Macau

Elephant friends at Elephant Nature Park

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Ride an Elephant in Thailand

If more people knew the heart-wrenching reality behind elephant trekking, I believe it would be removed from more bucket lists… because the truth is crushing. Literally.

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Streets of Manila

Manila in 24 Photos

Street meats, mangy cats, homeless children, punk rockers… these 24 images capture my Manila experience.

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Maquinit Hot Springs Coron

7 Wonders of Coron, Philippines

Hot springs with spirulina, virgin islands, snorkeling at shipwrecks, the beauty of Kayangan Lake….Move over, El Nido.

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clothes hanging up in El Nido

El Nido: Equal Parts Shabby and Chic?

Shabby chic usually describes furniture, home decor, or clothing, but I couldn’t get this term out of my head when I visited El Nido.

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Jungle Beach Resort Hammock

Jungle Beach Resort: Pit Stop in Paradise

Because monkeys, hammocks, beach huts, and forced relaxation on Palawan Island are beautiful things.

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Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool

2015: The Year in Review

You were so good to me, 2015!

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Macau streets in the evening

13 Night Photos of Macau that I Love

“I often think that the night is more alive and richly colored than the day.” -Vincent Van Gogh

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Busy Street Macau

10 Things to Do in Macau

Wine sampling at a museum, visiting a one-walled church, gambling at the biggest casino in the world, and eating Macau’s famous egg tarts… just for starters.

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The Big Buddha Hong Kong

Ngong Ping, Hong Kong: Escape to the Big Buddha

Photo essay. The Big Buddha is a sight to behold, but Ngong Ping offers much more- like an awesome cable car ride to start the journey. It’s the perfect, peaceful escape from downtown Hong Kong.

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hong kong antiques

Hong Kong and Her Treasures

From streets filled with dusty antiques to peaceful zen gardens, Hong Kong is full of unexpected treasures.

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Rasayana Bangkok

5 Amazing Places to get Healthy Food in Bangkok

Health nuts of Bangkok! Have you checked out these scrumptious spots?

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eating in Singapore

Three Cheers for Singapore’s Multicultural Cuisine

Singapore may be rich economically, but it’s also rich in flavors from around the world.

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Marina Bay Sands

One Night at Marina Bay Sands

It’s just a tad bit amazing…. especially that infinity pool.

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Singapore sling

A Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel

“Where else should one partake of the Singapore Sling but at Raffles Hotel?” My thoughts exactly…

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Mazatlan

What I Love about Mazatlán in 23 Pictures

Colorful houses, street art, beer, beaches… All the things I appreciate about Mazatlán, México told through pictures.

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Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi and Krabi: Balancing Crowds and Calm

Embracing the crowds on Koh Phi Phi and appreciating a quiet resort on private Tubkaek Beach in Krabi. WARNING: photos may cause sudden urges to visit the beaches of Thailand.

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The Japan Questionnaire

If you answer YES to any of these questions, you should probably start planning your trip to Japan.

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Life Is Too Short For…

24 things that life is just too short for… like uncomfortable couches and underwire bras.

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Flowers at Nagasaki Peace Park

A Tribute to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Photos of the beautiful Peace Parks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki + quotes on war and peace.

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Hashima Island

Hashima: Abandoned Island and Villain’s Hideout

Touring an abandoned coal miners’ island and villains hideout… Cue evil laugh and eerie background music.

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Fushimi Inari

Captivated by Kyoto: 28 Photos

28 photos that may cause sudden urges to visit this charming city of all things zen.

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Tokyo

10 Awesome Things To Do in Tokyo

Here are 10 awesome and inexpensive things you won’t want to miss- from watching Elvis impersonators in the park to searching for Harajuku girls.

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Okonomiyaki

16 Things to Eat and Drink in Japan

Do you enjoy wine? #7 might be for you. How about giant noodles? Check out #4. How about gooey balls with bits of octopus or pancakes shaped like fish?

