The Roads We Travel

A few days in a life journey.

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Road Trip!

As a kid, I took a few road trips with my mom and sister. We visited family in New York, Georgia and Florida. Pretty much our trips were to locations you could easily access from I-95. I remember those trips fondly because it was time away from whatever craziness was going on at home.

So, last month, my family packed up our mini-van + a trailer full of some of our most-used items and we moved clear across the country. We drove from our home in Maryland (where I’ve lived most of my life) to our new home in sunny California. Now that’s a road trip!

Let’s be clear, relocating a family of four cross-country (without help from an employer or the military) is just plain cray-cray. But, we did it and now we’re closer to my in-laws. We’re also just really happy in our new hometown!

Thumbs Up

My son, all bundled and giving the thumbs up. Ready to go!

Of course, I have to give you a little preview of our road trip. Imagine a mini-van, the third-row seats down, packed front to back and top to bottom — like sardines in a can. Two incredibly excited kids, fully equipped with media, games, crayons and activities, nestled into the second row. A potty (i.e. toddler toilet) placed in the empty space between their seats for emergencies — oh yes we did! Luggage packed on top of the van, which at this point is dragging so low in the back you would think we had a hydraulic system installed.

Oh and we didn’t stop there. We couldn’t. We hitched a fully-packed U-Haul trailer to the back and drove 55 to 60 mph across the United States of America. What an adventure! Right?!

You know, it wasn’t the way I envisioned it in my mind, but what moving experience ever is? We placed most of our things in storage and we wanted to ship it all out to California to meet us there, but $8000-10000 in quotes later, we decided there had to be a less expensive way. And, we were right, but honestly if we had an extra 10 g’s lying around, then we definitely would have shipped our things.

So, here we are and enjoying our escape from the snow back east. I imagine that we’ll have lots of adventures, in fact we’ve already had a few…

Trip to Hollywood

My husband and I on our first trip into Hollywood. See the sign in the back? 🙂

Snowtubing at Mt. Baldy

Snowtubing at Mt. Baldy. If we really miss the snow, we can find some only 40 minutes away.

Playing at the Mall

Here are the kids in the play area at the local Mall.

I’m hoping to keep better track of those adventures and share them with you on this blog. Although, I’m no writer, I find the process of writing and creating to be very therapeutic and hope to have more time for it.

Have you ever traveled cross-country by car? Relocated to another state? I’d love to hear what your experience was like.

Written by Shara

February 12, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Posted in Moving, Parenting, Travel

A Springtime Road Trip to Virginia Beach

Since my husband, Ed, is always busy during tax season, we typically don’t take a spring break until after April 15… and boy did we need it! We have a timeshare, so we usually do a couple of short stay exchanges during the year.

Have I mentioned that I love to travel?

I would love to whisk away every other weekend to a new hot spot, soak up the sun, read an exciting new novel like Dan Brown’s Inferno, and sip on strawberry-coladas… day dreaming… okay, I’m back!

Enjoy some sun at Virginia BeachWhile it would have been nice to take a trip to some exotic and tropical location, we opted for an extended weekend road trip to Virginia Beach. It’s within driving distance of our home in Maryland, which means no airfare and an affordable weekend getaway for our family of four.

We were fortunate that the late April weather was in the low to mid-70s, which made for a nice beach day. The kids built sand castles, made sand angels, hunted sea shells and more. There weren’t many people really trying to get in the cold water. It was nice enough to look at and just take it all in, but alas I did venture in to search out a lost flip-flop. Mommy saves the day! Except not really, since the tide would have eventually brought it back in, but I was in “quick-thinking” mode and dove in. Brrr!

My little swimmers had a great time at the pool.We stayed at the Ocean Beach Club, which is pretty nice. I love their reggae-themed music that greets you as you enter. They also have a nice play room with toys and games for the kids and a great little indoor pool with fountains. Allegedly the pools are heated, but not enough for me at this time of the year. The kids and Ed had a great time at the pool until they couldn’t stand it anymore.

So, now we’re trying to figure out where to go this summer. I know, most people have summer vacation already figured out and locked in by this point, but it’s enough to make sure that homework gets done every night and the kids eat dinner. Figuring out and planning for summer vacation has to wait for one of those life pauses when I actually stop, take a breath, look around and say okay what’s next.

We will likely do another short stay exchange through Interval International and now since there’s not as much lead time our options will be limited. Last year, we ended up in Williamsburg, VA, which was still nice since the kids had never done the Colonial tour and Busch Gardens.

