Yoga retreat in the South of Goa – Yogamea

 

I arrived here in Agonda in the South of Goa almost one week ago, on Monday, around 15 after about 2,5 hours drive from Swan Yoga in Asagao. On the way here we passed by more palm trees, colorful big houses, kids in school uniform, rivers and beaches, until finally arriving in this small paradise.

Agonda is a very small and tranquil little town, not much party or people here, there is one main road and the beachside. There are so many nice little beach huts here, adorable, must be so nice to hear the sound of the waves all the time. The shops are cute here, the vendors are not as annoying either, they’re calm and sweet and you get to know them all :)

Beach huts on the way down to the beach. Beautiful and peaceful!

Beach huts on the way down to the beach. Beautiful and peaceful!

The main street at Agonda. People, cows, dogs, scooters.

The main street at Agonda. People, cows, dogs, scooters.

On the beach

On the beach

There's a school just beside the church

There’s a school just beside the church

I’m in another yogaretreat named Yogamea, but it’s not as busy schedule as in Swan Yoga. We only have 2 asanas per day, but they are 2 hours long each, between 7-9am and 5-7pm. We have the all meals included here, but the food isn’t that good, they don’t have any spices at all, so it doesn’t really taste indian. We have been eating a few lunches out just to get some good indian food. They sell a lot of fish here, but still it’s India, so many vegetarian restaurants as well.

I’m sharing room with a french-canadian, Lydia, and we hang out all the time actually, she’s great. The room wasn’t as nice as Yogamea showed on their website at all, it’s quite basic, but the place is good. The food area is great, and the location is perfect too, we are just beside the main road and have about 2 minute walk down to the beach.

We had Veg makhanwala and navratan korma for lunch one day, we asked what the ingredients are of navratan korma, he said "it's vegetables, together with saus and nuts and dried fruit" - but when we got it, it was fresh fruit... quite wierd! the other thing was better..

We had Veg makhanwala and navratan korma for lunch one day, we asked what the ingredients are of navratan korma, he said ”it’s vegetables, together with saus and nuts and dried fruit” – but when we got it, it was fresh fruit… quite wierd! the other thing was better..

This is where I'm staying next! At agonda palace. Thats our porche!

This is where I’m staying next! At agonda palace. Thats our porche!

Our dining area, very cozy

Our dining area, very cozy

The yoga here is different, I was really confused at first about the sun salutation and some of the pranayamas we do, because there are other versions of the ones I knew and learned at Swan. But the teachers are great, we have had a couple of classes with the owner Timmy, and the other teacher Vilu, and he always corrects me and helps me to get better.

There is 200h yoga teacher course here, so there are many yoga students who also teaches us, so sometimes it’s a little bit repetitive, but it’s good for me :) There’s quite a segregation though, like when we eat, because the students weren’t allowed to speak for like 3 days except for during the class (saving energy or something), so we other retreaters had to stick together haha. The yoga-students have anatomy and yoga philosophy classes, so they have a busier schedule than us in the retreat, we are only 4 persons (with free time between 9am to 5pm).

After morning asana we have fruit breakfast and just relax, we are the four retreaters :)

After morning asana we have fruit breakfast and just relax, we are the four retreaters :)

Afternoon yoga class

Afternoon yoga class

 

But the times really flies here! We have breakfast and sit in our very cozy eating area between 9-10, then we take a shower, we go out for some walking or shopping or we go to the south or north side of the beach, we go back and have lunch at 13 (except for the times we have eaten out), around 14 we go out again, either beach or do the bars along the beach and have some lassi or something, and then back to do yoga again. Haha.

The bars and restaurants along the beach are much more expensive then on the main road, but they have big comfy kind of sofas with big pillows and a view over the beach, and it’s super comfortable to just sit there and chill down after a day in the sun, or when you can’t stand the heat anymore.

Enjoying our first day at the beach!

Enjoying our first day at the beach!

Enjoying ourselves at all these beach restaurants.. got a HUGE coffee and some brown bread with nutella, oh, delicious!

Enjoying ourselves at all these beach restaurants.. got a HUGE coffee and some brown bread with nutella, oh, delicious!

We have been out for a drink almost every evening after the afternoon asana class, there is a place just across our facility called ”My Friends place” where it’s nice and just across the street from Yogamea. One evening they had live music there and we met a woman in her mid 50’s from Canada, Flora, who had been abroad for over 25 years, so cool. She was now living in China. She was super cool!

