I Did a Thing in Indy…

I love to travel and we know I prefer to leave the US when I do it. But I had an opportunity that took me to Indianapolis and it was life changing!

Meet my tribe and new family. I have “met” these ladies in challenge groups on Facebook and honestly felt like I already knew them. Challenge groups on Facebook? What am I talking about? Let me back up for a second.

My name is Jenna and I am an avid traveler and a Beachbody coach. Okay you know my name is Jenna but all you know about me is that I love to travel. I also love to workout and help people achieve their goals. This all came to a complete ah-ha moment when I attended the 2018 Beachbody Coach Summit in Indianapolis!Imagine deplaning at an airport and seeing that the entire thing has been taken over for the summit you are attending! An entire city prepared to welcome 20,000 people from around the world (US, Canada and UK).

Beachbody is a company that provides fitness programs as well as nutrition and products and so many other things. More than anything, it is a place where total strangers can become a family and work to achieve fitness goals and so much more! This is where the challenge groups come into play and you meet people doing the same thing as you.

We went on a team outing to explore Indy and spend some time not focused on fitness. Did you know you could go on a canal ride and have a singer? It was a great way to spend some time with the team and relax.

Okay, okay, so what did I really do for a few days? I got my ass kicked by some super trainers! I absolutely love working out with Shaun T. and I went to summit to workout with him live. It was an hour of kick ass working out with thousands of people pushing myself to the limit. At the end, I cried. It was an internal struggle as much as a physical one and as soon as it was over, I wanted to do it again. If you have never done a Shaun T workout, I suggest you sign up and try a workout immediately! Insanity, Insanity Max 30, Hip Hop Abs, T25, Cize and so much more! The options of fun are endless!!!

I don’t just workout with Shaun T and there are tons of other trainers to workout with. I was lucky enough to meet Joel Freeman who is releasing a new program July 16th. I have been doing a preview of the workout and LOVE it. It doesn’t hurt that this is the face that will be looking at you during the workout. 🙂

Now let me tell you about Saturday. Saturday morning my alarm went off at 5am because me and 20,000 other people were about to take over the streets and workout with the supertrainers. 6am rolled around and we worked out. We worked out hard. We squatted and lunged and squatted some more and jumped and pulsed and sweat it all out. It was such an amazing experience and I am doing it again next July!

I can’t explain to you the feelings I had over these few days. I can’t explain to you the emotions. I can’t explain to you the pure happiness and new family I have. You can join me and see what it’s all about!

Sonoma International Film Festival 2018

I often forget that just because something is local, it doesn’t mean it isn’t a travel worthy event. This year I attended the 21st annual Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF) and managed to see 6 films over 3 days and enjoy some beautiful if not a wee bit rainy Sonoma Valley.

My favorite part of the festival is that the little town square of Sonoma turns into Sonomawood! It is like be in Hollywood but with good wine!

You can buy festival passes or buy tickets for each film that you want to see. However, everyone with a pass is entitled to enter the movie first and just because you have a ticket, you are not guaranteed a seat in the theater so if you are a big movie buff, the pass is worth it!

Walking around the square there is plenty to see and do between films. We started with an awesome brunch at the Girl and the Fig with an assortment of mussels, duck mousse, truffle fries and steak tartare accompanied by some bubbles before moving onto the main course. It was decadent and delicious!

There is not a lot of space or time to rest between films but we snuck in a few minutes and laid down on a dry part of concrete and caught a few rays and some shut eye just in time to run to another film!

So, what movies did I see? I liked most of them but a few of them I would like to never see again!

In The Orchard

Summary: Charlotte Winston, recovering from a car crash which has recently taken the lives of her husband and child, finds herself unable to stop her downward spiral of despair and loneliness. An eventual suicide attempt is thwarted by Nick, a Marine veteran suffering from PTSD, who comes onto her orchard. Charlotte and Nick begin a tenuous and complicated relationship as Nick stays to help her run the farm. Through a series of unforeseen events, Nick’s mental state begins to wind violently out of control as Charlotte struggles to hang on to their new world together.

Thoughts: This movie had potential but runs too long as the dialogue is slow. It is definitely not an uplifting feel good movie but a movie to discover the relationship that can develop between people. Not my kind of movie but I know some people really enjoyed it.

Joe Frank: Somewhere Out There

Summary: A feature length film that explores the life of award-winning audio artist Joe Frank whose innovative work and career on radio has spanned four decades.

