Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Visiting your home town again

I've lived in Boston for nearly 8 years now. It is home. When I travel, and people ask me where I am from and I choose to go with the easy answer, I respond, "Boston." But Boston is not "my home town."

I am not a Bostonian. I'm not a New Englander. I am, and probably always will be, an Alaskan. If I could avoid ever going back up there, I would, though. I hated living there even more than I love living in Boston.

So what draws a person back to a home town they couldn't wait to leave?

In my case, it's family. My sister and her family moved back a few years ago. They aren't in a position to find opportunities to visit me. So if I want to see them any time in the next decade, I need to make the pilgrimage back home and visit them. And since I'm going, I decided to make a trip of it. I'll be there for 8 days.

Trip is not until October, but I am already thinking about things I want to do:
  • Moose's Tooth pizza and beer
  • Movie/s at the Bear Tooth
  • Crab and macadamia nut stuffed halibut at Simon and Seafort's
  • Letting my nieces (ages 15, 7, and 7) and nephew (age 13) decide on the next color of my mohawk and help me dye it.
  • Rage City Rollergirls - there is a game my one (non jetlagged) Saturday in town. I will have to play this by ear.
  • VivaVoom Brr-Lesque show. :)
  • Drinks with friends
  • Lunch with friends
  • Long walks along the coastal trail
  • Board games with my sister and her family.
  • Games with friends
  • Taking the kids book shopping (Amazon and UPS lost the package with all their Christmas gifts last year) at Title Wave - my favorite bookstore.
 What are the things you look forward to when you return to YOUR home town?

Going back home comes with it so many memories. Good and bad.  And so many changes. It's been five years since I was last in Alaska. Five years since I last saw my sister and her family. I'm excited about revisiting old haunts and seeing how things might have changed. Visiting with old friends. And I can't wait to see the people my nieces and nephew are becoming.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Travel Preferences

A friend recently put together a list about traveling preferences that I think is extremely helpful. :) So I stole it to put it here! *grins*

Practical Stuff

Budget: Frugal - Moderate. For 1-2 weeks overseas, I would budget around $3000 - $4000, including airfare.

Languages: I don't speak any language fluently other than English. However, I do make an effort to try to learn some of the local language/s of where I will be going. And I always use my translation app for situations where being able to stumble my way through in the local language is easier or more respectful than just hoping someone nearby speaks English. Traveling with someone: If they speak other languages, that's awesome! Particularly as it will give me someone to practice with when we are on our own.

Housing: I prefer inexpensive, but still well-located. I'm also willing to spend a little more for cleanliness. It doesn't have to be the cheapest thing in sight, but within stone's throw, price-wise. Traveling with someone: Sharing a room to cut costs is fine with me. But I do snore, so I recommend earplugs. And sharing stuff like shampoo, sunblock, body wash, etc, just makes sense to me.

Sleep and body clock shifting: I don't get jet lag going forward in time, but I do when going back in time. So first day in new place I am fine out exploring on my own. But then my usual schedule has me up at 7 and in bed by 11. Traveling with someone: I can get up and sneak around before they wake up as long as it's not sleeping in so late half the day is wasted. And I am bad at getting to sleep while lights are on or someone is active in the room.

Food: I love love love eating out when I am traveling. It's where most of my budget ends up going.  Everything from street food to nice restaurants. I'll eat just about anything, but do lean to omnivorous. Traveling with someone: I love sharing meals with people! It means either getting to try twice as much stuff or splitting a meal and cutting the cost in half.

Packing: My trip to India was the first time I did a super lengthy trip (I've always done trips that were 1 week or less this way) while packing super light -- just one backpack. It was AWESOME. I could walk to get most places I wanted to be, and when I took buses and trains it was easy to get aboard and keep track of my stuff and get off quickly. I didn't have to worry about where to keep my stuff after the hotel checkout time, I just took it with me. No lost luggage or waiting at the baggage carousel at the airport either. It also helped stop me from over spending by buying too much STUFF. Traveling with someone: I have a strong preference that they not check luggage. Any version of "just a carryon", I can cope with.

More General Stuff

Activities I like: Walking, light hiking, seeing gardens/parks, churches, cathedrals, opera houses, vineyards, architecture. Sitting in cafes/restaurant bars. Shopping (either window or real). Visiting market places. Boats. Anything high up. Carnivals (ferris wheels are a MUST). Picnics. Breweries/wineries. Talking to people. Traveling with someone: Company is always preferable for me than solo. But I am more than happy to do any or all of this stuff by myself. I don't go into open water when traveling solo anymore, though, so beaches are something I'm more likely to do with company than without.

Activities I don't do: Museums, nightclubs, (most) tours, casinos (I'll admit, I've never been to a casino, but it just doesn't seem like my kind of scene), swimming, heavy hiking/backpacking. Traveling with someone: I actually love to swim. I just don't do it by myself, anymore.

Pace: Slow. Generally I'd be up for doing one thing in the morning and another in the afternoon after lunch. Or just wandering around. Wandering around is good too. Traveling with someone: they should either also be slow paced or willing to split up. "Let's hit these six museums today" is not fun for me.

Planning ahead: Moderate . I like having a general idea of things as back-up in case randomness fails to turn something up. My "plans" are never set in stone, though. Everything is flexible. I just feel more comfortable with some advanced research when possible. However, if I'm bored somewhere, I'll leave. And if something unexpected pops up that I hadn't looked in to, I will go there. I've been to some stunning places that way! Traveling with someone:As long as you don't want everything overly planned out and set in stone and you're fine with me doing some advanced research, and don't expect me to travel entirely by the seat of my pants, we're good.

Flexibility / stress at change: Since India I have mellowed tremendously when traveling. More patient, and more able to cope when the very unexpected (or even catastrophic) happens. But I do have a severe anxiety disorder. Panic attacks happen. I have medicine and other tools to help, but sometimes I just need time. Traveling with someone: mellow is a must. I cannot cope with someone who stresses over every little thing that is imperfect or Not The Way I Do It At Home. And being able to not freak out if I have an anxiety attack is essential.

Encounters with other people: I am SUCH a wicked extrovert that I always end up talking to strangers. I love joining other travelers for an activity or even an entire adventure and part of the trip. They may have information about an activity or place I don't have, that turns out I am quite interested in - and the more is quite often the merrier! Traveling with someone: My travel companion absolutely cannot be resistant to meeting new people. It is so horribly uncomfortable for me. 

Splitting up for the day: Sure, have fun! 

Did I miss anything that you'd want to know before setting out for a trip with someone?

Hold this spot for my trip to Arizona

I went to Arizona back in November, but failed to write about it.

I will catch up. I promise.