Street Art in Downtown Las Vegas

Street art in Downtown Las Vegas, a part of Life is Beautiful, but can be viewed year-round.

Las Vegas isn’t a city known for street art. In fact, I’m confident that most people would never even put the two together.

That’s changing.

Thanks to Life is Beautiful, a three-day festival that takes over Downtown Las Vegas, the city is upping its street art cred.

This year’s LIB runs from Sept. 23 – 25 and blends music, art, food and inspiration to create a massive festival that brings incredible acts and garners national attention.

Sure, I love the music. But, what I really love is street art, and the street art in Las Vegas for Life is Beautiful makes me all kinds of giddy.

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Why I Canceled My Trip to Spain

Why I canceled my trip to Spain via solo female travel blogger dtravelsround.comWay back in December, when I was rushing through the process of returning to American life and giving up my Spanish student visa … and life as an expat … I purchased roundtrip tickets for my mom and I from Madrid to Vegas.

“When would you like to return to Madrid?” The agent had asked over the phone. With Google Flights’ trusty fare calendar displayed on the screen, I scanned for the cheapest option: July 25.

“July 25th,” I said, not giving it much thought.

And thus, I had two tickets to return to Europe seven months after I left. The tickets were cheap. Half of what they are if flying return from the States to Europe.

I’ll be ready to hit the road by then.

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What Being an Expat Taught Me About Life

What being an expat taught me. A look at how expat life changed an animal rights activist who called Thailand, London and Madrid home for almost four years.

The photos flood my Facebook feed. They’ve been doing it for ages now, thanks to all the different ways memories are shared.

Typically, I look at them, let my mind linger and then move on. But, there’s something different about the photos and moments popping up now: they’re no longer tangible.

Let me explain.

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A Weekend at Laguna Beach’s Pacific Edge Hotel

Escape reality at the oceanfront Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach. An in-depth look at the property.
“I had to close the door a little more,” Kyla explains to me our first morning waking up at the Laguna oceanfront hotel, the Pacific Edge Hotel. “It was too loud.”

In this case, being too loud is a blissful problem to have since she’s referring to the sound of the Pacific Ocean crashing feet outside of our balcony.

In fact, in the early morning hours I awaken simply to listen to the waves crashing outside of our room.

It’s been a stressful few months and this mini-vacation is exactly what I need to unwind and unfurl myself from my desk long enough to breathe in some deep, salty air breaths.

I lay in my king bed, silent. Listening.

It’s a soundtrack that could be playing at a spa, but it’s real life. 

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Midnight in the Garden of Good

Midnight

There’s a cacophony of crickets, frogs and dogs barking that wake me before my friend, Jodi, does.

Laying on the bamboo floor in her hut constructed of the same at Elephant Nature Park, I am still. Present in the total darkness as the world softly whispers outside the slats in her walls.

Her soft footfalls come from the bedroom and into the main room where I am splayed out, tucked under some thick blanket a top a Thai mat typical of what people sleep on.

She approaches me, and in a hushed voice so as not to wake her son in the other room, or the two dogs and cat somewhere nearby, she asks if I’m awake.

“Yeah,” I whisper back, slowly peeling back the blanket from my body and standing up. The floor creaks softly the way woven bamboo does when walked upon. It’s a sound I haven’t heard for months. Since I left the park in December 2014 to start one of many new chapters in my life.

“Follow me,” she instructs, opening her front door.

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Guide to Nightlife in Chiang Mai

Not sure what to do at night in Chiang Mai? From casual beer to upscale bars to hip nightclub, this Guide to Nightlife in Chiang Mai has something for everyone from dtravelsround.com
Compared to the thumping and thriving nightlife in Bangkok, Chiang Mai at night is sleepy and reserved. But, sleepy and reserved in a way that isn’t really sleepy or reserved at all.

From backpacker enclaves to seedier lady bars, to local dives and the places where the hip and fabulous hang out, there’s something for everyone.

