Our first night in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

We were greeted at the airport by our very friendly shuttle driver from Guanacaste Viajes Transfer and Tours. He was wonderful, but spoke no English, so Shaun and I tested out some of our newly acquired Spanish. It would appear we have a lot of work to do! Regardless, I would highly recommend their services.

After an hour long drive, he dropped us off at our hostel, Villas Macondo. Thank you Trip Advisor, this one is a winner. I will write a full review later, but essentially its a little slice of paradise right in the middle of bustling Tamarindo.

After a quick trip to the grocery store, a snack, and a cervasa (or two), we headed out for a beach walk and happy hour. We figure we would head to Eat at Joes, which is part of the Witches Rock Surf Camp. We’d eaten there many times, knew they had a happy hour, and knew that we could get some good beach walking in to get there.

We stopped along the way to take some obligatory sunset photos

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Our first Costa Rican sunset.

We arrived at Joe’s, took advantage of their happy hour beer special, and ordered dinner. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a traditional Costa Rican Casado.

Casado is Costa Rican for “Married Man” and is a meal consisting of rice, beans, plantains, salad, sometimes a tortilla, and a protein (fish, beef, chicken, pork). Simplicity at its best! Add some Lizano Salsa, and you my friend are in business!

After our meal, we were feeling pretty good, and were thinking about calling it a night, until we realized it was 6:30. So we grabbed a couple road pops (totally legit here by the way), and poked around Tamardino. So much has changed, and yet so much is the same.

During our walk about, we happened across a little bar that we had visted on our last trip. By bar, I mean a stand in the street with stools, but still. We were there on the day they opened over three years ago. They had plastic chairs, a putting green, two kinds of drinks and no customers. We certainly didn’t expect for it to still be standing. Well boy were we surprised. It was not only standing, but decked out with flat screen TV’s and a full kitchen. We had gotten to know the owner during our last visit, so had a great time catching up, and imbibing in his deadly rum and pineapple drink special. I’m going to write a whole post about the bar, as soon as I can track down the old pictures we took on opening day!

At Wild Panda!

At Wild Panda!

After a couple more cocktails, it was time to call it a night. With fuzzy heads, and tired bodies, we headed back to the hostel for a very good night sleep. The adventure of a lifetime has begun!

What kind of local food have you tried while travelling? Anything wild and exciting??

Pura Vida!

Kate

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Our Travel Day

Well, it’s hard to believe it, but we’re actually here, living the dream we’ve been planning for years! Before I dive into what we’re doing, I thought I would go over how we got here!

For those of you who have travelled to Costa Rica from Canada before, you know it is a little bit of a milk run. There certainly are flights that can get you here in a more direct way, but they’ve always been WAY to much for our budget. When Shaun and I were looking for flights, it was all about price for us. It didn’t matter how long it took us to get down here, because we’re going to be here for so long! So, we ended up flying Victoria-Seattle-Chicago-Miami-Liberia. Sounds crazy I know, but out of all the times we’ve been down here, it was actually the best flights we’d ever had! I’m getting ahead of myself though, lets start from the beginning.

My mom picked us up at 5:30 (although we may have still been in bed when she arrived). After pulling together our last minute items, and saying goodbye to the Bear cat, we were off.

The Victoria airport was a riot. I had read the previous night that President Obama was going to be in the Seattle airport right around the time we were set to arrive. This meant that all flights would be grounded until Air Force One took off. As a result, we were expecting delays. We were surprised when we checked in, and everything was fine. I took a deep breath, took one last look around at my home town, and boarded the plane. We both looked out the window and  said goodbye when the Captain came on:

“Ladies and Gentleman, President Obama is in Seattle airport, so they won’t let us leave. It’s going to be at least an hour. We’re going to ask that everyone get off the plane and go back to the terminal”

We had a pretty good giggle about that one! An hour later we were on our way! We had a bit of time in Seattle, and knowing we had a super tight connection in Chicago, picked up some food to eat on the plane.

Chicken Caeser Salad for Shaun, Oatmeal and a Fruit and Veggie Plate for myself. Oh, and my final Peppermint Mocha!! It was delish!

