Moonroots

Find your roots and grow, wherever you go. Travel-Yoga-Lifestyle


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Guatemala is a Trip

Words can barely describe my recent trip to Guatemala, and I never expected it to be what it was. Through my travels and supported by it’s beauty and culture, amazing people and places, I was knocked down by sickness and brought to life again, met the most amazing people, hiked volcanoes and trudged through caves, saw sunrises and sunsets in places that I will never forget with new faces that have impacted my life for good. Here are some of the highlights and favorite photos of my journeys in this beautiful country, I hope they inspire you to go for yourself and experience your own Guatemalan adventure!

 

1. Exploring the streets of Antigua

I love colonial towns, and Antigua is one the nicest ones I have visited thus far. Old churches, cobblestone streets and heaps of shops and restaurants to check out in the day, as well as some good bars and live music to see at night. I was lucky enough to spend New Year’s here, where the street were packed and the celebration was on in full swing. As the clock hit midnight I watched from a rooftop as fireworks encircled the entire city. If you don’t get too trapped into going out there are some awesome day trips and hikes to do through tour companies that are decently priced and super fun!

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2. The Good Life at Lago de Atitlan

This was a place many friends had told me to visit, and for good reason. The vibe at the lake is not to be missed, a hidden gem in the mountains only accessible by winding roads and well worth the journey. I spent the most time in San Pedro, which is full of awesome restaurants, a couple must-go bars, reputable Spanish schools and thanks to the super ‘naturalist’ crowd it draws, a life saving health food store. Sunbathing, swimming in the lake, hiking, beach partying and lots of good music surrounded by a little family was how I spent my days. Only word of warning, be cautious of taking good care of yourself and perhaps look into Grapefruit Seed Extract if you want to save yourself some trouble, I got quite sick here, and unfortunately it’s a common occurrence. I don’t often stay places for 3 weeks, but San Pedro felt like a temporary home. Want to learn Spanish? Highly recommend Maya B Spanish School. If you are looking for a more relaxed vibe and hella cacao ceremonies, check out San Marcos, easily accessible by boat from the San Pedro dock!DCIM105GOPROGOPR6035.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6120.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6192.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6208.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0346.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0334.

3. Indiana Jones’ing and Jungle Lovin’ in Semuc Champey

Hands down one of the coolest and most fun experiences ever. Pretty broad yeah but seriously, Semuc Champey is the shit. It was a bit of a deathride to get there, stuck in the back of a tiny bus for like 10 hours and fearing falling off a cliff, but once you get there you’ll forget about the bus and let yourself enjoy the beauty and good times awaiting. I stayed at the infamour Zephyr lodge, known for it’s party atmosphere and complete with a bunch of Aussies but worth staying at, even though it’s a tad more expensive than some other accommodations. The town of Lanquin where most people stay (also where Zephyr is located) is quite small but I actually checked out a dope market with some great tamales. Many of the people here didn’t actually speak Spanish but a dialect of Mayan, and being out here really felt as close as many beaten path travellers get to off the grid. Semuc Champey itself is about a 45 minute truck ride away. It’s crystal blue pools and the nearby caves will take your breath away. Talk about jungle love, this place blew my mind. Australia day was pretty fun here too, and gotta love an infinity pool. DCIM106GOPROGOPR6211.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6236.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6249.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6278.

4. The Serene Ruins at Tikal

Almost didn’t make it to Tikal, but if you’re going to see some ruins, I highly recommend visiting. Tikal is located near the city of Flores, so most people stay here and take a tour out in the day to the ruins, as we did, with a super informative and enthusiastic guide and a good sized group. We explored the ruins with our group and individually and what really struck me was how peaceful it was. No giant crowds like Angkor Wat, and with the guide providing in depth info about the ruins, flora and fauna, I felt I got the whole time travel experience. We watched the sunset from one of the highest formations, as is has done for years and years over the Mayan Empire. Magical.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6298.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6301.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6294.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6309.

So there you have some highlights of some crazy times down in Guate. So much left untold, so much still to discover. Muchas gracias!

 

What parts of Guatemala have you visited? What were your favorite parts or crazy things you experienced here?


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The Art of Doing Nothing

I think of this term every time I feel like I am pushing myself too hard or having unrealistic expectations, all mindsets that will put me in a box. Just as in yoga we do in order to be, performing asanas with the intention of bringing ourselves into oneness, being in the present moment, as we truly exist, we do the same in our day to day lives, yet it is our conditioning to be so caught up in the do that we forget about the be. Let’s change that conditioning. We can perform sivasana on the mat, teaching ourselves to completely let go, and it’s beautiful, necessary, our vision becomes clear, our soul shines through. To then be able to take this ‘letting go’ off the mat into our daily lives is a breakthrough, and just one of the many goals of the practice. As quite a productive person my whole life this has been something my grasp has been firm on, and yoga has helped me loosen the grip on; the pressure I put on myself to be constantly ‘doing’. While on the mat I can seem to let go, my tendencies toward ‘burning the candle at both ends’ have taught me to take it back a notch, and just as we can’t ‘do nothing all the time’ we can’t be ‘go go go’ all the time. Just like nourishing our bodies with good foods, we must take care of our ‘chi’, ‘prana’ or ‘life force energy. Think of  a car on a roadtrip that is driven for many kilometres all the time, it wears out faster, maybe it overheats or runs out of oil.  Seems simple doesn’t it? Now I don’t mean sitting on the couch all day and watching TV necessarily, but releasing the hold of the mind that is telling us we must be ‘going’. All the time.  Near the middle is where we thrive. Sure, life’s goings on fluctuate as all things do, but the skill is in bringing ourselves back to centre so that we can continue living and loving with the vibrancy that we deserve. Asking yourself, “Am I honoring myself the time to not just give and put out into the universe, but to allow it to flow through me?” or vice versa, is the first step in bringing ourselves to this sacred balance. A resistance of any sort in nature’s flow when too strong creates imbalance, and where the mind, body and spirit aren’t balance, illness can result. Resistance to a certain situation for example, maybe we don’t like our workplace. We can resist it thinking every day of how we loathe the place, causing ourselves stress which can have many effects in the body, or accept what is and then try to change it. The choice is ours. Listening to our bodies and hearts is where the key to the awareness of this flow lies. As we meditate, practice asanas, mantras, we are tuning into this flow, the one that will guide us through life healthfully, more balanced. So sit back. Listen to your breath. Or the birds outside. Sometimes you just have to lay back, release ambition, and sweetly practice ‘the art of doing nothing’.IMG_8278

 

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Two nights in San Jose

After saying goodbye to hostel life and amazing homies I found myself leaving Uvita, vomiting the previous night’s party into a bag and darting glances from the old man across the isle. My next stop was Nicaragua, where I planned to finally do some Spanish courses and stop embarrassing myself with my artful butchering of the wonderful language. I spent two cool days in San Jose, one at a hostel that seemed like someone’s house, full of university students, and one at one of the most popular hostels in San Jose, Hostel Pangea. The first was quite cozy and intimate, with nice people, but out of town and very quite. I preferred the latter. They have a rooftop bar and a pool, enough said.photo (1) Once the security guard pokes his eyes through the peephole and you enter the iron gates, trancey beats and trippy wall art welcome you into the backpacker-esque atmosphere of Pangea. The sky was gray and slightly spitting when I arrived, laying a sleepy layer over the hostel and the city. As I had discovered the night before, San Jose was cold. Cold of course compared to the sweltering jungle heat of Uvita, not cold enough to keep me out of the pool though. A friendly lad by the pool offered to share his sushi, but being in a new city I was too excited to take a solo walk to the grocery store. There is just something about strolling the isles of foreign grocery stores that is like being in an art gallery, shelves full of colors and new-ness. Perhaps it was the gray sky, the iron bars everywhere or bustling pace of the city people, or a combination, but the vibe I was feeing made me walk swiftly. I practiced my poor Spanish on the cashier as I paid for my gallo pinto and fruit. My next plan of action was purchasing a ticket to Granada, Nicaragua, where I planned to get schooled in Espanol. The friendly Tico fellow at the front desk finished work and we walked to the ticket office through the busy streets of San Jose. New shops, new faces, all different yet all sharing the bond of existing in the world together. San Jose is actually one of the only places I feel was similar to how I expected it. He told me about his university and thoughts and home outside the city and I felt my heart filled again with an ever-living pool of wonder and gratitude. As the clouds forecasted, the rain began, and we waited under the shelter of the ticket office for it to calm down, watching people come and go in the rain, my friend waved to a guy on rollerskates busting through a deep puddle. Bus ticket purchased, I returned to the Pangea ready to relax, wandered to the scenic rooftop bar and made some friends.  Other than the unenthused bartender who I found particularly entertaining, the rootop bar was a fun atmosphere with a great view and served really good food! This turned into a long evening of enthusiastic chatter and stories and plans, excitement of memories and what adventures have yet to come. Later on a friend from Uvita showed up, as those things happen so often while travelling. Some other features of the hostel include computers available for use, a movie room and luggage storage in the day, a great place to stay if you go through San Jose for a night or two.

