Captain and Clark The Modern Cartographers, Charting Your World. Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:24:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Oahu’s Kaka’ako: a hipster’s paradise Fri, 02 Dec 2016 06:44:22 +0000 I would like to think that I know the island of Oahu pretty well. It’s the island of my birth (even though we moved when I was still pretty young) and Chris and I tend to make it back at least two times a year. That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever really spent time in the Kaka’ako area of Oahu. Let me let you in on a little secret: it’s a burgeoning hipster scene that’s just begging to be explored. And it’s only going to get better.

Our Kaka’ako is a planned community that will span nine city blocks. The website states that Kaka’ako is “an emerging epicenter for Hawai‘i’s urban-island culture that is an incubator for a variety of artists, chefs, influencers and entrepreneurs. Rooted in Hawaiian cultural values, Our Kaka‘ako is built on empowering creativity, cultivating innovation and building a truly unique, local community” AKA a hipsters Hawaiian paradise.

Our Kaka’ako is the brainchild of Kamehameha Schools. The nine blocks will be a mixed-use space with studios featuring local artisans, modern housing, and unique dining and entertaining options. And while Kaka’ako is still under development, I found myself particularly enamored with the intricate street art found around every corner.

Just a peek at a few of my favorites

Just a peek at a few of my favorites

Aside from the street art, Chris and I also found ourselves obsessed with Arvo. Not really Hawaiian by nature (as “arvo” is actually Aussie slang for afternoon), the coffee shop is both beautiful and innovative. Arvo actually shares its space with Paiko, Honolulu’s botanical boutique. That means that coffee and plants (two of my favorite things) abound!

A teeny tiny glimpse inside lush Paiko

A teeny tiny glimpse inside lush Paiko

Our friend Alex from Alex in Wanderland originally posted a gorgeous photo of her breakfast from Arvo cafe and I was hooked. Two weeks later we found ourselves enjoying one of their delicious lattes. If you believe that you are what you eat, then a stop at Arvo makes you a whimsical, fresh, and scrumptious ball of delight. Just take a look at our first meal. I say “first” because you better believe we returned a few times before leaving Oahu.

Our jaw dropping brekkie at Arvo at Our Kaka'ako

Our jaw dropping brekkie at Arvo at Our Kaka’ako

We ended up ordering loaded avocado toast, loaded Nutella toast, a paradise mocha (I think the baristas at Arvo simply refer to it as a mocha but I think paradise mocha sounds better), and a tie dye latte. Gorgeous food, right? And not only was it pretty, it tasted amazing as well. Upon returning to Seattle, I even bought myself a jar of Nutella and a few avocados so that I could replicate our breakfast at Arvo.

Pro tip: Our Kaka’ako offers FREE PUBLIC WIFI. That’s right folks, free WIFI for everyone.

After our brekkie we decided to take a quick stroll around the block and stumbled upon a small alley. The alley was painted red and covered in fun phrases. And then commenced one of my favorite family photoshoots to date. We even had a nice gentleman offer to take a photo of all three of us. That almost never happens!

I can't even with these photos.

I can’t even with these photos.

To be completely honest, we were so enthralled with Arvo that we didn’t stray too far from the cute little cafe. We managed to peruse a few other shops in Kaka’ako and made a note to return to try Hank’s Haute Dogs, Bevy restaurant, and Village Bottle Shop and Tasting Room. A snapchat follower recommended 9Bar HNL and we tried it but weren’t that impressed. I’m not sure if the barista was having an off day (hey, we all have them) but he was snippy with a fellow coworker and pretty chilly towards us as well. That being said, I might make it back to try the baked goods. The scuffins (scone-muffin) looked pretty amazing.

I can’t wait to see how Our Kaka’ako develops over our next few visits. I’m crossing my fingers for more street art and even more fun, local food.

A little peek at Arvo from the inside

A little peek at Arvo from the inside


Do you have any questions for us? As we forge ahead into this new land of millennial family travel, we’re happy to answer any questions that arise. 

]]> 4
Exploring Prague with baby in tow Thu, 01 Dec 2016 07:25:54 +0000 Prague! After years of attempting to visit the Czech Republic, it finally happened. The Video Summit Leipzig was held only a few hours away from Prague and we figured that we might as well skip over while we had the chance. We grappled with whether we should take a train to the city or rent a car. In the end, we decided that it would be easier to travel with all the extra baby gear in a rental car.

We chose wisely. The drive was fast and easy and it ended up being more affordable than buying train tickets. Plus, we got to stop in adorable little German towns on our way to and from Prague.

Things to do in prague with family

Holden was only four months old while in Prague and at that age there’s only so much that will hold your little one’s attention. Luckily, he is soothed by loud noises and movement so he ended up sleeping through most of our outings. We found that walking around Prague was relatively easy. Our travel system handled the ubiquitous cobblestone like a champ and we bundled our boy in our puffy UNIQLO jackets to keep him warm.

Side note: Our UNIQLO travel jackets are amazing. They can squish down super small, are incredibly light, and very warm. We would highly recommend them and we’re not even getting paid to do so.

