Author Archives: Andi Perullo de Ledesma

About Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

Have Yourself An Alternative Christmas This Year

It is that time of the year when everybody is starting to get the jingle fever and Christmas hype, and you begin to make your Christmas lists regarding decorations, presents, dinners, parties –you name it! Christmas is a warm holiday full of joy and laughter, but it can also get stressful for those making all the preparations for their guests to enjoy. Sometimes, the preparations stress you so much that you are not really enjoying the holiday, especially if you are doing it with no help and you also have to clean up after everyone, which adds to your fatigue, when in fact, you should also be relaxing.

If this sounds too familiar, then it may be time to try an alternative Christmas and forget all about such type of concerns with the added bonus that this Christmas can also be summerlike!

Central America countries such as Costa Rica and Panama enjoy their dry and summerlike seasons at a time when according to western traditions, December is associated with old fashioned, colder, winter temperatures. Seychelles and Cuba too boast their most favourable season in December, which makes them all ideal candidates in the quest for a summerlike Christmas.

In terms of relaxing during Christmas, you can choose to not lift a finger and remain in a single place to find your Christmas zen, by staying at an all inclusive resort. However, this way you will be missing out on all the things that make these destinations so unique and so wealthy, although they do not feature high on GDP lists.
In actual fact, these countries are so rich in sights, sentiments, colors, and sounds that you can have yourself a relaxing holiday with minimum effort on your part, while your visuals change on a daily basis. How? Choose to cruise!

Cruising Past Christmas For The Wanderlusters (Viva Cuba!)

Choose to cruise past Christmas, Cuban style! Get up close and personal with with all the sights and sounds of a different culture, so authentic and genuine, you will wonder why you have not visited before. A boutique cruise with Variety cruises gives the thirsty traveler the bonus of exploring such a remote destination, over a course of ten days, while meeting a new horizon every morning. As Christmas falls during Cuba’s dry season, the festivities there have an entirely different character, the parradas (traditional carnival like street parties) being the main form of celebration. All the homes and public places are decorated with bright, vibrant lights and festive drums echo through Havana’s streets like a beckoning, to join in on the celebrations.

Dare to experience a summerlike Christmas and redefine what this holiday is all about!

Joaquín Alejandro Ledesma

Joaquín’s First Trip (Day 1: Part 2)

Joaquín’s first day of his first trip could not have gone better. You can read more about it here. I believe it went so well due to several reasons that I would love to share with others with hope that it might inspire parents to travel with their children too.

Why do I think traveling is so important for children? Besides the fact that I want to share the world with my son, to me travel is the most educational experience anyone can have. I fervently believe it broadens a child’s horizons and exposes them to new cultures and life experiences that are simply impossible to recreate at home or through a textbook. I also believe it teaches them resiliency, flexibility, understanding, and patience.

You Have To Bend Or You Will Break

Travel is definitely going to throw curveballs in your direction. How big the curveball will be is unknown. It is very rare that everything will go as planned. I have found through traveling the world on my own, however, that usually when plans go astray some of the most memorable experiences of the trip end up happening. Flexibility is key to surviving change, as well as reminding yourself that change does not necessarily have to be negative thing. My Type-A personality has had to learn how to bend with these situations, because otherwise I know I will break. Children can definitely detect fear or stress from their parents and if they do that is when disaster can occur. Thus, try your best to remain cool and calm and go with the flow for the sake of the family and the overall memories of the trip.

Perfect Parenting Is Not The Goal

You simply cannot be perfect when you travel. Give yourself a much needed break. Allowing your children more screen time or a different diet does not in any way mean that you are a bad parent. And having a few days like that when you return home does not mean you have failed either. Being perfect is totally overrated! Having said this, I really do think it is best to stick to your child’s routine as best as you can, just know that if they miss nap time it is not the end of the world.

Travel Is Now About Them

When you travel with children, you need to accept that the days where you could do and see exactly what you desired are gone. Traveling with children means missing certain attractions in favor of a playground. Guess what? The joy you will experience watching them experience a new place for the first time will make you forget all about your needs and wants in a heartbeat. It is one of the best feelings to witness your child’s curiosity blossom right in front of your eyes.

Experiences Are The Most Important

Buy that souvenir if you want to, however the memories you will bring home will have a much more lasting effect on your family than anything else. Even if the memories you are creating are ones your children are too young to remember, trust me, you will remember. Travel allows families to spend a very different kind of time together. As a parent, you get to see sides of your children that you might not otherwise knew existed. The time that you can do this is remarkably fleeting. On a side note, you can never take too many photos!

