Antarctica – The White Continent

 When you ask someone how many continents they have visited, you might suspect that Antarctica would be missing from their list.  Luckily for me, it is not missing. Australia, yes. But,  Antarctica?  Check!  Been there, saw it and have a tv episode to prove it! Watch as I chill with the penguins and dance on the ice!   It was truly a trip of a lifetime that I will never forget!

I spent my time on board the Orion with many well traveled members of Exclusive Resorts.  By the end of the journey we’d all become better acquainted with each other as you’d expect after spending nearly two weeks together!  I even met Scott Forstall, former Apple executive, turned Tony award winning Broadway producer of Fun Home.  Forstall is spending his post-Apple time traveling the world, producing shows and helping the authorities crack down on the on-line sex trade when he’s not at dance lessons with his kids back in California.

If you want to see Antarctica be prepared to drop a lot of Benjamin’s as it is not an inexpensive journey to the bottom of the planet. But I promise you, it is well worth every single penny spent!  You’ll go for the penguins, whales and seals but you’ll want to book your return trip to see the ice!

Costa Rica – Travel Turns into Giving

butterfliessmallLuxury traveling isn’t always about doing, seeing, shopping and getting as much out of an experience as you can.  Sometimes, you can find ways to actually give back in ways other than spending money while traveling.

Traveling over the last year with Exclusive Resorts shooting our travel show Meet Me There,  I’ve met a lot of locals along the way and as you’d imagine,  talked to other club members, too.  But, I’d have to say Lassetter family from May Pearl, Texas made a lasting impression on me and has forever changed the way I approach travel. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing and sharing the family’s story of travel and making a difference in the lives of some local school kids.  Watch it here!

Hawaii – Kohalo Coast Meet Me There

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Kohala Coast magic isn’t a hard thing to conjure up.  Just stepping off the jet at the airport and inhaling is a quick way to hit the reset button. I unearthed some of the island’s hidden gems in this episode of Meet Me There.  Watch and enjoy!

Real del Mar – Meet Me There

ornament-smallSeeing a place for the first time is always exhilarating. Real del Mar was no exception for me.  Dad had just passed away suddenly and I was circling in a whirlwind of emotions.  The drastic change of scenery was exactly what I needed.  This particular trip was also the start of a new chapter in my career after coming out of an early-retirement of sorts after getting married and raising a family.  I think it was only fitting to start in Mexico with tequila, surfing and a fascinating gypsy! Watch the episode here!

 

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Costa Rica and the Pura Vida

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According to the calendar, Spring is approaching!  Thank God!  This has been a tough winter to say the least.  In December, I headed down to Costa Rica to shoot this Meet Me There episode with my crew from Denver and Los Angeles.  It was fast and furious and we covered more ground and went on more eco-adventure excursions that I can really recommend in such a short amount of time!  You can catch the action in the episode below.  I’d love for you to like, share, and subscribe to the episodes on Exclusive Resorts You Tube page in this link.  Enjoy the show!

Sticky in Grand Cayman

fish-smallWhen I first visited Grand Cayman many years ago on a Thanksgiving break with Exclusive Resorts, I was looking forward to some downtime, warm weather, island cocktails and fresh fish. When my friend Sara recommended Calypso Grill out in West Bay, I knew I would have to secure a reservation and try it out. Sara told me the fish sourced from the dock next door was fresh, delicious and well prepared. But the highlight of the night out for dinner would be the sticky toffee pudding.

I LOVE dessert and often times feel like it should be served first and not last. However, sticky toffee pudding didn’t strike me as an island inspired dessert that I must consume in order to make my Grand Cayman trip complete. Boy, was I wrong.

Chef George Fowler has made this delectable concoction a mainstay on the island. The dining experience in his French inspired restaurant is relaxed, yet has a proper feeling to it at the same time. The open air restaurant spills out onto the deck which offers an amazing starlit setting at night. My family has spent at least one night during all of our trips to Cayman dining on that deck, gazing at the stars and enjoying the breeze off of the bay.

When the waiter arrived with my Sticky Toffee Pudding, I was surprised at what was placed in front of me. This delicious smelling dish did not look anything like toffee or pudding. It did, however, look sticky!

 

Sticky...but not looking like pudding.

Sticky…but not looking like pudding.

Regardless of my biased pre-dessert arrival ideas of this calorie heavy dessert, I dove in for my first taste. That was the point when I started making a lot of guttural sounds that you make when you are really digging the taste of something for the very first time!  This Sticky Toffee Pudding was incredible!

