Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots in Cardiff by the Sea

“Every single one of us matters, and has a role to play… every single day we make a difference.” – Dr. Jane Goodall, 2016

Cardiff by the Sea Roots & Shoots children visiting a local agricultural farm. Photos courtesy of: Jessica Toth

Recently I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Jane Goodall speak at the 20th year celebration of the Disney Conservation Fund at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Here is a short clip in which she talks about the beginning and growth of the Roots & Shoots program she founded:

As she spoke about Roots & Shoots, I recalled the small group that started up in Cardiff by the Sea, when my daughter was in grade school. As a family, we participated in several of the activities, and although our daughter was quite young, those experiences and lessons would stay with her.

I decided to reach out and re-connect with the parent who started our local chapter, Jessica Toth. While many years have passed and she no longer runs the Roots & Shoots program, I thought it would be interesting to see where the shoots grew from the roots she planted almost 10 years ago with her two daughters, Zoe and Quincy, now aged 14 and 16.

I was not the least bit surprised to learn that Jessica is still quite involved in environmental education, and both she and her daughters had carried forward much from their Roots & Shoots experience. (note: all Cardiff Roots & Shoots photos courtesy of Jessica Toth)

What is your current position and title?

Jessica: I currently work as Executive Director of Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, an environmental education nonprofit, providing programming throughout the San Diego region. Solana Center was awarded California’s highest environmental honor this year, the Governor’s Environmental and Economical Leadership Award for our food waste diversion initiatives.

How did you first learn about Roots & Shoots?

Jessica: While I was getting involved in my daughter’s pre-school, exposing kids to environmental concepts, I read about Jane Goodall’sRoots & Shoots program. Roots & Shoots was designed to offer service-learning opportunities to high school students. No other elementary school Roots & Shoots programs were listed on their websites at that time. But I liked the concept, and decided to find ways to implement it with age-appropriate activities for children in elementary school. There are definitely elementary schools involved now.

What inspired you to organize a local chapter of Roots & Shoots?

Jessica: I felt that kids are not easily connected to the needs of the environment, animals, and people. I wanted my kids to be sensitive to what’s around them. By including others in our activities, it enhanced the experiences.

I created a program for learning and exposure, which seemed more appropriate for younger kids. While Roots & Shoots was intended more for focused service learning projects for highschool and college students, we did do community support activities, such as beach clean-ups, visiting a retirement home, and donating to the Community Resource Center.

What types of activities did your chapter participate in?

Jessica: I designed a program in which students and parents participated twice a month — once through an outside activity and once in a classroom setting. The activities were all local so that participants (kids and parents both) could think of what they’d learned each time they passed the sites. We did beach clean-ups, toured our water treatment center, made animal toys and earned money to donate to the animal shelter, decorated re-usable shopping bags and educated people about avoiding single-use plastics, monitored the quality of our waterways, visited a fish farm, toured the recycling line and our landfill, visited agriculture farms, created a lunchroom recycling program, planted our own school garden, toured City Hall, presented at school assemblies, donated books to kids in need, performed waste audits at school, learned about watershed protection, solar energy, animal tracks, and composting, and more!

How did the Roots & Shoots program impact the Cardiff by the Sea community?

Jessica: When I was still running Roots & Shoots, I began developing environmental programming for the Rob Machado Foundation, whose children were also attending Cardiff Elementary. I folded in Rob Machado Foundation support for recycling cans for Cardiff Schools’ athletic fields, reusable water bottles for students, expansion of the school garden, reusable classroom party kits, and a bike rack at Ada Harris.  I also had Rob Machado speak at a Cardiff School assembly as we rolled out the lunchtime recycling program.

Elements are still in place in the Cardiff School District. For example, lunchtime recycling and the school garden.

How has your Roots & Shoots experience shaped the way your kids are growing up?

Jessica: I believe that they will each carry the experiences with them forever.  Quincy points to her interest in community service.  She recently started a soccer league for special-needs kids; this is her great passion.  Zoe is interested in working with animals.

My kids amaze me with their understanding of the real world, even though they’ve grown up in a very comfortable, cloistered environment in southern California.

From an early age, they understood, for example, that marine debris can impact an entire food chain from brine shrimp and small fish to seals and sharks, as one of them illustrated as a 6-year-old.  I think their Roots & Shoots experiences informed them well.

We live beside a canyon inhabited by coyotes and snakes.  I’m pleased that my daughters are not fearful of animals in nature.

How does your family spend (more) time in nature?

Jessica: We enjoy time camping in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We also love to snorkel around to see life under the sea.

What advice would you give other parents wanting to make a difference?

Jessica: Kids are never too young to learn about their community. It doesn’t matter the age; they learn from new experiences, often reflecting back and finding new meaning later.

To learn more about current Roots & Shoots projects and search by community, please visit Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots.

And if you are involved in a local Roots & Shoots program, please share your experience in a comment!

Many thanks to Jessica Toth for her time and for providing photos. And many thanks, endlessly, to Dr. Jane Goodall for inspiring so many of us!

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How I Discovered Magic at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Sunrise view from room at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Photo: ©Kymri Wilt


I had always been somewhat dismissive of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World, after all, it seemed to be just a copy “wannabe” of my hometown’s Hotel Del Coronado. It is THE priciest resort at Walt Disney World. Looking at the website, there’s not much to distinguish it from the more moderately priced Yacht Club Resort (a tried and true favorite). Nor does it boast African safari animals right outside the window like Kidani Village (still my top pick). So what’s the big deal?

Well, during a recent hosted stay at the Grand Floridian, I discovered there is more to this place than meets the eye. True magic cannot be conveyed in a photograph, or a “luxury” rating. It has nothing to do with a classic façade, elegant staircase, grand piano, perfect cocktails, spacious pools or fine restaurants. At the Grand Floridian Resort, I discovered that small human gestures of service make a grand difference in experience, turning the ordinary into something magic.

Meet Richard

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
Photos: ©Kymri Wilt

When I first encountered Richard, I almost missed him. Instead, I had noticed a little girl with a pouty face sitting on a bench outside the entrance to the Grand Floridian. There were no obvious parents in sight. As I approached, I watched her face begin to change, and within moments it lit up in an ear-to-ear grin trying not to burst out in giggles. I looked where she was looking. A smallish man wearing a straw hat was dancing a little soft shoe jig. As he turned my direction, I saw his face, and I was overcome with such warmth and joy that I couldn’t help smiling back. This charming man was Richard, and his 91-year-young face conveyed a lifetime of magic.