Despite there being a medical emergency on the flight from Seattle to Chicago, the flight actually arrived early. This made our connection a little less tight. Our flight to Miami was uneventful, and we arrived around 11 pm there time. We wandered the Miami airport for ever until we finally tracked down the airport hotel. Since we had an 11 hour layover, I figured booking a room would be a good idea. I feel I have never been so right about anything in my life!  This, is what made this trip so easy. Instead of spending our 11 hours curled up in a corner of the airport, we had a king sized bed and a hot shower in the morning. I’ll never be able to go back to airport sleeping again!

We checked in, and Shaun made a quick trip to Subway for a late night snack, (not that late since it was only 9pm our time) we watched some bad TV and fell asleep. Not that I did much sleeping, I was way to excited!

We got up bright an early, and headed to our gate. Security  was right outside the hotel lobby so getting back in the airport was a breeze.

 

Breakfast was in order. I rocked a fruit plate with a side of scrambled eggs. This is definite foreshadowing of meals to come! I would like to say that my food pictures will improve, but not likely lol

 

And with that, we headed to our gate, got on the flight and a short 2.5 hours later, we landed.

The eagle has landed

The eagle has landed

Getting here was such a surreal, joyful, scary, thought provoking moment for me. I have so much to say about it, but for now, I will have to leave you in suspense.

We’ve had so many adventures already, I can’t wait to share them all with you guys!

How do you tackle long travel days? Gravol and Wine? Let me know!

Pura Vida,

Kate

And We’re Off!!!

Well yesterday the adventure began! It’s 4 in the morning here in Miami, and I’m laying wide awake waiting for my alarm to go off so we can get on our last flight to Liberia!!

This past weekend was amazing. Santa parades, glow stick bootcamp runs, dinners out, lunches with fabulous friends and countless peppermint mochas later, I truly felt I got to say goodbye to everyone.

Thank you to everyone who made our send off truly special. We left feeling very full of love. So for today’s post, enjoy a smattering of pictures from our past days in Victoria.

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A special thank you to my Wholly Fitters for an epic final challenge of an hour long glow stick lit, Disney themed, fun run. I was so touched by the amount of people who have up their Sunday Night to run around in the dark with me!!

What would you want to do before a big trip? Did you celebrate with us? Write us a comment!

Next post will be from the beach!

Pura Vida
Kate

Packing List Part 2

Hello!!

Things are getting serious here on the packing front. With 3 days to go, I’m feeling fairly organized. Although I am still unsure of how things are going to go once I actually attempt to put all these glorious items into Tatonka! For those of you who know me well, it will come as no surprise that I’ve been Youtubing “packing techniques“. This link is likely how it will go down.

Lots of stuff to cover, so lets dive right in. First, let’s take a gander at my toiletry bag, and all the goodies that are inside.

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This is my fabulous Roots travel bag that folds out into a toiletry case that you can hang on the back of a door. It makes it so much easier when you are staying in places with small bathrooms, as it clears up the counter space. Wanna see what’s inside??

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Toiletry Case Goodies

So starting from the top left:

  1. Makeup Case, for those of  you who missed it, check out my post Makeup for Travellingl to see what’s inside!
  2. Hairbrush
  3. Toothpaste
  4. Diva Cup and Diva Cup Wash. Won’t go into to much detail, but seriously a travelling girls best friend!
  5. Shampoo, Conditioner, Facewash. The facewash has an exfolliant in it to help me scrub off all the suncreen, salt and sweat!
  6. Body Glide- I use this when I’m running races in hot climates, and thought it might come in handy here. It basically makes sure you don’t end up chaffing during long sweaty workouts/hikes.
  7. Next Row: Two pairs of earrings. Cheap, easily replaceable
  8. Q-Tips
  9. My uber cute travel electronic toothbrush and some replacement heads
  10. Bug spray, a MUST! full size and travel size
  11. Deoderant, another must!
  12. Two containers of sunscreen, Shaun is also bringing some, because for some reason he’s not keen on my shimmery stuff!
  13. Razor and Razor heads
  14. Comb
  15. Last row: Nail polish. Pedicure is happening today, and I’m planning on just slapping this colour on my toes continually for five mos!
  16. Eye cream from Lotus. A recent Sephora purchase that I just feel I can’t live without
  17. Hair Ties
  18. Meds!! Have a mother who is an RN, I’m prepared for EVERYTHING. So, in no particular order I have Pepto, Gravol, anti-diarrhea pills, Benedryl for any strange reactions and to be honest, upon writing this, I have one set of pills that are a mystery to me. Note to self, seek clarification prior to departure!
  19. Lastly, manicure stuff. Gotta keep those nails short, and those brows tweezed!
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Things to help the hanger and other goodies!

