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Travel Interview: Part Time Traveler

Anne PT Travel1

If not traveling, what is your 9-5 life like?

My 9-5 life just went through dramatic reconstruction!  Prior to April, I spent five years in a full-time job as a sales representative in a Fortune 500 company, the perks of which were many (including setting my own schedule and four weeks of annual vacation) but the negatives eventually outweighed the positives for me.   After five months of full-time travel I am uncertain what my 9-5 will look like once I make my next career move, but I know it won’t look like it did before.  I have thousands of pictures and pages of notes from my trip to fifteen countries, so you can be sure I will be blogging!

How have you changed your life to travel more?

In order to travel more or at all, you need only two things: money and time. (Only!) While holding a full-time job, it came down to saving up for both, and then making it a priority to spend my saved money and time on travel.

For the money side, I regularly take stock of where I am spending and what is really important to me.  It helps to think about how far that five dollars you’re not spending on a coffee will go when you’re halfway across the world. I also maintain a separate travel savings fund that I contribute regularly to.

As for time, I would always opt to purchase vacation (unpaid time off) when available, but it was always a challenge to convince my manager to let me take off all the time at once.  I find it useful to focus on the importance of travel to my overall happiness, job satisfaction, and productivity upon return.

How has travel changed your life? (The good, the bad and the ugly!)

The good: Travel has brought so much beauty into my life.  It challenges us to think differently, take risks, trust strangers.  It makes me appreciate life and its complexities on a much deeper level. Yet, it has made me want to live much more simply.  I believe it has made me more tolerant, understanding, and even loving of others and of myself.  And…I’ve gotten to eat some amazing food along the way.

The bad: There’s so much more good than bad, but travel has made it more difficult for me to sit still.  I find that it’s easier to get bored staying in the same place, and sometimes I feel it makes me always want to be somewhere other than where I am. I am working on that!

The ugly: Have you seen what happens when I don’t shower for three days?  Or have access to a laundry machine for five months? Even this becomes positive because I learn to appreciate who I am without focusing on my exterior.

Who, or what, inspired you to travel the first time?

I grew up in small, very conservative community in Northern California with little to no ethnic or cultural diversity.  The world became infinitely bigger when I enrolled in a huge university in Los Angeles.  It was there that I began to discover (and cherish) other cultures and backgrounds.  Simultaneously, I began taking classes in Global Studies and becoming engaged in world issues.  I think I was finally sold when I studied and lived with a family in Barcelona, Spain.  The proximity to so many other cultures and languages in Europe…it was like somebody had opened up a window to the world.

What is your main purpose/goal of your travel blog?

The main purpose of my blog is to inspire.  From what I’ve seen online, the majority of travel-focused material is based on an all-or-nothing approach.  I want to encourage–what I believe are the majority of us–those seeking balance of travel and home or career, and who may be unsure of how to do it.

This or That:
Backpack or rolling suitcase? Backpack, no question!
Cities or Open Spaces? I always thought I was a city girl, but two of my favorite countries are all about the open spaces (Nepal and New Zealand.)  I suppose I want the best of both worlds, but for me living in a city and visiting the open spaces is optimal.
Salty or Sweet? Salty! I’ll take a savory treat over a sweet one any day (I have a weakness for French fries…) but I’m not opposed to sweets, especially macaroons (mmm…Paris.)
Sandals or Snow Boots? Always sandals.  I am a beach girl through and through.  I live in my flip flops, and shy away from snow and cold.
Comedy or Drama? Well, who doesn’t love a great comedy?  But if I had to choose, it comes down to drama.  I most enjoy a film or a novel that makes me think differently about the world, or that has the ability to move me to tears.

Bungee Jump

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Take Advantage of Long Weekends

For us Americans with only two weeks of vacation each year, we dream about three day weekends! It’s one extra day to sleep in, catch up on recorded TV and work on your never-ending honey-do lists, right? WRONG! Don’t waste one more three-day weekend on what you can do on a two-day weekend! Get up and go somewhere!

