Santa Catalina Panama Yogiiza Beach Rock Summer
Life

Why I Quit Using Tinder

So I joined Tinder.

I didn’t really put that much effort in it, I mean, you are choosing people based on their appearance.

The few messages I got weren’t very exciting.

And then I matched with a person who seemed pretty cool.

Santa Catalina Panama Yogiiza Beach Rock Summer

He lived in my area, and just like me he was passionate about travel, the outdoors, the occasional year at Burning Man and an otherwise laid-back lifestyle.

We hung out twice, just as friends. Had great conversation, drank ice tea, talked about dangerous animals in Australia and watched Family Guy.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly and It was even hard not to get ahead of the game.

He disliked cold weather too and asked me to travel together. Does it get much better than that?

Then I left town to travel, and that’s when our relationship shifted to texting.

Texting was exciting and fun with lots of flirtation, checking in, sharing photos.

There was a lot of anticipation for my return, for the chance to get together and explore, hike, eat ribs, and have fun.

But as soon as I got back, text miscommunications began.

I could be wrong, but I think I was being a bit emotional and impulsive on my end because he was getting cold feet and not showing up for the occasion on his end. Clearly things weren’t running smoothly  for either of us in the context.

We exchanged a few nasty text messages , followed by longer, explanatory messages describing our resentment for each other which lead to further messages that indicated the end of our so-called “relationship”.

There was no more progressing in a great connection, and all because some of some stupid text messages.

I felt talking would solve what I perceived as a minor hiccup, but he was not willing to discuss over the phone.

In the end, I wanted to make amends, and he did not.

So that was the end.

I was pretty upset.

I mean, why bother with all the texting if you’re not going to stick it out?

Santa Catalina Panama Beach Rock Summer

And then I realized that through texting  I was able to convince myself he was everything I wanted, but really he wasn’t

Texting didn’t allow me to see his cowardliness and his inability to express emotions in real life. Because texting is easy, it’s fun, it’s light. It’s also superficial and shallow. All the texting and no talking however showed me his lack of communication skills. (Read more on texting here). Yes, I believe talking on the phone would have given me more perspective on his character.

So I had to separate the person I had created in my mind from the person he really was. Which in the end is someone I did not want to be with anyways.

Santa Catalina Panama Teeki Beach Rock Summer

I’ve had friends say to me:”Welcome to the online dating world, where you are meeting random people to see if you have a connection, and if you don’t, you simply walk away. It’s rare when it does work out, most of the time you don’t click with people and you move on.”

But once for me was enough.

So  I quit Tinder all together.

If you’re using it for something quick, it’s probably a good option.

But let’s assume I never joined Tinder.

I probably would have never even met this guy (and then I could have spared myself the hassle!). Or maybe I would have, and then we would have exchanged a few words, followed by phone numbers over time before we hung out as friends.

And then I would have gotten a chance to really know him.

But Tinder accelerated the whole process.

From the moment we met, we both knew we were there to date. We both knew we were attracted to each other. There was no guessing, no wondering, not a whole lot of thought behind it.

And within the first week, we were already discussing future travels.

In other words, we burned through so many stages of getting to know one another.

By the end of our stint, we were fighting like a couple on the verge of a break-up.

In fact, we did break up. And we hadn’t even kissed.

Sounds a little ridiculous, doesn’t it?

So I learned my lesson.

I will meet people through real experiences. Through real interactions.  And rather than texting, I will pick up the phone and call.

What are your experiences with Tinder?

Did you have successful or frustrating interactions?

Drop me a comment!

Santa Catalina Panama Beach Rock Summer

Urban Yoga in Costa Rica at the bomba in Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula while I was staying at Blue Osa
Blog, Travel

I Need to Travel: Here’s Why

In my world, travel is a need rather than a privilege.

When your life is routine based it can become monotonous. You’ll have to do something to stir it up, like Bob Marley said. (I used to listen to a ton of Bob in high school).

