Manly Beach

Our last night in Australia would be in Sydney, Australia.  After flying in from Brisbane, we said goodbye to one of our travel mates, who was headed straight back to Seattle. We checked back into our initial hostel at Wake Up Sydney, then hopped into an Uber towards the ferries, for Manly Beach. 

While Bondi was great tourist spot to check out, if you're looking for a more locals only beach and less crowds, Manly is the beach for you. On your walk in from the docks, you find endless restaurants with nothing short of amazingly fresh seafood. Then again, everything we've eaten in Australia had been amazing.

At Manly you can relax or play some volleyball. Because of it's location, the beach itself is a great spot to watch the sunrise, or bring a drone like I did. Manly Wharf, where the ferries dock, is also a great spot to watch the sunset.  What I suggest though, is timing your ferry ride back to Sydney, just before sunset. 

Because of the trajectory of the ride home, if you sit on the left side of the ferry, you'll get beautiful views of the sunset just over the city skyline and the Sydney Opera House. 

Well, this finally concludes my string of posts, from my Australia trip. Here's to the most beautiful ferry ride of my life & here's to hoping I get to go back soon. Love, JEN

Skydiving Cairns

Skydive? MeH. Skydive over the great barrier reef & land on a beach? Check!

On of the biggest highlights of my Australia trip, was that I finally got to cross off a long time item on my Bucket List. With the exception of those who are afraid of heights, I think skydiving makes it on a lot of people's to bucket list. The thing is though, I've always gravitated towards, and welcomed the idea of facing your fears, and putting yourself outside your comfort zone (except spiders). I think it's critical to our personal development & living a worthy life.

When we arrived at our hostel in Cairns, we came with the sole intention of visiting The Great Barrier Reef. While checking in though, I saw a few skydive videos that involved a beach landing & I was sold! All of my friends with me had already skydived, but most of them did it in Seattle. Which of them could say they did it in Australia & landed on a beach? Not those guys! Two days later though, I could say just that!


The most interesting thing was, while I thought I would be scared, I wasn't! I was nothing short of thrilled! As it came time to board our plane, my instructor told me to hold of boarding, since it's rather hot inside. Little did I know, that meant I'd be last on the plane & first out. I guess I didn't really have time to be scared. We took off with the planes' side door open & slowly climbed up to 14,000ft. Eventually he asked me to scoot to the edge & before I could even grasp that I was on the edge, we were out the plane! 


The first 2 seconds felt like a drop on the Hollywood Tower of Terror, but after that the wind pushes up on you and it just feels amazing! The views of the aqua Australian waters made it breathtaking. When we finally pulled the shoot, my instructor said probably to me, the best line ever:

"Welcome to my office."

I think at that point, I was ready to quit my job and rethink my entire life. Ok maybe I wasn't going to do that, but I definitely had the exact thought of "What the fuck am I doing with my life?" My sky dive wasn't even over yet & I already wanted to go back up. The feeling (and the view) is indescribable, empowering, and absolutely freeing. 


I may not have dropped everything then, but I know for a fact that that experience would change how I planned the rest of my life and how I prioritized things. In the future my trips will no longer just be simple explorations, but adventures with purpose. I hope to one day come back to Australia & learn to sky dive solo (they have a course). I hope to one day learn to scuba dive in Cape Town & surf in Hawaii.

Some people find comfort in building mansions, just to stay in the dull safety of their home. I want to take in as much as possible of what the world has to teach me, and I hope I inspire others to do the same. I would highly recommend sky diving at least once & if you're scared of heights, do it twice. It's good for you ;)


One of my favorite places that we visited in Melbourne, was this hard to find, hole-in-the-wall gelato joint, called Dex2rose. After a 40 minute walk down what seemed like endless streets, if you manage to find the place (which is down an alley), you'll get to experience probably the coolest science themed liquid nitrogen gelato & drinks. 

I even like how they display their menu! What we really came for though, was their famous Mist in the Woods hot chocolate set. This elaborate set, which comes with a full set of instructions, is described as:

Mist in the Woods - "Featuring our own lightly spiced hot chocolate, this decadent set comes with a generous dollop of salted caramel gelato, raspberry drupelets, and toast-at-your-table home-made marshmallows."

After it's prepared, the waiter brings it to you & asks if you want to get your camera ready (you definitely do). Then let the fun begin! The waiter (or in our case, it was the owner of Dex2rose), starts by pouring rose water infused liquid nitrogen into a shot glass. They'll flip an empty glass onto it, to let it flavor the inside your glass. 

