Wednesday, July 27, 2016

PSA for Stray Dogs in Nepal

The Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre is one of the few centers in this prominent Nepali city, catering to over 20,000 street dogs that roam the city.

This shelter and shelters like it are doing a great service, not only for the animals themselves, but for the community.
Sterilizing, vaccinating, and recuperating animals is a big task, but is worth it in the end if it can help keep people healthy on a regular basis.
Nepal's stray animal population has drastically increased since the earthquake that caused widespread problems.

The KAT Centre is in dire need of a new place to call home. Their landlord is revoking their lease in the coming months and while they have found a new plot of land to build, there is so much more in the process and timeline that it's looking very tight on time.

By September 2016 they are hoping to start building, which means the timeline is growing shorter and shorter.
This is not great news, but at the same time, it would be amazing if they were able to get a new place up and running, on land of their own, where they wouldn't have to worry about landlords and drama.

KAT is somewhere I will be volunteering at starting in November of this year. This whole process has been close to my heart especially since I know the struggle they are going through, dealing with moving and with consistently having work to do.
So many dogs rely on this amazing centre for help when they are in need and it would be tough to see them not be able to make it work.

If you find that this is something worth helping out, please visit their site (http://www.katcentre.org.np/index.html) and read more or help out even in the smallest way you can, with anything you can. They would appreciate anything and everything and they most definitely deserve it.

https://www.youcaring.com/street-dogs-cats-of-kathmandu-595688 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Capilano - Face Your Fears

Have you ever done something because it just looked so amazing from pictures and then proceeded to hate your decision after you did it?
Oh.. yeah me neither..


Anyways, a couple weekends ago, I had some friends visiting from different states and while my itinerary list was very long with possibilities, I had my eye set on one thing in particular, after we decided that going up to Canada would be a fun day trip (they both had never been).
The Capilano suspension bridges, while seemingly nerve wracking, were something I had been wanting to go and see for awhile, to experience them.
With a 3 hour drive up from my hometown in WA, we would spend the whole day up in Vancouver, having fun, progressively getting lost on the way back, and finding something new to enjoy together, in a way.


All of us in our right minds, didn't necessarily know what to expect from the sight we'd only seen pictures of. A place for tourists from many areas waiting to cross the threshold from nervous to terrified in a matter of a few steps. Let's just say, I was a little bit more scared than I had initially thought I would be.
I am afraid of heights and while I knew, trust me I knew, we would be walking across a very high bridge stretched between two cliffs, I guess I really didn't know what I was getting myself into.
The entire walk of fright was spent halfheartedly trying to take pictures of myself, of my friends, of the scenery, with my hand grasping the side of the bridge for moral and physical support.



I'm a scaredy cat. I have no shame in admitting that, but I know while I threw a smile onto my face, every person I walked by could see the terrified look I had in my eyes, especially as everyone passing asked me if I was ok...
The bridge itself looked very stable and that was not the most terrifying part, it was the fact that it swayed under every step, children ran on it when they were not supposed to. It really made it all worse.
Not my finest moment, but definitely worth a laugh afterwards. My friends did fine, although one was for sure in the same boat as me.



We walked across twice, did the treetop adventure, took in all of the sights, saw the predatory birds for show, and walked on the cliff walk bridge as well (also scary).
We spent a good amount of time here and saw everything we could.
We spent the rest of our day driving through Vancouver and getting a late lunch before heading home, after going the wrong way and circling through the airport.

Despite the terror, visiting Vancouver with my friends was so much fun. It was a new experience I got to have with some great people. Driving through the city and just chatting about nonsense, that's what it's all about!

Cheers and safe travels everyone!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

For the Girls - Lunette Cup Review

Let's be honest here, things are about to get a little personal. Sorry, a lot.
I have been shying away from using this product because I was afraid it wouldn't work out in my lifestyle, although being a seemingly convenient choice for travel, I'm also not a big fan of change in these areas of my life.

So let's get to it. I'm referring to the menstrual cup, or in my case, the cup I bought from Lunette.
Now again, let me state that changing ways in the process of shoving things up my hoohaw every month wasn't on my top priority list, but because I have some big trips coming up, I thought I would give it a chance beforehand.

This is the first week I have ever used this product or any of them, so my opinion is completely unbiased.
I have been an avid tampon user since high school and while I don't like to talk about my bodily functions, this seems like a pretty critical subject for any lady out there who's a part of the traveling game.



