Our Fave Five: Top 5 Countries We Visited

The number one question we get from people we see these days is, “What is the favorite place you have visited?” To us, this is one of the easiest questions to answer! There were so many countries we went to and had such a great time, but there were a handful that made a home in our hearts. Here are the top five countries that left an impression on us we will never forget.

1. Iceland

We have been to Iceland for three consecutive years and we know we will be back. It is one of the most amazing countries because of it’s strong connection to magnificent nature, it’s roots in Norse mythology, and it’s friendly inhabitants. It’s easy to fall in love with the land of fire and ice.

2. Japan

Japan’s culture rushed over us like The Great Wave of Kanagawa. From 1639 to 1853 Japan remained isolated from the outside world and as a result, their cultural identity, which is steep in tradition, is one of the most unique in the world. Every moment in Japan was a true treat.

3. Scotland

Scotland was a real surprise for us. If you had asked us what we knew about Scotland prior to our visit here we would have said, “They have bagpipes, kilts, and red hair.” All three are absolutely true, but what we discovered was there is so much more. The nature, the people, and the overall vibe of Scotland left it’s mark on us and we cannot wait to head back and spend more time drinking in more of this wonderful country.

4. Maldives

We spent nine days in paradise on the island of Thoddoo, an agricultural island with a few guest houses run by the locals. Thoddoo is covered in papaya fields and palm trees and is surrounded by the most pristine white sand beaches and most unbelievably turquoise waters. Right off the shore is a wonderful reef full of life. Every day we snorkeled and saw a family of sea turtles, numerous types of colorful fish, and even an octopus! When we dream beachy dreams, Thoddoo beach is what we see.

5. New Zealand

We have spent nearly a month exploring both the North and South islands of New Zealand and each is absolutely stunning. From challenging great hikes to easy-going great sites, New Zealand did not disappoint. Not to mention, Kevin is a huge Lord of the Rings fan and seeing Hobbiton was a dream come true!

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🇳🇿 Day 5 Today was the day for Milford Sound! We woke up and made the five hour drive to see it. Along the way we made multiple stops for photo opportunities. Some of the coolest pictures we took were just random moments of Kevin yelling, "Pull over, I have to take this picture" as Brad swerved to the shoulder. When we arrived, Milford Sound was very misty and visibility was super low. Fortunately we had plenty of time to walk around and explore. We ended up cooking some spicy chilly for dinner and waited for the sun to go down. As the sun began to fall and the mist rise, the true beauty of the mouth of Milford Sound showed itself. With no one else around, we headed off road and walked right to the edge of the water and enjoyed the views all to ourselves. On the way to our campsite for the night we made a few more little stops while we still had light. Laying in our campervan looking through the moon roof at the stars again was a magical ending to this wonderful day. #newzealand #milfordsound #nzsouthisland #roadtrip #nzroadtrip #nature #naturelover #naturephotography #photography #photographer #travel #travels #travelphotography #picoftheday #mountains #fjord #travelblog #travelstory #traveldiary #wanderlust #gay #gaytravel #beautifuldestinations #worldplaces #wow #backpacking #mustsee#twoenroute

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We are two en route to revisit our fave five countries

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Unique Ways our Family Follows our Journey

We have been so excited to see how our family has become inspired to come up with neat and fun ways to follow our trip around the world. It means the world to us to have so much support from the ones we love the most. Thank you to our family! We love you so much!

Our niece and nephew wanted to get a globe and map our journey. They are learning about the world one stop at a time with us. A globe or map is a great way to see how big and beautiful the world is. Their globe even lights up!

 Mapping our Journey on their globe
Mapping our Journey on their globe
 They love learning with their globe
They love learning with their globe

Kevin’s Dad, Mom, and two younger siblings decided to follow our journey to places through food. Some places we travel to, they find things from that country and try them. Such a fun way to experience the world with us. Sometimes they are eating better then us!

 Eastern European style plum bread
Eastern European style plum bread
 Traditional Bavarian meal
Traditional Bavarian meal
 Being goofballs with Iceland items
Being goofballs with Iceland items

Brad’s parents follow our journey on our facebook, twitter, and this blog. It is always so great to get a message from them about the places we are. They have wanderlust in the soul.

The trip around the world continues to be fun, educational, and delicious to us and our families. Our lives are filled with love from them and we send it back from wherever we are!

 Kevin wishing his sister a happy birthday from Oktoberfest
Kevin wishing his sister a happy birthday from Oktoberfest

We are two en route to travel with family in our hearts  

How We Balance Down Time and Tourism

Have you ever felt more tired after a vacation? We sure have!

