I feel like I’d love more cactus plants or arid plants in my home, but I’m terrible with them. I can keep tropical alive, but I think I over-water most arid plants. I still have one little Jade that’s working to come back from almost dying, but that’s it.
There were so many gorgeous flowers in there. So many I’d love to fill my home with (definitely not the corpse flower), and the pyramid was wonderfully humid and tropical. I also enjoyed taking a great shot of Josh’s new friend Chaslee as she took selfies for her boyfriend who is back in Chicago. It was a great time!
Well friends and readers, I’m ditching my day job and hitting the road with momma Pam (Josh’s mom) for a nice week and a half road trip and vacation to Edmonton, Alberta. It’s a 16 hour drive from Salt Lake City to Edmonton, and I’m pretty sure we’ll crash a night in Montana on the way, but by Thursday night I should see my best friend in the whole world again and get to experience a new city! I’m so excited!
I’ve only been out of the country once before, in 2006 right before they made it necessary to have a passport to cross the boarder. That was only a few blocks into Tijuana-and it hardly counts since all we did was see a doctor and get some street corn. This time I have my big girl passport and I’m headed to a new city in a different direction. I’m really excited!
If you have any tips for what to do or see up around Edmonton, leave it in the comments below. I’ll check back!
Manhattan is a famously fabulous area of New York City, with plenty of things to see and do that you can tick off your bucket list.. Here are just a few places that should grab your attention.
New York Historical Society
The New York Historical Society is both a museum and a library, and it’s one of the major historical and cultural institutions in the United States. At over 200 hundred years old it’s also New York City’s oldest museum! The museum hosts exhibitions and collections that reflect not just New York City and State, but the US as a whole. The Patricia D. Klingenstein Library is home to a staggering two million manuscripts, while the Children’s History Museum is aimed at showing youngsters that history can be fun too. Lectures are held in the museum, which also has programs and resources that bring the past into the present.
At the Heart of America’s Theatreland
For theatre goers, visiting Broadway will prove to be an unforgettable experience. With dozens of top class venues putting on beloved shows it’s no wonder that Broadway is known around the world. It’s unquestionably the most important location regarding theatre in the US, and, with Broadway’s wide range of shows there’s bound to be something that will appeal to everyone.
American Museum of Natural History
On the Upper West Side is the American Museum of Natural History. It’s really like several museums rolled into one, and there’s even a planetarium here. Whether you’re interested in dinosaurs or space this museum will have something that appeals – and don’t forget to visit the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life and be awestruck by the near 100 foot long model of a blue whale!
The Empire State Building
Any visitor to Manhattan should take the opportunity to visit the building that King Kong climbed all those years ago! Synonymous with New York City, the Empire State Building is, of course, one of the world’s most iconic buildings. Though it’s an impressive sight from the outside, inside the Empire State Building you will be able to marvel at spectacular views of the city and, weather permitting, for miles around.
The magic of Manhattan captivates all that live and visit there, from musicians, to artists to those just looking for a big break. Be a part of it and discover its fascinating history by touring its incredibly enlightening museums.
Image by Hrag Vartanian, used under the Creative Commons license.
Compensation was accepted for this post, which was written by a guest writer.
Sunday morning we got up and had breakfast, but we were feeling tired so we scrapped our plans to drive up to Florence and opted to stay a little closer to home so it would be less travel and less work. Instead we grabbed a sandwich for lunch and decided to head over to Eel Lake. We went to Eel Lake last time and had a great time, but it’s always great to go again. On the way we stopped off first at Bastendorf Beach for a bit.
And here’s this patient soul again. He’s so great about these photos.
After that we made our way towards Eel Lake, but we had to make a quick stop so I could take a picture of this creepy cop car. They’ve placed it there to slow people down on the 101 but man theirs a super creepy dead-looking dummy in it.
Eel Lake was beautiful as ever, but this time the salmon were really active and jumping around in the little breeder area. So I got some really cool photos of them jumping up and down and it was pretty cool to see.
Then we headed almost right across the street to Hall Lake and hiked back to a pretty little private waterfall that Mr. Bingo found and loves. It was fun getting there because the path was washed out and it required some extra hiking/climbing skills. I wanted to practice getting the running water smooth but had forgotten my tripod-so I just tried it handheld.
That evening we went back to the house and grilled fresh tuna and we had Marionberry pie and spent a little extra time together. The next morning I packed up, loaded my rental car, and headed back to reality. That was really rough, and by the time I got home I was both exhausted and sad and fell asleep around 4:30PM-only a half hour after my plane got in.
Can I just go back now?
The weekends of my trips to Oregon are the best. Mr. Bingo has Saturday and Sunday off so we get to go out on adventures. We got up and had pancakes, and then we hit the road in my little rental car and headed south. The first place we stopped was Port Orford where we headed right out to the dock and took some photos of my one true love-the Pacific Ocean.
There were all of these cool old boats docked there, and an adorable little restaurant next to them.
And look at this handsome fella-he’s so patient with me and all of my photo taking.
After Port Orford we headed down the road looking for some hiking and enjoying the scenic route. We found a trail, but were warned it was really long and I really wanted to be closer to the ocean and not just back in the forest. So we hiked for a minute and then turned around and went back to find something else. We found a cute little path out to Arizona Beach.
After that we decided that we were definitely hungry and we headed back into Port Orford and stopped at a great little restaurant called The Crazy Norwegian which had a 100% rating on Urbanspoon. It was really good, and if you’re ever that way you should eat there. After that we headed up to Cape Blanco. I went to Cape Blanco a few years ago with Josh and Kristina and we had such a great time that I wanted to take Mr. Bingo there. He’d been by there last year, but hadn’t gone in the lighthouse so we thought we’d take the tour… But it was closed and the wind was crazy.
Then we drove through the campground where I’d stayed all those years ago and went down to the beach where Josh and Kristina and I had so much fun at before. It was still just as beautiful, and also windy.
For the long President’s day weekend I was lucky enough to hit up my favorite relaxation destination-the coast of Oregon. I mean I really should be a Pacific Northwesterner-I NEED the green, the coast, the cool weather, the moisture-and if I go to long with out it I get a crazy itch and have to book a trip. I’m lucky to have friends I can stay with so it makes it a better possibility.
Well it had been about a year since I’d been so I was definitely feeling the itch-and this time I rented a car to have a little more freedom and not make Mr. Bingo drive the two and a half hours each way to pick me up both times. This also allowed me to stop off in Florence and have dinner with my old neighbors Seneca and Navi-who moved there a while back. They took me to a little restaurant called Homegrown where we had some wonderful food and my new favorite cider which is an apricot cider they make in Bend, OR. I really wish I could find it here.
After dinner I headed down the coast to Coos Bay where Mr. Bingo lives. I was really grooving on the independence of having my own car and even though I’d forgotten to write down his address I thought for sure I could find his house on my own. I’d been a few times, though I’d never driven and by this point it was dark, so I did get a little lost on the way. However, I did make it before too late and it was nice to show up with my suitcase in hand and have done it on my own.
There’s just something magic about driving down the 101 at twilight with that sea-soaked air and your music blaring that speaks to my heart. I have so much love for it. Psst-Beth-look what I was driving. It was a great little car!
It was pretty late at that point so Mr. Bingo and I hung out for the evening. The next day he had to work so I worked on a few things and then I went out and took some photos in the yard. Before we decided to head out for lunch at a local Chinese place he wanted to try (good food but weird atmosphere) we looked out the window and saw this little guy stopping by to say hello.
I couldn’t get quite the shot I wanted through the windows so I wondered if I could sneak out the front door without him noticing. With very careful and quiet sneaking (it took a while) I was finally out on the porch in my stocking feet and face to face with my little friend. He stood their staring at me for a few minutes until he decided he’d had enough of the paparazzi and ran off into the bushes.
So then we went to lunch at the little Chinese place, which had tasty food but there was no music or ambiance so we just sat there wondering if the cook was killing people in the back or something. Then we took our fortune cookie numbers and headed to the gas station to play them in the lottery. We didn’t win. Sadly. When we got back to the house Mr. Bingo had some working to do so I went out to take photos in the yard. I was working on playing with lighting since I’ve recently learned how to work the aperture and Fstops and ISO and all that fun business. So here are a few of my favorite photos I took in the yard.
We knew we absolutely had to make the Billie Piper panel. She’s a favorite of ours, since we love Doctor Who and we love her in a few other things she’s done like Penny Dreadful. Also, she was being interviewed by one of my favorite radio personalities-Kerry Jackson. Fun fact, Kerry actually went to the same High School as me (many years before) and he used to come back and speak at assemblies. One year, however, he announced that nothing in high school matters and you really needed to get out of high school to see the world for what it was (a true statement) and the principal banned him from ever coming back. Lame.
Even though we showed up at 9AM-which was two hours before FanX even opened-we had to wait in a very long line for the Billie Piper panel. She was kind of a popular guest among geeks, and the first panel of the day right at 11AM. We wanted to make sure we got good seats. She was so charming, and we just adored her.
Ken waited in line to ask her a question. He wanted to ask her about her about her career as a pop star before Doctor Who. He was sure he’d be the only one to bring it up, but Kerry Jackson beat him to the punch before they even started questions-bummer! Did you know she was a pop star? It’s terrible 90’s brit pop. Seriously. He asked her which her favorite song was, and it’s this one:
I kind of love it. Unfortunately Kristina and I were both bummed that not a single person asked about her in Penny Dreadful.
