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…

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.

Because Packing is Always the Worst.

And right now in SoCal it is very hot and I am very unmotivated. We are coming quickly to the end of May and, as I have said in previous posts, this month definitely has it out for me.

I have worked all month, visited with friends from out of town and have had at least one event going on every month, the majority of which have required multi day packing for events that varied so drastically the there has been no way to put together a prep-kit for most of the items that need to come with me.

Which is really the biggest pieces of advice I can ever give when facing the absolute horror of packing: create a packing document. This goes double if you have routine trips – ie. SCA camping trips. Have a list for formal trips, casual trips, those require specialty outfits/items, and then go through length of the trip. This may be because I am a Excel-nut but seriously, pre-made packing lists that cater to you because you have tailored them to you are the biggest lifesavers you will find. (If anyone is interested in seeing examples of what I mean, I can probably be persuaded into making a post all about it!).

One of my major packing issues – which I am sure I have covered before – is a really common issues: I pack lighter for long journeys than short visits.

There are many reasons why this happens to most of us. Long journeys usually mean that you’ll be living out of your suitcase longer, having to keep track of more stuff where you go, and a higher probability of having to move said luggage more than once which is a pain when there’s a lot. People tend to pack more versatile clothing when they travel further so the number of things you’ll need drops drastically. Also, with long trips, people figure they can buy and discard as they go so you aren’t lugging around items like hefty shower supplies and other bathroom tools.

During short visits, however, this seems like a waste of time and money so we pack everything just in case we need it. We tend to have more specific ideas of what we’re going to be doing at every second but tend to load ourselves with more options (especially clothing) for each of the activities we have in mind and even those we don’t (sporadic club night, maybe?).

In my last trip up to Fresno – another quick trip that I felt lackluster to pack for – I waited and waited and then packed and cleaned for an hour before getting into the car. I was up there for graduation for two days (three if you include the day we drove up) and I had exactly three outfits in my suitcase: day one (a simple wide leg trouser and crop top), Pjs, and day two (a dress and colored tights). The only thing I had to worry about was whether or not I was going to switch out my days. There was no complication over possible changes because I simply didn’t have the option. It was amazing.

And yes, I am aware that the last minute nature of last weeks packing contradicts my first ‘have a plan’ advice but it is this experience which is now helping shape my future plans. For short trips, pack only what you need and leave behind what you think you might.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Because Packing is Always the Worst.

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.