Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Photo of the day - California love

Venice Beach, California

Just want to show California some love! We have great beaches and great weather! Venice is my favorite beach to head to, pull up a towel, and just chill. I think I'm long overdue for a beach date. The cross country season ends in a few weeks and I'll be at the beach to relax about running everyday for the last 7 months. My body could use the little break....and the sun! Gotta fix the runners tan lines!

*If you ever make it to Venice Beach, I HIGHLY recommend you visit the boardwalk. In particular, Sean's Cafe for the best burgers! Schulzies (featured on the Food Network) is also on the boardwalk and I love it! And there's a few more restaurants I can recommend if needed! :-)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Language & Travel

A few weeks ago, I was watching the show The Amazing Race on a calm Sunday evening. I used to watch this show all the time growing up but life and work got busy and I soon left it behind. Of course I've also been going on my own Amazing Races minus all the rush, no sleep,.....and the unlimited supply of money! :-)

A family of 5 on one motorcycle - Alexandria, Egypt

If you have never seen The Amazing Race or don't know what I'm writing about, it is basically a world race with teams of two who are competing to win prizes at the end of each competition. Along the way, it is also about travel and seeing countries you haven't been to. Although it is too rushed that they really don't see much. (I know a cameraman who works on the show and he told me everything that actually happens). Each week, a team is dropped from the race if they are the last to make it to the finish line. The team who makes it to the finish line first in the finale takes home the big prize of cash!

Samba Parade in the Sambadome - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

But watching this episode opened my eyes and realized it didn't really make me happy. I was watching the episode where the teams were in Chile. I watched as they scrambled around and yelling things at the Chilean people in English to help them out so they could win their competitions. Rushing around and causing chaos in this beautiful country (and all the other countries they run through during each episode/season as well). 

But you are in a Spanish speaking country? A lot of the people on camera did not understand what the teams were telling them. And in my experience, when I was in Chile, I wasn't really understood so I used my Spanish there, not English. Actually in all Latin American countries, I put my English aside and only use my Spanish to get by. 

Locals hanging out and enjoying each others company in front of the fish market - Lima, Peru

It just made me realize how important it is to me to learn the language of the country I'm traveling to. Or at least learn the important words to get by and show appreciation for the country I'm visiting. I've seen people give up when communicating with a local and I've seen people not even try and it makes me sad. How can you travel when you don't even appreciate their language? How it ties to their culture, people, food, and lifestyle?

This beautiful cook asked me to sit in her kitchen and enjoy the meal she prepared for me - Cusco, Peru

As of now, I am in my advanced stages of Spanish. I took 2 years in high school and 2 years in college. And now I'm using the Spanish channels and radio stations so I don't forget! For years I wanted to learn Mandarin Chinese and now I am currently learning the language and feel like I'm picking it up pretty well! I understand some Arabic, and a little Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese. Even a few words in sign language. I've picked up some Italian words without having to use a translator!

I've mainly been to the Latin American countries and when I'm there, you will see and hear me use my Spanish. I never second guess what I'm going to do or say. I'm in their country, I will speak their language or try my hardest to. They deserve all the respect and I will not take advantage of that. Even in Egypt, I tried my best to understand Arabic. Especially because I wasn't in the tourist center and completely merged in with the locals. In my opinion, this has made all my travels amazing. By being one with the people and not just a tourist, visitor, or English teacher.

An Argentinean shared his Yerba mate with me - Mendoza, Argentina

I feel like I cannot understand the country itself if I do not understand the language and the meaning of their words, gestures, and customs. If I ever end up living and teaching English in Korea, China, or wherever I choose, I will completely dive into their lifestyle, culture, and language. Isn't this the whole meaning of travel? To understand someone else and find something new?

What languages do you know? What's your opinion on learning languages and traveling?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Contest time! Read all about it!

In honor of finally posting my About Me page (click my About me picture on the left side panel!) AND starting my Facebook page, I want to do something special for someone! :-) I'm all about giving and not expecting anything in return and it's the perfect season to do this!

Only One Rule:

Simple 'like' my Facebook page (my links are on both side panels) by October 31st and you will automatically be entered to win...

Your choice of either: Homemade (I like to bake sometimes!) or Handmade (With items from California!)


A blog feature!

Winner will be picked at random that weekend and it will be announced.

Good luck! :)

I just want to thank all my followers who show me support and those who I do follow who also inspire me. :)



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Photo of the day - Argentina

Taking in the breathtaking and mesmorizing Iguazu Falls.

