Tag Archives: adventure

Love Weekends: Portland!

Portland Sign Life is insane. Off-the-wall, don’t stop ’til ya get enough, crazy-wild. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy trap and leave no time for ourselves. After the death and illness of several loved ones this year, I can’t help but think about the bazillion things I want to do and places I want to go before I… well… kick the bucket. I’m not trying to get all morbid and weird on ya’ll. It’s just a constant reminder to not be so busy that I stop going places and learning about myself and the world around me.

Portland Skyline This weekend I crossed one of the places off my travel bucket list… Portland!

Portland was beautiful this time of year. The trees had just turned and the air was crisp.

Portland Skyline at Night

There was good food to be eaten and new places to be explored.

Old Town Portland Skyline We met up with some new and old friends. We relaxed. It was just what I needed to get me through to the holiday season.

Fall Portland Skyline I can’t wait until our next adventure.

What did you do this past weekend? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

 

 

5 Resources for Travel Budget Planning

Alamo Square San Francisco I have to admit something to you all. I used to splurge on vacations. I know, I know, I just wrote this post about How to Save on Weekend Getaways. But saving on travel is something fairly new to me. I always had the mindset that “Hey, I’m on vacation, I shouldn’t have to worry about money.” But I also realize that if I want to travel more, I need to make my trips more budget friendly.

Here’s some tools and resources I’ve been using to plan my next trip. Next month, George and I are flying to Portland! It’s been on my travel bucket list FOREVER!

1. Travel Budget Calculator
This handy-dandy calculator includes fields for all kinds of expenses that you might encounter while traveling. It even has a field for cocktails. It’s my kind of calculator!

2. WikiTravel
Have you heard of WikiTravel? It’s Wikipedia for travelers. The destination descriptions are super comprehensive because the site is written by other travelers. What I love about this site it that they’ve included so many details. I now know the down low on public transportation in Portland– something that is going to be super essential to my budget.

3. Adventurous Kate
I love this article from the blog, Adventurous Kate. She describes how she saved $13,000 in just 7 months, so she could travel the world! Kate gives an honest breakdown of her expenses and the hard sacrifices she had to make– all in the name of travel!

4. Pack Like A Pro
Checking a bag can be costly, so I’m reading up on the best way to pack a carry on. I learned so much from this Heathrow Airport video (linked above). And before all my trips, I always refer back to this NY Times article that features a flight attendant packing 10 days in a carry-on. It’s magic.

5. Travel Full-time for less than $14,000 per year
First of all, I have to say how much I love the blog, I will teach you to be rich. And I especially love the above article on traveling the world for less than $14,000 per year. I’m not to the point of full-time world traveling (just yet!) but Nora Dunn of the Professional Hobo doles out some excellent tips on travel on the cheap. Her food tips are super smart.

These are just a tiny taste of the tips out there for traveling on a budget. But I want to know how have you budgeted for trips? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Ways to Save on a Weekend Getaways!

nags head sound We all know what a cheapskate I’ve become, but one of the reasons I’ve become so stingy thrifty with my money is I want to travel. I’ve got so many things I want to see and places I want to go, and they all require that cash-money. So when my friend, Gabby asked me if we wanted to go on a weekend trip to our coast, I was hesitant. I love North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but I’ve been there and done that. If you’ve never been there and done that, I’d highly recommend it, the OBX of NC are really unique and beautiful.

Anyways, I hesitated a little bit, but Gabby is a cheapskate too. The woman has furnished her entire house from Craigslist, so I took her word that it would be an inexpensive trip.

Here’s how we saved some big bucks on our weekend getaway:

1. Make a list before packing to ensure you bring even the littlest essentials. I am notorious for leaving things at home on trips. It’s why I have 5 bottles of contact solution. Save yourself the hassle and the trouble by making a packing list and checking it twice.

2. Pack food! This was especially important for a place like the OBX. Groceries in remote locations are always more expensive. In the OBX, groceries are up to 20% more expensive! And by packing your own groceries, you’ll eat out less. Win-win, people, win-win.

3. If you do eat out, do your research first. There is nothing worse than getting to a restaurant, figuring out it is for unknowing, wealthy tourists with no taste buds. Eat where the locals eat and get it cheap! My personal favorite restaurant review service is Yelp. I’ve even got the app on my phone, which makes it super easy.

4. If you have a lot of friends going on the same trip, consider renting a retreat center. Retreat finder has a database of places to rent all over the country (and even in a few other countries too!). We rented a retreat center for $30 a night, per person. That is stupid-cheap for a beach house on Labor Day weekend. Often retreat centers won’t be booked over holiday weekends and your money goes to supporting a good cause. SO MANY WINS!

5. If you want to participate in “experiences” during your trip like mini golf or parasailing, check out the Groupon or Living Social coupons in the area before you go. Personally, I just like to lounge around, but if your into that kind of thing, coupons can be a great way to save dough.

