Abandoning Me to Become Mom

Lately, I’ve been grappling with the idea that in three short months, when I give birth I will no longer be just Melissa; I will also be Mom. It has taken me many years, travels, therapists to truly start loving Melissa and even now I’m not always sure of myself. So, accepting this other name…

Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Pregnant Woman

I’m getting sort of tired of the liberties people take with their commentary towards me while I’m a pregnant. I’m sure I’m not the only pregnant woman feeling this way either. So here you go: 1. Wow you look huge! 2. Are you sure you’re not having twins? 3. Did they get your due date…

Finding My Mom Tribe

I’ve had many tribes throughout my adult life. Women need tribes to feel comfort, love, a safe place to bitch and moan over wine, and someone to capture your dumbest moments on camera. Some women maintain the exact same tribe their whole lives if they never move away from home. Others, like me, have different…

Eating Healthy for Two

When you’re pregnant you constantly hear that old adage, well you’re eating for two right before someone hands you another helping or second slice of cake. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of it! This isn’t your mom’s or your grandma’s pregnancy. Times and studies have changed to reveal that the…

Hello Baby, It’s Me Mama! Are You in There?

I have not written a word for a while. Believe me I wanted to, but how many times can you complain about nausea or exhaustion, before it is just redundant. I’ve now securely entered my Second Trimester. On Friday, I’ll officially be 16 weeks. I feel a lot better these days, no nausea and my…

Home Buying Feels so much like Online Dating!

Home buying is a tough and emotionally exhausting process. I thought it would feel exciting like those shows on HGTV where you get to peruse homes and choose one from your top three at the end. It’s not! This process is excruciating! My husband and I have looked at 19 homes in 2 weeks and…

That First Ultrasound

Words can’t describe how happy we felt to see our baby for the first time this weekend! For six weeks now we’ve known a baby was growing inside of me, but it didn’t feel real. I felt it every time I got nauseous or exhausted, but was I really growing a baby inside my uterus?…

Goodbye Sleep, See You in Ten Years!

I’ve always had a fickle relationship with sleep since I was 18 years old. I have a chronic bladder condition that wakes me in the night to pee even if I am on the heaviest sleeping drugs. It would ebb and flow though. Some nights depending on stress level and what I ate that day…

I’m Pregnant and Scared to Death!

I have faced many fears in my 31 years of life. I’ve traveled to unsafe countries, backpacked alone across the globe, tackled public speaking, and jumped out of a helicopter over the Swiss Alps. Those were a cinch! Now I’m embarking on a new terrifying adventure: Pregnancy!! I am not scared one bit about being…

On a Quest to Heal Myself

Towards the end of 2018, I set out to find answers and to seek help. I was finally done with suffering and just accepting it as my reality. I wanted to feel happy and healthy again or in some cases for the first time. Healing isn’t easy though even when you finally have those answers…

Setting Goals for the New Year

I’m back! I, unfortunately, lost track of my goals this autumn as life got busier and more stressful. I was doing great keeping up with making a new recipe every Sunday and blogging about it until about mid-November. At that point, the bills were piling up and my husband still didn’t have a job. He…

#TBT: Travel Flashback Part 6: Culture, Tradition, and Ceremony in Bali

Balinese people hold strongly to their traditions. If someone dies and they must have a cremation, everyone in the community closes their business for however many days they need and they all attend the cremation. Their strong sense of community trumps their need to make money. This is something I love about the Balinese people….

Feeling So Thankful for My Family this Holiday Season!

I know I’m a week late on this post, but time just seems to fly by and I barely get a chance to sit down and write anymore. Last week we flew home for a very quick four day visit to see my family back east for Thanksgiving. I normally don’t fly all the way…

Getting Creative with Spaghetti Squash!

My husband and I discovered the exciting world of cooking with spaghetti squash last spring and we still can’t get enough. You can do so much with spaghetti squash, it’s truly a miracle squash! The best part is you can fill the squash with so many different dishes. Here are the three I’ve tried, but…

Keep it Simple and Still Eat Healthy!

