Healing in Puerto Rico

Blog, The Caribbean

I’m not good at expressing my emotions. I tend to hide them and continue with my life as if I have no worries without slowing down. The more distracted I am (I think) the better. But with every traumatic experience, one must come into terms with the process of becoming physically and mentally healthy again.

In January 2019, in Colombia, I had a miscarriage. While we enjoyed our time in Colombia, after a fun-filled day, I started to feel off. We contacted the hotel’s help desk, they called the paramedics and we were driven to a women’s health center.

I was overwhelmed and even more now to have a stranger examine me in another country. “El cérvix esta cerrado”, she said, that gave me hope, but I still had a whole week left in Colombia. While I enjoyed most of my trip, my body and soul were elsewhere and I wanted the trip to end.

I felt sad, confused, and sometimes numb. I landed in New York went to get re-examined and indeed the result was negative. I felt guilty, I thought was it the plane? the boat rides? was it my fault for still going on vacation knowing I was pregnant? The whole year became a mask. I didn’t share what happened, I kept my social life as it was and shortly realized I was at times still confused about it.

In June of last year, my body started to shut down, my menstrual was off and the doctors recommend examining my reproductive organ (scary thought). I was scared to discover what some women fear to know (can I not have kids?). As I proceeded, I was advised that I was healthy with a mild condition of thyroid hypersecretion that should be checked every year. Knowing this gave me hope, God and professionals in the field helped me realized it was up to me to treat my body with love and kindness so, after my trip to Puerto Rico, I vowed to take a break from drinking and eat clean.

So what does Puerto Rico have to do with all of this?

It was our last day in Puerto Rico (Sep’19), it was a day full of sun and love, we decided to finish off with a meditation on the beach. Nanie mi amiga del alma said, “Speak anything you want into existence…” so I prayed and said, “God, you know what I need.” On this date, almost one year had passed from my miscarriage and I found myself once again confused but hopeful. While the waters and sands of our ancestors rushed through us and we heard the sound – it was then when my healing process began.

As we returned to NY, I did everything to get my health, mind, and energy back. I was vegan for 4 weeks, stopped drinking, and took a break from the party scene. Taking control of my health helped me heal and feel better physically and mentally. I was even back on track and going to church and didn’t miss one Sunday that felt so good!

One month from our trip to PR I found out I was pregnant again. All I could think of was, God, was there on that day, on that beach, in that sunset en Puerto Rico. What are the odds that God gifts me what I dreamed of only one month from my prayer.

I will forever be grateful for that day at Ocean Park Beach.

Many of us go through experiences that others won’t understand and many of us have traveled to heal past traumatic experiences. This trip was a little different it was the start and the end of a Zeline most people loved, but now are re-learning her and her new beginnings.

Last year was rough even though I didn’t show it – but my biggest blessing came to my life despite it all, my son Landyn.

For everyone who has experienced a loss remember, no matter how along you are, your pregnancy and feelings are meaningful and valid.

Peace and love,

Zeli

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Gentrification in the Old City, Panama and Xenophobia towards other Latinx Communities.

Blog, Central America

Months ago I thought it would be useful to write about what it’s like to stay in Panama City. I started and never got around it until I was recently asked if it is worth taking a trip to Panama. Now, I am back in this document finally finishing up my original post, on gentrification in the old city and what I learned during our time in Panama.

Staying in Panama City was different, I enjoyed the city as much as I could, but being the nature geek that I am, I found myself traveling endless hours across Panama. While some will say there is nothing to see or do in Panama City, if you are enlightened by learning about people of color, indigenous communities, and learning about the infrastructure and increase in property development and investments then Panama City will intrigue you.

Alex, our tour guide from @Xplora gave us so much information regarding Panama and was knowledgeable about different communities and their struggles. We touched on topics like gentrification, displacement, and immigration. My conversation with Alex allowed me to visualize the differences between living in the city, rural areas, and gentrified communities.

I also learned that Panama City and its surrounding areas are undergoing gentrification which has affected many Panamanians. I quickly remembered that gentrification fails in all countries and it is unfortunate that those who are underrepresented and of color are the community strongly affected by it. Over the years we have learned that gentrification is not “for the people”, it’s a way for the elite class and our oppressors to have control over our communities and displace the underrepresented. When gentrification occurs in places like Panama City most of the local community is displaced to rural locations where it can take more than one hour to commute to work in the city.

