Category Archives: Hope

The Taiwanese aboriginal lifestyle

I hear the word aboriginal and I automatically think Australia. But that’s a little naive, because obviously there are ancestral all roots all over the world. We had many things like hiking and food on the itinerary, but I did not think I would also get a glimpse into the world of aboriginal life in Taiwan.

Spanning over 7,000 years, of history the aboriginal people of timeline are a proud and complex society. Roughly 2% of the population today can claim aboriginal roots. Many live in the area of Hulien, specifically near Taroko National Park.

IMG_1990

There are about 14 different tribes in Taiwan, some that only have a few hundred representatives left. One of their most distinctive traditions is facial tattoos. These days the kids don’t often take part, but many older members of the tribe have long lines and blacked out jaws, representing housekeeping achievements for women and enemy slayings for men.

photo 1 (1)

The food too was some of the best I’ve had in the country. The Lantern Hotel located in Taroko National Park has a working aboriginal restaurant, serving either barbecued pig, lamb or vegetables. The hotel itself has cabins surrounded by mountains, and a few recreated, classic aboriginal homes for guests to take a peek in.

IMG_1987

IMG_1995

To learn about the aboriginal livelihood in theory was wonderful but of course I wanted to really get a feel for this type of life. I was told after dinner there would be an opportunity to listen to some live music performed by local aboriginals but I was so dead tired. By practically dragging myself up a few flights of stairs I was delighted to discover two young men on guitars playing a sad and powerful song. It can be amazing how music transcends the spoken word and can evoke emotion in people all over the world no matter what the lyrics say. It was as if I was transported to another place and time through this intense performance. I thought sleep as long as I could but only was able to enjoy a few songs.

photo 2 (1)

More things to come after I nurse this awful cold and enjoy the last few days here in Taiwan. We’re heading south for more biking today, then venturing back to Taipei via high-speed train!

-CrookedFlight

Advertisements

Smack dab in the middle of Texas, Part Two: Music and Culture

Back on track! Wondering a bit more about Fredericksburg, Texas? Get ready:

DSC_0816

Fredericksburg has such a vibrant and successful community that they represent a wide rainbow of faiths with beautiful places of worship. We took a peek inside St. Mary’s Catholic Church, which was built out of the popular and special stonework seen on many buildings downtown.

DSC_0828

The stone is seen here too at the cute Pioneer Museum. You can stroll through the complex and hang out in some wonderfully re-created and restored period houses full of antiques and charm.

DSC_0942

I mean, he just had to be included. I forgot to show off this photo when we chatted about the brewery, but it needed to be brought up. Before landing in the Austin airport and officially stepping onto Texas soil, I assumed I would just see a whole lot of this. I know, I’m sorry, but obviously everyone would be gun-totin’, cowboy hat wearin’, chew spittin Americans, right? TOTALLY WRONG. People tended to be wonderfully helpful, intelligent and hilarious. Not to mention, everyone dressed better than I did, so I digress.

DSC_0977

 

One of the best evenings was a drive down to the Luckenbach for some music and brews. Now I know next to nothing about country music, but a few new friends swore I just had to listen to some TEXAS country music, which apparently is a whole other thing. It was – slow, a little sad and mesmerizing. Legend has it Willie Nelson used to frequent this place back in the day.

DSC_0981

In the summertime and on warmer nights the adjacent dance hall is opened for hours of entertainment and special concerts or events. I would love to get back there and learn a little line dancing.

If you want to hear a quick clip of the singers/strummers in action, here’s a YouTube clip of the performance:

We’ll finish the Texas round-up next week with some history and everything else left I haven’t covered yet. Fredericksburg was fantastic, but it’s time to move onto Virginia! And on Wednesday I leave for Little Rock, Arkansas. Then two weeks from today I take a little adventure over to ASIA. So much is going on I’m just hold fast onto all the action and whatever else may come!

 


Preview of my dream coming true: Mazatlan, Mexico

I can’t believe it took me this long to visit our neighbors south of the border. Being an East Coast native I assumed I’d be visiting Cancun or Playa del Carmen on my first adventure, but instead I was assigned to Mazatlan. Located in Sinaloa, this city is hugged by a fantastic, warm ocean and some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. They had a field day making fun of my Spain accent, yes ha ha laugh it up I know I sound like I have marbles in my mouth.

