The While We’re Here Bucket List

We added and updated the list!!

We just moved from Virginia Beach, VA to the Jersey Shore this past December. My blog turned into a ghost town since the move and all while I was trying to revamp the blog . But we’ve been super busy moving, unpacking, 2 sick furbabies and just settling in and dealing with the winter blues for the first time in a long long time. But finally spring is starting to creep in and our kitties are feeling better so I thought it was time to dust off the blog and get back at it!

We will be here in New Jersy about 3 years sooooo we started making our New Jersey Bucket List!! We want to make the most out of the time we have here with as many adventures in NJ, New York and even the Philadelphia area of PA that we can.

Visit New Jersey

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Lot’s of hiking! New Jersey has quite a few great areas for hiking. Looking forward to autumn hikes the most and hope to get in some of the Appalachian trail (think, Stairway to Heaven)!! The Appalachian Trail is gorgeous during the autumn months! Top 10 Hikes In New Jersey If you are into hiking, High Point State Park supposedly has nice loop hikes incorporating the AT trail through it. Plus it is the highest point in NJ which means some beautiful views during the fall season!

Beach hop. We want to spend time all along the Jersey Shore and maybe a bit up into New York checking out the different beaches and beach towns! We’ve kind of started as you’ve seen by some of my last blogs. Of course it’s been way too cold to get in real beach/ocean time or to see how crazy crowded the Jersey Shore beaches can get during tourist season. All 44 beaches in New Jersey, ranked worst to best

Daily fitness/nutrition goals. Can we say, slackers?? Between the move and my hubby traveling for work our nutrition and fitness has kind of gone down the toilet so to speak. So now it’s time to get our act together. This will include lots of hiking, yoga, and Les Mills programs. This much we figured out before the move, the combo of these three things WORKS to add strength while making us lean and fit. My hubs will add a bit of running in there because it’s required for his job but I decided I prefer race walking and hiking. I’m a faster walker than runner and I enjoy it so much more! But of course no amount of exercise matters if nutrition sucks. Our plan is Vegetarian/Flexitarian Mediterranean nutrition plan. 30 day free trial Les Mills On Demand: sign up for a new LES MILLS On Demand subscription. On that page click the green text “Redeem Promo Code”, paste the code in and click apply. Your code is: supinesubstance57
The page will refresh and a hidden promotion with a 30-day free trial will show. Once you complete the sign up process, you will automatically receive 30 days’ free access to LES MILLS on Demand. **Terms and Conditions: Extended free trial is for 30 days and is redeemable for new subscribers only. Not valid to past trialists or current subscribers.

See Hamilton on Broadway! Yes, it’s expensive, and yes we will get the least expensive we can get lol, but it’s something we both want to experience. And maybe a few others too like Cats and Phantom. Broadway.com

Photograph a walking tour of New York city. I want to soak up as much of the city as we can. I’ve always been a city girl and could see myself living there. But this city girl is married to a suburban kind of guy. And I agree in part because I can’t wait to have a garden and a yard for our future dog to play in!! New York City: The Official Guide

Yankees game(s)!! I LOVE baseball and the hubs is ok with it (he’s not a big sports guy). I’ve been a Yankees fan since I was little, even while growing up in Ohio near Indians (I wish they’d change the name already) stadium and going to Indians games. So we gotta go, even if I’m in the bleachers or nose bleed seats! MLB New York Yankees

 

