2018 Travel Adventures!


2018 was an amazing year for traveling. Unlike 2017, where a lot of our travel was very planned out, we decided to be a bit more loosey goosey with our travel plans this year. Allowing the destination, time of year and adventures to just come to us. 

The result was a year of transformative and magical traveling! We went from one of the warmest destinations to one of the coldest. Big cities and vast countrysides. We laid on beaches and hiked up glaciers. We got a wide variety of experiences and that left us very satisfied with our 2018 travels.

Our travel kicked off pretty early with Costa Rica in late February/ early March. We trekked through the rainforest, climbed a volcano and sun bathed, (more like fried but so worth it) on a beautiful beach. 


April brought my long time best friend and I together in Jacksonville for a concert that was like 8 years in the making and left us with some of the most amazing street art we had ever seen. 


June and summer meant it was time for our annual trip to California and as always we did it up big! We hiked a little bit of Topanga Canyon for the first time. We took a little day trip to the breathtaking Joshua Tree National Park and we spent the summer solstice burning some candles and setting intentions on Victoria Beach in Laguna! We incorporated some new Cali experiences with some of our favorite LA classics.


In September we took a small day trip up to Georgia for mom's birthday and this time we dragged my brother along! Our main attraction was a super chill hike through Providence Canyon State Park otherwise known as The Little Grand Canyon. We would definitely recommend this park for hikers of all levels! Be mindful of the temps, though. The summer months can get pretty hot, even in the shade.

I wrapped up the year of travel in late November/ early December with one of the most epic trips to Europe with some co-workers! We explored parts of Iceland, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. This trip really rivaled all the rest and added a few more countries to my top favorite countries that we have visited. I know I will have to take mom back, but it will probably be better for us to go in the summer, next time. 


Here is to an amazing year of travel, adventure and great people! We are so grateful for every plane we board and every mile we drive. We are eager and excited to see what kind of craziness 2019 will bring to us and you! 

If you would like to see more of our 2018 travels make sure to head over to our YouTube channel and check out some of the amazing sites we were able to experience this year. And if you would like a more in depth recount of my time in Europe stay tuned for the next two articles and videos from your favorite mother daughter travel bloggers!

We hope you are all having an amazing day and may your 2019 bring you lots of opportunities to pack your bags and explore the world. Remember:

It's an adventure! 

Five Months Later, An Envelope from Copenhagen

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When we traveled to Copenhagen, I had told you about getting pick-pocketed. I had my change purse stolen which held my debit card, credit card, and ID as well as US cash and Euros. Although, it was stressful and a bit of a pain in the you know what, I was able to get all my cards replaced within a few days of arriving back in the US. After the bank and credit card companies had finished their investigations into the matter, all debts were covered and the cases were closed.

Well, fast forward five months later.  It was Saturday, and I was headed out to run some errands.  I walked down to the mailbox to check the mail.  When I reached inside, I pulled out an odd envelope.  I was a larger envelope with the clear windows which showed my name and address.  There were no real markings on it. It just seemed odd.  


I felt through the envelope and noticed there was a card that was the size of a credit card.  I thought to myself, "I am not expecting any replacement cards, I wonder what this is"?  So, I tore open the envelope.  There was a ordinary piece of white copy paper that had my name and address typed on in it, but the rest of the sheet was completely blank.  Within the fold of the piece of paper were my driver's license and my credit card.  I stood in the driveway and tried to put this puzzle together. 

Listen! It had been five months, and, I had just come back from visiting Brandy in Orlando. I knew I used my credit card and license while I was there.  Had I left them somewhere and a helpful stranger mailed them back to me?  I looked at these two cards harder and realized that the number on the credit card was not my current number.  I quickly flipped over the envelope and noticed that it had a Copenhagen, Denmark postal marking for the stamp.  

Someone in Copenhagen had found these two pieces of my property and mailed them back to me!  How did they come across these items?  Why did they take the time and money to send them back to me?  These are questions I'll never know the answers to and I'll never be able to thank anyone, because there was no return address.  Would thieves do this?  I don't know, maybe the person who pickpocketed me has had this guilt eating away at him for the past five months, Edgar Allan Poe style!


