Last Minute Stocking Stuffers any Explorer Would Love

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers and Explorer would love.

I’m not sure why, but I have always loved buying stocking stuffers. Maybe it’s because of their potential to be completely adorable, or maybe because they are an easy way to still provide something that your loved one actually needs while still qualifying as a gift? Either way, I love filling those stocking to the brim with cute, and sometimes delicious things.

When it comes to stocking stuffers, I have always followed one rule: each costs $20 or less. I have seen some stocking stuffer guides lately and people are including $200 watches, or $100 wireless headphones. To me, if it costs more than $20, that sucker is a gift. So go on a wrap it up with a pretty bow and stick it under the tree!

So, I’m not sure if you have noticed, but Christmas is only 3 days away!!! AHH!! Now hold on, don’t panic, because I have created a list of quick and last minute items that will fit perfectly in your little explorers stocking. These can be found at most chain stores like Walmart or Target. Some of these items can even be found at 5 below, if you have one close to you! (If you don’t, I am very sorry, because I love me some 5 below).

So grab a pen, grab your wallet, and grab yourself some soothing chamomile tea before you head out on this Christmas weekend for your last minute stocking stuffers! (and please be careful out there, because I am not really sure what it is, but it seems like holidays make people forget how to drive, or act decently in public, so just watch yourself!)

Passport Cover

I briefly mentioned this in my Holiday Gift Guide for Adventure Seekers, but I really think this is a fabulous gift! Not only is it a cute way to keep your passport, bank cards, money and boarding passes together, but with most of these things RFID blocking capabilities, it becomes a necessity!

The one mentioned in the guide above was an entire gift set including the cover, keychain, and matching luggage tag. That however, will not fit in to your stocking, unless you have one of these ridiculous 3 foot long stockings. For this quick guides purposes, a simple passport cover will do. You can pick one up at your local walmart, or even a department store like Macy’s. I personally would head to Target and pick up one of thses adorable ones:

Check it out online here

Playing Cards

Now, I realize that some people are just not game people, so if that is your person, then go on ahead and skip to the next item. I however am a HUGE game lover! I used to be known for carrying a deck of cards in my purse (although now, I don’t really carry a purse much anymore lol). If your person is like me, then you can’t go wrong with card games.

You could go with a traditional deck of cards, as there are a plethora of games that you can play with just a simple deck of cards. If your loved one is a water adventurer, then maybe consider this deck of waterproof cards from Walmart. These are basically little plastic playing cards that won’t ruin if something is spilled on them (or if they are dropped in a creek, which I would NEVER do to a deck of cards lol).

You could also get a specific card game for them! Whenever my husband and I go backpacking, we ALWAYS have a card game with us, as it is my favorite way to pass the time! Plus it fits anywhere in my pack, and takes virtually no space as all! We usually always pack Phase 10! This is a game that I used to play with my family all the time growing up! The best part, you can find this game at any local Walmart! I’ve even seen it at Walgreens before!

Recently though, we stumbled upon this gem at 5 Below! It is the UNO Wilderness edition! Now it is no different than regular UNO, it just has all these cool outdoorsy prints on the cards! So if your adventure lover is a nature freak, consider picking up this for their stocking for only $5!

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers and Explorer would love.
We found these at our local 5 Below! Click here to see if there is a location near you!

Cool Pair of Socks

Didn’t I tell you that I love stocking stuffers because it is an excuse to buy the little things that are practical, and often forgotten? Socks are the perfect example of this (and underwear too actually).

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers and Explorer would love.
Check online availability of these cool socks here

Last year, Tuan Anh went through this phase where he really wanted printed socks! This has still gone on this year, as he can wear them to work, and also out and about! He likes the longer socks, especially for walking, hiking, or even wearing to work (so his work shoes don’t rub his ankle!).

I always buy him these socks for the brand Pair of Theives at Target! They always have the coolest printed socks! They have cool prints in long socks, but also the short socks if your loved one prefers those! They have women’s socks and kids socks as well. And if your adventurer has a little one of their own, consider the “parent and kid” options that Pair of Theives sells so they can match (because how adorbs would that be!?)

Phone Lenses

Trust me when I say that I understand how difficult it can be to lug around a huge DSLR camera! On our most recent backpacking trip I took it along because I have finally learned how to use it! But I have to be honest, it is so SO much easier to just use a cellphone!

While our phones do take pretty good pictures (especially Tuan Anh’s Android), I know the phone photography would be that much better with these lenses! Especially when taking landscapes where a wide angle lens would just make it that much better of a shot!

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers and Explorer would love.
This particular set can be found at Best Buy. But you could also check Walmart or even Target as well!

Portable Coffee Mug

This is what Target calls them, I however refer to these babies as “To-go coffee cups”. Whatever you call them, these are fabulous! I am ALWAYS on the go, whether its to school, teaching, dog park, shopping, training classes, ect. I am also obsessed with coffee, and like to have a cup when I go out and about!

These are also great for Tea or Hot Chocolate drinkers, pretty much anything that needs to stay warm and not spill in the car. If you want the real deal, go with a vacuum sealed one, because this just enhances the cups ability to keep air out and the liquid hot!

Need one quick to throw in your loved one’s stocking? Look no further than Target my friend. I am telling you, this place never ceases to amaze me. You can find some really REALLY cute ones in their mug section, like the one below, however this one ALMOST goes over stocking stuffer budget at $17.99.

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers and Explorer would love.
See your local availability in stores here

What you could do instead is check out the Target Dollar spot! They have some very cute options of to-go mugs for under $10! You can’t beat that! They have ceramic ones for $3 or recently I noticed they are starting to sell stainless steel ones for $5. Both are super affordable, and would be the perfect addition to your adventurers stocking!

Utility Knives

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers and Explorer would love.
Find this one at your local Dicks sporting goods

This is one of those items that anyone can use, and you really can’t go wrong with! My husband always has a knife on him! If you ask him if he has his knife he’ll say “I’ve got my pants on don’t I?” lol (I never realized how Southern that sounds until I just read it out loud haha, but we are from Georgia afterall).

