New Year’s in Yosemite, day 2

December 31

Our first night in Yosemite. It was pretty cold, I heard some noises, the wind was hard, something was hitting against our tent and I thought it was a bear searching for food. It was quite a “fun” night I must say.

The morning was beautiful. Bright blue sky, snowy tops of the mountains and smoke coming out of the guest house.

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How to stay in Yosemite in winter for cheap

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Yosemite is a beautiful place with grand mountains, clear air and lot’s of outdoorsy things to do. It’s a place to spend a weekend away from the craziness of the city and indulge with nature. It’s great in many ways but there is a few things you need to know to make your trip more comfortable, and less expensive.

Here are your budget travel tips:

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New Year’s in Yosemite, day 1

December 30

Hope everyone had a great New Year’s celebration! Konrad and I went to Yosemite. To be honest I didn’t feel like doing it at first as I’m not a big fan of the cold. I really really dislike being cold but I knew it definitely would be something new and something interesting. I decided to suck it up, we booked a tent and hit the road. We left our warm sunny LA on the 30th around 8am and arrived to the cold but gorgeous Yosemite around 2pm. We stopped at Starbucks on the way there, around 2 hours before our destinations and you could immediately feel the difference in the temperature. I had to put on my winter snow jacket that I specifically bought for this trip and an extra layer of sweatpants.

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Big Bear Lake Trip

This Saturday morning started super early for us. I woke up at 5am, it was pretty cold, feel like winter is around the corner. I quickly jumped in the steaming hot shower,  it warmed me up and I didn’t feel grumpy anymore:)

I prepared us some snacks, took some drinks and and we hopped in the car and drove for about 2 hours east. It wasn’t a picturesque drive but as we started approaching the mountains it changed drastically.

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mauritius snorkling

Trip to Mauritius, Underwater Sea Walk

A few years ago I went to South Africa to meet my boyfriends family and friends for the first time.

One of our holiday trips was one in Mauritius.

We arrived to the airport all happy and excited, bags packed, holiday mood, only to find out we couldn’t fly that day.

I had a few hiccups with my paperwork so we needed to push it forward a few days, so I can’t say it started well. My advice to everyone – make sure that your visa is 100% ready, that you have all your passports with you at all times. I know it sounds obvious, but because I flew from the US I thought I didn’t need my Russian passport, but because I am a citizen of Russia, (and we don’t need visas for Mauritius), it would be easier if I had my passport on me.

Anyway, we postponed the trip, went to the Embassy of Mauritius in Pretoria and had my new visa ready in about a week or so.

Now, for the second time, we are at the airport, praying that everything is fine this time. Thank God it was.

So we put our holiday vibe on and wait for our plane.

The flight was good, only 4 hours. Their airport was beautiful! While we were waiting for the hotel taxi to pick us up, we decided to get out and check the weather outside. Pure Perfectness!!! Just like I imagined. Real tropics – humid, hot and sunny.

Our hotel was great, the food was amazing, the locals are super friendly and humble. We checked the island out by renting a scooter and going from south to north and from west to east. The real way to learn about the place is to go where the locals go.

Among a bunch of activities that the island offers, we went for an Underwater Sea Walk. They take you to the middle of the lagoon, you put a big mask on and explore the underwater world – the colors of different fishes are unbelievable! You can even feed them and they take the food right out of your hands. You can have your pictures taken by the team and save it as a reminder of an unbelievable trip to Mauritius.

After that we did a bit of snorkeling as well. Checked out corals and other parts of the lagoon.

I’m so grateful I have seen such a magical please with my love.

Here is a little video if you want to check what it was like.

Trip to Mauritius, Underwater Sea Walk

Music “Atlantic State of Mind” by mGee
Available on the Free Music Archive


komati gorge accommodation

Komati Gorge Lodge Accomodation, Mpumalanga, South Africa

This has been such a wonderful adventure. South Africa is gorgeous!

Komati Gorge Lodge Accomodation

We went to a place called Komati Gorge Lodge in the province of Mpumalanga, South Africa.

The colors are so bright, it’s so open, it’s hard to explain the feelings you get when you arrive there.

There is a great four by four drive where you can take your land rover for a spin. You can also rend dirt bikes for an unbelievable experience!

You can see different exotic animals there as well

If you love fishing, you can bring your equipment with for a nice fishing session.

There is also a great restaurant on site with amazing food that won’t leave you disappointed.

Komati Gorge Lodge is a place to go if you want to get out of the every day busy crazy world and get in touch with the nature.

If you feel inspired, and I hope you do, check them out and I’ sure will have an unforgettable experience, just like we did.



great white shark diving cape town

White Sharks Adventures, Shark Cage Diving, Kleinmond, SA

Have you ever been in the cage under the water close to a shark?! Shark Cage Diving is indescribable! What a crazy feeling! Your heart is pumping, your body is numb, either from the cold water or from the fear.

