Monday, March 27, 2017

All About Maya The Explorer - Expat Blog

Hello and welcome! My name is Maya and I’m an African-American Puerto Rican who decided to move abroad 6 years ago. I’ve always loved to travel, but when the bills and debt became overwhelming and I was no longer able to travel as much, I decided it was time for a change. I moved to the Philippines to live and teach and have been in Asia ever since.
It was honestly the best decision I’ve ever made and inspired me to share my story. So whether you are wanting more information on teaching abroad, are interested in what it’s like to be an expat, looking to get out of debt and build wealth, or just need advice on where to go on your next vacation, you’ve come to the right place.  

It should also be known that it is impossible for me to separate my race or background from my experience, so I share that as well. Both my heritage and my upbringing have had a huge impact on who I have become and continue to drive my goals and where I’m going. So whether it be my planned adventure to Africa this summer, my continual quest to perfect my Spanish and be surrounded by my Latino culture or just my desire to help others achieve their dreams, I touch on it all. So if you’re looking for inspiration, or simply want to know that you’re not alone in the struggle, welcome.
What now?
Dive in and check out the content. Please feel free to comment. I’d much rather hear from readers than just crickets. I’m also always looking for topics to write about, so if you have questions about living abroad or any of my experiences, fire away. And if you really love it, please subscribe or follow me on social media.

The blog is organized by categories which can be found at the very top of each page. You can also click on the travel section to see a map of where I’ve been and what I recommend in each of those countries. Thank you so much for reading. I really hope you enjoy it!

Maya The Explorer Blog

Inspiration to not only travel abroad, but move abroad. Join me as I share my experiences traveling around the World. Visit Maya The Explorer @ #expatblog #blackExpatLife #expattravelblog #travel  #expatblog
Thursday, March 23, 2017

My First Love - Maya The Explorer

La Fortuna Waterfall. One of my favorite places on the planet.

When people ask me my favorite place in the world my answer is always the same; Costa Rica. It also happens to be the very first country  to which I traveled.  There isn’t a place, outside of San Jose, that didn’t take my breath away. You can find sleepy little towns, alligator pits, surfing meccas, volcanoes, wildlife, Rastafarians, etc. etc. You name it, it’s got it. It has something for everyone. I’ve been to Costa Rica five times, including two summer study abroad programs and I still haven’t come close to seeing everything. I especially recommend it to people traveling outside of the United States for the first time.

Maya The Explorer Blog

Inspiration to not only travel abroad, but move abroad. Join me as I share my experiences traveling around the World. Visit Maya The Explorer @ #expatblog #blackExpatLife #expattravelblog #travel #indonesia #expatblog

Beautiful sunset near Playa Tamarindo.

Chasing the Sunset in Lombok, Indonesia

Today was a beautiful, albeit strange, day in paradise. We spent most of the day lounging on the beach. When we got tired of that we decided to walk through the village. I’ve never seen a place with such unique charm. Once you leave the main road of Gili Tarwangan, you’re not in Kansas anymore. The streets were lined with eclectic houses and messy shacks. Everyone was so lively and warm. I could have wandered for hours. Somewhere along the walk we set our sights on making it to the other side of the island to watch the sunset. Continue to read Chasing the Sunset in Lombok, Indonesia.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Interested in trying AirBnB - Expat Blog

 In the world of Air B&B, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I just won big! When the pension I normally stay at near the center of town was completely booked, I used it as an opportunity to find something quaint, outside of the hustle and bustle. What I found was so much more than I could have hoped for. For the U.S. equivalent of about $80 per night, I’m staying in a two bedroom, two-bath villa with a wrap around balcony that overlooks the rice paddies.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Even the view from the bathtub is something from a postcard. There is also a crystal clear pool, a welcome drink, a local cell phone to carry with us to communicate with the reception desk, two daily round-trip rides into town with a private driver, and a 30-minute welcome foot massage. And perhaps the best part is that the staff is so welcoming, polite and smiley. Everyone is genuinely so happy, including me. I couldn’t have asked for more.  For once, I think I’ll have to have a day where I do nothing but enjoy the room.

Interested in trying AirBnB? Click here for $20 off of your first day.

Interested in trying AirBnB? Click for $20 off of your first day.

Visit Maya The Explorer - Inspiration to not only travel abroad, but move abroad. Join me as I share my travel xperiences - Maya The Explorer @
 #expatblog #blackExpatLife #expattravelblog #travel #indonesia #expatblog
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Realities of Hiring a Live-In Maid in Singapore

The Hiring Process

Hiring a maid through an agency feels like what I would imagine going to a brothel might feel like. The women are lined up outside the agency and all happily greet you simultaneously as you walk in. You go in and tell the person in charge what you’re looking for and she brings you all candidates that fit those requirements for you to interview. When the interviews are done you hire someone, and have to walk back through the line of disappointed women on your way out. It’s really the worst part of the whole process, unless of course you have to fire someone. There’s also lots of paperwork you have to fill out, a course you have to take on how to actually be a good employer, and health screenings for your new helper that have to be done beforehand.

