In January 2017, I was feeling stuck. I had not really traveled in a while. I was ready to hit the road again, but I was not sure how I was going to do that or where I was going to go. Then a chance trip home and drinks with an old high school friend turned into an adventure I never could have imagined … the opportunity to work with the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus and live on the circus train until May. That all by itself was awesome, but it also meant visiting a new city every week. Here was my chance to travel! When the circus ended I was picked up by the Marvel Universe Live tour which started with two weeks in New Orleans! Hello “Big Easy” and beignets!
For the last couple of years I had also been thinking about starting a YouTube channel or blog. This seemed like the perfect opportunity, I had something to talk about. So my blog, Travel, Tea & Me was born. It’s a great way to share my adventures people who are interested in travel, tea, museums, botanical gardens, etc. I have also had the chance to connect with other travelers (and tea lovers) all over the world.
There have been some challenges along the way, including having my phone and money stolen. It happens, but I could have just as easily happened if I stayed in California. It’s not a deal breaker, but I did learn to lock up my stuff. At the end of the day, there is always more good than bad. In the last year I’ve been to:
- 22 US States and Canada
- 38 cities
- 6 Museums
- 5 Botanical Gardens
- 6 lovely Afternoon Teas
- The Mall of America
- The St Louis Arch
- Yosemite National Park
- Fleet Week in New York City
- Ice Skated at Rockefeller Center
- Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge
- Spun Fire (well I tried – I think that counts)
- Hiked the Grand Canyon (six miles – still pretty cool) and
- Climbed out on Devil’s Bridge (pretty scary)
Dale Chihuly Glass, Toledo Museum
Myriad Botanical Gardens; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Time for Tea at Clara J’s in Maumee, OH
During 2017 I learned a lot about myself, other people and travel (of course). Here are three things that have made my travel experience better:
- Eat Local. Food is part of the travel experience. If you want to know what a city is really like do not each at chain restaurants. Look up the dishes they are known for (Philly Cheese Steaks in Philadelphia, deep dish pizza in Chicago) and find a locally owned restaurant that serves them.
- Walk more – Ride Less (unless it’s a bicycle). You see things different when you are not in a car or busy speeding by things with a roof over your head. Walking slows you down. You are more likely to chat with someone from the area. It’s also easier to stop and take pictures. Plus, you will walk off that meal you just had.
- Pack Light. Traveling with less is best! If you do not absolutely need it do not pack it. I’m not saying to leave out use-as-needed things like medication, first aid or back-up batteries. I will leave the definition of “need” to your discretion. It’s different for everyone, but leave your valuables at home (except for things like your phone, camera or in my case laptop for blogging). Travel should be about the experience not things. When you lose things (or they get stolen) it can ruin the travel experience. You tend to focus on the things you have lost instead of the memories you have made.
“My experiences have shown me that life truly is a journey and the less baggage we carry, the easier the ride.” – Wally Amos
In 2018 I will still be on working on tour and visiting a different city every week. I will get to visit new places like Orlando, FL and spend more time in some of my favorites like New York City. I’m also hoping to grow my blog, work on some new projects and learn some new skills.
One things for sure, every week will be an adventure and that’s the best part!