Hello, all!

After the difficult hike up to Humantay Lake, we had to make the decision on how we would reach AguasCalientes. Originally we were determined to complete the entire process on our own with only means of transportation being collectivos and a lot of walking. After the first hike kicked our bus we settled on a decision to compromise: we would take a bus to Hydroelectica and then hike to AguasCalientes. Through our hostel (Pariwana Hostel) we booked the shuttle ($15), rode for 5 hours over the steep cliffs along the Urubamba river, ate lunch, and then began the hike along the train track and river for 3 hours with a group of Mexican girls and one French girl. Remember it is an active train track so don’t get too close to it as it passes by (as Analeise learned when she tried taking a photo of the train and it briefly missed her). By the end of it, Analeise, Ana (the French girl), and myself were the only ones left after taking our time, stopping for snack and water breaks, and taking so many photos.



When you begin Googling, you will see a blog post about the “reality” of Machu Picchu: long lines, crowds, and rain. Unfortunately, this was exactly what we got. We got in line for the bus to Machu Picchu (which I would recommend purchasing the night before- $25 roundtrip) at around 5:15AM and…oh. my. goodness. the line seemed never ending. It was difficult to not get discouraged as we headed towards the end of the- what felt like- mile long line. Thankfully the line went faster than we anticipated. It was probably about an hour later that we were on the buses up the mountain to the entrance of the Machu Pacchu.

We completed the Mountain Hike ($65 with entrance into Machu Picchu) within the 7AM to 10AM slots. Although we stayed much later at the very top in hope that the view would clear up. The hike was definitely bad, but it wasn’t terrible. Its countless steps, slippery when wet, but if you keep a slow and steady pace eventually you will reach the top- which I pray is a clear and remarkable view for you. Unfortunately we were among the clouds, getting drizzled on, and phenomenally cold.

The day wasn’t a loss though, as when we arrived back down we got to witness the Machu Picchu everyone raves about. I’ll let the photos of the remarkable landscape with its constantly rolling clouds and lush greenery do the explaining. Of course I met up with my new llama friend and took some photos of him/her. I think they are some of my favorite photos ever taken!




In AguasCalientes we stayed at EcoPackers ($14 a night) right next to the station we finished our trek at.  It was a 6 person coed dorm. Although a little loud due to being right next to the track, it was definitely one of those hostels that you make as fun as you want. There is a bar on the rooftop where breakfast is also served. One of the best nights of our trip was hanging out with Phoebe and George again and our roommates Daniel, a German medical student, and Ahem, an Argentinian father and teacher. We ended up chatting into the early hours, switching between French, Spanish, and English, from everything about how plastic is destroying our environment to following our dreams. Ahem shared with us it had always been his dream to ride a bike throughout South America. “If I don’t follow my dream how can I teach my young students to follow theirs?” That is when I realized how lucky I was to be living one of my dreams at that exact moment: being able to meet people from all over because we share a mutual fascination on exploring the beautiful world we live in.

And man, what a beautiful world we live in.

Until next time, friends!

-Mary Anna


Peru- Hidroelectrica Trek


Peru, Peru, Peru. I am not sure how I’m going to explain this trip. Sure, I can write out the details: the places we went, the things I saw, so on, so forth. But how do I begin to explain what it meant to me? I’ve decided to break this trip up to several parts- trying to cram it all into one post would get extremely lengthy and we would all lose focus halfway through. Somehow I’ll try to fit into words how awing this time was for me. And if in the scenario I do not fulfill that duty then I hope my photos will.

As flight attendants we normally stay in pretty okay hotels. Everything is clean, wake-ups are made, its relatively quiet (for the most part). So when Analeise and I decided to backpack I wanted nothing else than to stay in hostels with other backpackers. Honestly, for me, I needed to remember why it was that I started traveling in the first place. It wasn’t for timed layovers and having to feel rushed all the time when I’m somewhere new. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a flight attendant. I’m constantly seeing something different. However, in this job, as much as everyone knows the airline world is a chaotic mess, on layovers there is no room for error. So with eight days to explore, we made a general list of things we wanted to see, but no concrete plans so that in any unexpected scenario occurred we could just say, “No prob-llama!”

Backpacks fully packed and tickets in hand, we headed off at 11:50PM to Bogota and then on to Cusco.

