Category Archives: Travel

Animals and Adventure in Costa Rica: Monteverde

In order to maximize our time in Costa Rica, Shelley and I spent only about 1 1/2 days in each city we visited. We made sure to do everything we really wanted before heading on our way to the next destination. After spending a morning in San Jose, we were off to Monteverde, a city surrounded by rainforests and mountains.


Selvatura Park

Zip-lining in Costa Rica is not to be missed! It was honestly one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my life.

There are multiple options of places to go adventuring in Monteverde, but we chose Selvatura because it included 13 lines to zip across, suspension brides, and access to the hummingbird garden all for $75. Other companies cost more for less activities and less time.

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Animals and Adventure in Costa Rica: San Jose

My friend, Shelley, and I went on a 12-day trip around Costa Rica in September 2017. I flew into San Jose from Chicago, but since we were forewarned that there wasn’t too much to do in the capital city, we only allotted a half-day, though I did stay for two nights due to my flight times.


We did a self-guided tour of downtown San Jose since our time was limited, but San Jose Free Walking Tours looks great! It’s 3 hours & shows all of the sites of the city. There is a lot of shopping in the downtown area, oddly revolving around surf and shoes. We met a Canadian couple in another city who recommended the Tour of the National Theater.

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Strangers Becoming Friends

One of my go-to podcasts is Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, a weekly show discussing the week’s news with three comedians. Paula Poundstone is one of the best comedians on the show; she’s goofy and always has hilarious, random comments. She started a new podcast, Live from the Poundstone Institute, where they talk about various studies, including inviting the researchers to explain the results and how the study was conducted. I listened to an episode while traveling in Costa Rica and one of the studies was about how when you talk to a stranger, it makes you happier. As a millennial (barely, like 5%) and yogi, I’m always on the pursuit for happiness, so I was instantly intrigued by this study. The researcher in charge explained that they had three groups:

  1. they were told to do what they normally do on the train (which, in this day and age, is probably listen to podcasts and music with headphones in, and not talk to anyone) aka the control group
  2. they were told explicitly not to talk to anyone
  3. this group was told to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to them on the train.

The conclusion of the study was that the group who talked with strangers was happier than the other people.

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Montreal: A City of Churches and Yummy Food

My parents and I went on a trip to Canada earlier this year. Our first stop was Montreal, a fun mix of the western world and France. Because of this, there is a plethora of beautiful old Catholic churches. Equally as impressive was the food!


St. Patrick’s Basilica

This was my favorite church of all that we visited. It was very quiet inside and the architecture was beautiful. I could see myself meditating here regularly if I lived in Montreal.


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Sightseeing and Sweets in Toronto

On a recent trip to Canada, my parents and I stopped in Toronto. As a big city girl already, it felt like I was back in sweet home Chicago. With a limited timeframe to spend exploring – basically 12 hours – we squeezed in the important stuff: good food with a splash of sightseeing!

The Food – Ok, Really, the Sweets


When I was in NYC last month, I discovered Maman and fell in love. They know how to do pastries and decorating right.


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Life Lessons from an Airbnb Host

After a work training in New York, a colleague and I stayed for a quick 24 hours in NYC. I thought it would be fun, and potentially cheaper, to stay in an Airbnb so I chose one in Tribeca. The cost was fairly expensive for 1 night, but the description made it sound promising and the location was on-point. When we arrived, the host was eclectic and a little over the top, but nice enough. We weren’t at the place very long, but neither my colleague nor I were particularly impressed and stuck mostly to ourselves when we were in the loft. I don’t remember acting rude or grumpy, but apparently I’d made that impression on our funky little host:


When I received this feedback, I was taken aback. Yes, I can be short/curt and not super open to new people, especially when the time investment is so short. I was exhausted from a week of intense full-on training. But was I rude? Was I grumpy? Was I brusque (according to Merriam-Webster: blunt in manner or speech often to the point of ungracious harshness)? I honestly don’t think so, but I came across that way to Reno.

Shortly after receiving this email, a friend randomly walked into the cafe where I was sitting. I was happy to see her, of course, but Reno’s feedback flashed bright lights in my brain: BE EXTRA SMILEY NOW. ACT HAPPY. DON’T BE GRUMPY…AT ALL.

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