There’s nothing like great travel crew, a bottle of rum, and finding the calm before the storm.
Stay tuned for #4 on our list of top 5 experiences in Cuba….
Yesterday we came back from our second Map&Move trip to Cuba.
12 strangers trekking through one of the most socially and politically interesting places of our time. We made it through jelly fish stings, language barriers, no wifi, and at the end… no cash. Always up for a challenge #whenincuba. Here’s a look at our travel fam!
Photography Nut, Italian at Heart, Tequila Lover. Dream Job as a Kid: News Anchor Woman. Fav Quote: “Who, if not us. When, if not now.” Nickname: Coco Mo
Engineer, Citizen of the world (I don’t understand the usefullness of borders), and Sports lover. Dream Job as a Kid: Engineer. Fav Quote: “Deep in the sea are riches beyond compare. But if you seek safety, it is on the shore.”- Sa’adi, Persian Poet Nickname: NaughtyMan
Experience-Seeker, Whiskey and Bourbon Lover, Dance Machine (but only have 1 move… the shooting guns). Dream Job as a Kid: Garbage Man (I know, huge aspirations!). But then around the age of 12 I realized I wanted to be a entrepreneur like my dad.Fav Quote: “Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.” – Viktor E. Frankl Nickname: Brie-Easy
Temperance-maker, Vain-glory Seeker, Engineer. Dream Job as a Kid: Artist or engineer. Fav Quote: “Home is where the heart, so wherever I go, I’m home.” Nickname: Jarvis
Adventure-Seeker, Counselor, Rock Climber Dream Job as a Kid: Private Investigator Fav Quote: “When you travel you find yourself.” Nickname: Goldie
Napper, Current MBA Student, Former Army Captain. Dream Job as a Kid: Gas Station Owner. Fav Quote: “I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among six-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a six-year-old.” – Warren Buffett. Nickname: El Capitan
Travel Addict, Whisky Devotee, Jack-of-all-Trades. Dream Job as a Kid: Architect (like Frank Gehry). Fav Quote: “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” – Paulo Coelho Nickname: Mama Sita
Art Buff, Wine Aficionado, Sail Boat Enthusiast. Dream Job as a Kid: Pediatrician, Veterinarian or Ballerina. Fav Quote: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust Nickname: La Artista
Weightlifter, Scotch Lover, Detroit Techno Listener. Dream Job as a Kid: Commissioned Naval Officer (in the footsteps of my family). Fav Quote: “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” Nickname: The Hulk
Dream Job as a Kid: Cartoonist. Fav Quote: “You live but once; you might as well be amusing.” – Coco Chanel Nickname: Filter Free
Artist, Hiker, Pierogi Lover. Dream Job as a Kid: Artist Nickname: Sleepy
Whenever I escape the concrete jungle of NYC, I try to find patches of nature and breathe in as much as humanly possible.
On our second and final day in Puerto Rico, we drove 1.5 hours outside of cosmopolitan San Juan to El Yunque Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the US national park system.
Every few months, the travel bug creeps on me like clockwork.
So last weekend, I rallied my partner-in-crime and together, Kevin and I ravaged Hitlist for a last-minute weekend getaway. As usual, the criteria was simple: flights had to cost no more than 2 weeks worth of eating out ($400 or less), the plane ride no more than 5 hours, and the destination flip-flop-friendly. Our answer was Puerto Rico.
With the recent political talks with Cuba, it seemed appropriate to kick 2016 off with a Map&Move trip that tested a few boundaries.
Current headlines like “CheapAir.com Now Selling Direct Flights to Cuba”, make it sound like Americans can just jet off to the island and daintily sip Cuba Libres on the beach. While it’s nice to imagine that you can just erase 50 years of political weirdness in a few months, ya can’t. In reality the official rules posted by OFAC haven’t changed much. You still need 1 of 12 reasons to visit (legally from the US anyway) and the most common one (obviously) points to a pricy tour.
Meet the crew coming on our Cuba trip this New Year’s Eve!
