Tag Archives: travel

Life Update!

From our road trip: Hot Springs, AK

Oh man, I did not mean to take a three week break, but you know what, life is happening, y’all. And our life is pretty crazy right now. Before I quit my full-time gig, George and I started a small business. He’s been a sole proprietor for years, but we wanted to make it official as we bring me on to manage the business side of things. I’ve been heading up the more organizational part of the business, so George can start to focus on his art again. And starting a legit small business is no cake walk. It’s a lot of paperwork and lawyers and to be honest, Googling things I don’t understand.

Had to stop by the Magnolia Market in Waco, Tx.

In addition to creating illustrations for some amazing companies, small businesses and people, for the past four years, George has also been selling vintage goodies. I encouraged him to start selling his stuff online when we first moved into the Airstream and it’s only grown from there. If you’re interested in seeing the stuff we sell, you can check it out on Instagram @gorgeousgeorgeyardsale.

The Alamo!

The Alamo!

Now, at first it was hard for me to grapple with the aspect of selling “stuff.” I’m such a minimalist. I know I’ve said this before, but my dream space is a white room with lots of natural light and that’s pretty much it. But that’s not for everyone and I understand that. I don’t live with a minimalist, and my life can’t be minimal all the time. It’s truly a balance. I also like that we’re selling mostly vintage stuff. Vintage stuff is already out in the world. We’re keeping it from going into a landfill and getting more use out of the already created object.

Breakfast at the Loveless Cafe in Nashville, TN

Anyway, that’s the long way of saying we’ve been traveling a lot for business and fun. We went on a two week long excursion to the Giddy Up motorcycle show in Texas and Roundtop, a giant antique festival. After that, we took trips to Nashville and Beaufort, SC for weddings. And you better believe we did business on the way. It’s been a whirlwind.

A secret beach near Beaufort, SC

I am so thankful to now have a job that allows us to travel together without having to worry about limited vacation days or being back at a certain time. It’s such a blessing. We can do our work on the road. I truly love travel, but I also can’t wait until we finish our house. I’m equally excited to be able to establish a routine in our new home and get a little bit of time to relax. We don’t have weekends or days off anymore and that needs to change.

Richfield Plantation in SC

I hope to have some house updates for you all soon. That is, if we can stay home for more than 5 minutes! If you want to follow our adventures in real time, I’m very active on Instagram. You can follow me @asmalllife.

What adventures are you getting into this summer? I want to hear about it in the comments!

-Melanie

My Birthday Trip to Seattle

The Space Needle in Seattle

This picture is unedited! The sky was really that blue!

My birthday this year was a big one. I turned 30. Eeek! I’ve been a little anxious about getting older, but George, my husband, softened the blow with a trip to Seattle. I didn’t know where we were going until a week before the trip, so I didn’t have much time to plan. And that was A-OK. In my everyday life, I plan like a squirrel on steroids, but I don’t like to plan every detail of trips. It takes the adventure out of it. Continue reading

Our Iceland Trip & How to Save Money in Iceland!

How to Save Money in Iceland

One of the main reasons George and I live in an Airstream is so we can save money to travel. I’ve never been overseas and I wanted desperately to do some international travel before my 30th birthday. After much worrying about the cost, we decided that we could afford it and we booked a trip to Iceland.

Why Iceland? Well, it’s gorgeous! And flights, in comparison to many other countries, are relatively cheap. Iceland has it’s own airlines, Iceland Air and with the help of a connecting flight, we could fly right out of our home airport. The tickets were about $600 per person. That’s only $100 per person less than our flight to California will be this summer! Iceland Air even does this stopover program where you can stop in Iceland for up to a week before heading to another European country. It’s definitely something I’m going to consider if we ever make it to Europe.

Geysir, Iceland

Geysir, Iceland

We booked our hotel through Expedia because we stayed in Reykjavik, the capital city, for the entire week and simply commuted to various locations throughout the island. I like to check all the major booking sites using Kayak before I choose one. Our hotel was a budget hotel and we paid for 6 nights at $557.81. Not too shabby. It also helps that we visited in the winter when prices are cheaper. If we really wanted to cut costs, we could have stayed in hostels. We did stop by a few hostels for coffee or maps and were truly impressed with how clean they were! We stopped at this hostel on the way to Geysir and wanted to stay!

George with the horses, Iceland

Iceland’s magic small horses!

Horses, Iceland

We simply jumped out of the car to see these cute friends. No tour needed!

The one thing I really did cheap out on was a rental car. I found SAD cars online and I should have known it was almost too good to be true. We rented a car from them for about $300. The other rental cars from well-known companies were over $1,000 for the week! The car we rented never broke down, luckily, but to keep it from overheating we had to run the heat on full-blast the entire time. Not fun when you have on four layers of clothes!

Many of the sites we wanted to see in Iceland were accessible by car. By having a car, we were able to go out on our own schedule and we didn’t have to pay for a tour. We drove the Golden Circle by ourselves, visited a glacier and the black sand beaches in Vik— all without a tour guide. That being said, gasoline was very expensive. I knew it was going to be quite a bit, but it cost about $130 to fill up our tank. And we filled it up twice. Ouch!

Vik, Iceland

Vik, Iceland

Pebbles, Iceland

We did splurge on relaxing in the Blue Lagoon and one tour with Arctic Adventures. There were a lot of awesome tours available– like snowmobiling, cave exploring, a Game of Thrones tour(!) and many, many more. We decided on snorkeling in Silfra. It’s an internationally recognized dive site and you swim between two tectonic plates. It was truly amazing and well-worth the $150 per person price tag. And it truly wasn’t cold. They put you in puffy, down suits and wet suits to keep you warm. Our tour guide was really lovely and and took great care of us.