You could go with juts a simple knife, or your could go the extra route with functionality and get a fancy multi-tool pocket knife (basically a Swiss army knife). These come in a range of prices, depending on how many things your tool can do.

I like multi-tools because of the tiny scissors that come with it, as if I try to cut that dangly string off my shirt with the knife, I will likely cut myself in half. So the scissors are perfect for me. Other items included on a multi tool include tweezers and even a little screwdriver.

Gift Cards

If you are just really in a bind, have no time to run out and look for these individual items, then you can’t go wrong with a gift card. My grandmother hates gift cards because she feels like they are impersonal. I might buy in to that as a gift (although really, I love gift cards), but a stocking is the perfect place to give giftcards!

If they are an outdoor enthusiast, consider an REI giftcard. Do they love coffee?? Throw in a $5 giftcard to their favorite coffee shop so their next drink is on you! You could also include giftcards to their favorite restaurants or other shopping stores (clearly a Target giftcard would be perfect for me, as half the items on this list come from there)

If you want to be a little more personal, then you could consider purchasing your loved one an experience. Check out Groupon and see what things you could buy that fit in the stocking stuffer budget! Some great ones local to me include a $10 escape room experience, or even $6 movie tickets! Purchase it as a gift, print it off and stick it in that stocking!

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers and Explorer would love.
These are from REI, but you can find giftcards for literally anywhere!

Want more from us?

If you want to see what we are up to during the week, check out our instagram here!

We want to hear from you!

Do you have any other stocking stuffer ideas? Share them in the comments below! As I said earlier, I love shopping for stocking stuffers, and I also love hearing knew ideas for them!

Liked our post? Go ahead and pin it, so that others can purchase their last minute stocking stuffers before its too late!

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers and Explorer would love.

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Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff Falls

A lot to be Thankful For

What’s your Inspiration for Travel?


Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff Falls

Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff Falls

As you may know, we started a series last month where we detail the best free hikes in Georgia. We promised that once a month we would share with you an awesome hike, with a view of some sort, that is completely free! And we do not intend to break a promise!

Today, we bring you a complete guide to Raven Cliff Falls. On this particular trip, we also set up camp and stayed the night, and it was a blast! And again, the best part about it- ITS FREE. One of my favorite things! I love when you can just kick back and have fun with your loved ones and not break the bank for it.

Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff Falls

The Location

Raven Cliff Falls is located in Helen, Georgia near the Blue Ridge Mountains. You are in luck if you have never been here, because the way to get to Raven Cliff is by traveling down Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway. This is a beautiful road that winds around the mountain, containing multiple pull offs with GORGEOUS views.

The DriveTop Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff Falls

We now take Russell on our way to Blairsville, even though it is a little further of a drive, because we think the road is just so beautiful. It is also my experience that this highway is not as curvy as our usual route, so many of our usual car sick friends don’t seem to feel as bad when we take this way. Who knows why? Maybe it’s the power of the mountain scenery!

The Hike

Raven Cliff Falls is a 5 mile hike (roundtrip), and it is gorgeous the whole way! The trail itself is very well kept, with only one rock spot that might get slippery (so just be careful). One of my favorite parts about the Raven Cliff trail is that the creek runs along almost the entire trail, so a majority of your trip is accompanied by the peaceful sound of running water.

The hike itself is fairly moderate. There are no really steep inclines, and it will doesn’t start to ascend until the very last 100 steps or so. Do not be fooled by its ease however, and make sure to bring water and a snack with you (maybe a nice lunch to enjoy on the rocks when you reach the end?). We did this our first trip to Raven Cliff, in the middle of July, and we regretted it. So don’t do that!

Another great thing about Raven Cliff is that you come to two or three waterfalls as you walk in. One in particular has a little side trail that lets you walk right to the top. So Tuan Anh and I stopped here and ate our lunch atop a picturesque waterfall. It was so cool!

The View

Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff FallsSo you have walked about 2.5 miles in, and its been beautiful woodsy scenery, with a few gorgeous waterfalls so far. But now we are gettin to the good stuff! The cliff! When I first saw this beauty, I was in awe.

At first, you just love it because it’s like this big beautiful hidden gem of a rock in the forest. Then, you find out that there is a waterfall that literally splits the cliff in two! It is like magic!

We sat in front of it for a while, just admiring the fresh breeze and the sound of the waterfall. Then, Tuananh had this crazy idea to climb inside the waterfall, which I would not recommend. It made for great pictures, but it also made for a terrified wife!

Now, believe it or not, Raven Cliff still has more to offer (I know, amazing right?). You can actually climb to the top of the cliff fairly easily. This is, however, where things get a little steep. Just keep going up, past the waterfall, and you will notice the little opening for the climb up.

When you get to the top, you will get a bonus waterfall, and who doesn’t love little hidden waterfalls am-i-rite? Plus, you will get a peak of the mountain views through the trees, which is something that I always love.

On top of that, you have a peaceful little spot, that isn’t usually crowded, where you can just sit and relax. We were up there for a good 45 minutes, and didn’t see a single other person come up, so it was nice!

Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff Falls


When looking for a place to camp, one of the first things I look at is price. I just think it is crazy that a place charges a ton of money when I am bringing everything, including what I am sleeping on, with me. But I do understand that they need money to pay for maintenance and things, but I digress.

So, imagine my complete excitement to find out that camping at Raven Cliff is as free as the hike itself! That is amazing! There are TONS of campsites to choose from! If you are looking for a really beautiful and secluded spot, go about a mile and a half in! There are some great options!

Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff Falls

One thing to remember about the camping here though, is that it is first come, first serve. With that being said, we chose to camp on the same day as a veterans camp trip AND a youth group camp trip. Because of this, we settled down at the first empty site we found.

