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Exploring Bali – What To See and Do

Monkey Sanctuary, Ubud

You can’t come to Bali and not go to the Monkey Sanctuary! This place is located in Ubud, the center of the island and is COVERED with monkeys. These monkeys do not seem to care how close you get to them and will come right up on you even. They are very laid back animals, even in other places of the island.

They are quiet adorable and fun to go see up close. Be careful to not bring any plastic bags, as they will FOR SURE, go for them. They went for mine and tore my bag.

Also, do not look at a monkey directly in the eye, as it is a sign of aggression. I made that mistake before I knew of this and a monkey chased after me relentlessly, and it was quiet scary. They have large teeth, though they are not usually aggressive to humans unless bothered.

Waterfalls

Bali is abundant in waterfalls. The most popular being Sekumpul, NungNung, Banyumala Twin, Tegenungan, Air Terjun Tibumana and SingSing. I saw two of these…. Now that I think of that alone, all of them are so beautiful I MUST come back! ๐Ÿ™‚ They are very scattered throughout the island. These are Air Terjun Tibumana and SingSing.

Rice Terraces

Most of the large, beautiful rice terraces are located near Ubud, in the center of the island. Though, don’t be fooled. You can find some pretty amazing rice terraces literally right off the streets of Bali! There can be an open field somewhere off the road and you’ll find one, or one between a gas station and a food mart. They are quiet unexpected.

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Temples

The temples in Bali are stunning and you do not have to travel far to see them. Though the most popular are Uluwatu Temple, Tirta Empul, Tanah Lot Temple, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Taman Ayun Temple and Goa Lawah Temple.

Unfortunately, I did not see any of these temples (gives me a reason to come back!) I did see a few that I do not remember the names of. But in Bali, you will find temples everywhere!
It is a Bali law that if you build a home, farm or anything in between, you must build a temple for it as well, to pray for and bless the place.

For this reason you will see them right off the streets and they are all beautiful, though private. There are plenty of large temples that are public as well.

To enter a temple, you must wear a sarong and women that are on their periods are unable to enter. There are usually a place where you can use a sarong to enter the temple nearby, but not always.

Nusa Penida

This is an island off the coast of Bali, but still considered Bali. The roads are still undeveloped at this point and are very, very bumpy, but well worth the view points that they lead to! They are in the process of making new roads. There are also hardly any shops and restaurants, unlike the main island. But you can still find a place to eat during your visit.

You have to pay to use the bathroom at most places, unless your in a restaurant, and the bathrooms are NOT CLEANLY!

But above all else, you can see some spectacular view points, some monkeys and beautiful blue waters here. If you go to Bali, you must visit here!

Bali Healing Ritual

We went to Ubud for a Bali healing ritual and it was incredible, truly an experience I will never forget.

A healer will meet with you to do a palm reading then a ceremony with holy water and flowers to cleanse your spirit of negative energies and bring power.

After wards you will learn the prayers that the Hindu participate in every morning and in the temples to bring balance and harmony to your life. To read all about it and see more photos, I have a whole blog dedicated to the amazing experience here.

Coffee Plantation

Bali is home to the best coffee in the world, made when an animal called a Luwak, poops out the best coffee beans that it ate. They are then cleaned thoroughly and roasted to make the world’s best coffee. The Luwak only eats the best coffee beans and it’s digestive tract make the coffee beans germinate.

This is the most expensive coffee in the world, so it is a must see! When you go to the coffee plantation, you can walk the grounds where the coffee beans and other plants are grown. See the luwaks and get the whole explanation of the process.

You then can taste Bali coffee, a number of other coffee’s and teas made from the farm and try the luwak coffee as well. All while being in the quiet jungle with an incredible view. It was one of my favorite spots.

This coffee is hardly exported, as they do not have enough to supply high demand.

Bali is full of so much beautiful destinations and culture, I can’t wait to go back and experience more and tell you all about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Umpqua Hot Springs

The Umpqua National Forest is full of beauty, it’s much like a smaller Columbia River Gorge in my opinion.

