Why you should meet strangers on the Internet

The digital world can never replace in person interaction, connection and experiences. Life behind a computer screen can cause a lot of issues including comparison, unworthiness, and a feeling of “connection” but ultimately isolation. Then why would I tell you to talk to strangers on the Internet? Because in the past year and a half I have stumbled upon a few interweb connections that have changed my life and I want you to at least give it a shot. Here’s why:

You just moved to a new city- When you move to a new city, especially on your own (without a job or a place to live, wait is that just me?) your main concern should be finding a job and a place to live. If you are moving/ traveling abroad this might land you in a hostel where you could meet awesome people, (I met the love of my life) but you also meet a lot of people who are sleeping until 2 pm, partying all night, and complaining they can’t find a job. Let’s just say not the ideal crowd. If you stick to those friends you meet at the bar, you might not have the most motivated, positive, uplifting group surrounding you. CHOOSE your tribe wisely, don’t stumble into them.


You can find out about events that peak your interest– Last year I found out about an awesome festival called Rad Livin on Instagram. It was full of inspiring stories from young creatives, live music, pizza, donuts and rad people. Their Instagram account followed me so I checked it out and it sounded like it was made for me. I couldn’t get any of my friends to join so I went alone and I made such cool friends and connections. Still time to go this year if it sounds like something you would like, just click this. I also attended many events in Sydney thanks to social media including Nike Training Tour, World Yoga Day Festival and Taste of Sydney. Cool events usually equal cool people and experiences are always worth the ticket price!

Continue reading

But you’re always happy..


There is something that happens when you begin to share your journey on a large scale with an audience whether it be through a blog, social media, Youtube, or any other online platforms. When we open up and become vulnerable with our past hardships and struggles and how we overcame them, we have a chance to sugar coat the story with hindsight, distance and almost a narrator’s perspective. Even when we share the pain, it tends to sound beautiful and meaningful.  Part of being a powerful voice and sharing your life to inspire others is the fine line of how to be open with present struggles and difficult times in your life without encroaching on your own clarity, experience or privacy.

Social media, for even the most vulnerable and open people, is meant to be a highlight reel. We get to choose what we share and what we don’t. “But you’re always happy.” False. I show you my optimistic positive self because that is who I aim to be but that does not mean I’m happy 24/7. It is extremely unattractive for people to complain and vent negatively on their social media. It is sad to see people’s private lives and matters thrown all over media outlets or Facebook and Instagram. Luckily, with the gift of creativity and inspiration, we slowly learn what pulls on our heart to share and what we know is too fragile or too personal.

I try to be an open book. It’s how I am in person and basically the only way I know how to be. I can’t lie- I feel as if I have been cheating on my writing. Ever since I have started using Facebook Live consistently to speak about topics weighing on my mind and answering questions from clients, friends or my social media circle- I’ve found it hard to write my weekly headspace. No matter who you are, how inspired you feel, how many podcasts and self-help books you are reading- we all run out of material. I read a great blog post from a friend of mine reminding me of this right when I needed to hear it. So, I feel compelled to write this.

Continue reading

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly: First Backpacking Extravaganza

I’m back! I promised I would return to the digital world after my backpacking adventure but had little idea of what that trip had in store for me. I also underestimated how draining it is to travel consistently for 3 weeks! I am still recovering! In some ways, I wish I could have kept up with the blog along the way but I think it is extremely important to actually experience and live in the moment while traveling as opposed to trying to document every single second. It is a more authentic style of traveling. I took notes as I went with hopes of remembering funny memories, interesting people and conversations and defining moments of the journey. I took tons of photos, but I can’t count the number of times we said “Pictures just don’t do this place justice.” The pictures pale in comparison to feeling the breeze on the long tail boat, the visions of crystal clear waters all around, or the magnitude of sensations and stimulation you feel walking through a crowded temple or a popular night market. I also think about all of the people I met along the way, their stories, and all the stories in the heads and hearts of people who will never write them down.
In hindsight, I now have a different philosophy about my trip and my blog and dare I say, life, in general. The most amazing part about traveling is the sensation of vulnerability, you never know what to expect next, whether it be good or bad, you can only control so much. There was both good and bad experiences on this backpacking trip, but each and every moment and memory is apart of me forever. I want to share my experiences, my photographs and my musings of what they taught me, but I have to admit I have started to feel possessive of my experiences. I feel as though I am transforming from an American 20 something, teacher from New York into a traveler. A traveler with an interesting story, background, a loving family and friends, a bucket list and most importantly dreams of what’s to come. Being a traveler, it’s like a club that you aren’t invited to. You become a part of it and it becomes a part of you. The best part of every single city, island, hostel, resort, bar, restaurant, temple, airport, bus station or street corner we visited was the fellow travelers I met along the way. There is an inexplicable fire in their eyes when they talk about where they’ve been and where they’re going. There is a desire to move, to see, to experience; that truly is like an infection that spreads. You can recognize it in someone else and you form a friendship, an unspoken bond and respect for the good left in the world and the individuals who choose to experience it.
Travelers do not simply exist, travelers are never satisfied with staying in the same place, but always appreciative of their surroundings. Travelers do not listen to what other people have to say about why they shouldn’t visit a certain country, its “too dangerous” or “too poor”. Of course we must all utilize caution while traveling, but if you too scared to step outside of the familiar, you might as well stay home. On my three week backpacking adventure I saw more than I can possibly condense into one blog post. I figured I would give you a list of places we visited and a few highlights of each location (both good, bad and ugly) because anyone who has traveled knows that it is not all as glamorous as pictures make it look. The bad and ugly are usually quite trivial things, but at the time, they are roadblocks or moments of true vulnerability. Once you learn to embrace all aspects of traveling, it frees you to enjoy the perks and discover the beauty in the hardships.

