Tips for traveling without a lot of money.


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First of all, how are my 7 readers doing? Hope everyone is doing ok. I’m overworked with the youtube channel and I’m learning a lot, so its all good.

 First things first, let me complain about being burnout.

Am I lazy? Or I’m just burnout and exhausted from all the news and things happening around me? Am I trying to do so much, that it feels like I’m running on a hamster wheel, constantly without achieving anything? Does anybody else out there feels the same? Or I’m being the odd duck again?

I can’t be the only one.

I got trapped on the millennial TikTok hole and I guess, my generation feels trapped as much as I do. We can’t buy houses, we have student loans galore, we can’t afford to travel and we work to the exhaustion levels to make a living. It all seems suffocating, can you gives us a break?

Just a little break, maybe a collective day off, and I don’t mean another endless time at home in a pandemic, because at the time we were forced to be home, we were all living in fear of dying. Or killing Grandma. I mean a collective vacation. Shut down the world internet and lets live a day like its 1983.

Let’s all go to the lake, let’s all go camping, barbecue, ride our bikes and be outside without posting pictures or scrolling the news. Without being disturbed by the gas prices or who the next president will be. Can we be happy for one day? One of the reasons I bought a camper was to be able to escape the madness. Anytime.

The complaining part of the post is done. Let’s move on to the fun stuff.

My favorite part of owning a truck camper is to be able to get away. Run to the mountains, and be completely off the hook. No internet signal. Every time I travel, I get certain that buying that camper was the best decision we made. We put it for sale on Market place, and then we though about it and removed from the listings.

Let’s give it another try.

We drove to Turquoise Lake at the beginning of June, when it was still super cold in the mountains. After stopping in Leadville for a couple of hours, we drove another 25 minutes into the campsite, named Baby Doe, after the infamous Baby Doe Tabor, the mad lady in the cabin. I’m reading her book and I’m fascinated by her story.

The Campsite

Turquoise Lake in B&W

The campsite is very well structured, and you can do some fun activities such as biking and fishing trout on the lake. I’m pretty sure you can boat or paddle, but I didn’t dare to try it. It was too cold.

After we parked out car and settle everything, we rode our bikes to the lake. Again, no cellphones, no distraction. Just the mountains and the nature.

We cooked on the fire outside, danced around and had fun. The simple things in life its what brings me joy. What most of people get wrong is that you need a lot of money to travel. Truth to be told, you don’t.

I have been traveling on the cheap side for a long time now.

In my early 20’s, my broke behind in Rio, used to travel very often. I couldn’t travel abroad yet, so I learnt that I could go visit coastal cities in Rio de Janeiro and enjoy my free time off. Working in the Hostel also helped because I could stay in a shared accommodation for free, for a couple of days. Some of them offered breakfast for free, so I saved on that too.

I educated myself to understand that traveling is much more than spending a lot of money. It’s about learning the culture and sharing the spaces with people from all over the world.

Don’t limit yourself due to resources. Can’t fly? take a bus.

Of course is great to stay in a refined luxury hotel, instead of sharing a room with another 12 girls, but the reality is, very few people can afford to do it, and me in 20’s was not one of them. Yes, I did share a hostel room with 12 other girls while visiting New York city in 2007. Even when I was already living in Georgia, that I went back to visit Chicago in 2014 by myself, I stayed in a hostel.

Last time I went to New York, in March, I stayed at Beekman- A Thompson Hotel. Because once again, life gets better and I keep working in the hospitality industry and getting great fares.

My camper is in shambles, but I won’t get rid of it.


We had a lot of problems on this trip with the camper in terms of logistics. The shower didn’t work, and neither did the heater. The internet didn’t work, but somehow we could watch Stranger Things for a little before going to bed. I joked with Josh that is the chip on my vaccine. I’m double vaccinated, so I have double bars for signal.

That was a weird night that I kept dreaming about being attacked by bears outside of the camper, a very realistic dream, we packed our stuff and drove back to Denver. Started to planning another trip on the way back. We decided to go to Las Vegas. With limited funds, as usual.  We did and that’s the next video!

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Stay Healthy, Stay safe!



24 hours in Vail, Colorado!

Back in Vail for 24 hours! What to do for fun and where to eat for a cheaper price!

