Becoming a digital nomad or remote worker? Tips to find the perfect location to live and work abroad

Hi there again, 2020. Some of us finally have the guts to face you, stand up, and get creative again! I believe the following guide to find the perfect place to live and work abroad for new digital nomads or remote workers may be the first major step in the right direction for many in an otherwise daunting year.

If there’s a master lesson we were taught in the past several months, it’s the importance of our “base camp”–whether we are a digital nomad or a 9-5 worker. Many of us experienced a really powerful shift in our day-to-day routine, in our priorities.

What do I really need inside these four walls?

How far am I from the places and people I love?

Where can I go safely, while also experiencing a sense of community?

Where do I find my mind wandering to?

digital nomad in Costa Rica working from the beach

To me, it was the beach and yoga. The connection to the ocean and the calmness and centering of the mind and soul that outdoor yoga delivers are all I really needed. With most relatives always afar, that slice of socially-distanced paradise became a sanctuary to my husband and I (oh yes, I got married. More on that on a future post!).

And I’m not alone: the silver lining of this crisis has been that a lot of us find ourselves working remotely full-time, digital nomad or not. This means an increased flexibility to go out there and find a haven you can call home temporarily–perhaps even escaping strict lockdowns and crowds.

If living and working abroad has always been a dream of yours, seize this moment!

Today’s guest writer Aaron is a dedicated yoga teacher I met back in 2014 while on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. Blue Osa, the sacred land he calls home, transformed my mind and soul in ways that I can barely explain, so it is with great pleasure that I present to you his detailed guide. He will share useful tips on how to pick the best remote worker location and see if living and working in Costa Rica is right for you.

Aaron and Blue Osa, take it away!

living and working from Costa Rica yoga retreat

The once-elusive digital nomad job title is now recognized worldwide as a legitimate way to live, travel, and work remotely. But not all exotic locations are great places to live as a remote worker.

As a temporary resident, there are many factors to consider in order to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

When deciding on a location to live and work abroad, you should focus on what could make or break your experience, such as amenities available and community. It’s easy to think you want to be amid the hustle and bustle of a city–until you find you’re unable to sleep at night because of nightlife noise.

On the flip side, you may think you want to live on a remote beach to escape the chaos that this pandemic has stirred–but may be worried about being isolated again.

Enter Costa Rica: the happy medium you may be looking for!

living and working remotely in Costa Rica, things to do

Costa Rica. a digital nomad hotspot

Costa Rica is a place where the jungle meets the beach, with beautiful weather year-round and plenty of fresh food, interesting sightseeing, and adventurous activities to offer. From hundreds of miles of unspoiled beaches and a stress-free pura vida lifestyle to adrenaline-pumping rappelling, zip lines and scuba diving, it’s no wonder this Central American country is becoming a digital nomad hotspot.

Furthermore (and perhaps most importantly), Costa Rica has the infrastructure to accommodate the growing numbers of travelers and remote workers. A perfect example? High-speed Wi-Fi availability, even in seemingly-remote beach towns.

However, many new remote workers make “rookie mistakes,” forgetting to think beyond beautiful surroundings and Internet connectivity when choosing a base camp to travel, work, and live in.

Factors you should consider as a digital nomad or remote worker

A productive environment

Any seasoned digital nomad will tell you how important it is to create a productive environment to work in. If you work from your accommodation, that means ensuring you have a dedicated working space. If you like to go out, you’ll want to choose a location with various coffee shops and unlimited WiFi, plenty of cable ports, and desks. Likewise, if you enjoy participating in local events and networking, you’ll want an area that has a lot going on.

living and working in Costa Rica, community

A community of like-minded people

Working in solitude might be the most productive environment for some. Still, you’ll likely want to collaborate and meet like-minded people every once in a while. As a digital nomad or remote worker, you are away from most things that are familiar to you, including friends and family. Thus, building a community that shares your interests is a great way to feel connected, be inspired, and have fun.

A range of leisure activities

Speaking of fun, you should also strive to create a healthy work-life balance in your new base camp. As many of us have found out, working remotely blurs the line between clocking in and out, so it’s imperative to set up a rough schedule to walk away from your desk. You didn’t jet out to sit at your laptop all day!

Whether you like to go whitewater rafting in the morning or neon rollerblading at night, it’s wise to build some social activities into your daily routine and try something new while living abroad. Remember: having fun and staying healthy is just as important as making money.

Language and culture

If you are reading this, you have a huge advantage over other non-English remote workers. Most locations that become digital nomad hotspots do so because they have plenty of English-speaking locals and services.

While these are great locations to start your journey, it’s still a good idea to learn the language and familiarize yourself with the culture of the country you plan to travel to and work from. Understanding and respecting the customs and traditions of your temporary home will enrich your experience.

working remotely from Costa Rica, warm climate

one of the best parts of living and working remotely from Costa Rica? Year-round warm climate! However, its high humidity is not for everyone.

Climate

When deciding where to go on holiday, it seems the popular choice is ‘the hotter, the better.’ However, if you’re looking to work and live abroad, you want to ensure the weather meets your personal comfort and is conducive to productivity. Can you work in humidity with nothing but a fan? Do you feel more comfortable in a cool shade?

Cost of Living

You may have a secure full-time remote job–or you may be a freelancer in between gigs. Either way, most people become digital nomads and/or decide to live and work abroad because of the low cost of living compared to their home country.

But not all locations are as cheap as you think.

Moving abroad can be costly at first, especially if it’s your first time dealing with currency exchanges and “paying the foreigner tax” (i.e. being charged a higher price than the locals or ripped off). It’s always best to underestimate your monthly salary and overestimate your expenses until you get accustomed to the local currency and cost of living.

