North, South, East, West

Nat Geo: my favorite source of world-wide inspiration that keeps me loving the greatness of the Earth we live on. As I mentioned previously (in my one and only previous post), I

love

food and will attempt to compare the World to an English muffin--lots of nooks and crannies. Haha, get it? So much to explore. So much to see. So many people to meet. If only we could live healthy lives forever and find it all.

I just returned from a family vacation to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and had a wonderfully refreshing trip. I feel so spoiled and fortunate to be able to have had the opportunity to vacation to such a beautiful country. To be honest, I actually feel like I live a double life and it is challenging to fully allow myself divulge in that situation.

Let me explain...

I studied abroad in Bangkok, Thailand, for six months, and actually came to enjoy living simply and adapted to a more basic way of life in Southeast Asia. When I returned, to face the most intense case of "reverse culture shock" you can imagine, I have had to grapple with the fact that there are now two sides of myself. There is the side of me that lives as a part of my American family and the American culture. The other side, a more reflective, get-more-outta-life-than-just-money perspective, is the half of me that I identify with better.  [Insert "two sides of the same coin" idiom here.] I have actually been called a "gypsy" more than once since returning from Asia, and, frankly, I don't mind because it is surprisingly suiting.

(Side note confession: I'm 103% guilty when it comes to being materialistically infatuated with shoes--when I can be--but it's built into my female DNA, can you blame me? But I promise, it doesn't wholly absorb me.)

There is so much more to say, but just like life (and love), it's a marathon not a sprint. I am ecstatic to keep working on this blog day-by-day and see where it goes. First, here are some of my favorite pictures from my trip to Republica Dominicana. Enjoy!

Little guy we found lurking in the sand

When we went for an equestrian adventure on the beach, I named my stallion, Ochocinco

because I couldn't remember his real name (he still responded to his NFL alias--close enough) 

Mafuna, the sweetest woman on the beach

Paradise

Even trees have scars too

All of us trotting down the beach in our pack

The necklace I haggled for at a beachfront vendor stall (looks like I'm carrying breakfast on my neck)

I changed the chain to a black string, I think it's more fitting

My monkey man, Paco

I used to suck my thumb too, little dude, don't worry (doesn't screw up your teeth as much as they say)

For the Easter holiday, there were beach parties all along the coast of Puerto Plata. This DJ planted himself right on our resort's beachfront and made sure he got everyone bumping 

(we even caught the old folks enjoying it, too)

Postcard?

These contraptions were zooming above us all weekend. There is a massive fan behind the "driver's seat" and it appears as if you just pull levers to direct where you want the above-ground-clown mobile to flutter. I was dying to try it, but I didn't want to die trying it...if you catch my drift.

A reminder to give attention to the details because even if you can't see them from far away, they make the picture whole

A hammock to fix all of your problems

A sunset to watch as you count your blessings

A silly dance to remind you that life it too important to be taken so seriously

A sailboat to keep your dreams alive

A tall friend to remind you to always look up when things are down

A

best

friend to be by your side when you need it most

(I had a certain individual in mind when I snapped this one)

A perfect pass time to clear your head

A calming break to ensure you are living a balanced life in this chaotic world

A sign of

peace

 to remember there is a calling for good acts everywhere

A source of wisdom to lean on when you feel doubtful

A beautiful flower to show someone you care

A higher power to remind you that "The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you"

And a little monkey time to keep things exciting and playful

Love and laughter, Kelsey