Luckily since we got good seats we could just stay in them for the next few panels that we wanted to see. After Billie Piper went off, they brought out Carrie Fisher. Yes. Princess. Freaking. Leia. Let me tell you, she is a HAM. She was upset that no one had gotten her a Coca Cola so she asked the audience if anyone had one. She declined the diet coke someone brought up, but when a guy brought her a regular one she leaned down and french kissed him, then said “You give me what I want, I’ll give you what you want!”
A little bit later she brought out her dog Gary. He is missing teeth and his tongue is too big for his mouth, but man he’s cute. She called him her “familiar” which I think is adorable.
After Carrie Fisher’s panel they brought out their Lannister panel with Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. That’s Cersei and Jaime from Game of Thrones, but I’ve loved Lena for years. I loved her in Imagine Me & You, and I enjoyed Nikolaj in Mama. They were interviewed by Bill Allred.
Turns out, Lena is a little awkward in real life, and Nikolaj is a big-hearted charmer!
After this panel I may have a new man crush on Nikolaj. He’s just so damned handsome and charming-and boy he was just kind-hearted and sweet. He never said one negative thing about anyone!
Right after that we all rushed to get in line to see Felicia Day. She was lovely and charming, and it pretty much made it worth the two our wait… Even though that sucked a lot. Unfortunately the volunteer who took the photo got it blurry, sad day-I should have just handed it to Jan, but oh well.
I only took one photo of a person’s costume at FanX this year and this was it. I found the cross over pretty funny.
Have you ever been to a convention?
Tip #1 Get a Job
If English is your native language, this is likely the asset you’re going to be able to sell the most when it comes to working abroad. In 2009, I taught English to about 100 Hungarian kids to finance a year in Budapest. Other alternatives include au pairing, interning, working at summer camps and working holidays (depending on your nationality–this isn’t super easy for Americans, however). Companies like Jobs Abroad and BUNAC. are great resources to begin your search.
[Tweet “Want to travel more? Get a job teaching English in another country…”]
As far as teaching English goes, a country like Hungary (I went with the Central European Teaching Program) won’t pay you shedloads, but it will cover your time there (and you’ll get a free apartment and utilities). Likewise, the CIEP Foreign Language Teaching Assistants Program in France is pretty well known, but will also only cover your time in France (without an apartment or utilities, which you will have to pay for). Although I have not taught in Asia or the Middle East, those are supposedly amongst the most lucrative and you may even get your flight paid for.
Tip #2 Study
Consider going to university or getting a Masters degree abroad. They are typically cheaper than in America and you may be able to get funding from outside institutions, or your own school, to attend. My Masters degree at the University of Amsterdam was completely paid for, thanks to the fact that I was given a University of Amsterdam Merit Scholarship. If you do decide to study abroad, consult your school or department about funding, as they can help you find scholarships and studentships that past students have successfully secured.
Tip #3 Take Subsidized Trips
Certain countries or programs will subsidize trips for specific groups of people. One of the most notable subsidized trips is Birthright Israel, which takes Jewish young people ages 18-26 on a free trip to Israel. Obviously now isn’t the best time to go, but it is something to consider if you fall into that category. The recent trip I went on to Poland was subsidized by a museum. You can read about it here if you are interested. My parents also went on a trip subsidized by the Chinese government in 2008, which you can read a bit more about here. Bear in mind that subsidized trips, however, are typically not holidays and will have an itinerary for you that you must follow as a condition.
Tip #4 Apply for a Travel Grant
Many places will offer you a travel grant to travel, especially if it is for a specific purpose. About.com has a great list of travel grants that you can peruse and see if one fits you.
Tip #5 Volunteer
Working, or volunteering, in the Peace Corps can change lives and allow you to live abroad for two years. This is an ideal job for those who are service oriented–however there are some drawbacks. In order to participate, you must sign on to two years of work and cannot return home permanently (visits are allowed). You must also be willing to live in conditions that may be below your normal standard and must be in good health. You must also be an American citizen. However, many people have found this extremely rewarding and a great way to touch people outside of the US.
You can also do service trips through places like Habitat for Humanity which you can pay for outright or invite friends and family to help you fundraise in a good old fashioned crowd funding scheme.
Lifehacker has a fabulous article entitled “How to Book a $1700 Vacation for $700 by Volunteering,” which will appeal to anyone’s favorite causes from education to human rights to animals welfare.I hope these tips have gotten your gears turning when it comes to travel. If you have any further questions or would like me to do a blog post on any of the programs I have participated in, please let me know and I will be more than happy to do so.