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Barranquilla, beaches, Bus Travel, Caribbean Coast, Chiva, Coastal, Colombia, Diving, La Playa-Beach, Scuba Diving, snorkeling, South America, Travel, Vallenato

Burros, Dives and Chivas: Your Guide to a Quick Weekend in Playa el Rodadero

One of the many benefits of living in Barranquilla, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, is its convenient proximity the historic cities of Cartagena and Santa Marta, and their beautiful beaches of Isla Barú and El Rodadero, respectively. While Barranquilla has beaches, they aren't quite as scenic and pretty as those of Barú and Rodadero;… Continue reading Burros, Dives and Chivas: Your Guide to a Quick Weekend in Playa el Rodadero

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Art, Barranquilla, beaches, Bus Travel, Caribbean Coast, Coastal, Colombia, La Playa-Beach, Magdalena River, South America, Street food, Travel

Puerto Colombia: 5 Reasons to Visit the Historic Gold Port

Whether you drive along the scenic Villa a Sabanilla or catch one of the large, colorful Cootransoriente buses ($2,400 COP) in Barranquilla, travel to Puerto Colombia is fast and easy, providing a nice little getaway to savor some culture, along with a few good reasons to visit this historic place. During it's prime, in the… Continue reading Puerto Colombia: 5 Reasons to Visit the Historic Gold Port

beaches, Caribbean Coast, Coastal, Colombia, Diving, Isla San Andres, La Playa-Beach, Scuba Diving, snorkeling, South America, Travel

The Snorkel Mask Debate: Traditional Tube or Full-Face?

World Oceans Day, June 8th, is a "global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future," according to The Oceans Project. Although it's not known exactly who started World Oceans Day, it has been promoted and supported around the globe, led by The Oceans Project since 2002. As an avid new diver, passionate… Continue reading The Snorkel Mask Debate: Traditional Tube or Full-Face?

Air Travel, Barranquilla, Caribbean Coast, Cartagena, Colombia, La Playa-Beach, LATAM airlines, Mexican Food, snorkeling, South America, Travel

Travel Colombia Tres B’s: Barú, Bogotá, and Barranquilla

The last two weeks of May blasted by in a proverbial heat wave of beach bliss, air travel and relocation to a new city, making this one of the most focused, life-changing months since the start of 2017. Mid-May brought a pleasurable long weekend in beloved beach favorite Playa Blanca, where the swoon-worthy white sands… Continue reading Travel Colombia Tres B’s: Barú, Bogotá, and Barranquilla

Barranquilla, Bus Travel, Caribbean Coast, Colombia, Comida-Food, fritos, Gratitude, La Playa-Beach, nature hike, snorkeling, South America, Travel

The Hidden Beaches and Beautiful Views of Mar Caribe

Arriving in Barranquilla a day before one of several interviews in recent weeks provided a nice evening with friends in the Olaya neighborhood before a much-awaited adventure to nearby Santa Marta. A relatively safe barrio, where mango trees shade the wide streets and neighbors greet each other warmly, Parque Olaya is a favorable location to enjoy the evening breezes… Continue reading The Hidden Beaches and Beautiful Views of Mar Caribe

Barranquilla, Bus Travel, Caribbean Coast, Cartagena, Colombia, Comida-Food, Five Things to Love, fritos, futbol, Gratitude, Home, La Playa-Beach, Magdalena River, snorkeling, South America, Teaching English, Travel, Vallenato

Why Flavorful, Vibrant Colombia Feels Like Home

The first week of April 2017, I returned to the land of futbol, arepas and stifling hot weather on the Caribbean coast of South America. After a brief stay in the US, where several once-familiar things seemed different, it is now confirmed with certainty that among its colorful houses, flavorful foods, vibrant culture and rich history,… Continue reading Why Flavorful, Vibrant Colombia Feels Like Home

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From Abundance to Arguments: How to React in Playa Blanca

