Friday, September 23, 2016

We're Settled but We're Not Sitting Still

Sooooooo I've written this post at least five times over the last two weeks. One from behind my computer desk, one while sitting on my motorcycle watching planes land and take off, another was written on the airplane while on my way to Charlotte to deliver a speech at Davidson college, and various other places. Needless to say that although you haven't heard from me in a while I've been busy. Although you'll never read the words from those other posts know that they were not written in vain nor were they wasted. They were therapeutic in many ways. This post here, the one that actually made it before you is special not just because it actually got posted nor the fact that I'm writing it from a very relaxed state at a Korean spa here in Las Vegas. It is special because of the state of mind I'm in and my future plans as NomadicMamaof3. The previous posts were jumbled and all over the place just like my state of mind at the time. Now after a chance to regroup and refocus I write this to tell you that we are absolutely loving Las Vegas. We are settling into our new home base very well. We have had so many adventures here I wouldn't even know where to start to tell you. We haven't done a lot a traveling... just a few trips here and there to California. That will be changing very soon as we are now in planning mode for a next big set of adventures. I won't tell you now but stay tuned to find out when and where we'll be headed next. I just wanted to let you know that all is well and Nomadicmamaof3 is still on the move.

So until you see us on the road or somewhere around the globe... Peace, Love, and Keep Going Places!










Monday, July 25, 2016

Settling in Sunny Las Vegas

Welcome to Las Vegas

Yesterday marked our three week anniversary of us arriving in hot and sunny Las Vegas, Nevada. I know this may sound like the beginning of a long adventurous tale of a whirlwind trip to Sin City and all the many glamorous things we did and saw there but I’m afraid it is not. In fact, this is a tale of a more permanent nature. One that tells the story of us packing up everything we could fit in a box truck and selling and giving away everything else, throwing the kids in the RV and hitting the road to never return to Charlotte. OK! Maybe that’s a little drastic. We will, of course, be returning to Charlotte (for holidays and summer breaks).

The question we keep getting is why Las Vegas? Now that I’m experiencing this 115 degree weather I am asking myself the same thing. But once the sun starts to set and it begins to cool off I instantly remember why Vegas. Because Las Vegas is absolutely amazing. Our goal was to pick up and start fresh. New scenery, new experiences, new home base, new life and Vegas is providing all of that. Let’s start with the scenery. The mountains that situate Vegas into the bowl it is nestled into are stunning. Growing up in the Great Smokey Mountains region I am not new to mountains but I am new to mountains with no trees. The “rocky” mountains a gorgeous and it is a sight to see them change colors as the day progresses. I could go on and on about how pretty it is here but I’ll save the rest for another post. As far as experiences we are certainly enjoying new ones… everything from making milkshake runs at 3a, walking the strip to be among all the beautiful sights and sounds, eating dinner at the top of the stratosphere as it rotates, to even a lot minute road trip to LA to enjoy the beach and delicious fried chicken in Compton. 

Our new home base on the west side of the country is everything we imagined it would be. We are settling in nicely and happily getting adjusted to our new life. We’ve decided to take the rest of the year to explore areas around our new home as we adjust to being “west coasters”. We’re saving the next leg of our international journey for 2017.

Any suggestions for what to see and do on this side of the country? In the meantime here are some shots of us settling into our new city and enjoying nearby cities alike.

So until you see us on the road or somewhere around the globe… Peace, Love, and Keep Traveling!

Birthday girl turning 11 here in Vegas

My silly guys out watching the fireworks on the strip

My guys after a trip to the Las Vegas Children's Museum

Our visit to the Adventuredome... we had a blast riding those coasters

Had to include this one to show you just how hot it is here

A nice, kid-free dinner at the top of the Stratosphere

I had duck confit and it was yummy

View from our dinner table

View from the top

Road to LA to hit the beach

We made it to Santa Monica pier

Now time for some beach action

More beach action

The boys touching a sea cucumber in the mini aquarium on the pier 


My girl

An "usie" from the top... viewing the Hollywood Sign




Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Norway, Sweden, Italy, and Switzerland... Oh My!

