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As told to Vicki Hoefling Andersen, Scribe and Photographer
HighOnAdventure.com   April 1, 2013

Hi, my name is Truffles. I’m only ten years old but I’ve gotten to visit all kinds of places and do all sorts of adventures and gotten to meet lots of nice people.

Mama says I’m the perfect travel companion, that I’m just the right size. She tucks me in her backpack so I can see out and keep an eye on things. She says I never complain or talk back, that I’m on my best behavior at all times, and I’m always willing to listen to her stories or grumbles.

First snow for Truffles the rabbit doll
My first snow

At first I didn’t get to go on all Mama’s trips. She talked about skiing and snow and mountains, but said I was too small to go these places. Grammy made me a furry winter coat, and finally it snowed at home. I put on my coat and went outside to prove I could handle “snow”!

When I first started going on ski trips, I spent most of the time looking out the windows at the pretty scenery. I really wanted to go out and play but Mama said I would get lost in “sitzmarks” and hidden behind “moguls”. She was afraid I’d get run over because people wouldn’t see me. She also said my ears would get cold.

  Watching skiers through the window of a warm room isn’t always a bad thing. It was snowing sooo hard at Whistler in British Columbia, I was happy to snuggy with my bunny Snoball and stay inside!  
Truffles the rabbit doll watching skiers
  Alyeska Hoelmountain view  
View of Seven Glaciers from Alyeska Hotel
Views from Alyeska Resort Hotel room and from Seven Glaciers Restaurant

I had a nice view in Alaska even though I couldn’t watch the skiers. But one day when Mama was running late, our roommate tucked me inside her jacket and took me up the gondola for lunch. The hostess said of course I was welcome because I was wearing my pearl necklace, and so I was on my very bestest behavior. Mama was really surprised when she got there and saw me waiting for her!

Ski run at
Ready for the big time at Red Mountain, British Columbia

I was thrilled when Mama took my skis and poles along on another trip to British Columbia! I got to play on the “bunny slopes” (Scribe comment: no pun intended) at Red Mountain, but she wouldn't take me up the big hills. She said the trails were steep and I could get run over by people going too fast. I reminded her I am a Bunny, and Bunnies can run really fast to avoid things that chase them. But she still wouldn’t take me up the mountain, and I confess I pouted the rest of the trip.

  Mammath Mountain bear statue   Rocky Moutain Chocolates at Mammoth Mountain  
The life-sized bears were scary with their big claws, but the bear family at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory were very friendly.

Sometimes the ski resorts have interesting things to see and fun shops to visit. On a trip to California, I met two bear families at Mammoth Mountain. The first made my ears quiver with fear, but I trusted Mama when she posed me for a picture and insisted I would be safe. The second couple were much more to my liking. We had a nice visit while Mama shopped for “Truffles” for Grammy, who likes to eat them. I didn’t understand what kind of “Truffles” that could be—I wouldn’t want to be eaten! They were chocolaty like the color of my fur, but Mama said we were very different kinds of “truffles” and I didn’t have to worry about being eaten.

  Rocky beach on Kauai   Maui beach  
Compared to the rocky shoreline on Kauai, my toes love the sandy beaches of Maui

We only go skiing in the winter, but we go to tropical locations all times of the year! When we go to Hawaii, I have a grass skirt and flower lei that makes me feel like a local. Hawaii is so beautiful, lots of bright flowers and the ocean is so blue.

I want to go snorkeling with Mama but she says my “stuffing” would get wet. I thought “stuffing” went with turkey? I would play with the fishies if I could find a swim mask to keep the water out of my eyes and nose! When I sit on the beach I get sand in my feet and under my tail, and it takes a lot of brushing to get it out. But I like the feel of the sand, and since I can’t go in the water, I hula on the beach. It’s okay for hula dancers to have sand in their toes!

Fiji Captain Cook cruise
Island watching, Fiji-style

Sometimes I want to snorkel so badly, I have been known to misbehave. A little bit. When we toured some of the Fiji islands with Captain Cook Cruises, our room had big windows with nice wide ledges. They were perfect to stand on and watch the islands pass by! One day we anchored off Navodo Bay on the eastern side of Vanua Levu island. It was a picture perfect tropical cove called Whispering Tide. I had been stuck in our cabin for nearly two days so Mama promised she’d take me ashore while she went snorkeling.

Fiji Whispering Tide Cove
When Mom’s away, I reap a plunder day

She said to behave myself and stay on our beach mat. But while she was playing with the fishies, I sneaked into the bushes to nibble on some pretty pink flowers. Mama was immediately suspicious when she came back and found me with an armful of flowers and a big seashell at my feet. I was busted!

