Alycat's Walkabout bio picture
  • WELCOME TO ALYCAT’S WALKABOUT!

    Hi! I'm Alyson, a world traveling shutterbug. I started the Alycat's Walkabout blog in 2014 as a way to share my experiences while volunteering in Australia and New Zealand. Since then, the blog has evolved into sharing my traveling experiences, one walkabout at a time.

    Be sure to check back often for updates. You can also follow the adventure on Twitter and Instagram at @alycatphotos. Looking forward to seeing you out there!

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    I truly believe that our national park are one of America's greatest ideas! To celebrate the 2016 Centennial of America's National Park System, I am on a mission to visit as many new parks in 2016 as possible. Follow along on the adventure and share you own stories from your favorite parks!

    NEW PARKS VISITED IN 2016: 14

From WWI to the Civil Rights Movement: The History of Kansas City

Welcome to Kansas City! It’s a city divided by the Missouri River. Most of what you would consider downtown (the shops, restaurants and attractions) is on the Missouri side of the river. If you are a history buff, there are incredible sites to seek out on both sides of the river. You will be amazed by the number of sites of historical significance the city and surrounding areas has to offer.

We began our visit to Kansas City at Liberty Memorial Park. The park offers up some of amazing views of Kansas City. If you only go for the views, however, you are missing quite a bit. Liberty Memorial Park is one of the largest World War I memorials/museums in the country. It is a moving tribute to those who served and gave their lives during the Great War.

We next headed to 18th & Vine, which represents the incredible amount of black history that has taken place in Kansas City. It is home to the Museum at 18th & Vine, a tribute to the impact of the black community to the area as well as the country. Exhibits on musicians, film stars and other artists can be found inside.

As a baseball buff, I was excited to finally visit The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. You are not allow to take pictures inside, so I can’t share any photos of the awesome exhibits. Trust me, it’s well worth the visit!

Our next stop was in Topeka, Kansas, about an hour west of Kansas City. Topeka is home to the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. Monroe Elementary was at the center of the Brown v. Board of Education fight. Its role in the civil rights movement is unquestionable.

I can’t begin to describe my emotions walking through this national park. It is one of the few parks I have visited that has moved me to tears. While this can be a hard place to spent time, I believe this is too important to be missed. Take the time to really visit the park and see what it has to offer.

This spot is so powerful! Walking down this hallway makes you feel as though you are in the middle of these protests. To hear the hatred that was thrown at the students is overwhelming. I had to take a step back and catch my breath.

The park also includes an exhibit on conflicts that have consumed other countries and cultures. Equality is not something that America alone struggles with. With education and understanding comes change. We must continue as a global community to educate ourselves on the struggles of those around us and push for equality.

I found this portion of the chart above to be quite striking. It is the perfect illustration of how far we have come as a society (the appointment of two African Americans to significantly high positions in our government) and how far we still need to go (the murder of Matthew Shepard).

Next up was a visit to Independence, Missouri, to see the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site. The park is made up of several different locations including this old fire station which now serves as the park’s headquarters.

Harry Truman was the thirty-third president of the United States. After his passing, his wife willed their home to the US government. It is full of family heirlooms and artifacts from Truman’s time as president. It was quite fascinating.

We wrapped up our trip with a little food history. Welcome to The Peanut, a local favorite. The Peanut has been around since the early 1900s and served as a speakeasy before prohibition ended. We had several people tell us that it was a can’t miss spot on our trip. We were glad we listened. The food, especially the wings, was out of this world!

Thank you for being a wonderful host, Kansas City! Until next time!

2016 – The Year of the National Park Service

As most of you know by now, I am a total national park nerd! Having grown up in Philadelphia, I got to experience first hand the important role national parks play in the life and culture of a city. Frequent stops at Independence Hall, The Ben Franklin House and Valley Forge were part of my childhood, and I loved every minute of it. Each visit was a new learning experience, and I ate it up. That love has turned into a life long goal of visiting every nationally recognized unit in the park service system. I am about a third of the way done. However, considering how quickly parks are being added to the system, I may be back down to a quarter of them visited. What a wonderful problem!

