Geeky Teas, Los Angeles

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As you may have read last week, I have been pre-writing all of my posts for the last few months, but now I have caught myself up. Why? Well, mostly because school has been crazy and then Ryan was in town meaning I was living out of a car and two houses and having things finished and scheduled was so much easier – which means break next week will definitely be a point where I sit down and start writing!

But for now, if you love board games, nerd stuff (of all kinds), teas, cats, and supporting small businesses, this is absolutely a stop for you!

I first heard of Geeky Teas when my friend, Paul, brought me their Capitol Cocoa Tea – a Hunger Games based teas – and I fell absolutely in love with it. Still, I never managed to wander back until about a few weeks ago when I dragged Ryan along with me in order to pick up a variety of teas that wouldn’t break the budget; he bought me a giant IKEA teapot that we were using about two or three times a day.

As I hinted with the Hunger Games tea, every tea in the store is geek themed. From cartoons to geek classics like Firefly, Star Wars, Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who, and so much more. We had so much fun reading the teas makeup and making our choices and the shops owner knew exactly where to find the bags around the stores.

While I was so consumed with the teas that I didn’t see anything else until I had made my purchase – prompting a second when I found a Firefly necklace I couldn’t pass up – Ryan was enamored with the board games (specifically the huge range of strategy games). What I loved was witnessing the owner interacting with a group of customers asking after specific games that weren’t held in store for purchasing – mostly because they aren’t made for off-line whole sale. Still, she was able to point them into the direction of other small-businesses like her’s that work together to stay afloat that might have some of the games.

If all of that doesn’t pull you in, there are so many more levels of the shop: There are rooms and nooks full of nerd merchandise from cups and tea paraphernalia, to jewelry, to art to so much more; then there is the cat adoption and rescue which means every once in a while there are wandering cats; and finally, there is the fact that there is a schedule of events from 21+ board game nights to movie nights and everything in between.

I seriously can’t recommend this shop enough and can’t wait to get back. If you are interested in helping local businesses as a visitor a local, you should definitely swing by.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

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Geeky Teas, Los Angeles

The Funny Truth about Travel Blogging

So what is a funny truth? Well, I haven’t missed a single week of posting on this blog in years but the last time I wrote was over a month and a half ago and just tonight I have written a handful more.

Let’s be honest here: if you are constantly traveling, you could be loving every moment or at least, dealing with the downsides and making up for them so that they don’t detract from your whole experience; more likely, what you are really doing is fighting travel fatigue and trying to keep your head above water. In other cases, you are constantly tying to push yourself forward to get bigger and better topics – losing the reason we travel and blog anyway. Plus, going all the tie can get majorly expensive, no matter how frugal you are.

If this is the case, how do you keep your blog going?

The game is all about the stop and go. You take a trip – short or long – and then you pick out themes or details that you think are important or interesting (this is what can make a 5 day trip into two months of weekly blog posts!). Does this mean that every post will grab readers? Maybe not, but it is also deciding why you are writing (for me, this is both about cataloging my travels and getting regular writing and organization practice).

Travel fatigue is a real thing and if you are tired of traveling, it is going to become pretty clear in everything you write, if you even find the time to write! But how much travel causes this fatigue? That depends on the person and their personal stamina and their resources. Fighting this can help you build your stamina but also can make you exhausted. Your best bet to build your stamina – and keep your funds up as well – is to mix up your long travel, then write, and short travel, and write, and keep working at it until you feel like you know what you are doing.

Then we are on to picking themes.

You can pick themes based on when your post is going out – a holiday or peak travel season – or by making a series – Like my book nerd travel. These themes can bring both old viewers who like what you do or one of your main themes and new viewers based on you being topical.

Finally, be consistent.

The more you write the better you can pull everything back together after you travel. Then get consistent about when you post so that your audience gets to know when to look for your work.  Even when you think you have nothing to write about, just keep writing.

This is Leave on the wind, helping you soar.

The Funny Truth about Travel Blogging

Travel Confessions of an LA Girl

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Driving Los Angeles. Los  Angeles, California. 2016.

