St. George

This is Pioneer Park in St. George, Utah. It’s an hour away from Zion National Park. Happened to be 2 miles away from the hotel I’m staying at.

SG1
Into the Rocks
SG 2
Ridges
SG 4
Fragments
SG 6
I fear hole clusters
SG 7
What planet am I in?

I’ve often been asked why or how I travel so often. How do I afford it? Do I make six figures? Well I do make six figures! It’s my salary. However, that’s not how I pay for my travel. That’s just how I live in California 😉 Most of the travel I do is work related. The company I work for pays for all of my travel expenses and I get to keep the flyer miles, hotel points, and free car rental days (as well as all the statuses frequent travel brings about). I know that sometimes, simply looking at a few images and sentences from people’s lives may make it seem like they have all “these things I don’t have”, but there’s usually more than what meets the eye. As for “how do I find work like that?” That’s a great question I don’t know the answer to. I remember that when I started my current position, one of the managers that was training me, asked all the trainees what their paths were to get to our present days – we all had radically different stories. Fourteen years ago, I was working in pre-clinial trials (aka bench side research aka inside a lab), then public health research, then I got into clinical research working directly with subjects, then 4 years ago I got into working in clinical research on the admin side.  I didn’t do anything special or unique or “followed the 10 steps to eradicating your ego guidebook”,  I just showed up and got lucky along the way.

Harmonious Rest

Beauty
San Diego, California

I’m grounded at home in San Diego for the week – this means no travel! It’s incredible how much time a day has when I’m not spending the week inside of an airplane, an airport, a car, a clinic, a hospital, or a hotel (hence the super consistent posting). Weeks are full of time! It’s the first week since the beginning of 2020 that I don’t travel. What a lucky way to start March! This week, I’m just making sure all the administrative aspects of my work are up to date. Spoke to my manager earlier, whom is the second person at the company I work at, that says I should be given the “Senior” title for my work.

Still on track to pay off all of my student loans by the end of 2022. Today, I discovered that I may be able to achieve my goal by mid-2022 instead of the end of 2022! I LOVE admin weeks where I can fully delve into my hyper-organized, let’s project shit mode. LOL – The people in my personal and professional life know this: “She gets shit done.” #CAPRICORNSTELLIUMMANTRA Based on my projections, I should only work a 50 hour week! YASSSSSSSSS!!!!! My greatest dream in life (freedom) is just around the corner. Just here to remind you to never underestimate the power of what home-cooked meals, fresh water, sleep, and routine can do for your life. For those folks out there that desire a nomadic lifestyle, I commend you. I just hope you understand that travel comes with lessons, changes, and sacrifices. I’ll let Bourdain speak as he said it best:

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” Anthony Bourdain

Enjoying this week to the fullest as I prepare to head out to the following cities next week: St. George, UT; Idaho Falls, ID; Long Beach, CA.

I’ll always be a traveler, after all, the meaning of my name is literally Wanderer, Adventurous. However, I’m no jet-setter nor nomad.

Agape

NRS

A little more about Nick: I’ve been asked about who Nick is? What does he do? I’ve posted photos of Nick on here before and have also talked about him briefly. I met Nick in 2016, two weeks after my last relationship ended. At first, on a surface level he reminded me a lot of my previous partner (in personality). Over time, we became the closest of friends. And today, Nick is one of my best friends on par with my best friend Matt. As for “what does he do?” Nick currently isn’t working and lives with his mom in Denver, CO. I often tell him he should become a Colorado tour guide. He does little odd jobs here and there. I always pay for our meals, give him gas money (he drives me when I’m in town), and when adventuring, use MY hotel points to stay in places. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Regardless, Nick is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met – actually, brilliant would be a better word to describe him. His areas of masterful knowledge are: astrophysics, physics, logic, and philosophy. Our conversations revolve around these topics. In addition to his mental brilliance, Nick is always willing to be a listening ear. Helps me out whenever needed. And has been there for me when I was on the verge of suicide – twice. He’s been present for me in a way that very few people have. 

I’m not one to include people in my life based on their status, income, looks, etc. I include  (or remove) people in my life based on how they make me feel. In Nick’s presence, I don’t feel like I have to be one thing or another – I am me. He doesn’t treat me like a material, object, or symbol – he treats me like a human. I don’t feel like worthless garbage in his company. My love for him is very deep and beyond the shallow aspects of living.

