Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back in the Saddle Again

We all have those realization moments where we just want to shake ourselves and say to SHUT THE HELL UP. Or is that just me? Probably. A favorite store of mine is having a sweepstakes and the winner gets to choose a trip to New York, Paris, Rome or London. Sounds cool right? It is! Except that my first thought when I saw the options was AWWW but I've already been to those places. Twice.

At this point, I am sure I hear violin music and tears are coming to your eyes. I mean you feel for me right? So, yeah. I'm an idiot. Years ago when my youngest son was sick on my trip to Morocco, it caused major problems for my husband who had to take time off from his job (which I the funds for my travelling, mind you). So he metaphorically has taken away my passport. If he had any idea where I kept it, he would literally take it away too I'm sure. Luckily, he can't find anything that isn't attached to his hand.

So in the past months I have been looking at my Bucket List and realizing I have quite a few things I want to accomplish that have nothing to do with travel at all. In July, I took my cousin and the niece of my heart skydiving as their graduation present. At the beginning of August, I began what is likely to be the toughest Bucket List goal ever. I am in the midst of it and it is WORK I tell you, I am spending 90 days getting my body in optimal health. I already work out quite a lot and decided it was time to take control over my diet. So a little over a month ago I cut out all processed food from my diet. How does one do that, you might ask. Well, the answer is with A LOT of cooking and dishes. Like we run the dishwasher three times a day now! But it is amazing the changes I am noticing in myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There is something special about only eating real foods, and especially real foods that you took time and care crafting into nutritious, delicious meals. It's work, y'all. However, I think that in a couple of months (when I am finished and likely never to look at a boxed or frozen meal happily again) I will love the results and appreciate the time and energy I took in crossing that item off my list.

I have a few more things I am working on as I count down the days until I can immerse myself in a location that speaks no English. And honestly, all of those things will make me a better person than I am today. And for that I am thankful :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Texans in New England

I just want to take a few minutes to break my year long radio silence with some ponderings about what it is like to be a Texan in New England.

1. We cannot stop talking about your weather. You have water that comes from the sky! This is novel to us. We must make many many comments on this. And of course get soaking wet because who would pack an umbrella in August???

2. We are tall, y'all. It's terrilbly disconcerting to watch everyone enter the bathroom. FROM BEHIND YOUR STALL DOOR.

3. The Mass Pike is the Hotel California of roads. Once you enter you can never leave!

4. Exits do not match street names. We need to exit at Melnea was I supposed to know that was the South Boston exit?

5. Roads disappear because bridges close. In the middle of the night. While you are trying to get to the airport.

6. Street signs might appear BETWEEN blocks. Is the sign for the first or second street? It's a gamble! It's fun!

Craig and I spent several days in the Berkshires and a whilrwind 16 hours in Boston. We had a blast, but we were defintely Strangers in a Strange Land!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pack it in a travel size and wrap it with a bow

Years ago I realized that I would pretty much buy anything in a travel size. Or sample size. It doesn't matter what you want to call it, but if you shrink the package it's in my basket. Every year Bath & Body Works sells a bag full of samples for like $20 and I'm standing in line to buy it. Every year. I have bags to hold my bags.

So when I read about Birchbox. I squealed. I get a box of samples EVERY MONTH? Free shipping? NO TAX???? How fast can I sign up. Turns out not so fast. There is a wait list and it took me several weeks before I was able to sign up. I immediately got the full year (with one free month). I was thrilled to get a box today (even if the theme is a TV show I never watch...Gossip Girl).
Birchbox MAY 2012
These sizes look small but the goods are quality. The moisturizer is $90 full size retail and I got 1/4 full size. Which means this little jar more than made up for the $10 I paid for the box! Not bad, right? Except I'm not the biggest fan of anti-aging products for my face. But I'll use it on my neck which needs all the anti-aging I can probably find!

The things I love best about travel size is they are small (duh, right!) but that means they take up little space in luggage and you can try different products for different locations when you go to various countries. My last trip to Paris and Morocco needed vastly different products for the two locations and full sized for both would have been too cumbersome.

I'm thinking I'm going to love this company!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Travel With a Purpose: Perspective

Matt Long's post today is about Poverty Tourism. It struck a chord with me because I have a tendency to find myself in poverty sections of places I am visiting, because I want to get away from tourists. I don't have a lot of pictures of those events though. This post made me really think about why. I think asking people to be in pictures can have a dehumanizing effect. Like they are part of the architecture or the setting. It's why my aunt got yelled at when we were in Marrakech because she took a picture of a donkey and the man on the phone thought she was taking a picture of him. It's why Said told us to ALWAYS ask permission before taking pictures of the people in Morocco. A simple wave to the camera and a gesture to the person will do. And if they say "no" you still smile and thank them. Because they are people too.

I'm posting this today on Travel With a Purpose because it makes me really think about why one spends time with people during travel. If and when you do volunteer, do it with the right heart and mind. It isn't a show. It isn't entertainment. But don't do it with pity. Do it because we are all stuck on this Earth going through this thing called life, doing it the best we can. Let it be something that bridges you to others. Something that makes you realize that your problems aren't more than others. But they aren't less either. Take a second each day to thank the Lord for the problems you have. And the problems you don't have and then figure out a way to solve them.

And when you figure out how to deal with one problem, send up a prayer that the people you meet in your travels have found a way to deal with theirs.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Travel With a Purpose: Global Volunteers

I love that Global Volunteers doesn't charge double for two weeks. The cost of one week in some cases is the same as two weeks. But you know what I think is the best part of this company. They have opportunities here in the United States! This way you don't spend all your money getting to a destination and for people who aren't as interested in international travel can still experience different cultures within their own country. And help out, because that is what is so addictive!

For $995, you can help for a week on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, and in this project children are welcome to join their parents. How educational and eye-opening would that family vacation be???

Wage Peace Through Service. Leave Your Mark on the World.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Affordable vacation housing

Every once in a while I learn about something and all I can think about is why I'm finding out about this NOW! As I've decided to take a travel break I find out about It's a way to submerse yourself in a city, and as these have kitchens a way to save on food. I can just picture myself shopping in Budapest and staying for a week in my own little slice of Europe. For $134. FOR A WEEK PEOPLE! Granted Budapest is pretty affordable anyway but I'm thinking it would be possible for me to travel to Budapest for under $500 total with these rates (and a free plane ticket of course...which seems to be the only way I travel!)

The site has properties in several cities so if you are planning on travelling to Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, or Istanbul...check it out!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Travel With a Purpose: Pick and Choose Voluntourism

Volunteer Guide offers a variety of time options from 15 minutes to a full vacations. And then from there you can choose what you are interested in helping with:

New Ideas
Animal Welfare
Helping Children
Community Development
Environmental Protection
Health & Safety
Poverty & Homelessness

And if you pick Helping Children you can choose from:

  • Volunteer At Summer Camp for Children with Special Needs
  • Alleviate Suffering of Babies with AIDS and HIV
  • Share Art Appreciation with Children Abroad
  • Build a School in a Developing Nation
  • Help Orphans and Abandoned Children
  • Volunteer For A Medical Mission
  • Teach English Abroad
  • Improve Children's Dental Health
  • Cultivate Music Appreciation Among Children
  • Help Deaf Children Experience Their World
  • Inspire Autistic Children
  • Make Your Gap Year Meaningful

  • Basically Volunteer Guide is the place to find your next voluntourism vacation! Some of the ideas are found in more than one category (helping children and community development has a lot of crossover) so ideas won't get lost if you one look at one section. Look around. See if something calls your name!!
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