Thursday Thoughts: My Mumbai Airport Rant!

~A few weeks ago I found myself stuck outside the Mumbai International Airport because security would not let me in. My flight was at 4:30 am the following morning and I didn’t want to spend money on a hotel for that evening. There were only two spots I had to choose from to sit and wait. The 1st was a Burger King; if you’ve been to India you know how different these fast food chains are and I didn’t really feel like a potato burger. The 2nd was a little place called “The Beer Cafe”, now that’s more like it!

Here is my rant:

It’s going to be a long two days. I am sitting near the Mumbai airport in a café across from the International Arrivals doors. The security guards won’t let me in because my flight isn’t until 4:30 am tomorrow morning and right now it’s about 2 pm. Of course, I don’t really want to pay another $70 dollars to stay in a hotel for twelve hours so I’ve ordered a Masala Chai and I’m hoping no one notices how long I sit here.

This morning I had to beg the front desk for a late checkout, which only brought me to about twelve o’clock noon and then I sat in the lobby of the hotel for about a half an hour trying to figure out why my card wouldn’t work to pay for the room. I finally realized it’s just because this country is impossible sometimes… well, most of the time. After 3 attempts at the hotel’s card machine, I ended up walking in the blistering heat to two different bank machines each way down the street. After the 2nd attempt at the ATM’s nearby I thought maybe my bank back home had canceled my card for the 5th time during this trip. It wouldn’t have surprised me at all. But when I went back to the hotel and called my bank on Skype, the bank attendant told me my card was active and should be working just fine.

It was then that I remembered, “Right… India.” I should’ve guessed it wasn’t going to be a smooth transaction. Once again, I asked the hotel attendant if there was another bank machine close by and went for yet another walk down the street in a different direction this time to find a 3rd bank machine in hopes that this one would work. Finally, after all that, the 3rd ATM let me take some money out to pay for the room. Success!

Now, here I am sitting in this café with only four hundred rupees in my wallet and fourteen hours to go. I’m really regretting not stuffing some bread in my purse from my buffet breakfast. I didn’t really feel like eating much anyway because my stomach was not feeling well. It has been a common and unpleasant feeling I have had a lot during this last month in India. I’ve heard of Delhi Belly before and luckily, I haven’t been that sick. Most of the time it’s just a morning thing, I do my business and then move on with my day. I have found that most travelers will talk about this at some point because the food is so different over here and a high percentage of people experience stomach issues while traveling through this country. Even locals have bowel issues. It’s just another wonderful thing about India; everyone poops a lot. It’s not the end of the world. Maybe just a minor delay in the day.

Never the less, the food has always been really tasty. This is one of the best things about India. Every dish is delicious. I haven’t really had anything I didn’t like. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed all the spices and curries this place has to offer. And not only that, I’ve also never had so much amazing Vegetarian food in my life. Who knew being a “Veggie” was so great?

The 2 things that have stood out most for me while exploring India are the food and the fashion. The colors and the sparkles of the woman’s clothing have blown me away. I’ve never seen so many beautiful garments in one place, and while being in one of the dirtiest countries I’ve ever experienced to boot. It does seem a bit strange at first when realizing how each woman dresses like this daily no matter what they are doing. Whether it’s going to the store, working in the farms, cleaning dishes and laundry in a filthy lake or even just sitting around on the pavement trying to avoid the scorching heat, the women of this country look amazing all the time.

There are so many stories to tell and it looks like I may just have enough time to write a few while I wait for my flight out of here. I can’t say I would come back to the North again but I would really love to travel through the Southern region in the future. I’ve heard there are some wonderful beaches down there and it’s more of a chill, relaxing atmosphere. I entered through Delhi and stayed in Rajasthan for the month I’ve been here and the chaos is very real through this region. There is so much congestion and pollution in a lot of the areas I’ve visited. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also seen some very nice areas as well which I am very excited to write about while I have this time in the airport here.

I mean really, what else am I going to do now for the next… thirteen hours? I have no excuses anymore.

