Life's Sweet Journey

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hello July

How is it already July?! 
I can not believe that we are halfway through 2017. 
I took a week off between jobs (find out more in my last post), but am now back at it. Taking a vacation is great, but I always feel like there is so much to catch up on after. I am really working on trying to take it slower though and not feel so rushed to get the 'to-do list' completed. It's a glorious feeling to give yourself space to determine your own pace! So, I am not going to jump back in with a full-length travel post just yet; instead I am joining Anne for a July Currently post. 

July Currently

Here is what is happening in my life right now... 
~Documenting~ All the adventures! We spent the last week traveling between Tennessee and North Carolina, visiting friends and family. I have done so much documenting that my phone is filled to the brim and I had to start deleting apps so that I could take more pictures of all the fun. Looks like it might be time for a new phone (boo), because I am in desperate need of more storage space! 

~Accomplishing~ My 'to-do list'; slowly, but surely! I actually stink (real bad!) at being organized with my time. This is the first year I have actually even utilized a planner and, while it is still a huge learning process, I feel like it has made a huge difference. So I am spending the morning filling in my planner for the next two weeks and then it will be time to tackle the things I said I would do! If you are a newbie to the planner world, this one has been super helpful. 

~Enjoying~ A quite morning on the porch, with my coffee and a beautiful view, to ease back into the work grind! I am still away for the next two weeks, but will be working remotely. I am loving being able to set up anywhere and enjoy a gorgeous view and fresh mountain air while I work! 

~Reading~ All the things!! We road tripped up, and will be doing the same to get back home, which I love because it means I stock up on books and read to my hearts content. My current list includes the two books we are reading for book club (Small Great Things and The Orphan Keeper) and In a Dark, Dark Wood. After I finish Small Great Things my plan is to read In a Dark, Dark Wood, because it's been a quick minute since I have read a spookier book and I think it will break up some of the heart-heavy content that is in Small Great Things and The Orphan Keeper. What are you reading? Anything I need to add to my list?  

~Spending~ Too much money!! I just had to buy a new computer, as I had been using my work computer for personal use as well. Leaving my old job meant leaving that computer behind. I am loving my new one, but will be trying to NOT spend very much this next month, because computers are just dang expensive!! Here's to seeing if I can keep myself from eating out in July! Have you ever tried a 'no-spend' month?! I am so curious! Any tips?! 

Hope your July is off to a wonderful start!! 
What's going on in your world currently?! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

#TravelTuesday 17// Off to See the World... Kind Of, Maybe, We'll See

It's time for another #TravelTuesday link up!
And I can't wait to see all of your adventures; especially since I don't really have one of my own to offer! Sorry!! I have tons in the works (Vegas, DC...) that I had hoped to use today, but life y'all, life! So, thank you, thank you for your grace and understanding. 

Even though I don't have anything new to share travel wise, I thought I would give you a brief little insight as to why. Soooo, I have kind of been keeping a bit of a secret. And by secret, what I really mean is I wasn't yet ready to put it down in words. Because that makes it real; and while it is very exciting, it is also scary and sad and happy all-in-one. #Allthefeels is an understatement! 

Anywho... I am going to be transitioning off staff at my current job. A job I LOVE and one that has brought me so many wonderful moments and friendships through the past 3 years! I get to teach sweet kiddos about Jesus, hang with some awesome people, and have the most AMAZING team of work peeps. I know you are probably thinking, so why are leaving?! 

Well, this decision gets us one step closer to being on the road full-time. Though nothing is set in stone yet, our plan is to hit the road in some capacity between September and October. I have found a remote position teaching English to kids in China (an awesome gig I will share more about soon, but that you can check out here if the thought peeks your interest. You can use my referral link for a little bonus fun for both of us, if you are hired!) that I can do from the road. We are just waiting to figure out Babe's job stuff (anyone want to hire my financially-business-brained husband remotely, lemme know!! haha). 

So for now, I am spending the majority of the next two weeks training the sweet gal who is going to be taking my position, wrapping up odds-and-ends, and hanging out with all my favorite people at Summit Church before my last day next Thursday. 

That being said, I can't wait to see where all you have been!! I need all the inspiration I can find to remind that this leap of faith isn't totally ridiculous! I am Pinterest crazy on #alltheplaces, because, while I am sad to leave, I am so stoked for the experiences to come! The first trip will be in Tennessee and North Carolina. Anything we HAVE TO see?! I am also really hoping to plan my first solo trip. Any female ladies done a solo-trip before?! Would really appreciate any tips! 

What adventures have you been up to? 
Try a new restaurant in your own backyard? 
Taken a day trip in your home state? Journeyed to far off lands? 

