Many people have asked how it is that I can travel so cheaply…you know, besides the obvious of the free flight perks my job allows me. If you have been reading here awhile you know that it helps that I am more frugal than most, but I also take a fare amount of time to prepare for my trips in advance. Here are some tips I have learned over the years to get the most bang for my buck while globetrotting this big round orb…
As an avid traveler (both on the job and off), one of the largest expenses while on the road is…wait for it…
A few months back I had the experience of a lifetime – I spent an entire week volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This trip is one that I had been wanting to do for 10 years. I first heard of The Elephant Nature Park from a flight attendant who had gone there on her honeymoon. Though I thought it an odd choice at the time, as my honeymoon was spent sipping rum punch on a beach in Jamaica, I have since come around to realize her experience far outweighed my gluttonous week of all you can eat restaurants and sand in my crotch…as far as honeymoons are concerned, she won.
I arrived at ENP unsure of how the experience would shape me. I knew the basics of what we would be doing – prepping food (Did you know elephants eat 800 lbs of food a day?), picking up shit (400lbs a day…each!), and cleaning the park of the discarded corn tusks the elephants deemed inedible (picky, picky, picky). I had no idea there would also be 460 dogs there (most saved from the flood of Bangkok in 2011), herds of water buffalo, endless cats, goats, chickens, and any other type of animal that has needed rescuing in the past 25+ years. I also had no idea what the tourism industry had done to these magnificent creatures including torture, mutilation, and murder of many of the mothers in order to take the young. That week I learned a lot. I saw more than what I thought my heart could handle. That week, I became a voice for those who can’t speak… Continue reading “Money & Morals – Using Your $$ For Good”→
Truth be told, this is something I preach but don’t practice. You know, like eat healthy and work out. Sounds great but I rarely do it…the working out part. Let’s face it – that’s the hard part. And, like working out, planning for your death is hard. Hard, but important.
Next week I leave for Thailand to cross off one of my Bucket List items. I realize this is a trip many have made before and I realize that volunteering with elephants is not likely to be my cause of death. But… I also realize that shit happens. And, though I have no intentions of getting swept under a stampede, I am not the type to sit on the sidelines and watch the world go by…I’ll jump (or attempt to jump) on the elephants back and enjoy the ride!
With all that in mind, today I wrote my will. It isn’t official but I have no doubt it will stand up in court – it is basic, but informative, and will most likely cause those to read it to both laugh and cry…as any will should. The will is brief. One printed page of instructions (front and back) for my assets, my Bubs, and my vacuum (My BF will be so happy!)…
Are you working this Labor Day? Yep. Me too. If you aren’t, I salute you. Grill up a veggie burger and pour one out for me. 😉
For those who are working – you get a double salute…and not the fingers up bad kind.
Have you ever asked what the meaning of this whole day off (that I’m not taking off) is?? I did. Here it is in a nutshell…
Interesting. But we can go a little deeper…here’s my quick breakdown of events:
In the late 1800’s working conditions weren’t as cushy as they are today. Long hours for little pay was all the trend. Young children were a common source for manual labor – so bad. 😦 Others must have thought so too, because people began to commiserate and the first unions were created to give all laborers regulations in working conditions. Pickets and strikes were organized and on September 5, 1882 the first unofficial Labor Day Parade marched the streets of New York City 10,000 strong. Years later, Chicago began what would become the strike that broke the camels back. When good ol’ George Pullman decided to cut wages for his company (they built sleeper train cars), his 4000 workers began a strike against the railroads that would eventually swell to 250,000 strong across 25 states. Not cool. The Army was beckoned to break up riots and attempt to recover order which it eventually did. On June 28 1894, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday and now we take the first Monday of September off to eat hot dogs and visit the beach one last time before fall. The end.
Cool. Who doesn’t love a bit of history on their day off?
