Showing posts from 2016

Finding our purpose.

More often than not, I notice people talking about how they feel like they are not living out their life's purpose, or worse yet, that they don't know WHAT their purpose is in this lifetime. This is a common phenomenon amongst most of us as we we get the college degree, the career, the spouse, the house, the kids, the minivan, etc. It has become the cultural norm that this is the path we must all follow to become "successful" in this lifetime. 
This formula fits some people but I believe that generally speaking it doesn't fit most people. I fell prey to this very path yet there was always something inside of me that said, "This isn't quite right...for me." I went to college, studied Social Work, got the career, poured myself into it, got married, had the kids, got the house AND the minivan yet something within this path that I was following just wasn't feeling right to me . . . until I started Viva la Vida Travel. I have always been an incurable…
El Salvador
Feel the difference.

El Salvador is a tiny country in Central America, neighbored by Guatemala to the North, Honduras to the East and Nicaragua to the South. It’s roughly the size of New Jersey. Albeit it a small country, it is packed with awe inspiring, dramatic scenery such as 7 active volcanoes, crater lakes,  some of the best surf spots around, delicious food and lastly, some of the kindest and welcoming people I’ve yet to meet.
On my most recent trip to El Salvador, my first stop was at AST (Adventure Surf Tours) surf hotel in La Libertad. Arriving at the San Salvador airport, it’s a short 35 minute drive to get to the beach. AST surf hotel is a small, 20 person, surf hotel catering to surfers and adventurers alike. Not only do they offer private surf lessons but they offer day trips such as hiking to a variety of volcanoes, waterfalls, and trips to local colonial towns. The accommodations are modest and clean and every room gives you an ocean view. AST also has anothe…


There are moments when we are traveling that take our breath away in the very instance  we are experiencing them and then there are moments that start us thinking and reflecting AFTER we've returned home from our travels. Often times, it's these moments that have the most impact.
On my most recent bullet -train- fast -trip to Japan, there were moments that beckoned my attention but in the hustle of the travel, were lost in the speed of it all. It's as though a dangling carrot of curiosity hung before me and before I could feed the curiosity, it was pulled away and another carrot dangled before me. Travel does that. It tickles your sense of curiosity and wonder and makes you think, sometimes not always offering you time to process the experience fully in the moment, but it works it's way into your soul and reveals that same momentary sense of curiosity in times you least expect.
While I was in Japan, the hustle of traveling on trains, buses, subways, boats and everythi…
My Top 10 Experiences in Japan:
1. Buddhism.  The simple yet complex philosophies make sense to me and the practices from long ago can still be seen and felt in daily Japanese life.
2. Transportation I traveled by bullet train, public train, subway, busses, boats, gondolas, and cable car and so did everyone else in Japan. Every experience was peaceful and quiet as it is expected that people do not create noise while in transport. No chatter. No loud cell phone conversations. Just moving from one place to another in peace. 
3. Bicycles with Baskets Bicycles were everywhere. Bicycles with baskets were everywhere. Not only are they extremely accommodating for zig zagging between the crowds of people on city streets, they are an inexpensive and useful form of transportation of self and goods throughout Japan. Young and old alike rode bikes through city and countryside streets. When was the  last time you saw an 80 year old lady riding a bike on a cobblestone trail? They are everywhere and i…

Scrap the honeymoon and head straight for an adventuremoon.

As traditions go, most newlyweds tie the knot then shortly after the wedding ceremony, they head out on their honeymoon in hopes of being pampered and spoiled at a luxurious romantic resort as they slide into their new life together as a shiny, brand new, happy couple. 

 I never really looked up the definition of "honeymoon" until I began to write this blog, but out of curiosity, I looked up the meaning.  Check out this definition per coupled with my commentary.
Noun 1. a vacation or trip taken by a newly married couple.  ( the obvious definition we are all familiar with) 2. the month or so following a marriage. ( that sacred time when everything is still supposed to be perfectly perfect) 3. any period of blissful harmony. ( eludes to the fact that the period of time is short) 4. any new relationship characterized by an initial period of harmony and good will.  ( by the time most people reach a honeymoon, they've been with their new spouse for quite some …

Go Big. Go Bold. Go Alaska.

