Welcome to Epic 7 Travel!
I’m Marielena (pronounced Muh-ree-uh-lay-na), Epic 7 Travel’s founder, writer and co-photographer (my husband, Jason, lends his talents as the other co-photographer - all photos/videos are ours unless noted). I’ll transport you to places above and underwater with visual storytelling to inspire you to Live the Unforgettable. I’ll also provide you with suggestions and resources to help you undertake journeys of which you’ve always dreamed.
Are you someone who loves to explore and escape to beautiful places in your mind’s eye? Does your anticipation and excitement build as you research your next destination? Or, do you love vacation travel, but dread planning (like my husband)? Either way, I invite you to join the Epic 7 Travel community to:
Empower you with ideas for new explorations
Propel you towards enriching experiences that transform your perspectives
Ignite passion for new adventures near and far
Connect you with a community of like-minded individuals
Streamline your planning and packing with my tips for land-based and scuba diving possibilities for 65+ countries on all 7 continents.
I’ll update the site regularly with new destinations and tips, so be sure to check back or sign up for my monthly newsletter.
Come join me and embrace the extraordinary!
Chasing a Dream and Starting a Travel Blog
After a mind-blowing, awe-inspiring, and life-changing trip to Antarctica in 2016, I decided to move on from the corporate world (CPA, business school, 12-year career in healthcare marketing).
While my husband and I planned the trip to commemorate a milestone birthday by visiting our 7th continent in our 7th year together, it also served as the launching point for my career pivot. During the trip, photographers, storytellers, and conservationists inspired me to chase my dream.
Given my passion for travel, I’ve always been the go-to person for travel advice for friends, family and co-workers. They often joke that they need an atlas to locate my chosen destinations. For years, they’ve encouraged me to share travel stories, tips and photography more broadly. After Antarctica, I finally decided to take the leap and Epic 7 Travel was born.
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo
What Spawned My Passion For Travel?
Growing up in the Midwest with parents who worked for the airlines allowed me to explore the U.S. throughout my youth. The international travel bug bit me after a European summer backpacking trip my sophomore year of college.
It fully took hold during a 6-month study abroad program in Sydney, Australia, my junior year. During the program, British and Australian travelers on gap years (a foreign concept to me), inspired me to embark upon a self-funded, three-month round-the-world trip after graduation. 65 countries later (and counting), I’m continually energized and inspired by traveling and experiencing the world.
I will always remember the sage wisdom provided by a couple in their late 60s whom I met while black water rafting in New Zealand. They shared, “Travel while you’re young. Make it a priority. Don’t assume you can see the world when you retire as the future is uncertain.” Already a prolific saver from my summer and work-study jobs, I vowed to take their advice and explore at least two new countries each year.
Negotiating for three to four weeks vacation throughout my career afforded me the opportunity to keep that promise to myself and explore the world while expanding my horizons.
The Misadventures of Marielena
During and after trips, I would share my stories, which became coined, “The Misadventures of Marielena.” I found that on top of being extremely entertaining and character-building adventures for me, the stories were also a form of comic relief to my friends and family due to random events that could only happen to someone with my many idiosyncrasies:
- Directionally INEPT (North is in front of me as far as I’m concerned. I would NOT have survived as a hunter/gatherer)
- Extremely fair complexion (I think I might glow in the dark)
- Deathly afraid of snakes and spiders (both manage to find me like heat seeking missiles above and below water and send me screeching!)
- Exceptionally accident-prone (emergency eye bath after a raspberry vinaigrette incident anyone?)
- Terrified of heights (note to self - trying zip-lining to overcome this fear in Costa Rica is a BAD idea)
Travel is Transformative
I truly believe that travel is one of the single most important gifts that we can give ourselves. It can shape your life in innumerable ways and expose you to people, ideas and experiences you never could have anticipated. Travel enlightens your cultural and historical understanding of destinations. It hones your confidence and independence and also affirms your ability to challenge your limits. It can pique your curiosity for the remarkable world around us while also stoking your passion for wildlife conservation.
Some of My Favorite Travel Experiences
- Antarctica - Marveling at the cacophony of 250,000 king penguins and fur seals in Salisbury Plain, South Georgia (a sub-Antarctic island)
- Africa - Snorkeling with whale sharks in Mozambique
- Asia - Independently trekking to Everest base camp with an unforgettable sherpa
- South America - Imbibing amazing Malbec wines in Mendoza, Argentina
- North America - Diving with giant mantas with 20 foot wing spans in Socorro, Mexico
- Europe - Chasing waterfalls in Iceland
I hope you enjoy the blog and look forward to connecting with you! In addition to reading my weekly posts here, you can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Check out some of my recent press & media here.
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