Educate, not discriminate - Women's education in Nepal

womens education volunteer nepal thisworldexists

Education of the female population has been neglected in Nepal since the earliest of days. Combine this fact with the ever present caste system and it isn’t surprising to learn of the frightening poverty statistics evident in Nepal. 

Isolated cases of women’s education can certainly be found throughout the country’s history but homes are still considered to be the default place of work for women. If women are educated they have been found to share their knowledge with everyone. They teach their children, manage their homes more effectively and help contribute to joint household income; and of course, gain opportunites that can take them beyond the home.

"If you teach a man, you teach an individual but if you teach a woman, you teach the whole family (nation)” - African Proverb
womens education volunteer nepal thisworldexists

According to recent reports, the Nepal Living Standards Survey 2010-2011 (NLSS- III) has found that Nepal has an unacceptable adult literacy rate of 56.6% with a huge variation between men and women. While the male literacy rate in Nepal is 71.6%, only 44.5% of Nepali women are literate. (Iversity, 2014) 

These statistics highlight this inequality and belief among Nepalese people that a womens avenue to education is limited, to say the least.


OUR LATEST THISWORLDEXISTS PROJECT 

On the right is a photo of the Palanchowk Bhagawati Womens School in the Palu Bari Village of Sankhu District, Nepal.

Built on Nirmal Thapa’s (local school principal) private property, he began conducting afternoon and nightly education sessions solely for women. His dream was to empower the women of the local community and provide them with equal opportunity. 

womens education volunteer nepal thisworldexists
Nirmal Thapa delivering nightly education sessions to the women of Palu Bari Village.

Nirmal Thapa delivering nightly education sessions to the women of Palu Bari Village.

Many of these women could not read or write, nor did they have skills that would make them employable for anything other than working in the fields of this primarily agrarian community. 

womens education volunteer nepal thisworldexists

After working his day job at the local Shree Kshitiz Basic School (there is a whole other inspiring story behind his involvement there), he would lead these determined women through basic literacy and numeracy as well as skill development workshops that included sewing, hygiene, and improved farming techniques.

His idea was extremely popular as over time he built this adult education centre into a facility that would host 138 women at it’s peak.

On April 25th 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal and the Palu Bari community.

womens education volunteer nepal thisworldexists

Something that Nirmal had committed his life to and invested a significant amount of personal finances into had been destroyed. Whilst the building was still standing, it was unsurprisingly deemed structurally unsafe and the government instructed that he needed to pull it down.

womens education volunteer nepal thisworldexists

The building was removed but the desire for education from the community's women remained strong.

Nirmal has continued his program in the area surrounding his house but for the time being the blackboards and sewing machines are nowhere to be seen.

To give us even more inspiration, we discovered that over 90 women still regularly attend his programs despite the lack of infrastructure.   

womens education volunteer nepal thisworldexists

This is Nirmal Thapa.

When THISWORLDEXISTS met with him and learned of his inspiring story and passion to provide women with the education they deserve, it didn't take us long to commit to bringing his dream back to life and to rebuild the infrastructure for education that is so important to him and the women of Palu Bari village.

Nirmal broke down in tears when we told him the news.

Are you or someone you know interested in rebuilding the dream of Nirmal Thapa? We would love to share this journey with you and appreciate and value all the help we can get. Please help us to spread the message and this inspiring story to maximise our impact in the Palu Bari community.


THISWORLDEXISTS will commence this project in April 2017. If you or someone you know would like to join us in Nepal to support this project please visit our website for information on our April adventure.

www.thisworldexists.org/nepal 

 

Four MUST SEE National Parks for the most curious adventurers

1. Karijini National Park

It's no wonder where Karijini National Park gets its stunning natural features from. With gorges dappled across the park, there are so many hidden treasures to discover. Secluded swimming holes, breath-taking waterfalls, unique rock formations and vast open roads are just some of the incredible sights that THISWORLDEXISTS ambassador, Tom Jessett, explored and photographed.

Dales Gorge. Photo by Tom Jessett. Instagram: @trex.photography

Dales Gorge. Photo by Tom Jessett. Instagram: @trex.photography

Located inland off the western Australian coast, temperatures at Karijini can get extremely hot, easily reaching 40 degrees Celsius and over during summer. The best way to beat the heat is to explore early in the day or late in the evening, or take a dip in the refreshing, luscious waterholes.

Spa Pool. Photo by Tom Jessett. Instagram: @trex.photography

Spa Pool. Photo by Tom Jessett. Instagram: @trex.photography

Or take a break in the shade of the rocky crevasses throughout the park.

Knox Gorge. Photo by Tom Jessett. Instagram: @trex.photography

Knox Gorge. Photo by Tom Jessett. Instagram: @trex.photography

2. Zion National Park

A popular destination visited by many tourists from all over the globe, Zion has some fantastic trails and must-see destinations. Located in the Utah desert, USA, and similar to Karijini, it gets pretty hot out there. Two of THISWORLDEXISTS' ambassadors, Kasey Crook and Wesley Hawkins visited Angel's Landing, one of the most popular destinations, and Observation Point, which is a lesser known destination in the park.

Angel's Landing trail. Photo by Kasey Crook. Instagram: @kaseylynn00

Angel's Landing trail. Photo by Kasey Crook. Instagram: @kaseylynn00

Not for the faint-hearted, the Angel's Landing hike is a strenuous journey, but worth it when you're met with these stunning views.

Angel's Landing. Photo by Kasey Crook. Instagram: @kaseylynn00

Angel's Landing. Photo by Kasey Crook. Instagram: @kaseylynn00

Aptly named Observation Point is a must-see, also boasting outrageous views across Zion.

Observation Point. Photo by Wesley Hawkins. Instagram: @utahtravels

Observation Point. Photo by Wesley Hawkins. Instagram: @utahtravels

3. Grand Canyon National Park

Located in Arizona, USA, Grand Canyon National Park has many amazing things to see. THISWORLDEXISTS ambassador Julia Pelio checked out the wonderland that is Havasu Falls. This hike-in only destination boasts stunning clear blue water and beautiful waterfalls to enjoy.

Havasu Falls. Photo by Julia Pelio. Instagram: @ahjulia

Havasu Falls. Photo by Julia Pelio. Instagram: @ahjulia

Havasu Falls. Photo by Julia Pelio. Instagram: @ahjulia

Havasu Falls. Photo by Julia Pelio. Instagram: @ahjulia

After hiking in under hot temperatures, you'll be ready for a dip in these glorious swimming holes. 

