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Bucket List: Zip Lining in Kauai, Hawaii

There are always new opportunities when you travel, hundreds of ‘firsts’ waiting for you to experience them. When I was looking into what Kauai had to offer there was so much I wanted to sign up for and had to keep reminding myself that I have my whole life to travel and to be selective about what I do and know that I can try other new things in other new places.

I’d never been zip lining before and thought the over grown, jungle-like island was just the place to try it out. There are several companies with zip lines throughout the lush greens but once I found Princeville Ranch Adventures I knew I’d found the company for me.

Their Zip N’ Dip tour gains access to the most zips on the island including the largest (at the time) line called “King Kong.”

A combination of 9 exciting zip lines, a suspension bridge and an hour at a deep hidden swimming hole, where you’ll enjoy a picnic, swimming, jumping and floating on inner tubes. It’s the experience of a lifetime!

ZLHeatherGetting Ready

Getting ready to load up & head to the zip lines.

Everyone Zipline

Our group was led by two of Princevilles finest & to be perfectly honest, they were almost as great as the adventure itself! Most often the tour guides make all the difference when it comes down to it!

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There is some walking, but with these views how could you complain? I was their in Septemeber and there was a nice breeze and a few clouds for shade, even still I would recommend wearing light clothing.

ZLHeatherGettingReady

One guide leads the group and rides first to help each member of the group when they arrive at the landing while the other guide rides the line last to help everyone get strapped in right and on to the landing safely. Here I am getting set up to take of on my first zip line.

ZLView

B-E-A-U-tiful! It’s breath taking and magical. We spent 4 hours surrounded by this gorgeous scenery!

You know what the advantage to multiple ziplines?

Princeville starts at the smallest line and ends with the largest so you have plenty of time to be scared, peaceful, adventuous and of course to screeeaaammmm!

ZLHeatherRiding

I wanted a photo of me riding the line without being too focused on the camera, its not going to make it into Cosmo any time soon but it only takes one look and I can almost feel the wind rushing past me and the thrill of flying through the trees.

I also loved zip lining, especially with Princeville, because they encourage you to bring your cameras & camcorders. Just make sure you’ve got an okay grip and have a wrist wrap & you’ll be sure to get tons of great shots!

Did you know?

The most dangerous insect/amphibians/reptile on the island of Kauai is a bee. That’s right, a bee. (One of the many reasons Kauai is on my top 5 favorite places in the world!) So for the real thrill seekers I would also recommend Princeville’s zip lines because as you can see in the video below, you zip right past a big nest! I wouldn’t have ever known if our guides hadn’t previously informed us and instructed us on how to turn around so we can see it.

You’ll recognize the nest because it’s the only big patch of dirt other than the lush green trees.

After we had a few zip lines under belts, our group headed to a large suspension bridge. Doesn’t sound completely boring but I can’t say it was on my list of must-have adventures… until I saw our guide run across it. Literally, run straight across it in a matter of seconds. He made it look as if any of us could do it, sure we each attempted the bridge telling ourselves we were going to own it & manage to run the entire way! None of us made it close to half way without having to stop completely, gather out balance again and then take each wobbly step until we reached the other side. We all gave our guides mad props for their straight skills!

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The view below, it gets your heart pumping especially when you can’t see the bottom as the jungle turns to darkness. Don’t be worried though, no one has ever fallen and you are strapped from your waist to each side of the bridge. Pretty sick right!?!

Note my Keen shoes? I completely love them, I bought them just for this trip knowing that I would be spending a lot of time in & out of water.

Personally I don’t think I could have picked anything better. There are mixed reviews, they aren’t the cheapest (~$35-100) and some people feel they aren’t worth it. Here is what I know, I found the pair I wanted, waited until I found them on sale and spent every day in water & land; Hiking, swimming, kayaking, zip-lining, playing in the ocean, walking around town and everything in between. I never got a blister, my feet weren’t all soggy and sloshing around inside & the shoes dried very quickly. I also intend on bringing them with me when I travel a lot, I think I will get enough valuable use out of them to get my moneys worth.

