Best Hikes in Sedona

  1. Devils Bridge: A 4.2 mile out and back trail that features a stunning natural bridge. I recommend visiting at sunrise or sunset.
  2. Cathedral Rock: A 1.2 mile out and back hike that includes some scrambling. Cathedral Rock is a Vortex, which means it is thought to be a swirling center of energy that is conducive to healing, meditation, and self-exploration. I recommend visiting at sunset.
  3. Birthing Cave: A 3 mile out and back hike. Start on Long Canyon Trail and continue for about .6 miles until you see a small section of wooden and wire fence on your left. Take the path to the left of the fence and hike for a few minutes until you see a depression in the wall to your right – that is the cave. Once you see the depression take the path on the right and hike up to the cave.

The How-To Guide on Solo Travel for Women

Solo travelling has soared over the last few years. A study undertaken by Phocuswork found that 7 out of 10 travellers in the US in 2016 were solo travellers. The rise in the number of solo travellers is due to a number of factors, the most important being that travelling alone can be incredibly rewarding and allows you to be much more flexible than if you were with another person or group. The other reason is that, despite the label, solo travel does not necessarily mean you’ll be alone. In fact, you have the freedom to decide how alone you want to be. Of course you’ll start off on your own, which can be daunting if it’s your first time, but within the first 24 hours you’ve probably already made a friend.

However even with all the advice in the world, the best way of travelling is figuring out what works best for you and what makes you feel safe, which always takes a bit of time. I, for instance, soon realised that hopping from city to city every other day was not the right way for me to travel. But I met plenty of people who found that ideal. Figuring out your own way of travelling is part of the “travelling experience”. Nevertheless, there are still a few measures you can that make things easier while you’re figuring it out.

1. Hostels

It probably doesn’t even need saying, but hostels are the traveller hubs. Most people, (or specifically those travelling alone) are usually open to meeting new people and spending the day with a stranger. In my experience, the cheaper hostels were the most sociable. The Hostelworld app is a great way to find the one with the best value for money. Depending on the city, most hostels have spare beds the day before which gives you ample time and flexibility. If you’re not comfortable sharing mixed dorms, almost every hostel has women-only rooms – however it’s best to be a bit more organised when booking those because they tend to be the first to go.

  • 2. Take a ‘free’ walking tour
  • I use the word ‘free’ delicately, because a tip at the end is almost assumed. You might prefer to go wandering off by yourself (which is definitely worth doing anyway) but if you find yourself in a historical landmark, a walking tour is the perfect combination of meeting new people and learning about the history of the land.

    If you’re looking for a good tour company, ask the hostel or hotel you’re staying at who tend to partner up with some of the smaller more independent touring companies that tailor to specific destinations. It’s always a good idea to check out reviews before you choose – it can also give you an idea of the type of people who go on the tours – whether young travellers or families.

  • 3. Airbnb Experiences
  • Everyone is talking about Experience. Artificial Intelligence started it, Marketing and Sales have picked up on it, and now Airbnb are taking the idea to expand their business. Whether it’s trendy or not, these are great ways of branching out and trying something random. It provides everything from classes, to local activities, to pub-crawls, and offers a unique way of linking up with fellow travellers. If you’re worried about that feeling of inauthenticity from regular tours, Airbnb Experiences provide smaller gems of experiences and can sometimes take you off the beaten track if you look carefully. When it was first introduced, it instantly became a popular feature and is now used all over the world.

  • 4. Go Couchsurfing
  • I had some of the most rewarding experiences through Couchsurfing; the people you meet are often the friendliest and most inviting people – some of whom I’m still in touch with today. Living (even briefly) with someone who knows the city well gives more insight and depth into local culture than any other ‘experience’. After hearing about a few negative Couchsurfing experiences from other women I met, I always made sure to stay with people who had really good reviews, from a mix of both men and women. I tended to stay with more women simply because I felt more comfortable doing so – but that remains entirely subjective.

  • 5. Wear the right clothing
  • As the famous explorer and motivational speaker Sir Ranulph Fiennes said “there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”, you need to dress the part. While Ranulph was referring to the physical conditions of a place, I think this also applies culturally. It’s important to respect a culture by wearing appropriate clothing and adapting to different standards of dress code. Don’t simply copy what other travellers wear because they might not necessarily know. Read up on a place before you go and make sure you have the right clothing. Also, invest in a great pair of shoes.

