A Travellerspoint blog

Walking in a Winter Wonderland


Last year around this time, Dan and I were hitting the slopes in Aspen Snowmass, Colorado. For me, Aspen was a trip of firsts: first time to Colorado, first time snowshoeing, first time cross country skiing, and first time downhill skiing. Dan had his assortment of firsts as well: first time seeing the Nutcracker ballet, first time attending a film screening, and first time going to the spa and getting a massage. Obviously we each have our priorities.

The drive to Aspen was probably the most memorable part of the trip. Rather than fly directly into Aspen which involves a layover in Denver and doubles the cost of your flight, we flew into Denver and then drove the four hours into Aspen. The snow was falling thick and heavy the entire way. It made for a tedious drive, but the scenery was stunning.


We stayed in Snowmass Village - one of several towns in Aspen. Snowmass sits high in the hills and the roads are heated to allow for easy access as all the snow just melts away. After checking in to the hotel, we spent the rest of our first day exploring downtown Aspen. The streets were crowded with your typical high socity folk. We'd never seen so many fur coats in our lives! Despite this, Aspen felt magical, with the soft sounds of snow falling and twinkle lights in the trees.

There was definitely no lack of snow. It piled up in yards, often several feet high. Icicles were abundant and would hang from the roof all the way to the ground.


As I had never skied before let me be the first to admit, it was not everything I hoped it would be! Dan took to skiing as naturally as if he were walking, and his grace only further discouraged me as I rolled in a giant snowball down the bunny hill. Cross country skiing on the other hand was quite enjoyable and we spent a beautiful sunny afternoon navigating the miles upon miles of ski trails.


We took part in a guided snowshoe hike through the woods. Our guide told us everything you could have imagined about the vegetation, animals, and geography of the area. The highlight for me was stopping for cookies and hot cocoa.


One particulary snowy day, we took things inside to the Aspen Recreational Center where we played in the pool and worked on our rock climbing skills. Don't be fooled. I only made it half way up the wall. Apparently my inability to ski also carries over to my inability to rock climb.


Although it was a jam packed week, some of our favorite moments were spent cozied up inside a hidden cafe where we would warm up with hot drinks.


When we returned home we were surprised to find that Seattle was blanketed in snow and would stay that way for several days. It wasn't quite Aspen, but something about snow just makes everything seem more magical.

Posted by Jennylynn 21:10 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Christmas in Miniature

Christmas is easily the best holiday ever. I recently decided that if it weren't for Christmas I would move far, far away from the Northwest. The thing about our winters is that when sunny, the temperature hovers below freezing, yet when cloudy the temperature warms. Hence, we rarely end up with much snow, and even more tortuous is gazing out the window to a bright, sunny day only to be slammed with an icy chill once outside. I find this disharmony upsetting. I'd rather it be sunny and warm or even cloudy and cold. At least if snowing and overcast, I the below freezing temperatures feel justified, but sunny and freezing just doesn't compute. Christmas is my light of hope during this dreary season we call winter. Between holiday gatherings, an assortment of baked goods, and my favorite carols filling the house, I seem to have found a comfort that otherwise would be non existent.

This past weekend I visited the Seattle Center where the sights and sounds of Christmas were all around. Children danced to songs from the Nutcracker, cheery families braved the cold to ride the holiday carousel, and perhaps most favorited was the miniature winter wonderland on display.

I could have spent hours gazing dreamily at this fantasy land where an artist painted a frozen pond...

Families delivered Christmas cheer


Babes snuggled close on a stroll through the park


Skiing was plentiful


Children plotted snow ball fights


A cat was rescued from a tree


It was all quite beautiful with the picture perfect city streets and the homes decorated with colored lights and boughs of holly in the distance. Something about the simplicity of this winter wonderland tugged at my heart as I longed for the closeness of community and the gentleness of a small town.



That was until I looked a bit closer and noticed that perhaps this quaint town wasn't all it seemed to be.

There was a saloon after all, and if you look closely, you can't help but wonder if the lady splayed across the road perhaps had an egg nog too many.


Or on the outskirts of town there appeared to be a homeless camp and scruffy men gathered around a fire.


If this town was all that I imagined it to be, how come the homeless men were sleeping in a drafty tent in the woods, why couldn't someone open their home to them? Or the women passed out in the street, couldn't the lady standing and pointing at her offer a hand?

I guess all small towns aren't as perfect as they seem from the outside. Regardless, I couldn't help but want to miniaturize myself so that I could romp in the snow with the children, paint landscapes with the man at the lake, stroll through the lit park, or at the very least offer a hand to those in need.


