While We’ve Been Out…

Hello, hello – We’ve been traveling for the last 3 weeks!!!

While friends have been going to Christmas parties, taking kids to see Santa, making latkes, and doing holiday baking, we have been traveling by plane, bus, boat, taxi, train, bike, Teleférico, and Land Cruiser all over Bolivia and Peru. It has felt completely nuts. The truth is, we never envisioned traveling as much as we have at this stage of life and it always shocks us. But here we are! Traveling our butts off!

-We’ve been eating some meals made 100% of canned food in the middle of nowhere. And also some 5 star meals by some of the world’s top chefs (the latter made us so happy we practically cried. 🙂

-We saw scenery that felt like it must be some of the top scenery in the world. We’re talking: the Incan Trail, Maccu Picchu, and Salares de Uyuni (Salt Flats) in Bolivia. Places that make you say words like damn, and oh my heck this unbelievable!! 

-We’ve camped in a tent in the Andes, stayed in one of the best hotels ever in Cusco, and also stayed in some of the most humble accommodations we’ve ever been in while in the desert of Bolivia.

-We hobbled for days due to an intense 4-day hike on the Incan Trail.

-We scored gold with our fellow travelers and hikers from Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Brazil, the U.K., and South Korea. And in three weeks we did meet just three Americans. They are hard to come by in those parts.

-We had more conversations about our blog than we can count (everyone always wants to know more! Of course we’re total geeks and don’t mind it one bit.)

-We listened to Christmas music from our iPhones in our hotels.

-We were tested physically and mentally – hiking further and higher than we wanted to, sleeping in places we didn’t want to, getting up earlier than we wanted to, being freezing at times due to getting soaked by rainstorms and having no hot water in our hostel, going to the bathroom in a hole in the ground (for days), wearing the dirtiest/dustiest clothes, at times not showering for DAYS, having colds, and having delayed flights on the way home that led to us visiting FIVE FLIPPING AIRPORTS before landing at home.

It was a mix of once-in-a-lifetime experiences that we’ll never forget – bucket list material to the highest degree! – and also a few underwhelming travel stops that we wouldn’t recommend or ever visit again.


I hope all of you have been having the most magical of Christmas seasons. I hope it has involved sugar cookies and dressing up for holiday parties and twinkle lights. Or maybe you’ve been doing something flat out crazy like us.

I’d so love to hear! Hit me with what your December has been like so far. Anything! We need some holiday cheer around here!!! December makes me miss the U.S. something fierce. 🙂  

Love to you all,


P.S. Our mentoring sessions have been ROCKING. We love it so much. And everyone else seems to be loving it, too. We even did a session from Lima which turned out so great. If you’d like to give it a try, you can book a session HERE. If you aren’t happy with the session, we’ll refund your money in full. We’re all about win-win around here.

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  1. courtney December 21, 2015 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    hi mara! ahhhh, i love reading about your adventures!!! so incredible. i'm so happy for you both to be sharing these beautiful experiences. such an inspiration to me!

    wanted to share with you that this month i was accepted to dental school! i have been chasing this dream for a long time, so it truly does feel magical (corny, i know! but i get covered in goosebumps whenever i think of it!). i'm a few days away from finishing my thesis and heading to philly before home to vermont. i can't wait! sending you and danny so much love and the merriest christmas greetings xxxxxx

    • danny December 21, 2015 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      That's great Courtney!!!

    • mara December 21, 2015 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Courtney, I'm DYING over this news!!! I love that you're just going for it completely! You're such an inspiration to me. You'll be the coolest dentist in all the land. Sending so much love to you. xoxo

    • courtney December 21, 2015 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      you guys are truly the bee's knees. x's and o's (ps come back to vermont!!! =)

  2. jana chambers December 21, 2015 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    I love these pictures so much! And love to you both! I hope you have the merriest Christmas. Can't wait to hear more about your adventures!

    • mara December 21, 2015 at 4:16 pm - Reply

      Jana! Seeing your name made me have a thought. We are likely heading to Utah in a few months for some blog/work stuff. And we might put together a retreat. But how about this…we should also host a dinner get together for all the retreat alumni there. I'm SO glad I just thought of this. I'll keep you posted if we can pull it off.

  3. jana chambers December 21, 2015 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    HOLY MOLY!!!! That would make me so so happy! YES PLEASE let me know if this is something you are going to do!!! YAY!!!! I'm gonna go listen to your podcast right now so I can soak in some of your goodness!