(Pictures coming soon!)

We are now back in Oslo  preparing to return to the US after a whirlwind  10 day adventure. During this trip we visited four countries (Norway, Sweden, Italy, and Switzerland) and each of these places offered something truly unique and amazing for us. Norway offered us some very unique food experiences while serving as a travel hub. Switzerland was beautiful and for just a moment allowed us to live like and among the rich and famous. The tailored suits, beautiful people, and amazing landscape was a small part of that fantasy. Sweden was awesome with its 14th century fortresses poking over the mountainsides and it's utterly amazing meatballs. Sweden also showed us a good time at the largest Scandinavian amusement park right in the heart of Gothenburg. And then there was Italy, oh Italy, that turned out to be everything we ever thought it could be. The views were stunning, the food was fresh, delicious, and perfect in every way. The language was so beautiful as were the people. Oh the people... Everyone was so warm and kind and helpful. From the little old ladies leaning out of their window sills that reminded me of Sophia from the Golden Girls to the owners of the ‘alimentaris’ who were so gracious in helping me figure out what was what. I'll admit this to you here... I think I was meant to be born Italian, it's just that no one informed my parents ;-). 

The trip was truly epic. I know I said the same about our most recent RV trip but I suppose we're just lucky to keep going on these amazing adventures. The only negative was our bad experience with Norwegian Airlines. I won't get into it here but let's just say there were a lot of delays, cancellations, rebookings and more delays. What should have been an eleven hour trip back to the states turned into a thirty three hour one. I don't want to gripe and moan here, this is not the platform for that but I will say we will certainly reconsider flying with Norwegian in the future. 

All in all the trip was amazing and we look forward to returning to each of these places. when we arrive back in the states we will be returning to an empty house so we can prepare for our next big travel adventure... Relocating to Las Vegas. Stay tuned for more on that!


So until you see us on the road or somewhere around the globe... Stay peaceful, love hard, and travel even harder!!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

My love affair with Lake Como Italy

This post is supposed to be about Oslo Norway. But we left this morning and landed and Milan. We drove north west to the lake Como area and that's where our lives changed. As soon as the lake came into view all of my troubles melted away. Nothing outside of that moment seemed to matter. All was right with the world. Perhaps it is just my affinity for the beauty of lakes or other large bodies of water, I don't know. What I do know is the first time I laid eyes on Lake Como an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility entered my soul. I'm not trying to be all mystical but that is the best way to describe it. That same sense of love and belonging I got with Las Vegas (and we ended up deciding to move there) is the same sense I have here. It feels like home and this is where I'm meant to be. Now, I'm not gonna pack up and relocate here (as much as I would love to). I have to much going on back in the states but I do have a new item for my vision board: a fully renovated house right here in Lezzeno, Italy right along the lake with a large garden. The kids are loving it too. It amazes me just how in sync we are but they are ready to pack up and move here too. In all fairness though who wouldn't want to pack up and move here.




Some things that have been interesting so far:
Everyone is so friendly. I was warned that emerging ourselves in an Italian community outside of a major city would leave us feeling alone and abandoned but that that is so far from the truth. We have felt nothing but welcome since we arrived in the Como area. Everyone we've encountered has been nothing but warm and friendly. We were warned that if we don't speak Italian we'd be shunned but again all falsities. The people we've encountered have made every effort to communicate. Those that can't understand have been gracious and offered a "no parla ingleis" with a smile and a look of wishing they could be more helpful. So if you're putting of visiting the area because of what you heard of how you'd be treated ignore all of that and book that ticket.

