Adios Guatemala, Hello Asia

The magnificent Lago De Atitlan --Atitlan, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

The magnificent Lago De Atitlan –Atitlan, Guatemala — Karina Noriega

Thanks Guatemala, We Will Miss You But It’s Time For Us To Move On!

The most difficult part about leaving this beautiful country behind is that we are knowingly walking away from so many other extraordinary places we still have yet to discover. Guatemala has been our home for the past 6 months and while we did explore magnificent locations like that of Lake Atitlan, Antigua, Semuc Champey, Livingston and Rio Dulce, there just never seems to be enough time to see everything. I wanted so much to learn more about Guatemalan culture and through our experiences during Semana Santa, I definitely feel a deeper connection to and a greater understanding of the Guatemalan people. I can say with pride that after attending language classes I was able to further develop my Spanish speaking skills. I know without a doubt that I will end up back in Guatemala once again so I can discover even more of the country’s attractions while continuing to practice effectively rolling my R’s. Plus, there are so many different types of Guatemalan street food I still have yet to try! Continue reading

Please Vote to Help Me Become the Youngest Woman to Visit Every UN Country

Winner will be declared on live web video stream on Sunday, February 15th, 2015!

Still plenty of time to vote, share and send your comments in.


Global Degree is looking for a new female cast member to join their quest to visit every single UN country in the world. I submitted my video application. I know I have what it takes but I need YOU to help me WIN.


VOTES must be made on the contestant page:!contestants/c1gzb

LIKE on MY video entry under Karina Noriega. (Last names N – S).

Be sure to follow all the direction in order for your votes to be validated! (Less than 50%) of the votes so far have counted)

Share please. Help me reach farther than I ever could on my own.

Here is what I would receive if I win: 4 years all-inclusive opportunity to be the female ambassador for people across 193 nations!

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La Quema del Diablo

Burning the Devil -- Karina Noriega

Literally translated, it means ‘Burning of the Devil’.

Every December 7th since the time of the conquistadors, Guatemalans all over the country collect items representative of sin and evil to burn when the evening sets in. It is a deeply ingrained tradition with elements of superstition and religion that are typical of this country.

“Hay que sacar al Diablo!”

My grandmother tells me we must exile the Devil. Throughout the year he takes up residence in old, unused items and dusty corners of your home. ‘La Quema del Diablo’ represents the cleansing of one’s home and soul. A means to eradicate all the negative energies and bad karma in order to begin the a new year with good health, good luck and a renewed hope. It is spiritual purification.

Getting ready for Dia de la Quema del Diablo, Guatemala

Getting ready for Dia de la Quema del Diablo, Guatemala

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7 days to Around The World

I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants for so long that I don’t know how to start wrapping my head around the planning and preparation for phase II. There is only seven days left before we embark on our long journey around the world.

Mapping it out -- Karina Noriega

Mapping it out — Karina Noriega

I took a look at a travel & packing checklist that I devised from previous long-term backpacking trips. I had broken down the responsibilities for ‘things to do’ months, weeks and days prior to departure. It made me laugh and then I got a little sick realizing that I have basically 3 items on the list that I have actually checked off and one of them is really up in the air.(*3)

MONTHS              WEEKS                   DAYS
Visas               Flights/Ferry/Train     Finalize gear acquisition
Immunizations       Accommodations          Register trip
Get Prescriptions   Car rentals             Cancel any monthly bills/services
Book time off       Rough itinerary/route   Pick up medication
Start Research      Insurance               Pack

My growing patch collection -- Karina Noriega

My growing patch collection — Karina Noriega

Checked off items: 

  • Passport (My pride and joy)
  • Quit job (No sense in taking time off, this here trip will take longer than most pregnancies and maternity leaves combined)
  • Initial airfare (A one-way ticket to Guatemala & then a one-way ticket to Hong Kong 6 months later)



*3 – Being that airfare is the absolute steepest expense for the start up of any trip, the fact that I still have yet to receive a confirmation about my reservations and payment is not a comforting thing. (Vouchers can complicate and delay processing, but as a micro-budget traveler, you thrive on opportunity, not comfort.) Continue reading

Sanitation Engineer

It’s official. It’s undeniable.

Just ask our numerous and relentlessly supportive friends. April and I are 100% nomad. That is just about as kindly as it gets when it comes to referring to someone as unemployed, homeless, phone-less and now, solely reliant on others for transportation. Kind of like changing the title of ‘garbage man’ to ‘Sanitation Engineer!’

Yes, Tank has gone to a new and loving home. He will be sorely missed, but there are exorbitant plans and dreams to chase into extraordinary and distant lands. The break from this materialist society we exist in will only hurt for so long. If my previous travel experience has taught me anything, soon I will be dying to lighten load even more. Road trips and backpacking around the world are very different. Phase II demands that every ounce of necessary ‘stuff’ be supported only with the strength of my own body.

Just the thought of it is exhausting and painful but picturing myself on the shores of some tropical island, amongst colourful festivities of foreign cultures, or on top of some lava-spewing giants is enough to overcome that. I am willing to make these sacrifices because this is what I want more than anything in the world; by any means.

What an extraordinary life!

Like mother like daughter -- Somewhere in Myanmar --Karina Noriega

Like mother like daughter — Somewhere in Myanmar –Karina Noriega

~ An Extraordinary Story by Karina Noriega ~

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