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    Asia & Oceania Travel  --  Inspire

    My Adventure in Papua New Guinea

    Location: Papua New Guinea

    I spent 12 days in Papua New Guinea in September. Twelve remarkable days. I learned and saw so much…and yet…just scratched the surface of this uniquely fascinating, isolated and diverse culture. I don’t know it all, but here is what I know – My Adventure in Papua New Guinea.

    Why Papua New Guinea

    It’s taken me a few weeks to finalize this blog post – there was so much to consider. During my visit to PNG many of my followers reached out asking why we had chosen to visit this remote destination. The best way I can answer this question is this; as we have explored the world these past seven years, our thirst to deeply experience new cultures has grown. Seven years ago I could not have found Papua New Guinea on a map. Today, after visiting so many nations (both highly touristed and off the beaten track), I want more. I am not satiated – rather I’m intrigued, engaged, and astounded. The clarity and understanding that comes from travel takes hold of something deep inside. It opens your heart and mind to tolerance and broadens a quest for understanding. And if I am doing anything right, travel gives me an opportunity to share an inclusive understanding of the world.

    Goroka Festival
    Goroka Festival

    As we begin to explore lesser-traveled destinations, we find ourselves booking more tours than at anytime before in our travels. Like last spring in Bolivia (see A Very Big Bolivian Adventure here), booking with a reputable company was important for our visit to Papua New Guinea.

    Goroka Festival


    Relatively little archeological work has been carried out on the island of New Guinea. On the basis of current evidence, it has been postulated that parts of New Guinea were occupied as early as 50,000 years ago. This population is primarily the Melanesian people. The Melanesians are an ancient group who migrated from Asian areas to populate the island now known as New Guinea. (Source Britanica)

    Village bamboo flute playing

    This ancient peoples developed into regional tribal structures throughout today’s New Guinea, living off the land and the sea and often warring with each other. Today Papua New Guinea has more than 800 tribal languages – a reflection of the insular tribal system that has endured for tens of thousands of years.

    Goroka Festival


    Considered one of the world’s most remote and least explored areas, Papua New Guinea remains a mysterious and misunderstood place in the world. A country of some 7 million people, there are anywhere from 350 to 600 distinct tribes depending on which source you reference. Many tribes continue to live in such remote areas they have little contact with the outside world. Parts of the country, particularly in the north, experience tribal warfare even today and are considered too dangerous for visitors.

    Village warrior demonstration


    The earliest missionaries are thought to have arrived on the island in the 1500’s and continue to have a presence among the island people today. Through colonization, de-colonization and eventually independence in 1976, missionaries have provided stable assistance in education and religion for many of the local people. Today much of the population claims to be Christian at some level.

    Goroka Festival

    Goroka Festival

    The reason we visited Papua New Guinea in September is to attend the annual Goroka Festival, the oldest continuous festival in the nation, and where I took the majority of these photos. The Goroka Festival, always held the weekend of Independence Day, was founded by Australian missionaries in 1957. It was conceived as a way to bring tribes together in a non-violent way and to celebrate the individual differences and diversity of the island nation.

    Goroka Festival

    The 2023 Goroka Festival we attended was the largest festival ever held, bringing 157 tribes together from around the country. Many tribes cannot afford to attend the festival annually…so we were thrilled to witness the largest one ever held. Some tribes walk for a week to get to the three-day festival in the mountain town of Goroka (population 19,000).

    Black Face Jumping Tribe at the Goroka Festival

    VIP Treatment

    About three-hundred VIP guest tickets are allowed. This gives access to people like me, to be up close and personal with the various tribes on the festival grounds (a soccer field). We were allowed access to the tribal celebrations from 8am to 2pm on each day, before the gates were open to the general public. Each tribe brings to the event their special form of traditional dress, dance and music. Known as a “sing-sing”, some of the tribes do a “sing-sing” style dance with music while other tribes have a more military style of marching. Still others present a seated “sing-sing”. It was loud, colorful, a bit overwhelming and an absolutely remarkable thing to behold. I felt very grateful to witness something so few outsiders ever get to see.

    Mossmen at Goroka Festival

    Some of the most fascinating tribes we found were the Huli Wig Men, the Mossmen of Jiwaka and the jumping Black Face Tribe. Such a fascinating difference between the look and dance styles makes it clear how little interaction the tribes have with each other.

    Huli Wigmen at Goroka Festival

    Village Visits

    As part of our tour we also had a unique opportunity to visit several villages throughout the country. Our first opportunity was the Asaro Mud Men Eco Lodge village, where, during the Goroka Festival, numerous tribes from the region come together to share with guests music, stories, arts and crafts, food and dance. We spent several hours here getting our first taste of the wide variety of cultures of the Island. The event provided photo opportunities as well as a chance to talk to some of the local people about their crafts and way of life. The fascinating Asaro Mud Men, the cane swallowing Bena Tribe and the Oma Bruglgoma Skeleton Tribe were all fascinating.

