Active Travel

Finding My Bliss on Boats and Beaches: Now With Beer!


In yesterday’s somewhat serious post, I outlined all of the reasons why I need am choosing to mourn celebrate my newfound non-employment with a spur-of-the-moment trip (of course I am). Today’s super-joyful post shares exactly what I plan to do and why.

When I thought about the kind of trip that would best serve my current needs, I very quickly figured out what I wanted as well as what I did not want. Having spent the last three months in Chicago (and New York City, Miami, Charlotte, Madrid and Barcelona), I definitely was not interested in another city break. I knew I wanted to be either on the water or on the road, as those are the two places I am most happy. Every road trip I researched involved multiple national parks, as time-in-nature is a must. But I do not have anyone to travel with, and while I love solo hiking, I knew I did not want to be alone for the entire trip. You might think that to check all of these boxes would be challenging. You would be wrong.

I’m Going on a Kayaking, Hiking, and Craft Beer Trip and It Is Going to Be Awesome


The too-long subtitle of this portion of the post almost says it all. Almost. Because wait! There’s more! It’s not just kayaking, hiking, and craft beer. It is kayaking, hiking, and craft beer via small boat cruise, with my favorite ‘cruise’ line, Un-Cruise Adventures.

You may recall the Columbia and Snake Rivers cruise I took last summer, also with Un-Cruise Adventures. It was one of the most unique trips I’ve ever enjoyed and I was blown away. Stunning scenery, unknown-to-me locales, and educational excursions combined with the serenity of river cruising and the camaraderie which results from sailing with dozens–not hundreds or thousands–of people made my Un-Cruise Adventures trip an experience I will never forget.

Which is why I’m going back. This time, to the San Juan Islands aboard the Wilderness Adventurer. I’ve had the San Juan Islands–which are a group of sparsely- to un-populated islands located just north west of Seattle–on my must-visit list for years.  And this trip, unlike the educational and historical nature of the Columbia and Snake River cruise, is an adventure cruise. Which means I will really get to explore the islands up-close, as the majority of the week will be spent paddling and hiking around inlets and coves. You know, generally being adventurous and all Pacific Northwest-y.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m doing something with the word ‘adventure’ in it. Be afraid. Or at the very least be prepared to be amused.

I mean, I totally hike. I’m not concerned about that part. Never mind that I just re-started Couch to 5K back at week one (and it was surprisingly challenging). And, well, it’s not like I have never kayaked before. I totally did. Maybe four years ago. Once. In Fundy National Park in New Brunswick. With my husband. We oh-so-ungracefully circled the lake for maybe twenty minutes before giving up. And when I say ‘circled the lake’, I mean ‘paddled the kayak in a way that caused it to spin around and around rather than move forward’. But I am kayaking on this trip. Oh yes. I am.

The other awesome thing about this sailing? It is a theme sailing. A craft beer themed sailing. So not only will I get to spend time in nature, on the water, and on the water in nature, I will get to do so while learning about and drinking some unique Washington state craft beers. Oh yes. I will.

I can not wait. Which is not really a problem, as I leave the day after tomorrow.

And then I am going on an epic California road trip. All by myself.


A while back, I spent one beautiful day enjoying the northern part of California’s epic Route 1, driving solo from San Francisco to Monterey and back in one day. It was one of the best days of my life. But it was only one day. And I’ve been told that I missed the best part of the drive, which begins significantly south of San Francisco.

As it happens, it was the exact same amount of air miles to fly from Philly to Seattle to LA and then back to Philly as it was to just do a round trip from Philly to Seattle. So, like, to not go would be a waste, right? And, well, I did say I wanted to do a road trip. As it also happens, I have a bunch of free rental car days that will eventually expire, sadly unused. So, like, to not use them would be a waste, right? And where better to use them than on one of America’s most scenic drives? (Really? Can you think of a better use? I cannot.) Which is why immediately after my beer-drinking, kayak-attempting week in the Pacific Northwest, I’m flying to LAX and spending another four days driving California’s coast from LA to Monterey and back. Just me and my camera, the surfers and the sunset.

Do you like how I justified adding a whole extra week onto my trip? Because I do.

When I return, I will be sharing my adventures with all of you here on The Suitcase Scholar. Because my other goal–my as-of-yet unstated goal–for this trip is to revive my blogging habit. Said blogging habit is one of the things I gave up in order to business travel my ass off. That ends now.

But until I return with many stories and even more proper photographs, you can follow my adventures on Instagram. I promise to include at least one shot (or video clip) of me failing miserably at some sort of water sport. You’re welcome.

A huge thank you to the wonderful people at Un-Cruise Adventures for helping to set this up; I am very much looking forward to being back on board. And a huge thank you in advance to whichever crew member helps bumbling me figure out how to steer a kayak. I’m a fast learner, I promise. 

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