$2,000 Scholarship to Travel


After spending most of March in southeast Asia, I’ve traveled to 18 countries on five continents. Nothing has changed my life as much as getting out into the world and seeing that there are tons of ways to do things and the way I learned certainly isn’t the only, and is possibly not the best, way to do things. If you’ve been wanting to travel, this may be the best way to get started – with someone else’s money! Lol

I saw this on the Growing Up Bilingual Facebook page:

Explore the World travel scholarships: HI USA is awarding 4 $2,000 Explore the World scholarships this year to individuals who are 18-30, permanent U.S. legal residents, live or go to school in one of the 14 participating U.S. cities, and who plan to incorporate education and/or service into their international travels. Application deadline is May 15, 2016.

Apply here: https://www.hiusa.org/programs/travel-scholarships

Go for it!


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Not Enough Money for Retirement? 8 Countries to Live In

retire-abroadWe talk a lot about investing for retirement, not investing enough for retirement, and how to get the most out of your retirement dollar. What we normally don’t talk about it what to do when you just don’t have enough money.

Investopedia has a great list of eight countries you can live in when you only have $200,000 invested and your Social Security check of about $1,300 per month to count on. My favorites are:

Thailand – I’ve been there (only Bangkok) and it’s a cool place where you can live a pretty American life, if you choose to. I rented a one bedroom apartment with air conditioning in a condo building. There was a night market a few blocks away with things to buy and food to eat (they had a Mexican taco truck. Yum!) in a mall with a grocery store and a McDonalds and a coffee shop. The only strange thing is the ode to the King is played twice per day on tv  in train stations, and before movies. Just be quiet and stand and you’ll be fine.

Ecuador – I have never been but I hear a LOT of good things about it. Ecuador has topped many great-places-to-retire lists.

Costa Rica – Again, never visited but I hear that it’s a great place to live if you want an eco-friendly spot. They also say that it’s beautiful. I can’t wait to visit …. one day.

Spain – My first international trip was to Spain (I wanted to see the Al-Hambra) so I know a bit about it and feel that I could live a comfortable life there. I traveled from Madrid to Malaga, Seville and Cordoba. One could live a decent life there, as long as you like pork. They eat a lot of pork in Spain. Lol Push back against being colonized by Muslims for 400 years? Lol Anyhoo, living there could work.

Check out the whole list over at Investopedia.

Shay Visits Peru


Financial education speaker and author Shay Olivarria just returned from visiting her 10th country on her 4th continent: Peru. People always ask why her company is named Bigger Than Your Block and the answer is this trip.

The goal of Bigger Than Your Block is to show students, of all ages, that the world is massive and you can achieve any goal that you have as long as you work for it. Money has no intrinsic value. The only value money has is the value that we assign to it. Most people want more money, not to have more money but to do the things that we’d like to do. Money equals freedom. The place where some get confused is the idea that one needs more money instead of one needs to use the money that they have more efficiently.

Shay found a $300 round trip, including taxes, airfare on Avianca. The whole trip took 8 days, 7 cities and about $1,500. Not too shabby. She was able to spend a little time in:


Lima – Peru’s capital city.


Ollantaytambo – a beautiful, quiet town with lots of ruins.


Urubamba – a wonderful small town that’s close to the Moray ruins.


Pisac – know for it’s Sunday market and sun dial ruins.


Cusco – the major airport city to reach the Sacred Valley.


Puno – the city on the banks of Lake Titicaca.

Arequipa – the second (or third depending on what Trujillo is up to) major city in Peru.

It was a wonderful trip and Shay learned a lot about the different cultures that live there now and the cultures that lived there before the Inca. What countries have you been to? How did you learn that the world was Bigger Than Your Block?



Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com


Passport Day 2012

Shay visited Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Osaka in 2011.

Why is there a photo of Shay standing in a train station in Tokyo? Saturday, March 10th is Passport Day! The company is named “Bigger Than Your Block” for a reason. We believe that travel is an integral part of education. We’re encouraging everyone to go get your passport tomorrow (even if you don’t know where you’d like to go or if you don’t have the money to pay for it) because taking that first step will start changing your mindset.

Officially, Passport Day is “On Saturday, March 10 only, apply for your U.S. passport at a Regional Passport Agency without an appointment. You will be able to apply for standard processing (4-6 weeks) or pay an additional $60 for expedited processing (2-3 weeks, door-to-door).”

Necessites un Passport de America?

Applying to a  get a passport is SUPER easy. You just bring your birth certificate, two regulation sized photos (get ’em at AAA for about $10), a photo ID and pay your fee. Beware: the office is going to take your birth certificate (they will mail it back to you with your passport). The whole thing will last about 5 minutes and you’ll end up with the ability to travel the world!

U.S. Dept. of State website:

First-time applicants


Minors (under 16)

Shay at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France in 2006.

Now, Americans can get a passport (for the WORLD!) and a card to travel to Canada and Mexico for about $25. When I was a kid, I started a file with all the the places I wanted to visit. It took me a while to get started (I was 27) but I’ve managed to visit 9 counties on 3 continents. I wish I would have known it was this easy a loooong time ago.

Read more about it at:
I’m Black & I Travel
Los Angeles Times


Happy travels!