See the picture above?
Well, this is how I have been traveling for the past 500 days.
One of the reasons why I wanted to leave my corporate job so bad and start a journey with no return date, was the need for traveling at a slow pace, with no precise schedule, enjoying each and every step of it and getting to know the essence of the place I was visiting.
No offense, I am not judging, but I never understood those who proud themselves for having 50 stamps on their passport in one year or even 6 months.
Traveling is not a race.
Who the heck are you racing with? Time? you will never win, sorry.
Traveling is (to me) going to a place and getting familiar with it, absorbing it, suck it all in and then, maybe, moving on.
This is what I did with Mexico.
I lived in Cancun for 7 years before quitting my job and then I left with the intention to travel around the country for about 2 months and then leave for central and South America.
Well, as it happens to every professional traveler I changed my plans.
Oh! how much I love to change plans!! You have no idea!
And I allow myself to do it. No one to tell me I am doing something wrong.
Because there is nothing wrong in changing plans, you know!
Change is beautiful. Change is growth. Change is the door to wholeness and connection.
“Be water, my friend”. Said the wise Bruce Lee.
I was the water flowing across Mexico, a spectacular country that I thought I knew, but I didn’t.
I realized that 7 years in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, didn’t make me an expert about Mexico.
Those are separate worlds, well, yes it’s Mexico, but traveling through the other states such as Chiapas, Mexico City, Baja California, Jalisco, Veracruz, Chihuahua, you realize how little you knew about Mexico ( and how little I still know).
It’s a huge spectacular controversial country and although I haven’t shared all I have seen during all this year of traveling, it’s all in my heart ready to become words soon.
I ended up staying in Mexico for about 1 year and then I made it my goal to leave the country and move on to Guatemala.
Over there I spent about 2 months, one housesitting and one traveling.
The original plan was to keep moving south slowly but surely.
However, I changed my plans, again. Oops!
I realized how eager I was to see South America, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina. Those were my dream countries. So I decided to skip Central America for now and leave it for later.
I flew to Ecuador from Guatemala with a friend who joined me on my journey.
And we went to the spectacular Galapagos. Another change of plans because it was not in my budget originally.
Now that I am writing this I am in Quito planning my itinerary for the next weeks, with two freelance jobs that allow me to keep traveling and do what I love, and a travel blog (that you are reading right now) that I love and will continue to nurture and cultivate with care and passion, the way I do everything I do.
I have also decided to speed up my journey (yes, another change), because I want to get to Patagonia by the end of March and capture all the beautiful autumn colors.
Therefore even though I don’t really like planning I decided a little of it wouldn’t hurt.
It’s all about adjusting along the way.
When I started this journey I didn’t know what it was going to be, how I would feel. When you decide to set up for such an adventure, you decide to jump in the unknown and with a not so stable safety net.
And it doesn’t matter how many blogs you read and how many books, or video, how many motivational spots you have listened to.
Those people, your heroes, who apparently “made it” and pushed you to make the step towards your dream life, are not there to cheer you up when you are in tears, when you feel lonely, when you feel like you made the biggest mistake of your life, when you need a word of reassurance, a pat on your shoulder and a few words like, “it’s going to be alright, just keep going”.
Your parents, for as much as they love you, will never understand your choice, your friends with a “normal life” would look at you as the weirdo even with a sort of pity.
Luckily I have the best friends ever to support me, the old time friends and the new one I met along the journey.
It’s funny how you bond so much with strangers, for the love of Travel.
But your most important friend, allied, companion, is you and your own precious self. You need to love yourself so deeply and make sure you will push yourself through every pain or downfalls when nobody else is there for you.
And this is one of the things I have learned on my journey.
Here I am in Quito, counting my 500 days and more on the road, as grateful as I have ever been and excited for the days to come, the new adventure the new friends and what not.
I wanted to present my 2018 year of traveling with my best pictures not only to celebrate this first amazing year on the road but also to remind myself of my blessings and also of the place where I have been. You know with age, you get to lose memory.
I hope you will enjoy the virtual journey and will be inspired to your next travels.
