I was heartbroken to hear of the devastation that the Mexican beach destination of Los Cabos went through during Hurricane Odile earlier this year, but I was happy to learn that Los Cabos International Film Festival taking place later this month on Nov. 12 to Nov. 16th, 2014 will mark the unofficial opening of Los Cabos as a tourist destination. A great weekend to explore Los Cabos, Aeromexico and partnering hotels are offering discounts to festival goers.
On a Caribbean island that is famous for their all-inclusives, I wanted to get away from all that as much as possible and really get back to nature, and at Natura Cabana Boutique Hotel and Spa, I was able to soak in all the shades of blue of the Caribbean, as well as all the greens of the boutique resort's flora and fauna. I really enjoyed staying at this rustic eco-friendly hideaway tucked in-between the Dominican North Coast town of Cabarete and Sosua, located in a private residential area away from the tourists called Paseo de Sol. I highly recommend it to all who want to really get away from it all and truly rejuvenate.
Palace Resorts created the Palace Foundation, which supports the land and people of Quintana Roo, Yucatán, Jalisco and Nayarit in México and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
I quit my full-time job in LA to travel and work freelance so that I could have a flexible schedule to work on my blog. I want to encourage a certain type of travel - a more responsible, mindful, greener art of travel. Of course, when traveling, there's no such thing as not leaving a carbon footprint at all. It's actually quite impossible. However, there are things we can do to travel as green and eco-consciously as possible.
I also wanted to dispel the myth that luxury travel fosters a disconnect between tourists and the land and people they visit. Luxury travel has the potential to be an intimate nature experience, culturally rich, and also environmentally responsible. It's all about finding the right travel providers and doing a bit of research ahead of your trip. My goal is to educate travelers that high-end travel does not have to be exploitative. And when it's not, your experience is all the more rewarding and special. Travelers can have a really fantastic vacation where they stay in luxury accommodations, eat fine cuisine and get the most out of the destination through adventure tours but also have a meaningful experience that does not deplete the resources of the place they're visiting. I hope you stumble upon something in FreshTraveler that will spark your interest in this type of travel and please let me know if you have any questions at all about how I can make this easier for you to travel with a lighter carbon footprint.
By supporting companies such as Coati Travel, an eco-travel company based in Costa Rica, we can travel well and travel responsibly.
In fact, they are currently offering eco-interested travelers the ultimate adventure with a chance to win an amazing Dream Green Vacation to Costa Rica. One lucky winner and three companions of their choice will be invited to experience the pristine natural beauty of Costa Rica with its lush rainforests and idyllic beaches, lodging at a boutique hotel in the hills of San José and the Cayuga Collection’s top luxury sustainable hotels, and regional flights on the world’s first carbon-neutral airline, Nature Air.
Get more information on how to enter online at www.coatitravel.com/dream
A quick glance at the ingredients of a candy bar can show you whether you're eating empty calories. As delicious as it may appear, empty calories are of no benefit to your health or the health of the people around you and I urge you to use the same analogy with travel. Be mindful of your travel choices and do not become an empty traveler.
As someone who has traveled my whole life, believe me when I say, eventually you will come to see that most five star hotels have the same amenities - 24-hour room service, cabanas by the pool, several onsite restaurants with a seasonal menu crafted by a celebrity chef, an in-suite jacuzzi tub, and luxe toiletries that make your skin tingle all over. After a while, keycard after keycard becomes almost impossible to differentiate.
What makes a quality place in my eyes is not the number of amenities it offers nor the number of shopping boutiques that are available onsite, but the quality of what is available. The quality of service and the quality of the food. This is why I tend to like boutique hotels over larger ones. They are small enough where you know the name of all the people who work hard to ensure that you have the best stay possible. In my experience, at a smaller place, you also get the privacy and space that you need to decompress and rejuvenate from the stresses of work or city life. However, I don't rule out larger hotel groups either. But when I choose to stay at a hotel chain, I like to know their values are aligned with mine and I stay at the ones that encourage a healthier, active and mindful lifestyle.
A mindful traveler takes the time to be conscious of his or her surroundings and is curious about life beyond the walls of the hotel. I urge you that when you travel, be more mindful in your travels and expand your horizons any way you know how. I believe that if we are all mindful travelers, seeing from an ever-curious, dynamic and fresh perspective (as FreshTravelers!), tourism can be a powerful force in both helping developing economies grow and also in helping depressed economies get back on their feet. Together through travel, I believe we can cultivate a higher level of understanding, open-mindedness and bring more peace, to both ourselves and in our world.
