Skimbaco Lifestyle | online magazine » SKIMBACO TRAVEL http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com Skimbaco Lifestyle, online magazine inspiring you to live life to the fullest. Travel, home, food, fashion, family. Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:23:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 6 Amazing Travelers to Follow on Instagram (that you might never have heard of before)http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/07/6-amazing-travel-accounts-you-have-not-heard-of.html http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/07/6-amazing-travel-accounts-you-have-not-heard-of.html#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 04:01:54 +0000 http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com?p=41889&preview_id=41889
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6 amazing travel accounts to follow on Instagram

I always say, shared joy is a doubled joy. Maybe that’s why I like Instagram so much, I love following the small moments people enjoy and share of their everyday life, and I love seeing the big moments and incredible experiences shared how they look for the person through the lens. Above all, I love connecting with people, and discovering the world through Instagram photos.

Today I would like to feature 6 amazing travelers on Instagram who inspire me. I am thankful that they all found me first – and they were inspired to use the #skimbaco hashtag and that’s how I met all of them! In all honesty, the collective #skimbaco photo stream is my favorite thing on Instagram. You can always find the latest tagged photos on the side of this website and at SkimbacoLifestyle.com/instagram. I hope YOU will join these amazing 6 Instagrammers and me and share your photos of living life to the fullest – where ever in the world you may be.

If you have the privilege already to know many of these six Instagrammers, you are lucky. If not, it is my honor to introduce them for you.

6 Amazing Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Note: the titles and each photo are linked to their profiles so you can follow them.

1. rmblnboy

http://instagram.com/rmblnboy

This multicultural and multilingual family travels around the world, and the photos are a mix of happy family snapshots, landscapes and cultural sights. Beautiful professional photos of a picture perfect family.

Photo by http://instagram.com/rmblnboy

Photo via http://instagram.com/rmblnboy

2. justinmguerra

Follow http://instagram.com/justinmguerra

Justin has been using Instagram since the beginning of the year, but his photos are anything but novice. He is a traveler, writer, archaeologist and above all a world citizen whose pictures in Asia have captivated me.

instagram: justinmguerra

instagram thailand by http://instagram.com/justinmguerra

3. blessingsbyfad

Follow https://www.etsy.com/shop/blessingsbyfad

Blessings By FAD is run by France Malvar & Ami Guibone, who also sell handmade bags at Etsy with the same name, and 5% of profits go to those in need. Their bags travel around the world on their Instagram account, but it’s much more than a promotional business Instagram account. The photos take us to beautiful places and I always get a serene feeling from Blessings by FAD.

relaxing hammock by https://www.etsy.com/shop/blessingsbyfad

blessings by FAD

4. nsynke

Follow http://instagram.com/nsynke

Synke takes us around Berlin and around the world. She captures small things that bring joy, and moments of living life to the fullest. This summer I loved traveling to Southern Italy through her photos.

instagram berlin

instagram travelers

5. jaysoncarpenter

Follow http://instagram.com/jaysoncarpenter

Jason is also a professional photographer, and his professional work is high caliber. However, it’s his travel photos from India that take my breath away.

instagram travel india by http://instagram.com/jaysoncarpenter

instagram travel photo taj mahal

6. nomadicnewlyweds

Follow http://instagram.com/nomadicnewlyweds

Last but not the least… my absolute the favorite newer Instagram friend is the NomadicNewlyweds. I think the handle says it all, their photos are a testament of love for each others, and love for global exploration. Their photos give hope for happy ever afters, and they make you want to have a honeymoon with your spouse immediately (or second or thirds honeymoon).

nomadic newlyweds

Follow http://instagram.com/nomadicnewlyweds

There is more…

I hope you already read my book about Instagram (get it for free, just sign up on the bottom of this post) and you will find a few chapters just dedicated to great people to follow on Instagram. Of course – get connected with me as well as Skimbaco.

My friend Nienke, The Travel Tester, recently also created some great Instagram lists of 20 top Instagrammers to follow, and 20 up and coming Instagram accounts to follow, and there are some great people and photographers on both lists. Many of the people in the lists are also travel bloggers.

Leave in the comments who are your favorite people to follow on Instagram!

IGTT Traveling Linky

Read more Instagram Travel posts from these new blog posts this week and add your own blog post.

instagram-travel-linky-rules

Not a blogger? Not a problem. Join us at Instagram by using hashtag #igtravelthursday and share your travel photos.

Bloggers! Join the Instagram Travel Thursday and Host the Linky!

Bloggers, join us! Add your blog post to the Linky above, and you can also take the Linky code and add the Linky widget in your blog!

Get the InLinkz code for your post.

Copy and paste the following rules and the banner image when you host the Linky widget:

Join us for Instagram Travel Thursday! Instagram Travel Thursday is a weekly blog post collection with a purpose to promote the great travel experts on Instagram and Instagram as a source for travel inspiration. Add your Instagram Travel-related post to the Linky.

Here are the Linky rules:
Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitches.
No links to your Instagram profile, only links to your blog.
Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday Linky hosts.
Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.

More information at Skimbaco Lifestyle’s Instagram Travel Thursday page.

GET A FREE EBOOK ABOUT INSTAGRAM

Also get my ebook Instagram as your Guide to the World – How, What and Who to Search and Follow on Instagram to Help You Travel the World FOR FREE when you subscribe to my newsletter.


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Family Travel: Crown Reef Resort in Myrtle Beach Opens Brand New Water Parkhttp://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/07/family-travel-crown-reef-resort-in-myrtle-beach-opens-brand-new-water-park.html http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/07/family-travel-crown-reef-resort-in-myrtle-beach-opens-brand-new-water-park.html#respond Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:01:22 +0000 http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com?p=41804&preview_id=41804
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Crown Reef Resort in South Myrtle Beach, S.C.

With an International airport and 29 nonstop airline markets on its daily schedule, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, welcomes families from all over the world to its Grand Strand. There are 100 golf courses, Broadway-style entertainment, tons of shopping, and All-You-Can-Eat Buffets. One could say there is an activity within every square mile. But most people come for one attraction only.

Crown Reef Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

People fly from everywhere to dip their toes in the surf and have some fun in the sun.