It’s story time! 🙂

Wait… this is beer café!!!!

OMG!

Thursday Thoughts on my Travels

~Here I sit in Bergen, Norway on a white cloudy day. It may seem like any other day to my family and friends back home but to me this day is extraordinary. I’ve been gone for nearly 2 months and home seems so far away. The rest of Europe seems so far away as well as I sit in the North contemplating my next move.

I’ve seen very small portions of 5 different countries; each one varying ever so slightly from the other. I’ve had ample time to reflect on my own inner thoughts and demons.  I no longer question whether or not I am doing the right thing anymore. All of the time and planning has brought me here to this very moment.

Although I have only just begun to tap into the cultures and ways of living, I have also gained an overwhelming amount of knowledge from each place I graze through.

The words evade me…

How can I put into words the emotions and visual pleasures I’ve experienced? So many feelings within my gut I can barely begin to explain in a transparent sentence let alone describe what I’ve seen or heard in my passing through these mysterious realms.

I’ve been surrounded by history and sophistication. The aftermath of victories, accomplishments, and defeat throughout many battles and wars have literally been at my fingertips and yet I could never actually come close to understanding the complexity of it all. I can lay my hands upon the ruins. I can read the engraved words in the stone. I can sit and bask in the elapsed time bubble that has brought me here.

My eyes can merely gaze in wonder.

In Paris, I slept in a building constructed in the 1800s that has been restored time and time again. In Barcelona, I realized a resistance had transformed the very flags in which the country of Spain had once honored. I discovered a language I had never heard of before. I stood inside a tunnel in Bury St. Edmunds, England, encompassed by ancient ruins which had been originally erected over a thousand years ago. I have recited tales of witches and ghosts in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Here I sit in Bergen, Norway on a white cloudy day writing these indescribable feelings the best I can. A beautiful little city enclosed by glorious green mountains, trees and lakes. Cold streams of water trickle down the slopes of Mt Fløyen. At night the entire city center lights up from the shops and houses nestled within the mountain side. The reflections in the harbor waters glow and dance with the wind.

My best explanation of my thoughts on my recent travels; they are vast, deep and full of fascination I wish I could convey. I am so incredibly grateful I have this chance to experience something so much greater than I could ever explain.

Travel now. Travel far. Travel; for it will show so many truths within ourselves. The world has so much to offer.

Thursday Thoughts: Starting the Trip of a Lifetime!

2 weeks ago I was sitting in a fancy hotel room in Vancouver, Canada, waiting for the anticipated flight to Paris, France. Now, I am sitting in an apartment in Barcelona, Spain with a handful of stories already under my belt. Where do I even begin?

Here I am, enjoying Europe. This trip is just getting started.

I honestly can’t believe I left everything behind. It feels so refreshing. I brought a small suitcase, which I left in Paris, and a big red backpack stuffed to the max. Everyone told me to travel light but seeing as how I may hit some different climates along the way I did not pack light at all. My backpack is pretty heavy so luckily I don’t have to carry it too far. With cabs to and from airports, I just have to worry about my smaller carry-on bags while I’m traveling around.

Paris and Barcelona in the winter are exactly the same climates as winter back home in Victoria. It’s a bit rainy, windy and there’s a slight chill in the air. Luckily the sun has made an appearance a few times.

My best friend, Lisa, has been by my side the whole way and we’ve had the Trip of a Lifetime! We’ve seen The Louvre,  The Eiffel Tower and Galeries Lafayette in Paris. We’ve also discovered the impressive Sagrada Família Cathedral, Park Güell and the beautiful beaches of Barcelona. Our feet have ached and our sleep comes early, but it’s been worth every second. Each day tells a different story. The faces we see and the paths we take change on the regular. Ah, the joys of traveling. Long line ups have definitely tested my patience but it is nothing I haven’t experienced before.