The other night we sat in one of the beach bars in the comfy sofas and I ordered some sweets from south of goa and hot chocolate, watched the stars, sometimes a firework, and just the sound of the waves. I’m glad they don’t play music, it’s just very peaceful. And there are no mosquitos here at night, it’s such a relief!!

At "my friends place" just acros Yogamea, enjoying my first drink in India!

At ”my friends place” just acros Yogamea, enjoying my first drink in India!

Enjoying live music at my friends place another night

Enjoying live music at my friends place another night

Having some night snacks and beverages at the beach loving life

Having some night snacks and beverages at the beach loving life

I got a henna tattoo, the girl who made it is Sarsu (little bit unsure how it’s spelled) is only 19 and have never been to school! So she doesn’t know how to read or write. It’s weird to just imagine not be able to read the signs everywhere.  She has learned english through tourists! She has 4 sisters and 2 brothers, 2 of the sisters are married and the younger 2 sisters and the 2 brothers are still in school, she works here in the shop and provides for them so they can go in school. She was super sweet. :)

Getting my first henna tattoo

Getting my first henna tattoo

Henna tattoo

Henna tattoo

Went back to Sarsu to her shop to fill in my henna, she was like "Is it ok to wait 2 minutes while I do my prayers?". So sweet.

Went back to Sarsu to her shop to fill in my henna, she was like ”Is it ok to wait 2 minutes while I do my prayers?”. So sweet.

On Friday we rented 2 scooters, me, Lydia and Milo from Italy, one of the others doing the retreat. We drove to Cabo da Rama, which is not far away at all, but there’s no way to get there without scooter or hiring a car. It was fun to ride scooter, the roads here are great, and there is only one so it’s difficult to get lost, and there’s almost no traffic at all. It’s just uphill downhill uphill downhill all the time, Goa isn’t flat at all!

We rented scooters and went exploring in the surroundings!

We rented scooters and went exploring in the surroundings!

So in Cabo da Rama there’s a an old fort, In the past it has switched hands between Hindu, Muslim monarchs and the Portuguese and witnessed many battles in history. Now it’s almost only ruins and some rusty cannons. It was abandoned when the Portuguese left this place. And then it was a government prison till 1955 and was abandoned again. It’s really ruins, so I don’t understand how the prison was really, since it was only 60 years back.

At the top of the hill at Cabo da rama fort with a view over everywhere!

At the top of the hill at Cabo da rama fort with a view over everywhere!

Cabo da rama fort and surroundings

Cabo da rama fort and surroundings

With Lydia and Milo

With Lydia and Milo

 Nice views from Cabo da Rama fort

Nice views from Cabo da Rama fort

A woman on her morning walk

A woman on her morning walk

Soo many palmtrees!!

Soo many palmtrees!!

We spotted many monkeys!

We spotted many monkeys!

Exploring!

Exploring!

After sweating our asses off in 39 degrees and enjoying all the surrounding views, we took the scooters to a local restaurant along the way and had some veg thali. For 3 thalis, plus one extra portion thali for Milo, 3 extra breads, 3 sodas, one bag chips, one water bottle and one ice cream, we paid 450 rupees (about 5-6 euro/USD)-total! Cheap huh!

Then we drove back on the road against Agonda, stopped in a small village on the roadand had some Tea masala for 5 rupees, bought some petrol, felt sorry for all the cute little street puppies, and drove towards Cova beach. It was quite a bumpy road to the beach, only packed sand and stones along hills and cliffs, a little scary sometimes – but it was totally worth it!

The green lagoon at Cova

The green lagoon at Cova

The cottages at cova beach, so peaceful!

The cottages at cova beach, so peaceful!

Taking a bath in the lagoon at cova beach! Ah! So fresh!

Taking a bath in the lagoon at cova beach! Ah! So fresh!

In Cova it was super peaceful, nothing more there than a few cottages, one bar, the sea and a green lagoon with sweet water which was beautiful, you could se cows on the sides eating grass. The water in the lagoon was so much colder than the sea, really relaxing. You can’t reach this place with a heavy vehicle, the roads are to big for busses (you can drive car, but there’s enough space for meeting another car in the opposite direction).

We enjoyed a couple of hours there and then we had to go the bumpy ride back to be in time for our afternoon yoga.

