AK Monthly Recap: March 2015

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Will any month ever top this one? I’m sure that it will happen, eventually, but not for a long time.

If I had to live a month over and over again, March 2015 would be it. From Nicaragua to El Salvador to Guatemala to the United States, surrounded by some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met — it was so full of love and learning and friendship and beauty.

And there is sooooo much that I’m dying to write about but I know that I can’t mention here, even though I realistically said goodbye to political office years ago…I guess I’ll have to save those juicy secret stories for an eventual memoir!

View over Leon

Destinations Visited

León, Nicaragua

El Tunco, El Salvador

Antigua, Panajachel, Jaibalito, San Marcos, Santa Cruz, and San Pedro, Guatemala

Boston, Reading, and Lynn, Massachusetts

Playa El Tunco Sunset

Favorite Destinations

El Tunco. My funky little two-street beach town with black sand beaches and ladies’ night at a different bar every night!

San Pedro. A relaxed, casual town with so much to do and some surprisingly good food.

León. Vibrant, fun, and colorful — easily favorite city in Central America so far.

Girls in a Pickup Truck

Highlights

Two major highlights this month, and I can’t imagine putting one above the other because they were equally incredible. But in chronological order, here they are:

Our first tour! Leif and I took twelve girls around El Salvador and Guatemala and it was even more fun than I ever imagined it would be. The sights, the exploring, the surfing, the birthday celebrations, the pizza cruise, the close friendships we built. Also: TWELVE GIRLS, NO DRAMA. Seriously. How often does that happen?

Kate Speaking at WITS

Image: Camera and Carry-On

Later in the month, I gave the closing keynote at the Women in Travel Summit in Boston. My topic was gender inequality in the travel blogging industry and the speech went over very well. The entire conference was outstanding, made me rethink a lot of what I do in my travels, and I was overwhelmed to meet so many of my longtime readers.

Even without including the women I met at WITS 15, I was recognized by more readers this month than any monthlong period, ever. Most of them were in San Pedro, Guatemala!

Santa Cruz Lake Atitlan

Challenges

Bedbugs! Yep, it happened again (it first happened to me in Montenegro). I was significantly more chilled out about it this time. They appeared at Via Via hostel in León; when I told the staff, they insisted I just had mosquito bites. Ha. Not a chance. I ended up fine — by the time I arrived in El Tunco, my bites were nearly gone.

I lost my primary debit card in El Tunco this month as well. Dumb, especially since it impaired how much money I could take out per day (and Leif and I had to pay most of our tour vendors in cash). And guess what…Leif lost his primary debit card, too. So both of us were using our limited back-up debit cards and while we were okay cash-wise, it’s an experience I don’t want to repeat!

Coconuts in El Tunco

Sadly, half the girls in our group got food poisoning at some point during the trip. It’s to be expected, especially when your stomach isn’t used to traveling in the developing world, but I felt awful for them all the same. I had stocked up on meds in advance and between dispensing those and some extra pharmacy runs, they all recovered fairly quickly.

(All those coconuts helped, too! They’re the best thing to drink when you’re dehydrated.)

El Tunco El Salvador

Most Popular Post

Top 10 Safety Tips for Women — My absolute 10 favorite travel safety tips — a must-read for female travelers.

Kate and Leif in El Tunco

Other Posts

Ometepe: Inside Nicaragua’s Volcanic Island — An incredibly unique place in Nicaragua that you shouldn’t miss.

Escaping to Laguna de Apoyo — My favorite day trip was swimming in this toasty volcanic lake!

Rocking Out on Little Corn Island — An amazing little island in the Caribbean on the verge of exploding.

Alive in León, Nicaragua: The City of Revolution — The coolest city I’ve been to in Central America so far. I loved it here.

(Can you tell how much I love Nicaragua?)

Japanese Breakfast

News and Announcements

Remember when I wrote about the Bloghouse we put on in Spain nearly three years ago? I’m joining Bloghouse as a mentor once again — this time in Milwaukee! Bloghouse is a multi-day workshop and mentoring session designed to give beginning and intermediate travel bloggers the skills to become professionals. I’ll be mentoring alongside Cailin O’NeilStephanie Yoder, Michael Tieso, and Lisa Lubin.

Also, we still have a few spots left on our April 16 tour to El Salvador and Guatemala. If you refer someone to us, we’ll send you $150 — and give your friend a $150 on the tour, too!

Vulcano Lodge, Jaibalito

Most Popular Photo on Instagram

This was taken at Vulcano Lodge in Jaibalito — I thought it looked like something out of Jurassic Park! Jeff Goldblum, where are you?!

This month, Harper’s Bazaar named me as one of the top travel accounts to follow on Instagram. I was thrilled for the recognition from such an iconic magazine and it sent me quite a few followers, getting me over the 10,000 milestone! You can follow me on Instagram for updates from my travels, both real-time and blasts from the past.

