a london arrival

This summer I spent a good bit of time in London.  I went abroad from June 10th to July 24th and spent time in London, Malaga, and various parts of Italy.  At just over six weeks, this was my longest trip yet (outside of my time spent studying abroad).

I used London as my launching point. I started there, and spent almost two weeks there before going on a vacation-within-a-vacation to Malaga, Spain. I returned to London, and met up with my sister, Melody, for a sisterly adventure in Italy. We returned one more time to London to spend a few more days before flying home at the end of July.

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A typically cloudy London day in June, by the Thames.

I also used London as my Hemmingway-esque retreat.  I sequestered myself away in the anonymity of travel with the hopes of finishing the first draft of my first full length novel.  I was successful, and Book One of Katerina Fairy’s story is officially underway.

But despite the lofty writing goal, I managed to find time to explore London a bit. I won’t say I’d be comfortable calling it home yet, there’s far too much to see and explore in a few short weeks, but I’m confident I was able to scratch the surface and taste a hint of everything that incredible city has to offer.

I thought about writing one mega-post about my time there, but quickly decided that that route would neither do justice to the city, nor be entertaining and manageable for you, dear readers. So instead, I’ve broken it down into a series of posts.  This week I’ll talk about arrival at Heathrow Airport, the public transportation system, and general getting around and getting settled tips and tricks. In the following weeks I’ll explore the different neighborhoods and parks I frequented; the museums, marketplaces, and entertainment I enjoyed; my favorite bars (tough choice I know!); and my favorite eateries. If you’re considering a trip to London, or you’ve already been and just want to compare notes, please read on! I’d love to hear your favorite places too, so I can start my list of places to see for the next time I’m in The City.

So, arrival. I have found that whether I am coming from across the ocean, or just one country away, getting through Passport Control at Heathrow Airport can be atrocious. I have never gotten through in under an hour and most times it has been closer to a three hour process.  It’s not that the process itself takes that long; a couple of questions, some proof of intention, and a stamp in your passport and you’re on your way. But the line has always been demoralizingly long. So, of these settling in tips, Tip #1 is pee before you get in line.  Get off that plane and find a restroom near your gate. Don’t think you can make it to baggage and be happy about it. Tip #2 is add three hours to your travel time before making any plans for the evening of your arrival.  If you land at noon, don’t think you’ll meet your mates at the pub for a pint, or collect your key from your AirBNB host by 2:00 or even 3:00 pm. Maybe 4:00 pm if you’re lucky.

Once you’ve passed Passport Control, congratulations! You’re officially in London! Your next step is to get to your lodging and drop your bags.  If you are traveling with too much to travel comfortably by yourself, make your way to the taxi pick up station, hop into a famous Black Taxi, and be on your way.

If you travel light, like I often do, taking London’s incredible public transportation system is a convenient and far less expensive option.  There’s a tube station right in the airport.  At the station, pick up an Oyster card.

Oyster cards are a refillable payment card useable on all public transportation options in London. We’re talking the Tube, the Overground, busses, trams, and most National Rail Services.  The card costs something like £10 to buy, but it’s a deposit you can get back at the end of your trip if you return your Oyster card.  Put enough money on it for it to be convenient, but don’t go loading your whole trip’s public transportation budget on there all at once.  If you loose that card, its like cash- i’s gone and lost.  If you register the card there is a little more account security, and balances can be transferred to an new card. But if you aren’t there long, and don’t bother registering it, you’ll feel the sting when a £10 card with £30 in travel funds on it falls out of your pocket in the middle of the street. So Tip #3 is Get an Oyster card, but don’t keep more than £15 on it at a time. Thats more than enough for a day or two of public transport travel. Especially since the city has this great capping system where after a certain point, any future journeys in a given day are free. Learn more at the Oyster Card Website. You can top off the cards at any tube station.  You can’t add more funds on a bus, but if you get on a bus with insufficient funds they give you one courtesy security ride, putting you in the negative, which will be repaid when you next top off funds.

So, Oyster card in hand, you climb into the next Tube car that arrives, grab a seat, and make your way to your new temporary home. This time I stayed in AirBNBs and CouchSurfed, but we’ll talk more about lodging and London neighborhoods next week.

Once you’ve checked in and dropped your bags, its time to begin exploring! A great way to explore the city is by riding the infamous red double decker busses.  Each ride is only £1.50, and the network of busses canvasses much of the city above ground; giving you a better chance to learn the layout of your new neighborhood than you might get if you only ever ride the Tube underground. That’s why Tip #4 is Tour the City from the Top of the Double Decker Busses! If you have the time and the patience, hop on a bus and just see where it goes. You might find your new favorite restaurant, park, shops, or bar that way.

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How will you find awesome street art like this happy octopus in a bowler hat drinking a pint if you don’t ride random red busses around the city?

From here, get to call the shots. What do you want to see? Do? Explore? Discover?

From history and the classics, to modern art, to art so modern its still underground, you’ll find it in London.  Which is why my Tip #5 is See the Big Sights, but Don’t Stop There.  London is so much more than Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. There are museums, and marketplaces, gardens and theatre, concerts, bars, restaurants, clubs, and more.

So, go explore!

And check back in next week for some of my favorites in art, culture, cuisine, and architecture shrouded by the London Fog and waiting to be discovered.

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306545_10100339996775636_297841040_nHave you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Seven years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose an be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as a writer and entrepreneur.  To follow Aeri on all her adventures, check her out online at travelingwithaeri.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose, and on Instagram @travelingwithaeri.

