After watching United’s safety video for the 9th time in 4 days I was able to say all of the words before they said them. Ma-bu-hay! became a common word that AJK and I used throughout the trip despite the fact that we were never closer than 1,000 miles away from Manila. [AJK: Indeed, after being a captive audience nine or so times, I began greeting random people on the street with a hearty “Mabuhai!” and couldn’t shake the habit for a week or so after getting back to USA. Let’s just say I can’t replicate the look I got from our receptionist the following week when, after she wished me a good morning, I responded with a passionate “Mabuhai!” I thought it explained everything wonderfully. Apparently it did not.] … [Read more...] about United Island Hopper Trip Notes Part 3: Koror, Palau And Jellyfish Lake
Month long road trip packing list
Checkout was 10am and we were back on the Great Ocean Road where we hit up more fantastic sites and some other short hikes along the Great Ocean Road. Finally we headed north towards the Grampians National Park. The Grampians are just stunning. The views are simply not accurately caught in the pictures below, they’re truly a site you need to see with your own 2 eyes to appreciate. There are countless amazing hikes in the Grampians, each with a big payoff at the end in the form of breathtaking views and sites. … [Read more...] about Round-The-World Trip Notes, Part 3: Melbourne, Australia.
It was way too early on Tuesday morning when our alarms woke us. We were heading out bright and early today on the ultimate of wildlife quests: seeing a polar bear in the wild. There are very few places where you can see one of the greatest predators on Earth in its natural habitat, and Svalbard is one of them. In order to give us even a chance of seeing a bear, we would need to travel to the island’s east coast and to the edge of the sea ice. There are no roads outside of the settlement, and so we will be traversing the trackless wilderness on snowmobile. And once we’re out there, there is no guarantee that we’ll even glimpse a bear; this is nature, not a zoo. But we were going to give it a shot. … [Read more...] about DDF Adventure Photo DO Trip Notes Part 2: Svalbard And The High Arctic
I’m used to traveling with a rollerboard bag and a laptop bag, but my routine was changed for this trip. As this was a Photo DO, I had my borrowed camera backpack filled with equipment as one bag and my laptop bag in my rollerboard. When I travel without my family I usually travel very light, but this being a Photo DO to the end of the world, I had more carry-ons than ever before along with 2 checked bags filled with winter gear and food. … [Read more...] about DDF Adventure Photo DO Trip Notes Part 1: Heading For Svalbard And The Far North
Days before the flight AJK texted me excitedly while I was at a Cavs game with my better half that 2 first class saver award seats opened on a JAL flight from Tokyo to Chicago. The JAL flight would mean a 90 minute connection in Tokyo on a separate ticket on an airline from another alliance. American only charges 62.5K miles in first class from Japan to the USA versus 110K on United, so at first glance it was a no-brainer. However United was also throwing in the flights from Palau to Tokyo at that 110K rate, so that would mean having to shell out 12.5K United miles in coach or 25K miles in business to get to Tokyo. Ultimately we nixed the JAL option as well because we were nervous about misconnecting, wanted to check out Tokyo, and wanted to try out ANA Squares First Class. … [Read more...] about United Island Hopper Trip Notes Part 1: Honolulu
Today we would be flying segments 5 through 8, which were some of the riskiest connections we had on the trip. In Longyearbyen airport I asked the checkin agent if she might be able to move us onto the nonstop flight from Oslo to Bodø, but she said that would not be possible as we had United issued award tickets. I like to always have a contingency plan, so I asked her how many seats were available on that flight and she said that there were only 4 seats left. That meant that if we missed that connection one of us would be left behind overnight in Oslo. … [Read more...] about Chasing Polar Bears In Svalbard: DDF Arctic Adventure Photo DO Trip Notes, Part 2