The Crown Reef Resort, one of the largest Myrtle Beach resorts with the most oceanfront rooms along the Grand Strand, is under new ownership after 20 years. The property has been undergoing a $7.5 million renovation since last fall with room upgrades and a new town center with a coffee shop, arcade, and oceanfront restaurant. However, the main attraction, which will set this resort apart from other family resorts, is a brand new $2 million water park.

Crown Reef Resort with new waterpark

Skimbaco was invited to experience this brand new water park in action. With my being the closest to Myrtle Beach on the team, I took my two kids and the same family who accompanied me on a fun trip to Charlotte, N.C., last summer. Unfortunately, construction delays prevented the opening of the water park on our visit, but our kids still had fun with the lazy river, oceanfront pools, and beach. We had plenty to do.

Crown Reef Resort waterpark

The two enclosed water slides launch from four stories high. It looks huge from the pool deck. The two-person “EXPLOSION” tube slide pumps more than 2,500 gallons of water per minute. “The ‘EXPLOSION’ is a two-person, serpentine-style ride with many left-to-right turns in 54-inch enclosed flumes,” said Nik Paas of ProSlide Technology Inc.

“There are tight-radius, 360-degree turns where the fiberglass enlarges and explodes into a 72-inch diameter to provide a change of speed and direction and add an all-new experience to the ride.”

Crown Reef Waterpark

The second “TWISTER” slide, a one-person body slide, pumps 800 gallons of water per minute, while the “KIDZ Twister” slide sits 8 feet tall and 20 feet long.

This water park will be enclosed in the winter and open year-round for all to enjoy. Room rates dip to less than $50 sometimes during the winter months, so talk about a bargain.

The Resort Rooms

Oceanfront resorts receive a lot of wear and tear through the years. The Crown Reef Resort has a 20-year history, and a lot of family memories have been made here. With three towers, and 514 oceanfront rooms, efficiencies, and suites, the new owners had a lot of work to do. They’ve done a good job for the price point. During the summer, an oceanfront room that sleeps eight with a full-kitchen is about $200 per night. Just to give you a comparison, a midscale to upper-midscale chain hotel down the street with a comparable layout is more than double the price, and it doesn’t have a new water park.

Crown Reef bedroom

Before the renovation, the rooms had peeling, dated wallpaper and kitchen appliances that had seen better days. Rooms now are more modern with new comfortable queen bedding, new TVs, new tables, couches ,lamps,  freshly painted walls, and a kitchen with granite countertops. Artwork is coming to help give it a more residential feeling.

Crown Reef kitchen

 

As you know, money doesn’t grow on trees, so the flooring is the same in the rooms, and the dining room furniture remain the same from past renovations. The bathroom is small and still dated, but has a modern mirror and new shower curtain. It’s crowded for eight people to use, but families can do it. The rooms are not perfect with decor, and average at best, but from my perspective, the rooms are clean and nice for this price point in the Myrtle Beach area.

The New Town Center

Crown Reef food

With an oceanfront restaurant, Loco Gecko, that serves good food, an arcade, a coffee shop, and ice cream shop, the new town center is fabulous. I was impressed with it. Prices at the restaurant are reasonable.

Drinks are good, and it’s just fun to dine here by the ocean.

Crown Reef Margaritas

This new town center is a fabulous addition to this resort and really helps take the vacation up a notch. There is also a live Fire and Hula show for families on Wednesday.

Kid’s Activities

Crown Reef activities

The Crown Reef Resort also offers daily kid’s activities. Some things have a small fee; other events do not. The staff is friendly, and my daughter enjoyed having her hair braided. I think this is something that kids will enjoy in between swimming and the waterpark.

The New Tiki Bar and Pool-side Dining

Crown Reef Drinks

The resort was still putting the finishing touches on the brand new Tiki Bar and pool-side dining feature, so this amenity was not open yet when we visited. We brought a few drinks down from Loco Gecko to the pool to enjoy, and staff sold some drinks and frozen ice poolside. I think this will be a really good addition to the pool area.

Crown Reef pool

Our kids loved the lazy river and the pools.

All in all, the Crown Reef is an affordable family resort where kids can be kids.

Crown Reef kids

For more information on the Crown Reef Resort and rates, visit the resort’s website. Crown Reef is a member of Vacation Myrtle Beach, a collection of affordable family vacation properties.

This story was made possible by a media visit.

 

 

 

Leigh Hines, hotel and family travel expert | Skimbaco Lifestyle

I live like a tourist in my hometown and my dream is to travel the world one luxury hotel at the time. If you love traveling as much as I do, subscribe to Skimbaco Travel, and never miss any travel content from our site.

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Photo essay of visiting back home to Turku archipelago in Finlandhttp://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/07/photo-essay-of-visiting-back-home-to-turku-archipelago.html http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/07/photo-essay-of-visiting-back-home-to-turku-archipelago.html#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:20:42 +0000 http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com?p=41721&preview_id=41721
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30 photos of summer in the Turku archipelago in Finland by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

Going back home… our trip back where I am from in 30+ photos

I am doing something different this Instagram Travel Thursday. The past 3 weeks I have been posting photos from our trip to Finland on Instagram, and instead of republishing all of the same photos here, I am posting some the same photos, but as non-cropped full images, and adding a few more pictures not seen on Instagram yet.

nightless night in Finland during midsummer in Turku archipelago. Photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

Instead of the Greek islands… we went to Finland

I admit, I have been dreaming of going to Greece for years, and this spring we spent numerous hours (days really), doing travel research for a dream island vacation in Greece. Then right somewhere between trying to figure out travel budgets, trying to book any hotels for a family of five (where we could actually stay in the same room so it would feel like an actual entire family vacation), and especially the fact I really missed my family in Finland, we decided to forget about the Greek islands for now, and headed to Turku archipelago in Finland instead.

I'm on a boat! Kids on Viking Grace going to Finland

And of course, all of our three children have dual-citizenship and are both American and Finnish, so we had to take our little Finns to Finland – to the most special archipelago in the world. I wanted my family to see more of the area where I grew up, and spend time with my family in Finland.

