Enjoying Unemployment

Unemployment and living in the in between can be tough. Money constraints and lack of rhythm often create a lot of stress when you’re unemployed. You’ve got no routine and you’re just floating because you’re not exactly on vacation. In talking to a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer about the difficulties of the transition, she laid out some really good advice.

 

Enjoy being unemployed. Enjoy the time and freedom.

 

That struck me pretty hard. Enjoy it?!? How could I possibly enjoy this time of waiting and nothingness… and without any income! I put my thinking cap on and started thinking about inexpensive ways we could pass the time. Instead of dreading the downtime and trying to speed it up, we have started intentionally tried to enjoy the valuable gift of having no requirements. We’ve been able to enjoy the moments. Check it out below!

 

Hiking to el Moro Beach in Newport

The beach is so far away!!

We made it to the beach – now back up into the hills!

Ridge hike nearing the end!

Refining our survival skills

Collecting the goods for the tinder bundle

What we foraged from the canyon

Working on the bow drill method

Visiting the Getty Museum in LA

Spending time with family in CA

Mama, Auntie, and Grandmoms to the cutest kiddo!

Baby Kate fresh off a nap!

Aunts and nieces!

Visiting Crystal Cove State Beach

Goodbye beach! ❤

Sewing a dress

The finished product!

Excuse the hair – we pumped out the dress in 2.5 days!

Being tourists in Seattle

The new roasting facility for Starbucks in Seattle

Hanging out at Pike’s Place Public Market

Hiking in the Pacific Northwest

Some lookout off the 2!

Hiking around at Cougar Mountain

 

Old growth in the midst of clear cuts

Cherry Creek Falls near Duvall

Spada Lake off Hwy 2

 

Well as you can see, we have made the most of our time off. Instead of looking at it like unemployment, we’re choosing to make it more of a sabbatical more than anything. Time to recharge and rejuvenate; time to locate the roots of who we are. When this time does come to a close, it will be a bittersweet exchange. For the moment, I will enjoy the opportunity to sleep in and hike and blog while I can.

 

ACTION: Take a moment to reflect on something tough or challenging. Write it down and then draw a line next to it. This is your optimistic window. Write a positive spin on the problem that’s on the other side of the line.  Circle your new positive solution! Be happy! 🙂

 

Peace to you,

Ceebster

 

PS – Follow me on Instagram at @theceebster ! Cheers!

Lugares Hermosos: Tehuacan

So I can’t exactly vouch for the town of Tehucan, but I can however tout about the Tehuacan-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve which is just outside of town. The trip to Tehuacan (the town) was about 2 hours from the central bus station in Puebla, and then to travel to the Biosphere Reserve was another 30 minutes by bus. It was a little convoluted, so I definitely recommend knowing Spanish if you’re travelling to this little desert oasis. We had a work meeting out in the reserve and we only stayed for one night. If we could do it again, we would definitely try and stay out there for at least 2 nights!

The Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World heritage site that has highly concentrated biodiversity with over 3,000 species living inside the reserve! It is one of the zones with the highest concentration of columnar cacti in the world.The site is also considered a key site on the origin and development of agriculture in Mesoamerica and has provided central information regarding the domestication of various species such as maize, chile, amaranth, avocado, and pumpkin. (Thanks, UNESCO for the facts!) Below are some of the views we saw in the short time we were at this amazing place.

 

 

(see Neal as scale)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working hard as Peace Corps Volunteers!

 

Having fun with the Super Moon!

 

More Super Moon fun!

 

Thanks, Tehucan! You are beautiful!!

 

Could you ever imagine a forest full of cacti to be so beautiful and breathtaking?? We were certainly surprised. Our two biggest regrets is that we waited so long to visit and that we didn’t stay long enough. Oh well! Better than never visiting at all.

Keep adventuring, amigos!

Love,

C

Ecuador: Criaturas Asombrosas

¡Hola de nuevo! Welcome to the third – and final – installment of my Ecuador series. Click on for part one: Fabulous Moments or part two: Beautiful Views. In this final section of our trip to Ecuador, I wanted to share some of the crazy and beautiful living creatures we encountered during our time abroad.

 

This tapier was recuperating in the wildlife refuge we visited.

 

Stoic toucan waits for the rain to come!

 

A cordyceps right there in the rainforest!

 

A beautiful butterfly accented by modern colors.

 

Butterflies enjoying a good meal.

 

The ostrich referred to in this post!

 

A resting hummingbird – a rare shot indeed!

 

Sweet baby Canela, the hostel’s latest addition to their herd!

 

We just loved capturing all these creatures and critters on camera during our quick trip to Ecuador. This was just the tip of the iceberg. We’ll be back, South America!!

Abrazitos,

Chels

Ecuador: Vistas Bonitas

Part two of my Ecuador series (part one can be found here) entails highlighting some of the beautiful sceneries and views that inspired us during our trip!

This shot was taken from the bus as we headed into the Amazon – the road to adventure!

 

Breathtaking sunrise views from the hammocks on our porch.

 

Visiting the rainforest during the rainy season? No problem! That means full, swollen waterfalls!

 

Our lunch spot halfway through our white water rafting day!

 

Visiting this humming bird garden on the edge of the rainforest.

