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Archive for November, 2008

Miles

Being up until now, pretty much a homebody, I’m fairly new to the world of “miles”.  You know, those points you earn by shopping here or going there or using this agency vs. that?  Yeah those kind of miles.

Today I was reading Chris’ blog as usual and he discussed his travel plans for 2009…all of which pretty much run circles around my own plans.  But toward the end he pointed out how cheap most of his flights were, and how he got upgrades, because of miles.  Considering some of his destinations are pretty off the tourist track (Eritrea!), a $150 ticket is nothing to scoff at.

So naturally I’m more aware of when and where I can pick up points for my own future travels.  Being in Houston, I’m pretty much a slave to Continental, since this is their hub.  Fortunately they do have a points program, One Pass.  It will take me about 20,000 minimum just to get a ticket within the Continental US, Canada, and Alaska. Right now I only have 4,546.

The good news is, while planning my trip to Puerto Rico, I made sure to be on the lookout for places I could get miles via partners of Continental.  The Hilton I’m staying it gives 500 miles per stay (I’m seriously hoping “stay” means “night”) and I get Hilton points as well (I’m in the Hilton Honors program as well).  I wanted to use Enterprise rental cars, only because I’m used to using them, but they aren’t a partner.  Avis is, so I’m going with them to the tune of 50 miles per day.

All in all I should be earning a total of 3150 miles on this trip, not including the miles earned from the flight itself.  That almost doubles my current total!

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Hybernation

For the next two days I’m staying in.  It’s Thanksgiving and, yes, I was invited several times to various family dinners.  I declined.  There is nothing I love better than being by myself during Thanksgiving. And there is nothing I hate more than feeling awkwardly third-wheelish at someone else’s family dinner.  Besides, it gives me time to recoup…and pack!

Next week is going to be a whirlwind, so it’s nice to be able to take it easy in the comfort of my own home.

Today at the bookstore I was reading the book: When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put, but Vivian Swift.  For the most part it’s a, rather lovely, art journal about a woman who basically spent her 20s-40s traveling and nearing her 50s has decided to stay put.  The book has lots of wonderful watercolor paintings of her surroundings in Long Island.

 

 

It’s also a rather inspiring read, being a hopeful traveler myself. Although many of her travels seem rather impulsive and reactionary, she seems to have that same sort of restless angst I always seem to suffer from.  I’m constantly looking for change in my life, whether it’s painting and re-painting my living room or, worse, jumping from one man to the next.  At least travel will be a more productive, if expensive, outlet for this angst.

Who knows, maybe when I’m done I’ll have all that restlessness out of my own system and publish my own book.

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A Tiny Bit of 411

This blog is strictly a motivator…for me.  Obviously I would love to have readers and comments and people who share their experiences and encourage mine. But ultimately it’s a device to keep me from doing what I say I want to do: travel.

That said, in a prior post I mentioned that this upcoming year would make it difficult to travel.  This is for various reasons. One of those is some major surgery I’m having done.  Cutting to the chase, I have hip replacements and one of them needs replacing. Side Note: this should discourage anyone with health issues from letting that be a factor in their decision not to go–anywhere!  It should also encourage anyone with scars or other “disfigurements” to go ahead and try out a nude beach.  No one cares!

I saw my orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday and he pretty much told me I should have it done sooner rather than later. My plans for Christmas (in California) are set. My grandmother is having her 80th birthday in early February.  In between I’m off to the ice hotel in Montreal.  So basically February is the date. 

This means I certainly won’t be traveling, or really even planning any travels. I suppose it’s good to get this out of the way early on in the blog before I have a bunch of readers to disappoint with 6 weeks of silence while I recuperate.

The good news is, once that’s done I’ll be back in good better form and, due to a convenient work benefits package, with all my vacation days in tact.  I may even knock a trip off this list when I’m done to celebrate.

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This Saturday I take off for Puerto Rico.  The first leg of the trip is all conference, which is perfectly ok.  I LOVE conferences.  They always keep you entertained and I get  to network, mingle, and travel on the company dime.  So I’m actually looking forward to that.

But I chose to stay a couple of days after that…and that’s where the headache began.  I realize I’m new to traveling outside the US (continental) but it’s quite annoying not to be able to access a website on line or find something on Google maps (because even they can’t find it).

I knew I was setting myself up for the dominoes to come tumbling down by trying to pack so much into three days but I have a very tight timeline…and it scares me. Going from San Juan to Fajardo to Vieques back to Fajardo back to San Juan in only three days! And trying to fit in two trips to nude beaches, finding the elusive playa negrita, and enjoying the bio bay tour as well!

