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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A Taste-test of California

For my first time in California, I was lucky to make it out to some beautiful places, see the touristy stuff and eat some really good food. So here are a couple photos of my little trip to the sunshine state. Check out these spots if you’re ever in the hood!

1. Venice Beach

Strolling down the boardwalk while people watching and taking in the view of the beautiful Pacific definitely makes for a good day in the sun. Full of crazy characters and at least a couple attractions that will catch your attention, this stretch of beach is famous for a reason. The sunsets are also beautiful.

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2. Echo Park
This lil’ gem calls for a picnic on a warm day, to just lounge in the park or take a lazy walk around the fountain, or if you’re feeling up to it, rent a paddle boat and laugh at how classic it is to ride one of those on a little pond. They have a nice little coffee place and the food is meant to be tasty as well.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0130.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0129.

3. Hollywood Boulevard and ‘the Sign’
On top of actually gazing upon the well known white block letters that loom over the hills of Hollywood, driving up here makes for a nice view of some nice houses, and walking in the park itself is a good little hike. There are trails that take you through the hills, and the Griffith Observatory up at the top is an interesting place to check out with killer views. Hollywood Boulevard was just fun for the funs sake. Shoe shops and tourist traps with a sprinkling of gnarly ‘costume’ stores, blinking lights and Zach Galifinakis look alikes. Saw a couple sad Cinderallas in there too, most definitely an interesting place to check out. Get a drink or two but as with most touristy areas, you’re paying for the location here. DCIM100GOPROGOPR0135.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0138.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0145.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0146.

4. Calle Olvera and Little Tokyo
If you’re in the city (LA), these are a couple cute spots that you can go lurk to your hearts content, mow some sushi in an authentic hole in the wall or wait in a long promising line for taquitos. Both spots featured unique tiny shops and restaurants and are fun to look around.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0126.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0167.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0165.

All made for a dope time in Cali, until next time!DCIM100GOPROGOPR0175.

Been to California? Tell me some of your favorite spots to check out!!


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So lovely that it’s mad

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0090.Feel the energy refreshed

anew

a new day

a new pattern

watch the particles collide

so close yet so far

do not resist the sun on your face

it is there for a reason

a changing of a season

doesn’t mean the same for everyone

as all our paths are unique

dancing and interweaving together

so much method in the madness

so lovely that it’s mad

many lifetimes to be had

let it all happen

let yourself be free

there is always more to see…

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Celebration

Running through grocery store isles and jungle trails

rushing down long highways

at the end I see the sun

between mountains

Above stars flicker like embers in the coal

Laughter blows as wind

and tears are welcome rivers

glistening as they descend down wind touched cheeks

hints of magic on a frame

Banging drums and kicking until the fire burns away

from the grips of the night

reluctantly shying from sleep and then softly

surrendering

accepting and rejoicing in it’s gift

anticipating secretly when the sun rises again,

burning with life

each ray a firework

celebrating creation

and each moment it’s own big bang

the celebration roars on.

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The gifts of Travel

As the fall months turn into a time of slowing down, renewal, reflection and recharging, I feel it’s a perfect time to share some thoughts about how travel has changed my life and why I love it, why every memory and experience is so special and how I think it is undoubtedly beneficial for our hearts and souls.

1. The people you meet

Some of the closest friends I have made have been while travelling, near and far. Taking yourself out of the ‘usual’ and freeing yourself you are no longer limited to what already surrounds, more able to make connections that you may never have made had you not taken the actions you did. This also goes for just doing new things and reaching out to the world wherever you are! Often you meet people on a similar page as you, and a few travel days can feel like a lifetime. Sometimes the shortest interactions are the ones that affect you the most. I believe that everyone we come across in life comes into our lives for a reason, sharing their own unique thoughts and gifts, and these relationships are so beautiful. If it weren’t for the amazing people I have been so fortunate to meet along the way, my journeys would not be what they are. IMG_6963IMG_8235

