AHOY! I had already crossed Tampa Bay’s Mardi Gras, a.k.a. the Gasparilla Invasion, off my travel bucket list back in 2006. HOWEVER, I didn’t know the experience could be that much better when witnessed from a BOAT! Luckily, I had that ultimate experience last month 🙂 Debating whether you should experience it too (it is known, after all, as a festival of debauchery)? Check out my Gasparilla Invasion videos and photos below to decide yourself 😉 With the right crowd (and outfits), I promise you: it’s a lot of fun.
HOW to cross the Gasparilla Invasion off your travel bucket list
If I have convinced you, here’s how you can cross the Gasparilla invasion of your travel bucket list: You may hitch a ride with a Tampa Bay Couchsurfer who happens to own a boat, a friend, a total stranger. Just show up with some drinks, mixers and I doubt any friendly Floridian will deny you entry to their vessel 😉
I found some friendly pirates!
OR, if you feel more comfortable, go the ‘conventional tourist’ route and book a one of the unlimited wine/beer/soft drinks FERRY TOURS from St. Petersburg:
Throwing BEADS at one of the FERRY TOURS coming from St. Petersburg
Where to stay when attending the Gasparilla Invasion?
It really depends where your new found friend parks his/her boat, if you are boat hitchhiking or whether you’re taking a ferry tour. IF you are not Couchsurfing and plan to stay in Tampa, I recommend hotels close to Jackson’s Bistro (601 S Harbour Island Blvd, Tampa, FL 33602), such as the Marriott and the Westin.
You must book your room WAY in advance, as locals snatch these early. Naturally, traffic is impossible on Gasparilla parade day, so I don’t recommend any hotel outside walking distance from Harbour Island…
It gets CROWDED, very crowded! But from the comforts of a boat, not a big deal at all. Unless…
Getting to the Gasparilla Invasion: Parade day tips
Speaking of which, boat traffic is pretty terrible before, during, and after the Gasparilla Invasion as well. Therefore, if your friends are planning to come into Harbour Island, make sure you arrive either the night before or on parade day by 9:30 AM sharp. Also, don’t plan to leave until sunset. Otherwise, it will be a nightmare.
^^ WARNING: strong Sofia Vergara-esque accent due to all-day imbibing ^^
On the other hand, if you’re staying in St. Petersburg and taking one of the ferry tours, ask your tour company which hotel is closest to its dock. Gasparilla can get pretty crazy, so make sure your hotel is nearby!
That shall be me — and very likely your vision after attending the Gasparilla parade!
If you have any other questions about Tampa Bay and/or attending the Gasparilla Invasion Parade, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
Hiiiiiii! *Waves energetically* Indeed, I’m so excited by the development of my 2014 New Year resolutions this past week! As some of you know, I’ve been struggling with some issues + in-between jobs for most of 2013, so I’m certainly looking forward to the new year. And so, it was during one of those “I have no idea where my life is going” moments that I remembered 2 items that have been buried deep within my travel bucket list for way too long:
To study in Indonesia and finally discover ASIA
Volcano in Yogyakarta
But, HOW? I’m living off savings as we speak. I’m back home with my parents. And then it occurred to me…
There’s a SCHOLARSHIP to study Bahasa Indonesia in-country! YES!
I scoured my computer and all online backup storage websites I’ve signed up for in order to find it. And I did. In fact, I found TWO scholarships: one that would whisk me away, all-expenses-paid, for 3 months, not only to learn the Indonesian language but also to delve deep into the culture, learning more about their traditional dances; while the other would allow me to study Bahasa Indonesia for an entire YEAR, my only expenses being my medical insurance and RT airfare.
Bahasa Indonesia sign (Indonesian language) at Prambanan Temple by Remon Rijper
I couldn’t wait until January 1st to get started on these 2014 New Year resolutions, though! In less than 10 days, I got 2 of the 3 recommendation letters I need and most of the application packet contents. I’m just waiting to hear back from one professor of mine, to get my passport photos taken, and to update my resume.
