More weird airport encounters..

I have not posted recently about the wild things that I encounter during my daily travel, and mostly because I think I have become so numb to the dumb things people do. But I’ll share a few stories that have come my way this early Thursday morning as I embark to Canada for the weekend.

1. My first story brings us all back to the “dreaded” moving walkway. This brilliant idea that has been scattered through every airport in the world still remains a mystery to so many. For those still curious on what this moving conveyor belt is, let me help solve this airport mystery– low and behold….. this walkway helps you “move” faster through any airport to get you from point A to point B with a little extra “pep” to your step. This is NOT to stand on so you can chat with your travel companion.

Today in Memphis, I pondered on whether I should or should not jump on board this mysterious walkway as it seemed as those many fellow travelers were also going for this speedy ride to our gate. I took the plunge and enjoyed my speed walk for maybe 5 steps until we hit the traffic jam of two airport employees who decided they would stand side-by-side and refuse to let anyone pass them. I could hear numerous moans and groans (they were probably mostly coming from me) and people saying “excuse me” to politely move by.. but these workers were not having our impatience with them and just carried on talking to each – and not moving. This ride ended up taking us 3.5 minutes before we were impatiently able to exit- questioning whether to ever use this service again.

2. The second encounter is just disgusting and makes me wonder about humans and their lack of tact.

I am in the Detroit Sky Club- trying to decide if I want to dabble in some dry packaged scrambled eggs. I open the warmer where they have been resting for hours and stir them around convincing myself that this is not the right move- I noticed a careless man talking on the phone through his AirPods – loud for all to hear him of course because he has no tact- and he is trying to hurry my up because he is ancy to get his eggs. This man gets that sneeze type look on his face- I see it- and then watch him open face sneeze all over the food counter – and all up in the open egg warmer. The look I gave this man could have burned through him and the guy behind him. He said sorry to me and I told him that he needs to apologize to the entire sky club for being tactless and spreading his disgusting virus to innocent people who know how to act in public. He told me I was an asshole and should respect elders. I told him if he acted like an elder and not a toddler who can’t cover his mouth- he might be liked in society.

It’s still early and one more airport to get through- hoping for the best…

Puerto Rico- a hidden gem of the Caribbean

It’s been awhile since I have posted on my travel adventures. I wish I could find the time to write more but sometimes my couch and Netflix trump spending more time staring at my phone and computer.

This blog is just to talk about a hidden Caribbean gem that most people would never think to travel to- Puerto Rico!

Let me start by saying that although this is an American province, the culture is everything but American – and that’s a good thing!

First, let’s start with the language- I was thinking I would arrive and everyone would be speaking wonderful English as they ventured on their own day to day activities. I was very wrong. More times than not during our trip, there was a communication barrier. Many of the adults we met at restaurants or checking in to hotel or in our Uber rides did not speak English at all. Over a dozen times I had to open up google to do some translating magic!

Next, my favorite part of travel: food! The food on the island did not disappoint – especially because I love plantains. Mofongo is the traditional island dish and every time I am here I search for this local treat of mashed up plaintains topped with your choice or protein or vegetables, served with beans and rice! I have yet to have a bad experience with this local treat. Other traditional foods include delicious Meat turnovers (empanadas), avocado salad, fresh ceviche, ham croquettes, and fried chicken and pork. If you are dieting during your stay in PR, your best bet would be to hit up the grocery store.

The men and women of the Island are all very nice and welcoming to tourists! Ladies (or gents) if you are headed to Puerto Rico to find a man, and tall is your taste- you may come up empty handed. The tallest man I saw was pushing 5’10. If you like tattoos, this is your spot. I have never seen more inked men and women. Gents (or ladies) looking for a Puerto Rican girl, this is a wonderland. The women are beautiful and love to show off their curves in skin tight outfits. If you like blondes- this is not your island – unless you fancy an American tourist.

Beach life in Puerto Rico- confidence is key on the public beaches. I saw more buns split by a small piece of fabric than any other Caribbean place I have been to. I almost felt out of place because I didn’t have a speedo or thong and personal speaker blaring house music. I honestly didn’t know that man thongs were such a thing and they come in ALL sizes (except small apparently). The actual beaches in the San Juan area are not the most beautiful of the Caribbean. But the blue and sun filled sky made up for it! Water is a little rough and I would not recommend for little kids. I watched numerous people get slammed by good size waves in the rough water.

Where to stay- I can only speak for myself and the 3 times I have been – but I loved the Condado area. It’s a touristy area but full of local vibes! The hotels are not your normal 3-4 star places you would normally stay in. Most hotels are small – local owned – and typical from what you find anywhere outside the US.

I stayed in Isla Verde area on one trip but this area seemed to be in the not so friendly beach area and the beaches are very plain.

Must do things in Puerto Rico:

1. Old San Juan Fort: I love learning about how islands and cultures came to be- and this fulfills all of that! The fort is very well kept and one of the top spots for scenic pictures! Plan to spend a few hours there to take it all in!

2. El Yunque Rainforest: this was a neat little adventure if you like to hike. You descend down a wet and slippery trail to a beautiful waterfall you can swim in. It’s a rainforest so expect to get wet! But it is well worth the hike!

3. La Placita: this is the bar district in San Juan where you will find all the local hot spots! So many different places to choose from- all wrapped around a little block. Our group had a blast hanging with the locals dancing the drinking night away!

4. BioLuminescent Bay: one of the coolest things I have ever done. It’s about a 45 min trip outside of San Juan and worth the drive. Here you Kayak through a little forested area that opens to a large bay- with moonlight as the only source of light. But wave your hand around in the water to experience the bioluminescent kelp that glows upon touching it. I felt like I was in the scene from The Little Mermaid. It’s an amazing experience!

5. Catamaran Snorkel Trip: looking for amazing beaches? Take a snorkel trip to Flamingo Island and a few spots where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed! The Jolly Pirate was the group we booked with and highly recommend- great captain, great drinks the entire time you are on board, and a nice lunch and snacks. The snorkeling was some of the best I have ever seen- but the beautiful beaches you visit make this a must do excursion.

I am sure there is a lot more to do in Puerto Rico but these are my experiences and I would do them all over again the next adventure I have there! The Island is still in recovery mode from the Hurricanes that slammed the Island a few years ago- but things are looking up for those who call PR home! Can’t wait for my next visit….

#PuertoRico #SanJuan #HistoricOldSanJuan #Fort #Condado #ElYunqueRainforest #BioluminescentBay #Mofongo

Uncle-ing

Just a quick funny story to share…

Work brings me home to Idaho every once in awhile and I get to spend time with my family and play Uncle for a night with my nephew and two nieces.

Hide and Seek is the request and here is where the laughter begins…

I will spare you with the usual hide and seek; The youngest is barely hidden, the older ones hide in the closet – I pretend I don’t see them… blah blah blah.. that was for rounds 1 through 3.

I decide to make the youngest, Chloe- 3 years old- be the counter and seeker this time! So .. I knew this would be interesting. She starts counting while myself, Ashton (6) and Ellie (8) take off to hide.

(Quick reference- my parents have a patio deck out the back door- it sits relatively low to the ground- lots of shrubbery and lots of bugs- back yard is a full landscaped acre)

So … Ashton and I take off outside and Ellie hides in the house. I decide to back some patio furniture into the corner of the patio and crouch down and hide- pretty well hidden, and I hear Ashton leave the deck, unsure of where he wandered off to. I sit there in silence for a few minutes- laughing at myself because I am 37 years old- hiding on the back patio while all the adults in the house are drinking and watching football.

As I am sitting there lucky to live this hilarious, unusual life, I hear something rustling under the patio boards- and I think to myself “there is no way he climbed under this thing” .. an then I hear some grunting.. “Ashton- are you under the deck?” – “yea– and there are lots of spider webs. And rocks under here..”

Chloe is finally on the search for us and I am trying my hardest to control my laughter- but I have tears rolling down my face as I am in disbelief and thinking to myself, that, you could not pay me enough money to crawl under that deck!

So – Ashton is trying to whisper to me but I have to tell him to be quiet (even though I am worried for him that there may be some wild spiders under there.. eeek) because Chloe is close and doing our best to give up our positions.

Long story short – I gave Chloe several hints to find get her to walk further out on the deck by herself- and then she finally found me after I could no longer hold my laughter at her silly requests for “cmon you two” or “please make a sound”.

