Making the transition from life in the western world to island life in Southeast Asia isn't quite as simple as just quitting your job and jumping on a plane. At least not for my method in making these big moves. I am not that big of a risk-taker, even though it might seem like I am from the outside.
Over the past 18 months, I have been setting aside as much money as possible into savings and focused on paying off credit card debts I accrued a few years back. Having such a strong motivator, an escape, really helps accomplish these goals. I have spent a lot of time researching the realities of living in Indonesia. Yes, it is paradise, but it is far from perfect. It is very much a developing country so many of the modern conveniences I have grown accustomed to will not be available. I have realized this and have taken a step back to determine what is really important to me. I have been working toward a more minimalist lifestyle. I have also been putting in efforts to live a more sustainable life through looking for alternatives to the single-use plastic items I am using on a regular basis. All of this will create an easier time for me as I travel more and likely will not be settled into any one residence for more than a year or so.
With this change of scenery, I am also exploring a change in my career path. I have created a YouTube Channel, my first vlog, an Instagram, a Facebook page and this website.. all as a foundation for my hopefully one day successful content creator brand.
I have officially resigned from the company and team I have been a part of for the past 3 years. The excitement continues to grow. Luckily, with all of my previous experience in moving, I am not feeling nervous at all, so far. The one way flight and an Airbnb for the first month are booked.
I have done a lot of research on Visas and decided I will get a VoA (Visa on Arrival) when I arrive in Bali, which I will then extend for an additional 30 days. I have already booked flights and a hotel in Singapore toward the end of the first 60 days as I will need to go there in order to finalize a Multi-visit Visa for Indonesia. This will give me ability to stay in Indonesia for a year without worry, though I will need to leave the country every 60 days. To me, this is just a fantastic excuse to travel around the region. I recently met with someone to discuss a consulting position where I will work as task force with hotels around the US. This position will give me the control and flexibility I have always desired.
I have also begun cleaning out my current apartment and packing what I can. I'd rather not wait until the last minute as I have some furniture to find a new home for. I am also anticipating a busy 10 days between the last day of work and my departure in meeting up with friends here.
Probably needless to say, but life has been very busy since my return to the US. I am way behind on filming the next vlog for YouTube. I promise I will be getting a video up prior to the move. The intention will be to share more about my past nomadic habits. Until then, I am posting daily photos from past travels on Instagram and Facebook, check them out!
Well, what a month it has been, though I am quite certain everyone agrees with this sentiment. Needless to say, with the CoVid-19 pandemic currently taking over the world, I have been unable to make the move to Bali as of this time.
Of course I had already completed preparations for the relocation, including notifying my landlord. Just before things turned south, a new tenant was secured leaving me without any options for flexibility. It's been a stressful couple of weeks as different options were considered on where I should do or where I should go.
The original flights included a stop in Taipei so an Airbnb was booked for a month there thinking I would just complete that part of the flight plan and stay until normalcy returned. Unfortunately, the day after I made this decision, Taiwan also announced they are closing borders to foreigners to mitigate the spread of the virus.
I am lucky to have amazing friends, however, and as of March 28th, I am staying with my friend in Portland, Oregon to ride out the storm. Portland is a great city, with a lot of beautiful sites not too far from the small city center. I am looking forward to some social distancing out in the middle of no where. It also feels great to be finished with the moving out part, although the uncertainty of how long we will be in the current climate does not work with my typical lifestyle as a planner of everything.
More frequent vlogs are likely now that I will be able to capture some actual exciting content. Stay tuned for future updates- depending on what happens with the situation, I might post a mid-April entry also. I am hoping we can see a turnaround and return to normalcy before long so I can continue onto my relocation.
Here we are, all in lockdown together. This situation is not what I, or likely anyone, ever expected during modern times. As always, I have been trying to make the best of the situation and remain positive as I eagerly await the opportunity to go forward with my plans. Motivation has been hard to maintain without the knowledge of how long this will continue. I have been mainly focusing my energy on this website and completed a redesign which I believe will provide a smoother experience for you, my fellow adventurers.
The newest addition is the inclusion on a sign-up form. Enrolling will give access to an email newsletter, though I have yet to decide the frequency of these. Also included with the latest update is links to partners, such as NordVPN. If you love to travel and do not currently use a VPN, I highly recommend it. They are a great tool for bypassing restrictions on the internet around the world and help to protect your data when on public WiFi. There are also links to PayPal and Patreon. Patreon allows me to offer extra bonus content in exchange for financial support. I have also begun to sell t-shirts and coffee cups if you are interested in showing the world your love of adventure.