What are your best tips for saving money on weekend getaways? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

love,
melanie

Post-Vacation Blues

sunset in nags head I have a terrible case of post-vacation blues. I literally shed a couple of tears on the way to work this morning. I was in a weird, weepy mood. I enjoy my job, but I did not want to get back to the overload of emails, the ringing phone and the (sometimes) grumpy patrons.

selfies What’s more fun than fun? Funnest?! Funna-fun-fun-fun! Well, whatever it is, I had more fun than that! We lounged in an 8 person float in the ocean while partaking in adult beverages. I really didn’t need a better time than that, but we also took afternoon naps in hammocks and ate until our tummies hurt. I need a detox.

puppy love We also hung out with this crazy dog. She’s is the dog version of Lil Bub. And although she had kibble breath, she made me want a little lap dog so, so much!

But now we’re back to the emailing, the traffic, the giant laundry pile. I need another vacation just to catch up.

How do you recover from the post-vacation blues? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

 

Vacation time! Vacation time!

labor day weather forecast I am super pumped to be taking a mini vacation this weekend with George and some friends. We’re heading out to the beautiful Outer Banks of NC.  I haven’t been on a trip all summer. Actually, I don’t think we’ve even gone anywhere since our honeymoon. Life has been so nuts. We’re not taking the Airstream this time because our friend’s mom rented a house on the OBX. OBX is Outer Banks for the non-North Carolinans. 🙂 Learning something new everyday huh, folks? The weather is supposed to be perfect and I cannot wait to get a little time to relax.

Do you have plans for the labor day weekend?

Here’s hoping to a relaxing and refreshing weekend,
love,
melanie

 

Unconventional Lifestyle Blogs

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I get periodically obsessed with things. I’ll only want to eat mushrooms for two weeks or I’ll want to obsessively learn about making soap. Anyone else the same way? No? Ok. Just me, eating mushrooms and making soap for two weeks until I’m on the the next fascination.

Anyway, this past week or so, I’ve been doing a lot of personal research into alternative or unconventional ways of living. I hope it’s not just a passing phase because unconventional ways of living are fascinating– especially since I live pretty unconventionally, myself. It’s got me dreaming of becoming a full-time traveler or homesteader or a traveling homesteader. Can you be both?!

Here’s a few of my favorite resources I’ve found so far:

The Art of Nonconformity
On the Art of Nonconformity, Chris writes about about personal development and life planning, with the conviction that you don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to;  entrepreneurship and other kinds of unconventional work, with the belief that the work we do should be both fun and meaningful; and  international travel, travel hacking in general, and his journeys to more than 25 countries every year.

The Modern Nomad
Gustav Andersson worked a 9-5 job for five years and realized that he was slowly stagnating into a comfortable routine — a personal nightmare of his. So he quit his job, sold his flat and walked away from the well-trodden streets of London to begin life as a modern-day nomad.

Nomadic Matt
Matt’s story is similar to most of our stories. We have the 9-5 with the 2 weeks of vacation per year. But a trip to Thailand on his measly 9-5 vacation changed him. He met five backpackers who showed him that he didn’t have to be tied down to a job and that he didn’t need to be rich to travel. After that trip, Matt went home, finished his MBA, quit his job, and set out on an adventure around the world. Matt is one of the foremost experts on travel hacking.

The Prairie Homestead
Jill ‘s journey with homesteading started with a compost pile. She currently lives on  67 acres of Wyoming prairie and blogs about returning to your roots of self-sufficiency and simple living, whether you live on a sprawling ranch or in a high-rise apartment.

Wayward Spark
Camille lives in Oregon with her husband and two little kids in an off-the-grid, tiny cabin. On her blog, she shares her honest experiences of modern day homesteading.

I’ll share some of my favorite Airstream travel blogs soon. I want to hear about your favorite unconventional lifestyle blogs in the comments!

Obsessively researching until then.
love,
melanie

 

A Very Lucky and Eventful Weekend

tree To call this weekend eventful is an understatement. I’m finally at my new job! Did I tell you all that? I’ve been there about two weeks and I’ve already experienced two power outages. On Thursday, as I tried to leave work, a policeman urged me head back inside. There were tornado warnings and not long after I (begrudgingly) went back in the library, a huge storm blew through.

After it all blew over, I called George immediately. His first words were “don’t freak out.” My mind immediately went to the airstream. I thought something terrible happened to it. Luckily, so luckily, the two 100 year old oak trees (above) fell into the barn and not our soon-to-be home.

But it was close, so close. I’m not very religious, but I think someone was looking out for us.

photo-3

We also moved out this weekend. I’m excited to save money. I’m excited that George will be able to pursue his art full-time. And I’m excited to start the next chapter of our lives.

Was your weekend eventful? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie