As one of the most unique countries I’ve ever visited, catching a glimpse of Cuba was a special opportunity as an American. Traveling legally under a ‘People to People license’, my coworkers-turned-travel sisters had the chance to explore a country that truly feels like you are traveling back in time. You won’t see a Mc. Donalds or a Starbucks in sight- it’s a rare beauty! Cuba’s culture is alive and evident in the architecture, food, and undeniable rhythm of the country.
After moving to Panamá City a little less than two months ago for a new job as a Travel Specialist for a non-profit, the thrill of adventure can turn into frustration from the chaos of living in the hustle of the city and sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week. Buenos días, reality and culture shock. Adjusting to my first “real” big girl, full-time job, embracing Latin American culture, fumbling to learn Spanish, countries away from my loved ones is not always peaches n’cream. At times, I remind myself that I chose this challenge and I learn to choose joy on a daily basis to feel like myself. So much easier said than done, but it’s a learning process and mental exercise that usually is facilitated faster with intentional love and coffee first. This past weekend was such a treat picking up my boyfriend Sean from the airport, celebrating 23 years of life, and spending the weekend tucked up in the mountains of El Valle. We enjoyed the simplicity of just being together and even got to explore a new part of Panamá with what our backpacks could hold. And I’m glad to say the bottle of an Argentine Malbec made it safely through the 2 hour bus ride (with continuous reggaeton playing) to the mountains to celebrate only missing the bus stop once on our journey. Inspired by my birthday weekend, discovering Parque Natural Metropolitano, just 15 minutes outside the city was glorious! I felt like Jane of the jungle running through the wilderness, regaining my sense of freedom and curiosity of where I am. Like love, life is so wild–often messy, but beautiful. I’m trying to be present in the little moments.
Sometimes that’s all it takes to feel more alive.