Category: Travel Preparation

Traveling Realities

“Think of what I’m saying. We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.” We Can Work It Out The Beatles 

This will be a quick one but it’s something I wanted to share. Not everything is perfect and I like for people to know the not so happy things as well as the happy ones. That is what keeps things real and genuine.

Traveling obviously is a big adventure and there are thrills that are beyond the norm so of course that’s why we travel. However, traveling is not without some sort of difficulty. Unless you’re traveling alone you are bound to have mishaps or unhappy moments with those who accompany you.

Let me first explain the relationships and then I will explain the living arrangement during our time here in Washington. My sister and brother, by blood, are my half siblings. We share the same mother but not the same father. However, there has never been a time where I have felt them to be a, “half” sibling. We are all a family and all I have ever known are them. My father IS their father and he is all they have ever known of a father. They were very young when he came into their lives. With that being said, my brother and sister connected with their biological father’s family around 2008. It opened up a whole new world for them and they connected with a family they never knew. They gained so much from that experience, especially my sister.

My sister moved here to Aberdeen (my mother’s hometown), and currently stays with her uncle until she can become settled. He has been kind enough to let me and my mother and father stay here during our visit. Altogether, there are 8 people who are currently living in Ken’s house. LOL that’s A LOT of people: Myself, my mom, my dad, Evy (my sister), Ken, Rayann (my niece), Hayley (my niece) and Ken’s daughter Kaycee. There are four bedrooms but the house, for the most part is quite small (I’m not sure of the square footage) and there is only one usable shower. So I hope you can kind of visualize what we’re working with.

This leads me to the “mishaps” and “unhappy moments”. I would say that it was difficult traveling with my mom and dad, but that would be a lie. I love them immensely and they really don’t do anything that would warrant too much irritation or frustration. I, on the other hand can be a “pill” (southern term for cranky or unhappy). I can’t really tell you why, but I suppose certain things pick at my nerves or have a tendency to annoy me? So I will say that some of that frustration is due on my part. However, I realize when I’m doing it so I attempt to bring my irritations to halt and commence to be easier to get along with. But this is all normal and if you’re expecting to get along with everyone you’re traveling with all the time I think you may be living in a dream world, or you’ve just been really lucky.

When we initially arrived at Ken’s house, there were many stresses that each person in the house was facing (minus us). My sister, Ken Hayley and Rayann were all finishing up the end of their school semester; Rayann with High School, Evy and Kenny with college and Hayley with 9th grade. Emotions were high and adjusting to the housing dynamic was rough! I can tell you that some words were exchanged and tempers flared. You must also take into consideration that everyone in this family is HIGHLY opinionated. No one is leaving without stating their opinions. Myself included. 😉

It definitely took about 2 weeks to REALLY become adjusted with everything: the sleeping arrangements, social dynamic of the house, friends and family coming over and meeting them, functions etc etc. By the way, my sleeping arrangement is currently with 5 early twenties-ish British boys in a slightly small room. I’m talking about this band “One Direction”. They are currently the favorite band of my 14 yr old niece Hayley, of who’s room I’m currently inhabiting. They are literally ALL OVER her walls. They look at me every night as I go to sleep and I can’t help but feel a little…intruded on? They’re starring at me constantly. It’s so creepy.

I know everyone sees all of the really great and happy wonderful things that we’re doing and they ARE happy and wonderful! We’re having a blast, don’t get me wrong, but no travel is without some sort of discomfort or frustration. So we definitely have had our trials since we’ve been here but it worked itself out and everyone is good to go. 🙂

The Perfect Little Home

“You could travel the world but nothing comes close to the Golden Coast.” California GurlsKaty Perry – feat. Snoop Dogg

I am in love! And we haven’t REALLY explored everywhere. But I must say that Northern California is beautiful!

Penryn is about 30 minutes northeast of Sacramento. The population is roughly  2700 and everyone seems very friendly. Bob and Glenda (our cousins we are staying with) have lived here since the 70’s and have really made an amazing home for themselves.

Glenda has around 30 chickens and owns two goats named, “Cookie” and “Oreo”. http://youtu.be/EKkZ8vdF42o

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If she had some ducks I would be in farm heaven (I think I may love animals more than the average person). I have developed a bond with Cookie and am just falling in love with her. Check out the video here:http://youtu.be/H4xgPI1PAVc

Besides my love for animals I have a deep, deep love for music. So imagine how my heart soared when I was introduced to their 1958 Seeburg jukebox.