 

Today, Saturday we did our last shopping, had some pastries at the main road, talked to the vendors, had yoga, and at night we went out for a couple drinks (compared to the regular 1 at night), since it’s our last night here. We had one kingsfisher beer to some live music on the beach, and then another beer at the other side of the beach.

But there’s really nothing going on even on a Saturday night here, the bar which we were closed since we were the last customers, and it was around 23-23.30. All the shops were closed when we walked back to, total silence.

Had some pies

Had some pies

I really love all these copper things here, but they are so heavy!!

I really love all these copper things here, but they are so heavy!!

Live music at the beach and indian beer

Live music at the beach and indian beer

 

I really like Agonda, everyone is so friendly, always saying goodnight or goodmorning, even if you don’t know them. It’s really a small town feeling. And you get to know the vendors and the waiters on the places, see them somewhere else and say hi to them to when you walk around. It’s really nice, you kind of feel at home here very easily :) This is really a place for total relaxation. 

 

Delivering fruits with a scooter

Delivering fruits with a scooter

Omg I love the signs here, they are always misspelled

Omg I love the signs here, they are always misspelled

There's a school just beside the church

There’s a school just beside the church

Yes... we are reaaally enjoying ourselves!

Yes… we are reaaally enjoying ourselves!

So many cows on the beach!

So many cows on the beach!

Sunday is the day off here at the retreat, but we have yoga in the morning anyways, they sort of special arranged it for us because we wanted to have it tomorrow. After we are going to a place that we spotted today called Krishna where we are going to treat ourselves with some ajurvedic massage.

We have dealed the price, so we are have rejuvenating or deep tissue massage, then we have khizi and we also have a facial treatment and massage, so it’s 3 treatments, it will be about 2 hours and the price is only 1100 rupees! (around 15 euro/USD). At Swan Yoga I had Khizi too (the powders and the hot oil thing) and it was 1200 for ONLY that one reatment. So yeah, this is a very nice price!

(Updated: The Khizi was only half body, but still, the whole treatment was about 2 hours and really good. The full body massage was the best, the facial wasn’t really relaxing but more rubbing the face hard)

Then we are going to have some nice indian food somewhere, my last indian meal!

After the 2 hours massage (I look quite puffy in my face) I had my last indian meal, veg thali, before heading to the airport

After the 2 hours massage (I look quite puffy in my face) I had my last indian meal, veg thali, before heading to the airport

Sunday is also our last day here before going to our new destinations, I’m going to the airport around 14 and Lidia is heading north in India (she is traveling allover India for over 3 months).

I’ve enjoyed this week of real vacation together with yoga, I’ve learnt many new asanas and mantras, got much more bendy, even bought a yoga mat so that I don’t have an excuse for not doing yoga everyday, and I’ve eaten and treated myself as one should do on their vacation, haha. I even have a new habbit, to drink tea, even if it’s 30 degrees outside, which is good for me and my metabolism. :)

Now I’m heading to the Philippines, my first flight leaves Goa at 5pm today, Sunday, and I’ll arrive in Manila around 5pm tomorrow (Flying goa-mumbai-dubai-manila) and there I will meet up with my boyfriend Duilio! :)

So bye India!! Gonna miss you!!

Annonser

Yoga retreat in the North of Goa – Swan Yoga

I arrived in the airport of Vasco de Gama and had a driver there waiting for me, Camilo. He was very funny and sweet. We had about 1,5 hours drive in front of us to reach Asagao, where Swan Yoga is located.

My first impressions of goa was: aahhh!!! So nice here!! It’s hot, sunny, green, there’s both rivers and sea and the best thing of all; you can breathe! There’s like no pollution and palmtrees everywhere! Goa is much more laid-back, like a surfers place kind of compared to Delhi.

I arrived in the afternoon at Swan Yoga, ready for one weeks yoga retreat. I visited an ayurvedic doctor and then and I had dinner with the gang that was in the retreat. It was a nice group, which Shirin from Iran, Ayse from Turkey, Daniela from Mexico (living in China), Chantelle from Canada (living in China) Scott from US, John from UK, Britta from Canada (living in Australia), and Tine and Ann from Belgium. They had all arrived earlier then me, the retreat recommends to come on a Friday and I came on a Monday. All our teachers and the ones working on Swan yoga was also amazing.

First dinner with the gang!

First dinner with the gang!