Exploring a destination with a local is our favorite way to discover a new place. Luckily, our friend Charlie (from our JayWay Travel Baltics trip) has lived in Prague for years and offered to take us on a culinary tour of the city. Spoiler alert: we were not disappointed.

Holden enjoying Plzeňská restaurace

Holden enjoying Plzeňská restaurace

We ate and drank our way around the city starting with soup at the regal Café Imperial, coffees (duh) at EMA espresso bar, followed by beer at Plzeňská restaurace (located in the basement of the Municipal House), a meal of epic proportions at Lokál Dlouhááá, and even more beer (and kofola, a traditional soda) at Pivovar Národní brewery. We completed our tour with a traditional venecky pastry at Myšák cafe.

My favorite stop on our Prague food tour was Lokál. This place is known for its fresh meat and it did not disappoint. I’m not really a fan of any raw animal but the steak tartare was to die for. It was incredibly flavorful and the bread and garlic that accompanied the tartare was perfection. Be warned, the longer we stayed, the smokier the restaurant got. Ask to be seated in a non-smoking section. We ended up leaving rather suddenly to avoid putting Holden in secondhand smoke.

Delicious schnitzel at Lokál

Delicious schnitzel at Lokál Dlouhááá

Tallying up our beer at Lokál

Tallying up our beer at Lokál

Writing those last few paragraphs made me realize that I need to dedicate an entire post to our food tour of Prague. It was too good not to share.

We were determined to thoroughly explore as much of the city as we could during our brief three day stay. We walked off the majority of our food tour calories the following day. Chris’ birthday just happened to fall on one of the days we were in Prague. He spent the morning planning everything he wanted to do for his special day. He was excited to visit the Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague, search out David Černý statues, locate the baroque church of St. James (with its reported dangling 400 year old mummified arm), and visit the city’s Sex Machines Museum. We managed to find the infamous peeing Černý statues outside the Kafka Museum, but aside from that, literally everything else was closed. I felt awful.

Statues peeing on the map of Czech Republic

David Černý statues urinating on the map of the Czech Republic

The Černý statues were pretty incredible. The bottom half of each statue rotates along with each, uhh, “member”. We were told that you can text a certain number with any word or phrase that you want written out in pee. Technology, I tell ya. Also, after checking out a few of Černý’s other statues, I would love to take a peek in his mind.

Chris did end up finding himself a nice little birthday present in the form of a drinking horn. We stumbled upon a blacksmith in the town square and quietly watched him work. I really like markets and there was a little one next to the blacksmith. There were stalls that were hawking roasted meats, trdelnik (that sugarcoated cone of delicious you’ve seen around the interwebs), and various handmade Christmas trinkets. Oh, and there was a busker that was making giant bubbles in the square. GIANT BUBBLES, people.

Where Chris bought his beloved drinking horn

Where Chris bought his beloved drinking horn

Who doesn't love bubbles?

Who doesn’t love bubbles?

We ended up walking over the famous Charles bridge a few times. I’m a sucker for a good view and we found the western side to be slightly quieter. We also wandered into a nice restaurant for a comforting bread bowl of goulash and a stein of beer. As you can see, Holden was pretty impressed.

Goulash and beer for the birthday boy

Goulash and beer for the birthday boy

Our very last stop in Prague was at Henry’s Tower (officially called Jindřišská Tower). A little bit gothic, a little bit whimsical, the tower boasts something for everyone. In Chris’ case, it is the Whiskeria bar with a wide assortment of delicious whiskeys. I was more interested in the restaurant. We didn’t have time to stop in for a bite of traditional Czech fare but it sure smelled amazing. Baby Holden seemed to enjoy the floating cotton clouds hanging from the rafters of the bell tower itself.

Visitors to the bell tower can take an elevator to the top. Or at least near the top. You’ll have to hike your little one up one flight of stairs to reach the quaint observation deck but it’s an easy climb. We carried Holden in his car seat and left the stroller base on the floor below. We ended up arriving near the end of the day and we had the entire bell tower to ourselves. It was both awesome and creepy.

Our view from St. Henry's bell tower in Prague

Our view from St. Henry’s bell tower in Prague

The oldest of the bells dates back to 1518 although the tower itself was constructed in the 1470s. The tower’s bells can ring in over 1,000 different melodies. We foolishly decided to pay a few cents to have the clocks ring. Holden was not amused.

Pro tip: Though it may be tempting, you might want to avoid slipping a coin into the device that will play the bells for you. The bells are right above you, extremely loud, and the song goes on for what seems like an eternity- especially if you have a startled, wailing baby.

Overall, I thought our three days spent in Prague were perfect. There are a ton of things to do in Prague and I think we hit all the big ones. Well, aside from everything Chris wanted to do on his birthday. A huge thanks to Charlie for showing us around. We might have left the city a few pounds heavier.

Traveling to Prague with a baby

Do you have any questions for us? As we forge ahead into this new land of millennial family travel, we’re happy to answer any questions that arise. 