The driving is definitely not something you can prepare for ahead of time. It's one of those things you just have to experience to understand. Let me start by saying I was so relieved to see that Italians drive on the same side of the street as us Americans. That was a huge apprehension for me. But nothing could have prepared me for actually driving. Off the major highways the roads are single lane roads in size by American standards but Italians use then like two lane highways. Cars go fast and squeeze through the narrow, winding streets with ease. My anxiety level is still way us as I drive the windy streets but I'm hoping that in a day or two I'll be taking these curvy streets like my Italian neighbors. Things go pretty fast as well. I haven't quite figured out what the rush is, especially in a place so peaceful and serene, but people drive really really fast here. At one point I found myself doing around 150km/h (around 105m/h) just to get out of people's way and keep up with traffic. So just make sure you have the stomach for driving here or have atleast packed your nerve pills.

The food is EVERYTHING you ever imagine it to be. I can't emphasize this enough. If you are conscientious about your weight Italy may not be a place to add to your bucket list. The fresh bread, tons of different types of cheese, salami, prosciutto, bologna, pastas, pizzas and coffees will have you throwing your diet to the side and diving right in.

The views are breathtaking, stunning, exquisite... Actually I can't think of enough adjectives to describe the sheer beauty of this place. The pictures don't do it justice. To be right here sitting outside feeling the sun on my face as I watch the boats pass by on Lake Como and hear the Italian ladies converse from across the lane while children play and roosters doodle doo all while taking in the background of the mountains juxtaposed by the blue waters of the lake is an amazing thing. And until you can experience it for yourself there aren't enough words for me to do it justice.

There's so much more I could say about this place and we just got here. I won't bore you with my ohhhhh and awwwwwing. Just please take my word for it and add the Lake Como area of Italy to your bucketlist.

Until you see us on the road or somewhere around the globe... Love hard, live hard, and travel even harder.

Friday, June 3, 2016

New trips, New beginnings, and a brand new LOGO!

I'm writing this post while I sit on the runway waiting for the plane to take off. I have the usual butterflies in my stomach that I get each time I board a plane or before a big trip. The kids are nestled into their seats excited, popping bubble gum into their mouths, and  doing some last minute things on their electronics before we hit the sky.  This moment seems slightly surreal. I booked these tickets nearly six months ago and so much has happened since then. When I booked this trip to Norway, Sweden, Italy, and Switzerland I was a traveling newbie. Now, I won't say I'm a pro now or anything like that but these last six months have propelled my travel status pretty close to professional lol. From navigating our way through Costa Rica in a part of the country where no one spoke English, to dealing with the death of my mother while in Iceland, to wrangling three kids through the fast paced streets of London. And now this trip. Not to mention the epic 64 day cross country road trip we took in the RV. With that resume I think I can safely call us travelers. We still have a long way to go but we are travel newbies no more.

As we have advanced as a traveling family so has our brand Nomadic Mama of 3. Big things have taken place for Nomadic Mama of 3 over these last 6 months. The brand has really taken off and received some very interesting attention that we are both surprised by, extremely grateful for, and completely humbled by.

A few things that have happened for us and the brand: We have had several interviews that have been published in various media forms. I have been asked to speak as a solo traveling parent to other potential traveling parents on my thoughts ideas mregarding family travel. I was asked and participated as a speaker in a family travel telesummit. And a huge accomplishment was the successful launch of Go Places and Go Places Jr travel magazines. And all of this has occurred just in the last six months. It's mind blowing but it's mostly humbling. You all, any and everyone reading this right now, have made all of this possible and what Nomadic Mama of 3 is today. Your support, encouragement, and cheering us on has  given us the strength, gumption, and perseverance to continue this journey even when times were bleak and the thought of taking another step on this journey's path seemed impossible. So thank you to each and every one of you.

