I’m not going to beat around the bush; this is the last post here on The Traveling Philosopher. And by some definitions, therefore my last blog post as a travel blogger.

It was four years ago that I had recently arrived in Costa Rica, the first Latin America stop on what was to be something of an indefinite, long-term trip around the world. Just months prior I had started this blog, The Traveling Philosopher, as a place that I could color outside the lines. Somewhere that I could put on paper everything that was in my head, where I didn’t have to abide by a publication’s style guide or an editor’s do and don’t list. I wanted it to be an expression of my feelings. And there was a lot, like unresolved feelings about the passing of my father, anger at the loss of my dream job, disappointment at a pile of debt, and discouragement of an impending divorce.

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Our tiny prop plane came to a stop at the end of Little Cayman’s Edward Bodden Airfield (located on one of two Grand Cayman sister islands) at what looked like little more than a bus stop for no longer than a bus stop to drop off and pick up a couple passengers. No longer than a couple minutes later and we were off again, but just for a grand total of six minutes before arriving at my fourth, and last airport of the day, Captain Charles Kirkconnell International Airport, on Grand Cayman’s other sister island, Cayman Brac. A destination I would later come to label as my most authentic island experience to date. I both wanted to tell everyone and no one about it.

Does travel, and more specifically, tourism, ruin a destination? This is a question I’ve repeatedly asked myself, and one that I’ve approached yet again following the big recent news that the U.S. and Cuba are restoring diplomatic relationships. As excited as I was to hear the news, what was most interesting from a travel perspective was seeing that on the day the news broke, there was an increase in Cuba travel searches on TripAdvisor by 300%. But as excited as I am about the possibility of traveling to Cuba and ordering a Hemingway Daiquiri at El Floridita, where Hemingway himself consumed many a daiquiri, my excitement is guarded, knowing what I’ve observed from destinations that have seen an influx from American tourists.

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If you know anything about California, then you probably know a little something about the state’s most well-known beaches, such as Venice, Laguna, Stinson, and Ocean, just to name a few. But go on any given Sunday to these beaches and you won’t exactly have them all to yourself. Yet with more than 1,000 miles of coastline in California, there is no shortage of great beaches, some off-the-beaten-path, and others that are right under your nose. So today I feature a round-up of 15 of the most underrated beaches in California.

Pfeiffer Beach

Two words: Big Sur. That’s all you need to know about where it is to know that you should go. Pfeiffer Beach at one time was one of those places that you could blink and miss it, since it’s a few minutes off Highway 1 after you make the right turn down the narrow road. But with more people finding out about it and more visible signs, the secret is starting to get out. While it takes a few minutes to get to after turning off the Pacific Coast Highway 1, the spacious beach, beautiful Pacific Ocean views, and craggy cliffs towering over it make it more than worth it. The best time to go, however, is at sunset, when the sun beams through Keyhole Rock just beyond the breaking waves.

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