]]> 5
Tackling flying with an infant Fri, 28 Oct 2016 05:50:43 +0000 We did it! We all survived our first trip with baby Holden. We jumped in with both feet as we decided that our very first flight with baby would be all the way to Germany for The Video Summit Leipzig. And guess what? It.Was.Awesome.

I spent hours pouring over articles on how to travel with an infant and the best practices for flying with baby. Fortunately, so many of our friends have children and had more than enough advice to offer us.

My search yielded more information and best practices than I could possibly handle. I wrote down everything that was applicable to us and our way of traveling and tweaked them how I saw fit. I’ve included what I thought was the best advice and information for traveling with babies below.

Tips for flying with a baby

Holden Brave really took to flying

Booking an airline ticket for your baby

The good news is that as long as your baby is under two years old, they will fly free on nearly all domestic flights. The bad news is that it is a strict policy. If your baby is flying one day past their two year birthday, you’ll need to purchase a separate seat for them. We got super lucky on our flight to NYC and had an entire row to ourselves. We were able to make Holden his own little sleeping nest in the seat between us and he absolutely loved. it. It wouldn’t hurt to inquire if there are spare seats on your flight. If that’s the case, most airlines will offer your little one a seat of their own at no extra cost.

Baby H enjoyed the extra legroom.

Baby H enjoyed the extra legroom.

As for international flights, most airlines will charge ten percent of your ticket price for lap infants (i.e. if your ticket was $1,000, the cost for your little one would be $100). Bassinets are available on most flights but will need to be booked in advance. Most bassinets only fit in bulkhead rows and come with a weight limit. Be sure to double check the aircraft that you are flying on and seat yourself in the appropriate area.

I had one hell of a time trying to ensure that we were assigned a bassinet. We flew on an American Airlines operated Air Berlin flight and things got a little murky. In the end, I emailed, facebooked, tweeted, called and finally got through and was promised that there would be a bassinet with our name on it. And let me tell you, all that extra trouble was worth it. H is getting heavy and it was nice to have a place to set him when he fell asleep.

Bring a copy (or two) of baby’s birth certificate

When traveling with children, it is always advisable to have a copy of their birth certificate on hand. There’s nothing that can dampen a family vacation more than being accused of trying to steal your own child. Chris and I printed out multiple copies of H’s birth certificate and made sure that we each carried one. It was especially important for me since I still have my maiden name while Holden has Chris’ last name. It was also advised that if I was to ever travel with Holden by myself that I should have a signed document from Chris stating that he was aware of our travel plans and vice versa.

Packing the essentials

From my research, I discovered that most airlines allow the little one to have their own carry on. That meant that I was able to have both a small and large carryon for myself and a separate bag for Holden. In lieu of a diaper bag, I packed a small backpack that had everything we needed to travel with baby. Our sweet little guy was battling his first cold (like a champ, I might add) and I made sure to pack his liquids bag with baby tylenol, gripe water (he loves the taste of it), and baby Vicks. Since he’s strictly breastfed, there was no need to carry additional bottles, formula, or milk. I also packed his changing pad and a dozen diapers. When in doubt, pack more than you think you’ll need. We quickly learned that cabin pressure dramatically affected our little guy’s diaper output.


Holden’s backpack also included two spare outfits in case any sky high blowouts occurred, a blanket that Holden could play on in between flights, two small packs of disinfectant wipes (because I’m that mom), a few pacifiers, a pack of wipes, and a new toy that H had never seen before. I made sure that the latter wasn’t too obnoxious (i.e. noisy) and would hold our little guy’s attention. In the end, I went with a small teething toy that also lit up when shaken. He absolutely loved it.

Breeze through airport security

When it comes to getting through airport security with babe in tow, preparation is key. Chris and I have TSA Pre-Check (if you travel more than twice a year, it’s worth the investment) and Holden is able to accompany us through the accelerated security process. That being said, Pre-Check only works in the U.S. and even then, not every airport or airline recognizes it.

To be on the safe side, I made sure that all of our liquids were packed in clear ziplock bags and easily accessible. I purposefully chose a comfortable outfit with shoes that I could easily slip on and off. If Holden actually enjoyed being in his baby carrier, I would have worn him through security. Instead, we kept him in his stroller until it was time to go through the metal detectors. I then carried him through with me as Chris attempted to shove his car seat and stroller through the scanners. I was “randomly selected” every time we went through security to have my hands swabbed but that took less than a minute and then we were on our way.

If you’re flying with infant formula or milk, TSA states that you should notify the officer at the beginning of the screening process. Your liquids will be screened by x-ray and may have to go through an additional testing process. You may also bring canned/jarred baby food along with you and traveling moms, you do not need to have your baby present to transport breastmilk through airport security.

Check baby accessories for free

Airlines are pretty understanding when it comes to the sheer amount of items you need (or think you need) when it comes to traveling with a baby. Most baby safety items can be checked for free. That includes car seats, strollers, and pack ‘n plays. We ended up bringing our travel system with us and checked it at the gate. We were advised to bring a protective case for our car seat and stroller but since we’re cheap we ended up sticking them in large double bagged garbage bags. It worked like a charm. Just let the gate attendant know which items you are going to gate check and they will offer you the appropriate bag tags.

Instead of lugging around a pack ‘n play, I requested an infant crib from all three hotels we stayed in. If I’m being completely honest, Holden slept in them for a grand total of about fifteen minutes but they were nice to have nonetheless. We are flying to Hawaii in a few weeks and I’m planning on bringing a pack ‘n play with us. We’re going to be spending a lot of time with family and it will be nice to have a place for the little guy to nap whether we’re out and about or in the hotel.

Holden enjoying the view from his hotel crib in Prague.

Holden enjoying the view from his hotel crib in Prague.

Don’t stress

It’s true that babies can read and react to your emotions as a parent. The less stressed you are, the more comfortable your baby will be. I had to remind myself that everyone on our plane was a baby at some point and that I had every right to travel with my son. I had a slew of snarky comebacks on hand should anyone have commented on traveling with an infant. Luckily, Holden was an absolute dream and received multiple compliments on his in-air behavior. We even had one gentleman track us down after our flight home and give us two thumbs up while exclaiming, “Good baby! Good good baby.”

It also doesn’t hurt to dress your little traveler up super cute. In our case, Holden donned a comfy airplane onesie and the most adorable aviator hat. Instead of eye rolls and heavy sighs, he received smiles and laughs while boarding and disembarking the plane.

Have fun

Flying with an infant can seem daunting but a few additional preparations can make for a somewhat enjoyable experience. Be prepared to laugh at yourself and not let the opinions of other flyers influence this unique time with your baby.

Exploring Prague as a family

Exploring Prague as a family

]]> 1
As a Traveler and a Healthcare Pro Mon, 17 Oct 2016 05:35:09 +0000

When it comes to being a full-time travel writer and new father, there are a lot of things I worry about. I worry about whether our son’s ears will equalize as we ascend and descend on a plane, or if we packed enough diapers for the six-hour road trip we have planned. Juggling all these new concerns and anxieties is always tricky, especially on top of the original concerns of where to find the best food in Prague and cheap airfare to Iceland. This is why I’ve started to develop what I now call “the adult mentality.” Whereas my previous concerns in life really focused more on where we were going to stay and what kind of sweet beach/mountain would be in the area, I now find myself more concerned with how will I keep my new kiddo safe and do I need insurance. My father warned me that this day would come, and somewhere I’m sure he’s giddy that it finally has.

Travel insurance was a new experience for me. Something that I neglected as a young man but now use more often. Health Insurance is an even newer concern these days. I can’t imagine having had a child recently without it. Unfortunately the topic of health insurance isn’t one that many people my age are really interested in considering. We should be however. Companies like United Healthcare actually offer some pretty sweet tools to help you broaden your knowledge or identify any gaps you might have. It seems like more and more the topic of health care and insurance are increasingly difficult to understand. That’s what I enjoyed about United Healthcare’s site initially is that it allows you to play some straightforward games to test your knowledge and see what kind of healthcare plan is right for you.

1. “If terminology has you stuck, take the UnitedHealthcare quiz to learn more about terms and generic health care information.”

2. “Do you get regular check ups or find yourself having to go to the doctor often? Play the match game that teaches you all about health plan accounts like the HSA. FSA, and HRA that can help you afford those visits.”

3. Everyone’s health care situation is different, and it’s important to know the ratio between out-of-pocket costs and premiums. Use UHC’s slider tool to decipher the difference.”

4. Lastly, You may be wasting money by going to the ER when you could just be going to Urgent Care or using Virtual Visits through your health plan. Figure out which services are most or least expensive by ranking them yourself!”

Try it out and see if you know as much as you think you do. Find out if you are a health plan pro.

Excitingly enough, there’s even the chance that you could win some money just by testing your knowledge of healthcare and adding your email.

This new stage in life wasn’t something that I saw coming but I’m not sad that we’ve arrived here. With our new little baby we are experiencing a new and exciting way of traveling that makes the world seem richer and more alive. It’s also the kind of experience that really reminds me what is most important to me and that it’s time to ensure the safety and longevity of those closest to me.

If you’re on the fence about insurance I’d urge you to reconsider your stance. See if you know as much as you think you do and think about it a little more. Life moves faster and faster it seems with each new day. With so many new developments in life it is nice to be able to put at least one concern that tumbles around in your mind to rest.


]]> 1
Pretty Gritty Tours Sun, 09 Oct 2016 22:17:22 +0000 We love Tacoma. True, we are full-time professional travel videographers and writers who spend a large majority of our time on the road, but we absolutely adore our town of Tacoma too. That’s why, when I came to Tawny with a long-held dream of mine that would let invest in this city, she was happy to manifest it.