In the few moments I chatted with him, I learned that Richard has been working at the Grand Floridian in the very same position, at the very same spot, for 24 years. That means he started there when he was just a spry 67 years of age! I have no idea what he did before that, but clearly, he’s not set on retiring any time soon. I asked him to tell me what he loves about his job. He said, “I’ve seen a lot of beautiful brides.” Then he goes on to tell me he’s seen the newly married couples return year after year with growing families…and he’s watched their daughters grow up and get married, just like their parents did, at the Grand Floridian Resort.There’s something to be said for a hotel that boasts second (and possibly third) generations of weddings in the same family. And lucky for them, there’s Richard, just like family, standing curbside year after year, to welcome them “home.”

I took a selfie with Richard, and introduced him on my social media feeds so others arriving would feel as “welcome home” as I did. The comments poured in – he is known and loved far and wide, and those who’d never met him before, made a point of finding him. He’s as iconic as the hotel itself…but he holds the real magic.

Let’s Say it was “Jerry”

When I received a text alerting me that my room was ready at the Grand Floridian, I went to the Bell Captain’s desk to collect my held bag, at which point I was offered the assistance of a bellman to help with my case and show me to my room. As I followed him past the reception desk, I see a woman checking in as one of the Traveling Mom writers, so naturally, I stopped to meet and welcome her. She exclaimed, “oh, you’re the photographer!” and we excitedly talked cameras for a few minutes as my bellman stood back and waited patiently. As we proceeded through the lobby, I see more of my dear friends and colleagues arriving, so I stop for quick hellos and hugs, while my bellman stands by. I glance at him anxiously. “Take your time,” he assures me. One of my colleagues thanked me for the posting the “Meet Richard” photo. Then the bellman and I turned a corner and I hear my name. I look over to see even more colleagues and friends at a second check-in desk for our media group where I stop and collect my credentials. This takes some time, and I’m certain at this point my bellman is fed up and ready to disappear, leaving my rolling case to roll off into oblivion. But no, he stands by professionally and unobtrusively, one hand firmly on my case. And when I’m ready, he holds the door open and leads me to a waiting golf cart to transport me to my building.

No sooner do we start rolling along the path when I hear “Kymri, is that you?” Without looking back, and already knowing me by name, my bellman-turned-chauffeur stops the cart, and waits as I catch up with yet another friend. “Look how fancy, you get your own cart!” she remarks. Yes, indeed, I felt like a celebrity with my exclusive cart limo and personal bellman-chauffeur. Certainly the paparazzi were lurking in the bushes, but he masterfully averted them.

During our drive he points out where everything is on the resort property, and offers suggestions for the most photogenic spots, the best place to view fireworks, etc. I asked how long he’s worked at the Grand Floridian. “28 years” he replies, “longer than Richard, but I started much younger.” I distinctly heard the wink in his voice. You see, he was so attentive that he’d even noted the “Meet Richard” conversation back in the lobby. By the time we reached the elevator, I felt like he knew everything about me and had been my private chauffeur for years. I’m sure if I’d asked upon entering my room, he would have
unpacked for me and plugged in all my devices.

Fast forward to check out day, and I’m already writing this article in my head. I realized I’d not noted the name of my magical bellman. There were several staff gathered around the Bell Desk on my way out. I asked for the name of the bellman who’d been working there for 28 years. They all look at each other, then blankly back at me, until one of them humbly admits, “that could be any of us.” Wow. Honestly, would you EVER hear that at any other luxury hotel in the world? From the bellmen? So I get a bit more descriptive, and another one asks “Was it Jerry?” I shrugged hopelessly, so embarrassed that I didn’t recall his name. They saw my discomfort and quickly chimed in to unanimously credit the one bellman who wasn’t there. “Let’s say it was Jerry.”

Brenda’s Gift

One might expect that housekeeping at Disney Resorts is performed by fairies sprinkling pixie dust. Or perhaps, Mary Poppins herself. Spoiler alert: Housekeepers at the Grand Floridian are real humans. They make beds, clean tubs, vacuum crumbs, freshen towels, and even leave chocolates on the pillows at turndown. And they do it all without the help of forest bluebirds and magical dancing brooms.

But they make magic in other ways, which I experienced firsthand. I had just come back to my room after my daughter sent a text that our senior dog, Jambo, had stopped eating.She was home alone with the dogs, her dad still at work, and I texted back that I would call as soon as I got to my room….my freshly cleaned, cool, quiet room.

I called using facetime, so I could see our dog and better judge his state. No sooner had my daughter answered the call then a knock came at my door. With phone in hand, I opened the door to Brenda, my housekeeper. She was checking to see if all was in order, and if I needed any more towels or anything. My daughter asked who I was talking to, so I held up the phone and introduced her to Brenda over facetime. While there was nothing I needed from Brenda, she smiled warmly at my daughter and reached into her cart. “I think you might need more of these… I’ll just give them to you now,” she said, handing me extra chocolates. Then she closed the door leaving us to our call. When I asked to see Jambo, my daughter exclaimed, “Look! He’s eating now!” And indeed he was. While I’d like to think it was the sound of my voice, I’m going to go with crediting Brenda.

Tracy’s Roses

Tracy sharing roses at the Grand Floridian
Photo credit: ©Kymri Wilt

With all of our press events over and done, a group of us were making our way back to the Grand Floridian to catch the Magical Express to the airport. We were walking along the path, and a woman carrying a beautiful bouquet of roses was coming towards us. She skirts the path so we don’t have to step aside. As she passes, someone remarks “What beautiful flowers!” She turns around, and offers a rose to each of us. Naturally, we’re flattered and every one of us pulls a rose from the bouquet, leaving just two remaining.

As we all thanked her, I asked if they were meant for a guestroom, figuring she’d just stop and get more. “No,” she replied, “I just got off work and am taking them to my husband. “ “A special occasion?”, asked another. Tracy replied, “Yes, I suppose it is. He just came home from the hospital today.” And before we could finish thanking her or even try to put the roses back in the bouquet meant for him, Tracy kept right on moving, wishing us all a magical day.

And there you have it, four stories of Grand Floridian staff members making magic.