1. Chiang Mai
The good: 1. Sammy’s Organic Cooking School-learning how to cook all of my favorite Thai dishes from a lovely Thai couple using all fresh ingredients from their farm
2. New Years Eve at the Tae Pae gate with people, lanterns, and fireworks covering every square inch of the roads
3. Meeting a monk name Aye at a temple I haphazardly stumbled upon and hearing his take on life, Buddhism and happiness (One of those “life changing” moments that happened right before my eyes)
The bad: Getting lost with Jackie the first day with no idea what street our hostel was on or how to get there (No one else knew either) Made the best of it by shopping til we dropped & finding a sacared Mexican restaurant we visited 5 times in 7 days
The ugly: 12 hour bus ride to Bangkok (a bus that we searched the whole station 4 times over for) and lots of waiting in the airport (Jackie fell asleep across 4 chairs in the “Muslim Only” section LOL)





2. Ko Phi Phi:
The good: 1. Boat cruise around the island, visit to Maya Bay (where The Beach was filmed) & breathtaking private coves & beaches
2. Beach parties- Fire shows, mojitos, hookah, and LOTS of dancing with my girlfriends
3. Our splurge bungalow – the last night we decided to treat ourselves to a beautiful room after suffering in a new hostel every night. Well worth it!
The bad: Arriving at our hostel and immediately having to cancel our reservation due to the horrid conditions. Changing rooms EVERY single night of our 4 days on the island, Jackie loosing her phone (which was returned thank god) Shitty manicures & pedicures that chipped the NEXT day, already acquired two additional bags(not including huge backpack) we deem ourselves “The Worst Backpackers Ever”
The ugly: Throwing up the whole ferry ride to Ko Lanta(not due to being sea sick) having a Thai worker rub my back






IMG_8640 IMG_8657
4. Ko Lanta
The good: 1. Chill out House- Coolest hostel EVER- 3 story tree house run by a woman from California, bar. Restaurant, authentic bamboo tattoo shop within the hostel, So many genuinely interesting and friendly travelers
2. Snorkeling& trip to the Emerald Cave- awesome boat cruise to the Emerald Cave, had to swim through a dark cave and wind up in a totally enclosed beach within the island
3. Meeting up with my childhood friend- Sarah Jane, so great to see a friend who happened to be teaching yoga on the same island
The bad: Sickness for a majority of our traveling crew (4 out of 6) food poisoning, sinus infections, etc. , Boat cruise boat breaking down and having to be taxied in to shore by two other long tail boats
The ugly: Hangover of DEATH the first day in 95 degree weather in the outdoor tree house hostel… Barely saw the island the first day


IMG_8731 IMG_8688IMG_8735

5. Tonsai Beach, Krabi

The good: 1. Looked like Jurassic Park, a less crowded, super chill beach, my favorite spot of the trip (I think) Right next door to the popular West Railay beach ( If you are reading this KEEP IT QUIET, it would be a shame to see it turn into a tourist trap)
2. Kayaking around Krabi- great day! Watched rock climbers, visited caves & a few different beaches with the pack
3. Chill Out beach bar- our home base for the entire time on the island, amazing view, cool vibe, best bartenders (two goofy Thai men in their early 20’s) fire shows, good food & drinks
4. REAL COFFEE & Fabulous veggie burgers! (Two luxuries I totally miss from America)
The bad: Beach water was about two inches at low tide and couldn’t swim, at this point our backpacks were overflowing and we couldn’t find any of our belongings, sand covering every inch of us, our clothes, our room
The ugly: Electricity only worked from 6 p.m until 6 a.m and there was only one outlet in the room (three girls, one fan, no time or ability to charge our cell phones/ woke up feeling like we were in a sauna/disconnected from the world )








IMG_8851 IMG_8860
6. Ko Pha-Ngan
The good: 1. Hacienda Resort- great pool & swim up bar overlooking the ocean, fun atmosphere, and tasty restaurant two steps from our Bungalow, barely ventured off the resort the first few days
2. Jungle Party & Full Moon Party- once a lifetime experience of pure chaos on the beach, some of the weirdest and wildest parties I have ever been to
3. Amsterdam Bar- amazing spot with a very relaxed atmosphere and great view of the Gulf, great sunset with great new friends, lots of laughs
The bad: Ants everywhere in our bungalow (bathroom, bed, every place you can imagine), everything was overpriced since it was so touristy
The ugly: Lost our room key, lost/broken cellphones (not me, Thank goodness) missed our ferry, started to feel “ready to go home” & very drained





IMG_8982 IMG_8993

I hate to condense the richness of the journey in a simple list especially since I have developed a new feeling of animosity toward this popular blogging format that is infiltrating social media. A few of you will probably read that and laugh because I have bitched to you about it. Guilty as charged. I simply could go on talking about it forever and I want to give my followers, friends and family at least a taste of the experience. If anyone is interested in hearing more or visiting one of these places in Thailand, please let me know! I am happy to make suggestions and help you! The greatest part of the trip was how close I grew to my friends I was traveling with, the amazing people we met and how my outlook on the world changed. Usually, it is hard to pin point defining moments of life, especially if you take away arbitrary “life changing moments” like graduation from high school and college. Of course those moments changed my path and started new chapters, but I love traveling because you feel yourself changing in each passing moment. You absorb your surroundings and you float in and out of conversations with people from all different walks of life, whether it is a monk you meet a temple of a friendly English girl you meet in your tree house hostel. You proactively grow, change and appreciate the world around you. It is inspiring and addicting. It is fulfilling and surprising. It is uncertain and extremely intimidating at times, but then again, so is life. “ We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”. Now, back to teaching and planning for the next trip (Thailand’s Summer Vacation), which is quickly approaching in March and April! Here we go again! Stay tuned! Cheers!

Aim to Travel, not to Tour

IMG_6590 IMG_6462 IMG_6441 IMG_6671 IMG_6666 IMG_6657 IMG_6653 IMG_6605 IMG_6611 IMG_6638 IMG_6434 IMG_6438 IMG_6491 IMG_6535 IMG_6566 IMG_6400“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” ― Lao Tzu

The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” ― G.K. Chesterton

“Real travel is not about the highlights with which you dazzle your friends once you’re home.It’s about the loneliness, the solitude, the evenings spent by yourself, pining to be somewhere else. Those are the moments of true value. You feel half proud of them and half ashamed and you hold them to your heart.”― Tahir Shah

“Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.” ― Andrew Zimmern

                I couldn’t write because I was traveling all weekend. What do you expect from a traveler’s blog! I have to live the moments before I can share them!  A few drinks at Chaba turned into two bottles of whiskey on Friday night. Two bottles of whiskey definitely makes you feel happy, sad, funny, and weird. I woke up to a LOUD pounding on my door! I slept through my alarm and it was 3:40 am. Jackie was banging on my door. I threw random shit in my suitcase and went downstairs to the lobby. We were invited on a trip with a local Thai teacher, K from our school by our Australian couple friends, the kind of friends who have taken us under their wing since day one. ( I will use initials for privacy purposes) Unfortunately, A’s grandfather died and they had to go back to Australia and we were still signed up to go on this trip. I had never even met this woman before but Jackie and I decided we should still go! Mai Pen Rai!

Needless to say, we were extremely hung over and slept the entire five hour car ride to the town of Surin, known as the city of elephants. We got to experience this first hand because our first stop was an elephant show at the annual Elephant Festival. Not only did it not feel like real life because of the hangover/ side effects from the whiskey extravaganza, it also was like something out of a movie. There were hundreds of elephants all around of all shapes and sizes. We were late for the show but as soon as we got into our seats I knew it was going to be a treat. The elephants performed tricks and acted out scenes from ancient Thai history such as battles and ritual ceremonies. There were traditional Thai dancers and crazy men who jumped from elephant to elephant while a huge herd was moving. The announcer asked for volunteers and Jackie and I instinctively sprinted onto the field. We got to play tug of war with the elephants. It was hilarious and comical as we sprinted across the large stadiums field. In my drunken stupor, I forgot to pack one essential thing that a woman should bring everywhere… a bra. I am sure the Thai people were watching more than just the elephant show as we ran onto the field. I was so impressed by the amount of Thai people in attendance and it seemed like something that both foreigners and locals could enjoy. After about four hours of the elephant show we were hungry, sweaty, and tired.

