Pura Vida! /// Pure Life!
It has been a while y'all, I know...
My three summer trips were everything I expected them to be. Lots of sun, beach, good food and good people, and while I enjoyed all of them, my first two have been majorly overshadowed by the life-changing experience that was COSTA RICA.
I certainly have been sleeping on Central America, but I’m writing this piece to help make sure y'all don’t fall into my same slumber. If you would have asked me in the past three years what my most recommended country was my answer would have definitely been Thailand.
my amazing trip to Thailand!
But, not anymore…
My short week and a half in Costa Rica was long enough to get me to switch up my perspective and to boot Thailand out the number one spot. Costa Rica should be your next trip, whether is your very first international trip, your next group trip or a solo trip! Costa Rica wasn’t a solo trip for me, but because it’s my most asked about the type of travel, we're going to looking at through a solo traveler's lens....
So here are 5 reasons why Costa Rica should be your first solo trip!
The international travel wave is booming. More are more people are deciding to embark on the unknown and explore other countries and lands. I can’t explain how much this excites me as a experienced world traveler, however I also wanted to come and remind you all to not forget this beautiful country we reside in. There are so many cool things to do and see right here in America! Brand USA, or visittheusa.com is active in their mission to bring more travelers to U.S. destinations. Check out their resources to discover new places and help plan your next domestic trip. If you need any added motivation, here are 5 reasons why I feel you shouldn’t sleep on U.S. domestic travel:
I have been getting tons of questions about Cuba lately! It is an amazing country and one of the most vibrant places I have ever traveled to. I visited in February 2017, right before our government decided to enforce more restrictions for U.S Citizens. Here are the major differences:
Can U.S Citizens Go to Cuba Independently?
Surprisingly, but not surprisingly, my trip to Las Vegas was my most asked about expedition yet! I decided to write a comprehensive travel guide to help folks who want to explore the desert of Las Vegas and surrounding areas. I have suggestions on what to expect, where to stay, what to pack and what to do. Hope this helps and happy exploring!
Brrrriiinnnng! Take a seat folks, class is now in session! Welcome to Budget Travel Basics 101. On the agenda today, we will go over 10 detailed, comprehensive techniques that I’ve used to help me travel all over the world. These strategies have not only helped me travel far, but also frequently! Traditionally, we’ve been conditioned to believe that traveling has to be luxurious…it has to be fancy… and it has to be a vacation. If you’re looking for ways to travel super lavishly on a basic budget, stop reading…because I can’t help you. If you’re interested in seeing the world, experiencing other's cultures and meeting new people, you’ve come to the right place. Unless otherwise stated, I have used all of these strategies and techniques myself. They have definitely aided in my quest to see the entire planet. So, let go of all your preconceived notions of what traveling is, have and open mind and let’s learn!
1. Throw away your bucket list
In my last blog post, How I Traveled to 11 Countries in 2017, I mentioned that one of the major reasons I was able to travel so much was the fact that I did not choose where I wanted to go. I absolutely have a “bucket list” of places that I want to see eventually, but when it comes down to where I actually travel, I go where I find cheap tickets. For example, in 2017, I hopped around 6 countries in Asia for a little under $600. Some folks pay that to get across the United States. Essentially, look for cheaper destinations first, opportunities to go to your bucket list will come later!
2. Choose places your $$$ will go further
My first BIG trip was three weeks through South East Asia. This area is well known for how affordable and cheap it is. I was able to stay in some amazing, luxury accommodations for a bargain! I stayed at the 5-star hotel, FACE SUITES for around $70 and night. I would have never been able to afford anything remotely similar in the states.
Here are a few counties that are generally less expensive to travel through:
The black travel movement definitely blossomed in 2017. We are out here seeing the world! Unfortunately, like too many other markets, black folks are dreadfully underrepresented in the travel industry. This fact, and many others, heavily fueled my desire to see the world and show people that they can do it too! In July of 2016, I decided 2017 would be my year. I had taken trips out of the country previously, but they were not far or long enough for what I wanted to eventually accomplish. It was in this moment that I decided that I could not wait any longer and I would take my dream trip to Thailand later that year. I declared 2017, My Wander Year.
Essentially, My Wander Year would be and entire year of me traveling every single one of my work breaks. I knew this was going to take more time and funds that I had in my current situation, so I packed up my apartment and moved back home in order to be able to spend and save more freely on this eccentric dream.
HOW I DID IT:
I was able to travel to 11 countries in 2017 because of THREE major reasons. I don’t want to promote the false narrative that everyone can quit their job on a whim and travel the world freely. The reality is that everyone has their own individual circumstances, and everyone's journey will be different. Here is my story...
"Once the travel bug bites, there is no known antidote!"
It seemed very appropriate to have a travel themed costume this year. I came across some cool ideas, but ultimately decided to be the bug that people don't mind catching, THE TRAVEL BUG!
"A City of Contrasts and Diversity"
Blogging takes a lot of time and energy.
Astonishing, I know. My plans to debrief and dissect every single destination that I traveled to this summer fell by the wayside once it was time to get back to real life. I have since decided to talk about my most favorite place and more importantly, try to convince you to visit as well. You're probably thinking, "if you are talking about your favorite place, why aren't you talking about Bali?" Bali was a dream destination of mine for many years, and while I did love it, Bali didn't change my life . I do remember having some sort of an epiphany on a remote island in Lombok, but in terms of expectations versus reality, Kuala Lumpur was the real MVP.
Originally, I was supposed to only have 9 days in South East Asia. I was going to spend a few days in the Philippines and hop over to either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore for a short period. I spent SO. MUCH. TIME researching which country was the, "best" and worth the effort. Ultimately, most sources simply said, visit both, but if you had to pick, Singapore wins over Kuala Lumpur. This is a great example of the need to visit countries on your own and to not always rely on the experience others. I would absolutely place Kuala Lumpur over Singapore, and here are the reasons why....
Are you tired of watching everyone else live out their #travelgoals? Are you ready to embark on your own travel journey? Paris, Brazil, Egypt, Thailand, just a few on your list, right? There is only one problem... you have no one to go with. You've tried making plans with friends and family, but there is always some excuse. Well, let me tell you, you're not totally out of luck. YOU CAN TRAVEL SOLO! Solo traveling is life! I have traveled to seven countries by myself, and thanks to these tips, I rarely feel alone or at a disadvantage when I do.
1. Be open and friendly.
People are more likely to spark up a conversation with you if you are alone. I have had groups invite me to spend the day with them, all because they loved my energy and I was open to the idea of hanging with "strangers". Remember to stay safe and use your best judgement when feeling folks out. If things seem okay, relax and have fun! I have created some genuine friendships through meeting folks abroad!
Years ago, I created a bucket list for my life. It included travel, career, service and personal goals. While browsing the ever inspiring RachelTravels.com and Pinterest, of course, I realized I need to make one JUST for travel. I am sure this list will grow and expand as a learn more, but here is what I have so far...
I have always wanted to travel and after years of aspiring, I am finally able to see the world! Join me as I explore, learn, discover and most importantly, LIVE!