My Small Gesture of Gratitude

Richard, if you are reading this, thank you. Because of you, I saw a pouty little girl smile…and believe me, I’ve been that pouty little girl more than I’d like to admit. So on behalf of this pouty little girl, and probably hundreds before and since, thank you. Your simple charm is nothing short of magic.

Jerry, if you are reading this, or if you even truly exist by that name, thank you. I know you were introduced and wore your nametag. But it was your magical way of performing the same job you’ve done for 28 years that left an impression deeper than the letters etched on a badge. I’m still wondering if I just imagined that whole magical VIP escorted journey from Bell Desk to my room… was it magic? Or were you just doing your job? Either way, a flawless performance.

Brenda, if you are reading this, thank you. My daughter thanks you for the chocolates, and I thank you for being kind. Your small gesture did not go unnoticed. You are proof that every human has the potential for making magic, knowingly or not. But do tell, where were you hiding your wings?

And finally, Tracy, if you are reading this, thank you. I hope your husband knows that for every red rose missing from that bouquet, one more woman was thinking of him and sending well wishes his way. Thank you for touching our lives in that brief moment and reminding us we’re all just humans, and we’re all capable of sharing little acts of magic in this journey of life.

Full Disclosure

I was hosted by Disney at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and my assignment was to review this luxury property with lots of pretty pictures. Clearly, that morphed into something entirely different. Had I done such a review, you’d never know the magic.

Instead, your only takeaway might be the noisy drinking adults in the public areas all hours of the night, or the renovation work in progress in my building (6) which made for noisy and detoured ins and outs. And there were plumbing issues – a magical running toilet that failed to flush each night I came back to it. But here again, the seemingly ordinary human maintenance man was full of magic, too. He shared a wealth of knowledge about the hotel’s history and explained in detail the process of updating the “historic” fixtures – we’re talking PVC pipe diameters to/from toilets – yet somehow his enthusiasm had me envisioning scenes from “Fantasia.” He’d obviously been working there for years and clearly loved his job, too.

It is evident at the Grand Floridian Resort that when you have contented employees serving guests, the results are magic.

How You Can Book the Magic

Now I understand why families buy into timeshares and return year after year to places like the Grand Floridian Resort. If you are so inclined to try a resort residence rental for your next family vacation, the good news is, you don’t have to belong to the Disney Vacation Club to try one! Check out Vacatia.com, where you’ll find Villas at the Grand Floridian, Kidani Village, and several other vetted and owner-listed resort properties to select from. Wherever you choose to go, remember, real magic is an experience of exceptional service in simple gestures. If you’re not finding it, then start making it, just like Richard, Jerry, Brenda, and Tracy do, every day, at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

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Two Things Turning 10 this Year: my Travel Blog and my Passport

The source of inspiration for Mira Terra Images – Antigua, Guatemala.

I realized I’ve been neglectful of my own blog this very year when I should be celebrating and honoring it. Ten years ago this month, I published my first six blog posts.

I think some gratitude is in order for my 10-year blog-iversary post.

When I started Mira Terra Travel Blog, the intention was purely to drive traffic to my (first and still out there) photography website, miraterra.com. A very wise friend who was working in IT during the dot-com boom explained to me that Google doesn’t find images, it finds words. So my lovely little travel photography website had launched, but was lost without words. I needed words.

Thankfully, I’d kept handwritten travel journals (before the days of wi-fi, laptops, cell phones and digital cameras) of all my travels begining with my first trip to France at 15. So for my first four posts, I picked a page out of four different journals, picked a favorite slide photo to scan, and told a short story with a single photo. Those first four features were:

Chile: Spirit Dreams
Guatemala: Comfortable Vulnerability
France: Paris Encore (words only)
Kenya: The Last Town

Baby steps, but a start, nonetheless.

So this tech-savvy friend Marie (my first blog follower), read them, and reminded me that I wrote great letters when I travelled, too. Within a week a package arrived of every letter I’d written her during and since our college days, with a note something to the effect of “too good to throw out.” A few years earlier, when I became a mother, my highschool friend Nina had done the same thing – she returned all my handwritten letters and postcards I’d sent her from my travels and college life, as “a gift for your daughter – family treasures.” Sure, both friends were downsizing their “stuff”, and respected my Cancerian sentimentality. But both friends in their own way encouraged me to keep writing, reminding me that my words had value, and put my words back into my hands to do something with. To those two friends, Nina and Marie, thank you. I’m grateful that you are both still in my life, even if handwritten letters have morphed into occasional facebook messages. The friendships remain, and conversations flow as effortlessly today as the letters that seemed to write themselves back then.

Fast forward 10 years to the present, and I’m so busy writing professionally for other outlets that my travel journal posts to my own blog are few and far between. I need to change that. My humble little personal travel-photography blog, which I never once endeavored to monetize, is still here, and I still have boxes of travel journal stories to share.

Which brings me to the here and now, and last night.

Last night I attended a travel media event in Los Angeles, hosted by Bella Guatemala Travel. It was not a presentation or sales pitch. It was a fully immersive Guatemalan experience, with food, dancers, textile weavers, music, artists and even rum-tasting. Being there reminded me that Guatemala is really to credit for kick-starting me on my path as a travel photographer.

Guatemala was my first solo trip after my mother had passed, and I just needed to take my journey; reflecting and writing through my grief, and opening my heart through my camera lens. It was the perfect destination for both writing and photography. Guatemala captivated me with colors, textiles, language, and culture. It woke up all my senses, and filled my circumstantial emptiness with a passion for recording and telling stories, and capturing and sharing images.

When I returned, I subjected my closest friends to carousel slideshows of the 6 rolls I shot in Guatemala. They didn’t get bored or nod off. With every passing image projected, they were drawn in, entranced, and listening to my every word. Then, a lightbulb went off for my closest friend Bil, who finally just blurted out “Kymri, you’re pursuing the wrong dream. You are meant to be a photographer.”

Months later it was a freeflowing conversation with Bil during which “Mira Terra Images” as my brand name was born. Rooted in Latin for “See the World”, it rolled off the tongue and felt right. Never mind that Spanish speakers would translate it as “Look at the earth,” literally; Bil and I loved it, because together we loved the earth. So thank you Bil, for being that friend who told me what I needed to be told. You knew me better than I knew myself.

A few years and travels later, I gave birth to my daughter, and shortly thereafter, to my brand. My early days with baby were spent at a desk scanning slides with her in my arms.