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slow travel: be in the journey; FLiP W Magazine February 2016

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine February 2016.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

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“Slow Travel: Be In The Journey”

Did you know that the average airplane travels approximately 550 miles per hour at a cruising altitude of 36,000 feet above sea level?  Thats pretty high and pretty fast. But here’s a question: on your next trip, while traveling 550 mph, 36,000 feet above sea level, how many new experiences will you have? If you are an avid traveler and a frequent flyer probably not many. How many new people will you meet? Maybe two if you’re the type to strike up a conversation with your seat mates.  Put that way, the fast and efficient travel by air doesn’t seem very great at expanding your life experiences does it?  Not particularly.  Thats why this month’s article is all about slow travel, and enjoying the act of traveling as much as the destinations themselves.  Don’t believe me? Here are five reasons why you should try to incorporate slow travel into your next adventure.

Delighting the Senses

First off, what IS slow travel? Slow travel is seeing more by seeing less. It does away with the tours that offer a mad dash overview of a place; of stopping just long enough at each site to snap a photo in front of this famous building or that ancient sculpture before rushing off to the next attraction. No, slow travel moves at a relaxed pace.  It is walking or biking in a city, it is taking the train or the boat to the next destination, and it is quietly observing and absorbing the beauty that surrounds you. How often have you traveled the same routes at home, barely registering the changing scenery on your daily routine? With fast travel it is easy to pack that ambivalence and take it along with you. With slow travel, you can leave those blinders at home.  Open your senses to your surroundings.  Explore the plants on your trip. What colors are they? How do they smell? Listen. Is this city full of street performers? Are the bird songs different from park to park? Has the enticing scent of a corner bakery attracted your nose? Go in and have a snack.  Taste something new and decadent.  With slow travel, your trip will be a delight for all your senses.

Meeting New Friends and Travel Angels

As mentioned above, slow travel is about exploring all modes of transportation, and taking roads less taken.  Sometimes that means you’ll get lost. It does. Trust me.  But thats OK! Because with slow travel you don’t have to have a schedule. So you’re never lost, you’re never running late, you’re just taking a different route.  And despite what language or alphabet you’re trying to decipher, the expression for “bemused confusion” is pretty universal.  So if you’re feeling uncertain, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Ask for directions. Ask for advice when ordering a meal or planning a day trip.  The kindness of strangers is a real and wonderful thing, and often locals will happily offer advice, directions, or recommendations.  I have lost count of the number of times travel angels have come to my assistance when alone and lost. They have hailed me cabs, driven me across town to catch ferries, helped me order, and protected my luggage.  Some I met only once, and some I’m friends with to this day.

Immersing Yourself in New Cultures

Did you know that in China some travelers pay for a train ticket with no seat. They stand in the isles, or sit on a stool they bring along with them. Often travelers with seats will take turns in the isle, offering their seats to these other travelers.

Did you know that on the days long train journey across the Russian Siberia you can always find someone in the meal car willing to play cards. Or that at every stop there are old ladies selling delicious fresh piroshki and smoked fish?

Did you know that in Morocco it is common to share a cab with strangers if you are both going in the same general direction?

Travel is an important part of any culture. So to truly immerse yourself in a new country, you should make every attempt to try to travel like the locals do.  You are really denying yourself a gratifying and enlightening experience if your only travel experience is the flight in and the cab to your resort.

Bolstering Your Self-Confidence 

While living in Hangzhou, China, I discovered that the most difficult thing to master was the public  bus system.  Bus stops had giant maps with complex bus routes smeared with Chinese characters. Even the numbers were written in Hanzi, rather than Arabic numbers. It took weeks of riding busses just to see where they led, getting unbelievably lost, and eventually hailing a cab home in exasperation, until I finally got a halfway reasonable understanding of the system.  It was an incredible victory the day that I finally rode the bus from my apartment across town to the imports grocery store without getting lost.  That french cheese was victory cheese. I was powerful, clever, and self-reliant. I had conquered that bus!  Never mind that I got lost again the next day. Because I knew that I could figure it out eventually.  And that is a great feeling.

Finding Hidden Gems and Surprise Discoveries 

I know it is tempting to chase after each ancient tourist site, infamous restaurant, and trendy bar recommended by Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, and WikiTravel.  But do you know why those trendy places got discovered in the first place? Because some travel writer out there knows that the real secret to exploration is to wander the less beaten paths looking for the hidden gems. Be your own trip advisor! You go find those surprise discoveries, and then you can be the clever traveler that impresses all your friends with little known wonderful recommendations.

I hope I’ve convinced you. Slow travel is wonderful travel. It is delightful, relaxing, enlightening, and inspiring.  But don’t take my word for it. On your next trip, try to slow it down a bit, and be amazed by all the incredible experiences you’ll have.  I guarantee it.

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306545_10100339996775636_297841040_nHave you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Seven years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose an be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur.  To follow Aeri on all her adventures, check her out online at travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.

the art of the postcard; FLiP W Magazine October 2015

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine October 2015.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

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“The Art of the Postcard” 

“Hey Ma! Greetings from the top of the Empire State Building.  Can I see my house from here? Give everyone my love and tell John to stay out of my room! Love, Katie”

“Hi Dad! We walked ALL OVER Barcelona today. Man am I tired.  Time for some wine and tapas. Gina says hi too. See you soon,  Rob”

“OMG Sarah you will not believe how hot all the guys are in Italy.  Its a total dream. I met this guy at the disco last night, Angelo, and we stayed out dancing ‘till like 5:00 am. The sky was getting light, seriously.  Wish you were here!! xoxo Roxie”

No matter who you want to write to, on your next trip write some postcards! They are a fun and inexpensive way to let your loved ones know you were thinking about them on while on your adventures.  And in today’s modern age of tweets, posts, and pokes; its nice to find something more exciting than bills and penny-savers in the mailbox on occasion.

What kind of post card should you send? Whatever strikes your fancy! There are cards of places you’ve been, sights you’ve seen, and more.  Some are big, some are small, some are matte or glossy, but all offer the sender a chance to share a small slice of their excitement and discovery with friends back home.

