Do you know this surfing goddess?
Photographer Robin Kerr says she was sitting on a beach in Cardiff, California in October 2018, watching the sunset after a brief rain shower, when she snapped this gorgeous photo of a surfer living her BEST LIFE. The photo features a gorgeous sunset with crashing waves, and a woman surfing a wave with her arms up to the sky and a look of pure joy.
Kerr has begun searching for the subject of the photo in hopes of sharing the beautiful moment with her. She says "I am a member of Girls LOVE Travel on Facebook and remembered seeing posts where female photographers have taken epic photos of a stranger's engagement during their vacations and then search for them using the group on the off chance that they could locate the subject and give the photo to the engaged couple. During shelter in place, I was going through my photo archive and came across this shot I took in October of 2018. I put myself in her shoes. If a photographer took this photo of me surfing with that glorious sunset, I would want a copy! And so the search began!"
If you think you know the subject in the image, reach out to Kerr at her Instagram @agirlwonder.
Three Big Festivals Go Virtual
Summer typically initiates the music festival season with incredible line-ups, cool event spaces and dancing as if no one is watching. Many organizers have cancelled or postponed till later in the year due to this unprecedented time. However, three well-known festivals have decided to carry on by taking the events to a digital space. Participating in an online experience can’t quite be compared to an in-person event but going virtual has some benefits, such as expanding the opportunity to anyone in the world with access to an internet connection. Let’s be honest, festivals can be expensive to attend when you tally up the cost of a ticket, plus the cost of transportation, lodging, food and time off work. If you’ve been intrigued about attending one of these events but didn’t have time-off, funds or weren’t sure if it’s your kind of thing, now you’re only a screen away from uncovering what it’s all about. With these music gatherings going digital, more people from all over the globe can participate and discover the magic of coming together to enjoy these unique gatherings of music, creativity, and beauty. Tomorrowland Around the World Tomorrowland is an international electronic music festival that takes place in Boom, Belgium, which attracts some of the most important and renowned DJs and artists. Over the last few years, attendance has grown significantly reaching upwards of 400,000 fans from all over the world taking part over two weekends in July. 2020 marks the 16th anniversary of Tomorrowland and they’ve curated a festival titled Tomorrowland Around the World on a virtual magical island called Pāpiliōnem. They welcome all the “People of Tomorrow” to enjoy the incredible space filled with 3-D design technology, light and laser shows and an impressive techno, house and trance music line-up. Interacting with other festival goers attendees will be possible via games, webinars and workshops. There will be eight different stages with sets by Afrojack, Vini Vici, Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix,Yellow Claw, Charlotte de Witte, NGHTMRE, Nervo, San Holo, and Eptic, who are a sampling of over 60 artists who will perform during this two-day global event. Dates: July 25-26 between 7am-4pm PT Ticket prices: Day ticket: $14, (€12.50) Weekend ticket: $22.50 (€20.00), plus ticket packages Tickets available here.Lolla2020 Lollapalooza began in 1991 by the lead singer Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, which initially was the farewell concert for the band. The concert was such an unexpected success it took on a life of its own touring cities throughout the United States each year until 1997. The event was revived in 2003 and since 2005 has been held in Grants Park, Chicago where fans have gathered to enjoy their favorite alternative bands, heavy metal and hip hop artists and hear up-and-coming musicians. Lollapalooza is now global with six international cities hosting a music festival, including Berlin, Germany, Santiago, Chile, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and São Paulo, Brazil. This year Chicago organizers will put on Lolla2020, a 4-day virtual festival that will include performances from different areas of Chicago, video footage from the early 1990’s debuting for the first time, along with past sets in Chicago and European and Latin American cities. The special line-up has not been announced yet so stay tuned by following their social media or subscribing to their newsletter. Dates: July 30- August 2, 2020 Ticket prices: To be announced More information here.Burning Man Burning Man, the iconic city created in Black Rock desert in Nevada each year, will be hosted online for 2020. Each year there is a theme for this participatory and collective event, which is aptly titled “Mulitiverse.” Burning man is based on the principles of self-sufficiency and “radical self-reliance” where you must bring all your food, water, clothing and shelter for the duration of your time on the playa and many would say it’s far more than just a festival. Burning Man began as a small gathering of 35 people on Baker Beach in San Francisco in 1986. In 1990, it moved to Black Rock desert where it has continued until this year with plenty of collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the local communities. Although participants won’t be in a physical landscape where they can explore on their bikes or hop on art cars, traversing the digital sphere will provide a new way to enjoy the essence and this distinct version of Burning Man. Being exposed to the natural elements is definitely a part of the experience but for those who are intimidated but curious because you’re not sure how you’ll fare with high daytime temperatures, chilly nights or sandstorms or haven’t been able to get a ticket because they sell out the moment they go on sale, going online may be a great opportunity to enter into this magical and surreal land. You can be sure there will be plenty of art, music, the unexpected, connection and an abundance of creativity. Dates: August 30- September 7, 2020 Ticket prices: TBD More information here. Lauren David is a freelance writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes about food, gardening, travel, and lifestyle. When she’s not writing, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, road trips, and spending time near the ocean. Her work has been featured in Allrecipes, Folks, Huffpost Personal, Greatist, Trivago Magazine and more. You can find a collection of her work on her website: www.laurendavid.net.
