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finallyelaine

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“I’m in love with this planet, I’m in love with life, and my gift is expression. I share my time, my experiences, and my travels openly and lovingly with all of you.”

Elaine Mercedes Mendoza

About Elaine

My name is Elaine Mercedes Mendoza and I’ve been traveling the world since I was six years old-as a first generation American.   I am Venezuelan born but raised in the Washington D.C. metro area.  From that moment I first stepped into the USA, I developed life long skills in compassion, curiosity, a thirst for the unknown and understanding different cultures.

This website will hopefully inspire you to live YOUR best life-whatever that means for you.  I am living proof that I did not win the lottery but I am still traveling the world and writing about it.  Hopefully, I will convince you that you do not have to just be a reader.  Go out there! See the world!  I’m not saying quit your job and become a travel writer.  I’m just saying, you can travel no matter what your circumstances are. Read more…

Latest Blogs

What’s Nest? (Not a Typo) Travel With Me.

  Hi everyone!  As you all know, I have been traveling for three years.  The first year it was very fast travel, the second year it was planned ahead of time while balancing the transition from a stable life to a digital one, and this third year was mostly about finding the balance between being a digital nomad to a more location independent life.  I do not regret any of it, but change is a part of life and I am welcoming the next chapter.  I want to nest. Looking back, “they”said I should not, but I have.  “They”said I cannot, but I will.  “They” said I will not, but I did.  Moral of the story: “Never let others tell you what you can or cannot do.  You DEFINE YOU.”   People think I am crazy for having the life that I have.  I think it is crazy to live the same day 365 times.  It is all just a matter of perspective and personal preference. No lifestyle is perfect, but being a digital nomad has taught me that what I was really seeking was freedom.  You can have freedom by being location independent too, and not having to stay in a particular place solely to keep a job.  I can work from wherever I want as long as there is an internet connection. As a digital nomad, I received many blessings.  I was able to have experiences that enriched my spirit and made me laugh with joy.  However, I also inherited other types of problems.  Trying to find a reliable internet connection wherever I went was beyond stressful.  It... read more

Are Time Shares Worth the Investment?

  Lyrics to the hit song ¨Hotel California¨ were probably inspired after a Time Share presentation.  How would you like to vacation like a rock star every year on your budget?  Imagine going to a five star resort every year for less than what a hotel will cost you.  ¨We are not a timeshare.  We are an investment in your quality of life.¨  No matter what a salesperson will tell you, timeshare sales are a business and the bottom line is making money.  In this article we will explore the pros and cons of owning a timeshare by comparing two of the most popular presentations in The Riviera Maya area.  My goal was to visit three of them, but I actually only got through two and the reason for this may surprise you. #1 Vidanta/Mayan Palace Hands down this property is impressive and with every luxury imaginable.  The presentation was, quite frankly one of the most aggressive experiences of my life and when I use that word I am being polite.  You will go through four people before they decide to let you go.  The pressure is so intense that the original salesperson turns you over to his Supervisor.  The Supervisor pressures you and gets upset when you decide not to buy.  Afterwards, you meet a third person which makes another pitch and walks you to the ¨exit¨ to get your taxi.  Once you get your taxi voucher a fourth person comes in and gives you another ¨deal¨ you cannot pass—except for the purposes of researching this article I did.  Timeshares have gotten a bad rep over the years... read more

A Story of Transformation

  When I look in the mirror, I like what I see.  I wish I was taller, there are times during the year that I gained some pounds that I wish I could get rid of, and if I could choose, I would not mind having a smaller booty.  These are all silly wishes in the big scheme of things and not anything to stress over. However, what happens when you wake up in the morning and you do NOT like what you see?  Does this not apply to most people at some point in life?  Don’t we ALL have to go through a process of self-love and self-acceptance after pain and disappointments?  Imagine if this feeling went a step further.  What would happen if you feel like one gender on the inside, but your body is the opposite gender?  For one second, imagine living in a Halloween costume that you cannot take off at the end of the night. I do not know what it is like to be born a man any more than I know what it is like to be born a Scottish woman.  I have no idea what a Chinese person feels like when they visit their grandparents after having been born and raised in The United States, but then they are judged by others for not speaking the language.  I have zero idea of what it means to be black and the struggles and prejudice that they go through.  However, that does not mean that I cannot find common ground in their story to reach a place of compassion and understanding for their... read more