Havasu Falls. Photo by Julia Pelio. Instagram: @ahjulia

Havasu Falls. Photo by Julia Pelio. Instagram: @ahjulia

4. Wilsons Promontory National Park 

Located on the southernmost tip of Australia's mainland, Wilsons Prom is home to the famous Squeaky Beach, where the sand literally squeaks as you walk across it. Hot spots like Mt. Oberon and Tidal River attract thousands of tourists a year. 

Sealer's Cove. Photo by Annaliese FitzGerald. Instagram: @annaliese_fitzgerald

Sealer's Cove. Photo by Annaliese FitzGerald. Instagram: @annaliese_fitzgerald

THISWORLDEXISTS Ambassador Annaliese FitzGerald captured some great scenes from Sealer's Cove, a beautiful, secluded inlet on the eastern side of the park.

Sealer's Cove. Photo by Annaliese FitzGerald. Instagram: @annaliese_fitzgerald

Sealer's Cove. Photo by Annaliese FitzGerald. Instagram: @annaliese_fitzgerald

The coastline is met with big hills and beautiful, pristine bushland. Watch out for snakes!

Sealer's Cove. Photo by Annaliese FitzGerald. Instagram: @annaliese_fitzgerald

Sealer's Cove. Photo by Annaliese FitzGerald. Instagram: @annaliese_fitzgerald

 
 




Explore the trail less traveled at Zion National Park

What if I told you the ever popular Angels Landing hike in Zion is not even in the top 3 best hikes there?

zion national park observation point wesley hawkins this world exists thisworldexists utahtravels

I'm reluctant to even write this article about Observation Point, since its seclusion is the best part about it. With the rapidly growing popularity of the park, it's a good thing to know about. If you like a more quiet experience with breathtaking views, check out Observation Point.

zion national park observation point wesley hawkins this world exists thisworldexists utahtravels

This is one of my favourite hikes and in my opinion, gives best views in the National Park. Not dealing with the busy crowds is its second best feature. It overlooks Angels Landing, which most of the buzz is about on social media. 

zion national park observation point wesley hawkins this world exists thisworldexists utahtravels

Here's what you need to know.

The hike is about 8 miles round trip and has a lot of switchbacks. Eat a solid meal before hand, wear comfy shoes and bring plenty of water (especially if you're hiking in the mid afternoon, to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion hike late evening or early morning).

zion national park observation point wesley hawkins this world exists thisworldexists utahtravels

If you're a backpacker, try and get an overnight permit a few days in advance. If you do, you can camp right on the on edge of Zion. Here you can enjoy insane views of a vivid milky way moving across the sky, swinging in a hammock counting shooting stars (I counted over 20, no joke) until you fall asleep.

zion national park observation point wesley hawkins this world exists thisworldexists utahtravels

You'll wake up to an epic sunrise overlooking Angels Landing. Below you can admire the thousands of years of work from The Virginia River carving through the park and watch Zion come to life as all the campers wake up.

zion national park observation point wesley hawkins this world exists thisworldexists utahtravels
 

Written by Wesley Hawkins

Wesley is a THISWORLDEXISTS Brand Ambassador. You can see more of his adventures and photography on Twitter: @utahtravelers or on Instagram: @utahtravels

 
 


Take Your Own Grand Tour of Zion National Park, Utah

Packing all this awesomeness into a 2-day weekend will push your limits and keep you buzzing for months thereafter. Getting to all of these sites is no easy task, and should only be pursued by the in-shape hiker. 

zion national park utah josh allen rawtrails this world exists thisworldexists

These pictures highlight the uniquely different aspects of Zion NP. Start your day off with a shuttle ride up the canyon to admire the beauty of the Three Patriarchs on your way to the Grotto shuttle stop, preparatory to the start of your 4.8 mile roundtrip hike up the incredible Angel's Landing.

zion national park utah josh allen rawtrails this world exists thisworldexists
zion national park utah josh allen rawtrails this world exists thisworldexists

The trail climbs up the east side of the canyon wall to the infamous 21 switchbacks of Walter's Wiggles, before making the sketchy ascent along chains and steep vertical cliffs to the summit.

zion national park utah josh allen rawtrails this world exists thisworldexists

The views at the top of this 1488' tall rock formation are incredible, looking both up the canyon and out of the canyon to Springdale UT.

zion national park utah josh allen rawtrails this world exists thisworldexists

Now that your heart rate is up and the sweat is in full effect, take the shuttle to the last stop, the Temple of Sinawava. The "Narrows" hike was rated #5 in the National Geographic ranking of America's Best 100 Adventures. After the 1.0 mile paved walk to the water's edge, hikers begin the trek wading through water amongst the behemoth sandstone walls.  

zion national park utah josh allen rawtrails this world exists thisworldexists

Segments of this hike through the Virgin River will be ankle deep, while others will have you nearly submerged. You can take it as far as 3.6 miles past the paved walk without a backcountry permit, but such a trek in water can take quite some time. Experience the Narrows for a good hour or so, cool off, take some pictures, and enjoy.

zion national park utah josh allen rawtrails this world exists thisworldexists

The shuttle stop at Weeping Rock is quite neat, and it provides you access to many other destinations (Observation Point, Mystery Canyon, East Rim Trail, Cable Mountain, Deertrap Mountain). Just after exiting the shuttle you can do a quick jaunt up to Weeping Rock, which displays water seeping through the porous sandstone rock, with miraculous views looking back at Angel's Landing and Zion Canyon. 

zion national park utah josh allen rawtrails this world exists thisworldexists

Day 2 requires a little planning. If you're keen for some serious adventure, to escape the tourists in Zion Canyon, and are in-shape, then plan ahead and try to get a permit for "the Subway". The trail head for the Subway hike is north of Virgin, UT. You can approach this hike from the technical route (top down) from the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead, or take the bottom up route (not requiring ropes/rappels) beginning and ending at the Left Fork Trailhead. Each route is roughly a 9.0 mile hike in fairly strenuous conditions. The journey consists of route finding, creek crossing, bouldering, and rappelling (on the top down route) in order to reach this incredible site. 

zion national park utah josh allen rawtrails this world exists thisworldexists

The water in the Left Fork River cascades beautifully down the rock formations just west of the Subway, indicating that you're quite close to your final destination. Upon reaching the Subway we had to celebrate with some headstands, prior to exploring the beautiful tunnel-like formation, along with the cold pools and waterfalls located past the tunnel.

zion national park utah josh allen rawtrails this world exists thisworldexists

This place was a dream. We caught it at the perfect time of day in such perfect lighting... with the Subway beautifully illuminated. If you go to Zion National Park, get out and see the Subway.

zion national park utah josh allen rawtrails this world exists thisworldexists

Two days at Zion National Park is jam-packed, but worth the effort for all of these beautiful destinations. You won't regret it.

