Traveling in Taiwan: The Golden Waterfall and Yin Yang Sea

Hey y'all! Today, I am looking forward to sharing more about our time in Taiwan! As you know from my previous posts (Taipei 101 and Taiwan National Parks), we spent two weeks in this beautiful island country and we experienced so much! I fell in love with the culture and the gorgeous landscapes. The latter of which will be the focus of today's post. It's all about our trip to the Ruifang district, where we were able to see the Golden Waterfall and the Yin Yang Sea!

The Golden Waterfall and Yin Yang Sea

The Ruifang District is located outside of Taipei, along the northeastern coast of Taiwan. It's easiest to see this area by car, so we had a guided tour that stopped here, as well as a few other locations that I will talk about in future posts. It was around 30 minutes from Taipei to our first stop at Jinguashi, a town that was known for gold and copper mining. Towards the end of World War II, this area was also used by the Japanese as a POW camp. Today, the crumbling mining facilities and the tracks that were used to transport gold down the mountain, are all that remains. However, the highlight of this stop was the Golden Waterfall. It gets its name from the yellow tint in the water and the rocks that have turned a copper color from years of exposure to heavy metals. While it's not a massive waterfall, by any means, it is a popular spot to see in Taiwan, due to its uniqueness. 

The mining area is interesting to navigate and being on the side of a mountain makes it even a little challenging. There are tunnels, tracks, and winding paths if you are aiming to get a little adventurous. It also makes for some pretty spectacular views.

Remnants of the Mining Village

The Golden Waterfall

Further down the road, in the same village, we made our next stop. It was a gorgeous observation area, where we could look down at the Yin Yang Sea. Like the Golden Waterfall, the water pouring into the ocean has a yellow tint to it. The heavy metals in the water don't allow it to mix well with the blue ocean and this results in the "Yin Yang" appearance that you see from above. It's recommended that you don't touch the water due to this contamination, but it is worth the stop, just to see this unique phenomenon. 

The Yin Yang Sea

The color changes in the water, were once thought to be due to the mining that took place in Jinguashi. However, there hasn't been any mining done, in this area, in decades and yet the water remains the same yellow tint. This has led people to believe that the color actually comes from pyrite or "Fool's Gold", which this area is rich in. No matter how the color came to be, it is certainly an amazing sight to behold and one that you shouldn't miss, if you are making a trip to Taiwan!

Taiwan Travel

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about this stop on our trip! Are you interested in visiting Taiwan? Or have you already been? I would love to know! I look forward to sharing so much more with you. Follow me on Facebook to keep up with my most recent posts, so you don't miss out!

Until next time!

Much Love,

Kimberly
 
Two Traveling Texans

What Traveling Has Taught Me

Hey Y'all, I'm back!

I know it has been a hot minute since my last post, but if you have been following me on Instagram, then you know I was traveling around Europe with my husband. We have now been back in the U.S. for a little over a week and I have been itching to get a post out. This is something that was on my mind, during the entire trip, and even more so since I arrived back home. I have been day dreaming about all that I have seen and done over the past three years and how those experiences have shaped my way of thinking.

Today, I wanted to share some of what I have learned from traveling the world.

What Traveling Has Taught Me

Beautiful experiences are greater than beautiful things.

I know you have heard the quote, "I'd rather have a passport full of stamps, than a house full of stuff." I'm not sure who said it first (and even after a quick Google search, I still don't know), but it's very true! Those stamps represent a short period of time, where I was able to experience another culture. There are so many things we could buy with the money we use to travel, but the memories I have from our trips are priceless.  

God's creation is amazing and we should take care of it.

I have seen blue oceans, rolling green hills, rocky cliff edges, and the list could go on. My favorite part of traveling is seeing so many different parts of the creation that God has blessed us with. It gives me a deeper respect for nature and how it all works together. It also makes me want to do better. Earth is a precious gift that is full of such gorgeous scenery and I don't want to be responsible for covering it with litter and destroying the most beautiful parts.

The Cliffs Of Moher

Sometimes the most memorable and exciting moments come, when things don't go as planned.

