In the summer of 2012 I had met the first guy that I’d date (long distance), in Costa Rica of all places. After spending a few days with him while finishing up a film production job on the Caribbean Coast of CR’s Puerto Viejo, I flew directly to México for a short holiday and family time in Guadalajara. I didn’t realize it then, but as I moped around sad that a connection with this guy had been cut short, I wrote in my travel log a declaration to the tune of this: I’M GOING TO TRAVEL MY ASS OFF and in order to do that ***I should stop taking holidays in my beloved México. Although I love visiting familia that I only get to see every year or few years (the people that spoil me with love and all my favorite Mexican foods, especially of the spicy and homemade variety) I want to see the GRANDER WORLD that is OUT THERE!

Costa Rica became the third Spanish speaking country I visited in the Americas, and it was a serendipitous work trip to paradise that allowed me all sorts of inspiring TRAVEL ADVENTURES, such as black sand beaches, daily swims in the playas del Pacifico, encountering monkeys for the first time, white water rafting in the Río Savegre twice, kicking it with the fiercest fake-looking but dangerously real and obtuse crocodiles at Río Tárcoles twice, indulging in local cuisine, savoring black beans and lots of plantains and all those tropical fruits, many of which I was tasting for the first time; yum! Of course I sampled the local alcohol: Centenario Rum and Guaro (the cheaper shit that’s kinda like moonshine). I turned 25 that summer in the town of Quepos . . . where I drank too much then danced the night away with my co-workers/friends and strangers too. PURA VIDA! About that summer declaration in my travel log, I stuck to it. . . and got right to saving for travels other than México. My first two trips brought me back to COSTA RICA because I began dating that guy. After several months, he turned out to be a real _____________ (Insert your own adjective here equivalent to a piece of MIERDA). . . I became a single woman again, heart broken and yet completely aware that I played my part in that disaster. Gotta listen to your intuition ladies, truly! I learned my lesson. I learned to not attach to men (for a short while anyway), but I didn’t learn well enough to avoid LONG DISTANCE COURTING.

My Pura Vida daysMagical Waterfall, Costa Rica

QU-EEN, Jacó Costa Rica Central America
Jacó and endless beach

Traditional and Fresh Costa Rican food

Iguanas of Costa RicaFlowers of Costa Rica

Monkeys in Costa RicaJungle insects Costa RicaCrocodiles in Costa Rica's Rio TarcolesThese Crocodilos don't mess around, Costa RicaCrocodile Bridge. Costa RicaHungry Crocodilos, Costa RicaWater Rafting Rio Savegre Costa RicaWhite Water Rafting, Costa Rica

QU-EEN Pura Vida Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio
Playa de Manuel Antonio which I called home

Yup. . . another Trip, another production job, a few fun encounters and lots of friends made on the opposite Coast to mine in Miami Florida, man I got myself into something. Some things I got up to: bathed under the full moon in Miami’s warmest Ocean, became addicted to Cuban Coffee, got my first official credit on a National TV show, jet-skied in the backyard lake of my adopted Cuban parents (two lovely people that ended up hosting me my entire work stay), and celebrated another birthday far away from home, this time it was my 26th. I left Miami after working and playing for over a month, but kept in touch with a persistent Cuban. This man ended up being someone very very important to me. We talked for the next 6 months and skyped often from opposite Coasts of the US, and both of us knew that something was happening. I lined up another work trip as I had a strong desire to reunite in Florida after those long months. . . We were pretty sure of our feelings for each other. We worked together for over a month and then I said goodybe to Florida and him, which would be one of many goodbyes, as I dated Michel for more than a year and a half long-distance. I fell deeply in love. We both did. He even told me he loved me before I was ready to hear it. Not long after I said the words to him.

We were one of “those couples” for some time: annoyingly affectionate and full of each other’s energy.

We did many things, learned from each other, lived together for brief periods, took jobs and trips together too. He took me to the tip of Key West and we took photos pointing towards Habana, Cuba, where he was from. No proof exists of those trips though (no photos, just vague memories/flashbacks sometimes) because the end of our relationship was too painful. Really and truly, at the time, I thought I could marry him. We had our problems, like a lot of couples, and we had THE DISTANCE looming over us too, but the real issue was that we LACKED MUTUAL GOALS. He was 8 years older and never planned to leave his forever home of Miami nor his family; I was slowly slipping on my GYSPY SHOES AND WAYS, nearly a pro at packing and traveling to get shit done (work and him came first at this time) even if it meant leaving the ones I loved in CA . . . and I had even applied to teach in SPAIN for the next fall semester, which may have been the nail in the coffin so to speak. The point is that we were growing, but we weren’t growing together anymore. At the beginning of our relationship I impulsively booked a ticket to PERÚ with a friend. Michel didn’t want me to go on a trip without him. He was visibly upset when I confirmed the trip. . . but I knew nothing could stop my shine.

