Monday, April 16, 2012

Passport Stamps

Have you ever been through customs in a foreign country and you realize they didn't stamp your passport?  That is the worst!  I see passport stamps as a badge of honor, a way to put a number on your achievements as a world traveler.  I was too intimidated the first trip I did overseas to ask for a stamp, but I have learned now that if you stop and ask nicely, most customs agent will happily comply.  But you still need to wactch them carefully.  Don't allow them to stamp over another stamp if you can help it.  One of my friends actually picked out the page and asked very nicely for an Argentinian agent to "press hard and firmly please".  He smiled and did just that for her.  I would love to figure out a way to get blown up prints of each stamp and frame them so they aren't just hidden away in my passport.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Missouri Music in Colorado

If you haven't heard of Ha Ha Tonka, a Missouri band from West Plains, you need to check them out!  Dave and I were just happened to be staying in Red Cliff, CO (awesome mountain town BTW) and I checked out Ha Ha Tonka's website and saw they were playing in Avon, CO.  Only 23 miles away from where we were staying!  What an awesome show it was!  Just another awesome band out of the great state of Missouri!  There was something about watching them in the mountains though that added to the excitement of the show.

Adding live music to traveling just makes such a sweet combination.  I think we'll do it again.  Dave and I both have an overnight in LGA this weekend, so we're going to check out the Ryan Montbleau Band at Brooklyn Bowl.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Less Baggage

How many bags do 6 people need to go skiing for 3 days in CO?  A lot, apparently.  I learned how to pack from my mother.  We always took road trips when I was a kid and honestly, I enjoyed them.  I think it was because my mom did everything she could to make it enjoyable for us, and if that meant pack whatever you wanted then pack whatever you want!  When Dave and I first started dating and he saw what I would pack for a vacation, he was appalled.  Over the last 15 years he has trained me to pack much lighter, and I love it.  My mother doesn't know how her previous 15 years of training me got erased so easily.  
We are leaving this evening for a 14 hour road trip from St. Louis to Vail, CO.  The Yukon Denali XL is packed to the ceiling and we are only going to be there for 4 nights.  3 of the couples going have packed for 2 people in 1 bag.  My parents have one bag EACH and then there are six ski boot bags.  We thought that might be it, but as my sister and I were packing the car, there would be one more bag.  "This one has towels and pillows in it"  "Well this one is the movie bag so y'all can watch movies if you want" "This is my makeup bag" "Where will my briefcase go?" "I only have two more backpacks and that is IT"  It is nice to have everything you could possibly want with you at all times, but at what cost.  I have found that having everything you want only makes you really uncomfortable. 
Dave and I went on a week long vacation to Osaka, Japan and flew home through Hawaii, knowing we would probably only spend 1 or 2 nights there.  We have travelled internationally before with only carry ons but we still always felt like it was too much.  I attempted to cut down my packing even more for this trip.  I had a hiking backpack that fit very well in an overhead bin and a small purse.  I will list everything here so you can take a swift perusal of the items and then wonder how all of that fit in a pack and a purse.  

1 pair of jeans
3 pairs of leggings
1 pair of pumas
1 pair of birkenstocks
1 pair of black boots
1 pair of flats (I wore these on the plane)
6 tank tops (I like to wear 2 at a time)
1 wrap sweater
1 cardigan
2 light dresses
1 pair of swim shorts
1 t shirt
3 bras
7 pairs of socks
7 panties
2 pairs of sunglasses
2 scarves
1 hat
1 swimsuit
1 swimsuit cover up
1 cell phone charger and cell phone
1 ipod charger and iPod
Camera and battery charger
Mini Tripod
Toiletries (soap, shamp/cond, deep bond, razor, face wash, deodorant, static guard, hair gel, 2 barrettes, Rx, lotion, face lotion, tums, ibuprofen, 2 brushes, 2 combs, and travel laundry detergent) 
1 neck pillow

I still had WAY to much stuff!  I even purchased a book on the Kindle app on my phone so I didn't have to carry a book.  This was also the first vacation without a laptop which kinda freaked me out.  But it was SO wonderful having a lighter load.  I think the next week long international vacation, I can cut this amount of stuff in half!  I have come a long way since I was a kid taking road trips, I want the freedom of moving with less weight and less baggage.  I've been attempting this even before George Clooney's character in "Up In The Air" did his backpack seminar, but eventually I want to travel with a pack half the size of the one I have now and travel for twice the length of time.  I'll let you know when I do.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Addicted to Travel

The World seems so small, (when I'm texting a friend in London or emailing a friend in Osaka to let them know our flight from SFO is only 12 hours) yet it seems much larger when I start marking places I've been on a map.  People ask me "Would you like to go to Greece?"  "Have you considered visiting the Galapagos?"  "Would you like to sleep in a tent in Kenya?" and my answer is always "YES!"  My list of places I don't want to see or experience is much more manageable than the bucket list.  This blog is to keep track of where I have been and where I would like to go and maybe I will find answers to questions I didn't even know I had.