Thoughts: I had never heard of Joe Frank and went into this documentary not expecting anything. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about Joe Frank and I thought the movie moved quickly and seemed to highlight the man as he was. If you want to learn about someone interesting, I highly suggest this documentary!

Beyond The River

Summary: Inspired by the true story of Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruickshanks, who together won gold in the 2014 Dusi, Beyond the River delivers a nail-biting adventure story about the triumph of the human spirit.

Thoughts: Fantastic movie about the life of two men and one sport that brought them together. I knew nothing about the Dusi and watching this movie was like an uplifting unexpected look into a part of the world and a part of life I never knew about. There are some subtitles for the Afrikaans but most is in English.

These are the people the movie is based on.

You Can’t Say No

Summary: Just days from signing divorce papers, Hank and Alexandra give their relationship one final shot by playing a game with only one rule: no matter what they ask each other to do, they can’t say no.

Thoughts: This movie was really funny! The movie takes you on a journey with laughs and fun experiences and a fun love story. The characters are well developed and the movie is based in Sonoma County so grab your wine and sit down for lots of laughs and a great idea for relationships!

Under The Tree

Summary: When Baldwin and Inga’s next door neighbours complain that a tree in their backyard casts a shadow over their sundeck, what starts off as a typical spat between neighbours in the suburbs unexpectedly and violently spirals out of control.

Thoughts: This is a foreign film from Iceland with subtitles and a little weird. The plot is oddly funny and disturbing and you do grow to feel for the characters. The ending is gruesome but slightly expected from a foreign film.

Life Hack

Summary: Life Hack is an incredibly timely ensemble comedy about digital privacy… or lack thereof. A humorous cautionary tale about cyber threats in the digital age. Cover your webcam.

Thoughts: Think The Hangover but for cyber security. Tons of hilarious jokes and oddly true to life for so many people. This was one of my favorite films and absolutely worth seeing. Anyone that has ever owned a computer or a cellphone will understand this movie.

I’m in Love with Costa Rica

I have been to Costa Rica more times than any other country in the world. Why? Because I love Costa Rica! I was just on the border in Panama and had to stop in Costa Rica and explore Puerto Viejo. This is a fantastic little beach and surfer town and it was a fantastic way to end my trip.

Let me start by saying that I am not a surfer. I have been on a board and surfed a few times but would never consider myself a surfer. The hostel has a surf outing everyday where they give you a board and drive you to a surf spot. We were dropped off and told to have fun! The waves were not that big but they were big enough to give me a hard time so I sort of stuck to riding the white water.

I don’t know about you but I think sloth’s are adorable and I wanted to take them all home! This little guy was on the side of the road just trying to cross the street. He was totally lost! Fun fact, a sloth only comes out of a tree about once a week to use the restroom. I must have spotted this guy just after his weekly constitutional. A local finally stopped and grabbed him and put him back in a tree. I would have not been mad if he decided to attach to my back and come home with me! If you want to learn more about sloths I suggest watching the new season of Planet Earth on Netflix.

This sloth was just enjoying eating the fruit out of the tree and I honestly sat and watched him for like 30 minutes. He was just so happy in the tree!

Everywhere in Costa Rica you will hear people say Pura Vida. It is really a way of life and can be used as “hello” or “goodbye” or just “what’s up?” It started raining while I was on a walk and I thought it was the best time to stop and buy a hat and keep my head warm. Plus I absolutely love the idea behind the saying.

The rain. The rain. The rain. There is rain and then there is rain in Costa Rica or anywhere tropical. It can be a beautiful and sunny day and out of nowhere an incredible amount of rain dumps from the sky. Usually the rain only lasts about 20-30 minutes and you can move on with your day. This was not the case on this day and I was stuck at Tasty Waves for a few hours eating delicious tacos and drinking some beers.

Signage in the bathroom

Costa Rica has so much to offer and I only touched on a tiny part of you but you can go zip lining, white water rafting, hike a volcano, trek through the rainforest, rescue sea turtles and so so so much more! This absolutely will not be my last trip to this country!

Adding Another Country to the List…Panama

After 5 days on a boat around amazing and beautiful islands, I was sad and also excited to be on land. I didn’t get sea sick while on the boat but once I was on land, I had serious drunken sailors walk (I couldn’t get my equilibrium back on land). I had a feeling this would happen to me so I basically spent two days in Panama City relaxing and cooking. I booked a hostel with a pool thinking I could relax and read in there but just looking at the water made me feel a little woozy. #mybad

Fast forward to to 2 days later and I was on a flight to Bocas Del Toro. You would think that after the Rosario Islands and San Blas islands, I was done with islands, but this was not the case. I stayed on a little island just a quick boat taxi ride from the main island where there was an opportunity to participate in so many activities except for one problem…it was pouring rain!

