Live Inspired: In Gracias, change

• In partnership with John Reamer and Associates

Shortly after I arrived in Gracias, Honduras last week and enthusiastically began posting photos of this beautiful colonial town brimming with red-tiled roofs and pristine, cafe-filled parks, someone on Instagram messaged me to ask a simple question:

Why was everything in Gracias so clean and well-kept and, well, so very different than where I had previously stayed, in Puerto Cortes?

My instinct was to say that like most places in this world, Honduras possesses range and dimension.

“Why are places in the US different from each other?” I countered. “Every place has variance.”

Live Inspired: On to Honduras

• In partnership with John Reamer & Associates

Last Friday, I departed Belize for Honduras.

Whenever I move on to a new country, I always get those jitters, that feeling of newness and change and excitement and anticipation of what to expect (since I rarely know or have time to exhaustively research any town).

But with Honduras, it was a little bit different. 

After a couple months in Belize, I was getting accustomed to a certain reaction when I told people I was traveling to the country most known around the world for its extreme poverty and recently, a migrant caravan that trekked more than 2,500 miles to the U.S. border around the time of the 2018 midterm elections (many of the migrants have given up on gaining entry, deciding to stay in Mexico or go home).

“Why?” many Belizeans asked me. “Why would you go?” 

I was finding, in many places, that the stereotypes we sometimes consider uniquely North American persist throughout Central America too. 

Live Inspired: My loveletter to Belize

• Brought to you by John Reamer and Associates

Almost exactly three months ago, I sat on a bus bound for the Belize border after wandering through Guatemala for about four months (minus a couple stops in the States).

I felt this contraction in my chest, then.

I remember thinking, and writing, that I felt I would always be connected with Guatemala, that I would always harbor some special feeling toward the country.

It’s still true. I still practice with my Guatemala-based Spanish teacher twice a week. I still think and read about the political happenings in a place whose landscapes astounded me and whose traditions overwhelmed me.

But even now, it feels far away. Because as this month draws to a close, it’s leaving Belize  (to move on to Honduras) that my heart is breaking over.

Live Inspired: Finding home in, leaving, Corozal

• Brought to you by John Reamer and Associates

A month ago, I rolled into Corozal, a stranger.

Something compelled me to come, though no one had offered a recommendation; though the town wasn’t known for anything in particular; though I knew nothing of what to expect.

I booked a week in an apartment. I wondered if it was too long.

Then I stepped off the bus from Belize City and almost instantly had a feeling. A feeling I would stay longer than planned. A feeling that something special was in the air.

Four weeks later, as I snaked through the sea grape trees at the water’s edge, mentally preparing to finally move on, I understood that instinct.

I was meant to arrive in Corozal. It was a place that slowed my anxiety and calmed my soul. A place where, though I didn’t know it yet, my community was waiting.

Live Inspired: the new vacation

• Brought to you by John Reamer and Associates

I remembered the feeling so distinctly that I almost felt it within myself as I saw it through their eyes.

On my iPhone screen: a family I follow on Instagram, on the last day of their February beach vacation, soaking it all up and wishing their last moments to pass slower.

There was the Last Sunset and the Last Sunrise, dutifully and beautifully documented; smiles captured in the tide; sunglasses that couldn’t quite hide the wistful eyes.

Then images of the road, and already nostalgic faces in rear-view mirrors.

From my perch at an open-air bar in Corozal, where I had come to cool off between video shoots, I looked out at my present nook in the world; my home for the last month.

Beyond the dusty street in front of me lay a children’s park abutting the Caribbean ocean. Turquoise waves rolled in under full sun. Birds chirped. Great palm leaves rustled. 

I stopped for a minute and watched it all.

Live Inspired: In the middle of the night

It’s 4 a.m.

The cracks in the ceiling glow through shards of moonlight poking in.

But it’s the cracks in my confidence, my self belief, that show up most glaringly at this hour.

**

Did I get good shots today?