 

Colorful jackets amidst the natural colors of the Andes mountain range.

 

Alpacas and the beautiful Cotopaxi volcano taken from the grounds of the hostel.

 

Sunsets on one of the many beaches of Ecuador

 

Rooftop view of Quito

 

Strolling around in Quito – or France – or Italy!

 

Thanks for coming along with us on our adventure. We experienced so many amazing vistas, it was difficult to narrow it down!

 

Love from Mexico,

CB

Ecuador: Momentos Fabulosos

When Neal and I first found out we were moving to Mexico, we knew that we were going to have the opportunity to travel to some amazing places. From the get-go, we were determined to utilize our vacation as strategically as possible! Thanks to the generous Peace Corps annual leave policy, we have been able to travel to Costa Rica, Chiapas, Seattle, and now Ecuador. We even still have some vacation left if you can believe it!

When we planned this trip, we knew we would have to pack a lot into a short trip especially since we’d be travelling by bus and taxi in Ecuador. We contacted a handful of Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving in Ecuador and we got our travel plan approved after many revisions. Early on we decided that this would likely be the first of many trips to such a beautiful, interesting, and diverse country. That said, here are some of our favorite moments and memories from our viaje in Ecuador.

 

White Water Rafting (27 km!) in the headwaters of the Amazon and laughing the whole entire way.

 

Stumbling on a hiking trail with lush plants, waterfalls, and an ostrich! (Yes, an ostrich was waiting for us at the end!)

 

Visiting a hummingbird garden in Baeza, and then getting invited to the town party.

 

Making friends at one of the coolest hot springs and learning the word for cold in the native language… cha-chai!

 

Summiting our first mountain in the Andres range – Pasachoa at 4,200 m (13,780 ft)

 

Summiting another mountain in the Andes, Rumiñahui – 4,721 m (15,489 ft)

 

Playing, resting, and relaxing on the beach for two whole days and meeting Peace Corps Volunteers!

 

Attempting the summit of Pichincha with friends from the hostel. We turned around just below the summit due to inclement weather at 4,784 m (15,696 ft)!

 

Watching the sunset on our last day in Ecuador on a rooftop bar and celebrating all the wonderful memories we have made!

 

If you ever, and I mean ever, have the opportunity to travel to Ecuador… DO IT! Our Spanish was definitely helpful in getting around, but we ultimately used our English more in country talking to other travelers. We had such a beautiful time sharing meals with new friends, seeing you sights, and summiting new mountains!

 

Thanks for coming along! Adventure is out there!

XO,

Ceebs

Lugares Hermosos: Nace el Río

Travelling to Xalapa for a work trip allowed us to take a day and visit Nace el Río

…beautiful vegetation and biodiversity…

 

…waterfalls where the water comes out of the cliff…

 

…inspirational waterfalls for yoga…

 

…waterfalls everywhere you look…

 

… a huge waterfall probably as tall as Niagra Falls…

 

…incredible views from the porch of a cabin…

 

…and plenty of flowers that thrive thanks to all that water!

 

Next time we travel to Xalapa, I promise we’ll do some traditional sight seeing. This time we had just enough time for a little bit of work and a lot of play. Have I ever mentioned how awesome it is being a Peace Corps Volunteer?

 

Con cariño, 

CJ

 

Lugares Hermosos: Cueztalan (Otra Vez)

We’ve already highlighted the beautiful place called Cueztalan, but with our recent trip… I just have to emphasize again how magical this place really is…

…late night soggy coffee shop visits…

…stone churches in a sea of clouds…

…forests of old dinosaur ferns…

…hipster cars that meet the old culture…

…fresh flowers from the market…

…hand crafted belts and other crafts…

… green, mossy, living walls…

…windy roads that all lead to the Church!

Hopefully you can totally forgive me for highlighting this place twice. It truly is a magical town, with the church plaza, the waterfalls, and lovely people. We even spent one evening with an indigenous Nahuatl woman who treated us to Temezcal ceremony!! Thanks to the friends that made this trip so special!

Abrazitos,

Chelsea Beth

Lugares Hermosos: Chiapas

Travelling all over the state of Chiapas was one of the best decisions we ever made. Here are just some of the incredible sights…

… stopping for a quick lake break before heading out to the campo…

 

…staying with coffee farmers in “town”…

 

…sunrise while heading to El Triunfo…

 

…real, brilliant greens are everywhere…

 

…rivers for swimming after a long day of bushwhacking…

 

…dense, beautiful vegetation of the jungle…

 

…waterfalls and top-notch tour guides…

 

…pristine, isolated beaches that go for miles…

 

…crazy family in waterfalls with rain…

 

…full, luscious waterfalls right off the highway…

 

…one of the most impressive pyramid sights in the world, Palenque…

 

…smooth as glass lakes with indigenous guides…

 

…amazing coffee art and excellent coffee taste…

 

…new regional foods that you’ve never seen before…

 

…boat tour through the National Park of Cañón del Sumidero!!

 

 

Chiapas was hands down of one the most beautiful places I have ever visited in the world. There is a little something for everybody – plenty of tamer things to do as well! Adventure is everywhere!

 

Love from Cholula,

CBJ