Day One: Exploring Cusco, Peru

After dropping off our packs at the hostel, we made our way to the city center to begin our wandering. It is true what they say that the altitude will certainly affect everyone differently. Although I didn’t notice a difference besides a bit more heavy breathing, Analeise did feel light headed as we walked around. Later on we discovered that it is best to eat before you are hungry to combat any lightheaded feelings that may occur due to the high elevation. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the delicious and decently sized empanadas that we ate for lunch. I wish I had though, I would certainly go back for another one.


We stayed at Pariwana Hostel for the first two nights of our trip. I was originally planning on taking photos of the entire place, but we quickly became occupied with the activities taking place in the evening. I would highly recommend this hostel to any traveler that wants to meet people. It hosts different activities every night and the staff is remarkably friendly and good at getting people involved! We ended up playing some sort of soccer-volleyball game with this great British couple, Phoebe and George. Little did we know we would end up hanging out with them a lot and running into them in another hostel in AguasCalientes later that week! After a ridiculous game (which we lost), we went up to the bar for dinner and after a beer-pong tournament (sorry, Mom!).


The room we stayed in was an 8 female dorm. Each bed had a shelf on the wall, a light, and a locker with outlets inside (though you had to bring your own lock). Pariwana really did have it all: a yummy restaurant, activities, a movie room, a kitchen, etc. The only problem we ran into was an extremely drunk roommate that decided to have a little too much fun with someone in the shared bathroom. Though, I guess this only allows me to now have an interesting hostel travel story.

Day Two: Humantay Lake

Originally we had planned on taking it easy on the first full day in Cusco. This idea quickly disappeared as we saw that the excursion desk had a trip the next day to hike to Humantay Lake. I’m truly thankful that Analeise had heard of it before and really wanted to see it. If not then I don’t think I would have experienced the breathtaking (because that altitude really does take it out of you!) views on this day.

The Humantay Lake was originally part of the starting point of the Salkantay Hike which finishes in Machu Picchu. Up to recent only those participating in the hike would have seen it. Thankfully for those of us that aren’t able to do a multi-day hike there are excursions that now make it possible. The process begins with a 4:30AM showtime, a 2-3 hour bus ride, breakfast in a small town, and then a couple more hours of driving up extremely bumpy, slightly dangerous, winding dirt roads up to Soraypampa. Here is where it gets really fun. The hour and a half trek proved a lot harder than I would have originally thought. At first I was confident…then every few steps became a bit more challenging… Still, with views like these (photos below), it was easy to become mesmerized as the ice-capped mountain became closer and closer.



The Vilcabamba mountain range that surround Humantay Lake were  sacred to the Incas. According to our guide, sacrifices of a young child, who was considered the most pure, would be made when grand natural disasters would occur that, at the time, could not be explained. As we sat in a circle and listened to our guide, he directed us to take three cocoa leaves and place them within the rocks that were piled high as offerings and make one heartfelt wish. Of course I can’t say what I wished for, but I sure hope someone heard me.

I cannot really describe how majestic the environment was to witness. However, I need to explain the unfortunate reality of such a beautiful landscape. Picture this remarkable lake even grander and the mountains even more snow-capped. 60% of the ice has disappeared and it only continues to vanish every year. The lake once greatly surpassed where I stood to take these photos. It is receding every single year. Climate change is real. These landscapes, ecosystems, key landmarks of cultural significance are all disappearing. It is finally time for everyone to open their eyes. I don’t know about you, but I desperately wish my grandchildren (and so on) to witness the amazing sights I’ve gotten the chance to, but that won’t happen at the rate things are going. Protect Mother Earth, y’all.


The hike down from the lake was not as challenging, except for the cold drizzle that fell upon us. Once all the way back to where we started, we hopped on the bus, and all fell asleep until we arrived back in the same small town for a delicious small buffet of hot soup, pasta, and other much needed filling food.

I would highly recommend anyone visiting Peru to complete the hike to Humantay Lake. Take a waterproof jacket, gloves, and of course layers that you can easy strip off with the ever changing weather. The guide insisted on walking sticks and I am so glad that he did. They really did help navigate our way over the loose terrain.

Most importantly, be ready to be amazed because it truly is a miraculous, significant, and serene place. Trust me, it is worth the huffing and puffing.

