Making so Many Plans

My crazy planning wall! Summer 2019

SO, I will be really honest here, by the time you are reading this I will be back in Los Angeles for the final leg of my crazy husband-less summer…. and the other truth is, I’m currently writing it in the middle of it all!

Basically, in 5 or 6 months (from the end of May to the beginning of October) I will be in North Carolina, 5 cities in Spain, 2 cities in Portugal, a few places around home in Germany, 4 cities in Poland, back to Czech Republic, a train trip visiting a few places in Austria and Hungary, visiting Los Angeles for a month, and then back to Germany for Octoberfest with the In-laws.

Yes. And right now I am just between Portugal and hitting the road to Poland.

But this is more than just a brag post, I promise!

The point is when you have crazy summers like this, there is an even crazier amount of prep that is required of you to make it work!

For the 3 or 4 months before May, I was already deep in planning but for the amount of research and prep I usually do for a two or three week trip, this didn’t feel like enough, especially when the people I will be traveling with are halfway across the world and many time zones away.

I think that my husband got sick of all the tiny slips of paper that were taped across the wall of our living room, color-coded by county, group trip, and cities with all of their attractions listed with priorities. Then, of course, all of the potential time tables between driving, planes, trains, and buses. This is so much work!

You’ll get more of the breakdown of all these adventures as you read on through the weeks (I’m hoping you stick with me) but let me break down what I did and what I had wished I had done more of. If I had my way, I would have nothing but time to plan travel (and yes, I know that is a job!) but the reality for that isn’t like that – I’m learning how to balance this married life thing, I promise!

When I plan a small trip with more time, I research the whole area – the countries and regions and break them down into the cities. As an American, I will always have the mindset that I need to see as much as I can when anywhere else in the world because, for the most part, we don’t get out of our country much and when we do it cost us so much! this, unfortunately, means that we cram and cram and cram and miss out on taking our time – Now I am trying to find a balance there.

Once I have my countries narrowed down into cool cities, I go to google maps and break down each and every city based on what people recommend in person, in books, and in blogs and websites. Once you have sites researched and save on google maps, you can chart how many days a city needs and how easily and most efficiently you can move from one site to another. You go in with a game plan!

This is not what I managed in the last trip (Spain and Portugal) and I will tell you that it showed!

I am not saying that I didn’t enjoy myself or that we didn’t do what we wanted but I feel like I could have tackled things so much better than I did by simply doing that second step of city breakdowns and mapping.

So the nest 3 days before my family gets here for the next three weeks I have very specific plans: breaking down Poland (which is my half of the trip to plan) city by city.

Planning can feel like a full-time job to get that mix between taking your time to understand the area and relax, and getting things done!

If that alone doesn’t motivate you, just remember, doing this full breakdown also lets you do much better on getting a handle on your budget and spending before you even get out the door!

Good luck and happy planning!

This is Leave on the World, helping me soar.

Making so Many Plans

To go or not to go…

And that is the question…

This weekend, I was down at LAX for the Doctor Who convention and my mom was finalizing her plans for her 30th anniversary trip with dad this summer. They will be going on a cruise (again) and I am so jealous. This year, they’ll be on a Scandinavian cruise which includes working through Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, and Germany.

Like seriously jealous!

And to top this all off, they are using Icelandic Airways which means they can stop one way up to a week in Iceland without any extra airfare – so of course, they are also stopping in Iceland for five days. If you haven’t been playing along, this is one of my top must get to locations.

Well, while mom was finalizing a few plans and I was bemoaning (mostly good humorously) the fact that I will be mostly stuck at home all over again, she looked up the cost of round trip flights for the days they will be in Iceland. As it turns out, WOW Airlines can get me a small personal item and carry-on (again really small but enough for 5 days) for a little less than $800.

Because mom and dad will be there and I would be part of their trip, $800 would be the total cost to me. If you don’t know, that is fabulous for a 5 day adventure and traveling with my parents is something I actually really love.

So, why am I asking a question practically out of Shakespeare rather than running around screaming, ‘shut up and take my money!’?

First, even if it is just the last five days of their trip, this is my parents 30th anniversary. I think they might need to have the trip to themselves even if they had one last year.

Next up, while $800 isn’t a lot when planning a trip, seeing as I’m a substitute teacher, paying off loans, looking for more permanent work (and therefore, with no idea when I’ll be able to take off when I do get a job), this is a lot of money for me to invest on an uncertain future. This might not normally be enough to stop me jumping on the plane – I’ve really, really missed traveling since moving home – but add in a few surrounding SCA events (though if a friend (or a few) of mine knew that was a consideration, he’d murder me) and other planning situations, and you have me hesitating.

My mom is an amazing trip planner – we always see amazing things and more than I ever would otherwise – but our expectations and needs for a trip to a place like Iceland is very different (kind of like our different needs for Hawaii). The trip doesn’t cross with the Northern Lights (though this could explain the cheaper flight out), and is thrown together to hit the big must sees rather than active moments.

Then there are my sisters. I’m one of four girls and, while I’m sure the pregnant one doesn’t want to spend her last month of pregnancy flying, just me going doesn’t feel like a fair shake. My oldest sister already voiced a desire to go if I was going to crash the trip and the youngest couldn’t afford it out of college.

With all of these – despite the con of having to foot a bigger bill if I’m doing the trip all by myself – uncertainties and timing issues, I’m leaning to a heartbreaking no. I’ll shelf it for a year or two and make the most out of what is possible closer to home.

Sometimes logic sucks, but it’s also all about the balancing act.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

To go or not to go…

In LA? Surf’s Up!

Surfer at Huntington Beach Competition. Huntington Beach, California. July 2016.

If you area visitor in the LA area right now – and, alright, even you locals as well – the first thing I have to say is sorry: these fires suck! Air quality is bad, lighting is all screwy from the ash clouds, and it is so hot that no one really wants to do anything. This is not the California I signed up for when I moved home but at least us locals are used to fire seasons and the burning in the chaparral – again, for you visitors, I am so sorry.

But this week and into the weekend there is a pretty cool excursion which more or less helps you escape the orange lighting  which makes LA city look a lot like an angry Mordor upon approach:

The Vans US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach.

From young surfers to older and more experienced pros, these athletes are quite the sight. The event has spaces for two simultaneous surf competitions, as well as BMX and Skateboard arenas.

Whether you are a beach junkie (yes!), photo-bug (yes!) or a fan of any or all of these sports (a little calmer but still, yes!), then this is worth the drive. These are also pop up shops including a Van’s mega-pop up which sells exclusive 2016 US Open gear if the heat gets too much for you or you are just looking for a break.

We went last Saturday which was day 1 of the competition and it was already pretty crowded so I’d plan to get there early especially as the finals roll in this weekend. There is lot parking but that usually fills up hours before things get truly underway and parking on the street isn’t crazy expensive so I would plan to park on the street and walk in – again, be wary as you may have to walk a fair amount!

Unfortunately, while we were there, the fog was so heavy that there wasn’t much to see on the water. For the three hours (two of actual surf time) we snapped pictures, each site seemed to get less than a single heat scored. Still, a lot of photographers – my father and myself included – did pick up a few good shots of practice runs from the pier during the standstill.

Photographers! Remember to set up and protect you camera and gear for the conditions (moisture, wind, sun, heat, salt, ect) and that the pier gets crowded so finding a good vantage point can be really hit or miss.

I didn’t mind the conditions except for the little bit of fuzz in my pictures, so as long as you enjoy watching the surfers do their thing regardless if you get perfect shots, you’ll have a great day.

Because of scheduling and the fog, we only stayed a short while but I have heard that you get quite a show from the other competitions as well, so they are worth stopping into. The skate and BMX competitions start closer to noon so keep an eye on the schedule. If I managed to get back out there this weekend, my camera and I will definitely be running around every inch of the competition!

Until then, remember your hats, glasses, and sunscreen and stay safe out there LA!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.


Life gets complicated…

…just keep moving.

They call this summer? London, England. June, 2015.
They call this summer? London, England. June, 2015.

The thing about travel is that when it comes to figuring out how to balance it out with the rest of your life, it gets a little bit complicated. This is no more obvious than when you are a twenty something and your whole life is constantly shifting; everyone is either telling you to start to settle down or that you should be running around seeing the world.

This is the situation I am struggling with at the moment.

All my classes and finals are officially over which is great, but puts me neck deep into my hunt for an internship. I’ve been searching off and on for months but most publishing internships—which are limited to begin with—seem to take place in summer. While I love not having to balance a class schedule with a working one, it’s more than a little frustrating waiting and trying to plan all the things you want to do when you are waiting for someone else to call you back with work and a whole new schedule to work your life into.

Because of this, my life has become a mission of planning everything on the fly—literally, a few days at most before I’m due to head off.

The big complication for me right now is all this month, my mom and sister are touring around Europe—mostly places I haven’t been yet!—and all I want is to have a work schedule nailed down so that I can be there with them.

They landed in Paris on Sunday and I had hoped to meet them there today, but after a communication error, the job interview I hoped to do yesterday got bumped to tomorrow. Now, I’ll be jumping on an early train to Paris on Thursday to meet my family as we hop on the next train to Normandy.

Still, what happens after this weekend with them is completely up in the air: will I get the internship? When will it start? How many days a week and are they set up where I can take my off days together to make long weekend trips?

Well, I won’t know any of this until at least tomorrow and that’s only if I get a yes right away (fingers crossed guys!).

While all these official timelines are causing scheduling problems, I am also constantly aware that both my internship report and my 12,000 word dissertation are due in September so I’m scheduling my writing work for both of those between everything else I’m trying to plan!

Oh, the joy of being young!

All is not lost or angst, however. I’ve learned a lot in this struggle.

The way the working world works, twenty-somethings in the job hunt are definitely feeling the power shift. I’m not saying that a company looking to hire you owes you something—especially a job and a paycheck that will help you pay off the money needed for your degree(s)—but as a worker, you don’t exactly owe them everything you have to give either. If you find that you are having to sacrifice everything you want to do when you are this young—and yes, I understand that some sacrifice is needed to show your dedication and maybe curry favor at some later date—but you should still be able to do the things you want to alongside working. After all, you are doing them at least as much of a favor for them as they are for you—they need to hire someone, you are just trying to show you’re the best one to do it.

So if you want to go travel while balancing the rest of your work life, it’s well worth it to do that even if it is all last minute weekend trips—you don’t have to go far to feel like you are really traveling, just go and do something you wouldn’t normally do at home. It’s all about trying something new in a new place.

The fact is, you can put your whole life into working and starting out in your career, planning to go out and explore the world later in life—that’s a great way of doing things that many generations before us millennials have done. But, looking around at how many people who could be retiring are either still working or for some reason or another, can’t travel after retirement, that doesn’t seem likely to me.

My advice is just to go for it. Go out and do the work you have to get done, but don’t forget that this is your life and you’re young (even if just at heart!), so go find your bliss even if it means you don’t have it all mapped up in front of you. Sometimes those adventures you never planned for, are the best ones you’ll ever take.

Sorry this wasn’t very travel heavy, but I’ll continue to write and post as I figure out more of my busy summer-student life.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Life gets complicated…

And you’re on your way…

… with everything in toe.


The road to Anne Hathaway’s house. Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Summer, 2013.

It’s really summer now. Schools are out, caps are tossed, and plans (and planes) are taking off. So here we are.
We’ve talked planning and packing, booking and moving, sites and cites.
So before you board your planes, trains, boats, automobiles, or whatever else you plan on taking to get you wherever you need to go, take the moment to go through your check list (we’re keeping this post simple) to make sure you really have it all:

Packed with clothes
laundry packets (if necessary)
secondary shoes
makeup bag and portable necessities (remember you can buy most on the road– hair care and body/face wash)

Carry on (if not your main bag):
travel book
empty water bottle
change of clothes(the tight roll method is best!)
extra underwear (!)
electronic charges and adapters
hair ties
travel notebook and pen
travel info folder
small emergency packet of feminine products (you can pick more up if you need them later!)

In your travel folder:
print outs of travel itinerary
plane/travel tickets
event/pre-bought passes or receipt print outs
hotel/hostel booking confirmations
bus/train/ferry tickets/ confirmations

On your electronics:
Apps: transportation (some are hooked in with your travel passes)
whatsapp app (which can get hinky; test it)
contact your provide to up your international minutes and data

someone to feed/water/walk your plants/animal
Halt or someone to get your mail
house sitter

Home transport:
someone to pick you up and drop you off at the airport


You have called your bank and let them know you are going out of town so they don’t shut down your cards/ access to money

And that’s the main of it. If there is anything else any of you always stick on your packing list let me know below.

So as you take off, stay safe and merry travels,
I’m Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

And you’re on your way…