While taking Highway 138, to or from Crater Lake, it runs along the spectacularly turquoise North Umpqua River.

There are plenty of natural wonders along this highway, but the Umpqua Hot Springs is one to be recognized above all else.

It is fairly simple to find, if your heading east on highway 138 from Roseburg, it’s just past mile marker 59, follow signs to Toketee Falls.

Toketee Falls

The hike to Toketee falls is about a two mile, fairly easy hike. There are plenty of viewpoints, but you do have to use a rope to get down to the bottom to get the best views.

There will be warning signs telling you not to go down the rope, so whether you do so or not is up to you.

To get to the hot springs, you will continue straight on this road for another two miles, it will break off at one point, stay to the right. You will continue down that road for another two miles and the parking lot for the trail head will be on the left. The trail can get fairly steep, there are rails to help you up the steepest points.

Hiking Bag

It is possible the road will be blocked off, it was when we went! If there is significant snow, you will have to park at the closed gate and hike the two miles to the trail head.

I personally think that the snow made the hot springs even more beautiful.

Even in the snow, these hot springs were still plenty hot, there is about a total of seven or eight pools, they get colder as you go down.

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AirBnb Eco-Cottage – Portland, OR

Portland is such a unique city. It has the perfect combination of outdoors, great food and shops. It’s close to the coast, to the forests, to the Columbia River Gorge and so many other gorgeous Oregon natural gems.

It can be hard to find the right combination of nature and the city life, so you don’t have to drive thirty minutes to get to downtown during your stay in the Portland area. Which is why I recommend this gorgeous eco-cottage found near the Pearl District of Portland.

This eco-cottage is very different in such a beautiful way. If you like tiny house living, this place is perfect for you!

This is an Airbnb, so you do need to book it here.

The home is very small and simple, it is almost like glamping; all easily connected to the outside with lots of natural lighting. The bathroom is located outside with lots of wood and rock, a very spa retreat-like feel.

The toilet is very different and has specific rules for use, but it used absolutely no water!

There is a hot tub and an outdoor shower in an area that contains plenty of bamboo and wood, it seems like your showering in Thailand. The hot water is fantastic, we were there in November and it wasn’t too cold outside! But there is also a space heater to help keep it warm outside.

This space is behind the owners home, but very private. It has a wooden gate all around, withholding an overgrown, garden oasis. We saw plenty of squirrels and raccoons wandering around.

Though we were in a neighborhood in the city, it was also quiet. There was plenty of nature around us and even a park across the street. Some bikes and a canoe are available to use during your stay as well.

This retreat has no t. v but plenty of interesting books; which I loved. It truly forces you to unwind and experience something different than the traditional hotel.

My stay was pure bliss.

If you don’t already have an AirBnb, use this link to create yours and you will get a $40 credit!

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Kauai – The Garden Island (Six must visit places in Kauai)

Wailua River

The Wailua River is a wide river very popular for kayaking and paddle boarding. It takes about three hours round trip to paddle board and it is full of luscious rainforest and stunning views every where you turn. From it, you can paddle to Secret Falls, located in a small village about half way through your trip and one other waterfall. We rented our boards from an amazing shop very close to the main entrance for the river, Stand Up Paddle.


O’opaka Falls


O’opaka Falls is easily accessible to view, it is a massive waterfall that you can see from a distance right off the road, in the middle of Kauai’s luscious rain forests.


Wimea Falls


Wimea Falls is a very tall waterfall, also easily accessible. The view point allows you to see from the top down, though you can also climb to the bottom which I highly recommend.


Wimea Canyon State Park

Wimea Canyon State Park is an absolute MUST SEE on the island of Kauai. You can spot gorgeous views throughout the entire park, waterfalls, canyons, forests, red sand areas and several incredible viewpoints.

There are several hiking paths in this park as well that supply spectacular views!

