The Soul of Airbnb

I’ve been a big supporter of using Airbnb for awhile now, and I’ve even written about my experiences at the Bali Tree Cottage in Captain Cook, Hawaii, Halemano in Hana, Maui and a mountain cabin in Lake Arrowhead, California.

The thing that makes Airbnb so special is the hospitality you’ll receive from your hosts.  It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from…Airbnb hosts are known for going the extra mile to ensure their guests feel at home and have a wonderful stay.  My husband and I have been very lucky with the positive experiences we received at the Airbnb locations we stayed at, and in many ways, it was thanks to our hosts!

I wanted to share with you a media campaign that Airbnb created recently.  It’s a true story and has special ties to the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989.  When I saw this, it gave me chills not only because of the story itself, but because it truly is a testament of what Airbnb stands for.

I hope you enjoy “Wall and Chain”.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

A very Happy Thanksgiving from Passport to Bliss!

There are so many things in my life to be thankful for, but this is a very special thank you to my wonderful parents who have filled my life with all the happiness, love, patience, kindness, understanding, laughter and bliss a daughter could ask for!

I love you so much, and I thank God every day for blessing me with two very special angels here on earth!

Welcome Autumn!

Okay, I know I’m a few days late in giving autumn a proper welcome, but there have been no signs of it here in perpetual sunny California…until this morning. I awoke to an overcast, gloomy sky perfect for an early morning walk.

Would today be the start of an actual change of season?

Around 9:00am, I got my answer. The sun burst through the clouds reminding taunting me that it’s not going anywhere, and that I’ll have to wait a little while longer until autumn makes it’s official appearance. Until then, I will enjoy the signs of the season including pumpkins lined up in the grocery stores, pumpkin spice lattes I’ll enjoy at Starbucks, sweaters and scarves filling clothing stores and the photos from a trip I took to Washington around this time two years ago when autumn was in full swing complete with corn mazes, hayrides and pumpkin patches!

corn maze

pumpkin patch


What are some signs of autumn where you’re at?


The Ancient Turquoise Riviera

Originally Published on The Traveling Jar


Turkey – a far away land, not generally understood by the average traveler.  Mostly, Istanbul comes to mind.  It is a first-class city being torn from tradition, with “red alerts” issued by the government as “unsafe” to travel to.  Don’t be afraid of what your government may say about it, go if your heart desires and live your life without regrets!

I digress, and back to the Turquoise Coast, folks.  The Turkish coastline that sits across from Greece, bordering the Aegean sea and Mediterranean, is regarded as a cultural treasure trove that provides travelers with a fascinating mix of history, a mythological, ancient past, and beautiful scenery, with great food and a nightlife to boot.


I was too tired from my action packed days to do much at night other than a glass of wine (Turkish wine is actually quite good), but if you’re looking for nightlife, head to the city of Bodrum.  You can also find many options in the city of Antalya, one of Turkey’s largest resort cities and most populace.



Our trip took us aboard a gulet – a traditional Turkish fishing boat.  We sailed the turquoise seas with a group of people.  We went Oversea Adventure, so there was a captain, crew, and handful of travelers along with us.


We sailed down the coastline through the teeny islands covered in vegetation, poking out of misty sea salty waters, unlike anything I had ever seen.

We swam in the crystal clear waters, snorkeled to catch our nightly meal (fresh fish or octopus), hiked into ancient cities, sunned on the deck of our gulet, uncovered pristine coves, and tiny villages with the friendliest people you could imagine, and explored half-submerged ancient cities.


It was an experience I will never forget.

Beyond fun in the sun, there is some serious history on the turquoise coast.  Nerd it up!  Make sure to stop at Ephesus or as the Turks call it Efes (yes, like the Turkish beer).  If there’s one ancient city you need to see, it’s this!  Efes is the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean.

You can spend an entire day here if you’re a real ruin buff, but if your interest is slight then a few hours will suffice.


In addition to Efes, there are dozens more ancient ruins to see.  We visited Myra, which was incredibly beautiful.  It was a leading city of the Lycian Union and in early Byzantine times.

