Travel? Travel. Travel!

…is all that has been on my mind lately. Among other things of course, but this is something that plays on repeat in my mind because I just want to go EVERYWHERE.

Wanderlust - 16x20 inches on A2. Inspiring travel quote typography art poster print. on Etsy, $57.00:

Can someone please tell me there’s a job where I can make 6-figures, travel the world & be able to have my husband, puppy, bunny & future children, of course, with me at all times?! SIGN ME UP. I mean really though, who doesn’t love to travel!

 

Im in love with cities Ive never been to and people Ive never met | The most beautiful parts of life are still unfolding.:

Traveling has been a more present factor in my head lately cause I’m planning a few trips this year. Ohio (where I’m from) is for celebrating that one guy’s birthday, you know the one writing this blog with me, because you know, he’s kind of awesome. To see family. Cedar Point because DUH. I love rollercoasters, and you’re crazy if you don’t! To visit my grandma’s grave since very soon, it will be a year since we lost her, even though it feels just like yesterday. And most of all, to enjoy some time just relaxing & spending time with my grandfather since he’s making this trip with me. Then there is New Orleans – this we JUST decided on. I originally wanted to make a trip to Chicago, because I love it there. But mainly because my sister and I were talking about trips and where she wanted to go. I decided to plan a trip and surprise her BUT,  granddad just got TOO EXCITED and spoiled the whole surprise!

"Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport." #TravelQuote #travel #quote: I chose Chicago but while including granddad, he wanted to go somewhere different and now here we are! It is STILL on and I cannot wait to put all the pieces together into this trip. We’re looking at a seafood festival (we LOVE seafood), the possibility of finding the locations of where they shot a few episodes of ‘The Originals’ because we are HUGE TVPD fans. Not to mention all the different places we will be going to eat/drink and just be tourists together. Lastly – the end of the year – Puerto Rico – which I’m SO EXCITED for because I’ve never been there either & I’ll be going with family that knows the area so well so I’ll get to do all the touristy things & get to see the stuff that tourists may not know about. All the pictures I’ve looked at from my family visiting – I just wish the end of the year was here sooner!

We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone. — @artifactuprsng:

While it may be quite the busy year for me and traveling – I have the best people to travel with. However, what my husband and I have noticed is that some company’s PTO policies are completely outrageous. Where I accumulate sick-time while I’m working each day and receive personal days depending on where the holidays fall- I also receive 2 weeks of vacation for the year. However, he only has PTO and that accumulates as he works, rewarding him nothing up front for the year. So – that’s been interesting to say the least and unfortunately, traveling will be done the first part of the year without him, I’m ecstatic for the end of the year where we can all join together and travel to Puerto Rico as one big crazy family!

My one goal for the 2017 and 2018 year is that I get to travel outside of the country. I have a Passport, it’s never been used & I have NEVER been out of the country! I want to go so many places and I know a lot of people who have traveled outside of the country and I love when they come back and I get to see all the pictures, souvenirs and just hear about their travels.

So, anyone else have the travel bug recently? What about those Groupon getaways?

-Samantha

Them Damn Ricans!

I have a pretty close knit family.  Or at least I thought we were tight.  Okay let’s face it, we not be as tight as we all want to be because we all are sooooo damn busy, have kids, work, practices, grandkids, blah blah blah.  We all end up falling into that comfort after you leave the nest where you think you can survive on your own and still communicate with family members during the holidays, birthdays, or funerals.  I honestly thought my family was tight because we did things that way.  The holiday dinners and maybe the occasional Sunday football game with White House Chicken (our local chicken shack). We do a lot together as a family, so I thought we were a close knit family because we are a lot closer than most families we know.  Until we met Them Damn Ricans.

A personal favorite from my Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/listing/226754270/every-family-has-a-story-welcome-to-ours:

Now there is a little bit of a back story I should mention first. Nancy’s ex was a complete asshole, maybe not the largest, but definitely in the top 7 asshole list of all time.  He was very controlling and would not allow her to visit family unless his goofy ass was around for whatever all- about-him reason he had.  After Nancy left his dumbass, and he was convinced his best chance for survival was to leave the country and move back in with his parents, Nancy was free to visit her family as much as she liked.  I couldn’t wait to meet them either.  So was I accepted?  Immediately!  I was the one who brought Nancy home and put a smile back on her face because that is exactly what she had done for me.  I had a feeling I would be accepted just for that reason and that was enough for me.  But them Damn Ricans went so far above and beyond appreciation in welcoming all of us it was almost embarrassing.