Link up below and let's travel together!! 

~On the 2nd Tuesday of every month I will be sharing a new travel post and would love to see where you have been exploring!
~Any linked posts will be pinned under Travel Tuesday on my Pinterest account. 
~Please leave a little love on the post directly before yours and then anywhere else you like! That way we can all grow this community together :) 
~Not many other rules, as I am not a huge fan of those sorts of things! Just add any travel related link and I encourage you to peek around and see where everyone else has been. 
~Feel free to grab the image from the sidebar and add it to your post so others know where to link up. 
~I will also be sharing my favorite post from the month before. May's fave was from Aloha Lovely, because I could use a little chill in my life right and her Waikiki Chill post has me all kinds of dreaming about a good book, an umbrella drink and one of those half-submerged pool chaise loungers! 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

30 Great Quotes for Travel Lovers

It's been a long while since I have shared any Words for Wednesday posts! But, being a quote lover, I still keep a running journal of all my favorites. So I figured why not share some quotes that would feed my thirst for wanderlust?! Here are 30 of my favorite travel-inspiring quotes... 

1.) "I believe in looking reality straight in the eye & denying it!" -Garrison Keillor 

2.) "Life is ours to be spent, not saved." - D.H. Lawrence 

3.) "Maybe we could stop time for a few days without falling far behind. Maybe we could jump in the car somewhere beautiful and remote. We'll take of our pain and armor, turn on the music, and explore these places, these towns and these dreams. Yours and mine. We'll just ride it all out for awhile. We'll just drive." - Victoria Erickson

4.) "You aren't always shown the path in life you're supposed to take. Sometimes though, when you're lucky, you meet someone with a map." - From Sarah Addison Allen's The Peach Keeper 

5.) "Meet the world with HOPE in your heart!" - Heather Gudenkauf 

6.) "Make your choice, adventurous stranger, strike the bell and bide the danger, or wonder, til it drives you mad, what would have followed if you had." - C.S. Lewis 

7.) "Sometimes you have to chase the idea of something more." - From Carrie Ryan's The Dead-Tosses Waves 

8.) "She must find a boat and sail in it. No guarantee of shore. Only a conviction that what she wanted could exist' if she dared find it." - Jeanette Winterson 

She must find a boat and sail in it...
9.) "The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." - Eden Phillpots 

10.) "Go out into the world, experience it, and bring back the best and leave the rest." - From Rebecca Wells The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder 

11.) "The river(s) taught me a good bit. It winds, weaves, snakes around. Rarely goes the same way twice. But, in the end, it always ends up in the same place and the gift is never the same." - From Charles Martin's Where the River Ends 

12.) "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." -Oscar Wilde 

13.) "The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste the experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience." - Eleanor Roosevelt 

14.) "Most of the time the greatest rewards come from doing the things that scare you the most. Maybe you will get everything you wish for or maybe you will get more than you ever could have imagined. Who knows where life will take you; the road is long and in the end the journey is the destination." - One Tree Hill 

15.) "If you always keep your face to the sunshine, you'll never see the shadows." -Helen Keller 

16.) "Faith is the daring of the soul to go further than it can see." -William Newton Clarke

17.) "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." - Henry David Thoreau 

18.) There is not fairy-book half so wonderful as the lovely world all about us, if we only know how to read it! - Morning Glories 

19.) "When God carved this place with His words He lingered." - From Charles Martin's Long Way Gone

20.) "Road trips are the equivalent of human wings. Ask me to go on one anywhere. We’ll stop in every small town and learn the history and stories, feel the ground and capture the spirit. Then we’ll turn it into our own story that will live inside our history to carry with us always. Because stories are more important than things." – Victoria Erickson 

21.) "Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in 10 seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories." - Ray Bradbury 

22.) "She was a beautiful dreamer, the kind of girl who kept her head in the clouds, loved above the stars, and left regret beneath the earth she walked on." - R.M. Drake 

23.) "What if it's the there and not the here that I long for? The wander and not the wait, the magic in the lost feet stumbling down the far away street and the way the moon never hangs quite the same?" - Tyler Knott Gregson 

24.) "Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?" - Walt Whitman

25.) "She'll be here until she runs, some just have to chase the sun..." - Kenny Chesney 
26.) "And above all, watch with glittering eyes, the whole world around you. Because the greatest secrets are hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never see it." - Roald Dahl

27.) "Mountains know the secrets we need to learn. That it might take time, it might be hard, but if you just hold on long enough, you will find the strength to rise up." - Tyler Knott Gregson 

28.) "It's a beautiful thing to have lungs that allow you to breathe air and legs that allow you to climb mountains, and it's a shame that sometimes we don't realize that that's enough." - honalie 

29.) "Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in this world." - Gustav Flaubert 

30.) "There are moments I know I will long for even as I live them." - Judith Katzir

Do you have a favorite travel quote?
What inspires you to travel? 