The Lunette cup I bought was just the standard model 1 in blue (since it is my favorite color).
The directions of use are pretty easy to follow and also not difficult to understand.
The cup itself isn't as big as what your mind tends to think it will be (at least from what I thought).
It is made out of silicone and is very comfortable once inserted, much more than any tampon, and it definitely doesn't have the same instinctual pain when you're inserting it either.
I don't know how many times I just couldn't relax enough before shoving a tampon in there and it hurt so bad I wanted to cry.
Not with this cup, the silicone is a plus because it doesn't hurt at all and you can hardly feel it when it's in there.
Guiding it up into the right place and making sure it's open all the way can be hard to tell sometimes, but I never had any problems with it not working. And while you can leave it in for up to 12 hours, I would only suggest that at nighttime, but I did only empty it maybe twice during the day.

Now, let's get to the more personal, kind of gross, aspect of this. This is a cup, made for catching your blood, so taking it out and emptying it, isn't going to be the most pleasant thing in the world. It's actually quite gross having to put your fingers up there, grab it and pull it out as it's still trying to do its job. Emptying it into your toilet or where ever you are is going to look like something way worse is going on and having to wipe that slimy, bloody, kind of gooey thing off before you shove it back up there, it's not so cool. Messier than a tampon, but more eco friendly, so I think it still wins on that.

The recommendations for cleaning are to rinse it off with water every time you take it out, but that's just not convenient when using a public restroom at work, so I took some watered down paper towels to wipe it off, good and clean, before using again.
At home, I definitely rinse it with hot water and if you have a mild soap that won't cause irritation, I would use that too.

Overall though, I didn't have any leaks throughout this whole week process and while somewhat gross, it's very easy to use. The cleaning aspect is a little bit inconvenient at times, but it's doable.
For travel, it's way better and space effective than carrying around a billion tampons, although a pad or two might come in handy just in case. The do have wipes that would be good for on the go, which I'm saving for my actual trip.

Would I recommend this product? For sure. Will I use it again? Most definitely when traveling, maybe sometimes while at home. While convenient, it's tricky in an office setting at times.

Cheers and safe travels everyone!





Monday, May 16, 2016

The Constant Planner

Hi there! For those of you who don't know me, I'm Elisabeth.
I reside in the great Pacific Northwest, born and raised here, not too far from Seattle.

                            

Since getting into my working life, which was once I got to college, everything seemed to be a whole lot busier.
Busy in the sense of work, school, and then the constant need for something else.
It didn't take me till after college to realize how much I needed to get out and get away, if only for short trips or even occasionally for longer excursions.

That's when one trip led to my need and want to consistently be in planning mode.
Every second I'm not being productive in work or at home, I'm thinking about things I need to do or plan for an upcoming adventure or planning out new ones that will happen in time.

                              

I'm sure that constant need stems from something, but it doesn't matter so much when it's the only thing I can think about.
I guess, while my heart can be content anywhere, my head has to tell me to be smart, to go and get away while I can. Travel and see the world while it's still there.

While this makes things hard, because my life has also been a constant struggle between saving money and having enough time, I've still been trying to do as much as I can here, at home.
Even when not every trip can be a journey across a major ocean, short trips to US destinations or road trips to places I've barely been, that can ease my mind for a bit.

                               

It's not that my normal, work and general life are boring, it's just that I'm not fulfilling my passions as much as I'd like to on a regular basis. Sitting at a desk, typing on the computer instead of sleeping on a plane, awaiting my new destination. Not exactly my cup of tea and I drink tea pretty regularly.

The PNW will always be my home but my longing to be somewhere else is much stronger than my pull to stay here.
Thankfully I have the support of my family to help push me to those new horizons, although I like to think even if I didn't have their kind words to propel me forward, I would be doing that for myself anyways.

My planning comes in bursts of anxious steps. The first usually being the decision making one, where choosing the place, finding an opportunity can be tedious, with lots of research before actually making it.
Once chosen, my chest seems to tighten, because the anxiety builds more than I thought it would. 'I must buy tickets now!" I think to myself, which only makes it worse. Once the surge of adrenaline leads to the ultimate process of buying tickets, the anxiety subsides.

                                 

It's odd feeling so rushed when usually I'm planning out a trip at least 6 months in advance, but that's how my body works I suppose.
Now it's on to the details. Those are the ones that could go on until the departure date for travel. They may keep me up at night, trying to remember things I need to buy, things I need to do, papers I forgot to print, etc.
Usually, done quite in advance as well. Lists upon lists of items and check marks, costs and reminders. Everything gets worked out.

