Terrifically real, sometimes vulnerable, strong and wildly blessed: What happens when you persevere.

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We can remember countless times, in various situations, asking ourselves, “How are we going to do this?” With both literal and figurative mountains to climb, trails to blaze, distances to go and uncharted territories to explore, there is no doubt that life is beautiful, but it generally tends to come with some pretty dense wilderness to push through before we can let out that sigh of relief and sit back to enjoy the view:

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Let’s start with terrifically real:

There is nothing  like being covered in sweat, tired, hungry and submerged in the unknown to introduce you to who you really are. It’s times like these when you learn how to handle stress with nothing but your soul to guide your reactions and actions. You learn that while you may not look, act or handle things perfectly, you are living life from a terrifically real place and that in and of itself is incredibly liberating. Through all the struggle, the uphill battles and leaps of faith, by accepting your circumstances and carrying on, your soul receives the greatest benefit of all, you giving it the chance to shine.

Photo below: Drew and I taking cover from the rain after spending the night spelunking and sharing a sleeping bag in a very cold and muddy Worley’s Cave.

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Sometimes vulnerable, we know we’ve all been there and it’s not always the most comfortable place to be.

Exhibit A: Bungee Jumping off of the Bridge to Nowhere… OMG thinking about it still makes my hands all sweaty. We all have different limitations and different “items” that we put into our, “Oh that’s just not for me” box… for me, bungee jumping was one of them… until I agreed to do it… twice… in a row. It’s easy to say, “No” sometimes when we have already told ourselves that we can’t do something, but this is something that Drew and I try to never tell ourselves, hence the reason why I agreed to bungee x 2.  You see that face? Sheer terror:

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And then I jumped… still sheer terror:

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And then I realized that all of my limbs were still attached and I had done it… it was done! I allowed others witness my vulnerable state (tears and all) and together we were able to overcome. Being vulnerable is extremely difficult, yes, but it also is one of the most beautiful feelings to witness and share in life when used in the right ways:

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Part of having a full life requires us to open up our boxes and air out those things we think we just can’t do… sometimes we have to embrace vulnerability and allow life to take over and support us.

Strong (adj.): having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks; able to withstand great force or pressure.

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Without consistently pushing ourselves to stick to our goals and thrive in new and challenging places, we would never be able to grow the stamina and strength that is required for us to experience the adventures our hearts find so vital.

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To be honest, we don’t always feel super strong, but what’s important is that everyday we work with what we’ve got and slowly but surely our strength always returns. It’s habits like these that make us… and YOU strong, flexible and unstoppable.

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Now we’ve made it to the best part, the creme de la creme, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: being wildly blessed.

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In the midst of every challenging experience, we can find comfort and gratitude in knowing that there will always be a collection of glowing memories that will effect the rest of our lives whether we realize it or not. They say that there is no risk without reward, and we have found that the most challenging experiences, always end up being the biggest blessings in our lives.

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Whether it’s a relationship, a trek, a calling or an obstacle in life, we must remember that we have already been gifted with what we need to persevere, we just have to believe it, because when we do, we are wildly blessed every step of the way.

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How to plan an awesome surprise party!

how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideasI have a huge smile on my face just looking at this picture, I can’t tell who had more fun, me or Drew! As a surprise party planner you experience the immense elation that comes from an artfully and, hopefully, successfully executed plan. Whether all the parts fall flawlessly into place or the unexpected occurs and you have to change course completely, seeing the look on the other person’s face and hearing everyone yell, “Surprise!” at that one pivotal moment, has the potential to fill your heart with so much joy it could completely burst..! :) how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party planner He had no idea it was coming, it was amazing. Though, I should mention the fact that we did have an extremely close call: I had just gotten back from picking up the cheese cake, his favorite, and finished hanging the last lime green streamer, when all of a sudden I heard someone approach the door. I froze, hoping it was just the mailman or something, that’s when the top lock turned. At that same moment I flew across the living room, literally flew, turning the lock just in time to save the night/ surprise/ everything! OMG. How was I going to keep him out of the apartment without making him totally suspicious and ruining everything?! He wasn’t supposed to be home until 6:30 that night, he was over an hour early! The plan was to meet downstairs, I would bring the bikes and from there we would ride to the LACMA for “jazz on the lawn” and return at 8:30 in time for the great reveal… I had to think quick. Of course right when I locked the door and refused to let him in, he demanded to know what was going on. After going back and forth I pleaded with him to promise me something, he reluctantly said, “Yes.” I said, ” Good, you have to promise NOT to ask ANY questions, but there is NO WAY you are getting into this apartment until after the LACMA!” He of course was confused and understandably frustrated but I didn’t care; I knew it would all be worth it soon and my looking crazy would work out to the benefit of everyone in the end. Luckily, he’s not the suspicious type and thought I was cooking him a belated birthday dinner…  my masterfully designed plan was coming together beautifully, and he had no idea. how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party planner I tossed him a book to read in the courtyard as I finished up a few last minute touches. With the candles in place, the welcome note written to our guests and the key under the mat, all that was left to do was leave. how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party planner how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party planner As we rode away from soon-to-be celebration central, I thought back to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, everything seemed to be in order and once we got to the LACMA I updated our friends with our status. We snacked, enjoyed the sunset and listed to jazz as our friends gathered and prepared for our return: lacma jazz, lacma jazz on the lawn, lama summer events, outdoor concerts LA, lama lights, must do's in LA during the summer, la summer events lacma jazz, lacma jazz on the lawn, lama summer events, outdoor concerts LA, lama lights, must do's in LA during the summer, la summer events After mentioning that he had been craving a serious night out with our friends (score!), we got ready to ride back. I discretely texted everyone a 3 minute warning and they assumed position, turning off the lights, lighting the Birthday candles and “shushing” each other until they heard our footsteps at the door. As we walked up the stairs he stopped to let me go ahead of him so I could welcome him to the romantic meal and scene that he thought was awaiting him. Being careful not to give anything away, I bashfully looked to the ground, as if to politely say,”No, no, no you go first,” and as he unlocked the door and slowly began to turn the knob… BAM! I hip checked him into the door and he was pelted with confetti, silly string and camera flashes as all of our friends welcomed him with the best surprise ever!!!  how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party plannerhow to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party planner, mr and mrs adventure The fiesta was complete with ridiculously FUN, INCREDIBLE AND AMAZING friends: how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party planner Way too many laughs to count: how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party planner how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party planner An adorable teddy bear balloon that I was clearly convinced was Drew… classic case of bear meets girl, girl falls in love with bear, girl and bear live happily ever after: how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party planner, teddy bear balloon And lots and lots and LOTS of love: how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party planner how to throw a surprise party, drew neumann, best birthday party, party planning, how to surprise someone, best surprise party ideas surprise party planner Thank you to everyone who made this night so unforgettable and Happy 27th Birthday Drew!! May this year be filled with the most incredible adventures yet! I love you. So you really wanna know the secret to planning a truly awesome surprise party: sheer determination and wonderful friends. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmpVk4KQZoY

