13 photographs:

The After-Party Crew; 2015
The After-Party Crew; 2015

 

Skerponator (Best Mate, Inventor of Beer Bear); 2015
Skerponator (Best Mate, Inventor of Beer Bear); 2015

 

Beer Bear Ready to Go (Round 2); 2015
Beer Bear Ready to Go (Round 2); 2015

 

After Party Now Begins; 2015
After Party Now Begins; 2015

 

The Langlois Family; 2015
The Langlois Family; 2015

 

Martin, Alyssa, and I; Florida Adventurers; 2015
Martin, Alyssa, and I; Florida Adventurers; 2015

 

Stephanie & Falen; Good Mates; 2015
Stephanie & Falen; Good Mates; 2015

 

Falen & I; Photobomber: Skerponator; 2015
Falen & I; Photobomber: Skerponator; 2015

 

Little Brother, Jake, Had Too Much Fun; 2015
Little Brother, Jake, Had Too Much Fun; 2015

 


My Gram turned 80! I was able to take a break from traveling to celebrate for the joyous occasion. Here are a few of my favorites:

Gram & I Celebrating Her 80th; 2015
Gram & I Celebrating Her 80th; 2015

 

Mom & Gram; 2015
Mom & Gram; 2015




A little background about Jeepin’ around the world:
“The Voyage of Discovery” main focuses are adrenaline, conservation, and education. I will trek to 221 countries, drive Oakley my 2010 Jeep Wrangler to 150+ countries, experience all 7 continents, and learn over 15 languages for this ultimate trip of lifetime. Josh is part of the team, where he will be on the adventure with me, and Maggie aka mom is also part of the team where she will be assisting from the states to reach my goals within each country visited.

 

*This particular event was published in the Daily American to help promote the world tour and can be found here.

Daily American Reporter and I; "The Voyage of Discovery;" 2015
Daily American Reporter and I; “The Voyage of Discovery;” 2015
Canal through the City; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

Netherlands: I <3 Amsterdam

Location of Netherlands  in Europe
Location of Netherlands in Europe

 

Theme: My Offshore Lifestyle    Country: Netherlands  Language English & Dutch  Unit of Currency: Euro   Location: Amsterdam   Year: 2010   Bucket list: Photographing Amsterdam’s canals

I <3 Amsterdam; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
I <3 Amsterdam; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

DO:  EXPLORE AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam:

  • Strolling around the city and embracing the unique culture
Bike Shop; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Bike Shop; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Artistic Corner; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Artistic Corner; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Street Sign; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Street Sign; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Dutchman and I in the Cave Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Dutchman and I in the Cave Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

I Am; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
I Am; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Coffee Shop & Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Coffee Shop & Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Souvenir Shops; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Souvenir Shops; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Street Sign with Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Street Sign with Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Canal with Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Canal with Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Polish Best Mate, Beata with Heineken Truck; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Polish Best Mate, Beata with Heineken Truck; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Polish Best Mate, Beata and I; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Polish Best Mate, Beata and I; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Hotel De L'Europe; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Hotel De L’Europe; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Amsterdam Cheese; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Amsterdam Cheese; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Amsterdam Sign; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Amsterdam Sign; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Boat in Canal; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Boat in Canal; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Bronzed Statue; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Bronzed Statue; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Polish Best Mate, Beata with Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Polish Best Mate, Beata with Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

 

  • Celebrating St. Nick coming to town
Streets of St. Nick Parade; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Streets of St. Nick Parade; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Character of St. Nick Parade; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Character of St. Nick Parade; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

St. Nick Parade; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
St. Nick Parade; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

 

  • Engaging in the Heineken Experience
Polish Best Mate, Beata and I Ice Bar Souvenir; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Polish Best Mate, Beata and I Ice Bar Souvenir; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Frozen Shots; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Frozen Shots; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Heineken Tap; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Heineken Tap; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Polish Best Mate, Beata Bundled Up for Ice Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Polish Best Mate, Beata Bundled Up for Ice Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Bundled Up for Ice Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Bundled Up for Ice Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Polish Best Mate, Beata and I in Ice Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Polish Best Mate, Beata and I in Ice Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Sneak Peak of Ice Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Sneak Peak of Ice Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Entrance to the Ice Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Entrance to the Ice Bar; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

 

  • Pub hopping with locals
Polish Best Mate, Beata and I with Dutchman; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Polish Best Mate, Beata and I with Dutchman; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Dutch Karaoke; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Dutch Karaoke; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Cute Dutchman with Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Cute Dutchman with Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Second Cute Dutchman with Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Second Cute Dutchman with Bike; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Polish Best Mate, Beata and I in Boat Hostel; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Polish Best Mate, Beata and I in Boat Hostel; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Pub Hopping with Best Mates; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Pub Hopping with Best Mates; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Intricate Designs; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Intricate Designs; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

