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Lauren Monitz is a travel/food writer and social media influencer specializing in offbeat adventures you didn't even know were on your bucket list. From becoming a certified viking in Iceland to blackwater rafting in New Zealand, she always seeks out the most insane adventures wherever she goes. On a mission to see all 50 states and at least 50 countries before 50, she has bylines across the web from MSN and the Huffington Post to Eater and USA Today, has done Snapchats for the Food Network, and Instagram takeovers for Forbes.
She has collaborated with 75+ brands in over 20 states and founded the Influencer Institute to teach others how to grow their following and turn their online brand into business opportunities while educating brands on best practices for working with influencers.
With everything around me shuttering or canceling, it seems there is nothing to do but stay home while I’m at home with everyone on unofficial quarantine. As someone whose job it is to write about whimsical travel and experiences, there’s a fine line between looking insensitive by continuing to show pretty pictures of far-flung destinations and giving people a much-needed distraction from the constant stream of media coverage. Unless you’re ill, “social distancing” doesn’t necessarily have to mean locking yourself at home and never leaving. That doesn’t mean go crazy and buy a 30-year supply of toilet paper, but have the essential pantry items on hand: cold and flu meds, soap, hand sanitizer, and shelf-stable goods like Easy Mac, pasta, and ramen.
Most Surprising City 48 Hours in the Omaha: Everything to Eat, See and Do in the Midwest’s Most Surprising City For a city on the plains in a state that’s largely forgettable, I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised by Omaha. : did you know the Rueben wasn’t actually invented in a deli in NYC like many believe, but as a midnight snack during a poker game in an Omaha hotel? Omaha surprised me with tons of international dining options from ramen to Nepalese around the Old Market District, but if you venture out of downtown a bit, there are even more intriguing choices like the Venezuelan Hunger Block.
How’s dry January going for you? Do you believe in doing a New Year’s cleanse / reset? Thankfully, with 0 calories, 0 sweeteners/sugar and 0 sodium @drinkpresent is a guilt-free indulgence and a great recovery drink. I have a new blog on my favorite CBD products for jet lag and travelers -- check it out and use promo code MonitzPresent for free shipping through March. #drinkpresent #beherebeyou
An American architect won and Canberra was chosen as the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) almost exactly the mid-point between the rival cities. Book a visit to Canberra and experience the surprising capital city of Australia. You can visit Australia’s Parliament House to see democracy in action and head up to the roof, which has one of the best views and selfie spots in the city. Dharwra Aboriginal Cultural Tours also offers the opportunity to identify rock art, try brush food, learn about native tools and artifacts, attend local crafting or language workshops, and visit cultural sites around the region.
You could easily spend a long weekend lazing at the lake taking in the views, but if you like getting a bit more active, there are tons of things to do in this Northern California-Nevada getaway. Depending on your interests, you can stay in one of the ski-in, ski-out accommodations, which means easy access to the mountains, on the main strip for walkability to nightlife and restaurants, or right on the lakefront for watery fun right out the front door. For a more intense outdoor challenge, Mount Tallac offers stunning views over Emerald Bay, Cascade Lake, Fallen Leaf Lake, Desolation Wilderness, and the entire South Shore. You can take a scenic gondola up to the top of the mountain for the views, but to get the blood pumping, there’s summer tubing, the Ridge Rider alpine coaster, a zipline (that goes up to 50 mph!), and a high ropes course that’s great for kids.
I showed you the nighttime view of this place, but here it is in the daytime. Hamilton Island, you’re a stunner 24/7 😍 and while I’m relieved the Australia fires are finally getting the media coverage they deserve, the entire country isn’t closed like they’d have you believe. 👉🏻 Don’t let it deter you from visiting this magical place but be safe and smart about it. Your tourist dollars are just as important as donations for rebuilding small towns and communities. If you want to go down under, educate yourself on the situation and use your best judgement to mitigate risk.