The perfect Roadtrip around Jordan!
Jordan a land filled with incredible history and incredible landscapes. A place that I had dreamed about visiting ever since I was young. Growing up watching Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider I had always wandered “Is that place real? Does Petra really exist?” Years later here I am, exploring incredible ancient ruins and eating enough falafel to satisfy me for a lifetime!
Last week when I arrived here to Jordan I had very little expectations! I’ve never received any recommendations from friends and honestly I did very little research because my plane ticket purchase took place so last minute! I had certain destinations in mind that I knew I wanted to visit such as Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, and of course Petra. When I first arrived to Amman I was completely blown away by the culture shock! Suddenly it hit me! I was in the Middle East and wow how things were different! Upon my arrival to the airport I opted for the cheapest way to reach the city center and so I took the public bus with all of the locals, which only costed me 3JD ($4.50). While I was on the bus there was another foreigner sitting across from me and I heard him talking in English, we started a small convo only to find out that we were both staying in the same hostel! So after being dropped off at the 4th circle we decided to split an Uber and travel together to the hostel! Right away I was greeted by some of the most friendliest hostel staff that I’ve ever encountered! Right away they started asking me about my plans for the country and highly recommended that I rent a car because public transport was very limited and not the most reliable way to get around the country. So I took his idea into consideration and I decided to write my name and number on a whiteboard behind the reception desk in hopes to find others that would be willing to roadtrip and help split the cost. The following day while I was taking a nap I received a knock on the door only to find two girls wanting to roadtrip around the country, a few hours later another girl was interested, and also another man who had just made it into my room! Together we rented a vehicle for 5 days and it costed us roughly $30 each for the whole trip, our time together was incredible and the roadtrip couldn’t have gone any better! Here’s how our five days together went! I hope you enjoy!
On our very first morning we headed directly to the Dead Sea, but along the way we stopped and visited Mt. Nebo, which is a mountain viewpoint famous for being the resting place for Moses. Along with a beautiful church, a memorial to moses, and a small museum this mountain also gives you an amazing view of the Dead Sea and also a view of Israel and Palestine! We only explored Mt. Nebo for roughly an hour and in my opinion that was enough time to walk around and enjoy the place and it’s history. Of course, if you’re religious this might be a place where you would like to spend a bit more time. After exploring Mt. Nebo we jumped back into our car and made our way towards the Dead Sea. When we arrived to the Dead Sea I was absolutely blown away by the huge cliff sides that laid along the Israel side and another thing that struck me was how blue the water was! I had never really seen many pictures of this place before, but seeing the water look so tropical was not what I was expecting at all. Along the Dead Sea there are many resorts, which charge about $30.00 to hang out at for the day. These resorts typically include a private beach to the Dead Sea, swimming pools, and of course showers and other facilities where you can relax. We figured that we wouldn’t be spending such a long time in the blazing sun so we opted for the much cheeper option! We decided to keep on driving south along the coast of the Dead Sea until we arrived to a small pool off over looking this small “beach” where a lot of the locals were swimming! We decided to make our way down and of course I couldn’t resist myself so I took off my clothes, put on my swim shorts and ran straight into the water! The feeling I got when I entered the water was unbelievable! Before I knew it I had little control of my body and I started to float! It was real! After hearing about this place for many years I had always wondered if you could really “float” inside of this water! We hung out inside of the water for about 45 minutes before my skin started to completely burn because of all the amount of salt inside of the water! That’s one thing that no one had warned me about before was how badly the water would burn your skin, so I highly want to recommend to not shave before visiting and also completely avoiding the water if you have any open wounds at all! In my personal opinion you don’t need more than an hour at the Dead Sea, it’s one of those places that you go to, jump in, and get out. I talked to a few people who paid for the resorts and although they enjoyed their experience most said the same exact thing. That after about an hour they were ready to leave, but because they had spent so much money on the entrance ticket they felt as if they needed to stay longer.
After wrapping up our time at the Dead Sea we decided to start making our way to Petra so that we could be able to attend the “Petra by night”. Along the way however we got slightly distracted when we saw a beautiful castle out at the distance! We decided to go on and check it out and let me just say that it didn’t disappoint. We soon learned that this castle was called the Karak Castle and it was said to be built in the 1140’s by the King of Jerusalem! How cool is that! We hung out at the castle for about an hour, exploring all of the underground tunnels, the small rooms, as well as the old mosque located in the center of the fortress! I was truly blown away by this place and would definitely recommend stopping by especially if you love history! After our visit to the castle we decided to stop for a bite to eat, which once again consisted of falafel and hummus…. at this point during my trip I was still able to tolerate it, but let me tell you by the time I left Jordan I had ate enough falafal to satisfy my cravings for the next year! At least! Once we got done with our dinner it was back on the highway to try and make it before the gates closed! I was a bit nervous because everything I had read online said that you needed to book tickets well in advance for the Petra by night segment, but in fact that was not true at all! I soon found out that you could actually book a ticket all the way up until the time it started! So keep that in mind! 😉 After about two hours we finally made it to the Petra visitor center where my friends left Jade and I so that we could attend the show, as they were not as interested in visiting at night. Needless to say, we made it into the gate right on time! The ticket to enter was roughly $24 and let me just say that it was extremely worth it! I was told many times before that it was a tourist trap, but even though that might be slightly true…. it was still an experience that I would never forget and I would recommend anybody to attend! After following a candlelit walkway for about 30 minutes we finally made it to the Treasury, which was a site that I had wanted to see for so long! Catching my first glimpse of it ever in my life, lit up by all of the lanterns was literally unreal! Although there was at least a 1,000 people there it didn’t make the experience any less enjoyable! I was simply blown away by it’s beauty! At that moment it hit me, “Wow! I had finally made it to Petra! A wonder of the world!” I couldn’t stop smiling! As far as the show, well it sucked! 😂 They simply played flute music for thirty minutes and handed out lots of warm tea before ending! Though the show itself wasn’t incredible in anyway, seeing the treasury with all of the lanterns in front of it was magical! After seeing the Treasury light up in different colors we decided to head back out to the gate and make our way to the hostel! The day had been filled with so many crazy emotions that we were simply drained and we knew that we would have an incredibly early wake up the following morning in order to beat the crowds into Petra!