Anywho, unions are great and were necessary at the time. I am a unionized employee…but Labor Day is not a guaranteed day off in my case. In many cases! Imagine what would happen if everyone took labor day off?? Let’s look at the chaos that would unfold:
I’m writing from a hotel room in MSP situated across the street from the Mall of America. While many flight attendants would relish in their 15 hour overnight to spend half of it roaming the mall buying crap they don’t need, I’m not that kind of girl. I did, however, wander through the mall getting my steps in and picking up major points on Shopkick…but that’s another post. On my walk back to the hotel I couldn’t help but pop into IKEA for a slice of pizza. Seriously, they have the best crappy pizza one can buy for $1.75 ($2.50 with drink) – if you haven’t tried it I implore you to do so.
Anywho, my real overnight began once I settled back into my room…
It is rare I use my TV on an overnight…unless they have Bravo and Real Housewives of NY is on. Or The Bachelor or The Bachelorette is on…or Bachelor in Paradise. Oh, or Law and Order SVU! Ok – maybe I watch TV more than I think, but I don’t have cable at home so it’s easily justified. 🙂 So, today when I returned to my room I put HBO to see what was up on the movie channel. Enter The Bucket List.
Now, I love me some Rob Reiner films. And I love me some Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. But this movie I did not love. It was OK, and I definitely watched it from beginning to end, but it wasn’t mind blowing by any means. That being said, the idea was great – two dying men trying to live out their final dreams and goals. I can get behind that idea and, as sad as it is, I get it. But what I don’t get is why people wait until they are DYING to motivate and LIVE their lives! What a cruel way to go…finally living and then you die. Bummer!
The movie reminded me of my own Bucket List. At the beginning of this year I spent twenty minutes having a brain dump and writing down all of the things I want to accomplish and experience before I die…um, in one hundred years. The movie made me go back and reintroduce myself to the list. It was super invigorating for my imagination to see what lies ahead in my future, both near & far…
Not a bad start…
A lot of travel planned ahead. A lot of eating. And a lot of time spent with our next generation. Traveling expands my mind and perspective in so many ways that I can only imagine what the future will bring for this Bucket List! I look forward to being challenged and (in my nieces and nephews case) challenging others.
My plan is to add to this list every year. More importantly, I plan to check things OFF my Bucket List EVERY year. I don’t want to wait until my dying days to find the joy and wonderment in life…that’s for suckers. So who is with me??
** Do you have a Bucket List? Post it in the comments section and let’s start crossing it off! If you have a blog then join me in writing your own post about the Bucket Challenge! Let us unite in our pursuit of the extraordinary adventures that make life worth, well, living! Oh, and if you know how to surf or are fluent in Spanish – I am looking for teachers!! 🙂 **
On this edition of “Questions Not to Ask on a 22 Floor Elevator Ride” we go straight to the man on 23 who just couldn’t help himself….
Still one of the best movie scenes of all time!
Though Mr. 23 kept his question PG – the moment we stepped onto the elevator I knew it was coming. He couldn’t help look at the box in my hands which, I will add, was clearly marked air filters. I’m not sure what he thought might be in there but the tone in which he asked seemed a bit devious…like I was planning some kind of slumber party with hair braiding and pillow fights and he was hoping for an invite. Anywho, here we were at ground zero, with the elevator doors slowly closing, about to make our way to the top of the building… Mr. 23 – With a smirk that raised the corner of one side of his mouth he asks, “Whats in the box??” Me – “My wedding dress.” Simply stated. Mr. 23 – “Ohhhh” Spoken in a way he which was clear to me he didn’t know what to say as a follow-up. Me – I eased his pain by replying, ” Yes. I sold it on E bay. I figured I wasn’t going to wear it again so why not let someone else?” Mr. 23 – Still staring while searching for his next words… Me – “Funny how the remnants of one day can fit into one square foot box” I said quite matter of factly. Mr. 23 – Now wishing to God he had never asked and silently cursing the remaining floors until he could get off the elevator.
It’s funny – in that moment I had absolutely no feelings about selling my dress beyond; 1. Relief that it would no longer take up space in my closet, and 2. Joy that I would be $100 richer. It wasn’t until seeing Mr. 23’s somber reaction that I thought about the emotional implications of what I had done…I had broken a tie that led me to that day. But the day still exists in my memory…so why do we need the physical reminder? Continue reading “What’s in the Box? Saying Goodbye to Things to Make Room for New Experiences”→