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Friday, March 28, 2014

How To: Travel Like A Rock Star

Do you enjoy traveling and seeing the world? Or perhaps travel quite a bit for work? Or maybe you think about traveling sometimes and wonder about possibly trying it out someday. Do you know anyone who has ever gone anywhere?

Then this article is for you.

The first step to traveling like a rock star is to be a bajillionaire.
Step 2: Buy a private plane.
Step 3: Go wherever you want, disregarding airport security measures.
Step 4: Get off plane where you land, and fan yourself from the heat with your benjamins.

For everyone else, let’s do this.

It all starts with what you wear. You start out thinking “Well, I want to look fly when we get there, so I am going to rock my skinny jeans and high heels and put on eyeliner like you’ve never even SEEN BEFORE.”

This is a terrible, terrible, very bad plan. If you are going on a flight that is longer than 1-2 hours in duration, you will very much regret your choices.

Let’s rethink this.

FIrst of all, comfort is key for traveling. Airplanes are like People of Walmart, except all stuck on a flying tin can together with a background ambiance of safety videos and screaming babies.

You will see some very fashionable people also traveling, but you will also be subjected to all the horrors of muumuus, too-tight spandex, sweats in every color, and flip flops as far as the eye can see.

And guess where those fashionable people sit? Up in first class, away from you and the other baby-toting, sweatpants-wearing peons. They get ottomans and real glass from which to drink their tiny bottles of wine.

Unlike us. We’re stuck in the no-legroom, baby-screaming-free-for-all that is Coach. And you can pretty it up all you want with terms like “Economy” and “Business Class,” but you aren’t fooling ANYONE. Coach is where there is always an unfortunate person stuck in the middle seat, the legroom is about 3 inches short of having room for your legs, and the guy in front of you inevitably puts back his seat while you’re in the MIDDLE of eating your individually packaged beef-with-instant-potatoes. DUDE I WAS USING MY TRAY TABLE.

So, back to the clothes. Trust me on this. For international flights, go with sweatpants. If you have a connecting flight and especially if you have more than one connecting flight, you will really, really appreciate slip on shoes or flip flops or ballet flats.

You know what is not fun at all? Walking through 3 airports, including customs and 2 security lines at 2 different airports in high heels.
None of them think you look sexy today.
How would I know, you may ask. WELL LET ME ENLIGHTEN YOU, STRANGER. I just came back from a trip to New Zealand. I live in New York City. It took 3 planes, 2 baggage claims, 2 security lines, and going through customs once EACH WAY to do that trip.

I wore jeans. I wanted to wear my comfy sleeping sweatpants, but Boyfriend though I shouldn’t because it was cold in NYC when we were leaving and I’d be cold and look ridiculous. You know what’s ridiculous? Wearing jeans for 25 hours straight with not a single minute of no-pants time in between.

I had to wear pants for FOREVER. No breaks, no pj shorts, no gym shorts, NOTHING. JUST JEANS. That waistband was not super comfortable 25 hours later.

I also wanted a shower, but that’s another thing.

Go for comfort and convenience and ease over trendy on long flights. Not one single person on the flight gives a single crap about your trendy outfit. You’re the only one who thinks about it at all. And after 25 hours and 2 miles of airports that you’ve walked through and baggage claims and stuff, you will hate those heels, and they will hate you back.

Also, on a trip that long, makeup is a waste. You’ll either rub it off or it will come off when you sleep.

Another important factor to consider when doing some long distance traveling is who you are traveling with.

If it is a significant other, you will want to make 100% sure that you really, really like that person. And that if they are cranky, you can handle it. It is completely impossible not to get a LITTLE cranky at some point during 25 solid hours of traveling. Try not to go with someone you’ll wind up hating.

Now that is some good advice, I should write an advice book! If you’re traveling with family, then do whatever you want. They are family and they’re forced to love you, even when you’re annoying and disgruntled.

Another tip is to have your itinerary on you. You should be able to see when your flight at the next airport is scheduled for, and know your flight numbers. You need some of that info on your customs forms, and if you threw out your boarding passes, you might be a tiny bit screwed. It will also make it easier to check in to the next flights in various airports.

When you are on more than one airline (like United for one flight, but Air NNZ for the next), you have to check in to them separately, checking into the next airline when you get to the next airport.

