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!

Not an Experienced Flyer? Things you must know before you step foot in the airport!!

As a very frequent traveler- I thought I might share some tips to make your travel experience perfect for those who are inexperienced- (really- I am sharing this with the hope that you will take notes and not be the annoying person traveling near me…)

First things first: you can’t carry your large liquids in your carry on bag. This is not new (remember 9/11) but so many people still seem confused about this. And technically you don’t have to take them out and put in a ziplock baggy. This still confuses me because does the person who came up with this rule/concept have random ziplock bags they always carry around with them? because pretty sure that no one else on Earth does.

Next: if you are unsure what TSA precheck is- please don’t enter the section at security that says it. If your ticket says does say pre-check but you are confused on how it works- just use the regular line- you will know no difference.

Moving walkways: these are designed to give people a break after they have been sitting on a plane for hours– just kidding— they are designed to help people move a little quicker from gate to gate. The purpose is not for a free ride – so if you are so worn out from sitting on in your airplane seat, please make sure you hug the right side of the walkway, with your bag in front of you, so the rest of us humans in the airport can easily walk past you… and possibly make judgments.

Also: since we are talking about the actual airport and maneuvering through it- remember that the middle of the airport is not the best place to stop and stand to chat with family members. Please move you and your clueless crew out of the way of moving travelers. Also- this is not your children’s jungle gym to play tag on and run around and scream. I’m sure you are annoyed with your kids at this point, but don’t take that out on us who have chosen not to travel with children. Thank you in advance!

Best Advice you will receive reading this..

Boarding your aircraft– please pay very close attention… EVERY single airline will give you a boarding zone or number- this number means you can sit in the chairs provided throughout the gate area until that zone or number is called. So- if you are in zones 2, 3, or 4… there is no purpose for you to stand and crowd the boarding area. I repeat: there is no reason for you to stand as close the boarding door as possible. You are literally annoying the life out of anyone who has traveled more than 3 times. This one is not totally your fault (but it is) – I somewhat blame the airlines for causing this mass chaos. Can’t everyone just be like Southwest and give people a number. We are clearly (by we I mean most people, not myself) not smart enough to figure this one out on our own. And Delta- your boarding is the worst. You have zones names Premium and Sky… and then you go to zone 1. Is this to make people feel good for a short period of time- or just to confuse them?

Now let’s get to “How to fly and not bother your neighbors…”

Starting with the window seat. For those who love the window seat, let’s go over some ground rules:

1. If it’s a flight prior to 7:45am, your window is to remain down for the duration of your flight. There are people who are trying to sleep and nothing is more annoying than you sleeping with your window shade up while those around you have the sun in their eyes. From the moment you get on the plane, shut that thing. Do you really need to look at the tarmac and the workers loading bags and stocking snacks on the plane– I’ll answer for you- “no, you don’t.” And once the plane is in the sky- you are most likely above the clouds- you have seen clouds, and they look the same and they are white- and once again you are annoying someone who now has the sun in their eyes.

2. You should never ever ever assume that someone would trade you their middle seat just so they can sit with their family. Nope- sorry- just think about that one on your own for a second……

3. Please don’t assume the person next to you wants to talk. Leave people alone. Yes be nice, say hi, but then mind your own. And if your seat mate is wearing headphones- that is sign language for “please don’t bother me!”

4. This is a weird one- but quite honestly- you shouldn’t really be having in-depth conversations on planes with people. This means that you are likely talking the whole flight and everyone around you is in your conversation, annoyed, and wishing you would zip it, but too nice to say anything. Save your meetings for offices.

5. Never ever should you have your volume on your phone or iPad or whatever you are playing Candy Crush on. No one wants to listen to that sound.

6. Babies and flying: just don’t do it- unless you have great travel experience. If you have traveled a lot- you will understand why not to bring your young children. If you must– please bring them headphones and a movie player- it’s a requirement on all airlines now (just joking- but it should be).

7. Deboarding the plane: please pay close attention here as well. This process is just as bad as boarding. Deplaning can be a smooth process if people are smart, but as you can see from this blog, not many people who fly are smart. This process should have in an orderly fashion- each row should empty entirely- starting with the front and making its way back- to make this easy- start with 1A and the B and C and then move over to 1D followed by E and F. Also to make this even more simple- if you sit in the aisle seat, you have the room to get out of your seat and grab your bag and stand in the walkway. Be nice and grab the bags of fellow seat mates and hand them over to them so they can quickly file off the plane. Once row 1 is all complete, we move to row 2, then 3- you get the idea yet? So if you are in row 9, wait your damn turn- you do not have the authority to go before row 7- but wait- your have a super tight connection and need to hurry off– sorry- so do most of us. *one side note, if you are elderly and slow, no disrespect, but you can wait and let others go in front of you. The wheelchairs waiting for you in the tunnel will still be there- those are not first come-first serve.