THIS IS SO FREAKING EXCITING! …and another opportunity to break my heart into tiny little pieces…
Another 2014 New Year resolution? Mend a broken heart—& dreams [Photo: Romana Klee]
It’s so weird: I’ve been through so many disappointments, broken dreams lately that there’s this seething, new-found fear within me whenever I plan BIG. Once again, there’s an “application process.” Once again, here I am all thrilled only to possibly be in tears in a couple of months’ time. I can fight it, I’m strong—but it also gets tiring.
I would like to think that it gets a bit easier though. At least applying for scholarships is something that I’ve done before (quite successfully! That’s how I studied for an entire year in Egypt—all expenses paid). It’s not some stupid contest based on whether they like me in front of the camera or not. It’s based on solid facts: my experiences, my GPA (suddenly, those honor program diplomas are worth something!). So let’s hope I have a better chance at these 2014 New Year resolutions…
SO! Let’s DREAM! Where would I be going if I’m a selected scholar?!
Sewu Temple, Yogyakarta by Ferian-pz, Flickr
Yogyakarta, a student town + epicenter of Javanese arts and culture
My biggest dream would be to be awarded the one-year scholarship. My top choice is the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM), as it is one of the most prestigious Bahasa Indonesia programs in the country, in addition to being located in Yogyakarta, a student town with over 100 other colleges PLUS the epicenter of Javanese arts and culture. I hear from locals and experts alike that it’s such a great environment: lots and lots to do, full of artists, not as crowded, etc.
Dian Al-Mahri mosque in Depok, West Java by GedhangGoreng, Flickr
Depok, close to the capital and home of University of Indonesia
I’m not that thrilled about my 2nd choice, but I hear it’s an excellent Bahasa Indonesia program as well. I keep hearing horror stories about Jakarta (and Depok on weekends) though: much pollution, chaos. It eerily reminds me of Cairo though and how I lived an entire year there. It was a love-hate relationship, but some love there regardless. So let’s see where the universe takes me…!
not going to talk about the Golden Triangle now: these are just countries I want to visit, discover Asia in 2014! 😉 [Photo: mikkelz, Flickr]
Discover Asia: Hong Kong, Thailand, Burma, Singapore
If I get the one-year scholarship, that means I would have to take care of my own airfare. We frequent flyers know that it’s cheaper to buy a multi-stop ticket than a round-trip ticket sooo…! Time to DISCOVER ASIA! Yay! I would probably leave a month in advance, going to Hong Kong (2-3 days), Thailand (2 weeks), Burma (1 week), Laos (2 days), and Singapore (2-3 days) before landing on Indonesia. That’s assuming I already know which boarding house I’ll be staying at…
Another reason to study in Indonesia: the beautiful beaches of South Sulawesi [Photo: Thomas Blower, Flickr]
Sulawesi or Javanese dancing? That is the question…
As far as the 3-month arts and culture scholarship goes, I’m between learning about the South Sulawesi or Javanese. The more I look into Sulawesi though, the more I’m intrigued! In comparison to Java, it is so remote, so gorgeous, amazing diving… And, since I might be living in Yogyakarta, I might as well check out Southern Sulawesi for 3 months! Here I am, already assuming I got both the 3-month and the regular one year scholarships back-to-back… Why do I have to be such a dreamer?!
South Sulawesi architecture exhibit inside a ‘theme park’ in Jakarta by Joseph Younis, Flickr
This week’s Travel Bucket List Wednesday post is all about some of my personal favorites: paid and free things to do in Quebec City! I fell so deeply in love with its walled old town and basse-ville when I visited last June. Just, the vibe… unbelievably romantic, captivating, beautiful. So glad I got to cross this lovely town off my travel bucket list on my first trip to Canada!
Old Quebec City from a room at the Hilton by Sean Haynes, Flickr
Paid + Free Things to do in Quebec City: My Personal Recommendations!