The journey continues for us however. We have many big things in store for us on this upcoming trip to Norway, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland as well as when we return. A big move to Las Vegas is currently underway and when we return to our emptied out house in Charlotte we will be loading up the RV and headed to our new home in Nevada. We will continue our traveling adventures just from th west coast side of the country. We will continue to run our travel magazines from wherever we are in the world and we will continue to build the Nomadic Mama of 3 brand. Whew! It's almost overwhelming just thinking about all of the great things that lie ahead. But we won't stop there either... Nomadic Mama of 3 will continue to push on. From planning and organizing trips so that you all can join us on some of these adventures to the launch of our Nomadic Mama of 3 logo and available NMof3 products. We have big things planned. Speaking of our new logo, please allow me to introduce it to you right here, right now. This logo is very special to me as it is the face of not only the brand I'm building but also the face of my children. It sums up everything that I am at this stage in my life... A mama, a traveler, an entrepreneur, and someone with a fresh start at a new life. The design came to me one cold night in the middle of the desert somewhere in Arizona while laying in my RV bed figuring out our next steps. I knew then that I wanted NMof3 to be a major platform to encourage family travel, solo parenting travel, and just travel in general and that night I doodled this logo on a pad of paper and carried it with me from then on out. I've been extremely lucky to see this logo from an idea that I sketched on a notepad to see it become a beautiful reality. Not only am I excited to see it as a reality but even more excited to know soon it will be available on tshirts, coffe mugs, and some travel paraphernalia and available to all of you. So without further ado... Our logo!




So as you can see my crew and I are bouncing back and doing well after an onslaught of major life events. We're continuing on...creating goals and chasing dreams. So until you se us on the road of somewhere around the globe... Hug the ones you love, take the chance you're scared to talk and keep traveling.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Who Is Nomadic Mama of 3, Really?

Who Is Nomadic Mama of 3, Really?

Since my last post I've had some time to reflect on my life, my goals, and my future. In addition to these quiet moments to think, I’ve also had three interviews in the last month and if you’ve ever been interviewed before you know that it really forces you to self-reflect. These last three interviews have certainly forced me to reflect. The question that was asked in all three interviews in some variation or another was who is Nomadic Mama of 3 and why is it important that she exists. You would think that by the third time I was asked this question I would have had a clear and concise answer but I didn't. Being asked even the third time forced me to sit and reflect and consider who is Nomadic Mama of 3 and why is she so important to me. This is what I came up with...

So who is Nomadic Mama of 3?
Nomadic Mama of 3 is a traveler. A nomadic personality born out of a series of recent tragic events in my life. I won't go into detail right here because I mention it a little later in this post but I will say that because of these tragic events I have been forced to sit down and prioritize what is important to me and sort out my own personal goals and dreams from all the people, things, and background noise in my life that pull me in different directions. In the end I realize travel is important to me. It makes up a huge part of who I am and the goals I want to achieve. It offers me the freedom I seek, the adventure I crave, and the education I desire to provide to my children. To me, travel is everything!

Nomadic Mama of 3 is also a writer. A teller of stories and a creator of worlds who has always been. I’ve loved writing since I was a small child. I didn’t pursue it because, well, you know how you’re supposed to go to the “good” school, get the “good” career, marry the “good” person, start the “great” family, drive the “good” car, etc? Yeah, well like many of us I fell into that trap. I did what I thought I was supposed to do as opposed to what I dreamed of. 

None of it worked out in the end. I did have the wonderful kids and there’s no buts there. They are spectacular and my motivation to get up every single day and be the best me that I can be. But I did marry the “great" guy and now we are divorced. I did go to the best school but now I'm faced with student loan debt and a career I don't want anymore. I did achieve the “great” career but it’s not what I want to do with my life. On top of that, my mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's/dementia the same month my then-husband and I separated. The disease progressed very quickly and she passed away a couple of weeks ago from that terrible, horrible disease. Watching her deteriorate was one of the hardest things I've done yet. I am also a victim of rape (last August) and recently a victim of a home intrusion. So needless to say life has had its brutal moments. But don’t despair or feel sorry for me. I’ve had to live this life so that I can be where I am today, which is happy (although still grieving) and fully pursuing my dreams of writing and traveling.