In case I haven’t made it obvious before, I am a Los Angeles native. While I am a valley girl, I have always lived a quick drive from the city and some of my favorite spots are such because of the cityscape I get to see from them. I love walking through downtown whether searching for murals to take pictures of; checking out architecture; exploring the markets, parks and museums; going to Marches; or visiting the fabric districts for the best deals – there is so much to see and do in the city that makes living near it amazing.

However, despite my 26 years living near cities – LA, San Francisco, and London – and a solid 10 years as a fully licenced driver, I absolutely hate driving in the city.

Give me crazy freeway Los Angeles drivers, flying at speeds that scare folks from the central, fly-over states; The lines of motorcyclists who weave in and out of traffic; the never-ending construction zones that make the freeways expand and contract at dizzying intervals – I will take it all over driving into the city on surface streets.

I will gladly be chauffeured into the city by family or friends for group things or I will take the metro, but driving in the city drives me absolutely bonkers! I had to do this for my senior thesis in high school. Part of the paper required going down to the LA Public Library after school and meeting with your teacher so they can talk to you about the topic as well as give you suggestions on how to find sources as well as how to use resources like libraries.

I loved the library – I hated driving there. I had a terrible GPS that kept crashing or loosing signal between the buildings and when I tried redirecting myself, I ended up going up a one-way street in the wrong direction! While It was fine and I had plenty of time and space to turn it around, as a seventeen year old, it left an impression and even thinking about driving in LA makes me cringe.

So if you are traveling into a big city – especially Los Angeles (I find San Francisco so much easier to navigate!) – I will always recommend considering all your transportation options before automatically going for a rental. I love driving in LA but we have a very specific driving rhythm which feels like mayhem if you are not used to it – in fact, if you mess up the rhythm, often times, you will be making the roads less safe than the normal ‘crazy’ LA-based driver.

But it is true: I love my city, but if there is a choice of driving into the city myself or staying in the valley – purely for my driving sanity – I will usually opt for the latter.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Travel Confessions of an LA Girl

Travel Dating: Embrace Every Moment.

The weird thing about dating for me has been the fact that the majority of the time I have been able to spend with my boyfriend has been while traveling and one-fifth of that time was in a car.

For some, traveling with a significant other can break a relationship – it can quickly point all your partners flaws or quirks that tick you off as well as highlight all the ways your personalities don’t fit. On the other hand, traveling together can strengthen your relationship as you have to figure out how to work together to overcome all those obstacles that traveling can put in your way.

For me, as a traveler, I don’t mind playing it by ears up to a point – let’s be honest I plan what I can with a little room to switch up activities where need be – but Ryan had little bits planned and everything else was played completely by ear, seizing every opportunity.

As I have outlined before now in my other posts about Kansas, we made everything into a date or into a game and embraced every activity we could come up with, even if it meant that we didn’t do all the traditional travel things I normally would.

Whether you are trying to embrace every moment – like me! – because you are trying to get all the time with your significant other that you can, or if you are trying to get everything out of a vacation that happens to be with your significant other, keeping communication with them and balancing what you want to do is key.

This gets crazier for me because I am aware that this is is going to be my life for the next three years when Ryan is living in Germany and any trip out here or there is going to involve a mix of traveling and dating – so yes, this is a motto I will be absolutely living by.

Therefore, to end this post: if you have any advice on how to make this work and keep embracing every moment, feel free to sound off below!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Travel Dating: Embrace Every Moment.

Knowing your Airports.

As someone who has flown a lot over the course of her life, I have always paid very close attention to specific rules that get published – a major one of these rules are when you have to get to the airport and checked in before your flight.

At LAX domestic this can be as little as 90 minutes while interaction can be two or three hours. Burbank tends to run between 60 to 90 minutes. In fact, most airports that I have visited give you about that standard arrival time – 90 minutes before your plane is due to depart.

Flying out of Wichita Airport was completely different. This has to be the smallest airport  I have ever been too! It took 10 minutes to park and 5 minutes to get through security – this means that I was at the airport 90 minutes early and waiting by myself for 45 minutes of it. No one else showed up for another 20 minutes!