I can't believe I even typed that sentence. Hold on! Don't take away my "planner girl" card, just yet! I'm still all about having an itinerary. I like to know how I'm getting there and where I'm laying my head at night. I also like to have some idea of what I'm going to be doing. I always start out with a plan (with the help of my dedicated travel agent). However, sometimes the weather doesn't do what you think it's going to do or delayed transportation throws you off schedule. Such is life! These are the moments that I have learned to embrace. I could choose to be upset or I can roll with it and see what happens. Nine times out of ten, I end up experiencing something even more amazing than I originally planned. 

The best tasting food, isn't always the most expensive.

I rather eat pork buns from a street cart in Taipei, than have the overpriced version at a chain restaurant. I don't know, maybe I just don't have "expensive" taste, but I prefer the food that we happen upon by chance, over the food that we made reservations for ahead of time. When it comes to pricey restaurants, in most cases you are paying for the experience. The lighting, the atmosphere, and the presentation. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy those aspects and I will pay for them on occasion, but when we come to the end of our trip and we are discussing which meal was our favorite, I never choose the most expensive.  

The world is big and my problems are small.

Out of everything traveling has taught me, this is the big one. It's easy to get wrapped up in small problems. It's even easier to blow those small problems way out of proportion. I'm definitely guilty of doing this, but there is something about standing on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher or looking out over Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, that makes you feel so incredibly small. I don't mean this in a negative way at all and I realize that some problems are big, but it's amazing how all the little things that are stressing me out, just seem to melt away when I think of how big the world is. 

Cliffs of Moher

I could probably write a book with the list of things I have learned through traveling and I hope to continue to do and learn more, but for now I will leave you with this. If you have not had the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and experience a culture different than your own, then I highly suggest that you go for it! It doesn't have to be a different country. You can start small. Try visiting a region of your own country or continent that you have never been to before and really soak it in. Eat something you've never had before and participate in activities that you would have never tried. Don't wait. Go!

Until next time!

Much Love,

Kimberly
 

Two Traveling Texans

Traveling

Bullet Journal Spreads You Need For Your Next Trip

Hey y'all! 

I'm back, today, with a really fun post! If you have read some of my previous posts or seen me mention it on Instagram, then you know that I am about to head out on a big trip to England, France, and Ireland, for two weeks. We are getting SO excited! As a planner girl, you know I have to be fully prepared for anything, and big trips like this are no exception. We have been counting down the days and I needed a way to plan, but also a fun way to pass the time as we have been anxiously waiting. That's why I have been using my bullet journal a lot more, recently. It's a creative outlet, vision board, blog planner, goal keeper, and an all-around enjoyable time. Now, I am also adding travel journal/planner to that list! 

I am going to be sharing my five favorite spreads that I have done, leading up to this trip. Maybe, they will inspire you to create your own!

Bullet Journal Spreads Travel

Travel Itinerary

This is probably the most important thing you need to have for a trip. This spread can and should include your flights, hotel information, and any preplanned tours that are time specific. I started out with a very plain, and straightforward list of the information, but later I created a more elaborate and fun spread. Take a look at the photos and decide what would work best for you. 

Travel Itinerary Planner Spread

Travel Inspiration Board

This one is just for fun! It has no vital information and it won't help you with your packing, but you will enjoy creating it and flipping to it, everyday until your trip. You can use images from your previous trips or from guide books that you have picked up. You can also find die cuts and stickers to scatter around. This is just a place for you to visualize the places that you will be traveling to and the fun things you will be doing. It's purely travel inspo and it will make you smile, every time you see it!

Travel Inspiration board bullet journal

Outfit Planning Spread

This time around we are attempting to do carry on only for our two week trip (Check out my recent post on tips for packing light). I know it's possible, because it has been done by others before me, but I'm a little nervous. I started brainstorming ways to reduce the amount I needed to pack, several weeks prior to the trip. I also decided to create a spread that would help me preplan what outfits I would wear. It probably won't be set in stone (it is just paper and pen after all), but at least I will know that I have an outfit for everyday that I will be gone. 