Believe it or not, once I wiped all the tears from my eyes and could see clearly again I was able to fully realize what my dreams and goals really are. Then something amazing happened that has afforded me the opportunity to actually realize these dreams. I’m able to bring both my passion for writing and for travel together in this fun, unique, and exciting way while at the same time building something of my own.

This new journey is excitingly terrifying because it is pushing, no throwing me out of my box. And now that I’m on the outside of my comfort zone things don't look as scary as I thought. Things actually look fresh, new, and the sky really does appear to be the limit.

So what is this new venture, you ask?
After pushing my fears aside and deciding to forge ahead with my own goals I just started my own company. I love to write. Writing is everything to me. It is peace, solace, therapy, creativity, and beauty all rolled up and fit snuggly in the top of my pen. I love writing so much that I actually wrote a novel. It’s a crime thriller (I’m a forensic professional by day so I just wrote what I know). The process was grueling but to see my creation, my story in the real world is simply amazing (the story is currently with readers and the editors and will be published by the end of the year). I want to help others feel that same joy of creating a piece of work and seeing if come to life from start to finish and that is the reason I started my own publishing company, JANCO Publishing (www.jancopublishing.com). On top of that travel is everything to me also and ranks right up there with writing. In an attempt to bring both of these passions together and share my love of travel with the world, I established my very first travel magazine, GO Places magazine (www.goplacesmag.com). The inaugural issue will be published this summer. I am also helping my children publish their very own kids travel magazine, GO Places Junior. Their magazine will also be available this summer.

Why is it so important to be Nomadic Mama of 3?
Above everything that I mentioned previously my most important role in life is being called mommy. I am the worldschooling mom to three fantastic Jr Nomads. A 13 yr old son, a 10 yr old daughter, and a 6yr old son. My kids are my travel companions. It's because of them, because of my desire to show them the world that travel plays such a huge role in our lives. Being a nomadic mama is my way of preparing my kids to be global citizens. If nothing else I want them to have an understanding of how we live in a global economy and are all interconnected. I want them to know that they can seek to help not just their town or state, not just their country but the entire world. My oldest son, who wants to be an engineer and own a research and development firm, wants to have an office in both the US and England. And my daughter wants to set up her veterinary clinics in the US, Iceland, and England (these are places we’ve visited and I’m sure their list will grow as we travel more). So already they are understanding at an early age the impact they can have on the world. If I had known that the world was an option for me when I was their age I bet I would have been dynamic. I’m showing them just how dynamic they are and can be right now. So being Nomadic Mama of 3 is not just crucial for my own peace, goals, and sense of freedom. It is crucial for my children to grow up and be productive, globally aware, culturally sensitive citizens of this earth. 

If as Nomadic Mama of 3 I can help just one other person realize their dreams and achieve their goals I will be satisfied. If I can help just one other single parent know that travel is real and possible and achievable then it's all been worth it. If through my story someone gains something positive then putting it all out there has been worth it. If I can motivate someone else to go get their passport and book that first trip then again, it has all been worth it.

So there you have it... Nomadic Mama of 3!

Wow! If you’ve read this far I sincerely thank you. This post was a lot but one that I needed to write for you but also for myself (and my future self so I can look back when days are dreary and things are tough as to why I’m doing what I’m doing and pursuing what I am).

So until I see you on the road or somewhere around the globe… peace, love, and follow your dreams!

Monday, April 25, 2016

I Write This Post With A Heavy Heart

I am writing this blog post with a heavy heavy heart. My mother passed away two weeks ago and I wasn’t even on the continent when it happened, much less by her side. The kids and I were in Reykjavik, Iceland when she passed away and had to fly to London that next morning. It was a very stressful experience being out of the country during a family emergency. Extremely stressful. Since we were stuck in London for two days we decided to see what we could. It was a weird feeling of excitement and grief all mixed together. We did enjoy what we were able to see of London on the big red bus though.



