Trip # 18… Experience Hygge!

What is Hygge (pronounced Hoo-gah)? According to Visit Denmark, “Hygge is as Danish as æbleskiver and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cosying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too. And there’s nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world.”

So in order to truly discover Hygge,  Denmark is another country I want to visit without Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 10.34.35 PMmuch of a plan and just have the ability to experience Denmark, with one exception, starting in Thisted and ending in Copenhagen. Thisted is in the northern part of Denmark, and near as I can tell a small town, close to some cool natural attractions. However the most important part of visiting Thisted to me is being able to see the Baptismal record of my great-grandfather Nels Larsen, which is still at the local Lutheran church and experiencing Hygge in the area of my family roots!

Public Transportation seems to be the best way to get around Denmark, and so for my journey that is what I would rely on. I would also most likely try and stay at AirBnB’s or Bed & Breakfasts to get a more local experience, another chance to experience Hygge!

In my research it appears to have some great outdoor opportunities, like standing in two Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 10.33.48 PMseas at once, amazing castles and churches, not to mention lighthouses galore! A great opportunity to refill my Vitamin D and happiness quota! Also the opportunity to stay away for guided tours as much as possible, not that they are bad, I just am really want to discover Hygge, and that happens in communities! I would love to connect with distant family members before arriving, and am lucky that I have a friend that grew up in Denmark to use as a reference guide!

I would plan on spending about 10 Days discovering Hygge and the budget would look as follows:
Flights $585
Car rental $600
Lodging $1200
Activities $500
For a starting total of $2885. The price alone helps to create Hygge already 🙂

Are you looking for Hygge too! While Denmark seems to have the market on it, it can also happen anywhere! Take some time to experience the good things in life with good people! It is truly time well spent!

Kayak a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico!

Okay, so this is a pretty specific Bucket List trip that also opens itself up to some other incredible adventures! Puerto Rico has three bay’s that feature dinoflagellates, a class of microorganisms that emit varicolored lights. On cloudy or moonless nights you have the best opportunity to experience their “glow” and their glowing also intensifies as a natural response to your paddle disturbing their environment!

There are two bays that are easily accessible, Vieques Island, near the capital, San Juan and Laguna Grande at Fajardo on Puerto Rico’s east coast. Of course I want to go to both! However I also want to hike to some of the amazing waterfalls, take in the culture and most importantly spend some time volunteering my time in a country still rebuilding from the Hurricane. There is so much work that needs to be done and a spending part of my vacation giving back is truly an incredible experience that makes a huge difference!

For two people to experiencePuerto Rico, plan on budget of $4,000, which includes airfare, lodging, kayaking tours, culinary tours, hiking tours, food and the ability to get yourself to some sites and communities to volunteer in! Not a bad price for an experience that gives back to others, while experiencing the entire beauty that is Puerto Rico.

P.S. No passport required!!

Napa Valley?.. yep, Napa Valley!

So why the question mark after Napa Valley? Well for anyone who knows me well, they know I am not much of a wine drinker! Craft beer, absolutely.. whisky, yes please! Wine, well maybe! However I love the idea of going to Napa Valley! The family histories of the vineyards, the scenery, the ideal “girls trip” or romantic get-away, all place the Napa Valley on my bucket travel list.

I planned my trip out in the Spring of 2019. I love the idea of spring travel as the world is waking up, and everything is coming up new again. The crispness in the air makes the experience enjoyable, and even though it is a bit of a crowded time in Napa Valley, the idea of it bustling bring some excitement too.

What I know about the Napa Valley that are must do’s are a train ride, Calistoga Hot Springs and a Hot Air Balloon Ride with brunch. However I wasn’t sure what exactly to do in Napa, so I did what anyone would do and googled it!  I actually found The Perfect Napa Valley Itinerary for First-Time Visitors., which included all I thought I needed to do!

