Sunday, December 8, 2013

Home for the Holidays

Dad and Marley (dog) with the tree, 2012
It's that time of year again! The streets are lined with lights and decorations, and people are already anxiously awaiting reuniting with family. For a lot of people, this means traveling. Whether you're driving a couple hours or hopping a plane, the holiday season is, hands down, the worst time of year to travel. Flights are ungodly expensive, gas prices go up, and road conditions are a crapshoot. However, there are a few things you can do to make your journey a little less stressful.

There's nothing worse than being stuck in an airport on your way home for Christmas. Everyone is on edge, and there will undoubtably be one person who is more self-important than Kanye West. The best way to take the edge off of flying for the holidays is to practice the art of not being "that person." You want to go home as soon as you can, and airports make you feel like you're waiting in a line the entire time you're there. The important thing to remember is that everyone feels the same way, so be considerate of those around you. Don't rush to get on the plane, you'll bored when you bored. Find a good book and try to be patient.

If you have to drive, make sure you keep an emergency kit in your car. Winter weather and unexpected storms can make driving dangerous. There are several items that are practical to keep in your car incase you end up in a ditch, but most importantly, make sure you travel with a charged cell phone. In case your in an area that is out of cell range, it's good to have a make shift heat source - like a coffee can and a candle - to keep you from freezing. It's a good idea to have a winter weight sleeping bag in the car as well, and don't leave home without your coat, hat, and gloves. Travel with a couple bottles of water and some snacks too. These emergency items can keep you alive if you end up stranded in your car overnight.

Most importantly, keep your cool and go with the flow. Things will undoubtably go wrong at some point in your travels. Go with the flow, and try not to get too worked up about vacation curve balls. The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed, so focus on having a great time!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Don't Forget Your Hat!

Eric and I Discussing Hats
Ask any seasonal worker to list the top 10 things they never leave home without, and you're likely to find a hat somewhere on the list. Not only are they an article of clothing, they're incredibly practical for a number of reasons!

1. They keep your head warm

This might be obvious, but a good knit cap is indispensable because it keeps your head warm. The face, head, and chest are more sensitive to temperature change than the rest of the body, so having a good hat can make you feel more comfortable when you have to work outside.

2. They can protect you from the weather.

Cowboy hats are designed to keep sun off of both the face and neck. Baseball caps are made to shade the eyes, and knit caps cover your ears so you don't end up with frost bite. They're more than just a fashion statement; they're functional. 

3. You don't have to brush your hair.

Although hats can be functional, there's no denying that they can also be fashionable. On long trips, you might not have access to a shower for a couple of days. Throwing a hat on can hide oily hair and serve as a quick and easy way to get ready for a day of driving. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Weekend in Upstate New York

I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Rochester, New York this weekend, and you wouldn't believe how many people asked if I was going to New York City. Then again, I had no idea where Rochester was located in respect to NYC, so I decided to include a map to help clear things up a bit! As you can see, Rochester is closer to Canada than it is to New York City. To be honest, the map was more to help me see where I was than to make sense to the reader (sorry). 

From garbage plates (meat on top of starch all topped with a spicy meat sauce) and the city market to Niagara Falls, it was an amazing weekend! One thing I feel foolish for not knowing, is that buffalo wings actually originated in Buffalo, New York. When I see it written out, it makes perfect sense, but growing up in a rural Midwestern town, I thought they were just named that. 

Eric and I at Niagara Falls

I was also lucky enough to learn an insider travel tip from Eric's family - Canada has the best view of the Falls. Even at night, it's easy to see why the Niagara Falls are considered to be one of North America's natural wonders, and I'm glad I packed my passport so that I could have a chance to see such a beautiful perspective.

One thing I've learned from traveling so much is that you never know when an opportunity to leave the country will present itself. You can't legally cross the border between Canada and the United States without a valid passport, and it's the same in Mexico, so it's a good idea to bring yours along whenever you travel, just in case.