Blog, Travel

4 Reasons You Can’t Miss the Grand Tetons

We rounded the bend at the Grand Tetons, our loss for words quickly replaced by squeals and shouts of joy. It was early. We had the roads and mountains to ourselves and it felt like we had traversed hundreds of years back in time.

From the east coast we had pushed beyond the bustling big cities and high rise buildings to find ourselves immersed in another world. It was pure magic. 

To be honest, I had never really heard of the Grand Tetons before our visit. On a map, they are located just below the wildly famous Yellowstone National Park. How different could the two be? Well, what are day and night like?

There is just no way you should ever pass up an opportunity to see the Grand Tetons. Here’s why:

airplane flying through the silhouettes of two mountains

Spectacular Size

The Tetons will absolutely take your breath away. Just driving into the park was our first staggering experience: we thought we must be close, but as we kept going and going, they weren’t getting any closer. That’s when we realized how truly massive they were.

Escape the Crowds

Having visited a total of 7 National Parks on our trip, I feel very strongly in saying not only was this one of the most beautiful, but also the least populated for its grandeur. That’s not to say that there weren’t crowds at all, but it generally felt much more peaceful than other parks we had been to.

view of the tetons from emma matilda trail
View of the Tetons from Emma Matilda

Emma Matilda Trail

Going off of the previous point, this is a trail one of our friends recommended to us to avoid some of the crowds and it absolutely did not disappoint. The Emma Matilda Trail was interspersed with fields of wildflowers, rolling hills, and uninterrupted views of the Tetons. We got up early, and had the place entirely to ourselves, even stumbling across a deer (we think?) hidden in the fauna. Can you spot him in the picture below?

a deer camouflaged in bushes in front of the grand tetons
A buck camouflaged in front of the Tetons on Emma Matilda Trail
looking across jenny lake to the grand tetons
Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake

Crowded? Yes. Worth the visit? Absolutely! The magnificent peaks of the Tetons are reflected in Jenny Lake below, crystal clear water looking like it belongs in the Bahamas rather than out in Wyoming. The chilly water is refreshing and revitalizing. Definitely don’t miss the chance to dip in and feel like you’re floating in a postcard!

caterpillar crawling on a daisy
Blog, Travel

Beauty of the Black Hills

I can see why Emerson retreated to Canterbury and John Muir ached to share the beauty of nature through words. Its effects are profoundly healing and internally blissful.

two hikers at a distance on a forest trail

As the world continues its never-ending gravitational spin and New York City is still sleepless, I find myself in a place of comparable movement but differing character.

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Blog, Travel

Best of Badlands National Park

One of the places nearly impossible to describe with black and white words alone, the Badlands most closely resemble a desert scene out of Star Wars: starkly shaped rock formations raggedly pointed from the wind and crevices carved from running water.

With only two nights in this space-like stratosphere during our cross country road trip, we wanted to make the most of our time, exploring every secret twist and turn. 

After thousands of photos were snapped and many trails taken, thanks to the handy AllTrails app, the Badlands has definitely finessed its way to a high-ranking spot on my favorite national park list.

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hands of car driver on steering wheel, road trip, driving on highway road
Blog, Travel

Road Trip Tips: How To Survive 30 Hours in the Car

To say we started off the road trip with a bang would be an understatement: 27 hours of driving in two days. There were only two ways this could have possibly ended. The first in the strangling of one another after what seemed like endless hours in a confined area, or a strengthened bond after long chats of life contemplation and many off-tune sing-alongs. Luckily we pursued the latter.

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Blog, Travel

We’re Going On A Road Trip!

I know what you’re thinking. ‘A road trip? In the middle of a pandemic? That seems extremely counterintuitive, not to mention irresponsible.’ 

Don’t worry, while we did our due diligence on how to be safe during COVID, we also plan on staying far away from people during our road trip. This ‘social distancing’ rule has been a great excuse for me to avoid unnecessary human interaction, and that’s exactly what I have in mind for this trip. 

We’re going to drive out past the main hubs of civilization like Chicago and New York to the wide open, and hopefully deserted, territories of the west. Lots of fresh air and minimal human interaction is the aim of the game.

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the island of koh tao as seen from the air, an island surrounded by blue ocean
Blog, Travel

Saying Goodbye to Koh Tao

“Well I guess that’s it,” my friend Tony said with a smirk behind his eyes on my last morning in Koh Tao. I had just ordered overnight oats at one of my favorite beachfront restaurants. His infamous punch line was coming.

 “You’ll get on the ferry and leave Koh Tao forever and I’ll never see you again.”

What started as a laugh took a sharp left turn and instantly produced enough tears to soak my own overnight oats. Tony uses these kinds of lines to make a jab at the overdramatic scenes of leaving, but this morning was a little different because it was suddenly real.

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Blog, Travel

The Night That Started It All

This is the night that started everything – my journey to becoming a freediving instructor, living in Thailand, and learning to take a leap of faith while trusting my gut.

As you may have read by now (if not, more here!), my original ‘plan’ was to hit the typical backpacker route along Southeast Asia, adventuring through countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. Okay, so it definitely wasn’t the most original post-graduation trip of all time, but it was my first attempt at doing a big-time solo trip around the globe. 

Well, it was supposed to be. Clearly, the rest of the trip never happened, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

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Blog, Travel

Update: I’m Leaving Koh Tao

I always thought ‘island time’ was just a phrase made up for the purpose of looking good on a fridge magnet. With six months of living abroad already in the rear-view mirror, I can confirm that yes, island time is real, and yes, the time slips away very quickly. The countdown to my departure has officially begun and I don’t want to come to terms with it.

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world map with iTalki logo
Blog, Travel

Why iTalki is the Best Way to Earn Money From Home

Do you want to get paid just for having a conversation with someone in your native language? Do you enjoy learning about different cultures from around the world? Are you interested in meeting new people? With iTalki, all of this is possible! It’s perfect to earn some extra cash, or to sustain your lifestyle while living abroad.

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Travel

My Island Lock Down in Thailand

Part of what lured me to Koh Tao in the first place was the fact that it’s a small island that seems to exist in an undisturbed parallel to the outside world. As the island lock down begins, these same qualities could come back to either haunt me or save me.

Starting April 1, and continuing for two weeks, the island will be closed to visitors – that means tourists and foreigners. Night ferries will bring in food and supplies every evening, and people are welcome to leave, but foreigners will no longer be permitted to enter.

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