Showing posts from 2014

Dear Men. . .

Dear Men,

I know that you work hard to provide for your families. I understand that you carry an enormous amount of responsibility on your shoulders when it comes to creating a financially comfortable life for yourself and your family.Maybe you're in a dead-end job or perhaps it's an unfulfilling job that you have settled for simply because it pays the bills. Maybe you've lost all contact with your guy friends because you've been busy working and changing diapers and buying mini-vans. Maybe you've lost your mojo, maybe you feel like a machine, a slave to the career.

Maybe your marriage feels empty. Maybe you lost the connection with your wife because she can't seem to connect to the machine you've become. Maybe you're snapping at your children out of frustration of all that you've given up and feel sad about but don't seem to really know why. Maybe you feel like you simply "sold out"and maybe you have lost yourself. Maybe, just maybe, …

Adventure travel meant for you.

I used to think of myself as a fairly adventurous traveler until I came across some travelers who took adventure to a whole new level. Let's take Alison Levine who is the team captain of the First American Women's Everest Hiking Expedition. I was lucky enough to hear her speak ever so passionately about the expeditions she took to the summit of Mt. Everest not once but TWICE. She shared photographs of the treacherous journey through snow and wind storms in subzero temperatures while traversing over glacial canyons on what looked like an extended ladder. While I was merely sitting in my chair listening to her, I felt as though I could easily have a panic attack just looking at some of the challenges she faced. As I listened to Alison and her inspiring story of perseverance, endurance and sheer passion to succeed, I got to thinking about what adventure means to me, because I can guarantee you it is NOT climbing to the summit of Mt. Everest.

 I often post about taking adventures a…

Este es mi paraiso.

Part of what I love about traveling is learning about the people and culture of the destination and what makes them tick and stand out from the rest of the world. It fascinates me to discover that in a world of mass consumerism and egocentricity that there are still those out there who  are seemingly untouched by the commercialized world that we all live in yet thrive in ways unimaginable to most.

While hiking with our Ecoturismo Sierra Norte guides in the mountains that surround the beautiful town of Latuvi, Oaxaca, Mexico, we were introduced to a group of women. These women  supported themselves by growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables and then prepared them to sell for profit. We met "las senoras" in an apple orchard where they were harvesting apples with long poles that had 2 liter bottles of soda that were rigged up perfectly for pulling apples off of the trees. We tried our hands at harvesting apples and after a few good attempts and many apples later, I was emb…


Today I was interviewed by a college student who considered me to be a person who is living her passion. Needless to say, I was humbled that she considered me as "that" person. I've always considered  travel in any form as an integral part of my life. Dating back to the days of my youth in Grand Forks, North Dakota, when I befriended the refugee kids from Cambodia and Pakistan, intrigued by their culture and struggles. My "passion" for everything global came from a place deep inside of me that yearned to understand other cultures and traditions. It came from a place that craved something different ~ something profound. As a little girl, I fantasized of working the rice paddies of China ~ I longed to feel the authenticity of their culture. The feeling of "oneness" yet embracing our differences. At a very young age, I realized and felt the power of connecting with other cultures and have craved it and pursued it throughout my life.

Sometimes we don'…

Winter is coming

As a North Dakota native transplanted in the tropics of Minnesota ( insert pathetic sigh), I fully understand the bitter hold that winter has on me. The frigid temperatures of the upper midwest are always the topic of conversation no matter where you go. At the first taste of a wintery wind, we'll often say, "Uff Da, it's cold out there!" "Ooof, that wind is brutal."

In the winter time, the majority of us isolate ourselves into our homes from the subzero temperatures. We skip taking the dog for a walk for fear we will fall flat on our backs as we navigate the ice skating rink like sidewalks. We bulk up on comfort food in attempts at filling our voids that winter brings us. And when we do go outside, we're bundled from head to toe, peering out beneath our hats and scarves, allowing only a slice of space to look out of. Welcome to winter. It's coming.

So, we know it's coming. That's a cold, hard fact ( pun intended). What are YOU going to do ab…

Playa del Carmen vs. Cancun ~ What's the big difference?

So, there's Cancun and there's Playa del Carmen. They are so close to one another yet so very different.

Cancun. What can I say about Cancun? Cancun is THE perfect first vacation spot for those of you have not been out of the country and want to venture into Mexico. Cancun has a ton of American brand name stores/ restaurants that will leave you feeling comforted if it's an Applebee's or a Hooters that you crave. That being said, I should not negate the Mexican-ish feeling of Cancun but it should be noted that Cancun is a resort town and it feels like it. You will find run of the mill resorts and then you will find some of the best in the area right within Cancun such as Nizuc, voted one of the best hotels in the WORLD by Conde Naste Traveler.

Cancun is shaped like a 7 and is on a peninsula with one side facing the Caribbean and the other side facing a lagoon. The hotel zone is just that: an area of Cancun that is nothing but one hotel after another. The beaches are gorg…

Go on little dreamer . . . do your thang.

If you dared to dream about something but couldn't possibly fathom a way of bringing that dream to a reality, does that mean that you will never reach your dream? Does it mean that your dream is too big? My answer to that very question is simple : No.

No matter what the dream may be, the fact that you're having it signifies that there is some universal pull for you to achieve the dream and to live it. How can we mess with a universal sign that is meant for us? If we deny it, minimize it, ignore it and move on in our daily lives, we will continue to feel empty, as though something is missing. Whatever that dream may be, it's calling you and you need to answer it.

