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42. Visit Disney

18 Jul

30 is this big milestone birthday for women; we put a lot of heavy hitting life stuff on that number like it's do or die. Ridiculous… I didn't want to spend all of my 29th year dreading 30. 

Which to be honest I'm kind of doing anyway.

But that's beside the point. 

The point is I want to have fun for the last year of my 20s. So I gave myself a three day ticket to Disney; can't get much more fun than that right? Best part is the three days can be used whenever, you don't have to do them all in a row. So I spread them out several months.

I visited Magic kingdom first with my bestie. We were there open to close. Biggest thing I learned? Use one of your your fast pass slots on the miner ride. Never did get on it, the line was insane all day long. 

Next up was Animal kingdom, went with a group of friends and the biggest thing I learned while visiting this park? Don't run home if it rains. Wait it out, laugh it out, and head right to the safari ride because the line is nonexistent and the animals are all out after the rain. Also…don't wear a white tank top. 

For my final ticket I headed to Hollywood studios on my own. There is quite a bit of construction, and not to my interest a lot of Star Wars stuff. BUT this was my favorite park. I'm a huge TCM fan and they have an amazing ride and fantastic line entertainment while you wait, the Aerosmith ride is beyond amazing I rode it three times. Now this is where my lesson was learned:  I waited in line for over an hour to ride the Aerosmith ride the first time…turns out there is a single riders line you can get through in ten minutes. Use it. Also the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is truly terrifying but a major adrenaline rush. 

This was an amazing self gift and one of the more fun bucket list items I've done so far. I'll probably end up buying a season pass to Disney. It's a quick day trip on boring weekends, and with the season pass you're getting free parking and a percentage off food and purchases in the park…that essentially pays for the monthly season pass fee, so why not? 

Sea Turtle

3 Jun

Photo by: Jamie Neal

Completely warm darkness, silent with the exception of crashing waves swirling sand and shells. The moon sheds a gentle light; between the vast ocean, endless night sky and the formidable moon a person feels small but grounded and whole with their place in the world. 

Wet sand squish between my toes and shells stab my soles as I approach the unmistakable signs of a turtle having finished her task and returned to the sea. Four times I passed these tracks with mounting frustration and worry that I’ve missed my chance to see one of natures amazing moments. 

Finally I spot her; fifteen feet from the braking waves a beautiful turtle with sand piled all around her, my heart slams in my chest having come upon her so suddenly. 

Keeping my distance I wait, finding a comfortable spot to sit in the sand…mosquitos swarm and feast biting repeatedly so in a moment of desperation I flung myself into the ocean. Cooled off certainly, but the mosquitos don’t relent.

The certainly of tomorrow’s misery is worth the chance to witness the turtle nesting, so I wait. 

As suddenly as I stumbled upon her the turtle has finished her task and is hastily making her way back to the ocean; the waves glide over her head and she is gone. 

Spontaneous Solo Travel 

8 Mar

With the promise of a three day weekend I made the decision to do something I’d been wanting to do; visit St. Augustine, FL.

I did invite a couple of people, with short notice no one could come. I decided to go anyway. Best decision I could of made.

I had the most enjoyable weekend, possibly of all time. I booked and inexpensive hotel right in the center of all there was to see and do and I purchased a trolley tour that came with admission into 5 popular attractions.

I spent 48 hours going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, seeing and doing whatever I wanted. It was beyond perfection not having to compromise or think about anyone but myself. It truly blows my mind how much I’ve grown and changed in the last three years or so. There was a time when I wouldn’t even go to Walmart alone, now here I am traveling over two hundred miles for a weekend totally alone.

St. Augustine is truly amazing, the history, shopping, food, and all there was to see and experience. Now, the price of admission seemed a little high on some of the attractions but when purchased in the trolley package totally worth it. My only trolley complaint was if you wanted to get on just to get back near your hotel it could be quite a long ride, upwards of an hour/hour and half.

I learned a lot about the area, American history, and myself during this trip. 

Tiny House Nation 

11 Jul

be9940b509abf6e671865b9ba51207a6The Tiny House movement is becoming more and more popular with the millennial generation that I am a part of…and it has intrigued to me for some time now.

For me the tiny house is utilitarian. I can’t see living in one for no reason; I wouldn’t want to live in one just to live in one. I’ve watched Tiny House Hunters and the like on HGTV and the single or young couples going on a tiny adventure are doing so to save money, travel and “live more”. The tiny house is giving them the freedom to live the way they want, wherever they want, when they want.

That’s exactly why I am going to join the Tiny House Nation.