Or, consider exploring one of the many new postcard aps available on your smartphone. Snapshot Postcard (www.snapshotpostcard.com) for iPhone is one of my favorites, and Touchnote (www.touchnote.com) for android and laptops is a good one too. With these aps you can be the author and photographer! Just up load your favorite moments from your trip, jot down your messages, and with a couple quick clicks away it is whisked to be printed and sent wherever you wish.

But wait! What should you write?

The typical postcard has roughly 4 square inches of message space, at most, so keep your notes short and sweet. And remember, these things don’t have envelopes so keep your messages kid friendly and non-incriminating! Write a poem or song, a haiku, or even a riddle to keep your readers guessing until you get home.  Fancy yourself as an artist? Draw a picture!

Sometimes when in the midst of a busy trip it can be hard to remember to stop and appreciate each new moment.  But the act of selecting a card, and sitting down at a cafe or on a park bench to write out a few of your favorite memories can help you to pause, catch your breath, and remember what it is about travel that you love most to begin with.

So on your next trip I challenge you to send a post card.  Do it for you. I hope you love it. I hope your reader loves it. And I hope it helps you connect to a deeper appreciation of the places you visit.

Happy travels and happy writing!

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306545_10100339996775636_297841040_nHave you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Seven years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose an be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur.  To follow Aeri on all her adventures, check her out online at travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.

where and when to find the best travel deals; FLiP W Magazine August 2015

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine August 2015.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!
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Where and When to Find the Best Travel Deals 
By: Aeri Rose
Once, while tanking up at a gas station in the middle of deserts of New Mexico, a hippie wanderer told me there were three things worth going into debt over: education, health, and travel.  Then he climbed back into his 1987 Chevy Van and drove away, trailed by a cloud of exhaust fumes and Bob Dylan tunes.
While I agree that travel is one of the most important things to do during your life, I don’t think anyone should have to go into debt while adventuring. So this month’s topic is travel deals: where, and when to find them.
The internet is a great resource for every kind of adventure. From planning transportation, to activities, to lodging all things can be learned on line. Travelers LOVE talking about what they’ve done, so there are tons of great travel forums, blogs, and wiki sites just waiting to share their knowledge with you.
For transportation, two of my favorite sites are kayak.com, and vacationstogo.com.  Kayak is my go to site for flight booking. They seem to consistently have the broadest selection and the lowest rates for flights.  And they have this really awesome feature called “Explore” that I absolutely love playing with whenever I need to spend some time daydreaming about my next adventure. You pick your departure airport, time frame and price range and it shows you all the flights all over the world that fit your requirements. So, say you have 20 days and $700 to spend on a flight in November. Kayak Explore just told me that I could get from D.C. to Hong Kong, Moscow, Cairo, Dublin, Peru and more for that or less! The possibilities are endless!
Or, if you are more of a boat girl than a plane girl, then maybe vacationstogo.com is more your style.  Here, you can find lots of cruise trips around the world offered at a last minute discount rate. Crossing the Atlantic by boat is definitely on my bucket list, and when the time for that adventure comes I will definitely be checking out vacationstogo.com.
If you are flexible on your time or season to travel, try to find out what your destination’s off-season is. Often everything from flights to lodging to activities and meals is much less expensive in the off-season. Enjoy the solitude and beat the crowds- embrace the perk of traveling when most other tourists are at home.
If when to travel is important, when to buy is also important. Lots of research, including an in-depth report by Expedia, has been done on when exactly is the best time to book tickets. The majority agrees that buying tickets on Tuesday or Sunday is best, and planning in advance can really pay off. Everyone agrees it is best to buy tickets at least three weeks in advance, but research seems to think that 57 days in advance is the absolute best day to buy. Sometimes I don’t know what I am doing 57 minutes in advance, so 57 days seems like a real stretch to me. Yikes! These timing recommendations are definitely something to keep in mind…but don’t be disheartened if you have to book that last minute trip. Remember- there are plenty of companies looking to fill empty spots at the last minute too!
So, you’ve got your “to” and “from” figured out. What will you do while you’re there? For this, I believe in “knowledge not reservations.” Thinking about and researching potential plans is one of my favorite pre-trip preps.  I like to know what to look for once I arrive, but I don’t like to be bound by schedules before I even get there. What happens if I meet this really cool person in the hostel lobby who is about to go on the most awesome adventure ever, but I booked a ghost tour of the local art museum before I even arrived and I have to turn them down? Totally lame!
For my pre-trip research I turn to travel community websites like Lonely Planet, and in particular their Thorn Tree Forum, as well as Wikitravel. These forums have great searchable databases where travelers have helped each other answer questions about everything from how to catch a public bus in Bolivia to when the best time to find the Norther Lights in Alaska and everything in between.
And remember: life and travel is often about the journey rather than the destination. You can often save time, or money, but not both. So if you’re down for an adventure and trying to save some dough, don’t look for the most efficient path when there is a road less traveled to explore. Take a bus rather than a train, a boat rather than a plane, and embrace the rewarding experience that this totally immersive slow travel can provide.
Check out these websites when planning your next trip:

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Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Five years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose can be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Aeri Rose on all her adventures, check her out online at aerirose.com or travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.”

when to take that first trip together, FLiP W Magazine January 2015

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine January 2015.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

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“When to Take that First Trip Together”

By Aeri Rose

This month’s article is definitely a case of “do as I say, not as I do,” because honestly the best first date I can imagine would be a backpacking (urban or backcountry) adventure somewhere.  Why?

A) It is an excuse for a weekend backpacking adventure.

…and…

B) Because it is a brief and intense way to really get to know this new person of interest.

But then, I’m one of those perpetually single types, so what do I know?

