Blogger Bombardment: August 9

It seems I’m not the only person in the blogosphere who loves a bunch of links to click on and read! After last week’s post, I’ve decided to bring you some more links for this Friday. Some of them are old and recently discovered, and others are new!

The UNESCO Hunt: 1-10 (via Adventurous Kate): I am absolutely in love with this blog! And the idea for visiting a ton of UNESCO sites is awesome to me.

Picnic at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland (via Ifs, Ands, & Butts): Just discovered this girl’s blog yesterday and I can’t get enough. Picnic + Ireland? Yes. Please.

Great White Sharks, Guitars and Gettin’ Down, Down Under (via The Planet D): In honor of Shark Week finishing up, why don’t you head over here and see how adventurous Dave and Deb are?

Visit Brindisi Italy (via Young Adventuress): Another blogger that I love, writing about a country that I love. What more could you ask for?

My Train Derailed in the Northern Thai Jungle (via That Backpacker): My friend was also just in Thailand and just missed a crash. This is a story that needs to be heard!

Confessions of a First Time Solo Traveler (via Ways of Wanderers): This is an old post, but an awesome read! As someone who wants to get in to solo travel, I found it very enlightening.

Vital Reminders for Writers (via The Conversationalist): Excellent quotes to take a look at.

How Funny Tweets Win You New Customers (via Fast Company): It turns out, people on Twitter really do love humor!

Do What You Love and Get Paid for It: The Missing Link (via The Middle Finger Project): SO GLAD I found this project this week. Love the attitude and the life/business lessons. You should definitely check it out!

Photography Tips, Part 1 (via Postcards from Rachel): I’ve been trying to find ways to improve my photography to improve my blog. This is a great list of tips, especially if you can’t afford a DSLR yet and most tip posts go over your budget head.

That Sponsorship Thing That Nobody Gets (via Kisses and Croissants): Just discovered this blog and knew it was love. I’m really thinking about sponsorship (as soon as I transfer over my blog) and so this was a great guide!

How Beer & Coffee Affect Your Brain (via LifeHack): An interesting infographic that explains it all. In moderation, mind you!

15 Things Happy People Don’t Do (via Elite Daily): Everyone wants to be happy, but what don’t you have to do to get there?

Why I Wake Up Early and 3 Reasons You Should Too (via Julia Boorsten on LinkedIn): I always have wanted to be an early riser, and this article might be the inspiration I needed to get there!

16 (Non-Alcoholic) Drinks for Summer! (via A Beautiful Mess): Sometimes, you just can’t afford the alcohol. 😉 Some of these sound seriously delicious!!

No Technology Weekend (via Lost in Travels): As a treat to your weekend, read this post!

How to Be Confident (via Prolific Living): Another great site that I found this week! I definitely need to work on my confidence, so if you’re like me…this is a must read.

As usual, let me know if there are any awesome links I missed this week!

Book Shelf: Eat, Pray, Love

I’ve found that if you mention, even think perhaps, the words “Eat, Pray, Love,” somebody in the vicinity will have something to say about it. I remember reading the book when it just got big and totally connecting with the fact that I wanted to learn Italian. I think I may have just barely been in highschool, though, so most everything else I didn’t care so much about. Well, I’ve been on this travel reading kick lately and I knew I had to go back and read it.

Eat Pray Love Book

Synopsis from Goodreads: “In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want–husband, country home, successful career–but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.”

Eat

It’s another ’round the world trip, you see, so maybe I wanted to be inspired. The first few chapters, I was not having it. I’ve never been through a divorce, so what do I know about how much you should cry/how much you talk about finances/etc? But I think, just maybe, if that whole chunk was shortened a little bit I would like this book a whole lot more! Approximately half of the section that was supposed to be about Italy was spent crying on the bathroom floor. Let’s throw that in a preface and spend more time with the Italians and the eating, si?

Italian Man

Gianni! An Italian man in the flesh. Well. Pixels.

Pray

Skipping ahead to India, because that seems to be the trend, we find ourselves in an ashram. We meet an awesome guy named Richard who calls Liz “Groceries” and helps her find her way to enlightenment. First of all, I wish a had a Richard around, spouting gems of wisdom at every turn. Good deal! Secondly, I know a lot of people who really embrace meditation and have had such success with it. I am not one of those people. I understand the concept of wanting to find that enlightenment, but I just can’t actually wrap my brain around the process. This whole section seems to be about inner demons and that elusive enlightenment to send them away. I don’t want to spoil anything, but she finds it in four months. On a rooftop, nonetheless!

