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…

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.

Advice for Camping: Test Everything.

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I love my Queen. Potrero War, California. May 2017.

So as I have mentioned before, I went camping this weekend and, while it was a lot of fun, so much went wrong in a fabulously, messy way. I’ve written a lot about how important it is to go over all your details before you set out on a trip just to avoid any unpleasantness down the road.

Well, easier said than done, apparently.

This was our first time using a period tent since a friend of our just bought an extra one off of another friend. We weren’t sure if we were going to use it as a sleeping tent or as a cooking tent but this time around the former was planned.

Packing was so easy. Without a tent, I could change things up. We used wardrobe bags (like the kind you might store your winter clothes in when they aren’t in use) instead of suitcases which laid out nicely in the bed of the truck and, since we are now using Coleman cots instead of smaller ground mats, we still had plenty of weight to hold down the driving tarp.

Well, when things settled and our tent arrived (about two hours after we did), we went around making camp. Between five of us, we had three tents of different designs and a Dragon Wing to set up. We had everything set up except our tent  before starting in, and that is where things went to hell.

The body of the tent itself is a single unit: a canvas roof and sides sewn together opening at each corner with pole holes at the top. Then there are poles; 6 sides and a double, stacked center pole twice as thick as the others. The poles are on a system that are held vertical by pulled ropes and steaks.

This is where two errors in planning popped up. First, as we uncoiled ropes we discovered two were frayed to the point where they no longer helped hold the tent upright. This was quickly remedied by borrowed rope but unveiled the larger issue: our number two, tent was hanging about a foot of the ground. That’s right, our poles were about a foot too long.

I ended up digging pole holes which cut down our gap, but after a short frustration meltdown, I said F-it and finished setting things up (this is also were I started digging holes). Luckily, our cots (once the holes were dug) were a few inches above the bottom of the fabric.  All in all it wasn’t too bad.

Cut to late that night, when getting into bed, I heard a small rip. It was dark and I wasn’t too concerned, so I went straight to sleep. In the morning when I work up, I noticed issue number three: my Coleman air mattress that goes with my cot was eating me, ie it was deflating and quick. My sister is quite a bit heavier than I am and her mattress was still exceedingly full so I knew it was an issue with my bed, not just basic air mattress things.

Then I got out of bed and looked down; issue number four: I was covered in feathers. I didn’t investigate further. I just saw the feathers, said nope, and went about my morning. Then I told my friends and one wanted to come look. On the second inspection, it looked even more like I had slaughtered a chicken in my bed (or at least plucked). Turns out I had ripped a hole in my down-comforter along two seams and that one square was linked to two others. Once again, I put the bed back and lived with it through the weekend – though I did run one more square out before the weekend was out.

Some of these we could have planned for – checking on the air mattresses before every trip and setting up new tents before getting to camp even if it is from someone you trust (apparently we did get the wrong poles and at least the cot part was comfortable without the mattress part) – and others we really couldn’t have – how could I have known about the blanket? However, as I have said time and again, you have to choose on trips like these how you are going to react.

We rolled with every punch life handed us and our weekend was so much better for it. We laughed and I am sure we’ll keep laughing through to the next one. Until next week,

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Advice for Camping: Test Everything.

Looking Forward: Germany.

So it turns out that my best friend from high school who I’ve been spending almost all my time (that I’m not working) with while he visits SoCal will be moving out to Germany later this year and he’ll be staying for another 3. In that time, I will definitely be heading out there for at least one visit and while I need more research once I pick out the exact when.

Yes, I have been to Germany briefly in my WWII adventures with mom and Bex but the more that I research the more that I feel the urge to jump on a plane as soon as possible.

From my last experience with Germany, I’m already convinced it’s the land of fairy tales. Looking through Pintrest, I’m convinced more and more. Wile I am nowhere near finished (and I should probably take those I’ll inevitably travel with into consideration) a few broad ideas are definitely on my list.

First up, Burg Eltz Castle. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful castles in Germany but Burg Eltz has a totally different feel – based on the pictures that is. If you are here in April to November, you’ll be able to take a castle tour, but if not, everything I’ve read indicates great views and hikes that will still be worth the visit (Don’t forget to bring good shoes!).

While Berlin and Munich are amazing cities, there are little towns straight out of fairy tales that are dying to be explored. As with most of these kinds of sights, you may need a car to get to them but, when there’s a will right? Also, as a personal joke, I want to visit the city of Dresden. This is a cultural center and filled with natural features from the river to parks and forests.

Finally, Germany is a country that is really well traversed so, essentially, without much work, there is probably a plan already out there on the internet waiting for you to discover it. Try searching road trips through Germany and you’ll probably find some great guides with more than a few hidden gems.

Even though this trip is a long way off, researching is making me more and more excited at the prospect. If you have any other suggestions – which may include where to take a bestie who is less travel savy (as a civilian at least) than I – leave them in the comments!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Looking Forward: Germany.

Rules for Road Trips: Knowing your driver

This past weekend, I was at a camping event that seemed to be fighting the environment. We were all sandblasted by a veritable dust/dirt storm the fist two days and had off and on showers (more on than off) on the final day – mostly while trying to pack everything up (which brought out many more bugs than is ever necessary).

I camp with my sister, meaning that we have a easy system. One works and packs in the wet, flooded tent while the other takes a break (you can nap, eat, try to get warm, whatever) inside the car and then you switch. Once camp is broken down, we work together to get everything in the back of the truck and settled. most things have a specific place or weight-derived order – to limit the chances of flying debris later – so again, this all goes rather quick and without incident.

I am also the driver and I like to help pack everything up so that I know I won’t have issues when driving. I also like to be the person pressing the buttons to look for music when we drive – I know where everything is without driving and it keeps me going and she knows not to touch my buttons unless asked.

Ki is the passenger. She looks for food, keeps an eye on the navigation, puts up with my music and – most the time – my rants or weird topics of conversation, and she makes sure that when we get food, I am easily able to access mine without killing us both.

The point? She knows her driver. we are partners in this and very rarely – with the exception of terseness over hormonal or exhaustion fueled outbursts – do we have any kinds of problems and ever those are usually apologized for and waved off before the drive is even finished (usually within 5 minutes of said outburst).

Not everyone gets to have these kinds of relationships.

This was abundantly clear while watching others in our group trying to pack up over the course of the day. These ladies were trying to balance multiple duties while tearing down so they had more to accomplish than ki and I, however, I’ve seen this happen on more than one occasion.

Packing their car is insane. Everything has an exact order and placement to make it all fit which makes sense but was easily thrown off by the incremental packing and the elements (rain) fighting against them.

The big problem comes to a head in a matter of workload and conflicting ideas on who and how things need to get done. This groups driver has very specific ideas on how things should go in the car for all three ladies things to fit. She also seems to think that the others should know how to pack said car the way it needs to be packed so that she doesn’t have to guide every step of the packing. As she puts it, she can’t tire herself out with all the packing, because she need to conserve her energy for staying awake while driving so if it looks like she’s lazing around during the process, that’s what’s going on.

Her passengers, however, know that she will get frustrated if things aren’t packed just so – even when certain things don’t make sense to them – so they will need her input and help to do things like set up and tear down. They have admitted that changing some of the tearing down order would probably be done before hand to smooth out the wrinkles.

Despite years of camping together, these small bumps between passengers and drivers makes me believe communication is a real issue and if you are going to road trip with someone, the very first thing you need to do is find out what your companion(s) needs from you. Every driver is different and as someone who fills this road a lot, it’s really nice when we don’t have to think of everything. But drivers, don’t forget to speak up and even set some ground rules.

Every ship needs a captain – figure out how your ship sails best and I wish you many happy adventures.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Rules for Road Trips: Knowing your driver

That time of year again….

For many, today this means Valentine’s day, but in the Gallagher household, this means the lead up to Gallifrey One, the premier annual Doctor Who convention that takes place in the LAX Marriott Hotel. This will be my 6th year attending (not including my facetimed from France experience!), and if you have gone or attempted to get tickets for this, you know how lucky that is.

This year, I’m coming at the prep and thought process for this event differently than I have before. The hotel is fairy close to home so while I could go out and retrieve anything I accidentally leave behind quite easily, this is always a pain; in this light, I’m not talking about checking and double checking on all your gear, including fittings.

Since experiencing the magnitude that was Boston Comic Com. and the shifts in schedules, shifts in lines, crowd control, and so many things happening all at once that you just miss out, I’ve begun to appreciate planning ahead so much more (as if I didn’t already, right?).

So, this week (besides binge watching a bit of DW Series 1) I will be going over the online schedule and picking all my time slots – and time to grab a bite or two to eat! – and plotting out my  budget. This online schedule has a customizable option I will definitely be checking out asap!

If you do have tickets, be aware that there is a new ‘no videotaping panels’ rule – pictures are great but, because people have been posting whole panels rather than clips, there is no unofficial filming. Still, if this ruins your weekend, remember you are lucky to be there!

So, wear your Union Jack with pride, take my hand, and (as always): Run!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

That time of year again….