Someone is about to get popped off on…

And here is why….

Here I am – tired as hell from no sleep – walking through the lovely Memphis airport (lovely is definitely a joke) – keeping to myself because I am aware that I am cranky and don’t want to be around people. I am trying to go through my normal airport extravaganza which includes: being slightly late, kind of hungry, kind of in a hurry, and a little hungover. Hoping the day would be uneventful and that the people I am forced to be around will just keep to themselves as I plan to keep my own. But… let me introduce you to my vacation day intruders …

Intruder 1: she is the cause of my blog today- she has never traveled or she is also in a “mood” today, like myself. Intruder 1 goes through the wrong security line and in rare airport form- the TSA agents bring this confused woman over the the Pre-check line- directly in front of me. I try to be very pleasant and welcome her to the “Traveler” side but she is acting irregular. All of the people in front of her are placing items on the belt and advancing towards the metal detector – but not her- she continues to just stand in front of me, making zero notion that she will be scooting forward. So, I make a slight move to slip by her – she then decides to inch over and block. This is fair as I would do the same to someone. But the weird thing here is- she does not move to put her bags on the conveyor. Now all people have gone through the metal detector and here her and I stand – with all bags in hand. She finally does advance closer and closer until finally placing her bag and belongings right at the spot where the bags disappear. I am very annoyed at this point and likely was making huffing noises. As the woman places final bag on conveyor – I put mine on as well and forcefully give it a little scootch and watch it collide with her purse and disappear… (and here comes the title of this blog)..

This woman snatched her head back at me so hard and gave me a death stare in disgust that would normally melt ones soul. Unfortunately- this old hen was not ready for my reaction back. When she looked at me- it took all my strength to not snatch that damn Barbie doll wig off her head and let her know she is holding a whole damn line up- I was being so nice and calm and patient.. and the nerve she had at 6am is one I was not ready for.

Moving on:

Intruder 2: Asian man – not trying to scare off anyone with any racial tones or attitudes – but Some folks don’t have the same concept of personal space. And all I mean by this is: you need to keep a proper distance around my personal bubble. That’s all I ask. And Intruder 2 violated this clause – and didn’t know – and most importantly, didn’t care… until I let him know about my phobia of China and all things related to mass amounts of people in small spaces. That’s one thing I don’t do. I love all people and all social settings- except when there is no personal space.

The main problem with Intruder 2 was that he followed directly after my incident with Intruder 1. He came through the metal detector right after me and then got in front of me and blocked me from getting my bag. I was annoyed and spoke out loud with an “excuse you sir” and he kindly ignored me.. so I tapped his shoulder and said- “excuse you sir,” and just shook my head at him giving him one of my better confused facial expressions spelling out: ” is this normal for you ?”

I was completely satisfied with my decision and got my bag and went on with my morning walk to the sky club. Intruder 2 followed- of course- and continued to violate my space rules as I tried to prepare a small breakfast snack. He actually reached across me to get some spice to add to his egg- in my head- I swatted the shit out of his arm- like I would one of my friends going for an extra reach across the table- but in reality, I just stepped back and let him finish his meal prep and I waited as to not cause a scene or any unwanted violence.

There are no more intruders of the story- and so far- nothing too exciting or out of the ordinary on my travels to Aruba. There is an annoying guy who is laughing out loud in hysterics at his movie- but can’t be mad – he is just living life and I’m sure I have annoyed a few souls that were fortunate to be sitting near me on a flight. Thank you Delta for having Woodford Reserve – and for easing my travel tensions…

Thailand for Beginners… everything to know about booking a cave-free trip to Thailand

I consider myself a well versed traveler – sometimes – but choosing an exotic place to vacation can be very intimidating, especially if you have never left the United States.

My first travel destination post features a magical destination that nearly everyone has heard about and seems amazing to travel to– until you start to plan a trip there. While planning my first trip there 2 years ago, after our destination was for sure decided, I sat down to book flights, hotels and start to plan excursions. I was so excited (because traveling outside the US is my addiction) to make an epic trip! This euphoria came to a screeching halt as soon as I typed in “Top places to stay in Thailand,” and my whole idea of booking this amazing trip became very difficult.