Five Things to Do in Ibiza for Introverts

Foam parties until dawn, music that may forever tarnish your ear drums, sex, drugs, and rock & roll.  That is what people think of when they hear that you are going to Ibiza.  I noticed the party starts on the plane on the way there.  Until this day it has been the most noisy of flights ever.  It got so bad that the pilot faked turbulence just to get us all to sit down and be quiet.  However, I learned that we get the experience we are looking for and moving my booty to booze and other recreational activities was not on my personal plans for Ibiza.  I wanted a lot of alone time, reading good books, and just enjoying the people watching and discovering what it is that makes this place so special.  Ibiza feels like you have landed on another planet and the beaches are as different from each other as if you were in an entirely different place.  I believe this is as close to paradise as possible.  My introduction to Spain was this island before later venturing out to the mainland. I definitely did not go for foodie adventures since the island pretty much caters to tourists, worldwide, but I did discover Pintxos on this island.  All in all it was an absolutely memorable time and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  To read about food in Spain check out my post: 12 Yummy Barcelona Experiences. #5 LET IT ALL OUT:  On my first day I arrived from London, where it was already getting chilly so I had to quickly get rid... read more

What My 40´s Year Old Self Would Tell My Younger Self

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOU ARE ENOUGH: Seriously, you look great but of course you do not know that.  As a matter of fact, you will later regret not knowing that you were this beautiful in your 20´s. How you look at 25 is very different than how you will look at 35.  You have health right now, which will be drastically taken away from you in your 30´s.  See, you are about to make some poor choices in love and career that will have you taking a wrong turn in life.  This will affect both your health and your body.  Enjoy being 25 at the peak of your beauty, but also start to figure out whom you are on the inside because ultimately that is what will take over.  We ALL fade physically, but our essence can become brighter and more beautiful the more we work on ourselves. Also, you do not know this right now, but YOU ARE ENOUGH.  You got out of college and now you want to prove to yourself that something will come of it.  Let me tell you something, success is not something you achieve as if you will get everything that you want in that next relationship or that next job.  There is not anything OUT THERE that will fill the void inside of you.  It will take you a long time to learn this, but in the meantime, enjoy making all of those mistakes that you are about to make because ultimately you WILL learn and you will be a new and changed person because of it. 2. THE NEXT 20... read more

HOUSING OPTIONS YOU ARE OVERLOOKING

The biggest decision we will make after we decide what destination to visit is HOUSING.  It will most likely take the biggest chunk out of your travel budget and can also make or break your vacation.  Have you ever stayed at a five star resort that was under construction or have an AirBnb nightmare story?  There are many other options out there that people are not considering, but that can save them big money.  Here are five alternative housing options that you can look into: 1) Monasteries:  You do not have to be religious or into spirituality to stay at a monastery.  There are many around the world that have been welcoming travelers.  In some of these places, you can volunteer to serve food or help with chores in exchange for a free stay.  It does not matter what your background is, there is a monastery waiting for you to discover its serene and peaceful welcome. Staying at a monastery is cheaper than a hotel or short-term rental and will provide the safety that you want.  Monasteries come in all shapes and for all budgets.  From the luxurious and pristine to the basic and rugged–surely you can find one that suits your needs and travel style.   For a list of monasteries that you can stay in The United States: monasteries.net For a list of monasteries that you can stay in Europe: Goodnightandgodbless.com The best part about monasteries is that they offer a wonderful alternative to hotels and resorts.  Usually, they offer organic food and it is already a given that it will provide you a serene environment.  In... read more

