The desert is a curious place. If you ever find yourself in a deserted place, away from wifi and cars, stop and listen. Do you hear the wind gently moving the smallest grains of sand? Do you hear unseen creatures calling to one another? The sun shines relentlessly, knowing you can’t hide. How could you? You’re in the desert after all. Even the shade produced by a nearby tree withers away within itself, surrendering to the sun. Soon enough you start to wonder if you’re seeing things. What was so simple at first – a pile of sand, rocks, and miscellaneous desert plants – soon becomes intriguingly complex.
On our way to Zion National Park, we spent some time in Hurricane, Utah. Alex was still working remotely, so he took advantage of our hotel’s wifi and air conditioning while I explored the area. I kept seeing a sign just across the street for Sand Hollow State Park, and eventually curiosity got the best of me. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I parked the car. Was this a mirage? Rich hues of blue and the brightest orange sand I’ve yet to see fought for my attention. Here, in the middle of the desert, was a beautiful reservoir. There was no one else around except for the worker inside the rental shop who told me it wasn’t high season so I had it all to myself.
I took some photos and enjoyed the scenery, but eventually the sun won, and I went back to our hotel room for water and rest. After telling Alex about it, we decided we would go back later that day when it cooled down. When we arrived, a family of 5 had rented a boat and were inner tubing. We also decided to go in for a dip, and kept yelping and laughing at how slimy and strange the sand felt in between our toes. We floated on our backs and watched as the desert around us transformed from warm fiery hues to shades of cool blue. Wispy clouds became thicker, covering the fading sky. It was truly beautiful.
I haven’t added or intensified any of the colors on these images. What you see is exactly what my camera and iPhone picked up, except for the slight vignette.
If you ever find yourself on your way to Zion and want to stop by Sand Hollow for some fun, you can rent boats, jet skis, and ATVs for the dunes 🙂
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,
Hey there! It’s been a while since we’re last talked, hasn’t it? If your last couple of months were anything like ours it probably included a lot of festivities, running around, staring at at a calendar with a confused expression wondering how another week just sped by, making lists, checking them twice. You know the drill.
If this is your first time stopping by our little corner of the internet, welcome! If you’ve been here before, we’re glad to see you again, friend 🙂 Before we jump right back into the swing of things I wanted to give you a short update on what we’ve been up to. Alex got the opportunity of a lifetime to work on the beautiful Central Coast of California, and for the last month we’ve been living the dream in the most adorable city we’ve ever lived in. Just because we have a permanent address, it doesn’t mean we don’t still have beautiful places to show you. I still have pictures from Arizona, Colorado, and Hawaii that I can’t wait for you to see! I hope they inspire you to spend more time outdoors enjoying this beautiful Earth we get to call home. Also, in a couple of weeks we will be going to Canada, needless to day there will be more nature pictures (and hopefully more doughnuts). And finally, we live in the land of romantic rolling hills, vineyards, and ocean sunsets, and I look forward to exploring every nook and cranny and posting them here for you to see and maybe even add to your travel list.
As a celebration of the first post of the year, here are some pictures of the Grand Canyon at sunset. On the day we took these we weren’t expecting to go see the Grand Canyon until the next morning, but our GPS surprised us and took us through the park at sunset on our way to our hotel. The sky was incredible, and the colors on this screen don’t do justice to the shades of fiery red, smoldering orange, and cotton candy pink that streaked the sky that night. We parked the car and ran through the park like two kids at a candy store. The wind was harsh and cold, sending away most of the tourists back to their warm rooms and leaving the viewing area almost all to ourselves. I hold this memory near and dear to my heart because it was my first time ever seeing the Grand Canyon, and I can’t imagine a more stunning way to experience it. If you’ve ever seen it in person you know what I’m talking about. You can’t help but feel connected to the Earth and humbled that you got to see something so beautiful with your own two eyes. Without further ado, here they are.
Let’s talk about sweets. There are three types of people that eat out: those who order their meal and don’t leave room for dessert, those who order their meal and split dessert with someone, and those who order dessert AS their meal. I’m not ashamed to admit to being the latter. I used to have a naggy little voice in my head that would say silly things like “maybe you should order a salad first”, but honestly, why pay $15 for a salad when I can eat that at home? Can I get an amen?! Life is short, order the cheesecake.