Love

We enter the Bali section when Liz is finding her way to a medicine man’s abode. She met him long ago and he said she would return. He’s wonderful. Then a bit later, she meets another woman who is a healer. Liz then spends most of her time with this woman. This woman is also awesome to read about! She goes to a party and meets the man of her dreams. My goodness. I got to this part and this roller coaster of “Love, Hate, Love” took a nose-dive. OF COURSE she would achieve enlightenment and then find the man of her dreams in Bali. Because on a journey to find yourself, it’s gotta end like a fairy tale, am I right? Yikes.

Thing 1 & 2

Does it mean I’ve found myself and achieved bliss, now that we have these shirts?

Negatives aside, what did I like? The characters she meets along the journey are all people that I would like to get to know! Also, visiting Indonesia/Bali is something that I’d really consider. Gilbert does have a way of describing people and scenery and I really enjoyed that. Really, that’s what I was after in the first place. Technically, then, I’ve achieved my reading goal. It’s wonderful that she was able to write a memoir and have (most) people respond so well to it.

Overall Rating: 3/5 Stars

I just cannot get out of this three star rut. I hear that she has a follow-up book to this called Committed. I might have to take a breather before I read that one, though! Somebody, please recommend a travel book to me! Maybe one that will give me a four star feeling? 🙂

Have you read/seen Eat, Pray, Love? Which camp do you fall into?

Which of Liz’s destinations would you most like to visit?

Traveling When Sick

Let’s talk getting sick. I’ve got a headache that I wake up with every day. Then it pops up periodically throughout the hours that I’m awake. This weekend, I took off from work and headed down to the beach with Paul and some friends. Super awesome, except for I spent half of Saturday not being my normal beach-going self. I was huddled in a towel and shivering all day. So it was super awesome.

Beach

Still smiling, because it’s the beach.

When you’ve planned a trip, whether it be an hour outside of town or halfway around the world, it can really suck to get sick. And if your immune system is anything like mine, you’ve been there before. So what are you supposed to do about it?

I should note that I’m not talking about a hospital matter sickness. I’m talking about those bugs that slow you down, but aren’t going to kill you. I’m less than 0% experienced about or authorized to talk about any other sort of sick!

First step: breathe. Life happens. There’s no use working yourself up about it. Chances are, doing any sort of panicking about how you’re “wasting a day” (or more!) is not going to make you feel any better. Start to focus on getting yourself better. If you’ve got a travel partner, don’t leave them hanging in the dark. Let them know so that they can help you! If you’re going it alone, you’ve got to learn to listen to yourself, so at least there’s a lesson in all of this?

Don’t worry about not getting to see all of the sights. I got a major head cold/sinus infection when I was headed to Dublin in my last couple of weeks of study abroad. Paul and I had all of these fun things we wanted to do, but I was seriously struggling to keep up. It was not helping my body or my mental state. No fun all around. So we said  ‘screw it’ and went to see a movie. Yup. We saw Arthur Christmas one night in Dublin instead of going all-out Irish. And I don’t regret it at all.

Arthur Christmas

Technically this sign was in London. But work with me.

This may be more of a public service announcement, but be mindful of other people around you. The last thing you want is to have people coming up to you next week scorning you for getting them sick. I will be the first to admit that when I’m sick, I don’t give two patooties about anything but feeling better. But for all of us, use those hygiene skills I hope know we all have. At least have some hand sanitizer.

I know this might be unavoidable, but don’t fly if you don’t have to. This is not for the other people around you, so much as for yourself. I’ve been next to somebody that pukes on the plane. It wasn’t fun for me, but it sure wasn’t fun for her. That head cold I told you about? Well, let’s just say my already less-than-ideal Aer Lingus flight turned into a painful explosion of ouch centrally located in my head when we landed.

I can’t look at this without feeling pain.

In conclusion, SLOW DOWN. It’ll help your body get to healing lickety-split and not completely wear you out. Nobody wants that!

Do you have any tips for when you get a bug while you’re traveling?

Blogger Bombardment: August 2

One of the great things about being a blogger is that you get to read other bloggers. I guess technically you don’t have to be a blogger to do that, but I feel you get more invested when you’ve got a baby of your own. Paul is so lucky to have me because usually I’ll bombard him with about 12 send him a link a day about something awesome I’ve found.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to your own blogger bombardment! Is that too obnoxious of a title? I might keep it. It’s pretty nice alliteration, you must admit! Give me your thoughts. I can’t be the only one that finds these posts and gets insanely click happy…right?

