2015: GRATITUDE for a HELL OF A YEAR!!

2015: GRATITUDE for a HELL OF A YEAR!!

This year was truly a year of DISCOVERY, a year to practice GRATITUDE, a year to experience new people and places, and to MARVEL, WONDER, and PRAISE the beauty of our Earth. If you don’t realize it yet, we are pretty blessed here, on this planet Earth. If you have been feeling down, if you have worry or fear in your heart, just look up into the sky, or take some moments outside and away from your “day-to-day” life, whether it be a 5-20 minute walk to contemplate & connect to your present, or take longer, perhaps via train, plane or automobile to reach somewhere new, somewhere you just might re-discover love of life. I did both this year, in 2015.

A self-proclaimed LOVER OF TRAVEL and all things that make me go  OOOOOOOOOOOH & AHHHHHHHHH, I can tell you, It’s been a HELL OF A YEAR!!!!

HERE’S A QUICK RECAP OF MY YEAR OF TRAVEL:

THIS YEAR I VISITED 3 COUNTRIES (well 4 if you count 1 night/day in ENGLAND for our layover in London; 2 new countries and 2 countries that had been calling my return) 

countries traveled in 2015

 

I TRAVELLED THROUGH 3 NEW STATES I HAD NOT KNOWN IN MÉXICO LINDO: Quintana Roo, Yucatán, y Chiapas.

Traveling throughout Mexico 2015

 

I TOOK MY FIRST SOLO TRIP. Yup, 100% SOLA, to MÉXICO. I am now certified in the art of going with the flow, allowing life take to take me where it will, leaving fear and doubt back home.

Solo Travel is good for the soul
Uxmal, México

I MOVED TO ESPAÑA! Yes I moved to Europe, to the beautiful town of Lugo in Galicia. I am absolutely starting a new adventure here, having lived in Spain for just over a month.

Catedral in Lugo, Spain
Taking a stroll in my new home base: Lugo, Spain

NOW, THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS (cue Julie Andrews) IN 2015:

Having asked my Momma for some time now what destination might entice her enough to board a plane, & receiving varying responses/excuses, I finally convinced her a Mother/Daughter Trip Abroad was necessary for 2015, and she agreed. I booked us 2 weeks in  the country of her Choice. January we flew thousands of miles to that “Little cork in the Water” (as described by a local Irishman).

IRELAND trip with Momma

momma and I Cliffs of Moher
Bundled Love at Cliffs of Moher

YUP! Travelling throughout IRELAND with my mom is one of my favorite things I did in 2015. #delriosTakeIreland

This trip bonded us, having survived the fookin’ cold together, driving on the opposite side of the road and car for the first time, roundabouts and confusing signage, and 2 whole weeks of co-habitating. MOMMA you are such a fun Travel Buddy and I am so grateful I got to experience your first trip across the pond (and first country visited outside of North America).

We were a great team and I cannot wait for Spring 2016. . . 

***WE HAVE ANOTHER TRIP IN THE WORKS, but I’m keeping the details on the hush hush!!


Sometimes when we have a milestone, or a life event like a mid-life crisis, or in my case, a Breakup, we are forced to face the facts. SINGLE? who me? Yes. Free? but I don’t wanna be Single (and I always considered myself FREE you see, I just didn’t want to be Single and therefore ALONE. . . ) But life has a way of gifting us sometimes. A few down months and a lot of soul searching allowed for a RE-BIRTH of sorts. Yes, a Phoenix-like Re-birth. . . and a few great trips like Sedona, AZ and my month in México were part of my journey of Soul Revival and continued growth as a Woman and QU-EEN.

MAYAN RUINS of  México

Ruinas Maya en Palenque, Mexico

Seeing the ANCIENT RUINS of civilizations past & traveling throughout México is easily one of my favorite things this year.

It’s one thing to read about these incredible ancient cities in books, or learn about them via episodes of History Channel’s: Ancient Aliens. It’s another thing to be standing there, on the land, with buildings towering in front of you, or standing atop a pyramid towering over the tallest trees in the surrounding jungles. Mayan ingenuity in architecture, astrology, mathematics, city planning, etc etc. is something to marvel at and respect. I have such respect for their culture and I believe their legacy will live on for centuries more, hopefully millennia even. This trip was genuinely about appreciation of a people that came before, and the fact that I got to return to México, where the people embraced me, taught me daily lessons, and filled my cup with love until it raneth over, overflowing, was a bonus. I hope to return to their magical lands again, for it must be something in the air, or perhaps its the warmth of the locals that brings people searching and invites them to stay longer, and just a bit longer. #awakeninginMEX


As a water sign (Cancer), of course I have sought out places to dip my toes in and to swim around too, letting the waves or the currents wash away my pains, my fears, any low energies, replacing them with VIDA, with love, clear thought and gratitude. I have had my share of moments in seas, rivers, lakes, & waterfalls this 2015.

AGUA from la Madre Tierra

Water water everywhere
el Agua es Vida!!

All the waterworlds I had the privilege of experiencing & the rainstorms I basked in are some of my favorite moments this year.

 

FAVORITE DESSERT: ICE CREAM IN DINGLE, IRELAND.

Best Ice Cream and Dessert of 2015
Eating Murphy’s Ice Cream in WINTER in Dingle, Ireland

It’s a shame I didn’t take a picture of the ice cream itself, but I will forever have the memory of its heavenly taste in my mind . . . and sharing the experience with my mom made it that much sweeter!

