Bhutan

Most of the time when I tell people that I went to Bhutan, they have no idea what I’m talking about. I then gently go into “Bhutan 101” mode and kindly mention that this tiny landlocked country of 750,000 people lies between the two giants of India and China and has largely been cocooned from the rest of the world for most of its existence.

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Flaco Zacarias
The Circle of Life!

How can anyone not become instantly mesmerized by Africa when they hear the beginning of that classic Elton John song accompanied by the masterful opening to Disney’s The Lion King. If you’re a wildlife junkie like me, you’ve already seen the superb remake of the classic 1994 film and immediately wanted to go on safari!

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Flaco Zacarias
“What do you do?”

This question used to give me an unnecessary amount of anxiety. Not a single job title on earth would ever suffice for another person outside the travel business to understand what I do. The term “travel agent” generally implies that I work at a brick-and-mortar office on Main Street selling mass-market cruises and all-inclusive beach vacations, which is most definitely inaccurate.

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Flaco Zacarias
Holi Festival of Colors

Fun! My words cannot possibly do trip to India justice, however, the first word that does come to mind is just that… fun! I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to India multiple times over my 12 year career, and each trip has been absolute magic. Even visiting the same cities and sites consistently proves to be a completely different experience each time! Trips to India cannot possibly be replicated.

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Flaco Zacarias
Polonnaruwa

We all have off days. Sometimes it’s difficult or practically impossible to be in our best form and mental state of mind at all times, however, we have to make the best of it. When I visited the archaeological ruins of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka’s aptly name Cultural Triangle, I could tell I was off. I had absolutely everything going for me… a great night of sleep, some amazing Ceylon tea, enjoyed phenomenal conversation with my superb Sinhalese guide, and to top it all off the sun was shining in a spotless deep blue sky. My personal life was fantastic, and I had nothing to worry about. Why did I feel grumpy?

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Adapting to Change

Morning game drive in Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park. 9am. Trying to find that ever-elusive leopard. Phone rings. My country manager takes the call that I thought would be addressed in a very whispered voice given our surroundings. I was wrong.

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Ranthambore

Ranthambore and so many of India’s tiger reserves and national parks are incredibly magical. They work really well into any itinerary in north or south India and tend to resonate well with guests that have either been on safari before, are keen wildlife enthusiasts, and - most importantly - patient.

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The majestic, exotic frontier city of Jodhpur...

I could bombard you all with facts, dates, and names of rulers and dynasties that you will ultimately forget or lose interest in...but I’ll spare you. I would prefer to focus on the emotions, experiences, and revelations that I felt when traveling to this distant, inspiring, and splendid place during my visit to India last April.

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It started with a tattoo

Just over a year ago, I dropped my daughter off at her off at her mom’s house and drove to Apex Tattoo in Oakland. I was overcome with the positive desire to finally make this commitment. It felt right. I didn’t even know what I was going to get or where it was going to go…but it was happening, and no one could convince me otherwise. I had a few ideas and sketches that were discussed with the artist and staff, and we all agreed on one design unanimously. Two hours later, I had my first ever tattoo on my left deltoid, and the design had a deep, personal meaning rooted in alchemic symbolism. It felt right. It still does.

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