Costa Rica Off the Beaten Path

Costa Rica Off the Beaten Path

Let me begin by imploring you to travel. Travel often, travel far, travel wide! Vacations are a great reset button. They grant us the fresh perspective and space we need to return to our daily lives with greater clarity and purpose. However, the more profound impact of traveling does not come from a week of relaxation on the beach. It’s about expanding your understanding of how others live, learning to let go of expectations, and embracing the present moment. We so vividly create an image of a destination in our mind’s eye- pieced together through the words and images of others. The mental picture becomes crystallized, expectations become precise. Then you arrive and not a thing is as you’d imagined. Gone are your expectations- now is the time for adventure! Ojochal, Costa Rica As foodie fate would have it, we began our trip in the incredible beachside town of Ojochal. Ojochal is a delightfully rare, off the beaten path destination. While the nearby town of Uvita has witnessed alarmingly rapid growth with an influx of commercial development, large hotels, and the resulting flock of tourists, Ojochal has yet to be inundated. Rather, it’s a town of locals, an international community, and an exquisite culinary enclave. Eating in Ojochal- Foodie Paradise The dining experience in Ojochal was a major highlight of our time in Costa Rica. Costa Rica can hardly be considered a food destination, with a typical meal consisting of rice and beans. The global cuisine at a bevy of four-star restaurants scattered throughout the town was a welcome delight! Our first night we enjoyed fresh sea bass in a white wine, saffron...
Cooking in Chiang Mai

Cooking in Chiang Mai

I could consider this post either a year overdue or the perfect way to reminisce on my Christmas in Chiang Mai last year! Chiang Mai is a major cultural hub, nestled in the hills of Northern Thailand. The city is brimming with history, art, Buddhist sanctuaries, yoga studios, and most importantly, phenomenal food! My days here were spent exploring the city by foot, stumbling upon beautiful temples, bazaars, markets, and some of the best street food of my life! Taking a cooking class was one of the highlights during my time in Chiang Mai. Baan Thai Cookery School is located just past the Thapae gate of the Old City. The Old City is the most gorgeous area of Chiang Mai, overflowing with ancient Buddhist Wats and surrounded by the original walls and moat erected at the end of the thirteenth century. The course began with a tour of a local outdoor market as we stocked up on the fresh ingredients for our menu. The market was brimming with gorgeous greens, fresh fish, and the most wonderful variety of eggplants I’d ever seen. Thai eggplant, typically used in Southeast Asian curries or served raw in green papaya salad, are small, round, and can come in purple, green, yellow, or white varieties. Thai cooking is made most unique by its spices and herbs. Thai ginger (Galangal), Spur chili (Prik Chee Fah), Kaffir lime, lemongrass, and sweet basil are among the most distinct Thai flavors. At Baan Thai, we were given the choice among three different appetizers, soups, stir-fries, curries, and desserts to prepare. I selected Spring Rolls as my appetizer, Tom Kha with Seafood, Pad Thai, Green Curry with Chicken, and...
Escape to Big Sur

Escape to Big Sur

City living can be tough. It doesn’t take much before simple stressors compound into full-blown anxiety. Thankfully, I’ve come to quickly recognize when I’m in dire need of a weekend getaway. Trips into nature are all the better to cure my urban-dwelling woes.   The natural beauty of the great State of California never ceases to amaze me. We have some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, flanked by majestic Redwood trees.     Here is where I introduce the Rainbow House. I was forewarned by friends that this place is absolutely magical. Turns out, I couldn’t have found a better word to describe it.   There are two houses on the property – the Rainbow and the Dragon House. Each is as quirky, vibrant, and other-worldly as their name suggests. Nestled upon a hilltop amid the Redwood trees, every window, porch, and balcony blurs any illusion of separation from nature.     WiFi connectivity is sparse, water runs slowly, the tub fills even slower, and meals are prepared over a propane stove. There is something about this simple, raw living that slows you down. It allows your thoughts and actions to be more deliberate, more thoughtful, more at peace.     Living in California, it’s pretty difficult to find a reason for not retreating into nature every once in awhile. Big Sur, Joshua Tree, Ojai, and Yosemite are just some of the easily accessible and affordable weekend getaway spots.     So gather up a group of friends, get packing, and hit the road for a restorative retreat into the beautiful outdoors of California!  ...
Travel Solo

Travel Solo

This past winter I embarked upon a solo adventure to Cambodia and Thailand. The decision to take the trip alone came as my travel companions slowly dropped out. One of the most frequent questions I received before my departure was whether I was scared to be in a foreign country alone.     Fear of the unknown is one of those hurdles that when faced head-on, can propel us forward to new levels of understanding our self. It challenges us to operate from a level of instinct and intuition, rather than from habit and routine. It squashes the stagnation and dormancy that builds up from the routine of day-to-day living.     I set one explicit goal for myself  – I would find a studio to practice yoga in each city along the way. The beauty of this single mission was that it permitted me to explore these wondrous cities in a nontraditional light. I stumbled upon one spiritual oasis after another, tucked-away in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Koh Chang, and Chiang Mai.     This trip was by-far, one of the very best travel experiences of my life. The decision to do it alone making it all the more so. In an effort to convince others to take a leap of faith and travel solo, here are my top 5 reasons to do so:   1) Unparalleled Freedom- Not being tethered to a single thing was utterly exhilarating. Knowing I was thousands of miles away from any real responsibility or accountability to anyone other than myself was truly liberating. The ability to wake up each morning and spend the days to...