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Na Pali Coast


There are many ways to access the Na Pali Coast, most of which costs you money, such as a boat tour or a helicopter tour. Both of these, we wished to have done, but it was simply too expensive but I do recommend it if you have the money for it.

Queens Bath

There are many other incredible places to see on the island of Kauai, but these were my absolute favorites.

This island is magical, you can even spot the forbidden island of Niihau, from the western part of the island.

It is much more luscious greenery than the other islands.

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Exploring The Columbia River Gorge

I’ve drove through this amazing gorge in the past and gazed upon it’s beauty but never really stopped and explored the area, so that’s exactly what we did last weekend and it’s one of my favorite locations in both Washington and Oregon, as it is located on both sides.

We made our way to the Columbia River Gorge from the Oregon side, which has more of the popular views and waterfalls. I recommend taking the Historic Highway, just the drive is gorgeous and you will find many waterfalls along the way that I cannot find the names to, as they are a little smaller, but it is a must do. If you have an R. V, it may not be quiet safe for you to drive it though.

The first official stop we made was Latourell Falls, one of my favorite Oregon waterfalls, you can get right up to where the water meets. It’s so powerful you can feel the spray without being too close, this thing is massive!

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We saw a trail that led further down that I definitely recommend taking, the entire area is gorgeous.

There are many other stops along the Historic Highway, Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon, was unfortunately blocked off during the season, so we couldn’t get any good shots, but it is still quiet the view. When on the Washington side of the Gorge, you can still see this massive waterfall on the other side of the Columbia River.

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We didn’t get photos of Bridal Veil Falls or Horsetail Falls because that part of the Historic Highway was closed when we were there, but we will be sure to be back to these natural wonders.

When driving along the Gorge, make sure to look onto the Washington side of the river to see an enormous waterfall going down into the river, I’m not sure of the name of this but it is absolutely breathtaking.

As I said before, you will run into waterfalls along this highway every few minutes and each one is worth stopping to see, some even without names. For a full list of the popular waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, click here.

We crossed over the Bridge Of The Gods, which links the Oregon portion of the Gorge to Washington and is a two dollar toll bridge that is pretty awesome.

Once we got onto the Washington side, we found a local secret waterfall that took us on a National Forest Development road all the way up a mountain where it began to snow! By the time we left this area, we had about two feet of snow!

The waterfall we saw was Panther Creek Falls and it was amazing, it was a short hike downhill with an overlook, it also has a little rock climb down to the lower level. It has a rope to help you down and I definitely recommend it.

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Afterwards, we started heading towards our Airbnb towards Washougal and stopped at Cape Horn, right off the highway and it is STUNNING! You can see the entire Gorge and even spot the waterfalls on the Oregon side.

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In Washougal, we stayed at a Treehouse we found on Airbnb, and it was perfect for our lifestyle! I definitely recommend Airbnb for travelers, it allows you to meet new people and discover new creative homes and places.

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Washougal Treehouse. Click here to sign up for Airbnb and get $40 off your first stay.

We are going to be heading back to this area soon, the summer would be more ideal for this area so we wont run into snow again. But after doing some research, we realized that there is an incredible amount of hidden waterfalls on the Washington side of the Gorge that we must see! We already have a wish list.

We used the book, Curious Gorge, to help us find all these waterfalls and it was extremely helpful and will be our guide for our next adventure here.

If you’d like to check this book out, click here.

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Traveling Washington 101 North (Temperate Rainforests, Ruby Beach and Cape Flattery)

Though I’ve lived at the bottom of the Washington coast all my life, last weekend was the first time I drove all the way up 101 North. We’ve just about traveled all of the 101 highway now, and Washington’s coast is not much short of Oregon’s.

We took advantage of good winter weather and traveled from South Bend, WA, up 101 all the way to the most northwestern tip of the United States, Cape Flattery. Of course we stopped at some destinations along the way, and all of them were amazing, where the temperate rainforests of Washington meet with the coastal waves.

