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"Por que te vas a la escuela? La escuela no te da de comer. . ."

The translation of the title goeslike this, “ Why go to school? School isn’t going to feed you.”This is a phrase that is commonly used amongst the poor and uneducated peopleof El Salvador as well as other countries in Central America. It's a way of stating the importance of working to eat and live versus the importance of working to learn. It may seem backwards but when all people have ever known is the working and uneducated life, anything else seems frivolous.
For many people on the outside looking in, this type of mind set or behavior appears to be very neglectful ~ in many ways, it is neglectful, but not intentionally so.In countries where poverty is prevalent and merely existing in daily life requires the work ofmany to bring little to the table, time off to go to school and learn takes able bodied hands away from their time clock of life.
As I strolled through the streets of various towns in El Salvad…

Technology Detoxification

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Unless you have been living under a rock for the last several years, I'm sure that your life has somehow been ruled by the iron fist that is technology. Thanks to the modern advancements of technology, we can now connect to anyone and anything at any time.

If you are anything like me, you carry your phone with you EVERYWHERE you go. I walk the dog, I've got my phone in my pocket. Do a load of laundry, I've got my phone in the laundry basket. Run upstairs to grab something but realize I left my phone downstairs, run downstairs JUST to grab my phone so I can go upstairs all the while forgetting what I was going upstairs to get. My right hand, my phone hand, feels naked without a phone in it. I'm ashamed to say it, but it's true. It has become an embarrassing extension our bodies. How has this happened??? How on earth did we function before the use of cell phones? As much as I love being able to talk to friends around the globe at any time of the day, check my email …

For the record

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This is going to be a short and sweet blog but I wanted to address something that has been floating through my mind lately. I am always talking about travel. I eat, breathe, sleep all things travel. It's what I do for a career and what I find most enjoyable in life. I often use the word "adventure" in my writings about travel because I personally feel that travel in any sense of the word is an adventure so I want to talk about it, right here, right now.
 According to Dictionary.com, the top three definitions of "adventure" as a noun are the following:
1. An exciting or very unusual experience. 2. Participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises. 3. A bold, risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.

I think that the first definition really embodies the essence of what I mean when I talk about adventures in travel. Travel in and of itself is an exciting and unusual experience. More often than not, we are traveling to places we've yet to v…

The difference makes the difference.

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I think that it's the expectation amongst most travelers who are not well versed in Central American countries that all countries are basically the same. Perhaps it's the idea  that Spanish is the general language spoken thus making them one in the same. Central American countries DO speak Spanish however there are several other local/ indigenous dialects that are unique to each country which differentiate one country from the other, that amongst many other factors.

I have traveled to several states in Mexico and have found that the culture and dialects are different in every single state, just as it is here in the United States as well as everywhere else in the world. If you were to visit northern Mexico  you'd have a completely different experience than if you visited the state of Chiapas in the south of Mexico.

The countries of Costa Rica and Nicaragua are vastly different although they share similar landscapes and language, they couldn't be more different. Costa R…

Solo Travel Challenge. . . The First Step.

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I read all kinds of blogs about travel; blogs about family travel, the emotional benefits of travel, different ways to travel, cool places to travel and as of late, I read a blog on the benefits of solo travel. There is no question that traveling in and of itself has it's rewards. We get out of our day to day grind, we rest our weary bones, we indulge our senses in delicious food that other people cook for us, we partake in libations that  temporarily lift our spirits or relax our souls and we "get away from it all". Often times we don't get out of our comfort zones while on vacation but do the opposite and climb into a luxurious version of our comfort zones with those that we love and who we are comfortable being around. There's nothing wrong with this at all. . . AT ALL. . . but in the spirit of promoting travel that creates overall better and more fulfilled humans, I'm going to pose a challenge to you all, myself included.

Back to the topic of solo travel…

The great moral conflict.

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I just spent a few days touring resorts in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. I've never been to this island before and wanted to know as much about it as I could in the 5 short days that I'd be there. I traveled with about 20 other travel agents with the goal of learning more about many of the all inclusive resort chains that are scattered everywhere in Punta Cana. I like to be up to date on hotels and destinations so that I can offer up sound advise when planning people's travels.

As I wandered in and out of some of the biggest all-inclusive resorts I have ever been on, a couple of thoughts kept racing through my mind. 1. How on earth could anyone find their way around this place? It's the size of a small town!, 2. Where on earth do they get all of the food, water, alcohol to feed so many people every single day of the year? and 3. As beautiful as every resort is, it seems so gluttonous to lie around, eating and drinking until the days roll into the nights.

I may …

The packing list.