The next morning we woke up at 5 to try to be the first ones at the gate to Petra! Fortunately, we made it before many others started to show up so after showing our tickets at the gate we were allowed to enter and off we were to explore these beautiful ruins for the day! After about a half an hour of walking we arrived to the first important monument inside Petra, which is known as the Treasury. After hanging around the treasury for a while and embracing all of the views we decided to start following a trail through the rest of the park, which took us to many of the most iconic sites in Petra! We didn’t hike any fancy trails at all just walked down the major route, which most tourists take that leads to the monastery. Along the way we were able to visit many of the tombs, the amphitheater, and the citadel by the time we made it to the Monastery we were completely beat! The weather was so hot and all the amount of walking we did had really caught up to us, so after hanging out up top for about an hour we decided that heading back to the hostel was the best idea! Although you can spend so many days hiking around the lost city of Petra, I personally believe that the 8 hours we spent inside of the park is enough to at least visit the most important sites and be content with your visit! (I also just posted a video from Petra with a lot more information on my YouTube channel “Travelwithchris”). Once we made it back to the hostel we all took showers and headed out to dinner with many people from our hostel! We enjoyed a really nice meal together and also hung out for a few hours enjoying the much cooler weather over several cups of tea.
The following morning we made our way to the Wadi Rum desert where we would be spending day 4 & 5 of our roadtrip! These two days were some of the most memorable experiences of my Jordan trip! We spent two nights in a Bedouin desert camp and the hospitality couldn’t have been any better. From the moment we arrived to the desert we were treated like family! The first day we spent hiking around many of the rock structures near by and also enjoyed a killer sunset! When we made it back to the camp there was an amazing dinner waiting for us, which was by far one of the best meals I had in all of Jordan! It was a wonderful platter of grilled chicken and seasoned vegetables that were cooked underneath the sand! They also provided us with many salad options, as well as a huge variety of desserts! After dinner we hung around the fire listening to traditional Bedouin music while sitting around a fire. The following morning we took off on an amazing 4×4 tour through the desert, which brought us to an incredible spring, sand dune, and a canyon with Petroglyphs engraved throughout the canyon. It was pretty epic! The 4×4 tour lasted around 8 hours and the experience was unforgettable! (Although we did run into one problem, which I will be talking about in my Wadi Rum blog) After the tour our night pretty much went as the first did! We had dinner, laid underneath the stars, and talked around the fire. The following morning I made the half an hour drive to a city called Aqaba in the south of the country and there I dropped off all of the others who had joined me for a roadtrip of a lifetime! Although I didn’t spend anytime in Aqaba, I wish I would’ve! The coast looked absolutely amazing and all of the diving and snorkeling trips that were offered were such amazing in price! However, my time in Jordan had been coming to an end and I needed to make sure to make it back to Amman by the end of the evening! As I started heading back to the highway I told myself that there was no way I could leave without jumping inside of that beautiful turquoise water. So I parked the car on the side of pull off, hopped into my shorts and ran into the water! It was so refreshing and so clean! I will definitely be visiting the Red Sea again! After a quick swim I jumped into the car and made the 5 hour drive back to Amman. Just like that my amazing five day roadtrip through the beautiful country of Jordan had came to an end! I hope you enjoy your time in Jordan and I hope that this blog has helped you with your trip organization, make sure to be on the lookout for both my “Everything you need to know about Petra” and “Wadi Rum on a budget” blogs coming soon! Also many of my Jordan videos can be found right now on YouTube at “Travelwithchris” I hope you enjoy! ❤️
Iceland is a country that many people only dream about visiting and for those fortunate enough to make the journey making sure to plan properly ahead of time can definitely ensure that your time in Iceland is unforgettable. Recently I spent 7 days traveling around the country and I learned so much along the way that I wish I would’ve known before prior to visiting! In this blog I’m going to be sharing with you a few tips that should help you on your travels to Iceland.
Renting a car is honestly the only way to properly see the country! Renting a vehicle can range anywhere from $65-$200 a day depending on what kind of vehicle you are renting and where in the country you are planning on visiting. In Iceland there are two kinds of roads, the normal highway and what they refer to as “F-Roads”. It is important to look up all the destinations that you are visiting to make sure where they are in the country so that you can rent the right vehicle to access those locations. The F- Roads are the roads that take you into the highlands and the only way to travel on these roads is with a 4×4 vehicle and you also have to ensure that you have a vehicle with a snorkel as many of those roads cross rivers. If you are planning on doing trips such as “The Golden Circle” or “Ring Road” a normal sedan will work just fine especially during the summer/fall months. Renting a car will allow you to see more than just a few stops and allow you to constantly pull over and embrace the beauty that Iceland has to offer.