Amy H. | Dallas, Texas
“I like adventures where you wander until you are tired. And then you eat.”
Jenn L. | NYC, New York
“I design stuff and lead Map&Move trips. Oh, and I love cheesecake and getting lost in new cities.”
KarMan P. | Brussels, Belgium
Favorite quote: “I didn’t strive for success, I strive to do something artistically important.”- D. Bowie
Michel L. | Mexico City, Mexico
Favorite quote: “Smile my friend, you’re way too ugly, too old, and too boring to look like that… ” – Logan Rainer
Jorge O. | Mexico City, Mexico
Music nerd and tech guy.
Philo D. | Brussels, Belgium
Fun Fact: I speak 5 languages.
“You can’t change the cards you’re dealt, just how you play the hand.”
The quote above is by Randy Pausch, a professor and author of one of the best books on life that I’ve ever read. In The Last Lecture, Pausch writes about how to achieve your childhood dreams. He’d been diagnosed with terminal cancer and this was the last lecture he gave to this students at Carnegie Mellon.
After my cousin Victoria was diagnosed with cancer 4 years ago, she had this quote tattooed on her arm. She used it to remind herself to seize life, no matter what the circumstances. 3 weeks ago she passed away. She was my life-long best friend.
In the midst of her passing, the Map&Move trip to Iceland was in two days. Amie, Cam, Matt, Joe and Nate were 5 strangers whose only common bond was the fact that they’d signed up for the same trip. I needed to be in New York to be with family, but but I was determined for them to go- life was dealing a shitty hand but there was no time to sulk.
So in the midst of planning the funeral, I re-booked logistics for the trip, checked my maps and hashed out the new itinerary with the crew; they would be set to go to Iceland without me. But I was nervous- this would be the first time I’d planned a trip and not be there to see it through.
The crew came back from Iceland 5 days later. Not only did they come back with amazing stories, but Cam created this breathtaking video of the trip. He wrote, “We had around 5.5 hours of daylight, with the sun constantly on the horizon. It was immensely beautiful. It also forced us to be very deliberate about where we went, given the small amount of time we’d be able to see these natural wonders. This video was shot over the course of 4 days. I want to thank those adventurous friends I made on the trip, and Map&Move for presenting me with this opportunity to venture to a place I never thought I’d go to.“
Thanks to these magnificent Map&Mover’s for their support and taking the itinerary and making it their own. I’m grateful to Amie for taking the lead, to Cam for capturing the essence of the trip through his lens, to Joe, Matt and Nate for playing everything by ear, and to everyone for taking the cards they were dealt and playing a great hand.
Let’s see. Today, I walked the fault line between two tectonic plates, saw some geysers, checked out a waterfall, and saw a volcanic crater. Oh and I got a sweet new hat! -Matt
Photos and captions by Matt Levin & Cam Thompkins
Ahhh, Iceland. I wasn’t able to make our most recent trip, but the newest Map&Move crew did. Amie, Nate, Cam, Matt and Joe flew in on Thanksgiving. After a proper home-cooked Icelandic holiday feast, they took off driving through the land of fire and ice.
Photos and captions by Amie Jean & Cam Thompkins
“On May 11th, more than 37,000 men, aged 19-26, woke up and found their surnames on Lithuania’s compulsory military service list…”
That’s how a recent article from earlier this year started. Just a few months ago, Lithuania responded to the tensions in Russia and Ukraine by reinstating the required service that they had abolished in 2008. We didn’t realize this when we recently went to a gun range in Lithuania. This is how the next three hours unfolded.
Medieval churches sit on old cobblestone streets and everything melts into a pink mirage come sunset. It’s almost hard to believe that you can find a renegade republic and shoot a Tommy gun in the same city. Here are our tips.
Get A City Tour of Old Vilnius
Find the Runaway Republic of Užupis and Get Your Passport Stamped
Climb up the Bell Tower of Vilnius University
Change Courses and Shoot a Gun in an Open Field
Catch a stellar Sunset
Take a night stroll through Old Town