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As you would guess, this jukebox is not filled with modern music, it is filled with oldies music. Now, depending on your generation the term, “oldies” may mean something completly different to you than it does to me. For me, and in this jukebox, the oldies consist of: Elvis, The Carpenters, Bill Hayley and His Comets, Brenda Lee, Bobby Darren, Perry Como and so many others. For me there is something so awesome about this! Maybe it’s nostalgia for the old soul in me or maybe it’s just something so different that I find it intriguing. Either way, I was thoroughly entertained and so we sat and listened. 🙂 http://youtu.be/eXGjynmEFV0

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Something I wasn’t particularly shocked about, but did take notice of was the gas price difference.

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This is California’s price and our’s is around $2.54. That’s quite a difference but it’s relative.

As if the animals and jukebox weren’t cool enough, Glenda and Bob had to go ahead and have a grove filled with orange, lemon, mandarine and cherry trees! The oranges and lemons should have been picked in December but since they hadn’t, we went ahead and picked what we could yesterday.

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You’re wondering if they’re still good? YES! They were delicious! We’re going to make some lemonade today (mine with splenda).

*yawns* I’m still exhausted. When will that stop?

LOOK OUT CALIFORNIA here we come!

“Goodbye to all my friends at home, goodbye to people I’ve trusted.” Jet AirlinerSteve Miller Band

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We set off for what was an EXTREMELY smooth ride! Starting from the beginning, everything came into place and even though we were very tired, we were not letting that get us down. The weather was absolutely beautiful in North Carolina so it wasn’t hard to enjoy mother nature’s gift.

imageOur friends Beth and her husband Roy drove us to the airport and we couldn’t have been more thankful. For those of you who are not aware, Raleigh is about 3.5 hours from our home so it’s a bit of a stretch. So thank you Beth and Roy 🙂

We arrived a bit early at RDU. I should mention I was a bit taken aback by the complimentary luggage check-in that was stationed directly outside of the terminal. I thought, “Oh sweet! Delta is uping their checki-in game by making it faster.” We assumed they were employed by Delta and before we could even make a decision as to whether or not we would utilize that service, a gentleman came over and started check our luggage. So we just went with the flow and before you know it the guy says, “We are not employed by Delta. We are contracted to do this work.” Which then it dawned on me that they were looking for a tip. So the thought I came away with was how much and how fast things change or I must not notice a lot through my experiences. *note to self, notice your surroundings*

Security and Cary On was a bit wild. The line moved entirely too fast and, as usual, I always feel like I never know how they want me to go about this process; which items go in what containers etc. I began sympathizing with those individuals that feel the 360 x-ray machine (not sure of the term) is a bit invasive. Still, I would rather be invaded in that way than to be a victim from lack of security. So I’m appreciative.

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After such stress we finally settled down for a nice lunch at one of the airport pubs. Our food was decent and we got out of there in great time.

Check out a little video update from the Minneapolis Airport: http://youtu.be/UGWn406plu8

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Dad ordering some food from this cool techy restaurant

 

We had a 2.5 hour layover in Minneapolis. Our flight ended up changing and our arrival time into Sacramento went from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

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Mom and dad trying to catch a nap on the plane

 

But as you can see we were super exhausted because in California it was 10:00 p.m. but in North Carolina it was 1:00 a.m.

Imagine our relief when we finally got to California! We were so tired but so happy to be here.

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Baggage Claim in the Sacramento airport. How cool is this?

Our cousins, Bob and Glenda picked us up from the airport in the Nissan Quest we purchased from them. The weather was really cool, around 50 degrees which is extremely abnormal for this area of California.

By the time we actually went to bed it was around 1 a.m.

*yawns*

Two More Days

“You’re callin’ my name, but I gotta make it clear – I can’t say, baby, where I’ll be in a year.” Sweet EmotionAerosmith

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AIN’T THAT THE TRUTH! Wow! We’ve come a long way and now we’re coming up on Two more days to get everything together.

Things that have been settled:

  • Talked with Advisor and registered for fall classes
  • Paid bills
  • Stocked up on prescriptions
  • Graded projects
  • Purchased travel gear

Things I still have to do:

  1. Talk with our animal caretakers (prepping them for what to do)
  2. Settle some loose ends (medical and school stuff)
  3. Enter grades
  4. Clean
  5. Wash clothes
  6. Unload images off phone to computer
  7. Charge iProducts
  8. Pack

It feels like there are so many things to do. I’m having a hard time sleeping at night! The last two nights in specific I had a hard time falling asleep. I will say that there is an element of stress, apprehension, and nervousness to what I am feeling currently. Though, the overall feeling is very much excitement! If I can steal away a few minutes tomorrow I’m going to make a, “California Bound” playlist on Spotify. I WILL need something to listen to on the plane and on the ride to the airport! I’m seriously getting excited the more I think about actually being IN the vehicle driving to RDU.

