Surf's up!

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Surf's up!

“Ready for your first wave?” he asked, skipping the gushing praise I thought I deserved for getting out.  “After you catch the wave, paddle back to me.”

That’s when the illusion shattered into pieces.  Every time I rode a wave into shore I would have to paddle back through the white water.

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Lietuva: what's thicker: blood or vodka?

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Lietuva: what's thicker: blood or vodka?

The Colonel drove us to my Dads’ wife’s cousin’s farm outside of Kaunas, where I was greeted with a warmth and enthusiasm that was touching.  And overwhelming.  The only English speaker was the eight-year-old, and she was also the only shy person in the whole family.  So, things were a little chaotic for my jet-lagged brain to process.  And even more so once the bottle of vodka was opened, the Euro-techno music started playing, and the dancing began.

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Incredible Small Greek Islands Abound!

Incredible Small Greek Islands Abound!

Our Voyages start and end at islands with airports (Kos, Rhodes, Samos). That’s important, obviously, so our guests can reach us! However, the rest of the Voyage is spent hopping among small Greek Islands and secluded coves.

We love exposing our guests to these gems, and bringing our business to these locals. I was challenged to pick my top five (sooo hard!) so here you go!
 

  • My favorite, and everyone who’s ever been there’s favorite, is elegant and whimsical Symi. What a gem of an island. The harbor is like an amphitheater, with buildings rising up the walls of the mountains. There are iconic windmills, adorable boutiques, great hikes and generally an unmatched vibe.

 

  • I refer to adorable Tilos with its peaceful harbor “Cat Island” because of all the friendly cats. The water here is crystal clear, its mesmerizing to watch the waves whisking up over the colorful pebbles. I have dreams of renting a place here for a few months and writing a novel!

 

  • There’s nothing quite like Nisyros. There is a “young volcano” as the centerpiece of this island, and the centerpiece of our visit here. It smells like a geyser, that unmistakable smell of sulfur. And it feels a bit like we’re visiting the moon!

 

  • Spiritual Patmos with the Cave of the Apocalypse and monastery dedicated to Saint John. The long climb up Patmos to two pilgrimage sites is spectacular. It is challenging, but gorgeous, lined with eucalyptus trees and full of panoramic views of the harbor below, and windmills and monastery above. The monastery is one of my favorite places to sit and enjoy the breeze. And, the shopping nearby is unparalleled.

 

  • Lush Leros with its impressive castle. The sunset hike up to the castle on Leros is many guests’ absolute favorite—not just from their time with us, but EVER. To sit in the shadow of castle from the crusades and watch the sun set over the harbor is spectacular!


We also visit lots of other hidden coves and remote islands as part of our Voyage, each more beautiful than the last. I’ve heard there are 777 Greek Islands, and we’re just scratching the surface!

Climbing Kilimanjaro

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Climbing Kilimanjaro

After my shower, I looked in the mirror at my back, and was shocked at the giant red welts.  I had just arrived from Ethiopia, and had been attacked by tse-tse flies yesterday.  Under normal circumstances, I would be alarmed enough at what I was looking at, but I was even more freaked by the realization that I was about to set off on the Kili climb with some kind of allergic reaction.

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We’ll always have Machu Picchu

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We’ll always have Machu Picchu

There is a lot more to my dad outside of his travel biography, but I really don’t know that much about it.  And, if you asked him about me, I am not sure he would be able to tell you very much.

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Adventure travel

Adventure travel

One of my most favorite parts of my role at SunFunYou is that I do my best to ensure the adventures are right for each person – whatever that means.

I've never been to Yemen...

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I've never been to Yemen...

I’ve never been to Yemen…and it has been devastating to watch the country fall apart, and its people become exposed to war and starvation. I have never been to Yemen, but from the comfort and safety of my home my spirit sinks with disappointment as I follow its developments.

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Haman experience

Haman experience

I love the Turkish bath experiences we offer on each of our Voyages that goes to Turkey. First, they feel amazing. Getting steamed, scrubbed, soaped, massaged. Your skin and muscles feel fantastic after. And, more than that, it is a group activity and so fun to do together!


