Finding Flights

Continuing with the money and hard work theme from my post a couple days ago, I thought I’d share this awesome article that I found on aworldofcrazy.com all about how to find cheap flights for your adventures.

Not only is it hard work just being able to afford to travel, sometimes it’s also hard finding good flights on the cheap.. Right now I have about seven flight alerts set up through my Kayak app for places here in the U.S. that I plan to visit after New Zealand.. Colorado, Florida, Portland.. Everywhere basically.

However, “A World of Crazy” talks all about Skyscanner – a site that compares all the cheapest fares you could ever hope to find – & gives great tips on how to travel for cheap. As a spontaneous and free spirited traveler, I love Skyscanner too because if you’re flexible enough with dates, it can be a lifesaver.

I myself learned something awesome and new in this article.. I had never heard of Skip Lagged before but after reading this post I learned that there is a way to save money on flights by using layovers as final destinations! Which is awesome!

Read their article below to get the details and find some more awesome tips for finding flights!

Source: Finding Flights

First Step Toward the Next Adventure

As my waiting time for New Zealand was winding down, I decided to do something crazy and have my first adventure right here at home in the U.S. in preparation for the big adventure.

I decided to dye my hair pastel purple and pink.

Now, this was a huge deal for me. I’d never even dyed my hair in my life until I was about 21 years old. I mean, granted I totally went for it when I finally did dye my hair and went from my natural brunette to an all over Barbie doll blonde. But still, this purple was going to be a huge adventure in itself. 

 ..but I love it! It’s so bright and fairy-like and perfect for the month I’ll be gone.

There we go, first New Zealand adventure done!

It’s Almost New Zealand Time!

Six months ago I downloaded the app, “Countdown,” and set my countdown for the day I leave for New Zealand to be reunited with my other half. Back then it was almost 200 days until the countdown ended but now here we are, mere days until I take off and I can’t believe it’s finally time!

I’ve been planning this trip since the day I returned home from Paris. It’s taken me half a year, three jobs at once, no social life and some sleepless nights but now that it’s time to go I know that it was all worth it. I’ve worked my booty off so much to be able to save up for this trip and it’ll be so fulfilling to finally step off that plane in Auckland and into the arms of my best friend.  

 Now that it’s finally time, I feel like it’s okay for me to talk about how I got here. Once I decided on New Zealand, I started saving immediately. I figured up my budget – for my flight, for all things in New Zealand and for my bills while I’m gone – and knew that I wouldn’t accept anything less and would somehow make it work so that in six months, I’d have this much saved up for when I left. I got three jobs (most days I worked all three in a day) and saved every penny I made.

I made myself a DIY adventure jar that I put all of my loose change in (it actually worked – I’ve saved up almost $200 through that adventure jar alone) and started hanging out with friends mainly just at home in my apartment. It was certainly a tough last six months. Every time anyone would ask me to go out for the night, my response would always be, “Sorry, I don’t have monies.. Wanna come hang out at my place?” It got old pretty quickly but I didn’t mind, I knew what I was working toward. 

 Now look! I made everything I needed for my budget and I’ve saved up $500 more than the goal I set for myself. I am certainly well off on everything we have planned to do in NZ – AND for all of my bills back here in the U.S. Yeah, I saved up enough for a month long trip to New Zealand in six months – in addition to paying all of my living expenses on time that I already have while living on my own. YOU COULD SAY I’M A LITTLE PROUD OF THIS ACCOMPLISHMENT.

It was tough.. And I’m exhausted after everything.. But I did it.

Travel is everything to me so once I set my mind to something and decide on a new place to go – I make it happen. No questions asked. If you work hard for what you love, you can make it happen, too.

NEW ZEALAND HERE I COME!

How to Beat That Jet Lag Once and For All

Everyone knows that jet lag can be such a bummer. It can start your trip off on the wrong foot and impact it entirely. I know firsthand what it’s like to get off that plane and just want to curl up in a ball and sleep for days.

When I first arrived in Paris to start my au pair adventure, I was exhausted. Those ten hours of flying had caught up to me immediately and I stepped off the plane feeling disgusting and in dire need of a nap.
Little did I know that there are some tips and tricks to defeat that sluggishness that causes all of us to want to scream & pass out.

For instance, instead of letting me sleep and catch up on rest, my French family immediately took me home and gave me a tour of their flat, took me to my own apartment to fully unpack & then shower to get cleaned up before we went out to a late lunch together. They kept me going the whole day after I arrived until the evening so that I could get on a regular sleep schedule again. That’s one of the biggest no no’s of jet lag – to try to immediately sleep it off. Sleep will just make everything worse. I made the mistake of letting my best friend sleep all she wanted when she came to visit me for Christmas abroad. She’d end up sleeping until 3pm every day and going to bed early. Sleep is never the answer! We learned that the hard way.

Aside from how I coped with my jet lag my first day in Paris, there are many other tips and tricks to defeat that seemingly inevitable stream of crankiness from flights and this article from The Huffington Post helped me immensely in preparation for my upcoming NZ trip! I learned so much through what The Huff Post had to say on the subject and now I’m getting even more excited for this loooooong flight!

