Tag Archives: travel

Photos: That Time I Rode In a Helicopter in the Place Jurassic Park Was Filmed

Dinosaurs appear fifth on my list of fears. (The first four are spiders, bees, expired dairy products, and leaving crock pots turned on when no one is home.) I realize that the odds of facing this fear are minimal. I’ve always been obsessed with dinosaurs, even though they traumatized me at the age of five. See, my mom had bought me a an educational VHS tape (see how OLD I AM?) with two whacky science guys (one whose name was Gary, and I don’t remember his full name or the title). In it, they teach about dinosaurs, fossils, and plants. And at the end of the video, the T-Rex ends up stalking Gary’s house. He opens the door to run into the basement and remembers has no basement, and the dinosaur eats him.

I remember running upstairs to hide under our poor table because that way I was blocked from view of the windows by any dinosaurs that happened to be passing by. Needless to say, when I discovered Jurassic Park–both the book and the movie–I became obsessed. It brings back my old chronic dinosaur nightmares but I’m getting good at dream-fighting raptors and I watch it at least four times a year anyhow, even the crappy sequels.

So for my birthday, my best friend and fellow nerd Ben decided the best present ever would be to take me on a helicopter ride like the one in Jurassic Park, over the Na Pali Coast on Kauai. It was amazing. We even got to land on a ridge where they filmed the Fence Scene (you know the one). And I didn’t puke! I didn’t even get really nauseated until the last fifteen minutes, and then I have never been so happy to set foot on solid ground. We went with Safari Tours in Lihue, and if you’re on Kauai, I highly recommend them. Our pilot was awesome, loves his job, and our guide was funny and friendly. They aren’t paying me to say that, either. Awesome experience and if I were ever going to go again, I’d go with them.

It was amazing and here are some photos:

Obviously this post is crazy photo-heavy, just so you’re warned.

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Travel: Volcano National Park on The Big Island of Hawai’i

This week I turned 30, and I did it the only way I deemed acceptable: on a Hawaiian island with a strong margarita in my hand and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack. I’m going to level with you: I’m a recovering goth who doesn’t care much for the sun, tanning, or even beaches. But I still love Hawai’i, because it’s awesome. So I spent most of this trip riding in helicopters* and looking at rocks. Because as a wise man once said, science rules.

On Monday, we took a guided volcano tour to the Kilauea Caldera.

It's not vacation without dorky self-taken photos. This is me and my friend Ben. He's a nerd too.

PRETTY ROCKS. Seriously, though, some of the cooled lava is gorgeous. If it weren't bad luck to piss off Pele, I'd be lugging a suitcase home of this stuff.

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My October Daye-themed trip to Golden Gate Park

This might surprise you guys, given that I write for a geek girl blog, but I’m kind of a huge nerd. Like, gigantic. And I’m not afraid of making a fool of myself. Besides, if I’m honest, I’ve been searching for a secret door to Narnia since 3rd Grade.

This weekend I went to San Francisco, a place I’ve been many times and adore. But it was the first I’d been back since reading Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series, which largely takes place there. As you may remember, I am a HUGE Tybalt Fangirl. My travel buddy, Ben, just finished the second book and suggested we take a can of tuna down to the park. We also went to the Japanese Tea Garden.

Surprisingly, no one questioned why I was walking around the park with an unopened can of tuna calling for a cat.

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4 Obvious Things I Always Forget About Travel

In my younger 20s, I was a workaholic go-getter who had 3 jobs at once (including unpaid internships), sometimes while I was also in school. I thought if I busted my ass, I would be like famous and rich and awesome by 30 and could slow down. But reality is a bitch and I got jaded and then I got wiser. That’s another article.

The point is, now I take vacations. A lot of them. As many as I can reasonably afford and some I probably can’t. It averages out to about two or three short trips a year, usually by airplane. And yet somehow, every time, there are things I completely forget, as if my brain is trying to protect to me from anything negative so I don’t say “fuck it” and spend a week at home in my swimsuit mixing up margaritas and watching re-runs of America’s Next Top Model.

4. Check In is Late and Check Out is Early

Sometimes on shorter trips, I’ll get this wild idea to book my departure for late evening. That way, I naively think, I can spend practically a whole other day exploring and hanging out. Genius, right? Yeah, you seasoned travelers are laughing at me. Because sure, you have time to spend, but you also have to lug around all of your luggage.

Shakespeare invented the word ‘luggage.’ Pretty obvious, when you think about it.

Image: winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Check out at the hotel is inevitably 11 am or 12 pm, and often late check out isn’t available. Even when it is, or even if your hotel will happily store your luggage, it still means an extra trip back to the hotel before hitting the train station, which means you can’t go far. Of course you can’t go far hauling a giant suitcase and wearing a hiking backpack either.

Check in is the same way, except you’ll have to get back to hotel eventually. But it does still limit how far you want to go, since you’ll want to go back and settle into your room, and by the time that’s done, a whole day is pretty much blown.

3. Speaking of Luggage, Souvenirs Take Up Space

My roommate and I usually travel together. We bring one large suitcase that we share and pay to check, and a carry-on backpack each. It’s plenty of room to bring our clothes, as well as alternative shoes, toiletries, etc. By the time we head out the door of our apartment, the bag is packed so full I’m always afraid the zipper will bust and all of our stuff will end up strewn across the tarmac, but it never does. And voilà, we have all of the things we need and extra socks.

Which is well and good until I hit the gift shops and museum stores and souvenir stands. I collect shot glasses, love awesome tee shirts, and always find things I can’t live without. And somehow we always end up at the bar that gives away souvenir glasses or martini shakers.

It isn’t until the final day when I’m trying to shove everything back together that I remember souvenirs are made of matter and need to occupy space I don’t have.

I've never once used this glass since I got it home, but it is too awesome not to keep.

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