Outfit planning bullet journal spread

Packing List

The previous spread led me straight into creating my next spread, which was my packing list. After figuring out what outfits I wanted to wear, I knew I needed to put it into a functional list of items to bring with me. This also helped me to consider what I really needed, in regards to toiletries and cosmetics. What do I use daily and what can I do without? I'm sure I will still be making revisions to this, leading up to our departure day (especially when I start trying to fit this all in my bag), but it has helped me to have a starting place.

packing light bullet journal spread

Travel Wish List

Last, but not least, is the ultimate wish list. Unlike the inspiration board, this doesn't include photos or many stickers. I did include an awesome quote, because why not? However, it's mostly just a functional list of places that we want to see and things we want to do. It might be something that a friend told us about or maybe we discovered reading travel blogs. Whatever the reason, these are the things that we want to have stored in our memory bank when we are back home. We are still adding to it and hopefully we will get to do all of this and more!

Travel Wish List Bullet Journal Spread

What bullet journal spreads to you like to use before your big trips? Do you prefer to keep it more functional or more decorative? Let me know!

Until next time!

Much Love,

Kimberly
 
Bullet Journal Spreads Travel

5 Tips for Packing Light

Hey y'all! I hope May has been treating you well so far. We have had a lot of rain recently, but the sun has finally decided to come out on one of my days off, so I'm feeling good! I just checked my calendar and I have only 28 days until we leave for our big anniversary trip. The excitement is getting real and since I have travel and adventure on my mind, I also have organizing and packing lists on my mind. That leads me to today's post. I'm going to be giving you five of my tips on packing light.

We are definitely guilty of overpacking. Me, especially. I admit it. I don't like to leave home without everything I could even possibly need. However, after a few out of country trips, we have decided it's time to cut waaaay back. This time around we are doing a carryon and personal item, ONLY. It's scary, y'all. It's real scary, but I think I can do it. I have been brainstorming how I am going to make it work and in doing so, I came up with these five tips.

5 Tips for Packing Light

1. Travel-sized EVERYTHING

There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can purchase several of those clear, reusable, plastic bottles and containers or you can try to find your favorite products in the travel size bottles. It should be noted that your liquids need to be no more than 3.4 oz, if you plan on carrying on only. Most brands are good about making their products in that size, for this very reason. I plan on doing a mix of these two options. My favorite hair products can easily be transferred to another small bottle. However I am not attempting to squeeze out toothpaste, so I will be purchasing a travel size of that.

2. Leave your Hair Dryer and other Appliances at Home

Repeat after me: you do not need it. I have thick, wild, curly hair. I don't like to leave without my hair dryer and diffuser, but it's just not feasible to take it with me. That is valuable suitcase real estate that could be used for two or three more outfits. Besides that, if you travel to another country, you may not even be able to use that hair dryer without a converter (and sometimes those don't even work, trust me on that). The majority of hotels will have a hair dyer. Yea, it's not the best of the best, but it will get the job done. While you are at it, you should probably leave your curling wand and flat iron at home too. Depending on the size, you may be able to make one of those work. Not going to lie, I will be attempting to fit my flat iron, but I may have to accept defeat.

3. Limit your Electronics and "down time" stuff

I took a lot of planner supplies on our first trip to Europe. Quit side eyeing me, I know I am ridiculous. I just felt like I was going to be on planes and in airports for so long that I needed to have multiple forms of entertainment and planners are my entertainment. After a somewhat embarrassing canvas of my pencil box, in the Amsterdam airport security line (they for real thought I was cray-cray), I decided that maybe it was time to stop hauling all of that stuff on these trips. You won't have as much down time as you think. On the long haul flights, they have movies going constantly, they serve meals and snacks, and you will probably want to try to nap for a few hours to combat jet lag. This time around I am going to get by with just my kindle and my lightweight, 12-inch MacBook. Those items will fit nicely into my backpack, without taking up much room. There is no need to bring every tablet or device that you own and I would also steer clear of bringing actual books (Amazon Kindle, FTW!).

4. Plan Outfits Ahead of Time and Pack Accordingly

If you haven't learned by now, I enjoy planning (understatement of the century). I always make a packing list, but it is usually very generic when it comes to clothes. I may put that I will be bringing two pairs of jeans and two dresses, but in the past I haven't really planned my outfits for each and every day. This time around I am looking over our itinerary and actually picking out the exact thing I will wear. It will include lots of pieces that can be restyled with different accessories (think scarves and cardigans) to look different. Then, if the weather doesn't go as planned or something changes on our trip, I can just switch days up. This process will keep me from overpacking on items like shirts and tanks.

5. Pack a collapsible, lightweight bag, in your carry on

This is something we discovered on our trip to Taiwan. I love to bring home souvenirs. When I go on trips, not only do I buy for myself, but I also buy for close family and friends. If you have packed everything that you can into your bags for the trip there, what is the solution for getting home with all of your original items, plus everything you bought? The answer is a lightweight bag that folds up into a neat, little pouch. It's easy to tuck into your carry on, for the trip over, and then you can fill it with all of your dirty clothes for the trip back. This empties out your carry on for anything you may have bought. Yes, this means you will have to check a bag on the way back, but you are going home, so if your bag gets lost, it won't be as much of a nuisance.

Here is a great option on Amazon: 

I hope these tips help you to pack less for your next trip! If you have any other tips, please share them with me, because I could use all of the help that I can get!

Until next time!

Much Love,

Kimberly
 
5 Tips for Packing Light

Taiwan National Parks: Kenting & Yangmingshan

Taiwan National Parks

Hey y'all!

Today, I'm excited to share more about our trip to Taiwan! Previously, I told you all about our tour of Taipei 101. Well, that was just the beginning! During our two week stay, we had the opportunity to visit two of Taiwan's nine national parks: Kenting and Yangmingshan.

Let me just go ahead and warn you, this is going to be super photo heavy, but totally worth it!

Yangmingshan

Yangmingshan National Park is located between Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, and New Taipei City. It is well known for its hot springs and cherry blossoms. Even though we went on a foggy day during the rainy season, we were still able to take in some of the beautiful landscapes. 

Yangmingshan National Park

The smell of sulfur was apparent, which isn't surprising, considering there are plenty of hot springs, bubbling up around the park. It's home to Taiwan's largest, dormant volcano, so the conditions are just right, to keep the springs active.

Hot Springs Yangmingshan National Park

There are several hiking trails located through the park and one of them takes you up to Mt. Qixing, where the highest peak in Taipei City stands at 1,120 meters above sea level. If you aren't up for that trek, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Depending on the time of year, you may see the blooming cherry blossoms and butterflies. There are also cattle, scattered around the grassy areas, but as you see in the photos below, it's best to keep your distance. In fact, it's best to stay on the walking trails and out of the grass, because highly venomous snakes are lurking around.

Hot Springs
Cow in Taiwan Yangmingshan
Yangmingshan Taiwan
Warning Sign in Taiwan Yangmingshan
Yangmingshan in Taipei

Kenting

Located at the southernmost tip of Taiwan, is the gorgeous Kenting National Park. This was definitely one of my favorite spots to visit! Once you see the photos, you will see why. Kenting has it all: grassy cliffs, white sand beaches, and beautiful, blue oceans. It truly is a breathtaking sight! 

Kenting National Park
Kenting National Park Taiwan
Kenting National Park

Kenting is the oldest national park in Taiwan and it covers a wide expanse of land and sea. It's also home to the ChuHuo Eternal Flame, an area where natural gas that seeps from the ground, causes fires to erupt and Sail Rock, a gigantic rock that our tour guide referred to as "Nixon Rock", because it's shaped like late-President Richard Nixon's head.

Chuhuo in Kenting National Park
Chuhuo Eternal Flame
Chuhuo
Sail Rock in Kenting
Kenting National Park Beach
Kenting National Park

One of the greatest things about Taiwan, is the ability to see so many different types of geography in such a small area. You can go from mountains, to beach, to city, to grasslands, all in a one day trip! As beautiful as the photos are, they really don't do it justice. If you are planning a trip to Taiwan, be sure to check out these beautiful national parks and let me know what you think!

Until next time!

Much Love,

Kimberly Hysler