As you all may know Iceland is very, very, very expensive! Eating out and enjoying beverages on the town of Reykjavík for example will cost you roughly 15-20 USD for an entree and roughly 7-10 USD for a pint of beer. Keep in mind that these prices are for the burger spots, as well as the many asain restaraunts located in the town. I did sit down in Italian restaurant and also a very good steakhouse while in Reykjavík and both of those running me close to 100 USD just for myself….. so definitely a pretty penny! As you travel away from the big city almost all the prices for everything doubles, so make sure to do some grocery shopping and take snacks with you from Reykjavík if you’re planning a day trip or are heading out on a roadtrip. One morning we found ourselves near Vik, which is where the famous Black Beach is located and the only restaurant open only offered a buffet, which ran us each 35 USD. (The worst part was that it was very mediocre!)
Getting from the airport to downtown Reykjavík can be down in many ways depending on your budget and how you choose to travel. The Keflavik airport is located roughly 45 km from the city of Reykjavík and can take anywhere from 45mins – 1 hr to reach. At the airport they have Taxis readily available, public buses, and alst a shuttle service called “Airport Direct”. The cheapest option was the public bus and that is also the way I chose to get to the center. This ride costed me roughly 13 USD and only took about 1 hour to reach the city! I personally really enjoyed the ride as it went through small villages and I was able to interact with a few locals who don’t typically come across tourists. The second cheapest option is the Airport Direct shuttle, which runs every hour takes you directly from the airport to your hotel door! This option cost about 35 USD each way and takes roughly 45mins to reach the center. The third and most expensive option will definitely have to be the taxi/uber, which will cost you anywhere from 135 – 160 USD and it will also take you about 45 mins to reach the center depending on traffic.
If you haven’t realized just yet Iceland is not the warmest country in the world and although during the summer months it can be quite warm the weather changes at rapid speeds. During my 7 day trip, which took place in mid-September we had two amazing sunny days and the rest were just weird……One day we were driving around the Golden Circle and the weather went from sunny to raining than it started to hail before finally getting sunny again! So don’t be like myself and only leave your accommodation with a warm jumper because the weather looks fine. Always make sure to have all of your rain gear with you as well because conditions can definitely get rough! Although, I did talk with a lot of locals and most of them say that the snow doesn’t usually roll in until late November/early December! So for those of you like me that really would rather not be in snow showing up before those months would be ideal.
Iceland is an incredible country with landscapes that are just not found anywhere else in the world! Choosing the right time of year to visit is very important, especially because the winters can get very rough around the country. The most popular time to visit Iceland is May through September, as these tend to be the warmest months of the year. However, there are a few downsides to visiting during these months as it is the peak season and there are so many tourists! This also means that a lot of prices also go up and accommodation/ car rentals can get quite pricey! Not to mention that they will also be pretty booked up! Honestly, visiting the country any time of the year will be amazing and completely different! While I was there the beautiful wild flowers were in full bloom, despite the dark and moody skies and the weather conditions even though they were rough it made the whole experience that much better. It truly gave me an “out of this world experience ” and it was exactly what I was expecting when planning my trip. Visiting in the winter month I can also imagine would be quite amazing, as long as you enjoy the cold or should I say the freezing cold! While I was driving around the country I was imagining the landscape covered with a beautiful white blanket, seeing those incredible waterfalls and mountains covered in snow has to be beyond incredible!
Hopefully, these tips will help you have a smoother and more enjoyable trip to Iceland. I know many of these tips seem very simple, but quite honestly sometimes we tend to forget or overlook the basics when visiting a new country. If you have any more questions feel free to send me a message on my Instagram (@whichchris_) and I will try to answer them all to the best of my abilities! I also vlogged the entire trip, ao if you’re interested in seeing the adventures first hand feel free to visit my YouTube channel (Travelwithchris) and don’t forget to subscribe! 😉 I hope you have an amazing time in Iceland and thank you for stopping by!
Last week was one hell of an adventure! As I’ve been working my way around the Pacific Northwest I finally was able to visit one of my favorite mountains in the world, Mt. Rainier National Park. Mt. Rainier holds a very special place in my heart because when I first moved to Washington state when I was in the military it had been the first mountain I had ever laid eyes on in real life. Being born and raised in Southern California I didn’t have much experience around mountains, let alone one of that size! I was instantly fascinated with this Super Volcano! Mt. Rainier is one of the biggest Super volcanoes on the North America continent and in fact it is rated as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to its large amounts of glaciers that surround the peak. Scientists believe that if Mt. Rainier were to erupt it could launch shards of ice and rock as far as 180 miles from the Volcano! That’s insane! Well thats enough information about the mountain, now let me tell you about the crazy time I had exploring this national park last week!
(If you’d like to know more about Mt. Rainier, hikes at Mt. Rainier, and other helpful information be on the lookout for my “Mt. Rainier travel guide” that will be posted soon!)
Heading to Mt. Rainier was definitely in the plans, but I hadn’t planned on visiting for a few more weeks! As I was driving out of the Olympic National Park I slowly started receiving my text messages and unread phone calls after not having service for three days. Upon all the phone calls I had a few missed from my buddy Colby, who I served in the Army with. As soon as we got to talking he told me that he had the next few days off and that he wanted to adventure! Without putting to much thought into it I had him meet me at a Wal-Mart within the hour and we were off to Mt. Rainier! Our first stop on the list was reflection lakes! The name says it all! These two lakes are so incredible and if you catch them in the early mornings or late evenings you will encounter an amazing reflection of Mt. Rainier! Luckily for us we got some pretty okay conditions and we ended up hanging around the lake on hammocks until the last bit of light was gone. Once it got dark we drove over to a pull off on the side of the road and began to cook a nice meal while watching a movie, oh and I can’t forget about the White Claws! Once the movie finished we sat back and enjoyed the beautiful star filled sky until we went to bed. Unfortunately, the following morning we woke up to an incredibly bad storm! It was snowing and raining, which was completely odd especially because it had been so sunny just a few hours prior. After hanging out in the van for a few hours we decided that the weather probably wasn’t going to get better so we left the park and decided to call an end to the trip. Well the trip with Colby. I decided to spend a night in a nearby city until the storm passed through and two days later I was right back to exploring this beautiful place!