Summer never looked so good!: Camping and Hiking in Malibu

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Malibu, known as the play ground of the rich and famous – home of Ellen, Will Smith, Madonna, Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, to name a few – is also the play ground of Mr and Mrs Adventure. While we may not be not quite as rich or quite as famous, this past weekend we definitely felt like we had the best beach-front property of them all:

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As we drove along the “27 miles of scenic beauty” to our destination, we reminisced about all our favorite memories made along this stretch of the PCH over the past 3 years. There was hiking our favorite SoCal mountain (about 100 times), mountain biking a killer 28-mile loop, running in the Malibu Half-Marathon, exploring Eagle Rock in Topanga Canyon, biking to the rusty set of M*A*S*H* and rock climbing “Planet of the Apes” in Malibu Creek State Park. Needless to say, there has never been a dull moment in Malibu, and this weekend was only going to put an exclamation point at the end of that statement…!

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Filled with the excitement of making more momeries, we pulled into Thornhill Broome Beach campground. Reservations must be made at least 2 days ahead of arrival and can be made up to 7 months in advance. We made our reservation back in January because, if you want to camp here during the summer,  you absolutely must reserve exactly 7 months ahead of your arrival date, as spots will sell out by midnight on that day. We now understand why:

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After buying some firewood from the Ranger Station ($7), we drove on over to spot #55, aka. our little slice of paradise. As soon as the car stopped, we ran out to shore to feel the cool kisses of the Pacific at our feet and the warm glow of the summer sunshine on our faces.

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We walked along the coast, followed by a family of jumping dolphins, and watched as our footprints filled with the sun’s golden light and disappeared as the waves rolled over, taking them to sea.

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Staying in that moment as long as we could, we then set up camp and got ready to cook by the light of the fire.

Step 1: Smooth over a nice plot of land, removing any rocks, sticks or other poke-y items:

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We may have skipped a couple steps, but VOILA! Our beautiful, newly built, beach-front property with the freshest air around, and complimentary ambient sounds and lighting too:

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As our potatoes, haricots verts and mushrooms roasted over the fire, Drew literally chased after his burger patty as a seagull tried to drag it away! Learn from this example and do not leave any food unattended at the picnic tables. Luckily the patty was still in a ziplock bag, so Drew was able to retrieve it (relatively) unharmed. No photos or video of this incident unfortunately, but you can definitely imagine the scene :)

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Cozy by the sea, we watched as the fire crackled in the dark night sky and stared in awe at the hundreds of stars that glittered above. It’s amazing how we could be so close to one of the busiest and brightest cities, and still feel like worlds away.

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Lulled to sleep by the sound of the crashing waves, the temperature couldn’t have been more pleasant. That night we slept in our bathing suits and awoke to something even better than our dreams:

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The first thing we did was jump into the ocean and soon enough we were joined by a pair of playful seals and an impressive line up of pelicans overhead!:

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After our morning dip, we continued with our walk along the beach and decided to cross the PCH and climb “The Giant Sand Dune (map here). ” We had seen people trekking up and down it the day before and had to try it out for ourselves:

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It probably only took us about 3 minutes to summit, but boy did we feel the burn! Think stair steppers in quicksand… ya.

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Short of breath and with tired legs, we reached the top and all of that was replaced with grateful hearts and sweet, sweet relief:

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Tip: Go early in the morning before the sun starts shining on the west-facing dune, unless you’re ok with burning hot sand..! Another idea, bring shoes :)

Hungry and ready for breaky, we raced back to camp and fired up our grill and JetBoil for a breakfast of champions. We surfed, relaxed and stuck around until 1pm (check-out is at Noon, but luckily they are pretty relaxed about it). Next on our list of things to do for the day? Summit Mugu Peak!

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Mugu Peak towers over the Pacific Ocean from a drastic elevation of 1,266 feet. There are a few different ways you can choose to summit this seaside mountain, we opted for the 6.5 mile journey from the bottom of La Jolla Canyon (Ray Miller trailhead map here) in Point Mugu State Park (just steps from our campground) with 1,250 feet of elevation gain.

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The trail started out pretty gradual, but without a cloud in the sky and being in the bottom of the canyon, there was no denying that it was hot and dry:

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Grateful to have a full Camelbak, we continued onward towards the summit. We came across a couple forks in the trail and veered left at all of them, including the Mugu Peak Trail marker:

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As we came to the first vista of our trek, we saw our campground down below and were in total awe of the turquoise colored water surrounding us:

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At this point the ascent became more rigorous. It was pretty much a climb until we reached the rocky switchbacks taking us to the summit, at which point it was definitely a climb… all the way to the top of the flag pole:

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(It’s a good thing I trust him.)

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The views at the top of Mugu Peak were absolutely ridiculous.

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We could spot Sandstone Peak, aka. Mount Allen, in the distance:

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And to the West we could see the Channel Islands floating peacefully in the Pacific.