This is my fifth and last post on trying to figure out my mixed feelings heart and where I'll live pre-World Cup and my start of expat living. If you missed my past photos of the day, check them out here: BrazilPeru, Ecuador, and Chile!

Oh Argentina, how I love you! Argentina has everything. City life, the tango, incredible nature, the Andes mountains, Patagonia, and a short flight away from the Falklands and Antarctica! 

I loved Argentina from the start (well I've loved every country I've been to from the start!) and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I enjoyed the beef, the asados, sharing yerba mate with locals, dancing the tango, trekking and rappelling in the Andes, and so on! With so much to offer, Argentina would be a great expat destination for me!

*Although I haven't posted about every country in South America, I'm still considering those ones as well!*

Out of the 5 countries I posted about this week - Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina - Which country leaves you wanting to learn more?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Photo of the day - Chile

Enjoying the Chilean vineyards.

Onto my fourth country in search of what I'm going to do next year as I hope to finally start my expat life! If you missed my previous three posts, you can check out Brazil over here, Peru here, and Ecuador here!

The country of Chile is long and skinny yet full of culture and history. My time in Chile a few years ago was short and I left with so much I wanted to know. At the time, I really didn't feel connected to the country and still needed more answers. Perhaps I could use the time now to get to know Chile better? From the coastline, to the city life, vineyards, and part of Patagonia, Chile has everything I enjoy. I'll have to keep this in mind when I figure out my plans...

Tomorrow is my final photo in my search of expat life! I'm hoping these posts will help me make my decision. :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Photo of the day - Ecuador

Here I am almost at the top of the volcano Cotopaxi, the highest volcano above sea level in the world.

Still continuing my search for my home in 2014, the next country I'm stopping in is Ecuador. If you have not seen my previous posts, check out Brazil over here and Peru here!

Ecuador is one of my loves that has so much to explore. With spring-like weather year round, it fits my ideal weather conditions. :-) Some sun. Some clouds. Some rain. Ecuador has part of my love, the Amazon Rainforest, beautiful coastline, majestic Andes mountains, and the incredible Galapagos Islands. Plenty to offer for those who choose to live here. 

Stay tuned as I continue to post a picture from each country I'm considering moving to! Maybe this will help me make my decision? :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Photo of the day - Peru

So yesterday I posted a picture of Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to show where I could move in early 2014. If you missed that post, check it out over here!

Today in continuation of trying to figure out where to move next year, here is a picture near the ocean in Lima, Peru. I was absolutely taken away by all of Peru. Just a beautiful country. The scenery. The history. The food! Even for the short time that I was there, I felt at home. During my trip, I managed to see Incan ruins in Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Pachacamac in Lima. 

I was happy to get off the tourist trail as much as I could, which I found was where the best things of Peru were. I truly spent more time with the locals than with other travelers and that is what made my trip even more special. In the picture above, I just sat and watched the fishermen in their boats, the families wandering around, and the seagulls doing there thing.

I went to the fish market and watched a fishermen who has been doing is job for many years quickly clean, gut, and fillet his fish. A master at work. I'll have to find that video and post it on here. I enjoyed looking at the abundance of beautiful and fresh seafood. If I had my own kitchen at that time, I would have made a big purchase and sampled everything! 

Peru has an abundance of seafood, fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes, and many more! They do not need to rely on other countries because they have everything they need.

I truly cannot wait until I return here on day.

Stay tuned as I continue to post a picture from each country I'm considering moving to! Maybe this will help me make my decision? :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Photo of the Day - Brazil

In honor of trying to figure out where I'm going to live in early 2014, I thought I'd post a lovely picture of the crowded Copacabana Beach in Rio de Jainero, Brazil. Brazil is full of color, life, a melting pot of people, beautiful beaches, views, food, and many more! I am also excited to go back to Brazil for the World Cup! I'm not excited that my Brazilian visa expires in January. :-) Living here would be wonderful...but still keeping my options open!

Stay tuned as I post a picture from each country I'm considering moving to! Maybe this will help me make my decision? :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Snail Mail Collective Update: September

So literally the day after I wrote my Snail Mail Collective post for my partner Jenna, my package arrived! Just wanted to share a picture of the wonderful goodies I received from her!

If you did not check out my previous post, here's my Snail Mail Collective post that I wrote two days ago for Jenna:

She sent me yummy Chocolate Covered Dates, a cute Bee Notebook that her students use, two UAE magazines, and a cool Camel Postcard with a beautiful written note!

I love my beautiful package from Jenna! It made my day. :-) I can't wait to read the magazines! We thought our packages would take a longer time to get here than usual so I'm pretty happy with how fast we received our mail. (She told me about the post office process over there!) I feel lucky to have met her in this way and we plan on continuing to stay in touch! Once again, Jenna is a wonderful lady and I hope you guys check her out!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I'm on Facebook!