While some places in the world are currently experiencing the cold of winter, December on the coast of Colombia continues to have sunny days and balmy nights, perfect for a weekend getaway. With the sheer beauty and natural abundance found on Playa Blanca in Isla Barú, each visit to this white-sand, clear-water beach near Cartagena de Indias brings… Continue reading From Abundance to Arguments: How to React in Playa Blanca

Caribbean Coast, Cartagena, Colombia, Diving, Gratitude, La Playa-Beach, Scuba Diving, snorkeling, South America, Travel

Scuba Do: Learning to Dive in Cartagena de Indias

In case you haven't heard, Colombia just received the Lonely Planet award as the number 2 country to visit in the world. Finally, this beautiful place is getting the props it deserves, and what better way to celebrate this declaration and also see the beauty of Colombia? Go below the surface with scuba diving. Boasting a vastly diverse… Continue reading Scuba Do: Learning to Dive in Cartagena de Indias

Bus Travel, Caribbean Coast, Cartagena, Colombia, Iglesias, Magdalena River, Mompox de Santa Cruz, South America, Travel

How to Find Non-Existent Change in Historic Santa Cruz de Mompox

In his iconic video for "La Foto de las Dos," Latin Grammy Award winner Carlos Vives sings his passionate, hit song before a vast building in Mompox de Santa Cruz, a 1995 UNESCO Heritage site, while a heart-pulling couple fall in and out of love in this stunning municipio founded in 1537. Hoy los fantasmas de tu amor me llaman, Hoy te… Continue reading How to Find Non-Existent Change in Historic Santa Cruz de Mompox

Caribbean Coast, Colombia, Giving up, Gratitude, Inspriation, La Playa-Beach, Simplify, snorkeling, South America, Travel

Happiness is a Hammock in Colombia

In the busyness of a fulfilling life - from doing work we enjoy to celebrating monumental moments to maintaining healthy relationships, perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves in our living is the luxury of a day off. If we can afford the time (and sometimes cost), there is often unbridled pleasure in just… Continue reading Happiness is a Hammock in Colombia

Barranquilla, Bilingual, Caribbean Coast, Cedula Extranjera, Colombia, Inspriation, South America, Teaching, TEFL

Innovation + Inspiration at the 6th Biennial CLIL Symposium

The 6th Biennial CLIL Symposium, hosted by Universidad de La Sabana, Pearson Colombia and University del Norte took place on the picturesque campus of UniNorte in Barranquilla the weekend of September 9th, 2016. The event kicked off with an opening speech from Pía Osorio, Director of the Instituto de Idiomas at UniNorte, followed by a… Continue reading Innovation + Inspiration at the 6th Biennial CLIL Symposium

Caribbean Coast, Colombia, Five Things to Love, Gratitude, Instagram, Simplify, South America, Travel

The Simplest Pleasure in Centro: Renting a Bike in Cartagena

If visiting the UNESCO World Heritage city Cartagena de Indias is in your near future, one simple pleasure — along with the sightseeing excursions, relaxing beach days and savoring the incredible flavors of the Colombian coast —  comes highly recommended from locals and tourists alike: rent a bike! A bicycle, in addition to being a great… Continue reading The Simplest Pleasure in Centro: Renting a Bike in Cartagena

Caribbean Coast, Colombia, Giving up, Iglesias, Instagram, La Playa-Beach, Ladrones, Pinterest, snorkeling, Social Media, South America, Teaching

Steady-Growing Sands of Playa Blanca

Living on the Caribbean coast of Colombia has it's advantages, like being less than an hour from paradise, notably the white sand beaches of Playa Blanca on Isla Barú. Each visit to this magical island often reminds the visitor of the beauty of nature and the ocean, even if for just one night. Traveling via… Continue reading Steady-Growing Sands of Playa Blanca

Air Travel, Bus Travel, Cartagena, ceviche, Comida-Food, Guadalajara, Jalisco, LATAM airlines, México, Mexican Food, Mexico, michelada, taqueria, Travel