JANUARY 2018 – QUERETARO – MEXICO
2017 ended in Veracruz, where I have visited the Pueblos Magicos of Xalapa, Xico, Cscomatepec, Orizaba and ended up in Veracruz Puerto to housesitting a cute little doggie-girl Zelda, that is not with us anymore (RIP my girl).
I decided last minute for my next destination and I took a ride on Bla Bla Car for the first time all the way from Veracruz Puerto to the beautiful Santiago de Queretaro.
I didn’t know what to expect and I fell in love with the historical center of the city, but what I have enjoyed the most was the tours I took in the surroundings of Queretaro to the spectacular Sierra Gorda.
Unfortunately, I didn’t write anything about it yet but hopefully, this post will motivate me to write a full post and tell you how to discover this amazing best-kept secret.
I was staying in the small village of Piñal de Amoles and the guide would pick me up every morning to take me on a tour in different places.
We did 3 days tour and I have seen so much.
Here some pictures:
For more information on how to visit contact Bernardo, my awesome and knowledgeable guide on his facebook page.
Then I finally went to the Huasteca Potosina, oh my god what a spectacular God Blessed place.
Here I have written a huge post that has become my best seller. Here it is:
FEBRUARY 2018 – BAJA CALIFORNIA – MEXICO
Oh wow! what a month – it was one of the best months ever, I have to say. I was in Baja California to housesit 2 beautiful baby cats. My friend joined me and we went on a driving tour around Baja California or at least at the central part where we have seen whales and spectacular views of the Sea of Cortez coast.
I have spent quite a while in La Paz as I was working on a project and my friend Maurizio was recovering from a bad flu.
I have written an amazing guide on Baja California, that you can read here.
Here below some of my best shots.
MARCH- BARRANCA DEL COBRE( Copper Canyon ) – MEXICO
I have always wanted to visit the Copper Canyon but I have been intimidated by the lack of information and the little facts I could gather to organize my own trip. When my friend Maurizio suggest that we could do it together I felt kind of relieved.
We had an amazing time and we have covered a lot in 20 days. I am planning to write a full guide soon.
Here you can check out some of my best pictures.
APRIL 2018 – GUANAJUATO
After having toured around the north of Mexico with my friend Maurizio in the Copper Canyon, Durango and other interesting historical places, I have decided to spend some time in the beautiful Guanajuato and get some work done while visiting the city every now and then. Here below a few shots
MAY- JUNE: PUERTO VALLARTA AND SAYULITA
After Guanajuato, I passed by Zacatecas, Morelos, and Pazcuaro, and then off to Guadalajara where I met with a friend and we spent a few days in Sayulita and San Pancho on the Riviera Nayarit. From there I would have continued to Puerto Vallarta where I would house sit in a beautiful house with 20 beautiful cats and 1 lovely dog.
That was heaven for me and it was hard to leave them.
Here some pictures of my babies but also of the spectacular surroundings.
JULY: GUADALAJARA, TAXCO, and PUEBLA
After a month housesitting in Puerto Vallarta, I moved back inland to Guadalajara where I stayed with a good friend and enjoy the cultural city, the museums, vegan restaurants, and the surroundings, I stayed for a week and then I started to travel southwards and went to visit Taxco and Puebla.
It was a tour through the Cultural Mexico, what I have missed while living in Cancun. I still have to write a lot about it but here some pictures.
AUGUST: OAXACA AND CHIAPAS
I was really looking forward to exploring Oaxaca and although I didn’t really see everything I wanted to (I look forward to going back next year), I still managed to cover a lot, exploring both the cultural city and the spectacular beaches.
I started my trip in the capital city Oaxaca and then took a bus through the spectacular mountains to the coast where I stayed a few days on the world famous Zicatela beach in Puerto Escondido, one of the best surfing spots in Mexico. I have explored the surrounding beaches and then moved to Huatulco, before going to San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas. (but that’s for next month 🙂
Here my best shots among the thousands I took.
And finally, after one year in Mexico, I made it to Guatemala and not without an adventure, of course. Crossing the border was an adventure indeed. Nothing major, but still I have something to talk about. Here is my story.
I arrived safe and sound in Flores where I explored the breathtaking Tikal ruins, then I traveled to the world famous Semuch Champey and then Rio Dulce, before reaching my house sitting assignment in Antigua.