When I entered back into Mt. Rainier I ended up entering through the Sunrise area, which is located on the North Entrance of the park. When I arrived the first place I headed to was the Sunrise visitor center, which is home to a lot of the most popular hikes in the national park. When I arrived I immediately sent it on a hike to Frozen Lake, which is supposedly a very trafficked trail. Unfortunately, there was no one else on the trail and I believe that was because the weather was pretty bad! When I made it to the top where I was supposed to be looking at the lake, I couldn’t see absolutely anything! The lake was completely socked in! After letting the disappointment kick in a bit, I decided to head back down to the parking lot to make some dinner and called it a night!
The following morning at 4:30 am I met up in the parking lot with my friend Danny, who is also a photographer based out of the Pacific Northwest, that morning was actually my first time ever meeting Danny in person, as we had been friends on Instagram for quite sometime. After introducing ourselves the right way, we turned on our head lamps and started walking into the darkness in front of us. The trail we decided to take was the Burroughs Mountain trail. This hike had to have been one of the most amazing hikes I’ve ever done. It was challenging, but so rewarding. As the sun started to surface we were greeted by some insane views of Mt. Rainier! Never had I been so close to this mountain before. Once we finally made it to the ridge where the trail ended, we were greeted by some insane views of the many glaciers that are located on this mountain! We also got some amazing views of the whole park and it’s surrounding rivers. While we were on the ridge it was extremely cold because of the high wind, so we took a couple of photos and decided to head on back to the van. After about 3 hours we finally made it back and immediately got to cooking breakfast and of course the coffee! After relaxing and letting our feet breathe a bit, we decided that it would be best to head down to Paradise, which is located on the opposite side of the park because that is where our sunset hike was going to be taking place. When we arrived to Paradise we went back to Reflection Lakes to hang out for a few hours before taking off on another amazing hike! Unfortunately, that hike never came around! My van started to make really bad noises so Danny and I decided that the best thing to do was to leave the park and get the van checked out instead of being stuck in the park through the dark. Thankfully, though we missed a hike, my van ended up being okay and the noise that I was hearing was simply a rock that had managed to get stuck in my rotor. Huge relief on my part! 😅 I hope you all enjoyed hearing about my trip to Mt. Rainier! Make sure to give my blog a follow, as I will be creating a Mt. Rainier travel guide with all the information you need to make your visit incredible!
This past week I was able to visit the Olympic National Park, which also happens to be one of my favorites! One of the reasons why the Olympic National Park is so special compared to others around the United States is because it has more diversity in both plants and animals than any other! For those of you that are are unaware of the exact location of this national park, it’s actually located in the beautiful state of Washington and its located on the Olympic Peninsula. In my opinion, the Olympic Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places in the world! I started my in the Northern area of the park at a beautiful place called Hurricane Ridge. When I arrived to the ranger station I was greeted by a very helpful Ranger who issued me my a new national parks pass and a map along with recommendations. During the drive to the trailhead I was so surprised on how much wildlife I was able to witness! Within the first few minutes of being on the road I had seen several deer of all different sizes and even a bear sitting right along side of the road eating berries!
When I made it to the trailhead I was greeted again by a big buck! He was so beautiful and calm! After hanging near the buck and my van for a bit, I decided to head to the Hurricane Hill trail only to find that it was closed due to ” goat migration “, this bummed me out quite a bit, as I had been looking forward to doing that hike for quite some time now. I decided to not be to upset and I ventured off on some of the other smaller trails in the area that were open. While I was on one of the trails I came a cross another huge buck standing in between some trees! This one unlike the first one I had seen was a lot bigger and meaner looking, or maybe I just got that impression simply because I was alone! I quickly grabbed a few pictures and kept going about my business. Not to far up along the trail I ran into a group of boys from Hong Kong and they had also just arrived to the Olympic National Park, except it was there very first time! After chopping it up a bit and breaking the ice I got to know that they had turned around on the trail because the fog was to dense, not allowing them to see and after seeing all the wildlife they had been to afraid to continue. It didn’t take long, but I was able to convince them to finish up the rest of the hike because I had a feeling that we would easily surpass the fog cover and that the view would be rewarding! Sure enough when we made it to the top the sky was clear and you could see everything in the valley and out in the distance so clear! It brought me so much joy seeing how stoked these kids were, especially because it had been there very first time out in nature like that ever before. It reminded me of myself, growing up in Los Angeles I only felt comfortable in massive cities for a long time. It wasn’t until I was introduced to hiking and photography that I really became in love with the outdoors. After hanging out with these guys for a while I decided to run around and shoot the sunset a bit more before heading over to the Storm King Ranger station, I never made it all the way there because I was tired so I pulled over on the side of road and called it a night!
