ONE OF THE 7 NATURAL WONDERS OF THE WORLD

Is the Grand Canyon really 'just a really big hole', or is there more to it? 

Since I've been little, I've dreamed about visiting the Grand Canyon. I've learned about it at school, read about it in books and seen it in movies a thousand times. 

As might be expected, I was thrilled when I arrived at The South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I've read that it's the most visited location at the Canyon and that it's open all year

Filled with it's scenic views, this natural wonder of the world really was everything (and more) I've expected to see in a lifetime. 

Though most visitors seemed to just stop at the most famous viewpoints, to take some pictures, and nothing else, I knew this wasn't the 'Grand Canyon Experience' I've wanted to have. 

That's why we decided to stay for more than one day at the Canyon. This offered us enough time to do a day hike, to watch a spectacular sunset and an even more breathtaking sunrise and get away from the crowd, having a really peaceful experience even on the busiest summer day. 

 

All about the food

We decided to quickly grab a coffee to go at the 'Yavapai Coffee Shop'. Later that day, we tried lunch at the 'Yavapali Lodge Restaurant'. The food was a bit pricey but reasonably quick. I had the Salmon Burger which tasted fresh and delicous with the side of salad. 

In the rustic but cozy ambience of the 'Bright Angel Restaurant', we decided to treat ourselves after a long day of hiking and sight seeing.The restaurant's atmosphere was good but the food was average. Nevertheless, we had a really nice time at this restaurant. 

During our stay at the Grand Canyon we also stoppend at the Grab 'N' Go 'Bright Angel Cafe', where I had a fresh and hot banana nut muffin. I was absolutley mouth-watering! (Which I knew, I shouldn't have shared with the squirrel, but I just couldn't resist.)

We also stopped at the 'Canyon Village Market' to buy some fresh vegetables, chees, salad, bread, almonds and water. Of course, we lost a little time, looking at the merchandise, the arts, crafts and souvenirs at the General Store. 

IMG_6908.JPG

The Hermit Hiking Trail - Day Hike

The Hermit hiking trail is about 8.9 miles (14.3 km) long. It provides access to the historic area of the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, there are no water sources along this trail so you should bring enough water in order to prevent dehydration.

There's a wide variety of wildlife animals in the Grand Canyon. Along this hiking trail we saw birds, frogs, hundrets of species of bees, ants, butterflies, squirrels, elks and mule deers. 

All about the Shuttle Buses

There are three different routes: Village Route, Rim Route and Hermits Rest Route. They are all free, because once you've paid the entrance fee, the shuttle bus transportation is included. The shuttle buses stop at shops, visitor centres and popular viewpoints around the South Rim.

What was my favorite thing to do at the Grand Canyon?

Well, there's no doubt, that the most exciting thing for me to do at the Canyon was definitely Yoga. Finding time to practice Yoga in one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World was absolutely breathtaking

Maybe there are people who really think that the Grand Canyon is just a huge hole, but unarguably, it's a spectacular, awe-inspiring and magnificent one! And no pictures will ever capture the real views you'll get when you're actually there. 

LET THE OCEAN WASH IT AWAY

Tybee Island GA | Savannah Beach

Our first delivery brought us directly to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Or at least pretty close to it. We had to go to ‘the Heart of Georgia’, how it’s called. And I’m sure, that there are some interesting things to see in Macon, Georgia, but after 17 hours of driving without resting, I still insisted to go to Savannah or more specifically Tybee Island. My biggest desire was to see the Ocean. So we switched drivers, I took over the wheel and drove the last three hours while Solo was asleep. I must admit that it’s pretty easy to drive the Van. After you’ve driven in Bucharest, Romania, there’s basically nothing that can scare you, not even the highway. We didn’t shower in a while and the heat was suffocating. We were sweaty and tired.

But with every mile I came closer to the Atlantic Ocean I got more and more excited. The moment I saw the Ocean through the window of the Van, I instantly bursted into tears. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to find a parking spot for an Extended Cargo Van. It’s not like parking a Smart, and even that would’ve been a problem on Tybee Island. That’s because Tybee is a ‘Pay to Park Community’ which means that there are absolutely NO free, public parking spaces on the Island. This was a problem, because we had almost no money at that time. We weren’t sure if we’d get any delivery jobs, so we had to really, really count every penny we spend. That’s why spending 20 $ on parking for a couple of hours, was just out of question. Of course there had to be alternatives to the expensive hotel parking. Some of the streets in Tybee had parking meters which were 2 $ per hour. The only problem was, there were no free spots and we, since this was our first tour, didn’t have any nickels, dimes, quarters or dollar coins, at all.

So, basically, I was trapped in the car, one step away from my bucket list moment of diving into the Atlantic Ocean, and yet farer than ever.

