AKA Sabbatical Part III Quit our jobs, sold our condo and put everything in storage to head off this time for some round the world adventures - seeing where life takes us, enjoying the sights and eats, and having amazing experiences.
Currently traveling
  • Day770

    Dreamy Holbox

    February 21, 2020 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Met up with Lauren to have a girls weekend in the dreamy island of Holbox, 3 hours north of Cancun where no cars are allowed and there’s no cell service. Just bicycles and golf carts, and long stretches of sandy beach with warm turquoise water. Turns out all those Instagram photos don’t lie, this place really is beautiful. Relaxed and quiet, this place is a nice break from the real world. Plus there are even a few lizards and raccoons cruising around.

    We spent the first day biking around the island, walking along the massive sand bar, and doing a drink and snack crawl to 5 different hip bars and restaurants. Ended the night catching a local Carnival celebration of the king and queen of Holbox Carnival dancing to a drum line-esque band. Not really sure what was happening but still fun to see.

    Only downside here are the prices. The island definitely knows it’s an island paradise so the prices are set as such.
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  • Day758

    One intense way to learn a diving lesson

    February 9, 2020 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Turned out I had such a good time diving despite the strong current, I decided to take advantage of a few more days in Cozumel and sign up for an additional day of diving, even though Brice didn’t want to go.

    I was a little nervous at first, going solo, being paired up with an Israeli couple who were seriously experienced divers, and just because I’m often nervous when diving. But I decided to try my best to enjoy the day.

    Dive 1 was in the Palancar Caves, a stunning stretch of coral that has large columns. The depth to the right was only 30m or so, but if you looked left it was a steep drop to dark blue, about 150m deep! I kept my eyes to the right 😂

    We spotted tons of little fish, a few sting rays and then a giant green Moray Eel, about 6 feet long, swimming along!

    Right as I was thinking how amazing the dive was and how happy I was that I decided to go, my weight belt slipped off. It was like slow motion seeing it drop down to the sand below, another 5-10m below where I was. Before I even knew what to do next, I started floating up. Clearly even just 6kg in extra weight makes a difference!

    Fortunately the experienced diver saw what happened and grabbed me, trying to keep me from floating to the surface. I flailed, trying to get our divemaster’s attention. That’s the hard - and scary - part of diving, you can’t just scream out and explain what’s wrong. Apparently my flailing and pointing at my weights on the ocean floor just looked like I was excited about a fish, because by the time the instructor just stared at me. The Israeli guy tried his best but my buoyancy just kept going up, and suddenly we were at the surface. Given his experience, he knew exactly what to do - quickly inflated by BCD so I would stay afloat, held up his inflatable flag to notify the nearby boat, told me it was all ok.

    Once we got on board the boat, I got a bit freaked out, nervous of decompression issues going up so quickly, the adrenaline coming down and just rehashing the whole situation in my mind. The Israeli guy, my instructor and other guides on the boat all said it was no problem- we weren’t deep or down long enough for any issues. Phew, that was certainly good at least.

    In all the discussions after, despite it being a faulty weight belt that shouldn’t have slipped off so easily, it was definitely a lesson in what to do in that situation. How to get attention, what to do, etc.

    But man is it a scary aspect of diving, where you can’t express what is wrong and so much can feel out of your control.

    Makes me not excited to dive more, but then at the same time, wow it was beautiful under that. And I’m almost most upset that we had to cut our dive short because of the fiasco. So maybe I won’t stop diving just yet? 🤷🏻‍♀️
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    Wow. I truly get it. Glad you are ok. Very glad.

  • Day754

    Drift Diving

    February 5, 2020 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    After spending a week in Playa del Carmen, which we were certainly not fans of, we hopped over to Cozumel, the small island just to the east.

    We read that diving was the thing to do so after scoping out a couple dive shops, we signed up for a day with Barefoot.

    Because of the strong current, it’s more of drift diving here where you just cruise along the reef, not really being able to stop and check out things for long. That made it both challenging and easy at the same time - if you let the current just take you, you didn’t have to do anything at all, not even kick. But getting use to it was tough and if you ever wanted to stop or turn, whew that was a lot of work!

    Our instructor was awesome and got our attention in time for us to kick hard to watch an large and beautiful spotted eagle ray. So magical! I wish I had a camera with us for a photo of it.