The idea of not being constrained by a lease or tons of stuff to move is very attractive, plus where I am in my life right this second the tiny house lifestyle is perfect for me. I’m single, I travel a lot…I need something inexpensive so I can travel more and save money for later.

My first thought was to build a tiny house myself with my family, since we have all the skills to do so we wouldn’t have to hire it out; making it cheaper. However they can be heavy, still more than I would want to spend, and take time to build. Ultimately I decided to go with a camper. I can use my skills to renovate and make it my own, it will be lighter, and less expensive.

I’ll be blogging each step of the journey to find, renovate, move, and live in my Tiny House.

This is how I live a life with no regrets.

Ultimate Packing Guide

7 Jun

I fly a lot, specially this past year. I’ve committed over packing enough to have my packing down to a science. What you see would last a minimum of 5 days possibly 8 if I mixed up the combination between the shorts and tops.

  1. Start with a great back pack, this one is Swiss Army brand I got it at Wal-Mart for $40. It is jam-packed with awesome features. A cup holders on either side, tons of pockets and dividers, and the metal loop on the front is a great place to clip a carabiner with my car keys.
  2. Two pairs of shorts; one more casual the other a little dressier gives you more options for appropriate dress if you end up in a museum or a theme park. Torrid buy one get one 50% off.
  3. One awesome, easy to wear dress that can work nicely for a wedding or a nice dinner. Lilly Pulitzer $109 on sale.
  4. One pair of exceptionally versatile shoes; brown leather with a heel strap makes them easy to walk in all day as well as match everything I packed. Wal-Mart $12.
  5. Tops, choose two easy to wear t-shirts, and two nicer tops if you need to dress up a little more than a t-shirt.
  6. Pajama’s could pass for another outfit in a pinch. An old Phi Mu shirt and softy shorts.
  7. For the beach/pool: beach towel (aldi’s $6) , SPF top (Old Navy $12), bikini top (Torrid $30), bikini bottoms (Lilly Pulitzer for Target $20), flip-flops ($2.50 Old Navy).
  8. Make up bag including a mini body spray and deodorant and hair brush.
  9. Book and snacks for the plane.
  10. Lilly Pulitzer wristlet that holds ID, credit cards, cash, and cell phone $30.
  11. An empty Tervis is also great to take you can fill it up at a water fountain on the other side of security and then you’ll also have it the rest of your trip, bonus it doesn’t sweat, $15.

As for the flight: I fly Frontier the most. Their tickets are priced amazing as long as you don’t purchase the extras. Let them seat you wherever they want that will save you $12 each way. Pack smart and just take the backpack, it counts as a personal item and you don’t have to pay for a carry on or checked bag saving $30-35 each way. Download the app and you can check in on your phone saving yourself at least that line, and you don’t have to print your ticket it’s right there on your phone.

What to wear on the plane: I always wear yoga pants, sneakers, and a t-shirt with a zip up over that. These are comfortable, give you temperature options, and are bulky items you’re keeping out of your backpack.

Safe Travels.

Boil

5 Jun

 

If I could boil this past year down to one list it would look something like this:

img_0952

Boil: to reach or cause to reach the temperature at which it bubbles and turns to vapor.

Lost 30 pounds

Gained four gray hairs

Six total break downs

One and a half car accidents

11, 660 Miles home and back

Two broken FitBit One’s

One shark siting

Two blistered sunburns

137 students

One book published

Risk

21 May

5cc39bb680ca95fd35c8315cb4239db8“Attractive as some things are you have to weigh your risks. How badly do you want it, how badly are you willing to be burned?”

This quote has really stuck with me the last few days, its from a book by Patrick Rothfuss that recently finished reading called The Wise Man’s Fear.

The idea of moving to a tropical climate was so attractive; but ever since I moved I’ve faced trial after trial. It has truly been the most difficult year I’ve ever experienced. I made the rash decision to accept a job outside of my experience and education and move after having my heart-broken. I thought new everything would help it hurt less.

Being in a new place, with a new car, a new job, new friends, has been exciting…but learning a whole new life all at once would be hard in the best of circumstances but I left because of hurt…out of fear and anger.

Now a year later I’m missing my former life. But, you can’t go back right? I’m tired of missing out on my nephew growing up, on family events…it’s not Ohio and the unforgiving five months of winter that I miss…it’s the people.

Sure this is the perfect weather for me…and I have access to the beach whenever I want but is the sun, surf, and sand more important than family?

I have a big decision to make; give it another year or run home.