A great thing about camping at Raven Cliff is that you really can’t go wrong. So no matter where you choose, it’s going to be a great night of camping! There is plenty of water, as most of the sites have direct access to the creek. There is plenty of wood for fire, and there is plenty of opportunity for privacy as you are surrounded by trees.

When we set up camp, we go ahead and do everything real quick, that way we don’t have to worry about anything later on. We dig holes, hang the bear bag, and get all the firewood we could possibly need. Once all of this is done, THEN we take off our boots, put on our chacos, and play in the creek of course!

Because this was a shorter hike, we had camp set up fairly early. There was still plenty of daylight to spare. Now, this doesn’t always happen to us, but when it does, we are prepared. For starters, this gives us plenty of time to keep exploring, and with Raven Cliff, you never know what you are going to find.

We also bring along Phase 10 or some other card game (we also have this great UNO set that has all the National Parks printed on it!). We usually play our game, sitting by the fire, jamming to our camp playlist on Spotify. In that moment, nothing else matters accept for us and the fun we are having, and it is awesome!

Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff Falls

One thing you need to be mindful of is where you are, and the fire rules that apply. Luckily, the Raven Cliff Wilderness is indeed a fire safe zone, so as long as you keep your fire contained in a fire pit, you are good to go.

To us, this means one thing. And one thing only…SMORES!!! Sometimes there is nothing better than a toasted marshmallow, a piece of Hershey’s chocolate, and two graham crackers carefully, and lovingly, constructed after a long day of adventuring.

Tuan Anh and I are naturally early risers, so we were up the next day, before the sun had fully risen. Unfortunately where we were, there was no view of it, although one day we plan to take our headlamps, and go back to the top of Raven Cliff to watch the sun rise!

When it is time to take down camp, we follow the same rule as set up. We start early, and pack everything up accept for what we are using for breakfast (which we will just throw in the top of our packs before heading out).

We typically build another fire, becuase mornings can be pretty chilly! And I’m not gonna lie either, if any marshmallows survived the night before, we may even roast up a breakfast marshmallow, because why not?

Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff Falls

One of my favorite parts about this camping trip? Getting to enjoy my coffee on a rock in the middle of the creek. It was so peaceful to just close my eyes, take a sip of that delicious dark roast, and just clear my head. Not worrying about lesson plans I needed to write, or dishes that I should have washed before we went camping. I am just enjoying the beautiful earth that God created, with the person I love most.

Overall Experience

While Raven Cliff may be one of the shortest hikes we have done, it is probably one of our favorites. It is definitely one of our favorite places we have ever camped! Maybe it was something about the peaceful surroundings and overall ease of Raven Cliff, but it made us feel so relaxed, to where we could truly unwind and have a good time.

Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff FallsRaven Cliff is a trail that we will visit again and again! This would be a great trail for families to hike and camp, as kids would have an easy time on the trail. It would also be a great choice if you and a group of buds just wants to get away for the weekend but not go too far or spend too much money.

Whether you are just looking for a bit of exercise, or want a weekend getaway, Raven Cliff should absolutely be on your list!

Want more from us?

If you want to see what we are up to during the week, check out our instagram here!

Also, if you missed our last post about free hikes in Georgia, head over to our Sawnee Mountain guide, and prepare for a treat! Or, if you need another great place for camping and exploring, consider Providence Canyon State park. Find out all about it here.

We want to hear from you!

We are all about exploring our local area, and seeing the adventures it has to offer! Comment down below where you are from, and one of your favorite local area hikes!

Liked our post? Go ahead and pin it, so that others can be visit Raven Cliff Falls for free!

Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Raven Cliff Falls

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life

Raise your hand if you are as excited as I am that Christmas is only a few weeks away! 🙋🙋🙋

This year has gone by so fast, and all of a sudden, it’ time to set up for the holidays! Tuan Anh and I have already started our Christmas Advent calendar and everyting.

If you are a super christmas-er, like my mother, then you already have gifts wrapped and neatly places under your tree. I am not that advanced quite yet,that is like Christmas black belt status. I am more like a Christmas blue belt. But no matter what level of Christmas mastery you are, it is time to come to terms that Christmas is mere weeks away!

With that being said, I have begun to think about who I am getting what for Christmas this year. Truth be told, I keep a list of possible Christmas gifts throughout the year as I see my loved ones look at or talk about things, I write them down so I won’t forget.

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life

For this reason, I have a collected a list of awesome gifts that any adventurer/traveler would love to have. Many of these things were written on my own personal “letter to santa” wish list, because they are so cute and practical.

These items don’t have to be for just the explorer in your life, as many people would find these items to be useful! So pull out your Santa mug, fill it with coffee and gain some Christmas gift inspiration!

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life

Her: Outdoor Themed Mug — $18.95

This mug is super cute, comes in three different colors AND could be clipped to a pack with a carabiner to bring along on camping trips! It’s a win-win.

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
To purchase this cute mug, click here

Him: 20 oz. Yeti Tumbler — $29.99

Yeti’s are so practical, because they really do keep things as cold/hot as you need them to be! One summer, I left my Yeti out in the car, in the middle of the Georgia heat, and when I cam back the ice still hadn’t melted yet! Sometimes it keeps things so hot, you have to be careful not to burn your mouth to pieces! This would be a great choice for someone who needs things to stay cool/warm on a long trip.

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
To purchase this Yeti Tumbler, click here

I love that you can get Yeti’s in a variety of colors! However, if the idea of spending $30 on a travel mug makes your wallet flatline, then check out this option from the Ozark Brand at Walmart! I personally have never used it, so I can not attest to its abilities, but I have heard good things about it.

Her: A Fleece Vest — $24.99

This is a beautiful, and warm, fleece vest from the Columbia brand! Yes, a Columbia vest for $24.99! Snag this STEAL at Kohl’s. The best part? Kohl’s always has coupons, so make sure you look for one before shopping to save even more on this beautiful and versatile vest!


Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
Snag this cute vest, in a variety of colors, here

Why do I love vests? Because they are a cute and comfortable way to add extra layers! For the just chilly days, throw this on over a longsleeve shirt. Or layer it on top of another coat for extra warmth on extra cold days!

I personally like a vest that has a hood, that way it has another piece of functionality during the rain/snow. That being said, you can’t beat $25 for a nice fleece vest!

Him: Cool Camp Shirt — $35

Like this one from Patagonia. This is great because it is made of a durable cotton blend, which means it will hold up while camping, but it is also cool enough to add to the everyday wardrobe.

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
Get your guy a “Como Te Llamas” shirt at REI, or click here

Her: Collapsible Wine Bag Flask — $3.99

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
Grab one (and an extra for yourself) here

I don’t even think this one needs an explanation! This would be great for camping trips for lightweight packing. It would also be useful for picnics, or anywhere that you need to BYOW, but don’t want to tow the glass bottle.

Him: A Stainless Steel Flask — $11.88

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
Find this on Amazon here

Another gift option that is self explanatory. Sometimes after a long, 10+ mile hike through the mountains, you just need a pick-me up. This stainless steel flask will do a great job at keeping its contents chilled, plus it’s super durable.

Either: Solar Powered Phone Charger — $13.96

I know what you are thinking, a phone charger for camping trips? Isn’t going camping all about escaping the crazy technology-driven world of today? Well, yes. Which is why we put our phones on airplane mode. However, we use our phones to take photos on our hiking trips!

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
click here to purchase this awesome tech gift

We are not advanced enough to tote a heavy DSLR camera with us when we backpack, so for this reason we just use our phones! This charger is so cool because you can clip it to your pack and let the sun charge it up during the day, then let it charge up your devices over night!

As an added bonus, it is waterproof! So you don’t have to worry about it ruining in the rain (or if you are me, when you fall in to every creek/river you cross).

For the Couple: ENO Double Nest Hammock — $69.95

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
Find this one here

These are just all around great! They are lightweight for camping, but are also fun to take in the backyard for some relaxing! Plus, during the warmer months, you can camp in this rather than inside your tent.

That $70 price tag make your mouth drop? Have no fear, ya girl Kaleigh has your back. Check out this one from Walmart that is half the price!

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life

Her: The Perfect Travel Crossbody Bag — $14.46

 This is actually something that is on my personal Christmas wishlist, It is SUPER CUTE, and very versatile. This will be awesome to use when going on international trips, or great for my weekly trips to target (just to look, not to buy).


Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
Get this bag online here

Speaking of target, they are killing it this year with the cute stations of things that would work great as gifts or stocking stuffers. They have a little end cap of great gifts for travelers, and one thing that caught my eye were these cute luggage sets which includes a passport holder, luggage tag and keychain!)

Him: Nice Canvas Backpack — $25.99

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
Snag this sweet backpack here on Amazon

Tuan Anh has this backpack and uses it literally everyday! He uses it for weekend trips as his “suitcase”, and everyday to hold his jacket, wallet and lunch for work. Lately we have also been using it as our “doggy diaper bag”, housing all of Akela’s toys, treats and food when we are on the go.

Her: Power Nap Infinity Pillow — $44

This is a must have for the airport/plane ride. Plus it would be sweet for overnight bus rides or long haul road-trips.

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Get one for your traveler here

I just think that this is such a neat gift! Plus it could be so handy when traveling because it is hands free. No more juggling your neck pillow, passport, boarding pass, and carry on when trying to board the plane! This pillow just sits around your neck like a scarf. Plus it’s down, so its basically a comforter for your neck!

Him: Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones –$36.85

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
Grab them here while you still can

These are something that I would use as well! I really like the functionality of bluetooth headphones becuase they don’t get all tangled up inside my bag! Plus your phone can rest in your pocket while listening to music.

The noise-canceling function is a must have for airplane trips as well, because it never fails that there is a crying baby or loud snorer on the flight. Rather than get upset about it, because hey- that’s life, just block em out with these headphones!

Her: Coffee Subscription Box — Prices vary

I’ve included this one for a multitude of reasons. First, this is perfect for someone who is addicted to coffee and loves to travel the world.

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
Find out about the many different gift options here

This is because the Driftaway boxes include coffees from all over the world! So your traveler can have a taste of France, Belgium, Ethiopia or Brazil right in their own home!

Second, this could be the gift that keeps on giving for a couple months after Christmas, depending on how much money you want to put in to this gift!

I would go about this gift one of two ways. I might go with 3-month subscription option, and order the first box to be delivered to me so I can wrap it in pretty christmas paper. Then I would have the last two months deliver directly to my friend/loved one.

Another option would be to pay for the $8 trial box. This comes with four 2oz coffee bags to try. Then I would pair this with a super cute travel related mug!

Him: Food Subscription Box — Prices Vary

Along the same lines as the box above, a great option for a traveler is a food box, like this one from Try the World, which includes snacks and foods from all over the world.

Try the World by clicking here

This one is great because it offers two different boxes, depending on your budget! You can go for the gourmet box filled with ingredients, drinks, snacks and more for $39 a month. OR you can go for just the snack box from around the world for $19 a month.

Either: Universal Adapter – $37.95

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
Grab your Universal adapter here

This is so useful for anyone traveling internationally! You never know when the outlets won’t fit your plugs (I mean you could google it before you leave). Or you could just bring along a universal adapter so you are always prepared!

For the Couple: Scratch off World Map — $28.98

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life
Find this gift here
This is super cool to me! It would be a great way to track your travels, PLUS it sticks right to the wall, so no need to hassle with a hammer and nail!

Did you find this helpful?

I had so much fun creating this list, as Christmas shopping is one of my favorite things to do (although my bank account doesn’t seem to be a big fan of it). I hope you found this guide useful, and you were able to find the perfect gift for your adventurer!

Which gift would you most want to receive?