And once she found me- she wanted me to treat her the same way and give up Ashton’s position -it was a team mission if you asked her. It did take quite awhile, but thanks to Ashton’s animal calls (and me convincing Chloe that is wasn’t a real animal and it was likely her brother making the sounds) she found him under the patio.

We played several more rounds- each just as interesting! I will conclude with this: Chloe and I make a pretty good team! I always find her first (even after purposefully trying not to- she just kept calling for Uncle Josh- so I had to find her) and then she would take me directly to the other two!

Life is good!

It helps to let loose and be a kid every now and then!

Adulting 101- how to be a successful part of a crazed society.

If there is one thing I have learned about growing older- it’s that I should be replacing the word “older” with “wiser” and I am about to tell you why..

FALL- fall is awesome but sucks at the same time if you think about it.. we love to watch the leaves die and create amazing landscapes- and cool weather and warm drinks – but gives us something to look forward to that we love so much and crave: SPRING AND SUMMER- trees and Flowers blooming – rain showers and sun! But

Since you are still reading- On to the real stuff that has you here: Adulting – and it is hard – and I had no idea what was coming for me! And remember – this is a judge free zone – I am not mocking or degrading or disagreeing- this is my expression (views/commentary) of how we live in this crazy 🌎!

Let’s start with some obvious things:

1. Don’t set goals with an age in mind! Ex. I want to own my own house by 26, I want to have kids and be married by 30, etc.. Goals are great to have – but don’t set yourself up to be let down when life isn’t rolling the way you think it’s supposed to!

2. Do not attend your high school reunion! Hopefully you have moved away from your hometown- and we have this thing called Facebook and it has given us the luxury to already know what all the people from your high school are currently doing – and you likely still don’t care. So don’t go – save your money and plan a trip with people you like.

3. Don’t have kids! If you don’t have any now, save yourself the trouble and just hang out with your friends who have kids. This has made me realize that I don’t want my own. I remember how reckless and wild my and my friends were in HS, and you want me to clone myself for me to watch over- no thank you! I’ll just keep vacationing while you post monthly growth charts and first day of school pics.

4. Be smart with your money but not – cheapskate. Set up a retirement fund- set up an IRA- buy some stocks- and then spend the money you work hard to earn! You deserve it! My folks and I don’t see eye to eye on this one, but I look at it like this: we get one trip around the sun, you can save all your money, but it doesn’t go into your cold earthy grave with you! Travel, try different foods, buy cool clothes and shoes, surprise your friends with little gifts, and live a little!

5. Vote- yes your vote does count! Millions did not vote and now we have a Cheeto-dicked orangutan sitting in our highest office and a bunch of clowns feeding his fat a$s circus peanuts. Vote! It is mandatory by law that your employer allows you 3 hours from on election day to get this done!

6. This is for the young readers: don’t get married. I once read a meme that made total sense about the topic of marriage. You are signing a paper to prove ownership over each other. What kind of sh#t is that? Why can’t two best friends cohabitate without a signed paper. Does this signed paper make you love someone more? I hope not. Divorce is more popular than marriage, and comes with a mess of financial issues and heartache. Also- that big huge wedding you want for thousands and thousands- forget about it and use the ceremony money for a down payment on a house- and then host a party inviting all the same people.

7. Final adult tip: while traveling through airport, DO NOT EVER continue to wear your neck pillow as you stroll to your next gate. You look like a complete idiot, and your crocs aren’t helping- you’re just letting us know you live in the dreaded South.

Now get out there and adult and don’t be be an As$h#le to people!

Just another travel day…

Today started like any other travel day: I woke up early, milled around, paid no attention to time and then realized I am about to be late to my flight. So in non-typical fashion, I gather my things at my hotel in Memphis- because my house is rented out to an Airbnb- emphasizing non-typical- and take my time (that I don’t have) and speed to make it to the airport. And like clockwork it begins….