Safety and security

A location with a low cost of living might also come with a hidden price tag: lack of security/safety. Once you find the country you’re interested in, do your due diligence online by reading expat blogs, destination guides from digital nomads already on-site, and local forums. This will help you zero in not only on a particular town, but also specific neighborhoods that match your interests and security concerns.

Also important: speak to locals once you arrive for up-to-date advice.

Accommodation types

accommodation for digital nomads and remote workers

where should I stay as a digital nomad / remote worker? 

The 3 accommodation types that most digital nomads and remote workers go for at the beginning of their journey are:

hotels

Hotels are the initial go-to, as many of them offer easy online booking, free unlimited WiFi, private room and bath, breakfast, and other amenities that’ll take care of most of your needs. Moreover, most hotels don’t require a minimum stay or a contract, allowing you to get a feel of different neighborhoods before committing to a specific area.

The flip side? Privacy may come at the price of isolation.

Hotels are less homey, plus it’s uncommon to have access to a communal kitchen or shared spaces with other travelers and digital nomads, making it harder to meet people. It’s also the most expensive of all options–and it’s unlikely for you to be able to book longer than 30 days online. This means you’re limited to short stays unless you speak with the hotel staff in person and arrange an extended stay.

However, if you’ve already decided on a specific location, staying in a hotel for a few nights while you find a more permanent place is a sensible option. Being on the ground means you get a feel of the area you’d be living in, plus you can talk to owners to get the inside scoop and strike better deals.

hostels

If you are an adventurous remote worker and want to meet new people while living on a budget, a hostel is a great accommodation option for you. Usually, hostels provide dorms with shared bathrooms and, in some cases, they may provide private bedrooms and bathrooms.

Hostels are also non-committal and more flexible. You can stay anywhere from one night to 50– it’s entirely up to you. You can expect to meet many new people, as the guest turnover is much higher at a hostel than at any other accommodation type.

The best part of staying in a hostel? They are designed with sociability in mind, offering a variety of activities during the day and other social events at night. If you’re not an outgoing person or you’re someone who likes a lot of personal space, perhaps a hostel isn’t for you.

Additionally, keep in mind that hostels cater to short-term travelers first and foremost. As a remote worker, this means you’ll need to be proactive about setting a work routine and finding quiet spaces to work.

Another issue to remember when living and working at hostels is security. You’ll need to bring a high-quality padlock to lock away your valuables and work equipment when you aren’t using them.

co-living for digital nomads and remote workers in Costa Rica, Blue Osa

co-living spaces and residential programs

Co-living spaces and residential programs are somewhere between a hotel and a hostel. They typically offer many of the amenities you are used to at home, while sharing some of the living spaces with other like-minded remote workers. You can expect to share a kitchen and other communal areas, all while still enjoying a private bedroom and en suite bathroom.

Another benefit of choosing a co-living space or residential program is that you may snag some great deals when booking long-term stays. This makes them more cost-effective than staying in a hotel, while still being able to enjoy many of the same amenities and some sense of privacy.

While there are many different types of co-living spaces and residential programs, the one thing they share in common is the focus of connecting like-minded remote workers and digital nomads.

There is a sense of community and shared purpose in all co-living spaces.

This type of accommodation option offers you the social life you’d enjoy at a hostel, while the focus of most of the residents is on networking and collaborating instead of partying.

Of course, you may choose to work hard and play hard, too! But you’ll at least always have a quiet, private space to retreat to whenever you need to.

co-living in Costa Rica, Blue Osa residential program

Why choose a co-living program

‘Community hubs’ and ‘expat haven’ are excellent terms to look out for when deciding on a location. But if you know what you like and you plan to stay 1-2 months in one place, going for a co-living or residential program is a wonderful option.

Sure, living and working by the beach while living in a cute Airbnb is great. But living, learning, and retreating with like-minded people is one of the top benefits of being a digital nomad or remote worker abroad.

Whether you’re into yoga and establishing a spiritual practice or building a tech startup and looking to make work connections, there is a co-living program out there for you.

a co-living program in Costa Rica

Why not combine your working schedule with your holistic needs and seek answers to life’s big questions?

Blue Osa, a retreat and spa located in the lush jungles of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, also functions as a co-living residence. Its residential program for remote workers offers private bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, 3 healthy meals a day, high-speed WiFi, and a variety of holistic activities such as yoga classes, meditation, and nature excursions. The experience has been designed to meet digital nomads’ needs beyond the usual sense of community, internet connectivity and other amenities.

Some of the benefits of the Blue Osa Residential Program:

  • Live and serve in a community of like-minded people dedicated to serving others
  • Take breathtaking daily beach walks at sunrise
  • Enjoy the companionship of three dogs and four cats
  • Have access to guided yoga practices
  • Enjoy discounted rejuvenating spa services

Is it safe to live, work, and travel to Costa Rica right now, though?

Costa Rica is positioned as an ideal destination post-COVID “thanks to the successful management of the pandemic and robust health system.” By nature, its remote jungle location allows for semi-private, boutique tourist experiences that are perfect for observing current precautions without adding many hindrances.

Specifically, Blue Osa currently adheres to the COVID guidelines of social distancing and other precautions. Better yet? This retreat is located in an open-air facility on the beach. The continuous ocean breeze, spacious grounds, and secluded private beach–combined with social distancing–make this Costa Rican haven the perfect place to live and work from.

live temporarily in Costa Rica, digital nomad destinations

Come to a safe space where you can wake up every day in a tropical destination and sink deep into an understanding of who you are–all while propelling your career forward and meeting like-minded travelers and remote workers. Live the balanced life you have always wanted!