The following morning I woke up with every intention on hiking up Mt. Storm King, but because of my dim headlights on my van and no GPS I passed the trailhead and by the time I realized That I had passed it I was about 30 minutes in the opposite direction, so I decided to head off and explore the Hoh Rainforest as it was only about another 30 minutes drive from where I was. When I arrived to the rainforest I immediately found the main trail head and I decided I would do the most popular route since I had never done it called the “Trail of Moses”. I started walking on the trail and immediately ran into large groups of families with kids crying and some yelling at each other! I then decided to turn around and head back to another trail head called the Hoh River trail. This trail has several different routes on it some starting at a 10 miles round trip leading all the way up to a 36 mile roundtrip! I decided I would head off to a few waterfalls, which were only about 3 1/2 miles away according to the sign. To make a long story short, I never ended up seeing waterfalls and my hike turned into 13 miles because I veered off onto the wrong trail! If that wasn’t enough, while I was on this trail I also had one of the scariest encounters with wildlife that I’ve ever had in my life ! While I was walking I had a momma bear and her cub jump right out in front of me onto the trail. I literally had an oh shit moment and slowly began stepping backwards to hide behind the nearest tree! All of sudden all of the tiredness had gone away and I was completely scared for my life because this bear just sat there and looked at me while her cub jumped around in the brush. After looking at me for a few second, (but what felt let eternity to me!) the bear jumped behind a log and began to feed her cub. I decided to sit back and continue to wait until others come around or until I saw the bear leave. After about 20 minutes a few hikers come by and I warned them of the bear. One of the hikers just so happened to be a wildlife volunteer and assured me that it would be okay to walk in front of the bear. I wasn’t going to risk it, but they had continued walking so I ran up behind them because I wasn’t going to sit there any longer by myself. Sure enough the bear kept on feeding its cub and I got to live to finish that beautiful trail. (first two photos shot on Iphone)
After the trail I headed to the coast, which was only about 30 minutes away from the rainforest! The first stop on my list was Rialto Beach where I was able to spend s couple of hours walking up and down the beach enjoying the beautiful rock fixtures that stood out in the water. The beach was so beautiful that I decided to stay for sunset and it did not disappoint at all! After sunset I decided to head to another beautiful town along the coast called La Push. La Push is famous for its famous beaches that appeared in the Twilight series and since have attracted thousands of visitors from ll around the world every year! I decided to go sleep at one of the more famous beaches in La Push called Second Beach because I heard it was an amazing place to wake up for a sunrise! If you know me than you know that I love my sunrises! The following morning I woke up at 5 am and made the one mile walk down into the forest which eventually lead me to the beach. The sunrise that morning unfortunately wasn’t anything special, but it didn’t make the beach any less amazing than it was! I was completely left in shock because I had never seen such a beautiful piece of coastline throughout my travels! After taking a couple of photos I decided it was time to put the camera down and simply enjoy the beach! I hung around for a couple of hours before heading back into my van to start my drive back into the city to charge up my equipment, edit, and catch up on some studies!
I hope you all enjoyed hearing about my adventure through the Olympic National Park! I’m excited to share with you all that next month I will be heading back to Europe to the beautiful countries of Sweden and Iceland! So stay tuned for all of those fun adventures that are about to come your way! Thanks for stopping by! See you on the next one! 🤘🏻
Damn! Just like that week 2 has come to an end! It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been living back in the van for two weeks now, yet I’ve already done so much since being here in the Pacific Northwest. If you read the last blog post, I spent week one getting things together and this week was not a whole lot different except for the fact that I was able to make a random and extremely last minute trip to the North Cascades National Park with my buddy Sam. It was also the Fourth of July weekend, which made it a whole lot better as my last two Independence days had been spent overseas. After this weekend I’m pretty convinced (not like I wasn’t already) that the PNW is in fact the most beautiful place in the world. It blew my mind that this amount of beauty only exists about 3 hours from a place that I once called home for almost 4 years.
My buddy Sam showed up on the lake that I was on last week during the 4th and after spending a couple of hours on the lake we decided that it was time to take off and we so we sent it on a 3 hour drive North to North Cascades National Park and our first stop on the itinerary was a lake that I had been wanting to witness with my own eyes for years now, Diablo Lake. When we arrived it was a little past midnight so it was pitch black, but we decided that it would be safe to sleep at the Diablo Lake overlook and sure enough, it was, nobody bothered us and we were able to wake up to a beautiful view of Diablo Lake. This lake has to be one of the most turquoise colored lakes that I’ve ever seen and with the morning fog hovering over it, you simply can’t help but pinch yourself! (I’ll be putting together a North Cascades guide with places to sleep and hikes that you shouldn’t miss!)
After spending a couple of the morning hours at this beautiful Alpine lake we decided to head over to Maples Pass, which is only one of the finest hikes in the North Cascades! The trail takes you through one of the most beautiful mountainous landscapes that I’ve ever seen. I fell in love with this trail because of the amazing views and the colorful flowers that can be seen along the sides of this well maintained trail throughout the whole hike! When you make it about half way up you also encounter a beautiful meadow and an amazing turquoise lake sitting at the base of a mountain in the distance! This trail is one of those that simply never stops surprising you! The biggest reward however is making it top the top of the Maples Pass ridge, which gives you the most amazing views of Lake Ann! I highly recommend making this hike when in the PNW. By the time we made it to the bottom, we were completely exhausted and we decided to call it a night.
The following day we visited these beautiful falls called Nooksack falls and we also went on a very special “Secret Hike”. Unfortunately , along this trail there were signs saying to not geotag the location and I’m going to respect that as so many places have been destroyed because of the fact that they become Instagram spots. So anyways, we made it to the trail head and I had little to no idea about what was going on and what I was getting myself into. Little did we know this trail was going to be close to ten miles long (roundtrip) and brutal! After hiking for about 3 hours and questioning myself the whole time we finally made it this fire lookout at the top of the mountain and what I was about to see my eyes were not ready for! What I saw down below was two beautiful crystal blue lakes sitting side by side each other with some of the sickest mountains in the background! At that moment all the pain in my legs and knees was gone and nothing but smiles came out after that!
