Explore. Dream. Discover

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A year ago next month, I got on a plane headed to South America with a poorly packed backpack, a camera and a passport. I remember how excited, anxious and curious I was about what was going to happen in the next few months. When I arrived in Quito, I had no plans on what was going to happen next… all I knew was that I needed to eventually get to Rio de Janeiro, to fly back home in December.
I kept a journal to jot down all the important details, and highlighted the good stuff on this blog— I am so happy that you and I can look back on the adventure.

I traveled over 300 hours by bus, spent the night in countless hostels/hotels and made some incredible friends from all over the world.  (I can’t help but smile just thinking about how much fun I had.)

the view from my place

Fast forward to 2013.  I’m working now, hosting and reporting in San Diego (I love this place!)
I’m thinking about my next trip, dreaming up ideas of where to go and what to do.  This time, I can’t quit my job and take off for six months. I like it here too much and I’m happy!

Here are some of my favorite posts from 2012– 

My birthday at Iguazu falls

Wine time in Mendoza

Salt Flats in Bolivia

the trek to Machu Picchu

Soaking up the sun in Lobitos–

Whale watching in Ecuador

and partying in Brazil

What I’ve learned after one month of traveling

My backpack is too heavy!

I started this trip with a 36 pound backpack and a messenger bag.  Chris brought his travel backpack, a backpack and two surfboards.  We recently swapped bags to even out the load.  Now I’m using his backpack, and he is carrying 2 bags instead of 3. Way easier for the both of us, and our backs! 

We’ve been at the beach most of the time, so bringing 30 undies and socks was a little excessive… and the weight adds up.  I didn’t bring enough cold medicine and the stuff at the pharmacies here, doesn’t pack the same punch! 

Save Cash Cooking

This seems obvious, but we were eating every meal out until we met a German couple in Ecuador. They only stay in places with access to a kitchen, and they shop at the local market for fish and veggies.  Now we have more money to splurge on other stuff, like massages 😉

Don’t leave your food out

One morning we had planned to eat eggs for breakfast, but when we got to the kitchen someone had already scrambled our plans.  The eggs were in a small clear plastic bag on the side door of the fridge…but now I leave food in a black bag, and tie it with a knot. 

Buy bus tickets at the terminal, agencies will charge you more

At first, I would buy bus tickets for the first bus I saw, without consulting with Chris.  This only happened a couple times, but as you can imagine it did not go over well with him.  I would panic when the ‘cobradores’ (people who collect money) would yell and tell me to get on their bus.  Now we both talk about what we want to do, before buying any tickets. 

Chris gets charged more for everything!

When he goes to the store alone, he gets another price… The gringo price!
It happens to me too, but we try to ask locals how much stuff costs beforehand, so we don’t get ripped off. 


In spanish, that means relax!  There will always be another bus to take and another hotel room.  No need to rush… Just chill.

We have been to two countries, seen family members I haven’t seen in years, and met some great friends so far!  We’ve spent time in the mountains, visited several cities, and seen many epic sunsets, beaches and ruins.