Click here to learn some new ways to battle jet lag!

What to do When a Stranger Asks You to Bike Throughout Europe with Him

What would you do if a random stranger emailed you saying he’d just read a travel article you wrote for the paper and then told you he wanted to invite you on a 1,000 mile European bike ride and wanted to know if you’d like to get coffee in a couple days to discuss (Phewwww, loooong run on sentence!)?

Well, lemme tell ya what I did – because yes, this happened to me two weeks ago.

I went out for the coffee.

Yeah, the intrigue of such a different possible adventure was so exciting to me that I didn’t hesitate in accepting. In a world so afraid to live, I make sure not to miss out on life.

That being said, it’s not like I didn’t consider the consequences if this had gone poorly and didn’t make sure this was a real man reaching out to me – I did my homework. I’m always safe in my adventurous decisions.

So let’s get on to the story.. A few months back I wrote an article for the local paper about my time abroad as a nanny. This man found it online while visiting my town and apparently became intrigued with the way I choose to live my life. He asked me out to coffee and told me about these bike rides he does every other year and sent me links to his previous excursions that I could look into. I researched and decided it was a real opportunity, so I took it.

When meeting for coffee, this man bought me a latte and we sat down to chat about adventures. He told me how he’s been doing this for over 15 years and how he thinks it’d be right up my alley. He organizes these trips for people to just join him on – he gets nothing out of it other than the company of others for a month while biking throughout parts of Europe.

I’m not sure if this is something that I’ll for sure do but it’s definitely something I’m considering. And the only reason I’m able to consider it right now is because I said yes and took a chance.

So, there you have it.. I miiiiight have found yet another adventure that just so happened to fall in my lap. A perfect opportunity that I might have missed out on if I had been afraid to say yes. In life you have to take chances, put yourself out there! Don’t be afraid to live a vibrant and colorful life. You might look back to regret it if you are.

I’m Back! Just in Time for some New Zealand Updates!

Well, hey there adventurers! I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to post but I’m finally back with many updates for all of you!

First off, it’s almost New Zealand time! I absolutely cannot wait for the adventures lying in wait for me. In just a few short weeks, I’ll be climbing the mountains of Mordor, bungee jumping in Queenstown and whale watching on the ocean – just to name a few things. I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough struggle getting ready for this trip to the other side of the world immediately following my move back to the States from Paris but soon these past five months will have been more than worth it.

Now, let me delve into why I’ve been gone for so long. In order to provide myself the funds for this trip, I’ve taken on three (3!!) jobs that I work pretty much every day. I save every penny I make and this past weekend was the first time I’d gone out since moving back and that was only because it was a friend’s birthday. Needless to say, right now I have no social life. But honestly, that’s okay with me because it’s truly hard work getting to travel the way I do so often and right now my whole life centers on exploration.

When I signed a one year lease back here at home, I knew I’d be saving for this huge trip and then another in another six months. I work hard to travel as much and for as long as I do and I love it but I also want to utilize this passion as a career and am currently looking into writing for a travel magazine or blog or such, which is also taking up my time right now.

Basically what I’m saying is that my life has been one heck of a roller coaster ride of work and stress for the past five months and now that it’s almost New Zealand time (finally!), I’m bursting with excitement and anticipation! And this morning I finally had a moment to go out and break in my beautiful new North Face  hiking boots on the trails and I was so insanely happy out in the beautiful snow and nature, surrounded by the chirping of birds and crunch of ice beneath my feet. So naturally, I decided to take a minute to talk with all of you on how things have been going lately. 

 So there you have it – I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long but working three jobs while planning a massive trip is killer – BUT SO WORTH IT.

Wilbur Chocolate Co., A Last East Coast Adventure (For Now)

Well, my PA trip has come to an end, sadly. As I sit here in the Cincinnati airport I thought I’d tell all of you of the wondrous factory that is Wilbur chocolates. 

  
Yes, Pennsylvania is obviously known for Hershey’s chocolates, everyone knows that. But have you heard of the lesser known and – dare I say – BETTER tasting chocolates that can be found in Lititz, PA? Mandy took me to the factory/museum today and it was super tiny, but so. dang. delicious. They offer free samples of their “buds,” in both milk and dark chocolates and they were so creamy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious that I swear if there had been a chocolate fountain, I’d have swam in it – no hesitation. 
 The factory/museum was made up of only about three rooms but it was definitely enough to transform me into a lifetime fan of Wilbur.

The first room was the gift shop, full of all the chocolate your little mind could ever imagine. 

 The second room was an extension of that but with a closed off area featuring chocolate molds and chocolate sculptures – including a full carousel THAT IS MADE ENTIRELY OF RICE CRISPIES AND CHOCOLATE.

 The third room is where they make the chocolate and again, though small, it looked so fun. Maybe I’ll become a chocolatier next.. Who knows. 

 So there you have it, my last stop on the East Coast before flying back home to the Midwest. I’d say it was a pretty good stop indeed.