    Asaro Mud Men
    Omo Bruglgoma Skelton Tribe

    After we left the Goroka Festival and drove to the Mount Hagen region, we had another full day of visiting small villages. On this day we visited a small mountain village where they presented two dances and showed how they use a bamboo flute. We visited another village where we learned about ancient tools and beliefs and were greeted by the chief, his wife, mother and grandmother.

    The chief and his family
    Demonstrating ancient tools

    Everyday Life

    At another small village we saw the local people panning for gold, drying coffee beans and cooking the evening meal. It’s important to note that most villagers today only don the traditional costume and makeup for festivals, ceremonies, special guests, weddings, funerals and holidays. On a day to day basis they will dress in informal work clothing like you see in the photos below.

    Humble dinner at home
    Drying coffee
    Beautiful produce at the local market

    The Huli Wigmen

    And finally my absolute favorite village visit was to the Huli Wigman village. These fascinating people have such a unique custom for the young men in the tribe.

    Visting the Huli Wigman Village. The chief in the middle and his son on the right. The chief has a small reed pierced through his nose indicating his status.

    The clothes, colors and headdresses are complemented by a dramatic wig worn only by men. Each wig is made from their own hair. The process of making a wig takes 18 months. Young boys are sent to “wig school” to make their wig from their own hair as it grows during the 18 months. Only virgin boys can make the wigs. Sometimes boys and men make several wigs in their lifetime. At first glance it’s hard to tell that the headdress is made from human hair. Some of the head pieces are so intricate and are decorated with feathers and other natural items.

    Wigmen headdress made from human hair

    In addition to this amazing cultural ritual, the high pitched musical song the Huli sing while dancing is distinctive and mesmerizing.

    They look fierce but they were so nice and welcoming to us
    Listen to the high note and remember the head dress is made from hair


    Because I have been asked about cannibalism I must take a moment to answer this question here. It is well documented that a couple of the tribes of Papua New Guinea have practiced cannibalism. But it is not a custom among the majority of tribes. It is possible it still happens today…our guide told us the last documented incident was in 2016. To be clear, cannibalism in Papau New Guinea is not about a source of food…rather it is believed by some tribes that eating the brain of a revered family member or chief or even of an enemy killed in warfare will give the person strength and special powers.

    Asaro Mudmen Village “penis” dance

    But the truth was that the few tribes practicing cannibalism begun to experience serious deadly disease that was annihilating their tribes. Sometimes called “laughing disease” those who ate the dead bodies usually were dead themselves within a year.

    The practice is illegal and education efforts have been made to help the tribes understand how dangerous it is. Learn more about it here.

    How to Visit Papua New Guinea

    My Adventure in Papua New Guinea was remarkable. Writing this blog post has been difficult, because this experience was difficult, but also incredibly rewarding. The opportunity to visit one of the most remote and unexplored places in the world was such a gift. I have no regrets.

    Our bus got stuck and we had to walk
    Food and accommodations are very basic

    That said, this is not a place for everyone. It’s hard to be here. Accommodations are basic to say the least. It’s hot. But also cold and wet (we went as high as 9000 feet in elevation). Infrastructure is poor. Flights are often canceled or delayed…roads are truly awful in certain places. There are bugs and snakes. And the food is bland, starchy and usually poorly seasoned and served lukewarm. But I felt safe and everyone we met was friendly and welcoming. The people are somewhat shy, soft-spoken and as interested in us as we were in them. They are extremely patriotic.

    Moon Mountain Lodge was at 5000 foot elevation

    You need a guide to see this country and many guiding services are available. We chose to do a group tour with a company called Indigo Safaries-The Best of Papua New Guinea Tours. This company does the annual Goroka Festival as well as takes guests to the Sepik River region and on diving excursions.

    Flying is useful since the infrastructure is poor.

    If you are interested in visiting, I highly recommend coming during September and experiencing the Goroka Festival. You won’t ever forget it. But additionally, the country is host to several other tribal festivals through out the year so do your research. Hopefully My Adventure in Papua New Guinea has opened your eyes to this unusual destination.

    Everyone was so friendly at the Goroka Festival

    My Adventure in Papua New Guinea

    Next week I will share with you about the stunning bird life we discovered in Papua New Guinea. A truly phenomenal collection of rare and beautiful birds call New Guinea home. Check back next week for another new post. And watch for lots of new posts in the weeks ahead about Hong Kong and Bohol Philippines.

    If you want to see about our upcoming destinations read Year Eight of the Grand Adventure Begins here.

    As always, we thank you for engaging in our posts, pinning, sharing, and commenting. Thank you for reading my post My Adventure in Papua New Guinea.

    Become a World Traveler  --  Inspire

    Year Eight of the Grand Adventure Begins

    Many images in today’s post from Canva

    In the beginning we didn’t know if we would do this for 6 months or six years. In the beginning we didn’t know much. But eight years later, 270,539 miles flown, 128 countries visited – well we know a lot. And yes, I do count countries, particularly now as I work to keep track of the growing number.

