Starlight Theater, Kansas City.

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Starlight Theater, Kansas City. 30 June 2017.

So this is Kansas: day one – and really day one. I got off the plane, picked up my bags, found Ryan’s car, and we headed straight over to Starlight Theater – these plans definitely contributed to my airplane dress code.

This is an amazing arena style theater (similar to the Hollywood Bowl for Los Angeles readers) with all outdoor seating and large screens for anyone who struggles to see from further seats. The atmosphere with a lot of twinkle lights, seating areas, shops, a show happening while sunset and twilight settled around us, and lots of red brick, this was also a lovely spot to have our official first date.

I missed a local LA production to fly out to Kansas so Ryan got us tickets to see Jersey Boys here and the production was fantastic. I actually had never seen Jersey Boys before and, while I know the Four Seasons, I never realized how many of their songs I grew up listening to (at least covers if not the real deal).

In terms of cost, like more attractions, you will pay for everything, but, luckily, this theater offers a military discount. However, you are require to purchase the tickets with this discount on the day of, at the box office which means seat choices are more limited. Still, we ended up getting relatively good seats and the production was phenomenal as this seems to be one of the main theater stops for major tours.

The theater preforms in all weather conditions (yep, rain or shine), so you don’t have to be worried about shows being cancel on you, however, you may need to be prepared for said weather or purchase a poncho at concession stands. Speaking of concessions, there are many food options from bringing something from home, your normal concessions like hot dogs and popcorn, to fancier buffet style dining. We chose that latter and, as a non-member, it cost about $30 each but the food was so good and, since we got to eat all we wanted (including ice cream) it was well worth it.

You also have to pay for parking but you get to choices: Lot or Grass. We chose grass parking (since it was a little cheaper) which was an easy walk in and, as long as you don’t mind navigating normal grass hill issues (like inclines) this is an easy option. Just remember to bring your cash!

If you are a Kansas City local, the membership seems well worth the price for all the shows and perks you have access to. If we were in the area again, we would definitely check out the line up and return.

The theater is also just outside the Zoo so if you have more time, you can also decide to send the day out here, fist at the zoo followed by a show at The Starlight! Just remember your sweater because even in the sweltering summer, it does cool down considerably. Also if you get here early and like to take pictures, bring in your camera because it really is a beautiful area and well worth a night out if you are in Kansas City!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

 

Starlight Theater, Kansas City.

Using the LAX Flyaway…

So, I’m back! And as such I have quite a lot to talk about as time (and posts) go on, but first things first, a little from Los Angeles.

Whether you are from the greater Los Angeles area or visiting, there is something about driving to The Los Angeles International Airport that causes a headache. If you are from out of town, the traffic – dealing with the LA driving style more than anything – and stress caused by traveling alone is enough to make people avoid this city. And as a local, driving around LAX with people who don’t understand LA driving and the fierce, crazy taxis, we generally avoid it as well.

This is why for years my parents have relied on the amazing service provided by LAX Flyaway. This bus service gives quick, reliable and cheap round-trip or single fare options for getting to LAX from a variety of locations – Van Nuys (our usual drop off location), Hollywood, Westwood, Union Station, or Long Beach. This not only makes traveling to and from LAX easier but makes flying into the city easier.  While we may make the drive for long term travel or international destinations – for sentimental reasons – the fact that you can really only pick up and drop off at LAX means there really are no reasons to drive into the chaos especially for quicker trips, ie Kansas.

Of course, if you aren’t looking to go into the city and have other options – like Burbank, if you are more valley-bound – you can avoid the whole mess. However, I have to caution (as always) to research locations. My brother-in-law had an out-of-town guest who didn’t pay attention to this and, thinking the Long Beach airport was closer as well as cheaper, booked a flight there only to need a pickup an hour away with no traffic.

If you are from out of town, this is a great service that can get you to Union Station which can then get you all over the city and beyond.

I know this isn’t about Kansas – but trust me, you will hear plenty about that in the weeks to come – and a little disjointed, but I am still a bit travel-lagged and promise that this service is well worth talking about. But for now,

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Using the LAX Flyaway…

Going Unplugged… Kind of.

To start out, happy Fourth of July and a long weekend to (hopefully most) of you Americans; and to the rest of the world, happy fourth and another Tuesday finished.

Technically, I’m writing this post a week early so I’m off celebrating my own Fourth not spending the evening with all you lovely people, but I hope you will forgive me. Why? you may ask and the answer is simple: with everything else that is going on, I really don’t need to spend my time on my computer.

