Daydream of the Week: Red Rock

Red RockGreetings from Vegas. Yes, there is more to my town than the Strip! I’ve made it my mission to show off the gorgeous land right outside of the city proper, from the Wild West ranch country to desert off-roading and even out a little farther to the Hoover Dam. Hiking in Red Rock, shown here, is one of the most popular outdoor activities for locals in Vegas. You can see why! The landscape is breathtaking. I got to take a ride out there one morning before work during a super-fun American Muscle Car drive with World Class Driving. (Talk about getting out of your comfort zone!) I ended up having a blast. And with views like these…

 

My happy place: San Juan del Sur

Tatiana Gogolova and Abby Tegnelia

Having lunch with Tatiana at my favorite SJdS spot, El Timon.

One of the best parts about living in Guanacaste (one of the northern provinces of Costa Rica) is that we were very close to the border of Nicaragua, which quickly became a favorite getaway (and necessity for visa runs). My local friends told me before my first trip that I’d love it, describing it as “Costa Rica 15 years ago.” My first time to San Juan del Sur, we happened to meet a lot of children, and on the next trip, I got out of the main area and into the surf beaches and perfect slices of heaven that are right outside of town. And we drank a LOT of rum. (For a good time, head to Iguana…) This time? Four of us girls rented a gorgeous condo on the beach and ate our weight in good food every day. Like on all of these trips, I was the only American in a group of Canadians — as they reminded me more than a few times… When we weren’t laughing hysterically and leaving each other messages on Voxer. It was a great trip!

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Daydream of the week: Diving in Costa Rica

Melissa Christensen diving in Costa Rica

Melissa and I were so happy to be out at sea!

It’s been a month since I very excitedly did my first dive with Diving Safaris in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica. But we had so much fun, and I had so many extra photos, that I couldn’t resist doing a Daydream of the Week on the experience. We were all so happy to be out on that boat! After a dream girls’ weekend at an amazing out-of-the-way Costa Rica resort, Melissa and I were beyond bubbly to be getting our first taste of diving, through the one-day DSD course. My friend Bobbi Jo had been trying to get me out there for three years (I’m embarrassed to say), and now that I’ve had a taste, I am on such a high that I can’t wait to get down there again and do my full certification. Obviously, it took me three years to buck up and try it, so I knew it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to learn all that you need to know to safely breathe underwater and be let loose in the ocean. But after my first try, I have even MORE respect for it.

And now I know I can do it!

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My first dive!

Diving School CocoLooking back at my year living in Costa Rica, there were lots of ups and downs (including when  Mario ransacked my little house, and fighting expat loneliness), but my only bona fide regret is that I didn’t go to diving school to get SCUBA-certified. So during my recent vacation, my friend Bobbi Jo easily talked me into doing the one-day DSD course at Diving Safaris. I tried not to think about it, and I’m glad I didn’t. If I had stopped to imagine being alone trying to do something so outside of my comfort zone, I know I would have chickened out. In the end, one of my friends agreed to go with me, and the excitement mounted. Yet even that didn’t prevent me from eventually chickening out

But then I redeemed myself!

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Daydream of the Week: Flying Private

Abby Tegnelia ElJet private jet charter

About to board my very first private jet flight.

Instead of looking back at one of my favorite places this week, I was thinking about how in the last year I managed to fly private three times… and how there’s this awful chance I might never again. Of course, I might never again make it to Sunny Beach, Bulgaria or Borneo, so how perfect a daydream is hopping on a private jet? I joked that “I could get used to” private jets, and “fine, I’m a jet-setter” after my first two flights — when not flying to the Grand Canyon for the day on my third. But the truth is, I get so frustrated booking my own flights when I travel. And with all three of those flights I didn’t even have to – one was as part of a contest, one was with my company, and one was a group trip. So I asked my friend at ElJet to walk me through actually booking a private jet charter to Las Vegas or Van Nuys, the private airport used by celebrties. He told me to close my eyes, and then he played with my famous impatience: Imagine this, Abby. You’re calling in to your favorite commercial flight company after you have scoured their website for the best deal and departure time. You finally reach the customer service line only to receive an automated response. After pounding on the ‘0’ button and shouting “representative!” you finally reach a human – who tells you about an extra surcharge…

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Mixed feelings on Coco’s growing up

Bird of ParadiseEvery time I go back to my old hometown of Coco, Costa Rica, I can’t help but run around and take notice of everything that’s changed. What a difference a year makes! This time, I had even more mixed feelings than usual. As I strolled the “boulevard” (the town’s main street), I noticed for the first time that two businesses had written their hours and basic information in English first and then Spanish. I know they’re trying to appeal to the Americans and Canadians who flock there on vacation, but we never used to be one of “those” Costa Rican pueblos, the surf towns that are awesome but that cater to tourists and expats, for better or for worse. But with the stomach churning, comes great changes.

Anyway, one of my favorite former haunts shows exactly what I mean…

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