Undutchablis Vehicle; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010
Undutchablis Vehicle; Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2010

 

 

City View with Boats; Venice, Italy; 2011

Italy: A Diversity of Taste

Location of Italy in Europe
Location of Italy in Europe

 

Theme: European Christmas Holiday    Country: Italy  Language English & Italian  Unit of Currency: Euro   Location: Milan, Rome, & Venice   Year: 2011   Bucket list: Entering Rome’s Colosseum

Creativity; Milan, Italy; 2011
Creativity; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

 

DO:  BROWSE EUROPE’S MOST FASHIONABLY PRICED DESIGNER CLOTHES

Milan:
  • Exploring the city and setting the scene for creative photography
Lights; Milan, Italy; 2011
Lights; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

Corner Street; Milan, Italy; 2011
Corner Street; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

Art; Milan, Italy; 2011
Art; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

Statue; Milan, Italy; 2011
Statue; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

Smart Car; Milan, Italy; 2011
Smart Car; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

Hot Chocolate; Milan, Italy; 2011
Hot Chocolate; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

Church; Milan, Italy; 2011
Church; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

Musician; Milan, Italy; 2011
Musician; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

Beautiful City; Milan, Italy; 2011
Beautiful City; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

Water Fountain in Sunlight; Milan, Italy; 2011
Water Fountain in Sunlight; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

Street Artists; Milan, Italy; 2011
Street Artists; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

Church of Milan; Milan, Italy; 2011
Church of Milan; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

 

DO:  TOUR THE COLOSSEUM

Rome:
  • Touring the Colosseum and adventuring into other ruins for the day
Creative Look Into the Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011
Creative Look Into the Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Climbing Forbidden; Rome, Italy; 2011
Climbing Forbidden; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

The View Into the Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011
The View Into the Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Me in Front of the Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011
Me in Front of the Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Vikings ; Rome, Italy; 2011
Vikings ; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Magnificence of Architecture ; Rome, Italy; 2011
Magnificence of Architecture ; Rome, Italy; 2011
Inside the Colosseum in Black-n-White; Rome, Italy; 2011
Inside the Colosseum in Black-n-White; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

City View of Rome; Rome, Italy; 2011
City View of Rome; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

The Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011
The Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Nighttime at the Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011
Nighttime at the Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

A Christmas Tree and the Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011
A Christmas Tree and the Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

The Colosseum in Black-n-White; Rome, Italy; 2011
The Colosseum in Black-n-White; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Ruins; Rome, Italy; 2011
Ruins; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Horse and Man Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011
Horse and Man Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Roman Motto; Rome, Italy; 2011
Roman Motto; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Italy's Flag; Rome, Italy; 2011
Italy’s Flag; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Lion with Wings Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011
Lion with Wings Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Getting Creative with Paul; Rome, Italy; 2011
Getting Creative with Good Mate, Paul; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Angel Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011
Angel Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Mother Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011
Mother Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Chinese Embassy; Rome, Italy; 2011
Chinese Embassy; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Angel with Cross Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011
Angel with Cross Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Peace; Rome, Italy; 2011
Peace; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

 

DO:  EXPLORE THE FLOATING CITY

Venice:
  • Walking through every nook and cranny that the city has to offer
Shop Greeting; Venice, Italy; 2011
Shop Greeting; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Another City View in Black-n-White; Venice, Italy; 2011
Another City View in Black-n-White; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

A Boat in Black-n-White; Venice, Italy; 2011
A Boat in Black-n-White; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

In Front of the City; Venice, Italy; 2011
In Front of the City; Venice, Italy; 2011
City View; Venice, Italy; 2011
City View; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Gondola Driver with Couple; Venice, Italy; 2011
Gondola Driver with Couple; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Gondola Driver; Venice, Italy; 2011
Gondola Driver; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Gondola Driver with Help; Venice, Italy; 2011
Gondola Driver with Help; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

City Driving; Venice, Italy; 2011
City Driving; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Follow Your Nose; Venice, Italy; 2011
Follow Your Nose; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Boat Transport; Venice, Italy; 2011
Boat Transport; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Duo Gondolas; Venice, Italy; 2011
Duo Gondolas; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

My Good Mate, Paul; Venice, Italy; 2011
My Good Mate, Paul; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Flowing Water; Venice, Italy; 2011
Flowing Water; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

International Currency; Venice, Italy; 2011
International Currency; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Adriatico Hotel; Venice, Italy; 2011
Adriatico Hotel; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

An Intricate Mask; Venice, Italy; 2011
An Intricate Mask; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Life Lessons: 

A little life lesson I learned– When traveling you have to be flexible. Sure I have an itinerary on the locations and dates that I should be in the following countries; however, you cannot prepare for some hiccups along the way.