Urban Yoga in Costa Rica at the bomba in Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula while I was staying at Blue Osa
Having fun exploring the town of Puerto Jimenez

And when you start to become ritualistic on your morning baguette with marmalade , get sad at the thought of spending a night away from your cozy blanket and you get OCD over the colors of your laundry, it’s time to take a trip.

Book a flight.

No excuses.

Don’t have enough money?

Make the trip as cheap as you can.

Not enough time?

Find a holiday weekend, swap shifts with your cousin or call in sick.

Not enough guts?

I guarantee it will be worth it.

IMG_1664

Besides all the superficial Club Med benefits, travel offers something so much more profound than a pretty beach to relax and let loose. It provides perspective and breaks you free of your routine and mental patters. When you come back to your life after taking a travel break, everything will be different. All of a sudden you’ll be having fruit for breakfast, want to organize a camping trip and do all your laundry mixed together.

Travel reminds you that there is something else out there in the world far more exciting than getting territorial over your Whole Foods parking spot and far more interesting than getting annoyed at the same lady in yoga class who always lays her mat too close to yours.
I am a big advocate of travel as a learning tool and a mean of self discovery. I’ve noticed some cultures encourage travel much more than others. I can’t really say travel is engrained in the Italian culture, but somehow there are a lot of Italians living abroad. But I digress. For as much as my Italian clan thinks of me as someone who simply vacations too much, I can’t stress enough how important travel is to me.

Valentina Rose I need To Travel to Costa Rica right Now
One of the best part about travel: impromptu friend and puppy beach hang out

It has helped me figured out who I am, prove to myself that I can be independent beyond my own belief, it has provided some of the most romantic times of my life and also broken my heart, it has tested my social abilities, forced me to be more social when I didn’t want to and never regret it. It has helped me understand how simply and much more happily some people can live, how not everyone does everything the same way. How it’s not okay to laugh at other cultures’ habits because to them my habits are just as ridiculous. How even though authentic Italian food is great not everyone cooks Italian in the same way. It has made me appreciate the comforts of my home, miss my family , made me realize my frustrations seem so minuscule compared to real problems, and I’ve always come back centered, inspired, appreciative and feeling more alive than ever.

If you’re someone who has not experienced much travel before for one reason or the other, or is considering a trip but is on the fence, I hope this will encourage you to embark on a journey. Any journey, even a roadtrip outside of town.

Valentina Rose Costa Rica Osa Peninsula Just Be Yourself
Blog, Life

Unapologetically You

Growing  over time allows you to observe behaviors, patterns and tendencies that make you unique and special. I could sit here all day and tell  you about how I’m active, social bla bla..but let’s get to the details. What makes you interesting and memorable are the subtleties in your personality, your corks and quirks, not your overall traits that you would list on a gym waiver. The juicy stuff.  Let’s embrace those qualities that set us apart and make us unique, and find people in our lives who will laugh with us about those imperfections. And if people are laughing at you and not with you, let them laugh. At least they’ll have stories to tell 🙂

Valentina Rose Costa Rica Osa Peninsula Just Be Yourself

For example, I am super active. But I don’t like to walk.

As my close friends will testify, I will go to  great efforts to ensure I park my car as close as possible to the store/restaurant/post office. Even If I have to cirle around the parking lot a few times like a crocodile in a moat and stalk patrons who are about to enter their car. And give them the death stare while they apply lipstick and adjust their hair before getting out of MY parking spot.  So yes I run for miles in the woods and then I refuse to walk to Whole Foods. I love the comforts of my car and the U.S. driving culture and big parking lots. ‘MERICA!!!!

I consider myself a very social person, but I love to be alone.

And especially eat alone. Even though in the Italian culture eating alone is considered to be a sad and undesirable  occurrence, I’m so stoked when I  get to be home by myself and enjoy a meal  while watching an episode of Family Guy or America’s Next Top Model. That way I get to eat whatever I want, as much as I want to,  chew as loudly as I wish and not have to talk to anyone. Ha!

I can backpack through Central America  no problem. Move every week? Check. But a lot of people would still call me high maintenance.

I have to have my luxuries wherever I am. Like cozy blankets in the jungle and good smelling lotions while camping and painted toenails everywhere. And my toothbrush. That’s my ultimate must.  I need to brush my teeth after every meal. That’s why I carry a toothbrush and toohpaste with me at all times. I’ll brush my teeth in the airplane bathroom during turbulence if I have to.

One thing I hate most is being forced into group activities.

Do not try to force me into participating to a sharades game. HOLDING HANDS IN A CIRCLE? FORGET IT. Thanksgiving at your aunt’s? I will resent you for a long time. Don’t even think about making me participate in your billiard tournament. No. No. No. Don’t make me go around a circle and say stuff. Ever. I stand my ground. I really don’t believe into forcing people to do things.Or insisting. Good to know right?

My meat eating habits are something that confuses people a lot. I don’t eat birds.

Because I think they are disgusting. The usual reaction I get is: “But If you hate birds, wouldn’t you want to eat them?”. No. But I eat steak. And pork cutlets and tenderloin. Appalled face. “So you eat red meat but not chicken?” OH MY GOD! But I don’ eat lamb, boar, elk, buffalo either. And I don’t eat meat at Thai restaurants, Indian, or anything else but a steak house. But I like rabbit. And I don’t need to explain why. I’m sure the meat conversation is long and drawn-out for everyone who is vegetarian/vegan/pescatarian. But seriously, who cares.

I also cant’ stand garlic.

Yes, I know. How is it possible that I am italian and I don’t like garlic?? It’s a profanity! It’s like saying that you’re American and you don’t like the U.S. flag for God’s sake! All I can tell you is that if you want to be my friend you can’t eat garlic around me.

Hello Kitty.

That’s pretty self explanatory. I just love Hello Kitty so much. Did you know she’s 5 apples tall and weighs 3 apples?

Adam Hello Kitty
My friend Adam seeking approval on his next Hello Kitty purchase

Don’t feel pressured to act according to a preconceived notion of  your quality. Like: “I consider myself social, so I really should go to that New Year’s Eve Party even though I don’t feel like it.” Instead,you should think “I won’t go to that overly expensive/obnoxious NYE party and I’m not worried about it because I KNOW I will be social when I want to be.”

Once you know your preferences,  be proud of them. Don’t apologize or make up excuses.  Don’t say “Sorry  I can’t  play mini golf  because I’m tired and It’s too hot out and I’m broke and I’m really not that good at it…etc etc ”  NO. Just be you. Don’t play mini golf because you think it’s ridiculous and leave it at that.

You don’t owe it to anybody to be consistent in YOUR personality. Yes, you should be coherent in your actions and be consistent in how you communicate because otherwise it will be difficult to have successful relationships. But you don’t need to be rational and logical in your personality because you’re human and part of being human is to be  irrational and unexplained.  Consistency in your personality is as boring as the girl on the cover of Cosmopolitan who likes lemon drops, the beach, puppies and date nights.

 Not everyone is adventurous the same. Not everyone is independent the same. You could be adventurous but still be afraid of bugs and lizards and birds and bears (guilty). You could be independent but  have your mom ship you cookies and deodorant from Italy (also guilty).

Just be you, outside the box. Be unapologetically you, be bold and shine.

taken in Santa Catalina,Panama Playa Estero
Life

Pick up the Phone and Call: the Dangers of Texting

I am so tired of texting. Maybe I am getting old, but more than ever before texting feels to me like a bad habit to resort to when forming relationships and maintaining them.

I have had at least three different incidents with different people lately with whom I now have a strained or even broken relationship because of texting.

Antelope Canyon Arizona and why it's not okay to text
This picture was taken right around the time I was spending all day texting with someone who I don’t even speak to anymore

When it’s okay to text:

-you’re texting your mom to tell her you’re alive and made your flight

-any international update

-picture texts

-you are texting your co-worker to coordinate a time and place to meet for happy hour

– you are texting your close friends for a quick check in, a funny fact from the day or a joke

-and ok, sexting.

that’s it!

