Costa Rican Kitchen

During a past trip to Costa Rica, I was invited into one of the local’s home for a traditional Costa Rican meal.

I was surprised at how simple yet efficient the kitchen was and loved the wood burning stove.  The entire house had no windows and was totally open and exposed to outside elements.

I was served a wonderful Costa Rican meal of rice and beans by gracious hosts who spoke limited English.  The experience was unlike any other that I have had on my travels, and it later inspired me to expand my cooking skills.

During this time of the pandemic, being stuck at home for longer periods of time, I am again exploring new foods and new recipes.  It’s the perfect time to be creative in the kitchen, cooking foods from the past as well as new recipes from other places around the world.

Although our physical travel may be limited at this time, we can still travel through our cuisine and experience the spices and flavors of other countries in our own homes.

Armchair Travel

Dreaming of traveling during the restriction?  I love travel and being restricted at this time during the pandemic is difficult.  All I can do is reminisce about past travel adventures and plan for the future.

Read about self-transformation in some of the world’s most beautiful places.

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To Travel or Not to Travel?

With all the travel hype going on at the moment and facing another domestic trip out west, I can’t help but think, should I, or shouldn’t I travel.  With an upcoming trip to the Grand Canyon, open space, fresh air and a minimal amount of people, I wonder if it’s safe to go or not to go.  My body craves the exercise it needs through hiking, and my soul seeks the adventure that springtime brings after being locked up in a small house all winter.

So the decision remains, do I travel or not travel with all the media hype about the corona virus.  At this time domestic travel is still considered safe and millions of people are flying at this very moment.  Is it safe to fly?  Who knows, but I do know that life has no guarantees either way.  You can stay in your own small town and be the victim of crime or catch an illness, or you can catch it abroad.

How do you know what to do?  Being safe and responsible is the main thing.  I recently went to a local health spa where I ended up catching the flu and was sick for three weeks.  Life is ironic.  What I do know is that life calls us at different times in our lives to make difficult decisions, some more difficult than others.

Every spring I take a hiking trip somewhere remote and beautiful.  I feel alive again after the long hard Midwest winter and it marks the shifting of stagnation in both body and mind.

The recent news hype and fears about the corna virus reminded me of several trips that I took in the past in which I overcame fears and challenges in some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Nomadic Tales of a Traveling Counselor shares many of my experiences in Costa Rica, Havasu Falls, Tolantongo Mexico, the Grand Canyon, including several other incredible places around the globe.

For me, life is about travel and adventure and sharing it with others is what it is all about.  We get out of our daily routines, our ruts, and our negative life patterns.  We breathe new air, smell new aromas, and connect to the land and people in healing ways.

To go or not to go?  Life waits for no one.

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Clear Water Beach

In the past, I traveled to southern Florida in the winter, where in the tropics you are usually guaranteed warm weather and sunshine, but this year I went to Clear Water Beach, much further north in the sunshine state.

Although at the time, the weather was not as warm as I would have liked, due to a cold spell, it was warm enough to walk the beach, bicycle and eat at outside cafes, a welcome change from the frozen Midwest tundra I had left behind.

Clear Water Beach has something for everyone.  It has a beautiful clean beach, an amusement park for kids, and trendy local restaurants and nightclubs to play in at night.

One of my favorite things to do is to photograph clouds, so I quickly took this opportunity to snap a picture of the incoming clouds one rainy afternoon.  Luckily I was able to soak up some sun before the clouds appeared.

Cloud Forest Zip Lining

A few years ago, I went to Costa Rica and had many first time adventures including white water rafting, swimming in hot springs, and zip lining above the rainforest canopy.

I was staying at a local organic echo farm, Finca Luna Nueva Lodge, and enjoyed the scenic rainy drive to Monteverde Cloud Forest, which has the longest zip line in Costa Rica.

Excited to zip line over the rainforest canopy, we took cable cars up the steep volcanic terrain, going higher and higher into the forest.  We were informed that at a certain point, that if we changed our mind, it would be too late, and that the only way down was to zip line.

Before we reached the top, we were given a mini experience of what starting and stopping entailed.  Stopping was abrupt due to the speed of travel.  I then reached the point of no return, and was secured into my harness and prepared to launch.

My adrenaline raced as I jumped off the platform and began my long journey back down the rainforest.

The first thing I remember was how painful the rain was as it hit my face like shards of glass.  I could barely open my eyes as I sped from one zip lining station to the next.  I remember being shocked at how high I was and the speed that I was traveling.

Monteverde Cloud Forest zip line consists of 15 cables and 18 platforms.  It’s an exciting and adventurous experience.  Views of the lake and Arenal Volcano are visible as you fly above the rainforest canopy.  Although it wasn’t my first time zip lining, it was certainly one of the most adventurous life experiences that I have had, and I would defiantly recommend it to anyone traveling to Costa Rica.  My only advice would be to go on a day that wasn’t raining.

Happy zip lining!

The Coast of Dunedin

Last week I traveled to Dunedin, a small coastal town on the Gulf of Mexico.  Dunedin is a hidden gem near Tampa and Clear Water Bay, with trendy outside cafe’s and a hiking-biking trail that runs through the center of town to the oceanfront.  Bikes can be rented for a small fee as you stop for drinks or lunch along the way.

Dunedin has a laid back feel to it and offers a variety of healthy restaurants, including a popular organic juice bar, which was my favorite way to kick start the day.

The Jolley Trolley is a bus that runs along the coast and travels to Clear Water Beach,  A day pass costs only $5.00.

Honeymoon Island is a barrier island off the coast of Dunedin, a beautiful secluded beach that stretches for four miles.  A trip not worth missing.

If you are traveling to Florida,  you may want to check out this beautiful, laid back community. I had no idea it existed, as I usually travel further south, so it was a complete surprise to find that a bit of “Old Florida” still exists.

Unknown Arizona

Arizona has to be one of the most beautiful states in the country.  It is known for the Grand Canyon, but there is also a part of Arizona that many people are not aware of, the remote White Mountains of Northeastern Arizona.

Situated in Navajo County, it is a 3.5 hour drive up the mountains from the Phoenix area. Fort Apache, is only a 30 miles drive down the mountains from Pinetop-Lakeside and is rich in history.  Arrowhead Cafe, offers authentic Apache food, that is locally grown and sourced.

Looking to travel into the unknown or slightly off grid?  Head to the White Mountains of northeastern Arizona,  The ponderosa pine trees smell amazing and your likely to see wild horses, moose, bobcats and coyotes on your travels.