Lastly, I wanted to share the following:

JB

Lift the Vail

“Got me feeling giddy like, la, la, la, la (yeah)
Struck a match it got me litty like, la, la, la, la (it’s lit)
You got the keys to my city like, la, la, la, la (straight up)
Do you second that emotion, baby? (Yeah)”

Justin Bieber – Second Emotion (feat. Travis Scott)

Here are some photos from Vail, Colorado #AdventureswithNick:

V1
Into the Lion’s Head
V2
Moose Tracks
V3
Closer
V5
Skate it with a slope back drop
V6
Deeper: Arch it

Peaceful Retrograde

It feels as if I’ve lived an entire lifetime since I last posted on here. This past Monday, I made my way to Butte, Montana via Salt Lake City. I arrived to my hotel in Butte at midnight and woke up on Tuesday at 6AM to go get ready to pick up my rental. I worked at the clinic in Butte all day, then drove to Bozeman to catch a non-stop flight to Denver. I then worked in Denver on Wednesday and Thursday and got back to San Diego at 12:30AM Friday morning.

Major highlights:

(1) Carmen – the retired woman in her 80s who spent a 6 hour layover with me in Salt Lake City and made it to be one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

(2) Nick – I’ve mentioned him on here before. You will forever have a piece of my heart and soul for reasons that I can’t even put into words. Thank you for playing such a huge role in my life and for tolerating my witchy-crazy-out this world personality. I’m literally holding that beautiful ring close to my heart.

Here is some video and photo documentation of my week:

24-Feb-2020: Flying over Lake Salt Lake. It’s not a great lake (in the technical sense like Lake Ontario), but it’s pretty large!

24-Feb-2020: Flying over Salt Lake City – getting ready to land.

25-Feb-2020: Getting ready for takeoff: Bozeman, MT to Denver, CO

25-Feb-2020: Down the runway. Right before takeoff: Montana to Colorado.

Bozeman to Denver
25-Feb-2020: The view for the flight in between Montana and Colorado. I love how mountains demand reverence and respect.
Into Denver
25-Feb-2020 – A Breathtaking Sunset with a Sliver of the Moon: Out of all the flights I’ve flown in the past 4 years, this was the most beautiful of my life. Sometimes when my life is as peaceful and balanced as it was this week (aka I worked and still made connections with the outside world), I wonder if my time on Earth is coming to an end and the universe simply just wants me to experience major amounts of beauty in a short period of time before I go.

Owl Ranges

AZ1
Scottsdale, AZ: It’s 1:16 AM and I just finished my workday. Here in Scottsdale this week. Got here Monday – no travel woes – just lots of work this week.

Nostalgia

“Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek nostalgia literally means ‘the pain from an old wound.’ It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards… it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the wheel, it’s called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels – around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.” Don Draper, Mad Men, Season 1, Episode 13

Yesterday, David Begnaud, posted stories of Puerto Ricans that had left the island for the main land in search of better opportunities and though they had found them, they still yearned for the island. I fall under this category. I’m so excited to visit this coming December to reconnect with everyone I once knew. The yearning for “home” has often been explored as a theme in the arts over centuries. To desire home extends beyond a want for a particular geographic location. To crave home is to yearn for a space of true love and belonging. There’s no amount of worldly success that can fulfill a void for worthiness and belonging. Here’s the video:

In honor of this, I’ll be sharing photos from my childhood as well as my favorite song:

PR 10
I honor their trauma and hold space for their pain. The lives that they endured just to get to this point would bring anyone to tears. I’m grateful that I’m the product of grit, determination, and a stubborn spirit that doesn’t stop until it reaches the finish line. I have mama’s face, dad’s jawline, a mixture of their nose, mama’s brows, hair texture is a combination of both, and mama’s skin tone. I was born to liberate my family from hundreds of years of imperialist and colonialist thinking. I am a product of both the oppressor and the oppressed and in this lifetime that schism will be reconciled and healed. When the going gets tough, I remember that there’s a larger purpose I’ve chosen to live for – not one in the material world, but in the ethereal realm – “As Above So Below; As Within So Without”. Liberation isn’t a task for the faint of heart.
PR 3
Aceitunas, Puerto Rico: At 2 months of age. Must have been in February 1991. Around 29 years ago to date.
PR 2
Aceitunas, Puerto Rico: First steps. What most captivates me about this photo is the scenery in the background. We lived on a very small hill. As soon as we walked outside the screen door, it was pure paradise. Across the street, we had opened endless land, there were cows, free roaming chickens, and a community full of more love that I can describe. If I went out the screen door towards the back of the house, where the kitchen was located, I would walk into a land with a mango tree, an avocado tree, achiote, green bananas, a palm tree that produced green coconuts,  dozens of plantain trees next door, and interesting creatures that would keep little me entertained for hours. It was bliss. I was talking to my mother last night about the amount of wealth (non-monetary) that I grew up with that’s nearly impossible to find in today’s modern world where everything is about development and “how can we make money”. Mama also reminded me of a fruit I used to like called caimito – my dad’s uncle lived next door and had a caimito tree on his property. These times were about community, supporting each other, and true character.
PR 4
Aceitunas, Puerto Rico: Nine and a half months. I remember loving both this bed and this outfit.
PR 5
December and Christmas 1991: First Birthday.
PR 1
Family vacation at the aquarium in Boston. No matter how many shoes my mom bought me, barefoot was my favorite….still is 😉
PR 7
Aceitunas, Puerto Rico: Staring at my dad’s food plate. Mama says I’ve always loved bright and flashy fashion.  I’ll use this photo to talk about the repeated tile pattern in a good portion of these photos. These floors are made of granite. The house itself is made of cement. When this house was being built,  the materials that composed it was the utmost priority. The house had to be able to endure hurricanes. We were a 20 minute drive from both the Isabela and Aguadilla coasts.
PR 6
Aceitunas, Puerto Rico: More fashion. I always used to play dress up with my mom’s belongings.
PR 9
Bosque Mágico: Mama says I’ve also always been fascinated by communication and vehicles of communication. Bosque Mágico is a celebration/showcase that takes place in San Juan (if I remember correctly).
PR 8
Aceitunas, Puerto Rico: Christmas photo at my Nanny’s house. I’ve mentioned on here before that my earliest ages were spent with a nanny as well as my grandmother. This is my nanny’s house. My nanny still sends me birthday cards to this day. I can’t wait to see her.

