Travel Tips

Disconnected Travel. The Art of Being Present.

January 20, 2015

We are in an age where people prefer to text rather than pick up the phone, catch up with “friends” on Facebook rather than see them in person, or email a colleague rather than walk over to their desk. Connections through the virtual world dominate our daily lives, slowly whittling away at the time we spend creating connections and moments in our real-world.

“Why is it more important for you to engage with the people who are not physically here than the people are?”

Everyday, everywhere we witness couples physically sitting together over dinner. Both are on their phones texting, social networking, or checking emails rather than conversing with each other. Technology has not only increased the pace at which we live, but it has pulled us away from the real-world around us into a virtual space where our minds flutter from one thought to the next. We focus on the past and the future, but rarely in the now. Continue Reading…

Destinations: South America, Travel Tips

Pura Vida! A Reflection of How Pura Vida Came to Life for Me in 2014

December 31, 2014
Pura Vida!!!

Directly translated into English, Pura Vida means “Pure Life”, but for the people of Costa Rica there is a deeper meaning. The essence of Pura Vida is that no matter how bad your current life situation, someone somewhere has it worse. So maybe, if you really think about it, your situation isn’t all that bad after all. And in the end, life is short; life is wonderful. So start living your life! Witnessing and experiencing “Pura Vida” all over Costa Rica made me reflect on my life and how, out of the blue, I decided to visit Costa Rica. So to end the last few hours of 2014, I think that a personal reflection post is quite appropriate. Continue Reading…

Destinations: Asia

The Southeast Asia Edition: Vietnam in a Nutshell – Top 5 Things to Do

October 13, 2014
Vietnam has quickly grown in popularity as a top destination. From the beautiful stretches of beaches to the ancient cities and limestone islands–Vietnam’s diversity is astounding. If you are looking for a country with profound history, cuisine, and natural beauty, then look no further. Vietnam is your answer. Here are the top things you should do during your visit to Vietnam.
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Destinations: North America

The Burning Man Edition: The Truth About Burning Man

September 10, 2014
I’ll admit right off the bat–the title of this post is a bit misleading. There really is no singular “truth” about Burning Man. Burning Man is an experience that is as individualized as the ridges that make up your fingerprints. You get what you want out of it and your experience is ultimately created by your decisions. If you have never attended Burning Man it is almost impossible for you to fathom the experience unless you just go! Even then, each year you return home to the Playa, your experience will be completely different than before (at least that is what I have been told). So while I cannot offer you singular “truths” about Burning Man, what I can offer are my personal “truths” based on my experiences THIS year. Will my experience next year be the same? Probably not. But for now, these are my truths from Burning Man 2014.

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Destinations: Asia

The Southeast Asia Edition: Your Top 13 Must-Do’s in Thailand

July 1, 2014
Southeast Asia has always been a backpacking haven. The region attracts the most visitors between November and March when people are looking to escape the cold winter months back home. The interest in this region continues to grow as evidenced by the sheer volume of requests I’ve been receiving for Southeast Asia travel tips. 

“What should I do when I go to Southeast Asia? Any tips on must-visit places?” Well… yes indeed! However, considering the numerous countries that the Southeast Asia travel route encompasses this is a ridiculously TOUGH question to answer. So I thought I’d start this edition with some tips on visiting the travel hub of Southeast Asia: Thailand. If you’re headed off to Thailand, here are the top 13 must-do highlights while you’re visiting. 

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Travel Tips

Tips For First Time Travelers

May 27, 2014
Virgin Traveler. We’ve all been one before. Even for those who aren’t virgins, traveling can offer a mix of emotions. It’s exciting with all the new experiences and endless possibilities. At the same time, it can feel a bit daunting and uncomfortable because of all the unknowns. 

I often reflect on the first time I ever REALLY traveled. It was October 2006 and I was headed off to Spain. Boy was I a NOOB! I’ve gained some wisdom along the way on traveling practicalities as well as having a new perspective on life experiences. For the young, inexperienced, “noob” traveler that I once was, and for all of you who may be looking for some tips to make your journey a little easier, this post is dedicated to you!

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Destinations: North America

The Burning Man Edition: Newbie Orientation Tips & Tricks

April 28, 2014
2013 final web
Just four months away from popping my Burning Man cherry! Can you tell I’m excited? Along with the excitement and anticipation for this experience, I must admit I was beginning to feel a bit of angst. Where will I be camping? How do I prepare? What is this “gifting” business? How am I going to lug clothing, food, a bike, and other necessities to get me through an entire week in the desert?! As fate would have it, just as I was mulling over these questions an email popped into my inbox from the Jack Rabbit Speaks: Burning Man’s official Email Newsletter. This edition announced the Newbie Orientation and Participation Faire to “meet your fellow virgins and learn tips and tricks from veteran Burners!” What perfect timing!

As any newbie burner would do, I attended the orientation this past weekend. Continue Reading…
Destinations: Middle East

The Jordan Edition – Beyond Petra: Rummaging through the Desert in Wadi Rum

April 17, 2014

Not many people have Jordan at the top of their “Must Visit” list of travel destinations. Those that do usually only have Jordan in their consideration set because of Petra–one of the New 7 Wonders of the World (also where Transformers was filmed)! While I absolutely loved my experience in Petra, I must admit that Wadi Rum actually topped Petra for me. 

Wadi Rum, known as The Valley of the Moon, is the largest, most beautiful valley in Jordan. The only inhabitants in the area are the several thousand villagers and Bedouins, the nomadic Arabs of the desert. Wadi Rum lacks any sort of real infrastructure aside from the Bedouin goat hair tents, leaving the area quite natural and untouched. With the beautiful landscape of sandstone mountains plus the extensive history, Wadi Rum should be a “Must Visit” on everyone’s list of travel destinations! 

So how exactly do you get here and what can you do in Wadi Rum?
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All About Food, Destinations: North America

Breakfast at Mama’s on Washington Square – Is It Overhyped?

March 24, 2014
The short answer to that question: Yes, it is overhyped. Not that the food isn’t good. But is the food amazing enough for me to wait hours like people often have to do to eat there? Definitely not. I also don’t agree that Mama’s is “the best breakfast in town” as quoted in a Time article on the San Francisco: 10 Things to Do. Mama’s has been serving up breakfast in the San Francisco North Beach area for over fifty years and is without a doubt a historical tourist landmark of sorts. But in my opinion, I think there are better brunch spots in San Francisco. In case you’re wondering, “Where in San Francisco could breakfast be better than Mama’s?!”: Check out my prior blog post on the Best Brunch Spots in San Francisco.

I digress. So what can you expect at Mama’s? Here’s a synopsis of my experience. 

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Destinations: Europe

The Turkey Edition: 6 Best Places to Visit in Turkey

March 10, 2014

Oh Turkey! How I Love Thee… Let Me Count the Ways!

Turkey wasn’t always one of my favorite countries. In fact, it never really crossed my mind as a “must-visit” destination. It was a one-off country that seemed cool, but didn’t stick out. Probably because I knew little about it. However, my perspective changed during my two weeks there. I discovered the underwater treasures below the Mediterranean Sea, was mesmerized by the gleaming white thermal pools in Pamukkale, and marveled at the dramatic Cappadocia landscape as I floated from high above in a hot air balloon. Turkey is indeed a hidden gem. What makes Turkey so amazing? I could go on and on and on. But let’s start with just the top 6 reasons:

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