Written by Josh Allen from RAWtrails. See more from RAWtrails on Instagram

RAWtrails is a dynamic organization focused on inspiring people to create a lifestyle of activity and adventure in the great outdoors, holding to the belief that nature and it’s miraculous wonder contain the power and ability to transform us into happier and healthier people.

 
 


Forget Machu Picchu: Hiking Colca Canyon, Peru

When most people think of Peru,(and until recently, myself included) their minds immediately jump to Machu Picchu. Who could blame them? Machu Picchu is a globally recognised Wonder of the World. It's beyond incredible, awe inspiring, surreal even. But honestly... There were just so many tourists.

Near the southern city of Arequipa is Colca Canyon, disputed as being one of the deepest canyons in the world, twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. Not wanting to miss out, we organised a hiking trip down to the reachable, aptly named, 'Oasis' at the bottom. The first stop was at the nearby Cruz del Condor, a valley populated by huge condors. The views were incredible.

colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney
colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney

Next up, we made our way to Colca, beginning the seven hour descent into the breathtaking canyon. As we approached the edge of the precipice, the canyon stood before us in all its glory.

colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney
colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney

The descent was a steep, dusty, adrenaline-pumping decline. As we skidded and slowly edged our way down the canyon wall, it was difficult to focus on the ground.

colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney
colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney
colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney

All around us was the most indescribable beauty. The contrast between the arid sandstone and cactus strewn landscape, and the fertile greenery of the environment nearing the bottom created the essence of both desert and tropical forest. It was here in the oasis that we spent one night and prepared for the near vertical accent in the morning.

colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney
colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney

Beginning the three hour hike up the canyon wall at 5:30am, we hoped to beat the burning sun to the top. The thigh-aching hike was at times dangerous, as rock falls are common. After witnessing one, we quickly ran over the freshly fallen rocks to safely continue the ascent. 

colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney

When we finally reached the top, the strenuous hike was more than worth all of the effort.

colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney

En route back to Arequipa, there were soothing hot springs and several incredible vista points throughout the Chivay region. The drive reached altitudes of 5,100 metres above sea level, from here we could see a steaming volcano in the distance.

colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney
colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney
colca canyon peru thisworldexists this world exists emma gaffney

Colca Canyon is one of Peru's hidden gems. So when you're planning a trip out there, and don't want to only visit the Peruvian Disney Land of Machu Picchu, head west, and experience one of the deepest canyons in the world.

Written by Emma Gaffney.

See more of Emma's adventures on Instagram: @emmagaffer or @THISWORLDEXISTS

 
 


Whatever you do, don't look down!

When I climb, I feel free. There is a sense of independence and accomplishment after completing each route. I strive to feel the fear in struggling to hold myself up and the relief once I complete the move. Big wall climbing magnifies all of these feelings. There is something about being suspended on a rock face - I can't get enough of it.

derek beaumont big wall climb rock climbing this world exists thisworldexists

Before big wall climbing, be prepared. Get comfortable on the rock and learn the basic techniques of climbing. This is usually done on a top rope, where the rope runs through chains at the top of a route, immediately catching a climber in case of a fall. The next step - learn to sport lead. This increases the risk of bigger falls. As the climber goes up the route they periodically clip the rope through bolts in the rock.

derek beaumont big wall climb rock climbing this world exists thisworldexists

After a climber gets comfortable on sport leading, they tend to move onto trad climbing, which is placing protection, like nuts and cams, in the rock to catch them in case of a fall. This increases risk because not only will the climber fall until the last placement catches, there is a chance that the protection could fail to hold, further lengthening the fall. Once a climber is solid on trad climbing, the real fun can begin. 

derek beaumont big wall climb rock climbing this world exists thisworldexists

My favorite part of big wall climbing is sleeping on the rock. Laying down to go to sleep just feet from a huge cliff invokes feelings that can be found no other way. I wake up, stretch my arms and look to my side only to see a vast expanse of air and trees far below, feeling totally content. There is nowhere I would rather be.

derek beaumont big wall climb rock climbing this world exists thisworldexists

Whether it's your first big wall or your hundredth, you'll run into issues that wouldn't be found on smaller climb. From hauling up days worth of food and water, or trying to retrieve a stuck rope. It takes determination to push past your struggles and fear, making success so much sweeter.

derek beaumont big wall climb rock climbing this world exists thisworldexists

One thing about big wall climbing is learning new things about yourself. Living on a wall, being totally self reliant and dealing with your struggles is extremely revealing. Big wall climbing allows a person to know more about themselves and is something everyone should try before they die.

Written by Derek Beaumont. See more of Derek's amazing adventures on Instagram: @beau__96

 
 


Do It Before You Die: Visit Black Canyon, Colorado

julia pelio black canyon colorado thisworldexists this world exists

Do you have a favourite place on Earth? I think I just found mine. Situated in western Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a hidden treasure of North America.

julia pelio black canyon colorado thisworldexists this world exists

The Canyon got its name because some parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day. It's incredibly steep, it’s more than 2000 feet tall and probably one of the deepest and narrowest canyons I have ever seen in my life.

julia pelio black canyon colorado thisworldexists this world exists

You can access the park from the South or North Rim. The South Rim has more to offer, like a visitors centre and picnic areas. We had no time to see both sides, so we only explored the North Rim, which is reachable only by an unpaved road (closed during the winter) but has many breathtaking view spots. 

julia pelio black canyon colorado thisworldexists this world exists

This park is less popular than Grand Canyon (and very different), so you won’t see many tourists - great for getting a deeper connection to the magical nature around.

julia pelio black canyon colorado thisworldexists this world exists

Take a moment and listen to the sound of Gunnison’s rushing waters. Feel the magnitude of this place and think about how small and humble we are compare to these unique rock formations. It is hard to imagine the age of Black Canyon rock is 1.7 billion years!

julia pelio black canyon colorado thisworldexists this world exists

This is a park I’d like to camp at and spend a few days to a week exploring. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is just a must see if you are in this part of Colorado.

julia pelio black canyon colorado thisworldexists this world exists

Written by Julia Pelio. Photos by Arthur Pelio.

