Southwest Florida Getaway

The group flew into Fort Meyers airport and rented a car to explore the area for a week. We were able to find an Airbnb in Cape Coral last minute with a screened-in pool and hot tub, a dock, a full kitchen, and plenty of sleeping and hang-out space.

My heart has always been drawn to the west coast of Florida. Since my first visit when I was 10, I knew there was something special about the west coast. When our plans fell through to travel to Aruba in January, I knew exactly where we needed to go! We were able to plan a stellar vacation to Southwest Florida in about 5 days!

The group flew into Fort Meyers airport and rented a car to explore the area for a week. We were able to find an Airbnb in Cape Coral last minute with a screened-in pool and hot tub, a dock, a full kitchen, and plenty of sleeping and hang-out space. Cape Coral ended up being an unexpectedly delightful location to spend the week. It was full of conveniences like grocery stores, local coffee places (my fav haha), and restaurants. What is neat about Cape Coral is all the canals! Many houses are located on the canals, so we had a stunning view from the screened-in patio/pool/ hot tub area.

The only downfall to the location was the distance from the beach. We were about a 40 – 60 minute drive to the beach due to traffic. Since the drive was not too bad to the beaches, we spent 4 days relaxing on beaches. We went to the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach, Bowman’s beach on Sanibel, and Fort Myers beach.

The Sanibel Lighthouse beach had convenient and clean bathrooms, was not too crowded, and the water was excellent for swimming. There was a fee to park, but you could pay with a credit card. This is a place where many people park their boats on the shoreline and spend time on the beach; it’s really cool to see!

Bowman’s Beach is further down on Sanibel, and it felt very uninhibited. The more rural vibe to this beach quickly made it one of my favorites. The walk to the beach is a little further than other beaches, but it is a stunning walk. You walk through nature and pass nice bathrooms and changing facilities. There was a fee to park, but you could pay with a credit card. We went to Southwest Florida in the high season, so there were a good amount of people on the beach, but it was not terribly crowded. The water was wonderful for swimming, and the beach had beautiful seashells!

Fort Myers Beach and the surrounding area felt more like a beach town. There was a good amount of traffic coming into Fort Myers, the parking was harder to find, and many places were cash only. The sand on the beach felt like powdered sugar, and the seashells were terrific! Some in our group were able to parasail right from the beach! This beach was pretty crowded; however, the two days we went, we could still find a place to set up our chairs!

We had two other days that we decided not to go to the beach!
One of the days, some of us in the group got pedicures in the morning, and then we went to Naples for the evening! We choose to go to Ocean Prime for their Early Bird dinner special. It was an incredible restaurant with incredible food! They even had excellent gluten-free food options and gluten-free bread!! We spent the evening walking around Naples and popping in and out of the cute local shops.

The other day we chose not to spend at the beach, we decided to go on a wild adventure! There is a ferry that goes from Fort Meyers to Key West, so we decided to plan a day trip down to Key West! The boat ride took about 4 hours one way, and we had about 4-5 hours in Key West to explore. The boat was nice and not too rocky. They had decent bathrooms, food, and even played a movie. We rented bikes to explore Duvall Street and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. There are even golf carts you could rent for a few hours too. If you want to see a lot in a short period of time, I highly recommend renting a bike or golf cart! We had lunch at the famous Sloppy Joe’s, saw the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, and got Key Lime Pie at The Original Key Lime Pie Bakery. The time in Key West was short but sweet. I think taking the boat was a great idea but in the future, I would love to stay for a night or two to make the long boat ride more worth it!

Overall, our trip was a relaxing yet adventurous getaway! I loved escaping the cooler weather in the Northeast for a week! If you’re looking for a beach getaway, especially in the cooler months in the north, check out Southwest Florida!

Virtually Traveling

Anyone else craving adventure and ready to travel?

I have been stuck within my state borders because of the pandemic, so naturally, I am itching to travel.

There has been one thing keeping my wanderlust at bay, virtual traveling! I know it doesn’t sound as exciting as packing a bag and getting out there, but I have been loving seeing new places worldwide. I have found places I never knew I wanted to travel to!

Here are my favorite ways to travel virtually right now!

Ariel America

It began with my dad turning this on during slow Sunday mornings and has turned into me finding episodes on YouTube with states I am eager to learn about. Ariel America is the perfect blend of telling their audience about the state’s nature, history, culture, landmarks, etc.! If you are interested in learning about the United States of America, check out Ariel America!

Rick StevesEurope

Rick Steves’ Europe shows are fantastic! He is just a regular guy touring beautiful places all over Europe. He takes you along on realistic trips all over Europe. Some of my favorites have been the Greek Isles, Palermo, Sicily, and Southeast England. I find his show on YouTube! If you’re craving some European adventure, check out Rick Steves!

Down to Earth with Zac Efron

This show was unexpectedly great. It was incredibly informative and showed places I have had my eye on traveling to for awhile. I found it neat that the show focuses on finding healthy and more sustainable ways of living. If you’re looking for a unique way to virtually travel, check out Down to Earth!

Happy Traveling!

