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Bali. The destination seems to evoke the traveler’s image of a paradise. Yes, and with good reason. On the island where author Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) found her love, there is certainly much to love; the landscapes, the culture, the jungle, the beaches, and yes the sunsets.

On the west coast of Bali, where the sea surrounds the Tanah Lot Hindu temple (at high tide) people gather to watch something special, something spiritual.  Many walk along the rocky coastline and the black sand beaches while others stay perched upon the cliff at local Pan Pacific Resort (formerly the Le Meriden Hotel). But whatever people decide, all prepare with the same anticipation for the sunset behind the Hindu Temple on the Indian Ocean.

With two nights, I did both. The image below, my first night (perched on a cliff) was an afternoon spent sipping a cocktail and savoring the special moment. Enjoying some of the true beauty of Bali – its Sunsets. Happy Sunset Sunday.

the sun sets on the Indian Ocean behind the Hindu Temple
stay adventurous, Craig

The first scheduled stop on my day’s tour, Punta Laguna, did not excite me. I’ll admit it. My initial thought – skip it. I looked ahead. I thought, let’s head straight to the ancient ruins of Coba and spend more time understanding the mystique and magic of the Mayans. Or perhaps add a second cenote to the itinerary. Ever since my discovery of these sacred, swimmable sinkholes I can’t seem to see enough. But Punta Laguna was on the way, so we stopped. And actually, I am glad we did.

A monkey spotted in the sun, I took a picture.

When we arrived, I grabbed my camera and we hired a guide to help us search for the local Spider Monkeys. Not five minutes and one hundred meters into the jungle our guide already heard them in the distance. We changed course and started tracking the troop.  We listened and watched in silence as they moved swiftly from tree to tree searching for food. The monkeys never seemed to mind our presence.

I certainly tried to capture a few photos, but just like when on African safari searching for the Big 5, I didn’t have a telephoto lens and actually, the monkeys blended with the shade. But also, just like on safari, sometimes I didn’t raise my camera and click. Nope. I just appreciated being so close. I enjoyed a glimpse of life in their world, a chance to just feel the jungle from under its canopy.

Then as the monkeys wandered further into the jungle, our guide turned us around and we headed down the main trail to the lagoon. Originally, I thought we might paddle out on the water, but when I arrived to see the lagoon it was not the heat that kept me ashore. The crystal clear water and its stunning reflection almost seemed ask to not be disturbed. So calming. I just decided to savor a moment. This moment.

sometimes its just about the view....

Yes, the rest of the day lived up to its expectations. The Mayan Ruins at Coba and the breathtaking beauty of Cenote Multun-ha were definitely highlights of my entire two weeks in the Riviera Maya. But the silence and stillness of the lagoon made the highlights too. The beauty of the moment taught me a valuable lesson. A lesson to not overlook any stop on a journey as beauty exists in all destinations. And my few minutes on the water’s edge of Punta Laguna reminded me of that very fact. Thank you.

Stay adventurous, Craig

Also, a special thanks to Riviera Maya for being an excellent guide and host.

Often I review some of my old photos and journals when reminded of an adventure. And this Thanksgiving weekend, thankful for all my travels, I decided to look back to the adventure that changed the course of my future. An adventure where I actually spent a Thanksgiving searching for a slice of Turkey to go with my beans and rice. This weekend I looked back to the first leg of my travel sabbatical – Costa Rica.

And now six years later, I am still so thankful for that trip. Perhaps even more thankful each day as those carefree steps taken on the soft sands of Costa Rica led me down a different path. I am thankful for becoming Pura Vida and thankful for the stepping stone that enabled Stay Adventurous.

I am also thankful for the many sunsets I watched in Costa Rica. It became part of my daily routine. I’ll never forget the majestic magenta and robust reds of the sunsets in Tamarindo from the beachfront bars. And I’ll always remember the evenings sitting on the sands of Santa Teresa with new-found friends taking in a few beers and discussing the day’s waves after a quality surf session. All so beautiful in so many ways.

And on one of those evenings when starting a fire on the beach in Santa Teresa, a few horses wandered down close to the ocean’s edge. As they passed,  I snapped this photo. Apparently, they too wanted to enjoy the Sunset. I don’t blame them. It is always a magical moment. Happy Sunset Sunday.

Horses come for a sunset stroll on the sands of Santa Teresa

Stay adventurous, Craig

As a native New Yorker, I am often asked for recommendations, the “what to do, what to see” regarding my city. It’s not hard to rattle of a list of ‘to-dos’ about arguably one of the world’s most dynamic and exciting destinations so I oblige. Yet I don’t often write about them. I don’t want to keep them secret, in fact, the opposite, I look to encourage. I want visitors leaving the city seeing more than the guide-book top ten lists.

