Dave and Merry Jo Binkley

D MJ Binkley

Dave and Merry Jo Binkley

Photographers, divers, writers, foodies, chefs and music enthusiasts.

Two nurses who are passionate about traveling the world.
Our love of travel, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures will hopefully take us to wonderful places and allow us the chance to get to know friendly people from other countries. Come join us as we explore "the big blue marble" and its inhabitants!

We appreciate your feedback and if you like our stories we would appreciate it if you follow our blog.

There are times when you just have to go exploring.

We are currently living in Fairfax, Virginia. We'd love to meet you if you are in the DC area.
Send us a private message and we can get together.

Travel quotes to enjoy.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things that you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
- Mark Twain

Life is very short, try everything you've dreamed about (within the perimeters of sanity and the law) and regret nothing. Oh, and don't forget the sunscreen." ~Amber Benson


Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Anna Quindlen had already written Villanova’s keynote speech when protests at the Catholic university began to roil. A handful of students disagreed with Quindlen’s views on abortion, and the issue boiled over so badly that Quindlen bowed out from the event. Although never delivered, her speech “A Short Guide to a Happy Life” has been widely circulated on the internet:

“Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. . . Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.

"And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. . . It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of azaleas, the sheen of the limestone on Fifth Avenue, the color of our kid’s eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of live.”

Future trip outlines

2015- Something fun with warm weather to be announced at a later date.


Political intrigue….back room deals…..off the record discussions…..research for newspaper articles that quote, “unnamed sources.” In Washington D.C., this is most likely business as usual for the past 150 plus years in this town of politicos, lobbyists, elected officials, congressional staff members and the like. The question becomes, “where does all this occur?” When in the District of Columbia and in search of an adult beverage you might find some fun in exploring political bars and pubs, as this is most likely where quite a bit of this sort of activity occurs. Being the intrepid travelers that we are, along with a twisted curiosity, we set out over several weekends to discover these “dens of political dealings” using the cover of tourists exploring museums and monuments in our nation’s capital. As a bit of a disclaimer, these ... read more
Hawk 'n' Dove
1964 Aston Martin DB5
Pork Tacos

Europe » Ireland » County Dublin » Dublin April 7th 2014

Ah Dublin….Dublin…..what to say about Dublin? If asked to describe it in one word? Dave says alive Merry Jo says joyful. One may or may not come to Dublin to pub crawl—not that there’s anything wrong with that…….. We have found however to properly immerse yourself into local culture you’ll end up in a few pubs. Our intent was to listen to some good Irish music and indeed that goal has been accomplished. Our goal may have been enhanced by a few pints of the local brew. And so our story unfolds…… Before our arrival— And so the conversation began like this…..where do we want to go this spring? Several countries in Europe, South America and the Middle East were in contention originally, but since our wedding anniversary would fall during the trip, we realized that ... read more
St. Patrick's Cathedral
The River Liffey
Well preserved

Europe » Ireland » County Kerry » Killarney April 4th 2014

In a country where we quickly determined there was more scenic diversity than advertised we began our journey to the southwest and southern part of this fascinating land. Our trip was already two weeks old and we’d seen and experienced so much, it was almost difficult to imagine what we could find next that would match what we had already experienced. But we found it…..and more. Dingle First….a little background. When we were in Dublin at a pub called the Brazen Head for an evening of story telling and music (to be described in our future Dublin blog), we had the good fortune of striking up a conversation with Johnny, who was the storyteller. He was extremely proud of his land and when we told him we would be in Ireland for the better part of ... read more
Headed out of Killarney
Azure waters of Sheepshead Peninsula
Connor Pass

Europe » Ireland » County Clare » Ennis March 27th 2014

County Donegal Exiting Derry (or Londonderry depending on your point of view) meant the time had come to really get out into the Irish countryside. We suspect that not many Americans venture into the northwest part of Ireland, mainly because it’s a bit off the beaten tourist path created by the many travel companies that bring Yankees here by the planeload. The locals we have encountered are extremely friendly and always willing to chat it up and provide useful information. But back to the point….. Dave is an excellent driver even on the wrong side of the road (that’s what all Americans say) and as we ventured out of Derry for the countryside we were filled with excitement and expectations. We’d booked “The Best Irish Cottage” through airbnb in County Donegal near the town of Croaghacullion. ... read more
Dromoland Castle
Famous Cliffs of Moher
The long & winding road

