Puerto Rico - Post Maria





Touching down into Puerto Rico I was baffled by the sites from my window. The sections of trees looked like wet grass imprinted with a giant's footsteps and the blue tarps covering where roofs once were looked similar to pools littering American backyards.

However, the rest of San Juan seemed months ahead of this destruction. San Juan is more than ready for you to visit and the tourism revenue will help repair the rest of the island.

Thinking about visiting or want to know what’s really going on? Here’s what you need to know.
(As of 12/30-1/2)
The Good:
-          We had hot water, electricity and Air Conditioning at all times and more importantly plenty of Pina Coladas and Cerveza.
-          The beaches and water are both beautiful and clean.
-          Old San Juan is such a vibrant city with incredible history and Maria seems to have only made it more enjoyable
-          The food – OH MY GOODNESS – the food.

The Not So Good:
-          All stop lights were out – this didn’t bother us at all since we Ubered the whole time and the.
-          The rainforest was open, but from what I heard the main views and attractions remained closed so we skipped this.
-          One beach we tried to go to remained closed, but our Uber driver wasn’t even sure if it was because of the Hurricane.
-          Looking at some of the high-rise building on the beach you can see boarded up windows, broken air conditions, but most seem to have been repaired.
-          One girl I spoke to at the airport said her family had just received electricity after 3 MONTHS without it!

Now that I’ve convinced you, here is what you need to do.
Stay: The Dreamcatcher
I’m a hostel girl, but my mother was not so happy about this trip and forced me to stay at a real hotel and I’m happy she did. The Dreamcatcher was by far my favorite place I’ve stayed anywhere in the world. It is a guest house so I had a shared bathroom, but there are also rooms with ensuites. The location was perfect – steps away from the beach and a very short drive to Old San Juan.


              -Yoga everyday at 6pm at the hotel and 9am on the beach

              -Outdoor showers, AMAZING (I only used these and it was                 really sad to go back to my NYC apartment that for some                   reason only has an indoor shower.)

              -Hammocks, lounge chairs everywhere

              -Incense, fountains and other GOOD VIBE inducing décor.

              -Everyone who worked there were so friendly and helpful

Pinky’s in Ocean Park - get the Mallorca Sandwich & top notch coffee
Jose Enrique in Santurce - It has a Michelin Star and deserves 10 more

              On the beach, duh. They have alcoholic capri suns… 
              Barrachina (Old San Juan) – home of the first Pina Colada
              La Taberna Lupulo (Old San Juan) – 50 beers on tap
              La Placita (Santurce) – enjoy drinks & dancing outdoors

But wait there’s more! Check out the gallery and let the pictures do the talking! 


thank you, chicago

It has officially been a month since I moved to NYC and I have officially had enough Jameson to talk about the last few weeks.

It started out great - the excitement of a new city, a new desk and a new monotony not yet established. The first weekend I left the city to do my absolute favorite things - listen to live music, day drink and make friends. Then I drove back to the city with one of those said new friends. After dropping him off at the airport it felt like I woke up from a blackout. 

Where am I? How did I get here? What do I do next. 

Short answer to that last question: cry in your rental car until you figure life out hour by hour. That day and the following few weeks following, small inconveniences turned into crises. It was so easy to convince myself that I made the wrong decision moving here and that I would never find an apartment and would go bankrupt due to my airbnb bills - for example.

The truth is - I have always felt a sense of security in Chicago. Don't get me wrong. Bad things have happened and life has been uncertain, but at the end of the day I knew I could make a phone call or two and feel the warmth of my built in security blankets of my family and friends. Geographically removing myself from that network has changed how I feel, but it hasn't changed reality. I know that I can make a few calls and will feel better in a few minutes. And in truly bad situations I have plenty of people that have the time, money and resources to fly the quick 700 miles to NYC and words can't communicate my gratitude for that, but it is an adjustment. 

In Chicago I lived without a care in the world. I felt truly invincible. I had very few fears and all were not backed by any logic - *thanks anxiety*. That was such a big part of who I am, but I am only now just realizing that my support system made me into that person. How do I continue to act as if my entire life is within a 30 minute drive? I guess that was really why I came out here. I wanted to become independent. I just didn't know how much of what made me, "me" should be attributed to those surrounding me. I took all the credit. As if my own choices and actions led me to this life of leisure and adventure. 

What I want to say, now that I've figured that out, is thank you to my Chicago friends and family for giving me the freedom and security to take risks. Now it is time to find security in my self that allows me to continue to take risks that lead to memories. 

Cheers to these new memories yet to be made, but are planned for me!






A Fresh Start

Today I used my one way ticket to move from my only home to New York City. People may think I'm not afraid of anything since I am always jumping out of airplanes or off of bridges, but the truth is I have a lot of fear. I just enjoy - am addicted - to that feeling when you are standing at the ledge and your mind and body are telling you to turn around, but instead you take the leap. Moving to NYC is the biggest leap I've taken, but it wouldn't be an instant relief like a bungee jump. I moved here without a place to live and a lot of turmoil at my current company so I know the next few weeks or months will be tough. However, I have this crazy exciting new adventure in front of me and that is what I am going to focus on. 

"Travel is not some panaceas. The baggage you have comes with you on the road. There is no place far enough away to escape your problems. But what travel does is give you the space to be someone else and improve your life. It allows you to say "What would the new me do?" and the do it - without worrying that someone you know might notice. It puts you into situations that force you to better yourself. It won't instantly solve your problems - only you can do that - but at least, on the road, you have a clean slate to try." - Nomadic Matt

NYC is my clean slate to try. And here are the things I am hoping to try. 

- find humor in every situation
- embrace change, uncertainty, and the mundane
- be the same person whether I'm talking to my grandfather, my boss, my oldest friend, a hottie at the bar, a stranger I meet while traveling, a homeless person on the corner, and everyone in between
- feel proud of my choices and actions
- love without fear or any expectation of love in return
- lose the burden of the pursuit of material possessions
- do things intentionally and deliberately to add value to those around me and myself
- use discipline in my physical and mental well-being
- make the most of being in one of the greatest cities on Earth!


Link to Nomadic Matt's post: https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/travel-personal-development/