We snorkeled there!

We snorkeled there!

The water was insanely clear!

The water was insanely clear!

The other pricey part about Iceland is the food. Much of the food is imported and every meal we ate at a restaurant cost over $100 for just us two. To save money on food we picked up dinner from the grocery store several times, ate breakfast at our continental hotel breakfast and brought snacks with us in our luggage. We also ate chips (or fries for us Americans!) for dinner one night and ate hot dogs for breakfast one morning when we needed to sleep in! Not the healthiest of meals, but hey, Iceland is famous for hot dogs and we were on vacation. 🙂

Melanie at Gulfoss, Iceland

Gorgeous and cold!

Gulfoss, Iceland

Prior to our trip, I did buy a few things that I considered travel costs, like a few pairs of long underwear. I bought a cheap pair and a more expensive pair. For snorkeling they recommended a synthetic fiber to wear under the suits, so I bit the bullet and bought some fleece CuddleDuds. They, of course, were more flattering and warmer than the cheapo $10 pair I bought. 90% of the time I wasn’t cold. The only time I did get chilly was when we went out to see a glacier and the Golden Circle. I was slipping and sliding everywhere. I even ended up falling once. Do’h! The one thing I did wish I bought were Crampons. Word to the wise: They are worth it if you decide to visit Iceland during the winter.

Overall it was an amazing/beautiful/unforgettable trip that was well worth the money. I’ve got the bug and I can’t wait to travel more in 2016!

love,
melanie

Small Travels: The Mountains of North Carolina

Linville Falls, NC Life’s been crazy lately. I’ve had too much work to do and not enough time to do it all. That’s why a couple of weeks ago, we took a much needed break to celebrate the birthday of a good friend. We traveled up to the mountains of my home state, stayed in a hundred-year-old cabin and took in all the colors of fall. Continue reading

Tuesday Thoughts: There is No Final Destination to Our Journey

There is no final destination to our journey. As someone who is goal-oriented it can be hard to remember that the end goal is not always the goal. As people, our final destinations are the same, but our journeys are different. And the journey is what counts.

Let me know how you’re making it count in the comments.

love,
melanie

Our Trip to Niagra Falls and Toronto and A Few Money Saving Travel Tips

Toronto A couple of weeks ago, George, two friends and I boarded a plane for Buffalo, NY. About a year ago, a college friend had planned to get married that weekend. Fast forward about 6 months and that friend called off the big wedding and just had a small thing. That’s cool, no hurt feelings, but we had non-refundable plane tickets. Instead of moping about our used vacation days, we decided to make the best of it. And by making the best of it, I mean seeing something slightly more exotic than Buffalo. Toronto and Niagra Falls are nearby, so we hopped in a rental car and went looking for some adventure.

Niagra Falls We didn’t really plan on seeing the Niagra Whirlpool, but we saw so many parks and signs for it, that we just pulled over!

Niagra Falls

We stopped at a park and discovered the 237829371283 stairs it took to get a closer look at the whirlpool. Although my legs were burning on the way back to the top, the view from the bottom was worth it.

After the whirlpool, we decided to mosey on over to the American side of the falls. Most people had told us it was dirty and not worth it, but we figured it wouldn’t hurt to check it out.

Niagra Falls

Niagra Falls The American side of the falls was surprisingly clean and of course, breathtaking. Seeing that much water rush over the side of a cliff is spectacular.

Toronto

The view from the top of the tower.

Toronto After the American Falls, we headed over the border to Toronto. We stayed in Hannah’s loft while we explored the city. She has a great view from her balcony. We ate a lot of food and visited the CN Tower.

Niagra Falls Niagra Falls Niagra Falls Finally, we finished up the trip by visiting the Canadian side of the falls. We went “Behind the Falls”– it’s kind of self explanatory– and we rode on the boat that gets you up close and personal with the falls. We did a lot of touristy stuff on this trip, but we still had so much fun. The people you travel with can really make or break the trip.

Not only are my friends fun, they are also thrifty. Here’s how we saved some dough on this trip.

  • We used Groupon* and Airbnb* for discounted hotels. We also shared a room and our Groupon came with free breakfast!
  • We bought our plane tickets from Costco. Crazy, right? It helped us save a bundle.
  • We flew into Buffalo and drove over the border. It was cheaper than flying into Toronto.
  • We BYOB! (Read more about how I save money on booze.)

Thanks for letting me live vicariously through my travel photos. Ha-ha. Have you ever been to Niagra Falls or Toronto? Talk to me in the comments!

love,
melanie

*Affiliate links, but the Airbnb link gets you $31CAD off your next trip!!!

 

 

 

A Few of My Favorite Instagram Accounts

Photo c/o DeathtoStockPhoto

Photo c/o DeathtoStockPhoto

Can we talk about the magic of Instagram for a second? I know it sounds ridiculous and a little over-exaggerated but Instagram has changed my life. It’s helped me keep in contact with friends, meet new people and it’s helped me get the word out about my lifestyle. It’s even helped George make money! And yes, Instagram does have a dark side. Sometimes I find myself getting jealous of other people’s IG lives or I’ll fall down a rabbit hole and won’t emerge for hours. But overall, it’s done more good for me than bad. Today I thought I’d share a few of my current favorite Instagram accounts, in no particular order. Continue reading