Unfortunately, we had plans of smashing out a couple more hikes, but that last one had really beat us up! So we decided to get some rest in the National Park and see how we would feel the following morning, so we did just that! The following morning we woke up and we were both extremely tired and sore so we decided that it would be best to head back down south and allow our bodies to rest. Well on our way down south Sam recommended that we visit one more set of waterfalls before heading home and I thought it would a good idea as well. We make the short one hour detour only to find ourselves on a hike that was way worse than the day prior only difference was the distance! This time we found ourselves hiking the trail with no water, as well as no snacks because everything we had read online had said that the falls was located along side of the highway…. turned out that was a lie! Anyways, we ended up pushing through it and we made it to the top of this incredible waterfall. When we made it back to the bottom we decided it was time to call it a day and head back South because Sam still had an incredibly long drive back to Portland ahead of him!
So guys I hope that you enjoyed reading about my adventures this week and I’m so looking forward to posting a lot more than just once a week on here! Thank you so much for all the constant love and support! I hope to see you guys all here again next week! Please make sure to leave a comment and share this with your friends! Much love!
Not long ago I had this funky vision that opportunities were everywhere and that being able to prosper in this world was totally up to an individual not there surroundings or family name, but let me just say that I was completely wrong. This time last year I was traveling through the beautiful country of Peru in a small town called Ollantaytambo, which was located in a region known as the Sacred Valley. This valley is famous because of the many Inca ruins that exist there, but also because it sits right in the heart of the Andes mountains. That is what lead me there, it is a huge destination for budget backpackers who just want to live freely and become one with the mountains. During my stay in the Sacred Valley I made several different treks to other villages and camps, but one trek would change my outlook on the world forever. One day I decided that I was going to make the journey with some Norwegian guy that I had just met to a small mountain town called Aguas Calientes, which is also incredibly famous as people who backpack to Machu Picchu (the most famous of the Inca Ruins), almost always make the stopover here as it is the last village that they will pass along the route. This town is not accessible by road and the only way to enter is by train or hiking along the railroad tracks, but mind you the train costs roughly 200 USD, which for many who live in this town would never see. So as the locals did we followed the tracks! The experience was unforgettable as we met so many amazing people along the trail from all around the world and I heard so many amazing stories from the locals that were literally carrying 100 lb. bags of beans are their backs and I had been complaining of back pain! When we made it to the village a young girl came running up to greet my mate and I, and in Spanish ask me if we could please stay the night at there house! She quickly offered to give dinner, breakfast, and two individual beds for only 4 USD a night. After talking it over with my friend, we decided to take the sketchy offer and we started to follow this girl down these very unwelcoming small alleyways and I’m glad we did! When we entered her small home we were greeted right away with a small, but delicious meal of potatoes, rice, and beans. Over the meal, I got to know a bit more about the family through the youngest girl, which had found us by the tracks because she was the only one that knew Spanish, her mother and siblings only spoke Quechua, which is the Peruvian native language. After dinner we were shown to our room and we were so surprised! The beds were done up so beautiful and they had even lit a beautiful candle for us! They directed us to wash house, as they didn’t have running water and when we returned we decided to sit down and converse with the family that had clearly given us their only room and beds to try and make a small income. This is when the big box that I was living in completely shattered and life would forever be looked at differently. She asked me if she could view some photos from my hometown and travels, as she has never heard of such places before. When I showed her a picture of a beach in California, she was in complete awe and couldn’t stop asking if they were real. If beaches like that really do exist, prior to seeing that picture of the beach, her only experience with beaches were through stories that she thought were imaginary and made up by family over the years. The rest of the evening went on like this! She had no idea what “Apple” was and in fact my cell phone had been the first she had ever touched. The family had never seen facebook or instagram and when I saw the look on their faces I couldn’t help but cry. Knowing that they would never be able to experience any of this life that so many of us take for granted. Not only because of the money, but also because of the world that they live in! Their constant battle is survival, when the family got done eating is what time to start looking and finding food for the next meal. I always had the impression that people can become anything they want to be and make something out of nothing, regardless of family background, education, and social class, but just like this family who had never left this village, there are millions of people out there right now who have no idea that there is more to the world than what their eyes can see. For millions of people “opportunities” will never come around, they will never see a book, touch a computer, or even ever have a filled belly! I was always aware of these issues, but this experience made it extremely clear that not everyone can dream! ✨
Last week I arrived back to the Pacific Northwest and I couldn’t have been more excited! As many of you know I am from California. However, prior to living on the road I resided in Washington state for 5 years and I absolutely fell in love with the place! I also consider it my home, as I have every intention on settling down here one day! If you’ve ever visited the PNW, chances are you probably feel the same way!