Explore the Great Outdoors of the Pikes Peak Region
UPDATE 8/4/2020: Colorado Springs says in a press release that they have launched a certification program for local businesses that will comply with COVID protections. You can read more about Colorado Spring's response here: https://www.visitcos.com/coronavirus-colorado-springs/peak-of-safety-pledge/ As our country is on the road to recovery, travel planning has resumed. While the typical summer travel season will look different in the “new norm,” there is still plenty to see and explore while remaining safe.In Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region, many businesses and attractions have started to open their doors once again. Whether you’re ready to pack your suitcase or still in the early stages of planning your trip, our guide will ensure you have a fun-filled itinerary and are prepared with all of the info you need to be “Colo-Ready.” Know Before You Go Colorado is currently in a “Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors” phase of recovery. It means people are still encouraged to social distance but can recreate and get outdoors responsibly. Each county of Colorado has its own requirements and regulations, so make sure you check with individual counties before you arrive. The Pikes Peak region comprises El Paso, Fremont and Teller counties, each of which may have their own regulations. In Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region, we welcome visitors and encourage them all to practice social distancing and respect guidelines of individual businesses. For example, while most municipalities don’t require face masks be worn at all times, we do ask that visitors bring masks with them and wear them 1) If a business requires it 2) If they are indoors where others are congregating and 3) If they are in more crowded outdoor areas. The Pikes Peak region is well positioned for social distancing with plenty of activities to do outdoors, all allowing space from others. If you’re planning to spend time on the beautiful trails and open spaces, make sure to spend a few minutes learning how to Leave No Trace. The Adventure Is You In the Pikes Peak region, you can truly craft your own adventure. From going on a hike to whitewater rafting or sitting on a patio and enjoying a brew – there’s something for everyone. ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS Whether you’re planning a leisurely family weekend or a trip jam-packed with adrenaline-pumping adventure, you can find it in the Pikes Peak region. Check out the recommended attractions and activities below that are now open for business and explore more things to do at VisitCOS.com. Summit Pikes Peak – Nothing says social distancing like heading to the top of one of the state’s 14ers. Hike, bike or drive up Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain. At 14,115 feet, the top of the mountain serves breathtaking views of the region. The current Summit House is now open for business, offering summiteers hot coffee, fudge and its world-famous fresh donuts. Explore Garden of the Gods Park – A National Natural Landmark, Garden of the Gods features towering sandstone rock formations framing majestic Pikes Peak. Rent an e-bike, go rock climbing or hike the many trails in the park. Hit the road on a scenic drive – Colorado Springs is a hop, skip and a jump away from plenty of scenic drives. Get your camera ready, check out jaw-dropping gorges and wind your way through mountain ghost towns. Visit the Royal Gorge region – Just an hour outside of Colorado Springs, the Royal Gorge region is full of activities. The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park offers gondolas, ziplines, the Skycoaster, Via Ferrata and suspension bridge. Afterward, you can book a ticket aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad to ride, dine and unwind. Take the family on a Jeep tour – Buckle up and get a taste of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region in the open air. Adventures Out West will take you on a tour through well-known landmarks like Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Canyon and Manitou Springs while you learn about Colorado history. Colorado Jeep Tours in Cañon City offers interpretive tours of the Royal Gorge, Red Canyon and historic mining district of Cripple Creek and Victor. Get your zen on with paddle yoga – Sign up for a paddleboard yoga class. Dragonfly Paddle Yoga offers dynamic, flowing yoga sequences on Monument Lake, Quail Lake and Prospect Lake while following safety precautions and social distancing. Ride the rapids or relax while rafting – Experience a one-of-a-kind rafting adventure with