“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” - D. H. Lawrence

A small puebla in the region of Masaya called San Juan de la Concepcion hosts the La Mariposa Escuela de Espanol. A teacher colleague, back in Oregon, recommended the school to me and the idea of taking some Spanish classes here. I spent four nights at Casa de Gonzalo with a beautiful home-stay family and four nights at the school which is also an Eco-hotel, rain reforest area, dog sanctuary, bird, horse and monkey rescue. The personnel at the school encouraged students to use the village as their access to language learning. In no time, my brain had switched from English to Spanish and the genuine people were kind and welcoming to a giant white woman from North America. Through the lense of my camera and speaking Spanish I befriended the puebla of San Juan de ... read more
San Juan de la Concepcion
La Mariposa Escuela de Espanol
San Juan de la Concepcion

Arriving in Granada was the best way to begin my trip. Dain Bassett and I met in Managua briefly, after he completed his travels in Peru and hiking the Inca Trail, and I completed my hospital stay in Portland, Oregon. One of the worst parts about being a sick person is all the logistics, and a lot of travel rearranging. The airlines were mostly cooperative refunding monies with a doctor's note, they didn't like it though. Sadly, I wasn't able to join my new husband and new in-laws on an epic hiking adventure with a personally arranged guide and once in a lifetime opportunity. My heart wasn't able to pump blood, my liver wasn't able to process enzymes, I couldn't walk, breathe, eat, drink, or sleep three weeks prior to the hike. The fevers continued, even ... read more

Just a quick day trip to this tourist surf town. Dain and I walked up to a surf shop without researching, and they gave us 15 minutes to grab our day bags, order a sandwich and catch a ride in the back of a pick-up truck to the beach. It started raining on the 30 minute, bumpy ride to the beach, and continued the entire lesson. We arrived at high tide and waited for about 2 hours before heading out into the surf. I had some time to play around with photographing the Pacific beach setting during rainy season. Local surfers helped us beginners catch waves and tell us when to stand up. Everyone got to stand-up, and cheer, in our group of 8 and we all fought against the strong current for close to 2 ... read more

Since I am blogging post completion of this trip, I have an overview of the experience by means of photo essay. The doors in Nicaragua are what captured my camera lens again and again. So, I'm going to let the photos do the talking in this post as I allow my mind to go back to the beginning. It is my intention to keep my "Nica Blog 2016" short and meaningful. I will blog about my experience, my story, the people, the animals, general beauty, food and drink. I'm going to leave logistics out of it this time, for any world traveler we know that when we must get from point A to point B, we just grab whatever straw you can, and hold on for dear life. That is mainly how I got around in ... read more

North America » United States » Hawaii » Kaua'i » Napali Coast July 4th 2013

Kaua'i is adventure wonderland for two landlocked citizens of Denver, Colorado! Days 1-3: After missing our flight from Denver to Phoenix and being rerouted through LAX, then renting a car with an empty tank only to drive the "alternate route" through an unlit backroad, we needed a couple of days to unwind. It all started with a delicious Mai Tai and Fish Tacos at Dukes in Lihue. We used these first days to prep for our epic camping adventure. There was a Costco on the island, we made several trips to Kmart, bought a cooler, a summer weight sleeping bag, beach towels, cheapo sunglasses, etc. (Coolers are approved for checked luggage, and TSA wraps it up for you at the airport, by the way.) Each errand awarded us a local surprise like the delicious freshly caught ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Airlie Beach January 2nd 2012

In my childhood, Sundays were dedicated to completing chores, finishing homework, and I often found time in a mess of stickers and stationary to write to my pen-pal, Cheree. In the background, my Dad would blast his great 70s and 80s music through indestructible speakers from his college era. The song that really made him belt it out was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young “Southern Cross.” Appropriately, I had this song ready to jam through my IPOD at any time. Really, the song is about a break-up, but throughout this adventure I couldn’t get that song out of my head. After leaving Arilie Beach, I badly wanted to call up my Dad and tell him that I’ve just spent two nights under the most brilliant group of constellations, including the Southern Cross. ... read more
Jumping with Joy
Delicious Views

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns December 28th 2011

In the 6th grade, I didn’t know what a bucket list was, but already it had begun. Mostly, the mystic of the Great Barrier Reef made the idea so attractive. I hadn’t the slightest clue of the vastness, the danger and the satisfaction of adventure, but my love of animals and nature including turtles, fish, manatees, dolphins, whales and reef life made the goal of visiting the GBR easy to implant from a young age. I remember the laborious effort that consumed my 6th grade scrapbook assignment, including gluing a picture of a diver to my Australia page.My heart bursts with pride and love towards an elementary memory that foreshadows one of the greatest accomplishments in my adult life. Hostel Recommendation Of all the hostels in Cairns, I chose Dreamtime, a q... read more
nudies 72dpi
This is Mike

The Northern Territory in Australia, also known as The Outback, spreads through thousands of vast miles. This intriguing land boasts sparse populations of approximately 1-5 people every square km throughout the outback. Much of the population are spread throughout small towns, ranches and Aboriginal land reserves. Because the population is incredibly spread out the education of ranch children, farmers and students living on land reserves differs from the traditional educational setting. Alice Springs School of the Air (ASSOA) is based in Alice Springs and provides a means of education by communications technology to rural children living as close as eighty kilometers and far as thirteen thousand km away from Alice Springs. The school serves 120 students from age four to fourteen (preschool to seventh grade). The children live in remote areas, including ranches, roadhouses, aboriginal... read more
Student Projects
Map of Students
Student Work

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney July 13th 2011

Ms. Johnson began our pen-pal writing project with the Australian class half-way through my 6th grade year. I imagine our writing skills were proficient enough at that time to begin a pen-palship. Since the sixth grade (11 years old) I have been exchanging written letters to Cheree . During the middle and high school years, the letters were copious and we wrote books to each other, dozens of times throughout the year. We have slowly tapered the quantity of writing over the years, but now at least two to four letters are exchanged per year in our adulthood. However, even if the letters are fewer each year the quality of letter has only improved. From the early years until now, when we write snail-mail, the envelope always arrives in an eye-catching envelope covered in bright stickers ... read more
First Koala
The Best View
Sneeking Food

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » Sydney Harbour July 12th 2011

The second day in Sydney started with more adjustments of the Aussie culture including traffic rules, nuances in English language differences and coffee ordering experimentation. Because the long black seems too strong, and I'm not a big fan of milk, getting the right amount of espresso to milk ratio challenges the baristas here and takes some back-and-forth when ordering. Coffee culture is Sydney is literally black or white. From my masters program at the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD), I have learned a lot about myself, my family history. Hanging with my Aunt Stacey in Sydney provided further lessons and insight about these important topics as well as some important shopping discussions and tourism. As several of my readers know, my devoted boyfriend, Dain, and I have been together for almost five adventurous years. We ... read more
Sydney Tower
No Pics Allowed
Aunt Stacey

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