Anyways, let me catch you all up on how my first week back has been! I flew into Seattle last week with my youngest brother to visit our other brother who now lives in the area! It felt so good to finally be all together at once, as it has been hard for that to happen in the past couple of years due to our lives in the military and of course my choice of lifestyle, so spending good quality time with them and just being around their presence has been amazing! Last week I was also able to get back to my van, which had been stored here in the area for the last couple of months while I was in Europe. Unfortunately, when I got back to the van there was a couple issues that had come up and a couple of leaks that had emerged due to it sitting and not being started for so long, but luckily nothing that was too serious! I spent about two days getting things all fixed up and before I knew it she was running like a brand new van! Just to test out all the mechanical work that I did my brother and I decided to head on a nice road trip to the Washington coast down into the Oregon coast and back into Portland! The trip was so relaxing and I loved the fact that my younger brother was with me the whole time! Our first stop was in a small little beach town called Long Beach, Washington. It’s famous for being the “longest beach in the world”, you can literally drive along the whole 26 mile stretch! We only drove about a mile onto the sand before pulling off and taking a nice nap with the sound of the ocean in the background! Once we woke, we made our way over to the small strip in the center of town where we ate so much fudge and came across some very weird museums! After hanging out here for a bit, we drove another hour south to the beautiful Ecola State Park, which is located in Cannon Beach, Oregon. While at this park we followed a couple of amazing trails down to the water and spent a bit of time simply admiring the beauty of the coast! Once sunset got closer we made our way down to the most famous Haystack Rock, where we enjoyed some beers, a fire, and an amazing sunset, which ultimately turned into a sky illuminated by stars! When we finally ran out of wood, we made out way back to the van and found a nice little rest stop to call it a night in! The next morning we woke up for a beautiful sunrise before heading to Portland to catch up with my other brother and some friends from the military! Overall the weekend went well and my van ran amazing!
I also managed to finally get my windows tinted, as I will be back to living in it full time again next week! For many of you that follow me on my other platforms, you probably heard me say countless of times that I was going to be heading to Asia for the summer, but after this last week I have decided to stay in the PNW for the summer and enjoy all the beautiful mountain ranges that this area has to offer, while the weather is perfect! So if you love yourself some epic hikes, incredible mountains, and alpine lakes be sure to follow this blog, as I will be posting weekly blogs from all around the Vancouver B.C, Washington, and Oregon areas! Much love to you all!
After a nice and relaxing month back home in Southern California, it’s time to finally get back out on the road! During the last month I was able to catch up on some much needed family time and I was also able to help my grandmother out with her post knee replacement therapies and other appointments, which I’m very glad for! Right now I’m currently sitting on a flight heading to Seattle, Washington and I’m pretty excited because my younger brother now lives in Washington state and it’s been almost 6 months since we’ve last seen each other! So that’s going to be really nice! I’m also sitting on this plane with my youngest brother, it will be the first time that we’ve all three been together in over 1 year! My brother is in the military and is currently on holiday until next week, so for the next week I plan on catching up with both of my brothers and enjoying the time that we get to spend with each other! As of right now my plan is to hop back into my van, which is also located in the Seattle area and travel a bit around the Pacific Northwest! Ideally, I would love to visit Banff and Jasper National Park in Canada this summer and a few other spots in Washington/ Oregon that can only really be accessed during the summer months! After I spend a couple of weeks back in the van, the plan is to head over to Asia and finally backpack SE Asia properly! As some of may remember, 2 years ago I visited SE Asia, but I didn’t stay long and I was only able to visit Thailand and South Korea! Asia is one region of the world that interests me more than any other I’d say, yet it’s the region I’ve spent the least of time traveling in, so I’m hoping to change that! Do any of you have any big travel plans for this summer/year? Make sure to let me know down in the comment section, as I love to hear where all of you are heading and some of your goals! Well I know this was brief, but I felt like it was time for a nice little update on what I’ve been up to and what my future travel plans are looking like at the moment! Thank you for all the continuous love and support! See you on the next one! 🤙🏻
One of the questions I get asked most often is “Chris, how do you afford to travel so much?” For those of you new to my journey, let me catch you up a bit. Two years ago I began the process of getting rid of all my material possessions and bought a one way ticket to pursue my dream of traveling the world! I didn’t have thousands of dollars, in fact I was honestly quite scared because I didn’t have much money and I didn’t think that traveling as much as I had planned would’ve be possible! I know there’s many of first time travelers out there who are feeling the same way! In this write up I’m going to be telling you how I managed to travel around the world on a budget and the ways you can too! Let me also add that this is not sponsored in any way, I just want to spread some of the love and advice!. Thank you!
Workaway is an amazing resource that I have used throughout my travels. They are have opportunities for travelers in over 180 different countries and have over 30,000 hosts! Workaway looks for volunteers that can offer literally anything! Some examples of work can include teaching english to children, helping build houses or other community projects, painting murals, and so many other things….. I would never be able to sit here and name all the opportunities, but I do recommend checking out their sites as everything is listed there! (and it’s also pretty fun to look at) What I love most about their services is that all the host that they partner you with have all undergone lots of inspections and your guaranteed to be safe! Most hosts require anywhere from 3-5 hours of work a day and usually 4 days a week at minimum depending on what opportunities you’re seeking! In exchange you’ll receive accommodation, food, and a genuine local experience in another part of the world…..for free!
