Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I've Never Been: North Carolina

The world is big.   And as much as I like to think that I'm a traveler, I haven't been even close to everywhere (unlike this guy...who is about my age).

Add this to the list of things I have done: 
 Visiting Billie the Pig (Rachel's lesser known cousin)
at the Pike Place Market in Seattle

I recently read The Mailbox by Marybeth Whelan.   The book takes place in North Carolina and highlights the Kindred Spirit Mailbox.

A story about a mailbox?      

Well, it was actually about people.   But the mailbox played a prominent role.    This mailbox is on Bird Island (at the west end of Sunset Beach, North Carolina) and people write letters and journal entries to the Kindred Spirit.    And the unknown spirit picks up the completed notebooks.   Intriguing.  I had no idea that such a mailbox existed.     

The book was enjoyable to read and sharply reminded me that I have not been to North Carolina.

Do you have travel "rules" to determine if you've actually been somewhere?   My rule is that I have to leave the airport to actually say I've been somewhere.   

Driving through?  That's ok.
A cruise ship port of call?  I'll raise my mai tai to that.
But just in the airport?   Not good enough.   Although there are some lovely airports - a little art museum in the Schipol airport, dumplings in Taipei, and then there was that lady in the Bangkok airport who ran up, sat next to me and put her arms around my shoulder while her husband took a photo.    No idea what that was about. 

That's my experience with North Carolina.    I've only been in the Charlotte airport.   Once.   On my way to Puerto Rico.    That's how it goes.   Puerto Rico moved to the "I've been there" column.  North Carolina stayed on the "Someday" side.  

So on the long exhaustive list of places I haven't been yet, NC (and its southerly cousin SC) is there.   Added bonus points if I get to see a famous mailbox!

Where haven't you been, yet?
Share in the comments or on Facebook

Posts about other places I haven't been:


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Prayers for Oklahoma

Yesterday I got a call from my payroll agent letting me know that she couldn't finish a particular project because their office was under a tornado warning.     I didn't think anything of it at that particular moment.    I just told her to stay safe.

She works in Moore, OK.     Later that afternoon is when I saw the news coverage that the tornado went right through their city.

I've never been to Oklahoma.  
I've never met my payroll agent in person, although I talk and email with her daily.
All of the sudden there is a connection - more than what you might feel when you simply hear about something bad on the news.

Last summer I was a chaperone for a youth mission trip to Joplin.    On May 22, 2011 an EF 5 tornado went through western Missouri and did incredible damage.   We went over a year later, and a lot of recovery had been done.    And a lot was still left to do.

Medical Center in Joplin - Summer 2012
Moore will need helping hands in the days and months to come.    Volunteers will come out in force to help rebuild the same way they did in Joplin.   

If you're looking for ways to offer financial support now:
Red Cross
Mercy Chefs
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)

What else you can you do?   What else can I do?
Prayer is free and has a huge impact.  
Even on people you've never met in places you've never been.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jump Right In

Every week people sit down and write for five minutes, unscripted, as a part of Five Minute Friday.   

Of course, today is Sunday.   But today, I have time to sit.  Rest.   Think.   And write. 

I figured it was a sign when I saw that the word for the week was song.  Today, I've heard a certain song about five times.     Time to dip my toes in the proverbial sand.

Jumping In - Florida Style 2012

Jump Right In

My song of the day is "Jump Right In" by the Zac Brown Band.    Aside from the lighthearted beach party vibe that it gives me, there is a not so subliminal message.    To me.   Or anyone else who is jammin' along with the radio.

Jump Right In.     We like to think.   Ponder.   Deliberate.   Worry.  

We like to make excuses.

The thought of jumping right in makes me feel bold, daring, and adventurous.   Which is good.   It balances out the part of me that pays her bills on time, drives only 5 miles over the speed limit, and calls in sick only in dire circumstances where lying in the fetal position on my office floor seems like a huge breach or workplace etiquette.  

I like to jump in:  travel, books, recipes, activities, bottles of wine.     

But where would I like to jump next?   What would be truly bold?   Awesomely daring?  Wildly adventurous?  