Pin It for Later

Friday, May 26, 2017

Is Listening to a Timeshare Presentation Worth the Perks?

We've all gotten the calls before; the ones saying that "we are from such-an-such timeshare and can offer you a next-to-free stay, at one of our gorgeous resorts, if you just come listen to a two hour presentation on our amenities". Our first answer was always "thanks, but no thanks!" Until one evening it wasn't. 

A little back story to this is that they tend to call me, or more so I tend to be the one who picks up the phone for numbers I don't know. The person on the other end of the line then tries to get me to commit, I question it and think it might actually be a good deal and then go to ask Babe and he says, "no, hang up!" So then it takes me another 5-10 minutes to try to get off the phone and I have now wasted my time. Fast forward a bit and sweet Babe actually answers the phone to a number he doesn't know and a young woman (at least she sounded young) starts in on the offer. Typically, he would hang up pretty quickly, but I guess he let her get pretty far in, because a few minutes later he's calling me into the office (I was in the living room) and asks me if we should do it. I, of course, am thinking,  "what the actual heck?! You give me such a hard time about it and you now look where we're at! I mean, I don't know? Sure, why not?! Let's just try it!" Apparently the girl on the other end of the line just seemed so thankful he was even letting her talk, and hadn't hung up on her or berated her for calling, that he almost felt like he needed to say yes just to give her a chance to make a sale. At this point he had it on speaker phone and when she asked if he wanted to hear about the option of a cruise add on and he replied with, "sure, why not?!" she got so flustered and her voice rose to such an octave that I thought she might have hugged hum through the phone if she could. Needless to say that when we actually agreed to book it I think she might have cried. **Side note: I have a friend who once worked for a call center, before quitting two weeks later because people would be so mean when she called that she would break out in hives. I know those calls can be frustrating, but if you can't say anything nice, it's probably better to just hang up!

Anyways, that was the long-winded version of how we ultimately ended up saying yes. We figured, even if we hated it, at least we tried it once. Now that we are on the other side of the whole experience here are our actual thoughts... 

Did we think that the offered trip was worth it for having to listen to someone try to sell us a timeshare? Our answer: YES! Granted, this was from our personal views of one experience (with Hilton Grand Vacations), but we found it overall completely worth it. Hilton stayed true to their word and our presentation lasted two hours, beginning to end (not including travel time), and they didn't force us into staying past the time to try to keep selling us once we had still said "no". Our hotel was gorgeous, with an amazing view, and they didn't contact us again the rest of our trip once we had left the presentation, which I was worried might happen with "no" answers.
Our only room shot, while trying out the new bluetooth camera stand, as we spent a lot of time outdoors and forgot to document; the room was really nice though, with a beautiful view, jetted tub and kitchenette. 

Planning for the Presentation
- wear comfortable clothing: you will be sitting for a long time, so bring a jacket or something to keep you cozy
- we were provided with food and drink when there; light to moderate snacks, coffee, tea, juice, water... which could substitute breakfast if desired
- have your "no" ready; we started out saying no, our sales guy then told us, "well my job is to spend the next two hours trying to change that", but if you know you want to walk out without a timeshare you HAVE TO stick to your guns no matter what he says
- go into it with a "this is just a learning experience" mindset; while we ultimately stuck to our no, I thought it was interesting learning about how it ran and I loved getting to see their model rooms
- schedule as early into the trip (and day) as possible; you don't want the presentation to be the way you end your trip. We did ours at 10am the 2nd day in and had the whole rest of the day, plus 2 more, ahead of us (Vegas for Outdoor Lovers post coming soon)
- tips for saying no: pick a designated "talker" (this should be the person better at a stone faced no), have the other person say as little as possible, don't give any leverage by getting excited over certain talking points, keep a very flat/ business like manner (any inflection in your voice will give them something to go off of)