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After taking our time at the top drooling over the views and meeting new friends and fellow-summiters, we made our way back down and decided to take a scenic short cut, leading us right along the ledge of the mountain:

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Not only was the short cut something new to explore, but it also provided us with a cool breeze the whole way down. Note: We do not recommend this short cut for everyone as the ground was very loose and we were sliding all over the place in some spots.

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After looking forward to this weekend for several months, it definitely exceeded expectations. Oh Malibu, you’ve out done yourself again.

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The Great Escape: Camping and Rock Climbing in Big Bear

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You ever get that urge to get away and disconnect? There is only so much typing on a computer, texting with miniature buttons on a miniature screen and being reachable 24/7 that one can take before going mad – at least that how we felt this past weekend. So, in an attempt to disconnect from technology and reconnect to ourselves and nature, we decided to go camping and rock climbing in Big Bear – ah the great outdoors. I can already breathe more easily just thinking about it.

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After taking care of a few last minute things on our “to do” list, we drove over Saturday afternoon and finally arrived to Big Bear around 5:30 pm. Once at the lake we had about 30 more minutes to go until we were at our destination for the evening, Holcomb Valley’s South Lot Campground (google maps here and extremely detailed and helpful directions here).

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Photo Credit: SoCal Climbers MeetUp

As we drove along the bumpy dirt road, we passed Wilbur’s Grave on our left (mentioned in the driving directions linked above). Wilbur was apparently one of the early miners in the area, but nothing else about his life is known (random right?). His grave always seems to be decorated with one or more American flags and it’s a tradition to add random trinkets and decorations to it whenever passing by:

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While there is a number of campgrounds in Big Bear, the Holcomb Valley South Lot is our favorite. Not only is camping here completely FREE, but you can pitch your tent wherever your heart desires and you don’t need an adventure pass to park! The only downer is that you can’t have a campfire, but we had our portable propane powered grill and JetBoil so we were set. After scoping out the area, we settled upon a cozy little nook situated between some rocks and pine trees, providing us with our own little outdoor getaway – check out Drew looking so satisfied:

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It was now time to sit back, relax and watch the golden, summer sun slowly sink below the pine tree caked mountains, and as the night came upon us, the absence of our computers, television and phones became evident in the most peaceful and present sort of ways. With nothing to update, nothing to post, no one to answer to, we enjoyed each other’s company and began our slow evening of grilling, laughing and snuggling under the stars.

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With sleeping bag hair and squinty eyes, we rolled out of our cozy tent and prepared breakfast tea and morning oats – fueling up for the day’s adventure of climbing rocks :)

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The Holcomb Valley Pinnacles is a moderate mecca with 75% of its 300+ sport climbing routes being 5.10 and under in difficulty (helpful scale explanation here). With classics like Gold StandardBye Crackie and Coyotes at Sunset, to name a few, there is no lack of epic routes to scale.

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We spent the majority of the morning brushing up on our lead climbing skills and luckily found the perfect shady spot to do so – Lizard’s Head, located on Motherlode‘s North face, is a playfully long 10-bolt climb which earned its name for obvious reasons:

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As you can see, I was seriously into it:

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About 5 hours in and our arms had turned to jello. It was time to throw that hammock up and enjoy a signature triple-decker PBJ:

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Transitioning from a morning of climbing to a hammock induced siesta, we decided to spend the rest of our afternoon relaxing by breezy Big Bear Lake:

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Sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, ferry riding, sport fishing, mountain biking, etc. – there are an absolute ton of activities to choose from when visiting Big Bear in the summer. For once in our lives, we opted to relax and parked along side the lake where we were able to take a small path down to the serene beach:

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It was beautiful. The sun was shining, the ducks were bathing, the pirates were sailing… wait, what??

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A few years ago, the mock pirate ship shown below, named the Timed Bandit, sank to the bottom of Big Bear Lake in a storm. Today, she is fully restored and back in business, offering 90-minute tours to visitors each summer ($19 for adults and $12 for children).

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I’m not sure if it was the pirates or the shimmering crystal blue waters, but soon enough Drew was inspired to jump into chilly Big Bear Lake. I on the other hand, opted to stay on land for survival purposes ;)

big bear lake, big bear in the summer, things to do in big bear, camping big bear, rock climbing big bear

big bear lake, big bear in the summer, things to do in big bear, camping big bear, rock climbing big bear

Fulfilled by our weekend of disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with each other, we drove back home grateful for the much needed escape. Next weekend? Camping in Malibu!

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We Won a Liebster Award!!

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Wait… what does that mean?? While we were extremely stoked to have received this honor, at the same time we had no idea what it was! Thankfully, our new blogging friends over at Nerd Nomads, who nominated us, also explained what exactly this award meant.

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The Liebster Award has been around for several decades now and originated in Germany, directly translated it means The “Dearest” Award. While there is no actual committee that nominates you and there is no prize associated with it (no million dollar checks or around the world tickets yet!), it acts as a kind gesture, given by bloggers to other bloggers they admire and find interesting. Pretty nice idea right!

Upon accepting/ winning the award, there are a few rules to follow, and while there are many different versions of the Liebster Award rules, we decided to follow the ones given by Maria and Espen of Nerd Nomads, the fellow adventurous couple who nominated us :)

  1. Thank the blogger who gave it to you (Thank you!!!)
  2. Answer the 11 questions they ask you.
  3. Nominate 5 other bloggers with less than 5,000 followers.
  4. Ask those bloggers 11 unique questions.
  5. Let the bloggers know they’ve been nominated so they can continue the chain!

nerd nomads, travel quote, saint augustine, books, limber award, mr and mrs adventureThough we are generally not ones to follow the rules, we are always willing to make an exception for a worthy cause. So, here it goes:

Our answers to the 11 questions from Maria and Espen:

1. What made you start your blog, and what makes your blog different?

We originally started our blog as a way to keep in touch with our friends and family members who are scattered across the globe – Brazil, Michigan, Florida, France, Pittsburgh, Germany – we wanted everyone to feel that they were a part of our lives no matter how far they (or we) were.

What makes our blog different is that it isn’t just a resource for those seeking adventure, it’s a true story about how 2 people can explore this incredible world, do what they love with who they love, and learn more about the definition of freedom every step of the way.

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2. What do you most enjoy writing about?

While we spend the majority of our time writing stories and guides about our various excursions to newly discovered lands, we are really looking forward to developing our Q & A category, which will allow us to share more about the insights on life and our relationship that we gain along the way. Our most popular post to date, which was also the most fun to write, is “How are you guys always so happy?

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3.What is your favorite destination, and why?

Our favorite destination is always somewhere we have never been because there is no much opportunity for growth and exploration! We also love places where we can visit old friends or family, nothing beats those kind of hugs.

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4. If you were to give one piece of advice to someone thinking about traveling, what would it be?

Go with an open mind and go now:

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5.What kind of transport do you prefer when traveling?

It depends really. We love exploring intricate cities, like Paris, on foot but we also loved having a rental car in Costa Rica because we could go wherever we wanted whenever we wanted. The train is also a great option when traveling slow between countries or states, but nothing beats the plane when time is of the essence. It really all comes down to choosing the best option for the kind of adventure you are hoping for… but if we had to choose one, we would have to say by bike – we absolutely love getting to wave at the various people we pass by and there is no better way to get to know the layout of the land, plus we are always up for a good challenge! Check out our post on Biking from Paris to Versailles!

mr and mrs adventure, biking, drew neumann, brittany rouille

6.How do you promote your blog, and what works best for you?

We are still trying to find the secret formula, but for now we are mostly enjoying the grassroots kind of thing. Whenever we go out on an adventure we are always sure to bring our Mr and Mrs Adventure caribbiners along with, they are way more fun than a business card and people can take them with on all their adventures – hopefully sharing our blog with other adventurous souls they meet along the way!

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7. Is there any place in the world you never wish to visit?

Without experiencing the world for ourselves it’s easy to rely on cheap stereotypes to guide our thinking about certain places. Travel reminds us that we are more bound by similarities, than separated through differences. And while it’s important to read up on current travel warnings before deciding on a destination, you can bet that we will be doing twice as much research to find out if we should heed those warnings and if so, when it will be safe to return. So, to answer the question, no :)

mr and mrs adventure, full moon, inspiring quotes, kayaking, costa rica, drew neumann8. What does traveling mean to you, how has it affected you as a person?

Oh wow. We could write an entire post about this one. Travel (V.)- to make a journey, typically of some length or abroad.

To us travel is not segmented to define a two week period each year… to us travel is a way of life. It challenges us to be open to change, it dares us to triumph when the unexpected occurs, it realigns us with what is most important in life and it encourages us to keep exploring, to keep learning and to support each other each and every day. Travel has made us very different from the majority, it has turned us into chronic adventurers and has allowed us to discover our true passion. Travel continues to fill our hearts with endless possibilities and guide us towards a life filled with the unknown. So let’s try this again:

Travel (V.)- an act of courage that urges one to leave “their box” and adventure into the unknown, allowing new people, sites, tastes and sounds to change them for the better.

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9. What country has the best food in your opinion?

We absolutely love Indian, Ethiopian, Mediterranean, Japanese, Mexican and Californian cuisine… Wow, that does not narrow it down at all, haha. But again, back to the question… we haven’t been to every country yet, so this won’t be a fair assessment, but so far, we’d have to say France. I grew up going to France every summer when I was a child and every morning we would wake up to fresh “brioche” and “pain au chocolat” baked at the “patisserie” right under my great-grandmother’s apartment in Brittany, France. My grandma would heat milk over the stove and my family would start the day together at the table before walking to the outdoor markets to get fresh ingredients for the rest of the day’s meals. Last summer Drew had the chance to go to France together for the first time! I made sure he sampled all of my childhood favorites and watched as he fell in love with my heritage. La vie et belle et delicieux!

paris, french food, french markets, girl smelling fruit, picking fruit, brittany rouille

10. If you could choose any country in the world to live, where would it be and why?

We feel that it would be an incredible learning experience to live somewhere with such different… everything! With that being said we are intrigued with South East Asia, after that we’d have to say Australia or Chile.

11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Somewhere wonderful.

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Now we get to nominate 5 other bloggers that we find wildly interesting and endlessly inspiring! The nominees are:

1. Alex in Wanderland: Alex has been traveling the world for 3 years and counting! Her site is full of awe inspiring photos and priceless wisdom on how you can live your life abroad too :)

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2. Adventurous Kate: Kate quit her job in 2010 to travel Southeast Asia for six months. Six months turned into three years across more than 45 countries and there is no end in site. Check out her great posts for travel insight and inspiration!

adventurous kate, travel blogs, viking hat

3. California Through My Lens: Josh has created a great site with stunning photos and easy to follow guides for some of the best hikes in SoCal, along with insight into some of the most stunning and bizarre places as well!

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4. K8_N_N8: Meet Kate and Nate! An adventure couple that is road tripping their way across America taking awesomely creative photos, they even have a crystal ball that captures sites in some beautiful, one of a kind ways!

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5. Pura Vida! Eh?: Ricky and Nikki are an amazing resource for any and all of your Costa Rica adventuring needs! They have great articles and discounts on their site and are amazing at answering any questions you might have, they were a great resource for our trip to Costa Rica :)

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And now, here are our 11 questions to the nominees:

  1. What made you start your blog, and what makes your blog different?
  2. What do you most enjoy writing about?
  3. What is your favorite spot so far and why?
  4. If you were to give one piece of advice to someone thinking about traveling, what would it be?
  5. What the most interesting job you have taken on to support your travels?
  6. How do you promote your blog, and what works best for you?
  7. Is there any place in the world you never wish to visit?
  8. What does traveling mean to you, how has it affected you as a person?
  9. What’s your most memorable travel moment thus far?
  10. If you could choose any country in the world to live, where would it be and why?
  11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

 Looking forward to hearing everyone`s answers! And thank you again Nerd Nomads for nominating us :) 

The Best Way to Summit Mount Baldy!