We knew that we would be staying at our Thai teacher’s sisters house. When we arrived we were amazed by the size and beauty of the home! It was so authentic looking and there was a huge table outside with a feast prepared! We sat down with the whole family and began to eat. I felt extremely guilty. I could only say hello, my name, thank you, delicious, and I’m full. These people so graciously welcomed us into their home and it is embarrassing to not be able to communicate with them. They understand that we just got here, and the language is difficult to pick up but still, it is hard to accept that you can’t communicate with people who are being so kind and generous. Luckily, K’s daughter and friend came along for the trip and they both spoke good English and helped translate for us all weekend! We would have been lost without them. After a much needed slumber, we awoke and got ready for round two of the Elephant festival. We went on our second elephant ride in Thailand but this time it wasn’t on a camp, it was on the actual streets of the town with cars, motorbikes and bicycles whizzing by. It is comical to see how normal it is to everyone around us.

Then we were in for a surprise… K told us that we were going to a dinner party with about 40 of her friends. Wow! That’s a lot of friends! About five minutes after arriving at the restaurant we realize this wasn’t just a dinner, but it was a 20th high school reunion with K and all her classmates. Not only were we out of place because we were Americans but also we were the youngest people there by about 30 years. We awkwardly feasted and drank as they went around the room and introduced themselves. And then began the karaoke…. Thai people LOVE karaoke…. And they sang for hours. They got us up and dancing a few times but we were absolutely exhausted from the night before, the trip and the food coma. We were so happy to be welcomed into their culture and their celebration but we could not fight our heavy eyelids.

The next morning we awoke to about 10 people staying at the house. We couldn’t tell who lived there, who was visiting or how anyone was related. Seriously, every day is a lesson in going with the flow. K asked us if we wanted to go to Cambodia for the day… We explained to her that we didn’t have a reentry permit on this visa and that idea quickly fizzled. Her sister prepared another FEAST for breakfast. This food coma trend continued all weekend. We packed up and said our goodbyes.

On the road again…to Phanom Rung Historical Park in the nearby Chaloem Phra Kiat district. In this park we visited Prasat Phanom Rung, the Hindu religious sanctuary constructed on an extinct volcano between 11th-12th century AD. The steps were so steep, but each view was more spectacular than the next. The castle like structure was all made out of stone and the carvings were so intricate and interesting you could spend hours just staring at it. We were grateful because this seemed like a place that we would never go if a local didn’t take us. We patted ourselves on the back for truly being “travelers” instead of tourists.

We wanted to making home in time to celebrate the famous Thai festival, Loi Krathong! This festival is designed for the people to say sorry to the spirit of the river for polluting it and using it for everything from washing to cooking. The Thai people send off flower arrangements with candles and often bread on the river to pay their respects. Not only do they release these offerings but also it is traditional to release wish lanterns into the night sky. We arrived back in Suphanburi around 7 pm and rushed to make it to the river to join in the festivities. In some areas of Thailand it is much more organized, but here people begin celebrating as soon as the night falls and continue all night. Despite how beautiful it looks… our experience with Loi Krathong wasn’t exactly the magic we expected. We had trouble finding the river and couldn’t seem to find anyone who knew the English word… When we finally got there we bought our lanterns but we didn’t have a lighter… We patiently waited watching the locals send their lanterns off. Jackie and I each bought a lantern so we could light them one at a time and snap some shots of us sending them. Unfortunately, we both got assistance from locals at the same time and didn’t know how to explain we wanted to wait. Next thing I know I look over and Jackie’s lantern is completely engulfed in flames and she is panicking. I screamed to her, “THROW IT IN THE RIVER!” She nearly burned a small child and we were both stunned. I still was trying to light mine and with lots of help I thought that we could have one success story. When we finally let it go, the lantern started careening downward towards to river and landed right in the water. It tipped over quickly so it had no chance of rising again. These are supposed to represent your wishes for love and life and luck… clearly we are amateurs. I am glad I am not superstitious or I would have been very disappointed. Mai Pen Rai.

So, when all else fails… get in a tuk-tuk and go to Chaba (our local café that both has amazing food, live music, and a fun atmosphere). Nothing some quality time with your friend, som tom (spicy papaya salad) and some Singha (beer) can’t fix. Being a traveler is not always easy and glamorous. Being a traveler is definitely not for those with OCD. Being a traveler is about the experience, living in the moment and taking everything with a grain of salt. Mai Pen Rai. In the end, I will look back and know that the juice was worth the squeeze.