 

FAVORITE FORM OF TRANSPORTATION: HORSEBACK RIDE THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS OF CHIAPAS, MEXICO

Favorite journey through the mountains of Mexico
Vamos Horsey, Vamos LUCERO

Just over an hour on horseback, with views of small houses with animals running around (goats, sheep, chickens, dogs, cattle) in the greenest foliage, I enjoyed a picturesque ride on Lucero, mi caballo. Whenever she decided to gallop (sometimes following the handler’s instruction, other times of her own accord) my bottom hurt and I laughed through the pain. She should be praised for carrying my big ass all the way to San Juan Chamula, this autonomous Indigenous Community Village that has a mysterious and exclusive air about it. Their customs are unique and their rules are strict. For example: You cannot take pictures of any of their people. It’s pretty much common knowledge. Inside their church you can pay to observe, but no fotos allowed here either. Now that they have started to allow foreigners of all sorts into their town in the hills to profit from the tourism, you would think fotos might be welcomed. But it is not so. Anyways, gorgeous natural Chiapas terrain is a worthwhile visit and if you can experience it by horseback, even better.

 

FAVORITE VIEWS: IRELAND’S COASTLINE (all of it, but the RING OF KERRY and SLEA HEAD DRIVE were standouts)

Ireland's Gorgeous Coast
Slea Head Drive in Ireland

We just never got tired of seeing the bluest seas on our routes throughout Ireland. When some local would suggest to us a new coastal drive, we couldn’t argue with them. We just jotted down the route and then completed it, like the Slea Head Drive here in Dingle. This was winter in Ireland, and although chilly at times with the ocean breeze, we had many a day of blue skies where we could appreciate the coast and the islands for miles and miles and capture its beauty in photographs.

 

FAVORITE CANDID PHOTO: “LAS COMADRES” IN VALLADOLID, MEXICO

Las Comadres en Valladolid, junto al Convento
Convento de San Bernardino de Siena

Just a gathering of women chatting in the early morning; I felt compelled to photograph them, all in dressed in white.

 

FAVORITE FOOD: ALL THE DELICIOUS COUNTLESS MEALS I ATE IN MEXICO

MEXICO's Diverse Foods Delight

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I miss the food from México. What my people can do with a TORTILLA, CHEESE, MEAT, VEGGIES and SALSA PICANTE, well it blows my mind. The variety, the flavors, the melt in your mouth shut up nothing matters for the next 45 minutes moments that put me to sleep with a smile on my face and full tummy every night. . .  All I can say is, Mexicanos WIN in my book! Mexicanos know the way to my heart through my stomach.

 

FAVORITE DRINK: CAFÉ EN SAN CRISTOBAL, CHIAPAS, MEXICO

Café en San Cristobal MEXICO wins for my favorite drink in 2015

 

FAVORITE NATURAL WONDER: LA SELVA DE PALENQUE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO

Arañas de la Selva de Palenque, Mexico

Hongos del la Selva, Palenque

The Howler Monkeys waking me at all hours with their unique Dinosaur T-Rex-like calls, giant spiders with whom I had to co-habitate and learn to respect, mosquitos I could not love but instead endured, gorgeous mushrooms (champis) in all their splendor, fireflies leading the way back to civilization on a dark night, the trees, branches and leaves engulfing me in their love, and torrential rain that purified and served as the life-giving source of this Jungle deep in Chiapas, México, are only a few reasons why PALENQUE is so very MAGICAL.

 

FAVORITE STREET ART: TOTORO in SAN CRISTOBAL, CHIAPAS, MEXICO

Totoro Street Art in San Cristobal
Street Art in San Cristobal

Walking past this instantly put a smile on my face. I remember watching TOTORO the cartoon film as a child. How he made it down to southern Mexico’s hippest city, I don’t know.

 

FAVORITE WHOOPS MOMENT/MY FAVORITE MISTAKE: GLENDALOUGH TO KILKENNY DRIVE IN IRELAND

QUEEN in Glendalough Ireland

Maybe it was the fact that driving on the opposite side of the car was new to me, or maybe driving on the opposite side of the road required some adjusting as well. Biggest Whoops moment had to be getting lost from Glendalough to Kilkenny, driving in circles passing the same mountains over and over, stopping to ask for help from locals who tried to help, but instead gave us wimpy directions and wished us luck. And then it turned to night, and we continued driving through little towns hopelessly searching for the Main Highway that would save us and take us all the way to Kilkenny. We had to laugh at ourselves, as the hours passed. It’s all we could do at that point, and forgive ourselves a little, as it was our first day navigating via car in Ireland, this foreign country.

 

FAVORITE SUNRISE: SEDONA, ARIZONA, UNITED STATES

Sedona Arizona Sunrise
Just breathe, the sun shines on us another day

 

FAVORITE SUNSET: SEDONA, ARIZONA, UNITED STATES

Sedona Arizona Sunset
Meditation at Sunset

 

FAVORITE SKY: STORMY SKY IN IZAMAL, MÉXICO

Stormy Izamal, México

I’ll end this post with a quote from Leonardo DaVinci:

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return”

Closing 2015 never felt so good. Thanks for reading. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!! & HAPPY TRAVELS! May 2016 bring all the lessons, adventures and love of life that this year did (I don’t doubt you one bit Universe)! Venga! Anda! Ala! Oh yes and come back because this QU-EEN has many more travel plans/stories to share in 2016! 

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