For more information about Blue Osa’s residential program, click here.

10 years living, traveling solo around the world: 30+countries, 4 continents, a baby & a life-altering diagnosis [pt 1]

Happy New DECADE! Hola hola, I’m BACK—and with a crazy, exciting, emotional series of photo essays summarizing my past 10 years living and traveling solo around the world. It will also explain why I kind of “ghosted” y’all (sorry about that). I’m proud to announce I’ve made it to the other end of the tunnel after MANY sharp turns and (mis)adventures—so excited to start off a new decade finally able to share them with YOU again.

Off we go!

A decade of living and traveling solo around the world (part 1!)

2009-2010

Lived in Egypt, Morocco, and Florida; also explored Spain, Italy, Iceland, Panama, Mexico, NYC

I ended the previous decade – which officially started my solo adventures traveling around the world – with a year studying abroad in Egypt, a summer traveling the Middle East, and 4 months in Morocco.

female traveling to Pyramids of Giza Egypt

traveled to the Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt at age 20

traveling solo around the world Red Sea camel riding

Riding camels through a natural reserve bordering the Red Sea. 2009

ancient Egypt temples, Abu Simbel

Ramses II, your ego is truly heavy (me at Abu Simbel Temple, summer 2009)

female travel to Bahariya Oasis Egypt

Bahariya Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt! Visited in 2009 (Photo: Fellow student M. Begault)

And it was among the great contrasts of the barren desert of the Sinai Peninsula and one of the bodies of water with the most abundant marine life in the world that I got certified as a SCUBA diver, all the way to advanced. I even got to explore one of the top 10 ship wreck dives in the world, the SS Thistlegorm.

solo traveling around the world, scuba diving in Egypt

descent for DEEP dive for my PADI advanced open water certification in the Red Sea, Egypt

traveling the Sinai Peninsula solo, Egypt

seemingly barren of life on the surface, teeming with life underwater! That’s the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

“Oh, and a few quick trips to Europe!

first trip to Rome:

solo travel around the world Rome Italy

My 1st trip to Rome was possible thanks to Couchsurfing. Fall 2009

That December, I finished a magical semester living in Morocco (which I road tripped with fellow exchange students over the weekends!)

study abroad in Morocco

me in Essaouira, Morocco with one of the local kids we took in for lunch

beach in Morocco road trip

Hidden beach found during a road trip through Morocco, fall 2009

Morocco is where I flew out to the UK and onto a sick 6-day stopover trip to ICELAND! Crazy that it was cheaper for me to do this free side trip with Icelandair on my way back home to Puerto Rico than to book a more direct flight, haha! That was my first time in Iceland and, 10 years later, it still tops my list of most favorite countries in the world – it’s like visiting a different PLANET:

Iceland travel tour blue lagoon

Me with silica mud mask at the Blue Lagoon, Iceland. December 2009

Iceland waterfalls photos frozen Skogafoss

In front of one of the many majestic waterfalls of Iceland. December 2009

I even got to see the northern lights! I CRIED, their beauty overwhelmed me:

Iceland northern lights aurora borealis

HD cameras/smartphones were not as affordable back then (2009!), so my pictures don’t do them justice!

After spending the Puerto Rican holidays with my family, I went back to the continental U.S. in January 2010 and got to swim with manatees in Florida. It was my 1st encounter with animals in the wild!

adventures around the world swimming with manatees

swimming with manatees in Florida THIS close is one of the top highlights of my whole LIFE

student swimming with manatees

I couldn’t stop smiling!

I was still a full time college student, so after the Spring 2010 semester kicked off, I took advantage of my very last official Spring Break to sail the San Blas Islands, Panama and to party on an overwater hostel in Bocas Del Toro:

Panama Bocas Del Toro hostel

Solo travel around the world = many friends made! From left: American, Puerto Rican (me!), Australian, American, and Israeli at over-water hostel

solo female traveling San Blas Islands Panama

One of the many isolated, pristine San Blas Islands, Panama. Spring 2010

GRADUATION!

After working my butt off holding several jobs/writing essays for study abroad scholarships to pay for university plus travel the world while studying full time, I finally graduated with honors distinction from college in December 2010. Took me 5 and a 1/2 years (2 degrees, 11 countries, and a 3rd language later) but hey, gotta work hard and play hard.

graduating after traveling the world

me graduating with 2 degrees from University after traveling the world!

BUT! Before hitting the real world? A BACKSTREET BOYS CRUISE!

solo travel around the world, Backstreet Boys cruise

Me at the bottom (blue/white dress) holding Brian and the rest of the BACKSTREET BOYS! Only Kevin missing 🙁

Limbo dancing on stage with the Backstreet Boys at a beach party in Cozumel. One of these photos of me actually made it to be the cover photo of the official Backstreet Boys Facebook page after the cruise. EPIC!

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After an epic celebrity party cruise and graduation,  I said good bye to 2010 and hello to 2011 by watching the ball drop NYE in Times Square, New York City from the VIP lane! Click on that pink text link to read the full story on how I pulled this off (it involves NYPD officers…lol)

solo female travel NYC New Year's Ball drop Times Square

New Years in Times Square, NYC – memories like this one will always be part of my daily happiness!

2011-2012

From solo traveling around the world to a wedding, a baby, and other surprises

Little did I know this year we would have a very Puerto Rican wedding and I would find out I was going to be an AUNTIE. My little sis is all grown up!
<3

Puerto Rican wedding family photo

little did I know this would be one of our last happy family portraits…

from traveling around the world to a baby

from solo traveling around the world to my very first BABY NEPHEW! Born in 2012

Another pivotal chapter of my life also began in 2011: TRAVEL BLOGGING!

