Planning Travel for Olympians - A Full Circle Moment

I love being able to share real-life travel experiences with you. I think it helps you see my process and understand that no two trips are exactly alike because they are created with the specific traveler in mind. Today I wanted to share a couple vacations that are close to my heart. They are trips I’ve planned for athletes — people I know from my days as the same.  It’s kind of a full circle moment, and I love it.

So, how do Olympians travel? Well, here is a sneak peek at a trip in process and an exciting adventure happening next month that just might be the most exciting trip I’ve planned to date!

The 5 Hottest Destinations of 2016

Happy 2016!!!

There are so many amazing places out there for us to experience, picking one can sometimes be the hardest part. But there are certain destinations that make my “Hottest Destinations” list this year because they are an incredible place to go NOW. I’d love to share them with you.

The Must-See Destination of 2016: CUBA

A perfect honeymoon in Malaysia

I recently had the opportunity to plan a very special honeymoon to Malaysia.  This 10 day adventure was filled with a stay on Kota Kinabalu, where they visited mount kinabalu, dipped in natural hot springs, went white water rafting, and toured a cultural village. They then continued on to Mabul/Sipadan island to take advantage of some authentic bungalow living and some of the best diving anywhere in the world. 

What’s so amazing about this honeymoon is not just that it was beautiful, authentic, and full of adventure, but that it was literally the first vacation ever for Jesel. She is slightly scared of heights, not nearly the adventure junkie that Caleb is, and was opening herself up to new experiences in so many ways.  

When I saw the pictures from their vacation and heard from firsthand accounts what an amazing time they were having, it reminded me that sometimes life truly does begin outside of your comfort zone!  Travel has an incredible way of broadening those horizons and introducing you to some of the best adventures you will ever experience, if you let it.

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While they were gone, these were some of the messages I received letting me know that everything was unfolding perfectly…

Thank you very, very much for all that you've done to make this all possible. I cannot express enough our gratitude! We are very blessed and thankful! - Caleb

 I just want to say thank you so much for everything you did for our honeymoon to be amazing!! I have heard a lot about you and even though I don’t know you  personally, I am so grateful for your help and hope to meet you one day!! -Jesel

These messages make my job so worth it.  I love helping people have these types of opportunities, and creating the experiences that really make a difference. If someone is going on a honeymoon and has never been out of the country before, it’s hard to create an experience like this.  But with the help of a professional, the possibilities are endless.  

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If you have a honeymoon or a trip coming up that you want to explore what it looks like to step slightly outside of your comfort zone, and possibly have the time of you life, contact me and let’s chat about it!

Choosing the right destination in Bali

People move around in Bali and that’s part of the appeal and beauty of it. If you’re considering a trip there, you should think about what kind of person you are and what type of experience you hope to have, and let that help guide you. There are also many different types of activities and sightseeing destinations, so choosing the right location can make your whole trip easier and more seamless.

The truth is, most of us see ourselves in multiple categories, and so the longer you stay, the more you can really experience all parts of your personality. I probably had a good 2 more personalities to explore, so my stay next time will have to be extended. The following is what I gathered about some of the areas of Bali, either through my own research and places I stayed, or from chatting with others while I was there.

Areas of Bali and what kind of traveler would enjoy it most:

 Pictured: Ubud

Pictured: Ubud

The spiritual, soulful artist: UBUD

*There is plenty of art and culture to make you feel like you are experiencing real Balinese life. There is tons of authentic, yummy food, and just about any type of accommodation you would desire. It’s beautiful, slightly cooler than the beach areas, and if you stay outside of the crazy center, you will really feel at peace here. The above photo was taken at the pool of Sunrise Villas, a beautiful place to stay and appreciate the surroundings.