    It was 2016 when we launched our travel life. After three years of prep – we were anxious to get started. But as we launched, we also knew we had a lot still to learn. Honestly, we won’t ever stop learning. The magnificent cultures, ancient history, remarkable people, delicious food…it’s all been such an eye-opening experience.

    Suitcase nomad
    Our bags the day we left November 2016 – so shiny and clean. We still are using the same bags today.

    Covid cramped our style for a while, but, we actually learned a lot from the PanDamit too. We learned to be more spontaneous, flexible and adventurous. We have learned to navigate a more difficult travel environment, more expensive and more crowded. We also give more consideration to overtourism, choosing as much as possible the less traveled destinations. But here we are, Year Eight of the Grand Adventure Begins.

    How Much More?

    Year Seven in Bolivia

    We get this question a lot. We don’t exactly know the answer…but we both feel some changes will happen in year nine. Perhaps shorter trips, with more time at home between the trips…perhaps? What we do know is we have put together a very unique itinerary that will take us on the road for eight months from Asia to Europe, Oceania to Africa – hitting some major bucket list destinations. It’s time to do it again.

    One Thing Different

    There is one thing a bit different this time…we are doing more tours than ever before. Why? Because as we traverse the countries we still would like to visit, many are difficult to navigate without a guide. Like last spring in Bolivia, we have chosen to allow reputable tour companies to take us through three places this time; Papua New Guinea, Socotra (off the coast of Yemen), and Madagascar. See more about these destinations below.

    Where do we Begin?

    Papua New Guinea

    Papua New Guinea (Canva)

    Confirmed 12 days – tour

    In September we have a long grueling travel day from Seattle to LA to Manila and finally to Papua New Guinea. We will spend 12 days in PNG with a company called Indigo Safaris. We will be two of only about 400 non-natives to witness the annual Goroka Festival where more than 100 tribes of Papua New Guinea come together to celebrate their unique and colorful culture. Did you know there are 800 languages in Papua New Guinea?

    Hong Kong

    Hong Kong (Canva)

    Confirmed 7 days – Airbnb

    After PNG we will head to the big city of Hong Kong. We were meant to visit Hong Kong in 2019, but the riots there had us changing our plans. We will try again; I have booked a cooking class, some tours and we also plan to walk across the border to the tiny country of Macau.


    Cebu Philippines (Canva)

    Confirmed 32 days – Airbnb

    Next stop the island of Bohol in the Philippines. We have only briefly been in Manila, and we look forward to a relaxing month on Bohol where we can kick back and regroup in October after the whirlwind of September.

    Winter Down Under


    Hobart Tasmania (Canva)

    Confirmed 4 weeks in an RV mainland and 30 days Airbnb Tasmania

    As usual we like to spend as much time as possible in perpetual summer, so all of November and all of December we will be down under. We visited Australia very early in the Grand Adventure, but there is so much more we want to see. This time we begin in Brisbane. Then we have rented an RV for one month to travel south to Melbourne at a slow pace. In early December we fly to the Australian island of Tasmania and spend all of December relaxing in Hobart where we have rented a darling historic home.

    We debated about heading from here to one or two of our past favorite countries (New Zealand and French Polynesia) but instead we will fly west. We know we will be back to those countries again some day.

    South East Asia


    Singapore (Canva)

    Confirmed 3 days hotel

    I love this city/country but boy is it expensive, so we will just have a quick visit to say hello again to one of the world’s most beautiful places.


    Koh Chang Thailand (Canva)

    Confirmed 30 days Airbnb

    Back to Thailand! Thailand was the very FIRST country we visited when we began the Grand Adventure in November 2016. It’s a beautiful country; friendly, inexpensive, and delicious. We will spend one month on the island of Koh Chang.



    Sicily Italy (Canva)

    Confirmed 7 days road trip Bologna to Puglio and 19 days Airbnb Sicily

    Even though it will only be February, we are headed to the amazing country of Italy for an entire month. Keeping our fingers crossed for dry and not too cold; we will visit Bologna and the country of San Marino, the Puglia region and then on to Sicily.



    Egypt (Canva)

    Confirmed 3 days hotel

    We will have a brief stop back in Cairo as we transit through but we are holding a couple of days open in hopes that the new, decades in the making, Egyptian Museum will be open. But we are really going to Egypt because that is where we pick up our tour to…


    Socotra, Yemen (Canva)

    Confirmed 7 days private tour

    Not on many people’s bucket list, Yemen was never on mine either. But my husband has long wanted to visit the island of Socotra off the coast of Yemen ever since we read the book The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie. This is a more complicated country to visit, so we are on a private tour. We are using the company Inertia, who we have spent months working with to make this happen. Should definitely be different…and exciting.

    Back to Europe


    Crete, Greece (Canva)

    Confirmed 18 days Airbnb

    Back to Europe we go, with our first stop the island of Crete. This is one of the Greek Islands we have not visited, and I have heard so much about it. So we will spend 18 days enjoying the Greek life (and food) once again. Here we will be joined by friends, two couples we really enjoy traveling with.