The Drinks

Before we get into where to go, depending on what you’re look for, let’s talk about the booze and prices.

The cheapest bottle to be had that guarantees a buzz, if not more (as well as a hangover the next day) is the popular Sangsom. A dark rum, but referred to by locals as Thai whisky, is one of way to kick off an evening. Often combined with soda or soda water, you can also order it by the bucket. Yes. Bucket. There are some other liquors out there that are cheaper than Sangsom, but I don’t recommend them. Yes, I’m looking at you Hong Tong and Lao Kao.

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What to Pack for Rainy Season in Thailand

Everything you need to pack to survive rainy season in Thailand and SE Asia from www.dtravelsround.comEverything you need to pack to survive rainy season in Thailand and SE Asia from www.dtravelsround.com

Rainy season is my favorite time of year in Thailand. Without a doubt. I love the fresh air that washes the smell of diesel away. The sound of the droplets hitting the metal roofs. The downpours that come charging out of nowhere, and then disappear as quickly as they came.

During the months of July through October, mainland Thailand is privy to rainy season, also known as monsoon season.

Considered to be low season – although this is when the bulk of Americans travel thanks to our antiquated leave system and schools being out of session — prices tend to dip a little, making it the perfect time to head to this gorgeous part of the world.

Yes, it’s hot. Yes, it’s humid. No, it doesn’t get chilly at night. Unless you are wearing soaking wet clothes. And, even then, it is more of sticky wet than chilly wet.

Expect the days to be mostly overcast, although the sun does show its bright little face every now and then. And, expect bursts of rain showers that don’t last long enough to ruin your plans … just make them damp.

What to pack for rainy season in Thailand?

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Getting Prehistoric in Krabi

Planning a trip to Krabi, Thailand? Add kayaking to your list!
Editor’s Note: I was a guest of Tourism Authority of Thailand during my time in Krabi.

My paddle dips into the glassy green water of Bor Thor, and the shrimp start dancing.

Hundreds of tiny creatures pop out of the water, hop across it like rocks skipping, and then dive back down into its depths.

“We’re almost there,” our guide, Man, who also graciously volunteered to steer my kayak, informs us.

Our three fire-engine-red kayaks skirt around a small turn and into a mangrove forest and then we see it: a half-moon emerging from the water and moving upward into a towering karst shrouded in palm trees and other jungle foliage.

We’re kayaking in Krabi — something I honestly never thought I’d do. Mostly because, let’s be real, I’m not so skilled at kayak navigation.

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It’s a Beautiful Life

Do you fear re-entry? Are you running? A look at how life is different when you're happy.
It’s a mild evening in Las Vegas. Hot, by winter standards if you don’t have desert (or jungle) blood.

The sun has already begun its descent behind the rugged, snow-covered peak of Mt. Charleston to the west of the city. The mountains on the east, the ones covered in trees, are a deep purple. Sunrise Mountain, the naked, red, jagged mound to the northeast of The Stratosphere, glows a dusky pink.

It’s a serene setting, despite the fact I am sitting in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. A beautiful life outside my windows.

It’s home.

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This Roller Coaster

This roller coaster: comparing life to the popular amusement park ride.I stand over my sheet cake from the grocery store. Clad in an oversized sweatshirt with puffy paint splattered on it in pastel colors, I move my gel-soaked (à la 80s one-hit-wonder Samantha Fox), crunchy spiral-permed hair out of my face and readjust my roller skate clad feet to maintain my balance.

Next year, I will be in the double digits, I think to myself.

At nine-years-old, I was already ready to become a grown-up. To own those double-digit numbers like the champ I knew I was.

But, at that young age, at Wheel-A-While with my elementary school friends, that grown-up life seemed a lifetime away.

I’d look at my parents, in their 30s, and think to myself: I’ll never get to that age. It’s SO. FAR. AWAY.

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