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You’d think that out of all the hikes we’ve done in Southern California we’d come to a place where we could say we’ve done it all… not a chance – there is so much to do out here! We are constantly discovering more and more epic adventures to add to our bucket list, one thing we were able to check off our list this week was summiting Mount Baldy!

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Mount Baldy, which is the highest point in the San Gabriel Mountains, serves as a ski resort in the winter months and is located just an hour east of LA (map here). Before embarking on this trek, we read many articles and heard many stories about how to hike this 10,064 foot summit and in the end, we concluded that ascending via Baldy Bowl and descending along The Devil’s Backbone, making for an 11.3 mile hike, was the best route – we stand by this decision :) (Great post about the various trail options here.)

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Parking for the trailhead is pretty easy. After driving on Mount Baldy Road for a little ways, we reached Manker Flats, made our first left turn and parked here, if you reach the ski lift parking area then you have traveled too far. There are two blue outhouses and a road gate, the trailhead starts at this white gate (pictured below). This is a popular route so you will likely see many other cars here, a late start will result in parking further down the road. Many recommend hitting the trail at 7am but we were honestly quite happy with our 8:30 start time because we were able to hike sans crowd.

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With the bright morning sun on our faces and the cool pine-scented breeze whirling all around, the trail started on a luxuriously wide fire road, lush with flowers and trees providing a stark contrast from the site of Mount BALDy above:

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Summiting mount baldy, best southern california hikes, hiking california, ski resort hikes, summer hikes in california, best way to hike mount baldy, how to hike mount baldy, baldy bowl

Summiting mount baldy, best southern california hikes, hiking california, ski resort hikes, summer hikes in california, best way to hike mount baldy, how to hike mount baldy, baldy bowl

Not too long after getting started, we took the second trail that branched left, taking us off the fire road – we would have totally missed this if it wasn’t for the group ahead of us, as there are no signs for it. (Be sure not to take the first side trail on the left, this one is located by a stone wall and has a trail sign, it will lead you up a completely different path.) This marked the beginning of Baldy Bowl ‘s 4.5 mile, 3,900 foot ascent… basically 1,000 feet per mile! It is absolutely crucial to bring enough water, as there is nowhere to refill until you reach the Top of the Notch restaurant.

Summiting mount baldy, best southern california hikes, hiking california, ski resort hikes, summer hikes in california, best way to hike mount baldy, how to hike mount baldy, baldy bowl Halfway up the mountain and 2 hours in, we found ourselves at the Sierra Club Ski Hut, a perfect place to rest, drink plenty of water and enjoy the shade:

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You can actually reserve a bed in this awesome 16-person hut, fully equipt with a kitchen, running water, cookware, solar lighting and best of all, board games!

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Giant log benches, perfect for a little “r & r”:

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And there’s even an adorable little outhouse – just don’t breathe if you plan on using it…

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Some dried mango and a homemade rice crispy treat later, Drew and I were up and at it again. This aggressive climb is, thankfully, also the shortest route to the top of Mount Baldy. A total of 4 hours, 4,000 feet and 4.5 miles later, we had finally arrived to the top of Baldy!

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With Mount Jacinto at 10,833 feet and San Gorgonio at 11,503 feet in the backdrop, the views were absolutely remarkable:

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It was the most crowded summit we had yet to experience! There were people, lady bugs and butterflies everywhere!

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With no shade to be found, we decided to make ourselves comfortable as we soaked in some rays and enjoyed a long and slow lunch break before taking the switchbacks of Devil’s Backbone Trail that would guide us down to the notch.

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Check out the amazingly white “moon rocks” that cover the peak:

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They don’t call it the Devil’s Backbone for nothing – the single track trail crosses the spine of a skinny ridge with steep drops to the north and south, providing immensely sweeping views. You would not want to hike this in the winter, but during summer, under normal weather conditions, the trail is devilishly exciting!

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IMG_8495

As we approached the ski lodge we come across an inoperable ski lift providing us with an excuse to sit, rest and snap some awesome photos- there’s something so memorable about sitting on a ski lift in 90 degree weather and reading the signs for the ski runs as people hike up and down the dirt covered slopes:

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Summiting mount baldy, best southern california hikes, hiking california, ski resort hikes, summer hikes in california, best way to hike mount baldy, how to hike mount baldy, ski lift

Avalanches… ice… we wish!

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An hour after departing the summit of Baldy we had finally arrived to the Top of the Notch where we were able to order an ice cold drink and watch the World Cup soccer game. There was a DJ playing reggae outside and a cool breeze blowing in through the windows of the ski lodge, it was turning out to be a pretty epic day. After watching Costa Rica advance to the quarter finals we laced back up and headed out to finish the final leg of our journey… but not before hopping on a snow mobile!

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The trail back down is located just to the right of the Mount Baldy Ski School (pictured below).  It was a nice and easy descent along the same fire road on which we started. We had to be sure not to take the first trail off to the left again, as this would have taken us to the ski lift parking lot.

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Summiting mount baldy, best southern california hikes, hiking california, ski resort hikes, summer hikes in california, best way to hike mount baldy, how to hike mount baldy, summer ski resort

11.3 miles and, if we’re counting hiking time only – 6 hours later, our Mount Baldy adventure was complete. One of the most balanced and enjoyable hikes we have yet to do, we both finished this hike satisfied and extremely grateful for the experience… and each other.

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Things to know:

- You need an Adventure Pass, you can pick one of for $5 at the Visitors Center (map here) before parking

- Bring a lot of water, Drew and I each had our camel baks with 3 liters of water, which we finished by the time we got to the Top of the Notch

- You can refill for the hike down at the Top of the Notch; there is a water fountain near the restrooms

- You can opt to take the ski lift to or from the Top of the Notch, it’s $15 up, $12 down or $25 roundtrip. We of course recommend hiking both ways but if you really only want to do a one-way hike, we recommend hiking up Baldy Bowl and then taking the lift down. Another option is taking the lift up, hiking to Mount Baldy’s summit, and then hiking back to the lift and taking it down.