My real reasons for wanting my computer would be to offload pictures and write this blog, but as with most things in travel planning, there are always ways around lugging heavy computers and space consuming chords. Instead, I’m writing and scheduling this blog now and am making a camera plan.

I have multiple data cards and batteries which will allow me to check pictures and keep the ones I want. If you want to offload pictures with less space you can also buy an external hard-drive that off loads from memory cards or, if you have access to someone else’s computer, you can bring your normal offloading device and a flash drive to store the pictures on.

Again, I’m only going partially unplugged – I will still have my phone which, let’s face it, basically means I will have a computer in my pocket at all times. This also means, if you want to follow my week of travel before I get to blogging about it all, feel free to check my Instagram for more up-to-the-minute updates.

But until next week,

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Going Unplugged… Kind of.

To Pack and Pack Again.

Continuing along the epic saga of summer travel, today I finally settled down to pack for the two trips I have covering just over a week. Both of these trips are very different and require very different perimeters when packing. Luckily, this allowed me to pack for both trips at once while also having what I need for both trips available.

First (as in tomorrow), I leave to caravan up to Fresno to help my sister pack her apartment up and move back to the valley. With an easy there and back, two day trip whose main features are driving, cleaning, and carrying  heavy items, packing is pretty much throwing in some extra underclothes, a shirt, and PJs; it’s easy to reuse heavy duty jeans the whole trip. Add in toiletries and an ipod play list for the drive and you’ve got the whole trip more or less squared away.

This is almost the opposite of packing for Kansas.

While Kansas – as I have spent the last few weeks explaining – doesn’t have very much going on, my wardrobe for Kansas is extremely varied. There are two reasons for this kind of packing (one of which I have encountered before and the other I haven’t) : One – it’s a short trip. Six days if you count the evening I fly in; and Two – this whole trip is basically back to back dates that consist of everything from a fancy dinner and a show, to a stadium musical, to zip lining, to fourth of July fireworks.

The first means that I will over-pack. Even with all of my experience, I almost always pack more per day traveling short term than I do long term. Why is this? well, even with wearing pieces that can work well together without making it look like you haven;t changed clothes in 5 days, the shorter the trip the more the similarities bother – after all, as much as I like the ease of travel, I also like fashion.

The second means that I have to account for day activities and night activities that very well may require costume changes. Alongside leaving room for choice while on the road, this means packing even more.  Then there are toiletries, makeup, hair stuff, shoes, and entertainment for the plane. And of course, my camera. All in all, that is a lot of stuff for less than a week out there.

But what am I packing? A few dresses fit for different kinds of activities – from a fancy dinner to running around town; some rugged jeans and a basic shirt for zip lining; and then some basic running around clothes like a skirt and jeans paired with a wide selection of top options.

So it will be a long week but I can’t wait to get underway. Until next time:

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

To Pack and Pack Again.

And here is the game plan…

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And another one for Kansas. Middle of Nowhere, Kansas. 1 July 2017.

Yep, this is the next installment from the ongoing Kansas Saga which will, of course, be ongoing.

Now that plans are starting to fall into place, we have managed to nail down where we will be and some bigger stuff we are going to do. It’s been an interesting process, planning across the country, but for a mostly fly-over state, I am starting to get really excited (and not just about the company).

Last week I talked about how when you are out in the middle of nowhere (which, let’s be honest) happens a lot in the average persons mundane travel. I talked a little about traveling further out and finding the more exciting areas when you are looking for more adventure and, since we’ve started in on the game plan, that is what I am looking into now.

The plan is that I’ll write all about this trip while and after I’ve been on it, so I won’t go into too many features now.

We’ll be starting out in Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas for an evening, a night, and a day; before driving over to Wichita, Kansas for another evening show, night, and a day; Then it’s back to the Fort Riley area until I head back to Kansas City on the 5th for some last bits of exploring and flying home.

Exciting, right?

Well, that when all the personal stuff comes in. That’s right – planning!


Wichita, Kansas

So more or less, this is a city of historic and niche museums and then nature walks. Everywhere I looked, I found loads of museums catering to every type of interest I could possibly imagine. From toys and trains, to historic houses and recreations, to art and nature.

As a photographer, I am most looking forward to Wichita Gardens – the cities beautiful botanical gardens. The images I have seen are inspiring and spending the day exploring before heading out on the town – dinner and a show, another great feature of these larger areas.


Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas

I am probably spending nearly the same amount of time here as I am in Fort Riley – where I originally thought I was going to spend the whole trip. Between the time here as a couple and on my own, this city which spans two states has so much to offer I honestly don’t know where to begin.

There are tons of sites like this one which give amazing ideas on what to see and I love the commentary and categories. As a book nerd, a photographer, an explorer, and an art lover, there is so much to see and enjoy here.

I mean, come on: google their Union Station and Public Library and you will see what I mean!


10 days until I take off and so much more to do, so until next time:

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

And here is the game plan…

Stuck in the Suburbs (or somewhere like it)…

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Again, Kansas. Middle of Nowhere, Kansas. 1 July 2017.

Whether you are looking for things to do when you are home, when people are visiting you, or when you are visiting somewhere else but you are far from any real sites worth seeing, you have to figure out what you can do – after all, Netflix and chill only works for so long.

So, stuck in the suburbs (or middle of nowhere Kansas) and what do you do?

First, if you are creative enough, there is always something to do. There are parks to see, walks to take or hikes depending on the terrain and these seem much more common the more central you head. In Kansas, this ended up being Milford State Park and Kansas Landscape Arboretum.  If a few walks in the park doesn’t fill your time, you can take any mundane thing and make it an adventure if you change a few details (anyone remember fancy dress bowling?). Get overdressed, make a scavenger hunt, make an event out of every small thing the town can offer.

Second, if you can get your hands on a vehicle – especially if you are in LA or the middle of nowhere – you options grow exponentially.

In LA, we recently discovered cooking nights. There are companies out in the warehouse areas – like West LA – that house classes from cooking to tastings to game nights and as long as you have a rough idea of what activities you may want to participate in you can usually find them. However, even in LA, it usually means taking quite a drive. This doesn’t mean that you won’t find these activities elsewhere. Even Kansas can boast it;s share of murder mystery dinners and zip lining activities – we actually found these when looking for fun activities to explore.

And finally, of course, if you have access to a car and time to move further away – say a few hours – you can usually hit another area (a bigger city, for example) and then, once again, your odds of finding things also expands. Take Kansas: from where I am staying, a two hour drive takes you to either Wichita or Kansas City. Personally, I’m looking at the latter. But that’s next week.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

 

 

Stuck in the Suburbs (or somewhere like it)…

Looking Closer: Kansas.

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Because Kansas. Middle of Nowhere, Kansas. 5 July 2017.

A few weeks back I talked a little about a perspective trip to Germany that’s still a year(ish) out (hopefully), but this week I am pulling back to a long weekend trip much closer in both time and distance: I leave for Kansas on June 30th.

So let’s settle one issue really quick: for us out here on the coast, Kansas is definitely what we call a fly-over state – you know, a state you fly over to get where you really want to go – for a reason (sorry, Kansas!). While this state is the home of The Wizard of OZ, Clark Kent, and a surprising number of backdrops in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, there doesn’t seem to be much to kick your heals up about (and again, sorry, Kansas!).

However, I should state that I haven’t really started my side of research yet, so maybe I’m a Coaster speaking to soon… I don’t really think I am though.

Why then, you may ask, am I flying into this particular fly over state? After all, nothing even close made it onto my US city bucket list.

Well, this is where my best friend/now kinda boyfriend (yea that’s new and an odd thing to type) lives and we are spending the long weekend exploring Kansas while we can before he ends up overseas (hence the Germany post^^). While the relationship is new (minus the 12 years we’ve been best friends), so is Kansas but I am taking a different approach – I’m not really planning.

This is not to say that I’ve never not planned trips I’ve been on before – if you are reading along, you will know that my family has done lots of traveling with mom as the main guide – however, on those trips I usually knew what to expect. Ryan is not something I know in terms of travel, so this is bound to be interesting.

Also, this is a different kind of trip. We are going to explore where we can – I mean, this is still me – but it’s more about couple stuff since, again, long distance until the trip and for the foreseeable future after. And again, this is me, so it’s not like I’m totally going in unprepared – there will be a week of research in my immediate future as well. In other words, we are working together but I am giving up the lead. So weird.

So, as a quick close – followed next week (hopefully) by a post all about fun adventures you can have in Kansas – there are a lot of new adventures to come, so stick around and if anyone has any advice on anything, sound off in the comments!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

PS, hi and surprise anyone who knows me in person and didn’t know they above!

Looking Closer: Kansas.