Ever since I was a little kid I have wanted to give tours. That’s such a huge portion of why I began this career as a travel videographer and journalist, to share the world with people. Growing up in the tourist town of Leavenworth, WA I used to guide tourists around the hidden alleys and secret shops of my Bavarian home town. I’ve often wanted to share the stories of unique locations with people to inspire them in life. Now we have that chance. This August, Tawny and myself, along with our dear friends Jackie and Paul, began a tour company in Tacoma.

Pretty Gritty Tours is our labor of love. From ghost tours to beer tours to kayaking tours, we help people from around the world find all the incredible things to do in Tacoma. With a powerful beer and coffee culture, a wide array of markets, miles of shore line, and hidden pockets of pure Pacific Northwest Culture, Tacoma is an incredible city.

If you’re looking for something to do on your way to Mt. Rainer we’re your people. If you want to skip the traffic in Seattle and still stay on the Puget Sound, we can arrange that. If you want to experience the Grit City Ghost tour (complete with beer from two of Tacoma’s top local breweries) then you are in luck! Shark diving, zip lining, things to do with your kids, the list goes on and on of what Tacoma has to offer.

Tacoma Ghost Tour

One of our most popular tours is the Booze and Boos Tour of Tacoma. A guided ghost tour that explores the haunted locations of old Tacoma, the dark history of the city streets, and also the warm (yet historic) breweries along the way. A pitcher of beer and a small flight of beer are included with your ticket price. Come hear our spine tingling tale of an 1800’s romance gone awry and the body that has haunted our streets ever since.


Tours of Tacoma

Our Downtown Tacoma tour, or Boomtown Tour is a walking tour of Tacoma that explores the city’s roots as a railroad boomtown. This walking tour is a food tour and coffee tour as well as a historical story of the city. Let us envelope you in the rich world of timber, intrigue, and Western expansion that made this glorious city the largest sea port in WA. We’ll discuss the world of glass art that Tacoma native Dale Chihuly brought to our shores and let you taste this town like none other.

Tacoma Tours

If you like craft liquor, local beer, historical trivia, good stories, artisan food, or life, then consider a Pretty Gritty Tour. We’ve been traveling the world for a decade now, learning what makes a good tour and what makes for a great destination. Let us share the remarkable city of Tacoma with you.

We look forward to seeing you out there!

]]> 3
Scottish Lakes High Camp Fri, 16 Sep 2016 05:03:31 +0000 When Chris first proposed a family camping trip with our not-yet three month old baby I thought he had lost his damn mind. I was just getting the hang of keeping a baby alive with all the modern conveniences of home. What was I supposed to do in the wild?

I know, I know.  People have literally been raising babies since the dawn of time but that doesn’t make parenting any less daunting. I like being able to spy on the little guy with our electronic baby monitor. And last time I checked, running water and the ability to wash our hands was a good thing with an infant. Every bad scenario ran through my head. What would we do if he was stung by a bee? How would we evacuate in the event of a forest fire? If we couldn’t bring his electronic baby monitor, how would we know if he stopped breathing in the middle of the night? And how are we supposed to sleep comfortably in a tent?

As I get older, camping seems to fall lower on my list of preferred accommodations. I am starting to favor plush beds and private bathrooms to sleeping bags and outhouses. Luckily, Chris’ dad found a little middle ground with a stay at Scottish Lakes High Camp in the Cascade Mountains. Instead of tents and sleeping bags, we would be staying in adorable A-frame cabins with real beds. There was no electricity or running water in the cabins, but the outhouses were clean and very accessible. It was the perfect foray into camping with a baby. 



And while my relationship with camping seems to diminish, my sweet son appears to adore camping. Holden loves trees. They are probably his favorite thing in the world right now. He likes to sit under a tree and watch the leaves move in the wind. His love of nature warms my heart and makes me want to do more activities outdoors with him. He even slept for NINE hours straight our first night at Scottish Lakes High Camp. That’s the most he’s consecutively slept EVER. And when Holden sleeps well, mama sleeps well. Who knew my best night of sleep in three months would happen while camping?


This camping trip was graciously organized by Chris’ dad. Nine cabins are available at Scottish Lakes High Camp. Chris, Holden, and I slept in the Larkspur cabin while Chris’ dad, brother, and godfather stayed in the Columbine cabin. Each cabin comes outfitted with a wood stove, propane lamps and cooking stove, kitchen utensils, a large carafe of fresh water, cozy mattresses, and pillows. The “village” also boasts a main lodge chock full of games and books as well as a wood-fired hot tub and sauna. We also roasted marshmallows around the community campfire and I might have eaten all the s’mores.


Hiking with a baby was much easier than I anticipated. Holden threw a pretty big fit during our first hiking attempt. He decided halfway through our hike that he abhors his carrier and screamed until Chris carried him in his arms. This meant that Chris carried our nearly 15 pound baby over two miles back to camp. A father’s love, I tell ya.

