Sea Monkey and Sunsets

Sea Monkey in Puerto Vallarta

The surf pounds the well-packed sand, littered with seaweed. I sit, toes buried deep where the water meets the shore. Behind me, local vendors run a sales rotation at Puerto Vallarta’s Sea Monkey, a beach bar with a handful of tables and umbrellas nestled on the coastline.

They sell everything: Drawings. Jewelry. Marionettes. Clothing. Massages.

As each one passes, my friend, Paula and I, tucked into 17 peso margaritas that could use a little more tequila and a little less sweet, catch up on life and quickly report to each seller, “no, gracias.”

Americas Blog Blog Featured Mexico

On Gratitude

on-gratitude

“I’m moving home,” I announce to my parents when I touch down in Philadelphia, fresh off a few days in Las Vegas.

“What?” they both ask, confused.

And, I get it. I really do.

Only few weeks ago I had told them I was meeting with immigration lawyers in Madrid to see how I could get another visa … to see if I could continue living my expat life for another year.

But, then it hit me like a proverbial ton of bricks: the last thing I wanted to do was stay in Madrid. Stay abroad. I was tired. Mentally. Physically. Every -ally you could imagine, that was me.

I had tossed the idea around with them a week earlier, after piercing my nose, and the words just flowed out of my mouth with zero censor:

I want to move home.

Blog Blog Featured Nevada

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.

Asia Blog Blog Featured Thailand
Planning a trip to Krabi, Thailand? Add kayaking to your list!

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.

Blog Blog Featured Responsible Tourism Reviews Thailand Tours

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.

Americas Blog Blog Featured Expat Life Nevada

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.

Americas Blog Blog Featured Nevada