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.