This next batch of goodies include things that will help me cure a disease that effects both myself and my loved ones HANGER (Hunger+Anger). Once my blood sugar plummets, I am not a peach, and become senorita hangrypants!

  1. Quest Bars-Oh how I love thee. You better believe I’ll be getting my mom to bring more of these babies down for me when she comes for Christmas
  2. Almond Butter- I’m a nut butter fiend! This little jar will keep me going until I can find a suitable substitute down there.
  3. The rest of it- Headlamp, clip to attach my water bottle, sunglasses, waterproof bags
  4. What’s the stuff in the plastic bag?? Wellll, many of you know I paint faces as a part time job, so I’m bringing a couple supplies in case I get the opportunity to make some little gaffers into rainbow butterflies! (I guess they could  be big gaffers too!)
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Fitness Goodies

I guess these aren’t ALL fitness goodies but many are. Starting from the top.

  1. Towel
  2. Sleeper sheet, in case we run into any sketchy bed situations
  3. Hats. I’m still debating the white one. I know I’ll get tons of wear out of it, but it doesn’t travel well, so it likely won’t fit in my bag.
  4. Walking runners and workout runners
  5. My band, I talked about this in my Staying Active While Travelling Post
Titty Tonka's Trinkets

Titty Tonka’s Trinkets

This is everything that I’ll be carrying in my daypack to start off with (and yes, I’m named her Titty Tonka, cause it makes me laugh everytime I type it!)

  1. Sketch Book and Pens- I’ve been doing so much art lately, I couldn’t imagine not having something to draw with while down there.
  2. Three starter books, they will undoubtedly be read within the first week.
  3. Flip Flops to wear when we get off the plane
  4. Charger and ear buds for Iphone (not pictured, since it was taking the picture!)
  5. Notebook with all of our important numbers in it. I’ve also documented a whole bunch of workouts in it as well!
  6. Our map
  7. Extra meds and Quest Bars for the travel period
  8. Our netbook, camera and their chargers. We bought the netbook used, and it’s pretty slow. Thanks to some magic from my favourite IT guy, it’s up and running slightly faster. In fact, I’m trying it out today for the first time writing this post! The camera is my moms. I use my iphone for everything, but it’s been acting up lately. I wanted to bring a camera to start off with to see if I get any use out of it. If I like it, I’ll get her to bring one down for me when she comes in December

PHEW! The longest post, on the smallest netbook known to man. I’ve love to hear your thoughts. What am I missing? What should I leave at home?

What are you travel packing secrets? Any tips on how I can fit all this in my bag?

Next post will be travel day!! hurray!

Pura Vida

Kate

Packing List Part 1

Well we all knew it was coming, the moment of truth…packing.

I actually have been dreading this day, but was amazed at how quickly it came together. I figured I would separate this post into two parts, today I’ll review clothing, and then on Friday I’ll go over all the extra stuff. So, without further ado, here are all the clothes I’m bringing.

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Starting top right:

  1.  Two beach wraps that can double as sleeping attire
  2.  Bathing suits! I’m bringing 3 suits, but all the tops and bottoms are interchangeable. (I may go buy this beautiful polka dot one piece before I go, do I need it, no, do I want it, yes).
  3.  Bandeau tops, I’ve brought three of these little guys, they are perfect when I want to go out in a loose fitting top but don’t want to deal with a bra.
  4. One pair of black leggings
  5. Gitch!! 13 pairs of underwear…It’s so exciting that my underwear is now permanently on display on the internet. It was really was just a matter of time.
  6. Next row…yes that is one very lonely pair of socks. I think I’m going to bring about 3 or 4 pair. Even though I will live in flip flops, I know I will use them to workout every day.
  7. Bottoms, one pair of jean shorts, and one pair of capris
  8. Shirts, a weeks worth. Mostly tank tops, but a couple short sleeves as well.
  9. Dresses, 7 to be exact. I know I will live in sun dresses while I’m down there, and these ones are really compact. Most of them I actually bought down in Costa Rica on our last trip!
  10. Sports bras- I’ll be bringing two with me, but only one is shown cause the other was in the dryer!
  11. Workout bottoms- Two pairs of shorts, which can double for bathing suit bottoms, and two pairs of dry wick capris
  12. Workout tops- Five tops, mostly drywick.
  13. Warm clothes- I’m bringing one pair of long waterproof pants, that can be zipped off and turned into capris, and one long sleeved shirt. I imagine these will be used when hiking in rainforests, and travelling on those chilly air conditioned buses.
  14. A bright purple waterproof jacket.

