Euro trip through the eyes of a 17 year old, pt 4: Venice, boys, self-image (photo essay)

The special travel mini series “Euro trip through the eyes of a 17 year old” is back! A compilation of posts & photos from my 2005 travel journal, when I was only a recent graduate from a Puerto Rican high school, still learning English. This was my first major trip outside the island (if you don’t count my Disney World trip in 2nd grade and living in the Dominican Republic with my aunt for a month after elementary school graduation). Hope you enjoy the retrospective!

Want to start from the beginning? 
Euro trip photo essay, PART 1: Germany (countryside)
Euro trip photo essay, PART 2: Germany (city)
Euro trip photo essay, PART 3: Austria

Note: Grammar, writing style have not been edited: That’s the whole point! 😉

Posted on 06/22/05, 3:55 AM on (cont.)

Euro trip 2005


Weeee, Italy. I loved the guys, the buildings, the climate, everything, until we checked-in @ the hotel. First off, we got here @ like 8:3OPM last night so the hotel we were going to stay at (Hotel Vionello) didn’t let us in ‘cause ‘it’s not permitted after 8PM’, so we ended up staying in hotel Kennedy. Lol, some rooms, like Manuel’s, didn’t even have a real shower! I mean, there was just a hole in the flor of the bathroom, a shower head in the ceiling, and that was it! lmao. I WILL show ya the pic Myriam took when she send it my way! Also, in the morning we had cereal and a bagel for breakfast. That was it. The thing as that after we finished, we entered again to look for something, and guess freakin’ WHAT!? The other uests of the hotel were having bacon, eggs, ham, cheese, many bread options, and cereals!!! I mean WTF!? Are we fucking HATED!? Italy def. lost some points by that. But still, Fefi, Laurie, Yari, and I have decided to move to Italy *nods*. Btw, the buildings and sp houses are SOOOO purdy, and some of them just *gorge*. Right now we are on our way to take the Aqua Taxi to go to Venize (we were @ Lido Di Jiolo)

my Euro trip, road trip to Italy

From which Shell gas station will u have this kind of view? *only* in Italy (during our road trip Austria-Italy)

Whoa! Venize was *awesome*! Soooo many great things, soooo many HOTTIES! I mean arn, I was perturbated, in pure AWE! Lol. Oh and, here was the *climax* of my self-esteem boost *nods*. All those hotties looked @ me and let me tell ya, it felt sooo nice lol. We 1st went on a lil’ trip in *gondola* through the city for like half an hour. Darn, it was raining, so the day turned all crappy and REEALY cold! It was odd! Butt, @ the end of my lovely trip in gondola, this one guy, a “gondolero” (guy of a gondola), brought his hand to me to help me get out of the gondola, like one of those romantic moments of corny movies, lol. And his hand was sooo comfy, and he gave me this sexy, but totally sweet and respectful look…*melts*. Not only that, but also I got a pic of us! *nods again* aaaand he grabbed me by my waist REEEALLY tight and very close to him (quickly I didn’t even really touch him I just standed there at his side for the pic and then all of sudden he just grabbed my waist and brought me reeeally close to him! I didn’t even had time to actually have the thought myself [:p]) soooo…we also went to this palace called *Palazzo Ducale*, which was really gorge as well. There was also Plaza San Marco I believe and close to it we also went to a Murano glass demonstration @ the original store of Murano. That was outstanding, I mean the maker is *so* talented; now I know why Murano glass is SO expensive, and with REASON! After that we had some awesome lunch (I had a HUGE platter filled to TOP of paste penne in a tomato sauce and a generous slice of lasagna by the side, all topped with a lot of melted cheese AND parmesan cheese :D). THEEEN we went around the city for like 3-4 hours, all by ourselves 😀 I was with Laura, Yarielis, Fefi, and Myriam. It was soo funny, ‘cause darn, all of these hot guys, and all of them turned back to look at me, and even one of them told me “hooola, bon apetit” in a very sexy voice, since I was licking a nice coffee gelato. Lol. Myriam and Laurie wanted to buy a bag to put it in my head they said. Lmao

Venize hilights, facts

I had a MAJOR self-esteem boost here due to all of those hotties looking at me sexy and melting me + the cashiers/workers @ the Murano Glass place were talking about how amazingly beautiful I was (LM over-heard them and told everyone at the bus loud: “María has caused sensation in Europe” then N went sooo mad and replied “”she that actually BELIEVES it?”” and then LM replied quickly saying ““ay, but it’s soo true not only ‘cause of all the guys that has been looking at her, but ‘cause the ppl @ Murano were talking about her beauty and how they have never seen someone as gorgeous”.” She went WHITE *Lmao*). SOOO, CALL ME CONCEITED, but darn I mean, u would feel *really* good if all those European and Italian guys were looking @ ya from head to toes and if like 1O persons were talking about how they find your natural beauty outstanding (while u were actually wearing no freakin’ make-up AT ALL!)! I honestly didn’t know how to react; I have NEVER ever gotten so many BIG compliments like those in my entire life! :I

Venize is NOT flooding; the SEA LEVEL is rising. Did u know? 🙂

Ppl are overly VERY nice and polite, but that ol’ lady @ our hostile hotel Kennedy pissed me off with the whole breakfast thing and how we couldn’t even GO OUT of the hotel if we weren’t wit our parents. None of us seniors were. WTF?! Plus, in Italy u are an adult @ 16, darn it

-THE BSB WERE FREAKIN’ THERE!!! They sang some songs at a festival in a place I actually VISITED THAT SAME DAY! Darn, I couldn’t see them, ‘cause I found out they were here when I was switching channels checking out Italian programming

-Gelatos are YUMMY

my Euro trip in Italy, Venice arrival

Venice arrival!

my trip to Europe, Venice arrival 2

yay yay Venice!