Video Clips:

Hey I want you all to know that I will be linking video footage to this blog. You can click on the links and watch the videos on YouTube. They will be short little captures of what we’re currently doing and where we are. I will have one up on Thursday, May 14th (departure day) when we’re on the way to the airport. So check those out in addition to the blog!

It REALLY IS hard to leave your belongings and animals behind while you go off on a trip for two months. I think the older we get the more the feeling settles into you. Or maybe it’s just me?

What do you think? Could you, would you or HAVE you left your animals and belongings for two or more months to travel? (It kind of sounds like a Dr. Seuss rhyme). I want to hear your stories. Let me know in the comment section below. I’d like to know what gave you comfort, or what you told yourself to feel comfortable doing this. *LOL* I may be having a hard time with it.

KEEP CALM AND PACK ON! Haha! PRAY FOR ME!

Birthday Good-eez

“Now I’m ready to turn the page on yesterdays and forgive them. Now I’m willing to disengage to seize the day and move on.” Boom Shanka311

So my birthday was yesterday–I’ve still not completely digested that–and I just keep getting older. We don’t feel any different as humans when we have a birthday, right? That day feels just like the day before and no physical or mental change took place over night. So when do we transition? When does the major change of feeling happen for us? Well, for me I have noticed that mine happens in spurts throughout the course of my life. I NEVER feel my age. Sometimes when I meditate on it, I do not feel an age at all. I would say that I feel myself to be a certain age on certain days or months. Sometimes I feel like I am a woman of around 55, then some days I feel like I’m around 27 or 28 and then moving into feeling myself to be 31. Does anyone else feel this way?

I have to say that yesterday’s birthday went smoother than I would have imagined. You know, it really just happened this way because I was determined to have a fantastic day. I’m not very big on birthday’s–whether they be mine or someone else’s–but it ended up to be wonderful. The sky was beautiful and the temperature was perfect. With weather so perfect, it’s really hard to be angry, depressed or worried.

Birthday Goodies

Yesterday after class I just sat back and cruised home. I picked up a pizza from, “Frank’s” for myself and my mom and then some fried chicken for my dad. Banana Pudding was the dessert! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES! As a diabetic this is something I can’t really have at all. Yesterday I made an exception and enjoyed every bite 🙂 (I should mention that my mom’s banana pudding is really awesome. It’s made entirely from scratch, so no packaged pudding.) My dad searched for miles for some honeysuckles and he found them, single and isolated. They smelled so wonderful and that just put the icing on the cake…or rather the pudding. So thanks to dad for that and thanks to mom for that amazing pudding 🙂

I REALLY tried to take yesterday and enjoy it. It’s hard to do that when I know that in just 17 days WE’RE OUTTA HERE! The itch is getting serious. There’s really nothing I can do at this point to prepare for this trip I don’t believe. This is an awkward middle point where I’m just kind of twiddling my thumbs, trying to appreciate the present but secretly containing my yearn for the future. *hehe* If I’m doing any preparation it is for UNCG in the fall and wrapping up things here for the end of the semester and saying goodbye to my students. *sad face*

This trip, in so many ways, feels like a milestone for me. It’s also pivotal in ways. I will be learning so much while on this trip; not just learning about facts and information about certain National Parks, but also learning processes, organization and direction. I anticipate that I will be driving most of the time and that will be good in several ways. I’m sure that I will gain so much more world experience from this as well. I hope to meet some super cool people and gain wisdom from their travels.

*Stops for a moment*

I can’t believe that we’re getting closer. Haha this is so rad! At this point, I think we’re just trying to, “KEEP CALM AND PACK ON”.

 

 

 

The Golden Ticket

“Your head will collapse but there’s nothing in it and you’ll ask yourself, ‘Where is my mind?'” Where Is My MindPixies

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Something I have been waiting patiently for, came in the mail today. The flat parcel, addressed by the USPS, lay there waiting for me to open it and sure enough, as I suspect it was my PASSPORT! YAY!!  I’ve been waiting for that thing for forever it feels like. This dear passport gave me the privilege to cross into countries such as Germany in 2005 and Mexico in 2006. I had not needed my passport since then. Wouldn’t luck have it that ironically I would need my passport one month AFTER it had expired. So naturally I renewed it because…guess where we’re visiting while in WA? CANADA! I didn’t mention it before because I wasn’t sure if we would be going, and we’re still not positive but it’s a possibility. The thing I hate about getting a new passport is that I was attached to my old one. I wish they would have ripped out the pages that were stamped so that I might be able to have them as keepsakes to remember my travels 😦 I’m not too upset, though it would have been nice.