Until next time, friends!

Mary AnnaIMG_4692



Peru (1)



Hello, all!

As I am preparing for my backpacking trip that officially begins tonight (!!!!), I decided to finally post the photos from my surprising layover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! Another stamp in the passport (two more pages until its full!)! This layover left me with renewed invigoration, refocused determination to explore this world further, and a whole ton of money photos on my IPhone.

The crew and I, of course, visited the Batu Caves. The world’s tallest statue of Murugan was phenomenal to witness on the journey up the stairs (which honestly winded me) to the entrance of the caves. However, honestly, the interior was a bit disappointing as there was quite  a bit of construction going on. I understand all about making a tourist destination more tourist-friendly (and profit-making), but I am concerned about the impact it will all have on the limestone and bats that live among it. I suppose, as with many things, time will tell.

Next we ventured out to the waterfalls, which I unfortunately cannot remember the name off currently. Little did I know that the entire park was overrun by monkeys! And when I state overrun, I mean, truly overrun. They were everywhere. My favorite part was watching them sneak snacks out of unobservant tourist’s backpacks and then scurrying off with them. I even witnessed one steal a orange fanta type of soda out of someone’s purse and proceed to punch a hole on the bottom and begin drinking it! Impressive!

I took a ton of photos- of monkeys specifically- on my film camera so as soon as I get back from this trip I’m about to embark on I need to find somewhere to develop them! I can’t wait to show y’all if any of them turn out decent

Until next time!

Let the backpacking journey begin!

Mary Anna


Taormina, Italy

Hello, all!

When fellow flight attendant and friend Mary-Kate told me I was going to need water shoes to get into the water I thought she was kidding. Alas, I quickly became thankful that I purchased a pair of awesome see-through booties (check them out at the bottom of this post!) when I witnessed how extremely rocky the beach is in Taormina. If you are planning on visiting soon, heads up! Still, I am content with every beach I get to touch down on. There was a moment when I was floating on my back led by the rhythm of the waves as I watched birds fly high above me. It was serene and everything I needed it to be. Below are tons of photos of this quick layover destination! I’m excited to continue exploring Italy’s coasts. This day was remarkable, from the perfectly sunny weather to snagging beach recliners right in front of the water, I wouldn’t change a thing about it!

IMG_4351IMG_4363IMG_4366.jpgIMG_4379IMG_4380IMG_4382IMG_4401IMG_4388IMG_4395IMG_4396IMG_4407IMG_4427 - CopyIMG_4414IMG_4412IMG_4417IMG_4421IMG_4444

(IPhone photos)

Anyone have any other recommendations on places to visit?

Cheers, all! Until next time!

-Mary Reyes

Personal, Travel

Relearning How to Live: Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

A calm, artistic haven that put me on a new, old path.

I wrote on Instagram that this wasn’t just another trip away from work for me. I could have written this right after arriving home from Tulum, but for me, it was necessary to reflect on the entirety of the adventure instead of just choosing select moments to highlight.

Before booking this trip with my dear roommate Analeise, my relationship fell apart. It was a very, very frustrating, confusing time (as many breakups are). How can you go from planning a life with someone one second to suddenly being forced to reinvent yourself as a single person? That was the overall problem I discovered about myself in Tulum.

I spent roughly a year and a half of working for my relationship. Commuting back and forth to Tampa, fighting to communicate through different, always changing, time zones, and learning how to be flexible with not only my flying schedule but his military one. It was worth it. Until it wasn’t anymore (it still was for me though). My point of all this is, there was my problem. I claimed to know who I was while bending myself over backwards being a partner for someone that needed much more than I could provide that I believe I lost myself in the process. I wasn’t enjoying the process of travel like I used to. I craved stability because I was in love with someone stable. Don’t get me wrong, I do know I love being a partner to someone. I like being the supportive, loving girlfriend and best friend. Do I love it more than I do a wandering life? Do I have to choose one or the other? (I’m writing something on these questions specifically right now.) Tulum introduced (and reintroduced) me to the path that will help me discover the answers I was and am searching for.