    Albania (Canva)

    Not yet confirmed

    We are still trying to work our way through the last of the countries we had to abandon when Covid shut down our travels, and Albania is one. We have really enjoyed all of the Balkan countries we have visited over the years and it is one of our most favorite regions in the world. Inexpensive and so welcoming, we look forward to one week in Albania.

    North Macedonia

    Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia (Canva)

    Not yet confirmed

    An easy drive over the border from Albania we could just do a day-trip to North Macedonia but we really want to spend some time in the beautiful Lake Ohrid region we have heard so much about. So we will visit for four days then return to Albania for our flight out.


    Serbia (Canva)

    Not yet confirmed

    An easy flight to Belgrade will get us to Serbia. We only plan to be in Belgrade one day, then we will do a road trip to many of the ancient and beautiful sites in this landlocked country and former Yugoslavian state. Serbia remains a less visited part of Central Europe and I can’t wait to see it.


    Vienna Austria (Canva)

    Not yet confirmed

    Somehow I have traveled all over Europe but have missed Vienna entirely. My husband has been there and keeps telling me I will LOVE it, so Vienna it is for four days. It’s also a great place to get a flight to our next destination.

    And Back to Africa


    Madagascar (Canva)

    Confirmed 10 days tour with Fosa Travel

    From Vienna we will fly via Addis Ababa Ethiopia to the island of Madagascar. We have been blessed to visit several Indian Ocean islands, but Madagascar is a first for us. We have booked a private tour for ten days with Fosa Travel and it will be a dream come true for me to see the Lemurs and the magnificent Baobab Trees. A very big Bucket List for me.

    Back to Europe to Wrap It Up

    Spain and Andorra

    Andorra (Canva)

    Not yet confirmed

    Andorra is one of our Covid-deleted countries, and I am excited to see this tiny country that borders Spain. We will fly into Barcelona and drive to Andorra for a short four day visit before returning to Barcelona for our flight back to Seattle. We expect to arrive back in Seattle May 17th; 19 countries, 8 months and a lifetime of memories.

    Year Eight of the Grand Adventure Begins

    Year Eight here we come!

    I’ll say again, we have no intention of trying to visit every country in the world (BTW there are 195 recognized countries. United Nations recognizes 193 and there are a couple unrecognized we have visited including Taiwan). However, after this trip, we still have a few left in the bucket. So, as we think about what lies ahead, we certainly know we will never stop traveling. We know we have some rock solid favorites we would like to return to. We know we have some difficult countries left we would like to see with a guide. But we also know, particularly after the PanDamit, we should not look too far out into the future…things can change so fast. So, we will embrace year eight with bells on, and we hope you will come along for the ride. As always, we feel so grateful to all of you who faithfully read and ask questions and engage with us through our crazy travel life. Thank you.

    Note – there may be times when I can not make a deadline to have a travel post every Friday. Additionally I expect to not have easy access to WiFi. Just keep watching and I’ll get to it as soon as I can.

    See last week’s post, our final of the Hidden Gems series, Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Pampered Wilderness Millersylvania.

    See our post My Travel Wardrobe – 8 Months & 19 Countries 2023 here.

    Considering full-time or long-term travel yourself? I wrote this post last year and it may help answer some of your questions. Click here for Becoming A Traveler. We’d love to connect out in the Big World with you!

    We love it when you comment, pin and share our posts. Thank you. Away we go!

    Inspire  --  North America Travel

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Pampered Wilderness Millersylvania

    Location: Pacific Northwest

    As I have researched and written this Hidden Gems series this summer I have made some wonderful discoveries…many of which I didn’t have a chance to write about! Perhaps next summer I will continue the quest for all the Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest. But in the meantime, today’s final post of the series is about a very unique discovery, and one you should really check out. Let me tell you about Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Pampered Wilderness Millersylvania.

    Rustic Retreat Cabin, Pampered Wilderness, Millersylvania

    Millersylvania State Park

    For all of my life growing up in the Puget Sound region, I have driven by the sign on Interstate 5 near Olympia directing to Millersylvania State Park. But I have never been there. What an incredible surprise to discover this gorgeous state park, easily accessible to most of the major population centers of western Washington. Wooded campsites, multiple group sites, historic structures, hiking trails, and a Deep Lake…Millersylvania is amazing. It is also home to the only tap house within a Washington State Park…Lakeside Taphouse. So much to explore here!

    Old Growth
    So Many Trails
    Lakeside Taphouse
    One of many historic structures built in the 1930’s by the Conservation Corp
    Ponds and Lakes to enjoy

    Pampered Wilderness

    But the most astonishing discoveries at Millersylvania are the seven “glamping” canvas tents called Pampered Wilderness. What a surprise to find this independently run operation within a State Park. And these little babies aren’t shabby! Beautifully appointed, sparkling clean and comfortable.

