Kauai, Hawai

Some friends and I drove to Secret Beach on my first night in Kauai. The beach is off the beat and path. It's on the western side of the Island, away from resorts. There are no life guards or bathrooms, or even places to eat. The waves are calm. You come here to meditate. Here's a silly clip of us being extra because we are SO excited to be in Kauai. xo

48 Hours In Biarritz, France

I woke up to the voice of a French woman at the Guerlain Spa.

Hotel du Palais is set alongside the Atlantic Ocean on the Bay of Biscay and is the original vacation home of Princess Eugénie de Montijo and Emperor Napoleon III. Since 1854, this imperial palace was built as a token of Napoleon’s love of his wife. Once known as Villa Eugénie, the property became a Hotel in 1893 and has since hosted some of the world’s most prestigious writers, fashion designers, and political aficionados.


I arrived in Biarritz, France on Rail Europe TGV Atlantic 8537 from Paris with a yearning for the beach and relaxation. In the heart of Basque Country, little did I know I was in for the ultimate luxurious treat.

Here’s where I dined, went, and slept in only 48 hours.

Monday 11am

The journey took five hours, and with each hour the French landscape became warmer dryer, and more exotic. When I stepped out onto the train station platform, I knew I had arrived at the ultimate French beach town.

Monday 5pm

I got my first glimpse of Hotel Du Palais and of all its grandeur when my taxi came around the corner of a small street and revealed a royal palace fit for a princess.  As the sun hit the scarlet-and-cream-colored seaside villa, it radiated a power that can only be experienced in person. I had arrived in paradise.

The concierge staff greeted me at the gates with welcoming gestures; they took my bags and ushered me to the front desk. The hotel’s aroma was filled with Napoleon's fragrance made exclusively his darling empress Eugénie for their marriage.  I was given a brass key on a heavy green fringy key chain with my room number engrained on it. If luxury is all in the details, then this is just a simple detail that made each moment of my stay memorable.

My room suite was enchanting! I instantly felt at home and at peace. The dish of fresh strawberries that were left on my dresser where another sweet delight!  I ran over to the windows and drew back the drapes to reveal a vista that took my breath away. The ocean and all its glory were roaring right before my very eyes.  I sat on the loveseat in front of the balcony and smiled. I could get lost in the endless dreamy ocean view and never yearn to come back to reality.
 

My room was decorated in Second Empire style furnishing from the days of Napoleon, like deep brown chestnut wood with maroon and deep red velvet embellishments. There were several chandelier light fixtures; one on the ceiling as the main source of lighting and one that framed each side of my bed. I imagined Coco Chanel staying in this very room and getting inspired by the smell, the interiors, and the desires brought on by the great blue ocean that is at each guest’s disposable. This was totally an ambiance that had definitely inspired the Chanel Biarritz Tote bag. Leisure enough for a tote, fancy enough for a silk dress and a leather jacket.

Monday 7pm

Although I hesitated to leave my temporary palace. I knew there was a lot to see and do in Biarritz and my time was limited. I decided to have dinner and watch the sunset at La Ferme Ostalapia.

La Ferme Ostalapia is a family- owned restaurant set on a vineyard and farm where grandmothers, professionals, and farmers in worker boots and espadrilles crowd together under the slate-gray beams. From the patio, there’s a magnificent view of the grapes vines and the Pyrenees mountain in the distance. The very thought of my dinner still makes my mouth water. The waiters emerged from the kitchen bearing a savory chicken and couscous dish that was rich in French tradition and simple enough to eat daily. It was buttery, cheesy with my favorite grade of parmesan, and even had slices of soft avocado nestled in the creamy goodness. I washed it down with the finest of Merlot while I watched the sun disappear behind the Pyrenees.

Monday 9:30pm

I couldn’t believe it was almost 10 pm and still light outside! I returned back to Hotel Du Palais for a nightcap at the Imperial Bar where I was greeted by the hotel’s Pianist. I sipped a glass of wine and took in the sights.

Monday 12am

Bath time!

Tuesday 8am

I was eager to awake to the sound of the ocean, but I craved the extra rest. Afterall, I had the most calming sleep ever. The kind where you don’t hesitate to fall asleep and wake up beautifully refreshed.

