Category Archives: Guest Blogger Adventures

Author Interview with The Bangura Institute

This week Roxana Bangura from The Bangura Institute features little ol’ me on her YouTube channel. What was intended to be a 30 minute chat lasted more than an hour! I shared some personal things that I hadn’t meant to, and talked about my books some, revealing the fact I’m working on a series for children that hopefully will be available in the near future. 

As an introvert, being on video was mentally exhausting. I literally had to NOT do anything that day to recover. Well, anything mentally challenging anyway. I did head to the plant nursery and picked up some rose bushes for our new lot. Anyway, that’s my commentary on this amazing opportunity Roxana was so kind as to provide for me. 

If you’d like to watch the episode about yours truly, here it is!

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7 Things You Can Strike Off Your Bucket List By Visiting Mexico

Mexico offers a wealth of cultural, historical, and natural attractions. Whatever your interests may be, there are activities in Mexico you should add to your bucket list.

#1. Celebrate death in Oaxaca

What’s more appropriate for a bucket list than a celebration of death? Arguably the most famous festival in Mexico is Día de Muertos. Oaxaca is the spiritual home of the Day of the Dead, but the festival is now celebrated in many cities across the nation, including Mexico City since 2016.

The festival is held annually on November 2 nd and is a combination of pre-Hispanic cultural traditions and the Catholic feast of All Souls Day. The activities leading up to the day begin a week early around Oaxaca City. Some activities are sad involving remembrance of the dearly departed. However, the day itself is a celebration of life held inside Oaxaca’s cemetery. There are processions of people wearing skeleton clothes and face-paint accompanied by music and dancing.

#2. Go surfing in “California”

The west coast beaches of Baja California offer azure waters, sandy shores, and fantastic swells that are perfect for surfing. Just over the border from San Diego, Ensenada near Tijuana attracts surfers from around the world.

Experienced surfers should grab their surfboard travel bag and head to San Miguel Beach in Ensenada, known for its reliable swells and consistent breaks, especially during the winter months.

Novice surfers will feel more comfortable with the calmer waves in Playa Hermosa.
While in Ensenada, you might also want to check out La Bufadora, which is the world’s 2nd largest marine geyser. Seawater is forced through a deep underwater canyon before shooting jets of water up to 90 feet high.

#3. Enjoy mountain biking adventures in Oaxaca

Mexico is a wonderful destination for MTB enthusiasts. There are many scenic mountain trails that boast year-round perfect riding conditions. For example, the millennial single track through the high Oaxacan Sierra features mystical vistas and beautiful sunsets.

The mountain bike trails around Oaxaca follow the route of pre-Columbian tracks that once connected ancient towns. The trails typically start high in the Sierra’s forest and wind down into arid valleys. Transport your bike to the trailhead in your bike travel bag and enjoy a scenic descent.

#4. Climb a volcano near Mexico City

Mexico offers many fantastic hiking trails. One of the most interesting is the trail ascending Iztaccihuati, a dormant volcano in Itza-Popo Zoquiapan National Park just southeast of Mexico City. Iztaccihuati means “white woman”, which refers to the shape of the 4 snow-topped peaks that somewhat resemble a woman lying on her back.

At 17,160 feet high, Iztaccihuati is Mexico’s 3 rd highest peak. Hikers start from a trailhead at 12,000 feet. Day hikers cannot make it all the way to the top of the highest peak. However, a more adventurous 3-day hike will take you past the feet, over the knees, across the stomach, and then allow you to ascend her chest.

From the heights reached on a day-hike, you can see Popocatepetl, an active volcano that is Mexico’s 2nd highest peak. You’ll also benefit from breathtaking views across Mexico Valley.

#5. Drink tequila in Tequila

All tequila is manufactured in the geographically specific region of Jalisco where the blue agave it is made from grows. Tequila was first produced in Amatitan but shipped out to the rest of the world from the railway station in the neighboring town of Tequila.

Tequila is found in the heart of Jalisco in the red hills of the Sierra Madre. Within the town are stalls and shops selling a variety of tequila brands in souvenir novelty bottles. If you enjoy tequila, this is your opportunity to wander around from stall to stall sampling different qualities and attempting to remain standing while deciding which brand is best.

#6. Visit Pre-Columbian ruins

Everybody should visit the pre-Hispanic ruins of Mexico at some point in their lives. The sprawling ancient cities are a reminder of how precarious our own civilizations are. An outbreak of smallpox imported by the first Spanish explorers ravaged indigenous populations and caused the collapse of pre-existing urban societies.

The most famous Mayan ruins are found at Chichén Itzá in the Yucatan Peninsula, a 2-hour drive from Cancun. The city’s pyramids still loom over visitors. Between 750 and 1200 CE, Chichén Itzá was the economic and political center of the Maya. The many impressive structures include the Great Ball Court, which is still the biggest ball court in Mesoamerica.

Teotihuacán is the best-known pre-Hispanic archaeological site. At its peak around 500 CE, it was the biggest city in Mesoamerica and at least the 6th -biggest in the world. The city was founded around 200 BCE and fell into decline around 750 CE. At the heart of the ruins is a broad central road called the Avenue of the Dead. Giant monuments flank this avenue, such as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent Quetzalcoatl.

#7. Enjoy a horseback riding adventure

The cattle ranches in the arid northern regions of Mexico are perfect locations for an authentic cowboy experience. Whether you are an experienced horseback rider seeking new challenges or a complete beginner who wants to learn in interesting surroundings, you can find what you need in a Mexican guest ranch.

If you want to experience a genuine working cattle ranch, Rancho Los Baños in the foothills of the Sierra Madres is close to the border with Arizona. This guest ranch not only offers horseback riding adventures but also a wide range of other outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, kayaking, canyoneering, and jeep ecotours.

You may prefer to stay in a luxury guest ranch like Rancho Las Cascadas where you can swim in an infinity pool, lounge in a hot tub, or enjoy horseback riding on 30 open range riding trails. Rancho Las Cascadas is located between Mexico City and Teotihuacan and offers guided rides for guests of all experience levels. Enjoy half or full-day rides across open fields and beside peaceful lakes with mountains on the horizon.


This guest post by Neil Kleis contains affiliate links. 

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National Wellness Month

healthAugust just happens to be National Wellness Month. I talked a bit about self-care last month and I’ve chronicled my own challenges with health issues and navigating the Mexican healthcare system over the years, so I won’t rehash that. However, I’d like to share some statistics to emphasize the importance of adequate health care for women, no matter what country you live in.  Women’s symptoms are systematically dismissed by doctors resulting in poor prognosis, unnecessary suffering, and early death. 

According to the World Health Organization

  • A thousand (1000) women die every day of the consequences of pregnancy and childbirth.
  • A female in a low-income country can expect to live 24 fewer years than a female who lives in a high-income country. 
  • One-third (1 / 3) of all female deaths are due to stroke and cardiovascular disease. 
  • More than four million girls under the age of five die from preventable communicable diseases every year. 


Today I’d like to share Bonnie’s health story. Bonnie is one of our ladies in our support group Women Surviving Rural Mexico. This summer, Bonnie had surgery which was an ordeal in and of itself. She didn’t know she had to have blood donors lined up. She had to travel to a medical facility outside of her area. And while she was in recovery, a nurse found a lump on her breast. 

The nurse told her she should get a mammogram immediately. Bonnie went to her local clinic and had one done. She commented that the equipment was not very modern and the whole process made her feel as if her breasts had been flattened in a tortilla press. The technician told her that the results would be available in two months. 

Since the nurse stressed that the mammogram was urgent, Bonnie asked for the CD disc copy and took it to a private doctor for a diagnosis. The private doctor charged 200 pesos and gave her a printout to take to the clinic run by Seguro Popular (Mexican health insurance). Based on those results, Bonnie was scheduled for an ultrasound. 

There was only one technician trained to use the ultrasound at the clinic. The results weren’t available for two weeks. Bonnie then took the ultrasound information back to Seguro Popular which referred her to another doctor a biopsy. 

She went to the clinic for that appointment which performed the biopsy on the lump without anesthesia. Bonnie had to take the tissue sample to a private lab for analysis. That cost 400 pesos but the results were ready later that same week. She was given a referral to another doctor for a second opinion. 

The doctor couldn’t see her the day she had the appointment but sent her to a health fair in a town about an hour from her home where they did a second biopsy free of charge. 

When the results were ready three weeks later, Bonnie took them back to the doctor who then said she would get a referral to the hospital in San Luis Potosi, a three-hour drive. Several trips later and Bonnie was able to see a specialist. The lump is cancerous. She is scheduled to have a mastectomy on September 11. Chemotherapy is scheduled to begin after surgery. 

The medical staff signed Bonnie up for Gastos Catastróficos once the cancer diagnosis was official which will cover more of her treatments and follow-up care. 

Since breast cancer is one of the most expensive cancers to treat, Mexico public healthcare, despite all the waiting for appointments and results, is a godsend for Bonnie and her family. 

If you wish to help Bonnie on her way to wellness, you can send your donation via Google Pay or Paypal to happycrabb at 


In honor of Wellness Month, A Woman’s Survival Guide to Mexican Healthcare is free for the next few days at Amazon. As you can see from Bonnie’s story, navigating the Mexican healthcare system is complicated but doable if you are determined enough. 

healthcare cover


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