Sunday, July 8, 2018

Travel Bucket List

Bucket Lists! Everyone should have one. We usually have a list of places or things we want to visit/do during this lifetime. Considering this is my travel blog, I decided that I would publish my travel bucket list here.

1. Dubai
2. Africa (mainly West and South)
3. Thailand
4. Greece
5. Maldives
6. Bora Bora
7. South America (Every country)
8. Central America (Every country)
9. Bali
10. NOLA/Essence Fest
11. Las Vegas
12. Jamaica
13. Cuba
14. Spain
15. Croatia

This is just a short list for now. It will definitely expand over the years. I'm looking forward to checking places off and adding more to my list. Where do you want to go? Share your list in the comments!

Love Always,


Friday, May 11, 2018

The Return Home & The Stressful Search

As most of you know by now, I decided to end my journey in Costa Rica and return to the States. I came back last month (April) and moved with my mother to Sebring, Fl. My dad's coming a bit later. Anyways, the choice to come home, as mentioned previously, was not an easy one but it was the right one. I'm glad to be here with family and friends to support me. However, I would not trade my experience in Costa Rica for the world! I met so many amazing people and made so many awesome memories! I can't wait to go back and visit.

When I decided to come home, I immediately started job searching. I applied for a job with Enterprise, the car company, that we all thought was going to be a sure thing. Only, it wasn't. I was extremely disappointed when I got the email that I didn't get the position, after I'd flown to Tampa for 24hrs for an interview. Maybe it wasn't the smartest decision to fly there but for an interview but I thought it'd be worth it.

Since then, I've been searching for jobs here in Sebring and in the Orlando area. The search is extremely stressful and draining. I thought that I'd for sure be able to get a part-time job (or two), to hold me until I could find something full-time. Unfortunately, I was wrong again. It's low season here in Sebring so all of the places are cutting back on their employees and hours. Not hiring like in the DMV for the summer. All of the snowbirds left and since this is a major snowbird town, there's no need to beef up staffing during the summer.

With the exception of today, I've submitted no less than 4 applications a day. Some days I've submitted more than 10. I've been looking for marketing, administrative, adjunct teaching, admissions positions and more. However, it's definitely a struggle.

I ask that you all keep me in your prayers as I continue this search. I pray that I will be gainfully employed by the end of this month and if that's not what I'm supposed to be doing, I pray that God will show me what it is that I am supposed to be doing. I ask that you all pray for the same.

I love and appreciate all of the support!

Kelli Marie

Friday, February 23, 2018


Courage. A word that I have heard a lot in the past few weeks in its various forms. So much so, that I think God handpicked the word to be my theme this year. So what is courage? Megan Alvarez says, “Courage is not the absence of fear or despair, but the ability to overcome them.” According to those in my inner circle and some others, I made an extremely courageous decision to quit my life as I knew it and move 2,000+ miles away to a foreign country. I’ve been living in Costa Rica for 6 months now and I’m extremely grateful for their daily reminders of my courageous spirit. It’s hard y’all! It’s really hard to be so far away from friends and family with no local support system. It’s been a really rough past month or so. I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for, honestly, probably years now. These last few weeks had me at a pretty low point. I was faced with a major decision and every option, to me, made me feel like I failed. I was reminded by my parents, my siblings, my grandparents and my 3 best girlfriends that, by no means have I failed. It’s taken incredible courage to get here, stay here and make the decisions that I have been faced with. With that being said, I have decided that my time here in Costa Rica is coming to it's end. I will be returning to the States in April and shortly thereafter, moving to Florida with my mom. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my mom's visit to Costa Rica next week and the rest of the time I have here in this beautiful country! I can always come back!

This experience, more than anything, has taught me how to make the best decisions for me, regardless of what others think. It's also been an awesome reminder that I need to keep leaning on God. He'll always have my back.

Anyways, this is a pretty short post for me but I'll be posting after my trip with Mom. Thanks to all of you for the love and support! It's meant a great deal to me and still does! Until next time, don't forget:

Travel out of your comfort zone, Live your BEST life and of course, Be COURAGEOUS! 

Love always, 

Kelli Marie 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Happy New Year! 2018 is here!

My brother's Austin, Aaron and me on my birthday.
It's officially a new year! I'm thankful that we've made it through another year. One of the things I never really thought about before this year is that, most of us celebrate "a new year" twice a year. You celebrate seeing another year of life with your birthday and a new calendar year every year on January 1st. I am blessed to have both of those dates be only days apart. This means that, for me, the end of the year is one big celebration starting with Christmas, continuing with my birthday on Dec. 29th, and ending with New Years Day. 

