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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Europe 2018 - Part 2 - New York

Hello again! Welcome back. I hope you are all well and ready for another blast from the past. :) Europe part 2. First time flying and New York!


Howdy! Today Is the day!

May 29, 2018

Truthfully, 2 days ago was the day. It was hard to find time to write when trying to fit in 2 flights and a trip to Times Square in one day! So it's the next day and here's the what you should know about my first flight and trip to New York. 

1. God did not give me wings but I still found myself above the clouds.

I always used to tell people I didn't want to fly. I would quote my dad and say "If God wanted me to fly, he would have given me wings." That was before I realized there was a world of wonders outside of Texas. And the U.S. for that matter. -- We arrive at the airport and I'm still not nervous. In fact, I felt indifferent about it. My friend checked me in, thank goodness. I would have been absolutely lost walking in by myself. It was Spirit Airlines so you just walk up to the kiosk and print your ticket. Then head to the checked baggage line for a large bag or straight to TSA if you only have a carry on and personal item. The check baggage line was incredibly long and nerve racking but luckily I have a carry on luggage and was able to go straight to security. Did you know you have to take your shoes off going through security? (Now I know this is only at some airports. This was at IAH in Houston) Seems like a given right? I had no idea! After that, you find your gate and wait to board. It seems pretty simple but sometimes certain lines can take a long time and be very stressful. That's why it's a good idea to get to the airport at least 2 hours if not 3 hours early. You never know what can happen. My friends both had a large luggage and had to wait in a huge line only to get sent to another and then another before they finally got their bags checked. They almost missed the flight because of all the confusion, but fortunately they made it just in time. After boarding the plane I found myself lost in awe while looking out the window. I thought to myself, "I'm on a plane, heading to New York." Something I thought I'd never be doing, not for a long time a least. I couldn't have been happier than I was in that moment. Something about finally doing what I've wanted to for so long was exhilarating and refreshing and also a bit freeing. I was free from the chains and limits that I had given myself. And to top it all off the wing of the plane had 'Howdy' written on it. I found this extremely comforting because I use this phrase at work almost every day to welcome coworkers in. But today I was the one being welcomed! 

2. KNOW YOUR LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE. 

There is nothing worse than thinking you have everything paid for just to get get to the airport and find out that your luggage is not included with your ticket. My bag was not included, therefore it was an extra 55 dollars at the kiosk to take it as a carry on.

3. New York takes more than an hour to experience BUT, just an hour can still be a blast.

 First, we ate at a nice Ecuadorian restaurant and then made our way to Times Square. After snapping a few quick photos we stumbled across a street artist who drew us in about 15 minutes. Then we ran back to the rest of the group and packed up to go to the airport again! Unfortunately, I don't know my way around New York but there were a lot of really interesting and beautiful buildings. Can't wait to go back and spend more time there! Til' next time New York! (Little did I know I would be back only a year later!)


Monday, July 20, 2020

Europe 2018 - Part 4

Welcome back! Where to begin with this one... Uhhh, well, here are some lessons learned.


Lesson Learned!

July 9, 2018
It's impossible to take a 2 week trip to another country and not learn anything. Whether it be facts or history about your destination or lessons you can only learn by doing. By that I mean, when you royally mess up but you're in another country so your only option IS to learn from it. Yep. That was me. It was a tough pill to swallow but what I got from it makes it worth it.
It’s wasn’t all that bad though.

 (From left to right: Me, Jorge and Hayley. We were actually just tired from walking those stairs behind us but our facial expressions seemed fitting for lessons learned. ) The next picture was my flight into Lisbon, Portugal. So beautiful.

  1. For starters, I learned that I can’t sleep on planes. Simple as that. I tried melatonin. I tried ZzzQuil. I tried not sleeping before the flight. I even bought a neck pillow and blanket. Maybe it’s just not in my fate to have the magic ability of getting some shut eye on a massive pill shaped metal can 30 thousand feet in the air. Knowing this, I downloaded plenty of movies to prepare for the 16 hour flight home. (3 hours to Iceland, 4 hour layover, and 8 hours to Dallas)