Because this is a travel blog I will refer to dreams as they relate to pursuing travels, adventures, destinations that call to us but let it not negate the fact that other dreams and pursuits call to you.

You've dreamt of sailing across the Mediterranean sea. You've dreamt of watching a migrating  swarm of M…

Take a trip inside.

I'm a pursuer of experiences; any and all experiences, good, bad or otherwise are welcome because at the end of the experience there's always something gained. That being said, I decided that I would check out a meditation Meet Up group in my city. Meet ups is a pretty cool idea. It's basically a website where you can search for pretty much anything that interests you and find like minded individuals and share experiences focusing on those interests. I decided to venture into a meditation Meet up group. I can't say that I have officially meditated but I have zoned out and intentionally focused on myself ~ maybe that's meditating, I don't know, but I decided that I needed to delve deeper into myself ~ for self exploration and general grounding purposes.

I drove into the city to attend my first meditation group and as I entered the side door of the Minneapolis Center of Light, I'd have to say that my first thought was, " This could totally be some crack …

Why on earth would I use a travel agent?

As I made the career switch from the ever glamorous social worker career to travel agent, there were a fair share of nay sayers that doubted the future of my new venture. To be honest with you, a career change is scary no matter what direction you take and blocking out the negative Nancy's and forging ahead with the new goal is not always the easiest task but is by far the most important thing to do, keeping in mind the reason for the career change in the first place. 
Why would I choose to be a travel agent and compete with the mega travel booking sites such as Expedia, Travelocity and the like? Why would I do that to myself? The answer: I love travel and believe it to be a catalyst for personal change, growth and renewal and I need to be part of that change! Sure, it's tough competing against the big box vendors but that's exactly what they are : big, brown, generic boxes of travel. Ain't nothing personal going on with Expedia or Travelocity! Travel is complex and be…

It's time to stop relaxing!

As a traveler as well as a travel agent, there's only so much a person can go to fancy shmancy hotels, eat delicious food, lounge in luxurious surroundings and get waited on hand and foot. If you're a person that needs to be stimulated both physically and mentally, too much lounging wreaks havoc on your body as well as your psyche. After a while lounging gets boring. I know you're probably thinking that is an INSANE statement but it is true. This is not to say that beautifully appointed resorts do not have a place in the travel industry because THAT statement would be insane. Of course they have a place in the travel industry ~ everyone needs to be pampered and taken care of from time to time and everyone needs to relax and unwind from their hectic daily life routines.What I am saying is that when you've reached a plateau ~ a saturation, if you will ~ of vacationing at resorts and lounging until you can't lounge any longer, perhaps you may want to consider another …

Shoulda . . .woulda. . .probably coulda.

I'm home now. . . one week post Mexico trip to Chiapas and Oaxaca for the ATMEX travel trade show and I'm having a few regrets. They are trivial regrets, mind you but they are travelers regrets.

I rarely walk away from a journey regretting what I have done; on the contrary, I usually regret what I didn't get around to doing or in this case, buying. While I was in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, there were hundreds of runny nosed, long, braid-filled haired, beautiful soulful eyed women and children pounding the pavement selling everything from hand knit Nemo dolls, woven bracelets, seed necklaces and reposos which is similar to a scarf but cooler because it's name is Reposo and it simply sounds better than scarf. Those sweet women and children would circle me as soon as I made eye contact with one of them. . .which I always did because honestly, their little souls spoke through their eyes and called me in like sirens. I bought bracelets, a few reposos, and a beauti…

La Limpia

Traditional indigenous medicinal practices have always fascinated me. How did people figure out that X plant lowers blood pressure or that if you wrapped X leaf around a wound that it would heal it? It must have been a doozy of trial and error mishaps and successes that brought them to where they are today. Down in Mexico, I was privileged enough to experience some of that traditional Mexican medicine on my own ~ and NO, it wasn't just in the form of tequila! Sheesh, in Oaxaca, they drink Mezcal, which is good for clearing the lungs, helping you sleep, making you feel more handsome/pretty and in general, the perfect tonic for what ails you.

As I wandered the roads of Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico, it was clear to me that traditional medicine continues to play a huge part in Mexican culture. Up in the Sierra Juarez mountains of Oaxaca lies beautiful "pueblo magico" ~ Spanish for magical town. Pueblos Magicos were created by the secretary of tourism of Mexico to promote touri…

Whoa! Oaxaca!

Oaxaca ~ pronounced Wah-ha-ka, for those of you wondering what the heck I just wrote ~ is located in the Southwestern part of Mexico, bordered by the states of Guerrero to the West, Puebla to the East, Veracruz to the North and Chiapas to the East.  It's an enormous state rich in culture, traditions, delicious gastronomy and breathtaking vistas and I was just privy to be able to enjoy just a portion of what the state has to offer. 
Oaxaca has been on my radar for a while now mostly because it has been named as the gastronomic capitol of Mexico ~ known for it's moles, mezcal and everything in between and considering that Mexican cuisine is #1 on my top things to devour, of course it was on my radar! 
We were escorted through quaint cobblestone streets of Oaxaca city that were flitting with banda music, vendors, people dancing, and in general, a vibrancy that is non-existent in my suburban town. I had to ask our guide if there was some sort of celebration going on because the vibe…

It is what it is . . . or is it?

It’s so fun and always eye opening  to go on FAM trips, otherwise known as familiarization trips. It’s great to get to know the properties and the destinations but it’s also great to meet the sales managers and staff of the resorts. They are such gracious individuals and do such a good job at educating travel agents on their brand of hotel.