Author Archives for Fit To Wander

About Fit To Wander

Welcome to Fit To Wander! I’m Rachel and I am extremely passionate about traveling, food, and fitness. I currently live in San Diego, CA with my husband Tristin and our adorable pup Scout. I’ve started this blog to share and cultivate my life passions as well as to hopefully help improve my reader’s health and well-being by promoting living a balanced lifestyle. I believe that being healthy involves more than exercise and healthy eating. It also involves improving one’s state of mind. My background in psychology has led me to view health from a holistic perspective. I believe that health is not only shaped by what we put into our bodies, but also how much we move, how well we sleep and our mindset. Yes, I do eat Paleo, well, more Primal, but I love to eat. In fact, love is a bit of an understatement. I might be slightly obsessed with food and have been known to even become “hangry” (thankfully, I have a very patient husband). I’m hesitant to put a label on how I eat because of the stigmas that can come along with any label, but the most important thing to me is to just eat real, unprocessed food as often as possible. I definitely believe in the 85/15% rule, as there is no way I am ever going to give up chocolate, especially not dark chocolate! The one thing I love more than eating is traveling (although it is a close race). I love everything about traveling...whether I am exploring an ancient ruin, wandering a new city, learning the history of the country, people watching while sitting in a cafe or trying a new cuisine that the country is known for. If I had to pick out the one thing that I love most about traveling, it would be that every time you set out, traveling opens you up to an array of new experiences, which appeases my almost insatiable curiosity. If you love food, love to travel, and want to live a healthy/active lifestyle, then you’ve come to the right place. I invite you to share in my journey as I wander down this ever-changing path called life. As one of the my favorite writers once said, “not all who wander are lost...” ~J.R.R. Tolkien

Growing Your Own Food

Growing your own food can be intimidating and time consuming if you’re new to the idea. However, the health benefits of growing your own food and immediately eating fruits and veggies after you harvest them are totally worth spending a little time, energy and money into growing your own food.

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Stirling Castle

Just 45 minutes from Edinburgh lies Stirling, a pleasant medieval town and a castle that is arguably the most important castle in Scottish history.

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As the saying goes, “he who holds Stirling, holds Scotland.” Due to its geographical location, if a king was in control of Stirling castle, they could rule over and defend Scotland.

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To get to Stirling, you can take a guided day tour via large tour bus from Edinburgh, you can rent a car and go on your own, or you can take a train.

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I recommend having the freedom to explore the castle, town and surrounding areas on your own, because you may also want to stop by the National Wallace Monument or meander around the walled city and have lunch in a nice cafe such as the Darnley Coffee House in the cellar of a 16th century house.

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The castle offers guided tours included in the cost of admission, starting at 10 AM and leaving every hour after that until 3 PM, so you can plan your visit to coincide with the start of one of these tours. We thought our tour was great, just enough information and explanation of each part we visited from an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide.

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The other exhibitions at the castle were also very interesting, and certainly worth a bit of extra time after the tour.

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If you have any interest in learning a little more about Scottish history, if you are a fan of Braveheart, or if you just want to see a cool castle with beautiful views over the countryside, Stirling Castle is definitely worth a visit.

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Top 10 Things To See and Do in Edinburgh

  1. Edinburgh Castle – A significant monument in the history of Edinburgh as well as an iconic part of the Edinburgh skyline. Edinburgh_Castle2Edinburgh_Castle3The castle is a must see site while visiting the city. Edinburgh_Castle1It’s a great way to learn about the history of the city, the history of Scotland, and to take in beautiful views of Old Town, The Royal Mile, New Town, Arthur’s seat and the rest of Edinburgh. Edinburgh_Castle7Edinburgh_Castle6Edinburgh_Castle5(Tip: once you purchase a ticket, you have the option to take a free guided tour (leaving every 10 minutes during peak season or 30 mins during non-peak season) or you can purchase an audio guide to enrich your visit. The audio guide will definitely have a lot more information than the guided tour, but it is also an extra expense and the guided tour is a great option to learn about most important parts of the castle and see most of it in a shorter amount of time.)  Continue reading

Local San Diego Review: Torrey Pines State Reserve

Located between La Jolla and Del Mar, Torrey Pines State Reserve is a fun coastal hiking, running or biking playground. The hiking is pretty easy, but it’s also fun and comes with spectacular views up and down the San Diego coastline.

You can basically hike all of the trails in the park in half a day, and then hike down to the beach to spend a few hours in the sun and water.

Torrey Pines State Reserve is also one of two places in the world where you can see the rare Torrey Pine Tree. They grow naturally only here and on Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands National Park off the coast of Ventura and Santa Barbara.

When we visited, we parked along the coast, and walked into the reserve via the hill from the north entrance. If there is parking available, you can park in the lot at the top of the hill, at the bottom by the beach, or in another lot off Carmel Valley Road, however, fees are charged for parking in the lots in the state reserve.

