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More than half of millennials strategy to take at least 1 leisure trip this winter



With a possible recession looming, are Americans wary about producing travel plans for the subsequent couple of months? 

Not definitely, it turns out. New information from YouGov finds that a plurality (45%) say their present outlook on the US economy tends to make them no extra or significantly less most likely to travel this winter. 

About 1-fifth (19%) say they’re significantly less most likely to travel this winter, thanks to their views on the economy. A equivalent quantity (17%) say their views of the US economy make them extra most likely to travel this winter. 

At least two in 5 (42%) Americans say they strategy to take at least 1 leisure trip this winter. Millennials (52%) are specifically most likely to say they strategy to take 1 or extra leisure trips (defined as any trip that is not for operate or organization). 

Though Americans’ outlook on the economy may possibly not impact their travel plans, numerous are nevertheless conscientious about travel expenses. 4 in ten say that “cost” is their most essential consideration when considering about taking a leisure trip. 

Amongst all US adults organizing to take at least 1 getaway this winter, most (55%) of them say they strategy to commit upward of $400 on travel. Close to 1 in 5 (17%) say they strategy to commit extra than $1,000 on leisure trips this winter. 

What types of trips are Americans taking this winter? Much more than 1-third (36%) say they’re organizing a family members trip. Almost a quarter (23%) say they’re taking a road trip, 17 % report plans for a domestic trip, 15 % are spending time on the beach, and 11 % are headed to a city. 

Nine % are organizing an international trip, and an equal quantity strategy to go camping (9%) or attend a concert/festival (9%). 

As for who they’re traveling with, 43 % say they’re traveling with family members members this winter. Fewer Americans have travel plans with a companion (39%), their good friends (17%), or their pets (10%). Almost 1 in seven (15%) have plans for a solo trip this winter. 

See complete final results from this survey right here. 

Methodology: Total unweighted sample size was 1,276 US adults, such as 662 US adults who strategy to take at least 1 leisure trip in between December 2019 and February 2020. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (ages 18+). Interviews have been performed on the net in between October 18 – 21, 2019.

Associated: Fewer than half of Americans are comfy dating somebody from the opposite political party​

Image: Getty 


Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia, Pakistan, China, Russia (communism, silk road) : solotravel



Departing subsequent week to Berlin: 30th anniversary of the fall of the Wall and a fitting start out to my overland trip via (ex)Communist Eurasia. Beneath is a rough map I created in MS Paint of my planned route. Please no guidance on visas and safety – have performed tons of investigation and will adjust my travels as regional situations dictate.

Post image

Nov-Feb in Eastern Europe, inc. living in most likely Kiev for a handful of weeks. Caucasus in Feb/March. Central Asia and Pakistan from March to July. China, N Korea. Mongolia and Trans-Siberian in August-September. The only fixed date is Pakistan in mid-May possibly for the Kalash spring festival.

Specifically interested in Communist architecture, space tech, visual arts, plus Soviet and post-Soviet kitsch – and modern artists and underground/activist scenes. Travelling solo and shoestring, so any social (but not celebration) hostel and guesthouse suggestions also appreciated.

I would adore for this thread to serve as a list of “will have to-sees” and particularly lesser-identified attractions and curiosities along the way. At some point I will repost all the ideas as an organised list with hyperlinks – there will have to be other people hunting to do a equivalent route or at least components of it and it could possibly prove valuable. Also if you have a weblog, fb web page or insta, please do share!


The Perfect Winter Travel Packing List for Women



Packing for winter travel requires a bit of skill: when space and weight are an issue, warm winter clothes can weigh a lot more than a summer halter top and shorts.

Enter the winter travel packing list.

In this article I suggest what to take, what to pack and how to assemble your winter travel wardrobe.

what to pack for winter travel - Swiss village Gruyeres in winterI was well prepared for winter in Gruyeres, Switzerland – I had packed my winter travel essentials, which included snow boots and most important, thermal underwear ©WOTR

Despite the extra bulk and weight, you’re still better off having warm things with you if you’re heading into the cold. I’ll never forget landing in South Africa one July morning in a T-shirt and shorts, blissfully unaware that the seasons were reversed in the southern hemisphere. I took a taxi straight from the airport to a sports shop for some warm thermal underwear.

Cold weather travel clothes: my recommendations and buying guide

Having lived through at least a dozen Canadian winters (and the same number of warmer Swiss ones) I take my winters seriously. May you stay snug through the cold! Caveat: this page covers how to dress for winter travel, NOT winter sports. So if you’re spending your vacation skiing or snowboarding, what follows are clothing suggestions for the travel and sightseeing parts of your trip.

If you’d like those clothing recommendations right away, you’ll find them right below. If you’d rather have winter travel wear tips and packing advice first, jump to this section.

My friend Sandra swears by these FiteX Women’s Maxheat Thermals which she says “feel like silk”. Soft and comfortable but above all – warm! But beware if you’re tall – they might not cover your ankles. Best for medium and short women.

The TSLA Women’s Thermal Underwear are warm, comfortable and snug. These are the long underwear you want if you’re going to wear some layers over them. They’re a tight fit so get one size up if you don’t want a skin-tight feel.

If you like to wear skirts or dresses or even pants that aren’t that warm, these polyester fleece tights work like thermals and keep your legs warm.

If you need an insulating layer – something between your long underwear and your outer layer, the Columbia Women’s Glacial Fleece is perfect – it’s light, it’s warm and comes in so many colors you’re going to be seriously challenged when it comes to choosing.

Columbia is always a favorite travel brand and if you’re headed into “light winter”, with rain or very light snow, this semi-waterproof rain jacket will do the trick. It may not protect you from torrential rain but you’ll be fine in light rain. It’s not lined with anything warm so make sure you wear something warm-ish underneath. Layering is the trick!

For a jacket that’s mid-way between light rain and freezing winter, the Equick is perfect. It’s waterproof, extremely lightweight and packs into a tight tiny little back. This is one jacket you can pack and won’t have to wear on the plane. A big plus: it’s down, not synthetic, and will keep you warm (as down does) despite its lack of weight.

If you’re packing for winter travel in Europe and are looking for a more urban vibe, this faux-fur lined coat will keep you warm but in line with winter travel fashion. Drawstrings help it fit snugly, and you’ll keep warm right into winter temperatures.

Made of 100% Australian merino wool, this lightweight beanie will keep your body heat from escaping. Breathable and comfortable,  it comes in plenty of colors and is perfect for city wear in winter. 

For real winters you might want to cover your face (or  your mouth, nose and ears) with the Purjoy Warm Thickening Fleece Balaclava, which at least won’t make you look like someone about to rob a bank. 

This Lambswool Oversized Scarf is decorative, warm, and can be used as a blanket on the plane. It’s also ultra-soft, and comes in plenty of colors, a great way to brighten up a winter travel dress.

One of the most frustrating things in winter is accessing my phone – my gloves have to come off and by the time that’s done, either the caller is gone or I’ve missed the photograph. These gloves end all that: you’ll be able to swipe, click and otherwise manipulate your screen without having to take them off.

These socks are a blend of wool, cotton and polyester, very soft and breathable (moisture wicking) but thick enough for cold weather. You can wear them with boots or with shoes – they’re comfortable and cheerful and snug.

I don’t think Raybans need an introduction but… these are and have been my winter (and summer and spring) sunglasses since forever. I never leave home without them, period.



My friend Sandra swears by these FiteX Women’s Maxheat Thermals which she says “feel like silk”. Soft and comfortable but above all – warm! But beware if you’re tall – they might not cover your ankles. Best for medium and short women.



The TSLA Women’s Thermal Underwear are warm, comfortable and snug. These are the long underwear you want if you’re going to wear some layers over them. They’re a tight fit so get one size up if you don’t want a skin-tight feel.



If you like to wear skirts or dresses or even pants that aren’t that warm, these polyester fleece tights work like thermals and keep your legs warm.



If you need an insulating layer – something between your long underwear and your outer layer, the Columbia Women’s Glacial Fleece is perfect – it’s light, it’s warm and comes in so many colors you’re going to be seriously challenged when it comes to choosing.




Columbia is always a favorite travel brand and if you’re headed into “light winter”, with rain or very light snow, this semi-waterproof rain jacket will do the trick. It may not protect you from torrential rain but you’ll be fine in light rain. It’s not lined with anything warm so make sure you wear something warm-ish underneath. Layering is the trick!



For a jacket that’s mid-way between light rain and freezing winter, the Equick is perfect. It’s waterproof, extremely lightweight and packs into a tight tiny little back. This is one jacket you can pack and won’t have to wear on the plane. A big plus: it’s down, not synthetic, and will keep you warm (as down does) despite its lack of weight.



If you’re packing for winter travel in Europe and are looking for a more urban vibe, this faux-fur lined coat will keep you warm but in line with winter travel fashion. Drawstrings help it fit snugly, and you’ll keep warm right into winter temperatures.



Made of 100% Australian merino wool, this lightweight beanie will keep your body heat from escaping. Breathable and comfortable,  it comes in plenty of colors and is perfect for city wear in winter. 