So there you go! What do you think? Did I miss anything? Is it too much? I definitely found the workout gear challenging. I know I’ll be having a crazy sweaty workout every morning, so I had to bring extra to accommodate that. But the nice thing is, my Mom is coming to visit for Christmas, so if I find I’ve brought to much, I can always send some things home with her!

Stay tuned for my next post which will cover things like, shoes, electronics, and all the other little knick-knacks I’m bringing!

What are your packing strategies? How do you think I did? Any tips you want to share?

Pura Vida!

Kate

The Bootcamp Backpack Test Run

Some of you may know that I have been blogging as a guest “challenger” for my Bootcamp this month. Each month, one bootcamp member take on their own personal challenge, and documents it in some way. My challenge has been to take a more flexible approach to my fitness, and challenge myself to get comfortable creating effective workouts on the fly. If you’re interested in reading more about it, or learning about the best bootcamp in Victoria, feel free to check it out here!

So, last week, one of my challenges was to walk/run for an hour wearing a backpack with 15 pounds inside. Each time I got to a new street I had to do 20 jump squats, 20 step ups on a curb, and 20 fast lunges. I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to test out my backpack.

As many of you may have read previously, Tatonka is my backpack, and we are BFF’s. So I jumped at the chance to take her out for a spin. For this challenge, I decided to detach Tatonka’s day pack, and use that for my weights. I realized at that moment that I need a name for it as well. So far, I’ve come up with TinyTonka, TittyTonka, BittyTonka, but I’m open to suggestions!

Anyways, I started my challenge by loading up 15 lbs worth of barbel free weights into the pack, and I was off. The first thing I noticed was that the straps were too long. I had them adjusted as far as they would go, but found myself holding on to them to keep them taught. This is definitely a disadvantage to not buying a backpack made for a women. I felt that my torso just wasn’t long enough to have it fit right. That being said, I think a lot of that had to do with the amount of weight that was weighing it down. I doubt that I will often have 15lbs worth of weight in my daypack.

As the walk continued, Jenn, my instructor, challenged my flexibility by calling me and asking me to pick up milk for her. I then proceeded to get text messages from two other fellow bootcampers, also requesting milk. After making multiple purchases, I embarked, milk in hand, for the final leg of my trek. As I walked, I thought about how perfect this challenge was, as I’m guaranteed to be faced with lots of long walks carrying lots of weight in my not so distant future.

In the end, I made it all the way to the park where Jenn was teaching a morning class. photo 1 (2)She was kind enough to snap a photo of me, milk in hand, looking very relieved to have arrived.

She was also kind enough to take the milk off my hands for my run home. I knew at this point that I was going to have to make some sort of adjustment to the pack in order to run the 5km back to my car. So, with Jenn’s help I played around with the straps, and came up with a fabulous solution.

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You can see here that I unbuckled both straps and then re-buckled one across me. I then took the other strap and wrapped it around my waist, attaching it into the buckle on the other side.I could not believe the difference this made. The pack sat higher on my back and the weight was distributed more evenly. You can tell by my smile that I’m much happier (although I did take this picture once I had completed the 10km route, so that may have influenced my grin as well!).

Obviously those magical makers of Tatonka knew what they were doing when the designed the straps to unbuckle. I’m certainly glad I learnt this lesson now, instead of half way up the side of a volcano!

So, here is the big question…what on earth do I name my little Tatonka day pack?? Let me know in the comments!

Pura Vida!

Kate

My First Blog Award- The Liebster!!

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What a wonderful way to start my week!! I was so excited to find out that Wendy from Life Unmapped, nominated me for a Liebster award. I’m still grinning to myself as I write this, so thank you so much Wendy. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!