I finally made the plunge.....and got a Facebook page for Love A Traveler! I can like all of my favorite blogs now! :-)

Please like and share my Facebook page to:

~ Keep up to date in my postings!

~ Travel opinions

~ Social Networking

~ Friendships

~ When I'm traveling and can't fit in a blog post, I can update what I'm doing on there!

~ ETC!

It's still in the beginning stages but will be dolled up shortly! Click on either Facebook tab I've put on both sidebars or search for me at (while signed in)

Thank you so much for your support!


Love A Traveler

Friday, October 11, 2013

Snail Mail Collective: September

So once again my September Snail Mail Collective partner Jenna and I are still waiting for each others fun packages from last months SMC, Topic: Back to School. We figured it may take awhile to receive our gifts and so we decided to post anyway and then post later with the pictures once they arrive. I love Snail Mail! :-)

So my partner last month was Jenna over at the blog: 

I'd post her twitter too but she does not have one....yet. I'm currently pushing her to get one! :-)

I am so glad I got paired with her! We are like two peas in a pod. I remember the first email she sent me where she apologized to me at the end of it for 'writing a book'. I knew then I was going to like her! I can't help but write long emails too! Or long texts. Or anything! We also plan on skyping one day!

She is currently living with her husband and teaching in the incredible United Arab Emirates and I think that is amazing! She is actually trying to help me get a job over there towards the end of next year when I hope to meet up with her! (This would be the 3rd time I'd meet up with someone who I've met on my travels! Or in this case, first for SMC!) 

She has told me stories about her travels, her experiences in Tanzania, and what I can do, travel-wise if and when I make it to the UAE. 

I truly enjoy talking to her, her blog is wonderful (check it out!), and really love how open-minded she is about travel and life. If you ever get the chance to write to her or talk to her, I know you'll love her too!

Here are some questions I asked her throughout our emails and getting to know each other:

When did you start blogging and why?

I started about a year and three months ago to keep my family caught up on our travels. At the end of the day I really do all of my blogging for my mom – I know having the blog reassures her and helps her feel like she knows what’s going on. Calling from here is hard and the time difference and work schedule make skyping a bit hard (we work Sunday – Thursday over here because Friday is an Islamic Holiday).

Where have you been?

Africa: Tanzania
Europe/UK: Paris, Ireland, London, Scotland, Holland
Asia: Nepal and Thailand
Middle East: Qatar and Oman

What is your favorite place to travel to?

I think for my favorite place I have to give two – In terms of a place to go and explore and relax and vacation I’d have to say Thailand. That country is just endless in its possibilities – from jungles to beaches to cities – the people are so friendly and I feel like I could spend my life exploring it. In terms of a place I want to disappear and live forever that would hands down be Amsterdam, Holland. Both my and my husband were like “how were we not born Dutch?!” We love biking, museums, beer cafes, and the slow pace of everything. 

She'd also like to add: Oman and Scotland!

What are 3 items off of your bucket list?

Seeing the northern lights is #1, owning a home in the Adirondacks #2, and go to Argentina to Patagonia and take the trip to Antarctica from there #3.

What are the 3 countries you must go to?

Japan (sushi and Mt Fuji), New Zealand (nature), Germany/Belgium (I just love my beers!)

Where in the world is the best food that you've ever had?

Thailand probably has the best food of any place I've ever traveled. They have this dish (I don’t remember what its called in Thai) but it’s a spicy Papaya Salad and we’d get it from street vendors almost every day – amazing – spicy, sweet, lemony, peanut-y, awesomeness! Middle Eastern food is really delicious too – the hummus here is different and way better than in the states and the Fatoush salad with pomegranate dressing is gorgeous! Plus they know how to cook a mean kebab – yogurt lamb and spicy chicken – YUM! Another favorite dish – and I don’t think it’s actually Dutch – is a dish I had while in Amsterdam was really nice bread with goat cheese, slivered almonds, honey, date syrup, and arugula and for dessert a stroopwafel!

What's your favorite food?

At the moment my goat cheese sandwich! But really probably Buffalo wings (I am after all from Buffalo, New York!)

What do you like to do for fun?

Writing, hiking, photography (not professional or anything I just love taking pics), reading, and canoeing.

What is the most daring thing you have ever done?

I can think of two things – moving here (I still can’t believe we actually did it!) and drinking cows blood in Africa with the Masai tribe – still surprised I didn't get sick!

What's your favorite drink? 

Homemade honey-ginger tea

What's your favorite dessert? 

Carrot Cake!

What's your favorite candy? 

Caramel filled anything!

What's your favorite movie?

Midnight in Paris.

What kind of music do you listen to?

Anything folk or alternative (love Bob Dylan and currently falling in love with Wilco!)

What's your favorite color? 


Check out Jenna's blog and get to know her too! She is a great friend and I hope to continue staying in touch with her. :-)

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I'm a huge fan of snail mail, making new friends, keeping in touch with old, and learning about different people and cultures in this world. Always have. Always will. I guess I'm one of those people who loves living with the past in mind! And I'm probably the only person who has yet to succumb to a smart phone!

I just love the idea of expressing ones thoughts and feelings through writing. To me, that's what makes things feel more special. I also love sending positive notes to others, whether I know them or not. Lately I have been looking for ways to connect to others whom I've never met before through my blogs (Love A Traveler and my food blog: Peace Love And Blueberries) while I'm still living here in the states. I'm currently figuring out my expat plans for the very near future - December/January. It's my way to do more good deeds and still feel connected with other travelers while I'm at my home base.

So when my new friend over at The Female Tramp: told me about this postcard idea, I had to take a look at it. 

This project is here to send surprise postcards to anyone in the world and to keep our world connection strong. It's also for those who really do enjoy sending letters and receiving real mail. Postcrossing is all about getting to know one another and spreading positive cheer throughout this world.

Why I also love this idea?

Because it's affordable and looks like so much fun! It doesn't cost a lot to send a postcard. I also believe my home isn't in one place. It's this whole world. I get to write a little about me and send inspiration and I will receive a postcard in return and learn about someone else, their lifestyle, and inspiration back as well. 

The cost of sending an international package: $19-50 and up! The cost of sending a postcard: under $2. 

How it works:

For every postcard you send, you receive one back.

Make a profile
Request an address
Mail the postcard
Receive a new postcard from someone else
Register* the postcard
And the cycle continues!      

*When you request an address to send a postcard, they show you the address with the persons profile and give you a code. You write that code on the postcard and mail it to the receiver. When they see the postcard in the mail, they register the # on the website. Once they register the # on the website, it puts you in the system to receive a postcard from someone else. To learn more, visit the website (above)!

This project gives you the opportunity to either send a postcard to a new person each time or the opportunity to do a direct swap** with someone you are interested in sending postcards back and forth or both. I like this chance of writing back and forth with the same person if you feel you both have things in common. But I also enjoy sending good vibes and inspiration to others without expecting anything in return. This suites me just fine. :-)

**Basically with postcrossing, you send a postcard to someone else in this world, they register your card, and someone else sends you a postcard, not the person who received yours, unless of course they do, I believe. I'm still figuring out this project since I am a newbie at this! With direct swap, you can choose to put yes or no down on your profile. This means if you are open to exchanging postcards back and forth with an individual on the site, you select yes. If not, it's just as fine. Either way, I'm open to both ideas.

I originally was going to post the link to my postcrossing page but I think I'd like to leave it to chance to see if anyone randomly gets my address. 

If you'd like to do a direct swap with me, comment below or email me! I'd love to direct swap, but you must be a member on the site and follow their rules before we proceed! It's more fun that way. :-)

As of today, I have 5 postcards in the works to send out!

Will you join Postcrossing?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Photo of the day - Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ah the beautiful and seductive tango. Possibly my favorite dance to watch and attempt to learn. So passionate and full of fire. To fully get this experience, I highly recommend you head on over to Argentina, among the plenty other reasons why you should go there anyway! Watch the street performers. Go to a tango show. Take in the passion that the Argentineans had for their dance. 

My friend and I got a great deal in Buenos Aires for a night spent falling deeper and deeper in love with the dance. We learned the main steps of the tango, had an amazing Argentine dinner, and learned about the history of Tango in Spanish through the dancers themselves. 

Towards the end of the night, the professionals jumped off the stage and picked unsuspecting audience members a chance to put their newly learned steps to use and it was just wonderful to see. One of the dancers quickly got off the stage and asked for my hand and if I'd like to dance. Dancing the tango with a professional was on my bucket list but I never thought it would happen. A dream come true! He was so darn good looking too, another bonus! ;) We danced, which felt like awhile but more like a minute or 2. He kept whispering in my ear that I was so beautiful and of course I was melting! I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. :-) Felt pretty romantic even if it was just a fun little dance. What kind of girl doesn't like a little romance? It's just nice to hear these things once in awhile.

This is a must experience if you ever make it to Buenos Aires, Argentina.