For real winters you might want to cover your face (or  your mouth, nose and ears) with the Purjoy Warm Thickening Fleece Balaclava, which at least won’t make you look like someone about to rob a bank. 



This Lambswool Oversized Scarf is decorative, warm, and can be used as a blanket on the plane. It’s also ultra-soft, and comes in plenty of colors, a great way to brighten up a winter travel dress.



One of the most frustrating things in winter is accessing my phone – my gloves have to come off and by the time that’s done, either the caller is gone or I’ve missed the photograph. These gloves end all that: you’ll be able to swipe, click and otherwise manipulate your screen without having to take them off.



These socks are a blend of wool, cotton and polyester, very soft and breathable (moisture wicking) but thick enough for cold weather. You can wear them with boots or with shoes – they’re comfortable and cheerful and snug.



I don’t think Raybans need an introduction but… these are and have been my winter (and summer and spring) sunglasses since forever. I never leave home without them, period.

how to organize your winter trip packing list: travel clothing

There’s a secret to packing light for winter.


Not only will this keep you warmer (or cooler as the weather changes) but you’ll pack less.

You’ll typically need three layers: one to wick, one to insulate and one to protect.

winter travel clothes: base layer

Start with the lightest base layer of long underwear you can find, either silk or merino wool or light polyester to wick away the sweat and smells and keep you toasty. This layer, worn against your skin, absorbs your sweat and allows it to evaporate, keeping you dry and comfortable.

You can always use legwarmers or tights if you don’t have thermal underwear. They’ll keep you warmer under your clothes and can also double as a city outfit under a skirt.

cold weather clothes: insulation layer

Your next layer of cold weather clothes serves as insulation and should be a bit thicker, a hoodie made of wool, a fleece, or a wool  or silk turtleneck. turtleneck is always useful in cold climates. 

You should look for something light and warm and when you’re not wearing it, ideally it should scrunch or roll up easily into a tight light sausage you can use as a pillow on those long plane, train or bus rides. This layer helps keep your natural heat trapped and the cold air out.

Some of the lightest fleeces are the warmest and can even be water-resistant. A fleece is comfortable to sleep in, and doubles as a pillow or backrest when rolled up.

winter travel outfits: outer layer

Finally, an outer protection shell covers both your torso and your legs. Steer clear of the heavy traditional down parkas (they’re great when they’re dry, but you don’t want to get caught in a cold rainstorm) and choose either one of the newer lightweight fibers or the new waterproof lightweight duvet jackets (expensive but worth it!). 

Make sure the air can circulate through your outerwear in case you get too warm – panels or zippers should do the trick. For rain, jackets with a roll-up hood will be useful in wet weather, especially if you’re battling driving winds.

If you’re looking for coats or jackets for European winter travel (and here I mean city travel, not winter sports), then get a roomy but lightweight coat that keeps you warm, looks stylish and is easy to carry (not to mention it’ll keep you dry).

As for travel pants, I’m not making any specific recommendations for winter, because thermals or leggings will make all the difference. You can wear relatively lightweight pants if you wear tights or thermals underneath. If the weather isn’t too cold you can always wear jeans, although in winter I prefer to wear either woollen pants or something lighter but layered. There is no cookie-cutter suggestion that everyone will like.

winter travel essentials: the other bits and pieces

  • Bear in mind that cold weather travel is more expensive than warm weather travel. Not only is some of the clothing more expensive, but in some non-urban areas it might be harder to get the basic necessities so these will be more expensive. 
  • Don’t always think of winter fibers when you pack: silk is wonderfully warm and won’t take up much space in your backpack. Long silk underwear can also be used as pyjamas.
  • I’d also stay away from cotton in winter. It absorbs water instead of repelling it, and doesn’t keep you warm at all. Leave cotton for warmer temperatures.
  • Make sure you check the pockets, linings and zippers of things you buy. Like with any kind of travel, easy access to things like phones and gloves is essential but you don’t want things to be able to fall out and into the hands of pickpockets.
Mt FujiYou never know when the cold might come rolling in

That’s all well and good for winter vacation outfits but what about all those other bits and pieces that come with it?

protecting your head and face

  • wool cap or beanie or headband is one of your most essential pieces of winter wear, especially since much of your body heat escapes through your head.
  • If you’re headed for a Siberian kind of cold, you’ll probably need a balaclava or similar face protection. In the Canadian Far North, where I spent a winter, not a single inch of skin could show for fear of frostbite.
  • Don’t even think of leaving without high-quality sunglasses, the kind that protect you 100% from harmful UV rays. They also keep out the glare and are a fashionable item that doesn’t add to your packing weight.
  • Although it’s winter, remember that when the sun reflects off the snow, you can get as much sunlight as if you were by the sea, so don’t neglect things like sunscreen and lip balm, especially if you plan any side trips into the mountains.

keeping your hands warm

  • Taking gloves goes without saying, and if it’s going to be very cold, use glove liners, in silk or synthetic fabric (they warm up even the thinnest gloves). For women who travel solo, dexterity is a must so I’d suggest gloves rather than mittens.

keeping your feet toasty

  • Thick, warm socks are important, and I also wear sock liners, usually in silk or light wool (I find it more comfortable and warm to wear two thinner pairs rather than one thicker one, but that’s a personal call). Be careful though: if your shoes or boots are too tight with a double layer, you’ll be better off with a single layer of socks and roomier footwear.

best winter travel shoes and boots

  • Shop well for cold weather boots, a combination of lightweight (remember, you’ll have to carry them around when it gets warmer) and waterproof, because there’s little worse than being cold and wet.
  • Think about where you plan to wear them. If most of your time out will be spent on snow-slicked cobblestones, you’re looking for something with grip. If all you need is warmth and dryness, a more snowy boot will do the trick – but then, you’ll have to bring additional shoes for evening or restaurant wear.
  • Make sure the soles of your shoes or boots have decent teeth – snow and ice will be slippery on any material and the last thing you want is to factor a fall into your travels.

You may not need all these cold weather clothes if you’re simply headed into normal winter. But if the Himalayas, Siberia or Lapland are in your plans, make sure you take the basics with you and top your gear up with local professional accessories, which are often better up to the task.

how to pack for winter travel

Bulky clothes are often harder to lug around – but packing winter clothes in a carry on IS possible if you follow a few common-sense tips:

  • Layers: it’s the only way to go in winter. This will allow you to pack a number of lightweight items that won’t make it much more painful than any other season.
  • Use packing cubes or ziplock bags to pack your cold winter clothes layers. Since they’re bulkier than normal clothes, you’ll need to flatten them as much as you can.
  • Wear your bulkiest items – your winter coat, and you heaviest shoes or boots. What’s left in your bag won’t be much different from what you would pack in another season.
  • Wear as much as you can – and fill the pockets with anything you can’t squeeze into one of your bags.
  • Take less than you would in summer. I know this is a no-brainer but instead of taking four tops, take three. Same with pants. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but your clothes won’t get as sweaty as they do in summer so you won’t need as many.
  • Make sure every item of clothing can be worn with every other item. The more you can match things up, the less you’ll have to take – and that also goes for your outside wear, such as hats and gloves and pashminas.

And remember, when it comes to winter, practical trumps fashion (although one does not preclude the other). You’ll be better off warm and comfortable than glamorous and freezing!

Village of Gruyere in Switzerland in winter - Europe in winter travel tips

One last thing: if you’re on a multi-climate trip, what do you do with those cold weather clothes once you’re headed to the beach?

Ship them home! You’ll be happy to find them again when you plan that next glacial trip.

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Girl about the Globe South African Safari



10 nights = €1799 / $1999 per person

Our African Adventure is for all solo girls who want to enjoy a South African safari adventure and meet other solos at the same time. 

Our 10 night / 11 day trip will take you from Cape Town through the Great Karoo desert to an exclusive private safari lodge, where you will spend time with daily safaris, sightseeing and wellness scheduled around your day.

Before returning to Cape Town you will travel along South Africa’s famous Garden Route, spending one night in our private lodge, footsteps from the beach to make sure you end your trip relaxed and rejuvenated.

* This price excludes flights. Depending on the arrival and departure flights of your flights we recommend arriving into Cape Town the day before the tour and departing the day after. Accommodation before and after the tour is at an additional cost and can be arranged for you.


  • 10 nights/11 days
  • 5 locations
  • transportation
  • private game lodge
  • tented camp
  • boutique beach lodge & historic hotel
  • safaris
  • wine farms
  • private chef
  • meals
  • yoga, wellness & fitness
  • surfing lessons & other activities
  • BBQ under the African stars
  • welcome night out in Cape Town and farewell dinner

What’s Included

  • 10 nights accommodation twin sharing (single occupancy upgrades available at some locations)
  • all transport
  • daily activities
  • welcome drinks
  • meals

* On most days we offer 3 meals a day prepared by our private chef but on several days for logistical reasons and to give you more freedom we only include breakfast or dinner. Full meal breakdown below.

Day to Day Itinerary

It is our intention to follow to the route described below but a certain amount of flexibility is built into our tour and on occasion it may be necessary or desirable to make alterations to the published itinerary. Please therefore treat the following as a guide only.

