Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Giant Redwoods

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

giant-redwoodsIf you’ve never seen the giant redwoods of northern California, you are missing out on the largest trees in the world. The redwood giants rise majestically out of the ground, reaching upward into infinity. Some of the trunks are so large that our entire family holding hands couldn’t reach around them. Some of these trees are 2,000 years old, having been alive when our Savior walked the earth.

The bright sun shines down in dappled rays through the branches of the redwood trees, illuminating the soft texture of the corrugated red trunks. Some of the largest ones have toppled over under their own weight; I can imagine one slamming to the ground, shaking the earth with its crash. You can see the root system underneath the fallen trees, the huge network of roots reaching out in all directions.

Scripture refers to the righteous as “trees planted by streams of water; whose leaf does not wither.” (Psalm 1) If I am a tree, I am a redwood. Inside the trunk is a fire-resistant chemical that enables the redwoods to withstand forest fires. Extremes of temperature and storms actually make the redwood stronger. If you plant a redwood in a calm location, it will die. In many ways, our lives are strengthened spiritually as we go through trials and cling more closely to Christ. Further trials in life then cause us not to be shaken because of the solid firmness of our faith. When you see God work in incredible ways through difficulties, you no longer dread what the future may bring, knowing that God is with you.

May we be called “oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” (Isaiah 61:3) Yes, may I become like the redwood giants, bringing a deep sense of strength to those around me.


Monday, March 12th, 2012


People told me that I would feel at home in Ireland because everybody has red hair. Not so. I looked for days before finding someone with red hair, so the proportion of red-heads is similar to the United States. I traveled to Ireland during my winter break when I was at the University of Sheffield in England my senior year of college. I was studying a class on James Joyce, and my big writing project was on a work of literature that took place in Dublin, Ireland.

Because it was winter, it was overcast and dreary. I went to the National Library of Ireland to look up books on James Joyce. I had to show my passport to get in, and the library issued me an ID card. I spent my mornings at the library and my afternoons retracing the steps of the main character in the book I was studying.


During my last three days in Ireland, I went to Galway, Sligo, and Cork. In Galway, I walked to Yeats Tower, which looked kind of like a castle, with literary connections. I was so stupid that I forgot to check the winter hours, and it was closed. I had walked 15 miles, and my legs felt like two aching sticks. Then I did something even more stupid: I accepted a ride. It was because I was about to collapse. Thankfully the old man who gave me a ride to the bus station was nice.

The city of Sligo had Yeats connections as well, and it looked beautiful, even in the mist. I went up to a taxi driver and asked him how much he would charge me if I hired him for the day, and could he take me to anywhere interesting, especially castles, abbeys, or literary connections. The older-looking man said that he would charge me 30 pounds for the day, which was much lower than I thought. He took me all over the place, and we had a great day. The man chatted about his wife and kids, and I even sat in the front seat of the taxi.


My final destination was Blarney Castle in Cork. I loved running around the castle, getting lost in the corridors. The sun came out for an hour or two, and the surrounding countryside looked gorgeous. I kissed the Blarney stone, which is supposed to grant eloquence. That was definitely my favorite place, of all the places I visited in Ireland.

If you ever go to Ireland, do not go in the winter. It looks dreary in general, and it’s raining constantly. But the country is definitely green, and I enjoyed riding on the trains all around the country on the last three days of my ten-day excursion. It wasn’t really a vacation because I was writing a paper the entire time, including when I was on the trains.

Not-So-Wacky Travel Tips (Cruise Edition)

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012


Here are my top 10 not-so-wacky travel tips for going on a cruise:

  1. Don’t book your cruise during hurricane season.
  2. If you only have one carry-on, this expedites the process of boarding and disembarking the ship. You save a couple of hours of standing in line each time. (Also, to catch multiple flights to your destination, you need to travel light.)
  3. Use the free dining room for breakfast and lunch instead of the buffet, unless you’re in a hurry to get to an excursion. The food is better, it’s quieter, and the ambiance is more relaxed.
  4. Shore excursions can be half the price if you don’t book it through the ship. (On the other hand, you can be stuck with nothing to do. Ask a random worker on the ship, not at the front desk. A random worker will be more honest with you.)
  5. Take at least one formal outfit. There is at least one dinner that’s formal. They don’t tell you this on their website, as far as I can tell.
  6. A room with a balcony is well worth the upgrade. We practically lived out on our balcony.
  7. For the sit-down dinners, you can order many appetizers. You can order two meals if you want to. It does not cost extra. So if you can’t decide between two meals, get both. I ate the meat and vegetables off each plate and left the carbohydrates. That way I didn’t feel too full for dessert. (On the other hand, don’t be so gluttonous that you become fat on the cruise. Moderation is what I say.)
  8. Even if you don’t drink, you will feel slightly tipsy on the ship at all times, especially towards the rear of the ship. Don’t fight it; just enjoy the tipsy feeling.
  9. Cabin decks have hallways that run the entire length of the ship. If you get lost and you’re on the wrong end of the ship, use cabin decks to get to the other end of the ship faster than going up, across, and down again.
  10. Take plenty of pictures. But don’t forget to live in the moment. Being there and experiencing the moment is more valuable than pictures.

Travel Articles

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

These fun travel articles are personal stories from my own travels, mostly before I was married:

Growing Up in Guatemalatravel-articles-1


Living in Englandtravel-articles-2


Nightmare Through Europe” Backpacking Triptravel-articles-3


Travel that Got Me into Trouble


Travel that I Actually Enjoyed When I was Singletravel-articles-4


Travel in the U.S.A. with my Husband and Kids


Travel Humor

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