Our first stop was Quinault, a beautiful area full of nature trails from a quarter mile long, to full backpacking trips. The largest Sitka Spruce tree in the world lives in this lush forest, as well as many other large trees and some coastal redwoods. There are plenty of waterfalls, some you can hike to and some right off of the road.

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We stayed in the Quinault lodge, though in the summer there are so many beautiful camping spots next to the Lake Quinault. This lodge is gorgeous and relaxing though, with access to trails and the lake right outside. It has a nice restaurant, pool, game room and an overall nice environment.

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The next morning we woke up and started heading further north, our next stop being Kalaloch and Ruby Beach, some of the coastal gems of Washington.

Kalaloch Beach has a famous tree called the Tree of Life or Big Tree Cave. You can see the entire root system from the beach, it grows in the air and the ends connect to the ground, above the beach.

Ruby Beach has lots of giant coastal rocks, easily accessible from the sand. One has a natural arch, others have holes through them, it is quite the site. You can spot some star fish, sea urchins and other marine life as well.

This beach is called Ruby Beach because you can find ruby clusters within the rocks if you look hard enough!

 

After this pit stop, we headed up North towards Port Angeles, I recommend stopping at Lake Crescent along the way, as it is beautiful and has a hike to a waterfall that is lovely. We stayed in Port Angeles for the night and headed west to the northwestern tip of the U. S, Cape Flattery. This is about two hours from Port Angeles and well worth it.

Located on an Indian Reservation, it is a well-kept trail with handmade walking sticks for anyone in need. The trail is wooden and an absolute gorgeous two-mile hike, round-trip. There are several viewpoints along this trail, and every one is worth seeing. You can see coastal rock caves where the ocean meets, many coastal rocks and an island not too far from the edge of the cape with a lighthouse.

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The northwestern tip is nothing short of magical, and every step to get there makes the adventure even more beautiful.

 

 

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Cape Kiwanda – Pacific City, Oregon

Cape Kiwanda is my favorite cape on the Oregon coast, and that says a lot because Oregon is full of beautiful coastal lines.

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The best thing about the Oregon coast is it’s Oregon Beach Bill, which allows you to wander anywhere your heart desires on the beaches, as the beaches belong to the people and are protected from being owned or industrialized. So many signs can say to not go beyond this point or something, but it’s more of a warning.

Cape Kiwanda is located in Pacific City, a small, simple and beautiful town that I love so much! The beach is a very public beach and not hard to find, it also has Pelican Brewing (which has great beer) right on the beach, which is a perfect place with outdoor seating to enjoy the view of haystack rock and the sunset.

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There’s also a good amount of waves to surf, which many people do here. If your entering the beach, you’ll see a huge sandhill to the right, climb this and you will be on top of Cape Kiwanda.

Once you get on top of this sand hill, there is so much to space to wander, and so many views to see, make sure not to miss a single one and to experience it as best you can, ignoring the warning signs!

Also, make sure to take the scenic view to get to Pacific City, which allows you to see two other capes before Cape Kiwanda, it’s called the three capes scenic drive. You’ll take a right about 20 miles before Pacific City to take this route, there will only be one sign, so much sure to keep a look out for it.

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Map location and directions here

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Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake is an absolute must-see location in the Pacific Northwest and one of my favorites! When I first saw Crater Lake with my own eyes, I could only describe it as heaven on Earth. This could have very well been because of the timing of which I was there, which I recommend to anyone wanting to visit there. I was in Crater Lake in July, early in the morning, with a blue sky and clouds within it. The water was incredibly still and the water was a beautiful reflection of the snow of the crater and the sky above it, so perfectly that it was difficult to tell where the water began and the sky started.

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Crater Lake was once a volcano, called Mount Mazama. This volcano’s eruption was so enormous, that it caused the volcano to collapse into itself, leaving a giant crater, almost 2,000 feet deep. This crater filled with water through rainfall and melted snow, making it insanely clean and therefore a gorgeous, bright blue.

