Taking photos 〄 Wandering outdoors

Day at the Sand Dunes National Park

US & CanadaMonique MclymontComment

Having moved out of Colorado, I've come to appreciate the beauty and diversity of what it has to offer. Last weekend, we took the 4-hour drive from Denver and headed south for some desert sun. Having woken up at 2 am in an effort to catch the sunrise (that didn't happen), we started the drive at around 4 am. The best part about going to the Sand Dunes at this hour is that we didn't have to pay a park entrance fee, there were very few people in the park, and the heat was pretty manageable. Our goal was to trek to the top of the dunes until we realized the top was far within reach. Let's just say, trekking in the sand isn't as easy as they make it seem on the internet.


Here are some fun facts about the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

·      It's the tallest dunes in North America

·      It's ranging from wetlands to forest to tundra-each supporting specially adapted plant, animal and insect life.

·      In the summer months, sand temperatures can go up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

·      Lighting is a possibility, especially during the warmer months.

·       The best photo opportunities are at sunrise and sunset when the shadows form on the sand.

This national park is so unique (at least to me) in that, on your left side there's a beautiful range of sand and on your right side, there's an even more beautiful range of mountains. It's truly an experience to be had and should be on your Colorado bucket list.

Within the area, there are some nearby public lands that are worth visiting as well.

·      Zapata Falls (3miles up a very bumpy road, then another ½ trek in rocks)

·      South Zapata Lake ( 10miles roundtrip from the Zapata Falls Parking Area)

·      Blanca Wetlands (Located 14 miles SE of Mosca; from Highway 17, take County Road 2S east 7 miles. Closed for nesting Feb.15 to July 15)

Here are some pics from Zapata Falls

Have you been to the Sand Dunes?

Share your experience.



Day at the Sand Dunes NP Chasing MONIK

Visiting the European Parliament in Brussels

EuropeMonique MclymontComment

The moment I booked my ticket to Belgium, the first thing on my to-do list was; visit the European Parliament. I scoured the internet to find out any and everything I could about the possibility of taking a tour of the hemicycle.  I then learned that a visit to the EU Parliament involved not only a hemicycle visit but, a full-on interactive tour of European history and politics. I must confess, I have a minor obsession with international relations and international politics. Moving forward, I looked at the days I would be in Brussels and then proceeded to check the weather. I figured the best time to visit this place was on an overcast and rainy day. Fast forward to today, I am still in shock that I had the chance to visit this place. It definitely made the list of my top ten highlights of 2017. 

Thinking about visiting this fantastic place anytime soon? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. This tour is massive. I literally spent the whole day there and I still did not have enough time to see all the exhibits. 

  2. Bring lunch or break up your visit. There is a small café in the parlamentarium.

  3. There is Wi-Fi on the campus. 

  4. Visiting hours are M-F 0900-1800 and S&S 1000-1800. The center is closed on holidays. In addition, because this is the real-life hemicycle that holds EU parliament meetings, hemicycle tours usually start after 1300.  

  5. Be ready to learn a ton of European history! 

Here are a few images from the trip. Hope you get a chance to visit this place and the best part, its FREE! 

Rant: #metoo

a healing bodyMonique MclymontComment

The purpose of this blog to share my thoughts, experiences, and photos in the world with whoever wants to read. Now, I may get a lot of backlash from this post and that’s okay. We’re all entitled to our opinions and these opinions should be respected. Now you might ask, what does the #metoo movement has anything to do with travel. Well, let me share some facts. I was raped, sexually assaulted, and molested multiple times by multiple older men. One of these men were eventually brought to justice, but there were no consequences attached to his action. Further, battling with depression, suicidal tendencies, and excessive PTSD along with many different mental illnesses, traveling and photography became my drug of choice. This will be another story for another time.

What I want to share right now is how I’m feeling in regard to this #metoo movement. Let’s get this clear, I am no victim, I am no feminist, in fact, I hate labels. What’s irritating me is how many females engaged in acts that they regret and later deem these acts to be sexual assault. What’s irritating me is that many females that got inappropriately touched, ie. on their neck, on their hand, on their waist and its deemed sexual assault. Now, please do not mistake this as bashing. I condemn these tasteless acts and men should fully respect a woman’s personal space but, this is not sexual assault. Exchanging sexual favors for something in return is called prostitution. This is not sexual assault.

There are many people out in the world that’s been violently assaulted and I can promise you what's on their mind is how can I work to put my life together and be a ‘normal’ and functional member of society. Plastering #metoo slogans all over social media and on people’s tele CAN, AND, IS traumatic for these people. No one forgets what happened to them, and the constant reminders are no help to move forward. These are triggers! Yes, we would like for these individuals to come forward, and simply because they don’t doesn’t mean they’re not strong. This label ‘strong’ that is being placed on all individuals who come forward in the #metoo movement is condescending. Does it mean those individuals who choose to keep their lives private aren’t strong? 

It is my opinion that we are looking at these things the WRONG way. Instead of focusing on programs to help victims combat PTSD, we’re focused on trending hashtags. Instead of funding mentoring programs for abused children, we’re focused on wearing black attires and so call “making a point”. Please, let us focus on the real issues at hand here. Blaming and shaming will get us NOWHERE. It won’t solve our sexual identity issues, it will not stop self-hatred, and it will not cure our depression!