    One of seven, we chose Rustic Retreat for our visit

    The seven Cabins or Cottages as they are referred to, are sturdy canvas tents, with wood floors and beams. Each with comfortable Queen Bed, linens, dishes, coffee maker, spices, small refrigerator and microwave. There is no running water but a water container is provided. Additionally there is small deck with chair, a picnic table and a sparkling clean barbecue. Units are all a short walk to the campground bathroom and shower.

    Well constructed and comfortable


    We have “glamped” a couple of times before, and had a particularly lovely experience outside of Aspen Colorado a few years ago. Pampered Wilderness was just as nice, and much closer to home. We visited Pampered Wilderness on a Sunday and Monday night in early August (they are open April through October) and found the park not full but still pretty busy. But we didn’t experience any noise or difficulty.

    The section of Millersylvania that Pampered Wilderness is in is beautifully wooded Old Growth forest with tent sites or sites for very small trailers. Larger RV’s are housed in a different part of the park. We spent one entire day walking the trails of Millersylvania – 8 miles of hiking without getting in our car.

    Lots of room

    Our “cabin” was called Rustic Retreat, but depending on your aesthetic taste you can choose Safari Suite, Shabby Chic, Modern Wilderness, Country Cabin, Cozy Cottage or Fairly Light Cottage. Nightly rate is $244.50 plus tax for two guests. A third guest is an additional $25 and a cot is provided.

    History of the Park

    The Pampered Wilderness website has great information about the history of this beautiful area. They say…

    Historic tree farm

    This historic 842 acre park is nestled in broad stands of old-growth cedar and fir trees. With over 3,000 feet of freshwater shoreline on Deep Lake, it attracts boaters, swimmers and fishermen. It has more than 6 miles of hiking trails. The trails zigzag all around, so you are able to construct a loop of up to 5 miles – or less.

    Deep Lake is very popular
    Hiking through old growth forests

    The park was originally called “Miller’s Glade” by the Miller family, who once owned the property. The family later changed the name to “Millersylvania,” meaning “wooded glade.” The park was originally homesteaded by Squire Lathum in 1855 before being sold to John Miller. Miller’s family gave the property to the state in 1921, stipulating that the land must forever be used as a park.

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Pampered Wilderness Millersylvania

    A true treasure, historic and beautiful, I am so glad to discover this hidden gem. We will definitely be back. I think it would be fun to take the family, and rent a couple cottages. Camping without sleeping on the ground…a girl could get used to that. Fabulous.


    Thank you for reading my final post in this series Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Pampered Wilderness Millersylvania. See last week’s post My Travel Wardrobe 8 Months & 19 Countries.

    Would you like to read the entire Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest series? Here are the links;

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest -Rhododendron Species Garden

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Rodeo Drive-In

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Olalla Bay Market

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Bloedel Gardens

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Linger Boutique

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Point Defiance Rose Garden

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Maple Pass North Cascades

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Boehm’s Candies

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Hood Canale Beer & Wine Garden

    NEXT FRIDAY we announce our itinerary for the continuation of The Grand Adventure Year Eight! Don’t miss it!

    We love it when you pin, share and comment on our posts. Thank you.

    Become a World Traveler  --  Inspire

    My Travel Wardrobe – 8 Months & 19 Countries

    Year Eight of the Grand Adventure Begins

    I’m as surprised as anyone to realize we are about to begin year EIGHT of the Grand Adventure. It’s a unique way of life, one we have embraced and learned how to live without too much stress. It’s a true Grand Adventure in so many ways, and having the blog and all of you to share with is a blessing. So let’s talk about My Travel Wardrobe- 8 Months & 19 Countries.

    Lessons in Packing

    Our bags the day we left seven years ago.

    In the beginning we packed way too much. Slowly along the way I discarded things or shipped things home. And yet, even now, I still struggle with making choices. I’m a habitual “just in case” packer. I have worked really hard to change this habit. I know that the “just in case” moments might come…and if they do I can go purchase what I need. When we were locked down in Cyprus we purchased some warmer clothes…and when we flew from Paris to Acadia National Park and found ourselves in a hurricane we went shopping. It’s all good.

    Fewer Clothes – But Still Too Much

    Might be hot (French Polynesia 2022)
    Might be chilly (New Zealand 2017)

    I feel this time I have pared it WAY down and I feel good about my wardrobe choices. I purchased fewer things, am packing some of my favorite tried and true pieces, and have eliminated one pair of shoes. But the suitcase challenge that still gives me pains is the eight months of contact lenses, prescriptions, supplements and beauty products. What’s a girl to do?

    On this itinerary we will visit 19 countries over 8 months from mid September to mid May. We will likely encounter temperatures as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit and possibly day time lows in the mid 50’s.

    Let’s Break It Down Shall We?

    I always do this the same way. I first consider the weather and I begin with my basics for pants and shorts. This time I have four pairs of pants (two light weight, one medium weight and one legging) and two pairs of shorts (navy and khaki). From these pieces I build my wardrobe house with mix and match quality pieces.

    Lightweight Linen Pants from JJill

    This is the second pair of these pants I have owned and they are incredibly versatile for hot weather as well as cooler days. Here I pair them four ways.

