Wednesday, January 28, 2015

planning scotland

This is the first post in a series Planning Scotland.  Over the series, I will be going over how to plan, pack, save, etc for a trip, as well as share worksheets on helping with the planning.


One thing that I have planned for the next ... oh, let's say 5 years, is for C and I to take a trip to Scotland.  I've wanted to go back ever since I went with family when I was 16.  C has never been, but we've been talking about taking a European vacation and I think Scotland would be the perfect.

At the beginning of your planning process, there are five basic questions you need to ask.  

1.  Where do you want to go?  This may take some time to really narrow down.  It can be a country or a city depending on the particular trip.

2.  How long?  When planning this section, keep in mind travel times to and from the destination.  If you have to fly, make sure you take that into account. 

3.  When?  This part can take some research -- do you go during the off season to save money, but can't see as many attractions?  Do you go during the high season, but pay more and battle crowds?

4.  Who do you want to go with? Go dutch or pay all?  Are you going solo? With a friend or significant other? Do you want to treat for part or all of the trip or split 50/50?

5.  What do you want to do while there?  What are your must sees?  Is there any certain food you want to eat?  The more you think about this, the more accurate your budgeting and saving plan can be.

Here are my answers with Scotland.  

1.  Where?  Scotland
2.  How long?  10 days total / 7 days of in country traveling
3.  When?  I want to go in the spring or fall.  I haven't narrowed it down 100%, but those aren't quite to off season or the high season.
4.  Who with?  With C and we'll probably split it pretty 50/50.  

#5 is a longer answer, so I figured it needed it's own actual paragraph.  As much as I want to go crazy and see EVERYTHING, I know that being go-go-go on the vacation will not be restful at all.  I want to enjoy the trip, not feel stressed about it.  I decided to focus on one big city and one side trip.

Big City : Edinburgh  -- I fell in love with the city while I was there.  It's perfect for walking and I think that C will enjoy all the open spaces and not crowded feeling of it.

Side Trip : Isle of Skye --  For the side trip, I wanted to take all of the trouble of renting a car and whatnot out of it and found a 3 day tour with Lonely Planet for a reasonable price.  It includes transportation there and back, hotel and breakfast.  It also means that C and I don't have to try driving on the "wrong" side of the road or read a map.  We can relax and enjoy the scenery.
Next time, I'll have the in-depth budget and saving planning worksheets that I used for this.  I'll also have blank ones for your use as well. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

embrace the journey // joyful thursday (2)

It can be a tough thing when you look around you and realize that you are not where you thought you'd be (or even where you want to be).  It can seem like everyone you know is somehow living ... better, fancier, more adventurous and you have gotten left behind in a life of drudgery and boringness, no where near what you expected your life to look like.

Many rounds of anger and depression later, you take a deep breath and realize that it isn't getting you anywhere.  The stress, the resentment - it's doing nothing but putting you in a circle of negativity and grossness.  But -- how do you get out of this mindset when all around you you see your "failure".

You may not be where you want to be at the current moment, but you can embrace where you are on the journey.  Take stock of your friends, your adventures, your significant other (or rocking the singles scene). Did you always picture yourself in the mountains of Colorado but haven't quite made it?  Maybe you can explore the wild areas around you.  

That last one? Yeah, that's one of mine.  I've always planned on making it back to Colorado, but C has a daughter who lives in Northern Maine, so that's not gonna happen.  Lately, instead of moping about that fact, I've been taking the time to notice that Maine is pretty freaking awesome its self.  Check out these pictures for yourself.

It's all about how you look at it.  When you finally make it, do you want to remember how miserable you were until you did or did you want to remember all the fun you had on the way?

Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
-- Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

i'm loving // links and finds

**  This is one of the most interesting nature/outdoor photographers that I've come across in a long time. 

Photo Credit // Joe Decker, Rock Slide Photography

**  Hannah of Hannah Gale is one of my new blog finds but I've really liked what I've read so far. Her post on how she felt lonely and missing friends just really spoke to me.  
Chris says I'm being too picky about new friends too. I didn't reach out to one girl because I didn't like her shoes in one photo I saw online.  But the truth is, I don't want new friends.  I have friends.  They're just scattered somewhere between 70 and 150 miles away from me.
**  Was anyone else as excited as I was for Josh Gates' new show Expedition Unknown? The first episode last Thursday was about Amelia Earhart and was freaking awesome! 