But at 8 am, my room phone rang. Bonjour! It was a lady from the Imperial Spa.  What better way to be awakened by the delicate voice of an esthetician at the Imperial Spa. I scheduled a signature treatment in the afternoon around 7 pm and hung up the phone. Still, in bed, I finally got out of bed to see if my view was still there. Of course, it was.  I stepped out onto my room suite’s balcony to observe the ocean waves and meditate. I couldn’t wait to get the day started!

 

Tuesday 9:30am

 

I walked into the Hippocampe for Breakfast that was served in paradise. Palm trees and bacon, two of my favorite things.  

 

Tuesday 10:15am

 

After breakfast, I went on a walking tour of Biarritz. Few know that this French town has been called home to many beau monde, including Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Madonna to name a few!

Biarritz is an elegant seaside town located in the southwestern part France’s Basque coast and has been a low-key popular resort since European royalty began visiting in the 1800s. A short walk along the boardwalk from Hotel du Palais will lead you to the town’s casino, aquarium, and colorful boat docks. A must - see and a symbol of Biarritz is the Rocher de la Vierge, which is a rocky outcrop topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary.  Reached via a footbridge, it offers sweeping views of the Bay of Biscay.

Tuesday 1pm

The tour ended at the Les Halles de Biarritz, an indoor and outdoor marketplace where you can buy fruits, vegetables, delicatessens, and other fine French treats like foie gras I bought a few peaches and tasted escargot with rose wine for the first time. It was delicious!

 

Tuesday 3pm

It was finally time for the beach! I returned back to the Palace to change into my beach clothes. No time for a nap; I can’t believe it took me this long to get to the beach but this was peak hours. Surf’s up!

Because it was May, the water was still a bit frothy. The temperature was about 60 degrees. It read my book about the Dalai Lama as the tide came in. Dosing off a bit, I awoke ready for a drink.

 

Tuesday 5pm

I returned back to the Palace for a pina colada by the salt pool.  From the cabanas to the poolside service, there’s a continuous reminder of luxury that’s warming and makes each guest of the hotel feel right at home.

Tuesday 6pm

To the 5- story Guerlain Spa is where I went. There, I was able to shower and put on a robe in preparation for my signature treatment. This treatment awakens and stimulates the 5 senses during a pleasurable introductory face and body treatment that relieves tension and promotes drainage. The Guerlain products made me not only smell like a bottle of expensive genie perfume, I fell into a deep trance, forgot what time it was, and when the beauty doctors brought me back to reality, I felt so weightless my skin and body glisten like a pink diamond in the sand. Needless to say, I put on my best silk little black dress and headed to a light dinner in the hotel’s Rotunda.

Tuesday 8pm

Going off the royal grounds for my last night in paradise sounded like an awful idea. There was nothing else better I wanted to do than to watch the sunset from the Palace’s bar terrace. I got a few good swings from the putting field at the front of the hotel, which made being outdoors zen-worthy to a golf nap. Plus, I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to sign the Hotel’s guestbook. My signature in the same pages of Harry Belafonte was more than the luck of an Irish person.

Tuesday 11pm

It has been a long day indeed, but I still found the quietness of the Hotel so exhilarating. I wanted to walk through the front gates again to write poetry on the beach at night. The ocean water is always lit by spotlights coming to the hotels' property so guests can always see the vista. The chilly night was perfect. My stay was perfect. My well-being had been restored. This was the ultimate getaway that was just what I needed to recharge and spoil in luxury.


 

Negril, Jamaica

So when I got invited to a "Naughty Girls Getaway" at the Hedonism II Resort, the number-one nudist resort in Jamaica, I thought it was the perfect time to challenge myself to let go of everything people have told me about body image and truly feel empowered to go about my day with less clothes on. I wanted to feel good about feeling sexual even if, for me, that translates into posting a sexy picture on Instagram.

There would be no better place to truly be nude than in a judgment-free zone like Hedo II. This is where self-confidence and relationships are made, broken, and tested. An open mind would be a key to success here.

Here's what I learned.

Day 1: Bare Flesh, Threesomes, and Playful Energy

Lesson: Fall into nude formation and you will feel more comfortable.

