Adventures, Godivaworld Travels, La vida Loca, The Caribbean

Summer 2016 | Urban Hangover Presents…5 Yr Anniversary in Punta Cana, DR

As much as I love and enjoy creating my own travel adventures and experiences, I must admit there is something so exciting about traveling with a bunch of random strangers especially when there are white sandy beaches involved.

So sitting here, daydreaming in between meetings about where to go next (<–always thinking about this…nearly as much as I think about what to eat *sigh*) and as luck would have it I came across Urban Hangover’s instagram post about their 5 Year Anniversary in Punta Cana.

IMMEDIATELY I said to self:  “Self, lookuh here…..

Now you knooooooooow (if you’ve been following my journey and musings) that I’m all about a beach….see the majority of my pics.  So although I’ve been to Punta Cana before, I believe summer 2014, and even had the pleasure of partaking in the Hard Rock Hotel for an evening which is where this event is taking place, I immediately perked up.

I had to investigate further and so I was led to this…..check it out!

Not that I needed convincing but immediately I checked to see if they had a “single” option as I initially was of the mindset of a solo journey which I love.  BUT…….the level of good time shenanigans sure to ensue made me reconsider so I started my outreach to see who would be interested (knowing that I was already sold).  I mean after all, sharing is caring and I am too often asked about opportunities to wander with me so why not wander with others as part of Urban Hangover.

Soooooo, if you too are interested, just log onto urbanhangover.com for more info and tell ’em GODIVAWORLDTRAVELS sent you.

In case you need more convincing, Raheem DeVaughn will be the guest performer.

See you in the DR!!
Urban Hangover 2016

~Godivaworldtravels

Adventures, Travel Inspirations, Wanderlusting & Musings

Solo Travel….I’m here for that!

The world has seemingly become smaller and smaller as the internet has become the tool and source to research, plan, and even take virtual tours of distant and not-so distant exotic locales around the world.  In recent times, only those of a certain economic class were afforded the opportunity or luxury to traipse off to the likes of the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and other exotic lands.  As the world has opened up to mainstream America, so too has the curiosity and desire for greater, worldlier experiences.  Amidst this new era of exploration, a new breed of traveler has emerged – welcome “The Solo Traveler”!

What separates a solo traveler from your average run of the mill traveler is a mindset; a daring, open, adventurous, brave, and most importantly uninhibited desire to explore the world.  In the mind of a “solo traveler” it is the destination and experience versus the companionship that matters most.  There is no destination too distant or off-limits as each experience begins with a purpose.  Be it a search for solitude; a quest to meet new people often in a land where YOU are the one with the accent; or just the desire to be free to indulge and move to and fro without consulting with an accompanying travel companion.

It is often freeing and most certainly liberating at best but requiring an independent spirit or desire to embark on something new and different.  Solo travel however, is most certainly not for those challenged by solitude or scared of dining alone (a phobia known as solomangarephobia or the fear of eating alone in public).  Who knew?

No fret, as there are tons of resources for solo travelers including apps, dedicated sites, travel agents, travel groups and clubs all geared to the ever-growing population of solo travelers.  So even if you’re not quite ready to take the leap on a solo journey, you can start by going alone but in a group of other solo travelers so you’re not totally out on your own.  Just google solo travel to get a taste of what that ‘world’ looks like from the perspective of those who live by it and do it on a regular basis.

I, myself have gone on adventures with others whom I did not know prior to the trip (I’ve been to Cancun, Puerto Rico and Brazil for example and had a ball) and although we traveled together we were able to move and explore on our own, by our own individual rules.  This, I can tell you is a great way to slowly move into the solo travel space while still providing you a ‘parachute’ or safety net of others to fall back on.  Here are some sites to consider when researching your own solo journeys:

  • Friendly Planet Travel – they have a wide range of destinations and types of travel (independent, groups, etc).  I peruse them quite often and am thinking of trying them out this year for my next adventure.
  • Solo Travel with Abercrombie & Kent – Best known as a luxury travel company, Abercrombie and Kent accepts solo travelers on all of its trips — to all seven continents. They also offer Solo Savings escorted group tours, where single travelers enjoy their own private accommodations during every stop of the trip, but don’t have to pay the usual single supplements. A&K either completely waives the supplement, or reduces it by up to 75%.
  • Lonely Planet – I peruse this site just because…there’s a little bit of everything on it
  • Wanderlust and Lipstick – a new site I stumbled upon but definitely a good place to start for those new to or considering solo travel
  • Contiki is geared towards younger travelers, specifically those aged 18-35. The company uses forums and social media to connect vacationers with each other before they embark on their journey. Since most of their pricing is for doubles, Contiki’s goal is to match travelers up with someone of the same sex and then book a double room for them. So if you’re looking to make friends on your trip, this is the company for you.
  • Ideal for budget travelers, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) takes single travelers to exotic destinations such as Botswana and Patagonia. They have both land adventures, which are tours on land with groups of 10-16 other travelers, or small ship adventures, which are boat tours with anywhere from 16 to 25 other travelers.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line – On three of its ships — the Epic, Breakaway, and Pride of America — has cabins made exclusively for solo travelers that cost about 30% less than a double stateroom. They offers cruises all over including Alaska, Florida and the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada and New England, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe, and Panama just to name a few.

There are plenty others as well as numerous blogs, articles, and books on solo travels so it’s really personal preference as to your source for researching, planning, and ultimately making your solo travel dreams a reality.

Imagine a destination you’ve always dreamt of however you socialize it with your spouse, partner, friend, family, etc. only to discover those who would accompany you have limitations (for various and sundries of reasons); or want to provide input on the destination, travel time, even the accommodations.  Can you say downer!  Oftentimes the trip sunsets before it even gets finalized becoming more of a headache in the planning stages than the exciting dream destination you originally envisioned.  As a Solo Traveler, you think it, you plan it, it happens.  No consulting necessary as the only one to please is YOU!  It may begin with researching sites, groups, tours, etc. designated for solo travelers or destinations best suited for the solo traveler but it ends with an experience based on your expectations.

Research is key as is understanding how daring you are as in, are you courageous enough to travel alone or prefer a group of other solo travelers.  Much like Julia Roberts’ character in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” who went on a voyage to find herself after a painful divorce – solo travelers often discover much more about themselves as they are left to their own defenses, thoughts, and preferences totally unfiltered or encumbered by another.  Traveling in this fashion enables one to fully embrace ones’ surroundings to the point of self-indulgence, unfiltered, undisturbed if so desired.

Safety and precautions of course are a greater risk as a solo traveler as you are more vulnerable to scam artists and criminals targeting unsuspecting tourists in a party of one.  However, as with traveling in any capacity precautions must be made to ensure one’s safety.  With the right amount of preparation, planning, and research you will at best be armed with information on what to avoid and known safety concerns to name a few.  Travel sites often socialize key safety concerns, known dangers, and safety precautions for travelers so always do thorough research on any destination as part of your planning. However, when in doubt always trust your instincts!

Imagine doing what you want when you want in your destination of choice.  If you choose to lounge in your hotel room or by the pool all day no one will object when you travel alone. It may appear to be a lonely experience and to some, perhaps, but traveling solo opens the door to new interactions simply because you are a party of one.  Many are more inclined to approach you as a solo traveler from the wait-staff to the concierge as well as the locals.  You have the power to engage in conversations or be eyeball high in your Kindle, the choice is yours.  I have traveled abroad without knowing a soul however, by the end of the trip I made so many new connections it truly felt like I traveled with a companion or two.  The beauty of the solo travel experience is that the journey is just as you envision it to be with as little or as much interactions, excitement, and/or quiet time as you desire.

To the solo traveler in you!!!

Adventures, North America, U.S. of A

Falling Down (My Skydiving Adventure)

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. ~Helen Keller

When I tell you these past couple years have been full of adventures, both the traveling, exploring, and living on the edge kind.  From my long awaited trip to Bali for my birthday last year which included me partaking in Fly Fish (The ultimate in speed and exhilaration the Flying Fish is the newest water sports toy on the market! Fly Fish is a great adventure where you fly like fish jumping on the seawater with high speed boat); to parasailing in Mexico last October; followed by Ziplining in Barbados this past March.