“Antigua, Guatemala” was the label on the first box of slides I digitized when I got my scanner. My entire brand and logo design for Mira Terra Images came from the shot at the top of this post, the Mayan Calendar on a green wall in Antigua, Guatemala. Think of the significance of that.

Another thank you from this blog’s earliest days, perhaps the most important one, goes out to Tom, whose encouragement, creative vision, travel marketing savvy, and above all else, friendship, helped to put Mira Terra Images Travel Photography & Services on the map of the world wide web. With his help, I became my own brand. Thank you, Tom.

How lucky I’ve been to have the intuitive foresight, encouragement, and wisdom of friends like Marie, Nina, Bil and Tom. There simply are no words for the depth of gratitude I feel towards each of you.

So back to last night, I found myself thinking about how significant that trip to Guatemala was for me. It was two and a half passports ago, and I was saddened to realize that my current passport, expiring this year, has no Guatemala stamp in it’s 96 pages and inserts. How is it I haven’t been back? I need to change that.

In fact, I think this is exactly the right year, and Guatemala is exactly the right stamp to be the first in my new passport.

So one final thank you for my 10-year blog-iversary post. Thank you, Guatemala. For inspiring me in my 20’s, and for being a timeless inspirational presence in my realized vocation(s). I look forward to re-connecting with you, Guatemala, like an old dear friend. The kind that knows me better than I know myself.

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Road Trip for Cameras: Scenic Fall Colors in Vermont

“The trees are in Kodachrome all over Vermont. And I’m that car that keeps pulling over. Nature, you win.” – me.

A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

It wasn’t until I posted my first instagram photo from Vermont that suddenly people I’ve known for years were all like “oh, my home state!” Many of you know a lot more about Vermont than I ever will. And, I’m sorry, but I didn’t read your articles, blogs, recommendations or instagram feeds before I went. I got short notice for a last minute assignment, and negotiated an extra day/night plus a rental car so I could explore a bit more of the state. Turns out the east coast contingent of my family happened to also be in Vermont that weekend – how could I miss a chance to see my great-niece? Plus, my lifelong friend from college had bought herself a farm somewhere in Vermont, and I wanted to check it out. So, yeah, I was determined to cover as much ground as I could in the free 48 hours before the job.

As I packed, the temperature in San Diego was 91 degrees. I looked up the forecast for my destination, Stowe, Vermont, and these little tiny white symbols showed up. Now I’m no expert on weather, but I’m pretty sure they were predicting snow. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” I thought to myself, and threw on my puffy winter jacket as I headed out the door to the airport.

It really hadn’t even occurred to me that the seasons were changing in other parts of the country. My friend with the farm, Marie (whom I went backpacking to Egypt with in 1986, and rock-climbing in Arizona with in 2006), tells me she’s two hours south of Burlington, so I asked “How’s the drive, scenic?” Yes, duh, it’s Vermont. “Any fall colors?” I ask, figuring its still summer everywhere else like it is in San Diego, and those snowflake symbols in the forecast were a mistake. Her response was music to my ears….“Yes, lots of colors right now, height of the season.”

No WAY! I was really going to hit Vermont during peak fall foliage? I couldn’t get on that plane soon enough. I left a golden glowing sunset on the west coast, and woke up to a golden glowing landscape on the east coast.

A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

The rental car clerk offered me a navigation unit. I declined, and asked for a local map – I prefer having the freedom to get lost and take a scenic road without a computer voice pestering me to “make a u-turn,” and constantly trying to set me back on the straightest route from point A to point B. Besides, the directions to my friend’s farm were visuals like “cross the creek, second dirt road on the left, look for the big new barn in the middle of a field.” Those are the kind of directions I prefer, being a visual, that’s pretty much how I roll.

So in this recap of my road trip, I’m not going to tell you what roads are the best, where to eat, where to sleep, what are the must-see’s, because, in all honesty, I pretty much winged it without any research whatsoever. I don’t know if I happened to hit the best route, or if it’s all gorgeous, or if you’re going to tell me “you should have gone this way.” I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, I did it exactly right. I was in Vermont, with free time and wheels, during peak fall season. And I ate some pretty fabulous food too.

So to quickly summarize the first day: From Burlington, I went south on 7, and at some point I drove through the (beautiful) campus of Middlebury College. Then I continued south on the 30, east on the 4, south on the 133 and west on the 140.

The further south I got and the later in the day it became, the more the trees were lit like fire, and I kept pulling over. The sky was summer blue, there were a few puffy white clouds, and really, it could have been a summer day had the trees been green.

The nearest town to my friend’s rural farm was Middleton Springs. Don’t ask me road names, there were back roads and dirt roads involved, but I found it before dark, which was my goal as there’s no wi-fi or cellphone service at her farm.

There was much to get done on the farm, as the first “freeze” was forecast for that night, and she would lose anything not yet harvested. The sun dipped behind the mountain, and the temperature dropped. She cooked a farm fresh dinner – beans, kale, herbs, stewed apples – everything grown right there except rice. It was cold, and she fed the wood-burning stove for heat. I bundled up and slept well. The next morning, I peered out the window and sure enough, white frost had covered the ground.

I desperately needed coffee, which she didn’t grow on the farm, and didn’t have on hand. Good thing I planned to set out early, as the nearest coffee would be at a Dunkin Donuts located 3 towns and 16 miles away. We scraped the ice crystals off the windshield, and I hit the road again, heading into Poultney, making a right at the intersection, and heading north to Castleton (hereafter referred to as “Dunkin Donuts Coffee Mecca”). May I just interrupt this post right now to say it’s true, what they say. Dunkin Donuts coffee IS better than Starbucks.

So with hot coffee in hand, I could relax and continue back north to Burlington, and then Stowe, where I would follow the rustic farm stay with a night of fine dining, luxury and comfort at TopNotch Resort. There, I’m doing what I said I wouldn’t do, almost. I wont say “you must stay here,” but I’m just going to say that I did and I loved everything about it.

Here are some favorite scenes from Day 1:

“Vermont in living color.” – me

A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

Here are some favorite scenes from Day 2:

“The best roads are the back roads.” – me

Day 3 consisted of a drive through the scenic mountains of northern Vermont, to the border of Canada, and back to Stowe. While this day was a work assignment, most of which was spent behind the wheel driving the 2016 VW Passat, I did manage to take a few more pictures and videos.

