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…

Peru Hop: aka The Gringo Express

In 2013, two Irish guys named Will and Conor had the idea to create a hop on hop off bus service for backpackers in Peru. This way backpackers had a safe, convenient and affordable way to visit spots in Peru that previously were missed on the backpacker circuit, but were worth visiting. Now they have…

Tips and Facts to Prepare for the Machu Picchu Inca Trek!

My husband and I just completed the Machu Picchu Inca trek this week. For months leading up to it, I was feeling anxious and scared that it would be too hard. A lot of people who have completed the trek tell you it’s doable, but difficult. Most people warn about the altitude and the infamous…

Overcoming My Limits: Rainbow Mountain and Red Valley

I’ve never been so challenged in my life! This trip has really helped me see past my self-imposed limits and know that we truly have no limits. I was terrified about climbing Rainbow Mountain, but this trip is all about facing my fears. So we went for it! We had a 3am wake up call…

Salar de Uyuni: Well Worth the Height

If you have the money and the time on your South America tour, don’t miss Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. You can take the tour directly from Uyuni, Bolivia or enter from San Pedro de Atacama. For Americans you must pay for a visa to enter Bolivia for $160 US, but I promise you it…

San Pedro de Atacama: Desert Tourism

San Pedro de Atacama sits at about 6,000 feet above sea level and is home to the driest desert in the world. There are so many beautiful landscapes in this area that San Pedro has become a hotbed for desert tourism. It attracts Chileans and foreigners to its small outpost in the desert, an hour…

Mendoza is More than Just Malbec!

For any wine lover, Mendoza, Argentina falls under destinations to visit for wine tasting. It is the capital of Malbec wine. They are the main grower and exporter of this delicious red wine. So, you would be remiss to not take a wine tour in Mendoza if you love Malbec. Once you finish wine tasting…

Valparaiso: Artist’s Paradise

We arrived in Valparaiso after a very uncomfortable and exhausting overnight bus trip from Pucon. Our weary eyes struggled to take in the sights out the taxi windows, but we already had a sense for how unique this city would be. When the taxi screeched to a stop at our hostel, the crooked smirk of…

Chile’s Lake Region

After finishing up our adventures in Bariloche and Bolsón, Argentina’s Río Negro lake region, we crossed the border back to Chile. The drive from Bariloche across the border provided spectacular views as we snaked through towering mountains of green and white.  We climbed in elevation, passing over the mountains. Trees wore white cone hats of…

Mountains floating in the Clouds

We continued our upward climb along the gravel road with what felt like no end in sight. Our destination: Piltriquitron, a mountain refugió seated atop the closest mountain to El Bolsón, Argentina. The name comes from Mapuche Indians who inhabited the area originally and it means the mountains that float in the clouds. The description…

Patagonia: “The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go!”

Patagonia has always called my name. I’m a mountain person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach, but I much prefer a good hike in the mountains. Just seeing mountains with their snow caps in the distance makes my heart warm. One of the main reasons I moved to Portland, Oregon was for that…

Agua, Agua y más Agua

We arrived in Puerto Iguazu after a very tremulous plane ride that had Ethan and I both praying to survive and clutching eachother and our armrests for dear life. Luckily, we did land in this humid little town on the border of Brazil and Paraguay in one piece.  Thank god for that, because Iguazu Falls…

Buenos Aires: The Beginning

We arrived safely in Buenos Aires on Thursday. Since then, we have kept ourselves very busy exploring this massive city. We started off our stay with a $100 cab ride from the Airport, because we forgot to negotiate a price beforehand. Then we discovered our hotel reservation wasn’t valid anymore and they switched us to…

Miami: Before the Hurricane

It is always strange when you are planning something for a long time and it feels like it will never actually arrive and then all of a sudden the moment is here. For what seemed like years, Ethan and I planned this trip. It existed in our minds and on our google searches. For all…

Travel isn’t All Umbrella Drinks and Selfies with Monkies!

I was inspired to write this after a friend posted a blogger’s post about how travel isn’t always fun and easy like people think and that we are made to feel bad about complaining when travel gets hard. I completely related to this post, because after years of traveling, I know it isn’t the vacation…

Transitions are Hard, but Worth it!

It seems about every 2-4 years, I go through a big transition. Just when things get comfortable in my life, I either decide it is time to shake things up or the Universe does it for me. There is something about routine and comfort, that I just can’t handle. As soon as I start to…

Wedding Advice from a Newlywed!

I literally just got married two days ago, so it is fresh in my head. Lots of married people gave me advice before the wedding and I tried my best to listen to it. Of course, it is hard though in the thick of it to remember all those thoughtful words. So, if you are…

To the Dad that Breaks the Mold!

Every year when Father’s Day is getting closer, you see commercials for Home Depot and Lowe’s advertising grills and tools to buy your father. Stores have sales on ties and belts. The card aisle is flush with cartoonish pictures of men in lounge chairs, playing golf, or fishing. But what about the dad’s that don’t…

Time Has No Pause Button, So Enjoy it While You Can…

Life is zipping by me. I swear each year time goes a little faster. One minute, I’m meeting Ethan for tacos for our first date and now we are getting married in 40 days. It’s been a whirlwind lately, between planning a wedding, working full time plus extra side jobs, attending multiple pre-wedding events for…

We’re Not Settling Down, We’re Saddling Up!

I’ve never liked the idea of settling down. To me it sounds boring and like the end to a fun life. People always speak about marriage and committed relationships as finally settling down. To those who always looked forward to meeting the one, settling down, and having kids, this concept is accepted as an end…

A Letter to My Mom for Mother’s Day

Dear Mom, I love you to the moon and back. I love you to infinity. I love you this much You are my inspiration. You may not have known it, but I was always looking up to you. You turned an at-home daycare into a blossoming business with multiple locations. I loved visiting your office…

A Letter to All Who are Bullied.

*warning this contains spoilers for the show 13 Reasons Why… I recently decided to watch a new Netflix show that everyone was talking about on Facebook. This show was like a train wreck; I couldn’t peel my eyes from the screen, but it increased my blood pressure and seeped into my dreams bringing back past…

Dear Worry: It’s Not Me It’s You…

Dear worry, We need to talk. I think I am finally ready to call it quits. No, this isn’t like the last hundred times when I pushed you away and then came running back to you when I couldn’t deal. This is for real this time. You’ve done nothing but bring me down and it…

Ways to Stay Positive When Life Gets Tough!

Life has not been easy the past two years. Last year, I discovered I had some health problems I needed to deal with. My partner and I also had a head on collision that caused a considerable amount of stress and pain for both of us. Finances have ebbed and flowed. We’ve tried our best…

15 Tips for Preparing for Long Term Travel!

*Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, I simply love these brands or websites and am providing the links but I get no kickback for providing them* Our big 9 month honeymoon is creeping closer and closer and being a veteran to long term travel, I have established a tried and true list for preparing…

America was Never Great!

Trump’s leading campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again!” People wore it emblazoned across their red trucker hats and t-shirts. What Trump and his supporters were really saying with that slogan was, “Make America Racist Again!”, “Make America Sexist Again!,” “Make America Polluted Again!” and the list goes on and on. America was never great!…