Posts tagged recipes for travel
antelope canyon - how to find a moment of peace amidst the chaos
antelope canyon - recipes for travel
antelope canyon - recipes for travel

Antelope Canyon. A breathtaking place. A magical place. Also a very hectic place. Upper Antelope Canyon is heavily visited by groups of tourists wanting to witness and capture its unique beauty. We were one of at least a dozen groups of 10-12 people that filed through the twisting canyon during our fast-paced visit.

Our guide, McCarr, was a small, no-nonsense Navajo woman who let us know in no uncertain terms that we were to follow her instructions or be met with her motherly wrath. During her intro speech while were still parked in the vistors’ lot, She spoke to us like stern matriarch would have when we were little. ‘Look, when we go in this store don’t u go asking for nothin’, touchin’ nothin’ and don’t wander off and get lost. And don’t make me have to tell you twice!’ One of our group, a grown man of at least 40, fell behind a couple of times during our tour because he wanted to take more pictures. I witnessed McCarr smack his hand while he was attempting to take a picture. A grown man!

But like a mama or auntie, she was stern because she knew what was good for us (and she had much more experience in the sometimes-unpredictable canyon than we did (an Antelope Canyon flash flood in 1997 killed 11 hikers). And since no one in our subgroup of 5 girlfriends openly defied her – or at least didn’t get caught doing so – she rewarded us by taking some amazing photos of us and our birthday-girl  and helping us get just-right shots of key features and the ever-shifting shafts of light within the canyon. The rest of the tour, though, was all yelling and ‘hurry-ups’ and ‘move-alongs’ and ‘come this way, no I said this way!’, while trying not to run into or be run over by the next tour group frantically snapping pics in front of and behind us.

In the midst of the madness, which I had expected from reading tour reviews, I tried to have a more serene and memorable experience with the canyon, which, quite honestly, filled me with a sense of joyful awe. I let my arm drag along the canyon wall as I walked slowly at the tail end of our group, the underside of my forearm, my palm and the pads of my fingertips gliding along the cool, smooth- grooved surface of the canyon, stopping for a moment to press my cheek against the coolness, then my right and left eyelids - which temporarily relieved the irritated feeling from all the fine dust and sand swirling around. The sensory experience of my physical existence being introduced to the canyon's would last longer than the photos, I figured. Or at least, it would add a richer element to the memories when I perused the photos later today and years on.

Have you ever visited Antelope Canyon? What was your experience like?

are you ready to travel solo?

People’s opinions about travelling solo usually fall into one of two camps. It’s either one of the boldest, most exciting ideas they’ve ever heard:

It’s so empowering!

It takes guts!

Why wait on someone else, when you can just go?

Or, it’s something that they’d never consider doing:

It’s dangerous!

I’d be bored!

What if the kidnappers come, and Liam Neeson doesn’t come save me?

I’ve been travelling solo for years now. Not necessarily because I love it or even prefer it, but mainly because my desire to travel exceeds my ability to wait for someone else to be able and ready to join me. I also know that my travel style isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea – so to avoid conflict, I often opt for the solo adventure.

Does that make me a solo travel expert? Hardly. But I often see many women asking of other solo women travelers how we got the nerve/confidence/lady cojones to travel all by ourselves, so I thought I’d wrangle up some questions worth asking yourself if you think you might be ready for solo travel.

find out if you're ready for solo travel
find out if you're ready for solo travel

How Easily Do You Make New Friends?

Can you find something you have in common with almost anyone? Are you the one at a party who flits among various groups and dips in and out of multiple conversations with ease? Those extrovert social skills will definitely come in handy when you’re travelling on your own.

If you’re more of the introverted, wallflower type, you might still consider travelling alone… in a group. Group tours, cooking classes and local meetup groups can make it easier for shyer types to not feel so lonely when travelling alone. Cruises are also a great option for some solo travelers who like being on their own, but still want to be surrounded by somewhat familiar people.

How Do You React to Unfamiliar or Ambiguous Situations?

Are you ok with having to find your way in a new place? Getting lost? Not knowing what other people around you are saying? Having to use rudimentary sign language to get your point across? International solo travel is right up your alley! If you’re ok with everything not being exactly the way it is back home (this could include anything from acceptable clothing to toilet facilities), then you’ll be just fine on your own in foreign locales.

If the very thought of the situations described above is enough to make you break out in hives, then maybe you should start out by travelling solo somewhere closer to home – somewhere with more familiar food, language, sights and sounds. Stay in a hotel chain that you’ve stayed in before; book a room at a bed-and-breakfast in a neighboring state; visit a well-documented, much-visited historical site and enjoy your trip without feeling like a fish out of water. If you're still determined to go abroad, try a country where language or unfamiliar customs won't be a barrier.

best solo travel tool
best solo travel tool

How Strong / Accurate Is Your ‘Little Voice’?

I’ve said it many times – my best travel tool is my intuition, aka, ‘the little voice’. The little voice tends to grow stronger and more accurate with experience, so if you’ve already travelled extensively with others or have lived in a major city where you may regularly encounter potentially shady characters or situations, your little voice is likely well-tuned.

On the other hand, if people who know you well refer to you as ‘too trusting’, or ‘naïve’ (and you know they’re telling the truth), or conversely, if you think EVERYone is a potential murderer/terrorist/rapist, then maybe you should enhance your intuition a bit before striking out on your own.

How Curious Are You?

My biggest motivation for non-work-related travel is curiosity. What’s happening elsewhere? What do people eat there? How do they spend their free time? Are the mens cute? If you’re the curious and exploring type who can only be satisfied by seeing and experiencing something for yourself, that curiosity will not only be a catalyst for you to book your solo trip, it will also make what happens on your trip more memorable and satisfying.

How Much Do You Enjoy Your Own Company?

Let’s face it, there’s likely to be times when even the most gregarious girl won’t be able to make a single-serving friend while travelling. If you’re like me and grew up as an only child, or have otherwise mastered the art of entertaining yourself for days on end, you’ll probably already be back home from your solo trip before you start to feel lonely.

If being away from friends and on your own for long periods of time seems like it would be unbearably lonely or boring, consider keeping yourself occupied by journaling, reading, or catching up on movies or tv shows (hey, you paid for that nice hotel room, might as well use it). Use social media to keep your family and friends abreast of your ecap your daily solo travel experiences with loved ones back home with the free wi-fi calling features on Skype, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc.

solo travel ksolo
solo travel ksolo

How Much of a Girl / Boy Scout Are You?

Preparedness is key when travelling solo. If you know how to use a map, can hunt down a super-strong and totally-free Wi-Fi signal like a trained animal, or always have the latest travel apps and tools downloaded to your cell phone, you’re ready to earn your solo travel badge, scout. Likewise, if you know how to keep your cool in case of a travel emergency.

As you can see, solo travel isn’t made for just one type of person. Even if you’re not the fiercely independent, throw-caution-to-the-wind sort that many assume you need to be in order to pursue solo travel, you can still enjoy travelling on your own. You just need to find the type of solo travel that best suits you, then get out there to see the world!

Are you an experienced solo traveler? What other skills or traits do you think someone should have before going on a solo trip?

foodie travel: highlights of savannah’s food scene

Ah, Savannah. That historic city that simply drips with Southern charm. It’s a place where you can slow down your pace, pick up a drawl, commune with ghosts, and revisit the past. If you’re an art lover, you’re in luck, since the students and staff at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) have fostered a vibrant arts community there. Beach bums will feel right at home on nearby Tybee Island, and history buffs will hardly run out of facts, figures, and folklore to ruminate over. But this one is for the foodies, the eatatarians, the lovers of good grub and drink. Because if there’s anything that Savannah is serious about, it’s eating and drinking. Like any self-respecting Southern dame, Savannah does have her secrets. The locals don’t go to the same places that the tourists do, and when they do, they know better than to suffer ridiculous waits or fall for the tourist specials. So if you know someone in Savannah, get in touch with them before you arrive and ask them to show you around. But if you don’t, the following compilation of some of Savannah’s best restaurants, bars, and other gastronomic diversions should do you just fine.

Where to Stay in Savannah: Hilton Desoto
On my last two visits to Savannah, the Desoto has been my home base of operations. It’s not so much that the rates are spectacular, but you can’t get a much better location. The Desoto is smack dab in the middle of downtown Savannah, and it’s walking distance to almost every place on this and most other lists of places to see and what to do in Savannah. Ask for a room with a balcony – the view of downtown Savannah is beautiful day and night, and the ocean/river breeze doesn’t hurt.

for craft beer

The Distillery - Casual atmosphere, respectable brew selection, friendly wait staff. Happy hour specials that get you $1 off all draft brews. The menu features standard pub fare with flair.

savannah-the-distillery      savannah-the-distillery-beer


for bbq that’s finger lickin’ good (not great)

Wiley’s Championship BBQ – Where’s there’s smoke, there’s usually good ‘cue. I didn’t smell any smoke when driving up to Wiley’s, but the barbecue was still pretty decent. The sauce comes in regular and spicy. The sides are a little more refined than most ‘cue shacks.

savannah-wileys-barbecue3      savannah-wileys-barbecue4

One-of-a-Kind Savannah Souvenirs: Shop SCAD
Shop SCAD is like a mini art museum, except you can take the art home with you. Unique and quirky handcrafted gifts, wearable art, paintings, cards, and housewares are on display. All of the art is made by SCAD students and alumni.

 for posh provisions

Parker’s Market Urban Gourmet – there are plenty of Parker’s gas stations around Savannah. But the one at the corner of Drayton and McDonough in downtown Savannah is decidedly different. Even from the outside, it’s hard to tell that this place is a gas station. And inside, you feel as if you’ve stepped into a new Whole Foods concept. Parker’s boasts a respectable wine section, craft brews, a gourmet hot bar, and high-end packaged goods. Grab some items for an impromptu gourmet picnic under the shade of Spanish-moss-covered trees in one of the nearby historic squares. Open 24 hours.

savannah-parkers-urban-market      savannah-shop-scad

Savannah’s Historic Squares
Downtown Savannah is peppered with 24 historic squares, each one named for a notable historic figure or event. Grab yourself a box of chocolates and head to Chippewa Square… that’s the one where the bench scenes from Forrest Gump were filmed.


for crabgasmic goodness at a bargain price

Fiddler’s Crab House – Savannah’s selection of peel-and-eat seafood restaurants is surprisingly underwhelming. Fiddler’s is slightly above the rest of them for one reason only: the Monday night all-you-can-eat crab leg special for under $20. The joint ain’t fancy, and it’s smack dab in the middle of the touristy Savannah River Walk, but the crab is fresh, perfectly steamed and plentiful.


Hit the Bricks: Savannah Tours and Transportation
At some point you’re going to want to walk off all the good grub you’ve been shoveling down your gullet. Fortunately, Savannah is extremely pedestrian-friendly. For $13, you can download a self-guided walking tour of Savannah. Of course if you’re totally lazy or you’ve tied on one too many, Savannah’s free Connect shuttle will get you anywhere you need to go in historic downtown Savannah.

for saying hello to your little friends

The Crab Shack (on Savannah’s Tybee Island) – They advertise as if they have Jesus on the menu. But in reality, the food is just ok. The service, equally so-so. And the open air, beachy dining experience would be nice, except for all the stray cats skulking about, and the sand gnats making an all-you-can-eat buffet out of your lower extremities. So if you absolutely must go to this tourist trap, bring some cover for legs and arms. Those little buggers can get vicious ‘round dusk.


for fresh baked breakfast

Harris Baking Company – Nothing starts the day off as well as a good breakfast. Harris Baking Company offers a mouth-watering selection of fresh-baked breads and pastries, good quality coffee, and a pleasant environment to mull over the morning paper. It’s perfect, not-too-heavy fuel for a long day of Savannah sightseeing.