Julia is a THISWORLDEXISTS Adventure Ambassador. You can see more of her adventures on Instagram: @juliapelio or @THISWORLDEXISTS

 
 

In Search of Indonesian Magic: Surfing in Bali

bali indonesia surfing tom hughes thisworldexists this world exists

After hearing about the Indonesian surf for years, I couldn't wait any longer. The draw of huge, head-high barrelling tubes, aqua blue sea and scorching heat sounded like a fantasy to a pale Englishman from a cold, wet and windy island. This Summer I bit the bullet and booked the flights for my friend and I to fly to Bali. The film we were working on needed some international world class waves included in the edit. After 26 hours, we finally arrived. Landing in a remote foreign country late at night was an interesting experience. Our adventure had begun. 

bali indonesia surfing tom hughes thisworldexists this world exists

Waking up in a tropical paradise is a pretty surreal experience. All I could think about were the wave conditions. A short walk from the hotel brought us to some incredible swell. Before we knew it, we were standing before huge aqua blue barrels and white sandy beaches, exactly what we were searching for.

bali indonesia surfing tom hughes thisworldexists this world exists

Indonesia is certainly not short of traditional culture. The locals are some of the most kind and caring individuals I have ever encountered. The plan all along was to try and incorporate the local culture into the footage. 

bali indonesia surfing tom hughes thisworldexists this world exists

After shooting all day we were walking down the beach towards the hotel and stumbled across a dream situation. Standing on the edge of the reef were a group of local fisherman going about their daily routines, behind them a small peeling barrel. I knew that this could be the shot of the trip. After taking some time getting myself in the right position, it was just a case of waiting for that next set to roll in. I nailed the shot in the first attempt. Seeing a perfectly framed image of a fisherman and a crouched surfer brings a smile to my face, and will stick with me forever.

bali indonesia surfing tom hughes thisworldexists this world exists

It's small moments like this that make a trip worthwhile. Visiting amazing countries like Indonesia offers the chance to experiment, in the hope to develop quality shots and film. Indonesia will always be a trip to remember and I can’t wait to return next summer to explore more remote islands. 

bali indonesia surfing tom hughes thisworldexists this world exists

I have wandered all my life, and I have also travelled. We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfilment. 

bali indonesia surfing tom hughes thisworldexists this world exists

Written by Tom Hughes

Tom is a THISWORLDEXISTS Adventure Ambassador. You can see more of his work and adventures on Instagram: @beyondlimits_media or on @thisworldexists

 
 


5 Tips for the Ultimate Trip to Havasupai

havasupai travel tips waterfalls thisworldexists this world exists utah wesley hawkins

My love for the outdoors all started with this trip. Three years ago my trip to Havasupai was incredible, making my thirst for adventure grow even larger!  Through my own trial and error, I've compiled a list of five tips to help you avoid common mistakes on this hike. Even if you've planned a month ahead and are in pretty good hiking shape, these five tips could make your trip run much smoother and be more enjoyable. 

Want to explore the Grand Canyon and see those famous aqua coloured waterfalls in Havasupai too? Follow these five tips to make it the journey of a lifetime!

havasupai travel tips waterfalls thisworldexists this world exists utah wesley hawkins

1. Pack Correctly

If you see all falls, you'll be hiking 30-35 miles. Make sure your pack is comfortable and your weight is evenly distributed, with the heaviest part in the centre of the pack, balanced evenly on the sides. Items hanging loosely will swing on your pack and create lag. I recommend packing before hand if it's your first time. If you don't want to pack your stuff, mules are available to carry it for you.

havasupai travel tips waterfalls thisworldexists this world exists utah wesley hawkins

2. Bring these 5 optional items to make it extra fun

- Hammock & string or ties for hanging
- Flotation device/Beach Ball
- Watershoes
- GoPro or any camera
- Misty Mate neck cooler and water mister, keeping you cool in the scorching heat.

havasupai travel tips waterfalls thisworldexists this world exists utah wesley hawkins

3. Don't forget these 5 essentials

- Sunscreen and bug spray - Depending on the season, it's very hot and there are plenty of bugs.
- Hiking shoes - make sure they're broken in and comfortable. Try them out on a pre-supai hike. Don't wear really low top shoes or hiking sandals - they'll be full of pebbles every 50 feet. Most of the trip is walking along a rocky river bed, so make sure your shoes aren't flimsy. 
- Lightweight, dehydrated food. There are no camp fires so you'll need a boiler as well. Plastic silverware isn't a bad idea.
- Pain-killers - you will get sore. Bandages and a first aid kit are a great idea for first timers, blisters could make it a lot less fun for you.
- Baby Powder, because chafing is never fun.

havasupai travel tips waterfalls thisworldexists this world exists utah wesley hawkins

4. Reservations
Havasupai has become extremely poplular. To be safe, reservations should be made 6-8 months prior to trip. You can find more information on this website.

havasupai travel tips waterfalls thisworldexists this world exists utah wesley hawkins

5. Round up a group family and friends, disconnect from everyday life and have the trip of a lifetime!
Share this post with your friends, set a date, make the reservation and a list of things to bring. If they haven't packed before, they will need some help. This is a trip that will strengthen your love for nature, adventure and the great outdoors. Havasupai will awaken anyone's soul and thirst for adventure.

havasupai travel tips waterfalls thisworldexists this world exists utah wesley hawkins

Written by Wesley Hawkins. Photos also by Wesley.