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Bronx Zoo…As I get more and more into the issues animals face, while wishing they could thrive in the wild, let’s face it we are eating up and destroying all the wild spaces! Most of my adult life I’ve been anti zoo and anti captivity. And while that still stands true for the most part. I can also be honest enough to admit we at times are fighting a losing battle to keep the animals safe and safe from extinction. One day zoos may be the only real safe zones for them. So I am a zoo advocate while still being a harsh critic of zoos. They need to do more, they need to actually keep them safe and not exploit them. They need to help the species to survive and thrive and not just for profit or human amusement. So we like to visit zoos to see how they rate as far as concern for their residents. *The Bronx Zoo opened November 8, 1899. The Bronx Zoo is a zoo located within Bronx Park in the Bronx, a borough of New York City. It is one of the largest zoos in the United States by area, comprising 265 acres (107 ha) of park lands and naturalistic habitats separated by the Bronx River. On average, the zoo has 2.15 million visitors each year. The Bronx Zoo is world-renowned for its large and diverse animal collection, and its award-winning exhibitions.[5] The zoo is part of an integrated system of four zoos and one aquarium managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and it is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).[6] Bronx Zoo: Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

Bed & Breakfast at Christmas in Cape May. Cape May New Jersey is a little bit magical during the holidays. The little coastal town is lit up with holiday cheer and touches of old fashioned Christmases gone by. Since they have so many century type homes still standing and still taking in guests and residents Christmas touches are just a little extra in the sweet town. Filled with small shops, confections and collectibles it’s the perfect place to welcome the season! I fell in love with Cape May when we first arrived here in December. We went down for trolley rides; one was an old fashioned Christmas ghost story while riding the streets of the town, one was an actual guided tour of the homes  and bed and breakfasts as we were told the rich history of the town. All the homes and B&B’s were decorated with lights and trimmings for the trolley tours. A must see if you’re ever in the area! Cape May

See the Battleship New Jersey. Historical site. USS New Jersey (BB 62) Wikipedia Battleship New Jersey

Visit Atlantic City & The Boardwalk. We already did a bit of this the past week. We wandered the boardwalk and the beach, drove around the city and visited a great little eatery, The Enlightened Cafe which is also a great community outreach. We have tickets to see Piff The Magic Dragon this weekend in Atlantic City. The area tends to pull in loads of great entertainment throughout the year. Atlantic City is mostly known for gambling but neither my hubs or I tare into that.  Atlantic City NJ

 

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Make snow angels! We haven’t seen a lot of snow during our 10 years living in Virginia and when we did we did it didn’t last long. It’s been a long time since I’ve made a snow angel and I plan to make them often during the winter months here. And speaking of snow, maybe some sledding and other winter sport activities while we’re this far north!

Six Flags Great Adventure. We already have season passes. One of the biggest pluses to being in New Jersey is that we are near Keith’s family! We plan many a visit with the fam to Six Flags while we’re here since it’s one of their “go to” spots with our niece and nephew! Added bonus is that we live super close!! Six Flags Great Adventure

Ellis Island & The Statue Of Liberty. This is simply one of those things you just need to see if you’re in or near New York City. History! Ellis Island

Explore Philadelphia! This city is another that’s rich with history. I regret in the entire 10 years we spent in Virginia we never took a trip to Washington DC to soak up all the history. So we don’t plan on skipping that with Philly! The 10 Most Essential Things to Do on Your (First) Visit to Philly

Dig For Herkimer Diamonds!! You can prospect for your own Herkimer Diamonds in Herkimer NY! “Herkimer Diamonds are high vibration crystals, that boost clairvoyant and clairaudient abilities. There’s even a KOA camping resort you can bunker down at! Can’t wait to get my hands dirty!!

Popcorn Park Zoo, speaking of zoos. Popcorn Park Zoo is a small 7-acre zoo. According to the Associated Humane Societies, the zoo is “a sanctuary for abandoned, injured, ill, exploited, abused or elderly wildlife, exotic and farm animals, and birds.”  This is someplace special and I want to celebrate that! Popcorn Park

 

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Paranormal Museum Asbury Park??? Unexplained phenomena, legends, folklore, myths, or are they?? The Paranormal Museum is a storefront and museum, in the tradition of “Roadside America” days gone by attractions. It houses a collection of historical and educational exhibits and just sounds like a heck of a lot of fun! I’m up for the macabre!! Paranormal Museum Asbury Park

Seashell Museum, because beach, sea, shells. I’m all about all things beachy and ocean related so this sounds like a great little day trip!! The Discovery Seashell Museum

Morey’s Piers & Wildwood. Morey’s Piers is a 6-block beachfront amusement park featuring 100+ rides & attractions including seasonal water parks. And Wildwood NJ has some great beachfront to explore and enjoy some sunshine at!!