The Other First Lady of Savannah’s Food Scene
Paula Deen undoubtedly put Savannah on the culinary map - which explains why so many people flock to The Lady and Sons, her iconic restaurant that features classic southern fare. The food at The Lady and Sons is damned good, but if you’re looking for a more authentic southern dining experience in Savannah, Mrs. Wilkes is your best bet.


for food like grandma used to make

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room (Cash only!) – Every time I think of Mrs. Wilkes, I have to drop my head and shake it back and forth like an old woman in church. Partly because of the trials and tribulations I had to go through to get there. But mostly because of the sweet glory that awaited me when I finally made it in! The wait for Mrs. Wilkes can be 1-2 hours, which you’ll spend standing outside in a line that snakes to the end of the block. Use the time to get to know your neighbors, since you’ll all be dining together at that big, bountiful buffet on the other side. Once you’re seated, the aunties start bringing the food. A head-swirling array of bowls heaped high with true Southern classics: rutabagas, succotash, turnip greens, cabbage, mashed potatoes, rice and gravy, black eyed peas, green beans, sweet potato soufflé, carrot salad, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, bbq pork, sausages, biscuits, and cornbread… and that’s just a sampling of the dishes presented. Each is a textbook demonstration of how these Southern soul food staples should taste. Halleluuuu!

savannah-mrs-wilkes      savannah-mrs-wilkes-dining-room


notable mentions:

Here are a few more places that I haven’t yet visited but have gotten glowing reviews from trusted foodie friends.

Eat Like a Savannah Local: Off the Beaten Path
For more restaurants and attractions that may not show up in the Savannah tourist guides, check out: a compilation of Savannah restaurants and watering holes that locals love and visitors often overlook.

Seafoodlicious – Rumored to serve up some of Savannah’s best low country boil and blue crabs. It’s located in an area that’s not as aesthetically pleasing as downtown Savannah. But you’re here for the food, not the scenery.

Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House – Paula Deen’s other Savannah restaurant, co-operated by her brother Bubba – Asian-fusion bar food, serious nightly drink specials, and an urban chic vibe

Zunzi’s Take Out and Catering - gourmet salads, sandwiches, and more for lunch on the run



how to do atlanta - jeju sauna

The communal bath house is a relaxing tradition that’s found in many cultures, but most Americans would raise an eyebrow at the notion of visiting a 24-hour Korean spa. Rest assured, it’s not that kind of affair, even though the hot-pink neon signage out front might make you think otherwise.

$25 gets you a locker and unlimited access to the facilities at Jeju, plus a standard-issue, one-size-fits-all short set that evokes images of Logan’s Run. If lounging au naturale is your thing, the gender-separate locker rooms have showers, steam rooms, and soaking pools, and for an extra fee, you can have one of the older lady masseuses smack you up, flip you, and rub you down.

You might opt to literally spend the night in the large common area, which boasts 7 different therapeutic saunas – like the Jade room and the Charcoal Room, a large swimming pool, and a quick-serve Korean snack bar. Just a few hours at Jeju makes for a happy ending you don’t have to be ashamed of.



Jeju Sauna 3555 Gwinnett Place Drive Duluth, GA 30096

how to do atlanta - visit the beltline

Usually, if you want to get to know a city, you visit monuments of its past. But if you really want to get to know Atlanta, you can also take a tour of its future. The Beltline—a multi-year, multi-billion dollar urban renewal effort—is also a symbol of the things Atlantans love most about their town: its historic neighborhoods, urban green spaces, and its legacy of rising from the ashes. Today, the Beltline isn’t much more than 22 miles of abandoned, overgrown rail lines. But enthusiastic tour guides will lead you by bus, bike, or foot on a journey behind the scenes and into the future of the South’s brightest city. Don’t expect pristinely picturesque scenery. Like the future, the beauty of the Beltline is less about what you can see with your eyes, and more about what you can imagine in your mind.



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