The Summer season is almost coming to an end but that doesn’t mean you’re traveling and adventure has to to come to an end as well. If you’re in search of a getaway that is near the beach but still has plenty to offer on land, you should consider heading to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Below you can find some fun locations that offer plenty to do on the outer banks:


The Wright Brothers National Memorial is located in Kill Devil Hills, NC and celebrates the milestone achievements of the first powered, sustained, extraordinary flight. This location is home to a small museum where interactive exhibits referencing the Wright brothers and replica glider planes are open to visitors.

Visitors can also climb Big Kill Devil Hill where a plaque resides that marks the location where the Wright brothers first plane landed.


Cape Hatteras Lighthouse  is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and is located in the town of Buxton. There are more than a dozen lighthouses located in North Carolina but the seemingly most historic one  happens to be the seaside guardian at Cape Hatteras.

Anyone who would like to visit the seaside guardian need only sign up for a tour. Once a month, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse offers full moon tours for $8.


Jockey’s Ridge State Park  offers impressive views and sledding on the sand dunes. These dunes are perfect for sledding as the sand dunes around the Outer Banks reach their highest point at Jockey’s Ridge.

If you’d like to enjoy a carefree sled on your boogie board or a flat piece of cardboard, head on over to Nags Head and take a ride!


Tips for Women Traveling Solo in Brazil During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio

woman travelling solo

I love absolutely love traveling! There are very few things in life better than being able to take a road trip or hop on a plane to a new location with the intention of gaining new experiences. Food, culture, and language are some amongst some of the many things you will be exposed to and you are guaranteed to make memories that will last a lifetime.

A popular location for many to travel to next month is Brazil. You may be asking yourself, ‘why Brazil?’. Here’s why: The 2016 Summer Olympic games.

This year the games will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and with over 11,000 participants and over 5 million tickets sold for the events, let’s just say there will be a lot of people traveling to and around Rio in the coming weeks.  

As always, you should do your research before traveling to any foreign country, especially those with a high rate of violence in cities such a Rio de Janeiro. With that being said, this in no way means that you will not be able to enjoy yourself and have a safe trip.

Here are a couple tips, specifically for women, regarding transportation and money while traveling solo during the Rio 2016.

Public Transportation:

Similar to many cities, public transportation is the most efficient way to travel around the city. However, travellers must be cautious when traveling during late evening hours. On weekdays, Sunday through Friday, the subway closes at midnight and on Saturdays the subway closes at 1a.m.

Should you opt to take the train or bus during evening or late night hours, be sure that you are not doing so alone. Although I have not heard of many incidences occurring regularly, you still want ensure you will get to and from your destinations safely.

When researching transportation options in Brazil, I learned that cabs are also a safe and efficient method to travel from point A to point B. The downside is that there may be a communication barrier between passengers and the driver unless you are well-versed in Portuguese. It might be helpful to write your destination on a piece of paper so you can show the driver where you would like to go.

Something else to you should be aware of is that very few cabs in Brazil accept payment in the form of debit or credit card so it would be ideal to have cash on hand and ask the driver for the rate of your ride prior to arriving at your destination. Apps like Uber are always great to have in situations like this when travelling.  

Although many cabs will not accept debit or credit as form of payment, many -in fact almost every restaurant, hotel, or shop will. There is no need to have a huge wad of cash on you during trip.

Regardless of how much money or how many cards you are carrying, be sure that the bag you are holding them in is tightly secured and keep it in front of you, in your line of vision at all times. Try your best to remove money from your purse tactfully before and after making purchases.  

Tips for Becoming a Successful Professional


Regardless of your age, what you have accomplished professionally, or where you come from, we all have a desire to be prosperous.

Some of us decide upon a career path and work our way up the ladder and others decide to work for themselves and become entrepreneurs. No matter which path you choose. No matter which path you choose, there are a some attributes you should take into consideration in order to find success.