September was a month full of work and animal love. I love to be around cats and dogs and house sitting is my savior.
Now that I am traveling around Ecuador and I didn’t find any opportunity I am suffering.
Here some pictures of my first month in Guatemala.
October: I am still in Guatemala
I finish my housesitting on the 14th but the kind homeowner allowed me to stay in her house for another week until a friend of mine joined me on part of my journey across Latin America. We traveled through Guatemala and then off to Ecuador.
I still have to write about this journey and I will do it right after this post. 🙂
In the meantime some pictures for you.
NOVEMBER: GALAPAGOS ISLANDS – FINISHING THE YEAR WITH THE BEST OF THE BEST
I have never thought such a place could exist on earth. One of the most spectacular nature reserve in the world. If you love wildlife and nature this is the place you should plan to visit soon.
We spent 20 days traveling around the inhabited Galapagos islands and seen as much as we could.
I have written extensively about it.
Hee some pictures
Here I am in the last month of this crazy year. I have been in Quito since we came back from the Galapagos islands. My friend went back home to figure her life out, while I needed to sit down and start writing. Besides I have received amazing news from a friend who wants me to help him with his business and I couldn’t have been happier. I love the job and it allows me to continue my journey while working online. I will need to slow down my travel but this is how I love to do it anyway, at a slow pace. Stopping here and there and alternating long working days with other spent exploring around.
My blog, this one that you are reading is growing and more and more people are reading it and appreciating all my tips which makes me super happy because it’s the reason why I am writing.
But most of all although I miss my family and I would really love to go back to Italy and spend some time with them, the thought that we are all in good health and happy with a roof on our head and food in our stomach every day it’s good enough to realize how fortunate I am.
So since it’s time for resolutions, my goal for 2019 is to be more grateful for my life and my family and find ways to give back because if there is one reason for living this life on this earth is first to find your purpose, second to help and inspire those who are still in search.
Well, I am not sure I have found mine, but I am sure I am on the right path.
About helping I am always ready to give a hand where I can.
And I leave you with one of my favorite quotes.
HAPPY 2019 everyone!!!
“When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best versions of themselves. ” Steve Maraboli
Book Your Trip: Practical Tips and Tricks
Book your accommodation
I use most of all Booking.com. I find it very convenient because it shows all kinds of accommodations, from hostels to villas to hotels. I love the layout of the site and the comments of the previous guests. And they always have great deals.
However, I always recommend to check out different sites and compare them. I come from the travel industry and I know for a fact that hotels agree from time to time with different tour operators to make special exclusive deals. So maybe one day you will find a great deal with Booking.com and the other day with Expedia or Hotels.com for the same hotel. So it is always worth checking them all. Of course, there are many other booking sites, but these are the ones I feel more comfortable with.
Now you have to know that Expedia and Hotels.com belong to the same company Expedia Group, together with many other sites, but they still display different rates as they have different targets. I know it sounds odd, but it is what it is.
Last but not least, always check the hotel web page because sometimes they have a better deal. Even better if you can call the hotel directly and ask if they have a special rate for those dates that you want to book. They might give you an offer in order not to lose a potential client.
I also check the reviews on TripAdvisor, both for hotels and tours. It doesn’t cost a thing and it helps a lot in choosing. You can also check their prices and compare them as well.
Book your flight
For flights, I use both Skyscanner and Expedia as well. The same rule applies: always compare. They are both good because they are aggregators which means that they compare prices from different sites and airlines. However, it’s always good to double check with the airline site directly.
Don’t forget your travel insurance
I couldn’t have one while I was traveling in Mexico because I am a resident there, but as soon as I left I did my insurance with World Nomads. After a research on the web and through friends I found World Nomads to be the most used and the most reliable when it comes not only to sickness but also missed flights, credit cards issues and so on. Whatever insurance you decide to get, that’s fine though, as long as you have one. I just can’t imagine being stuck in a place sick and miserable and not being able to get the necessary treatments because I can’t afford it, or having to ask my parents or friends to support me. That’s inconceivable to me. For me, it is super important and I can never recommend it enough.