Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

This is my personal blog and a space that I try to make sense of my wandering life. Depending on the day it could be a helpful resource for the country I'm in, or a self-help guide. We'll just have to see ;)

Discovering the real meaning of a resume (It’s not all about the title)

I looked around the room at Green Drinks, a local meet up for environmentally minded business folk. As I mingled, name scratched in permanent marker on the white sticker clinging to my nicer-than-usual clothing, I suddenly realized that this was my life. No one was telling me what to do or where to be, and there were no (apparent) consequences for laying in bed all day. But alas, there I was, sipping on a local brew and mingling with entrepreneurs and business people, many of whom were at least a decade older than me. While others were starting conversations with resume-worthy past titles and experiences I relied heavily on the only thing I had: travel stories. It garnered its fair share of attention; it turns out that exotic places like Patagonia and “an organic farm on the side of a volcano” can turn as many heads as trigger words like “manager” or “head of operations.” To me, this was a breakthrough.

On graduation day I mourned the fact that my days of globe-trotting, which seemed to have just begun, were coming to an abrupt end. That the piece of paper I was holding was a declaration of domesticity, of accepting a job where I would simply stare at a framed picture of a far away place, working to earn a few vacation days to get there. I considered myself lucky, privileged to have been able to pursue my degrees and study abroad when so many others hadn’t. I had lived the majority of my college years in other countries and suddenly it seemed, it was all for nothing. As I walked across the stage it was obvious that my part-time titles as “nanny” and “cupcake decorator” weren’t doing much for me. I felt cheated and a little betrayed that my elders hadn’t given me fair warning. That they hadn’t told me that my “cheap” travel was actually going to haunt me in the form of student loans, or that while I had been learning to play polo or going weeks without a shower, my peers were amassing valuable skills. They were doing internships and despite the reality that their “administrative experience” consisted of getting coffee for someone higher up the ladder, their resumes still boasted real world titles. It sounded terrible to me, but in that moment – holding an expensive piece of paper, surrounded by everyone who loved me and wanted nothing more than to know what “the next step” would be – I almost wished I had preferred a briefcase to a backpack.

Now, I’m thankful I didn’t. Holding my own at Green Drinks and using my travel resume (reserving my actual resume for self-deprecating jokes – Hey! I probably made that tiramisu you ate on your last business meeting!) was proof that just because I had lived thousands of miles away or had a little more fun that typically encouraged, didn’t mean I wasn’t valuable. In fact, during the meeting, people’s feedback made me realize that travel might have actually given me more of a resume booster than I once thought. Sure, I wasn’t in an office, but you can bet that missing my bus home and sleeping in a sketchy bus station resulted in an intense attention to detail that I would apply to more than just bus tickets. Or that spontaneous weekend trips meant learning to juggle work and social life, and learning to telling the difference in the two. Protests, poor map-reading skills and hour long grocery lines taught me flexibility and patience. Traveling solo meant meeting new people and learning to network. Being the minority in a culture, whether it be for my skin color, gender, or language taught me more about racism and tolerance than any textbook could have and being exposed to extremes of both good and evil made the world a little more real. All of these things, it turns out, made me a decent potential employee. And more importantly, they helped make me a better person.

For me, travel has never been an option. And when I say travel, I don’t mean vacations. I mean living in other places, other cultures and absorbing everything that comes with that; from new sights and smells to pushing my own limits. These aren’t exclusive to far off places, but it is easier to live this way when it’s the only option. Travel, for me, is a way to make myself live how I eventually want to regardless of location. It’s how I’ve learned to ignore the “you can’t have too much fun” trap, that clear and open communication should be the only option, and that all people really are the same when you get down to it. But what I learned that night at Green Drinks wasn’t exclusive to travel. It was that, no matter your calling, as long as you are active and as long as you are doing something, you will always have a “resume.” I learned that pursuing what made me happy – despite it being the less responsible, or less traditional path – actually made me more valuable than if I had done what I thought I should have, despite lack of passion for it. Now, sitting on an air mattress staring at my backpack and piles of laundry, I’m gearing up for a job as the Marketing Manager for Outward Bound Costa Rica. I’m realizing that this adventure is a combination of what I once imagined as two extremes: the backpack vs. the briefcase. I’m realizing that sometimes, things really do come full circle.


