14 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Around the World

14 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Around the World

  Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.   We don’t particularly enjoy all the commercialism that surrounds the holiday, but we do love any excuse to celebrate. So if it means getting dolled up, eating scrumptious food and sipping on good wine… well, we can handle that.   Last year we celebrated Valentine’s Day in Taiwan. Taiwanese celebrate February 14th with fanfare—teddy bears, glittery flowers, and decorations. Stores often have Valentine’s Day discounts. Taipei 101 even lights up with cute hearts. But in addition to the Western date, Taiwanese also celebrate traditional Chinese Valentines Day on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar. Honestly we never knew much about this other Valentine’s Day, and from a foreigner’s eye, it certainly didn’t receive as much attention as its Western counterpart.     But it got us thinking. How do other countries celebrate Valentine’s Day around the world?   We set out to the handy dandy Internet to see what we could find. Perhaps not surprisingly, we discovered that many countries celebrate Valentine’s Day with roses and chocolates and perhaps a dinner date; many cultures have embraced the Western influence. Other cultures protest the holiday, some even going so far as to set fire to Valentine’s Day merchandise. And finally, some cultures have looked for a way to make the holiday more their own, finding a bit of balance.   Before we set off, we want to be clear that we haven’t experienced any of these celebrations firsthand; the information was sourced from around the web (you can find the original...
A Preview Of Life In Dominical, Costa Rica

A Preview Of Life In Dominical, Costa Rica

It’s been about a week since we arrived in Costa Rica, and so far, things are pretty darn awesome. We’re set up at a cool and quiet rental in Platanillo. It’s simple, but we’re surrounded by jungle and have a nice hiking path just on the other side of our fence. In 15 minutes we can be at the beach in Dominical. The whole drive down is all gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and jungle. If we go up the hill, we arrive at the bustling mountain town of San Isidro. We took a chance by finding the house on Craigslist and putting down a deposit before we saw it, but now that we’re here, we’re so very glad we did!     Our first mission when we arrived was finding a pair of wheels. Not only did we want a reliable and convenient way to explore the region, I also needed a mode of transport to get down to Dominical (where I’ll be teaching yoga a couple of times a week). We entertained the idea of purchasing a used car, but after testing a few out, we quickly realized we weren’t going to find anything we really found safe and reliable within our budget. Instead, we opted for a motorcycle—something which Dan was not complaining about at all. Dan loved his motorcycle in Taiwan, and has missed having his own since we left a year and a half ago. It’s perfect for now, though we are saving up for a car, too.     In between moving into the house and purchasing the motorcycle, somehow we managed...
Our First Travel Destination For 2015 Revealed!

Our First Travel Destination For 2015 Revealed!

Our First Travel Destination For 2015 Revealed! A week from today, we will be on a plane headed to our first travel destination of 2015. Choosing where to go this year was a slightly daunting task. Only a month ago it was mid-December and we still didn’t have any plans confirmed! But of course, things have a way of working themselves out, and everything quickly started to fall into place before Christmas. As it turns out, we’re incredibly grateful we waited to commit to anything as our upcoming opportunities wouldn’t have been possible. SO – Where is it we’re going?     Back to Costa Rica! Are you surprised? To be honest, we kind of are ourselves. We were just there for two months before coming home for the holidays, and we are already planning a return—which will be our third time to the country since we began our location independent journey a year and a half ago. Are we becoming obsessed with Costa Rica? Well, we do love the country, but there are a lot of reasons why we’re headed back.     The main reason why Costa Rica won out in favor of other possible destinations like Nicaragua, Mexico or even Nepal, was that I was offered a job as a yoga instructor at a new yoga studio on the beach. And how can you turn that down?! I love teaching, and of course I love yoga, so one of my goals after yoga teacher training was to actually find a job as an instructor. Everything worked out seamlessly when I was able to visit the studio...

Big Life Changes – What the Heck Are We Thinking?!

With only a few more weeks left of our time in Taiwan, everyone keeps asking us the same question: What are you going to do now?   Our answer? Why travel, of course.     This in turn leads to quizzical expressions accompanied by a variety of the following statements:   “How long will you be on vacation then?” “Wow, you’re so lucky you don’t have to work!” “So you’ll be gone for like, two weeks?” “Don’t you miss America by now?” “You guys must be loaded!”   If you are a fellow traveler, then you already know what we mean. It can be truly difficult to explain what ‘travel’ means to those who don’t travel long-term and have no desire to do so. And while Dan can just brush away comments like the ones listed above, I let them get under my skin, nagging and pushing at me. I feel the need to justify our plans to others; when they still don’t quite understand our definition of traveling, the self-doubt creeps in. Are our plans completely unrealistic? Is it time we return back home, find ‘real’ jobs and plan for the day we want to start a family? I know we have nothing to doubt and that traveling is the best next chapter of our lives. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’ll need a few hundred reassurances from Dan and ultimately my own inner voice to regain confidence in our plans. And if we are being completely honest here, maybe a few glasses of wine too.   So if you want to understand a little bit...

If You Had Told Us Two Years Ago…

Our time in Taiwan is dwindling to an end. We have exactly one month and one day until we say goodbye to the place we’ve called home for two years. That’s only 32 days. 32 days to explore the pockets of the island that have remained too elusive to us up to this point; 32 days to play and laugh and hug our students, some of whom we’ve taught since the beginning; 32 days to pack up our first home as husband and wife, selling or shipping away the majority of our belongings. Call us sentimental, but as excited as we are for the next chapter of our lives, we’re a bit sad to leave this one behind. As our time in Taiwan closes, we have been taking a few additional moments to reflect upon the things Taiwan has taught us—not only about Taiwanese culture or the Eastern world, but also about ourselves. In the past two years we have learned and changed a great deal. There are many things we now do on a daily basis that we never could have imagined would become a part of our routine lives, countless events and accomplishments we didn’t expect to come our way.  They are habits we have picked up, interests we have developed, all of which are compliments of our time spent in Taiwan. This is a compilation of those things, and how we would have responded if you had told us about them two years ago.   If you had told us two years ago…   1. …we would drive a scooter or motorcycle everyday, using it for our primary...