    Red boat neck tank is a fav from Talbots – 2 years old
    New print tank from Talbots
    New Rust embellished t shirt from Sundance
    Linen top three years old from JJill

    Navy Blue Hiking Pants Are Good For More Than Hiking (REI)

    These comfy ripstop fabric pants are perfect for hiking or walking around a city. I expect to wear these a lot. Here I pair them four ways.

    Light White Sweater last year from Tommy Bahama
    VERY old yellow sweater from Nordstrom and long sleeve t shirt from Talbots
    New print t shirt from JJill
    New White Hiking Shirt Columbia

    Lands End Medium Weight Crop Pants

    I bought these on sale, not knowing if I was going to like them, but I think they are fabulously versatile for summer, fall or spring wear. Here I have paired them three ways.

    Another boat neck tank from Talbots. Loved my old yellow one so much I bought another
    Lee Denim Jacket – ancient and I love it
    New lightweight linen blouse from Talbots

    Black Leggings for Travel Day

    Leggings and layering are the way to go on flight day, especially on long flights for comfort. We have several really long flights, and so often planes can be really cold. So I layer up no matter the destination. It’s always easier to peel it off than to freeze when you aren’t prepared. Here I have paired them three ways.

    My flight day outfit. Old yellow sweater, new white t-shirt and that checked blouse has been around the world three times
    I’ve had this denim shirt for years. Nice and faded. No idea where or when I bought it.

    Navy Blue Shorts (Talbots)

    When it’s hot I tend to wear dresses more than shorts, but I like to have a couple pair of shorts along for the ride. These Talbots walking shorts are my favorites…I own four pairs! But this time it’s just the navy ones making the cut. Here I have paired them four ways.

    Checked shirt again…it’s from Talbots
    Love this little sweater from Tommy Bahama
    Such a versatile top
    The boat neck tank…I own six!

    Khaki Shorts JJill

    I bought these dark khaki shorts new this year. The fabric is nice and soft and I have worn them several times this summer. A nice addition to the travel wardrobe. Here they are four ways.

    I’ve seen those tops before!
    And those…
    And that cute scarf I bought in Myanmar
    Simple and I love the hat from Solbari

    The Tops

    From the photos above you can see the same tops over and over. I use basic colors that I can mix and match. Although I might pull out a couple of these at the last minute…or not…I currently have three t-shirts, three tank tops, 1 long sleeve t-shirt, 2 long sleeve button up blouses, 1 linen long sleeve blouse and 1 linen short sleeve blouse. All small and packable. In addition I have two light weight sweaters (white and yellow) and my denim jacket. One scarf.


    I do love my dresses, especially in hot weather. This year I have two new and two old standbys that have served me well for several years. Here they are;

    You voted and this linen with Navy trim from Talbots won
    You voted and this bright print from Talbots won
    Year four of this linen shift from JJill
    Old old old but still functional green dress from Travel Smith


    I’ve decided on two one-piece suits this time…and I might also bring a two-piece…not sure. Although everyone loved the white one piece I had last year…it didn’t make the cut. It might be cute but it’s uncomfortable and hard to get in and out of. Who has time for that? In addition to these suits I’ll pack my sarong and coverup too.

    New from Lands End
    Three years and going strong on this suit from Nordstrom

    What About The Shoes

    I’ve spent the summer test driving shoes…one of the most difficult things to decide on and to pack. I no longer wear flip-flops (danger danger!) so now have an Ecco slip on that might look dorky but is so comfy. I also purchased my second pair of Ecco strappy sandals; new pair of keen and new sneaker by Kizik. AND instead of a hiking shoe and a running shoe I now have a trail runner that will fill both needs. Those are from Brooks.

    Keens Left and Ecco Right
    Brooks Left and Kizik Right

    My Travel Wardrobe – 8 Months & 19 Countries

    I of course will also pack my running clothes, underwear and coat. It may seem like a lot, but it is significantly less than last year. Last year I carried a lot of winter clothes because it was going to be very chilly in Bolivia. However it was a heat wave in Bolivia and we didn’t wear most of what we brought. As far as things like the yellow sweater and even the black leggings…if I’m not wearing those it won’t break my heart to let those go along the journey. Easily replaced.

    Logan Airport Sunrise

    This is my plan. I’ll finalize everything over the next 14 days…we fly on September 9th. The countdown is on! My Travel Wardrobe – 8 months & 19 Countries. Let’s do it!

    See last week’s post Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Hood Canale. Come back next Friday for our final Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Pampered Wilderness Millersylvania.

    And watch for our post about where we are traveling this year. It will post on September 8th. As always, I can’t tell you how much your support of our travels and this blog mean to me. You are the best.

    The Grand Adventure continues…

    At Home  --  Inspire  --  North America Travel

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Hood Canale Beer & Wine Bar

    Location: Union, Washington, USA

    How lucky am I to have so many creative and talented friends? Very. And today’s Hidden Gem is the brainchild of friends of ours. A brand new, innovative approach to entertainment in the tiny community of Union on Hood Canal. Let me introduce you to this week’s Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Hood Canale Beer & Wine Bar.

