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Living the Adventuress Life: Learning Spanish plus our favorite travel gadget!
August 11, 2015
Dear VIA (Very Important Adventuress)

After years of being a dedicated Francophile, I’m excited about learning Spanish, plus I want to share with you my favorite travel gadget—I never leave home without it—and remind you about our Facebook page.

Synergy Spanish

In the 1980s I took a Spanish 101 class at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and squeaked by with a C grade. The French kept getting in the way!

Twice more in the following 2 decades I took a beginning Spanish class, with the same mediocre results.

It was only in 2012, when I moved to Cuenca, Ecuador, that I got serious about learning Spanish.

Spanish is the language of Ecuador, and I believe that as a new resident I am obliged to learn to speak it, just as we in the United States expect foreign immigrants to learn English. It’s all about the national language of the country. And though it may not be “necessary”, life is just much easier when you can speak it.

I took more beginning classes, and searched around online for something I could study easily at home.

That’s when I discovered Marcus Santamaria’s program, Synergy Spanish.

This “short-cut-to-Spanish” program is a fast-track course with a step-by-step activities that focus on conversational ability. He begins by showing you how to communicate in Spanish using thousands of Spanish words you didn't know you already knew.

For example, for English words that end in ‘cal’ like ‘political’, you simply substitute ‘cal’ for ‘co’. So political becomes politico. Economical becomes economico.

Synergy Spanish is a downloadable program that helps you build fluency and confidence. I’m really enjoying this process.

On his website, Marcus Santamaria also now provides audio so you can hear how words are pronounced.

Another trick to learn pronunciation is simply to go to Google Translate and click on that little sound icon in the lower left hand corner of the box. I just recently discovered that.

By the way, I’m sure you’ve heard about how “hard” it is to learn a new language after “a certain” age.

Frankly, I think that’s bunk.

I think some people are just too lazy to apply the same study skills they did in high school and college. And it’s easy to use the “it’s harder for older people to learn” excuse.

When I was in school, they said you needed to study one hour at home for every hour you spent in class. You had to read, write, and practice speaking, over and over and over.

Reading, writing, and repetition were the keys to learning that language.

I think that’s just as true today, even though we’re “older.”

Now, if you’re not in class every day—say you’re studying at home on the computer—then you need to have a LOT of discipline.

For me, that’s the hard part, not learning the language.

But it can be done. I admit I don’t study every day, but I have more opportunity, now that I live in South America, to at least practice speaking every day.

I know I still sound like “Me Tarzan, you Jane,” but guess what? The “natives” are understanding what I want, I’ll never get lost or starve, and often I surprise myself with ah ha moments when the right words and phrases come out of my mouth without much thought.

It’ll be years before I’m fluent—if ever—but meanwhile it’s fun to be able to talk in Spanish about daily things like, “I gave you a twenty, not a ten.”

CLICK HERE to learn more about Marcus Santamaria’s SYNERGY SPANISH, a course that’s ideal for anyone from 30 to 99 years of age who wants to quickly and easily speak with their amigas in real-life Spanish.

Check it out!

I just can’t say enough about this little travel gadget. I never travel without it, and on more than one occasion it’s saved my financial butt at airport luggage check-in!

It’s EatSmart’s Precision Voyager Digital Luggage Scale.

You can set the led screen in the handle for pounds or kilos. Then you just wrap it around the handle of your suitcase and lift the suitcase. The window tells you how much the suitcase weighs.

For large suitcases that I know I won’t be able to lift when they’re filled, first I weight the suitcase empty. Then I weigh bags of things I’m putting inside and note the weight on a piece of paper.

As I go along, I total the numbers and stop at 47 pounds. (Unless you’re flying first-class, most flights have a 50 lb per suitcase limit).

CLICK HERE to check out my favorite luggage scale.

Join our community!

If you’ve already done this, thanks so much! If not, please go to our Facebook page, and give us a “like.” Here’s where we are:

What do you think?

I'd love your feedback! Let me know your thoughts on this issue. Also let us know if you have any ideas for types of travel information you’d like to see. And tell me what you think about the Facebook page.

Happy travels!


—Carolyn V. Hamilton, Editor and Chief Adventuress

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