Swag in the Bag


Streets of Cartagena, Colombia. 2016

No need to try too hard. Just always do your best. Accept what’s not meant. Be kind to others. Stay true. Remain humble. Don’t stress. Nuture your passion, as if it were a child. Stay focused. Have an opinion. Stand for something. Let your voice be heard. Have goals. Continue to add to your bucket list. Live your dreams. Help other people. Smile often. Love hard. Laugh out loud. Have an open mind, and heart. Appreciate and enjoy the littel things. Read. Express your feelings. Write daily. Stop to smell the roses. Understand that you’re a student, for life – always learning. Make mistakes once, then wisen up. Know better, do better. Teach what you know. Share information. Travel the world. Broaden your horizons. Become acquaintances with many. Eat delicious food. Strengthen relationships with family and friends. Don’t waste time on the unnecessary. Remember less is more. Have faith. Have role models. Set a good example. Understand that children are always watching, and they mimic what they see. Become one with the fact that you can’t master everything. Unleash your talent and share it with the world. Always do your best, because you’re meant to shine as bright as anyone else. Own your identity. The life you’re living was only meant and designed for you – embrace that. Don’t like something, change your thinking and it will change your life. Sing out loud. Dance like no one’s watching. Sit in silence for re-grounding purposes. Live by the golden rule. Have compassion. Understand that most of what we know is only the tip of the iceberg. Live in the moment. Don’t worry. Don’t judge. Take risks. Listen to the universe. Look for signs. And finally, so that you don’t miss your flight, pack light. You need nothing more than swag in your bag.

Meditate on Purpose


Cartagena, Colombia. 2016

I don’t do it often enough, at least not in any traditional way. I don’t have a special pillow, particular place or time of day. I don’t listen to any distinct songs or sounds, and I don’t try to completely empty my mind. I move at a pace that best fits the moment, my moment. I don’t meditate on purpose, it just happens – and when it does, I meditate on purpose! Who am I? What am I feeling in this moment? What does it mean to sit in silence, trying to connect with God, the universe, myself and reasons for existing? I choose not to allow complaints into these moments. All things and people placed in my life, existing in my life, are all a part of a plan. But why, what is their purpose? They all play some role. It can be as minor as the 13 markers in my bookbag (which actually serves no purpose at all, at this moment), or as major as having a device that allows me a few minutes of FaceTime with my mother. Much of what is in between is up for elimination. Everything existing in my world causes an effect on one another, because they all affect me – I am the common denominator. I am the one who decides to build on something, or break it down and remove it. If I’ve read a book that has greatly encouraged me and has served its purpose by reading it once, then maybe it’s time to pass that book on to someone else – why allow it to sit in one place and be useless. This way of thinking is applied to all things, and people.

In moments when I realize what I want, I act on my wants,  and those actions lead me toward introductions to new people, places, ideas, eventually tangible things or new feelings. All is connected! Seeing life in this light has everything to do with being conscious. I am not only meditating on my purpose, I’m meditating on the purpose of the amount of clothes in my dresser drawers, the purpose of the groceries in the cabinets, the purpose of spending time with people who may or may not add any value to my life, the purpose of exercise (for the mind, body and spirit), the purpose of love, laughter, inspiration, faith and so on. All things I try my best not to take for granted. Everything and everyone has a reason for existing in my world. One thing I know for sure about myself, is that I’m always spring cleaning, because I value “less” as being so much “more”. Meditate on that!

Wonder Why I Wander?


Photo: Cartagena, Colombia. 2016.