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Every single time I hit the road or the skies, I get this twinge of anxiety over what I am going to pack for my travels as I often tend to over pack. I'm one of those folks who thinks I'm going to wear all 6 pair of those shoes I packed for a 7 day trip but only wind up wearing 2 of them and then find myself cursing at the rest of the shoes I packed because I no longer have space to haul back my new found treasures. It's a dilemma I face every single time I travel but as I become  more and more seasoned in my packing adventures, I have to admit I'm getting a little bit more savvy~ the quantities of shoes I bring along have drastically declined and I consider that a huge success!

 I often hear of people saying, " I only travel with a carry on" and truth be told, I don't understand those people. I'd like to say to them, "Show me what's in your carry-on and explain to me how you plan to get through 12 days with only what's in this bag!"…

It's all about the food.

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If you're anything like me, you return from your travels craving the foods and drinks that you indulged in while on your vacation. All of a sudden, your pizza doesn't taste nearly as good as it did while you were in Naples, Italy. That Chipotle burrito doesn't even compare to the plate of carnitas you experienced in the off the beaten path restaurant in Michoacan, Mexico. Nope, nothing tastes nearly as good as it does than while we are savoring it on our travels.

While I was in Michoacan, Mexico, we decided to indulge in some of the local street food. There's always a tinge of a " This could come back and haunt me" feeling when one decides to dive into street vendors delicacies in other countries, but the smells, oh my God the smells. . . like sirens to the sailors, they call to my belly and any ounce of over thinking about food poisoning goes out the window.

There it was, a heated box of pork carnitas. People lined up all around the street vendor waiting to s…

Slump-cation

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While at a local women's conference I was chatting with some of the participants at my Viva la Vida Travel booth in the market place. One lady in particular got me thinking about resort only vacations. You know the type, where you go to a tropical destination, stay at an all-inclusive resort, belly up to the swim up bar and then never leave for one full week. I'm always interested in hearing about people's vacations so I asked her, "How was it? What'd you do?" Her response was, "Absolutely nothing. We never left the resort." As we continued our conversation, she went on to say how when she returned home she was so stressed out because of all the work she had to do, then she got sick, blah blah blah. We started to talk about how maybe those vacations where you do absolutely nothing may be more detrimental to your well being than say a vacation where you are more active. Let's be real here, we can't make up for lost sleep that we may suffer fr…

Quick Friends

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When people travel, they inevitably meet people along the way that they connect with.  If we are open enough to talk to strangers, we'll  most certainly meet new friends and that's the beauty of travel ~ it creates a physical distance from everything we know yet it bridges a gap between ourselves and other cultures/people bringing us closer to others and in turn ourselves.

Quick friends are those that you meet while traveling. They are the ones you meet just on a whim, almost by fate if you will. You discover you have so much in common although you live worlds apart but in the moment, you find yourself in the same place at the same time and voila! you've got yourself a quick friend. You discuss things with this complete stranger who you feel as though you've known forever that you wouldn't dare share with even  your family members. You're connected through travel and maybe it's the anonymity of traveling that allows us to let our guard down and simply BE; w…

Why can't you?

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I like to say that somehow my career in travel has been one that had been laid out before me well before I knew it. Dating back to my younger years when I was enamored with the idea of traveling to China and working side by side with the ladies in the rice paddies or when a new immigrant student would grace our classroom, I couldn't move in fast enough to learn all about them and be their friend; I knew that experiencing other cultures  was integral  to my over all well - being.

So, here I am:  forging my way in the travel industry, competing with big box online suppliers, and carving out a name for myself that will resonate with travelers as being their first choice in travel planning and support. Planning travel is more than just a paycheck for me. It's a way of being. It's away of channeling my love for other cultures and countries into other peoples lives. It's a way of living vicariously through other's travel joys when I myself am not able to travel. Travel i…

Travel moves you . . . .Let it.

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Every great travel experience is almost always followed by a wicked post-travel hang over of sorts. You know the kind,  where you wake up thinking the sea is outside your doorstep or in my case, that howler monkeys are outside my tent. Your mind is flitting with amazing experiences that no one but you had. Your eyes see the world different. Your heart feels fuller yet in some ways, feels emptier~ maybe due to the longing of what was your existence just a few short days ago. Never the less, a post travel hangover is brutal.

I'm coming off of a week of amazing experiences in Costa Rica with the Dreamsea Surf camp in Tamarindo. I spent a week "glamping" ( glamorous camping)in the forest with a tribe of people who came from all walks of life. 20 somethings wandered around in yoga pants and bikini tops while muscle clad young men did pull ups in the mango tree and in the distance, the sweet sounds of someone playing the acoustic guitar and singing to himself in the distance. E…