Our four mile hike on day two went much better. We learned that Holden now prefers to face out of his carrier. He wants to be able to see everything around him. He made it nearly three miles before he decided he wanted to be in dad’s arms again. While on our hike we made two little pit stops: one to nurse the bebe and another to change his diaper. I kind of adore breastfeeding because it means that Holden’s food is always available and we don’t have to lug around bottles and formula. Our portable changing pad is super handy and I love that it carries everything we need to change diapers and folds up super small. All we needed for our hike was a small backpack filled with water, snacks, and the changing pad. Easy peasy.


Holden wasn’t the only one that ate well while at Scottish Lakes High Camp. The adult menu featured meals like pancakes, spaghetti with sausages, and quesadillas. If there’s one thing that Staudinger men do really well, it’s camping meal prep.

tips for camping with ba

Overall, our first time camping with baby went swimmingly. Holden was a champ and really took to the wilderness. I see more hikes and stays at Scottish Lakes High Camp in our future. And who knows? Maybe I’ll be brave enough to go legit camping (AKA with tents) soon. But baby steps.

And for those of you that are contemplating camping with a baby, a few of our must-have items are:

Pack ‘N Play: Holden slept really well in his Pack ‘N Play and I like that ours comes with a changing table option. It was small enough that it didn’t take up too much space in our tiny cabin.

Snuza Portable Baby Monitor: We bought this monitor to test drive for our future travels. We love it so much that we now use it while at home. It’s small and portable. The Snuza clips to baby’s diaper and monitors movement. It will attempt to shake the baby awake if it doesn’t detect breathing after fifteen seconds. If no movement is detected after five more seconds it will sound an alarm to alert guardians. We plan on bringing our Snuza with us to Europe in a few short weeks.

Baby Bopp Portable Changing Station: We kind of love this thing. The portable changing pad folds up nicely and fits in my purse. We take it everywhere. The Baby Bopp changing station fits all the diapers, wipes, and baby gear needed for even the dirtiest of diaper changes.

Camping with a baby


I actually look forward to more camping trips with our little guy. Experiencing the world through his eyes is kind of the best thing ever. Have you been camping recently? Is there anywhere that you would recommend? Let us know in the comment section below!


]]> 7
We’re back in action! Fri, 09 Sep 2016 04:53:18 +0000 First of all, we need to apologize for our prolonged absence. So much has happened since our last post and we’ve been a little preoccupied with all things life. Let’s give you a super brief recap of what we’ve been up to over the last four months.

First things first, THIS.

Holden is here

We had a baby! A real one. A real CUTE one. We are thrilled to formally introduce you to our precious son, Holden Brave. He was born on May 18th (two weeks early) weighing 7lbs 4oz. He’s pretty much our world at the moment and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Holden is a natural born traveler. He loves being in the car (although he loses.his.mind. if we’re not moving), sleeps like a champ in hotels, and is such a charmer when meeting new people. He hasn’t gone TOO far yet but we have a few HUGE trips coming up in a few weeks.

This guy definitely keeps us on our toes. The first six weeks were a real doozy but now that I feel like a human being again, we are starting to resume life as usual. Or at least adjusting to the new normal (AKA life without sleep).

And then, as if having a new baby wasn’t crazy enough, we decided to start yet another business. We officially launched Pretty Gritty Tours mere weeks after Holden was born. Pretty Gritty Tours was a dream that Chris had years ago but it took a lot of convincing (and a legit, tangible dream board) for me to finally jump on the party train. We partnered with our good friends and local Tacomans, Jackie and Paul, to bring some of the coolest tours to Tacoma.

Best Tacoma tours

We love living in Tacoma and have wanted to share the city in all of its pretty, gritty glory with visitors and locals alike. Pretty Gritty Tours currently offers a number of unique walking tours around the Tacoma area. Our biggest seller is our Tacoma Ghost Stories Tour with our Tacoma Antique Row Tour following close behind. In a few weeks we’ll be launching our Booze and Boos tour which is our popular ghost tour coupled with stops at a few of our favorite local breweries. That is already my personal favorite tour.

So, aside from popping out a baby and starting a new business, we’ve also done a little bit of traveling. We haven’t strayed too far since having Holden but we did manage a trip to the San Juan Islands, a brief stay in Coeur d’Alene, a night in Bavarian Leavenworth, a camping trip to Scottish Lakes High Camp, and most recently, a trip to Spokane for our annual archery tournament.

adventures with Holden

Speaking of archery tournament, 2016 marked the 10th annual Castle Staudinger Archery Tournament. That’s right, the revelry and debauchery has been happening for ten years now. This year’s festivities included a holi powder castle siege, a newly invented drinking game called Key to the Valley, and bagvakken (AKA our attempt at making “bag whackin” sound German). The latter is probably my favorite spectator sport ever. We might have made up the name but we first witnessed this sport (should we call it a sport?) while scrolling through Facebook.

The original looks like this…

Our version is just as hilarious, maybe more so since everyone had to say the “call and respond” in a German accent. I’ll have to get Chris to upload one of our videos to YouTube so that you can watch us hit each other over the head with stuffed pillowcases. Apparently, in the original game, the bags are loaded with salted fish. I think I like our version better.