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There are many different areas to view the crater and there is one area that you can actually get into the water, this place is called Cleetwood Cove and is about a 20 foot cliff. This jump is a must do! Seeing the snow-covered crater from the crystal clear water is like pure magic and the water isn’t as cold as you would expect. You have to hike about a mile downhill to reach this area, the hike down is wonderful andย the hike up can be a little difficult, but well worth it.

The main area of Crater Lake has a lot of information to learn everything about the area, as well as buy souvenirs and some fancy food, which wasn’t as expensive as I expected, with the view that we had.

It is, till this day, the most beautiful place I have ever seen, if you are anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, this is a place that you must see, and I recommend it in the early morning in good weather, and to stay throughout the day.

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Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor – Brookings, OR

Brookings, Oregon is one of my favorite locations in the PNW, for simple reasons such as the beauty and the both Oregon and California coastal feel. Brookings is on the beautiful southern Oregon coast, just thirty minutes from The Redwood Forest in California.

The main attraction here is the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, which is several stops right before you enter into the city off of the famous highway 101. It is a total of 12 miles along the Oregon coast trail and all views can be accessed through simply walking the trail. If you have planned this out beforehand, this would be a gorgeous hike.

These stops are full of incredible views of natural arches and bright blue ocean waters. Some of my favorites are the Natural Bridges, where you can hike on top of the arched rocks themselves, Arch Rock Point, Spruce Island Viewpoints and Cape Forrelo Loop. There is a total of ten hikes and viewpoints. If your doing any of these trails from right off the freeway, the hikes are short, magnificent and not difficult at all.

 

See it on Google Maps here.

 

 

 

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My Daily Routine For The Soul

About a year ago, I started thinking about my life in a completely different way; to notice the positive things in life and realize that they overcame the negative. I chose to be grateful for all the little things instead of complaining about all the small things that weren’t going my way.

At first, this wasn’t entirely easy to switch my mindset overnight, it took practice just like any other thing. But turning my mindset around was the best decision I’ve ever made and it has allowed me to see so much clearer and with such gratefulness.

One thing that I started doing when I first decided to think of life differently, still sticks with me to this day and I would love to share it with you all. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wholesome Culture

I began practicing meditation in my every day life, it didn’t matter how much time I had before work, whether it was two minutes or thirty minutes, it was better than not practicing at all.

Sit yourself down in a quiet space, where you will not be interrupted. I like to surround myself with crystals, candles and incense (though it is not necessary) and meditated for a few minutes to begin to slow your mind. Afterwards, keep your eyes closed and name all the things that you are grateful for.

Don’t overthink this part, you will soon start to realize that you are grateful for so much, that the list is endless, this is the point. I found myself saying I was grateful for my cup of coffee and just another day to be alive and healthy. Other things I say is that I am grateful for my job and to live in a home, to have loving friends, family and animals.

Name these things until the feeling of positivity starts to sink in, when naming things to be grateful for doesn’t seem like a chore anymore, but rather something joyous.

After this, state the qualities of yourself and of the day that you want, but stating them in a way of how your day is already played out to be.

Sometimes I’ll say, “May I carry positivity throughout my day, may I attract all the good things in life. May I spread light to others. I am strong, confident and positive.”

Affirmation Cards

Sometimes I would go on for longer, sometimes it would be shorter, but try to switch up what you say so that it stays genuine and does not become a routine and lose it’s meaning.

Depending of the time you have set out, you can also send light out to others. You can call it praying for others, but I believe that when you send your light out to others, your light burns even brighter. Send your light out to those you wish to that day, knowing that it will find it’s way back to you.

Afterwards, meditate and leave your thoughts behind you, clear your mind to begin your day. Once you feel at peace, reach your arms up high, gather up the energy within your powerful aura you just created and bring your hands together in Namaste.

Sage +Crystal Cleansing Kit

Practice this regularly and if you will think of your life with much more positivity than you had previously. I sometimes would do this twice a day, it drug me out of a situation where I felt a disconnect with the world and myself and was very unhappy. Therefore, this practice is sacred to me.

Peace.