Where did the time go?

How are you surviving 2020 so far? Did you jump right in with all the intention to take on #allthethings and #alltheresolutions?

Did you take our advice and start planning for the year?

Me – I feel like I’m still playing catch up, and not quite ready for the new year.

Because last week my youngest turned two years old. And the day after I celebrated 11 years with my hubby and I’m sitting here wondering to myself how in the world did that all happen?

Let’s start with the anniversary – because that’s a doozy. 

I got married to a soldier in a Georgia courthouse 11 years ago, Sunday. We eloped so that I could move to Germany with him.  

That’s right. I got married in January and by March I was on a plane headed out of the country for the first time ever. I was from a small town in Kansas and married this man and flew halfway around the world only to have him deploy for a year to Iraq just months after I got there.  

I was alone. I was unemployed. I was not really sure what to do with myself. So I traveled.

Did you know that’s when my love of travel really started?  I made friends and we got up and went. To Poland to shop for polish pottery. To Paris where we rode around on Segways and took food tours and walking tours. We went shopping for pottery in France. We ran all over Germany and took down so many flea markets that my house is one Kathe Wolfthart chimney decoration away from being a German tourist trap. 

And all that travel with my friends – it made me brave. And the connections and bonds I made totally saved me. And the people I traveled with? 11 years later we are still planning annual vacations to get together.

When my husband came home we just kept going. To Ireland, France, Italy, Montenegro, Spain. Every chance we could we were on the road somewhere. 

And from all of that we built this life. Travel is where we really found each other again after he came back from that deployment. 

Flash forward two kids later and now my youngest is two AND we have a seven year old and I can’t help but wonder where did all of that time go?

What I do know is that I feel so incredibly blessed to have taken advantage of opportunities when they were presented to me instead of waiting for a better time. Because if I had waited I wouldn’t have been as brave. I wouldn’t have seen and experienced as much. And, for all I know, my life would have been much much different than it is today.  

Someday I’ll go there. 

Someday I’ll see that in person.

We can always say, “someday.” Well there are 7 days in a week and someday isn’t one of them. 

So make 2020 your year of trying to turn your “somedays” into an actual day. 

And if I can help, you know I’d love to!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!

XO Krystal

 

The Scariest Thing About Traveling……

Traveling is the one thing found on everyone’s bucket list, yet there are so many people who don’t travel because of a fear they have. Today I thought we’d pick apart a few of these fears and tackle them head on.

Fear #1 – Afraid to travel alone.

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Solo travel, especially solo travel among women, is on the rise, but there are still so many people worried about trekking out on their own.  Women have a special subset of issues to work through on this set – fear of unwanted attention from men being the #1 feedback that I get from my female clientele.  So what’s a girl to do? Fortunately she has a couple of options.

  1. Join a group tour.  There are several amazing small group tours out there that are doing amazing things.  Many, like G Adventures, cap tours at around 10-15 people so you don’t feel like you are being shuttle herded with the masses.  There are a growing number of options for women only groups as well.  Check out our private facebook page The Serendipitous Travel Squad or sign up for our newsletter to keep in touch on Serendipitous Traveler’s upcoming group trips.
  2. Work with a travel advisor to map out your itinerary. Most importantly –  do your research.  The fact remains that some places are more friendly for solo travelers than not. A travel advisor can help you work through the best ideas, safe places to stay, and help set you up with a solid itinerary so you are never out in the wind.  As long as you use a travel advisor, you always have someone that knows where you are and you have someone to check in with as you go.  

Fear #2 – Afraid of something bad happening

I get this fear from solo travelers, groups, couples….basically everyone.  And I get it. Especially if you re traveling somewhere foreign and you don’t speak the language. And there’s always a litany of things that can go wrong. And was anyone else scarred by the movie Taken? Well even if your dad isn’t Liam Neeson, there are plenty of things you can do to mitigate disasters while traveling. Here are some of our favorites.