It's as simple as biking or taking public transportation instead of renting a car
or renting the most fuel-efficient car possible.
It's about a little prior research to find a locally-owned boutique hotel
or purchasing items from locally-owned businesses
or supporting the bigger hotels that treat their employees well and take the time to invest in the surrounding community.
It's about supporting the businesses who contribute positively to their surrounding community, regardless of whether they are big or small. It's not a 'BIG versus SMALL' or a 'ME versus YOU' mentality. It's about creating a win-win situation for everybody. This is the mindful way that I explore life. This is also the way that I choose to travel. I choose to travel to hotels and support travel businesses that are socially-conscious.
Since 2005, the adventure travel sector has grown. It is currently the fastest growing sector of the travel industry. Even during times with economic challenges, people who can afford to travel will travel... but they travel differently... for educational value, for learning, and they do it responsibly. In a way, the economy is forcing people to make more conscious choices.
Eco-tourism will continue to grow and expand. What Mother Nature offers is more fascinating than what theme parks can create. When you vacation in nature, you become grounded, your creativity increases, you are healthy and feel much better. Then when you come back to the concrete jungle, you bring what you learn back to others.
In terms of changes in the eco-travel industry since 2005, there are now more options available for luxury travel and more tourism properties are interested in getting their sustainability rating as a marketing move. This is a positive trend, with many luxury oriented properties being serious about sustainability. Boutique travel is growing, as well as luxury hospitality with a cultural aspect to it. Another change is that there are more and more people that are interested in understanding sustainability. Before, clients were mainly just interested in being in nature, now you have to educate your client on your sustainability practices to maintain your credibility as an eco-property. Also, more people are willing to pay for that education.¨
------ Steve Jacobus, the CEO of Coati Travel
Until August 31st, 2013, Coati Travel is offering a FREE eco-trip to Costa Rica for four people. See below for details on how you can enter! Best of luck and I hope you win! And if you do, please share your photos or stories with me. I'd love to feature it on FreshTraveler!
Since I met a super cool travel blogger at TBEX Toronto, Tasha Hacker of TurftoSurf.com, who currently lives in Dominican Republic with her husband Ryan, I've been super excited to go to the Dominican Republic. I've been doing some pre-trip research of all that things that I want to do there and wanted to share my bucketlist list with you. The Dominican Republic is a wonderful option for a quick getaway from the US or Europe. Just a 3 and a half hour flight from New York City and approximately 8 and a half hours from many European cities - like London and Madrid.
Whether you want to find a spot on a deserted beach to sun yourself and watch the world go by, or you want to make the most of your time and fill your itinerary with as many adventure activities as possible, a trip to the Dominican Republic will be able to satisfy your needs.
As a nation on the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic is one of the prime destinations for people heading for a stint in the Caribbean, and rightly so. With Haiti as its neighbor, the nation is part of the Greater Antilles archipelago nestled in the warming Caribbean Sea.
Photo Credit: greenwichmeantime.com
After Cuba, the Dominican Republic is the second largest nation in the Caribbean and offers travelers a huge opportunity to tread the beautiful white sands before taking a dip in the crystal clear, turquoise waters.
Photo Credit: Dominicana.com
Without further ado, I present to you...
FreshTraveler's Bucket List of Things to Do:
Visit Puerto Plata for a chance to learn more about the island and its heritage.
Photo Credit: TripAdvisor.com
Visit the Brugal Rum Distillery to learn how this navy rum is made (and perhaps enjoy a tipple or two).
Photo Credit: Earthtrek.com
Take a Kitesurfing Lesson in Cabarete Bay, a location of professional kitesurfing competitions "WorldCup/Copa Mundial", Master of the Ocean).
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Dive the Marine Caves at the Gri Gri lagoon. This is the location of some of the best diving in the world.
Photo Credit: cabareteecohostel.com
Hike Mount Isobel de Torres and take a cable car down. South west of Puerto Plata, this mountain is home to the highest manicured gardens in the Caribbean. The hike also offers breathtaking panoramic views from its peak, 2600 feet above sea level.
Photo Credit: definitivecaribbean.com
Go on a white water rafting adventure on the Rio Yaque del Norte in Jarabacoa, and tackle the bumps and twists sailing down river in an inflatable dinghy.
Photo Credit: caribbeandreamsdr.com
Rappel down a series of 27 waterfall cascades in the Damajagua area. Guided by adventure outfitter Iguana Mama, you'll hike, climb and swim your way to the top of the waterfall chain, then cliff-jump your way back down - sometimes leaping over falls of 30-feet or more.