Below you can find a few helpful tips to assist you in becoming successful regardless of the path you choose.


Find your passion and devote yourself

Following your passion is not always easy. In fact, there is only one thing more difficult than following your passion -finding it.

Finding your passion takes effort and time. You will try and fail many times but you must be sure to never give up. If you have a true passion for whatever it is you are doing, you won’t want to give up.


Candor is defined as “the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression.” Being candid at all times will make you invaluable to colleagues, employees, investors, and partners. If people feel they can trust your word, you are more likely to find success in your chosen field.

Be amiable

We’ve all had to work with someone who wasn’t…well…as friendly as we would like them to be. Having a pleasant disposition makes it easier for you to seem approachable to others and make them more willing to work with you.


woman travel

Recently, there has been an increase in solo female travelers. Women are daring to go where they have never been before and they are doing it alone. As invigorating and adventurous as this may be, we must keep in mind that safety is a number one concern.

While any solo traveller, regardless of gender, may face dangerous situations, women who are traveling alone are more likely to be affected than men.  The popular website, BuzzFeed, took the time to ask a few women about what they do to feel safe while abroad. Below you can find a few of the tips they gathered.

Travel Tips:

When using sites like Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Hostelz, it’s important that you research and find reviews as well as pictures posted by people who have actually stayed in the hotel and have spent time in the area.

Someone back home, whether it be a parent, spouse, or a friend should have a copy of your itinerary. This way,  someone who know you will have an idea of your whereabouts  during your trip.

DropBox Documents
How many times have you heard stories of someone losing their ID, passport, ticket numbers, phone, etc.? Losing any item of identification can be dangerous especially if you are traveling internationally. Scanning or taking a photograph of your important documents and placing them in locked site like Dropbox or something similar will help you in the long run.

U.S. Department of State
Register with the U.S. Department of State’s and download their app, Smart Traveler. Doing so will keep you informed when you about the country you’re in as well as your homeland.

International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
Registering with the International Associations for Medical Assistance  (IAMAT)will assist you with locating medical clinics approved by doctors who speak English.

International phone plan
Depending on how long you will be traveling internationally, you may or may not want to invest in an international phone plan. If you choose not to purchase a full plan, you can also buy a few phone cards for your trip.

Travel insurance.
The cost of Travel insurance varies. However, it would be wise to purchase some, especially if you’re traveling alone. Your insurance will cover most of or all of any unexpected costs. This includes medical and dental emergencies, as well as reimbursement for lost baggage, trip cancellations, or delays, rental car damage, and much more.

Stash Your Cash
It’s always a good idea to keep a few dollars and a credit or debit card on you at all times. You should also keep some stashed in your purse/bag and in your hotel room. A few unsuspecting places to keep your money are the bottom of a tampon, pad box, or empty shampoo bottles,

Charger, charger, charger
Your phone will probably be the item you use the most on your trip. It is important to remember to pack your charger, and extra battery if possible.

Snap a quick photo of the cab before you hop in. This is not only for your safety but it will also help you track the car down if you happen to leave something in it. Once you get in (or begin walking to your destination) the cab say something like, “alright, I’ll be there soon” or “in 10-15 minutes”. This will make the driver or those around you believe you are meeting up with someone.

Fake it til’ you make it.
It is recommended by U.S. State Department that single women traveling in the Middle East should wear a wedding ring. Try to research the location you are visiting and see what is customary for solo female travelers to do there.


Hotel Tips:

Keep your keys
Hotels always provide you with 2 keys. Keep one key on you (on your pants or coat pocket) and the other in your bag.

Do not disturb
Whether you are in the room or not, leave the “do not disturb” sign on the door and leave your tv on. Thieves will not want to risk breaking into your room if they think someone is inside. If you happen to order room service, do not fully open the door. And should someone ask if you are alone, say the other person stepped out for a minute and will be “right back”.