As the liquid nitrogen does it's thing, the waiter will light your little fire, allowing you to start toasting your marshmallows. Once the liquid nitrogen wears off, it's time to pour the hot cocoa in the glass, and enjoy it with the salted caramel gelato, topped with raspberry drupelets, as well as your freshly toasted marshmallows.

Being a fan of salted caramel ice cream, I enjoyed the entire experience a lot. What I didn't expect, was how much I would enjoy the marshmallows. It's texture is just different than anything I've ever experience & they're hands down the best marshmallows I've ever eaten. The raspberry drupelets added a sweet factor to the salted caramel & the hot cocoa was delicious. My only wish, was that I could stay in Melbourne longer, to try out every single item on their menu. In short, don't  you dare go to Melbourne without checking this spot out! 

Of course you'd have to find it first ;) - JEN

Touring The Great Ocean Road

We arrived in Melbourne, halfway through our first week in Australia.

On our first full day, we left our hostel bright an early, for a small guided bus tour of the Great Ocean Road. While I've never been a huge fan of scheduled tourist activities, especially tour buses, it proved to be a worthy way to see a lot of beautiful places in one day. It gave us just a enough time in each spot & a preview of where to come back to.

The tour included a lot of fun interactive spots, like Kennet River, where you can spend a good amount of time with Australia's native Parrots & Lorikeets, as well as find some wild Koalas sleeping up in the trees. 


Halfway through your tour you'll be able to feast your eyes on the famous 12 Apostles, which by the way is more like 6 or 7. No one seemed really sure why they're called they're called the 12 Apostles. Essentially they exist because the cliffs are made of limestone. Over the years, the waves have worn the cliffs down, creating these pillars.

If you've got a drone (that you're pretty speedy with), I'd definitely bring it along on this tour. I didn't, but in retrospect I wish I did. Some stops, like the 12 Apostles are a tad too short to bust out the drone, and get shots with my Sony a7Sii, but some stops were long enough for both. 

Ultimately, the tour got me excited for my next time in Melbourne. I'd love to rent a car next time though. Hope you guys enjoyed the post! - JEN

The Beauty of Bondi

With it being a new year, I figured I'd better getting to finishing up my Australia photos, so here we go! The first leg of our Aussie trip would start in Sydney. During one of our first few days there, thanks to a very funny Uber driver, we managed to head over to Bondi Beach. It's no wonder why it's such a popular place to be, because as you walk in, you're greeted by endless wall art.

In terms of amenities, Bondi has plenty of filtered water stations, changing areas, and lockers for rent. As for the beach itself, there are designated areas for swimming and surfing. If you can't put your phone down, despite the beautiful view, don't worry. Bondi has it's very own wifi network.

If you get a little hungry, or the beach is "too basic" for you, walk along the right side of the beach & you'll eventually get to the Instagram-famous, Bondi Iceberg Club. Having been there for over 100 years, for as little as $6.50 USD, you can take a dip in the saltwater infinity pool (shown below). There's also a bistro on the top level, where you can enjoy amazing seafood or burgers, with beautiful ocean views. This is a definite must see. 

After our early dinner in the bistro, we continued our walk & followed the coastline away from Bondi Beach. Trust me when I say, that this walk well worth it. Just when you think you've just encountered the most beautiful view of the day, you'll turn the corner, and find yourself wrong, over and over again.


Finally, our walk came to an end as the sun set & gave us this beautiful view. I can't wait to come back!

Glacier Lagoon

4 and a half hours from Reykjavik, along route 1, you'll find the Glacier Lagoon.

With Winter well under way in Seattle, I thought I'd finally finish up my last Icelandic story, and the Glacier Lagoon definitely goes up as one of my favorite spots in Iceland. Out of all the nerdy National Geographic documentaries I've grown up watching, it's the ones about glaciers that fascinated me the most. 

I booked myself an hour long Zodiac boat tour & after getting dressed in our anti-hypothermia/flotation suits, we boarded the boat. In comparison to their Amphibian tour, the Zodiac tour puts you on a smaller boat with less people, which allows you to get closer to the icebergs & glaciers. The only thing is, when photographic these glaciers, it's hard to convey a sense of scale without a size reference, but in person you're left in absolute awe.

All in all, as someone that's usually against guided tours, this one was well worth it. I would go on it again and again. Plus afterwards, you're free to explore the surrounding areas. You might even spot a few seals. - JEN