“Happy Birthday!” says Bill, “You’re going on a cruise for your birthday.” It’s only my 2nd cruise ever and I’m so excited to experience what the Western Caribbean has to offer. Carnival Conquest cruise ports: Miami, Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Grand Cayman. We depart from Miami, Florida. I just purchased my Eagle Creek DigiHauler and want to put myself to the challenge of traveling light.
We learned that fishing from Naples Pier does not require a fishing license. The only big challenge is finding parking in the winter season as many snowbirds or weather escapees from the north flock to Florida, therefore making parking a premium.
Time to take the Brompton for a 15-mile bicycling loop in the Florida Everglades… specifically, an area called Shark Valley. They also have a tram tour but biking allows to explore the scenery of the Everglades at our own pace.
We ♥ animals. I’ve never met a giraffe I didn’t like so why not visit a place called Giraffe Ranch. We made a reservation for a Safari Vehicle Tour with the expectation to “take part in real hands-on interactions with many species that feed from the vehicle.” Sounds like a grand ol’ time!! Best of all was paying extra for a Behind-the-Scenes Tour. Check out why…
We headed to Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. Seeing manatees while snorkeling beside them has been on my bucket list since the beginning of our RV planning. It’s finally here! Inspiration to swim with the manatees came from several sources: Roadtrippers, National Geographic’s story – "When Push Comes to Shove" to the mention in our 1,000 Places to See Before You Die book.
A big movie fan, I’ve always loved visits to Universal Studios Hollywood, so Universal Studios Orlando was on our theme park bucket list. We’ve seen commercials about Despicable Me Minion Mayhem to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (over at Islands of Adventure) and looked forward to an entertaining few days here in Orlando.
"There are a handful of places that stand out as excellent locations for wildlife watching in Florida… but the place to see alligators is in the home of the Gators, Gainesville. Located at the north end of the prairie, the La Chua Trail provides an excellent place for wildlife watching, with an elevated boardwalk and lengthy dike out to an observation tower." – Florida Hikes
I’ve always been under the impression that you’d need to have a minimum $5,000 budget to enjoy Africa. Is that true? How far is Africa anyway? If you fly all the way across the globe to get there, can’t we stay as long as possible? When is the best time of year to go? What airlines fly direct or with the least stops? So many questions and time to get some answers. (Illustration by Kenneth Gitonga)