(I guess it's time to jump out....kind of like the hokey pokey)

Music to write by:  Uncaged by the Zac Brown Band

Ready to jump in?  Traveler for Good is on Facebook (just like you are...probably right now)

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Ferry Good Time - Seattle

When you leave a landlocked state like Colorado and head to the coast, you want to spend your time along the water.   Not a creek, not a lake, not a reservoir, but the water.  (It's in italics because it's such a big deal!)   A really affordable way to get on the water in Seattle is to take a ferry.     A one hour tourist harbor cruise was about $25.    A round-trip ferry ride to Bainbridge Island was $7.50.   Ferries are a combination of people commuting and people on vacation - and it's a true Washington state experience.   We had a beautiful sunny day for our ferry ride.   We could see Mount Rainier in the distance and enjoy the Seattle skyline in the not-so-distance.  
Bainbridge Island has shops and cafes within walking distance of the ferry terminal.   We didn't have much time on the island, but I did get to have ice cream  (Mora Iced Creamery), so I was happy as could be.
To see where the Washington State Ferries can take you, click here.    
Have you ever taken a ferry?    Yay or Nay?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Magnificent Mom Tribute

My sister and I get our love for travel from our mother.    When Mom let us know that there was a Magnificent Mom contest being sponsored by her local newspaper we wrote this magnificent nomination for her.     She got an honorable mention in the paper.    She's still the grand prize winner for us.
We do this (pretty much every year)
And on special occasions
we go places like this
And I don't have to tell her stories about this,
because she was there
Without further ado, I present our nomination....
Our mom LOVES maps. There are endless possibilities of how to get from point A to point B. You have to take the scenic route along the river, past the historic courthouse, stopping at a roadside stand, and probably hitting a national monument. It’s not simply enough to get there, but to load as many experiences into the trip as possible.
Let’s Go!
The beginning of any road trip is always fun and games, full of sing-a-longs , snacks, and the license plate game. Everyone has clean clothes and no one has to go to the bathroom. Yet.
Then we took a sharp right into adolescence and teenage angst. Mom was both our pilot and the co-pilot; driving the family minivan from church choir to basketball games in the midst of working jobs 1, 2 and 3. It might have been easier for her to step on the gas and floor it straight to high school graduation, but that’s not her style . Mom’s style included a well-rounded life education including: French horn lessons, Jim’s Ribs, living with (and being) foreign exchange students, tulip festivals, Lincoln’s home, mission trips, schnitzel, musicals, Whitey’s peppermint ice cream, rodeos, fondue, bike rides, gingerbread house competitions, and attending each and every school function.
Is it time for a rest stop yet?
Every parent wishes at some point that they could just leave their squabbling children somewhere else. In our family, it’s called college. Four years (or more) where your children live somewhere else, solve their own problems, cook their own food, and play their own music….as loud as they want.
College graduation in no way means you are equipped to handle life without Mom.
She just might be farther away.
Everyone meet back in an hour
As adults, our relationship with our mom changed. We no longer could be in the same place at the same time. It’s like being at an amusement park where one person wants to be on the Flying Dumbos, another wants to on the roller coaster, and the third wants to watch a show in the air conditioning. For over 10 years, we have lived in different states than our mom. How do you hold a family together?
Wish you were here
Before Facebook, there were her emails and postcards.
Before Skype, there was Mom’s phone call.
Before Instagram, there were photo albums. With real printed photos. Taken with film.
The best part of the trip
After extensive research in the field, we have determined that our mom, is by far, the most magnificent. We brag about her to our friends and they agree. We have reached the best part of our trip. And that trip has taken us all over the world.
(Except to Asia. We’ve all been there, just not together.)
If we hadn’t been following Mom’s map, we never would have had these experiences together.
Tracing our German heritage. Maasai tribal mud masks. Bike MS. Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Wine tasting. Skiing. Safari. Broadway shows. Easter in Greece. Christmas in Cairo.
Mom always says, “If I can keep up with you girls, I’m doing just fine.”
If only she knew the truth. As long as we can keep up with you, Mom, we’re doing just fine.
When you use GPS, it always tells you when you’ve reached your destination.
We haven’t gotten there yet. We hope we never do.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Lovingly written by:
Jenni  (#1 Daughter)
Heather (Favorite Daughter)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Something New: BUTI Yoga

