The Busy Bee….Doesn’t Get Her Writing Done

musings, Travel

The hardest part of blogging is that there are only so many hours in a day. There are only so many days in a week, in a year, in a decade. Meaning…. I struggle to spread myself in all of the directions I plan to be spread.

My biggest downfall is being a Queen Bee of busy. I run from work to the gym to home to the grocery store to picking up kids to visiting family to hiking to work to gym to….you all do the cycle. Some of you are single parents trying to make it all work. Some of you are parents of a healthy brood of youngins and some of you just work too damn hard.

We also have a society that demands blood from us at every second of every day. Work 50 hour weeks? oh well…make sure you do your daughter’s costume for the school play BETTER than your Pinterest reference. Have five kids? Well ALL of them better have a laundry list of extracurriculars. Have a job? make sure you do everything 20 times harder than everyone else with no extra pay and no extra benefits….then maybe you’ll get the raise.

Don’t get me wrong, hard work has never intimidated me, and at every job I have had I was quick to move up the ranks and leave my mark. However, if there is one thing I have learned through all of this, is that MY WORK, the work I do for me, is just as important. I have to draw the line on what society demands and what I need from me to be sane and happy. You should too.

I don’t mind the occasional 45 to 50 hour weeks, but I also make sure I take a day off here and there. I schedule myself three day weekends just to have fun. I run away to local towns for a day or two just for something different. So what if the house is messy? So what if my over hasn’t been cleaned in 6 months? The reality is that my time is more precious than playing perfect. My life, and actually living it, is more important than all the laundry being put away.

This is not an easy state of mind, and I stumble, and I make messes, and then I try again. As a “Type A” personality, I often get sidetracked in making sure things are better, organized, neat, clean. When in reality, some of the chaos is what makes us of this universe.

There is a good chance I will always struggle in this, and my lack of writing this month has shown that. However, at the end of the day I have to acknowledge that hard work is great, but sometimes you have to play, and with that is making time for yourself.

Happy Travels!

BusyBee

 

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Adventure of the Week – Cub Lake Loop

colorado, Colorado Events, outdoors, Travel

Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my all time favorite things to do in Colorado. A particular favorite place is the hike to Cub Lake.

This month, I decided to challenge myself and do the entire 7-mile loop up to Cub Lake and back down the mountain by the Arkansas River, known as the “Pools”. It was a beautiful journey through the edge of Moraine Park, up a mountain side and down an exciting cliff face.

I got to use a GoPro for the first time to document the trip. I am not sure I am ready to invest in my own device but it has been fun experimenting. See my 3 hour journey condensed into 9 minutes below.

Your Privilege is Showing

musings, Travel

I find my work in the travel industry a blend of delight and shock on a regular basis. I love assisting others with their travel plans, the tedious nature of piecing together itineraries and activities is an exciting journey for me. In ways it is a vicarious experience, and also a chance to share my own journeys and ideas on where guests are traveling.

The downside is catching the negativity that often comes with travel. In fact, my own mouth has been caught complaining about layovers in O’Hare and cold weather in Scotland.

Yet, one has to pause and really think of the privilege it is to be able to travel in this modern world. In my own case, and for many I work with, we have United States passports, one of the most powerful in the world. In my case I am a white, newly middle class woman meaning the color of my skin brings significant pass. I am of able body and of functional financial means. Travel for me is a relatively easy process, and one that I should appreciate more than I do. The reality is that travel is not a right it is a privilege.

For most of the planet leaving your home country, and even your hometown is unattainable. Poverty prevents many a person from ever being able to leave what they know. Even many of the people I grew up with have not had even closely similar experiences to mine. Many are lucky if they leave the state. For many Americans the idea of traveling to another country is simply out of reach. Full Stop.

Yet we gripe about things like layovers and cramped seats. We fuss over spicy foods, or if a castle isn’t as thrilling as one thought it may be. We act annoyed when water doesn’t have ice, or if it’s hard to get a reservation at a Michelin Star Restaurant. We’re angry because Jiro Ono doesn’t want to serve you sushi. Do we even hear ourselves?

My request is this: really think about what you’re upset about.

When I catch myself irritated that I can’t travel as much as I want to all the time, or that flights to Thailand are 22+ hours, I need to remember the facts of our time. We live in a world where travel is more accessible and more affordable for the average person than ever before. We live in a time where more and more people are traveling, studying, and living outside of their home country. We live in a time of global connections well beyond our wildest dreams of two generations before. So why are we complaining?

When my grandmother was born in 1927 if her family had been able to or wanted to travel to Europe they would have had to do the following:

  • Train from Burlington, Kansas to Chicago, Illinois. Chicago train to the East Coast probably Boston, Massachusetts or New York, New York. Passenger ship travel to London, England or other European port.

This journey would have likely taken two or more week just to arrive on the European continent, let alone your time traveling around or coming home. The point being is that this was a trip that would not have been accessible to the typical working family in 1930s or 1940s America.

