Captain and Clark The Modern Cartographers, Charting Your World. Tue, 18 Oct 2016 01:40:47 +0000 en-US hourly 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.

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.


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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!

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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!


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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


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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.

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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.

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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

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Byodo-In, the Phoenix Temple Wed, 17 Feb 2016 08:44:53 +0000 When I first came to Oahu with Tawny in 2013 I was entirely at her mercy. This was her island. She was born and raised here, with family still living on the leeward side. I am a professional adventurer however and wanted to make sure that I left no stone upturned. I never expected to find a hidden location that Tawny had never even heard of.



Byodo-In Temple is a replica of the temple of the same name just outside of Kyoto, Japan. It was built in 1968 as a way to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. Byodo-In actually means, “Phoenix Temple.” This is delightful because the phoenix is a personal emblem of mine. I’ve worn a small phoenix pendent on a wrist cuff for the majority of my life.

The temple grounds are tucked at the base of the Ko’olau mountains. Curled like a tiger at the foot of the sheer cliffs this hidden sanctuary is a perfect spot for reflection or just to escape the chaos of Oahu. At the entrance to the temple there stands a massive bell, like a sentinel. You can pull back the large log hanging before it and ring the bell for good fortune.  Personally, my favorite part is to buy a little bag of koi food at the gift shop and feed the fish and birds. It is supposed to bring good karma, but it was is a sweet way to spend an hour in the heat of the day. The low peal of the bell pulses through the grounds, filling each corner with its music.

When Tawny and I stumbled into this little spot back then I didn’t know what an impact it would have on us. As Tawny stood in awe of the old growth bamboo forest that laps at the edge of the temple I snapped a shot of her.

Today, this shot is our touchstone for Oahu. It the line by which we measure our lives.

Tawny Clark at Byodo-In Temple on Oahu

Now, we come back to Byodo-In every time we return to Hawaii. That ends up working out to be around 2 to 3 times a year. Each time we take the same shot.


Tawny at Byodo-In Temple on O'ahu

This errant quest for something new has turned into a tradition all our own. Something from her island that we discovered. This last week we took our usual picture and it was markedly different. We have a new addition to our crew and a part of our story that is fully unwritten. Six months along, Tawny looks a little bit different now. The reality of us having a baby is starting to hit me like the clear ring of the bell at Byodo-In.

Tawny Clark at Byodo-In Temple on Oahu with baby

It is impossible for me now to not consider what traditions our little man will consider important. So many of the traditions and stories that my own parents gave me are navigation aides in my adult life. Every time I go on a hike in a cedar forest I take a piece of bark from the trees for protection, all because of ghost story my father made up when I was a child. I double honk my horn each time I drive away from a friend of family member’s home before a big trip because my mother always did on the family ranch. These little customs are part of the fabric of my life and are woven into the folklore of my existence. Soon they will be my son’s too. Will he come back to Oahu, years after Tawny and I are gone, and mark his life by the growth of the bamboo? What will he glean from us?

Some day my son will inherit my phoenix pendent, as well as the tradition of this temple. The symbolism is too thick not to savor.


Travel is intrinsic to my life, and to Tawny’s life. It is who we are in so many ways. As we chart our next year I need to start considering the unforeseen echos that each journey will have on shaping the form of my kid, on the man to come. It’s a little heavier than just looking up cheap airfare, but wildly more exciting.

While I have no idea what is to come, I do know (with complete certainty) that I am excited for it. I am proud of this tradition. Whether it resonates with him or not, I am happy to give this little piece of us to him for his own story.


Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA


Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

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Our Flytographer Shoot on Maui Tue, 16 Feb 2016 06:54:45 +0000 In my opinion, the single best travel souvenir you can get is a Flytographer photo shoot. Every time Tawny and I travel, the best thing we bring back is video and pictures. However, for us it is so difficult to get a picture of the both of us. There have been countless times that we have done the long-arm selfie or asked a stranger to take a shot of us. More often than not we end up with some well-intentioned shot of our knees or of a blurry outline of us in front of some monument.

There have been so many times that I wanted to just hire a professional like Ben Herndon to follow us around and make us look AMAZING. As it turns out though, that is an option.

"Our Flytographer in action"

“Our Flytographer in action”

For those of you who haven’t heard of Flytographer, they are the premier travel photo company. You book a session in a city that you’re traveling to, set up the meet, and then one of their uber-talented photographers (usually a local) shows up and captures you and your family/lover/friend/pet in action. You can book 30 minutes to 3 hour sessions or do a custom shoot. What you end up with is 15-90 flawless frame worthy shots to let you remember your trip forever. We hooked up with Flytographer in Slovenia last year and had such a great time that we decided to do it again this year to mark our babymoon.