As we remain in lockdown, I will be keeping my focus on learning and improvement, particularly with the brand. I promise to film another vlog very soon. I need to scout out a location nearby in order to complete this. My biggest goal is to increase engagement across each platform. I have kept up with daily Instagram photos, but have so far failed to post anything great on Facebook. I welcome all feedback as to what you are interested in. Until next time.
As the world continues in our near standstill with travel completely unfeasible still, I wanted to you update you on why I decided to create this website and YouTube channel.
First, let's talk a bit about my personal history. I grew up in a very small town in Connecticut. As I finished up high school, I realized that I needed to get out of that type of climate. I was hungry for much more. I attended university not far away from there and obtained degrees related to culinary arts and services management. Having a background in food services really opened up my mind to learning out the many cultures of this world. I was very shy and reserved as a child, though the college experience definitely helped me break out of my shell.
Since finishing up my degrees, I have so far moved across state lines several times. I have been a resident of Rhode Island, South Carolina, Florida, California (and now holding over in Washington state throughout the Covid pandemic.)
I do not regret any of my choices for locations to live. I have gained so many great memories, met many amazing people and have learned so much about myself in each new home. The one constant is every time I face time to move again, I am always met with perplexity from those around me.
This brings us to my reason for sharing my journey. I would love for everyone to believe in themselves and chase their dreams. I hope my story leads to inspiration for anyone out there thinking of a change in scenery, looking to explore the world and maybe just a little hesitant to try something new. My biggest piece of advice is to do it.. get out there!
Well, it looks like we survived one bumpy road known as June 2020. There has certainly been a lot to talk about but I am not looking to get involved in political discussions here. I have tried to make the best of this time to get out and explore more of the US. I am also trying to hone up on some new skills which I can turn into optimizing my life and perhaps lead into more forms of passive income.
I am very blessed to have amazing friends in my life. My friend welcomed me to stay with him back in March and has been extremely hospitable. He is also interested in adventures so we decided to enjoy a road trip together.
Starting off the month, we had also spent an overnight at the beach, about two hours drive from his place. It was awesome to see Astoria in real life as you may or may not know this cozy seaside town is the setting of The Goonies - a fantastic film from the 80s. The town itself is small and reminded me of a more quaint Monterrey, California. We only spent a short time there to have a picnic at the Astoria tower. From Astoria, we drove out to Cannon Beach. This is another spot, famous from the same film. After a leisurely walk along the beach we called it an early night to catch some rest and relaxation.
The next adventure was much more involved. In the middle of the month, we headed out on a 3,500 mile journey across seven states, over the course of five days. The first day was strictly drive time from home outside of Portland, Oregon to an awesome Airbnb in Victor, Idaho. This was my first time behind the wheel in ten months! The drive itself wasn't too bad, despite the length of the journey and the wet weather encountered the whole way. That night might have been my best night of sleep. The next morning we arose to a gloomy day filled with on and off heavy rains. Our plans for the day were to check out Grand Tetons National Park and Yellowstone National Park. We made the best of the wet weather but decided to switch up the original plan a bit to come back in a couple of days when the forecast was more favorable. After exploring the parks, we drove across Wyoming to settle into our home for the night in a little town called Aladdin.
The following day was beautiful weather-wise. Our exploration this day was over to South Dakota to check out the buttes that make up Badlands National Park before headed over to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse National Monuments. The day concluded with a visit to the majestic Devils Tower back in Wyoming and another long drive back to Cody, Wyoming. Our earlier change in plans paid off with fantastic weather during the second visit to Yellowstone and Tetons. We were able to spot some wildlife this time around, including Yellowstone's famous bison as well as elk and a bear. Once we captured some great shots of the parks it was back on the road, down to Elko, Nevada, our home for the night. Another restful night led us to an early ride over the state line to Wendover, Utah and the Bonneville Salt Flats. This place is unreal and looks like an alien world. The vast, open space of pure white salt provides for some amazing photos. Unfortunately, our time was once again limited as we set off again on the long drive back home. The trip was too short, filled with a lot of drive time and not quite enough time to fully immerse in the awe-inspiring beauty, but well worth it. I am grateful for the memories.
As there is still much uncertainty in this world with the current situation, I hope everyone is remaining safe and healthy. My plans continue to be put on hold and new adventures will come along as I can make them happen. I am remaining hopeful for a resolution before too long and keeping an open eye on the news as it relates to travel restrictions being lifted. If another destination becomes available before Bali, I am considering starting elsewhere. For now, only time will tell. See you all again in the update next month! Be well adventurers.