That’s the summer LatinAbroad was born!

And this would be the year I’d meet “The One” for me.

from traveling around the world to Tampa Florida

Mr. B and me on the far left in our base camp, Tampa Bay, Florida

Shortly after, I traveled without a plan to Curacao. From ending up in a guesthouse recommended by the very taxi driver that had just picked me up at the airport to Couchsurfing and hitchhiking with strangers around the island, this is been one of my funnest trips to date!

best beaches of Curacao, Kenepa Grandi

me at one of the best beaches of Curacao, Kenepa Grandi

travel without a plan, Curacao Nov 2011

what I love about traveling the world: Locals like him

2012 was mostly about professional growth and exploring the Americas for me. I got promoted to marketing and translation manager after working for a year and a 1/2 with a company and was gaining experience so I could eventually spend more (and do more) while traveling around the world–no more financial restraints or limits!

I still had a handful of adventures that year though, including my first travel conferences in NYC and Keystone, Colorado; my first press trips, sponsored hotel stays and tours in Puerto Rico and Playa Del Carmen; and even my first-ever SNOWFALL in Texas!

Cenote by Mayan ruins in the Yucatan

Me rappelling into a cenote by Mayan ruins in the Yucatan during my first sponsored press trip

Zip line videos Toro Verde Puerto Rico

Me in the middle of The Beast zip line in Puerto Rico: Among Top 2 Highest ones in the world!

 

2013 – when life and dreams crumbled…

This was the year things turned awry – my health went from perfect to terrifying…I got chronically ill (took 2 years to get an official diagnosis for) and was never able to use my hands the same way again. I couldn’t type nor mouse click. I spent up to 14 hours bedridden. I could barely blog, even with aids and voice recognition software. I was discriminated against and unfairly fired from a job I loved. I tried to sue but had to settle for a crap amount because hey, Florida is a “right to work” state and fibromyalgia is a “suspect condition.”

BUT! The irony is that because of this sharp turn in my path I reached the lifestyle I always dreamed of having – and MORE (keep reading this series to find out HOW!).

partying in Tampa Florida

Me (far left, in red) unsuspecting that, in a mere few days, my life (and health) would never be the same…

PART 2 of 10 years traveling around the world series coming up soon!

 

Where to Travel For The Best Stargazing In The World

In most urban areas, only around 500 stars are visible on a given night, but in the prized locations highlighted below, up to 15,000 are easily seen. That’s pretty incredible. It you’re planning a trip and want some nighttime eye candy, here are six of the best places in the world to go outside and look up.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 11.23.42 AMMauna Kea, Hawaii

The Mauna Kea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island has perhaps the most ideal stargazing conditions in the world. At an elevation above 13,000 feet, it is the highest point in Hawaii. Its high elevation and location in the middle of the Pacific create excellent conditions, but the surrounding cloud layer makes it even more perfect for studying the sky. A tropical inversion cloud layer 2,000 feet thick sits below the summit, preventing pollutants and moist air from the ocean from rising up. The view itself is so spectacular that one of the world’s most advanced astronomical observatories is located at the top. The visitor’s center at 9,000 feet offers lectures, question and answer sessions, and telescope viewing.

Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania might seem like an odd place for first-class stargazing, but Cherry Springs State Park is one of the best viewing points in the world. The 82 acre park is set within the 262,000 acre Susquehannock State Forest, protecting it from light pollution. A tremendous number of stars are visible at this Gold-Certified International Dark Sky Park. In fact, the sky is so dark that the Northern Lights were seen here four times in 2014, a very unusual event this far below the Arctic Circle. The park offers Night Sky Tours on Friday and Saturday nights that use lasers to identify and explain constellations and planets. Visitors can also use telescopes on site.

Atacama Desert, Chile

The Atacama Desert in Chile is already a stunning natural wonder with its red dunes, huge rock formations, and even a desert flowering in wet years. It’s also the driest non-polar desert in the world due to its high elevation, which makes it an exceptionally perfect place for stargazing. The newly constructed ALMA Observatory takes advantage of these conditions and the lack of light pollution in the desert. At times, the Milky Way can shine so brightly here that it casts a shadow on the desert floor.

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

In 2007, Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah became the first ever International Dark Sky Park, a designation since reserved for the best stargazing locations in the world. The beauty of the stars visible in the desert is supplemented by the striking natural setting. Owachomo bridge, perhaps the oldest bridge in the park, was created when a river changed course and carved a hole into solid rock.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 11.22.44 AMDenali National Park, Alaska

The Northern Lights are caused by a coronal mass ejection, which is a gust of solar wind and magnetic fields that interact with the earth’s atmosphere. The result are stunning dancing waves of green, red, blue, and violet that are occasionally visible in northern climates. Denali National Park in Alaska is one of the best places for viewing the phenomenon. The park encompasses four million acres of federally protected land, and the cold and clear Alaskan nights made conditions ideal. The magnificent park also offers bears, wolves, caribou, and moose as well as some of the most stunning mountain views in the world.

Tromsø, Norway

Brave stargazers might seek to venture inside the Arctic Circle itself for viewing the northern lights. There’s no better place to experience the enchanted north thanTromsø. Not only does it offer fantastic views of the aurora borealis (the sun is invisible from November to January), it’s a lovely city in its own right. In the 19th century it was called the Paris of the North, and visitors can enjoy reindeer spotting, sledding with huskies, and visiting the famous Arctic Cathedral in this Norse and Sami medieval city.

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on Dec. 16th.