36 Hours in Guadalajara

Saying "adios" to Puerto Vallarta on a Tuesday morning, heading towards Guadalajara by bus, the terrain along the drive was beautiful as the landscape changed from beaches and palm trees to mountains and thick greens. Arriving behind schedule, the bus sank into deep traffic surrounding the capitol of Jalisco, joining work commuters as congestion grew… Continue reading 36 Hours in Guadalajara

Bus Travel, Inspriation, Jalisco, La Playa-Beach, México, Mexican Food, Puerto Vallarta, Travel

Nos Vemos, Puerto Vallarta

"A farewell is necessary before you can meet again." - Richard Bach, American novelist While a visit to Puerto Vallarta is synonymous with sunny beach days and breezy nights, it helps to have some activity, perhaps even physical motivation, from the normal seaside vacation. Discovering Star-Mex Fitness and Aerial Silks was the perfect distraction from… Continue reading Nos Vemos, Puerto Vallarta

Air Travel, Comida-Food, horseback riding, Jalisco, La Playa-Beach, México, Mexican Food, nature hike, Puerto Vallarta, snorkeling, Travel

Mixto in Quimixto and Puerto Vallarta

Flying from Tijuana to Puerto Vallarta on a Thursday, the two airports boasted their share of travelers, many enjoying the Mexican holidays of summer. After a comfortable, fast flight with Volaris airlines, I arrived in Puerto Vallarta just in time to catch a bus into the Centro as the after-work traffic had thinned out. A… Continue reading Mixto in Quimixto and Puerto Vallarta

Air Travel, American Airlines, California, La Playa-Beach, México, San Diego, San Ysidro, taqueria, Tijuana, Travel, United States

All I Wanna is Tijuana

Departing from Sacramento for SAN via LAX on an early Saturday morning, the short American Airlines flight touched down in sunny San Diego, with travel to beautiful Santa Fe Station made easy by the city trolley. Reuniting with my awesome travel partner, we took the trolley to San Ysidro, crossing the border into Tjuana, México… Continue reading All I Wanna is Tijuana

Art, California, craft, craft mafia, Family, Friendship, Gratitude, michelada, Pinterest, Sacramento, sisterhood, Social Media, taqueria, Travel, United States

Sactown, Tacos and Time

"There is no secret—or magic, as they like to call it—to their friendship. It's just unconditional love." -Ann Brashares, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001) The mid-way point of summer vacation has revealed that if all roads lead to home, your home is simply your heart, as long as it is filled with love.… Continue reading Sactown, Tacos and Time

Air Travel, American Airlines, Atlanta, Cartagena, Colombia, Family, Friendship, Gratitude, Musica, Reggaeton, South America, Travel, United States, Vallenato

Spectacular, Swift Days of Summer

It seemed as soon as the Delta Jet to Charleston touched down, the American Airlines plane took off, with five days in Atlanta, GA on the horizon. One plush pick-up from the airport by Artemio and Duluth Taxi Service and big, bright Georgia skies stretched for miles beyond interstate 85, heading into the tall trees… Continue reading Spectacular, Swift Days of Summer

Air Travel, Charleston, Chiva, Colombia, Copa Americá 2015, Delta, Family, Friendship, futbol, Gratitude, Gringa, Home, Inspriation, Instagram, South America, Travel, United States

All Senses Lead to Summer

Summer Vacation 2016 started early this year, as Janine and Denise from Couchsurfing Atlanta arrived mid-June for a week in Cartagena, Colombia. After greeting them at the airport, and within a few hours of their arrival, Denise and I discovered we worked together at a technology company over 14 years ago, thus concluding that the… Continue reading All Senses Lead to Summer

Collage, Giving up, Gratitude, Home, Inspriation, Simplify, Social Media, Teaching, Technology

Culminate the Great(ness)

A recent post regarding Five More Things to Love About Living in Colombia, prompted several readers to ask about living abroad and maintaining a "normal" life away from your family, customs, country, and all that has been familiar for many years. With more happy days than sad, there are several methods which, when practiced regularly,… Continue reading Culminate the Great(ness)

Barranquilla, Colombia, Comida-Food, Friendship, futbol, Gringa, Musica, United States, Vallenato, WorldTeach

