9 Dec

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

I’m now doing social work by helping low-income/poor families find the resources they need to strengthen their family and change their toxic environments.  So how did I get here? Well, like anything in life it was a journey.  After trying to start a wellness travel business and meeting great psychologists/social workers and reading many psychology/self help/spiritual books I naturally gravitated to the field. Well, even going back to my childhood (like most psychologists like to ask) I was always very curious about everything and enjoyed analyzing people. And then in high school, I loved science especially learning about the human body and how our mind and body works together. Life took many turns and I ended up in a communications/marketing career for over ten years.

Now I know why I had to wait so long to get into the delicate field of social work/mental health because your soul and mind must be strong to deal with the pain and suffering many people go through. It’s a pain I’ve never witnessed before of people lost with no direction of even where to find their basic needs. The stories I’ve heard are ones that make you wonder: how is it that one person could deal with so much adversity and suffering? It really puts everything in perspective. And while the stories are beyond sad I see a humanity of everyday people just trying to make it the best way they can.  I see each person, I’ve encountered at my job, like me who just needs help and for someone to validate him or her.  I would say even a year ago I probably couldn’t have worked in this field because I was still trying to fight my own demons of guilt and shame. And due to my shame and not thinking highly of myself I was quite judgmental about everyone.  I probably would have judged these families quite harshly by saying, “well I’ve worked hard my whole life so why can’t you do it as well,” or “why can’t you just follow directions or go to your appointments.”  I also would have been triggered by many of these women who have low self esteem. I’m not saying I’m totally zen and have worked out all of my issues but I’m at a place that I’ve learned to be more accepting of ME, which was the most important part, and accepting of other people’s differences.  And I have finally learned to be vulnerable and thanks to that I’m able to feel someone’s pain more which allows me to understand them on a much deeper level.

How was I able to get a job in this field with no experience:

As much as I complained about communications and about writing boring press releases/talking points and pitching media I have to say all the skills I acquired throughout the years helped me land the job. Communications taught me how to promote and market something very well and I used those skills to market myself to this new field.

Here are some tips for those looking to change careers:

  • LinkedIn is your best friend-find people in the new field and try to set up informational meetings with them
  • Research all you can about the new field and find connections to what you already know
  • Many skills are transferable: people management skills, outreach, and coordinating events, etc.. Show how those transferable skills will be beneficial to the job.
  • And don’t be embarrassed to blast your resume to all the organizations you’re interested in. Always write a personal email about why you would like to meet the hiring director
  • And show enthusiasm in the interview about your strong desire to learn!

In the end everything happens for a reason. I had to acquire a strong background in communications and spend some time healing my wounds in order to be where I’m at now.

Have any of you changed careers? If so, what was your experience like.

What do you think of miracles?

8 Nov

The word “miracle” brings about different emotions and definitions. You have the rational people who say everything in life can be explained by facts and statistics and then there are those who believe in their own healing/spiritual/religious beliefs. Who’s right? Nobody really knows.  The rationals say healing/spirutal beliefs lack repeatability and healing involves laws different from other sciences.  However, recent advances in neuroscience reveal how healing changes occur and affect enhanced functioning in the brain through meditation, mindfulness, and prayer (Segal, 2007).  Since earliest recorded history, all known cultures, including all of the great world religions, have aided people to center themselves through prayer and meditation—describing miracles through prayer.


I personally believe in God-in a higher being- and my faith has been tested many times. People tell me all the time, “why do you believe in something that you don’t really know exists or why would God want you to suffer.” And I tell them, “I just know he’s within me.” I don’t have a rational explanation for why I believe.  My faith and the power of the mind have helped me through some tough situations in life: my parent’s divorce, bad boyfriends, bad bosses, getting fired, and now fertility struggles. However, there are times when my “little cynics” come out and say, ” you’re stuck in this bad situation for life and you will never get out of it–it will only get worse.”  The mind is powerful and if you let it go without controlling it you could spiral out of control. So each day, I work hard to control those “little cynics.” It’s not always easy and it’s a fight I go through, at times, to remind myself that I have the power within me to think differently.