My first Quebec City travel tip? Go online and print a map of the city. Why? Because I did my best to arrange the recommendations and landmarks on this photo essay in a way that allows you to create your own walking tours! So dot down/circle the places I have listed, connect them all with a line, and have a fun holiday 😀
**You me start at Upper Town and end at Citadel — vice versa 😉
St. Lawrence River ferry, Vieux-Québec
Get lost in Upper Town & the vicinity
I Couchsurfed in Quebec City and let me tell you, it was an experience in itself. For 4 days, my base was a neighborhood north of Rue Saint-Jean and Avenue Turnbull (up the hill, bordering Upper Town). It was so multicultural and charming. People always had a smile on their faces, willing to strike a conversation. You could easily walk up to a small grocer and find everything from Polish beet soup to a complete assortment of Indian spices. Let alone the variety of charming restaurants/cafes down the hill, within easy walking distance of Vieux Québec. My type of neighborhood! 🙂
Upper Town and vicinity, Québec City
Lazy morning (or afternoon) at Gare du Palais & Rue Saint-Paul
Yes, I’m actually recommending you to spend some time at Quebec City’s central train station (450 Rue de la Gare du Palais), whether you arrived or are leaving from here or not. For starters, it’s a beautiful building! I took several pictures of its architecture, inside and out. Moreover, its good cafés, people watching, and free Wi-Fiare the perfect ingredients to “waste some hours away.”
Even the central train station has character in Québec City!
Continue your day walking down Rue Saint-Paul, which is nearby!
Stroll down picturesque Rue Saint-Paul: another idea on free things to do in Quebec City! (Photo: Gilbert Bochenek, Wiki Commons)
A few hours at Musée de la Civilisation
Outstanding architecture and history of the ambiguous Quebecois heritage are always on display at Musée de la Civilisation (85 Rue Dalhousie). Marvel at its beautiful façade, the adjacent Maison Estèbe, and the Pagé-Quercy Vaulted Cellar.
Integrated into one of the exhibition rooms, “Pagé-Quercy Vaulted Cellar is part of the 27 vaults of Place-Royale, which are some of the city’s oldest and most beautiful structures” (MCQ.org)
Speaking of exhibitions, you must NOT miss the “People of Québec…Then and Now”–the museum’s permanent run-through of over 400 years of the province’s history. It will really put things in perspective for every visitor.
Musee de la Civilisation façade (Photo: Claude Gagnon, Wiki Commons)
Château Frontenac: inside and out
While just being inside this gorgeous mansion is absolutely amazing, their afternoon tea (offered on selected dates; call for details) is icing on the cake. Unless you actually book a night at the hotel + buy a President Club membership…now that’s just royal. Literally.
Château Frontenac in all its glory
Mural scavenger hunt, ferry ride & nightlife in historic Basse-Ville
Basse-Ville dates back to the 1608 settling of Quebec and, since there wasn’t electricity back then: did you know that many of this district’s buildings have an entire side without any doors or windows? I forget which direction they face, but it’s where the strongest, chilliest winds come from. So! In order to cover this “unattractive” side of the buildings up, many artists took the task of painting beautiful windows and murals over them. Why not take a couple of hours to do a “mural scavenger hunt,” with the player who spots the most camouflaged walls and murals winning a prize? 😉 It’s harder than you think!
yup, that’s a plain flat wall – with gorgeously-detailed MURAL!
After the exhausting hunt, take a ferry ride to Levis. You don’t even have to get off on the other side: just relax and enjoy the Saint Lawrence River and Old Town views from a different perspective. Particularly impressive in the winter, by the way!
View of Levis and the frozen St. Lawrence from the ferry by Robbie, Flickr
Not tired yet?! Stick around and join the happening scene after 6 PM. Cafés, some bars, and even a street musician or two start to spice up the streets then!
EXTRA tip: Try to visit during the New France Festival, to watch (or join!) hordes of people dressed in 17th-18th century costumes.