Echo Canyon River Expeditions. With safety guidelines in place, you can enjoy an adventure ranging from extreme white water rafting to calm family floats. Challenge yourself on a rock-climbing adventure – Sign up for a guided climb with Front Range Climbing Company at Garden of the Gods Park, Red Rock Canyon Open Space or North Cheyenne Cañon. Learn basic rock-climbing skills or tackle a more expert route. Hike to your heart’s desire – There is no shortage of hiking in the region. Check out the Trails and Open Space Coalition for recommendations of less-crowded trails. From beginner trails to trails that take you all the way up Pikes Peak, there are plenty of options for all explorers. Find additional hiking trails here. LODGING Colorado Springs offers a variety of lodging options from luxury hotels to camping, glamping, cabins and more. Luxury hotel stays Cheyenne Mountain, A Dolce Resort – Experience a luxury, lakeside stay with mountain views, fine dining and spa services. Garden of the Gods Resort and Club – Relax and focus on your wellness at a world-class resort with views overlooking Garden of the Gods Park. Glen Eyrie Castle – Stay the night in a castle situated in the rolling foothills. It’s rich, spiritual history and modern comfort will provide you with a safe haven during your stay. Alternative stays Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort – If you’re planning a trip full of biking and activity, the Bicycle Resort is your base camp for adventure. Located on a designated bike route connecting Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, it’s in close proximity to countless miles of biking trails at the base of Pikes Peak and less than a mile from Garden of the Gods Park. SCP Hotel – Known for its holistic hospitality, SCP stands for “Soul, Community, Planet.” Its hand-crafted venues feature reclaimed wood, living green walls, exposed brick and hand-painted murals, which unite earth-friendly and socially responsible practices. It’s the perfect place to stay for those who value personal wellness, social good and the environment. Timber Lodge Cabins – If you’re looking for a truly Colorado environment, the Timber Lodge is a great option. The charming A-frame cabins are located on the far west side of Colorado Springs, on the border of historic Manitou Springs and only a mile from Old Colorado City. It’s walking distance from the hiking trails of Garden of the Gods Park and Red Rock Open Space. FOOD & DRINK The Pikes Peak region is known for its vast array of food and drink options. Dive into Instagrammable plates and local brews. Bars/breweries The Bench – Enjoy burgers, brews and sports at this charming downtown sports bar. Colorado Mountain Brewery – From starters like fried pickles and brewery pretzels to burgers, pizzas and wraps, you’ll have plenty to choose from. Wash it down with one of the brewery’s flagship beers. Phantom Canyon Brewery – Named after the majestic Phantom Canyon, the brewery offers flagship beers and guest beers along with a full dining menu. The rooftop showcases sweeping views of the city and Rocky Mountains. Home-style restaurants Coquette’s Bistro – Coquette’s is a 100% gluten-free restaurant serving up food, baked goods and cocktails. Located in a cozy corner of downtown Colorado Springs, the spot is convenient for enjoying the city’s atmosphere. Mason Jar – Dive into traditional American specialties like the legendary Chicken Fried Steak and comfort food that never goes out of style. Elevated dining Joseph’s Fine Dining – With 25 years working in many five-star hotels and restaurants, Joseph Freyre’s concept mixes the world of old table side flambé cooking with nouveau cuisine. Experience dishes from escargots to sea scallops and lamb leg steak. The Warehouse – Chef James Africano prepares dishes using only the freshest ingredients and local, in-season products. Try unique plates like pan-seared lamb liver and rabbit carbonara. Cultural cuisine Edelweiss – This authentic German restaurant serves up everything from weinerschnitzels and jagerschnitzels to bratwurst, strudels and sauerbraten. La Casa Fiesta – This family-owned Mexican restaurant is a Monument staple. Enjoy traditional Mexican food with a New Mexican flare. Whether you’re from Colorado or traveling from afar, Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region is an area ripe for exploration. With so many options for exploring outdoors, it’s the perfect trip to start planning now. Get “Colo-Ready” and pack your bags! Budget Travel is working with tourism boards around the USA to highlight destinations that are ready for tourists and can provide safe, socially distant activity.
