I have a destination… now what?

Now you know WHERE you are going you can start figuring out when you want to go, how much it’s going to cost and what you want to do once you are there.

Travel books and the internet are a great place to start! I usually buy a travel book for the destination. There are lots of options out there and it’s all personal preference. I like the Lonely Planet books. They cover a lot of destinations even those that are not popular tourist destinations. Every travel book has the “hot spots”, “popular points of interest” or “must see” page(s). I find that is a good place to start. It usually gives descriptions of each spot then you can decide if you want to see it or not and how much time you want to dedicate to that spot. The books also usually have an area about typical monthly weather, high and low travel seasons and a blurb about typical cost. All of that goes into play to figure out your WHEN you want to go (and for how long), WHAT you want to do once you are there and HOW much money will you need to do it.

Now that you have figured WHERE, WHEN, WHAT you want to do and HOW much is it going to cost you can start your planning.

Ok, I have some ideas… Now what?

Travel planning – Step 2

Narrowing down where to go

Do you have your travel bucket list full of dreams but just don’t know how to make those dreams a reality? This is where most people get stuck. It’s time to pick a place. But how do you choose? Your choice is a very personal decision. Don’t let someone rain on your parade and tell you it’s impossible or stupid. It is YOUR dream not theirs.

I can tell you if you are planning an epic adventure with someone else you need to do at least a weekend/long weekend trip with them first before taking a longer trip. Check out your travel companion and see if you two (or more) travel well together. If you are up with the sun and your companion is a sleep until noon person, it probably will not work out. Do not cause yourself a bunch of stress traveling with someone you are not a good match with. If your budgets and travel ideas/desires are not in sync do not travel together. If you can’t find someone to travel with it is OK to travel alone. If you are worried, book a tour that fits your wants and needs and meet others who are like minded on your trip. In a group you are never alone and you may find yourself an awesome travel companion for the future and lifelong friends.

If you are traveling alone it’s ok. This trip is 100% about you. You don’t need to take anyone else’s wants, needs, budget or timeline into account. You can do what you want, when you want and not have to think about anyone else. If that’s the case you are in luck! You can go wherever you want!

If you are traveling with someone else you will need to get together and pick a destination, time and a budget together. But, you have already done your trial weekend runs so you already know their style making it easier to choose a destination. It’s important to make sure everything is clear from the start to avoid problems later on. I usually email the details we discussed so we are both an the same page and any booking confirmations as I go along so there are no surprises.

Congratulations! You picked a destination. Once you know WHERE you are going the fun really begins!

How to plan a trip… Step One

While talking to an old friend of mine about a trip I’m planning for the fall she told me that I should post about how to plan a trip and not only about my adventures while on it because many people may have no idea how to even get started. So, here goes…

Step one… The Dream

Every trip needs a starting point and that is the idea or dream destination. I’m a firm believer that any trip is possible. It just takes time and money. You may need to save up for one or both parts but until you know where you want to go you have no idea how much you need of either. I like to have 3 going at once. I have the trip I’m booking/going on, the one I’m planning and the one I’m dreaming up. Most travelers I know work in a 3 year cycle with one epic trip a year. So the trip you are dreaming up now you will ideally be going on 3 years from now.

So how do you get these ideas? Inspiration can come from anywhere! Books, movies, TV, Facebook, Instagram, magazines… I’m a big lover of pocket size notebooks. Get one and when you see something inspiring write it down in your travel bucket list. I have mine divided into sections with one section for day/weekend trips (places fairly close to home), long weekend/week long trips (farther away, more time and money spent to go there) and 1 week or more (because of the travel distance or time/money needed to get/stay there).

If you are new to travel start small. Plan a few day/weekend trips. Work out the kinks. Find out what you like and don’t like. Travel alone and with other people. See who you travel well with and who you don’t. Don’t be afraid to go somewhere alone. Traveling alone terrifies most people but people I know who have done it (including myself) love it! Short trips or places I have been to before, I’m fine with traveling with friends and family. If it is an epic journey and my first time somewhere I’m probably going to want to go alone or with someone I know I travel very well with. But more on that later…

Find your inspiration! Start dreaming and get your travel bucket list started!

Happy New Year!

Ok, I’m a little late. I was pretty sick through the holidays. I’m thankfully feeling much better now.