Months of constant, honestly sickening worry, anxiety, and fear washed away as I said, “¡Si, vamos!” to a tan man holding a sign for a snorkel excursion after lunch on the beach after biking to the Mayan ruins after sleeping in a bungalow with a big net and no air conditioning (hello, glamping!). The moment I jumped in I was greeted by the most beautiful sea turtle I could have ever imagined (and my first to see free out in the ocean)! The universe listened to my prayer! It was showing me what I needed to see- what I needed to hear. This is where you are supposed to be. In the water, snorkel suctioned onto my face, I witnessed sting rays circling below me. I laughed wildly with our guide that would push me, pull me, grunt and squeal as he pointed to another magnificent creature and to another and another.

That was my reintroduction into this path I am currently living. Whatever the universe brings, be it a new destination, a new love, a new passion, Tulum brought me the joy of embracing it.

“¡Si, vamos!” DCIM100GOPROG0351371.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So now the highlights:

Glamping at Joy Tulum

It was definitely a little bit of a walk in extremely heat to get to the hostel from the bus station. On our return trip we splurged (a full couple of dollars) on a taxi (much more preferable). The hostel itself is made up of several rows of individual bungalows with colorful chairs outside and a simple interior with one fan, a small bench, side tables, and mosquito nets around the beds. As worried as we were about the bus I didn’t find them bad at all. Actually, I have been bit more recently in Texas more than I was in Mexico. There were separate women’s and men’s bathroom areas that were always clean and a breakfast of cereal, cheeses, and hams in the common area. If you can bear the heat (although we were never really in our bungalows during the day) it is a wonderful place to stay- just remember the bug spray!

39ce2721-6daa-447b-ae0c-e98144c5dfe0Processed with VSCO with m5 presetSnorkeling the Grand Cenotes 

It’s true what they say, make sure you get there early! When we arrived it wasn’t extremely full. We went snorkeling for awhile and watched the bats flutter above us and by the time we were satisfied with our swimming the cenote had become quite congested with other tourists. Still, it was remarkable swimming in the clear, freezing water.c7dc5900-58c5-406e-8d2a-d02e4fbcf6d8


Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset


A beach day, of course!

Mayan Ruins

This certainly gets absolutely packed during the early afternoon! I would suggest either going as soon as it opens or being the last ones to enter and exit. Wear your swimsuit so you can take a dip in the ocean in front of the ruins. If you head to the public beach you can take a boat out to see the ruins from a great distance.

The most amazing snorkel of my life. The end.Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset

Having Cenote Escondido to ourselves (no, really!) 

I’m actually not lying about this. We used the free bikes from Joy Tulum and rode to the cenote in the morning to find that we were the only ones there! There are two rope swings to play on, too. 10/10 would do again!



I’m relearning how to live courageously and wholeheartedly after a devastating blow to my heart and soul. I’m going to be okay. In fact, just as Tulum showed me, I’m going to be more than okay. Trust me on that.

-Mary Anna


Year 23

Howdy, all!

Another year of my life has come and gone and I am officially 24 years and one day old. As difficult as these past couple of months have been, the overall year has been an amazing one. My second year of being an international flight attendant, I checked off several bucket list items, and I am closer to realizing what I want to do in my life. 24 will be the year of personal growth, career maturity, and creative direction. I am committed to putting my health first, to continue writing, and to remember why I started traveling in the first place. So below is my list of some year 23 highlights. As monumental as these moments are, there were many more that were not photographed: reunited family hugs, cozy days with Luca, and uplifting afternoons with dear friends to name a few (plus an awesome cat cafe in Tokyo). And as with every year of life that I am fortunate enough to have, I remember my sweet Grandma, who I was lucky to share a birthday with. She would have been 84 years and one day old and I won’t ever stop missing her.img_5109

Cheers to another year of breathing in life and soaking in sunshine. To growth. To living courageously and wholeheartedly always. Continue reading


Capri, Italy 


Finally an Italy layover! After almost two years of being an international flight attendant, I finally got to experience a Naples layover. I only have a couple of “work” bucket list items to check off and visiting the island of Capri was definitely number one!

Josh, Sarah Bob, and I woke up early to catch the hour long ferry to Capri. There we had one mission, to get a private boat and tour around the island. This proved easy enough and in no time we were boarded up and introduced to our guide, Marco, the 22-year-old from Sorrento. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing as we set off on our tour. It felt like I was living in a movie- how could this be my life? Continue reading