Even after all that I just needed to quench my thrill seeking thirst by adding to the list – SKYDIVING!!!

Look, its the plane as I soar below it through the sky
Look, it’s the plane as I soar below it through the sky

I feel the need to endanger myself every so often. ~ Tim Daly Continue reading “Falling Down (My Skydiving Adventure)”

Adventures, Mexico

Fun Friday – Parasailing in Playa del Carmen

T – G – I – F!!!!!  Not to mention somewhere, right this moment it’s 5 o’clock…..er uh cocktail time!!

Happy Friday to everyone!  In the spirit of the beautiful weather I’m currently experiencing, I wanted to share my sunshine and vibrant disposition in a post from an adventure in my notso distant past wherein I went parasailing while in Playa del Carmen.  Let me set the scene…..

While chillaxing on the beach in Playa del Carmen during a birthday celebration I gifted to my sister and my really good friend-like-sister for their twin birthdays (plus 2 others) last October, I was checking out the various activities from the comforts of my cabana and my refreshing cocktail.  Up above I see just a little dot of a thing and immediately thought “oooh that looks like fun” saying to myself “I need to sign up” so began my research.

As you can imagine, in this touristy area there was no shortage of “beach promoters” offering up everything from jet skis to boat rides to parasailing.  So no more than 5.256 seconds after thinking to myself how I wanted to go parasailing, I was walking up to one of the “promoters” to find out how.  After getting the process, cost, and availability of a single parasail I was internally stoked!  I tore up the sand to get back to my sister and ask if she could capture some images of me from the ground when it was my turn.

Now all I had to do was wait and hush the voices inside who were getting me so riled up and excited.

Then my time finally came and I was beyond excited!!  So my jet-ski arrived to take out to the boat from which I would take off from (or atleast that’s what I made up in my head because honestly I didn’t have a clue how this was gonna take place).

I arrived at the boat for takeout and said farewell to my jet-ski driver.  Once on the boat there was a family of 5 kinda staring at me which was weird but not weird, I’m a shapely dark-skinned woman with big eyes and full feature and wild hair – that day lol.  Well they were from Iowa somewhere and was curious as to whom I was taking to the skies with.  I replied, “no one, just me” and followed with my friends are here and there on the beach somewhere but I wanted to do this and they were chicken so I told them I’d see em later.  The family smiled and said “you go girl” and offered to take my pic as I was getting in position to lift off.  See the pic below.

So I was off……in this harness thingy watching the ocean drift farther and farther from me.  Now let me explain something.  This was before I ventured into the world of GoPro so I had with me my smartphone AND my regular Olympus Tough – Shockproof/Waterproof camera in hand, not strapped onto anything.  As I watched everyday beneath me get smaller and smaller I just kept thinking “if I drop this camera how will I get my pictures” not to mention trying to figure out how to keep my movements to a minimum as I positioned the phone then the camera for the best random shots.  Dammit mannn if I had my GoPro, this would’ve been amazing!!!  All things considered, I think I did pretty good holding on, steadying my hand and holding BOTH cameras.

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My eyes look HUUUUUUUGE lol!

From the beach, my adventure looked like this (courtesy of my sister)

So there you have it….me parasailing by myself while trying NOT to drop my camera and phone in the ocean or somehow disconnect myself from the harness.  All in all it was a superfantastic experience and one I hope to do again on one of my future journeys.

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What’s the craziest thing you’ve done mid-adventure?

~ Travel Well ~

 

Adventures, Mexico

Jump – Weekly Photo Challenge (Motion)

Like Van Halen said back in the 80s……go head and JUMP!

