Tales from Thailand

Its been 1 month that we have officially moved our lives and our work to the land of smiles; Thailand. Each time we step foot in a new country, we are hit with the wave of the unfamiliar. The uncertain mind chatter is loud; Do we like it here? Does this work for us? Is it everything we imagined it would be? 

For the most part, the first month never really counts; we're basically still tourists. We roam around our new surroundings getting lost in streets we still don't recognize, while we hunt for the best coffee, the best local eatery, and a way to make this foreign land feel a little more like home. 

5 weeks into our move to Thailand, Jorge and I can confidently look at one another and agree, "Yup, we made the right choice."

To say that we are loving Thailand is understatement. We are LIVING Thailand. This country has opened up its arms and wrapped the two of us in a warm hug. 

We've settled in the mountainous northern city of Chiang Mai. Although this is the largest city in northern Thailand, it's low key vibe and charming authenticity can make any traveler, whether seasoned or novice fall in love with the Thai Culture. 

Inside the historical "Old City," we spend our days zipping down the alleys on our motorbike discovering the flavors of traditional Thai cuisine, the towering Buddhas peeking over the Wats (Buddhist Temples), and learning more about uniqueness of this culture and it's people. Thai Life is definitely agreeing with us, if only every country were this easy. 

In over a year of traveling with Jorge from country to country, we've both learned that the first few weeks are always the most emotional. We have to maintain our cool while we patiently navigating our way through unknown terrain. Excitement can quickly turn to anxiety as we begin to question every decision we make. We go back and forth from wondering whether we are being ripped off to celebrating when we think we've gotten the best deal in town. 

The choices we make don't just affect us, but every traveler coming on our trips. 

As the retreat guides, we aren't just leading these experiences, we are living the experiences. We spend the time getting lost, tasting all the street food, bargaining with vendors, so that our trips are the most authentic representation of the country and it's culture. 

We have committed, at least for now, to this nomadic lifestyle. Our goals are rooted in our simple desire to explore and absorb as much of this beautiful world as we can and share it with as many people as we can. 

This is the work of our lives. 

So while we await the arrival of our fellow wanderlusters we will settle into Thailand's warm embrace, enjoying this amazing adventure we call life.


Originally Posted by Marina De Lima at http://www.marinadelima.com/news/2017/4/25/tales-from-thailand

Marina De Lima

Marina is a certified 200-hour registered yoga teacher. Marina received her certification in 2014 from Yoga in the World under the instruction of Anayra Calderon. After over 10 years of working in television production and entertainment, Marina came to yoga to find balance in her often hectic professional life. Marina fell in love with the way yoga challenged her physically through asana practice as well as mentally and spiritually through meditation practice.  In March of 2015 Marina traveled to India to further her yoga education and study Ashtanga Vinyasa with Jamie Clarke and Dulce Aguilar of The Yoga People.  

In November of 2016 Marina completed her Reiki Level 1 certification in hopes to enhance her work as a yoga teacher and to gain more understanding and knowledge of the healing powers of ancient practices. 

Marina's greatest passion in life is traveling and exploring foreign lands. Marina was bitten by the travel bug at a very young age, having traveled with her family from her native Brazil to New York City at only 2 years old. Marina believes that traveling, as much as yoga and meditation, are an essential part of her health and wellness. Traveling, retreating, adventure, as well as yoga, are all tools that Marina believes broadens your scope of the world and allows for you to get out of your own way. Exploring your bodies through asana practice, your minds through meditation, and different people and cultures through travel, cultivates compassion and kindness.

In 2015, Marina became the official Yoga Teacher for World Travelers Association (WTA) and has been teaching yoga on WTA experiences around the world.  Marina's vision is about crafting worldly, and fulfilling experiences for those who seek to learn about the world, and themselves through yoga, meditation, and adventure.

How Adventure Travel In Nepal Opened My Eyes To Life's Truths

Arriving in Kathmandu, I could instantly feel an immersive and penetrating energy.

Walking the dusty streets, Nepalese culture comes alive in vibrant clothing, local eats and profound common courtesy.

Even their greeting of “namaste” represents Nepal's transcendental beauty.

Its meaning shows a deep respect: “The light of my soul feels the light in yours, and we are connected as one.”

The word transcends language and spreads to its people and where they live.

I felt a special energy calling me to Nepal. It is a great country to experience adventure travel for a cause.

Nepal is a country full of epic adventures. A thrill seeker can scale the Himalayas, paraglide through majestic scenery and raft rough waters.

But, it's more than just the self-expanding adventures that make Nepal enchanting.

I had the privilege of volunteering at a privately-funded primary school in Sarangkot, an underprivileged village just scraping by to provide basic needs, like essential vitamins for children.

It's interesting to compare third-world countries to developed countries in regard to giving a helping hand.

Underdeveloped countries have open arms and hearts to allow any type of assistance.

I have walked into orphanages and schools ready to make a positive impact in any way I can.

Compared to the US, where résumés, interviews and other logistics tend to complicate the nature of giving, poor countries of the world are humbled by the heart of foreigners.

Playing with those children (3 to 5 years old) in Sarangkot, I saw and felt the world through their eyes.

Every day, there was something new and exciting; life was so simple.

I imagine just pushing their toy cars makes those kids feel like Jeff Gordon racing for the title.

One can relate it to traveling, gaining new perspectives from peak experiences and learning lessons from situations that, at times, are even drastically challenging.

The recent 7.8 earthquake shook up everyone's world.

Being 70km from the epicenter at the time of the initial quake, I was able to witness its devastating blow to everyone in Nepal, locals and tourists alike.

Having trekked to Everest Base Camp a couple of weeks prior, I felt a connection, like many others, to the greatness one can find in those lands. But, such beauty has a frightening side.

Time to time, over millions of years, it has revealed its full nature.

How can one reflect on such a tragedy of nearly 8,000 lives lost?

In uncontrollable situations such as these, we must learn and grow on a much deeper level.

It emphasizes our responsibility to live our lives to the fullest potential because so many couldn't.

Everything can change so fast, so it's imperative we take life's epic opportunities and make the world a better place by seeking out new challenges and empowering others to do the same.

We do this by improving ourselves and having new and exciting experiences.

As a result, we positively impact the world around us.

After experiencing this ordeal, I had a lot questions. But, if trekking to Everest Base Camp taught me anything, it was to keep moving forward.

When walking a purposeful path through pain, exhaustion or confusion, we have to move just one more step.

Undeniable truths hit me while circling the World Travelers Association (WTA), and the vision of my adventure travel for a cause became clear.

The impact of the massive earthquake proves how valuable our time really is.

We've heard this from older generations, but it affects you differently when you see it in front of your face.

It's necessary to do what we love, and we have to conquer the dreams that have been buried by fear.

Through just one more step forward, we're making our world better.

Continuing to let our light shine so bright that it inspires others is a deeply rewarding feeling. It guides others to do the same on a Namaste-ic level.

I have felt this synergistic reward for some time, and I now look to share it with others on the trips I plan with WTA.

Even though life's punches hurt, we always have the choice to keep adapting, improving and becoming better. You must always inch toward your lit path.

Not fulfilling one's true potential is another tragedy in its own right.

So, shine on, you crazy diamond, and let's share an epic life together.

Originally Posted by Jorge Branco at http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/adventure-travel-nepal-opened-eyes-lifes-truths/1056360/

How Travel Can Positively Change Both Your Life And The World

In the past, I wrote about why you should choose your travel destination with purpose, and how I was embarking on a mission to help others do the same. I had no idea where my journey would bring me, but I trusted my gut to find the right path.

The year that followed resulted in a real-life dream, full of peak experiences and lasting relationships, all while building a platform for others to experience a taste of this dream life.

The 2014 highlight from that trip proves I lived the life and walked this path. I can verify that discovering epic adventures and helping improve others' lives will clarify and improve one's purpose and life goals.

Fate brought me to the Fiji Islands two weeks into my journey. I always thought of Fiji as this majestic paradise, and I felt an overwhelming desire to buy that $150 ticket, leaving from Sydney.

I lived like a surfer dude, a Fijian squatter, a jungle villager and all-around badass explorer. Not even an infestation of lice could stop me.

National Geographic would be proud. I was blessed with a unique, less-tracked path through the Fiji islands that was filled with epic surfing, waterfalls, sliding down natural waterslides and building bonds with villagers. My five-month experience with Fijian people and places provided me with the expertise and confidence to run the wildly successful World Travelers Association: Epic Fiji trip.