Unique Proposal Destinations: 15 of My Favorite Spots

Last week I received a wedding invitation from my favorite cousin, who proposed to his lovely woman in Seville, Spain. As I plan my trip to their gorgeous Puerto Rican wedding (and home!), I couldn’t help but dream of unique proposal destinations.

Not just the cookie-cutter ones you see on every other article, though.

So! I scoured my own travel bucket list to come up with a unique list of spots where I would love my beau to pop that beautiful ring — I mean question 😉 From a multicultural trading island in Africa to a beach-less Caribbean island, here are my top 15 dream proposal spots around the world!

Unique Proposal Destinations: My Top 12

unique proposal destinations, Zanzibar

probably one of the most “crowded” beaches you’ll ever encounter in Zanzibar by Pelle, Flickr

Zanzibar Island, Tanzania, East Africa

Zanzibar is an African coastal trading island, which fused Indian, Arab, European and other Asian cultures for more than 1,000 years. I can’t think of a more romantic spot!

Stone Town, its capital city, has a fine array of unique Swahili architecture–clearly influenced by the aforementioned cultures that converged at the trading town over the centuries. Moreover, the island is lined by some of the most pristine beaches you’ll ever see in your life.

Dakhla Oasis, unique proposal destinations

Dakhla Oasis panorama by Darla Hueske, Flickr

Dakhla Oasis, Egypt, Middle East

An oasis town built over the remains of a Roman-era settlement, surrounded by forests of date palm trees and the Libyan desert–that’s Dakhla. In my humble opinion, this little-known tourist destination in Egypt is one of the Middle East’s best kept secrets.

My favorite spot for a proposal? The terrace of Desert Lodge, where I stayed for one magical night. It has incredible views of the historic town of Mut, the rest of the oasis, and beyond the desert. Oh, and absolutely killer views of the Milky Way at night, which can also be taken in from the natural hot springs behind the hotel.

Lembeh Strait, unique proposal destinations

Lembeh Strait aerial by kungkungan.com

Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia

The moment I first laid eyes on North Sulawesi’s Kungkungan Bay Resort, I imagined an intimate proposal at the porch of one of the beachfront traditional villas — all while a golden sun rose in the horizon. Le sigh.

One of my favorite places in all of Indonesia, Lembeh Strait boasts unique black sand beaches and incredible muck diving–all in an isolated, idyllic tropical oasis. I can’t wait to go back with my beau!

Québec City, unique proposal destinations

me in Québec City <3

Old Québec City, Canada, North America

When I first caught a glimpse of Old Québec City in 2012, I was a bit confused. Had I just been whisked away to a small, romantic village in rural France?!

Narrow, cobblestone streets; quaint cafés; French phrases dancing with the wind…But I was in North America! At one of its oldest cities!

Old Québec City oozes romance so effortlessly. Whether you pick one of its Tunisian restaurants–with their Moorish-style interiors–or outdoors at one of the corners of Quartier du Petit Champlain, a proposal at this French-Canadian spot will be more unique than anywhere in Paris (à mon opinion).

Palau, unique proposal destinations

Palau aerial by Charly W. Karl, Flickr

Island nation of Palau, Pacific Ocean

Imagine being proposed to while taking a romantic dip in a lagoon filled with non-stinging jellyfish?! Might seem scary to some, but the golden Mastigias is special species of jellyfish that thrives in Palau’s Jellyfish Lake due to the lack of natural predators.

The young island nation, which gained independence from the United States in 1994, is an exclusive nature lover’s paradise as well. Receiving less than 200,000 tourists a year, Palau is certainly one of the most unique proposal destinations in the world.

Bukhara, unique proposal destinations

historic hotel in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Central Asia

Bukhara was an important religious, cultural, trading, and even scholarship center on the Silk Road — in a region that has been continuously inhabited for at least 5,000 years.

Its historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the perfect place for a fairytale-like proposal. But really, any of Bukhara’s 140 architectural gems will do!

Savannah, unique proposal destinations

Spanish Moss Road in Savannah by Graham Veal, Flickr

Savannah, Georgia, USA

The quaint, charming South of the United States is certainly a unique setting to pop the question. Particularly, Savannah boasts picturesque architecture and a variety of stunning walks that are straight out of a storybook.

The fact that this charming Georgian city also happens to be one of America’s oldest makes it even more dreamy to a history buff like me!

Iceland, unique proposal destinations

proposal at appropriately-named Diamond Beach under the midnight sun?! YES! (Photo by GuideToIceland.is)

Iceland, Europe

The aurora borealis and a cheap ticket from Morocco to Puerto Rico brought me here — and I fell deeply in love with it. Iceland is one of those rare places that make you feel like you traveled to outer space and landed on a different planet.

Glacier lakes, thousands of waterfalls, “diamond” beaches so extensive your eyes can’t meet their end — how could you possibly say no at any of these spots?

Colchagua, unique proposal destinations

Colchagua Valley by eljuglardelalibertad.blogspot.com

Colchagua Valley, Chile, South America

No, I’m not about to suggest what seems to be a Photoshopped version of Tuscany. What you see above are vineyards among mountains and volcanoes in rural South America.

Colchagua Valley is a Chilean agricultural region about 100 miles south of the country’s bustling capital, Santiago. It has all the ingredients for a perfect proposal: fine dining, charming châteaus, excellent wines, and stunning landscapes.

Saba, unique proposal destinations

Windwardside village, as seen from Mt Scenery, Saba by Radioflux, wiki Commons

Saba, Dutch Caribbean

Saba, part of the Lesser Antilles chain and a special Dutch municipality, is an almost unheard-of Caribbean island. Why? Probably because it can’t can’t boast about its beaches, as there aren’t any. Yet, its unique topography is a draw in itself.