Besides that though, like seriously, Mexico is wonderful. All those rumors were laid to rest the second I met my insanely sweet driver for the week and the super helpful hotel staff who calmed me down after my luggage was lost. I met a woman from Bolivia who took charge as tour guide because she had already been there, and we were able to see a side of this city I’m sure many don’t experience. I had a lot of moments, like the time I was the only ‘gringa’ in a sea of a thousand locals at a beach-side Halloween party at 3AM, where I just though wow, oh wow, it’s all happening.

The full story will be featured in the winter issue of Canadian World Traveller, so here’s a sneek peak. The photos are out of order because, well, I have no idea what I’m doing.

Special festivities to honor the dead Part IV

Knocked this one off of the bucket list – witness Dia De Los Muertos first hand. They really went all out and had a massive party in the historical plaza, plus a parade with crazy Banda music. It’s a cross between Mexican Mariachi and German marching music – I know right?

Walking through the Osuna Distillery Part IITequila, except it’s not tequila. Only certain areas of Mexico are allowed to call it that, so this was Mezcal  Same thing though, don’t let the advertisers fool you!

Dia de los Muertos

Dia De Los Muertos again. Many businesses and homes had altars covered in skeletons, tortillas and pictures. Even the duty free shop in the airport had an altar.

Ocean and island views

When I first threw open the drapes in my hotel room I saw this and squealed like a kid at Disney World. It was just starting to get cold at home, so it was perfect timing. The resort is the Royal Villas Hotel and it was the best base for exploring Mazatlan – airy rooms, tasty breakfast and located really close to everything.

Sun goes down, stars come out

Some people stayed at the golf course, while I got this view. NO complaints.

Margaritas

Mango margaritas. At every meal. That is all.

Living like a local

This kid, rockstar. He was running around his parent’s salon and noticed I had a camera. We had an impromptu photo shoot with him checking every shot in between to make sure he looked good. “Otra vez! Otra vez!” “Again! Again!” We were in stitches, he is a born entertainer.

Hiking up to El Faro

He had tags but was all alone at the top of El Faro. Super friendly puppy, wish I could have spared a bit of my water, but it was like Satan’s bedroom up there and I thought I was going to pass out.

Elegant Marina El Cid

Being a guest at one of the swankiest gigs in town was definitely an experience. I wish I brought a prettier dress. The tourism board really outdid themselves and has everyone wear white to complete the look. We arrived and were greeted with a mango margarita and a boat ride across the harbor to this massive tent for more drinks, of course, and a four course meal.

A parasailing perspective

Parasailing was terrifying.  I HATE heights. But just like the kid egged on to lick that freezing pole by his peers, I couldn’t very well let the other writers show me up. So I did it and was rewarded with some of the most ridiculous views ever. Gliding along felt awesome, until I had to figure out how the hell to get down. Glad I still have all my limbs.

Sunset and horses

Adios Mazatlan, un beso!

In the near future I’ll share my London trip and maybe do a throwback to Spain, since it’s my fave. I got my press pass for the upcoming Boston Globe Travel Show in February, which will hopefully create more leads and more adventure! Here we go!


Next stop: Zoo York City

There will a little adventure to be had in New York this weekend! I scored tickets to the New York Times travel show and couldn’t be more thrilled – thanks to the people at InTheKnowTraveler and a Lithuanian tourism company I’ll learn more about when I get there. It will be hectic and nuts, but I’m thrilled to be a part of it all.

Not only will I be at the conference for a couple of days, I scored a stay at the Hotel Americano, which may just be the hippest place to be in Chelsea. It will be fantastic, I’m sure, to have such a charming, sleek home base with all the work&play I plan to do!

Image

Oh yeah. Swanktastic.

Luckily enough Gary was free this weekend and will be joining me for support and to take notes when I forget. It will be fun to be a team again – he’s looking for memorable places to drink and be merry as we speak.

A little anxiety is creeping into my plans which I’m trying to keep at bay – mostly because I couldn’t find a lot of motivation this week and I’ma bit swamped. Hopefully I can get word to paper tonight and tomorrow so I can focus on the task at hand in new York this weekend. Fingers crossed.


