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4 hours in Cusco

Spent a couple hours walking around Cusco today before work and I had so much fun checking out the sights!

Walked around the Plaza de Armas and got some sun. This stray dog kept following us around, so we allowed him to be in my photo.


Took a tour of the  Museo de Inka.



It was such a beautiful museum filled with ancient artifacts dating over 800 years ago. This city is so rich in culture!



My roommate and I got dressed up in traditional Peruvian clothing in Asunta’s shop. Check her out for all the best deals and she even gives you free gifts!


Ate some delicious empanadas at La Valeriana which looks out over the beautiful church.


The church doors here are all very big!


Took a walk back to our homestay which is in the beautiful Wanchaq!


Finally, got a great jugo at the store near our house. Gotta relax a bit before we see the kids!


This is the view I’m looking at while I enjoy my jugo. It’s pretty incredible!

Stay tuned for more!

My Volunteer Experience

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I spent the beginning of 2014 venturing around Thailand with the Justifi organization. Justifi: Jewish Social Justice is a social acitivism group which brings Jewish adults together to help make a difference in the world. They work in Thailand, South Africa, Peru, and Nicaragua improving the lives of those most needed. Their trips are usually ten days long and really introduce you to other cultures and customs. In Bangkok, we learned about sex trafficking and efforts to end the slavery of men and women in Southeast Asia. In Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, we worked with children and spent time building classrooms at the Tom Karen Center.

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I had the most incredible ten days venturing around the beautiful county of Thailand. I extended my trip for five extra days in Phuket getting some much needed relaxation.

Visit http://www.justifi.org/ to learn more about their trips.

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It is with great sadness that I share the passing of Tom Karen, December 2015. Tom was battling a short, but aggressive cancer and is now at peace and free of pain. Tom was a very special person and graced us on this Earth to help educate Thai children and give them hope for a better future. I am so thankful to have shared wonderful memories with him.


 

My favorite trip around the world so far was my time in Cape Town, South Africa. I volunteered with the SAVE organization and worked Monday through Friday at a school in a local township.  That trip changed my life and helped me realize my love for kids and travel.

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I stayed at a volunteer house in the town of Blouberg, just outside of Cape Town and really felt like I was a part of the local community. The children were wonderful and the staff was just the best to work with. I spent my free weekends exploring the country, I hiked Table Mountain, went paintballing, and even did a two-day safari where I walked with wild elephants. Best trip ever, most rewarding experiences.

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My week days were spent in classrooms doing activities and playing with the students. They were anywhere from infancy to 6 or 7 years of age. We also spent time helping build and develop the school, as the township had been relocated less than a month before my arrival. We started every day with the “Good Morning Song” and it was always so sad to say good bye at the end of the day. I left every day exhausted, but so satisfied that I was impacting their lives and inspiring them to learn. One of my favorite memories was handing out feminine care products to the women in the township and donated sweaters to the children.

To read more about the SAVE Volunteer organization, please visit http://www.volunteering.org.za/

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My next venture starts in 48 hours! I get to work with a new organization and head to a new continent!

I will spend two weeks volunteering with International Volunteer HQ at the Maximo Nivel school in Cusco, Peru. I’ve never been to South America, but I’m so excited to learn about a different culture and embrace their customs.

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I will be working in their childcare division and will spend Monday through Friday working with kids and inspiring them. Stay tuned to hear more!

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Visit https://www.volunteerhq.org/ to learn more about their amazing AFFORDABLE trips all over the world.

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“In this life we cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

-Mother Theresa

Next Adventure: Cusco, Peru!

Thrilled to be heading to South America as my 4th continent in 2 years! Next week, I’ll be working with International Volunteer HQ for a few weeks in childcare work where I will get to inspire young children in a small village outside of Cusco.

My weekends will be free and I’ll get to take an overnight excursion to Machu Picchu and hike the famous Inca Trail.

I’m so thrilled to be seeing a new culture and work with the kids, follow my adventures!

Why I Choose Travel Over Tinder

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This morning, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I noticed how many of my friends seemed so happy in their relationships.  Some adopted a dog together, another engaged or simply enjoying a meal together. Ugh. That loneliness sinks in, the feeling that something must be wrong with me if I’m still single after all this time.

Then I realized: I just returned from an epic adventure in Iceland. Why should I discredit the amazing time I had?  Would I have had the same experiences had I traveled with a boyfriend? Would I have even traveled at all? I find myself questioning which is more important: travel or love?

I’ve been completely independent for nearly 4 years and that’s a long time without a Valentine, someone to kiss under the misletoe, or even having someone to just talk about our day together. It’s sad, right?

Wrong. 