So what is the Liebster award? Well it’s an award given to new blogs with under 200 followers by their fellow bloggers. It sounds like such an amazing way to connect with our blogging peers!

Here are the rules for Liebster nominations.

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back up to his/her blog.
  2. Answer the 10 (or 11!) questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  3. Nominate other bloggers for the award who have less than 200 followers.
  4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer
  5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

So here are the questions I received from Wendy, along with my answers

1). Where is the last place you travelled?

The last place I travelled was Disneyland! Although I haven’t spoken about it much on this blog, I am a Disney fanatic! I got at least once a year. This year was particularly special because I went to run the Disneyland Half Marathon. Words cannot describe how amazing this experience was. I even got to cross the finish line with Shannon from The Birthday Dinner, as she finished her very first Half Marathon. Such an accomplishment!

 2). What is your earliest travel memory?

 When I was very young, my family would travel from Victoria to Vancouver to visit my “Nan”. It was always such an adventure, because we would have to take the ferry. I have very vivid memories of these ferry rides, and the excitement I would feel throughout the whole process. Although my travels would get more extensive as I grew older, these hour and thirty minute ferry rides seemed like huge journey’s to me!

3). Do you prefer to travel with others or on your own?

 My instant reaction is to say with others, but probably because I have never travelled extensively on my own. A few trips here and there, but I’ve always ended up meeting up with people I know at some point. The best trips I have had have been with one or two other people. I find there is often a tipping point with travelling in groups. Suddenly there are too many people to please, and decision making can be difficult. I’ve definitely had more than one occasion where my travel group has spent more time deciding on where to go for dinner, then actually eating dinner!

4). What is your favorite food or drink you’ve found while travelling?

 If you read my must sees post, you’ve already heard about my love affair with Mandarina smoothies in Costa Rica. I could probably extend that to all fresh tropical fruit. There is nothing more amazing then eating freshly picked pineapples and bananas!

5). If you could only complete one item on your bucket list, what would it be?

I’m staring blankly at the screen with this one! Only one item, that seems impossible! Geez, well, seeing that I’m freshly off the Disney run circuit, I would love to complete their coast to coast, and double dare challenges. Runners who complete a Disney race in Disneyland and Disney World in a year, get a special “Coast to Coast” medal. In addition, each race weekend includes a “Double Dare” Challenge. Runners complete a 10km run on Saturday and then the Half Marathon on Sunday.  You get a medal for each of these runs. So, if I all the challenges, I would end up with seven medals! (but whose counting ;))

6). Do you have a favorite travel destination?

 Not surprisingly it’s Costa Rica. That being said, I feel like I have so many places left to explore, the answer will likely change depending on what beach I’m laying on!

7). What is your preferred method of travel (airplane, train, bus, car…)?

When exploring a country, I like the freedom of having a vehicle. It’s nice to have the flexibility of stopping whenever you see something that strikes your fancy. This won’t often be the case for us during our Costa Rican adventure, but we might rent one on the odd occasion.

8). What is the one thing you never leave home without?

No, it’s not hot rollers! This answer was easy, a couple good books. I love reading, and travelling offers the perfect opportunity to sink your teeth into literary adventures. I also like finding books in hostels to swap with. I often end up reading things that I would never have picked up on my own!

 9). What is your favorite travel film or book?

 Hmm, rough one. I think I’m going to stick with the basics, and say my lonely planet books. I often pick one up before going travelling, and gain so much valuable knowledge from them. Reading them prior to departure also gets me so excited for the adventure to come!

 10). What are your three favorite blogs?

 Oh gosh, they change so often, and there are so many! Here are my current faves:

So, with that, I now present to you my nominess for the Liebster Award!!

And here are their questions:

1) Where is the most memorable place that you’ve travelled?
2)What was the biggest adventure you’ve had while travelling?
3)What is your favourite part of Costa Rica?
4)What travelling experience made you feel most outside your comfort zone?
5)What brought you to Costa Rica?
6)If someone came to visit you for the first time, where is the first place you would take them?
7)When travelling, what is the one item you would never leave home without?
8)Plantains or Papaya?
9)How did you feel when you read about your Liebster Nomination?
10) What are your three favourite blogs?

What fun! Can’t wait to hear your answers! Have you ever won an award??

Pura Vida

Kate