But if I was going to hazard a guess to the best time to go on that first get away with your new beau, and offer tips on planning the adventure, this is what I might say…

So the basic relationship timeline goes something like this: meet, friend each other on Facebook, spend the weekend stalking their page with your girlfriends, go on a first date, spend a whole weekend together, spare toothbrush in the bathroom, spare dresser in the bedroom, fart/drool/snore barrier is broken (this seems to fluctuate in the time line based on the individual), fight, break up, get back together, move in together, here it gets a little vague, and then viola happily ever after. Of course not every relationship makes it to every step. But if your budding relationship seems to be cruising along down the time line and you’re itching for a new adventure for two, I would schedule that first trip somewhere after “fart/drool/snore barrier is broken” and “move in together.”

If you haven’t broken the bodily functions barrier, I hope you are ready, because there is no way you will make it through a red-eye flight, mystery airline meals, and/or an overnight train ride without crossing that bridge.

If you have made it this far, congrats! Crack open a travel magazine and follow these Do’s and Don’ts when planning that epic first adventure!

1) Don’t take him somewhere you’ve been already. Don’t try to show him something you thought was wonderful and you want to share with him.  There will be time for that kind of trip later. For this first one, try to avoid places where you have pre-set expectations for his response.  Don’t make the trip a test. Do go somewhere neither of you have been, so you can share in the discovery and experience together.

2) Don’t go to a secluded love nest in the Caribbean or somewhere equally isolated.  Even though you’ve made it past “spending the whole weekend together”, having your own errands and your own apartment can be a comforting escape exit if necessary.  Even if you’re having a great time, an isolated love nest can leave you feeling trapped.  Do go somewhere with versatility: alone time, culture, nightlife, etc.

3) Do keep it short and sweet. Try not to plan any year long around the world journeys just yet. Stick to a weekend adventure. Hold off on the big bucket list treks until you can be sure you won’t go crazy after 30, 60, 300 days of the same bad sports jokes and compulsive need to straighten the silverware when you eat.

4) Do consider both of your interests when researching the local attractions. Be willing to compromise on activities. Encourage him to do something you’re passionately interested in, but be willing to branch out of your comfort zone and do the same for him too. Don’t expect to do everything together though. A little alone time is healthy and can be exciting, especially if conversations start to lag half way through the trip. Taking time to explore alone will give you hours of fresh conversation fodder when you’re back together.

5) Don’t consider the trip a superhero/sidekick adventure. Sure you want to show off how chic and independent you can be, what a cultured traveler you are, but stop pruning your feathers peacock! The way you two behave on this trip is a small glimpse into the future. So treat this trip like the partnership you hope your relationship will be, and enjoy the journey together.

=====================================================================================Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Five years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose can be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Aeri Rose on all her adventures, check her out online at aerirose.com or travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.”

the art of the exotic palate, FLiP W November 2014

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine November 2014.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

FLiP W Cover November 2014
FLiP W Cover November 2014

 

The Art of the Exotic Palate: Trying and Declining New Foods

By Aeri Rose

flip w article nov 2014

Being polite can be very similar to knowing an intricate dance. When you don’t know what you’re doing, it is easy to step on some toes. And when traveling abroad, it is easy to feel like you’ve packed two left feet. Just like a ballroom dance, research and practice will help you avoid a misstep, but sometimes you just have to jump in and do the twist. So, to help with those impromptu moments, this month’s travel article is called “The Art of the Exotic Palate: Trying and Declining New Foods”, and we will talk about a particular situation when a polite and graceful demeanor is the most important: during meals. So, enjoy our stories, and our universal tips to help keep you fed and happy on your next vacation.

Tip # 1: Be Inquisitive and open minded! Taste and try everything.

Remember you are on an adventure, you are open minded, curious, and hoping to turn strangers into friends all around the world. If someone has invited you into their home, invited you to share a meal, or even just made a recommendation after seeing you hem and haw over the lunch menu, accept their advice! Even if it ends up being the worst thing you’ve ever tasted…at least you will have a new story to Like the time I was encouraged to try silk worms in a Korean marketplace. They were served in a clear plastic cup with some broth and a toothpick. High in protein I was told. I was able to crunch a few down before they got cold, and they really weren’t even that bad. OK so maybe they were really gross. But I ate them and lived to tell the tale! And you can too!

Tip # 2: Taste but don’t waste!

Some dishes are recognizable, others strange. Some smell amazing, others…strange. When trying new things, take small portions so you will still be able to finish a dish even if it is not to your liking. Please do try to finish what has been served. Your host might have been using your visit as a chance to prepare some specialty dishes with expensive or hard to find ingredients that would be a shame to throw away if the crazy American took too much and couldn’t finish it. Remember, if you like something you can always follow the tiny first helping with a second larger helping, provided everyone else has already served themselves as well.

It is important to note that while food should never be wasted, often leaving one or two bites on a plate is the unspoken signal that your appetite has been satisfied.

Tip #3: Don’t be childish or immature if you encounter unexpected, unappetizing, or visually shocking

My Sicilian grandmother came to America when she was 17, and shortly after arriving in Maryland she was invited to a crab feast. Anyone who has ever shelled crabs knows they are odd, ugly little things that are cooked alive. She screamed when she saw them, and thought she was being made to eat a giant spider. My point is…everyone eats weird things in weird ways. It’s only weird if you aren’t used to it. So contain your gag reflex, control your urge to dissect your meal like a 7th grade biology lab, and keep your screams to a minimum when exploring exotic meals.

