Thursday, December 29, 2011

Time Flies

So, I'll admit it, I have done a bad job at updating my "In the Meantime" section of the blog. It seemed like a good idea at the time, especially since I imagined swaths of uninterrupted time where I would be sitting in coffee houses, sipping lattes and having nothing else to do but update the 10 people who are reading the aforementioned updates. However, this hasn't been the case. With homework and real work (yay, love my contracting gig!), I am far busier than I was before with one solidly, full-time job. This has left me with little time for the rest of my life, like traveling, blogging, seeing friends, etc.

Time has flown so fast, in fact, that I leave for Haiti in 11 days, and I had to look that up on my calendar because I couldn't remember. Yikes! I need to figure out what to pack and it will be my biggest challenge yet as I am bringing only one backpack! One backpack may sound like a lot, but once you factor in all the bedding, snacks, medical supplies, etc., it fills right up. I am sure that I will share with all of you, my lovely readers, my progress. Until then, I hope you are doing well and I will talk to you again real soon!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Risky


One of my friends blogged awhile back that in the absence of traveling she continues adventures by trying new things. This is a school of thought that I also subscribe to. However, I also realized recently that it can be just as much fun to help other people try new things that you already have experienced. By acting as a guide, you can take away some of their fears, encourage them and let them know what to expect. I got to enjoy this yesterday when I took my third grade friend, Charity, ice skating for the first time. (She is not new to the blog, her first appearance was here.) She was a little scared at first and deemed ice skating hard but she said at the end that she would go again, so that, I think, is a success! Thanks for checking in!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Travel Bucket List

I know bucket lists are not new and I have been checking things off mine for quite awhile. However, I recently realized that a good majority of my list includes travel-related things, not surprisingly. Since that is the case, I made the "bold" decision to split off my travel items into their own list. I thought I'd share my list and ask you to share your travel desires in return. Here goes my unnumbered list - in order to avoid ranking:
  • Drive the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with Brian - and end up in Nashville for some epic music enjoyment
  • Go to Antarctica, preferably on a National Geographic cruise, which includes research projects and a giant price tag
  • Go to Paris, eat the best croissant of my life, take a train to southern France and volunteer at this workaway
  • I know it's a little travel cliche, but I really want to stay in an over-the-water bungalow in Fiji, any one will do
  • Drive New Zealand in an motor-home
  • Visit Big Sur, California and staying in a yurt like this
  • Go to Tokyo to see the Tsukiji Fish Market, among other things
  • Attend a Moth story-telling show, somewhere in the U.S.
  • See the Olympics live, preferably in an awesome place, like Brazil for the 2016 Summer Games (made even more interesting by the fact that this will be the first time any South American country has hosted the Games)!
  • Spend a week working on a dude ranch, maybe in Wyoming since I have yet to visit there
  • Take a European, eco-friendly riverboat cruise like this and bonus, I could add three or more countries in one trip
  • SEE INDIA, and lots of other places but that's about as far as my list has gotten
Where do you want to go or what things are you wanting to experience? I could always add a few more items to my list...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Embracement

I saw my first snowflake of the season today, which was even more fitting, seeing as today is the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. I found this photo of a snowflake and started reading more about snowflake physics, you can check it out here. I have always loved the idea that all snowflakes are unique but I used to think it was sad that they were only around for a moment - especially when you're catching them on your tongue. All that beauty, gone in a second.

That got me thinking about life and how all the best moments seem to fade quickly in lives full of the mundane or necessary. I try to battle this off and find true enjoyment in much of life, whether mundane or not, but it's not always easy. I hope that as all of you wind down your year in whatever ways and traditions you celebrate, that you find yourself savoring the moments that bring you the most joy. Happy Holidays to you all!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Missing

Wow, I can't believe what a blur the past couple of weeks have been. I am officially done with my first semester of grad school and I am enjoying my first evening without homework - although I have been getting my binders ready for next semester, I know, it's sad. I did get a massage earlier this evening so I haven't been all work and no play. I'm all ready for my upcoming trip to Haiti - just got my flu shot and malarial meds. I can't believe another year is almost ever. I think it's been one of the best ones yet! I don't have anything too exciting to say at the moment, but I wanted to say hi to those of you out there wondering where I'd been and let you know that I am back to blogging!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Looking for Snow?

Big, open lounge with lots of comfy chairs.
We may not have gotten any actual snow yet in Kansas City but on November 4th we did see a new restaurant/bar launch that provides something even better - fancy, frozen drinks! When my friend Sarah mentioned on Sunday that she had just tried a new place called Snow & Company, I was there the next day. I love trying new places and love it even more when my friends suggest places that I would like.

Too many drinks to name them all, we ordered the mini-flights for just $10 and they offered us free samples as well. All infusions, syrups, etc. are homemade in house, which I love and they were all delicious! My favorite was the Christopher Elbow Sexual Chocolate - even if I did feel a little dorky ordering it out loud.
We ate dinner there as well - which was yummy. Brian had a Sweet & Salty panini, which he raved about, and I had the hummus plate which I also liked. In all, it was a great pre-movie date place or a good hang-out after work with your co-workers for the holidays or any other time. Check it out and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wish List


I had written a post a few weeks ago about where to shop local in Kansas City for great gifts for those on your list. I forgot to include with that post some of my wish list for Christmas - I know that it's kind of a kid thing to do, but I was trained right as a child. We would get the giant Sears catalog in the mail and cut out pictures of the things we wanted and glue them to a sheet of paper. I think that, along with packing and re-packing my school supplies leading up to the first day of school each year, was my favorite childhood activity.