- Bring a hat, sunglasses, camera, chap stick (the air is dry), hiking poles (we forgot ours and really wish we had them) and plenty of sunscreen (we wore SPF 50 and still got rosy!)

- Stop at the Top of the Notch for an ice cold drink, they have a full bar and food available too! It’s open Friday – Sunday, 8am – 6pm

How did we make it to SoCal in the first place?

mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, santa monica pier Way back in 2011, before Mr and Mrs Adventure, there was still Mr and Mrs Adventure… we just didn’t know it yet! Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we graduated from The University of Florida, and after living in the college bubble for 5 years, we were ready for a real adventure. mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, gator grads, go gators, college graduates After contemplating a few different ideas for places to move, it all came down to Colorado and California. We we looking for a place that would provide us with endless opportunities to get outside, an infectiously young and motivating energy and abundant opportunities for us to create an incredible future. We also wanted to build faith in challenging ourselves to learn that we could make it on our own no matter where we were. After not much hesitation at all, our hearts both settled on Los Angeles, California! We soon got to work on mapping out our trans-america road trip. We were going to see as much of the US as we could, including all the various friends and family members scattered along the way. At this time I had only ever been to 4 states, we didn’t do too many road trips when I was a kid, but Drew on the other hand, had been to 38 states – I had some serious catching up to do. Cali Roadtrip, mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college

mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college On the morning of August 8th, 2011: with all our belongings stuffed into my 2-door Ford Focus, our mountain bikes strapped onto the back and our hearts overflowing with courage and excitement, we turned up our California playlist and began the trip that would ultimately lead us to our true selves and change the path of our lives forever. mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college

mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, bikes on car With places to go, things to do and people to see, we stuck Rodney, our hula dancing monkey, on the dashboard, and off we went. For the next 2 weeks, we had no plan, just a vision of making great things happen. mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, bobble head, hula monkey We stopped at a few epic landmarks, including: Graceland, home of Elvis Presley, aka. The King: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, graceland, elvis

mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, graceland, elvis, elvis' grave The Historic Route 66 for a cheap hotel, the best carrot cake of life and a few of those really odd nicnac shops: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, route 66 I wish this one wasn’t so blurry – doesn’t do the cake justice (all of these photos were taken before we graduated to our precious SLR). mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, route 66, carrot cake

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mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, route 66, 6 states at once And we can’t forget the National Parks! We hit up Mesa Verde NP in Colorado: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, mesa verde

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P1050088 Arches NP in Utah: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, arches national park

mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, arches national park

mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, arches national park And we will never forget the Grand Canyon, one of the most difficult hikes we have yet to do, second only to Mount Whitney (so far). We hiked down on the South Kaibab Trail – 7.1 miles long, with over 5,000 feet in elevation loss… which we would be paying for on our way out. mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, grand canyon

mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, grand canyon map We originally hadn’t planned on hiking the Grand Canyon but after talking to some people who had done it and learning about Phantom Ranch, the little cabin community at the bottom which books a year in advance, we decided to call and ask about availability – why not right!? Amazingly enough, 2 people had just cancelled, leaving 1 spot in both the male and female cabins available – we were in! mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, grand canyon

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mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, grand canyon The next day most people were up and at it by 5am. We apparently had missed that alarm and didn’t get started until about 8:30am. We hiked out and up on the Bright Angel Trail, which was 9.9 miles with about 5,000 feet elevation gain… ouch. It was also 103 degrees! mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, grand canyon By 1pm we had made it out in time to enjoy a hardy lunch and some incredible views. I don’t think we willingly stood up again for the rest of the day: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, grand canyon With the Grand Canyon being one of the most memorable experiences of the trip, something else to mention are the unbelievable sunsets that guided us along the way. It was night after night of glowing rays, vibrant colors and awe inspiring skies telling us that we were on the right path: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, amazing sunset

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mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, amazing sunset Another highlight of our trip was visiting Skip and Winnie Yowell. Skip, the founder of JanSport, is basically the entire reason Drew and I met (you can read more about this on our about page), so needless to say, visiting him was very important to us. We drove miles and miles on an old dirt road and arrived to a tiny town where there were definitely way more sunflowers than people: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, skip yowell, jansport, jansport founder, jansport story, jansport models, sunflowers, field of sunflowersmr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, skip yowell, jansport, jansport founder, jansport story, jansport models, sunflowers mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, skip yowell, jansport, jansport founder, jansport story, jansport models One morning while we were there, we decided to go for a bike ride – these cows stared at us like they had never seen a bicycle before in their lives! mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, herd of cowsSome other things that happened - we biked the 17-mile loop around the Arkansas River over the famous Big Dam Bridge: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, biking the big dam bridge, big dam bridge little rock, things to do in arkansas We camped in Colorado where Drew ate the most ginormously wonderful marshmallows of life!: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, camping, colorado

mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, camping, colorado, giant marshmallow, giant smores I mistook this black angus cow for a friendly cow… apparently these ones are far more aggressive. After this photo was taken, Drew knew something was up and told me to slowly get back into the car… seconds later I was literally chased back into the car! I won’t ever be doing that again. mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, camping, colorado, black angus, mad cow, black angus We camped next to our car/ the highway and were woken up by a tribe of Indians chanting around our tent! Guess we didn’t realize when we pulled over at 2am that we were on an Indian reservation: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, camping, roadside camping We mountain biked Moab‘s Klondike Bluffs Trail, famous for its Jurassic Period dinosaur footprints! This 9.6 mile roundtrip loop is perfect for advanced beginners – with over 800 feet in elevation gain in 4 miles, we definitely wouldn’t classify it as easy. mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, camping, colorado, klondike hike trail moab, mountain biking moab