Once it's time to leave, I feel exhausted. The journey, the end, to possibilities are all worth it and I tend to not be tired when I arrive. Only ready to go and to see and to be there.

                                  

Is this how you work when you plan out your trips? Do you have more of a system you follow or do you go with the flow?
Do you wait till the last minute or do you plan and wait?

Cheers and safe travels everyone!

Friday, May 13, 2016

This One is for Mom - Portland

I think everyone has heard of Portland before, at least in passing. The hipster capital of the world where coffee meets donuts and food trucks are abundant.
This place has captured the hearts of many and I would say it has captured mine too. I wish I could say I've traveled here a lot, since I live in Seattle, but within the last 10 years or so, I've only been downtown a couple times.

Being able to successfully plan and travel down to Portland with both my mother and sister, was a good highlight of this year. My mom was entirely excited to go down and see old friends and the sights, taking pictures at every turn.
Just throughout the planning process she couldn't contain her excitement.


We were able to do a couple things I didn't get a chance to do at my last go-around there, but there's still so much left to see.
Here are the things we did as well as some other sights that would be worth seeing if you ever venture there:

We stayed right downtown, near the Pearl District of Portland, which was the perfect location to get around. The hotel I chose was Hotel Lucia, which had a classic feel with modern touches. The hotel itself was nestled right in the heart of this part of the city, with attached restaurants and all. The room was awesome and suited our taste for the weekend just perfect.



The amenities they offered, while we didn't end up using any, were pretty great. Fully stocked mini bar and snack array, in case we needed it. Pillow service, ice cream service from Salt & Straw (I wish they had had my favorite flavor, snickerdoodle), basically anything you needed you could ring them for.
They also had a gym, meeting rooms, dining options, and more.

Our stay was great in the fact that we were in walking distance to the max, the Portland light rail system, that can basically take you wherever you want to go in the city.
We started off our Saturday morning right, with the glorious Voodoo Doughnuts (just blocks away from where we stayed). Who says donuts aren't a staple for breakfast?


We then journeyed our way, via max line, to the Oregon Zoo! It ended up being awesome and very easy to see all of the animals out in their enclosures. The lions were probably the most enticing, since the cubs were in their teenage years and very feisty. So funny to watch them jump on each other and even pounce and hit the window right in front of us! Crazy, but very cool!



I wish that we had gone to the Japanese or Chinese gardens during our trip, but my mom and sister had been to both so we opted out, sadly for me. If you do get a chance though, definitely go, because I've heard they're very beautiful and interesting to walk through.

The Saturday market is also very eclectic and very Portland, so we had to stop and visit as much as we could there. We actually walked around the whole place, checking out every stand and seeing what goods were available. I always talk myself out of buying things, but it was still cool to walk around. We grabbed some awesome food from there as well, lamb gyro for me!


Our night was spent with more exploring and grabbing dinner at a small quaint but fancy little restaurant northwest of us, North 45 Pub. Delicious selection of mussels and add-ons to their mac & cheese. All in all, delicious.
We were going to get drinks up at the roof-top lounge at Departure, but it was very busy. Apparently a sports team was staying at the hotel it was a part of.



Sunday morning, Mother's day, I had made reservations at the hotel restaurant, Imperial, for brunch. Let's just say, that was a great choice on my part. The food was delicious and it started off with a lovely homemade poptart. Perfect!

Portland, while being the hipster city you might know it to be, has so much character and so much to offer. The myriad of dining options and things to do is amazing. The transportation system is incredibly easy to use and makes everything that much simpler to do. Oregon, while not sounding entirely exciting, should be on your next trip list of places to go.


Cheers and safe travels everyone!



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

That Travel Bug Feeling

If you love traveling, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
That feeling when you've been in one place for a little too long, when home starts to feel claustrophobic, even with family and friends surrounding you.

Yeah, that feeling.

That sinking feeling of needing to get out of here before you go crazy. When you haven't been anywhere for a couple of months and it starts eating away at you (not literally).


That travel bug (also not literal) keeps you awake at night, sometimes. It makes you realize that being home, even though it is such a blessing when you are there, can feel like a trap.
Just getting away, even for a couple of days can feel like a breath of fresh air.
It's not only about the destination even, the journey itself is more than freeing, but when you get there, that's it.
You are free.

Being somewhere new strengthens you, it empowers you, it drives you to be alert and ready.
It prepares you for the every day, for the world. Travel is more than just going from place to place, it is the reason for all the variations of life out there. Travel makes learning possible, from culture to culture.