I just keep praying that God will send me four free tickets to Hawaii or some other tropical island. Maybe you could pray with me? 🙂

Written by Shara

May 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm

And the Nominees Are…

This is very cool! I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award by one of my favorite bloggers, CandidKay. The Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers – that’s me! I have a set of rules to follow, including nominating 11 other blogs that meet the criteria, but honestly I couldn’t find that many with less than 200 that I’ve read or followed, but in the spirit of the award itself I still wanted to participate. So, here goes…

Here are the rules:

  • Post 11 random facts about me,
  • Answer the 11 questions posed by my nominator,
  • Nominate 11 other blogs, and
  • Ask the nominees 11 questions of my own.

Random Facts about Me

  • I was born and raised in the Washington, DC area, although both of my parents are originally from Trinidad & Tobago.
  • As a child, I took an acting class at a theater in DC one summer and fell in love with Improv, I have occasional thoughts of doing some kind of standup, but probably only for my family and friends.
  • I went to two colleges to get a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, first, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and then I transferred to finish up at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (Go Retrievers!).
  • I was a UCA cheerleading instructor in college, captain of my college cheer squad my senior year, and coached the team for a year after graduating.
  • I owned a dance and fitness studio for a little over 2 years, learned a lot, not going back. 🙂
  • I love murder mysteries, romance novels and spy movies/tv shows… it all started with my obsession with Scooby Doo as a child, I’m sure of it.
  • I love to travel, so far I’ve travel to about 12 different countries and looking forward to more once my children are a bit older.
  • I have a son who is amazingly creative, talented, funny and he also happens to have Aspergers.
  • I have a daughter who is a bit of a bossy pants, but I know she’s a mirror image of me … she’s a leader in training.  🙂
  • My favorite food is Curry Chicken and Roti, but if I can’t get my hands on that then any Italian dish will do.
  • I’m devoted to wine, but I know my limits… sometimes I push them, but not often.

Questions

1–What is your favorite journey?
I love to travel, so instead of answering this question figuratively, I will go the literal route.

One of my favorite journeys was my first trip outside of the United States as an adult. I was about 25. I went with my sister and a friend to Italy. We spent a week or so in Rome and Florence. This trip is memorable for so many reasons… it was my first time immersed in a new culture and language, my first introduction to prawns (WTH?!), my first taste of gelato, my first topless sunbathing experience (Oops!), and I could go on and on. What makes this my favorite journey though is that it opened me to the possibilities of life. At 25, I was reeling from a breakup with my college sweetheart and just into the second or third year of my career. I had no idea of what was possible, personally or professionally. Coming back from Italy made me feel like the world was just out there waiting to be discovered and if I wanted to live life to the fullest, then all I had to do was go and get it. I’ve carried this perspective with me since that trip and it has served me well.

2–Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Going forward… Allegedly. It’s like… Uh, Umm. You know?

Of course not all in one sentence, but you never know… you know?

3–What is your most treasured possession?
The first thought that came to mind was my children, but they aren’t truly possessions. Yes, they’re supposed to do what I say, when I say, but even that’s 50/50 – on a good day. So, I would probably say my Google account, since it holds many precious photos and memories of my children, family and friends. (Nerd… yes, that’s me!) Growing up, a lot of my “prized” possessions were taken away, sold or otherwise lost, which translates into me as an adult not placing much value on material possessions or things. I’m working really hard though on countering a limiting belief that “all good things go away.” Even if I can get over that limiting thought, I still think my most treasured possession would be memories.

4–What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
This is a hard question. I don’t think about it very often. I would have to say that the lowest depth of misery is probably not something I have ever experienced firsthand. I think it happens when someone loses faith in a higher power and hope for the future. Now saying that, my faith has certainly been tested, but even in those times I find it becomes stronger than ever. I have experienced misery, loss and despair, but having faith and hope for a better future keeps me from sinking to the lowest low. I pray it continues to be that way.

5–If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say as you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Welcome home. Well done.

6–What is your favorite virtue?
Love. I strive to build everything I say and do in life around the concept of love. Love for yourself, your family, your neighbors, your country, etc. God is love. A simple, but powerful thought. We honor God when we love one another and ourselves. When something I’m doing or saying doesn’t feel right, it’s usually because it isn’t coming from a place of love, maybe fear or hurt… and it does happen from time to time. I have to check myself regularly, and come back to love as my moral compass and guide for life and what I teach my children.

7–What is your favorite motto or saying?
Gosh, I have so many. My favorite one of late is

“What someone else thinks of you is not your business.”

When I get caught up in trying to over explain myself, my intentions, my actions– knowing that they are coming from a place of love and good– then I remind myself that I’m spending too much time trying to shape someone else’s perspective of my life. That’s too much. It’s not my job and it’s not my business. If I can answer that all important question truthfully to myself and know that what I’ve said or done comes from a place of love, then I have to just let it go and move on.