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Photo by Google

So where can you see Gentrification in Panama? Neighborhoods like Casco Viejo (the old city) were known to be owned by the local community. About a decade ago, Casco Viejo was considered unsafe. It was once known to be a dark community with a strong gang presence. Over years tourists were told to avoid walking to Casco Viejo due to high crime, flights, and drug abuse. Today, it is different. I felt “safe” and didn’t feel that I was in “danger”. It is know gentrified and the home of a new artistic style and where most rooftop bars and restaurants are located. In recent years the old city has blossomed and it’s considered a new “artistic colonial community” that has brought attention to many tourists and Panamanian artists.

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Some tips before going to Panama: Immigration in Panama is a big thing. You would be told to carry your passport at all times in case you are enforced by government officials to present documentation. Thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing economic injustice and are flooding other countries like Colombia, Panmana, Brazil, and Ecuador. I learned that in Panama there is a high level of Xenophobia towards Venezuelans. On my trip I heard a few locals make inappropriate comments towards Venezuelan women calling them prostitutes. Like undocumented Mexicans and other Latinx communities in the U.S, Venezuelans are being pushed out, marginalized, facing xenophobia not only in Panama, but in South America as a whole. While carrying your passport at all times is a must, knowing the reasons behind this touches my heart and I am in deep sorrow — to know that members of the Latinx community (MY COMMUNITY) cannot find peace, work, and live in countries that should stand strong in solidarity with the Hispanic and Latinx community is overwhelming and very heart breaking.

Resources: Read: Venezuelans face new barriers, Xenophobia across South America

Traveling with Ma!

Blog, Europe

While I wasn’t born into socio-economic privilege, I am privileged to be American born.

My citizenship in itself is a privilege! I was gifted with opportunity to seek, find, and take advantage of many programs in my educational endeavors that allowed me to easily move through social mobility.

With that being said, that has allowed me to Travel with Ma!

This year I was able to take my mother to Europe (Italy) for the first time. Growing up she has always dreamed of crossing the seas and traveling the world but her social-economic situation did not allow many of her dreams to come true.

In 1979, she took a leap of faith and decided at the age of 29 that she would move to the U.S to be with her mother. My mother and I were around the same age. I have two degrees and have never missed a meal in my life, all due to her endurance to leave an education in her home country behind in search of opportunity and family.

Today, I vow to make her dreams come true as much as I can. God has gifted me with a special woman and through travel, we can create memories and show our appreciation to the womenx that are selfless.

To new destinations, culture, love, and memories with Ma!

Borinquen con @coquidaytours

Blog, The Caribbean

My girlfriend and I took a quick 4 day trip to Puerto Rico and, I know you’re probably thinking that’s short, but it recharged our souls in such a way that words can’t explain. Our ancestors were there with us and so were the butterflies who were watching over us. Our trip, however, wouldn’t have been the same without @coquidaytours. The Coqui Day Tours experience is one of a kind and it wouldn’t be fair that you don’t experience the island of Puerto Rico with out them!!

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Yauco

 

Yauco is a city in southwestern Puerto Rico, we took a steep drive from San Juan to Yauco and boy was that amazing! The city of Yauco is known to produce Puerto Rico’s finest coffee and is home to about 5 coffee plantations.

Gilligan Island (Guanica)

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Gilligan Island (Cayo Aurora) is one of the National Parks of Guánica. The island’s water is knee high and its lazy river is amazing!!!! We opt out of the snorkeling part of the tour, however, you can’t miss the amazing colored fishes in its clear waters!

Sunflower Farm in Guanica

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We visited the Girasol Field, soooooo breathtaking!

Ponce

ea4d36_0c5f9074c9724b9d8c1764e458ba35e2~mv2_d_3024_4032_s_4_2In Ponce, one of the largest cities in Puerto Rico’s we stopped at La Guancha where we took a break and enjoyed the views of Puerto Rico.

