Oh, The Places You’ll Go…

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Seaside, FL

So far, I have been on the road a little over one week.  In 9 days I’ve driven 2599 miles and spent $290.69 on 115.42 gallons of gas…it’s been worth every cent.

I didn’t have any expectations for this journey, but I did have a variety of reasons for setting out on it:

  1. I wanted to escape the brutal chill of January in Chicago.
  2. I wanted needed to untangle some of the thoughts in my head.
  3. I wanted to shake the dust off my physical being.
  4. And financially, I could.

The road has taken me from Springfield IL to Nashville TN, Atlanta GA, Destin FL, Mobile AL, Lake Charles TX, Amarillo TX, and finally to Longmont via Denver.  I have visited with family, friends, and even dropped in on a ChooseFI meetup in Atlanta!  If you aren’t following along on Instagram (hint hint), here are a few pics from the road… Continue reading “Oh, The Places You’ll Go…”

Fuck it… It’s Coddiwomple Time!!

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Aka – Wanderlusting’s less known sister.  The one that takes the desire to travel and rolls with it.  I stumbled across this word a few weeks back and as soon as I read it, I knew it was created for me.  And today I roll…

THE BACKGROUND

I have always loved a nice long road trip.  The wind in your hair, tunes on the radio, random sites like a giant Paul Bunyon and The Worlds Biggest fill in the blank.  When I was in high school I got my first taste of road life while following The Grateful Dead on a summer tour.  I LOVED the idea of packing up, driving out, settling down, hanging with friends, selling my crafts (I was really good at sewing patchwork clothing and crafting hemp jewelry 😉 ) listening to music, sitting by bonfires, and camping at night.  If it wasn’t a two-night city, we got to pack up and do it all over again the next day.  The Dead community gave me my first insight into van life and all that came with it.  When Jerry Garcia died, I switched to Phish tour (cool, but NOT THE SAME).  Town after town, parking lot after parking lot, grilled cheese after grilled cheese…I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.  Even the gas stations and Walmart bathrooms.

Soon after high school, I took to the road with my best friend Marisa.  The plan was to drive her 69 VW bus across the country eventually making our way to Boulder CO, aka the hot hippy guy mecca of our world.  The VW never made it.  Apparently, 4 bald tires, a bus with no heat (in February) or working windshield wipers, and a starter on the fritz is a recipe for disaster.  Not to worry, though the bus didn’t make it, Marisa and I eventually did…via a Greyhound bus.  I am happy to report that indeed there were a ton of hot hippy dudes to be found.  😉

Fast forward 20 years and I haven’t been on a road trip since.  I mean, I have gone on long drives with specific destinations – when I moved to Ashland OR or visited my sister in Bar Harbor, Maine.  But I haven’t driven just to drive.  I haven’t had a chance to turn left on a whim instead of going straight…until today. Continue reading “Fuck it… It’s Coddiwomple Time!!”

The Do’s & Dont’s of Walking the Camino de Santiago

Taking a break from finances today to talk about my other passion – travel!  This is a continuation of my guest post So You Want To Hike the Camino De Santiago published today at GoCurryCracker.com.  If you are interested in knowing the In’s & Out’s of walking the Camino, please hop over there to check it out.  If you’re interested in the Do’s & Don’ts, keep reading…

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Points along my 2013 Camino

Of all the lessons I have learned in life, I have learned the most from my mistakes.  The Camino De Santiago was no different.  It took a failed first attempt to wisen me up before being able to successfully complete the 500-mile hike multiple times since.  Today’s lesson is for you to learn what to do and what not to do before ever setting foot on the trail so, unlike me, you can be a first-time success.  You’re welcome in advance.  🙂

First, a brief bit of history…

The Camino De Santiago is an ancient footpath in Spain with many starting points but only one ending point, Santiago De Compostela (SDC).  The history of  The Camino dates back to the middle ages when it was once (and still for some) used as a pilgrimage to the visit the remains of St. James The Apostle, located in SDC.  Since then it has also been used as punishment for thieves, bragging rights for Kings and Queens, and more recently, for historical, spiritual, or tourist related purposes.