  2. You don’t have to have service for the map on your phone to work. Which is actually a great thing! However you have to be careful and make sure it’s updating frequently or you’ll get lost very quick. I have a Samsung Galaxy S9 and I was able to drop pins and locate them without Wi-Fi. I couldn’t name them but if you only drop a few they are pretty easy to identify.
  3. A good friend of mine that I used to work with traveled frequently and he would always say, “You never truly know a person until you travel together.” This seemed to be a reoccurring theme throughout our trip. Without going too far into detail, we began the trip as a group of five and ended the trip as separate groups of three and two. It took traveling across the world to see some true colors. As for myself, I was in love with this concept because I met a wonderful guy six months ago and that was our second trip together. The first one we drove down to South Padre Island. From Houston, that’s 402 miles away and a six hour drive. We were there for four days and not a single argument. Same went for Europe except it was two weeks! We did have a small fallen out at the very end. The night before we left Paris we didn’t speak to each other at all. The reason was silly and had to do with how we got back to the hotel from the Eiffel Tower that night. I would have preferred our silence not last as long as it did but when you can say you’ve been with a significant other 24/7, for 2 weeks straight, it’s something to be proud of. I was also pleased that we were on the same page for most, if not all, of the trip. Meaning we had similar interests and wanted to do the same things.
  4. Plan your own trip. Yes, this may seem silly and obvious. But I am not kidding. I told myself, “I am lucky enough to even be here. Don’t get in the way of what they have planned or what they want to do. You are just along for the ride. You’ll enjoy it either way.” NO. Plan your own trip. At the very least, know what you’re getting into. We agreed and paid in advance for an activity before leaving to Europe. Come to find out there are additional fees to this activity. In the end it was more than worth it but it would have been nice to know ahead of time. Next, you’ll absolutely want an input in where you stay. We were staying so far out of three of the cities that it took an hour to two hours to get home each night. Finally, when put in our situation, it made it very awkward getting flight and room information from the person we were no longer speaking to. The picture below is mainly what we had to go off of since we separated groups the first night. I don't know about you but that gives me anxiety: relying on someone to send a screen shot of flight info. There are so many ways that could go wrong. But we managed, I suppose that's what really matters. 
  5. And finally my royal screw up. This also stems from number four. But it was more on me than anything. – All of our flights were bought by our friend except one. The whole trip she had the info and we were together (not together but on the same flight). But this one went to my account and my email and my responsibly. I had assumed it was like the rest, same as theirs. Usually you get an email letting you know that your flight is coming up. I actually got two but I didn't see them because I get so many and only two are displayed on the notification bar. Plus, I was out of town. My email was highly irrelevant to me. Until it wasn't... On the way to the airport the driver asked what terminal. We pulled out our itineraries and that’s when Jorge noticed we missed our 6 a.m. flight. My heart sank and my stomach went into knots. I immediately thought there weren’t going to be any more flights for that day or it would be too expensive. And not only did I screw it up for myself but I had messed it up for him too. He took it surprisingly well though. (No arguments over it. Can you believe that? Boy, am I lucky.  :D ) I still feel terrible about it but like I said, when your only option is to learn from it, you just do what you gotta do. There were still flights available, we all sat next to each other and we made it to Paris. That’s all that matters!

    I hope to continue learning and growing by traveling. My next goal is Japan. But I think Switzerland or Ireland may be more feasible. Speaking of goals, I actually cracked open a journal from awhile back.

    Monday, March 20th 2017
    "... I really wish I had a job that allowed me to travel more often. It would be neat to start a vlog or blog about that. In any case, maybe I can work something out like a trip every six months or so."

    I was ecstatic to read this because for the first time I had a goal and blew it out of the water. Well a trip every six months I'll admit is a stretch but I'd say I hit a solid 2 out of 3 there. 
Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

Europe 2018


Hello everyone! Hope you are doing well and staying healthy. Since there isn't much happening and im procrastinating terribly on my latest project portfolio, here are some stories from my old blog.💕


Europe in 5 days!

May 22, 2018
It's almost here! This week is going to FLY by. In honor of this being the last week before the trip I wanted to give you all a little insight into what it took to get everything planned out. Today I'll talk about where we will be staying, flights, and how we managed to keep this trip under 2,000 USD per person. 

BEFORE I KNEW
To be absolutely truthful, I had no idea at the beginning of the year that I would be traveling across the world with the guy I had been talking to. It was a trip he and his friends had planned long before me. And I had accepted that. Yeah I was going to miss him, but he's got a life and I've got mine that we each need to live whether we get to spend it together or apart. In any case, I was excited for him. Early April they found out one of their friends cancelled and they decided to invite me. Immediately I wanted to say yes. But I thought for a few moments and figured I really didn't have the money. Tuition for Architecture is almost 3,000 USD a semester and even with the help of student loans I end up paying a good chunk out of pocket. 

With that being said, I had put away 1,000 dollars from my tax return to put towards school the following semester. The gears in my head were turning and I was so tempted to use that money for the trip. But I know myself and I can make irrational decisions sometimes. So I went to my mom for advice and I couldn't have been happier with her response. "Its a once in a lifetime trip. Do it!" She said. So that morning I booked an appointment to get my passport and we've been steadily planning since.

1. MONEY
Passport = $240 (I had it expedited both ways to make sure it came in on time. It's usually 150 if you wait the normal 4-6 weeks.)
All flights combined ~ $1,450 ( 6 flights total) 
Airbnb ~ $260 ( 4 Airbnb's at around 65 dollars a person for 4 nights) 
And lastly we are estimating food will cost $250
Excluding the passport, that puts me at roughly $1,960.

2. AIRBNB
Can you believe we will be staying in Europe for two weeks and only spent $250 on rooms! Nice hotels here in Texas can cost the same price for a single night! I wish I had known about Airbnb sooner. This is my first time booking through them so I'll let you know how it goes! 

3. FLIGHTS
Most of the flights in Europe were under $80 dollars. Flying from New York to Lisbon and From Paris to Dallas were the most expensive. Each flight was about $450. Did I mention this will also be my first time flying? I am so lucky to be marking these things off of my bucket list so quickly! 

Real quick shout outs to Jorge and Carolina for inviting me and making all of this possible. Thank you guys! :)