     

    Written by Flora Meadmore

    Instagram Accounts that Will Feature Your Outdoor Canada Photos

    These accounts will feature your photos from all over Canada:

    1. @canada
    2. @parks.canada
    3. @imagesofcanada 
    4. @tourcanada 
    5. @enjoycanada 
    6. @explorecanada 

    The following are region-specific accounts:

    1. @hellobc -British Columbia
    2. @travelalberta – Alberta
    3. @tourismsask – Saskatchewan
    4. @TravelManitoba – Manitoba
    5. @ontariotravel – Ontario
    6. @tourismequebec – Quebec
    7. @destinationnb – New Brunswick
    8. @visitnovascotia – Nova Scotia
    9. @newfoundlandlabrador – Newfoundland Labrador
    10. @tourismpei – Prince Edward Island
    11. @travelyukon – Yukon
    12. @spectacularnwt – Northwest Territories

    23 Instagram Accounts that Will Feature Your Arizona Travel Photos

    If you’re looking to get exposure on Instagram by having your Arizona photos shared, check out the following Arizona feature accounts. You can tag them in your photos on Instagram and use their hashtags for a chance to be featured.

    1. @ilov3az #iloveaz
    2. @capturearizona #capturearizona
    3. @arizona_hiking.co
    4. @only_in_arizona #onlyinaz2019
    5. @instagramaz #ig_arizona
    6. @arizonaisgorgeous #arizonaisgorgeous
    7. @conquerarizona #conquerarizona
    8. @arizonasfamily #azfamily
    9. @arizonahikersguide #arizonahikersguide
    10. @sunsets.arizona #sunsets_arizona
    11. @arizonadaytrip #arizonadaytrip
    12. @visit_arizona #visitarizona
    13. @natural_arizona #naturalarizona
    14. @see_arizona #see_arizona
    15. @visit.arizona
    16. @arizonatourisme #visitarizona
    17. @igsouthwest
    18. @lifeisgoodarizona #lifeisgoodarizona
    19. @hikearizona #hikeaz #hikearizona
    20. @abc15arizona #abc15
    21. @12newsaz #beon12
    22. @weownthenight_az #weownthenight_az
    23. @arizona_hiking #arizonahiking

    Five Reasons to Visit the Art of Living Retreat Center in Boone, North Carolina

    Nestled high in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, North Carolina, the Art of Living Retreat Center is the perfect getaway to unwind, find balance, and ground yourself. AOLRC offers a number of programs tailored to different goals. I attended the three day Happiness Retreat. Whatever your spiritual goals may be, AOLRC has a program for you.

    Before I get any further, I want to share that AOLRC is giving away a free Happiness Retreat to one of my followers. Enter here:

    https://artoflivingretreatcenter.org/lp/christine-connell-giveaway/

    Art of Living was founded in 1981 by humanitarian and spiritual teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and currently operates in more than 150 countries. Art of Living Programs are guided by Sri Sri’s philosophy “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace.”

    Now, here are the top five reasons you should visit AOLRC:

    1. It’s for a good cause. Art of Living is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that supports various service projects in the US and globally. In the US, Art of Living USA supports prisoner rehabilitation, disaster & trauma relief, youth empowerment in schools, and trauma relief for veterans. Internationally, the Art of Living Foundation works in collaboration with The International Association for Human Values and with the United Nations Social and Economic Council to implement numerous humanitarian and service initiatives including conflict resolution programs, disaster relief, sustainable rural development, empowerment of women, education for all, and environmental sustainability.
    2. You will learn to be present. I’ve always considered myself a happy person. I have a great life filled with great people. However, as a lawyer and a blogger, I’m always busy working and planning. I obsess over my schedule and planning in the future. I’m not always good at living in the present. But being present is necessary to be truly happy. AOLRC will teach you breathing techniques and other methods that will help you be present. You’ll also learn to have greater control over your mind.
    3. The food is healthy and delicious. I’m a vegan, so it’s often difficult for me to find food while traveling. AOLRC serves all vegetarian and mostly vegan food. Vegan food is clearly labeled, as are several allergens. AOLRC will work with you to accommodate any dietary restrictions you have.
    4. It’s a great place to meet friends. Everyone I met at AOLRC was kind and genuine. I met friends who have similar interests and values. I’m sure I will continue to stay in contact with them for years to come.
    5. The property is gorgeous. AOLRC is located in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. When you look outside, you’ll see green trees and soft blue layers of mountains. I couldn’t imagine a more serene setting to relax and reset.

    How to Visit the Uvac River Meanders in Serbia

    The Uvac River is an international trans-boundary river that flows for 115 km (71 miles), through Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Uvac River carves a deep and winding valley through a dramatic landscape. Along the river you can find staggering mountains, expansive caves, and interesting wildlife, including Griffon vultures.

    The Meanders were formed as the river flowed through limestone over many years. Today, they are in impressive series of tightly packed looping turns below tall canyon walls. The Meanders is one of the most photogenic places in Serbia, and I highly recommend visiting if you have the opportunity.

