Shalee Wanders Adventure Blog: North America Travel

It's easy to get lost exploring vast and far away places, but so many of us fail to fully explore our own backyard. After years of dreaming abroad, I found the most epic beauty in the place I call home while living in a van and traveling the States.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

The Four Weirdest Places We’ve Slept While Traveling

October 15, 2018

THE FOUR WEIRDEST PLACES WE’VE SLEPT WHILE TRAVELING     I’m sorry if this is your first time here. We’re about ready to get to know each other real quick. Josh and I travel on a tight budget, which often…

Best State to Visit in the Fall

The Six Best States To Visit In The Fall

September 26, 2018

THE SIX BEST STATES TO VISIT IN THE FALL   I’m currently in South Carolina. It was 86 today and I attempted to wear a fuzzy sweater. I’ve unapologetically ordered a PSL from Starbucks. It still wasn’t worth $5, but…

Camping_with_cats

A Guide to Camping With Cats

August 1, 2018

A GUIDE TO CAMPING WITH CATS     “Your cats actually camp?” Yes, yes they do. But the process hasn’t been easy, and a cat isn’t going to go from catnip and couches to a tent in the woods overnight.…

Four Incredible North Carolina Mountain Secrets

July 19, 2018

FOUR INCREDIBLE NORTH CAROLINA SECRETS     I’ve found myself falling more in love with North Carolina every time I explore it. As a travel blogger, I’ll be the first to admit that it grows harder and harder to be…

Living in a Van

May 3, 2018

How to Support Ethical Animal Tourism

March 25, 2018

HOW TO SUPPORT ETHICAL ANIMAL TOURISM   Oh, animals. They’re fluffy and cute, sometimes massively terrifying, and other times mildly so. We’re instinctively drawn to interact and be in their presence. I mean, who doesn’t want to cuddle an adorable…

Stories Behind My Ten Favorite Travel Photos

February 8, 2018

STORIES BEHIND MY TEN FAVORITE TRAVEL PHOTOS Pictures are worth a thousand words, but sometimes they’re worth much more. Travel or not, we each have photos we cherish that capture a particular moment of happiness. Or perhaps a not-so-happy moment…

Six Overrated Tourist Attractions

November 28, 2017

SIX OVERRATED TOURIST ATTRACTIONS     There are certain places which travel beyond our expectations, and then there are those which fall short. There aren’t many (or possibly any) places I can say I hate, but there are a few…

How to Travel With Your Significant Other and Not Kill Each Other

October 16, 2017

HOW TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER AND NOT KILL EACH OTHER     I’ve stood on a lot of cliffs with my boyfriend, Josh. Together, we’ve traveled to twenty-some countries and over thirty states. To be honest, I’m surprised…

8 Tips for Making Road Tripping Easier

September 21, 2017

8 TIPS FOR MAKING ROAD TRIPPING EASIER     Whether taking a short weekend trip to Northern Michigan or a trip across the United States, there are a few things I’ve learned about making life on the road easier, more…

The Cabins of Serenity Springs: Ultra Romantic Getaway

August 26, 2017

THE CABINS OF SERENITY SPRINGS: ULTRA ROMANTIC GETAWAY   What happens when you get the chance to go to an ultra-romantic, picture-perfect, cabin/glamping resort in Indiana but your boyfriend is 1500 miles away? You invite your best friend, buy multiple…

Glamping in Idaho Will Make You Believe in Narnia

August 17, 2017

GLAMPING IN IDAHO WILL MAKE YOU BELIEVE IN NARNIA   Sometimes the best places come with the lowest expectations. Five years ago if you asked me to choose between a trip to California or a trip to Idaho I would…

A Proper Guide to Road Tripping the United States

July 21, 2017

A PROPER GUIDE TO ROAD TRIPPING THE UNITED STATES   The vast, wild, and untouched landscapes of the United States draw millions of adventurers to head out on a road trip every year. From the Rocky Mountains of the west,…