P1050142 The last .5 miles of this trail could only be accessed by foot, so we put our bikes aside and hiked to an incredible view of the Klondike Bluffs: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, camping, colorado, klondike hike trail moab, mountain biking moab This was before I got the headstand thing down: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, camping, colorado, klondike hike trail moab, mountain biking moab After 14 days, 4,000 miles and 781 photos, we finally found ourselves in The Golden State – first stop? THE BEACH: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, santa monica california, santa monica pier, famous piers We found the last stop on Route 66 on the Santa Monica Pier! mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, santa monica california, santa monica pier, famous piers, end of route 66 Then what? So, we made it to California but how were we going to stay here? At this point we had no choice but to be optimistic. We stayed with my dad’s best friend in Beverly Hills for the first month while we looked for jobs and an apartment. We soon found a place we could call our own and slept in our sleeping bags on our first night – we wouldn’t have had it any other way: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, first apartment With 18 million people living in Los Angeles, getting started was not easy – jobs were few and far between. We worked odd hours, hard jobs and got paid way below what we deserved, but what mattered was that we approached each day with a yes mentality, courage and humility. In time we eventually discovered what we were truly capable of, and more importantly, we soon found what everyone else was already pursuing – our very own dream: mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, first apartment It’s easy to feel lost in such a huge city. Everyone has an agenda, a talent, an agent, a label… but no matter where you are, as long as you know who you are and believe in where you are going, you will always be able to find your place and live from your heart. Cali Roadtrip, mr and mrs adventure, road trip across america, how to move to california, driving from florida to california, road trip map, best road trips in america, what to do after college, giant heart, los angeles heart, la love

Our FAVORITE SoCal Hike: Sandstone Peak

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Rising high above the city smog, surrounded by green, rolling hills and framed by the famous, endless summer waves of Malibu, rests Sandstone Peak, aka Mount Allen – the tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. At 3,111 feet, this peak can be reached via a 6.25-mile loop with a 1,075 elevation gain, granting you major bragging rights, as well as stellar views.

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Our favorite way to start this hike is a with a cook out! – yep that’s right – we pack a picnic, bring our mini grill along and head towards Malibu until we find just the right spot. Some days we opt for a seaside view, while other days we go for a heightened sense of perspective up in the canyons:

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For so many reasons we tend to take every single LA visitor we get on this hike – from mom and dad to cousins and friends, and it’s even dog friendly! This hike just packs all the things that we love about LA into 1 pretty little package:

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Getting to the trailhead is simple, we drive up Yerba Buena road until reaching a dirt parking lot (map here). There’s a restroom available for one last pit spot before hitting the trail, which starts at the North end of the lot. Here’s a view of the lot from above:

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The first part of the journey starts on the Backbone Trail – and let me and all our visitors tell you, this baby is steep. Luckily, after .3 miles, you’ll make a left onto the Mishe Mokwa Trail, which is a wide dirt and rock path with a much more gradual ascent, offering some unforgettable views early on:

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As the trail continues, the views only get better and vaster. The deep and lush ravines, the sandstone Echo Cliffs lined with rock climbers, and the wildflowers and colorful critters that greet you along the way! There is never a dull moment on the journey to the top:

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How beautiful is this little guy?!

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And this stunning blue bird!:

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Just before reaching the top there is an sign letting you know that you are almost there! This is then followed by a set of steep stairs, making you realize… you are still not there yet… but keep on keeping on! – it’s totally worth it.

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After this final set of stair steppers, it’s just a few more feet of steep rock scrambling before reaching the summit! Once you see the plaque at the top of the mountain, you know you have arrived – it’s  now time to relax and enjoy the view:

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Check out the full moon:

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Oh and you have to be sure to write a little something in the adventure book at the top! It’s in the slot under the Mount Allen plaque – you can’t miss it:

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Thanks to the amazing California weather patterns, we have been blessed with some of the most beautiful of days – nothing but clear, blue skies for miles:

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Then, there have been those other days… those days with fog so thick it’s as if we have to push it out of our way to get through:

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Regardless of the weather, time of day, or season, every time we do this hike we experience something uniquely special… but we do have to admit – we are total suckers for that hour right before sunset where the entire California coast turns to gold, they don’t call it LA la land for nothing:

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And how do we make an already incredible hike even more memorable? We drive back to Malibu, park at Neptune’s Net and walk down to the beach to watch the sunset over the Pacific – which is of course followed by a d’lish meal at Neptune’s, one of our favorite SoCal spots:

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No wonder we keep coming back for more, can you blame us?! I can’t wait until the next repeat… more like eight-peat ;)

 

 

Summiting Alta Peak in Sequoia National Park + Seeing the LARGEST Trees in the World!

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You never forget those days when you summit a mountain, and we mean that both literally and figuratively. The experience of overcoming that physical and mental struggle that tries to weigh you down as you persist and push forward is a powerful experience, one that keeps you hungry for more mountains and moments that allow you to realize your true strength.

This past weekend we were craving a mountain, so we headed to Sequoia National Park to meet our match.

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One thing we didn’t realize about our journey to Sequoia was that once we got to the park, there would be another hour drive to factor in before reaching the main Visitor Centers and all the various trail heads and attractions.

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While the drive was a bit longer than expected, it was also absolutely stunning. The road passed through some of the largest trees we had ever seen, we had to pull over a couple of times to take it all in. Can you spot me standing in front of the giant sequoia below?:

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We finally arrived to the Lodgepole Visitor Center around 11:30 to purchase our overnight hiking permit. Permits are only needed during the quota period (late May – late September), you can read more about when and how to obtain permits here.

