A silhouette of the American cowboy

After watching The Good, the Bad and the Ugly earlier today, I’m in a western state of mind.

This gorgeous shot by John Partipilo just won a Feature Photography award from the Society of Professional Journalists.  Originally published in The Tennessean, Partipilo sought to capture an image that exemplified the spirit of his home state as he traveled through back roads and rural areas in search of a place where ‘the past doesn’t seem so far away.’  Tennessee’s ever-evolving landscape led to ‘fewer farms, more housing developments and busier roads’ than he remembers seeing as a boy, but the American cowboy still remains.

“Shadows of What Was,” by John Partipilo, The Tennessean

“Shadows of What Was,” by John Partipilo, The Tennessean

Get busy living or get busy dying

Timing is inherently perfect.  Sometimes it feels like a blessing, but every so often, it feels like a curse. 

I find comfort in realizing how much is out of my control and that everything is in the hands of the Creator. Each passing moment is timed so precisely, and I think that’s a beautiful thing.

Unfavorable timing can be tough, but there are only two choices: you either get busy living and live, or get busy dying, and fade away. Look for the light or stay in the darkness. Realize that every circumstance and seemingly minute detail plays a part in a bigger picture that leads to a greater outcome than you could have ever expected. Life is really, really hard; but aren’t you up for the challenge? Keep going and create the life you’ve always imagined.

In The Patio I, Georgia O'Keeffe

In The Patio I, Georgia O’Keeffe

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.” Isaiah 42:26

In The Patio VIII, Georgia O'Keeffe

In The Patio VIII, Georgia O’Keeffe

Gazing at glowing prismatic hot springs in Jackson, WY

One of my favorite places out west is Jackson, WY. A real cowboy kind of town and home to Yellowstone National Park, Jackson is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

These crazy color formations are induced by geothermal activity. Salt water underneath the solid volcanic rock heats the hot springs to varying temperatures, allowing for striking hues of yellow, red, blue, gold, brown, green to swirl around the surface.

Yellowstone National Park, Jackson, WY. Photo taken by fellow traveler Matthew Levison

Brilliantly colored hot springs at Yellowstone National Park, Jackson, WY. Photo taken by fellow traveler Matthew Levison.

The real deal behind who goes where

The average air travel destination for the U.S.?  Canada, or as Quartz put it, ‘ in the middle of  a Québécois forest.’  And France?  Well, it’s France (…unsurprisingly).

Quartz calculated the average point of origin and destination for every country in the world, using the database OpenFlights.  The results illustrate how countries contribute to the ‘balance of global air travel.’  The average destination reveals a nation’s ‘migratory bias, nearby tourist attractions and the countries with which it does business.’  Cool.

‘Sense of Place’: seeing the world’s inexplicable beauty through travel

Travel is a faithful reminder that natural, unadulterated magnificence exists everywhere.

National Geographic is a master in the art of travel photography.  From every corner of the earth, each shot is taken at the perfect moment.  These untouched, exquisite photographs are here to make you smile.  Click me to see the rest Nat Geo’s gallery Sense of Place.

Kauai, Hawaii

Agra, India

Agra, India

Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia

Canyon, Arizona

Elean Donan Castle, Scotland

Lake Bogoria, Kenya

Lake Bogoria, Kenya

Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina

Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina

Helena, Montana

Helena, Montana

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Milky Way, Arizona

Having a bad day? Picture yourself here.

When I was in college, I constantly daydreamed about travel. I would search for beautiful images of places I’d never been and collect them into a folder. Just the prospect of going, and the possibility of having a life where I could travel was enough to help me bang out those papers. I suppose this obsession with beauty and adventuring led to my career as a travel writer.

I remember buying a poster very similar to the photo above and every time I would get bummed out or bored with school, I’d think about: Vacation. Relaxation. Exploration…just about all of the ‘ations’ I aspired to integrate into my everyday life. These photos (via Interior Design Magazine) are stunning, striking, unbelievably incredible combinations of nature and man-made beauty. They make me feel better, and I hope they make you feel better too.

So, if you’re in the mood to daydream or you’re having a bad day, picture yourself here.

The magnificent colors of Zion

A grand display of God’s art in Zion National Park, Utah


Fatali and his 'old-fashioned' camera in just another gorgeous USA location

Fatali and his ‘old-fashioned’ camera in just another gorgeous USA location

To see some incredible photography of special and sacred spaces in the Southwest, take a look at photographer Michael Fatali – he calls himself a “light recording artist.”  I stumbled into his gallery, Earthscapes, while I was Park City, Utah.  I spent a few hours in there staring at the photographs, each one more colorful, vibrant and spectacular than the last.  Fatali is a national treasure, capturing the best of the American Southwest for over 25 years.  His camera is absolutely enormous…but hey, I guess everyone has their thing.;)  Click here to see Fatali’s ingenious work.

Around the world in 13 gardens

Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Botanical gardens from all over the globe, via Condé Nast Traveler.  They left out Singapore Botanical Gardens (my favorite…the most divine place on earth) and the immaculate Bahai Gardens in Israel, but the rest of the roundup is beautiful.  Click me to see the gallery.