In less than two years, I’ve been to three unique countries.  I went back to school.  I worked at some pretty great jobs. Hell, I even had drinks with celebrities on more than one occasion. What do I have to complain about? I’m seeing the world and creating some incredible memories. Sure, it’s lonely, but shouldn’t I be focused more on my own happiness, rather than someone elses? I’m in my mid-twenties and having the time of my life! Now is the time to be a little selfish and travel the world.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on the notion of love. Hellllll no! I’d love to find someone who can make me laugh and do crazy things with, but I’m not making that my main priority. I’m focused on me right now and if someone should come along and contribute to my happiness, I’m sure I’ll be over the moon, but for now, I’m happy with my passport being my significant other.

So, maybe my special someone is out there; he could be sipping an espresso in Paris or backpacking through Nepal; maybe he’s just sitting at home doing absolutely nothing. If we meet, great, but if not…then I’m fine traveling the world on my own.  At the end of the day, life is better lived to the fullest.

To the guy who never texted me back: Thank you. You showed me that life is not worth waiting for your response, life is about living in the moment and doing the most of my time on this Earth.

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If you had to choose between love and travel, where would you go?

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Glacier Hike: Day 2

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I figured when in Iceland, climb a glacier. Sounds crazy, no? It turned out to be one of the most thrilling and exciting days I’ve had in my life. I never thought of myself as outdoorsy or very active, but I had so much fun hiking Sólheimajökull glacier. I booked the tour through Reykjavik Excursions and decided to “Take a Walk on the Ice Side.”

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We left Reykjavik around 9 in the morning; a cold, wet, rainy day.  About two hours later driving south-east, we arrived at the beautiful landscape.

We were fitted with crampons, which is basically several toe picks to help grip the ice, an ice axe, and a harness…just in case someone decides to fall in to a crevasse. The crampons were really difficult to strap on, but I’m so thankful we were required to use them. The ice was slippery at times, and it was necessary to really stamp your feet on the ice. Safety first!

 

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It’s not an air guitar, it’s an ice guitar.

Our guide was the rugged, handsome, Kári (Cow-ree), who was about my age, was well versed in all things mountain.  He’s an active glacier/mountain guide on the weekends and spends the rest of his week studying mechanical engineering–cool! He informed us about the glacier and how each year they lose several meters due to global warming. It exists, people; I witnessed it first hand! He pointed off in to the horizon, and showed us where the glacier used to reach nearly five years ago. Now, it was just a small pond of water and dirt, how sad.  We walked for nearly two hours on the glacier, diving in to crevasses and taking pictures next to cool eroded ice sculptures.  The wind was strong, but it was surprisingly warm–I was only wearing two jackets and two layers of pants.

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After about two hours or so, we made our way back down the glacier. I noticed how many more tours were starting their tours, so I was very thankful to pick an early hike. It’s a pretty big glacier, but there were times it felt like we were the only ones on the mountain–I loved that!  We took off our gear, said our goodbyes and made a bee-line for the cafe and bathrooms. I grabbed a slice of Icelandic pizza and a much needed espresso before heading back to thebus.

The bus drove us about 45 back on the “1” towards two very famous waterfalls, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Anyone who successfully pronouces these names is a winner in my book.  I was pretty exhausted from the hike, so the waterfalls weren’t really all that exciting compared to walking on a glacier, but it’s quite majestic standing infront of–or behind, a huge waterfall; I felt so small.

The coolest part about the waterfalls was how close you were able to get to them. I walked behind Seljalandsfoss, which was pretty scary. There were about two “DANGER” signs, but for the most part, everyone was taking the trek. The rocks were very, very slippery so I made sure not to die… I’m surprised by how little safety procausions are in rural Iceland. I loved that we were able to get so close and experience the beauty from all sides.

The drive back to Reykjavik was a blurr, I was asleep for most of it. The landscapes on the drive were beautiful, but it was a pretty silent bus the whole way back.

When we got in to town, I made sure that lunch was my priority. We walked in to the first place we saw called Fish. The menu was simple, fish soup, fish stew or just a basic fish plate. There wasn’t many options, but I was so hungry, I didn’t even care. I decided to be adventurous and try the fish soup. LORD HAVE MERCY, it was the best thing I’d ever tasted. I’m not sure if it was due to the fact that my stomach was rumbling or the soup itself, but it was so heavenly. Every place in Iceland serves this amazing rye bread. I wish I could take a loaf home! I asked for more, dipping it in the soup was incredible.

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We scraped our plates and bowls clean, finished the meal with an espresso, and when we could walk, headed back to our hostels. NAP TIME!

The rest of the night was pretty low key, I got a crepe and planned our next few days. We decided that we will rent a car in the morning and head Southeast overnight to see the Secret Lagoon.

This was an amazing, unforgettable day. I can’t believe I hiked on a glacier!

 

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