A fellow passenger, Mama said he was an “Aussie”, told her he overheard her telling me to be a Good Bunny and stay on the mat. But he caught me in the flowers, took me back to my mat and told me to stay there. He was nice but very stern! He picked me a small bouquet of the pretty flowers and told me not to run off again! Mama’s HighOnAdventure friend, Steve Giordano, found the pink seashell while he was beachcombing. He felt sorry I couldn’t go snorkeling and thought it would cheer me up. It’s one of my most prized possessions!

Mama says the flowers and seashell are proof I’m a flirt when she’s not around.

Fiji beach
Trying to shade my eyes from the tropical sun on a sandy beach along the Coral Coast of Fiji

I seem to make friends even when Mama is around. If I may say so myself, I was a bit of a hit in Fiji because they don’t have bunnies. After humoring Mama for her mandatory “beach shoot” at our hotel, the Outrigger on the Reef, we stopped at their Vale Ni Kana restaurant for lunch. The hostess, Selai, saw me nestled down in Mama’s beach tote next to the camera gear and asked if I was a doll. As soon as Mama pulled me out and told her I was a bunny, Selai got excited because she’d never seen a bunny before.

  Mama said we’d been taking photos on the beach, and I must have looked thirsty because Selai grabbed a very colorful drink off the bar behind her. The bartender looked surprised, and so was I when she held the straw to my mouth. It was cool and refreshing, at least the tiny amount Mama let me sip before she said I was too young to drink. The housekeepers at the Outrigger liked me, too, because each day they scattered fresh frangipani all around me, and tucked a perfect blossom behind my ear.   Fiji boat drink 2   Fiji boat drink  
Without even checking my ID or asking if I was thirsty, Selai served me a boat drink of massive portions.

I was in my usual peering-out-of-our-backpack position when we went into a Jack’s of Fiji store. The young ladies working there, who Mama explained were Fijian but of Indian descent, wanted to hold me. They asked all kinds of questions about me, and gave me lots of hugs and kisses. And I definitely was not flirting, just being friendly.

Mama said the Fijians spoiled me a little bit, but they made me feel very special!

  New Zealand Mereana Ngatai  
New Zealand Helen van Beek
This must be what it feels like to be a Rock Star! Mereana Ngatai wanted her picture taken with me at Te Puia, and so did Helen van Beek with Destination Rotorua while we were on Whakaari

New Zealanders also like me, even though they do have bunnies. When we got off the plane in Auckland and went through Immigration, a whole bunch of officials gathered around to look at my passport. They laughed about it being so “tiny” and “cute”, but it’s just the right size for me and has my picture and all my important information. A nice immigration agent apologized he couldn’t find a small enough entry stamp to imprint my book, but assured me I was very welcome.

  New Zealand countryside   New Zealand Lake Tarawera   New Zealand silver fern  
Enjoying a bus ride through rolling Kiwi hills, standing on the dock at Lake Tarawera, and up close and personal with a silver fern.

New Zealand has beautiful countryside and hundreds of pretty lakes. I was excited to see the famous silver fern in The Redwood Forest. Our guide explained how the Maori used them to travel at night, laying them silver-side up along the path where even tiny amounts of starlight was enough to guide their way.

  New Zealand bathing pool   We spent a lot of time around the Rotorua area, which Mama said is a lively geothermal region. There are geysers that shoot scalding water high into the air, lots of bubbling mud pools, and colorful streams because of the volcanic minerals. When we visited Whakarewarewa, I thought about jumping into the village baths because our host said the thermal waters had healing properties. Mama said I didn’t have any aches or pains and to stay out of the water and keep my “stuffing” dry.  
Tempted to jump into the Bathing Pools at Whakarewarewa
  New Zealand whakaari   New Zealand whakaari  
I wasn’t so sure about exploring an active marine volcano.

We went to Whakaari, whose English name of White Island is much easier to pronounce. It’s an active volcano in the ocean! Everyone had to wear hard hats and gas masks, but they didn’t have any to fit me so Mama put me inside our backpack and closed the top tight. She said she didn’t want me to get all stinky and smell like sulfur from all the gurgling streams and vents. A couple of times she let me out so I could see how strange the landscape looked. There are no trees or pretty bushes, and it was sort of scary to see all the steam and volcanic activity. I was happy to stay inside our backpack!

  Puerto Vallarta   Puerto Vallarta sunset  
Nothing beats breakfast on a balcony overlooking the waves, except maybe watching the sun set from the same spot.