The “Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean” is home to several renowned dive sites, a towering dormant volcano, and underwater mountains. Hiking trails abound, so you can take in the fabulous mountain, ocean views.

Curacao, unique proposal destinations

Willemstad, Curaçao Harbor

Curaçao, Caribbean

I couldn’t help but also include multicultural Curaçao when speaking of the Dutch Caribbean! While the island has been independent since 2005, its people still cherish and retain much of their Dutch (mention the other groups here) roots.

Romantic spots can be found everywhere: from the charming streets of Willemstad to the lookout of Kenepa Grandi or Westpunt Beach.

Antelope Canyon, adventurous proposal destinations

Antelope Canyon by Luca Galuzzi

Antelope Canyon, Utah, USA

Antelope Canyon my not be a top spot on a romantic destinations list, but it is one of my favorites. Just getting there is an adventure in itself; pumping my adrenaline before he even thinks about going on one knee.

Kissing, flirting, and photographing each other among the smooth, rose-red walls is one of the most romantic getaways I can think of. Couple that with a stay in a houseboat along Lake Powell next door? Pure, blissful romance.

Chefchaouen, romantic proposal destinations

Chefchaouen by Mark Fischer

Chefchaouen, Morocco, North Africa

Have I stepped into a dream, where everything is colored like a bright, blue sky?

The Moroccan town of Chefchaouen could be the set of a Smurfs movie — or the most unique proposal of all time. Blue-washed buildings, narrow alleys, and ancient souks complete its romantic charm.

Banff Canada, unique proposal destinations around the world

Banff by Taylor McBride

Banff, Alberta, Canada

Towering peaks from the Rockies, blue-turquoise lakes, and other outworldly vistas surround the Canadian resort town of Banff.

While quite popular, my dreamy proposals list couldn’t do without it. Banff is sprinkled with château-style accommodation and a short distance from thousands of miles of scenic trails and roadways. Plenty of opportunities to find your own secret spot!

Tasmania, unique proposals around the world

Tasmania panorama by Ben Ashmole

Tasmania, Australia, Oceania

Rugged, isolated Australian wilderness that is simply jaw-dropping, Tasmania has been nicknamed the Natural State. Nearly 45% of its land is protected, being part of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, parks, and other reserves.

OMG is all I have to say.

Got other unique, romantic spots on your list? Share them below!

5 Fictional Destinations You Can Actually Visit

There’s something magical about seeing the real life setting of a beloved fictional world. These destinations draw travelers to places they might not otherwise go for the pleasantly jarring sensation of finding Tatooine in Tunisia or Narnia in Norway. Here are five of our favorite places that serve as intersections of invention and reality, mixing the familiar with the surprising.

game of thrones, fictional destinations you can visit

Mdina, Malta: King’s Landing (Game of Thrones)

Westeros may be fictional, but Game of Thrones fans know the series films everywhere from Iceland to Croatia to recreate locations from the books. The medieval walled city of Mdina in Malta acts as King’s Landing in the show, and travelers may recognize the Mdina Gate as the entrance to the fictional capital. Mdina’s dusky stone buildings and mix of Norman and Baroque architecture lend it a mysterious and mythic quality that translates perfectly into the show. It’s known as the “Silent City:” No cars are allowed within the city walls, and only about 300 people live inside.

Anne of Green Gables, fictional destinations you can visit

Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

Since Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908, children and adults have made the pilgrimage to Canada’s lovely Prince Edward Island, where the book is set. The Green Gables farmhouse that inspired L.M. Montgomery’s classic books still stands in Cavendish (named Avonlea in the books) and can be visited year round. Even Mindy Kaling is desperate to see where Anne grew up. In a recent interview with the LA Times, she said, “The other book world I would like to live in is Anne of Green Gables. Living on Prince Edward Island would be so badass.”

Canyon of the Crescent Moon, fictional destinations you can visit

Petra, Jordan: Canyon of the Crescent Moon (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

It’s hard to imagine a more imposingly beautiful filming location for a grail quest than the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. Although Petra was carved into sandstone 2,000 years ago, it only came to the attention of the Western world in 1812 when Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt disguised himself in Bedouin costume to sneak into the site. The Treasury, Al-Khazneh, was most famously used inIndiana Jones and the Last Crusade and is still open for visitors.

fictional destinations you can visit, Paradise Falls from UPPhoto: Uploaded by Tintazul via Wikimedia Commons

Angel Falls in Venezuela: Paradise Falls (Up)

Paradise Falls is the central destination Pixar’s Up. Carl’s beloved Ellie never gets to see it herself, but with the help of about 10,000 balloons, Carl and Russell manage to make the trip. Its real life counterpart is Angel Falls in Venezuela, part of the Auyantepui mountain in Canaima National Park. At a height of over 3,000 feet, it’s the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. The hike to see the falls from the top can be a multi-day journey, but the stunning view is worth the trek.

fictional places you can visit, Hobbiton

Matamata, New Zealand: Hobbiton (The Lord of the Rings)

Perhaps the most famous fictional travel destination is the Hobbiton set of Peter Jackson’s adaptations of The Lord of the Rings. Nestled in the countryside surrounding Matamata in New Zealand, the set features over 30 hobbit dwellings as well as a mill and a double-arched stone bridge. After The Hobbit movies finished filming, the houses were left fully furnished for visitors. Truly devoted fans can even enjoy Second Breakfast at the nearby Shire’s Rest Cafe.