It was time to flee the larger city of Belfast and begin in earnest to immerse ourselves in what we picture (and perhaps most people as well) as one of the true experience of these two nations, coastal driving. It is after all an island, the third largest in Europe, and 20th largest in the world. Okay, enough geography. We jumped in the “Jukemobile” (we rented a gray Nissan Juke) and navigated our way out of Belfast in search of the coast. We are always drawn to the coast. It is almost as if we don’t get near water, we are just not as happy as we can be. And we want to be happy! Mr. Weather (Dave) has been providing updates on the likelihood of our changing weather twice a day for the past few ... read more
Londonderry at night
Follow that rainbow
Scenic road & tunnel

When we were growing up, Northern Ireland was not a travel destination but a land of conflict. What little grainy color images we saw courtesy of the BBC showed British troops battling the locals. The streets looked like war zones and frankly, there was a lot of bombing going on. While not always fair to generalize, most Americans our age grew up blissfully unaware regarding world politics and strife in other countries. As a nation, we are terribly self-absorbed at times and the national media had quite a bit to do with this. The internet-age has changed this. The conflict in Northern Ireland was called “The Troubles.” Fortunately, most of this is all behind them. Belfast is a city reborn with a positive energy. And we were the happy recipients of this energy. Once a city ... read more
He's a cool cat
A parade for all ages
Inside St. Patrick's Cathedral

Europe » Isle of Man » Douglas March 14th 2014

And of course, there will be those of you who wonder, “Why did they go to the Isle of Man?” The simple answer is because it was in the neighborhood of Ireland, which we have set out to explore for the next few weeks. A longer answer is that MJ has wondered about the isle for a couple of decades due to its relationship with the banking industry and those who invest. At any rate, we were, already going to Ireland, so why not pop over for a few days? When we began to plan our trip to the Isle of Man (IOM) we had contacted a B&B on the far north part of the island as it looked quite cute, but the lady wrote back and apologized for not being able to take our booking, ... read more
Isle of Man
Local architecture
Waterfront Hotel

North America March 4th 2014

At this point, we are not really sure how many cross-country trips we’ve taken. Suffice to say it is more than a few. Most of the previous voyages provided a chance to kick back, put the cruise control on and take the “three-fingered” steering wheel approach to navigating the highways of America. Our voyage this time was to go from Santa Rosa, California to Englewood, Ohio. Seems simple enough at first glance, but as it turned out, there were just a few issues to overcome to traverse the 2700 miles necessary to arrive safe and sound. The issue of course, is that we were undertaking this voyage at the beginning of March, which is still winter in the U.S. The old saying is that the month of March “comes in like a lion, leaves like a ... read more
Our new best friends
Rough sledding in Oklahoma

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna January 3rd 2014

Back in the States for almost eleven months, the call to travel was fairly strong within us. Now for reference, we’re living in California wine country, so sympathies may be hard to come by, but nonetheless we are who we are, explorers of this big blue marble. Each December, we travel back to Ohio where we are both from, to visit family for the holidays. MJ in her infinite wisdom suggested that we extend our time off. Sheer brilliance! A few ideas were batted back and forth, but then Vienna was suggested. Dave will tell you he’s not sure who came up with the idea, but MJ says the idea was his…..and so the planning began. In preparation for this voyage, we were contemplating the fact that we would be out of the country for New ... read more
Belvedere Palace
Spanish Riding School
A coffee that stands up

North America » United States » California » Yountville October 6th 2013

Fall has arrived in wine country and the soft summer rays filter through the trees and into the valleys……..harvest season (or crush) has arrived again. The weather in the Napa/Sonoma region is almost perfect this time of year with warm sunny afternoons and crisp evenings as well. The grapes agree and yearn to be picked…..and then crushed to make their way into bottles….and then into our hands. As we drove down the long and elegant drive way leading to the wine cellars we noticed the vines were turning goldenrod and glowing in the sunshine. Balloons were at the end of the driveway providing a warm welcome. As we approach the registration desk they confirmed our reservation, gave us name tags and our wine glass. Glass in hand, we had the appropriate tool for the day and ... read more
1st place winner!
The Vine Dawgz
Tasting room

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