Finally, after 2 days of rain, there was sun and time for an activity and I immediately decided that zip lining was in order! Let’s not forget that I was on an island in Central America surrounded by rainforest and water which means awesome animals!

This little guy popped in for breakfast

These guys are ALL over the island and super tiny. I wouldn’t pick one up but the guides did.

After so much rain I went back to the main island where my friend from high school had just recently opened a new bar called Tequila Republic. I spent the day hanging out with him and his wife and the locals and just catching up. If you are ever in Bocas Del Toro, this bar is literally walking distance from the airport and close to just about everything. It’s a must!

I did’t see much of Panama and would like to go back but like I do with many countries, I pop in to feel it out if it is on way to somewhere and then plan a longer trip for another time!

A Quick Stop in Medellin

Just a quick flight from Cartagena to Medellin and we were in an entirely different climate and different part of the country. We had 1.5 days to explore Medellin which was not nearly enough! We got to our hotel and we were able to have an early check in which is always nice. We dropped off our stuff and walked around the neighborhood to try to figure out what was around. It turns out it was hot and we didn’t really know where we were so back to the hotel we went for some relaxation and napping. The adventure was going to have to wait until the next day!

I decided to take the 4 hour free walking tour from Real City Tours and I am glad I did! Our guide was called Monsa and she was a super enthusiastic Paisa with personal stories to share at every stop.

The history of Medellin starts well before the written history but since there are no records, people don’t know much about it. Because of the location of Medellin, the people were cut off from the rest of Colombia until the train tracks opened up. Basically they are a mix of the Basque and Jewish people that all came together and were “discovered’ by Christopher Columbus and that is how you get the Paisa people from Medellin.

Unfortunately many people associate Medellin with Pablo Escobar or Narcos and we think that what we see on Narcos is the truth. Medellin is very conflicted with Escobar and find that it is a generational thing for the feelings towards Escobar. The younger generation looks up to him while the generation that lived through his reign, think he is absolutely awful. Then there are those who are in between about their feelings for him because even though he murdered lots of people, he built houses and gave back to the community. So how many houses allow you to atone for one murder?

Anyhow, Medellin was once the most dangerous city in the world and they have worked very hard to clean up and change their image. Although the government was in charge, Escobar really ran the city and you either took his bribe or you were killed.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton and President Andres Pastrana signed a bill called Plan Colombia. Basically this was foreign aid we were giving to Colombia to help clean up the cartels and the left-wing insurgent groups that were reigning over Medellin. While this seemed like a great idea, the government was paying people per insurgent killed and some of the less honest people were murdering innocent people and dressing them in insurgent clothing to collect the money. Nothing is ever a perfect system.

While the cartels have moved out of the city and Medellin is working to turn once dangerous areas into beautiful parks and hangouts, there is still a lot to be done!

For example, this church is a common hangout for prostitutes. There are a lot of hotels around the area that are rented by the hour and after the men have sinned, they come to church and confess and all is forgiven. You have to love how forgiving religion can be. 😀

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at are these large out of proportion statues? Artist Fernando Botero donated these and many more to Medellin in an effort to show how Medellin is changing. It is said that each statue is worth $2.2 million USD. You can tell where people like to touch the statues because of the difference in color. Apparently, no one ever actually grows up!

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e tour was over but a few of us were not ready to leave. Out guide took us to a little local bar and we all chatted and listened to music being played from vinyl and enjoyed a few beers. It was a great end to a very long day of history.

From One Island to Another

The Rosario Islands are really known for the day trip crowds to Baru from Cartagena. We chose to spend three nights on Baru and experience the best part of it! We took a crazy little boat ride to our island and started our new adventure!

 

So what does one do on an island with just a beautiful ocean? Wake up at sunrise and go for swims and then swim some more!

If I was to only experience the island as a day trip, I would think it was crowded and full of vendors pushing something on you to buy. But really that is only form 10-3 and before or after that the island is nearly empty! Limited to no Wifi! No ATM! Nowhere to go except in the water or down the beach! Just pure relaxation. I finished my book so luckily there was a library just down the beach where I was also able to buy some books in english.

This was truly another amazing few day getawat!

How I Spent Christmas 2017

There tends to be a lot of pressure that happens around the holidays to attend every party and try to see all one’s friends and family. I personally don’t feel that pressure and chose to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas on an island in Colombia.