Wesley is a THISWORLDEXISTS Adventure Ambassador. You can see more of his adventures on Instagram: @utahtravels or on @thisworldexists

 
 


Searching for Answers at Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

cathedral cove new zealand ayesha tabassom this world exists thisworldexists

Home is where the heart is…for most people. So where is home, when your heart is that of a nomad? Where is home when you get the itch and all you want to do is unplug and travel? During medical school, I did exactly that - unplugged, visiting New Zealand during the Christmas holidays. Fast forward a few weeks later and I was disembarking from the Air New Zealand plane at Auckland!

cathedral cove new zealand ayesha tabassom this world exists thisworldexists

Excited, I set off to explore Hahei beach and Cathedral Cove by boat on the Coromandel Peninsula. Cathedral Cove was where the opening scene takes place in The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian. Seeing it from the boat was no less captivating. The boat journey took a total of about 3 hours, venturing out fairly far and taking the time to stop, admire and take pictures. Chugging along, we passed natural rock formations created by lava some thousands of years ago.

cathedral cove new zealand ayesha tabassom this world exists thisworldexists

Passing by the rock formations, we were eager to catch a glimpse of Cathedral Cove. Luckily, we caught a break and the sky cleared up for a little bit, right when we were arriving at Cathedral Cove. Pictures of this place certainly did not do it justice. There were people on the beach and in the water, swimming, kayaking, and exploring the smaller, newer caves created by the action of the water.

cathedral cove new zealand ayesha tabassom this world exists thisworldexists

The more adventurous climbed up on the rocks, taking turns to launch themselves off with spectacular results. The boat drifted into a large cave, revealing some of the rock formations inside. While everyone was looking towards the inside of the cave, I turned around, snapping a picture of the cave's mouth. Minutes later, it started pouring, and we knew then that it was time to head back to shore.

cathedral cove new zealand ayesha tabassom this world exists thisworldexists

Experiencing so many new wonders, when the time came to leave, I realized that my wandering heart was finally captivated. Being a diehard Tolkien fan, I was't sure if I was leaving my heart at Bag End in Matamata, or under the starry twinkling lights of the glow worm caves in Waitomo. Maybe it is standing somewhere under the night sky, delighted that the constellations are inverted in the southern hemisphere, or maybe it is enjoying the raw beauty of Piha beach. I had fallen in love with New Zealand, convinced that I would definitely return some day.

cathedral cove new zealand ayesha tabassom this world exists thisworldexists

I asked earlier, where is home when you're a nomad? Even now after travelling, I don't really know the answer. Hearts grow and expand without measure and find solace, beauty and joy everywhere. Mine is itching to find new places to explore and new things to be enthralled by. Our hearts can easily make room to be captivated and love-stricken with new places. The best answer I have is that home is where the heart is happy to stop roving and be still, even if only for a short time!

Written by Ayesha Tabassom



5 Reasons to Rediscover Your Own Backyard

When you travel the world, it's easy to forget what’s at your doorstep. Here are five reasons you should never overlook what your home court has to offer. You might be surprised at what you discover...

redicover backyard this world exists thisworldexists adventure travel

1. Your own backyard gives you perspective

Whether you decide home is better or worse than where you’ve travelled, it is invaluable to have an understanding of the difference between two places, their good and bad points. Through perspective you understand more about different ways of life in the world, and about yourself. It provides you with a true appreciation of where you come from.

redicover backyard this world exists thisworldexists adventure travel

2. Differences between home and away act as motivation for your next adventure

Travellers love to compare home to the places they're visiting. There’s nothing like the contrast of home and a different place to make you value the experiences you had while you were away. Maybe you can't find something at home that you've enjoyed overseas. This feeling acts as a motivation to continue experiencing new places and new journeys.

It's so easy to get caught up in the excitement of heading back overseas, but while you're at home, make sure to slow down and reflect on what you will achieve while you're away. Time at home helps you understand what you like, could do better, and most importantly it motivates you to move forward on to the next adventure. Without this contrast you cannot appreciate the good fortune of doing what you love. 

redicover backyard this world exists thisworldexists adventure travel

3. Look harder - there’s no way you’ve done everything cool your home has to offer.

As Rafiki said, “look harder”. Life is about growing as an individual through experiences: good and bad. You might feel like you’ve surfed the same break, hiked the same routes or frequented the same bars in your home town, but there’s always something you don’t know about that will surprise you and reinvigorate your appreciation of your roots.

I would never have thought there was anything fun to do in the mountains in Australia, but Thredbo was way better than I expected. I made new friends and actually skied in Australia, and we had such a good road trip driving north through the Victorian and New South Wales high country.

redicover backyard this world exists thisworldexists adventure travel

4. Being at home forces you to learn more about yourself

Being home around your family re-educates you about your life. It makes you revisit your upbringing, your roots, the decisions your parents made when they were younger and the life they built. It helps you to recognise what you want throughout your life, and also what you might not want. Being home forces you to re-address issues you might have escaped by heading overseas. It forces you to accept and move on from the things you cannot change and work on the things you can.

redicover backyard this world exists thisworldexists adventure travel

5Being at home makes things easy before they get harder.

We all know the stress in travelling to new and foreign places - dealing with language barriers, transport systems, getting sick, lost, dealing with logistics and trip planning, the inevitable setbacks that arise, and mostly just pushing your body to its limits mentally and physically. It's a challenge, and that’s why we do it. But it’s not always good to over-do it. Being at home allows you to recharge your batteries before you jet off again.

redicover backyard this world exists thisworldexists adventure travel

Written by Annaliese FitzGerald. Photos also by Annaliese.

Annaliese is a THISWORLDEXISTS Adventure Ambassador. See more of her adventures on Instagram: @annaliese_fitzgerald or @THISWORLDEXISTS



Pushing Boundaries on the Grand Teton

I've made a pact with myself to try something outside of my comfort zone at least once a week, so when the chance to climb the Grand Teton presented itself, I could not resist. Turns out 13 hour road trips, gas station food and sleeping in a small car don't mix. We got about 3-4 hours of sleep after a nice bout of food poisoning and the most uncomfortable car seats imaginable. Tired and queasy, at 6am we quickly threw together our gear and headed up. Breakfast was out of the question, instead we chugged some water and started hiking. The first four miles were easy, a well marked hiking trail with beautiful trees and fresh morning air. Then the trail got rocky.

grand teton thisworldexists this world exists hiking climbing mountains

Boulder hopping with fervour, we strained to see the peak we were about to climb. Turns out you can't see it until you're practically on top of it. I couldn't tell if my stomach hurt from the nerves or food poisoning, but nothing was stopping us. Towering mountains soon surrounded us, leaving me in complete awe. The Tetons demand their respect.

grand teton thisworldexists this world exists hiking climbing mountains

At the base of the climb to the lower saddle, where base camp is located, we encountered a rope climb, easy and fun. Soon we were surrounded by wind blown tents, huddling campers and mossy rocks. We started talking to other climbers, and not a single one had summited that day. The winds and 18 degree weather had turned them away. Trying to keep our spirits high, we headed up the scramble to the upper saddle.