Duration: 10 nights / 11 days

Locations: Cape Town, Robertson, Matjiesfontein, Prince Albert, Roam Private Game Reserve, Cango Caves, Sedgefield      

Day 1

Accommodation: Atlantic Point 

Arrival Day – Arrival and check into Atlantic Point before a welcome dinner in Cape Town.

During our welcome dinner/networking event you will get a chance to connect with other Girls about the Globe.

Meals: Dinner

Daily Events

  • Check into accommodation
  • Welcome drinks
  • Dinner & networking event

Atlantic Point

Day 2

Accommodation: The Lord Milner Hotel

After breakfast we depart Cape Town for our first stop which is the historical town of Matjiesfontein stopping en route at a Robertson wine farm for wine tasting.

Upon arrival in Matjiesfontein: Orientation history tour, welcome drinks & dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Daily Events

  • Wine tasting
  • Check into historical hotel
  • Welcome drinks
  • Introduction for all individuals
  • Dinner 

Roam Karoo

Day 3

Accommodation: Roam Karoo

After breakfast we continue our drive through the karoo desert to Roam Private Game reserve, which will be your base for four days. We will pass through the quaint historical town of Prince Albert where you can pick up some last minute necessities and enjoy the drive through the very small wine region.

Upon arrival at Roam Private Game Reserve: Lunch then free time before a sunset safari walk, sundowner drinks & dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Daily Events

  • Drive Matjiesfontien to Prince Albert
  • Check into private game reserve
  • Welcome lunch
  • Sunset safari walk
  • Sundowner drinks
  • Dinner

Day 4

Accommodation: Roam Karoo

On our first morning in the African bush we wake early for you to enjoy early morning yoga followed by a healthy breakfast to start the day. You can then spend the rest of the day chilling in the relaxing setting of our safari lodge.

Evening Sundowner drinks before a safari night drive & dinner under the stars.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Daily Events

  • Yoga
  • Breakfast
  • Sundowner drinks
  • Night drive
  • Dinner under the stars

Day 5

Accommodation: Roam Karoo

On our second morning we start with a early morning walk to enjoy the wildlife and spot some more animals by breakfast. On our walk you will be guided by a professional tracker who will be able to educate you along the way.

After your healthy breakfast you can spend the day relaxing before sunset yoga and then spending your first night at our tented safari camp. Drinks & dinner will be served under the African stars before we have a chance for a fireside chat.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Daily Events

  • Game walk
  • Breakfast
  • Sunset yoga
  • Tented Safari Camp
  • Dinner & fireside chats

Day 6

Accommodation: Roam Karoo

Wake up early under canvas at our tented safari camp for breakfast around the camp fire before an early morning bush walk back to our lodge for a free afternoon. In the early evening mingle with other girls about the globe or just enjoy some free time. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner    

Daily Events

• Breakfast around the camp fire
• Bush walk
• Work time & lunch
• Dinner & digital detox networking event

Day 7

Accommodation: Roam Karoo

After breakfast you will have the opportunity to practically learn how to track animals and see how local people have used some of these techniques. You will have the opportunity to get in touch with nature in a completely different way.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Daily Events

  • Morning safari or yoga
  • Cheetah walk
  • Sundowner drinks
  • Dinner

Afrovibe Beach Lodge

Day 8

Accommodation: Afrovibe Beach Lodge

Today we leave our private lodge and the Karoo desert and take a scenic drive through the mountains towards the coast and Sedgefield which is at the start of the the famous Garden Route. En route we stop at the famous Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn.

After check in at or beach lodge you have free time before our sundowner trip to a look out point with spectacular views of the beach and town of Sedgefield below. Dinner will be a beach Braai (the locall name for a BBQ) at our beach house.

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Daily Events

  • Check out & Drive to the Garden Route
  • Cango caves
  • Check into accommodation
  • Free time
  • Dinner Beach BBQ

Swartvlei River Mouth, Sedgefield

Day 9

Accommodation: Afrovibe Beach House

As we want to to feel revitalised before arriving back in Cape Town, breakfast will be served at your leisure as this is a relaxed day at the beach, where you will have the opportunity to enjoy beach yoga, surf lessons, stand up paddle boarding (SUP) and other adventure activities available (some at an extra cost) or just simply relax on your last day before heading back to Cape Town. 

In the evening there is a local Gin tasting followed by a seafood dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner   

Daily Events

  • Yoga
  • Surf lessons/ SUP (other optional activities)
  • Beach picnic lunch
  • Gin tasting
  • Seafood dinner

Day 10

Accommodation: Atlantic Point

After breakfast we drive back to Cape Town via scenic Overburg stopping at the historical town of Swellendam and one of the many South African farm stalls to stock up on locally produced healthy artisan foods before arriving back in the mother city of Cape Town.

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Daily Events

  • Check out of Beach House
  • Drive to Cape Town via scenic Overburg
  • Swellendam
  • Artisan Foods
  • Check into accommodation
  • Cape Town night out & dinner

Day 11 – Departure Day

Meals: Breakfast

Daily EventsCheck Out

Additional Information – We’re dedicated to creating inspiring and eco-tourism adventures while showcasing some of the best South Africa has to offer.

Optional Activities At Extra Cost:

Garden Route

  • Paragliding
  • Sand Boarding
  • Wake Boarding
  • Kite Boarding

*Less adventurous activities also available

Cape Town

  • Shark Cage Diving
  • Township & Robben Island Tour
  • Cape Point

*If you chose to extend your stay in Cape Town pre- or post-tour, accommodation packages are available.

Comment below with your email address if you are interested in the tour or join our Girls about the Globe Facebook community to be informed of the exact dates.


Preparing for a 4-Evening Backpack Trip Alone to The All American Man-Portion 1



Portion 1 of four posts about my backpack trip to The All American Man Pictograph Panel.

(Updated and republished in October 2019)

I’m parked on a piece of slick rock close to The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, in Utah, on the Colorado Plateau. It is five:25 PM on October 18, 2014.

When I arrived right here, the cedar gnats had been swarming in complete force. They had been in my mouth, my hair (miraculously as it is nevertheless incredibly, incredibly, quick at this time right after I shaved it all off a couple of weeks ago), my ears, up in my pants, and the inside of my car seemed to hold far more gnats than the entire of Utah.

Salt Creek Canyon, Canyonlands South, from the Rim

Now the gnats have gone and it is mosquito time, and apparently idiot drivers time also.

It is a Saturday evening, and a quick distance from my peaceful piece of the planet is an location exactly where a bunch of higher speeding, noisy, dirt bikers and jeeps are gathering. The dirt bikers sound as although twenty chain saws are getting run in the distance, and the dust they are kicking up is drifting more than to my camp, and to all of these about me.

My tiny piece of heaven is just off a dirt road, which the young (I’m presuming they are young, mainly because of the sound of “Yee Haas” and “Whoo hoo’s” and higher-pitched laughs of young girls drifting my way) are flying up and down as speedy as the rough washboard road will let.

Fortunately, these sharing this piece of Slickrock with me are like myself. Quiet, peaceful, and laid-back. They are parked at respectable distances from every other and are sitting outdoors reading, or cleaning off their trail bikes, or carrying their tents more than to a piece of sand although leaving their car on a rock, to defend the delicate desert atmosphere. Just about every now and then a chin will raise (or a finger) towards the noisy, thoughtless speeders passing by.

I spent an hour or so throughout the gnat attack hours sorting via my car and pulling out the items I require to go backpacking alone for 4 nights in the Salt Creek Canyon of Canyonlands National Park.

I’m a quick individual, and my backpack is a size compact. I basically purchased it as a technical climbing or winter hiking pack, but now use it as a backpack. I have only backpacked on my personal for two nights just before this, so 4 nights will be a record, and I’m not positive I can carry the weight and stuff I require to for that quantity of time.

I now have all the things I assume I require on the front seat of Mitzi, (Mitzi was the Mitsubishi Montero Sport I lived in just before I got Studley Van) and tomorrow I’ll try to get it all in my compact pack. I assume it would be okay, except I have to carry a bear canister, which requires up about a third of my pack on its personal.

Initially I had planned to do this trip with my pal Joe, but final evening he produced the selection not to go. The permit was currently in hand and paid for, so I decided to try it on my personal.

Certain I’m a tiny scared, but worry is one thing to squelch, step on, stare down and face complete-on.

Excellent words eh? Now I’ve stated that I have to reside up to it…

So right here goes…

Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature

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Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature

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How to visit the Great Barrier Reef



How do you visit the Great Barrier Reef, a true wonder of the world that is 2,300km long?

That’s a natural wonder the same length from Vancouver to the Mexican border, consisting of 900 islands and 2,900 individual reefs. Yep, it’s the world’s largest coral reef and the largest living structure on the planet. So amazing it can be seen from outer space.

Yes. Any wonder it’s a wonder.

Considering all the travel Craig and I have done over the years it’s also a wonder it took us nearly 40 years to experience one of our country’s natural icons.

It’s been at the top of our bucket list for years and we were determined to experience it in the best way we could with our kids on this road trip around Australia.