I’m an introvert. It’s the way I feel, not the things I have, that contribute to who I am. Therefore, spending time exploring on my own is an opportunity for me to connect with myself, internally. On top of that, I just don’t enjoy compromising. If you’re also an introvert, you may agree that traveling alone is one of the best things you can do for your soul. Even if you are an extrovert, traveling solo is worth doing at least once in life. One simple reason is because I know that my interests will never completely match those of others – so bascially, I’m selfish with my time. I enjoy living freely, with no limits and no obligations. I can decide each day whether I want to go to the beach or for a simple walk. I can hike for hours, or have a lazy day by the pool. I can go out, be social and meet new people, or sit in silence. I can wander around different neighborhoods, or play it safe and ride a tour bus. I can explore the world’s famous wonders, or the not-so-famous wonders that don’t receive enough attention. There’s so much beauty in the world, and I plan to see as much as I possibly can in my lifetime.

“Not all who wander are lost.” We call ourselves “Wanderlusts”! We are people who are less interested in collecting things, and more interested in collecting experiences.

There’s so much freedom in travleling solo. Part of that freedom is looking forward to all of the minor and major things I’ll learn about myself. When I’m alone, I tend to show even more gratitude for simple pleasures. A great example is participating in random conversations with strangers. In those moments, I’m allowing myself to be open to possibilities, and share with another the love of life and all of its randomness. I may be alone, but I am far from lonely. I’d like to think that I take time to enjoy my own company, before I expect others to. In moments of solitude, I’m embracing who I am, and the many factors that make me unique. Sometimes, in large groups – people hold back their authenticity. If I first learn to be authentic in solitude, that should encourage me to be authentic around others. I view it as building character. I’m gaining a greater perspective on my life and life itself. Each day, I’m becoming even more conscious of my purpose. It forces a person to become connected with what their heart desires. Similar to the way an artist’s spirit moves them to share their pieces of work. There’s a level of comfort you develop with your thoughts and your feelings, that allow you to openly and honestly share those sentiments with others, without worrying about being judged.

Traveling solo encourages me to exist in a world where my heart and mind are always open to give and receive. I’m continuously understanding how to ride the wave and go in the direction where the wind calls my name. The flow tends to lead me toward a hot sun, with a cool breeze, on a sandy beach near a palm tree, sipping a yummy cocktail and indulging in tasty food, after I write a short piece of literature, while listening to a really smooth r&b playlist. Or strolling through neighborhoods, stopping for a cup of coffee at a random cafe, speaking to strangers in various languages, taking many photos (and quite often, selfies), volunteering for a few hours and finding a peaceful place to sit in a park by a lake. “The flow” is me listening to my intuition; honoring my desires. That’s selflove. So, if you wonder why I wander, it’s because it’s one of the most freeing feelings in the world! 


Brooklyn Meets Cartagena


Photo: Cartagena, Colombia, 2016

I took a leap of faith and ended up in Colombia, one of the happiest countries in the world! I love warm weather, and sometimes consider myself a beach bum, so it’s only right that I post up on the coast, in Cartagena! It’s a gorgeous city with lots of character! The architecture is beautiful, awesome street art, friendly people, and I’m making muchos nuevos companeros – Colombians and fellow tourists from all around the world. The streets here are so lively, as if there are fiestas around each corner. Lots of street food vendors, people hanging out, musica, warm breezes, y espanol es being exchanged every which way. Se basica espanol, pero I can’t hold a conversation. It’s only right that I decided to study spanish while I am here! Either that or continue this poor performance of spanglish. I’m taking a class a la escuela Nueva Lengua. They also have sites in two other major cities, Bogota and Medellin. Now I can say I’ve studied abroad, twice! At least in Australia, I just had to make it pass their lovely accent. Ahora, I have to make it pass the language AND the accents. Pero, es muy divertido! My goal, while in Colombia is to become semi-fluent in spanish, make new friends, eat delicioso comida, explorar like Dora, escribir un nuevo libro para ninos, reflect, relax and rejuvenate. The colors here are extremely rich and inspiring. I’m ready to paint. Maybe I’ll even take Malik, the main character from my children’s book Peers, Cheers, and Volunteers on an adventure in the next book. We’ll see. Journey with me! Follow my blog, comment and share. Hasta luego!

image.jpegPhoto: I take in such beauty on my way to class.