Plus it looks like I may very well have to rent a car on Vieques. This if it’s not too late (supposedly they book fast) AND if the will let me have the car only one day (so many places there have minimum time limits).

I’m trying to just let it go and let que sera, sera.  But I’m too much of a control freak for that.

My coworker decided to tack a simple cruise on the tail end of her conference trip.  I wish I’d thought of that….

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The Birthday List

Courtesy of Michelle on Flickr.

Courtesy of Michelle on Flickr.

Yesterday was my birthday.  I turned the big 3-1. Ever since my last birthday I’ve made a list of things I want to do during the next year.  I totally stole the idea from this cool chick.  Anyway this year, my goal being to travel more, a couple of travel related items made the list.  I’ve highlighted them.

31 things to do before I turn 32.

1.       Visit at least 2 foreign countries

2.       Pay off the credit card (finally!)

3.       Fill an entire shelf with bottles of sand

4.       Visit at least 2 US cities

5.       Get rid of 100 more things (that’s  2 a week!)

6.       Plant basil and tomatoes

7.       Learn how to paint watercolor

8.       Finish a NY Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle (for the love of God!)

9.       Start an emergency fund

10.   Maintain the blog…if only for the sand collection

11.   Go to Burning Man

12.   Drive up the PCH

13.   Go to a Houston Festival

14.   Get rid of every piece of fabric I own

15.   Get a driving angel

16.   Find out what the deal is about two classic films:

17.   Read at least one piece of cult fiction a month (Palahniuk only gets one..if that)

18.   Say yes to every man who asks (no not sex)

19.   Discover a new good  author with at least 5 books to their name

20.   Try a burger from Whataburger, Sonic, and Dairy Queen (already!)

21.   Ride the train in Herman Park

22.   Do something with the bedroom wall by the bed

23.   No Casual sex. Period. (This one, at the request of some friends who mentioned my rather liberal lifestyle was perfectly acceptable may get switched out with: Play a game of poker.  I’ve honestly never played a single solitary game ever.)

24.   Make a skirt…to wear!

25.   Finish importing my library

26.   Make a soufflé (use those damn ramekins already)

27.   Take a cooking class at Central Market

28.   Register at least 10 bills on Where’s George

29.   Write that story

30.   Clean out my car and keep it that way

31.   Work on turning the Sewing Room, or 3rd bedroom, into this (living alone ROCKS!)

 

 

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Wednesday as I was pulling into my garage I noticed a big package with a tell-tale Amazon.com smile on the side on my front poorch.  Since my birthday is this Sunday I was not surprised, but I was delighted.  As with many packages from Amazon.com I’ve noticed it was taped rather haphazardly and I worried, especially due to the lightness, that maybe someone had stolen the contents and re-taped it.

But no…it was just Amazon ruining the environment with an unnecessarily huge box, lots of air-filled plastic, and one small wrapped package containing a Nuvi, from my mom.  She made sure to point out on the card that it works in Puerto Rico. Mom.

I’ve never been one to get lost, mostly because of the wonder that is Yahoo! maps.  But according to my mom, one of her girlfriends used it on a trip up to Lake Tahoe and she was perfectly amazed by how well it works. I doubt it will get me anywhere near Playa Negrita on Vieques since no one on the world wide web seems to be able to pinpoint how to get there, but at least I should be able to get from San Juan to Fajardo in one piece.

Of course I can also use it in the rest of the US as well. The only problem is, most nude beaches are off the beaten track.  And some of the “unofficial” ones are non-findable for a good reason. 

But it should at least come in handy in Houston, where you can be sure of two things: street altering construction and lack of signage.

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Confirmed!

Yesterday I got a call form the Conquistador hotel informing me that my credit card had not been authorized. I called them back to clear it up.  It turns out that the numbers were wrong. Problem solved!

While I had her on the phone I made sure to follow up on the rumor I’d seen floating around on the web about the nude beach on Palomino island.  I wanted to make sure this was true before forking over [insert obscene amount here] a night to stay there.  Because I sure as heck don’t care about the “resort services” that jack up the prices.

She laughed and said she had actually had to ask the head of that part of the hotel because even she hadn’t been aware of that. But yes.  Palomino island does in fact have a nude beach.  She made very sure to inform me that it was on the other side of the island away from  the beach chairs and bar.  Duly noted.

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