Comment below which of these gifts you would love to receive for Christmas this year! Or if you have any other gift ideas, I would love to hear them too! I am always looking to expand my gifting horizon.

Want more from us?

If you want to know more about us, then head on over to our About page, where we share a little more of our journey. We also share pictures of our adventures daily on our instagram, including past travels and our current favorite places, so head on over for some daily inspiration!

If you missed our last post about our Do’s and Dont’s of a Vacation in Mexico, click here to check it out!


Liked our post? Go ahead and pin it, so that others can find the perfect gift for their adventurer.

Holiday Gift Guide for the Adventure Seeker in your Life



The Do’s and Don’ts of a Vacation in Mexico

Do's and Don'ts of a Vacation in Mexico
To quote the great Starks of Winterfell, “Winter is Coming”. Fortunately for us, white walkers don’t come with it. With that being said, most people like to plan vacations to escape the cold weather. Tropical vacations are most popular during the winter months because the weather is gorgeous year round, and I mean GORGEOUS.

Our trip to Mexico was one of my favorite trips we have taken, although it was our honeymoon, which makes it extra special. But still, we truly had a blast and we still laugh about some of the times we had while in Cancun.

So today, I have put together a Do and Don’t guide to vacationing in Mexico, in hopes that it helps your tropical vacation be all that it can be.

Do – Stay in an All-Inclusive Resort

Do's and Don'ts of a Vacation in Mexico

When we went to Cancun, we stayed at the Grand Oasis Sens in the Hotel Zone. And it. WAS. FABULOUS! I so enjoyed this hotel! It was gorgeous! The inside was like a dream, our room was so nice. And the restaurants were fantastic.

The amazing thing, and the thing that took me almost all week to get used to, is that we could just walk up to any restaurant, sit down, and order a delicious meal, and then get up and leave when we were done! With no bill! Whoa!

Because we chose an all inclusive resort, we did not have to worry about food or entertainment at all. At our resort, there were even some very fancy restaurants that we had to make reservations for with the concierge. So we were able to get all dressed up and enjoy the fanciest meal we have ever had, and most of it was included!

Do's and Don'ts of a Vacation in Mexico

We did choose to splurge on the Dinner on the Beach package. It was no more expensive than a fancy dinner at home, but it came with the most gorgeous view of the ocean right in front of us. So be on the look out for this sort of deal at your resort too, because I am sure they offer it!

Another great thing about the all-inclusive resort is the entertainment it came with. There were pool tables, ping pong tables, and a game closet! Then there was an advent schedule that we were given when we arrived that detailed the different shows going on throughout the week.

We saw a fire show, dance show, a Mayan Rain Dance (so cool!). We also played volleyball on the beach, and participated in a bar tending show where they showed us how to make some of the most popular drinks at the resort.

Tip: If you are traveling as a couple, then I would highly recommend the Grand Oasis Sens. However, if you are traveling as a family, then this is not the place for you. For starters, it is only 21 or older, so no kids allowed. You also want to make sure when you book your hotel that it is not a nude friendly hotel. Ours, to my shock had a topless pool and beach, and this Georgia girl was not quite ready for that, haha.
Also: Check Groupon! We actually went to our resort with a groupon getaway, and it saved us a lot of money!

Don’t- Overbook Yourself

With this tip, I mean don’t plan every single second of your trip before you even get to Mexico (and trust me, this was a hard one for me to accept, because there are so many cool things to do).

For starters, when you arrive at your resort, they will hand you a handy dandy event calendar. This calendar will include games, shows and all sorts of other things. Plus, you just paid to stay at a gorgeous beach front resort, and there is amazing weather for chillin’ by the pool. So enjoy it!

When Tuan Anh and I were planning our trip to Mexico, this is a piece of advice that was offered to us, and I am so glad that we listened. When we arrived, we had not paid for a single excursion, or really planned a single day. We were completely free to do whatever we felt like. It made for a much more relaxing experience than we had even intended.

Tip: I am not saying don’t have a single idea of what you want to do! I just didn’t want to have pre-booked something every day, because I did not want to exhaust us. Something that I did was create a list of things that I knew we might like to do. Places to see, adventures to take, ect. That way we would have a reference point should we need something to do. ALSO, talk to the people that work at your resort. Not only is it their job to help you, but who better to give you advice about what to see than someone who lives in the area?

Do – Enjoy the Touristy Things

I am all about exploring like a local, and finding the things that the people who live in the area would actually do. But at the same time, I am a tourist! So sometimes I want to experience some of these things as well.

Lucky for us, our resort had a partnership with the local Aquaworld (as do many resorts in the Hotel Zone by the way), so they were offering a deal through the resort. So we were able to pick 3 excursions to do, and there was a massive list!

We chose to drive a speedboat (it was just Tuananh and I in the boat, and he was able to drive it, so that was a lot of fun!) and go snorkeling (in the same excursion! awesome deal!), we took a boat to a private beach on Isla Mujeres (us and about 30 other people, so it was very nice).

Do's and Don'ts of a Vacation in Mexico
The coolest part about Isla Mujeres was that there are Mayan ruins on the island! So we got the Island trip, PLUS the ruins in one trip! Our third thing we chose to do was to go parasailing! Which was seriously so fun!
I am so happy that we chose to do these things, and I would highly recommend it!

Tip: I definitely recommend checkout out Aquaworld if you are interested in doing adventure-y things. Another thing that we wanted to do, but just ran out of time, was the amusement park Xcaret! It looks amazing. So if you are traveling with kids, or if you are a kid at heart like us, then consider making time for Xcaret!

Don’t- Get suck without Pesos

Speaking of our amazing trip to Isla Mujeres, we made a small mistake that I honestly did not think twice about until it was too late. On our excursion to Isla Mujeres, WE FORGOT PESOS! AH! On this small island, the only place to get Pesos charges an insane amount to exchange the currency (smart on their part, but unfortunate for us).