And what keeps me going are some of the miracles I’ve witnessed in my life. My little brother was very sick  when he was a baby and we didn’t think he was going to make it but one day family members and a priest prayed by his bedside, and today my brother is alive and well. Of course the rational people would say there was a certain percentage due to some study that your brother was going to make it. I tend to believe prayer had something to do with it. Another miracle I witnessed was a friend going on a pilgrimage who prayed, during the entire journey, to win the greencard lottery to come back to live in the US, and a couple months later she got the greencard. It’s true luck has something to do with it but one cannot deny prayer. I plan to continue to believe in prayer!

Below are some tips on how to control the mind.

The “placebo effect” is evidence of this. In the medical field, placebos have worked in countless ways, including sugar pills used to cure depression or, in some cases (over 40 years ago), surgeons would perform placebo surgical procedures that produced positive results for the patient.

Personally, I try to live life aware of my self-fulfilling prophecies. If I wake up with an attitude that the world is unfair, I’ll inevitably meet a world full of selfish meanies. But if I wake up in the morning and draw my attention to all the times in my life that people helped me or just showed kindness, I walk into a world of lovely individuals.

Time and time again research shows us how powerful this tactic can be on a human being. For our purposes, this is confirmation that our minds are powerful tools that can take us places as sacred as healing the body.

What are your thoughts? How do you control your mind? What miracles have you witnessed?


Two important lessons I learned on Facebook

20 Oct

I try not be on Facebook much because I tend to get caught up in looking at pictures and virtually “gossiping.”  However, sometimes I go on to see what events I’ve been invited to. The other day when I logged on I noticed some people had posted the image below for “October 15  Pregnancy and Infant less Month.”  It caught my attention because my husband and I have been trying to conceive for a couple years now and it has emotionally and physically taken its toll on us.

It has been one of those journeys where you have absolutely no control, and at times my dark side has come out in full force. Another real reason I didn’t want to be on social media much was to avoid the pictures of babies and bellies. I was jealous of every friend with a belly and who had a baby shower.  How is that I wasn’t capable of being one of them? Why did they seem to have the perfect life? And that all changed when I read the posts of two young ladies on Facebook.

They opened up their hearts to expose their pain about their miscarriages and fertility struggles. I wasn’t the only one dealing with the uncertainty. One of the women after many miscarriages finally got pregnant and the other one plans to keep trying after her miscarriage. I used to look at women like them and say, “well at least you can get pregnant fast,” or just look at any pregnant woman and roll my eyes. I didn’t feel any empathy for them. A miscarriage is the worst thing that could happen to anyone, and I hope to never experience it.  It’s not good to have so much anger and jealousy built in you; it took me nowhere.

Lesson learned: Their powerful posts taught me to always be happy for someone’s achievements because you never know what he or she had to do to achieve them. In the end, we’re more similar than different. Now, when I’m on social media I look at pictures differently knowing that they may represent all or neither of the following emotions: pain, a struggle, joy, a tear, happiness, and the picture is just the tip of the iceberg to a bigger more powerful story. This post is to being happy for others and celebrating their successes!



Vermont and all it’s charm and pristine beauty

16 Oct

Last year, my husband and I wanted to visit Vermont for the fall foliage but I was too stressed with the Adrivo wellness travel business and other things that I said “no.” Fast forward to today and I said “yes” because in life you could always find excuses/reasons why not to do something or you could take an opportunity when it comes at you. Yes, Vermont is a far drive from DC and most people were saying why are you going so far for just three days; it’s too much of an intense trip. One thing I’ve learned is that people all have opinions and advice, but you don’t always have to do what they say. It’s important to listen to your inner voice.

Vermont is a state that has learned to say “NO” to big developers in order to maintain the rural feel of its farms, forests and charmed small towns. Vermont is about 76% forest.  We stayed in a country farmhouse on the Mad-River Valley which was a beautiful experience to wake up to green fields, a rushing river, and red and yellow leaves. We later hiked on top of Mt. Mansfield to witness the endless waves of reds, yellows, greens, and orange leaves. Nature is remarkable and it’s important to realize we’re a part of it, and need to take care of it as we take care of ourselves.

