It’s been cloudy in the city of Austin for a few weeks now, and while this isn’t uncommon for this time of the year, it has been impactful for me as it reminds me of the type of weather we’ll find in Seattle. Why is this impactful to me? Well, my family and I are planning on moving to the Seattle later this year, and I certainly cannot wait for it. Seattle is a city I enjoy visiting, which I have multiple times and during different times of the year. Yes, I am aware that there are many days where the word “overcast” is the standard word coming out of local Seattleite’s weather experts, and I am OK with that. You see, overcast weather makes me feel inspired and creative, don’t know why. Cloudy days have a positive effect on my energy and state of mind. While it relaxes me, it also brings good energy to me and the need to write, read, code, or do something creative like that.

Rainy days are beautiful in my opinion, and I am not referring to stormy weather but those rainy days that if you are lucky you’ll see from time to time, and hopefully you’ll give yourself some time just to see it and enjoy it. I am a coffee drinker, and also like to enjoy a hot cup of chamomile tea sometimes. Rainy weather makes me want to drink more coffee and more tea. Drinking coffee is like a drug, and I don’t fight against it, I just enjoy it and to be honest, I just cannot resist it even if I wanted to when it is overcast or rainy outside.

There is also the colder temperature; it is common for the temperature to drop just a bit when it is overcast or when it is raining. There is something about having to wear a jacket or a hoody that I enjoy; it just feels right. And while it might be cold outside, it is far more comfortable to be in colder weather than to have to deal with hot temperatures as we do here in Austin, Texas every summer… and fall.

I don’t know about you, but I usually see more people reading, writing, or just having a conversation with each other in public places when it is cloudy and rainy. Perhaps since the weather is “bad,” people tend to stay indoors and talk to each other more than if it was sunny and warm outside, I don’t know. Also, are you less hungry when it is raining? I am, which is yet another reason I have perhaps more time to read, write, code, chat, or any other activity but eating. I overeat, consistently, and I don’t feel guilty because enjoying food is still one of my favorite pastimes.

It’s been cloudy and rainy in Austin for a few weeks now, and I love it. I think this is the world preparing us to be ready for Seattle weather, or at least that is what I tell myself. Oh, and yes I know Seattle doesn’t get as much rain as other places in this country, but they certainly have a fair share of overcast and rainy days, and I am looking forward to it.

If you are reading this chances are that you have the ability to travel. Many people out there, entire cultures even, don’t have the ability to travel, at least not outside of their own country. Think about that for a minute. We have this amazing opportunity to go out and discover new places, new cultures, new people, new food, new perspectives. It is all out there, waiting for us to be discovered.

Travel, not vacation

People who travel beyond popular places like beach resorts and the like are people who understand and appreciate people who are different. It opens up your mind and your understanding of new and different ways of living and doing things. You see, people fear things that they don’t know and don’t understand. When you travel, you become a global citizen and start appreciating the differences between you and other people. It’s hard to appreciate or not be afraid of what you don’t know or don’t understand.

Iceland – 2017

Traveling is all about learning about the place where you are, and you do this by eating where locals eat, visiting the places that aren’t necessarily popular with tourists, learn about the people who live there, about what they do, etc. In my experience, walking a city gives you the best opportunity to learn about it. Walk everywhere and you’ll find the small shops you wouldn’t find otherwise, appreciate the architecture, see how the city runs, etc. I also understand that walking long distances or all day might not be feasible to everyone, use public transportation before you try a taxi or a Lyft, Uber or whatever private car service is available in that city.

But travel is expensive

Traveling requires some money, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot unless you travel as if it was a vacation. Traveling as opposed to vacationing is less expensive. When you travel you don’t need to stay at expensive hotels or any hotel, in fact, staying in a house, a bed & breakfast, or a hostel is usually less expensive and it gives you a better sense of the culture and the people who live in that city. When you stay at a hotel, it’s nice because everything is taken care for you, but what you end up experiencing is the hotel’s culture and what they want you to see and feel. You are in a bubble, and there is nothing wrong with that, but if you are there to travel and live like a local, this isn’t what you want. It is commonly more expensive too.

Airbnb in Brooklyn – July 2016

Below are some resources to find places to stay when traveling:

When you travel you want to eat at locally owned restaurants, markets, and also cook your own food. This will save you a ton of money and it will give you the opportunity to taste local food, and usually very authentic too. If you are a foodie, this is an opportunity to discover new flavors, so have an open mind and eat what locals eat.

View from B&B in Florence, Italy – 2014

Another difference between traveling and vacationing is that when you travel you can still do some work and earn money. If you travel abroad and are planning on staying at a place for several weeks or months, try getting a job there. There are many opportunities to work abroad, and a job abroad could potentially cover all your expenses while you are out there.

Below are some resources to find work while you travel abroad if you are interested:

There are many more resources, a simple Google search for finding work while traveling abroad will return many results.

Pack light

We all know that when you go on vacation we should pack light but most of us never do it. In most cases it isn’t a problem as most people have a destination and bringing a lot of stuff isn’t much of a problem. However, if you are planning on traveling and not vacationing, make sure you pack light and that you bring only the things that are absolutely necessary. Think about it, if you are traveling around a country or many countries you’ll be hopping on planes, trains, buses, etc. It is impossible to do this if you bring lots of luggage. Instead, bring the things you’ll need like a good pair of sneakers, a few t-shirts, a pair of pants, and a jacket.