Turku archipelago

Weather report

When you talk about vacationing with Scandinavians, your vacation report usually starts with the digits. Not the number of the days you were gone, not the number how much your vacation cost, but the temperature degrees. It only makes sense that when spoken about a vacation in Finland, I mention the summer weather.

Finnish summers are short, and I think the essential feeling of the entire Skimbaco lifestyle comes from a perfect summer day in Finland. You know there are not many warm days in a year, and you will do everything in your power that you will enjoy the sun in the summer time, and bank on the warmth and the vitamin D for the upcoming dark winter. Summer gives you urgency to enjoy life, and the midnight sun and nightless nights are a constant reminder of life to be lived fully. Even many of my Finnish friends who travel multiple times a year, they try to stay at home in Finland as much as they can during summer. You can always catch some sun and warmth in Italy or Spain even outside the hottest summer months, but the Finnish summer is so short that if you travel for a week, you just might miss it. Or if you happen to be in Finland for the wrong week, you will also miss it. As happened with us.

Finnish summer cottage decorating: flowers from the forest. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

I am looking at the weather broadcasts in Finland this week – and it is around the perfect 27C/80F, warm enough to want to swim (even in Finland) but not too hot that you can’t tolerate to be outside. During our first week in Finland, when we were in the Turku archipelago at my parent’s summer house, the temperature was at the highest at 14C/57F, the entire week! In fact we witnessed something like a natural wonder, which has not happened in 30 years: snow during midsummer. (We didn’t see the snowfall, but saw snow on the side of the road while driving on the morning – most of it was already gone). It’s needless to say – we didn’t swim in the sea much. It didn’t stop my nieces and nephew from swimming though, and we watched in amazement as the kids enjoyed summer fun on the beach, regardless of the temperature digits. At least we went as far as put on our swimming suits, and took a dip in the water, but it wasn’t enough to earn even bragging rights.

nightless night in Finland - the famous midnight sun. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

While the sun might not be as warm in Finland as in the other parts of Europe… the sun is up all day and all night long. There is about 2,5 hours in the between sunset and sunrise during the summer time and the few hours of night are dusk and dawn, filled with the most beautiful light you’ll ever see anywhere. The above photo has taken around midnight.

We escaped to the summer house

My parents invited us to their summer house in the Turku Archipelago, only about 30-minute drive from the city center of Turku. It was the best kind of escape we could have asked for. We were by the sea, watching the boats sail by, no Wifi, and even the TV wasn’t turned on many times. Kids sat in the outdoor swing reading books, when they were not fishing with their grandfather, my dad, or picking up sticks with the cousins for the next fire we built by the shore.

I admit, I didn’t take enough photos. My job requires so much photo taking, that when we were at the summer house, I didn’t even pull out my camera every day. I once forgot to check my phone for over 24 hours. I never opened my laptop during the entire two week trip. I unplugged in the best place in the world.

Thankfully my husband (follow MattPresnal on Instagram) caught the picture of Gabriella catching a fish. And when I took kids rowing on an inflatable boat… one at the time. When I was a kid, the inflatable boat was on the back of my dad’s motorboat, but sadly now it’s the only boat left.

It was the perfect Finnish summer escape. The kind of families in Finland do each weekend and if lucky one month each summer. We played cards, and warmed up the summer cottage sauna almost every night. We cooked on open fire (even though the house has a full kitchen and a propane grill). We picked flowers from the forest and put them in a pitcher to decorate the summer cottage.

We spent time with my family, and I was trying to come in the terms that what Finland, and home are today, and how much many things had changed since I left 17 years ago – and yet how so many things had not changed. Above all this trip was for our family to be in touch of our Finn-side. Although – everyone enjoyed how we did bring American traditions to the Finnish summer house – like how our kids taught their cousins how to make s’mores.

smores at summer house. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

Turku

I grew up in Paimio, about 25 minutes from Turku, in a large farming town, and we lived next to an apple orchid. I have warm childhood memories of being home with my family, and living next door to my grandmother, and playing in the woods, but I never quite felt home in Paimio, but I’ve always loved Turku and its archipelago, where we sailed every summer when I was a kid.

Visit Turku, Finland. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

It was great to share more of Turku with my family, and we did small outings from the summer house. One day we toured Ruissalo island, a large recreational island just 10 minutes from downtown.

Ruissalo island is picturesque in Turku, Finland. Photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

The island has a picturesque camping ground, beaches, golf course, yacht club, botanical gardens and much more. The above house is a coffee shop and a B&B next to the camping grounds and the beach.

One of the most unique venues on island is the Honkapirtti, a restaurant and a cafe in a house built in traditional Karelia style. Karelia is an area where my grandparents are from, it was a part of South-Eastern Finland, but we lost it in a war for Russia. Knowing and living many of the Karelia traditions was still part of my childhood, and I wanted to take my family to the Karelia house, the Honkapirtti, in the honor of my late grandmother, whom my family unfortunately never got to know.

Honkapirtti, Karelia style restautant and coffee shop in Ruissalo island in Turku. Photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

In the traditional Finnish way we had peasoup and pancakes. Finnish comfort food at its best.

Pea soup and pancakes in Turku, Finland. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

I tried telling as much about Turku and its history to my kids as they would listen, and we went to outdoor museums to learn more about the city’s past as an important port on the Baltic Sea.

Käsityöläis museo in Turku, Finland. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

The best about the city of Turku is the Aura-river that splits the city in half. The river is full of river boat restaurants, and the biking and walking path right by it is loved by locals and tourists alike.

Aura-river area in Turku during summer. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

Aura riverside in Turku is buzzing with people during summers. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

There are several bridges on the river, and one ferry that keeps ferrying people from the other side of the river to this side of the river. In Turku, you always know which side is “this side of the river” – even when technically you’d be on the “other” side.

Aura river in Turku, Finland. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

We took the ferry, called “Föri” to the other side of the river, and continued walking and watching the boats.

Föri in Turku. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

On the far end of the river is the maritime museum and the Suomen Joutsen ship, a famous landmark of Turku.

Suomen Joutsen. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

Ferry from Sweden to Finland

Speaking of ferries and ships… My visit to Finland would not be complete without setting onboard at least one boat or ship.