It was windy. A cold, strong breeze, with leaves flying in a spiral.  Last time in Vail for this witch was 13 years ago. Social media was still on its first steps, there was not immediate sharing, only enjoying.It was the first time in my life that I felt truly happy. Until the day the hotel I was doing my internship told us we, all the student visas holders, would have to leave by the end of the season, in April. With that being said, we will not be able to renew the visa for the summer season, like planned. It was a the ice bucket challenge. But not for good cause.

Like the Coldplay song Viva La Vida says:

“One minute I held the key. Next the walls were closed on me And discovered that my castles stand Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand”.

Every time I hear this song, I’m immediately transported back to those days.

One minute I was hopping around town, filled with happiness, going to coffeeshops and bars, the next minute my castle crumbles and I’m packing my bags back to my parents house in Brazil, with a canceled visa. Only to be back 13 years later, married, with a decent job, that allows me to stay in nice hotels and with a document that allows me to stay forever, and not be shipped back home due to any financial crisis. Anyway! The mini trip was great!

Vail 13 years later! What changed? I changed!

We rent a car on Turo, which is similar app to Airbnb, but only for cars. They have all kinds of luxury cars that you can rent, but also cheaper options like the one we got. The reason why we had to rent a car, its because with the Colorado laws, you have to have a 4X4 car to go up the mountains.

Our ballerina CT Lexus would not be up to the game. It would literally flip around like its on a try out for a Broadway show. We would also face the possibility to get fined up to a thousand dollars, it was better and safer to spend about 100. We ended up getting a SUV type of Mercedes, quiet and steady. The trip was about to get real!

Vail is only 1 hour and 40 minutes away from Denver.It is a very beautiful scenery, as you get lost in the white snow covered Aspen trees. Every few miles you can spot a ski resort along the road. I did our check in online and a few minutes later they texted us telling our room was ready.

The Grand Hyatt Vail Resort is stunning! Our room faced the mountains and had a couch. Once again they had robes, or this time 1 robe. I had to share with Josh for the photos, as he embark in my madness and partake the in my adventures. The hotel is big with 3 restaurants, a spa, plenty of outside area. For our surprise the hot-tub and the pool were open. We didn’t have bathing suits. I think it was the voice of reason saving us from a pneumonia. I will be back when its warmer.


There is a way to eat cheaper while in Vail and I can prove it. As I was a local many years ago, I kept myself away from those fancy restaurants, that wants to charge you a huge amount of money for the name of the chef. I’m still a local in my heart and looked for places I used to eat when I lived there. One of them is called Route 6.

Route 6 is a dinner in Eagle Vail, nothing extraordinary, but good for a reasonable breakfast meal. I got a breakfast sandwich and Josh got a steak. He didn’t like it, but also, who order steak in a side road dinner? Well, Josh does. I always set lower expectations, and at Route 6 I knew what to expect.  Meal number 1.

In the afternoon, while walking around the Vail Village, Josh got hungry again and I decided to join him. We stop at the bottom of the mountain restaurant, to have some beers and tacos. Well, I had the beer. I asked about the people coming down the slopes, only to find out that the mountain was closed due to a power outage, around 12pm. The time the witch arrived in town. Surprised yet?

At night, after walking around town and trying to take a nap, we decided to eat again. Now it was time for dinner. I didn’t want to go out again, so we ate at the hotel bar, we shared half chicken with gnocchi and wine. Plus dessert.  The hotel restaurant only open the dining room Fridays to Sundays and I though this was a great idea. They should do that at my work place.


Around Vail you have some sub-divisions like Eagle-Vail, Avon, Edwards, Minturn and Gypsum. People usually live on Eagle-Vail, Avon and Edwards and work in Vail. Very rich people lives in Vail. The working peasants hide in smaller, more affordable places.

In the morning after breakfast at Route 6, we drove over to the apartment complex I used to live. I didn’t realize how much I had to walk to take the bus, in the cold and snow, everyday. It is a long way!

It was great to revisit and I bet the prices now are way higher than 1200 a month with utilities. The complex had a painting job and I saw some people that looked like J1 visa holders living there, like I was once. The pain of carrying your laundry basket in the cold is real.

From that memory lane, we moved to another. We stopped at Avon, to walk around and see the little town center. In my mind the supermarket was in a different direction and this time I didn’t want to cross the train tracks to go to Starbucks, like I used to. The witch is old and tired.

I wanted to go to Beaver Creek, but the wind was too strong to get the gondola up, and get the bus that take us there. Walking around was painful, as a dust particule hit josh’s eyes and he immediately freaked out. Let’s go buy sunglasses then.

