adventure, featured

Snack and a Smile

A snack and a smile used to be Southwest Airlines’ claim to fame on flights. Or so their snack pack advertises. That’s all in the past.

Today, life is different. We fly with masks. No mask no fly. They announce it multiple times. They also announce a numbering system overhead regarding snacks. This is a new protocol for me since my last flight a few months ago.

1-Coke

2-Diet Coke

3-7up

4-water

No need to take down your mask to order. Instead you have the finger. And yes you choose your finger. A 8×11 laminated sign with pictures and numbers to order. I guess it’s idiot proof. I really wanted to capture this with a photo but the flight attendant didn’t look amused. The sign is funny to me but probably ingenious to others. No smile with your snack this trip. That’s false advertising on my snack pack! No smiles. Seems like the trend for trips in the future.

Maybe there will be a middle finger for #1 for the jerk in front. Maybe the silly mom will hold up the peace sign to get her Diet Coke. Maybe four sideway fingers from this girl for some water. How did we even get to this point?

Now that I’m here trapped in my middle seat, listening to my AirPods to tune out the crying baby in front of me. My drink came covered with a fun fact napkin. Love the marketing amusement Southwest! I learned another fun fact from Southwest. Looks like the new slogan is mask up. Cheers to a great trip.

Maybe the next time I fly maybe I will have a touch screen to order my drink and snack. Cheers to mask life. Cheers to travel. Cheers to the lady next to me whose sweaty leg is sticking to me. Cheers to the crying baby in front. Cheers to my daughter sleeping on my shoulder. I can smell her morning sleepy breath through my mask. Gross! Cheers to the turbulence that is keeping the napkin moist on my drink. Really that napkin was to keep the airborne germs out out of it. Another Southwest value add.

Mask up. Travel. 

adventure, perspective

Big Adventures and Moves

Summer of 2021 was full of big adventures. Lots of travel. Lots of adventures. Lots of big chess moves. Lots of learning. Lots of time to think and escape the normal.

I missed my dog Teddie a bunch. I wondered if the feeling was mutual. I made sure lots of people loved on my dog while I away but I was hoping she didn’t have doggie anxiety wondering when I would return!

Now that I tell you how much I missed my pup, I also adopted a new pup. Her name is Bear. Now I will have Teddie & Bear. Corny combo I know but the name was a group consensus. Oh the new adventures those two will have. The learning for all of us. The potty training. The sibling rivalry. As we waited for the arrival so much planning was underway. The pet supplies. The staging. Giving Teddie some separation time from me was part of that. Hoping all works out. Stay tuned for the Teddie Bear stories.

Travel. So many firsts. So many destinations. Some pit stops. Some short stints. Others qualified as vacations based on days away. I adventured with family. I traveled with friends. I met many new faces. I tried a ton of new things. I stepped out of my comfort zone to lean in when I needed to. I also spent a small fortune in summer 2021. However, I feel the time and money invested in memories I will cherish thus the money was well spent and so was the time. 

Growth. I made a big purchase. A sign of tremendous growth. Starting from nothing and building to something. What a feeling! I also sold a big ticket item. An investment hit its maturity time. A diamond hidden in plain sight. One overlooked by many but the one I eyed. Funny how one’s lens can differ in life when looking at the same thing. This makes me smile. I’ve worked my whole life to fine tune my lens of life. I see the big picture better now. I still need to check the lens often but I’m staying in tune where many will be content.

Hitting the pause button on a part of my life I’ve enjoyed for many years to stimulate growth in another. Will it pay off? I don’t know. That’s part of the adventure when making big moves. I kind of thrive in this chaotic space.

Wish me luck as I cross new waters and weather new storms. Physically and literally. I am writing this as I cross the waterway on the Cape May Ferry. A first time adventure for this girl. All aboard. The ship is sailing.

adventure

Living the Chocolate Life

Only in the great state of Pennsylvania can you be on Chocolate Avenue, turning onto Cocoa Avenue leading to the Chocolate Museum. The sweetest place on earth, they claim. Yes, I am in chocolate heaven in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Home to Hershey chocolates and Hershey Park. A chocolate-themed amusement park.

While here I walk down memory lane from times when I was a child visiting Hershey Park and all its wooden roller coaster memories to times I took my kids when they were little. It’s amazing what scenery can do to trigger your memories. 

My youngest is in tow this trip. She doesn’t remember her last trip here but she likes the country flair of the corn stalks on the roadside for what seems like miles. However, just around the corner there is the vision of old and new coasters. Hearing her dialogue on the old wooden coasters is mesmerizing.