In fact, most people didn’t see Europe unless they were in WWI or WWII, and then it was a Europe at its worse, and not the most desirable for tourism. By the time much of the continent had recovered in the 1970s, many veterans began to return, and their families were in tow.

My grandparents never made it to Europe. My grandma dreamed of the fields of Ireland and Highlands of Scotland. She told me elaborate stories of Roman architecture and Vatican wonders; yet she never had the chance to visit. She studied art in college, and she fantasized about seeing things in person, but for her the fantasy couldn’t become reality. Because, in practical Midwestern manners, the fantasy was okay, the real journey was too much. Her generation simply found it impractical unless you had money, and I mean MONEY, upper middle class MONEY.

As we have entered into a world of cheaper airfare and better technology, my travels to Europe and Latin America have been possible. I came from humble means and busted ass to get to do what I have done. In an example, my mom didn’t even know you COULD study abroad; she grew up in the 80s.

So my point is this, next time O’hare pissed you off (believe me, everyone who has been there, has come to this point) just remember what traveling 100 years ago would have been and remember a 3-hour delay isn’t soooo bad.

Remember how lucky you are to get to go, explore, exist, and be in a widely fascinating world. Be grateful that others help facilitate this journey through their service, kindness, and welcoming heart. Be benevolent in your ear, your money (be generous in tipping, and purchases you can afford), and your patience as all of these things make the travel easier. Finally, a smile is a universal kindness, not to be forgotten.

Happy Travels!

Privilege

Adventure of the Week – Casper, Wyoming

Travel, wyoming

Casper, Wyoming is an intriguing Wyoming town. Wyoming as a whole can seem like a lot of nothing for endless miles, yet Casper offers a mid-state stopping point for road trippers and locals. As one of the biggest in the state, and the city boasts some impressive features for visitors.

#northern bound #Wyoming #casper #roadtrip

A post shared by Rebecca Lee Robinson (@beccaleephoto) on

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Mexico Adventures in Snorkeling

Caribbean, mexico, Travel

2017 moving into 2018 have been a time of trying new and exciting things I never thought I would be able to try. While snorkeling, scuba etc. all seem like normal vacation and travel things, things that most people in the United States have tried, I never have had the chance. Not until my late 20s did I really push the issue, and I made sure on my last trip to Mexico to take to the water, gear….on head.

The Sandos Caracol Eco Resort offers snorkeling in both salt and fresh water environments. I decided, as I had not snorkeled before, that fresh water (without waves) was the more logical choices. I started with their “Jade River Snorkel” which was through a small canal system that went through the resort, and offered a chance to view fish, mangrove root systems and to learn about the complex water systems that cover the Yucatan. While snorkeling one could feel water pockets where two systems were linked and mixing waters.

From the Jade River we moved into the main cenote at the resort, which offered a massive area to snorkel, interact with fish, and relax in cool water. Both experiences provided a glimpse into the waters and environment of Southern Mexico.

Photo Dec 10, 8 58 36 AM.jpg

it’s a great look

This was only a small part of the different activities the resort offers, many of which we simply ran out of time to try. Yet, it offered a great opportunity to stretch my arms and learn methods required for snorkeling.

The next day my bigger snorkeling trip took place, this time I was confronted with waves and a far more interesting and diverse plant (coral) and wildlife.

 

The tour I took, through Ocean Tours Mexico, provided a fantastic sampling of what the Yucatan offers. We started with a tour of Tulum, then we hit the waves, and finished in a cenote and cave system nearby. All of these elements offered a great sampling of the biodiversity and fascinating history of the region.

The only disappointment was that there were no turtles in our ocean snorkeling, but we did have a blast seeing bats in the cenote, and some truly beautiful fish in the ocean.

These photos are from the talented photographer with Ocean Tours:

For my next adventure in Mexico, my hope is to see and snorkel with Whale Sharks!

 

mexicosnorkeling.jpg

Adventure of the Week- Amtrak Train Journey

adventure of the week, family, Travel

Earlier this month I took a road trip to Iowa to attend a cousin’s wedding. The first half was spent on the never ending drive through Nebraska with my great aunt Jayne, her granddaughter Ivy, and my stepdaughter Lily. We stopped at the Omaha Zoo and made a comfortable adventure of the journey.

To return from the wedding, since I needed to be back to work before Jayne planned to return, my stepdaughter and I could either fly, rent a car, or how we decided – take the train.

CALIFORNIA-ZEPHYR.jpg

The Amtrak’s California Zephyr runs through Iowa, and we caught it about an hour south of Des Moines. From there one journey’s overnight before arriving in Colorado around 7:00 a.m. making the train journey approximately 12 hours depending on delays.

The train was only around $130 for the two of us one-way in basic economy seating. We sat on the top floor of the double decker economy cars and with ample leg room and the ability to walk around it never felt particularly cramped on the journey. No it was not luxury accommodations and a bed would have been nice, but for one overnight journey it was a reasonable price and journey.

