Open Heart Travel

Keeping an Open Heart While Traveling

Wandering the globe as a “solo traveler,” one member of the 21st century’s self-declared global citizen population, has filled my life with sound, color, relationships, and more feeling than I knew possible. Yet like all beautiful, worthwhile things, there’s also a darkness to the light. It feels lonely at times, empty and purposeless.

I’ve fallen in love with places and people knowing that one of the fundamental pillars of our relationship, our physical connection, had an expiration date. I couldn’t shield myself from understanding that the physical distance could put leaky cracks in my emotional and energetic ties. Cracks that I would look back on with nostalgia regarding the once magical innocence of those connections. Cracks that my tears would slip through as I remembered with a cloak of optimism not only “how it was back then,” but how I felt, deeply felt. Continue reading

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Leon

Backpacking Nicaragua Itinerary

Nicaragua’s touristic development rests somewhere in between a well-preserved gem embellished with culturally rich colonial cities and laid back beaches and a booming tourist destination for budget backpackers, adventure seekers and party goers. From volcano boarding, to surfing and museum going, there’s something in Nicaragua for everyone to stay busy. For the majority of backpackers, Nicaragua’s a great place to squeeze in adventure sports and a relatively low budget stay on a picture perfect beach. Continue reading

KrantiY

10 of My Favorite Places to Practice Yoga Around the World

Namaste to the universal Om, for keeping us inspired, moving with our breath and stretching our limbs and our hearts in unison. The beautiful truth is that we are surrounded by yoga every day, wherever we are in the world.

Whether it takes the form of self-practice on our own mat, or discovering a group of yogis at a shala nearby, yoga has become accessible almost everywhere. Yet, as yoga becomes such a mass-produced commodity in many parts of the world, it’s important to recognize organizations offering authentic and exceptional experiences. Continue reading

real world

Redefining the “Real World”

How about that frustrating, dreaded process of getting older and suited up for the so-called “real world”? It’s been so repeatedly shoved upon us since a young age, that we may even forget our own ability to redesign our lives. We blindly prepare for an eventual “real world” exposé. That’s it, fun’s over kids.

But I object. It may sound loopy, but I truly believe the best is yet to come.  Continue reading

backpacking costa Rica

Backpacking Costa Rica Itinerary

For backpackers seeking adventure, biodiversity, relaxing beach towns, yoga havens and surfer hot spots, Costa Rica might just be the place. The following itinerary took me about five weeks, although it could be done in 3-4 weeks or extended a few months.

Of course, I didn’t stop at all the places, and you can pick and choose from below (i.e. Santa Teresa/Montezuma vs. Nosara for beach/yoga/surf.) I chose to leave out the popular Arenal Volcano because my family and I hiked the off-the-beaten path Tenorio Volcano near the stunning bright blue waterfalls of Rio Celeste.

Whatever you do, be sure to remain open minded and ready to dig beneath the surface of Costa Rica – it would be wrong to write it off as touristy and too expensive. The nature is part of the rich culture of this central meeting point of animals (including humans) for thousands of years. Take your time, tranquillo and pura vida. Continue reading

territorio de zaguates

Land of the Strays: A Dog Heaven Exists in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Territorio de Zaguates or Land of the Strays in English received viral media attention over the past month few months. I confirm, after breaking into the dreamland and begging one of the four volunteers to let my family and I see the place for just 10 minutes, a dog heaven does exist on this earth. The best part is, they are seeking visitors, donations and volunteers. Continue reading

fund world travels

How I Fund My World Travels

This post addresses the question everyone’s asking when they see beautiful photos from around the world, in guest houses that would cost my weekly salary in the U.S. How do you afford to travel the world? I work less, produce more and live more freely on a budget of $1,000 a month around the world, than I did on over $4,000 a month in New York City.

Most of us understand the basics regarding the concept of relative cost of living. For starters, the cost of living is relatively lower in many places around the world compared to the majority of U.S. cities. Americans are fortunate to have a strong U.S. dollar abroad. (In sum: more bang for your buck.)

Still, traveling on simple savings is pretty restrictive and unsustainable (encourages binge vacations where we spend too much money and induce sensory overload). In order to experience travel rather than simply see things, we need time. In corporate America, time equals your pay check. In a freelance/self-employed/future employee worker world, time doesn’t mean much – it’s the product that matters.