 

2.  The Uncertainty of Diving into the Unknown

A friend and I discussed this once and dubbed it ‘the newness’. It is this concept, this excitement of jumping into the uncertain, leaving comforts behind and allowing yourself to be free as you truly exist, that is a huge reason I love to travel. Although each day is a new adventure, yes, waking up in new cities, speaking different languages and reaching destinations you can barely dream of are the perfect breeding grounds for creating the experiences that open our minds and make the seemingly undoable possible. Even crappy plane rides and dreadful bus rides are awesome. Every time you leave, you know that things will never be the same. In doing this we are letting go, tuning into the place that is always there where limitations are only an illusion. IMG_6743

 

3. Cultural Diversity

We are all citizens of the world. The privilege to go out and broaden the cultures we are familiar with, se different ways of life and live amongst our fellow earthlings, near and far, is such a blessing. The hospitality and kindness I have experienced by people I’ve known for a mere few hours fills my heart with light, and whether it is these blissful moments or the witnessing of tragedies one would never hope to experience, all parts of seeing new places go toward expanding our views, inside and out. IMG_6913IMG_6903IMG_8152

 

4. The lifestyle

Depending on where you are, lifestyles in other places my differ dramatically from your home town, city or country. I love the aspect of Nicaraguan culture that takes a siesta, or mid afternoon rest. I love how when Thai street vendors need to stop for a snack, they do it. The lifestyle of travel, however taxing at times, including ups and downs as all ways of life, to me represents freedom, a feeling of living outside the box. From being able to buy vegetables from a smiling market vendor to going for morning swims in the warm Pacific, the variety of a different lifestyle is enticing. IMG_7424IMG_8021IMG_8188

5. The experiences

This includes every single moment, down to the 2 hour conversation with a ‘stranger’ that made your day, to the wonder of marvelling at Angkor Wat. There are just too many possibilities for amazing and beautiful experiences that only await us to find them. The world is our playground, to be respected, but enjoyed. Things that propel us to savour each breath and each captivating moment, times that later we thing about and say “wow, I never though I would be hiking in the remote mountains in Panama, or diving with whale sharks 20 feet away”.IMG_7119IMG_696110484408_10152382797348801_1205815922308248771_n

6. The Food

Yes we have some amazing choices at our fingertips here in Canada, but holy, who is not down with a delicious steaming curry made from scratch that turns out to be addictive, or fish tacos with the freshest ingredients you’ve ever experienced? You can taste the difference in high vibrational foods, you can feel it. You can feel life through pungent herbs and the aromas of carefully blended spice mixes, there are just so many unique and one of a kind foods to try. The only issue is deciding what’s next! Not to mention living in places where you can pick fresh fruits daily and where sometimes fast ‘food’ is not even an option.IMG_4643IMG_4684IMG_6647

Our world is a magical place! What do you love about travel? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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Fast times in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

After completing my Spanish studies for the moment in Granada, I was more than ready to move on. I made the decision to head to San Juan Del Sur for some much needed beach and fun time, and what a great decision it was. I would attend the infamous Sunday Funday, surf and eat burritos to my hearts content. Boarding the school bus marked ‘Rivas’ with many locals and a handful of alert-looking travellers I sat next to a smiling jewelry maker from Guatemala. He showed me his creations and we chatted in Spanish. I could smell the Flor de Cana on his breath, which as a polite fellow he offered me, but I wasn’t ready to start just yet. I met an awesome few new friends on the bus that would make my trip to San Juan all the more awesome.photo (2)

The view of the ocean so close and glimmering as we got out of the sticky taxi made my heart explode, I loved this place already. After realizing we weren’t the only people rolling into SJDS after trying at both popular Pachamama hostels we strolled down and found accommodation at an Irish bar/hostel right on the beach called Casa del Mar. If you find yourself in a similar situation, never fear, there are tons of accomodations in close proximity to eachother, but if showing up for Sunday Funday it’s wise to book ahead. The world cup was on as we walked in, the bar surrounded by enthusiastic locals getting in on the contagious football excitement and 20 cordoba beers. If I may add, these were the cheapest beers I could find at any bar.photo (5)photo (6)photo (7)

Being a small town, the beach is pretty much close to everything, either a walk or a bike ride away, and if you’re up in the hills a little bit you’re still pretty close by truck or cab. The main beach right out front is perfect for swimming and is even a little surfable.