ZLBridgeView

So we zipped and now it was time to dip!

The guides led us to a sweet little watering hole where we could relax, swim and jump into the watering hole along with the option of inner tubes. I think I turned into a fish the minute I touched the water cause I spent almost all our time in the water & I couldn’t have been happier! All the while our guides were fixing lunch that we all helped carry up in the company’s backpacks.

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After swimming, jumping & lunch it was time to conquer “King Kong” Princeville’s pride & joy. It was the longest & tallest zip line while we were there although another company was building a new line meant to surpass “King Kong.” It turns out the adventure tourist industry in Kauai is extremely competitive, however with Princeville’s line you also get to ride tandem!  That’s a nice touch!

 

 ZLSideView

 Don’t let our holding hands fool you, we’re just friends but we didn’t want to miss out on the photo op. Tip: The two girls behind us hooked together with their feet, we were super jealous so if you ever do something like this without a significant other, their are alternatives!

 

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Have you ever been zip lining? If so where?

Hostel

Saturday Snapshot: What’s so Great about Hostels?

Sure, not all hostels are up to par, like this one time I was eaten alive and someone may have been injured; but at the very least they make a good story. I’ve also stayed at some in Palestine where I learned to prune olive trees & helped fix a cistern or my favorite London hostel, Globetrotter Inn. If you have an open mind and adventurous spirit I’d recommend trying out hostels, but do your research.

Why I love staying at Hostels

Not the typically lower cost but the typically increased value. Hostels tend to attract a crowd I relate to: indie, open-minded, relaxed, friendly, cool  and accepting . It’s a hub for meeting like minded people from all walks of life.

I’ve never stayed at a hostel & regretted it. That’s not to say I haven’t had experiences that weren’t testing or uncomfortable but I enjoy the challenge & respect the perspective they’ve given me.

One of my favorite hostel memories is when my best friend Brittany and I met a group of girls on a tour to the Hollywood sign put on by our hostel & we spent the evening playing monopoly & painting our nails and watching a movie with them. The next morning we shared stories on the patio until one by one it was time for us to leave. We remain facebook friends and one day in the future I hope our paths will cross again!

Hollywood Friends
From Left to Right: Latoya, Jo, Sian, Siobhan, Myself and Brittany in the lobby of USA Hostel in Hollywood

For reviews of where I’ve stayed visit here. I’ve you’ve stayed at a hostel and would like to write a guest review or travel related post contact me or learn more here Download Writing a guest post.

What do you love or hate about hostels?

My Absolute Favorite Restaurant in Kauai, Hawaii

One of my very favorite things about traveling is making it the most unique/genuine experience it can be.     

 

What does that mean?

 

- Local shops with local products, independent companies that aren’t watered down with convention & mass consumer appeal.

- Local restaurants that utilize what their community offers before opting to use imported ingredients that dilute the local flavor & economy.

- Local companies that encourage preservation of their environment & maintain their landmarks.

- Local people, who are passionate about where they live & strive to bring out the best in themselves & their community. Many companies are run by family & close friends and they treat you like you are too!

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These qualities are abundant in Kauai, Hawaii and helped to further instill the importance of local & indie support in myself. Lappert's Hawaii is an ice cream & coffee shop that has an inspiring story of how one couple made their dreams of relocating to the island come true. Another company I just couldn’t resist to visit is the restaurant 22 North located on Kilohana Plantation which also provides some shopping, luaus & train ride tours.

Our two-acre farm produces the vast majority of our fruits, vegetables and herbs, while also taking advantage of all that Kilohana Plantation offers, such as fresh lychee, papaya, and apple bananas. Our chef takes stock of the daily farm pickings and pairs them with locally grown meats and island fresh fish dishing up interesting flavors that will make your taste buds dance with delight. Come and enjoy our farm fresh eclectic cuisine early in your stay on Kauai so that you’ll have time to come back for a second visit. You won’t be disappointed.