I adjusted it a little bit, but stuck with their ideas for each day.
Day 1- Fly into San Francisco, pick up the rental car and drive to Napa Valley where I would stay in a Bed and Breakfast or AirBnB.
Day 2- Enjoy the 6 hour Napa Valley Rail Legacy Tour which features 3 Wineries and a 4-course Napa Style dinner. ($332/pp)
Day 3- Today is a day of self tour and relaxation. After spending the morning and part of the afternoon exploring the “valley” and several boutique wineries, end the day with a massage and dip in the mineral pools of the Calistoga Spa ($140/pp). After your treatment enjoy a nice dinner before heading back to the lodging in Napa.
Day 4- Begin early this morning with a Hot Air Balloon Ride over Napa Valley, followed by brunch. Then leisurely make your way back to San Fransisco for the afternoon and evening.
Day 5- Return home.

This itinerary runs about $1700/person, which includes flights and all of the options above. It does not include individual fee’s at Wineries, cost of food, or additional wine you must buy while you are there! A lot of fun will be had, and great memories will be made!!

Trip 9 is proving to include some great experiences and memories! Now I just need to figure out a funding source to make all of these dreams a reality!

Footsteps of St. Paul… Greece!

For numerous reason St. Paul has always been one of my favorite Saints. From his conversion, learning, and evangelization efforts life seemed to have always taken him in a direction he was not intending to go! He is known to have disagreed with his traveling companion, spent time in jail, and worked as a tentmaker to fund his ministry. He also loved deeply, defended the gentiles and truly had a strong desire and passion to share the Gospel!

One of the great places to walk in the Footsteps of St. Paul is in Greece. Paul is responsible for bringing Christianity to Greece, in fact many of the books in the New Testament talk about his time and experience in Greece. He is known to have visited Paliapoli (Old City), Kavala (Neapoli), Philippi, Thessaloniki, Veria, Athens and Corinth.

Outside the footsteps of St. Paul, Greece itself just has an incredible history to experience!  From the Pantheon, to Santorini, the history, culture, cuisine and people continue to put Greece towards the top of my bucket list!

The best way to see Greece is with your faith community on a pilgrimage through Pathfinders! A 14 Day/12 Night Pilgrimage, including a 4-day cruise of the Greek Islands will run about $4,999/person, but that includes: Airfare, transfers, lodging, 2 meals/day, cruise, guides and admission when needed. Not to mention a experience that will forever transform you!

Let me know when you are ready to host a pilgrimage! I can not wait to help you get there.


Fall Foliage in New England

There has always been something that has drawn me to leaves changing colors, and heading from a time of growth, into a time of dormancy. It is a bittersweet reminder of goodbye’s, at least for now and I think thats why I have always wanted to go. The leaves change, they fall, life goes stale for a while, but in a few months, things spring up anew!

Having never been to New England, my journey will be a round-trip in and out of Boston! I also plan on a 9 day trip, driving it myself 🙂 Here is how it would break down*.

  • Day 1: Arrive in Boston, get rental car, check into Hotel.
  • Day 2: Tour Boston
  • Day 3: Drive from Boston to Providence, Rhode Island, but detour through the Costal Wine Trail, but still make time to tour Providence too!
  • Day 4: Drive from Providence to Deerfield, MA, enjoying Old Sturbridge Village on my way.
  • Day 5: Drive from Deerfield to Hanover, VT and take in all of the fall foliage along the Connecticut River.
  • Day 6: Drive from Hanover, VT to Conway, NH. Stopping in Franconia Notch State Park, I would have to take the Ariel tramway up the summit of Cannon Mountains. This evening finish with dinner on the Conway Scenic Railroad.
  • Day 7: Drive from Conway, NH to Portland, ME, stopping in Naples to broad the Songo River Queen II paddle boat.
  • Day 8: Portland ME to Portsmouth, NH, driving through the seaport cities along the way.
  • Day 9: Portsmouth to Boston. Return rental Car and fly home!

Total milage: 700!

Total Price: approx. $2300. (flights, car rental, lodging and activities. Does not include meals!)

*I found this ideal itinerary at Photo credit to the New Hampshire Office of Tourism.