We all love the idea of traveling. Taking a break from our daily routine, going off to some far off land and tasting exotic foods. As far back as I can remember, I was always enthralled with this notion of experiencing some island far off in the Pacific.
It would take many years, but my first international trip was to Singapore with a friend. This experience gave me that travel bug. There is something about hurling through the air in a tin can and finding yourself in a whole new world some hours later that is simply amazing. Coming from a small town, it was eye-opening to find myself being the minority, yet welcomed by the friendly locals met along the way. I highly recommend Singapore for anyone coming from the west looking to get a taste of Asia, it's Asia 101. The food is incredibly delicious and still very affordable when compared to the US. Singapore provides a great lesson in cleanliness and functional public transportation with the SMRT system being very easy to use, and once again very affordable.
Skip ahead a couple more years and I once again found myself headed toward Asia. This time was Tokyo and Bangkok, for my first solo trip. I must admit my experience was not typical to most international solo travelers as I had friends to meet up with in both destinations. The confidence gained from this journey reinforced my love of travel and since then I have made it a point to travel internationally at least every two years. I returned to Thailand for the second time just six months from that original visit then South Korea and Indonesia a couple of years later. The the years I have been unable to afford the international adventures, domestic exploration filled in. I have so far visited 29 of the 50 United States of America (and also lived in 6 states so far).
For me, travel is a lot more than just trying new food and seeing pretty sites. From every trip and new country visited, I have gained priceless knowledge, not only for the location and the people that reside there, but also about myself. My distaste for most material things has been strengthened as experiences are more valuable in my eyes. I no longer stress over trivial matters and have learned to take each day as a new opportunity to try something new, the calculated risks pay off with the best rewards. An open mind is the most important thing to take with you for every trip.
I would love to hear from you. Comment below about your favorite travel experiences or your top dream destination if time and money were not factors.
Time is marching on as we all push through this pandemic. August was another interesting month for sure. As the unrest and crazy politics continue in this country, I spent most of the month in recovery from a suspected covid infection. It all began with symptoms in line with my allergies, but quickly brought on shortness of breathe and gastro issues. For the better part of three weeks, I did all I can to manage the symptoms and allow my body to fight it off. Luckily, I am feeling much better now!
Of course, I have also been following updates as they relate to travel and tourism. The local Bali government was pushing to reopen to foreign travelers on September 11, however the national Indonesian government has announced they will not reopen borders thru the end of 2020. This means I need a new plan…
I have decided I will head back to the east coast in mid-October to spend some time with my family. I would like to take advantage of this time to meet my brother's new girlfriend and one of my nieces who I have yet to meet. I will likely stay with them for two weeks then head to our neighbor to the south. Mexico is one of only ten currently available destinations. I have always been intrigued by the country and would love to see the Mayan Pyramids and caves in the Yucatan. One of my closest friends from my time living in San Francisco has also moved back to the area which is a huge bonus to be able to see him again. Hopefully after three months spent in the Yucatan, the pandemic will be under better control and future destinations will be more accessible. It would be amazing to be able to get back to South East Asia at the beginning of the new year. For now, I will be researching more for my upcoming time in Mexico and keeping an eye on the news the best I can. Stay safe everyone!
Time is a funny thing. It has been six months since I came to Vancouver, Washington, yet it feels like I have been here for years. It has been nice to have this downtime after working so hard for the past few years in order to realize my goals, but I am also happy to be moving on.
Two weeks from today I will be once again boarding a plane for a quick return to San Francisco in order to take care of a few small items. After two nights in the Fog City, I will be visiting with family for two weeks. I have not returned to my hometown or seen anyone in my family in four years so the visit will be nice. I have another niece and a new future sister-in-law since the most recent visit, both of whom I am excited to be meeting.
On the first of November, I will be finally making the move abroad. The destination is not what was originally planned, yet still very exciting. The state of Yucatan in Mexico is home to many beautiful sites; the Mayan ruins, Cenotes, Grutas and beautiful beaches. Finally I will be able to capture more content for the YouTube channel so be sure to subscribe.
As of now, I am booked to stay in Mexico for three months, with the possibility of a six-month stay total. I have reserved an Airbnb in Oxkutzcab for the entire duration of the first three months as a home base and will reserve for a night or two in other locations around the state as I explore the sites. I have also reserved a car which admittedly makes me a little nervous. This will be my first time driving outside of the US, on top of now owning a car and rarely driving during the past eight years.
Stay tuned for more photos, video and updates as I finally get started with the nomadic lifestyle.
