Unanchor Blog: Heart of a Local Travel
We temporarily moved to Yucca Valley on a whim. Where is that you ask? 45 minutes east of Palm Springs and adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. We knew it would be remote, but truth be told, it was a little jarring when we got there with a very monotone color pallet, surprisingly cold temperatures, and a lot of rundown strip malls. We are restaurant and bar people. Love to cook, but love to explore a city by wining and dining. At first glance, this is not the place for such things, but after a little exploration and we found some amazing winners.
The island is wild; waterfalls cascade down steep mountainsides, valley floors are covered in gigantic ferns, and rivers wind their way to the coast. You don't often get to experience the untouched remoteness of a place like you do when exploring the interior of Tahiti. Tahiti hiking is simply awesome! Here are our 3 favorite hikes.
For three days, three dives a day we dove Sipadan, North Point, Barracuda Point, Hanging Garden, Southpoint, and Drop Off Wall. Watching little clown fish play like school children in the coral. Games of hide and seek ensued. The coral was beautiful. Some coral danced in the current while others pulsated in and out like they were breathing. The delicateness of the coral fans looked so fragile, yet they held strong against the current.
Real talk here, not all travel is lovely. The last couple of weeks have been incredible but I have to admit, fatigue is setting. Sometimes places smell. The smell of sewage and rotting trash permeates your nose and becomes the norm. The sight of begging kids becomes too much. Guilt matched with sympathy immediately takes hold.
As lunch ensued the boat started its journey into the bay. As we dined, limestone islands passed by the windows. Each one awed me more than the last. I was surprised by the lack of birds. Frankly, Vietnam lacked birds altogether which was odd, but I wasn’t sad about it either. I was surprised and delighted all in one to see that lunch was dominated by Vietnamese cuisine. I was also surprised by how good it was. After dining, we changed into our suits and settled in for the rest of the ride. We drank beer and watched as the sun danced off the water and along the islands. I took so many photos as each island was more and more beautiful.
Whew, just returned from 3 days of motorcycling through the Mai Chau area of Vietnam, which was extraordinary. In some ways, the most incredible thing is that we exited the experience (mostly) unscathed. There were a couple of near-misses, but we both ended up with our bodies intact. This may sound like the expected outcome, and I suppose in some ways it is, but having just come through it, I can assure you it’s not the only outcome on the plinko board.
Whelp, we’ve finally got the next couple weeks lined up and booked. It’s been a fast and furious pace figuring out where to go, what to do, how much to spend, what to cut, etc. We have roughly 9 weeks in SE Asia, and while that may sound like a ton of time, it all goes very quickly. So, in a nutshell, here’s the next 10 days or so...
Real talk. The bus is intimidating. How to read the schedule, determine the fair, not look awkward AF in general, you name it. Now add in a foreign language barrier. I did my research. Read the ‘schedule,’ determined the fair and headed out on my own.
Travel is a funny thing. I am sitting here, our last morning in Nouméa, at the Babar Cafe while ‘The Greatest Love of All,’ plays in the background. Yep, that Babar. The cute and curious elephant from French children’s books. The ocean quiet in front of me as it too wakes up for the day. I may be in New Caledonia, a place I learned about roughly 3 months ago but it feels oddly familiar. That is until I am brought back to reality when the server asks me what I want in mumbled French.