Welcome to yet another edition of Pause The Momentos, a monthly wrap up with a bunch of short excerpts, funny stories and interesting moments from my daily life as I follow my dreams and pursue my goal of living life to the fullest — all day, every day.

New Orleans

48 Hours in New Orleans

Remember last months edition of Pause The Momentos when I mentioned I secured two big business deals in the month of March?

Well, one of them was a gig with the Hyatt Place New Orleans Convention Center and this month they flew me up to spend the weekend in New Orleans.

It was my first time visiting New Orleans and I had no idea what to expect.

I had heard the stories of Mardi Gras but I was sure it wasn’t going to be like that on a non-Mardi Gras weekend.

As it turns out, Bourbon street is always hopping no matter what time of day or night and while there are beads being thrown from the balconies here and there, it’s more about the nonstop party and incredible live music that can be found in each and every bar that lines the street.

I attended Jazz Fest on Saturday and got the opportunity to catch a few great performances from a local New Orleans band called the Pocket Aces Brass Band, a rocking performance by The Who and an impressive set by John Legend.

By the end of the weekend I was absolutely exhausted.

My time in New Orleans absolutely flew and to be honest I was so busy with work that I really didn’t have enough time to fully explore it.

I’m not sure I’d be in a rush to get back to New Orleans but if I was to go back, I would probably want to get together with a local that is willing to show me the city next time around.

If you’re interested in getting a behind the scenes look at what my weekend was like in New Orleans, I suggest you check out the my latest vlog.

Cayman Jack Partnership

Continuing the good news on the business front here at Pause The Moment, I recently partnered with Cayman Jack on a brand new summer campaign that just launched called “Crafted by the Journey”.

To be honest, the timing couldn’t have been any more perfect as I’m about to set off on a three month trip through Europe starting on June 3rd, 2015.

What is Cayman Jack?

Cayman Jack is a hand-crafted, ready-to-serve, premium Margarita made with all natural ingredients (100% blue agave nectar, organic key limes and pure cane sugar).

Unlike most ready-to-serve margaritas, you won’t find any artificial flavorings, chemicals or high fructose corn syrup inside.

With Cayman Jack, you’re getting natural ingredients sourced from around the world.

So what exactly does this campaign involve?

This campaign will involve me continuing to do what I do best — traveling and sharing my adventures with you via blogs, vlogs, and social media while I craft my own journey through Europe and maybe even a few other surprise destinations along the way.

The only difference is that this time I will be taking a few Cayman Jack Margaritas along with me on my journey.

In conclusion, I’m really excited to be a partnered up with such a cool company and I can’t wait to kick off what is about to be an amazing summer in Europe and beyond with Cayman Jack in hand.

Stay tuned for more!

Beach Day
Good people know good people…

Good People

I think it’s safe to say that one of the most important things when it comes to living abroad or moving to a new destination is establishing new friendships and relationships.

Without it, you’ll never truly feel at home in your new home.

Finding new friends and partners in crime can be difficult depending on where you find yourself in the world but if there’s one thing you should remember it’s that you must avoid acting out of desperation by all means.

Be picky about who you decide to let enter your circle because as they say, you are who you surround yourself with.

“Surround yourself with good people. Whether they’re the best or not, people are capable of learning if they’ve got good hearts and they’re good souls.” ~Kid Rock

I should also add that meeting just one new person can and often will lead to meeting a network of new friends you might not have ever been introduced to.

Before you know it, you’re meeting friends of friends all due to that one initial connection that you established.

That’s the power of networking in a nutshell.

Running in Playa del Carmen
Colorful street art in Playa del Carmen

Armed with Machetes

I was running on a quiet side street north of town in a very local neighborhood when out of the corner of my eye I noticed two men across the street wielding machetes.

Our eyes met oh so briefly and all of a sudden they began to start jogging across the street towards me.

The first thing that came to mind is that this was probably the last time I’ll ever see the brand new iPhone in my hand.

My slow jog quickly turned into a run as they started to close in and at the last second I glanced over to my right shoulder to find them smiling with machetes in hand as they passed me by on their way to work.

One Arm Handstand
Notice the name of this crossfit? What a coincidence!

Confidence Boost

I arrived in Playa in February with a confidence level that was at an all time low.

Thankfully, I’ve managed to flip things upside down and it’s been steadily climbing ever since.

This new found confidence is not only keeping me focused on goals but it’s also resulted in new friendships as well.

“Sometimes you have to let life turn you upside down, so you can learn how to live right side up.” ~Unknown

I’ve been working out and trying my best to stay fit since I was about 16 years old.

Throughout the years there were a few times that I remember noticing that I was in the best shape of my life but it’s been a while since I last felt that way.

I’m proud to say that I’m not sure I’ve ever felt as fit as I do right now.

I feel amazing and I’ve noticed a tremendous increase in my confidence along the way.

