Let me introduce myself
Hi. I’m Cindy, an Arizona journalist with 25 years of experience covering the happenings of my community. Festivals, new trail openings, government hearings, election campaigns, car crashes – yes, I’ve written stories about it all.
That sort of exposure has given me an insight into my beautiful state and region. I will be sharing that unique perspective here by offering an insider’s view of the forests, deserts, lakes, and mountains of the incredible Southwest.
That’s where the “near” of my blog comes in. I’ve found that Arizona is perfectly situated for day or weekend trips to amazing spots in neighboring Utah, Nevada, New Mexico – and even “old” Mexico! I love them all. From the depths of the Grand Canyon to the arches of Moab and the heights of the San Francisco Peaks, I can truly say that I live in a wonderland.
The “far” part of my blog brings me to my other main love – exploring beyond my usual environment, and outside my comfort zone. Even as I go about my serious business during the week, I am always plotting my next getaway.
My recent off-the-job travels have taken me to the streets of Taipei, the wet markets of Hong Kong, and the Comarcas of Panama.
I can trace my passion for travel back to my college days, when I spent three months backpacking through Europe – railroading all the way from the fjords of Norway to the beaches of Corfu. Later, as a single mom, I passed the wanderlust onto my son. We bonded while eating shrimp tacos and jumping waves on the Sea of Cortez beaches of Mexico, and roasting marshmallows in campgrounds in western Canada.
Later, when he was a college student himself, my son joined me on a return trip to Europe. We revisited old favorites – the canals of Amsterdam and the Swiss Alps – and discovered amazing new spots among the ruins of Rome and the picturesque alleys of Italy’s Cinque Terre.
Now, as an empty nester, I’ve found that travel just keeps getting better. Come along with me as I spend my weekends uncovering the riches of America’s Southwest, and my vacations discovering what the rest of the world has to offer!
A few of my top travel picks
Favorite 5 places
Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada – It was a bit of an afterthought detour during an epic road trip to Montana, but Alberta’s beautiful lake country turned out to be a high point.
Napa wine country, California – I visited in February and was blown away by the rolling hills covered with soft-yellow flowering mustard. Oh, and the wine!
Sea of Cortez, Mexico – No other place conjures up summers at the beach for me like Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico. Waves, shrimping boats, tamales – oh, yes!
The Grand Canyon, Arizona – Viewing the canyon from the bottom up will change you forever. I’ve done it a half-dozen times and can’t wait to return.
Cinque Terre, Italy – The charm of the string of five lovely villages along Italy’s west coast enveloped us the minute we stepped off the train. Otherworldly!
Bonus (in my own backyard) – Sedona Red Rock Country, Arizona – Fluffy white summer clouds, red rocks, and blue skies. I would argue that no other place beats Sedona on a sheer-beauty scale.
Favorite 5 cities
San Francisco – The first major city I fell in love with. Nothing can compete with your first love – especially when it’s the City by the Bay.
Amsterdam – I’m not sure if it was Vincent, the canals, or the tulip market, but Amsterdam grew on me during my third visit.
Panama City – The heat, the harbor, the quaint, colorful Casco Viejo: I didn’t expect to, but I simply loved the vibe in Panama’s capital city. Oh, and the ceviche rocked!
Vancouver – The omnipresent skyline serves as an imposing backdrop; the friendly people bring it down to earth.
Taipei – Night markets, dumplings, calla lillies, noodles, Taipei 101, scooters, mango shaved ice – so many beautiful impressions, I can’t decide.
Bonus – Chicago– Chicago on a warm spring day – is there anything lovelier? I had just two days in the ‘city with big shoulders’ in April 2017, and wow! Poet Carl Sandburg was right about the broad shoulders, but he failed to mention the beauty.
Day hiking along the stunning trails of Cinque Terre National Park, Italy
Soaking in the hot springs of northwestern Taiwan
Hiking rim-to-rim through the Grand Canyon, Arizona
Navigating the ferries, trams, and metro lines of Hong Kong, solo
Boating to remote Isla Diablo in Panama’s San Blas Islands
Topping my wish list
• Hiking the glacier trails of Montana’s Glacier National Park (I finally got to Glacier in the summer of 2016, but I’m leaving it on my list because all of I can think of now is how to get back for a return visit. 🙂 )
• Soaking up Eastern European culture in Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia (I made it to the Czech Republic in the summer of 2018, and it was all I hoped it would be, and more. I’m still planning for Poland and Slovakia … and Slovenia, Estonia, and Croatia)
• Reconnecting with long-lost family (and fjords) in my grandfather’s homeland, Norway
• Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru
• Discovering the Maah Daah Hey trail in my native North Dakota
• Exploring the vast Mongolian-Manchurian steppe region of Mongolia