Salt Lake City’s variety of sweets was the perfect excuse to indulge in some afternoon cappuccino and pastries. Usually I’d be exploring the nearest doughnut shop, but after typing “pastries” in yelp I realized that there were going to be some gems in SLC that I had never heard of. Before we talk about those, let’s start with the familiar, shall we?
Banbury Cross Donuts – I came here on a quest to get their blueberry cake or strawberry glazed doughnut, but when I walked in through the door almost all the flavors were sold out. Did it mention it was only 10 am? The interior of the shop is simple and unassuming, so I knew people weren’t coming here for the ambiance –these little morsels of fried dough were going to be tasty. The selection was limited at that time, all they really had left was the typical fare (sprinkles, glazed, old fashioned, etc) but I managed to find a cinnamon crumble doughnut that looked really promising. It was REALLY covered in cinnamon and brown sugar, so beware if you are really sensitive to spicy foods, besides that it was the perfect fall flavor. I also told the worker it was my first time there, and she gave me a free rainbow sprinkle doughnut. If you’re in town and are looking for a little adventure in your doughnut, I would definitely recommend this place, just make sure you come early 🙂
Vosen’s Bread Paradise – This small German bakery was a little slice of Europe. Walking in, I was instantly drawn to the fresh baked pretzels, spezi sodas, and every type of Kinder chocolate under the sun. After reminding myself to keep my eyes on the prize, I ended up getting what I came here for: the maple croliner. Have you heard of the latest cronut craze (the perfect offspring between a croissant and a doughnut)? Well, this is similar to that, but better. The croliner is filled to the brim with fresh, authentic Bavarian cream, and even though the exterior is rolled in sugar and topped with a maple glaze the sweetness was never over the top. This was the freshest cronut-ish pastry I have ever had. Not a big fan of maple? No problem. They also serve chocolate croliners.
Les Madeleines Cafe & Patisserie – Walking into Les Madeleines, I knew exactly what I was going to order. The internet was raving about something called “Kouing Aman”, and being the curious cat that I am I had to go try it. Moment of honesty: I definitely sat in my car by myself trying to find the right pronunciation for “Kouing Aman”. Was is it QUEEN-AH-MOHN, COO-ING AH-MAN?!? Who knows. I ended up just tapping against the glass with my finger and saying “one of these please”, and it worked! Sitting at my table, I stared at the small, funny-looking, too expensive pastry I just ordered and thought “this better be worth it”. I took one bite, closed my eyes, and made some strange sound that made the lady next to me look over her shoulder. My bad, I wasn’t expecting to be tasting heaven today. Actual pastry heaven; pure, buttery, caramelized sugar, moist perfection. The inside of the Kouing Aman is SO moist and delicious, a perfect contrast to its slightly flaky, crunchy, bronze exterior. I found myself taking smaller bites the closer I got to finishing it because I didn’t want the deliciousness to end. I wish I could forget the perfect sweet flavor of this incredible pastry so that I wouldn’t crave it anymore, but alas, life is cruel. There’s a reason why Les Madeleines has a limit of 10 Kouing Amans per customer. If you want to walk all that sugar off when you’re done, the Salt Lake City and County Building is right across the street, and it has a park and outdoor fountains for the enjoyment of the public.
Have you found something delicious on your travels that you wish you could have an endless supply of? Let us know what it is and where to get it on the comment section below. We love trying new things! Thanks for reading.
“In 900 years of time and space, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important” - Dr. Who, Eleventh Doctor
The words “exciting” and “adventure” have become synonymous with travel, but what do you do when you start to feel homesick on the road? It’s okay to admit it, even on a website like this, filled to the brim with the words “exciting” and “adventure”; somedays I wake up missing my own bed, Sidecar Doughnuts, and the people I love.
It’s been about 3 months since we ended our apartment lease, put all our belongings in storage, and started living on the road. During this time, I’ve seen some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life, met some wonderful fellow travelers, and have been lucky enough to get to share all of it with my best friend and love of my life, my husband. Even with him by my side, there have still been a few days here and there where I’ve woken up feeling blue and missing a familiar face. Here are a few things that have helped me, and hopefully will encourage any other travelers who are feeling homesick.