Swan Yoga is located in the hills and surrounded by jungle. They grow almost all their vegetables and fruits them selves in their gardens. We all live in eco-friendly cottages, but the space it’s quite big, there is a kitchen and food area, a yoga hall (shala) , a temple where we do fire ceremonies or similar things, another hall (shala) where we did the Nitrakaya (stare into a candle flame), and there was a whole section with Ayurveda practices, a very cool reception and a ”fake beach” with sands and sun chairs with parasols and small bar next to it where you could buy healthy juices, fruit salad and things like that. Everything felt very close to nature and was very peaceful and with great energy.

My cottage, number 6, Ajna!

My cottage, number 6, Ajna!

The reception - so cozy!

The reception – so cozy!

Scott taking a walk through the Ayurveda gardens

Scott taking a walk through the Ayurveda gardens

Waiting for the morning yoga class to begin

Waiting for the morning yoga class to begin

Love that you can see the stars at night so well from Swan Yoga

Love that you can see the stars at night so well from Swan Yoga

The friday fire ceremony, were we chanted a mantra 108 times :)

The friday fire ceremony, were we chanted a mantra 108 times :)

What I liked the most about this retreat is that you don’t only do the ”Asana” – which is the physical training on the yoga mat (what we in Europe actually call yoga but it’s a very little part of it) – but you get to know the indian life and the philosophy about yoga. There is so much more, thousands of years of knowledge about this – and I have barely just touched a little tip of it. I love how incorporated yoga is together with the spiritual and lifestyle here. I got many tips and advices and a lot of food for thought while listening to the wisdom of our yogis and to of course, stories (Indians love to tell stories ;)

Our daily schedule looked something like this (changed everyday):

tuesdays schedule

tuesdays schedule

Quite busy schedule huh! We always started at 6am with about 45 minutes meditation. It was all completely black then when we started, but about the time we opened our eyes in the end, it was bright and the sun was just rising. Such a nice feeling!

I loved the meditation in the morning. It’s amazing how the mind works, how you can bring awareness do different parts of your body or your surroundings. One morning we also did it on the beach – fantastic! We went to mini-vagator beach, which is all quiet. Apparently if you go to the other beaches around, there are still people up partying around that time. We had some fruit there listened to Shivendras and Gyanmidras stories :)

morning meditation at the beach. Ayses picture

morning meditation at the beach. Ayses picture

Sunrise at the beach

Sunrise at the beach

Having breakfast at the beach :)

Having breakfast at the beach :)


We always had 2 asanas
(excersices in the yoga hall) every day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. In between we had another class, either yoga philosophy, yoga nidra, trataka, chakra drawing, or similar. After the afternoon asana we Tulsi Puja everyday before dinner, and on weekends we had fire ceremony.

The holy basil, which we do a Tulsi Puja for everyday. We do a small ceremony to thanks mother Tulsi for this plant

The holy basil, which we do a Tulsi Puja for everyday. We do a small ceremony to thanks mother Tulsi for this plant

Me and Tine doing yoga

Me and Tine doing some streching in asana class

So yes, we had quite a busy schedule, but between 12.30-17.00 we had free time.

The first day we went to a coffee place close to Swan (just walking 45 minutes down the road ;) and enjoyed some nice smoothies and not so healthy cakes haha. Then we walked back for the afternoon asana. Another day we went for the Anjuna Flea Market, and 2 days we had a cooking class. The rest we spent at the fake beach or on our porches drwaing Chakras.

On our way to the bakery

On our way to the bakery

Enjoying some juices, smoothies, coffee and cakes at a nice cafeteria down the streets

Enjoying some juices, smoothies, coffee and cakes at a nice cafeteria down the streets

Me and Chantelle hanging at the fake beach bar :)

Me and Chantelle hanging at the fake beach bar :)


The Anjuna flea Market though –
what a crazy place – sooo many tents and shops, and it was super hot – and I was surprised to see so many foreigners – like every tourist is here! It was a little bit fun to bargain, like if someone sells you a pair of pants and says it costs 600, you can easily get them down to 250-300. It’s actually very cheap anyways, but I don’t like when they try to get advantage of you, but as long as I find the price fair I’m glad. Anyhow, it was kind of exhausting!

The anjuna flea market

The anjuna flea market

At the anjuna flea market!

At the anjuna flea market!