Travel Links

Eight Alternative Theme Parks of the World (via Lonely Planet): Who’s not a big theme park fan, I ask you?

Why I Love A Traveling Girl (via 1000 Places to Fight Before You Die): Probably my favorite that I sent Paul. Clearly showing him that he should still love me.

Why I Want to Move to Carmel by the Sea, California (via A Passion & A Passport): I exclaimed “I NEED TO GET RICH BECAUSE SEA OTTERS!” when I told somebody about this.

My Favorite Beaches After Two Years of Travel (via Never Ending Footsteps): Beach lady for sure, over here.

Put-In-Bay: Wait, This Place is in Ohio? (via A Dangerous Business): Totally doable on a trip to the big Cedar Point. This baby has GOT to happen.

Blogging & Business

10 Tips to Help You Find Work Abroad (via Wild Junket Magazine): Okay I guess technically this can be lumped into travel. But I’m not doing it.

10 of the Most Inspiring Websites for Digital Nomads (via The Barefoot Nomad): Some serious inspiration here!

Qualifications (via The Art of Non-Conformity): This one is big on my mind right now as I struggle to complete my fifth year of schooling.

58 Ways to Get Notices as a New Blogger (via Blog World): Some great tips to look at!

Blog School Scholarships (via The Blog Genie): …and my entry! Seriously, if you want to build your blog, check this page out!

Health & Happiness

Happiness is Not Something Ready Made (via Olive to Run): If you only check out one of my links today, make it this one. I believe I said “it made my heart soar.” And I meant it.

The 7 Chakras (via Love Life Surf): Ever wondered about the 7 Chakras? I fully trust Christine to educate you.

10 Things Fit People Do…So Copy Them (via Lifting Revolution): Taylor is a marvelous fit person, so you may want to listen. 😉

How to Say NO With Love (via Heather Waxman): I’m awful at saying no, with or without love. Excellent post!

Ironman Lake Placid Recap (via NYC Running Mama): Is it normal to want to cry at the end of somebody else’s Ironman racap? AMAZING woman.

As they say, that’s a wrap! Anything you’ve got to add to the list this week?

Money Woes: Starting A Travel Budget

If you ask me what my most talked about subject was, it would probably be how money is stressing me out. I am my father’s daughter, and I’m a money worrier for sure. It’s not difficult to see why with how much tuition and general living expenses in Philadelphia are. But it would be nice to not worry about it so often!

High School Grad

High school graduation. We’re probably thinking about money. 😉

One thing that’s made my worry a lot better recently is having a travel budget. I’ve had a budget before, but I was just saving for the all-elusive “someday” when I would need a big chunk of change. As with most things in life, having an end goal is super helpful. And if I want to enjoy all of these travel plans brewing in my brain, whether they’re near or far, I’m gonna need some moolah to get it done.

The question then came up of how to actually get money in there. There are many travel budgeting posts out there (this one from Kate was one I found to be very realistic!), but not all of them applied to me! Many, many, many of them mentioned selling possessions on eBay or selling your car. But what if you don’t have nice things to sell to cushion your savings fund in the first place?

Rome Biking Sunset

My preferred mode of transportation. If only it were always at sunset in Rome.

I’m going to share some things that I’m doing to try to save money. I’m not going to break it down by specific expenses (yet!), because technically I don’t know if I’ve been successful or not yet! Keep in mind, I don’t have kids or anything. I also rent an apartment and don’t own. I don’t have a car. Etc. Etc. I’m already budgeting. 😉


Break it down. The first thing you have to do is to actually get a handle on where your spending is going. Excel spreadsheets are my boyfriend’s favorite things in the whole world, but they don’t really do it for me. I use Mint.com and all of their apps to keep track of what my money is going to and then adjust a monthly budget off of that.

Perfect the art of income. I totally TOTALLY understand that the job market sucks. I worked a very minimum wage job serving various forms of frozen treats for a few years. Sometimes, the income just isn’t as great as you want it to be! If you want something badly enough, you’ve got to take something out there. I’m lucky now to have a job that I love that gets me by! But it wasn’t enough. I got chosen for a peer teaching job at school that will give me a little extra dough. I recently begged asked Kristen how to jump into the art of freelancing. Sometimes, you have to be overworked get creative.

