Volcano Boarding!

I went Volcano Boarding! (and lived to tell about it…)

Volcano Boarding is #2 on CNN’s “Thrill seekers bucket list: 50 things to do before you die.” They say Cerro Negro Volcano in Nicaragua is the only place in the world that has it. Naturally I booked my flight right away. It was so much fun!

Here’s the experience, in 26 photos:

Prison Break? Orange Is The New Black? Nope - we're on the top of a volcano, about to sled down as fast as we can. Volcano Boarding!
Prison Break? Orange Is The New Black? Nope – we’re on the top of a volcano, about to sled down as fast as we can. Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua!
Volcano Jumping! - Volcan Cerro Negro
Volcano Jumping! – jumping on top of Cerro Negro volcano in Leon, Nicaragua

What is Volcano Boarding?

It’s a bit of a misnomer – Volcano Boarding is less like snowboarding, and more like sledding. You’re not standing up; instead you’re

Cerro Negro is a live volcano, which erupted as recently as 1999. They’ll have a speed gun to track you – the record is more than 80 kilometers per hour down the volcano.

Volcano Boarding

Travel Bucket List 2016

Top 10 trips that are still on my travel bucket list

Which countries are on your travel bucket list?  Now that I’m getting so close to my Visit 50 goal (the Visit50 Travel Challenge – I’ve visited 47 countries already!), people have been asking, where’s next?  Where haven’t you visited yet?  Here’s a list of the top 10 trips that are still on my travel bucket list.

Warning, viewing this post may give you wanderlust!

  1. African Safari in Tanzania/Kenya/South Africa

Wildlife is among of my favorite things to travel to see (and photograph) – that includes lions, leopards, rhinoceros, cheetahs, elephants, and more. Sign me up!Lions in Africa - travel bucket list 2016

My ideal trip:  I want to visit the Serengeti during the Great Zebra & Wildebeest Migration.

Every year, 300,000 zebras, and 1.5 million wildebeest migrate from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara. Watching them cross  the Grumeti River (Tanzania) and the Mara River (Kenya) is supposed to be a spectacular site!

seeing the Serengetti Migration is on my travel bucket list
photo by Diana Robinson

I’d also love to do a safari in Namibia or Botswana. All of them sound awesome!

2. Galapagos Islands / Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands have wildlife that’s unique to their little islands. It’s so close and sounds so amazing. I have to get there!

Lennon Wall in Prague

Why is there a Lennon Wall in Prague if Lennon never even visited?

The John Lennon Wall in Prague is a memorial to singer John Lennon; it’s been a home to messages of peace, free speech, and non-violent rebellion (as well as some Beatles lyrics) since the 1980’s. The surprising part – Lennon never even visited Prague!

Lennon Wall in Prague - Laska means love. This was originally a white wall that said Wall is over.
Laska means love. This was originally a white wall that said Wall is over.

Peace at the Lennon Wall in PraguePeace at the Lennon Wall in Prague

While it was once just a regular wall, it was one of the few places in Prague where people could practice free speech under communism. Authorities often painted the wall white, but it would be filled up with free speech graffiti by the next day.  People posting political slogans under communism came to be known as “Lennonists.”

The World Is Awesome! (Boom De Yada)

I love the whole world, and all its sights and sounds.

The world is awesome, and this one-minute video helps capture that sentiment. If you have a passion for exploring the globe, you’ll love it as much as I did. Keep exploring and appreciating this awesome world!  Boomdeyada!

Thank you Discovery Channel – the world IS awesome!

The more you travel, the more you agree – the world is just awesome! I just went on my 10-country Eurotrip; every country provided new reasons to agree. As I visit new countries, I find more and more moments that reinforce this. Do you agree?


 

Some aspects of travel may be legitimately frustrating, like the Philippines’ inability to keep to a prompt schedule, but this video captures all that’s awesome in the world.  On my adventures, this has included baby monkeys, amazing ruins, beautiful islands, and more. Going snorkeling with Whale Sharks might renew your appreciation for the world.

Actually, all baby wildlife might do that – including seeing baby elephants in Borneo, baby monkeys (macaques) in Indonesia, and baby apes (baby orangutans).