I love exotic and tropical places, and Puerto Vallarta is one of my favorites. We stay in a condo right on the beach, with lots of places to eat and fun shops all around us. Mama took me to some silver stores and bought me a necklace and bracelet. The girls in the stores were very nice and full of suggestions of what would fit my “style”. How about that – I have “Style”!

  Tikal   Mexico muyil structure  
Taking a break in the Central Acropolis at Tikal, Guatemala, and refuge from the rains in Muyil, Mexico.

We’ve made lots of trips to Mexico and Central America mainly because Mama and Grammy love to visit Maya ruins. Grammy even made me my very own jungle shirt like Mama’s! The day we visited Muyil, in the northern part of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, it was raining. Usually I’d be left behind, propped up on a chair to watch out the window. But Mama was insistent I would go this time, and stuffed me inside her belt, under her rain poncho. I was dry but I wasn’t very comfortable. We went inside every structure in the small site, and I was posed for pictures in windows and on rock ledges and everywhere she could drag me out for photos and still keep my “stuffing” dry. Finally Mama explained that in Mayan, “Muyil” means “rabbit”, and she thought it was important that we explore the site. Sometimes I just have to humor her.

  Cozumel   Cozumel  
Enjoying the Maya ruins at San Gervasio on Cozumel island, off the coast of Mexico’s Riviera Maya.

I do love all the old Maya ruins and traveling up rivers and through jungles. Some of the pyramids are sooo big, especially in Guatemala, that I feel really tiny! Mama carried me up some of them and I could see all over, across the top of the jungles and even down at the birds and monkeys! When I get tired of going up and down, Grammy and I sit on a step and admire the scenery and listen to Howler monkeys. I’m used to hearing them, but sometimes they startle me so it’s nice to have Grammy keeping me safe.

  I like visiting Central America because the plane rides aren’t so long, but I was really pampered on our Air Pacific flight to Fiji! The flight attendant told me that I could sit in the unoccupied center seat, but I had to fasten my seat belt. So I nestled in between Mama at the window and a Hindi gentleman in the aisle seat who was returning home to Fiji after a business trip in Canada. When the eye shades were passed out, even I was given a pair to help me sleep! But a couple of times during the long flight my new Hindi friend unbuckled my seatbelt, sat me on his tray table, and talked and played with me. Since they don’t have bunnies in Fiji, maybe he was trying to figure out what sort of critter I am to be accompanying Mama on her travels.   Air Pacific seat  
I had my very own seat on the flight to Fiji!

I really like flying Alaska Airlines. They’re fun and Mama says they treat me like I’m in First Class. Flight attendant “Brian” had a hand puppet he introduced as Mr. Raccoon, who visited and flirted with me off and on during the whole flight. We had the same flight crew on the second leg of our trip, but when we boarded, Brian told me Mr. Raccoon was tired and napping now. When he came down the aisle to check seat belts and tray tables, Brian told all the passengers around us that I was a well-travelled and well-behaved bunny. I was a little embarrassed to be so widely revealed! On a flight to Anchorage, the flight attendant apologized during beverage service that she didn’t have any carrot juice to offer me, but Mama told her I’d be fine since I didn’t get thirsty very often. (Only boat drinks in Fiji! …and margaritas in Mexico…)

  SATW teddy rabit   I was made an honorary member of SATW’s Traveling Teddies group. Mama says the letters mean Society of American Travel Writers, but I think they stand for Special Animal with Travel Wishes because that describes me!  

Everyone thinks I’m a good little girl, but sometimes traveling can bring out another side of me. When everything is going well, I am most definitely a Bouncing Bunny. If a delayed flight might make us miss a connecting flight or our luggage is MIA, I turn into a Harried Hare.

You don’t want to encounter me when I’m a Rabid Rabbit! When nothing is going right and all Mama’s efforts to straighten things out don’t work, my frazzled side can come out. Mama said she hasn’t seen it, but I think it could be there.

Mexico poster
Sometimes I like to daydream about my travels

Sometimes I like to have a little quiet time to think about all I have seen and done. But if it’s been a while since I’ve been away, Mama knows where to find me. With Snoball and passport in my backpack, I daydream about exploring jungle ruins or hula dancing on a beach. Then she explains again why we can’t travel all the time, and she tries to console me by talking about our next trip or our fantasy trips. That helps.

Teddy rabbit
Bedtime, when I can dream about people and places yet to discover.

Then Mama puts me in my jammies, and Snoball and I go to bed and dream about the adventures we’ve had and the ones still awaiting us.

We hope you do, too.

“What is real?" asked the Rabbit one day. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" "Real isn't how you are made," said the Stick Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real. It doesn't happen all at once. It takes a long time. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." ~ The Velveteen Rabbit ~

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