Hop into town and you see light posts designed as chocolate kisses adding to the ambiance. Oh how I love flair and this town has it. From small town ice cream shops to local vendors on the the town square.

My hotel is next to a car museum housing many interesting items. An old-time bus is out front peaking interest from the roadside. A little further up the path is the Hershey Kisses mobile. Three wrapped kisses forming a vehicle. I never saw this until today. Made me think of the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile that I have posed with dozens of times. So much fun to adventure to new places and see what is beyond your normal. It’s also cool to visit a place at different age points. I’m sure my visit here was more candy focused when I was a kid to ride focused when I took my kids to now me taking it all in as a mature adult.

My lens may be the same but my visions are different. Just like the light post above. Each view or angle of the post offers a different perspective.  As I travel I look for unique photo opportunities and try to use my imagination to create lasting memories. The sign below captured my thoughts along the way to Hershey, PA.

O

Off I go to explore in chocolate town. As I explore I know I’m using my imagination to fill in the blanks for my next adventure. Sending you virtual kisses from Hershey, PA.

adventure

Up Up and Away 2.0

It’s 4am. The alarm clock buzzes. It’s not the normal hit snooze. It’s travel day. Vacation time. I spring out of bed. I’m in motion. Excitement in the air but also jitters.

Stressed to get in the car with everyone and everything. Is there traffic? How long is the line at the airport? So many unknowns but I’m on a timeline. Unneeded stress for vacation time, but it happens. Bags checked. Now security. More stress. The aroma is straight marijuana or the pungent smell associated with it. The people in the lines reek. Do those folks even know the smell is lurking? Does the old lady by me recognize the smell? I just shake my head.

Mask on. Babies crying. Chatter in different languages. The cries get louder. Workers moving the trash by me in large bins. Elderly folks getting pushed in wheelchairs. The sounds of every kind of rolling suitcase you could think of. Today I am paying attention to the different sounds wheels make. Rickety wheels. Fast wheels. An annoying beeping sound distracts me. Overhead announcements. So much distraction.

The things you observe while charging your phone in the airport. The line for Chick-fil-A is never ending. It’s not even 7am. Everyone wants their breakfast. I have nothing better to do than count people in the line. Almost 100 people in line. Would you wait? My stomach is growling but I’m not waiting. Starbucks is open as well. Their line is long, too. Maybe 40 people deep. I guess I’ll wait for my on plane snack or maybe I’ll day dream about a yummy breakfast at my destination. I heard a lady talking about a pancake flight at a local place. Sounds intriguing.

Flying is interesting. The airport has great people watching. Today is my first to fly with a Boy Scout troop. All decked out in their finest uniforms. Maybe I will sit by one to ask where they are off to.

Let the adventures begin. Time to unplug for take off. Wonder where I’m going….

adventure

Activities on the Road

It’s been a summer of travel so far. Short hops, long hauls, flights, drives, and everything in between. Not too long ago I wrote about how I like to experience places through local food and drink. In recent years, experiences have become as much of my joy in travel as the snacks and sips.

Here are my favorite resources for finding cool things to do on the road:

1.) TripAdvisor – This is, hands down, my favorite guide for activities and attractions. TripAdvisor is especially great for finding guided tours. Recently, in Colorado, we wanted to do a whitewater rafting trip. I looked at TripAdvisor first for reviews of the companies. After narrowing it down to a few top-rated and reviewed services, we went to their websites to check out schedules, pricing, and more. We ended up finding a great company with a skilled, friendly guide (and a top-notch riverside catered lunch!)

2.) Ask someone who knows – My daughter was recently in Colorado and had some great adventures. She’s also a travel professional at Ellie’s Travel Bug. She was quick to offer suggestions for our time in Colorado with a suggestion to visit Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. We customized our trip with something new and fun, E-Bikes. I loved that we could make it as strenuous or chill as we wanted. Without Ellie, I wouldn’t have thought to head that direction. Another idea: if you’re at an air bnb, be sure to check out their suggestions or ask the host. We found a great swimming hole on a recent trip from a host’s tip.

3.) Take a Hike (or a Bike) – Hitting the trails is one of my favorite ways to experience a place. I use AllTrails for hiking and TrailLink for bikes. The reviews are priceless, especially the recent ones. Be sure to screenshot or download information about trails before you head out. Sometimes you won’t have service on the trail!

4.) Get Lucky – I’ve found great things through Only In Your State and other travel sites. Not surprisingly, when I start looking for cool things to do in a destination, the internet knows to send me all kinds of ads and resources. Sometimes those random ads pay off.

No matter what, get off the beaten path and do some interesting things on you travels. Even a day trip from home can leave you refreshed and renewed. What resources do you use when planning an adventure?