Airport encounter #1

Female, single, name is Shelby, she is a 6th yr college senior, went out late last night. (How do I know this? I don’t, it’s purely the scenario I made up in my head while people watching her as she traveled through the airport). She is in the TSA pre line so I had high hopes for her to glide through the screening process. When she arrived at the TSA agent and my hopes were dashed. For starters, she was in the long wrong line, then she was dumbfounded that she was asked to get rid of her Gatorade bottle or drink it all before she got to the X-ray. Shelby did not like that request and stood around to further question the TSA agent. Next she tries to walk through the x ray machine with her purse and phone in hand. The guy stops her and she is so confused on what to do next because TSApre doesn’t offer trays anymore (which is weird- not her fault). Then she is cleared to walk through, and then gets randomly flagged for extra screening. She stands there confused, and then just grabbed her purse and left.. lol- TSA chases her down and then strangely- just let her go…? Weird

Bye Shelby..

Airport encounter #2

Kevin- late 30’s, just got a new job, has to travel for training in Atlanta, he has a carry on, and is possibly a virgin (Again, this is just my assumption of this persons life- which I know nothing about).

This is nothing exciting – just that annoying person… who waits until they are next to push through the conveyor, to prep for the X-ray machine . So- we all wait for him to put his wallet away, his phone, his metal jewelry, he tries to take his shoes off, and then his computer out- I remind him he doesn’t have to. He then pushes bag and then makes a little hop and skip before he achieves to do one of my travel pet peeves. He walks through the X-ray as slow as he can to make sure it is guaranteed to find any metal. Lol shaking my head and giggling to myself at how silly this guy looks, but he is happy and living his life- and excited for his new job.. lol

Encounter #3

The blondes- family of 3, all in their 50’s, all with bright bleach blonde (leaning on orange) hair, all pretty tan, and have not flown to the beach in year, they usually drive.

This was a very short encounter but I laughed out loud as I walked by them. They had been stopped and had their carryons checked because they were packing some major heat. They had full bottles of hairspray -16oz can- lots of lotion- literally every item they had exceeded 3.5oz by double digits. The best part of it, and causing another outburst- was listening to them, contemplating whether or not to leave security to check a few of their things – all toiletries items. The TSA agent let them know if would cost more to check bags over just buying new supplies once they got to the beach. I wish I had pics …

Yes.. this all happened before I got through security. The rest of my Memphis adventure did not have anything else exciting, until I arrived in Minnesota. The Avis car check out line.

Encounter #4

Two cars ahead of me is Jim. He is in his early 70’s, very conservative, does not drink, and does not put up with anyone’s B.S.

I discover Jim as I drive up to the Avis check out. Jim is outside the car and walking around the car checking for any and all scratches on his rental. He then takes a lap with the young Avis agent who is not interested in Jim’s concerns. Jim is now opening all doors and is giving the Avis agent an earful – and all I want is be a fly in that cars interior to see what Jim is bitching about. After 5 min, which seemed like 20, Jim pulls away to venture into Minneapolis traffic .. bye Jim

Of course I asked the agent what Jim’s problem was .. he was upset that the cars interior was not spotless. Bye Jim again..

And my last encounter (so far)

Encounter #5

Marcy Catherine Gallagher- she is the younger sister of Mary Catherine Gallagher- from Saturday Night Live, she is 30, and is on a very strong dose of Adderall.

I am trying to enjoy a lovely dinner at Olive Garden (do not judge me- this is a guilty pleasure of mine and no one else ever wants to go with me) and Marcy is all hopped and making me question what her co workers think of her. This woman has me on edge like I have never been before. I am honestly trying to figure out how to slip her a Xanax. She has told me she “Loves Ittttt..” numerous times, she has winked at me over 50x, she had a naughty convo about a regular customer and what she wanted to do. The only thing Marcy has not done to annoy me – sniff her armpits..

I have so much more to share about encounter #5 so stay tuned for ..

“I don’t think I got what I ordered..”

Why I have decided to give up Facebook— and maybe it’s time for you too!

Facebook was one of the first social media platforms of our time, and it began to transform the country before it slowly crept across the world. I remember exactly where i was signing up for my Facebook: sitting in my little apartment in Morehead, KY.

This was the first platform I remember feeling stimulated from something, that gave you an instant craving for more. Each day you would check to see if anyone asked to be your friend- and you searched people by what college they went to -and you posted pictures with funny lines from family guy and friends- and it seemed innocent but exhilarating.

