Beach

Tulum | Mexico

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Tulum was the first place I’ve visited purely based on social media reviews but it certainly did not disappoint! Easily doable in a short weekend but with enough natural beauty to keep you busy for weeks, Tulum has something to offer every traveler.

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The small road that winds along the coast combined with the boutique hotels and restaurants immediately reminded me of my favorite island in Indonesia, Gili T. We stayed in a beautiful bungalow but wished we had stayed along the beach. Be advised, there is only one way in and one way out the beach road so the further down the road you stay, the longer it takes to get out.

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Venice Beach | California

My summer back in the States flew by, as usual. It was a wonderful time, filled with visits from friends both near and far. Despite the added task of planning a wedding in six weeks (more on that later), I managed to get away for a couple of weekends with my family.

Our first destination was our home away from home, Venice Beach. Over the years, we've seen it grow and change, but many of the people stay the same (i.e. the artist above). This particular weekend was the 4th of July, which meant an extra helping of street performers, free spirits, and...Bruce Willis. Nothing beats a morning of people watching and a breakfast burrito from the Candle Cafe, which you subsequently have to work off with a nice long ride down the beach from Sea Mist Bike Rentals. Haley and I tried out a bicycle built for two but in case you're thinking about getting one for yourself, it is a lot harder than it looks, particularly on a holiday weekend with clueless tourists walking all over the bike path.

Somehow, we made it past the stream of tourists who seemed intent on causing destruction and caught the beginning of the Mr. & Mrs. Muscle Beach competition. The crowd, as is the norm now, was completely focused on the day's activities.

Praia do Lázaro | Ubatuba | Brazil

With our newfound freedom, Felipe and I decided to drive to the beach for the day. We arrived in Ubatuba in the early afternoon and packed a picnic for the beach. We drove around until we found a beach with minimal number of sunbathers and staked out a place for the afternoon. We also found milho verde (corn ice cream), which had thus far been elusive.

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Unfortunately, a local recommended that we take the coastal road back to Sāo Paulo. Even more unfortunately, we listened to him. Bad call. Not only was the two lane road at an almost standstill, the car started to make a strange noise about halfway into our journey home. The noise got so loud that we stopped to change the tire just to make sure that it wasn't something in the wheel. The noise continued and at that point, it was dusk, raining and the gps looked like this:

No, that's not a child's scribble, that is a twisty road straight uphill through the mountains. So we gave up for the day and let the Brazilian road win. We called it a night in Caraguattuba and waited for a tow truck and taxi to deliver us back to the city the next day (thankfully the insurance worked just as it described that it would). We arrived without further interruption.

Los Cabos | Mexico

I made it six days in America before I missed being surrounded by other languages and the grit that accompanies international travel so Haley and I braved the cheap service of Spirit Air (which was better service than about 90% of my airline encounters in Southeast Asia) and landed in Mexico the morning after we booked our tickets. We rented a car and split our time between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, with a side trip up the coast. The water was crystal clear and the scenery, desert-stunning.

A Tropical Christmas | Jogja | Indonesia

Before separating for the holidays, the girls and I hired our trusty driver and made our way past Jogja to the coast. On our way, we stopped at the beautiful warung/ overlook.

Clear water, blue skies and cool water made for a perfect day at the beach yesterday. Not only did I manage to get a little bit of a tan in December, but we got to explore the bounty of tidal pools. We saw sea urchins, a variety of crabs and even an octopus!