Admittedly, it may be difficult to find a cheap flight these further afield destinations. Though, if the end result is stepping into Anne’s home in PEI or popping into a Hobbiton hovel who could argue with getting to live out your childhood dreams?

Cover Photo: Flickr user R Muscat via Wikimedia Commons

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on Nov. 11th.

The Ugly Side of Travel: A Human Trafficking Story

JULY 2014 UPDATE: Thanks for supporting The Human, Earth Project. With your help, we managed to raise the full $12,000 on this campaign against human trafficking. Ben and Moreno have found the kidnapped M. in China, and had a chance to meet with her in person. Unfortunately though, she was forced into marriage and has a baby now, so her situation is very complicated…

The following is a guest post from The Human, Earth Project and its Human Trafficking Awareness Crowdfunding Campaign. With your contribution, no matter how big or small, we can certainly make a difference.

human trafficking story

The Ugly Side of Travel

Not everybody loves travel. The 2.5 million people who are currently victims of human trafficking, taken from their homes to work elsewhere in forced labour, including sexual exploitation, definitely don’t.

Ben Randall was just another tourist who loved travel – until he learned that one of his friends, a 16-year-old from Vietnam, we’ll call her “M”, had been kidnapped.

Instead of turning away, he decided to search for M and began using his skills as a photographer and filmmaker to make a documentary to shed light on the issue of human trafficking. He gave up a full time job and for many months now has funded the project from his own savings.

Now he is asking for our help to finish the documentary and help bring the issue of Human Trafficking to the world.

Please take a moment to watch this short trailer of The Human, Earth Project:

You can visit ‘The Human, Earth Project’ crowdfunding page here. Any contribution you can offer will make a big difference to the campaign, and ultimately to those most affected by human trafficking. Ben is offering some great rewards, including film credits and his stunning photography of SE Asia.

Before you leave, please take a moment to share the story on your favorite social media sites by clicking these buttons:

Share this Human Trafficking Story on Facebook Share this Human Trafficking Story on Twitter Share this Human Trafficking Story onGoogle Share this Human Trafficking Story on Pinterest

Help to ensure everyone can love travel as much as you do.
Let’s fight human trafficking. TOGETHER.

My depression, summer travel plans, awesome photos + other updates

The past 12 months have been seriously tough on me… But I’ll talk about my summer travel plans first before I lose my inspiration altogether.

summer travel plans, Canadian poutine

Canadian poutine: yes, PLEASE (The Kozy Shack, Flickr)

My summer travel plans: Ontario & Québec, Canada!

After my dreams were crushed last month, I knew I had to come up with some quick summer travel plans. And while I was so paralyzed I couldn’t even think of a destination for days, I was finally reminded of TBEX Toronto. This meant… 2 weeks in Canada because flights were cheap on those dates! 😛

On May 18th, I have an overnight layover in Toronto before flying out the 19th to Montréal. I’ll meet with fellow blogger Karla and hopefully do a week-long road trip, including Ottawa and Québec City. I can’t wait to finally try poutine, eat in the dark at O.NOIR, and experience French culture. Oh by the way, believe it or not, I haven’t been to France yet! So this road trip should be fun…

summer travel plans, Québec

Old Québec City by Andre Mondou, Flickr

A week later, I’ll head out to Toronto and stay there until June 4th. I plan to go Couchsurfing and hang out with locals most of my stay, not doing tours until the conference weekend. That means no-plans Toronto, woo hoo! Except for a couple of restaurants I want to check out from this list and…

A Niagara Falls and winery tour on May 30th! I got invited by a Canadian operator to take part of such day trip with Karla — really looking forward to it. More details to come.

Then it’s TBEX time: agenda packed as always. Weekend will include:

* A First-Timer’s Special: All About Toronto tour for 3 hours the morning of Friday, May 31st. Then, after lunch, it’ll be time to hit the kaleidoscope of international neighborhoods  this Canadian city has to offer with the Toronto: The World in a City tour! Best of all? Both outings were included with my conference ticket 😀

* June 1-2nd = all-day conference sessions + pitching attendants. Parties TBA!

summer travel plans, Toronto

Toronto’s Little Portugal? (Robyn Lee, Flickr)

* Was planning on taking part of some TBEX tours that Monday after the sessions. Unfortunately, they were all full, so it seems like I’ll be couchsurfing once more from June 3-4th!

Rest of my summer travel plans: road tripping Puerto Rico

As you know, I moved back with my parents in Puerto Rico on April. While I haven’t been getting as much sun is I would like, I do plan to do lots of day trips soon as I get back from Canada. I even bought some surfing lessons on the West Coast! That’s, of course, assuming my friend actually gets the travel bug…

Either way, my boyfriend is finally visiting from June 23 – July 9 and we got some exciting plans then! Here are some photos I’ve taken the past month to get you excited:

summer travel plans, caving

I’ll take you caving…

summer travel plans, Puerto Rico cave

yes, REALLY!

summer travel plans, Cueva Ventana

We’ll take in gorgeous vistas…

summer travel plans, culinary adventures

…among other adventures!

What about my depression? Not doing too well…

Now on to the sad news: I haven’t been doing too well. In fact, I’ve been doing horrible. You have no idea the amount of will power it took me to write about my summer travel plans all happy-go-lucky. Truth of the matter is, I’ve lost control of most of my life. This type A individual is going absolutely nuts because:

  • No news from workers comp insurance about new orthopedic doctor
  • I’m in pain, even though I’ve been using voice recognition software + minimal work
  • Not being able to drive nor work online much, I have nothing to do during the day
  • I’m not close to the beach or anything truly exciting
  • Did I mention I haven’t seen a fucking doctor in over a month?!