Viking Grace. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

I would love if getting to Finland was easier than it is. Or let’s rephrase it: getting to Finland is easy, but time-consuming. It takes me almost as many hours to get from Linköping, Sweden, to my hometown Paimio in Southern Finland, as it takes me to fly from here to New York City. The reason: there is a 12-hour ferry ride in between Finland and Sweden.

Viking Line Viking Grace

Good news is that the ferries offer entertainment, plenty of restaurants and the cherry on the top: tax free shopping. The ferries also make it very easy and inexpensive to extend your visit to Finland if you are visiting Stockholm. (Or the other way around.) You can take a two-night cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki, and spend a day visiting Helsinki on your trip to Stockholm. I highly recommend it, and a two-day cruise will cost you far less than two nights in a hotel in either city.

Viking Grace. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

When traveling between Stockholm and Helsinki, I like the Silja Line’s Silja Symphony, the Instagram Travel Thursday trip was on that ferry last winter, and it has now gone through massive renovations. However, the newest ferry sailing between Sweden and Finland is the Viking Grace by Viking Line, and I wanted to see how the newest ship measures up, so we chose Viking Grace for our trip to Finland. The Viking Grace goes between Stockholm and Turku, and I highly recommend it for the Stockholm-Turku route.

Viking Grace. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

I really liked the Viking Grace for the design and architecture. The ship is designed in a way that you can see outside as much as possible, so the beautiful archipelago or the sea is much more prominent than in many other cruise ships/ferries.

Viking Grace. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

There were stylish and comfortable places to hang out both inside and outside on the decks to enjoy the gorgeous views.

Viking Grace. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

If you have been on luxury cruise ships, the ferried between Finland and Sweden do not measure up, but you can get a luxury experience. The Viking Grace has a spa with a snow cave, saunas and jacuzzis. My favorite was the laid back champagne bar, I could have sat there for a few hours just sipping champagne and watching the sea views.

Viking Grace. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

One of the most popular things on board the ferries is dining in the ever so popular buffet, and the trip is typically worth it just for the seafood part of the buffet. The dining options during the daytime on Viking Grace were pretty limited, and we did think the buffet was probably the best option, but the food selection was not nearly as good as what we had just experienced on the competing ferry line, at Silja Line, a few months before.

Viking Grace. Travel photo by Katja Presnal | @skimbaco

More on Instagram

More of my photos from Finland on Instagram. Follow me as Skimbaco for travel photos and KatjaPresnal for food and family photos.


IGTT Traveling Linky

Read more Instagram Travel posts from these new blog posts this week and add your own blog post.

instagram-travel-linky-rules

Not a blogger? Not a problem. Join us at Instagram by using hashtag #igtravelthursday and share your travel photos.

Bloggers! Join the Instagram Travel Thursday and Host the Linky!

Bloggers, join us! Add your blog post to the Linky above, and you can also take the Linky code and add the Linky widget in your blog!

Get the InLinkz code for your post.


Copy and paste the following rules and the banner image when you host the Linky widget:

Join us for Instagram Travel Thursday! Instagram Travel Thursday is a weekly blog post collection with a purpose to promote the great travel experts on Instagram and Instagram as a source for travel inspiration. Add your Instagram Travel-related post to the Linky.

Here are the Linky rules:
Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitches.
No links to your Instagram profile, only links to your blog.
Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday Linky hosts.
Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.

More information at Skimbaco Lifestyle’s Instagram Travel Thursday page.


Get the banner:

GET A FREE EBOOK ABOUT INSTAGRAM

Also get my ebook Instagram as your Guide to the World – How, What and Who to Search and Follow on Instagram to Help You Travel the World FOR FREE when you subscribe to my newsletter.


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Start of an Adventure: Biking 2500 kilometers of Wild Atlantic Way in Irelandhttp://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/07/start-of-an-adventure-biking-2500-kilometers-of-wild-atlantic-way-in-ireland.html http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/07/start-of-an-adventure-biking-2500-kilometers-of-wild-atlantic-way-in-ireland.html#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 20:56:29 +0000 http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com?p=41696&preview_id=41696
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Bike touring in Ireland I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

It was just an idea, put to me by a friend, and I tried to brush it off. It would take too long, be too strenuous, probably cost too much and I wouldn’t be up for it anyway. I laughed it off and kept wondering what it would be like to have my own little adventure without the family for once, and bike 2500 kilometers/1500 miles in a place I’ve come to love over the years. I sent a text message to my husband, tongue in cheek I claimed, but sounding serious.

“I’m planning to cycle this new coastal route in Ireland this summer. It’s 2000+ kilometers. Maybe just half. When would suit you?”

Surely he would question my sanity or at least biking ability I thought. Biking long distances has never been my forte, although not that I would really know. Until the decision was made I had never done anything past twenty or thirty kilometers a go. And now the budding plan was to bike hundred kilometers a day, five days a week for five weeks.

“Sounds good for June, the kids?” was the answer I got.

Sounds good?! Really?! WHAT!?

And that was that. The beauty of sharing my life with someone who thinks nothing is impossible and “crazy” plans don’t exist. I was going to bike the Wild Atlantic Way, the new scenic route in Ireland this summer, all 2500 kilometers of it despite my total lack of knowledge regarding bike touring. Having baby number two last August and going through slightly complicated pregnancy had done no favours to my general fitness either, hence there was some work to be done in that department too.

Ride Wild 2014 in Ireland I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

Ride Wild 2014 – Three ladies and 2500 kilometers of Wild Atlantic Way

Since the exchange of text messages last October, the plans moved on first slowly, and then with exceeding speed with the help of Ireland Tourism and North West Adventure Tours in Ireland, and Birk Sport, a biking store chain here in Norway, and the departure date is now looming only a month away. It hasn’t been only me getting excited about this bike trip but my friends too, and now we have an international ladies’ team hitting the Irish roads in a few weeks time with few guest appearances for shorter sections of the journey. I’m even hoping that I could still convince my parents to join in for a part of the trip!

