Friday, January 31, 2014

Moroccan flu




I'm sad to say but my blog project has taken a backseat lately. In the past few months I have been able to travel to Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Morocco. The trips were so different with so many warm memories. I'm excited to write about these wanderings and give advice to all for future travel!


While in Morocco, I got really sick. In Morocco, there isn't an organized sewage system and everyone's waste is drained into the ocean. After surfing two days there, I couldn't stop throwing up. The vomit has subsided but three weeks after the trip I am still experiencing stomach pains and nausea. The next few days I will be undergoing medical exams to find the source of the problem. Hopefully all is figured out and I can get back to exploring and adventuring soon! 

A new type of trip is planned for me next month. I will be staying in the United States and not packing a surfboard or bikini. Should be interesting! :)

I'm going to work on some blog posts & upload them to the site. Brainstorming some cool ideas with travel advice and product reviews. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kim Traveled: Bocas del Toro

March 2009


Bocas del Toro are the islands in the Caribbean of Panama.
Surfing in Bocas was one of the most epic trips I’ve ever had.

The islands are really small. There’s one main island with roads and cars, otherwise the only form of transport is boat. We stayed on a small island called Caranero Cay. There wasn’t much to do except surf, lie in hammocks, and relax.


We surfed two main surf breaks – Caranero & Paunch. The waves were really good. The waves broke over reef, weren’t too crowded, and the locals were very friendly. This may be a biased opinion due to blonde hair and small bikinis but the locals would call us over to the peak and cheer Jill and I into the set waves. I hear a lot of varying opinions regarding local hostility but just remember that a smile and cheerful disposition will go a long way.

I surfed these two breaks and only lefts on this trip. There are a lot of other good waves in Bocas that are worth exploring. Aside from surfing, my family had a great time snorkeling and cruising on boat to the various islands. We scored with waves though. Bocas can be very inconsistent. There are times you may go to surf Bocas and not find any waves. This could be frustrating so try to travel December-March for the best chance of waves!



We stayed at Hotel Tierra Verde. The hotel was amazing, tucked away in the jungle with ocean views. The owners were so nice and helpful. They gave us surf advice and called boats for our transportation. I highly recommend Tierra Verde for accommodation.



To get to Bocas, you need to take a smaller flight from Panama City. While in Panama City, my mom forced us to visit the Panama Canal. It’s kind of cool but I’m not a big sightseer. There’s also an unreal mall in Panama City, such good shopping- check it out!



My mom was bored. My sister got violently ill. My dad got sunburnt. I had the time of my life in paradise. We got very, very lucky with waves. Bocas may not be for everybody but I highly recommend visiting these gorgeous islands. Be smart about the time of year you are traveling and check the swell forecasts. Jill would recommend not accidentally drinking the local tap water.



I liked Bocas 100x more than Oahu. Bocas’s a paradise relatively close to home, which remind me of an island in the South Pacific. Bocas is truly gorgeous and breath taking.

I’d love to hear about other Bocas stories/recommendations/advice! Feel free to leave comments!








Monday, November 4, 2013

Prep Time

As the winter chill begins to find a home in New Jersey, I'm finding comfort in some spontaneous last minute tropical adventures. Winter is a time to travel, spend all the hard earned money from summer, and enjoy rays of sunshine on tropical beaches. I worked a lot this summer to fund these adventures and I couldn't be more excited to embark.

Travel Preparations
 
My next two months are super busy. At the end of this month, I will be heading to Costa Rica to see my sister for Thanksgiving. I come home, take finals for grad school, and the next day I'm catching a flight out of New York bound for Ecuador to surf and celebrate my good friend's 24th birthday. I'll be home less than a week for Christmas, then it's off to Morocco with the crew!

I've been preparing for the trips and making sure my schoolwork is in order. It's been a little hectic but I know everything will be worth it when I'm surfing with my sister, lounging on a hammock in Ecuador, and hanging out with camels in Morocco. This morning, I got the flu shot and prescription for malaria pills. Many people ask me about vaccines while traveling so I will be creating a Health Information blog soon!

In the mean time, I hope this is some inspiration for you... to take adventures, and live your dreams! Try to stay warm as we head into the coldest months! xo Kim
___________________________________________________________________

Travel keeps the soul young & optimistic
 
you can't feel old when you explore and discover new things,
in a constant state of awe the mind wonders and rediscovers the simple beauties this world possesses
 
everything is new. the soul is reborn
you start over, recreating a new destiny
you're a new person transformed from the past into a
clean body, an open mind, a fresh slate
 
with each breath of fresh air, our minds inhale the new beginnings
 
once dreams are lived, dream bigger dreams
let the mind wander into a place you have never been before
 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

How to: Pack a Surfboard Bag!

How to pack a surfboard bag with Jill Kepich

Jill Kepich lives in both New Jersey and Costa Rica. She takes a lot of flights with her surfboards and helped give advice for this article. 
Thanks Jill! 
Check out her athlete page at https://www.facebook.com/KepichSisters
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Things you need:
·      Pipe Insulation
·      Packaging Tape
·      Scissors
·      Luggage Weigh-er

(1) Before you book a flight, check out the airline’s surfboard policy. Surfline (http://www.surfline.com/travel/boardbag_charges.cfm?id=15425) offers a great article with each airline’s surfboard fees and limitations.

You should factor in the cost of surfboards with your airline ticket before you book. Some airlines limit the amount of surfboards while others charge based on weight. Make sure you are clear on the guidelines before you book and travel. Personally, I love flying Singapore Airlines, LAN, and Qantas because surfboards fly free if your bag weighs under 50lbs!