Tip # 4: Follow your host’s lead.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do! Preparing and eating foods and drinks like the locals will give you a chance to taste and learn about a new thing, or a new way to enjoy an old thing. Take tea for example. Everyone has a way they like to drink their tea: with lemon, honey, sugar, milk, hot, cold, etc. When you’re traveling don’t drink tea the way YOU like to drink it, drink it the way the locals do. When you’re in England, take tea with milk and sugar and a piece of shortbread. When you’re in Turkey take it strong in a tiny clear glass with too much sugar. In China? Dump some leaves in a cup, swirl them around, and spend the rest of the time trying to figure out how they drink the tea so gracefully without getting mouthfuls of tea leaves. And then call me and tell me what you’ve learned, because I still haven’t figured it out!

Tip # 5: If you absolutely cannot attend or cannot eat a dish served, say “No” as soon as possible, politely, firmly, and perhaps up to three times.

Being a picky eater, or having something else sort of planned that night are not really acceptable reasons to decline. But, if you know that fried crickets and blood pudding will be on the menu and you just will NOT be able to navigate a graceful decline at the diner table, than perhaps declining the initial invitation is your best choice. If you do have to decline, do it as soon as possible. As in, DO NOT accept and later change your mind, and definitely DO NOT accept and then stand them up.

Some acceptable reasons to decline might be because of known allergies or strict dietary restrictions, or because non-negotiable travel plans have already been booked. Like, for example, if you are a vegetarian hiking through the Gobi Desert and a Mongolian nomadic family invites you into their Ger to share their evening meal, you can be certain it will be 99% comprised of various cuts of goat meat, organs, and cheese products with perhaps one onion diced and boiled in your honor. As a vegetarian, you might find it easier to offer them some sweet mint tea and continue on your way.

So to recap, the dinner dance can be intricate, but there are always some general guidelines to keep in mind to help navigate any meal without stepping on too many toes. And when in doubt…say please and thank you and make your mamma proud.

Good luck and enjoy! Buon Appetite!

=====================================================================================

Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Five years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose can be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Aeri Rose on all her adventures, check her out online at aerirose.com or travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.”

savvy souvenir shoppers, FLiP W July 2014

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine July 2014.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

flip cover july 2014

“Savvy Souvenir Shoppers

By Aeri Rose

There is a fine art to souvenir hunting and becoming an expert shopper takes some serious practice.   Of course, there is no wrong way to shop- if it makes you happy, you’re doing it right- but to get the most bang for your buck, and the biggest prize for your pesos, follow these five tips on your vacation this summer.

Tip #1) Seek the Authentic:

Most tourist stops and downtown walks are well canvassed by souvenir shops filled with inexpensive mass produced imports making a cheap parody of the local cultural arts and staffed by jaded and hardened sales clerks. Try not to shop here; except maybe in Finland, where they have made it a point of stocking their souvenir shops with goods from local artisans.

Instead, try to seek out the authentic: local craft shows, artisan boutiques, and traditional workshops. Never pass up the chance to walk through a street festival!

Sometimes finding these gems is a matter of trial and error until you stumble into the right shop. Once, on a hunt for hand painted ceramics in Cefalu, Sicily, I poked my head in countless stores and found nothing but the same low quality plates, until at long last I found a shop owned by two brothers who threw the pottery and painted the pieces right there in a workshop in the back.

Sometimes finding these gems takes as little effort as a well-placed question at the hotel reception.  In Gorёme, Turkey, on the hunt for, funnily enough, more painted pottery, I found myself overwhelmed by the choices until a local tour guide took me to the next town over where a centuries old workshop was still buzzing away, happily carving out red and white clay from the riverside and turning it into incredibly detailed, hand-thrown, hand-painted pieces of functional artwork.

Don’t settle for parodies when you can find the real deal! Enjoy the hunt as part of the experience!

Tip #2) Consider Logistics:

Speaking of pottery- beware fragile products and delicate tokens that do not travel well.  There are few things sadder than opening your suitcase at home to find a pile of brightly colored gravel where once there was a bowl, or finding your clothes have become a purple soggy mess when once there was a bottle of wine. If you just have to have that fragile thing, and nothing else will do, consider shipping your prizes home. The extra cost of recruiting an international shipping company, like UPS or DHL, to transport your fragile treasures is worth the reward of getting them home in one piece.

And size matters! When packing for a trip, always remember to leave a little extra room for new things.  Then, once on your trip, remember how much extra room you have to fill.  No one wants to be stuck trying to pack up an hour before departure only to find that unlike Mary Poppins their suitcase is not going to magically grow to fit everything they want to bring home.

It is best to buy things that are small but poignant, can be compressed, are sturdy enough to make the trip, or flexible enough to make packing a breeze.

Otherwise you must consider logistics when making your purchases- to pack and carry, or to ship and pay.

Tip #3) Admire the Practical:

Perhaps it is a more practical treasure you are after.  Pick up an extra jacket, scarf, or hat for a chilly evening and be reminded of your trip every time you wear that great accessory at home. Answering “Bolivia” instead of “The Gap” when an admirer asks you where you picked up that trendy new piece can be a great conversation starter.  Or browse the kitchen gadgets isle at a local department store for fun and interesting gadgets.  Pick up olive pitters from Greece, metal chopsticks and bamboo dumpling steamers from Korea, or tiny caviar spoons from Russia.

Remember that anything can be a souvenir as long as it reminds you of your trip!

Tip #4) Authentic Does Not Mean Expensive:

Some of the best souvenirs can be free! Dried leaves and flowers from a hike, ocean smoothed pebbles from a stone beach, sketches from a train, and printed and framed photographs from a trip all make wonderful memories and gifts.

Consider sending postcards!  They are an inexpensive yet delightful way to show someone you’ve been thinking about them while adventuring. After the trip, spending the time making a poster collage is a great way to look back on all the photos taken and memories made.

There are quality authentic souvenirs and trinkets to fit any budget!

Tip #5) Souvenirs are memories, not scavenger hunts:

The most important thing to keep in mind is that souvenirs are not meant to be conquests checked off of a “to do” list.  If you know you will never use it, don’t get the fur hat just because you’re in Russia. Souvenirs are tokens meant to be a reminder of a great trip.  So when traveling, buy things that reinforce those memories in the making.

