Bellavista, Santiago de Chile

Juan and I were only able to see a quick glimpse of Santiago, but Bellavista was our favorite barrio.

Before camping in the mountains, we headed to Bellavista – a hipster/artsy area of the big city – for a good meal. I heard that Como Agua Para Chocolate was highly recommended by locals, which is always better than the “typical touristy stuff.”

I can honestly say that this was the best meal I’ve ever had in South America (between Peru, Ecuador and Chile). The salmon had a delicious buttery sauce with the best sautéed vegetables… and the dessert spoke to me with it’s dark chocolate and raspberry sauces!

Bellavista is also recognized for its nightlife. We were exhausted since it was late when we arrived, but we did wonder around and view the unique street art.

The next morning we only had a limited time to enjoy Santiago, so we grabbed some quick breakfast and rode up to the top of the city.

We were camping in the Olmué area of Chile from May 10-13, but were able to see a little more of Santiago prior to our next flight on the 13th. Of course, we returned to Bellavista during the day to grab cappuccinos and a great seafood lunch!

As always, I wish I had more time in this one-of-a-kind place, but I know we’ll be back someday 🙂

La Campana National Park, Chile

La Campana National Park is located in Olmué, Chile. Charles Darwin actually hiked here after his visit to the Galápagos Islands. It’s a must-see if you’re in the area!

Juan and I hiked the 7-kilometer trail, but only made it to the 5-kilometer mark since it was the most difficult path. Going uphill was incredibly difficult and put my physical and mental stamina to the test. With that said, however, going downhill was even worse on my hips, knees and ankles.

The hike itself provided Juan and I with a modest 6.5-mile exercise! In total, we walked 12.4 miles yesterday, and boy am I feeling it today…

Pro tip: don’t go hiking if you have the flu. This made my hike much more intolerable than it needed to be!

Pro tip #2: go hiking with someJuan special. It’ll be double the fun! 🙂

Longing for “Moher” (April 14, 2016)

Exactly three years ago today, I was galavanting around Ireland with two good friends. The beauty of these cliffs is insurmountable and sometimes on the windiest of days, I feel like I’m sitting right where I was on this day in 2016.

Thank you, Kaila

Kaila’s message arrived when I needed it most…

My family drama is so bad that I’ve been losing sleep over it for weeks.

My job and responsibilities are constantly changing against my will.

Many friendships that I thought would last a lifetime are ending right before my eyes.

I’ve been living day-by-day, going through the motions all while hiding my hurt. Reading Kaila’s letter taught me that I do have great friends around the world, even though we may not speak or see each other often. Her kind words showed me that no matter what I’m going through personally, I’ll always have support from my truest friends!

Seeing this picture of us together took me back to that weekend in Chiang Rai. I have never felt better about myself or where I was going in life; I was confident, passionate and carefree.

I hope I can find her again…

Why I Left Social Media (Part II)

Instagram had become a bragging platform. Meanwhile, I was posting photos of what truly made me happy.

I am all about positivity and sharing accomplishments, especially on social media. My favorite posts were comeback stories: stories where someone had lost over 100 pounds and loves who they are now. THAT is what I liked seeing on my feed.

Instead, I saw photos of peoples’ big houses, pools, fancy vacations and brand new cars (meanwhile, I’m in a one bedroom apartment, can’t afford luxury trips and have a humble Ford Focus with a severely cracked windshield). Instagram was flooded with materialistic, superficial garbage that eventually became toxic for me. Why keep on if it brought my mood down?

In the end, Instagram forced me to compare myself with others. This reason is actually the most harmful and what ultimately brought me toward deactivation.

On my friends’ posts, and even strangers’ for that matter, I was seeing “perfection:” perfect hair, skin, bodies, clothes, friends… perfect lives (and there’s me, questioning when I last washed my hair and wondering if I had brushed my teeth yet that day)! As a woman, this was especially detrimental to see on a daily basis. One scroll through my feed and I was suddenly ashamed of who I was, what I was doing or what I looked like.

I have come such a long way in finding myself and creating my own happiness. Why should a few “perfect” posts tear me and my confidence apart?

Why I Left Social Media (Part I)

Those of you who know me outside of WordPress know that I LOVED Instagram! It was my favorite social media platform and it’s the only one that had remained with me (I’ve kissed Facebook and Snapchat goodbye years ago)! With that said, however, there are loads of issues I encountered with Instagram.

Despite the fact that traveling is and always will be a huge part of my life, it isn’t for a lot of my Instagram friends (who are also my friends in life – I only added people I knew). In fact, one of my best friends on this earth has never been on a plane! That’s the beauty of my closest friends: we are so different yet so similar. Instead of sharing about myself, I want to hear about my friends and their successes (their schooling, careers, relationships, etc.).

In a roundabout way, I’m trying to say this: this blog is a community where we all love traveling. We can all share our experiences without envy, without bragging… it’s storytelling and an exchange of memories. Instagram has become a bragging mechanism, which will I expand on in part two, and I don’t want any part of it!

I want to leave travel stories here, not Instagram. And if my best friends ask about my travels, I can share photos and stories in person as opposed to social media (and vice versa).

One positive thing about Instagram is that it made me love WordPress even more! It’s true. I love chatting with bloggers from all over the world, sharing travel adventures, hearing about others’ goals and what we’ve overcome. I absolutely love my blog and it’s definitely here to stay 🙂

Throughout this post, I included some of my favorite photos from my now-deactivated Instagram account. I hope you enjoy; thank you for reading!