Pros Vs Cons
Pro- You get an awesome trip for a fraction of the cost!
Con- If you suck at saying no, you might get suckered! Honestly, I would not even do it if there is not at least one person in your party who can stick to a firm "no". I knew we were saying no, I didn't even want it after listening to the spiel, but I can be so bad at saying "no" that I might have considered it if Babe hadn't been the rock! And your sales person will read that; our guy started directing a lot of the "perks" at me. "You can use your points for shopping! You can use them for spa treatments!...". Thankfully I don't like shopping, but I do enjoy a good massage and he caught that. I finally just stopped talking, and zoned out, so that he had no more leverage on my end and had to go back to trying to convince Andrew.
Pro- If it is a reputable company they will stick to their promises. If they know they aren't going to sell you they won't waste their time; there were plenty more people waiting behind us.
Con- The shuttle; I get car sick, so the shuttle back to our hotel, the Elara (the presentation was at another one of their resorts), was torture. Given that they weren't that far away from each other I might have chosen to walk.
Con- Depending on where you are going the airfare can be crazy; make sure when you are on that initial phone call that you factor in an estimated airfare cost.
Pro- If you enjoy traveling, it's a great way to see places for less! Had we decided not to tack on the cruise addition we would have only paid $250 for a 3 night stay in Vegas; we paid an additional $300 and now have a cruise voucher for a Royal Caribbean Bahamas cruise (which we can upgrade if desired).

So, AS LONG AS YOU CAN SAY NO, it's totally worth it. Should you sit down and decide the time share itself might be a good deal, that's a whole other story. We can't vouch for if that's worth it or not, maybe you could tell us?! But at the end of the day we would definitely listen to another time share spiel in order to get a discounted vacation!
*Note: This is our personal experience of one presentation with a well known company. People in our shuttle back to the hotel told us some horror stories about ones they had sat through where they were kept for hours, so just be wary of which company you go through and what they tell you initially.

How about you?
Have you ever sat through a time share presentation? What were your thoughts? 
Do you currently own time share options? Do you think they are worth it? 

Friday, May 19, 2017

DC Planning and a FriYAY Giveaway!

Happy FriYAY!
We made it! In just a few short hours the weekend will officially begin! 
I figured I would kick off the celebrating with some 5 on Friday fun! 

* Why not start it all off with some GIVEAWAY happiness! There is one day left to enter the 'Adventure Fuel' Giveaway that I am hosting, over on Instagram. Head over and share your upcoming adventure plans with me to be entered to win this mug and a $10 Dunkin gift card! 

* We are planning a trip to DC the first weekend of June. Babe has to go for work and this is the first time that I will be getting to tack on the weekend before and go with! He has gone just about once a year for the last 7 years, so to say I'm excited is an understatement. We have a few things on our list of "to-dos": brunch at the W, strolling the National Mall, maybe a trip to see the pandas, a visit to the post office museum aka "hello PostSecret exhibit", but that's about it so far. We haven't really begun planning, those are just on my list. Anything we need to add when we sit down to really talk it through?! Any favorite spots for lunch or coffee stops we need to hit to keep us fueled?! We will be there less than 48 hours so we will be trying to pack in a lot! 

* I recently started a new job, teaching English to kids in China, through VIPKID. I am still working at the church currently and also nannying, but this is a huge step to maybe getting us on the road. The great thing is, I can work anywhere there is wifi! I can also set my own schedule (for the most part- because of the time difference I can only work mornings and evenings) and work as little, or as much, as I want. I have been having a lot of fun with it!! If you enjoy working with kids and are interested in finding a legitimate work from home opportunity, VIPKID is currently hiring. It is 30 minute classes, one-on-one with a student, and the curriculum is all preset and provided. If you use my referral link you will get a sign-on bonus if you get hired. I do have an education background, but it is not required. If you do have one it will just help you to start at a higher hourly rate, but I am pretty sure that the least you will start out at is $15/hr. If you have any questions you are welcome to email me! 

* This weekend is going to be cray! Seriously, our weekend is jam-packed starting tonight and going forward through Sunday. It's all good things, but I am sure by Sunday night my feet are going to be praying for reprieve. We are heading to St. Cloud tonight for some time with my bro/sis-in-law, tomorrow we have my nieces dress rehearsal, tomorrow night we have a fundraiser event for Agua Viva Serves (want to big on auction items? Check them out here), I work Sunday morning (not typical), then have a meeting for a team I am leading to Kenya at the end of the Summer (YAY KENYA), then it's back to work again for our evening services! Around 9pm Sunday I will be able to kick my piggies up again. It will be a whirlwind of a weekend, but I am not sad about it in the least! So many good things, with so many great people!! 

* I am still loving Chasing Slow as my morning devotional! Seriously, this girl speaks right to my soul! It may be that it's also been a really long time since I have done any kind of morning quiet-time routine and just needed it, or that I typically have a hard time with anything non-fiction, but I am just completely engrossed! Any books you are loving lately?! 

That's about it for my Friday! 
What's going on in your world?!