Create: Starting A Small Business (Or Two!)

Introducing RambleGood

If you subscribe to my newsletter for creatives who live to wander, then you got the official word over the weekend that I'm getting ready to finally launch my handmade travel goods business next month; RambleGood. I've been providing little teases around this site for months now and recently added the logo to my side-bar. Our website has been live for a couple of months but in the past few weeks I've overhauled it from a coming soon page to a space where we'll share stories about the vision behind RambleGood and eventually open our shop. 

This entire experience has been transforming to say the least - I've learned more practical knowledge and skills in the past six months than I ever did college. From licesensing requirements to taxes and shipping - opening a small business with physical products is a steep learning curve. That being said, I don't think I've ever been more exciting about starting my work day at 5:30am

Why A Handmade Shop?

I've always been a maker and I've always made things to use during my travels. Take that, combined with my belief in the power of handmade to connect us and an academic background in international relations/conflict resolution and you have the vision behind RambleGood. Sure it's hard work and a big commitment to produce everything by hand in-house but thats what makes it so special. We could have had our products mass produced but then, they wouldn't mean quite as much would they? I love knowing that fabric Zeke has cut and I've sewn has made it's way to Machu Picchu and Milan. 

Through the power of handmade, we want RambleGood to do it's part in raising awareness both about the world and non-profit organizations doing good work in it. 

I don't want to give away all the special details about RambleGood here; so hop on over to our blog and check out the very first post; Introducing RambleGood.

On Not Going the Blog Monetization Route

I've had this blog since 2010 and I've been blogging since 2007 - while I've briefly considered advertising and affiliate programs, it's just never been the right fit for me. This blog has never been about business, sure it's connected me to some amazing opportunities like writing an e-book and helped me to travel more through comped lodging - but it's purpose has never been to put money in my bank account. While I'm certainly not against extra income, I'm not interested in making this site a money making machine full of posts without a point or purpose - other than advertising for some one else. 

To me, this space is where I get to do the travel writing work and photograph I enjoy reading - something I find very little of around the web. This site is also meant to be a resource for those are looking for less big city travel tips and more outdoor ideas. My travel guides aren't something I maintain only for others - I use them myself when returning to some of my favorite places! 

Some days I even consider this space a portfolio of my multimedia work and I'm always hoping it helps me continue to grow my freelance travel work with words, photographs, and videos.

Wait, What's the Second Small Business?

If you follow me on Vimeo or ever step over there to pursue our trip videos - you may be wondering where user AdinaMarguerite disappeared to! Well, it's been a long time in coming but it's official now - Zeke and I have formed our own production company; Dog On A Boat Studios. Perhaps you caught a glimpse of this new title in our most recent trip video

Well anyway, we've been filming travel videos for over a year now and even doing a bit of special event videography. It's something we both truly love to do and so we decided it was time to dive in, invest in ourselves, and get this rolling as a business. Extra plus? We both have different strengths in video production and very different eyes for light and composition. Makes us a pretty darn great pair if you ask me.

Since we're diving into this new venture at the same time as launching RambleGood, we're a bit behind on building out our new web home for Dog On A Boat Studios. So for now, you can always follow us on Vimeo and keep you're eyes here for our next travel video. 

Finding My Neverland: Tofino, British Columbia

Tofino, British Columbia

A big thank you to the folks at Tourism Tofino for helping make this trip possible by securing us a discounted rate at the Ocean Village Resort and arranging a surfing lesson with Pacific Surf Company. As well as for helping us with plenty of recommendations for great hikes and where to eat some great gluten free food.

When you see or hear the word "Neverland", does a certain image immediately come to mind? Perhaps that image is influenced by the Peter Pan stage play, the 1953 Disney movie, or the colorful 1991 film, Hook. I admit my own version likely draws some influence from the current television show, Once Upon A Time.

However in my mind, that image looks a little less tropical and a bit more wild and rugged. While it's certainly influenced by pop culture, I draw most of the image from the time I've spent on the Northern California coast. I grew up traveling through the Anderson Valley, along the Navarro River through the redwoods, out to the Pacific Coast, and north along Highway 1 to Fort Bragg, California. While staying at my grandparents bluff top home, my imagination blossomed on this wild and rocky coastline. When was old enough to drive I would make the journey solo, to write short stories about children and teens being thrown into grand adventures.

Tofino, British Columbia

Fast forward to late last fall, when I got the idea in my head to spend my 30th birthday in a little surf town on the coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. Tofino, as it turns out, was the place I’d been dreaming of in my head and referring to as "Neverland". From the most amazing golden hours I’ve ever experienced to trees which look like they hold mysterious secrets (like a long ago crashed bomber), this place is my Neverland turned real. The possibilities for exploration are endless and I can’t wait to return for more adventures.