8–What is your pet peeve?
Intolerance. Hate.

9–What is your most irrational fear?
I actually have a few of these, but my MOST irrational fear is probably of bugs. For the most part, I can avoid them. I figure they have a place in this world too. It just shouldn’t be my home, car or office. Those places should be designated bug-free zones. If I want to see a bug, I’ll go camping. Right?!

If you asked me to prioritize the bills in my life right now, Terminix is at the top of the list. My husband tells a funny story about a time when I opened our front door to a huge fury spider staring up at me. Yes, I freaked and called for him. Later when he tells the story, he says I was calling his name like HE put it there or like it was HIS spider. I have no recollection of this tone of voice. All I know is that I’m going to need some daily prayers when these cicadas come out this summer. Lord help me!

10–On a typical Friday evening, we’ll find you . . . where and doing what?
At home. Working. Oh wait, that’s every evening. Friday is pizza night at our house and we also usually will do family game night or a movie with the kids, but nothing outrageous or overly entertaining. Anyone for a game of Minnie’s Bow-tique Bingo? Fun times!

11–Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by so many. Mostly they are women. Strong women, who have gone through tremendous battles in life, persevered, and overcame. My grandmother, Edna LeGendre inspires me. My mom. My sister. My girlfriends. Harriet Tubman (I know, random, but she does). Iyanla Vanzant. Oprah. I’m inspired by those who walk in faith and live their dream without apology or regret for who they are and what they were called to do. I’m fascinated by their stories.

My Nominations

This Is Me… Then

Love, Laundry, Family & Faith

CandidKay  (can I nominate you again? J)

Help4YourFamily

Counting Green Stars

Suburp

The True Power of Parenting

AlanDanzis.com

DestinationAha

Carrie Cariello

Cookiemomma’s Blog

11 Questions for Nominees

  • What inspires you?
  • Have you found your purpose in life? If so, please describe.
  • What is your favorite snack?
  • What is your favorite dish to cook?
  • Why did you start your blog/website?
  • PC or Mac?
  • What is currently your favorite television show or movie and why?
  • What’s the last joke you heard that made you laugh?
  • What the last thing that happened to make you cry?
  • Name three places (anywhere in the world, US or international) you have traveled to and the most important thing you learned from your experience there.
  • If you could travel on an all-expense paid vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go as your first choice?

Written by Shara

May 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Anniversary in Freeport, Bahamas

Freeport Resort & Club

Ed and I decided to go away for our third wedding anniversary. We have an eight year old and a 14 month old, and we haven’t taken a vacation in over two years. So, needless to say, we were really thrilled to get away for a few days!

We chose Freeport, Bahamas from a short list of potential Caribbean getaways available through our time share exchange system, Interval International. We had a few weeks banked that were going to expire, so we thought it would be a great way to take a vacation and use our banked time. After looking at potential dates and flights, we selected the only resort that was available for exchange in the Bahamas: Freeport Resort & Club.

Like much of the rest of the world, Freeport has been hit hard by the recession in the United States. As we were told many times, tourism is their primary industry and Americans are their primary patrons. And during the week of November 13-18, there were not very many tourist (American or otherwise) on the island, although we were told that the numbers pick up starting just after Thanksgiving week.

We did a tour of the island, which was a nice orientation. We visited the Garden of the Groves (I enjoyed the Labyrinth, although my husband made fun the whole time), the Lucayan National Park, where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed, and Ben’s Cave (Ben is the guy who discovered the cave).

We snorkeled at Paradise Cove (too many jellyfish though) and then again at the beach by the Wyndham Resort (the equipment wasn’t great, but the water was calm and there were no jellyfish, it was wonderful). The Wyndham also offers a nice all-inclusive option where you will get access to their pool and activities, your meals (breakfast and lunch), towels, and non-motorized sports for one daily fee.

We played golf at Fortune Hills Golf Course. I only played the first nine and I would say that it was decent. I’m not an avid golfer so I really can’t critique the course. I can say; however, there were not any stunning views like Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic.

There was one casino on the island and we didn’t get a chance to do any gambling. We aren’t big gamblers, but we would have given it a shot if they had Texas Hold ‘Em, but they didn’t while we were there. We heard there was a tournament starting the day after we left though. Also, they do have a three card poker game, which we didn’t take the time to figure out.

All in all it was a nice quiet vacation. Warm weather, nice beaches, and Bahama Mamas by the gallon! I will share some tips for travel in Freeport in another post.

Written by Shara

November 24, 2010 at 9:13 pm