Choose A Child Friendly Hotel

Do you research before booking your hotel. Many hotels cannot accommodate children. If you are in a child friendly hotel not only will it allow you to pack less, it will also help you relax, because you know that the other guests there can understand and sympathize with you. No matter what, try to let go of fear of judgement from others. Your priority is your children and not what others think. Children cry and throw tantrums, that is just a part of life and there is nothing to be ashamed of. The same goes for flying and restaurants as well.

Pack Only The Essentials

Children need a surprising amount of stuff, which can contribute to travel stress. Honestly, this is one of the biggest reasons it took me so long to travel with Joaquín. The idea of packing for him completely and utterly overwhelmed me. The reality is though, you do not really need to bring that many things that are considered “essentials”. Rather, you can buy most of their necessities on the road. Remember that packing light will reduce stress and make the family happier. I find that if I make a list and start packing at least a week before the trip that helps tremendously. I made the mistake of bringing so many toys for Joaquín on his first trip (two bags full) and he had zero interest in them once we were inside the hotel room. He was beyond fascinated with his new surroundings! I think we could have gotten away with only bringing one or two toys period.

What have you learned from traveling with kids? Please do share in the comments.

Planning A Destination Family Reunion

There is nothing like gathering with family! Especially the ones that we do not get to see as often as we would like. Families today can be spread across the globe and people are busier than ever. Setting aside time for laughing, reminiscing, and catching-up is priceless. More and more families are finding ways to clear their schedules enough for a getaway with relatives. Finding a destination that is agreeable to everyone can be tricky, but it is far from impossible and well worth the effort. Check out some of these fun, family-friendly destination reunion ideas:

  • Go to the big city. Choose a city that is centrally located for each member of the family who will be attending. One of biggest selling points of having your family gather in a large metropolitan city is the amount of activities available. There will definitely be something for everyone, from shopping and eating out, to museums and sporting events.

Most big cities will offer sight-seeing tours that highlight the “do not miss” spots! Make sure to plan far enough ahead that you are able to secure a block of hotel rooms so that you can all be together.

  • Consider and all-inclusive resort. While this is a pricier option, it may not be as expensive as you think. All-inclusive really means just that! Most will offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), taxes, and tip for one price. You will have the use of pools, spas, exercise equipment, and, of course, the beach.

Some resorts even have special activities designed just for the kids, including pre-teens and teens. Pizza parties and DJ’s? You will not have to worry about the kids complaining that they are bored. Beaches resorts have many great destinations for you to look into.

  • Get your camping on. Admittedly, camping is not for everyone, but if your family tends to be a little more adventurous, roughing it together can be a lot of fun. There are many campgrounds that offer various accommodations to suit almost anyone, from the hardcore tent dwellers, to cabins, and even provide electric hook-ups for high-tech RV’s.
  • Set out for the shore. A beach house is the ultimate family reunion destination. Beach homes can accommodate a large number of family members and can cut down on the cost of food because they have kitchens. Families can take turns being responsible for the evening meal and split the cost of groceries.

Many vacation homes will have private pools and will also be within walking distance of the beach. Popular locations for beachy family reunions include places such as Daytona Beach or Destin, Florida, Cape May in New Jersey, or OBX rentals in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

  • Cruise together. Cruises are one of the most popular activities for families to enjoy together. The activities are seemingly endless! Staterooms can usually accommodate one whole family unit and the food is all-you-can eat. Choosing a shorter voyage will keep costs under control and may make it easier for as many family members to join as possible.

Royal Caribbean even has a program specially designed for family reunions, called Royal Reunions. It offers gifts and activities just for the families attending the reunion.

No matter what you choose to do, the important thing is the time you spend together, strengthening your family bonds and enjoying each other’s company!

Ways To Lower Your Family’s Monthly Expenses

Are you finding it difficult to afford your monthly expenses, because prices have gone up or you are paying more for things like insurance and cell phone service? Then it is time to take the necessary steps to lower your monthly expenses without having to affect your quality of life. Check out the tips below to find out how you can go about doing so:

Lower Your Medical Costs

The amount of money that you need to pay for your health insurance and the amount of money that you have to spend on visits to doctors cannot really be changed or controlled. However, what you can control is how much you spend on over-the-counter medications by shopping smart. You can, for example, purchase medicines and supplements online for less money than you would pay at a pharmacy or you can use coupons when you shop. When it comes to prescription medications, you can save a lot of money by getting a prescription discount by clicking here. These small steps can make a big difference and save you a lot of money, especially since medicine is becoming increasingly expensive.

