Wow - how 2009 flew by. I didn't write as much as I wanted to, but my motivation only comes in waves. Right now I am contemplating buying a flat screen tv and read a great Black Friday article. here is the link . People get pretty crafty to get a good deal.
Since I wrote so much about travel before...i'll update about that first. 2009 was a great year to jetset!
Rented out my DC condo for the inauguration circus. I found a nice/responsible business type renter on Craigslist. I was a little nervous about the getting the money and hoping the condition of condo when I got back would be ok. I've rented out rooms to Craigslist people in houses where I lived before, but I had the benefit of being there everyday. So this was a little different situation. Renter sent money, I gave keys to a friend of his who lived in DC. I returned to a condo in good condition. Couldn't have been happier.....except I could have gone without all the jeering at "greedy" people "exploiting" Obama-fanatics during inauguration time.
The rent money covered the costs for a 2 week trip for BF and I to Argentina and Uruguay (including the $650 plane tickets, accomodations, transportation, food). He had never been out of USA/Mex/Canada before. I had never been to S. America. We had a blast watching some great tango moves, zip-lining and repelling down waterfalls, and motorcycling up the coast with Churro in hand. Stayed in hostels in the city and B&B's in the rural areas.
Wanted to go to Iguazu Falls from Buenos Aires, so instead of taking a $300 2-3 hour flight, we took a $50 16 hour bus. I would bus over fly even if I had tons o' cash. It was an overnight bus, so that negated getting accommodations for the night. It was super comfortable to sleep in (chairs reclined flat) and the bus had a "flight" attendant who brought 2 course dinner and breakfast (after dinner whiskey too). Everything was amazing - food, wine, music, weather, stray dogs, funny miscommunications...everything.
We went to my BF's beach house on the Jersey shore throughout the summer. It was cheap and easy to drive to - but by the end of the summer, even BF grew sick of it. The "shore" provides some therapy to my Southern California native beach deprived self, but it's really not even comparable. It was still enjoyable to get out of the city.
I love August. I love that my birthday is in August. I love summer. I love travel. I love my bf. Mix it all into one and what do you get? A cross country road trip from California to DC to transport my birthday present!
When I graduated college in CA 4 years ago, I left my car with my parents. So they had 4 people in a household and 5 cars. I guess they thought I was joking about living in DC and that I would move back home quick, cuz they never sold the car. So I asked if I could have it. My dad wanted to stop paying insurance for the car, so he said yes.
Anyways, the main purpose of this trip was to drive my old/new car from CA to DC. My sister joined me as we set off in CA and stopped at In-n-Out and my best friend's wedding in Vegas! Next up, Albuquerque. My bf doesn't have as many vacation days as I, so he was flying in to Albuquerque to join me and my sister. We all took a hang gliding lesson - it was fun and HOT. Then I sent my sis back to CA by plane.
Confused yet? There's only 2,000 miles to go! Anyways, long story longer...BF got an unexpected freelance job and the company whisked him away when we were in Oklahoma. So I got to drive alone through Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia.
I wanted to drive cross country for so long, especially with the mystique of route 66 and seeing the South. I really wanted to examine how traveling internationally compared to traveling the interior of the US. I went river rafting in TN and met some very nice people who invited me to join them for dinner - so i got a taste of the Southern hospitality! Now I want to backpack the globe for a year.
oh yea, maybe I should say something about finances for this trip. It was relatively inexpensive. I stayed in motel 8s or Red Roof Inns. You better believe hang gliding in NM and rafting in TN were cheaper than doing it in more expensive states like CA or NY.
My good friends were traveling to Europe b/c of work related stuff and invited BF and I to join. I searched around and sscored cheap round trip flights ($360) to Ireland. I've been to Europe 3 times before and know about their discount airlines (ryan air, easy jet, etc.) so I thought we'd land in Ireland and meet up with our friends. Turns out their work changed conference dates and they wouldn't be able to meet up. D'oh!
BF and I had fun in Europe. Although the penny pincher money grinch in me was groaning at every price tag. I had warned BF that every little amenity costs money in Europe. Starting with his hostel/hotel search - he didn't realize in Europe they charge per person for hotel rooms. That's why the advertised prices and final checkout price were not matching.
We got 10 Euro (tax and everything included) plane tickets to Amsterdam - trick is...it's an e-ticket, meaning you -have- to print out the ticket yourself. If a passenger got to the airport and had the check-in desk person print it out, they would have charged a fee of 35 Euros! Fortunately these airlines let you check in 15-20 days in advance of your flight. We popped into an internet cafe located in a train station and printed them out (plus some net time) for 2 Euros.
The first 2 times I went to Europe was to study abroad so the price tags didn't shock me as much, i was used to being a broke student. The 3rd time I traveled I was a entry-level professional - so prices weren't as bad. But the costs this last trip really has discouraged me from traveling to Europe again.
Since we were traveling at off-peak times, we got some perks. For instance, there was a hostel renting beds in a dorm for 17 Euro. The dorm had 10 beds and a connecting restroom, but we were the only ones in the room, so we just shut the doors and voila...it was private.
so...i haven't made any decision about travel for Thanksgiving or Xmas. The holiday season is not my favorite time of year. After new year's festivities each year I swear to myself I won't go crazy with the social gatherings and traveling.
oh shoot - i have to go see my parents for xmas! Better look for tickets now.