The Island has the Mayan Ruins, which you need Pesos for. It has a marketplace, which you need Pesos for. There is also an extremely cool place called Tortugranja. This is a little Turtle Farm, where they are saving sea turtles and informing both the locals and tourists about these endangered species. But guess what? YOU NEED PESOS TO GET IN.

TIP: Our Hotel offered money exchange for a MUCH better rate. So do yourself a favor, and exchange enough money at your hotel BEFORE you leave for your excursion!

Do- Pack Sufficiently

Remember that you taking a trip to a tropical climate! For this reason, incorporate lots of light shorts and breathable fabrics. Do not forget your swimsuit either, as I suspect you will be spending plenty of time on the beach or by the pool (I know we did!).

For me, it was important to bring along a swimsuit coverup. There were plenty of people walking the hotel in just their swimsuits, but for me, I was much more comfortable throwing on my coverup.

Make sure that you check the weather before you finish packing as well! This way you can incorporate a light jacket for chilly nights, or an umberella if rain is expected.

Also, make sure that you research the restaurants at your resort to ensure their dress codes. As I said earlier, some of the restaurants we went to, while free (or rather included in our resort price), were very fancy. They required dresses and button up tops, and also banned sandals. I over heard a couple of disappointed guests get turned away from the restaurant because of their attire. So just be prepared.

Don’t – Underestimate the Sun

Going hand in hand with the above tip, please for the love of humanity remember the sun!!! You are going to a gorgeous tropical place, with highly reflective sand that is extremely close to the equator. It’s hot, and the sun is BRIGHT.

Tuananh and I brought sunscreen of course, however, we forgot to reapply. We also decided to play beach volleyball, and long story short, we got BURNED. Luckily, I knew that my milky skin would get burned (no matter how much sunscreen I apply, it happens) so I brought Aloe with me!

Do's and Don'ts of a Vacation in Mexico

However, I did not bring enough… So please pack as much as you can! We ended up having to purchase some aloe from the resort gift shop, and it costed $22!!!!!! The Aloe I had bought at home costed me $3.99! Needless to say, these resorts are smart, and take advantage of the silly tourists who get burned in the Mexican sun, so don’t be that tourist!

TIP: Despite my intentions of being glamorous on the beach with a huge sunhat, I forgot it at home! So I purchased one from a seller on the beach. This is actually something I would suggest you do if you know you like hats. I was able to haggle with the seller for a good price, and have a cool handmade Cancun souvenir. Score! Tuan Anh also ended up getting a hat as his souvenir because it is so useful!

Do- Learn a bit of Spanish

The Hotel Zone in Cancun is made for tourists. For this reason, you can definitely get by with English, and you will be ok. That being said, it is nice to know a bit of Spanish here, because you can really get to know the locals! The employees at the resort also seemed appreciative, and almost more relaxed, when allowed to speak their native tongue with you.

Plus, you never know when you need to venture out of the resort and speaking the local language becomes necessary. For example, on our trip to Mexico, I forgot razors! (AH – maybe another do is make sure you pack correctly) We ended up running to the local convenient store called Oxo, and the people there spoke only Spanish! Also, for some reason, Razors were kept behind the counter.

Luckily, I paid attention in my college Spanish courses, and could ask the woman for the “sharp things behind her”. It was also helpful to know a bit when it came to the market places, asking how much things cost and things like that!

Was this helpful?

If you enjoyed this post, or it was helpful, let us know! I would also like to hear your Do’s and Don’ts of traveling in Mexico! Comment below if you have any other tips to offer.

Want to see more?

If you want to know more about us, then head on over to our About page, where we share a little more of our journey. If you are more of a domestic traveler, then check out our post of our camping adventure at Providence Canyon State Park! We also share pictures of our adventures daily on our instagram, including past travels and our current favorite places, so head on over for some daily inspiration!


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Do's and Don'ts of a Vacation in Mexico

A lot to be Thankful For

A lot to be Thankful For
Hey there! I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving, and that you did not eat too much turkey!


Now, I realize that this is a little bit different than our usual posts, but with Thanksgiving this week, I feel it is more than appropriate. Also, we are all about spreading joy here at The Cauble Life, and I feel like the ultimate expression of joy is gratitude!

I recently read a quote by Willie Nelson (I know, a little random, but bear with me) that says “when I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around”. I know that it sounds so simple, and you might be thinking “man, I could have come up with that quote”, but I love it. When I heard this, I began thinking about the things I am truly grateful for. I also decided to never take those things for granted again.

How did I do this? Well, I completely embraced a life of gratitude. I began saying thanks, sometimes out loud like a crazy person, for the people that are in my life, for the experiences I have had, and for anything that lies ahead. I tell my family and friends often that I am so blessed to have them in my life. Most importantly, I stopped complaining (i’ll be honest, this is one i’m still working on).

Believe me, I know how easy it is to complain about bad things that happen, For almost a year after my sweet daddy passed, all I did was complain, because it was much easier than hurting. But my healing did not begin until I started being thankful for the beautiful memories that I had with my dad, and being grateful for everyone, and everything that was still here.

So now, I will share a few things that I, as well as Tuan Anh, am thankful for.

Thankful for Family

A lot to be Thankful For
This beautiful photo is from our wedding, and was taken by Erika Krupansky.

Maybe an obvious one, but my family is truly what I am most grateful for. I would not be here without them (quite literally in the case of my mother, and figuratively for the rest of the gang).

I am grateful for my father, who watches me now from heaven. Witnessing, and experiencing, his immense kindness for 18 years taught me to be understanding of others. I am thankful for my mother, whose overwhelming strength guides our family. If I can be half the woman my mother is, then I will be happy. I am thankful for my sister who expresses herself in a way that screams originality.

I am thankful for my mawmaw, who has such a giving heart. Not only did she give us a home when we had none, but she also gives us encouragement 100% of the time (you always know mawmaw loves your ideas, even if you know they are terrible). I am thankful for my aunts and uncles and cousins who have never left my side.