Later on we took the hotel shuttle to walk around the Vail Village. Most of the bars I used to hang out are still there, including the one where me and my friend had a blast time and Jesus was the for the resident DJ for the party. Vendetta’s was the place and Joana was the queen (as I like to portrait myself in my mind)

I took more photos, tested my new phone lenses, at least tried,  my hands were cold because I forgot my gloves. The streets were empty, only a few people walking around, as the season was coming to an end.

After Dinner, we went to bed at 9pm, after all, it was my day off and I wanted to sleep on the nice bed as much as I could. Early morning the next day, I took some time to take some photos with the hotel robe, which I believe is going to become a thing, because you just look fancy in it.

We check-out at the hotel and once again, stopped at Vail Village to pick up a coffee and muffin  at Loaded Joe’s for the trip back, but we only had 10 minutes, because we didn’t want to pay for parking. Couldn’t even tell the barista about the time I lived in town, as I told everyone else I encountered.

It was a great short trip! I can’t wait to be back, with more time and a bathing suit packed next time! Now let me go edit the videos to post on youtube, as the channel is coming together! I have way more to show on videos!

Stay Healthy, Stay Sane!



Why I prefer my 30s over my 20’s

Why I prefer my 30s? I’m much wiser and careless about what other people think of me.

My 20’s ended about five years ago and I’m finally ready to talk about it and go through a little reflection. Maybe because I lived through half of my 30’s already, I feel like an old wise aunt, ready to shower with advice. 

A lot of things change and thank God it did. I can’t imagine myself living in the same neighborhood, sleeping in my teenage twin bed while waiting for my mom to cook me food at 35. There is a lot of people in my country who still live like that. Latinxs have a hard time moving on with life and most of us live with our parents until we get married. In some cases, the spouse moves and they all live like a big family of 16 members in the household.  

In 2005, when my 20’s started, it was like coming out of the shell. I was in my first year of college and started working in a Hostel. I had just started to speak English, barely, as there were not many people to practice the language with. I started talking and practicing a lot. During that time I sound like Borat and guests thought I was cute for trying. To talk not to sound like Borat, that came out a year later. 

I still felt ugly, but working with people from different nationalities every day, gave me some confidence that I was not that bad, I was in the wrong place. Rio de Janeiro is a place notorious for beautiful people, as they have to show off at the beach and nightlife constantly. So, if you don’t follow the pamphlet of what to wear, how your hair is supposed to look like, or what God forbid you to wear glasses, they either discard you or make fun of you endlessly. Mine was the second option. 

Once I started gaining some confidence, life started to get easier. There are some specifics aspects I would like to write about what I prefer in my 30’s instead of my 20’s


 I was too nice. Every time my boss asked me for something, I was ready to do it. I had a hard time saying no and ended up overworked most of the time. I was always at work, and when you work in Hotels, you can say good-bye to social life. You either get there really early, or you leave the workplace late. Exhausted. A big part of my 20’s was wasted because I was too nice to set boundaries. My friends with a Monday to Friday job were always up and running to enjoy the weekend. All I wanted to do during weekends was cry. 

In my 30’s, especially because I was already in the United States and married to a badass American, I learned to say no. For some reason, he taught me way more than English, he taught me to stand up. I learned that I was not going to get fired if I didn’t want to go to work on my day off because someone else got hangover sick. I also learned to have a voice. If I don’t want to do it, I won’t do it. If it’s a table of Brazilians trying to harass me, because I was waiting for tables in someone else’s country, I would just ask my coworker to get that table instead.


You accept the love you think you deserve. With that being said, my 20’s were a mess. Right before I turn 20, I broke up with my first boyfriend, we were together for about 2 years. It was not a good breakup because I had never broken up with anyone before, so I just ghosted him. I was the pioneer of ghosting. During that decade I fell for guys in all forms and shapes and they all had the same thing in common, they liked me until they got what they wanted and then they didn’t like me anymore. 

Rocking my Kylie Jenner LipKit and Josh.

Always too nice, understandable, caring. All I heard was crickets. When there were no crickets, there were lies. Enough of gaslighting, I decided to stay true to myself. When I understood I didn’t need to find my other half, I was already a whole, what I needed was someone to tag along and be a partner. Instead of completing what I thought was missing, I found Josh. Being so true to what I’m, and not caring about what other people think of me, set me free. 