All kinds of people come to Hedo II. There's a huge sea of hedonists from the U.S., Canada, and Europe who vacation here every year. While I was at Hedo II, I came across doctors, lawyers, therapists, strippers, and old people who righteously DGAF. I think anyone can find pleasure at this resort not because it's clothing optional, but because it truly feels like paradise, and the Jamaican people who take care of their land are amazing hosts.

The first surfer naked in the flesh of my naughty getaway was spotted during the resort tour.

"And to the left, we have the clothing-optional pool area," said Leethan from the hotel staff in a regal Jamaican accent. Five minutes later and at a different part of the property, I couldn't escape the sight of naked people.

They were everywhere — in the calm Jamaica waters, by the bar, in the dining hall, and on the beach, which was located a few yards from my hotel room.

My view was nude, and if I'm being honest, I was a little uncomfortable because of their boldness and friendliness, but I knew I had to get over myself. After all, this is a place where being nude is welcomed.

The Hedonism Resort is as kinky as it sounds. During the tour, we got a glimpse of the clothing-optional playroom where most people show up nude to indulge in some sort of promiscuous activity. It’s as big as one floor of a mansion, with like 10 rooms, with no doors. There’s huge open room that could accompany a pool but instead there’s nothing by beds with white linens. It's like a Miami Vice–meets–airy bedroom feel. Another room is built like a dominatrix dungeon equipped with chains for bondage activity, like in Fifty Shades of Grey.

As someone who previously got freaked out by seeing naked people at the gym and who barely walks in her own apartment in the nude, I was getting anxiety about talking to nude strangers at Hedo II. Trying to summon a real conversation with someone whose titties and ball sack are jiggling all out in the open like a '90s LL Cool J video was completely new territory for me, and it was only happening under the influence of a few martinis. So to the bar I went.

I met a dentist at the bar who was giving me major threesome vibes. We were the only people fully clothed and waiting for our drinks surrounded by other (nude) people who were waiting for their drinks. Mr. Dentist had on one of those Hawaiian collared vacation shirts, and when I saw him and his wife again on a nude boat ride to Rick's Cafe, they were lingering around me as I danced to reggae music in a tiny bikini. I felt the dentist and his wife's eyes on my ass the whole time I twerked. It didn't feel weird because there were naked people on the boat twerking as well.

For some reason, after that boat ride, I felt sexy in my wet swimsuit, so I took it a little further by stripping down to my bare skin and hopping in the personal Jacuzzi outside my room. I lit a jay and greeted people passing by my bungalow. As I watched the sunset, I thought about all the naked people I saw and how comfortable they were with their bodies. Of course, no one was walking around looking like Beyoncé, but I think I found comfort in the fact that we are all different shapes and sizes, as cliché as that sounds.

Day 2: Surprises

Lesson: Embrace what's weird about you and be present.

The next morning, I made my way to breakfast in 90-degree island weather, and Playboy Radio was broadcasting a live show in the main dining hall. "We have the Playful Pussycats here at Hedo II today, y'all!" I heard the broadcaster say as I waited for my omelet in another tiny bikini.

It was also fetish day for the parties that usually take place at night, so I knew I was bound to see some wild stuff. One of the girls on my #hedogirlsgetaway group said she saw one of the Playful Pussycats go up to another one of their group members (they were wearing matching shirts) and stick her finger right up her vagina! Another one of my girlfriends said there was a cake and ice cream table situation by a pool, where people staying at the resort were inviting guests to have cake and ice cream eaten off of their bodies. She indulged and loved every minute of that activity.

That night, during dinner, the resort staff put on a burlesque show, and I'm sure many people in the audience were creaming in their fetish-inspired costumes after watching that performance. One particular act that stood out the most was "the milky bath routine," which took place in a plastic kiddie pool. 

One of the babes from the hotel staff danced around in a strappy leather bathing suit that covered only her nipples and vagina. It was an outfit Beyoncé would wear on stage, and it was actually being sold in the resort's gift shop, which is where I purchased my spandex dress for the night. It was an extreme show that featured sexy, chocolate muscular men pouring milk all over "Miss Kitty." No pictures are allowed, so you'll have to see it for your own eyes or just think of the sexiest thing you can do in a tub without actually having sex.