Learning, growing and laughing happens when you push a little out of your comfort zone and experience something new. Bonding happens when you do it together!!  #travelgoals #relxation #turkey#mediteraneansea #friendshipgoals#travelfriends #sunfunyou

 

I hope we need to try a few places during the upcoming inspection voyage!! @guidealiyalcin doesn’t like the heat, so it’s my job to inspect these!! #workhardplayhard #sunfunyou#hamam #massage

Books in flight: our common ground

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Books in flight: our common ground

And, because my mom traveled so often, she would feed our shared addiction with a continuous supply of books she had purchased at the airport and read on her latest flights.  My bookshelves are full of these books from her, books she would hand to me after she finished them.  We would talk about them with warmth, and without any fear of tripping each other’s sensitive emotional landmines.

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Playtime!!!

Playtime!!!

I’ve never been bull riding, but I imagine it’s like tubing, especially when our captain is pulling the tube! I really miss tubing! I have a chronic tubing injury 🤣 so I can’t go anymore. It’s been years now of watching guests partake while I sit on the sidelines.

Authentic travel

Authentic travel

I love tasting, feeling, experiencing, learning about the places I go, learning the local history and culture. And food!

Fishing for dinner

Fishing for dinner

A perfect lazy weekend activity: fishing for dinner 🐠🐟🐡⛵️🧜‍♂️ It’s great to have workaholic guests onboard relax for the first time a decade. Of course, some can’t totally let go, and put their relaxing to use by learning a new hobby and providing the rest of us dinner!! 😂

But, at least the fishing line replaces the phone and laptop!

It’s a small, small world

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It’s a small, small world

One of the wonderful results of traveling to places is the sense of affinity I now have with that city/state/country.  After I’ve been there, whenever I see it in a newspaper or magazine, or hear it discussed in the news, I listen with more rapt attention than I would have before.  And, when I am reading a novel, or watching a TV show or movie that is set in that locale, I am that much more tuned in and engaged.

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Not on a digitized road

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Not on a digitized road

For anyone who has ever used a navigation system, and driven (or walked) beyond where the map has coverage, you were probably prompted with a message warning you that, “You are not on a digitized road,” meaning that the detailed directions will cease, and you are on your own until you return back to civilization.

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Behind every successful Voyage is an amazing crew

Behind every successful Voyage is an amazing crew

Props to the crew. They love the gulet. They take care of her. The beautiful lines that the fresh water hose makes. The meditating sights of the swabbing of the decks and the polishing of the rails. Beauty in simplicity. Love.

Love to the captain. The captain sets this tone for his crew, which is why they are the best crew in the biz. They work like crazy, keeping us safe and attended to. Then, they party like rockstars when the work is done.

I love and respect our captain so much. He runs the boat and has such discipline. Day in and day out. Year in and year out. Watering the decks is one of my favorites. It’s so cool on my bare feet after, and I like walking around on the wood after making splashing noises in the puddles.

Active travel

Active travel

I love travel that challenges me physically. I am in no way a fitness fanatic, but there’s something exhilarating about proving to yourself that you can accomplish with your body what your mind set out to. Surf camp, yoga retreats, trekking excursions, I’ve done them all. I’m also a control freak and could never understand why so many of the adventures I signed up for were one-size-fits-all. Not everyone is one size!

Love letter to Mali

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Love letter to Mali

After having no idea what was going on for hours, and getting up to board for every flight that was departing, only to be told “non”, I learned that apparently “the plane needs to be plugged in and charged, so we will be taking off at 11am”???

I think in this kind of situation where frustration feeds off frustration, and since I was by myself I was happy just to sit and wait.  If I had been with someone else I am sure I would have been agitated.  There were 6 other Americans also waiting, 2 men I didn’t meet, 2 women from Miami (Nancy and Arlina) and 2 women from outside Atlanta (Barbara and Suzy).

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Fun and games

Fun and games

And, we’ve started to have backgammon competitions on each of our Voyages, which are an absolute hoot! The first step is teaching everyone the Turkish rules, (captain’s boat, captain’s rules) and training the novices in the basics of the game. Then, we draw brackets and let the games begin. We’ve had some unlikely upsets, which is what brackets are all about, really. And, it’s a great way for people who may not know each other well to spend some quality time together.