The food at Swan was amazing
, super healthy Ayurveda vegetarian Indian food, and as said earlier, almost everything is from their own farmlands, and it was all perfectly spicy and with rich flavors. We did a Ayurveda cooking class on our free time for 2 days and got to know and make Palak Panir (Spinach and soya-cheese or cottage cheese), Polow (indian vegetables with rice), a fusion salad, Dal (lentil soup), coriander chutney salsa, and a dessert called Halwa. I’m looking forward to be able to do this at home, I’ve bought some spices so I can! Hehe.

Before and after cooking you always sing a mantra and prays for the food to be good, that it's made with love and it doesn't go to waste.

Before and after cooking you always sing a mantra and prays for the food to be good, that it’s made with love and it doesn’t go to waste.

Preparations for the cooking class - so many nice vegetables!!

Preparations for the cooking class – so many nice vegetables!!

At the cooking class. This is Swan Yogas kitchen - can't believe they do all our food, for about 20-30 people (sometimes up to 60 people) on only 2 stoves!!

At the cooking class. This is Swan Yogas kitchen – can’t believe they do all our food, for about 20-30 people (sometimes up to 60 people) on only 2 stoves!!

At the cooking class. The north americans are good students while Daniela, me and Shiring reather do selfies, haha.

At the cooking class. The north americans are good students while Daniela, me and Shiring reather do selfies, haha.

The food we cooked in the cooking class!

The food we cooked in the cooking class!

I also went to an Ayurvedic Doctor, got to know that my body type is Pitta-Kapha, but that my Kapha is very much increased so right now I’m more Kapha-Pitta, so I got a few treatments and a diet and some exercises o follow so I can bring the Pitta down and balance my body so it works as it should. Very interesting, a little bit hard to follow while traveling, but I’ll do my best! For example I can only eat tomatoes, cauliflower, raw onion, milk products etc once a week, because it’s not good for me, but some things that are good for me are carrots, pumpkin, beetroot, citrus fruits, lentils etc. I have a whole list! So I’ll try to keep that in mind!

Ayurveda doctor and treatments!

Ayurveda doctor and treatments!


We had the Friday off,
so I went more north in Goa, about 45 minutes away with car, to a big beach called Arambol. So much life there, but it was really nice to be on the beach! I did some shopping, had lassi and coffee with a view over the beach, got really burned on my back (damn the sun is so strong here! I had cream…. But I should have reapplied like 5 times more).

The beach at Arambol

The beach at Arambol

Many nice shops along the beach!

Many nice shops along the beach!

 

I had a long conversation with one of the vendors on the beach, her name is Mona, she just sat down beside me and started talking. She felt sort of tired of her job, she is just walking the beach up and down trying to sell scarfs or similar. She told me that it’s not a very good year, not so many tourists and business, and she is tired of walking in the sun, she doesn’t want to get more tanned.

She told me that she is from another city in the north, but she comes here for the season and spends 6 months here before going back. She had been doing this for 3 years now, and she was only 15 years old!! She told me that she went to school up to 5th grade, because it’s only free up to that, and then she had to start working. Hard life! This year was her little sisters first year here to, I got to meet her, but the lil-sister hadn’t learnt English yet, while Mona had by being here working and talking to the tourists.

This is Mona!

This is Mona!


We had quite many birthdays during the week too
, Gyanmidra (the one who started Swan) had his 47th birthday, John from UK also had birthday and both were celebrated with cake.

On February the 14th, valentines day (which nobody knew or noticed until noon), it was Ohms and Gyans Gurus birthday, so we celebrated that with a fire ceremony in the temple, singing a special song dedicated to him. A guru is almost like a god here, it’s someone they have lived and eaten with for a long time, a teacher who had showed them the way of life and yoga.

Birthday celebration, valentines day and fire ceremony

Birthday celebration, valentines day and fire ceremony

Birthday celebration of The guru, valentines day and fire ceremony

Birthday celebration of The guru, valentines day and fire ceremony

For Gianmitras birthday we lit up a fire on the fakebeach

For Gianmitras birthday we lit up a fire on the fakebeach

Chocolate cake! :)

Chocolate cake! :)

Many left on Friday or Saturday and honestly it was a bit sad without them. But I was glad that almost half of the group stayed a little bit longer, like Shantelle and John that was leaving on the same day as me, and Scott that was spending one week more here, and Shirin of course who is staying in Goa for months with her mother. A new group arrived, they were all very kind and funny too, but  I didn’t got to know them to much either since I left on the Monday, but they were only 6 persons, and with Shirin and Scott a total of 8, so quite a small group.