Get your boards ready for travel!

(2) Choose the surfboards for your trip. Check the surf forecast and become knowledgeable about the waves in the area. I usually travel with two standard short boards and a step-up board. When surfing in the Maldives I dinged my short board a few too many times on the reef so the back-up board came in handy. I also broke two sets of fins. Make sure to bring ample fins and leash strings. I usually pack both small and medium Future fins.

Don't forget to remove the fins!

(3) Once your surfboards are decided the hardest part is over. It’s a good idea to scrape the old wax off so your board is clean and ready to go. Then remove your fins with a fin key and put them in a secure place to bring on your trip! The first step is cutting a slit in the pipe insulation so you can wrap it around the rails of your board. Once the pipe insulation is securely attached use packaging tape to keep it in place. Do this for each surfboard. I like to label the insulation with a sharpie for each board to make packing the boards easier on the way home.


Wrap the board with piping insulation

(4) If you want, you can put bubble wrap on the deck of the surfboard for added protection. When traveling with surfboards, dings most commonly occur on the nose and tail of the board so I usually put bubble wrap in these areas.

One of Jill's surfboards, outfitted with piping insulation and bubble wrap


(5) Once the surfboard is outfitted with piping insulation, I put the board in a day bag or sock. This adds extra cushioning. Also, once you reach the destination, its great to have a day bag for surf excursions by car or boat. Put all of your surfboards in a large travel bag. Dakine makes great ones, I personally prefer board bags with wheels to make traveling easier. You can purchase one at your local surf shop. 

Surf Excursions by car (Nicaragua, 2007)

(6) Once the board bag is packed, weigh it. The luggage weigher is crucial for any trip. Make sure your bag corresponds to airline limitations. If you have extra room in your boardbag- throw in towels, wetsuits, extra leashes, and clothes. Don't pack anything sharp or heavy that could potentially ding your surfboards in transit. It doesn't hurt to pack a small ding repair kit to fix dings on your surfboard. 

Give yourself ample time to pack your board bag and don't rush the process. It's no fun to arrive at your destination with broken surfboards. Airlines typically do not reimburse you for damages while traveling so make sure to pack your boards well! & don't forget to bring wax!

Have a great surf trip! :)


Jill Kepich, surfing in Costa Rica

Traveling to Peru (2013)

Always pack extra boards... in case this happens
Nicaragua, 2007




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Just Leave

If you are in your 20’s I encourage you to see the world. Choose a date and mark the calendar. Work a lot of jobs and save every penny. Sell what you don’t need. Throw yourself a going away party. Book a cheap flight and pack your bags. Don’t make too many plans. Don’t create expectations. Keep an open mind and embrace a simple life. Travel on trains through Europe. Sleep on overnight buses in South America. Learn a new language or religion or both. Form friendships on every continent. Write a blog. Become an adventurer and try new things. Don’t let fears or uncertainty stop you. Become a student of the world and you will attain the education you need.
-Kim Kepich


Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Maldives

I’m going to risk sounding like the ultimate cliché when describing the Maldives. Crystal clear blue water. White sand beaches. Palm trees. Tropical fish everywhere. Fruity cocktails. Good looking surfers. Hospitable locals. A secluded private island in the sun. Perfection. 

No place I have been in the world can even compare to the beauty of the Maldives. It’s easy to understand why this small island chain in the Indian Ocean is the #1 honeymoon destination in the world. We stayed at a private luxury resort. All food, beverages, and alcohol were included. Lohi’s – a world class left reef break was steps away from our cabana. Lohi’s is exclusive to resort guests keeping the crowd at a minimum. This trip was my dreams come true. Everything was too amazing to seem real. 





The surf was good. Really good. Lohi’s was a rad sectiony left and barreled on bigger days. We also took the boat out and I got to surf backside at Jails & Sultans. There wasn’t too much swell during the trip but scored fun, clean, uncrowded, perfect surf each day. Not to mention there were plenty of cute surfers from Australia and South Africa to chat with in the lineup. When I opened my eyes underwater duckdiving, there were fish everywhere. Turtles too.. .even some sharks but they were sweet.




Jill and I shot photos with Richard Kotch (http://richardkotchphotography.com/). He and his wife Amy are the surf guides at the resort and are the coolest couple ever. Such an inspiration. We had a lot of fun shooting the duck dive photos and surf photos in dresses. The pictures came out so sick because of the amazing Maldivian backdrop. The Maldives were simply magical, I was worried I was going to wake up from the dream I was living. 



It’s really scary how time flies. The dream trip went by in a blink of the eye. One minute we were arriving at the Maldives in awe. The next minute we were teaching Brazilians how to play beer pong. Then before we knew it, we were packing up and leaving the islands of paradise. Life’s too short and goes by too quickly not to travel a lot and see the beauty of the world. My days in the Maldives blurred by surfing from sunrise to sunset, drinking fruity cocktails, and absorbing the natural beauty. I suggest you go to the Maldives for you honeymoon. Or before. Or both. It’s worth every penny.



We have been planning this Maldives vacation for years as a family. Unfortunately, my dad’s appendix decided to explode and my parents had to cancel the day before their flight so Jill and I had to travel solo. I’m super lucky to have an amazing family and cannot thank my parents enough for this amazing experience! 



Next on the travel agenda was Australia to see my best friend, surf, and prepare myself to possibly move there next year……until the next blog 


–Kim :)