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii – 2015

Think about it, if you are traveling around a country or many countries you’ll be hopping on planes, trains, buses, etc. It is impossible to do this if you bring lots of luggage. Instead, bring the things you’ll need like a good pair of sneakers, a good travel backpack, shorts, jeans, t-shirts, and a jacket. Most other things such as toiletries you’ll be able to find almost everywhere you go – unless you are truly traveling to a remote location, then just buy it before hopping on the airplane.

Here is an excellent article from Lonely Planet with detailed information on how to pack light: tips from an expert packer.

That’s it, and by the way, if you need a little bit of motivation, watch Given on Netflix, it inspired me to write this post and it is a great movie/documentary.

Thanks for reading! 🙂 If you enjoyed this article, hit that share button below ❤ Would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

Earlier this year my son Ricardo (we share the same first name) and I traveled to Iceland and Copenhagen at his request, for his 15th birthday. Prior to this trip, I didn’t know much about Iceland and very little about Copenhagen. When my son was younger, he used to say that he wanted to become an architect and design and build unique and beautiful buildings around the world. My son has changed his mind since then and his passion is making films and tell stories. Iceland is a magnet for photographers, film-makers, and anyone else who can appreciate open spaces and amazing and unique landscapes. This is the reason my son decided to go to Iceland for his 15th birthday. And Copenhagen was my wife’s idea motivated for my son’s earlier love for architecture and the idea that he would like to live in Copenhagen when he becomes and adult.

We started the trip to Iceland from Austin, TX on a flight to Boston. I found this Icelandic airline which offers direct (and cost-effective) flights from various U.S. cities to Iceland, Wow Air. The best option for us living in Texas was to fly to Boston and then take a non-stop flight to Iceland from there.

The experience flying with Wow Air was surprisingly pleasant. I have used European discount carriers before and while their prices are  inexpensive, the experience isn’t always good. The plane was clean, they included free entertainment (movies, TV shows, etc), and the best of all was the service. The flight crew welcomed everyone with a smile and made sure everyone was comfortable on the plane.

Below is a video my son put together showcasing some of the places and moments we experienced in this magnificent place.

Below are some of the photos I took during this trip, I hope you enjoy them and please let me know in the comments section below if you have any questions about this trip, or anything else. Cheers.

Hiking is one of those activities that always seem to be fun and easy in the beginning before you start doing it (e.g. cooking,  running, etc.). Hiking is just walking so it should be easy right? Not quite. Once you are in the middle of a hike, while still fun, it doesn’t feel as comfortable anymore. But once you finish, it always feels good; there is a sense of accomplishment. The best part of hiking for me is that it allows you to explore a place in ways you couldn’t do it otherwise. Hiking often takes you to a high peak where you can discover the true beauty of a beach, a city, etc.

Last July 2015 my family and I adventured to Hawaii. We visited two islands, Oahu and Maui. We decided to visit Oahu since it is the island where the largest and most populous city of Hawaii is, Honolulu. The beaches in Honolulu while very busy, they are beautiful and have calm waters to allow anyone to swim in its clear water. We loved it there.

Our trip started in Austin, TX where we took a direct flight to Los Angeles. Our layover in Los Angeles was a few hours, and it allowed us to get some food, coffee and just be ready for our next flight to Oahu. We didn’t experience any delays, cancellation or anything like that. Our flights to Los Angeles and Oahu went very smooth.

Arriving to Oahu

Once we arrived at the island of Oahu, we decided to take a cab and head to the hotel. It was a bit surprising to see how big and busy Honolulu is, at first it looked nothing like I had imagined. During our ride from the airport to the hotel, it rained twice and the sun was always out, so it gave us a nice little introduction to this tropical climate.

oahu hawaii

We decided to stay in Honolulu during our time on the island of Oahu, right at the center of everything. The area is very busy, but it also offers all the convenience of being in a populated area. We chose this area to make sure we had everything we needed since this was our first trip to Hawaii. (more…)

My family and I enjoy road trips very much. This summer we started our road trip in Washington, DC, then drove to Brooklyn, NYC, Niagara Falls, Toronto Canada, and then back to NYC where we flew back home to Austin, TX.

This post is a photo essay about one of my favorite days in New York City.

Grand Central Station

We started the day as we always do, looking for what to do and where to go. As much as we plan to schedule, must of our decisions about places to visit and things to do we do on the spot.

Grand Central Station (more…)

There are many countries and cities around the world that I have been lucky to have traveled to. However there are many more I haven’t and this little Greek town is one of them. Hope you enjoy the info and beautiful photos of this interesting island.

Monemvasia
Photo Credit: http://www.monemvasia.gr/

There is a town hidden behind a giant rock, the name of it is Monemvasia a municipality in Laconia, Greece. Monemvasia was separated from the mainland by an earthquake in 375 AD. The majority of the island’s area is a plateau about 100 metres above sea level, and the town of the same name is built on the slope to the south-east of the rock, overlooking Palaia Monemvasia bay. Many of the streets are narrow and fit only for pedestrian and donkey traffic. A small hamlet of about 10 houses lies to the northwest. (more…)

Aloha!

Oahu is one of the most popular islands in Hawaii, also, the one with the largest population. This island is a very attractive destination to people looking to see a piece of paradise, with the option to have all the amenities of a big city such as shopping and a great variety of restaurants and hotels. However, there are other islands like Maui which offer in my opinion, a better option for those in search of a more adventurous experience, and the feel of true island living.

Waikiki beachBoth places are great for vacationers and travelers looking for water adventures such as surfing, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, etc. If you are looking to just lay down on the beach and enjoy a great view in and around the beach then perhaps Oahu is a better option. If you are looking to do some exploring, hiking, and have an adventurous road trip, then Maui offers all of that. (more…)