I suppose the burning question here is if we can we bike 100 kilometers, five days a week for five weeks, and to be honest, I don’t know yet. I have been on two shorter multi-day bike tours here in Norway this summer, and I know now that hundred kilometers in a day is very doable, even with a mountain or two to climb and headwind most of the way. But for five weeks? Day after day?

For some crazy reason I think we can do it!

#RideWild2014 via Instagram I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

Join #RideWild2014 – virtually at least!

Want to follow our journey? We start biking from Derry on August 4th and finish in Kinsale close to Cork on September 5th. If you happen to be along our route, do come and join us one evening or weekend for a pint, or even better – bike with us for a day or two.

Even if you can’t make it to Ireland you can join us – at least virtually, and here is how:

  • See Destination Unknown for latest news, blog posts and the finalised route (coming soon) – there is also a page dedicated to all about Ride Wild 2014
  • Want to see what the Wild Atlantic Way really looks like – have a look at Destination Unknown’s Instagram images (once we get to Ireland, that is!)
  • Got something to say while we are busy biking – it’s probably easiest is to get in touch via twitter
  • And last but not least, in Facebook, see Destination Unknown and Skimbaco Lifestyle for regular updates

In all social media you can search for #RideWild2014, and don’t forget to check the Wild Atlantic Way section of Ireland.com – it is beautifully done and may result in a spur of the moment flight booking to Ireland’s west coast…

Skimbaco Lifestyle is the main media partner for Ride Wild 2014, as what could better encapsulate this whole adventure than Skimbaco’s motto “Live life to the fullest”!

destination unknown, travel blog, adventure travel

I love to explore the world to new destinations. If you love traveling as much as I do, please subscribe to Skimbaco Travel weekly email and never miss a travel post.

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Best of Coastal Summer in North Carolina in Instagram Pictureshttp://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/07/best-of-coastal-summer-in-north-carolina-in-instagram-pictures.html http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/07/best-of-coastal-summer-in-north-carolina-in-instagram-pictures.html#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 04:05:57 +0000 http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com?p=41583&preview_id=41583
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Beach Memories 2

We hope you have enjoyed the summer issue of the Skimbaco Lifestyle Magazine. Here, at Skimbaco, we believe in living life to the fullest. To us, that means spending time with our families. We’ve slowed down on our writing this summer because we’re traveling and building family memories.

I just returned from my 9th year vacationing at Topsail Beach, N.C, and I am currently in Myrtle Beach. You can follow my coastal summer photos on Instagram as HinesSightBlog, and here are some of my photos from our family trip to Topsail Beach.

I hope you are busy making memories with your family this summer, too.

Frolicking in the ocean.

Beach Memories

Spending less time online, and more time capturing sunsets.

Topsail Sunset

If you are on the Carolina coast, you must also eat fried shrimp and hushpuppies like I do on vacation.

Fried Shrimp

Each year, we visit the Breezeway Restaurant on Topsail Island. This is not a fancy restaurant, and the motel adjacent to it is even less fancy, but the food can’t be beat.

Breezeway Motel

In fact, I think it has the best hushpuppies in the entire state of N.C.

Other nights on the island, we dined in our beach rental and feasted on fresh shrimp.

Fresh Shrimp

And we shucked corn straight from the farm.

Fresh Corn

A coastal lifestyle is about kicking back,  soaking up the atmosphere, and enjoying great eats. Be sure to check out Katja’s article on Coastal Food in the latest issue of Skimbaco Lifestyle  Magazine and experience some great seafood recipes from around the world.

IGTT Traveling Linky

Read more Instagram Travel posts from these new blog posts this week and add your own blog post.

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Not a blogger? Not a problem. Join us at Instagram by using hashtag #igtravelthursday and share your travel photos.

Bloggers! Join the Instagram Travel Thursday and Host the Linky!

Bloggers, join us! Add your blog post to the Linky above, and you can also take the Linky code and add the Linky widget in your blog!

Get the InLinkz code for your post here.

Copy and paste the following rules and the banner image when you host the Linky widget:

Join us for Instagram Travel Thursday! Instagram Travel Thursday is a weekly blog post collection with a purpose to promote the great travel experts on Instagram and Instagram as a source for travel inspiration. Add your Instagram Travel-related post to the Linky.

Here are the Linky rules:
Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitches.
No links to your Instagram profile, only links to your blog.
Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday Linky hosts.
Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.

More information at Skimbaco Lifestyle’s Instagram Travel Thursday page.

Leigh Hines, hotel and family travel expert | Skimbaco Lifestyle

I live like a tourist in my hometown and my dream is to travel the world one luxury hotel at the time. If you love traveling as much as I do, subscribe to Skimbaco Travel, and never miss any travel content from our site.

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The Carolina Beaches of Yesteryearhttp://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/06/the-carolina-beaches-of-yesteryear.html http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/06/the-carolina-beaches-of-yesteryear.html#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 10:00:53 +0000 http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com?p=41171&preview_id=41171
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North Carolina beaches

This post also available in our e-magazine Issue 3, page 30.

There is just something about North Carolina beaches that evokes a feeling of tradition. Their beauty remains timeless. Sure, modern development has encroached on the coastline somewhat throughout the years, but for the most part Carolina’s beaches have remained unchanged.

Usually families pick a certain beach they go to each year, and continue going to that destination year after year. North Carolina families don’t tend to switch beach destinations, either, unless it’s for a short weekend. Typically, multi-generational families rent the same beach home year after year, and tradition sets the stage.

Topsail Beach

North Carolina’s coastline has few highrises and even fewer larger hotels. The Carolina coastline is about playing on the beach from sunup to sundown, boiling shrimp in your rental, and bicycling to the local ice cream shop after dinner.

Topsail Beach Bicycles

On one of your nights of vacation, you have a challenging game of family putt-putt. Topsail Beach is one of the islands that seem to let time stand still. The local church runs a youth group all summer to give the teens coming to the island something to do. The local book store and coffee shop has given it a modern edge now with free WiFi and a wine bar at night. But overall, it is still like a beach of yesteryear filled with good, family fun. It’s a place where memories are made.

North Carolina has approximately 300 miles of beautiful coastline for families to enjoy.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 9.36.20 AM

This post also available in our newest e-magazine issue: Coastal Family Summer.