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Bunny Island: It’s Fur Real

Here’s what’s up Doc: this Japanese island is loaded with stunning island views and bunnies who will smother you with their love…. until you run out of food.

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The Best of 2014

Places and favorite moments of 2014; my best year thus far.

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The Louvre: Mothership of Museums

Arrive early and be prepared to be overwhelmed. Here are some must-see pieces to see along with some tips for making the most of your visit.

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10 Reasons Why I Would Never Live at Versailles

#5. Neck aches from overly extravagant ceilings.

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Iconic Paris: A Photo Essay

Paris is oh-so photogenic. Here are my favorite 33 pictures that capture iconic locations around Paris.

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Floating Away: 90 Minutes in a Sensory Deprivation Pod

Floating at Bangkok Float Center was a unique, introspective, gravity-defying experience. Sensory deprivation is not as scary as it sounds, and it has so many benefits, like promoting deep relaxation and increasing creativity.

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A Food Journey in Paris

Bold cheeses, buttery snails, decadent desserts- French food is art in itself. Here are 10 noteworthy things to eat and drink in Paris, with tips for saving $ if you’re on a budget.

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2 Days in Vancouver

Vancouver is deliciously diverse and picturesque, and I packed as much as I could into 2 days. The itinerary includes the suspension bridge, sea otters at Stanley Park, Gastown, Chinese Gardens, and a wedding of course!

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A Solo Yoga Retreat = The Best Birthday Ever

My 23rd birthday present to myself was a solo yoga and meditation retreat in Koh Phangan, Thailand, and it could not have been more perfect… being alone doesn’t always mean being lonely.

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Healing Wounds of War: Volunteering at Vietnam Friendship Village

Thinking about volunteering in Vietnam? Vietnam Friendship Village is a welcoming community dedicated to caring for those who have been affected by Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant that was sprayed heavily during the Vietnam War and has caused a huge amount of health problems in Vietnam.

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Hanoi, Ha Long, and a Wad of Dong

10 interesting and memorable experiences in and around Hanoi, from eating dog to booze cruising around Ha Long Bay.

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Savoring Songkran

Have you ever wanted to take part in a giant water fight? You can… during Thailand’s New Years celebration. Here’s a run down on Songkran shenanigans along with a few tips for first timers.

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The Indonesia Equation

4 cities on 3 islands divided by 13 days. Here’s our exhilarating Indonesia equation told through pictures and short summaries.

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10 Unforgettable Experiences in Yogyakarta

From visiting an underground mosque to going on a spiritual journey, here are 10 Yogya experiences I won’t soon forget.

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Dreams of Borobudur

After flipping through a NatGeo as a little girl and seeing a full spread of these mysterious stupas, they have always been high on my list of places to explore.

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Ogah Ogah!

These intimidating, bodacious creatures rule the Balinese New Year’s Eve parade.

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Infatuation in Ubud

Ubud, Bali is pretty much the COOLEST place on Earth, if you’re into yoga, culture, healthy food, and spirituality.

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12 Annoyances of Thailand

Whitening cream, dreadful music, endless selfies… Here are 12 things about Thailand that REALLY got on my nerves.

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BuhBye Bangkok

Final musings on my year in Bangkok and takeaways of living abroad.

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Chillin’ in Chiang Rai

A list consisting of ‘5 things to do in Chiang Rai’ is pushing it. But there are several sites around this sleepy town that are worth seeing, like the bizarre white temple, the coffee plantations of Doi Tung, and a museum all about opium.

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Lounging in Siem Reap and Luang Prabang

Siem Reap (Cambodia) and Luang Prabang (Laos) are 2 Southeast Asian cities that have their own charisma. From eating tarantulas to making jewelry, here are some awesome eats and fun things to do in each location.

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24 Images of Angkor

Angkor Wat, the largest religious structure in the world, and the surrounding temple complexes serve as symbols of endurance and strength. They helped me to see beauty in moments of pain. It’s hard to capture the grandeur of Angkor, but here are my favorite pictures.

