Traveling With Friends – Bacalar 2017

marhublog bacalar blog postIt’s been years (literally) since I wrote or posted anything here, but the first half of 2017 is already gone and – blame it on the solar eclipse – here I am again, after wandering and wondering for almost 2 years. So, I want this start to be a good one, and that is why I am going to go back and forth between 2015, 2016 and 2017 from this time on until the end of the year.

I turned 35 this year and I decided to go away to celebrate this milestone; so I turned to my friends and said: guys, lets go to Bacalar to celebrate my 35th birthday! That’s how rockstar bloggers Kelly (a.k.a cancuncanuck), Fer (a.k.a Mafesaro), Eli (a.k.a HolaSoyEli), Ppto (a.k.a PptoTravel) and Miguel (a.k.a La vida es viaje) jumped on board to one of the coolest road trips I’ve had in my entire life.

Taking advantage of the holiday weekend in February, Kelly took her kiddo and a bunch of stuff and drove all the way from Cancun to Bacalar first, then the rest of us got on the first ADO bus from Cancun to Bacalar we could get after we were able to get off from work so we arrived around midnight and took a taxi to our accommodations at Magic Bacalar Camping.

On the first day, Mafesaro, Eli, Ppto and myself decided to walk around town after waking up super early to watch the sunrise (Kelly stayed up all night and therefore, slept through the morning) while Miguel decided to bike around town and the Costanera Avenue along the gorgeous Bacalar Lagoon which is also known as “The 7 color lagoon”. While walking around we were hit by the struck of genius: Lets rent a car and drive to the mayan ruins of Kohunlich, Dzibanché and Kinichná!

@ilianapb @on.type @sircafeta @pptotravel #deaquisoy

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During the rest of the day, we decided to take a tour around Bacalar Lagoon on a boat, we were taken to sites such as The Pirate’s Canal, Cenote Azul, Cenote de la Bruja (rumor has it that this cenote has a curse from a witch that used to live by its shore a few decades ago, we didn’t really care and we jumped in it anyway as seen above), we got ourselves nice clay facials and saw stromatolite formations in the lagoon almost until the sun went down.

The next day we woke up early, had breakfast (which was deliciously included in our camping site fare) and headed to Kohunlich. The name of this ancient mayan city does not come from mayan language but is an english translation made into mayan, it actually means cohoon ridge, after the characteristic palm trees found in the area. Its architecture is very similar to other mayan cities such as Peten in Guatemala and even thought it is relatively isolated by tourism standards, that makes it perfect for quiet long visits.

Kohunlich estuvo habitada entre el 900 y 1400 A.C. #deaquisoy #Kohunlich

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After climbing structures and looking for Fer and Eli, we headed to Dzibanché ruins; this ancient mayan site got its name after the wooden lintels found in the “Temple of the Lindels” and means “Carved or written on wood“. This ancient city was part of the cities that belonged to the Calakmul radar of influence back in the day. At Dzibanché we were greeted by a pack of howling monkeys that were jumping on the tree tops.

Dzibanché obtuvo su nombre por los dinteles de sus estructuras. #deaquisoy #dzibanché

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Last but not least, we rushed to catch a glimpse of the smaller site of Kinichná which is basically just across the street from Dzibanché. This site only has one major and impressive  structure. We arrived there only 5 minutes before it had to close and the site guard was kind enough to let us in for 20 minutes because “nobody ever gets here” so, I think he was just happy that the site had any visitors.

Amigos, viajes y placeres; tomados de la mano con otros quereres. #deaquisoy #dzibanché

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The day was still young and we decided to drive south to Chetumal, Quintana Roo’s capital city to catch the sunset on the bay, take a walk in its colonial style streets and have dinner. This included both a sugar and grease bomb that were literally the best meals we had during the trip, not only because of how it tasted but for the memories attached to it. We had the famous deep fried hot dogs in bacon and gouda cheese (NOMMSSSS) and Machacados. Machacados are a mix of crushed fruit, crushed ice, condensed milk, vanilla and all sorts of toppings, from oreos to peanuts. My mouth waters as I write about them.

All in all, I claim to anyone who asked, that that single day has been the best day of 2017 so far and there is no way that it would have been the same without the people that share that same moment in time; it taught me how valuable they are and how much I want to keep traveling with friends.

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What To Do In Wynwood With No Money

Hi there!

So, today is supposed to be #traveltuesday and therefore I should post a photo, blog and everything in between that is travel related. Since my last trip was to Miami where I attended Social Media Week which was held in the hip and cool Miami Ad School I had no excuse to not show some photos but I was pretty much broke so this raised an important question: what to do in Wynwood with no money?

Luckily I was staying at Manuel´s bachelor pad which is conveniently located in Midtown, that made my morning commute easy because I could just walk there, however the weather was not by my side those days and it was just downpour rain… still that didn´t keep me from walking and taking photos whenever I was able to do so.