In town, there are a plethora of restaurants and cafes that are sure to catch your eye. Though some are more expensive than your typical Central American establishments, they are cool places and worth checking out. I’d recommend Gato Negro Café for a great cup of coffee and breakfast, as well as a huge selection of books for sale, a big table with stacks of tarot cards, baked goods and an assortment of handicrafts. For a gourmet burger or inventive appies, check out Nacho Libre, a little burger place with crafty and original burgers with prime ingredients and a cool atmosphere. They have veggie options too! If the Canadian in you is craving some poutine or a stacked Caesar, hit The Loose Moose, a patriotic pub/eatery that also has a good sushi roll. There are also a few taco/burrito mainly-to-go places that top the list like Taco Stop.photo (14)

Fuelled and ready to go it’s time to hit the beach and SURF! A $5 each truck ride (with a couple other people) will take out out to Playa Maderas, one of my favorite beaches for surfing ever. That’s a bold statement, yes. There are more amazing beaches in the area, but this was the only one I was so fortunate to surf at. You can rent a board there but they’re not abundant so it’s easier to rent one in town from a surf shop that will most likely have a truck to take you out as well. These top class waves cater to more advanced as well as beginner surfers and the vibe is just amazing. There are a couple restaurants/cafes on the beach, a popular camping area and a SLACKLINE. That’s my jam. Get yo’ surf on, get yo’ tan on, get yo’ balance on. Maderas is beautiful. There are a few hotels scattered along the road toward the beach and a hostel right at the beach, but this place is generally booked due to it’s location so call ahead. Seriously a must-go beach.photo (11)photo (10)

photo (3) photo (12)photo (16)So it’s time to talk about the once a week gathering of debaucherous young people getting crazy in pools, the infamous Sunday Funday. Waking up pretty hungover and waiting in line to buy a ticket with a bunch of soon to be homies, I can honestly say I was not feeling it. Thanks to my crew for keeping me on track though and not missing out. If you’re going to attend any party in Nicaragua this is a great one to hit. After buying a wristband/claiming your rightful Sunday Funday singlet, the day is yours to mentally and physically prepare (whatever that means) until the trucks start coming and hauling away party-goers to a resort overlooking the bay, the first stop of the madness. The infinity pool beckons as you enter, and the place is packed. One word of warning here though, the bathroom to attendee ratio is way off, so just try not to go or you’ll be spending a lot of time in a line up.  Easier said than done, I know. The pool crawl eventually takes you to the Naked Tiger hostel for even more ‘wholesome’ fun and then at the end of it all down to Pachamama Hostel in town. It’s a great ride, and if you roll with it, prepare for an amazing time.

If your body is still going and your head still wants to party, there are a couple fun bars in town as well, like The Black Whale and Iguana. The Black Whale has pool tables and also does fire shows. One word of warning, as San Juan del Sur is a more touristed place, petty crimes can be more common, but just keep your wits about you as usual and don’t venture onto the beach at night.photo (13)

If you’re looking to get some new artwork needled into your wonderfully tan skin, I highly recommend Guy Mark Tattoo. This amazing artist has been tattooing around the globe for quite a while, with a highly unique and sought after watercolor style. If you dig his style, go in ahead of time to chat as he’s usually pretty booked up, and make sure you get all your surfing done first.

It’s definitely understandable how people get ‘stuck’ in SJDS, beautiful beaches, surf, great food and great times all around.

Have you been to San Juan? What were your experiences of this little beach town?

 

 

 


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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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