Take the time to visit Vermont not just for its nature but to also see its charmed towns like Warren and Stowe that still have the original country general stores and churches–it’s a way to step back into time.

Like I’ve said many times before, travel is my therapy because just like a doctor prescribes medicines for certain health issues certain travel destinations could also have the secret cure. Just watch this video to better understand my traveling philosophy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaExiKsvt9A&feature=youtu.be


Another birthday but this time in the Bahamas

16 Sep

I’m one lucky girl who got to celebrate her birthday in paradise. So another year older means wiser, right?! Every year, I like to reflect about the year to see what I’ve learned and how I could improve.

Here are some lessons:

Starting a business is no joke. It’s hard work to get people to trust and support you. My hat goes off to anyone who has started a business. It takes a certain personality I just don’t have. I can’t be “on” 24/7. I do enjoy my free time too much.

It’s ok to quit! According to psychologist Will Meek, in the US, we could say that “finishing what you started” or “never giving up on something” would be on that list. Ultimately, I think it is important value the opposite as well: having the foresight, courage, and trust to end something that isn’t working, or that we are not longer passionate about, and find the next course of action in life. A simple rule of thumb for when to quit is: when something is not improving with substantial effort.

 Finally getting over the stigma of quitting jobs. I have worked in communications for over ten years and I’ve had many different jobs, all of them communications, but worked at different organizaitons and companies. Every time I would quit a job after 1-3 years my parents and other family members would right away say, “you’re so unstable! Can’t you just stick to something.” And finally, I could tell them, “Quitting lets you do something else, rather than spending the rest of your life like the monkey trapped with its hand in the jar. In all the places I’ve worked at I always put my best effort forward but it ended up not being for me. Qutting is not a sin!


Change is hard and takes time so don’t spend too much time trying to change someone beacause he or she may just be like that for life. Focus on your own territory and problems.

People will always love or hate you or have no opinion. Such is life. Can’t please and can’t get along with everyone.

Don’t compare your life to others on social media because, at times, it’s all about bragging and never showing your true face. I also only post the best pictures on social media so I guess to others my life does seem amazing. This year I’ll try to post a mix of everything:)

In the end take life as it comes at you–one day at a time!!

Why Wellness Travel Retreats?

2 Jun


Why retreats? It seems like these days everyone is organizing one and buzz words like: mindfulness, meditation, yoga, inner voice, healing your SELF, self-love, Awareness, holistic healing, creativity, storytelling, Buddhism, and wellness are everywhere!! Then you have big companies like Omega, Trip Tribe and Insight Meditation Community of Washington, that organize retreats all year around about any possible topic you could think of like, WRITING YOUR MONOLOGUE AS A WAY TO LEAVE YOUR LEGACY or Refreshing Farm-to-Table Escape in Sonoma, California

So why would I even dare get into this market with so much noise? One simple answer: People in Washington, DC desperately need it. I’ve lived in Washington, DC for ten years and worked on Capitol Hill, the State Department, and the World Bank, just to name a few places, and saw how people longed to feel genuine support, and just to feel and act human.

I conducted a survey with over 2000 working professionals in the DC metro area in 2013. I’ve included some of the best quotes from that survey.

When asked if they think DC is a hard city to live in some said:

“It’s very hard to get away from work and have time to cope with your problems”

“there is significant pressure to succeed in DC. you’re surrounded by successful people, and it’s difficult to find support in that atmosphere”

Do you feel lonely in DC:

“I think the biggest challenge with living in DC is that for a city, it has a small town temperament, where you know a lot of people but don’t want to speak to any of them.”

“I feel like DC doesn’t have as great of a sense of community as other cities I’ve lived in due to the transitory nature of it’s residents and the spread out city structure.”

