Travel by Any Means Necessary

Tag: Animals

Tips for Traveling with Cats

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I’m sure if you’ve read this blog before, you know that I love to travel, but you might not know that I am the human to three cats as well. One of which, my little calico, Calliope, has separation anxiety and has even been hospitalized for it when we have traveled in the past. Luckily, we have a rock star pet sitter that knows how to handle her, but her refusing to eat during our three week Europe trip this summer added some stress to what was otherwise an amazing, life changing vacation. We wanted to take one more trip before I went back to work in August, but we didn’t want to put her through that stress again, so we decided to take a trip with the cats.

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Travel with dogs is common, but cats are not as easy to travel with and some accommodations need to be made to make sure it is a successful trip for everyone involved. Here are some of my tips if you ever want to travel with your feline friends:

  1. Know your furry friends. How do they handle new environments and travel in a carrier? Our black cat, Velvet, gets car sick, so she stayed behind with family. While Callie has separation anxiety, she has no issues in new environments so she makes a good traveling cat. Roary is super easygoing and has gone camping with us several times.
  2. You need a carrier that your cat is comfortable in. It is not safe for animals to be running free in a moving car. There are lots of different types of carriers: hard-sided, soft-sided, backpacks, etc. Hard-sided carriers can be difficult to get cats into so I prefer soft-sided carriers that open from the top.
  3. Keep the travel time as minimal as possible. It is difficult to set up a way for cats to use the litter box or drink water while traveling so keep the travel time short and don’t leave animals unattended in the car.
  4. Find accommodations that allow cats. Many properties on Airbnb will come up as pet friendly but then when you read the description it will say no cats or dogs only.
  5. Make your cats comfortable. I brought their pet beds and favorite blankets and I sprayed it all with calming spray. I brought some of their favorite toys and some treats too! Consider using a pheromone diffuser like Feliway. Bring a familiar litter box and put it on a hard floor, if possible.
  6. Keep their food and feeding schedules the same. Traveling is not a time to try a new food or routine. Save that for when you’re back at home. Make sure to bring any of their medications with you as well.
  7. Bring cleaning supplies. I brought urine remover spray just in case and covered the floor around the litter box with puppy pee pads. A lint roller was very useful and I wish I had brought a small dust buster vacuum to clean up all the fur. If possible, put any light-colored linens out of reach of cats, or cover them up. This Airbnb didn’t have much that was light colored, but one of the cats did vomit on the white bath mat which was not fun to clean up.

While it took more cleanup to travel with the kitties, I was glad to be able to take a trip without having to worry about little Calliope. I look forward to more trips with them in the future.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. To read campground reviews check out my Michigan Campground Reviews page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Polk Penguin Conservation Center

Penguin Friend

I’m sure by now I have expressed my love of the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the Detroit Zoo a lot, but every time I visit, I am blown away! I don’t know if its because this is still a relatively new habitat for the penguins, but they actually seem interested in the people they see on the other side of the glass. During this visit, a child had a stuffed penguin and the live penguin was fascinated by it. Wherever the the toy went, the real penguin followed. I don’t know how that family was ever able to leave their new penguin friend.

About the photo:
What I love most about this photo is the story it tells. Its not the most artistic picture, but it highlights what goes on between both sides of the glass. The toughest thing about this photo was framing in a way that I didn’t get the children’s faces.

Photo Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
August 11, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To plan your trip to the Detroit Zoo, visit

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Wordless Wednesday: River Otter

River Otter


Kangaroo PortraitDuring a visit to the Detroit Zoo this summer, I asked one of the volunteers at the Outback Adventure when the Kangaroos are the most active because I ever time I visit in the summer, the kangaroos are all asleep in the shade. What she should’ve said was come back in the fall. We visited the zoo again this past weekend so Chris could experience the new penguin exhibit. We got to the river otter and he was swimming around and having fun. I knew this was a good sign because in the heat of the summer, I never even saw him. So, as we walked towards the back of the park, my hopes were rising that I might get some interesting kangaroo photos. I love the Kangaroo (and wallaby) exhibit, The Outback Adventure, because once you enter the exhibit, there are no cages, no big ditches separating you from the marsupials. They ask you to stay on the path, but the kangaroos can hop right up to you. Have you ever seen a kangaroo hop? I never knew their tail was involved, but it seemed like that’s where they get the power for their long hops!

