2016 The Year in Reviw

January : Cozumel, Mexico

A short get away weekend to Cozumel brought out the "luchadora" in me.

May: Tepoztlan, Guadalajara, Tequila and Tlaquepaque. Mexico

Mexico. How do I sum you up? Your sights, sounds, smells and rustic ways leave me speechless every time I visit. From the sweet colonial towns with cobblestone streets to the vibrant and inspiring artistic displays around every corner to the culture rich in diversity to the gastronomy, Mexico never disappoints the traveler.

"To travel is to live." Hans Christian Anderson

May: La Paz, Baja California Sur. Mexico

Once you set foot in La Paz, you'll realize you're about to experience something special. The contrast between desert and sea leaves the traveler in awe. To dive deep into the Sea of Cortez and become one with an aquatic wonderland to simply soaking in the turquoise waters to meeting new friends, La Paz will ignite the fires within you and leave you wanting more.

"First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. And finally, dare." Walt Disney

June: Peru

Some of my most profound moments in my life came from my time in Peru. How does one ingest the sensations that Peru evokes in a person? From Lima, to Cusco, to Machu Picchu, to the Sacred Valley to the islands of Lake Titicaca, every step of the journey brought me closer to myself. Atop Machu Picchu, I blew three coca leaves into the winds, asking the mountain Gods for blessings for my family, myself and the world at large and I gave thanks for all that I have experienced in this lifetime . . . and then I cried. I cried tears of joy, gratitude and happiness. An outstretched hand of a child, the pensive yet welcoming smile of Quechua farmers, and the sweeping landscapes of Peru left me humbled to my core. My life's story became richer in Peru.

"Traveling leaves you speechless then turns you into a storyteller."

September: Alaska

Alaska had always piqued my curiosity yet intimidated me with it's rugged exterior yet this year, with all of my preconceived notions of what Alaska was and wasn't, I traveled to dispel my own judgements. It was here, in Alaska, where I conquered many fears, most of which were irrational in nature. It was in Alaska where I realized that every destination offers up it's unique cultures and traditions based heavily on the geography of the area. It was here that I saw strength in the people who live in this rugged terrain yet it is here that I saw a deep yet gentle respect of Mother Nature's work. It is here in Alaska where I learned that being an adventurer means not only stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself, but letting go of ideas that keep us in stagnant states of mind.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. " Hellen Keller

October: Japan

Stepping out of our usual routines in travel and in life is necessary for broadening our perspectives on life as well as on ourselves. My travels to Japan stretched aspect of my mind, body, and soul. From Osaka, to Koyasan, to Hiroshima, to Kyoto to Tokyo, every leg of the journey excited my being. The century old customs and traditions of Japanese life were omnipresent in the overall atmosphere throughout Japan. A deep respect for communal well being was felt in every city. Modern advancements coupled with deeply rooted traditions left me experiencing the true yin and yang of life.

" To travel, to experience, to learn: That is to live." Tenzing Norgay

November: El Salvador

El Salvador beckoned me back to her land for a second time and just as the first time I'd come to know this little country, I'd fallen in love all over again. The rugged beauty of El Salvador coupled with it's warm, welcoming and ever- so -kind people brought me back to the basics of life : simple joys. There is something that happens to a person when they visit El Salvador, it's can almost be compared to a "coming home" sensation where there's a familiar yet exciting enthusiasm life. The gentle pace of life, the gorgeous landscapes, the kind hearts and the omni present passion for all things good and simple has left me humbled yet inspired. El Salvador will always hold the key to my heart.

"To travel is to evolve." Pierre Bernardo

To travel is to live. To travel is to learn. To travel is to broaden our horizons. To travel is to breakdown stereotypes, to dispel myths, to remove fears, to break down cultural barriers. To travel is to live.



Created with images by Unsplash - "sailing boat ocean open water"

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