3 Fun Facts About Iceland

The Book Flood
I learned about this tradition one year when I was researching Icelandic Christmas traditions. Books and reading are a large part of the Icelandic culture. Leading up to Christmas many books are published and books sales increase drastically. Every Christmas Eve, Icelanders must receive a new books and chocolates to take to bed with them. After, it is common for Icelanders to discuss and critique the books they read over the holidays.
Check out this comprehensive article to learn more about this tradition:,published%20for%20every%201%2C000%20Icelanders.&text=It’s%20a%20national%20tradition%2C%20and,the%20%22Christmas%20Book%20Flood.%22

Icelandic Horses
Icelandic Horses are like no other horse on the planet. They have luscious manes and are quite majestic. Before 1000 AD, Iceland put into law that no other horses can be brought to Iceland and once a horse leaves, it cannot return to Iceland. Because of that, they are one of the purest horse breeds in the world. These horses are coveted and well taken care of. Their average life span is 40 years. They are truly stunning to see in person and the photos you see do not do them justices.
You can take a look at some I saw when I was in Iceland here:

Icelandic Hot Dogs
Believe it or not, Icelanders love hot dogs. Hot dogs are wildly popular and a must have when you visit. They are made a bit different than American hot dogs. Lamb, pork, and beef are used to make Icelandic hot dogs instead of the pork and beef we are used to. In Iceland, it is common to add lots of toppings! When I was in Iceland I ordered one with everything on it and it was delicious!
If you want to learn more about Iceland hots dogs check out this article:

I fell in love with a coffee shop in Selfoss, Iceland.

In the South of Iceland, on route 1, is a little town called Selfoss. We stayed at an Airbnb a few miles from Selfoss. Selfoss quickly grasped my heart. This town had everything we could have asked for; grocery stores, nature, gas stations, shops, and a coffee shop.

Bokakaffid is a book store and coffee shop rolled into one. There are little tables tucked in every corner of this quaint book store. They shelves are lined with Icelandic and English books of all sorts.

It was a dream sitting in this coffee shop/ book store relaxing on the days we weren’t driving all over. I ordered my favorite espresso drink, a cappuccino, and paroozed the bookshelves. I also was able to grab Kleinur, which is an Icelandic donut. I quickly fell in love with this coffee shop.

There were many coffee shops in Iceland that had great coffee and that I enjoyed their atmosphere, but Bokakaffid really topped them all.

I cannot wait to return to Selfoss one day and spend an afternoon drinking coffee and relaxing there.

You can learn more about Selfoss here:

You can learn more about Bokakaffid here:

You can learn more about Kleinur here:

5 Places You Should Visit In Iceland

Since it is the anniversary of my trip to Iceland, I felt inspired to highlight some of my favorite places I visited on my trip. I would highly recommend all of these places if you plan a trip to Iceland. I fell in love with each of these places for different reasons. Here are the 5 places you should add to your itinerary.

Diamond Beach and Glacier Lagoon It was a dream of mine to see icebergs in real life. Not only did this experience meet my expectations, but it also exceeded them. We did the boat tour in glacier lagoon, and it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Seeing the icebergs up close and learning about them was a surreal experience. The tour guide had a huge chunk of an iceberg on the boat and gave pieces to all of us to see how clear the ice is. You could even lick it to taste some of the freshest water on the planet.
Right next to the lagoon is diamond beach. Small ice chunks float and rest on the beach there. You can walk along the soft black sand beach and see the ice sparkling like diamonds on the shore. I highly recommend adding this to your itinerary. Make sure you give yourself enough time for the tour and walking on the beach. You will not regret it.

Blue Lagoon
I know many would deem this location as too touristy, but I would beg to differ. The Blue Lagoon is a stunning example of Iceland’s geothermal power. Additionally, the healing benefits of its water are incredibly unique. See more about that here:

I went in the later evening during the summer, so the sun was still shining the entire time. It also was not crowded. I loved face mask options and swim-up drink bar. The few hours we were there were rejuvenating. Our trip was jam-packed, and this gave us some much-needed relaxation time. Overall, I definitely recommend the blue lagoon. If you are worried about crowds, go during a time of day that isn’t as popular as in the later evening like I did.

Reykjavík The capital city of Iceland was one of my favorite places to explore. The city is smaller and walk-able. We spent a day walking around and was able to see all the main tourist sites while visiting little shops, and eating is cute restaurants. I really recommend spending a day here without an itinerary. It was a blessing being able to just go where the wind took me. If you do want to plan some activities, they have some local walking tours available that might be an excellent way to see the city!

Snæfellsnes Peninsula
This area of Iceland is out of this world. This peninsula is where I saw a seal in its natural habitat, rock arches created by the sea, and a stunning pointy mountain called Kirkjufell. Exploring this area of Iceland is definitely a must if you have time. Arnarstapi, the little village where the rock arches were, captured my heart. It has a quiet beauty unparalleled to many places on earth. This peninsula really feels untouched and raw. Really, the best way to explain this area of Iceland is out of this world.