Now that I’m getting the hang of cooking, I’m started to learn how to improvise recipes on my own. Sure these recipes I’ve been making are delicious, but they require a lot of ingredients, a lot of prep time and a lot of money. This isn’t going to be easy to keep up when we…

Making Soup with Friends

I’m getting in the soup making mood. I love this time of year when you get to put on sweaters and scarves and make soup. Despite the freakishly warm weather we are having for mid October, cough cough global warming cough, I’m still feeling in the spirit to make warm cozy recipes like this delicious…

Reflections on Life at Age 31

Yesterday was my 31st birthday and I woke up next to my husband in a very comfortable bed in the Luxor hotel in Vegas. Although slightly hungover from having 2.5 drinks (I know right!), I felt good. I checked my emails and found a letter I wrote to myself in August 2013 sent through futureme.org…

#TBT Travel Flashback Part 3: In Love with Pai

I know I’ve probably said this about numerous towns along my travels, but Pai stands out as one of my favorite places in the world. We arrived in the late afternoon, after a long winding drive from Chiang Mai. The town’s main road buzzed with motorbikes and backpackers, yet it maintained a silent calm only…

Hosting a Brunch? Make quiche!

Over the weekend, we hosted an engagement brunch at our house for some very close friends. It was a potluck, which is the best way to host a party and not take on too much work. Brunch is my favorite meal of all time and this one was a success. Growing up my dad always…

I Love Fall and Fall Foods!

Ever since I was a child, my favorite season has always been Fall! Don’t get me wrong, Summer is a blast, but there’s something about Fall that gives me that warm fuzzy feeling inside. It’s crisp, colorful, cozy, and delicious! September and October are the best months. The heat starts to fade into crisp mornings…

Crockpot Chili is Delicious!

This Sunday’s new recipe was a mix of several recipes I found on Pinterest. I found a recipe for a skillet chili with cornbread on top and loved the cornbread idea. Then I found a healthy turkey chili with sweet potato and decided to make the recipe with cornbread, but instead of making it in…

My Next Adventure: Cooking!

It’s taken me several months to come back to this blog. In some ways it just symbolizes this part of my life that is over now. I used to think that a life of travel was all I needed to be happy. I wanted to abandon the 9-5 and be an adventurer for life. I…

Having Gratitude Even When Times are Tough…

It is downright difficult to keep your head up when it seems like the world keeps kicking you when you are down. Sometimes we just go through tough times or tough years and it is hard to see beyond our troubles. One thing I always try to remind myself to do, even when I feel…

How to Beat the Unemployment/Post Travel Blues!

I’ll never regret quitting a job to travel, but it’s returning afterwards that is always super tough. It’s easy to get depressed when you go from traveling and seeing and doing new and exciting things every day to sitting at home applying to jobs and being broke. I’ve been in this situation twice and it…

Myths, Facts, and Tips for Backpacking Central and South America

Now that we have completed our 7 month trip from Argentina to Guatemala, I can speak with some authority on how to best prepare for a trip like this. There’s things we wish we knew beforehand and things that shocked us as well as trucks we learned along the way that I believe would be…

Lago Atitlan has Something for Everyone

Lake Atitlan is the biggest lake in Guatemala at 50.2 sq mi. The lake was formed 84,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption that filled in with rain water. Atitlan means “at the water” in Nahuatl language. Three volcanoes now stand at its south end and are all active, named Atitlan, San Pedro, and Toliman….

Celebrating Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala

Guatemala has been a destination for Americans for at least ten years now, so it was no surprise that Antigua was swarming with them. The colorful colonial town, an hour outside Guatemala City, provides tourists with that authentic Guatemalan feel. The stone buildings are crumbling with age and the cathedrals overpower the plazas with bright…

Don’t Skip Honduras

Throughout our travels in Central America, we have met a lot of backpackers who told us that they skipped Honduras or only visited the Bay Islands. As we headed north towards Honduras, we wondered why everyone was skipping around such a diverse country. Sometimes they even chose visiting El Salvador over Honduras. Having now visited…

Visit Roatan! Don’t just Cruise in, Stay Over!

Roatan Island, off of Honduras, has long been a cruise ship destination. As we pulled in on the local ferry from La Ceiba, Honduras the boat dwarfed in comparison to the Holland-America and Carnival Freedom Cruise ships in port. Tourists disembark from their floating hotels to enjoy less than 12 hours on the island. They…

Nicaragua: The Land of Volcanoes, Lakes, and Beaches Oh My!

