St. Martin & Anguilla (Caribbean)

St. Martin is special to us. We started going down in February of 2010, soon after our friends Jenn and Mark relocated there. The first time we visited them in the town of Grand Case we fell in love with the island’s mellow vibe and the pristine beaches and waters. It also happened to be Mardi Gras on the night we landed which gave us a taste of Grand Case’s robust cultural flavor. There was plenty of revelry pouring down the main street with flashy costumes while drums and whistles lit up the scene. Continue reading St. Martin & Anguilla (Caribbean)

Day 239 – 242: Washington DC & Home (New York City)

There was one final stop to make before getting back to New York where our journey started almost 8 months ago. That place was Washington DC/Maryland and Virginia. We have a bundle of friends there most of whom date back to Brigitte’s college days. We planned on 3 nights in the area and knew we’d be perpetually surrounded with friends and good times. There was much to catch up on, new baby additions to their families, new houses, the latest news, and seeing their toddlers for the first time in over 8 months. Continue reading Day 239 – 242: Washington DC & Home (New York City)

Day 233 – 238: Charleston (SC) & Wrightsville Beach (NC)

It took us about 8 hours by car to reach Charleston from Naples (Florida), which put us there around 8pm. We were very excited about visiting the town’s historic parts the next morning so we got an early start. Known for its southern hospitality and politeness, Charleston’s American roots run deep as does its religious tolerance (it was one of the first American towns to allow religious freedom to non-Catholics). Interestingly, it’s also the place that sparked the first battles leading to the Civil War. Continue reading Day 233 – 238: Charleston (SC) & Wrightsville Beach (NC)

Day 222 – 232: Los Angeles & Naples FL (USA)

The inevitable – returning home to America – had finally happened. Facing a 9.5 hour long flight from Fiji to Los Angeles, we had plenty of time to reflect over the past 7 months. I was wired with emotion and reluctant to fully understand that the next country we’d land in was “home”. Brigitte too was overcome by sadness and just as incredulous about our 7 months having expired. As I wrestled with the notion of this is it – the end – Brigitte seemed to effortlessly find the alternative, sleep. But as the overnight flight bounced its way across the Pacific Ocean, I was kept awake for just about the entire ride. Continue reading Day 222 – 232: Los Angeles & Naples FL (USA)

Day 212 – 221: Fiji

The end of the year marked the final phase of our trip (the international part of it anyway), and it also raised some key questions like: where would we be for New Year’s, and what should we do? Given our proximity to the Pacific islands from New Zealand, we figured that Fiji would be a good way to close out 2011. And the prospect of returning to New York in the dead of winter just reinforced the notion that one last hit in the tropics would be necessary. Continue reading Day 212 – 221: Fiji

Day 208 – 211: Auckland (New Zealand)

With 3 days left in New Zealand, we headed further north towards Auckland for another urban experience. The metropolis is the country’s largest (population 1.4 million), and served as its capital for years (prior to moving to Wellington). The city’s defining feature as seen even from miles away is the 1,076-foot tall Sky Tower, which we noticed on our approach from the highway. Also notable was the elevation of the sprawled out city as it’s situated amongst dozens of volcanoes (many of which are still active). Continue reading Day 208 – 211: Auckland (New Zealand)

Day 204 – 207: Tongariro, Waitomo & Rotorua (New Zealand)

Coming to New Zealand was an easy decision. Picking the North Island was not so easy, especially after hearing from everyone that the South Island was more beautiful. But with only 11 days at our disposal we put our money on the North and chose to make the best of this hyper-volcanic island.

After 4 days in the capital, we headed towards the Tongariro National Park (the oldest park in New Zealand), which is located in the middle of the North Island. Continue reading Day 204 – 207: Tongariro, Waitomo & Rotorua (New Zealand)

Day 200 – 203: Wellington (New Zealand)

It’s always fun to visit a country right after they’ve achieved a noteworthy feat. The 2011 Rugby World Cup was won by New Zealand (in New Zealand), and so this was the next stop and 25th country on our trip. We had a feeling the nation would still be buzzing from its achievement and the numerous All Blacks flags and banners displayed in various parts of Wellington confirmed this. We planned for 4 nights in the capital which is home to about 400,000 people. It’s definitely on the smaller side but its character clocks in at heavy-weight. Continue reading Day 200 – 203: Wellington (New Zealand)

Day 195 – 199: Melbourne (Australia)

With 4 remaining days in Australia we popped into Melbourne, another impressively modern and large metropolis (Australia’s second largest city). Melbourne has a population of 4+ million and has one of the largest ports in the Southern Hemisphere. Thousands of early immigrants passed through here as they made their way into Australia. Today the city is very diverse and our plan was to immerse ourselves in its prominent cultural, social and food scene. Continue reading Day 195 – 199: Melbourne (Australia)

Day 190 – 194: Phillip Island & The Great Ocean Road (Australia)

One of the things we really wanted to do in Australia was rent a car and hit the road. With about 600+ miles between Sydney and Melbourne, we figured this was a perfect opportunity. But what really fueled our motivation was to drive The Great Ocean Road, Australia’s most scenic road and arguably the most beautiful in the world. In doing so, we would also pile on another few hundred miles to our trip, so good thing for unlimited miles! Continue reading Day 190 – 194: Phillip Island & The Great Ocean Road (Australia)