Now, for my favorite song: Hector Lavoe’s & Willie Colon’s Aguanile. This song pays homage to Afro-Latinidad and the practice of Santería. Santería, which literally translates into worship of the saints, is as a practice that fuses Roman Catholicism with Yoruba influences. Once Spain decided to fully conquest the Caribbean, in addition to using the labor force from the taínos (natives) in the region, they also used slave labor from West Africa. Puerto Rican culture is a complex reflection and synthesis of its history: a mixture of Taínos, West Africans, and Europeans (started with the Spaniards). The particular region where I originate from, was settled by the French and Italians (Castillo Labadie/Palacele Los Moreau) using Taíno and West African labor. Both my grandfathers (may they rest in peace) as well as their fathers worked the fields of el Castillo (Labadie). In 1898, Puerto Rico became United States territory. Puerto Ricans became US citizens in 1917, which allowed Puerto Ricans to join the military to serve in World War I.

If you pay attention to the beginning of the song, you’ll hear chanting towards the goddess Yemaya.  The body of the song (as well as the title) uses the word Aguanile. Here is the origin of the word:

Por lo general la palabra Aguanile (originalmente escrita Agguanile) se utiliza en los cantos Yoruba en honor al Orisha Oggun. pero “AGUAN” significa Limpieza e “ILÉ” significa “Casa, templo o lugar consagrado para la realización del culto a los Orisha”. La palabra “aguanile” viene de la cultura yoruba en Cuba y significa “limpieza espiritual para tu casa.“{Source}

[Translation: Generally speaking the word Aguanile (originally written as Agguanile) is used in Yoruba chants to honor Orisha Oggun (Yoruba deity), but “AGUAN” means cleansing, and “ILE” means, “Home, temple, or sacred place dedicated to the realization of worship of Orisha. The word “aguanile” comes from the Yoruba culture in Cuba and it means “Spiritual cleansing for your home.”]

#colonialism #imperialism #liberation #freedom #journey

Note: This is my favorite YouTube video of this song. However, I’d like to emphasize that the photo on this video attributes the incorrect album. The photo in the video is for Lavoe’s 1976 De Ti Depende (it’s up to you) album, which was released four years after Willie Colón’s + Hector Lavoe’s album La Justicia (1972), which contains the Aguanile song.

Makes me miss playing trumpet and french horn. My dad introduced me to this type music and I hold it dearly in my heart. However, he refuses to listen to this song because of the Santería references and as Christian fundamentalist that’s not allowed.  Since I don’t subscribe to any religion, I live for these discoveries. Some song lyrics below.

Oye, todo el mundo reza que reza
Pa’ que se acabe la guerra
Y eso no se va acabar eso será una rareza
Aguanile, aguanile, mai mai
Aguanile, aguanile, mai mai
Ay, tambores umaculli, tambores umaculla
Que se echen todo pa’lao
Que la tierra va a temblar
Aguanile, aguanile, mai mai
Aguanile, aguanile, mai mai
Ay que abonbon chele abonbonchacha
Yo tragio aguanile pa’ rociar a las muchachas
Ay, que los tres clavos de la cruz
Vayan delante de mí
Que le hablen y le responda
Ay, Dios tu ve al que me critique a mí
Yo tengo aguanile mai mai
Aguanile, aguanile, mai mai
Aguanile, aguanile, mai mai
Un judio’ que a caballo gritaba sin compasión
Como Jesús crucificaron muerto por una traición
Aguanile, aguanile, mai mai
Aguanile, aguanile, mai mai
Eh abongonchele abongochacha
Aguanile bendiceme a las muchachas
Aguanile, aguanile, mai mai
Aguanile, aguanile, mai mai
Ay, aguanile, aguanile, aguanile dame agua
Estoy seco y quiero beber