This past year has been full of fun writing assignments and fun travel. In terms of writing, I’ve been doing gear reviews for Bicycling magazine, worked on a couple of fitness articles for Women’s Health, and wrote about energy for Details magazine. I also wrote about the power of a hug for Family Circle, detailed singer Ellie Goulding’s running routine for SELF magazine, and wrote various diet, fitness, and nutrition posts for websites like Shape.com and Fitbie.com. (See these in the writing clips section or via my new portfolio at contently.com.)
Luckily, my writing work is usually a lot of fun. But much of the time, travel is even more fun. (Good thing I do plenty of both!) I recently tallied the number of times I traveled south of the border in the last year and the total came to 5 (4 if you don’t count Puerto Rico, which I do). Wow! I think most surprising of all was how little I needed my junior-high school Spanish: Nicaragua was the only place I had to conjure up those mostly forgotten words, despite having also traveled to Honduras, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Each of these trips was amazing. I won’t go into too much detail but I do want to post some pics. It’s hard to choose which one was the most fun—I’d probably go back to any of the spots I visited, and more! Vieques, Puerto Rico was the first stop. I was actually there in early May so technically it’s been a little more than a year. The weather was perfect and the terrain was stunning. We swam in turquoise waters, walked along stunning beaches, had cocktails on a gorgeous boat, and saw lots of horses (and foals)! Later in the month I went to Costa Rica. I’d been there a few years before and, while I liked the destination I wasn’t enamored with it. However this trip took us deeper into the jungles and the culture. I was there for a full week during which we hiked, scouted the volcano Arenal, and—best of all—white water rafted down the Pacuare River. It was a spectacular trip! In October, I made a quick trip to Honduras with friends. (Our tiny plane actually landed on a field in Guatemala our first day there—we were greeted by tons of adorable little kiddos—but because we were only there for a few hours I can’t technically check that country off the list.) We visited the ruins of Copan which were amazing. Lots of sacrificial altars and so forth. Then we hopped a plane to the island of Roatan, where we went stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, and boating. What fun! In November, my father and I escaped to Rancho la Puerta, one of my all-time favorite destinations. Nicknamed “The Ranch” or “The Door”, this health and fitness retreat near Tecate, Mexico, has it all. For one week we took cooking lessons, went on early-morning hikes, tried out sports like kick-boxing and aqua aerobics, and even practiced meditation. The setting was stunning and boy did I feel relaxed when I returned home! Finally, this past February I went to Nicaragua for the first time. I’d been interested in visiting this country ever since I was 10 or so, when my father went to help document their national election. In the past 20-some years the country has changed dramatically, becoming not only stable but also a bit of a tourist destination. It’s still far from Cancun—I didn’t even see any real souvenir stands—but there are a growing number of tourists visiting the country. We spent our first night in the charming town of Granada, the next two nights on the volcanic island of Ometepe, and the final part of our trip on the beaches of Playa Maderas.