‘Be Here Now’-2018 Travel Recap

USA    The very last day of 2018


To say 2018 was a year of travels wouldn’t be accurate, as I’ve traveled more and to a higher number of countries in other years.  So I’m a little stumped as to how to describe my 2018 travel year.  Maybe a year of travel from the US?  Sure, lets go with that.

January: Following my quest to see all seven world wonders, January brought me to China, and of course, the Great Wall.  What an amazing feeling to walk on such a captivating piece of history.  I conquered every last step I could on the Great Wall, finding spectacular views up into the hills.

 

February: Each year TripAdvisor puts out a list of the best beaches in the world, for two years running that beach has been Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos.  I’m curious, and a lover of nice beaches, so after being awarded with the highly renowned title I knew I had to go and see for myself!  Stunning blue water, mixed with white sand and sun, it did not disappoint.

 

March: Having previously traveled to the Western part of Australia, making my way to the East coast was a must-do!  I spent my time in and around Sydney from the coastal beaches to the mountain ranges.  And since I was already so close, I just HAD to fly over to New Zealand to frolic in Hobbiton.

 

April: Making my way to World Wonder #5 brought me to the breathtaking, peaceful country of Peru.  I NEED to begin blogging about my adventures here, but I really can’t seem to put my experience into words.  Being on top of Machu Picchu is a feeling I will never forget.

 

May: May was supposed to bring me back to Abu Dhabi and Dubai to see all my amazing friends, but unfortunately I fell very ill after my trip to Peru.  (I think it was the alpaca or my guilt for eating it).  It ended up being an inactive month for me, but I did manage a trip to North Carolina to check out Wilmington, an old town restoring their historical downtown. And of course, I caught some lovely sunsets here in Myrtle Beach, and spent another day in the Brookgreen Gardens.

 

June: This month brought me on a trip to upstate New York for some hiking in the Adirondack Mountains, and even a little road-trip to Virginia for a country winery tour.

 

July: The annual Bastille run and festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a long standing tradition for me, and this year was no different. A 5K night run with thousands of people in the streets of downtown Milwaukee. A trip to Milwaukee is never complete without a trip to the beach with family and friends.

 

August: Finishing July and entering August with my annual birthday trip brought me to a luxury resort in the Domincan Republic. A birthday trip full of breathtaking blues, sandy beaches, entertainment, crystal clear waters and cocktails.

 

September: In my attempts to start exploring more of the South, a weekend getaway to Charleston, South Carolina was a must-see destination.  Rich in history, ghost stories and culture, Charleston did not disappoint. Another unexpected trip, in the midst of Hurricane Florence making a direct hit on Myrtle Beach, we packed up and headed to Georgia for a few days, and even made time for a day trip into Alabama.  A month of the South!

 

October: After over a year of not working for ‘The Man’, it was time to pull in some extra money to finance some more travels! Back to work I went, keeping me very busy, with not as much time for adventures.  A weekend trip brought me on Camp Lejeune to photograph some of the beaches and buildings.

 

November: Another trip of discovery around South Carolina, this time taking a stop in Pawley’s Island.  There is something about these quaint little coastal towns that just draw people in, but for me, its the rich history of the land, and the things a bit out of the ordinary.

 

December: And last but not least, this brings us to the start of winter in Myrtle Beach. And what better way to celebrate then witnessing the magical fairyland of lights setting a glow to the spectacular gardens.  A night of a Thousand Candles is a sight not to be missed this time of the year.

 

 

I wish that 2019 brings myself and all of my ‘Wanderlust’ readers a journey of discovery, adventure, and the courage to continue to delve into the unknown.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The Blues (The Good Kind)

Dominican Republic, July 2018


As the temperature continues to lower day by day, my layering skills continue to increase with a stylish flare. So instead of letting my spirits dwindle, I can keep them alive by continuing to reminisce about all the bountiful blue, tropical islands I’ve dipped my toes into.

It’s the Dominican Republic that is warming my mind with pleasant thoughts and visions of BLUE. Sometimes, as an extra bonus, the song by Eiffel 65 pops right in there and soundtracks my thoughts; “I’m blue da ba dee da ba daa…” That may or may not be stuck in your head for hours to come, Opps! Just think of it as your theme to breathtaking blue hues.

