There was a time when I knew as much about Puerto Rico as I do about Quantum Physics. Nada. My cultural and historical references for this exotic U.S. territory were limited to lyrics from 1960s musicals (i.e. the catchy “I want to live in America” tune sung in West Side Story, that paints Puerto Rico in a somewhat disparaging light). So what to expect from this Caribbean nation of 3.6 million people, nestled between the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands? A hub for adventure activities across rainforests, oceans, canyons and caves, the country has a lot to offer the thrill-seeking tourist.
As if to welcome our tour group, a thousand wolf-like canines, chained and fierce, howled hauntingly. Pairs of multi-colored eyes (one blue, one brown) calculated our every move. It was a Stephen King novel, Arctic style. There I was in Illusiat, an isolated coastal city in the Western part of Greenland, preparing for my first dog sledding experience.
It’s a technological scavenger hunt; an activity that has Nancy Drew wannabes out in the field with their GPS, hunting for hidden treasures. Geocaching, as it is called, is a hobby similar to orienteering. It’s done by entering a set of co-ordinates into a Global Positioning System (GPS), then following directions to the carefully hidden ‘cache’ (pronounced cash). A cache is usually a canteen (left by fellow geocachers) filled with plastic trinkets and a log book. It’s a great activity to do when traveling with the family.
A month or so ago, I was invite by the Australian Tourism Board to experience the best of Australia. One of my first stops was a visit to Gwingana Lifestyle Retreat for a few days of relaxation and rejuvenation. As an on-air travel expert who’s shot a ton of travel video, I figured I could best tell the story by shooting a little something about my experience….
This luxury spa/wellness center offers a chance to jump start a healthier lifestyle and a new You. It’s no doubt one of the best spas and wellness retreats in Australia. The food served here is mostly vegan or vegetarian, with a no caffeine, no booze, no sugar and a no cellphone policy! It was a much needed digital detox for the Instagram obsessed. Unplugging from the 24-7 demands of modern technology is a growing trend that many wellness retreats around the world are adopting. Coming to Gwingana gives its guests a chance to connect with nature, learn about mindfulness, embrace gratitude and get pampered at the spa.
In the spirit of International Women’s Day, a global celebration for the achievements of women, I bring you a quirky story I stumbled upon while traveling as a solo female travel writer on assignment in Bolivia….
With their long flowing skirts, braided pigtails and bowler hats, ‘Cholitas’ are easy to identify in the streets of La Paz, Bolivia’s capital city. It’s an antiquated look — compared to the skinny jeans and low cut tops seen across the new generation – but the Cholitas have become a symbol of indigenous tradition and culture.
That’s why I was so surprised to hear about the event that happens every Sunday in the mulifunctionary arena in El Alto, just twenty minutes outside of polluted La Paz. Here, in this humble arena, you can spot the Cholitas…wrestling!!
When I think of Sydney Australia, several iconic images come to mind: the Harbor, the bridge and the iconic Opera House, perhaps a Koala or two available for a cuddle at the Zoo. While those spots are awesome, many tourists may be interested in seeing a more ‘local’ side of the city.
As a travel influencer an on air travel expert, I was invited as a guest of Tourism Australia sent over to experience the best of the country’s offerings in the Queensland, New South Wales area – aboard Air New Zealand, one of the best ways to get to Australia.
While in Sydney, I signed up for unusal day tour called “My Sydney Detour,” a private sightseeing city tour seen in the back seat of a classic 1964 Holden. I’m a big fan of kitsch and car culture, so a city tour in a vintage car seemed like a good fit.
A few months ago I was approached by Travel & Leisure Magazine to collaborate as a travel influencer on a video project. As a Travel & Leisure’s Family Travel Expert, I flew to Orlando Florida to appear on camera and gain first hand experience at Discovery Cove, a park where you can swim with bottlenose dolphins, feed tropical birds, scuba, spot otters, sharks and other marine wildlife. We shot a video about the experience…