Editor’s Note: Leigh and her husband’s family have been vacationing at Topsail Beach, North Carolina, for over a decade. Follow Leigh on Instagram this summer as she continues this family tradition in June.

Leigh Hines, hotel and family travel expert | Skimbaco Lifestyle

I live like a tourist in my hometown and my dream is to travel the world one luxury hotel at the time. If you love traveling as much as I do, subscribe to Skimbaco Travel, and never miss any travel content from our site.

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Top Three Family Beach Spots Near San Francisco along the Famous Coastal Highway 1http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/06/top-three-family-beaches-in-california.html http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/06/top-three-family-beaches-in-california.html#respond Mon, 16 Jun 2014 10:00:20 +0000 http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/?p=41183
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Half-Moon-Bay-and-other-top-beaches-in-Northern-California
This post is also available on our digital magazine Issue 3, on page 35.

My three Northern California hot-spots for family beach time are all located along the gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway 1, which runs from Orange County in greater LA to Mendocino, some 160 miles north of San Francisco. There are numerous gorgeous places to stop by and here is my top three list for family beach time: Carmel and Half Moon Bay located south of San Francisco and the gorgeous Point Reyes National Seashore 40 miles north of SF Bay area.

Carmel Beach in California

Carmel is maybe best known for previous mayor Clint Eastwood, but the main reason who everyone goes there are picture-perfect streets filled with boutiques, art galleries and great restaurants – as well as long, golden beaches where you can spot dolphins during your morning walk. Also, the world-famous golf course Pebble Beach is just miles away. The way to make this trip memorable is stay in the gorgeous Carmel Valley Ranch with activities for kids, golf, tennis and a fabulous spa.

Enjoy the beaches in Carmel or explore other smaller ones along the Highway, stroll in the town, enjoy a leisurely lunch, drive then famous, private 17-mile-road with seals and hidden beaches to nearby Monterey -for a visit to the famous Aquarium- and you are guaranteed a heavenly weekend enjoyed by the whole family!

 Half Moon Bay, California

While we lived in the Silicon Valley, we headed numerous times over the mountains to the small, picturesque Half Moon Bay. Like Carmel, the town has lovely restaurants and little stores to enjoy, but in a smaller scale. The key attraction, however, is the long coast with many beaches to choose from. The children love running and playing in the sand, waddling in the water and depending on your location and time of the day you could explore those famous tide pools for sea creatures and shells. In this heaven time seems to stop and you’ll mostly hear seagulls and the wind whistling.

If you are driving along the Highway 1 then the perfect place to stop is of course the gorgeous Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay right by the sea. Drop your kids in the Ritz Kids Club and enjoy the heavenly spa after a morning in the beach. The Santa Cruz mountains have a couple of nice wineries to visit and if you are around mid-December to March, spotting a whale in a whale-watching tour is also a great experience!

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

My third pick is an experience a little different from the other two: Point Reyes National Seashore. As this beach area is north of San Francisco, it also tends to be a bit colder depending on the time of the year you are visiting, but the rugged beauty of the area is breathtaking. This 71000+ acre park area in the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County is a heaven for nature-lovers: this is your destination if you are looking for hiking, spotting whales (in late spring), sea lions, elephant seals,elks and birds. Camping is a very popular way to experience Point Reyes, but there are also lovely Inns and hotels in the area, of which my favourite is the idyllic seaside Bodega Bay Lodge.

Our family loved hiking to the lighthouse despite the windy and somewhat cloudy weather at the time. As a reward when we reached the beach and spotted a huge elephant seal, we also got to witness the mist rising and revealing the beautiful beach with the rugged coastline stretching to the horizon while enjoying a little beach side picnic.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 9.19.48 AM

This post also available in our newest e-magazine issue: Coastal Family Summer.

reeta laaksonen

I love luxury travel and bringing global inspirations to our daily life. As a mother of three, I am always in the look for best places to visit with the kids. If you like the global lifestyle as much as I do, subscribe to Skimbaco Lifestyle weekly feed.

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Our Summer Issue is here! Theme: Coastal Family Summerhttp://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/06/coastal-family-summer-magazine.html http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/06/coastal-family-summer-magazine.html#respond Mon, 09 Jun 2014 11:18:55 +0000 http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com?p=41511&preview_id=41511
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If the above widget doesn’t work, read the magazine here.

Coastal Family Summer

The latest Skimbaco Lifestyle e-magazine issue is here!

Do you remember the summer fun you experienced when you were a child? Eating cotton candy at the boardwalk, or at the summer county fairs. Taking bikes rides and digging sand on the beach. What about running barefoot?

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Our family is heading to my parents’ summer house in the archipelago of Turku in Finland this week. I still cherish the childhood summer memories of sailing in the archipelago, so it makes sense to take our children back to Finland. One of the towns we will be visiting, Parainen, is featured in the magazine by a guest writer, my friend, Laura Johansson.

Parainen, Finland, featured in Skimbaco Lifestyle e-magazine

It also made sense to dedicate our summer issue to coastal family summer, and to create it together with our families. We feature 13 coastal destinations from East Coast to West Coast and from Canada to Ireland, and these are destinations our families have loved for years. Leigh Hines shares the beach she has been returning to every summer for years. Reeta Laaksonen features her favorite beaches in California, from the time her family lived in the Silicon Valley. Satu Vänskä-Westgarth loves the Wild Atlantic Way of coastal Ireland so much that she will be returning this summer.

13 Coastal Family vacation Destinations in Skimbaco Lifestyle e-magazine

My favorite feature is an interview spread of 10 global citizens telling their take on global travel. The children who we interviewed live all around the world (Norway, Malaysia, UK and Canada to mention a few) and are aged 4 to 11 years old. It brings me such joy to be able to make the kids the stars of this issue, and I hope you will find these special interviews as heart-warming as I did. The travel tips like “don’t puke on mom” will make you chuckle, while some of the things the children say make you realize how world-travels educate children in more ways than you’d think. One of the best things about traveling with children is being able to experience world through their eyes and we wanted to give you a little bit better look how the world looks like according to some jet-setting children from around the world. Special thank you for everyone who submitted photos to be included in this magazine, and for those children (and their parents) who were interviewed. YOU made this magazine issue the best we have made so far.