Our two-day event ended all too quickly but we’re already making plans for the 11th annual Viking-themed tournament.


And that’s basically what our life has been like in a nutshell. The next few months are going to be absolutely BANANAS. October starts our big travel season and we’re packing up Holden and taking him across the pond to Germany. We’ll be attending The Video Summit Leipzig and can’t wait to be reunited with some of our favorite travel videographers. We’re going to kick around Germany for a week and then spend some time in a new destination for all of us: Prague.

After Europe we’ll have two weeks to hang out at home before we hop on a flight bound for New York. We’re going to spend Halloween in Sleepy Hollow. As in, the legit Sleepy Hollow. Chris has been wanting to celebrate Halloween in Sleepy Hollow since I met him and I’m glad that we’ll get to do it as a family. After Halloween we’ll head to NYC for a few days where we’ll stay with my sister-from-another-mister, Carol of Girl Gone Travel. THEN we head home for a grand total of two days before getting on a Hawaii-bound plane. Yes, you heard that right. We’re flying from New York to Hawaii in a matter of days. We can kiss goodbye the insanely awesome sleep schedule that Holden is on now.

Aside from severely messing with Holden’s schedule, I’m pretty excited to be traveling again. The past six months of being grounded have really taken a toll on me. I’ve had itchy feet for a while now and can’t wait to see the world through Holden’s eyes. Now that we’ve pulled ourselves out of the newborn baby haze, we’re ready to get back to blogging, vlogging, and social media-ing. We’ve missed you guys and can’t wait to share our new adventures with you.

Thanks for bearing with us as we get our lives together!

-Captain and Clark (and bebe Holden)

New family travel blog captain and clark


]]> 8
Top 5 Reasons to get Travel Insurance Thu, 28 Apr 2016 06:19:55 +0000

 Are you thinking about getting travel insurance? You should be.


It is crazy to me that people even debate this. Especially those of us who lead action packed adventure lifestyles, however a lot of people are one the fence about travel insurance. For us, it just makes sense. We always consider a provider that will cover medical expenses, emergency travel, and travel document retrieval. Since we run our own business we really aren’t willing to pay upfront for a lot of medical costs abroad, should they ever arise. And why would we, when for the price of solid meal here in Tacoma, we could purchase travel insurance for the whole of the trip?

We recently recomended MedEx of United Healthcare Global to our buddy, Ben Herndon before his trip to Australia.


There is a certain piece of mind that comes with knowing that should anything happen you can fully commit to going to the doctor, no matter where you are in the world when things hit the fan.

Still not convinced? Here are my TOP 5 reasons why you should book travel insurance before your next trip.


Not a great way to get around Korea

#1 – Finding a legit doctor.

The team that works with you in an emergency has a list of reputable professionals wherever you are. If you are hurt or sick the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not you walked into a doctor’s office or a local vet and not being able to ask because you never brushed up on your Albanian like you said you would. When that Mahi you shouldn’t have eaten gives you food posioning, rest assured that you can call your insurer and get directions to a proper doctor that is covered.


Tawny Clark

Travel can be dangerous

#2 – Translation

Like we said, trying to work out the phrase “broken clavicle” in French while giving directions to the only Uber driver in Southern France isn’t fun. Luckily a travel insurer like MedEx can provide you with a translator to help you get from point A to point OK.



#3 – Documents and Non-Medical Issues

Perhaps you lost your passport in Bali or you need legal help after your scooter collision in Vietnam, don’t panic, your travel insurance can cover that too. Check with your provider but a lot of coverage will also help you with travel drama that isn’t medically involved.



#4 – Getting Home

If it turns out you have amebas or some other horrible gut problem and you don’t want to visit the doc in Mumbai, but want to get back to see your own doctor, that’s ok too. Most travel insurance covers your cost of getting back home in a medical emergency. Since flights home can often be more expensive than the medial treatment, knowing you’re covered is a huge relief.


#5 – Sleep

Being able to sleep on a local farm, in a blizzard, on Iceland is great. It’s even easier knowing that someone out there has your back should you fly off the road in a whiteout. For just a couple dollars a day you can prevent yourself from paying for years in the case that something goes off the plan, and let’s face it, it’s travel. Plans change all the time. It’s better to be prepared.


*It should be noted that Travel insurance plans from MedEx are not available for purchase for residents of Washington State or New York. If you want our recommendation for WA or NY travel insurance providers please don’t hesitate to reach out.

]]> 14
Down Below: An Adventure Through the Caves of WA Thu, 17 Mar 2016 18:58:45 +0000 Photo by Ben Herndon

Photo by Ben Herndon

My best friend, adventure photographer Ben Herndon, and I recently set out on an expedition to explore and document the caves of Washington state. What began as a simple enough journey soon turned into a quest for a hidden relic that would change they way we saw our home state forever.

We set out to chart (with photo, video, and audio) six major caves in the state, The Ape Caves, The Cheese Caves, Gardner Cave, Boulder Cave, Lake Lenore Caverns, and a mysterious cave in northern Spokane. The reality of this expedition was vastly different from our expectations. Not only did we vastly underestimate the number of caves in WA we were unprepared for what we found in the forgotten steppeland of Washington.