    We also saw a massive crab, multiple lobsters, plenty of barracudas, trigger fish, and really colorful corral.

    A fun and tiring day that left us exhausted the next day but worth it!
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  • Day749

    Touristy PDC

    January 31, 2020 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    We came to Playa del Carmen hoping this could be an area we would like to stay longer or to return to, having read that this was a great place for digital nomads. Now that we have been here for 5 days, we are both struggling to understand if or why that is true.

    For one, it is much more touristy than I expected. The popular 5th Avenue is lengthy pedestrian only thoroughfare, lined with touristy knickknacks, touts trying to push anything from sunglasses to taxis to drugs. It’s like one big shopping mall, surprising me with all the American stores like Old Navy, H&M, and Forever 21. The beach, while beautiful with its turquoise water and clean sand, is packed with people.

    Two, with all that tourism comes the prices. We hear stories that living here can be cheap but I see a lot of restaurants that are US prices - $12 for a margarita and $15-20 for entrees. At least the Crossfit we joined (so good!) is only $35 for the week!

    Supposedly there is a nomad/expat community per the Facebook groups I’ve joined, but it seems like most people are only here for a few days before heading elsewhere.

    So doesn’t seem to be the place for us. And makes us both miss Buenos Aires a little bit more. But trying to make the best of it - we’ve got diving and snorkeling lined up, plus I am enjoying all the vegan tacos and smoothie bowls my heart and stomach can handle! 🙂
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  • Day744

    Uruguay: Some Thoughts and Facts

    January 26, 2020 in Uruguay ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Thoughts and facts about Uruguay:

    There are more cows than people, with 12 million cows an only 3 million people, half of whom live in Montevideo. Now I get why when I asked what to do in the interior of the country, people looked at me like I was crazy - it’s just a lot of farmland!

    It is so small they have a plaque commemorating when The Rolling Stones first played a concert here, as popular musicians never stopped in Uruguay prior. They also teach about the day that Uruguay unexpectedly won the a World Cup in school 😂

    People are even more obsessed with mate here than Argentina. I didn’t think it was possible but everywhere I turn someone is carrying around their mate cup and thermos. I still don’t get it.

    “1st world prices, 3rd world lifestyle.” Ok it might be a little cheaper than the US and not totally 3rd world here, but it is much more expensive than I expected, especially after BA.

    Montevideo is much more of a beach city than I expected. It has a nice boardwalk that line the coast for at least 20 miles filled with runners, walkers and bikers. On the sandy beaches, kids run about and people play competitive volleyball. Architecture near La Ciudad Vieja (the old city) however feels very Soviet with bland block housing, grey streets and lots of graffiti. It was led by Communist dictators until the 1980s, so I guess that kinda makes sense.

    The country’s actual name is Oriental Republic of Uruguay. And Montevideo means “6th hill from east to east,” named as such by the Spanish to find their new port city.

    It has been a nice few days here and I am glad we came, but not sure we would return for any particular reason.
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    Fascinating and fun commentary.

  • Day743

    Charming Colonia

    January 25, 2020 in Uruguay ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Well after nearly two months in Argentina, we finally said goodbye for now. Man did we love Buenos Aires and it was sad to leave.

    But it is still nice to continue exploring new places so off to Uruguay we went! We spent our first night in the charming historic town of Colonia del Sacramento, just an hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires.

    This World Heritage site founded in 1680 is quite small; you can walk around nearly all the cobblestone streets and beachfront paths in just an hour or two. Even though it is very much a tourist town, I was still smitten by the cute restaurants overlooking the water, people playing the accordion on the sidewalk, and quiet, slow way of life for the locals here.

    We stayed at the best BnB owned by a extremely friendly and welcoming Brazilian who has called Colonia home for 14 years. He has created an eclectic space filled with antiques and artwork he’s collected. It was funky and charming, and had a wonderful rooftop to watch the beautiful sunset over a game of cards.

    One great evening.
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    Looks like a very old photo with the yellowish light and the old car. Wonderful affect.

  • Day739

    Jujuy, Argentina

    January 21, 2020 in Argentina ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    This area was so much more like Peru, from the look of the locals (darker skin and shorter), to the food (a lot of llama and potatoes), to the houses (made of mud and brick). It appeared to be much poorer and more indigenous. It definitely didn’t feel like other parts of Argentina. Perhaps being high up in the mountains at 8,000 feet elevation and close to the Bolivia border truly separates this place from the rest of the country.

    It was beautiful with colorful mountains and bright stars but I’m ready to be at lower altitude and eat vegetables again!
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    Hummm. Bridge looks a little sketchy for a car.


    Great perspective. Fun to look at.

    Bingo Abroad

    And yet we saw plenty of cars use it! But I would agree.

  • Day737

    Salinas Grandes

    January 19, 2020 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Due to the political unrest in Bolivia, we chose not to go to the Uyuni salt flats as we originally wanted, but luckily Argentina has their own salt flats! Not as big but still really impressive.

    It was a long, windy road an hour from town, up and up the mountain. We offered to take two Argentine college students who we shared a fun conversation about travels, their studies in sociology and of course my never-ending questions about mate.

    Then finally we made it. Miles of white salt that looked like snow, beautiful turquoise water in the natural pools, and crazy reflections in the puddles from the previous day’s rainfall. It was magical.

    For just $5, we got a guided tour that allowed us to drive out onto the salt flats. From there we learned a little about the ancient lake, and how the local community uses the salt today - as salt licks for livestock, for industrial purposes and for cooking (good thing we know more Spanish now as the guide spoke no English!).

    At 12,000 feet in elevation, it gave us both a bit of a headache, especially with the sun beating down.

    At one point we all got out of our cars to walk single file along the salt to see a natural pool. Not sure why we needed to be so cautious, until a guy’s foot went right through the salt! It wasn’t so bad but he did have to get some bandaids as the salt is quite sharp, it turns out. Lesson learned - follow the guide!

    But the tour was so worth it as we also got to be further from the crowds to take in all the beautiful views, along with a few hundred silly photos. 😜
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    A moment in time digitally frozen. Great moment.

  • Day731

    Day 731!

    January 13, 2020 in Argentina ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C

    We have now officially made two years on the road! It is pretty crazy to think about, especially as we often argued over being gone this long and whether we would actually do it. Being away from friends and my parents, the comforts and known of home, always being on the go - all those things were occasionally really hard. Obviously there were so many incredible things about our travels too. So many good memories and experiences.

    And then bam, this last year just flew by! Perhaps it was because we had so much time in “easy” places - Australia, New Zealand, all around the US. Or perhaps because we spent most of it being stationary - Chiang Mai for 2 months, Portland for 2 months and Buenos Aires for 5 weeks. Whatever the case, it’s been an amazing two years and I feel so lucky to have had this experience.

    And the fun continues! Now we are on a little roadtrip around Salta, the NW region of Argentina where it is high altitude and dry. It looks like Arizona with cactus and beautiful mountains, but they actually have good wine here!

    It feels very different here, more like South America than BA where it feels European. The houses are very colonial, the towns are quaint, and the people look more indigenous.

    If only there weren’t mosquitoes!
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    Wow. That’s a photographers word for wow.


    Can you walk down in the gorge? Great pic.


    Yes , you have learned many things about each other and about the world. I toast your success. Damn, who took my tequila!

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  • Day729

    Onto Brazil

    January 11, 2020 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    We took advantage of the new rules to enter Brazil (no visa needed anymore!), and hopped over the border to see the Falls from that side. It was an easy trip - just a short 15-minute taxi ride, few minutes getting our passports stamped and we were in Brazil!

    Iguazu Falls on that side was certainly more crowded - or maybe that’s because we foolishly planned our trip for a Saturday - but the views were more impressive. Lush green jungle and neverending waterfalls, it looked like part of Jurassic Park, untouched and beautiful.

    The highlight was walking along the boardwalk to see the intense falls so close up, you get soaked from the mist. If there weren’t so many people, it would have been magical.

    After the park, we got a taxi into town to experience a small bit of Brazil. We enjoyed a delicious lunch of Coxinhas (a traditional fried dough stuffed with veggies in our case) and shockingly good local river tilapia. Oh and caipirinhas of course. The town was nothing to write home about, but it was fun to have a day’s adventure in Brazil.
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    Just simple plain WOW