Posts tagged Wanderlust.

My time in Cuba has come to an end. This also means my time on the road is at its end. My sister Kat could not have suggested a better place for me to rest, write, think and feel. The rhythm in La Habana fit perfectly with the melody of my reflections. 

For more than a year I’ve traveled around this beautiful world with a backpack, a passport and a smile. Letting go and surrendering to an unknown path was difficult but in the end it was the one thing I could always trust.

Unimaginable coincidences, the hearts of strangers, luck and a whole lot of love and support made this journey of a lifetime the epic adventure that it was.

My perspective on daily life has been altered. The things I’ve seen and the people I’ve met have changed my life forever. Thank you for being a part of it all. 

A snorkeler swims with a stingray, Belize

Hustling, A Volcanic Island & Toñas

It wasn’t long after we crossed the border into Nicaragua that we found ourselves surrounded by rickshaw drivers hustling for our business.

I knew the ferry was close to the bus stop and yet for some reason I didn’t even try to negotiate a better price to the dock. Maybe being home in Costa Rica threw off my travel game.

The afternoon sun was beating us hard but it didn’t stop us from sitting at the top of the ferry. The wind around Lake Nicaragua helped the ride plus we got an incredible view of the volcanos that make up Isla Ometepe.

It’s name is Nahuatl meaning two mountains: ome (two) and tepetl (mountain). It’s the largest island in Lake Nicaragua as well as the largest volcanic island inside a fresh water lake in the world.

Once on the island we figured out where we wanted to stay and asked how to get there. After a good 30 minutes of waiting inside a steaming, hot local bus we learned that they only leave once they’re full. Since we were two of three people waiting we nixed the bus idea and took a taxi. 

We celebrated the end of our travel day by watching the sunset and drinking a couple of Toñas. 

A Do Over, Asking Why and Heading North

Our train ride back to Cusco gave me some time to take in the last few days. I want to do it all over again! There’s something so electric about Cusco, the history and the local traditions. Being able to visit Machu Picchu and it’s surrounding peaks was incredible.

I’m finding myself to be more comfortable asking why and being thankful to the locals for taking the time to explain. Being in a place where there’s meaning to a lot of things that are deeper than what the eye can see is something I’m attracted to…

Blake, Danielle and I took an early morning flight to Lima the next day. After dinner we said our goodbyes and went off in different directions: They to the States and I on a bus heading North…

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Just a little over 24 hours later I say hello to Guayaquil, Ecuador!

Phase Deux: The Americas

A couple of trips to Chicago and back I found myself getting fussy feet. I needed to leave the states and be back on the road.

Frankly, I wanted to be in a place where a motorcycle or scooter is a family vehicle. A place where you speak with your hands and your heart. Or at the very minimum, a place where you won’t get a jaywalking ticket!

From Los Angeles I would head South. Buenos Aires to be exact. I had hopes to spend some time in Brazil but lets be real…I can’t afford it.

From BA I will make my way back up to California by land, sea and occasionally air. The thought of putting my life back into the hands of crazy bus drivers makes me really excited!

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A Day Later, Things and Feeling Lost

Three flights and a day or so later I’m back in Los Angeles. It isn’t for good…just a visit.

Being back has me thinking a lot. Probably too much. I find myself questioning a lot of things that once had meaning. I’ve realized there are many things in my life that were just that…things. Unnecessary.

My friends haven’t changed and everything feels the same…except me. 

Conversations sometimes go dull and when I hear people complain about stupid things I just want to scream!

I’m constantly asked when I’m going to be done traveling and when ‘am I going to be ready to work again…almost as if there’s some “life plan” I’ve taken a detour from that I need to get back on. The idea of going back to my life before this trip makes me want to kill myself. There’s no way I could. Or is there?

Nothing makes sense anymore. I feel lost in a world I once knew…

A swing on White Sands Beach, Koh Chang

If you’re ever in this part of the world El Nido is a must! It’s a place where you can just relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of exploring the treasures of Bacuit Bay.

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Seven Commandos Beach, El Nido

Beached at the Secret Lagoon, El Nido

Entering the Big Lagoon, El Nido

Scientists believe that these lagoons were actually caves. The roofs of these caves must have collapsed millions of years ago, and allowing these lagoons to emerged.

A Rookie Move, A Rattling Mouth and The Feeling of Defeat

I arrived in Da Lat at the crack of dawn. It sits on the South part of Vietnam’s Central Highlands and has a cool temperature year round. This allows temperate agriculture (mostly flowers and vegetables) to be produced and shipped throughout the country.

I didn’t come here to smell the roses but to go canyoning instead! After checking into my hotel I figured I had enough time for a snooze before sorting out an adventure company. I had just one full day in Da Lat before moving on and I wanted to have enough energy while making the most of my day. Or so I thought…

I took my snooze but it accidentally turned into full on sleep! I woke up about an hour too late to make the excursion down a few waterfalls. Rookie move, I know…

Instead I rented a scooter and planned to make my way to Elephant Falls. I thought I knew where I was going but I didn’t. I ended up at a cemetery where I ate a delicious sandwich made by a nice lady on the street. 

The graves look like little homes. 

I saw a family there cleaning a relative’s resting spot. Apparently there’s a shortage of land leaving very little space for the deceased so more and more people are opting for cremations. Interesting, no? Not really.

It started to rain so I headed back to my scooter. By the time I had hopped on torrential down pore set in. I made my way back to the hotel (getting lost twice) completely soaked and with a rattling mouth. I…was…defeated. 

Next Stop

Home to kung fu, dumplings and over a billion people…

India, With Love

I came to India searching for connections or clues that would somehow bring me closer to my mother’s youth. Experiences that would make me understand why she loved it so much.

My first couples of weeks were filled with moments of regret, anger and a lot of loneliness. There were times I wanted to call it quits and get on a plane to anywhere. I felt like I was yelling at truth to show its face while the whole time it was right there in front of me.

There were times when I asked myself why? Answers seemed to float in the air while I jumped to grab them. They always seemed a little too far to touch.

I was trying too hard. By forcing a connection I kept getting pushed back. I was focusing on the wrong thing. I needed to be open and receive all my experiences as they came without giving them meaning or comparison.

These experiences have shown me so much. A new threshold of patience, appreciation, helplessness and trust has formed. I now know new limits within which will only allow for more to be created.

I saw how curious Indians were by nature. It wasn’t long before I became the same. The more I saw the more I wanted to know.

Through this curiosity I made connections…Connections of my own through experiences of my own. And although different than those of my mother’s the outcome and love for India turned out to be the same.

Swamiji (my guru) and me