Perú went a little something like this

Streets of Cusco, Peru South America
Streets of Cusco, Perú
Moray, Peru Sur America
A moment captured in Moray, Perú

Peru's Epic Mountain ranges

Cusco residents, Peru

Machu Picchu in the clouds, South America

Machu Picchu city
La ciudad dentro de Machu Picchu

Gorgeous Tradtions in Peru, South America

Playas de Ancon, Peru, South America

Ancon Peru, South America
Pelican terrain in Ancón

Ancon Perú, South AmericaQU-EEN in Machu Picchu, Peru

Sascha Peru, South America

QU-EEN in Moray Peru
Maras Moray, Perú

Traditional Textile work Peru, South America

Inca Legacy at Pisac, Perú
Inca Legacy at Pisac, Perú

Ollantaytambo, Peru, South America

Inca Sisters, Traveling Goddesses Peru
My sisters and our piscos

Turned out that these friends Sascha and Mariola became my soul sisters. We bonded, experienced our HIGHS, shared our souls, chewed on the magical Coca leaves (high altitude up there) and sipped on the Coca tea, visited Machu Picchu by epic trainride and relished in the city of all cities in the mountains of Perú, we journeyed to Cusco, Pisac, Moray, Ollantaytambo, Saqsaywaman, and the coastal town of Ancón, and drank pisco sours in Lima together. We honored our inner child every day and our Goddess too, this sisterhood we created and our connection with the magical land of the Incas forever etched in my heart. . . Those 11 days in Perú are something no one can take away from me; I LIVED THEM. So when it all ended with him, and it really ended without negotiation April 2015, I wept like never before. I told the Universe it wasn’t fair. I told him I still loved him and I didn’t want this. He said he cared a lot about me and knew this was the right decision and assured me I’d see it this way soon. It took months to move past this. I turned 27 that summer in CA surrounded by friends and family, but secretly wept both the morning and night of my birthday. In the morning I had hoped he would write (even though I told him explicitly NOT TO) and in the evening when he did write it felt like a distant memory, this man I loved & his words too, which read cold on the screen of my phone, a simple message for my birthday. So what was the solution you may ask. . . how does one heal a broken heart?

How does one reclaim her power after a Long Distance breakup?


I took a sister RoadTrip to SEDONA Arizona sisters in Sedona, USA, North Americaand then on a crazy (but necessary) whim, I went to MÉXICO as a Solo Traveler in September. I was still waiting to hear if I had gotten the teaching job in Spain, but that didn’t stop me from leaving to travel two weeks in the Yucatán region. Then two weeks became 3, and 3 became 4. . . I needed that FULL MONTH and my time in the jungle of Palenque Chiapas before I could return home. I needed to travel all by myself in a region that was as foreign to me as any new country. I needed to see what I was made of. I needed to spend a lot of ALONE TIME/SOULA TIME I call it. I needed to open myself up to new people and situations. I met some lovely beings on this journey. When I was living the simple life in the jungle that had my heart (even with shitty wifi and not much connection to the rest of the world),QU-EEN Palanque Jungle, Mexico

just outside the ancient Maya city of Palenque, I received the email that I had been offered the position in España’s Northwestern region of GALICIA (not the most popular region in Spain). I had 3 days to accept. On October 9th from the jungle in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico I thought about my future. I thought about the possible next chapter of my life, all the way out in Europe, again far away from family and friends. Believe me when I say, in those moments it wasn’t so clear anymore. I had been traveling and seeing places and meeting people that changed me, and accepting this job would mean leaving in a rush back to California, and saying goodbye to everyone back home in a rush; Rushing because the school year had already begun and because they had given me a very late assignment, and it was all kind of muddy in my mind as I stared at the email on the screen of my phone. Once I meditated a bit with the notion, walking around in this gorgeous and natural setting I had come to love and value, I returned to my room, opened up the email again and a huge smile came across my face. I knew in that moment that I had said yes. In my heart I had accepted the position. And as you may know, I have worked and lived in Spain for the past 18 months. . . and traveled throughout EUROPE, in ISRAEL and MOROCCO. . . living and breathing my truth.

These are some of my reflections about life and love leading up to turning 30 (just a few days ago), and I have to say I don’t have any regrets. I set out to do things for myself (finally putting myself first) and did just that. I loved and lost and came out stronger and more equipped for future loves, and through it all, I grew more in love with myself. I manifested Traveling my Ass off, and if you don’t know what I’ve been up to, check out my INSTAGRAM. I know that I’m truly blessed, and I have been humbled by the beauty all around us.

This QU-EEN is looking forward to the next decade of Goddess. . . I’ll end it here and you can check out PART 2:


ALL MY LOVE from the wiser version of this QU-EEN (now a beaming thirty year old)!!!

28 Responses

  1. Long distance relationships are so hard! Sounds like you’re a strong woman, with lots of opportunities ahead! My friend recently met a guy in Cuba and has been back 4 times to see him. She says it’s so hard to be away and only see each other every few months, I’m sure you can agree!

  2. Ahaha, what a saga! Yes to PURA VIDA. You have a really fun way of writing. No holds barred. Glad to hear you followed your dreams and travelled your ass off. Way to go, girl.