grand teton thisworldexists this world exists hiking climbing mountains

Barely halfway up, a huge boulder came crashing down, falling right where we had been just minutes before. The pit in my stomach started getting bigger, the rescue helicopter landing below us didn't help either. I knew we were at the mercy of the mountain, but I couldn't turn around. At the upper saddle, we watched others rappelling down from the summit, the first bit of good news all day. We knew others had summited, so there must be a chance.

grand teton thisworldexists this world exists hiking climbing mountains

Harnesses were brought out, rope attached, gear placed, and we started the climb. My feet trembled, knowing a slip would leave me dangling at the end of a rope, thousands of feet off the ground in the best of scenarios. With each step though, I felt more comfortable, feeling the cling of my shoes against the rock. Several pitches later, and a few off-course moves we found ourselves at the last scramble. By this time, the sun was starting to set, and the chill of the evening was setting in. We were the last people on the mountain, reaching the summit minutes later.

grand teton thisworldexists this world exists hiking climbing mountains

The scramble seemed to take just minutes on the way down, racing the sun as we aimed to get past the rappel before dark. I had only done short rappels before, but with the time crunch, we doubled up our rope with another couple we met on the way down and cut our time in half. For my first hanging rappel, it was absolutely exhilarating. Definitely the best part of the entire climb. After reaching the bottom of the rappel, we started our descent, just as the sun was setting. I had hoped to reach the lower saddle before dark, but no such luck. Once the sun went down, the rocks seemed to never end.

grand teton thisworldexists this world exists hiking climbing mountains

What had been a pretty simple hike/scramble in was torture on the way out. I tried to keep a good attitude, but by the time we finally made it back to the trail I was almost in tears. Just before the car, I thought to myself, I'm never doing this again. Ever. Yet, as the parking lot came into view and my pack slipped off my shoulders, all I could think about was the next mountain begging to be climbed.

Written by Noelle Snyder. Photos by Elijah Weber

Noelle is a THISWORLDEXISTS Adventure Ambassador. See more of her adventures on Instagram: @noelle_danae or on @THISWORLDEXISTS

 
 


Helicopter flight to the remote Meade Glacier in Alaska

glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure

For most people, helicopter rides aren't part of our day-to-day lives. Occasionally, however, it's nice to jump in one and peer at the earth below you. Last summer my family and I took a cruise to Alaska. For someone who craves the outdoors, being cooped up in a ship for days is not the most exciting thing in the world. The various stops we made in Alaska were the most exciting parts of the trip. Stopping in Skagway, we decided to take a helicopter to the Meade Glacier. 

glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure
glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure

Once you get your boots and jackets sized, you'll split into groups. Next you'll hop in the front seat of the chopper and take off! Incredible views of some of the world's most remote and beautiful wilderness are only a few minutes flight from where you take off. This is where you want a camera handy.

glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure

The first view of the glacier is nothing short of a spectacle, it's absolutely enormous. The adrenaline really starts to pump when you realise you're about to land on a natural wonder that has been moving for thousands of years. Landing goes smoothly and you hop out of the cockpit. Immediately, it feels like you're on another planet.

glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure
glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure

You'll get a briefing from the guides and a little info on the glacier before you're let off to explore the area. The glacier starts in British Columbia and ends in Alaska, and looking out you can see the border. Sadly, as beautiful and gigantic as it is, it - like most glaciers - has been receding at an alarming rate over the last decade. 

glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure

Once you've gotten over the overwhelming display of clouds, snow and ice capped mountains, distant waterfalls and the fact that you just flew in a helicopter to get there, it's time to look at what exactly you're standing on. There are huge crevasses all over the place, so walk to the edge and take a look into the void...

glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure
glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure

There are even areas where water is rushing into the crevasses, creating little glacial waterfalls. It's freezing cold but you can also drink the water straight from your hands!

Fresh!

glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure
glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure

After you've managed to snap a few thousand photos of all there is to see without falling into the glacier, you eventually have to be dragged back to the helicopter by all the guides because as much as you want to, you can't stay forever.

glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure

It's alright though because the ride back to the Skagway port is gonna hit you with some stellar views to bring your spirits back up...

glacier alaska helicopter thisworldexists this world exists adventure

Although it's pricey, and you're on a time limit, with a rather large group of people - the minute you get on the glacier it's so huge it doesn't even matter. It was an experience I'll never forget, and if you like adventure and photography, it's the perfect place. If you have the opportunity I highly suggest you add it to your Do It Before You Die bucket list!

Written by Christian Lanley

Christian is a THISWORLDEXISTS Adventure Ambassador.

See more of Christian's awesome adventures on  Instagram: @lanleyc or @THISWORLDEXISTS

 
 


Natural Beauty, Rich Culture and Deep Spirituality on the Island of the Gods

Known as the “Island of the Gods”, Bali has so much to offer, from beautiful picturesque countryside and iconic rice paddies, to volcanic mountains and beautiful beaches. There are so many volcanoes nearby that we got stranded there the last time we went. I wasn’t complaining, an extra 4 days in beautiful Bali wasn't bad. It’s the kind of place that once you arrive, you will never want to leave.

No matter what your budget is, there is something for everyone. Bali has some lovely guesthouses and some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. We stayed in this beautiful retreat for our first night in Ubud, which was the home of Mr Ketut Liyer, made famous from the book and film Eat, Pray, Love. Mr Ketut Liyer is a traditional Balinese healer. If you stay at the hotel you can have your own intimate meeting with him.

Travelling to Ubud, Bali is the perfect way to escape the busy tourist places. It is surrounded by rainforest and rice paddies, with shrines and Hindu temples making it one of Bali’s most iconic landscapes. Ubud has so much charm, when you drive through the town you can see parts of old temples that make up the locals homes, and the beautiful Balinese sculptures that Ubud is famous for. It’s one of the most relaxing and calm places that I have ever seen and wherever you stay in Ubud you can be sure to enjoy the lush greenery that surrounds you.

Food:

Balinese flavours are fantastic, especially if you like spicy food. Getting a cooking lesson from one of the locals is a great experience. We stopped at a tiny little shack at the side of the road, they served us a suckling pig dish. It was amazing. 

Activities:

From visiting volcanoes, surfing, diving, enjoying yoga or enjoying the more traditional and cultural side with Balinese dancing, there are so many things to do! Bali also has lots of stunning beaches with white sand and clear blue sea, along with some volcanic black beaches. We visited Purnama beach, the sand was so glittery and there was not another person in sight.