My Girls and me on my birthday
My grandparents and me at Epcot
I was blessed to be able to go home and spend the holidays with my family and friends. You don't realize how much you take celebrating the holidays together for granted until you miss one. I missed Thanksgiving last year and it really had me feeling down and somewhat depressed. Being home for Christmas was the best present I could've asked for.

My Siblings and me
With the start of a new year, we often think about all the things we want to do better or differently with the fresh start. We usually call them New Years Resolutions (as I'm sure you know). The year 2017 for me was an interesting one. I made a major move to Costa Rica in an attempt to change my life. My family and I suffered some really tough losses (RIP Keaton Mack III, #E4K #LLK. Love you bro!). We celebrated some major successes like my brother graduating from college, my sister getting all A's and B's in grad school this last semester, my parents buying a house in Florida and myself making it through an entire year without being hospitalized due to my stress related illness! (That's major y'all!) We have a lot to be thankful for. All of this was on my mind while thinking about my 2018 resolutions.

My Family on Christmas Day
There were things that I didn't get around to in 2017 either due to lack of motivation, depression or circumstances. I realized that I tend to make resolutions that are pretty lofty and somewhat intimidating. This often causes me to shut down and make no progress on those goals instead of breaking it down into smaller pieces that I can actually work with. On top of that, I'm a career procrastinator. I have always worked better and produced better under pressure. However, I am realizing how detrimental to my health that can be.

With all of that being said, I have a few things that I want to do differently this year. I'm going to list them below:

1. Start each day with meditation/time with God.
2. Read one book/month that will help me further my career goals.
3. Focus on being a better teacher by removing my cell phones from my classroom and not waiting until the last minute to prepare.
4. Focus on being healthier by making better food choices and increasing my exercise.
5. Write more
6. Develop a business plan and do something for my business every month.
7. Use my amazing iBloom Planner daily!!! 

These are just a few of my resolutions.  There is more that I want to do but I'm trying not to overwhelm myself (and you for that matter).

The sun has set on 2017 and as continue our journey in 2018, I'd like to challenge you all to re-evaluate your goals. Simplify them and then break them down into bite sized pieces. Find a planner and break down your plan monthly/weekly/daily and as you complete the things, check them off. It's amazing how accomplished you feel after something as simple as checking off a completed task on your to-do list.

Sunset over the Gulf of Nicoya

 Until my next post, Travel, Live, Be! 

Love Always, 
Kelli Marie

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Culture Shock!

Hey Y'all! It's been a while since I last posted something. I've had a few people ask me where all my October posts were. I apologize for the lack of posts during this past month. It's been a pretty busy month. I've been adjusting to my new life and job in a new country and that definitely takes a lot out of a girl.

Today, I'm writing about my experience guessed it! Culture Shock! One thing that I have found is that so many people believe culture shock happens immediately when you arrive in a new place. While that is somewhat true, it's not entirely correct. Culture shock, according to, happens in 4 stages: the honeymoon, frustration, adjustment and acceptance. Click here to see the article!

The first phase, the honeymoon, is usually what you experience when you first arrive. When everything is new and beautiful. You can't get enough of the people, the food, the culture, etc. If you don't stay somewhere long enough, the honeymoon, can/will last the whole trip.

The second phase, frustration, is where the homesick frustration sets in (obviously, that's why it's called the frustration phase!).  This phase usually hits hard around the 3 month mark of being in a new place and is when the little things that you found so intriguing before, frustrate the crap out of you now! Things like struggling to understand the language when asking for directions, trying to do things that should take 30 minutes and finding them taking all day, and having to run around to 6 different places just to get a package sent to you by your family in the states (yes, this is my current situation). This is where you're usually wondering "What the heck am I doing here? I should just go home!" I definitely don't recommend wallowing in this phase or these feelings however.

The third phase is the adjustment phase. This is the phase where you really start to adjust to the new way of life. It's where you make an active decision to "go big or go home!" for lack of a better description. You have to choose to not stay in the frustration phase, instead doing what is necessary to adjust to the culture so that you can finally come to the 4th and final stage, acceptance.

The fourth stage, acceptance is when you finally accept that "Yes, this is different. No, I'm not going to always understand or get it but that's okay and I'm happy where I am." This is the stage that I'm aspiring to reach.

Currently, I am teetering between frustration and adjustment. Some days are definitely better than others. Just last week, I broke down in the post office because I couldn't get the package that I've been waiting for from my family. I have to request permission for some of the items in the box to be imported which is just another hurdle for me to climb. However, it's not the end of the world. I cried when it happened, now I'll request permission and go about my business to continue adjusting. I know now, that I shouldn't have anything shipped to me.

I am definitely continually growing and adjusting and while I'm slowly but surely adapting, I definitely can't wait to see all my friends and family when I'm back in the States for Christmas Break. Unfortunately, the homesickness never goes away and quite honestly, the 4 stages of culture shock tend to repeat themselves. However, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'll just keep doing what I've been doing, FaceTiming my family and friends, staying in touch via Facebook and enjoying this beautiful country and all it has to offer!