A sunset doesn’t often make any of those lists for New York City, but walking the Brooklyn Bridge does. And just like good restaurants are better when you know what to order, walking the Brooklyn Bridge is better when you know how and when to walk it.

My advice is to take the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn. You exit on the first stop in Brooklyn. (I select the A,C to High Street) Once in Brooklyn, you want to walk towards the view of the Manhattan skyline. You’d be surprised how man tourists do this backwards.

And once in Brooklyn, you can really enjoy the resurgent DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) neighborhood. Here a coffee or cocktail in the many cafes can be just what you need before taking the walk at the proper time. A chance to fuel up and pass time before you walk across at sunset. Recently, I planned a meeting in Brooklyn that enabled me to do just that.

On the walk back to Manhattan, the orange sky seemed to warm me on the cool, crisp autumn afternoon. The views of the New York skyline and harbor seemed to sparkle. The city seems to come alive. Yes, I missed the Twin Towers, and still can’t believe it’s almost ten years since that day, but it’s a lady that warms me most.

I always tend to look in the back to see the Statue of Liberty. That makes the moment. To see her torch and the bright sky behind her always reminds how special and welcoming my city truly is. Yes, indeed – I love NY. Happy Sunset Sunday.

her torch lights the sky...

Stay Adventurous, Craig

Often times, when in Mexico (I am currently in Puerto Vallarta) conversation commences about other Mexican destinations. Comparisons – yes, but also (and mostly) about how we all appreciate the country, the culture and the cuisine.

I found myself talking about the Riviera Maya yesterday, and as much as I enjoy the adventure of exploring the cenotes, discovering my senses, eating the tacos in Playa del Carmen, or watching a sunset in Tulum, sometimes, everyone needs a day off. A day to relax; a day to recharge. A day designed to do nothing. And when staying at the eco-friendly and sustainable Hacienda Tres Rios Resort, I spent one day doing just that.

take a moment to yourself today...

So this weekend, before the big holiday events (it’s Thanksgiving in the US next week) how about taking a moment to yourself. Hopefully you can find a place like this to go. And if you can’t get here physically, well then at least take a moment and go here mentally. You deserve it. Happy Friday.

stay adventurous, Craig

Again, a thank you to Hacienda Tres Rios and Riviera Maya for showing me this wonderful part of Mexico.

The charm of Charleston magnifies when you walk the city. Whether you follow its revolutionary roots, its Civil War Story, or just meander to enjoy its historic homes at some point you will find yourself down along the battery.

On the waterfront, you walk among monuments to American heros, look out on the horizon to the famous Fort Sumter, and can join the city citizens for a seaside stroll. The locals walking the dog, going for a jog, or holding hands on a first date, provide a special sense of community. A certain southern charm.

And there is no better time to take that seaside stroll then at sunset. The last light of the day provides a certain, special glow. A glow illuminated by the historic past of the city. Happy Sunset Sunday.

the glow of Charleston waterfront.

stay adventurous, Craig

The van pulled over and we climbed out of the vehicle into a sea of friendly merchants. With tourists stopping by all day, the vendors set up and greet you with ‘buen precio and muy barato” (good prices and very cheap).

the diver poses for a photo...

And only after you navigate through the wood carvings, silver souvenirs, and the other assorted common Mexican trinkets (many of which I own), can you make your way to meet the “manager.” Well, I gave him that title, I am not sure what he calls himself, but he produces the show. Most tourists in Mazatlán stop by to pay him a visit to see a cliff dive.

Just on the other side of the Malecón from Zona Dorada, on the way to Old Town, a platform among the cliffs exists where a few brave souls plunge into a shallow sea. This is not Acapulco; there is no show time (during the day, not sure about the evening). The event occurs when people arrive and offer tips. How much might it take for a diver to risk his life?

Eventually, a deal was made, and we were all prepared to give 20-50 pesos (~11.5 pesos to the USD). The diver essentially risks it all for the equivalent of $15-$20 USD. Sometimes he’ll make more, other times, he might jump for less. For them, this is their livelihood, their day job.(I gave 50 pesos)

As he climbed up to the top, we all prepared. We walked down to obtain the best view, and pointed our cameras in anticipation. At the summit, he paused, prayed and then slowly walked to the edge. An eternity passed (the minute seemed long) as we all waited. At low tide he needed to be even more careful.

he leaped off the cliff...

Suddenly, he dove. A beautiful arch and full extension delighted the crowd. A perfect 10.

Stay adventurous, Craig

On New York City Marathon Sunday, you can usually find me in Central Park when the sun sets. I wake up watch the race (the professionals), enjoy a long leisurely brunch and then head to experience one New York city’s best experiences, the joy of cheering for all the runners. The race truly epitomizes the very best of New York. But I didn’t always know this.