I'm still baffled by it all!  If, somehow, the person responsible for retrieving my belongings and returning them to me should ever read this.....thank you!  Both cards had long since been replaced, but the gesture was there.  Once again, my faith in the people of Copenhagen has been a little more restored.

Life......It's An Adventure!!

Copenhagen, Denmark

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We took a flight from Brussels to Copenhagen, Denmark for our quick stay in this city.   When we arrived we took the metro from the airport to Frederiksberg Centret, a large shopping mall in the Frederiksberg borough.  The mall is really beautiful, but we weren't there to shop, in researching Vegan restaurants, we had found a couple of options that were located in the mall.  We decided that was probably a good sign of what Copenhagen would have to offer in the way of vegan fare.  I was in the mood for a burger and fries and Brandy didn't really know what she wanted.  We decided to try Raw 42.  I had the Raw 42 Burger with a side of sweet potato fries Brandy decided to try their Acai bowl.  We sat and enjoyed our lunch, we had both made very good choices.

When we left the mall we took a bus to find our Airbnb.  As we walked off the bus we stopped to check Google to get our directions to the Airbnb.  A gentleman stopped and asked us if we needed help finding something and as we were talking to him a lady stopped to offer assistance too.  We thought it was really nice to have two people try to help us, but we were just consulting our map.  The gentleman explained that the stop we got off at was at the Assistens Cemetery, the very cemetery that Hans Christian Anderson is buried in.  We decided to carry on to check into our Airbnb to drop our bags and get our bearings before exploring the landmarks and sites.

We arrived at our Airbnb which was in a grouping of row houses in a residential neighborhood.  By this time, we had realized that most of the residential buildings in Europe are walk ups, but this time we were on the 5th floor.  With our heavy backpacks on our backs, we climbed the narrow stairs to the 5th floor.  This place would prove to add an additional challenge when returning from our long days out and about!  


Once checked in and settled, we decided to head out and check out the cemetery and walk around the neighborhood for a bit.  We headed back to the cemetery first to look for the resting place of Hans Christian Anderson.  The cemetery itself was really beautiful and designed to be almost a thoroughfare for pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists.

Speaking of cyclists, while Amsterdam is known as the bicycle capital of the world, I would argue that it might be Copenhagen.  The streets are so bicycle-friendly with car-size lanes just for cyclists and their own street signals.  At any one time, a hundred cyclists would make their way through the intersections and you better not be walking in their lane!  It sometimes became a game of Frogger to move through the city with the number of other pedestrians, cars, buses, scooters, and cyclists also trying to get to their destination.


We found the Anderson memorial and continued to look around the cemetery.  As we made it out the other side, we walked on with no particular destination in mind.  We headed toward what seemed to be downtown and were in awe of the Danish architecture and ancient-looking cathedrals in the distance.  As we passed by apartment buildings, we would decide which ones we'd want to live in.  After we had walked around for a bit, we started our search for food.  We decided to make our way to California Kitchen for a healthy dinner.  That was the beginning of my "bowl" obsession.  The place was so crowded that we took our bowls back to the Airbnb to sit and eat.  The wind was really howling that night as we settled into our 5th-floor room.   We didn't care as long as we were inside.  With our bellies full and our legs aching we called it a night.


The next morning we got up early and headed out to meet our tour bus.  I had purchased a hop on/hop off bus and boat tour so that we could take in as much of the city as possible in the short amount of time that we would be there.  We boarded the bus, second level of course, and sat back to see all the sites of Copenhagen.  First, we went by the Black Diamond Library which was beautiful and so much different than all the other architecture of the city.  We stayed on the bus and headed on past many sites as we made our way to "The Little Mermaid" statue.  It was here that we would "hop off" to walk down to the see the mermaid.  We were told we had 12 minutes to explore the waterfront where the statue sits.  There were so many tourists down by the statue taking photos that we had to wait our turn for Brandy to get her photos including her artsy yoga pose with the mermaid.  As we headed back to the bus we realized it was pulling away from the curb.  