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This entry was posted on August 21, 2013 by in Travel reflections.
One of the best parts of "living in Paradise"?...Getting to share it with family ♥ I'm going through wedding pictures and stumbled across this shot from our sunset horseback ride near Santa Teresa. As crazy as it was planning a wedding and a family vacation directly afterwards, it's the moments like this that made it all worth it. Now, less than 4 months's my JOB to ensure families come home with memories like this one. Not a bad gig if I say so myself 🌅
Life update: I've moved out of the jungle 😭 Its been a little over a month and I've learned SO much during the transition. You know when you make a decision that others might not be fully convinced of....but you can feel that it's right deep down? This was one of those times. To everyone else we had a dream situation - and it was! - but the thing is....we all have to change, we all have to grow, and we all have to make the decision of when its worth fighting the current or going with the flow...and while we *deeply* loved being surrounded by nature 24/7, there are some things that giant blue butterflies and sunsets can't do in life. . . So what am I doing now?? I'm helping other people discover this incredible country 🌴 I'm designing custom trips, honeymoons and vacations. (See my very official headshot on my professional page - link in my bio 😆) I get to visit our partner hotels, do the tours, and experience the trips first hand so I can give first-hand advice and continue growing as a pro on tourism here. It is a LOT of work but I LOVE making totally custom trips based on my clients' personal #bucketlists! I'm optimistic, grateful, motivated and humbled. Pablo and I are building our dream life "poco a poco" but this year is about pushing harder than ever to put a foundation under our dreams. Paying off loans. Buying property. Planning our own jungle home....and so much. We can't wait to see what this new life-in-the city (with plenty of weekend trips) has in store for us 👊 . . "THE SECRET OF CHANGE IS TO FOCUS ALL OF YOUR ENERGY, NOT ON FIGHTING THE OLD, BUT ON BUILDING THE NEW." ~ Socrates
When life gives you too many beautiful photo opps....make an image slider 🤓 . Pics taken on one of our recent roadtrips. La Paz waterfall is still one of my favorite falls in the country and you don't even have to get out of your car to see it! (Though I recommend that you do). This area is full of strawberry farms so our favorite way of playing tourist is to grab a box from a roadside vendor, snack on the ride down the mountain, stop for photo opps, then throw a few berries to the local -incredibly adorable - pizotes 🤗 (scroll to the end to see their close up!)
At about 7 inches long, this little guy was just a speck of brilliant color in the greens and browns that surrounded him. One of the best parts of exploring national parks is that "scary" animals like this eyelash viper aren't just tolerated, but are celebrated. People kill snakes out of fear, but even venemous ones like this are no threat if we just let them be. I'm extra thankful for Pablo's steady hands and this close up (taken with his phone!). Toucans and monkeys are great, but these vipers are some of my favorite animals to see in the wild. If you look closely you can even see the "eyelashes" this species are famous for 😍
Well, its official. Our year of living and working at @finca_bellavista has come to an end, and for all the lessons learned and incredible experiences had, we couldn't be more excited for our new chapter. We're already seriously missing the staff, volunteers, and pristine wilderness that surrounded us....we even miss our little hut by the river. But life needs to be shaken up sometimes and we're thriving in this time of change. As of this week I'm so excited to say that I've taken a job with a travel company I've followed and admired for years. I'll be planning custom itineraries to some of the best hotels in Costa Rica, and be showing visitors my version of Costa Rica....with all the hidden gems along the way 💓🌿💓 I haven't figured out yet if I'll start a separate IG account for it, but I'm so excited to show off the properties, tours, and experiences that make travelling here so special. In the meantime, if you know anyone wanting a once in a lifetime trip to the land of pura know where to find me 😊 But first, a quote that has been speaking to me this week: . . . "We can't be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don't have something better.” ― C. JoyBell C.
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and attention.”💕 ~ Buddha . On an especially hectic Valentine’s Day, I want to remind everyone that it’s not all about roses and dinners or sappy love movies. Sometimes, it’s not even about our partners. It’s about a deeper love that sets the foundation for all other relationships to flow out of it. Self love, self respect, and living your life in a way that simultaneously sets boundaries and breaks them.... that’s what it’s all about. It’s finding the balance in serving others and serving yourself, in seeking happiness not through someone else but alongside them. It’s about figuring out this miracle called life one day at a time, ending the day with gratitude and holding the people dear to you close. ✨ Happy Valentine’s Day y’all.... I love you and am grateful for your presence in my life🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Rum-chata for the win 🙌🏻 Miss Ashley Layne and Aaron (@thetroxella) mixed up this magic: homemade horchata on the rocks with a splash of Flor De Caña Nicaraguan rum. I’ll be calling it “Christmas in the Jungle” but you can just call it “delicious.” 😜