This, however, doesn’t just have to do with factors like arrival time. It can also have to do with traffic to and out of the terminals, which terminals might be closed, where you go through security and how long that takes, and how long it takes to get from security to your gate. All of this you can look up by searching the airport online and, trust me, you really will want to.

For me, this was not a huge deal – did I loose time I could have been doing other things? yes. However, if this had been another way – say, you are used to these tiny airports and then move up to one of the larger ones? – you could very easily miss a flight! And all because we all stick to patterns based on our normal travel experiences.

So, as I have said, again and again. Do your research on all parts of your trip and you really will save yourself a lot of headaches.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Knowing your Airports.

Babies and Airplanes

I travel a good amount, however, it wasn’t until I flew to Kansas that I learned a little know rule about flying: you cannot have more than one lap sitting child to any given row on an airplane. This means that if you have two young lap sitting children, you either have to buy one a seat or have another adult in another row fly with you and take care of one said children at all times.

The reason for this is so simple but easily overlooked especially by busy parents: each row of seats only has one extra, drop-down oxygen mask so having more than one extra person in a row means there will not be enough for everyone in an emergency.

Well, this happened on my Southwest flight to Kansas. I was surrounded by 3 babies (one set of twins and another child) and a set of twin toddlers. While the mothers of the twins knew they would need multiple rows, booking doesn’t tell you where lap-seaters are when you go to book. Therefore, one of the twins ended up in the same row as the spare baby. Luckily, the Southwest flight staff were amazing and worked quickly. There was a quick shuffle, but in the end, we were all exactly where we needed to be.

The other reason I think I love Southwest as a company is how they dealt with each child. Every staff member was engaging with the parents, babies, and those around them, willing to help wherever possible. Also, when one of the toddlers got a little fussy, one of the staff members had him help with track pick up – he was so cute carrying the trash bag through the aisles with her and it settled him immediately.

Knowing the aircraft rules as well as the basic personality of your child (or the one you are traveling with) will help your flying experience so much as well as the experience of those around you. And for those who aren’t used to dealing with kids on a normal basis – give families a break; they have every right to be on the plane, same as you.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Babies and Airplanes

California and Campfires

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It’s that time of year again: Great Western War!

We will be driving up this year on Thursday and leaving on Monday for 5 full days of camping. This includes 4 nights which are predicted to be in the 40s (we are Americans so that is in Fahrenheit) – this is freezing for us Southern Californians. Despite my absolute hate of cold, I am so excited to get out there!

There is one other major complication when it comes to camping in California – we have a tendency to burn.

Assessing the time of year you choose and taking into consideration the recommendations and strict rules of how campfires may be used – if they are allowed to be used! – is extremely important to note. This year, across the US major fires were not started by natural burn, but because of people being stupid about fire safety, so this is a really important subject. Any campsite will have notices posted and you should be able to locate a local ranger who can give you more information.

Besides being careful about when you have a live fire, the wood that you use from where it comes from to what kinds you are using can have major effects on your burn.

You should always buy your wood locally or as locally as you can. This is because there are parasites, spores, and bugs that all get transported unknowingly with the wood and some of these move harmful ones into an environment they haven’t been before. For example, the trees in the valley have a very specific parasite which is killing our trees; you wouldn’t want to take that up north and infect a new territory.

Be careful about quick-starter logs as well. Some have chemicals that can be harmful to everyone, but especially children, the sick, the pregnant, and the elderly.

The last wood fact you should be aware of is the difference between light and dark wood. Dark wood tends to be less dry – this will not burn as bright but it will burn more slowly. You most likely want this as the secondary base to your fire and shouldn’t be added close to when you have to put out the fire. Light wood burns brighter, faster, and tends to cause more sparks you have to keep track of. This is great for lighting the fire first and on top to increase your visible light, but this should definitely be watched, again, because of sparks!

Some things you should definitely have if you are camping and using any kind of flame are fire extinguishers within reaching distance of where flames may be (more than this if rules say things like one per tent, kitchen, and flame!) and someone watching said fire at all times – and they should know how and the ability to use the extinguisher.

This is all for now, and I am so excited to be headed out – even if I do have so much more work done before we get there!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar

California and Campfires