    Visiting the Meanders wasn’t as straightforward as I expected, so I put together this post with some helpful information on how to get there.

    Where to Stay

    We were coming from Bosnia, and Užice, Serbia was a convenient place for us to stay. The Meanders are about a 2:15 drive from Užice, and since the walk to the viewpoint is not long at all, it was easy to drive there and back in a day. Družiniće is closer to the Meanders, but there isn’t as much to do there.

    How to Get to the Uvac River Meanders

    If you’re looking at a map, the viewpoints are located here:

    There are actually two viewpoints that are quite near each other. You can put “Видиковац” or “Vintage Point Uvats” in Google Maps for the first viewpoint and “Видиковац Молитва 2” in Google Maps for the second viewpoint. You can walk between the two viewpoints if you want to see both.

    The last 30 or so minutes is along a dirt road filled with rocks and potholes. Be careful! We had a tiny car and there were several times when we were worried we wouldn’t make it. I would definitely recommend using a high clearance vehicle.

    This is the easy part of the dirt road. I was too focused on driving to take photos at the bad parts.

    Once you park, it is a fairly short (but not well marked) walk to the viewpoint. Follow the little dirt path in the direction of the river (it’s fairly obvious where the river is), and remember which path you came from.

    You’ll come to a wooden lookout. This is the viewpoint.

    Feel free to leave a comment here or message me on Instagram if you have any questions!

    How to Get the Best View of Kozjak Lake from Mount Jasen Observatory

    Mount Jasen Observatory offers a great view of Kozjak Lake with no hiking required, but you can hike around if you want to! It’s about an hour car ride from Skopje, and well worth the drive.

    Google Maps and Waze both have the location as “Kozjak Lake Observation Point. There is cell phone service most of the way, including at the top. We only lost service for a few minutes right before the top.

    There are several pull outs on the road, and I recommend stopping at a few to get different views. I also highly recommend hiking around a bit if you’re up for it.

    A few of my favorite photos are below:

    DSC_0665DSC_0505DSC_0701.jpg

    A Relaxing Weekend at Deerfield Health Retreat and Spa

    Located just a couple of hours outside of NYC and nestled in the Poconos Mountains is Deerfield Health Retreat and Spa, a modern version of an “adult sleepaway camp.” Located in cozy country style inn, Deerfield offers a “choose your own adventure” style camp minus all of the planning. Deerfield is a great place to meet likeminded people. Meals are enjoyed with other guests and you can choose from many activities scheduled throughout the day – including hiking, fitness classes such as yoga and Pilates, and bingo. Deerfield is located just a few minutes from the famed Delaware Water Gap where guests can spend the day hiking or canoeing.

    Deerfield is the perfect place to meet new friends while going through a healthy reset. Many visitors come back time and time again and claim they are “addicted” to this special place.

    Britton and I drove from La Guardia airport to Deerfield on Friday evening. The drive took us about two hours. We were greeted and shown around the property. We enjoyed some tea and fruit before heading to bed.

    Saturday morning we woke up, ate some fruit for breakfast, and headed out to hike Mount Tammany: Red Dot and Blue Loop trail.

    The hike took us about 2 hours and 15 minutes including stops. The hike has a few light scramble sections, but is mostly an easy to follow trail.

    I recommend stopping at the first viewpoint, as I think it is more scenic than the top, which also gets extremely crowded. We made the mistake of passing by the first viewpoint, assuming the top would be better.

    On the way back down, there are beautiful waterfalls.

    After our hike, we returned to Deerfield for dinner. I’m a vegan and Britton is a pescatarian. I got a rice and vegetables dish and Britton got salmon. The food tasted fresh and healthy. It was the perfect post-hike meal.

    After dinner, we enjoyed Deerfield’s incredible spa. Britton and I both got facials. The esthetician was knowledgeable and customized our facials based on our skin types. The products were great as well. She did a great job with extractions and added a nice massage (she’s also a massage therapist!) while we had masks on. Britton and I spend a little more than our fair share of time in spas, and we both were impressed with our experience. Our skin was glowing the next day! We would go back to Deerfield for the spa alone.

    After our facials, we went to sleep. We woke up Sunday, had breakfast, and got ready to tackle Deerfield’s fitness classes.

    Britton and I took the butts and guts class and then Pilates reformer back to back. Both were good classes. Britton and I are fairly active and we felt like we got a good workout. The instructor was fun and supportive. All of the guests bonded over squats and lunges. It was fun!

    Deerfield is a great place located conveniently outside of NYC and Philadelphia. If you’re looking for a relaxing escape where you can meet new friends and make a healthy lifestyle charge, Deerfield is your place!