Quartier Petit Champlain, North America’s oldest commercial district
Speaking of Basse-Ville, did you know that Quartier du Petit Champlain is North America’s oldest commercial district?! Incidentally, Rue du Petit-Champlain is the oldest commercial street in the continent.
While the quarter has become a little bit of a tourist trap, you may still find specialty stores selling unique Quebecois merchandise–which you might not find anywhere else.
Long walk down Terrasse Dufferin & picnic at Plains of Abraham
One of my favorite free things to do in Quebec City is a long walk down Terrasse Dufferin, the 671-meter boardwalk that starts right below Château Frontenac and extends along the St. Lawrence River:
The start of Terrasse Dufferin, right by Château Frontenac
Bring your own picnic basket and (weather permitting!) walk all the way down the Terrasse until you reach the Plains of Abraham. There, lay on the grass and bask in the peace & beauty of the entire city below you. Or, if feeling particularly adventurous, visit the former battlefield’s Discovery Centre + follow the tip of a Tripadvisor user: “Find the underground entrance and view the house and military items hidden behind sod bunkers. It’s a walk but well worth it.”
One of SEVERAL distinct, panoramic views from the expansive Plains of Abraham by meddygarnet, Flickr
Free tour of the Parliament Building
Looking for more free things to do in Quebec City? Take advantage of the Hôtel du Parlement English tour, where Québec’s National Assembly meets (Grande-Allee and Honore-Mercier Avenue). The guides, who are friendly and extremely responsive, will teach you about the history and functions of the provincial government. Fascinating, informative, fun!
And, while not free, I highly recommend you finish off your Parliament visit with an unforgettable meal by elected Quebecois representatives at the café, which offers an excellent Menu de Jour for CAD $8.
Parliament building, Québec (my apologies for the shitty exposure: gloomy day!)
Changing of the Guard & Governor General’s residence at La Citadelle
Speaking of Parliament, did you know that “Canada’s monarchy operates in Quebec as the core of the province’s Westminster-style parliamentary democracy and constitution” (Wikipedia)? This takes us to another Quebec City landmark, La Citadelle (1 Côte de la Citadelle)! Great tours included in admission price, plus magnificent views of the Saint Lawrence River and Old Town thrown in.
I highly recommend you start a full day around Old Quebec here, arriving early enough to join the first tour (9 AM from May to September; 10 AM from October to April). Then, stay for the Changing of the Guard at 10 (seasonal; June 24 to the first Monday of September only). A true history buff? I also recommend the tour of the Governor General’s residence at 11, which is free by the way! You will enjoy them all, pinky promise.
**Please note, the Citadel is closed December 25 and January 1
Spectacular shot of the Changing of the Guard, with Château Frontenac in the background, by Conrad Kuiper, Flickr
That’s it for my favorite things to do in Quebec City! Mind you, this list is not exclusive–I had to leave some attractions out due to space and time. Which reminds me, my next Quebecois post will be all about my favorite places to eat in Québec’s capital! 😀
Got more tips and things to do in Quebec City? Share them below!
Yah, I’m back! Welcome to another fun edition of Travel Bucket List Wednesday. In addition to talking to you about Oktoberfest history beer and sharing a short VIDEO I created, I have an announcement to make…which, if you wish to read, will have to keep scrolling down until you see it… 😉
Oktoberfest history and VIDEO
ZUM WHOL! It’s time to introduce you to the real story behind the world-renowned festival, Oktoberfest. So without further ado, let me show you a short clip (no fancy editing) of my visit to Oktoberfest Tampa, while telling you how the famous German fair came about:
According to Wikipedia, a parade took place for the first time in 1810 to honor the marriage of Prince Ludwig and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. So yeah — a MARRIAGE. Is what gave birth to the world’s largest fair? YAH! Now you also know why the site where Oktoberfest is held every year is called Theresienwiese – that’s exactly where the 2 got married!