In the beginning of our relationship, I met Nancy’s mother and two of her brothers.  All absolutely amazing people.  When my family actually discovered how families should act around one another was on our first trip to Puerto Rico.  My mom and dad came along with Nancy and I so they too could meet some of Nancy’s family and enjoy a nice vacation.  We were met at the airport by aunts, uncles, and cousins as far as the eye could see.  Some of the aunts brought their famous coquito which is a Puerto Rican holiday drink most close to egg nog but 100 times better.  We caravanned to a small group of roadside bars and eateries in Rio Piedras where another group of aunts, uncles, and cousins were waiting on us.  We ate!  Oh my God did we eat, had some soda pops (Medallia) of the local variety, kissed, hugged and got to know one another.  We then went back to my Mother In Law’s (Maria) house where still even more family awaited.  More food, more Medallias, more hugs and kisses, music blaring, and dancing and singing like crazy.  I do not remember sleeping that day, but Them Damn Ricans put on one hell of a party and we felt instantly welcome.  We spent our almost entire two weeks that year with all of them.  Amazing!  It really sucked to say good bye, but we had to.  We immediately planned the same trip for the same time the next year.

As our plane touched down in San Juan the next year, it is customary to clap loudly and sing a little song.  We remebered it, and joined in this time.  Once again, a massive family get together at the airport, time together in Rio Piedras then off to Mom’s house.  We rented a beach house this time because more of our “White” friends wanted to come with us on this trip.  Nancy and I were going to renew our vows in Camuy at a gorgeous place owned by Tio (Uncle) Sonny’s friend Ramone and his wife.  Of course it was a pub/eatery we visited on the last trip, but their is a gorgeous cliff over looking the Carribean that was something out of a fairy tale.  The entire family and our friends rented rooms at a small, quaint resort in Camuy which was about a mile from the wedding spot.  It wasn’t gorgeous but it was magical, inexpensive and right on the Carribean.  I mentioned magical because this is where I saw magic happen between two different cultures and people occur that made me feel so good about the world.  I said we were all immediately accepted, but this was ridiculous.  My brother in laws, Alex and Anthony would scale the coconut trees and bring coconuts down, shave them, pour rum in them and serve them to whomever wanted one. This was about 9am.  My sister, Shannon fell in love with those two and they treated her like a princess.  So my dad wanted to join them.  He tried to climb the tree, but the years of him doing that passed, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t pick up that machete and learn how to shave one down even though my mom’s heart fell with every swipe.  It was amazing watching him.  So the day fell into night on that New Years’ Eve.  We went to the pub/eatery for final plans and ate, drank, and sang.  We all sang karaoke.  My dad and I even did a song even though we were so out classed by our new families singing voices (they all can sing beautifully) we sang New York, New York.

Messing with us, the owner, Ramone changed the lyrics over to Spanish half way through.  Big laughs ensued, but we ad libbed as best we could.  When we got back to the resort around 1am, my dad and a friend of ours Hillbilly were not tired, so they found the Manager’s room and had him open the bar.  Surprisingly they did not get shot and he opened the bar and we made it worth his while.  Apparently on New Years’ Eve it is customary to knock on the doors of people, sing a song, and they have to offer you something to eat and drink then join you in moving onto the next home.  By 3am the entire resort was up with us and we went to a grassy area outside of our room.  We were laughing and drinking, and my primo (cousin) Manolo picked up a trash can, Damian some sticks, Tio Coca some rocks, Tia Martita an empty jug and then they made music.  Good music.  Our prima Yarixa (Jar-itza) began to sing and if it was if the Heavens opened up.  Then all the aunts joined in, brothers, cousins, oh my God it was an amazing event I will never forget.  We did that til dawn, got a nap, then got ready for the wedding.

Puerto Rico ~ Yep! :o):

We still try to make a trip every year over New Years’ Eve and stay thru Three Kings Day, but now all Them Damn Ricans come up to our places on Lake Erie to camp with us for an extended weekend over the summer.  So now every year when we go up to open our campers, the first thing we get asked is when Them Damn Ricans are coming.  When they do show up, we have about five grills going at once, as many coolers as we can find, corn hole and hillbilly golf wars, and lots of music.  We still go fishing in the mornings with whoever wants to go, then we party the night away.  They are truly amazing people, and they never waivered about opening their arms and lives to my family.  So thank you to THEM DAMN RICANS!  I LOVE YOU ALL!

RIP Tia Martita!

 

-Denney

Is it that time yet?

Everyone always imagines a time where they leave where they are and just disappear somewhere else. We hit the hard moments and want to start over somewhere new and experience greater things in life.

I was born in Akron, Ohio (not a very big & bumpin’ place) but it’s cute and it certainly has grown over the years as I have traveled back home. We moved right after I turned one to Ft. Eustis, Virginia, my dad was stationed there while he was in the Army. I was around the age of 6 when we left Virginia and moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, if you haven’t been there, do yourself a favor and go visit. It is the most beautiful place and I happened to spend every summer there with my grandparents after we moved to Florida. Right after school was out, my parents drove up to Hilton Head and dropped me off. Might sound a little odd to you but I adored my grandparents, they were like my parents and I was so attached to them and they were to me, it only made sense for me to spend my summers with them. Plus, I was always a very independent person and unlike my sisters, I didn’t get homesick while I was away going all around Hilton Head. I spent the entire summer meeting new people who were there on vacation, getting tan, going to work with my grandparents sometimes, I knew everyone at the Marriott, they knew me and they were like family. I spent all my days involved in the activities that the hotel offered, playing putt-putt, catching sand dollars and painting them, relaxing in the pool, at the beach, the list goes on. Hilton Head was my favorite place in the entire world, honestly, it still is. I can’t wait to go back. We moved from there to Kissimmee, Florida when I was 7 years old and back to Ohio when my dad was offered good money with Speedway. Then he was transferred back to Port St. Lucie, Florida (when I was around 10 years old) and back to Kissimmee from there on out. Honestly, I don’t remember Akron when I was younger, I remember bits and pieces from Virginia and Hilton Head (mainly because of all my vacations). I actually don’t remember moving from Kissimmee back to Ohio, but I do remember Port St. Lucie, how could I forget after the tornado that swept through Kissimmee and did A LOT of damage before we moved back for good.

I made it out alive and haven't been sucked back in.... but i miss it... sick and twisted :/:

6 reasons to leave your hometown

I found this link which sparked this entire thought process about moving away from your hometown. Even though I wasn’t born in Florida, 15+ years living here with this being really the only place that I know – yeah, I’d consider it my hometown in a way. My husband however, was born and raised in Florida. He’s traveled a lot, so he has definitely seen a lot more than I have but he’s always loved the colder weather. The humidity and heat are the absolute worst….All of you touristy people who are only here for the week, you don’t even understand the beginning of what it’s truly like. I LOVE the seasons. I don’t know how you couldn’t love watching the color of the leaves change, watch the trees go from full of leaves to naked and to watch all of the green grass disappear and be replaced with the whitest layer of snow.

You don’t need magic to disappear, all you need is a destination // Travel Quote Phone Cases @seattlestravels:

I’ve thought about leaving the state of Florida for years. I’ve always wanted to. Not necessarily back to Ohio.. or anywhere in particular but I wanted to get away, start fresh and be somewhere different, outside of my comfort zone, because that’s also where I excel the most. I’ve wanted to go the flight attendant route because honestly, it would be the most perfect thing. You are stationed somewhere with other flight attendants, get an apartment together or by yourself, and just t r a v e l while finishing up school. When I was applying and looking at places, one of the places I wished I would be stationed at was Chicago. I’ve visited there a total of three times and have fallen more in love with that place each time. Another place that I’ve never been is New York and that was an option too, which I was open to as well. Lastly, Seattle and Texas. Yes please. Bring it on. Becoming a flight attendant was so appealing to me because you could travel all over the world and be paid for it. The amount of freedom within that is amazing and I was completely open to becoming a flight attendant. But let me tell you – those interviews were one of a kind and SO MUCH FUN.

The thing about a comfort zone is that it sounds, well, too comfortable. I call it a COMFORT PIT because a pit is somewhere you want to get out of as fast as possible. Bear Grylls:

Back to the link I provided above. If you haven’t taken the time to click on it and read it, you should. It’s super insightful and it makes a ton of valid points, it’s something everyone should consider at least once in there lives. But then again, going out of your comfort zone isn’t for everyone. Plus – in most cases, more often than not – you go where the job is. This article talks about meeting new people, experiencing new places, leaving your comfort zone and leaving your parents – all the things that I think are so wonderful and are something that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. I’ve left home before, went to Gainesville for school (still in FL though, not much of a drive from home) but then I moved to Kansas for school and it was one of the most thrilling experiences ever. I was with my best friend of all the time because we were cheering together but she had started a year prior to me so it’s not like we were together all the time. I made great friendships with people that I still keep in contact with today. Leaving home and going to Kansas was really great because I was able to get out of my comfort zone and fend for myself. I adored my roommate, I consider myself very lucky because I’ve heard horror stories from people with ridiculous roommates. I got a taste of my seasons once again. I traveled quite a few places with my friends & roommate. I even went home for Thanksgiving with my roommate, she lived in Texas and that was a blast. Her family was really great. All of the experiences and time that I had there, I wouldn’t take back at all. I only wish that I was able to stay longer.

“Let yourself move to the next chapter in life when the time comes. Don’t remain stuck on the same page”.

I think that’s where I am at. I’m ready to move forward into that next chapter and I’m afraid that Florida just isn’t where that can happen. It’s not that I’m unhappy here and I don’t have the means to just up and leave right now so it’ll take time unless a job comes with the move. It’s definitely good to keep your options open and explore other ideas, you never know what you are going to find. It’s never going to be easy but then again – it’s not really easy here either, so what’s the point? I’m excited for the things to come for me and my family, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure they are the happiest.

Here’s to the places we’ve never been, ideas we have yet to think of, jobs we haven’t found and adventures that haven’t begun quite yet. Cheers!

I've started, and I can't say there aren't times when I wish I hadn't, nor can I say there won't be more, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other.:

Im in love with cities Ive never been to and people Ive never met | The most beautiful parts of life are still unfolding.:

A little travel inspiration from Lonely Planet co-founder and legend, Tony Wheeler, suggested by Josh Button.:

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” — Alan Watts:

 

 

-Samantha