Saturday, February 28, 2015

My travel must-haves.

My Travel Must-Haves

Right after my mission trip to Haiti, I received an email from the community coordinator from Turo asking if I would write a blog post for my travel must-haves. Turo is a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace where private car-owners can rent out their vehicles. They also have an airport rental page on their website, a perfect solution to those times you need a vehicle right when you land and get going on your adventure.   
Sounds pretty awesome if you ask me! I will most definitely keep this in mind during my travels.

My Husband, Scott, is in the Navy and we are currently stationed in North Carolina. 
{Just found out that we will be moving to Hawaii in December--so stay tuned for more adventures!}

We are both from Utah, and now my husband's family lives in Virginia&North Carolina, so we are constantly going on adventures-- whether around here or going back to Utah to see my family and  friends. Oh and the mountains, definitely the mountains. 

This blog post is about my travel must-haves and I will be talking about those that I love for out of country adventures!

The first real adventure that I had out of the US (not including a day in Mexico on a family vacation) was when I went with a best friend's family to the Bahamas. We stayed at the gorgeous Atlantis Resort--highly recommended. Then that same friend and I moved after I graduated college to Australia for six months with a month road trip around the south island of New Zealand. During the time in Australia, I went on a mission trip to Cambodia to work with Rapha House, a safe house for girls who are rescued from sex trafficking. My Husband and I were very fortunate to have spent a Christmas in Costa Rica with his family and then Haiti just recently with my family for a mission trip. 
Basically--after that first out-of-country trip, I was hooked!!
Wanderlust at it's best.

Here is my list of my travel must-haves:

1> Qalo Ring.

My Husband and I came across Qalo rings last year and fell in love. {Huge plus, they had a women's ring in turquoise!}
They make super comfy silicone wedding rings for outdoor lovers and for people who have jobs where wearing a normal ring is dangerous.
Scott wears his ring almost 24/7. 
He is a Navy corpsman and his silicone ring is absolutely perfect for his career!
We also wear them when we are working out or traveling. 
I wore mine in Haiti instead of taking my real wedding rings and it was such a relief knowing I wasn't going to lose them.  

2> A Journal.

A journal is a great way to write down every bit of the adventure that you don't want to forget. I will never go without a journal, even when I just travel back home to Utah. I love writing down special tidbits and finding treasures to stash away in the pages. I actually have one journal for all of my mission trips that I just add to when my next one arises, it's very special to me. 

3> A Physical Map.

It might be the adventure part of me or the part where a it can then become a souvenir, but I love using maps. 
When we were road tripping New Zealand, our phones weren't working so we had to resort to a physical map. 
It also makes me pretty proud of myself when I find the final destination all by myself, no help from Siri.
 The best part is that you can track your adventure and then show it off when you get home.

4> A Great Pair of Walking Shoes. 

My husband's love for Nike wore off on me and I won't go anywhere without at least one pair of my Nike shoes. We are pretty active and love going places only our feet can take us--perfect for that great pair of tennis shoes. One day in Australia, we traveled to the beautiful Byron Bay's lighthouse. The only bad part was that we were just at the beach when a local told us to hike to it and we were in flip-flops. Trust me, always have a great pair of walking shoes with you!

 5> Toiletry Bag.

I have this Thirty-One bag and it's wonderful. I can fit all of my toiletries in it and it is the prefect size. 
Not too big, not too little.
 It also is great because I can take one bag with me to the bathroom and not worry about having more than one and juggling everything.

6> Dry Shampoo&Hairspray

Sometimes when you are traveling there are times when you have to forgo washing your hair. Dry shampoo is a life savor! 
I really love this stuff. Not only for traveling, but at home.
I also always take hairspray.

7> Coconut Oil

I absolutely LOVE coconut oil for everything! I use it for cooking, conditioning my hair, face moisturizer,& lotion.
The best part about that is that you cut out excess bottles and products, perfect for when you are trying to pack everything in one or two suitcases. 