Facebook went through many updates/upgrades and each time everyone hated it, but embraced it, and then convinced all their friends to join this marvelous would of networking. The good ol days!

Flash forward to 2018… and why I have decided to give up FB and why you should ponder the question for yourself.

I have deleted Facebook because it has changed the way I view the world, the way I view politics, mostly the way I view people, but- I deleted Facebook because I found myself deleting people I have admired and looked up to my entire life- because of politics.

To give FB a fair shot, they are only part of the reason- but I’ll share a short story of what brought me to this point….

For the last few years, since a very partisan president took over, I never cared about anyone’s political views- and I still don’t. I have many friends who are Trump supporters and many friends who are not- but I have learned the big difference in the two of them- and I will admit my own guilt of posting Political propaganda- but what I am innocent of is attacking someone’s post on their own page. I just read on their page what “I believe” and nonsense- shake my head- but keep scrolling right past them and move on with my day. But my most recent of posts struck a nerve with me and really made me rethink some relationships with really important people who I have always thought to be such wonderful and loving and accepting people. And I am sure they still are- unfortunately 95% of our Facebook friends live no one where near us, so we begin to break down their lives and what’s going on with them and how they are feeling based on what they post.

So- to sum this all up- a friend made a comment to a discussion happening over a post I wrote about how disgusting I thought it was that the President mocked a woman who is telling her story about a possible sexual assault at a rally in Mississippi. His view on the situation hit me in a weird way that I deleted them. And then I decided that Facebook is just not worth the anxiety it brings to life and the silly rage that gets you stirred up to delete someone on Facebook. It’s laughable because I still will always be great friends.

Now, obviously this is not something life threatening or a psychological trauma for anyone, but to me it was a wake up call. Facebook has far advanced from what it started as and now has because a way to manipulate, spread lies, bully, and brag. It’s so full of fake propaganda and honestly- is impossible to believe half of what you read.

So– for the time being- I will make FB my photo wall and only share one of the things I love to do most- share amazing pictures to the world- politic free- opinion free- and a sure way to not have to make poor judgments about who I thought so highly of!

To wrap it up- get off of Facebook and stop chasing the exhilarating feeling of people liking your posts and go find other ways to give you the same high you are searching for!

1. Do one good, unexpected thing for someone each day- it doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Leave a nice note on someone’s desk at work or give a water bottle to a homeless person, compliment someone’s outfit or shoes.

2. Send a nice text to a long time friend to tell them you are thinking about them.

3. Help make this divided country better – don’t spread your propaganda on social media- go out and vote- that is the best political move you can make!

4. America is still great, it’s always been great, and we have come so far in making it the best place to live. We can’t go back to the 40’s and 50’s too many politicians who set aside party lines have made this country “All for one and One for all!” Let’s go back to those days!

5. Teach your children the right things! They are too young to care about politics – so don’t push your propaganda on them and instill hatred they don’t know. Teach them to learn all cultures around and to accept everyone.

Any person, animal, or tv show a young child interacts is an influencer on their thoughts and lives.

What kind of Influencer will you be….

Facebook can be very hard to give up- here are some Tips on how to fill the void:

*Follow blogs on your interests- travel, sports, healthy eating, running – you can find anything and have good reads and updates.

*Podcasts are awesome! Find a great comedian, follow pop culture discussion, some of my friends love murder mysteries!

*snapchat / instagram / twitter (choose what and who you follow wisely 😏)

*Audio books- I have listened to a few and have enjoyed it during long rides. It makes you keep focused on the road- and on the story!

*clothing store apps- this is a dangerous option – but a fun one. I recommend Nordstrom Rack, Macy’s, H&M, Guess, and American Eagle. I check the clearance tab on all them and it’s a great way to find great deals- and pass the time!

Do you ever get over the sadness of losing someone you loved so much? Yes— read some tips on how!

As TheTravelingGringo, very few things in my life have been more satisfying than coming home to the happiest little dog in the world. Sadie – the greatest dog (Boston terrier) to ever walk the Earth- has the same routine ever single time I got home from work or out of town or even the grocery store: she would follow me to the garage door, I would usually grab a little chewy treat to keep her busy while I got in the car and shut the garage door, she would finish her snack and make her way upstairs to my bed and burrow herself a cozy- full covered spot (every once in awhile with one or two of her legs out to fight the heat of the covers), and she would nap until I returned.