Now, this would not have been a major problem, we could just wait for the next bus to show up, except for the fact that we had left some of our belongings on that bus.  We panicked and broke into a run with Brandy leaving me in the dust.  She was determined to stop that bus, and stop it she did.  It was a good thing she did because we were not the only ones that were getting left behind.  After we got chastised for being late (we weren't late!), we continued on with our tour.  It was cold outside so getting back on the bus was our chance to get warm again.  We decided to take in the rest of the sites without hopping off so that it might warm up a bit as it got a little later.  


On the second time around we decided to hop off and take the boat tour.  We boarded the tour boat and headed out onto the waterway and through the canals, one being the iconic Nyhavn Canal.  When we traveled up this canal we were able to see the brightly colored water-front houses and businesses that are seen as typical Copenhagen.  People own places next to the canal and some own houseboats docked in the canal.  The boat tour took us out into larger waterway and between Amalienborg Castle and the Opera House.  Copenhagen by water was a beautiful tour, however, it was pretty cold!!  Luckily, the tour boats have roofs and retractable windows.  

After we made it back to the tour boat drop off we disembarked and waited for the next bus to arrive.  This time we would hop off by the Gefion Fountain.  It was here we decided to make the most of hopping and picking up the bus in another area after taking in all the sites this area had to offer.  We were able to marvel at the fountain, tour St. Alban's Church, Churchillparken and the Kastellet.  Walking atop the Kastellet star fortress was really cool because we could see some of the cadets moving through to the dormitories and realized that this still an active military compound.  From here we walked back toward The Little Mermaid to hop on another bus that would take us back toward the city centre.  


We decided to hop off and walk a bit to check out more of the city.  We walked toward Norresport Station to renew our metro passes for the morning.  This is where our trip went downhill.  Upon leaving the very crowded metro station and making our way to Torvehallerne for our afternoon snack, it is here that I realized my wallet had been stolen with my license, debit card, and credit card as well as US and Euro cash.  We searched and searched the area to try to find my discarded wallet, but to no avail.  We sat in the Starbucks on Fredericksborgade and canceled credit and debit cards but not before the thieves could put them to use and charge nearly $1000 US dollars to my accounts.  This made my heart sink! I had enjoyed my trip up to this point and really felt comfortable here, I guess too comfortable, as I had let my guard down.  It was at this point we decided to return back to our Airbnb and try to find out about making a police report and to try to put this event behind us.

The next day I woke up and decided to put my pic-pocket violation behind me and enjoy our last few hours in the city.  We would be leaving soon to catch our flight to Amsterdam.  One thing I would say about Copenhagen is that there is a lot of beauty there and the people really do seem to love the tourists and try to help in any way they can.  Unfortunately, I crossed paths with persons that totally went against that idea.  But, I must say, I learned a very valuable lesson in all that.  As my son always tells me "head on a swivel, Melissa, head on a swivel!"  That advice is just a good rule of thumb when traveling or wherever you may be.  

It's an Adventure!! 

36 Hours In Copenhagen

Sometimes you are not going to be allotted a very long time in a city. 36 hours is definitely not a ton of time in a new city but where there's a will there is a way!

Here is a list of things you should definitely see, eat and do in Copenhagen, Denmark in just 36 hours.


Frederiksberg Centret

If shopping is your thing, one stop that you will probably want to make is Frederiksberg Centret. This is a big Mall in the Frederiksberg borough. Filled with clothing stores, home furnishings, and amazing restaurants. We didn't stay here long, only long enough to grab a bite and catch our breath.  

Assistens Cemetery

We were very happy with the location of the Airbnb we chose. In a very hipsterish neighborhood, we were just right across the street from the Assistens Cemetery where Hans Christian Anderson is buried.  Of course, we had to take a stroll through to locate his memorial. 


The most picturesque spot in Copenhagen, Nyhavn is a 17th-century water-front canal and entertainment district.  This is where you can get your postcard like photos, grab a bite to eat or just sit and enjoy the beautifully colored old houses.

The Little Mermaid  

This was something that I was most excited to see, as the Little Mermaid was one of my favorite stories growing up, even though it might not have been the same as the story written by Hans Christiansen Anderson. The bronze Little Mermaid statue by Edvard Eriksen can be found by the waterside at the Langelinie Promenade and is definitely worth a visit. This is a really great area for photos and even a little picnic.