For more tips and information on being a solo female traveler, visit


March Travel Destinations

march travel

Am I the only one constantly confused by all the department store advertisements for spring attire or swimsuits? I mean, it is still very much winter outside. The temperature keeps dropping while fierce wind and blizzards are on the horizon. So, what use would I have for a shorts or a swimsuit during the first week of March? A recent article posted on revealed six answers to that very question. Below you will find a few of the destination suggestions that will help you to no longer second guess why you’ll need a those tank tops and sunglasses.

Southern Cape, South Africa

March is in fact one of the most active months in Cape Town. There are a variety of sporting and cultural events to keep residents and tourist busy. The beginning of the month presents various cycling races, ending with the “world’s largest timed cycling event”, the Cape Town Cycle Tour. The tour hosts nearly 30,000 participants and will be held on Sunday, March 6, 2016.

The Cape Town Cycle Tour will be followed by a performing arts musical festival, Infecting the City. The festival will run throughout much of the Cape Town’s theatres, fountains, and museums. The final day of Infecting the City will end with the lively Cape Town Carnival on March 12, 2016.

New Zealand

If you’re as big on trying new foods as you are on traveling then make sure you head to New Zealand for the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival 25 years ago a local resident of Hokitika was overwhelmed with request in regards to her home-brewed gorse flower wine. In an effort to suppress the requests, she chose to hold a celebration of all the local foods of Hokitika. Travelers nowadays will not only be able to sample gorse flower wine, they can also try deep-fried beetles, whitebait patties, marinated tuna, and much more!

The Hokitika Wildfoods Festival takes place on March 12, 2016. Travelers must keep in mind that this wildly popular event does not allow entry to after the maximum of 10,000 people is reached.

Nara, Japan

One of Japan’s oldest Buddhist festivals, the Omizutori festival, is hosted in Nara during the month of march. Each night monks parade on the verandah of Nigatsu-dō holding torches and spraying embers on the crowd below. The deed is meant to “purify and bring luck” to visitors. Travelers will have more than enough time to catch embers of luck and purification as the event lasts from March 1st to March 14th.

FUN-draising Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day is widely recognized as a day to shower our loved ones with gifts and roses. But what about those in need? What about those who we don’t know and still need to be showered with our affection? Below you will find some simple and feasible ways to have fun while still raising funds to donate to the charity of your choice on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s day soiree
This event will require a venue and entertainment but you can also charge admissions and inform guests that all proceeds will be allocated to the charity of your choosing.

Love wall
For a very affordable fee, people can pay to post their deepest and fondest thoughts of their loved ones to be shared for everyone to see. You can post images of this love on any of your social media platforms and donate the proceeds to your favorite charity.

Bake for goodness sake
There are a plethora of recipes for valentine’s day themed cupcakes, cookies, and muffins all over the internet. This is perfect opportunity to sell baked goods in your community, place of employment, or school to raise funds for a charitable cause. Dive into Pinterest and get to baking!

Secret admirers for sale
Yes, there will be many couples celebrating Valentine’s Day, but there will also be many singles too shy to reach out to the right one as well. Organize a secret admirer card courier event (for an affordable fee, of course) and use the funds to assist a charity you hold near and dear to your heart.

These are just a few of the ideas that came to mind. Feel free to reach out to me and share your Valentine’s Day FUN-draiser ideas!

Thanks for reading!
Alexandra Arriviagalla

New Year, New Traveling: Beaches You Should Visit in January


alex travel jan

Many of us made resolutions to make the best of the new year whether that means working out more, hanging out with friends more, or  traveling more, the goal is the same. Be happy. What better way to be happy and start off your new year than on a beach? Below you will find a list of some of the best beaches to visit this month!

The Gambia

The Gambia comes highly recommended for a fun and warm vacation spot for January. This enchanting beach is located on the along the shoreline of the West African coast and has highly enhanced lodging, not to mention an extremely agreeable climate.  With 9 hours of day by day daylight and an average of 87°F, The Gambia is a great place to celebrate the arrival of the new year.  