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Full Moon Fail

Every month, the island of Koh Phangan swells with frisky tourists who are ready to rage at the island’s insane ‘Full Moon Party.’ And thats where we were headed. Instead, we saw the disturbing aftermath of it.

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Here’s to 2014!

New Years is a time for us to think about the previous year- all the blunders, achievements, absurdities, and joys- and figure out how we can make the coming year even better than the last.

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Tis the Season in Thailand

Before coming to Thailand, I never expected such Christmas spirit… but I’m not complaining.

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Cannonballs in Khao Yai

Sarika Waterfall at Khao Yai National Park, only a two hour drive from Bangkok, was a much needed adventure. Never, EVER, underestimate the power of a day out in nature.

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Thoughts on the Protests in Bangkok

Here is my attempt at making sense of the messy political situation that has engulfed Bangkok in a protest frenzy.

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The Thanksgiving Trilogy

I had 3 lovely thanksgivings, during which I was able to reflect on everything I’m grateful for. I made a list (this can help to alleviate frustrations while living abroad), and my students added on. You can too… what are you thankful for?

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Letting Go on Loi Krathong

The celebration of Loi Krathong embraces the act of ‘letting go’ by releasing a krathong into the water and simultaneously apologizing to the water for the pollution. Although ironic, there is something very soothing about this day… especially when you need to let go.

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Shwedagon’s Splendor

Shwedagon Pagoda is inspiring. It’s a place of peace for the people of Myanmar and a safe haven for solo travelers, who get heaps of handshakes and free blessings. Plus… you’ll never guess who’s been there.

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Myanmar: To Go or Not to Go?

Traveling to Myanmar (Burma) is a tough decision. Undoubtedly, if you choose to go, some of your money will support the government, which has long oppressed its people and denied them of basic rights. Here are my tips for spending money wisely and preparing for your trip.

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Chiang Mai Moments

A collection of my favorite pictures from my time spent Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Fusion: In Food and Life

While eating Peruvian & Japanese fusion cuisine, I realized that being able to merge different elements into one not only happens in food but in our lives too… we create our own scrumptious cuisines.

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Muay Thai in Black and White

When it comes to the martial arts, Muay Thai fighter are said to be unrivaled. Don’t underestimate the size of these spritely young men; they deliver brutal blows to their opponents. What’s it like to see a Muay Thai fight in Bangkok?

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Rainy Day Revelations

We can make all the plans we want, but Mother Nature might have it her way. Rainy days remind us to slow down, take in our surrounding, and go with the flow.

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All That Jazz: Calypso Ladyboy Show

Feathers, fluff, sequins, cleavage… it all comes together for an extravagant production put on by Thailand’s renowned ladyboys…

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A Taquería in Thailand

Where should one go for Mexican food in Bangkok? My Mexican food experiences here had been sad and disappointing yet I still craved its familiar taste. I heard that La Monita Taqueria was the place to go…Buen Provecho!

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Elephant Shows: Entertainment or Abuse?