  • Be cognizant of your surroundings.  Pickpockets are there and they like to take advantage of crowded tourist spots. Because tourists are always carrying money and are distracted by the sights around them. So many people get pickpocketed and don’t even realize it until it’s too late. But if you are on guard and cognizant of where you are, you can easily avoid being a target. That means, guys, put your wallets in your front pocket. Girls, travel with a purse that zips up and is in front of you.  If you need a backpack, know that you are walking with a bit of a target on your back and keep it close by. Invest in a brand that is slash proof (we like these from ebags), and again, be aware of your surroundings.  If someone is begging from the front, make sure their partner isn’t digging through your pack from the back.
  • Invest in RFID blocking sleeve, wallet or ID holder.  I was shocked last year when I attended a trade show and a supplier showed me how easy it was to swipe credit card information using an app on her phone. Anyone sitting in a public place can gain access to hundreds of credit card numbers and have something purchased and charged up before you even get back to check the balance in your hotel room.  RFID blocking sleeves, wallets, etc are a cheap investment that can save you a lot of time and headache while traveling.
  • Be wary of public wifi.  In a world where we are always connected, it’s tempting to take advantage of a cafe pit stop and check up on your social channels. When you are traveling, you are probably spending more, so it’s natural that you’d want to check in on your finances or your credit card statement.  Unfortunately, public places are traps for mining your data.  It’s too easy to set up a hot spot and call it “Whatever Establishment You Are Sitting At Free Wifi” and dupe unsuspecting folks.  If you much check your wifi, be sure to ask someone if there is free wifi before linking up. Better yet, wait until you are back in your hotel or spring the few bucks and pay for the data. It will save you more money in the long run.

Fear #3 – Afraid of the unknown

 

You just don’t know what you don’t know.

  • How to get from point A to point B.
  • How to use the subway system.
  • Where to go for dinner.
  • What museum should you visit. Do you need to purchase tickets in advance.
  • What do you pack.
  • How to read your train tickets.

And this is where a good travel advisor comes in. They arm you with information so that not only are you adequately prepared to travel, you are armed with enough information to really enjoy and be wowed by your travel.  After all, if you understand what you are looking at you are getting twice the value. At the very least be sure to arm yourself with a good guide book to get you started.

Travel can be an intimidating experience, but fortunately with the right preparation, anyone and everyone can have an enjoyable travel experience.

Face your fears and get out there!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!

XO Krystal

 

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Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). I only recommend items that I personally use and gift to my own clients and just want to share the love with you!

A vacation for Mom!

Summer is coming to an end. Back to school is in full swing. And mom’s everywhere are sharing a collective exhale.

Summer vacation has always felt like a bit of an oxymoron to me as an adult. Like really, who’s on vacation? Then, getting back into the routine of school is a whole other ball game.

Growing up I always thought I’d end up like Belle. Turns out, more often than not, I end up like this lady:

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And it’s for this reason that I’m a huge fan of Girls Weekends! Because there must be more than this provincial life.

This mom has her own vacation planned! In one week I leave for a girls weekend in Colorado. It’s a quick turnaround. There will be food. There will be a little hiking. AND there will be Bruno! We are meeting up to go to the Bruno Mars Concert.

Why do I encourage women everywhere to take a little break?

Moms – you need a break from your kids.  I know – you love your family. Your kids are wonderful. You love your spouse. But when mom’s go on vacation, they aren’t really on vacation.  They are herding everyone to where they need to be. They are making plans. They are organizing everything. They are cleaning the room. They are making sure everyone is accounted for and little Johnny isn’t left on the train platform.  And by the end you feel like you need a vacation from your vacation.

Weekends with your girlfriends are the safe space every woman needs.  Need to bitch about how not every moment of marriage and motherhood is sprinkled with rainbows and unicorns? That’s what your girlfriends are for.  It’s space to be vulnerable. It’s safe. It’s judgement free. And it’s the opportunity to realize that yes, we feel you and we feel that way, too. And that’s because…..

No one gets you like your girlfriends do.  They knew you when you were sweating it out on the dance floor before you had spit up on your shirt. They were there when you told them that you found the one. They don’t care if you are in Belle mode, or the crazy egg lady.  They get you. And you get them.

The ability to travel solo is sometimes a gift unto itself. Why, yes, I WILL wear white on the plane today. (Not really. I don’t need to have kids to spill coffee all over myself, but you get my point.) You have time to actually stop and get that coffee.  You have time to, gasp,  Read. A. Book.

Recharging your batteries makes you a better wife/mom/person. Especially when surround yourself with quality people.  Remember that safe place I mentioned? A quality friend lets you vent about the fact that life isn’t all rainbows, while simultaneously reminding you that 1) you aren’t always a picnic to live with either (in a warm, fuzzy loving way of course!), and 2) your life is full of way more sunshine and good than not.  They lift you up, and elevate you to be the best you can be. They bring out the good in you. They encourage the best. And they make you feel good about it all at the same time. And when you take the time to laugh, sleep in, and let someone else cater to you for a change (even if it is a waiter that you tip generously for a little extra champagne in your mimosa for brunch), you let the coils relax just a little. You come home ready to take on challenges at work and at home just a little more clearly.

So, what are you waiting for? Have you called your girlfriends lately? I think it’s time to start planning a little getaway……..And if I can help bring all the pieces together you know I’d love to!