Photo Credit: Iguana Mama
All this bucketlist research is getting me excited! I cannot wait for my trip to the Dominican Republic!
Since AeroMexico launched their daily direct flight from JFK to Cancun (only a 4 hour flight) back in July 2012, I've been meaning to make a long weekend trip down there to get out of the bi-polar summer weather that has been plaguing New York. When I finally got the chance, I decided not to stay in Cancun but take an ADO busapproximately 2 hours south (128 km or 80 mi) to Tulum, a pre-Columbian Maya walled city that served as a major port. It was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Mayas. The Tulum ruins are the third most-visited archaeological site in Mexico, after Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza. They are the only ruins with the picturesque view of the Caribbean.
I was excited to see the ruins and explore the nearby small cenotes (sinkholes), but more importantly, I was happy to find that there was quite a selection of eco-lodges to stay at here all the way up to the Si'an Biosphere Reserve.
I'm not a huge fan of staying in huge hotels. When I travel, I prefer the intimacy of a boutique property - the smaller and the more unique, the better. I love connecting closely with the staff (knowing their names) and also knowing that my stay is contributing positively to the local economy.
I decided to stay at Nueva Vida de Ramiro, a luxurious and unpretentious eco-resort on km 8.5 owned by Cancún-based architect Oscar Ortiz and his wife, Gea. One of the older eco-lodges in Tulum (located on kilometer 8.5), it opened in 1998 originally with 4 bungalows. Built 2 years after their son Ramiro woke up against all odds from a year long coma after a terrible motorcycle accident, Oscar and Gea named the hotel in honor of Ramiro's new life: Nueva Vida de Ramiro, or in English The New Life of Ramiro.
Today, it's expanded to 32 rooms - a combination of bungalows, newer suites and a few two-room eco-houses suitable for families with children on 7.5 hectares of preserved property. It was really such a breath of fresh air being there. Being an eco-lodge, there is no air-conditioning, but the breeze of the sea was just what I needed to keep me cool. The rooms come equipped with fans and mosquito nets around the bed. Hair-dryers are also not allowed on the property since it the electricity on the property is run primarily on solar panels and a generator. I didn't really need a hair-dryer on this trip and since the weather was so warm, my hair easily air-dried.
The bath products are also locally-made specially for the hotel. I really dug their Oatmeal Soap Bar and their Peppermint Mouthwash.
Most of the staff at Nueva Vida de Ramiro are hired from the local community and are from Mayan descent. The lush garden is kept by the very friendly Juanito, the resident gardener and local shaman. If you want to find a natural cure to one of your ailments, he'll gladly find you a solution in the hotel grounds. We were happy to find that aloe vera plants were in abundance for our sunburns.
The hotel is also very active in preserving the turtles that come to its shores to lay their eggs. The hotel sponsors 3 turtle conservationists who live rent-free in camper vans on the property. They patrol the area for turtle eggs and if nests are laid on paths where hotel guests can step on them, the eggs are carefully relocated to a nesting cage where they can safely incubate. From May to October, 120 turtles came onto the shores of the hotel's beach to lay eggs. The hatching will occur later this summer.
The hotel guests also receive a wooden hard-carved turtle made by Mayan artisans as a parting gift. The turtles are made of sustainably harvested wood.
Breakfast was included with our stay and we had a selection of local fresh fruits, fresh juice and coffee/tea. My favorite was the very delicious and soft homemade bread that we had with a local fruit preserve and butter.
We also sat on the beach and ordered from the hotel's restaurant Casa Banana. We had their lunch speciality - guacamole, chips and the seafood ceviche - which were all excellent.
The ceviche in particular was one of the best that I've ever tasted.
We rented bikes from Iguana Bike Shop and explored the area and the town.
We biked to a place called La Vita e Bella to have some Italian food (excellent penne with shrimp) before we headed to the ruins.
Very important:Be sure to bring a bottle of water with you during the bike ride, it gets really hot! I ended up needing to lie down for a moment to recover from the heat.
For a taste of real, authentic local life, here's a list of local hole-in-the-wall eats in town that were recommended to us by Mariela, the Operational Manager of Nueva Vida:El Curondero (a bar), El Camello (for the seafood), La Nave and El Asadero.
There are three cenotes located only a short bike ride away from the hotel (Cenote Encantado, Cenote Beh Ha and Cenote Tercer Cielo). Not all the cenotes were open due to the rains, but we were able to rent a kayak and snorkeling equipment for a hundred pesos (about US$10) and explore Cenote Encantado.