    Welcome to the Grotto
    Hood Canale is open for business

    Union Washington

    If you have never heard of Union Washington on the beautiful Hood Canal, let me tell you a bit about this wonderful, beautiful, (and a bit quirky) hidden gem. Union is an unincorporated area of Mason County on the East and South shores of the Hood Canal near the mouth of the Skokomish River.

    First settlers arrived in the late 1800’s. A hotel and sawmill were some of the first commercial operations. Wealthy residents began to grab up property for summer homes and permanent residences and by the 1920’s Union became known as an artistic community.

    Hood Canale is across the street from Robin Hood Village Resort

    When I was a kid, once or twice a summer we would make our way to Union either before or after we visited Twanoh State Park. We also passed Union on our way to Shelton or hiking in the Olympics. One very memorable Christmas we drove to Alderbrook Inn for Christmas dinner…absolutely unheard of in our family. The Inn has long since been replaced with a beautiful new hotel, grounds, restaurant, and dock….an absolute must visit when in Union.

    Fabulous location
    Beautifully appointed

    Creative Friends

    Our friends John and Jolica have long had property in Union and their new endeavor Hood Canale has been a dream for these entrepreneurs. Next to Hood Canale are two waterfront Airbnb cottages recently updated with Jolica’s artistic touch. In addition Jolica Jewels (her real job she says with a grin) has a presence at Hood Canale. John also has a “real” job in the travel industry…but boy these two have so much energy they decided to run a bar and pizza grotto too!

    John showing us his pizza skills
    Hood Canale owners John & Jolica

    Immediate Success

    It’s no surprise to me that this Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Hood Canale Beer & Wine Bar is an immediate success. The space is gorgeous and comfortable. The wine and beer selection is lovely. And the pizza…well, clever and delicious. I wouldn’t expect anything less from this duo.

    According to John, the work ethic here is excellence not perfection. But we think the product is pretty close to perfection – and a very authentic Neapolitan style pie. Fresh dough made every 2-3 days, innovative toppings, “New Wine Wednesday” and music twice a week will keep the customers coming.

    No two pizza’s are alike
    Beautiful Charcuterie
    Current menu

    In fact locals are flocking to the inviting space and not only to enjoy charcuterie, pizza and drinks, but fun music and events. It has quickly become a gathering place – the hearth of the community. And yet it’s also a perfect stop if you are just passing through – wherever you are on your way to. Stop and say hi, meet the amazing staff and the owners who are hands on. Enjoy some pizza, listen to the lapping water or the fabulous music and take a bottle of wine to go.

    The Bar
    Incredible wine selection

    Stay Tuned

    John and Jolica have more plans…this is only the beginning. Great things are happening in little ole Union. You don’t want to miss out!

    As of this writing hours are;

    Monday 12-8pm Bar and Charcuterie (no pizza)

    Tuesday Closed

    Wednesday noon-9pm and pizza starts at 5-8pm

    Thursday 12-9pm Pizza 5-9pm and music

    Friday 12-10pm Pizza 5-9pm

    Saturday 12-10pm Pizza 5-9pm and music

    Sunday 12-8pm Pizza 4-8pm

    but check the website or call as this will change seasonally. The website also has music line up and information about the cottages next door. Hood Canale will be open year around.

    Need directions? Click here.

    Fantastic local beers from the Pacific Northwest
    View from one of the cottages

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Hood Canale Beer & Wine Bar

    Thanks for reading this week’s Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Hood Canale Beer & Wine Bar. Check out last week’s Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Boehm’s Candies. And be sure to come back next week for our Annual Travel Wardrobe post. Always a favorite.

    We love it when you comment, pin and share our posts. Thank you! See you at Hood Canale!

    Food & Drink  --  Inspire  --  North America Travel

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Boehm’s Candies

    I have had the opportunity to taste and enjoy locally made chocolate in multiple countries around the world. I’ve taken chocolate making classes, learned about cocoa and brought home chocolate as gifts. But despite all that, there is one chocolate that remains my favorite – hands down the best chocolate in the world. And it’s right here in the Pacific Northwest. Let me tell you about Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Boehm’s Candies.


    Boehm’s in Issaquah

    The lovely town of Issaquah in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains was my home back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Back then Issaquah was still a tiny little town, where people knew each other and shopped at locally owned stores. Today Issaquah has grown massively, but still keeps a thriving old town area and several successful unique and historic businesses. One of those is Boehm’s Candies.

    Julius Boehm

    Chalet built in 1956

    Austrian born Julius Boehm escaped Hitler’s tyranny and fled to Switzerland in 1940 and on to the United States in 1941. In 1942 he opened his first candy kitchen in Ravenna with the help of two friends and inspiration from his pastry-making grandmother. In 1956 he moved the operation to Issaquah which reminded him of the Alps and built the authentic Swiss Chalet that still is home to Boehm’s Candies today. Julius was a generous, engaged and much loved member of the community until his death in 1981. Thankfully longtime protege Bernard Garbusjuk took over the helm of the operation. With his long family history of Austrian Chocolate making Bernard kept the traditions and Boehm’s flourished. Today Bernard’s children are continuing the quality chocolate making business.