Here's just a few random shots from our Journey's around London:






 

Then we returned to Charlotte only to have a strange man break into our house. I had to defend my house with a kitchen knife and that was terrifying. Fortunately no one was hurt… physically, but my mental is pretty beaten up. It has been a stressful couple of weeks to say the least. I won’t go into all of the details here and now. I’m not ready to talk about everything just yet. I just wanted to offer an explanation as to why I’ve been pretty absent from the blog and other Nomadic Mama Social media, especially after journeying to two amazing places. In the meantime I am working on next steps. Trying to figure out an answer to what now. Now more than ever do I want to make sure I get the steps to this journey right.

I know for sure that I will continue to travel. I know for sure I will continue to write. I know for sue I will continue to build the Nomadic Mama of 3 brand (as well we the publishing company). I know for sure I will continue to pursue my dreams of merging my passions of traveling and writing. I know for sure I will relocate (*waving* see you soon Vegas). I’m excited to see how all the avenues in my life will merge of form a new path that I will journey down.


So until you see me on the road or somewhere around the globe… peace, blessings, and tell the ones you love just how much you love them!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Reykjavik, Iceland: Pools, Pies, and Penises

What an amazing day in Reykjavik, Iceland. Yesterday was spent mostly bopping around and exploring downtown. Today we did that plus go swimming in a geothermal pool, visit a penis museum, and eat at the famous Cafe Haiti. An amazing day to say the least. Plus, I actually got some work done, did some networking (enough to justify this being a business trip... shhhhhh I haven't made the big announcement yet), and killed it on updating my social media accounts.

We started off the day (actually we didn't leave until around 1p because Nay slept in. I didn't want to wake him because he was going on 36 hours with only naps. So I HAD to let him get his sleep out. He fell asleep at 5p (Icelandic time and slept until 11a). once he was up we all showered ate breakfast and hit the road. 

We started our day with a swim at the Laugardalur Outdoor Thermal Pool. If you ever come to Reykjavik you this is a must for your itinerary. It was wonderful. We all got over any modesty we might have had really quick because the first thing you have to do when you enter is strip and shower in a large open shower room. There is even a person that works there that stands guard to make sure you wash good. One thing I can say for sure Icelanders take their pools very seriously and I don't blame them. Even at thirty something degrees the warm waters were so relaxing, refreshing, cleansing, therapeutic, and many more adjectives. The kids had a blast playing in the warm waters but their favorite part was the giant slide that was there. It was the size of one you' expect to see at a water park in the states except no lines,  no young pushy slide guard telling us when and where to go, and we landed in the most amazing waters we ever could. Things are expensive in Iceland but I can say that was the best 1300kr I've spent here so far.

After our swim we  headed over to Cafe Haiti for some grub. Check out our video below on the experience:


A great visit to Cafe Haiti in Reykjavik, Iceland. The fish stew was amazing, the cheesecake to die for and the coffee... well there are just no words. 
video

One more video of the view from right outside the cafe.


video


Check out the videos of us traveling to Iceland and a tour of our apartment on out Nomadic Mama of 3 FB page at https://www.facebook.com/Nomadicmama3/





After we were stuffed we wandered around town until we found the Penis Museum. Yep! You read that right, we visited the Icelandic Phallological Museum today and it was ummmm.... educational. I'm good on looking at penises though. I don't need to see anymore for quite some time. My sons are too, lol. My oldest said after the communal showers and the museum he's good and will probably even close his eyes when he visits the restroom lol.


Once we had our fill of penis' we ventured back downtown, found a grat parking space and did a little browsing. That didn't last to long because by there we were all wavering on our feet so we decided to head back to the apartment so I could pack and the kids could nap. 

I managed to get all of our stuff packed so we can head to England tomorrow. So this is where I will end this post so I can go and get a nap in too. What was I thinking with a 6a flight?!?!