However, it wasn’t until 1881 that booths selling bratwurst popped up. Furthermore, beer wasn’t served or even an important part of the fair until 1892. Crazy to think about, no?
Typical Oktoberfest fare by Verde Canyon Railroad, Flickr
Modern Oktoberfest history: how much has it changed?
Oktoberfest has been the traditional festival we know today since 1950. Previously, there was no 12-gun salute nor the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at 12:00 by Munich’s current mayor. In fact, Oktoberfest was mostly horse races, which the entire royal family enjoyed, and an agricultural show to promote Bavarian products for the first 100 years. Nowadays? Mostly a way to attract the greatest number of tourists as possible, luring them in with great German beer 😀 Hey, nothing wrong with that!
Tapping of the first Oktoberfest keg by Munich’s mayor (2008) by Rich Anderson, Flickr
Why Oktoberfest is on my travel bucket list
Hordes of people from all over the world, delicious curry wurst, and excellent German beers [less than € 9 for one liter!] all day every day for 2 weeks…oh, let’s not forget the dances, dance, and lively energy throughout. Need I say more?! I can’t wait to experience Oktoberfest history myself.
So! When am I thinking to cross this one off my travel bucket list, you ask? I have huge plans for 2014, so that might be the year! What might happen is so so exciting, I can’t even tell you the whole story yet. Just PLEASE keep me in your prayers and let’s hope those doors open next year. Because if they do, WE’RE GOING TO OKTOBERFEST THAT SOON! 😀
“Schottenhammel Festhalle is the oldest tent at Oktoberfest in München, Deutschland. In 1867, Michael Schottenhamel built a little wooden barn behind the “Königszelt” at the Theresienwiese that would fit just about 50 people. This “Oktoberfest restaurant” grew to its current dimensions, which can hold up to 10,000 people at a time. * This tent is also where Oktoberfest begins every year, with the mayor of Munich tapping a keg. Schottenhammel serves Spaten beer, one of the famous local brands, in one liter glasses” -Grufnik, Flickr
+NEWS: I didn’t make it to the CWE Final 5. Just made it to the Top 10…
SPEAKING OF other plans for 2014: yah, I didn’t make it to the final round of Jauntaroo’s Chief World Explorer competition. Of course, disappointment hit me hard once more, just like I predicted. HOWEVER! It was short-lived due to the AMAZING outpouring of support and encouraging messages I received not only from friends and fans, but also from TV PRODUCERS…! Just check out what the judges from Jauntaroo said about my videos, hosting style and how people from the actual industry reacted.
What Jauntaroo said to me:
You were definitely one of our top 10 choices. In an effort to provide some candid feedback on why you were not selected, we would say just a little more polishing on camera. That comes with practice and we truly enjoyed your videos.
What a former Travel Channel producer told me:
Being natural on camera is MUCH better than being polished. I like your style, keep on being spunky, it’ll take you much farther than being boring, rehearsed and polished. Suerte con todo!
So yah — I’m not changing anytime soon 😉
Let’s drink to that! ;D (photo: Erik, Flickr)
Do you know any fun facts about Oktoberfest history beer?
Back in 2005, I visited Europe and Venice for the first time. The sometimes stinky alleyways and channels couldn’t take away from the romanticism in the air. Yet, Burano Island, the most colorful, magical Venetian island…is the one that got away…from me! And so, for my long-lost love, this special Travel Bucket List Wednesday post. I’ll come back to you, I swear!
Colorful alleyway of Burano Island, Venice, Italy (Saffron Blaze, Wiki Commons)
Burano Island, Venice, Italy: How to Get There
I don’t know what’s crazier: the fact that my high school group missed out on Burano or that I saw Burano Island photos for the very first time this summer. I mean, it’s only located 4 miles away from the center of Venice!
All it takes is a 40-minute ride on the water taxis or Venetian motorboats (vaporetti, Wikipedia). For instance, LN water bus departs from San Mark’s (€6.5 each way), stopping at Lido, Burano Island, Murano, and others.
Every time I remember I missed out on it, makes me want to cry…
Vaporetti along Ponte degli Scalzi, Venice by Gwenaël Piaser, Flickr
Burano Island, Venice, Italy: Things to Do
Bright, colorful architecture
Fun fact: residents of Burano Island must send an official request to the local government if they wish to paint their home, as the change must be pre-approved plus fit with the color scheme of their neighborhood. Crazy huh?!
Houses of Burano by Paul R, Tripadvisor
Fabulous lace shopping at Martina Vidal Venezia
Love lace? Martina Vidal Venezia [Via San Mauro 307] is the place to be. As with many other popular shopping districts, vendors here may be pushy, but just be firm and take in the culture.
Not into shopping? STILL go! Voice on the street says that Martina’s place is decorated impeccably, with beautiful views of Burano rooftops and the Venetian lagoon off the terrace. Take many, many pictures.
I’m participating on round 61 of Travel Photo Roulette, which I decided to merge with Travel Bucket List Wednesday this week. Why’s that? The theme is COLORFUL, so I wanted to show you photos of colorful destinations you must see before you die. Check them out!
Claiming one of the top spots of my travel bucket list: the Dutch Caribbean nation of Curaçao. As you remember, I finally crossed it off back in Nov 2011 in an unusual fashion: I traveled there without a plan! And what an adventure it was: from its people to its architecture, everything about the ABC island is colorful, warm, and cheery. I can’t wait to go back! Below, my favorite photo of the trip:
This is Curaçao
It was such a surprise too: I was walking with an Aussie to grab a bite to eat, when we decided to get lost among the narrow alleys of Punda: the heart of the capital. And while we couldn’t find a hole-in-the-wall restaurant to eat at, we stumbled upon the colorful gentleman above. One of the best portraits I’ve taken after visiting 20+ countries across 4 continents!
Other COLORFUL destinations you must visit
When I got my PADI diving certifications in the Red Sea, I encountered a unique little organism living off the colorful coral. Its name? Nudibranch, a type of sea slug. I had never seen anything like it! So bright, odd, eye-catching. It actually became the Travel Photo Roulette submission of my Middle East blog:
Make sure you visit this little fella and the unique town of Dahab, Egypt someday!
Speaking of the Arab world, two colorful destinations you cannot miss are the medieval city of Marrakesh and fairytale town of Chefchaouen. Located in the North African Kingdom of Morocco, its culture is a mix of Berber, French, and Arab heritage. You’ll fall in love with the leather tanneries, bright cones of spices, deep blue hues, and ancient kasbahs.
I love how the city of Marrakesh is sprinkled with color everywhere you look, especially the bazaars’ spice towers! (Spacmonster, Flickr)
The unique town of Chefchaouen, Morocco by Mark Fischer, Flickr
For this one, I can only call its name: Burano Island, Italy. Located in the Venetian lagoon, I can’t believe we missed it during my high school Euro trip! I can’t even describe it with words…too…[look at photo below to see what I mean]
Burano Island, Italy: the one that got away! Photo by John O Dyer, Flickr
And speaking of Europe…it may come as as a huge surprise to you, but France has never been on top of my travel bucket list *hears deep gasps in the background* Sure, I wouldn’t mind paying a visit, but I would rather go small town hopping to indulge in their cuisine rather than go sightseeing. But then… I discovered the picturesque village of Menton, a stone throw away from Italy (literally)in Provence, Cote d’Azur. It is now one of the top colorful destinations on my list! I wonder if their cuisine is just as kaleidoscopic as its Old Town…
I know I know: I’m getting ahead of myself here. The Top 10 finalists for the Biggest Baddest Bucket List contest (#myBBB) won’t be announced for another 5 days. However, you also know from my life dream post that I already had not one RTW itinerary, but 2 full blueprints planned out to the date…
So! For Travel Bucket List Wednesday this week, I decided to share all the details of one of the blueprints with you 😀 Granted, 6 months will only allow me to scratch a tiny surface of my Biggest Baddest Bucket List. For this reason, I will include the most epic (and toughest!) experiences in my itinerary if I were to win 😉 And now, with no more preambles, I present you RTW itinerary A!