Manage those paychecks. I pay for rent/utilities by taking half out of two separate paychecks. I pay off my credit card balance (hello groceries) or any loan payments as well. Then I move it ALL into my travel fund, saving $300 for emergencies (that I’m considering moving back down) in my checking account. If I don’t think I have it, I don’t spend it. Boom.

Don’t pay for something you can do yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard, “Don’t eat out. EVER!” Well…been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I am a huge fitness junkie. I refuse to pay for a gym when I can get creative and workout at home or at school/work. I run because it’s fairly cheap (and I like it, yada yada yada)! Sometimes I splurge on races, but I’m trying to cut that down. I’m also a book lover. Goodbye Barnes & Noble and helloooo Public Library. I don’t even buy books for school anymore. Even this blog is an example. Sure, I’d love to be self hosted and have a designer do all of my work for me. But I’m sure trying my hardest to get it done myself so it’s cheaper!

Don’t ever shop at Whole Foods. Seriously, though. It’s the closest grocery store to my house, but I refuse to do my shopping there anymore. I’ve got a friend at work who orders all of her bulk stuff off of Target’s website and/or Amazon and she saves a TON! Highly considering that! I also buy my produce locally, which really helps me out.

Look for discounts. I don’t care if you aren’t a student anymore. If you’ve got a student ID that looks vaguely like you with no expiration date, USE THAT SUCKER. Coupons/special promotion codes are also a big help. Just make sure the place you shop accepts them (see above)!

Wait to buy big travel items. I’m not talking about airline tickets or anything, because I am NOT well versed in that yet. But I’m talking about a camera, a backpack, clothes, etc. Black Friday and huge ginormous end-of-season sales will be around eventually, right? Be a smarter shopper!

Lastly, a word of advice from my parents when I showed them my new “don’t spend anything” budget. Don’t get crazy. Don’t spend so much time and effort saving for a trip (or anything, for that matter!) that you lose sight of what you’re doing today. Many people travel to enjoy life. It’s a heck of a lot easier to enjoy life when you allow yourself to enjoy life where you are right now, too. And sometimes, that just takes money to happen. Allow it, embrace it, and don’t feel guilty.

Mickey Mouse Ice Cream

Never feel guilty, for instance, about Mickey shaped ice cream sandwiches.

Share your favorite budgeting tips! Have you seen any great posts about budgeting? Isn’t money fun? 😉

Marathons on My Mind

Holy moly, it’s a hot one out there. Hot with an extra shot of humidity. It’s the perfect weather for my new adventure – NOT. But that’s what an adventure is, am I right? But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Red Socks for Boston

Red socks during the Broad Street Run this year!

I’m a runner and I love it. Most of the time. So what did I do this year? I decided that I was going to try to shoot for that elusive marathon finish. Specifically in my stomping grounds of Philadelphia. Theoretically I’d love to break 4 hours on my first, but my pesky knee problems will determine that. But Tuesday officially marked my first “marathon training” run. In this heat wave, wouldn’t you know.

In honor of this exciting new adventure (and the nerves that come along with it), I decided to pretend I’m a brilliant marathoner and choose the top three races I think would be awesome to do!

Destination Races

3. Marathon de Paris

I will admit, I fell a little bit in love with Paris when I visited. Despite the rainy and chilly weather that greeted us, I wanted more. I still want more. And racing in Paris would be AWESOME to me!

Just take a look at the race map from their website.

Marathon De Paris Map

Could you ask to cover more of Paris? I don’t think so.

2. Great Wall of China Marathon

Talk about a freaking adventure, am I right? This is a tough one at that. There’s a marathon, half marathon, and 7.5k option for this puppy, so everybody can get crazy on the Great Wall.

Info from the website: “Run the most challenging marathon of your life along one of mankind’s greatest monuments. Since the inaugural Great Wall Marathon in 1999, the field has grown steadily to over 2,000 runners in the 2012 edition with participants from over 50 nations.”

1. The Big Five Marathon

Okay, so for this baby you’ve got a marathon, half, and 10k option. I know I want to do this one more than a little bit. A LOT more than a little bit. Hello, South Africa, I will be there as fast as I can.

From the website: “In these magnificent surroundings, one can combine exciting game drives with a challenging marathon route going right through the habitat of the most famous African game: Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard. No fences, no rivers, nothing at all separates the runners from the African wildlife.”

Giraffe Philadelphia Zoo

What if I ran near one of these? I would faint. I would be too excited to finish the race.

I’m swooning. Really, though.

Do you know of any good destination races? Where do you think one should be?