I don’t fucking know where I’m going. Heck, besides my summer travel plans & paying off my debt with my disability checks, I have NO IDEA what the fuck is going to happen to my life. My career. To everything. The fact I can’t keep myself busy with work or hang out with friends because THEY are working is not helping me deal with my demons. Not at all. It’s actually FEEDING them. It’s quite scary.

dealing with depression

Feeding The Black Dog by Michelle Robinson, Flickr

The reason why I’m letting you know? So you keep tabs on me.

Sorry, but you can’t tell a person suffering from depression to please think of their blessings, etc. I KNOW THAT. I’M KNOW I’m lucky. Believe it or not, I send a thanksgiving prayer to the heavens every night. Still, that doesn’t help me cope during the day. That doesn’t help me quiet the big loud Black Dog. Honestly, all I can think of is ways to hurt myself. I’m surprised I haven’t done it yet…

Right now, I’m really holding back from throwing every object in my room.

This is worse than prison! If I only had time to spend with my family during the day, that would make it all better. But I don’t. They are working, working too hard because of this American Dream mirage. I only get to truly hang out with them on weekends. I then thought about going housesitting abroad or something. But I can’t. Why?

I can’t fucking move until they find me a fucking orthopedic doctor!

If I move and don’t see a doctor, they suspend the disability checks that are actually paying for my debt. I have to stay put. It’s the stupidest fucking situation…

I called my lawyer to try to speed things up, but nothing has happened in about a month. Thank goodness I’m going to Canada in less than 2 weeks or else…

*sighs* making my blog a bit more personal. Hope I didn’t scare you…

I know: depression doesn’t make sense to onlookers or even my own self.

dealing with depression, waiting for better day

Waiting for a better day…

Do you have any exciting summer travel plans? Share them with us below

Biggest Baddest Bucket List: my RTW itinerary!

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 map, biggest baddest bucket list

RTW itinerary A map of my biggest baddest bucket list! (CLICK to enlarge)

RTW itinerary list: my biggest baddest bucket list

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?! 😀

RTW itinerary, Monastery of Meteora

Monastery of Meteora, Greece (Didrik Johnck, Flickr)

  • Climb to the spectacular monasteries of Meteora, Greece.
  • Discover Eastern Europe’s unique hidden gem: Ljubljana, Slovenia.
  • Bathe in Pamukkale’s cotton-like pools & Cappadocia hot air balloon, Turkey.

my biggest baddest bucket list, Pamukkale pools

The stunning pools of Pamukkale. In Turkish, it means cotton castle! (Ray Wewerka)

  • Witness Great Migration at Masai Mara & Serengeti, Kenya/Tanzania.
  • Ancient kingdoms and African Christianity pilgrimage around Ethiopia.
  • Photographic nirvana through the eerie landscapes of Madagascar.

biggest baddest bucket list, Madagascar Baobabs

“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!

RTW itinerary, Samarkand

Guri Amir Mausoleum, Samarkand, Uzbekistan (Fabio Achilli, Flickr)

  • Silk Road overland: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
  • Be one step away from the Door to Hell in Darvaza, Turkmenistan.
  • Spend the night in a yurt by the mountains of Almaty, Kazakhstan.

biggest baddest bucket list, Kazakhstan yurt

A yurt in Kazakhstan: traditional housing throughout Central Asia and Mongolia! (Irene2005, Flickr)

  • See the bright sights of Rajasthan + relax in a houseboat in Kerala, India.
  • Get a cameo in Bollywood film in Bombay.
  • Experience the Kingdom of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness vs. GDP!

RTW itinerary, Bollywood

Bollywood movie poster (tajai, Flickr)

  • Take a ride on a traditional Chinese Junk in Hong Kong + Macau day trip!
  • Take part of an intriguing indigenous ritual in Papua New Guinea.
  • Hop on a liveaboard to scuba dive sites along PNG & Great Barrier Reef.

biggest baddest bucket list, Papua New Guinea indigenous people

Huli Wigman Sing Sing in Papua New Guinea (Drew Douglas, Flickr)

  • Experience g-force aboard an aerobatics flight in Sydney, Australia.
  • Bathe in gorgeous beaches and visit a glacier in one trip to New Zealand.
  • Swim with sharks + stay at overwater bungalow in Bora Bora.

  • Mingle with unique wildlife in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
  • Paraglide over Christ the Redeemer & Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Spectacular dunes & waters at Dos Lençóis Maranhenses Park, Brazil.

Finish in Puerto Rico so I can show you the cheeriest Christmas in the world! 😀

RTW itinerary, Dos Lençóis Maranhenses

Dos Lençóis Maranhenses Park, Brazil (Iain and Sarah, Flickr)

RTW itinerary A: the conundrum

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

OR

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!

RTW itinerary, Ljubljana

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!

What’s your biggest baddest bucket list RTW itinerary like?

My life dream is so close, I can’t sleep!

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.

My life dream, possibilities

Do possibilities have a price? Wade M, Flickr

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.

My life dream, RTW itinerary option

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.

And I can’t. stop. thinking. about it

Sure, I could join Peace Corps & even defer these student loans. But nah, that’s just not the same. Besides stressing out about interest piling up while I’m  away, why do I feel this way?

My life dream, Peace Corps meh

Ken Murphy, Flickr

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.

My life dream, smiling and traveling

😀

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.

Win it all!

That’s my life dream + top item on my travel bucket list! What’s yours?

_________________________________________________________________

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If I’m selected, I’ll be a travel host for the company My Destination, reporting to YOU from dozens of countries around the world, in all continents, for 6 months!

Thanks for helping me make my dream come true 🙂