Wait to make purchases until you’ve learned about the unique place you are visiting and you’ve experienced the richness of that new place.  What do the local cultures take pride in producing? What experiences have they wanted to share? Enjoy seeing those cultural treasures pop up again and again. And then when you find that perfect piece, buy it, even if it is out of your budget, because you might never get a second chance to buy it again.

C’est la vie and happy shopping!”

==================================================================================================Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Five years and over two dozen countries later, Erica Hession is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery which awaits those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Erica can be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Erica on all her adventures, check her out online at aerirose.com or travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.

 flip july 2014

making your dream travel plans into a reality, FLiP Magazine October 2014

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine October 2014.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

flip cover oct 2014

“Making your Dream Travel Plans into A Reality: It isn’t a dream vacation: it’s an unplanned adventure!

By Aeri Rose

The problem with dreams is that we think they are almost impossible to achieve. We put dreams on a pedestal and think about them fondly and frequently, but with a certain amount of aloofness and pragmatism, being pretty certain they will never come true. We can dream of being the queen of a floating cloud island, but unless we find an unmarried king with a decent cumulus that dream just will not come true.  We can dream of being the most famous Martian designer, but until we master interplanetary space travel, those catwalks will have to go without our fierce alien styles.

We should not dream about a vacation because travel is attainable. You CAN go on those trips you’ve always wanted to go on. You can and you will, as soon as you stop dreaming and start planning. In order to start planning successfully, there are a few misconceptions we are going to clear up right now. Don’t ever think you can’t travel because:

  1. You can’t afford it.
  2. You can’t go if no one will go with you; it isn’t safe to travel alone.
  3. If you travel alone, you’ll be lonely.
  4. You can’t decide where to go.
  5. You can’t leave right now.

Let me explain.

  1. You can travel, because travel does not have to be expensive.

Many budget travel bloggers, myself included, can talk for days about tips and tricks for frugal tourism.  For a smattering of those tips you should check out my blog www.travelingwithaeri.com. I can promise you that there are trips to fit every budget.

Saving for your trip does not need to be scary either.  A couple of friends once told me that they were having trouble saving for a trip they wanted to take until they put it in perspective.  They asked themselves what the trip was worth to them. Turns out it was worth more than soda.  So they gave up soda, and every time they felt a craving or thought about buying a bottle of pop, they would put that cash into a jar.  And sooner than you would believe, they had kicked an unhealthy habit and had a jar full of potential adventure.

  1. If you act smart, being alone in their country is no worse than being alone in your own.

Traveling alone is not asking for trouble. It is not the dangerous and intimidating experience your grandmothers want you to think it is.  Not all strangers are trying to lure you into their vans with candy. Most strangers are perfectly nice people going about their day just like you would be if you were home.

I have a few strategies to get comfortable with a new place, like to timing my arrival so there is still daylight, and taking a walk around the area to orient myself as soon as possible; but beyond that, don’t be afraid to explore! Ask for directions! Get a little lost wandering off the beaten path. That’s often where the best memories are made.

  1. “To Old Friends, New Friends, and Strange Places.”

I have raised my glass to this toast many a time, in many a place, with many a face.  Travel is your chance to get outside your bubble. Travel is more than looking at the architecture and geography of a place; it is about getting a feel for the culture too! Go introduce yourself to someone new! Smile at the bartender, get a drink at the hotel and chat up some fellow travelers! Ask the locals where you should eat and then invite them along! You might never see these people again, but there is comfort in knowing that there are people half a world away that you forged a genuine connection with.

But remember to take time to be alone too. Don’t be afraid to sit quietly on the bus and stare out the window. Remember the way the countryside looks as you ride past. Capture the serenity of a solo sunset and you’ll be able to access it the next time you’re surrounded by stress and chaos.

  1. This isn’t your only trip, it is only your first trip.

Don’t put the trip on a pedestal. Don’t you do it! Get it off of there! This doesn’t have to be the perfect, best, trip-to-end-all-trips trip.  It just has to be your first trip. Pick somewhere sort of interesting, and sort of in budget, maybe sort of nearby, and go for it. It might be great, it might not be what you expected, but no matter what it WILL be an experience to remember. You’ll learn from it. You’ll find things you love and things you hate. And you’ll discover that you are capable of so much more than you thought. And the next time you plan a trip it will be that much easier to get your butt out the door, and you’ll have that much more confidence in yourself, and that much more enthusiasm for the world around you.

  1. No time like the present.

There will never be a perfect time to go. There will never be a time when you have no deadlines at work, no significant others (people, pets, or plants) requiring your attention at home, and no other expenses demanding your hard earned dough. You will never get ALL your ducks in a row. So just leave them in a pile and get out there! Do it for yourself. All your ducks will be waiting for you when you return.

Now it’s your turn to decide what travel is worth to you, and recognize your own strength and independence. Don’t dream of cloud kingdoms; plan your next adventure instead. Travel is attainable! Go get it, girlfriend!

=====================================================================================Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Five years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri can be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Aeri on all her adventures, check her out online at aerirose.com or travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.”

flip oct 2014

embassies, consulates, and visas oh my!

Alright, let’s do this.  I’ve been putting it off, because I just don’t want to think about it. But really it isn’t that bad. Let’s talk about VISAS.  Sometimes they are a necessary evil, granting you entry into those special places that the hope of visiting is worth the effort involved in requesting entrance.

Really it isn’t that bad.  Have I said that already?  Let’s start with the positives:

1. Entry into a cool place.

2. Fun new addition to your passport stamp collection.

3. TBD

The most important thing to do to make your visa acquisition a smooth and happy process is to PLAN AHEAD.  As soon as you have decided to take a trip to a foreign country, check to see if you’ll need a visa to go there.  To check, go to that nation’s embassy or consulate webpage (for your own country).  That sounds confusing. Rewind.