I feel more ready this time around. It’s been smooth sailing for most of the trip. A lot of people speak English and with a bit of broken French and Spanish; it’s easy to get around. Groceries and the everyday bottle of wine costs much less than I would have thought. The most expensive thing is accommodation. Fortunately, I have not had to pay much towards my temporary housing during the trip thus far. I have had an exponential amount of luck and people who care about me to generously put me in a safe and comfortable living situation at their own expense.

dsc_0007From the Eiffel Tower to the famous masterpiece, Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí, we have checked so many items off the bucket list. I feel so privileged to be able to travel to the fullest and cherish each moment like no other.

Now I can say I’ve dipped my feet in the Mediterranean Sea. I can reminisce about the views from atop the Eiffel Tower overlooking Paris. I can brag about the warm sun on my face on Christmas Eve in Barcelona Square. That is if the sun comes out again tomorrow.

 

Until next time, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday! Wherever you are; enjoy all of it. 🙂 Stay tuned for more stories of the long-awaited trip to Europe.

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*Euro Trippin*

~Europe~

It’s been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. When I was a teenager I dreamed of traveling to Paris, France. I don’t know if it was because I had heard France was a beautiful country or if it was because of my deep romantic nature that drew me in. I would always look at photos of the Eiffel tower and imagine what it would be like to stand underneath it.

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The city of love; I wanted to be a part of it.

There are so many cultures, languages, monuments, foods and a million more amazing things to discover in Europe; why wouldn’t you want to go there?

Italy, Spain, France, England, Scotland, Norway, and of course not to mention Amsterdam… they’re ALL right there on one continent. It sounds like a pretty great experience I have yet to enjoy.

I guess what I am trying to say is:

I’M GOING TO EUROPE!!!

6 months ago I started planning my trip after spontaneously booking a promo flight I just couldn’t pass up. And yes you guessed it: I’m flying to Paris 🙂

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I have once again decided to pack up my entire life and leave the country to go exploring. Once I gave my notice to my office, it really started to feel like reality. People sometimes don’t understand how I can do it.

The most common reaction is: “I don’t know if I could ever do anything like that!”

But the fact of the matter is, I don’t know if I can do it either. I have no idea what is in store for me. There are so many variables that can impact the outcome of the trip. I’m sure I will meet many people from all walks of life that point me in a direction I would’ve never thought I could go. The only difference is that I actually thrive on fear and love stepping outside of my comfort zone. A lot of people don’t like that feeling and fear change so it limits the practice of spontaneity which is just fine for those people.

Truth is: I’m terrified! And that excites me!

There is absolutely no way to describe the combination of fear, joy, excitement and uncertainty when you feel these feelings all at once. It’s like a whirlwind of emotions fighting with one another deep within your gut. It’s those very feelings that push me to do the unthinkable; quit my job, pack away my life and leave the country with no real return date in mind.

My ticket may say that I’m coming back home in 4 months, but who knows what can happen during that time. I could run out of money and have to return sooner than expected or I could get a great job and extend my stay for a longer period. Either way, I get to experience something on a large-scale. It’s an adventure no matter what the outcome may be.

It’s true what they say: “You never know until you try.”

So try I must.

In 48 days I will get on a plane and fly to a place I’ve never seen before. I will leave my former self here in Victoria to find a new self and mold her into a brand new person. I will go to Paris and I will try to fall back in love with myself again after this long year full of ups and downs.

I will grow.

I will change.

I will travel.

I will love.

I can’t wait!

postcard-1185804 with love ~T 

Preparing for the Next Big Trip!

It’s been about 10 years since my last big trip. I remember when I finally decided on my destination: Australia ❤ Of course 6 other countries followed that one and a lot of wonderful memories were made. It was the single greatest experience of my entire life.

It all seems like a distant dream now that so much time has passed. Was it even real? Did I really live and work on Saint Kilda beach in Melbourne? Did I really take a boat tour around the islands of Figi? Did I really ride down those white water rapids in Thailand?