I would say if you were to journey much longer, then a sleeper car of some sort would have been ideal. If only to be able to stretch out properly and have some privacy. Amtrak offers Roomettes and Family Rooms, depending on one’s budget and preferences.

Naturally, train travel is not the fastest or most efficient, but the experience is worth having and it’s an economical means for some routes. Additionally, trains are not nearly as crowded as buses I have traveled on or even planes, meaning you feel less cramped and trapped by everything.

Here are some of my tips for making the journey more comfortable:

  • Pack light
    • Most train stations will not have the ability to check your bags, so you will have to carry on suit cases and they need to be small enough to fit overhead. A larger carry-on bag is ideal
  • Keep comfortable items closed
    • Have a smaller personal bag with you to have by you and your seat, here it is ideal you have things like books, phones, laptop, and a toothbrush or any night creams and other items you may want handy. This includes snacks.
  • Keep the kid(s) happy
    • I brought the Nintendo Switch from our house to keep Lily gaming until I felt we should sleep. She also had books, snacks, and other items to keep her comfortable.
    • My emergency kit for all kid-related items includes wet wipes, chapstick, lotion, hand sanitizer, and a game of some sort.
  • Wear comfy clothing
    • Like with a flight, wear items that are comfortable to sit in for 12 hours + and that are stretchy or okay for swollen feet, and other discomforts of travel.
  • Keep medicine handy
    • Sometimes aches and pains happen, as well as the inability to sleep, keep your medicinal items handy for easy treatment.
  • Walk around
    • The journey will be much longer if you don’t move around, so make sure you check out the dining car, observation car, or simply journey the aisles to get some legs stretched.
  • Avoid the food
    • This may be a no-brainer, but food on flights, and apparently trains, are not like the Hogwarts Express as I had hoped. Everything was overpriced, greasy, and lacked flavor. For my next train adventure, I plan on bringing my own oatmeal and other noms
  • Stay hydrated
    • The train offers water bottle/cup refill stations, take advantage of this to avoid buying bottled water. AND it’s ore environmentally friendly. (For other tips, check out Ditching Disposables.
  • Have Fun!
    • Travel can be hard, no matter the means, make it a time to enjoy things you don’t usually. Watch the sunrise, have a glass of wine on a train, talk about silly things with your kiddo, or write in your journal. Sometimes just being is the ultimate treat.

HAPPY TRAVELS!

Travels with a 4-Year-Old

adventure of the week, Iowa, musings, Travel

I recently traveled to Iowa with my Great-Aunt and her granddaughter Ivy. Ivy would then be my second cousin (I think) and her dad, who is the same age as my husband is my first cousin once-removed. Here is a chart I am basing this on: click here.

What was one of the best parts of traveling on this trip was going with a Ivy was how different it was to travel with a little kid. She was such a trooper too, but I also have to laugh at how amusing it is to travel with children. If you want to learn more on our adventure, read about the great Omaha Zoo!

Here is my list of observations:

Travels with a 4-year old

  • They will stick their finger into something that hurts, and start screaming
    • This episode was brought to you by a soda cup lid
  • They will refuse to eat, drink, and/or pee
    • Forcing them to is sometimes ok, and sometimes a match of wills
  • They will say they don’t want an ice cream cone
    • Then you buy the ice cream cone for you; they want it and take it.
    • Then they eat about four bites and don’t want it anymore.
    • All while you have since ordered yourself a NEW ice cream cone.
  • They won’t sleep in the car without a fuss
  • They will ask 20 times if you are there yet
  • They will cry over having to put pajamas on
  • There will be misunderstandings over mumbles, whining, and stories.
    • Someone may cry over this.
    • Multiple people may cry over this
  • Tears will be shed over automatic dryers and toilets at restaurants and rest stops on the way.
  • Someone will lose a sock, or socks.
  • Shoes will be taken off and misplaced
  • Beloved stuff toys will be misplaced
  • There will be unbelievable joy
  • Followed by horrific meltdowns
  • They will fall over their toes at least half a dozen times
    • Half of these times, they will cry out of embarrassment and shock, not actual injury
  • They will get lost and turned around in a crowd
    • This will also lead to panic and meltdown
  • They will be wearing some of their food
  • They will play a game of keep away when needing to get dressed.
    • This will put everyone in hysterical laughter at how cute and funny it is
  • They will get dehydrated and hot and whiney from being outside
    • Make sure you force water down their throat
  • Trains are seen as absolutely amazing
    • Stick them on one to prevent meltdowns over tired feet
  • They will want a giant lollipop from the gift shop
      • They will get the giant lolli
      • They will never eat the giant lolli OR
      • They will eat some of it and you will find the rest stuck to the car in the worst possible way

     

    What are your favorite kid moments?

    HAPPY TRAVELS!

    Travelswith4yo