Here is a disclaimer:

I hate Photoshop and basically any photo editing software, I think it had something to do with my university teacher and/or the fact that back in Venezuela one of my first jobs after graduating was as a photojournalist for a major newspaper where photo editing was off. I could maybe balance colors a bit or ad some contrast but that was pretty much it, photos were not touched by photographers so you just had to rely on your own skills to get a good set of photos, remember, those were the days when if you had a 32MB memory card and a 10mpx camera you could get away with it.

So, back to Miami, it was raining, I had a few good 9 blocks to walk every morning and afternoon and no money, the answer of what to do in Wynwood without any money is pretty simple: photograph until you can photograph no more!

what to do in wynwood for free

Out of the Closet. I´d pass this store on the corner of Biscayne Blv. and 29th street everyday and thought it was cool that they offered free HIV test. Nuff said!

things to do in miami for free

On 29th street and about a block west from Biscayne Blvd. I passed this railroad and got my first doze of street art of the day.

things to do in wynwood for free

You can call me baby.

things to do in wynwood for free

Nice garage!

things to do in wynwood

Don´t you just hate it when a car blocks your photo? Damn!

things to do in miami for free

“Protect Yo Heart” I promise I will Steve-O.

what to do in miami for free

I just loved the trees and the colors.

things to do in wynwood miami

Again, where am I? Oh, Wynwood!

things to do in wynwood

White walls, black ↑, black&white stripes, red shades… couldn´t help it #selfie

things to do in Wynwood Miami

Aparently shoe stores a big thing in Wynwood, who knew.

things to do in Wynwood

I could not go further away to get this shot, I swear.

places to visit in wynwood

According to Wikipedia (and my friends) the once average puertorican neighborhood known as “Little San Juan” or “El Barrio”, Wynwood gained notoriety when graphic artists and designers found spacious and cheap spaces to live and work about 10 years ago, which turned the once working class latino neighborhood into an up&coming area delicious for real estate brokers and investors. Probably one of the best examples of neighborhood gentrification in the US, just behind Brooklyn.

things to do in wynwood for free

The Bric House Grill and probably a shoe store, I can´t remember.

what to do in miami for free

Devoured by nature I suppose.

And now a few more photos from Miami Ad School. This bright pink building is just so cool, I love it!

Miami Ad School Wynwood

Mural inside Miami Ad School Wynwood

mural miami ad school

Murals Miami Ad School Wynwood

Someone had some mushrooms aparently…

miami ad school wynwood soccer field

These are my #nofilter photos of Wynwood on 3 rainy days. I still have tons of photos of the amazing street art I found in Wynwood just a couple of month before, on a kind of nicer day (weather wise) but I can´t get past my broken spirit of those days… yet! But I know I will because I always do.

I hope this #nofilter #noedited photo blog didn´t disappoint you and you´ve got a cool reference of what to do in Wynwood for free when you get there! If you want to look at other pictures from the other trip and just random photos (kitty photos included) check out my Instagram account, you are not compeled to follow me!

Social Media Week Miami

15 Things I Learned About Personal Branding At SMWMiami

I just came back from Social Media Week Miami and as you probably think, I am pumped. It was an experience that not only reinforced the concepts and knowledge that I already had but also made me realize about a ton of things that I wasn´t fully aware of, specially in terms of what I want to do next, here are the things I learned about personal branding at SMW Miami:

Social Media Week Miami

Social Media week Miami was held at Miami Ad School

  • Think like a content creator: Thought this is something that I already knew, it has been reinforce greatly, everywhere I look there´s content and an opportunity to use it for a greater good.
  • Purpose: You have to define what the purpose of your personal brand is; is it food? is it travel? is it arts? is it kittens in salad bowls? If you don´t define the purpose of your business aka personal brand, you´re most likely to bite more than you can chew. This will also help you get ROI expectations right for yourself and your clients.
  • Audience: Who are you talking to? What are their likes? Attend those who already like your brand, keep talking to them.
  • Don´t make wonderful content and then fail to promote it. We all agree that not all social media channels are good for all brands, find the ones that are more natural to you and your business and use them right.
  • Think Mobile! Stats are strong about mobile devices usage on basically everything, think big but also think small screenwise.
Conference at SMW Miami

Most of the conferences I attended were held at the super cool Jellyfish Room

 

  • Keep the content and format useful, simple and delightful: Sree Sreenivassan , Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was very strong about this and I have it still fresh in my mind, so I think I better review on my old content and curate some more.
  • Real followers get you real influence in social: In this case, Sean Gardner threw as many social pearls as he could on this subject, real followers will engage with your content (if its useful, simple and delightful).
  • Being stationary is deadly in all aspects of life: trial and error, go step by step but keep trying new things, new social media channels, new devices.
  • Return, Learn, Repeat: This goes directly with listening to your audience, return to what worked in the past, learn from what didn´t work and repeat what worked.
  • Break some rules: Maybe mix up your posting times, experiment on scheduling and content.
SMW Miami Main Room