The Most Insane (And Scenic) Hikes in the United States

June 28, 2017

THE MOST INSANE (AND SCENIC) HIKES IN THE UNITED STATES   From hiking on the ledge of thousand-foot cliffs, slippery granite slopes, and white deserts, here are seven of the most insane and scenic hikes in the United States.  …

One Year of Travel: A Photographic Journey

May 14, 2017

ONE YEAR OF TRAVEL: A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY It’s officially been a year since I declined a full-time job after graduation to embark on a life-altering adventure. I could write a book (actually, I am writing a book…eek!) about everything that…

The Epic Five: Utah’s Insane National Parks

March 20, 2017

THE EPIC FIVE: UTAH’S INSANE NATIONAL PARKS Sunrise in Arches National Park   Within the borders of Utah sits five incredible and awe-inspiring national parks. How many can you name? The stunning and magical landscape which makes up this beautiful…

Seven Things That Suck About Long Term Travel

March 7, 2017

SEVEN THINGS THAT SUCK ABOUT LONG TERM TRAVEL   I dreamt for years about traveling long term. Waking up every day in a completely new environment, without the slightest clue to where I was going next or how I was…

An Inside Look at the Van Life: Q&A

February 27, 2017

AN INSIDE LOOK AT VANLIFE: Q&A   Living in a van isn’t the most usual lifestyle. And with an unusual life comes many questions. Few people will ever understand what living in a van for months on end entails. The…

Bucket List: The Glass Beach of Northern California

February 16, 2017

BUCKET LIST: THE GLASS BEACH OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA There are few places that stand out in such a way it almost seems fictional. For example, a beach made entirely of sea glass. In the quaint (and extremely adorable) Northern California…

The Best Places to Visit in the United States: 2017

February 9, 2017

THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN THE UNITED STATES   I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but somehow I’ve ticked off 42 states on the United States map. You know what that means, right? I’ve got 6 1/2 years…

A Road Trip up the Pacific Coast Highway

January 3, 2017

A ROAD TRIP UP THE PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY   Oh, California, I have such a love-hate relationship with you. A magical coastline, (mostly) beautiful weather, mountains, redwoods, orcas, and oceans. There aren’t many places in the world where Christmas Day…

Making Travel Photos Insta-Worthy

December 5, 2016

MAKING TRAVEL PHOTOS INSTA-WORTHY   I take travel photos. I’ve never put on make-up for a photo. Usually, I’m hiking, sweating, probably unshowered and may or may not have shaved my armpits in the last three days. I have a…

I Got Robbed in San Antonio

November 21, 2016

WE GOT ROBBED IN SAN ANTONIO Operation #vanlife is proving difficult. Much more difficult than living out of a backpack for three months in Europe. Who would have thought? Here’s a recap of the first three weeks on the road: Day…

How to Renovate a Van into a Home

October 31, 2016

HOW TO RENOVATE A VAN INTO A HOME   I’ll always look back and remember that my first home was a van. Nearly two months after arriving back to Michigan from Europe, I am preparing to embark on yet another…

Red River Gorge Cabin Life: Treehouse Edition

May 26, 2016

RED RIVER GORGE CABIN LIFE: TREEHOUSE EDITION   Last week I returned to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky for some climbing and exploring. On my first visit last October, I fell in love with the area and the atmosphere…

An Audition to Be the Director of Toughness

April 14, 2016

AN AUDITION TO BE THE DIRECTOR OF TOUGHNESS   A while back I auditioned for Columbia’s Director of Toughness and made it all the way to the final round. It was one of the most unique experiences, although it has…

Behind the Blog: How to Start your Own

March 29, 2016

BEHIND THE BLOG: HOW TO START YOUR OWN It’s new and relatively unknown. Blogging is a concept many people are trying, but not many know what they’re doing. It’s evolved significantly in the past few years, and the future looks…