In a foreign nation, a country can establish consulates and embassies.  Embassies are big deals, they are the official representation of one country in another.  Ambassadors can hang out there.  They (embassies and ambassadors) do big, important things.  Consulates are a little smaller or more numerous and found in many major cities.  They issue visas.  To begin your visa process, go onto Google and search for the embassy website for the country  you’d like to visit.  So if I live in America (I do) and I want to go to Russia (I do) I’d search “Russian Embassy in USA”, or “Washington D.C. Russian Embassy” because that is mostly likely where the embassy nearest to me will be. If you don’t know, be sure to find out where the consulate closest to YOU will be.

Once on the website, look for a link for “consular services” or “visas” or something like that, and read around to see if you’ll need a visa for your trip.

If you do, keep reading.  Get a rough idea of the paperwork: required forms, records, fees, and the visa issuance timeline.  The timeline is extremely important.  Usually there is a magic window- you can’t apply for the visa too far out from your trip, but you don’t want to wait too long to apply and risk not being prepared either. For example, I could not apply for a Russian visa more than 90 days before my intended arrival date.

Anyway, I like to print out everything that looks important so I can pour over it later and in great detail.  Sometimes the website contradicts itself: something will be listed as required on one list and not on another, one page says give them a week to process and another says give them a month, total fees range between $20 and $200+. Whenever you see a contradiction- err on the side of caution.  Most embassies require you to make an appointment and personally deliver your application.  It is better to bring too many forms than to get all the way there and be turned away because you are missing something- especially if time is of the essence.

As soon as you can, schedule your appointment.  Then use the intervening time to gather the necessary forms, medical records, passport sized photos (from the post office), cash (often the embassies cannot or will not accept credit cards or checks, they’ll accept cash or money orders), etc.  Sometimes travel tickets and hotel reservations are required, and sometimes it recommended not to buy tickets until after the visa is acquired.  Every country is different, you’ll just have to read up on their preferences.

Also err on the side of excess when deciding what type of visa or trip duration to request. I like to leave at least a day or two buffer on either end of the trip, just in case.  However, some visas are more easily granted than others- work permit visas are often more difficult than general tourist visas, and long term (stays of more than 90 days) are more difficult than short term visas- so don’t bother applying for a difficult visa if you are certain you won’t need the added permissions.

On the day of, show up on time for your appointment but be prepared to wait.  If accepted, you’ll turn in your passport along with all the paperwork and the consulate will process it.  When it is ready, you return to pick up your passport.  Most offices do not want to receive applications or send passports via mail.

There are many third parties that (for a fee) offer visa consulting services, going to the appointments in your stead, and talking you through the application process.  I have never found it necessary to use these third parties.  Though I am lucky enough to live close to Washington D.C. where most countries have at least one consular office.  I suppose if I lived more than a few hours journey from these offices, than the third party services might be more appealing.  But I definitely wouldn’t recommend paying for their services if you’re just confused by the process.  Try it for yourself! You’ll be surprised at how confident you feel about your travel abilities after navigating those waters!

And that is it. Not so bad, right? Just a lot of bureaucracy, but for good cause I suppose.  And the trials make the joy of travel all the sweeter.

Cheers and good luck!

~ Aeri

workout on the fly, or even while you’re flying!

While still in Texas, I ran in the Midnight Margarita Run with Chela of Medieval Moccasins.  It was a 5K through downtown Austin, complete with a margarita party after the race. It was a blast, made even more fun when we decided to run in style.  Reincarnation Outfitters and Medieval Moccasin style that is -decked out in  tutus, fairy wings, and knee high boots!  Chela’s boyfriend, Daniel, and his friend Fabian were our sideline cheerleaders and videographers.  Check out our end of race videos on the Medieval Moccasin Facebook page!

All that running got me thinking about staying active while on the road.  So this post is about fitting in a good exercise routine while traveling.  I know vacation can be a time of relaxation and leisure, but too many days of long sedentary flights, interesting foods, extra deserts and mid-day coffees can take a tole on our bodies and our morale.  Making time for a few simple stretches or a short workout will keep you fresh, happy, and ready for the next adventure.

Keep in mind, I’m NOT a personal trainer and I have no credentials or certificates in health that should make you believe a single word I say.  This is all based off of personal experience and tips I’ve picked up along the way.  Now that that disclaimer is out of the way, lets look at some good workouts to do while en route, and once you’ve arrived.

Work Out #1: Travel Stretches

So it is vacation time. Your bags are packed and you’re ready to hop in the car and hit the road, or maybe you’ve made it through security and the only thing between you and Bermuda is a seven hour flight.  While you might be looking forward to the journey, your back might not be so happy about the thought of being stuck in a seated position for the rest of the day.  Tuck yourself into an unobtrusive corner if you aren’t lucky enough to be flying through San Francisco International Airport, or other airports with rooms dedicated to yoga, stretching, or working out.  These stretches are good to do before boarding and after deplaning to loosen up.

1. Forward Bend: Stand with feet hip width apart, knees soft or slightly bent.  Bend at the waist and put your hands on the ground.  If you can’t reach the ground, bend your knees a bit more.  Sometimes this position is used with straight knees to stretch the hamstrings, but by bending the knees and touching the hands to the ground it transfers the stretch to the lower back.  For an extra stretch grab your elbows with the opposite hands and let your upper body hang.  The your own weight plus gravity will stretch out your lower back.   Hold for three breaths. Another variation is to stand with feet about two hip-widths apart.