43. Eat somewhere featured on Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives

20 Apr

10370956_10104112491261574_1767563389424899839_nWeeks after the fact I realize I have crossed something off of my bucket list, first time in quite some time actually!

Number 43. Eat somewhere featured on Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives.

I love, love, love to watch this show! It always makes me hungry though!

While my sister was visiting from Ohio for Spring Break we met up with a Phi Mu sister, my grandlittle, and we spent a perfect wave free day at the beach and then had a fantastic lunch of tacos from the Havana Hideout in Lake Worth, FL.

The tacos were delicious, cheap and delivered to our outdoor table quickly! We were enjoying an early lunch in the middle of a week day so the place was dead, but I’d be willing to bet they’re totally packed on the weekends and evenings so if you’re going, go early; unless you like crowds…then by all means go late.

Check out their menu here.

My bucket list is slowly dwindling…I need to add a few things to it..any ideas?

Spring Break in FL

19 Mar

RuiRicardo-Folio-Illustration-Agency-Vector-Posters-Editorial-Publishing-Beach-LThis past week my younger sister came to visit me in Florida during Spring Break. Here is what I learned in the planning and execution of this Spring Break in Florida.

  1. Go to a local travelers bro: collect their knowledge as well as free pamphlets. I’m new to the area I know there is a lot more out there then I could even begin to know about so enlisting the help of a retired local in a room full of what the area offers is a darn good place to start. I then marked the free stuff from the more expensive things.
    • Something I should of done but didn’t think of at the time is to have a calendar and mark the days an hours that activities are open. We wanted to go on this great nature walk; had a whole day set aside for it…we got there to find out they’re closed on Mondays. Such a bummer.
  2. Don’t assume that a beach day is a free day. The beaches in the area I live in are free, even free to park. So it never occurred to me that other public beaches would charge $4-$6 an hour to park there.
    • We drove over 3 hours to get to the Gulf side of the state to visit a very specific beach -Sanibel Island- that I had read was the best place to find shells. There was a $6 toll to go over the bridge and then $6 an hour to park. Not to mention the traffic was insane. Bikers and cars a like. It took us over an hour to find a beach that even had parking left to pay for so we could get out of the car to check it out. Once we were on the beach we had a hard time finding a place to sit there were so many people, and these famous shells we were so excited about? Totally picked over. Looked to me like the local shop owners would get out early in the morning and collect everything of interest an then sell them for $4-$10+ per shell.
  3. Universal’s free boardwalk is a collection of shops and dinning options before you walk into the actual park. At Universal you pay $20 to park and then you can eat in Emeril Lagasse, or Forest Gump’s restaurant (among others). You can shop in the Universal store, enjoy ice cream or temporary tattoos. You can also take a free boat ride over to one of the partnering hotel’s and back. However: you can not get a Butterbeer or Pumpkin Juice unless you’re in the Harry Potter section of the park.
  4. The Disney boardwalk is free to park and offers a lot more variety of stores and food selections then Universal does, it is also at least 3 times as big and currently under construction to add more. Disney also offer’s free boat rides to different sections of the boardwalk, has a Lego store and massive Lego monuments, classic Disney and new Disney…overall if you only had time to visit one of the free boardwalk’s I would go with Disney over Universal.

We had a good week, the more expensive portions of the visit were less fun then the free portions, something to keep in mind in all aspects of life I’d say.

As For Traveling…

25 Nov

e222f810af3e0155276afa4835bbfeeeI’ve traveled “alone” a lot, in fact 90% of the time when I am traveling I’m going alone. But someone always takes me to the airport an someone is always waiting for me on the other side.

For thanksgiving this year, since I live in Florida right now, I traveled home to Ohio. For the first time ever I drove myself to the airport had to figure out parking an then getting to my gate (which I’m used to). Of course there is still someone on the other side waiting for me, but just having to get myself to the airport was new.

This “alone thing” I’ve been doing lately is fine…at least I’m going places and doing things, which has always been high on my list; I hate to be idle.

But, what I’m learning from all of my society labeled “valuable time alone” is that, as I suspected previously, I don’t want to be alone. What’s the point in going through life experiencing things totally alone? There isn’t a point. Sure I’m seeing an doing but I don’t have anyone to share that with.

Do I know now that I’m capable of doing things alone?

Yes.

Do I like it?

Eh. Sort of I guess.

What I do know for sure is that I don’t want to go through life alone even if I am capable of it.

I suppose its quite a step just to realize you’re totally fine on your own. This also happens to be number one on my bucket list. Travel Alone; check.