Must see:

Balinese temples are beautiful and iconic. Ulun Danu Beratan sits on the lake, creating a unique floating illusion. The surroundings are dreamy with the mountain range and flowering lakeside gardens.

If you enjoy watching sunsets, head down to the famous Rock bar at the Ayana resort. It’s one of the most iconic sunset bars in Bali. It can get very busy but it’s totally worth a visit, the scenery is stunning. 

Bali has something to offer everyone. You can take part in various activities on offer, take in the sights or relax and enjoy the lovely surroundings.

Written by Lauren Baxter

Lauren is a THISWORLDEXISTS Adventure Ambassador. Check out more of her travels via Instagram: @laurenbaxter2

Do It Before You Die: Hike to Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls in Arizona is paradise on Earth.  It is an incredible waterfall located in the Grand Canyon, Arizona.  Even though it’s not easy to hike there, this place is definitely worth a visit.

Havasu Falls is part of the Havasupai American Indian Reservation. Havasupai means “people of the blue-green water”, an apt description when you see the lustrous, natural water colour. The hike starts at Hualapai Hilltop, which is a hundred miles from civilization - be well prepared before you get there. 

We arrived pretty late so we decided to take a nap in the car and get up at 4am the next morning. It gets really hot in the Canyon by around 9am. The hike was one of the most difficult I have ever completed.

But trust me, it's worth it.

Hiking to Havasu Falls.JPG

The 12 mile hike along the bottom of Hualapai Canyon is long but relatively flat.  There is nothing but rocks, sky-high cliffs and the baking Arizona sun. The most difficult part of this hike is in the very beginning of the trail where you need to get to the bottom of the canyon, switch-backing down steep terrain for about a mile.

It is not that hard when you go down, but on the way back to the parking lot a little mental preparation is necessary! It's the most challenging part of the trail apart from the distance and the duration spent in the hot Arizona sun.  As someone who endured the pain and the blisters, let me give you a few helpful tips:

1.       Be sure to bring A LOT of water. It will be even better if you get insulated bottles and fill it with cold water. There’s nothing better than cold water in that heat.

2.       Get super comfortable, high quality hiking boots and water shoes.  You will not be able to survive without them.

3.       If you're carrying a backpack; think twice about what you're bringing with you. The lighter, the better. But obviously ensure you are well prepared and will be safe no matter what nature throws at you.

4.       After 10 miles of hiking in the canyon, you will reach the Indian village, where you can find a restaurant, a store, and wifi. Don’t get too comfortable - you have to hike 2 more miles to the camp ground.

In arid Arizona, Havasu Falls is a unique and picturesque oasis. Crystal clear blue water surrounded by green trees and fiery red walls of the canyon. I still struggle to find the words to express its beauty; I stood there, staring at the waterfalls, in awe of its incredible beauty.

Written by Julia Pelio. Photos by Arthur Pelio.

Julia is a THISWORLDEXISTS Adventure Ambassador. You can see more of her awesome adventures on Instagram: @juliapelio or on @THISWORLDEXISTS

Have all your questions about Havasu Falls answered by Julia on her blog: 8500 Miles

 
 

Join the THISWORLDEXISTS mailing list to get the latest news on upcoming THISWORLDEXISTS trips, special offers and inspiring stories and adventure travel insights.

 

Read more INSPIRING Do It Before You Die experiences right here.

Conquering Fear on Mountain Tops

There's something so incredible about conquering a mountain. I love those early hours of the morning before the sun rises, headlamps reflecting off the snow and icy cold air numbing my face. Maybe I'm crazy, but that's what I live for. Crevasses are magnetically beautiful. I daydream about ice axes and crampons and puffy down jackets on a regular basis. Then the snow melts and rock appears after only a few spring climbs. Rock climbing and scrambling have become much more appealing to me as the weather has warmed, because they provide that mountaintop experience year round.

The only problem with rockclimbing is fear. Rock terrifies me. I thought mountains would just have to be a spring fling I looked forward to every year. But who was I kidding? I need mountain more than air. So my journey to appreciate and, maybe even fall in love with rock began. 

My first time rock climbing this year was in Idaho at the city of rocks. I wanted to throw up just looking at our first climb, just a small warmup. But I was determined, and gave it my best that whole day. I felt accomplished, but knew I had a long way to go. I did a little climbing at rock gyms after, but still wasn't sure it was for me until a few friends invited me to climb Three Fingered Jack and Mount Washington with them.

I couldn't resist and agreed to go on my first rock climbing summit attempt. I scrambled and climbed cautiously, aware of the lives those two mountains had claimed. I sat on the summit of Three Fingered Jack the first day, happy to have reached the top, well aware I was perched on crumbly rock & surrounded by bugs.

It wasn't like my fist time on a glacier, when my heart skipped a beat and I felt unstoppable. It was just a really big pile of rocks. By the second climb, Mount Washington, I had become a little more comfortable with the scrambling & enjoyed the views without any fear. The rock climb portion was simple and I had a trusty prusik in case I slipped. The summit was larger,  had fewer bugs, and gave me a sense of accomplishment. 

We rappelled down without a problem and as we poured scree out of our shoes, I finally felt that connection I'd been looking so hard for. A tiny little seed of admiration for that big pile of rock. 

Written by Noelle Snyder. Photos by Elijah Weber, Jon Dalthorp & Stacia Glenn

Noelle is a thisworldexists Adventure Ambassador. See more of Noelle's adventures on Instagram: @noelle_danae

Do It Before You Die: Explore Oregon's Natural Wonders

Setting our sights to Oregon, my wife and I packed as much as we could into a week long road trip. Although we didn't see all of Oregon, we definitely got a taste of what this beautiful state has to offer.

Our first stop was the Portland area and the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. This area boasts some of the country's most beautiful waterfalls and is about as green as it gets. From the iconic two-tiered Multnomah Falls to the adventure of Oneonta Gorge, this place will not disappoint. Go to these places early or late in the day - you can enjoy them without dealing with fellow tourists. 

I had seen many shots of Oneonta Falls, but none could ever do it justice. This short but action packed hike goes through a river, surrounded by high moss-covered canyon walls, which ends at another spectacular waterfall. We had a lot of fun maneuvering through a 15ft logjam. We made our way through the canyon, sometimes up to our chests in water. At the end we met with Lower Oneonta Falls and a great little swimming hole!