After my train from Ljubljana, Slovenia I woke up to find myself missing my train connection in Villach Westbf, Austria and ended up in Spittal – Mattersee, Austria (merely 45 minutes away from my anticipated arrival train station!). At 0300 this was not what I wanted to deal with, but fortunately I was able to get a train back to the original train station in Villach Westbf and later continue my train ride to Venice, Italy! If this was the worst thing that happens to me during this Eurotrip, then I will be grateful!

 

Ventures of Italy:

 

Venice – The city’s labyrinthine network of islands, bridges, pedestrian alleys, and canals made this location one of most unique and spectacular places to visit! If the fact that Venice sits upon a body of water was not amazing enough, the entire city prides itself on the festival where locals wear masks (resembles Mardi Gras).

Venetian Masks; Venice, Italy; 2011
Venetian Masks; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Every shop sold masks; some of the most beautiful and creative pressed paper designs that I had ever seen. And therein lies the beauty of the destination: afternoons spent wandering from palace to piazza, exploring the small art museums, shopping the stalls that line the streets, and encountering a fresh side of Venice, a fascinating amalgamation of influences—Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and Italian—every time you round a corner.

Good Mate, Paul with City; Venice, Italy; 2011
Good Mate, Paul with City; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Venice or as locals acknowledge this city as the perpetual love affair has over 118 small islands that create this watery world of mystery. It was super easy to forget the map and get lost amongst the Byzantine domes and palazzos leading to an amazing slew of mystical possessions and great treats!

My Good Mates, Paul and Georgie; Venice, Italy; 2011
My Good Mates, Paul and Georgie; Venice, Italy; 2011

 

Milan – the famous location known for the completed works of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” The locals referred Leonardo da Vinci as the “genius of a renaissance man” with compelling captivation of his power, depth, and humanity of his masterpieces.

Creativity in Lights; Milan, Italy; 2011
Creativity in Lights; Milan, Italy; 2011

 

It was evident that along with the great combination of architecture, artists, and a keen fashionable sense, Milan is the perfect example of a place that enjoys the finer things in life. For example, a stroll across its Piazza del Duomo and the endless streets of local shops corroborates the city’s love for fashion, which consequently folded Milan into a city of an epicent of fashion, design, and good living. The Duomo itself captured the city’s creative energy with its size and ornamentation

Rome – Several years past its third millennium mark, the warmest of European capitals was more captivating than ever. Rome’s dramatic physique, from her majestic antiquities to her sinuous baroque curves, had been thrown into even higher relief by a modern trend that had made its presence felt in a major way: in hotels, restaurants, and shops that have adopted a more current, international aesthetic. Traditionalists needn’t worry, however—Rome was still very much enamored of her past, and you can find old-school establishments all over town if you know where to look.

Inside of The Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011
Inside of The Colosseum; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

While the Colosseum and the Vatican still loom large in the skyline and identity of Rome, you’ll discover the true soul of the city away from the big sights—in neighborhood coffee bars and trattorias, and from riders of Vespas exchanging boisterous greetings while passing on cobblestone backstreets. For a city this stylish and accomplished, Rome’s remarkable accessibility, even for first-time or short-term visitors, is her most generous asset. Not to mention that Vatican City, the smallest country in the world, was a barrier to the visitors of Rome, but home to the residents who pride on this mysterious and intriguing location.

At the time of Christmas Cheer and Good Tidings, the traditional and more decorative Christmas Markets come to light. Romans erect elaborate presepi (Nativity scenes) across the city, from life-size tableaux on the Spanish Steps and before St. Peter’s to countless crèches in church chapels, all populated by papier-mâché or terracotta figurines and most with a pizza parlor tucked between the shops of the Bethlehem backdrop.

Pastor with Cross Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011
Pastor with Cross Statue; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

Market action centers in Rome on Piazza Navona, its Bernini fountains surrounded by stalls hawking toys, handmade presepio figures, carnival games of chance, ciambelle (dinner plate-size doughnuts), and 101 variations on peanut brittle! Talk about a great way to introduce Christmas to the lovely month of December!

Italian Flag in Lights; Rome, Italy; 2011
Italian Flag in Lights; Rome, Italy; 2011

 

I could go on forever about the unforgettable time that I had in Italy, but I thought one post would suffice.

 

Water Fountain; Rome, Italy; 2011
Water Fountain; Rome, Italy; 2011

Next stop: Nice, France!

 

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Phase 1: Part 1 Florida Edition; North America

The Voyage of Discovery Phase 1: Part 1 Route in North America
The Voyage of Discovery Phase 1: Part 1 Route in North America

 

Location of Key West in Florida
Location of Key West in Florida, USA

 

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

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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Dream. Explore. Live.

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