There’s something really special about Nicaragua. I had no idea that this country was already on so many people’s radars. You barely hear about it, but it truly is a gem. It has some of the best surfing beaches in the world in warm pacific oceans, steep lively volcanoes to climb or sneak up on…

Ometepe: An Island between Volcanoes

Ometepe Island sits in the middle of the largest lake in Nicaragua. The lake, called Mar Dulce or sweet ocean, looks like the Pacific Ocean with waves just as big as those lapping the west coast of Nicaragua. You can reach the island via a bus or shuttle to Rivas from San Juan del Sur…

Responsible Tourism

When you travel are you aware of the impact you are having on the local communities? Do you visit towns known for their parties? There’s a lot of ugly tourism in this world and people ignorant to its impacts on the local cultures. Entire towns, islands, and even regions have developed reputations for party tourism…

Pura Vida and American Prices in Costa Rica

“Pura vida,” the older couple shouts over their shoulder at us as they walk away. We are starting to catch on that this comment is the popular tag line of Costa Rica and the white tourists are eating it up. Everyone ends and starts their conversations here by cheerfully spouting off the words like a…

True Paradise on the San Blas Islands

Ready to unplug, kick off your shoes, and take a dip in some of the clearest, most refreshing blue waters? Welcome to the San Blas Islands off the north east coast of Panama! Here you will discover a true Paradise. There are 365 islands and cays in the archipelago in total, but only 49 of…

A Quick Visit to Colombia’s Caribbean Coast

We unfortunately have run short on time in our visit to Colombia, so we were only able to preview the Caribbean coast line. We flew from Medellin to Santa Marta and spent a week exploring the coast. Santa Marta This beach town is more of a gateway for tourists to other destinations like Tayrona National…

Things to Do in Medellin, Colombia

We were very pleasantly surprised by Medellin. Despite its dark history with Pablo Escobar, the city and its people have prospered greatly in the past 15 years. They’d also like to move on from the past and not have people reminding them of the scar Pablo left on the city. So moving on from that,…

Experiencing Colombia’s Coffee Region

When you mention Colombia to people, they immediately think about its dark history during the drug wars and Pablo Escobar. For those who have visited this incredible country though, a picture of rolling green mountains covered in coffee and banana plants, delicious arepas, and some of the nicest people on earth come to mind. Colombia,…

Crossing Borders in South America

Crossing borders is never fun, but some countries have easier routes than others. Now that we are experts at this process, I can provide some advice on how it all works. Of all 11 border crossings we have made in South America, the Ecuador-Colombia border was by far the worst. Even though we read a…

Ringing in 2018 in Ecuador

For North Americans New Years means watching the ball drop, wearing black and gold, drinking champagne, and kissing at midnight. In Ecuador, the New Year comes with many unique traditions that are far different than we are accustomed to. After a conversation with a local, I discovered how Ecuadorians ring in the New Year and…

The Black Sheep Inn: Gateway to Quilotoa Lake

(This is not a sponsored post). If you are interested in seeing Quilotoa Lake in Ecuador either via the Quilotoa Loop or just on a day trek, you would be remiss if you didn’t stay a night at the Black Sheep Inn. This lovely, family-run hotel sits at 10,400 feet above sea level, in the…

Celebrating Christmas Abroad

It is always interesting to get a sneak peek into how other cultures celebrate the holidays. I’ve had the pleasure of celebrating Christmas in Jamaica with my family, in Australia, and now in Ecuador. We all have different customs and it’s fascinating to observe them. I grew up in a very secular home, where we…

How to Avoid Burning Out While Traveling!

My husband and I are at the halfway point of our trip and we are finally taking a much needed break. We are lucky enough to have seven months to travel, but even that doesn’t feel like enough time for everything we want to see in do. We’ve managed to crunch in a lot into…

Oops We Did It Again…Another Trek at High Altitude

Why are we such gluttons for punishment? It could be the wonderful rewards we receive for our efforts. Beautiful vistas tend to be our main temptations, but also the challenge in itself provides some great self-gratification for all the suffering. This time around we arrived less prepared and thus felt the punishment of altitude sickness…