Natural Beauty, Quirkiness and All Things Water

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Adventures in the Channel Islands: California Back in Time

My maritime obsessed father named me Marina and it feels right–I always want to get out on the water. After browsing for day trips on boats leaving out of Santa Barbara, an upcoming getaway, my husband Sam found one boat offering a once-a-year, 5 day, live-aboard, fully guided and supported expedition around the Channel Islands. We stopped looked at each other in stunned silence–screw day trips, this was the dream! And the expedition was leaving the harbor in, uh, 48 hours. After a wild childcare scramble, we made it from Hawaii to the Santa Barbara harbor, the last guests to drag our bags, surfboards and cooler onto the 80-foot Vision, joining maybe 15 other adventurous souls and a motley crew of grinning staff, no doubt stoked they got to come along for this rare voyage.

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The Wild and Scenic Elk River: Oregon’s Secret Jewel

Maybe I shouldn’t share this place. But if you’re the kind that falls in love with rivers and diving into turquoise makes your bones quiver, and you’ve chosen to transport yourself into this isolated corner of southern Oregon, I’m sharing this for you. Because everyone knows the Smith, and on a hot summer day they’ll be there. Some people know the Trinity. Maybe the Illinois if you’re hip, or the gushing upper Rogue because the highway follows it and the pullouts advertise it. But this is different. In a world where “Tourists are ruining the world’s most beautiful destinations,” The Guardian, 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2023/aug/17/wish-you-werent-here-how-tourists-are-ruining-the-worlds-greatest-destinations sharing a spot like this is love, and even more, trust.

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Surfing La Saladita: Crocodile ghosts, hot springs and the wave explained

What else is there to do in Saladita besides surf one of the world’s longest and mellowist left point breaks, summer water temp a balmy 85, purple thunderclouds crackling above coconut groves?

Down an unmarked dirt road past the magic mushroom spot, check out the curative hot springs, (there is also a cold part, where unmoving toes are treated to a fish-nibbling spa a la Thailand) eat the freshest seafood, admire the architecture of natural materials–and steer clear of crocodiles.

 

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Bike Camping New Mexico: A Highway Standoff, Hot Springs and the Very Large Array

Nothing goes the way I think it will. For starters, I have no idea I’m pregnant. I think my period disappeared because we’re biking 50 miles a day. Fast forward to a public park in Deming, New Mexico. Homeless men sprouting up around us like flowers. I hear diesel trucks going by and I know from when I was upright that they’re full of chiles. I can smell some roasting. My bike is sprawled with me in the fluffy grass, my sleeping bag has slipped off, church bells chime whatever hour it is and I can’t. Get. Up. 

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How to Find Authentic Sri Lanka

At first glance it’s easy to see Sri Lanka as a Paradise Lost. The war is over and “India Lite” is swelling with Euros and Aussies dumping cold Lions down their gullets, chainsmoking and lying about their best waves. Urban hustlers scam tourists for scooter rentals and mango lassis. The flip side is because it’s new and popular, people seem to flock to the same destinations. It’s a tale of two worlds: gorgeous places full of people or deserted places that are even more gorgeous.

If you’re looking for an authentic experience in Sri Lanka though, all you have to do is try.

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Colombia’s Secret Red River: Quebrada Las Gachas

Lots of people know about Cano Cristales, Colombia’s multicolored river. Nobody knows about this place– yet. Which is part of the reason Juliana and I are going there. Only we’re flying sorta blind, sorta broke.

But determined to get to the teeny town of Guadalupe and find the secret red river. So I’m at a bus station called “Papi, I want pineapple!” while my Colombian girlfriend bargains with another bus driver. See, we missed our bus. And she’s one of about twelve hippies in a country of fake butts, fake titties and painted nails (even the guys do clear coats) and I’m an American whose ATM card keeps getting barfed out, cashless. So we’re doing this trip, you know, different. In Colombia, they call hitchhiking going “de adventura.” And we didn’t see a single other person doing it.

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Learning to Fly in Colombia: Paragliding

I’m headed to Bucaramanga, Colombia to get certified to paraglide. I planned this trip, oh, six days in advance. I have no experience, just a love for the sky and freedom and the g-forces I felt on a tandem flight years ago. The first step is getting to Bogota, Colombia. I arrive at 2am, alone. My eyes blur the huddle of caffeinated drivers shouting taxi señora? and the long yellow streak at the curb. I shake my head no and explain that I’m waiting for friends. But I’m not.

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Off the Beaten Path San Francisco: Art, Wild Food and an Oceanside Labyrinth

In San Francisco art goes feral and crawls outside. It’s everywhere and it will find you. First at Dolores Park, sloping lawn and date palms that don’t make dates, where people munch vegan take out and speak in falsetto to expensive dogs. Very unlike Santa Cruz, where cool kids walk their dirty grinning pooches on surfboard leashes. While skateboarding. This is a whole different gig.

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Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in A Day

But we gotta get there first and we happen to be in Colorado. This was just a squiggly line through the mountains I chose on unassuming Highway 14. Home of places like Rustic and State Forest State Park. For an extra couple road hours, (counting and calculating squiggles) I just wanted some open space thinking time after Denver. I know nothing about the Rockies. But we managed to stumble into a commercial for canoes or beer in high def. Dudes fished in the crystal clear river. The sun shined hot. We puffed, grinned and gaped all the way to Wyoming.

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