As you know I have fallen in love with Puerto Rico. The laughs, memories, stories, and healing recharged my soul. I live in New York City, the city that never sleeps, the busy city, the city where you can get lost in routines. On this tour, we felt like time stopped for a bit and we felt as if we were visiting old friends back home and that is what I needed, sometimes it only takes knowing that there are good people in the world to feel safe when traveling. This is why I HIGHLY recommended Coqui Day Tours my girlfriend and I felt safe, and if you are like us and love to chat up with locals choose Coqui Day Tours!

My soul, body, and mind belongs to an island. My dream will come true.

———————-

Mi amiga y yo hicimos un viaje relampago de 4 días a Puerto Rico y sé que probablemente piensas que es corto, pero recargó nuestras almas de tal manera que las palabras no pueden explicar. Nuestros ancestors estaban allí con nosotras y también las mariposas bellas que nos vigilaban. Nuestro viaje, sin embargo, no hubiera sido lo mismo sin @coquidaytours. ¡La experiencia de Coqui Day Tours es única y no sería justo que no experimentes la isla de Puerto Rico sin ellos!

Yauco: Yauco es una ciudad en el suroeste de Puerto Rico, tomamos un camino largo desde San Juan a Yauco y ¡fue increíble! La ciudad de Yauco es conocida por producir el mejor café de Puerto Rico y es el hogar de aproximadamente 5 plantaciones de café!

Isla Gilligan (Guánica): La Isla Gilligan (Cayo Aurora) es uno de los Parques Nacionales de Guánica. ¡El agua de la isla llega casi hasta las rodillas y su río es increíble! ¡No puede perder los increíbles peces de colores en sus aguas cristalinas!

Granja de Girasoles en Guánica: Visitamos el campo de Girasol, ¡ Que cosa mas bella!

Ponce: En Ponce, una de las ciudades más grandes de Puerto Rico, nos detuvimos en La Guancha, donde tomamos un descanso y disfrutamos de las vistas de Puerto Rico.

Como sabes, me he enamorado de Puerto Rico. Las risas, los recuerdos, y las historia recargaron mi alma. Vivo en la ciudad de Nueva York, la ciudad que nunca duerme, la ciudad ocupada, la ciudad donde puedes perderte en las rutinas. En esta gira, sentimos que el tiempo se detuvo un poco como si estuviéramos visitando a viejos amigos, a veces solo se necesita saber que hay buenas personas en el mundo para sentirse seguros cuando viajan. Es por eso que recomendo a Coqui Day Tours, mi amiga y yo nos sentimos seguras, y si eres como nosotras y te encanta hablar con risas y de todo, ¡elige Coqui Day Tours que los chicos en el tour son muy amigables!

Mi alma, cuerpo y mente pertenecen a una isla. Mi sueño se volverá realidad ❤

 

Panama City and Free Itinerary Download!

Blog, Central America

I booked my trip to Panama through Expedia and I found the most affordable package with Copa Airlines. Copa Airlines is a Panamanian airline, the process from web check-in, choosing my seats, and skipping long lines was seamless. I was extremely impressed! I was also very surprised that I didn’t panic like I normally do during take-off and landing (yes, I fear flying, especially on long flights). The flight was smooth and I felt very comfortable and safe (major key, safety is a plus)! I landed at Tocumen International Airport and was truly astounded by how advanced the airport was. Our package also included our stay in Sortis Hotel & Casino in Panama City. Check out my review here! The total package for 6 days started at $890, not including taxes & fees.

I normally book package deals for short trips, especially when I travel in groups. Recently I learned Expedia has a rewards program and members can earn up to 2 points per dollar on flights, hotels, activities and vacation packages. I have already booked a few trips with Expedia and learned I had roughly $90 in points sitting on the backend of the site, via their points system I was able to book our transfer from the airport and hotel at no additional cost! As we drove to our hotel we were very astonished by the cities architecture and buildings, all of that was great, but what we were most excited about was starting our trip and experiencing some of the REAL Panama!

