A Long Lost Graveyard

Who says you need to fly out of the country to escape? Hell, who says you even need to cross state lines? Enter the world of urban exploration, and discover the mysteries in your own backyard.
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On the coastline of Staten Island, abandoned merchant ships are strewn across the shore in various states of decay. These ships create one of the world’s largest ship graveyards. At one point in time, these ships were brought to the yard for scrap metal, but the production was ceased long ago.
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Be warned! This area is NOT open to the public. However, here’s how we did it… You know, just for curiosity sake.

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For anyone who has ever done some exploration, these sites are not always the easiest to find. To be frank, this one was a royal pain in the ass. After trampling through fields, scrambling along sharp (and shaky) rocks, and climbing over random obstacles, we finally reached our target. No, it wasn’t easy, but it beat the other alternative of wading through knee deep mud. I know it’s at least knee deep because we tried, unfortunately (but hilariously). And no, I don’t plan on making it easy for you to find either.

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Exploring the ships was exhilarating. It’s amazing how it seems as if some of the ships were simply dropped there mid-journey. Boating equipment and personal belongings are littered all over. To get on to the ships, be prepared to face some fears. In the picture you saw earlier, the only way up was a balancing act on a few rickety ladders. The real magic though is in the imagery. If you are a photographer, this trip is a must. The sight of these ships is eery, but awesome – in the literal sense.

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For the light of heart, simply drive up the road a bit until you see the very old graveyard and take a stroll up the steps. From here you can see the ships in the distance – while you haven’t seen them up close, this view is worth the stop.

Anam Cara

Meet my best friend, my anam cara,  Jennilyn. She was my traveling partner for Iceland and Ireland, and will be joining me on many more adventures.

I’ll talk you ear off about her in the coming weeks, but I wanted to get that quick intro out there, especially since I just told you about Iceland.

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If you just asked yourself, “what the heck is an anam cara?” this is for you. An anam cara is a soul friend. In everyone’s life, there is a great need for an Anam Cara, a soul friend. In this relationship, you are understood as you are, without mask or pretention. When you are understood, you are at home.

The Land of Ice and Snow

In a rarely trodden part of the world, a breathtaking city rests between snow-capped mountains and the Norwegian Sea. While Reykjavik isn’t on the top of most tourists’ lists, the capital of Iceland offers beauty, culture and adventure.

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Don’t have a lot of time? Don’t worry. Because of Iceland’s close proximity to the U.S., a flight to Reykjavik is only 6 hours from NYC.

Accommodations are plentiful, but only a few locations provide the benefits of location, comfort and convenience. The Hilton Nordica is only a short walk from the city center, which allows easy access to nightlife, but provides a peaceful sleep. The famous Hallgrimskirkja Church is only a stone’s throw away – as is the stunning Sun Voyager. The Sun Voyager, on the water below the church, gives visitors a stunning photo of the monument with an incredible backdrop. The rooms at the Hilton are clean and comfortable, as is the hotel itself, and the staff is very helpful and friendly – they also speak English!

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For those who like adventure, Reykjavik provides activities unlike anywhere else in the world. Spend the afternoon hiking a glacier. Look down into a Moulin and hear the water rush beneath you – feel your heart pound. Go on a mission with the ‘king’ and chase the Northern Lights across the mountains of Iceland in a supersized Jeep. Relax in the blue lagoon, as you swim in 80 degree water surrounded by ice and snow. Ride the picturesque Icelandic horse, where you can experience a gait that can only be found in Iceland. The possibilities are endless.

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Dining in Reykjavik can be both affordable and luxurious. The Grill Market and Fish Company are two restaurants that are local favorites and provide the most delicious selections. If you are feeling bold, try the chef’s tasting menu at either location. Between the Grill Market’s mouth water duck and the Fish Company’s fresh raw salmon, your taste buds will be completely satisfied. Have the dining experience of your life without breaking your wallet – especially since tipping is not a regular part of Iceland culture.

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Worried about being cold? Don’t be. I went during the dead of winter and it was the same temperature as New York. I was blessed with fantastic weather alongside scattered rain showers, but as they say in Iceland, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.”

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As an avid traveler, I can honestly say that Iceland was one of the most amazing countries I have experienced. One requirement of mine is to visit a place that puts the world in perspective – Reykjavik delivers. Don’t leave this city off of your list of places to visit.