Pics that could be taken at the Palazzo Ducale (only out of the windows or in stairs, since cameras inside were not permitted)

my European holiday, Venice Palazzo Duccale balcony

Palazzo Duccale balcony

euro tour in Italy, inside Venice Palazzo Ducale

Quick secret snap! Shaky tho =(

my trip to Venice, Palazzo Duccale statue


Venice trip to Europe, Palazzo Duccale plaza

Palazzo Duccale plaza?

Me during and after our lil’ trip in gondola through Venice. I know, MY HAIR LOOKS LIKE CRAP. I mean it caught a lot of humidity and rain, then dried just like that. Eh.

Euro trip, Venice gondolas

me and Venice gondolas!

Euro trip, Venice gondolas 2

me with Venice gondolas again!

Euro trip, Venice gondola ride

Venice gondola ride!

Euro trip, Venice gondola ride 2

so happy!

Euro trip, Venice and Italian cutie

Me and the gondolero I told ya about. Ignore me please I looked like crap. But look at him. And what it’s even more unbelievable is that he actually looks even better in person. Oi, and watch closely how he is holding me (watch my WAIST) 😉 haha =P

Euro trip, Venice Plaza San Marco

Me @ Plaza San Marco! Gorgeous, eh?

Euro trip, rainy Venice

Me right before going back to the Aqua Taxi. See how crappy the weather was? 🙁 too bad

My thoughts after reading this travel journal entry, 7 years later: I can tell how damaged my self-esteem was back then. You can see how I have to reiterate, to remind myself constantly on my own journal about how the Italians found me pretty. I used to be the hated nerd in high school for being different. I also attended a private school my mom could barely pay for just so I could have a better education…which meant I was “the poor one.” My school years were quite tough and spent, mostly, in solitude. It wasn’t until my last year or two that I had — wait for it — three friends. But now, looking back, I know all the struggles truly made me stronger and gave me the drive and determination I currently have. They allow me to continue with my crazy plans, and actually succeed, no matter what others say. If you are bullied or ever feel less than what you’re worth, remember: The sun will shine brighter soon! 🙂 **Never give up**

Euro trip, Venice Doges Palace

Euro trip: Venice Doges Palace (Photo: Andrew Balet)

Did you ever take an Euro trip during your youth? What did you learn?

Christmas traditions around the world + photos!

In the Western & Christian worlds, we celebrate Christmas this weekend. In celebration, I decided to compile some unique Christmas traditions around the world! Since our globe has more than 200 countries, the list below includes only the ones I have personally visited and/or lived in. This way, we keep the number close to 30 😉 Hope you enjoy it!


Christmas traditions around the world, ajaca

Ajaca: Traditional food eaten during Christmas in Aruba, it is made of plantains and stuffed with pork, chicken or beef (

In this beautiful Caribbean island, it is commonplace for families to go to church together on Christmas Eve. Then, families gather again for Christmas dinner the next day and sing Aruban songs as they eat ajaca (also eaten in Puerto Rico, but known as “pastel”), salted ham and salmon.


Christmas traditions around the world, Austria markets

Christmas market in Vienna, Austria (Photo: Manfred Werner)

While Christmas markets are very popular in several cities across Europe, they are particularly important in Austria. The most popular in this quaint country are found in Vienna (in front of the City Hall), Innsbruck (in square by the Golden Roof), and Salzburg (by Residenzplatz/the big Cathedral).


Christmas traditions around the world, Barbados

Christmas Pantomime by St Winifred School, Barbados (

In the Barbados, a curious tradition is that children put on a pantomime show (instead of a traditional Christmas play) for school. This is also common Christmas tradition in Jamaica.


Christmas traditions around the world, Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas (Dutch Santa Claus) and his helper, Zwarte Piet (Black Peter). Photo: Looi at nl.wikipedia

In the Dutch Caribbean (including the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao) they celebrate what it’s called Saint Nicholas Day. What’s really special in this region, however, is Sinterklaas: The Dutch Santa Claus! He makes an appearance on December 5th and gives out the gifts then! Oh, it is also feast day 😉

Dominican Republic

Christmas traditions around the world, Three Kings

"Los Tres Reyes Magos," meaning "The Three Magic Kings" (Photo:

While many Latin American countries celebrate both December 25th (Santa Claus/Christmas) and January 6th (Three Kings Day), only the latter is celebrated in Dominican Republic. There might be some exceptions to the rule, such as wealthy families exchanging gifts on both days. This, however, is rare. What, then, happens on January 6th? Children leave grass for the “camels” of the Three Kings to eat under their beds (not tree!) and then see their gifts there the next morning.


Christmas traditions around the world, fattah

Egyptian fattah (Photo:

Christmas in EGYPT? That’s right! While more than 90% of the population in Egypt are Muslims, there is still a Christian minority, called the Coptic Church. Also, as an Orthodox Church, so they actually celebrate Christmas on January 7th, a day after Three Kings Day in Latin America (Epiphany). Then, on Christmas Eve, everyone goes to church midnight service wearing a brand-new outfit, then goes home afterward to eat delicious fata (pictured above).


Christmas traditions around the world, Boxing Day

Keswick Boxing Day Hunt, Market Square, Cumbria, Lakes District, England in 1962 (Photo: Phillip Capper, Wiki)

Some peculiar Christmas traditions in England are the Queen of England’s speech (radio and televised) on Christmas Day and the celebration of Boxing Day on Dec. 26th, which nowadays involves giving small amounts of money as gifts to those who have helped you throughout the year (i.e. the mailman, the newspaper boy, etc.). When it comes to food, Christmas lunch includes a chestnut-stuffed turkey, Yorkshire pudding and roast beef or roast goose.


Christmas traditions around the world, suckling pig

Suckling pig: Traditional German dish eaten on “Dickbauch” feast day (

As in several European countries, the day that German kids actually receive gifts is December 7th. Thus, on the night of December 6th, children place a boot or shoe by the fireplace (similar to the mistletoe tradition!) and wait for St. Nicholas to fill it with gifts! Another funny fact? Christmas Eve is called “Dickbauch” (which means “fat stomach”) and if you do not eat well on that day, you will be haunted by DEMONS! Say wha!? Interesting Christmas superstition indeed!


Christmas traditions around the world, Yule Lads

Two of the Yule Lads on a billboard in Iceland (Photo:WikiCommons)

Icelandic Christmas is great, as it lasts 26 days and brings about 13 different “Santa Clauses” (also called “Yule Lads”) and they start bringing gifts 13 days before December 25th! The story behind them is that their parents are mean mother Grýla (who takes away the naughty kids in town!) and father Leppalúði, who is not that bad. Their children then are the infamous Yuletid, and each day of the Icelandic Christmas a different one comes to town, either bringing gifts or a prank, or both! 😉 on December 12th, children place a shoe by the window and expect one of the many “Santa Clauses” to leave gifts – but if you have been naughty, you get a potato instead! The major gift exchange and Christmas celebration, however, happens on Christmas Eve, when many Icelanders also go to midnight mass.

Israel & Palestine

While Jews celebrate Chanukkah around the same time, a minority of Christian Arabs do celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, on December 25th. Celebrations are particularly evident in Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity, where it is believed to be the location of the manger where Jesus was born more than 2,000 years ago. See the video above to get a taste of Christmas in the West Bank/Palestine!

For part 2, and many more traditions from other countries, CLICK HERE!!

What are your favorite Christmas traditions around the world? Why?

Travel bucket list inspiration – it’s TravelBL time! Week of Nov 9th

What’s Travel Bucket List Wednesday about? Click here to learn more!

Happy Travel Bucket List Wednesday y’all! We are celebrating week 7 of this travel inspiration series, sharing travel bucket list items I have found around the web. Remember that yours can be featured here, too! Simply write down your travel bucket list, post the link on a comment below, along with your Twitter if you wish, and DONE! There is no limit: As long as you have new items on your travel bucket list weekly, I can feature it every Wednesday. So get writing, get inspired and inspire others as well! Plus join us on the Twitter #TravelBL chat every Wednesday at 12 & 6:15 pm (EST)! 😀

Chérie’s travel bucket list, aka the “EpicQuest”

The moment I stumbled upon Miss Chérie’s Twitter account, I was instantly inspired: “I am a Deaf Travel blogger that simply adores Traveling.. My objective is to help other Deaf travelers. Let’s break that language barriers, shall we? :)” Who wouldn’t be?! That made me want to quit my job and go around the world to volunteer right then. Why? Because she reminded me, once again, that we put so many barriers in front of us, so many excuses on why we can’t do what’s right, what’s burning in our hearts at this very moment and keep…waiting…and waiting…or remain in a state of paralysis for years. This girl didn’t even allow one of the senses get in the way. She is out there. She is conquering. And she is one of the most up-beat persons you will ever chat with. I can’t wait to meet her face-to-face one day. Now becoming fluent in sign language is on my travel bucket list as well! Thank you Chérie — keep inspiring us 🙂

treehouse travel bucket list

Sleep in treehouses around the US – Tripadvisor’s travel bucket list

I am subscribed to Tripadvisor’s newsletter and while most days I only get traditional (aka over-hyped, common) destinations and “lists,” this week they pleasantly surprised me. They sent the top 10 treehouse rentals within the US. While the list only includes Uncle Sam’s territory (read: Great stops for that American road trip of your dreams), my brain automatically thought, hey, they got plenty of those around the world, too! Thus, I also thought to myself, whoa, that would be an awesome, quirky journey and mission: Travel around the world, only sleeping in treehouses. BAM! I’ll do it one day…*writes it down on her epic journeys travel bucket list*

travel bucket list, amazing Blue Lagoon

me at the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Resort, Iceland

The amazing pools travel bucket list – BootsnAll

Once again, a BootsnAll list makes it to travel bucket list Wednesday. This photo essay includes many amazing pools in properties I would probably never be able to afford on my backpacker budget. However…isn’t dreaming a big part of what travel bucket lists are about, though?! I did splurge once for the Blue Lagoon btw…armed robbery, but glad I did it once! 😀

travel bucket list, nocturnal festivals

Nocturnal festivals travel bucket list – NatGeo

National Geographic has published a fantastic list of festivals around the world – all which should be in the travel bucket list for the party animal inside of us. And you know, the excuse that it was all done for “the sake of culture” is guaranteed to fly 😉

daredevil travel bucket list

New on my travel bucket list: Destinations for daredevils

While I’ve heard of many of the destinations listed, I certainly didn’t know of other life-threatening activities I could engage in. This list gave me many new ideas on how to involuntarily attempt suicide – awesome

Video: Underwater Base Jumping

For more items of my own travel bucket list, you may click here

What are you waiting for?! Go run to your site, type down that long travel bucket list of yours and then come back here to share it with us. Be part of the inspiring #TravelBL Wednesdays! And please, overuse the hashtag #TravelBL. Include it when you tweet about your items & cc @latinAbroad – that’ll guarantee an RT from me!

“The normal make a living, the deranged make history”

What’s on your travel bucket list?

Europe: Through the eyes of a 17 year old (photo essay, pt 2)

For Travel Tuesday this week I decided to resume the mini series of journal entries/photo essays I published back in 2005 on from my first Europe trip travel journal. Back when I was a newbie 17-year-old blogger with no real English training or travel experience. Back when I went outside Puerto Rico and the U.S. for the first time! Hope you find the photo essay cute and humorous =P Below, part two!

[for PART ONE of this photo essay, click here]

Please note, I have not edited the grammar nor writing style: That’s the whole point of the post! Yeah? 😉 🙂

Oh and don’t forget: Click on any image to enlarge! 🙂

Posted on 06/20/05, 4:38 PM on

Europe trip 2005

After around 4 hours, we are out of the castle! We took lunch first, then we had to *walk* to the castle for like what, 45 mins.!? And YES, a super-huge hill all the way. But, all that heavy walk (or hiking) was REALLY worth it! The castle was just *gorgeous*, and the views all over simply *breath-taking*. Oi! And I finally got the name right! Schloss *Neuschwanstein* 😀 Schloss is castle in German, btw. And “Neuschwanstein” means New Swan Stone. The king was obsessed with swans or something; they were *all over* the castle’s furniture, paintings, etc. I also bought some lil’ souvenirs, like postcards and patches (1 of Germany and another 1 of Austria), which I’’ll now start collecting of every country I visit. Btw, that’s all I could basically buy during the entire trip! All of my money went mostly in food (which was DAMN expensive) and the most rest to excursions/museums :/ it sucked, I wanted to buy soo many things, and sp a better thingy for my bff Clody! 🙁 oh wells.

Europe Trip, German hotel

Laurie and me in front of our hotel back in Rothenburg, the morning we were off to the castle

Europe Trip, Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle! Oh and, did u know this the the actual castle in which is inspired Disney’s?

Europe Trip, Neuschwanstein 2

Neuschwanstein castle, different angle

Europe Trip, Neuschwanstein entrance

entering Neuschwanstein! =D

Europe Trip, Neuschwanstein window views

Just an example of the spectacular views from the castle’s windows

Europe Trip, Neuschwanstein window views

more spectacular views from the castle’s windows

Europe Trip, German yellow castle

Some other yellow castle that could be seen from down there

Euro Trip, German yellow castle closeup

closeup of yellow castle

Taking supper now @ Ausburg. Oh and @ this Italian ristorante, I *finally* found someone nice! Germans were starting to piss me off, sp when they looked Laura oddly (ya know ‘cause of her dark skin). Anymoo! It was a super-cute Italian waiter, *so* freakin’ nice and sweet. We would talk in Spanish and he would reply in Italian, and we could understand each other really well! Btw, we saw a dangerously-HOT German (about 19-2O-ish) there: …DAMN! The funny thing is that he was with his *fiancée* having a family dinner for her rents approval, or so it seemed. And still, we checked him out BADLY. We are bad girls [:p] It was sooo funny, her rents looked us *quite* hostile, haha! :p about the food, it was awesome and quite yummy; the ristorante persé was *really* purdy as well. For dessert, we got ice-cream around the corner. I got a latte-something flavor: that was outstanding! I FINALLY tasted *real*, yummy coffee like back home: very rich and sweet, an super charged of flavor, just like an actual coffee should be, not all watery and flavorless like American or German ‘coffee’ (no offense!). Then, we finally hit our hotel. Btw, the only thing I liked was a chair and curtain @ the end of the hallways of every floor; my room was just *extremely* small (I had to put my luggage in the closet ‘cause there was no space to walk! So u can imagine), and the had a lot of stupid rules and we couldn’t even go walk outside. I disliked it VERY much. Rothenburg’s was WAY better, and it wasn’t in the city! So yeah, I like Germany’s countryside much better, or at least for now. It’s 1O:3OPM so I’m going to sleep now; we are off to Munich tomorrow.


Just took breakfast, now we are on our way to Munich. Btw, I just met an American hottie named Mike (lol), from Indiana. Oi, he IS good looking. He’s on another different EF tour, but staying another night just like we are so I’ll prolly see him again tonight (we were looking at each other non-stop during the *whole* breakfast, until my group left. I then stayed, walked up to him and said “where are u from?” he told me then I answered back and he loved the fact I‘m from Puerto Rico :p then we asked each other’s room #’s and that was it :p).
Soooo then the bus was off to Munich. Omg, that was SUPER! I felt like if I was in London! The whole buildings and stuff, everything was gorge. Now my view of countryside Germany and the city are pretty similar :p we went to some palace (where I froze my booty off; that must have been the coldest time while in Europe!) before going to the BMW museum and Dachu Nazi concentration camp. Couldnt see much because the movie the showed us was so graphic and Laurie felt sick it affected her too much, so I wanted to be a good friend and accompanied her outside until the tour was over. We walked through the gas chambers and everything. very very emotional…
Later on, we went shopping and to the Hard rock café and HB, were most of my classmates (and even TEACHERS!) nearly get drunk drinking strong German beer [:p] about me well, I had a yummy German sausage for lunch! *nods* oh and, finally, I bought a li’ something for myself: a pink Heartbreaker top @ Hard Rock which also has a big 71 in burgundy in the back and also says Munich. Then, when we arrived to the hotel @ like 9PM, I met Mike again and we went to the Eia (?) Tutti Frutti café around the corner and ate some ice-cream together and talked some more, then same thing back @ the hotel’s lobby. Guess what!? He’s a CHRISTIAN! I mean he is even in a *Christian* METAL band called Bloody Sunday, and he is the vocalist.

Euro Trip, Munich palace

Me in front of the palace

Euro Trip, Munich palace 2

another view of the German palace

Euro Trip, Munich palace garden

by the palace balcony and garden. Oi, that garden and palace are sooo big it’s GORGE

Euro Trip, Munich square

MUNICH! Who took the pic cut off the nice big clock tho! =(

Euro Trip, Munich surroundings

around Muncih

Euro Trip, Munich surroundings 2

what's that? I dont remember...(Munich)

Euro Trip, Mike

Mike and me, that day. Turned out like crap *shrugs* he’s much hotter in person, btw

Euro Trip, Munich surroundings 3

bye bye, Germany! Next stop Austria and ITALY!!!!! =D

Europe adventure to be continued on a different Travel Tuesday! ;)

#Travel bucket list items & photos of the week – it’s #TravelBL time!

What’s Travel Bucket List Wednesdays? Click here to learn more

Epa! This shall be the fifth weekly Travel Bucket list Wednesday! I’ve decided that the weeks I don’t get many submissions from you, I’ll complement the entry with interesting travel bucket list items I find around the web that week. Remember: If you wish to be featured next week don’t forget to submit your travel bucket list, links of your travel sites and Twitter handle on a comment below. There is no limit: As long as you post new items on your travel bucket list every week, I will feature you every time! So c’mon, get greedy here. And don’t forget to join us on the Twitter #TravelBL chat every Wednesday at 12 & 6:15 pm (EST)!

Travel bucket list, St Barts

In Lola's travel bucket list: "New Year’s Eve in St. Barts with Beyonce and Jay Z" (Photo:

* Lola’s travel bucket list
You’ll be inspired by her list if you’re interested in: Celebrities, parties & sun

travel bucket list: Mount Huashan, China

On any thrill junkie's travel bucket list: "A trek with a difference: At one point one kilometer above the ground, you have to traverse a slim wooden plank stuck to the face of a vertical cliff" -by Ivy Zhang, Jane Leung & Tim Cheung,

Trill seeker’s travel bucket list – CNN Go
You’ll be inspired by this list if you like: Heights, magma & dangerous animals

travel bucket list, Barcelona

In any European travel bucket list: Gaudi's Barcelona! (Photo: La Sagrada Familia church, Wiki Commons)

Spain’s travel bucket list – Global Grasshopper
You’ll be inspired by this list if you’re interested in: Spain’s 10 most beautiful places

travel bucket list: Kamchatka, Russia

A must-add to any outdoors travel bucket list: Helicopter ride over volcanoes & lakes in Kamchatka peninsula, Russia! (Photo: Helen Flamme, sputnik_mania on Flikr)

“Middle of nowhere” travel bucket list – Lonely Planet
You’ll be inspired by this list if you’re interested in: Beautiful desolation & nature

travel bucket list, Thuringia

Thuringia, Germany: Added to my travel bucket list!