I wasn’t sure if The Great Barrier Reef would match it’s hype, but it did, in a less glamorous but more curious and awe-inspiring way.

Moore Reef in the Outer Great Barrier Reef - Credit: ReefMagicCruises.com
Moore Reef in the Outer Great Barrier Reef – photo by ReefMagicCruises.com

Our day tour from Cairns pulled up in the middle of the ocean at Marine World on the Outer Great Barrier Reef. It was windy and choppy and there was a bit of a swell – not the calm, pristine conditions I’d seen in the brochure.

I felt a little sinking fear and disappointment thinking I wouldn’t even see this magical world under the ocean because there was no way I was getting in.

It all looked a little too out of my comfort zone.

Kalyra grabbed my hand, “Come on Mum, let’s go.“ She’s not even a confident or strong swimmer. Of course I could not let her go on her own, so on the count of three we held hands and slipped off the edge and onto the reef.

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia


We turned to each other under the water giving thumbs up, holding hands and pointing out parrot fish eating at the coral and giant purple clams.

It was a moment.

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef

Giant purple clam - Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

It’s a good thing a snorkel was in my mouth as I had no words that could describe how wonderful it felt to be swimming above brightly coloured coral and rainbow coloured fish with stripes and spots, snouts and outs, beaks and flapping fins.

A great big Maori Wrasse called “Wally” swam right up to the snorkelers as soon as we dived in the water.

He was smiling to see the return of his daily friends and his body twisted and snaked between our legs, his big lips pouting in front of our faces as he came up for a peak.

Meet "Wally" the big Maori Wrasse we met on the Great Barrier Reef
“Wally” the big Maori Wrasse we met

Kalyra and I squealed as we saw him approach. At this stage I was still trying to get over the awe-struck feeling I had about my six-year-old daughter.

Then she pried herself away to snorkel on her own.

It blew me away how confident she was and I soon let go of my fear to just enjoy myself. Even when we swam on the outskirts of the reef over the deeper water she kept beaming and pointing and not letting the abyss scare her as much as it scared me.

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
Kalyra snorkeling by herself

Which Great Barrier Reef tours are best?

There are many different options to experience the Great Barrier Reef and from various locations along the Queensland coast.

First, let’s talk about the main gateway to the reef – Cairns!

We’d been in Cairns for about a week and were researching day tours. We asked some locals at the Caravan Park we were staying at, checked in with our facebook community and jumped online to Trip Advisor do more research.

We’d always wanted to go to the Outer Reef, because that’s where the best snorkeling and diving is. You might only visit the Reef once, you will want to see it at it’s best!

Tours range from small boats where you dive or snorkel off the boat, to bigger tours where you moor at a pontoon and from there participate in many different activities.

The pontoon experience

Because we have two young kids, Kalyra was six at the time and Savannah only two, we decided the pontoon experience would be most practical. We didn’t fancy being stuck on a boat all day with our young ones, it would have been stressful and gaining access to the water would have been tricky.

We chose the pontoon experience at Marina World based out at Moore Reef with Reef Magic Tours. After researching, we’d heard they were probably the best for families. The family price was going to cost us $495, but hey it’s the Great Barrier Reef and it’s Australia.

You can book your tours here.

The pontoon was a great choice.

Marine World - Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
Marine World at Moore Reef

After our 90-minute high-speed catamaran ride out from Cairns our vessel moored at Marine World and we jumped on the pontoon.

It gave us all room to move around without being confined to a boat. Plus the stairs that lead down from the main deck to a submerged snorkel platform allow you to sit down and put on your mask and fins, making it easy to slide into the water.

Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia (1)

Marine World at Moore Reef

The all-weather Marine World platform caters for all activity levels and was a great base for the day.

We had our own table and chairs on the sundeck, use of fresh water showers and changing rooms and lockers, and a yummy morning/afternoon tea plus a full buffet lunch.

The best part was the confidence Kalyra got by snorkeling in the sheltered coral lagoon. The snorkel area is supervised at all times, they had snorkeler rest stations scattered around if you needed a break in the water, and we could clearly see the bottom at all times.

Marine World - Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
Sheltered coral lagoon at Marine World

Introductory Scuba Dive

If’ you’re going to visit the Great Barrier Reef you’ve gotta do a dive right?!

Craig decided this was a once-in-a-lifetime moment and put his hand up for an introductory dive. This was going to be only his second time ever diving, his first being another introductory dive two years ago at Shelley Beach in Manly, Sydney.

On the way out to Marine World, his instructor introduced the equipment and briefed him on the basics of scuba diving.

For $125 he got a 30-minute dive with an instructor and just one other person. Intro dives have no more than 4 people per instructor making it reassuring for any first timers.

Craig ready to dive
Craig ready to dive

He loved it.

His dive reached a maximum of about 8 metres but was mostly hovering around the 4-5 metre level in the beautiful coral lagoon, a sheltered area with dense coral cover and a ton of fish life, including some time swimming with big WALLY!

“It’s another world down there, I can definitely see the addiction to diving” he beamed.

Of course he had to take the compulsory selfie:

Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef - Queensland, Australia
Craig with a big thumbs up!

Not only did we snorkel and dive, but we were able to see more of the reef on a glass bottom boat and a semi-sub.

The semi-sub gave me the closest thing to a dive experience. Getting closer to the outer part of the reef where all the big schools of fish were was awesome without me being in the water worried about the sharks waiting to eat the big schools of fish!

Great Barrier Reef - Queensland, Australia
semi-sub on the outer wall of Moore Reef – credit ReefMagicCruises.com
Great Barrier Reef
credit: ReefMagicTours.com

We loved our family day out on the reef.

For those who want to stay dry Marine World also has an underwater observatory or you can kick back on the sundeck and maybe get a little pampering from the only reef-based massage therapist.

Even though little Savannah is too young to snorkel she had a little swim and could paddle in the purpose built toddler area attached to the side of Marine World.

If you or your family are heading to Cairns Marine World is a great option. Besides what we did, Reef Magic Cruises also have an adventure snorkel safari and certified diving packages.

You can also book some ReefQuest snorkeling and dive tours here. 

The other major tour operators out of Cairns include Quicksilver and Reef Experience.

The Great Barrier Reef Islands

It’s not just about the beauty of what’s under the water, but the islands that are a part of the Great Barrier Reef – many of which have been created by the coral itself.

It’s worth exploring some of the islands to get the whole experience. Here are a few other Great Barrier Reef Islands that we’ve explored.

Green Island

Green Island - Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Green Island – image by Great Adventures

We also spent the day on Green Island before doing the Marine World experience, located 45 minutes by boat from Cairns.

It’s a sand island and is great for a relaxing day and for families. This was the first place Kalyra snorkeled and she loved seeing a few fish and stingrays!

You can snorkel straight off the shore and we felt the area near the jetty was much better than snorkelling off the patrolled beach. There’s also a nice boardwalk through the forest to the other side of the island, and whilst the kiddies played in the water I enjoyed a massage.

There are three daily departure times and our family ticket cost us $215 and we went with Great Adventures.

Book your tour to Green Island here. 

Green Island - Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Snorkeling at Green Island - Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Whitsunday Islands

Hill Inlet - Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia

I think the best islands of the Great Barrier Reef region are in the Whitsundays. How can you compete with world famous Whitehaven Beach which consistently ranks as one of the top 5 beaches in the world by TripAdvisor?

The photos don’t even really show how amazingly beautiful it is when you are standing in the softest, purest, whitest sand on the planet.

Whitehaven Beach - Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia

There’s pretty good snorkelling around the islands as well at Langford IslandMaureens Cove and Manta-Ray Bay.

Manta Ray Bay
Manta Ray Bay

Read more – Exploring Whitehaven Beach and the Whitsunday Islands

Hayman Island

If you’ve got deep pockets and want a bit of rock star experience, stay at Hayman Island. Just ensure you arrive by helicopter via Whitehaven Beach, an unforgettable moment. You can also access famous “Heart Reef” from Hayman.

Hayman Island, Queensland, Australia
Hayman Island
Hayman Island Resort Pool, Queensland, Australia
Hayman Island

Book your stay at the Intercontinental Hayman Island Resort here.

Daydream Island

There is, of course, Daydream Island off Airlie Beach, which many consider a bit kitsch, but even though we only stayed for 24 hours I really liked it. It’s a definite family or couples resort holiday that will give you nothing but fun activities, beautiful scenery, and relaxation.

In just 24 hours we did snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking and got close up with stingrays and baby sharks at their education centre. The sunsets are pretty spectacular too!

I’m all for it.

Daydream Island - Queensland, Australia
Daydream Island
Daydream Island - Queensland, Australia
Kalyra on Daydream Island
Daydream Island - Queensland, Australia
Daydream Island sunset

If you’re looking to experience the Great Barrier Reef, don’t wait 40 years like we did. With the way the environment is going and the role of Governments, it may have already seen it’s best days.

We can’t wait to go back and do more diving and snorkeling.

Plan Your Trip to Cairns

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Tours from Cairns and the GBR

Have you visited the Great Barrier Reef? What are your best tips for tours from Cairns to the GBR?