I recently attended my very first Adventure Travel Trade Associations World Summit in Alaska where global partners in adventure tourism gathered to discuss the latest and greatest trends in Adventure travel. The president of the organization asked attendees to write about the impact that the Summit had on us so I did and after having written it, I figured it'd be a great blog post. So here you go, here are my insights from 9 days in Alaska with ATTA ( Adventure Travel Trade Association and the Juneau and Haines tourism board.)
Where do I even begin to describe the impact that attending my very first ATTA World Summit has had on me? Let me start my ramblings by saying . . .

This was my very first Summit although I’ve been a member of ATTA for about 2 years now. I saw that the Summit was being held in Alaska and that they were accepting applications to be hosted so I jumped on it because 1. I’ve never been to Alaska, 2. I have never considered myself a real fan of cold weather desti…

Let's be 'Life Farmers.'

The tell tale sign that summer is over : the first day of school.  As a parent, there is nothing more telling of time passing us by then the start of a new school year. Even more so than celebrating New Years Eve or even birthdays, the start of a new school year signifies life's milestones represented in the lives of our children. 
Time flies my friends. It's cliche to say but it does and as my own son enters his junior year of high school, I realized just the other day, that next summer will be his LAST summer home with us before he flies the proverbial coop and graduates high school. Upon realizing this, I felt this a sudden urge to cram in a bunch of activities onto the calendar. Plan that trip. Visit that college. Spend more time together. Repent against my not -so -cool-mom moments that have happened throughout the challenges of parenting. It's like the end of a portion of your life that happens when your kids graduate high school. For me it's like knowing the &q…

Project Corazon y Alma ~ Peru 2016

I didn't go to Peru this summer thinking anything other than I'd be going on the trip of a lifetime and how fortunate I was to be able to have manifested this dream into a reality. I had no idea the magnitude of influence this trip would have on me. I had no idea that my presence in Peru made a difference ~ until I got home.
More often than not, while we are traveling, we're awe struck by what we are experiencing. We're moved. We're elated and joyous. We're in the moment ~ as we ought to be. It's not until we return home that we begin to feel the deep impact that our experiences have had upon us. It's not until we walk our daily walk again that we realize we feel different in our steps. 
I came home from Peru feeling softer in my soul. I poured over my photos and brought the experiences back to life. It was in doing this that I had the idea that it wasn't enough for me to just be touched by the experiences I had or by the people that I'd met. I&…

The journey to love.

The word love has many meanings and to each person that reads this, they will have their own definition of what love means to them.  For years I struggled to find what love really means to me. Is it found in another person? Does someone else bring out the love in us? Is it a defined action? Are the words, "I love you" meant to land up on the hearts of those only near and dear to us? I've questioned it a lot and have just lately realized what love is. 
I've traveled a lot these past years and have felt inspired and alive on most if not all of my travels. I attached the words of passionate, excited, happy, inspired to those experiences but the reality of it all is that in the moment, I was feeling love. I was BEING love. I never realized in all of my years that I was actually love. I never realized that when I was in a moment of not being stuck in my thoughts trying to figure out the situation but instead was acting out of the innocence of being in a new environment a…

Bigger isn't always better.

Peru has been on my personal bucket list for years. I decided that staring at pictures of Machu Picchu on Instagram were no longer fulfilling my wanderlust itch so I planned a trip to Peru. I partnered with a Peruvian tour operator, Apumayo Expediciones,  that also affiliates with the Adventure Travel Trade Association so I knew that I could trust them to be a quality partner in my planning. I designed this 12 day trip to Peru to reflect all that is important to me as well as to my business, Viva la Vida Travel. I wanted enriching experiences that brought us closer to the people, the gastronomy, it's culture and of course it's landscape. What we wound up with as a final itinerary was beyond my expectations.
There were five of us travelers total. If I were all about making a huge profit, I would have pushed to "sell" more spots on the trip, but that's not what I'm all about. I've traveled enough with travel agents in mass to know that trying to embrace the…