Art by Gabriella Presnal

This wouldn’t be a real family issue without the help from our families. Our own children helped to create this issue. Skimbaco Team’s Leigh’s son Jack and Reeta’s daughter Anaïs are among the young global citizens interviewed. My family is in the magazine as well. My children helped me with the interview feature by thinking of the interview questions, and my daughter Gabriella illustrated the feature. My son Kristian is in the cover image, and there is even an interview of my better half, my husband Matt, as one of the Skimbacoers who live life to the fullest. We are celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks. I hope that we can show that Skimbaco Lifestyle is our family effort and we put our heart into what we do. Special thank you for also all of those family members who were not mentioned in this magazine, but who support what our team does.

Skimbaco Lifestyle Issue 3: Coastal Family Summer

Even if you don’t have children or your children are grown, we think you’ll still find our summer stories interesting. In addition to coastal destinations, we feature some delicious seafood from around the world, and the fabulous Svitlana Flom of Art de Fête created a beautiful Nantucket style party and gives you ideas how you can create the coastal party in your home as well.

Nantucket party ideas from Art De Fete

I wish you the same kind of enthusiasm for this summer that you felt when you were a kid and school was out for the summer. I hope you will get to spend as much time as possible with the people that matter you the most. And don’t forget the ice cream!

Summer and ice cream | via @skimbaco

My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own “skimbaco,” how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter that I send out sometimes on Fridays.

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Travel Insight: All-Inclusive Resorts are a Smart Choice for Summer Caribbean Vacationshttp://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/06/all-inclusive-rates-are-a-smart-choice-for-summer-caribbean-vacations.html http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/06/all-inclusive-rates-are-a-smart-choice-for-summer-caribbean-vacations.html#respond Sun, 08 Jun 2014 14:01:54 +0000 http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com?p=41430&preview_id=41430
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All-Inclusive Resorts are a Smart Choice for Summer Caribbean Vacations

My husband is a budgeter, and after more than 10 years of marriage, I’ve learned that he gets a little grumpy on day five of a vacation when he’s pulling out his credit card to pay for another costly meal for a family of four. At that point, he’s no longer thinking of the beauty of a vacation in paradise, but rather his thoughts turn to the final cost of the vacation when his credit card bill rolls in the next month.

I’ve talked about a Caribbean vacation with him for our family, and the first thing out of his mouth was, “Well, I like an all-inclusive resort so I know up front what I’m paying, so you better look into that.”

Most people think of all-inclusive resorts for lovebirds on their honeymoon, but more and more resorts are welcoming families, especially in the Caribbean. Resorts are now tailoring activities for all ages to enjoy so that your little ones can have as much fun as you.

All-Inclusive Resorts are a Smart Choice for Summer Caribbean Vacations

St. James’s Club in Antigua, an Elite Island Resort

On my search, I discovered that Elite Island Resorts is an upscale hotel company with three adults-only (age 16 and up) luxury resorts, and four upscale resorts catering to both adults and families in its Caribbean portfolio. All hotels offer all-inclusive rates for hotel guests on some of the Caribbean’s less touristy and less crowded islands such as Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, The Grenadines, and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The Long Bay Resort in Tortola has all-inclusive rates as an add-on package for guests.

Galley Bay Resort and Spa in Antigua

Galley Bay Resort and Spa in Antigua

Those who follow my travels are going to know immediately that the décor of the adults-only properties are more my cup of tea in terms of style in the resort’s portfolio. They have a more luxurious look in my opinion. If I were traveling with older teens or as a couple, then the Galley Bay Resort and Spa in Antigua, the Palm Island Resort in the Grenadines, and The Club Barbados in Barbados would be calling my name and my first choice for accommodations.

All seven of the Elite Island Resorts offer an authentic Caribbean experience. The family resorts are simpler in room style, but the vacation perks and summer savings are big. I also like the fact that the family resorts offer villa options for families to have more space, and guests still get to be part of an all-inclusive resort. That is really appealing to me.

Long Bay Beach Club in Tortola, BVI

Long Bay Beach Club in Tortola, BVI

For families, all-inclusive rates at a resort like The Verandah Resort and Spa in Antigua allow kids to participate in kid’s club activities at no additional cost, whereas some non-inclusive resorts charge as much as $75 per child per day for kid’s club activities. Some Elite Island resorts offer mini-golf and large playgrounds for families to enjoy in addition to splash pools as well as each island’s own natural playground.

Golf all-inclusive vacation

I realize some parents are not fans of putting their kids in a kid’s club, and that’s OK, but all-inclusive also means complimentary water sports and other sporting activities for your family. Again, those activities can really add up when paying a la carte for them. These are all things to keep in mind when developing a budget for a Caribbean family vacation. Not paying for water sports can give Mom a little more money in her spa pedicure budget. What? You cannot stay at a resort with a spa and not have a little indulgence.

St. James's Club in Antiqua

Having a kid’s club on site like at the St. James’s Club in Antiqua at no additional charge also means that as a parent, you can enjoy a complimentary water sport or a relaxing swim while your child is having fun with other kids on the island even if it is for just an hour or two. Or better yet, you can enjoy that pedicure in the spa. As a Mom of two, I’m very attracted to the kidz club concept because yes, I do want to spend quality vacation time with my kids, but at the same time, my kids like to play with other kids. It’s that simple. It’s fun for them. I’m not going to lie. I can be a little boring. My idea of fun is sitting by a pool with a fruity drink in my hand.

cocktails in a beach getaway - yes please

Yeah, let’s talk about those drinks. Some fruity drinks can be as much as $12 a pop at a resort. I remember going to a property on vacation, and my drink was so good that I wanted another one as soon as I finished the first one. My own pool bill was $24 without tip. Hello, that was just for three hours by the pool on one day of the vacation with no food. A simple Sprite can be $4, too as some high-end resorts.

All-inclusive also means no additional charges for drinks and food, including bar drinks, beer and wine while staying at a resort. This also includes tipping. For example, being a guest at St. James’s Club Morgan Bay Resort in St.Lucia means your family can dine in one of the resort’s five restaurants and bars and never see a bill. You can get as many drinks as you like, and it won’t cost you an extra dime.