Until next time,

Travel to expand your horizons, Live life at your own pace and Be happy!

Love Always,

Kelli Marie

Friday, September 29, 2017

Six Weeks In

It's been a pretty busy and intense past couple of weeks for me. As I am nearing the end of my 6th week here in Costa Rica, I'm happy to say that I'm adjusting pretty well.

Lets catch you up!

On September 15th, I - along with 16 others - graduated from the International TEFL Academy- Costa Rica course! What an AMAZING 4-week course and experience!

August 2017 ITA TEFL Class

The Tuesday prior to graduating, I had a second interview with a company called Idioma Internacional. They are a language institute that services large corporations and Colegios (High Schools) here in Costa Rica. I was offered a full-time position with them later that evening! Whoo hoo!!

Also that day, I went to view an apartment for me and Casey to hopefully move. The unit was a 5th floor condo, 2 bed/2 bath, fully furnished with a washer and dryer (very rare here). The rent was $800/mo. After showing my roommate the videos, we decided that we wanted it! We had keys in hand by Friday afternoon and were all moved in by Saturday evening!

Everything fell in place pretty quickly for us. I started training for my job last Thursday, Sept. 21st and finish today!

Unfortunately, I lost my phone in an Uber on Saturday morning. I tried all day to get in contact with the driver to no avail. I reached out to Uber and the driver multiple times and Uber finally stepped in. Just when I was about to give up hope for getting it back completely, the driver called me yesterday (Thursday- 6 days later) and returned my phone! PTL!

I'm excited to have finally received my official teaching schedule as well! I have 18 teaching hours/wk right now. That amounts to one 3hr class that meets once a week, one 2hr class that meets twice a week, one 1.5hr class that meets twice a week and two 4hr classes that meet once a week. My two 4hr classes are with high school aged students and all of my other classes are corporate classes.

I'm also training to become a BELT (Business English Level Test) Evaluator. This is a test that is administered by our company to test and assign English placement levels. Companies come to us to request testing for internal purposes, recruitment and for class placement. Individuals come to us as well for personal assessment. Once I finish the training, I'll add BELT shifts to my schedule.

Another thing I'm pretty excited about is the opportunity to do some social media and marketing work for Idioma. Thanks to my background, the Academic Director of the company wants to assign additional hours for me to work on special projects. I'm looking forward to being able to use my other skill sets as well as my newly gained skill sets.

Last, but certainly not least, I'm starting to focus on my personal business again. Looking forward to growing my company, Kelli Marie Consulting, LLC. I'm currently accepting work as a Virtual Assistant. If you or anyone you know needs assistance virtually, please email

I think that's all I have for this update! Hopefully, now that I've settled down, I'll be able to post a bit more regularly and about different topics regarding teaching, my experiences and the country of Costa Rica itself!

Until then, Travel and experience new things, Live for today and not tomorrow, and Be whoever you want to be! 

Love Always, 
Kelli Marie

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Dreadful Week 3!

Whew!!! Week 3 has officially come and gone and I am truly thankful to say "I made it thru!!!" They were not kidding when, in week one, the told us to be prepared because "week 3 is coming!" This week was a tough one. Classes were filled with lots of grammar points, evenings were filled with student teaching and lots of homework quizzes, tasks and lesson plans. On Thursday night, I almost cried because I was so stressed working on a lesson plan that was due at midnight. Top that all off with multiple interviews and you're in for one hell of a week. However, I ended the week on a high note with an A in my student teaching practicum on Friday evening and I got my homework submitted before the last minute, today and yesterday! If you know me and how much of a procrastinator I am, then you know that's a big deal for me!

Other than that, week 3 was pretty awesome as well! A large group of us hung out to watch Costa Rica vs Mexico on Tuesday night and on Wednesday night, a group when to the indoor soccer field to play. I didn't play but I had a blast sitting on the sidelines with my roommate, Casey. This weekend, I was glad to have practically nothing to do and be able to relax.

Week 4 starts tomorrow and on Friday, we will officially be certified TEFL Instructors! I'm looking forward to completing this course but I will definitely miss the friends that I've made throughout the month-long program. I'm hoping that we'll all end up staying here in CR and staying connected for the foreseeable future. Friendships that are made during experiences like these are invaluable and I'm glad to call this amazing group of adventurous souls, my friends! I'm also looking forward to getting some sleep that isn't interrupted by the chickens and turkeys hopefully soon!

Stay tuned for the graduation and job update at the end of the week!

Until then, Travel far, Live freely and Be amazing!

Love Always, 
Kelli Marie