“it is easy to meet people but hard to build and sustain friendships”

The top three reasons someone may have problems living in DC:

  • competitive environment
  • too much pressure at work
  • working too much

The number one thing that helps people move on from a bad or stressful situation:


How hard is it to create a community and keep it strong for over ten years:

The majority said somewhat hard

The overlying theme is people are in need of strong relationships and community. They want to feel like they belong to the city and to certain relationships. However, work takes over having the opportunity to create those strong relationships and a normal healthy life.

I also personally felt like most of the people surveyed: very lonely without anyone to lean on. Most of the relationships were superficial which is why I decided to start a wellness travel business called, “Adrivo: The Travel Session” to get DC people to go on a three-day weekend retreat to feel more connected. On the retreat they would  be sharing experiences with others going through their same situation and at the same time they would be exposed to the great beauty they have right in their backyard. All the retreats are in beautiful hidden treasures within 1-3 hours from DC.

Why are our retreats different from others?

  • Local Sustainability: Our retreats take place in not very well-known treasured locations. Our goal is to preserve historic and local towns that have a rich history and beautiful nature nearby. One day is spent with a local tour guide visiting the sites and learning about the history and its people.
  • Holistic approach: We believe the mind, body and spirit are connected. Every issue or problem is interconnected. We don’t only work on the physical aspect of an issue but look at the person as a whole being.
  • Themed Retreats: We work with different age groups, genders, and ethnicities from the Washington, DC metro area. Our retreats are customized in a way to help the issues affecting certain age groups, gender or ethnic groups. We don’t believe one size fits all but each group deals with problems in a different way.
  • Being part of a community: We have an established strong support community of people, from the Washington, DC metro area, interested in adding balance and meaning to their lives. Those who go on the retreats will automatically become members of that strong community. The members are waiting for them with open arms. We do not want the experience of the retreat to end after three days but to continue for a lifetime.
  • Diverse Multicultural Engagement: Some of those leading the workshops come from diverse backgrounds, either from a different country/state or speak a different language. We plan to have several retreats in Spanish. The end goal is to be able to offer the retreats for free to the disadvantaged populations.










15 May


              Photo: Saptak Ganguly-Stocksy  

 Yes, that’s a screaming child, and no it’s not me when I was little. The reason I added the picture is because as an adult I could sometimes be that screaming child.  I could also throw tantrums when things don’t go my way. So why as adults, do we still have that screaming child in us? Well, as my therapist says it has do with obsessions and not accepting reality. So what is an obsession? According to Psychology Today,  at its worst, obsession is an iron mask that permits us to gaze in only one direction at one thing—or, to use another metaphor, a giant tidal wave that crashes through our minds and washes away all other concerns. We may become obsessed with a person, a place, a goal, a subject—but obsession amounts to the same thing in all cases:  addiction. I’ve had many obsessions over my lifetime, so far, and none of them resulted in anything good. However, there were some good obsessions that did help me.  Being obsessed with doing something travel related led me to starting my business and being obsessed with personal development has opened up many doors leading me to have better relationships.

Obsession is a big thing in the USA where winning is everything and  loosing is devastating.  Our obsessive focus on winning in our culture to some degree reflects our belief that competition is good and the best way to gauge the value of our individual and collective enterprise, particularly in relation to business. This quote from Psychology Today really resonated with me: “Perhaps the final indictment of an obsession with competition and winning, is that it restrains people from engaging in a personal journey of self knowledge and finding one’s place in life as an entirely internal and personal process, not one that requires the comparisons and constant competition with others as a measure of self-worth.

Bad obsessions:

Obsessing over a guy who clearly had no interest in me. I became consumed by him. I would check my phone and emails constantly to see if he had responded. I asked my therapist, why was I so obsessed?  He said, “it was because you couldn’t face the reality of being alone. It was better to be obsessed and hopeful about the guy calling you than face the reality of loneliness.” The reality that I may be alone with no one.

Bad bosses: I would constantly dream about them hoping something bad would happen. My focus of conversation revolved around trashing my bosses. Again, I wasn’t facing the fact that my shyness and not standing up for myself was causing them to act a certain way. I was allowing them to step allover me. I was too scared of confrontation so the best thing was to obsessivley gossip and vent because in that moment it felt good but never resolved anything.