San Blas Islands

ea4d36_d85888acabd4483b8b9bf68119feede5~mv2San Blas is known to have more than 300 islands and caves and approximately 50 islands are inhabited. The residents of the islands are the Kuna People. Kuna’s are self-governed and this aspect allows you to notably see the different cultures and structures between the Panamanian government and the indigenous people. In Panama, it is important to bring your passport everywhere which I will discuss more in a later post, however, Kuna’s are very territorial and crossing to different parts of the Island can be difficult unless booked through their own self-governed routes which includes taxes. Regardless of that, I admired the scenic beaches, soft sand, and local food. Our visit included food at Iguana Island and a natural pool stop.

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Emberá’s

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Located in Panama and Colombia the Emberá’s, also known in historical literature as the Chocó or Katío Indians are an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. We took roughly two hours to reach the Emberá Dura village. One hour by land, and another by canoe (boat). The experience was one I will never forget. I learned about what the Emberá men and women do for a living and in their community, the importance of La Botanica (natural health remedies for illness and death), ate, and shared dances with their community. When I learned more about their botanical and natural health remedies I couldn’t stop thinking about how natural health remedies for many illnesses are so embedded in the Latinx and Afro Latin culture. Till this day my mother can name mostly all the natural leaves and its remedies which comes from the history of our ancestors, santeria, and the famous medicine man in many of our communities who was known to be the traditional healer in a community of indigenous people.

It is important to know that science at times does not have all the answer. Our ancestors knew that.

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We also hiked until reaching an unmanned waterfall. I decided to take a hike in Panama because I never did it before and wanted to test my strength and endurance. I also read Panama has one of the most biodiverse national parks with a wide array of animals so I decided to get out of my comfort zone and get down and dirty! While I was concerned about my safety this was one of the biggest hikes of my life, I made sure to be organized and brought all the necessary items needed which gave me a lot of security.

You can do it!

Casco Viejo, San Felipe

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On our last full day, we decided to explore the town of Casco Viejo. Casco Viejo, San Felipe is considered the old city. Colonizers settled in Casco Viejo in the 1600s and later it was destroyed by pirates. For many years Casco Viejo was known to be a community for the people of Panama and businesses were owned by locals who lived in the community. Now the city is known to be a tourist location full of rooftop bars viewing Panama city, and restaurants, while its ruins are the main attraction. Many Panamanians who lived in Casco Viejo were displaced by the gentrification of Casco Viejo.

You will never be disappointed in starting your adventure in Panama.

Panama City

Blog

I booked my trip to Panama through Expedia and I found the most affordable package with Copa Airlines. Copa Airlines is a Panamanian airline, the process from web check-in, choosing my seats, and skipping long lines was seamless. I was extremely impressed! I was also very surprised that I didn’t panic like I normally do during take-off and landing (yes, I fear flying, especially on long flights). The flight was smooth and I felt very comfortable and safe (major key, safety is a plus)! I landed at Tocumen International Airport and was truly astounded by how advanced the airport was. Our package also included our stay in Sortis Hotel & Casino in Panama City. Check out my review here! The total package for 6 days started at $890, not including taxes & fees.

I normally book package deals for short trips, especially when I travel in groups. Recently I learned Expedia has a rewards program and members can earn up to 2 points per dollar on flights, hotels, activities and vacation packages. I have already booked a few trips with Expedia and learned I had roughly $90 in points sitting on the backend of the site, via their points system I was able to book our transfer from the airport and hotel at no additional cost! As we drove to our hotel we were very astonished by the cities architecture and buildings, all of that was great, but what we were most excited about was starting our trip and experiencing some of the REAL Panama!

San Blas Islands

ea4d36_d85888acabd4483b8b9bf68119feede5~mv2San Blas is known to have more than 300 islands and caves and approximately 50 islands are inhabited. The residents of the islands are the Kuna People. Kuna’s are self-governed and this aspect allows you to notably see the different cultures and structures between the Panamanian government and the indigenous people. In Panama, it is important to bring your passport everywhere which I will discuss more in a later post, however, Kuna’s are very territorial and crossing to different parts of the Island can be difficult unless booked through their own self-governed routes which includes taxes. Regardless of that, I admired the scenic beaches, soft sand, and local food. Our visit included food at Iguana Island and a natural pool stop.

ea4d36_5481cd7817384775bf3b970610c66212~mv2

Emberá’s

IMG_7809

Located in Panama and Colombia the Emberá’s, also known in historical literature as the Chocó or Katío Indians are an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. We took roughly two hours to reach the Emberá Dura village. One hour by land, and another by canoe (boat). The experience was one I will never forget. I learned about what the Emberá men and women do for a living and in their community, the importance of La Botanica (natural health remedies for illness and death), ate, and shared dances with their community. When I learned more about their botanical and natural health remedies I couldn’t stop thinking about how natural health remedies for many illnesses are so embedded in the Latinx and Afro Latin culture. Till this day my mother can name mostly all the natural leaves and its remedies which comes from the history of our ancestors, santeria, and the famous medicine man in many of our communities who was known to be the traditional healer in a community of indigenous people.

It is important to know that science at times does not have all the answer. Our ancestors knew that.

IMG_7913

We also hiked until reaching an unmanned waterfall. I decided to take a hike in Panama because I never did it before and wanted to test my strength and endurance. I also read Panama has one of the most biodiverse national parks with a wide array of animals so I decided to get out of my comfort zone and get down and dirty! While I was concerned about my safety this was one of the biggest hikes of my life, I made sure to be organized and brought all the necessary items needed which gave me a lot of security.

You can do it!

Casco Viejo, San Felipe

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On our last full day, we decided to explore the town of Casco Viejo. Casco Viejo, San Felipe is considered the old city. Colonizers settled in Casco Viejo in the 1600s and later it was destroyed by pirates. For many years Casco Viejo was known to be a community for the people of Panama and businesses were owned by locals who lived in the community. Now the city is known to be a tourist location full of rooftop bars viewing Panama city, and restaurants, while its ruins are the main attraction. Many Panamanians who lived in Casco Viejo were displaced by the gentrification of Casco Viejo.

You will never be disappointed in starting your adventure in Panama.

 

Cartagena, Colombia: Si Se Puede, Its Cheap!

Blog, South America

Cartagena es un Sueno located in the northwestern parts of South America you can hardly go wrong with the weather. We flew in with Spirit Airlines and booked a package deal via Expedia. There are many hidden restaurants in Cartagena and numerous island to explore. If you ever say Colombia as a far fetch dream start reaching because this guide will take you there.

Farfetch? Why? Is it that you are too busy? Do you have children? Or traveling is too expensive? Let me tell you, you are making EXCUSES. I assume you want to travel so you found your way to this page because I titled this post with the word “Cheap” pues si, it is.

There are a lot of socio economic barriers between the Latinx and travel. Whether it was being raised in a low-income household or fighting for equal pay with our suppressor we can say travel might be difficult. For the most part, I try to pursue 3 trips a year where I can indulge and create connections, but most importantly foster hope. You are here because someone told you about this post, you saw it online, or you are one of my dearest friends and followers here is what I did in Cartagena where I went, my experiences, and how much we spent in total for a 6 day stay!

Pa La Cultura: For the most part Cartagena is safe, like many other countries and cities you will find areas that are scary and a bit sketchy. Don’t wear flashy things and don’t walk along el morro at dark. On our trip, we were advised to not walk around the walls of the old city because burglars would stand by waiting for their victims. In addition, you also want to be aware of tour companies who stand by the Historic Center hoping to scam you! Always research tour companies, book with your hotel or ask your hotel directly for reputable companies.

Movich Hotels and Casa Claver

We stumbled across Movich and Casa Claver on Expedia. My husband and I stayed in Movich Cartagena while our friends decided to stay in Casa Claver. The hotel has a great location in the middle of the historic town. The concierge service was amazing and the view from the rooftop pool and restaurant is breathtaking. We stayed in a standard room pretty tight but comfortable, our stay included breakfast which saved us a few dollars. For the flight and hotel, I paid $1,082.00 per person.

On our trip, we met Wilson, a front desk associate at Movich. Wilson was the friendliest person I have ever met. Colombia needs more people like him, he ensured my husband and I were comfortable and was very attentive to our needs. He was always there to help us with everything and assisted with the bookings of our tours and taxi. We hardly needed to do anything ourselves which was great especially when you want to be catered too.