When it’s NOT okay to text:

-small talk

-the initial phases of dating

-conversations about what you believe in and why

-conversations about whether you want to have kids (yup, have done that!)

-telling a story

-asking for advice of any kind

-resolving already created misunderstandings

– resolving any kind of conflict

-figuring out in which direction your relationship is heading

taken in Santa Catalina,Panama Playa Estero
Here’s to real, face to face communication and eye contact

The bottom line is:

If you’re not ready and willing to say those things to someone’s face, you should never write them in a text.

You should’t be allowed to text, actually. You should be revoked the privilege.

It’s so easy to say things over text, while hiding behind the comfort of our phones. Things you would never in a million years have the balls to say to someone’s face? I have done that.

I have broken up relationships over text (so dumb), I have insulted people, and then begged for forgiveness, I have wasted too much time getting to know people. 

I am so done and tired of texting.

As a rule of thumb, you should never rely predominantly on texting to get to know someone. If you are not speaking to them on the phone at least, and not seeing them in person, texting alone is building a relationship made on false assumptions, insinuations and it is absolutely bound to backfire on you.

Example: I was texting with an acquaintance a few days ago: we are joking about stupid stuff, and while I was paying only half way attention because busy with other stuff, I all of a sudden got asked “you take a while to get jokes don’t you? You’re pretty slow uh? Did you go to a school for special kids when you were young?”

I did not find that funny. The person on the other end reassured me that it was just a joke and nothing more than that, and even apologized, but ever since there has been a certain awkwardness going on between us. (I also had refrained from telling him that I did not find his jokes very funny either)

The truth is, if that comment had been made in person, maybe I wouldn’t have thought about it twice, especially since I would have been able to put in context through tone of voice and facial expressions. But the truth is, that joke would have probably never been made in person. Because it is inappropriate.

The point is that texts lack context. They dont’s show the emotion of the person behind them neither the intention. And that’s why they should only be limited to an utilitarian application and not be the pillar of your relationship.

How many times when you were dating someone you have made judgements about their commitment to you based on their answering time, or them writing a good night text, and other stupid things like that which don’t matter AT ALL? “oh, he texted I miss you, so it must mean he cares”

Someone could be an excellent texter but at the same time be super dumb and assholish. Believe me, I’ve experienced it recently.

Or someone could be a bad texter, like my best friend Adam, who has 248 unread SMS on his phone on any given day, forgets to text back all the time, but calls when appropriate to check in and overall cares because he is a great friend. Just not a good texter.

Adam and I at Torrey Pines, San Diego, CA
That’s Adam. Somehow he makes it into a lot of my blog posts

So remember, texting is not an indication of real life AT ALL. In fact, it is not representative in any way.

In conclusion,DO NOT HIDE BEHIND YOUR PHONE. Stop being a pussy. If you care, you need to have a voice conversation. It is cowardly and not helpful in life to rely predominately on text and not push yourself out of your comfort zone to have real conversations. Yes, they can be awkward, but so are human interactions sometimes and such is life.

Heart Sunglasses just because

TRIVIA QUIZ:

You just created an awkward/unpleasant situation through texting, now what do you do??

A. keep texting until the issue is solved. Send long texts describing the way you feel so that the other person can really relate and get to the bottom of it. Maybe add a sad face emoji to convey the emotion

B. Just send a laughing emoji and hope the issue gets resolved on its own.

C. Block the person’s  number and never contact them again. And hope you never run into them at the grocery store.

D. Pick up the phone and call to have a normal, non-dramatic, conversation to clear the situation up in 5 minutes or less.

RIGHT ANSWER:

D. Pick up the phone and have the balls to have a conversation. If you can’t have a conversation about whatever is happening, you really can’t have a relationship  with that person. or anyone else for that matters.

If you answered anything else but D, good luck.

Hiking in Point Reys- Tomales Point Trail
Life, Travel

What Should I Do with My Life? Update

Some of you have been asking about my plans, where i’m headed, and for how long.