After our boat adventure and arrival to Isla Grande, we weren’t quite sure what we were in for. It turns out we had three days of delicious meals being cooked for us and ultimate relaxation in our room and at the pool or beach. This is the type of place where you go to bed shortly after sunset and wake up with the sunrise and it feels amazing!

The first day was truly a day of relaxing but we opted for some snorkeling the next day. The islands are surrounded by a huge coral reef and I was hoping to see a turtle (no luck). I did however step on a dead piece of coral as I was getting out of the ocean and have a nice puncture on the bottom of my foot. That stuff is no joke!

Christmas Eve dinner was served family style with the other 12 people staying at the hotel. They even splurged and brought us champagne (Andre Rosé and it was awful) but I know it’s the thought that counts.

Christmas Day was a repeat of the day before laying buy the pool and reading and relaxing. It was absolute perfection and made me so happy!

It was finally time to leave after 3 days in paradise but never fear, we are off to experience another island for another 3 days!

The Journey to Rosario Islands

There is only one way to get to Isla Grande from Cartagena and that is by boat! You can reach the island of Baru by bus but you would still have to take a boat to Isla Grande. We ventured down to the port to buy our ticket for 40,000 COP with a 15,500 COP park tax (total $18.77 USD). There are tons of people trying to sell you tickets on the street but official booths line the path and that is the best place to buy the ticket to ensure the best pricing. All the boats leave by 10:30am so get there early unless you want to pay for a private speed boat. Be warned, these rides are not for the faint of heart as they fly through the water and throw you around a bit. Anyhow, after being told our boat would leave around 8:30 or 9:00, we were finally packed onto and ready for our hour boat ride!

Our boat was driving a little funny and making some weird noises but I didn’t think anything of since this is what they do for a living daily. I was wrong! The engine was failing and we had to slowly make our way to a random island and disembark and wait for two other boats to come and get us. No one cared and we just laid under the cabanas and others splashed around in the ocean. There are worse places to be stuck.

Once we finally arrived to our hotel it was like arriving to paradise! They only have 8-10 rooms (can’t quite figure it out) and the room rate includes all meals! Many people make the trip for the day so from 10-3 the place is packed but other than that, it’s like a ghost town. Absolute perfection!

For the next three days I will be on this island relaxing and through Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Back to Colombia

First off, recovering from 16 hours of jet lag is no joke! I landed on Thursday morning and had to unpack and do laundry and repack to catch a flight on Saturday to LA and spend an early anniversary with my boyfriend! But you can’t keep me in the country for long when I have the travel bug and on Wednesday, I took off for Colombia still unsure of which time zone I was sleeping in!

I have only been to Bogota in Colombia so this time I am meeting a friend to celebrate the holidays and traveling to Cartagena, Rosario Islands, Medellin and Bogota. It all started with two days in Cartagena to try to normalize my sleep and acclimate to the blistering heat!

I was very lucky to land in Cartagena and have an early checkin to my hotel. I had almost no sleep on the overnight flight and was in need of a shower! I met up with my friend Lisa from Manchester who I met in Rome (this is why I travel) and grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the room to take a nap. My nap turned into almost 10 hours of sleep where I then was awake from 11pm-5am to wake up again around 8:30am. Once again, lovely jet lag.

Attempting to see a bit more of Cartagena than the inside of my hotel room, we decided to explore the inside of the walled city. Finally, I started to feel like I was in Colombia! We have 4 days in Cartagena over the new year so there will be a lot more in depth exploring, but it was nice to get a feel for the city before our next adventure!

My Last Day in Hong Kong

There are many destinations you can reach by ferry from Hong Kong and have a mini adventure. We decided to head to Tai O and explore this itty bitty little village.

We took the ferry for just 15 HKD (about $1.87 USD) because we were on the slow ferry that takes 50 minutes. There is a fast ferry that gets you there in 30 minutes but we weren’t on that time schedule and just took the first available ferry.

Once we got off the ferry we took the bus for another hour ride and finally we were in Tai O. Tai O is mainly known as the place to see pink dolphins! Yes pink dolphins are a thing! We jumped on a tiny little boat and set off on a tour of the village and then out to sea to try to spot a dolphin. Of course we didn’t see one!

After our little boat adventure, we wandered the streets of the village. There was tons of dried fish, fish balls, squid, and lots of other food to buy!

After the journey back to Hong Kong in reverse, we had time for a quick stop for a last glass of wine at Slim’s before heading to dinner with Leslie’s dad at Peking Garden for some peking duck. It was the perfect way to end the trip!