Sabor de La Vida y Salchipapas

Feliz cumpleaños, Barranquilla! On April 7th the city, founded in 1813, celebrated its 203 birthday. While it isn't quite the 480+ years of Cartagena de Indias, La Arenosa (translation: The Sand), as Barranquilla is often called, is a notable, historic city all its own. Travel guide book publisher Lonely Planet gives Barranquilla a so-so review,… Continue reading Sabor de La Vida y Salchipapas

Barranquilla, Bus Travel, Caribbean Coast, Cartagena, Colombia, Gratitude, La Playa-Beach, Riohacha, South America, Travel

Semana Santa 2016: Rioha-cha-cha

Semana Santa is a magical time in Colombia when many people break from their busy lives to travel, relax at home or attend multiple church services throughout the seven days appropriately called Holy Week. Plans for my third Semana Santa in Colombia had originally been to go south into new territory including Monteria, Cordobá and… Continue reading Semana Santa 2016: Rioha-cha-cha

Barranquilla, Caribbean Coast, Cartagena, Colombia, Five Things to Love, Gratitude, Home, Musica, South America, Travel

Five More Things to Love About Living in Colombia

With this post being written a week into the world feeling "spring forward" effects of an archaic calendar system, it was left out of the recent post Five Things to Love About Living in Colombia that there is no daylight savings time here. We are too close to the equator, plus, really... what are the… Continue reading Five More Things to Love About Living in Colombia

Cartagena, Cedula Extranjera, Colombia, Copa Americá 2015, Five Things to Love, futbol, Gratitude, Musica, South America, Teaching, Travel

Five Things to Love About Living in Colombia

Just like any place in the world, Colombia has many things about it to love and to not love. Conversely, being a foreigner living abroad, these expressions often accompany limitations ("Will this be the last time I say/do/eat this?"), as well as disparagement ("I can't wait until I never have to deal with/try to/experience this… Continue reading Five Things to Love About Living in Colombia

Air Travel, Bus Travel, Caribbean Coast, Cartagena, Colombia, Friendship, Gratitude, La Playa-Beach, Santa Marta, South America, Travel

Playas, Parque Tayrona, Patacóns y Más

Colombia patria querida, te llevo en mi corazón Tu tienes la llave de mi corazón, yo te quiero más que a mi vida, - La Tierra del Olvido, Carlos Vives Colombia beloved homeland, take you in my heart You have the key to my heart, I love you more than life A recent post about… Continue reading Playas, Parque Tayrona, Patacóns y Más

AAdvantage, Air Travel, American Airlines, Atlanta, Cartagena, Cedula Extranjera, Charleston, Chiva, Colombia, Delta, Family, Friendship, Gratitude, South America, Travel, United States

2015 Air Travel: Fly the Friendly Sighs

Note: A post in October about lifelong friends brought comments and questions from the far corners of the world... mostly California. While much has changed, it appears there is always room for the relationships that matter, and the ones that have fallen away to be revived. Simply put, life shifts. If we have a plan… Continue reading 2015 Air Travel: Fly the Friendly Sighs

Barranquilla, Cartagena, Charleston, Colombia, Family, Friendship, Giving up, Gratitude, Gringa, Home, South America, Travel, WorldTeach

Lifelong Friends Pick Up

You're the first one, when things turn out bad You know I'll never be lonely, you're my only one And I love the things, I really love the things that you do Ooh you're my best friend Queen - You're My Best Friend, 1976 Living abroad has it's share of excitement, joys, adventures and plenty… Continue reading Lifelong Friends Pick Up

Colombia, Gratitude, Social Media, South America, Teaching, Technology, United States, Volunteering, WorldTeach

Insta Karma

Virtual hugs. Cyber crushes. Emojis and emoticons. In this global age, teaching Information Communications Technology may be one of the most enlightening experiences, and definitely one of the most challenging. In my classes at Aspaen Gimnasio Cartagena de Indias, we often discuss topics like the evolution of social media, and when updates to existing applications… Continue reading Insta Karma