Until I see you on the road or somewhere around the globe... happiness, health, and continue chasing your dreams.


Friday, April 8, 2016

New Adventures and the Dreaded 7 Letter Word

We've been home for only a month and are already getting the itch to be on the move again. That's the nomadic lifestyle for you. Staying in one place for to long makes you feel all... settled down. Luckily just one more sleep before we are off on another adventure. This time we're packing up and heading to Iceland with a quick little jaunt over to England for a couple of days. We are very excited about this trip. The only thing is is that dreaded 7 letter word I mentioned above. Yep! You guessed it... Packing! 

If you've been following our journey then you probably remember me mitching and boaning (yes I made that up... this blog is rated pg lol) about packing to go to Costa Rica. Well this time it's worse. Not only are we #teamcarryon but we only get one carry on item and it can weigh no more than 11lbs. I have been creative to say the least bit I'm happy to report I did it. Four backpacks each weighing in at a healthy 10lbs. How did I do it you ask? Not quickly and definitely not easy that's for sure, but here's what I packed for each of us:

1 pair of shoes
2 pairs of pants
4 sweatshirt/ hoodies
4 tshirts
10 pairs of underwear and socks
1 pair of thermal underwear 

And I spread the toiletries out over the four bags. 

The plan is to buy whatever else we need when we get there (and donate it back) and to wash several times along the way. So there you have it. No magic, no special packing powers... Just a lot of tucking and rolling, squeezing and stuffing. 

This will be our first time traveling so light but we are up for the challenge. In thinker are anyway. The way things are now we can't take our laptops which ultimately means I won't be getting any work done on this trip. I'm not sure I will be able to actually let that slide as much as I would like to. Building a brand and building businesses requires time, energy, and most of all work. No work means everything comes to a screeching halt and  this early in the game I'm not sure that's wise. It could be argued that the trip itself is business.  After all the brand and the businesses that I'm building do focus on travel and it is true that much of what we see and do on this trip will be valuable content for the businesses but I don't know if I can completely step away just yet. No email access, no being in contact with the people helping me get this thing off the ground, not able to write, not able to upload pictures, not able to blog to you guys... I mean that's a big sacrifice. So I am considering just paying the fee for one of the bags so that we can add about 15 more pounds and take our laptops and gadgets and a whole lot of snacks. Yes! I said snacks and not extra clothes. Now I know what you thinking 'hey you're heading to Iceland! Girl you better throw in an extra pair of thermal underwear' and I just might but first I'm thinking about filling the extra space with food. Apparently Iceland is not a cheap place to eat. From what I've been told a ham sandwich and a Coke runs about US$15. Let's do the math… One mom +3 kids times three meals a day times two weeks. That adds up to… Never going to happen! So I'm considering packing things like oatmeal, crackers, tuna, ready made pasta meals, raisins that sort of stuff to offset some of our food costs for at least for a couple of days. Addition to that I've made sure that our accommodations have at least a microwave and refrigerator but have tried to get full kitchens whenever possible. We will go visit the grocery store first thing upon arrival and stack up on affordable food because eating out is not going to be a regular occurrence...at least not in Iceland. 

From the research I've done about Iceland we will have no problem finding all the other stuff we might need. I've rented us a car to travel around the country so that should certainly make things easier. 

Outside of having to pack for it we are super excited about this trip. The goal is to do more live feed to show you where we are and what we're doing. We started using Periscope on our RV adventure but did not keep up with it so we're going to try to get back in it using the live feed on Facebook and Periscope and see how that goes. Stay tuned and be on the lookout for some amazing Icelandic footage from us. 

So until I see you on the road or somewhere around the globe... Peace, love, and keep traveling. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

The White House Tour That Almost Wasn't

At the end of our epic road trip we received an amazing invitation to tour the White House. It was an invitation that we couldn’t refuse… it was like it was meant to be. I say that because the day the announcement was made that a group I am a part of was touring the White House the tickets were gone by six o’clock that morning. Trust me when I tell you that I six in the morning I was probably still sleeping. I didn’t think to much about it and we continued on with our road trip. Then one day while I was lounging on my aunt’s couch after a long, hard drive I received a text asking if I would like to attend the White House tour. “Absolutely!” was my response without even having to give it any thought or figure out the logistics. We would be there.