About the Photo:
If you’re new to photography, a trip to the zoo is a great, low stakes, time to learn to shoot in manual. After shooting my first wedding (an outdoor ceremony with changing light conditions), I realized that I should not always be relying on Aperture Priority mode. So, I used this as a time to practice shooting in manual. I knew I would need a fast shutter speed to be able to freeze any kangaroo movement (1/320) because of that, I had my lens as wide as it would go and I still had to up my ISO to 800 even though it was the middle of the day. I kind of wish I could’ve kept those fast lenses we rented for that wedding.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
October 15, 2015

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To plan your trip to the Detroit Zoo, visit

Taking a Photo a Day

Chipmunk #11

Once again, I am embarking on a Photo a Day Project this summer. I enjoy this because it forces me to look for interesting subjects in the every day. Also, I like to use this project to learn new techniques and editing styles. Back in 2011 I tried a Project 365 (where you take a photo a day for a year) and that was just too much for me. First off, it is very hard to start a project like this in the winter. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find all white landscapes very inspiring. Not to mention, I really don’t enjoy spending time outside when its below zero. If you’re looking to try something new and get some inspiration, I highly recommend trying a photo a day project, whether you have the dedication for a 365, that’s up to you.

About the Photo:
This guy comes by my house all the time but I’ve had a hard time capturing him. I know how fast he moves, so I knew I fast shutter speed was in order, so I used my 50mm lens because it is the fastest in my arsenal. Because Mr. Chippy was sitting in the shade, I upped the ISO to 800 and got a shutter speed of 1/500. The D3100 doesn’t have great noise performance so I had to do some noise reduction in Lightroom to smooth out the green.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 50.0 mm f/1.8

Date Taken:
June 8, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page.  To make sure you don’t miss any of my photos during the summer, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see what’s in my camera bag, check out my gear page!

Wordless Wednesday: Bobcat Behind Bars

Bobcat behind bars

Wordless Wednesday: Sunning Iguana

Sunning Iguana

St. Louis Zoo


A few years ago I took a long weekend trip to St. Louis, Missouri. One of my favorite things about that trip was our visit to the St. Louis zoo. What stands out to me, years later, is the penguin house. This building houses penguins and puffins and the only barrier between you and the birds is a chest-high plexiglass wall. This makes for an excellent photo opportunity because there is no dirty, cloudy glass interfering with penguin pictures! And to sweeten the deal even more, admission to the zoo is free (some additional attractions do come with a fee). What could be better than that?

This is not one of my artistic photos, but how often to do get a shot of penguins without that gross glass getting in the way? And you don’t have to go to Antarctica to get it!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To plan your trip visit

Detroit Zoo

Chimp in a Tree

This summer I took a trip to the Detroit Zoo. This was my first visit to the zoo in 13 years and wow has it changed since my last visit! One of my favorite parts was the new (at least new to me) Australia exhibit. You walk into the Australia area and there are no cages, no glass separating you from the animals. The kangaroos are able to hop right up to you! How cool is that?

They are also building a new penguin area that I cannot wait to see! The Polk Penguin Conservation Center is the largest project the zoo has ever undertaken and will feature a 326,000 gallon tank. Check out this video of the new penguin project! Did you know that the current penguin house was the first even space built specifically for penguins? What history we have in Michigan!

What I love about this shot is with the chimp hugging himself and the bare trees behind him, it looks so cold. It was in the seventies that day! A picture really is worth a thousand words!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To plan your visit to the Detroit Zoo, visit


Wordless Wednesday: Butterfly on Flower

Butterfly on Flower 55/100

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