Due to being raised in the US and living in a city like Washington, DC where you’re surrounded by successful people competition became my way of life. I would see a colleague of mine who had married a great guy, had two beautiful children and was director of a creative communications firm and I right away wanted to be her. I obsessed with wanting to get into one of the big PR firms, getting married and having kids. I wanted to be that person. Again, I wasn’t facing reality that she was her own person facing life her own way.  And why did I consider her to be successful? Is it because society teaches us that in order to be a successful woman you need to be married with kids and be in a leadership position at work. I wasn’t facing the reality of who “Adriana” really was. I guess I was scared to find out that I was different from what society considered to be normal and successful.  Today, there are many fulfilling options to not getting the dream job, man or baby. Accept that we’re all different and everyone has his or her own journey.   

Lesson Learned:

Learn to accept reality and know that there isn’t always one solution to a problem. We have to learn to accept ourselves and our situation and do the best we can with the options there may be. I don’t want to be that crying kid anymore who gets mad when she doesn’t get her way. I want to tell that demanding and crying kid that everything will be ok in the end. It’s like when a child throws a tantrum in a store because you didn’t buy him or her a toy so you just say, “I’m not going to buy you the toy right now but don’t worry there won’t be a shortage of toys any time soon.” Follow the conversation about obsession on the DC Full Wellness Spectrum community. 





It’s Really About the Journey Not the End Result

6 May

PicMonkey Collage

When I was little I daydreamed of wanting to be a star to get all the attention, to dress in glamorous dresses and to travel the world in luxury, and now I still sometimes catch myself daydreaming of attending a red carpet event. It all sounds nice: glamor, fame, recognition, travel, money, and beauty but at what price. I remember when I was ten years old I took a Mexican dance class and it was hard work to learn all the steps, and it took a lot of practice and dedication to memorize the routines. I wasn’t cut out for it because it was too hard.  Before anyone gets noticed or makes it there’s a process of sweat, tears, sleepless nights, and of being just awful at your craft. I learned about the process from the book The Artist’s Way A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity.  “We want to be great-immediately great- but that is not how greatness or dreams happen. It’s an awkward, tentative, even embarrassing process. There will be many times when we won’t look good-to ourselves or anyone else. We need to stop demanding that we do . It’s impossible to get better and look good at the same time. You need to give yourself permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist or whatever it is you want to be you have a chance to reach the end result. When you’re a beginner you’re like a sponge you absorb and want to learn everything. Mistakes only makes us better.

It’s easy to daydream and criticize all our idols or those who are doing what we would like to be doing than expose ourselves. Many times the fear stems from perfectionism. “Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. It is a loop-an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole. I have lived with that word for way too long thanks to all the lovely bosses I’ve had. Most of my bosses would get stuck on the details rather than look at the whole paper or bigger picture. They would get stuck on a typo, a missed comma, a sentence or a word and not be able to go beyond that. Thanks to them analyzing every mistake I always feared writing.

Like anything in life if you want to be good at something you have to put yourself out there no matter the criticism you may receive. Some criticism is good when it’s constructive and will help you grow, and other criticism is not even worth it when someone just says, “that was bad or it didn’t make sense.” I always ask them to tell me the “why” it was bad and the “how” it could have been improved.

Moral of the Story:

Stop idolizing the end result. The nice glossy Pepsi can, the Apple iPhone, Madonna, Gucci, Mother Teresa and so many others all went through the process.  The creation of my business “Adrivo: The Travel Session” has been a three-year process, and it’s still ongoing, of many changes and doubts. Now, I’m slowly gaining a little traction. Through the process I’ve learned to ask for help, listen to people’s advice,  and look for ways to improve. No matter how hard it has been or will get I won’t quit this business venture. The “Adriana” who would quit when things got tough or when the criticism was too much to handle no longer exists.  If you want to work on your passion you have to be consistent and put in the work and exposure or else you could just sit on the sidelines criticizing others or spend your days daydreaming.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, Especially in DC

29 Apr

PicMonkey Collage

The reason for the post is because of an article I found in the Washington Post titled, ” Two Washington Post reporters head to Alaska to find romance.” Although it was written a couple years ago it’s still relevant. I also left DC to find romance. As they say in the article, “Guys here are more interested in power than in romance. We were used to blue-suited guys who hunched over their phones and dragged around briefcases stuffed with legal documents — or the nuclear code.”