8. Getting your bags. Another one of those really annoying times- let’s start with – “Move your little kids and your strollers and baggage carts clear away from the baggage area..” and stand clear back. You hugging the conveyer does not make your bags magically appear. Since you are new to this, your bag is not going to come out first- they have priority baggage which means frequent travelers will get their first – so get back – please…

If you can follow all these rules, you are guaranteed to have a great day– actually- the frequent travelers around you will secretly be thanking you!

CHEERS- and I hope to see you in an airport soon- just joking- I hope that you are driving to your destination…..

Saying goodbye to man’s best friend

I am not sure why I decided right now to begin writing my blog series- especially when it has nothing to do with travel.. but I enjoy writing and rather than spilling my guts on other social media about the other extreme of amazing travel: losing my best friend- my companion- my snuggle bud- my energy- and I lost my queen.

Let’s start with the bad: Sadie’s eye sight has been going bad for a few months and then was getting much worse over the last few weeks- being slightly disoriented- very low energy- and just showing signs of old age- like the inevitable- we all go through it.

Since she has slowly becoming less and less capable of doing things on her own, I began to fear about the day I absolutely dreaded most —was coming sooner than later- I was thinking a few years or so – as I have read about it and know many friends dogs who go through the same. So, I decided to start taking her on more trips with me because I wanted her to feel comfortable as she was learning about life without being able to see. For those who know her, I have to say this did not slow down Sadie and her frisbee obsession. I like to think the two of us were very alike because this certainly did not slow her down, it just gave her a challenge that she had no problem accepting- with a few hiccups along the way (walls and a doors and me going to retrieve the frisbee for a restart!)

This last little travel adventure of mine was for 3 weeks and I got to spend most of it with her. She traveled to the beach and then to Mississippi and then Lousiana. I sent her home a day early with Sean so she wasn’t stuck in a strange hotel during the day by herself. Unfortunately for me, flight delays had me stuck in ATL for the night and I wanted nothing more than to get home to my little blind Sadiebug. I did take the earliest flight out and made it home by 9am to starting giving all the love in the world to my pup I had been missing and was so excited to have 8 days together before my next set of travels. We cuddled all day, ate junk food (human food) and I tried to spoil her all day. I left her on the couch all curled up in blankets and headed to work for a couple hours. When I returned home, I knew things were not right with her.

My great friend Ashley had mentioned to me that she didn’t look well and was quite unstable- almost drunk looking. So I picked her up and she was foaming a little at the mouth and very shooken up. I rushed her to our vet at Animal Utopia- greatest place ever- and vet had guessed she had a seizure. And then she had another while being examined.

They put her on some Valium since this is the first time it has ever happened and told me to look for certain signs for seizure and we went home. The Valium was not taken well by her- she cried and screamed the whole way home- the vets said this is also normal because the Valium makes them very disoriented – this went on for the 30 min- which felt like an eternity and one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure.

She did calm down and for a couple hours was the snuggly lovey Sadie like always. Then we we had another seizure- and then another in the car on the way to the ER vet and then another as I was handing her over to the doctor. After a few hours of drugs and trying to sedate her, the seizures would not stop, and I had to take my baby out of her misery and chose to have her put to rest and out of this awful pain.

I am sad . I am a little numb . I had nightmares all night hearing her screams of pain and of being scared . I am trying to be strong . And I will be okay .

I will be okay because Sadie lived the greatest of dog lives. She was able to meet all the amazing people in my life who all loved her. She was able to go to the coolest grassy parks in the country. She got to live her final years out on the river belt playing frisbee. She was truly the happiest dog ever. And moody. And sweet. And I know she loved me.

I have so many memories that I will never ever forget and so many daily reminders of her that make me smile, and today make me cry.

All I can hope for is that other people and their pets love each other as much as Sadie and I did. It made my life a better place every single day. It surely sounds cheesy but Sadie was a daddy’s girl and she was my everything…

Last night when I returned home from the vet, devastated and hurting- something amazing happened to me:

EVERY single night, Sadie and I had our routine- I would take her out to use the bathroom- I would let her back in- she would go eat some food and have a little drink as I was going up the stairs to get in bed.. I always left the door just slightly cracked (cause some nights she would take longer than others) and she would nuzzle her nose and open the door and come crawl in bed…

—- Last night, as I laid in bed with my door slightly cracked, weeping but trying to be strong, my door nuzzled open one last time, just like it had for the past 12 years… and I know she is back with me forever….