Afterwards, we stopped at a shop to purchase some Mayan Clay that detoxes your skin, regenerates cells, and relieves stress from Mayan Clay Spaand walked around the beach for an hour before jumping into the ocean to wash it all off. Our skin definitely felt good after being encased in sunbaked clay for that long. It was a rejuvenating weekend indeed for our bodies, minds and spirit.
All the photos of my stay at Nueva Vida de Ramiro were either taken by me or Daniel Para Mata. I hope you enjoy them! xoxoxo
Hey guys, Sorry that I've been a bit MIA from my WordPress blog. I've been traveling and hard at work on my revamping my blog and launching my newsletter! I've been spending that last few weeks scouring templates, logos, fonts just to make it ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. And after all my hard work, it's finally done! I would like to present to you, my newsletter and please sign up for monthly updates!
If you missed it - Click here to read the Costa Rica issue!
I think about and worry about my blog constantly. I think about the type of "food" that I should feed this digital creature so that it becomes the resource that I want it to "grow up" to be. Yessir, my blog is my baby.
So...I'm very selective of what I feed it. Here's my advice on feeding your blog. Do not feed it stuff that you yourself don't want to eat.
Find your niche.
This should come authentically from who you are. I don't like phonies and I think most people can spot a phony from miles away. You may have to do a bit of soul-searching to find this and confront truths and realities that you didn't want to face. And don't just look to what's popular and copy them. Copy their business strategies maybe but not their content. Be original. Be unique. Again, I will repeat: Do not be a phony. Even if you think there are people who will not like you for who you are, who cares? It's not really your problem. Their friendship preference is their own concern. Don't waste your time. It's better to be liked for who you really are anyway.
Here's my story. In terms of travel blogs, I see a lot of websites that are about teaching English in Thailand and all these other foreign countries and backpacking solo throughout South America and having wild parties on the beach, dancing with fire-dancers, getting drunk at full moon parties and such. When I first started travel blogging, I have to admit that I was intimidated by this raucous group of traveling heathens (and I say that lovingly) and I was often challenged by my fellow traveler friends to follow in their footsteps to sleep on the floor of the subway or spend a night in a hammock and hitchhike across South America without knowing a lick of Spanish. So I tried it. I slept in a raw foods food truck. I traveled with no money. I went to Costa Rica knowing only a few sentences in Spanish. I've danced in drum circles with people high on hallucinogenics. But in the end, something about all of this travel felt empty to me. It was not me. I was trying to be something I was not.
So I made a list of how I really like to travel. I like visiting friends and family when I travel. I love markets and organic food. I love yoga. I love children. I love boutique hotels. I love visiting not-for-profits and art museums. I love uncrowded beaches and I love hanging out with animals in the wild (caged animals make me sad) and rolling around in nature without the influence of drugs. I'm not against experimentation or anything, but it's just not my thing. Now write a list of how you like to travel, no judgment, no limitations.
Sometimes it takes being with people who have the opposite travel style to figure out what your own travel style is.
I was traveling in Nicaragua, on the way to volcano boarding (which is super awesome by the way!), when a fellow traveler chatted with me. He was a backpacker passing through and asked me whether I was backpacking too. I said no. I was in Nicaragua for 15 days working on a project and I didn't even really own a backpack. I have a rolling luggage - mostly because of my back and spine problems.
Suddenly, I was no longer cool. There was silence between us and it was not the comfortable kind. I tried to recover from the silence by continuing the conversation, but the next thing that tumbled out of my mouth was that it was really my second time staying at a hostel and the first time I really hated it. I found it noisy and I couldn't sleep, which would make me really grumpy. I usually like staying at boutique hotels. Oh, that made it even worse. I was shunned by this backpacker. I wasn't trying to be pretentious. I felt ostracized because I was honest.
A very good backpacker friend said to me in jest that the way I was traveling was "too prissy" and "too feminine" for his taste. But you know what, when I look at myself in the mirror, that's what I am: a female and I like to travel and you know what, I also like to go shopping for (gasp) nice clothes, artwork and jewelry that are made by local designers and artisans so I can give gifts to my friends when I come back home. Okay, I'm not the most frugal person ever, but I don't go overboard with my spending either. I like a good deal. I am willing to pay a little bit more for better value. Note: that backpacker friend and I are still friends and we respect each other's differences.
So although I totally respect the culture of backpacking (because it really is an awesome eye-opening culture), I came to terms with the fact that I was not a cool counter-culture thrifty backpacker. But I had to experience it a little bit to know that it wasn't me.