After riding an elephant up to Amber Fort in India, I regretted being the reason why the elephant was whacked on the head and kicked the entire way. I didn’t enjoy the ride from the minute I knew that the elephant was abused, and I won’t ride one as a tourist attraction again. I tend to not partake in attractions and shows at an animal’s expense; however, on a recent field trip with my students, I found myself sitting through several disconcerting animal shows at Safari World in Bangkok. I did not enjoy seeing orangutans dressed up in skimpy human clothing and mimicking human activities like boxing. No sir. Nor did I enjoy watching elephants labor through crowd-pleasers like painting, playing soccer, and standing up. I find this humanization to be strange and unsettling. Whats more unsettling during elephant shows is the continual use of the bullhook, which is a sharp metal hook that is used to jab the elephant in sensitive areas to get it to perform some sort of task; it serves as a prompt for the sake of entertaining humans. Most people don’t even realize this subtle whack to the elephants is continually taking place; they are too taken with the excitement of the show to realize that it’s what keeps the show going. However, because I have been made aware of elephant abuse from several other blogs like this one and this one,  I was on the edge of my seat- and not because the show was enthralling. I was hopelessly fixated on the bullhooks that always hover close to the elephants. I stared at the men holding the bullhooks who show no mercy, willing them not to strike the elephants too hard, and flinching on behalf of the elephants when it happened (often times in sensitive spots like on their head, behind their ears, or under their trunks). This is their way of continually showing dominance and control over these large, majestic creatures. Yes, these shows can be entertaining, especially for children who are giddy to see these wild animals up close. Elephant shows, and animal shows in general, are a huge worldwide industry which draw families and couples from all races. However, major entertainers, such as Ringling Bros are notorious for brutal, violent training sessions that baby elephants must go through. If more people were aware of what it takes to put on an elephant show, they certainly would not enjoy it. Like me, they may be too focused on the violent, archaic methods used to get the elephant to perform. Seeing a marvelous creature like a elephant coerced into twirling a hoola-hoop on its truck, walk across a tight rope, and kick a soccer ball into a goal is just so pathetic and unnatural. As a general rule of thumb, if an animal attraction involves a bull hook or other prop used to inflict pain, then it’s not worth it to me. There are several elephant rehabilitation centers in Thailand, which are dedicated to providing refuge and care for elephants who have been used for such shows, street begging, etc. I would love to volunteer at one of these centers; it’s a great option for people who want to interact with elephants without exploiting and harming them. I don’t believe that you can see a show more beautiful and exciting than an animal thriving in its natural habitat. When is the last time you saw animals performing? Did you enjoy it?

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Whatcha Readin’?

I have recently rekindled one of my favorite joys in life: reading for fun! I’m enjoying musty bookstores, and page-turners that keep me up!! What book is keeping YOU up late at night?

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10 Marvelous Malaysia Moments

Kuala Lumpur is hub of cultural and architectural beauty. Looking down from the Petronas towers, visiting the Batu Caves, getting a pedicure from little fish- there is no shortage of memorable moments in Malaysia!

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Koh Samet by Night – Part 2

Koh Samet transforms at night… the island is energized by trendy hookah spots, flame throwers, and live music while charming lanterns dangle from the trees.

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Koh Samet by Day – Part 1

Koh Samet is a laid-back island, easily accessible from Bangkok. With sugary, white sand beaches, cheap Thai massages, and activities like renting motorcycles and parasailing, who wouldn’t love it?

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A Taste of Thailand

Food choices in Thailand, especially Bangkok, are overwhelming and yet intriguing… My favorite food pictures help to capture the culture of Thai food.

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Cleanup with the Kiddos!

Look what we found! First trash cleanup for the third graders at Satit Kaset IP in Bangkok, Thailand!

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Riding to Ayutthaya’s Ruins

A day of exploring and cycling through the ruins of Ayutthaya!

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My Bangkok Crib!

Pictures and descriptions of my apartment in the Chatuchak district of Bangkok, Thailand!

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Pausing Briefly, Moving Forward