Tofino, British Columbia

REcommended Adventures

The Wild Pacific Trail | Just south of Tofino in the town of Ucluelet, there are six different sections totaling eight kilometers trail along the coastline. We walked the Lighthouse Loop and Ancient Cedars Route. My favorite part? The views of endless sea stacks in Barkley Sound with interpretive signage for all the ships wrecked in the rough seas of the area.

Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino, British Columbia

Ocean Village on Mackenzie Beach | To be really blunt, I'm not sure I've ever stayed anywhere more dreamy than these simple beach front cabins. My creative instincts were simply bursting at the seams with thoughts for stories, photographs, and films. My favorite part? Making myself a spiced hot chocolate in my cabin and strolling the misty beach in the morning and light painting at night.

Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino, British Columbia

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve | It's no secret that I LOVE Canada's National Parks and Pacific Rim is one of the easiest to explore. With eight, short but fascinating trails winding out to the coastline and through the forest - this is where your imagination can really run wild. We walked the boardwalk trail out to Schooner Cove (where I swear a pirate ship was about to turn up around a sea stack) and found our way out to the crash site of an Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Canso Bomber. This last trail is mostly unmarked, quite boggy (I had mud crest over my hiking boots at a couple of points), and easy to get lost on. For those reasons, as well as for historical preservation and respect, I won't provide you with any details on how to reach the site. If you're curious, you can certainly Google your way to some directions - however, please don't consider attempting it unless you are truly prepared for the conditions and have route finding skills. All that said - it was an amazing adventure.

Surfing and Beachcombing in Cox Bay | As I've mentioned, I'm a surfer and couldn't have been more bummed about not being able to surf on Tofino's lovely beaches due to a recent head injury. Instead, Parsley and I beach-combed while Zeke partook in a lesson with Pacific Surf Company.

Tofino, British Columbia

Golden Hour on the 1st Street Dock | Watch float planes land and small boats ferry people to and from the surrounding islands and areas accessible only by air or sea. Depending on the time of year, I'm told this is an excellent place to watch the sunset. In November, you'll miss the actual sun - but the light reflected over the water won't leave you wanting more.


Additional Resources

Travel Guide: British Columbia

Photography By: Adina Marguerite Pease & Fugue Photography

Getting Away From The Crowds In Portugal's Parks

Getting Away From The Crowds In Portugal's Parks

While parks may not be Portugal’s primary tourism draw, this Iberian state’s protected lands have both natural and historical features in spades. From boulder-strewn slopes to ruins of hill top castles, Portugal’s parks have some fascinating spots to explore. Here’s the catch; the most well documented sites in these parks, especially those detailed in guidebooks, are most often over run with tour buses. Fortunately, for those who wish to get away from the crowds, there are lesser-known spots to explore. Just two of these five sites I’ll share with you even garner a mention in any of the major guidebooks.

National Parks versus Natural Parks

Protected parks in Portugal fall under differing classifications based on a range of factors including  biodiversity, scientific, and educational value. Portugal’s only National Park, Penada-Gerês, was created in 1971 as a result of national and international scientific interest to conserve it's existing characteristics. In Penada-Gerês, you’ll find a couple of park offices with helpful information on hikes and sites to visit.

Natural parks on the other hand are far more informally administered. You’re unlikely to find current maps and won’t find a park office. These regions are designated based on the preservation of biodiversity as influenced by human activities. In both types of parks, gateway towns will be fairly bustling and the key sights mentioned in every guidebook are likely to be crowded to varying degrees.

Santuario da Peninha | Sintra-Cascais Natural Park
Santuario da Peninha | Sintra-Cascais Natural Park
Santuario da Peninha | Sintra-Cascais Natural Park

Santuario da Peninha | Sintra-Cascais Natural Park

In perhaps the most highly trafficked of all four parks I’ll cover, it’s challenging to escape the crowds in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park due to its proximity to Lisbon. While you could spend days exploring the castles in the hills above Sintra, you could also detour west to take in some of the best views on the central Portuguese coast.

Situated at the highest point of the Natural Park, the Santuario da Peninha was built in the 17th century and became a site of pilgrimage for the wives of sailors due to it’s birds eye view of the sea. Walking up the rocky road to the site from an unmarked dirt parking area, the views down the coastline to the city of Cascais improve with every step. From the outside, the chapel itself is unremarkable compared to a lower structure, built in 1918, which is painted a bright canary yellow and offers a fantastic patio. It’s a photographers dream. 