As my Dad ran the race in 2006 I followed his progress from the early morning drop off, to mile 8, then mile 17, and finally mile 24 in the park. And I stumbled on something. I didn’t just cheer for my Dad, but everyone. I learned the true joy of the New York City Marathon is just that, cheering for everyone. The day recharged me and a new tradition was born.

And although this year, I will not be there to inspire, encourage, and perhaps even blow my vuvuzela with purpose, I decided to look through my photos and find one that shows a setting sun moment from the ING NYC MaraUnfortunately, I did not have many. (Something to do next year)

Happy Sunset Sunday and consider coming to see the New York City Marathon. You may just make it a tradition.

in the distance the boat house of NYC's Central Park

Stay Adventurous, Craig

This year I will miss an annual tradition. This weekend I will not be there to support the thousands who lace up and run the NYC marathon from the sidelines. But even from a distance (I am in Mexico) I will take a moment on Sunday to cheer.

And to mark the occasion, I decided to republish a post I wrote last year for the Gainville blog. I hope you enjoy it. And I trust you will now understand why I do love the New York City Marathon.

Good Luck to all the runners as 26.2 miles is quite adventurous in my book.

my mom cheers on my dad at mile 8

Weekends in New York always make a great story. This past weekend was no different.

The village’s flamboyant Halloween parade, countless city establishments packed with Yankee fans rooting for their team in the World Series (remember this is last year) , not to mention standard Friday night fine dining, Sunday brunches, Broadway Shows, and much more. Eventful indeed.

Yet, to many who love the city, this weekend was not about any of that – it was simply marathon weekend.

The race begins on Sunday morning in Staten Island where 40,000 runners from all ove the world start their 26.2-mile journey. Through five boroughs they run bringing together a community, and a city. Considered one of New York’s most cherished traditions and one of the world’s most popular marathons, I discovered that the race brings out the best in us. (even as spectators)

I never truly appreciated the event until my Dad entered. He always wanted to run the race, and three years (now 4) ago in his 60s, he competed and completed the milestone. But what I discovered on that autumn day remains with me today. I didn’t just cheer for my father, but I cheered for all the runners.

As a spectator you can’t help yourself, you cheer. You cheer for your friends and complete strangers. You cheer for countries, causes, and even costumes. Whatever a runner wears on their T-shirt, duck-tapes on their shorts, or writes on their legs – you cheer for it. You let them know you are pulling for them to finish.

my dad in manhattan at mile 17Plus, they hear you and acknowledge your support. They say thank you with a smile or a thumbs up and some even pick up their pace. You give them the fuel they need to continue. It’s not New York’s famous water credited for its pizza and bagel making magic that replenishes the runners, but the course’s cheerleaders.

So this year again I returned to Central Park in the late afternoon, six hours after the race began. There on the course’s final mile, I cheered loudly for people I never met. I encouraged runners to finish the race, to complete their NYC marathon. I let them all know, by any means possible that I appreciate and applaud their tremendous effort.

the leaves were starting to fall....

 

After nearly an hour of support, with the sun starting to set I walked home. Through the park I admired the fall foliage and the leaves as they gracefully let go allowing the wind to carry them off. Then I realized during the race we all let go too. We let go of any prejudices and root for everyone. The fans of New York pull for all the runners, all shapes and sizes, all colors and creeds. The city roots for human accomplishment. To me, that represents the very core of the Big Apple and one of the reasons I continue to call it home.

So congratulations to all who ran the race this year. And for those running next year, I’ll be back in the park cheering for you too. And hopefully I’ll see a few more of my readers by my side.

Stay adventurous, Craig

For Halloween I started to ponder destinations I considered haunted. Destinations when darkness descends on the streets, stories of spirits fill our imagination. Places you visit and leave with the belief ghosts are not just fantasy, but perhaps reality.

In a city of much literary fame, from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to the present day world of Harry Potter, even the writers seem to create a haunted and suspenseful fiction in Edinburgh. And walking the streets coupled with learning its past, you can truly understand why. The architecture and history, it seems a perfect setting for such stories.

On my visit a few years back,  one that coincided the city’s famous Fringe Festival, I left impressed. Not just by the acts and shows I watched in the theatre, but the city itself. A magical place. A place I look forward to returning one day. And a place with a certain haunted vibe.

One night walking along a ridge over looking the main Edinburgh castle, I took this picture. With the sun already set, but the twilight still illuminating the sky, this picture itself seemed a perfect fit for today. Happy Halloween.

darkness descends on Edinburgh castle and the city.

And of course, Happy Sunset Sunday, too.

stay adventurous, Craig