It happened, and it changed my life forever. I gained a deep love for traveling. I met so many amazing people who have remained my friends from afar despite the years that have passed us by. My love for travel has never diminished and my desire to explore this tiny world we live in has only burned stronger and brighter with time.

So now is the time to plan the next big trip! I’m talking about multiple countries over a long time frame in which I have to leave everything behind including my job and my loved ones.

THE NEXT BIG TRIP!

The preparations are already underway; I’ve applied for and received my brand new 10-year passport. My belongings have either been sold or donated and I now only have 3 bins to store. I’ve also received a working holiday visa as well after a lengthy application and some running around to gather all of the documents that were needed.

During my last big trip, I was able to store most of my stuff in my parent’s basement. This time around I do not have that luxury as there is talk of selling their house. Luckily, I have a handful of best friends who are more than willing to help me out with storing the things I would like to keep such as my bed, dresser, and couch. The last thing I want to do is return home to nothing and have no money. So I’ve thought many steps ahead on this decision. I packed most of my things last night and they are now ready for storage.

Worst case scenario:

I arrive in a foreign place, lose all my belongings and money somehow and have to fly straight home on Dads credit card. Not a terrible thing and at least I gave it a try.

Best case scenario:

I arrive in a foreign place and meet some amazing friends who hook me up with a job and I never return home because my new home has captured my heart forever. I will now have to watch my nieces and nephews grow up through Facebook pictures and Skype. Not a terrible thing and at least I have a computer (I have all my things in this scenario).

So where am I headed?

I’m headed to a place full of culture.

A place where you can take a train from one country to the next and relish in the various landscapes across the land.

A place that speaks many languages.

This place has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember.

Can you guess where I’m going for my next big trip?

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~Saved by the Sea Turtles~

~For the past 3 months or so, I’ve been contemplating how to write this story. Do I write it with the swirling emotions I felt because I finally had a chance to see turtles? Or do I write the cold facts about the grievances those poor creatures endure? Does this story end with a broken heart or a happy little turtle scurrying off into the sea as the sun sets beyond the ocean?

This story is not just about the greatest turtle experience ever in the history of all turtle experiences (biased opinion since this was the first and only turtle experience I’ve had so far), but it’s a story with no real happy ending. I set out to learn about the sea turtles and those tiny turtles taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined.

Arriving in Junquillal, Costa Rica on a hot overcrowded bus was uncomfortable, to say the least, but the sunset that evening made it all worthwhile. You really haven’t savored a sunset until you watch fresh newborn baby turtles pushing their tiny legs through the sand fighting for their freedom. Watching those ambitious little babies swimming their very first strokes towards the depths of the dangerous ocean is beyond any words I can write. It’s an emotional event. I didn’t know if they would make it. And most of them probably didn’t.

13509069_10157119828460444_9055118651432322492_nThe odds are not in the turtles favor, unfortunately, but the biologists and volunteers do everything they can to help save them from poachers and other various threats. I was placed at a small turtle conservation hostel called Verdiazul, which means green/blue in Spanish. In the orientation, I learned a lot about the practices of the project and the harsh realities of the sea turtles demise. The chances of the turtles returning to the beach to nest are slim to none once they are released. If they do happen to survive, the turtles will always come back to the same beach they were born and lay their eggs in the area.

The release is a beautiful thing. It made me feel like I finally had a purpose while traveling and that all of my planning had paid off. My very first night at Verdiazul, we released nearly forty babies.

The three species of turtles that the conservation had interactions with are Black (Negras), Olive Ridley (Loras), and finally the most endangered species on the planet; Leatherback (Baulas).

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Each night the volunteers patrolled the beach for 3-4 hour shifts. Walking up and down the shoreline searching for nests, tracks or nesting mother turtles. We would spend thirty minutes walking to either the south or north ends of the beach in small groups then we rested and sat in the sand under the stars. During the mild nights, it was so tranquil I could just stare at the moon for hours listening to the waves crashing against the shore.  But when the wind picked up you would have to hide your face from sharp spitting sand in your eyes and mouth. My skin stung from some of those windy patrols. But it was the wonderful people who made those nights fly by with laughter and great conversation. I made some lovely new friends and felt very content in the passing of time.

