A little background

First a little background and answers to questions I’ve received along the way…

In May of 2011 I quit my very stable and good job and sold everything so I could start traveling the world.  I am a college educated, single female and am traveling alone.

What prompted me to do this you ask??  Well, simple: in May of 2006 I decided that 5 years from that date, no matter how well I was doing or what I was doing or where I was doing it, I would quit my job, sell all my things and travel the world.  Call it a quarter life crisis or simply that I’ve always wanted to travel, so “no time like the present”… Either way, that was the starting point:)

Why travel out of the country??  What about traveling in the States??  I have been very fortunate in my life to have traveled 40 of the 50 states already.  There are of course a few I would still like to see (Montana) but for the most part, I feel like I have “done” a lot of the U.S. already and would like to expand my experiences to other cultures and countries.

Why did you choose 5 years?  No idea- it just seemed like a good amount of time to get and feel stable in one place for a bit before heading off.

So, you are going to travel the world!  You must be fluent or at least conversational in a language other than English, right? Ummm, no…  I am half Italian and am conversational in Italian.  Since my travels to Central America I am now conversational in Spanish as well.  As for the rest of the languages in the world, I know a word here and there, but luckily there are always English speakers to be found in whatever city/town/country I’ve been to.  But for those occasions where even English speakers weren’t found, thank goodness for charades and sign language!! LOL!! 🙂

Now wait a tick- you said earlier that you are a female and are traveling alone… Doesn’t that scare you?  It’s interesting really because before leaving many friends and family in some ways have expressed a lot of concern over this.  My response is best explained by a quote from the famous surfer Laird Hamilton: “I can’t not do something out of the fear of what could happen”.  I just love that quote!  Of course I am still careful and am being a smart traveler ensuring that I never put myself in dangerous situations, but other than that, I can’t fear going out on my own and experiencing and traveling because of what may or may not happen.  If I fail, I fail- but at least I tried.  I have never once felt in any real danger.  All of life is a journey and thus far I’ve got to say it’s been quite a delightful one.   I can only hope it continues safely and delightfully!  And for the record, I’ve never once been alone on this journey unless I’ve actively chosen to be.  Whether I’m hanging out with fellow travelers and new friends or simply thinking of my family and of all my friends in the states, I’ve never been alone.

How can you afford all these travels??  All of the money I’ve spent on travels is money I’ve personally earned.  Basically I save my pennies when back in the States, then quit and travel again when the wind blows just right.  The first time was the trickiest as I was working for the Government and had an apartment full of stuff.  My Government job knew the day would come that I would quit to travel, so it wasn’t that big a shock.  And selling basically all but 4 boxes of my possessions was a little tough, but also a nice purge!  Since the Government job I’ve worked as a bartender and/or server. Easy jobs to pick up and quit on a whim, though I am always honest with any employer that when the wind blows, it’s time to go.  I just don’t think it’s right to mislead people into thinking I would be a lifer there… Anyway, so that’s what I do!  When I run out of money, or get too close to my “emergency” money I go somewhere, get a job, save money, then travel again!

What is it you are expecting as an outcome of these travels?  What are you hoping to accomplish?  I can honestly say I don’t yet know.  But I feel like I am where I need to be for now and I hope that inspiration for what I’m supposed to do will come along as I continue to travel and grow.

Well that’s the basics and background folks!  Now… lets get on with the journey!

Back to Homepage

Isla Bastimentos back to Bocas

So I may have built up this day more than actually necessary… But hey, such as it is, while it may not have been the most adventurous day, it was still great!  I started my day with the free breakfast (as I recall it was free, but maybe it was just a couple of dollars… In any event) then decided to just wander around a bit more.  Red Frog beach was not the only beach there of course, so I wandered past along Red Frog beach, up the road to the adjoining beach called Turtle beach!  Much like Red Frog beach, the sand was white and fine.  I spent hours once again playing in the sand and water until I could take no more and needed some lunch to replenish my energy.

I went back to the community kitchen area and made my lunch.  Sadly, someone had chosen to pick a jack fruit and place it at the bottom of the fridge.  Now, for those who don’t know, the Jack fruit is a HUGE fruit, like a gigantic watermelon.  Its skin is kind of prickly and it’s orange in color inside.  However, the Jack fruit to my nasal passages at least, absolutely stinks!!  It is the most foul smelling fruit I’ve ever encountered (aside from papaya which smells like dirty feet to me) and just like potently scented food in general, when placed in the fridge, they tend to make everything else in there smell like it.  Hence, lunch for me wasn’t the most pleasant as my sandwich smelled like Jack fruit… Yuck!! I wasn’t going to waste my food however!

In any event, the day went by quite lazily otherwise.  I went back to Turtle beach for some pictures and spent the evening getting to know fellow travelers (from Switzerland as I recall).  And by getting to know fellow travelers, I mean drinking about 70 beers between 6 or 7 people… Good times!!  But hey, the beers were cheap, about $1 a beer and I’m quite sure we just about drank them out of stock!  What made the drinking even more fun however was the games provided in the common area.  They had a Jenga game with different things written on them.  So if a block was successfully removed we all had to follow the command on the block.  They were all innocent enough (take a shot of a drink, take a drink without using your hands… Seeing a theme here?) and hours of great fun!  Eventually we all gave in and went to sleep and thankfully (and miraculously) I didn’t wake up with a hangover!!

The next day was once again quite lazy, just spending time again soaking up the beaches as I wasn’t sure exactly when I would be getting some beach time in again after leaving!  I returned to Bocas town after my third night on Isla Bastimentos and headed to another hostel just next door to the one I’d stayed in the first night (Zappos??).  It was much more accommodating to the hostel traveler and was brimming with energy!  I met a great crew from England and though I really wasn’t up for any more drinking… well as you can guess I was sucked in and went out drinking!  Some very notably good and fun bars on Bocas town are the Aqua Lounge where they have a swing and trampoline that swing and bounce you right into the water!  And the Iguana Lounge again built backing onto the water.  It had several docks going from inside the bar to the outside with underwater lighting so you could see all the critters and fish under the water surface.  It was quite great but VERY slippery!!  There were several times I almost completely biffed I, but thankfully never did!

In any event, once again we all made our way back to the hostel and passed out.  The next day I was on my way to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica!


Strawberry Red Frog Detour

So it occurred to me after finishing that last post that I never actually explained why the Red Frog Beach is called as such.  But, as I’m sure you are able to guess, it’s because of the red frogs that live there!  Now at one point in time the sands of the particular beach known as Red Frog Beach were completely littered with the frogs.  Now however, you will be hard pressed to see one at all.  It’s not only that the little buggers have become exploited and are dying out because of people trying to handle them and thereby poison them to their deaths (death of the frog, not the human) but it’s also hard to see them because of their absolutely tiny size!

The red frogs of Isla Bastimentos are about the size of a nickel to a quarter, are red (duh!) and are speckled with black dots all over their body making them look like a strawberry!  Each time I walked through the jungle from the hostel to the beach or back again, I searched every surface I could just to spot one of the tiny beauties.  On the second day there, I was blessed enough to spot one.  They are quite a sight to behold and it’s really a good thing I “hunted” them as vigorously as I did, otherwise I’m sure I never would have spotted on, even if given a month there!  They really are that tiny and hard to spot!!  Sadly every time that I was walking through with my camera I never could find any, but at least I got in one live viewing!

So, I’m going to jump up on a soap box for a few minutes here just in case someone reading this does visit the area.  I implore you to at all costs to NOT handle, pick up, or touch the red frogs.  In addition, I strongly suggest you don’t even pay others for pictures with the frogs.  Let me explain further:

The Red Frogs, like most other frogs are quite delicate in nature.  They basically breathe through their skin and literally absorb their environment into their bodies.  So, while they are not poisonous to humans to the touch, we are poisonous to them!! Sunscreen, soap, oils, hair product, our lunch, literally any residue we may have on our hands is absorbed into their body and can potentially poison them to death.  It is in part due to people (tourists) handling the cute critters that they no longer in bountiful numbers and are dying out.

Another thing I would strongly suggest against is even to pay for pictures of you holding the frogs.  Children, yes children, would go around to tourists with a red frog or two that they had caught and ask if the tourist wanted a picture with it.  The tourist, not knowing (hopefully) that they were #1 exploiting the amphibian and #2 potentially killing or aiding in the amphibians death by holding it, would pay the children for a lovely vacation picture of them holding the frogs.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about supporting local economies, however I believe there is a more sound way to do so.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so as there was a posting at the hostel about this very situation occurring (children selling picts with frogs to tourists) and imploring tourists to not take part!!  Kudos to Bocas Bound!!!

Ok, I’m off my soap box now… And by any means, I’m not saying I’m perfect or that I do everything right by the environment, but I do try to do my part as best as possible.  And for this particular area, not touching the frogs was my way of doing just that.

One last little bit of interesting information… Strawberry Red Frogs are not poisonous to humans to the touch.  They DO have poison on their skin, however if that poison does not get into our blood stream, then they are not poisonous to us.  Hence why you could (please DON’T though!!) touch or pick them up without being harmed… Local people apparently would also eat them and suffer no consequences from the poisoned skin of the frog because the stomach acid would kill off the poison.  However if punctured with something that had brushed against the skin of the frog, you’re a gonner!  Due to their ability to poison people if punctured, they are part of the poison-dart group of frogs used by indigenous people as weapons if needed.  Pretty cool stuff…

On to day two on Isla Bastimentos…