Amalienborg Palace

You can find the home of the Danish Royal family in Amalienborg. It has absolutely gorgeous architecture and is perfectly aligned between the Opera House, on the water, and Fredriks Kiirke. If you are on one of the canal tours, this is a great destination for some beautiful photos.

Gefion Fountain

Pretty much every city reveals some hidden gem that you hadn't heard of prior to the trip. In Copenhagen, this gem was the Gefion Fountain. This gorgeous fountain stands tall as a representation of the Norse goddess Gefion as she rides on her chariot pulled by her animals. The fountain is right on the harbor front very close to some other worth while cultural spots like Kastelle, The Little Mermaid, St. Alban's Church and Churchchillparken.

St. Alban' s Church

The St. Alban's Church is a super-cute little English Church. It is located near the Gefion Fountain and the Kastellet. It is not a huge tourist location but, honestly, it is a really cute place to stop in. The church stewards are really friendly to travelers and enjoy sharing their church's history with the people who wander in. They welcomed us in and had informational pamphlets in like 20 different languages. This 130-year-old church is a beautifully serene place to sit and catch your breath. 


The one of the many public parks in Copenhagen is Churchillparken. You can find it in the green area surrounding the Kastellet. This park commemorates British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the part that Britain played in the liberation of Denmark during World War II. Me, myself, am a huge World War II history nerd so I really enjoyed getting to see the park and the bust they had placed in the park of Churchill himself.


We hadn't originally planned on go to the Kastellet, but it was so conveniently located, we couldn't pass up the opportunity. The Kastellet, located in Copenhagen, is one of the best-preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. It was really cool to be able to walk on top of the fort. We were able to walk from the Gefion Fountain over to the Little Mermaid statue through and on top of the fort. It's definitely a good spot for those who love history.

The Black Diamond

 Not exactly what you might think of when you hear The Black Diamond, this library is one of the most beautiful libraries I have ever seen. It is right on the water so you can get great photos of it from both land and the water if you take one of the canal tours.


Raw 42

Raw 42 was the first restaurant we found in Copenhagen, and let me tell you, it was right then and there that I fell in love with the food of Copenhagen. In the Frederiksberg mall, it is upstairs next to two other vegan restaurants. Their menu ranges from burgers to acai bowls and I recommend both! The food is a tad expensive but the staff was English-friendly as well as just friendly in general.

California Kitchen

California Kitchen as its name suggests honestly looked like a restaurant I would find in Santa Monica. It is a super cute and aesthetically pleasing fast service restaurant. They serve food for any kind of healthy lifestyle from omnivores to vegan. It is kind of similar to a build your own foodie bowl restaurant. The staff were super nice. The menu was in English and the food was incredible. We almost considered going there more than once. 

Slice of San Fran

This amazing little hole in the wall stop is run by an American expat and brings you some of the most delicious burritos we've ever had. I got to admit the fact that we found so many Californian restaurants in Copenhagen made us both laugh but the food was so good. The food is delicious and can be ordered to be vegan with honestly huge portions. The cheesecakes are, unfortunately, not vegan, but from all the online reviews I can tell you they must be to die for. I highly recommend checking out this place!


 With all the sites to see in Copenhagen, I would 100% recommend getting a city card or a hop-on hop-off bus pass. It will give you the best opportunity to see all the city has to offer at a decent bundle price. We booked with Gray Line bus and boat tours! This bus loop runs in a circle around the city giving you the opportunity to stop and spend as much time as you like at any site.

Antwerp, Belgium

18 hours of travel. 2 planes. 1 train. 1 bus. And not enough sleep. 

But we made it to Antwerp!


After quickly getting our keys to our place and dropping off our packs we set out into the city. We made our way down De Keyserlei, which is just next to Antwerp Central and is basically a long strip of restaurants and shops! If you follow down De Keyserlei you make it down to some amazing architecture and even more shopping. At first we had a set destination to find food but we kind of just got caught up in the city itself. 

