Reverse Culture Shock of Coming Home

As we prepared to move to Germany from the United States, we were informed of the dreaded cultural shock roller coaster we could expect to experience: euphoria, homesickness, adjusting, and then accepting normalcy. These aren’t the official categories, but these applied to us. First, you experience a sense of euphoria. Everything is new; your surroundings, …

Sydney, Australia: A visit to the Sea Life Aquarium

In the heart of the Sydney lies an exhibit worth a visit. The Sydney Sea Life Aquarium located on Darling Habour allows an up-close view of the various types of sea life that live in the waters in and around Australia. Located beside the aquarium are also the Sydney Wildlife Zoo and Madame Tussauds to …

Milford Sound – New Zealand

Our first stop in New Zealand was to the enchanting area of the Milford Sound. The Fiordland National Park is on the southwestern side of the the South Island. We joined fifty others from our cruise ship, who decided to take an  overnight excursion. Our trip was from the Milford Sound with an overnight in …

Our Journey to Mystery Island in Vanuatu

Vanuatu lies almost halfway between the island nations of New Caledonia and Fiji. This makes Vanuatu an obvious destination for cruises in this area of the South Pacific. Our port of call for the day was Mystery Island. No one lives on Mystery Island. There is no electricity and no running water. And, it is the southern most island of the …

An Excursion to the Paradise of Beachcomber Island in Fiji

With our 29-day cruise with Holland America, Amanda and I were looking forward to completing another bucket list destination with our visit to Fiji. It seemed like the further east our ship continued to go from Australia, the islands became more beautiful. Some day, we will continue our bucket list to visit more islands of …

Stepping into the Shire – a visit to New Zealand’s Hobbiton Movie Set

It was a few days before Christmas, in 2001. Amanda and I, having been engaged for less than a year, lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. One evening, we went to the movies to see the first in the trilogy series of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." I remember watching that …