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Need advice on how to visit the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns, or along the Queensland coast? Check out our 5 different experiences.


A Weekend Road Trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon



I peered more than my camera and admired the indisputable beauty of the rocky coastline. It was an overcast day on the Oregon Coast—not unusual—and the fog seemed endless, reaching from the sky all the way down to the horizon. And except for the crashing waves and distant caws of seagulls, the beach was fully silent. 

I was standing on the shores of Cannon Beach and it was absolutely nothing quick of magical.

Garrett, my fantastic buddy and filmmaker extraordinaire, was chasing seagulls in front of Haystack Rock with his camera attempting to “get the shot.” I stayed back on the beach and laughed.

There’s one thing utterly hilarious about watching a grown man chase birds.

Just one particular day prior I landed in Portland and Garrett drove in from out of town to choose me up at the airport. I was right here in partnership with Spirit Airlines who flies into the Portland Airport (PDX) each day, generating trips to Portland and the Oregon Coast less costly and much more accessible than ever.

We stocked his beat up Jetta with meals supplies, camping gear and photography gear, and with nearly zero program on the books, we hit the road in search of the ideal photography spots along the Oregon Coast.

Points to Do in Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach is the ultimate escape for nature lovers. As a quaint coastal town, it is also an perfect location for these searching for a bit of quiet and relaxation. 

If you take pleasure in extended walks on the beach and ocean-side bonfires, then Cannon Beach is the spot for you.

Hang on the Beach (if the Climate is Superior)

Cloudy days on Cannon Beach.

There’s no doubt that the major attraction in Cannon Beach is the beach itself. Surrounded by jagged rocks and towering cliffs, Cannon Beach is a tranquil getaway along the Oregon coast.

But do not anticipate to roll out your beach towel and sunbathe. The climate in Cannon Beach can ideal be described as moody, with ferocious windstorms, overcast skies and lots of rain.

Having said that, the pristine beauty of the beach alone will make you overlook about tropical climate.

Bring a frisbee, stroll the shoreline or appear for marine life in the pools for the duration of low tide. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also go for a swim in the ocean (though I extremely advocate wearing a wetsuit).

Photograph the Renowned Haystack Rock

The rain clouds and rain came in quite promptly in front of the well-known Haystack Rock!

Situated in the middle of the ocean is the city’s most iconic landmark: Haystack Rock. Protruding 235 feet above sea level, Haystack Rock is thought of to be the world’s third-biggest monolith.

With the sky reflecting off the wet sand, Haystack Rock was created to be photographed. In reality, it is one particular of the most photographed sights in the complete state of Oregon!

You can quite a lot get a excellent angle of the rock from anyplace along the beach. Or, there are some spots along Gower and Hemlock Street that boast unobstructed views from greater up. 

Have a Campfire on the Beach

Cannon Beach is one particular of only a handful of beaches in Oregon that let campfires. So take benefit of it!

As the sun goes down, lay out a couple of blankets and whip out the marshmallows for a fantastic old fashioned bonfire. There’s absolutely nothing much more relaxing than ending your day listening to the roar of the crackling flames with a bottle of nearby Oregon lager in hand.

With the looming shadow of Haystack Rock in the distance, you will really feel as if you have the complete beach to oneself. And if it is a clear evening, you will also have a excellent view of the stars from the beach.

Even though the fire will retain you cozy, nights on the beach can nevertheless be chilly. I advocate bringing further layers and bundling up to keep warm.

Devote the Day in Ecola State Park

Stretching nine miles down the Oregon coastline is Ecola State Park, one particular of my favourite locations in Cannon Beach. The park is perched atop Tillamook Head and boasts some of the ideal views of the Pacific Ocean. 

Head to the prime of Ecola Point for panoramic views of Cresent Beach and the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. If you are searching for a longer hike, then trek the two.five-mile Clatsop Loop Interpretive Trail, a route applied members of Lewis and Clark for the duration of their two-year expedition. 

You can also go to Indian Beach, a secluded sandy beach surrounded by black rocks and lush greenery. This beach is also a well-liked location for surfers. 

Grab a Beer at Pelican Brewery

It is correct, the Pacific Northwest is recognized for its extraordinary craft beer scene. Just order a beer a Pelican Brewery, and you will see what I imply.

Pelican Brewery began in Pacific City, Oregon, and sooner or later opened a number of tasting rooms about the state. Not only does the brewery in Cannon Beach have 20 rotating beers on tap, but they also serve scrumptious pub meals to match. Attempt a handful of of my favorites, like the hoppy Beak Bender Pale Ale or the refreshing 5 Fin Pilsner.

You can also ask the staff for a private brewery tour to understand much more about the beer that is brewed on-web-site.

Hike to Devil’s Cauldron

This quick hike brings you to what was in all probability my favourite spot to go to on this trip. Situated just off the 101, it is a half mile out and back with some of the ideal views we identified.

Spectacular seascapes, rocky coastline and photo ops galore.

Be cautious right here, as the cliffs are steep. There are security ropes, and I advise you not to pass them unless you know what you are undertaking.

Check out the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum

If it begins raining for the duration of your go to Cannon Beach (which it in all probability will), then I advocate spending a handful of hours in the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum. This compact museum is packed with artifacts, stories and photographs detailing just about every inch of Cannon Beach history.

There are fascinating exhibits on Native Americans, Oregon’s initially settlers, the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1806. In the shipwreck exhibit, you will also understand how Cannon Beach earned its harrowing nickname, “The Graveyard of the Pacific.”

See the Tide Pools at Hug Point

With sandy beaches, dark sea caves, and cascading waterfalls, Hug Point State Park is one particular of the most diverse parks along the Oregon coast. It is just 5 miles south of Cannon Beach, and worth a pit cease for the duration of your go to.

Come for the duration of low tide, exactly where you can discover the shallow tide pools and stroll via the colossal rock caves. As you appear in the pools, you will be capable to spot starfish, barnacles and sea anemones. It is also exciting to gather sand dollars that have been scattered about the beach.

Saying Goodbye to Cannon Beach

Just after a memorable weekend on the coast, it was time to head back to the genuine planet. We packed up our tents, loaded up the Jetta (who performed marvelously on the road trip) and began the journey back to Portland.

My flight with Spirit Airlines left in the evening, so we had a leisurely stroll back to Portland, ample time to say our “goodbye for now’s” and a handful of hours to reflect on the previous weekend.

My trip to Cannon Beach was much more than just a seaside holiday. In reality, I had just spent a number of days with one particular of my ideal buds exploring and photographing one particular of the most wonderful locations on the planet. It does not get greater than that!

Cannon Beach Road Trip Logistics

How to Get From Portland to Cannon Beach

Acquiring into Portland is a cinch. Round-trip fares on Spirit are unbelievably economical, which tends to make having to and from Cannon Beach a breeze.

From Portland, you can attain Cannon Beach in as small as 90 minutes. Highway 26 is a straight shot from Portland straight to the coast. It is the quickest route, but in all probability not the most scenic.

Alternatively, attempt Highway six. This route adds an further hour to the journey, but winds along the Wilson River. You will also get to see a number of waterfalls on the drive. If you have got the time, the further hour is nicely worth it.

The third choice is to take Highway 30 to Astoria and then US-101 south to Cannon Beach. The drive is slower and much more relaxed than taking Highway 26 and delivers wonderful views of the Columbia River. 

As soon as you get to the town of Cannon Beach, you will see it is compact and charming, with a number of shops and restaurants dotted along North Hemlock Street. The beach, which is also referred to as Cannon Beach, is situated just a handful of methods from the town.

Cannon Beach Climate

The climate along the Oregon Coast is unpredictable, to say the least. We traveled in mid-June, and our initially evening was a scene straight out of a horror film as dense fog and sticky rain engulfed the complete region. But the subsequent day, we have been surprisingly greeted with clear skies, warm climate and a spectacular sunset. 

As you can see, the climate in Cannon Beach can be wildly variable.

But frequently speaking, summer season is the most comfy time to go to the Oregon Coast. In the course of this time, temperatures hover amongst 60 to 65 degrees F and there is reasonably small rain. Whilst summer season is the warmest time to go to, it is nevertheless widespread to have overcast and cloudy days from time to time.

Winter, on the other hand, is normally windy, wet and cold. You may well get fortunate with a handful of mild days, nonetheless, you should really anticipate constant rain showers. If you want to devote time outdoors on the beach, you are greater off going for the duration of a distinctive time of year. 

Cannon Beach Camping

If you program on camping in Cannon Beach, you will have a wide variety of campgrounds to select from. 

As an Oregon native, Garrett knew a handful of fantastic locations for backcountry camping. He grew up in these components, and upon arrival, we went to go go to the spots exactly where he applied to camp for no cost as a kid.

However, we found that camping was no longer permitted in these locations, leaving us frantically looking for a new location to keep. We planned to camp for no cost, but as it turns out, in Cannon Beach, there’s just no such factor any longer.

Garrett brought the incorrect poles for his tent so slept in this janky setup 🤣

That is how we identified Wright’s for Camping. This loved ones-run campground situated in the woods and is just a quick 10-minute stroll to the beach. Every single of the 22 camping web pages has a picnic table and fire ring, and there are bathrooms and laundry facilities on the home. 