Define your niche.
I try to define my travel style in a tweet (I like the 140-character limitation): "unique and memorable adventurous travel with a small carbon footprint in often-hidden boutique properties off-the-beaten-path" (that's 125 characters). Now try it for yourself. Try labeling your travel style in 140 characters or less. It's not easy and it's probably going to change about seven to fifteen times, but it's a starting point nonetheless.
Become an expert at your niche and write about it.
If you're obsessed with cars, the gym, surfing, stuffed animals, whatever your passion is, you're most probably going to be already reading a lot of literature about it and you're probably living it. Share articles and the knowledge that you've gain from your research and also your real-life experiences with others. In fact, talk and write about it so much that you're known as the "surfing guy" or the "bacon maple syrup donut girl". I'm aiming to be that "off the beaten path follow your bliss travel girl".
My advice here is find the things that you are naturally attracted to and write about those things. Your passion will shine through in your writing. Be authentic and write as if you were writing a postcard to a friend.
Take your niche and build a business model around it.
I originally started my blog as a portfolio site for my screenwriting work and to promote a different type of travel but I love FreshTraveler so much that now I want to do so much more with it, so I am building a business around it.
At my panel at the ASJA conference on Building Your Business Through Travel Blogging, I mentioned that if you want to make a living off your travel blog, you have to think of it long term, as a marathon run, as a business.
I work with a business coach to get FreshTraveler into shape. It really helps to have a sounding board or just someone to keep me in check and make sure my hair-brained ideas are also applicable in real life.
In choosing your business coach, I say go with your gut. If the relationship clicks and there is chemistry go for it. If not, drop it and keep looking. Also, find someone who understands what you're all about. My business coach is a female who is around my age who is into holistic practices and following your bliss. She understands my irrational, seemingly illogical decision-making process and she gets me in a way that no one else does. And because she understands my values at the core, she has helped me push FreshTraveler into a direction that I want. Not to any one cookie cutter direction.
If you need a push and a shove to find your direction (oh, and a vacation!!!), I invite you apply to the Trailblazer's Retreat that I will be at in Costa Rica on September 7-14th, 2013. It's a fun way to intensively figure out your direction (whether you still have to define your business or are looking to rebrand an existing business) and get a vacation out of it as well! It's a "workcation". I personally love "workcations". Click here for a great article on the benefits of "workcations" from LearnVest.
The Trailblazer's Retreat is a launching pad to help you create or recreate your DREAM BUSINESS. It's run by my phenomenal business coach Lynan Saperstein who has really been integral in encouraging me to push FreshTraveler in the direction that I want to go.
Here's my testimonial about her:
"You know Freud's id, ego and super ego? Lynan's your ego externalized. Organized, realistic and fearless, she'll tell you everything that you need to get things done without any bullshit and she'll be up in your face until you get the tasks done. She's your brunch buddy, best friend, soccer mom, cheerleader, business coach, shrink and a personal trainer wrapped in one. She intuitively knows what you need to get things done and she'll give it to you straight. She'll help you get over your hurdles, both emotionally and mentally to help you balance your business and your personal life. Lynan will be there to cheer you on or beat you up (whichever one is necessary at that moment) until you cross that finish line. A must-have coach in your life: When she's started with you, you wonder how you'll ever function without her. But no worries. Once she's done with you, you'll have all the self-confidence and the self-sufficiency to continue growing as a business and as a person."
I stand by this testimonial a million %. By the end of the TrailBlazer's Retreat, Lynan GUARANTEES you will not only have a clearer vision of your business, you'll have a PLAN of how you're going to execute it. I know that I definitely did after my sessions with her.
I will be at the Trailblazer's Retreat teaching a workshop on how to tell a compelling story using any device that shoots video. This can be about your business, or we can even go on an adventure and shoot a travel video! You don't need a fancy camera to start video blogging. Just bring your simple point and shoot camera, Iphone, Samsung Galaxy and your laptop. But sign up quick, there are only 30 spots and I know they will fill up! When you apply, make sure you mention that you heard about the retreat through me! I would LOVE to see you there.
ADDED BONUS! During your stay, you'll get a personalized one-on-one consultation with me to show you how easy it is and ways that you can incorporate videos into your current blog or business plan... and oh, did I mention, you'll have an AMAZING vacation as well? :) I have photos from my last trip down there to prove it!