“A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that “individuality” is the key to success.”                       -Robert Orben I felt it too…. The sameness. Graduation was far less bittersweet to me than it was… refreshing. I grew tired of the same places, the same small conversations about people rather than ideas. Although I enjoyed my college years tremendously, the time spent with my sorority sisters, and the larger close-knit multicultural greek community I was apart of, I was ready to jump out into world! The months leading up to graduation brought disappointments and cancellations of prior plans. I had been excited about the prospect of being accepted to ‘Teach for America’, and then teaching English in Chile; however, they were both great opportunities rather than what I was meant to do. Fortunately, I was raised to know that the universe had something better in store for me. My plans manifested themselves in the form of my highest, truest, what-I-was-meant-to-do job… a teaching job in Thailand! I am now working at Satit Kaset International Program, a small, elite K-8 bilingual demonstration school. With my 3rd grade class, I will enjoy freedom with lessons, as I am encouraged to be an innovative educator. I will be working alongside a Thai teacher, who will greatly emphasize Thai culture, and another seasoned American teacher who has been teaching at Satit Kaset for over 10 years. Aren’t you scared to teach abroad?  I was asked a lot. To be quite honest, I was far less scared of this exotic, unknown experience than teaching in America’s system of education where I feel stifled by scripted curriculum, overwhelmed, and overworked. And I was only a student teacher. After 4 long, long, long years in college, I am finally a graduate, and I have moved onto thrilling things! I am so excited for this opportunity and my pending experiences here in Thailand. Although I had been looking forward to this experience, it came coupled with the sadness of leaving someone I am in love with. With heavy hearts, my boyfriend and I said our goodbyes, both of us nervous for the trials of a long distance relationship, excited for the opportunities coming our individual ways, and confident that things will work out as they are meant to be. I have been in Thailand for 5 days now; my mouth has already been exposed to some delicious concoctions, and I start my first day of teaching tomorrow! I can’t wait to keep you all updated! Coming soon… a tour of my Bangkok apartment!

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Companionship in the Caribbean

My first time traveling with a significant other in the fabulous Jamaica! Mysterious role reversals, jerk chicken, cliff divers….

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An Anise Affinity

Year after year, I enjoy my family’s company while we work together to create this once a year delicacy. I enjoy these scrumptious anise morsels from the tin until every last crumb is gone…

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A Peek into Permaculture

I find that the principals of permaculture can not only be applied to nature, but the way in which we live. As we are constantly careening in and out of each others lives, we must remember that we are connected to everything else.

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7 Super Shots

Seven of my National-Geographic worthy, all time favorite travel pictures. Take a look!

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Volunteers For Peace

VFP continues to be my number one choice, because I know I am traveling not only as a volunteer, but as an activist united with passionate organizations who strive to make this world a little better. With over 30,000 volunteers exchanged already, the roots of these projects have taken a stronghold, and they continue to provide solutions for tomorrow.

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Ode to India

India is a land where nothing ever comes together, but nothing ever quite falls apart either. Even though every day was an incessant love-hate relationship, looking back I can remember nothing but feeling that India felt more like home to me than I had ever known.

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The Perfect Relationship: A Foreign Country

The adventures in foreign countries provide you with a fistful of memories which you will clutch ferociously in you hands for a lifetime. Not the kind that make u cringe, either… the kind that leave a warmth on your heart and a smile on your face.

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Rumble in the Jungle

We doubled over, tripled over, and quadrupled over with laughter as we feasted on tamales. And not one of us shared the same culture, and we obviously could not speak the same language, but ohhhhh could we laugh.

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Pura Vida

Pura Vida is a stability and steadiness of all opposites. It comes down to a very simple equation, which is really a question that wish I could ask myself more: How can I do this outdoor work most efficiently so that my hammock time is maximized? It’s finding that sweet balance of working hard, and relaxing just as hard.

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The Travel Syndrome

Do you have the ability to feel at home no matter where you are? Are you repulsed by the ‘common’ tourist? You may have the Travel Syndrome!

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Pipe Cleaners, Rocks & Globalization

Globalization: it’s happening, & the fight against it is not worth it. However, we can preserve the integrity and character of every location by cherishing our connections with those around us, and of course, savoring the little things.

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Protest GPS: Fight to Get Lost!

Should we really listen to people who constantly tell us that we’re going the wrong way? Many times the ‘wrong way’ can lead us on an inexplicable adventure and an even better destination than we were headed for in the first place.

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First World Failures & Haiti

Are we setting ourselves up for failure? We came into this experience expecting to make a difference, and maybe we did. But we learned more from the Haitians than we could ever expect to teach them…

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Haitian Encounters

A testament to the true character of Haitians. Although I may not have carried a burden as heavy as they do, not a day goes by that I don’t think about these vivaciously happy, enduring people with indestructible spirits…

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