New item on my own travel bucket list: Thuringia, Germany
Thank you once again, Lonely Planet! I just stumbled upon this destination & got so excited about it. I had never even heard that name before, ever. Officially “The Free State of Thuringia,” it is located in central Germany & is the sixth smallest by area. Also, it happens to be the home of Germany’s most infamous hiking trail: Rennsteig (Wiki). However, what sold me about Thuringia is the spectacular mosaics and architecture of 900-year-old Wartburg Castle. Thank you for the travel bucket list inspiration, Lonely Planet (and photographer Mr Matt Munro)!

travel bucket list: Schmalkalden, Germany

Thuringia town Schmalkalden, as photographed by Matt Munro

For more items of my own travel bucket list, you may click here

What are you waiting for?! Go run to your blog, put together that awesome travel bucket list of yours and come back here to share it with us. Be part of the new, exciting #TravelBL Wednesdays! And of course, feel free to use hashtag #TravelBL any other time of the week when tweeting your items – you’ll get a guaranteed RT from me!

“LIFE, if well-lived, is long enough”
-Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

What’s on your travel bucket list?

Travel bucket list of the week & #TravelBL chat round-up

Halla! This shall be the third weekly post including YOUR travel bucket lists, submitted last week on this blog. A little late I again yes, had my hands full again, as the BRAND-NEW LOOK of is expected to go LIVE next week! Exciting news after exciting news, I know! What a week huh!? Stay along for the ride because things with me just go from good to epic in 0000.1 milliseconds *wink* haha!

Anyhow! As last Thursday, I’m also including a round-up of what happened at both sessions of the #TravelBL chat yesterday. Topic was ROAD TRIPS & OVERLAND ADVENTURES so I myself added many items to my travel bucket list. Now grab a pen & keep expanding your travel bucket list!

For this week’s #TravelBL chat round-up, click here

Don’t forget to submit your travel bucket lists, links of your travel sites and Twitter handles on a comment below if you wish to be featured next week. There is no limit: As long as you post new items on your travel bucket list every week, I will feature you every time! So c’mon, get greedy here. And don’t forget to join us on the Twitter #TravelBL chat every Wednesday at 12 & 6:15 pm (EST)!

Still confused on how Travel Bucket List Wednesdays work? Click here

Travel bucket list - space travel

Andi's travel bucket list item # 48 - "Travel to outer space" (Photo: Virgin Galactic)

Andi’s travel bucket list
You’ll be inspired by her list if you like: Outdoors, long-term travel

Travel bucket list Chris and Tawny

Chris and Tawny: "Receive sak yant tattoos in Thailand" (crossed off!)

* Chris and Tawny’s travel bucket list
You’ll be inspired by their list if you like: Swimming, wildlife, cultural experiences

Ted's Travel bucket list

On Ted's travel bucket list: Denali National Park (Photo: Wiki Commons)

* Ted’s travel bucket list
You’ll be inspired by his list if you like: Swimming, wildlife, cultural experiences

Travel bucket list Galapagos diving

Diving in the Galapagos - on my travel bucket list! (Photo: Teresa Subi)

* Swim with whales, mantas, sharks, dolphins, seals, etc. – Galapagos, Palau, Indonesia, AU

Swimming with manatees was amazing, but that wasn’t enough to cross off this travel bucket list item of mine. See, I’m greedy when it comes to this one: I want to swim with all kinds of creatures! Whale sharks, manta rays, actual sharks, dolphins, seals, etc. etc. (new ideas are ALWAYS welcome!). Well, no better place to do so than around the Galapagos, Palau or the giant Indonesian archipelago! So many sites, so little time. Thank God I’m only 24, because this item will take a while to fully cross it off my travel bucket list!

Travel bucket list - swimming with manatees

Swimming with manatees - crossed off!

For more items of my own travel bucket list, you may click here

What are you waiting for?! Go run to your blog, put together that awesome travel bucket list of yours and come back here to share it with us. Be part of the new, exciting #TravelBL Wednesdays! And of course, feel free to use hashtag #TravelBL any other time of the week when tweeting your items – you’ll get a guaranteed RT from me!

“Their farewell message as they signed off: ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish.’
And I’ve always wished that for myself. And now, I wish that for you: Stay hungry. Stay foolish.'”
-Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

My 2011-2012 BHAGs: Curacao, Bonaire, NOLA, Egypt, Cambodia, AUS!?