The passport really kicked my brain into, “ready mode”. In the midst of presenting the new project my students will be working on for the next 3 weeks (which by the way is an 8 page newsletter), I was suddenly jolted in to the reality that I only have FOUR WEEKS to go before we sail off into the sky (I’m referring to the plane of course). I’m just standing there and all of a sudden I’m somewhat stunned for a second, I lost track of my thoughts, but picked it back up a couple of seconds later. I know my students had to have thought I was a little, “out of it”. Then again, I’m sure they probably think that all the time *hehe*. For those brief seconds, images of my packing a large dark pink roller suitcase and flying Delta to Cali flashed in my head. My vision is somewhat the same each time: I think about getting excited about packing, then checking my luggage and then we’re sitting on the plane waiting for it to take off. Now, some may wonder why my vision is so narrowed. Well, I’ve learned that, for me, it’s best if I just let everything surprise me. If I think too much or build something up too much, I find it spoils things a bit for me (in a small way), so I like to keep the visions down a notch. But MAN! I am REALLY ready to go! It’s like a bucket of water you’re trying to gently and easily pour out, careful not to let the whole thing spill because it’s so heavy that your arms might give way, and then…

WHOOSH…too late. 🙂

The Storyteller

“I tried to go back, as if I could, all spec house and plywood.” CopperlineJames Taylor

I woke up this morning with an agenda. My mother and I planned on attending Greenville’s, “Pirate Festival” located downtown Greenville. I had thought about it for roughly a week before the event was to take place, and contemplated whether or not it would be something I would follow through with. Well, it seemed that I WAS going to go through with this today. I was about to get ready when mom said, “I really don’t feel well.” Knowing that she felt bad, I knew it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. So there wasn’t anything really lost by not attending and I wasn’t trying to put mom through something that was probably going to torture her.

So as I drank my coffee I started thinking about the conversation I had with my cousin Rick via text – by the way I feel like I should add into this that when Rick texts, he uses no commas so it takes a minute to decipher the text lol (I still love him). He lives in a very small town in Illinois called, “Cowden”. The population, last I heard, was around 400. I’m sure that number has grown since 1999. Let me check with the almighty Oracle………okay Google says it’s around 599. So there are roughly 600 people in this small town. The last time I was there, I was only aware of a post office, gas station, band stand and cemetery. Even though it was a small town, I was young and it was new so it has fond memories with me.

Rick

Rick is my mother’s first cousin. Have you ever heard someone say, “That guy is a trip!”? If you have, well, I’m most certain they were speaking of Rick. He’s hilarious. There’s no getting around that. As his reputation holds honest and true, he is funny and can tell a story that is out of this world interesting. He INSISTS he is NOT lying when he comes up with a tall tale that seems flabbergasting. No matter what tale he’s telling, you’re always entertained and it will stay with you forever. Not only are his tales outrageous, but he lives on a quiet little farm that is home to several horses and recently some baby chicks! The most recent news I became privy to was that he and his son Luke put up some fencing for his baby chickens that he purchased.

I’ve been to Illinois three times, and all of those times I stayed in Cowden at Rick’s farm. The first time I was 13 yrs old and attended a family reunion? I’m not entirely sure it was a family reunion but I’m almost positive. The second time I was 16. It was also my first plane ride! I stayed on the farm for around 2 – 3 weeks and it was really great. We rode 4-wheelers and visited people and went places. The third time I visited I was 18. That was even cooler because I was familiar with my surrounding and in a different age bracket so I enjoyed different things like hanging out with other people my age and riding around and doing silly stuff. Since 1999, I haven’t been back. Thinking about that makes it a little sad.

SO…what my parents and I have decided is that we will actually stop in and visit Rick on our way back from WA! YAY!! I’m REALLY excited about that and today I kind of sat back and day dreamed about what we will do when we visit. Will we ride horses? Yes. Will we ride 4-wheelers? Maybe. I’m not sure if he has one, but I’m pretty sure he does. Will we visit people? Yes. Will we enjoy our time with Rick? Absolutely. I’m hoping that we may even get to see Luke and Kim (Rick’s son and daughter in-law). It’s been many years since we’ve all seen each other. I would love to get ahold of those chickens. 🙂 But the one thing I’m most ready for is…

Rick’s story telling. 🙂