 Pictured: Seminyak

Pictured: Seminyak

The upscale diva: SEMINYAK

*Slightly quieter and certainly more upscale than neighboring Legian and Kuta. You will find great restaurants and a variety of beautiful villas to choose from. Also, there are some good beaches, although not the best for swimming. A lot of expats choose this area, though, so not quite as “authentic” in these parts, but will give you a bit of luxury, if you so desire, while still being close to the action.

The disconnected diver: AMED

*Very little to do here besides relax, dive, and snorkel. For some that sounds like absolute paradise, and so this area of small villages would be just perfect. This is for the laid-back folks who don’t want to encounter a bunch of other tourists. It’s also the hottest and driest part of Bali, so you'd be wise to spend a lot of time underwater!

 

 

 Pictured: Jimbaran

Pictured: Jimbaran

The laid-back beach-goer: JIMBARAN 

*Nice beach area that is lined with fresh seafood restaurants each night, that are usually framed by a nice sunset in the background. There is a good mix of accommodations and pretty laid-back atmosphere. There is not a ton of things to do here, but it is convenient to the airport and a good base to see the south part of Bali.

 Pictured: Uluwatu

Pictured: Uluwatu

The surfer enthusiast: ULUWATU

*Lovers of beaches, surfing, and sun will be right at home in the south of Bali. These beaches have some world-famous breaks, and people stay here expecting to spend most of their time on the water. There is a number of basic accommodations, although some luxury options are mixed in, and have amazing views.

The generic socialite: NUSA DUA

*A bunch of upscale resorts lined up next to one another behind a gated compound, and an area that does it’s best to be wholly inauthentic.  The Balinese aren’t even allowed on the beaches. Here you will overpay for everything, and get the same experience you could get by flying 2 hours instead of 20. Not worth it, in my opinion.

The escapist: GILI ISLANDS OR LOMBOK

* Not a lot of tourists, no motorized transport, and endless beauty to just explore at your own leisure. These quick escapes from the main areas of Bali seem like a great addition to a holiday.

 

 Pictured: Legian

Pictured: Legian

The party animal: KUTA/LEGIAN

*If you want to be surrounded by a bunch of tourists and drink beer all day every day, this may be the place for you. It’s incredibly crowded, and while there are a large amount of choices when it comes to accommodations, restaurants, and shopping, there is nothing about this area that will give you “relaxing”, if that is what you seek. The beach is always close by when you stay and offers good surf breaks.

 

The options available can seem overwhelming, and people often worry about making the wrong choice, especially when it’s a new destination for them. That’s why it can be so important to work with a travel professional who is interested in helping you discover what is going to give you your best experience and the type of vacation you’re looking for. Whether it’s Bali or elsewhere, this is the kind of thing I love helping with. 

Contact Milk and Honey Travels today to start planning your next amazing trip!

Bali Part 1: Jimbaran

Visiting Bali gives you the opportunity to have whatever type of experience you’re seeking, if you simply make the right choice on where to plant yourself. It’s also extremely easy to move around the island.  I am spending two weeks here, and I chose 3 very distinct places to visit, based on the things I wanted to see and do, the type of vibe I was looking for, and the fact that it’s my first time here.  

My first stop in Bali was in Jimbaran. This is the place you go when you’re looking for a nice beachside area, that is laid-back and unpretentious. It’s close to the airport and makes a very convenient destination after traveling for 25 hours.  I also was looking to cross a few things off my “tourist list”, and figured this would be a good place to do it from. 

Here are a few of the highlights.

Day Trip to snorkel and visit Nusa Lembongan- I already blogged about this day, but it was another reason I chose to stay in this area. Jimbaran makes a trip to Nusa Lembongan easy, as it’s only 15 minutes to the dock and then about 45 minutes to great snorkeling and to see the island.

South Bali Beach Tour- There are many great beaches to explore in south Bali, so we hired a driver to take us around to a few we wanted to check out, and spend time at. By the way… “hiring a driver” is super inexpensive and a total cost effective way to see the sites. $35 for the day.