Stop Eating At Restaurants Or Ordering Takeout

Another way that you can dramatically reduce your monthly expenses is by preparing the vast majority of your meals at home. Getting takeout or eating at restaurants often can quickly increase your costs, especially if you have children. Instead, make a list of the groceries that you need each week to give you the ingredients required for your weekly meal plan. This will allow you to head to the store knowing exactly what you have to buy, so you will not end up making unnecessary purchases and spending more than you meant to.

Reduce Your Cable Bill

If you absolutely can not do without cable TV, talk to your service provider to find out what cheaper options are available. And if they do not have any options that you like or can afford, go to the competition and see what deals you can grab. But, if you cannot afford your cable bill no matter what you do, get rid of your cable plan, and stick with watching your favorite shows online or via much more affordable streaming services like Netflix.

Get Rid Of Monthly Memberships You Do Not Need

Are you currently spending money on a monthly membership that you are not really benefitting from or using? Then get rid of it to save that cash and use it to pay off other expenses. This might be a magazine subscription or a gym membership. Whatever it is, determine if it is really worth it and if it is not, part ways with it.

Make Coffee At Home

You may be surprised by how much money you spend just on coffee that you get from your favorite café or coffee chain throughout the month. If you purchase a cup of Joe every morning before work, switch to making it at home instead.

These are simple ways that you can cut your expenses while still living comfortably, so definitely give them a try!

Guide To Writing An Essay About Life

Life is inherently complicated. Writing about it can be equally complicated and even difficult at times. When writing about life, it is important to write about what you know and have experienced. Life’s ups and downs, twists and turns, triumphs and tragedies all serve as inspiration. They are part of the palette that a writer uses to craft their words and story.

Since life is, by nature, complex and subject to change, we must be prepared to face obstacles and challenges that are encountered on life’s journey and do our best to rise to the occasion. Writers are wordsmiths who should use these hurdles as source material for their totems. Life is rarely an easy path, but it is the long and winding journeys that tend to be the most worthwhile. It is also these rocky roads that provide terrific fodder for writers to develop and grow as artists.

As we evolve and mature as people, some of our tastes and interests change over time while others stay the same. As writers, it is important that we recognize and acknowledge those early years while we pay homage to our progression over the years and hone our skills as storytellers. Our experiences as young people shape us and prepare us for life. These same experiences, as well as our experiences as adults, feed us as writers. The same is true of traumatic or negative experiences early in our lives, it is all more grist for the writer’s mill in adulthood. After all, it only makes sense. As adults, we have grown up, matured, learned to drive, started a family, and processed the early experiences that helped to shape us as individuals. As a result, we as writers can provide new insight and prose to our memories, as well as create a narrative for our circumstances.

As for personality traits, many of these attributes will follow us throughout our lives while others might develop over time. This can be a defining aspect for writers and artists. Many of us may have enjoyed writing or expressing ourselves via the written word or some other creative outlet as youngsters, but never imagined it becoming a life pursuit, much less actually making a living at it. However, these early endeavors can often become sanctuaries and allow us to express our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, as well as envision our hopes, wishes, and dreams, without the fear of criticism, ridicule, or rejection. If we are lucky, these early ambitions will manifest themselves into a life goal in adulthood and those who are brave enough to pursue it will achieve a heightened sense of achievement.

Writers, in particular, can take this lesson to heart. The point is, to not give up and give into life’s struggles, for it is our ability to deal with life’s challenges and how we respond in the face of them that truly defines our nature as individuals. There is no better source material for a wordsmith than life’s trials and tribulations. Adversity can be an educator and tremendous source of inspiration. It is part of the writer’s job to develop this tool.

With all its complexities, life is a teaching experience and we are all students seeking to extract as much knowledge as possible. Through all the ups and downs, twists and turns, triumphs and tragedies, we, as writers and human beings, must be prepared to face life’s obstacles and challenges head-on, do our best to respond in a positive, productive way, and learn as much as possible along the way. It will likely be a difficult journey, but obstacles and challenges build resilience and are designed to make us stronger individuals. As a result, the struggle will be reflected in your words and recounted in your storytelling.

While the complex nature of life can make writing about it complicated and difficult, especially when painful circumstances are involved, it is important to write about your experiences. It all serves as inspiration and terrific source material. Ultimately, they are pieces of the puzzle that a writer uses to craft their words and story. That is my guide to writing an essay about life.

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