Hostels are amazing for many different reasons! In the last two and a half years I’ve only managed to stay in hotel rooms a few times and that was because I was in Asia where they were extremely affordable, the rest has all been in hostels. I’ve stayed in over 150 different hostels around the world and I promise you only 2 were bad stays. (both were in Amsterdam) Why hostels? Hostels attract other travelers who are on a budget and usually traveling long term, which makes for a great place to meet friends especially if you are a solo traveler like I am. Hostels also usually host a lot of activities such as nightly games, pub crawls, and art contest…. activities to get everyone together. Nonetheless, I’ve met so many amazing people at hostels and I plan on staying in them for as long as I keep on traveling! Hostels vary in price depending on what region of the world you are visit, but my go to site for checking out hostels is Hostelword.com , there you can search specific cities to compare prices, as well as see the facilities, photos, and reviews of each hostel. (that is registered with Hostelworld)
Couch Surfing is an a mobile application and website that allows travelers to connect with locals all around the world! Couch Surfing hosts can typically help you out by giving you a place to stay for the night or several days, showing you around, or even to help you get situated when moving to a new area. Couch Surfing is available in over 70 different countries and has a community that is over 300,000 people strong. One of the main reasons why I love Couch Surfing is because you almost always meet people with the same mindset and you always get to see a side of the city, town, or village that you’re in that you wouldn’t have seen because you are with a local. This experience can make your stay a lot more authentic and honestly a lot more enjoyable! Couch surfing is also a lot easier to use and put into play than the first two resources I talked about. Requesting to stay in someones home has never been easier! The Couch Surfing application is easy to download and after setting up a profile, you can start surfing almost instantly. On the app you can search for specific regions, countries, and exact cities to see who is available and offering to host during the dates that you will be visiting, once you find someone that you think you could get a long with just fine, you simply send them a message and wait! The great thing about this app is that you can send as many requests as you’d like and the best part is that it is free! However, they do have a way to get your account verified, which in return helps others know that you are safe and not some crazy person, this costs a one time fee of $10, but makes it so much easier for others to accept you into their homes. I’ll be honest, I don’t have a verified account, but I do have plenty of references and that helps me get accepted more frequently than when I initially started!
Thank you so much for checking out this post! I hope that these 3 tips will be able motivate you to step out of your comfort zone and seek the unknown. Please leave me some feedback and let me know of your upcoming travel plans in the comments! Safe travels everyone and I’ll see you on the next one!
A couple of days ago I posted a story on Instagram asking if you guys were interested in learning a bit about myself, how I managed to start traveling, and why I choose to live nomadically. In this post I will talk about what inspired me, making the decision to quit my job, and of course a little bit about who I am and my past that lead me up to this point. Here’s a little headshot if you don’t already know who I am! 😁
My name is Christopher Rodriguez, I’m 24 years old and I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Long Beach, California. I come from a very big family, which I love more than anything else. Besides family my other two passions are photography and travel. For the last two years I have been traveling around the world and I have somehow managed to make it to 49 countries, across 6 different continents! Every time I say/write that I still can’t believe it, simply because my life hasn’t always been this way! In fact, traveling around the world and living out of a backpack was something I had never even heard of prior to this idea being pitched at me. Before I took off to travel the world I served as a Paratrooper in the United States Army for 4 years and then I contracted for the government as a dieselmechanic for about 6 months before eventually resigning to pursue a life filled with adventure and constant excitement!
Just over 2 years ago I was working long hours as a contractor for the Army, servicing heavy equipment vehicles and spending well over 40 hours a week in a shop wearing coveralls and a ventilator. Even though I completely hated my job at the time, I was content and satisfied because I was making a really good salary and it was a career I could have stayed in easily my whole life. I had a great group of friends and they all pretty much complained about their jobs too, so I figured it was just normal to feel this way. Long story short, the plan was to work, buy a house, and I guess work more until I retire, but that all changed one day thanks to my buddy Mitch. Let me tell you a bit about this guy…..
I met Mitch in 2015 at a random party while I was in the military and we instantly got a long. After killing a bottle of vodka, shot for shot in front of group of people with this guy we decided that we should probably be friends. I had recently just gotten out of a big relationship so I was in the process of looking for a place to stay, that’s when Mitch offered me a room at his house, I couldn’t believe it personally because we were both drunk, but I told him I could come and see the room he had for rent in the morning. The next morning I moved in with Mitch and we lived together up until the day we left. So now that you know a bit about Mitch I can tell you about the role he played in all of this! One day I came home from work and Mitch is super excited and he starts telling me that he will be leaving for Australia and New Zealand in a few months for his childhood friends wedding and that he would love for me to come. First off, I looked at him quite retarded at first because I was so confused, I remember saying “Dude Australia! What! I don’t even have a passport? How do we get there?”. Mitch had lots of experience with traveling around the world and that was kind of his personality I would say at the time. I was always interested in the stories, but just didn’t ever see myself doing it. I gave it some thought for a few days, then I mentioned it again and he said “I’m going to just quit my job and take off man.” I said ” What the fuck dude! Really?”, a couple days later the man himself had convinced me to get a passport and a one way ticket to Australia! Just like that the journey was going to be starting, we had 6 months until our flight and we both didn’t have a whole lot saved. About 4 months prior to leaving we decided that from New Zealand we’d be going in to Europe and just backpacking Europe as well! My plan after those 6 months of travel was to come back home and work again, but that turned out to be false. I had fallen too much in love with a world that I had never known before! I love connecting with others, and my whole outlook on life has changed. Quitting my job and listening to some crazy New Zealand guy was the craziest decision I could’ve ever made, but it was definitely the best!
Now this question runs through my head quite often, but every time it does the question fades away quickly! Throughout this journey I’ve learned so much more about myself and I can definitely say that my outlook on life is completely different than it was two years ago! As of right now my plan is to continue to travel the world and continue to create the life that I wish to live for myself. I’m going to continue to roam around freely and enjoy every day like its my last! Most importantly I want to continue to inspire others to break out of their comfort zone and to not be afraid of change. Sometimes taking the first step into the unknown can change your life forever. You never know what is waiting for you out in this big world that we live in, unless you go out and explore it for yourself! So for the next, who knows how long…. I plan on traveling around the world and continuing to progress as a photographer. I would love to be able to make a full living as a freelance photographer, but as of right now I’m quite far away from achieving that goal. All I can do now is continue to work hard, seek those destinations that are less traveled, and continue to build a brand for myself throughout the platforms that I’m currently engaging on. Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Make sure to follow and leave a comment because I will definitely be posting on here more often!