Uluwatu Temple and Fire Dance- This was on my list of tourist attractions I’d like to see and check off. It was interesting and a very unique experience. Not something I would need to see again, but I’m glad I experienced it. The chanting is still not out of my head.

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Jimbaran Beach and Seafood Dining by the ocean- Jimbaran is known for their seafood restaurants by the sea. We spent the afternoon hanging out at the laid-back beach club here, and then dug our feet into the sand while we chowed down on seafood caught that morning. 

Birthday Celebration- I’m pretty chill when it comes to my birthday. I started off the day with a massage (the place down the street from where we were staying was $6.50 for an hour!), and then I really just wanted a nice day by a pool with a few cocktails.  So, we made our way to Cocoon Beach Club and had a day of it. Happy Birthday to me!

Tanah Lot Temple- Another one of the sites I had on my list. Not really close to Jimbaran, so we actually stopped here on our way to our next destination. Since we “hired a driver”, you can just make the day of it and do whatever interests you. This place is best viewed at sunset, but we actually came during the day and had a really awesome experience with getting a blessing from the priests with the holy water that flows through here.

This trip has been amazing so far and we are only half way through our journey! Check back to see more updates, and contact me whenever you're ready to start your own adventure in paradise!

The perfect B&B in Bali

When I was deciding the places I wanted to stay at while in Bali, I became a little obsessed.  I literally have probably seen and researched every place imaginable, and then came back to each of my favorites a few times before deciding. Some of my research went into the “wish list” file, which basically means I would die and go to heaven if I ever get to stay there, but since it’s also necessary that I cover my living expenses for the next two years, this time I will have to pass.

The beautiful thing about Bali is that the accommodation selection will fit any travelers budget. You have the ability to stay in some truly authentic and unique places, that will really give you a sense of Balinese living, if that’s what you so choose. They come in all shapes, sizes, and budget ranges, and so it’s really a matter of deciding on the experience you are looking for.

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For the first leg of my trip, I chose to stay in the Jimbaran Bay area of Bali. I wanted a lovely and quiet B&B where I could wake up every morning and feel peaceful, while I sipped my coffee and did some work. But the #1 thing I was looking for?

An outdoor shower.

When I started looking around at my options, any time I saw a beautiful outdoor shower, I would swoon. This experience had to happen for me, and so I made sure it did. I don’t know if anyone else would get this giddy over a bathroom, but I do. My gorgeous outdoor bathroom, with a stone shower set right in the midst of my own personal mini outdoor jungle, is absolutely ideal, and I have taken full advantage of it.

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Beyond that, our stay here has been absolutely magical. It goes far beyond the accommodations and lands squarely on the people. Our hosts Bob and Lydia have treated us like family. And don’t even get me started on the breakfast. TO DIE. Homemade pastries and coffee to start, followed by a plate of fresh fruit, and then an omelette, waffle, pancake, crepe, or french toast to fill you to you burst. But most of all, it has truly felt like they opened up their home and their hearts to make sure that our experience in Bali is the best it could possibly be.

If you'd like to know more about this particular B&B, or other types of accommodations available to you in Bali, don't hesitate to contact me to find out more details!

Day Trip in Bali

My first full day in Bali was actually spent exploring other surrounding islands.  A group of us from the bed and breakfast I am staying at all went out on a boat to have some fun, go exploring underwater, and have a nice lunch and see what nearby Nusa Lembongan has to offer. 

Bali has some really amazing places to dive and snorkel, and we certainly took advantage of that.  I came in contact with some of the hugest Manta Ray’s I have ever seen! Of course… that may intimate that I have seen many, which isn’t really the case…but nevertheless I am certain that they were much larger than normal! My friend April, who is the world’s biggest creature-of-any-kind lover, and top notch dare devil, had a grand old time getting up close and personal with them.  

I was content to be the photographer. I much prefer to show off my dare devil-ness in other ways, and so of course when someone suggested jumping off the top of the boat, I quickly did a scan to make sure those Ray’s were nowhere in site, and then made a competition out of it. Nobody really knew it was a competition, I just politely compared my picture to everyone else’s so that they knew I won. ;)

Exploring nearby Nusa Lembongan was an opportunity to see a much more mellow side of Bali. The views from our lunch spot were to die for, and also included a totally relaxing freshwater pool to cool off in while you wait for your food to come…which always seems to take some time in these parts. 

My first full day in Bali was all that and then some. I had the opportunity to mix in some incredible adventures, meet some amazing fellow travelers, and soak in some serenity. It was one of those days that seamlessly blended from one thing to the next, without too much effort for an incredible payoff.  

Make sure you keep checking back during these next few weeks as my adventures continue, and learn more about this incredible place.

Bali

I am currently in paradise. For the next two weeks you will find me exploring and making memories, Indonesian style. I consider this a work/play trip. Yes, I am here to relax, make amazing memories, have authentic experiences, spend quality time with a dear friend, and celebrate my birthday. But I am also here to learn more about this destination for any special clients I may have in the future that want to experience some of this paradise for themselves.

So, please follow along the next couple of weeks as I update on my own personal adventures. I hope that it inspires you and gets you excited about your next journey. Contact me for help in that process. I am an expert in relaxing/making memories/having authentic experiences/spending time with friends/celebrating birthdays...just to name a few! And after these next two weeks, I will have another awesome destination under my belt to reinforce that.

Celebration Travel: 60th Birthday Cruise

I just returned home from a short cruise that docked in places I could have easily visited by getting in my car and driving up or down the coast for a few hours. But the point wasn’t the destination.  The point was to eat too much.  Oh… and celebrate with my mother while we bonded and remind her why I am her favorite kid. 

Personally, I don’t think that cruises are the best way to experience a destination. However, they can be a great way to escape and get off the grid, and have a whole lot of fun while doing so. Cruises vary widely in every way imaginable, and if you are thinking about taking one you should certainly speak with a professional (me!) about the type of experience you hope to have while on board, and how to get the most out of the destinations you stop at. 

Our first stop was to the far away exotic destination of Santa Barbara. I am a sucker for a stroll down Main St. but as luck would have it, the weather turned on us that day and we were greeted with rain and clouds and a whole lot of grey. Everyone knows that people from Southern California melt in the rain and become completely useless, so the ship was filled with people opting to stay on board and join the rousing game of Trivia, or read quietly in one of the many nooks to be found on board.  I went onshore and simply set up shop in a lovely coffee shop to do some work and take advantage of the free wifi.

During our next day at sea the sun made a glorious appearance, and even though the temperature never got above 70 degrees, everyone put on their bathing suits and took advantage of the sunshine.  The party was in full effect at the two main pools, but anyone opting for a quieter experience had a variety of choices to choose from. I found myself a nice spot to do some reading with virtually nobody around for most of the afternoon. Herein lies the beauty of a cruise ship: spend a couple of hours in peaceful serenity enjoying the beautiful day… then walk to another deck and turn down for what! {inside joke}

Our second destination was Ensenada, Mexico.  Now, seeing as how I just went to Mexico a month ago, there was literally nothing I needed to experience in this town. However, my mother and I decided to put our feet on the ground and go exploring in case there was a poncho we just had to have, or a silver bracelet calling our name. As luck would have it, it ended up being a guy with a whistle that called my mom’s name and she answered. Papa’s and Beer is not an establishment I seek out while in Mexico, but since she had never been I made an exception.  The video of her shenanigans shall remain in my care for bribing purposes.

Our time away was short but filled with memories and experiences I will certainly cherish.The laughter, dancing, reading, hot tubbing, tequila, overeating, meals with interesting strangers, Elton John covers, sunsets, morning walks around the ship, bad karaoke, eating dessert first, people watching, and everything in between. I appreciated it all and I am thankful for the experience.