Adventures Abroad

Adventures Abroad
Machu Picchu

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

6 Things to Leave at Home While Traveling

Welcome back, fellow travelers!

6 Things to Leave at Home While Traveling:

1.) Fanny pack: They may be useful, but they are quite bulky and unflattering.

  • Opt for: A money belt or a neck wallet. They run from about $12-30. Also, this will provide you with safety because you won't stand out as a tourist.
Eagle Creek All Terrain Money Belt: $20

2.) Sandals with socks: They make you look very touristy and quite silly....unless you are in Japan, leave them at home!
  • Opt for: Ballet flats or sneakers. Personally, I love Bobs because they are flat, flexible, and comfortable.
Sketchers Bobs: $30-45

3.) Heels: Ladies, I know they are cute and stylish, but unless you are in Paris, keep them at home.
  • Opt for: A cute pair of ballet flats. If you want to be fashionable, try a pair of snake skin Michael Kors flats.
Michael Kors Odette Flat: $185

4.) Convertible pants: While these pants seem like the perfect travel accessory they are also the worst. The     pants will make you look touristy. So, unless you are going to Africa on a safari trip, leave them.
  • Opt for: Pack multiple options, such as a pair of shorts and pants.

5.) Luggage: It is nice to wheel around your clothes, makeup, and shoes, but in all honesty, it it inconvenient.
  • Opt for: A backpack because they are easier to lug around. 
Deuter Aircontact 65 + 10 Pack: $269
6.) IPad: Quite useful, but leave this expensive piece at home.
  • Opt for: A good 'ol book. Books are cheap and the more use they get, the more beautiful they look. IPads are not only expensive, but easily destroyed by the sand, ocean, weight, etc. Stick with the classic book.

The Amazon Journal: $25-40

"The most important thing always to have with me in my case is a book: no companion is likely to be richer, stranger, more alive, and more eager to be intimate. Pens and notebooks, of course. Pieces of America to give away. A Lonely Planet guide to get angry with and bitterly repudiate. More novels and biographies for eight-hour waits.
I think I spend more time thinking about what I don't want to take with me: assumptions, IPods, cameras, plans, friends (in most cases), laptops, headphones, suntan lotion, resumes, expectations."
- Pico Iyer
**Quote is from The TAO of Travel by Paul Theroux

What do you think is better to leave at home while traveling?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bienvenidos a Nicaragua!

Hello, fellow wanderlusters!

As of today, I landed back in the US from Nicaragua and got three hours of sleep, just in time to walk across the stage to graduate! However, that is a story for another time, another blog post.

So, lets travel into my recent adventure through Nicaragua to a small fishing village, San Juan del Sur, which is located near Rivas. San Juan del Sur is a charming little town made for young travelers and retirees alike.
B and I at the beach

Power in Central America:
On occasion, the power in Central America tends to go out, especially during rainy season. When this happens in a hostel, most travelers come out of their rooms and join together at a table with whatever they have. On my last trip, when the power went out due to lightning, the whole hostel came together with headlamps, Flor de Cana, Coca-Cola, music, and snacks. We became quite acquainted with one another and had a grand ‘ol time. Don’t be scared to make new friends! 
Tip: pack a flashlight or headlamp

Video of the Rainy Season that left us without power for 3 days! 

Exchange rate:
$1.00 US= roughly 23 cordobas 

As I always say, travel with common sense! Always be aware of your surroundings. Never wear flashy jewelry. Do not be alarmed by the armed guards...they are there to protect. And, the people in the town are quite charming. In SJDS, I never felt alarmed or in danger.
Tip: either lock your passport up or hide it. Get creative!
Security guard at the rental car place
Where did I stay?
Hostel Esperanza

Review of the hostel:
The hostel sits in one of the best locations in San Juan del Sur. One may watch the sun set over the boat filled bay every night. As for the hostel, it is one-story and filled with charming rooms. A few rooms are private and a few are dorm rooms, which sleep about 8 people. Do not rely on air conditioning in this tiny hostel, but you may rely on the window and fans in each room.  
Sunset in front of the hostel!
The pros of the hostel:
  • Free breakfast
  • Free Internet
  • Beach located directly across the street
  • A tiny, charming courtyard
  • Restaurants within walking distance
  • Access to the kitchen
  • Fascinating fellow travelers
  • Reasonable prices (Private: $20, Dorm: ~$8-$10)
  • Towels in room
The cons of the hostel:
  • No air conditioning
  • No television
What did I do in San Juan del Sur?
The drink of Nicaragua!
  • Visited multiple beaches: Playa Maderas, Playa Hermosa, and Playa Remanso
  • Ate lobster almost every night for about 200 cordobas
  • Visited multiple beaches and soaked up the sun
  • Watched surfers
  • Danced
  • Drank Nica Especial
Some of my favorite places worthy of checking out:
  • Playa Hermosa: $3 entry fee, but worth it for the privacy and security
  • El Timon: beach restaurant with excellent lobster
  • Barrio café: perfect for breakfast and coffee
  • El Gato Negro: the best coffee in town
  • Black Whale: a happening bar filled with great nightlife
  • Tip Top: fast food chicken (I suggest eating the kids meal for 89 cordoba)
 Did you visit Nicaragua? If so, how was your experience?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Illness is caused by a lack of understanding"

Hello, fellow travelers!

The other day, I read an excerpt from a book and I had this feeling of guilt wash over me. I suppose it was because I love to travel, but before that day, I never really thought of the effects it had on other cultures.
The Ladakhi 

Do you think you know the effects? Well, there is a common Ladakhi saying, “Even if you know, it’s better to ask another.” What I am trying to say is, it is time for the book of the month!

Author: Helena Norberg-Hodge

Description: “The swiftly evolving socioeconomic life of Ladakh, whose people struggle to balance growth and technology with cultural values, offers crucial lessons in sustainable development. This gripping portrait of the western Himalayan land known as “Little Tibet” moves from the author’s first visit to idyllic, nonindustrial Ladakh in 1974 to the present, tracking profound changes as the region was opened to foreign tourists, Western goods and technologies, and pressures for economic growth. These changes in turn brought generational conflict, unemployment, inflation, environmental damage, and threats to the traditional way of life.
The Ladakhi Culture

Appalled by these negative impacts, the author helped establish the Ladakh Project (later renamed the International Society for Ecology and Culture) to seek sustainable solutions that preserve cultural integrity and environmental health, while addressing the Ladakhis’ hunger for modernization. This model undertaking effectively combines educational programs for all social levels with the design, demonstration, and promotion of appropriate technologies such as solar heating and small-scale hydro power.

Examining how modernization changes the way people live and think, Norberg-Hodge challenges us to redefine our concepts of “development” and “progress.” Above all, Ancient Futures stresses the need to carry traditional wisdom into the future—our urgent task as a global community.”

Not convinced yet? Think about this quote from the book…
 “At one village I witnessed a trekking group armed with cameras, bon bons, and pens, virtually attacking the villagers. Dressed in fluorescent greens, reds, and blues, they poked their cameras in unsuspecting faces without a word and then moved on to their next victim.”

For more information on the Ladakhi:

**All quotes are from the book.
Happy reading!