The bitter-sweet part of this story is where I had my dream come true. My wish to encounter a Leatherback; the largest species of turtle in the entire world and the most critically endangered, finally became real on my 3rd patrol on Playa Junquillal. That was the sweet part. The bitter part is that I experienced this incredible event with someone who is no longer in my life. It’s hard to tell the story without him in it as it was such unbelievable trip. It’s a shame these memories are slightly clouded by pain now when I reminisce.

The siting was magnificent regardless. As the glow of the moon bounced off the water, the seven hundred pound mother slowly slid her way onto the beach that night. From twenty feet away she looked like a huge rock and if it hadn’t been for the slightest of grumbles as she pulled herself through the sand, we probably would’ve walked right by. We came to a sudden halt when we realized the beautiful mama Baula was directly in front of us and then slowly backed away to give her some space.

Some would say she was ugly with her wrinkled scaly face and fishy scent, but I was mesmerized by her enormous beauty. The volunteers who had studied sea turtles told us that she was probably more than fifty years old! They determine the age by the size of the turtle. The older they are the bigger they are. We watched in amazement as the mother moved up the beach towards some nearby grass, looking for the perfect nesting spot. Our group leader called the rest of the volunteers from a cell phone as Baulas are rare and she knew everyone would come running to witness the endangered creatures trek to lay her eggs.

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Tears of joy welled up in my eyes as I patiently waited to see what would happen. Just as the turtle neared the grassy mound, she started to turn around back towards the sea. At that moment a group of the senior volunteers circled around her to take down some information. I did wonder if she was spooked by the people surrounding her at first, but they started to take measurements and record the markings on her shell. Apparently, this was not the first time the mother had traveled to this beach to nest. I was astonished to learn that the markings on her shell and the irregular shape of her fins matched those of the Leatherback babies we had released from the hatchery earlier that day.

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Although the mother turtle did not end up nesting that night, I felt privileged to be in her presence none the less. The only images I have of her are in my mind, just for me as I was not able to take any photos. Turtles are very sensitive to light and that’s why they come to nest at night, guided by the moon. But through the darkness, I saw something most people never have a chance to witness. To know that her kind is almost extinct and that I had the chance to see a short part of her journey, well, the feeling is indescribable.

Looking back, I understand that a 2-week en-devour did not have a huge impact on the sea turtles at all, nor can I say that I saved them. My wish to save the sea turtles will only ever be a desire and not a fact. I was merely a small aid to the conservation project in its efforts to improve the chances of the turtles survival and educate the community about the threats to these glorious reptiles. I did, however, learn a great deal about the life of a sea turtle and I will forever be grateful for that.

10431871_489861497868477_1069012161_nSo how did the sea turtles save me you ask? Well, they taught me some very valuable lessons:

Swimming out into the unknown will either kill you or make you stronger.

Letting go is an essential part of life and although it may be the most difficult thing you ever do, it will only pave the way for a new life.

And finally; even though your initial release into the deep waters ahead of you may inevitably end in disaster, the only thing you can do is move forward like those little babies swimming their very first strokes towards the depths of the dangerous ocean in the direction of that fading sun while it sinks away.

It may have taken months to come to these conclusions, but now I am here at the shoreline ready to see what lies ahead. And yes, sadly, my story ended with a broken heart, but my survival odds are greater than the turtles and I am very fortunate for that. In the end, my experience with the sea turtles turned out to be much more rewarding than I expected. I left the conservation full of love, knowledge and admiration for those involved with this remarkable cause. It was worth every second and I will never forget it.

And that’s my story of how I was saved by the sea turtles.

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Traveling: Will It Make or Break You?

~Relationships are funny. You gain some and you lose some. Lessons are learned and hearts are broken. Travelling is a huge test when it comes to relationships and putting the two together can be either a wonderful practice or a deadly concoction.