If I could attribute a few things to this big ol’ confidence boost of mine, I would say it’s my new workout routine which can be found below:

Running: 15+ miles/week — Short 3-4 mile runs approximately 5 days/week.

Weightlifting: 5-6 days/week.

Abdominal routine: 300 Abs Workout straight through (no break), 3-4 times/week and 3-5 sets of 10 reps of the toes to bar exercise 3-4 times/week.

If you can’t find a bar to hang from, practice standard leg raises (lying flat on the ground).

No gym? No problem: Try one of these bodyweight workouts that can be done just about anywhere and require little to no equipment.

This one is the most popular to date.

Catamaya Catamaran Cruise
This is what life should look like everyday…

Catamaran Cruisin’

A good friend of mine invited me to join him on a catamaran cruise with a company called Catamaya Sailing Cruises.

I took him up on the offer knowing that I could use a nice day out on the open water and boy am I glad I did.

Our 65′ beast of a catamaran departed from Puerto Aventuras and sailed north along the coastline of the Riviera Maya just past Punta Venado.

Once there, everyone tossed on their flippers and snorkel masks and hopped into the sparkling blue waters of the Caribbean.

Forty five minutes later and a sea turtle sighting later, we were back on the boat enjoying lunch (Food & Drinks are included in the price of the ticket).

The food wasn’t spectacular, but it was exactly what you’d imagine a boat buffet to be.

Pasta salad, your choice of a steak, hamburger, lobster tail or grilled chicken along with a few basic sides.

All in all, I’d highly recommend sailing with Catamaya based on my personal experience with them.

If you do decide to sail with Catamaya, be sure to snag the best spot on the catamaran (front of the boat on the nets).

Tip: There are a few other catamaran cruise companies that operate out of Puerto Aventuras, so be sure to do your research and read the reviews before committing to any specific company.

Lucy's Homemade Ice Cream - Turtle Bay Cafe Akumal
Cookie dough ice cream at the Turtle Bay Cafe

The Best Ice Cream in the Riviera Maya

Finding real ice cream outside of a Haagen Dazs or an Aldo here in Playa del Carmen can prove to be quite difficult.

Unfortunately, the best ice cream in the Riviera Maya can not be found in Playa del Carmen.

In order to get your hands on this ice cream I’m speaking of, you’ll need to travel 35 mins south via colectivo or rental car to Akumal Bay and find a little restaurant called the Turtle Bay Cafe.

Fortunately, there’s more to Akumal than just a good ice cream so you don’t have to feel like you’re going out of your way just for an ice cream. In Akumal you can swim with sea turtles in the wild, kick back on the beach under the palm trees, toss a frisbee around or just simply get your tan on.

Once you get your beach day fix, head on over to Turtle Bay Cafe for a delicious lunch and what is in my opinion the best ice cream I’ve tasted in all of Mexico.

Isla Holbox, Mexico
Yeah, I found paradise…

Paradise found in Isla Holbox!

I’ve been searching for the ultimate paradise for a few years now and I’m almost positive I’ve stumbled upon it.

I hate to spread the word to the world because I’d love to keep it to myself but I’m having difficulty keeping my mouth shut.

I simply can’t stop talking about it.

Isla Holbox (pronounced is-lah – hole-bosh) is a small island situated off the northern coast of the Yuctatan Peninsula.

The entire island is approximately 26 miles long and 1 mi wide, much of it still undeveloped, untouched and filled with wildlife.

Some friends and I rented a car and road tripped from Playa del Carmen to the port city of Chiquila at the northern tip of the Yucatan.

The drive took approximately an hour and a half using the new highway.

Once we arrived, we boarded the ferry from Chiquila to Isla Holbox which is said to take approximately 15 minutes but I think it’s safe to say it’s more like a 20-25 min journey.

Accommodations:

As for accommodations in Holbox, I went ahead and booked us two rooms at Hacienda La Catrina via Airbnb for just $35 USD/night.

The rooms were exactly what I was looking for when it came to finding a place to stay in Isla Holbox. I think I was most impressed with how spotless the apartments were.

The location was good, about halfway between the ferry port and the center of town.

A quick 10 min walk in either direction is all you need in order to get to the beach or get back to the port and catch your ferry back to the mainland.

TIP: Save $25 off your first Airbnb booking of $75 or more if you use this special invite link!

Things to do:

Swim with whale sharks, go on a boat tour around the island, go snorkeling, visit some of the most beautiful beaches in the Yucatan, spot the pink flamingos in the lagoon, rent a golf cart and explore every little nook and cranny of the island, dine at a seaside restaurant, chow down on a lobster pizza at one of the restaurants in the center of town, find this magazine worthy hammock in the middle of the sea, rent a paddleboard for a sunset paddleboard session.

Don’t miss: The Best Things to See & Do in Isla Holbox

While this little piece of paradise is still under the radar, the word is spreading fast as more and more people are venturing out to the island for the first of what will ultimately end up being several visits.

This place is truly magical but don’t take my word for it. Go explore it for yourself.

P.S. – I’m headed back to Holbox this weekend!

Birthday Celebration
HBD to me! — Excuse the photo quality.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Wow! Time flies when you’re having fun. I turned 31 this month and I really couldn’t be any happier about it.

Why? Well, because I’ve come to the conclusion that you can either by miserable everytime your birthday comes around or you can simply accept the fact that you’re one year older (and probably hotter, smarter and more successful).

I choose to go with the latter.

My birthday started off with an amazing dinner with friends at Don Chendo, my favorite Italian restaurant in Playa del Carmen.

We spent a couple hours talking, laughing, drinking and chowing down on a variety of pastas, deep dish pizzas and other delicious dishes.

Before finishing up our dinner, my friend Russell (owner of Don Chendo) was nice enough to surprise me with one of his special brownies which only added to the gluttony.

The Happy Birthday song was sung while I blew out my candle and I was just thrilled to be celebrating my birthday surrounded by people who I consider to be really good friends of mine.

After leaving Don Chendo, we made our way to Rufino’s on 5th ave for some Mezcal shots.

Three mezcals later and it was time to move on to some of our favorite little dive bars on 12th street.

More drinks down the hatch and we were off to our final destination, the late night spot known as La Santanera.

Before we knew it, it was 6:00AM and La Santanera was coming to a close.

We danced the entire night away and walked out of the club to see the sun coming up over the horizon.

It was mind boggling.

How in the world did I manage to stay up until the sun came up?

I have no idea. It was now 6:30 AM and I’m walking home.

The only thing on my mind at this point is sleep. A lot of it.

United Club Lounge - Houston IAH
Feeling like a VIP at the United Club Lounge

United Club Lounge

In all the years I’ve been traveling I had yet to step foot inside of a club lounge of any sort.

Even though I’ve been collecting frequent flyer miles for a couple years now, I’ve just never found the opportunity to either have the correct credentials to enter one or a long enough layover to enjoy the wide variety of amenities that lounges offer.

On a recent layover in Houston (IAH), I took full advantage of one of the two free United Club passes that I received as a perk for signing up for the United Mileage Plus Explorer Card a little while back.

Needless to say, I was pretty impressed with the whole lounge experience. The lounge was consisted of multiple levels and included a bar, snackbars, restrooms, showers, private workspaces, free Wi-Fi, a decent sized theatre room with comfy seats and a big screen tv, and more.

Overall, kicking back in the lounge club was a great way to burn time and I’m already looking forward to using my lounge pass in the future, hopefully on a longer layover next time.

Flying into Cancun

Home sweet home

Most people go on vacation and by the end of it they begin to look forward to getting back home and getting back into their routine.

This type of mindset has always boggled my mind.

I’ve never understood why anyone would be on vacation, a vacation that they likely worked their butts off to save up and pay for only to yearn for home by the end of it.

I left my job in 2010 and I’ve been traveling the world ever since.

While there has been times that I’ve missed home over the course of the last few years, I’ve never had that urge to rush home from a trip.

I guess I just don’t really know what that feels like.

Nowadays, I’m starting to understand more and more why people want to return home or at least to a place where they call home.

I’ve been “homeless” for the last few years and now I find myself yearning for a place to call home.

I should add that I don’t mean homeless in the sense that I’ve been living on the streets but more as in I haven’t really had a place to store my belongings, a place to fly to when I want a break from traveling, a place where I have friends to hang out with, etc.

As many of you know, I’m leaving Playa del Carmen on June 3rd, 2015 to head to Europe for the summer.

When I return to Playa at the end of August my plan is to officially setup a homebase for myself and maybe even start a business here.

I mean, I’ve pretty much considered Playa to be my home for a while now but when I return from Europe I’m planning on really settling in here for the long term.

I will still continue to travel throughout Mexico as well as the rest of the world but I’m really excited to finally have a place to call home.

You know, a place that I can look forward to returning to.

Croatia
Dubrovnik, Croatia

What’s Up Next:

  • May 9th-10th: Isla Holbox, Mexico
  • May 10th-June 3rd: Playa del Carmen and some side trips in the area.
  • June 3rd-June 7th: Athens, Greece
  • June 7th-June 10th: Rhodes, Greece
  • June 10th-June 17th: Fitness Cruise around the lesser known Greek Islands with Sun Fun You — Itinerary: Rhodes, Symi, Hayitbuku, Knidos , Kos, Nysiros, Tilos, Chalki, Alimia, Rhodes
  • June 17th-24th — Open/TBA (let’s meetup in Greece!)
  • June 24th-??? — Prague/1 month to burn in Europe.
  • July 25th-August 2nd — Yacht Week Croatia
  • August 2nd-25th — Open/TBA (let’s meet up!)
  • August 18th-25th — Dublin, Ireland
  • August 25th – Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Interested in meeting up with me in Europe? Reach out!