Shirin feels like a local, she showed us and took us to different places with her car, small funny roadtrips :) We went to a big afternoon market on Saturday, we left about 21, we were like ”What, so late??” Haha. And it was really crowded! So many scooters outside!

When you were entering the market you had to go through metal detectors and security checking your bags so you didn’t bring drugs or anything in. In Goa there are a lot of drugs and party going on, but I didn’t really notice anything of it since I was at the retreat, but I could tell from the people and the stores, they have a lot of rave-stores kind of.

Inside it was huge, but much nicer than the Anjuna market, this was more personal with a lot of specialty shops, and also a food court and live music. It was really nice. We got home about 23 – quite late for us since we always got to bed around 20 the other days! Haha.

At the night market, Shirin and John in the picture

At the night market, Shirin and John in the picture

Live music and outdoors barhanging at the night market

Live music and outdoors bar hanging at the night market

The last thing I did on Monday was the Kriya – a cleansing – so we had salt water running through one nosil to the other, cleaning our nose, and then we had to drink minimum 4 big glasses of salt water very quickly to throw it up and clean our stomach (I wasn’t able to drink more then 2 though, but I puked for a looong time). The third cleansing was to drink about 8 glasses and do some yoga postures to cleanse the intestines, so you shit everything out later, but I didn’t do that since I was leaving the Yoga retreat and I had to be in a car for 2,5 hours haha.

Ohm telling about Kriya (you see some of the water and the nose-things there on the table)

Ohm telling about Kriya (you see some of the water and the nose-things there on the table)

But before moving on I wanted to send home some souvenirs and clothes I wouldn’t use more, and Shirin was kind drive me to Mapusa so I could send home a package by indian post mail. It’s quite special here – you have to put a white wool fabric around your package and stitch it (which you can go to a place outside the post office to do it) before standing in a long cue at the post office to actually send it. But it was super cheap, I paid for the box and fabric and stitching about 140 rupees (2 euros/usd) and the package that was 6,7 kgs didn’t even cost 2300 rupees (30 euro/usd) to send to Sweden by air. So cheap!!

The little place where you can get help with packaging your parcial. You see that he man is stitching my box with the white fabric :)

The little place where you can get help with packaging your parcial. You see that he man is stitching my box with the white fabric :)

Anyhow, the week at Swan Yoga passed super fast, and it was time to go. I would have enjoyed staying another week to learn more about the way of the yogis, I only got a little taste of it.

It has been a true pleasure!!

 

Group picture!

Group picture!

 

My favorite hidden gems in South America

After a year traveling around Central & South America, these are the places I liked the most. Since they are not very well-known, I’d like to call them ”my hidden gems”.

These ”cities” are very down-to-earth and laid-back places where I have felt something special inside, like a bubbling feeling of happiness, calmness and fulfillness.

 

1. — Holbox – Mexico —

The beach at Holbox

The beach at Holbox

Sunset in Holbox

Sunset in Holbox

 

Shallow water, birds, and blue sky.

Shallow water, birds, and blue sky.

 

There is just something special about this small island outside of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. This island has a natural beauty – white sand, palm trees, shallow ocean, thousands of flamingos and pelicans. Most of the habitants work as fishermen and it’s considered a virgin tourist destination unspoiled by mass tourism. There is only a main square and a few streets which are made of sand and there are just a handful of ”cars” on the island. You sleep, eat, do some small excursions, go to small music events, visit small shops with handicraft and just relax. You eat and live cheaply here too.

 

2. — Isabela – The Galapagos – Ecuador —

The mainstreet in isabela... beautiful with sand!

The main street in isabela… beautiful with sand!

The tuneles

The tuneles

Bluefooted boobies

Bluefooted boobies

Beautiful surroundings!

Beautiful surroundings!


I love all the Galapagos islands,
but if I would have to choose one of them for living – it would be Isabela. although it is the biggest island it is the less populated of the habituated islands. Most tourists only come here for day tours so the ambiance feels very local. Also on this island, the streets are made of sand. It is very safe here. There are plenty of things to do and see here, you can visit lava tunnels, active volcanoes, you can snorkel with big tortoises, watch blue footed boobies, pink flamingos. It is not expensive here either.

 

3. — Jericoacoara – Brazil —

Enjoying life!!!

Enjoying life!!!