Being on the road we are constantly in new places with new sights to see and it is easy to fall into the habit of constantly go-go-going. We have found that it is important to balance the continual urge to see it all with the need for down time. Much like being at home, we sometimes need breaks during the day, relaxing evening, a good night sleep, and “weekends” to unwind from a week of doing.  

 Relaxing on the Black Sand Beach, Vík, Iclenad, 2016
Relaxing on the Black Sand Beach, Vík, Iclenad, 2016

We have learned how significant regular breaks during the day can be. Not only do we get to rest our feet, but we get to rest our minds. An easy way for us to do this is to find a café, have a cup of coffee, and people watch. Sitting in silence and letting our mind slow down gives us a second wind for more sight-seeing. 

 Coffee Date. Oslo, Norway, 2016
Coffee Date. Oslo, Norway, 2016

Every night cannot be a night on the town.  Sometimes the best remedy for a long day is a relaxing evening. Dive into a good book, relax in a park, binge watch a tv show, or even nodding off into an early sleep. 

 Kevin relaxing while listening to a good book. Ålä, Sweden, 2016
Kevin relaxing while listening to a good book. Ålä, Sweden, 2016

Another way we have learned to balance our downtime with our tourism is by allowing ourselves to not set wakeup alarms and simply sleeping in. Before traveling the world, we always heard how not getting enough sleep can effect many aspects of your life and it is very true. A good night’s sleep is essential for a good day of sight-seeing.

 Seeing the sights after a good night sleep. Iceland, 2016
Seeing the sights after a good night sleep. Iceland, 2016

Too many consecutive days of being on the go can lead to getting burnt out. After a few weeks of not having a day off from traveling and sight seeing it was time for us to take a weekend. Two consecutive days of hanging around with nothing planned was pure bliss. It reinvigorated us. From that point on we decided that allowing ourselves to have weekends was one of the most important ways of balancing downtime with our tourism. 

 Enjoying a weekend with nothing planned. Copenhagen, Denmark
Enjoying a weekend with nothing planned. Copenhagen, Denmark

We had to let go of being on a schedule to see everything, rather, experience the place we are visiting. A good way to do this is to balance being a tourist with simple being someone living on the move.     

We are two en route for balanced travel.

7 of Our Favorite Churches around Iceland

As we spent the last week driving around the entire country of Iceland, which is about as big as the state of Ohio, we noticed that everywhere we looked we saw a church. It kind of felt like we were back home in Texas. No matter how big or small the town we were in, there a church stood. Here are 7 of our favorite churches around Iceland.  

1. Búðir

Búðir is a small church located in the west of Iceland. It was completed in 1847 and stands at the end of a peninsula with the ocean to one side and mountains to the other. We love how it is painted black which sets it off from the colorful background of nature. 

2. Stykkishólmskirkja

This church is very modern in the rustic port town of Stykkishólmur. The swooping bell tower is representative of a whale’s vertebra. Inside is a fantastic painting of Madonna. The ceiling sparkles with hundreds of exposed hanging Edison style light bulbs. 

3. Siglufjarðarkirkja

Not only is this a spectacular church with parts of it’s history dating back to the 16th century, it also doubles as the towns high school. The church is in the town of Siglufjörður which sits in a beautiful Fjörd. 

4. Akureyrarkirkj

The Church of Akureyri is in the center of town on top of a hill. When we ascended the steps the church began to become even grander. As we walked through the door we noticed refreshing modern stain glass windows and nods to Iceland’s Nordic history all around. 

5. Seyðisfjörður Kirkjan

What makes this church one of our favorites was the unique powder blue color. Seyðisfjörður is located in the north east of Iceland nestled in a fjörd. This vibrant city and unique church is a must see. 

6. Hellnar Church

Not at all a famous church or even a church that is the center of attention. What caught our eye is how this church shows the wear time has on a building. Located in Hellnar, an other fishing town in the west of Iceland, this church sits off by itself serving as a constant reminder of time. 

7. Hallgrimskirkja

Probably Iceland’s most iconic church, Hallgrimskirkja is at the center of Reykjavik. The design of this church is supposed to be symbolic of the basalts you see coming out of the ocean onto the coast from around the country. It connects with the heart of Iceland’s volcanic history.

From the spectacular displays of nature to the man made structures, we can not get enough of Iceland!

We are two en route to explore Iceland’s churches