As you can imagine, 2016 is a special year in my world. It is the centennial celebration of out national park system. All year long, parks around the country will be hosting special events in honor of this incredible milestone. REI has partnered with the Park Service on a fabulous campaign called #FindYourPark, which encouraged people to get out to the parks and discover their favorite. Since I have many parks to visit, I decided to set out in search of my favorite. How many parks can I experience during this incredible year? The checklist is set and plans have been made. If nothing else, it will be quite the adventure!

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Welcome to Denver

Welcome to Denver! Home of the 2016 Superbowl champion Broncos. It’s also home to wonderful people, great food, plenty of skiing and lots of beer! We recently spent five days exploring Denver, and honestly, it wasn’t close to enough. There is so much to do and see. To make the most of our time, we got input from the locals (mainly my sister-in-law and her boyfriend) for the best places/things/food.

We stayed in the Lakewood area, just west of Denver. The location is great. It’s just far enough out that you avoid those downtown hotel prices, but close enough to everything that you don’t feel out of the way. Lakewood is a growing area with a wonderful mix of local and chain restaurants/pubs. The drive to downtown is only 15 minutes, and you are right next to the mountains. If you don’t have a car (which you should rent for a few days), there is a commuter train that will take you from Lakewood into downtown as well as the surrounding cities. Commuter train pub crawl anyone?

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April 16, 2016 - 2:23 pm

Nathan Rode - Test Test Test.

The Relaunch of Alycat’s Walkabout

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“We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.” – Hilaire Belloc

It is with excitement that I welcome you to the relaunch of Alycat’s Walkabout! I have been steadily working to repurpose this blog for the last several months. My vision and goal is to turn Alycat’s Walkabout into an information source for travelers. Whether traveling locally, across the country or around the world, I want to help people get the most out of their excursions.

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A Year Ago Today…

A year ago today, I set out on the adventure of a lifetime. While the adventure was already underway (I was already in L.A.), November 2nd was the day I jumped on a 15-hour flight to the other side of the world. It was the point of no return, the point in which I took a major jump out of my comfort zone. A jump that would ultimately change my view of the world… and myself.

A year ago today, I boarded Qantas Flight 91 for Melbourne, Australia, to begin Alycat’s Walkabout. As part of the celebration, I compiled some of my favorite photos from the trip on this blog post. It is hard to believe, looking through these photos, that it has been a year. I am filled with emotion as I reflect on my time there: the people I met, the experiences I had.

But there is one feeling that I just cannot shake: the incredible, overwhelming desire to return. Soon…

The Great Ocean Road

Koalas along the Great Ocean Road

Exploring parks around Melbourne with the staff from Nature Conservancy.

Rebuilding a forest at “The Island” with Conservation Volunteers of Australia

The kangaroos of Little Desert Nature Lodge

Little Dessert Nature Lodge was one of my favorite stops. The breathtaking views and working being done to save wildlife is just amazing!

Hey George!

We found more sea lions on Kangaroo Island than kangaroos.

I got to photograph an Australian Baseball League game. Man, it was different!

Then there was beautiful Rottnest Island with the happiest animal in the world… the Quokka.

Documented the incredible efforts to keep art alive in Melbourne. I even got to add my own little mark!

We work with Bike On New Zealand, who is helping schools tackle health and educational issues by introducing students to biking.

We explored and documented the incredible wildlife and history of Brookfield National Park with Conservation Volunteers of Australia.

We even went “under the sea” to help The Nature Conservancy document possible locations to reintroduce coral and clams to Port Philip Bay.

From wallabies to little penguins, so many incredible animals are facing extinction. The efforts being made to save them are amazing. I’m glad that Alycat was able to play a small role in furthering their work.

November 4, 2015 - 12:06 pm

Lilith Walters - Beautiful Allyson. You follow your heart and now share the photos. Brought a smiles to my face this rainy morning.

M o r e   i n f o