This camera is new; I’m learning it on the fly. I’ve wasted some moments with bad audio, bad focus, bad settings.

I won’t get those moments back.

Will this video come together? Will it be any good? Will it be reflective?

I adore Corozal. I feel so motivated to show all that I love. But the things I want to portray still elude me. Here, thanks to the incredible warmth that surrounds me, I have dined in people’s homes. I’ve shared food they’ve made with their own hands, with worn and beloved recipes, passed down through generations.

And this, I can’t share, not really.

Live Inspired: my favorite place

• Brought to you by John Reamer and Associates

What makes a place great? What goes into that unscientific formula for calling cities and towns our “favorites?”

Probably we take into account the landscape — a region’s rolling hills, its swaying palm trees, it’s proximity to the ocean, it’s proclivity for good sunsets.

We likely think about the delicious foods of a place, it’s intriguing culture, it’s opportunities for exploration and immersion and entertainment.

For me, I’ve come to realize, it’s less complicated than all that.

It’s the people, pure and simple.

Live Inspired: my very serious guide to the elite nomad’s beauty routine

Since some people have commented on this glorious bronze glow I’ve obtained while traveling through Central America, I thought I’d share my beauty secrets for achieving radiance and staying glamorous while on the move.

Repeat at your own risk.

SECTION 1: BODY CARE

Shower (but not too much). One pervasive theory suggests that regularly bathing yourself with water and soap is a good way to, you know, remove sweat and dirt. But that theory doesn’t know sh*t about ice cold water lines, and cockroach-lined walls. So resort to this option only when you start to wonder who in the room smells so bad and then realize you’re the only person in the room. When the time comes, here is the proper protocol:

  1. Do some jumping jacks. Maybe some pushups. You’re going to want to be sweating going in to this. Bonus: this will help keep you #lean and #fit.
  2. Scream as you walk into the shower. This is akin to breathing out while lifting weights or biting down on something while digging out a splinter. You’re acknowledging that this is going to suck and you’re proactively dealing with it.
  3. Find some 3-in-1 action. This is no place for multiple steps. This is a war zone. Forget the conditioner; forget the loofah full of body wash. You’ve got time for one substance — it doesn’t matter if it’s supposed to be 3-in-1, it just is now. Slap it on, wash most of it off and get out.

Live Inspired: planning travel/ what’s ahead

• Brought to you by John Reamer and Associates

Between all the visible parts of my job as a roaming writer and video producer, there is one element constantly in the background:

Planning and booking travel.

Living a life on the move requires me to constantly be thinking about where I came from and where I’m headed in addition to where I am in that moment.

I get a lot of questions about how I decide where to go and where to stay and what to do while I’m there, so I thought I’d share some of my process — that delicate balance of making a plan while staying open to major change — as well as some of what’s in store for me in the months ahead.

Live Inspired: Resolutions for 2019

• Brought to you by John Reamer and Associates

When I took off on my open-ended journey, I anticipated learning a lot about the world and other people, but as it turns out, I’ve uncovered so much about myself, too.

Leaving my support network, my sold possessions, everything I know, to travel alone, full-time, through places where basic comforts I’ve long took for granted are often absent — while trying to build a business from scratch — has tested me in major ways.

I’ve been hard on myself as I’ve struggled through the ups and downs, condemning my shortcomings, my moments of frustration and sadness and exhaustion. I’ve cracked the internal whip, always believing I could do more, always terrified I wasn’t enough.

Over the last six months, and perhaps especially the last several weeks, I’ve broken down enough to realize that track isn’t sustainable, and it’s not allowing me to be my best self or produce my best work.

So as I look ahead into 2019 and all the promise it holds, the resolutions I’m making aren’t ones of great achievement, of hard work, of doing more and being more. I am old enough now to realize I need no extra nudge in that direction, and I probably need a nudge the other way.

Instead, I am vowing to let go of some of the pressure and expectation and to be more gracious to a person who is constantly striving to do her best: me.