Posted by Jennylynn 11:24 Archived in USA Tagged events Comments (0)


I’m not sure if it’s the weather, holiday carb overload, massive amounts of work, or a combination of the three, but it seems that I’ve come to a road block of sorts in the blogosphere. What started as a fervent passion has since fizzled out. It’s not that I lost my enthusiasm for travel or photography or writing for that matter, I just seem to have lost my motivation. Working 12 hour plus days, fitting in gym classes and holiday gatherings, and planning future travels has left me with little to no time. Although my dusty blog space should not be attributed to lack of time as I have always been the type of person who can juggle dozens of responsibilities. In all actuality my blog has become a bit of a chore as I feel a sense of duty to report my travels and experiences to the world. Whatever it is, I hope to get back on track soon as I have several adventures in the works – a week in chilly Calgary, Alberta, a weekend at a secluded mountain top resort in the Washington Cascades, two weeks trekking through Peru, and a three month long photography course at an esteemed fine arts photography school.

As this is my 100th blog entry, I feel a sense of obligation to create a spectacular, dazzling display of my adventures to date. Instead, I feel it necessary to boost my morale in hopes of jump starting this blog. I have always been a “list” person. I create lists for nearly everything: to do lists, places to travel, books I’ve read, upcoming birthdays, things I am thankful for, you name it and I guarantee at some point in my life it has been a list. For this 100th entry I could easily list 100 places I’ve travelled to, 100 places I want to visit, 100 of my favorite travel photos, or even 100 reasons why I should continue this blog. But 100 seems like such a daunting number, and in fact it’s hard to believe that in just eight months I’ve produced 100 blog entries. The number 10 on the other hand is much more manageable, and for this 100th entry, I give you my top 10 reasons to travel the world in hopes of rekindling this blog space. Here goes…

1. Anyone can travel. Whether young, old, rich, or poor it is possible to experience the world. An around the world journey may not be feasible, but getting out an exploring your own community is the first step.

2. Travel makes us better citizens of the global community. When travelling we improve our understanding of different cultures, people, and customs and therefore we are less likely to play victim to stereotypes and judgments about others.

3. Travel introduces us to new people. Whether fellow travelers or locals, you may very well meet some of the most influential people in your life.

4. Travel is accessible. It doesn’t always require a plane ticket or massive amounts of money. It can simply mean stepping outside and walking amongst your local farmers market or hiking along a new trail. As long as we are broadening our perspective and engaging in new experiences we are travelling.

5. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest. Going about our daily routine will only satisfy temporarily. Experiences outside of the norm help make life more memorable.

6. Travel pushes us outside of our comfort zones, promoting confidence and self-esteem.

7. When travelling we learn more about the world – the geography, people, religions, and history that comprise the story of humanity. A broader perspective and increased knowledge allow us to be better decision makers, community members, and leaders.

8. Travel helps us to focus on what is truly important in life – friendships, family, and experiences. Too often it is easy to get swept away in a materialistic society, where our focus is solely on climbing the corporate ladder and obtaining new possessions. Travel grounds us and makes us more appreciative for the subtleties in life.

9. When we travel to new places we suddenly become aware of how fortunate we truly are. As much of the world is ridden with poverty and disease, seeing these things helps us to realize how insignificant our problems and stresses really are.

10. Travel fosters self-discovery. When placed in a foreign place it is easy to discover who you really are and what you stand for. When the walls built around you are removed, your true identity emerges and the true self is revealed, and values, beliefs, and opinions are not only challenged, but strengthened.

And that my friends, is why I travel. This list has provided a small jump-start, and I hope to be back in the blogging swing of things soon. I’m not sure if I will return with such frequency and intensity as I have in the past, but I will return nonetheless. Until then, perhaps you can inspire me, why do you travel?


Posted by Jennylynn 09:41 Archived in USA Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (2)

Thanksgiving Day

overcast 50 °F

This Thanksgiving weekend has been busy with friends, family, shopping, and oh yeah.... work. Here are several shots I took on Thanksgiving Day in my Dad's backyard. A more traditional blog entry will have to wait as I'm off to work a 13 hour day!



Posted by Jennylynn 06:58 Archived in USA Tagged photography Comments (0)

Photo Friday: Bordeaux, France


Bordeaux was one of those cities that I didn't have any expectations when visiting. I assumed it would be like any other metropolitan city in Europe, but was blown away by the beauty, culture, and history that Bordeaux exudes. Our main purpose for visiting was honestly just a stopping over point between Amboise and Carcassonne, France. Bordeaux did have its share of urban shopping centers and upscale restaurants, but outside of the city hub, Bordeaux captivated with a charm more typical of small town rural French villages. At the end of our two month trek through Europe, Bordeaux stood out as an unexpected favorite. Between dozens of free history and art museums, our days were packed to the brim. Bordeaux, like many European cities, boasted plenty of green spaces and our afternoons were spent lounging in the grass over a picnic lunch. A highlight of our tour de Bordeaux was a trip into the Medoc wine region where we toured several wineries and tasted the afternoon away. Although Bordeaux had its share of tourists, it was the first European city I could truly see myself living in; I only wish we had more time to explore this unique city.





This semi-water park along the river was teeming with children enjoying the misting sprays of cool water during the hot afternoons.



Posted by Jennylynn 09:43 Archived in France Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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