We visited the plantatioin around lunch time just before they were closing before preparing for dinner so I would recommend paying attention to your time of arrival so you don't miss a meal! It was so difficult to choose what I wanted because it was all so unique and each had a twist that isn’t available anywhere else. I finally decided to try their fried green tomatoes, I’ve never had them before and the description read,

local green tomatoes, cornmeal crust, romaine, amber jewel tomatoes, red onion, buttermilk-chive dressing

How could I go wrong?

I'll tell you how, by not making sure I made it for their sunday brunch, if you're heading to Kauai soon (Amanda, thats directed at you:) make sure you plan sunday brunch at 22 north!

That’s right – loose-fitting clothes. Between the Pancake Station, and the farm fresh eggs and breads used to make the variety of Eggs Benedict offerings, you’re simply gonna need a little wiggle room. And that’s before you’re even able to waddle over to the Parfait Station, or sample some of Chef’s famous Homemade Sausage. Don’t say we didn’t warn you about the loose fitting clothes.

When I return to Kauai, you can be sure to see me first in line on Sunday morning! Just know that 22 north is not a secret and it gets busy, make sure to reserve a table, which can also be done online!

What about dessert?

Because their menu is made from the products available mostly on the plantation and are dependent on the season their menu changes often. They also make their desserts the same way so you never know what delicious treat they could have but you can always be sure they’ll have a bag of doughnuts ready for you! Yep, that’s right! One of their specialties is a bag of homemade doughnut holes, hot & ready for your taste buds to devour!

 Editors Note: I apologize for not having any photos in this post, it seems cruel in a way. Add it to the list of lessons since committing to travel blogging, but be assured when I return to Kauai I will be returning to 22 North and will be sure to take photos of all the food I can get my hands on!

If you only read this one post…

Why I blog. Because I believe I have a story worth telling. A perspective unseen. Insight unknown.  I also know that not all my thoughts are diamonds, I know that not all my posts are thrilling and life changing. I like to think some of them are, since they in some complicated and tangled way have changed my life. My post today is one of those posts.

The kind that change your life.

Some of you may know that I am an avid believer in Human Rights. My research & thesis is on how hate is bred, specifically how that hate is used to facilitate genocide. Even more specifically in the country of Rwanda. Africa is a country that has been exploited for every possible commodity imaginable in every way imaginable.

This video is about such exploited commodities. I hope you have already seen it & if you haven't I sincerely hope you take the time to watch it. NOW. If at the end you feel unchanged you will have served a purpose still. You can share, discuss, comment and at the very least you will be one of the vast who has given up time in your life at the cost of another.

It is easy to feel hopeless & helpless when exposed to such atrocities that are in this movie. My purpose is not to overwhelm you with these feelings, it is my purpose to make you aware.

Aware of life.

While visiting Palestine inside the boundaries of the state of Israel an older gentleman who has known war & oppression his entire life changed me forever.

I asked everyone we interviewed if they had one thing for me to bring back & share what it would be. He simply stated, To live. To live for those of us who can't. To take them with me in my heart & when I see marvelous places, enjoy beautiful things, when I am surrounded by happiness & love to remember them and to share it with them.

I took them with me while I swam with turtles in Hawaii, I took them with me when I walked in my graduating ceremony, I take them with me when I hug my family and when I laugh with friends.

Experiences like these don't translate. I can never share with you the vast emotions that course through me. I can never share the best moments of my life. The same way yours don't translate and make it impossible for you to share. That is why each of us must live.

To live.

The director of this movie, Jason  Russell, comes as close as most can to sharing these life altering experiences and I would beg you to allow yourself into this conflict. Allow the emotions to take over and course through your veins.

To be aware of life so that you too may live & keep them with you always.

 

 

Below are 5 articles I found about this film, so you may learn more if you choose to.