While Movich has the summer vibe cocktail rooftop vibe Casa Claver Loft Boutique Hotel is your cup of spring morning tea. In Casa Claver I experienced their rooftop. The rooftop does not have a bar but who cares with this view? The rooftop at Casa Claver is great for photos, videos, and relaxation. Casa Claver is one block away from Movich so it was easy to commute to our friends. It is also situated between the historic town. The suites are very spacious and breakfast was also included. You can visit Casa Claver with flight and hotel and for $1,088.00 per person.

Best Prices and Islands

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We experienced three beaches and a natural pool off the coast of Isla Rosario. The hotel booked all of our tours. For Taxi, Boat Rental, Gifts, Bars, Tip and food on the beach we spent roughly $202.00 (for two). While visiting the beach the waves might be rough! Make sure you hang on tight.

Isla Del Encanto: Isla del Encanto is located in the Rosario National Park. We booked a ferry and it’s a 45-minute ride. We spent one full day for about $75 with lunch included. Perfect day trip from Cartagena and kid-friendly.

Isla Agua Azul: Agua Azul was amazing, but stay away from the ceviche! It’s simply mayo and ketchup! Agua Azul was crowded by local vendors but who cares, we love sandy beaches the food here was not all that great. Bring goodies from your local pharmacy just in case!

Playa Blanca: Playa Blanca was amazing, while a little crowded and swamped by local vendors hoping to get your service it can be a little intimidating. We enjoyed this beauty. Its was definitely congested and soon as we got off the boat we were almost attacked by different sales reps and locals this wasn’t the best experience, but overall we enjoyed our time in the sun.

Restaurants in Cartagena

# 1 Mar y Hojas Cocina Vegana & Atleta Vegano – Cl. 38 #9 – 82, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia

We landed and went straight to Mar y Hojas for lunch, there are only 3-4 dishes to choose from and while the options seem limited it is a great experience. They accommodated our party quickly and were attentive. We spent a total of $50 U.S. dollars for 4 meals roughly and soft drinks which is $12 dollars each.

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# 2 Restaurante Plaza Majagua Cl. 37 ##7-12, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia

Who would ever say no to Pizza? As you walk around the local areas you might come across Plaza Majagua. Here you may spend $5,000 – $320,000 pesos. Convert that to US dollars that’s less than $100.00. Here we spend a total of $48.00 for 4 meals soft drinks and beers.

# 3 Rosa Mezcal – Taqueria Mexicana a 36-174 36-2, Cra. 5, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia

Tacos, shots, and more! We were treated so well here! I definitely felt welcomed. This restaurant is a great place for a quick bite! The food was done fast and very tasty. Our total bill for four was roughly $80 dollars (for 4 people) it was the most expensive on the trip – reason – who would say no to tequila!

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# 4 Di Silvio Trattoria – Cl. 29 #9A-08, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia

Amo il Cibo Italiano! If you can not get enough of pesto and pasta you should definitely visit and enjoy Di Silvio Trattoria in the area of Getsemani. We spend about 10 dollars each for a full course meal and cocktails. (photo from google)

# 5 Torre Fuerte Cra. 7 #34-66, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia

Last but not least whats travel without local food? Quiero Bandeja Paisa! Owned by locals Torre Fuerte is the most affordable restaurant I have been to! We enjoyed dinner we all ordered a Bandeja Paisa and spent around 10 dollars each.

If you are booking a hotel and flight together give yourself 5 months booking span. You want to be able to save for any additional cost!! Make sure to bring your sunblock and positive vibes!

Bali, Indonesia: A Toast to The Good Life

Asia, Blog

Experiencing the Balinese Hindu-Buddhist culture and customs has impacted my life in so many positives ways. Bali’s simplest lifestyle and their care for nature have opened my eyes to love my surroundings more than I already do. As humans, we need to love our surroundings and planet, live life through pure love, and communicate with one another for a constructive conversation that will allow us to grow. At times it is hard for others to understand a culture and religion that is not their own – but if we stray away from thinking what religion is better we learn and accept that a good life can be found in any religion as long as it brings happiness, good health, and love.

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Through this trip, I learned to take my life one day at a time, to take a deep breath and just love the skin I am in and love my personality.

