Los Glaciares National Park

My Top Five Wild Hikes

I just finished reading Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” a dark, raw and fiercely humorous book on how one woman finds herself during a three-month long trek through the wild Pacific Crest Trail. The book is powerful, emotional, honest and inspiring, and Strayed uses her brilliant memoir to take a hard look at self-discovery, heeling and change.

Of course when times are tough, we can’t always pick up our bags and leave town. Yet, I often find that there is no better way to escape and reflect upon life than to go on a hike, and the more remote and wild, the better. I have been fortunate to have done many wonderful adventurous hikes over the years.  Although every hike I’ve done has been special and has brought me to a new place, there are a select few that have truly inspired me and are unforgettable.

Here is a list of the top five wild hikes that are bound to get your mind thinking.

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Rooftops

This week’s photo challenge happens to be a favorite of mine: Pattern. I adore the patterns of the brilliant rusty orange-colored tiled rooftop found in homes throughout the world. Two places in particular have my favorite styles: Southern France and Antigua, Guatemala. Here is a sample of some of the dynamic patterned rooftops I’ve captured throughout my travels.

Antigua, Guatemala

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Inspiration

“It is impossible to live without failing at something – unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default”. – J.K. Rowling

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This week has been a bit hairy so I thought I’d post some of my favorite photos of mountains I’ve hiked as they always calm my soul. Photos above from France, Nepal and Guatemala. This fall, I will be adding Bolivia to my list of great hikes. 

Stay tuned…

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Being Half the Sky

“Women hold up half the sky” – Chinese proverb 

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Exactly a year ago today I was in Xela, Guatemala on a week long volunteer and spanish immersion trip when I heard the noise off in the distance. It sounded like a parade. I asked my teacher Lilian if she knew what on earth was going on and she replied with a smile, “It’s International Women’s Day!” and asked if I’d like to go see the festivities. I had never heard of International Women’s Day before yet it sounded spectacular. I packed up my school work and Lilian and me were off in a flash to the main square.

There I watched in awe and joy how a community could come together as one and celebrate the rights and beauty of women. It was so incredibly touching that I rushed home and instantly wrote a post on the experience titled “El dia de la mujer in Xela, Guatemala“. Even a year later, the memory of that day will forever be engrained in my heart. It was beautiful so heartbreaking yet also so full of hope.

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Violence against women is an enormous problem in Guatemala and sometimes women are victims of abuse and even murder. Lillian told me that this was the first time she remembered having so many men participate in International Women’s Day and was hopeful that it would lead to change.

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Lost in the details on a street in Antigua

One of my all time favorite cities in the world is Antigua, Guatemala. I could spend days walking its picturesque cobblestone streets colored in rainbow hues and loaded with history. Every building has a story to tell which can be found by looking into the details of the layers of paint and crumbled buildings sprouting with plants.

Follow me along and look carefully at the details of a street in lovely Antigua….

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Becoming a global volunteer

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” – Mother Teresa

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Two lovely Garifuna girls in Roatan, Honduras.

Four years ago, I was finally at the point in my life in which I was able to set a new goal for myself. I made the decision that I would spend one week a year abroad as a global volunteer, giving back to a host community. After years of traveling around the world, I realized how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to see places that most people will never see. Furthermore, I understood how much we truly have in the western world compared to to everyone else who are not so fortunate. Spending time in developing countries opened my eyes even more and I became even more thankful for the fact that I had a more than adequate roof over my head, plenty of food on the table, a loving family, the ability to stay at home with my children and pursue my dreams. All in all, I realized that I had a really great life and that millions of people around the world were just struggling to survive.

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The green of Guatemala

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”

-Pedro Calderon de la Barca

It is hard to visit Guatemala and not become completely entranced by her greenery. The color green can be found in every place you look- from the verdant terraced farmlands, to the lush fertile peaks of the volcanoes. After a long, cold colorless winter arriving in Green Guatemala almost hurts your eyes and reminds me of the constant rebirth and cycle of life.

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The color of Advocacy in Guatemala

A Word in Your Ear, a fantastic travel blog that I adore, started a fun travel and photography challenge called “A Word of the Day”. Basically she lets her dictionary open to a word and voila. That is the challenge. Her recent challenge is “colorful” similar to a recent photo challenge I did.

I adore colors, especially on a gray, dreary day like today. They brighten my mood and make me smile.

These photos were taken back in April in Xela, Guatemala on the International Women’s Day. The entire town was involved in a grand celebration and a huge, colorful parade honoring women and advocating for women’s rights. In a country in which domestic violence against women is a significant, unspoken problem, it was wonderful to witness so many people coming together to share their voice and fight for women’s rights.

Here are some of my favorite colorful pictures from the event.

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The texture of Guatemala

Its been five months and I still can’t stop obsessing over Guatemala. Lovely, picturesque Antigua obviously captivated my soul and has held it hostage. I can’t seem to break free from reminiscing about the past. You see, Guatemala is a land of a million colors and with color comes texture.

Texture can be found in nearly everything – from the cobblestone streets, to the peeling paint off of Antigua’s colorful buildings. Texture can even be found in the most unusual places too. In the lines and breaks along the tiled rooftops. Along the half-destroyed ruins of the churches and fountains. It is almost as if the earthquakes were intended to make Antigua truly a spectacular, textured place.

Follow me through the cobblestone streets of Antigua and see for yourself if you agree. I hope to see the lovely texture of Guatemala again soon.

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The Power of Purple during Semana Santa

For centuries, the color purple has played a significant role in the Christian religion during Holy Week surrounding Easter. The color purple along with red, black, white and gold, has an important symbolic meaning as the color of royalty and suffering. It’s significance is not a coincidence given the expense and difficulty in creating the color purple in early times. Furthermore, the color has often symbolized the suffering of Jesus Christ during the crucifixion.

I had the pleasure of witnessing the power of purple during a recent visit to Guatemala a week before Semana Santa (“Holy Week”).

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The color of Guatemala

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. – Rabindranath Tagore

There is no place on earth that has as vibrant of colors as Guatemala. From the brightly painted buildings in hues of a brilliant rainbow to the intense, magical colors of the Mayan clothing and textiles, I’ve found no place quite like Guatemala.

Here are some of my favorite photos from my trip that burst off the page with color and imagination. Since I’ve already written quite a lot about Guatemala, there will be no descriptions of these photos and it will only be a journey of colors.  Hope you enjoy!

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The Doors of Guatemala

Doors are fascinating. They are also quite mysterious for who knows what lies behind the doors of a place. They are the gatekeeper when closed. Yet when opened, they offer you a look into a whole new world of possibilities inside.

When I think of doors, there is one place in particular in which I was utterly blown away by the doors:  Guatemala. This colorful country had perhaps some of the most unusual and interesting doors I’d ever seen during my travels. For those of you who have been following my blog, you have already seen these photos. However, I decided to spruce them up a little by playing around with the colors.

Come, take a walk with me and admire some of my favorite doors I found…..

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