Finally, I have made it! After a visit to my family, I have continued on this journey and arrived in Yucatan, Mexico. As of this time I have only been here for two days and have been settling into the apartment. Like everyone else, I have been distracted by the news and the lengthy election counts.
With everything happening in the world, I have thought more about this journey and my expectations out of the entire experience. With this I am amending my general goals a bit and changing my focus on slow travel as a whole. I believe this will lead to a more exciting and interesting story. As this concept of slow travel is unknown to most I wanted to discuss my views on the topic here. I would love to hear your thoughts as well so please feel free to reach out via email or on Instagram or Facebook.
The concept of slow travel builds upon the idea of taking the time to immerse into a local culture rather than the usual visit for a week or two most people have the opportunity to experience. My plan with this is to live in a location for ideally six months at a time in order to have the chance to really connect with locals and see more than the typical attractions. There are certain challenges to be expected with this as not every country will allow me to stay for this length of time so plans will need to be adjusted accordingly to fit this and likely some stays being closer to three months. Either way, the experiences and insight into cultures and history of each country excite me a lot. Here in Mexico, I will be going to visit the cenotes and the Mayan sites. A plus to the situation with Covid stopping the world is for a time now, these attractions will be mostly empty. Please be sure to follow the social media accounts for photos and videos of my escapades.
I will be playing with some formatting with regards to vlogs too so be sure to subscribe on YouTube, I promise a new video will be coming in a couple of weeks as I get out to explore the area more. My goal is to be uploading a new video every other week starting in December.
It is hard to believe the first month in Mexico has already gone by. I still wake up most mornings not realizing I am truly here. Despite needing to quarantine for two weeks due to a potential exposure to the virus which is ravishing the world currently, the time so far has passed by very quickly.
To reflect on the time here thus far, overall it has been a great experience and I am very happy with my decision to stay here. The city I am living in, Oxkutzcab, was the perfect choice for what I am looking for out of this experience. I very much prefer the smaller city vibes and the cultural charm here. It is a great location for getting out to explore the natural beauty and historical sites of the region.
During the first month, I have checked out three cenotes so far and one ancient Mayan city. Cenotes are caverns below the ground created by sinkholes of the limestone. When this occurred, the underground, crystal clear, freshwater was exposed. Historically the Maya people used them for their water sources, while today they are used as swimming holes and in some of the deeper cenotes there are also divers present. Each one is unique but they are all equally beautiful. Although cenotes exist outside of Mexico, there are thousands around the Yucatan peninsula. Some have been developed to attract tourism while others require off roading deep into the jungle to reach.
Mayapan was the second Mayan city built, as the political and cultural center of the ancient people. The site is centered around the Temple of Kukulcan, a large pyramid. It is one of the few sites in which visitors may climb the stone buildings, including the pyramid. As is the case with all of the ruins, wildlife is protected and allowed to run free. During our visit we saw one snake, two bats and many iguanas.
I was also honored to participate in a Mayan blessing ritual. Every three years, the modern Maya still participate in Jets Lu'um or a prayer to calm the earth. The ritual is a way to thank the Gods and to ask for continued yield for their crops and livestock. There is a sacrifice given in the form of livestock, typically poultry. An entire family, community or town will gather to prepare a meal of a soup, chog'o, and meats. The meal is enjoyed by everyone. It was such a fantastic experience and view into the customs of the native peoples' lives.
Upcoming plans include visits to more cenotes and Mayan sites, including the most famous, Chicken Itza. I also have some time reserved in Progreso, a quiet beach community, and working out details to stay a few nights in El Cuyo to explore Las Coloradas, where the bay is pink and is a top spot for seeing flamingos. Check in next month for updates with these adventures and be sure to subscribe to YouTube and follow on Instagram!
I think it is safe to say 2020 provided for some challenges. I surely did not choose the easiest time with this new chapter in life, however I do not regret the decision at all. I have been unable to enjoy some unexpected opportunities, which makes the adventure even better!
As we start off this new year, I wanted to look back at the lessons I have learned and the growing I have accomplished so far. When it comes to a nomadic life, flexibility and patience are of upmost importance. We have all learned just how quickly everything can change in this world and the ability to adapt to unfolding situations while remaining calm is key for mental health. I feel very lucky with my work experience in managing hotels for my need to develop these traits as it is similar when operating within the industry. The support of my family, friends and growing number of fans has definitely provided me the direction and focus to never give up, thank you!
Starting a brand means I have needed to learn many new skills. This website has been coded by hand, by myself. Photography has been a hobby of mine for some time, but the practice in taking better shots has been difficult at times. I had zero experience in editing videos and still have much to learn in the progress to better tell the story. My experience with marketing was very limited just a year ago, though now I have learned how to use social media to find my audience. I also created the brand logo and artwork used across all platforms and designed into the merchandise available in the store. All of this has been a rewarding piece to the journey as I know the skills acquired will stay with me forever.
With the pandemic still in full force, future destinations in 2021 have yet to be decided. I will remain here in Mexico thru the end of April. At that time, we will see what the situation is like and decide where to go next. Possibilities include a return to Southeast Asia or further south on this side of the world. Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia have always been on my list of places to see. With the time here, there are still many sites to explore also.
Please stay tuned for next month's updates and new vlogs coming out. Stay safe on your adventures!
It is hard to believe the Adventure started a year ago already! It has been an unforgettable year. This dream started years ago and has evolved over time, growing stronger with every vacation. I am thrilled you have decided to join me.
Despite the challenges faced, the journey has been a great experience so far. I feel very lucky to be able to spend the current time here in Yucatan, Mexico. I have learned that you really cannot believe everything you hear and truly need to experience something first hand. If I had listened to the media, I would be led to believe all of Mexico is a dangerous place and I will be kidnapped and murdered. The truth could not be further from this depiction. Three months in Oxkutzcab has taught me how kind the people are in this region.
Oxkutzcab is a small city in the citrus belt. It is also a stop on both the Convent Route and Ruta Puuc, which highlight historic churches and the Mayan cities in the area. It is a prime location for exploring the southern part of the state. It would typically be a one-night stop for most tourism in the area, at the most, so being an outsider spending more time in the city was a unique experience. I will be releasing a vlog related to the three months stay in Oxkutzcab very soon!
Yesterday, I moved to Merida, the capital city of Yucatan. It is much more urbanized and a very different vibe here. Most notable about this city is its standing as the safest city in North America based upon crime statistics. I am excited to explore the city more over the next three months. It is also far more convenient to acquire a rental car here in order to explore other sites in the region. So far I have plans to visit Chichen Itza for the Spring Equinox in March, which I am very much looking forward to. While in the city with a substantial expat community, I will also be visiting a dentist for some much needed dental work. I am planning to document that experience in a vlog as well. I know there is an entire industry based upon people coming from the US to Mexico for dental procedures as it is a lot more affordable here. The only difference is that I am not in a border town where it is more prevalent. Be sure to check in next month for the next updates and subscribe on YouTube for new vlogs coming out. Stay safe adventurers!
Did you know there is an entire industry of dental tourism from the US to Mexico? Every year thousands of people travel abroad for all types of medical care, either to more developed countries where certain procedures may be more available or to lesser developed countries for more affordable care. Anyone in the US knows how outrageous the health care system has become. Even with employer-sponsored insurance, a root canal can cost multiple thousands of dollars once the process is completed with a crown. Of course, there has been a lot of debate surrounding travel for medical and healthcare purposes.
It was not my intention to seek out dental care while I was here in Mexico. Unfortunately, I had a crown from a root canal performed nearly ten years ago which had come out just as the US was entering lockdowns due to the pandemic. I had visited the dentist in San Francisco prior to coming here, and he had mailed the crown to me once it was repaired. Sadly, I never received the parcel after my three months in Oxkutzcab. I also faced substantial pain during my flight from Atlanta to Mexico City which I later realized was due to a cavity which also needed a root canal.
I was referred to a local dentist here in Merida, Yucatan from a local friend. I was able to find contact information online and after sending a quick message via WhatsApp in order to explain my situation, I was warmly welcomed into the office for a consultation.
The dentist at MayaDent Clinica Dental del Mayab was amazing. Despite some language difficulties, she was very patient and understanding, yet provided great service. After a look around, she informed me I would need the root canal and recommended and even assisted with making an appointment with Doctor Marisa Pacheco. The following week, I went in for the procedure and was once again greeted with warmth and care. The procedure went smoothly with no issues faced and I contacted MayaDent once again to make an appointment to prepare both crowns. The rest of the experience went exactly the same. In previous dentist visits in the US, I have always felt judged and have had a dentist tell me I need to stop drinking soda. His comment turned me off very quickly as since I was a child, I very rarely will drink soda. Anyone that knows me can tell you I am all about the coffee life. Never during my visits to the dentist here did I feel anything but empathy, understanding, care and patience. It was a very positive experience.
By now, I am sure you are curious about the cost. As expected, Mexico is more affordable when compared to the US.
