how to survive Disneyworld

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Having grown up a stone’s throw from Disneyland, the house of mouse has somewhat lost its luster on me as an adult.  I know, I know, I bet a lot of you are appalled.

For the rest of you sane lot, I just can’t reconcile spending a car payment for a day standing in lines around hordes of strangers (read: I’m old and apparently too sensible to have any fun).  And living so close to Disneyland, I can hear and sometimes see the fireworks from my house every night at 9:30 PM, so I get to reap the benefits without having to withstand the hassle.  I haven’t been since I was 18.  And trust me, that was a LONG time ago.

That being said, I get it.  People love going to Disneyland…they don’t call it the happiest place on earth for nothing.  It’s a place where whimsy and magic exists, for patrons of all ages.  A microcosm where you can forget the outside for a moment and just have fun. And if you have kids?  It’s definitely a fantastic experience for them.  Who doesn’t want to give their kids the world?

And even though I may be biased as a born and bred Anaheim native, I can still admit that Disneyworld beats our original Disneyland handily.  First of all, there’s 6 parks to our 2.  Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.  You do have to travel to Orlando though, so I guess that’s the trade off 😉

Disneyworld is an actual a world of its own with hotels, transportation, lakes, security, grocery stores, etc.  I think it’s has its own government (obviously Mr. Mouse is a despot).  And although it is a resort…lest you think you’ll be having a relaxing vacation, you are sorely mistaken.  More a rat race, these trips are a whirlwind of multiple parks, characters and Mickey themed everything.  It’s a mousetrap! And it is basically a rite of passage for all families these days (youtube disneyworld trip reveals and then hate yourself afterwards).  Yay gross consumerism!

M-I-C…see ya real soon

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Nashville: the only TEN I SEE

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Nashville is one of the best places I’ve ever lived, and I’m lucky that I still have friends that live in town to visit.  Literally, I will visit at the drop of a cowboy hat.  Nashville is a lot like LA, except smaller, more easily navigable, and of course, musically inclined.  I know it’s known for its music, but can we just talk about the food in Nashville?  It’s spectacular.

This city is growing at an unbelievable pace, it seems like every time you turn around, there’s a new high rise or apartment complex.  My old neighborhood in the West End (don’t think this was a coincidence, I love the Pet Shop Boys)/Charlotte is now the gateway to up and coming Nations and Sylvan Park.

I love you, Nashville.

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Happy Lunar New Year!

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Happy Lunar New Year!  Yes, it’s not only Chinese people who celebrate the lunisolar calendar, so show a little love to your friends who are celebrating the start of year of the pig/boar today!

In Vietnam, the new year celebration is called Tet, and it is HUGE.  Lots of festivals, lion dancing, fireworks, fashion, bestowing of li xi or lucky red envelopes, and feasting.  If you’re ever looking for nonstop partying this time of year, book your trip to Asia to join the revelry.

A throwback to my favorite city in Vietnam today, happy new year!

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welcome to Atlanta: big game edition

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Where the players play and we ride on them things like ever-y-day.  How awesome was Atlanta hiphop in the early 2000s?  They were so fresh, so clean clean.  Usher was confessing.  There were hoes in different area codes (RIP Nate Dogg). And who could forget Lil Jon’s thinly veiled euphemism to the window…to the wall…you know what I mean, Peaches and Cream?

The Super Bowl is this weekend, and while I am disappointed that my favored Chiefs didn’t make it, I am even more disappointed that the Saints didn’t.  NFL is fixed, I tell you!  Anyway, the big game will be played at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in ATL (not to be confused with the Mercedes-Benz Superdome of New Orleans, who did not make the Super Bowl…still salty), so get your dirty bird, dirty south on!

Atlanta is an interesting city with a lot of different personalities and there’s no shortage of entertainment to fill up these days around the Super Bowl.  There’s some of the biggest companies in the world based there (Coca-cola and Turner broadcasting), one of the pre-eminent aquariums in the US, a robust entertainment industry (umm, hello Donald Glover and Walking Dead), many feisty housewives, a huge medical industry (home of the American Cancer Society and the CDC), and it’s in the deep South.  And oh yeah, it hosted the Olympics!