St James vacations

Through the years, I’ve witnessed many friends who think they have received a great air and room deal on a discount travel or hotel website, but then they come back from their vacation telling me that they spent a lot more money on that dream vacation than they expected. It’s not uncommon in a luxury hotel to spend more than $60 on breakfast. By the time you depart for home, you could easily rack up an additional $1,000 or more in food and beverage costs, depending on your length of stay.

Skimbaco_EliteIsland_SL

Summer is a great time for families to go to the Caribbean because it’s not peak prices, but yet the temperatures are still nice, and resort deals are easy to find. All-inclusive rates are definitely something a family should consider when planning.

Photo Credit: Elite Island Resorts Instagram Accounts

Leigh Hines, hotel and family travel expert | Skimbaco Lifestyle

I live like a tourist in my hometown and my dream is to travel the world one luxury hotel at the time. If you love traveling as much as I do, subscribe to Skimbaco Travel, and never miss any travel content from our site.

 

Elite Island Resorts manages 7 resorts on 5 islands to create 1 authentic Caribbean experience. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway with that special someone or planning a family vacation, Elite Island Resorts has the perfect all-inclusive beachfront resort to match your needs! Mention this blog between May 12, 2014 and June 23, 2014 when booking a 7 night or greater stay + airfare at any of our resorts, and receive a $550 airfare credit per room.

*Promotion is subject to availability. Some restrictions may apply.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Elite Island Resorts. The opinions and text are all mine.

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The Pain of Wanderlust Livinghttp://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/06/the-pain-of-wanderlust-living.html http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2014/06/the-pain-of-wanderlust-living.html#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 15:49:40 +0000 http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com?p=41497&preview_id=41497
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FERNWEH

The absolutely worst part of expat living and overseas assignments is the inevitable end date.

December 31st looks like a black hole pulling us closer and closer to the opening of the empty nothingness. It is like a vacuum that sucks air from our everyday lives, and I can feel it when driving kids to school, right in the middle of the workday, or worse – when thinking all of the European destinations we still haven’t seen, although our goal was to travel as much as we could during the three years living in Sweden. It’s not just wanderlust, it’s feeling intoxicating pain because you haven’t seen and experienced enough. In German they have a word for it, “Fernweh,” feeling homesick to all of those places you haven’t seen yet. It’s actually more common to use that word in Germany, than “Wanderlust.”

Maybe this fearing the end of the long travel period is normal, maybe people feel like this on their honeymoons when they travel to an exotic location, eat the fancy food, and are being pampered 24/7 before returning to real life. Our life here in Sweden has been like living in a dream, and in many ways like a “honeymoon,” just like our three years in Germany were.

Sure, we’ve had our difficulties, it’s not easy to adjust to a new culture, different customs, and live surrounded with people who speak a different language than you do.

We have cocooned ourselves living the European dream in a countryside mansion, and cooking family dinners made with fresh ingredients and products, that we have carried home from all around Europe (Oh this simple meat and potatoes dinner? I marinaded the meat with spices and bay leaves from Madeira, Portugal, the Sweden-grown potatoes I just baked in the oven and drizzled with some Icelandic sea salt on the top with some olive oil from Puglia, Italy and by the way, did I tell you about the time we went olive picking in Italy?).

Our own family unit of five is incredible. We have three children, one teenager and two almost teens too (11 and 12 years old now). We don’t have the t(w)een-kids-problems I hear other parents talking about. We spend time with our children, and experience Europe together. With often changing addresses, it’s our family unit that never changes and having each others is the closest to what you could call having “roots.” All of it hasn’t come easy though, for none of us. We could have easily also ripped our family apart, but we chose to work hard to make this crazy lifestyle work for us, even on the days it has been everything but wonderful. It is a choice to make the best out of each day, and put family first, even when it is everything but easy.

We don’t have many local friends, it’s not that we don’t like Swedes, or that they don’t like us, but it is mentally exhausting to make new friends and then have to move to the other side of the world/country. I know, because we have done it so many times. People get hurt because we leave, or people get mad because we don’t stay in touch often enough after leaving. And I get hurt. I hurt because I miss people in so many posts where we have stopped in our travels. I feel homesick to places we have called home, even if I would never want to live there again. And the worst is knowing that our children go through the same thing.

All of it doesn’t make any sense. Having the pain of needing to see more, but yet getting attached to places and people, and feeling homesick after you have left.

I know why people never leave their hometowns, and part of me is very jealous of that kind of commitment, and almost like self-confidence of knowing that “this is my spot in the world.” I left Finland 17 years ago, and we have moved an average every two years, and I still don’t know “my spot.” Maybe I have been just looking for it in the wrong places? At the same time, I don’t understand people who never leave and experience something different. I don’t even know how you can truly even appreciate your own hometown if you have never left. I for sure have much more appreciation to my home country Finland after living in other countries as well.

Not knowing where to go the next can be very exhilarating. The entire world is open for you, and the possibilities are endless.

Could we live in a beach hut in Bali? Or Thailand? Yes, absolutely.
What about coastal Norway? Sounds amazing!
Milan, Italy? Let’s go!

I can see our family living in several different countries (that’s how I judge a place when I travel “could I live here?”, and I try to put myself in the footsteps of the locals), but the reality of physically packing all of our things and moving them to a new location, and starting all over again, including trying to find a job, and a place to live, and putting kids to new schools is scary, and I don’t think it’s doable with three teenage children. Now we are talking about their education and future as well.

And thus, the black hole of December 31, 2014. Our official last day in Sweden, and the unknown future, the unknown adventure that waits for us. The black cloud that we can’t shake, and the end of the tunnel that isn’t bright.

Will there be sunshine and will we be able to make the best of it? Yes, sure. I’m ready to start planning our exit from Sweden, and I’m ready to start making our next adventure a reality. But for the love of chocolate and wine, I need to know what it is, and where we are going, because my waistline can not take any more chocolate.

My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own “skimbaco,” how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter that I send out sometimes on Fridays.

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