Sunday, November 24, 2013

Photo of the day - Amazon Wildlife

Amazon River, Manaus, Brazil
What an incredible site to see! A beautiful alligator resting on a board with leaves upon its back in its majestic home, the Amazon. One of my favorite places in the world.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Health, Holidays, and Travel

Hello my wonderful travelers! I'm back from a little week long break and I'll be here hopefully more often! Between the holidays coming up, working two jobs, my Mandarin Chinese class (I can FINALLY count to 10 in Mandarin! :)), and training for a 15k, working on keeping my 5k under 19 minutes(!), and a half marathon, this girl is busy! So I apologize from being absent but I really needed some R&R time!

Now that the holidays are here, how do you stay fit yet enjoy the goodness around you? How about while traveling? Even staying fit and healthy during the non-holiday travel seasons? I have heard from both friends and fellow travelers that when they travel they always come back from a trip with a few extra pounds. And that they LOVED the food they ate on their journey! And I never know what to say because I always eat when I travel but I strangely happen to lose weight! WOO HOO! Of course when I am home, the pounds I lost suddenly seem to reappear...the joys of living in the USA. I always used to tell my friends that I needed to get back on the 'travel diet' to lose the weight that I lost when I traveled. :-p

Things since then have changed due to being a High School Cross Country Coach to both boys and girls teams for the past 6 months. I ran with them for most days of the week. After the first 2 months, I noticed the weight loss but I also noticed the 'droopiness'. I was also losing my muscle. Right away I joined a Circuit Training class 2x a week, along with the running, and right away I noticed the results. 6 months later and I am running better in my late 20's than when I was in my early 20's and I feel amazing! 

All pictures below were sadly taken with a phone or iPod - I apologize for the low quality. :-P
 May 2013. I needed to tone and I wanted half of my chest to go away!
  July 2013. When I realized I needed to add weights!

October 2013. Looking good!
I have to post one more picture but I'm going to wait until after I run my half marathon on December 21st! :)

Just because I am not traveling at the moment, it doesn't mean I (and you!) can't have a routine like this while traveling! I have worked and worked to get to where I am today and the more I think about it, the more I do not want to lose it when I start living in a new country. With the combination of hard work and watching what you do on travel, you CAN eat and keep your weight or get fit!

Here are some of the things I do to stay fit when I travel, during holiday and non-holiday season in hopes of sending out inspirational vibes to those who want to stay healthy for life:

Walk. Walk. And walk some more!

I thoroughly enjoy exploring every inch and corner of each city/location I travel to and the best way to see everything is by walking! I rarely take a taxi, have never rented a car, and I usually only use the buses when needed. I spend hours each day just walking!
Eat whatever you want but watch the time of day/Quantity.

If I've never been to the country I am traveling, why would I skimp out on a meal??? :) I have a HUGE love for food and I don't ever want to leave a country with regrets. My eating routine is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of how I normally eat at home. It just works for me. This varies between each individual.

I eat a light breakfast, walk around or hangout, have a good local lunch, rest a little, then walk around, have a normal dinner somewhere around 6:30-7:30, and then I'm done! I will add a snack of nuts or something light when I'm doing a physical activity - you know I love my volcano climbing and mountain hiking adventures! - and sometimes I make room for dessert, once a day! Or when I crave. :) I am known for my pregnant-like cravings!! :)) The fact is, I eat completely different when I am at home. I don't know if it is just boredom, but I snack a lot here. When I travel, I don't really snack at all. I also eat enough to feel full but not to the point of feeling stuffed or leaving a plate with excess food. Just try not to overdo it and you'll be good to go. Eat the street food! Go the restaurants. Just enjoy yourself.

Fruit drinks (and sadly soda too). I've been getting into coffee and tea for breakfast more often now.

I hit up the fruit stands either once a day or every other day. It's important to me that I have my fruit when I travel. And it's even better when you get their own local fruits that you either cannot get in your own country or when they are too expensive to get in your own country! I feel light, healthy, and refreshed when I get my fruit intake into my travel diet.

Although I don't drink it too much, I enjoy and appreciate the different beans and flavors of coffee in every country. I find it helps depress my hunger sometimes. Tea is also lovely on a cold morning. And great when you aren't feeling well.

Along with this, I sadly have to say I ONLY get major soda (and French fries) craving when I travel! So since I know I get like this, I try to avoid it as best as I can. I don't mind one every once in a while, but too much is not a good thing. I have nothing to say on this other than I try my best to have self control. I've been getting better as the years come and all the running I'm doing now is working in my favor to saying no!


Water is the #1 most important drink to me and my go-to travel drink. I have to always have it. Either when I'm out exploring or readily available when I need it. It is EXTREMELY important to always have it around, especially when you are traveling. If you get sick (and I have on a few occasions), it will help you big time. Or if you are in a remote location where you may not have access to it. It is just important to be prepared. It's probably the first purchase I make when I arrive to a new city. 

*TIP* I always like to buy both a small water bottle and one of the largest bottles I can find in the country. That way, when I finish my regular-sized water bottle, I can refill it with the water from the large bottle. You also save money that way than constantly buying new water bottles. Of course I recommend buying a new water bottle every 5 or so days or just bringing a reusable water bottle from home.


It is not completely easy but it is worth climbing up Machu Picchu Mountain.

Normally all I do on my adventures is walk. If within access, I enjoy hiking, climbing, rappelling in the mountains, and using stairs (Machu Picchu!) whenever I can and am able to. Now that I am planning my expat living situation in the next few months, I will most likely add running to the mix. It's another great way of exploring a new area!

Now with all the above said, as long as you are moving around and enjoying yourself, there is no reason why you can't eat like the locals and stay fit! The real problem is: How do you keep your travel diet at home??

How do you stay fit and healthy on your travels?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Photo of the Day - Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA
My birthplace. The Windy City. Home of the Bears, Bulls, and Cubs. The highest building in the USA? The air is clean. The city is bustling. The weather that I love - When my mom and dad moved to LA from Chicago, I think I took the weather with me! The Chicago dog. Variety of food. There are quite of few US cities that I'd like to see and ones that I can recommend and Chicago is definitely one city I highly recommend!  
What's your favorite US city?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Photo of the Day - Honduras

Roatan Island ~ Bay Islands, Honduras

I apologize for the delay in my blogging! This week was important for my Cross Country teams. The league finals were held yesterday and I'm hoping to find out the results today! It's been great coaching my AMAZING high schoolers and I am SO NOT ready to let them go! :-) 

When you need some time for R & R, Roatan is a great island to do so. On the days that the cruise ships are not in port, the beaches are pretty empty and I love my alone time! This island is incredibly beautiful and a great place to just chill. The life there is on 'island time' which is perfect for a relaxing getaway.

Roatan is known as the 'Backpackers Island'. It's pretty affordable for us backpackers and travelers...if you find the right place to stay! I found only one hostel on the island and that is where I stayed. Definitely doable for a few days on the island. 

Roatan is also home to the 2nd largest reef in the world, after Australia's Great Barrier Reef. So this means there are great diving spots around the island if you are into scuba diving and  snorkeling. 

And Roatan is perfect for solo travelers, lovers, families, and friends. :-) Come here and enjoy the island life! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

The best thing I ever ate in....

Happy TGIFun Friday! All I can think about today is food so I thought I'd put together the best thing I ever ate on my travels list!


 Carne Asada from a street parilla. The smell made me get off the bus while the bus driver was making his way back on the bus to get the show on the road. I begged for two more minutes and he just smiled! He knew. That's how good the smell was and how much I had to have it. 

Of course I have to have my flan and te con leche. My weakness!

     Dulce de leche is another must in Argentina

Mate. Mate. Mate. When someone offers you their mate, you better not say no!

 And you can't go to Argentina and not eat their steak.


Pumpkin Bean Soup. So hearty. Comforting. Simply amazing.

 Pirarucu a Baiana. Years later and I still remember its taste.
I preferred and enjoyed the Northern Brazil cuisine. I felt I could really dig into the Brazilian culture. That I was really eating food made from someone's heart. And of course...

 Have açaí any way that you can.


 Camarones al ajillo. Yesss.

The Galápagos Islands

Jugo de tomate arbol. No picture sadly, but introduced to the tree tomato on the islands. Surprisingly sweet and quite enjoyable to drink.

 Very fond of the fresh albacore tuna steaks.


 Machas a la Parmesana

 Patagonian Lamb

 Harina Tostada (Toasted Corn) Gelato


Not making a decision yet due to not enough exploration. Next time! :-)


 I spent most of my time near the Caribbean so I really just appreciated the fresh seafood.


In Central America, I loved the seafood the most.

Costa Rica

Shrimp and Fried Red Snapper.

 Agua de coco fresca


(Not pictured)A plate full of seafood. Fish. Shrimp. Scallop. Baby Octopus. Mussels. It went straight to my heart.

I discovered a fruit here that I never had before: Makapruim. They call it the "Spanish plum" but I think it's a mix between a grape and a mango! The outside skin is thin like a grape but the skin is that of a mango. The inside of the fruit is orange like a mango but with the texture of a grape. I enjoyed popping these into my mouth!

Mexico City

I need to dig a little deeper for my Mexico City pictures but pretty much everything I ate there was delicious. Mexican food hasn't tasted the same to me ever since.


 Fried fish and Ispi with purple potato and corn

 Sopa de mani. Really, all the food was wonderful and homey in Bolivia. Al paca was another treat.


Everything. Seriously one of the best cuisines in the world. Yes, I said it! Here's just a few dishes to drool over.

 Lomo Saltado

 Meat and potato on a stick. My choice was llama. Served with salsa.

 Peruvian ceviche

Chicha Morada. I'm very fond of this drink and make it quite often now.


Falafel. Fluffy and made to perfection.



Really just loved the street fruit and corn.

You can't go to Egypt and not partake in drinking mint tea.


Need more time to explore. Of course the food is amazing there!


It's just as simple as pollo asado, tortillas y cebolla. Made with love.

Food is just better when it is made with the heart.

What's the best thing you ever ate in.....(answer below)!