The temples we visited allowed me to do just that and if you are someone hoping to build your connection with yourself through self, love the Balinese Hindu-Buddhist culture will help you meditate and love everything about what makes you, you.
First, you need to love and have care for others, their religion, and customs. Sometimes people assume admiring another religion will stray them away from their own religion, however, the truth is if your connection with your God is large no one can take anything about your religion way from you — but you can see and explore the similarities and visualize how in history we are all the same. Secondly, and most importantly make sure you want to learn, if you lack the care of learning then you will not experience what the culture of any place you visit is. So with that being said here is How The Goa Gajah and Gunung Kawi Temple impacted my life and soul.

Our Stay in Bali Natya Ubud
Bali is an Indonesian Island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches, and coral reefs. The island is home to religious sites such as Cliffside Uluwatu Temple. To the south, the beachside city of Kuta has lively bars, while Seminyak, Sanur, and Nusa Dua are popular resort towns. The island is also known for its yoga and meditation retreats.

Location: Southeast AsiaLanguage: IndonesianReligion: Balinese HinduismCurrency: RupiahWeather: 80-90FElectrical Outlet: In Bali the electrical outlet is similar to ones used in Europe.

The Goa Gajah Temple

I walked into the Goa Gajah Temple and instantly felt an unexplainable presence. Small, but spiritual the smell of incense, its mystery, and carvings provided an emotional and spiritual feeling that I wouldn’t know how to explain. The carvings in the Goa Gajah were astonishing and breathtaking! Also known as the Elephant Cave the Goa Gajah Temple was built in the ninth century as a sanctuary and place of worship. The Goa Gajah was also the home of mediation and inner connection with yourself and your mind, no wonder it was a great inner reflective experience!

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From a distance you can see the temple, its stones and the smell of relaxation, yes you can actually smell it. As you breathe the green leaves around the temple as well as the incense and burning offerings, it inspires you to relax and take your days one day at a time. The Goa Gajah allowed me to connect with my mind and nature.

Gunung Kawi Temple

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The Canang Sari is an offering with meaningful colors that represent the offer of peace. Balinese women are known to prepare the Canang Sari with love for the Balinese Gods. At the Gunung Kawi Temple, we spotted a man preparing the Canang Sari. The smell was amazing and the craft was art. Built in the eleventh century the Gunung Kawi Temple is the home of many temples in one. Three hundred steps down lies a temple alongside the Pakerisan River.

I really enjoyed walking through the Gunung Kawi Temple primary because it felt as if I were walking through a garden, like those that are full of life. When I travel I reflect on many things; my past, my father, people, friends who come and go and I do this because it is reflective to my soul and allows me to grow. The Gunung Kawi temple allowed me to connect with the inner soul, I learned that everyone has a battle to fight, one that others are not to blame for. My trip to Bali was at a perfect timing in my life — it allowed me to reflect on myself and revisit my soul and my personality.

Our Top 4 Favorites Things to Do in Bali

ea4d36_0276f44f0efa43aeacb88971b79c9dcc~mv2# 1 The Monkey ForestThe Monkey Forest is near the city of Ubud. It is the sanctuary of the Balinese Monkey and for me the scariest tour in Bali lol. It will be a scary experience especially when the monkeys are chasing you for food or your belongings but the experiences were memorable. Will not do it again!

# 2 Coffee PlantationThe Segara Windhu Coffee Plantation was amazing. Coffee lovers, this is your spot. You will be toured around the plantation and you will taste some fine Coffee and tea. It is known to be the biggest coffee plantation in Tampaksiring, Bali and have the best Luwak coffee -Balinese coffee.

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# 3 Nia UbudI found Nia Ubud on TripAdvisor. The pictures sold me! The food was amazing, my husband and I loved it! Nia Ubud is known for their authentic and traditional Balinese Cuisine a must go!

# 4 Bali SwingI’m sure you have seen many travel bloggers swinging in the air over what it seems to be the skies, trees, and oceans. What’s best of the experience is that it’s actually not all that scary. There are 12 single swings in Bali Swing so if you are scared you can start off on the smallest swing. Its 100 percent safe and you can tell your tour guide not to push you too hard if that’s a major concern for you. Lastly, get the wallets ready, it’s a bit overpriced!!!!

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Go to Bali with a open heart and mind!