Now, I’m not suggesting you fly to Europe (although, wouldn’t that be a fun weekend?), but you should go somewhere. Here are some ideas of quick, easy and FUN 3-day weekend getaways:

1. Pick a town you’ve never visited that is within a two hour driving distance. Spend 1 hour researching restaurants and local attractions as well as booking a room. That’s 1 hour of planning, and 4 hours of total driving time, roundtrip for a grand total of 5 hours. Who doesn’t have time to do this?

2. Research a bed and breakfast in your area and book a night. That’s right. Just one night. One night for fun. For romance. For relaxation!

Key West Homes

3.  Find a National Park that you’ve always wanted to visit. Make transportation arrangements for getting there and then GO! Hike, bike, kayak, and explore! National Parks are family-friendly and inexpensive to get in to.

4. Find the nearest and largest body of water and book a room close by. It might be the beach, it might be a lake or it might even be a natural spring but one this is certain, being on, in or near the water brings instant enjoyment and relaxation. Who doesn’t like to swim, dig their toes into the sand or float on a raft while sipping a cold drink? The water is always a great choice for an escape!

Palm Coast Beaches

Making time for travel is tough. Work schedules and family obligations can monopolize your time. Both are good. Both are wonderful. But intentionally making time to get away is good and wonderful as well. It can relieve stress, strengthen relationships and teach you!

Quality Versus Quantity … How about BOTH?

There is a debate out there. It can get heated at times. I have my opinions, but I try not to give them unless asked. But, since I’ve been asked, here are my two cents on how we prefer to travel.

The question at hand is this: Should you spend a lot of time in one place OR spend a little time in a lot of places? While travel is travel and everyone has their opinion, we think spending small bursts of time in as many different places as possible is a great way to travel. But there are as many methods of travel as there are travelers!

Relaxation on Marco Island

Michael and I are always on the go when we travel. We don’t really relax like some people do while on vacation – but this craziness has served us well! Our unspoken motto is “go, see, go!” Instead of booking a hotel and staying in one place for 7-10 days, we hop around to different cities and regions after 1-3 nights. We save tons of money and time by combining a lot quality activities with a high quantity of places and movement. We see as much as we possibly can in the smallest amount of time on every single trip we take!

Some would caution against this fast paced travel. I get it.

But, here’s the thing: Michael and I are part-time travelers; we have a limited number of days off work (and bank accounts). We might not see every cobblestone street, waterfall or museum in each place we see, but we do experience each place we visit!

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Here are a few examples of our fast-paced, but amazingly memorable trips 1.) We’ve squeezed in skiing in Tahoe, wine tastings in Napa Valley and an NBA game in Sacramento in just 4 nights in Northern California. 2. ) We’ve also spent 10-days in southern Africa where we were face to face with Great White Sharks, marveled at lions in the wild, drove beside a herd of Elephants, rode ATVs in the Namib Desert, hiked Dune 45 and grilled wild oryx meat a campsite.

Pride of Lions Etosha

We see a lot and do a lot! I assure you, nothing is watered down by moving quickly during travel! Hear me when I say that we are exhausted after a trip. We need a vacation from our vacations, but we wouldn’t change a thing! We do not limit ourselves to one hotel, one city or one view! We have been blessed to see so much using this “mindset.”

Bali Coffee Tasting

I hope this travel tip encourages you to travel more! Dream up a trip around a specific city, and then increase the radius at which you explore! Don’t settle for one place, one view and one experience! Yes, traveling is expensive and exhausting, BUT, if you blend quality and quantity you can increase what you see and decrease what you spend.

Pack Lightly and Live Modestly

I like to feel prepared when we travel. Try as I might, packing lightly is a tough thing to do! I do not go too overboard (at least that is what I tell myself), I just always seem to bring one or two extra shirts, pants, etc. too many. In reality, packing too much becomes burdensome because it literally weighs me down. Mike even has to carry my backpack at times (which I feel horrible about). Plus, packing too much can empty your wallet with all of those hefty fees the airlines charge for heavy baggage.