If you have read my blog recently you may have noticed that I am going through a very painful break-up which makes it incredibly hard to write about the trip I just experienced with my ex two months ago. It really is true what they say: Traveling will make or break you.

Learning about someone in a relationship is exciting at times, but when you realize something is not quite right in that person’s actions towards you, it can be hard to understand where that person is coming from. This is exactly what happened to me. All I can say is that a distance grew between us and I don’t really understand why. Distractions caused me to feel invisible and ignored. Once we had returned from our trip the distance grew so strong that we ended up further apart than ever.

So I guess traveling broke us.

In any case, I find this to be true in friendships as well. Maybe it’s because there are shades of colors you can never see in a person unless you travel far away from home. Maybe it’s because traveling changes you. Whatever the reason may be, I believe it’s a blessing in disguise. Everything happens for a reason.

Going outside of your comfort zone can be a challenging decision. Stepping outside that zone with another person; well that’s a whole other story.

I lost a very special friendship while I was traveling through South East Asia. I had planned to meet up with an old friend in Thailand who I had known for years. I jumped on a plane and flew from Singapore to meet him. Once I arrived in Bangkok, we met up and had some fun in the city before venturing out to an Island called Ko Samet. My birthday was right around the corner and I was excited to celebrate.

But something happened during that trip that I will never understand. Everything seemed fine when we arrived but after a night of drinking and words, our friendship went sideways. Again, a distance suddenly grew between us and I started to notice a strong wall being built up inside my friend.

That evening I celebrated my birthday without him and danced around with some locals instead. If you’re interested in the details of how that night you can read my post: Stories of a Solo TravelerIn the end, the trip was a bit of a disaster. We left the island without speaking a word to one another and I sat on the bus back to Bangkok all by myself. I felt horrible.

Once arriving back in Bangkok I confronted my ex-friend about his actions towards me. He left me at the bus station that day and three days later he boarded a plane and flew back to Canada. I haven’t spoken to him in almost ten years now. Travelling seemed to have broken him and our friendship.

And that’s how fast it can happen.

Maybe it was something I said. It could have been something he felt and I didn’t. In my current situation, it was clearly something I felt and he did not. Now we are just strangers with a bunch of pictures of us from another country. Memories that were supposed to be happy but now just cause pain.

In both cases, I have felt totally abandoned by people who I thought cared about me.

I’m not going to lie, it hurts… a lot! But you can’t stop the changes that happen to someone else when you travel. Going somewhere else in the world is a life-changing experience. People’s true colors shine through and the universe either brings you together or it tears you apart.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also had some amazingly happy trips with other people in my life. My best girlfriend and I have traveled down to Mexico a few times and everything turned out great for us. It all depends on the people, the timing and the situations you put yourselves into.

You can’t stop change. You can’t force change.

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It is true what they say: Traveling will make or break you.

Luckily, I know how to put myself back together 🙂

 

From Montezuma to Turtle Island- A ‘MUST DO’ Day Trip!

~Montezuma is a glorious little fishing town on the Southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera gives you your first glimpse at the beauty of this area and from Paquera, it’s about a 25-minute drive to Montezuma. Unless you’re taking the local bus, then it takes a lot longer.

The town is a mixture of locals and backpackers who travel from all over the world to see the incredible beaches, waterfalls, and rivers that envelop Montezuma. The village hosts mainly accommodations, restaurants and tourist shops because of the high volume of Eco-tourists who visit.

On a hike through the surrounding forest to one of the waterfalls, we ran into some squeaky little Capuchin monkeys jumping around in the trees. One of the monkeys came pretty close to us to show us his teeth and make it known that it was his home we were parading through. The little guy was adorable, but I kept my distance once he started showing his tiny fangs. They may be cute but I wouldn’t want to mess with any of them.

