Costa Rica

Ever scroll through your facebook feed and feel slightly worse than you felt before? I've developed this horrible habit of reading my feed first thing each morning. It makes me WANT. Want pets, want cupcakes, want weddings, want babies! (ok, not really on the last one. Not quite ready for munchkins). But mostly it makes me want to travel. It seems everyone I know is on some kind of European sojourn this summer, or is surfing in Santa Monica waters or baby-mooning in Hawaii.

Don't get me wrong. I am genuinely happy for all my friends (and, acquaintances) and I want them to vacate as much as possible. And I'm glad I get to see what they are up to and discover new places through them (virtually). But I still can't help thinking, Man, I would love to go on an island vacation. One day....I can't help feeling what we're not supposed to feel...a little, teeny-tiny bit of...jealousy. Damn Facebook!

I used to travel quite a bit. After living in India for a couple years in middle and high school, I decided I needed to one day see the whole world. So I took the opportunity to live in London for a year during undergrad. While there, I traveled western Europe for the first time. Ah, Paris!

When I started working, I took the 26 days of vacation my employer doled out each year and used them to travel to exotic places like Costa Rica and Peru.My wanderlust went unquenched during business school -- while my classmates took every opportunity to travel the world, I visited my fiance in Seattle (not complaining - Seattle is now one of my favorite places!) and tried to save money for the upcoming entrepreneurial ad-venture.

Manual Antonia, Costa Rica

Being a bootstrapping entrepreneur is often an over-glorified occupation. When I tell folks  I run my own company, they are all, "mad props!," "that is so awesome!", "you're living the dream!". And it is awesome. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else with my time. But if living the dream means not getting paid to work 80-100hr weeks and never having time or money to take a vacation, and not being able to pick a wedding date because you are so preoccupied with your work...then the dream is a bit messed up. Or maybe not... maybe all we really  want is to spend our time doing what we love. I'm lucky to say that I do that. But the inescapable reality is that there's a steep price to pay for it. My wanderlust remains unquenched.

Somewhere in Scotland

I chose this path aware of the trade offs I would have to make. And despite those morning post-Facebook moments of jealousy that creep up on me, I have to say that I am pretty happy. The mister-to-be and I have found creative ways to have fun on the cheap -- often by cooking up some amazing meals that take us to far away places. This is one such meal. While eating this, sip a margarita and imagine yourself looking over clear blue ocean waters. Vacations can be everywhere you are -- you just have to will yourself to vacate for a few moments.

Seared Mahi Mahi Tacos with Mango Pineapple Salsa

Seared Mahi Mahi Tacos with Mango Pineapple Salsa (Serves 3) (Adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

  • 2 filets mahi mahi
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 3 tbsp red onion
  • 1 serrano chili
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • handful of fresh mint  (optional)
  • 6 tortillas
  1. Preheat the oven to 250. Wrap the tortilla stack in foil and bake until warmed.
  2. Finely dice the mango, pineapple, red onion, chili (seeded or with seeds depending how much heat you like - I used the whole thing), cilantro, and mint. Combine in a bowl with the orange juice and lime juice and some salt. Stir to combine flavors and let it stand for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the fish by sprinkling salt and fresh ground pepper onto the non-skin side. Add oil to a pan and place the filets in there over medium heat. Cook roughly 3 minutes per side (maybe more depending how thick your filets are), until the fish is just opaque and bounces back upon touch.
  4. Chop up the fish. In a tortilla, layer some fish and lots of mango/pineapple salsa. Really don't need anything else.

Seared Mahi Mahi Tacos with Mango Pineapple Salsa