It’s been one month and three days since this day and I can’t quite put into words how crazy life has felt since then. Our wedding was the perfect combo of hilarious day-of drama (I might have forgotten Pablo’s ring and only realized it as we were saying vows 😂) and fairy-tale moments (like seeing the perfect altar that Pablo built and the amazing decorations that friends, family and staff put together). I wish we could do it 1000x more, and soak in the simplicity that was the main attraction : good food, beautiful views, good people, and the amazing presence of Mother Nature. There’s so much to say but all I can muster is this: we can’t wait to see what’s next 👊🏻. Here’s to a bright 2018, to living life on our terms, and to growing even more as people, partners, and friends. 💕💕💕
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” - W.B. Yeats 🍍 I’ve walked by our little pineapple patch so many times I can’t count during this past year, but yesterday I discovered that baby pineapples (like the one pictured) bloom with the most beautiful purple flowers. Pineapples can take up to 2 years to produce their fruit and only produce 3 times in their lives, every time getting smaller (but sweeter!). Such an incredible, delicious plant from the tropics 🙌🏻
In yoga, tree pose is used to promote balance - in the feet, hips, pelvis....and also in emotions . . 22 days until our wedding, until our families meet for the first time, and until our little family of two becomes official. We decided on an outdoor ceremony becasue that's where we feel connected; it's where we met, where we feel most spiritual, and where we find inspiration. Whether it's helping run a treehouse community, traveling through the Andes with everything we own on our backs, or opening up our own eco-business somewhere in the Americas.....nature is our constant. She's what binds us, and I'm thrilled that I will get to commit my life to someone while enveloped in her sunshine, with the sound of her waves, the smell of her breeze, and the feeling of her beneath our feet. Here's to taking a break from the stress of wedding planning, and focusing on what really matters....✨love✨
Life tip: marry a man who knows how to use a machete 👌🏻 . . Also...we had an earthquake last night but besides the swinging lamps and fruit baskets, no damage and everyone is safe and sound in “paradise” 🙏🏻
5+ years of traveling and exploring Latin America and finally happened. Thanks to an incredibly well-timed Facebook post, and a group of people doing amazing conservation work, Pablo and I had the opportunity to help release not just 1, but 50, baby Olive Ridley sea turtles into the ocean. It’s hard to describe what it’s like: watching them struggle through the sand... get stuck...become exhausted...then move forward again despite what (to them) are mountains and tidal waves... then just as the sun soaked us with the deep gold of sunset, the tide swept them away one by one. Their tiny bodies came to life when they touched water for the first time - it’s such a moment of instinct and pure drive and every single one paddled as hard as possible to avoid being swept backwards.... Not a bad metaphor for life, huh? Anyways... I’ll be posting a blog about the babies soon. In the meantime, we’re sending all of our love and good vibes to these little ones.... we’re hoping that most of them made it through the night and they’ll be on their way to even deeper waters today 💙
My entire life I've connected with the quote that "the mountains are calling and I must go" but I'm happy to say I've found a happy place on lower ground as well 🙏🏻 Jungle + Beach + Pipa = perfection 💕🐚🌴 ......I'm curious! Where's your "happy place?"......
Back to these beautiful Costa Rican sunsets 🙏🏻 After a whirlwind visit to see friends and family in Kentucky, I couldn't help but notice how our lives are syncing with the season: the pumpkins and leaf piles reminded me how autumn feels - the rapid changes, the little moments and flavors that everyone goes crazy for (pumpkin everything!) and the last burst of energy and color before the cool calm of winter washes over. We're in the heart of wedding planning, gearing up for high season at the hotel and facing a completely uncertain future in the way of visas, travel plans, etc... Here's to savoring this season of our lives instead of worrying or stressing about the ones to come 🙏🏻
The power of imagination makes us infinite." - John Muir . Exploring the magical treehouse Fila Tortuga at Finca Bellavista. No matter how many I explore, the truth still stands: treehouses bring out the kid in you, they make the impossible seem possible (like a tree floating in the jungle canopy 🙊) and they inspire you to look at the world a little differently. . Comment below if staying in a treehouse in on your #bucketlist!
(Fun fact: zip lines were invented in Costa Rica as a way for biologists to have easier access to the dense forest canopy 🤓). I could get all metaphoric - but let's just say this: flying through the air, above the sun-drenched jungle canopy, surrounded by good people and delicious air.... puts life into perspective. We're just tiny little beings trying to make our way in the world.... and have a little fun while doing it. Pura vida chicos, and I hope you have an amazing day 🙌🏻 (scroll through for more pics of Finca Bellavista's Sky Trail!)
Jungle essentials: camera, boots, smile. Sometimes, when my hundreds of mental to-do lists start to feel heavy... I have to remind myself we live in Paradise. It's in my backyard but I rarely take enough time to explore "beyond the bridge." Hiking alone in the jungle, despite years of my getting to know these kinds of landscapes, is still ✨magical ✨Everything is rain-drenched and thriving....little movements that proceed each step remind me that there is FAR more life surrounding me than what I'm aware of, and of course the trees: beautiful, entangled, and reaching towards the fog (or sun, depending on the hour). I'm back to my to-do lists today, but man what a little fresh air can do for the soul 🙌🏻
Playing jungle book in the Osa Peninsula 🍃✨💕
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