Some other waterfalls we visited were Punch Bowl Falls, Whaclella Falls and Fairy Falls. These three hikes are short and were the most impressive out of all of the falls visited. Punch Bowl Falls gets its name from the large pool that the waterfall drops into. This is also a great spot for a swim after the 2 mile hike in. 

Whaclella is a power waterfall with many spots around it to hang out. This hike was an easy one mile and the views from the trail are worth the trip.

Finally, Fairy Falls is a multi-tiered waterfall and one I had seen photographed many times. This is for good reason, these falls were well worth the steep hike at only 1.2 miles each way.

We stayed in the Cannon Beach area excited to explore Haystack Rock and the miles of beautiful coast-line. Ecola State Park offered a stunning view of the coast as well as a few great places to hang the hammock and kickback for while. 

As we made our way down the coast, just about every mile offered a great view. Besides the views, great little seaside cities such as Newport and Pacific city were awesome stops for cheap sea food. 

Crater Lake National Park is by far the most unique body of water I've ever seen. Steep cliffs surround this almost perfectly round lake and leave no doubt that it was once a volcano. The water is a deep blue colour and crystal clear. Unfortunately nearby forest fires produced a thick haze as we drove through, but we were still able to enjoy a sunrise at this amazing lake. 

Oregon is truly an awesome state that we hope to return to in the future. We packed all this in a week long trip and by the end, we were exhausted - in a good way! Make sure you check these sights out and do your own tour of the great state of Oregon!

Written by Josh Nelson.

 
 

Josh is a Landscape Photographer and an Adventure Ambassador for thisworldexists. You can check out more of his work and adventures on Instagram: @nelsonjrad


5 Reasons to Visit Yosemite National Park

1. The Climbing

I left Yosemite wanting to climb more than I ever had before, getting to see the massive walls and famous climbs had me itching to return home to work on my climbing skills, with the hope to one day climb one of these unbelievable multi pitch routes.

2. The Adrenaline Rush

If you like a good adrenaline rush every now and again, get your fix while visiting this awesome place. However, I wouldn't recommend getting this close to the edge of these 2000+ foot cliffs. Over-looking the valley floor from above, it appears as if we're are looking at a fake back drop.

3. Beautiful Animals

If you haven't had a chance to see much wildlife in your lifetime, you will get to see some unbelievable animals while you are here.

4. Starry Skies

Most people living in big cities don’t get to see it quite the same as this. While visiting Yosemite, stay up a little later to do some star gazing. Very little light pollution from any cities allows Yosemite's night sky to shine. Seeing the milky way and shooting stars with the naked eye isn't something you want to miss.

5. Stunning Waterfalls

There are an unbelievable amount of waterfalls in the area, you might not even have to leave your car to see them. That being said, I don't recommend staying in your car. The best waterfalls are just a short hike away.

Untitled image (5).jpg

Written by Ryan Thompson

Ryan is a thisworldexists Adventure Ambassador. See more of his stories and photography on his blog

 

Do it Before you Die: Mt. Merapi Volcano

Dreary-eyed and chilly, I kept trying to remember why we were up at 1am with our packs on. Apparently, if the weather is right, a magnificent sunrise can be seen from the top of Mt. Merapi volcano.

My friend Megan and I stayed the night in a quaint guest house, provided by our tour guide, Pak Shebi. When it comes to Indonesian volcanoes, he knows what he’s talking about. After being in the business of volcano-climbing for years, he still showed as much enthusiasm with us as he did in the photos from 15 years ago, smiling with other avid hikers.

Mt Merapi is the volcano overlooking the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta. It’s rare for its apex to be clear of cloud and fog. Only once we were able to see the top of Mt Merapi and it’s sister, Mt. Merbabu from Yogyakarta. That was the day before our climb. Once we saw the top, we began to feel butterflies in our stomach.

On the ascend, the trail became more wet, cold, slippery and vertical. Stopping a few times for snacks and water breaks also meant stopping to add a layer of clothing. The weather did not relent. With limited visibility, we tripped over rocks, slipped on stumps and undoubtedly stood on a number of snails. Pak Shebi definitely showed me up as the amateur but eager hiker that I am.

We reached the plateau just below the Apex. Megan and I huddled up in a tiny tent that Pak Shebi rapidly set up for us. It was still dark, and it looked like the weather wouldn’t clear in time for sunrise. We waited for at least an hour for light to appear so we could check out the conditions. Unfortunately it was too cloudy to see the sunrise. After frolicking around for half an hour taking pictures in a foggy, eerie moon-like atmosphere, we decided that was it, and started to leave.

Ten minutes later, the weather began to clear and we could see the apex. The sun was out! We welcomed it as it dried out our clothes and warmed our skin. We decided to go back and climb to the top.

That last leg of the climb was the most difficult, with gravel and volcanic ash falling out from under our feet. The solid rocks on the top were hot to the touch. Despite the high-altitude, I’d never felt so close and connected to the earth’s core.

After taking lots of pictures, the three of us sat in silence for a while. Pure silence. All I could hear was the murmur of the volcano’s crater, steam billowing out above us. Over-looking bustling, chaotic Indonesian towns and not hearing a thing was strangely humbling.

Descending was painful. But after experiencing that soul-cleansing silence and those breathtaking views, it was worth it. Megan and I were even invited to plant a tree each when we walked past some workers, making our visit to Mount Merapi even more memorable.

Written by Renae Verboon. Photos by Megan Clarke.

Check us out on Instagram: @renaeverboon and @meegszz

Get Refreshed - Go on an Adventure!

Life can be very tiring, especially in this accelerated, fast-paced world. I long for new beginnings and the beauty of starting something new. These selected photographs are what I call my “good moments”. They remind me of great memories and how much beauty there is to discover on this planet.

A new project, to travel again, to meet people again, to make mistakes again, to have a discussion, to plan again, to live again. An open road has a way of equalising and re-centring the mind.

These photographs show simple yet fun expeditions. I was able to enjoy moments of solitude even while being surrounded by distractions.

Good moments are made of listening and observing. It lets me reflect on what I love and why I love it. I like to see the world behind a camera. It allows me to connect to the world and force my observation into the uncommon; and to see the things I take for granted sometimes.

Going on an adventure means "making an appearance", letting the world know you’re here. Try not plan every sunset. Be ready to enjoy the flaws, the shades, tones and variations of this beautiful planet.

Written by Ana Paula

See more of Ana's adventures via her blog or through Instagram: @ana__p_a