Get Me to Africa: Step Two.

There are exactly fifty-six days until I leave for Africa, not that I’m counting. But, this is the adventure I’ve been waiting years to make a reality, and that reality is feeling a bit more real as the days draw closer.

For months I’ve been telling people that this summer I will be heading to Africa. Each time it felt like a dream. But now, all of a sudden, summer is here; the days are longer, kids are playing out on the street, school is coming to an end, and I am fully preparing for my trip.

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Going Golfing.

Over the past few months, I have been trying to fill the long weeks before travel with activities that make my life feel as exciting as it is while I’m traveling. Whether it’s trying new food, learning something new, or facing old fears, these activities spice up my normal routines and help make life at home a little more tolerable. In fact, this has all been a part of my resolution for 2012, to live my everyday life more like how I live my life when I’m traveling.

While I’m enjoying each and every moment this year has had to offer, what I’ve found so far is that the hardest of these tasks for me to attempt are those that involve physical activities. It’s not to say that I’m out of shape, I’m not, but I haven’t played sports in years. In elementary and middle school, I was constantly playing basketball, tennis, soccer, and cheerleading. Then I was a cheerleader and dancer for the beginning of high school, until I decided that I liked my social life a heck of a lot more than sports, which ended my short-lived “career” as an athlete.

Cheerleading in middle school.

Cheerleading in middle school.

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The High Line, NYC.

The High Line in Manhattan is one of my favorite parks in the world, and this weekend, I was lucky enough to visit it twice, both times taking people who’ve never been before. This above ground park is built into a historic freight rail line and runs up along the West Side of Manhattan from Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District, up to West 30th Street.

Train Tracks and Plants.

Train Tracks and Plants.

It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon walking along the Hudson River or lounging on the lawn absorbing some vitamin D. Whatever your plans, there’s plenty to do above the city, with several food vendors and much to see, including several pieces of artwork. Plus, it’s always great to get a different perspective on the city, especially if you need a break from the hustle and bustle that much of New York offers.
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Travel Dreams and Inspiration.

I spend much of my life day-dreaming, and each time it’s about where I want to visit next. One day it’s Bhutan, the next it’s Morocco. Another day it’s Peru, and then it’s Ghana. The list is always growing and sources of inspiration are constantly surrounding me. I imagine my life as a permanent traveler, and never see an end to my adventures, as I believe that it is a part of who I am – something that I know will never change.

The original inspiration: magazine cutouts.

The original inspiration: magazine cutouts.

Several years ago, in the beginning of my love affair with the world, I would cut out pictures of countries, stuffing them into my journal. This journal was less a chronicle of my life, and more a place filled with lists of the countries I planned to one day visit. As I learned about new places, I would add them, knowing that one day I would visit the countries I once wrote down. And, as I visited each place on my list, I would check them off with excitement, realizing that I was beginning to reach my dreams and see the world.

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Lunch in Greece.

Greece is a country that I have been wanting to visit for years. The history, culture, and food are all interesting to me, and the scenery is simply stunning. While Greece is not yet on my travel itinerary, I do plan on visiting the country one day in the future. But, for now, I enjoyed a taste of Greece during my lunch break.

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Get Me to Africa: Step One.

It’s no secret that a trip to the doctor is imperative before a visit to Africa, and this past week, I had my first appointment with my doctor, who specializes in travel medicine. For three years, this trip has become a yearly experience each spring before my summer travels. Usually, a trip to the doctor is never fun, but when travel is in the future, I don’t mind.

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My Seven Super Shots.

The other day Pola, of Jetting Around, tagged me in the HostelBookers 7 Super Shots game, and I was immediately excited to participate. It was a great way to go through a few of my old pictures and relive some memories.

Here is a photo that…

1) … takes my breath away.

This picture of the sunset in Aruba makes me realize just how incredible the world we live in is. I don’t often have time to stop and watch the sunset, but when I do, it’s hard not to be grateful for each and every moment we have on earth. It’s all the small things we miss on a daily basis that make it such a special place.

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My Next Adventure: Scuba Certification.

In all honesty, I am not the ocean’s biggest fan. Sure, I’ll snorkel, go banana boating, and float around for a while, but each time all I am thinking about is what lurks beneath. So I’ve found, that as I get older, I’m much more content with my feet in the sand and a drink in my hand.

Fiji

Fiji

That being said, scuba diving is something I have always wanted to try, and as much as I fear the ocean, along with the creatures that live in it, I am completely intrigued by the world that lives below the surface. Which is why, I have decided to start my scuba certification.

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North Island Adventures.

One of the greatest adventures I have had in my lifetime occurred while traveling on the North Island of New Zealand almost three years ago. My cousin, Michelle, who is from Ireland, was spending her summer vacation traveling between Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, and I decided to join her on the last leg of her trip. It would be an experience that would bind us together as sisters from day one.

Self-portrait with Huka Falls.

Self-portrait with Huka Falls.

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Blame it on Mom.

I blame it all on my Mother; my love of travel, desire to wander, and need for escape from everyday life. Right from the start she made me believe that all dreams were attainable if one worked hard enough, and she helped me fall head-over-heels in love with the world.

Enjoying the ocean.

Enjoying the ocean.

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