As soon as I would pull in the garage, she would unravel herself from the covers and stand on my bed and wait to here the garage door to the house open- and when it shut, just like clockwork, she would hop off the bed and travel down the steps making sure not to miss a single one (she once got too excited and missed a step and then tumbled down the rest) and would run as fast as she could to see me- little stub of a tail wagging just as fast as it could, usually dancing around in a circle. She would then jump over to the small couch and i would kneel next to it and she would kiss my face and rub her neck against mine as hard as she could. Once she had enough of the loving part of us being reunited, she instantly searched for a frisbee and hours of frisbee toss from living room to kitchen had begun. This was my way of winding down from whatever my life was throwing at me.

It’s hard to believe it’s been over a month since Sadie passed but like life, it doesn’t stop because you experience tragedy in your life. I kind of laughed at myself writing the word tragedy- but to me it was and life didn’t stop. I continued to travel and continued to try to live a normal life- which mine is anything but normal. All things remained normal for me, but I found myself lost in time and work and would pull in my driveway – park in garage – walk in door – and wait to hear Sadie jump off the bed .. and then quickly reminded that it won’t ever happen again…

This last trip of mine was of normal summer fashion- left a busy work week behind and enjoyed a busy vacation- flew directly from vacation to a weekend of presenting and training for 12 hours a day – two days in a row- wrapping up 11 days of travel. I was tired and not running on full brain power and as my delayed plane descended into Memphis, I was a little sad because I was preparing myself to not be greeted at home from an excited dog.

I pulled into the garage – came through the door- and walked straight through the living and out the front door to get the mail. Sorting through the junk mail, I noticed a letter that would change my life forever. It was from my young nephew and my mother had giving me a little warning about this…. she told me that he had approached her and wanted to send a card he made to his Uncle Josh… on a piece of paper, he wrote out Sadiebug- Rest In Peace- in his own unique writing style and made a little cross. Instead of it opening the flood gates, I found myself at peace for once. I had to stop feeling sorry for myself and turn the memories that would make me sad, into something that would make me smile and get a little giggle out of…

I could honestly write a full book on this chapter of my life -but let’s get to the real point of the blog:

How do you ever get over the sadness of losing something that you loved so much?

Here are some tips (to think about):

1. The most important thing don’t – you will have constant reminders and triggers that will make you feel some kind of way. This is normal – this is mourning- you will get through them!

2. Remove all social media for a couple of months. Sure that may be hard– but what’s harder is seeing constant reminders/triggers once again that make you feel some kind of way. Even when losing a pet, don’ erase them from your life, but take down that profile pic of you and your pet.

3. Start building your new life and the new you. Life is going to go on- with or without you- choose your own path!

4. Don’t get advice from all your friends and family. They will be quick to get it, but you probably aren’t ready for it. (When my dog passed, a close friend told me the only way to get over it is to get a new one- I nearly told that person to “f@#k off”- that may work for them, but they don’t know what’s happening inside this swirling head of mine. Same can be said over a breakup- “go on a date or sleep with someone new”- no- don’t do that- Do the opposite!

5. Time HEALS everything- even when time seems to stand still. Remember to take deep breaths- and approach the new you one day at a time.

6. This is not a week long process or a month long process. This takes years. To this day, I think about a loved one quite regularly- I wonder what they are doing, how their family is, how their pets are– and I leave it in the wonder stage- I don’t go investigate it on social media- or have friends find out- or cry about to my friends and tell them how lonely I am. NOPE- I leave it at the wonder stage along with so many other things I will never find the answer too. What we don’t know usually can’t hurt us.

7. Do surround yourself with loved ones- but not to treat you like a depressed widow– but to treat you the same way they always have.

8. Find humor in life and don’t sweat the small stuff… adding positivity into other people’s lives will help your own life become positive again!

9. End the pity party– like mentioned above — life is not easy. How boring would it be if everything was perfect all the time. No one would grow, no one would be able to find out who they really are and what they stand for. New people and new pets will enter your life.

And finally….

10. Don’t look back at your past! It’s gone forever- Blaze a new trail- it’s likely to end up better than the trail that got you where you are today!