2015: Welcome to ENGLAND! Week 1 – London and the Coast

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Monday, November 30, 2015

  Wow, it has been a while since I have written a blog.  It’s been pretty non stop since the traveling started.  November 11th I boarded a plane in NY to Gatwick airport in London, England.  Pretty scary really, given that I only had a one way, one time passport that was taken from me at the UK Border.  A lot of people think that this trip should be easy for me, but the truth of the matter is, when I left England I was 16.  The only time that I have flown international, and come back to England has been when my mother arranged and paid for it.  My dad, or partner at the time, brought me to the airport, and family was waiting on the other side for my arrival.  I had never counted on myself, solely, to navigate my way using public transportation.  I’d never had to trust myself to make sure that I was okay, and would arrive where I needed to arrive, and needless to say, I was pretty nervous.  All of this is really outside of my comfort zone.

Luckily for me, I do have family in this country, and my first initial destination was to my Aunt’s house.  In some ways, there was comfort in knowing that, and in others there was a different kind of fear.  The last time I had seen my aunt was when I was 15.  We’d had very limited contact even when we were in touch, and next to none for the last 20 years.  My cousins are grown adults, and I knew almost nothing about my Uncle Paul.  Being invited to stay with them in Christchurch was financially supportive of my traveling frugal blog, but emotionally, it was a risk that I really didn’t talk much about.

Hattan Hostel has been pretty successful so far, and I’m extremely grateful for all of Jackie’s hard work on site.  The bookings in Mississippi have slowed down, I assume because it is winter time, but I did expect some traffic for snowbird season.  The weather there is in the 70s.. maybe people aren’t sick of the cold yet.  The price point is as low as it could possibly be, so at this point its time to turn it over to my higher power, and know that there is a reason for it to be vacant.

So far England has been amazing.  Better than I anticipated.  Spending a day in London was something I have done with my dad as a small child, but I don’t remember anything about it.  This trip was with my cousin, and her first time sight seeing the city also.  We woke up around 5am to catch a bus into Bournemouth from Christchurch.  From Bournemouth we took a coach for 2 hours into the City of London, and began our rainy but fun day seeing the sights.  I’ll write a specific guide to seeing London on a Dime once I have finished writing this overall update.

Altogether I stayed in the south of England for a week.  I got to spend quality time with family, see London, spend a day at Durdle Door .. a BEAUTIFUL landscape of cliffs at the Southern end of England, and become acclimated to the British way of life.

The total out of pocket from NYC to the end of my first week in England, flight cost included is:

Flight – $286
Snacks for traveling – $7.25
England socket converter to charge my electronics – $10
Bus from London to Bournemouth – $22
Wok and Roll lunch – $6
Train fare from Bournemouth to Christchurch – $5
Breakfast before London – $4
Lodging with family was free
Food for the most part was free – we brought lunch and dinner with us to London and to Durdle Door
Return trip to London via coach – $35
Sight seeing hop on hop off bus tour of London – $45 (something I usually wouldn’t pay for, but given the rain, it was well worth the free bus rides to each attraction, and the free River Thames cruise that allowed me to get some amazing photos while having shelter to duck under.. not to mention the dry comedy of the boat guide)
Teatime – $4
Shopping for a scarf and hat – $12
Postcards and stamps – $20

Week 1 – $456 ($170 without the flight)

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Growing My International Comfort Zone

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September 24, 2014 (2 years ago in Miami Beach, Florida USA)

It’s amazing how quickly my comfort zone is expanding.  I am no longer afraid or self conscious about saying hello.  It started with a passing stranger, a quick “good morning” and a smile.  The return smile enhanced my day, the returned shocked “hello” even better.  It’s funny how many Americans here are shocked by the pleasantry that is displayed in the South, even here in Miami.  Sure, there are upper class people, some of whom look like they are scared to be infected by poverty, just by acknowledging a blue collar person, but for the most part, people are friendly, and will return whatever is projected to them.  Yesterday I entered the W hotel to find an ATM machine.  I immediately felt out of place with the obvious wealth of the place, and fort knox, security guarded entrance.. the one of a kind cars parked in the front, and various other “toys”.  As I walked around, somewhat lost, it was my own self conscious, “less than” thinking that separated me.  I eventually had to ask for help locating the cash machine, and was treated quite pleasantly, guided to the machine and wished a healthy day.  Another encounter that I discovered a new path to self worth.

In the hostel, I am meeting some amazingly beautiful people from all over the world.  Last night I asked Jette and Yana if they’d like to join me in a walk to a little spot i’d found the day before, where the Miami skyline looked quite beautiful.  I wanted to see it at night, and take some pictures.  Ironically I forgot my camera with all the talk while getting ready.. I forgot all that is involved in getting ready for girly girls. 🙂

I should’ve known when Jette (from Denmark) let me know that she is traveling to celebrate her weight loss, and how beautiful she is, and feels.  She is a princess who loves Pink (which i noticed as she picked out every pink travelers guide from the tourist rack).  Yana (from Israel) hasn’t  claimed to be a princess, but definitely wins the award for the most time spent in the bathroom of the 12 of us.

As we walked, we found a limo, and wanted pictures of us infront of it.  As we rotated and snapped the camera, the limo driver lowered her window and offered for us to climb inside, so of course we did!

 

We spent about an hour at the waters edge, watching the building repeat the dancing lights girl on the side of the building, and admiring the reflections of lights in the water.  The breeze was very welcomed as it was particularly humid last night.   It was “a romantic spot” Yana kept saying as she played with an Old English sheepdog, out with his owner.  We laughed as we each three talked about our own cultures, and the differences in them.  I listened tentatively as they exchanged travel stories.  Mexico certainly made it to my list while India became ruled out for me.  The way the culture was described sounded way too touchy feely towards women, especially if traveling alone.  Maybe one day I will face that fear, but no time soon.  Yana added it to her list, but only if she traveled with a group.  Maybe that had been an invite.. I’m not sure.. my Passage to India was already closed.
This morning I met someone who arrived in the night from Sidney, Australia, tho we didn’t talk long enough to exchange information.  I’m sure we will fix that this evening! Then I met Vecchiato, from Venice Italy.  🙂 She was very friendly, and thought she knew me from a previous hostel stay.  One day I will meet this twin of mine.  We exchanged information right away as she invited me to visit her when I travel Europe.  I look forward to getting to know her more, as she seemed really cool, and laid back.. knowledgeable about traveling.
Tomorrow Jette and I are leaving for the Keys.  I’m a little nervous about having a travel partner as I have learned I enjoy my space and freedom, and struggle with using my voice to achieve my goals rather than cater to others.  I’m feeling under the weather, full of a head cold, and camping on the beach, and being in the water may not be the best idea for me.. but then, maybe it is a good thing I won’t be traveling alone?  Universe… I’m sure you know what you are doing.
Well, time to clock in for work.. need to stack the bank account a little as funds are beginning to slide the wrong way.  I’ve been having technical difficulties with the app that dispenses the deliveries to me, and stayed pretty laid back about getting it fixed.. the result has been a decline in income, but I’ve still profited each day I have been here, so I can’t complain.
MAKE IT A GREAT DAY EVERYONE!!!

14 nights, flights, buses, trains, metros and apartment for 2 in Paris.. You won’t believe the price!

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Bonjour! 

I get asked all the time about trips people want to take, and how to take them as frugal as possible.  So I have decided to start offering packages for trips that I’ve already researched for myself.  What do I get out of it? Bonus miles towards future free flights.  If you don’t mind allowing me to bank your miles, I’ll show you THE CHEAPEST way to see some of the amazing things that I see on my travels.  
First up is a romantic 2 weeks in Paris at Christmas 2016 (well, November 28-December 12,. But just think of the bragging rights on Christmas Day!) 

This package has a few different options, as I understand that not everyone is ok with carrying one backpack of belongings and commuting as far as I am comfortable with doing.  Hopefully my blog eases some of the fears around that tho.  

The cheapest option is $1570 

Roundtrip tickets for 2 from Miami to Paris 

14 nights in a private apartment on the outskirts of Paris 

2 transit passes for 2 weeks of unlimited buses, trains, and metros to get you anywhere you wanna go in Paris and its suburbs 

This is an example of one of the apartments, as opposed to a room in a hotel. 
It’s really a no brainer.  I’ll book everything for you, order the passes, the flights, the apartment and deliver you a package with detailed information of free and frugal things to do while in Paris to keep the budget down.  

Due to the special on these particular flights, and the apartment availability this offer could end at any time. I know where I’ll be 😍

Email me to book your Christmas Paris vacation!

Terrorist attacks coming to a major city near YOU!

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“Omg did you go to Brussels??? They were attacked!!!!”
Major cities are going to continue to be attacked to bring attention to the shit that’s going on in the world until something is done to stop the suffering and the blatant disregard of human life on our (western world) part.. Which will never happen bc we deny our part in it. We look at them as barbaric for blowing themselves up and taking innocent lives with them.. But these people have spent 14 years being bombed blown up and attacked by us.. They’ve spent months traveling far and wide carrying practically nothing but their children.. Watching loved ones die along the way. Then they reach borders where they are tear gassed and beaten for trying to cross borders out of the former iron curtain .. Soviet Union .. 
We hear nothing about Russia in all of this.. Our country has NO IDEA about the shit going on with Russia .. and won’t care to know until shit hits the fan and it directly effects us.. Then it won’t matter if we are driving a Stationwagon or a Porsche .. It won’t matter how much money is in the bank.. 
But I’m just a conspiracy theorist who researches too much… asks too many questions… And won’t settle for ignorant silence.  
With a bonus of knowing how to live off the grid.
My thoughts and prayers are with EVERYONE that is affected by the ENTIRE situation.. Not just the people that died today and their families .. It’s with the 1/4 million other people that have died and their loved ones .. It’s with the 11 MILLION people that are homeless and displaced trying to find a life where they aren’t being bombed. It’s with the mentally ill that have zero ability to comprehend everything that their life is. It’s with the people that CAN do something about it, but don’t… Because it doesn’t effect them directly so why stop going about their daily lives to do something about it?  
I’m sure there will be Belgium flags covering Facebook profile pictures by the end of the day.. And that’ll make it all better. 
/rant 

 

What about protein?