But Hedo II is not just an overtly sexual place full of exhibitionists. It’s more like a sexually liberating place where being naked and sexual is highly suggested. I saw a lady giving her man a blowjob in the calm waters during sunset. There are secret coves to duck into for quickies and steamy pools everywhere. The resort is seductively quiet, but if you go searching, you will find your pleasure. I'm not going to kiss and tell here, but just know that a place that welcomes any type of naughty behavior is good for the soul.

I told myself I wasn't going to have sex because this was a trip for myself, and so my Chakrubs served as a cure if and when I needed something extra. After an erotic dance experience with a certain "chocolate thunder" stripper left me, um, totally caught off guard (this was my first stripper experience and I was excited to see the real deal so much I forgot to wear underwear!), I walked back to my hotel room alone, immediately stripped out of all my clothes and hopped in my Jacuzzi to smoke again, because I'm in my #2016Melissa stage. This wasn't the first time I've abstained. I remember laughing and thinking to myself, "Oh, Hedo."

Day 3: #Liberated

Lesson: You adopt to the culture; you don't bring your own.

Even at Hedo II, I feel like the black female body is sacred, and so it took me a while to fully find the confidence to go completely naked in public in broad daylight — even if I was never going to see any of the people at this resort ever again.

 

Just the politics of a female body in metropolitan cities is super controversial and with the release of Beyoncé's visual album Lemonade and my own internal issues, I felt like I was still being watched and judged. Or was I? Was this just all made up in my head?

After I went snorkeling topless, I felt so much more comfortable with the #hedogirlsgetaway group I traveled to Jamaica with. It turned into a boozy trip about building and displaying self-love in a safe environment. I didn’t worry about getting catcalled like I would at home because I was topless. I didn’t once think about sucking my stomach in. I stopped caring that I was the black girl and about how my body is perceived to the non-black eye. I wasn't looking to get catcalled for going topless. I mean, the least I could do was show my boobs at this resort. I didn't want to be told to suck in my stomach. I didn't want people staring me down for being the black girl that stands out. Instead, I found that I wanted to be free to do shit at my own liberty and show what I wanted to show — nothing more or less. I wanted to run around the resort naked after I found comfort in the kinky setup during fetish night and our chocolate surprise that had me creaming in my already-wet bikini and wanting more.

My nude moment came at sunrise, in the morning just when the sun was rising. I got out of bed naked, opened my blinds, opened the sliding patio doors that led to my beachfront personal jacuzzi, and stepped out for my morning wake and bake. Instead of reaching back when I saw hotel staff, I tiptoed to the beach naked, which was only about 100 feet from my room. I dipped my feet in the water, waded a little, then calmly walked back to my personal jacuzzi. The truly naked moment lasted less than 10 minutes!

People who come to Hedo want to be free to do whatever without judgment. You adopt to the culture; you don't bring your own. Try it and you'll stand out like a sore thumb. That was me on day one and day two. I was freaked out at first by all the nudity, but it became beautiful when I let go physically and mentally. Besides, I didn't have to wear half my wardrobe I packed for the trip! 

Day 4: Your Body, Your Prerogative

Lesson: Manifest your pleasure with good thoughts and sexy scenery.

A boat pulled up beach side to usher resort guests to another resort for drinks at sunset. This is where the diversity of the resort showed its true colors. I couldn't stop looking at the only older black couple on the boat (and the resort for that matter). I kept sneaking glances of their nude bodies on the boat. They were leisurely playing with each other's private areas as they stared out to the sea. It was beautiful. The female's hair was unruly and curly, her body was normal and existing in the nude. 

Honestly, I couldn't tell how old she was — maybe in her early 30s? She got up to dance nude to Rihanna's "Work" and I stared shamelessly, like the dentist who kept checking me out. At that moment, I realized that clothes definitely can make the person, but it's you who can make the rules.

After a clothing-mandatory drink at Sandals, we loaded back on to our small boat, and within a minute, the Hedo II boat went nude again. And here is when I realized I was ready to manifest popular ideas at Hedo II in my own life, outside of the resort. 