Sticky Toffee Pudding is basically a light piece of cake, with a rich sauce drizzled over it and served with a scoop of ice cream.

DJ Duckworth and Chef George

Chef George and me – pre-dessert induced coma

Chef has fans far and wide and was even summoned to personally deliver some to Steven Colbert, comedian and soon-to-be replacement for David Letterman on the Late Show, for his birthday! Talk about top shelf service!

I’ve never been to Calypso Grill and not enjoyed the Sticky Toffee Pudding. It’s just part of the experience. While I really love trying out new dishes and different foods, sometimes sticking with what I know I love is the best option – especially when serious calories are involved! When dessert is in question, I know exactly how long I’m going to have to work out in order to keep my backside from spilling out of my bikini! I’d hate to waste all of those calories and gym minutes on a lack luster dessert. Sticky Toffee Pudding is well worth the work out!

You can see more about Calypso Grill and watch me and Corbin swim with the stingrays in this episode of Meet Me There! If you are so inspired, here is a recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding if you want try it out at home.

DJ Duckworth and Corbin at Calypso Grill

See y’all next time, Calypso Grill

Hawaii Reset

I consider myself a travel addict.

“Hi, my name is DJ. My last trip was 7 days ago.”

I have laid my eyes on many stunning places over the years. And probably like you, I’ve snapped endless photos of sunsets, a few sunrises, buildings, cathedrals and castles along the way. To anyone other than me, these photos produced a lot of yawns and some moments of radio silence. In one word were are BORING! But as an “addict”, I can’t stop snapping pictures. So my subjects over the years have changed moving away from things to people. Primarily MY people like Corbin, Leo and my family and friends. And of course myself. Hello, Selfie!

In June, I spent 7 glorious days in Hawaii. It was my first visit to the Big Island and it will not be my last. My one and only goal for this trip was to do whatever was necessary to hit my reset button. So instead of vacation days full of sight seeing, shopping and eating. My vacation plan consisted of the following.

1. Sleep

2. Eat

3. Chill out – without worrying about Corbin’s schedule, talking to lawyers, discussing the future,         over eating, blowouts, makeup, dry cleaning, bikini waxes, recycling the trash, grocery store lists, appointments, etc. This proved to be challenging until #5 kicked in. Keep reading!

4. Exercise

5. Enjoy an adult beverage

6. Repeat all of the above as needed

I stuck to my plan and can say that for the first time in a very long time I finally felt as if I had a solid amount of sleep! And of course along the way, I started snapping photos on my iPhone. By the way, do any of you travel with a real camera anymore? I haven’t in years but pulled it on on my recent trip to Antarctica with Exclusive Resorts. I snapped a great shot of the sunrise on my first morning because I woke up at my normal East coast time which is six hours ahead of Hawaii. I’m NOT a fan of sunrises! I captured many sunset photos, too! All very pretty, but yet still BORING!

On my last day, I took what I can only say are two of my favorite travel photos yet.

One is of this fisherman I met at a local market, Da Fish House.

The Catch of the Day

The Catch of the Day

He was getting out of his little Toyota truck as I was walked up. Why do big, giant men drive tiny trucks? Always makes me laugh when I see this. He spoke in a Hawaiian language that my Exclusive Resorts concierge Lahela told me was more of a local dialect. If you look closely you can see that his eyes are kind of gold in color. And then there are the tattoos and the fists full of yellow fin tuna. I could not stop checking this guy out. He was a site to behold. I kept trying to calculate how many dollars worth of sushi he was holding in his hands. Not to mention the shear size of this guy! Check out those man boobs! He and his friends had been fishing about 10 miles off the coast all night and were delivering the load of fish to the market.

A picture is worth a thousand words. This one is for sure. I only wish I would have put a mic on him (not sure what I would have clipped it to) and gotten his story on camera for our Meet Me There – Kohala Coast episode ! Guess that means, I should just go back,right? I mean, it is time for another trip. I’ve been home for seven days as I mentioned above. That’s long enough, don’t you think?

Oh, so you want to see my second photo?  Here it is.

Hawaii cloud video in Kahalo

Wow. Just Wow.

My friend Hadley and I were walking over for our last island cocktails and dinner when I snapped this one. I think I spiffed it up with a filter on my iPhone but it didn’t need a lot of editing. Mother Nature never does really. This one is all about the clouds and is not BORING in the least.

Feel free to share some of your favorite travel photos from Hawaii below if you’d like. I’d love to see them!