Kony 2012 sheds light on Uganda conflict

The film focuses heavily on the issue of child soldiers, with Kony’s LRA reportedly having up to 30,000 boys and girls who are used as soldiers and sex slaves. 

Kony is alleged to have fathered over 200 children during his 26 years on the run from the Ugandan government. Found Here

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'Kony 2012' Aims to Raise Awareness of Joseph Kony

An American filmmaker is determined to use social media to make Joseph Kony famous.  Jason Russell doesn't want to win Kony any fans. He wants to educate the world "to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice." Found Here

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The Problem With Invisible Children's "Kony 2012"

Recently, a new video produced by the American NGO Invisible Children focusing on Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been making the rounds. Having just returned from the Acholi region of Northern Uganda myself, where the LRA was born, I thought I might share some of my thoughts on the subject, for what it's worth.

I think it is easy for Invisible Children and other self-aggrandizing foreigners to make the entire story of the last 30 years of Northern Uganda about Joseph Kony, but there is a history of the relationship between the Acholi people from whom the LRA emerged and the central government in Kampala that is a little more complicated than that.

Kony is a grotesque war criminal, to be sure, but the Ugandan government currently in power also came to power through the use of kadogo (child soldiers) and fought alongside militias employing child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, something that Invisible Children seem wilfully ignorant of. Found Here

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Making Joseph Kony visible in 2012

Grace Nimaro visited Weber State University with countless cards, posters, stickers and bracelets promoting the Kony 2012 campaign.

But this was no presidential candidate she was promoting.

Nimaro hails from the northern part of Uganda and grew up during Joseph Kony’s rebellion in her country. Kony has been waging a war for 26 years in Uganda, Congo and the Central African Republic, kidnapping children, forcing boys to become child soldiers and forcing girls into sexual slavery. During this time, many of Nimaro’s relatives and friends were killed or abducted by Kony’s rebel army. Found Here

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Joseph Kony 2012: Testing the true power of the social web

The social web has overcome geography, culture, even language to connect billions of people. Yet the primary use of this gift is still diversion. This year you and I will be tested to see if, indeed, there is a greater purpose to this amazing gift. It is the #KONY2012 project. Found Here

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Please share this video, this post, your feelings, your knowledge and your life.

We all appreciate your support!

Flat Tire

The Importance of an Emergency Fund while Traveling

As we headed out on our Vegas vacation, we had no idea what adventures lay ahead of us & were excited to see what the weekend had in store for us.

DriveInSnowyView on our Drive from Utah to Las VegasDriveInDancing

Brittany & Dani utlizing the classic face framing dance move.

Heading out on vacation can be nerve racking.

Did you forget something? Have I made all the plans right? Do I have conformation numbers? Where is my camera? But what about your emergency funds? What if something goes wrong and you have to get home early? What if you get hurt? What if I get a flat tire?

DrivingInFlatTire1

I had my car registered a week before we left for our road trip to Vegas and felt good about the condition of my car… if only I'd checked the tires. 30 miles from the nearest town we got a flat tire. Do you know how to change a flat?

Sure it wasn't ideal, but luckily our friend Emily knew how to change a tire so I could grab the camera & snap some photos of our first adventure on the road.

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Dani, excited about getting back on the road!

DriveInPrettySunsetBeautiful sunset on our way to the nearest tire shop.

So what did we do?

After we changed the tire we drove 50mph to the nearest town where after calling 3 shops, found one willing to stay open late enough for us to get there and put on new tires. It turns out both my rear end tires were in desperate need of replacements and in the interest of avoiding yet another flat tire in the desert I had both replaced. I was under the presumption that if my tires were in that bad of shape they would have mentioned it while they were registering it, which was not the case. After paying $315 for 2 new rear tires we were back on our way.

While paying hundreds of dollars for something I thought I already had isn't my favorite, I'm really grateful I had the money to buy new tires. It served as a great reminder to why its important to have an emergency fund while traveling and to live within our means. 

Have you ever had an emergency while traveling? How did you handle it?