8> A Headband.

A headband is perfect for those days where you need your hair up and you want it to be at least semi-cute. It was extremely helpful while I was in Haiti where the showering conditions are not..well, perfect. You definitely didn't wash your hair every day and when you did it was with a freezing cold, drizzle of water that ran out pretty quick. So believe me, find a headband that you love and match it with as many outfits as you can!

9> A Water Bottle.

A water bottle is perfect for traveling. 
I always have one with me in my carry on so I can fill it in the airport and have it with me on the flight. It is always wonderful to not have to constantly buy water bottles and just have my own so I can just refill it. 
Water when traveling is a must!! 

10> A Good Read.

The best thing to keep you occupied while you are on your flight, waiting for a bus or train, or when you have extra time on the beach  is a good book. I always love reading while I am traveling. 
Reading an adventure, while you are on an adventure.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beauty from Ashes. {Part 3:Orphanages}

One of the biggest highlights of my mission trip to Haiti were the orphanages. We went to three: Hope House, Whole Hearted, & CAD. 
These children all have sweet spirits and a loving presence, you definitely knew you were in a holy place when you went through their gates. 

God calls us to love and take care of the orphans of the world, and quite honestly, loving these children is one of the biggest blessings I have ever encountered! 
We were able to spend time with the kids that my parents sponsor and I truly fell in love with my Haitian sisters!

Whole Hearted Orphanage.
My parents sponsor Narlene (who has such a sad story from birth till four years old), but Magdala is her best friend. So if my parents send a gift for Narlene, Magdala gets one too! Scott and I are actually going to start sponsoring Magdala and we are so thrilled to love this little girl.. and her best friend;)

We were invited for a movie&popcorn night and I was SO excited!
 We got to spend more time with them, all while doing such a "normal" thing. 
We watched Airbud, and even though most of the kids are not fluent in English, they laughed and giggled throughout the whole movie! 

Tina and I were taught an awesome clapping game! 
We totally rocked it;)

Hope House.

My parents sponsor these two girls and we were able to share the love with them while we were there. 
Hope House is an amazing place! When we first arrived, they sang for us and you could just feel the love of God there. 
They also wanted to pray for US while we were there!  

Hope House also tries to help the community by selling their chicken eggs and plants. Their goal is to help the community sustain better by working together: growing food, buying that food, and selling more starts. 


This is sweet Mott. My church here in NC sent money with me and we are trying to see if we can help Mott with her eyes. She might need more than Haiti can provide for her if she needs surgery, but if we can get her the best doctor appointments we might be able to help! Prayers for this, please.

Haiti, you will forever hold a piece of my heart. 

Beauty from Ashes. {Haiti Part 2}

As much as our mission trip to Haiti was a working mission, we spent a lot of time with the great people and adorable children of Haiti from different villages&orphanages. Here are some pictures from the villages! 

I was able to help out with some of the Vacation Bible Schools while we were there.

Driving up to Ebenezer, it was breathtaking! 

I am so blessed to have been able to experience all of this with my loving Mother, they all loved her!

Tina and I handing out snacks&water.

We did a lot of clothes and food distributions: Rice, beans, oil,&spaghetti. 

Another food distribution and VBS at the Village across the lake.

We spent almost a whole day at the new Rapha House in Haiti!
We were not allowed to take pictures while we were at the safe house for obvious safety reasons, but the images of that day will always be in my heart. 

We were the first team to go to this new Rapha House and it was incredible! The staff was so amazing and the girls were so sweet! We were also able to spend time with Stephanie while we were there!! (The director of Rapha House) 

We had a devotion with the staff, ate Dominos pizza with the girls, did a VBS, and played with the girls outside. 
It was such an amazing day! 
One of the girls said that she could see Jesus in the house that day, and I would have to agree! 
Although Jesus is always in the safe house and with us, His love was definitely brighter while we were there!

{Romans 12:9-13}

 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor,serving the Lord.
 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
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