Castle of Castro Laboreiro in Parque Nacional Penada - Gerês
Castle of Castro Laboreiro in Parque Nacional Penada - Gerês
Castle of Castro Laboreiro in Parque Nacional Penada - Gerês
Santuario da Senhora Do Numão in Parque Nacional Penada - Gerês
Santuario da Senhora Do Numão in Parque Nacional Penada - Gerês
Santuario da Senhora Do Numão in Parque Nacional Penada - Gerês

The Castle of Castro Laboreiro & Santuario da Senhora Do Numão | Parque Nacional Penada - Gerês 

While most guidebooks have a section on Portugal’s only National Park, the northern half generally receives a just a short mention without much actionable information. By basing yourself in Soajo as opposed to the more well known hub of Gerês – you’ll set yourself with better access to the less crowded areas of the park.

Just a short hike from the small village of Castro Laboreiro are the ruins of an eponymous castle built around 955 and later rebuilt in the fourteenth century. Dating as far back as it does, the subject of castles’ original builders is in some dispute – with varying sources claiming either the Romans or the Moors. Seated on a hilltop overlooking a valley, like all good castles do, you can wander through doorways and atop the walls imagining centuries of different people doing so before.

In a nearby valley, down a long unmarked dirt road, is the Santuario da Senhora Do Numão. Previously used as a place of worship for Celtic peoples and unspecified ancient cults, the boulder-strewn site now houses a Catholic chapel built in 1663. A rock pulpit and spring add extra curiosity and charm to the site, making a perfect spot for lunch – complete with picnic tables under shade providing trees. 

Covão do Boerio & Covão do Meio in Serra da Estrela Natural Park
Covão do Boerio & Covão do Meio in Serra da Estrela Natural Park
Covão do Boerio & Covão do Meio in Serra da Estrela Natural Park

Covão do Boerio & Covão do Meio | Serra da Estrela Natural Park

Most guidebooks will mention the centrally situated Serra Da Estrela National Park, specifically calling out the highest point in Portugal; Torre, and suggesting a hike down the Zêzere Valley. Just about three kilometers down the hill from Torre, towards Seia, a rough and rocky trail dips down into the westward sloping Loriga Glacial Valley. While there are a few small parking pullouts nearby, you won’t find any other signage directing you down the path.

For those lucky few interested in exploring, the roughly seven kilometer trail will lead you past the ruins of various abandoned stone buildings and infrastructure, past an upper marsh area to a dam and reservoir – Lagoa do Cavão do Meio. At the time of our visit, mid-September, the dam was deserted and the reservoir nearly empty. In this state, you can make loop traveling in front of the dam and across the dry lakebed back to the trail.

Forte de Almádena in Southwest Alentejo and Vincentine Coast Natural Park 
Forte de Almádena in Southwest Alentejo and Vincentine Coast Natural Park 
Forte de Almádena in Southwest Alentejo and Vincentine Coast Natural Park 

Forte de Almádena | Southwest Alentejo and Vincentine Coast Natural Park

Depending on the time of year, a visit to the large area covered by Southwest Alentejo and Vincentine Coast Natural Park may be more packed than the winding roads around Sintra's castles. Located between the Algarve beach towns of Salema and Burgau, Forte de Almádena is easily overlooked by anyone not partial to aimlessly driving the small winding roads along the coast. Built in 1632, it’s another hilltop castle with a fantastic view down the coastline ready to be explored. For those imaginative types, the remnants of the moat are still visible – so watch your footing as you explore.

Final Tips for Visiting Portugal’s Parks 

If you plan any portion of your visit to Portugal around it’s parks and prefer to get away from the crowds – you’ll need to rent a vehicle, chat with locals, and plan on getting lost. I recommend bringing actual paper maps, as cell service won’t be strong in the mountainous regions, and a GPS device to determine your location after you get yourself lost. Using this approach, you’ll hopefully find some additional ways to get away from the crowds in Portugal’s parks.


Additional Resources

Travel Guide: Portugal

Four Ways To Enjoy The Snow in McCall, Idaho

Easy Does It in McCall Idaho Photo by fugue photo

After a couple of years of combining my passions of traveling and creating in the digital space, I've found that sometimes I need to get out and enjoy myself without the pressure of creating something after the fact. At home in Seattle, it means leaving the DSLR at home and if inspiration strikes, I'll have to capture it on my iPhone instead. On longer trips, like our New Years week spent in McCall, Idaho, it means that while we may bring all our gear - we hardly ever pull it out of the bag. For the purposes of comparison, during the five full days we spent in McCall - we snapped about 45 shots on our Canon T5i and S110 combined. During the four days we spent in Tofino back in November, we came back with 506 individual shots and a whole load of video clips.

All that being said - I still have to share how fantastic McCall was for a snowy getaway. This lakeside Idaho town has two breweries, a couple of adorable coffee shops, a disproportionate number of thrift shops, and even a large indoor ice rink. Adding to the pro's of a winter time visit to McCall is the proximity of outdoor snowy fun to the downtown area. Skiing, snowshoeing, and natural hot springs are all with easy driving (and in some cases walking) distance. 


Snowshoeing in Ponderosa State Park Along Payette Lake in McCall Idaho
Snowshoeing in Ponderosa State Park Along Payette Lake in McCall Idaho

Go For An Easy Snowshoe In Ponderosa State Park

Just a couple of minutes down the road from McCall's downtown (and convienent snowshoe rentals), are the groomed nordic trails of Ponderosa State Park. The winter trail system is well marked with options for easy to more challenging grades. I recommend hightailing it, as fast as you can in snowshoes, towards the shoreline to enjoy the snowy views out across Payette Lake. Use of the trails is $5 per person plus an additional $5 per vehicle - plus tax. Keep in mind that everyone in your party will need to be on either snowshoes or cross country skies - you won't be allowed to walk the trails in your boots.

 

Snowshoeing off Lick Creek Road Near Little Payette Lake in McCall Idaho
Snowshoeing off Lick Creek Road Near Little Payette Lake in McCall Idaho

Make First Tracks with your snowshoes off Lick Creek Road

If you're ready for a more adventurous snowshoe, literally off the beaten path, head up Lick Creek Road to get some snowshoeing time in the untracked powder near Little Payette Lake. About 15 minutes from downtown is a US Forest Service parking lot on the right side of the road, marked with a sign containing exploration etiquette but no maps. From here, you can start making tracks in whichever direction looks right for you. I recommend heading west along the river towards Little Payette Lake. 

On December 30th, in late morning, the only other folks we encountered were some snowmobilers in the parking lot headed farther up the unplowed portion of Lick Creek Road. Wandering through the trees and across frozen lakes (take caution while crossing these) - we had this snowy wonderland all to ourselves during a popular time of year for a visit.

 

Ski at Brundage Mountain Resort

Ski At Brundage Mountain Resort

Located about twenty minutes north of McCall is Brundage Mountain Resort - which has five lifts, 46 named-trails, and fantastic views of McCall and Long Valley from the summit. While it may not be as large as some of the Lake Tahoe resorts where I learned to ski, there were plenty of runs to keep me busy and enjoying the snow. For my first day back on skis in over six years, I couldn't have asked for a better run than Temptation. It's just over two miles long and rated as a green circle, although the last portion may really be more along blue square territory.

Adult lift tickets run $60 for a full day and $48 for a half. The best part, on New Years Eve, usually a popular day to get some skiing in - lift lines truly didn't exist. It was a ski straight down into the marked area and onto the waiting spot for your chair!

 

Soak In Trail Creek Hot Springs

I'm the first to admit that whenever I think of natural hot springs, specifically the kind out there in the woods, the '90s movie Dante's Peak immediately comes to mind. However, on our trip to Idaho, we were traveling with a number of hot springs connoisseurs determined to get us all out to some local pools. After a considerable amount of hesitation, I swim-suited up, butt-slid down the snowy trail off Warm Lake Road, and dipped my toes into Trail Creek Hot Springs.

At first dip, the water in Trail Creek Hot Springs was far to hot for someone as sensitive as me. Thankfully, the tubs here are improved with valves to plug the hot water and let in cool water from the creek. From the perspective of a first timer - the tub was clean enough considering it's out there in the woods. By far the best part of the experience is sitting in a warm tub with friends, surrounded by snow covered rocks and trees. It was so much more peaceful and cup-filling than a more developed hot spring could ever be.

 

[Video] The Columbia Gorge Waterfall Challenge | Part One

One of the best parts about visiting Portland, Oregon is the easy access to the corridor of waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge. On this visit we set out to see how many waterfalls we could reasonably visit in one day and of course, still make it back in time to enjoy a fantastic Portland dinner with friends.

Prior to attempting this fun travel challenge, I mapped as many waterfalls as I could on a Google Map - which you can view here. By starting out in the late morning, we made it to Lower and Upper Latourell Falls, Shepperd's Dell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Wahkeena Falls, and Multnomah Falls. We'll have to return on a second challenge to visit the rest!


Additional Resources

Travel Guide: Oregon