Ted Coiné at SMW Miami

  • Marketers don´t trust other marketers: Mister Ted Coiné explained this in many ways as well as more priceless advice but I found that this is as true as the sky is blue.
  • Build your brand around visual content marketing and oxidize it.
  • If the channels are not working together, is not omnichannel: Pam Moore explained it really well, omnichannel does not mean that you have to use all social media channels, but if you build your brand around some of them, make them work in a 360º degree level. Use them wisely.
  • Do you want the eyeballs or the conversion? Think this through, what´s more important if to get traffic for your website or convert your audience into sales?
  • Don´t be afraid to fail/ be nice to yourself.

Listening to all these pros and people I´ve followed for a long time taugh me a lot, I could only handpick these 15 things I learned about personal branding at Social Media Week Miami  because I think these are the most important to know in a generic way, anyone could apply them for whatever business or brand they may have and it could be good even for your own social media channels in order to “clean up” a little bit ones social media mess.

Kelly and me being silly while charging our phones on a break of SMW Miami

Kelly and me being silly while charging our phones on a break of SMW Miami

Another highlight about the three day conference was spending some time with Kelly, who has been working on her personal brand The Sober Señorita in a very organic and authentic way for quite some time now; as inspiring as she is to her primary niche audience, she is an example of what you can create and achieve through social media: awareness on any issue, make a point of view stand out, help others. Besides, she is as much fun as anyone could think of and so open to help, I´m glad we could reconnect in Miami amiga!

This trip to Miami was far better than the previous one, I felt love, support and answers so the next steps for me are more clear now, I´m glad I broke some rules and attended SMW Miami. As one of my favorite singers said once ¡Gracias, Totales!

How To Stop Caring About Others And Book A Ticket To Miami For Social Media Week

The first time I heard about Social Media Week was about a year ago, I was scrolling down my facebook Timeline and found a blog that mentioned it. I was interested and looked further and I found out that they were going to held an event in Mexico City in about 6 months, so I started following the event in different social media outlets, I even… I even signed for Newsletters

social media week Miami

There, I said it; I was hooked; I loved getting their e-mails every week with cool and interesting things about social media, how the different generations are facing change, the Braincandy video series and I kept on sharing their stuff and learning from them. Then the Mexico City event schedule and info was released, I asked my Boss permission the answer was a plain NO.

I was bummed and at the time I was in a money shortage so, I kept it cool and waited for my weekly Newsletter patienly.

Last year a low cost mexican airline launched this direct flight from Cancun to Miami, it was cool and since I was able to get an american tourist visa very quick I booked a cheap flight and spent my 1 week vacation there. That was back in July and 2 weeks after I returned home the dates for Social Media Week Miami were released and I was excited to say the least… but still I had to wait to get all the information and insights on the price tickets, the speakers and the topics, I was determined to go.

So about a month ago – August – when the tickets were finally for sale and I could check out the schedule I said to myself “I HAVE to go” so again, I went to my boss, told him about the dates and the speakers and basically everything and I said “We HAVE to go” and he went on saying “I just asked to go to a SEO related event in New York, they said no – his boss – so I´m afraid the same is going to happen with this“.

Needless to say that I was mad, how could a company just focus on what´s urgent and not on what´s important and long lasting ROI? It was stupid and I felt really bad. The mexican working laws do not favor employees in most cases and most employer´s point out that employees should be grateful to have a job that pays the minimun and gives them the minimun benefits (such as social security and some medical coverage).

Thought, I am not here to discuss the mexican law because:

1. I am a foreigner living and workin in Mexico legally and

2. Because I decided to not give a f*&k and book a ticket anyway.

Luckily for me, I had some money left in the bank from my vacations, and started the search for a cheap flight and the tickets… also for a credit card because since I don´t have the permanent resident status I cannot apply for a credit card…

A really good friend lended me his card, I found a really cheap promotion on Interjet and got my plane tickets and thanks to my good friend – and Miami host – Manuel Gago I got a promocode that helped me get a lower price for the full 3 day pass for Social Media Week Miami. I was all set, yay!

So I approached my boss, he looked at me like saying “Are you sure?” but then by the look on his face he was actually kind of happy that I decided to go anyway, he said “I have no problem, just so you know, Human Resources are not going to pay for the days you are away, it will be deducted from your paycheck” and I said “Fine!” then he said “I wished I could trade places with you

So, I´m super excited to jump on the plane next Tuesday and live 3 full days surrounded by the best of the best of Social Media and how it affects us as human connectivity is growing as these new platforms and technologies develop. I´m also very happy because I´ll get to see my friend Kelly a.k.a The Sober Señorita whom I met here thanks to social media and will be attending SMWMiami as well, we are going to have so much fun!

So, I have to pack now, see you in a few days!