The next morning, cruising through silent San Jose streets I got to see the city as a skeleton, when it’s heart beat is slow and rythm still sleeping, the surrounding mountains watching cooly. My cab driver asked me where I was going and advised me to watch my belongings carefully, and I was comforted by his concern and friendliness. Long bus ride to Granada. here I come. Like most, I’m not a huge fan of crossing borders as it is, and this time in particular, realizing I had overtayed my visa in Costa by a month and not having proof of leaving Nicaragua, it was quite difficult to keep my mind from conujuring up numerous unpleasant situations in the purgatory of the bus. My heart raced as I approached the immigration desk with an auto-smile, hoping that I, would buffer whatever was coming. Next thing I knew I was back on the bus, a successful border crossing and in fact one of the easiest. Two obvious lessons here, don’t worry too much, but please first make sure you know when your shit expires, ya rookie. Next stop, Granada!

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Costa Rica Loving and Why You Should go Whitewater Rafting

Sorry for the mini-photo

As you can probably tell by the title, I went whitewater rafting for the first time the other day and FELL IN LOVE. More on that in a moment, but first a little update on the current adventures that have been unfolding in this beautiful country. Living and working in a hostel, The Flutterby House, has been amazing and such a crazy different experience from being a guest. Being part of the travelling community and meeting so many new and unique people every day but always being the one to stay, watching the influx of people and energies on busier days and feeling the sleepy calmness of the atmosphere when occupancy is lower. It’s also so special to become part of the community of the area and see much more than one normally would if only passing through. Contributing to the community itself and feeling yourself as a piece of the whole, as we all are, is what makes it all special. The uniqueness that people from all different places can come together here and feel at home, all in the beautiful surroundings of the dense tropical vegetation and breathtaking coastline of Uvita, Dominical and the surrounding area. The vibration of the Pacific comes in on the warm breeze, I can hear it calling as I write this. As rainy season begins, the energy and power of the lightning and thunder, huge raindrops smacking the roof above my head all add to the magic that make this wonderful reality.IMG_7529 IMG_7380IMG_7335IMG_7429IMG_7499IMG_7573IMG_7645Teaching yoga in the open air of the yoga deck is such a blessing. So grateful to have students from all over, learning something new from each soul who comes to class and grow with them, the experience is priceless. If you’re in the area come around and get in on some invigorating Vinyasa Flow!IMG_7633IMG_7396 Some days are spent blissfully walking Playa Uvita down to the awesome swimming spot near the whales tail (a reef that juts out and looks like a whales tail from above!), taking leisurely bike rides into town and cooking late lunches with ingredients that you can taste the life in, while some I find myself ripping out somewhere and feeling like a true traveller again, marvelling in the newness of powerful waterfalls, cool rivers and fun markets. Getting to know locals in the area means being able to see things you wouldn’t normally from a backpackers path, like the crazy Cinqo de Mayo party we attended the other day at a lovely local couple’s home high in the mountains, or exploring a beautiful retreat centre where a friend works and seeing the behind the scenes of what goes into putting on amazing events and gatherings.  One of my favorite parts of being here and staying for a while is the chance to really soak it all in, savoring each moment and learning about the area, indulging in the time spent simply realizing the greenness of the trees and the warmth of the air, seeing every day’s events and appreciating what a cool and surreal life we live. Also, the abundance of fresh fruit is just fricken awesome; mangoes are never better than when you find them from the giant shade-providing trees all around. IMG_7662IMG_7694On that note of extreme enthusiasm, onto rafting!!!!! As part of our ‘crew day’ we went rafting down the Rio Savegre with Dominical Surf Adventures, class 2-3 rapids, perfect for most of our skill levels and one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. Looking around at the mountains on the calm spots and then paddling hard, feeling the strength of your body and working as a team to power down the river, falling through big holes and loving the rush as water splashes into the boat and over your face, the perfect temperature in the warm air. Our guides were both super skilled and knowledgable and actually have a rafting team competing in some sort of championships. I felt empowered to be in good hands and still part of the force directing us through the rapids. The feeling rafting gave me was similar to when I first went diving, so new and exciting, a multifaceted activity that plasters a smile on your face and in your heart. The guides were just as pumped. Even though it’s a little bit expensive, I can’t wait to go again. So all in all, although I have only been here in Uvita for a month, it’s been a roller coaster of fun and exiting new adventures and a big ball of beauty that seems to have exploded and spewed magic everywhere. Intense, I know. Thank you to everyone who makes this place so special, you’re all so awesome! Come visit!

Did you enjoy this post? If so please share the love with others! What places and things do you find magical and fill your heart with excitement? Have you been rafting? Share your thoughts! Namaste!