As part of this week’s photo challenge for “Motion” this photo was one that immediately came to mind.  Taken at the Cenote Xtabay (Chikin Ha Cave System) in Tulum, Mexico last October, it is myself (on the right) and a girlfriend jumping in while another friend attempted to capture a few shots.  Ironically enough we did this shot several times before she actually caught us in motion.  (Since that time I have picked up a GoPro to enable more precise action shots.)

One more for the road 🙂

How’s that for “motion” lol?

~ Travel Well ~

Adventures, La vida Loca, The Caribbean

Ziplining in Barbados (March 2015)

I admit this was my first time Ziplining but most likely won’t be my last.  The folks at Aerial Trek were fantastic so if you’re ever in Barbados, check them out!!!

Although I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an adrenaline junkie, I do enjoy living on the edge a tad bit within reason – keeps life spicy lol!  I honestly haven’t done much thrill seeking although I’ve been parasailing (in Playa del Carmen) and fly fishing (in Bali – no not as in with a rod and actual fish but on a raft being pulled by a speed boat) so it was only a matter of time before I went Ziplining somewhere.  Now if only this Georgia weather would get itself together so I can schedule my skydiving session.

~ Travel Well ~

Adventures, Godivaworld Travels, The Caribbean

Antics in ANTIGUA

I can’t begin to tell you about the excitement I felt at the thought of all the shenanigans my friend and I would encounter as we embarked upon the beautiful island of Antigua (pronounced An-tee’ga) this past March.  map of antigua and barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda are located in the middle of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, roughly 17 degrees north of the equator. To the south are the islands of Montserrat and Guadaloupe, and to the north and west are Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Barts, and St. Martin.  The current population for the nation is approximately 68,000 and its capital is St. John’s on Antigua.

So the day began with our arrival into Antigua as part of our 5 day island hopping adventures.  The big event of the day was our Catamaran Lobster Lunch adventure which was sorta kinda a birthday treat for my friend that almost didn’t happen because it was apparently a very popular activity.  Nevertheless we almost didn’t make the cut due to scheduling and space availability but in the end Godivaworld wins!!!

Oh to wandering aimlessly along the beaches of Antigua……

Anyhoo, our destination was Jolly Beach which appeared to be pretty isolated and definitely NOT saturated with tourists.  I can’t say enough about non-tourist areas even when I’m being a tourist lol.  I prefer to wander the path less taken and get lost in the streets the locals travel more often than not as that’s where you really find the jewels of any city.

Upon reaching the beautiful Jolly Beach (after sailing the seas around Antigua feasting on grilled lobster, beans n rice, a vegetable medley and rumvodkajack) the comedy and shenanigans really took center stage.  We disembarked from the Catamaran to a cozy little spot on the beach so the luxuriating could begin and shortly thereafter laughter ensued.  Just taking in the scene my partner in crime for this adventure, Norman, spotted what he called his (make-believe) cliff-side property being renovated just in time for him to approve the current progress.

As if this wasn’t enough comedy, we just so happen to catch a glimpse of a lady with very colorful scarves/wraps approaching our “friends” from the Catamaran for a sale (who were attempting to lounge and luxuriate on the beach).  Luckily we were already basking in the warm water of the sea to miss this “pop-up” beach sale.  However, since my “look away” reflex is a little sluggish I made eye contact with “JjAHkeey” <–said just like that.  Please check out the video below to see how Norman adds color and comedy to this scene.  Ms. Jackie just wanted to know if I were interested in her wears to which I kindly responded – “I don’t have any cash on me” (my go-to response).  Well honey, Ms. Jackie told me  to let her know if I change my mind (she throwing shade?)!

See why this is titled “Antics in Antigua”……are you still hollering because I was there and STILL can’t watch this without cracking up.  Gotta love your friends I tell you!

Needless to say, after our Jolly Beach shenanigans and Norman’s comedy show, the rest of the afternoon was filled with basking in the glow of the aftermath.

Although I didn’t see much of St. John’s (capital of Antigua), I know without question that I WILL be making a return visit with atleast 5 days of leisure, wandering, and luxuriating to satisfy my wanderlust soul.  Honestly what more does one need to be convinced to see this beautiful island?

~ Travel Well ~