A lot to be Thankful For

Most of all, I am thankful for the patience of my husband. Man am I a handful, and I know it. But he is always there to encourage me to go for my dreams, and catch me if I fall. He loves me through my crazy rants, helps me come up with a game plan for my random plans, and is always my partner in crime through my crazy schemes.

Thankful for Spontaneity

This is one that might make you scratch your head, but that is ok. Let me explain. I am so thankful to have a husband, family and friends who are OK with last minute, spontaneous ideas. Sometimes it is a small as asking a friend to grab coffee in 30 minutes, or as big as saying “hey, want to drive three hours to adopt a dog today?”

A lot to be Thankful For

I am grateful to be surrounded by people that love me for all of my quirks, and for all of my randomness. I am grateful to have a husband with an adventurous spirit who says “yes” to my spontaneous plans. This might sound like a weird thing to be thankful for, but it is something that is exceptional to me.

Thankful for Freedom

This might seem like a cliche answer, but I could not be more serious. This is something that I do not take for granted either. I am thankful to live in a place where I can have spontaneous adventures, and do not need permission to take them. I am grateful to live in a country where I can have a voice. I am thankful to be in a place where I can write a blog about whatever I want to.

A lot to be Thankful For

Some people do not have the same freedoms, and unfortunately so. So everyday I am grateful for the freedom to do the things that I love with the people that I love.

Thankful for Dreams

Last but not least, I am thankful for dreams. I am thankful that my husband and I each have a dream, and that it is something that we can reach.

A lot to be Thankful For

My dream is to be a teacher, and to inspire others. I want to change lives, I want to make a difference. I want my students to know that they can amount to anything in this world, and that even when they do not believe in themselves, Mrs. Cauble believes in them. This is a dream that I am living right now as I am full time student teaching. And what a wondrous thing it will be to actually receive a paycheck to live my dream!

For Tuan Anh, his dream is to travel. He has a wanderers spirit, and has such a sense for adventure. He also happens to be a bit of an adrenaline junky, which can be a scary combination (like when he climbs in to a slippery waterfall or hangs off of a tree in the Grand Canyon). But his want for exploration is contagious! We have so much fun traveling and exploring, and can’t wait for what the future holds for us here!

Now it’s your turn!

I just poured out my heart to you, and shared what I am thankful for. Now, we want to hear from you! What is something that you are thankful for this year? Begin your life of gratitude by commenting down below!

Want more from us?

If you want to know more about us, then head on over to our About page, where we share a little more of our journey. If you enjoyed this post about our personal side, then also read our post titled This is Us where we share all about how we started this life of exploration! We also share pictures of our adventures daily on our instagram, including past travels and our current favorite places, so head on over for some daily inspiration!

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Start your life of gratitude today!

Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Sawnee Mountain Preserve

Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Sawnee Mountain Preserve

Tuan Anh and I are all about adventure and exploring, and if you have been keeping up with us lately, then this is nothing new to you! One of our biggest “things” is encouraging others to do the same. This is because experiencing new things has brought us so much joy, that we want others to feel it too!

That being said, we are not blind to the fact that adventuring can be expensive and also time consuming. Not everyone can have a whole weekend off to drive hours away, and then go hiking or camping. If this is you, then have no fear! There is still hope for you in the adventuring realm! Tuan Anh and I have been on plenty of adventures, both close to home AND free!

We are going to document these adventures is a series we are calling: Top Free Hikes in Georgia. We will be posting a new free hike, just like this one, once a month so stay tuned to gather a complete list of awesome hikes to do with your family for free!

Top Free Hikes in Georgia

The Location

The Sawnee Mountain Preserve is located near Cumming, GA. The Visitor Center’s address is 4075 Spot Rd in Cumming. Before looking this place up in your GPS, take note that there are technically three entrances. This is because their are three separate trails that lead to the top. If you have already been to this location before, then consider hiking up an alternate trail route for a new experience!

If you are a first timer, however, we recommend parking in front of the Visitor center. The center itself is beautifully designed, and there is a museum on the inside that is fun to explore. You can also find a butterfly viewing trail, AND a pretty cool tree house on the trail behind the center. After exploring the treehouse and other fun things, follow the sign for the Indian Seats trail and you are on your way to the top!

The Drive

The drive for us wasn’t that bad! It was only about 45 minutes from our home in the suburbs of Atlanta. I will pre-warn you, you don’t really get a view of the mountain as you are driving. This made us wonder if we had driven the wrong way, but have no fear! We continued on our journey, and found the visitor center!

The Hike


This is a 4 mile round-trip hike. We went on a gorgeous autumn day, which made for an incredibly peaceful trek. It is a fairly easy hike to the top, and the trail is well kept! We actually did this hike with another couple who brought their five year old son, and even he was able to easily walk the trail!

Along the way, you will pass a carved out gold mine. You can’t go inside of the mine of course, as it is gated shut, but you can look down in it and imagine how deep the miners had to go in order to look for gold.

The View

The view from the top is beautiful! We got an endless view of orange, yellow, and deep red trees. We sat at the top, on the “seats” (which are just rocks really), and took in the gorgeous scenery. The seats also make the most pristine spot for a picnic!

We saw a lake, a cute little farm, and lots and lots of trees. You are supposed to be able to see the North Georgia Mountains from the top of Sawnee Mountain, however it was too foggy for us to see them on the horizon.

Top Free Hikes in GeorgiaYou can definitely explore around the rocks, climbing for a better view, or just for some adventure. Just be extremely careful!! These are real rocks that are pretty high up! The rocks were also slippery when we went, as it had just rained during the night, so pay attention as you are walking around so you don’t slip and hurt yourself!

The History

As you may already know, I am a huge history nut! I love knowing the backstory of places that we visit! It gives me something to think about as we are exploring the grounds!