BHAG = Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Thanks for the inspiration, BootsnAll! You have just made me realize what’s my real last name 😉

Alo! I’m super excited to share some great news on this lovely Travel Tuesday night with ya! 😀 As you already know, I’ll be visiting Curacao for the first time in November. However, what you didn’t know yet is that I’ve added Bonaire to the mix! After speaking to other travel bloggers that have been to the ABC’s (Aruba/Bonaire/Curacao), I was told that it is wise if I were to spend 2-3 days on each instead of the whole time in just one of them. And since I’m trying to visit all countries in the world…this would be a perfect opportunity to cross off two at once 😀 after some debate, I decided to stay longer in Bonaire (3 days), as I wanted to visit the least crowded island with the most unspoiled nature for better diving/snorkeling. Then, I will fly back to Curacao and stay for 2 days to soak in the night life and possibly cycle around instead of renting a car *fingers crossed* I’m excited to have a taste of the Dutch Caribbean! Oh and in case you were wondering why I have left Aruba out? I already visited back in 2002 😉

Aruba Natural Bridge

Aruba's Natural Bridge, which collapsed in 2005 - I went there just 3 yrs earlier!

Now, how the HECK were NOLA, Egypt, Cambodia, Thailand, and even AUSTRALIA thrown to the mix!? Let me begin by saying that they are not all on a one-way RTW ticket (although that would have been pretty epic)…

French Quarter, New Orleans

French Quarter, New Orleans at night (Photo: Falkue at de.wikipedia)

NOLA, aka New Orleans, aka the “Big Easy” was an impulse buy from yours truly during a ridiculously-beautiful AA sale – snatched a RT ticket, direct flights, TPA-NOLA for just US$160 including taxes (I know, I’m a baller). I’m excited because the first and only time I’ve been to NOLA was to volunteer and help victims affected by Hurricane Katrina. Meaning? That time I got to be a part of something big for people, now this time I will be part of celebrating their recovery, BIG, with them! 😉 shall be a blast! This is happening on a long weekend in December, by the way.

And now, I shall describe the biggest event of this post. Band, drum roll please! *drum roll*

Hint: Plans A & C

Hint: This shall involve Plans A & C

Hint: Plan B

Hint: This shall be Plan B

My Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) for 2012 is to work, live, travel throughout the Middle East again or hit SE Asia for the first time in my life!

*rings cowbell loudly* YES!!!!!!!!!!!

Omg, you have no idea how excited I am, my fingertips just keep doing a happy dance across the keyboard every time I type about that! Soooo! What’s the plan you must be wondering!? Since I basically have it all planned out from Plan A to C to D, I’ll tell you all about it on a tentative timeline I’ve outlined below!

 Nov – Dec 2011 * Curacao & Bonaire (Dutch Caribbean); Miami & Tampa FL (USA)

Dec 2011 * New Orleans, NOLA, the Big Easy

New Year’s 2012 * long weekend where? Hmm…Tampa? Canada? Miami? Times Square/NYC again?

Jan – April 2012…

Plan A: Apply for jobs at US Embassies around the world, preferably in the Middle East, most preferably in Egypt. I want to improve my Arabic, get ready for a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Arabic, Track II at U of Maryland (close to DC!), studying abroad in Egypt again for the 2nd year of my degree (!!!)

Plan B? If by Feb-March I got no promising job offers on my table, start looking for jobs in Australia as well! I got a contact (if you wish to be named, you’re welcome to move forward mister!) that will help me find a job in the tourism industry there. Tour guide? Interpreter? Both? We shall see! 😀

Plan C: Really I got one? Indeed 😀 apply to become a flight attendant for a Middle Eastern airline, preferably Emirates or Qatar Airways. Travel the world while having a base in the Middle East and improve my Arabic in the process? Why not!?

Plan D (aka worst case scenario): Stay in Tampa FL a bit longer, until any plan from above happens. because you know, Maria Alexandra makes things happen!

La Isla del Encanto, Puerto Rico

A beach in Vieques, Puerto Rico

April – Aug 2012 * If either plan A, B or C from above happens, I’ll move back to La Isla Del Encanto, Puerto Rico (HOME!) and live with my family for a few months. It’ll be wonderful, because my first nephew is coming to this world in Feb 2012, so he will get some serious fun time with Titi Maria before she jets off to live in another remote country! (I wish he was old enough to teach him how to Skype already…)

Worst case scenario: Still in Tampa FL, job searching (aka still working on Plans A, B & C from above)

Aug 2012

Plan A: Living (and working) in Egypt again!

Plan B: Last week of Aug, head to Southeast Asia, travel through Thailand (for the first time!) for a couple of days, then head to Cambodia to volunteer on a house build through Habitat for Humanity. Afterward, tubing (and much else) in Laos. And “finally”? Travel job in eastern coast of AUSTRALIA!

Plan C: Become a reincarnated PanAm dream (umm, flight attendant) for Emirates or Qatar Airways, living in the Persian Gulf, but FLYING often around the world!

Sept 2012 * living and traveling either throughout the Middle East, Asia and/or the South Pacific!

And…what if all of the above fails due to some major mystery of the universe? Well, I’ll just stay right here, in Tampa FL, working as a translator and social media manager, still searching and waiting until a promising opportunity crosses my path. I know God has a plan for me, and while I do possess the gift of free will, He also helps me by guiding me in the path that best suits my abilities and all the love and talents I have to give and share with others. I’m such a people person, got so much love and great plans to share and spread around the world, I know what will make me wake up ecstatic every morning will show up eventually 🙂

Until then? I got my timeline to work on! And…

My pool in Tampa, FL
…a great view + pool at my apartment complex to enjoy in Tampa Bay, FL

This post may have been a little tedious for some of you to read, but I am the kind of person that needs to write (errm, type) plans out in order to focus, tackle, and WIN. I’m absent, scattered minded, so time lines like this one have previously helped me achieve some of my biggest life goals. And so this shall be my proclamation, my inspiration–the sticky note I will read every day until my wildest dreams come true!