For one of our trips I tried something new. I downsized before we left. My process was simple. I packed everything I thought I would need and then removed 3 items. At first, I was No matter upset about what I had to leave behind, but that feeling faded when I zipped up the bag and realized it was not heavy. Packing lightly makes travel easier, and less stressful and even less expensive.

How to Pack Lightly for a Trip

Travel Lesson Learned: Pack Lightly

Real Life Application: Don’t let your possessions weigh you down; Live modestly.

Traveling lightly through life can also make your everyday easier, less stressful and certainly less expensive. Author Josh Becker puts it like this “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” What do you value? Are your possessions getting in the way of those people or activities? If so, downsize.

I cannot deny that new stuff doesn’t bring me satisfaction. But, the feeling is fleeting and pails in comparison to the memory of laying on the beach in Thailand or hiking to remote waterfalls in Costa Rica.

Costa Rican Waterfalls

Figure out what you value and then get rid of everything else. Do not let your possessions weigh you down and cost you extra money. I’ll never forget a man from church telling me this truth. “We buy a house and fill it up with stuff. Then, we buy a bigger house to accommodate all of our stuff, just to fill that bigger house with more stuff.” I was 14 when he told me that. I understand it now. It is so easy to accumulate junk and random possessions. Fight the urge!

Recharge your camera battery – and yourself!

My better half surprised me with a weekend in Islamorada, Florida last winter. He gave me less than 48 hours notice to organize my absence at work, cancel dinner plans with a friend, pack a bag and research things to do, places to eat and sights to see. Does it sound like I am complaining? Hope not because I love good surprises and need no prior notice when it comes to travel. Barring a funeral or wedding, I will drop almost anything to take a trip. I am telling you about the 48 hours notice because in the rush and excitement we (OK, I) forgot to pack the camera’s charger. I bet you already know where this is going…

Yes, the battery of our beautiful Nikon camera – you know the one we bought for travel – died within hours of arriving in Islamorada. Was our weekend ruined? No. Do we still have memories? Yes. Nonetheless, I treasure our travel photos and hated to rely on my 2-year-old cell phone for pictures that weekend. You can see the difference in photo quality in the pictures below.

One of the only shots taken with our camera before the battery died. Casa Morada Pool Area

One of the “great” cell phone shots we captured during our trip.Casa Moradas Kayaks

Travel Lesson Learned: Don’t forget to charge your camera.

Life Application: Don’t forget to re-charge yourself.

I want to have a full battery. I want to produce great works, offer clear answers and give my best to those I love the most. Quite honestly, we are all lousy cell phone cameras at times – fuzzy, out of focus and not our best. Who wants to live like that?

Recharging ones mind, body and soul looks different to everyone. My recharge involves lots of sleep, yoga pants and a good book. Mike, however, is the exact opposite. A long run and dinner out with friends is his way of getting centered and relaxed. Maybe your recharge is a weekend getaway, a massage or long phone conversation with a good friend. Figure out what helps you and then do it. Just like our cameras, Mike and I are better, sharper even, with a full charge.

Just like travel, re-charging takes time. But, also like travel, it is so. worth. it!

Travel Interview: Peaks and Passports

Peaks and Passports

If not traveling, what is your 9-5 life like?

I live in gorgeous Edwards, Colorado (a stone’s throw from Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts), where I work in sales management for an insurance company.  That means spending some of my days behind a desk and others driving around western Colorado trying to help my agents sell more insurance.  After work you can find me sneaking in a hike or workout, cooking dinner with my girlfriends, relaxing with my guy or out to happy hour.  On the weekends I’m usually taking advantage of the best my mountain town has to offer: hiking, biking or skiing and plenty of eating and drinking.

How have you changed your life to travel more?

One of the perks of my job is a flexible schedule with every other Friday off, so I’m able to work in long weekend trips without much trouble.  Unfortunately, I haven’t done much of the long-term or long-distance travel that requires serious life changes – yet!  The more I travel, the more I want to go everywhere, an impulse I think a lot of other travelers can relate to, so that might have to change in the not-so-distant future.  One of the biggest “sacrifices” I’ve made is putting off getting a dog.  I’m so ready for one in most ways, but I know it would cramp my traveling style.

How has travel changed your life? (The good, the bad and the ugly!)

One of the best things travel has taught me is to live like a tourist in my own town, too.  I’m always keeping an eye out for the next festival, new restaurant or fun thing to do around town.  This keeps my weekends full and makes my life feel like a nonstop vacation (granted, this isn’t so tough to pull off in the Vail Valley).  I also think it’s made me a pretty good tour guide when friends and family come to visit. The only negative effect I could say travel has had on my life is the very fact that it takes me away so often from a home I love and the people here.  When you live somewhere this spectacular, sometimes it does feel like a shame to leave.

Who, or what, inspired you to travel the first time?

My love of travel has been gradually building to its current crescendo, but my family is definitely who inspired it from the beginning.  My parents took my sister and I on some pretty incredible trips from a fairly young age.  They are also responsible for inspiring my love for the finer things in life, and I blame them for the fact that I may never truly be a budget traveler… I suppose I’m happy to take the bad with the good though!

What is your main purpose/goal of your travel blog? (Inspire, inform, entertain, persuade, all of the above, etc.)

Peaks and Passports was born out of the perfect storm of my desire for a creative outlet and my goal of documenting my family’s trip to Turkey and Greece last October.  I also figured that there were a lot of travelers out there like me: weekenders with the occasional more ambitious trip sprinkled in, looking for tips and reviews on interesting places to go.  I also write quite a bit about fun things to do around my hometown and hope to be a good source for people visiting the Vail Valley who’d like ideas on hikes, happy hours and assorted other adventures straight from a local.

This or That:
Backpack or Rolling Suitcase? Suitcase all the way – though I’ve always secretly wished I was a backpack kind of girl.
Cities or Open Spaces? A mix of both is ideal, but if I had to pick one, give me the wide open spaces!
Salty or Sweet? Both, together. I refuse to pick one – try a maple bacon bar and then try to tell me that they should be separated.
Sandals or Snow Boots? I spend 6 months a year in snow boots, so on vacation – sandals all the way baby.
Comedy or Drama? Comedy – there is enough drama in the world.
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Bringing the Desert to Florida with Succulents

I visited Arizona a few years ago and hiked in Sedona, AZ with a girlfriend. While there, we passed a variety of beautiful succulents. We don’t see many succulents in Florida, so I loved this local flora.  They are sturdy, yet pretty, plants that are perfectly suited for the harsh climates and weather of the area. Fast forward to present day. We attended the 2nd birthday party of good friends’ daughter a few weeks ago. Much to my delight, the party favor (from the  “Lorax” themed party) was a succulent. At first, I wasn’t so sure the plant would survive Florida’s rainy season, but then I realized they would make perfect indoor plants!

Travel Inspiration:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I decided they’d go best next to our bay window, where they’d be on full display and still receive bright sunlight each morning. I picked two “containers” for them (buying one and re-purposing another) and used left over potting soil we had in the garage for planting.

Materials:

  • succulents of your choice.
  • containers/pots of your choice
  • potting soil (We like Miracle Grow soil products.)
  • garden gloves and shovel if you’d like

Indoor Desert Succulents

Travel Inspired Home Decor Arizona

Reading Nook Travel Inspired Decor

My efforts to bring a little AZ to FL worked! Michael and I love to read and drink coffee in our reading nook, hence the coffee cup planter. The succulents add color and bring the outside in to this part of our home. The plants are low maintenance, as they only require a small amount of water each week, which is nice for two busy professionals. Plus, I scored brownie points with Mr. Wife with Baggage for keeping this project under ten bucks. I love getting my hands dirty (literally) with travel inspired DIY projects!