Posting a nude selfie on social media should be viewed the same way as a sexy selfie or a “free the nipple” moment. Wearing whatever you want should not depend on being catcalled. Twerking should just be viewed as another dance routine where you ass is the main focus and you go crazy because you are woke about your body and feel good letting loose. 

In other words: Being nude is beautiful, nude is normal, nude is life. Once those ideas are set, anything else is just extra. 

Trinidad

There’s no better way to bring in the new year than on the beach. So I wished and prayed on it, and two days before ringing in 2017, I found myself at the Piarco International Airport in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The experience was everything that I hoped it would be... and then some; paradise had taken on a new form for me.

While exploring the country, it is highly recommended to rent a car.  Beware, though, the roads are dangerous, wild dogs own the highways, and the drive to the beaches from Port of Spain is like a wild crazy taxi ride elevating  +4000 feet above sea level by each bend. It’s only 90 miles to the very popular Maracas Beach, which is about an hour drive (depending on how you drive on the left side of the road) on a two-way narrow road alongside the Trini mountains. Small cars are better than large Range Rovers to get to the beach, but it doesn’t mean you won’t be greeted by hungry wild dogs that will try to end your life by darting in front of your car because they are in search of food and water. Maracas Beach has everything you would want for a beach; Bake and Shark ( fried shark served on doughy bread with lots of Indian toppings), chair and beach towel rentals, a nice ocean sound, the perfect waves to jump over,  a relatively clean public bathroom, a parking lot and a bar!

 

Drive a few kilometers further from Maracas Beach and you will get to Las Cuevas beach, which is located in one of the coves on the side of the Trinidad. This beach doesn’t have many amenities, but a bathroom. The view is breathtaking! I perched on the stone wall leading down to the beach and observed hummingbirds flying over my head. 

The view from the rest stop half way to the beaches. 

The view from the rest stop half way to the beaches. 

Caroni Bird Sanctuary Swamp Tour

Caroni Bird Sanctuary Swamp Tour

In regard to nature, I only came to bird watch. The Caroni Bird Sanctuary consist of a two-hour long swamp tour on rickety wooden boats, through a narrow swamp around dusk.   The Caroni Swamp is a major roosting place for the Scarlet Ibis, which are a part of the flamingo family. They are so beautiful in flocks. They all gather on this one untouched region of Trinidad that can only be seen by boat on this specific tour. The birds fly in flocks to this inhabitable island and you’re just on a wooden boat watching them all fly over your head to feed and mate, and I guess, see them in their natural habitat. It’s so relaxing and exciting! We all just sat quietyly and watched hundreds of red flamigos fly from all different directions to unite at this one location. 

Hiking with the Asa Wright Nature Reserve Guides

Hiking with the Asa Wright Nature Reserve Guides

Another dangerous drive to Arima on Trini roads will lead you to The Asa Wright Nature Reserve. I always wanted to see Hummingbirds up close, and as soon as I got here, they were flying all over my head. I felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, except my rescurer is a bit more handsome.

 

Now,  Macqueripe Bay was by far the most dramatic experience in paradise and not only because it’s a scene for a religious baptism or because I actually witnessed a young Trini drown and die from cliff jumping, but because the water gets super deep with a few steps in from the shore line. The drive to Macqueripe Bay Beach is along the scenic western coastline of Trinidad. You have to drive through the Chaguaramas Golf Course, where I was told the wild Monkeys on the island frequent at 5am to eat food from the dumpsters. Macquaripe Beach is only for good swimmers. You walk out and the water is instantly at your waist, swim a few feet and you are fully treading in 30 feet of water. As my travel partner and I waded in the water, we were surrounded by dozens of locals and it was a wakeup call.  Forget lifeguards, the locals here just wanna relax and enjoy their beach day. They were dressed in their finest beach attire; thick gold necklaces and skimpy bathing suits,  amongst whole families eating buckets of KFC on the sand. As I watched a few locals dragged this poor boy out of the water and onto the dock (He was knocked unconscious underwater after jumping off a nearby cliff into an area of the bay filled with rocks even though there are clearly warning signs to not cliff jump!) , I felt helpless. I had no phone to call 911 and so I immediately lost my appetite for swimming in Paradise. It was baffling to see that people were still swimming in the bay and even cliff jumping as the friends of this poor unconscious boy performed CPR to no avail.  In America, the lifeguards would have ordered everyone out of the water. But sometimes there’s trouble in paradise and there are no rules. Everything that's beautiful is not always good for you. All I really needed to ring in 2017 was a reality check on the beach with bae. 

