Guadeloupe | 7 Bucket List Items

You know Aruba, the Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. John. Turks & Caicos, St. Lucia, and the Dominican. But do you recall…one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands of all?

Okay, I’ll stop so you don’t have that song in your head, but I think Rudolph is a good metaphor for Guadeloupe in that it’s very underrated and would probably save Christmas if given the chance.

2016 Travel Year in Review

Oh, 2016. What a year it’s been. Like many of my friends (including Katie and Erin), I had an incredible year personally, and while we can’t just ignore everything that’s going on in the world and in our country, that’s not what this post is about. With all the memes showing “me at the start of 2016” and “me at the end of 2016,” my favorite, and my goal, is this one (though the video version communicates the message better):

Dominican Republic | A Cruise I’d Choose

I didn’t go for the cruise.

I’d been on one cruise a decade ago with someone who I never should have traveled with. He was more interested in staying in the room and watching Transformers than in exploring the ports where we docked. It didn’t help that we had gone on the cheapest cruise we could find. It only docked in Key West and Cozumel, each for just a few hours. But it’s a memory I repress, along with the rest of the relationship.

Guadeloupe | 3 Must-Have Dining Experiences

While my family and I may not have spent as much time in Guadeloupe as we wish we had, we were able to fit in a variety of activities and experiences in our few days there. And when I travel, a lot of the experiences tend to be food-related. We ate some great meals at our hotels – the Langley Resort Fort Royal and Auberge de la Vieille – but we also explored the food scene a bit outside. Here are three of our favorite dining experiences:

Hotel Review | Langley Resort Fort Royal Guadeloupe

When I told people I was going to the Guadeloupe Islands, the majority of them immediately asked, “Where?” The islands in the French Antilles in the Caribbean are not yet a popular destination for Americans, with most of the visitors from Europe and speaking much better French than I do, but all that could change soon. Guadeloupe was featured as #11 on the NY Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2016, Norwegian Air now offers (cheap!) direct flights from JFK, Baltimore, & Boston, and if that’s not enough to spark interest, the internet will also be reading my posts about the islands over the next few weeks.

April 2016 Recap | NYC, Philly, Guadeloupe Islands

By the beginning of April, I already had something scheduled every day of the month and I was stressed out majorly. I eventually realized I could skip out on some of the events, but there was still a lot to think about. Because of this, I didn’t get a chance to work on this site as much as I wanted to. But I did get a chance to explore a new island, spend time with family and friends, and listen to the newest Justin Bieber album {well, three songs on repeat} 1000 times.

Dominican Republic | Reduce, Reuse, RePapel

“I work hard for the money…So hard for the money…” – the woman next to me sang out while we sat ripping paper on a warm day in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. It was just one of many songs we sang together to pass the time, but it was the one where her voice rang out the strongest. She could have definitely been on Dominican Idol. And she does work hard for the money. Not just for herself, but for other women at RePapel, and for the local economy of Puerto Plata. We spent our last morning volunteering with Fathom Travel at RePapel, a women’s co-op that recycles old office paper into beautiful notecards, postcards, and other paper products.

Dominican Republic | Fathom Travel Gon’ Give it to You

On our second day in the Dominican Republic with Fathom Travel (read an overview of the trip here and a first day recap of planting trees here), we worked with children in a school at the top of the mountains in Puerto Plata. Our little tour bus puttered and puttered up the dirt roads of the mountains, dodging burrows and cattle. I have never gotten carsick in my life (knock on wood) but I had to move closer to the front of the bus because these roads were no joke.

Dominican Republic | Planting Trees & Taking Names with Fathom

Our first full day in the Dominican Republic was spent on a gorgeous beach, but not in a sit-in-a-bikini and get-300-pages-deep-in-a-novel kind of way that I’m used to (and frankly, really good at). I was in the DR with Fathom, a new cruise line under Carnival which takes travelers to the DR from Miami for a few days of impact activities working with local organizations. To learn more about my experience with Fathom or if you want to plant trees in the Dominican Republic, too – read this post before continuing on.

Dominican Republic | I Didn’t Get a Tan in the Caribbean

I spent four days in the Caribbean and didn’t put my bathing suit on once. It wasn’t because I spent my time on nude beaches or because it was raining. It was because I was on a different kind of trip with Fathom Travel and I was there to immerse myself into the community and help out on different impact projects with local organizations. I didn’t get a tan, but I got so much more than I could have ever imagined.

Maui, HI | Here Comes the Sun

I’m no stranger to *staying* up until 3 am, but I am definitely not used to *waking* up at 3 am. But when you travel, you’re supposed to do things that you normally don’t do, and I don’t normally get to say, “Good Morning,” to the sun while standing on top of a volcano.

NYC | Cheers to the Governor!

Going to Governors Island has been on so many of my to-do lists – my 26, 27, 28 lists, endless lists of the summer, and a long-standing list of things to do with Kat. GI is a small island about a 10-block length off the South Street Seaport. It is only open during the summer months and only reachable by ferry. Kat and I finally made it this past weekend. It was a little chilly as summer is ending, but hopefully next year we won’t push it to one of the last weekends possible.