Great White Shark Diving in Cape Town Experience

It was a great trip! The team was awesome and very welcoming.

We chose White Shark Safaris and didn’t regret.

We arrived to their office location early in the morning. They told us about the trip, what to expect. They had a nice breakfast (there was even a vegetarian option!)

They had a bunch of photos with celebrities on the wall. We watched the video and went in the deep dark ocean.

It was a cloudy day and maybe because of that it felt more like a scene from The Jaws movie.

They gave us some directions of what to do and not to do, like not to stick our hands into the water, for instance. And what happened?

My GoPro fell right outside of the tank from the top deck where I was!!! I was so scared! I wanted that camera back and didn’t want to lose a part of my body to a great white shark.

Thanks to one of the team members, he caught the camera and gave it back to me. Whew… He didn’t even yell 🙂

I give 5 stars to this Company “White Shark Safaris”. They are great! Thank you for such an unforgettable experience and getting us back home safe and sound 🙂

“Pool Sharks” by Carnivorous Birds

Tarpeian Rock” and “How He Lived After He Died” by Protomartyr

Available on the Free Music Archive

Under CC BY license 



Paris Sky

Paris Sky is so plane streaked. People fly to different places, they dont’t stay still, they have an opportunity to travel and find a place to live, place where they belong. They are not limited to their hometown, or the country they were born anymore and it’s great.

For some reason this cold cloudy sky takes me back to my college years. I remember my first year in University, the warm autumn sun creeping through curtains and sun rays landing on my shoulder. We were studying, learning and dreaming of our future. I remember the late spring before my first trip to the states. It was raining and we were on a break before the next English class. Older students were talking to our professor about their trip to America and we were so jealous. I think of early summer during my high school years. The time when my grandma was still alive, and so was aunt Tamara. It was a bit chilly. We opened our windows and cleaned them, and I looked out and as always dreamed about future. I didn’t appreciate or value that moment of us being together, together with my favorite grandma…how sad…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI remember that winter before my trip and how mom and I would walk in crunchy snow and talk about the future, my plans…

Remember how dad and I would climb the roof and watch the setting sun…





It feels like another chapter of my life is coming to an end. Maybe because back in 2005 I also flew with the Air France. It was my first international flight, my first trip to the states, my very first time. That trip gave me my first and only love, Konrad. A lot has happened since that summer at a summer camp, we would get together and split apart, fall apart and make up again, said goodbyes forever and told each other we can’t live without one another. Fate has brought us back together over and over again.


IMG_4597Now I’m flying from LA to Paris. We are landing, lost in the clouds, as if we were hanging in the fog, as if time stopped moving and we got stuck in the moment. Sometimes in life as you get older you try to avoid changes, we get stuck in the cocoon of our everyday events, things we do, we get into that comfort zone and stop changing.

I’ve noticed that these past years in the states have made me stronger, that’s true, but also made me tougher, stiffer, my skin thicker, I became less naive, that waiting-for-miracles-to-happen attitude disappeared, and that’s not right…
I want my pink shades that I looked at the world through back, because I believe in that quote, “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”. I want to explore the world like I used to, with my eyes wide open, I want to see only the best in people, I want to expect miracles because they do exist but we focus on everything but that.

A new lunar month started, and maybe now is the time to break that cocoon, shut the door to that old rigid life and change everything? It’s time to stop being afraid and follow my dreams, because we can always get everything we want, we just need to want it and go after it.

IMG_4615 2It feels like a slow motion, someone signals us with those bright sticks, the plane stops. No one applauses, and to be honest I miss that silly Russian thing we do that takes us back to our inner kids, it gives an extra boost of energy, smiles, joy, happiness. Yeah, nobody claps their hands, no one seems to be happy to be back home, to their Paris. We are all different, that’s true.

Well, I’m glad to land safely here in Paris, have another flight in 10 hours and Hi Africa! I can’t believe I’m flying to Africa!!! Never thought I’d go there. Actually I’m lying now. I have thought about it since I saw Konrad off that fall of 2005. I thought that I’d be wearing a beautiful dress, high heels, will be going down the stairs. In my dreams he was waiting for me right at the entrance. Yeah, I am silly. Who wears a dress and heels when they travel for many hours? And yes, even though I know that normal people don’t do it, I have that pretty dress and heels in my carry on bag:) We shall see how crazy I am in about 20 hours.

Paris sky is gloomy with low clouds…It’s a pity I can’t go see the Eiffel Tower, have so much time to spend…I should’ve applied for a visa earlier…And yes, it proves ones more that I’m silly.