So what are my plans for this year? This year is about finding myself! A few years ago I was feeling lost and started to pick up the pieces one at a time. I dusted off my passport and took a couple short trips. (One successful one a disaster) I started doing yoga again. I also needed a creative outlet do I picked up my camera and started taking photos again. I have since upgraded my camera. I am now entering photography contests and actually doing pretty good. I have even had a few photos in galleries.

This year I intend to continue along that line. I started a website to sell my photos https://jodi-webber.pixels.com my goal is to have 1000 photos on there by then end of the year. I only have a couple hundred up now so I have a lot of work to do.

I have a couple trips planned for this year. I’ll be going to San Diego, CA in the Spring and the UK in the Fall. (That should help me out with that 1000 photo goal😁)

My last goal is I’d like to post a blog post at least once a month. No more long stretches without a post… but that was my goal for last year as well and I didn’t do very well. Hopefully this year will be better.

So check out my website. I add more photos every week. Happy travels wherever you are in the world. May 2019 be the year your dreams come true.

It’s official…

I have been secretly pondering making my photography a business and researching options to sell my photos for roughly six months now. It all started out at a craft fair where a guy was selling prints. Simple 4×6, 5×7 and 8x10s of photos he took. He was doing pretty well and as I looked through his photos I realized they were not that great but he was making pretty good money selling the prints anyway. I started telling a friend about it and that got me started on doing it myself.

I started posting photos on Instagram and every day I get a few new followers that I don’t know and in roughly 6 months I have about 1,000 followers. I had no idea that was good until I was asking a friend a question about Instagram since I am clueless and she pointed it out to me. That got me thinking even more.

I started entering online photography contests to see if I’m good enough and rating in the top 30% in pretty much every contest. No solid wins, but I stay in the top third. I finish most in the top 500. That may not sound that great, but when it’s out of 20,000 to 80,000 people top 500 is pretty good.

After a month of entering contests I started looking into print prices, packaging options, postage options, online galleries and online sales options. I have looked into upgrading my computer and photo editing software. So far it has all been research and I have not said a single word and just kept researching this idea.

So, this idea has been festering and growing. I have been looking into all kinds of options. I have been forming a plan. I had surgery last week so I have been off work since then recovering. So, The hubby and I decide to go out to lunch while the kids are at school and I tell him my thoughts. He surprises me and is actually all for it! He was super supportive and that got me even more excited. So, that afternoon my photography business was formed. My accounts are set up ready for me to upload the files. I even made myself a logo that I love for all my websites, galleries and promotional materials. I’m re-editing a bunch of photos and will officially open my online stores for sales by September 1st (or at least that is the deadline I made for myself).

I’m excited and looking forward to seeing how this all goes. While doing portraits freelance will bring in quick money, I don’t like the idea of trading dollars for hours again. I already have a full time job and do not want another one. But I have 20 years of photos from around the world to pull from. My home is decorated with them. People inquire about where I got them. I may as well sell them and make some money like the guy at the craft fair.

Hot air baloons…3rd time’s the charm right?

I get up at 3am to go to another Hot Air Balloon Festival today. Everything is running late. (So much for sunrise take off photos) This is the smaller festival with only 7 balloons, but there is no wind so I’m hoping to capture the balloons in the air rather than just crashing into each other on the ground this time.

I made the best of the early morning despite the balloons not being up and walked around the ranch taking photos in the sunrise lighting until the first balloon was up. Once it was up I went to the far corner to get photos with less people in them. All together only 4 balloons took off.

It was not a total waste. I met two other photographers in the far corner. One told me that the Reno Hot Air Balloon Festival has about 50 balloons take off in the valley and you can see them easily from the top of a nearby hill away from the crowds of the festival… hmmm I may have a road trip in my future…

Temporarily homeless…

Termites. We have termites. So we are temporarily homeless while our home is tented to fumigate.

“Take a mini vacation” most people said. But with a kid with severe autism that does not do well with “new” that is not easy. So we are staying at my sister in laws partially vacant old house since they are in the process of moving to the new house. Not ideal, but the kids have more space than a hotel room and we are trying to make the best of it.


My love of photography goes back to when I was a kid and we would go camping in the Yosemite Valley every year just after school got out for summer. Every year I’d go to the Ansel Adams gallery and look at all the pictures. My parents got me my first camera when I was a pre-teen. It was a VERY basic 35mm. It had a manual film advance. The “zoom” lens flipped down and I don’t think it even had a flash. I loved that camera. Every summer I’d hike and take photos. My only photography lesson I had was the very small book that came with the camera. I looked forward to seeing my photos from my trip developed every year. Some of those photos are still my favorites.