The cost of the procedures here breaks down as:
Consultation: 500mxn or 25usd
Root Canal: 2500mxn or 120usd
Two Crowns and Two Posts: 7700mxn or 370usd
For a total of 10,700mxn or 515usd
I cannot say if you or anyone should travel for the purpose of receiving medical procedures, but I can say I am very happy with the experience even if I would have preferred to not need it.
The month of March started off with a move to a new Airbnb, located in El Centro of Merida, the capital city of Yucatan. I very much enjoyed the apartment in the Poligono neighborhood, however it was a bit far removed from the center, with nothing really exciting to see nearby. I am very happy with the location of the new apartment, and it has been serving me well as a place to call home for a while.
After settling in, it was time to explore the neighborhood and the surrounding area. Merida is a very beautiful city with a unique mixture of old and new. Among modern buildings, you will still find a lot of colonial era buildings such as the many churches. There are also some Mayan ruins scattered throughout the city in some of the parks. Plaza Grande is a short walk away where locals will stop to enjoy the outdoors and on the weekends will host vendors selling local wares. It is a bit of a longer walk, however Paseo de Montejo is a beautiful avenue with amazing architecture to enjoy and leads to the most famous landmark in the city, the Monumento a la Patria, a massive art piece installed in the center of the roundabout which depicts the history of Mexico through rock carvings. The location of the apartment also serves well for easy access to transportation options.
During the month of March, I was able to escape the city for a couple of getaway trips. In the beginning of the month, it was very close for me to walk to the bus station to return to Progreso, the nearest beach town, for a day of sun and sand. One of the best features of this city is that the beach is only 30 minutes away. For the last weekend of the month, I reserved a rental car and drove out to Piste, a small town in the middle of the state to finally experience Chichen Itza and Valladolid. Chichen Itza is the largest and most notable of the ancient Mayan cities in Mexico. It is also among the most visited sites in the world and is a UNESCO world heritage site. A full review comparing the cities of Mayapan, Uxmal and Chichen Itza will be coming very soon.
This month I also found a tattoo shop for my favorite type of souvenir. On the back of my shoulder, I now have a beautiful piece of art depicting Camazotz, the God of the Underworld, represented by a half-man and half-bat. I would like to get a tattoo in the local style from every destination I visit.
April is looking to be a month which will pass quickly as I already have several small getaways planned. I am excited for the experiences and to be able to share my insights with you. Please stay safe and healthy and I will see you soon for more updates!
The month of April passed by super fast, as I had expected. It was a great month, however, with a couple of getaways. As my birthday was in the beginning of the month, I wanted to do something special to celebrate.
Luckily, I found out there is a beautiful beach town just a few hours away from Merida which was the perfect place for me to celebrate. Celestun was very easy to get to and from by bus. It is a unique beach for the state of Yucatan as it borders the Bay of Campeche which means it faces west, leading to some of the most stunning sunsets I have ever witnessed. For the big day, I found the perfect experience, a boat tour through the mangroves and nature preserve. There are several companies offering various tours, with motorboats, kayaks and canoes all available. I walked with no idea which place I would end up at, but happily stumbled into Parador Turístico Celestún. The tour was just under two hours and included a stop to the feeding areas for the flamingos as well as into the mangroves where there are countless shorebird species and alligators. There is also a cenote in the middle of the mangroves which you can swim in. I included Celestun in a travel article related to beach towns of Yucatan if you want to learn more.
While I was staying in Oxkutzcab, I had learned there is a castle and it is available for rent on Airbnb. During my three months there, it was never available. I decided to check one last time as I entered the final month in Mexico as it was an intriguing experience. I feel very fortunate as the castle was available for a weekend so I booked it. It really was a unique stay and provided for a nice escape. It was nice to revisit the place where my Yucatan journey had started one final time too. Check out this tour of the castle shared on YouTube.
The last two weeks of the month were very bittersweet as I knew my six months in Mexico was quickly coming to an end. While I was very excited to jump on a plane and come here to Guatemala, it was also difficult to be leaving such a beautiful place filled with very kind people. I do plan to return to Yucatan some time after the pandemic as there are several sites which were unavailable this time. Be sure to check in next month to see what experiences I can find now that I am in Antigua, Guatemala.
I learned a very valuable lesson during the month of May. I never really thought much about rainy seasons when arranging travels. It seems the rainy season in the Guatemalan highlands started at the same time as my arrival. The rainy season here, or least at this time, is unlike my experiences in other places during a rainy season. I was in Bali during their rainy season last year and did not experience such unrelenting wet weather, while in Antigua during the month of May it seemed to rain everyday starting around 9 or 10am and lasting well into the late evening and nighttime. The biggest downsides to this has been difficulty in getting out to explore the city much.