Here’s how I freed my time, over doubled my earnings per hour, and maintained a financial cushion to travel the world on a one-way ticket. Continue reading

Half a Year Backpacking: Top 7 Best Travel Moments

Reminiscing on the past half year backpacking India, Indonesia and Costa Rica, I pinpointed a few of the countless times I truly felt like I made the best decision of my life. I realized that the most significant memories were shared with others, which again reminds me the entire purpose of the human experience – connection.

Riding through the Costa Rican countryside on a 6-hour bus journey with three new Canadian friends, I popped in my head phones and started singing. As all three others slept, I embraced the simple moment for myself. I closed my eyes and saw a slideshow filled with highlights of the past six months. Feeling overwhelming gratitude for all the beautiful people I waved to, happy tears streamed down my cheek.

I wrote in my journal, the one made gifted to me by a European friend in Rishikesh, India, handcrafted by Tibetan monks in Bodhgaya:

Travel so that when you close your eyes you can play yourself a movie of your own life, filled with special moments, true friends, struggles, tears, laughter and simple times.

Continue reading

solo female travel in Costa Rica

8 Tips for Solo Female Travel in Costa Rica

One thing I’ve learned from solo female travel is that I’ll never really be prepared, no matter how many blog posts or Lonely Planet books I splurge on. Case in point, I actually missed my bus while writing the bullet point below “be on the ball when it comes to transportation.” Anyways, despite the freestyling required while traveling, reading this will help anyone considering solo female travel in Costa Rica, backpackers on a budget, and everyone in between to get an idea of the kinds of things they should be aware of and prepare for in Costa Rica (solo female travel or not). Continue reading

backpacking worst

6 Months Backpacking: Top 6 Worst Moments

Half a year of travelling has done its part in whooping me into shape, both mentally and physically. My eyes and my heart were opened to some universal truths and painful realities – “the good, the bad and the ugly” doesn’t seem to fully cover it.

Reflecting on the best and worst moments from six months of backpacking, I’ll start with the worst and save the best for later. When I took the time to hash out my worst and best moments backpacking, I wanted to end on a positive note instead of remembering all the crappy times (one involving actual crap on my head). Understandably so.

Yet, when I wrote my worst travel moments, I had a ton of fun. I realized the worst times weren’t so bad. Cliché it may be, but I still wouldn’t change em’ for the world. Continue reading

Kayla Delventhal Costa Rica

Why I’m Willing to Pay a Premium for Sustainable Travel

Written from the dock at Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Living a radiant, purposeful (loopy) life often requires we take action apart from the status quo. This means the road less traveled should be traveled on our own two feet, or in the comfort of our environmentally-friendly Prius. Yes, even if there are sexier, cheaper options for travel. You traveled to 50 countries in under a year, awesome. You contributed more to the pollution of our earth in this year than ever in your life? Ouch.

Some decide not to take advantage of the plentiful options to support local communities and decrease their carbon footprint.

As global citizens, let’s take the radical step to not just reduce harm but to IMPROVE the world around us. This takes effort, so I’m speaking to those of us who understand that a life of excitement, self-worth and respect come from critical analysis and immediate, directed action on our end. Continue reading

Had a bhang-in time in Happy Hampi Thnx again India for the good friends (human or not), hearty meals and laughs #backpackindia #hampi #bhanglassi #incredibleindia

Two Month Backpacking India Route

A continuation of my One-Month Backpacking India Route, where I outline my travels through Delhi, Rajasthan, Agra, Varanasi and Kerala.

The second part of the journey exposes travelers to more of the rich spiritual history and cultural diversity of India. In getting away from the madness of big cities and popular holiday tourist spots, long-term backpackers often spend more time in the places below. Taking my time allowed me to connect with people on a deeper level. The experience was nothing short of incredible, whether I was volunteering with Tibetan Buddhist refugees in Dharamsala, sitting in spiritual lectures with gurus in Rishikesh or making chapattis with Punjabi grandmothers at the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar. Continue reading

How Becoming No One Allowed Me to be Anyone

The Paradox of “Awakening”

Before I decided who Shoshanna was, I never had to interview others to see if they were worthy of my time, if they seemed like me. After a while it gets exhausting, putting so much effort into being someone and building a life around that identity. Some of us lose steam, for good reason. But does life have to be such an effort, a struggle or a chore? We all know the answer. Still, something inside resists the notion that we should and can live freely.

When I was five years old, I looked up at Dad after gazing out the car window for some time and with a smile on my face said, “Hey Dad, you know what? I love all the people.” Before my trip to India, I made a list of highly philosophical quotes from the kids I babysat. As adults, we’re often embarrassed or left speechless by these questions. Five-year-olds helped expose the lack of truth I found in my life and rekindle the fire within myself to ask, “Who am I and why am I here?” We write these questions off every day, only to remember them again at the end of our lives. It’s often too late. It seems simple, I am me, Shoshanna. So why for thousands of years have highly educated intellectuals pondered the truth behind I am? Perhaps I don’t exist in the way I thought I did. Continue reading

Sober and glowing

What I Received When I Gave Up Alcohol and Processed Foods

What if we stopped looking at new pursuits as challenges but as opportunities to learn? When we “give up” certain thoughts, behaviors and actions, we make space for others to take their place. In the path to getting our act together, we aim to rid ourselves of negative thoughts, end toxic relationships and cease mindless behavior. We then organize an open invite Facebook event for positivity, clarity, truthfulness and love. All of this sounds really great, right? I think so too. So, I decided to do a little experiment myself. Continue reading

Solo Female Travel India

14 Tips for Solo Female Travel in India

Hey guys! So, I know about the warnings you’ll receive from everyone and their third cousins about solo female travel in India. The good news is, I’m here to encourage you to eliminate all your preconceived notions and help plan your trip today!

Of course, it’s important to stay informed on current events and cultural norms anywhere you are, especially in an unfamiliar setting. However, you must know that India is wildly underrated and safe for a solo female backpacker.

That being said, you will see poverty and pollution in India (although you can avoid it more than you think). This offers a tremendous opportunity for us to stop equating poverty with violence and begin to treat environmental issues with urgency.

While on the road, you will never be alone among other friendly travelers if that’s what you’re looking for. Solo female travel in India is surprisingly common, right up there with spiritual seekers, honeymooners, luxury travelers, you name it. Hopefully reading my advice below will to help you plan for a smooth and life changing journey 🙂 Continue reading

Lombok Indonesia

16 Things I Learned in Indonesia

Indonesia challenged my new comfort zone, confronting me with familiar tourism and consumerism while opening my eyes to another beautifully unique Asian culture.

Throughout my one month trip backpacking in Java, Bali, Lombok and the Gili islands, I often felt like I was taking a vacation from my true path in India. However, reflecting on the insights I gained in Indonesia (some more profound than others) it turns out that apart from all the fried tempe and gado-gado, Indonesia did give me much food for thought. Continue reading

Rocky and Naomi Loopy Scoop Taj Mahal

Rocky and Naomi: Couple’s Trip Around the World

Rocky and Naomi share their loopy story of how they decided to drop everything and travel the world indefinitely. Continue reading

Coffee Roasters Bali

Insight From a Coffee Roaster

It’s the day before Valentine’s day and I feel like my emotions camped out on I-95 during rush hour.

I remember that mood depends a lot on who you surround yourself with. When I’m home I care more about acting practically, thinking of tomorrow and what action will set me up for that future. Here, it’s easier to care less about surface and place greater value on my relationships (ironically even the ones across the world). I wonder if it’s the people or the environment, or the environment shaping the people who impose these value systems. Anyways, we’re malleable. Continue reading

Mount Merapi, Jogjakarta

On a Scavenger Hunt

Life’s tough sometimes. My neighbor Cathie and adorable pup Roxy passed away. Why? I often read a passage from my Uncle Dwight’s journal for inspiration during times of sadness or confusion. It’s beautiful that although cancer took his life, his lessons continue to guide me and keep me searching.

“Things have been a bit unraveled around these parts.
Seems to be a lack of cosmic gravity.
There must be some cycle, reserved for us groovy types, which his outside the natural realm of things.
Maybe designed to keep us searching, within ourselves and our surroundings, and to keep us from becoming too complacent.
It may also fill our heads with gobbledy gook, I don’t know.
Anyway, things always seem to come back together.”

Continue reading

Traveling with purpose

Find Purpose While Traveling

It’s one thing to travel the world, see things, post nice pictures and make a few people out there “jealous.”

It’s another thing to travel with intention, to spread the good where we are and to the virtual, global community.

I do not mean to put down travel writers. Writing about travel, giving recommendations and making beautiful, interesting places famous is important for the economy, to open up our eyes and mind and to motivate others to take leaps. Finding purpose while traveling, well that’s something to write home about. Continue reading