What are you waiting for? A sign? Here's a sign (see below). Now sign up! :)
Hope to see you there! And even if you can't make the retreat, Lynan offers consultations so you can reach out to her independently to see if you guys are a good fit. If it turns out you're not, she has a network of other coaches she can reach out to.
As for me, I also offer video and writing services, classes, and consultations. A 15 minute SKYPE consultation is completely FREE, so drop me an email at email@example.com and we can schedule an appointment. Don't be shy! I want to help you achieve your dreams!
Talk to you soon! :)
No phone, no air-condition, a beach with no people. This was exactly what I needed to get away from the usual busy, busy, busy of my life in New York and rushing around from airport to airport catching plane after plane… I needed to slow down and remember who I was again. The beach brought back memories of my childhood home. Raised by the beach at what was the sleepy resort town of Pattaya Beach in Thailand, I remember a lot of my early childhood spent on the beach, in the water and ordering room service at a place that was a lot like Blue Osa.
Now that I was almost 30, and spending almost 10 years in the United States, 6 years of that in university getting my Bachelors and my Masters, I needed to reconnect with who I really was inside. So I spent time writing some poetry:
With head in the sky and my feet on the ground. I know that I'm safe and sound.
Who I am has nothing to do with how I look, my degrees, resume, or the amount in my bank account.
I know my value is measured by my character and drive.
I'm a girl in love with the world and I'm alive.
It's taken a while, but I've allowed myself to be just myself without judgement and I wanted to build a business around who I authentically am. I am doing it.
Out of the rainforest, I emerged anew and rejuvenated. More grounded and ready to rock it. The biggest change from this much needed time to myself was that I changed my position at FreshTraveler from "Host, Writer and Producer" to "CEO and Founder". I have bigger dreams and ambitions for my business. I realized I was thinking too small and playing it too safe. I didn't just want a web series or a blog. I didn't just want to exist online. I want my brand to also exist in reality. I want to build a lifestyle brand and as I embark on that exciting journey, I am more grounded stronger than ever to face any challenge.
Instead of taking what life gives and throws at me, I realized I can CREATE my life as anything that I want and ANYTHING is possible. So here I am, creating my ideal life - online and in real life - as a FreshTraveler.
You've decided that you're a hundred percent ready to live that gypsy wanderer life that you've always wanted. You've sold your stuff or are in the process of selling everything you own so you can be merrily free of all possessions, except your laptop and internet connection. Or you want to be nomadic with your clan. Whatever your reasons are, there are thousands and thousands of different online resources to help you.
Although I travel quite a lot, I haven't committed to being a full nomad yet. Although it's been quite tempting, I often miss New York City and crave that sense of community of spending time with friends and family. But I'm compiling this list of online resources in no particular order, just in case I want to get up and go.
I'm going to continuously be adding on to this list so come back for more and if you have any ones to contribute, leave it in the comments below and I'll incorporate it into this list.
Nomadtopia - practical advice and inspiration (Amy Scott's website)
Amy's interview with Helen Hunter Mackenzie about living and working anywhere in the world
Suitcase Entrepreneur - tools to run your business from anywhere
Location Independent - the original website and creators of the term "location independent professionals"
Location Rebel - from Sean Ogle of Location 180
House-sitting, Home Exchange, Places to Stay
CoolJobsCanada.com (primarily hospitality industry jobs)
Freelance Work Online
Apartments in Buenos Aires: http://www.bytargentina.com/re/propview.php?view=5143
Location Independence/Long-Term Travel with Kids
Homeschooling, Unschooling, Alternative Education
Book: The New Global Student, by Maya Frost: http://mayafrost.com/new-global-student-book.htm
http://worldnomads.com - travel/emergency insurance (Amy Scott is using)
http://www.integraglobal.com/ - comprehensive int'l insurance outside US/Canada (Carrie McKeegan uses)
45 Jobs you can do while traveling
After spending a month in the Costa Rican jungle, I have emerged with several bug bites. Some have been kinder to my skin than others, but by worst is the acidic spray of the Costa Rican Chinche - pronounced CHEEN-CHE (as in Che Guevara).
It's a green little bugger that wandered onto my laptop without warning while I was working one night.
I thought, oh what a cute little grasshopper. I didn't even try to kill it or get it away from me. I thought, no big deal.
Boy, was I WRONG.
Here's a closer look at this "cute little grasshopper"
I know what you're thinking: Who knew a little bug with such an innocent face could cause such intense anger in this travel blogger?
Well, here's more about this little green freak:
- it's droppings are EXTREMELY ACIDIC. I felt like battery acid was thrown on my leg. That did not feel good AT ALL.