 

 

Trondheim, Norway

I visited the land of Vikings and blond princesses in 2013 and found out the Scandinavians are super obsessed with chic interior designs for their extravagant heated floor homes, living care-free, and vacationing on the slopes of glaciers. You can expect luxury on a higher level when the Norwegian currency goes up to 500 and 1000 kroner bills! It took me 3 flights to get to Trondheim on Icelandic Air, where I left my eyeglasses on  an airplane seat, which were located weeks later in the lost of found via email and returned to me in perfect condition. I met Hilde, the chicest woman in town who owns a boutique called Carma in the old city part of town. I will never forget how she wore a fur shawl in June and changed twice at the wedding we met at (because she spilled something on her orange dress). Not to mention her own wedding (which occurred a year after we met ) was actually a surprise ceremony disguised as a fashion show- Hilde being the main model wearing a custom made couture gown. I know, it was so over the top and so unique because Fashion. Anyway, the souvenir I purchased from this trip was a pair of green-tinted glass tea cups with matching saucers that I picked out from an antique shoppe on my way out of town.  Below are some photos of my adventure in troll land. *Make sure you click each image to view all the photos. 

North Seymour Island, The Galapagos

Seymour Island is located about two hours from Baltra Island, the one and only airport everyone must land on when visiting the Galapagos Islands. The Santa Cruz II boat makes two trip routes when exploring the Galapagos. I sailed the shorter route which is a six-day exhibition. The first island the captain sailed us to was North Seymour Island, and it's a dry landing, so we all wore our sneakers. The fun part about sailing on a mid size boat, is disembarking. The captain anchors about a mile or so from each island, so smaller plastic zodiac boats are required to get to the actual islands. The Galapagos Islands are still very untouched territories, so real docks don't exist. During each day, the exhibition leader would announce the kind of landing it would be and some days it was a wet landing where the zodiac boats would take us all the up to shore and we'd hope off onto the beach shoreline..

Beyond the red crabs and blue-footed boobies are the beautiful cactus. It's dry season in June so the Palo Santos trees were dry and bare. The whole Island, or at least where I disembarked, is dry and bare so the only thing that's really living on this island are the blue-footed boobie birds and the huge land marine iguanas. 

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Santa Cruz Island, The Galapagos

The Finch Bay Hotel is the premier destination on Santa Cruz island, also known as the big island of the Galapagos with the most inhabitants. The longest route I sailed to get to land so far is sailing from Tagus Cove to Santa Cruz Island. It's about an eight hour or more cruise overnight and depending on the current it can be bumpy. 

A fortnight later and finally anchored, I arrived at Santa Cruz Island only to be ushered straight away to The Finch Bay Hotel, a luxurious and sexy eco hotel. 

Poolside is a direction. 

Poolside is a direction. 

Another work from home location. 

Another work from home location. 

O Porto, Portugal

O Porto, Portugal is located on the northern coast of Portugal and it's also a few hours from Galicia, Spain. I was studying at the local university Galicia when a group of us decided to visit O, Porto for the weekend. Everything in the town was super old and European. In fact, I remember trying to pay with a 50 euro bill and the small mom-pop store couldn't break the bill. Every since that incident, I always travel with smaller bills. Not so long after that experience, I saw this lady filling out her water jug from a public water fountain. I love this photo and everything it stands for in my life. 

Choco Rainforest, Ecuador

Set in the region of Quito, Ecuador, just 4,000 feet above sea level is the most enchanting rainforest (and sometimes cloud forest) of the world, The Mashpi Lodge in the Choco Rainforest. 

Upon arrival to the lodge, there was a hike set up to explore within 30 minutes of the rainforest that leads to a mid-size waterfall. It was advised to wear long pants and shirts because of the bugs and there were these intense rainboots for each guest in every size. Good thing they were black, I couldn't imagine trekking my own pair of boots across the globe. This greenery is so lush, it's pretty much greener than I've ever seen so far in my life. 