2. Twist: Sit on the ground “Indian style” and don’t slouch.  Gently twist your whole back to the left, pivoting around your core, and following the twist with your eyes and head.  For stability and an extra stretch you can brace your right hand against your left knee and your left hand behind your back. Sit tall with each inhale and twist a little deeper with each exhale.  Hold for three breaths, and then repeat on the right.

3. Seated Cat/Cow: Cat/Cow is a yoga stretch done on the hands and knees.  In Cat you tuck your head and tail bone under and arch your back towards the sky.  In Cow you reverse the position, with head and tailbone skyward and putting a sway in your middle back.  Rotating between these two moves awakens and strengthens the spinal cord and all the muscles in your back.  But getting on your hands and knees in a crowded public place might be awkward, so the Seated Cat/Cow is another option.  Sit “Indian style” on the ground and rest your forearms on your knees.  Breathe out, hunch your shoulders, and curl your chin towards your chest. Slouch as much as you can!  Then breathe in, sit tall, push your chest out and up, and tilt your head backwards.  Move between these two positions, maintaining that breathing pattern, slowly at first and then increasing in speed until you are moving as quickly as you can.  This exercise warms up your back and spine and makes you aware of your posture.  Try to sit and stand taller afterwards.

4. Jumping Jacks: You might look silly, but after a long sit, jumping-jacks are the quickest way to get your blood pumping through all extremities at once.

5. Walk: Those moving walkways, escalators,  and luggage golf-carts are pretty tempting, I know, but try to be your own form of transportation between gates. Walk, take the stairs, and pull your own suitcase.  When you’ve just watched the complete Lord of the Rings trilogy between Seattle and Shanghai, the last thing you need to do is hitch a ride between gates B31 to A60.  Just like jumping-jacks, a brisk walk will get your blood flowing and perk you up.  Track yourself if you want to.  A stroll burns about 3 calories a minute, while a fast pace can burn almost 6.  Taking the stairs while carrying a piece of luggage can burn 7 calories per flight.  

Work Out #2: The Hidden Gems

Sometimes you can fit a work out into your vacation without making any changes at all.  Instead of changes make choices! Fit these activities in and around your busy schedule.

1. Walk: Sound familiar? Choose to walk around town rather than taking public transportation or a cab.  It is free, slow, and healthy. Slow? Yes! Slow! You’ll be amazed at how many wonderful treasures you stumble across when you take the time to walk between the main tourist hot spots.  Find the cafe that the locals love, peer down side streets and into local boutiques, admire the architecture, get a little lost trying to find a “shortcut” off the beaten path.

2. Bike: Many cities, especially in Europe and America, now have bike share programs.  Capital Bike Share in the D.C. area, Vélib’ in Paris, Bicing in Barcelona are just a few examples, but the list of participating cities is endless and growing.  Like walking, riding a bike gives travelers the chance to explore a city at their own pace.  And biking leisurely can burn 280 calories an hour, negating that mid-day coffee almost as quickly as you drank it!

3. Paddle: So you have a four day weekend and you’ve taken off for a white sandy island.  Your only goals are to get a tan your co-workers will envy, and drink icy drinks with little umbrellas on top. There is no reason you have to accomplish these goals while lying prone on your towel for the better part of the day! Ask around at your hotel or the docks, and find a boat rental.  Get a glass bottomed kayak, a paddle-boat, or a canoe. Don’t just stare at the waves, splash around in them! Salt water is great for your skin, but watch out for water reflections that boost the sun’s rays- your tan might turn on you.  Splashing around in the surf will burn 420 calories an hour, while boating can burn between 200 and 350 calories an hour.

4. Dance:  Are you more of a night time activities kind of person?  Take yourself out to a club or down to a concert.  Dancing burns over 300 calories an hour.

Work Out #3: 

This work out is for those who want to Work Out.  All you need are some good running shoes and an elastic resistance exercise band.

They usually come in different tensions so find one that is right for you and throw it in the bottom of your suitcase before you leave.  Like any good workout you’ll want to include some cardio and some strength training.

Cardio: Go for a jog or a brisk, purposeful walk in the neighborhood where you’re staying.  When running remember “KISS”. Not Kiss the 80’s band, and not that great French guy you met last weekend, but KISS: Keep it Short and Simple.  You don’t want to get lost, or bogged down by traffic lights and crosswalks.  Since you probably won’t be running with a cell phone or map, stay close to home and don’t make too many confusing turns.  Run as much as  you’re comfortable with.  For me 30 minutes is enough to keep me energized and on track.

Strength: Once back to the hotel, grab your elastic band and find a sturdy door- maybe the bathroom door or your room’s main door.  For some exercises you’ll be shutting one end of the elastic in it. I’m not going to go into too much instructional detail on these exercises, they are fairly self explanatory and if they aren’t- Google it! I like to do three sets of 10 – 15 reps for each exercise.

– Biceps: Stand on the center of the elastic band and take one handle in each hand.  Do bicep curls.

– Triceps: Stand on the center of the elastic band and take one handle in each hand. Do tricep curls.

– Chest Press: Loop center of elastic band around outside door handle and shut door.  With your back to the door, take one handle in each hand and press away from your body.

– Overhead Press: Stand on the center of the elastic band and take one handle in each hand. Press hands up over head.

–  Legs: Shut one end of the elastic band in the door.  Loop other end around left ankle.  Stand facing the door and kick left leg backwards, keeping leg straight.  Do this for each direction on each leg (ex: stand with door at right side, push leg to left; stand with back to door, push leg forward, etc).

If you do not want to bring a resistance band, simple calisthenic exercises are equally adequate: sit-ups, push-ups, squats and lunges work all the major body parts.  Remember, you aren’t training for the Iron Man, you are just trying to maintain some activity and keep up your energy while on vacation.

I hope this post has given you some active ideas for your next trip.  If you have more travel training tips I’d love to hear them!

Happy Trails,

~Aeri