3 Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel Destinations You Must See

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We all have our wish list of places in the world that we want to see sooner rather than later and most of us also operate on a time and money budget. So these three destinations may not rank high on your list of places to visit, but we want to tell you why they are highly ranked on our list of memories.

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How to Travel the Galápagos Without a Cruise

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We just spent four wonderful nights in the Galápagos Islands without leaving the main hub of Puerto Ayora. 🌴 It took us a while to plan a trip here because we mistakenly thought you needed to take a cruise or guided tour to enjoy the islands. But that’s not the case—we had a blast exploring everything Santa Cruz Island had to offer.

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Into the Dark

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I always find it hard to fall asleep. As an insomniac, I know all about the bumps in the night. Sometimes they frighten me. But at the same time, the night has always inspired and energized me. I love the sounds of the night creatures. As a teenager, I loved the feel of the cold morning dew on my bare feet when I snuck back into the house after a summer night out exploring the world while everyone else slept. The night was my time. I wasn’t trying to be bad by sneaking out, I just didn’t operate on the world’s schedule.

Even now, I am envious of those who sleep easily. I listen to their snores and wish I could simply close my eyes and drift off, too. But there is something about the night–only when everyone else is sleeping–that is so magical.

Tonight, especially, I feel that magic. I am at a lodge in the Amazon jungle. Although this lodge is very posh, it is also very open. There isn’t much privacy between neighboring rooms and one wall of our room opens completely into the jungle. It’s amazing! It’s also a bit difficult to adjust. I had to think of it as glamping at its finest.

The openness made it quite loud while everyone else was awake, but now as they all sleep, I am mesmerized by the calming sounds of the jungle. There are the usual cricket sounds and some unusual chimes and chirps–there are also occasional heavy foot falls and the sounds of rummaging mammals making their way through the trees. It’s all fascinating and also serene.

At the same time, it is frighteningly out of the ordinary. The electricity at the lodge turns off at 10 p.m., and I’m so freaked out by the total darkness. In my insomniac state, I lay here opening and closing my eyes repeatedly without seeing any difference. Totally cool! Totally scary! It reminds me of how overloaded our senses are on a 24/7 basis and how important it is sometimes to just shut everything down.

Although insomnia has its serious drawbacks, this jungle experience had reminded me of what I always loved about the wee hours of the morning when I was a wide-awake teenager and everyone else was sleeping–my senses were alive, there was magic in the air and the world was mine.

Tonight in the crazy and noisy amazon darkness, I feel that magic. I feel like the world is mine.

Refugio Amazonas

~ LiAnn