Wednesday, July 04, 2018

A travel blog? Maybe....

Yes. It has been 8 year's since I last blogged. But I have been inspired by this blog post about solo female travelers over 40 and want to try to jot down some of my best travel memories and maybe be successful in documenting future travel in real time.

When I was in my early 20's I desperately wanted to travel and was constantly trying to get friend's to commit to taking trips with me but in the end they would always flake  on me. In the fall of 2000 I booked a trip to Europe through a tour company.  The itinerary was London, Paris and Rome.  It was not fully guided but tour company dealt with travel and lodging arrangements and there was a half-day guided tour the first day in each city and then you were on your own for three or four full days. I was so excited!

Then 9/11 happened.  The tour was cancelled. i was heartbroken but after a few weeks I thought "I can recreate the trip without the tour group!". As an added bonus the cost of flights to Europe dropped to about $250 round trip! I ended up going for about three weeks adding a stop in Switzerland and wine country in France to the itinerary. My mom was so nervous and made me promise to call her every single day. Did anyone else use ekit's international calling card to make calls from payphones?

That trip changed my life. I learned to be happy with my own company. At the beginning of the trip I felt awkward eating alone but by the end I was sitting at actual tables (instead of just the bar). I had moments where I was desperately lonely and after eating a bad eggroll in Switzerland I learned that people in France may ignore you if you pass out in a train station but a good Samaritan will step up and help you find am "American style" hotel room (private bathroom!) you can afford and arrange for a doctor to come to the room! Note: this was probably also the first time I really thought about what it means to have health insurance and wondered why the US doesn't treat access to health care as a human right. I learned that internet friends are true friends when my trip to wine country got cancelled due that bad eggroll and I needed a place to stay for a few nights before my flight back home from London.

And I learned that travel was something that shouldn't wait for other people. It is something you should as often as your schedule and budget allows. Traveling solo is wonderful! Sure, I've taken a few trips (or parts of trips) with friends since then but my travel companions always know my rules: I am going to do what I want to do. I will tell you may plans for the day and you are welcome to join me but I'm probably not going to ask you for your input on what we do or where we eat. Basically, this is my trip but you are welcome to tag along!

It was another 10 years before I went on my second solo vacation and while I dont' get the opportunity to travel as much as the women highlighted in the blog post I linked above, I have learned to make it a priority and am always planning what's next.

So what's next?  I want to reflect on the trips I've taken so far:

1) The first European adventure: London, Paris, Rome, Gimmelwald.
2) The second European adventure: Barcelona, Santiago de Compestala, Berlin, Prague, Budapest
3) The Japanese adventure: Tokyo, Hamamatsu, Kyoto, small Japanese town who's name I can't remember right now
4) The Costa Rica adventure: Playa Grande, Monteverde, La Fortuna
5) Nephew the first's 16th birthday European adventure: Athens, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Munich
6) The New Zealand/Australia adventure: Aukland, Rotorua, Sydney, Brisbane

And I want to try to remember to document future trips in real time. Trips currently in planning stages:

1) The mini European adventure: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Ghent, Brussels
2) New the second's 16th birthday European Adventure: itinerary planning in progress
3) The African Adventure

I admit, I don't have a great faith in my ability to stick to this and keep up with this blog but I'm going to give it a shot!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


When I travel I tend to buy magnets as souvenirs. they are light and inexpensive and easily found in airports. I used to just stick them on the fridge, but on a recent trip to europe decided they deserved a more special display so I decided to paint my backsplash behind my sink with magnet paint and use that as a new display area.

I love how it turned out!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The House...thus far...

I directed someone to my blog to show them my ikea kitchen and realized i never posted the finished product.

Here is a slide show of the house that I put together before the big birthousewarmoliday party i had in December. I'm happy with how it all turned out and do look forward to the next decorating project, but i'm taking a break from making it pretty to improving it's structure. next up, a new roof. fun.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I need help.

I still can't figure out what to do with my entry way. I moved the shoe cabinet to between the tall cabinets and am thinking just a big sculpture of some sort on top. or i could put hooks across the top for hanging coats/bags. but then i thought i would get a cool coat rack for the other side of the door.

i need to decide if i'm keeping those book shelves there because if so i need to remove the baseboard so it can be pushed back closer to the wall...


Sunday, October 11, 2009

The almost finished kitchen...

Believe it or not, it's almost done! There is some paint touch up to be done and I need to buy extra large outlet covers. Also left is the toe kick. But as you can see, there are two glaring items missing...the cabinets for my dishes. Ikea claims it now makes the horizontal cabinets compatible with the glass/aluminum framed doors, but it seems that although they advertise them, they aren't actually making them. or are making them, but they are not available in every market. or possibly any market. depends who you talk to. any who, for now the dishes live on the counters.

So, here are some pictures...

Still a bit left to go, but it's a functional space now, and i'm quite pleased about that!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

it's so nice, i did it twice...

or, why good plans go awry.

i decided to hang three rows of 15" horizontal wall cabinets on my sink wall. i also decided to hang the top one at ceiling height. i don't know what sort of funky math i was doing because i got two rows up and realized that the bottom of the bottom cabinet was going to be 29" off the countertops. normal height is around 18". this is too high, even for tallish me.

so, i had to remove the installed cabinets, move the hanging rail down, and reinstall the cabinets. not a huge deal, just some time i wasn't planning on spending.

BUT, now i see a bigger problem....can you see it too?


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Oh the decisions????

I though I was done with decisions. I picked out floors, doors, countertops, paint colors, door pulls, a sink, a faucet, splash back tile, appliances...everything was decided!

Then Ikea came out with this:

I am in love. i am now obsessed with having those beautiful shiny grey doors on my base cabinets. the upper cabinets will stay birch, and i'd have birch accents on the bottom (mainly the exposed cabinet sides).

The problem is two fold...price, those gray doors cost twice as much as the birch and design, i'm worried that the grays wont' all match. i've ordered up a sample door to see if it goes with the floor, which is already installed and unchangeable at this point. I'm also settled on the backsplash and need to find something that works with it.

So, what's the problem? countertops. i had picked out gray countertops, but now i fear it will be too many different grays. so, I have four choices in front of me and i'm open to other suggestions...

The current options are:


So, what would you do?