The other day I was watching Gilmore Girls, on Netflix. It just made me think of how much things change since I first watch that episode I was on. When the episode aired, in 2004, I agreed with Rory, and the last time I rewatched a couple of days ago, I was totally on Lorelai side’s. In the episode, Rory lost her virginity to Dean, and like that poor mistress, she believed when Dean said his marriage was over. When Lorelai finds out about it. She freaks out, because, oh well, he is married. When you are in your 20’s you see life with goggle eyes when it comes to love. You tend to not listen to your family. At all. 

When you are in your 30’s you tend to stand by the correctness side. The adventurous time almost slips through your fingers. 

In my 30’s I learned to appreciate the family time, I called my mom more than I ever did, and sometimes she doesn’t answer, I get mad. Who I’m gonna talk to about the recipe I just saw on the TV? Or comment on something silly so she can judge me, while I now, laugh? 


In your 20’s, you are more insecure about relationships and you tend to believe everyone wants to do you good. Henceforth, romantic relationships. Friends have a great way to either drag you up or drag you down. Not until recently, I learned in a podcast, that you become more and more like the people you surrounded yourself with. So in your 20’s, if all your friends are doing is drinking, partying, and being messy, that will probably spill on you. Don’t mind me, it’s fun as hell, but I was always too lazy and overworked to enjoy life at its fullest. So I had to find friends who were more like me. Friends that rather go for a walk than be awake until 5 am every weekend. I couldn’t afford that lifestyle anyway either. 

Halloween in Perth 2010, Australia. I had no idea of who this person was . I just wanted to hug the giant panda.

In your 30’s, you learn how to set boundaries. In my case, I learned that my own company is enough. I’m not a lonely sad person, but I learned with my mom, as long as you think of yourself as a good company, you are good to go. Also, I became very selective. If you want to be my friend, awesome, if you don’t, just move along. I’m not going to try to convince you I’m cool, I’m too old for that. 


When I was 20, my dream was to be a Lonely Planet guide writer. Or a National Geographic photographer. I love traveling and sharing my ideas of places with people sounded like a tangible dream. On my first experience abroad in 2006/2007 to North Carolina, I started a blog called “Where the hell is Joana?”. The title was indeed a bit aggressive, but I was thinking about Where is Waldo when I created it.   

For the longest time, I wanted to be a travel writer, and in 2009 I found out about Anthony Bourdain. And I was like “Wait, can you cook, travel, and write about it? Sign me in!” When I got back from to Brazil from Australia, I got a scholarship for Culinary school. I never enjoyed any class that much in my life. I got a bunch of kitchen gadgets, books, learning about different techniques. Until the first year of scholarship was over and I ran out of money. And time for it.  

My two weeks internship at a Pastry in a hotel. When I got paid very little to get yelled at.

Even though I’m in my 30’s my dreams are constantly changing and adapting. I finally managed to go back to school and graduate in Creative Writing, something I should have done in my early 20’s. Another point to be made is, it’s never too late to keep dreaming and improving. As soon as I’m released into the out, I will take writing for TV workshops, baking workshops, and all the fun things that make the wheel go round. 

If you are alive and breathing, It’s not too late to have plans and dream about it.


This is the only part I would say I prefer would’ve stayed my 20’s. My health is fine, and thank God I never got Corona. Even though, if I had anything I was probably asymptomatic. Josh probably had it last December, when he was coughing like crazy, couldn’t sleep laying down, out of breath, had a fever and was exhausted. By that time, the virus didn’t have a name, but I’m sure a lot of people had it. At least two of my other friends had the same symptoms. 

I miss eating like a construction worker and just be fine with whatever. After turning 30, I started to realize I have to watch what I eat carefully. I can’t eat fried chicken very often, the oil makes me gag and the cheese platter I always dreamed to order in a restaurant, makes me bloated, like a Dollar Tree Baloon. Cheap Liquor wakes me up in the middle of the night, scratching my stomach, to remind me I’m not as young as I used to be. Cheap wine keeps banging my brain the next day like I’m at a rock concert. 

As the time passed, I started paying more attention to what I eat and how I eat it. Especially after the Corona Crisis, I started paying more attention to what kind of nutrients I put in my body. 

To wrap it up

To finish my thoughts on why I prefer my 30’s over my 20’s, I wanted to say that everything falls into place. Sometimes we rush to get things done and end up on the wrong path. I did it multiple times, and I will probably do it again, but this time I’m older.

There is no timeline for dreaming and accomplishing! Please let me know in the comments how do you feel about your age group!