1. Thailand is much bigger (more spread out) than it seems.

2. They have multiple popular destinations- none of which are driving distance of each other.

3. How can we experience it all? Beautiful beaches, wild night life, top notch hotel, delicious food… etc.

4. Each Thailand location is quite different, making number 3 my nightly project for the next week- because this is not as simple as planning a vacation to Branson, Missouri (although I have never been, it doesn’t seem that hard- it’s Missouri and Midwestern folk).

So– let’s cut this short and get to the good stuff since I loved Thailand so much after my first visit, I decided to go back a year later and experience a completely different area of the country.

Booking travel:

1. Your best bet is to contact me and have me help plan/book your travel with my low cost travel agency I am soon starting (this is not entirely true, but I want to start one..).

2. Best time to travel to Thailand is December through July- rainy season starts soon thereafter and no vacation with rain is fun- especially not one that specializes in amazing beaches and scenery.

3. Check numerous airports and airlines for pricing, as well as checking layover duration and location. Some layovers could be cool to explore the day at so take up that opportunity if it arises. My last trip, I spent 12 hours touring Shanghai, China! Well worth it!

4. Read all reviews about all hotels and excursions. And read numerous as all will tell different accounts and stories!

WHERE TO GO:

My recommendation is to stay in the beautiful region of Krabi! It is a beautiful beach town that has everything you would picture Thailand having!

The hotels in the city are not Beachfront- which is honestly recommended because the tide is an amazing thing at certain parts. It’s very high in the morning but will drain back 300 yards by 5pm. Made for an interesting walk back to our boat taxi after relaxing at Railey Beach each day. It was our favorite spot in Thailand for sure! This is an area to explore for mutilple days- beautiful hikes, numerous beaches, safe caves to explore, monkeys, and food and massages galore for unreal prices.

I could go on for hours and share the amazing experiences of this area!

Excursions:

Of course- you must take a boat tour to visit the James Bond Islands, the island where the movie “The Beach” was filmed with Leo, and enjoy some other amazing cultural sites and sounds of Thailand!

Nightlife:

Krabi is very fun here and it is not a wild open street party like you will see in Phuket or Bangkok, but it was perfect (if you and your mate or friends are social). It has a few alleys full of outdoor bars with locals and tourists out having fun and great drink specials. In Thailand, there is a lot of drink buckets.

BEST TIME OF YEAR to go to Krabi?

I honestly lived the absolute best part of my life on New Years Eve on the Beaches of Krabi! I will gladly go back with any friends, any year, with anyone wants to go!

Moving on:

Other parts of Thailand and how I recommend you explore it!

Phuket is a very popular destination (at least it seemed as I was researching) and I had a fantastic time there. I would equate Phuket to Reno, NV compared to Las Vegas, NV- minus how disgusting Reno is.

Phuket has a lot of charm – and you can enjoy their Reno style streets that are dreaming to be Vegas. There are lots of people – lots of lights- and lots of workers trying to pull you into the “sex” shows where women will ***warning – adult content ahead*** pop just about anything out of their .. bodies! However- don’t fall for these bad barely strip club places. It’s just to lure you in.. lol.. not that I was ever lured in or anything.

Phuket hotels- none are on the beach and you will have to travel to get to any beach. But they do have some nice hotels in the hills that have beautiful views! And even rooms with infinity pools like we had!

Do research here and plan to travel away from Phuket on excursions– avoid the elephant and animal stuff. It’s more sad than cool to get a picture with a cheetah or lion who is heavily medicated each day so that humans can spend 45 sec with it to take a picture. Message me about an app where I can implant you by a real one in the wild that looks as authentic as you and the drugged up wild animal (you sicko).

I’m gonna cut this short and leave out a lot of details- so please message me to inquire about where to stay and sites to book on… but I will leave you with this…

On your trip to Thailand- stay at a beach location and take in all the most beautiful landscape in the world– but…

YOU MUST SPEND at the minimum one night in Bangkok! Flights are so cheap once you are in Thailand. $100 roundtrip from Phuket.. it’s a long flight- 5 hours direct- so toughen up and take the early flight- and see a whole new world (say the last line in the voice from Aladdin).

Bangkok is NYC meets Bourbon St in New Orleans – minus everything you hate about NY and NO- the smell, the trashy people, the trashy bars, the smell of urine, the homeless..

Bangkok has none of this! It’s wild(ER) and there is no drama or gangs or weirdos or uncomfortableness (is that a word?).