I have never felt better than when I get off a flight and realize I'm somewhere new.
Sometimes, the feeling is incredibly hard to explain or even understand, but it's there and I know it to be true.


Wanderlust describes it well in the fact that it's a longing for places you have never been or want to go. That is me on the daily.
If you're anything like me, you have to keep your mind busy when you're home or else you start to second guess everything you're doing.
That's why I plan. I am constantly seeking options for what could be. My Pinterest pages are filled with travel related stories and tips, my Airbnb account has over 20 wishlists, and I'm in constant envy of all the photos from Instagram I see.

So planning is where I'm at. Constantly. Looking up how much flights might cost, seeing how lodging may play a factor in overall expense, and what kind of activities I could do once I'm wherever.
This travel bug is not going away and the only way to relax it, is to go.
Time is precious and I cannot wait to get out there and see the world, but it'll take time. I am not the proud owner of a lucrative travel blog, nor am I rich and/or famous and can pay for said trips at the drop of a hat. I have to work, to earn my way around, but I'll get there.


If you feel that feeling like I do, you know, there will never be anything that can stop me from wanting more than where I'm at now. There is no cure.

So, is it time to go yet?

Cheers and safe travels everyone!

Monday, March 28, 2016

My Essentials for Flights - The Basics

Flying is an essential part to travel, for the most part of course. Flying is the best way to traverse long distances in shorter periods of time, so you don't waste time soaking up the sun or playing in the snow, whatever you choose.

Due to the fact that flying seems to be a necessity to travel, it seems only fitting to have a short list of important items to carry along with you on these journeys. In my experience, which is not a lot, I've learned that there are things that can definitely be left at home. All in all though, there are some things, especially on long flights, that you cannot go without.


Here are some of my essentials for longer distanced travel, because being in the air for even just a few hours can be grueling.

1. Snacks. Snacks on a a low budget flight are scarce, so bringing your own can be the difference between going crazy and having something to munch on to take that not-being-able-to-sleep edge off.
(I am not a good plane sleeper)
My go to snacks come down to easily attainable, nothing messy, and small enough packages. Usually almonds, maybe trail mix, granola bars, or packages of applesauce. I love chocolate and it would probably keep me more sane than anything, but it melts too easily and I don't want my backpack to be smeared for my trip with something that might not look like chocolate...

2. Gum. Now, I'm not a gum chewing by any means, I never have any in my purse or in my car, but when I travel, it's one thing I have stowed in my backpack for those plane flights, mostly because my ears tend to pop like crazy and I can only yawn so much at a given moment. Gum is the next best thing, plus you look nice if you offer a piece to the people sitting next to you who have to suffer the popping as well.

3. Neck pillow. Now I don't currently own one, but one of my friends would swear by this. She has a nice plush pillow that also deflates and easily stows away in your bag (Similar here). She slept soundly on all of our plane/bus rides to and through Europe. Literally, she always had this thing with her and she was always getting rest, easily. My dad also always took them on trips with him and he was always glad he did, maybe if I had one of my own, I could actually sleep on flights. Sleep is essential in long travels, because it's the make or break between being slightly on the sluggish exhausted side when you get to your destination.

4. Book. Generally I like to bring at least one book with me, sometimes a reading book and a puzzle book to challenge me a little if I get bored. I love sudoku and tend to bring a small booklet in my backpack. Books I generally bring are something I'm currently reading or something small that seemed interesting and I found at the bookstore, nothing too big in size, have to prioritize that space. One book I took with me on my first trip to Europe was Wild Roses by Deb Caletti. It ended up being a good read through Italy.

5. Water. I know that usually airlines, even the cheap ones, offer you some kind of complimentary beverage, but I like to fill up my water bottle before I get on the plane. Plus, having a reusable bottle can be super efficient when you get to where you're going. Just don't forget to dump it out before going through security, because they may make you throw out the whole bottle, or chug all the water in it...
I don't have a specific bottle I use, usually I just grab a vitamin water at the store before I go and refill a few times before I end up getting a new one somewhere else. Again, I probably need to buy a more durable, travel friendly one, but hey, I tend to slack on getting some of the essentials I need. At least there are other options!

I'm sure there are some other things that people have for things that are entirely important to bring with them during long trips, but for me, I stick to the basics. Yes, I might bring some extra shoes, my tech stuff, and some makeup in my backpack as well, but thats' usually because I don't want to overfill my regular carryon bag. These five things, I think are the most essential.


Do you have something else that helps you during long flights?

Cheers and safe travels!