Barranquilla, Bilingual, Cedula Extranjera, Colombia, Gratitude, South America, Teaching, Volunteering, WorldTeach

Right for Right Now

This week I received an email from my past volunteer organization, WorldTeach, asking for contributions to their alumni page. Having been recently featured on Lillie Marshall's website, TeachingTraveling.com, I replied with fervor, and was selected as the September alumni feature on the Worldeach.org website: an awesome opportunity as well as an honor. While it's only… Continue reading Right for Right Now

Barranquilla, Bilingual, Cartagena, Cedula Extranjera, Colombia, Gratitude, Gringa, Lillie Marshall, South America, Teaching, Volunteering, WorldTeach

Extraordinary rewards: teachingtraveling.com

It's been another fast week in La Fantastica, as daily life returns following a long summer vacation. While the students have not arrived at school, the teachers are back in full force, staying busy with hours of workshops, meetings and lesson planning. In addition to being back in teacher mode, I am thriving in writer… Continue reading Extraordinary rewards: teachingtraveling.com

Cartagena, Charleston, Colombia, Copa Americá 2015, Gratitude, Home, South America, United States

Home Sweet (Soul) Home

The moon is on my side, I have no reason to run So will someone come and carry me home tonight - FUN "Carry Me Home" 2011 At the beginning of summer I posted about the nine lives tragically lost in a senseless shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, as well as… Continue reading Home Sweet (Soul) Home

Charleston, Colombia, Copa Americá 2015, Gratitude, Gringa, Iglesias, South America, United States

The Difference is the Same

“Every individual matters. Every individual makes a difference.” ― Jane Goodall (British athropologist, b. 1934) To some, living as a foreigner in Cartagena de Indias may seem like permanent vacation: living five minutes from the beach, exploring centuries-old churches and historic landmarks, dancing to live music in a plaza lit by candles at dusk. Yes,… Continue reading The Difference is the Same

Cartagena, Chiva, Colombia, Gratitude, Gringa, South America

La Chiva pa' La Gringa

It's probably been mentioned before, but living in a picturesque city selected in 1984 by UNESCO as significant addition to the heritage of the world, has its advantages. For one, you are surrounded by beauty and history which, for most, is a treat in itself. But for another, when your friends visit, you get to… Continue reading La Chiva pa' La Gringa

Cedula Extranjera, Colombia, Gratitude, Gringa, Medellin, Paisa, South America, Teaching, Travel

La Gringa Paisa

One of the (many) great things about Colombia is it's multiple festivos throughout the calendar year. In addition to Navidad (Christmas) and Semana Santa (Holy Week, or Spring Break), there are several long weekends with a Friday or a Monday acting as the "festivo." However, ask any Colombian what the festivo is celebrating, and most… Continue reading La Gringa Paisa

Colombia, Festivals, Gratitude, Gringa, Musica, Teaching, Valledupar

La Gringa Vallenata

Y no la pasamos chatiando todo el tiempo, Me dice tu musica si me encanta Es que la tengo a la gringa en su puesto, Y yo le envío canciones Vallenatas Es que la tengo a la gringa en su puesto, Y yo le envío canciones Vallenatas All the time we are chatting, She tells… Continue reading La Gringa Vallenata

Barranquilla, Cartagena, Colombia, Giving up, Gratitude, Ladrones, Simplify, South America, Teaching, Travel

Nueva Casa y Semana Santa

Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American author 1809 - 1894 In the past thirty days, I have escaped from yet another awkward living situation that I agreed to and got myself into; a situation that turned out to be… Continue reading Nueva Casa y Semana Santa

Bilingual, Colombia, Gratitude, South America, Teaching, WorldTeach

Esperanza en La Fantastica

esperanza /ess-peh-RAHN-zuh/ feminine noun 1. hope (deseo, ganas); expectation (confianza, expectativas); org: Spanish The first three months as English teacher with Aspaen Gimnasio Cartagena de Indias have been exhausting, interesting and overall satisfying. Though the schedule of class hours are average for a profesora, the school is anything but average. Located on a grassy acreage outside of… Continue reading Esperanza en La Fantastica

Cedula Extranjera, Colombia, Giving up, Gratitude, Ladrones, South America, Teaching, Travel

Legales, Ladrones, y Lavadoras

Returning to the land of golden arepas and Vallenato music during a January festivo weekend meant time to walk around colorful San Diego, in the center of Cartagena de Indias. Although most places were closed up tight, tourists continued to fill the streets, mixing among the locals and non-natives who have relocated to this brilliant city on the… Continue reading Legales, Ladrones, y Lavadoras

Atlanta, Cartagena, Charleston, Colombia, Gratitude, South America, Teaching, Travel, United States

Holiday Travel 2014: Us, We, Me and O Not U

December, with its many festive celebrations, gift-giving and end-of-year conclusions, was like a turbulent snowstorm churning out change in its unpredictable winds. Completing a year of service as a WorldTeach volunteer was emotive, celebratory, conclusive and relieving. At an End of Service retreat to close the program, the remaining group of 2014 volunteers discussed transitioning… Continue reading Holiday Travel 2014: Us, We, Me and O Not U

Barranquilla, Collage, Colombia, Comida-Food, Giving up, Gratitude, La Playa-Beach, Simplify, South America, Teaching, Travel, Uncategorized, Volunteering, WorldTeach

Improvise and Dive

For a volunteer living on a peso-pinching budget, the past two months in Colombia have felt surprisingly rich while making trips to Cartagena de Indias and discovering things to do in Barranquilla. Adversely, the months have also felt like tests of patience and resilience, with frequent on-the-spot lessons in how to improvise. The heat of Barranquilla has… Continue reading Improvise and Dive

Art, Barranquilla, Colombia, Festivals, Museums, South America

Go Go Romantico

The Lonely Planet guide to South America mentions Barranquilla in a few short paragraphs, remarking on its famous Carnaval, and describing the city as “one big traffic jam.”  Living here for the past year, admittedly there are few things to do, but the city has some interesting attractions worth noting, like the Museo Romantico. A trip to the… Continue reading Go Go Romantico

Barranquilla, Cartagena, Colombia, Comida-Food, Gratitude, La Playa-Beach, South America, Teaching, Travel, Volunteering

Of Luxury…and Loss

After the pedagogical rush of Bilingual Week in Barranquilla, it seemed appropriate to take a break in Cartagena, a city with the addictive pull of raw beauty and fascinating culture. Leaving late on a Saturday afternoon, the ride via Berlinas in drenching rains was slow, as the windows resembled driving through an automatic car wash. Arriving in… Continue reading Of Luxury…and Loss

Barranquilla, Colombia, Giving up, Gratitude, Simplify, South America, Teaching, Volunteering, WorldTeach

Bilingual and Bewildered

While it may seem from this blog that all I do as a volunteer in Colombia is teach and travel, there are some rewarding obligations as an educator, which is the true basis of my year living in this gorgeous country. After a week of diving into clear blue waters of picturesque Isla San Andres, Colombia, came a week of diving… Continue reading Bilingual and Bewildered

Colombia, Gratitude, Iglesias, Isla San Andres, La Playa-Beach, South America, Teaching, Travel

Isla San Andrés: paradiso en Colombia

“Believe. No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted island, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.” ― Helen Keller, American author (1880 - 1968) Teaching in Colombia recently provided more generous time off from school, and a week in the breezy Caribbean to escape the constant heat of Barranquilla… Continue reading Isla San Andrés: paradiso en Colombia

Barranquilla, Colombia, Gratitude, South America

Livin' La Vida Ocho

She will wear you out, livin' la vida loca ocho, Come On! Livin' la vida loca ocho, Come on! She's livin' la vida loca ocho. - Ricky Martin, "Livin' La Vida Loca" (revised)  In April 2014,  I moved to Barrio Alboraya in La Ocho, a neighborhood in the south of Barranquilla. I found my new home thanks to Airbnb and many… Continue reading Livin' La Vida Ocho