I was crashed. Solo was very tired and extremely irascible. Now I was crying because of despair not because of excitement. We spend more than 20 hours in the car, and now more than one hour and a half searching for a place to leave the car. Solo was angry and in all this mess we started fighting. While he went to a store to change 5 dollars into coins, I was crying my heart out in the car. I couldn’t take it anymore, I just wanted to jump out of the car and run into the water. Instead I was sitting there like a trapped animal praying for my release.

When Solo came out of the store his face seemed totally different. He didn’t seem mad anymore, so he must’ve gotten the coins, at least that’s what I thought. It was even better than that. The guy in the store told him that the parking regulations are enforced only from 8 AM to 8 PM. Instantly I checked the watch on my phone: 8:30 PM. It felt like somebody just opened the doors to my cage and I was finally able to fly out.

When my feet touched the warm sand for the first time, I just let go of everything and cried. I cried for all the souls that died, for broken relationships, and broken trust. For all the unhappiness trapped inside my body, I cried out all my frustrations, all the negativity that was eating me up from inside. I was crying my eye’s out silently, almost unnoticeable. After I was done, I felt a pure emotion of freedom. It felt almost like I was born again, a sentiment of love and affection was all around me as I entered the Ocean. The sun sank almost entirely into the water. The sky was one with the Ocean, as I became one with the warmth and tenderness of the wind. I let my body rest in the water, and it carried me. It carried my weight making my bones feel like feathers and all my burdens transformed into waves, crashing into a rocky shore. I felt genuine happiness, probably for the first time in my life.

And suddenly I started to ask myself, what if nothing is divine? Or more than that, what if everything is divine? Because for a blink, I was almost sure I felt divinity itself, touching me. For a second I knew, that nature itself is divine, and that there’s no superhuman being or spirit worshiped that has power over nature or human fortunes, but we ourselves are the deity. We are part and source of the universe all in one. We are energy, just like everything else surrounding us is. In this small moment, nothing and everything made sense again.

We fell asleep on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves. It felt deliberating and comforting.  The wind was our blanket and the sand our bed. Never before in my life have I slept that good.

That evening I didn’t want to go out. I didn’t need souvenirs, shopping, food, drinks, entertainment, comfort, winning the lottery, showers, books, a hotel room, scuba diving, money, surfing or anything one might normally desire.

Just being at the Ocean was more than enough. 

DRIVING 3 MONTHS THROUGH THE USA

Why is traveling important in life?

usa pic.JPG

I honestly have to say, I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I agreed to travel through the USA in a Sprinter Cargo Van for three months.

Of course I was super excited when we got the tickets, and my feeling of anticipation grew with everyday.

I always loved traveling and I think that it’s important to learn something from every journey you take. I think that traveling is the best way of having new experiences, and Lord knows, how we need those to handle the monotonous day to day life. Sometimes we just have to break the routine in order to find ourselves again!

It also gives you a lot of time to reflect on the big questions in life. If you’re lucky you may also find out something new about yourself. Maybe your perspectives will shift after your trip, maybe your priorities in life will change and you will lose some prejudices. What can be more exciting than having your mind blown away by interesting food, adventures, discovering music, learning about new cultures and different mentalities?

Just stop for a second and think about walking on a white sand beach on a sunny day, or visiting a national park, or even just sitting in a big square observing people passing by. Think about the salty taste on your lips when you’re at the ocean, the cool breeze of wind, the birds singing or the sound of rivers. Doesn’t that wake a desire in you, to just pack your bags and go?

So, why did I choose to travel like this?

I think that I spend too much time wanting to do something like this but hesitating, probably mostly out of commodity. I spent so much time, thinking and imagining a trip like this, creating this imaginary bubble, that if I’d go, I would finally manage to reconnect with myself again. Deep inside I was hoping to find a path back to the present.

What do I hope to get out of this trip?

I hope to find some kind of peace of mind. I feel that on a daily basis I am always in a rush to keep boredom away, moment to moment. I try to keep myself occupied at all times with, tastes, sensations, art, books, music or food. But still, I always have a deep feeling that real happiness is elusive and so, on this trip I will have a lot of time to think about this inner restlessness and hopefully find some answers to those hunting questions. I hope to discover the feeling, that where I am right now, is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Am I concerned of living in a car for three months?

I am pretty sure that the way I think about an experience, can influence how I feel about that particular experience. I am curious to find out how it feels to cut loose on comfort and stability for a while, just let a moderate kind of chaos rule this trip and try to make the most out of it at all times. I want to discover everyday things again, as if I was doing them for the first time

I am very curious to find out what your reasons for traveling are!

Do you think, that traveling is important in life?

And also, if you could travel anywhere today, where would you go?

Leave a comment below and stay tuned for my weekly travel stories! 

Love, Ela