- it causes SEVERE skin irritations that HURT and BLISTER (see photo below)
I KNOW, RIGHT?!! What a damper on my vacay! What the f**8 little insecto verde, couldn't you piss on someone else?
So, here was my experience: the spots first turn red, then bluish the next day, and then all the skin far around the spot gets full of blisters (yucky, yucky, yucky and ouch, ouch, ouch!) and after a week or so, it peels off.
GOOD NEWS though: you will survive! Although its droppings hurt, they are not poisonous. Two weeks after the first signs of my rash, it healed completely without any scarring. Thank goodness. I was contemplating what sort of tribal tattoo design I would get just in the case it did scar horribly.
During my week of agonizing itchiness, I sprayed my blistering skin with vinegar to dry it out and I used this Chinese calamine lotion, Piyan Ping Ointment (see picture below) to soothe the irritation so that I wouldn't scratch.
It's very important that you properly protect yourself from bugs when you travel.
I'm not a big fan of DEET so I use natural methods to ward off bugs. I use anything LEMONGRASS on my body. I really liked this Costa Rican-made eco-friendly Lemongrass Body Butter from Rainforest Solutions (see the leftmost jar in the photo below) that I picked up here. Also if you have any orange or lemon peels, rub them all over yourself. Bugs don't like citrus peels.
Anyway, I hope you learn from my experience and be weary of these green little acid-spraying buggers while traversing Costa Rica. If you have any questions or similar stories to share about this creepy crawly, please feel free to shoot me an email.
And by the way, THIS is what a grasshopper looks like.
Wishing you safe (and fresh) travels! xoxoxo
I am giving up traveling and my travel blog FreshTraveler because I have fallen in love with a surfer and am staying in Costa Rica. We are going to live by the beach, fish mahi mahi and red snapper from the sea, and I will grow organic veggies behind our wall-less beach shack on Playa Tamales. I am living my dream of never having to wear shoes or a put on a bra ever. You are welcome to come visit us (there is a lot of sleeping space on the beach during low tide, but please watch out for the crabs!). Or alternatively, Blue Osa Yoga Retreat and Spa is only about a 2-hour walk away from our humble shack.
Please don't try to convince me otherwise...
I thought about this for a long time and this is absolutely something that I have always wanted to do for April Fool's.
Have a good one!!
Hula hooping is good for your soul. Here's why:
1) It encourages you to shake the stress (that you made up in your mind, btw!) out of those stagnant hips. With or without music.
2) It keeps you focused on the moment so you don't have anxiety about the past or the future.
3) All the laughter that comes with this activity sends massive amounts of dopamine to your brain and the brains of all around you.
4) You realize that you don't control the hula hoop and the hula hoop doesn't control you. You are in it together. You are ONE, and it's beautiful, even if it's just for these few precious moments.
5) The movement required to hula a hoop around your navel has a surrendering, calming, centering effect. Like rocking a baby to sleep. Or spooning with someone you love.
6) You feel DAMN GOOD if you successfully keep the hula hoop moving even for 20 seconds.
7) And if you do get out of the groove and drop that thing, all you got to do is pick it up and give it another shot.
8) If you've had enough dopamine, you can pass it along for someone else to try and STILL get high from just watching them.
Enough said. When you get bogged down by the things happening around you that you can't control and need to get realigned, just pick up that hula hoop and hula your way back to happiness.
Pass the wisdom. Pass the love. <3
At Playa Tamales near Puntarenas, Costa Rica, the waves glow at night. Not by any lights or any help from modern technology. Natural algae that produce dinoflagellate luciferin live in the water and light up when provoked. And my crazy yoga instructor friend Leslie Bishop Hunter was happily provoking them.
"Take off your clothes!" she screamed into the darkness. I couldn't make out where she was, only that her voice was coming from my left, near the sound of the waves.
There was hardly any moonlight to guide my path towards the waves and Leslie’s happy screams. Only the glow of the bioluminescence in the crashing waves, a spectacular light show of glowing plankton that lit up the waves in middle of this otherwise dark night.
The bluish green glow of the waves was the only thing that I could see. That and the phosphorescent glow of the water surrounding Leslie's aura.
I wanted to go in, but I left my swimsuit in my room at the nearby Blue Osa Yoga Sanctuary and Spa and I didn't want the saltwater to damage the dyes on my polka-dotted beach dress.
The glowing waves still beckoned.
I tread carefully over the pebbled beach towards Leslie's splashes. I didn't want my feet crushing any nocturnal beach creatures and any of the varieties of crab that scuttled along the shore.