Of Note, there is drinking water available at the north vehicle entrance to the reserve by the beach bathrooms, and at the start of the trails near the lodge. At the time of writing this, most of the other water sources (sinks & showers) have been turned off because of the drought in California.

We entered the park at the north entrance and walked in up the hill. Three quarters of the way up the hill, we stopped at the Guy Fleming Trail to check out a few overlooks and then continued on to the Torrey Pines Lodge (visitor center) to grab a map. The visitor’s center itself has a lot of great info about the area, especially if you are into finding out more about the animal and plant species around.

From the Lodge we hiked down the “Beach Trail” to Red Butte and then down Razor Point Trail to Razor Point.

From Razor Point we met up with the Beach Trail and headed down to the water to check out “Flat Rock” on the beach. It’s exactly what it sounds like…a big flat rock.

I highly suggest adding a stroll along the beach after hiking the trails of Torrey Pines. This stretch of coastline is particularly beautiful. I would recommend checking the tides, and walking on the beach at low tide because it can be a bit tough to navigate the rocks during high tide.

We decided to walk south toward La Jolla on the beach. You can basically walk as much or as little as you would like on this stretch of the beach. If you do chose to, you can walk all the way along the beach to La Jolla Shores (about 5 miles). However, about 1/2 – 3/4 of a mile or so south of Torrey Pines is a beach known as “Black’s Beach.” If you have little kids or just don’t want to be surprised by the sudden appearance of naked people, I would suggest turning around after about half a mile down the beach. Instead of walking toward La Jolla, you can also walk north along the beach toward Del Mar as an alternative. If you’re into it, by all means, venture through the unofficial nude beach and explore the beautiful coastline.

If you like walking, beautiful views and beaches, I highly recommend a hike in Torrey Pines. It’s not very physically demanding and it’s a great way to explore and see a beautiful part of San Diego.

Have you ever been to Torrey Pines? If you have any tips or want to share your favorite trail, comment below!

Are the Whitsunday Islands Worth the Trip?

The Whitsunday Islands are located off the coast of Airlie beach on the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Airlie Beach is a small beach town in Queensland, pretty much 8 hours from civilization to the North (Cairns) and to the South (Hervey Bay). Let’s be honest…Rockhampton doesn’t count.

If you are interested in visiting the Whitsundays, there is an airport near Airlie Beach (Whitsunday Airport) or there is the Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island. Although a bit difficult to access, with the long drives south from Cairns or north from Hervey Bay, in my opinion the effort is worth it.

We didn’t have enough time to go all the way to Cairns or Port Douglas, so enjoying a few days in Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays to see the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach was an amazing experience.

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Channel Islands National Park: Kayaking Around Santa Cruz

During our camping trip to Santa Cruz we decided to take a kayaking tour around the island, exploring caves, admiring the beautiful scenery, learning about the history and geology of the island, and spotting wildlife in and out of the water.

Lucky for me, my nephew, Lucas, decided that he would love to go kayaking with me. We listened to the orientation, and then hopped into our double kayak to start cruising around the island.

Not so lucky for me, after about 30 minutes in the kayak, Lucas decided that he was good for most of the remainder of the trip and didn’t really need to paddle anymore. I got quite the workout maneuvering a double kayak mostly maneuvered by me, especially when we rounded the one side of the island straight into a nice headwind. My brother went into this excursion thinking he’d have it tough partnering with Camille, Lucas’ twin sister, but he certainly had the last laugh 🙂

Although my arms were couldn’t move for the remainder of the day following our kayaking adventure, it was truly an epic experience, and one I will not soon forget.

Navigating in and out of the caves was thrilling and beautiful.

The clarity of the water around the island is so incredible, you could see wildlife under the water from sitting in the kayak.

We got a visit from a curious and brave seal pup right off the side of our kayak. We also learned a lot about the interesting history of the island and its change from a Native American hunting ground to a private ranch, and finally to a National Park.

The tour company we booked this excursion with was called Aqua Sports, and they were great, however, I can’t really compare to the other tours aside from that they went a similar route as we did along the island, but didn’t seem to see quite as much as we did. The other tour companies include Santa Barbara Adventure Company and Channel Islands Kayak Center.

Another more budget friendly option for kayaking can be to rent or bring your own kayak over on your ferry. The most convenient option would be to rent from Island Packers. They do charge a small fee to transport the kayaks to the island, so if you rent kayaks, you will have to pay the cost of the rental and the cost to transport them as well. If you’ve never kayaked around the islands before, it’s definitely worth it to have the guides’ extensive knowledge of the island and the experience of navigating through the caves, as the tides can make it quite a challenge to get into and out of some of the caves.

During your visit to the Channel Islands National Park, I highly recommend spending some of your time out in the water around the islands. It’s truly an awesome experience.

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