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After weighing our options, we settled upon the infamous trail to Alta Peak:

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With 35 pound packs on our backs, hiking poles in hand, the awesome ring cozy on my finger and our absolute favorite travel accessory by our sides, each other, we made our moves at the Wolverton Trailhead towards our home for the night, Alta Meadow:

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A few steps on the trail and we were already surrounded by rich colors and lush woods known to be the most scenic in the entire park. Towering over us where ginormous trees covered in a bright lime-green moss, looking like something straight out of Avatar. Though we knew the journey ahead would be long and hard, we couldn’t help but focus on the many rewards we would encounter along the way:

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One of our favorite rewards? The crystal-clear streams flowing with extremely COLD and refreshing water that somehow knew exactly when to appear:

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What distinguishes the trail to Alta Peak from so many others is the fact that there are grand panoramic vistas leaving you mesmerized and motivated the entire way – not to mention the fact that there was always a great excuse to take a break and admire the view:

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3 miles in and we had already climbed almost 2,000 feet in elevation. With 3 more miles left to go until arriving to our campsite (the side trail to Alta Meadows added 1.2 miles to the journey one-way) we were definitely feeling it – to say the least. After a quick kiss, where I nearly knocked Drew off his feet (timer photos can capture some of the funniest moments), we were recharged and ready to continue putting one foot in front of the other – we had no choice at this point ;)

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As the golden hour approached, our prayers were answered, we had finally made it to Alta Meadows. One of the best parts about this spot was not only the snow…! but we had Mount Whitney staring right at us so we could reminisce about our journey to her 14k summit less than a year ago.

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Yes, that’s real snow!

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After our celebratory photo shoot we were then greeted by our very own welcoming committee:

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We must have passed the test because after our dear friends sniffed us and observed our tent pitching skills they hung around for a while before frolicking off into the woods:

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We changed into a fresh set of clothes, bundled up for sundown and began to prepare dinner:

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I clearly was not aware that a photo was being taken here..

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Who needs a television when you can look at this:

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And meet the newest member of our adventure gear family, the LifeStraw – a super easy-to-use and convenient way to filter water that works as simply as a straw!:
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Hydrated, full and ready for a siesta we hoisted our bear bag into a tree and headed off to bed/ sleeping bag. There is something so free about sleeping in the outdoors - with nobody to impress, no agenda, no phone, no sense of time, just the present moment, each other and the incredible earth beneath us… it’s no wonder we can’t get enough of it.the trail to alta peak, alta peak trail in sequoia, best hike in sequoia national park, wolverton trailhead, sequoia park sign, mr and mrs adventure, adventurous couple, hiking couple, drew neumann, brittany rouille, alta meadow, sunset, mountain sunset

It was 7:30am, we awoke after a solid 10 hours of sleep, rolled out of the tent, brushed our teeth, made some oatmeal with our JetBoil and sipped on a cup of steaming hot chai tea as the sun made her glorious debut.

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We continued on our way to make it to the summit in time for an epic picnic lunch spot. After a mile we arrived at Alta Peak Junction and hung our packs in the trees so we didn’t have to lug them to the top and more so, to keep the marmots from getting to them – they will eat anything rubber to get their salt fix!

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The next 2 miles were the steepest of the entire trip, with a 2,000 foot elevation gain it was as if we could feel the air thinning with every step. The trail spiraled around the mountain so the striking views changed constantly. First we were looking back to the San Joaquin Valley, then we were gazing over Alta Meadow – where we had spent the previous night – the unmistakable Great Western Divide and the summit of Mount Whitney were a constant theme and the thought of the view from Alta Peak kept us wanting more.

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The terrain became much less vegetated as we made our way past the tree line – it was difficult to tell where the actual peak was in this moonscape, surrounded by giant rocks on all sides. We did our best to stay on the trail and 2 hours later, we found ourselves atop the glorious ALTA PEAK:

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The stunning view of Mount Whitney (14, 505) from Alta:

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Talk about a killer spot for PBJ break:

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Drew got Mrs. Adventure’s secret recipe, triple layer stack!
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This little marmot wanted in on all the magic:

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We spent an uninterrupted hour on top of Alta – it was hard to ever want to leave! The weather was perfect – the sun was shining and warm, the breeze was constant and cool – we were happy campers!

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Sequoia national park, alta peak, sequoia hikes, southern california summits, best hikes in california, mount whitney hike

Soon enough we had to peace out and make our way back down the trail. At least at this point we knew it was all downhill:

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Something we did not expect to see along our trek back… a b-b-BEAR!

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Luckily he was more interested in his search for honey than in us, but he totally had a moment with Drew – Drew had left his pack along the trail during our water break and as he slowly made his way back to get it before the bear did, they locked eyes, but that was it – Mr. Bear continued on his jolly bear way, right up the trail- PHEW! Our first bear in the wild, check!

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After all that excitement, a total of 17 miles later and 4,000 feet of elevation gain under our belts, we were wiped out. As much as we wanted to call it a day right then and there, we just had to meet the General, General Sherman that is:

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We drove over to the Giant Tree Forest and used whatever energy we had left to make our way to the General. With a height of 275 ft, a diameter of 25 ft and an estimated age of 2,300–2,700 years, General Sherman is the largest tree on earth by volume.

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After a weekend of constant moving and exploring, we wrapped up our Sequoia adventure with this gentle giant – making for the perfect ending :)

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Things to know:

  • Entry to the park is $20 per vehicle.
  • Best time of year to visit Sequoia to avoid the crowds: May & June, September & October
  • Bring bug spray! Once the snow melts, there are lots of mosquitos.
  • Tons of primitive camping on a first come first serve basis.
  • On weekends, be sure to get to the visitor centers early to get your first choice wilderness/backcountry permits.
  • Visit General Sherman in the afternoon to avoid the morning rush of site seers.
  • Pack a picnic, there is no shortage of incredible picnic spots.

 

Disclosure: The LifeStraw® product and information have been provided by Vestergaard.

The long awaited “Adventures in Costa Rica” video is here!

You’ve read the stories, you’ve seen the photos, now it’s time for the grand finale…THE VIDEO. So sit back and relax, kick off your shoes, grab a nice fruity drink and get excited as we take you along for the ride. But be sure to watch till the very end, you don’t want to miss a thing:

So what did you think? Liked it, loved it? Let us know! And as always, feel free to share the adventure with others – the more the merrier :)