Everything fell into place. We had a date and time to attend the tour, we cleared security, we had no other obligations that weekend, and the kid’s dad and grandparents were super excited about them visiting the White House.

We were scheduled to leave on Friday morning so we could spend the day touring the Smithsonian and other DC landmarks prior to our Saturday morning tour. Thursday evening, after a long day of car shopping and visiting old friends, I received a message that our tour details had changed. Now we needed to be in DC by Friday morning at 930a. For a moment I was extremely disappointed at not being able to attend but then I remembered who we are and what we do. We are travelers… we adjust, we regroup, and we make it happen and that is what we did. I threw stuff into suitcases, prepared the house for us to be gone, and left to pick up the kids from their dad’s house. By 1am we were on the road. Fueled by coffee and red bull and the adrenaline of driving the 6.5 hours overnight to get there on time, we rolled down the highway. It was an uneventful drive. I played a rotation of 6 cd’s and sang the entire way there. The kids tossed and turned trying to sleep… it’s a hard adjustment going from traveling in a 37 ft RV to an SUV.

After a bout with rush hour traffic we made it to the hotel around 8a giving us just enough time to dash in change clothes, find a place to park the car and catch a taxi to the White House. We joined the other eager and excited individuals in line to take the tour and that’s when I was finally able to take that sigh of relief. We did it. We were there.

While we waited in line the secret service man who had been chatting with the lady in front of us informed us that the president’s motorcade would be approaching soon and soon enough the lead car arrived and we waited with anticipation for the rest of the parade to approach. The flashing lights rounded the corner and the procession began. I couldn’t count the number of security cars it took to get the president and maybe his family safely into their home but it was a sight to see.



Finally it was our turn to go through security. That was some pretty intense security, which is understandable. 



Then we were in the White House. It was a surreal feeling to walk down the same hallways as American history. To explore the same space that Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy once occupied and the same space that the Obama’s still occupy was an experience  that can’t be described… only experienced.





After we oohed and ahhhhed over the magnificence of the white house I decided to take the kids down memory lane and show them how they got their start. We traveled the roads they father and I used to walk, saw the first apartments we stayed in, the neighborhoods we called home. I was excited to show my oldest son a life he no longer remembers. We laughed as I told them funny stories from when he was a baby. They listened as I described the struggle and how real it was (and they could see it with their own eyes), we ate patties and cocoa bread on Howard’s campus as I gave them the tour. We just really enjoyed returning ‘home’.

By the end of the down memory lane tour I was more than exhausted. I was running on 36 hours with no sleep and that wasn’t good. We made our way back to our hotel, which still wasn’t ready. We relaxed in the car for the next hour before finally able to head to our room. After such a long day we were all pooped and in the bed by four thirty. We were all asleep by 8p.

We slept in Saturday morning. When we were finally up we were eager to get our day started at the Smithsonian Museums. We caught the train, which was another experience I wanted to kids to have, and made it to the National Mall. We toured the monuments with the hoards of people before pushing our way through the crowds to get to the Natural History Museum. I was surprised at the long lines to get in and realized that Easter weekend may not be the best weekend to visit the touristy sites in DC. We were there however and we waited in line like the rest of the visitors. The kids enjoyed the museum but it was short lived due to three hungry kids. We rushed the last portion of the visit and made our way outside to the food trucks. We enjoyed lunch behind the museum and then made our way to the next museum. Unfortunately the line was way to long and we decided to call it a day. We did explore the Air and Space museum the next morning before we got on the road to make the long journey home.


All in all it was an epic weekend and I’m so glad we got to make the trip.