From where I was, I could see Leslie making angel wings with her arms in the water. Her waving arms and kicking legs surrounded with a confetti of lit algae. I too wanted to bask in the splendor of the provoked phytoplankton. After a short internal debate over whether I should join her happiness, I decided.
Off came my dress and I ran happily over the pebbled beach into the waters of the Osa Peninsula and let myself be surrounded by the midnight glow of the bioluminescence algae.
[youtube=http://youtu.be/cFrh0XjzcnA] Hey guys! Here's a 3-minute preview of my travels to Nicaragua this past February. I had way too much fun editing this video so I hope you enjoy it! There's going to be more to follow!
I also entered this video into a contest by MyDestination.com to win a 6 month trip ALL-EXPENSES PAID TRIP around the world so please VOTE to help me WIN by using your social media clout and CLICK HERE TO VOTE!
And please remember, if you haven't yet please subscribe to me on Youtube and follow me on Twitter!
Gracias and muchos besos in advance! xoxox
There were two ways to get to our destination: by the local collectivo, Puerto Jimenez' public pick-up truck, or by kayak. Marcos, a sexy tattooed dark-haired, blued-eyed, half British-Spaniard and I decided the journey to Matapalo point, a surfer's haven, would be more fun by kayak. When the staff of Blue Osa, the yoga retreat we were staying at on Playa Tamales, learnt of our mid-day plans, they deemed it foolish. Sarah, one of the prep chefs, told us it was going to be about an hour each way at least and suggested to siesta instead during the scorching afternoon heat.
Being avid adventurers, we weren't going to let a little sun get in the way of our plans. Plus, we had a lot of sunblock and water with us so we weren't worried.
I was looking forward to a leisurely paddle through the beautifully serene waters of Golfo Dulce that were surrounded by lush rainforest where tree roots literally extend right to the water's edge.
What I didn't realize was that we would be accompanied by three others.
Two black labs and a golden retriever. Pete, Steve and Shiva were their names and as soon as we pulled our kayaks into the water, all three were happily swimming alongside us.
They belonged to Aaron, one of the owners of Blue Osa, and they loved interacting with the guests. They similarly accompanied Marcos and I on our afternoon run the day before yesterday. I quite enjoyed their company, but that was different: Deep water populated with bull sharks was not involved.
We were about one-third of the way of our intended journey when Marcos stopped paddling.
He was afraid of the dogs drowning. "I don't want to kill Aaron's dogs," he told me. He then relayed a story about a dog who suddenly died from exhaustion without warning as it accompanied a horse-riding tour at his family's equestrian hotel, Can Jou near Barcelona.
"I want to be here for five more days without feeling guilty about killing three dogs," he said. I agreed.
"Go home!" he yelled out to Pete, Steve and Shiva. They ignored him blissfully as they continued doggy-paddling. It was clear. They were not going to leave us alone. No matter how far we were going to kayak into the gulf.
Marcos laughed and said, "Look at them. Going around like loonies. They don't even know where they are going."
Marcos pulled one of the circling black labs onto his kayak to give it a rest. I tried to do the same with Shiva but alas, he paddled away from my grasp.
"Shall we go back?" Marcos suggested. "For the dogs?"
I nodded as I watched Shiva's friendly face as he happily swam by me. I wouldn't know the first thing to do with a drowned dog and the thought of any of the much-talked about bull sharks getting to these guys worried me even more. These were dogs that would definitely be missed.
Video: The Flight of the Ultralight I get drunk on Mexican coffee [hint: it has tequila] and take to the sky in an airplane that looks like a kite glued to a lawnmower. Video produced by Brandon Li and Patricia Serrano. Field Producer: Arthur Kanegis.
Video : On the Road to El Salto Canyon I risk my life driving over precarious Mexican roads to a hidden canyon and spill juicy tidbits about my shameful driving history. Video produced by Brandon Li and Patricia Serrano. Field Producer: Arthur Kanegis.
My mother told me Mexico (Baja in particular) was dangerous. I didn't believe her so I took the trolley from San Diego down to the border to see what it was really like. First stop, La Fonda Hotel, a secluded getaway where secrets come to die. Video produced by Brandon Li and Patricia Serrano. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mShrL5yb15g?hd=1]
Video: Puerto Nuevo Part I I go to Puerto Nuevo, the famous lobster village of Baja, to check out the sea crustaceans and end up trying to find a fisherman to take me fishing. Video Produced by Brandon Li and Patricia Serrano. Field Producer: Arthur Kanegis.
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