Trying new things builds character and makes you stronger.   All those things that your parents said when they tried to get you to join a sports team or start a new hobby.   Golf lessons or French class, anyone?
(I'm mentally singing along with Kanye West right it, make it, do it, makes us harder better, faster, stronger...)
At work we recently started a partnership with a local athletic club.    They have 75 classes each week.   It's less than a block from my office, so I felt obligated to try something new.  I like Zumba and go on a regular basis.  I also see a trainer who "confuses the body" (aka kicks my ass) 6 times a month.   It was time to break out of my fitness shell. 
Inspired by the Fit Bottomed Girls recurring feature Workout I Did, here's mine....
Why try something new alone when you can try it with your friends?   
One of the classes offered is called BUTI Yoga.   I've never (ever) been to a yoga class.  I know nothing about yoga.   Even friends who have gone to traditional yoga had not heard of this class.   
It uses the word "booty" (or "buti") so you know it's gonna be fun, right?
How do you prepare for a new class?   By researching it on You Tube of course.  I'm not sure who produced the video we found or who their target audience was, but we watched it a little laughter and a lot of disbelief.  
The sense of disbelief that whispers quietly in your ear, "there is no way that my hips can do that!"  
Paired with our collective image of what we'll look like when we try to do that.  
That image made sure that we got to class early so that we could lay down our mats in the back corner of the room.   The good news?   Our office contingent made up half the class. 
The class was a combination of yoga, cardio, plyometrics and rump-shaking, hip-rocking, core-strengthen moves.   I only felt clumsy and uncoordinated some of the time.  Woo!  Did I mention I don't know anything about yoga?  Child's pose, what?   Downward dog, where?   I had to pay a little more attention just because I was a yoga virgin.
The verdict?
It was a real workout.   The next day at work we were comparing how sore our legs and abs were.   I still felt the buti-effect two days later when I was doing crunches on a balance ball.  
Some of my friends went again this week.    One is going to show me her sweet yoga moves (similar to what I do when I return from lunchtime Zumba).    The other said she didn't know if she'd be able to walk.  
Just like Shakira, our hips don't lie.   They just aren't that fast.  
I felt compelled to learn a little more after my class by visiting the BUTI Fitness site.  The creator worked to combine the fitness effects of yoga and traditional cardio conditioning together, along with the hip and booty shaking of dance.   There is a video here too.   Don't let it scare you.  Your hips don't have to move like that to have a good time and get a great workout. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chihuly Garden and Glass

On a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being a sharp stick in the eye and 10 being best thing ever, I would say my enjoyment of a standard art museum would be a 5 or 6. 
Chihuly Garden and Glass is something entirely different. 

Gorgeous.  Creative.  Colorful.  Unique.

The adjectives could go on and on.  If you have a chance to see Chihuly Glass on display, get on it.

(note:  the blue bear is not part of the exhibit....a little piece of Denver went on vacation too)

What is your favorite museum, exhibit or display? 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

National Parking: Klondike Gold Rush

Throughout history, people love a get rich quick scheme.   Other people might fail, but I, yes I, will succeed!

1896 was no exception.   A couple people find gold in the Klondike River in the Yukon Territory.
Social Media (aka the newspaper) blows up in July 1897 and then everyone decides that packing up, moving north, trekking over dangerous mountain passes and then sailing in homemade boats for 500 miles is just the ticket.   Instant riches for everyone! 

On Sunday, a friend and I visited the Seattle Unit of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park as a part of our long weekend adventure in the Emerald City.    It was just a happy coincidence that it brushed up against National Park Week.  

It was a cool rainy morning, so watching a 20 minute video was a great way to learn and stay warm at the same time, while thinking about people carrying a years worth of food over the White Pass or Chilkoot Trail.  

In the exhibit area, I spun the wheel to see if I would find gold.

Just like you could never play Oregon Trail without having dying of cholera or getting a snakebite, you can't participate in the Klondike gold rush without going home cold, hungry and broke. 

(picture of me crying over my failure to strike it rich coming soon)

Here it is!

Have you been to any of the sites (Washington, Yukon Territory, Alaska) that feature in the story of the Klondike Gold Rush?


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