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Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert on hiking nor on the Camino itself, but the following are tips that I have picked up over my past 5 Caminos.  I hope you find them useful!  🙂

The Do’s & Dont’s of Hiking the Camino De Santiago

First, the DON’TS:

1.   DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE – this one should be easy for most but let me break it down just in case there is any doubt… Continue reading “The Do’s & Dont’s of Walking the Camino de Santiago”

Lola, Landlording, & Life

It’s been a while, ladies, and gents!!  Let me give you a quick catch up before we can move on to the latest…

AUGUST

  1. PORTLAND – Far Away Friends, Couchsurfing, & Lola Retreat!

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the Pacific Northwest?  I DO!!  Many moons ago I lived in Ashland OR and, looking back over the years, I still consider it one of those magical times in my life where my surroundings had the ability to refresh and energize me.  The trees, mountains, and clean air (compared to city life, that is) were a true delight.  Every time I am back, I feel right at home…

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Born Treehugger

I arrived in Portland a day before Lola Retreat so I could meet up with my friend, Angela.  Angela and I met in 2013 while hiking the first ever European Peace Walk (EPW).   The hike itself was tough, but the friendships made on that trip were solidified by an unspoken bond that only happens when you hike painfully long days in excruciating heat across 6 countries with little-to-no route information.  Such a BLAST!!  🙂 Since then, I have met several of my US-based EPW buddies on work overnights, some met me in Spain to hike, and last year while on vacation, I met Angela in her hometown of Dublin.  It was only proper that I meet her when she visited the states.

We made our plans a week before Lola but when I checked for accommodations I realized the downside of our timing – the fucking solar eclipse!  NOOOOOOOO!!!  As awesome a sight for many, this “once in a lifetime” event put a damper on our plans…until we consulted Couchsurfing.  Now, I have stayed in a ton of random places during my travels (barns, old classrooms, churches, monasteries), but I have never Couchsurfed for fear of being murdered in my sleep.  I am happy to say that fear is now gone…and it was so easy!  Not only were our hosts super accommodating, they were also very informative (all for $0!!!).  They told us about a local hike called the 4-T Trail.

Continue reading “Lola, Landlording, & Life”

Spreading the FIRE

As a flight attendant, there are no two things more important than your base and your seniority.  The base becomes your home and your seniority gives you access to the best trips and vacation weeks possible.  For a few years now, my seniority in Chicago has been stagnant due to the droves of flight attendants jumping ship from MDW (Chicago Midway Airport) in favor of the DEN base.  To add insult to injury, DEN has been voted Best Base 4 years running (dethroning MDW from our own winner’s streak) and has quickly become the more junior base.  What does that mean for me?  My decent seniority in MDW would be muuuuch better if I too took the DEN bait.  Hmmmm…  In early July, I decided to jump a flight to Denver to see what all the hullabaloo was about.  Maybe I too would jump ship.

Let me start by saying, I love the mountains and all the fresh water lakes that they create.  I also love the outdoorsy life and all it has to offer including the fresh air, camping, hiking, kayaking, swimming.  With the exception of skiing (grace is not a word best used to describe me), I love it all!  The closest I ever got to that type of lifestyle was when I worked in the ski shop at a resort in Ashland, OR.  Being surrounded by the mountains and their constant unrelenting beauty, made me feel alive.  In that regard, Denver didn’t disappoint…

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Breathtaking, right?!

After a few days I decided that as much as I loved Denver and all it has to offer (and despite the urging of my DEN friends), I have no plans to move at this juncture. 🙂  Instead, I made a mental tally of the things I liked (Happy Hour, dog friendliness, mountains, outdoorsy peeps) and didn’t like (altitude sickness, cost of living, car dependency) in the event I decide to revisit the DEN base idea in the future.  But don’t worry, folks, this trip was not for nothing.   I’m happy to report I did accomplish something while I was away…

Anita

While visiting, I had the pleasure of staying with my dear friend, Anita.  I spoke about Anita in my last post, how we met through a volunteer trip in Thailand, but I failed to mention we are the SAME EXACT person…minus the fact I am 10 years her senior.  Up until now, our lives have followed similar paths including adventures in real estate, travel, and flight attending. While both of us have no children, we are both dating men in their mid 40’s with teenagers (I happen to live with mine, she doesn’t).  We are both entrepreneurs in various outlets and love to create new streams of income.  We don’t eat meat, though she is vegan and I a pescatarian.  We both relate to our spiritual sides more than religious.  She has solo traveled all over the world, as have I.  She cranes her head out the window to yell at people riding in horse-drawn carriages on a sweltering city street (witnessed by my own eyes in Golden, CO) and I yell at people who leave their dogs unattended in hot cars.  We both love animals, after all.  😉

 

Oh, and we are both complete dorks.  But that’s beside the point.

During my stay, I was able to catch a small glimpse of Anita’s life in Denver and, even more fascinating to me, her overall spending habits.  This is where I discovered one glaring difference between us.  She is a spender, ya’ll. Continue reading “Spreading the FIRE”