Travel is hands down my favorite thing to do in life. I am very passionate about seeing the world and meeting people. I love talking to strangers and getting to know their stories. Every year I take a week off in November to take a trip. I travel throughout the year, sure, but November is extremely important. Thanksgiving is a particularly difficult time for me and I came to the conclusion a while back that leaving is my best bet. So instead of staying home and drowning my sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey and watching The Notebook eighty times, I take off. It's become a tradition. Self-care is so important, I wish I'd learned that sooner. I mean, November is a photographer's busiest month and colleagues think I'm nuts for leaving money on the table and going on vacay. But I know me. I have learned to identify what my soul needs. And that's something money can't buy.
This year I headed to Guatemala. I stayed in Antigua for the bulk of it, but explored nearby areas as well. This destination had been on my list for some time, especially to see the ancient Mayan temples in Tikal National Park. I took a day trip there, which began at 3am. It was a one hour drive to the airport, a one hour flight, and yet another hour drive to Tikal. Each way. One of the most exhausting days of my life! But totally worth it. This was definitely a trip for the books! Check out these pics from my epic adventure:
Street food in Guatemala was one of my faves! So many yummy things. Rellenitos (fried plantain balls filled with black beans, topped with sugar) and dobladas (kinda like tacos) were my fave!
This colorful town is so enchanting. With it's brightly painted homes, cobblestone streets and picturesque backdrops, it's no wonder it has become one of the top destinations for weddings and honeymoons. And of course, curious photographers. ;)
I took a day to hike Volcan Pacaya. What an incredible experience! It was a challenging 2.5 hour, steep incline hike. It was intense! My favorite part was getting to that magma with active lava and roasting marshmallows. That's literally what kept me going during the hardest part of the hike haha.
That dog followed me the entire hike. It's funny, I have a talent for repelling most adults, but dogs and kids seem to like me lol. Hey, I'll take it! Also, trekking over magma is so much harder than I thought! :/
No adult should ever be that excited about marshmallows. But I mean... roasting marshmallows over lava?! COME ON! Soooo cool!
Back in Antigua, I took a street photography workshop with a local artist. Here I am with Rudy, our wonderful instructor. I love meeting other creatives from around the world. I learned a lot and got some cool portraits of myself out of it. #winwin
"Beware of Jaguars." On our way to Tikal, the mighty jungle.
Gimnasio La Fábrica in Antigua. It's crazy how I can't be without my daily sweat sesh anymore! I'll admit I even went in twice on some days lol. Such a fabulous little gym equipped with everything one could possibly need and then some. There is a rock-climbing wall, functional (Crossfit-style) training and equipment, weight racks, free weights, cardio machines and even ballet barres. It was such a playground, I was very impressed! They also have a juice bar inside, where I got my daily green juice. #yayme