My Biggest Baddest Bucket List: RTW itinerary A
RTW itinerary A map of my biggest baddest bucket list! (CLICK to enlarge)
List of stops: RTW itinerary A! (CLICK to enlarge)
Ambitious, I know! This RTW itinerary includes almost 40 countries (39 when not counting Puerto Rico) which, divided by 6 months, averages out to about 4.5 days per country. Fast-paced indeed, but this was always meant to be a sampler anyway! 😉
For lack of space, I will only be listing the Biggest Baddest Bucket List items from this RTW itinerary today. Are you ready for this?! 😀
Ancient kingdoms and African Christianity pilgrimage around Ethiopia.
Photographic nirvana through the eerie landscapes of Madagascar.
“The Avenue or Alley of the Baobabs is a prominent group of baobab trees lining the dirt road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina in the Menabe region in western Madagascar.Along the Avenue in some 260 m long segment are remaining some 20 – 25 trees about 30 meters in height, of the species Adansonia grandidieri, endemic to Madagascar.” – Ralph Kränzlein, Flickr
Stay at one of the most expensive hotels in the world: Burj Al Arab, Dubai.
Go sandboarding in Sharjah, UAE.
Overland trip from Dubai, across historic cities in Iran, through Silk Road!
Guri Amir Mausoleum, Samarkand, Uzbekistan (Fabio Achilli, Flickr)
Silk Road overland: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
I’m still debating whether to include that many cities of Eastern Europe on my final RTW itinerary. It is such a (relatively) easy continent to visit from Puerto Rico! But contest rules state that the winner must include at least 2 destinations from each continent + 25 destinations from their network…
That being said, many cities I plan to visit in Europe are part of My Destination’s network. Concurrently, many of the off-the-beaten-path places on my biggest baddest bucket list are not part of said network! 🙁 So I must compromise: shorten my European itinerary, while adding other “easy” destinations from Southeast Asia such as Thailand
shorten some of my time in Asia, which would mean shaving off a week from India or my epic Silk Road itinerary through the ‘Stans…eek!
Honestly though? Charming Ljubljana can wait…! (Krister, Flickr)
Of course, it would all depend on the My Destination team (haha, I’m already writing as if I won…). But if I have a say on the matter, I will probably be shortening my European itinerary, choosing to visit the French Riviera/Monaco and Moscow only (connecting in London). Eastern Europe and the Greek islands can wait, no?
And so, this is why RTW itinerary B comes to play 😀 Yet, you will have to wait until next week to get the full scoop 😉 Let’s hope that by then, I will also have a VERY exciting announcement to make!
It’s 3 AM. My life dream is so close, I can’t sleep.
Heck, I can barely write. I’ll try my best though, as I need a medium to channel this bipolar energy. Round and round, it wanders aimlessly through my body and my mind, keeping me awake with the tremendous amount of, and lack thereof, possibilities.
Possibilities? Dreams? I recently found myself without a job… and without a Plan B. All I got are a couple of freelance gigs, my blogs, my savings, and this contest. Oh! And because rent can’t really be afforded for long without a steady job, I’m moving back to my rents’ house in Puerto Rico starting in April.
For Type A individual like myself, this is a crisis.
Ironically though, I have been able to easily shut down the fact that my life has been put on hold. Everything around me seems to have stopped in some parallel universe, giving me the opportunity to pursue the dream of my lifetime. Seriously, the, I mean MY life dream.
Did I tell you that I planned, I mean have, 2 full itineraries as if I already earned this travel presenter gig? As of, 6 months worth of traveling planned to the date.