This year, like any other year, as I was planning my birthday getaway I knew it had to involve beautiful blues, bikinis, adventure and cocktails. There is something about staring into the Caribbean waters that puts me right into my freedom, my harmony, my nameste.

I’ve visited the DR on a short cruise stop one of the first times I traveled, and filed it in my travel plans as a country to revisit. In this case, the Dominican Republic did not disappoint, in fact, it exceeded my expectations! From looking into the crystal clear waters, swimming in and among tropical fish, hopping island to island while dancing to reggae beats on a catamaran, I felt like I was right at home. Or just back in Abu Dhabi, which is just as grand!

Enjoy the blues! Let it take you away to your happiness, your tranquility, your solitude, your nameste. And remember, as I have to tell myself each and every day, winter is only temporary. 🙂

 

Mischief Night

Mischief Night, October 2018


Twas’ the night before Halloween, and all through the house, mischief was stirring in and under the devils’ blouse. Her horns were growing with precision and care, in hopes that tricks, not treats would be there. The ghosts were ghoulish, the monsters tucked under the beds, while visions of horror danced around in their heads. By: Trisha McQuade

What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than sharing a quick little Halloween poem I put together and reminiscing about last years trip to Mexico City for Dia de los Muertos?!

Last year, on this day, I was on a plane to Mexico City to indulge in the festivities of Dia de los Muertos!! To say I was excited, was an understatement. The atmosphere was ALIVE with horror, putting my right I to my element. Seeing all the babies, children and toddlers forgo the ‘cute’ costumes to embrace the terror brought me pure joy. Streets filled with baby ‘It’ clowns, Freddy Krueger’s, Jason’s, and of course, baby Chucky dolls was nothing but a pleasure to see. Not only were there horrific costumes, the streets were also filled with colorfully decorated ‘candy skulls,’ statues, unique decorations, makeup designs, and tradition.

My favorite part, wasn’t just the city coming alive, but the graveyards; full of life, light, memories and of course TEQUILA! Mariachi sounds enchanted the graves and loved ones honored their deceased with brightly colored ofrendas. Tequila, tequila, and more tequila flowed at every graveyard. It was a wonderful feeling to be welcomed by local families into their unique forms of celebration. To say it was special is an understatement. It’s an experience I will continue to treasure, until I make my way back to Mexico for another Dia de los Muertos celebration.

I’m currently kicking myself for not being emerged in the culture again, RIGHT NOW! So instead, I’ll plan for next year and take a look back into my first blog posts about one of my best trips to date.

Did I mention how much I LOVED being in Mexico for Dia De Los Muertos?! If you haven’t had a chance to read about my experiences, now is the perfect time!

Dia de los Muertos Festivities

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) A broken down bus and a gondola ride.

Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) ” There is no life, except by death”

Into the artistic side of Mexico City

Top Five Travel List

Travel dreaming…


I’ve had a list, since I can remember, of countries that I NEED to visit. (Not want to, like most people, but countries that I WILL visit).  Whether it’s in my head, or on paper, I am always thinking about the next destination of travel. As I sit and reminisce on my travels in 2018, I realized just how sidetracked I get in my planning!

So far, in 2018, I’ve traveled to China, Turks and Caicos, Australia, New Zealand, Peru and Dominican Republic. I’ve also traveled a bit around the USA; making stops in New York, Vermont, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Wisconsin, and Florida. But one thing I didn’t do, was target my NEED to visit list. So, ere’s hope that I can stay a bit more focused to see some of these dreamy places on my list by making it ‘blog official.’

Brazil— My quest to see the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’ takes me here for Christ the Redeemer.  Unfortunately I did not accomplish all seven world wonders in a year, but I did make it it to 5/7 and loved the feeling I felt exploring each piece of history.  From drinking a caipirinha on Copacabana beach, to riding in a cable car in the Sugarloaf mountains, I want to see it all.

Iceland— This country has been on my mind for some time. I’ve almost gone numerous times, but skipped it due to other travels. I’m putting it HIGH on my priority. There’s way too much untouched beauty here to discover. Of course, I’d love to catch the Northern lights while exploring some glaciers and icebergs. I’m also keen on trying the geothermal outdoor spa in the Blue Lagoon, no matter how cold it may be!