Westman Islands
Last but certainly not least the Westman Islands. Also known as Heimaey, the Westman Islands are definitely a hidden gem of Iceland. We traveled to the main island called Heimaey by ferry from the mainland of Iceland. We spent the day exploring this little island. We grabbed breakfast and coffee at a cute little cafe, hiked an extinct volcano, walked around the small town, and visited little shops. This quaint town is influenced by the history of the Eldfell volcano eruption in the 1970s. It erupted for months. The hardened lava from the eruption created a barrier on the one side of town. On this island, you can see puffins and explore stunning nature. My day here was one of my most relaxing and coveted days of the trip.


Maybe it’s the fact that this week marks 3 years since my trip to Iceland. Maybe Taylor Swift’s new Folklore album has me in my feels. This week I have felt Hiraeth intensely.

I have always felt a longing to travel. A longing to go to certain places. A longing to return to a place after a vacation to somewhere I can’t seem to get out of my head.

I felt this longing before I even traveled to Iceland. I felt connected to a county I had never been to. I have felt it every day since—a longing to return to a place that feels out of this world to my heart and soul.
I tried to put this feeling into words many times and could never say it just right.

I came across the word Hiraeth, and it seems to fit this feeling pretty well. I connected with this section of the definition “It’s an unattainable longing for a place, a person, a figure, even a national history that may never have actually existed. To feel hiraeth is to feel a deep incompleteness and recognize it as familiar.”
I found this definition on this website that describes the word in-depth:
Also, the way you pronounce it is “here-eyeth”.

Hiraeth more accurately describes what many call post-vacation blues for me. Many times it isn’t just sadness of leaving a beautiful place. I connect to certain places and yearn to return and experience them again.

Traveling is stunning, exciting, and fun, but not many people talk about how you feel after you return from a trip. The longing to return to the place that captured your heart. In this time of not traveling as much as you typically would, please take care of yourself if you are experiencing hiraeth. You will travel soon again and see all of the places you long for.

Winter Refresh: Travel Edition

I find it that the holidays are perceived to be relaxing due to the time you have off of work and that you get to spend time with family and friends. I believe the holidays are some of the most unrelaxing and stressful times of the year. Don’t get me wrong, the days off of work and sleeping in can help to recharge a bit but at the end of the day, I don’t get to just relax. Between late nights filled with fun family activities, completing tasks and errands that are hard to do while at work, and traveling from place to place to celebrate, the holidays can leave you tired and dreading January.

I think it can be important to prioritize self-care for the first 2 weeks of January. Go to bed early, do a relaxing activity, go for a walk, whatever self-care is for you do it! I find that mid-January is when winter gets tough. Usually, the cold weather gets colder ( at least where I am from) and the hype from the holidays has fully dissipated. This is the time where I recommend a winter refresh!

A winter refresh is where you plan an activity, go somewhere, or do something to excite you and increase your moral at a rather gloomy time of year. Here are some ways to do a winter refresh:


  1. Travel somewhere that has the opposite temperature/ climate of where you live. 
    If the temperature where you live is hot, go somewhere cold. If where you live is cold, go somewhere warm. This breaks up the monotony of January and makes you feel like you’re experiencing something new. This also lets you indulge in activities that you may not be able to do in your area at this time of year. How cool would it be to lay on a beach during the winter when you are from a cold area and are used to frigid temperatures? How fun would it be to ski the slopes of mountains for a week if you’re from a warmer climate?
    In 2017, I traveled to a warm place in January and a cold place in August. The temperature change was an amazing aspect of both trips. That winter did not feel so long and cold and that summer wasn’t too humid and hot.
    If you are able to, getaway for a week and travel to somewhere new with a different climate than your home has right now!
  2. Try an activity that you can only do at this time of year. 
    Whatever season you are experiencing, there are activities around your area that can only be done in this season. For me, it’s winter and cold right now. Living in the mountains, common activities near me are skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, etc. These activities have a timestamp and end whenever the temperature and precipitation decided it in late winter/ early spring. It is also a good time to try cozy indoor activities like getting a hot beverage at a coffee shop!
    If you are in a rainy season is there a hiking trail that has an awesome waterfall that you can only see in the rainy season? Is it super hot where you are? Head to a cool indoor activity you have always wanted to try or dive into water sports!
    I challenge you to plan a fun activity for the end of January that has you taking advantage of the current season you are in.
  3. Visit a location you love in its offseason.
    The beach is an awesome place to visit when its warm and you can lay in the sun all day but have you ever been to the beach when it’s cold?
    I highly suggest visiting a place that you love where January is its offseason. You already love the location and it will be fun to see it in a new light. Traveling to a place in its offseason gives you a new perspective of that location and you may notice new and exciting things!
    I try to do this whenever I can! Just the other day I visited the lake that I kayak on during the summer. With the trees bare and lake frozen, I noticed new things about the area that I don’t see in the summer. I also love visiting the beach in the offseason. There is something about a vacant beach with loud, crashing, winter waves that excites me in a unique way.

Don’t let January get you down this year and plan something fun! Whether it’s a half-day activity or a week-long vacation, do something this month for YOU!

What do you plan on doing to spice up your January?