8 Tips for Tight Budget Travel

March 4, 2016

8 TIPS FOR TIGHT BUDGET TRAVEL   Some of us are visual learners (myself included). This week I decided to take a different approach to share some of my tips while traveling on a budget. What is the twist? AN…

How to Save for Your First Big Adventure

January 6, 2016

HOW TO SAVE FOR YOUR FIRST BIG ADVENTURE   You’re dreaming of it, right? You want to lie on the beaches of Thailand, skydive over the mountains of New Zealand, picnic next to the waterfalls of Iceland, and camp under…

A Life Behind Miguel’s Pizza

November 11, 2015

A LIFE BEHIND MIGUEL’S PIZZA Situated among the rolling mountains of Kentucky is a slice of heaven for rock climbers, food lovers, and camping fanatics. Kentucky’s Red River Gorge is known to have the best rock climbing in the eastern…

8 Things Backpacking Teaches Us About Life

August 5, 2015

8 THINGS BACKPACKING TEACHES US ABOUT LIFE     1) Rewards don’t come easily We hike miles for hours, days, and weeks to summit high points, discover new places, and reach destinations. We choose not to experience the world from…

Eat Nothing and Climb Everything: Budgeting in America’s Southwest

July 25, 2015

EAT NOTHING AND CLIMB EVERYTHING: BUDGETING IN AMERICA’S SOUTHWEST     Yes, it’s true…America’s southwest is full of tour buses, selfie sticks, crowded parking lots and heat strokes. Why would anyone want to visit such a place? Because it’s really…

Secret caves Michigan

5 Adventures in Every Midwest State

June 24, 2015

5 ADVENTURES IN EVERY MIDWEST STATE   12 states officially claim the Midwest as home. Although we may not have towering mountains or vast oceans, we are spoiled with lush forests, freshwater and unpopulated blissful hikes. So set the remotes…

A Day Guide to Acadia National Park

June 18, 2015

A DAY GUIDE TO ACADIA NATIONAL PARK   If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen how much I absolutely loved Acadia National Park (and Maine in general). There are a lot of states I visit and love, yet…

I Climbed a Mountain to Reach a Parking Lot (and Loved it)

June 3, 2015

I CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN TO REACH A PARKING LOT For the past four hours, I’ve been sweating, swearing and falling my way up Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. I see the summit and just as I’m about…

5 Weekend Adventures Outside Michigan

April 7, 2015

Michigan is great. We’ve established it. But sometimes it’s needed to get out and go exploring beyond the boundaries. We all know how busy life can be, and the thought of a reality-escaping adventure can seem far from possible. Well,…

Secret Winter Getaway-Sandusky

February 26, 2015

SECRET WINTER GETAWAY: SANDUSKY   It’s cold. Really, really cold. Last weekend, I went down to Ohio and explored Sandusky with Lake Erie Shores & Islands and lucky enough, temperatures stayed above 0 for the first time in what felt like forever.…

How to Capture Travel Moments: 11 Tips

February 10, 2015

11 TIPS FOR CAPTURING TRAVEL MOMENTS   Every time someone tells me they think I take amazing photos I just want to hug them. It’s probably one of the best compliments I get just because it’s something I love to…

Vortexes and Visions: Bell Rock’s Hidden Story

January 14, 2015

“I believe I exist within a holographic reality program, an intelligently designed futuristic entertainment simulation, for which I directly programmed certain experiences, relationships, lessons and issues before I was born. Looking back over my life – I’ll be 73 in…

Solo Female Travel Hawaii

January 3, 2015

SOLO FEMALE TRAVEL HAWAII   In October, a fellow blogger asked me if I had ever been to Hawaii. My response: “No, and I’m not sure if I ever will. It’s just so expensive to fly to such a small…

An Amateurs Guide to Hiking the Half Dome

May 20, 2014

AN AMATEURS GUIDE TO HIKING THE HALF DOME   I can’t remember how I first discovered Yosemite National Park, but it was love at first sight. The iconic symbol of the Half Dome stood towering above the surrounding mountains, screaming…

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