1. Write Postcards– I know, I know, why waist time buying, writing, and mailing a postcard when there’s facebook, email, and instagram? But there’s something deeply cathartic about slowing down and handwriting a message. Think of one person and look around. What would they like about the city you’re in? Is there something there a hike or restaurant nearby that reminds you of them? Write it out. The day I walked to the post-office with a pile of filled out post-cards in hand made my heart feel much lighter and turned my day around.
2. See Them– Whether you have FaceTime on your phone, or use Skype on your computer, there are so many ways to still see and hear loved ones on the go. Set up a semi-weekly time to chat, brew a cup of your favorite coffee, and settle down for an hour of catching-up. I have a dear friend who has the cutest baby, and every time we FaceTimed she would put her daughter on the screen. It was impossible to be sad with those big kissable cheeks and cute face staring back at me.
3. Branch Out– Meeting new people on the road can be a little hard sometimes. Talk to the locals and see what’s going on in the town. Is there live music anywhere this weekend? Where’s the best place to get a drink? Anytime Alex and I went to any city event, we tried to find at least one person we could get to know and talk to for a bit. If you’re an introvert, start small 🙂 Chat with the person bagging your groceries or the barista making your latte, that way you only have a few minutes to ask questions without feeling obligated to stay and talk longer.
4. Put Down Your Phone– My phone acts as a security blanket sometimes. Awkward situation? Pull out my phone. Feeling bored? Pull out my phone. Feeling happy? Pull out my phone. When I started to feel homesick, I made the mistake of going on Facebook and scrolling through my news-feed. Pictures of all my friends back home getting together and having fun made me even more sad. Many days I had to make the conscious choice to keep my phone in my closed purse instead of in my hand. Be present. Don’t let this traveling season pass you by because you were too caught up in what was going on back home. Embrace the silence of no new message alerts, and live in the moment.
5. Do Your Hobbies– If you’re a creature of habit, you’ll find comfort in finding a new “normal” on the road. I packed my yoga mat and used yelp to find hot yoga studios in whatever city we were in. It felt so good to walk into a room and already know what to do. Keeping up your hobbies, whether it’s scrap-booking or hiking, will bring a little piece of home with you wherever you go.
6. Find Groups with Common Interests– Did you know that some mountain biking shops put together group rides and provide shuttles for a flat fee? All you have to do is call to sign up, pay a fee, and show up, it’s that easy. Alex and I also found a lot of comfort in going to church together since that’s something we would have done back home. Most churches will also usually have a mid-week gathering, so if you know your weekend is going to be packed with all-day hikes but you still want to attend a service this is a very convenient option.
Have you ever been homesick on the road? What did you do to change your situations? Let us know by typing a comment below, you never know who you might be helping 🙂
Never stop exploring,
Our trip to Antelope Canyon was one of the highlights of our trip. My favorite part is how everything came together last-minute since we weren’t originally planning on visiting it. After our hopes of getting two permits to hike to Havasu Falls (if you’ve never heard of this place, please Google it. I’m sure it will be added to your “bucket list”) were crushed, we got in the car and started driving towards Colorado. “Hey, I remember seeing some beautiful canyons somewhere on Pinterest, I think they’re here in Arizona”, I casually mentioned as we drove through miles of desert. After pulling up a few pictures on our phones, and seeing that it was on the way to our next destination we were stoked!
If you’re making plans to visit the canyons be warned that you can only get in with a tour company. A quick yelp search will give you many options to choose from. We opted for the Dixie Ellis Lower Antelope Canyon Tour, since they send out groups every 15 minutes, and most places were sold out or ridiculously expensive. To enter the Native American land you will have to pay for a “permit” per person, and this money does not go towards your actual tour. Bring cash since they don’t take cards and the nearest ATM is a good 15-20 minutes away. You’re in the middle of the desert after all.
My first glance as we were going into the canyon is one I’ll never forget. Smooth sandstone walls curving and swirling, almost like waves, created a beautiful maze leading deeper into the earth. Even though I was aware that the place was filled with tourists, it never really felt that way. The canyon is narrow is curvy enough to create different “rooms” as you make your way to the other side.
This place is breath-taking, so serene and surreal. Every once in a while, the wind will blow over the canyon and shower you with the lightest dusting of sand. Depending on what time of day you’re visiting, the sand will show you the slivers of light shining into the canyon. Simply beautiful.
Never stop exploring,