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The Must-Do day trip to Turtle Island, aka Isla Tortuga en Español, is an adventure you will never forget. With astonishing views of the Pacific Ocean and the Nicoya Peninsula, this trip does not disappoint. Most of the tours that go out to Turtle Island include snorkeling, scuba diving, a delicious lunch and great company from local tour guides and fellow travelers. It’s a pretty bumpy 45 minute boat ride to paradise but well worth it. If you are lucky enough to come across the ocean life that dwell around the area you may also meet sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays and whales as well. Once you arrive at the volcanic rock reef for your underwater excursions, you will discover a handful of colorful fish and tropical wonders under the waves near the island.

The island itself is absolutely pristine with tall palm trees, a white sandy shore, and serene blue water. Since the island is surrounded by volcanic rock formations, the water is so calm you can relax in the warm ocean as you take in the scenery without having to worry about large waves or riptides pulling you away. There’s something about water when it’s at a standstill that soothes you into a tranquil state.

The crew took our group snorkeling around a small rocky island where we spotted bright blue and yellow fish. There were also orange and white striped clown fish as well that looked exactly like Nemo!

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We were served fresh coconut and pineapple all day long and the sun was incredibly hot I must have slathered on a few layers of sunscreen before the day was over. Then a big lunch of chicken, fried potatoes and rice filled our bellies as we basked in the cool shade of the sky-high palm trees.

I would’ve stayed there forever and a day if I could…

A journey to remember 🙂

Remembering Costa Rica xo

~Costa Rica was an amazing country to visit. Not only is this country very beautiful in its own unique way but it’s also very diverse. This Central American beauty, officially known as the Republic of Costa Rica, is enriched with culture and independence. There is a wonderful mix of lush green jungle, gorgeous beaches, and rustic landscapes.

Ecotourism plays a big role in the rapid development of society. From long hikes through the rainforest to snorkeling adventures through a coral reef, you can really experience a lot of fun stuff on a trip to Costa Rica. We were lucky enough to have had close encounters with the rich wildlife including Turtles, Iguanas, Geckos, Capuchin monkeys and Howler monkeys, which sound like dying donkeys if you were wondering where they got their name from. 🙂

My boyfriend and I decided to keep ourselves situated on the Pacific Coast. We had limited time to see everything we wanted to see and then work our two weeks at a Turtle Conservation in the middle of the trip. We booked our rooms through Air B&B, which turned out to be an interesting experience in itself.

Our first stop was in Alajuela, which is the third-largest city in Costa Rica after San José and Desamparados. We stayed there for 2 days to get our barrings straight and rest up post-flight. I noticed immediately that the city life had adopted American culture. There were a lot of billboards and signs in English, American music playing in the stores and American products for sale everywhere. Sometimes when purchasing items, the currency is quoted in American dollars as well, especially when you’re a tourist. If you are speaking English with a local and don’t understand the Costa Rican colón, you will be given the figure in American dollars. Taking out Canadian dollars from a bank machine down there turned out to be pretty expensive since it was converted to American dollars first.

IMG_20160210_154310Roaming around near the city mall you can find cows IMG_20160210_155807or horses drinking out of various things like fridges even when you’re staying close to the airport. We stayed in a little hotel 10 minutes away from where we landed. We were so close that we could hear the planes taking off all day.

From there we decided to leave the city and go down to Montezuma, which is located at the South Western tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. It just so happened that our Slovenian neighbors who had arrived on our second night in Alajuela, were driving in that same direction so we ended up catching a ride with them. 

Now, driving in Costa Rica is slightly terrifying, to say the least. The roads are incredibly rough in a lot of different areas and people don’t tend to follow the basic rules of the road. There are no blinkers to warn you what drivers are about to do and when passing another vehicle, it doesn’t matter if you have the right of way. I was pretty much white-knuckling the edge of my seat the whole time. It’s amazing how your heart drops into your chest when your seconds away from a head-on collision; and that’s just the norm there.

