Trover

Have you heard of Trover? I found this app/website a few weeks ago and I will be using it often while traveling. Apparently, it’s been around a few years but it has just entered my life, so I thought I’d share in case you have not heard of it.

trover

Basically, you upload photos, either from the website or the app, and identify the exact location. This will then share the photo and location with the Trover community. If you are traveling, or know you will be traveling somewhere, you can search the location and it will find places that others have loaded that are worth visiting.

For instance, if you are standing on the corner of 21st and 7th in New York City, you can open the app, let it find your location, and then it will show you places that are around you that might be of interest. The best part about this app is that these are not always your typical spots. It’s a great way to find a graffiti wall, flea market, small coffee shop or something else that might be a bit obscure and that you may not be able to find elsewhere.

If you like to travel and find new places, definitely check it out. Also, add me! I would love to follow you and find the cool spots you have found during your travels and adventures.

View Wandering Direction’s photos on Trover

5 Reasons I Fell Madly in Love with Costa Rica

zip line in Manuel Antonio

After visiting Costa Rica the first time, I knew it would not be my last trip. A little over a year later, we took another vacation to a different part of Costa Rica and I only fell more in love with this wonderful country. Their motto is”Pura Vida”, which means pure life. The people truly live this motto and you can not help but feel it. There are many reasons I love Costa Rica, these just sum up what truly won my heart.

Monkeys

Depending on where you stay will determine, to a degree, how much monkeys will play a part in your trip to Costa Rica. We have visited twice, each time staying in different areas. The first trip we stayed in Tamarindo, Arenal and San Jose. The only time we encountered monkeys on that trip was while exploring the Arenal Hanging Bridges, which is located in the canopy of the rainforest. The monkeys seen this trip were Howler Monkeys. We saw quite a few, including a mom carrying a baby, but had to look carefully into the trees to see them. Hearing these guys is a completely different story. You can not miss the howl/barking sound that they make.

Howler Monkey and baby

Howler Monkey Mom carrying baby in Arenal

Our second trip was much different. We stayed in Manuel Antonio, much higher into the trees in an open concept style house. Our house was a playground for monkeys. On the roof, on the balcony rail, in the trees, on our couch, in the living room, the monkeys were in no way afraid of us. We saw Howler Monkeys this trip, but mostly we saw Squirrel Monkeys and Spider Monkeys.

Spider Monkey Costa Rica

Spider Monkey came into our living room and was checking out the scene.

Monkey stealing beer in Costa Rica

Hey! That’s my beer!

monkey hanging out in the trees in Costa Rica

Squirrel Monkey chillin’ in the trees

Mom and Baby Monkey Manuel Antonio

baby Squirrel Monkey hitching a ride with mom

Birds

More than 800 species of birds call Costa Rica home. The vibrant colors of some of these birds are truly incredible. After seeing so many beautiful varieties while visiting, many other amazing birds have now made my “must see” list. Getting photos was not easy, but I managed to catch a few shots.

bird Costa Rica

Blue-Crowned Motmot

Motmot Costa Rica

Motmot

Blue Macaw Costa Rica

Blue Macaw

Red Macaw

Red Macaw

Great Kiskadee - Costa Rica

Great Kiskadee

Adventure

Whitewater rafting, ATVs, hiking, surfing, zip lines, rappelling, hanging bridges, kayaks, there are endless opportunities for adventure in Costa Rica and options for all ages. My entire family aged 3 to 63 did a zip line tour in Manuel Antonio and everyone had a blast. My father even tried out surfing for the first time (at age 63) and decided that he is too old for surfing and that he can officially check that off his bucket list.

zip line in Manuel Antonio

zip line in Manuel Antonio

zip line Costa Rica

zip line at age 3

ATV on beach near Tamarindo

checking out the sunset while on ATV at a beach near Tamarindo

Arenal Hanging Bridges - Alajuela, Costa Rica

Arenal Hanging Bridges – Alajuela, Costa Rica

Details

It’s the details that can really make or break a place. In Costa Rica, the details are plentiful. Flowers are bright, trees hold bananas and mangos, monkeys greet you for breakfast, Red Eyed Tree Frogs lurk in the trees and when you least expect it, you may see a Toucan flying across your path.

Banana Tree

Banana Tree

Flowers in Arenal

Flowers in Arenal – Anyone know the name of these?

Red Eye Frog on rain forest night tour

Red Eyed Tree Frog on rainforest night tour

Views

Whether you are lying on the beach or swinging through the jungle, incredible views are to be enjoyed all over Costa Rica. Sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the views and sounds might be one of the best parts of this country.

sunset on Playa Langosta - Tamarindo

sunset on Playa Langosta – Tamarindo

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

beach Costa Rica

beach

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio

Have you been to Costa Rica? I would love to hear your thoughts and what you did or did not like about it. It’s a matter of time before I make my way back to this fascinating country.

Airplane Food

Airplane food seems to be a thing of the past. Some domestic airlines now provide food to purchase in flight, but it would be pretty awesome to think there would be a delicious meal waiting on board the next plane. This sure would beat finding your gate, only to realize there is no time to eat before your 3 hour flight, that passes directly through lunchtime and only offers peanuts or pretzels.

JetBlue Mint seems to be thinking about airplane food, as well as other flying comforts, and what that experience means for domestic flights. Teaming with Flying Food Group, a new food concept was created for their recently released JetBlue Mint. In this video, Stephen Parkerson gives some insight as to what this means for the food aspect of the experience.

With food like that, travelers will look forward to the meal that awaits. The service is currently limited and JetBlue does not serve all markets. Although, this has to make one think, what could this mean for the future of domestic airline food? Will there be additional changes in our future flying experience? We shall see.

If interested in reading more about JetBlue Mint, this article goes into a little more detail.

New York City, New York

New York City is undoubtedly one of my favorite cities. The excitement, energy and endless opportunities for something new are unmatched. This trip was a girls’ trip with one of my absolute favorite people and it’s not one we will be forgetting anytime soon.

Arriving about an hour earlier than my friend, I dropped luggage at the hotel concierge and decided to take a stroll in Central Park. We stayed at the Essex House on Central Park South, so it seemed like the obvious place to kill time. Once my friend made it to the city, I met her at the hotel before making our way to Butter Midtown to enjoy a delicious late lunch.

Central Park - New York City, New York

Central Park – New York City, New York

Friday night we had tickets to see Cabaret, which is performed at Studio 54 Theatre. The interior of the theatre was intimate and the details were incredible. The carpet was leopard print, the downstairs seated area had small cabaret styled tables with lamps that helped set the ambiance and overall was much smaller than I expected. The show was fantastic and highly recommended!

Cabaret - Studio 54 Theatre

Cabaret – Studio 54 Theatre

Studio 54 Theatre

Inside Studio 54 Theatre

Studio 54 Theatre

Lighting in the foyer of Studio 54 Theatre

After the show we walked back to the hotel by way of Times Square. Summer is not the best time to visit this area, since it is crawling with tourist, however no trip to New York City is complete without at least one glimpse of Times Square.

Times Square - New York City

Times Square

Saturday the weather could not have been any better. It was 70 degrees, sunny and the city was alive. The day started by catching the subway down to The High Line. The High Line Park is an elevated public park that was once railroad tracks. We enjoyed the walk, landscape and city views. Great views of the West Side of New York City can be seen from the park and a different perspective than what is seen while walking at street level. This park is a cool use of something historic that was almost demolished at one time. If interested in reading more about the history of The High Line, you can do so here.

The High Line - New York City, New York

views from The High Line – New York City, New York

a view down The High Line - New York City, New York

a view down The High Line

Empire State Building view from The High Line

a view of The Empire State Building from The High Line

The High Line - New York City

view of the West Side from The High Line

The High Line - New York City, New York

another West Side view from The High Line

Hudson River from The High Line

a view of Hudson River from The High Line

Leaving The High Line we walked to Soho to grab brunch at Hundred Acres before heading to the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market at 39th and 9th.

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market

Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market

We decided to walk back and detour slightly to make a stop at Grand Central Station. Walking past the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building on the way were an added bonus.

Chrysler Building - New York City, New York

Chrysler Building

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

Grand Central Station

inside Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

Aretha Franklin at Radio City Music Hall was the plan for the night. What an incredible show! She truly is the original diva. If ever given the opportunity to see her perform live, do it.

Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall

inside Radio City Music Hall

inside Radio City waiting on Aretha Franklin

Sunday was another beautiful, sunny day so we spent some time in Central Park before catching our flights home.

baseball game Central Park

watching a baseball game in Central Park

Central Park

another shot in Central Park

New York City never fails to be less than amazing. Counting the days until we meet again. Until next time NYC.

St. John, US Virgin Islands

When searching for a place to go for our family vacation this year, the Caribbean was at the forefront of our search. My husband, Caleb, and I had not been to the Caribbean since our honeymoon, which was over 7 years ago, and some of the other family members had never been. It was time to go back.

After an exhaustive search, St. John began to look like this year’s spot. We rented a house overlooking Fish Bay and the views from all areas of the house were stunning. These are a few photos from the balcony at different times of day.

Fish Bay, St. John, USVI

panoramic shot at sunset from the balcony

St. John, USVI - Fish Bay

St. John, USVI – Fish Bay

St. John is a quintessential location for relaxation time spent on the beach. A must see while visiting St. John was the infamous Trunk Bay, which is located in Virgin Islands National Park. It did not disappoint.

St. John, USVI - Trunk Bay

Trunk Bay – St. John, USVI

A couple of the other beaches we checked out were Cinnamon Bay and Honeymoon Beach. Each was beautiful, had its own vibe and provided options for water sports and activities. We all agreed Cinnamon Bay had the best snorkeling.

St. John, USVI - Cinnamon Bay

My daughter having a blast at Cinnamon Bay.

St. John, USVI - Cinnamon Bay

panoramic view of Cinnamon Bay

St. John, USVI - Honeymoon Beach

panoramic view of Honeymoon Beach

Distinctive flowers were scattered throughout the island. These are a few which made an impression.

St. John, USVI - Flowers

Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis)

Orange Flamboyant Tree - St. John, USVI

Orange Flamboyant Tree (Delonix regia) – Caneel Bay

Umbrella Tree - St. John, USVI

Umbrella Tree or Octopus Tree (Schefflera actinophylla)

While waiting to board the ferry back to St. Thomas, I snapped a few final shots of Cruz Bay.

St. John, USVI - Cruz Bay

St. John, USVI – Cruz Bay

St. John, USVI - Cruz Bay

St. John, USVI – Cruz Bay

St. John, USVI - Cruz Bay

St. John, USVI – Cruz Bay

St. John was an amazing vacation and the views were breathtaking. It’s never easy to leave such a beautiful location. Check back for the next post which will detail our day sailing trip to Jost Van Dyke, BVI!