Pictured above are ruins that I saw while we were in the Gulf of Fethiye traveling through by boat.  Fethiye is a great option if you’re interested in seeing ruins because you are able to see the ruins from the city center while traveling by foot, car, or boat.  Many travelers opt to do cruises so that you’re able to combine the ruins with nature. The city of Fethiye is also home to the ancient city of Telmessos.  Telmessos was the most important city of Lycia, with a recorded history starting in 5th Century B.C., and its ruins, the Hellenistic theater as well as many rock cut ruins, can be seen in the city of Fethiye.


Remember to challenge yourself daily while you’re living it up on the Turkish coast.  Do something outside of your comfort zone, whether that’s diving for an octopus, bartering for a scarf, or trying a Turkish food that you have never eaten before.  Do what makes you happy, be safe, and enjoy the many jewels along the turquoise coast!

Highway to Heaven

Highway 1

A few weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our 4th anniversary by taking to the open road and experiencing one of the most scenic coastlines in the U.S. – Highway 1 (otherwise known as PCH or Pacific Coast Highway).

My personal favorite stretch of PCH starts at Pismo Beach and ends in Carmel. Filled with shear cliffs, curvy roads, turquoise water, breathtaking views and crashing waves, it’s as if you stepped into an idyllic postcard.

So sit back, relax and join us as we travel this little stretch of heaven.

San Simeon

San SimeonI loved the elephant seals bathing in the sun!

San SimeonHearst San Simeon State Park

Highway 1

Highway 1

Rocky Creek BridgeImpressive Bridge #1: Rocky Creek Bridge

Rocky Creek Bridge

Bixby BridgeImpressive Bridge #2: Bixby Bridge

Bixby Bridge At 279 feet high, the Bixby Bridge was a sight to behold!

Bixby Bridge
CarmelThe white sands of Carmel Beach

Point Pinos LighthousePoint Pinos Lighthouse – Although not directly off Highway 1, it was a short drive from Carmel and worth the visit!

Point Pinos LighthouseFor a donation of $2.00, you can have a tour of the lighthouse from 1:00-4:00pm every day except Tuesdays & Wednesdays.

Point Pinos LighthouseView from the front of the lighthouse.

17 Mile DriveNo visit to Monterrey is complete without doing the 17 Mile Drive!

17 Mile DriveLife is good at the Spanish Bay.

17 Mile Drive

17 Mile Drive

The Lone CypressThe Iconic Lone Cypress

The Lone Cypress

Point LobosOn our last day, we experienced Point Lobos State Reserve…a must do!

Point Lobos

Point LobosThe scenery is breathtaking!

Point Lobos

Point LobosAnd don’t worry, if you ever lose your driver’s license in Point Lobos like I did, they will happily mail it back to you!  (And how they ever found it will forever be a mystery!)

Point Lobos

Point Lobos

So if you ever want to experience one of America’s most breathtaking coastlines, pack up your car with munchies and great tunes, head to California and get ready for a sensory experience you’ll never forget!




In Remembrance of a Legend

In Remembrance of a Legend

Robin Williams, once a shining star on earth, is now shining brightly from above.

The Painted Church

No trip to the Big Island is complete without a visit to St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church, otherwise known as “The Painted Church.”

The Painted Church

Minutes from the Bali Tree Cottage near Kealakekua Bay, we decided to attend mass in remembrance of a special family member who had recently passed.

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

Upon entering, we were overwhelmed by not only the warmth and hospitality of the priest and parishioners, but with the intricate and masterfully painted artwork depicting biblical scenes and lives of the saints.

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

Since 1842, the Catholic church was an important part of South Kona.  This wasn’t always its present location or its original name for that matter. The first church was actually located near the beaches of the City of Refuge and called St. Francis Regis chapel.  Seeking a cooler climate with more fertile soil in the 1880s, the locals started moving to higher ground.  Father John Velghe, a Sacred Hearts Father from Belgium, decided to follow his many parishioners, and with their help, the church was dismantled and moved up the hill to its current location.



In August 1902, the church was consecrated and renamed in honor of St. Benedict.

This small Catholic church became “The Painted Church” after Father Velge, a self-taught artist, skillfully painted its interior between 1899-1904 to communicate Bible stories to non-English-speaking Hawaiians.

Today Saint Benedict’s Church is listed in the Hawaii State Register of Historic places and the National Register of Historic Places.

The Painted Church


St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church is located at:

84-5140 Painted Church Road
Captain Cook, Hawaii (HI) 96704
Phone: 808-328-2227



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