Lessons from Guatemala

Now that I have taken 2 VERY hot baths, scrubbed, given myself a mani/pedi, and plan on getting a spray tan this afternoon… it is time to reflect on my time in Guatemala.  It was seriously one of the most insanely hilarious times of my life, and I would do it again. Seriously.

My time in Guatemala was insane.  I had so many experiences that I can’t wait to share with you but the first thing I feel I should share, are the things I learned from Guate.

1. My Spanish capabilities are seriously lacking.  In a big way.

2. Chicken buses or “camioneta” is the most hilariously insane way to travel.  I sat next to a goat, got a bus with a driver that I am pretty sure was three sheets to the wind and pounding everclear while driving, and so much more.  I am still laughing hard at the bus rides, I had all my co-workers laughing HARD yesterday at my stories.

3. Parrots speak Spanish.

4. You have NO idea how much work goes into a single cup of coffee, so if you are drinking coffee right now, you need to reflect on that.

5.  I am out of shape.

6. I will never eat chicken again.

7.  I am a Gringa.

8.  Guatemalan Nyquil is NOTHING like American Nyguil.

9.  Showers in Guatemala are nothing like showers in America.

10.  Look both ways before you cross into a street… Twice in fact three times might not even be enough.

Yes every single one of these statements have a story.   I had one of the best times last week.   I will share my stories in the coming weeks, but for now here is one of the first pictures I took.


Until Next Time,

Book Review Sunday

OK. Deep Breath. Another Deep Breath.


Warning you that my review  will contact some spoilers, nothing too major that will ruin the book for you, and I suspect I will get on a soap box.

Again warning minor spoilers ahead, actually it is more of a situation spoiler, and one that happens quickly in the book.

Let me start of by saying I loved this book.
Let me follow that up with, every time I read a book based in a dystopian world, or post apocalyptic world I find myself wondering what I would be like if I was in this world, do I understand where the character is coming from, would I be like him/her, is she an idiot? That sort of thing.

I can say after many moments of thinking about this book, I do not want to live in this world, this world truly feels hopeless to me, yet as hopeless as it seems the main character seems to find love.

I can’t fathom a world that I would have died at 20. I remember me at 20, I have barely lived life and experienced anything. I just can’t imagine.

Now, as hopeless as this world may seem now, I highly suspect her parents found a way to solve the problem… now that is just foreshadowing, and I have not read the next books, but that is what I think now.

OK now for the parts that made my stomach sick. In today’s society, it is not acceptable for a 21 year old to have sex with a 13 year old. I found myself completely sickened by that and because of that I will never like the man she married. Never. I don’t care if he comes to terms with what he did. That was disgusting to me, I understand that in this society that is just the way it is, but that doesn’t make it right. I think it bothers me because this crap is going on in our world now. Ugh. Ok I am getting off my soap box now. But I will never under any circumstances like the husband in this story. I don’t even care what his name is. He is garbage. Honestly I hope he dies by the end of the story. Him and his even more disgusting father.

I do LOVE Gabriel though. I am happy to see where they are going.

Like I always say, I feel it is a sign of a good author when feelings and emotions for characters are brought to the surface. DeStefano does this which is the sign of a talented author. I will read the remaining books in this series, and I will keep my fingers crossed the two disgusting men die but knowing my luck it will be Gabriel.

How do you save money to travel?


I get asked this a lot, especially from co-workers. I am in no way a trust fund baby, and I am in no way rich. I make a fair living and I do spend money.

Truth is I take advantage of trips courtesy of family.

I will get to what I do for saving money in a moment, but let me throw this story out there.

One of my best friends in the world (she will remain nameless but will clearly know it is her when she reads this) always says we need to plan a trip. So we start planning trips and then she tells me she can’t afford that. Ok.

Not even five minutes later she is talking about going shopping because she needs pants, she is getting her hair done and her nails done. Price tag $250.

This is a true story.

NOW before you get all huffy and say “You have to live life Jen, and she has the right to spend the money she wants to”

Duh. I know that, but that is the first thing I have to point out, me going on a trip is no different then splurging on these things. I splurge on trips, others may splurge on pants.

and you know what there is nothing wrong with that. It is just not for me.

Here are some simple truths.

I do not buy a lot of new clothes. I am an avid crafter and will often buy vintagy and thrifted clothes and make them new.

I KNOW this is not for everyone, but believe me when I tell you this saves me a LOT of money.

I also bring my lunch to work.

I spend my nights at home, when my friends want to go out.

I go to dollar movie Tuesdays, so I don’t always see the movies when they first come out.

I am “trying” to kick the caffeine habit.

I wear my library card out.

All these things add up to saving money.

Another money saving factor? My trips are not very spontaneous. I can’t afford that. I plan my trips a year or sometimes more in advance. Make a rough budget, determine how much I need to save a week, and put it in savings. The minute I decide on a trip, dates and I am able to I pay the deposit and make payments. Because payments are hell of a lot easier than dropping a grand all at once.

As far as my dream trip around the world? I know it is a few years away.  I put a small amount of money in a small bank account I do not have easy access to. 

Another truth in this post? I do not save anything additional for retirement except the 6% my company matches for my 401k. I tell myself that my 80 year old self rather have memories than money. We will see if that is truth or not.

So I am posting this for all my friends & co-workers. Because truth is saving money is work, I would love to go grab a glass of vino after work but that glass of vino equals the cost of two Christmas ornaments in Cozumel.

I would LOVE to go shopping with you, but the $200 I spend with you is a flight to NYC.

My priorities are different. I rather live minimally so I can travel globally.

Let me say this has taken years for me to learn and understand. Travel DID NOT become a HUGE priority for me until about 4 years ago. Now it is all I think about. instead of thinking of dollars I think of accommodation in South America.

So if you want to save money for travel you have to realistically understand that if you prefer instant gratification or if you want to prolong that gratification. If you prefer instant gratification like I do…. it will be hard to change the mindset. YOU CAN DO IT THOUGH

If you are like my friend and prefers to spend the $250 on clothes, hair dye & nails? Good for you. Seriously I mean it.

Life is all about what makes you happy, and you have to do whatever makes you happy.

Wordless Wednesday


Just escape the cubicle already

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