Cape Verde Islands

Although the Cape Verde Islands is a diverse archipelago between West Africa and South America, it is still accessible with flights leaving regularly from the US.  The average daily temperature for the Cape Verde Islands are around 75°F. Add that with their extraordinary beaches and great lodging quarters and you have a world-class vacation.


The interesting archipelago of Indonesia offers a portion of the world’s most lovely marine parks, alongside stunning sanctuaries, woodland and untamed life from Komodo monsters to Orangutans. If you’re searching for for winter sun, with sensational shorelines and entrancing culture, Bali is the destination for you.


If you are budget conscious like most us, you should look into Goa in India. In Goa you can get beautiful sunsets, 9 hours of every day daylight and 82ºF temperatures, white-sand beaches, and delicious food for prices that won’t bust your bank. As a vacationer in Goa you will also have the option to choose between a beachfront inn or rent a room from a local family.

St. Lucia

St Lucia has been described as one of the most friendly and picturesque islands of the Caribbean. The rich wide open scenery, volcanic crests and beguiling fishery towns will make you question whether or not you ever want to leave.

Teaching ESL | What to do in the Classroom

Alexandra ArrivillagaAs someone who has had the privilege of Teaching English as a Second Language and helping others in my community who don’t speak English through translation work, I have had the opportunity to see  first hand what kinds of aids can help others learn both informally, and in classroom settings. Learning a new language is a process, and the most important thing is to cultivate a supportive and encouraging environment. In addition to how you prepare before you even set foot in the classroom, I would suggest that you consider the following as well.

Get to Know Your Students:
The educational needs and background of any given student will vary. So in addition to getting to know your students before they come to class, make a point to continue to get to know them as the term progresses. Making a point to get to know your students not only provides inspiration for your class plans, but also creates a true learning environment for your students.

Maximize Use of English Speaking:

Focus on the importance of speaking English in the classroom, and speaking English only. This creates an environment where students are forced to put their language skills to work. They can practice reading aloud, and practice conversation in pairs or groups. Practicing oral communication is necessary for ESL success. SWRL or Speaking, Writing, Reading and Listening should be exercised regularly.

Body Language:

An important tip for knowing you’re being heard and understood, as an ESL teacher, is by reading the body language of your learner. If they’re non-responsive, and they have their arms folded and held tightly to their bodies, they may be uncomfortable. Encourage students to loosen up at the beginning of classes while doing stretches and practicing English words relating to human anatomy, and push students to use gestures, facial expressions and body language in partnership with their English-only lessons.

Limit Dictionary Use:
It’s easy for a student to rely heavily on a translation dictionary or the glossary of a textbook when learning a new language, so encourage students to limit this practice. Rather than flipping to the back of their books, students should verbalize difficulties, which will help them to better absorb and retain words and phrases.

Practice Common Phrases:
Common introductory phrases are important because they help students to become comfortable with a language, and they’re useful. Learning greetings, directions, idioms and salutations can minimize discomfort in an English-dominate situation.

As you continue to develop into the role of the instructor teaching English as a Second Language, it’s important that you check in with students regularly – both in group settings and individually. Standard rules and practices that apply to teaching any subject matter apply to teaching English as a Second Language, but it is of utmost importance that you encourage your students as much as possible as it is a critical skill to have when residing in countries where the dominant language is in fact English.



How to Prepare for Class as an ESL Instructor

Alexandra Arrivillaga ESLMastering the English language can be difficult, but helping others to develop functional and capable language skills can be near impossible if English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers aren’t equipped with proper resources, tips or tools to facilitate their pupils’ needs and growth. Conquering the third most common native language in the world (surpassed by Mandarin and Spanish) is best done when teachers have a slight edge.