Don't miss the sunsets this weekend in the American Southeast!
Starting on June 24 through June 30, a huge cloud of dust from the Sahara desert called a Gorilla Dust Cloud will arrive from across the Atlantic ocean and mix in as particles in the air above the American Southeast. While this is expected to decrease air quality across the area, it's also expected to bring about some beautiful circumstances: the dust will make for extremely bright, vibrant sunsets. You can check out the sunset forecast in your area by going to https://sunsetwx.com/ Sunset in Shenandoah National Park, Photo by Laura Brown
Welcome to dystopia: when vacation meets lockdown
When Mee and Sean Gray pulled into the driveway of their Colorado Springs AirBnB, they were excited to see what their trip would hold. However, they quickly realized something was off. Despite staying in a cul-de-sac of a suburban neighborhood, they never saw their neighbors. In fact, they never saw anyone walking around the area at all. Although the town boasts of a population nearing half a million, very few cars were on the roads. Traffic seemed nonexistent. In search of clues to the culture of the place in which they found themselves, the Grays ventured out of the house and into the city. Yet leaving home base made the city feel more unnatural. Without open bars, restaurants, and shops, there was little to be surmised. Even the grocery store was strange because only half faces were visible. “It was just very eerie,” Said Mee. “You think that you will be able to feel the energy or the vibe of the place, but when we got to Colorado Springs that is what was so hard because there was nobody out and no one doing anything so you could not really feel the energy or the vibe of the city.“ For a majority of their stay, the only other human interaction was with essential workers. “Other people that are out working,” said Mee, “you know at the grocery stores. They were very nice, but that was a little weird too. Being so isolated. Everyone wearing a facemask.” Her husband Sean agreed, saying, “it definitely felt like all the typical characteristics of being human were taken away to some extent”. But what is culture without humans? Just as New York is not New York without the commuters, drag queens, and Deli workers, neither is Colorado Springs without its Air Force Cadets, Hippies, and Chaco wearers. Slowly as the city began opening up, more of the inhabitants emerged from their homes, but the couple was surprised by who the mystery inhabitants actually turned out to be. “Coming to a place where you couldn’t really meet people or see people” said Mee “and then not being able to ask anybody any questions because there was no one around really” allowed for them to make up a narrative about the town that was not entirely true. They were surprised by the conservative bend of the city. As the second largest town in a blue state, Mee and Sean assumed the town would be more progressive and diverse. During a time when many states are still in various forms of lock down, is it still possible to experience the culture of a town, city or countryside? Without experiencing local life, the culture of a place is vastly altered. AirBnB Experiences has been attempting to offset their inability to perform physical tours by replacing them with virtual ones for the time being. Other tour services, like Tours by Locals, are offering limited outings based on the guide’s discretion. Although the culture is difficult to access and many public areas are closed or severely limit the number of individuals allowed, exploring a new place might not be a fruitless pursuit. Instead of focusing on culture during the summer, Mee believes it might be more productive to venture out to a different environment and enjoy the contrast to your lifestyle. Substituting mountains for beaches, or the countryside for towns. Trips can still be used to discover a new place, reconnect with oneself, or take a break from the busy world. Alternately, Sean believes in going to a place that fits one’s personal culture. For example Colorado is the perfect escape for an outdoorswoman. Sean believes it is important to research the culture a traveler wants to experience, he said “If you’re going to go to a place, make sure they like the same things you like, they like to do what you enjoy doing. Otherwise you're going to get there and it's going to be even more challenging for you.” The last time the United States experienced a pandemic was 102 years ago in 1918 with the H1N1 virus. Anyone old enough to remember traveling during that period of time is likely dead. If you choose to travel during this time, remember that the fact that you are experiencing what it is like to travel during a pandemic is incredibly unique. And travel is all about new expereinces. “No matter where you go,” said Mee, “you will get a different perspective, and right now we need different perspectives to address this thing.” Grace Klaus is a Budget Travel intern for Summer 2020. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado.