5 Places I am Thankful for

I love this time of year. There are so many reasons to celebrate, be with family and EAT. In spite of everything people have to say about Thanksgiving and how we are superficial for celebrating one day and then shopping our lives away the rest of the season, I still love this day.

This year, I decided to  count my blessings in the form of places, thankful for everything these places represent and what they have offered me.

IMG_13055. Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

The oldest settlement in Puerto Rico, this old town is full of wonders. You can’t get bored in Old San Juan. You can find all types of food, from food trucks to fancy latin fusion cuisine. You can also find all sorts of drinks, from Puerto Rican “moonshine” or “chichaito” to a classic passion fruit sangría. I am thankful for all the fun times Old San Juan has given me, from late night with friends to fun days with family, it all happens here.

 4. Strasbourg, France

Yes, I love Paris and all of its enchantment. Still, I am completely biased to Strasbourg. This city in the region of Alsace, just minutes away from Germany, is very underrated. The unique fusion you find here is quite incomparable. L’Alsace for dummies? Like if France and Germany had a baby, but of course, there is so much more to it. I am thankful for Strasbourg’s culture and history, this city opened my eyes to so many things and I will always be thankful for that. Thanks to Strasbourg and my wonderful host family, I also discovered my true love for food.

 3. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is always on my list. It is a special city I am always waiting to return to. Have only been there for a few days, but I fell in love with it. I’m thankful for this city’s vibrant colors, inspiring architecture and delicious food.

 2. New York, New York

Ah, where to begin with this little gem? I have a love/hate relationship with this city. It is easy to forget it’s electric magic when you are deep in the trenches questioning your life choices, but this place makes you better and stronger by just being there. I am thankful for everything this city inspires me to be and for all the food from the world I have at my reach. New York, you make me stronger and wiser with each passing day.

20131226-170718.jpg1. Puerto Rico

You think I would limit Puerto Rico to just Old San Juan? Wrong. Puerto Rico is my favorite place in the world. I doubt any of the places in my bucket list could ever change that. I am thankful for Puerto Rico’s people, we are not perfect, but we are pretty awesome. I am thankful for the incredible ecological diversity you can find in this little island. I’m thankful for all the amazing food you can taste here, from my mother’s cooking to the many restaurants that offer hundreds of plantain plate varieties. I am thankful for Puerto Rico because it is an intrical part of who I am.

What places are you thankful for? Would love to hear your stories!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Can I just go everywhere? – My next big adventure

I’ve been very close to booking trips to Greece, Italy, Nicaragua, Turkey and Spain … all in the past week, seriously. Is this a problem? Maybe. I actually feel pain in my heart when I finally admit to myself that I can’t do it all, or when whatever deal I was looking into is no longer available.

How do you deal with a never-ending need for travel and adventures?

It’s a strong feeling that pokes me whenever my mind wanders. It’s fueled by inspiring Instagram accounts, my monthly Condé Nast Traveler magazine, my endless travel books and a camera that wants to see more.

I would take food and travel over any piece of clothing or trendy accessory. I obviously don’t want to make such choices, but I realize you can’t have it all in life. Every time I feel tempted to buy something new, I think hard about how it can hold me back in relation to my next adventure. But what happens when you are forced to say no to travel because of travel?

I can still technically go to either Greece, Italy, Nicaragua, Turkey or Spain, but I can’t possibly make it to all these wonderful destinations in 2015 (No Cristina, this is not a challenge for yourself, relax). What is stopping me? Money and vacation days are the obvious answers and probably the correct ones.

I think about my next adventure every single day, some days more intensely than others. The possibility of travel keeps me going and it gives me energy in so many levels of my life. It hurts me to face the limitations of real life, but it also keeps me going. It’s hard to think that non-stop traveling could take away from the wonders of exploring, like people who work at Disney and get over its magic, but I do not fear this possibility one bit.

I’m honestly lucky to have been where I’ve been. I may be hard on myself comparing my schedule with those of travel magazine editors’ but I can’t help it. It’s just one of the sweetest pains there is.

Never stop wanting to explore this awesome (sometimes weird) world we live in.

Here are some pictures to get you (and me!) inspired…

fishing-village-greece_tn2Greece: I’ve been dying to go to Greece for a while now, as made clear by this previous post. This past summer I chose Croatia over Greece, but that doesn’t mean one day I will finally meet this great country. I have a group of friends traveling to Greece this summer and due to various reasons, I had to say no. Needless to say I’m happy for them, but secretly planning to sneak into one of their suitcases. (Image Source)

Sunflower-Fields-Tuscany-ItalyItaly: I’ve been to Rome and Florence before, but that doesn’t mean I’m done with Italy. Not at all. One of my best friends will be in Milan this summer and I really want to visit her. Visiting a sunflower field in Italy is part of my bucket list and although I think they are like 4 hours away from Milan, I would totally make a detour for a view like this! (Image Source)

All Rights ReservedNicaragua: Somehow, through the wonderful world of Instagram I stumbled upon El Camino Travel. I don’t know much about them but this trip to Nicaragua they are planning sounds amazing. Surfing, morning  yoga, getting to eat local food and meeting new people… sounds like a great plan. Central America has so much to offer and I want to explore beyond what I saw in Costa Rica years ago. (Image Source)

istanbul-22342-1366x768Turkey: About 5 years ago, in France, I was lucky enough to cross paths with a lovely, silly and caring Turkish girl. She became my partner in crime during my time in France and to this day I’m lucky enough to call her my friend. She says Istanbul is the best city in the world and she has yet to prove it to me. Just as I have yet to prove her that Puerto Rico is the most beautiful island in the world (she just has to visit, that will take care of it). I know I will go to Turkey with her one day, hopefully this year, and when it happens I just know it will be amazing. I also know that she will probably have something to say about the picture I chose for this post. (Image Source)

sa_calobra_mallorca_spainSpain: Last, but definitely not least. Spain has always been a special country to me, even before I first visited when I was studying abroad. I obviously love that they speak my first language, but my admiration for their culture goes beyond that. I’m obsessed with their wines, cheese, music and lifestyle. I’ve been to Madrid and Barcelona but would go back in a heartbeat to explore more of this amazing country. Heck, I would even move there if I could plan accordingly. Another one of my best friends is currently living in Barcelona and I think about booking a trip at least once a week. This picture is from Mallorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea, but apparently you can take ferries or flights from Barcelona to Mallorca very easily.  I know I would do it. (Image Source)

So, what are you waiting for?