trip report: Australia & New Zealand final impressions, New Zealand top 5, & budget, January 2020

“Do I go somewhere new or do I go somewhere I love?” is a common question among travellers. I have friends that have hike the same 200 mile trail (the John Muir Trail) more than ten times and I also have friends looking to rack up the country count. I was able to do a little bit of both over the course of 3 weeks. Explore down under, down under and return to the mountains of New Zealand. 

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This is the final entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below.

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trip report: Australia – getting in to Cairns, December 2019

Flying to the other side of the world always take a few days especially since I was losing a day to the time zone change. At least I was able to do it in style this time around.

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While the topic of documenting our experienced getting somewhere was something I’ve always included in my past reports, I’m always hesitant to make this an entry for by itself or get too in depth. Unlike many travel websites out there, I am not an AvGeek. Personally, I see getting places as a means for us to see amazing things and not the point of travel. However, we travel a fair amount, and the lack of doing so during COVID shutdown, really made me appreciate the experience and the feeling that comes with the act of traveling somewhere. Whether that is the excitement of boarding a plane, the giddiness being in business class for the first time after we found out we were upgraded, or even the exhaustion of flying halfway around the world with a billion stops because of a cheap airfare. Call me a miles and points arsonist, I am very ready to burn through my points after this pandemic. Anyways, let me know if these posts are something you’d enjoy to read about. Also if there are anything regarding the actual process of travel you’d like to see in the future, I can put more effort in capturing those aspects of our trips.

This is the second entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series covering my travels into Cairns, Australia from Washington D.C. (2). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip report: Australia & New Zealand – decisions & planning, December 2019

In the travel enthusiast game, it is all about jumping on opportunities. This specific opportunity we took advantage of were a couple of one way flights from Auckland, New Zealand to the U.S. for 6000 American Airline Miles each, which is as close to free as you can get. The final result was my first visit to Australia to dive the Great Barrier Reefs and a return to the south island of New Zealand over the winter holidays. Reflecting now on that trip, which took place just before the 2020 pandemic and the travel restrictions, the notion of jumping on opportunities to travel when we can do so safely again in the future seems all the more important. For now, all I can do is to reflect on our adventures down under.

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This is the first entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series covering our pre-trip planning (1). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip report: Canadian Rockies – final impressions, top 5, & budget, August 2019

On our road trip through the Canadian Rockies, we completed a total of 12 hikes that spanned 4 national parks and 3 provincial parks. I can confidently say I’ve seen very little of the canadian rockies, so confident that I will write the top 5 hikes of the Canadian Rockies that we experienced now. Don’t worry, it is accompanied by some future ideas.

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This is the final entry of our Canadian Rockies trip series. You can navigate to the other previous parts of the series in the index.

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trip report: Canadian Rockies – decision, planning, & getting in, August 2019

Ah Lake Instagram, rather Reddit Lake, I mean Moraine Lake. The last time I visited this beautiful spot was in 2011 on a road trip, when a group of us checked out the mountains and breweries around the Pacific Northwest that eventually ended up here.

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Our joke for our drive through the Canadian Rockies was that they must sprayed LSD in the air because the colors were so unreal.

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Jared overlooking the teal Lake Louise back in 2011

I’ve meant to head back to properly explore the backcountry since then, but it seems like the rest of the world had the same idea. With the crowds, must come the permits to protect the beautiful landscape from being loved to death and effects of overcrowding. Since this current trip was planned rather last minute, the initial prospect looked like I’d have to wait to see the best and most popular spots. But with some flexibility and constant checking of the permit websites, I got to have my cake and eat it too… a big LSD filled cake.

This is the first entry of our Canadian Rockies trip series covering our pre-trip planning (1) and our travels to the Canadian Rockies (2). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip report: French Polynesia – final impressions & budget, March 2019

Over the course of just over a week, we racked up a bill that rivals some of our longest trips and by far exceeded our cost per day than any we’ve done before. That’s not even counting the point redemptions used and the amount we save through the travel enthusiast game. In the end, we were indeed left with an unforgettable experience. Some of which I am good with not return to, such as the resorts on Bora Bora. While others I would love enjoy again, like the underwater wonderland at the passes on Fakarava.

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This is the conclusion of the French Polynesia trip series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip video: Fakarava & the North Pass (Passe de Garuae), March 2019

This is the second of the companion videos to our French Polynesia trip during March 2019 where we traveled to the atoll island of Fakarava. We went to Fakarava for the world class scuba diving at the passes that separate the ocean and lagoon of the atoll. In this video, we dove the North Pass (Passe de Garuae) five time over our first 2 days on the island. We found an aquatic wonderland with grey sharks, white tip reef sharks, swordfish, napoleon wrasse, and schools of smaller fish.

You can find an linked index of our detailed trip report below, as they are posted.

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trip report: Fakarava, March 2019

Did someone say a wall of sharks? That was our draw to visit the island atoll in the middle of nowhere and what we found was my most memorable scuba diving experiences to date. Oh, the beaches weren’t too bad either.

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This is the third entry of the French Polynesia trip series covering our experiences on Fakarava (4) and getting out (5). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted. Read More

trip video: Bora Bora, March 2019

This is the first of the companion videos to our French Polynesia trip during March 2019. Specifically this video covers our time on the resort island of Bora Bora. We enjoyed the St. Regis and InterContinental Thalasso resorts including the beaches, the activities, and the views they had to offer. Finally we swam with the fishes as we dove with Top Dive and saw three types of sharks.

You can find an linked index of our full trip report below, as they are posted.

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trip report: Bora Bora, March 2019

Bora Bora is one of the premier resort islands in the world and probably the most traveled to island for tourists in French Polynesia. On the other hand, it also has the nickname “Boring Boring” in the backpacker world for the lack of unguided adventure available and the isolation of the resorts on the perimeter atoll islands. The truth, ofcourse, is somewhere in between.

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This is the second entry of the French Polynesia trip series covering our experiences on Bora Bora (3). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below.

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trip report: French Polynesia – decision, planning, & getting in, March 2019

In the travel enthusiast game, change happens quickly. The best deals out there tends to go away or change quickly once more and more people learn of it. With the growing popularity of the game itself, the increase number of travel websites, and how technology information today can spread, it has lead to more people able to take advantage of great deals to travel the world but also subsequently lead to the death of many of these deals as well. This evolution of the game has caused many heated arguments on travel forums and comment sections. The future direction of the travel enthusiast game isn’t the purpose of this post, but rather how we put together a trip based on several expiring deals to visit a few islands in the middle of the Pacific. Specifically to experience an over the water bungalow and to swim with the sharks.

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This is the first entry of the French Polynesia trip series covering our pre-trip planning (1) and our travel into our first destination in French Polynesia (2). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted. Read More

trip report: Patagonia – final impressions, top 5, & budget, January 2019

At the end of our third trip to Patagonia, I feel that we’ve seen and experienced plenty of what Patagonia has to offer. It’s enough for me to call it my favorite region in the world I’ve traveled to so far. And also enough for me to publish a top 5 list. But at the same time I know I haven’t come close to experiencing all that is Patagonia, so I’m publishing my future trip ideas at the same time. Hopefully my experiences will inspire and help you in your planning to visit this amazing area of the world.

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This is the conclusion of my 2019 Patagonia trip report series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below. Read More