Sawnee Mountain Preserve was named after a Native American man, Sawnee (hints the name). He was supposed to be a rich man both in land and wisdom. He was kind to the first settlers who came to the area of cumming. He helped the people use the land, and gave them physical help when they needed it.

The settlers were so grateful that the area became known at Sawnee Mountain. While Sawnee was friendly with the settlers, he was forced to go with his people during the Trail of Tears.

The Overall ExperienceTop Free Hikes in Georgia

Overall, we had a great time at Sawnee Mountain! The hike was nice, and not too hard. Along the way we saw fun things like a tree house, fairy garden trail, and the goldmine. At the top we enjoyed a beautiful view and explored the rocks! We will definitely be visiting Sawnee Mountain again sometime in the future! Oh, and the best part? It was FREE! You Can’t beat that.

Want More of The Cauble Life?

If you want to see what we are up to during the week, check out our instagram here!

If you want to read about another amazing hike in Georgia, then head over to our post about Our Trip to Providence Canyon State Park!

Or if you are a new traveler, and want some information about finding your inspiration for travel, then you can read our post all about inspirations here.

We want to hear from you!

We are all about exploring our local area, and seeing the adventures it has to offer! Comment down below where you are from, and one of your favorite local area hikes!

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Top Free Hikes in Georgia: Sawnee Mountain Preserve

What’s your Inspiration for Travel?

What's your Inspiration for Travel?

Recently, I was listening to a podcast on Spotify called “The Thoughtful Travel Podcast”. In the episode, they talked about foodie lessons from travel. The last guest of the podcast said that she does a food sabbatical every few years. This means that the basis of her travels are to try the food in different places. For example, she went to France to mainly try every dessert in Paris. So for her, food is her inspiration when traveling.

This got me thinking, what’s our inspiration for travel?

Have You Ever Thought About It?

This may or may not even be something you have thought about! Some of us just naturally gravitate towards things when traveling, and don’t even realize that we are doing it. And of course, it’s completely different for everyone!
The cool thing is that there is SO MUCH out there! So even if everyone in your family is inspired by different things, you can probably accommodate everyone when traveling!

While Tuan Anh and I have a lot of things in common when it comes to the things we love about traveling, we also have different interests, and that’s OK!

The Foodie of the Family

Tuan Anh is very much a foodie! He loves ALL TYPES of food! And he will eat pretty much anything (even the foods he says he doesn’t like). He likes to try new places, and try different foods.
What's your Inspiration for Travel?
He especially likes the different places, more like the mom and pop shops. To him, this is the best way to really see the area’s culture. He likes to talk to the people, and try their favorite foods (he is notorious for asking a waiter what their favorite meal is, and he usually always goes with their suggestion).

The Nerd of the Family

And then there is me. I am ALL about the history of places. I find it extremely fascinating to see historical spots and landmarks. I like to sit down in a place, close my eyes, and imagine what it was like when said spot was in it’s prime. I also enjoy museums, monuments, pretty much anything with historical significance.
What's your Inspiration for Travel?
I also like to know the story behind things. For example, I could not believe that the Biltmore House has a chess set that was used by Napoleon Bonaparte. I can just imagine ole’ Napoleon sitting by this set, plotting his next strike against Britain or Russia (before Trafalgar, exile and ultimately Waterloo of course).

Why does this matter?

Being inspired when traveling allows you to experience the world to the fullest! Knowing the things that make you happy can allow you to pre-plan for them when you pick a new place to visit. With our inspirations in mind, we make sure and leave time for exploring/talking to the locals when we travel!

What's your Inspiration for Travel?

We like to see where a lot of people are eating, or ask for some suggestions when we get there, this allows Tuan Anh to start building his “to eat” plan. I also like to do a bit of research on a place, and see what historical things there are (every place has a history, so I want to explore it!)

Your inspiration for travel can be anything! Maybe you really like movies (or even a particular movie), so your travel can involve visiting places related to this! For example, we have a Harry Potter trip in the works, where we will tour filming destinations,  and even the cafe where J.K Rowling began the first book! AH! So do a little research on your favorite movies and see what trips you can plan around that!

What's your Inspiration for Travel?

Or maybe animals are your thing? I know my mother, for instance, loves to see animals, and aquariums are some of her favorite places to visit! So almost every city we have traveled too, we have seen either their zoo or aquarium. If this is you, then do that!

Tuan Anh and I also really enjoy nature! Hiking, backpacking, camping – these things have become our favorite things to do together! Almost everywhere has some sort of natural element to explore! We also keep this in mind when planning an adventure, and try to save time for exploring the outdoors! I always search things like “best hikes near (fill in the blank)”. This way we have a list of places to check out.

Your Next Steps

Speaking of lists, I am a list-a-holic! I have lists going for just about everything! I have a list for places I want to see, outdoor adventures we want to have, and even historical sites that I know that I want to visit. Whenever we are itching for the next adventure, we refer to these dream lists to see the things we still haven’t seen! So start a running list today of the places that fit in to your inspiration for travel!
What's your Inspiration for Travel?
There are so many possibilities for inspiring your travel! And once your figure out what your thing is, then your adventures will be unstoppable! These things you like to do can also kick start your local travels as well! Tuan Anh and I are constantly looking for new, and delicious places to eat around the house! We also go to a LOT of places that incorporate both history and nature (like our more recent visits to the Sope Creek Ruins or Sawnee Mountain Preserve)!

So, What’s your Travel Inspiration?

What are the things that make you excited to get out there and explore! Comment down below the things that inspire you through your adventures! IF you are looking for a cool park to camp, with a great view of some Georgia canyons, then check out our last post here!

If you want to know more about us, then head on over to our About page, where we share a little more of our journey. We also share pictures of our adventures daily on our instagram, including our newest addition to the family, our sweet pup Akela. So check us out!

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What's your Inspiration for Travel?

Have more questions? Or want a little more guidance in deciding your  travel inspiration and how to plan a trip around it? Send us an email using the form below! We’d love to help you in any way possible!