Having organized and completed a successful trip, I wanted to repeat the same process in another country. I learned from hanging around yachties that one could, with no experience, leave Fiji with some class.

I made friends with captains and my sails literally blew me toward Indonesia. Bali can be exactly like Julia Roberts experienced it in “Eat, Pray, Love.”

You can replicate the combination of personal, professional and spiritual opportunities I encountered in Bali to grow in your own life. A special part of my four-month Bali life was volunteering at an orphanage.

Relating to the young kids, I built a trusted bond by speaking the language of the world: love. Playing soccer with those superstars was more fun than catching swell days on world-famous surf breaks, like the ones I had at Uluwatu. Leading by example rendered another successfully planned and executed trip: World Travelers Association: Bali.

World Travelers Association (WTA) is gaining momentum in providing unique, purposeful travel experiences, and providing opportunities to get more out of a vacation abroad. Balancing epic adventures and paying it forward to others provides the synergistic effect of improving pieces of our world.

It starts with ourselves and ripples to the people we meet now and in the future. The vision of traveling for purpose is for anyone embracing change to a meaningful existence.

A more interesting life that falls outside of one's comfort zone allows creativity and non-traditional ideas to flow without limitations.

Get out of the monotonous grind because it will not transform you into the badass who lives within all of us. Life is about going on more adventures, being around good energy, connecting with people, learning new things and growing.

Originally Posted by Jorge Branco at http://elitedaily.com/life/motivation/travel-can-positively-change-life-world/914518/

Travel For A Cause: Why You Should Choose Your Destination With A Purpose

While I was an undergrad psychology student at Monmouth University, there was a guiding philosophy: “Pick Your Little Piece of the World and Improve It.” Easier said than done, yet if you are able to improve the world, you will likely improve yourself along the way. In fact, humans have a fundamental motivation to improve and grow.

This motivation, known in psychological research as self-expansion, suggests that for those who are lucky enough to build and improve their sense of selves by becoming better people — there are numerous benefits to this. For example, research shows that when you experience self-expansion, you put forth more effort on subsequent tasks and feel like you are more likely to successfully accomplish other tasks — perhaps even tasks like improving the world.

Research about self-expansion offers some insight into the types of experiences that are most likely to promote self-growth. Optimally, self-expanding activities will be new, interesting and challenging. As anyone who has studied abroad or taken a road trip can attest, traveling may be one of the most self-expanding experiences a person can have.

In a selfish world, it would be all-too-easy to travel just for your own enjoyment and potential benefit. But if you are really going to be accountable and try to improve a piece of the world, you need to do more… to be MORE. With this in mind, I decided to build something that would enable others to discover themselves as they discovered the world and see how much love exists out there. So, “Adventure Travel for a Cause” was born.

The vision is simple: a group travels to a country to experience new and interesting adventures (hiking, surfing, cliff-diving etc.), while also dedicating their time to those who are less fortunate (teaching sports to orphans, helping the community, etc). In each type of activity travelers challenge themselves to break out of their comfort zones to expand their senses of self-perception.

Getting the most out of traveling doesn't mean just having epic hiking routes or surfing your first wave. It's about the synergistic effect of those adventures and paying it forward to others. Teaching kids how to juggle soccer balls won't make you superman, but the ripple effect that even simple acts can have, not only for yourself, are immeasurable. We all have something to offer to others and to the world.

In the pursuit of this vision, I decided that just like any other job that provides new employees training and seminars in order to learn the trade, I would seek my own on-the-job training; the world would be my classroom. I bought a one-way ticket from Newark to Sydney, a place completely on the other side of world and totally unfamiliar.

While there, I don't know who I will meet, or what I will do, but I will do everything in my power to use my hands to serve and my eyes to learn. I am not trying to say this to impress you, but to stress that you must practice what you preach. I'm taking my own journey around the world, which is sure to challenge me, but will also be new and interesting, and will undoubtedly expand who I am.  By doing this, I will be able to better serve others as they seek to serve and improve the world. Together we can travel the world, and improve it — and it can start with just one trip.

Originally Posted by Jorge Branco at http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/why-you-should-travel-for-a-cause/