A new direction, shiny compass in hand, onward ho

It’s time to switch gears. Honestly I thought it would take longer to get my feet wet in the industry and figured I’d be hosting at restaurants until I was wrinkly. But as luck and hard work has it, I haven’t set foot inside a sports bar for months and no longer need to bus dirty dishes to get by.

While I muse and reflect the blog is going to change over to my adventures here and abroad so I have a base to go on. Things are happening fast and I’m having a strong desire to be tethered somewhere solid, despite by unquenchable wanderlust in real life and online.

For now the focus will shift into travel – the broad and awe-filled topic that many choose to chase and others are left wondering how great it really can be. I hope to immerse myself in it, the one thing that’s consistently let me feel alive. A scary though, while love and faith and  worry tend to ebb and flow throughout my life, the absolute need to see everything, in person, all over the world, has never left me. I want to share that deep desire with everyone.

Image

Officially, I am no longer unemployed. I am SELF employed, which is something I never thought I’d say. It’s time to embrace this, realize it, roll with it and carry on. I’m thrilled and terrified all at once, but I alone am in control now and it feels wonderful.


Well? Things are going….FANTASTICALLY.

I haven’t quite decided if I should keep going here or go out elsewhere. BECAUSE, I have arrived. I am no longer unemployed. Sortof.

Jobs are flowing in, if not perfectly steady, and my numbers continue to rise. My reviews are flawless and most clients are satisfied with what I’m doing for them on a freelancing basis. I’ve found that with a lot of my clients I’ve been moving into a different direction, encompassing more marketing and social media help. Thta’s fine by me, it’s still somewhat steady.

Now, for the challenges. One, time management. I have absolutely none. It’s very late and I’m blogging now to continue to avoid the task at hand. Which reminds me, I should get back to work.

But good news? Yeah, free trip to Mexico. It happened. In less than six months of venturing out on my own I earned a press trip to beautiful Mazatlan to rub shoulders with some incredible personalities and writers for a week. Oh and enjoy some time at the spa, ziplining, drinking tequila and dining on all the shrimp I could eat. Things are happening. It’s all happening.

Viva la Mexico!

 

Job Hunt Tip #9: Confidence is key, but don’t be an egomaniac. Feed on a few recent compliments and use your best assets of charm and grace to snag that interview.


SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK. RAWR.

My ideas of venturing out on my own are becoming more tangible as the weeks roll by. The steady contracts are becoming more frequent, so now I need to start crunching numbers to see if freelancing full-time will sustain me. So far, I’m writing some copy for a Manhattan-based daily deal website, just started a project for a motivational blog, and have steady articles assigned for a marketing firm. This week I’m doing an ‘interview’ where I edit an existing piece for a tech company. Best part is, they are compensating me pretty well for the story – I wish all my interviews paid me!

Of course it’s slow going a little and a bit scary. But I feel much better and think this is what I’m meant to do right now. Freelancing would be super hard with kids, a husband, or a hundred other responsibilities – but I don’t have those, so I should be fine for the time being. There’s a few other bookkeeping things to care of, such as a meeting with an accountant, to really understand the logistics. Other than that, smooth sailing for now, besides one small thing…

I CANNOT get up early. So far it’s been the worst thing to overcome. I set an alarm for a decent time, but there’s no sense of panic that I used to have. Like, come on, I’m a grown adult. I figured after I began the slow march into my mid (cough, late) 20s it would just click and my body would turn into old person mode, helping me get up at a reasonable time.

It’s really a shame- if i got up at 7am or 8am, I could probably be done by mid afternoon and have the rest of the day free. However, I insist on painfully dragging my work out and struggling until sundown, because focus and organization is also a challenge. I suppose this is all part of the learning process though, something I will hopefully get better at, since the whole point of this was to free up my life a little more to have some fun and travel!

Job Hunt Tip #8: Try to prepare as best you can ahead of time – for everything. A job may be offered, but if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, time frame or even interests, seriously consider not settling. I know that sounds crazy in this economy, but if you have drive and hustle, you’ll be fine. Hold out for something that may be pretty good, not just tolerable, as long as you can.


%d bloggers like this: