I was here

Commute: Just push the record button already!!

Getting back to practicing making videos but I am nervous, since it has been so long since I’ve been in front of the camera.  Went to the DC Travel Show for vacation information.

Commute: Mid-week trip to Vegas

At the last minute I decided to book a trip to Las Vegas, as a mini vacation because I wanted to go SOMEWHERE this year.  Well, I have been to Pittsburgh and Louisville for weekend trips to visit family but this was not a family trip.  I just needed a break from my everyday surroundings, even though I usually don’t travel in December if it involves flying because I worry about the weather affecting either the flight out or the flight back.

But I went ahead and booked this trip because I just needed it.

I took some photos, of course, and wanted to share those here in this video.  I enjoyed my stay at The Venetian and look forward to returning someday.

 

 

Commute: Thinking about the RV life…..

Now, this one shocked even me.

I’ve never actually been camping, not really an outdoorsy type, but I want an RV all of a sudden.  I want to be able to travel across the country with my camera in hand (have always wanted to do this) and just road trip all the way.  Now, rather than spending money on hotels, I figured I could do it in an RV instead.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw the local RV show advertised and purchased a ticket.  I was curious to check them out. Before the RV show actually happened, I started checking them out online and trying to learn the differences between the different types of RVs. I knew I wouldn’t want something I had to hook up and pull because that’s too much ‘mechanical’ for me and I don’t want to deal with things like that. What if I hooked it up wrong and it came loose during driving, causing an accident or something? NO THANKS!!  I’d probably hit everyone on the highway with that thing.

So if I were going to do this, it would have to be a motorized vehicle that I could just drive, not hookup.   I didn’t want anything huge because I’ve never actually driven a truck, except maybe a Uhaul.  So that knocked out Class A and Class C RVs. This left me with Class Bs, which are about the size of a van, well a little bigger.

I found a Winnebago Paseo and loved it. By the time the RV show happened, my main goal was to find that particular model and check it out. But before that, I walked around the RV show, checking out all of the others and eventually came across the Paseo.

I was never more comfortable! I loved everything about it. I felt like I could drive it comfortably. I felt I could handle traveling in it, or living in it for a weekend or a week.  After retirement, if healthy, I might even consider full-time.  Lots to think about.

I talked to a sales rep from one of the companies represented there and got a lot of information on the van itself. I was getting more and more excited about this.

Then I had to get back to my senses. I have a job to go to everyday. I have a house I’m paying for too. I can’t exactly be out here traveling around the US in a van and not be at work, and still have to pay a mortgage. I either need to quit my job, sell my house, find alternative income, etc. or some other plan for this to work.

I left the RV show in my little SUV and although excited about the possibilities, the realities of it all came rushing back as I pulled into my garage here at home…..and then Monday came the next day. Nothing will smack you back into reality like a Monday morning.

Sigh.  I felt like my dream was gone in a flash.

Since the RV show, I have watched a gazillion videos on YouTube about RVing and I have to admit, for a minute, I thought about a few ways I could make it happen. But I will remain in the research & dream stage until I get closer to retirement age before I make any major moves.  If I could figure out a way to afford one now while I’m working, and use it on the weekends and vacations, I would buy it now.  But I’m working on a couple of other things (like paying off my credit card debt) within the next few months.  After that, my head will be a little clearer to make a decision on this.

Meanwhile, when I’m at work, all I think about the day I can jump in my RV and drive off to explore the world.

Dreaming…..

I did record a quick video while at the RV show and wanted to share that. (I still want it!)

Check it out and let me know what you think.  Would you become an RVer?  Could you live in an RV full-time?  What type would you purchase?

Commute: Autumn colors at BWI

As I was returning to BWI, I grabbed my phone to get a shot of the autumn colors of the trees below.    Unfortunately, I forgot to turn my phone sideways to get a better video, but you can still see the trees/colors.

 

 

Commute: Cruise #9 is in the books

Well, another cruise has been completed.  This makes my 9th cruise since 2000.  However this one was not planned by me.    But, I tell you, it pays to be ready for the spontaneity of life.  My passport was current and nearby.

A friend called less than two weeks before the sail date and asked if I could take a vacated spot, and I was ready!   Being single and childfree allowed this last minute trip to happen.  No husband to “check with”, and no kids to find babysitters for, so I was free to pack my suitcases.

This trip was on Royal Caribbean’s ship Grandeur of the Seas.  It was a five night cruise and we sailed from Baltimore to Bermuda.  I’d been to Bermuda before so I had the chance to return to Horseshoe Bay Beach with its pink sand.  Not quite as pink as the sand on a beach I went to in Hawaii, but it was a close second.  I like Horseshoe Bay Beach and whenever I’m in Bermuda, I will go there again.

We had quite a bit of rain one morning, but it cleared up and the weather was fine after that.

I finally figured out how to do panoramic photos with this latest camera.  The first few tries from a trip to Pittsburgh, I struggled with the timing but I got it right this time, so I do have a couple of those pics at the end of this video/slideshow.

Cruise #10 is coming up in a couple of months, but for 2017, I’m going to try something different for vacation/traveling.

Here are some photos from this cruise.

I LOVE CRUISING!

I LOVE CRUISING!

In Feb. 2016, I went on my 8th cruise.   That might seem like a lot but considering my very first cruise was in 2001, it’s not, really.   That first cruise was organized by someone at our church and with a travel agent.  I remember saying we (my mom and I) did not need them to book our air travel.  They always overcharge for air travel (or they wait until the last minute to book and at that time, the prices are high) and when someone else books it, it feels like you have no say in dates/times/prices, etc.  At least that’s how I felt back then.  No, I do still feel like that.  I always book my own airfare.  I like to leave at a certain time.  I like to arrive at a certain time. I’m just a little picky about flights sometimes because I don’t like to be inconvenienced when traveling if I can help it.  So I booked our airfare.  We arrived in San Juan the same time as the group but at a MUCH cheaper price, and we needed that price to be cheaper!

Mom & I had so much fun we quickly booked it again for the following year, 2002.  Then after she passed away in 2003, I didn’t cruise again for 10 years.  Now that I’ve started back up again, I try to go at least once a year.

What I love about cruising:

All inclusive.  Once you pay your cruise fare, taxes, fees, you really don’t have to spend another dime if you don’t want to.  But you will because you’re on vacation and you know how it is on vacation!  You sometimes forget you have a budget to deal with back home.  That’s why I always always always pay all of my bills before I go on any trip whether it’s for a weekend or a week, just in case I forget about that budget and start spending while on vacation.   There are little shops (jewelry, perfumes, clothes, candy)  on the ship, plus a casino, shore excursions, and tax and duty free liquor. Those four things alone can cost you a lot of money if you don’t set limits.  I try to book my excursions before I go because once I get on the ship, I’m not in planning mode at all.

Things to do.  There are so many things going on during a cruise and more importantly, cruising is what you make it.  If you get involved with the activities you’ll have more fun.  If you sit and moan and groan about things, anything, then of course you won’t have any fun and no one will want to be around you anyway. So go in with an open attitude to have a good time and you will have a good time.

People you meet.  You will meet all kinds of people on a cruise and the funny thing is by the end of the week, you’ll feel like you’ve made new friends, even though you’ve only known these people for 7 days.  Everyone is assigned a table with at least 7 other people and if you have dinner in the dining room every night, you’ll be dining with these same people each night.  Most times it’s a good time with people because you’re on vacation.  There was one time the people I was at a table with were so stodgy, I sat at another table for the rest of the cruise.  But yes, you meet lots of people, make contacts, etc. with people from all over the place.

It’s so relaxing.  You would think being on a ship with over 3000 people, you wouldn’t have time nor space to relax but there are so many places to relax all over the ship.  When I was on the Carnival Pride in February, I spent some time in the Sunset Garden, which is a strip of seats and tables along one side of the ship in this hidden section of the ship.  No one was there.  I was able to sit and read a little while uninterrupted, without having to be in the room where I would have just gone to sleep.  I like that little section of the ship.

It’s also a party.  Up on the lido deck of every ship I’ve been on, there’s always a party going on.  Dancing, music, food, swimming, drinking, just a regular party.  This is why I never book a cabin on the floor below it.  When I need sleep, I need to be able to get to sleep.

You can even workout.  They have a gym on board for you to continue working out while on vacation.    I’ve never worked out on the ship.  Just walking around the ship is enough for me, for as long as the ship is.  That covers my workout.  I guess because I’m always eating real food regularly (that I don’t have to cook!) and always walking after each meal, I always end up losing weight during the cruise.  That means I need someone to cook and clean for me daily.

People get along.   I’m amazed at how many different nationalities, races, ages are on cruises now, and people seem to get along.  It’s almost like racism, ageism, etc doesn’t exist.   I’ve never experienced any problems on a ship and I hope I never do.  But it’s nice to be able to just enjoy your vacation without the regular life stuff you have to deal with.  It’s a week of really being disconnected and having fun.

If you have never been on a cruise, treat yourself and go!

Well, here is the link to the video from my last cruise.  I thought I had already posted this cruise video earlier but I didn’t see it, so here it is.

 

Commute: Italy/Spain 2013 Trip

Here are some photos and video clips from my trip to Venice, Italy and Barcelona, Spain.  It was quite an adventure for me to research, plan, and actually get there.   The funny but not really funny thing about  this trip……after MONTHS and MONTHS of researching and planning this trip, I had it scheduled for October 17th, but then we were furloughed on October 1st.  Kinda freaked me out because I’m not used to not working.  The day we went back to work was the same day and my flight that night.  As soon as my work day was done, I went to the airport and took my trip.

Two and a half years later, I wish I could go again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PrBIuwaxQI

Commute: MLKJr Day – Statue

For MLK Jr day today, I wanted to share a few of my photos from an earlier trip I took to DC specifically to visit this statue ON the MLK Jr. holiday.

I remember it being cold and windy of course as it was January, but thankfully, no precipitation, like the snowflakes we had yesterday, much to my surprise when I woke up.

I was surprised at the great number of people that were there on the same day.  It was good to see families there since the kids were not in school.  The statue was bigger than I expected, as I hadn’t seen it in person before then, only on the local news.

If you haven’t seen it, add it to you list of things to see when you visit  Washington DC.  http://washington.org/DC-guide-to/martin-luther-king-jr-memorial

 

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Commute: Ocean City, MD

During the summer I managed to throw in a quick mid-week road trip to Ocean City, MD.

It was during a time when I was desperate to get a break in my routine but didn’t want to travel too far nor spend too much money.  In fact, I took it midweek to save the cost of the hotel during the busy summertime at the last minute and on a holiday.  So sometimes you might have to take adjustments to get a vacation.  It was a case of ‘I’ll take what I can get”.  🙂

Enjoyed the solo trip on the boardwalk and at the beach.  Might have to do that again this summer.

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Commute: Oh natural light!

I traveled to Leesburg, VA for a wedding last month.   Seeing this venue was worth the long drive out there.  Thank goodness for my friend that made the drive go quickly and kept me from getting lost when my GPS failed me during a certain part of the trip.

This venue is what I imagine a real photographer dreams of…..a room FULL of huge windows to let in that natural light.  We regular amateur/hobbyist photographers love it too.  So I grabbed this quick photo as we were coming in, and before it got crowded.  After the ceremony and while we were all inside the mansion enjoying very tasty appetizers and drinks, this same area was transformed for the reception.

The place is called Raspberry Plain, in case anyone is interested in reserving it for your own event.  DSC01139