Realities Of Hiring Maid in Singapore - Maya The Explorer
Before you hire a live-in maid, here are realities of hiring a Live-in Maid in Singapore that you have to consider before going through the process visit

#mayatheexplorer #expatlife #hiremaid #singapore #expatblog

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Traveling Italy - Expat Blog

A few years ago I took my first trip to Europe. I visited London, Barcelona and Greece. On the way back to the U.S., I scheduled a longer layover in Rome so that I could see as much of the city as humanly possible in say 10 hours (at no additional cost for the layover). It was a whirlwind, but I managed to throw my bags into a locker and be at the coliseum in time for opening. I also managed to see the Vatican museum, but not before an amazing, dirt cheap, lunch of what else… spaghetti and gelato. Cliché, but delicious nevertheless. Before I knew it, I had to head back to the airport, but it was the best layover! It left me wanting to see what the rest of Rome was like and of course outside of the city. So this year when my boyfriend suggested spending the summer in Italy I was all in. We managed to see Rome, Naples, Capri, Florence, Venice and definitely one of my favorites, Cinque Terre.
Naples was a shocker for me. When we asked people for recommendations they said it was dirty and not much to look at.  My opinion was totally different. It was chaotic in spots, but there was a beauty to this hood. I wasn’t in Sicily, but I felt the soul of Sophia Petrillo around every corner. It reminded me of everything I love about NYC… a little Spanish Harlem stoop action mixed in with beautiful churches and tiny bodegas crammed with some of the best fruit I’ve ever tasted.
We also had the Eat Pray Love pizza experience at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. Considering how wildly popular the book was, I thought everyone would know how to get there. Not the case. In fact, most people felt more comfortable telling us THEIR favorite old school pizza parlor than they did giving us directions to where we’d actually asked. And trust me, everyone had an opinion on which spot made the best pizza. We eventually found it and it was worth the hour plus wait and walk across half of Naples. Whether you go to this one, or one of the other ancient pizza places, they are definitely worth a visit.

It’s hard to pick a favorite place in Italy. I loved everything about it. From the hiking in Cinque Terre with killer ocean views and breath taking mountains to the vineyards of Tuscany, it was a perfect trip. While I long to see the whole world and sometimes struggle with going to places more than once, I’d go back in a heart beat.

Traveling Italy - Inspiration to not only travel abroad, but move abroad. Join me as I share my expat experiences while in Italy - Maya The Explorer @ #expatblog #blackExpatLife #expattravelblog #travelitaly #italy #expatblog

Traveling Solo - Black Female Travel Guide

When it comes to traveling, I’d rather go by myself than have to wait for others. In many cases people say they want to come, but then weeks go by without them booking, or works comes up, schedules change, etc. So I’ve learned that if I really want to go, then I may have to go alone. And for me that’s okay. Some of the best trips I’ve gone on have been by myself. I’ve learned a lot about myself through traveling alone and always get to do what I want to do, when I want to do it.

Maya narrates how to be wise, brave, and discerning as she explores a foreign land on her own. Join me as I share my expat experiences while Traveling Solo @  #expatblog #blackExpatLife #expattravelblog #travelsolo #solo #travel

Monday, March 13, 2017

Travel Rut: Thailand

Everyone has that go to place they travel to a lot. It might not be your favorite, but it’s so easy. You don’t have to plan much, it’s cheap, and you know your way around or feel comfortable. So you end up going, over and over again. Maybe it’s Vegas, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Miami or New York. I’ve seen my share of those places, but since moving to Asia it’s been Thailand. I’ve been there at least 6 times and it’s a great, quick getaway; but is it keeping me from exploring other places? So in honor of the New Year and my goal of seeing the world, I’d like to highlight the beauty of Thailand and pledge to leave it alone for a while and see something new this year. Continue to read @
Thursday, March 9, 2017

Planning a trip to the Maldives? Here are the 5 Things to Consider

Planning a trip to the Maldives? Here are some things to consider before setting sail on the ultimate beach vacay. Learn the 5 Things to Consider When Planning a Trip to Maldives
. By considering these 5 things before booking, you are sure to find the perfect place for you. The planning is the hardest part. The rest is paradise.  #maldives #mayatheexplorer #travel #vacation #triptomaldives #expatlife

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Maldives On a Budget - 5 Reasons Why Guesthouses are an Excellent Option

Planning a trip to the Maldives? Like not having to pay an arm and a leg? Here are 5 reasons why guesthouses are an excellent option. Visit #expatlife #expatblog #blackfemaletravel #blogger #maldives 
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Monday, February 27, 2017

South Africa, Tenikwa - Walking With the Big Cats

Thandie was in total control of our walk. When she wanted to rest, we did.