So, be like the devil and head down to Georgia…

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Touchdown in Kan-SAS CITY

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THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IS GOING TO BE PLAYED AT ARROWHEAD!  THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

For the first time EVER, Kansas City hosts the AFC Championship game on Sunday and I am STOKED to say the least.  It’s gonna be hella cold, but I know Chiefs Kingdom is going to show up.  Unfortunately, I’ll be watching from Vegas (poor me, right?) but for those who are visiting KC, welcome to the loudest stadium in the NFL!

If you’ve read this blog, you may know that I lived in Kansas City just shy of a dozen years (and write about my visits) and I LOVE coming back.  It will forever be my second home, and the Midwest is very dear to my heart.  The trips have become fewer and far between as I am now an Adult (capital A) with a “job,” but recently I had the chance to go back for a little bit of work and a lot of play.

The changes that have occurred in this city since I left 4 years ago are astounding and numerous, and I guess in some ways I am lucky all of these cool, trendy places weren’t around when I was living there, or else I’d be broke and/or very large.  I’m even luckier that many of my pals still reside here, and I get personal tours every time I return.

I visited some old favorites and found some new ones, and of course, got to spend time with people I love…which is the best reason to travel.

Going back to Kansas City!

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the “I”s have it: happy 2019!

Happy New Year!  Wishing you a healthy, happy and successful 2019 filled with lots of travel!  I’ve already got plans for a few trips this year, for both work (boo, just kidding these trips have to get financed somehow) and play…because the wanderlust ain’t going to feed itself, y’all.

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a colossal travel year

For some reason,  I had a real proclivity for countries that start with I in 2018.  My travels took me to Italy, Ireland and Iceland (and my compadres added Indonesia).

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all is quiet on new year’s day — booyah, another u2 reference!

I also journeyed to the UK, Kansas City, Nashville, Las Vegas, Delaware, Chicago, Baltimore and Greenville, South Carolina.  Delaware was SUPER important as it marks only 4 states left for me to hit all 50!  I’m coming for you next Alaska, Maine, West Virginia and North Dakota!  Seriously, I already have plans to visit one this summer 😉

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steppin into 2019

If the “I”s had it in 2018, then the “C”s are gonna have it this year.  Hint, I’ll be cruisin’ for the first time since I was 16 :o.  This means I am both old and heading to an area not otherwise easily reached by plane.  Not a huge fan of open water or endless buffets, so we’ll see how that goes!  It’s always an adventure, isn’t it?

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may your 2019 be as relaxing as a dip in the blue lagoon

Thank you for traveling and reading along.  May your travels be safe and filled with joy, good company and no lost luggage.

 

 

Feliz Navidad from Mexico!

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In the words of the great Jose Feliciano, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart!  Feliz Navidad is one of the all time great Christmas songs, and Mexico is one of the all time great travel destinations.  The culture, food, history, people– everything about this country is amazing.

La Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX) is one of the foremost cosmopolitan areas of the world, with bustling energy, a lively arts and fashion scene, inventive and traditional food culture, and architectural gems galore.  There are well preserved alhambras and monuments reminiscent of the grand plazas of Europe amongst a sea of modern skyscrapers and high rise hotels.

Fun fact: I won the Spanish language award my senior year in high school.  Another fun fact: my Spanish is terrible. Like muy terible. I have the worst American accent when I attempt to speak, but I do try, y es la intencion es lo que cuenta? Un poquito (read: oohn poke-ee-toe)?  En acualmente, escribo mejor que hablar, que lastima!  Lo siento, yo se mi espanol no es bueno, pero me humor por favor.

Nota: Todas las photografias en esta blog post son cortesia de mi hermana.

CDMX is having a real moment right now, so brush off your Paso a Paso book from high school…vamos a Mexico! HOLA y Bienvenidos a Mexico!