Eventually we found ourselves in the shadow of the Cathedral of Our Lady, an absolutely beautiful church! After some pictures we realized that we were actually pretty close to the restaurant we had set out to find in the first place, Greenway! This amazing vegan-friendly restaurant was very delicious and has locations in Ghent and Brussels, as well! We highly recommend checking them out. While sitting at lunch we started to feel the effects of our jet-lag, but pushed on to explore just a little more before heading back to our Airbnb where we basically fell into mini-commas until the next morning (when you're jet-lagged you are jet-lagged). The last few sites we got to see for the day were the Brabo's Monument, the Stadhuis van Antwerpen and the Grote Markt. The great thing about Antwerp is that it is very walker-friendly.  The historic centre holds many of it's must-see places.

The next morning we got up and made our trek back to Antwerp Central Station (we used this as our home base for getting around the city). From the outside, the train station is pretty, definitely a spot you would want to stop and take a picture. But, the outside is nothing compared to what awaits you inside! The main lobby of this train station reminded us of the interior of Hogwarts Castle. 

From here we decided to take a stroll to the park.  Park Spoor Noord is park built on reclaimed railway land, with sports, play areas, skate park & terrace for concerts. While there we caught a Saturday morning soccer game.  From there we headed to find lunch.  We decided on sushi, since it seemed we saw sushi restaurants on every corner.  We decided to try Wasabi Sushi and were happy with our decision.  We had the waiter help to translate the menu and were very pleased with our veggie rolls and seaweed salad.

From there we headed on a walkabout the city to take in what the city had to offer.  From talking to our Airbnb host, Isa, Antwerp is a destination for great Belgium shopping.  High-end shops by famous designers line the streets in Meir, the Fashion District and the Historic District. Since we do not really shop while travelling, we still stopped to admire many of the shop windows we passed.  

As the sun was starting to set, we decided to find a great Vegan restaurant for dinner.  One of the restaurants that came up on our search came highly suggested by great reviews, so we decided to try it.  And, let's just say, we were very happy with our selection.  This was my favorite dinner of our entire trip!  DeBroers van Julienne is considered a vegetarian restaurant, but had many vegan options and many entrees that could be made vegan. Their raw Chocolate cake is to die for!

With our bellies full and looking toward the travel ahead, we made our way back to our Airbnb to get a good night's sleep before heading to Ghent.  While Antwerp did not top of our list of favorite cities, we had a very nice time and saw some beautiful sites.  For those who love to shop, Antwerp is probably the Belgian destination for you!   

The Great Magical Beginning!

It is often heard to pinpoint the exact moment where everything changes and you find one of those things, that truly makes you happy. I am Brandy, the daughter half of Pure Life Travelin. Growing up I had always been determined to never step foot on a plane. I was a nervous, panicky child and planes were at the top of my no-go list. However, something changed in me around my 16th birthday, a little cliche I know but it did. I had wanderlust so strong that it was crushing somedays. And for my birthday I had the world opened to me!

My aunt giving me the chance to fly for the first time and to New York City changed my life forever. It was magical and I got to share it with my mom. From there we went on trips to California and the mountains in North Carolina but it wasn't until college until I left the country. It was love that took me to Sweden twice, once in the summer and once in the winter! And it was adventure that took me to Costa Rica! Traveling makes my heart happy and I am so excited to start traveling more with my mom!

I’m Melissa, the mom in these stories.  My love of traveling started at age seven during my first “big” trip with my grandparents when we toured the Great Smoky Mountains’ cities of Cherokee, Asheville, and Gatlinburg. It’s a trip I remember to this day even 39 years later.  My family would travel some around the Southeast, but we never traveled too far from home. My first flight was at the age of 22 when I traveled to Dallas, TX for work training.

Once I married and had my two amazing children, and as the demands of owning our own businesses and raising children took precedence over seeing new places, travel seemed to be a luxury we couldn’t afford. Brandy’s 16th birthday gift from my sister would prompt her first flight and our first “big” trip together to New York City. Two years later we would travel to Los Angeles, Anaheim, Palm Springs and Vegas as a family to celebrate her graduation. Since then, she’s been traveling to places I’ve only dreamed of!  Last year she said, “mom, we need to start traveling, so I’m buying you a Passport”.  And so we will!  In a few days, we will embark on my biggest travel ever, a trip across the pond to explore both Ireland and the UK.  And thus begins our travels together!!

It’s an Adventure!!