And now, Part 2 of The World is Awesome!

 

Now here’s the original version, followed by Part 2. I Love The Whole World, Boom de yada!

Eurotrip!

Eurotrip!  I traveled for 2 months through 10 countries in eastern and central Europe; it was quite the adventure! I’ll write about my adventures in each country, but in the meantime, here’s a quick photo tour of my trip.

Countries visited:
Sweden -> Finland -> Estonia -> Latvia -> Lithuania -> Poland -> Prague Czech -> Munich Germany -> Greece (5 islands!) -> Budapest Hungary.
I wasn’t planning on backpacking through Europe for two months. I had stopped working a couple of weeks before, and decided I wanted to take a trip before starting a new job. But where to go?
Adventures through 10 countries, including the Czech Republic
Adventures through 10 countries, in Europe. Prague in the Czech Republic was one of my favorite cities!
The Baltics intrigued me – the trio of former Soviet Union countries that border the Baltic Sea.  I had only planned to travel for a 2-3 week trip to the Baltics – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – but loved it and kept extending my trip. I’d never been to any of those countries, and didn’t know anyone that had been to any of them either. Imagine visiting a place that wasn’t even a country when you were born. Fascinating!
To get into that region I flew into…
Stockholm is nearly surrounded by water, so a boat photo was a must
Stockholm is nearly surrounded by water, so a boat photo was a must

Stockholm, Sweden!  Coincidently, I have friends in Sweden that I met on my southeast Asia trip. I stayed with a friend that I had last seen while snorkeling with whale sharks in the Philippines. Click that link to see what that was like.

Endangered Animals Light Up NYC

Cecil the lion and other endangered animals are projected on to Empire State Building in an impressive light display

Images of endangered animals were crawling and swimming across the facade of New York’s Empire State Building, as part of the first light show of its kind in ESB history. It was such an awesome display!   It was also a timely reminder of the impact and devastation caused by incidents like the hunting of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe.

I captured photos and put them all into a few animated gif images below:

Empire State Building - endangered animals - 2
Endangered species grace the south side of the Empire State Building
Empire State Tribute To Endangered Animals

How: It was all done with 40 light cannons projecting images of endangered animals upon the Empire State Building. Design firm Obscura Digital put it together, with a cost of around $1 million, according to the NY Times.

Endangered Animals Empire State Building projection
The eyes of the world were on the Empire State Building

Who put it together?  It was organized by the Oceanic Preservation Society and the filmmakers of the new Discovery Channel documentary, Racing Extinction, (#RacingExtinction), an upcoming documentary about humans’ impact on threatened species. Racing Extinction is set to air in December 2015.  Director Louie Psihoyos was also the director of The Cove.

Island Hopping in Bocas del Toro Panama

5 days of Island Hopping in Bocas

Bocas del Toro might be the best part of Panama, especially for backpackers and travelers. Bocas is an archipelago (group of islands) with beautiful beaches, wildlife, adventure, good food, and a great  party scene that attracts backpackers from around the world.

Most people have only heard of Bocas del Toro from the TV series Survivor (17 countries filmed there) – it’s a real place and worth a visit. While many people visiting Panama only get to Panama City, Bocas is a hidden gem.

Every day we chose an activity or an island to go to – then hopped in a boat to go check it out. Here’s a 31-photo tour, with some highlights from our five days of island hopping in Bocas del Toro:

Playa La Estrella – Starfish Beach

While it doesn’t get nearly as much acclaim as the other beaches, Playa La Estrella has easily the most beautiful water next to their nearly private beaches. The name literally translates to Starfish Beach, and you can see why – they’re everywhere!

Starfish everywhere! - Playa La Estrella, Bocas del Toro is a must visit when island hopping in Bocas del Toro Panama
Starfish everywhere! – Playa La Estrella, Bocas del Toro

Playa La Estrella, the most beautiful beach in Bocas

Starfish beach in Bocas del Toro. Playa La Estrella. A must visit when island hopping in Bocas del Toro Panama
Have you ever seen this many starfish?

Tip: please do NOT touch the starfish or take them out of water – it actually kills them.

Visit 50 Countries & 50 States by Age 50