Creating Wanderlust in a Stairwell: Photo Collage

Do you have a big blank wall in your home? We do. It stares at me. More like yells at me. “Cover me up already!” Our naked wall is in our stairwell, a wall I pass multiple times every single day. I know something needs to go there but I do not like buying knick-knacks made in China (no offense, China!) and we do not have the budget for a large piece of quality art. Then, an obvious solution came to me when on Pinterest – a photo gallery. But not just any ol’ photo gallery – a travel photo gallery. There are so many different layouts you can choose, but I chose colorful frames in a nice and neat square. What do you think?

Travel Photo Gallery DIY

Materials Needed:

  • hammer
  • nails
  • tape measure
  • a laser level would be handy, but is not necessary 🙂

Price tag:

  • 9 frames @ 12.99 each = $116.91
  • 9 8×10 photos @ 3.99 each = $35.91
  • Grand Total = $152.82

We no longer walk past an empty wall each time we traverse the stairs. Instead, we are greeted with memories from around the world. The photos evoke feelings of excitement, gratitude and utter happiness. Who would’ve thought photos on a wall could have such a positive impact on our home!

Travel Interview: On the Luce

On the Luce 11

If not traveling, what is your 9-5 life like?
After ten years living and working in London I relocated to Cheltenham in the Cotswolds a couple of years ago and started freelancing as an editor and designer. The plan was to have a more flexible lifestyle and be able to travel more, but it’s also meant I can spend more time with my family and friends. I tend to have concentrated periods of work, mixed in with quieter times when I get to pursue my passions like photography and my blog. I live with my partner and we’ve just re-homed two rescue cats who’ve already totally taken over the place like they own it.
Who, or what, inspired you to travel the first time?
My family were never big travelers, so until I was 18 I hadn’t been much further than France. But a couple of trips started off my travel obsession. First was a week staying with family in New York and the second was a university trip to Thailand. Coming from a small town in the English countryside, both were completely different worlds for me and opened my eyes to the experiences and sights that are out there. Since then travel spiraled into an obsession and I’m constantly planning and dreaming up my next trips.
How have you changed your life to travel more?
About ten years ago I quit my job to do a 16-month round the world trip, and I’ve taken a three-month sabbatical from another job to travel to New Zealand. Travel is definitely my biggest expense, I’m a huge eBay bargain hunter, have friends over rather than going out and have started trying to grow my own fruit and vegetables. I’m the last of my friends to buy a house and settle down and a lot of that is due to my love of travel. I did finally buy a house last year and get married later this year so the travel budget’s been a bit depleted recently, but I’ve already got lots planned for next year.
How has travel changed your life?
Travel has definitely stopped me from being too materialistic – I tend to think of the cost of things in terms of how many days of travel they’re worth – but I do get the odd pang of envy when I see people my age with huge houses and designer wardrobes. I’ve gained so much in terms of memories and experiences though that I wouldn’t change a thing. Except maybe that time in Australia when I jumped down a flight of steps and broke my ankle, that’s a travel souvenir I could’ve done without!
What is your main purpose/goal of your travel blog?
I started On the Luce almost two years ago as I’ve always loved writing and photography, and after nearly 20 years of travelling I’d picked up lots of tips and stories to share. It’s aimed at independent travelers who might not be in the position to travel long-term but want to make the most of their travel time. So I highlight interesting destinations, attractions and accommodation for people who are past the ultra-cheap bunk beds and instant noodles stage of travel but not ready for a package holiday. My plan is to show people you can combine a love of travel with work, family and everyday life.
This or That:

Backpack or rolling suitcase? Rolling suitcase, usually a small one so I can do carry on only.
Cities or Open Spaces? I like a mix of both, but if I had to pick one as a country girl it’d have to be open spaces.
Salty or sweet? Salty, crisps and nuts are my weakness.
Sandals or Snow Boots? Sandals, although I love skiing I’m definitely solar-powered.
Comedy or Drama? Drama, I love something that keeps me on the edge of my seat.

On the Luce 2

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