Windsurfers and a man playing capoeira-music

Windsurfers and a man playing capoeira-music

The streets are full with hantcraft stands

The streets are full with handicraft stands

Sunset in Jericoacoara

Sunset in Jericoacoara

A little street filled with restaurants

A little street filled with restaurants


This is like a bigger version of Holbox
, with more people, more shops and more activity, but still it has a lot of charm. This place is a paradise for windsurfers and kitesurfers. So yes, it is very windy but hey! – there are no mosquitoes :) If you get tired of the wind you can visit the Blue Lagoon, lovely calm lagoon famous for the hanging hammocks in the water. Jericoacoara is a mix of great people – during the day you’ll see all the active sporty people, and during the nights you’ll see all the musicians and the handicraftsmen out selling their work. There are always live music in a bar or a restaurant, always something to do. The main streets are of course – made of sand. :)

 

4. — Lagoa da Conceição – Florianopolis – Brazil —

Barra Da lagoa

Barra Da lagoa

View over Lagoa do Conceicão

View over Lagoa do Conceicão

Praia do Joaquina in Florianopolis

Praia do Joaquina in Florianopolis


This is a magical place
. It’s a laid-back neighbourhood with super nice surroundings. The area has a small town center and some of the island’s best beaches, and a lagoon that is surrounded by beautiful green hills. Surfing is a popular sport here. There is a lovely big mixture of all kind of Brazilians, but also a lot of Europeans that decided to stay or study here. The city Florianopolis has a lot of culture and bars to offer too.

 

5.  —  Isla del sol – Copacabana –  Bolivia — 

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Boats, beach, small houses and snowy mountains behind

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Clear water and hills with place for cultivation

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Local people in the south of Isla del Sol


This is an oasis in all the chaos between Bolivia and Peru
. This small island in the lake Titicaca is beautiful and super quiet. There is no noise, no cars, no rubbish on the streets. Not even lampposts (bring your head-torche). Beautiful sunsets and sunrises and the sky is super clear so you can see a lot of stars during the night. People live in harmony here with the nature and it’s surroundings. You can walk from the north to the south and see llamas and donkeys and some old inca-archaelogical sites along the way. Sweet local kids will offer you a little guided history about the history of Isla del Sol. There are a few small museums on the island too. I really enjoyed the landscapes in the south.

 

¿Have you been to any of these places? ¿What was your impression?

 

~ If I would extend the list these cities would probably make the list too, all though there are all not ”hidden gems” since some of them are capitals.

• Cusco (Peru) • Puerto Maldonado (Peru) • Quito (Ecuador) • Rio De Janeiro (Brazil) • Salvador (Brazil) • San Cristobal De Las Casas (Mexico) • Isla Mujeres (Mexico) • Tulum (Mexico) • La Paz (Bolivia) and • Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Traveling – a human desire?

For me, it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve as long as I can remember dreamt about it, but I don’t know why. My mother doesn’t seem to understand this urge at all. Yet, she has lived abroad herself for 14 years, so that’s sort of contradictory, isn’t it? I think she does understand, but she’s to afraid because I, her daughter is going on a trip alone to dangerous South America.I choose to not see the obstacles, but the opportunities.

Here are some reasons why I want to travel:

Travel broadens the mind and make you happier – and I’m pursuing life satisfaction!

I want to see amazingly beautiful places and meet crazy interesting people. This world has sooooo much to offer, places most of us don’t even know about, and I don’t want to miss it. I want to get stumed and loose my breath. I’m tired of taking my life for granted and not seeing anything past my apartment, work, training etc. There’s a hole world out there to discover!!!!

I want to get out of the comfort zone, take a break from my usual casual life. It’s time to get out of the monotone routines and to feed my restless soul. I want to get more experience and have adventures. I want to connect with other people. Find a new way of living. I want to grow as a human, find the meaning of my life.

A wise man travels to discover himself.” – James Russell Lowell

It’s a good quote, I belive traveling opens your mind and body, helps you see things more clear. I believe it helps you discover who you are and what’s important to you.

I hope that all the meetings with different people and cultures will teach me to be more open-minded and welcoming to the world. I hope that I will grow as a person and come back much wiser.

Why do you travel? What have you learnt along the way?
Or what’s the reason why you don’t want to travel?

