8 Incredible Places to Be

I’ve been nostalgic lately about great trips that I’ve been on. My passport is lonely and far off places are showing up in my dreams. I’m thinking about good suitcases and this red leather travel journal I have. I love the thrill of seeing a view for the first time, hearing other languages and smelling new (good) smells. I love how it feels to finally stand in a place that I have admired from afar. Travel experiences represent so many of the golden threads woven into me.

Since this season of my life does’t allow for many wild excursions, I’ll be swimming through my memories for now. If you’ve got time and some money burning a hole in your pocket, here are 8 incredibly unique places to be. Because life is short and the world is a big, big, beautiful place.

1. Tulum Ruins, Mexico (near Cancun).  The ruins of the Mayan city of Tulum, built in the late 13th century, are situated on top of 40 foot cliffs overlooking the Caribbean sea. It is one of the most breathtaking places that mixes the mystery of old with the beauty of the moment. {Let’s forget for a second that I was almost in tears thinking that my one-year-old was getting heat stroke and that I was prepared to pay $100 to the guy at the end of the trail for a bottle of coke.} It was the hottest day of my life, but the place was magnificent. With its meaningful piles of rubble, “friendly” iguanas and aqua colored sea, Tulum is worth the heat!


2. Malibu Club, Canada.  Malibu is a Young Life camp way out in the ocean, 100 miles North of Vancouver, BC. I went as a camper my sophomore year of High School and then spent a summer during college working on staff. While I was there, all I had to do every day to be overwhelmed with our incredible God was to look around me. Early mornings on kitchen staff meant sitting perched above the water, staring up at the 8,000 foot snow-topped peaks and praying for the day ahead. Most days the bears would be awake too, fishing for breakfast and swimming to their little island to eat. Majesty at its best.  http://malibuclub.younglife.org


3. Berglsteinersee Restaurant and Cafe, Austria.  10 years ago my husband and I visited some good friends in the Tyrol area of Austria and they took us to this incredible hike-in restaurant. You literally park and take a gorgeous 20-30 minute walk up to this gem of a place. There is a shorter back way used mostly for deliveries, but for the best experience take the long road. The pumpkin soup was the best we’ve ever had. If you can read some German or want to Google translate, check out their website.  http://www.berglsteinersee.com

Austria 14


4. Piazza San Marco, Venice.  Venice is by far the most unique city I have ever visited and in the heart of it sits St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco). The square is rich in tradition with St Mark’s Basilica at one end, the Campanile bell tower in the middle and the arcade of famous cafes on three sides. It is a fabulous place to be – and all the pigeons agree. If you get the chance to stroll through St. Mark’s Square in the evening, be sure to find one the cafes with live music. My husband and I sat for a long time, listening to a string quartet and drinking Italian coffee. Perfect way to end a day in Venice.


Venice 35

5. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.  I spent a summer working at a camp in Zimbabwe and we took some time to travel south to the Zambezi border to see this wonder of the world. It’s among the biggest waterfalls on the planet and the Zambezi River below boasts a crazy white water rafting experience (of which I survived) and a legendary bungee jump from the bridge (of which I did not attempt.) My photos don’t do it justice, so I borrowed this one below.

Photograph by Christian Heeb, laif/Redux

Photograph by Christian Heeb, laif/Redux


6. Big Sur Highway, California.  I think a yearly drive along this stretch is just what I need, especially since I never know what I’ll get. Fog? Cloud cover? Views of the craggy coast for miles? They are all worth it. This is California at its finest. I may not be getting out of the country much these days, but I get to head this way on a little family trip next week. I’ll take it!



7. The Dead Sea, Israel.  I took a two week travel tour through Israel with some friends from Bible College and I am yearning to go back. The Bible came alive to me and the old world was a cool drink of water for my modern soul. The culture, the food, the archeology and the backdrop for my faith came together and captivated me. We enjoyed a visit to the Dead Sea, which is located at the lowest land elevation on Earth (about 1400 ft below sea level). It is one of the saltiest bodies of water and although animals cannot flourish in it, it is known to have many healing properties. A highlight for me was the very cool and very weird feeling of swimming in the Dead Sea. No matter how hard you try to keep yourself under water, there’s this force pushing you to the surface. It’s like you’re lying on an air mattress when only water is beneath you. We made “Dead Sea Mud Masks” and floated the day away.


8. Multnomah Falls, Oregon. Maybe its because of my roots, or maybe its because this place is off the charts for beauty, but I feel so at home in this spot. The hikes, the spray of the waterfall, the darling bridge that draws you in…I love it here. The entire drive along the Columbia Gorge is stunning and should be on your bucket list!



Today’s Bright Spot is up to you-

In the comment section below, please share a favorite place you’ve been and a place you dream of seeing one day. Let’s hear about your Bright Spots!

3 thoughts on “8 Incredible Places to Be

  1. Steph. You’re so rad. Everytime I read your blog I find out more and more that I want to grow up to be you. I had no idea you went on all these cool adventures!

  2. There are so many amazing places in the world to experience, but my all time favorite city is NYC. If you’ve never been, be sure to add it to your list! I am DESPERATELY LONGING to go to Paris, but Todd has told me (in complete seriousness!) that I better get a job and pay for it myself because not one red cent of money he’s earned will go to the French economy. As you know, my hubby is a reasonable man with a good sense of humor, but he is dead serious on this one. Mr. Politics, I tell ya!

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