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Lunch – I made bean soup last night.. And didn’t bother to make rice because I realized.. I only eat rice when it’s a meal that’s “supposed to have rice” .. And I’d much rather save the carbs for something I desire than a “just because”. I added hot sauce and it was good .. But it wasn’t like WOW factor!!!

Today I put some on a tortilla made of organic whole spelt .. On a bed of spinach topped with olives and tomatoes..


Note to self: black olives didn’t taste like they belonged in that one..
If anyone has some bean recipes.. I’m all ears!

#whataboutprotein

Celebrating 18 months of travel today while getting ready to leave for Greece!  Mentally, I’m not where I was when I left for Europe last year, but I’ll be in good company.. Positive thinking.. Picture what I want it to look like.. Getting out there and doing it… Haven’t been wanting to leave my house, so this feels a bit like a mountain.

 


Breakfast was a slam dunk!

 

 I just feel so hungry all the time.. And thirsty.. Sooooo thirsty!

Why can’t I come home?

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So I’m totally having a panic attack right now. I am driving to the dentist and I was thinking about how difficult it is for me to come home? Actually I’m thinking about naming this blog, “why can’t I come home?”

While I was driving to the dentist, trying to ignore the panic, the sun was starting to rise and the view was absolutely magnificent!!! I didn’t stop… I continued to drive… I wanted to stop, but I didn’t… I was late for my dentist appointment, an appointment that I hadn’t  even made yet, but was hoping they could squeeze me in for… Yet I didn’t stop.

“I always stop. It’s the sunrise!! The sunsets… I stop.. it’s too beautiful not to stop .. why aren’t I stopping?”

I got to the end of the bridge … we have long bridges down here.. and when I got to the end, the guy that was up my ass, probably later for his day than I am for mine, swerved around me and took off… Empty boat..

I pulled over and waited till the traffic passed by, did a U-turn, and went and got my moment of beauty. In this late, panic stricken… struggling to breathe and focus moment, I CHOSE LOVE.. Loving myself.. During that 60 seconds that I allowed myself to stop, and take in the moment.. I did my deep breathing exercise.. one moment.. One 60 second moment. I chose to love myself for that moment and give myself that gift. The panic fell off of me.

I thought about the book I had read .. That time is a figment of our imagination.  What would it matter if I didn’t accomplish my goals at the dentist today? It really wouldn’t matter.  As it turns out, I got to the dentist a little late for their walk in suggested time.. The building was gone .. In its place stood a brand new Walmart.  I google mapped their new address and headed there instead.  In my haste, i’d forgotten to bring today’s book I am reading.  It’s okay tho because they scheduled me for tomorrow morning 🙂 I’ll get to see that glorious sunrise all over again!

I realized, while getting dressed today, that I missed my mirrors. While I’m working on loving the reflection that’s staring back at me .. Due to the weight I gained while in Europe.. I missed looking in the mirror and seeing the things I do like about myself… And the person I see when I imagine the weight gone. I missed my leather jacket. I love my leather jacket! I missed these sunrises.. The deep burnt orange and reds that my camera can’t even pick up. Home. I love home. I love my home. I can come home and feel safe… So why can’t I stop having panic attacks? Why do I feel so completely disfunctional?  I need to start making lists to make sure I get everything done, and don’t stay stuck in this scattered panicky place I always seem to find myself in when I am home.  But first …

Time to love myself….

Barcelona – The Gallery

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Here’s some of my favorite shots I took while I was in Barcelona… I’ll be taking the best ten and editing them to really pop and be worthy of a space on my walls at home (my gallery) and then taking the best shot and painting it on canvas.
Lemme know which your favorites are.. If you guys want prints of any of my paintings or photography.. Please let me know.. If it’s a specific one that isn’t already posted to   society6.com/Storme, my online store front.. I can certainly send it there.  This is something I really want to grow in order to support my travels.  I don’t really want to be remembered for being an Airbnb tycoon.. Or even a travel.. I’m an artist.. Painting, photography, sharing the beauty that’s within our world .. That’s what ignites the fire within me..  So feel to share any of what I post.

I hope you’ve enjoyed it .. If you wanna see the other photography.. Click here and it’ll be a continued ongoing growing list… For videos make sure you connect with me on YouTube .. For unedited in the moment footage.. Add me on snapchat: cre8ivflame and lastly.. For as much experience, in the moment.. The good, bad, and the downright ugly .. Hit me up on Facebook.