Larissa's Souljourn

Meet February's Souljourner Larissa. 

My Cuba experience was a gift from a dear friend.  When I learned I would travel to Cuba, I was excited to get away. A vacation was well overdue. I mean the quintessential relax on the beach, soaking up the sun, drink in hand type of vacation.  I had no expectations before my trip to Cuba. Unexpectedly, my experience would change my life forever. I had the opportunity to delve into the lives of the Cuban people. You see, off the resort, right outside of the hotel, lives a community of people who may be poor by common standards, but rich in love, hope, and spirit. They gave me a new perspective on the purpose of life.

Patricia

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A Brooklyn native, world traveler, and citizen of the world, Patricia has visited 44 countries. She believes the "travel bug" is ingrained in her DNA. As a three year old, unable to read, Patricia recalls looking at pictures of Egypt in the encyclopedia and being fascinated. She knew she would travel to Egypt one day. A milestone, in more than one way, thirty years later, Egypt became the 30th country she visited. While there, she explored the Pyramids of Giza, the Nile and the temples of Abu Simbel. Petra, one of her last stops in Jordan before entering Egypt was a prefect introduction for adventures to come. 

The experience was magical!
Patricia in Petra

Patricia in Petra

In September 2012, Patricia moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to teach English at a university. She had no idea what she was getting herself into. Especially as she entered a Middle Eastern nation, which requires your job's permission to obtain a visa to exit the country! She knew her gut wouldn't lead her astray, so off she went to Riyadh on her next adventure.

On a hike outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

On a hike outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Patricia quickly learned Saudi Arabia is a country like no other. While the experience was unique and worthwhile, it was essential  for her to incorporate some of her usual routines as much as possible. She  quickly made friends and connected with a hiking group. Weekly hikes to a popular cliff called The Edge of the World was among the different trails she explored with the group. Her teaching contract afforded her many days off, which were not wasted indoors. On one of her breaks, she ventured to Sri Lanka, a country not on her life list. She savored some of the islands most exotic delights, from mangosteen to durian. She hiked Adam's Peak and visited tea fields. She soothed her body and soul with herbal baths and Ayurvedic massages. 

Patricia in Sri Lanka

Patricia in Sri Lanka

The Kenyan Proverb "The Earth was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children.",  motivates this avid gardener as she travels. She's been gardening with community gardens in Brooklyn and now in Dallas for the last 4 years.  She is a student studying to become a registered dietitian. Gardening allows her to practice what she preaches, and is a natural source of therapy for her soul. In January 2012, she led a community gardening initiative in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti. Some weekends she would visit  Les Cayes, a nearby beach-side village, a fantastic way  to recharge her batteries! I will never forget the best homemade seafood chowder I had there.  

Enjoying coconut in Haiti

Enjoying coconut in Haiti

Patricia knows there are few sureties in life, but she believes once you've traveled to another country, you never return the same person. "Pictures can never fully capture the experience we carry in our hearts and souls,  so I always encourage people to get out there and see the world", she says. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

Pat in Egypt

Pat in Egypt

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Bucket List Reframed

As the New Year quickly approaches, many of us will make New Year Resolutions. Often we wish to travel more or check items off of our bucket list. A few years back, I changed the way I thought about this list of things I wanted to do before I die. I reframed my idea of New Year resolutions and bucket lists.

Rush Rush Rush! 

Rush Rush Rush! 

Bucket List

A bucket list is often described as a number of experiences or achievements a person hopes to have or accomplish before they die. Before they die, is where my problem with bucket lists begins. “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” -William Ross

Have you heard yourself say, I’ll do it next year, I'll travel when I retire, when the kids grow up, or when I have more money?" I once thought I didn't have enough money or enough time to fully experience life until I retired. 

Replace someday with today 

Replace someday with today 

Life Changes in a Day

Then my world was rocked by the death of my 24-year-old daughter. As I reflected on her short life, one thing stood out, she had made an effort to fully live her life. For her sixteenth birthday, she walked the equator in Ecuador, spent her 18 birthday in Paris with friends, traveled solo, lived in another country, started a business, and planned a fabulous Masquerade ball for her 22nd birthday. So I asked myself, am I really living? If today were my last day, can I say, would my friends say, she really lived her life?

I replaced I'll wait until I retire, with, I'll make it happen now. I replaced I can't afford it, with, if I prioritize my spending I can afford it. It's not only shifted the way I live my life, it's made me significantly more appreciative. I realized, there was so much I wanted to do and experience. So I began to truly live life. I went to a local Indian festival and got that henna I have always wanted. I booked a trip to see the Aurora borealis in Iceland.

Henna Newly Completed 

Henna Newly Completed 

Northern Lights in Iceland

Northern Lights in Iceland

My friends often commented I was checking off items on my bucket list. It sounded so ominous. As if I had created a list of things to do as a race against time. Instead, I had decided to live a full life, exhilarated by new ideas and intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.

Live a Full Life

Live a Full Life

Collect Experiences

I don't have a bucket list, as cute as the idea of one may sound. Instead, I have a list of experiences to make my life full. Experiences to do now, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.  I call it my life list. A collection of experiences to help me thrive not merely exists.

Life Lists

The point of creating your life list is to live to the limit, every minute of every day to maximize every moment of your existence and live your life to the fullest. It’s a reminder to do all the things you've ever wanted to do and live not only the length of your life but the width as well.

Create a Life List

Create a Life List

What Experiences to Include on Your Life List

~ Solo experiences
~ Experiences with your significant other
~ Family experiences
~ Girlfriend experiences
~ Experiences to help you learn a new skill
~ Experiences to learn about others
~ Experiences to make you happy

Plan experiences often. Plan experiences to challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone. Spend these experiences with the dreamers, the doers, the believers, the thinkers and the people who inspire you. What's the first thing on your life list?

Live it everyday

Live it everyday

Reykjavik City Card

The Reykjavik City Card is a great way to experience Reykjavik for less. The card is  available in 24, 48 and 72 hour increments and for both children and adults. Visit museums, famed swimming pools, receive discounts and access to public transportation for the duration of your card. 

Museum

The Reykjavík City Card gives you access to quite a few museums. Visit the Settlement Exhibition, the National Museum and Árbæjarsafn and you'll have a great sense of Iceland’s history, its art scene and the Vikings of old.

City Card

City Card

 Swimming Pools

Swimming pools to Icelandic people are like pubs to the English. The Reykjavík City Card, gives you access to all the swimming pools in the city. While the card is valid, you can visit the pools as often as you want. The swimming pools are where it’s at!

 Laugardalslaug Swimmig Pool

 Laugardalslaug Swimmig Pool

 Buses

While the city center is easily walkable, you might want to check Laugardalslaug swimming pool and Árbær City Museum,  both, outside of the city center. With the Reykjavík City card you have unlimited access to the Reykjavík City Buses while the card is valid.

 

Straeto Buses

Straeto Buses

Discounts

In addition to swimming pools, museums, and bus access, The Reykjavik City Card also provides discounts for tours, restaurants and city shops. Check out the list on Visit Reykjavik's website.

 

Select the Reykjavik City Card that suits your needs