Showing posts from 2017

My story of transformation.

I wasn't always this way.Once upon a time, I was a cynical, somewhat judgmental, extremely self-conscious and insecure young woman. My insecurities ran deep leaving me with a guarded sense of self. I was a nurturer to my core which lead me down the path of being a social worker. I gave my everything to helping those in need with the exception of giving back to myself. I walked the walk that our society said I ought to walk and every once in a while, I'd hear the calling of my soul to listen and act accordingly, but I would quickly silence the calls. I became very edgy in my essence; I felt like the insides of my being were as sharp as shards of glass. Something was missing in my life despite the apparent married with two kids American dream I was living, yet I didn't know what it was.
Enter: Viva la Vida Travel
I started my business with the idea that I wanted to help transform people's lives through enriching travel experiences. I had no idea how to do that or where …

Bolivia: Part 2 The Climb

Day one in Bolivia began with a cross country drive out of La Paz and into the expanse of the mountainous countryside en route to Copacabana, on the shores of the sacred Lake Titicaca. I had traveled to Peru before and spent time on Lake Titicaca and  it is nothing short of a magical place where the bluest of skies touch the mountainous back drop of a meandering lake that seems to leave the traveler quiet and pensive.

We arrived in Copacabana, a busy little town on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It is here where Bolivians and Peruvians from across the lake make the trek to have their vehicles blessed by a local priest. They drive for miles and miles to receive a ceremonial blessing of their vehicle both inside and out in order to protect them in their journeys. People decorate their cars with all kinds of bling and are ready with beer in hand to have the priest bless it with his words as well as with his spritzing of alcohol on the car.  The line up for a car blessing is impressive and…

Bolivia: The Land of Contrasts, Part 1. The arrival.

Many moons ago, when I was in college and  crushed hard on a Bolivian singer in a reggae band, I became instantly intrigued with a country so exotic and so far away. My love and intrigue for this far off land  started with meeting someone from Bolivia and from then on, my interest was piqued.

Time passed and Bolivia would come and go in my conversations yet my curiosity maintained omnipresent.

As I  began my travel agency and started studying more about South America, it quickly became a destination that I desired to experience, mostly because everything I'd read had said it was such an intriguing destination but not always the  most tourist friendly ~ which was precisely why I wanted to go there!

A few months ago, I was invited to explore Bolivia with Magri Tours and I quickly jumped at the opportunity. The itinerary included the city of La Paz, Salar de Uyuni, Lake Titicaca and beyond. I was going to explore every last place that was on my bucket list and to say the least, I was…

It's been a while . . .

It's been a while since I've written mostly because in addition to my planning and booking travel, I've started up another job to supplement my income. The travel industry, in and of itself, is not one where people find riches so some of us have to do what we have to do to get by.  Travel professionals do what we do  because we love it and not because we're making the big bucks, although the big bucks WOULD be nice!
You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.
The fact that I focus mostly on  travel as a way of transforming ones self and stepping out of ones comfort zone relies on people's ability and interest in doing all of those things. More often than not, you cannot tell someone that a transformation  or a shift in their being needs to happen ~ it's something that they decide upon or realize in their own time. It's also difficult to help people understand that travel really can be a catalyst for personal growth and insight. They ju…

Why traveling and cross cultural experiences matter

I don't think we realize how much our perceptions, opinions, pre-conceived notions, biases etc. of other cultures really impact our daily lives and interactions with those around us. We have become so accustomed to reacting to our own thoughts and societally bred opinions that we tend to let them isolate us from broadening our own horizons when it comes to understanding other cultures. We assume that what we are fed by media or by our own upbringing is an accurate assessment of people from other cultures, but in reality it is only a one sided approach that tends to leave many questions unanswered or simply assumed.
I have always been interested in learning about other cultures customs and ways of doing things. Not only do other cultures fascinate me but so do the people in my own back yard. Everyone has a different way of living and there is no one size fits all to living a life ~ more often than not, we use different forms of media to gauge if we're on the right path or not …

Make it count.

As I sit here at my desk, watching the rain fall and listening to the music of  Chopin and contemplating the funeral of a 17 year old classmate of my own child, I begin to reflect. Funerals are the end all finale of a life lived. It is where the emergency break on our own mortality gets pulled hard and fast and we begin to think about our lives differently. It's inevitable that we will question our purpose in life while honoring the life of someone no longer physically with us. It's inevitable that our souls will weep. Funerals are difficult but as much as they are difficult, they can be inspiring.
Today I attended the celebration of life of a 17 year old classmate of my son. He was taken far too soon from us and the heartache that filled the room was all consuming. As I looked around the church, I saw this young man's soccer team in full uniform, I saw his basketball team in uniform, I saw his Boy Scouts troop, in uniform, and lastly the whole entire marching band from h…

Break free from the cocoon.

What do you crave?
As I grow older, I have begun to realize that what used to do it for me in terms of activities, travel, my social scene, and everything in between has changed. The activities that used to define me have now become memories of a life lived ~ in younger years. It's the natural evolution of our lives to grow into ourselves, break free from each and every cocoon that we find ourselves stuffed into branch out into new versions of ourselves.
That being said, I think that that we as humans pigeon hole ourselves into a way of being that others have defined for us based on who we WERE at one point in time or based on who others WANT us to be and in turn, we lose sight of what WE crave and who we've become in this very moment of our lives. It's happened to me time and time  again and I've seen it happen to many friends over time.
So, let me ask you this ( and be honest with yourself) ? Right now, where you are at in your life, what is it that you crave? What …

6 reasons why you need to travel to Nicaragua.

Nicaragua has been on my radar to investigate as a "new" destination for travelers to explore ever since I read that Nicaragua is pegged to become the  new Costa Rica. I love Costa Rica. Costa Rica was my gateway country  into Central America many moons ago when I chose to study Spanish there while in college.

Everyone I ever knew who traveled to Nicaragua always said that it's so different from Costa Rica, that the vibe was totally different.  I wanted to know what made Nicaragua so different from Costa Rica; geographically speaking, they have some of the same things: mountains, volcanoes, beaches, rainforest's, etc so why the distinct contrast between Nicaragua and Costa Rica?
What's so great about Nicaragua?
1. The Volcanoes Nicaragua has 19 volcanoes. The skyline is riddled with volcanoes everywhere you look. On my last trip to Nicaragua, we visited Masaya Volcano National Park where we stood over the edge of a bubbling caldron of fiery red lava where clouds…