After I had been living in Washington, DC for about three years, during 2005-2007, and had dated several guys: one who traveled all the time, foreigners who were just in the US for some fun, and some who were more interested in dancing and partying than forming anything serious I decided to move to Spain to see if I could find someone from the motherland. Anyway, the destination didn’t change the situation what needs to change is YOU. If you let men be self-centered egomaniacs allowing them to just focus on their work then that’s what they’ll do and become. Washington, DC could be a hard city to have a normal easy going life where dinner is served at 6pm and friends or family eat together.  People work way too much in this city, and for WHAT? To have eye bags, sleeping problems, health issues and relationship problems. What happened to just working your normal 9-5, preferably at a place not too far from your home, being home for dinner, taking the dog or kids to the park and having time to have nice conversations.

After twelve years I finally said “adios” to my communications career in which I was surrounded by workaholics with eye bags and people glued to their desks. People would leave work late and eat whatever crap they could find. Why do we need so much money? To be able to eat out at the hottest new spot, buy a house, have the latest gadgets, travel to exotic places for a few days or to buy a new car.  It’s hard to find someone because everyone, including women, are too self-centered on themselves or careers. I always tell my husband you can’t have it all: an amazing career, a house, a good marriage, good health by working all the time. Sometimes you have to take that pay cut or work less hours. In reality we don’t need much to live: food, shelter, and clothing. Ok–reality check there are many people who have loans to pay thanks to the wonderful education system we have in this country where furthering your education can put you in debt for many years. And if you have kids, you’ll probably have more expenses. I get it sometimes our expenses are more than just food, shelter and clothing.  However, we could learn to also live with less clutter and material possessions.

The moral of the story: You could go to Alaska or any other exotic place to find your dream guy but at some point reality needs to sink in. Relationships are hard work and require sacrifices on both parts. Washington, DC needs to stop glorifying powerful men like they’re the shit with money and prestige because then those men start to think they are the greatest thing on earth thanks to women buying into that whole “power” thing. In the end it comes to knowing what you want. I knew I wanted to get married and one day have a family. In accepting some sacrifices would need to be made like staying in a certain city or budgeting I finally found a man and later got married.

I know how hard it can to be single in a  city like DC where for every 100 women in the District, there are 89.5 men, fewer than in any of the 50 states. In the past year I created an online community for those interested in improving their well-being through wellness and travel, it’s very much needed in a city like DC, and personally helps me a lot. We have several relationship therapists who are part of the community so please do reach out to them or join and who knows you may even meet someone:)

Family Reunion in Denver

22 Apr

You’ve heard me say it a million times, “what’s the purpose of your trip?” If you want travel to be therapeutic you need to know what’s your “intent” which allows the opportunity for maximum benefit. If your intent is for it to be therapeutic you need to go with a certain mindset, but keep in mind when you go with family your intent should be “let it be.”

It always helps when the destination is walkable, full of art, history and nature which allows you to focus on all those new sensory experiences that help calm the mind. Family is family…….you just got to love them.  However, on a family trip it’s not about you it’s about the group. Many times people will try to change things around and want to do things their way, but in the end that will only cause you STRESS!

After the last family trip I told myself don’t try to change things or get upset people don’t want to hike with you for hours. On a family trip let the river take you and enjoy every little thing along the way. It doesn’t make sense to be frustrated with different opinions or that people don’t listen to you. It takes too much energy from you to try to control everything.  On this trip I would have done things differently but I truly enjoyed it because I found beauty in our differences. In the end, what mattered is that we were able to spend some time together.  I just know family trips are not about “ME” or trying to relax or be mindful or find inner peace it’s about enjoying the family for what it is.

If you do want to go on trips to help your mind, body and spirit then you need to go on one of my retreats:)