Tag Archives: Beach

Coast to coast and over seas

The trip back to the states included the usual 3 consisting of California, Oklahoma and Florida. In order to catch up quickly I’m going to post some of my favorite photos that Matt and I snagged per state.

As you can imagine, Oklahoma didn’t necessarily provide the best of landscape shots, but Matt was able to capture some wildlife that can easily be overlooked.

You know these lovely ladies, my cousins Lacie and Lana have made random appearences like Hot with a 92% chance of muggyFamily and treats in Oklahoma and Till next time Oklahoma! Check out these comparisons from a few years ago to now.

Moving on to California! Before Matt met me here, I was honored to attend a dear friends wedding. Now when I say “dear friend”, I mean a woman that has shown me the true definition of unconditional love and support. It makes my heart full of joy to see her so happy. Congrats to Liz and Katie! Ps, best Rockabilly wedding ever and a special thanks to my perfect date, Crystal! (you’ve seen her in Jumbled shinaniguns in California and 32 candles on 32 peddles!) Wedding bells put away and Matt finally arriving, it was time to venture around! Of course we hit my hometown of Folsom, but the highlight was Truckee and Lake Tahoe! Here are some of my favorite pictures he took with the rest shown on his site www.stonesharpimagesphotography.comThe Heavenly ski resort provides a gondola ride for all of their participants as well as non skiers to enjoy the epic view of Lake Tahoe. Shall we? We shall!

The above photo is looking back at the Lake and below is what you’ll see as the slow, smooth moving Gondola glides to the top.

Finishing up my visit to the US, I found myslelf all smiles with good ol’ mom. Although it really has nothing to do with this post I feel the need to list a few of my favorite writings that include moments with her. So if you’ve got the time for random reads, I invite you to visit the pasts posts of our time in Cental America when mom was brave enough to venture abroad with me in Puerto de la Libertad and Wrapping up our time in El Salvador. Or maybe you’d be interested in good cry today? Embrace yourself for Not just a dolphin tour, it seems to be a tear jerker.

Getting back to this post, I mainly just wanted to hit the highlights of music, beaches and friends… the perfect combo!

After soaking up time with family, friends and new acquaintances I flew to South Florida to meet back up with Matt.

Intermission: Turns out I traveled straight through the tornados of Atlanta and was held in the airport for two days. Here’s what the terminals look like at 2am with severe weather outside. After 8 canceled flights, 38 hours of wandering the airport and being 130 on the standby list… I finally made it! Our next flight and final stop is home (for now) being the beautiful island of Barbados! 

Barbados behind the lense of Craigg Basham

So my buddy shows up with a tiny piece of luggage, an awesome attitude and a camera the size of my head. Instead of posting details of where each photo is taken, I simply invite you to appreciate the vision behind his lense. Craigg (seen before in This girls on fire and Cliffs, caves and fish cakes) was able to capture some amazing shots that should be on postcards in my opinion.

Every photo you’re about to view came from him and that grown up camera of his. Other work by this artist can be viewed on doublegphotography.smugmug.com or on Instagram @ craiggjb_

Enjoy! 


…but wait, there’s more! 


Recognize the beauty below? You’ve seen the interior and the luxury that comes with it if you read the post, We aren’t gauranteed someday.

Did someone say a lime by the pool?! Yep. Craigg is the only one looking at the camera. Well done sir… Well done!

He even caught me in a couple unexpected moments. Kind of forces a deep breath every time I look at them.


Craigg wrote: As my 10 day trip comes to a close. I can’t help but thank the amazing human being responsible for my being here. We met during my time in Japan and have been friends ever since. She’s been such a gracious host, tour guide, and most importantly; an incredible friend. She showed me the island, introduced me to her friends and I was able to see the island life in a way only locals can. I’m eternally grateful for the hospitality shown. Thank you, Erika. May you always have happiness in your pocket and you’ll forever be the girl on fire (inside jokes) lol. 

Dear Craigg, you were such a wonderful guest (turned roommate) and I want to thank for your easy going attitude and flexibility while learning what “island time” truly means. Your fancy camera exposed the beauty I’ve always seen here and the time you took to capture it, I am so grateful for. It was also a familiar vibe to have someone around that actually got my one liners and could dish em’ right back! Thank you for playing that song every morning for me and finally, because of you… I now giggle every time it rains and I have to reach down to turn on the winesheild wipers. “Sweet mercy, please no! Ugh raaaaashole!”

Music for the soul & friends for the spirit

You all should be familiar of the tunes I’ve been sharing (you’re welcome) all over this blog for years now. The band Heritage has made its way on several posts and some of my most memorable ones are Grass bottom dance floor4th of July, Santa Rosa beach style, and the unforgettable opportunity going on tour with them shown in A man becomes what he thinks about! This round, I was lucky enough to score two evenings during my visit to Florida. Check out the scene at Fudpuckers in Destin, Florida!

The second show was at a new outdoor venue on 30A!  The Hub offers a stage, several dining options, indoor/outdoor bars and a welcoming seating area for groups to gather.

Hello friends!

Nightfall just enhanced the mood with well placed lights and a perfect moon to end the evening. 


Not all live music has to come from a big stage to brighten the day. Let’s move on to a Sunday afternoon with some of the vibrant people shown above. Enlightened Studios is. Home based production company that provides an environment to “promote positivity through music production, performance, and education”. With bright colors, happy decor and a variety of instruments, this house shouts as a wonderful gathering place!

With a surrounding like this, how does one refrain from making music? They don’t.

Wander outside and you’ll find the garage turned lounge, ping pong court and art gallery. The fun just doesn’t end! 

Hugs, love and all the good vibes to go with! Thank you Cole for your irreplaceable smiling eyes and always open door. You make a difference in the lives around you!

How many trips to fill the sea with sand?

I’ve arrived back to Barbados after having survived the traffic filled, color stained, loud streets of Carnival in Trinidad. (Click here to get a glimpse at the controlled chaos of the greatest show on earth). A small recovery was necessary since I returned with what has been labeled as the “Post-Carnival cold”. I thought I’d take a day of decompressing in the white sand of my island home away from home and share what I observed during my meditative moments of being sun kissed under the Bajan Sky.

At first I sit with my knees bent up to my chest with only the tops of my feet being exposed as I’ve buried my toes into the warm sand. My view is the wide open sea slightly populated with a few paddle borders, small fishing boats and a large ship in the far distance. To my right are 2 twin boys and a middle aged man that by assumption is their father. The kids have the energy of puppies and appear to be around the hyper age of 5, maybe 6. Just beyond them is a woman in a large straw hat with a focused face as she’s clearly being swallowed into whatever book she’s reading. Just at her feet is a small toddler girl with a thick layer of sunscreen on her tiny nose and a pink cap decorated with Dora the explorer on it. 

To my left is another child with a knee board and rope who seems to think the ocean needs more sand. He proceeds to load up a pile on his board then run into the water making sure every grain is transported back to the sea. The 2ft short boy stands 6 feet tall as he wipes it off with pride before sprinting back to land for the next load. Makes me wonder what one would think if they saw a grown man doing such a thing.

Directly next to me is a couple of love birds not a day under 70. The gentlemen in freckle covered skin is matching to his silver haired lady and her hard earned wrinkles. They lay side by side as if to be inseparable. I’m close enough to hear the giggles as they discuss something that seems to be light hearted and entertaining.

As I look back to the 5 year old monkeys, they’re extremely excited as dad has now committed (with an exhausted if I must look on his face) to covering them in sand for the typical day-at-the beach event. With smiles and no movement, they hold perfectly still for the beginning of this process.

Book absorbed mom is now completely oblivious to her Dora exploring the sand that’s stuck on her fingers.  Tempted to get up and prevent this child from digesting small rocks, I realize that’s she probably not the first to do so and like most humans, will survive.

The elderly newlyweds have now given me even more hope for sincere love beyond a crush.  I don’t know if they met yesterday or are here to celebrate their 50th anniversary, but either way… It’s precious. 

I was not surprised at all when I gazed back to find the boy still trying to empty the shore back into the ocean. He’s probably plowed through a weeks worth of animal crackers and chocolate milk during his marathon of piling, pulling, dumping, sprinting and repeating. Maybe I should develop a fitness class on the beach. “Ok adults, bring a knee board and a rope… lets burn off some calories!”

My favorite observation came when I repositioned my eyes to the boys being buried in sand. Roles had reversed. Dad now has a very devious smile and the boys, well just the heads of the boys, are stretching out with sober faces and looks of helplessness. Revenge is smeared all over fathers grin as the two energizer bunnies are bound to sand-locked beds.

I’ve given up on Dora and her exploring as she is now laying lifeless in the shade with her hat cocked to the side just barely exposing her white nose and rosy cheeks. Did the sand consumption finally get her?! Nope, mom confirms that for me as she finally breaks from the book to wake up little one as its time to go home. 

The only clock I had at this moment was the worn out surfers coming back in, the paddle boarders loading up their gear and the sun turning to shades of a child’s coloring book. I’ve been here for awhile.

The sweethearts next to me have now taken their flirting elsewhere leaving me with a happy heart (and desire for a possible first date this year). 

I wasn’t able to witness the boy and his final delivery. Considering there was still an entire beach of sand excluding the tiny ditch he created had me wondering what finally left him satisfied with his day of labor intensive activities. 

The father and sons clearly found a compromise as the twins are now free from the jail-o-mud and have relieved dad to enjoy a cold beer as they entertain themselves. 

I looked down at the area around me and realized that I had been in motion as well. With small piles in random places, a few doodles here and there and my feet now completely covered, it’s clear the beach has many titles. Babysitter, therapist, gym, romantic platter, playground, rehab, canvas… Just name it, the shore will provide.

Yes please, but why not both?

Ok, I know I’ve been slacking on the posts lately but let me explain why and catch you up. I’ve temporarily moved into an extended living situation on my favorite island of Barbados. My sweetheart of a friend chose to broaden her experiences away from the island and give Help-exchange a try! If you’re not familiar with Helpx, it’s a key part of how I’ve been able to travel for so long on a “backpackers” budget. I explain it in more detail in the post How do you afford all that traveling. Anyway, Maria asked for my assistance in planning her journey and thus she’s now volunteering on a farm in Hawaii! Me? I’m house sitting for her and taking care of her two paw babies. Quick tour of my (her) house starts with the outside.  I live in the upstairs with that sweet balcony!

 The top photo is looking left back towards the driveway and main the road. The bottom pic is looking in the direction of the south coast.

 A quick peek around shows you a few of her amazing decoration choices, items that I’d have in my place too! 

   

 Then there’s my temporary kitty kids totaling in with 8 legs, many whiskers and 2 sassy attitudes.  Meet Regina and Anastasia. Please feel free to pet them (if they’re in the mood) and don’t dare ignore them (if they want attention) and definitely don’t expect to type at the table or do a floor workout without them doing everything in their power to distract you. 

 
Time to welcome my first guest. Remember Carina?  The precious German girl I met back at Oktoberfest in 2011 and have traveled with ever since. Our adventures range from Germany to North America with a little pit stop in Amsterdam and many memories made in Costa Rica. Now we add Barbados! 

 

The past two weeks looked like this…

Food! Of course I got her to taste all of the local delights from fish cakes and rotis to doubles and Mac pie. She didn’t shy away from the rum punch nor did she decline the opportunity to try pudding and souce (thank you Ryan!) She saw the fresh farmers market and tried a bite from the drive thru at the popular Cheffette (thank you Alex!). What holiday would be complete without a liquid beverage of choice, I offerred a fruit smoothly or Bloody Mary.  Typical Carina response, “Yes please, but why not both”? 

    
   
A fish cutter from Cuz and pit stop at good ol’ Mr. Delicious before saying hi to Coconut Chris. 

    
 
I snuck her in to what I’d like to claim as my own personal hidden gem (that in actuality is a popular shop for the locals) to enjoy a piece of heaven form the ever changing menu. Another trip to Cafe Moya is a success!

 

We treated ourselves to a day at Accra Beach hotel and brought along some German games. Wouldn’t you?! 

 
Did she make it to the beach? I can honestly say I lost track of how many times this girl found herself with red shoulders, sandy toes and a huge smile. 

    
 

There’s no way I’d let her leave without experiencing Cool Runnings (thank you Annika and Robert!) and of course my favorite Tuesday night plans of gymnastic (thank you Shane!) Live music at Mullins Beach bar (thank you Dwayne!) and the Surfers Cafe (thanks Bodie!). We also watched a BVB futbol game (thanks Marvin!) and had some girls night out (thank you Annika, Irene, Monica and many more)!

   
How did we get around the island (if our amazing friends weren’t able for a lift)? Only another experience that one must encounter while visiting.  The local transportation! She expressed that it was like being on a carnival ride with the lights, music, people and incredible (ha ha) driving skills.

 

You’ve seen this familiar palm tree in many previous post.  This time the landscape makes an appearance with a duo handstand! 

 
Lastly, she was one of the bright smiles in the last post, Ms. Barbados, Queen of the sea in which we experienced the annual race around the island!  (Thank you Stewart, Jason and ALex!)

 
Palm trees, sunsets and sandy smiles pretty much sums up our unforgettable time on this magical island.

    

 
Last stop is the airport in which we were both departing on the same day.  Her heading back to the one degree temperatures of of Bochum Germany and me… Well, you’ll see! 
 
Carina, you hold an undeniable light that is constantly illuminating the world around you. Your sincerity, passion for life, and genuine nature has been (and still is) a magnetic quality that I miss when you’re gone. Thank you so much for the years of tummy twisting laughter, hours of silly games, moments of connection and the depth of friendship that I truly hope others get to experience. You are one of a kind and I’m so grateful to call you my friend (or sister if you ask anyone else)! Cheers to us till next time… And who knows where or what we’ll be toasting!? XO