I continued taking photos (and upgrading from that first camera). When we moved a few years ago I finally parted with my box of old film cameras. I’m all digital now and like my 1st film camera, my first digital camera was bulky and had a a whole 1.3MP. Yes. I can print an 8×10 tops from those photos as long as I don’t crop.

Basic beginnings and no frills have gotten me where I am today. My home is now decorated with photos I have taken in my travels. Due to the fact that I have 2 small very active and curious boys I have had to do some…let’s go with “upgrading” my previous (now broken) cameras. I am now the proud owner of my first DSLR and I have been taking photos almost every morning on the way to work to familiarize myself with it.

I started a photography challenge group on Facebook to encourage myself and a few creative friends to get out there and take photos once a month. It has inspired me to do more. That creative start lead me to enter a few online photography contests to see how well I do among other photographers. I’m not doing bad. I also find the other photographers inspirational.

This is just one more stop at my rediscovery of myself.

Sometimes your dreams come crashing down…

I have decided while my kids are small to start to venture out and explore my own backyard. After all, people come from all over the world to see the Napa Valley and San Francisco maybe I should stop complaining about being stuck in traffic behind a tour bus and start being a tourist myself!

My adventure begins on our 7th wedding anniversary. A big item on my husband’s bucket list was to ride in a hot air balloon. Boom! Hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley booked. Happy anniversary to us! The day started pre-dawn. But the fog was too dense so we were moved to the alternate launch site over the hills (ie no longer over the Napa Valley). Given that my first hot air balloon ride was in Egypt over the Valley of the Kings I was not expecting to be wowed. The ride was less than spectacular. Over an hour in the air to go 2.3 miles. There was no wind. I walk faster than that! So it was rather disappointing but it’s checked off the list now.

I decide to get some nice hot air balloon photos after our disappointing anniversary ride and go to the Sonoma Hot Air Balloon Classic. So I get up before dawn and head out. The traffic was so bad I ditched my car at a park a couple miles away and just walked. Thankfully I did. I got there at dawn and the first hot air balloons were just standing up. I had dreams of taking awesome photos as all 30 balloons were in the air above the Napa valley… Then an hour into the event the wind started to pick up.

The main launch was scheduled for 7 AM. The wind was really starting to pick up. Balloons were starting to bump into each other on the ground. The crews were struggling to keep their balloons up. Then it happened… a HUGE gust came through and the balloons started to deflate almost in slow motion as people were running and screaming to avoid getting stuck under the balloons as they collapsed onto the crowd. (I don’t know why, they are made of lightweight fabric). I was chuckling on the little grassy hill I was waiting on for the main launch watching the chaos. Then the crowd started to run my way and I realized I need to get up and move or get trampled. I quickly got to my feet, grabbed my yoga mat and got out of the way. Shortly after they called off the festival and started packing up the balloons.

I never got to see them all in the air. It was rather disappointing. I decided to do a google search and found another hot air balloon festival a couple hours away from me in the Sacramento area in a few months. I plan on going and hopefully finally achieving my dream of beautiful photos of lots of hot air balloons in the sky at the same time. Fingers crossed for good weather. So far I have had a thick layer of our famous San Francisco Bay fog and our Napa Valley winds. The third time is the charm right?

Only time will tell…

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan…

I started this blog with dreams of reclaiming the passion and adventure I had while traveling in my 20’s and 30’s. Let’s just say things are getting off to a rough start.

My first adventure was meeting up with an Aussie friend in Cabo San Lucas for New Years a couple years ago. It was my first “solo” adventure and typical for us we had an amazing time. This renewed my Wanderlust and when I got home I planned a Caribbean cruise for the fall with another friend. The cruise was what we refer to as “the cruise from hell” yes, we were some of those poor souls that were stranded at sea fleeing hurricanes for a couple weeks. It may not sound that bad, but I’ll tell the tale later in another post.

It has taken me 6 months to recover from the cruise from hell and start to think about travel again. I am now thinking about my next adventure in fall 2019. It will be a land adventure rather than sea. Then while driving to work one day I got behind yet another tour bus for the Napa Valley tours from San Francisco and I started to think “Why do I have to wait to go somewhere to have an adventure? People come from all over the world to visit the stuff I drive past all the time and completely take for granted.”

So, while I wait for my next adventure abroad, I will be exploring my home with my camera looking for the beauty in my own backyard. Here are photos literally from my backyard while I reacquaint myself with my camera in preparation for adventure.