I took a quick trip to Iceland this past long weekend and it was stunning! With two young dudes of my own (2.5 years old and 15 months old) I have not been traveling as much as I like so even a five day mini-adventure was an absolute blast. While the northern lights ended up being elusive, we did experience limitless scenic views, hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers, friendly people and insanely good food. The fresh seafood was unreal and - please do not send hate mail because I already feel bad about it - we ate whale! (It was a surprise part of a nine-part tasting menu and it was delicious but for the sake of the whales I would not have chosen to order that.) See below for a few selected photos from our trip!
Water Monkey swag gets around. Our campers get a t-shirt every summer plus a winter gift in December (beanies, water bottles, pop sockets, socks, etc) so there are hundreds of different items floating all over the globe.
My parents are always great about taking pictures of their Water Monkey items on their world travels. They just returned from a hiking expedition around Patagonia through Argentina and Chile and sent me these photos!
We would love to see other Water Monkey swag in action so send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) some pictures to be posted on our blog or instagram!
Every summer millions of kids travel to camp via cars, busses, trains and planes. Most camps offer some sort of pick-up/drop-off service at local airports and it can be logistically challenging. Delays (or early arrivals) and cancelations are annoying but there is nothing more frustrating than dealing with airlines' 'unaccompanied minor' policies. The below article from NY Times delves into the direct costs of flying 'UM' but does not touch on the added cost to the adults that have to make the transfer at the airport.
When we pick-up a camper flying 'UM' we can expect it to take at least an additional hour after the plane lands for the camper to get out to us. Drop-off is even worse as we are required to go through security with the camper and wait at the gate until the plane takes off which sometimes means an entire day at the airport. This is a waste of time and resources for most campers who are more than capable of flying solo. Surprisingly bus and train companies are even more difficult: most do not let unaccompanied minors under the age of 16 ride regardless of the situation.
The summer camp experience helps kids build self-confidence and gain independence and the journey to/from camp should be part of that adventure. So what should parents do? The 'UM' policies are not flexible and airline employees will never budge (we have tried). Parents can encourage their campers to not just be led around the airport but actively look at maps, signs and arrival/departure boards to gain some understanding of how airports work. They should know their airline, flight number and departure time as well. This will help them learn skills that will make them successful travelers in the future.
One of our campers from last summer came to us from the Dominican Republic. Yes, I had the same reaction initially: why would anyone leave the Caribbean for northern New England? Well because we are awesome.
Anyway...Rafa has been getting after it in the DR at a new wakeboard park in his hometown of Punta Cana. See below.
No, we did not edit that photo. The DR is just that gorgeous.
With all the not so great news in 2016 I thought this was a pretty uplifting story to close out the year:
Like they mention in the article, CR is small and has unique natural resources to make this happen but hopefully other Central American and Caribbean countries will follow their lead and start making a major impact on global CO2 emissions. If enough nations switch to renewables then maybe there will be enough peer pressure and technological scale to get the U.S. on the right track as well.
It is a new year, anything is possible, right?