Here are some favorite scenes from Day 3:

“Vermont has cured me of seasonal deprivation.” – me

The greatest thing about my short notice long weekend trip was that I truly did get to experience all four seasons in a day, and that included a first snowfall of the season, which was nothing short of magical.

Be sure to check out my other Road Trips for Cameras:

Castles & Coastlines of Wales
Arizona’s National Parks
California’s Central Coast
Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore
Guysborough Galleries

This post is part of #IGTravelThursday, be sure to check out more of these wonderful visual travelers!

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Costa Rica Multi-Generational Family Vacation Re-cap

The obligatory “traditional painted oxcart seen from the bus” photo, Costa Rica.

Preface: Admittedly, this was not my first trip to Costa Rica, nor my husband’s, nor even my daughter’s first. But for all of us, it was our first time doing an organized “tour” of Costa Rica, and a group tour at that, big bus and all. This was not our preferred method of travel, but when Grandma (my mother-in-law) chooses a family reunion destination trip, nobody argues. Which leads to my necessary…

Disclosure Statement: Grandma paid for this trip. She picked the trip, and she picked up the tab. For all 15 of us – needless to say, that means a generous heart, but a tight budget. The real value is in the family time spent together, right? That said, shout out to Caravan Tours – Grandma’s tried and true repeat favorite, who earned the fate of dealing with all of us…especially Grandma.

One more thing: When it comes to group tours, I’m a little jaded. I’ve spent the past 10+ years leading tour groups from as few as 3 to as many as 600. Since I’d been to Costa Rica many times already, I pretty much could have led this tour blindfolded. Thus my camera didn’t get a whole lot of use for these 9 days – there were a few “seen from the bus” shots or carefully cropped instagrams to cut out the tourists. For 9 days, instead of photos, I posted facebook status updates – daily re-caps, with my snarky jaded humor. Much to the dismay of my inlaws, who don’t read my blog anyway, and my husband, who practices anti-social media, I’m now going public. Here it is in longform.

Day 1, Arrivals, San Jose

Size of family: 15. Eldest: 83, Youngest 13.
Arriving from: shortest distance – Managua, Nicaragua; farthest distance – Seoul, South Korea. The rest: Illinois, Colorado, and California.
Last to arrive: my mother-in-law (aka Grandma, hereinafter referred to as “the Matriarch”).
First to order a drink: the Matriarch. What she ordered: “Sex on the Beach”.
Highlight of the evening: When the Matriarch wanted to get a second one, she asked the designated family linguist (aka my husband), to order it. He proceeded to ask the young guapo Tican server for “mas sexo.” And we’re rolling.

The Multi-gen family. Not pictured: Two family members still at the bar.

Day 2: Poas Volcano National Park, Coffee Plantation. 

Family count: 15, all present and jet-lagged.
Dietary dynamics: 7 buffet-loving omnivores, 7 insufferable vegetarians with buffet-anxiety, 1 easy-going pescatarian.
Non-coffee drinkers: 2 teens (juice freaks), 1 adult (tea snob).
Today’s culinary highlight: Queso de palmito – regional cheese made with hearts of palm. Rating: To die for. Because, you know, it’s unpasteurized and sold by some dude on the side of the road.
Resulting Casualties: 0.

Jetlag peaked while touring the coffee plantation…before the timely free samples.

Day 3: San Jose to Volcan Arenal, via the “religious road”.

Total hours on bus: 5.5, with stops at “Rehabilitation Center” (read: zoo), Sarchi – for “traditional painted oxcart artisan demonstration” (read: shopping stop), and Zarcero (read: free toilets with purchase of ice cream).
Culinary highlight: Tamales!!
Casualties: 1 vegetarian – discovered tamale was filled with cerdo, not queso.
Revised dietary distribution: 8 omnivores, 6 vegetarians, 1 easy going pescatarian.

Pop Quiz: What is meant by “religious road?”
A) a road with lots of churches.
B) a cliff-clinging winding road on which the driver crosses himself and shuts his eyes as he rounds the bends.
C) the alternate route off the Pan Atheist Highway.
D) Other:__________. Please comment.
Pop Contest Giveaway: Best comment gets a free unframed, unmounted 8×10 Costa Rica print (yes, PRINT) of my choice from my Costa Rica gallery. Winner to be selected 11/1/2015, so hurry!

Day 4: Caño Negro Cruise on the Rio Frio.

Wildlife spotted on river: iguanas, basilisks, bats, caiman, turtles, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, a bunch of birds.
Wildlife spotted back at the hotel hot springs swim up bar: 3 omnivores, 4 vegetarians, 5 unsupervised French children.
Number of passing thunderstorms while enjoying the hotsprings and pools: 3.
Resulting casualties: 2 French parents, apparently.
Weirdest hotel amenity: A swim up sushi bar. Yes, really.
Culinary highlight: none.
Featured drink that nobody ordered: “Sex on the Volcano”.

Day 5: Swinging Canopy Bridges & hike through Monteverde cloud forest.

A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

Wildlife spotted: venomous snakes, tarantulas, poisonous snails, bats.
Resulting casualties: 0.
Afternoon: Arrival at massive Beach Resort on Guanacaste Peninsula, with the largest pool in Central America.
Number of crabs rescued from bottom of said pool: 4.
Number of room key cards found on bottom of said pool: 2.
Omnivore overheard at the buffet: “HAMBURGERS! Real HAMBURGERS!”
(a stampede ensues)
Vegetarian overheard at the buffet: “Oh look, more coleslaw!”
(because, you know, vegetarians love cole slaw, they just can’t ever get enough cole slaw)
New hashtags gaining traction: ‪#‎jadedtravel‬‬ #snarkyvegetarians

Day 6: Free Day, Guanacaste Peninsula.

Number of pool loungers: 14. Number of surfers: 1.
Number of people worried about crocodiles, sharks, poisonous water snakes: 14.
Number of crocodiles, sharks, poisonous water snakes encountered by surfer: 0.
Casualties: 2 broken fingernails, sunburnt back, damaged ego from wiping out in the whitewash once too many times.
Break surfed: Avellanas. (on a crappy foam rental) 6 seconds of evidence:

Day 7: Guanacaste (more surf playas), Puntarenas, crocodile cruise on Rio Tarcoles.

Wildlife highlights: Roseate Spoonbills, Scarlet Macaws, Toucans.
General consensus: Crocodiles overrated. Except the baby one, too cute.
Surf Beach highlight: Playa Hermosa. (full on drive by)
Culinary highlight: Guanabana gelado.
Culinary disaster: whatever those overpriced crap bread cookies were that we stopped the bus to buy from roadside vendors in Guanacaste.
Resulting casualties: dozens of overpriced crap bread cookies, and possibly any animal that unwittingly happened upon them.

Day 8: Manual Antonio National Park, Aerial Tram Rainforest Adventure. 

Photo Highlight: The Matriarch’s bucket list item: zip-lining. It looked like this.

Wildlife Highlights: too numerous to mention.
Culinary highlights: too few to mention.
Creative culinary twist: salad leaves sprinkled with ham chunks!
Family members discovered in bar before last dinner together: 10.
Number of buffet-loving happy omnivores at last dinner together: 8.
Number of buffet-dread-filled vegetarians who had given up hope altogether: 3.
Number of buffet-leary vegetarians who made a desperate run to Pizza Hut across the street after final dinner: 4.
Casualties: yet to be determined.

Day 9: San Jose. Airport Departures.

Casualties from previous night’s dinner: 2 more vegetarians down (see salad above).
Lesson learned: Pizza Gut was actually the better, healthier option, go figure.
Number of family members ready to get back home: 12.
Number of family members flying home: 12.
Number of family members who needed a vacation from the vacation and escaped to an award-winning boutique resort in the remote jungles of Costa Rica for a week to recover from buses and buffets: 3. That would be us.

Prologue: What you really need to do in Costa Rica is get as far away from the tourist trail as possible, face to face with wildlife and surrounded by nature, to really experience and photograph the beauty of the country. We did just that, and I’ll blog about it, with real pictures, soon.

Please check out more great travel posts featuring instagrams as featured for #IGTravelThursday!

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Incase Reform Action Camera Backpack Review for Travel Photography, Surf Photography, and Conferences, too!

Whether traveling by plane, taking a road trip, or simply heading to the beach to shoot the morning surf session, it’s important to be able to pack and transport my camera and tech gear efficiently and comfortably. Incase offers a variety of solutions.

It’s not that I don’t own any camera bags and backpacks already. I do, but now I use them to store my gear more than to travel with it.

My camera bags have issues.

  • One (backpack) looks dated and old, because it is. Film pouches, anyone?
  • One (shoulder strap bag) screams “expensive brand cameras inside!”
  • One (sling style) is designed for righties. I’m a lefty.
  • None of them accommodate laptops, or even ipads.

Admittedly, I have a few issues, too.

  • I like trekking, but I’m not a Sherpa. I also like luxury hotels…and porters.
  • I’m not a budget backpacker, I’m a sophisticated traveler. I want to look it, especially when standing by for an upgrade, or arriving onsite for a shoot.
  • When traveling, I prefer to be subtle about the fact that I am carrying a camera at all.
  • COMFORT

Above all else, the most important factor in my wearing a backpack is comfort. Each bag I have owned has never quite rested right on my body frame, so I don’t last long in the field (or airport terminals) before my neck, back and shoulders begin to ache. I’m a petite female travel photographer, in a world where most camera backpacks are designed for the not-so-petite male landscape photographer.

The Incase Reform Action Camera Backpack is a refreshing new option for today’s travel and action photographer.

First Impressions: Design and Wearability

Since I’m a visual, and I like aesthetics, let’s just state the obvious – it’s a fine looking backpack, blending style and simplicity. It’s contemporary, yet timeless. It doesn’t tell the world what I’m carrying inside. It’s equally great for a day at the beach, or an adventure abroad. And it’s classy enough for Business Class travel.

Field Test: Comic Con

Turns out the Incase Reform Action Backpack is perfectly suited for 4 days at a conference. Comic Con proved to be an excellent arena to test it out. I could run from panel to panel taking pictures without dropping everything. Okay, so when I say “run,” I mean “stand in line and camp out.” Whatever! I did so with ease. Nobody around could tell that I was carrying an SLR, a video camera, my laptop, phone, cords/chargers, change of clothes, glasses, and lots of snacks. The pack, and my back, survived beautifully. And even though it wasn’t in costume, my backpack received compliments from both techies and trekkies alike.

Why it worked

  • The padded laptop sleeve was key. I didn’t look, or feel, like I was toting a laptop.
  • The ventilated padding against my back never got too hot.
  • The adjustable padded straps didn’t dig in to my shoulders.
  • I could keep my cameras separate from my food items.

Field Test: Beach Surf Shoot

A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

Next, I headed out on an “action” shoot with a surf photographer friend. The setting: high tide at Windansea Beach, where the waves curl and break on the shore, crash against the rocks, and I know I’m going to get wet. We gathered our GoPro goodies, and I also brought my Panasonic A500 and Watershot housing for my iphone. At the last minute, my friend texted me “bring your SLR too, just in case.” So thanks to my Incase Reform Action Backpack, I could carry it all, and keep my SLR separate from my action water cameras.

Why it works

  • The collapsible top storage for a DSLR camera keeps it separately accessible.
  • The 300D Ecoya eco-dyed poly fabric exterior is rugged and water-resistant.
  • Surprisingly, the exterior repels sand as readily as it does water.

The Incase Reform Action Camera backpack is a great size, not too big to fit under the seat, but just big enough to pack anything you’d need inflight. Here’s a look at everything “action camera tech” I managed to pack into the 18.25″ x 10.75″ x 6.25″ backpack:

That’s a 13″ Macbook Air, by the way. Without the monopod, everything was zipped up tight and out of sight, and I was good to go. I especially appreciate the separate pocket designed to hold cords and chargers so they don’t get lost in the main compartment.

What more could I want?

The drawback of discovering a fabulous backpack is that it just leaves me wanting more. When I find a great brand, I stick with it. The DSLR Camera Organizer is the obvious next must-have.

And finally, since this is my birthday month, I made a birthday wish list….just Incase.

Disclosure: Incase provided me with the Reform Action Camera Backpack for review purposes. I think it is pretty awesome, and if I thought otherwise, I’d tell you so, too. 

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Roadtrip for Cameras – Wales: Cardiff, Castles & Coastlines

Fog rolls in with the tide at Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, Wales

From Cardiff, California, to Cardiff, Wales, I set off with my family recently to explore the land of my ethnic heritage. Despite several generations in America, I am undoubtedly of Welsh descent. To begin with, my father gave me a first name about as Welsh as they come, Kymri. Though no more common a name in Wales than here in the US, it is a derivation of CYMRU – which is the Welsh word for Wales itself.

“Cymri” is a word used to designate the Welsh people, culture, and spirit, and their passion for journeying. My parents traded the C for a K, and I cannot imagine having any other name, it is exactly right for me. Add to that my fair skin, ruddy nose and cheeks, and an appreciation for fine whiskey and cheeses, and I’ll be the first to tell you that Welsh blood runs deep….as does Welsh pride.

So imagine my pride as I introduced my daughter to her maternal ethnic homeland…awakening that Welshness that runs through her blood. It really helped that she and her father are big Dr. Who fans, so that was the obvious starting point for us in Cardiff – a visit to the Dr. Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales.

CARDIFF

The Millenium Centre, Cardiff, Wales.

Dr. Who is a time traveler, and we traveled through time on our roadtrip to the Middle Ages. Wales is home to over 400 castles, with more castles per square mile than any other country. To help us plan our itinerary of conquering historic castles, we got a membership to CADW, the organization that manages over 100 castles and historic sites in Wales.

CASTLES

Some of the castles we visited were well-known:

Caerphilly Castle, the largest castle in Europe

Caerphilly Castle, Wales – the largest castle in Europe.

Caernarfon Castle, where Queen Elizabeth II formally crowned Charles, Prince of Wales

Conwy Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with well-preserved town walls

Conwy Castle view from the town walls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Wales.

While some were less visited, but no less impressive:

Kidwelly Castle (my personal favorite)

Kidwelly Castle

Harlech Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the best Welsh tea cakes on offer anywhere

Denbigh Castle, impressive location and exciting wind factor on the day we visited

Ruins of Denbigh Castle, Wales

To balance out my family’s fascination with exploring historic old castles, we spent a good amount of time on the coast, thus breaking up the heavy doses of history with relaxing doses of being here and now in the present.

COASTLINES

Surfers at Freshwater West Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Trail covers 186 miles of diverse and breathtaking scenery along the west coast of Wales, with long sandy beaches, serene tidal estuaries, and rugged rocky cliffs. I simply can’t rave about this part of Britain enough, and I truly wonder how the Welsh manage to keep quietly humble about it – perhaps that’s the secret to conserving it.

Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire National Coast, Wales.

Freshwater West Beach is recognizable to any Harry Potter fan – this is where Shell Cottage stood, and where Dobby the house elf was laid to rest in the nearby dunes.

Dunes at Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire National Coast, Wales.

In addition to being a film location for “Robin Hood”, Freshwater West also happens to be have decent surf, and is host to the Welsh National Surfing Championships. It wasn’t exactly going off when we were there, but there was effort on the part of local surfers.

Surfers at Freshwater West Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Surfer catches wave at Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Further north along the coast, just south of St. Davids, is another favorite surf beach for the Welsh, Newgale Sands. While it was tempting to hit up the local surf rental shop, it was low tide, and I found the sky more remarkable than the waves.

Newgale Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Newgale Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Between long stretches of sandy beach, the Pembrokeshire Coast continued to entertain us with dramatic scenery. After all, this is where the sport of “coasteering” took hold (pun intended), with good reason. Near the small town of Abereiddy sits the Blue Lagoon, where another adventurous sport, cliff diving, took flight (pun intended, again).

The coastline near Abereiddy, Wales, popular for coasteering.
The Blue Lagoon near Abereiddy, on the Pembrokeshire Coast, Wales.

We based ourselves in what is probably the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park itself, in the town of Newport. Each day we set out on a nature walk along the Newport Estuary, which never ceased to awe.

Sun setting at Newport Sands Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Sun setting as fishermen return, Newport Sands Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

As I review my photos and notes of this incredible roadtrip journey, it occurs to me that there is simply too much to share in one post. So I’m saving the second half for a second part, which I’ll publish next week. Check back for more from Wales, featuring Snowdonia and the northern coast, plus cromlechs and crosses!

See the full gallery of Wales images here:

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Follow more of my Roadtrips for Cameras series here:

Arizona’s National Parks
California’s Central Coast
Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore
Guysborough Galleries

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Ricardo of Beverly Hills: My New Favorite Rolling Carry-On

Move over Tumi, I have a new favorite rolling carry-on bag, the Elite Roxbury 2.0 21-inch Expandable Spinner Wheelaboard from Ricardo of Beverly Hills. Everything about it just works. Perfectly.

PACKING

Packing is super easy with two compartments, one of which zips up entirely, so you can keep your clothes separate from your shoes. The zippers don’t get stuck, the mini-pouches and straps all make sense, and every bit of interior space is usable. Speaking of zippers, it’s expandable, and still remains airline carry-on compliant.

ROLLING

Honestly, I have never breezed through an airport so gracefully. This lightweight bag has four gliding wheels and a sturdy, telescoping handle. The dual spinner wheel system allows for 360° mobility, so walking with it feels more like holding hands with a bag that truly loves you… rather than lugging a bag that doesn’t love you back.

TOTING

With a built in TSA compliant combination lock, and a retractable Add-a-Bag strap, security is a breeze, especially if you’ve made use of the included one-quart zip bag for the 3-ounce liquids.

WHAT ELSE?

So, I confess this is NOT my first love affair with a rolling carry-on from Ricardo of Beverly Hills. A few years ago, I found myself transiting terminals with a sore back and shoulders from the backpack I was wearing for my camera gear and laptop.  I headed to the nearest shop in the terminal and found a perfectly suited RBH 17 inch rolling case, that I could easily fit my cameras, lenses, and entire padded backpack in! Add to that room for plugs, batteries, chargers, and both an interior and exterior padded sleeve for laptops and/or tablets, and my traveling office/darkroom was born.

With all my heavier gear transferred now to a rolling case, I no longer had to take up an extra seat in the lounge with my camera pack, and my posture returned to a healthier balance.  Plus, I can discreetly roll around my camera gear without advertising to the world what’s in my bag. Oops, I guess I just did.

SO YOU WANT ONE TOO?

Good news! Head over to Ricardo of Beverly Hills online store to claim your deal, a whopping 65% off your order, PLUS FREE SHIPPING! When you check out, enter the code: TMOM65OFF to redeem. But hurry, sale ends May 31, 2015! You’re welcome.

 


Disclosure: Ricardo of Beverly Hills provided me with the Roxbury 2.0 Elite Spinner WheelAboard for review purposes. I absolutely love it, and that’s why I’m happy to share my opinion with you. If I didn’t love it, you’d know that, too.

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Why Vine is my Favorite Travel Photography App

“Vine is the newish social media platform that is what would happen if Instagram and YouTube had a love child.”Spud Hilton, San Francisco Gate (March 2013)

When people ask me what Vine is, I pretty much explain it the same way, only without the San Fran-centric love child reference. Vine is my all-time favorite app for travel videography, and here’s why.

Likes and Unlikes

* Like Instagram, Vine is a phone-based visual sharing app, but you share videos instead of still images. You have a profile, followers, and hashtags to find viners you want to follow. You can like, comment on, and re-share content.

* Like YouTube, Vine has themed channels to which you post your vines, and on which you can watch vines. Popular Vine channels include: Animals, Places, Music & Dance, Sports, and Comedy.

* Unlike Instagram, and more like Twitter (who owns Vine), you are limited to a caption of 140 characters. No micro-blogging allowed or necessary. If a picture can tell a story better than a thousand words, then do you really need a long caption for video?

* Unlike YouTube, you only have 6 seconds to tell your story. Start. Count to six. Stop. Publish.

Six Seconds?

Yes. 6 seconds is all you need. That’s about the attention span of the media-consuming public these days anyways. Besides, you’re recording from your phone, so keeping it short and simple doesn’t eat up all your mobile memory. And bonus: it’s hella easier to edit a 6-second clip on the road without spending hours downloading and editing footage on a laptop.

So for those short-attention-spanners who landed on this page thanks to SEO, without further adieu, I hereby present:

Top Three Tips for creating Travel Vines

* Hold the camera stationary and record a moving scene. While it’s tempting to pan and zoom, the most effective method is to be still and let the subject do the moving.

* Use First-Person POV (point of view). When recording a travel experience, personalize the perspective so the viewer feels they are there experiencing and watching it too.

* See with your ears as well as your eyes. Video means audio, so pay attention to what your hearing before you film. In some cases it will be the reason you choose to take a video rather than a still. Those moments usually make for the most captivating vines.

Here’s a 6-second example (note: to hear the audio, hover on the video and click the speaker button):

This particular Vine leads nicely in to my closing point.

Vines grow like…Vines

A good vine never really expires, it just keeps growing, like these brittlestars on vine. The above video is case and point. A 10-second clip of that same musician posted to Instagram got 16 likes, while the still image of him on Instagram got 40 likes. Even the most popular travel instagrammers are lucky to get engagement from 10% of their followers, most posts average less than 1%. Compare that to the 6-second clip posted to Vine, which, as of this writing, has had over a million views (loops) 15.3 THOUSAND likes, 3,539 shares (revines), and 1,132 comments. You do the math. But clearly, Vine for the win in this case study.

Hashtags on Vine

For travel, start with #travelvine and #6secondpostcard. You can hashtag a particular destination, and search by a destination’s hashtag for inspiration. For example, I created my own hashtag to share vines from Cuba, which has started to gain traction for those going to Cuba: #Cubavine. After all, a photo just doesn’t immerse you into Cuban culture the way music does. Do those vines inspire you to visit Cuba? Good. More on that soon.

So where does that leave Instagram?

In summary, a good vine has a potential shelf life that would put a twinkie to shame. A good instagram post grows quickly, blooms, then wilts away, drowning in the river of images pouring out over the internet like a river emptying into a vast ocean.

But instagram pretty much IS that vast ocean of imagery on the internet – it’s not going away – with over 300 million active monthly users, and I’m certainly one of them. Have you found me there? Here, I’ll make it easy for you. Just click follow on this “#sunsetgram”. I share a lot of them between travels.

And on the subject of apps, and sunsets, I’ve just started playing with Instagram’s new Layout app and I’m LOVING IT!

What’s your favorite travel photography app?

Please join me on twitter later today (or night depending on where you are):

Thursday, April 2 at 9pm ET, 6pm PT

for #TNTChats with Techlicious. I’ll be co-hosting this fun photography themed tech and travel chat, and we’ll be be covering tips for taking and sharing photos (or videos), favorite apps, and more. Plus, someone will win an Amazon Gift Card!

Until then, be sure to check out these other #IGTravelThursday posts:

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A Space to Sleep – 15 Favorite Hotel Beds

There are so many directions I could go with the theme of “space” for this week’s #Frifotos on twitter.

My first thought was looking up. I thought about the skies – the vast emptiness of space that surrounds our planet, but I’ve already blogged photo-essays about African Skies, Andean Skies, and Amazon Skies.

So I thought about being in space, rather, being in the air flying through space up to 36,000 feet above the planet, but then I’ve already blogged photo essays about taking Aerial Instagrams, and all the Reasons I Love the Window Seat.

So, with my feet firmly on the planet, I thought about the beautiful open spaces of natural beauty on earth. But yeah, you guessed it, I’ve already blogged photo essays about such wondrous spaces as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, and probably my favorite “space” to view space from our planet, Namibia.

Then I grew tired, exhausting possibilities and ideas to blog about for “space”. I just wanted to turn off the computer and go to sleep. That’s when I realized, ah yes, that place where we drift to sleep is a space too. And I’ve drifted to sleep in many, many spaces. And I’ve taken many pictures of those spaces – those rooms and beds – so why not share some of my favorites here.

The Berber Tent, Kasbah Tamadot, Morocco

Shangri-La Hotel, Xian, China

Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Ucluelet, BC, Canada

The Taj Bengal, Calcutta, India

The Tribe Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya

The Kahala Resort, Hawaii, USA

Hotel Patagonico, Puerto Varas, Chile

Inn of Five Graces, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Taj Tashi, Thimpu, Bhutan

The Osprey, Beaver Creek, Colorado, USA

Tambo del Inka Resort, Urubamba Valley, Peru

La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco

The Sofitel, Xian, China

Kimpton Hotel Alexis, Seattle, Washington, USA

La Mirage Garden Hotel, Cotacachi, Ecuador

I could go on, but I’m sufficiently sleepy now and ready to hit that space of my own bed. Happy Friday, happy weekend….and happy sleep spaces.

Be sure to follow me on twitter @kymri and instagram @kymri, and be sure to share your favorite “space” pics all day Friday using the hashtag #frifotos!

See also:

Rooms, Views, Rooms with Views

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