January is flying by – or I guess I should say has FLOWN by! I cannot believe this month is already wrapping up. It almost feels like we haven’t been able to stop and take a breath. But I mean that in the best and most exciting way possible.
Kile and I just got back from a glorious, beautiful, drunken, and side-splitting trip to beautiful Puerto Rico. It was only a week but it was a much needed week. I know what you’re thinking – why would we possibly need a “vacation” when we’re going to be doing so much traveling coming up? But it’s because this trip was special. It was almost like a mini goodbye party with some of our closest friends. Friends that we never see or live on the other side of the country. So there. That’s why.
I don’t know what, if anything, we were expecting from Puerto Rico. We have both been to the Caribbean a couple times now and sort of thought it’d be similar. But it wasn’t. We landed in San Juan and rented an SUV. There was 5 of us so we ended up with a Ford Escape. It ended up being perfect for us. We drove from San Juan south down through a city called Ponce on the southern coast then up the western side to our little beach house near Rincon.
HOLY. CRAP. We reserved our house through Airbnb (duh) and I stared at the pictures for hours on end before we arrived but these pictures do NO justice to describe the feeling of walking into this house and seeing the view.
There were two hammocks on our patio, a basically private beach with kayaks, and lots and lots of rum. We drank so much rum. When in Rome!
Rincon is a super chill beach town with cute shops, a beer company (they don’t brew it, just serve it), and SO much good food! We had some of the best seafood we’ve ever had and the fish tacos from this little truck on the side of the road were definitely out of this world. Things like that are what truly do it for me – I love finding things “off the beaten path” or what the locals do.
There were also some great outdoor bars right above our house we could walk to – had a fun night of karaoke and horse betting on this funny little man-made horse betting table.
One of our days on the west side of the island we drove south again to Boca Rojo. If you are EVER in Puerto Rico I highly recommend making this drive. It’s basically a giant nature reserve of open land that finally reaches a lighthouse and the most breathtaking beach I’ve ever seen in my life. The beach is called Playa Sucia – but for all you Spanish speakers out there – don’t let the name fool you.
After 5 days in Rincon we headed back east to San Juan but this time we took the northern highway this time. This was awesome because it allowed us to see so much of the island! It’s about 3 hours each way from San Juan to Rincon so it’s a bit of a drive but you see a TON. Just a note – the southern route and back through the center is much more beautiful.
Our next little Airbnb was in the dead center of Old San Juan. We had to drop off our car back at the rental place and took a cab back into town because the streets are SO narrow it’s nearly impossible to drive. Our tiny little apartment here wasn’t as glamorous as the last but we were right in the heart of it – and again, when you’re with friends? Who cares where you are! The streets in Old San Juan are just lined with colorful houses – you can just FEEL the history.
While we were in San Juan we were walking distance to the historic castle, fort and cemetery. Our jaws dropped when we turned the corner and saw the views. The cemetery just made me want to cry it was so gorgeous. I loved how there were so many new flowers on some of the headstones – families are STILL visiting their loved ones there. So crazy. I love it.
The fort and castle were epic. Those types of historic sites that just put you in your place. The entire time you can’t help but imagine what it would have been like to live during that time and in that place. Fighting battles in total paradise – how crazy. I can see why so many people wanted to protect it!
Our stay in Old San Juan was short but we crammed as much in as we possible could. Walking around at night checking out random bars that are older than most of country is something I’ll never forget. We had such quality (if not rum-induced) times full of SO many laughs with our friends – it’s one for the history books for sure. We’re definitely going to miss them.
And now we’re back at home. It’s the last week in January and we have just a few more days to empty out our studio and move into Kile’s sister’s house for our last month living in Oregon.
Now that we’re starting to wrap things up here and start our travels it’s been really amazing to me how many people have been saying that they’re “proud” of us. For some reason it means SO much to hear people, especially family, say that to us. I feel like so many times we tell our story to people and they just don’t understand or there’s negative comments about it (“isn’t it DANGEROUS there?!) We’re going against EVERYTHING we were told to do while growing up and pretty much saying “F-it” to social norms of American life. So, hearing the people closest to us say that they are proud – really, truly makes my soul happy. It’s so easy to have doubts or get scared during this process – so these words of encouragement mean the world to us.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us so much along our journey. WE LOVE YOU.
One more month until our Mexico departure! Stay tuned!!