My favorite part is how stunning the shots are. Tawny and I use our Slovenia shoot for everything from Christmas cards to marketing material. We have them framed and set as desktop backgrounds, etc.

Don’t just take my word for it though. Get ready to have your mind blown by sexy romance and take a peak at the results of our shoot on Maui below. Then go out and book a Flytographer shoot. We give them our highest review.


Click A Picture to Expand Gallery

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To see our Slovenia shoot CLICK HERE.

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A travel memory come to life Sun, 14 Feb 2016 14:23:36 +0000 Since I was perhaps nine years old I have had a vivid memory of the most incredible pool I have ever visited. In my memory this pool opens up at one end to a dark water slide. I can hear the rush of the water as it begins to turn into a water fall beyond where I can see. The water slide pours out into a slow river that slithers through a jungle and giant stone lizards peer down at me as I float under rope bridges and past yawing caves. All around me brilliant mosaics of sea turtles and mahi are set into the bottom of sapphire pools and shimmer up from below the lapping water. I can remember winding the film reel on my waterproof Kodak (my pride and joy at 9 yrs old) and trying to dive down deep enough to take pictures of the tiled sea life set on the bottom of the pool.

In the memory, the pool was a magical place with hidden hot springs steaming at the peak of small volcanoes and with rope swings and sandy beaches.

“Over the years I even began to think that perhaps the pool was a fantasy. After all I couldn’t even remember where I was when I visited it.”

This is burned into my mind. Now that I’m 30 I know how childhood memories can distort like a water stained picture left in the flooded basement, becoming grander than the reality we see as adults. Over the years, I even began to think that perhaps the pool was a fantasy. After all, I couldn’t remember where I was when I visited it. I used to tell Tawny about sliding down lava tubes and riding a giant inner tube up the caldera of a volcano as it filled with water. She approached these memories with an acceptable level of skepticism.

Two years ago, we were invited to come stay at the Grand Wailea on Maui. The property is so intricately designed and thoughtfully laid out that you feel like you’re entering a dream or a work of art. The resort begins with a waterfall as you pull up and a massive statue of King Kamehameha, spear in hand. As you enter the massive open air complex you are surrounded by water and a lush jungle. The sky pours into the courtyard and bronze figures of Hawaiians blend with the shadows. The real magic for me though began when we turned the corner and saw the pool.

As we came over a small river studded with languid koi, the pool began to take shape. It was instantly as if 20 some years melted away like cotton candy in the rain. It was all there. The river, the bridge, the pools, the mosaics. Not as I had remembered them. They were even grander.

As it turns out, my mom had brought me here over two decades ago for a medical conference she was attending. The pool was as real as I had imagined it.


*Be sure to click and drag the photo for full 360 experience!

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Updated-Resort-Mappool Grand Wailea

You can start at pool #1 and take a series of slides down to the main pool. Through rapids and winding rivers, all along jungles and past caves and grottos. Better yet, the grotto has a full bar in it! Something I had completely missed as a child. The thing that truly blows my mind is the water elevator. Yes. A water elevator. The world’s first. There is a small silver door at the base of a two story volcano. When the keeper of the door waves you in, you swim into the opening and find yourself in the center of a volcano with a massive inner tube inside that has seats on it. Find a spot and take a seat as the volcano starts filling with water. In the course of about 5 minutes the whole caldera fills up and you can swim out at the upper most pool. In essence, you could go from top to bottom of the pool all day and never leave the water. Trust me, I know. I’ve done it.

The pool at the Grand Wailea

My favorite thing to do is to get a floaty ring and drift along the lazy rivers all day long, stopping only to pick up a pina colada or to hit up one of the seven water slides.


I could honestly spend an entire day in this pool. The part that excites me the most is the thought of our own little baby on the way. (Tawny did want me to mention a special disclaimer that she is in fact six months pregnant in the video.) Here I am, thirty years old, and I am instantly transported back to childlike wonder and elation the moment this pool comes back into view. It’s like meeting an imaginary friend  in real life, or finding out that magic is real. That is a gift that I cannot wait to give to our own little man soon.


The Following video is shot in 360. Please make sure to use a compatible browser. *It should NOT look like a wide squishy panorama. It should move when you move your smart phone or use the toggles on your video screen.


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