Kate in Lake Atitlan

What I Read This Month

After slamming through book after book in January and February, I slowed way down. Reading while leading a tour, or when you have a major speech to finish? Nearly impossible! I’m still working on my 2015 book challenge and I managed to finish the second book just hours before midnight on the 31st. 14 down, 28 to go.

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan. I love food. Jim loves food. Jim’s taste in food is, say, slightly less highbrow than what you see on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, which is not very sophisticated. It’s a funny, light read and now I want to go to Wisconsin and eat bratwurst and cheese (can’t wait for Milwaukee in June!). Category: a funny book.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Olive Kitteridge is perhaps the most fascinating character I’ve read in a book this year (with the possible exceptions of Lena and Lila in the Neapolitan Novels). This book is a Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories taking place in small town Maine, each story involving this large, angry woman named Olive. The writing is exquisite but I had a bit of a challenge staying interested. Category: a Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

Vulcano Lodge Jaibalito

Coming Up in April 2015

This month is half and half. I’m spending the first two weeks at home in Massachusetts, plus a bachelorette getaway to Portland, Maine, and the rest of the month leading tour #2, which begins in El Tunco on April 16. Just the thought of rocking up again in El Tunco has me giddy with excitement.

I can’t wait for what comes next!

What’s coming up for you in April? Share away!

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32 thoughts on “AK Monthly Recap: March 2015”

    1. There was a really good talk by Anubha Momin of FindingTrueNorth.com about being more aware of privilege during your travels. It brought up a lot of things I hadn’t thought of and it’s inspiring me to be more considerate about my travels. Most importantly, I should seek out experiences that are equally meaningful for both sides, not just me as a traveler.

  1. We are resting and recovering from our many travels in April but are excited to be going to France in May. We will visit Marseille and Avignon, then leave on a cruise of France with Viking. We have been to Paris but never to the rest of France so it will be an interesting experience. We are very excited about working with Viking since they have big plans for ocean going vessels as well as some cruises in the United States in the next couple of years. Can’t wait!!

  2. I am a new reader and I like it here! 😀

    I like how you incorporate nicely all the fun stories of your travels with some talks on values and short book reviews on top! This tells so much about your personality and engages the reader (me) instantly! 🙂

    As for my upcoming April – I have plans to explore Miami, my current home, as if I were on vacation here…I hope this will be fun and I’ll come up with some great travel advice to share!

    http://atstarfish.blogspot.com/

  3. I was just looking a few weeks ago to see if there was going to be another BlogHouse…if I ever make up my mind about whether or not I’m leaving again and I’m here, I definitely want to apply…

  4. This looks like such a great month! I’d love to join you on a tour sometime… hopefully they’ll continue in the future. All of your posts are making me miss Central America so much!

  5. Thank you for the shoutout 🙂 So glad to witness your wise words in person.

    And that instagram photo is dreamy! The volcano (or mountain?) makes a spectacular backdrop. I love places like that with gorgeous water and scenic views that go beyond the sandy shores… Pretty, pretty.

  6. I loved your speech at WITS! As someone who has always worked in male-dominated industries, I can completely relate to everything you said. And let me know if you need any suggestions for Portland! I’m glad you are finally making it my way. Lots of good food and bars 🙂

  7. Definitely YES to the coconuts when sick. When I was in India, I also made use of the amazing electrolyte packets they have.
    This really looks like a full and fulfilling month. Bravo!

  8. It has been very exciting to follow your tour both on here and on Facebook.
    It looks and sounds like you indeed have had an amazing time. 🙂

  9. Hey Kate,

    Thanks for finally making it to South America! Now I have some post to forward to my Mum to convince her that solo travel to South America is a safe option for me next summer! I worried her plenty when I went to SEAsia but survived just fine, but somehow South America is scaring the pants out of her.

    Oh mothers, gotta love em!…

    Beanie
    http://www.blogofbeanie.co.uk

  10. You’ve been having an exciting month and I’m so pleased to see how your group trips have turned out. Hurrah!
    April is pretty busy for me. I’ve just returned from a trip around Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia & Finland. I’ve got a lot of lifestyle stuff in Berlin coming up such as the Berlin Music Video Awards, the Berlin Fashion Film Festival and International Games Week. I’m “press” in all of them. I will also be going to TBEX in Spain for the first time, so I’ll extremely excited and also anxious LOL!

    Also, most important of all, I’ll be handing in my Masters Dissertation in May. I actually fly to England every 6 weeks in order to attend my classes, so it’s super important as I like to think that I’m quite bright LOL!

  11. Hi Kate, it’s the first time I look at your blog, you sound like a very good traveller, full of energy and positivity.
    I have been travelling since 2011 so I see myself in you a little, although you have definitely been to many more places than me! Your blog looks nice so I will follow it in the future, all the best for you travels, I am in Mexico now getting ready to travel in the Caribbean islands, have you been there yet?
    All the best,
    J.

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