Whiskey, White girls and Waterfalls

IMG_6052 IMG_6101

IMG_6006 IMG_6146 IMG_5990 IMG_6099 IMG_6092 IMG_5974 IMG_5963 IMG_6059 IMG_6055 IMG_5960

This weekend was one for the books! It began with a ridiculous series of events that is too funny not to share. If you are following my blog and you don’t know me, you’ll realize quickly I LOVE TO TALK. I try to be concise.. but there is just SO much to SAY! (LOL bringing you back to Miami/all of college friends?). The group of American teachers at our school (five of us) planned a weekend trip to the neighboring town Kanchanburi to visit the famous Erawan National Park to go hiking and swimming in the 7-tier waterfall. Three of the girls knew each other from home and also had other American friends who went through our same program. When it was all said and done we rounded up TEN American girls to go on this trip. Ten young attractive American girls are gawked at in the US…just imagine how ridiculous we look parading around Thailand together.

We planned to leave Friday after school and take the bus to Kanchanburi. We were told those buses run every hour or half hour and our research foolishly stopped there. Everything is so relaxed and “fly by the seat of your pants” here, it is often more stressful to try to make stringent plans then it is to just go with the flow. We met in the lobby of our apartment building and headed out for the bus station. One Tuk-tuk was outside so we spilt up and told the girls we would meet them at the bus station. Little did we know, a student from the English Program would come to our rescue! She saw us floundering trying to remember the words for “bus station” and communicate in broken Thai to the tuk-tuk driver. She offered the remaining girls a ride from her grandmother. This is where the confusion set in… We got a call from the other girls on the tuk-tuk telling us they just chased down the FINAL bus to Kanchanburi that already departed from the bus stop. Apparently chasing down buses is acceptable here… Only in Thailand…. They tried to make the bus wait but couldn’t communicate with the driver. We gave up and decided to go back to our apartment and figure it out… But our friendly Thai student would not give up that easily. She did everything in her power and found us a personal shuttle that her family member drove us to Kanchanburi in (about an 1:30 minutes away). She even came along with us for the ride and gave us Thai lessons on the way. As my friend said, “I’m just overcome by the beer and the kindness”. Thai culture is the closest thing to altruism I have ever seen. They are so kind, not because they have to be, because that is simply how they are. We arrived safely in Kanchanburi and headed to our hotel, which actually was a floating raft house on the river. SO COOL! Then we saw the cockroach party in the bathroom…and decided we would book the regular hotel rooms from now on…

We explored the town, ate, drank, smoked some Hookah, then realized that all the bars were closed and went home. The head Monk in Thailand died last week and the country will be in a “state of mourning” for the next 15 days. We were asked to wear black and white to school and bars close their doors extremely early out of respect. It is refreshing to see how much loyalty and honor their society has for the people in power. The next morning we got an early start and headed to Erawan National Park. After a long and bumpy bus ride, we began hiking up the huge mountain. The Erawan Waterfall is impossible to describe in words. It is seven separate specular, unique waterfalls. There is a trial that leads up the mountain and you can stop and swim in whichever falls you would like. It was like jumping face first into “The Jungle Book”. We were determined to make it to the top and make it back down in time for the last bus. This was a difficult task with 10 American girls, stopping for photo ops or snacks, swimming and watching the fierce monkeys swing in the trees. I honestly can say it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Well worth the trip.

Once we made it back to the center city we went out for a night of eating, celebrating, chatting, TEQULIA, whisky and hookah. I ordered one of the best meals I have had in Thailand and savored every bite since it was 230 Baht (typical meal is around 100 BAHT). I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon a mini American white girl army to make me feel at home and accompany me on my adventures. My friend Christine and I stayed at the local bar chatting, arm wrestling, smoking hookah until the sky started turning light again. The owner of the bar, a young Thai woman cooked the late night crew a huge pot of spicy noodles and we fought over them like the street dogs. We met friends from Thailand, England, Spain, and the West coast of the US. We all had music in common, a love for traveling and SANOOK (fun). Once you start traveling, you realize the cliché saying being “bit by the travel bug” is extremely factual. Adventure is contagious. Kindness is contagious. The world is so big and there is so much to see.  The journey home to Suphanburi the next day was long and hot but the memories were well worth it. The fact that Suphanburi already feels like “home” after a weekend trip reminds me how quickly human beings can adjust and grow. The adventure continues…. XOXO