Join us as we explore caves, camaraderie, and folklore.



Photo by Ben Herndon

More of the Ape Cave lava tube near Mt. St Helens – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Sneak peak of my cave expedition with @Ben_Herndon. At the Ape Caves in WA #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA


Photo by Ben Herndon

Have you explored any of Washington’s Caves?

Let us know below.

]]> 8
Our Grand Canyon National Parks adventure Tue, 15 Mar 2016 05:13:35 +0000 This year marks the 100th anniversary of the United States National Park service. To celebrate the big birthday, Chris and I booked a trip to one of our favorite national parks out there– the Grand Canyon. And we thought, what better way to take in the beauty of Arizona than with a good old fashioned road trip.

Being six months pregnant, we decided to take things slow. To break up the drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon, we booked two nights at a hotel right in the middle of the two cities–in Sedona. It’s a place that’s been on our bucket list for years but somehow always seemed to avoid. This time, we planned on taking the two days to explore all that Sedona has to offer.

Mapping out our road trip through Arizona

Mapping out our road trip through Arizona

Spoiler alert: Sedona is pretty awesome. It seems like the city is hugged by the crimson walls of the surrounding red-rock buttes. Sedona is a stunning panorama of nature in all of its glory. We arrived to our hotel late at night but awoke the next morning excited for our adventures. We didn’t have a set plan and instead just let the day unfold before us. Before we knew it, we found ourselves at the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park.

Exploring the Amitabha stupa and peace park

Things to do in Sedona, Arizona

I particularly enjoyed the Amitabha Peace Park with its prayer flags, stunning scenery, and the quiet serene that we encountered as we meandered along the trails. We also made sure to visit the Chapel of Holy Cross as well as explore downtown Sedona complete with the most beautiful Sacagawea statue I’ve ever seen.

On our last day, we heard the legends of Sedona’s energy vortexes. There are apparently four main vortexes in Sedona and a quick internet search rendered a helpful map that plotted out the location of each one. We headed to the Airport Vortex that is known to have a masculine energy. We were told to look for extra twisted juniper trees. That would mark the spot of extra energy.

tracking down Sedona's vortexes

While we weren’t skilled enough in pinpointing the vortex, we did find ourselves enchanted by the breathtaking (literally, Sedona is at a high elevation) views. A quick hike along the Sedona View trail lead us to the top of a peak that overlooked the entire town. We were told that if we wanted long enough, we’d be able to watch planes pass closely overhead. My growling belly didn’t allow us to linger too long, but the summit was one of my favorite spots in all of Sedona.

The next day, we saddled up and made our way to the Grand Canyon. As it was early February, we knew that it was going to be cold but I naively didn’t expect to encounter snow. The temperature plummeted the closer we got to the canyon and by the time we arrived, a fresh layer of powder covered the road.

Best Grand Canyon road trip

Grand Canyon sunrise

As soon as we were in the park, we bundled up and headed to one of our favorite spots–the Bright Angel trailhead. The last time we were at the Grand Canyon we hiked the 12 miles to the lookout point and back. It’s one of my dad’s favorite hikes and had I not been 6 months pregnant this time (and need cramp ons to overcome the snow), we probably would’ve hiked it again. Instead, we settled for cozying up on a bench and congratulating hikers as they reached the top.

Our first choice in hotel at the Grand Canyon was El Tovar but as we booked last minute, we ended up at the Yavapai Lodge. The recently renovated rooms were a welcome surprise and we decided that it’s a place we’ll definitely stay again. And just because we weren’t staying at El Tovar, it didn’t mean that we couldn’t enjoy a fantastic dinner at its restaurant.

The next morning we awoke bright and early and headed to meet up with a tour group to one of the places we’ve been eyeing for years.

Visiting Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon has plagued our minds since we first started seeing pictures of the gorgeous natural painted walls popping up on our Facebook feeds. It seems otherworldly and we couldn’t wait until the day that we were able to explore it for ourselves.

To get into the canyon, one needs to be accompanied by a Navajo guide. I was worried that the canyon was going to be flooded with other guests, but as it was the off season, our small group of 7 were nearly the only ones there.

How to photography antelope canyon

Our guide was incredible and more than happy to help with the settings on our phones and cameras in order to better capture the beauty of Lower Antelope Canyon. I believe we spent almost an hour wandering through the canyon, taking photos, and running our fingers along the indents in the walls.

Overall, our six day road trip through Arizona was exactly what we needed. I enjoyed traveling at our own pace and really taking the time to enjoy each and every stop. It’s crazy to think that the next time we visit the Grand Canyon, we’ll have a little one in town.


Where we stayed: 

Sedona: Southwest Inn at Sedona

Grand Canyon: Yavapai Lodge

Where we ate:

Flagstaff: Mix

Grand Canyon: El Tovar Restaurant

What we did: 

Antelope Canyon Tour

]]> 11