Clear skies, a bright spectrum of blue ocean, and lush greenery show themselves off on the hike up to the pillboxes.

Hello again, all! A couple weeks ago I was blessed with sunny Hawaii and Guam layovers which means currently as I type this I am in snowy Germany avoiding the freezing cold outside. With this job you have to accept all types of destinations- often in the same month or even week! It definitely makes packing a suitcase quite interesting! Swimsuit? Check. Snow-boots? Check! What I try my best to never forget is my camera and I’m thankful I didn’t in Hawaii!

This day was eventful from early morning to late in the evening. From breakfast we took an Uber to Pearl Harbor where we spent the early afternoon re-learning everything high school was supposed to teach us. I have to admit, I learned more in the course of a 20 minute documentary they showed us than I did in my courses at school…and that, unfortunately, is saying something. Still, it was a fascinating experience to visit Pearl Harbor. It gave me chills to learn that oil still continues to leak out from the USS Arizona. You just have to watch the water sway back and forth underneath to see the rainbow of oil that sits on top of the ocean.

From Pearl Harbor we made our way to the Lanikai Pillbox Hike in Kailua. The first few minutes of the hike may be daunting to anyone unaccustomed to rocky terrain. It required large steps and careful footing up till the first view point. There are ropes on this part to assist with the descent, which I was very thankful for after already falling on my butt once.

Still, once you get to the first view point…you just want to continue going. You will witness a full panorama of Lanikai with its bright blue waters full of kayaks that are making their way to the nearby islands.

The slippery terrain resulted in a humorous afternoon spent with the four horsemen (Sam, Lauren, Dustin, and myself.) Excellent company certainly makes any hike even more impressive.

Eventually you make it to the old military bunkers- the pillboxes. Vibrantly embroidered in vivid colors with signatures and markings of their past visitors.

It was the mixture of the ocean that appeared as if hand painted by God himself while the wind whistled through the long green grass along the mountain cliffs that left me mesmerized.



That is until I fell on my butt on the way down.

Hawaii continued to shine as the sun did its final bow before night set in. We ended our evening with the biggest slice of pizza and happy hearts after a brilliant day in beautiful Hawaii.

Seriously, how is this Earth so magical?!







Until next time, friends!

-Mary Anna


Oahu, Hawaii- Lanikai Pillbox Hike


Peru 8 Day Itinerary

IMG_4878Hello again, all!

I have been asked a few times for my Peru itinerary so below I have included all I could: costs, times, and some extra information for anyone that may not travel as often. When Analeise and I planned this trip, and as we went through it, we balanced out the cheaper “backpacking” lifestyle while allowing ourselves the occasional splurge for enjoyment. I included as close to the exact costs and conversions in soles as possible, but remember currency is constantly changing and, of course, often negotiable while traveling.

For starters, the biggest monetary savings that we accomplished was booking our round-trip tickets with United miles. It cost me 30K miles and $95 to go from Houston to Cusco (with a connection in Bogota) and back to Houston from Lima. Therefore, it was necessary to purchase an extra commuter flight from Cusco to Lima, which thankfully are frequent and affordable ($90).

Click the “Read More” for the complete itinerary!

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IMG_4742Hello, all!

After the difficult hike up to Humantay Lake, we had to make the decision on how we would reach AguasCalientes. Originally we were determined to complete the entire process on our own with only means of transportation being collectivos and a lot of walking. After the first hike kicked our bus we settled on a decision to compromise: we would take a bus to Hydroelectica and then hike to AguasCalientes. Through our hostel (Pariwana Hostel) we booked the shuttle ($15), rode for 5 hours over the steep cliffs along the Urubamba river, ate lunch, and then began the hike along the train track and river for 3 hours with a group of Mexican girls and one French girl. Remember it is an active train track so don’t get too close to it as it passes by (as Analeise learned when she tried taking a photo of the train and it briefly missed her). By the end of it, Analeise, Ana (the French girl), and myself were the only ones left after taking our time, stopping for snack and water breaks, and taking so many photos.


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Peru- Hidroelectrica Trek and Machu Picchu



Hello, all!

As I am preparing for my backpacking trip that officially begins tonight (!!!!), I decided to finally post the photos from my surprising layover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! Another stamp in the passport (two more pages until its full!)! This layover left me with renewed invigoration, refocused determination to explore this world further, and a whole ton of money photos on my IPhone.

The crew and I, of course, visited the Batu Caves. The world’s tallest statue of Murugan was phenomenal to witness on the journey up the stairs (which honestly winded me) to the entrance of the caves. However, honestly, the interior was a bit disappointing as there was quite  a bit of construction going on. I understand all about making a tourist destination more tourist-friendly (and profit-making), but I am concerned about the impact it will all have on the limestone and bats that live among it. I suppose, as with many things, time will tell.

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Addition: “Secrets of a Travel Writer” — National Geographic

Happy midnight, all! Well, at least here in Central time it is currently midnight. Somewhere in the world you may be eating brunch or maybe are heading out to town for an evening of good ol’ fun. Wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing with your day, do it courageously and wholeheartedly. I hope your pancakes are just the way you like them and that the music is all of your favorite dancy tunes!

As for myself, I’m tucked in ready for bed. Before I drift off into the land of sweet Zzz’s and unfortunate teeth grinding (awkward), I just wanted to share with you all something I came across this evening while on the twitter-sphere. I thought it was a very nice read for anyone that enjoys traveling, writing, blogging, story-telling, or is looking to become involved! I know I have a lot to work on- consistency being prominent- but the entire list is just full pointers to keep in mind in the future now. Also number 10 is my personal favorite- live in the moment!

Anyway, rock on. Until next time, friends!

-Mary Anna

Here are ten tricks of the trade—secrets that travel writers swear by to turn creative sparks into narrative arcs.

By George W. Stone

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