Greece— Another country I’ve been in the process of planning a visit too, but other travels came up. I love architecture and cannot wait to step inside the Acropolis and Parthenon. I want to experience Greece in the summer hopping islands, living the quiet life, and mingling with the locals amongst the beautiful white homes.

Morocco— I’ve become increasingly fascinated with the culture of Morocco; the colors are so vibrant and the streets are full of life.  I dream of photographing the vibrant blue city.  A dear friend of mine will be having a Moroccan wedding in the near future, which I wouldn’t miss for the world!  Naida–I’m ready when you are!

Kenya— I’ve wanted to go to The Giraffe Manor for quite some time now. Imagine, wild giraffes poking their head through the window of  my hotel room for a morning snack.  Life is grand!  It’s a must that I visit during peek season as well, to see and experience the migration of the Big 5.

There we have it, that’s my list.  I have plenty more places I’d like to visit in the coming years; but I’m putting these five on the top of my list.  Here’s to staying focused and exploring the world!

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Channeling Focus and Peace

Photography and Life

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina USA


It’s been a looong time. I’ll openly admit it…I’ve been MIB. Missing. In. Blogging.

It has been an intensely busy past few months; full of progress, self discovery, and of course, TRAVEL!

Let’s start with the progress. I am officially a business owner! I took the leap of faith, drove to the government office, paid my fee, and Wallah!! Easy as one, two, three. Ok, ok, actually, not even close. Because the most difficult part has been finding clients and freelance work here in Myrtle Beach. This place is not a major US city, nor is it fashionable or hip, it is more of a dirty tourist trap (said with love).

Official Business Owner!
Official Business Owner!

With that being said, I did receive a great honor here in Myrtle Beach during the month of July. I was featured as the ‘Artist of the Month,’ being able to display my work in City Hall for all to see. This was a great accomplishment that allowed me to feel proud of myself thus far.

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Artist of the Month display

I have been participating in art shows and festivals around the area. I have a few more coming around again this fall, so if you are near, come see me! And, of course, purchase some beautiful photographs, taken by yours truly. 🙂 I was even featured on the local news at one of the Art Walk events. Since displaying and selling my work, I’ve had many customer and passerby’s think my photographs are paintings. I always take this as a great compliment, knowing the colors are captured so vividly.

My photographs have also been displayed in a few art galleries in the area. It is so surreal to walk into a studio and see my work hanging on a gallery wall. I have to say, it feels good, it feels right. I’ve entered a few competitions, I have not won yet, but of course I will keep trying. I thought I had won an award, as I walked into one of the galleries after a competition. I looked towards one of my photographs and saw a winning blue ribbon!! I instantly felt really excited, only to discover it belonged to the art piece next to mine. HA!

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My photos on the left, the winning photo, on the right.

I was part of a big project for UBEREATS, shooting, obviously, food all across the Grand Strand. I really enjoyed this project and learned a lot from it. Photographing food, lighting techniques, post processing and networking was key to more growth. Not to mention all the free food I either brought home, or ate with the restaurant crews. I even drank a margarita with the owner of a upscale Mexican restaurant, talk about a job perk!

Crave Italian Restaurant

I’ve shot a wedding. Granted it was my mom’s, BIG CONGRATS!, but nevertheless a wedding which gave me a great amount of experience. I have done some portrait photography, and of course, continue to photograph my travels.

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Happiness

Speaking of travels, since the last time I was blogging, I’ve traveled to Peru, New York, Vermont, Wisconsin, Dominican Republic, and Florida. I have plenty to share with you, so please stay tuned for more travel posts.

Oh, and how could I forget! My Photography Website is up and running! I worked quite hard on this for much longer than expected. In the end it turned out great, and I’m happy to be displaying my work online! Have a peak here. If you would like to order canvas or prints, just email me for more information. I also have my Facebook Photography Page you can access and see my latest updates.

So, this is what’s been happening in the ‘Life of Trish.’ Thanks for listening and thanks for supporting me. Now let’s continue with our regularly scheduled TRAVEL BLOGGING!!! 🙂

Conch Shack VS Bugaloo’s (Turks and Caicos)

March 2018–Turks and Caicos Islands


When traveling to Turks and Caicos, there are two popular restaurants that the tourists and locals alike rave about. So of course, those two restaurants were on my radar for a few reasons.

  1. I LOVE seafood.
  2. I’m on an island where the seafood is caught fresh, daily.
  3. I’m always open and willing to try new things, and conch was the island specialty.