Yet another campground in the region is Sea Ranch RV Park & Stables. They have each RV hookups and tent web pages, as nicely as bathrooms, laundry and picnic facilities.

If you choose to keep outdoors the city, then head handful of miles south to Nehalem Bay State Park. They’re open year-round and have tent web pages as nicely as yurts for rent. The park also delivers a ton of exciting activities like hiking, horseback riding, and fishing.

Whilst we lucked out and got a camping spot final minute, it is nevertheless advised to reserve early in advance. Most web pages are booked out, specially for the duration of the summer season higher season.

Study Extra:


6 BEST Hostels in El Calafate, Argentina



Calafate is a small town in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina. It’s a gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, which is famous for the Perito Morena Glacier. 

Thousands of tourists come to Calafate each year to experience the city’s rustic charm, stay in one of the friendly local hostels, and go on adventures in the surrounding mountains, lakes, and natural reserves.

Sightseeing, hiking, mountain climbing, kayaking, ice treks, and even sport fishing are all on the list for popular activities. Calafate is a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast. 

Check out also: Best Hostels in BarilocheBest Hostels in Bariloche

The Perito Moreno Glacier is the primary attraction, crushing its way across the landscape about 40 kilometers from Calafate. It’s in the Los Glaciares National Park, which is also home to some of the region’s tallest mountain peaks, including Cerro Chaltén and Cerro Torre. 

Consider one of these six hand-picked hostels for your next Calafate getaway. 

America Del Sur Hostel

Book on Hostelworld Book on Booking.com

from $20 / 4-dorm 4.6/5 Map

Highlights of hostel:

  • This place has immense windows that offer an unforgettable view of the surrounding mountains.
  • The under-floor heating ensures you’re always cozy and warm.

America Del Sur is a rustic hostel with a cabin-like atmosphere. Its wood construction frames beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows that offer an amazing panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and lake.

Inside, the hostel is spacious and warm — there’s a huge ding area where they serve delicious food and a cozy fire pit close to the huge windows where you can sit and warm yourself while taking in the scenery.

There’s also a fully-stocked bar if you care to warm your insides. The rooms themselves are comfortable and clean with soft beds that give you a good night’s sleep. And the staff is friendly and as warm as the hostel, lending a personable charm to the overall atmosphere. This is a great hostel for those looking for a cheerful and cozy experience when visiting Calafate.

Hostel Nakel Yenu

Book on Hostelworld Book on Booking.com

from $15 / 6-dorm 4.6/5 Map

Highlights of hostel:

Hostel Nakel Yenu is a cozy hostel located not far from the main city center and bus stop, so getting around town is easy.

It’s a cozy hostel with a laid-back atmosphere where there’s always good music playing to raise your spirits. It has a great little common area, the Quincho, where you can share tales with fellow travelers and get together and barbecue.

The bilingual staff is friendly and always willing to help plan your next adventure in El Calafate. They offer a delicious breakfast of fresh bread, jam, coffee, tea and juice to get you going in the mornings.

  • They have a great common area for mingling and barbecuing. 
  • Their complimentary breakfast is fresh and delicious.

Schilling Patagonia Travellers

Book on Hostelworld Book on Booking.com

from $23 / 5-dorm 4.5/5 Map

Highlights of hostel:

  • This place has an amazing outside garden area for relaxing when the weather is permitting. 
  • They have their own restaurant that serves a delicious menu for lunch and dinner.

This is a large, comfortable hostel with lots of space, clean rooms, and cozy beds. There are plenty of common areas to mingle in with your fellow travelers, and when the weather is nice, there’s a lovely garden outside to relax in.

They offer free breakfast and there’s also a restaurant in the hostel that serves lunch and dinner, so if you want to focus on your excursions and adventures without worrying about food, this hostel has you covered.

The staff is helpful and attentive, and they’re quite knowledgeable of Los Glaciares National Park, so they can help you plan your outings.

Albergue and Hostal Del Glaciar Libertador

Book on Hostelworld Book on Booking.com

from $80 / 3-ensuite 4.3/5 Map

Highlights of hostel:

  • This hostel has an amazing turn-of-the-century atmosphere that makes it unique.
  • They have movie nights every evening in one of their spacious common areas.

Albergue is an atmospheric hostel that was once a spacious house. Its brick and wood construction gives it a rustic atmosphere, and you’d swear you went back in time a hundred years when you enter this place.

It’s roomy and open with plenty of common areas to socialize, and they have an area where they show movies every evening. The rooms are comfortable and clean and each one has its own private bathroom. It’s a memorable hostel with a unique ambiance you won’t soon forget. 

Hostel de Las Manos

Book on Hostelworld Book on Booking.com

from $9 / 6-dorm 3.5/5 Map

Highlights of hostel:

  • This hostel has a very remote vibe and wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and nature.
  • They offer a delicious Patagonian breakfast free of charge.

Hostel de Las Manos has a secluded and serene ambiance, even though they’re only four blocks from the main city square. When peering outside through their oversized windows, you get an amazing view of the Laguna Nimez reserve, giving the whole place a very remote vibe.

They offer a free breakfast to travelers every morning in their spacious dining area, and you’ll also have access to the kitchen where it’s prepared if you want to do your own cooking. 

Patagonia Republic Hostel

Book on Hostelworld Book on Booking.com

from $15 / 8-dorm 4.2/5 Map

Highlights of hostel:

  • This place has an amazing location if you’re looking to experience Calafate.
  • The common area, with its wood stove and guitars, is cozy and relaxed, great for chilling with fellow travelers.

Patagonia Republic is a downtown hostel that’s literally feet away from the main street. It’s a cozy and colorful hostel with a bright and welcoming vibe. It’s not a large place, but the use of its space gives it a very intimate atmosphere. The rooms are clean and comfortable and there’s a fully-equipped kitchen for meal prepping.

There’s a lovely dining area with a wood-burning fireplace, and a comfortable common area with plenty of couches, a wood-burning stove, and guitars for getting together and playing some music together.

Things to Do in Calafate

For the outdoor enthusiast, there are countless activities to do in and around Calafate. Here are just a few of the ones you shouldn’t miss out on when visiting.

Visit Perito Moreno Glacier

The Perito Moreno Glacier is the primary attraction for the travelers that visit Calafate, and with good reason. It’s not the biggest glacier in the region but it’s easily accessible and offers some unforgettable scenery. 

The visitor center has great balconies for getting some fantastic views of the glacier, but if you want to get in even closer, there are boat tours available where you can get right up next to it. 

Go Ice Trekking

If a boat tour doesn’t get you as close to Perito Moreno Glacier as you’d like, you can strap on your ice boots and take an ice trek in an unforgettable guided tour.

There are two options for the would-be adventurer: There’s an all-day tour for those that really want to push their limits, and there’s a shorter tour that takes about two hours and is modest enough that you can bring the whole family along. Either one offers an unforgettable experience where you’ll traverse the frosty environment, listen to the ice crackling and popping as the glacier moves imperceptibly across the terrain, and even get to sample a taste of glacier water. It’s a truly magnificent experience.

Visit Laguna Nimez

Laguna Nimez is an ecological reserve near Argentino lake, and it’s a wondrous place to visit for the nature lover. A vast array of protected birds reside here, including the beautiful Chilean flamingo. The environ is a recreation of Patagonia wetlands and desert steppes, and this is another great place to take the whole family.


The Perfect California Itinerary



Thinking of doing an epic trip in California? Here is an awesome and complete itinerary with insider tips to help you out. The itinerary begins in Los Angeles, and you will explore places like San Diego, Slab City, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and so much more. #California
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California is the best state in the US for scenery, culture, and the abundance of things to do. A bold claim, I know but as most Californians would probably agree, there’s a reason why so many of us call the Golden State home.

In this one state, bigger than many countries, we have the tallest mountain in the lower 48, the hottest desert in the world, the tallest trees on Planet Earth, the longest continuous stretch of ocean coastline in the USA, and some of the most famous national parks.

This California road trip begins in Los Angeles and loops around the state. Though you can easily give it months, you can easily customize it to fit whatever time constraints you have. Enjoy the journey!

Start: Los Angeles 

Los Angeles
Kissing LA’s skyline from Runyon Canyon – a local favorite

Start the perfect California itinerary in none other than sunny Los Angeles. The amount of time you spend here is up to you, but with countless neighborhoods and attractions to explore, you could easily spend several days here! Some cool activities include hanging out at the Santa Monica Pier, hiking to the Hollywood sign, visiting the free J. Paul Getty Museum, or Los Angeles County Museum of Art (also known as LACMA). Visit any of the countless beaches from Malibu down to Redondo Beach, or head up to Griffith Observatory (where they filmed part of La La Land!) for a beautiful sunset and panoramic views of the whole city. For a more local alternative, hike up to Runyon Canyon. Hit up Disneyland in Anaheim on your way south, or maybe even catch a concert at one of L.A.’s popular venues like the Hollywood Bowl or the Greek Theatre!

Stay: Spend a night or two at Mama Shelter, an eclectic boutique hotel in Hollywood, or Freehand Los Angeles, an artsy downtown hostel with an amazing rooftop pool.

Newport Beach

orange county
A view of Orange County from the sky

After you’re done in L.A., drive 50 miles south to Newport to spend some time on the warm beaches. Newport Beach is home to the largest recreational harbor on the west coast, which means that there are aquatic activities for days. Surf (or just watch the skilled surfers at The Wedge), stand-up paddle board, jet ski, or rent a Duffy boat to cruise around the harbor in. Hike or bike the Back Bay Loop Trail, or take the ferry to Balboa Island to explore its bistros and shops. Visit Fashion Island, which isn’t actually an island, but makes for some great retail therapy. Or, instead of exploring Newport Beach by land and sea, explore it from the air like I did with a sunset helicopter tour of Orange County!

Stay: Crash at either the charming Newport Beach Hotel or the artsy Renaissance Newport Beach! Or, if you want to camp instead, check out the nearby Crystal Cove State Park.

San Diego 

The Perfect California Itinerary
Beautiful Spanish Colonial architecture in San Diego’s Balboa Park

From Newport, cruise south 90 more miles to San Diego. Start your stay here by wandering through Balboa Park’s gardens and museums, like the Japanese Friendship Garden. Bike through Mission Bay Park and stroll down the Mission Beach Boardwalk, or take a surf lesson and catch a wave. Head to nearby La Jolla Cove to see a spectacular sunset over a gorgeous stretch of coastline, then take a trolley to the bustling Gaslamp Quarter to enjoy its restaurants, nightlife, and Victorian architecture. Foodies will love the Liberty Public Market, full of artisan cuisine and beverages, and even some boutiques and jewelry shops. Be sure to check out Little Italy, too, with its countless patio cafés, shops, and art galleries.

Stay: Relax at Mission Bay’s beachfront Bahia Resort Hotel or make the chic Kimpton Palomar in downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter your home base for a day or two. If you want to camp, try Campland on the Bay.

Slab City

salvation mountain
The always intriguing Slab City is worth a visit

150 miles northeast of San Diego is Slab City. Also known as “the last free place in America,” Slab City is home to a community of 150 people living “off the grid.” This is also the location of the famous Salvation Mountain art installation, created by Leonard Knight. Knight was a U.S. Army veteran who became a Christian mid-life, devoting himself to creating this massive, colorful site of devotion primarily using clay and paint. Spend a day checking out both sites.

Stay: Obviously, hotels aren’t in abundance on this one, as you’re visiting a squatter community in the middle of the desert. However, if you don’t want to camp in your car, you can backtrack ten miles to the Calipatria Inn and Suites. Or, just keep going after a pit stop in Slab City and spend the night at the next destination on your itinerary.


alabama hills
California’s deserts are both beautiful and fascinating!

Next up: the California deserts — that is, if it’s not summer. Temperatures can get dangerously high in the hotter months, so be sure to keep in mind the time of year you’ll be visiting!

From Slab City, drive 100 miles around the Salton Sea to reach your first stop, Joshua Tree National Park. Continue on northeast to Mojave National Preserve and Monument, then onto Death Valley National Park. From Death Valley, drive straight west to the Alabama Hills. (If you want to hit Anza-Borrego State Park, do that on your way to Slab City, as you’ll be driving right past it from San Diego.)

Stay: All of these spots have abundant camping, but if that isn’t your style, stay at the 29 Palms Inn at Joshua Tree, The Oasis at Death Valley, or the Best Western Plus Frontier Motel at Alabama Hills.

Mammoth Mountain

Camping here is amazing!

After all those deserts, opt for a change in scenery by heading northwest up the Eastern Sierras to Mammoth Lakes, home to Mammoth Mountain. If you visit in the winter, snowboard and ski until your heart is content. Other times of year, enjoy water activities like boating, paddle boarding, and kayaking on the lake; do some sightseeing to check out the nearby Devils Postpile National Monument and hundred-foot-tall Rainbow Falls; and take advantage of miles of hiking and biking trails. No matter what time of year, the scenery here is unbeatable.

Stay: In the warmer months, camp at Twin Lakes Campground, and in the winter, stay at Juniper Springs near the ski resort.


yosemite winter hikes
Yosemite is beautiful no matter what time of year you visit

Drive an hour northwest to Yosemite, a place John Muir once called, “the temple to nature.” The park is an amazing destination all year long, as each season brings its own unique experiences. Summer hosts the Yosemite Music Festival each July, for example, while winter means amazing hikes. The park is magical in fall and spring when it’s at its most colorful, too! At any time of year, visitors can enjoy the breathtaking views of sites like Bridalveil Falls, Half Dome, and El Capitan (all of which are visible from Tunnel View, a panoramic lookout point). A few other cool activities (there are far too many to list them all) include stargazing at Glacier Point, kayaking on Tenaya Lake, and hiking to the top of Vernal Fall. Maybe even stop by the Ansel Adams Gallery to check out some of Adams’ famous black and white photos of the park.

Reaching Yosemite is easier in the summer months, but come winter, the Tioga Pass is closed. If visiting then, reverse this stop and Lake Tahoe.

Stay: Yosemite has thirteen campgrounds to choose from! If you prefer something a little more comfortable, check out the rustic and charming Narrow Gauge Inn.

Lake Tahoe

The clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe make a great road trip destination

Cruise 125 miles north to Lake Tahoe, the biggest alpine lake in North America, which sits on the California-Nevada border. The huge lake stretches across 21 miles, so the area is divided into North Lake and South Lake. (North Lake is known for a quieter, more locals-focused environment, while South Lake is more popular for tourism). The coolest thing about Tahoe is that it’s where you’ll find both lakeside beaches and ski resorts all in the same place. This means that Tahoe is great any time of year, as warmer weather guarantees water activities like stand-up paddle boarding, while colder weather means skiing and snowboarding! Biking is huge in Tahoe, too; you’ll find miles of both mountain biking trails and paved bike paths for casually cruising around. Tahoe also hosts lots of entertainers and festivals, so catching a cool event is always a possibility. Before you head out of town, be sure to follow the 72-mile “Most Beautiful Drive” around the lake.

Stay: Camping is abundant all the way around the lake, but some good campsites in South Lake are Camp Shelly and Eagle Point Campground. If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel, check out Hotel Azure or the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel!

From here you’ll make the choice to either visit King’s Canyon and Sequoia National parks, on the western side of the Sierra mountains, or drive the famous Pacific Coast Highway, which is where this itinerary continues.


coast redwood
Humbled in Humboldt

From Tahoe, cross over northwest and cut 400 miles across the state to Humboldt via the desolation wilderness, a federally protected wilderness area covering more than 60,000 acres. (You’ll also pass Mount Shasta!) Once you’ve arrived at the Lost Coast, hang out for a while on an empty stretch of beach (of which there are many). Then, spend some time exploring Redwood National and State Parks: take a scenic drive (Howland Hill Road, Coastal Drive, and Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway are all great options). Watch wildlife, go for a hike, and even look for whales at any of the coastal overlooks along the park’s 40-mile stretch of coastline – and be sure to look for the Hyperion, the biggest living tree on the planet! Catch a sunset at Moonstone Beach, where big rocks rising up out of the ground make for some cool photos!

Stay: Stay at one of the area’s charming B&Bs, like the Shaw House Inn or the Victorian Inn. Or, camp among the towering redwoods at Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Fort Bragg

california romantic weekend getaway inn at newport ranch
Fort Bragg’s Inn at Newport Ranch, perched right on the coastline.

Drive 150 miles back down south to Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast. Here, you can search for colorful sea glass at the aptly named Glass Beach, watch birds and seals at MacKerricher State Park, and take a kayak out on the harbor. Enjoy expansive views and empty beaches with bright blue waters, and head to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (also known as Garden by the Sea) to view gorgeous regional flora and fauna. Fort Bragg isn’t just known for its landscapes, though; downtown is home to a vibrant arts scene, visible through a mural walk and countless art galleries. You’ll find plenty of unique history here, too. In fact, there are seven museums in town, including a museum of tattoo culture! Be sure to take a ride on the historic Skunk Train, an old railroad line dating back to 1885 which runs through the tall redwoods.

Stay: Spend a night or two at the Inn at Newport Ranch, a quaint, quiet little spot nestled amongst the fog. If you want to camp, MacKerricher is a great spot.

San Francisco 

Bay bridge baker beach
The Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach

Follow the coastline south for about three hours to reach San Francisco. Some of the best things to explore here are the de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, and the hippy Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. Check out twisty Lombard Street, then shop around Union Square in the heart of the city. Explore some of the 1,500 acres of the Presidio, or visit Coit Tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood, which offers panoramic views of the city. Alcatraz is also a unique attraction, the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else. Certain times of year are especially fun in the City by the Bay: August brings the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, February hosts the SF Indie Fest (an independent film festival), and the Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in Japantown every April.

Stay: Stay at the Palihotel San Francisco in Union Square or the quaint and historic Nob Hill Inn.