  4. Anonymous December 21, 2015 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    So fun to read this!! Amazing! I hope you dont take this the wrong way but you make not being able to have children bearable. It makes me excited for whatever my life brings me! Even if it's single or married with no children or married with lots of kids! Hey would you mind giving me some advice? I am 26 years old and unsure of what to do with my live… How did you decide? Any places you can point me for direction?

    • mara December 30, 2015 at 12:42 am - Reply

      Dear Anon – oh goodness. The "bearable" part got me. We do very much try to live our lives to the fullest. So it makes me to happy to think that inspires you. There have been a few times when my life just absolutely didn't go the way I desired (one of those times is right now! And I don't know if that will change.) And I think in times like that, living life to the fullest takes a DELIBERATE mindset. But once you get going, it kind of snowballs and fuels itself and becomes more of your natural lifestyle.

      As for figuring out what to do with your life – ahhhh, that's a hard one. Sometimes passions aren't so clear. I did hear something recently from Momastery and I thought it was BRILLIANT. She said, to find your passion or your life's mission, consider "What breaks your heart?" The answer to that may lead you to something. Also, don't fret if you don't have a big plan worked out. Perhaps you know at least SOMETHING – for example, "I'd love to live in this or that city." Or "I'd love to perhaps work with creatives." Anyway, take ANY seed you've got and take note of it. Start moving your life in that direction. Get really clear on that seed – even if it's all you've got. I believe that those seeds can begin to grow into something more if we give them the time of day.

      (P.S. My "seed" ten years ago was this: I wanted to work with and help women somehow. 🙂 And here I am. It took me awhile – with many detours and what not. But somehow I figured out a way to do it that felt like me. And my next endeavor is to keep giving this the time of day – to see if I can turn this into something more.)

  5. Jaxon Peterson December 22, 2015 at 3:50 am - Reply

    Our December has been multiple trips to the hospital for my wife. While it is tough, it is worth it! I am blessed to be able to serve her as she goes through this trial and even more blessed for what awaits us at the end of this vale of tears.

    Love you both and appreciate all your posts and the light and love they bring. God bless!

    • mara December 30, 2015 at 12:45 am - Reply

      Jaxon – so sorry to hear about the hospital trips! You sound like such a supportive husband which I can only imagine means the world to your wife. I wish you both the best with whatever you're facing – and may your 2016 bring lots of peace.

  6. Alysa Stewart December 23, 2015 at 3:07 am - Reply

    It is super Christmas cheery at my house! The in-laws sent us 12 days of gifts to open and our three kids love it so much! (Not to mention requiring them to be dressed in morning before opening the day's gift has made getting to school so much easier!)

    Also we went Christmas caroling on Sunday night and Monday night. Nothing as cheery as that, I tell you.

    We didn't get Christmas lights up, but we never have before, and don't quite have everything we need.

    I did a super fun post on my book blog, giving out recommendations to my readers for specific people on thier lists. http://www.evereadbooks.com/2015/12/the-2015-holiday-recommendations-post.html

    Goodies galore, gift exchange at mutual tonight, and Christmas music from a random dude playing the accordion outside the bookstore tonight.

    • mara December 24, 2015 at 12:14 am - Reply

      I LOVED READING THIS!!! So fun to get a taste of that Christmas magic. I kinda hung on to every word. The Christmas stuff here doesn't tug at my heart as much – so we feel very far away from all that warm and fuzzy Christmas atmosphere. Here's our best shot down here: we're going to make a Christmas Day brunch, we'll snuggle with our doggies, we'll build a fire, listen to music, deliver cookies to our neighbors, and go to a parade on Christmas Eve where people all carry a large sized figurine of baby Jesus, dressed in bejeweled robes. Danny used Christmas as an excuse to get a handmade guitar (which he just picked up today)! So I think we'll have some guitar playing. 🙂 AND, we did get to go to a Christmas Chorale concert in a cathedral – with candlelight caroling and everything. And we did have a holiday dinner with one of our favorite couples here. So – not too bad, actually. We're pulling this off!

      ALSO: Your post with book recommendations is simply BRILLIANT. I just love the idea – and I love that you love books. XOXO

    • Alysa Stewart December 24, 2015 at 12:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks Mara! It makes me smile that Danny got a guitar, because I happen to know that my husband is getting one too this year! 😀

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