I have to admit, although flattering that ya’ll are interested in my life and travels I don’t always love being greeted by “What are you doing here? I thought you left for good?” upon entering the yoga studio.

What am I even supposed to answer to that? :”Good to see you too?” And then the questions begin:” I thought you were in Costa Rica, how long will you be there for, and then are you coming back to California, and when, and for how long”

I get it, you want to know. And I want to know too. But the truth is that I don’t know what my plans are yet.

And I am not in a rush to figure them out either.

Hiking in Point Reys- Tomales Bay
Pierce Point Ranch in Point Reyes

In the past I used to freak out when I didn’t know what I was doing and spend all my free time being anxious because I didn’t know what would be next. Now I don’t anymore, because I have learned to value those few quiet moments of transition, when you still don’t know…and it’s okay.

This doesn’t mean that I am not hard working. When the momentum comes, I am usually on the go, taking every opportunity to work, to make money, to travel, to move. But when I get an opportunity to be quiet, alone and still….I take it! Those are few and far between.

So here I am in Marin County, housesitting, teaching yoga still, about five classes a week, and the rest of my time is being used with sleeping plenty (what a luxury!), reading books, doing my own yoga practice, gardening, hiking, suntanning, cooking ,playing with tiny white dogs and hanging out with few select friends.

And I am throughly enjoying it.

I am okay with not having more work because I am intentionally making room for something new to come. I am thinking about which direction I want my life to go.

Hiking in Point Reys- Tomales Point Trail
The stunning views from Tomales Point trail in Point Reyes, West Marin

For the past three years that I have been leading a more erratic lifestyle, with lots of travel and moving around.  I really enjoy the freedom of being rent free and having no long term commitments. I can be anywhere I want at any given time.

But there are downsides to the lifestyle too.

For example, I do miss out on professional opportunities a lot. Usually when I just about settled enough in a place to work my way into better gigs, like start teaching at this great studio, or get promoted, I am about ready to leave.

So I take my precious experiences with me, pack my things, and say goodbye.

With less work opportunities comes less financial opportunity as well, and more uncertainty in general.

But I have found that what I miss the most about not being settled in one place is a sense of community.

In Miami Beach I felt that I got to tap into a great community of young, fun, likeminded individuals, and I really enjoyed it.

Ever since then I have met extraordinary people, but in more fleeting ways. And at other times I have not felt ready or willing to delve into the local community because I knew I was going to leave soon anyways.

In order to build community, one has to be in the same place for a prolonged period of time. But It’s not enough to just be in one place. One has to be willing to build connections, reach out and participate.

Hiking in Point Reys- Tomales Point Trail
Tamales Point trail takes you to the very edge of the north stretch of coast. Worth the 9 miles hike! (round trip)

So I am debating wether or not I am ready to settle more permanently somewhere for the sake of building that community feeling around me and  for more financial stability, for the opportunity to save money rather than just get by every month.

But, where? It would have to be somewhere warm year round and that provides plenty of quiet and nature but work opportunities as well.

California is cold but has nature, Miami’s weather is perfect but lacks nature, Costa Rica has nature, warm weather but not as easy of work opportunities.  No place is perfect!

Or do I want to make it a point to travel as much as I still can BEFORE I settle somewhere more permanently?

I could try and work remotely so that I can still take advantage of my current lifestyle. Spend half the year in Costa Rica, some time in California, some time in Europe?

That actually sounds perfect to me, but on the flip side I am absolutely done volunteering abroad, work-trading, or just generally hassling to travel cheaply. I want to be retributed for my skills and live a comfortable lifestyle (to be precise- I don’t need AC or TV, but I don’t want to travel in chicken buses either if you know what I mean). So because of those new boundaries I’ve set I am narrowing my options of things I can do, which means I’ll have to look harder and find more quality opportunities.

These are all the various options I am considering at this moment. This is an exciting opportunity I have and I am looking forward to the possibilities.

What about you? Have you ever been at a similar crossroad?

Any advice is appreciated! 🙂

Hiking in Point Reys- Tomales Point Trail
The view from the old stables in Pierce Point Ranch