The Un-Life of a Train Conductor Vs. Trump’s America

When I tell people I was once a train conductor I get a big gasp of disbelief.  It seems I am not the image of a train conductor and I am pretty sure I do not look like Tom Hanks.  However, I really hated it when people didn’t have their ticket or when passengers wanted to use some lame excuse as to how I was “singling” them out because of some irrelevant yet a hot trending issue.  It is not easy being around hundreds of people every day.   Managing different personalities with lack of sleep combined with the over-worked lives of our travelers is a skill that cannot be taught. However, the position taught me how to observe people from all walks of life and how to eventually be able to write articles like this one. The truth is that at one point I LOVED being a train conductor.  I was able to use the train for free and I took advantage of that very much.  I was able to go from one side of the country to the other.  I was able to hop in my car (yes, my car) from Virginia to Florida as I wined and dined on the Auto train.  It was a magnificent time and I enjoyed every minute of it—until I didn’t.  See, riding the train and working on one are two totally separate experiences. I wrote this article to honor all the railroad employees and  staff from the Engineers to the Snack bar employees and Train conductors.  I call it the “un-life” because so much of our everyday lives are sacrificed.  From... read more

Overcoming Claustrophobia in Rio Secreto

Welcome to Rio Secreto– A Nature Reserve that is no longer a secret outside of The Playa del Carmen area.  Hands down, this will be one of your most spectacular life experiences.  Imagine an underground world that stayed hidden for millions of years until an Iguana Hunter accidentally stumbled upon it in 2006.  The experience has been compared to walking on the moon and The Mayans believed that this underground cave was a pathway to the afterlife. Rio Secreto is a once in a lifetime experience worth having.  However, I was not entirely at peace before the adventure, and confronted my claustrophobia head on.  When people ask me, why am I afraid of dark and enclosed spaces?  I am not entirely sure, but I do have a theory.  I was personally in The World Trade Center on 9/11 and it is quite possible that the thought of being there that day and knowing the fate of the Trade Center affected me.    For many months after that horrible day, nightmares of being inside of a falling building affected me and my therapist at the time thought I was having symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress.  Wherever my claustrophobia came from, Rio Secreto helped me overcome them.  I knew that it would be dark and I knew that in some areas the space would be constricted, but it is so breathtakingly beautiful that I forgot about my phobia and instead embraced its mystical beauty.  The guide Núnez  was such a charming and informative gentleman that my nerves quickly normalized and I was able to enjoy this magical experience.  You will walk,... read more

Holbox An Island on the Verge….

Dreamy, sleepy, enchanting, and peaceful are just a few words to describe this island on the verge of becoming a major tourist attraction.  I am blessed to know it before it officially has streets, traffic lights, and bustling tourists from every corner of the earth. The irony of finding a gem is that what makes it so special is also just “about” to morph and change into a town where people will stand in line to take a photo in front of the letters that spell the beach town.  However, I am happy to share my experience with all of you so that you are ready for your first visit. First comes first: GETTING THERE FROM PLAYA DEL CARMEN:  The good news for those of you that want to experience Holbox, is that you no longer have to take a bus to Cancun and then transfer to another bus. There is now a direct bus that leaves Playa Del Carmen at 9:20am (Juarez Station only) and the ride lasts two hours and 20 minutes. It arrives just in time for the noon ferry! The ferry takes about 18 to 25 minutes. ***Special Hint: the red ferry is nicer and quicker. It also costs the same as the blue one. Getting to this island considered as 1 of 5 most peaceful in the world—just got easier! LODGING:  I stayed at Tribu and I am so glad I did.  There were like minded individuals there ready to explore the island and to share memorable times with.  I am aware that the hostel environment is not for everyone, but you can get... read more

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Resources

After some thought (and your wonderful requests) I am working on a handy resource/helpful guide. As soon as I have some information, I will upload it for your enjoyment.

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