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Mele kalikimaka: a very Hawaiian Xmas

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Aloha, one of my favorite places to spend the holiday season (or any season) is Hawaii!  It’s the perfect getaway for a tropical vacation while staying on American soil (although I have heard tourists ask what currency is used there — facepalm).  As a Westcoaster, the rainbow state is only a stone’s throw 3-4 hour flight away, and Hawaiian airlines is the BEST domestic airline…free Mai Tais, anyone?  We’re lucky to be this close to paradise.

It’s very festive around the holiday season, and it’s a great reprieve from snowy weather — the average is high 70s with frequent showers.  But with many resorts and beaches and shopping and malasadas? Start planning your Hawaiian getaway now for next year.

Mele kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way of saying Merry Christmas to you!

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happy holidays 2: lost in new york

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Remember Home Alone 2?  That’s a holiday classic that never gets old.

New York is my favorite US city when it comes to the holidays, and really for lots of people — that’s why it’s featured so heavily in many movies around this season, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Scrooged.  From the Rockefeller skaters to the Rockettes, this city comes alive during the most wonderful time of the year.  Even though it’s colder than Jack Frost, there’s something very magical about rockin’ around this enchanting city while it snows.  Happy Hanukah and here’s to dreaming of a white Christmas!

Tis the season!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

As we kick off the busiest travel days of the year, it can be a real stressful time for both travel and family.  I get stressed out and I’m around my extended family all year round!  But they’re family, what can you do?  My sister is having me pick her up in the pit of hell LAX on Wednesday night.  I cannot imagine a worse case scenario…and if we didn’t share DNA I would straight up charge a hella exorbitant fee.  Friendship and family lines get drawn at LAX.

I digress…I did my traveling in the past two weeks together to pre-Friendsgiving it up, so to speak, and on these long plane rides, I was ruminating about life and conversations I had with my pals (as I tend to do), so here are some thoughts from my motivational speaking corner.

Life is too short to be unhappy.  It is unpredictable, especially in the world we live in –nothing is guaranteed, so pursue what brings you joy.  And if you already have it (many of us do), don’t push it away, make time for it.  We all deserve that chance for ourselves, and how do we get it?  First by trusting ourselves.  We all need basic things like food, water, clothing, shelter, but what I think a lot of us really need is belief and confidence in ourselves.  I always say 75% confidence, 20% luck and 5% skill.  If you don’t believe in yourself, you don’t have much of anything because that inner confidence is typically the driver of determination, hope, and state of mind.  In order to best serve others, you have to first best serve yourself — it is the oxygen mask dictum.

Work isn’t everything.  Repeat that.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great– you need work to get money and provide for yourself and your family.  But, your job that you’ve put so much of yourself into, the thing you’ve sacrificed so much for — it’s not the only thing you have going for you.  Don’t take the extra shift, spend it with your people, they need you more.

Note the words: basic needs.  Learning to be apathetic about materialism helps.  You need things, but do you need things?  Marie Kondo your life.

Knowing your worth is huge.  You have much more to offer than you think, and if you are unsure, ask someone you trust and they’ll lay it out for you (you can ask me, I am typically that person in the friendship).  And if they don’t listen or they aren’t there, or if only they say stuff that you want to hear, then they’re probably not your friend.  It’s better to have truth men than yes men, and yes, the truth hurts.  No pain, no gain.

At the same time, surrounding yourselves with people who are only like minded is a recipe for insulation.  Not always a good thing.  Read more, do things that may make you a little uncomfortable, always keep your eyes open and learn.  That’s why traveling is so important — it makes things a little less abstract, a little more relatable and in reach.  It makes you a more well-rounded and patient individual.

Be strong, be calm and walk away if needed.  This year, I left my comfortable job to go out on my own.  It was the best decision I have ever made (granted, it wasn’t a difficult decision).  There was definitely something better at the end of the tunnel, and for every trial and tribulation in life that comes your way, just know that you’ll come out on the other side.   I am thankful to the people I have around me that have supported me and spurred me to find the best situation for myself.  Happy Thanksgiving and because I yammered more platitudes than you’d see at Home Goods, here’s a pic of Jerry’s World from the sky.  They’re hosting the Redskins/Cowboys match up on Turkey Day, so post up and be with your loved ones!

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