MOREOVER, I am challenging YOU right now to proclaim your own. Write down your dreams, travel plans, BIG GOALS for the next year already! Come join me, let’s take this journey together!

In response to 30 Days of Indie Travel, Prompt # 1:
What travel goals do you hope to accomplish this year?

Travel bucket list of the week and #TravelBL round-up!

Hey guys! This shall be the second weekly post including YOUR travel bucket lists, submitted last week on this blog. A little late I know, had my hands full this week, but for waiting this long you also get a nice round-up of what happened at both sessions of the #TravelBL chat this past Wednesday *wink* now grab a pen & keep expanding that travel bucket list of yours! Also: Don’t forget to submit your lists, links of your travel sites and Twitter handles on a comment below if you wish to be featured next week. There is no limit: As long as you post new items on your travel bucket list every week, I will feature you every time! So c’mon, get greedy hehe. And don’t forget to join us on the Twitter #TravelBL chat every Wednesday at 12 & 6:15 pm (EST)! **For this week’s #TravelBL chat round-up, click here

Still confused on how Travel Bucket List Wednesdays work? Click here

Travel Bucket list polar bear

Travel bucket list item: "See a wild polar bear" -Jen and Jeff

* Jen and Jeff’s travel bucket list
You’ll be inspired by their list if you like: Wildlife, sports, adventure travel

travel bucket list Great Wall China

Travel bucket list item: "The Great Wall China" -Wanderlust&TheGirl

Wanderlust’s travel bucket list – @LAbackpackerChick on Twitter
You’ll be inspired by her list if you like: History, outdoors, beautiful waters

travel bucket list helicopter pilot

Travel bucket list item: "Fly a helicopter" - Patrick

* Patrick’s travel bucket list – @corktobelfast on Twitter
You’ll be inspired by his list if you like: Geography (i.e entire continents), sports events, Heritage Sites

travel bucket list glider

Travel bucket list: "Loops in a glider" -Peg (crossed off!)

* Peg’s travel bucket list – @tomebug on Twitter
You’ll be inspired by her list if you like: Languages, flying, photography

travel bucket list Thistlegorm shipwreck

Travel bucket list item: "Shipwreck diving - CHECK!" -Me 😉

* LatinAbroad’s travel bucket list item: Shipwreck diving

Oh yes, CROSSED OFF! =D Who doesn’t have this on their list after watching the box-office-smashing TITANIC movie, right? Well, lucky me, I got to dive one of the most famous, top shiwrecks in the world: The Thistlegorm, a WWII British vessel carrying supplies, which was bombed by the Germans and sank in the middle of the Red Sea! What’s even cooler is that you get to dive the Thistlegorm twice: First time is the deepest dive, at about 30 meters deep, and it is to circumvent the ship and see its vastness from the outside. It is truly awe-inspiring, if also rather eerie. You hear the haunting sounds of the ship, the exact same ones we all heard while watching the Titanic sink with Jack and Rose vying to survive. Eerie indeed…
On your second dive, you actually enter the ship. This was the coolest thing ever. We got to go inside the Captain’s cabin and even see his tub, then go to the different storage rooms and see several motorcycles and even cars still fairly intact. It is so amazing how much of the cargo inside the ship is still so well preserved after so many years underwater. Needless to say, my breath was taken away! You can see more pictures of this amazing shipwreck by clicking here

For more items of my own travel bucket list, you may click here

What are you waiting for?! Go run to your blog, put together that awesome travel bucket list of yours and come back here to share it with us. Be part of the new, exciting #TravelBL Wednesdays! And of course, feel free to use hashtag #TravelBL any other time of the week when tweeting your items – you’ll get a guaranteed RT from me!

 What’s on your travel bucket list? What have you crossed off already?

FriFotos: Rome, Times Square in New Years & Gaga lights (photo compilation)

This week’s FriFotos theme is “LIGHTS” so today I present you a photo compilaton of some of my favorite “light” moments, all over the globe. Hope you like them pics! 😉

FriFotos Colosseum lights

I got to party with the locals by the Colosseum in Rome! =D

FriFotos Colosseum lights

View from our tram, where the Roman party was at

Times Square NYE - travel bucket list CHECK!

The Ball drop in Times Square from the VIP lane! Read the story here

travel bucket list check - Times Square NYE

New Year's in Times Square from the VIP lane - AMAZING!

Rome lights

Lights somewhere in Rome. I think it was the Pantheon?

Me at Fontana di Trevi, Rome

Lady Gaga concert

Lady Gaga stage lights, concert in Tampa, FL

You got any cool LIGHT photos? Post the links below!