Dare to (travel) dream

One of my best friends lives in Australia. We talk almost every day. I know it sounds crazy but with modern technology it’s possible. She has a friend that lives in the UK that I have never met but have gotten to know in group chats with the three of us. The three of us travelers and we are all struggling with the lockdowns of our countries. So we have started to make plans for the three of us to get together on two different trips based of when our countries free us to roam again.

One of the trips we are planning is for the two of them to come here to California. I will be their lovely tour guide and we will enjoy a few days here in the wine country before starting our road trip north. Talking about where we can go and what we do will largely be figured out by what our UK friend wants to do since I live here and my Aussie friend has been here several times.

The other trip we are talking about is a meetup in the UK. No big plans there yet but it will be a shorter trip of 5-7 days. The two of them will be working some of the days leaving their evenings free. My Aussie friend has a branch there with a team she supervises so she will plan it as a work trip. We will coordinate schedules and I’ll probably play tourist while they are working and meet up with them for lunches and evenings.

I’m looking forward to us all being together. It will be interesting to see how people react to 3 women who are obviously really close but who all have very distinctly different accents. I know when my Aussie friend and I are together we get a lot of people who ask how we know each other. It really confuses people. We are 3 strong, independent women who travel well. We have all traveled the world alone. We all love food and wine and a good laugh with friends.

So even in a pandemic you can close the borders, but you can’t stop people from dreaming about their next trip.

Oh, when I go to the UK for our meetup; I will be bringing as much wine as I can for those evenings together. It’s my job. Well, that and Levi’s in their sizes. 😁

My weight loss journey – 57 weeks to go

One week down… 1 pound lost.

Not what I was hoping for, but it’s a start. Given that the last week was one of the most stressful and frustrating I have ever had at work I’ll cut myself some slack. The air quality is still not great from the fires, gyms are closed so exercise is pretty much a no-go. So that’s a bummer. But hey, it’s one less pound to loose!

The upcoming couple weeks will be interesting. I’m only working 3 days each week. I’ll be going out of town for the first time since September 2019 when I went to the UK. I’m not leaving the country, or even the state but I am going somewhere I have always wanted to see so I’m excited! It’s only a couple days but with covid even a short overnight trip in your state can be exciting!

New Beginnings

Welcome 2020! A new year, a new decade. We welcomed in 2020 with a 1920’s themed party at our home. It was a blast!

When I look back at where I was at the start of 2010 things were not that great. Here I am a decade later with almost a completely different life! So what do I have in mind for 2020? Continuing on a lot of the things I started in 2019. I’m still working on my photography and book. I’m still working on getting in shape and loosing weight. I’m finding my own inner peace and sticking with the new yoga class that I started a month ago (my ex-husband said yoga is what keeps me from snapping and killing people. He is still alive today thanks to a regular yoga practice or else I probably would have been a widow than divorced). So enough of continuing goals and chilling out… let’s hear what’s being pondered and planned for 2020!

I’m planning on teaching at an educational conference again (Hello Las Vegas!) it’s boring ultrasound stuff. But hey, free CEs are free CEs… Oh, and it’s in Vegas! (I’ll be planning on visiting a few friends while I’m there not hitting the casinos.)

My travel dreams are never out of my mind and I always have a few options brewing. In 2020 I’m trying to work out a couple trips away with the hubby. If all goes as I hope then he will be dusting off his passport in the spring for our anniversary and we will be heading to an island paradise for his birthday in the winter. The spring trip may be pushing it a bit, but I’m already starting my planning to see if I can possibly pull it off while simultaneously looking into the winter trip. (Travel for 2 takes a few more hoops to jump through than travel for 1, especially when those two people have 2 special needs kids under 10 years old that are NOT going with them.) I’m putting in for the time off on the annual vacation calendar at work so the time will be blocked. Then I’ll just have to see if I can work out all the details to make it happen or not.

That’s it so far. But then again… The year is still new.

Happy New Year!!!

San Diego here I come! part2

Well, not quite yet. But I have completed my planning! My flights, room and car are all booked. As for my plans once I arrive… I plan on getting the city pass.

I’m a big fan of the city pass. I like that I can pass up lines and go in and out of places as much as I wish. I’m planning 1/2 a day at the zoo safari and 1/2 a day at the zoo to check them out as possibilities to take the kids later. I’m also planning on the Carlsbad flower gardens. Those are my big 3. But I see on the city pass there is a lot to do so I’ll spend some time plotting where everything is, adding the hours and seeing what I can come up with to efficiently do as many things as possible on the pass. Let’s see just how many I can check off in a few days.