**  I am pretty much a crazy bunny lady and this is my idea of heaven

**  I want these. I want these bad

**  One of my favorite bloggers is Belinda at Found Love, Now What? She writes about being an American expat in Wales, positivity, and shares about her travels and life.  She is wonderful and I highly recommend that you head over and check out her blog (and check out her Instagram if you want to see some beautiful pictures of Wales)
I am always on the lookout for some awesome new blogs to read -- big or small, any suggestions?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

an attitude of gratitude // joyful thursday (1)

I firmly believe that the most important part of being joyful is having an attitude of gratitude.  If you aren't grateful about what you have and where you are, you will never be able to have a joyful life.  You can have joy while always thinking about what you don't have

Having said that, I know that after time, any gratitude practice can start to feel stale.  I rounded up some fun ways to spice up your practice or to start a new one. 

1.  Gratitude Jar : This is actually the practice that I use the most consistently.  I don't necessarily add something to it every day, but I try to several times a week.  Not only do I add colorful slips of paper with things that I'm grateful for written on them, but I add ticket stubs, photos (from my Instax), things from my nature walk, just about anything that I will see and remember what an awesome life I have.

2.  Daily Photo Gratitude Challenge : I love the idea of doing a visual challenge.  It's easy to forget to be grateful for the little stuff when you aren't looking directly at it, but this puts a nice big reminder in front of your face.

3.  Meditate / Bed Time : This is another one that I do off and on.  I take a few minutes before I go to sleep to lay back, close my eyes, take some deep breaths and think about everything that went well over the day -- big (new job) to small (yay coffee!).

4.  Gratitude at the Dinner Table : Once C and I get into our own place again, I want to start instituting a (at least) weekly dinner at the table.  Sharing what we are grateful for WILL become a part of this tradition

5.  Create a "bitch free" zone / hour / day : Don't complain for 24 hours, make dinner complaint free, have a girls afternoon where no one bitches.  Trust me -- this one is hard but it'll make you feel like a million bucks

6.  Focus on One Thing a Day : Make it your mantra for when you feel stressed, have some down time or just plain need to re-focus.  I tried this while working during the pre-Christmas rush at Wal-Mart. The first day my mantra was "I choose to be happy" and it really did seem to improve my mood.  One of those fake it til you make it situations.

7.  Make it Crafty : Okay, this one is all pinterest.  Here are a few ideas that I really liked the looks of, but haven't tried yet.  (Leafy Wreath)  (Thankful Tree) Check out the rest of my board here.

Don't forget // show a little gratitude for yourself as well -- your health, your body, your "you-ness". Gratitude begins at home!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

word of the year 2015

I've tried in the past to do many things : resolutions, monthly goals, using mantras, etc, etc, etc.  Honestly without any sort of cohesive plan, none of my plans have made it past February.  This year, I decided to go a different route and pick a "theme word" for the year.  My word for 2015 is ...

After heming and hawing, I decided that the best was to utilize my word this year was to set some quarterly goals for myself in five specific areas that I want to work on.  I have some other "create" related things that I am also going to work on during the year, but the majority will be within these area and goals.

Create JOY // all about adding more joy and happiness into my life
Goal #1 : Gratitude Challenge (more about this in a few weeks)
Goal #2 : Handwritten letters and care packages

Create COMMUNITY //  more friends, more online connections, more community
Goal #1 : Learn to correctly use social media outlets (Instagram, Google+, Twitter) to connect
Goal #2 : Find local group to join or volunteer at

Create HEALTH // Ijust plan need to take better care of myself
Goal #1 : Cut out soda
Goal #2 : Daily yoga
Goal #3 : 1 mile a day - walk or run

Create ABUNDANCE // business, blog, financial stuff and day to day job
Goal #1 : Create a realistic budget and stick with it
Goal #2 : Finish coaching training
Goal #3 : Set up coaching page on blog

Create LIFE // all about creating the type of life I want full of adventures and love
Goal #1 : Monthly date nights with C
Goal #2 : Try one new thing a month

I am excited to CREATE the foundation for the year and life that I want to cultivate and live.