ESL teachers should consider a number of things when acting as a language guide. Learning styles, culture, education and comprehensive skills should be taken into account, and ESL teachers should be understanding of the cognitive abilities of non-native English speakers when instructing them. Whether teaching someone English in a traditional classroom setting, or coaching someone in a private home, consider the following tips when instructing your non-native English speaker(s).

Get to know your students:
The educational needs of any given student will be different, whether that student is learning math or English. Becoming familiar with a student’s country of origin, English language or literacy, or their literacy level in their native language should help you determine a starting point for your student, and eventually enable their success. Before your class begins, feel free to send students a survey, or answer basic questions about their backgrounds. In this way you can do some research about your students’ countries of origin before you even meet face to face.

Develop an Exciting Lesson Plan:Learn more about the cultural or educational backgrounds of ESL students, and incorporate that into the lesson plan. Also, introduce students to foods they may or may not be familiar. Additionally, introduce them to English-language films, music and other bits of culture.

Be Thoughtful About Homework Assignments:
ESL students should be given homework, which will encourage them to practice during evenings and weekends. These extra hours of studying are fundamental for practical use of the language.

Read Through All Language Assessments:

Before giving your student a particular language proficiency assessment, you should read through it and make sure that it’s comprehensive for a new language learner. If there are terms or words being employed that might be difficult for a young English-proficient reader, then it may be difficult for someone who is new to English to understand.

Find Great Visuals:

Photos, pictures, drawings and tangible things are helpful when learning a language. Utilize magazines, menus, train schedules, post-cards and mail, and encourage students to name things and read words aloud. This will be helpful for them in their day-to-day.

These are just a few tips on preparing yourself as you embark on the exciting journey into the world of teaching English as a Second Language.

Good Luck!


Don’t Forget to Pack Your Gratitude:Thanksgiving Travel Tips

alexandra arrivillagaThanksgiving is a holiday that is often associated with spending time with loved ones, indulging in delicious comfort food and traveling near and far in order to be with family. Unfortunately, this time of year can also prove to be fairly stressful for some. And with the U.S. State Department issuing a travel alert warning of terrorist threats, it’s no doubt that transportation will prove to be even more stressful and delayed than usual. With that in mind, I thought that I would share a few thoughts on de-stressing the travel process.


  1. Allow for extra time to travel. In general I think that it’s always wise to allow extra time for travel. Although the idea of spending extra time in an airport, train station or in traffic isn’t all that appealing, it beats the alternative. Transportation is often stressful because we are worried about getting where we need to on time, by allowing yourself an extra hour or two, the stress of getting where you need to on time disappears, and you can focus on other things instead. Like figure out how you are going to make time to volunteer over your break.
  2. Pack a snack and buy some water. No matter what mode of transportation you’ll be using this Thanksgiving, make a point to bring some healthy snacks, and water. (If you’re flying, just bring an empty water bottle to fill up at the water fountain once you get through security). You will likely be so focused on the travel details that you may forget to eat. But don’t do that! Stay satiated and stay hydrated. Not only is this important for your health, but it’s good for your mood too.
  3. Alexandra ArrivillagaMeditate. For those of you who don’t meditate regularly, I think that now would be a great time to start. Really the point is to just take a few moments to quiet your mind, and turn inward in order to recalibrate and get centered. Here are some great tips on meditating in five minutes.
  4. Think About What You are Grateful For. Remembering your gratitude and what you are grateful for will not only help the smaller stressors of the holiday in perspective, but will put you in a better mood. Studies show this kind of practice is also good for your health!
  5. Bring a Great Book and Some Headphones. If you will not be driving, but instead using some other form of transportation, make sure that you bring a great book and headphones. Given the busy pace of our lives these days, it’s not often that we get the opportunity to just read, listen to an audiobook or music for long stretches of time. So take advantage, and enjoy yourself.

Most Importantly, enjoy yourself, take a few deep breaths, and travel safely.


Happy Thanksgiving!