    Hand Dipped

    Hand Dipping

    Today most candy making operations are done with machines and it is rare to find fine chocolates that are hand dipped. In Boehm’s candy kitchen you will find the last two hand dippers at Boehm’s – Judy and Amy have been hand dipping chocolates for a combined 53 years. It is one of the things that make Boehm’s so special. Most people might not recognized how unique this is when they pop a delicious Boehm’s truffle into their mouth. But it is truly a dying art…and one to be savored.

    Machines Work Too

    Nougat rolled and waiting

    Some Boehm’s candies, however, are made by small batch machines. One rolling machine is more than 100 years old and is used nearly every day to roll out the confections. I asked what happens if they need a part for this 100 year old apparatus and I was told it never breaks down. Well they don’t make ’em like they used to!


    Boxing up a special order

    And they really don’t make ’em like they used to when it comes to today’s mass produced chocolate. Boehm’s is not that…rather it is a hands on, high caliber, steadfast operation, that is dedicated to traditional recipes, quality ingredients, old world charm and community. Much of Boehm’s staff have been with the company for multiple decades…unheard of in this day and age.

    If you have not visited Boehm’s Chalet in Issaquah you really must check out this Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Boehm’s Candies. Tours are available by reservation and the shop is open six days a week.

    The boxing room

    You can also visit the beautiful Poulsbo location for the same great product, made fresh in Issaquah and delivered to Poulsbo once a week.

    And of course you can order online…but I recommend a personal visit and tour…because you can’t get a sample, breath that delicious aroma, or stroll the beautiful grounds at the Chalet by ordering online. It’s definitely a treat to visit in person one of my all time favorite Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Boehm’s Candies.

    Hand Dipping a dying art

    Make it an outing today!

    Directions to Boehm’s Candies Chalet in Issaquah

    Directions to Boehm’s Chocolates of Poulsbo

    Thanks for reading this week’s Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Boehm’s Candies. See last week’s Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Maple Pass

    We love it when you pin, comment and share our posts. Thank you. Be sure to come back next Friday for another Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest.

    Hand Dipped Boehm’s Chocolates
    Inspire  --  North America Travel

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Point Defiance Rose Garden

    If you are a resident of the greater Tacoma/Pierce County area, you may question Point Defiance as a “hidden gem”. But take a moment to ask your friends who live even as close as Seattle, or anywhere else and you will likely find this hidden gem is lesser known than you think. And perhaps you’d like to keep it that way…I get it. It really is a jewel for those of us who live close and frequent it’s water access, hiking trails, historic sites, zoo and aquarium. But this local Point Defiance lover would venture to say the 760 acre secret urban oasis has plenty of room for locals and visitors alike. So here is my post Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Point Defiance Rose Garden.



    Long before it became a park in 1888 Point Defiance was part of the homelands of the Puyallup People. Still today the local Native Americans cherish the park which was a hunting and fishing grounds. Over the decades Point Defiance has evolved and today several historic structures remain, as do new and emerging public spaces.

    My Mom enjoying the arched roseway

    The Rose Garden

    It’s difficult for me to chose a favorite spot in Point Defiance Park, and my husband and I frequent the park regularly. But recently I have re-discovered the Rose Garden and realized how easily it is to miss this hidden gem. Although located near to the entrance of the park, it’s easy to drive right by as you are looking for parking. So take time and look around, for this Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Point Defiance Rose Garden.

    Unique Rose species

    The Rose Garden began in the late 1800’s and today the oldest rose is from 1895. Today’s Rose Garden is more than an acre and has a wide variety of roses including miniatures and climbers. Peak bloom time is in the summer, but the garden also includes a Dahlia Garden that is beautiful in summer and fall. In fact, the surrounding area is home to many beautiful plants and trees creating a haven all year around.

    The garden is surrounded by a high but beautifully designed fence to keep the deer away from the tasty roses. Within the protected garden is a gazebo that is frequently used for weddings. Next door to this area is the historic Point Defiance Lodge, built to house the superintendent in 1898 today it is home to staff offices.

    Check out the Antique Sandwich Company only a couple blocks away for a great lunch when you visit.

    Antique Sandwich Company

    Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Point Defiance Rose Garden

    I love Point Defiance Park and all it offers to the public for free. It truly is the Central Park of the South Puget Sound region, and we are so lucky to have it in our own back yard. I for one, welcome visitors from near and far to come discover the hidden gem, and take some time to stop and smell the roses.

    Me Enjoying a stroll through the garden

    Thanks for reading my post Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Point Defiance Rose Garden. See last week’s post Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Linger Boutique.

    We love it when you comment, pin and share our blog posts. Thank you so much. Come back next week for another installment of Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest.

    Get Directions to Point Defiance Rose Garden

    Point Defiance Rose Garden