Grounds For Sculpture. For my artistic side this place looks gorgeous to visit!! Grounds For Sculpture is a 42 acre sculpture park and art museum!

Cape May Lighthouse Full Moon Climb A great fitness challenge doing something you know you’d like to do anyway, that’s the way I see it anyway lol. Lighthouse Full Moon Climb

Off Roading The Pine Barrens, yikes! Rattlesnakes, frogs and a whole lotta swamp! But, we have a jeep so we can adventure!!

Rock Climbing. This is uncharted activity for hubs and me. I’ve talked about it and repelling often as something I want to try out. So time to strengthen up our arms and legs and dig in! These are the most popular places for rock climbing in N.J.

 

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My not so little list keeps growing. I started this blog post before we moved, that was in November and when I opened the draft I had to edit in so much more we’ve found to see and do. So many parks and hikes we are super excited about! So many beaches to explore! Now we’re in search of the lesser known out of the way gems that only locals know about. So this list WILL be added to on the blog and as we do them, I want to cross them off the list to see how much we accomplish!!

<We’ve been honest that this wasn’t the easiest move. We called Virginia Beach VA home for 10 years of our 11 years together and all of our married life together. So Virginia Beach was home to us. But being in New Jersey has so many high points we can’t not be excited. Especially with family being here. I started this list to get myself ready for new adventures and discoveries and I know we’re gonna make a lot of memories and have a lot of fun!

 

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If you are in the New Jersey/Philladelphia/New York area and have a fabulous sight you think we should check out or activity we may want to dive into, leave me some info in the comments and it may get added to this list!

*Italics: Wikipedia

 

 

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Where you been?

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The average is 8 for Americans. How do you match up? Put a 🏠 where you’ve lived,  ✈where you’ve been and ⭐ where you plan to go, or go again! GET UP, GET OUT & LIVE! Even if you just explore your own hometown! You only get 1 chance to live your life, LIVE BIG!
 
Alabama
Alaska ⭐
Arizona
Arkansas
California 🏠 ⭐
Colorado  ✈⭐
Connecticut
Delaware✈
Florida 🏠
Georgia ✈
Hawaii 
Idaho
Illinois ✈
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine ⭐
Maryland ✈
Massachusetts
Michigan ✈
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada ✈
New Hampshire
New Jersey 🏠
New Mexico
New York ✈ ⭐
North Carolina✈
North Dakota
Ohio 🏠🤞🏽
Oklahoma
Oregon ⭐
Pennsylvania ✈
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee ✈
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia 🏠
Washington ⭐
Washington Dc ⭐
West Virginia
Wisconsin✈
Wyoming
Asia(India) (Thailand)
Africa
Europe ⭐
Mexico
Caribbean ⭐
Canada ✈ ⭐
Dominican Republic
U.S. Virgin Island ⭐
N.Marian Island

Busch Gardens 07/30/2017

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I walked🚶🏽 alllllllllll day lol.  Close friends of ours were heading to Busch Gardens for the day and we hadn’t been there together since 2007 when the Griffon roller coaster🎢 ride first opened there.

It was a short travel to get to Busch Gardens, about an hour. We arrived at around noon and left after Celtic Fyre at about 9pm. It was a long day of walking, burning a whole lot of calories and having fabulous day with friends.

My hubby & I had so much fun even though we didn’t do many rides. Keith did a few of the coasters (If you are in to roller coasters, you’ll LOVE this park) with our friend Jason while me, Jason’s wife Wendy, their son and our friend Rachel (her hubby had to work 😞) and her two girls took the kids for their rides and fun adventures. We all met up after and went to the “More Pet Shenanigans Show”.  😸🐶🕊️🐔🐀🐷All their animals are rescues and they are treated really well. The show was realllllly cute and funny. The video below wasn’t the show we attended (this was posted last year) but all the animals seemed to be super happy and having fun. All the dogs were wagging their tails and looked loved.

 

 

 

The whole layout of Busch Gardens is really beautiful, with lots of places to stop and rest in the shade and get cool drinks. We did a meal package plan which was very reasonably priced for a theme park. And the food, although cafeteria style was delicious, with healthier options available. There are adventures and experiences for all ages and the park is kept clean (even the bathrooms).

After the More Pet Shenanigans Show, we all kind of went our separate ways. Jason and Wendy headed home and Rachel and the girls went over to have fun with the Sesame Street Show and fun play area. Keith and I went to see Britmania, a musical show about the British invasion of music into the U.S., it was a fun show especially if you are a fan of musicals and music. After that we grabbed some dinner in Canada since we had done lunch in England. The park is divided up by hamlets to be able to travel your way around the park. Each of the hamlets has their own shops with fare that would be from that hamlet. From baked goods, to jewelry.

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  • Banbury Cross (England)
  • Heatherdowns (Scotland)
  • Sesame Street Forest of Fun
  • Killarney (Ireland)
  • San Marco (Italy)
  • Festa Italia (Italy)
  • Rhinefeld (Rhineland Germany)
  • Land of the Dragons
  • Oktoberfest (Bavarian Germany)
  • Aquitaine (France)
  • New France (French Canada)

 

After dinner we headed to Celtic Fyre, which was the show we were most looking forward to seeing! If you like celtic song and dance, you would be mesmerized by their performance! It was Broadway level showmanship and artistry. We would go back just to see this show again! Below is a promo for the show.

 

 

We headed homeward bound after Celtic Fyre. I ended up burning about 1, 400 😯calories just walking around all day! So all in all it was a pretty ✨magical ✨day

 

 

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Miscellaneous

 

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Point Pleasant NJ Family Vacation 2017

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Day 1 🌞🚙🌤️🍕

Thank you Mom, Dad, Tori and Barry for making this all happen!

We’ve been waiting for this kind of vacation a long time! And the family was waiting for this reunion for 12 years! That was the last time they were all together as a family. So this was super special. The ride there was beautiful. And you’ll hear that word thrown around a lot in this blog post 😄 So we drove from Virginia Beach to the Jersey Shore (Point Pleasant NJ/Beach) and we had great weather for the drive and very few stops. We were just excited to get there.

 

When we arrived, not everyone was there yet and wouldn’t be until Tuesday. We stayed at the Sand Pebble Motor Lodge in the Victorian. We were upstairs in a three bedroom suite (which was in itself two floors). We stayed with Keith’s parents, his brother Barry, sis-in-law Tori and their two littles (kids). The place was HUGE. His brother and fam was on the second floor of our suite, they had a massive bedroom with a king size bed, a huge bathroom with tub and a HUGE walk in closet that was actually used as the kids playroom, yeah it was that big. We think it may have originally been a small bedroom that they converted into a massive walk in closet. We were downstairs, where there were two bedrooms and a HUGE bathroom and kitchen. The living room was pretty big too. The kitchen was fully equipped and stocked with utensils, pots, pans, dishes, etc…. Keith’s big brother stayed downstairs in another suite (the steps in the first pic below show the entrance to their suite, we were on floor 2). Their suite was also roomy, a big two bedroom with large kitchen. 

We arrived around dinner time and so we just had pizza and enjoyed time with family. After dinner we took a walk down to the boardwalk (which was open till midnight) to walk around and get some desert.