The upside to this experience has been the time to work on some projects for this website. With a lot of reading, research and trial and error I learned how to create a comment system for all of the blog posts. I have written all of the code for this website myself which has been providing me a new skillset as well as allowing me to have complete control over every aspect of this little piece of the internet. I much prefer to host my own newsletter and comment system as it removes concerns I have over security with a third-party company and also means I know there is no third-party company collecting your personal information. We all have more than enough of our data out there already and I do not believe in needing to collect your data for any reasons.
You may have also noticed some cosmetic changes to the website as well. As I continue to learn more in relation to web design and development, I have been making changes in order to improve your experience. I have adjusted the color theme with the introduction of a light mode and dark mode which will be set depending on your device settings. In the future, I would like to impliment a switch to allow you to easily toggle between the two. The first priority however is adding more Travel Guides and then working on a complete translation to at least Spanish to start.
If you do encounter any errors or issues with the website, please do let me know. I hope you are enjoying my story of slow travel. Please leave a message in the discussion below! Stay safe and healthy!
I am still here in Guatemala, with my second month spent in Panajachel, the main commercial and port town on the shores of Lake Atitlan. The area is absolutely beautiful as it sits in a valley between huge mountains with three large stratovolcanos sitting on the other side of the lake. Unfortunately, rainy season here continues to be relenteless. Yesterday was the first day since my arrival with no rainfall, though it was a moving day so my day was occupied and I was still unable to get out to explore around the lake.
After my month in this town, I decided to stay an extra week, though I am now at a different Airbnb, much closer to the lake front in hopes of having the weather cooperate long enough where I can take a boat ride to at least one of the other towns, or to a hike up one of the volcanoes. Despite the weather, I am still loving it here and looking forward to this month as I have plans reserved to explore more of the country before my departure.
With the less than stellar weather, I have created another website as a personal portfolio in order to highlight my career and hobbies. As always, I have been working on improvements with both websites in order to deliver a better experience while enjoying The Adventure Beyond. Stay tuned as I will soon be sharing more Travel Guides! Stay safe and healthy!
Hello adventurers! Can you believe it is already August? I cannot believe how quickly the time is passing. It feels like I was just arriving in Guatemala and here I am, already having come to the end of my three months in that beautiful country. The month of July was filled with some incredible experiences though.
I opted to stay an additional week in Panajachel after a wonderful month of June in the quaint lakeside town. Luckily, the rainy season started to breakup a bit and provided a couple of very beautiful weather days so I finally got to explore other areas around the lake. I opted to walk over to the next town to the south, Santa Catarina Palopo and then take a boat back to Panajachel.
After the week came to an end I returned to Antigua for an additional week as well. This Airbnb was located just south of the city center and provided an amazing view of Volcan de Fuego. I spent a lot of time just watching the mountain blowing off its continuous eruptions. I also set up a tour to Volcan Pacaya where I was able to hike up the active volcano and roasted marshmallows with the tour guide in the recent lava flow from the latest large eruption in May. Check back soon for an in-depth discussion of this experience coming to the Travel Guides.
Of course it is not possible to visit Guatemala without going to the north to experience Tikal, one of the largest ancient Mayan cities, located deep in the jungles of Petén. I stayed for 10 nights in Alice Guesthouse, which was easily one of the best accommodation experiences I have had so far. The life in the jungle was amazing with so much wildlife always on display, and the orchestra led to some fantastic sleep every night. Tikal was also impressive in itself and filled almost an entire day of exploring the sites and taking in all the cool animals around, including Spider Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Coati and many bird species.
My time in Guatemala will forever remain in my memories and I can easily recommend everyone visits this amazing little country. There are more sites that I would love to see still and plan to return again some time. I am now in Quito, Ecuador, my first time in South America, and have been impressed with the first impressions. I am excited to share more next month. Comment below if you have ever visited Guatemala and what was your favorite experience there?
Let’s talk about bucket lists. Mine has always included visiting with Komodo dragons, visiting the Galapagos, kayaking with Orcas in New Zealand and going into the cage with the Great White Sharks in South Africa. I am happy to announce I have now achieved two of these tasks as I arrived here in the Galapagos a couple days ago. I am staying in a little hostel in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz which is the most populous town in the archipelago with about 15,000 residents. I will be here for a month and plan to take a couple of day trips (or multi-day trips) to explore some of the more remote areas. Despite being in the center of town, the area is filled with a lot of wildlife. I have already seen a lot of Marine Iguanas, Sea Lions, Black Tip Sharks, Red Rock Crabs and of course many birds. I plan to go to the Charles Darwin Station tomorrow to see the Tortoises and learn more about the unique biology of this place.