I believe in having a good plan, and a backup plan… just incase. I don’t get stuck when something doesn’t go as planned. I step back, regroup and go to a backup plan.

San Diego here I come! part1

As part of my day job I have continuing education that I need to keep up. It’s boring, but I have to keep it up. Prior to having kids I would travel to big educational conferences, spend the mornings in classes then enjoy the afternoons and evenings seeing the sites. Once I had kids the travel part became…complicated. Well that is all about to change as I go to my first educational conference in almost 10 years in San Diego, California.

Now it is far from my first trip there but times have changed and so have I. My plan is to head straight to the conference as soon as I land and get started. Unlike other trips, I’m renting a car for this one so I can get around a bit better and see some things.

First up, since I’m part mermaid the beach can not be ignored! I found a nice Airbnb a few blocks from the beach and I’m an early riser so expect some nice sunrise photos while I enjoy a nice walk with my bagels with cream cheese and coffee for breakfast as I watch the sun rise. I figure I’ll do that…yeah, every day. 😎

Up next the Wild Animal Park can not be skipped. I plan on an afternoon there photographing the animals and scouting it out to see if it’s an option to take the kids to. While my younger son loves animals and does well in new places my older son does not. So I’ll be looking to see if it’s an option. He doesn’t do well with loud or crowds but usually does ok outside. Welcome to my world living with Autism.

The only other thing I know I want to do is to see the flower fields. For my other afternoons I’ll make it up as I go along.

The historic gas lamp district will end up being one of my evenings dinner and entertainment. I’m sure another will be somewhere on the beach (see part mermaid above).

What to do

The first time I go somewhere I always see whatever the big thing(s) are in that area. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I don’t think anyone should go somewhere and NOT see the iconic sites of that area. You can usually find a hop on hop off bus or a day tour that will take you to all the “must see” places in 1 day or less.

Up next after my “must see” items I look to see if any holidays will be celebrated while I’m there. Participating in the local celebrations is an awesome way to remember your trip and celebrate with the locals!

I’m also in for food and shopping! If there is a local dish or food they are known for (no matter how strange) I want to try it. It may only be one bite, but I’ll try it. If there is an amazing or iconic market, I want to shop there. Food and shopping don’t need to be a high priority, I’ll eat at some point but I want to know what the area is known for so if I see it I can get it while I’m out and about. For the shopping, I’ll usually do that on a free afternoon or evening.

The next thing I do is look for the secondary things I want to see or do. These are not the iconic “must see” things for the area but things I’m interested in. I scuba dive so if I’m somewhere that it’s an option I try to fit it in at least one day of my trip. I’m also a sucker for priceless jewels, butterfly sanctuaries, aquariums, old churches, Castles, ancient temples and ruins. I was an art minor in college so if there is important pieces of art in an area or artists I’m interested in I try to fit seeing those.

Part of my secondary things to do I look for an unusual tour. They have always been a highlight of my trip and very interesting. Some examples of things I have done in the past a flashlight Jack the Ripper tour of London and a Haunted tour of Sydney in a hearse. I did an erotic tour of different kinds of brothels and sex shops and learned all about the sex worker industry that was quite enlightening. I did a symbolism tour of an old graveyard. Some destinations have them, some don’t. But I have learned the quirky tours are usually a blast so if there’s one available, I try to fit it in.

The last thing is a bit of pampering. I try to book this at the end of my trip or after a long day. There are day spas and salons all over the world waiting to pamper you. It may be a mani-pedi, facial or massage a little pampering is nice. If there is something unique to the area I try to give it a try.

My only piece of advice is: Don’t pre-plan every day, every minute. Try to book one thing a day so you have time to do other things you didn’t know about until you were there. I usually book a tour or activity in the morning leaving my afternoons and/or evenings free. If I have an evening activity that I want to do I make sure that the next day is not an early morning (like diving) and if I have a morning tour that day it needs to end by lunch so I have the whole afternoon free before my evening out.

One Step Closer…

Every time I start booking a trip I get excited.  I like to pay for as much as possible up front so my credit card is empty and most of my trip is paid for before I ever set foot on the plane.  A few days ago I started booking my solo trip to the UK in the fall.  My air is booked and my trip to Stonehenge.  It is all becoming real.

I have made a general plan.  I’ll fly into London and spend a day there, then I’ll head to Stonehenge the next day Followed by another day in London before I leave for Scotland where I will spend the rest of my trip. I have a list of things I want to do and see and with my limited time I am going to try to see as much as I can.

But for now, my air is booked. I have a date and time that I leave and a date and time I return.  Now its turning from a dream to a reality.

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!