  3. wow. It is cool to love and experience life. I wish I did when I studied abroad in France when I met this guy but I ended since I knew I was leaving. It is about learning. Hope love finds you and stays. great pics

  4. Long distance relationships are always hard!

  5. Long distance love is so tough! I’m glad it didn’t stop you from traveling though! Happy belated 30th!

  6. I’m glad you found some amazing friends who share your mutual love for travel. I’ve experienced some issues with my boyfriend in regards to travel, as I want to see it all and he’d be fine staying on the East Coast of the US and maybe doing a beach trip here and there. But I slowly have gotten him on more adventurous trips, and he’s gotten me on more laid back, less scheduled trips. So it’s a bit of give and take.

    Also have to say, your photos are absolutely stunning!

  7. What an adventure! I’m glad that you were able to take some time, meditate, and come to a decision about taking the job in Spain. Relationships on the road are hard, and sometimes they (hopefully) leave us learning a little more about ourselves: our strengths, desires, and what we might want out of life.

  8. Normal relationships are hard enough, but long distance relationships are a whole nother beast! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? 🙂 Seems like you really lived it up though on your travels. Love your photos!

  9. Ugh, long distance relationship isn’t easy. I am in Indonesia, and my bae is in Perth, Aussie. It’s hard. Especially when we want to meet up. Both of us now cannot fly to see each other. Because to meet up, it’s not cheap as a bread. We need to save up and plan everything. I don’t want to break up because we are far away. 🙁

  10. Long distance relationships are tough, and you’ve delicately navigated them! Once you connect with the right person with whom you have shared mutual goals, all will be well. For now, keep living and enjoying life. Love your pictures and safe travels!

  11. I relate so much! Im in an LDR of 6 years with my Man from AU (and im from the US). Its tough, but if you put the work in, you can make this thing work and when it does work, its beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Girl long distance relationships are the toughest things ever! Been there done that! Sometimes you gotta just do you as well and live each moment amd enjoy it! Seems like you really lived it up and learned alot! Power to ya chick

  13. Well, that made me smile, because even thought you have had your ups and downs, your zest for your life and travel shines though. Plus, great pictures. Look forward to part 2!

  14. It is a very inspirational, expressive, and passionate story of your love, life and travel. I wish you all the best.

  15. Such a meaningful blog! Loved it

  16. I can relate to the long distance relationship. My boyfriend lives in Netherlands and I am from the opposite side of the world (Philippines) and I really hope we can survive despite the distance. I admire how you embraced the entire long distance thing. 🙂

  17. Your trip looks and sounds incredible! I would love to visit South America – hopefully one day! I particularly love the sound of the white water rafting and Machu Picchu visit you did… incredible! Although I feel your pain on the long-distance relationship side of things – it’s not an easy thing to do and I really do hope it works out for you both! Sending love across the seas 🙂

  18. I would have to agree with everyone else here and echo that long distance relationships are freaking hard, as I was in one myself. But everyone’s experiences are different! It was fun reading through your version of a LDR!

  19. What an amazing adventure! I admire the decisions you’ve made and really enjoyed reading about your story! <3

  20. I totally feel you. Long Distance Relationships are truly not easy. My boyfriend and me had to live away from each other for almost one year. But now we are living and traveling together. But all this is just possible because the circumstances allowed it.
    Thank you for sharing your story and wish you all the best for your 30ths 🙂

  21. Ariana, I love this post! I’m sorry your relationship didn’t pan out, but I’m glad you’re able to look back and see the amazing adventures abroad you were able to enjoy in spite of that. I feel like oftentimes we have to learn the hard way what things people will and won’t put up with in a relationship, and travel is a big one. It’s easy to ignore tiny things, but the ceaseless urge to be somewhere else (when the urge isn’t mutual) can be insurmountable. I hope in the future you find a romantic someone to explore with you :).

  22. Very honest blog, love it. Long distance is so hard and exhausting! It’s great that you still got to travel and make some incredible memories though, Peru looks incredible. Love your pictures!

  23. It was fun to read your travel adventures. I loved the cute llamas in Peru! Those alligators looked mean though:-)

  24. These pictures are absolutely amazing! I admire you for wanting to travel as much as possible – that’s totally my goal in life no matter what. P.s. Costa Rica was one of my favorite places I’ve ever been! <3

  25. You’re brave for even trying a long-distance relationship. I know I would never make it without making a few mistakes with other people along the way haha. I think it’s awesome you carry no regrets! Cheers to an even better decade.

  26. Hi Ariana,
    I enjoyed reading your very personal post. As you said: “We weren’t growing together anymore.” –
    sometimes it’s sad but time to go and follow your own way. I wish you all the best for the next decade and am already curious to read the next part. Cheers, Ricarda

  27. I know I sound like a pessimist, but relationships are crazy! Leave alone long distance relationships. Globe trotters don’t have much of a choice anyway… Nice blog post…copying the declaration for future use ???

  28. what an incredible journey! long distance relationships are sometimes worth it, but only if you really see a point at which you could be together and live the life you both want to live. cheers to your next adventures!

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