Big Sur

mcway falls
Big Sur’s most famous feature, McWay Falls

Cruise down the PCH 150 miles to reach Big Sur, which is perhaps one of the most beautiful locations in the entire state of California. Big Sur is special because it is north enough that the Redwoods grow in abundance, yet still south enough that it sees better weather (warmer temperatures and less fog) than other locations of its kind. Waterfalls and cliffs, five state parks, two state nature reserves, and Los Padres National Forest make Big Sur a must-see. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Pfeiffer Beach, with its purple-tinted sand, tide pools, and Keyhole Arch, are great places to start exploring. Visit McWay Falls, look for sand dollars at Sand Dollar Beach, go whale watching from one of the cliff-top lookouts, and be sure to drive across the picturesque Bixby Bridge, which stretches high above the coastline.

Stay: Camp along the river at the Fernwood Resort, where you can choose from traditional camping, cabins, and “glamping.” (This campsite also connects to countless beach, forest, and river hiking trails.) Ventana is also an awesome option for camping. Or, if camping isn’t your thing, check out the historic Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn.

Santa Barbara

The view from the bell tower of the Santa Barbara Courthouse

Another 200 miles down the coast gets you to sunny Santa Barbara, also known as the American Riviera. Santa Barbara is an amazing city thanks to its size (not too big, not too small), its perpetual spring weather (75 degrees and sunny a majority of the time), its beaches (abundant, clean, and beautiful) and its people (always friendly). Some of the best things to do include exploring the cool Funk Zone neighborhood, renting a bike to cruise State Street and the waterfront, hiking up in the mountains (try 7 Falls or Lizard’s Mouth), or lounging on one of the sandy beaches. Or, head to the top of the bell tower of the Santa Barbara Courthouse, where you’ll have gorgeous views of the whole city in all directions, or visit the historic Santa Barbara Mission. Spend an afternoon surfing or paddle boarding, then watch a vibrant sunset from the hilltops at Knapp’s Castle.

Stay: El Capitan, where you’ll likely see dolphins just off the coast, is a great camping spot in Santa Barbara. Or, try a cool hotel Downton like the Wayfarer and Hotel Santa Barbara.

End: Back in L.A.

Many of California’s highways have unbeatable scenery

You did it! You made your way around the whole state! After completing the last leg of 100 miles back down the coast to L.A., you will have trekked nearly 2,000 miles around California.

If you’re shorter on time:

Obviously, this is a pretty hefty itinerary which could take anywhere from two weeks to a month, depending on how long you stay in each location. If you can’t swing that kind of time commitment, eliminate the PCH portion and just flip the itinerary! Start from Lake Tahoe or Yosemite and work your way back down south. Here’s how to do it:

  • After Yosemite, hit Mammoth Mountain.
  • If you want to add in a couple more destinations, stop at the nearby Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks!
  • Head east to the Alabama Hills.
  • If you want to visit a few more deserts, the quickest to get to geographically would be Death Valley (directly east of Alabama Hills) and Mojave (southeast of Death Valley). Maybe even throw in Joshua Tree, time permitting.
  • After your last desert, end in Los Angeles! From Mojave, L.A. is 215 miles southwest; from Joshua Tree, it’s 130 miles directly west.
The perfect California itinerary with 14 beautiful stops and insider tips to help you plan an epic trip. Visit Los Angeles, San Diego, Yosemite, San Francisco, Big Sur and more. Get tips on where to go, what to do and where to stay! #California

You could also make more of a loop by visiting all the deserts, hitting Slab City, stopping in San Diego, driving north to Newport Beach, and finally ending in L.A. The best thing about this itinerary is that it is completely customizable!

I hope you love my home state as much as I do. There’s truly nowhere in the world like California.

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Pennar River Canyon at Gandikota: Surreal Organic Wonder involving Bangalore and Hyderabad – Be On The Road



Panoramic Pennar river canyon at Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh

It is popularly referred to as the ‘Grand Canyon of India’. It is one particular of India’s most beautiful organic wonders. It is so lovely that efforts are becoming place to give it a globe heritage tag. I am speaking about the surreal Pennar river canyon at Gandikota in Andhra Pradesh and the 12th century Gandikota fort that is constructed along this steep and gorgeous canyon.

Gandikota, which actually translates into ‘gorge fort’ in Telugu is a 12th century fort that was constructed for the duration of the reign of the Kalyani Chalukyas on the steep  Erramala or Gandikota variety of hills by the narrow Pennar river. This gorge is much more than a million years old and could have been formed due to a volcanic eruption numerous millions of years ago. Such lava flows from volcanic eruptions in this area are referred to as Deccan traps. This steep rocky canyon of red granite could be one particular such Deccan trap.

The East flowing Pennar river is ordinarily a seasonal river, so technically this canyon really should be dry most months of the year, but due to the Gandikota dam upstream and the Mylavaram dam downstream that get water from the a great deal bigger Srisailam dam on the Krishna river, this canyon ordinarily has water. It is technically a river, but it behaves much more like a backwater or reservoir overflow. This continuous water in the gorge is what tends to make this canyon appear so lovely and may possibly be that is why it draws comparisons with the grand canyon in the United States which has such a related riverine landscape.

The darkish green water, the red granite rocks, the in involving greenery and the colours of the sky all add to the dramatic impact of this landscape. It is this heady concoction that tends to make this spot a hot favourite with every person. Add to it, the lovely fort enclosure with temples, mosques, granary, pigeon tower, palace, huge fort walls with canons and water bodies and you have an wonderful heritage and nature package.

Admiring the Pennar river canyon view on a dark monsoon day

And the reality that it is positioned ideal in involving the bustling cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad make it a great weekend getaway location. It gives a beautiful mix of stupendous nature, adventurous trails, history and rustic place. Have you visited this spot as however? If not, I would advocate you to stop by this spot on your subsequent road trip from Bangalore. And do try to remember to inform me your encounter in the comments beneath.

Enjoying the beauty of Pennar River Canyon at Gandikota on a monsoon day

Factors to preserve in thoughts ahead of going to:

1) Drone photography is not permitted at Gandikota. I do not know if there are folks checking this, but I believe the ban exists due to the dam nearby. The heavy winds in the gorge also renders drones useless.

two) The rocks by the Pennar river gorge are slippery. Do exercising caution and assure that you put on footwear with very good grip.

three) It can get fairly hot right here for the duration of the day and there is hardly any shade. Do assure that you carry a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, some energy snacks and water with you at all instances.

four) You can trek down to the Pennar river by way of the gorge. Do verify with locals for the precise trail.

five) Sunset is the greatest time to stop by Gandikota if photography is your agenda. Following three pm, the sun shines straight on the Pennar river gorge.

Beautiful Nature - Pennar river canyon at Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh

How to attain there:

The nearest airports would either be Bangalore (290 kms) or Hyderabad (390 kms).

The nearest railway station would be Jammalamadugu (about 12 kms away), although connectivity would be poor. Gooty junction ( 116 kms away) and Muddanuru (about 26 kms away) would be the alternatives with far better rail connectivity.

Gandikota is connected by very good roads to each Bangalore and Hyderabad.

If you are driving from Bangalore, opt for the scenic forest and gorge route. Bangalore to Koikonda on the NH 44 four –lane highway. Then turn ideal towards Gorantala, Kadiri, Pulivendula and Muddanur. The route involving Kadiri and Pulivendula is the lovely gorge and canyon route whilst the earlier stretch involving Gorantala and Kadiri is the hilly forest stretch. The whole route is about 290 kms and requires about six hours to drive from Bangalore.

Temple, Mosque and dark clouds at Gandikota

Other areas to stop by enroute:

1) 7th century Bhoga Nandeeswara temple at the foot of Nandi hills

two) The vineyards and vegetable farms of rural Chikkaballapur

three) Sri Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi

four) Gudibande fort

five) Penukonda fort

six) Avalabetta

7) Skandagiri hill

eight) Chandrayana betta

Juma Masjid inside Gandikota Fort, Andhra Pradesh

Exactly where to remain:

There are three alternatives to remain at Gandikota.

Choice 1: Keep at the decent lodging at Haritha Resorts, a house run by Andhra Pradesh tourism division.

Choice two: Opt for the regional camping solutions and remain in a tent by the river Pennar.

Choice three: Carry your personal tent and pitch it someplace in the Pennar river gorge. Do try to remember that this is not advised, but there are folks who have carried out this in the previous.

Pennar River Canyon at Gandikota - One of India's beautiful natural wonders

Exactly where to consume:

There are shacks just outdoors Gandikota fort exactly where one particular can come across simple factors to consume like fried rice, omelette, tea, and so forth. If you want anything much more suitable, head to Haritha Resort, a hotel run by Andhra Pradesh tourism division. For much more alternatives, you will have to head to Muddanur, about 28 kms away.

The steep walls of the Gandikota canyon with the reservoir in the background

Other nearby tourist attractions:

1) The 15th to 16th century Vijayanagara era temples of Tadipatri (Sri Bugga Ramalingeswara Swamy temple and Sri Chintala Venakaramana Swamy temple)

two) Belum caves, one particular of the biggest cave program in the Indian subcontinent

three) The lovely caves and Sri Uma Maheshwara temple at Yaganti


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