And then go through security again.

In the end, traveling the world is awesome. Once you’re already there.

Germ-riddled compressed air flying tin cans with wings and tiny bathrooms are not as fun.
The miracle of FLIGHT. Superman knows.
But hey, at least most international flights have those individual personal little TVs with movies and games and TV shows. It could be worse. You could be stuck with just a laptop that runs out of juice in hour 5 of the 14 hour flight, with no where to plug it in.

Someday, teleportation will exist and I will be first in line to beta test that molecular travel thingy. I love exploring new places and seeing different cultures, and how other people live their day to day lives.

I hate sleeping in tiny airplane seats, having to ask someone every time I want a new tiny cup of water, and getting restless. When I got restless on the plane, I would get up and walk to the back and do squats and jumping jacks. It may not have been pretty, but if I had sat in one place that whole time, I might’ve killed Boyfriend out of boredom. And somehow, I don’t think he’d fully appreciate that…

Yeah, yeah, flying is a miracle. I got almost completely halfway around the world in less than a day. And yeah, I got to be in the future, since it is 17 hours ahead there, so when I talked to someone back home, I got to make fun of them for living in the past. But in the end, when you get off the plane in the last airport at your destination, you’re going to hate traveling a little bit.
And then fall back in love with it because you get to see THIS.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Real, Live PENGUINS And Other NZ Adventures.

So I just came home from a super-magnificently-rad 2 week vacation in NEW ZEALAND with Boyfriend, my dad, my big brother, and my sister-in-law. 

I actually think of her as my big sis, but I can see how it would be weird for other people if I were to say "brother and sister and their 2 children" in the course of conversation. The "in law" moniker is only for designation, to show that we are from Alabama.

So, off we 4 went on the longest freaking flight EVER and eventually landed in NZ feeling mildly gross, kind of tired, weirdly achy, and in need of a shower and some teeth-brushing. 

I took over 200 pictures while we were there, and we spent the whole 2 weeks exploring the north island. Everywhere we went, the entire country is gorgeous and scenic and demanding you to just pull over to the side of the road and take a picture. Over 200 pictures and 95% of them are animals and landscapes. You really don't see MY adventures in NZ, so much as sheep, rolling greenery, lakes, AND PENGUINS. 

YESSSS. You read that right! I saw real live penguins IN THE TUX. 

It was amazing. I spent a lot of time watching penguins. Boyfriend, who thinks my obsession with penguins is both cute and a little unnatural, figured he'd enjoy it for 5 minutes and move on to the sharks. NOPE NOPE NOPE. He spent just as long as I did gazing down on these munchkins filled with adorableness and the wish to fly.
SQUEEEE! Penguins holding hands!!


They have gathered to discuss important things, like politics. The one on the far right is sitting on his egg.
 I have never felt so alive as when I was hangin' with the 'guins. 
This one is dancing. I love him.
Ok, moving on from penguins. Here are some non-animal related picture. They're pretty much all landscapes.
The beach on the Tasman Sea.

Ruakuri Cave in Waitomo, NZ.
 And the weather was just beautiful. All of these pictures were taken on my cell phone and they came out completely awesome! Look at this gorgeous day we had in Middle Earth!
Hobbiton from up by Bag's End. 

Part of Hobbiton from below. Adorable wee hobbit holes!

The lake by our campground near Rotorua, NZ. Sunset approaching.

A big-ass snowcapped mountain, with a volcano behind it on the right.
Aaaaaaaand back to animals. There are a lot of animals in New Zealand. Specifically, there are a lot of sheep. Sheep is a big deal there, with the wool and the delicious meat and all. They have delicious lamb dishes everywhere! 

Look at those amazing shofars...I mean horns.


Here are more animals of whom I took portraits.
I happened to catch him as he was moving and caught his eye!

This little dude smiled for the camera.

BABY ALPACAS. I want to own one. I'll keep him with my penguin and they'll become unlikely best friends and go on adventures together forever.

Grown up alpacas eating from the palm of my hand!

Giant T-Rex on the side of the road and a cool sign.

I had a good time. It was very rad. And getting to chill with Boyfriend, big bro, sis-in-law, and dad for all of the adventures? Just made it even better. I can't wait to do it again in a couple to a few years, and all go somewhere else!