Countdown to the Snowman Trek

by Beth Whitman (August 31st, 2014)

Beth Whitman Mailbox PeakWe depart in 10 days for Bangkok and then onward to Bhutan for the Snowman Trek.

Since Jon and I are both going, the house is filled with piles of clothes, gear and food that, hopefully, will fit into four pieces of luggage between the two of us. (Yes, I’m breaking my carry-on bag-only rule for this trip.)

FedEx, UPS and Trac (Amazon) trucks are literally arriving a couple times a day as we place orders for last-minute items we keep realizing we need. And we’re making frequent pilgrimages to REI and other outdoor retailers items that might come in handy.

Many of the companies I’ve been working with over the years by providing reviews of their products have been coming to the rescue and also sending gear: Icebreaker for Merino wool base layers; Goal Zero for solar panels; and Eagle Creek for a water-resistant duffel bag and packing cubes. (Reviews are forthcoming.)Beth Whitman Granite Mountain

We’ve been out hiking some of the more difficult trails close to Seattle and today we’re off to Denver to hike a 14er (that’s hiking-speak for a mountain over 14,000 feet).

All in all, it’s trek-central around here and a lot of our energies are focused on this crazy 25-day trek. It’s exhilarating and a bit scary all at once. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Travel Well,


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Julbo Mountaineering Sunglasses ~ WanderGear Wednesday

by Beth Whitman (August 27th, 2014)

Julbo Explorer SunglassesEver notice that when something hits your radar, you start seeing it everywhere?

That’s what happened with my Julbo mountaineering sunglasses. As soon as I had my own pair to test out for the Snowman Trek, I noticed a lot (I mean, A LOT) of people I’ve been meeting on my hikes are also wearing Julbos.

Visit any outdoor store and you’ll likely find a wide range of Julbos. I’ve got the Explorer mountaineering sunglasses with Spectron 4.

These are specially made for high altitude, where eyes are particularly susceptible to damage by the sun and reflection.

The Explorers come in three different versions:Beth Whitman Julbo

  • Camel polarized (progresses from 3 to 4 reflection depending on the light)
  • Alt Arc 4 lens (highly resistant to scratches)
  • Spectron 4 (the most reflective lens that are also shock resistant)

The features that I appreciate most about the Specton 4 sunglasses include:

  • Wrap-around lenses – provide better protection than smaller glasses
  • Substantial weight – these are a bit heavier than any of my other sunglasses which makes me think they are going to last a lot longer than others
  • Front venting – this prevents fogging
  • Removable wings at the top and bottom of the lenses – I’ve been told by those who wear contacts that these help protect from dust and wind that could potentially bother their eyes

I’ve tried on probably a half dozen different mountaineering glasses and what I found was that these are generally not as dark as other sunglasses I own. I was told by a sales guy at REI that mountaineering glasses generally aren’t as dark because you want to be able to see more clearly while hiking or participating in snow activities. The lighter lens allows you to see more nuances in terrain. The same sales guy told me that just because the lenses aren’t as dark doesn’t mean they aren’t reflecting those bad rays.

If I had my druthers, the only thing I would change with the Explorers would to make them just a tad smaller. But, I’ve found that most mountaineering sunglasses are a just a bit large for my face. This is likely because they are providing maximum coverage, and that I totally get.

Available on Amazon for under $85.

Travel Well,


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USA Today’s Best Budget Travel Blogger ~ Me?

by Beth Whitman (August 26th, 2014)

Best Budget Travel BloggerYes, I totally get the irony in the fact that I was nominated USA Today’s Best Budget Travel Blogger while traveling in Papua New Guinea, one of the most expensive countries on the planet.

And yes, I do hate these popularity contests that are really about driving traffic to a website (in this case USA Today, not linked here, purposefully).

But (snicker), I won. Which I think is just a hoot.

I’m pleased, actually, because it has nothing to do with me but everything to do with our dedicated Wanderlusters. You. Our website readers (60,000/month). Newsletter subscribers (nearly 10,000). Facebook friends and fans (nearly 10,000). And Twitter followers (more than 22,500).

You gals and guys rallied and voted multiple times (yes, that was legal) and made sure that when it counted most, Wanderlust and Lipstick ended up on top.

While it was my name on there, Wanderlust and Lipstick really is a group effort that includes our fantastic group of WanderBloggers and our support staff (THANK YOU Kristin, Kumiko Rissa and Rhoan).

And, really? I’m NOT a budget blogger.

My message has always been to inspire women to travel. To get out of their comfort zone and see the world. Sometimes that includes money saving tips. But first and foremost, I want ladies to take those first steps in traveling.

If winning a popularity contest helps to spread that message, then Yahoo!

Travel Well,


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