    Isopure 20 Gram Apple Melon Protein Drink for an Active Lifestyle

    If you know me, you know that I’m always on the go. #Sponsored I hike, climb, run, and ski whenever I have free time. As a lawyer, free time can be hard to come by. It’s really important for my body to be ready to go whenever I get free time so I don’t miss out on opportunities.

    I recently tried Isopure 20 Gram Protein Drink by @isopurecompany available at @costco. It’s a light and refreshing zero carb protein drink made with pure, non-GMO whey protein isolate. It has no sugar, lactose, fat, or fillers. I especially love how crisp Isopure 20 Gram Protein is. While I enjoy rich protein shakes, sometimes I want something less heavy. And that’s where Isopure comes in. Unlike other protein drinks, I can drinking when I’m hungry, and when I’m not.

    I drink protein when I’m being active because it helps with muscle building & recovery, helps keep me feeling full between meals, and keeps my muscles healthy.

    If you haven’t tried Isopure and are looking for a high quality, refreshing protein, I highly suggest you try it! #Isopure # Isopureprotein #Costco @costcodeals @cosco_doesitagain

    Roadtripping around the South Island of New Zealand with Mad Campers NZ

    Meandering down windy roads with each turn giving us a glimpse of staggering peaks and breathtaking fjords was a routine that was easy to get used to as Caroline and I spent a week roadtripping around New Zealand in a Mad Campers NZ van.

    One of the first things I learned upon arrival in New Zealand is how quickly the weather can change. While it’s a good idea to have some hikes in mind, it’s important to realize that sticking to a firm schedule likely won’t work out. We had a list of ideas and adjusted our schedule day-by-day based on the weather. Our Mad Campers NZ van gave us the flexibility to keep our plans loose and take full advantage of the good weather when it came. No pre-booked hotels, nothing holding us to a certain place at a certain time – we drove the van around and slept wherever it ended up being convenient. New Zealand is full of “holiday parks” where you can sleep in your van, so van life is quite easy.

    Hike Outside of Queenstown

    Our first overnight hike (which I promised not to disclose the location of) was a few hours outside of Queenstown. Five hours of slogging through mud and climbing over fallen trees led us to a peaceful river where we set up camp. The next morning we hiked up the river to the glacier for some absolutely stunning views. The hike ended up taking much longer than we anticipated and we didn’t get out until around 10pm. We were SO excited to be back at the van. We immediately cooked ourselves a nice dinner, drove to the nearest holiday park with availability, set up our bed in the van, and went to sleep. It was cold outside, but the van was nice and warm. My tired and sore body really appreciated the padding of the bed.

    A Couple of Days of Relaxation

    After our first hike, the weather turned bad and it rained for two days straight. We took advantage of the downtime to catch up on work, edit photos, and let our bodies recharge. Sometimes we ate at cafes and sometimes we cooked in the van. And let me tell you, sleeping in a van is soooo much nicer than sleeping in a tent when it’s raining!

    Mitre Peak

    When the weather got nice again, we drove down to Milford Sound. After taking a few photos at the sound, we got on a Milford Helicopters flight to the foothill of Mitre Peak. We camped there that night and woke up to a beautiful sunrise. We hiked the rest of the morning and got picked up that afternoon. Mitre Peak is a beautiful mountain that rises directly out of the ocean. It is peaceful and not heavily trafficked, so you’re likely to have the mountain all to yourself. Be careful if you hike – it’s easy to get lost near the bottom and it’s very exposed.

    Gertrude Saddle

    Gertrude Saddle has gotten extremely popular in the last few years – and for good reason. It’s a fun hike with gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. The hike is about 8.6 miles out and back and took me 5.5 hours with an overnight backpack and sprained ankle. The beginning of the hike is through some trees, but the remainder follows a river/river bed until a short scramble and then a boulder field before reaching the saddle. The trail is fairly well marked, though I did get briefly lost coming out of the trees on the way back. I’d recommend downloading the AllTrails map just in case. The beginning of the hike is basically walking over loose rocks, so if you have a bad ankle like I do, be careful! The scramble section has cables, so it’s fairly easy even if you aren’t comfortable on rocks. The boulder field is well marked with cairns and markers and if you follow them, it’s not bad. While Gertrude Saddle is very safe on a dry day, people have died when the weather has been bad. Numerous signs along the trail warn hikers of the danger. Do not attempt Gertrude if it has been raining! We were the only campers the night we stayed at Gertrude Saddle. It was peaceful, but very windy and cold! Be prepared if you plan to camp.

    Why I Loved Traveling in the Mad Campers NZ Van

    Our van was the perfect little home for our weeklong road trip. It was a great combination of convenience and comfort. We had the flexibility to travel as we pleased, but always had a comfortable warm bed, a mini kitchen, running water, and even a bathroom. I wouldn’t travel around New Zealand any other way!