Stay well and Stay healthy!


All the roads leading back to Colorado

It’s been a hard couple of days and I can believe we are moving again!

It’s been a hard couple of days, as I try to box the entire house to move again. Hard to concentrate, hard to get things done, always being distracted by the new possibilities I might find in my new home. Every time I seat at my table to write, I look at the blank page for a couple of minutes, until I get up again, and start to pack another room of the house.

I’m dusting off my snow boots!

All this move has affected my creativity in every possible way. I cannot just turn off my problems and sit down to write. Not this time. We are moving to Colorado, after spending a year trying to make it in Austin, Texas. I can’t believe I’m dusting off my boots after only a year!

Austin is a very nice place if you fit in one of the boxes: you either work for a tech company, you live up the north side of town, or you are part of the young bubble that can afford to pay 1800 in a studio apartment. California prices in Austin are beyond the reality of normal who wants to make a living here.

My jobs are always related to the hospitality industry, I have over fourteen years of working with it, always being in front of the house, yet, I couldn’t get a job in Austin. I see it as either a sign for me to keep improving and getting better in a different area of Austin doesn’t like outsiders, who are not from Texas. I lived in the South before, and I faced the same difficulties I have been facing here.

I don’t know what to expect this time

I don’t know what to expect from Denver, because I’m trying to keep my peaceful state of mind to not freak out. When I lived in Eagle-Vail, in the 2009 winter season, I went to Denver for short trips, I never actually lived there. In 2009, I worked at The Ritz Carlton- Bachelor Gulch, in Avon, but the hotel decided to close for maintenance after the winter season. Most likely because of the Financial crisis.

I couldn’t get a transfer replacement and my visa was canceled by the company, as they sent all the international employees back home. It was one of the biggest disappointments of my life. When the opportunity to relocate appears the first thought in my mind was “You won’t ship me back home, bitch! Not this time!”

Young Joana in 2009 at Vail ski slopes

Colorado is a beautiful state and two of my best friends live there, the other Sanderson Sisters. I can’t wait to be close to them. I don’t ski, but I do enjoy watching people coming down the slopes, while I eat at the restaurant.

Moving again is nerve racking and that’s why it has been so hard to concentrate. When you work in a hotel, you just shut down any feelings, put your clown make up one, and pretend your problems don’t exist. It’s hard to do that when you are working from home.

Managing distractions

With the distractions I have to manage, my inability to sit still, and the phone, it usually gets me staring at the wall, in disbelief of my purposes in life. I’m not sure if it’s the Covid Era we are living through, my move, or I’m tired of everything and just need a break. A real break. But with that, it also comes with the stupid idea of taking a break from something you are working on, which means you are being inconsistent and unreliable. I have been reading a lot on what makes a blog a better blog and this is another point of exhaustion.Pinterest is driving me nuts.

Just like Instagram for the normal people and Linkedin for the Ceo, Pinterest comes in a category of distraction and a world of possibilities of what could wrong trying. Whatever you click on, you get more and more of the same. Just like every other social media, it’s set up to control you and drive you crazy. Posts like “10 reasons why your blog is not working” or “ Start making 30K a month in 6 months blogging”.

Here is what they don’t tell you:

1: You have to have a strong niche, like a fit blog, mommy blog, cooking blog

2: You have to post consistently, like many posts a month, build a following with a mailing list, live, and breathe the blog.

3: It’s not instant. It might take time and commitment.

Honestly, I’m almost sure that people with successful blogs are the ones writing it. They make the blog a company and start hiring people for different areas. It’s a team job. You have to have a business plan, a social media crew, and all those things cost money, and not all of us have investors. Some of us start from the bottom.

Writing the posts myself, it gets hard to concentrate when hard times hit. I ran out of my CBD oil at the worst possible time, so I’m relying on my homeopathic Brazilian medicine. The message my friends, it’s giving yourself time to just wander. Life is not a competition and mental health is more important than ever, as I repeat myself.

Go ahead and teach yourself some new tricks

Learn about blogging its important to keep me motivated, another reason why I’m not too inclined to write posts these days. I’m improving my other pages on the blog to boost the SEO traffic, learning how to market on social media. I’ve watch plenty of youtube videos about rich kids who made a blog about decoration at their first apartment. In reality, I guess that was where the exhaustion part comes from. When all I learned starts working, I will write about it.

Let me know in the comments what are you working on to improve your blogging skills and if you have ever been to Colorado!

2009 – Vail

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