During the month of August, I was in Quito. Prior to my arrival, I knew nothing about the city but have learned it is quite a beautiful place. It also holds the distinction as being the second highest elevation of any capital city in the world, coming in around 9,500 feet. This is the highest elevation I ever experienced (besides being in a plane of course) and have also learned that the altitude is a challenge when you are not accustomed to it. Despite drinking a lot of water and not pushing my body too hard, overall I felt very sluggish the entire time I was there and also had problems with my ears not wanting to pop to equalize pressure. I do plan to go to other locations high up in the mountains but will be sure to not spend quite as much time there.
Despite the challenges, I still enjoyed the time in Quito. The people were exceptionally kind and the food is delicious. I have fallen in love with Fritada and Locro de Papa. There is so much history and gorgeous architecture to explore.
Be sure to check back often on the website. I have successfully converted the entire site to a dynamic setup, allowing for easier updates from me as well as a smoother experience for you. It took me nearly two weeks, but I figured out how to make the timeline of updates load in smaller segments for a faster experience. I have also been building out a video gallery and photo gallery and will be building out a system to allow you to navigate through the use of keywords. Please do let me know if there are other features you would like to see or if you run into any issues. Thank you Adventurers!
While a part of me is always a little sad when I am leaving a destination, my excitement for what has yet to come typically wins in the battle of emotions. Leaving the Galapagos was a bit different, however. I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to experience such an amazingly unique place and still have excitement for what is to come, departing from the Galapagos was incredibly difficult. A piece of my heart was left behind.
As I am sure you can tell from the all of the content here, I absolutely love the natural world so it only makes sense for me to fall in love with such a place as the Galapagos. As far as I know, no where else on the planet is so protected which a focus on the wildlife always first. There are limitations on the number of human inhabitants both full-time and visitors at all times. While these restrictions create an environment for a more expensive visit, the cost is well worth it once you see how numerous all the endemic species are.
Upon my arrival, I was expecting to need a tour to another island in order to see some of the archipelago’s most famous inhabitants. This was not the case at all though. A quick walk from the hostel was the main pier for the town of Puerto Ayora and along the pier were always sea lions, marine iguanas, sally lightfoot crabs and numerous bird species. Darwin’s Finches are also all over town. The highlights did come from the tours I did go on where I enjoyed several snorkeling opportunities and swam with the sea lions, sea turtles, sharks and so much more.
On top of the abundance of creatures to admire and enjoy, the locals on the islands are also incredibly friendly. Spending a month in such a small town really made it feel like I was a part of the community. Employees in a couple of the places I frequented expressed their sadness also when it was time for me to move on. The sense of community is just not seen as much in other locations.
But not to be too sad. As I said, I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to have enjoyed the experience and luckily my family has expressed interest in visiting as well. It looks like I need to start planning for that trip in a couple of years. As I write this, I am en route to a town called Banos de Agua Santa, known as the entrance to the Amazon for more amazing experiences, though vastly different. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!
A year ago, The Adventure was just beginning as I was preparing to board a one-way flight to Yucatan, Mexico. So much has changed throughout the world in the past twelve months, with travel being a very interesting experience as we all continue to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
The virus has created some unique challenges related to flights and traveling. Many of the attractions I have been able to visit along the way have seen discounted pricing and less crowds than what is typical. For instance, when I was visiting Tikal in Guatemala, I was able to roam around the huge park without seeing anyone else for more than an hour. The Galapagos were much more affordable, with the cost of the hostel being about twenty-five percent cheaper than during a peak season. While this is all good for those of us still traveling during these times, it has been difficult to see the business owners and operators dealing with the lower demands and revenue.
The slower times have allowed me to stop and talk to the hosts of each Airbnb more, however, which has opened up some great conversations. I can honestly say I have met some of the warmest and most kind people during the past year’s journey. What I love most about traveling is those opportunities to stop and converse with people, sharing our stories. This is also my favorite aspect of having worked in the hospitality industry.
My style of traveling would usually include far less planning ahead as I have needed to do during this time. With rules and regulations changing so often and so quickly, I have spent a lot more time than I typically would scouring through government websites to research testing and mask mandate laws as well as information for curfews and other special considerations.
I am very grateful for this opportunity and am looking forward to what has yet to come. I also wanted to thank you, all of you, for continuing to lend your support and words of encouragement. It is a great feeling to be able to follow your passion and know so many people are sharing in your excitement.