Let’s start with the Da Conch Shack simply because it was my first stop, and even my second. What can I say? My first impression was amazing. My only disappointment is that I didn’t have time for a third stop! (I realllly wanted to try the rum cake desert).

My first few days on Turks and Caicos Island were spent relaxing at the beach and doing a bit of exploring in and around Grace Bay Beach (recently named by TripAdvisor #1 Beach in the World!) I was researching the perfect tour around the island to get a feel for the local culture, and to see every nook and cranny. After a bit of searching, I found exactly what I was looking for, a safari tour that took us exploring around the island, with a stop for some fresh local conch. I’ll get into the island tour with TCI Safari with another post, but for now lets talk about that fresh conch! Included in the tour was a seafood platter, more than enough for two people; including conch fritters, cracked conch, grouper fingers, jerk chicken wings, fried plantains, and home fries.

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Seafood Platter

Holy conch!! This food was delicious. If you’ve never tried conch, I encourage you to do it! The fritters were my favorite, I loved the mix of conch and spices. I know I don’t have anything to compare them to, but as far as I’m concerned these were top notch! The jerk chicken was so good, that we ordered a dozen more wings for the road. It was a lot of fried seafood, which I normally would never order, but this wasn’t greasy and the taste of the seafood prevailed!

Not only was the food delicious, the atmosphere and beachy vibes were exactly what we needed to enjoy the night. The restaurant is located directly on the beach with a colorful open air seating area. There is a bar with plenty of island cocktails (also pitchers of island rum punch), tables on the beach, and even the Bimini Ring game which we played and pretty much failed at. At some point in my life, I WILL get the ring on the hook!

 

The next day, I rented a car so I could ride around the island at my own speed. I also was really excited to drive on the wrong side of the road, but still keeping a left sided steering wheel. After checking out a few beaches and hidden gems along the way, it was nearing lunch time and I headed back to non other than, Da Conch Shack. I couldn’t resist, it was on my path, and I was in the mood for some more fresh seafood!

This time I ordered blackened grouper, which was served with island peas & rice and coleslaw. I’ve tasted a fair amount of grouper in my day, as it’s actually one of my favorite grilled fish. So I was pleasantly surprised when this grouper was THE BEST I’ve ever tasted. The fish was cooked perfectly, juicy and flaky with the just the right amount of cajun spice. It was a generous portion mixed with the island sides, also flavored and cooked to perfection. This meal was a steal for just $18. Not only was the food amazing, it was a Sunday afternoon, and to my delight, a local guy was playing the guitar and singing some of my favorite reggae riddims.

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BEST Blackened Grouper

Let’s move on to Bugaloo’s Restaurant. Another local restaurant located on the beach, and well known for its fresh seafood. The ambiance is perfect for beach lovers, families and groups of friends. There is plenty of outdoor seating with colorful decor. Loads of island cocktails to choose from, not to mention the famous island rum punch. The food is just as fresh coming in daily from the local fishermen.

First thing I ordered was a nice, refreshing strawberry daiquiri. Flavorful, and thirst quenching, but considering I was on an ‘rum heavy’ island, there wasn’t much rum to be found in this cocktail. I considered ordering some conch here as well, but I was really in the mood for another piece of fresh grilled fish. Their market fish of the day was snapper, caught fresh daily. I ordered this with my choice of a side of plantain chips. The meal was a generous portion, with a huge filet of snapper. It looked amazing! Unfortunately it only tasted OK. The snapper was quite dry, even with the dousing of lime juice and some tarter. The plantain chips were greasier than my liking, but still enjoyable.

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Grilled Snapper and Plantains

After dinner, I walked around the beach area and was able to catch the fisherman cleaning out the conch from the shells. This was a neat experience, which can also be found at Da Conch Shack, I just happened to miss it the times I was there. I enjoyed my evening at Bugaloo’s in an atmosphere that exuded fun, but my particular meal just wasn’t that good.  If you’re looking for a budget friendly option, try one of the sandwiches or an appetizer averaging around $10-$15, as this particular meal and drink for one was close to $50

 

So with all that in mind, I’d suggest to give them both a go! If you love seafood with a beachside setting, you’ll be happy with either. But if you’re looking for the BEST food, you must head over to Da Conch Shack!