The countryside was a mix of farms and hills full of trees. Everywhere you look you can spot many different colorful birds flying around. Once we arrived in Puntarenas, we had a long 2-hour wait for the ferry. It was extremely windy and if you had a hat on you had to hang on to it as tight as you could. We sat at a little restaurant eating Ceviche and drinking Imperial beers while watching the hustle and bustle of the passengers getting ready to board the ferry. Finally, once the ferry arrived it quickly went from this:

IMG_20160211_124305 to this: IMG_20160211_132720 

in no time at all. It was actually quite exciting to watch as the dock workers pulled the long chains manually bit by bit. Two big men reeling as hard as they could to lift and lower the dock to level it for the oncoming boat.  Once the cars were cleared, we boarded the ferry. Only one person is allowed to drive the vehicle on board. Everyone else must walk on for some reason.

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Montezuma was awaiting us on the other side and I was giddy like a child crossing over. There were huge Pelicans everywhere that would dive bomb head first into the ocean, snapping at the fish below the surface. The water was dark blue and the islands that surrounded us as the boat crossed the peninsula, were flourishing with green leaves and long high palms waving in the sun.

What do you think? Travel Tuesdays?

I like the sound of that 🙂 I’ll schedule my Montezuma story for next week!

Good Morning Monday ~Why I Travel~

~Just two weeks ago I was coming home from Costa Rica after travelling around for over a month. Now I’m home and back to work just as fast as I when I left. Back to the day job and the regular old routine. But while I was travelling I felt like time stood still. It felt like I was gone forever.

The worst thing about travelling… is the travelling part.

Line-ups to check your bags, then more line-ups to scan your other bags and then the terminal gate-wait. Not to mention, the line up to board the plane, the slow pitter patter of shuffling feet, the immigration cards to fill out and all the bags everywhere. Long hours on flights that can get horribly bumpy and cramped. Headaches and nausea can suddenly hit you. Sometimes your legs or arms fall asleep.

It’s the worst!

So why do I travel?

I travel for the stamp on my rugged, worn out passport at my destination.IMG_20160213_175810

I travel for that first glimpse of a place I’ve never seen before.

I travel for the story, the excitement, and of course, the knowledge.

I travel to feel the earth and sand beneath my feet. I mean; to really feel it.

I travel for the joy of travelling.

I travel for the most amazing experiences I’ll ever have. 🙂

These are the BEST parts about travelling!

Travelling is the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s helped me appreciate everything on such a deeper level. Travelling gives you something to look forward to and memories to remember forever. It’s extremely difficult to put into words how you feel when you have fear, anxiety, exhilaration and wonder all wrapped up in your belly together like a swirl of emotions all fighting to get out.

I always want to keep coming back to that feeling: Pure joy.

With each flight and bus ride I took on my journey, I would have my hands pressed up against the windows of the buses and planes with that silly little smirk on my face.
There’s a whole world out there and I just went and explored it. Well, a small part of it anyway. 🙂

Travelling changes you. It opens your mind to new things and new sensations. It brings out your inner child and taps into the fascination bursting within your deepest core muscles.  We are not meant to stay in one place on this earth. I believe we were meant to explore and learn about our surroundings. How else will we prosper if we know nothing of the greatness that surrounds us?

Do you feel the same? Do you have a burning passion for travelling around the world, like me?

I want to hear your travel stories!

I also want to pursue a career as a Travel Blogger. It’s been on my bucket list for far too long. So here is where I can start; with you.

The Travel Blog will have to start with some stories of course. There’s a lot of research to be done. And there will be an overhaul of all my current content already on this tiny little blog. I’ve looked into more and more travel blogs to get some ideas on how to make money while you travel as that is what I’ve always wanted to do.  The Freedom-Preneur movement is on an overwhelming up-rise because travel is becoming so much more popular among young people these days.

Over the next year, I will be creating an entirely new blog from a different platform. I’m really excited to start a new project. But for now, I will share some stories with you and I would really love your feedback on my newly discovered content as I try to rebuild my tiny blog after a long hiatus from writing.

So I hope you enjoy my travel stories 🙂 as I always love to share them.

Costa Rica was country #11 for me. How many countries have you been to?