Upon arrival to the lodge, there was a hike set up to explore within 30 minutes of the rainforest that leads to a mid-size waterfall. It was advised to wear long pants and shirts because of the bugs and there were these intense rainboots for each guest in every size. Good thing they were black, I couldn't imagine trekking my own pair of boots across the globe. This greenery is so lush, it's pretty much greener than I've ever seen so far in my life. 

Here is an exciting night lecture by the Mashpi Lodge's resident biologist. In this photo, the biologist is lecturing about the many different species in the choco rainforest and the night vision cameras set up in the thousand mile vicinity of the lodge. At night is when the rainforest comes alive. The cameras help detect exactly who roams the forest. Look closely in this photo and it's the Puma, obviously. 

Here is an exciting night lecture by the Mashpi Lodge's resident biologist. In this photo, the biologist is lecturing about the many different species in the choco rainforest and the night vision cameras set up in the thousand mile vicinity of the lodge. At night is when the rainforest comes alive. The cameras help detect exactly who roams the forest. Look closely in this photo and it's the Puma, obviously. 

The first rule of the rainforest or Mashpi Lodge is to not touch anything. Ask before you touch. This is because a lot of the branches and tree bark include thorns and prickly textures that are poisonous when punctured in the human skin. For this reason, it is advisable to hold a walking stick while hiking along the built up pathways. While on a hike, I spotted a yellow and black caterpillar on a nearby leaf, but the guide told us not to touch it because it's hairy skin is poisonous to the human skin. Everything that's beautiful, is not always good for you. 

The first rule of the rainforest or Mashpi Lodge is to not touch anything. Ask before you touch. This is because a lot of the branches and tree bark include thorns and prickly textures that are poisonous when punctured in the human skin. For this reason, it is advisable to hold a walking stick while hiking along the built up pathways. While on a hike, I spotted a yellow and black caterpillar on a nearby leaf, but the guide told us not to touch it because it's hairy skin is poisonous to the human skin. Everything that's beautiful, is not always good for you. 

This lagoon is so irrisistible. It's small enough to go for a quick dip after the uphill hike that's a bit of a workout. 

This lagoon is so irrisistible. It's small enough to go for a quick dip after the uphill hike that's a bit of a workout. 

This is what a baby waterfall looks like. Its pure water should be the equivalent to a bath in a Korean day spa. 

This is what a baby waterfall looks like. Its pure water should be the equivalent to a bath in a Korean day spa. 

I've never felt so excited to get up at 6am for a bird watching session with my tour guide. Mornings are when the exotic birds of the Choco forest are at their peak energy.  Just on the observation deck of the lodge, I was able to see beautiful and color Tuscan birds and a few delicate hummingbirds buzzing around the porch while i sipped my coffee.

I've never felt so excited to get up at 6am for a bird watching session with my tour guide. Mornings are when the exotic birds of the Choco forest are at their peak energy.  Just on the observation deck of the lodge, I was able to see beautiful and color Tuscan birds and a few delicate hummingbirds buzzing around the porch while i sipped my coffee.

The Mashpi Lodge provides a few telescopes to see the different birds buzzing around the highest parts of the trees. Good thing we are 4,000 feet above sea level, we're already closer to God. Higher than the clouds, just greeting the tips of the trees.

The Mashpi Lodge provides a few telescopes to see the different birds buzzing around the highest parts of the trees. Good thing we are 4,000 feet above sea level, we're already closer to God. Higher than the clouds, just greeting the tips of the trees.

Have you ever heard of the forest medicine cabinent? This plant is called Mother's Tongue. It's potent enough to bring on a woman's infertility. The rainforest is full of sexual energy and vibrations, ingrained deep in its sounds are underlying communication channells. 

Have you ever heard of the forest medicine cabinent? This plant is called Mother's Tongue. It's potent enough to bring on a woman's infertility. The rainforest is full of sexual energy and vibrations, ingrained deep in its sounds are underlying communication channells. 

I entered my green period in Quito.    

I entered my green period in Quito.