One of my RTW itineraries: NOT included are my 2 weeks around Eastern Europe via low-cost airlines, Burma via Thailand, Papua New Guinea + the 60-Day Silk Road Overland tour I’ll be joining, covering most of the ‘Stans! 😀
Yeah, 2 of those! But that’s not the only reason why I know that this is not just a dream, but my calling…
Whenever I think of traveling the world, whenever I think of volunteering abroad, whenever I share a travel tale of mine…my breathing gets heavy. My blood vessels swell. Sometimes, I even get teary-eyed. Then, almost instantly, my inner Energizer Bunny jumps out like a powerful water stream rushing out of a broken dam. Even though I’ve been to over 20 different countries…
It’s still like love at first sight. Like meeting The One over & over again.
Even if you’ve never been in love, we’ve all had that one crush, that one person that has this supernatural power over us, able to stop everything around us, cutting our oxygen supplies short, and giving us an intoxicating, dizzying feeling that not even a few shots of top shelf tequila could match.
That’s the rush I get every time I think of traveling & helping others.
And as I find myself at this crossroad, without a job and without any offers on the table, I stand dazed and confused. But why? Is it because we are institutionalized, taught to be like obedient sheep in a mechanized society?
I should be excited! I have no kids, no marriage, no strings attached. It’s the perfect time to work hard toward my life dream!
But hey, I’m only human. Thus, I’m freaking out because my only possibility of reaching this life dream of mine lies on this freaking contest at the moment. Heck, that’s my ONLY shot / possible route for my life to take the rest of 2013.
Having the freedom to prepare my own itinerary, record videos, write my own articles in several languages (in addition to learning new ones!), and help charities I personally believe in — that combo hits my heart like a powerful water stream rushing out of a broken dam.
This is why I’m pushing through to pay off my student loans as soon as possible. This is why I want to become a digital nomad.
And this contest would allow me to do ALL this in 2013. THIS.FREAKIN’.YEAR
Being in front of the camera also brings me tremendous joy. I can’t explain it — I’ve been posing for pictures even before my first birthday. And I love to talk. I mean seriously, I can ramble on and on about the things I love for days.
Which is what I’ve pretty much been doing this entire blog post. Oops.
I guess what I’m trying to say is…
My life dream is to become a travel host, nomadic translator & volunteer.
I want to travel the world indefinitely…after I pay off these student loans!
Let’s hope My Destination judges think this is my calling as well. Until then, I probably won’t be getting much sleep.
That’s my life dream + top item on my travel bucket list! What’s yours?
Last month, I had the opportunity to shoot my first travel hosting bid! Yes, I had my very own cameraman and even a director. The following Puerto Rico travel video was made for a competition that will hopefully send me around the world for 6 months btw, taking you to the most exciting places on my biggest, baddest travel bucket list! 😀
Puerto Rico: The Land of a Thousand Blessings
Liked it? Then VOTE FOR ME here! All you have to do is go to that page, then click on the social media icons beside my Puerto Rico travel video there. Share that entry page on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Google+ and even Pinterest!
The Making of: more work than you think!
Remember that old MTV series “Making the Video”? I loved going behind the scenes of my favorite music videos, learning about special effects, how storylines are written, and how hard the artists actually work for what comes to be a mere 3-5 min. video clip.
That being said: how long you think it took us to shoot the previous 3-minute Puerto Rico travel video? C’mon, take a wild guess!
We worked for 14 continuous hours the first day of shooting, visiting over a dozen locations (scattered throughout the island!), taking video clips, stills, and different commentary. Then, on the second day, we worked a couple more hours to capture a glimpse of the nightlife.
But of course, with only 3 mins. to work with, a lot of good material had to be sacrificed…which makes me sad! All in all though, a great learning experience.
Pelican at La Guancha, Ponce, Puerto Rico by José Zayas
While filming was hard work, I had a blast. I honestly wouldn’t mind working more than 14 continuous hours on a single day, all while travel hosting! It didn’t feel like work. It felt like a great adventure, road tripping all over Puerto Rico 😀