 

 

Day 2 ☀️⛱👙🌊 🚂

Sunshine and blue skies! Time to hit the beach!!! The beach was nice. When staying at the Sand Pebble you can get a discount for tickets to Jenkinson’s Beach. Now this was something I had never heard of, people owning parts of the beach and you paying to get on their beach. Here is VB we don’t have that. We either have public beaches or private beaches that you can only access if you are staying someplace on that beach. 

The beach ended up being $2 a day per person after the lodge discount. Not bad I suppose. It pays for having a clean beach, and lifeguards everywhere. You feel pretty safe at this beach. It was beautiful!!

We went our own way for a bit and ended up at a cozy diner, Beach Diner and had a quick dinner while watching the trains go by. 

Afterwards we headed back down to the boardwalk for the kids to all ride rides (lots of good ones for the kids), play carny games and get desert at the The Black Anchor Coffee House, which was delicious!!!!

 

Day 3 🌤️📷🥗

Most of this day was just very family oriented. We took family photo’s and just spent time reconnecting and connecting. The day before Aunt Kate (Keith’s Mom’s sister) and her hubby Uncle Mike also came down and joined us and took family photo’s for us. 

 

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Aunt Kate & Uncle Mike

We all went out to dinner at Frankie’s. I had a salad and was disappointed they didn’t even have bread sticks let alone bread. But my salad was good! And everyone just enjoyed spending time with each other. After all, for some it had been 12 years since they last saw each other. Keith (my hubby) had not seen his oldest brother Scott in 12 years! Scott and Nauko’s oldest was just a baby boy when he last saw them. And I had never met them. They live all the way in Washington State. So this really was a special time for all of us!

 

Day 4 🌥️📷🐸🦉🐧🐢🐠🐡🦐🐍🌦️⛈️

Jenkinson’s Aquarium was how we spent most of the day. It was a pretty laid back day with a few raindrops. And the start of some thunderstorms. It was a good day for an indoor experience. 

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To be honest, I really thought the aquarium was just going to be a roadside afterthought kind of place. I was even worried I would see mistreatment,neglect or bad conditions here. But it was the complete opposite. They were cleaning all the time, the animals looked happy and well fed. And happily I found this place to be very conscientious about animal welfare and sustainability. They had displays everywhere for conservation, animal protection, rescue, preservation and keeping the waterways clean of debris. I was pretty impressed with this little aquarium. They care a lot about their residents and the animal world. 

ps….their seal, Luseal wasn’t always alone here. Luseal is a rescue and so was the other resident seal. Sadly Luseal’s companion passed away recently. From what they said they are hoping to be able to take in another rescued seal.

 

Day 5 ⛈️☔💦🥙🚂

Rain, thunder, lightening, downpours! But it was still a pretty awesome day. We hung around the house for a while and hung out with family and then met with one of Keith’s old friends and her hubby for dinner. We had met once before and have been Facebook friends, but I haven’t seen her since Keith and I first got together! She even got married since then and moved out of Jersey to PA and then back to Jersey. So it was time to catch up! Unfortunately for whatever reason, we completely forgot to snap any pictures. But it was a fun evening playing catch up at Beach Diner with good friends we don’t get to see often enough!

And we did make tentative plans to get together some time during the holidays! And next time, we will take pictures!!

 

Day 6 Headed Home….☀️😢🌊⛴

All good things I suppose have an ending, or at least a, till next time. And we’ve already decided there will be a next time. We have solo trip plans and plans that involve group vacations back to Point Pleasant. We also determined that we can’t let so much time go by with us not seeing the littles. Keith is godfather to the two littlest niece and nephew and since they are in New Jersey and us in Virginia, we decided we need to start meeting at some half way points, even if only for weekends here and there so we can all see each other. Time slips away and we may ourselves eventually move further away so we have to find the time and take the time to spend with family while we can!

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Look close, there be a dolphin swimming! We saw dolphin pods and I saw a whale!!

We grew closer to family who are in Washington State too and we may even move there one day soon, who knows. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to live and Keith’s job could potentially come up with a transfer there.  But either way we have to make it happen that we see each other more. Kids need family bonds and although it’s hard when people are so transient now and tend to live in other states, or even countries, to make the effort to remember that kids needs to know family.

We all had a quick lunch together back at Frankie’s and then a quick run back down to the boardwalk for us to grab this massive apple (we had at the beginning of the trip, soooo good!) and some taffy, as well as a new wall hanging for our ocean(esq) living room!

It was especially nice for Keith, Scott and Barry’s parents to see us all, and see us all together. Time keeps moving and before you know it, 12 years have gone by.  I think we all learned a valuable lesson while having a beautiful and memorable family vacation!

💙Till next we meet….

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The World Needs More Than Good Intentions

Praying and meditating won’t stop violence, environmental disasters, or inequality. Our spiritual path needs to become one of action.

Source: The World Needs More Than Good Intentions

Spiced Vegan Seed Brittle

Spiced Vegan Seed Brittle

INGREDIENTS

1 cup natural cane sugar
½ cup brown rice syrup
¼ cup water
½ cup hulled pumpkin seeds
½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
⅛ tsp flakey sea salt, plus extra to finish
2 tbsp dairy free butter
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda

Supplies: 
1 candy thermometer
1 wooden spoon
Baking sheet with parchment or baking mat
Medium Saucepan

DIRECTIONS

Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm.

On your stovetop, toast the pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a saucepan until fragrant, shaking the pan so they are evenly roasted. Remove from heat and toss with salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. In another small bowl, mix the vanilla extract with the baking soda. Set both aside.

After wiping out the saucepan with a damp cloth, add cane sugar, brown rice syrup, and water, bringing to a boil. Submerge the end of your candy thermometer in the sugar mix to monitor the temperature. As it bubbles, the water will cook off and the sugars will begin to caramelize. The brown rice syrup helps to keep the sugars from recrystallizing into lumps as it heats.

Keep an eye on the temperature. When the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees F, or after about 15–20 minutes, it’s time to add your spiced seeds and dairy-free butter. The sugar should be golden brown. Mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated.

For the final step, remove your warmed baking sheet from the oven and place near the stove. Convince small children, pets, and curious kitchen observers to clear the area.

As the temperature of the sugar hits 300 degrees F (or darkens just a bit more if you’re without a candy thermometer), pour in the vanilla/baking soda solution and stir. The sugar will foam and bubble as the baking soda reaction releases carbon dioxide. These tiny bubbles keep the brittle from becoming teeth-achingly hard. Immediately remove saucepan from the heat and pour the seed brittle mix onto your lined baking sheet.

If you’re impatient, like me, you can use a greased spoon to level the mixture; although it will self-level as it comes to room temperature. Sprinkle with a pinch more sea salt if you’re diggin’ the salty sweet, and after about 10 minutes, you can cut the brittle into little pieces. If you want rustic shards, wait a bit longer and crack with your hands.

If stored properly at room temperature and away from moisture, the brittle will keep for about three weeks…although once the word gets out that there’s brittle in the kitchen I would be surprised if it makes it three days. Give as gifts or keep all for yourself. Sometimes it’s OK to be a little scrooge-y when it comes to caramel covered spicy seeds.

Source

Travel Photography Advice!

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I found this fantastic travel blog,  G Adventures and a really cool write up about how to,  and not to take travel photo’s. I’m just learning how to take better photo’s mysself. And am signing up for classes very very soon. Photo’s hold your most precious memories. Not only for yourself but for everyone you share your adventures with now and in the future. Learning how to better capture those moments is a subject I’m delving into more and more. So check out the blog and learn how to take better vacation pics!

 

How Not to Take a Travel Photo

Do you suffer from boring travel photo syndrome? Don’t worry! Travel photographer Peter West Carey’s got your cure!

Source: How Not to Take a Travel Photo