Retrospect: Pura Vida

Retrospect: a series about life lessons, insight from traveling,
feel-good moments, and creating a “pura vida” version of life.

My friend Jackie introduced me to the phrase “pura vida” a few months back. You see, Jackie spent a semester abroad in Costa Rica. I know, she’s so cool. Pura vida is a common phrase in Costa Rica meaning “pure life” which may sound simple and that’s because it is… as long as you don’t live in the hustling bustling country of the US where you are always a step behind in every aspect of your life. Like, always.

Upon Jackie’s return, we became the best of friends. We slowed each others lives down from going a mile a minute to being present. Yes, this part actually was that simple. We just clicked. She constantly helps me balance my schedule, let go of stress, and live for the moment. Wow, that sounds so cliche, but oh it’s such a good feeling.

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The more I tried to implement this concept into my life, the more I realized it was the exact feeling I had when I spent four weeks abroad in Italy living in the small west coast town of Levanto. Which got me thinking – why was this so easy for me to grasp in Italy, so easy for Jackie to grasp in Costa Rica, yet we are struggling to make this happen back in our home country?

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Retrospect: Playing Big

Retrospect: a series about life lessons, insight from traveling,
feel-good moments, and creating a “pura vida” version of life.

Over the weekend, I was chatting with my BFF Kylie about our schedules so we could pick a day/time for our weekly breakfast & coffee date. I’ve cherished these mornings ever since I moved back to Houston and am devastated they won’t be a thing when I begin my masters. Secretly, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to have a weekly talk sesh with Kylie when I’m gone without seeming too needy, but she clearly understands the separation anxiety I am (we are?) about to ensue.

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She created this idea to start a “Podcast Club” and I am fully on board. Listen to a podcast once a week and then talk about it over coffee? You betcha. And the fact that this could be done when we are living in different cities makes it all the more delightful. I’ve always loved the idea of book clubs but let’s be real… I don’t have time to read a full book in a limited amount of time. But a one-hour podcast? Easy peasy.

SO STOP! Before you read any further you need to go listen to this podcast about playing big and listening to your inner mentor. Why? Because that’s what I’ll be reflecting on today and ya know, it would probably be best if we were on the same page.

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So you think you want to visit… Singapore

The most common question I get when people ask about our most recent trip is “why Singapore?” Well, here’s why. Chandler and I initially wanted to do a volunteer trip in Thailand. We found one, fell in love with it, picked the dates, and realized the volunteer part alone would cost $600. Which I think is absurd that I have to pay that much to volunteer, but that’s another rant. While we were planning this trip, a family friend, who had just moved her whole family to Singapore due to a work transfer, told us if we were going to be in Asia, we had to come visit them. So we said “see ya later” to Thailand, and welcomed Singapore with open arms.

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While we were able to spend a luxurious five days to explore this tiny island, you can stay busy and hit all the highlights of this country in 48 hours. Here’s how…

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So you think you want to visit… Bali

So I’ll be honest with you. I knew nothing about Bali before this trip except that it was used to film Eat, Pray, Love. Disclaimer: there is not a beach located in Ubud where they shot the jungle scenes. I’m calling you out, Julia Roberts. So if you’re like me and knew absolutely nothing, you should go look it up on a map. I can proudly say that I’m able to pick it out on a map now amongst all the Indonesian islands. Mission accomplished.

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Chan and I only had a little over three days here and you betcha we had a jam-packed schedule to see everything we possibly could. It looked a little something like this…

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So you think you want to visit… Seattle, WA

Hey McDreamy, where ya at?

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In the midst of a trip to Portland, OR with my BFF Chandler, we were able to sneak up to Seattle for a mere 24 hours. Wanna know how long it took us to drive there? 3 hours. Wanna know how far I would get in 3 hours in Texas? I’d still be in Texas. But instead, we drove over a state line, saw Mt. Rainer in the distance, got lost trying to avoid traffic, and eventually made it to the city of Sleepless in Seattle. Which we were… sleepless… in Seattle.

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So you think you want to visit… The Introduction

When I got back from Italy two summers ago, I knew I had to get back out into the world. Like, stat. Something changed me the summer of 2014. I’m not talking about the awe-inspiring, first time out of the country change – that had already happened several years back. I’m talking about me, myself, and I changing. My mindset, changed. My inspirations, changed.

While I am so incredibly smitten with my time at my university and all the amazing opportunities it’s provided me, my concentration on making a 4.0 declined. I know, I know, grades were still important. I was in school to learn and learning is what I was doing. But not all of my learning was taking place in classrooms anymore. It was taking place in the experiences I created and the places I went. Some nights were spent watching presidential debates instead of studying for a quiz the next day. Other nights were dedicated to creating documents from previous travels – something that I will constantly have to inspire me. Most nights right before falling asleep were spent curled up in bed reading a book (probably about traveling) instead of cramming for an upcoming exam. And almost all summers were (and still are) spent exploring – whether it be in a foreign place or an hour away from home.

Traveling is an all-encompassing feeling that will put you on a high that will never die down – that is until you get home. And then you will search. And find the perfect place for your next destination. And you’ll be so unproductive in life until a plane ride is booked to said place. This has been me for the past few years in college. And I know I’m not the only one going through this – just ask any of my friends. Our study sessions always turned into who can find the cheapest plane ticket to the most random location we can think of.

With all the travels I’ve done in my few short college years, I have put together lists upon lists of places I’ve visited, things I would suggest in different cities, quirks about places that (unless you do a ton of research) you won’t be able to find. And while I may not hit every single highlight of a city, I want to share my experiences and hopefully inspire others to be constantly curious about the world. Therefore, it is with immense joy that I present to you…

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A new series called “So you think you want to visit…”!

Stay tuned for upcoming posts about several of the places I’ve traveled, including a young adult perspective on what to do, where to stay, who to meet, and beyond! I cannot wait to share all of my amazing experiences with y’all and hopefully inspire you to get out and see the world!

Adventure awaits,
Morgan

Resolutions of 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS!

It’s already January 1, 2016 and I still feel like I haven’t celebrated Christmas. Anyone else feel like that too? I can’t tell if it was the abnormally warm weather that Texas is experiencing, the fact that I graduated college a few weeks ago (!!!) or that I’m trying to slow down time and embrace all the things being thrown my way.

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I brought in the new year with Kylie and her family for a party/gathering that was all sorts of warm and fuzzy and welcoming. I ended up heading home before midnight because I can’t stand being on the road that late on NYE. Paranoia kicks in, and I prefer to be safe and sound in my own home. My friends tell me it’s not paranoia, but just me embracing my schedule of a grandma. I did however stay up until midnight with two friends who I’ve known since elementary school as we sat around a fire and watched fireworks explode around us.

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Favorite Fall Snacks

With a schedule that requires me to be at work at 6:00am and not finish class and workouts until after 6pm, snacking has become my speciality. And while looking at Pinterest at these extravagant snacks that people craft (and that also take wayyyyyy too much time), my go-to snacks are simple, easy, and perfectly delicious.

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Not only are these snacks stuffed with nutrients that will keep you nourished, but they will keep you awake – literally. One of the main reasons that my diet consists of several snacks are for the sheer purpose of keeping me awake during class. Shhhh, don’t tell my professors. I also make sure to have a combo of something sweet and salty with me at all times to feed what I am actually craving and not just mindless eat.

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