I’ll end this post with some pictures of our beautiful amazing world:

 

 

Get your thumb out of your but!

dreams and wishes. 62/365Dear friends, co-workers, family and fellow readers,

Now that I have this 200 days of trip ahead of me a lot of people are saying ”You are so lucky!” and ”I wish I could do that too, but…”.

Believe me, I was one of you thinking, ”Someday, I want to travel around the world”. Well guess what? I only got 5 years older.

And the only thing I actually had to do, was to make up my mind, decide: I AM GOING TO DO THIS NOW! Once that was set, for real, I only had to decide when and where.

Making up your mind and really going for it is the hardest part. I have been saving some money since I was 16 to ”someday travel somewhere”. Of course, that account, was also my saving account, and during the years, I’ve had to use it for other purposes. Like when the car broke or when I had a water leakage in my bathroom so I had to renovate it from scratch.

Even if I’ve been saving for this for almost 9 years, I have the same amount of money today as I had 6 years ago. You will probably never think you have enough of money to travel, and maybe you don’t have enough right now, but once you decide that you are going away in 6 months, 1 year, or even 2 years, you will do everything in your power to save money for that adventure. It’s easier when you have a purpose. Start planning, budgeting, look through your economy to see where you can cut out some expenses.

If you don’t have a goal, you don’t have the same definiteness of saving money, and you will probably go and buy that sweater you saw at the window today that you don’t really need anyways.

Oh, and this applies to everything! Maybe you are thinking ”Someday I would like to be able to play the guitar”. Well, sorry for breaking this to you too, but you won’t just wake up one day and be a talented guitarist. You do have to put some time and effort in becoming one.

Sorry if I sound a little harsh. I just want you to take the first step, as I did. It’s amazing, promise.

So, what’s your dream and when will you do it for real?

Have you ever evaluated yourself?

A performance appraisal (PA) or performance evaluation is a systematic and periodic process that assesses an individual employee’s job performance and productivity in relation to certain pre-established criteria and organizational objectives”- Wikipedia

I’m sure you had a performance appraisals/evaluations with your work or school. You evaluate your accomplishments, potential for future improvement, strengths and weaknesses.

Recently I lost a good friend of mine, and when this bad things happens, it always changes you. I started to think about my life situation, would I be satisfied if I died tomorrow?  Am I living the life I want? The answer is no.

I did take a minute to think about what I’ve accomplished in my life, and the result was just not enough. I’m not at all where I pictured myself many many years ago. (The 18-year old Sofia would be sooooo disappointed with the soon to be 25-years old Sofia..)

Have you ever evaluated yourself?

Take a minute to picture what you would like to be doing right now. Like exactly in this moment. What do you see? Do you see yourself lying on a beach having a cold drink, do you see yourself celebrating that you won the Pulitzer Prize or do you see yourself holding your newborn baby? Depending on what you answer, you see what you think it’s important for you right now. You should be doing what gets you in that direction. If you are working 24/7 and dreaming about getting a promotion or an work-related award, then, good for you! But if you are working 24/7 and picturing yourself Scuba diving in the Galapagos islands, then think twice if life it’s getting you where you want.

We do very often forget our selves in our normal busy lives, we forget what we really want to achieve and do in life. I think everyone should have a personal self appraisal with themselves from time to time.

Make a list of accomplishments, goals you want to achieve, things you want to improve on. Where do you picture yourself in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
You could even write yourself a letter that you are not allowed to open until a year from now.

In mine it would say:

”Hi Sofia,
I hope that you have done everything you wanted to do in South America, that you have improved your Spanish so that you now can speak easily and with slang. I hope you have bungy jumped, that you have learned to surf and have taken a dive-certification. I hope that you have got better self-esteem and lot’s of new friends over the world.
I also hope that you have given a thought about what’s next in your life and decided what to do to get where you picture yourself in the future. You can’t live like you have done the past years, with an income that doesn’t cover your fix expenses. You have to choose something that you really love doing, and get paid for it. You can’t have so much going on at the same time, you have to focus and start getting to your goals. But if you still want to do what you do today, a little bit of everything you like, you won’t really get anywhere, and you will not get paid good enough, so forget about going out traveling again some time soon. Think wisely about your future. Do you still want to travel or is it your time for a career or for family? (Please say travel!)
I also hope that you have learned to speak French. And I hope that you didn’t put all the weight back while traveling, I hope you have been working out and that you are still eating healthy and not too much chocolate. Think about how much you have worked for getting rid of those extra 18 kilos. Bisous, Sofia”