(I should mention that my list is much-pared down this year, as Brian recently surprised me with an item off of my Travel Toys post - an iPad - for an almost-made-it-through-the-first-semester gift.) If I could have anything, I would want my whole entire family to be all together in the same place - parents, siblings, grand-parents, aunts, uncles, etc. But I think that will have to wait, as for things you can actually buy, here is my list:
This silk sleep sack would be perfect for my upcoming trip to Haiti, where Brian's down sleeping bag will undoubtedly be a little too warm.
I want to read this book (Hints to Lady Travellers) that "combines archive material from a book of the same name first published in 1889 with anecdotes from well-known modern female travelers to offer a fascinating insight into the way that travel has changed for women over the last century." So interesting and perfect for my coffee table!
Those who know me, know of my sweet tooth. I found this website recently that sells boxes of candy by era as well as individual hard to find sweets. I'd go for the 90's box myself, Santa. Yummy!
This wireless SD card is good on so many levels. First off, it's orange, which is always a plus. Second, it eliminates my laziness of hating to actually upload photos to edit. And finally, it would allow me to leave my laptop behind and upload things directly to my iPad, I think.
Rounding out my list is this pair of Sanuk slip-ons. They are comfy (I think I've tried them on five or six times but never pulled the trigger on buying them - trying to decide between these and some TOMS as my go to comfy travel shoes. I think I've decided on these.)
And, there you have it, my list. What are you hoping for this year? Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stay Well

I was reading an article this morning about staying healthy when you fly. I think some of the points were really good, but others were a little too much - like, adding yogurt to your breakfast routine the morning that you fly - um, I am lucky if I eat breakfast at all. Anyways, if 40 months of straight travel taught me anything, it was how avoid getting sick while on-the-go. I really can't recall coming down with anything after being on a plane, even in Africa. Here are my tips:
  • Stay hydrated - I usually start drinking more water than I really want to the day before a flight. Cleaning out my own body of any toxins is a good way to make room for a few unwanted germs from my neighbors.
  • Try Airborne - I might be a little superstitious about this one, but I think it helps. Just put one tablet into a little water right before you go and drink up the fizzy goodness of vitamins and minerals, yum!
  • Eat well - As mentioned in another post, I always travel with healthy snacks. This isn't because I am a health-nut. I just know that eating the best things when germs may be trying to attack my immune system is better than french fries or chips.
  • Wash your hands - This is a no-brainer for most people, but it really can help - when you start to think of all the things you touch on a plane/airport that have been touched by other people it can make you a little sick.
  • Do some yoga - Yoga, over the past few years, has been the one thing that has kept me the healthiest. Not only does it wring the toxins out of my system but it also keeps me calm, which is a much welcome bonus.
  • Go easy on the caffeine/alcohol - Caffeine can undo your amazing hydration from earlier easily and alcohol can not only dehydrate you but lower your immune system. I usually avoid them both when flying but it's hard to resist those free Southwest drink coupons when you've earned a free flight!
  • Sleep - Getting enough shut-eye is the best way for your body to recover or prevent illness. By making sure you get good rest, you increase your chances of staying well to enjoy your travels, and return home ready to take on the world.
As for staying healthy in a hotel room, that's another story, maybe I'll share some of that later on. Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Milestones

Well, I think it's official - "The Streak" is ending as of November 2011, month #40 of continuous travel. A nice round number to end on, I think. The rules were simple - just travel somewhere by plane at least once a month. This continued for a very long time, 3 and 1/3 years. It was a great run but between school and work, I won't be getting away until January 2012, I know, it's just around the corner. It's only frustrating because I have a free ticket to travel but not the time to go. That isn't to say that you should stop reading, I will undoubtedly still be exploring my own city and surrounding areas and finding travel tid-bits to share but all good things must come to an end, and then start over! In case you're curious about where the 40 months of travel were spent, here's the official list:

2009
Seattle, WA
Boise, ID
Macon, GA
Anderson, SC
Alpena/Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Nashville, TN
Madison/Racine, WI
Pennsauken/Sparta, NJ
Danbury, CT
Washington, D.C. (2)
San Francisco, CA
Billings, MT
Las Vegas, NV
Lawrence, MA
South Portland, ME (2)
Annapolis, MD
Portland/Corvallis, OR
New Haven, CT
Miami/Vero Beach, FL

2010
Seattle/Portland, OR
Nashville, TN
St. George/Salt Lake City, Utah
Reno/Tahoe
Michigan (6 cities in one week)
San Jose, CA
Madagascar
New Jersey
Miami, FL
New York, NY
Raleigh/Durham (2)
Orange County/LA/Pasedena
Washington, D.C.
Atlanta, GA
Houston, TX
Lanai, Hawaii
South Portland, ME

2011
South Portland, ME
Colorado Springs, CO
Monrovia, Liberia
Austin, TX
Washington, D.C.
Nashville, TN
Milwaukee/Racine, WI
Omaha, NE
Wichita, KS
New Orleans, LA
Sedona, AZ
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Pasadena, CA
Grand Lake Stream, ME
El Paso, TX
New York, NY
Miami, FL
Chicago, IL
Las Vegas, NV