This white lion was the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen. His color makes it difficult for him to blend in with the bush surroundings, in other words he’s easily hunted and it’s difficult for him to hunt because his prey can see him easily.

Want to walk with big cats?
At the Tenikwa Animal Rehab Center, which specializes in big cats such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, maracals, wild cats, they have them all. You have a chance to literally walk side by side with them. Visit for Maya's review.  #blackfemaletravel #expatliving #expt travelblogger 

Trekking Bukit Lawang, Indonesia - Expat Travel

Interested in seeing orangutan and hiking in beautiful surroundings? Check Maya's review on jungle trekking in Bukit Lawang, Indonesia #expatlife #solotraveller #blackfemaletravel #indonesia #bukitlawang #mayatheexplorer #solotravel
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Visit Sri Lanka - Maya The Explorer

Sri Lanka is a destination that often gets overlooked. Check out why it should be your next vacation @  
#mayatheexplorer  #srilanka #travelSrilanka #expatlife #blackfemaletravel #vacation

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My California Top 3 - Maya The Explorer

1. Yosemite
Yosemite was one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been. I hiked, rode a cruiser bike around and just wandered aimlessly through the streams and fields. Here are the things you can do here:
Arts & Culture
Featured Hikes
Gold Panning
Horseback Riding
Rock Climbing
Spas and Wellness
Tasting & Breweries
Winter Activities

2. Sequoia National Forest

The Sequoia National Forest is a sight to behold as well. The Park is named after Sequoia Tree.
Sequoia’s are the world’s largest single living trees. Here are activities you can do in this themed Park

Black Bear Encounters
Dining Options
Cocktail Lounge
Retail & Ski Shops
Bearpaw High Sierra Camp
Sequoia Campgrounds

3. Pacific Coast Highwa
Pacific Coast Highway has some of the most scenic ocean views ever and is dotted with interesting stopping points along the way. Here are interesting stopping points along the way.

Hearst Castle
Big Sur
The Monterey Bay Aquarium
Piedras Blancas Elephant Seals Beach
Santa Monica Pier
Golden Gate Bridge
Point Reyes National Seashore
Redwood National Park
Florence Sea Lion Caves
Olympic National Park
My California Top 3 - Maya The Explorer

California is quite a large state with a bit of something for everyone. So what’s your top 3?. Visit Maya The Explorer for more Top 3 of your next Destination @

#mayatheexplorer #california #Yosemite #SequoiaNationalForest #PacificCoastHighway #travelcalifornia #californiatop #expattravel
Monday, February 20, 2017

5 Advantages to Staying at a Guest House in the Maldives

5 Advantages to Staying at a Guest House in the Maldives

1. Price
To say that staying at a guesthouse decreases the cost of your stay would be an understatement. My boyfriend and I paid $3000 in total for a 7-day trip to the Maldives. That included round-trip tickets from Singapore, round-trip seaplanes from Male, boat transfers, all meals (and they were delicious), two dives each and a welcome massage.
2. Culture 
Guesthouses are located on islands where Maldivians actually live. You are free to roam the island, modestly clothed of course, and take in daily life.
3. Access to the island
I’ve heard some complain about being restricted within their resort. This was not the case for us. We were free to roam the guesthouse grounds, the entire island and even had a private island that we had access to via kayak. When we grew tired of the hotel we went for a stroll or kayaked.
4. Avoid the crowds
We basically had the beach to ourselves the entire stay. There was no competing for umbrellas and chairs. No crowded pool or restaurant.
5. Price
Did I mention how cheap it was? For me saving is important because it allows me to travel even more, but not at the expense of the experience.

To get the full experience, make sure you have an ocean front property. This place was popular, but looked a little shabby and was not on the beach.

Pool and outdoor restaurant at Casa Mia.

This outdoor living space was great for reading or stretching out and enjoying the view from our room.

Planning a trip to the Maldives? Like not having to pay and arm and a leg? Here are 5 reasons why guesthouses are an excellent option. Visit #maldives #travelmaldives #staymaldives #mayatheexplorer 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

5 Tips for a Fantastic Southern Africa Safari

5 Tips for a Fantastic Southern Africa Safari. Planning for a Southern Africa safari? Check out these tips to help make your experience one to boast about.Visit #safari #southernsafari #mayatheexplorer #africasafari #africa

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