I have been a vegetarian since I was 13 years old. The reason was simple: My best friend tried it and I agreed to go along with it for one week. After the week I would try it for one month. The more I learnt about animal cruelty the easier was my decision to stay vegetarian. Later I still started to eat fish, but no other meat. I still drank milk, ate yoghurt and candy – hey it’s vegetarian. When I grew up in Germany I was sick a lot. I had asthma and needed to use an inhaler every time I would run or do any exercise outside or just get my heart beat going. Also, I had many allergies – starting from pollen to animals to food (most of fruits including apples, peaches, cherries, etc. but also to raw eggs which is in most dressings). I was probably sick once a month with a cold and asthma. I still liked to be active, but was limited in my lifestyle. My boyfriend had two dogs that I loved, but I was allergic and I would sneeze nonstop and get asthma everytime we went on walks. I ignored it as I loved them so much. The doctor gave me inhalers and antibiotics for my cold, and I accepted to live with it. When we traveled (which is one of my other passions besides animals) I was limited to what food I could eat. Exploring a different country and learning about the culture you really experience is by indulging in local cuisine. Unfortunately, I was never able to do this as I didn’t want to have my throat swell up if my allergies started. I never thought about that a different life would be possible for me, and just accepted to live this way with my allergies and asthma.
I set myself goals every week to have at least one adventure (big or small). I think it’s so important to get out of your routine and explore a new location, experience how close you can get to your physical limits or just get out of your comfort zone by trying a new food. I think this is what life is all about. You have your routine every day – every week – but what you truly remember are new unique things. Yes, it maybe scary at times – but mostly the reward is true inner happiness that will last forever. I’m very active and don’t like to sit around on the weekends. I usually get up at 6am and will be back home by 8pm. I’m lucky to live in sunny California where I can get outside every day. I love lots of different activities like tennis, beach volleyball, stand up paddle board, running, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, road biking, swimming, scuba diving, gym workout – everything where I get to move! This is not in order – so the hardest part for me is to choose which I activity I decide on for the day.
Lake Tahoe has been on my travel list since I moved to California. People told me how beautiful it is esp. in the summer and how many activities you can do. As it’s quite far in Northern California from where I live, I finally made plans to go in September. Lake Tahoe is split between Nevada and California, and my husband and I stayed in South Lake Tahoe/California side. It’s quite funny as you have all the big casinos like Hard Rock Hotel and then across the street is California where it looks like a cozy mountain town. It’s literally one street that divides the two and just by the buildings you can see a difference.
On our first day we discovered this organic – mostly vegetarian – restaurant called Sprouts Café in South Lake Tahoe – and it’s been our go-to restaurant for the next 3 days. My biggest concern when traveling is finding healthy restaurants. So when we found this gem I knew our trip would be a great success. J This place had the best smoothies / juices (Kale Refresher each morning) and delicious salads & bowls for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I wish they would open a restaurant in Southern California. The staff was also super nice and service was quick. Overall 5 star rating!
I have to admit I was not a big fan of Oahu and Waikiki Beach, but before you stop reading: I changed my mind :-). Yes, it’s the most famous beach in Hawaii, but I prefer to experience the less touristy side of the islands. We still had planned 2 nights in Oahu, as I was invited to stay at the historic and beautiful Royal Hawaiian Hotel. We stayed at the Oceanfront tower which gives you a special access to a concierge level for breakfast, snacks & drinks throughout the day. The views from our room were spectacular on the white sandy beach and turquoise water of Waikiki. There are plenty of upscale and authentic restaurants and shops in walking distance from the hotel. For people who want to go to the beach and still have nightlife it’s ideal.
I was looking forward to exploring “a more remote” side of the island. After much research I found a hike in the rainforest that would lead to several different waterfalls. Just what I was looking for 🙂 The trail head was a bit tricky to find as it starts in a residential area and you have to be a bit creative with finding parking. You need to look for the yellow “Ka’au Crater” sign behind the mailboxes. Once you get on the trail it’s magical – you hike along a stream, birds chirping and thick lush green wherever you look. There’s no marked trail, so you just have to stay close to the stream. There’s also some rope climbing on a few steep sides of the trail which was fun.
It got very humid during the hike and when we arrived at the first waterfall it started pouring (reminded me of Florida storms). It only rained for 10-15 minutes, and then the sun came back out. We didn’t mind the rain as we were wet in the waterfall anyways. It got only tricky as we hiked back up as it was all muddy from the rain. True adventure! J It was an experience I didn’t think I would have on the island of Oahu – as you wouldn’t think that you’re on the same island as Waikiki Beach. This definitely changed my mind about the island of Oahu – you can have restaurants & nightlife – but there are still beautiful remote parts of the island.
This was a special day as it was my birthday and Ulli surprised me with a decorated room and a beautiful breakfast. My first highlight of the day was a 2 hour helicopter tour over the entire island. I’ve done several helicopter tours in Orlando, Kauai, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon – and each one is amazing, but this one was special as we were flying over an active volcano! When we got close to the volcano we saw a lot of smoke and how far inland the lava has come – which is kind of scary for the people that live closeby. In the last couple of weeks I saw some amazing images from how the lava now flows back in the ocean – which looks spectacular. When we were there it was flowing the other way and we could get really close to the crater. We could see fires in the rainforest, from where the lava got close to the forest. The pilot told us that it only takes a couple of seconds until the lava cools, so some locals hike close to the volcano, but it is very dangerous as you don’t know where the lava is still hot and where it’s cold (as it flows under the ground, and just comes up at random spots). After this part of the tour, we stopped in Hilo to refuel and then went over the west side of the island and saw amazing waterfalls along the coastline. You could truly see the different climate zones – with the rainforest, dry sunny kahala coast and cooler side by the volcano. I highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting the island!
For lunch we went to a vegan – Indian inspired- restaurant called Under the Bodhi Tree, which became our favorite during our stay. It was delicious food and reasonable priced. They also brew Kombucha freshly daily in three different flavors (blueberry was my favorite). You can’t buy it anywhere else on the main island (I just have to go back for it!). Back at the hotel I had an appointment for a coconut oil scalp and full body massage in a tree house. Just what I needed after this stressful day so far….;-)The end to this perfect day was a dinner at Browns Beach house (restaurant at the hotel) which was so romantic : outside by the ocean, with a Hawaiian guitarist and award winning cuisine. I’m such a blessed girl to deserve such a wonderful birthday!!