I spent Christmas there and would give anything to go back! Lol! I love Bangkok! But it’s not the beaches and beauty- it’s the raw side- this is the Hangover- and it must be experienced… and then you will see why America sucks a lot of the time. Everyone is so nice and pleasant!

End of story… Thailand is a place where it’s okay to be a proud American (on both trips, I came across fewer than 8 Americans. True story). These places are becoming far and few between (for those who don’t travel outside the country much- Americans are hit or miss! And more so than ever since ol Trumpy came to play- we are moving to the lower likeability side…).

Thailand is so amazing – Take in the culture – Enjoy all their cuisine – take a Tuk Tuk – meet some locals – open your senses – and enjoy not being in America connected to your internet…

What NOT to do in Thailand:

1. Tiger Temple — F that.. this is all I have to say! Stay away! So stupid.

2. Animal sanctuaries– you already heard me preach- research to find rescue places to visit!

3. Don’t stay at a fancy hotel! You will NEVER be in the room! Go explore this amazing place!

Some travel days.. have to start with a Bloody Mary…

It is true that not all travel days are created equally- but very few bad ones are because of my own doing. Today was my own fault- and I feel I deserve a Bloody Mary.

This is not one of those travel nightmares that includes bad Uber drivers, traffic delays, or annoying families, children or the elderly. This is more along the lines of Home Alone – I overslept in a major way….

It all started with a pretty normal travel night for me: I got home from work, felt like watching some Succession on HBO, got my Big Brother fix in, and watched my taping of Chris Cuomo on CNN. Yes – this does sound like a pathetic night to some people, but for the TravelingGringo- this is my at home paradise. I laid there literally from 5:15pm to 9pm enjoying my evening- all while thinking about what I needed to pack for this trip- which is a simple trip- 3 days of choreography clothes, and one day of business attire for the Arkansas State Coaches meeting. After my news was over- I decided to roll out of bed and start to unpack my bag from my last trip- and see what was reusable and what was not- lol.. I realized I hadn’t started laundry yet – oops – so threw a quick load in on the shortest wash cycle so I could dry it before my 10pm sleep deadline. Does anyone else make sleep deadlines? Is that a real thing?

So, at 95% packed, I hop in bed, took a little Xanax (because my brain will stay up and active the entire night when I have an early morning flight). I texted a friend to tell them I would be at their house at 5:30-5:45am so they could drop me off at their airport so my car didn’t have to sit there. Knowing I am all set, I lay my head down on pillow and escape to a wonderful night of undisturbed slumber.

One little detail I missed – setting my alarm….

To make a long story very short-

5:50am- Call received from friend.

5:50am- Me wondering why someone would be calling so early.. then quickly realizing what is supposed to happen in my life today.

5:53am- pack remaining clothes from dryer – call Uber for friend to meet me at airport to take car.

5:57am- In car enroute to airport- not sure how I did that all in 7 min- I am very curious to see what I actually packed.

6:15am- Arrive at airport (record house to airport driving time)

6:28am- friend arrives at airport – I check my bag on Delta with one minute to spare.

6:45am- sitting in my first class seat with a Bloody Mary – acting as if this is a normal Thursday (although wondering what I look like because I just realized I never even looked in a mirror once..)

Even the roughest mornings can make for a good story–

And – I sound like Trump saying this “I didn’t want to bring it up.. but okay .. I will..” as I boarded the plane, I used the priority line while there were literally only 5 people standing in the regular line, but still wanted to use my travel perk.. I did feel kind of bad because I could have easily waited behind them — but then I remembered who I am…. #Boujee .. lol

Next, I arrive on the plane and a man is sitting in my window – already breaking one of the cardinal rules of being a passenger – having his window up before the sun is.. but I decided to just nicely sit in the aisle seat- and keep to myself – and let every single person who walks by hit me with their bags- and never said a word ..

Some days deserve bloody Mary’s in the morning….

I swear that Hot Spots to Travel is coming soon!

COMING NEXT WEEK….

I am going to be starting a weekly blog about my favorite travel destinations! All the good stuff for you to know to help plan an awesome trip! Look for the newest post coming this Sunday!! And please let me know what locations you are interested in – there is a good chance I have traveled there and will know all the details!

In the meantime – enjoy this pic of why I hate people …

Umm.. excuse me sir– but I don’t want to climb over you and your smelly feet… do you put your feet on your walls at home…

Cheers from the TravelingGringo

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….